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

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

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

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

The blogspot version of this blog is HERE.
The Blogroll. My Home Page. Email John Ray here. Other mirror sites: Dissecting Leftism, Political Correctness Watch, Education Watch, Immigration Watch, Food & Health Skeptic, Gun Watch, Eye on Britain, Recipes, Tongue Tied and Australian Politics. For a list of backups viewable in China, see here. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing) See here or here for the archives of this site

31 May, 2011

Are you a genuine skeptic or a climate denier?

So asks JOHN COOK, writing on a site of Australia's ABC. He has the amusing assertion that those who reject Warmism consider only the evidence that suits them. Talk about the pot calling the kettle Afro-American!

Cook does link to a large number of Warmist assertions by others but is critical of none of them. He just lists them as gospel and does not at all consider whether the phenomena mentioned are caused by human action.

As can be seen on the header of this blog, skeptics generally accept that there has been SOME warming but dispute both its likely future magnitude and its origin.

Mr. Cook quite ignores the fact that he is peddling prophecies. And they rely purely on supposition, not evidence. And as far as I can find, Greenie prophecies have a record of complete falsity so far. Prophecy really is a mug's game.

Since he is so keen on taking into account ALL the evidence, it would be amusing to get his response to the fact that the tidal gauge data do not show an acceleration of Sea Level rise; that the NOAA -NODC data do not show a significant rise in Ocean Heat Content between 1979 and 1997; that the warming of the last 150 years has been a perfectly comfortable total of less than one degree Celsius -- etc.

In the charged discussions about climate, the words skeptic and denier are often thrown around. But what do these words mean?

Consider the following definitions. Genuine skeptics consider all the evidence in their search for the truth. Deniers, on the other hand, refuse to accept any evidence that conflicts with their pre-determined views.

So here's one way to tell if you're a genuine skeptic or a climate denier.

When trying to understand what's happening to our climate, do you consider the full body of evidence? Or do you find the denial instinct kicking in when confronted with inconvenient evidence?

For example, let's look at the question of whether global warming is happening. Do you acknowledge sea level rise, a key indicator of a warming planet, tripling over the last century? Do you factor in the warming oceans, which since 1970 have been building up heat at a rate of two-and-a-half Hiroshima bombs every second? Glaciers are retreating all over the world, threatening the water supply of hundreds of millions of people. Ice sheets from Greenland in the north to Antarctica in the south are losing hundreds of billions of tonnes of ice every year. Seasons are shifting, flowers are opening earlier each year and animals are migrating towards the poles. The very structure of our atmosphere is changing.

We have tens of thousands of lines of evidence that global warming is happening. A genuine skeptic surveys the full body of evidence coming in from all over our planet and concludes that global warming is unequivocal. A climate denier, on the other hand, reacts to this array of evidence in several possible ways.

The most extreme form of climate denier won't even go near the evidence. They avoid the issue altogether by indulging in conspiracy theories. They'll pull a quote out of context from a stolen 'Climategate' email as proof that climate change is just a huge hoax. I have yet to hear how the ice sheets, glaciers and thousands of migrating animal species are in on the conspiracy, but I'm sure there's a creative explanation floating around on the Internet.

The hardcore denier, firmly entrenched in the "it's not happening" camp, denies each piece of evidence. When confronted by retreating glaciers, their thoughts flick to the handful of growing glaciers while blocking out the vast majority of glaciers that are retreating at an accelerating rate.

They ignore sea level rise by focusing on short periods where sea levels briefly drop before inevitably resuming the long-term upward trend. The key to this form of denial is cherry picking. If you stare long and hard enough at a tiny piece of the puzzle that gives you the answer you want, you find the rest of the picture conveniently fades from view.

Some climate deniers have found it impossible to ignore the overwhelming array of evidence that the planet is warming (cognitive bias does have its limits) and moved onto the next stage of denial: "it's happening but it's not us". After all, climate has changed throughout Earth's history. How can we tell it's us this time?

The answer, as always, is by surveying the full body of evidence. Warming from our carbon dioxide emissions should yield many tell tale patterns. We don't need to rely on guess work or theory to tell us humans are causing warming. We can measure it.

If carbon dioxide is causing warming, we should measure less heat escaping to space. Satellites have observed this, with heat being trapped at those very wavelengths that carbon dioxide absorb radiation. If less heat is escaping, we should see more heat returning to the Earth's surface. This has been measured. Greenhouse warming should cause the lower atmosphere to warm but simultaneously, the upper atmosphere to cool. That's indeed what we observe is happening.

As far back as the 1800s, scientists predicted greenhouse warming should cause nights to warm faster than days and winters to warm faster than summers. Both predictions have come true. Everything we expect to see from greenhouse warming, we do see.

So which camp do you fall in?

Do you look at the full body of evidence, considering the whole picture as you build your understanding of climate? Or do you gravitate towards those select pieces of data that, out of context, give a contrarian impression, while denying the rest of the evidence?

More HERE (See the original for links)

Don't follow Germany's rejection of nuclear power, eminent British Warmist says

A new but predictable outburst of irrationality from Germany. They have already shut some reactors. So where are they getting replacement power? From France. And where do the French get it? From nuclear reactors! The French love their nukes.

This latest folly is very German, however. The Germans were Greenies at least a century before anybody else. It seems to be inbred in them. Even Hitler was a Greenie and the Nazi dream of a return to an imaginary bucolic past was simply a widespread German dream which Hitler co-opted -- and which is now a worldwide Greenie dream.

Nazism was in most ways very German. Hitler's socialism was, for instance, just a follow-on from the welfare state invented in the 19th century by Bismarck, Prussia's "Iron Chancellor". And nationalism was so pervasive in Germany that even Friedrich Engels (co-author with Karl Marx of "Das Kapital") was a fierce German nationalist

THE world must follow Britain's lead on nuclear power if it wants to curb greenhouse gases, not that of Germany, which is to scrap all its nuclear plants by 2022, a former government chief scientist said. Germany's plan to close all its 17 nuclear power stations is an overreaction to the earthquake disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan, Professor Sir David King said.

The International Energy Agency said that its latest estimates of carbon emissions would make it almost impossible to stop a global temperature rise of more than 2C (3.6F). Fatih Birol, its chief economist, said: "This significant increase in CO2 emissions and the locking in of future emissions due to infrastructure investments represent a serious setback to our hopes of limiting the global rise in temperature to no more than 2C."

Sir David, who as Chief Scientist described climate change as a bigger threat than terrorism, told The Times that it would be difficult to reverse this trend if more countries followed Germany in rejecting nuclear power as a low-carbon source of energy.

"It is worrying," he said. "I think it would be a big surprise if Germany can achieve the same targets as Britain for decarbonising its energy supply without nuclear."

Germany plans to disconnect eight of its oldest reactors almost immediately, of which seven had been shut for three months of safety tests after Fukushima. Six more will shut by the end of 2021 and the three most modern will shut the following year.

Sir David said that Britain had acted more sensibly than Germany by commissioning a technical report from Mike Weightman, the nuclear chief inspector, which concluded that the Fukushima incident had little relevance to plans to build a new generation of nuclear plants.

"The British Government's decision is based on a technical analysis of risk and a thorough examination of the lessons learnt from Fukushima, which has rightly not deflected it from its plans," Sir David said. "If other countries wish to follow an example, they should look at Britain's response rather than Germany's."

The IEA figures, Sir David said, were no surprise, because carbon emissions' link to economic growth was well established. "Global GDP is still heavily powered by fossil fuels, so the recovery after the global recession, which has been stronger in developing countries, was expected to bring carbon emissions back up."

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, hopes the nuclear plan will steal some of the Greens' electoral territory, and possibly make them potential coalition partners in a future federal Government.

But the plan, which means the country must find 22 per cent of its electricity from other sources, has been questioned by German industrialists. Dieter Zetschke, head of Daimler, said: "Turning our backs on an affordable energy source is clearly a risk. I see certain risks ahead for Germany as a place to do business."


Even Revkin of the NYT slaps down silly little Sharon Begley

Sharon is best known for writing a "science" column for Newsweak

A @DailyBeast story By Sharon Begley, besides claiming a link between this epic tornado season and global warming, also includes this unsupported line: “From these and other extreme-weather events, one lesson is sinking in with terrifying certainty. The stable climate of the last 12,000 years is gone.”

Separate from the tornado non-issue, anyone positing that we’re entering a new period of uniquely freaky climate conditions after an equable Holocene Epoch hasn’t looked at any lake beds. A couple examples:

- Sub-Saharan Africa’s multi-millennium pattern of mega-super-uber-droughts beyond anything experienced in recent centuries.

- The northeastern United States’ lake-bed record of unbelievably astounding super-deluges, which make the epic flooding events of recent history look mild by comparison. In other words, the “flood of record” for Vermont, in November 1927 (amazing video), appears to be 10 times less powerful than truly epic gullywashers occurring with some regularity in recent millenniums.

The last 200 years have been pretty comfy, but the last few thousand - let alone 12,000 - hardly!

The overstatements are unfortunate because the story makes some important points about the lack of focus on building resilience to climate extremes — a no-brainer already and particularly important as building greenhouse gases jog the system (and as human numbers crest).

Global warming will surely tip the odds toward some unpleasant surprises, but recent human history has barely tasted what nature can serve up.


Archaeologists rediscover the Medieval Warm Period

The end of the Norse settlements on Greenland likely will remain shrouded in mystery. While there is scant written evidence of the colony’s demise in the 14th and early 15th centuries, archaeological remains can fill some of the blanks, but not all.

What climate scientists have been able to ascertain is that an extended cold snap, called the Little Ice Age, gripped Greenland beginning in the 1400s. This has been cited as a major cause of the Norse’s disappearance. Now researchers led by Brown University show the climate turned colder in an earlier span of several decades, setting in motion the end of the Greenland Norse. Their findings appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Brown scientists’ finding comes from the first reconstruction of 5,600 years of climate history from two lakes in Kangerlussuaq, near the Norse “Western Settlement.” Unlike ice cores taken from the Greenland ice sheet hundreds of miles inland, the new lake core measurements reflect air temperatures where the Vikings lived, as well as those experienced by the Saqqaq and the Dorset, Stone Age cultures that preceded them.

“This is the first quantitative temperature record from the area they were living in,” said William D’Andrea, the paper’s first author, who earned his doctorate in geological sciences at Brown and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. “So we can say there is a definite cooling trend in the region right before the Norse disappear.”

“The record shows how quickly temperature changed in the region and by how much,” said co-author Yongsong Huang, professor of geological sciences at Brown, principal investigator of the NSF-funded project, and D’Andrea’s Ph.D. adviser. “It is interesting to consider how rapid climate change may have impacted past societies, particularly in light of the rapid changes taking place today.”

D’Andrea points out that climate is not the only factor in the demise of the Norse Western Settlement. The Vikings’ sedentary lifestyle, reliance on agriculture and livestock for food, dependence on trade with Scandinavia and combative relations with the neighboring Inuit, are believed to be contributing factors.

Still, it appears that climate played a significant role. The Vikings arrived in Greenland in the 980s, establishing a string of small communities along Greenland’s west coast. (Another grouping of communities, called the “Eastern Settlement” also was located on the west coast but farther south on the island.) The arrival coincided with a time of relatively mild weather, similar to that in Greenland today. However, beginning around 1100, the climate began an 80-year period in which temperatures dropped 4 degrees Celsius (7 degrees Fahrenheit), the Brown scientists concluded from the lake readings. While that may not be considered precipitous, especially in the summer, the change could have ushered in a number of hazards, including shorter crop-growing seasons, less available food for livestock and more sea ice that may have blocked trade.

“You have an interval when the summers are long and balmy and you build up the size of your farm, and then suddenly year after year, you go into this cooling trend, and the summers are getting shorter and colder and you can’t make as much hay. You can imagine how that particular lifestyle may not be able to make it,” D’Andrea said.

Archaeological and written records show the Western Settlement persisted until sometime around the mid-1300s. The Eastern Settlement is believed to have vanished in the first two decades of the 1400s.

The researchers also examined how climate affected the Saqqaq and Dorset peoples. The Saqqaq arrived in Greenland around 2500 B.C. While there were warm and cold swings in temperature for centuries after their arrival, the climate took a turn for the bitter beginning roughly 850 B.C., the scientists found. “There is a major climate shift at this time,” D’Andrea said. “It seems that it’s not as much the speed of the cooling as the amplitude of the cooling. It gets much colder.”

The Saqqaq exit coincides with the arrival of the Dorset people, who were more accustomed to hunting from the sea ice that would have accumulated with the colder climate at the time. Yet by around 50 B.C., the Dorset culture was waning in western Greenland, despite its affinity for cold weather. “It is possible that it got so cold they left, but there has to be more to it than that,” D’Andrea said.


Wind farms: Britain is 'running out of wind'

Despite the freak gales that battered parts of the country last week, climate experts are warning that many of Britain’s wind farms may soon run out of puff.

According to government figures, 13 of the past 16 months have been calmer than normal - while 2010 was the “stillest” year of the past decade.

Meteorologists believe that changes to the Atlantic jet stream could alter the pattern of winds over the next 40 years and leave much of the nation’s growing army of power-generating turbines becalmed.

The Coalition has drawn up plans to open more wind farms in an effort to meet Britain’s European Union target of providing 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.More than 3,600 turbines are expected to be installed in offshore wind farms over the next nine years.

But statistics suggest that the winds that sweep across the British Isles may be weakening. Last year, wind speeds over the UK averaged 7.8 knots (8.9mph), a fall of 20 per cent on 2008, and well below the mean for this century, which stands at 9.1 knots (10.5mph).

Usually Britain has warm, wet and windy winters, thanks to Caribbean air carried here by the Atlantic jet stream, a fast-flowing current of air.

But the last two winters have featured exceptionally low temperatures and were remarkably still when they should have been the windiest seasons of all, as high pressure diverted the jet stream from its normal position.

Meteorologists have found that the position of the jet stream has been influenced by the lower levels of activity on the Sun. This decline in sun-spot activity is expected to continue for the next 40 years, with potentially serious consequences for the viability of wind farms.

Professor Mike Lockwood, from Reading University, said: “Changes in the jet stream will change the pattern of winds that we get in the UK. That, of course, is a problem for wind power.

“You have to site your wind farms in the right place and if you site your wind farm in the wrong place then that will be a problem.”

Dr David Brayshaw, also from Reading’s Department of Meteorology, added: “If wind speed lowers, we can expect to generate less electricity from turbines - that's a no-brainer.”

The gales that swept Scotland last week, with gusts of over 80mph, were the worst in the month of May for almost 50 years. The power to almost 30,000 homes was temporarily cut and two people died.

Prof Lockwood said the recent spell of exceptionally dry weather in the south and wet conditions in the northern half of the UK was influenced by the position of the jet stream.

“The jet stream is sitting over the north of England so we are getting very dry weather to the south of the jet stream,” he said.

The Atlantic jet stream brings warm, wet weather to the UK and Europe from the south-west. If it is “blocked” as a result of changes in solar activity, cold air flows across Britain from the east.

One such period of prolonged blocking of the jet stream is thought to have occurred between 1645 and 1715, when Britain experienced a mini ice age, yet also spells of hot, dry summer weather.

Prof Lockwood said solar activity was especially low during this period, adding that current levels of sun-spot activity were continuing to decline. “We reached a high point of solar activity in 1985,” he said.

“Since then, it has been declining. We are now halfway back to the levels seen during the Maunder Minimum. The probability is that that decline will continue for the next 40 years.”


Elitism doesn't sell

Even Australian Leftist journalist David Penberthy (below) sees that. NOTE: Because Australia has few blacks, inner city areas are prestigious in Australia, not dangerous ghettoes

The decision of actors Cate Blanchett and Michael Caton to front advertisements supporting the Federal Government’s climate change policies has been denounced as a shocking act of impertinence by a pair of cashed-up lefties who have no right to enter the debate.

These advertisements are 100 per cent privately-funded and in a democracy such as ours people have every right to spend their money as they wish to make their point. That said, there’s a separate issue as to whether the advertisements are tactically smart. It’s more likely that rather than galvanising support for a carbon tax, they will have the opposite effect of alienating mainstream voters who simply want details about how much the carbon tax will cost them, and what type of compensation they will get in return.

The left of politics in Australia seems to be permanently afflicted by what could be described as the Don’s Party syndrome, whereby affluent and educated people think you can win debates by telling people what’s good for them.

Advertising executive Adam Ferrier wrote a good piece on The Australian yesterday fleshing out the point.

“One of the risks of any green campaign is that it appears like lefty, progressive, idealistic and elitist, detached from the struggles of everyday people,” Ferrier wrote. “At worst, Cate is at risk of making the cause elitist. For the millions this (ad campaign) cost, there are so many other ways to change behaviour than having an elitist talking head spruik a carbon tax as easily as spruiking x, y or z.”

The best example of this was the republican campaign, which culminated with a tragi-comic cocktail reception for the failed yes vote on the night of the ballot where Rachel Ward sobbed on husband Bryan Brown’s shoulder as Malcolm Turnbull declared that John Howard had “broken the nation’s heart”. What had really happened was that the republicans had completely stuffed their campaign by leaving much of the talking to celebrities while overlooking their first responsibility – to explain how a republic would work, why we needed one, and how life would change for the better under the new constitutional model.

The same mistakes are being made now by progressive people who believe in climate change. And the same mistakes are being made, spectacularly, by the Gillard Government. The PM looks like she is dancing to the tune of the Greens purely because of the disastrous quirk of democracy at last year’s election, where no-one actually won, and she decided to break her own promise of not introducing a carbon tax in order to form government. We are now moving headlong towards putting a price on carbon – ie, introducing a tax – and the Government is trying to win a debate when it is yet to provide people with any detail.

It’s a ludicrous manoeuvre, asking people to take you on trust when you have already breached their trust by changed the position you adopted in the election campaign. Until such a time as the Government releases details of how it will actually work, how much it will cost, how much compensation families will receive, they are sitting ducks.

The pro climate change lobby and actors such as Blanchett and Caton can say and do what it likes in an attempt to bolster its cause, and spend as much money as they wish in the process.

There is a separate issue though as to whether it will actually bolster the cause. In the absence of policy detail, and with the voters still smarting from being misled by the PM, you would have to say they’ve probably done their dough.



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


30 May, 2011

Now it's bugs!

Bacteria often leave their hosts feeling under the weather. And even when the hosts are high-altitude parcels of air, microbes can be a source of inclement conditions, a Montana research team finds. Cloudborne bacteria might even pose climate threats by boosting the production of a greenhouse gas, another team proposes.

Both groups reported their findings May 24 at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in New Orleans.

These data add to a growing body of evidence that biological organisms are affecting clouds, notes Anthony Prenni of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, an atmospheric scientist who did not participate in the new studies. Right now, he cautions, “We still don’t know on a global scale how important these processes are.” But research into microbial impacts on weather and climate is really heating up, he adds, so “within a few years, I think we’re going to have a much better handle on it.”

Alexander Michaud’s new research was triggered by a June storm that pummeled Montana State University’s campus in Bozeman last year with golf ball–sized and larger hailstones. The microbial ecologist normally studies subglacial aquatic environments in Antarctica. But after saving 27 of the hailstones, he says, “I suddenly realized, no one had really ever thought about studying hailstones — in a layered sense — for biology.”

So his team dissected the icy balls, along with hundreds of smaller ones collected during a July hail storm south of campus. Michaud now reports finding germs throughout, with the highest concentrations by far — some 1,000 cells per milliliter of meltwater — in the hailstones’ cores.
Since at least the 1980s, scientists have argued that some share of clouds, and their precipitation, likely traces to microbes. Their reasoning: Strong winds can loft germs many kilometers into the sky. And since the 1970s, agricultural scientists have recognized that certain compounds made by microbes serve as efficient water magnets around which ice crystals can form at relatively high temperatures (occasionally leading to frost devastation of crops).

In 2008, Brent Christner of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and his colleagues reported isolating ice-nucleating bacteria from rain and snow. A year later, Prenni’s group found microbes associated with at least a third of the cloud ice crystals they sampled at an altitude of 8 kilometers.
“But finding ice-nucleating bacteria in snow or hail is very different from saying they were responsible for the ice,” says Noah Fierer of the University of Colorado at Boulder. “I say that,” he admits, “even though as a microbiologist, I’d love to believe that bacteria control weather.”
Pure water molecules won’t freeze in air at temperatures above about –40° Celsius, Christner notes. Add tiny motes of mineral dust or clay, and water droplets may coalesce around them — or nucleate — at perhaps –15°. But certain bacteria can catalyze ice nucleation at even –2°, he reported at the meeting in New Orleans.

Through chemical techniques, Michaud’s group determined that the ice nucleation in their hail occurred around –11.5° for the June hailstones and at roughly –8.5° for the July stones.
Michaud’s data on the role of microbes in precipitation “is pretty strong evidence,” Prenni says.
Also at the meeting, Pierre Amato of Clermont University in Clermont-Ferrand, France, reported biological activity in materials sampled from a cloud at an altitude of 1,500 meters. The air hosted many organic pollutants, including formaldehyde, acetate and oxalate. Sunlight can break these down to carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, something Amato’s group confirmed in the lab. But sunlight didn’t fully degrade some organics unless microbes were also present.

Moreover, certain cloudborne bacteria — the French team identified at least 17 types — degraded organic pollutants to carbon dioxide at least as efficiently as the sun did. Amato’s team reported these findings online February 9 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions.

This microbial transformation of pollutants to carbon dioxide occurs even in darkness. Amato has calculated the total nighttime microbial production of carbon dioxide in clouds and pegs it “on the order of 1 million tons per year.” Though not a huge sum (equal to the carbon dioxide from perhaps 180,000 cars per year), he cautions that this amount could increase based on airborne pollutant levels, temperatures and microbial populations.


Greenie superfascism

The true successors of Mussolini, Lenin and Pol Pot leave their predecessors in the shade: "Climate change demands we re-engineer the world economy now"

As an alarm call, the surge in emissions revealed by the International Energy Association is deafening. After the banking crisis of 2008, the cooling of the global economy had appeared to have given our wheezing, warming world pause for breath.

As GDP went into reverse, so did energy use and the pumping of planet-heating gases into the atmosphere. Attempts to agree global action went into reverse at the same time, despite the 120 heads of state who burned the midnight oil in Copenhagen in 2009.

But while the global economy has roared back to life, the UN's negotiations remain on life support, and with little hope of recovery.

Two truths emerge from this mismatch. First, the link between economic growth and carbon dioxide must be broken. The world's economy runs on energy, and while most of that power continues to comes from coal, oil and gas, global GDP and carbon emissions will be bound together in lockstep. The latest data show a near perfect correlation, and that shows how little impact, in a worldwide context, renewable and nuclear power is making.

Second, the rich industrialised world and the poor developing world must align their hopes and fears: they inhabit the same planet. All nations are united in understanding that unchecked climate change poses a grave threat in every part of the world.

Citizens in London, New York and Tokyo have grown rich from a century or more of fossil-fuelled industrialisation. They have the most wealth to lose and are, with notable exceptions, the keenest to cut carbon fast. But for those in Delhi, Rio and Beijing, where economic growth surges onwards, the improvement of living standards, from electricity to education, is even more pressing than reducing emissions.

Blah, blah, blah


Cut and pasted - IPCC errors

From the cut and paste section in today's Australian newspaper...

A sturdy declaration on p19 of the climate commission magnum opus, The Critical Decade: "The [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]'s Fourth Assessment Report has been intensively and exhaustively scrutinised and is virtually error-free."

ABC News Watch blog on Thursday: "HERE are links to the IPCC's own list of errors in the AR4 report, it runs to about 3200 words. When we cut and pasted them all into MSword we ended up with 31 pages."

For more errors and lies from the Climate commission... see Lies of the climate commission PART 1, PART 2, PART 3, PART 4 and PART 5

None of these reported by Australia's state owned media corporation.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Pesky food reality

At least since Malthus through Paul Ehrlich, doomsters have been predicting mass starvation. They never learn

A new study published in the Science magazine says that global warming has contributed to a drop in the yield of crops in Russia, China and India:
Crop yields hit by global warming

Global warming is hurting world food production, says new study
A drop in the yield of some crops around the world was not caused by changes in rainfall but was because higher temperatures can cause dehydration, prevent pollination and lead to slowed photosynthesis, the new study says. Wheat and corn yields were down in Russia, China and India, due in part to rising temperatures, according to the study published in the journal Science. The new research adds to other studies which have tried to distinguish between climate change and natural variations in weather and other factors.

And here is the the latest news just in from India:
India faces problem of plentiful food

There is a bumper wheat and rice crop. In Andhra Pradesh, India's rice bowl, production is up 30%. Millers are offering only Rs 8 for a kilo of paddy though the MSP is Rs 10.30. Angry farmers last week threw paddy into the Krishna river. The state government has borrowed Rs 550 crore from RBI for procurement. The FCI can do little. After buying 50 million tonne wheat and rice this season, added to 44 million tonnes left from last year, it is exhausted.

The oilseed crop is 20% larger. Import of palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia is down for the sixth straight month till April, a three-year low. Sugar output is up 28%. Even exports can't prod the bulls into action.

Production of pulses rose by a fifth to cross 17 million tonne. The Planning Commission pegs this year's demand at 19 million tonne. As the gap narrows, premiums are evaporating.

Cotton prices hit a 140-year high in March on the back of the world market and then crashed by Rs 20,000 per candy within two months. Textile mills can't absorb the record harvest. In crop after crop, output is higher. In West Bengal, farmers have put 60% of their potato in cold storage, hoping prices will improve. And a 15% jump in onion harvest has pushed wholesale prices in Maharashtra back to Rs 5 per kilo. In January, we paid Rs 70.

Surely Dr. Wolfram Schlenker and the other members of New York´s Columbia University´s research team must be pleased to learn, that global warming evidently has stopped, at least in India - or alternatively it has contributed to a record harvest!

SOURCE. (See the original for links)

Is this a new extreme of climatological overconfidence? Just 15 years of data is enough to generate long term predictions?

The National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research plans to study the waves around New Zealand, which it says are some of the biggest and wildest on the planet.

NIWA says extensive modelling will help provide a picture of how damaging waves and storm surges will be in future. It wants to establish how the size of the waves is changing, so councils know the areas where it is unwise to build.

The longest set of records goes back only 15 years, so the agency will do some modelling for the years before that.

NIWA says it will simulate wave development up to the end of the century and will take climate change into account.


Australia: Global cooling hits Sydney

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) predicts up to 20mm of rain will fall in Sydney today, with warnings of dangerous surf conditions. The State Emergency Service has warned of storms and flash flooding on the northern beaches today.

There is also a strong wind warning for waters between Port Macquarie and Port Hacking, in Sydney's south, with a swell of up to three metres predicted. Since 9am yesterday, 30.6mm fell at Observatory Hill and 15.4mm at Sydney Airport.....

Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said it could be the coldest May in Sydney in more than 40 years. "A cloudy and wet end to the month will ensure this will be Sydney's coldest May since 1970," Mr Dutschke said.

According to Weatherzone, minimum overnight temperatures averaged less than 10.8 degrees, nearly 1 degree below the long-term average. The temperature dropped below 10 degrees on 11 nights, when usually there are only eight nights so cold in May.

A cold front dropped snow in Orange on May 12, a rare event so early in the year, Mr Dutschke said.



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


29 May, 2011

An old propaganda lurk resurfaces in Australia

The Leftist Australian government recently released a "report" designed to prop up its proposed carbon tax. Neither the report nor the tax has gained much traction, however.

To explain that lack of traction, the piece from the Left-run "Sydney Morning Herald" below claims that climate skeptics are psychological cripples, unable to face the evidence.

Demonizing your enemy is classical wartime propaganda and Leftists do it even in peacetime. The first big attempt at it in peacetime erupted in 1950. It is amusing that a 1954 revision of that attack is revived below: The old two-dimensional account of ideology. That account never worked then and it is equally shallow today.

Believe it or not, the author below claims that skeptics are "hierachical/authoritarian" yet it is skeptics who reject authority and Warmists who embrace it! I think it is clear who the mental cripple is! The poor soul writing below has totally lost touch with reality. Would a diagnosis of schizophrenia be too extreme?

And, needless to say, there is not one fact cited below in support of the author's assertions about either climatology or psychology. It is all just bald assertion

I've been thinking a bit about the sea hare this week while observing the fallout from the Climate Commission's report, The Critical Decade. Wondering, too, about primitive human biology, about what factors interfere with our survival instinct - fear, fun, greed, legacy, even good old distracting lust.

The report is a powerful enunciation of what science now knows about climate change and the risks it poses. That the atmosphere and the oceans are warming, ice is being lost from glaciers and ice caps, sea levels are rising and the biological world is changing. "We know beyond reasonable doubt that the world is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary causes."

In the nuanced language of science, it doesn't get much stronger. As the American scientist Naomi Oreskes [Calling Oreskes a scientist is a condemnation of science] has observed, "History shows us clearly that science does not provide certainty. It does not provide proof.

It only provides the consensus of experts, based on the organised accumulation and scrutiny of evidence." And here we have it.

So how do you respond to such confronting news? Do you weigh the credentials of the speakers, study the evidence? Or do you switch it off, turn the page, scream and shout? According to psychological research by the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale University, your reaction either way will have little to do with the strength of the arguments or the calibre of the science. It will have everything to do with whether it gels with, or offends, your deep-seated views about morality and how the world ought to work.

Yale law professor Dan Kahan's "cultural cognition of risk" theory attempts to explain public disagreement about the significance of empirical evidence by plotting individuals on two scales of cultural belief: individualists versus communitarians, based on the importance people attach to the public good when balanced against individual rights; and hierarchists versus egalitarians, based on their views of the stratification of society. Simply explaining the science to these audiences, he finds, will only serve to wedge the two sides.

The sliding scales are not unfamiliar. Think Tony Abbott as the archetypal suit-and-tie individual hierarchical - values clustered around free-market enterprise, personal achievement, industry, regard for authority (though not, it seems, scientific authority), traditional family, personal freedom; and Bob Brown is out there as your sandal-wearing communitarian egalitarian, protesting that pretty much everything Abbott cherishes damages all he holds dear.

Put a scientist in front of an audience of individual hierarchicals saying that global warming is high risk, and only 23 per cent of the audience will buy the speaker as trustworthy and knowledgeable. Same message, same scientist, and 88 per cent of egalitarian communitarians nod their heads.

Have the same author change tack to argue that warming is no great drama, and the Abbotts now lap it up (86 per cent), and the Browns wander off (46 per cent). The well-oiled machinery of manufactured denial knows how to push all these buttons.

Yale's audience testing finds the only factor likely to interfere with our psychological gatekeeping is if someone within our "camp" - someone we perceive as sharing our world view - says something unexpected. (Hence the reverberations in industry and markets when BHP chief Marius Kloppers last year urged rapid action to put a price on carbon emissions.) In short, evidence from someone you identify with will sway your view; science - facts - won't.

Same as it ever was, maybe. But new media helps us contrive a self-affirming information bubble, an echo chamber in which only our own beliefs are broadcast back to us. Debate in the US on the Yale findings prompted the reflection that our instincts in this regard mean - as one political scientist observed - "we are not well-adapted to our information age".

The findings also confirm that for all our modernity, tribal leaders remain critical. Leaders of all persuasions - political, religious, industrial, social - have immense power in influencing responses to the most diabolical of problems.

In the foreword to a new book debunking scepticism of science - Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand - Oreskes argues that fear is the major driver of denial. "Fear that our current way of life is unsustainable. Fear that addressing the issue will limit economic growth. Fear that if we accept government interventions in the market place . it will lead to a loss of personal freedom. Or maybe just plain old fear of change."

As economist John Kenneth Galbraith observed, all great leaders share one common characteristic - "the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time".


Kyoto deal loses four big nations

France: Russia, Japan and Canada told the G8 they would not join a second round of carbon cuts under the Kyoto Protocol at United Nations talks this year and the US reiterated it would remain outside the treaty, European diplomats have said.

The future of the Kyoto Protocol has become central to efforts to negotiate reductions of carbon emissions under the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change, whose annual meeting will take place in Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9.

Developed countries signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. They agreed to legally binding commitments on curbing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

Those pledges expire at the end of next year. Developing countries say a second round is essential to secure global agreements.

But the leaders of Russian, Japan and Canada confirmed they would not join a new Kyoto agreement, the diplomats said.

They argued that the Kyoto format did not require developing countries, including China, the world's No. 1 carbon emitter, to make targeted emission cuts.

At last Thursday's G8 dinner the US President, Barack Obama, confirmed Washington would not join an updated Kyoto Protocol, the diplomats said.

The US, the second-largest carbon emitter, signed the protocol in 1997 but in 2001 the then president, George W. Bush, said he would not put it to the Senate for ratification.


A warmer world would have more even temperatures -- with life flourishing even in what are now polar areas

One of the reasons we’ve never been troubled by the prospect of a less-cold world – a broader tropical belt with temperate zones to the poles just isn’t that frightening a prospect.

New research published in Science points to the significant role of oceans in ancient global cooling

Research led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute scientist finds evidence that early antarctic circumpolar current development impacted global climate

Troy, N.Y. – Thirty-eight million years ago, tropical jungles thrived in what are now the cornfields of the American Midwest and furry marsupials wandered temperate forests in what is now the frozen Antarctic. The temperature differences of that era, known as the late Eocene, between the equator and Antarctica were only half of what they are today. A debate has long been raging in the scientific community on what changes in our global climate system led to such a major shift from the more tropical, greenhouse climate of the Eocene to the modern and much cooler climates of today. (EurekAlert)


Global Warming Promoters’ Unsustainable Accusation Tactic


One of the main priorities for Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) promoters is to steer the general public away from hearing the skeptics’ side of the story. They’ve been amazingly successful so far, aided by legions of environmentalist bloggers. But these efforts require constant maintenance. When people notice contradictory elements and other details that don’t square up, tough questions start getting asked. Evasive answers or dead silence to those only speeds the erosion of credibility for the issue. If nobody can legitimately explain why skeptic scientists should be ignored, then the whole idea begins to erode uncontrollably.

Allow me to explain what led to my tough questioning. In the early ’70s when I was around nine years old, I saw a Greenland map and asked, “Why is it called Greenland? It’s all snowy.” I don’t recall who responded, but they knew of my Norwegian heritage and said, “Your Viking ancestor Eric the Red discovered it, but was a con man and lied about it being green.” It sounded plausible to me at the time.

In the mid ’70s during a school discussion of the then-current global cooling crisis, a classmate asked if I was concerned about advancing ice sheets. I replied, “No, I’m sure I can outrun a glacier.”

In the late ’80s, Al Gore declared we must fight global warming. “What happened to global cooling?!”, was my reaction. “No worry,” one of my relatives cautioned, “He’s wrong, there’s an article saying only one set of computer models shows the planet heating.”

On March 14, 2001, when the PBS NewsHour reported President Bush’s decision not to push CO2 regulation, I immediately wrote a congratulatory letter to him, while also suggesting his staff should find a 2000 copy of a PBS Nova/Frontline “What’s Up with the Weather?” program where global warming was significantly questioned (Speaking of missing sides of the story, it seems odd that the main PBS page for the program does not currently contain the above transcript link, or a complete video of the broadcast).

After watching that program’s reasonably balanced assessments of AGW, I became concerned about the PBS NewsHour‘s lack of skeptic scientists as guests counterbalancing AGW claims. When they aired a program on 8/15/05 about Seattle Mayor Nickels and other mayors agreeing on a need to take the initiative in reducing CO2 emissions, I promptly emailed Nickels’ office to ask why his Northwest climate ‘warming’ observations contradicted an apparent ‘cooling’ of the desert Southwest I was seeing, and then I asked why his assertions on current unprecedented global temperatures were contradicted by conclusions about the Medieval Warm Period being warmer.

The reply from his Office of Sustainability and Environment completely failed to address the contradictions.

I began asking various other politicians, policymakers, and internet forum posters what justified their pro-AGW positions, and invariably received the same answers: ‘the science was settled, don’t listen to skeptics, they’re paid by fossil fuel industries to confuse the public’. They never said how skeptics’ science assessments were wrong. I ignored the corruption accusations, wondering why they resorted to such a weak defense tactic.

In late October of 2009, while debating Society of Environmental Journalists board member Robert McClure at his blog, I was prompted to look deeper into the accusations. He said, “The first person to document widespread payments by industry to “skeptic” scientists, as far as I know, was journalist Ross Gelbspan in his book, circa 1997, “The Heat is On.” But it’s been documented since then, too.” Rather than simply take his word, I attempted to prove it myself.

I couldn’t find independent corroboration of the accusation. Instead, many journalists justified a lack of skeptic scientists interviews by saying there was no need to ‘apply equal balance to a settled issue’ – without ever saying how it was settled. More unnerving were multiple assertions that such interviews would constitute “laziness committed in the name of journalistic balance” that erodes media credibility and slows efforts to solve the AGW crisis.

These particular assertions invariably traced back to……………. Ross Gelbspan. (Including a rather strange recent twist on this, as I detailed at my May 9 American Thinker article, “Warmist Mantra Wearing Out“)

Only days after my debate with McClure, I saw how viral a specific accusation phrase was against skeptic scientists, best summarized by Al Gore in his 2006 “An Inconvenient Truth” movie’s companion book: “One of the internal memos prepared by this group to guide the employees they hired to run their disinformation campaign was discovered by the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ross Gelbspan. Here was the group’s stated objective: to ‘reposition global warming as theory, rather than fact.’” In the movie itself, the “reposition global warming” phrase is shown full screen in capitalized red letters, receiving one of the two biggest applause responses in Gore’s presentation when the next screen compared it to old tobacco industry campaign attempts to portray science studies about smoking as inconclusive.

However, my initial November 2009 searches of that phrase immediately revealed contradictions to widespread assertions of Gelbspan as the first to expose it. More than sixteen months later, I’m finding a sea of red flags associated with the accusation, my most recent article at ClimateDepot describes a very troubling contradiction within Gore’s own assertion about Gelbspan finding the memos. In a nutshell, Gelbspan never won a Pulitzer, he didn’t discover the memos, they prove nothing when read in their full context…… and it turns out Gore received the memos long before Gelbspan.

New York Times writer David Brooks said on the 7/23/2010 NewsHour, “I guess the one thing that sort of frustrates me is that we have had a lot of information about global warming from Al Gore and many others. And, yet, while that has happened… support for a response to global warming has gone down.” Sorry, Mr Brooks, it was not ‘a lot’ of information, it was only one side of it.

So, here we are. No climate bills have any hope of passing in Congress, centrist pundits wonder why Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and President Obama are such ineffective environmental leaders, environmentalist bloggers strategize how to educate an ‘ignorant public’, and far-left zealots have nightmares about a burning planet while shivering through nasty cold snaps.

And here I am, yelling, “Stop! Are you insane? Nobody ever told how skeptic scientists’ criticisms were wrong, or proved their conclusions were outright fabrications created in coal and oil industry executive conference rooms!!”

Please join me. It should be a wild ride on a roller-coaster of imminent collapse, and despite all I’ve heard about the loyalty of the mainstream media to the cause, all these problems must smell like blood in the water to some of them………..


Fireworks now under Greenie attack

Fireworks shows are among thousands of events in San Diego each year that need environmental review under a Superior Court ruling on Friday.

What started as a battle over fireworks shows led to a sweeping legal victory Friday for environmentalists that could stymie a wide range of events needing city permits, from the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon to birthday parties held at parks.

“According to the strictest interpretation of this, jumpy-jumps and everything else would be subject to environmental review if this ruling stands,” said lawyer Robert Howard, who represented the La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation in the case. “It’s a breathtaking ruling.”

Superior Court Judge Linda Quinn said La Jolla’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show requires evaluation under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.

The case, filed by the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation in Encinitas, targeted San Diego’s approval of the La Jolla event but eventually drew in a broad swath of city permits. San Diego officials said they issue about 400 special-events permits annually, along with up to 20,000 park-use permits for smaller-scale gatherings — most of which would now need environmental assessment.

“San Diego issues thousands of these simple park-use permits over the counter with the only consideration being space, just as other cities do across the state,” said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. “Existing law has never been interpreted to require a CEQA review for this. ... This decision opens the door to absurd results. This is the reason appellate courts exist and we plan to ask for their help.”

Even before the judge’s ruling was finalized, Chula Vista officials on Thursday pulled the plug on their July Fourth show in the face of funding shortfalls and environmental challenges.

The future of La Jolla’s event was fuzzy Friday. Organizers likely can’t complete the time-intensive and costly CEQA analysis by July 4, but Howard said he would ask the court to allow this year’s event while the case is appealed.

City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, whose district includes La Jolla, said she hoped to find a solution. “We have to strike a balance that protects the environment but also allows our finest traditions to continue,” she said.

On Tuesday, the City Council ratified a long-standing city policy of exempting fireworks shows from special-events permits unless food or alcohol is sold. It was an attempt to shield pyrotechnics from environmental challenges, but Friday’s decision means CEQA still applies.

Environmental impact reports can take a year and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

“Does that mean every event has to get a full environmental impact report? No, but it means that the city has to undertake the burden and applicants have to undertake the cost” of a lower-level CEQA analysis, Howard said.

He said some “events” such as temporary Christmas tree stands have existing exemptions under the law, but many others don’t.

Alex Roth, a spokesman for Mayor Jerry Sanders, framed the suit as part of a “bizarre crusade to stop fireworks.”

“What’s next, a lawsuit against swimmers for polluting the ocean with their suntan lotion?” Roth said.


Leftist Australian politicians in rush to defend coal seam gas from Greenie attacks

POLITICIANS have rushed to defend the coal seam gas industry despite more controversy surrounding it this week.

In a show of support for an industry whose image was dented by another gas leak near Dalby on Monday, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, travelled to Gladstone yesterday to launch construction on Santos's Curtis Island LNG processing plant.

The $16 billion project is due to deliver its first gas in 2015. Ms Bligh said the environmental approvals had been the "most rigorous" in Australian history.

Environmental groups have complained that approvals for coal seam gas projects - most of which are in Queensland and NSW - have been progressing too quickly, and a moratorium should be placed on further approvals until more is known about the controversial fracking technique.

Fracking involves the pumping of high pressure water and chemicals underground to release gas stores.

As the Gladstone launch was under way, the Queensland Treasurer, Andrew Fraser, was also selling the case for the coal seam gas sector. "This isn't something that's happened in the last one or two years. This is not some wild experiment," Mr Fraser said.

Farming groups have expressed outrage that energy companies have the right to enter private property to explore for coal seam gas, but Mr Fraser said not all farmers were opposed.

"There's plenty of farmers who are quite happy they've got a second string to their income," he said.



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


28 May, 2011

A Laughable Warmist

Auden Schendler thinks he has found a "foolproof" way to preach Warmism but it is only fools that he would convince. Perhaps that is the only sort of audience he talks to

After years of thinking about this, talking about it, and getting alternately annihilated or accepted by audiences, here’s one way fool-proof way to approach the climate science conversation. Here goes:

Let’s all agree on some things. First: we know the planet is warming [By how much? It's only tenths of a degree -- which in fact amounts to climate stability]. Nobody is doubting that, anywhere at all. Second, we know that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are warming agents; [Are they? Then how come temperatures in the last 12 years have been stable while CO2 levels have risen markedly?] again, that’s not being debated in any circles and is two hundred year old science. Third, we know that warming of 2-4 degrees C is much more likely to be catastrophic than good for the world. (It’s very easy to debunk the argument that warming will be bad some places but good other places, the idea that Greenland will be nice and we’ll move there. All that methane filled permafrost melting, plus all the sea level rise easily negates the argument. Not to mention floods, droughts, fires, etc. ) [A solid array of unproven assumptions there] Fourth, we know that humans have the ability to radically cut greenhouse gas emissions, and that doing so will prevent catastrophic warming. [Another assumption] So it makes sense to do so, especially since the consquences of inaction will be much more costly. [Prove that!]


Global Food Production May Be Hurt as Climate Shifts, UN Lamebrain Says

But by his name (Omar) he is a Muslim so we can't expect much of him. A Muslim U.N. official: That sounds like two strikes and you are out to me. Just five of many things he leaves out of his "calculations":

1). Since China has switched from a command economy to a market economy, it has moved from being a food importer to a major food EXPORTER -- showing that economic systems are the real key to food production.

2). The recent rise in CO2 levels is a huge fertilizer that has increased food output per acre and expanded arable areas.

3). Warmer oceans would give off more evaporation and hence INCREASE rainfall overall. Maybe someone should tell Omar that crops like that.

4). Crop failure in some areas is a normal result of the weather cycle but tends to be fairly local. Where some areas are having poor crops others tend to do well. Some areas of Australia, for instance, are at the moment expecting bumper wheat harvests. Australia is a significant wheat exporter.

5). Food prices have risen lately but that is largely due to a large part of the huge U.S. corn crop being diverted into the production of "biofool". The high prices are a result of Congressional stupidity, not the climate. It's true that Congressional stupidity is about as hard to budge as the climate but we can hope.

And what he DOES base his calculations on -- More extreme weather -- is a pure myth. There was just as much extreme weather a century ago. See the post below

Global food output may be hurt as climate change brings more extreme weather over the next decade, with China likely set for harsher droughts and North America getting heavier rain, said the World Meteorological Organization.

“Extreme events will become more intense in the future, especially the heat waves and extreme precipitations,” Omar Baddour, a division chief at the United Nations’ agency, said in a phone interview from Geneva. “That, combined with less rainfall in some regions like the Mediterranean region and China, will affect crop production and agriculture.”

The more extreme weather -- including in the U.S., the world’s largest agricultural exporter -- may disrupt harvests, possibly cutting production of grains, livestock and cooking oils and boosting prices. Global food costs reached a record in February, stoking inflation and pushing millions into poverty.

“We foresee with high confidence in climate projections that intense precipitation in some parts of the world will be more intense, and drought will be more intense,” said Baddour, who’s tracked the subject for more than two decades. Extreme heat waves “will also be more intense and more frequent.”

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s World Food Price Index, which tracks 55 food-commodity items, rose nine times in the past 10 months, with the gauge peaking at 237.24 in February. The index climbed to 232.07 last month.


No Long-term Trend in Atlantic Hurricane Numbers

Long-debated has been whether or not there is a long-term trend in the number of Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes.

The answer to this seemingly straightforward question turns out to be complicated because there have been changes in the observing practices over time—including changes in the spatial coverage of observing systems as well as the technologies employed. Therefore, teasing out the real climate signal from the noise induced by the changing nature of the observations has proved challenging and lends itself to a variety of methodologies producing a variety of results.

Of top of this less than perfect solution is the desire (for some at least) to want to try to involve anthropogenic global warming, hoping to find that anthropogenic climate change is leading to more tropical storms and hurricanes. But thus far, the evidence for this is scant, to say the least.

And now, it just got scanter. (We know the word is “scantier” but the one we concocted rhymes with our pugilistic friend in climate hyperbole, Ben Santer).

A just-published paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research authored by a team of leading hurricane researchers has once again examined the historical record of tropical storm observations from the Atlantic Ocean this time focusing on the number of tropical storms whose entire lifetime was less than two days. The authors termed these very minor storms “shorties.” The identification of shorties is one element of the tropical cyclone record that could be very impacted by changing observational methodologies and technologies. Short-duration storms are presently identified much more readily than they were, say, prior to the satellite era.

If the Atlantic tropical cyclone history is divided up into “shorties” and, we guess, “longies,” something very interesting pops out. Over the entire record, there is a big upward trend in the number of “shorties” but there is no trend in the annual number of “longies”

Obviously, lumping the two together would produce an apparent upward trend in the total annual number of tropical storms and hurricanes—and give fuel for the fire which burns for those trying to develop a link to anthropogenic global warming.

This situation is akin to the observed record of tornadoes in the U.S.—the number of weak tornadoes has increased markedly in the last half century, while the number of strong tornadoes shows no such behavior. For tornadoes, this is because better observing technologies (and a lot more people looking) have increasingly identified small storms which were previously overlooked. But the big storms cause such damage that they can’t go unnoticed. The positive trend in total annual number of tornadoes is driven not by climate change (as some would have you believe), but instead by changing observational methods.

The authors of the current study, Gabriele Villarini, Gabriel Vecchi, Thomas Knutson, and James Smith, wanted to more closely examine the record of shorties to see if they could determine the reasons behind the large upward trend in the number of shorties.

They did this through combining statistical methods together with their understanding of the physical processes involved in tropical storm formation in the Atlantic basin (a topic that the authors are well versed in).

What they found was a lack of evidence for a detectable climate change signal in the century-long record of shorties. Instead, they concluded that non-climatic signals (i.e. data quality issues) were contaminating the record and making it impossible to isolate a climate signal from the raw data, if such a signal even existed at all (a possibility which the authors think is unlikely, at least as far as there being a significant positive trend over the 20th century).

What’s more, the authors warn that all approaches to identifying a secular trend in Atlantic tropical cyclone counts which do not explicitly account for the non-climatic influences of shorties are likely to be in error, as are statistical models of Atlantic tropical cyclone activity that include shorties in their datasets. We add that there are quite a few published studies that do just what Villarini et al. have warned against.


GOP presidential hopefuls shift on global warming

One thing that Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have in common: These GOP presidential contenders all are running away from their past positions on global warming, driven by their party's loud doubters who question the science and disdain government solutions.

All four have stepped back from previous stances on the issue, either apologizing outright or softening what they said earlier. And those who haven't fully recanted are under pressure to do so.

The latest sign of that pressure came Thursday when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he was pulling his state out of a regional agreement to reduce greenhouse gases, saying it won't work. While Christie, a rising GOP star, has said he's not running for president, some in the party continue to recruit him.

It's an indicator of a shift on the issue among conservative Republicans, who have an outsized influence in the party's presidential primary elections. Over the last few years, Gallup polling has shown a decline in the share of Americans saying that global warming's effects have already begun — from a high of 61 percent in 2008 to 49 percent in March. The change is driven almost entirely by conservatives.

In 2008, 50 percent of conservatives said they believed global warming already is having effects; that figure dropped to 30 percent this year. By contrast, among liberals and moderates there's been relatively little movement, and broad majorities say warming is having an impact now.

Not all Republicans are happy with the trajectory the party is on when it comes to global warming. Former New York Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, a 27-year veteran of Congress who was known as a staunch protector of the environment, said he has "never been so disappointed all my life in the pretenders to the throne from my party."

"Not one of them is being forthright in dealing with climate science," he said in an interview. "They are either trying to finesse it, or change previous positions to accommodate the far right. They are denying something that is as plain as the nose on your face."

But for some, opposing mandated solutions to climate change has become party orthodoxy. "Republican presidential hopefuls can believe in man-made global warming as long as they never talk about it, and oppose all the so-called solutions," said Marc Morano, a former aide to Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, one of the most vocal climate skeptics in Congress.

Morano now runs a website called Climate Depot where he attacks anyone who buys into the scientific consensus on climate change. Enemy No. 1 for Morano these days is Gingrich, the former House speaker who in 2008 shared a couch with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a TV ad backed by climate change guru Al Gore.

In it Gingrich says, "We do agree that our country must take action on climate change."

Since that appearance, Gingrich, who once ran an environmental studies program at a Georgia college, has called for the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency. He's also spoken out against a Democratic bill that passed the House in 2009 that would have limited emissions of greenhouse gases and created a market for pollution permits to be bought and sold.

But that hasn't been enough to satisfy conservative critics. Gingrich went further in a recent interview when he said he doubted there was a connection between climate change and the burning of fossil fuels. "The planet used to be dramatically warmer when we had dinosaurs and no people," Gingrich told The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph last week. "To the best of my knowledge the dinosaurs weren't driving cars."

Where Gingrich has waffled, other GOP contenders have conceded on the issue of climate. Romney, Pawlenty and Huntsman potentially come into the race with even more climate baggage, since each of them as governor supported a regional "cap-and-trade" program to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, like the one Christie bailed out of this week. All have since abandoned that stance.

It's a marked turnaround for a party that just three years ago gave its presidential nomination to Sen. John McCain, who long has supported cap and trade to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and who campaigned on the issue even though it put him on the same side as his opponent, Barack Obama.

In fact, the whole idea of a market to trade pollution credits came from the Republican Party. It emerged in the late 1980s under the administration of President George H.W. Bush as a free-market solution to the power plant pollution that was causing acid rain. It passed Congress nearly unanimously in 1990 as a way to control emissions of sulfur dioxide.

But now it has become synonymous with partisanship and political risk. Legislation to use the pollution credits approach to curb global warming passed the Democratic-controlled House in 2009, with the support of Obama. It died in the Senate after Republicans labeled it a "cap-and-tax" plan that would raise energy prices and after House Democrats who voted for it were attacked at town hall meetings back home. Many of those Democrats lost their seats in last November's elections and with the House now under Republican control, Obama has said he no longer would pursue it.

The current field of Republican presidential hopefuls is working to shed what McCain's former environmental adviser calls the "toxic political veneer" of that policy.

The biggest reversal has come from Pawlenty, who a year after signing a law in Minnesota to cut greenhouse gas emissions was featured in a radio ad for the Environmental Defense Action Fund. Joined by then-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, now a member of Obama's Cabinet, Pawlenty called on Congress to limit the pollution blamed for global warming. "If we act now," he said in the spot, "we can create thousands of new jobs in clean energy industries before our overseas competitors beat us to it."

Two years later, he wrote Congress opposing the Democratic bill, saying it was "overly bureaucratic, misguided and would be very burdensome on our economy." In a South Carolina debate earlier this month, he apologized altogether for his climate past, calling it a clunker in his record. "I don't duck it, bob it, weave it, try to explain it away," he said. "I'm just telling you, I made a mistake."

Huntsman doesn't go as far. Obama's former ambassador to China, the country that releases more greenhouse gas pollution than any other, tells Time magazine in an interview to be published this week that it's the timing that's off. As governor of Utah, he appeared in a 2007 ad for an environmental advocacy group in which he said, "Now it's time for Congress to act by capping greenhouse gas pollution." He also signed an agreement with seven other Western states and four Canadian provinces to reduce greenhouse gases. Since then, other states have pulled their support.

"Much of this discussion happened before the bottom fell out of the economy, and until it comes back, this isn't the moment," he says now. When asked whether he believes the climate is changing, he acknowledges the scientific consensus. "All I know is 90 percent of the scientists say climate change is occurring," he says. "If 90 percent of the oncological community said something was causing cancer, we'd listen to them."

Romney changed his mind less recently. As Massachusetts governor in 2005, he initially supported a regional pollution-reduction market, saying it would spur jobs and the economy. Weeks later, he refused to sign the pact when the other states would not agree to cap the price for pollution permits.

If anyone has a clean record on climate change in the potential GOP field, it's former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. While Palin set up a sub-Cabinet office to map out the state's response to global warming as governor, and sought federal dollars to help coastal communities threatened by erosion, she has been steadfast in saying human beings are not responsible for climate change and that proposals to limit pollution threaten the economy.


57% Of Americans Think Electric Cars Suck

By William Teach

Apparently, Big Oil and Big Coal and Big Industry and other Big's got to Americans with their "disinformation campaigns," poisoning their minds with anti-Gaia propaganda or something
Nearly six of 10 Americans — 57% — say they won't buy an all-electric car no matter the price of gas, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.

That's a stiff headwind just as automakers are developing electrics to help meet tighter federal rules that could require their fleets to average as high as 62 miles per gallon in 2025. And President Obama has set a goal of a million electric vehicles in use in the U.S. by 2015.

The anti-electric sentiment unmasked by the poll shows that pure electrics — defined in the poll question as "an electric car that you could only drive for a limited number of miles at one time" — could have trouble getting a foothold in the U.S.

Sheesh, what do these people have against electric vehicles, which will be apparently be powered by unicorn farts
Such cars "are very much niche vehicles. They find acceptance among a core group of passionistas, but too many questions remain for mainstream consumers," says CEO Jeremy Anwyl. He says consumers worry about range per charge, recharge time and battery replacement cost. Electrics also are priced thousands of dollars more than similar gasoline cars.

"It's not for every consumer," says Maurice Durand, spokesman for Mitsubishi, which is to start selling a small four-passenger electric called the "i" in the U.S. in November. The "i" can go about 80 miles on a charge, and at $27,990 plus shipping, could be the lowest-priced electric.

Oh. That's what they have against electric cars. Spend almost $30,000, and you'd be lucky if you can get to work and back. You certainly can't take any sort of trip with the family. What happens if you get stuck in traffic and the battery depletes? You can't just throw a couple gallons in, eh?

And where is all this electricity going to come from? Anyhow, one day, in the future, they will surely be the way forward. I think that would be great. But, like most "green" tech, they aren't yet ready for prime time, but the Government is still trying to force them on consumers.

Oh, BTW, all you anthropogenic global warming Believers should do away with your fossil fuel burning vehicles, and run out and get one of the electric cars. What's that? You can't afford them and they would hamper your lifestyle? Hmph.



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


27 May, 2011

The world's most famous climatologist (with a degree in political science, not climatology) Blames the Past 12 Months of Weather on Global Warming

In Gore’s commencement speech at Hamilton College:

“Similarly today, we have a debate in our nation about whether our climate crisis is real,” Gore said. “Mother Nature has weighed in if you will think about the events in the last 12 months.”

He said in the last year, Pakistan and Australia have seen massive flooding, Texas and Russia have endured wide-scale drought and fires, and the Mississippi River is facing the largest floods in recorded history.

“These events have been just in the past 12 months, and the scientists are now in a shift in their rhetoric saying that if you ask the question, ‘Would these events happened in the absence of man-made global warming?’, the answer is almost certainly no.”

Really? BBC on the Pakistan floods in 2010 — global warming or bad river management?

Climate change may not be the only cause of Pakistan’s woes. There is also a sense that the current floods have been exacerbated by the way the Indus has been managed.

In the UK, flood risk is reduced by building levees (embankments) along vulnerable part of rivers. These barriers prevent them from bursting their banks in extreme floods. It is a system that has served well for generations.

But Pakistan’s rivers are different.

UK rivers carry very little sand and mud. In contrast, the Indus is choked with sediment eroding off the Himalayas. Building levees causes the river channel to silt up.

This has the unexpected effect of making Pakistan’s rivers prone to even bigger floods when the levees eventually break.

“What we’ve done is apply a system from the West that just doesn’t work [in South Asia],” said Professor Sinha.

Christian Science Monitor on Australia’s floods — global warming or nature or we’re not really sure?

What’s the primary cause of the Australia flooding, which now covers an area the size of France and Germany combined and has caused an estimated $6 billion in economic damage? The La Niña ocean-atmosphere phenomenon in the Pacific....

Both El Niño and La Niña are naturally occurring events that represent extremes in weather and occasionally wreak havoc on human population centers. Australia and Indonesia often see drought during El Niño, while La Niña typically causes higher rainfall there.

“In a general climatological sense, La Niña is always associated with very active rainfall conditions,” Dr. Kolli, chief of the World Climate Applications and Services Division, says in a telephone interview from Geneva. “But it won’t tell you exactly at what time of the season there will be very heavy rainfall. It helps people at being prepared, but you cannot use that information to take specific action in terms of a specific flood event.”

Moreover, he says, La Niña is only one of the many contributors to the heavy rain now hitting eastern Australia.

“The severity of the impact can be different,” he says. “La Niña is not the only factor that causes the active rainfall conditions. We need to investigate with more detailed data on exactly what happened [in Australia].” on the Texas wildfires — global warming or too much rain last year?

Dylan Schwilk, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, researches plants and fire. He’s studied the effects of wildfires in places such as the California, South Africa, Australia and Texas.

The current fire problem in West Texas is being fed by dormant, warm-season perennial grasses throughout the high and rolling plains area he said. Last year’s El Niño event helped these grasses grow thick. After going dormant for the winter, and because of this year’s La Niña drought, it’s left plentiful fuel lying on the ground.

“Here in West Texas, we get these powerful, low-humidity winds,” he said. “It’s amazing what fire will carry through out here. Even in heavily grazed areas, the winds lay fires flat. It’s very likely the relatively good rain we received last year contributed to higher fuel loads.”

Though recent fires make the landscape look devastated, almost all parts of the plants will survive the fires because grasses are still dormant and have very little living tissue above ground at this time of year, Schwilk said.

Most native woody plants, such as oaks, mesquite and other shrubs, will build new shoots from below-ground tissues even if partially or wholly burned. Also, some oaks have protective bark that shield the plant from fire.

Since the late-Miocene Period about 8 million years ago, fires have actually helped the spread of warm-season grasslands in Texas, such as those in the Southern High Plains. The grassfires burn hot, move very quickly, but they mainly burn upward. Grasses resprout because temperatures at the soil level don’t get hot enough to kill the root system.

The AFP on Russia — global warming or stupid Soviets?

This month, forest fires are already raging in Siberia, the Urals, and far eastern Russia, while peat bogs are smouldering in central Russia, Yaroshenko said.

“In a week’s time, the situation risks escalating in a catastrophic manner… and we will have a repeat of last year’s situation,” he said.

The noxious smoke could veil Moscow a month earlier than last year, in July, he warned.

Peat bogs were drained in Soviet times to extract fuel for experimental power stations. Once alight, the fires are particularly hard to put out because they continue to burn underground.

Peat fires are easier to extinguish at an early stage, but the emergency situations ministry “prefers to hide rather than react to warnings,” said Grigory Kuksin, head of Greenpeace Russia’s firefighting programme.

And finally, ABC News on the Mississippi floods — global warming or bad river management and incorrect estimates from the Army Corps of Engineers?

“If the rainfall increased in a forest the forest is going to suck up 90 percent of that rainfall. But if it happens in a urban area the pavement and roofs aren’t going to suck up anything,” Bosworth told ABC News.

The affect is multiplied on the mighty Mississippi because rivers in 31 states drain into it or its tributaries.

“The rivers need some room and we are getting that message explained very clearly to us year after year. It’s time we smelled the coffee,” said Robert Criss, professor of earth and planetary sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. “There is a lot of evidence that floods are not only getting deeper and more severe, but also more frequent.”

Criss attributes the rise in devastating floods to the continued constriction of the waterways and increased building in vulnerable areas. He says that as levees continue to be built higher it creates water that has enough power to tear through a landscape like a tsunami if the levee is breached, destroying everything in its path.

“What we need instead is a more thoughtful system where we have gates within levees and when we require flood water storage these gates are opened,” said Criss. “This will save levees, save farms and rejuvenate soil.”

Criss says that when water is released at a massive rate like in Cairo, Ill., when the Corps blasted the levees to flood farm land and save homes, it is a destructive process and the land is often not salvageable.

Both Criss and Bosworth agree that part of the problem is inaccurate assessments by the Corps.

Here some advice for the graduates of 2011: Don’t believe what comes out of Al Gore’s mouth.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Lighting Specialists Stockpiling Incandescent Bulbs

Via The New York Times

Unsurprisingly, the article takes a holier-than-thou tone towards those Americans who (*GASP*) won’t just roll over and let Washington bureaucrats tell us what’s best, and those who don’t feel that it is the government’s business to tell them what kind of lighting they can use in their home.

However, this attack on us mere commoners who actually appreciate consumer freedom runs into a problem: many hotshot interior decorators and lighting specialists also like the incandescent bulbs, thus the stockpiling. It’s an interesting contrast — it is okay for experts who appreciate light to stockpile incandescent bulbs but everyone else is overreacting, possibly succumbing to the right-wing media machine:
It should be noted that, like most decorators, Ms. Williams is extremely precise about light. The other day, she reported, she spent six hours fine-tuning the lighting plan of a project, tweaking the mix of ambient, directional and overhead light she had designed, and returning to the house after dusk to add wattage and switch out lamps like a chef adjusting the flavors in a complicated bouillabaisse.

She is aware that there is legislation that is going to affect the manufacture of incandescent bulbs, but she’s not clear on the details, and she wants to make sure she has what she needs when she needs it.

So does John Warner, a restaurateur in Washington whose new bistro, Le Zinc, will open next month on Wisconsin Avenue. He has signed a 15-year lease on the place, which is layered in warm woods, with lots of art and photographs and 50 light fixtures, 16 of them designed to hold a 40-watt soft-white G.E. incandescent bulb. By estimating that his lights will be on for 15 hours a day, and factoring in the package’s promise of a 2,000-hour life span per bulb, Mr. Warner has calculated that he will need 600 of these bulbs to last through his lease.

“I have a light-enough carbon footprint in the other aspects of the design,” he said, “so I can allow myself a lighting splurge.”

Compare that to this:
Nonetheless, as the deadline for the first phase of the legislation looms, light bulb confusion — even profound light bulb anxiety — is roiling the minds of many. The other day, Ken Henderlong, a sales associate at Oriental Lamp Shade Company on Lexington Avenue, said that his customers “say they want to stockpile incandescent bulbs, but they are not sure when to start. No one knows when the rules go into effect or what the rules are.”

Probably this is because articles about light bulb legislation are incredibly boring, and articles about the end of the light bulb as we know it are less so. Certainly they stick in the mind longer.

For years, Glenn Beck, among other conservative pundits and personalities, has proclaimed the death of the incandescent light bulb as a casualty of the “nanny state” (never mind that the light bulb legislation is a Bush-era act), and he has been exhorting his listeners to hoard 100-watt light bulbs (along with gold and canned food). This year, conservative politicians took a leaf from his playbook, introducing bills like the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, courtesy of Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman, that would repeal the 2007 legislation.

Dear New York Times: Conservatives are capable of passing legislation that angers other conservatives. Similar phenomena occurs on the left. Please note for future articles.

The article also pushes the misleading claim that incandescent bulbs aren’t being banned. They are being forced to meet efficiency requirements which traditional bulbs cannot meet: thus, the bulb that American’s know will be banned. Halogen incandescents (which are still extremely costly) will be able to be purchased. Thus, people understandably get anxious when they see that they might need to purchase $50 LED bulbs:
Last week, for example, in the middle of Lightfair, an annual trade show for the lighting industry, Philips unveiled a winged LED bulb with a promised life span of 25,000 hours and a price tag of $40 to $50. The Associated Press reported its cost as $50, and Fox News ran the story with the headline “As Government Bans Regular Light Bulbs, LED Replacements Will Cost $50 Each.” Mr. Beck, Rush Limbaugh and conservative bloggers around the country gleefully pounced on the story, once again urging the stockpiling of light bulbs.

I previously wrote about the $50 light bulb here (a gleeful pounce indeed, though I haven’t urged anyone to stockpile the light bulbs). Fear not America, the New York Times has spoken, and they’ve asked you to sit down, shut up, and enjoy the ride.



A GLOBAL scheme to reward poorer rain-forested countries for halting deforestation has led to plans for more commercial logging, a blind eye being turned to illegal logging and the displacement of forest people – all helped by McKinsey consultants funded by British and Norwegian taxpayers.

The Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) scheme aims to allow richer countries to buy “avoided deforestation” as part of carbon trading. This depends on calculating how much forest would have been chopped down and then preventing some of it (at as little cost to the economy as possible).

Not surprisingly, countries have already been accused of overestimating the amount of logging that might have happened without REDD… so when the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) environment minister announced in January that the country was to lift its moratorium on new logging concessions, this could still somehow be spun as a reduction in deforestation.

There’s funding available from the World Bank to help countries draw up REDD plans, as well as assistance from some enthusiastic European nations. Most of this REDD-readiness money is ending up in the pockets of international consulting firms – and McKinsey has established itself as the market leader.

For instance, the UK’s Department for International Development paid McKinsey £313,000 for work on REDD in Guyana, while Norway and the UK paid the firm for its work in DRC. McKinsey’s advice to Guyana even included weakening environmental laws, as a “more permissive regulatory regime” would ultimately allow them to make more money from REDD.

‘Blame the poor’

In an editorial last month, ahead of an upcoming meeting in Oslo of scientists, REDD-funders and international organisations, Nature magazine called on these funders to “finalize standards and safeguards” governing human rights before handing out more cash.

McKinsey became first pick for REDD work after developing a methodology it calls the “greenhouse gas abatement cost-curve” to estimate potential emissions reductions. A new study by charity the Forest People’s Programme (FPP) looked at the plans devised so far and concluded: “Abatement cost-curves, which aim to determine the least-cost option for the greatest emissions reduction potential, will almost always result in blaming the rural poor for deforestation, as implementing measures to halt small-scale and subsistence agriculture carries an economically lower price than halting industrial logging or even addressing illegal logging.”

Curve balls

The consultancy itself even admitted last month, in a statement responding to various international campaign groups, that: “The abatement costs shown in the cost curve across a range of emissions reductions initiatives do not necessarily reflect the full costs of implementing those initiatives.” For instance, it says, halting subsistence agriculture “could be significantly more expensive than suggested by the cost curve” when attempting to work with millions of farmers across a large country.

But while McKinsey boasts that its cost-curves have been used by more than 25 countries to “inform” decision making, it washes its hands of any ill-effects, adding that the cost-curve is not meant to “determine or generate” policy. Not that developing countries will have any funding left to pay for other policy work once they’ve bought their McKinsey report.

Documents revealed by a Papua New Guinean blog last year showed McKinsey asking for $2.2m (“50% below our usual fees”) to prepare a national REDD plan in 2009. The documents also suggested that they seek to cover the budget for the process “from external sources... eg. Australia, Japan, Germany, UK”.


Is NOAA Smarter Than Fifth Graders? Think-Tank Says, "Don't Bet on It"

Fifth Graders Challenge NOAA's Hurricane Prediction with One of Their Own

The same organization that challenged NOAA to bragging rights for the best hurricane forecast last year using a trained chimp armed only with a pair of dice and a craps table is challenging the agency again: This time by putting two fifth graders up against the multi-billion dollar federal agency.

"NOAA may have beaten our trained chimp, Dr. Hansimian, last year," said David Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "But he was really only our second banana. Let's see how NOAA can do against opponents with opposable thumbs."

Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, released its annual May forecast of Atlantic hurricanes. NOAA forecast 6-10 hurricanes for 2011, a range suggesting anywhere from a "normal" hurricane season to an "above normal" one.

"NOAA's forecast was on target last year, but it was only the second time in seven years the agency got it right. This may help explain why its forecasts the past two years have had such enormous ranges," said Ridenour. "Is NOAA smarter than two fifth graders? Given its less than 29% success rate the past seven years, we sincerely doubt it.

To find out for sure, we've commissioned two fifth graders to calculate the number of Atlantic hurricanes using a methodology that 5th graders use to resolve most of life's most vexing challenges."

Filmmakers Steven Crowder and Jordan Crowder co-produced a video of the fifth graders, Kate and Chris, demonstrating their methodology. The three-minute video can be found here It was co-written by David Ridenour and Steven Crowder.

The video isn't being released to question the professionalism or dedication of NOAA experts, but to remind Americans that forecasts based on science that is still evolving is unreliable and shouldn't be used to determine public policy.

"Forecasts are just that: forecasts. All that matters is what actually happens," said Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "We should keep this in mind as we consider whether to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Past forecasts of rising temperatures, sea levels, and droughts and other extreme weather events due to rising concentrations of carbon haven't proven any more reliable that NOAA's annual hurricane forecast. Until their reliability improves, it would be irresponsible to base policy on them."

Along with the fifth graders' forecast, the National Center for Public Policy Research is issuing a challenge to NOAA. "If at the end of the hurricane season, Kate's and Chris's forecast turns out to be more accurate than NOAA's, we challenge the agency to send a representative to their class to acknowledge their superior hurricane prognostication skills and to provide a presentation about NOAA's hurricane research," said David Ridenour. "In return, should NOAA prove more accurate, Kate and Chris will be more than happy to visit NOAA, acknowledge NOAA's superior hurricane forecasting skills, and provide a briefing on what their class is doing."

June 1 is the official start of the 2011 hurricane season.


Putting humanity in a kangaroo court

When Nobel laureates staged a mock eco-trial in Stockholm last week, they were really demanding to rule the world

You may not have noticed, but last week you were a co-defendant in a court case. In Stockholm, the Third Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability met at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The event website proclaimed that ‘hjumanity [sic] will be on trial as the Third Nobel Laureate Symposium brings together almost 20 Nobel Laureates, a number of leading policy makers and some of the world’s most renowned thinkers and experts on global sustainability.’

The charge against us, humanity, was that ‘our vast imprint on the planet’s environment has shifted the Earth into a new geological period labelled the “Anthropocene” – the Age of Man’. But this was a showtrial. The guilty verdict had been written before the court had even assembled. ‘The prosecution will therefore maintain that humanity must work towards global stewardship around the planet’s intrinsic boundaries, a scientifically defined space within which we can continue to develop’, claimed Professor Will Steffen, showtrial ‘prosecutor’ and executive director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University. The website and literature accompanying the symposium made no mention of the defence’s argument. Indeed, why would a Symposium on Global Sustainability invite a defence that challenged the premises it intended to promote?

The ‘trial’ was merely a stunt, of course, designed to make a stuffy, pompous and self-serving enterprise such as this more appealing to the media and the hoi polloi it sought to prosecute. It was one of a number of sessions at the event, each intended to qualify the sustainability agenda with the expertise of its participants. But this circle-jerk, show-trial symposium revealed far more about its members and the hollowness of the sustainability agenda than it revealed about humanity.

A trial implies a question mark over the guilt of the accused. A showtrial on the other hand, is a performance designed to serve some agenda or purpose, to make political capital from the trumped-up crimes of the defendant, whose ‘guilt’ has already been established. And so it is with the litany of charges served against humanity: we are ‘influencing critical Earth system processes’, ‘pushing the planet out of the 10,000-year Holocene environment’, causing ‘irreversible and abrupt changes’. These are our transgressions. They were recited in the courtroom melodrama, not to encourage scrutiny of ourselves, of society, or even really our relationship with nature, but to elevate the judges and their agenda. After all, without criminals, there can be no judges.

There is a strange irony to the spectacle of the world’s best thinkers putting humanity on trial. At the same time as they sit in judgement of humanity, those who seemingly best represent its virtues distance themselves from it. This act reflects a disconnect between the world’s elite – the establishment, in other words – and the rest of humanity. It is a practical demonstration of the extent to which contempt for humanity has been absorbed into establishment thinking.

Environmentalists often find it hard to understand why their arguments and actions are taken as a reflection of deep anti-humanism. But the symposium epitomises the degradation of the concept of humanity. It’s not merely the symbolic act of the Great and Good sitting above the rest of us and passing judgement; anti-humanism runs through their discussion. The showtrial diminishes the defendant – humanity – by making the plaintiff the Earth. There are only two ways this can be made sensible: either the Earth has characteristics that qualify it as a ‘person’ deserving of legal status, or humanity does not have characteristics that make it exceptional, distinct from nature. Sure enough, across the bottom of the symposium’s brochure in large print are the words ‘The world is facing a tangle of entwined challenges. It is time to recognize that we are part of nature.’

More depth on this central message of the symposium is given in the outline of its themes: ‘A central challenge for the twenty-first century is to respect the dynamic environmental boundaries that define a safe planetary operating space for humanity and to guide the human enterprise onto trajectories that develop within these boundaries. Collective action, flexible institutions and active stewardship of our globally interconnected social-ecological system is required to ensure a prosperous future for humanity.’ The themes also declare: ‘It is time to fully realize that our societies and economies are integrated parts of the biosphere, and start accounting for and governing natural capital.’

The attack on humanity would not leave such a bad taste in the mouth, were it not so nebulous. What does it mean to ‘respect dynamic environmental boundaries’, let alone identify them? Sustainability advocates claim ground for their argument in science, but the imperative that we ‘respect’ environmental boundaries precedes any real understanding of what these boundaries are, or whether they even exist. ‘Dynamic boundaries’ are in fact goalposts that can shift according to the needs of the sustainability agenda and its advocates, not a fact about the material world. Anything, including a caveman lifestyle, could be deemed ‘unsustainable’. But most importantly, what is forgotten by the symposium’s concatenation of incoherent and pseudo-scientific eco-concepts is the dynamism of humanity.

Instead of seeing humans as creative, and able to respond to ‘a changing world’ without their guidance, the laureates presuppose that we exist within a tightly ‘entwined’ relationship with nature. Our unguided movement within this relationship unsettles the mythological balance that nature’s providence rests on; nature is dynamic, but we are not. Thus we bring disequilibrium into the world at our own peril, like Adam and Eve thrust out of Eden for bringing sin to paradise. Humanity has brought chaos into creation, and we are now burdened with the consequences. And it is from this idea of a perilous relationship with nature that the members of the symposium hope to create a basis for reorganising society, with themselves as its stewards.

The sentence handed to us by our judges is a series of emergency and longer-term measures that humanity must observe if we are to survive. Many of these demands are familiar noises about ‘avoiding dangerous climate change’, meeting Millennium Development Goals, and increasing the efficiency of productive activity. But more telling is the demand for the ‘strengthening of Earth system governance’, which calls for a range of institutions to be created or given greater power to ‘integrate the climate, biodiversity and development agendas’ and ‘address the legitimate interests of future generations’. There’s also the call to enact a ‘new contract between science and society’, which will launch a ‘research initiative on the Earth system and global sustainability’, and ‘increase scientific literacy’.

At face value, the symposium and the sustainability agenda are about saving the planet. However, the desire for a ‘sustainable’ relationship between society and nature looks much more like nervousness about the establishment’s relationship with the rest of society. The institutional apparatus and power sought by the Nobel laureates through the sustainability agenda is about a search for authority and legitimacy: to overcome the gap that exists between the establishment and the rest of humanity without actually closing it.

We don’t have to stretch our imaginations to get a glimpse of what these new institutions and powers – the object of the sustainability agenda’s ambition – will look like and what they are really about. The mock trial of humanity allowed the laureates to play out their fantasy in which humanity’s guilt is turned into political power. In this intertwined relationship, there is no need of democracy; political power is simply justified on the basis of humanity’s guilt and the inevitability of catastrophe. The laureates imagine themselves in a state administrated by Plato’s philosopher kings. Us mere plebs are deemed incapable of determining things for ourselves. They appoint themselves, in case our base ambitions, desires and needs get the better of us and we send the world into ruin.

It is no more meaningful to try humanity for crimes against nature than it is to try nature for crimes against humanity – disease, flood, famine and so on. In the Middle Ages, all kinds of animals were summoned to courts to be tried. The Enlightenment saw the formulation of a more sophisticated understanding of nature and humanity: we created our own future, and our own history; the antithesis to the idea that we are mystically ‘entwined’ with gods, monsters, and other personalities representing ‘nature’. Those ideas in which humanity was understood as exceptional and apart from nature are now being abandoned by the very group of people who ought to be carrying the legacy of the Enlightenment and the humanism that developed within it.

The idea of a closely intertwined, inflexible relationship with nature that the Laureates prefer creates a prison in which no expression of humanity can be seen as a worthwhile end in itself. Everything must be judged by the imperatives of sustainability and its institutions. ‘Our predicament can only be redressed by reconnecting human development and global sustainability, moving away from the false dichotomy that places them in opposition. [...] In an interconnected and constrained world, in which we have a symbiotic relationship with the planet, environmental sustainability is a precondition for poverty eradication, economic development, and social justice.’

Such is the extent of the anti-humanism of the sustainability agenda that meeting the most basic of human needs is not a ‘good’ unless it has been assessed for its environmental impact. It is not humanity in general, but these sustainability advocates that deserve to be in the dock.



Four articles below

The electronic Dick gets carried away

Dick Smith is rightly one of Australia's most popular people and I agree with his view that Australia should aim for a stable population rather than an expanding one. But he seems to have fallen under the influence of Greenie myths. The idea that a major food exporter like Australia could run out of food is absurd. To gain perspective, consider the case of another major food exporter -- post-Communist China

PLANS to massively boost Australia's population are a bad idea and must be stopped, entrepreneur Dick Smith says.

'The Federal Government favours a "big Australia" and wants to increase the country's headcount from 22 million to 35 million by 2050, largely by immigration.

But Mr Smith said this was ridiculous. "We need to do something about this incredible increase," he said at an Australian of the Year dinner in Parliament House today. "No one is allowed to talk about it ... I am."

Mr Smith said Australia did not have enough water or food to support millions more people. It was crazy that seawater was being desalinated for drinking water to supply a booming population. "I believe in 100 years time people in Australia will be starving to death."

The intake of skilled migrants should be slashed and women should be discouraged from having more than two babies, Mr Smith said. He believes nine out of 10 Australians do not want a population boom.

Mr Smith is working on a documentary on the issue.

The Government wants to increase the population because it means more young taxpayers to pay the rising health and pension costs of the ageing population.

But a recent poll showed most people did not like that plan and some green groups have voiced concerns about the environmental costs.


"Climate change" hits South Australia

ADELAIDE shivered through its longest May cold spell in 24 years, says.

The city's temperature failed to reach 15C from Monday to Wednesday - the longest consecutive run since 1987 - before reaching a maximum of 15.5C yesterday.

This was still more than three degrees below the long-term average.

Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said southerly winds and low cloud had persisted since last weekend, with cold air lingering much longer than usual.

Mr Dutschke said while the remainder of the week would remain cold, temperatures would warm to near 20C next Tuesday or Wednesday in a brief spell of northerly winds.


Threat of carbon tax blackouts

THE security of electricity supplies would be at risk and power prices would be likely to rise under a carbon price if assistance measures failed to prevent the financial collapse of coal-fired generators, a report has warned.

A tax on carbon emissions could undermine investments in new low-emissions generation, if the viability of generators was undermined, according to a confidential report by investment bank Morgan Stanley.

The report warns that energy retailers could face higher costs and increased financial risks.

It found it was possible that the introduction of a carbon price - given that it was a radical change in the cost structure of the entire generation sector - could result in some unpredictable shifts in electricity prices, as it could alter the behaviour of electricity generators bidding into the national electricity market.

The Morgan Stanley review, which was conducted in 2009 as the government developed its compensation package for Kevin Rudd's carbon pollution reduction scheme, has never before been released because electricity generators threw open their books to the investment bank for the analysis.

A summary of the report, prepared by the Department of Climate Change and obtained by The Australian, was circulated to generators this week for the first time.

The generators had demanded the information as they continued their talks on an adjustment package for Julia Gillard's carbon pricing plan, which is being negotiated with the Greens and the rural independents.

The report is relevant to the current negotiations because the government has made clear the CPRS is being used as the foundation for the new negotiations.

The report will intensify calls from coal-fired power stations, particularly the brown coal-fired Victorian generators, for financial assistance. It underlines the difficulties facing the multi-party climate change committee as it negotiates the final details of the carbon package. The government will need a concession from the Greens, who have opposed providing financial assistance to coal-fired power stations, if it is to be able to offer a package to the coal-fired power stations.

The Morgan Stanley summary emerged as business groups continued to eye a campaign against the carbon tax.

The Australian Coal Association has been sounding out advertising agencies as it examines a potential advertising campaign against the carbon tax.

The Australian understands other business groups are also considering the move.

Electricity generators are due to meet the government again today before the Prime Minister's multi-party climate change committee's weekend of negotiations on the details of the package.

The Morgan Stanley report - which modelled the impact of a carbon price on the Victorian plants of Hazelwood, Yallourn, Loy Yang A, Loy Yang B, South Australia's Flinders and Millmerran in Queensland - identified three primary risks to the operation of energy markets under a carbon pricing regime.

It warned of "physical threats to system security", weakened investor confidence and disruptions to normal operations in energy-contracting markets.

On the threats to the electricity supply, the Morgan Stanley report said "physical supply reliability could be affected by unco-ordinated plans across the market for the withdrawal of large amounts of generation capacity potentially in advance of when new generation capacity might be available".

It said there was potential for a steady decline in reliability if financially distressed power stations reduced maintenance, either because they were in the hands of their lenders or faced with investment difficulties for assets with uncertain economic lives.

The report also warned that significant reductions in asset values in a concentrated sector of the generation market "may make investors less willing and able to invest in new low-emissions generation and dissuade other investors (particularly foreign investors) from providing capital to provide such new investments".

"Such an outcome could jeopardise Australia's medium- to long-term energy security by delaying critical investments," Morgan Stanley found.

The ability of power stations to pass on the carbon cost would depend on whether there was unutilised capacity in the market.

"If this spare capacity is able to be ramped up, then higher-emissions generators would have difficulty passing their full carbon costs through as lower-emissions generators will be able to profitably increase their output," Morgan Stanley found.

Generators might also be unable to pass on carbon costs if demand for power fell because of the higher electricity prices.

More rapid deployment of low-emissions technology would also lead to a lower carbon price pass-through.

And the closure of existing power plants could force up prices, the report said.

"As existing capacity is retired, the balance of supply and demand will tighten, which may lead to higher market prices and higher pass-through factors for the remaining plant for a period of time," it said.

The report said higher gas prices would require higher levels of carbon price to ensure the long-run marginal cost of new gas-fired generation was competitive with the short-run marginal cost of existing coal-fired generation.


Bid to stifle climate debate clouds history of scientific errors

The Climate Change Commission has released its long-awaited report saying the "jury is in" on the science behind man-made climate change. The verdict? "Humans are the problem."

So strong is the consensus, argues the climate ambassador Tim Flannery, that it is time for news media to cease giving space for debate over the science in view of the magnitude of the threat and the inability of non-experts to understand the issues.

With respect, that argument is not going to blow air into my balloon. Our system of government relies on non-experts making judgments. Our cabinet ministers are chosen from the ranks of elected members of Parliament, rather than external experts. Each year the Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, has to decide how much the federal government spends on 50 different vaccines to combat the risk of a pandemic. Roxon is not an epidemiologist. Wayne Swan has never had a cent of his own money at risk in a business he was running, yet he makes the judgments as the Treasurer on monetary policy, securities regulation, tax rates and foreign investment. We know that relying on non-experts involves risk but we regard it as the least-worst system, in part because we know how often the experts have made catastrophic errors.

In Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841), Charles Mackay chronicled the human tendency to be swept up in herd behaviour completely at odds with our goal of dispassionate, individual thought. Mackay looks at the great Tulip Bubble, sharemarket frenzies, the burning of witches and failed doomsday prophesies.

The scientific community is not immune. Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) showed it behaving like any other group - with a dominant clique-building and defending their empires , while bullying and ostracising dissenters. Kuhn showed that in case after case, the orthodoxy defends the status quo long after the data shows its underlying thesis must be wrong.

We have seen how that bullying, data manipulation and discrediting of dissenters scandalised East Anglia's climate research unit, which put together the historical temperature data on which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based its warming scenarios. The most damning revelation was why the manipulation was necessary: because the earth is refusing to warm at the rates the models required.

Flannery trousers $180,000 a year from the Prime Minister to heighten community angst, and her re-election depends on his success. Panasonic, the producer of energy-intensive, carbon-rich electronic goods, sponsors his chair at Macquarie University. While that money does not go to him directly, he has boasted of "carrying the flag for Panasonic in everything . . . I do" before clarifying that "I have not advocated Panasonic as a company in my public engagements as chief commissioner, nor have I done so in my books or TV work." Clear as mud.

The criticism that "money talks" in policy debates about energy-intensive industries ought also to be directed at the academic and scientific establishment. If we were to remove all the scientists whose teaching and research programs derive taxpayer funds to pursue the anthropogenic thesis, I suspect the "consensus" would be weaker. It doesn't mean the thesis is wrong, but the transparency being practised by the scientists falls woefully short of that expected of journalists, politicians and company directors.

An eminent cereal biologist and board member of the then Co-operative Research Centre for Grain Food Products recently told me how he was called to Canberra in the 1970s to join a secret conclave of senior figures in the departments of agriculture and defence from the US, Australia and Britain. Their task was to consider how to ration food in the coming ice age. (In fact, the Earth has had no polar ice for 75 per cent of its 4.5 billion-year history and we are still in an ice age.)

The risks of making predictions about complex systems on the basis of computer models was graphically illustrated by the Club of Rome's famously discredited 1972 work The Limits of Growth, which argued that linear growth in food resources and exponential growth in population would lead to Malthusian famine and war. The model completely failed to account for the subsequent 400 per cent increase in agricultural productivity.

Remember Y2K? In 1999 governments spent millions enriching computer scientists for advice on how to manage the threats to our national security from the millennium bug.

When making decisions about our country's future, we ought not to be dismissive of the wisdom of the traveller on the Bondi tram. While public support for the man-made warming thesis is falling, it will not serve the cause of science to behave like a shock jock with a microphone for himself and a mute button for his callers.



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


26 May, 2011

"Nature" magazine calls on UVA to stop obstructing AG Cuccinelli's investigation of Michael Mann

They do in effect anyway. We read:

Long misconduct investigations do not serve anyone, except perhaps university public-relations departments that might hope everyone will have forgotten about a case by the time it wraps up. But in cases such as Wegman's, in which the work in question has been cited in policy debates, there is good reason for haste. Policy informed by rotten research is likely to have its own soft spots. Those who have been wronged deserve resolution of the matter. And one can hardly suppose that those who have been wrongfully accused enjoy living under a cloud for months.

So, what incentives do universities have to pick up the pace? Agencies such as the US Office of Research Integrity and ethics offices at funding bodies should take universities to task for slow investigations and demand adherence to the schedules listed in university policies. However, the agencies themselves haven't exactly been models of swift justice. The most recent annual report from the Office of Research Integrity — for 2008 — reported that the cases closed in that year spent a mean of 14.1 months at the agency. Perhaps it should fall to accreditation agencies to push for speedy investigations. Tom Benberg, vice-president of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools — the agency that accredits George Mason University — says that his agency might investigate if the university repeatedly ignored its own policies on the timing of misconduct inquiries. To get the ball rolling, he says, someone would have to file a well-documented complaint.

Even if funding and accreditation agencies fail to apply pressure, universities should take the initiative to move investigations along as speedily as possible while allowing time for due process. Once an investigation is complete, the institution should be as transparent as it can about what happened. Especially when public funds are involved, or at public universities, the taxpayer has a right to know what happened when papers are retracted — even if the faculty member in question is eventually exonerated. This tidies the scientific record, clears the air and kicks the legs out from under any conspiracy theories.


Never again will we be able to accuse the Green/Left of rubbery principles! Background here and here

Warmist secrecy and dishonesty has destroyed trust in them

So now they want the government to stop people making detailed enquiries about their work. The whine below is from the Guardian

Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse told the Guardian that some climate scientists were being targeted by organised campaigns of requests for data and other research materials, aimed at intimidating them and slowing down research. He said the behaviour was turning freedom of information laws into a way to intimidate some scientists.

Nurse's comments follow the launch of a major Royal Society study into how scientists' work can be made more open and better used to inform policy in society. The review – expected to be published next year – will examine ways of improving access to scientific data and research papers and how "digital media offer a powerful means for the public to interrogate, question and re-analyse scientific priorities, evidence and conclusions".

Nurse said that, in principle, scientific information should be made available as widely as possible as a matter of course, a practice common in biological research where gene sequences are routinely published in public databases. But he said freedom of information had "opened a Pandora's box. It's released something that we hadn't imagined ... there have been cases of it being misused in the climate change debate to intimidate scientists.

"I have been told of some researchers who are getting lots of requests for, among other things, all drafts of scientific papers prior to their publication in journals, with annotations, explaining why changes were made between successive versions. If it is true, it will consume a huge amount of time. And it's intimidating."

It was possible some requests were designed simply to stop scientists working rather than as a legitimate attempt to get research data, said Nurse. "It is essential that scientists are as open and transparent as possible and, where they are not, they should be held to account. But at times this appears to be being used as a tool to stop scientists doing their work. That's going to turn us into glue. We are just not going to be able to operate efficiently."

Nurse said the government should examine the issue, and think about tweaking freedom of information legislation to recognise potential misuse. Otherwise, he predicted, FoI aggression could be in future used by campaigners to cripple scientific research in many other controversial areas of science, such as genetically modified crops. "I don't actually know the answer but I think we have a problem here. We need better guidelines about when the use of freedom of information is useful."

Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics said the intention of many of those making freedom of information requests was to trawl through scientists' work with the intention of trying to find problems and errors. "It's also quite true that these people do not care about the fact that it is causing a serious inconvenience," he said. "It is being used in an aggressive and organised way. When freedom of information legislation was first contemplated, it was not being considered that universities would be landed with this additional burden."

Evidence of the aggression first began to emerge when personal emails and documents were stolen from the University of East Anglia's (UEA) servers in November 2009 and leaked on to the internet. Climate sceptics seized on the contents as evidence that apparently showed scientists were colluding to keep errors in their research hidden and prevent rivals' research from being published at all.

In an independent inquiry a year later, the scientists at the UEA's climatic research unit (CRU) were cleared of any misconduct, but Muir Russell, the former civil servant who led the investigation, found a "consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness", although he stressed he had no reason to doubt the CRU team's honesty or integrity.

"The current fog of ambiguity concerning, for example, drafts of research papers produced in other countries is deeply damaging to our scientific standing," said Tom Ward, pro vice-chancellor at UEA. "Part of the discussion should be informed by what we can learn from Scottish and US law, which explicitly recognise the need to extend some protection to research in progress."

Myles Allen, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford, said he has been involved in many long-running exchanges with people making freedom of information requests for his data. "In the case that went on the longest, I answered all the guy's questions. I spent half a day writing a long email explaining the answers to all his questions, but it wasn't really that which he was after: he was after some procedural questions about IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]. He wanted some evidence that an IPCC statement had been changed – it wasn't about science at all; it was about procedure."

He added: "I can see what someone with a very specific political comment might gain from an unguarded comment, but it's very hard to see how science or public understanding of science gains from every exchange between scientists being made public. No other discipline operates in that way. The net effect of this, incidentally, is that senior people in government and senior scientists close to government are basically just using the telephone again. Which is very bad for science because email exchanges are an extremely useful record."

Nurse said that scientists were not blameless. At the University of East Anglia, they were too defensive in their responses to freedom of information requests over climate change, but their experience was one among many that highlighted a need for better training for scientists in the most appropriate way to respond to information requests.

Ward agreed that most universities do not have a very good grasp of the requirements of freedom of information law. But he added that researchers should be able to have confidential conversations with colleagues and researchers in other universities, and that it was increasingly difficult for researchers to do that by email.

"There's no other walk of life where every conversation you have ought to be made public," he said. "There's a massive double standards because a lot of the people submitting these requests are themselves not transparent at all. They don't reveal their sources of funding or the details of what they're doing behind the scenes."

He added that the best way for scientists to respond was with more openness. "Scientists are going to have to get used to the idea that transparency means being transparent to your critics as well as your allies. You cannot pick and choose to whom you are transparent," he said. "Increasingly it is going to be an issue for anyone working in contentious areas. Part of retaining the public's confidence and trust is transparency and openness, and scientists should accept that that is part of the price of having the people's trust."


Idiot modellers forget reality

Computer models at Stanford University have just “told” us that man-made global warming has already sapped some of the yield potential from our food crops. They say wheat yields would have been 5.5 percent higher since 1980 without the earthly warming; corn yields would have been 3.8 percent higher.

Stanford’s computers apparently didn’t tell their programmers that U.S. corn yields have actually risen by more than 60 percent since 1980 - during a period when they were supposedly hampered by too much heat. Wheat yields rose 14 percent, aided by higher levels of CO2, which act like fertilizer for plants.

In fact, if you’re worried about global food production, don’t pay much attention to this study. Recall that our recent temperatures have recently been about the same as in 1980 and 1981. Net warming since 1940 is only about 0.2 degrees C. Those are not numbers that would frighten a plant breeder, who understands that all of the wild species have proven they can handle climate changes of at least 4 degrees C with little problem.

Computer models only work if they have been programmed with adequate information. The computerized climate models, for example, claim that the earth’s recent warming is “unprecedented.” However, nobody told the computers about the Medieval Warming (950–1200 AD) and the Roman Warming (200 BC– 600 AD), both warmer than today.

Moreover, our corn, wheat, and rice are all originally tropical crops:

* Corn originated in the hot, wet lowlands of Mexico - and didn’t get cold-tolerant enough for the Corn Belt until after 4,000 years of careful seed selection by many generations of farmers.

* Wheat was native to the Fertile Crescent - the hot, dry regions of Palestine and Israel. In the Punjab today, it tolerates summer temperatures as high as 100 degrees F.

* Rice evolved in the Yangtze River Valley of China, where summer temperatures also rise above 100 degrees F. But rice thrives, too, in Manchuria at summer temperatures of only 80 degrees.

Drought, not temperature, has been the real enemy of food production, around the world and over time. The big droughts have come more often during the “little ice ages” than during the predominantly good weather of the global warmings. The warmings have been the good times, for humans, crops, and wildlife.

Over the last 4000 years, the region of Iraq has had droughts as long as 300 years during “little ice ages.” Its cities and fields were abandoned, left to nomadic shepherds. Egypt suffered only 8 percent of its Nile floods below-normal during the Medieval Warming - but 38 percent below-normal floods during the Little Ice Age. Closer to home, California had two century-long droughts during the Medieval Warming. Perhaps the computers should be programmed to look for shifting rain patterns and not worry about a 0.2 degree shift in temperature.

The real food challenge? The world will need to nearly double its farm output in the next 40 short years, to meet a last, moderate increase in population—and a huge surge in affluence. The rising incomes will have everybody in the world bidding for a high-quality diet. We’ll need all the technology research can muster, including drought-resistant crops. Otherwise, food prices will soar and wildlife habitat will disappear under innumerable plows


Bill “Chicken Little” McKibben

Writing in today’s Washington Post, Bill McKibben blames deadly recent weather events on climate change. And he snarkily dismisses as naive the argument that humankind can adapt well to such change.

Let’s look at data from the National Weather Service on annual fatalities in the U.S. caused by tornados, floods, and hurricanes from 1940 through 2009. Naturally, these data show that the number of such fatalities varies from year to year. For example, in 1972 the number of persons killed by these weather events was 703 while in 1988 the number was 72. On average, however, the trend is clear and encouraging: the number of such fatalities, especially since 1980, is declining.

The average annual number of such fatalities over this entire 70-year span is 248. In each of the four decades prior to 1980, the average annual number of fatalities was higher than 248; in particular:

1940-49: 272

1950-59: 308

1960-69: 282

1970-79: 296

The average annual number of such fatalities over the full 40 years 1940-1979 was 290.

But in each of the three decades starting in 1980, the average annual number of fatalities caused by tornados, floods, and hurricanes was lower than 248; in particular:

1980-89: 173

1990-99: 171

2000-09: 238

The average annual number of such fatalities over the full 30 years 1980-2009 was 194. (This number falls to 160 – just over half of the 1940-79 number of 290 – if we exclude the deaths attributed to hurricane Katrina, the great majority of which were caused by a levee that breached a day after the storm passed.)

This decline in the absolute number of deaths caused by tornados, floods, and hurricanes is even more impressive considering that U.S. population more than doubled over these 70 years, from 132 million in 1940 to 308 million today.

Seems that McKibben’s apocalyptic prognostications about humanity’s future are as fact-based as are those of the Rev. Harold Camping.


Skepticism in New Jersey

Whenever Republicans gravitate toward big government polices during their time in office, as they tend to do especially in New Jersey they are said to have “grown.” That is to say, they have become more enlightened in the eyes of the media and academia. There are a few asterisks here that right-thinking people should also consider when digesting the governor’s record, but there is also good reason to view Christie as someone who is serious about restoring constitutional limits.

If so, the biggest beneficiary here would be New Jersey’s beleaguered taxpayers who have labored under “cap and trade” policies implemented by Christie’s predecessor. The law, which became effective in 2008, calls for greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to where they were in 1990 “no later” than 2020. It further requires that emissions not exceed 80 percent of their 2006 levels “no later” than 2050.

But with the collapse of “cap and trade” on Capitol Hill, states that previously signed up for regional greenhouse gas restriction agreements in lieu of federal action are now reconsidering. There is a one-two punch at work here. The appetite for intrusive regulation has receded with the economy in recession and the public cynicism toward alarmist claims has grown in the aftermath of “climategate.”

New Mexico Governor Susan Martinez, a Republican, has moved aggressively to cut environmental regulations and has resisted moving her state into Western Climate Change Initiative (WCCI). Most recently, the New Hampshire state legislature took action to modify its participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which covers the Northeast. State lawmakers are still considering a complete withdrawal. New Jersey could be next.

Although Christie did not make environmental regulations a central theme of his campaign, and even express openness toward renewable initiatives, his movement in the direction of free market thinking is unmistakable.

On March 11, the governor pulled New Jersey out of a multistate lawsuit aimed at curbing greenhouse emissions from power plants, and on March 24, he said he might end the state’s cap-and-trade program. A key turning point came during a town hall meeting last year when Christie was asked about scientific date that has been used to underpin anti-industry regulation.

His full comments here are as follows: “Well I’ll tell you something,” he said. “I have seen evidence on both sides of it. I’m skeptical — I’m skeptical. And you know, I think at the at the end of this, I think we’re going to need more science to prove something one way or the other. But you know — ‘cause I’ve seen arguments on both sides of it that at time — like I’ll watch something about man-made global warming, and I go wow, that’s fairly convincing. And then, I’ll go out and watch the other side of the argument, and I go huh, that’s fairly convincing too. So, I go to be honest with you, I don’t know. And that’s probably one of the reasons why I became a lawyer, and not a doctor, or an engineer, or a scientist, because I can’t figure this stuff out. But I would say at this point, that has to be proven, and I’m a little skeptical about it. Thank you.”

Almost every Republican candidate for president in 2012 has a history of embracing green policies at odds with free market principles. If Christie does have national ambitions, this is one sure way for him to connect with the conservative faithful.

Already, a handful of conservative leaning state lawmakers have introduced legislation to repeal NJ’s cap and trade. Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25) and Alison Littell McHose (R-24) are leading the charge for A 3147 on the Assembly side. They are now joined in this effort by Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23) and Sen. Steven Oroho (R-24), who have introduced mirroring legislation in the upper chamber.

But New Jersey does have a long and progressive history that figures into the equation. A key figure here is Lisa Jackson, President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, who previously served as the New Jersey environmental commissioner under former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. She was a major driving force behind the regulations Christie now says he wants to unwind. Furthermore, there were three House Republicans in NJ who voted to pass the federal “cap and trade” law. That’s a lot of baggage for one state.

Some conservatives expressed dismay when Christie decided to meet recently with the New Jersey Environmental Federation. But Christie is not living in red state America. What is more remarkable about his tenure so far is that he is pushing fiscal reforms in an area of the country where it would normally be unthinkable.


Failing Federal solar scheme in Australia

COMPLAINTS about shonky solar power companies are rising as homeowners cry foul over bad contracts and half-finished work. The Queensland Office of Fair Trading is receiving a complaint every business day from people who believe they have been ripped off, although there have been no prosecutions. There have been 75 complaints so far this year.

Most complaints relate to delays or failure to supply the product, incorrect installation, faulty components or misleading representations about the solar panel system's performance.

Thirty-five companies, mostly based in the state, had been the subject of complaints in relation to solar panel systems, the OFT said. Of these, 12 were the subject of multiple complaints. It said it had not needed to "initiate any prosecution", as the complaints had been "largely contractual disputes" between the trader and consumer. "The majority of these matters have been resolved through conciliation to the satisfaction of the complainant," the OFT said.

Following an $850 million solar spending blowout, the Commonwealth next month is reducing by $1500 the subsidy for a typical home solar system, prompting high-pressure sales tactics on the part of some solar retailers ahead of the deadline. Some solar contracts contain hidden charges, including extra hook-up and maintenance costs and warranties with questionable value.

The problems come after the Federal Government was forced to scrap the failed Green Loans and home insulation programs.

Industry insiders said some of the worst offenders in the solar industry were previously involved in the Commonwealth's failed Batts insulation scheme that resulted in widespread rorting as well as the deaths of some installers.

There has been an explosion in the number of solar installers, from 280 across Australia in 2007 to more than 3500 today, and a 17-fold jump in Queensland in the same period to 785.

Consumer body Choice this week warned customers to be wary of very cheap quotes and short warranty periods.

Reputable installers say they are frustrated by "cowboys" giving the industry a black eye, yet are reluctant to name and shame competitors.

AllSafe, a major solar franchiser, has helped victims of improperly installed work. Lorraine Biggin, a Toowoomba-based AllSafe franchisee, said a recent customer was dudded by an installer who didn't supply all the racking for his home solar system and left the job unfinished. "He paid for everything and they just left him twisting in the wind," she said.

Complaints about solar installers are commonplace on consumer websites. Homeowners have vented anger at the quality of some solar systems, delivering less electricity than predicted, unprofessonal installations, and installers who disappeared, making their 10-year warranties worthless.

Homeowners also are frustrated when state and federal governments change the rules for their solar schemes reducing the expectations for a return on investments.

The Queensland Government has stopped subsiding new large solar systems to keep people from profitting from its scheme, but that was precisely why some "solar farmers" invested heavily in solar systems.

Homeowners also have discovered that electicity providers are knocking back some solar systems or their systems don't pass inspection because they haven't been installed to standard.

Consumers have attempted to protect themselves by turning to websites such as, where the work of solar installers is discussed.

Website spokesman Finn Peacock said it appeared from the discussions there were dodgy contractors involved previously in insulation work who jumped into solar when the federal money dried up. "Any time you have government throwing money around, you'll get all sorts," he said.



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


25 May, 2011

Warmist economist scorns his country

Ross Gittins is a prominent Australian economist. He criticizes the Australian character, as well he may, given his own defective character. His slavish acceptance of authority is very un-Australian. Australians are traditionally irreverent. No wonder he does not like his fellow Australians. He would have been wearing a brown uniform in Hitler's Germany

It's a sore test of faith when people put power bills before their children's future.

Like most people, I'm an instinctive optimist. In any case, I see no margin in pessimism. If you concluded the world was irredeemably wicked, or destined for certain destruction, what would be left but to curl up and die? Since we can never be certain the end is nigh, much better to keep living and keep plugging away for a better world.

I confess, however, I've needed all my optimistic instincts to avoid despair over the terrible hash we're making of the need to take effective action against global warming. We're showing everything that's unattractive about the Australian character.

We pride ourselves that Aussies are good in a crisis, but until the walls start falling in on us we couldn't reach agreement to shut the door against the cold.

This week's report from the Climate Commission - established to provide expert advice on the science of climate change and its effects on Australia - tells us nothing we didn't already know, but everything we've lost sight of in our efforts to advance our personal interests at the expense of the nation's.

Its 70 pages boil down to four propositions we'd rather not think about. First, there is no doubt the climate is changing. The evidence is clear. The atmosphere is warming, the ocean is warming, ice is being lost from glaciers and ice caps, and sea levels are rising. Global surface temperature is rising fast; the last decade was the hottest on record.

Second, we are already seeing the social, economic and environmental effects of a changing climate. In the past 50 years, the number of record hot days in Australia has more than doubled. This has increased the risk of heatwave-associated deaths, as well as extreme bushfires.

Sea level has risen by 20 centimetres globally since the late 1800s, affecting many coastal communities. Another 20-centimetre increase by 2050 is likely, on present projections, which would more than double the risk of coastal flooding.

Third, these changes are triggered by human activities - particularly the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation - which are increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, with carbon dioxide the most important of these gases.

Fourth, this is the critical decade. Decisions we make from now to 2020 will determine the severity of climate change our children and grandchildren experience. Without strong and rapid action, there is a significant risk that climate change will undermine society's prosperity, health, stability and way of life.....

Australians are proud of their inbuilt bulldust detectors, but on this issue they seemed to have turned them off, happily believing whatever self-serving nonsense politicians, business people and media personalities serve up to them.


The NYT has a small rush of honesty

Writing in relation to the Joplin, Mo. tornado

At least 122 people were killed when a tornado cut across Missouri and slammed into the city of Joplin on Sunday. The storm is the latest to ravage the Midwest and South this spring. As the search continues for the dead and injured, reporters from The Times answered readers’ questions. Some questions have been edited for space or combined with similar queries.

How bad has this year’s tornado season been, relative to other years?

Extraordinarily bad, even by historical standards. The death toll, now at more than 480, is the highest since 1953, when an outbreak of twisters across the Midwest and Northeast claimed 519 lives. The high death toll so far this year is all the more remarkable considering that early warning systems are in place throughout tornado country, made possible by the advent of Doppler radar. Many tornado experts believed that the advances in technology had greatly diminished the risk of mass tornado fatalities.

Since 1875, there have been just 15 years with more than 360 tornado deaths, and none since 1975. The single deadliest tornado year in the United States was 1925, with 794 fatalities. This year now ranks eighth on the list of deadliest tornado years.

Can the intensity of this year’s tornadoes be blamed on climate change?

Probably not. Over all, the number of violent tornadoes has been declining in the United States, even as temperatures have increased, making it likely that this year’s twister outbreak is simply a remarkable and terrifying — but natural — event.

Climate science has long predicted that global warming will cause more weather extremes, however, and statistics suggest this has started to happen. In most areas of the world where good weather data is available, instances of heavy precipitation are rising, often leading to flash flooding. And the same thing is true of heat waves; in the United States, new high-temperature records for a given date now occur twice as often as record lows.

That said, scientists are reluctant to attribute any specific weather event to global warming. And, at least so far, only a handful of studies have suggested that tornadoes are likely to become more frequent or more intense on a warming planet; this has not become a mainstream prediction within climate science.


Apocalypse Later?

As virtually everyone now knows, Saturday was supposed to be doomsday, according to the formerly obscure geezer Harold Camping. Search terms related to his prediction consistently led Internet rankings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday -- except for the hour or two after Kate Gosselin was fined $10,300 for stiffing a marriage counselor.

Politicians must be envious of Camping's spectacular publicity. A quick Yahoo search of "Obama kills bin Laden" yielded only 297 thousand hits, while "Harold Camping" scored 36.1 million. And Mr. Camping didn't have to spend billions on CIA spies and a SEAL team to get his notoriety. He probably doesn't even own a stealth helicopter.

Interviews with Mr. Camping and clips of his TV program seem to show that he was absolutely certain of the impending apocalypse. As LiveScience reported on Friday:

Sociologists and doomsday experts agree that Camping is likely convinced of doomsday rather than perpetuating a hoax or running a scam. A con artist, Hassan said, would never set himself up for failure by giving a firm date.

That highlights the paradox confronting leaders of the "green" cult. On one hand, declaring a specific date for their predictions of environmental apocalypse would signal their sincerity, yet all such past predictions have failed to materialize. On the other hand, if they play it safe and issue only vague doomsday warnings, an intelligent observer would correctly conclude that they merely are grifters or maternal control freaks.

Like Mr. Camping, the green cult leaders have issued plenty of embarrassingly false doomsday predictions. Here are just a few:

Accelerating baby boom will lead to mass starvation in the United States

Of course the exact opposite happened: birthrates fell while food production and gluttony rose. Ironically, the leftist doomsday prophets would have been better off had their birthrate prediction come true. With a fast-growing US population, their Social Security Ponzi scheme still would be thriving rather than losing money.

Adding to the irony, the resulting labor shortage (and leftist minimum wage laws) triggered an influx of 15-20 million young illegal aliens. As low-income unskilled laborers, they pay few or no taxes while consuming a disproportionate amount of public education, Medicaid, and food stamp social spending, threatening to bankrupt those leftist programs too.

The irony is even more delicious in Western Europe. There, the self-absorbed socialist cult followers have birthrates even lower than those in the US. They also work less, take longer vacations, and retire earlier. To fill the worker void, they opened their doors to millions of high birthrate Muslims, which inevitably will become majorities and turn many European countries into militant theocracies -- not quite the utopia that the pacifist social engineers expected. Also, Islamic Sharia doesn't allow interest on debt, and socialism can't survive without massive deficit spending.

The earth's protective ozone layer will disappear, threatening humans

Conspiracy theorists think DuPont was behind this scare. Supposedly, its Freon patent was about to expire and the firm wanted to introduce a more expensive replacement product that theoretically would not deplete the ozone layer. There's no proof of such a conspiracy, but it certainly would be delightful if it were true: anti-capitalist leftists duped into acting as useful idiots for capitalists. Similarly, could the nuclear power industry be orchestrating the carbon dioxide scare?

Like "the population bomb," "the ozone hole" no longer seems to be as trendy among the green cultists as "manmade global warming." Perhaps that proves the Freon conspiracy theory. Or perhaps someone pointed out that stratospheric ozone is synthesized by sunlight and the con artists measuring the ozone hole were traveling to Antarctica in August, after it had been dark there for three months.

Non-renewable energy sources will be used up by 1990...uh, 2010...make that 2030...

Current known reserves of oil will last about a century and estimates continue to grow. Coal and natural gas will be economical for many centuries. And simply ending Jimmy Carter's foolish ban on nuclear fuel reprocessing would expand the amount of available reactor fuel to cover our needs for about ten centuries.

If those forecasts are wrong and energy sources actually are scarcer, then a force more powerful and virtuous than government automatically will correct the problem. That natural force is price. As energy prices rise, consumption will fall until alternatives are found. After 30 years of trying, the US Department of Energy has failed to produce any viable alternatives, but history repeatedly shows that free enterprise can accomplish such feats in only a tiny fraction of that time, at zero taxpayer expense.

Meanwhile, leftist maternal control freaks mindlessly demand that the government artificially raise energy prices via taxation and regulation. In 2008, candidate Obama vowed to do precisely that to the coal industry. But without a one-world government, such a scheme simply drives businesses to countries that have lower energy taxes. For instance, the US currently exports coal to China, where it is burned to make electricity. That cheap energy then is used to build products for export back to the United States. Considering the amount of fuel wasted in shipping raw materials and finished goods halfway around the planet, "green" energy taxes and regulations undoubtedly cause more, not less global energy consumption.

Global warming will kill our grandchildren

In a few years, the leftists undoubtedly will have to acknowledge that false prophesy too. Perhaps they will channel Harold Camping in their apology:

Dear grandchildren: Although the oceans have been rising by a foot or two per century since the most recent ice age ended, we leftists created taxes and regulations projected to reduce the rise from 18 inches to 17.9 inches over the 21st century. Of course, then another mini ice age struck the planet and the ocean levels actually fell, but at least our intentions were good. Turns out, climate change simply is caused by sunspots. Gosh, are we embarrassed!

By the way, don't forget to pay the bill for all of our pointless efforts: At last count, it was a little over 50 trillion dollars in deficit spending for windmills, luxury electric sports cars for leftist movie stars, lost economic productivity, and massive unemployment. Sorry about that.

But hey, it's not the end of the world.


Al Gore Got ‘D’ in ‘Natural Sciences’ at Harvard

Warmists never stop criticizing the credentials of skeptics so the summary below may be a useful reminder

In his commencement speech at Hamilton College on Sunday, former Vice President Al Gore told the graduates that global warming is “the most serious challenge our civilization has ever faced.” But as an undergraduate at Harvard University in the late 1960s, Gore--one of the most prominent spokesmen on climate change today--earned a “D” in Natural Sciences.

Gore’s transcript documents that during his sophomore year at Harvard he earned a "D" in Natural Sciences 6 (Man’s Place in Nature). Also, as a senior at Harvard, he earned a C-plus in Natural Sciences 118.

Gore, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his work on global warming.

For his college board achievement tests, Gore earned a 488 (out of 800) in physics, and a 519 (out of 800) in chemistry. Gore’s academic records were first obtained and reported on by reporters David Maraniss and Ellen Nakashima at The Washington Post in March 2000.


A conservative economist sees the problem

He claims to believe in global warming -- whether for real or as a stratgem, who knows? -- but he shows well what is missing from Green/Left thinking. I guess that both he and the Green/Left know that it is politically (and probably physically) impossible to do more than huff and puff about global temperature control

Ideally, both sides will agree that this is a bad situation.
Suppose you believe, as I do, in basic conservative principles (free enterprise and a market economy, limited government, and minimal change in established institutions that work well), but also acknowledge that anthropogenic climate change presents a sufficient danger that something needs to be done about it. The risk is that even as little as 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) of warming might push one of a number of different Earth systems past a tipping point that is both catastrophic and irreversible. In other words, the problem is one of risk management, in which prudence calls for taking action before it is too late to make a mid-course correction. What would be a conservative response to this threat?

It is unfortunate that the climate issue has been co-opted by liberals, because conservative policy prescriptions would not be the same as those that have been put forward by the Democrats and their allies among the environmental groups. The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that passed the House in 2010 (then died in the Senate) was a 1,400-page monstrosity; it catered to special interests, placed undue burdens on people with low incomes, and had no connection to a coherent U.S. international negotiating strategy on climate. Just as misguided is the EPA's intention to regulate CO2 as a pollutant by executive fiat -- a scheme that also is inefficient, non-transparent, and regressive. Virtually all economists would agree that either approach is inferior to a well-designed carbon tax or auctioned emissions permits, with revenues returned to citizens on a per capita basis or used to cut other taxes.

Neither domestic cap-and-trade nor the command-and-control regulatory approach of the Democrats recognizes the 800-pound gorilla in the room: Whatever the United States does will be ineffective unless there is global action. The cornerstone of a conservative climate policy has to be to foster emissions reductions everywhere. The United States should exercise leadership because we have the world's largest economy, but we cannot solve this problem alone. What is needed is less social tinkering within the U.S., and more old-fashioned realpolitik, an approach that ought to be the hallmark of conservatism in foreign affairs. We need to recognize the interaction of the interests of other nations large and small, and fashion policies that will alter the international political and economic landscape to our benefit.

The necessity for international action is purely a matter of arithmetic. The "non Annex I" countries as defined by the Kyoto Protocol -- with a few exceptions the developing countries that are not in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) or the former East Bloc -- now account for more than half of total global CO2 emissions, and by 2050, under business as usual the non-Annex I countries will emit three times the CO2 of the OECD, according to International Energy Agency projections. China is already the largest single emitter of CO2.

The key question for the U.S. is, what would induce other countries to make the large-scale emissions reductions required to avoid the risk of reaching one of the tipping points that most concern climate scientists? Won't free-riding and the development imperative driving China, India, and the other rapidly-growing countries doom any attempt at coordinated global action?

Perhaps not. The fact is that any one of the big countries or groups of countries -- the U.S., China, India, the E.U., or Japan -- can by itself drive the climate into the danger zone. This reality transforms the international negotiations from something that looks like the Prisoner's Dilemma (in which the temptation for free-riding is overwhelming) into a coordination problem. In a coordination problem, one of the stable outcomes is that all major countries reduce their emissions because it is not in their individual interest to continue polluting and thereby risk climate catastrophe. A Prisoner's Dilemma-type equilibrium, in which all countries continue to pollute, is also possible, so a negotiated agreement to reduce emissions is needed to reach the optimal outcome in which all countries abate. The good news is that such an agreement, once achieved, would be "self-enforcing" because it would be in no country's interest to defect from it.


The Australian Labor Party gives thumbs up for coal

RESOURCES Minister Martin Ferguson has slapped down a demand by the Greens for a ban on new coalmines, declaring the coal industry has a bright future as a driver of economic prosperity, despite moves to tackle climate change.

Mr Ferguson has also championed the emerging coal-seam methane industry, which the Greens also oppose. He noted that if Australia abandoned coal and coal-seam gas exports, its customers would be forced to use lower-quality coal from overseas that would cause greater global levels of carbon pollution.

And as the minister accused the Greens of trying to "undermine and destroy" jobs and export revenue, one of Julia Gillard's hand-picked climate change commissioners warned that a sudden phase-out of coalmining would spark economic and social chaos.

Economist Roger Beale, a member of the Prime Minister's Climate Commission, which is charged with promoting rational debate on climate change, told a forum in Canberra that coal would be a part of world energy production for decades.

"So coal is with us," Mr Beale told a Climate Commission forum. "We can produce coal close to the markets that are demanding it. And we can do it in an efficient way. And it is high thermal-efficiency coal and it's generally low-sulphur coal."

Mr Beale's comments came as senior Labor Party sources scoffed at the Greens' demands on coal and said no Labor government would be "silly enough" to embrace the end of an industry that provided tens of thousands of jobs, often in areas traditionally favourable to Labor.

The Greens have lately sharpened their anti-coal rhetoric as they continue their negotiations with the Prime Minister about the design of a carbon tax.

Ms Gillard agreed to work with the Greens on the issue after last year's election produced a hung parliament, forming a multi-party committee to give the minor party input in return for its support for her minority government.

On Monday, Greens deputy leader Christine Milne, who favours a swift switch to renewable energy sources and believes lost jobs would be replaced by clean energy jobs, made clear she had no patience for a long transition away from fossil fuels.

"The Greens have said very clearly: no new coalmines, no extension of existing coalmines; let's invest in renewables - the technology exists," Senator Milne said. She also attacked the emerging coal-seam gas industry as "a disaster for Australia", despite it creating thousands of jobs.

Mr Ferguson yesterday rejected the Greens' view, issuing an unambiguous vote of confidence in the resources sector. "Not only does the coal-seam methane export industry have a great potential for Australia over the next 10 to 20 years, but so has the coal sector, and I might say the iron ore sector," he said. "That's despite, I might say, when it comes to coal-seam methane, LNG and the coal industry, the best endeavours of the Greens to undermine and destroy that industry in Australia."

In a veiled attack on the Greens' contention that jobs lost could be replaced by new positions in the renewable sector, Mr Ferguson said coal and coal-seam gas would deliver "real jobs and training opportunities" and "real export earnings" that would strengthen the overall national economy. Later, Mr Ferguson told The Australian that Australian coal was relatively clean by international standards and, if its exports ceased, customers such as China would be forced to use coal that would discharge greater levels of carbon.

Earlier, Mr Beale, the executive director of economics and policy at PricewaterhouseCoopers, told the Climate Commission forum - staged to promote rational debate based on facts - Australia needed to accept "the hard fact" that coal would be an unavoidable part of the global energy mix for up to the next three decades.

Mr Beale, a former secretary of the Department of Environment and Heritage and a lead author for the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the answer to reducing carbon emissions was providing incentives for the market to drive change at a pace that was economically and socially sustainable.

"If we simply cut coal off, we would have economic and social chaos," Mr Beale said.

"These things shouldn't be planned, they should emerge through an efficient marketplace, and that will get you the best-paced, best adjustment, providing around the world we are given the right incentives to use coal in as clean a manner as is possible."

Mr Beale said the coal industry would continue to grow and remain an important power source for the world.

Shutting down the Australian industry, he said, would not necessarily "save the world" because its customers would simply take their business elsewhere.

Yesterday's forum came as several Labor Party MPs, asking not to be named, said that Labor was realistic enough to know that agreeing to the Greens' positions on coal would be politically unsustainable.

They said Labor had lost seats in mining areas in last year's federal election, such as the Queensland seats of Flynn and Dawson, and understood it wold not regain the seats if it shut down the industries that underpinned their local economies. "We want to do the right thing by the environment, but we're not silly enough to put people out of work, particularly when they are our supporters," said one Labor backbencher.

"Everything I am hearing from our leaders is that we want to put in place a process that will allow the market to drive the changes. So we are hardly going to tell people they can't build new coalmines." Another MP said it would be "political suicide" to embrace the Greens' position.

"At some point, the Greens will have to moderate their demands," the MP said. "I'm hoping they will be realistic enough to accept they can't have everything."

Australian Petroleum and Exploration Association chief executive Belinda Robinson said Senator Milne's attack on the coal-seam gas industry was a risk to the transition to a low-emissions economy. "Outright opposition to viable and sensible energy options . . . impedes the thoughtful and intelligent energy debate that we need to have," she said.



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


24 May, 2011

A green dark age developing in Britain

`Greener food and greener fuel’ is the promise of Ensus, a firm that opened Europe’s largest (£250 million) bio-ethanol plant at Wilton on Teesside last year – and has now shut it down for lack of profitable customers. This is actually the second shut-down at the plant – which takes subsidies and turns them into motor fuel – the first being a three-week refit to try to stop the stench bothering the neighbours.

Welcome to the neo-medieval world of Britain’s energy policy. It is a world in which Highland glens are buzzing with bulldozers damming streams for miniature hydro plants, in which the Dogger Bank is to be dotted with windmills at Brobdingnagian expense, in which Heathrow is to burn wood trucked in from Surrey, and Yorkshire wheat is being turned into motor fuel. We are going back to using the landscape to generate our energy. Bad news for the landscape.

The industrial revolution, when Britain turned to coal for its energy, not only catapulted us into prosperity (because coal proved cheaper and more reliable than wood, wind, water and horse as a means of turning machines), but saved our landscape too. Forests grew back and rivers returned to their natural beds when their energy was no longer needed. Land that had once grown hay for millions of horses could grow food for human beings instead – or become parks and gardens.

Whether we like it or not, we are now reversing this policy, only with six times the population and a hundred times the energy needs. The government’s craven decision this week to placate the green pressure groups by agreeing a unilateral tough new carbon rationing target of 50% for 2027 -- they wanted to water it down, but were frightened of being taken to judicial review by Greenpeace -- condemns Britain to ruining yet more of its landscape. Remember it takes a wind farm the size of Greater London to generate as much electricity as a single coal power station – on a windy day (on other days we will have to do without). Or the felling of a forest twice the size of Cumbria every year.

Yet this ruthless violation of the landscape is not even the most medieval aspect of the government’s energy policy. Its financing would embarrass even the Sheriff of Nottingham. Every renewable project, from offshore wind farms to rooftop solar panels to bio-ethanol plants, is paid for by a stealth poll tax levied from everybody’s electricity bills called the Renewable Obligation.

The RO already adds an astonishing £1.1 billion to the electricity bills of Britons per year already; by 2020 it could be £8 billion, or 30% extra. Unlike the poll tax, which was merely not progressive, this tax is highly regressive. It robs the poor – including those too poor to pay income tax – and hands much of the money to the landed rich in three different ways: higher wheat and wood prices; rents for wind farms; and the iniquitous `feed-in tariff’, by which the person who produces electricity by `renewable’ means is paid three times the market rate. As a landowner myself I refuse to join the feeding frenzy of the last two, but I cannot avoid the first.

Lord Turnbull, the former cabinet secretary, put it this way in a report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation this week: `It is astonishing that the Liberals who attach such importance to fairness turn a blind eye to this transfer from poor to rich, running to £billions a year. If you live in a council tower block in Lambeth you don’t have much opportunity to get your nose into this trough.’

Driving up the price of electricity this way destroys jobs. One Spanish study suggests 2.2 jobs lost for each one created by green energy schemes, another Scottish one finds 3.7. If you don’t believe the numbers, ask a local widget maker if the size of his electricity bill affects his ability to take people on or lay them off.

So let’s recap. The current energy policy is taking your money off you through your utility bills, handing that money to a rich landowner – like me – to buy first-growth claret with, putting up the price of your food and your (chipboard) furniture, threatening your job and spoiling your view.

It had better be worth it. The sole intended benefit you will get from all this pain is lower carbon emissions. Not a guarantee of a cooler climate, because Britain is such a trivial part of the world economy, and carbon dioxide’s effect on climate is one of several factors. But at least it will give William Hague a warm glow of satisfaction in showing the Chinese what he calls `the UK's international moral leadership on the issue.’

But notice I used the word `intended’. Does any of this actually lower carbon emissions? With the single exception of hydro, not one of the renewables has managed to save an ounce of carbon. Wind is so unreliable that coal-fired stations have to be kept spinning in the background (powering them up and down wastes even more energy and carbon). Wheat for ethanol is grown using tractors running on almost the same amount of diesel – and is anyway full of carbon itself (infra-red rays do not distinguish between carbon atoms from plants that grew yesterday and from plants that grew 300 million years ago). Solar will always be a statistical asterisk in cloudy Britain.

As for wood, consider the effect of a simple rule passed by the London borough of Merton in 2003 and slavishly emulated by planners all over the country. The Merton rule requires all developers who build a building of more than 1,000 square metres to generate 10% of energy `renewably’ on site. The effect has been to make it worth my while to thin my woods in Northumberland for the first time in decades.

How so? Faced with the need to find an energy source sufficiently dense to fit on site, developers have turned en masse to wood (or biomass as they prefer to call it). This has led to convoys of diesel lorries chugging through the streets of London to deliver wood to buildings – how very thirteenth century! Delivering, drying and burning this wood produces far more carbon dioxide than delivering gas would.

And lo, by bidding up the price of wood, the effect has been to cause landowners to harvest their timber younger than before, which increases carbon emissions. Thus enriched by having lost less money in managing woods, people like me take a holiday – on a jet. So as policy own goals go, the Merton rule is a quintuple whammy. According to one estimate, Britain is producing about six million extra tonnes of carbon dioxide each year as a result of redirecting its wood supply from current use by the wood-panel and other related industries into energy supply.

The neo-medieval policy of picking winners – or rather losers – creates a salivating lobby for subsidies (even the RSPB takes money from wind farms to shut it up about their eagle killing). But it is saddling ordinary Britons with uncompetitive energy prices, lost jobs, rising fuel poverty, spoiled landscapes – and higher carbon emissions too. Time for a peasants’ revolt.


British Industry Rebellion Over Carbon Targets

Chemical firms lead calls to halt a leap in carbon costs that could lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and will cripple the industry.

One British company uses more power than Liverpool and Manchester combined. Little wonder, then, that Ineos, the chemicals giant, is leading the charge against government plans to raise power bills by much more than the rest of Europe is proposing.

The firm’s pleas have gained little traction. Last week the government accepted the advice of the Committee on Climate Change to agree a new target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 50% of 1990 levels by 2027. It will make Britain the first country in the world to commit itself to targets beyond 2020.

Manufacturers say the move, taken with other plans, including a UK-only carbon tax, will cripple industry. They insist thousands of jobs will be lost as firms move their plants to countries where the cost of doing business is lower.

Tata Steel last week announced it was cutting 1,500 jobs at its Scunthorpe and Teesside plants. The company, which employs 21,000 in Britain, has held high-level talks with government in recent weeks over its energy plans.

Meanwhile, in a letter to No10 this month, Ineos founder Jim Ratcliffe warned that he could be forced to shut the firm’s Runcorn chlorine plant, a big energy user and employer of more than 1,000 people.

The outcry is growing. Civitas, the think tank, will this week publish a report warning of an “annihilation” of the UK chemicals industry, which employs 600,000 workers.

David Merlin-Jones, author of the report, said: “The current set of ‘green’ policies, whereby levies and taxes are used to punish the greatest energy users like the chemical sector, will prove to be economic suicide. Existing policies are based on short-termism, expecting too large a carbon reduction in too short a time.”

Business secretary Vince Cable is understood to have tried to reassure several top industry executives in the last week that the government will honour its pledge to introduce measures to mitigate the harshest effects of new climate-change laws. What those will be is unclear.

There are a couple of ways in which Britain’s low-carbon laws will set us apart from the rest of Europe.

One is the “carbon floor” — a tax on pollution on top of levies imposed by the European Union. From 2013, to meet EU climate-change targets, big polluters — such as steel makers, paper mills and chemical companies — will join power plants in having to pay for the pollution they create.

On Friday a permit to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide cost £14.31. The carbon floor, introduced by the chancellor in his March budget, will start in 2013 at £16 a tonne, rising to £30 by 2020.

Big manufacturers say the levy will push their running costs far beyond those of rivals in continental Europe and the Far East.

According to Civitas, total energy bills — which include the cost of the carbon floor, EU carbon permits and wholesale gas and electricity — could rise by 141% by 2020.

“If the government continues to simply add one energy or carbon reduction levy after another on to the energy-intensive sectors, then the risk is that these industries will no longer be able to compete internationally and will simply cease to operate in the UK.”

The other factor that distinguishes Britain is the more aggressive pollution targets that the government agreed to last week. The UK has already pledged to slash emissions by 34% of 1990 levels by 2020, and by up to 80% by 2050. Other EU nations have also signed up to 2020 targets. None, until Britain this week, had signed up to new interim measures to accelerate the low-carbon makeover.


Christopher Booker: Wales In Revolt Over Mammoth Wind Farm Scheme

On Tuesday the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff will see the biggest demonstration so far in Britain against the disaster now being set in train across the land by the Government's infatuation with wind power. Nowhere is this more obvious than in mid-Wales, where the Assembly wishes to see the hills covered with up to 800 giant wind turbines, up to 415ft high, visible over hundreds of square miles. Recently In Parliament, Glyn Davies, the Tory MP for Montgomeryshire, spoke about the anger this is arousing locally, recounting how one recent meeting called at short notice in Welshpool had drawn 2,000 people.

Mr Davies described how the problem is not only the turbines, but the need for two vast substations and 100 miles of steel pylons, up to 150ft high, to carry the electricity into Shropshire to connect with the National Grid. But although he may have spoken eloquently about the visual and social impact of this project, he failed to spell out its nonsensical economic implications. To build 800 two-megawatt turbines would cost at least £1.6 billion, plus, it is estimated, another £400 million for the pylons and sub-stations. With the output of Welsh turbines last year averaging less than 20 per cent of their capacity, thanks to the intermittency of the wind, the power produced by this £2 billion project will average out at little more than 300MW.

Yet contrast this with the 882MW produced by Centrica's new Langage gas-fired power station near Plymouth, costing just £400 million. This single plant, built for a fifth of the money, covering a few acres, will produce nearly three times as much electricity, without disfiguring one of the most beautiful landscapes in Britain. Those Welsh turbines, costing us all £120 million a year in subsidy, will produce power that could have been generated without subsidy at a 15th of the cost. How many of those Assembly members on Tuesday will manage to step outside the bubble of illusion surrounding wind power, to recognise just what insanity they are being made party to?


Sierra Club in Legal War to Stop All Expansion of Coal Power Plants

The Grand Rapids Press recently reported that the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit over a permit issued to a coal plant in Holland, Mich. The lawsuit claims that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ignored state regulations when it approved the Holland plant’s air pollution permit. What the article didn’t mention was that the Sierra Club files lawsuits against every coal plant in the United States that is issued permits either to expand or build.

“They are very proud of this strategy,” said Carol Raulston, senior vice president for communications for the National Mining Association.

Ann Woiwode, director of the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club, verified that her organization does file a lawsuit on every permit issued to a coal plant. She said that is part of a bigger strategy to oppose coal as an energy source.

“Yes, we are challenging permits when they are issued,” Woiwode said. “We are working to move away from coal. … We need to recognize that coal is a costly, dirty fuel.”

Lisa Camooso Miller, spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said in an e-mail that she was disappointed the debate on clean energy has “reached this point.”

“The Sierra Club would prefer to lay the cost of debating the real issues at the feet of the taxpayers by burdening the courts with baseless lawsuits,” Miller said. “Clean coal technologies are being developed, and in some cases deployed, in many parts of the country — and the world. We don't have to sacrifice our economy for the environment. We can have both.”

The Holland Board of Public Works, which operates the coal plant, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Michigan’s coal-burning power plants supplied 60 percent of the electricity used in the state, according to a Michigan Public Service Commission, Department of Labor and Economic Growth 2008 study.

The World Coal Association reports that coal accounts for 27 percent of the planet’s total energy usage and 41 percent of worldwide electricity generation.

The United States is home to the largest coal reserves on Earth, with 28.3 percent of the total, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Russia and China are next with 18.6 percent and 13.6 percent, respectively. By comparison, Saudi Arabia commands the world’s largest reserve of oil with less than 20 percent of the global total, followed by Canada with 13.3 percent. The abundance of wealth in coal located in the United States has led CNBC television commentator Larry Kudlow to refer to the United States as the “Saudi Arabia of Coal” during his frequent calls for an “America First” energy policy.

At current usage rates, the EIA projects that the current known recoverable American coal reserves will provide energy for about 230 more years, or roughly as long as the United States has existed as a nation. The EIA expects usage rates to climb, which would trim the lifespan of known U.S. reserves to just over 140 years — longer than coal has currently been in use as a primary source of electricity generation, which began in 1881.

But the projections assume that no additional recoverable reserves will be discovered or be exploitable over these time periods.


Al Gore's greatest hit

The documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" wasn't intended to be the blockbuster end-of-the-world tale that "Armageddon" was, but it was intended to frighten. The new film was full of disaster footage and catastrophic predictions about climate change. Its leading man: former vice president Al Gore.

Gore received almost entirely uncritical coverage from the network morning and evening shows over global warming, despite plenty of evidence - scientific evidence - that would have discredited him and his film. Since the movie's release, nearly 98 percent of those stories have excluded criticism of the so-called "science" of the film.

Gore's film has been criticized for many errors and hyperbole regarding the past and future effects of global warming - including his exaggerated claim that sea levels will rise by 20 feet and his now-debunked assertion that Hurricane Katrina was caused by climate change. Such examples were used to scare audiences into accepting Gore's political agenda. The errors and agenda of the film prompted a British judge to rule that the film couldn't be shown in schools without a disclaimer pointing out its inaccuracies and political bias. But those critical views are regularly banished from the networks.

The Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute analyzed broadcast news coverage of Gore about climate change and mentions of "An Inconvenient Truth" between May 11, 2006, shortly before the film's release, and April 30, 2011. Here are some of BMI's findings:

* Who Needs Science?: Nearly 98 percent of broadcast stories (266 out of 272) failed to challenge the supposedly scientific claims of "An Inconvenient Truth" about global warming, including dramatic predictions of sea level rise and links between climate change and extreme weather such as tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and droughts. Many of these claims have been challenged, yet scientific criticism was barely represented by ABC, CBS and NBC.

* Gore's Way or the Highway: More than 80 percent (222 of 272) of the network stories and briefs excluded any criticism of Al Gore or his film. About one-fifth of the stories that included opposition were critical of the 2007 Live Earth concerts organized by Gore, but expressed no dissent about global warming.

* Gore For President, or VP or Czar: Gore's success with "An Inconvenient Truth," was used by all three networks to push him to run for president again or accept a position within the Obama administration. In one CBS "Early Show" interview, Harry Smith literally tried to pin a "Gore '08" campaign button on the former vice president.

* NBC the Worst: NBC has thrown objectivity out the window on the issue of global warming, preferring activism instead. In the past five years, "Nightly News" and "Today" maintained that role by including the lowest percentage of opposing views (17 percent) in its Gore/"An Inconvenient Truth" reports. Its parent company NBC/Universal also partnered with Gore for the Live Earth concerts, which were aired on its networks.

* ABC the Best: ABC news programming with "World News" and "Good Morning America," ranked best out of the three networks because they included more opposing views than the other networks. But those views were still only included roughly one-fifth of the time (20 of 95).

To improve coverage, BMI recommends:

* Don't just take Gore's word for it: Al Gore is certainly a passionate activist, but he isn't a scientist. The networks shouldn't take his interpretation of global warming science as truth. Rather, they should be skeptical because of his very real political agenda.

* Include both sides: The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics states journalists should "Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant." It is the media's job to inform the public, not persuade them by leaving out alternative viewpoints. Particularly, networks should give skeptical scientists the opportunity to share their findings - just like they include scientists who say manmade global warming is going to devastate the planet.

* Recognize that advocacy is not reporting: The SPJ Code of Ethics also says to: "Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context."

SOURCE. Full report and video here.

Greenpeace message to CEO:s: Either you do as we say, or .....

"Corporate sustainability" is the latest fad among CEO:s in the UK, and probably elsewhere, too. The pressure from the government, environmental lobby groups and the mainstream media has become so strong that most business leaders now choose the politically correct green talk in order not to be singled out as villains by Greenpeace and other climate change fanatics.

If you do not toe the Greenpeace line, this is what happens:

Not surprsingly, the "green" climate change ideology has given birth to a wholly new business cathegory: the sustainability recruitment consultancy companies. Companies like Allen & York, a leading international Sustainability Recruitment consultancy, offering jobs in Environment, CSR & Sustainability, Renewable Energy and Carbon Management, are now cashing in on the climate change idiocy.

Allen & York´s "specialist" Victoria Kenrick gives one reason why every company needs a "dedicated" Chief Sustainability Officer; the Cameron government´s "CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme":
In addition, the UK government’s CRC Energy Efficiency scheme which came into effect in 2010 is a mandatory carbon emissions reporting and pricing scheme, with the first report due from organisations, which use more than 6,000MWh per year of electricity, in July 2011. Whilst there has been some controversy about the scheme, it still remains that from 2012, participants will be required to buy allowances from the Government, each year, to cover their emissions in the previous year.

This means that organizations that decrease their emissions can lower their costs under the CRC. Companies better positioned to improve their energy efficiency, and save on CRC costs, will be those with a CSO or Head of Sustainability in place, who is able to oversee energy management, sustainable procurement and corporate social responsibility issues, coupled with implementing accurate carbon reporting.

This is the truth about the Energy Efficiency Scheme:
this economic vandalism is being carried out of the basis of a theory that hypothesises CO2 is causing global warming. There is only correlation, no evidence of causation. The net effect of this smash and grab raid on company bank accounts and the cost of compliance, reporting and administration is an increase in the cost of goods and services to the ordinary consumer in the street.

We have departed from an age of reason and logic and entered an age where a belief system, shown to be a tissue of assertions impervious to evidence, holds sway. The real aim of this concerted effort is financial redistribution and an increase in the power and control of the state over its population. Some argue this is actually the embryonic development of a system of global governance, tied together with a common currency – carbon.

All these consultancies, Chief Sustainability Officers and Heads of Sustainability are of course new "green" jobs. But these are jobs that do not make any real contribution to the efficiency of a company. They are in reality "virtual" jobs, that would not exist without totally useless government climate change schemes. But for the sake of political correctness, most CEO:s choose to join the bandwaggon. Not a very difficult decision, because they know that, at the end of the day, the consumers and tax payers end up paying for all of it.



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


23 May, 2011

The Incas had a medieval warm period too!

Another of many hits at the Warmist lie that the MWP was a "North Atlantic" event only

A FLAIR for military precision and a culture steeped in the legends of heroic warriors are traditionally credited with the rise of the Incas.

However, the powerful empire may have sprung from a more earthly innovation: the discovery that llama dung makes an excellent fertiliser. An archaeological study suggests that the adoption of llama droppings as fertiliser about 2,700 years ago allowed the Inca to switch from growing quinoa to the mass cultivation of maize, a more nourishing and easily-stored crop.

The ability to farm more efficiently fuelled the territorial expansion of the Incas, which at its peak stretched from the modern Colombian border to the middle of Chile.

The resultant surplus of maize and potatoes freed a large part of the growing population for activities outside food production, such as constructing roads and buildings, and serving in an increasingly ambitious army.

"Although a cereal such as maize is needed for civilisations to take off, and it provided many more calories than quinoa, or in fact potatoes, this widespread shift to agriculture and societal development was possible only with an extra ingredient - organic fertilisers on a vast scale," said Alex Chepstow-Lusty of the French Institute of Andean Studies in Lima, who led the study. "Maize and muck were the essential ingredients to drive the expansion of the Inca Empire."

The growth of the empire was consolidated by a warming of the climate between AD1100 and 1500, which allowed the Incas to colonise higher and higher territories for maize cultivation, Dr Chepstow-Lusty said.

The Incas' Royal Road, which went through the highlands for a distance of 3,250 miles, and the Coastal Road, which stretched for 2,520 miles, were both constructed following the switch to maize. So, too, was Machu Picchu, "the Lost City of the Incas", where temples, sanctuaries and houses stand remarkably intact today, demonstrating the scale and the skill of Inca architecture. By the time the Spanish colonials arrived in 1533, the Incas had built up food supplies to last the population more than ten years.


Duh! Oceans Drive Climate (Not CO2), Says New Nature Study

More evidence of the obvious now revealed in a recent Nature article from research conducted by the IFM GEOMAR and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Believe it or not, they are slowly finding out that the oceans play a role in climate.

Once again climate scientists, who often claim the science is settled, are running into “surprises” and finding out that there is so much they don’t know. Here’s the press release from the IFM GEOMAR
Oceanographers from Kiel document the effect of equatorial deep currents on West African rainfall

Our climate is affected by the ocean in many ways.

The most prominent example is the El Niño phenomenon in the Pacific, a well-documented interannual climate signal. Oceanographers from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel (IFM-GEOMAR) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI, USA) have recently documented the effect of deep equatorial currents in the Atlantic on rainfall and climate over West Africa.

Precipitation associated with the West African Monsoon is of major significance to agriculture, water resources and health concerns in one of the more densely populated regions in Africa. The timing and amount of rainfall each year in the countries along the northern coast of the Gulf of Guinea are determined in part by the sea surface temperature of the tropical Atlantic. The details of this interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere are not fully understood at this time. Previously it was thought that effects from the Pacific and North Atlantic were the main source for climate fluctuations in the equatorial Atlantic.

Oceanographers from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel (IFM-GEOMAR), in collaboration with their colleagues from the USA, were now able to demonstrate the existence of regular interannual temperature fluctuations which have an effect on the rainfall of the region but cannot be traced back to the previously known sources.

Even more astonishing for the scientists is the fact that all measurements indicate that these fluctuations are caused by deep currents of the equatorial Atlantic itself. “To date, when trying to explain tropical climate variations, we have always looked upwards, specifically to the atmosphere. Our new data, for the first time, direct our attention towards the depths of the ocean, thereby opening new perspectives for our scientific approach,” explained Dr Peter Brandt, professor at IFM-GEOMAR.

In a large-scale, international research programme, the Tropical Atlantic Climate Experiment (TACE), experts have attempted for years to track the causes, effects and potential periodicities of climate fluctuations in the tropical Atlantic. The German contribution to this programme also includes deep-sea moorings along the equator.

These moorings consist of several km of mooring wire held upright in the water column by flotation and buoys. Instruments are mounted along the wire to continuously record current speed and direction, salinity and temperature, thereby allowing the observation of long-term changes of parameters in the deep ocean.

Furthermore, the scientists obtain current data from freely drifting deep-sea buoys, so-called Argo floats, and also information on the sea surface itself and the atmosphere from various satellite-based sensors.

“The time series obtained over the past ten to twenty years have revealed previously unknown fluctuations of currents and temperatures at the surface of the tropical Atlantic which have a regular cycle of 54 months, or 4 ½ years,” explained Peter Brandt.

The scientists were able to document similar fluctuations of the “Deep Jets”, deep currents down to 3000 m with speeds of 10-20 cm/sec. They flow along the equator, crossing the entire Atlantic, with flow reversals every few hundred meters. “These jets are generated in the deep ocean, and their energy apparently propagates upwards through the water column. Once near the surface, this energy affects currents and temperatures,” stated Dr Brandt.

On the other hand, sea surface temperatures are among the deciding factors for rainfall fluctuations over West Africa. “How large the effect of these deep jets is, and how they are generated is still somewhat of a mystery,” said Dr Brandt, “we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”

We keep hearing that CO2 is the main climate driver, yet so much research has come out showing that it’s the sun and oceans.


A sample of tide gauge charts

Just a slow but steady long-term rise in evidence. No recent acceleration

Graphic by Nik From NYC

One of those "only 10 years to act" false prophecies

1979 NCAR Forecast : Sea Level May Rise 15-25 Feet Before The Year 2000


Life In The Climate Science Nut House

CHICAGO — The Windy City is preparing for a heat wave — a permanent one.
"Climate scientists have told city planners that based on current trends, Chicago will feel more like Baton Rouge than a Northern metropolis before the end of this century.

So, Chicago is getting ready for a wetter, steamier future. Public alleyways are being repaved with materials that are permeable to water. The white oak, the state tree of Illinois, has been banned from city planting lists, and swamp oaks and sweet gum trees from the South have been given new priority. Thermal radar is being used to map the city’s hottest spots, which are then targets for pavement removal and the addition of vegetation to roofs. And air-conditioners are being considered for all 750 public schools, which until now have been heated but rarely cooled."

Summers in Illinois have been cooling for at least eighty years. What trends are these climate scientists talking about? Once again, I have to ask – are they dishonest, or just grossly incompetent?



Three articles below

The prophesied end of the world did not come on May 21 but the Greenie prophecies of doom never stop

This is an old one though: Sea levels could rise a metre by 2100. And aerial pigs could appear too -- particularly when one considers that the sea level rose only 7" (18cm) over the entire 20th century. Even journalists are no longer swallowing the bunk whole, however. Note that they use the Australian slang term "spruik" to describe the prophecy. "Spruiking" is what a con-man or an over-enthusiastic salesman does

The federal government's climate commission says global warming could cause the world's sea level to rise up to one metre by the end of the century - higher than previously thought.

The commission, established by Labor to spruik the case for tackling dangerous climate change, is also calling for a fresh approach to reducing carbon emissions. It suggests that rather than focusing on interim targets based on percentage cuts, governments should commit to emitting no more than an agreed carbon dioxide "budget" by 2050.

This so-called budget approach would allow greater flexibility and encourage investment in the most-effective technologies rather than quick-fix solutions.

The commission is releasing its first major report, The Critical Decade, on Monday. "A plausible estimate of the amount of sea-level rise by 2100 compared to 2000 is 0.5 to one metre," it says. That's higher than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's top range of 0.18m to 0.76m.

Commissioner Will Steffen, a Canberra-based climate scientist, made the assessment after surveying the existing literature and speaking to experts. "Some people may take issue with that - but that's my judgment," Professor Steffen told AAP ahead of the report's release at Parliament House. [Good for you Prof. But how good is your judgment? Prophecies are almost always wrong, you know]

The report states that even a rise of 0.5m could lead to an increase in extreme flooding events for coastal areas of Sydney and Melbourne "by factors of 1000 or 10,000 for some locations".

The global sea level has risen by about 20cm since the 1880s. But the rises aren't uniform - they vary according to ocean currents and the local conditions on the land.

In Australia, sea levels are rising fastest on the northern coastline. Around Arnhem Land it's rising by more than seven millimetres a year while the global average is 3.2mm. [So if it's not global, is it unrelated to global warming?]

Prof Steffen notes that's bad news for Kakadu. "It is low-lying and already we're seeing some salt water intrusion into some of the fresh water wetlands," he said.

When it comes to damage to the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian National University academic argues the report contains "solid data that says we are indeed starting to see some of these affects on calcifying organisms".

Prof Steffen said he hoped the report would refocus the political debate on the risks posed by climate change. "The costs of not doing something about climate change will almost surely be far, far greater than the costs of doing something about it," he said.

When it comes to taking action, the report suggests focusing on limiting emissions to an agreed global budget.

"The strategic challenge (then) changes from whether the 2020 target is a five per cent, 25 per cent or 40 per cent reduction against a particular baseline to how do we implement the transition to a low- or no-carbon economy by 2050 with the least economic and social cost while staying within the budget," the report states.

For humanity to have a 75 per cent change of limiting temperature rises to two degrees Celsius it would need to emit no more than one trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide between 2000 to 2050. Some 30 per cent of that budget has already been spent.

The report acknowledges the difficulty with this approach would be allocating the global budget to individual countries.

But Prof Steffen points out the new method "really focuses attention on the endgame which is to decarbonise economies by the middle of the century". The report argues this would encourage investment decisions to be taken from a long-term perspective.


Prominent Australian conservative attacks Climate Commission report as 'nonsense'

LIBERAL [party] powerbroker Nick Minchin has attacked a new report that declares the world is in imminent danger from human-induced climate change as offensive nonsense from known "global warming alarmists".

Senator Minchin, who played a key role in terminating Malcolm Turnbull's leadership over his support for emissions trading, said there was still a legitimate debate over the role of humans in climate change. “The so-called Climate Commission is a Labor government-appointed committee of known climate alarmists, selectively appointed ... to further the cause of global warming alarmism,” he said following today's release of the commission's first report.

“I think everybody should take anything they say with a grain of salt,” Senator Minchin said. “What's most offensive is (climate commissioner) Will Steffen suggesting the scientific debate is over. “That's nonsense because there is a very lively scientific debate about the role of human-induced Co2 emissions in climate change.”

The Climate Commission report says the world has at best 10 years to cut carbon emissions or it will face dangerous atmospheric warming and sea level rises. [They have been putting out these 10 year warnings for years -- and none of them have ever come true]

Professor Steffen also called today for an end to “fruitless, phoney” debate, saying climate change denial is a luxury the world can no longer afford.

Senator Minchin is retiring in July but he remains a close confidant of Tony Abbott and his views as a party elder are widely sought. He is on the record as being sceptical of mainstream climate science, saying earlier this year he believed the world was more likely to be cooling than getting hotter.

Senator Minchin said the new report did nothing to further Labor's case for a carbon tax. “What I think is most frustrating in all of this is this report provides no basis for Australia acting unilaterally on a carbon tax,” he said.

“Given we are responsible for about one per cent of the world's emissions of CO2 and when it's clear that China's additional emissions over the next few decades will completely swamp any reductions in our emissions, anything Australia does will be utterly pointless and have no impact whatsoever on the global climate.”

Greens senator Christine Milne backed the commission's finding that Australia faced a critical decade on climate change, and also called for an end to the debate over whether climate change is real. “What this report will do is actually help the Australian population see that what we've been having is a phoney debate in Australia that's been run by the sceptics, financed by big business, by coal, by oil around the world,” she said. [Focus on finance rather than on the scientific issues?]


LOL! "Nearly all" Solar panel installations faulty

THE NSW government has ordered a statewide safety audit of solar panels after nearly all rooftop installations inspected were found to be faulty.

A Fair Trading report, obtained by News Limited, found nearly every installation under the contentious Solar Bonus Scheme was faulty and one third suffered from serious electrical defects.

Inspectors would be conducting further audits, particularly in Sydney and the Blue Mountains, Fair Trading deputy commissioner Steve Griffin told News Limited.

NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts has ordered the review, comparing the solar panel installations to federal Labor's failed pink batts scheme. "Not only was Labor's solar bonus scheme a financial disaster for the state, it has clearly resulted in significant problems for people who raced to get panels on their roofs to cash in on the lucrative rates being offered," Mr Roberts told News Limited.

The audit by Fair Trading focused on installations in Port Macquarie, uncovering 29 per cent had potentially life-threatening electrical defaults and 64 per cent were in breach of the Home Building Act.

Premier Barry O'Farrell faces an uphill battle in parliament to push through legislation to slash the feed-in tariff for subscribers to curb a $759 million budget blowout to the scheme.



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


22 May, 2011

Another appeal to authority

That's all Warmists have got. There are NO facts on their side, just speculation. Warmists must be the most authoritarian group on earth today -- excepting only the few surviving Communist countries. So they keep on trying to impress people with one pompous meeting after another

But they are not doing too well. Could they find only 17 Nobelists to put their names on the dotted line? Academics are mostly Leftist so that is a pretty poor turnout.

And here's the funny bit: There were originally 50 "experts" at the symposium -- mostly drawn from among the usual suspects. What happened to the other 33? Why were they not asked to sign? Is there a dawning realization that they no longer have much credibility? Are we at the last ditch where only Nobelists will do now? Forgive me while I laugh!

On Wednesday, 17 Nobel laureates who gathered in Stockholm have published a remarkable memorandum, asking for “fundamental transformation and innovation in all spheres and at all scales in order to stop and reverse global environmental change”. The Stockholm Memorandum concludes that we have entered a new geological era: the Anthropocene, where humanity has become the main driver of global change. The document states:
"Science makes clear that we are transgressing planetary boundaries that have kept civilization safe for the past 10,000 years. [...]

We can no longer exclude the possibility that our collective actions will trigger tipping points, risking abrupt and irreversible consequences for human communities and ecological systems.

We cannot continue on our current path. The time for procrastination is over. We cannot afford the luxury of denial"

The memorandum results from a 3-day symposium (attended also by the king of Sweden) on the intertwined problems of poverty, development, ecosystem deterioration and the climate crisis. In the memorandum, the Nobel laureates call for immediate emergency measures as well as long-term structural solutions, and they give specific recommendations in eight key priority areas. For example in climate policy, they recommend to:
"Keep global warming below 2ºC, implying a peak in global CO2 emissions no later than 2015 and recognise that even a warming of 2ºC carries a very high risk of serious impacts and the need for major adaptation efforts."

The memorandum was handed over to the members of the UN high-level panel on global sustainability, who traveled to Stockholm in order to discuss it with the Nobel laureates and experts at the symposium.


Hate speech, political violence and climate change

The Australian Greenie writing below unconvincingly tries to brand two prominent conservatives as hate speakers and then manages to find only two lone hate-speakers, the deranged Loughner and some other loner. And as for quoting the lightweight and self-contradictory David Neiwert, see here. And as for the sensationalist SPLC! Exaggerated scares are their fundraisers.

Our Greenie's lack of hard data leaves him entirely reliant on recycling judgments by others (including members of the Obama administration) that are as shallow as his own. So his fancied "culture of hate" turns out to be a mirage.

He makes no mention of the extremely hostile utterances by Greenies about skeptics. No mention at all of prominent Warmists like James Hansen who compared coal trains to Nazi death trains, thus helping to excite febrile rage among some gullible young Brits -- rage which they acted out by causing what little damage they could to Kingsnorth power station. When has a skeptic acted out any rage against Warmists?

And how about this little bit of hate-speech, also from the site which hosts the rant below?
"Precisely the same pseudo-scientific “institutes,” using the same pseudo-scientific jargon and the same pseudo-scientific “conferences” are now seeking to create the appearance of a “debate” about the fundamentals of climate science. Indeed, the very same people - yes, the same individuals - who were involved in manufacturing doubt about the link between smoking and cancer are now also involved in manufacturing doubt about climate science"

So skeptics are "pseudo-scientific" and "manufacturing doubt" like the hated tobacco industry. Identifying anybody with tobacco is hate speech coming from a Greenie.

And who were those "same individuals" who were doubters about both tobacco AND global warming? There are none. It is a lie. The only individual whom Warmists sometimes refer to is Fred Singer, who once pointed out some dubious EPA statistics about SIDESTREAM smoke -- criticisms which were subsequently resoundingly confirmed. See also here and here and here and here and here and here

I could go on -- mentioning for instance the hostile emails and comments that we skeptics constantly get from Warmists -- but I would end up writing an even longer article than the one below if I did. The comments attached to the original article cover both sides of the issue, however -- including some juicy hate-speech against skeptics. I have reproduced only part of the article below but I doubt that much has been lost in my doing so

"If politicians are intent on whipping up a lynch mob to divert attention from their own culpability, it is not arsonists who should be hanging from lamp-posts but greenies." -- Miranda Devine.

"This is not some nice little debate. This is war." -- Tom DeWeese, American Policy Center, think tank linked to Exxon-Mobil and Koch Industries.

Hate speech seems to pose three serious threats to the green movement. Firstly, it may lead to acts of political violence directed against politicians, leaders or activists. Secondly, hate speech undermines the constructive political discourse we need in order to deal with climate change. Thirdly, hate speech is the leading edge of a dangerous, new species of politics that is emerging in the USA.

We are dealing with hate speech when death threats are made towards a group (or an individual based on his or her membership of a group); for example, when directed against US President Barack Obama on the basis that he is an African-American. I propose that hate speech is present in Miranda Devine’s slippery quote above, in which she sneaks a proposal to lynch greenies behind a hypothetical IF-THEN clause.

Hate speech is shifting our culture, creating a social licence to commit political violence against people who belong to designated groups: Jews, greenies, Muslims, progressives of any stripe. It is part of the deliberate political programme of the extreme right in the USA, and is funded by various ‘philanthropists’, most notably the Koch brothers, who own America’s biggest private corporation, Koch Industries (a major polluter).

The issue of hate speech and violence crystallised early this year, after the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. On 8 January 2011 a rightwing assassin shot Congresswoman Giffords in the head, killed 6 people, and injured another 13. Giffords is hated for being Jewish, pro-choice and supporting community solar energy (and despite her relatively conservative positions on immigration and in support of gun rights).

The point is that the culture of hate erodes the social taboo against political violence and reinforces the ‘intuitive’ worldview of the mob. Professor Rod Tiffen of the University of Sydney says that the political parties and the Murdoch media work in tandem to drive populism. He writes, “Together they form an outrage industry that absents proportion, reason and reasonableness, and where it is difficult – soon, perhaps, near impossible – to have a measured debate of policy options.”

David Neiwert is a US journalist who specialises in investigations of extremists. His 2009 book The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right explains how the conservatives got as crazy as they are and where they are headed.

The Eliminationists cites the story of Jim Adkisson, who killed two people and wounded seven in an act of extremist political violence in July 2008. Adkisson wrote, "Know this if nothing else: This was a hate crime. I hate the damn left-wing liberals... Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate & House...”.

Neiwert believes it is a logical step from the right-wing extremism of Fox News and sections of The Republican party to get to violence. If greenies and liberals are in a global conspiracy with climate scientists, Jews, bankers and the UN to enslave the West, then it makes ‘logical’ sense to eliminate them. Ever since the Exceptional Case Study Project, the Secret Service has implemented protective security using behavioural analysis of these ‘logical’ precursors to assassination.


New paper shows significant natural climate change from ocean oscillations

A paper published online today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters finds a strong influence of shifts in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) on changes in snow cover of the distant Tibetan Plateau over the past 200 years. Major shifts occurred in the 1840s, 1880s, 1920s, and 1960s with CO2 levels well below Hansen's fictitious "safe limit" of 350 ppm.

Ocean oscillations such as the AMO are not incorporated in climate models, but nonetheless have large effects upon climate change as demonstrated by this paper and others.

Meanwhile, the IPCC claims they can't explain climate change based on natural forces, allows no competing hypotheses, and thus proclaims man-made CO2 as the default climate control knob, while conveniently ignoring ocean oscillations and other natural influences.

Although ocean oscillations are poorly understood and scant research is being done to understand this large natural climate forcing, the IPCC and fellow alarmists cannot rightfully claim that only man-made CO2 explains climate change over the past century.

The paper also finds not surprisingly that cold phases are associated with more snow and warm phases with less snow, making a mockery of the claims of Jeff Masters, Mark "death spiral" Serreze, Al Gore and others that warming causes more snowfall.

The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) follows a quasi-60-year cycle

Decadal variability in snow cover over the Tibetan Plateau during the last two centuries

By C. Shen et al.

Based on the coherency in decadal variability between the ice core data and the observed snow cover over the Tibetan Plateau during recent decades, we used three available ice core data to characterize the snow cover variability of the last 200 years. The analysis suggests that the snow cover exhibits significant decadal variability with major shifts around 1840s, 1880s, 1920s, and 1960s. Its variations are found to be closely correlated with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation: Cool/warm phases coincide with large/small snow cover. A plausible mechanism linking the North Atlantic climate to Asian monsoon is presented.


There's no global warming but there is some Arctic warming. Why?

Hansen doesn't know but ocean current oscillations explain it

NASA’s James Hansen (Hansen et al 2007 “Climate simulations for 1880–2003 with GISS modelE” Clim Dyn (2007) 29:661–696 observed that the climate model was not correctly simulating the 1930s-1940s warm period in the global average temperature:
“It may be fruitless to search for an external forcing to produce peak warmth around 1940.

It is shown below that the observed maximum is due almost entirely to temporary warmth in the Arctic. Such Arctic warmth could be a natural oscillation (Johannessen et al. 2004), possibly unforced.

Indeed, there are few forcings that would yield warmth largely confined to the Arctic. Candidates might be soot blown to the Arctic from industrial activity at the outset of World War II, or solar forcing of the Arctic Oscillation (Shindell et al. 1999; Tourpali et al. 2005) that is not captured by our present model. Perhaps a more likely scenario is an unforced ocean dynamical fluctuation with heat transport to the Arctic and positive feedbacks from reduced sea ice.”

So Hansen asserts that the previous warming cycle was natural (perhaps “solar forcing of the Arctic Oscillation”), but the current warming cycle is due to CO2. And yet the current “global” warming has also been “largely confined to the Arctic”.

The following figure shows the global temperature change from 1978 to 2006 for the lower troposphere from satellite data. Most of the warming has been in the Arctic.

The following figure is from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) Figure 9.6 (2007). It shows the change in temperature (C per decade) by latitude. The black line shows the observed temperature, the blue band shows the output of the computer models including only natural factors, whereas the pink band shows the output of computer models including anthropogenic CO2. Notice that the models without CO2 (blue shaded area) can explain all of the warming for most of the world up to 30 degrees north latitude. This figure also shows that the warming is mainly in the Arctic.

So it is Hansen’s and other alarmists’ position that these two nearly identical Arctic warming cycles have two completely different causes – 1930s = natural; 1990s = CO2.

Much more HERE

LOL! "Green" Spain

On what might politely be called "non-economic reasoning", Spain's Leftist government spent huge amounts of their people's money on "renewable" energy and "Green jobs". The result was predictable and predicted

They call themselves "youth without a future" - young Spaniards frustrated by their inability to start a career, earn a steady wage and move out of their parents' homes.

And for the past week they have fuelled nightly demonstrations in Madrid and dozens of other towns and cities as part of a grass-roots protest movement organised on the Internet that has tapped into long-simmering grievances which have worsened with Spain's economic crisis.

The demonstrations ahead of local elections tomorrow have drawn tens of thousands, including unemployed of all ages and pensioners angry over the government's economic policies. But young people make up the vast majority.

Paula Mendez Sena, a 24-year-old architect by training, said she was taking part because she has been unemployed since graduating. Her 25-year-old partner who has an engineering degree is also out of work.

"At our ages our parents had jobs, a house and children. When are we going to have work and everything our parents had? If I think about it I feel like crying" she said at Madrid's central Puerta del Sol square as some of the dozens of demonstrators who camped out there overnight rested on sleeping bags nearby.

Handmade signs posted on the walls of stores in the square reflect the anger felt by many youths. "If you don't let us dream, we won't let you sleep," read one prominent cardboard sign.

Inspired partly by the youth uprisings in North Africa, the movement is organised on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter where it has tens of thousands of followers.

"The revolutions in Arab nations demonstrated that collective action can crystallize change," said Pablo Padilla, a 22-year-old anthropology student who is a leading activist with "Youth Without a Future", one of the groups convening the demonstrations. "What doesn't lead to change is sitting on the sofa," add Padilla, who began a three-month internship at a website in April that pays just 300 euros ($424) a month after spending a year and a half out of work.

Jose Feliz Tezanos, a sociologist at Madrid's UNED university, said the Internet has provided disgruntled youths with a "meeting place" where they can organise that did not exist before. "Social networking sites are the breeding ground for the movement. The environment is not explosive, but it is flammable. A spark would be all it takes to set off signficant conflicts," he said.

Police detained 19 people for disorderly conduct and damage to public property early on Tuesday when they cleared the roughly 150 youths who had camped out at Madrid's Puerta de Sol square.

The nightly protests have since grown in size and police have not moved to clear the square. The demonstrators say they plan to stay in the square until Sunday when Spain holds municipal and regional elections.

While Spain's youth unemployment rate has long been much higher than that for the general population, it has soared since the Spanish economy went into a tailspin following the collapse of a property bubble in 2008.

The jobless rate for those under 25 stood at 44.6 percent in February, more than twice the average for the country and the highest youth unemployment rate in the European Union.

Mr Tezano estimates that two-thirds of those with a job find themselves in a "precarious work situation" - on temporary contracts or low-paid internships.

Government spending cuts to slash the public deficit and reforms intended to revive the economy, such as changes to the labour code that makes it easier to fire workers and the decision to raise the retirement age to 67 from 65, have added to young people's anxiety about their future.

"They are cutting all the rights which cost our parents and grandparents blood and sweat to earn," said 32-year-old Claudia Ayala, who is working part-time at a shop while she looks for a job related to her degree. "Spain has been putting up with this situation but it reaches the point where you have to say 'enough'. And that moment has come."


Green taxes are killing the British steel industry -- and more

PRESSURE on Britain to cut its carbon emissions cost 1,500 jobs yesterday – and they will not be the last, the Government has been warned. Tata Steel announced the redundancies at its Scunthorpe and Teesside plants, blaming ­climate change legislation required by Brussels and the UK’s new Climate Change Act. The prospect of higher energy costs aimed at reducing carbon emissions by imposing limits would push the price of British steel to uncompetitive levels.

Karl-Ulrich Köhler, head of European operations for Tata, Britain’s largest steelmaker, said: “EU carbon legislation threatens to impose huge additional costs on the steel industry. “Besides, there remains a great deal of uncertainty about the level of further unilateral carbon cost rises the UK Government is planning. These measures risk undermining our competitiveness and we must make ourselves stronger in preparation for them.”

Godfrey Bloom, MEP for Scunthorpe and Ukip’s business spokesman, said: “The mad drive to Islington-friendly green enery is driving jobs out of the north. You cannot pile billions of pounds of extra costs on industry without a price being paid. “That price is the livelihoods of steel workers. The Government and the EU are dangerous, damaging and deluded if they think that throwing people on to the scrapheap of unemployment will effect the sea level in Fiji.”

He attacked Energy Secretary Chris Huhne and the EU over ­“misguided” legislation and “confusing targets” that made a bad commercial situation “far worse”. He said: “Extra costs and additional targets are clearly undermining business confidence. "It is clear that British manufacturing is put at high risk by the ideologically charged Climate Change Act and Mr Huhne’s latest environmentalist nonsense. “British jobs are at risk, British competitiveness is undermined. Why? So our Government can preen in a European spotlight.”

According to an independent report, the UK’s drive for green energy will send £60billion and 600,000 jobs “up in smoke” by ­creating the “highest energy costs in the world”. It says Mr Huhne’s blueprint, more wind farms, green levies and taxes aimed at making Britain a world leader in cutting greenhouse gases widely blamed for global warming, will “undermine” Britain’s ability to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by forcing out innovative companies.

The Civitas think-tank study accuses the Government of “sacrificing jobs for no green benefit”.

Britain is already committed to cutting emissions by 34 per cent from the 1990 level by 2020 – the highest target of any industrialised nation. But Mr Huhne is pressing for it to be 50 per cent by 2025 and potentially 60 per cent by 2030. The report calls it “too much, too soon”.

Report author David Merlin-Jones said: “There’s no economic benefit to pricing ourselves above competitors. At this rate when the present Government is long gone, its binding targets will still be decimating the UK economy.”

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “It is vital that Government strikes the right balance between climate change and industrial polices.”

The Indian steel giant, which employs 20,000 Britons, is cutting 1,200 jobs in Scunthorpe and 300 in Teesside at its Long Products division, loss-making due to falling demand. That’s about eight per cent of its UK ­workforce.

The firm said demand for steel in the UK was only two thirds of that seen in 2007 and is not expected to recover before 2016. But Tata did announce a ­£400million investment in the division over the next five years to help turn it around.

Keith Hazlewood, national secretary of the GMB union, said: “This is a devastating blow to UK steelmaking, to the local communities and to the UK economy.”



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


21 May, 2011

National Geographic is good for pretty pictures only

With a touch of Boy's Own Adventure, of course

National Geographic thinks there is normally sea ice along the southwest coast of Greenland. They probably should have checked that out before writing an article about it.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The Truth About Greenhouse Gases: The dubious science of the climate crusaders

By William Happer (William Happer is the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University)

"The object of the Author in the following pages has been to collect the most remarkable instances of those moral epidemics which have been excited, sometimes by one cause and sometimes by another, and to show how easily the masses have been led astray, and how imitative and gregarious men are, even in their infatuations and crimes,” wrote Charles Mackay in the preface to the first edition of his Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.

I want to discuss a contemporary moral epidemic: the notion that increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, will have disastrous consequences for mankind and for the planet. The “climate crusade” is one characterized by true believers, opportunists, cynics, money-hungry governments, manipulators of various types—even children’s crusades —all based on contested science and dubious claims.

I am a strong supporter of a clean environment. We need to be vigilant to keep our land, air, and waters free of real pollution, particulates, heavy metals, and pathogens, but carbon dioxide (CO2) is not one of these pollutants. Carbon is the stuff of life. Our bodies are made of carbon. A normal human exhales around 1 kg of CO2 (the simplest chemically stable molecule of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere) per day. Before the industrial period, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was 270 ppm. At the present time, the concentration is about 390 ppm, 0.039 percent of all atmospheric molecules and less than 1 percent of that in our breath. About fifty million years ago, a brief moment in the long history of life on earth, geological evidence indicates, CO2 levels were several thousand ppm, much higher than now. And life flourished abundantly.

Now the Environmental Protection Agency wants to regulate atmospheric CO2 as a “pollutant.” According to my Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, to pollute is “to make or render unclean, to defile, to desecrate, to profane.” By breathing are we rendering the air unclean, defiling or desecrating it? Efforts are underway to remedy the old-fashioned, restrictive definition of pollution. The current Wikipedia entry on air pollution, for example, now asserts that pollution includes: “carbon dioxide (CO2)—a colorless, odorless, non-toxic greenhouse gas associated with ocean acidification, emitted from sources such as combustion, cement production, and respiration.”

As far as green plants are concerned, CO2 is not a pollutant, but part of their daily bread—like water, sunlight, nitrogen, and other essential elements. Most green plants evolved at CO2 levels of several thousand ppm, many times higher than now. Plants grow better and have better flowers and fruit at higher levels. Commercial greenhouse operators recognize this when they artificially increase the concentrations inside their greenhouses to over 1000 ppm.

Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom King Edward VIII renounced the British throne, supposedly said, “A woman can’t be too rich or too thin.” But in reality, you can get too much or too little of a good thing. Whether we should be glad or worried about increasing levels of CO2 depends on quantitative numbers, not just qualitative considerations.

How close is the current atmosphere to the upper or lower limit for CO2? Did we have just the right concentration at the preindustrial level of 270 ppm? Reading breathless media reports about CO2 “pollution” and about minimizing our carbon footprints, one might think that the earth cannot have too little CO2, as Simpson thought one couldn’t be too thin—a view which was also overstated, as we have seen from the sad effects of anorexia in so many young women.

Various geo-engineering schemes are being discussed for scrubbing CO2 from the air and cleansing the atmosphere of the “pollutant.” There is no lower limit for human beings, but there is for human life. We would be perfectly healthy in a world with little or no atmospheric CO2—except that we would have nothing to eat and a few other minor inconveniences, because most plants stop growing if the levels drop much below 150 ppm. If we want to continue to be fed and clothed by the products of green plants, we can have too little CO2.

The minimum acceptable value for plants is not that much below the 270 ppm preindustrial value. It is possible that this is not enough, that we are better off with our current level, and would be better off with more still. There is evidence that California orange groves are about 30 percent more productive today than they were 150 years ago because of the increase of atmospheric CO2.

Although human beings and many other animals would do well with no CO2 at all in the air, there is an upper limit that we can tolerate. Inhaling air with a concentration of a few percent, similar to the concentration of the air we exhale, hinders the diffusional exchange of CO2 between the blood and gas in the lung. Both the United States Navy (for submariners) and nasa (for astronauts) have performed extensive studies of human tolerance to CO2. As a result of these studies, the Navy recommends an upper limit of about 8000 ppm for cruises of ninety days, and nasa recommends an upper limit of 5000 ppm for missions of one thousand days, both assuming a total pressure of one atmosphere. Higher levels are acceptable for missions of only a few days.

We conclude that atmospheric CO2 levels should be above 150 ppm to avoid harming green plants and below about 5000 ppm to avoid harming people. That is a very wide range, and our atmosphere is much closer to the lower end than to the upper end. The current rate of burning fossil fuels adds about 2 ppm per year to the atmosphere, so that getting from the current level to 1000 ppm would take about 300 years—and 1000 ppm is still less than what most plants would prefer, and much less than either the nasa or the Navy limit for human beings.

Yet there are strident calls for immediately stopping further increases in CO2 levels and reducing the current level. As we have discussed, animals would not even notice a doubling of CO2 and plants would love it. The supposed reason for limiting it is to stop global warming—or, since the predicted warming has failed to be nearly as large as computer models forecast, to stop climate change. Climate change itself has been embarrassingly uneventful, so another rationale for reducing CO2 is now promoted: to stop the hypothetical increase of extreme climate events like hurricanes or tornados. But this does not necessarily follow. The frequency of extreme events has either not changed or has decreased in the 150 years that CO2 levels have increased from 270 to 390 ppm.....

The earth’s climate has always been changing. Our present global warming is not at all unusual by the standards of geological history, and it is probably benefiting the biosphere. Indeed, there is very little correlation between the estimates of CO2 and of the earth’s temperature over the past 550 million years (the “Phanerozoic” period). The message is clear that several factors must influence the earth’s temperature, and that while CO2 is one of these factors, it is seldom the dominant one. The other factors are not well understood. Plausible candidates are spontaneous variations of the complicated fluid flow patterns in the oceans and atmosphere of the earth—perhaps influenced by continental drift, volcanoes, variations of the earth’s orbital parameters (ellipticity, spin-axis orientation, etc.), asteroid and comet impacts, variations in the sun’s output (not only the visible radiation but the amount of ultraviolet light, and the solar wind with its magnetic field), variations in cosmic rays leading to variations in cloud cover, and other causes.

The existence of the little ice age and the medieval warm period were an embarrassment to the global-warming establishment, because they showed that the current warming is almost indistinguishable from previous warmings and coolings that had nothing to do with burning fossil fuel. The organization charged with producing scientific support for the climate change crusade, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), finally found a solution. They rewrote the climate history of the past 1000 years with the celebrated “hockey stick” temperature record.

The first IPCC report, issued in 1990, showed both the medieval warm period and the little ice age very clearly. In the IPCC’s 2001 report was a graph that purported to show the earth’s mean temperature since the year 1000. A yet more extreme version of the hockey stick graph made the cover of the Fiftieth Anniversary Report of the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization. To the surprise of everyone who knew about the strong evidence for the little ice age and the medieval climate optimum, the graph showed a nearly constant temperature from the year 1000 until about 150 years ago, when the temperature began to rise abruptly like the blade of a hockey stick. The inference was that this was due to the anthropogenic “pollutant” CO2.

This damnatia memoriae of inconvenient facts was simply expunged from the 2001 IPCC report, much as Trotsky and Yezhov were removed from Stalin’s photographs by dark-room specialists in the later years of the dictator’s reign. There was no explanation of why both the medieval warm period and the little ice age, very clearly shown in the 1990 report, had simply disappeared eleven years later.

The IPCC and its worshipful supporters did their best to promote the hockey-stick temperature curve. But as John Adams remarked, “Facts are stubborn things, and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” The hockey-stick curve caught the attention of two Canadians, Steve McIntyre, a mining consultant, and an academic statistician, Ross McKitrick. As they began to look more carefully at the original data—much of it from tree rings—and at the analysis that led to the hockey stick, they became more and more puzzled. By hard, remarkably detailed, and persistent work over many years, consistently frustrated in their efforts to obtain original data and data-analysis methods, they showed that the hockey stick was not supported by observational data. An excellent, recent history of this episode is A. W. Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion.......

The frightening warnings that alarmists offer about the effects of doubling CO2 are based on computer models that assume that the direct warming effect of CO2 is multiplied by a large “feedback factor” from CO2-induced changes in water vapor and clouds, which supposedly contribute much more to the greenhouse warming of the earth than CO2. But there is observational evidence that the feedback factor is small and may even be negative. The models are not in good agreement with observations—even if they appear to fit the temperature rise over the last 150 years very well.

Indeed, the computer programs that produce climate change models have been “tuned” to get the desired answer. The values of various parameters like clouds and the concentrations of anthropogenic aerosols are adjusted to get the best fit to observations. And—perhaps partly because of that—they have been unsuccessful in predicting future climate, even over periods as short as fifteen years. In fact, the real values of most parameters, and the physics of how they affect the earth’s climate, are in most cases only roughly known, too roughly to supply accurate enough data for computer predictions. In my judgment, and in that of many other scientists familiar with the issues, the main problem with models has been their treatment of clouds, changes of which probably have a much bigger effect on the temperature of the earth than changing levels of CO2..........

I began with a quotation from the preface of the first edition of Mackay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, and it is worth recalling now a quotation from the preface of the second edition: “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

Much more HERE

Red-faced WWF "Biologist"

ABC news crew in minus 40 weather gets a sob story from WWF about how Polar Bears now only have one cub, when the used to have two. Due to global warming, of course.

The next day the news crew finds a mother – with three cubs.

Evidence suggests global warming is good for our health

Fiona Armstrong claims that there are substantial health gains possible from climate action, and waved the banner of scientific integrity and “fact”. Unfortunately for Armstrong, the mortal facts from countries all over the world show that more people die in colder weather. Any statistic that suggests climate change is killing people only survives as long as we ignore the number of people saved.

Medical studies rarely show such unanimity. The results stand whether you look at seasonal or daily temperatures, extremes or averages, cold locations versus warm ones, or the trend in flood deaths and droughts. No matter where you live, whether you ail in your heart, or your lungs: You’re less likely to die in warmer weather.

Armstrong cites a NGO report that guesstimates 300,000 people die each year of climate change, but she doesn’t mention that most of those unnamed people were not struck down by floods, droughts, fires or heatstroke. Instead 95% of them were killed by starvation, diarrhoea or malaria, and a certain percentage of the global death tally in each condition was arbitrarily filed under “climate change”.

Curiously in 2003 the death toll was “calculated” as 150,000 assumed deaths, but by 2009 the assigned percentages were recalculated to get 300,000 deaths pa with a tap of the keyboard. Prof Roger Pielke Jnr summed up the 2009 report as “a methodological embarrassment and poster child for how to lie with statistics.”.

Speaking of starvation, while nearly half a million people die from a lack of food each year, some 6.5% of the worlds grains, and 8% of the vegetable oils are now fed to cars instead of people. Arguably action against climate change is a net killer, and we’d save people by doing nothing at all to stop carbon dioxide emissions.

If Armstrong and the Climate and Health Action (CAHA) were more concerned about health rather than climate, they would know that the largest killer around the world is cardiovascular disease, which is responsible for some 17 million deaths every year. That’s nearly 30% of all deaths, and 500 times larger than the number who die from extreme weather events (which cause about 0.06%). Clearly, if we want to save lives, medical research on our vascular system would save more people than buying solar panels in Sydney and hoping they’ll protect people in Cairns from nasty storms.

The statistics on cardiovascular disease make it clear that cold weather is deadly. In Russia, ischemic stroke is 32% more likely on colder days; in Norway, cardiovascular deaths are 15% higher in winter months; in Israel, cardiovascular deaths were 50% higher in winter, even though Israeli winters are not exactly cold. Likewise in California heart disease mortality in 220,000 deaths was 33% higher in winter. A study in Brazil found that deaths were 2.6% more likely for every degree the temperature fell below 20°C. Need I go on?

Respiratory diseases kill one hundreds times as many people as extreme weather events, and are not called “colds” for nothing. A Norwegian study found that respiratory deaths were fully 47% more likely in winter. There were 5 major population contractions in China in the last 1000 years and all of them occurred in periods with a cold climate.

What about all the disasters this summer?

When it comes to droughts and floods, the news is bad for the Climate Commission but good for the human race. A report published in the American Journal of Physicians and Surgeons by Indur Goklany in 2009 (so not including the last summer) points out that deaths due to droughts peaked in the 1920s and have since declined by a whopping 99%. Likewise, deaths due to floods peaked in the 1930s and have fallen by 98%. The rate per capita figures are even more impressive. Eighty percent of man made emissions of CO2 have been produced since 1940, and deaths from floods and droughts is lower than ever.

And when it comes to Malaria, the IPCC assumes that it will be worse as the world warms, but history tells us otherwise. One of the largest malaria outbreaks was in Siberia early last century, and then there is that awkward point that malaria deaths in England, of all places, were more common, during — by crikey — the little ice age 300 years ago. Paul Reiter reminds us that the entire area under the British Parliamentary Houses was once a notorious malarial swamp.

Possibly the most disturbing aspect of cold related deaths is not just that they kill so many more people than heat related deaths, but that they increase deaths for up to a month after the cold spell. When a heatwave strikes, the death rate increases, but then it’s often followed by lower death rates. Researchers surmise that while cold weather weakens otherwise healthy people, heat waves speed up the deaths of people who were close to dying anyway.

Atmospheric CO2 is handy for growing crops, in the same sense that breathing is handy for your health. In order to feed billions of people without destroying more forests to create farmland, there is no better yield multiplier than CO2. Indeed it’s so good, it is pumped into commercial greenhouses to enhance yields.

And while Armstrong points out that the coal industry has health issues, she forgets that windfarms have their own depressing toll. (Even installing pink batts can be deadly!) Coal provides 80% of our electricity. Sure we can give it up, but every alternative costs at least twice as much. Coal mining is dangerous, but the obvious answer is to make mining safer, not to slap on a carbon tax.

Likewise if we are concerned about deaths (and who isn’t?) the answer is to research the causes and look for cures. It’s like a form of pagan witchcraft to pretend that adding windfarms is the best way to reduce malaria.

The Climate and Health Alliance is clearly not that interested in health per se. They’ve declared their top priority and don’t even bother to disguise their real aim: “1.) Health: Advocate for a strong emissions reduction scheme…”. A health advocacy group would surely list “longer lives” or “less disease”, but not CAHA. They judge their success not by whether they save anyone, but by whether they get legislation about a trace gas passed. CAHA is just another climate propaganda group.


Obama's destructive energy policies

President Obama’s speeches sum up his views on oil, natural gas and energy prices in just 44 words. “We have less than 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves. We’re running out of places to drill. We’re running out of oil. We need to end our $4 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies to oil companies. We need to invest in clean, renewable energy,” he said.

As Congressman Joe Wilson would say, That’s a lie! Or at least a deliberate distortion of facts.

Oil “reserves” are what can actually be produced at today’s prices, with existing technologies, and under current laws and regulations. America has vast oil, gas and coal resources — centuries of potential hydrocarbon energy. We certainly have the technology to extract it, especially at $100 a barrel. What we don’t have are laws and regulations that allow us to do so.

If the President were honest, he would say: “We’re running out of oil that Democrats, my Administration and our radical environmentalist allies will let this country produce. We’re running out of places we’ll let companies drill. We have 2 percent of world oil reserves, because we’ve made most of our resources off limits.”

If he were honest, he would also say: “We will demonize, penalize, hyper-regulate, tax and kill hydrocarbons. But we will mandate and subsidize wind, solar and ethanol, ignore their environmental and human costs, and extol the measly, expensive, unreliable energy they produce.

“We oppose subsidies for oil and coal companies (even in the form of tax deductions for actual expenses), because they promote drilling — and their CEOs and workers rarely vote for us. We support huge subsidies for wind, solar and ethanol, because those guys help keep us in power and drive a transition to renewables.

“We know oil, gas and coal generate royalty and tax revenues, and provide 85 percent of the energy that powers America and supports jobs, commuting, factories, transportation, tourism, hospitals, ambulances, churches and living standards. But we don’t care about that or about revenues, except when they come from higher taxes on corporations – or rich families that make over $250,000 … $150,000 … $65,000 a year. We detest free enterprise, and think government should control more of your energy, economy and lives.

“And we love the way supply and demand laws drive prices up. DC area gasoline is already $4.25 a gallon. That’s about half of what Energy Secretary Chu and I would like it to be: European prices. And we know restricting energy supplies even further will send all prices skyrocketing even higher.”

As crazy as they sound, these ideologies are even more frightening and demented in practice.

Oil production in the Gulf of Mexico is projected to drop 240,000 barrels a day this year. That’s $9 billion more that America will have to pay this year to import replacement oil … $1.3 billion we won’t collect in federal royalty payments … thousands of jobs that won’t be “created or saved” … and billions in corporate, personal income and sales taxes we won’t collect.

The U.S. Geological Survey says upwards of 90 billion barrels remain to be discovered in the Arctic. ANWR alone could hold 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil, producible from areas totaling 1/20th of Washington, D.C. But it’s all locked up, off limits to We the People who own it.

Meanwhile, the huge Prudhoe Bay field is slowly running dry. So the Alaska Pipeline is operating at a fraction of its capacity, which increases corrosion and blockages in the pipe, magnifies the risk of ruptures and spills, and threatens the future of all Alaskan oil. Shell Oil spent $3.5 billion acquiring and exploring leases in the Chukchi Sea — but Interior and EPA refuse to issue drilling permits, because diesel emissions from the rig could cause global warming or affect the health of natives 20-50 miles away! It all adds up to less oil, less royalty revenue, fewer jobs and more imported oil. Just as Obama & Co. intend.

Made in America technology and innovation have unlocked centuries of new natural gas in U.S. shale formations (and similar deposits all over the world). This game-changing development has reduced gas prices … completely unhinged Obama, Democrat and other environmental ideologues … and devastated their “we’re running out” mantra. So they’ve rallied the troops, to produce a bogus “documentary” film (“Gasland”), a sloppy Cornell University “study,” and reams of new EPA regulations, to stymie shale gas. A thorough analysis by science writer Matt Ridley provides much needed facts and perspectives. (The same horizontal drilling and “fracking” technologies are also unlocking eco-nightmarish new oil riches.)

Coal generates half of all U.S .electricity, and 70-98 percent in twelve states — sustaining jobs by keeping air conditioning, heating and machinery operating costs at about half of what is typical in states that get little or no electricity from coal. But the EPA has issued 946 pages of new air quality rules and launched a massive propaganda campaign against mercury emissions — even though those power plants account for barely 0.5 percent of all mercury in the air Americans breathe. President Obama has said he wants to “bankrupt” the industry.

All told, over a billion acres of onshore and offshore energy prospects are locked up — costing us centuries of fuel, millions of jobs, and hundreds of billions in bonus, royalty and tax revenues. Of course, there are “no quick fixes” for our energy problems, as President Obama loves to remind us. But if we’d begun drilling in some of these places 10-20 years ago, we wouldn’t be in this fix today.

As to subsidies, even the alleged billions for oil companies are a pittance compared to subsidies for wind, solar and ethanol. Subsidies per unit of energy actually produced are even more shocking. According to the Energy Information Administration, gas-fired electricity generation received a mere 25 cents per megawatt-hour in 2007 subsidies; coal got 44 cents. By comparison, wind turbines got 23.4 dollars and photovoltaic solar received 24.3 dollars per mWh.

Moreover, oil and gas is 24/7 — with 95 percent reliability. The industry supports 9.2 million jobs, directly and in companies that depend on reliable, affordable oil, gas, gasoline, fertilizer, plastics, pharmaceuticals and electricity. It generates federal revenue, paying billions in taxes and royalties. The same holds true for coal.

By contrast, wind and solar produce electricity just two to eight hours a day — with backup generators making up the monumental shortfall. That means we must duplicate every megawatt of wind and solar with a MW of (mostly gas-fired) backup power — which requires even more land and raw materials to support the government-mandated transition to “eco-friendly” renewable energy systems.

More appalling, instead of generating tax or royalty revenues, wind and solar require perpetual subsidies. Solar panel maker Solyndra got a $535 “stimulus” loan in 2009; then, the day after the 2010 elections, it announced it was laying off 190 people. In April 2011 alone, the Department of Energy poured $9 billion in loan guarantees into wind and solar projects that will blanket large swaths of crop and habitat land.

Ethanol receives subsidies of $5.72 per million Btu (190 times what oil and gas companies get), so that we can burn food to make fuels that government won’t let us drill for. In 2010, American farmers turned 36 percent of their corn crop into ethanol, which provides 30 percent less energy than gasoline — meaning cars get less mileage per tank for more bucks per gallon. Making one gallon of this substandard fuel also requires some 1,700 gallons of water and large quantities of petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides. Worse, energy economist Indur Goklany calculates, biofuel policies cause up to 200,000 deaths a year in poor countries, by raising food prices, increasing malnutrition and making people more vulnerable to disease.

Overall, since assuming power in Washington, the Obama Administration has channeled over $60 billion into the “green jobs” sector. And the renewable energy subsidy train rolls on, with tanker cars of red ink bankrolled by US taxpayers and consumers — to provide less than 1 percent of the energy we use.

If Congress still refuses to hold inquiries and end these tax-subsidized scams, perhaps the most we can hope for is that a few courageous and publicly spirited governors and AGs will step into the breach.


New Technology Promises To Tap Vast Reserves of Methane — And Sequester CO2

They’ve done it in a laboratory: Scientists have injected carbon dioxide into the kind of methane ice that underlies vast tracts of permafrost in the Arctic and lurks beneath the deep seafloor throughout the world.

In that experiment, the carbon dioxide exchanged with the methane molecules. While the CO2 was sequestered inside the ice, the scientists extracted an energy source that may exist in nature in greater volume than all other fossil fuels combined.

Now DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, in partnership with Conoco Phillips, will try to repeat that success on the North Slope of Alaska.

NETL and Conoco Phillips have completed installation of a well they call “I?nik Sikumi”— using Iñupiaq terms for “fire in the ice”—NETL announced yesterday. The well will be available for experimental operations this winter.

At that time, the scientists will begin injecting carbon dioxide into the well and capturing freed methane.

You may remember methane hydrate as the crystal that formed when methane gas escaped from the damaged Deepwater Horizon wellhead last summer, foiling efforts to cap the well and recapture the gushing oil.

Methane hydrate has also been written about for its potential to escalate climate change if warming seas and thawing permafrost release it to the atmosphere. It consists of methane gas trapped inside a lattice of ice and is believed to line the sea floor below depths of 300 meters in layers several hundred meters thick.
Methane hydrate chunk with dissociating methan...

“While global estimates vary considerably, the energy content of methane occurring in hydrate form is immense, possibly exceeding the combined energy content of all other known fossil fuels,” according to the Department of Energy.

So far, no commercially viable method has been found to tap that energy. DOE’s research and development program has focused on two priorities:

1) the need to detect and quantify methane hydrate deposits prior to drilling, and

2) the demonstration of methane production from hydrate at commercial volumes.

The I?nik Sikumi project tackled the first of those priorities, documenting the location and concentration of methane hydrate deposits in saturated sandstone beneath the North Slope.

“The data confirm the occurrence of 160 feet of gas-hydrate-bearing sand reservoirs in four separate zones, as predicted, and provide insight into their physical and mechanical properties,” DOE stated.

Once extraction begins this winter, the team hopes to tackle the second priority over the next year.

China is also pursuing methane hydrate as an energy source, but through a very different method: constructing a seabase in Qingdao, Shandong Province, to serve a deep-sea submarine that will explore energy and mineral resources on the deep sea floor.



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


20 May, 2011

German “Green” Biogas Plants Producing Deadly Botulism – fatal to cattle and wildlfe

German sporting and dog magazine Wild und Hund reports that thousands of domestic and wild animals are falling ill from tainted waste from green “climate-friendly” biogas plants, which is then used as an agricultural fertilizer in fields.

Wild und Hund has put out a press release announcing a report appearing in its latest issue, now available at news stands today. The Wild und Hund press release reads as follows (slight editing added for international readers):


There’s been a terrible suspicion for years. The residue from biogas plants that produce “clean” green electricity is causing a deadly disease among domestic and wild animals, and humans - chronic botulism.

Wild und Hund not only examines the disease, but also looks into the background as to why such a hazard has not been publicly discussed for 10 years. In the aftermath of Fukushima, the public wishes to shift to renewable energy sources. Today in Germany already over a million acres of land are producing corn for biogas plants. German Agriculture Minister Ms Ilse Aigner announced on 27 April 2011 that land used for growing plants for producing energy will be significantly expanded to an area anywhere between 4 to 6 million acres. Today biogas plants are sprouting everywhere in the countryside.

However, the supposedly environmentally friendly supply of energy is likely hiding lethal bacteria in its waste. Christoph Boll of the hunting magazine WILD UND HUND has investigated the disease, whose existence has been denied by the industry, and whose impact on wildlife could be catastrophic to wildlife.

In the German region of Vogtland in Saxony, 600 cows and the farmer himself fell seriously ill. Diagnosis: chronic botulism. And that was no isolated incident says Professor Dr. Helge Böhnel of the University of Göttingen. The scientist reveals that the number of sick animals observed runs to 4-digit numbers. Dr Böhnel is convinced that chronic and visceral botulism could impact all birds and mammals – including humans.

In general botulism is a lethal type of poisoning. But chronic botulism can also stealthily drag on in small quantities for years. Dr. Böhnel believes that biogas plants are “very likely” the source.

How is it caused exactly? In early spring when harvesting biomass plants, foremost green rye, young wildlife end up getting minced by harvesters and end up as an ingredient in the biogas plant brew. In a addition slaughterhouse waste and other meat, such as old hens, along with manure slurry, get thrown in as raw material.

At a brewing temperature of 40°C, bacteria multiple with abandon, which in turn leads to the production of enormously resistant botulinum spores that survive the hygienisation process (heating to 70°C). The waste material that is left at the end of the biogas process then gets used as fertilizer for agriculture, and so the spores wind up spread all over the landscape where they get ingested by grazing animals (domestic livestock, wildlife, birds, etc.). Once in the digestive tract they then convert into the bacteria that produce the deadly toxin. Often the amount of toxin is not sufficient for a quick death, rather the poisoning is slow and chronic.”

So add another to the list of wonderful things delivered by the green revolution, which already includes a mercury contaminated environment from energy saving lights, birds getting shredded by windparks that have devastated the local landscape, biofuels that drive up the price of food and so lead to hunger for millions more, etc.

Finally, I wonder if they use this all-natural fertilizer from the “clean” biogas plants as a fertiliser for the organic food farms?

Cause of the suffering and dead cows: chronic botulism. Worse! The infected cattle shown that are still alive are being slaughtered and sold as fresh meat to supermarkets! The moderators says:

“The state veterinary officials say chronic botulism does not warrant the cattle be stopped from being slaughtered. ‘For the delivery of cattle for slaughter…there are no restrictions.’ “


"Experts say up to 1000 farms may be affected – thousands of dead animals are the result.”

In the meantime, the infected cattle are being sent to slaughterhouses, and the meat to the supermarkets. The German health officials don’t want to hear about it, the report says. The Green movement keeps moving. This is a scandal.


Vostok Ice Cores Show Zero Climate Sensitivity (Temperature is not affected by CO2)

Vostok is a Russian base in the centre of the Antarctic -- so ice cores from there should be least affected by external influences. Warmists make a lot of use of ice-cores in their fairy tales but ignore any history that does not suit them, of course

Vostok ice core data

Over the last sixty years, atmospheric CO2 has risen almost 50% higher than at any other time during the last 400,000 years. Temperatures at Vostok during that time have been flat to down.

The implication is that climate sensitivity is zero, and that past (lagging) changes in CO2 are are due to outgassing and absorption of CO2 by the oceans.

Why is this obvious fact being ignored by climate scientists?

SOURCE (See the original for links)

When Will Science Get Serious about Global Cooling?

There is a very good chance the Earth is barreling towards another Little Ice Age within the next 10 to 30 years, perhaps sooner, and you wouldn’t know it by turning on the television. A calamitous event that could lead to widespread crop losses and the starvation of millions is being covered up by complicit climate scientists and the main stream media because it doesn’t fit with the politically correct narrative that humans are responsible for out of control global warming.

Predicting the coming cooling is pretty straightforward. There have been numerous heating and cooling periods in world history that have been linked to entirely natural solar, ocean, and atmospheric cycles.

The 60 year Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) ocean cycle is now entering a cooling phase. Between 1968 and 1972 the AMO was estimated to cause a 0.3 degree Celsius drop in Northern hemisphere temperatures.

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), an atmospheric phenomenon that influences Northern hemisphere temperatures, has just begun a 30 year cooling phase.

The most important influence on global temperatures, the sun, appears to be entering an extended period of decreased sunspot activity. While the exact mechanism is still under debate, the correlation between solar sunspot cycles and global temperatures has been well documented.

The previous solar cycle 23 had a length of 12.6 years, much longer than the historical average of 11 years. Especially long solar cycles are often followed by cooler global periods. Combined with solar cycle 24, which may have already reached solar maximum after only 2.5 years of activity, the sun appears to be mirroring the beginning of the Dalton Minimum 1790 AD to 1830 AD which burdened Europe with a number of especially long and cold winters and poor growing seasons.

We are in the midst of the convergence of 3 major solar, ocean, and atmospheric cycles all heading in the direction of global cooling. Last year the Southern hemisphere experienced its coldest winter in 50 years and Europe just went through two particularly cold winters in a row, and the cooling trend has only just begun. The likelihood of a repeat of the Year Without a Summer in 1816 or The Great Frost of 1709 is growing with every day.

With billions more people to feed than ever before, mass starvation becomes a very real possibility in the case of large scale crop losses. All the modern technology in the world can’t make a bean stalk grow if the ground is frozen stiff.

Even though disaster is staring the world in the face, far too many climate scientists remain beholden to liberal anti-human politics to do anything useful about it. At a time they should be sounding the warning siren for society to prepare for possible food and energy shortages, most still amazingly insist that an insignificant atmospheric molecule (CO2) is more responsible for warming the Earth than the Sun.


EPA Doles-Out Taxpayer Dollars to Environmentalist Activist Groups

In November 2009, a dozen protesters triggered a traffic jam in an intersection of Chicago’s financial sector by laying down in a circle in the middle of the road, locking their arms together inside pieces of pipe. They were protesting the city’s climate exchange, part of a scheme to regulate CO2 emissions through permits. Ironically, it was a case of a left-leaning plan being attacked by the far left.

After a few hours, the activists were arrested, including among their ranks members of groups like the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO). According to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website, about six months later, the agency awarded LVEJO a $25,000 environmental justice grant, which was to be directed to “…work[ing] in coalition with their partners to implement 3 areas of Climate Change Mitigation…” The first “area” is to “…conduct a grassroots Clean Power Campaign in the Chicago Region to address coal power plant emissions…”

If EPA’s grant was an attempt get LVEJO to change its tactics, it doesn’t seem to have worked. After getting the grant, a half dozen activists from LVEJO and other groups were arrested after climbing the fence to a coal-fired power plant and unfurling a banner that read: “Close Chicago’s Toxic Coal Plant.” Even amid America’s deficit crisis, the EPA has enough walking-around money to fund green radicals harassing EPA-regulated businesses in President Barack Obama’s hometown — coincidentally, the same President who spoke of bankrupting new coal-fired power plants.

Although the rest of the nation has had to tighten its belt, that has not been the case for the EPA. The Obama Administration’s first budget increased EPA funding to $10.3 billion, a whopping 36% over the preceding fiscal year. While the President’s current budget request is down from the all-time high, it is still more than 20% over the FY 2008 budget.

As we search for means to cut Washington’s waste, grants like the one to LVEJO should move to the front of the line, where it should have lots of company. According to the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, there are 2,141 federal grant programs with some 109 coming out of the EPA. By the EPA’s own grant database, over the last ten years, the agency has bellied up to the bar and bought drinks for many of its friends at the taxpayers’ expense. Within the past decade, the EPA awarded or continues to have open more than 7,500 grants, totaling $3,847,160,250 to non-profit groups alone.

While some EPA grant recipients like the American Lung Association may seem more palatable than LVEJO, many have shown themselves to be reliable reactionaries for the EPA. The American Lung Association recently came to the agency’s defense, stating:

"Polluters and some members of Congress want to interfere with EPA’s ability to protect public health. Most Americans believe that the Clean Air Act needs protecting. We are fighting hard to prevent anyone from weakening or undermining the law or the protective standards the law provides. We are fighting to ensure EPA has the legal authority and necessary funding to continue to protect public health.”

Exactly what kind of nefarious plans by “[p]olluters and some members of Congress” to damage public health is the American Lung Association seeking to thwart? One of their efforts is targeted at defeating a bill that seeks to stop the EPA from doing an end run around Congress and regulating greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide – under the Clean Air Act. Money can’t buy passion like that, but if it could, the 164 EPA grants to various American Lung Association groups totaling over $20,000,000 within the past decade might help.

Other EPA grantees grab grants of tax dollars in one hand while collecting attorney fees from the federal government with the other. Wild Earth Guardians, for example, states in its annual report that it received grants not only from the EPA, but also the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service, which, along with state, county and city grants, totaled well over a half million in 2009.

The Washington Post recently reported on a settlement between Wild Earth Guardians and the federal Government “that could pave the way for an avalanche” of endangered species. Under the settlement the US Fish and Wildlife Service will take action on 251 species considered as “candidates” for addition to the Endangered Species List — along with 9 subspecies of the same species of pocket gopher in the state of Washington, 36 insects including 10 kinds of cave beetle, 18 clams and 23 snails is Digitaria pauciflora.

For the non-botanists, the common name of this species is Florida Pineland crabgrass and yes, it belongs to the same group of crab grasses (it is one of 68 such species) that suburbanites constantly battle. The fear is that Florida Pineland crabgrass could be driven to extinction if global warming causes the oceans to rise and swallow the tip of southern Florida, this species’ habitat. While USFWS states this threat is “currently low, but expected to be severe in the future,” one must ask, even if the preposterous apocalyptic scenario played out, wouldn’t there be bigger worries like, say, the fate of Miami?

The list goes on with environmental justice groups like North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN) and Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice. The former seeks to “to accomplish [its] goals through organizing, advocacy, research, and education based on principles of economic equity and democracy for all people.” The latter’s worldview (along with NCEJN’s), is outlined in “17 Principles of Environmental Justice” that it adopted.

The preamble to that document states that, among other things, signatories “do hereby re-establish our spiritual interdependence to the sacredness of our Mother Earth…” and seek “to secure our political, economic, and cultural liberation that has been denied for over 500 years of colonization and oppression…”

The EPA even has a history of giving taxpayer money to the California Indian Basketweavers Association, which doesn’t just dedicate itself “to preserving, promoting, and perpetuating California Indian basketweaving cultural traditions” but also champions “a healthy physical, social, spiritual, and economic environment for basketweavers…”

Throwing money around like this goes far beyond waste. It is a brazen offense to most taxpayers. If Congress doesn’t have the will to slash this kind of stuff, what can it cut?


No Decline in Polar Bear Population

The Polar Bear Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the organization of scientists that has attempted to monitor the global polar bear population since the 1960s, has issued a report indicating that there was no change in the overall global polar bear population in the most recent four-year period studied.

“The total number of polar bears is still thought to be between 20,000 and 25,000,” the group said in a press release published together with a report on the proceedings of its 15th meeting

20,000 to 25,000 polar bears worldwide is exactly the same population estimate the group made following its 14th international meeting.

“The total number of polar bears worldwide is estimated to be 20,000–25,000,” the scientists said in the report they issued after that previous meeting.

The 15th meeting of the IUCN’s Polar Bear Specialist Group took place from June 29-July 3, 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark—four years after the 14th meeting, which took place in Seattle, Wash., June 20-24, 2005. But the report on the 15th meeting and its conclusions about the polar bear population—including subsequent information that was developed through March 2010—was not published until this year (on Feb. 25, 2011).

The February report concedes that scientists still have limited scientific data about the polar bear population in many parts of the Arctic—lacking sufficient information to even determine whether the population is increasing or decreasing in 7 of 19 subpopulations.

“Reviewing the latest information available, the PBSG concluded that one of 19 subpopulations is currently increasing, three are stable, and eight are declining,” said the group’s press release on the report.

“For the remaining seven subpopulations available data were insufficient to provide an assessment of current trend. The total number of polar bears is still thought to be between 20,000 and 25,000,” it said.

The group said it viewed anticipated changes in the Arctic environment caused by “climate change” to be the greatest threat to the future of the polar bear.

“The PBSG renewed the conclusion from previous meetings that the greatest challenge to conservation of polar bears is ecological change in the Arctic resulting from climatic warming,” the group said. “Declines in the extent of the sea ice have accelerated since the last meeting of the group in 2005, with unprecedented sea ice retreats in 2007 and 2008.”

“The PBSG confirmed its earlier conclusion that unabated global warming will ultimately threaten polar bears everywhere,” it said.

At the same time, the report cited an American scientist who told the group that a research team had used a collar to track a polar bear that swam for more than 650 kilometers across the sea. “He described the extensive spatial data recovered from one particular collar that showed the bear swimming more than 650 km in the Beaufort Sea,” said the report.

Despite its concern that climate change could threaten the polar bear, the group also said it supported the right of human beings to “harvest” the bears.

“The PBSG recognizes that where habitats are stable, polar bears are a renewable resource, and reaffirmed its support of the right of aboriginal groups to harvest polar bears within sustainable limits,” said the group’s release.

In 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the polar bear a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The declaration was not based on an actual decline in the polar bear population but on the government’s conclusion that future declines in Arctic sea ice will reduce the bear’s habitat and put it at risk.


A Better Way to Frack?

A new technique for natural gas extraction eliminates fears about contaminated water and stops opponents in their tracks.

In a major energy security speech this March, President Barack Obama had some nice things to say about a new technique for extracting domestic natural gas deposits: “Recent innovations have given us the opportunity to tap large reserves—perhaps a century’s worth of reserves, a hundred years worth of reserves—in the shale under our feet.”

The innovation that has unlocked those vast new reserves of natural gas is a process known as hydrofracking—or fracking for short—in which horizontal drilling is combined with blasts of pressurized water and sand. But for Obama, along with other more strident critics, the natural gas unlocked by fracking may come at too great a cost.

The biggest, most headline-grabbing fear is that fracking chemicals will contaminate drinking water. Last week, environmental scientists at Duke University published a study titled “Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing,” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study found that natural gas concentrations in water wells within 3,000 feet of gas wells were higher than in wells that were further from gas wells. Interestingly, the researchers included water wells near Dimock, Pennsylvania where it is well known that improperly constructed natural gas well casings had resulted in the fugitive gas contaminating local water wells.

Sounds like bad news. But when you read the fine print, the Duke researchers admit that “based on our data, we found no evidence for contamination of the shallow wells near active drilling sites from deep brines and/or fracturing fluids." Despite its misleading title, the study did not find that fracking as a technique contributed at all to the natural gas found the nearby water wells. In fact, the gas-rich shale lays several thousand feet below strata of impermeable rock from shallow surface drinking water aquifers. Instead, bad well casings that also occur with conventional gas wells appear to be the culprits. States already set standards for constructing proper well casings and impose penalties when companies fail to comply.

Another major fear about hydrofracking is that chemical-laden wastewater spills will contaminate surface waters. Fracking uses mostly water and sand to blast open cracks in the shale deposits thousands of feet below the surface to release the trapped natural gas. Drilling companies add small amounts of chemicals to prevent corrosion, reduce friction, and kill fouling bacteria.

In April, the Democratic members of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives released a report listing the chemical contents of the 2,500 hydraulic fracturing products used by the 14 leading oil and gas service companies. Some of the chemicals such as diesel (used in 51 products), naphthalene (44 products), formaldehyde (12 products), benzene (3 products), and lead (1 product) are deemed hazardous and carcinogenic.

In addition, some of the water and chemicals used in fracking flow back out of the gas wells containing dissolved salts and other minerals from the shale. This wastewater can often be reused, but some is treated and disposed of. There have been cases in which wastewater has escaped impoundment and flowed into streams or contaminated surface drinking water wells. Another issue raised by opponents is that the dissolved salts in well wastewater contain traces of radioactive elements derived from the shale. The good news is that Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection reports that tests downstream from wastewater plants that treat gas well water find that levels of radioactivity are below federal standards for safe drinking water.

In short, the use of water is the aspect of fracking that worries citizens and drives activism against the technique.

Luckily, there may be a technical fix that addresses these water worries and does an end run around drilling opponents: gas-fracking. Developed by GasFrac Energy Services in Alberta, Canada, gas-fracking uses liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which consists mostly of propane, instead of water to crack open shale formations to release oil and natural gas. Robert Lestz, GasFrac’s chief technology officer, and his colleague Audis Byrd spent 10 years developing the technique. Lestz explains that the company produces a LPG gel using phosphate esters, iron sulfate activator, and magnesium oxide. None are seriously toxic or are thought to be carcinogenic. The injected LPG gel combined with sand fractures shale formations to release trapped oil and/or natural gas.

As a hydrocarbon, propane easily mixes with natural gas and returns to the surface where it can be recovered and reused or flared. Since essentially no water is used and the gelling chemicals are relatively benign, there is no possibility that well wastewater can contaminate wells or streams.

Gas-fracking is also more efficient than hydrofracking. In conventional hydrofracking, injected water tends to block the pores and cracks through which natural gas would otherwise flow into the well. This does not happen with gas-fracking. As a consequence, Lestz claims that gas-fracked wells often produce 20 to 30 percent more natural gas than do hydrofracked wells. One more advantage: hydrofracked wells often need to be flared for a couple of weeks to purge fracking fluids. This wastes saleable product and emits extra greenhouse gases. Gas-fracked wells, which need far less flaring, save gas and can go into production sooner.

There are, however, additional safety concerns when dealing with large quantities of propane. Unlike water, LPG is flammable. In January 2008, a well site in Alberta suffered a blast as a result of a propane leak. Three workers suffered non-life-threatening burns and GasFrac suspended its operations to devise techniques aimed at preventing future accidents. Lestz claims that insurers give the company the same risk rating as conventional hydrofrackers. So far the company has fractured 300 oil and gas wells in both Canada and the United States.

Lestz has spent time recently at various forums talking with concerned citizens in New York and Pennsylvania. “I have been real surprised at how well accepted our process has been by communities up there,” he said.

In his March energy speech, President Obama declared, “We’ve got to make sure that we’re extracting natural gas safely, without polluting our water supply." So far the evidence suggests that the worst fears about hydrofracking appear to be considerably exaggerated by opponents of natural gas drilling. Nevertheless, a technology like gas-fracking may be just what the president is looking for.



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


19 May, 2011

Warmists are amusing

I suppose someone else will have a more extensive comment on this soon but I was amused by Joe Romm's heading:

"Wegman scandal rocks cornerstone of climate denial"

Climate skepticism was of course around long before the Wegman report and Wegman et al. concerned themselves with just one issue: Was Michael Mann's "hockeystick" diagram an accurate depiction of climate history? Wegman concluded that it was NOT an accurate temperature reconstruction.

But many before him had come to that conclusion too. The conclusion is in no way dependent on Wegman. The "hockeystick" contradicted known history for a start, not to mention its naive use of factor analysis. So pervasive were the criticisms of it that even the IPCC no longer features it. So Wegman was just one voice among many and the fact that he apparently used other people's words at times is probably some testimony to that.

It is notable that Romm makes no attempt to answer the statistical points raised by Wegman. His only focus was on whether Wegman was original in what he said! Pretty desperate!

A graphic history of Hansen

Graphic by Nik From NYC

NAS Climate Panel Fails The Laugh Test

Three environmental activists and a duck walk into a bar and start talking global warming with a dozen people who have no formal education in climate science. Sound like the beginning of a bad joke? Actually, it’s not. It’s what the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) would have us believe is an expert, objective, scientifically authoritative panel qualified to produce its latest report, America’s Climate Choices.

America’s Climate Choices asserts that humans are the primary cause of recent climate change that poses significant risks to human welfare and the environment. The report asserts we need to act now to fend off future harms.

Environmental activist groups and their media allies have had a field day claiming America’s Climate Choices is an unquestionably objective and expert report providing irrefutable proof that humans are causing a global warming crisis.

USA Today, for example, claimed the report was authored by “the nation’s pre-eminent scientific advisory group” and said the report “leave[s] the deniers in the same position as the ‘birthers’” who challenge President Obama’s reported birthplace.

Not to be outdone, the Washington Post referred to the report as “the scientific consensus of America’s premier scientific advisory group” and says “climate-change deniers, in other words, are willfully ignorant, lost in wishful thinking, cynical or some combination of the three.”

These are very strong assertions. Let’s see if the facts back them up.

Only 23 people served on the panel. This is hardly sufficient to form a “scientific consensus.”

Of the 23 panelists, only five have a Ph.D. in a field closely related to climate science. That’s less than 22%.

Five of the 23 panelists are or were staffers for environmental activist organizations. That means there are as many professional environmental activists on the panel as there are persons with climate-related science degrees.

Prior to publishing the report, 19 of the 23 made statements claiming global warming is a human induced problem and/or we need to take action to reduce carbon dioxide restrictions. That means 83% of the panel was clearly and obviously biased before being selected.

Two of the panelists are or were politicians.

One of the panelists was appointed by the Clinton administration as general counsel for the Environmental Protection Agency.

To claim that a report from such a small panel, comprised primarily of non-climate scientists and environmental activists, is objective and scientifically authoritative is a joke. The fact that 19 of the 23 panelists were clearly biased before even writing the report makes the report an even bigger joke. The only thing missing from such an “expert” and “objective” panel is the presence of Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar.

When environmental activists lament the fact that public opinion has turned so forcefully against global warming alarmism, they need only look in the mirror to find the answer. You can’t trot out staffers from Environmental Defense Fund, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and other environmental activist groups and claim this is authoritative, objective science. And if you are going to issue a global warming report and claim it is from impeccably qualified scientific sources, at least a quarter of the report’s authors should be climate scientists.

Environmental activists and their media allies repeatedly point out that America’s Climate Choices is a National Academy of Sciences publication. Rather than provide credibility for the panel of activists and non-climate scientists, the involvement of NAS merely illustrates how far away from quality, objective science NAS has travelled when the topic is a political one as well as scientific one. The fact that NAS chose to publish the report in no way changes the fact that the report was written by a very small panel of environmental activists and non-climate scientists. All the Washington Post and USA Today editorials in the world cannot change the fact that the NAS panel is about as close to representing an objective, authoritative scientific consensus on climate science as Donald Trump is to representing an objective, authoritative scientific consensus on the accuracy of President Obama’s birth claims.

Indeed, when three environmental activists and a duck walk into a bar to discuss global warming with non-climate scientists, the duck is most objective, qualified source in the room. Too bad the duck was the only entity left off the NAS panel.


Species Extinction Rates Grossly Overestimated

A group of researchers agrees that Earth is facing a mass extinction event, but they are daring to overturn dogma on how fast species are disappearing. The researchers say they have discovered why current estimates are overblown, and they recommend a different way to calculate the rates.

"We need to go back to revisit ... how those numbers are derived," Fangliang He, of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, said in a press briefing with fellow study researcher Stephen Hubbell of the University of California at Los Angeles.

We don't even know how many species actually exist, though it is known that biodiversity is declining drastically. Previously estimated extinction rates — some experts thought half the world's plant and animal species would be gone by 2000 — haven't matched what's actually been observed. Other researchers have claimed the difference originates from the lag time between when a species' habitat becomes unsustainable and when the species begins to disappear.

The researchers believe that the overestimation is actually due to how we derive these estimates in the first place.

Estimating extinction

It is very difficult to determine the number of species that are going extinct, since in most cases it's hard for researchers to know when the species is down to its last remaining individual. [10 Species You Can Kiss Goodbye]

Most estimates are derived from the rate at which members of a species would be discovered during a survey of their habitat. Researchers estimate extinction rate by simply reversing this species discovery rate in its habitat: The more habitat you lose, the fewer species you'd expect to discover.

To prove a species is extinct, however, one has to find the last remaining example of that animal. And Hubbell and He explain that the amount of habitat needed to find the last individual is much larger than the amount needed to find the first.

In fact, the researchers mathematically prove in their paper that the habitat loss required for extinction is always larger, usually much larger — up to 160 percent — than the area required for discovery of a species.

Correcting our methods

"This is welcome news in the sense that we have bought a little time for saving species," said Hubbell. "But it's unwelcome news in one sense, because we have to redo a whole lot of research that was done incorrectly as a result of the incorrect method."

Another method, called the endemics-area relationship, is more logical, the researchers say.

They tested the two methods using computer models and with known species, including rain-forest plants and birds in North America, and saw that the endemics-area model is a better fit to the actual data.

The researchers warn, though, that this shouldn't lead to complacency about habitat loss. Many species are still going extinct because humans are destroying and disrupting their habitats.


Fracking and the Greens

John Stossel

I just learned I'm going to save money! My apartment building in New York will switch from heating oil to cleaner natural gas. Gas is much cheaper than oil now because energy companies found ways to get more of it out of the ground. Even more astounding is that by using this technique, America won't run out of natural gas for 100 years or more! Time to break out the Champagne?

Not so fast, say environmentalists. To get gas out of the ground, companies use pressurized chemicals to blow up rock. It's called hydraulic fracturing -- fracking. An Oscar-nominated movie, "Gasland," says that fracking contaminates our water supply with chemicals. In the movie, some homeowners set their tap water on fire. That got my attention. I've seen Michael Moore's movies and environmental documentaries, which I thought were nonsense. But "Gasland" is more convincing.

Unfortunately, "Gasland" producer Josh Fox turned down my interview requests, as did representatives of the big national environmental groups that oppose fracking. I think I know why. The movie and the left's arguments against fracking are deceitful.

First, the movie implies that nasty chemicals get into the water table. That seems logical, since they shoot them down into gas wells. But it turns out that the shale gas wells are thousands of feet below the water table. Do the chemicals flow up -- against gravity?

But then what's the explanation for the most dramatic part of the movie: tap water so laden with gas that people can set it on fire?

It turns out that has little to do with fracking. In many parts of America, there is enough methane in the ground to leak into people's well water. The best fire scene in the movie was shot in Colorado, where the filmmaker is in the kitchen of a man who lights his faucet. But Colorado investigators went to that man's house, checked out his well and found that fracking had nothing to do with his water catching fire. His well-digger had drilled into a naturally occurring methane pocket.

"There are lots of ... naturally causing effects that occur," says Matthew Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation, a think tank in Pennsylvania -- where much of the film was shot. "It's really no surprise. We find that 40 percent of the wells in Pennsylvania have some sort of naturally occurring methane gas and other types of things."

John Hanger, former director of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection, who also appeared in the film, is less sanguine:

"Gas can migrate ... from poor drilling into people's private water wells. ... We have had gas move from poorly done gas drilling through the ground and reach people's water wells. So there is a need for oversight ... gas does have some impacts. It is not perfectly clean. But compared to coal and oil, which are more dirty fossil fuels, natural gas can be produced and consumed in a manner that is cleaner than coal."

Filmmaker Josh Fox concedes that the states concluded that the fire wasn't caused by fracking, but he says the government regulators collude with industry, or don't use good science. His movie portrays Hanger as an indifferent bureaucrat. Hanger says the movie is just inaccurate. "Josh Fox has a mission. ... He is trying to shut down the gas -- drilling industry."

Frankly, I'm skeptical of all of them: lefty moviemakers who smear companies, companies with economic interests at stake and the regulators, who are often cozy with industry and lack essential knowledge. The surest environmental protectors are property rights -- and courts that assign liability to polluters.

But hydraulic fracturing is a wonderful thing. It's not new. Companies have done it for 60 years, but now they've found ways to get even more gas out of the ground. That's the reason gas is getting cheaper and panicky politicians no longer rant about America "running out of fuel."

Natural gas is not risk-free, but no energy source is. Perfect is not one of the choices.


Britain's new era of green taxes: Climate change targets to cost every household £500 a year

Tough new climate change targets will cost every household in Britain £500 a year. The targets will usher in a new era of green taxes and soaring fuel bills for millions of cash-strapped households.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne yesterday committed the UK to a legally binding 50 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 in a move that will leave Britain £13.4billion-a-year worse off. The targets are the toughest of any country in the world and will come at a huge price for Britain’s struggling economy.

In contrast, the U.S. has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by only 3 per cent, while China – the world’s biggest polluter – expects its carbon dioxide emissions to rise.

Critics say the plans could have only a minuscule impact on halting climate change but could stifle economic recovery and hamper business. They will also mean higher fuel bills, hitting poorest homes the hardest.

When he attempted to counter claims that householders would face energy price increases because of the targets, Mr Huhne was only able to say that they would result in no extra cost for customers during this parliament.

The announcement of the carbon budget – the limit on emissions – comes after a bitter rift in the Cabinet between Mr Huhne and Chancellor George Osborne and Business Secretary Vince Cable, who claimed the targets would make the UK uncompetitive.

The carbon budget follows the recommendation in December of the Committee on Climate Change, an independent body of experts that advises the Government. It said the UK would need to sacrifice 1 per cent of its gross domestic product to meet the target.

At today’s prices that is the equivalent of £13.4billion a year – the money raised by increasing VAT in January – or an average of £500 for every household.

The Government will try to meet the target by raising fuel bills to pay for thousands more wind turbines to be built across the country as well as offshore. It will also have to finance a new generation of nuclear power stations.

The announcement came as it emerged that inflation had risen to 4.5 per cent – and at a time when millions are facing soaring bills, pay cuts and the risk of redundancy.

The Climate Change Act 2008 sets a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by at least 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050. It also requires the Government to set carbon budgets for consecutive five-year periods.

Carbon budgets must be set at least three budget periods in advance, and the fourth carbon budget – for 2023 to 2027 – has to be set in law by next month.

Announcing it, Mr Huhne said: ‘Under this carbon budget, Britain in 2027 will be a different place and transformed for the better with warmer homes powered by green energy, many more cars powered by electricity and far less reliance on fossil fuels to drive our economy.’

He denied that Britain was ‘going ahead’ of other countries. The new target goes far deeper than the EU which has pledged to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, or 30 per cent if the world signs a climate change deal. Mr Huhne gave the UK a get-out by promising to review the target in 2014 if Europe drags its feet.

Dr Benny Peiser, director of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, said the UK’s actions would have little impact on climate change when emissions were increasing around the world.

Energy intensive industries – such as chemicals, steel, textiles and ceramics – would be particularly badly hit by the soaring costs of gas and electricity. ‘If they go ahead with this it will severely damage the economy, it will be economic suicide,’ he said.

Adam Scorer, of the official consumer body Consumer Focus, said: ‘The need for tough action on carbon is widely accepted, but this will come at a high cost. The consequences of higher bills will clearly hit the poorest households hardest.’


Australia: You can be a brainless twit (or even a blonde bombshell) if you are a Warmist

A junior Warmist at the University of Melbourne (Parkville) has excited the derision of Prof. Bunyip. He comments about the happy soul below, one Ailie Gallant

It is not Allie’s efforts to attract attention (which can also help with the funding), but her co-authored paper on water flows in the Murray Darling Basin which has brought so much reassurance.

In particular, it is the remarkably specific conclusion that there is precisely, and she is very exact about this, a 2.3% likelihood that any of the many droughts over the past 1500 years were worse than the one just ended - the same dry spell during which the she began smokin' dos' stats in her climate crib. It was a popular meme a few years ago, back when rain refused to fall and climate change was replacing global warming, so her enthusiasm at the time was understandable.

And her methods? Well, let's just say that the Professor is -- yo, lab bitches -- down with them.

The Original Custodians were not big on meteorological records, so that was a problem for Allie right there. She might have gone off to Barmah (a lovely spot) and cored a few red gums or somesuch, measured their transected rings and deduced when it had been hot and dry or cool and wet.

That was not her preferred method, however. Rather, nice and comfy at a Parkville work station, she consulted those who went before, mining their studies of celery top pines in Tasmania, teak in Indonesia, some tall timber in Western Australia, Tongan corals, kauri in New Zealand and other interesting bits of Bali, Fiji and the Great Barrier Reef. The closest survey site was a good 900 kilometres from the Murray, the furthest a 10-hour flight, even for Tim Flannery.

Data sources so far removed from the river she intended to study might have suggested an insurmountable obstacle to those who know not the miracles of modern modelling. By reviewing numbers here, sifting charts there and rejecting discordant figures in accordance with recognised climatological norms and norming, Ailie was able to feed what was left into a computerized vitamizer and - golly gosh, guess what? - demonstrate with charts and graphs that the recent drought really was the worst in centuries, just as the Phage, ABC, Guardian, World Wildlife Fund had been saying all along!

Indeed, by Ailie's reckoning, it was even worse, which must have convulsed the WWF's fund-raisers with shivers of delight: the drought was not the nastiest in 100 years or even 1,000 years - it was a full 1500 years since Australia had seen the arid like. Just to put things in perspective, that is not too long after the Romans pulled out of Britain. Amazing, ain't it, what climate science can learn about a river in southern Australia from a bit of Bali coral someone else has studied? And don't getting suspicious, thinking nobody could be that precise on the basis of such much-handled data.The science is settled, Ailie assures us, and to a 97.7% certainty, no less!

And that, as Ailie rapped the other night, is what climate science is all about. She is proud of her research, naturally, and quite probably eager to tackle the next challenge -- pinpointing Warrnambool's worst hailstorm since the Council of Trent, perhaps.


Commenter on Bunyip's site, David Joss, said...

It's a great pity that instead of studying proxies, these people did not peek into the history books.

The Federation drought ran almost as long as the most recent one.

The World War 2 drought may have been worse. It began in 1937. The Murray stopped running at Echuca in 1945 and seven million sheep died that year.

But the drought which lasted from the early 1830s until 1842 (some say 1844) was probably the worst one documented. By 1835 the Murrumbidgee had run dry at Gundagai. An early settler near Echuca, the squatter Henry Lewes, wrote that Horseshoe lagoon at Moama was dry when he arrived in 1842. There were trees growing in its bed which he reckoned were probably eight or nine years old. He watched them die as floods refilled the lagoon. And if the trees were as old as he believed, the lagoon had to dry out before the seeds could germinate.

Eye witness accounts trump tree rings every time.

Australian ski resort to open three weeks early

RECENT low temperatures and snowfalls will allow Australia's largest ski resort to kick off its winter season three weeks ahead of schedule. Perisher will officially open its Snowy Mountains Front Valley slope on Friday, following a successful round of snow-making last week.

It's the first of Perisher's snowfield to begin operations and the other slopes will follow on June 11, the official start of its season. "We are thrilled to ... be opening the resort way ahead of time," Perisher chief executive Peter Brulisauer said.

Temperatures at Perisher Valley are currently hovering around 5.7 degrees during the day. The average minimum during winter is about -3.7 degrees.



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


18 May, 2011

New model of Greenland ice-sheet shows LESS melting than thought

There seems to be a bit of cognitive dissonance on the part of the writer below. He says that sea levels are rising at a rate which will give a rise of over 18 centimetres (7") by 2100 yet reports that Greenland will contribute less than 2" of that. So where is the rest of the water coming from? The Antarctic icecap is growing overall if anything and the rest of the Arctic is sea-ice, which can melt all it likes without raising the sea level. There must be someone up on Mars directing a big hose into the earth's oceans!

Good news is rare when it comes to the Greenland ice sheet. Yet a model that accurately mimics the way the ice responds to rising temperatures by slipping and sliding into the sea suggests the resulting rise in sea levels may be smaller than feared.

In its 2007 forecasts of sea-level rise, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change famously excluded contributions from the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets because the physics were too poorly understood and complex to model. As a result, the IPCC's estimate that seas could rise by 18 to 59 centimetres by 2100 is almost certainly too low. Indeed, levels are already rising faster than the models predicted.

Using data from the last decade, Stephen Price of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico has shown that his modelled ice sheet moves in the same way as the real one does. In particular, the model accurately reproduces how disruptions to the edge of the ice sheet leads to a large initial movement, which is followed by several decades of smaller movement.
Best guess

Price has calculated that changes which the ice sheet experienced between 1997 and 2007 in response to a thermal disruption in the early 2000s will eventually lead to a rise of 0.6 centimetres. Assuming that similar thermal disruptions happen every decade, the moving ice sheet will raise sea levels by about 4.5 centimetres by 2100.

That is about half of a widely quoted previous estimate of 9 centimetres, calculated by Tad Pfeffer at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and colleagues. But Pfeffer's study was a worst-case scenario, in which all the processes driving sea-level rise were pushed to their absolute limits (Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1159099).

Pfeffer says Price's study is a more plausible estimate of what might actually happen. "They use a much more realistic scenario," he says, "and their model is really grounded in physics."


Svensmark's cloud hypothesis confirmed again

To quote Joe Biden: "This is a big f*** deal!"

The first laboratory test of the Svensmark hypothesis was the SKY experiment in Copenhagen, the outcome of which was published by the Royal Society of London in 2007. The positive results were of course politically incorrect, because Henrik Svensmark’s discovery of the effect of cosmic rays on clouds gave the Sun a much larger role in climate change than supporters of the man-made global warming hypothesis would like to admit.

The warmists were offered a delaying tactic by physicists who said, “Ah, but the SKY people used only natural cosmic rays and radioactive sources. Don’t believe them unless the CLOUD experiment in Geneva, simulating the cosmic rays with a fully controllable beam of accelerated particles, gets similar results.”

Conveniently for the warmists, CLOUD was very slow to get going. Meanwhile the Danes continued with their own experiments, including the one using an accelerator at Aarhus, as reported in Geophysical Research Letters a few days ago. The most important points are:

* The effect of cosmic rays in helping to seed cloud formation is verified with a particle accelerator, just as critics of SKY were demanding four years ago.

* A simple radioactive gamma-ray source gave just the same results in the Aarhus set-up so the earlier insistence, that only an accelerator experiment would do, was unwarranted.

Nevertheless, let’s say good luck to the CLOUD team. Their big chamber should be able to trace the growth of aerosol seeds much farther than in the small chamber used at Aarhus. And they have a large programme of future work, simulating atmospheric conditions at different altitudes.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Greenland has been warming slightly -- so is that hurting the Greenlanders?

Alarmists have been decrying the effects of global warming on Greenland for years, even though Greenland was greenest during the Medieval Warm Period, and Greenland’s Vikings, who flourished during that warm period, died out when cold temperatures returned, reducing them to starvation. (It was warmer in the year 1003 than 2003.)

Now, the residents of Greenland, the world’s largest island, are once again profiting from warming, reports the Washington Post:

“Rather than questioning global warming, many of this island’s 60,000 inhabitants seem to be racing to cash in. The tiny capital of Nuuk is bracing for record numbers of visitors this year; the retreating sea ice means a longer tourist season and more cruise ships . . . Hunters are boasting of more and bigger caribou, and the annual cod migration is starting earlier and lasting longer. In the far south, farmers are trying their hand at an exotic form of agriculture: growing vegetables. ‘Before, the growing season was too short for vegetables,’ . . .‘Now it is getting longer each year.’”

Since 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency has sought to regulate greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (which we breathe out and plants consume) because they supposedly threaten public health in the United States by causing global warming. President Obama has backed a corporate welfare-filled global-warming bill that would increase electricity bills. Obama admitted to the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008 that under his “cap and trade” plan to address global warming, ”electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

But even if greenhouse gas emissions are the principal cause of global warming (as opposed to natural causes), it’s not clear why such warming would harm public health in a non-tropical country like America. After all, people in America’s warmer cities have lower mortality rates, and higher life expectancies, than people in its colder cities.

Warmer climates may be particularly helpful for racial minorities in Canada. Most non-white Canadians suffer from Vitamin D deficiency, putting them at risk of cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes, according to the Toronto Globe and Mail. Lack of exposure to the sun is a big part of the problem. More than 50,000 people die every year in the United States every year as a result of inadequate sun exposure.

While milk is Vitamin D enriched, many non-whites are lactose intolerant. Sunlight is the most potent source of Vitamin D. But in northern regions like Canada, sunlight alone does not provide enough Vitamin D for many people who work indoors. There, the sunlight is too feeble in winter and fall for people’s bodies to turn sunlight into Vitamin D. To get enough Vitamin D from the sun, people have to go outside a lot during spring and summer to offset the weak sunlight in fall and winter. But increasingly sedentary lifestyles and office jobs have reduced outdoor activity. And cold temperatures in spring discourage warmth-loving people from going outside, even when the light is strong enough to produce Vitamin D. Thus, cold climates can be bad for their health.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Swedish windmill maker closing down

Dynawind laying off 17 employees at their tower factory

Tower manufacturer Dynawind AB in Kristinehamn, a subsisdiary of Morphic Technologies, has announced 17 layoffs. According to the Ombudsman, Lars-Olof Andersson, IF Metall Eastern Värmland has stopped production at the factory and all employees have been made redundant.

It is hoped that new orders for wind towers might come in before the redundancies come into force in mid-July.

Yesterday the company announced that they completed negotiations with the union and that nearly 20 office workers have been made redundant.

The reason was that the business situation in the subsidiary Dynawind AB did not develop in the way that the supervisory board of Morphic and the board expected. The data were included in the interim report for the first quarter of this year.

In principle, all production of towers for wind turbines has stalled at the factory.

Ombudsman Lars-Olov Andersson has been involved in negotiations. He said:

- All 17 workers have been dismissed because there are no jobs. We had a similar situation a few years ago and the company managed to obtain new orders. It is hoped that that will happen again this time. Despite the redundancies, it is better than the company going bankrupt. Now the machines and the like remain in place in Kristinehamn. As a bankrupt company they could have been purchased and the production moved from the place.

President Martin Valfridsson at Morphic Technologies said that Dynawind before the redundancy notices they had 38 employees. Now the company is just working on business and service.

- Sorry we had to lay off staff because there are no orders for towers on which to mount wind turbines.

SOURCE. (Roughly translated from the Swedish)

The Urban Heat Island Effect Distorts Global Temperatures

Has there been ANY real rise in global temperatures at all? Possibly not


How much do calculations of global temperatures represent the real temperature of the Earth? Every day, new stories appear about temperature records with errors or deliberate omissions. Essex, McKitrick, and Andresen’s article suggests that such a creature doesn’t exist. An important part of the debate is something called the urban heat island effect (UHIE). A new article by Dr. Edward Long says:

"The problem would seem to be the methodologies engendered in treatment for a mix of urban and rural locations; that the ‘adjustment’ protocol appears to accent to a warming effect rather than eliminate it. This, if correct, leaves serious doubt for whether the rate of increase in temperature found from the adjusted data is due to natural warming trends or warming because of another reason, such as erroneous consideration of the effects of urban warming."

In another paper, we learn that:

"The GISS adjustments to the USHCN data at Dale Enterprise follow a well-recognized pattern. GISS pulls the early part of the record down and mimics the most recent USHCN records, thus imposing an artificial warming bias"

What are they talking about?

German scientist A. Kratzer working on the impact of pollution on trees in the Ruhr Valley in the 1930s discovered urban temperatures were higher than the countryside. War interrupted the work, but shortly after T.J. Chandler studied the temperature of London, England. With a thermometer on his car he recorded temperatures along specific routes. When plotted, they showed a distinctive concentric pattern with higher temperatures in the centre. In 1952, Chandler published The Climate of London and B.W. Atkinson later showed precipitation patterns were also affected.

Several cities were studied since and each showed the concentric temperature patterns. The form is a distinctive dome of warm air with a centre height of about 1000 feet over the hottest part of the city

Temperature contrast between city and countryside is most extreme in cold climates, and the dome is sometimes visible in northern cities on cold, calm winter mornings. During the day, the dome rises like a hot air balloon and dissipates only to form the next night. With strong winds, it is pushed downwind away from the city. Figure 2 is a map of England for August 10 2003 with a distinctive UHIE over London but displaced to the north by a south wind. London was 36°C, but Hastings (just south of the city) was 24°C.

Alarmists linked it with the death rate and claimed both were examples of the impact of global warming. Actually, it was an urban heat island effect, and death rates were not higher than normal.

Main reasons for the temperature differences are colour and structure of surface materials, which determine their ability to absorb and release heat. Concrete, asphalt, bricks, and wood absorb heat quickly during the day and cool quickly at night while water grass and trees do the opposite. It’s a major argument for the preservation of old parks and the creation of new ones in urban areas. Trees are more important in the city than outside.

Greatest surface changes are in the centre of the city, an area called the Central Business District (CBD), which is almost 100% solid surface and impervious to water. Urban drainage systems carry water away quickly, while in the country it remains and evaporates slowly or is transpired by plants creating cooling. When water evaporates, it takes heat energy from the surrounding air or from the surface, which creates cooling – just like when you sweat. Impervious surfaces exist in the suburbs, but only 50 percent is covered. Roofs of houses, garages, driveways, roads, and sidewalks all absorb heat in the day and radiate it back to the atmosphere at night. Storm sewers remove water very quickly.

Chandler type traverses along major routes provide longitudinal profiles of the temperature variation across the city. For example at 12:30 am on September 15, 1973, Oke and Hay, of the University of British Columbia, did a 26 km traverse across Vancouver, Canada. Results showed many interesting changes:

* Temperatures ranged from about 7°C in the countryside to 15°C in the heart of the city (CBD).

* The most dramatic drop, from 14°C to 8°C, occurs in about 3 km from the suburbs to the countryside.

* Green spaces, even small ones, were distinctly cooler. Stanley Park with its tall trees was the coolest.

* Highest temperatures were in the centre despite proximity to the harbour.

* The parks, although cooler, were still warmer than the countryside.

Most weather stations are at airports, and cities have expanded and enclosed the airport so the UHIE has increased. When you separate urban weather stations from rural ones anywhere in the world, a different trend of temperatures appears. Urban stations show distinctive warming while there is very little change in rural stations.

City size determines the amount of extra heat generated by industry, automobile and people. Studies at airports show jet aircraft and heat from darker surface runways cause different readings. Unless a station remains in an unchanged environment it’s readings will change over time. Adjusting for these is the challenge.

How agencies like the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) or the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) adjust for the UHIE is the crux of the problem.

Original raw data is recorded to one half a degree, so reducing it tenths through statistics doesn’t mean much. Phil Jones claimed a 0.6°C increase since the end of the 19th century and said it is unnatural and clear evidence of warming due to human CO2 in the atmosphere. Jones still refuses to disclose which stations he used and how they were adjusted, especially for the urban heat island effect.

The automobile was a major factor causing urban expansion through suburban development. Warwick Hughes has studied temperature data for years and was the person who received the following email from Jones when he asked for his data in February 2005: "We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?"

He illustrated the UHIE with two classic plots:

The temperature curve for six Australian cities

The temperature curve for 27 rural sites in Australia for the same time period

These graphs were widely distributed and buttressed arguments about what was wrong with the claim CO2 is causing global warming. Despite knowledge about the problem this was one of the first clear examples in the public arena. Hughes’ study ends in 1991, but Long brings it up to date and the urban/rural difference continues

Now you see why the CRU and IPCC limited the number of stations they were using and restricted them to mostly urban stations to get the result they wanted. You also understand why Tom Wigley told Jones in a leaked email of November 6, 2009 that:

"We probably need to say more about [the difference between land and ocean temperatures]. Land warming since 1980 has been twice the ocean warming and skeptics might claim that this proves that urban warming is real and important"

Exactly, Tom!

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

IPCC: Screw the Rules

They're still using non-scientific sources -- and covering that up!

We’ve been told the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a paragon of virtue. Rajendra Pachauri, its chairman, says he: " …can’t think of a better process. There is not a parallel on this planet, in any field of endeavour as you have in the IPCC."

I’m sure every chef considers the dishes produced by his own kitchen exceptional, but what really matters is what the customers – and the health inspectors – think.

When a committee investigated the IPCC last year, they weren’t nearly as impressed as its chairman. Indeed, they concluded that while the IPCC has rules and procedures, they often aren’t followed. In one instance in particular, the committee found that the rule that said non-peer-reviewed source material should be identified as such when listed among the IPCC’s references was being utterly ignored.

The committee therefore made a specific recommendation, which it expressed in rather clear language: "Te IPCC should strengthen and enforce its procedure for the use of unpublished and non-peer-reviewed literature…ensuring that unpublished and non-peer-reviewed literature is appropriately flagged in the report"

But as Hilary Ostrov tells us today, IPCC bureaucrats had other ideas – and these bureaucrats have now prevailed.

Reading between the lines, it appears that the rule has never been followed because the IPCC’s clerical and technical support staff have always considered it to be too much of a bother. Thus, it was simply disregarded. (In a reputable organization, one with real checks-and-balances, that would never have been allowed to happen.)

After the committee pointed out this lack of compliance and told the IPCC to pull up its socks, the bureaucrats chose to reject the committee’s very clear instructions and instead proposed that the business about flagging non-peer-reviewed sources be abandoned.

According to an internal document (spotted by Hilary a month ago), the IPCC’s clerical and bureaucratic staff felt the: "…flagging of unpublished and non-peer reviewed literature would not be practical"

Without any discussion of why the rule was instituted in the first place or why, precisely, IPCC staff consider it so impractical, the internal IPCC document recommended that the flagging business be struck from the rulebook.

At an IPCC meeting earlier this week, this recommendation appears to have been approved. According to page 4 of this publication, the IPCC: "…agreed not to flag information derived from grey literature in the reports and focus instead on ensuring the high quality of all information, placing priority on peer-reviewed literature."

In other words, screw the rules. And screw the committee that investigated the IPCC last year which insisted the rules should be followed.

The IPCC is a bureaucracy. Which means it is governed, to a large degree, by people with a bureaucratic mindset. Rather than being responsive to the outside world, these people actually run the show. If there’s a rule they disagree with, their first response is to simply disregard it. When they’re called on this, they then arrange for the rule to disappear.

Transparency? Accountability? No better process on the planet? Yeah, right.

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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


17 May, 2011

The 2012 GOP guide to the climate debate

By Steve Milloy

If you're thinking of becoming a GOP presidential candidate - and who isn't these days? - you can plan on being pressed on the climate issue.

In the wake of last week's new report from a panel of the National Research Council (NRC) reiterating its old talking points on climate, The Washington Post editorialized that all (read "Republican") candidates for political office should be quizzed about whether they agree with the "scientific consensus of America's premier scientific advisory group."

Though this threat is intended to intimidate Republicans who tend toward queasiness when confronted with environmental issues, the attack is easy to parry and then even to counterattack - that's why Al Gore and his enviros duck debating so-called climate skeptics.

First, let's dismiss a couple of the faulty premises of The Post's editorial.

While it is true that the NRC operates under the umbrella of the National Academy of Sciences, the NRC panel that authored the report has nothing to do with the prestigious individual scientists who comprise the National Academy of Sciences membership. NRC panels are highly politicized and often stacked, and no climate skeptics were included in the panel that wrote last week's report.

Next, science doesn't work on a consensus basis. We don't accept that the Earth revolves around the Sun because most scientists, or a group of scientists, have agreed to say so. Science is driven by data, not groupthink.

In actuality, the NRC report is more of an exercise in political rather than climate science.

Skeptics don't deny global warming or climate change. We think the atmosphere probably has warmed slightly and on an average basis over the past 200 years (for unknown reasons), and we recognize that climate is continually, albeit slowly, changing.

We don't agree, however, that manmade emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases are having either detectable or predictable effects on climate - and we have at least two key means of establishing this point.

First, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased by about 8 percent or so since the mid-1990s. According to climate alarmists, this should have caused measurable global warming. But none has been observed, a fact that was finally admitted by climate alarmists in the wake of the ClimateGate scandal.

Next, if it were true that global temperature was so sensitive and dependent upon atmospheric CO2 levels, then climate models (essentially elaborate scientific formulas) could be constructed so as to accurately predict the temperature effects from changing CO2 levels. But not only do existing models not predict the future temperature, they can't predict the past when historical data is put through them.

But shouldn't we err on the side of precaution and reduce emissions anyway? As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has already demonstrated and admitted, we could shut down the U.S. in terms of CO2 emissions for 100 years, and we would make precious little difference in atmospheric CO2 level - possibly on the order of 5 percent.

Given that an 8 percent increase in CO2 over the past 15 years has amounted to zero global warming, candidates would be on firm ground wondering whether a 5 percent increase over 100 years is worth wrecking the economy over.

Candidates should not fall for bogus distractions like melting polar ice, threatened polar bears, bad weather and the like.

The Washington Post wants candidates to be quizzed on what they would do about "the rising seas, spreading deserts and intensifying storms that, absent a change in policy, loom on America's horizon."

But natural disasters, topographic changes and population booms and busts have always occurred and will continue to occur. Moreover, none of these phenomena can be scientifically tied to manmade emissions of CO2. So they are simply irrelevant sideshow issues.

Carbon dioxide should also not be referred to as a "pollutant." It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless and is an essential nutrient for plants and, therefore, humans. Alarmists call it "carbon pollution;" the rest of us call it "life."

One last science point is the ClimateGate scandal. Alarmists claim that numerous subsequent investigations of the matter by independent groups have failed to uncover wrongdoing or faulty science. But none of these whitewashes were truly independent or anything more than superficial. No input from skeptics, even those mentioned in the emails, was included.

None of this is difficult to learn and or articulate. Yet ask almost any Republican politician about any of this and the best you can hope for from them is an expression of concern about jobs and/or the fact that China and India aren't cutting their emissions.

While those are true and valid points, they too are sideshow distractions. The central point of the science debate is whether manmade CO2 emissions are causing harm. There is no evidence that they are.

People often ask, "What if you're wrong about the science?" or "Shouldn't we err on the side of better-safe-than-sorry?" But of course it's the alarmists who need to be second-guessing themselves. They've been repeatedly wrong and never right since they started forecasting climate doom almost 25 years ago. Give them no quarter.


Is the railway engineer backing down?

(I have yet to see any reasoning that explains why a railway engineer should be in charge of climate studies)

From Australia come some interesting quotes from Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, perhaps showing a new approach. First, on recent extreme events:
"Frankly, it is difficult to take a season or two and come up with any conclusions on those on a scientific basis," Dr Pachauri said.

"What we can say very clearly is the aggregate impact of climate change on all these events, which are taking place at much higher frequency and intensity all over the world.

"On that there is very little doubt; the scientific evidence is very, very strong. But what happens in Queensland or what happens in Russia or for that matter the floods in the Mississippi River right now, whether there is a link between those and climate change is very difficult to establish. So I don't think anyone can make a categorical statement on that."

When given a chance to opine on Austalia's climate politics, he took  pass:
[W]hen it came to commenting on the state of Australian politics and climate change, Dr Pachauri played a straight bat literally.

Anticipating questions about whether Australia was doing enough, he said he had rehearsed his lines. "Australia is not doing enough in cricket. About climate change, I just can't say."

He said the IPCC was "doing what we can" in relation to concerns about its reputation. "We . . . are focused on producing the best possible reports that we can. It is really up to governments to take actions that are in their best interests and society at large."


Lord Turnbull: the IPCC is useless

Following yesterday's story about David Cameron's depressing plans to bomb the UK economy back to the dark ages and wipe out the British countryside, here's a wistful reminder of how things might have been if only we weren't run by imbeciles.

It's a briefing paper called The Really Inconvenient Truth - or It Ain't Necessarily So produced for the Global Warming Policy Foundation by Lord Turnbull, the former Cabinet Secretary and head of the Home Civil Service (2002 to 2005). His arguments against unilateral action by Britain to "combat Climate Change" are clear and powerful. In a nutshell, he says: "Don't let the deeply untrustworthy IPCC decide the fate of the UK economy."

Lord Turnbull doesn't mince his words:
The feed-in tariff mechanism is fast becoming a scandal. Those lucky enough to own buildings large enough on which to install solar panels or enough land for a wind farm have been receiving 30-40p per kwh, for electricity, which is retailed at only 11p. The loss is paid for by a levy on businesses and households. It is astonishing that the Liberals who attach such importance to fairness turn a blind eye to this transfer from poor to rich running to œbillions a year. If you live in a council tower block in Lambeth you don't have much opportunity to get your nose into this trough.

It is regrettable that the UK Parliament has proved so trusting and uncritical of the IPCC narrative, and so reluctant to question the economic costs being imposed in pursuit of decarbonisation. It verges on the unconstitutional that the payments being made under the renewables obligation and feed-in tariffs and the levies being raised to pay for them are routed invisibly through the accounts of the electricity industry rather than being voted in Estimates or the Finance Bill. I am also disappointed that so many of my former colleagues in the Civil Service seem so ready to go along unquestioningly with the consensus."

You can read the report in full here.

The graph, as explained in the Turnbull report:

How the IPCC's predictions are increasingly at odds with reality

The figure shows that the linear trend between 1880 and 2000 is a continuation of the recovery from the Little Ice Age (LIA) together with the superposed multi-decadal oscillation. It is assumed that the recovery from the LIA would continue to 2100, together with the superposed multi-decadal oscillation. This view could explain the halting of the warming after 2000. The observed temperature in 2008 is shown by a red dot with a green arrow. It also shows the temperature rise after 2000 predicted by the IPCC. It has been suggested by the IPCC that the thick red line portion was caused mostly by the greenhouse effect, so the IPCC's future prediction is a sort of extension of the red line. For detail, see Syun-Ichi Akasofu: On the recovery from the Little Ice Age. Natural Science, 2:11 (2010)


More lies from a frequent Warmist liar

Judith Eilperin again

As forecast, the misinformation from the Hillary-Nuuk meeting is starting to spill out:

There is rarely if ever any sea ice around Nuuk (red circle below) this time of year. Sea ice around Greenland is right at the 30 year median.

April, 2011 was the third coldest April on record in Nuuk. The cold has continued into May, and is forecast to continue for the rest of the month.

SOURCE (See the original for more links and graphics)

Wind power wannabe

Two recent stories about wind power went unremarked in the mainstream media, presumably because the stories don't fit the dominant Green narrative, aka the Green Dream.

The first is the report out of the UK that wind farms produce far less energy and cause far more problems with the grid than proponents have predicted or acknowledged.

The John Muir Trust - a "conservation charity," please note - commissioned an engineering study of wind power in the UK. The report is out, and it is revealing. While wind power farms are pitched to investors - really, lawmakers, since wind power only exists because of lavish subsidies from government - as generating, on average, 30% of their maximum output over time, in reality they average only 25%. So wind power delivers about one-sixth less electricity than promised. This is a very significant shortfall. Yet wind power averages less than 20% of capacity most of the time, and a risible 10% about a third of the time.

But there is a more severe problem. Because wind power is so erratic, it needs backup from fossil fuel power plants, and that backup has to be able to shut down quickly when the wind blows hard, or come online quickly when wind farms won't deliver even their measly 25% power. So wind power farms must be tied very tightly to fossil fuel plants, or the grid will face a shortfall.

Even worse: the times (such as the middle of the night) when power demands on the grid are slight are often the periods when the wind blows hardest. At such times, owners of wind generators - who have to sell power whenever it shows up, even at a low price - push power onto the grid, thereby forcing other providers off.

This is because the grid is just a distribution network of power lines and transformers with little capacity for storing power when it isn't being consumed. Yes, there is "pumped storage," which uses excess electricity to get water up hill, then during periods of high demand lets it flow back down, turning turbines as it goes, thus generating power. But pumped storage is inefficient and limited. Currently, the United States, the world leader in pumped storage, can store only about 2.5% of the average electric power sent across the grid at any given time.

A second damaging piece of news for wind power is the report that it may have lost its enchantment even for the Dutch.

Perhaps because of its historic use of windmills, the Netherlands has invested heavily in modern wind power. It is now third in the world in offshore wind power generation - of course heavily subsidized by the government. But the new center-right government has decided that continuing the massive subsidies, which include the transfer of 4.5 billion Euros of Dutch tax dollars to a German engineering company to build and run new wind farms, is not, shall we say, defensible.

The new Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, may have come up with the perfect epitaph for wind power. He reputedly said, "Windmills turn on subsidies." Soon fewer will be turning.


By the time they clear all this it'll be winter again! Washington highway buried under 75FEET of snow

Running just south of the U.S. border with Canada, you'd expect the North Cascade Highway to be subject to some wintry weather occasionally.

But this weekend drivers on State Route 20 - which passes from Port Townsend in west Washington State to Newport in the east - found that snow chains wouldn't be sufficient after an incredible 75 feet of snow covered a 40-mile stretch of the highway.

And the heavy snowfall could keep the road closed for another week, which would mark its latest spring reopening in 30 years.

Officials from the Washington Department of Transportation officials say snow is 75-feet deep this year. They usually try to clear the snow by Memorial Day weekend, but WSDOT says it likely won't be cleared by then.

`We're not too comfortable with making any kinds of predictions right now, just because of the unusual spring that it's been,' said Dustin Terpening, spokesman for the Department of Transportation. `We've gotten a lot of snow really late in the spring.'

The North Cascade Highway, which typically opens for scenic spring driving at some point between late March and May, has only remained closed past Memorial Day weekend once before - in 1974.

The ongoing delays after record snowfalls is likely to have a huge impact on businesses along the highway who are hoping for a spring boost to their takings.

`I normally by this time have about four people working at my shop, and now I'm here by myself,' Doug Mohre, owner of Sheri's Sweet Shoppe, was quoted by the Seattle Times as saying this week.

Crews are also working hard to clear the snow that has engulfed and closed the Chinook and Cayuse passes in the same area. The last time all three passes were opened so late into the spring season was in 1974 - a year, like 2011, that saw the La Nina storm bring heavy snows.

The North Cascade Highway is closed in the west from milepost 134, to the east of Diablo, and in the east from milepost 171, which sits around 14 miles west of Mazama.

Crews working to remove the snows from each end of the closed stretch, as well as rocks and other detritus, from the highway are reportedly six miles apart but their efforts have been hampered by new avalanches in previously cleared stretches of road, according to the Bellingham Herald.



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


16 May, 2011

Former “alarmist” scientist says Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) based in false science

David Evans is a scientist. He has also worked in the heart of the AGW machine. He consulted full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office (now the Department of Climate Change) from 1999 to 2005, and part-time 2008 to 2010, modeling Australia's carbon in plants, debris, mulch, soils, and forestry and agricultural products. He has six university degrees, including a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. The other day he said:
The debate about global warming has reached ridiculous proportions and is full of micro-thin half-truths and misunderstandings. I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic.

And with that he begins a demolition of the theories, premises and methods by which the AGW scare has been foisted on the public.

The politics:
The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. But the gravy train was too big, with too many jobs, industries, trading profits, political careers, and the possibility of world government and total control riding on the outcome. So rather than admit they were wrong, the governments, and their tame climate scientists, now outrageously maintain the fiction that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant.

He makes clear he understands that CO2 is indeed a “greenhouse gas”, and makes the point that if all else was equal then yes, more CO2 in the air should and would mean a warmer planet. But that’s where the current “science” goes off the tracks.It is built on an assumption that is false.

The science:
But the issue is not whether carbon dioxide warms the planet, but how much.
Most scientists, on both sides, also agree on how much a given increase in the level of carbon dioxide raises the planet's temperature, if just the extra carbon dioxide is considered. These calculations come from laboratory experiments; the basic physics have been well known for a century.

The disagreement comes about what happens next.

The planet reacts to that extra carbon dioxide, which changes everything. Most critically, the extra warmth causes more water to evaporate from the oceans. But does the water hang around and increase the height of moist air in the atmosphere, or does it simply create more clouds and rain? Back in 1980, when the carbon dioxide theory started, no one knew. The alarmists guessed that it would increase the height of moist air around the planet, which would warm the planet even further, because the moist air is also a greenhouse gas.

But it didn’t increase the height of the moist air around the planet as subsequent studies have shown since that time. However, that theory or premise became the heart of the modeling that was done by the alarmist crowd.

The modeling:
This is the core idea of every official climate model: For each bit of warming due to carbon dioxide, they claim it ends up causing three bits of warming due to the extra moist air. The climate models amplify the carbon dioxide warming by a factor of three - so two-thirds of their projected warming is due to extra moist air (and other factors); only one-third is due to extra carbon dioxide.

That's the core of the issue. All the disagreements and misunderstandings spring from this. The alarmist case is based on this guess about moisture in the atmosphere, and there is simply no evidence for the amplification that is at the core of their alarmism.

What did they find when they tried to prove this theory?

Weather balloons had been measuring the atmosphere since the 1960s, many thousands of them every year. The climate models all predict that as the planet warms, a hot spot of moist air will develop over the tropics about 10 kilometres up, as the layer of moist air expands upwards into the cool dry air above. During the warming of the late 1970s, '80s and '90s, the weather balloons found no hot spot. None at all. Not even a small one. This evidence proves that the climate models are fundamentally flawed, that they greatly overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide.

This evidence first became clear around the mid-1990s.

Evans is not the first to come to these conclusions. Earlier this year, in a post I highlighted, Richard Lindzen said the very same thing.
For warming since 1979, there is a further problem. The dominant role of cumulus convection in the tropics requires that temperature approximately follow what is called a moist adiabatic profile. This requires that warming in the tropical upper troposphere be 2-3 times greater than at the surface. Indeed, all models do show this, but the data doesn't and this means that something is wrong with the data. It is well known that above about 2 km altitude, the tropical temperatures are pretty homogeneous in the horizontal so that sampling is not a problem. Below two km (roughly the height of what is referred to as the trade wind inversion), there is much more horizontal variability, and, therefore, there is a profound sampling problem. Under the circumstances, it is reasonable to conclude that the problem resides in the surface data, and that the actual trend at the surface is about 60% too large. Even the claimed trend is larger than what models would have projected but for the inclusion of an arbitrary fudge factor due to aerosol cooling. The discrepancy was reported by Lindzen (2007) and by Douglass et al (2007). Inevitably in climate science, when data conflicts with models, a small coterie of scientists can be counted upon to modify the data.

Evans reaches the natural conclusion - the same conclusion Lindzen reached:
At this point, official "climate science" stopped being a science. In science, empirical evidence always trumps theory, no matter how much you are in love with the theory. If theory and evidence disagree, real scientists scrap the theory. But official climate science ignored the crucial weather balloon evidence, and other subsequent evidence that backs it up, and instead clung to their carbon dioxide theory - that just happens to keep them in well-paying jobs with lavish research grants, and gives great political power to their government masters.

And why will it continue? Again, follow the money:
We are now at an extraordinary juncture. Official climate science, which is funded and directed entirely by government, promotes a theory that is based on a guess about moist air that is now a known falsehood. Governments gleefully accept their advice, because the only ways to curb emissions are to impose taxes and extend government control over all energy use. And to curb emissions on a world scale might even lead to world government - how exciting for the political class!

Indeed. How extraordinarily unexciting for the proletariat who will be the ones stuck with the bill if these governments ever succeed in finding a way to pass the taxes they hope to impose and extend even more government's control over energy.

While you're listening to the CEOs of American oil companies being grilled by Congress today, remember all of this. They're going to try to punish an industry that is vital to our economy and national security, and much of the desire to do that is based on this false "science" that has been ginned up by government itself as an excuse to control more of our energy sector, raise untold revenues for its use and to pick winners and losers. All based on something which is, according to Evans and other scientists, now demonstrably false.




Carbon-14 record for last 1,100 years (inverted scale). Solar activity events labeled. Source: NOTE: "BP" means Before the Present

A reader recently pointed out a fascinating temperature comparison-between 1700 AD and today. He marked two sections of the world's oldest temperature record-Central England Yearly Average Temperature 1660-2008: The first section showed our famous recent temperature surge from 1976-1998. He also marked a similar strong temperature surge from AD 1688-1738.

The killer in the comparison is that the temperature surge after 1688 was followed by a sudden plunge into one of the coldest periods in the entire Little Ice Age. The cold of 1739-40 was called The Great Frost, and it devastated Europe from Italy to Iceland.

The linkage? The Great Frost followed a period of very few sunspots-The Maunder Minimum (1645-1715). Today, we know that fewer sunspots predict colder temperatures, and the modern world has just undergone a similar dearth of sunspots, from 2007 to 2011.

During the Maunder period, Europe's glaciers were much larger than today; it was the Little Ice Age, after all. But the glaciers didn't advance during the sunspot dearth. The winters of the 1730s were actually fairly warm. But during and after the winter of 1739, glaciers advanced strongly through France and Germany, and north into Sweden, Norway and Iceland and didn't retreat for the next 50 years.

Ireland suffered the most severely. In the depths of the winter of 1739-40, winds and terrible cold intensified. Rivers, lakes, and waterfalls froze and fish died in the first few weeks of the Great Frost. Coal dealers found their coal piles and unloading docks frozen solid. Mill-wheels froze, so the millers and bakers could produce no bread.

Ireland's crucial potato crop-normally left in the ground until needed for food-froze underground. The tubers were ruined for food, and useless as seed for the following year. The following spring came drought, and the winds remained fierce. The winter wheat and barley sown the previous fall died in the fields. Sheep and cattle died in the pastures. The fall of 1740 saw a small harvest, but the dairy cattle had been so starved that few of them bore calves. Milk production plummeted as the cows' milk dried up.

That winter, blizzards ranged along the coast, and great chunks of ice sweeping down the River Liffey sank vessels in the harbor. Dublin wheat prices rose to all-time highs.

Meanwhile dysentery, smallpox, and typhus were ravaging a weakened population. Farm workers had seldom gone to town when they had food on their tables; now they wandered in seeking food or relief assistance-and died in great numbers.

The climate disaster finally ended in the summer of 1741. An estimated 400,000 people had died. Desperation gripped the people following both the Great Frost and a warmer bad-weather famine from 1726 to 1730. The harsh variability of the Little Ice Age was being felt full force. Thousands of Irish families began immigrating to America. The emigration of Ulster Presbyterians, for example, peaked between 1740 and 1760. Ministers took whole congregations to the Carolinas and Virginia, where they found like-minded people and cheap farmland.

Usually, there's about a ten-year lag between sunspot changes and their impact on earth's temperatures. The sunspots began predicting lower temperatures about 2000, for instance, and the cooling trend began eight years later in 2007. Now the sunspot minimum that just ended is predicting quite serious cold, perhaps about 2020.

Don't throw away your electric blankets-and make sure that greenhouse emissions limits don't steal the electricity to heat them.


Surprise! Heavy Snow Is Associated With Cold

One of the big global warming lies for 2011 is that the heavy snow of recent years is due to unusual warmth. In fact, it is exactly the opposite.

The animation below cycles between 2011 temperature anomalies, snowpack percentage of average, and a combination of the two. It is abundantly clear that excess snowpack is associated with cold weather, and snowpack deficiency is associated with warm weather.

Any honest person with half a brain already knew this though.


They really do want to send us back to the caves

Half of Renewable Energy is Wood, Charcoal, and Animal Dung

The IPCC recently released the Summary of a report about renewable energy. Both Pielke Jr. and Donna Laframboise have mentioned it, and once the final report comes out at the end of the month I'm sure we'll hear more about it. However, in looking over the report I was stunned to find out what the IPCC considers as renewable energy (RE).

This story at Scientific American covers it very well. I recommend reading it.

Here's the problem. The IPCC has different categories of renewable energy. They include solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, ocean, and biomass. Biomass is by far the largest category, it constitutes 79% of all renewable energy. Biomass is broken down into two groups: modern and traditional. Modern biomass is the smaller group at 38%. That means that the IPCC considers the largest single source of renewable energy in the world to be traditional biomass.

Why is this a problem? Look at their definition of traditional biomass:

"Traditional biomass is defined by the International Energy Agency (IEA) as biomass consumption in the residential sector in developing countries and refers to the often-unsustainable use of wood, charcoal, agricultural residues, and animal dung for cooking and heating. All other biomass use is defined as modern".

Traditional biomass means cooking on wood stoves, it means difficult wood collection (done mostly by women), it means smoke inhalation and deforestation. Basically, traditional biomass is another way of saying abject poverty. It means no access to energy at all. Calling traditional biomass renewable energy is more than a stretch.

It is bad enough that they are considering a lack of access to energy to actually be renewable energy, but what is even worse is that they consider it half of world's total amount of renewable energy!

I mentioned this to a colleague, and he told me it was even worse yet. Burning wood and charcoal creates black carbon. This aerosol is considered to have a warming impact on the atmosphere. Isn't one of the primary goals of renewable energy to combat climate change? After all, the report itself says (pg. 3):

"As well as having a large potential to mitigate climate change, RE can provide wider benefits. RE may, if implemented properly, contribute to social and economic development, energy access, asecure energy supply, and reducing negative impacts on the environment and health [9.2, 9.3]."

They claim that renewable energy can mitigate climate change and reduce negative impacts on the environment and health. However, their largest since source of renewable energy, traditional biomass, contributes to climate change by releasing black carbon, and has significantly negative impacts on both the environment, through deforestation, and on health, through smoke inhalation.

Including traditional biomass in a report on renewable energy cannot be defended. How can anyone now support renewable energy when it is defined as burning animal dung to heat your home or cook your food? Removing traditional biomass from the list of renewable energies may cut the UN's number in half, but leaving it in place renders the report useless. As the UN defines it currently, supporting renewable energy means supporting abject poverty.


Conservatives were the key in making Warmism unfashionable

Sad that scientists were not up to the job but good that somebody did it. The article below is written from a Warmist viewpoint but the facts are there in it

So Why Was it Such a Big Deal?

Remember Climate-Gate? Wherein a still-unknown hacker swiped a cache of emails from the server of one of the world's premier climate research facilities, revealing scientists to have not-so-great correspondence etiquette in the process? If not, don't sweat it: You're in good company. See, despite the gallons of proverbial ink spilled over the affair in climate, green, and hardline conservative circles, a forthcoming study reveals that three-quarters of the nation has no idea it ever occurred. But that doesn't mean it didn't have a seriously damaging effect on the American climate discourse.

In the course of investigating a recent piece for Slate on how climate skeptics can "convert" to believe in the science, I spoke with Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, the Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. He has a working paper on Climate-Gate pending publication, and it focuses on the impact the event had on American belief in climate change.

"That paper shows that Climate-Gate did have a significant impact on public opinion," he tells me. "We found that, first of all, 75% of the public didn't even know about it."

I had to ask him to repeat himself: Was that did, or didn't? After all, an event that only one in four Americans knows about is rarely considered hugely controversial on the national stae. It certainly wouldn't seem worthy of a '-Gate' suffix. Yet it appeared so ubiquitous: The cable news coverage was dreadful and never-ending, the climate skeptic politicians and pundits were opportunistically declaring global warming a hoax, and the trolls were never noisier on the comment boards.

And indeed, therein lies the impact:

"But of the 25% that did hear about it, about half, 12-13%, said that it caused them to disbelieve that climate change was happening, to distrust the scientists... that scientists were involved in a conspiracy, essentially. So it did have a significant impact," Leiserowitz says.

It appears that the biggest impact of Climate-Gate was essentially to turn doubters into disbelievers. Those whose political and ideological beliefs had already made them wary of climate change found their smoking gun in the hacked emails (even though in reality they were anything but). The noisiest core of climate skeptics grew, and Climate-Gate gave them a specific event to rally around and take to the blogosphere to decry. It was a political event more than a scientific one -- that much has been painfully obvious since the beginning.

As such, Leiserowitz notes that "the other important point about [Climate-Gate] is that it wasn't universally spread. That in other words, people who lost trust in the science and the scientists were very much concentrated among Republicans, conservatives, and in particular, people we've identified with very strong individualistic worldviews or values -- which is actually more powerful a predictor than being a conservative or Republican."

Again, this is unsurprising -- the people that were turned into full-blown "dismissive" climate skeptics, as Leiserowitz calls them (read more about the various kinds of climate skepticism here) were largely who you'd expect to: the Tea Party, the stereotypical Fox News aficionado, the right-wing radio listener.

Which is also how Climate-Gate managed to prove hugely influential for an event that only 25% of Americans were aware of: Like resistance to health care reform, or the stimulus spending package, 'Climate Gate' became a key plank of the Tea Party right's ideology. Thus, any conservative politician hoping to capitalize on the anger amongst those Republicans, libertarians, and 'individualists' had to convince them that Climate-Gate had closed the case on global warming.

And so, as of last year, those 26% of Americans (the number of 'nay-saying' climate skeptics at last count) who doubt climate change is real were having an out-sized influence on the policy debate -- even though about half [down to 48% at last count] Americans still recognize that warming is at least in part caused by man.


Britain as dotty as ever -- even under a Conservative government

But 15 years is a long time in politics -- so saying what they will do by 2027 means little

Cabinet ministers have agreed a far-reaching, legally binding "green deal" that will commit the UK to two decades of drastic cuts in carbon emissions. The package will require sweeping changes to domestic life, transport and business and will place Britain at the forefront of the global battle against climate change.

The deal was hammered out after tense arguments between ministers who had disagreed over whether the ambitious plans to switch to more green energy were affordable. The row had pitted the energy secretary, Chris Huhne, who strongly backed the plans, against the chancellor, George Osborne, and the business secretary, Vince Cable, who were concerned about the cost and potential impact on the economy.

However, after the intervention of David Cameron, Huhne is now expected to tell parliament that agreement has been struck to back the plans in full up to 2027. He will tell MPs that the government will accept the recommendations of the independent committee on climate change for a new carbon budget. The deal puts the UK ahead of any other state in terms of the legal commitments it is making in the battle to curb greenhouse gases.

With the Treasury and Cable's business department sceptical, green groups had feared that ministers would refuse to back the committee and were accusing them of reneging on Cameron's promise to lead the "greenest government ever". But with Clegg and the Liberal Democrats desperate to boast a success on one of their key policies, supporters of a deal won the day. A government source told the Observer: "This is a victory for the cause of enlightenment over the dark forces at the Treasury."

Another senior government figure said: "This country is now the world leader in cutting carbon emissions. We are the only nation with legally binding commitments past 2020."

This point was also stressed by David Kennedy, chief executive of the committee. "We have moved into uncharted territory and are going to be watched carefully by other countries. No one else has a target like this."

The new budget puts the government on target to meet a reduction by 2050 of 80% of carbon emissions compared with 1990 levels. The committee has said that to reach this carbon emissions should be cut by 60% by 2030.

Ministers believe that major companies involved in developing offshore wind technology - such as Siemens, Vestas and General Electric - will now be keener to invest in Britain, knowing it is committed to a huge expansion in renewable energy. It is also hoped that the commitment to renewable energy - the committee says 40% of the UK's power should come from wind, wave and tide sources by 2030 - will stimulate new industries.

These would include the development of tidal power plants, wave generators and carbon capture and storage technology - which would extract carbon dioxide from coal and oil plants and pump it into underground chambers. All three technologies, if developed in Britain, could be major currency earners.

The committee's report says the new carbon deal will require that heat pumps will have had to be installed in 2.6m homes by 2025. It also says that by the same date 31% of new cars, and 14% of those on the road overall, will be electric. Experts say a total of œ16bn of investment will be needed every year to meet the commitment. Some of this money will be raised through increases in electricity prices.

However, failure to act now and decarbonise electricity generation would mean the UK would have to pay even more to replace power plants in future. "If we have to pay more in future that will slow economic growth, so we need to act now," said Kennedy.

The decision to back the carbon budget comes a year after Cameron announced that his government would be the greenest on record, a claim that last week led the heads of 15 green campaign groups to write to the prime minister to tell him he was in danger of losing his way on environmental policy.

The letter said the coalition should promote a green economy with "urgency and resolve" if it was to honour its promise. The groups include Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the RSPB.

Tuesday's expected announcement is certain to be welcomed by green groups though they will fear further backtracking in years to come. Huhne recently announced plans to invite green lobby groups in to scrutinise policy in order to hold ministers to their promises. They have been impressed with parts of the government's programme, including progress on establishment of a green investment bank.



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


15 May, 2011

Does global warming theory contravene the laws of physics?

A lot of skeptics, including physicists, think it does. And in the header to this blog I very briefly mention one of the main arguments to that effect.

Oddly, though, any comprehensive defence from Warmists against that view is very hard to find. They seem very much afraid of opening that can of worms. So it is mainly a subgroup of the skeptical community who say that the physics is OK -- even if other things are not.

So it was Jo Nova -- normally a ferocious skeptic --who recently put up an article in defence of the physics of Greenhouse theory.

The comment thread on her article is however long and bracing. The thesis she defends is thoroughly picked apart. Interested readers should read both the original article and the comments but for the assistance of those who do not have time for that, I have picked out just one interesting comment. It is by Alan Siddons. See below:
Joanne’s interpretation is that GHGs inhibit radiational cooling. That’s the blanket theory. In this view, the sun brings the surface to a certain temperature and GHGs act to sustain it, thus increasing the average temperature by limiting how fast the nighttime earth can cool.

The principal problem with this, of course, is that the earth is seen to emit all of the energy it gets from the sun, i.e., there’s no sign of a blanketing effect.

This, of course, is profoundly embarrassing to greenhouse theorists — which is why the actual theory isn’t what Joanne describes. Theorists will admit yes, the earth appears to be naked. But that’s only an illusion, they’ll argue. In fact, the GHG blanket does indeed block the exit of light, cloaking the earth and making it darker as seen from space.

But since this blanket gets warm, it emits infrared back to the earth, the result of which is to heat the planet so much that it radiates the SAME AMOUNT as it would without the blanket.

Ergo, the earth without a greenhouse effect emits about 239 W/m² to space. And the earth WITH a greenhouse effect emits about 239 W/m² to space.

Reminds me of a joke. Gunslinger brags about how fast he can draw and stands still like a statue. Then he asks, “Wanna see it again?”

Anyway, although greenhouse proponents often start with a blanket analogy, they’re soon compelled make it an electric blanket, thereby contradicting their initial premise. Rather than inhibit cooling like passive insulators, their GHGs are active heat sources. These heat sources warm the earth below while simultaneously making it appear that the earth isn’t being warmed at all.

Any introduction to greenhouse theory will prove this. Introductory models have 239 W/m² emitted upwards from the surface and 239 W/m² returning, thus bringing the total to 478, enough to bring the surface temperature to 303 Kelvin. Once this impossible point is conceded, determining the “correct” temperature from back-radiation is only a minor detail. Lindzen, for instance, estimates the average surface temperature from this extra radiation as a blistering 350 K.

But the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere is far lower than the surface, and it remains that a cooler body cannot heat a warmer body. Greenhouse theory does violate the 2nd Law. It’s not a matter of semantics.

Hammer’s post is a sad indication that after everybody else has finally abandoned the self-contradictory intricacies of Greenhouse Theory, AGW skeptics will be standing among its last defenders.

Boo hoo! No-one is taking us seriously, say official Warmists

They do however acknowledge that the global temperature rise over the last 100 years was less than one degree Celsius -- and if that is not negligible I would like to know what would be. So their own report shows why their prophecies of doom are absurd. Essentially, nothing has happened so far -- so why should be believe that it will? The doom is just a prophecy and prophecies are a dime a dozen -- and almost invariably wrong

Public misconceptions of climate change have thwarted urgently needed U.S. efforts to reduce emissions blamed for global warming, according to a report from the National Research Council of the National Academies.

The media sometimes present aspects of climate change that are well-established as if they were “matters of serious debate,” according to the report released today in Washington. Groups opposed to policies limiting carbon-dioxide emissions are influencing some reporting, according to the study, which was requested by Congress in 2008 when Democrats were in the majority. It was prepared by a committee of scientists, engineers and economists.

Climate change is happening and is "very likely’’ caused by the burning of fossil fuels, said committee chairman Albert Carnesale, chancellor emeritus and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. The U.S. should respond with “aggressive emissions reductions” of greenhouse gases from power plants, factories and transportation, and plan for adapting to effects of global warming, such as rising seas, with a national strategy, the council said.

“We’re talking about a challenge that is a matter of decades and indeed where some of the consequences are quiet, delayed, and so public understanding and support is essential,” Carnesale said in an interview.

Informing Decision-makers

The National Research Council, based in Washington, provides information for government decision-makers under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine.

The Earth’s average surface temperature has increased by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) over the past 100 years, with about one degree occurring over the past three decades, according to the report. A “preponderance” of scientific evidence shows that the release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases is the “most likely” cause of most warming during the past 50 years, the report found.

Melting ice, rising average sea levels and reduced snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere can be linked in part to warming, the report said. In the U.S., temperatures have increased by more than two degrees during the past 50 years. Extreme weather, such as drought and heavy downpours, is more frequent and intense.


NYT lying through its teeth again

The New York Times outdid itself in media bias on Friday the 13th. It reported that “the nation’s scientific establishment” as represented by the National Research Council has reaffirmed that “global warming is real” and that “its effects are already becoming serious.” The NYT warns that we must act now because “adverse changes in the climate system…may be impossible to undo.”

The NYT regrets that “the answer comes at a time when efforts to adopt a climate-change policy have stalled in Washington, with many of the Republicans who control the House expressing open skepticism about the science of climate change. Other legislators, including some Democrats, worry that any new law would translate into higher energy prices and hurt the economy.”

For those few and uninformed skeptics, the NYT assures us that “Not only is the science behind the climate-change forecast solid, but the risks to future generations from further inaction are profound.” Already, “the sea level is rising in many American towns” and the average United States air temperature has increased by two degrees in the last 50 years.

The only skeptic cited is Texas Representative Joe Barton, who “swiftly dismissed the council’s findings.” But pay no attention to Barton. We are informed he is “leading the charge against further regulating carbon emissions,” presumably a stooge for Texas’s “Big Oil.” (A photo of a scowling Barton is attached to the article).

According to the NYT, the committee itself “is an unusual combination of climate scientists, businessmen and politicians,” and even includes “non scientist, Jim Geringer, a conservative Republican.” Such a committee would clearly bend over backwards to be fair.

The report ends on an unsurprising note. America’s greatest scientists recommend that the federal government spend a gazillion dollars on scientific and engineering research before it is too late.

Well, anyone can read the summary of the Research Council’s report on line, which I did. Here is what I found in a few minutes of research:

1) On the Committee:

Of the first eight names, only one appears to be a climate scientist. The others are engineers, lawyers, and public policy types. There are other names, but I did not want to waste my time. I presume the pattern holds. No top climate change skeptic, like MIT’s Richard Lindzen, is included. This report was not written by climate scientists but by public policy wonks.

2) On the certainty of the science:

The report tells us, contrary to the NYT account, that the science is far from certain. I quote: “How will the climate system respond to increased greenhouse gases? The exact value of ‘climate sensitivity’—that is, how much temperature rise will occur for a given increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration—is uncertain due to incomplete understanding of some elements of the earth’s climate system.” Note the wobbly use of language, such as “exact” or “some elements,” to signal that the science is “almost certain.” I can imagine the illustrious committee members searching for appropriate qualifiers that would not let the cat out of the bag.

3) If the science is uncertain, why act now?

The report, which is not a study of climate science but of risk management, argues that the potential environmental damage from temperature increases (which the committee admits we really do not understand) is so large that we cannot afford to wait until we understand the science. (With this argument, we should wipe North Korean and Iran off the map now because of the future risk of their future nuclear weapons).

4) How about the NYT’s claim of “rising sea levels in many American towns?”

Not surprisingly, I could not find this is in the report (perhaps it is hidden somewhere). There is only a general reference to risks to coastal areas from future rises in sea levels. The NYT’s claim is puzzling. How can sea levels be higher in one coastal town and lower in another nearby town? I’d like the NYT writer (Leslie Kaufman) to explain that one. (I do recall an earlier NYT report with “Rising Sea Levels and Global Warming” in the headline, but it turned out to be subsidence. The earth was inconveniently dropping not the sea level rising).

The NYT is again trying to tell us that the science is certain and that anyone who disagrees is a stooge or an idiot. If global warming alarmism is so scientifically proven, why is it that respected top scientists at institutions such as M.I.T., Princeton, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin say there is no scientific evidence to support it? Has the Times ever tried to answer this question? Global warming alarmism should not be taken seriously until and unless the question is satisfactorily answered.

Why should a layman give global warming alarmism any credence if these scientists do not?


Shale Gas Wars: A Tale of Two Studies

“A lie gets halfway around the world before truth has a chance to get is pants on”. It seems Winston Churchill’s dictum could be applied to some “comprehensive” studies into the global shale gas phenomenon too.

Since April, the findings of a shale gas study by Robert Howarth’s team at Cornell University, widely debunked for its “assumptions and inaccuracies” and, even though its authors admit it is based on “lousy” data, have been covered by eagerly awaiting media. The BBC’s “Shale gas ‘worse than coal’ for climate” is a classic example.

The same cannot be said for The Shale Gas Shock report written by Dr Matt Ridley on behalf of the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) which attracted a mere handful of journalists to its publication on May 4. While Howarth and co’s scientific ineptitude, as we shall see, makes fear-mongering headlines, the GWPF finding – at the opposite pole – finds shale gas to be “ubiquitous, cheap and environmentally benign”.

The Shale Gas Shock

For Ridley’s GWPF study, shale gas is not only proving to be “a revolution in the world energy industry”, but it promises to transform “world trade, geopolitics and climate policy”. Setting out an erudite history of shale gas and how it offers the world several more centuries of natural gas, point 22 of the report gets to the crux of the matter. “The key question about shale gas is not therefore whether it exists in huge quantities” (it demonstrably does), it is “whether it can be exploited on a large scale at a reasonable price”.

Ridley continues by scotching Berman’s opinion that only around 10 percent of each shale gas field will prove recoverable, and that the current excitement merely amounts to another “speculative bubble”. Berman concludes that US shale gas, for instance, may thus only last for seven years and not the 100 years+ widely projected. Ridley points out that Berman’s audience “is investors, not consumers” and while he concedes Berman may have a point that some investors in shale gas firms may get their fingers burnt, this will largely be because “their very success drives gas prices down” and/or because “volumes of gas are high”. In other words, the highs and lows of shale gas production would mirror that of any other extraction industry.

While we can expect “a shale gas boom in China”, with Russia being an “impediment” to development and not welcoming competition from shale gas, Ridley identifies Europe as particularly susceptible to exploitation opposition from “entrenched and powerful interests in the environmental pressure groups”. In the end however, “it will be a matter of whether over-borrowed European governments, businesses and people will be able to resist such a hefty source of new revenue and a clean energy source requiring no subsidy”.

Ridley deals well with the issues of “environmental impacts” as industry becomes “more transparent” about the chemicals in its fracking fluid thus allaying public suspicion; not least as the public is made aware that most are common to domestic usage. He further observes how it is “not in the company’s interest to allow” leakage of either gas or hydraulic fracking fluids. The study deals too with the “flaming faucets” image peddled by the anti-shale gas flick Gasland and used widely to induce public fear.

Ridley points out that “natural gas in well water is a phenomenon known for many decades before shale gas drilling began” with scientists elsewhere exposing the phenomenon by “igniting methane that escapes through holes made in the ice on Arctic lakes”. Ridley makes the case too that treatment of waste water in the shale gas process is “no different from the treatment of waste water in any other industrial process”.

At point 55, he explains that “all technologies have environmental risks”, asserting that “Press coverage that talks about ‘toxic’, ‘carcinogenic’ and ‘radioactive’ chemicals is meaningless.” “Vitamin A is toxic”, says Ridley and “a single cup of coffee contains more carcinogens than the average American ingests from pesticide residuals in a whole year. Bananas are radioactive.” And pertinently: “The question that needs to be posed is always: how toxic, how carcinogenic, how radioactive?”

Concerns over the environmental impact and footprint of shale extraction sites are also greatly exaggerated according to The Shale Gas Shock. Ridley even visited and includes a photograph of a site in the Marcellus Shale region of Western Pennsylvania where a New York Times report had claimed exploitation had had a “major impact” on the landscape and habitat. The GWPF report however found that shale gas extraction had “far more limited impact than other forms of energy”.

But Ridley rolls out the really big guns when he turns to how shale gas can impact global prices and best energy alternative competitors when it comes to the vital issue of the like-for-like cost of electricity generation. As regards the former, he includes the Institute of Energy Research’s table of relative costs per electricity generation source as they are projected to be in dollars per MW hour by 2016

The 60 percent heat-to-electricity conversion ratio – which through thermal efficiency capture (co-generation) can rise to 80 percent – literally blows away competing alternatives, especially renewables. Against wind as a generation source, Ridley maintains “gas from up to 12 wells” (the output from a single shale gas drilling derrick with a footprint of 6 acres) equals “the output of about 47 giant 2.5MW wind turbines” (each having a total “footprint of 4 acres”). More than that, while gas output can be achieved within just 30 days, Ridley claims, it would take the turbines 25 years to match it.

Finally, Ridley turns to the issue of greenhouse gas emissions currently doing the media headline rounds as a result of Howarth’s Cornell study. Ridley convincingly picks apart Howarth’s grasp of the science concerning emissions, which is demonstrated to be remiss in its key assertion over methane leakage from shale gas wells. Ridley notes how Howarth’s figures inflate even the alarmist figures used in IPCC predictions and quotes Geoffrey Styles’ critique of the Cornell Study: “Practically every paragraph includes an assumption, simplification or choice by the authors that tends to increase the calculated environmental impact of natural gas. Whether that’s the result of bias or merely judgment calls, it undermines confidence in the final conclusions at the same time it amplifies them.”

Though Ridley does not mention it, we can justifiably add another key criticism. As Energy-in-Depth’s helpful Five Things to Know about the Cornell Study points out, Professor Howarth was forced to withdraw an earlier abstract of his forthcoming study – after attracting international headlines– when it was pointed out that Howarth’s paper contained “basic errors”. In fearing for methane emissions from shale gas extraction, it turns out that the professor did not even know that methane emissions also occur during the production of coal. As EID pithily remark: “Pretty big mistake in a paper that’s supposed to be comparing emissions from coal to those from natural gas, isn’t it?”

In the foreword to GWPF’s The Shale Gas Shock, Astrophysicist Professor Freeman Dyson “emphatically” agrees with the author’s conclusions. But Dyson goes further providing a paradigm understanding of how the shale gas phenomenon warrants impacting the consciousness of us all. “While the price of oil goes up and up, the price of gas goes down,” says Dyson; a fact that has had a global impact via the U.S. shale gas revolution. Without specifically referring to the Cornell Study, Dyson concludes, “The environmental costs of shale gas are much smaller than the environmental costs of coal.” While “it is not a perfect solution to our economic and environmental problems” shale gas, ultimately, is “here when it is needed, and it makes an enormous difference to the human condition.”

Reading these two studies side-by-side, it is only too clear in which articulate, fact-based, good derivative reason resides. Above all, Matt Ridley’s GWPF study suggests the shale gas phenomenon as the paradigm-shifting positive energy story of the century so far. Not that we should expect an MSM with a preference for fact-bereft sensationalism a la the Cornell Study to run with it.


Global Warming Fraud Creates Third World Food Crisis

John O'Sullivan

How saving the planet causes famine: the climate crisis melts away but global food shortage is legacy of the foolish rush to biofuels

Evidence for dangerous, human-caused global warming was always slim, now it lies cruelly exposed both by a cruel blowback and it’s not just coming from within the science.

A far more devastating catastrophe is unfolding and it is entirely the product of the mad rush to biofuels: third world famine. Today a whopping 6.5 percent of the world’s grain has been stripped from the global food supply. That’s the kind of catastrophic cut in food supply that triggers a tipping point so that Third World hunger explodes into mass starvation. Why did it happen?

Kyoto Protocol: The Trigger to Mass Starvation

What mechanism prompted mankind to instigate this genocide of the world’s poor? The Kyoto Protocol. International governments signed up to the idea that biofuels were going to be the better, cleaner, greener source for mankind’s energy needs in a new utopia predicted for us by ‘expert’s inside the United Nations.

Canadian Geophysicist Norm Kalmanovitch is as concerned as many independent scientists at the alarming rate at which this international food crisis is now escalating.

Kalmanovitch is semi-retired now and not in fear of having his scientific career tarnished by blowback from speaking out. He argues that the facts easily demonstrate that the Kyoto Protocol is based entirely on fraudulent science.

Misguided Climate Scientist Primed the Politicians

Honest scientific inquiry serves the single purpose of advancing human knowledge and understanding free of any bias or ulterior motivation and it is clear that promoting “human caused global warming” a full nine years after the world had already started cooling serves no such lofty purpose.

Kalmanovitch accuses a small clique of self-serving climate researchers for violating the fundamental ethics of science protocol and propagating the false science that made the Kyoto Accord the international vehicle for crimes against humanity. Listening to his arguments you cannot help but see he has a point.

So what was the root catalyst for this cataclysm? Astonishingly, you can pin a lot of it on one well-intentioned but misguided do-gooder. His name: Professor James Hansen. Hansen was NASA’s bright-eyed scientist back in 1988. The eager climate modeler appeared before a Congressional Committee and prophesized that mankind would kill the planet if it continued to burn coal and gasoline at modern industrial rates.

Kalmanovich explains, “When you look closely at the climate change issue it is remarkable that the only actual evidence ever cited for a relationship between CO2 emissions and global warming is climate models.”

Hansen made unfounded and highly alarmist claims based on his computer forecasts. He predicted doomsday scenarios that panicked Congress and that wave of fear stampeded the world into believing in a non-existent crisis. Global temperatures have never rocketed as Hansen forecast. In fact all five global temperature datasets show zero net global warming over the past decade in spite of record increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels (climate scientists have now grudgingly conceded no statistically significant rise in temperatures has occurred since 1998 from their doomsaying). But once the stampede was launched it caused a rush to biofuels that stripped millions of crop acreage from the world’s food basket.

But more sickening is that many have made sizeable fortunes from trumpeting a short period of warming that lasted from (1975-1998); a vast international array of speculators in wind, solar, wave and biofuels alternatives are onboard the great global warming gravy train.

Hansen’s friends in the infant science of climatology have also fed well off government grants where the ‘climate change’ industry generates tens of billions annually in this self-perpetuating Ponzi scheme that symbiotically melded the interests of speculators with climate researchers.

In effect, those great riches and shining scientific careers were together built upon exploiting a 0.6 C rise in temperatures that all but vanished in the first decade of the 21st Century.


Greenpeace Loses Charity Status in Court Ruling

John O'Sullivan

In a landmark court ruling in New Zealand that will send tremors around the world, the once respected Greenpeace is stripped of its charity status.

High Court Judge, Justice Paul Heath made the groundbreaking decision today after overwhelming evidence was presented that proved that the organization's illegal activities were motivated by zealous political advocacy and crossed the line of what charities are permitted to do.

In a story making headlines in the New Zealand Herald (May 10, 2011) climate skeptics around the world will now be consulting lawyers in their respective countries to assess whether similar legal challenges may be made against the disgraced former charity. Dr. Tim Ball, who is currently facing court proceedings from Greenpeace supporters in Canada, urged skeptics to “pursue this globally.”

Climate Courtroom Worm Has Turned

In the U.S and Britain environmentalist activists have for decades sought to influence policymakers by a swath of unlawful protests often involving criminal damage and trespass. Several prominent UN climatologists have long aligned themselves with and been apologists for the radical and unlawful acts of these environmentalists.

As a consequence of the shock New Zealand ruling Greenpeace’s political activities mean it will be de-registered as a charity and thus lose the prestige and tax advantages associated with that status.

Judge Rules Greenpeace Acted Illegally

Justice Paul Heath’s decision was as the result of an appeal launched by Greenpeace after a 2010 ruling by the Charities Commission which found its promotion of "disarmament and peace" was political rather than educational. Greenpeace members were ruled to have acted illegally.

Justice Paul Heath pronounced:

"Non-violent, but potentially illegal activities (such as trespass), designed to put (in the eyes of Greenpeace) objectionable activities into the public spotlight were an independent object disqualifying it from registration as a charitable entity."



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


14 May, 2011

Some excerpts from the recent Cambridge meetup between Warmist and skeptical scientists

The Downing event was assembled by Alan Howard, an academic rich enough to have a foundation in his name – and it was the first time many climate scientists have ever attended an event with their critics. "Science is not a religion," said Howard, "it must be criticised". Henrik Svensmark, who offered the most compelling alternative to the IPCC orthodoxy, was among those who gave a presentation. The audience was evenly split, and the IPCC orthodox view took up perhaps two thirds of the day.

On the science, there was little disagreement over the basics, such as the physical properties of CO2, but the degree to which it drives the larger climate was greatly disputed, because the larger system remains a mystery. Even the basics of how different clouds affect temperature is guesswork: water vapour feedback may have a slight negative cooling feedback, or it may have a large positive warming feedback. These must be guessed at, or imagined, through models.

In short, the day lined up Phil Jones, oceanographer Andrew Watson, and physicist Mike Lockwood, the latter to argue that the sun couldn't possibly have caused recent warming. He was followed by the most impressive presentation from Henrik Svensmark, whose presentation stood out head and shoulders above anyone else. Why? For two reasons. The correlations he shows are remarkable, and don't need curve fitting, or funky statistical tricks. And he has advanced a mechanism, using empirical science, to explain them. At the other end of the scale, by way of contrast, the Met's principle research scientist John Mitchell told us:

"People underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful," adding, "Our approach is not entirely empirical."

Yes, you could say that....

Watson acknowledged many uncertainties before positing that climate sensitivity – a doubling of CO2 over pre-industrial levels – added 2 to 4.5C to global temperature. "This can be wrong – but it's hard to see how it can be a long way wrong," said Watson.

Other scientists disagree, with Lindzen putting sensitivity at 0.7C, which suggests we've had already had the manmade warming we're going to get. Clouds are poorly understood, and more low clouds means cooling.

The audience also challenged evidence of the causal relationship between CO2 and temperatures. Warmer temperatures mean more CO2 is released through outgassing, and the Antarctic ice core record shows temperature rising, then CO2 following closely behind. Watson said that with feedbacks, it was impossible to separate the two as cleanly as critics would like: more CO2 must surely have an amplification effect, he said.

"There is a good reason to believe ... that climate sensitivity is substantially changing the global climate. Such rapid global change is very rare in the earth's history," he concluded.

The telltale signature of greenhouse gas warming should be warming at the surface and in the troposphere, but not the upper stratosphere. It's even been suggested that carbon taxes should reflect the tropospheric temperature anomaly, rather than surface production. But while the models predict such telltale warming, the observational evidence shows it isn't there. More recently it has been cooling. This really shouldn't be happening.

"We can't explain it ... we have wide uncertainty estimates," acknowledged Watson. "Clouds is a very uncertain area." He again stated that CS was in the range of 1.1C-4C – with more no's from the skeptical side of the room.

Solar physicist Mike Lockwood began with an odd observation: "The stewardship of the planet - and lifestyles - would be much easier if [climate change] was all about the sun." It was a rare example of the IPCC academics letting their intellectual prejudices slip out. Our lifestyles are surely up to us, and policies in response to climate change should be decided coolly and rationally, not handed down as instructions from academic priests. People can get carried away with their own importance at times - particularly scientists.

Lockwood's presentation was quite lucid, though – and surprisingly generous to the next speaker Henrik Svensmark.

"I think it's a lovely idea and I do think it happens, actually. It's very clever. But it happens slowly, and we think it happens in clean maritime air. Over land, there are already enough aerosols present for cloud formation".

Lockwood outlined the sun's influence: its irradiance (TSI), obviously the primary factor in climate change, and also changes in its magnetic field, which modulate to varying degrees its UV output, and its effectiveness in shielding us from cosmic rays. In a nutshell, Lockwood believes modulations in total solar irradiance contribute around 0.75W/m 2to temperature changes, but around 5Wm/2 is needed to explain them. He acknowledged that solar activity – like the value of your portfolio – can go up as well as down. Tracking the last 24 sunspot cycles he thinks there's an 8 per cent chance of arriving in a Maunder Minimum – a period of low sunspot activity and colder weather – in the next 40 years. The strongest argument, according to Lockwood, for the sun not being a driver in recent climatic activity is that "it has been going in the wrong direction for 30 years".

Lockwood was asked about the recent Shapiro paper (PDF/380KB), published in peer-reviewed journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, which suggested that solar irradiance was much more important than previously thought. Alexander Shapiro, at the World Radiation Centre in Switzerland, looked at magnetic fields as a proxy for TSI and concludes that historical reconstructions have underestimated both TSI and UV – by a factor of six.

Lockwood didn't think much of it. "It's based on the premise that there are small magnetic fields between the sunspots. There's no doubt that over 30 years the trend was downward."

Plimer was convincing on the long-term geological record.

"I would like to see why 3 per cent anthropogenic CO2 drives climate, and the other 97 per cent doesn't". The official answer is that the 97 per cent of natural CO2 is perfect equilibrium, but the wicked (fossil fuel) 3 per cent tips everything out of balance.

"For people to call me a Climate Change denier is a demonstration of public ignorance – geology is all about change – it's the science of climate change," he said.

Mitchell's contribution was a mixture of the sophisticated and the simple. He rebutted the idea that you could not model a chaotic system and come out with anything useful. Obviously there's plenty of maths that begs to differ, and Mitchell mentioned some of it, such as Lorenz. Other arguments were odd: Mitchell used the examples of Mars and Venus – two planets which don't have biospheres. This example may prove that there's a greenhouse gas effect – but not much else. And it wasn't seriously in doubt.

So the disagreements really break down into two. There's the science: human influence is either significant or not so significant; and there's economics: we must have policies which make drastic changes to society, lifestyles and industrial policy – what George Monbiot called "a war against ourselves" – or we must sensibly adapt, and are foolish to create more unnecessary human poverty and misery when we don't need to.

This isn't so surprising, really. The most passionate believers in the view that man is irreparably changing the climate are the people with the long lists of radical remedies already prepared; their politics needs the catastrophe, for nobody would entertain their politics for a moment – it wouldn't be mainstream – if it didn't come with a catastrophe attached. Take away the catastrophe, and their politics collapses like a house of cards. Politically we're in a sort of limbo: a few countries have pledged themselves to the course of radically changing lifestyles and industrial policy – but the price of implementing them is political suicide. Things meander along without resolution.


Hillary was conned

The Obama administration Thursday welcomed a new report warning of the highest Arctic summer temperatures in two millennia, resulting in melting icecaps and a projected acceleration in sea-level rise. The findings are not necessarily in line with those from other studies.

“Arctic summer temperatures have been higher in the past few decades than at any time in the past 2,000 years,” stated the report by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), attributing the finding to “evidence from lake sediments, tree rings and ice cores.”

It also found that 2005-2010 was “the warmest period ever recorded in the Arctic” and that “the Arctic Ocean is projected to become mostly ice-free in late summer within this century, perhaps within the next thirty to forty years.”

“The largest bodies of ice in the Arctic -- multi-year sea ice, mountain glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland Ice Sheet -- have all been declining faster since 2000 than they did in the previous decade, which may have a significant impact on the acceleration of sea-level rise in the future,” the report said.

“Global sea level is projected to rise by 0.9 to 1.6m (2.95 to 5.25 ft) by 2100, and Arctic ice loss will make a substantial contribution to this.”

The report was presented in Nuuk, Greenland, at a meeting of the Arctic Council – foreign ministers from eight Arctic countries – the first of its kind to be attended by an American secretary of state. AMAP is a working group of the Arctic Council.

The State Department said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined her Arctic Council counterparts Thursday “in welcoming the release of a major climate science report on the state of the frozen Arctic.”

“The United States urges forward looking cooperation among the Arctic countries to respond to the … findings and recommendations,” it said.


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walks with her Danish counterpart, Lene Espersen, and Greenland Premier Kuupik Kleist, right, in Nuuk, Greenland, on Thursday May 12, 2011. (AP Photo/POLFOTO, Leiff Josefsen, Sermitsiaq AG)

Addressing media after Thursday’s meeting, Clinton agreed with a reporter who said U.S. administrations had found it difficult to follow through on climate change commitments.

“You’re right that it’s been challenging in our political system to take the kinds of actions that we know are dictated by the science and by what we see in front of our eyes,” she said.

“Many of the indigenous people who are here at the Arctic Council meeting can give you very dramatic descriptions of how their land and the sea has changed in their lifetimes,” Clinton continued. “So there is no doubt, except among those who are into denying the facts before their eyes, that climate change is occurring, and it is contributed to by human actions at every level.”

Despite her tone and the striking assertions in the AMAP report, there are questions about some of the claims:

Hottest ever

The AMAP report stated that “Arctic summer temperatures have been higher in the past few decades than at any time in the past 2,000 years.”

Other studies, however, have found that Arctic temperatures have fluctuated, and are now around the same level as they were in the mid-1930s.

Igor Polyakov of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks tracked Arctic temperature records from the latter part of the 19th century until the current decade, and found that the 1930s marked the warmest time during that period.

Projected sea-level rise

During the 20th century, the sea level rose by an estimated 1.6-2.0mm a year -- a total of 16-20cm (6.3-7.8 inches) over the 100-year period.

Over the century to 2100, the AMAP report projects a global sea-level rise of between 90cm (2.9 feet) and 160cm (5.25 feet), and states that “Arctic ice loss will make a substantial contribution to this.”

But the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s most recent series of reports, released in 2007, projected that sea-level rise over the next 100 years would rise by between 18cm or 0.6 feet (the bottom of the range given in a best-case temperature-rise scenario) and 59cm or 1.9 feet (the top of the range in a worst-case scenario).

Even though the IPCC numbers did not take into account a possible acceleration of a thaw in polar regions, that is nonetheless a significantly smaller rise than the AMAP is projecting.

Furthermore, melting icecaps and glaciers will account for only some of the projected rise, the IPPC said, while the rest will be due to thermal expansion – the expansion in volume of water as a result of a rise in temperature.

Is sea-level rise accelerating?

According to the new AMAP report, Arctic ice has been melting faster since the year 2000 than during the previous decade, “which may have a significant impact on the acceleration of sea-level rise in the future.”

Other studies have found that, while there has been a small rise in sea-levels over the past century, the rate of the rise did not accelerate at all.

A 2010 German paper analyzing long-term tide gauge records over the period 1900-2006 found no “significant acceleration” in sea level rise.

A 2007 analysis of sea-level records over the period 1903-2003 found that the rate of sea-level rise was in fact higher in the first half of the 20th century than in the latter half.

And a 2011 analysis by U.S. experts of 57 tide gauges, each having data recorded over periods of between 60 and 156 years, found no acceleration in sea level rise, but on the contrary, a small deceleration.

In his Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore declared that sea levels could rise by seven meters (22.9 feet) “in the near future” as a result of melting ice, a development which he said would displace millions of people.

After the film was used in British schools, it became the subject of a legal dispute.

In 2007, London High Court judge Michael Burton identified Gore’s sea-level prediction as one of nine significant errors in the film, calling it “distinctly alarmist” and an “Armageddon scenario.”


Saving Energy? Colder Homes Hurt The Environment In The Long Run

A rare admission that cold is more of a health problem than is warmth

Beginning in the 1970s, we were taught to keep homes cooler if we want to save energy and therefore both money and the planet. But systems don't really work that way, as most knew, and a report commissioned by Friends of the Earth and written by Professor Sir Michael Marmot points out that cold homes cost lives and harm the environment in the long run.

While elderly people living in cold homes are more prone to heart and lung disease, the editorial by Dr. Keith Dear and Professor Anthony McMichael from the Australian National University in Canberra also notes that cold homes can affect health at any age. Children are more likely to suffer from breathing problems and adolescents living in a cold house have an increased risk of mental health problems.

The report highlights that every year in the UK there are around 5,500 more deaths than would occur if those houses were warm. By having warmer houses, lives could be saved, the environment wins in the long run and health inequalities are reduced.

So why are there more deaths from cold in milder climates? In severely cold climates homes have always had better insulation - obviously poor people who can't afford heat can't afford new insulation either. But warmer homes would also mean governments would also be tackling climate change.

The authors conclude that Britain "is saddled with obsolete housing stock many decades, if not centuries, old …these inadequate homes are a waste of energy, a health hazard, and (given today's levels of national wealth) a shameful relic for their part in fostering persistent, avoidable, social inequity."

While it is unfortunate that researchers should once again call for higher taxes, forcing even fewer people to be able to heat their homes in the interests of impossible-to-achieve equality, the idea that less warmth in the winter is a long-term environmental negative is a welcome realization.


Myths About Oil and Gas

As voters around the country wince at rising gas prices, panicked Democrats, in a rush to cover the failure of their all-or-nothing bet on the alternative energy industry have started singing a familiar tune – blame the oil and gas industry. Instead of facing the reality of his owned failed policies, President Obama is calling for an end to the "tax giveaways" he claims amount to $4 billion in “subsidies” to the energy industry.

This tactic isn’t surprising given the effect that rising gas prices have on the President’s approval ratings and his obsession with re-election. But, less than truthful innuendos and political spin hardly helps American working families that are getting hammered at the pump.

If our leaders are going to have an honest discussion about energy, it's important to clear up a few rumors, misconceptions and outright falsehoods being perpetrated about the oil and gas industry. Let's begin with three of the more common ones:

1. The industry doesn’t receive any taxpayer funded subsides. None.

2. Rampant speculation and Wall Street tricks aren’t driving up gas prices.

3. The oil and gas industry is not dodging the taxes they owe and withholding “their fair share”.

I'll say it again; contrary to popular opinion and the President's spin, oil and gas gets no taxpayer funded subsidies. The tax code does allow them certain tax credits and deductions to encourage continued investment in an industry that is heavily front-end loaded with capital expense. These are the same kind of incentives available to Coca-Cola, General Electric, Ford, and Micro-Soft and other companies doing business in the U.S. Or, for that matter, like the deduction for mortgage interest payments enjoyed by homeowners. But, importantly these are tax credits, and markedly different from direct taxpayer cash subsidies like the 45 cent per gallon payment blenders get to put ethanol in fuel mixes.

When businesses invest in America, we all benefit. The oil and gas industry plows about $300 billion into domestic projects per year – that's 75 times more than Obama's phantom "taxpayer giveaways" amount - and employees over 9 million people. Those are real numbers; not Washington spin, and if government would allow and encourage even more domestic production there would be more jobs and more investment – and more total taxes paid, too.

Another argument that often circulates when gas prices go up is that a phantom class of “Wall Street speculators” is to blame for the increase of prices. So pervasive was this school of thought that in 2008, President Bush commissioned an exhaustive review, via the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, of the effect that speculators had on market prices. Their conclusion was surprising, according to The Wall Street Journal, “The agency concluded that speculators—otherwise known as traders—were putting downward pressure on prices. The liquidity they provide helps to smooth volatility.”

Not satisfied with the 2008 study, President Obama recently resurrected this school of thought, even tapping Attorney General Eric Holder to police perceived illegal activity and price gouging. Yet within the Presidents’ own Administration, the Federal Trade Commission found that the recent spike in oil prices is due primarily to normal market forces, including booming demand from developing economies in India and China and not because of any questionable behavior from Wall Street.

The third popular attack is that somehow oil and gas industry isn’t paying its fair share in taxes. Democrat mythology aside, the oil and gas industry pays a much heftier percentage of net income in taxes (41.1%) than the average of all other S&P Industrials (26.5%). Every single day, the industry is sending more than $85 million to the U.S. Treasury for taxes and royalty payments. Yes, the energy companies are profitable, but their profit margins are right in line with manufacturing, aerospace, and food industries, while computer, pharmaceutical, and the beverage companies have triple the net income margins of traditional energy.

I don't like subsidies and I don't like Congress or the IRS deciding what is good economic behavior and what is bad. But, I do understand that you get more of what gets incentivized, and less of what is penalized. And, there is a huge difference in "redistributing the wealth" through direct subsidy payments, and a tax credit that encourages investment in much needed production that creates jobs and taxable income.

If congress is serious about creating jobs and jump starting the economy, they should lower the corporate tax rate, which is the highest among the 34 OECD nations, rather than increase the tax burden on energy or any industry.

Capital is fungible, and energy production is the prototypical global industry. Plenty of nations around the world are providing a far more welcoming business environment for energy production that the U.S. already with a less onerous tax code and far less regulatory burden.

If increasing our domestic supply is really a national objective, then this might not be the best time to send exactly the opposite message to the people that provide the capital to drill the wells.


Will Brussels end Poland's shale gas dream?

A ban by the French gov't on hydraulic fracturing has raised worries that the EU could follow suit

Poland's shale gas reserves are estimated at 5.3 trillion square meters and could make the country independent from Russian gas for hundreds of years. Gas monopolist PGNiG is even ready to spend 100 million zlotys on shale gas exploration this year.

However, French deputies' Wednesday decision to ban hydraulic fracturing, a key method used in shale gas extraction, has raised fears that the European Union may create regulations that will put an end on Poland's shale gas dreams.

Maciej Kaliski, head of the department of oil and gas in the Ministry of Economy told Dziennik Gazeta Prawna that Poland will not have many allies, as there are influential groups in Brussels which want to restrict the development of shale gas in Europe.

According to geologist Jan Krason, a strong nuclear lobby and Russian gas supplier Gazprom stand behind the French ban, DGP reports.

"Some 80 percent of energy in France comes from nuclear sources. Shale gas poses competition for their energy sector," he told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Poland wants shale gas extraction to be a common European project and intends to promote this source of energy during its presidency of the EU. The issue is also to be discussed during president Barack Obama's visit to Poland on May 27.


How government increases environmental risks

I'm not afraid of airline travel, but I understand the fear. That's because, while it is statistically much safer than car travel, the scale of risk is different, as expressed in a simple question: Would you rather be in a car crash or a plane crash?

This explains the fear of nuclear energy. Yes, it is a "cleaner" form of energy, but the scale of risk makes it unappealing. When something goes wrong, it can go horribly wrong. Just ask the Japanese.

I don't know why a nuclear plant was built so close to the shore in a country vulnerable to tsunamis. But it would have impossible in a genuinely free market economy. Nuclear power just isn't attractive. As Cato's Jerry Taylor explains,

"[E]ven during the go-go days prior to the September 2008 crash – a time when Wall Street was allegedly throwing around money left and right to all sorts of dubious borrowers – the banks that stand accused of recklessly endangering their shareholders on other fronts were telling utility companies that they would not loan them anything for new nuclear power plant construction unless the feds unconditionally guaranteed every last penny of those loans. That's how risky market actors think it is to build nuclear power plants."

And this is only the investment risk: the capital costs of nuclear plant construction are too high and the profits, if any, are too distant. Add to that, the liability risk of radioactive contamination are simply too great for energy companies and their insurers to bear.

If nuclear power plants can't be constructed without government guarantees, then government is the chief culprit when things go wrong.

The same could probably be said of off-shore oil drilling, which the federal government also encouraged with liability caps for oil companies. Unlike nuclear plant construction, off-shore drilling is attractive to investors. It may even be attractive with no government protection of liability. So why not let the free market find out?

A Canadian company wants to build an underground oil pipeline from Alberta to Texas that will cross through the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest aquifers in the world. A leak there could spill in the Platte and eventually Missouri and Mississippi rivers. And, a leak in such a remote place may take days to detect and even more days to get a crew in to repair it.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has the final say on whether construction of the pipeline may go forward.

I know nothing about pipeline construction, so maybe there's a good answer why an overland pipeline is out of the question. But it is unfathomable as to why the pipeline can't be re-routed east to avoid the aquifer. If this is such a great idea, and the pipeline is "completely, 100% safe," then the government doesn't need to have a say on it at all. If it's so safe, the company could guarantee its safety by promising generous reimbursement to everyone affected in the case of an accident. Or insurance companies would seize the opportunity to sell liability insurance.

Moreover, any private company whose infrastructure must cross privately-owned land should pay the owners for the privilege, and not get the government to use eminent domain powers.

If Madame Secretary is fed bad information and gives approval for this route, and there's a leak, she suffers no consequences, although she will be chiefly at fault.

In a genuinely free market economy, this pipeline simply would not be built. Not on this route. No investor or insurance company would assume the risk, because they would suffer consequences.

One of the most frustrating features of government environmental policy is that it micromanages the level of water in our toilet bowls and prohibits trisodium phosphate in laundry detergent, but then exposes vast amounts of people to catastrophic health and economic risks.



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


13 May, 2011

Fifty days to save the world -- in 2009

Published Date: 20 October 2009

GORDON Brown has warned there are fewer than 50 days left for world leaders to set a course of action to save the planet from devastating climate change. The Prime Minister said there would be a global "catastrophe" if action to tackle climate change was not agreed at United Nations talks in Copenhagen in December. He also insisted "there is no plan B".

The conference will bring together environment ministers from 192 nations to try to reach an agreement on a deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Brown said the economic cost of failing to address global warming would be greater than the impact of the two world wars and the Great Depression. And he warned Britain could be hit by heatwaves, droughts and flooding if climate change was allowed to rise unchecked.

It is widely accepted that a global temperature rise of more than 2C will cause environmental chaos.

The Copenhagen summit, which begins in 49 days, on 7 December, is seen as the last chance for world leaders to agree how to tackle the crisis.


It must by now be more like 500 days from that prophecy and the world still seems OK

Crabs Love Warmer Water!

Decreasing crab populations indicate COOLING

Who would ever guess that in 2011, one of the most popular television shows in the world is about fishing for crabs in “the vast Bering Sea.” Deadliest Catch premiered on the Discovery Channel on April 12, 2005 and currently airs in over 150 countries. If you don’t know, the show portrays the real life events aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the fall Alaskan king crab and the winter Opilio crab fishing seasons. With so much interest in the show and so much concern about climate change in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, it was just a matter of time before we explored the world of crabs and climate change.

Our interest in this subject actually came about given a recent article in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. The article was produced by three scientists from Oregon; Stoner et al. acknowledge that “This study was conducted as part of the AKCRRAB Program (Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation, and Biology) funded by the NOAA Aquaculture Program and the Alaska Sea Grant College Program.” They note in their introduction that “Red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) (RKC) was the most economically valuable crustacean fishery in Alaska from the late 1960s, until the population collapse in the early 1980s. Both over-harvest and unfavorable environmental conditions probably contributed to low fishery recruitment. Various fishing closures have been imposed in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea for more than two decades, but the stocks have not recovered substantially.”

Regarding any link to climate change, Stoner et al. state “Temperature is a dominant environmental factor that mediates the behavior, physiology, growth, survival, distribution, and recruitment of ectothermic animals living in temperate and high latitudes. Consequently, climate-driven changes in ocean conditions can cause significant fluctuations in the distribution and abundance of marine populations....

Fair enough! To test how the red king crabs respond to various water temperatures, Stoner et al. reared red king crabs for 60 days with water temperatures ranging from 1.5ºC to 12ºC. Some of the crabs were cultured in populations while others were grown in isolated cells. The key figure below tells much of the story – the red king crabs grow best in warm water … the warmer the better from their perspective! Not only are the growth rates in terms of size impressive at high temperatures, but the growth rates in terms of weight are just as impressive. Weights for red king crabs at 12ºC averaged nearly seven times more than the weights for the crabs reared at 1.5ºC.

Figure 1. Growth rates of red king crabs cultured in populations and individually (in cells) for 60 days at four experimental temperatures. Values are mean ± standard deviation for all of the surviving crab. Curves were fit to the data with two-parameter exponential functions (from Stoner et al., 2010).

In discussing their findings, Stoner et al. note “There is little doubt that variation in growth rate associated with temperature is related to differential rates of metabolism and food intake, as observed in other crustaceans. We have observed that the general activity of age-1 RKC doubles between 2° and 10 °C and that feeding rate increases 2.8 times.” The warmer they get the more they eat!

Surely something must come along and spoil this story? Consider the following concluding comments from the Stoner et al. team. They state “The significance of temperature-related growth and metabolism for RKC aquaculture is obvious. Exponential increase in growth rate with temperature means that crabs can be reared to release stage in a shorter time, reducing costs for facilities and labor. In this experiment there was no apparent disadvantage of high temperature in terms of crab survival; however, at some point above 12°C survival will decline as the crabs reach their upper range of physiological tolerance. Also, we predicted that cannibalism would increase with increasing temperature as indicated in at least one field study with Callinectes sapidus Rathbun 1896. Such a result was not observed in this study”. By the way, you know “Callinectes sapidus Rathbun 1896” as blue crabs.

More directly to the climate change issue, Stoner et al. conclude “Increases in water temperature associated with climate change have already been observed in Alaska, and it is clear that these changes will have direct effects on the growth and age-at-recruitment for RKC as well as other taxa. No apparent adverse effects of temperatures as high as 12 °C were observed on the growth and condition of juvenile RKC in this study, and accelerated growth might have a positive, indirect effect on survival. Depending upon temperature, the size of RKC juveniles could easily span <4 mm to >10 mm one year post-settlement. Larger size associated with high temperature could provide for earlier refuge in size from the typical fish and invertebrate predators on RKC.”

Once again, we find a situation where most would believe that warming would have a devastating effect on the red king crabs in “the vast Bering Sea.” But when a scientific experiment is conducted, we find evidence that the crabs love the warmer water. Having seen fishermen on Deadliest Catch nearly freezing to death show after show, a bit warmer water would probably go over pretty well with them as well!

Stoner, A.W., M.L. Ottmar, and L.A. Copeman. 2010. Temperature effects on the molting, growth, and lipid composition of newly-settled red king crab. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 393, 138–147.


The EPA ignores jobs in its rush to regulate

How important are jobs to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency? Not very, according to recent testimony from EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. After Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., asked whether an EPA economic analysis of new coal ash regulations took into account potential job losses, Stanislaus replied: "Not directly, no." Gardner then followed up: "Is it standard procedure for an economic analysis to ignore the impact on jobs?" Stanislaus could only manage the following in return: "Well I can get back to you on the specific details of how we do economic analysis." It has been over three weeks since that exchange, yet Stanislaus has yet to answer Gardner's question satisfactorily.

The EPA should have been ready for this line of questioning. On Jan. 18, Obama issued Executive Order 13563, which directed the regulatory agencies to "protect pubic health, welfare, safety, and our environment, while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation." Is the EPA ignoring EO 13563?

Gardner is continuing to seek answers. Last week, he sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson asking for details on how the EPA analyzes the effects of new regulations on job creation. Gardner is also asking for a list of all past regulations that were put into effect without any economic analysis of their impact on job creation. Finally, Gardner questions whether the EPA is purposefully ignoring Executive Order 13563 by failing to conduct periodic reviews of existing regulations with an eye toward job creation.

Last Friday, the Department of Labor released the April Employment Summary showing the nation's unemployment rate had risen to 9 percent. Despite White House promises that, if enacted, the Obama $825 billion economic stimulus program would prevent unemployment from rising above 8 percent, April marked the 27th straight month that unemployment was above that mark.

At a time of economic stringency, Obama would be doing everything in his power to allow the private sector to create jobs. He says he is. In his weekly radio address last Saturday, he told Americans: "Not a day that goes by that I'm not focused on your jobs, your hopes and your dreams." But you can't focus on what you don't measure. How can the Obama administration claim to be promoting job creation when the EPA isn't even analyzing what effect its regulations will have on jobs?

Despite strong public and congressional opposition, Obama's EPA is moving forward with its plan to vastly and unilaterally expand its regulatory reach, using the pretense of fighting global warming. The regulations will touch every aspect of the U.S. economy. The EPA needs to answer Gardner's letter in full, and it needs to do so before the agency does any more damage to the economy.


Environmentalists Were For Fracking Before They Were Against It

The world’s projected natural gas supplies jumped 40 percent last year. How is such a thing possible? Until a decade ago, experts believed that it would be technically infeasible to exploit the potential resource base of natural gas locked in 48 shale basins in 32 countries around the world. Then horizontal drilling combined with hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, was perfected. The shale gas rush was on, and last year the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) issued an analysis revising its estimates of available natural gas dramatically upward.

The ability to produce clean burning natural gas from shale could transform the global energy economy. Right now we burn about 7 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas to generate about 24 percent of the electricity used in the United States. The U.S. burns a total of 23 tcf annually to heat homes and to supply industrial processes as well produce electricity. Burning coal produces about 45 percent of U.S. electricity.

A rough calculation suggests that 100 percent of coal-powered electricity generation could be replaced by burning an additional 14 tcf of natural gas, boosting overall consumption to 37 tcf per year. The EIA estimates total U.S. natural gas reserves at 2,543 tcf. This suggests that the U.S. has enough natural gas to last about 70 years if it entirely replaced the current level of coal-powered electricity generation.

Similarly, it would be notionally possible to replace the entire current U.S. gasoline consumption with about 17 tcf of natural gas per year. So replacing coal and gasoline immediately would require burning 54 tcf annually, implying a nearly 50 year supply of natural gas.

What about the greenhouse gas implications? The EIA estimates that the U.S. emitted 5.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2009 (the last year for which figures are available). Burning coal emitted 1.75 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Similarly, burning petroleum in the transportation sector emitted 1.7 billion metric tons of CO2, of which about two-thirds came from consuming gasoline. By comparison, the natural gas burned to generate electricity emitted 373 million metric tons of CO2. A rough calculation suggests that replacing coal and gasoline with natural gas would reduce overall U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by about 25 percent.

Given its greenhouse gas benefits, environmental activists initially welcomed shale gas. For example, in August 2009 prominent liberals Timothy Wirth and John Podesta, writing on behalf of the Energy Future Coalition, hailed shale gas as “a bridge fuel to a 21st-century energy economy that relies on efficiency, renewable sources, and low-carbon fossil fuels such as natural gas.” The same year, environmentalist Robert Kennedy, Jr., head of the Waterkeeper Alliance, declared in the Financial Times, “In the short term, natural gas is an obvious bridge fuel to the ‘new’ energy economy.”

That was then, but this is now. Practically en masse, the herd of independent minds that constitutes the environmentalist community has now collectively decided that natural gas is a “bridge to nowhere.” Why? In his excellent overview, The Shale Gas Shock [download], published last week by the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, journalist Matt Ridley explains: “As it became apparent that shale gas was a competitive threat to renewable energy as well as to coal, the green movement has turned against shale.”

And indeed natural gas is cheaper than renewable sources of energy even if one includes the costs of carbon capture and sequestration. The EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook for 2011 calculates the levelized costs of electric power generation for various fuel sources. Levelized costs include all capital, operating and maintenance, fuel, and transmission costs for building plants now that would switch on by 2016.

In cost terms, natural gas is the clear winner. Electricity produced using natural gas in a combined cycle generating plant comes in at $66 per megawatt-hour. If one includes carbon capture and sequestration, basically burying carbon dioxide underground, the cost rises to $89 per megawatt-hour. In contrast conventional coal costs $95 per megawatt-hour rising to $136 using carbon capture and sequestration.

How does natural gas compare with various carbon-free and renewable energy sources? Nuclear clocks in at $104 per Mwh, offshore wind at $243 per Mwh, photovoltaic at $211 per Mwh, solar thermal at $312 per Mwh, geothermal at $102 per Mwh, and biomass at $113 per Mwh. The only renewable sources that are close to competitive with natural gas are onshore wind at $97 per Mwh and hydroelectric at $86 per Mwh. With regard to transportation, the price of compressed natural gas currently hovers around the equivalent of $2 per gallon of gasoline.

Keep in mind that the above is just a thought experiment. Junking coal-fired plants and dramatically expanding natural gas production as well as the infrastructure to burn it to generate electricity and dispense it as transport fuel would be costly. Increased demand for natural gas would also tend to boost its price.

Since renewables come off so badly in comparison with natural gas and offer energy independence as well, once-enthusiastic activists evidently began to search for other reasons for opposing it. Ridley cites five claims: fracking fluids contain dangerous chemicals that might contaminate groundwater; wells allow gas to escape into aquifers; well waste water is contaminated with salt and radioactive elements that pollute streams; it uses too much freshwater; and drilling damages landscapes.

First, the shale that contains natural gas lies below thousands of feet of impermeable rock so that the fracking process itself will not contaminate drinking water aquifers that are generally only a few hundred feet below the surface at most. A 2010 Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection report “concluded that no groundwater pollution or disruption of underground sources of drinking water have been attributed to hydraulic fracturing of deep gas formations.”

On the other hand, the drilling companies did their industry no favors by keeping their proprietary fracking fluid formulas secret. The cloak-and-dagger approach alarmed the sorts of folks who are easily alarmed. But as Ridley points out, the fracking fluids are actually 99.9 percent water and sand. The small amounts of added chemicals reduce friction, fight microbes, and prevent scaling. In any case, many states are now requiring companies to reveal their formulas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue a report on the safety of fracking in 2012. In the meantime, the Obama administration appointed a new panel last week to look into fracking and make recommendations in 90 days on how to improve on the safety of the technique. It is unlikely that whatever new regulations that emanate from these bureaucracies will derail the shale gas industry.


Weak Warming of the Oceans 1955-2010 Implies Low Climate Sensitivity

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Assuming that the Levitus record of global oceanic heat content increase is anywhere near accurate, what might it tell us about climate sensitivity; e.g., how much global warming we might expect from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations? As we will see, the oceans have not warmed nearly as much as would be expected if the climate system really is as sensitive as the IPCC claims.

The following now-familiar plot of ocean heat content change for the surface – 700 meter depth layer is the result of a layer average temperature increase of about 0.17 deg. C over the 55 year record:

In the meantime, global average sea surface temperatures have reportedly increased at about 3.5 times this rate, about 0.6 deg. C, based upon the HadSST2 data.

As Bob Tisdale has pointed out, the above plot expressing heat content in terms of gazillions of Joules sounds dramatic (if you didn’t know, 1022 is 1 gazillion) — but the 0.2 deg. C warming upon which it is based?…maybe not so much.

Nevertheless, what is useful about the heat content data is that it is relatively easy to then calculate from the yearly changes in ocean heat content how much of an energy imbalance (energy flow rate into the ocean) is required to achieve such changes.

This ends up being an average of 0.2 Watts per sq. meter for the 55 year period 1955-2010…a calculation that Levitus also made. Here’s what the yearly energy imbalances look like which are required to cause the yearly changes in ocean heat content:

Note that with considerable smoothing of the data, we see a peak imbalance around 0.6 W m-2 during the maximum warming rate around the year 2000.

Now, by way of comparison, how much radiative forcing does James Hansen (GISS) estimate the climate system has undergone during the same period of time? The following plot shows the various forcings Hansen has assumed:

Let’s assume, for the sake of illustration, that Hansen is correct for all of these forcings. In that case, the average of the all-forcings curve over the period 1955-2010 is about 0.8 W m-2. Now let’s compare these 2 numbers for the period 1955-2010:

Average Radiative Forcing from CO2, aerosols, volcanoes: 0.8 W m-2

Average Radiative Imbalance from increasing ocean heat content: 0.2 W m-2

Assuming the ocean heat content data and Hansen’s forcing estimates are accurate, how could the average radiative forcing be 4 times the average radiative imbalance? The answer is FEEDBACK:

Radiative Imbalance = Forcing – Feedback

As the system GAINS energy (and warms) from forcing, it LOSES energy from feedbacks: e.g., changes in clouds, water vapor, and most importantly the extra loss of IR energy directly to space from warmer temperatures (which is usually not considered a feedback per se, but it is THE main climate stabilizing influence, and for purposes of discussion I will treat it as a “feedback”).

If there was no feedback (which would indicate a borderline unstable climate system), then the ocean heat content-inferred radiative imbalance (0.2 W m-2) would equal the forcing (0.8 W m-2), which it clearly doesn’t since there is a 4x difference.

Of course, some believe that CO2 forcings do not even exist (although I’m not one of them). Here I am simply trying to determine what might be concluded about climate sensitivity if we assume Hansen’s forcings and the OHC increases are correct. As we will see, the large difference between forcing (0.8) and radiative imbalance (0.2) implies an insensitive climate system. [ie. CO2 rises are not having much effect]

More HERE (See the original for links)

Australia: Greenie house of straw goes up in flames

IF THE story of the Three Little Pigs showed how vulnerable straw houses can be, the point was again illustrated in a recent case before the NSW Court of Appeal.

In 2007 Ian Reed was building a house near Orange, in the state's central west, using compressed straw bales for the external walls.

An owner-builder, he brought in tradespeople for more specialised jobs. One, a plumber, inadvertently set fire to the structure on January 12.

The court heard Bruce Warburton was soldering copper piping when his oxyacetylene torch ignited hand-packed straw behind a bathroom wall, burning down the building.

Mr Reed sued Mr Warburton in the District Court for negligence. After his claim was dismissed last year he appealed.

In the Court of Appeal, Justices John Basten and David Hodgson, and Acting Justice Kenneth Handley, overturned the earlier judgment, finding errors in the way the judge determined the issues in the case.

They ruled Mr Warburton was negligent, but only awarded Mr Reed $105,000 in damages - half the amount he sought - because he failed to tell the plumber about the hand-packed straw in the internal wall.

The court heard a straw bale had ignited when Mr Warburton was working in the kitchen, but was quickly extinguished with a bucket of water the men had on hand.

It was a different story when Mr Warburton worked on the bathroom, where Mr Reed had filled a gap in an internal wall with loose straw.

"It burnt back into the wall and roared,"' Mr Warburton told the District Court. "It just all ignited and flew straight up like a chimney."

Justice Basten said while Mr Warburton failed "to take reasonable care to avoid the risk of setting fire to the straw", there had been contributory negligence by Mr Reed.

Martin Urakawa, an architect with expertise in environmental design, said building with straw was part of a movement towards environmentally friendly building materials.

"People use it because they can build and shape it themselves and it's quick for them to put up," he said - but fire was, obviously "a drawback".



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


12 May, 2011

NASA-Funded Group Doctors Sea Level Data

Theory trumps reality

Catastrophic sea level rise is one of the most valued hole cards played by alarmists in the global warming debate. In An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore showed computer generated images of what Manhattan would look like if sea level rose 20 feet. Building on this theme, elevation charts of coastal cities have become a staple in global warming presentations by Al Gore wannabes. But what happens when sea level in the real world does not rise nearly as much as alarmists predict? If you are a NASA-funded gatekeeper of sea level data, you merely doctor the data.

Faced with the embarrassing fact that sea level is not rising nearly as much as has been predicted, the University of Colorado’s NASA-funded Sea Level Research Group has announced it will begin adding a nonexistent 0.3 millimeters per year to its Global Mean Sea Level Time Series. As a result, alarmists will be able to present sea level charts asserting an accelerating rise in sea level that is not occurring in the real world.

Human civilization readily adapted to the seven inches of sea level rise that occurred during the twentieth century. Alarmists, however, claim global warming will cause sea level to rise much more rapidly during the present century. United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) computer models project approximately 15 inches of sea level rise during the 21st century. That’s more than double the sea level rise that occurred during the twentieth century. A more “mainstream” prediction among alarmists is 3 feet of sea level rise this century. Some alarmists have even projected 20 feet of global sea level rise this century.

Satellite measurements, however, show global sea level rose merely 0.83 inches during the first decade of the 21st century (a pace of just 8 inches for the entire century), and has barely risen at all since 2006. This puts alarmists in the embarrassing position of defending predictions that are not coming true in the real world.

The University of Colorado Sea Level Research Group is coming to their rescue. The NASA-funded group claims glacial melt is removing weight that had been pressing down on land masses, which in turn is causing land mass to rise. This welcome news mitigates sea-level rise from melting glacial ice, meaning sea level will rise less than previously thought. However, it is very inconvenient for alarmist sea level predictions. Therefore, instead of reporting the amount by which sea level is rising in the real world, the Sea Level Research Group has begun adding 0.3 millimeters per year of fictitious sea level rise to “compensate” for rising land mass.

The extra 0.3 millimeters of fictitious sea level rise will add up to 1.2 inches over the course of the 21st century. While this is not monumental in and of itself, it will allow alarmists to paint a dramatically different picture of sea level rise than is occurring in the real world. For example, the current pace of 8 inches of sea level rise for the present century is essentially no different than the 7 inches of sea level rise that occurred last century. However, with an artificially enhanced 9.2 inches of sea level rise, alarmists can claim sea level is rising 31 percent faster than it did last century.

Even under this scenario, sea level is not rising nearly as fast as IPCC and other alarmists have predicted. Nevertheless, a quick Google search of “sea level” and “global warming” shows an overwhelming number of items claiming dramatic and accelerating sea level rise, with very few items reporting that alarmist predictions and computer models are being contradicted by real-world data. The newly adjusted NASA-funded sea level data will merely add fuel to the erring fire.


New paper explains another way that climate is dominated by negative feedbacks

(Global Warmists assume big positive feedbacks)

A paper published today in the Journal of Climate finds that increases in ocean heat transport from the warmer tropics to the poles are unlikely to cause alarmist 'positive feedback' 'tipping point' scenarios as predicted by James Hansen and the IPCC.

The paper finds that increases in ocean heat transport above the current are likely to be offset by increased cloud cover over the tropics, resulting in cooling of the tropics, without inducing significantly warmer climates than today. The paper shows yet another means by which negative feedbacks - not positive - dominate the climate.
Climate sensitivity to changes in ocean heat transport

Marcelo Barreiro et al.


Using an atmospheric general circulation model coupled to a slab ocean we study the effect of ocean heat transport (OHT) on climate prescribing OHT from zero to two times the present-day values. In agreement with previous studies an increase in OHT from zero to present-day conditions warms the climate by decreasing the albedo due to reduced sea-ice extent and marine stratus cloud cover and by increasing the greenhouse effect through a moistening of the atmosphere.

However, when the OHT is further increased the solution becomes highly dependent on a positive radiative feedback between tropical low clouds and sea surface temperature. We found that the strength of the low clouds-SST feedback combined with the model design may produce solutions that are globally colder than Control mainly due to an unrealistically strong equatorial cooling.

Excluding those cases, results indicate that the climate warms only if the OHT increase does not exceed more than 10% of the present-day value in the case of a strong cloud-SST feedback and more than 25% when this feedback is weak.

Larger OHT increases lead to a cold state where low clouds cover most of the deep tropics increasing the tropical albedo and drying the atmosphere.

This suggests that the present-day climate is close to a state where the OHT maximizes its warming effect on climate and pose doubts about the possibility that greater OHT in the past may have induced significantly warmer climates than that of today.


U.S. Temperatures Within Range of Natural Variability, Alarmist Study Finds – Huh?

Al Gore, Greenpeace, and the “consensus of scientists” tell us that global warming endangers agriculture and global food security. A study published last week in Science magazine finds global warming has taken significant bites out of potential global corn and wheat production since 1980.

The study also finds, however, that climate change has not adversely affected U.S. corn and wheat production. How so – because of Yankee ingenuity? Not according to the study. The explanation, rather, is that America has been a “notable exception” to climate change. The USA “experienced a slight cooling” during the study period (1980-2008).

This is bizarre. Here we have an alarmist study that finds a “lack of significant climate trends” in the USA for the past 30 years. If true, that makes hash out of all those dire pronouncements by Gore and others that global warming is already contributing to hurricanes, tornadoes, snow storms, forest fires, floods, etc. in the USA. Are the study’s authors aware of this implication? Are the editors of Science? Apparently not.

How do the authors know that climate change is depressing corn and wheat production globally, even if not in the USA? The biggest loss in wheat production, according to the study, is in Russia. Do they adjust Russian crop yields for the Russian economic meltown and financial crisis of the 1990s? As far as I can tell, they don’t. I would not bet the farm on the validity of this study.

Published last Friday in Science magazine, Climate Trends and Global Crop Production Since 1980 estimates that, had global temperatures remained at the 1960-1980 average, global corn and wheat yields would have been 3.8% and 5.5% higher during 1980 to 2008.

Two things to note right out of the box. First, the study does not say that global crop production is lower today than it was in 1980. Rather, it contends that global crop production would be even higher today had there been no global warming.

Second, since many factors besides temperature and precipitation affect crop production, the validity of the study depends on how skilfully the researchers adjusted crop production data for non-climatic factors. “Among the largest country-specific losses was wheat in Russia (-15%),” according to the study. Smack dab in the middle of the study period (1980-2008) was the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the ensuing economic contraction and financial crisis, which persisted through 1998. As my colleague William Yeatman points out, the study makes no mention of these emphatically non-climatic influences on Russian agriculture.....

Although the study will surely be touted by the sky-is-falling lobby, it implicitly contradicts much that alarmists have been preaching. For two-plus decades, the global warming movement has tried to implicate greenhouse gas emissions in every weather-related disaster anywhere in the United States. Alarmists claim to discern greenhouse fingerprints in Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, forest fires, drought, big snow storms, heat waves, and other manifestations of what they are pleased to call ‘climate disruption.’ Dr. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) goes so far as to argue that greenhouse gas emissions should be presumed guilty of contributing to every extreme weather event until proven innocent.

Yet according to the Science study, from 1980 through 2008, climate change in the United States remained within the range of natural variability.

That puts the study out of step not only with Al Gore, Greenpeace, and Dr. Trenberth, but also with the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

So is the United States warming more rapidly than the rest of the world, as the USGCRP claims, or is America a “notable exception” to global warming, as the Science study contends?

I do not profess to know which assessment is correct. What I can say is that neither the authors of the Science study, nor the editors of Science magazine, nor any of the review articles referenced above address or even acknowledge the discrepancy.

The Science study should confound climate activists more than it gratifies them. If the United States is a ”notable exception” to climate change, then claims that global warming is already taking a toll on U.S. public health and welfare are hard to swallow.


They really do want to take us back to the Dark Ages

'Post-Fossil-Fuel World' Includes Farming With Oxen -- and the old utopian dreams of equality and harmony and warm glows

What's old is new again in rural Virginia, where a new environmental education center is inviting the public to take a look at farming in what it calls the post-fossil-fuel world. The 127-acre Living Energy Farm in Louisa County will show that “it is possible to live a healthy, joyful life without the use of any fossil fuel,” project organizers say.

They hope to set an example while actively promoting a lifestyle and technologies that are “truly sustainable” and available to all people, regardless of income or social position. The lifestyle includes cooperative housing and income-sharing.

On Friday, May 13, the Living Energy Farm will hold an open house to explain its mix of “very old and very new technologies.” Using oxen as draft animals is part of the farm’s zero-fossil-fuel formula. The farm also plans to offer a workshop for “anyone interested in learning how to train their own oxen,” the news release said.

Energy sources at the fledgling farm will range from high density solar to steam power. Home insulation will consist of straw bales. Transportation will consist of bicycles, ox carts and vehicles that allow gasoline engines to run directly off woodchips or other cellulosic debris. And the building design will incorporate cross-ventilation for cooling and passive solar for heating.

No ‘electronic escapism’

According to the center’s Web site, “The most powerful sustainable ‘technology’ we will employ is cooperative housing in an income-sharing community. We will foster a lively community culture that will be an eye-opener for many modern youth. Though we will use some modern machines (such as solar electricity for pumping water), we will not have a general accessibility to electric power. We will pro-actively build a homemade positive social culture without electronic escapism.”

The group says it will try to meet its social and economic needs within the local area, because it wants to avoid using wood-gas vehicles as a replacement for automobiles. “In doing so, we will be actively promoting the rebuilding of local economies which will be so vital to the creation of a post-petroleum world,” the Web site says.

“So many people think that this kind of lifestyle is beyond their reach, or outside of their comfort, and we’re hoping to prove otherwise,” Debbie Piesen, one of the farm’s founders, said in a news release. “And we’re hoping to be so effective that we can help others start similar farms.”

The Living Energy Farm says it will conduct classes, accept interns, and publicize its efforts “far and wide” in the months ahead.


Warmist scientists close their ears to other views

By James Delingpole

Yesterday I was at Downing College, Cambridge, for a Climate Change conference organised by Professor Alan Howard, the scientist/philanthropist/entrepreneur known, inter alia, for having devised the Cambridge diet and for funding the magnificent lecture hall in which the event took place. (For more reporting – and some brilliant cartoons from Josh who sat right next to me sketching in a most impressive way – see Bishop Hill; and many, many thanks to the Howard Trust for organising it.)

The big difference between this and almost any other Climate Change conference is that it was the first – in Britain, anyway, so far as I know – to field a solid team of scientists from both sides of the debate. The Warmists included Professor Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit, Professor Andrew Watson – also of the UEA and Professor John Mitchell, former chief scientist at the Met Office. The Sceptics – Realists if you prefer – included Professor Henrik Svensmark, Professor Nils-Axel Morner, and Professor Ian Plimer. Any mention of “Climategate” announced Prof Howard at the beginning would result in immediate ejection: he wanted to keep this event civil and scientific.

So no, I didn’t go up and introduce myself to Phil Jones as the man who made him world famous. I think he may have given me a long, hard, hollow stare at breakfast yesterday morning; and there was a dodgy moment during a coffee break where he perched his cup near me, suddenly noticed the danger, and fled elsewhere. But I certainly wasn’t going to bother him, not least because I think he cut a rather pitiable figure. His talk – essentially on why the CRU’s adjusted temperature figures are kosher – was slightly nervy and resolutely dull. I got the impression he now wishes climate science were just an apolitical backwater in which yer average PhD could happily eke out his career untroubled by the kind of controversy which has all but ruined Jones’s life.

Some of the presentations were excellent. It was particularly good to hear Professor Svensmark make his compelling case (which no one on the other side could successfully refute) on cosmic rays and cloud formation. But overall, I shared the disappointment expressed by one of the final speakers, Czech President Vaclav Klaus that there had been almost no honest, open debate between the two sides. One side made its case; then the other put its contradictory case. But apart from a bit of snide questioning and the odd sniping shot from the wings, there wasn’t much by way of robust exchanging of ideas. It was more – as Klaus noted – a series of monologues.

You’d have to be very naive, though, to conclude that the fault lay on both sides and that if only they could communicate with one another we’d all attain the sensible middle ground position where wisdom, truth and sweet reasonableness resides. That would be to fall for what I call the “Dog S*** Yoghurt Fallacy.”

It goes like this: one side of this debate thinks that the best thing to put in yoghurt is fruit; the other side is of the view that what really needs to be added to yoghurt is a nice bit of dog poo. Now suppose we were to compromise. Suppose the latter faction were to concede sufficient ground to agree that only a tiny quantity of dog poo should go into the mainly fruit-rich yoghurt, would this constitute a victory for commonsense?

Of course it wouldn’t. Even if just the smallest, smidgen of a fraction of dog poo were to go into that yoghurt it would still be irredeemably tainted. Similar rules apply to the current debate on global warming. On one side – what you might call the fruit side – you have those scientists, economists and, yes, bloggers who maintain that CO2 is a generally beneficial trace gas which encourages plant growth and poses no risk of catastrophic global warming. On the other side – the dog poo side, obviously – you have “scientists”, politicians, spivs, rent-seekers, cranks, whackos, eco-loons, EU fonctionnaires and such like who believe that CO2 poses a major problem to global climate and must be taxed and regulated to oblivion.

Which side is right? One of the very few things which emerged from yesterday’s debate with pellucid clarity was this:


The Warmist scientists are quite capable of talking a good game about their belief system, even to the point – almost – of being persuasive on the subject of their computer “projections” of future global temperatures.

But then, so too are the Sceptics. You’d need to be very set in your belief system indeed to come away from one of Professor Ian Plimer’s feisty, funny engaging lectures and not be convinced that the whole idea of AGW is a complete crock. Same goes for Professor Nils Axel Morner’s hilarious, crazy-Swede lecture on his experiences measuring sea-level rises in the Maldives (there hasn’t been any: whatever the Maldives president and his underwater cabinet tell you). Same also goes for Prof Svensmark: really his cosmic ray theory is gloriously compelling.

In other words there is still an enormous amount of uncertainty out there about the chaotic system which causes climate. But here’s the rub: global policy makers are acting as if there isn’t.

And the reason they’re acting as if there isn’t because, essentially, they have been hijacked by the scientists on the Warmist side who – behaving far more like political activists than dispassionate seekers after truth – have exaggerated the strength of their case, even to the point of tweaking their data and suppressing contradictory research, in order to ensure that their “correct” interpretation of reality is the one that prevails.

This was the whole point of the Climategate scandal and why it mattered. And since Climategate – as we saw from the entirely unapologetic, nay struttingly arrogant in some cases – behaviour of the Warmist scientists present absolutely zip-all has changed.

Hence Dr Klaus’s frustration. Apart from being the only European leader (apart from Hungary’s) worth his salt, Dr Klaus is also an economist and a former serf of a Communist state. He said: “The arrogance of global warming activists and their fellow travellers in politics is something I know well from the past. They wish to suppress truth, control the market and dictate policy and I, who have spent most of my time living under communism feel obliged to warn against it.”


China just talks the green talk while the US walks the green walk

In 2009, despite no cap-and-trade law, no carbon tax and no major reductions mandated by our EPA, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions dropped by 7.1%, more than in any year since they began tracking emissions in 1949. Meanwhile, China's increased at near-record levels. What gives?

Our nonpartisan Energy Information Administration cites three causes for what happened here: "an economy in recession, a particularly hard-hit energy-intensive industries sector, and a large drop in the price of natural gas that caused fuel switching away from coal to natural gas in the electric power sector."

Two of these factors are directly related to the horrendous economic tailspin that pundits tell us was caused by the subprime mortgage bubble (something history may adjudicate differently). The third is a proverbial green swan. Ten years ago the mantra was we were running out of natural gas. No one anticipated the massive volumes trapped in shale formations underneath the surface of much of the planet, nor the ease with which it can now be fractured out of the rock.

When anticipated supply is sufficiently high, gas undercuts coal as the fuel of choice for electrical generation, which results in reduced carbon dioxide emissions, as natural gas produces only about 50% to 70% of the carbon dioxide per unit output (depending upon your metric) that coal does.

While our emissions drop in spite of our lack of specific policies, China's go up, even as our environmentalist friends have been crowing, for years now, that China is "going green."

There may be glimmers of green in their new (12th) Five Year Plan, which begins this year. But, in reality, the greening of China will require a reversal of current trends that is politically impossible. Chinese citizens want higher wages, cars, energy-hogging television, and air conditioning, just as do people in every other developing economy. Tamping down its torrid growth engine will be very difficult.

What about all these news reports that China is committed to major reductions in emissions? Well, they're not exactly true. If this were Dr. Strangelove, General Turgidson would probably call them "a load of commie bull."

Even in the new Five Year Plan that has my green friends swooning, emissions of carbon dioxide go up by 15%. All the Chinese have ever proposed to do is to in this timeframe is to reduce their emissions "intensity," which is the amount released per unit economic output.

Secret: All developing (and developed) economies reduce their emissions intensity, unless something is really wrong. Simply put, there are incentives to produce things more efficiently, as long as energy feedstocks respond to supply and demand.

That said, China's central planners haven't always bought such bourgeois economics. As a result, between 2001 and now, their emissions intensity actually rose by 14%. Any pronouncement of great drops in their future intensity has to factor in that they have been going in the wrong direction for years.

Here are two charts that tell everything you need to know:

The top one shows that the Chinese emit about five times as much carbon dioxide per unit output as does the U.S. When it comes to carbon dioxide emissions, China is by far the world's most inefficient large economy. The red line on that chart reveals that their emissions intensity bottomed out ten years ago and then stayed there.

(Note that the data for these figures comes from the Energy Information Administration and that the top one is based upon market exchange rates. If the renminbi is artificially undervalued by Chinese monetary policy, then the two lines are somewhat closer together).

So if the Chinese are to reduce their intensity by a whopping 50%, they would merely be back on to the trend line that was established in the 1990s. Big deal.

The bottom chart shows carbon dioxide emissions. Note that 2009 emissions in the U.S. were the lowest since 1995 and that our emissions have actually been trending downward since 1999. China's increased by about 175%.

The bottom chart underscores why mandating emissions reductions here is simply inconsequential unless China does the same.

Every few years Congress attempts to pass some type of reduction mandate. These usually schedule a 20% cutback around 2020, 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2050. Note that China increases its emissions by about 10% of the U.S. total every year. So, if we reduce ours by 20% in 2020, the Chinese will have increased their total by four times that amount at the same time.

It looks like China may be talking a green line, but, thanks in part to our economic decline, the U.S. is walking one.



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


11 May, 2011

Whoops! Global warming DECREASES the strongest wind events

A paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters finds that warming of the tropical oceans results in a decrease in frequency of the strongest wind events. The paper states that these findings add further evidence to suggest the atmospheric circulation (winds) become less energetic with global warming.

These results are consistent with several other papers showing that global warming reduces the strength or frequency of hurricanes. No doubt, Al Gore will do the right thing and remove the hurricane cover images from his series of books and sci-fi movie:
Evidence for a weakening of tropical surface wind extremes in response to atmospheric warming

Geophysical Research Letters

Authors: Guillaume Gastineau and Brian J. Soden


The changes of extreme winds and its links with precipitation are assessed over the past two decades using daily satellite observations and climate model simulations. Both observations and models indicate a decrease in the frequency of the strongest wind events and an increase in the frequency of light wind events in response to a warming of the tropical oceans. The heaviest precipitation events are found to be more frequent when the tropical oceans warm, but the surface winds associated with these extreme rainfall events weaken.

These results add further evidence to suggest that the atmospheric circulation becomes less energetic as the climate warms. It further suggests that the enhancement of the extreme precipitation events is mainly a result of increasing atmospheric water vapor and occurs despite a weakening of the large-scale circulation, which acts to diminish the mass convergence toward the precipitating zones.


"Chief scientist": I'm a lobbyist

If anyone was under any illusions about the true role of government chief scientists, this interview with the new occupant of that role in the Australian civil service should dispel them.
Science advocate

Chubb says that he will be a proactive lobbyist for science, helping the government and the public to appreciate the role of science in coping with the major challenges facing society. Doing this, he says, should help to insulate science from budget cuts. "If we can get science and its value to the community sufficiently high up the priority list," he says, "the job should be half-made each year before you go into bat for specifics."

Commendable honesty, but why on earth should scientists have their own lobbists on the inside of government? This reminds me of the recent scandals here in the UK, where healthcare trusts were revealed to be paying for union reps out of the public purse. Paying for union reps and paying for lobbyists does not seem materially different to me. Either way, these recipients of all this public largesse are not working for the benefit of the people but for themselves and their pals.

I wonder if [Britain's] Sir John Beddington also sees himself as a union rep for the scientific community who just happens to be paid out of public coffers?


The Inter-NGO Panel on Climate Change

The IPCC has published an SPM of its forthcoming report on renewable energy. The Guardian claims: "Renewable energy can power the world, says landmark IPCC study".

Hmm. "Sven Teske, renewable energy director at Greenpeace International, and a lead author of the report, said: "This is an invitation to governments to initiate a radical overhaul of their policies and place renewable energy centre stage. On the run up to the next major climate conference, COP17 in South Africa in December, the onus is clearly on governments to step up to the mark.""

Isn't it a bit odd, that a policy director of Greenpeace should be a lead author of a report? Isn't the IPCC supposed to start from a policy-neutral perspective? After all, what would we make of such a report if it found the opposite way, and it turned out that one of its lead authors was a director of a free-market think-tank that stood accused of being funded by Exxon?

Teske doesn't appear to be named as a lead author of the new IPCC report. Maybe he didn't have anything to do with the SPM. The following people, did, however, and I've located their profiles online.....

Each of these authors, work, as far as I can tell, in one or more of four sectors: private energy and policy consulting; non-governmental organisations; academia, and government/intra-government. Their jobs are very much attached to renewable energy. That is to say that, of all the people in the world, it would hard to find a group less critical of `renewable energy'. It is precisely as if oil executives were to decide about the future of renewable energy, and had come up with the opposite outcome.

It is no surprise that environmental bureaucrats believe renewable energy can power the world. It is no surprise that environmental economists and other social scientists with an interest in renewable energy also believe that their research can change the world (and bring in a few research grants and raise their academic profiles at the same time). It is no surprise that renewable energy consultants believe that the world needs the services of renewable energy consultants. And it is no surprise that directors of environmental NGOs are in favour of policies that bring them closer to power.

Cynical? Perhaps. But the point remains that the IPCC is once again being passed off as a policy-neutral research organisation when it is in fact merely a club for people given to a particular view of the world, to further their pre-determined agenda with pre-determined `research'.

This is policy-based evidence-making. The IPCC's report on renewable energy was written by the renewable energy sector.


Wolf heads and carbon credits

Can a central authority ever know enough?

Abraham Lincoln, in vivid recollections from early childhood, described the cashing of bounty for freshly severed wolf heads on the steps of an Indiana courthouse. In 1816 killing wolves at public expense was seen as an obvious necessity, and probably represented a genuine emotional reassurance to the intrepid settlers of the era. Though it places me squarely out of the "in" crowd to equate this now-discarded policy with the newfound wisdom of publicly funded carbon-reduction schemes, I can't quite help seeing a corollary.

Now before Greenpeace hones a quill for a sharply worded reprimand, let me clarify: I am not dismissing concerns over anthropogenic carbon emissions (or nineteenth-century wolf-phobias for that matter), but wondering aloud whether or not our policy choices will have similar long-term unintended consequences. The amateur historian in me thinks the likelihood high that we will come to regret large-scale managed "solutions" to what ails us, whether the dragons we slay come slavering at night or quietly in the air.

A Pause for Reflection

Battling grievous menaces to public welfare ought, by all reason, to be supported at public expense. Or so the prevailing wisdom goes. Take wolves for instance. The long-running nationwide government wolf extirpation program has lasted for longer than our history as a nation. It continued for well over a century after Lincoln's firsthand experience, and Jefferson himself had recalled state wolf bounty programs more than a century earlier. By 1914 the program really got down to business, and Congress gave the U.S. Biological Survey primary responsibility for wolf eradication, insisting that a third of its budget be used to kill wolves and their ilk ("survey" had an apparently different connotation in Great War America). Federal trappers killed the last two wolf pups in Yellowstone National Park in 1926, and wolf killing was being done from the air by Fish & Wildlife rangers as late as 1948.

And no, it wasn't for lack of romantic attachment that wolves were removed from the habitable continent. Ernest Thompson Seton wrote with vivid prose lingering and sympathetic accounts of wolf trapping from the turn of the century (who can forget "Lobo" and "Blanca"?) Aldo Leopold writes with some dismay in Thinking Like a Mountain of his experience killing wolves as a forest ranger in Arizona in 1909. Qualms or not, however, wolves were a threat to progress. Government, clearly in the business of promoting progress by this time, was harnessed to do the dirty work and was, not surprisingly, rather successful at it.

Obviously Kevin Costner films weren't yet in vogue. Or perhaps wolf imagery hadn't quite made it onto the t-shirt scene. Either way, government bureaucrats weren't privy to the sort of enlightened ecological sensitivity that even a grade-schooler possesses today.

Today Is Different

Well of course, you say, that was a darker, dumber era now firmly behind us. We ought now to rest easier, allowing officials license to focus their efforts on solutions to today's clearly pressing concerns to the public welfare. Things like carbon pollution. Since the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has deemed carbon emissions a "clear and unmistakable threat to the public welfare" and since an awful lot of experts seem to agree on this point, why buck the facts? Oh sure, there are a few misgivings by a few cranky troglodytes, but there are always some crackpots who won't get with the program. I mean, when was the last time a panel of experts was wrong? Ignore for the moment Galileo's interrogation proceedings, eighteenth-century European naturalists on the new world's "stunted" growth, the Royal Society's views on geologic superposition, the science of eugenics, socialism as a masterpiece of human happiness, the Population Bomb and Snowball Earth madness of the 1970s, Y2K, and more. There were probably even a handful of skeptics who claimed that killing all the wolves was a bad idea in 1816. Imagine.

Plans to reduce (and eventually eliminate) carbon dioxide emissions are not all that different from the plans to reduce (and eventually eliminate) wolf populations. A reward, of sorts, is given for each unit of reduction-be it a cash bounty for wolf heads, or a "credit" to keep a carbon emitter from having to pay a stiff fine. These credits, under a veneer of "free-marketism," can be traded or sold to someone else who wasn't as successful at reducing emissions as they were told. In Lincoln's era, it was optional to hunt wolves, but today we are approaching a point where we are all coerced into the hunt for carbon credits. Even if you don't happen to be a large-scale carbon emitter yourself, your consumption of things (electricity anyone?) will inevitably draw you into the chase.

Whether wolves or carbon, activity is being driven by central decision-makers as to what constitutes the proper way to handle things.

Again, it is not my intention to argue that carbon emissions aren't important, or even to question whether or not they represent a public menace (they may well be as threatening as wolves!). My only purpose is to cast a jaundiced eye on the proposed solutions to the crisis du jour. The Environmental Protection Agency, for instance, now has the power to regulate carbon emissions and by all indications appears intent on restricting the output of the dangerous stuff. Does anyone else feel another "survey" coming on?

What Lurks Beneath

Society's tastes and mores are in constant flux, driving the inexorable drift of the tectonic structures we erect to "improve things." And while norms can change radically and quickly (Hula Hoops? birth control?), the plans, programs, bureaus, and institutions generally do not. In fact they generally continue along their predetermined paths, creating errors of Himalayan proportions. If we believe the myopic shortsightedness that nearly extinguished Canis lupus has been corrected, we are fooling ourselves. We know many more things, to be sure, and particularly in the fields of natural science and ecology. But to believe that we can remotely grasp, let alone master, the intricacies of global climate is surely hubris at its best.

When you ask government to get things done it generally does. And that's precisely the danger. What is an unambiguously brilliant notion for one generation may not sit so well with the next. The apex of Progressive Era thinking in the 1930s gave us the magnificent damming projects of the arid west, projects now roundly decried (oddly enough) by heirs of the Progressive Left who now wish us to demolish these projects at taxpayer - oops - "government" expense. This sort of policy-pendulum is inevitable in a world marked by a less-than-perfect grasp on information.

The only way to mitigate this effect is to ensure that action keeps pace with the values and knowledge of the day. This can only be accomplished through the diffusion of power to an individual level, where actors with firsthand observations can react to dynamically changing situations.

I know we're worried about global warming today. Nobody wishes to see Vanuatu slip under the Pacific. And maybe, for the first time in history, human-caused climate change represents "The Big Problem" that we need "The Big Fix" for. But I doubt it. Something tells me, deep inside, that managed overreaction to carbon emissions will lead just as surely to the kind of devastating policies that gave us wolves-as-an-endangered-species.

In fact, writing as I do from ground zero in the Gray Wolf reintroduction zone, I'd be willing to posit a bet. One hundred years from now (if carbon emissions are "solved" by the authorities), I give it better than even odds that governments will be requiring carbon emissions. Lincoln probably wouldn't take the bet.


The Sierra Club's Profitable Descent into Leftism

The Sierra Club was once an honorable organization, and not that long ago either. A few decades ago, it was truly bipartisan, as befitted a group trying to protect wilderness. Conservatives were not shunned as members, but were welcomed as part of the team. One example was life-long Republican Dr. Edgar Wayburn, who helped save more than 100,000 acres of scenic wild places during his 103-year lifetime. He was a five-term president of the Sierra Club during the 1960s. But it's inconceivable that a member of the GOP could be elected to that post in today's organization, which has been fundamentally corrupted by left-wing political influence and millions of dollars with ideological strings attached.

How corrupt is the Sierra Club today? It has become so debased that it has done nothing to combat the destruction of parts of treasured national parks like Yosemite and Sequoia by invading Mexican drug gangs. The cartels have moved into public lands in the United States and set up toxic marijuana plantations that environmentally degrade protected places that are supposed to remain pristine. But the Sierrans have made a political marriage with open-borders Hispanic Democrats, and maintaining good relations with political allies is now more important than what was once the Club's prime directive.

The impetus for the loss of integrity was simple greed. In the 1990s, the Club came across a deep-pocketed donor with an interest in the environment, one David Gelbaum, a Wall Street investor who had made hundreds of millions of dollars. He was willing to be a generous funder to the Sierra Club, but with one stipulation. As he was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article ("The Man behind the Land," 10/27/04), "I did tell [Sierra Club Executive Director] Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me."

That restriction posed a problem, since existing Sierra Club policy dating from the 1960s recommended a steady-state population for the United States and recognized immigration's being a major cause of increasing human numbers. In 1969 the organization expressed hope that American population could be stabilized by 1980. In 1970 the Club endorsed a resolution from Zero Population Growth (later renamed "Population Connection") that included support for actions that would "bring about the stabilization of the population first of the United States and then of the world." In 1989 a Sierra Club policy specifically noted that "Immigration to the U.S. should be no greater than that which will permit achievement of population stabilization in the U.S."

But with big money beckoning in return for the disavowal of the clear connection of environmental harm with excessive immigration and population growth, Sierra leadership folded like a cheap lawn chair. In 1996, the Club rescinded its previous population policies that could be seen as related to immigration levels. The elite management team probably rationalized that enormous environmental good could be done with great riches, and therefore merited dispensing with integrity about an increasingly controversial topic.

And the Club was very well rewarded indeed by the generous David Gelbaum; the organization received over $100 million dollars in a couple donations over the years 2000 and 2001. In any normal circumstance, such a transaction would be considered a bribe and roundly condemned. But the Club leadership kept the source of the new riches secret, until the 2004 LA Times article revealed Gelbaum as the sugar daddy. Even after the dots were connected, however, the liberal press couldn't bring itself to recognize an Enron-sized environmentalism scandal of an iconic organization.

Of course, any honest and educated environmentalist understands that human overpopulation is a great danger to sustainable natural systems. If you care about preserving wilderness, protecting species, and having enough water, then piling in another hundred million people every few decades into the high-consuming United States is not the way to go.

Starting in 1996, a concerned group of grassroots members became alarmed at the Club's reversal on long-held population policies. Your humble correspondent was a member of this group, known for a time as Sierrans for U.S. Population Stabilization until threatened with a lawsuit for using the Club's name (despite existing Gay Sierrans, Sierra Club Seniors, etc.). The acronym SUSPS then became the operating title ( online).

We spent untold volunteer hours working to return the Club to its former sensible, environmentally appropriate positions. We gathered member petitions to qualify candidates for the Board of Directors and pose policy referendums for the membership's consideration in the annual Club-wide elections. We succeeded in getting several fine environmentalists elected to the Board, although our important population initiative of 1998 failed to make the cut.

Had SUSPS members known in the beginning that the Sierra Club had been bought and paid for, I doubt we would have spent eight years trying to reform a morally bankrupt and dishonest institution.

By 2004, Club management began to fear that democracy might win the day because of SUSPS' strong slate of candidates. Carl Pope and his leftist cronies and the SPLC launched a most reprehensible smear campaign of false accusations, with the help of a compliant liberal press. It took a truly supine media to accept and recite the idea that the former Democratic Governor of Colorado Dick Lamm and former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Frank Morris were racist right-wingers. But the press swallowed the Sierra propaganda because who would think that the virtuous environmentalists would be fighting dirty for their faction's selfish greed. So the Sierra management's approved slate of obedient toadies swept the election, and the SUSPS candidates lost under the barrage of inuendo and outright lies from the left-wing establishment.

Along the way to its new identity, the Sierra Club lost many old members who were disgusted by the tragic devolution of John Muir's wilderness club into the leftists in hiking boots. However, the group acquired new associates which it appears to find quite agreeable, like, the SPLC, La Raza, and George Soros. So there is no shortage of money, even if the potential membership pool is greatly diminished.

The Sierra Club, the Democratic Party, and Al Gore all claim to be deeply concerned about global warming caused by spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But it's hard to take their worries seriously when all are quite happy with immigration-fueled skyrocketing population growth in the world's top resource-using country. If any of the climate worriers truly cared about global warming, they would be leading the charge for limiting immigration. By rapidly increasing the number of residents of America, Washington makes the United States an even bigger engine of pollution and greenhouse gases. Immigrants don't relocate to this country for the better recycling opportunities: they come hoping for an American level of material consumption (also known as "seeking a better life").

In December, we learned the results of the 2010 Census. The total population of the United State on April 1, 2010, was counted at 308,745,538, an increase of 27,323,632 over just 10 years. The science- and math-ignorant press did not think that was a big deal; in fact some media sources emphasized the slowdown, as did MSNBC's headline "Population growth slowest since 1940, census shows" (12/21/10). That assessment is certainly accurate, particularly from the rate of growth, expressed in percentages: the 2010 growth rate was 9.7 percent, compared with 13.2 percent from the previous decade. However, there is no increase in the natural resources like water necessary to support the additional 27 million people, and the loss of farmland continues to reflect the profitability of housing construction over food production. If there were any environmental organizations pointing out the effect of continuing rapid population growth on natural resources after the Census announcement, it was muted at best.

Sadly, the degradation of the Sierra Club from a bipartisan science-friendly environmental organization into a semi-outdoorsy left-wing political group is bad news for the earth, Our planet needs all the friends it can get, judging by worsening species extinction, the collapse of major fish stocks like the North Atlantic cod, the enormous Great Pacific Garbage Patch of floating plastic, and many other symptoms of ill health. No matter what anyone's opinion on the idea of human-caused climate change, the Sierra Club's position on that issue or any other can no longer be trusted as genuinely environmental when the organization is now all about left-wing globalist politics.

A timely illustration of today's Sierra Club priorities can be found in the campaign statements of the eight persons running in the 2011 Board of Directors election. There is not a single mention of population, not even that the global number is forecast to reach seven billion later this year. That's a one-billion person increase since 1999, when the six-billion threshhold was crossed, in just 12 short years. One might hope America's top green organization would recognize the meaning of those numbers and provide much needed leadership and public education. But the Club is too politically correct to suggest how unprecedented human growth threatens our planet's natural systems of replenishment. Elite Clubbers prefer to lecture Americans about resource use rather than acknowledge the whole picture, in which population and consumption multiply each other's effects, as expressed by Paul Ehrlich's I=PAT formula (Human Impact on the environment equals the product of P= Population, A= Affluence, T= Technology).

Another aspect of the current Club Board of Directors election deserves attention. One candidate is Larry Fahn, who was President during the decisive election when SUSPS Board candidates were poised to possibly take power. Fahn helped lead the shameful smear campaign against our highly reputable candidates, and he now states his pride in being a Club hatchet man, saying in his 2011 campaign statement: "I led the Club during trying times, the `hostile takeover attempt,' when outsiders, anti-immigration activists like former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm, ran for several board seats. Lamm and others sued me over my leadership against them."

It's sad reflection on the current Sierra Club that being an enthusiastic purveyor of character assassination is now considered an advantage for gaining office. Interestingly, the late David Brower, an admired conservationist, resigned from the Board in 2000 because the Club leaders had lost all passion to save the earth. "The world is burning and all I hear from them is the music of violins," he said.
Music would be an improvement at this point. The earth needs defenders now more than ever, but the Sierra Club is playing a different tune indeed.


Computer Models: The Bane of Modern Society

by Dr. Tim Ball

In a hearing before Rep. Henry Waxman's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board (a position touted as one of the most powerful unelected offices in the world), said he got it wrong in answer to questions about his role in the recent financial meltdown. His extremely mobile face deadpanned that his economic models, which he had relied on for 40 years, were wrong. He did not apologize; it was merely a statement of fact that portrayed no irrational exuberance. He gave no hint of concern about the massive damage his reliance on the models had done. Huge losses of money among those who exploited the situation his models allowed garnered no sympathy. However, the dashing of hope at the bottom of the economic pyramid, the disaster of losing one's home or job, the stress created by worrying about losing either, and myriad other such stories in the US and across the world appeared to be dismissed with a wave of the academic and intellectual hand.

There were warnings. In October 2005, Stephen King wrote in the British newspaper The Independent,
Despite Mr Greenspan's colossal reputation, I have my doubts that his approach will survive his departure: by giving the impression that all risks can be contained through his own wizardry, Mr Greenspan may have encouraged excessive risk-taking, most obviously with the equity bubble in the late 1990s and, more recently, with the emergence of a housing bubble.

The wizardry was his models. Greenspan likely believes he absolved himself from any blame or responsibility by his statement that it was the model's fault - I am not responsible or accountable. As the Naked Capitalism blog puts it,

Being an objectivist means never having to take responsibility for your actions. Greenspan has now decided to pin the financial market crisis on models.

The clich‚ about models is garbage in garbage out (GIGO); but who put the garbage in, decided what happened to the garbage while it was in the model, and then decided how the garbage was used once it was out?

Ironically, to a certain extent, Greenspan is correct. The models are the problem. Models are useful tools as long as they are used for simple readily measured situations. However, even there they can be wrong. Consider the failures that occur with constructions. The bridge in Minneapolis is a good example. When complexity increases, particularly through interactions between various segments, their use becomes extremely questionable. They depend upon the amount and accuracy of the data on which they are built, and in most cases this is less than adequate. They assume an ability to quantify every variable, but this is not possible. Even the largest computers cannot include all variables. Which ones do you leave out? How would you quantify Greenspan's irrational exuberance? Indeed, how do you quantify human behavior?

Greenspan failed to quantify human reaction to policies he formulated based on his model output and in his testimony he admitted he did not anticipate what happened. This is a typical academic response and why the phrase "it is purely academic" means it is irrelevant to the real world. What is remarkable is his naivete, his belief in his model, and his lack of understanding of human nature. Unfortunately, he is not alone in an implicit belief in models and their ability to simulate the complexity of real world conditions. He is not alone in the application of the model outputs as the basis for major public policies. They are the bane of society wherever they are used.

Models range in form from hardware models (which are simply scale reductions, such as a model airplane) to purely abstract models that replace individual components with symbols. These, in the simplest model, are usually letters of the alphabet to represent a variable. Everyone is familiar with Einstein's famous model, symbolized in the mathematical formula E = MCý. E represents energy, M is for mass, and C is for the speed of light. Almost all models in science or social science are mathematical.

Modeling became dominant in every discipline with the advent of the computer. This allowed for inclusion of vast amounts of data on which complex calculations could be performed. Unfortunately, this gave them a credibility that they didn't deserve. As Pierre Gallois said,

If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out of it but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no one dares criticize it.

Working with models in a laboratory or academic environment only requires logic, rigorous method, and adherence to scientific standards. Too often today even these are not being met, but they only do damage within academia. However, once you use the output of your models for policy, then a social and political responsibility is required - and as we see more and more, often it is not being met. Greenspan and his model are a disastrous example.

Economics is a discipline within the general area of the social sciences. The term implies that somehow you can apply the scientific method to individual and group behavior within a society. However, there is a fundamental difference between science and social science - and that is the ability to predict. A simple definition of science is the ability to predict. The scientific prediction does not trigger a response or a change, but remains measurable. Social science predictions inevitably produce a response and triggers change that jeopardizes the prediction. For example, if an economist studies a community and produces a predictive report, leaders and innovators in the community react by changing their behavior and thus that of the community. This results in invalidating the original predictive report. Obviously, this is what happened when Greenspan applied his predictive model output to the US economy.

Greenspan's model was the basis for US financial policy for the entire time he was Chairman of the Reserve Board after his appointment in 1987. It was also the basis for world economies, as the reverberations of the collapse demonstrate. However, it is not the only flawed model influencing global policy and driving it in the wrong direction. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate model is the sole source of evidence that human CO2 is causing climate change; yet it is being used to create completely unnecessary taxes, policies, and hardships.

The IPCC models are also the source of predictions about threatening future climates. This despite their own warning in their first Report (Climate Change 1992) that.

Scenarios are not predictions of the future and should not be used as such.

.while the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios says,

Scenarios are images of the future or alternative futures. They are neither predictions nor forecasts.

By Climate Change 2001 they were saying,

The possibility that any single in emissions path will occur as described in this scenario is highly uncertain.

They later say,

No judgment is offered in this report as to the preference for any of the scenarios and they are not assigned probabilities of recurrence, neither must they be interpreted as policy recommendations.

The hypocrisy of these words is provided by the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) they produce.

Some argue climate models are better than economic models because they are based on physics. If this was true, then their predictions would be accurate; but they are not. It's not surprising, because they are not validated. This is a standard test in which a model attempts to recreate previous known conditions. Everyone is aware they cannot provide accurate weather forecasts beyond 5 days, so it is unreasonable to claim they make accurate climate forecast for 50 and 100 years. The argument that weather forecasts are different than climate forecasts is not upheld because climate is an average of the weather. They are only as accurate as our knowledge of the weather and its mechanisms. At a recent conference on climate modeling in Reading, England, Tim Palmer, a leading climate modeler at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, said:

I don't want to undermine the IPCC, but the forecasts, especially for regional climate change, are immensely uncertain.

A paper by Demetris Koutsoyiannis et al argues that climate models have no predictive value.

The failure of the IPCC models is not surprising. They are built on the theory of warming/climate change, which uses the fundamental assumption that an increase in CO2 will cause an increase in temperature. In every record of any duration for any time period in the Earth's history, temperature increases before CO2. However, a major problem is the models' focus on human causes, as their mandate dictates. As Roy Spencer said in his testimony before the US Senate EPW Committee:

And given that virtually no research into possible natural explanations for global warming has been performed, it is time for scientific objectivity and integrity to be restored to the field of global warming research.

The IPCC and their totally inadequate and incomplete climate models exploit people's fears and lack of understanding while driving politicians to completely wrong policy. They present scenarios and warn against using them as predictions, yet produce a Summary for Policymakers. Individual IPCC members actively encourage policies.

Greenspan's bland and unapologetic statement that his model failed is frightening. It is even more frightening that the solutions do not deal with the fundamental flaws that allowed it to exist. Spending more than you earn is a problem from the individual through to government. He encouraged credit and then chastised the irrational exuberance with which it was adopted. Now, those who provided and often exploited the credit shock him.

The same is true of climate models. They are grossly flawed, being built on at least one critically false assumption, on inadequate data, and omit major mechanisms while consistently making inaccurate predictions. The damage of energy and environmental policies based on their output is already extensive and will get worse as politicians plan massive CO2 reductions. The question is, how did Greenspan get away with it? Why wasn't he challenged? How are the IPCC getting away with their deceptions and failed models? Bartholomew and Goode provide the answer succinctly in this paragraph on mass hysteria:

Many factors contribute to the formation and spread of collective delusions and hysterical illness: the mass media; rumors; extraordinary anxiety or excitement; cultural beliefs and stereotypes; the social and political context; and reinforcing actions by authorities such as politicians, or institutions of social control such as the police or military. Episodes are also distinguishable by the redefinition of mundane objects, events, and circumstances and reflect a rapidly spreading folk belief which contributes to an emerging definition of the situation.

They should add academia as a reinforcing authority.

The "redefinition of mundane objects" applies to weather events and climate change. These natural events have been redefined as unnatural and therefore problematic. They are then wrapped in the larger environmental hysteria. It also appears George Orwell was correct when he wrote,

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.



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


10 May, 2011

New paper: Increased solar activity caused far more global warming than assumed by the IPCC

More evidence that the slight global warming of the last 150 years was due to the sun

A recent peer-reviewed paper published in Astronomy & Astrophysics finds that solar activity has increased since the Little Ice Age by far more than previously assumed by the IPCC. The paper finds that the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) has increased since the end of the Little Ice Age (around 1850) by up to 6 times more than assumed by the IPCC. Thus, much of the global warming observed since 1850 may instead be attributable to the Sun (called "solar forcing"), rather than man-made CO2 as assumed by the IPCC.

Total Solar Irradiance (TSI)

Astronomy & Astrophysics 529, A67 (2011)

A new approach to the long-term reconstruction of the solar irradiance leads to large historical solar forcing

By A. I. Shapiro et al.


Context: The variable Sun is the most likely candidate for the natural forcing of past climate changes on time scales of 50 to 1000 years. Evidence for this understanding is that the terrestrial climate correlates positively with the solar activity.

During the past 10,000 years, the Sun has experienced the substantial variations in activity and there have been numerous attempts to reconstruct solar irradiance. While there is general agreement on how solar forcing varied during the last several hundred years – all reconstructions are proportional to the solar activity – there is scientific controversy on the magnitude of solar forcing.

Aims: We present a reconstruction of the total and spectral solar irradiance covering 130 nm–10 ?m from 1610 to the present with an annual resolution and for the Holocene with a 22-year resolution.

Methods: We assume that the minimum state of the quiet Sun in time corresponds to the observed quietest area on the present Sun. Then we use available long-term proxies of the solar activity, which are 10Be isotope concentrations in ice cores and 22-year smoothed neutron monitor data, to interpolate between the present quiet Sun and the minimum state of the quiet Sun. This determines the long-term trend in the solar variability, which is then superposed with the 11-year activity cycle calculated from the sunspot number. The time-dependent solar spectral irradiance from about 7000 BC to the present is then derived using a state-of-the-art radiation code. Results.

We derive a total and spectral solar irradiance that was substantially lower during the Maunder minimum than the one observed today. The difference is remarkably larger than other estimations published in the recent literature. The magnitude of the solar UV variability, which indirectly affects the climate, is also found to exceed previous estimates. We discuss in detail the assumptions that lead us to this conclusion.


Offshore wind farm plans 'are a costly mistake': British climate experts demand rethink on turbines and more nuclear power

Ministers are backing the construction of too many expensive offshore wind farms too quickly, senior advisers on green policy warn today.

In a report into the future of energy, the influential Committee on Climate Change calls on the Government to scale back plans to build thousands of turbines off the coast of Britain.

Instead, the report calls for hundreds more wind turbines to be built onshore at a lower cost over the next eight years.

The committee also says renewable green power should play a central role in Britain’s energy policy and that the UK needs a new generation of wind farms, nuclear power plants and other sources of green energy to keep the lights burning.

The Coalition is planning a massive expansion of wind farms to meet tough EU climate change targets.

By 2020, the UK will have to generate 30 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind, wave and wood burning. Currently it produces only 3 per cent.

Many of the 10,000 new turbines will be built at sea, producing up to 13 gigawatts of electricity. The rest will be built in the countryside.

The Government claims the wind farms are needed to slash greenhouse gas emissions from coal, oil and gas-fired power.

But critics say the plan is too expensive, the turbines ugly and that the UK will become over-dependent on the variable power of the wind.

The report says the Government’s plans for offshore wind are too ambitious and that the EU target could be met more cheaply. David Kennedy, the committee’s chief executive, said offshore wind was ‘a very promising technology and one we are keen to support in the UK’.

He added: ‘The renewable energy target is a legally binding one. But within that there are different ways to meet the target and at the moment we are doing a lot of offshore wind. There are other things we could do that are cheaper to meet the 2020 target.’

The Government should consider scaling back offshore farms by up to three gigawatts, he said. Instead of building expensive offshore wind farms, it should encourage more on land and import more renewable energy. The report also says wind will play a crucial role in Britain’s low carbon future.

By 2030 it is calling for 40 per cent of electricity to come from renewables, 40 per cent by nuclear power, 15 per cent from clean coal and gas and less than ten per cent from traditional gas.

To meet those targets, the UK would need another 3,600 giant offshore wind turbines, each one capable of producing five megawatts, or enough power for 1,200 homes. Another 11,000 turbines would be needed onshore. The Government is already committed to building the next generation of seven nuclear power plants. But another three would be needed to meet the low carbon targets, the report says.

It estimates that meeting the 2020 renewable energy targets set by the EU will add £50 to the typical household’s electricity bill. But if homes take advantage of the Coalition’s green deal insulation finance scheme in the next decade, average bills could be cut by 14 per cent, it says.

Lord Turner, chairman of the committee, said: ‘Renewable energy technologies are very promising and have an important role to play in helping to meet the UK’s carbon budgets and 2050 target, alongside other low-carbon technologies such as nuclear and carbon capture and storage.’


Past support for Warmism now poison for GOP Presidential contenders

Unlike Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich makes no apologies about his past advocacy on climate change.

The former House speaker and, beginning Wednesday, GOP presidential candidate, has spent the past three years defending his decision to appear alongside Nancy Pelosi in a commercial for Al Gore's Repower America Campaign.

Gingrich has had plenty of practice responding to complaints about the commercial from the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, who argued on his radio show that the former Georgia congressman had been aiding the "enemy."

"I'd do a commercial with Al Gore," Gingrich said last May in an interview with the website Human Events. "My point is conservatives ought to be prepared to stand on the same stage and offer a conservative solution."

As Gingrich formally enters the presidential nomination battle on Wednesday, he can expect to be peppered with still more questions about his advocacy on an issue that’s unlikely to go over so well with GOP primary voters.

Pawlenty has been on an apology tour for his own work on climate change, which includes signing a law as Minnesota governor to cap the state’s greenhouse gases and for taping a radio ad for the Environmental Defense Fund urging action at the federal level.

During the first GOP presidential debate last week, moderators played the audio of the radio ad. “Do we have to?” Pawlenty joked before giving his now finely tuned response: “I made a mistake. Nobody’s perfect.”

As a longtime GOP power broker, Gingrich brings his own lengthy record on green issues to the presidential campaign. He’s called himself a "green conservative” and co-authored the 2007 book “A Contract with the Earth” about how the political right has a history of being strong environmental stewards.

But Gingrich also has a history of sparring with greens. As speaker of the House in the mid-1990s, Gingrich fought the Clinton administration over a series of anti-environmental riders that Republicans tried to attach to spending bills.

More recently, he’s said he questioned global warming science and slammed Democrats and the Obama administration for pursuing cap-and-trade legislation. And he’s been promoting his plan to replace the EPA with an "Environmental Solutions Agency."

Conservatives continue to wrestle with their GOP presidential field and past advocacy on the climate issue, from Gingrich and Pawlenty to Mike Huckabee’s endorsement of cap-and-trade legislation during the 2008 campaign.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a leading skeptic on climate science, said last fall that the Republican White House contenders had been soft on the issue and he noted specifically Gingrich’s ad with Pelosi. "I know he'd just assume people forget that, but at that point it appeared that side was going to win," Inhofe said.

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist told POLITICO on Monday that he won’t single Gingrich out for his work on climate change. "If he was the only guy who walked down the alley with bad people, that shows bad judgment,” he said. But Norquist quickly added, "So many did that."


Climategate: Why Don’t We Know Who Leaked the CRU Emails?

Is that the biggest coverup of all?

Why don’t we know who released the emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU)? Is it an attempt by the CRU and the University of East Anglia (UEA) to divert even more attention from their involvement in this scandal? Is it part of the larger cover up apparently orchestrated by the Royal Society? Apparently to divert and control the fallout former CRU Director Phil Jones immediately called in the police, which established the event as a criminal act.

This raises the question of what he had to hide. If there was nothing in the files of consequence then loss of the information had no currency. The British House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee perpetuated this idea by referring to the emails as “stolen” in their whitewash investigation of Jones’ behavior. They didn’t even take testimony from scientists qualified to address the problems with the science, yet still concluded the science was solid.

The answer is more likely that the whistleblower will disclose motive and chicanery well beyond what is disclosed in the actual emails. There is a distinct boundary between those who understand the science, and know what the emails say, and those who don’t have the knowledge and claim they are of no consequence. If the latter also have a political bias the tunnel vision is narrowed even more.

From Phil Jones to Paul Hudson

Because of Jones’ actions, the Norfolk police, a regional force, involved the national government through the National Domestic Extremism Unit, which is surely another measure of the seriousness of what was involved in the files. This led to the University turning over all the files related to skeptics and their requests through Freedom of Information (FOI). Apparently the police and subsequent investigations bought the CRU claims that requests for information were politically driven and caused hardship that diverted them from their work. When interrogated by the police, skeptics were asked about their political affiliations.

The idea that politics was the motive only developed because the CRU and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had made global warming a purely political issue. Besides, why has motive got anything to do with request for scientific data and process, especially when funded by taxes and used to create potentially devastating policies?

Prior to leaking the emails to the world on November 19th 2009 the person sent them to Paul Hudson, weather and climate change expert with the BBC and former UK Met Office employee. Hudson received them on October 23rd, 2009, five weeks before.

Hudson has not explained why he did not release them, although he did confirm they were identical to the ones released later. Hudson knew the implications of the emails because he had written an article a month earlier titled Whatever happened to global warming. It is likely this article and his access to the world through his position with the BBC explain why he was chosen. It is also likely that previous admonitions about his views from CRU people prevented him from releasing the information.

Hudson blogged that he only received some of the larger set released and could not confirm they were all genuine. However, after he failed to release the information the person sent them to a Russian internet provider. Apparently the trigger was the impending meeting in Copenhagen, which planned to perpetuate devastating and unnecessary energy and climate policies. From there they were picked up and released through the web page Air Vent. That triggered Jones’ claim of a burglary, exposure of what skeptics had suspected for many years and justification for their FOI requests. But what has happened is that the people who requested the FOI are made out to be the problem.

Has the Person Been Silenced?

There is no apparent evidence of where the investigation is concerning who leaked the information. Does Hudson know who sent him the emails? Has he been interrogated? Surely, it is easy to track his emails and determine the source. One can only assume that hiding the identity of the person who released the emails is a necessary part of the whitewash and cover-up. What has happened to the concern that drove the ‘leaker’ in the first place? Was he convinced, as Hudson appears to have been, that silence is a wise choice?


South Carolina Taking Light Bulb Ban into Its Own Hands

Fed up with the federal government’s ban of the traditional incandescent light bulb, state representatives in South Carolina are pushing for the state to produce and use incandescents solely for its state.

The Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act, which unanimously passed South Carolina’s Senate panel, would allow South Carolina manufacturers to continue to sell incandescent bulbs so long as they have “Made in South Carolina” on them and are sold only within the state. Other states have floated the idea, and last year Arizona passed a bill that would have done the same thing, but Governor Jan Brewer (R) vetoed the legislation.

Whether the legislation becomes law remains to be seen, and even if it does become law, lawsuits will likely ensue. Regardless, South Carolina’s efforts demonstrate the will to remove the federal government’s ability to restrict individual choice. If the compact florescent light bulb (CFL) is a better choice, consumers will make that choice without the government’s push.

The complaints of CFLs are fairly well known by now. Many consumers prefer the soft yellow lighting of incandescents to the unnatural, office-like white light of fluorescents. Other critics point out that CFLs do not work well in colder temperatures, so they emit less heat, forcing Americans to use their heaters more. Residents in houses with well-and-septic systems use the heat from incandescent bulbs to keep the water above freezing. Furthermore, CFLs do not work well with dimmer switches, and the lifespan of the bulb diminishes when turned off and on frequently.

And they’re more expensive. But that’s all right, says the Department of Energy, because they use less energy than incandescents and last longer. Although, as I mentioned on C-SPAN last week, studies have shown that the energy savings from CFLs aren’t as great as initially purported. California utilities have spent nearly $550 million to subsidize CFL bulbs for its consumers, and these utilities were eager to see what kind of savings they were getting to subsidize bulb purchases. It turned out that the savings weren’t nearly as high as the electric utility PG&E thought they would be.

This does not mean that CFLs won’t save consumers energy in the long run. But be wary of government bureaucrats telling you that you’ll save X dollars or save X amount of energy by buying a more efficient washing machine, air conditioner, vehicle, and other machine with energy-efficiency standards. My colleague David Kreutzer uses a personal example:

[My] 1993 Maytag dishwasher used nine gallons of hot water and took 84 minutes to clean a normal load of dishes. The current model Maytag dishwasher uses seven gallons of hot water and takes 120 minutes to clean a normal load of dishes. This increase to a two- to three-hour cycle is typical and is the result of efficiency mandates that are met by using fewer gallons of water with much longer cycle times.

The cost of two gallons of hot water is less than a dime. For many people, the additional cycle time of an energy-efficient dishwasher will be an inconvenience greatly exceeding the 10-cent savings. Some people would alter their behavior (sometimes washing their dishes by hand, for example), which could entirely offset these gains. However, the regulator’s calculation of savings ignores these costs. Markets, on the other hand, do not.

Furthermore, government mandates can reduce product performance and, most importantly, ignore the fact that consumers can make intelligent decisions on their own without the government forcing choices upon them.


Learn from Canada about climate policy

A comment from Australia

In Australia it is increasingly common to hear lectures, invariably dressed up as speeches, from European politicians or the European Union itself about climate change and all that. However, Australia's economy has little in common with that of Britain or most of the other western European nations. Rather, our economy most resembles that of Canada - also a mineral-rich, primary producing nation - and to some extent the United States.

In view of this, the likes of Swan and Prime Minister Julia Gillard along with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott would be well advised to take a break from the budget preparations and focus, for a while, on last week's election in Canada - assuming that they have not already done so.

In a surprise result Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of the incumbent minority government led by the Conservative Party, has been returned to office with an absolute majority of seats. This was not on the agenda just a few months ago.

There was one key issue that distinguished the Conservatives from their rivals. Harper declared that he was opposed to what he labelled as "the socialists and the separatists" - all of whom supported a cap-and-trade scheme (similar to an emissions trading scheme). The Conservative Party's policy was clear - under Harper's prime ministership, Canada would not introduce climate-change policies before those supported by President Barack Obama's administration and passed by the United States Congress.

In other words, Harper stated the belief that Canada should not go ahead of the field on climate-change policies - when such key nations as the US, China, India and Japan had not signed on to a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme.

Previous administrations in Canada had endorsed the Kyoto agreement but Canada had consistently failed to meet its carbon reduction targets. The Canadian Conservatives campaigned that a cap-and-trade system would lead to an increase in fuel and power prices. It worked.

There were other factors, of course. Despite its minority status, the Harper government had presided over a sound economy and had restrained the growth of spending in responding to the global financial crisis. Even so, the key division between the Conservative Party and the others turned on its opposition to cap and trade.

In budget week, there is something to be learnt by both Gillard and Abbott in the surprise Canadian election result. Labor wants a carbon tax and the opposition advocates direct but expensive measures to reduce carbon emissions. In Canada, the Conservatives are running a line that goes something like this: Canada is a responsible nation and will play its part in reducing carbon emissions but only when the likes of the US, China, India and Japan do likewise.

This line worked for Harper in Canada. There is no obvious reason why such an approach would not also have appeal in Australia.



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


9 May, 2011

Sea level rise is decelerating

Following a long delay and some controversial "adjustments," the University of Colorado sea level satellite data was recently released. A plot of the rate of sea level rise shows a stable rate between 2003 and 2007, and declining rates since 2007.

Rate of sea level rise in mm/year

Sea levels have been rising since the peak of the last ice age 22,000 years ago and have been decelerating over the past 8,000 years.

More HERE (See the original for links)

'Clean stoves' would save lives, cut pollution

By Hillary Clinton and Julia Roberts (!!!)

The article below by two unlikely authors is perfectly correct and sensible. Third world cookery is a nightmare in many ways. What the article overlooks is that the accursed ELECTRICITY is the way to spread non-polluting cookery far and wide. And Greenies HATE electricity and do their best to stop dam building, power station building and anything else that might provide electricity to the Third World. Greenies are the ENEMY of 'Clean stoves'

This Mother's Day weekend, most of us will enjoy a home-cooked meal — maybe even breakfast in bed. We'll probably take it for granted that the meal was prepared in a clean kitchen, where the air is safe to breathe. But for nearly half of the world's population, cooking at home is a deeply dangerous act. In fact, it poses one of the most serious health risks in the developing world, and it's a major threat to the environment.

The reason? Smoke from dirty stoves or open flames. Some 3 billion people live in homes where food is cooked on stoves orover fires burning fuels like wood, dung, charcoal, or agricultural waste. These fuels produce toxic fumes, and in poorly ventilated homes, the mix of chemicals can reach 200 times the level that the EPA considers safe to breathe. It can cause lung cancer, pneumonia, cataracts, low birth weight, even death. According to the World Health Organization, smoke from dirty stoves and fires kills almost 2 million people each year, most of them women and children. It kills more than twice as many people as malaria.

The impact goes beyond people's health. Burning these fuels produces carbon dioxide, methane, and black carbon, which contribute to climate change. And cutting down trees for fuel causes natural habitats to dry up, forests to disappear, and soil to erode.

On average, women and girls in developing countries spend up to 20 hours a week searching for fuel — time they could spend going to school, running a business, or raising their families. And if they live in areas of conflict, leaving home to search for fuel puts them at great risk of assault or rape.

All of this presents a major challenge — but it can be solved. If we can get cleaner, more efficient cookstoves in wider use throughout the developing world, we can save lives, cut back on carbon emissions, and create new economic opportunities for millions of women.

Fortunately, the technology for clean cookstoves already exists. Several companies are already producing them, and countries like India, China, and Mexico have begun to introduce them in national programs. But the uptake has been slow, because there hasn't been a widescale effort to coordinate these efforts, or to make the stoves affordable in the developing world.


Obama's Weekly Address: "Hey, Why Not Take A Hybrid Bus!"

William Teach

After doing something good in authorizing the take down of Bin Laden, he's right back to his idea of clean green super duper expensive alternative energy while telling us we can't drill our way out of high gas prices. Then he jumps in his huge fossil fueled vehicle and drives to the golf course, followed by a large motorcade of gas sucking SUVs. Oh, sorry, I forgot, despite all the "I's" in his speeches, actually doing something is all about You
Weekly Address: Clean Energy Will Help Us Out-Compete and Out-Innovate the Rest of the World

That's not working so well for other countries which have tried that path. Perhaps in the future it will help us, and, as I keep repeating, I'm all for it. But, during the transition, we still need oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear at reasonable prices.
Hi. I’m speaking with you today from the Allison Transmissions plant in Indianapolis, Indiana. I came here because this is a place where American workers are doing some big and impressive things.

The hybrid technology they manufacture here already powers nearly 4,000 buses all over the world – buses that have already saved 15 million gallons of fuel. Soon, they’ll expand this new technology to trucks as well. That means more vehicles using less oil, and that means jobs – more than 200 new workers at this plant alone.

See? He wants us all, you folks who can't afford to slap down an extra $10,000 on a hybrid or electric car to take the bus. He's got Marine 1 to ferry him around to campaign events.
That’s important because even as the economy is growing after one of the worst recessions in our history; even as we’ve added more than 2 million new private sector jobs over the past 14 months; I still meet and hear from Americans struggling to get out of their own personal recessions.

Did he just blame people for being in their "own personal recessions?" Like it's something of their own making, and the rest of the country doesn't feel the same way? Good thing only 31% feel that the countries best days are ahead of us, the lowest ever recorded.
A lot of folks are still looking for work. And many folks who do have jobs are finding that their paychecks aren’t keeping up with the rising costs for everything from tuition to groceries to gas. In fact, in alot of places across the country, like Indiana, gas is reaching all-time highs.

So, in order to counter that, he wants more "clean energy", which might possibly sorta kinda help in 20 years or so. Then he flies Air Force 1 across the country, along with the backup jumbo jet, for a campaign rally.
The clean energy jobs at this plant are the jobs of the future – jobs that pay well right here in America. And in the years ahead, it’s clean energy companies like this one that will keep our economy growing, create new jobs, and make sure America remains the most prosperous nation in the world.

Told ya. Of course, people are concerned with all those rising prices now.
But over the long term, the only way we can avoid being held hostage to the ups and downs of oil prices is if we reduce our dependence on oil. That means investing in clean, alternative sources of energy, like advanced biofuels and natural gas. And that means making cars and trucks and buses that use less oil. Other countries know this, and they’re going all in to invest in clean energy technologies and clean energy jobs. But I don’t want other countries to win the competition for these technologies and these jobs. I want America to win that competition. I want America to win the future.

When milk costs $5 a gallon, bread is $3 for a generic loaf, and gas is $6 a gallon, we'll all be saying "WTF" too, but, it will obviously have a different meaning. And Obama will say WTF on the first Wednesday in November 2012, wondering why the f... he lost.
Now, I know that in a difficult fiscal climate like the one we’re in, it’s tempting for some to try and cut back our investments in clean energy. And I absolutely agree that the only way we’ll be able to afford the things we need is by cutting the things we don’t and living within our means. But I refuse to cut investments like clean energy that will help us out-innovate and out-compete the rest of the world. I refuse to cut investments that are making it possible for plants like this one to grow and add jobs across America.

We can do this. I don’t just believe that because I see it happening in plants like this. I believe that because I believe in the Americans making it happen in places like this. I’m optimistic about our economic future, because for all the challenges we face, America is still home to the most entrepreneurial, most industrious, most determined people on Earth. There’s nothing we can’t accomplish when we set our minds to it. And that’s what we’ll keep doing as long as I have the privilege of being your President.

Notice the contrast between "I's" and "we's." What he's saying is that he (I) has political beliefs that he (I) is going to shove down your (we) neck, regardless of how much it hurts you (we) and ruins the country (we).

He also has a snappy cartoon like graphic on the video page showing how all this is going to work. Remember to view it while you are sitting at home, unable to afford to travel anywhere for a vacation, barely able to afford to get to work, and worried about layoffs because the company you work for can barely afford to operate with the high energy costs.


Joe Romm Lies


I do my best to ignore Joe Romm, but when he blatantly lies about me I sometimes feel compelled to respond. In today's installment Romm writes: "[The] false accusation that Gore was exaggerating came from none other than Roger Pielke, Jr."

He is referring to the time back in February, 2009 that I called Al Gore out for including a misleading slide in his famous climate change slide show. Far from being a "false accusation" it was one that Al Gore actually agreed with and responded to immediately -- Much to Gore's credit, he agreed that the slide was misleading and immediately pulled it from his presentation.

Here is what his spokesperson said at the time (full statement at link above): "We appreciate that you have pointed out the issues with the CRED database and will make the switch back to the data we used previously to ensure that there is no confusion either with regards to the data or attribution."

Al Gore showed some real integrity in trying to get the science more right, something I praised him for at the time.

It is long overdue for the environmental community to start pushing back on Romm as he continues to stain their entire enterprise. His lies and smear tactics, which are broadly embraced and condoned, are making enemies out of friends and opponents out of fellow travelers. Vigorous debate is welcome and healthy. Lies and character assassination not so much.

UPDATE 5/7: Joe Romm offers 3,300 wacky words in response to this short post. Crazy. Anyway, the simple response is, did Gore remove the slide I called him out on for using? Answer: Yes. Game, set, match.


Wasting money on climate change betrays sick

Jo Nova comments from Australia

LOST opportunities are invisible but deadly. On climate change, the call to buy insurance by pricing carbon is a cop-out. Where is the cost-benefit analysis?

We're thinking of axing Australian medical research yet we're supporting solar panel manufacturers in China. It doesn't have to be this way.

All the money spent employing green police, subsidising solar or researching how to pump carbon dioxide underground is money not spent on medical research.

Opportunity lost is a killer. The path not taken could be lined with happier, longer lives. Only the best evidence and real debate have a chance of helping us see through the fog to pick the better road.

While most scientists agree CO2 causes some warming, there is great debate about just how much. If CO2 has only a minor effect on temperature then spending, say, $1 billion on inefficient roof-top solar panels is not just wasted money, it's a choice that will kill people. We won't be able to say exactly who it will kill but we can virtually guarantee that some people will die in the future who could have been saved.

Why? Solar energy costs us more than five times what coal-powered energy does. So instead of spending $1bn on solar panels, we could have spent $200 million on cheap electricity and used the other $800m to double our medical research budget.

Right now, the government is planning to cut $133m from our $800m annual medical research budget. The Australian government has spent or will spend $3.8bn on initiatives to combat climate change across four years. (The US government was spending about $7bn a year at last count.) When Julia Gillard spends money on climate-related work instead of medical research, she is making a choice about the net benefits and it's supposedly based on science. It's true sooner or later medical research will get the answers right, but for someone who is sick with a deadly disease, sooner makes a life-and-death difference.

If our government-funded climate establishment makes the wrong guess about what humidity does in a warmer world, CO2 emissions become trivial and inconsequential. But the money diverted or delayed from better causes leaves a trail of destruction that cannot be repaired. Money can always be replaced, but lives lost are gone for good.

Julio Licinio, director of the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University, put together a passionate, disturbing advertisement two weeks ago, a plea to stop cuts to medical research funding. His sister died aged four from a disease that is treatable today.

Which four-year-old in 2018 will die because Gillard introduced a carbon tax instead of increasing medical research funding? Which father will die in 2022 who would have lived if we had doubled our funding for medical research? It is for people such as four-year-old Fabiola that we should keep fighting for rational debate. Bad science makes for bad policy. Poor reasoning is deadly.

Medical research is blossoming at a phenomenal, historic pace.

The exponential curve in gene therapy, telomerase research, genomics and glycobiology is barely beginning. Four significant breakthroughs were made in medical research in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2000.

These were the kinds of breakthroughs people had worked for decades to make, and some were not predicted even a few years beforehand. The human genome project was finished five years ahead of schedule and for a fraction of the expected price.

Right now, a year of medical research really does make a difference. These are the areas where we will be left behind and it will hurt. These are the industries where we need to stay at the head of the pack, not just to save lives but to save the economy as well.

Access Economics estimated in 2003 that every dollar invested in the Australian health research and development sector returned at least $5 in national economic development.

When government-funded Australian researchers discover treatments, we own vital intellectual property. We not only export products the world wants, we avoid being beholden to foreign patent holders. Some effective cancer drugs cost $2000 a week. Isn't that the kind of research we want to own?

If we lead the world in medicine, the world is our oyster. If it turns out clean carbon technology is useful, we can buy it with the spare change from the profits of medical research. We know we need a cure for cancer. We don't know if the rest of the world will want to pump CO2 underground 10 years from now.

When we lead the world in putting inefficient solar panels on roofs, we only help Chinese manufacturers and we win a race no one wants to win. You can't export second-hand solar panels or resell old pink batts.

Can we start looking at the cost benefits of all our policies instead of reasoning by fallacy? The precautionary principle is no principle of science: it's a blind tool that works for both sides of any debate.

To quote Licinio: "In 1964 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of childhood was 100 per cent fatal. Now the cure rate is over 80 per cent, thanks to medical research. When Fabiola died I was so upset that it took me decades to recover. From protracted mourning to survivor guilt, the impact of that death shaped my life. For someone like myself who suffered tremendously due to a disease [that] was incurable and whose cure has been subsequently achieved through medical research, the proposed cuts to the NHRMC [National Health and Medical Research Council] budget are unconscionable.

"On a very positive note, my mother, Aurea, lost her own mother early on. My grandmother died at age 47 due to malignant hypertension, which was out of control, and sky-high blood pressures. My mother suffered enormously because of that death; and she knew that she had the exact same disease. Later in life, my mother also developed breast cancer. However, medical research always caught up with her and her blood pressure was always well controlled. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer she had state-of-the-art treatment, guided by medical research. My mother died in 2007 neither from hypertension nor from breast cancer. Medical research gave my mother 40 years of active, happy and highly productive life."


The Greenies tremble before their demanding God: "Nature"

Ben Pile

The Guardian has a revealing editorial today, which makes the claim that:
Biodiversity: It’s the ecology, stupid

At every level, human civilisation is underwritten by the planet’s countless and still mostly unidentified wild things

As discussed in the previous post, the idea that civilisation is underwritten in this way is a secular revision of Divine Providence. Environmentalism’s politics is forged by this view of nature with an equally bleak conception of human nature — equally a contemporary, secular account of original sin. The logic of these conceptions of the natural world and humanity lead to environmentalism’s tendency to produce political ideas that resonate with the worst from the Dark Ages.

Says the Guardian:
The water we drink falls as rain, usually on higher ground, often designated as a catchment area. The terrain would ideally be covered in vegetation, because otherwise the runoff would be muddy, the reservoirs would silt up and the valleys would flood. But plants depend on billions of insects to pollinate them. Insects also devour foliage, so forests depend on birds by day and bats by night to keep insect populations under control. To prevent a population crash, there must also be raptors to keep the insectivores in order – and the taps running.

At every level, human civilisation is underwritten by the planet’s countless and still mostly unidentified wild things – the jargon word is biodiversity – that pollinate our crops, cleanse, conserve and recycle our water, maintain oxygen levels, and deliver all the things on which human comfort, health, and security depend. Economists and conservationists have tried to put a value on the services of nature: if we had to buy what biodiversity provides for nothing, how much cash would we need? The answer runs into trillions, but the question is nonsensical. Without healthy ecosystems, there would be no cotton and linen to make banknotes and no bread or clean water for sale.

The author seems a little slow in the head. He or she wants to claim that the question of how much we’d pay to do the job that ecosystems seem to do is nonsensical, because if there were no ecosystems there would be no stuff. This obviously forgets that doing the job the ecosystems do — i.e. what we’d pay for — would create the stuff. Who writes these editorials, anyway?

The idea that we depend on ‘biodiversity’ in this way is a curious one. I could get my water for ‘free’, rather than pay the £300 or so a year I currently pay to have it on tap. I could put buckets in my garden, and store them. But in what sense is this ‘free’? I would have to buy the buckets, but let’s assume I made them. I would also have to process the water somehow to make sure it is clean, and to maintain the buckets and make sure I have enough storage space for rainless periods: I need an even bigger bucket. If we also assume that I earn £10 an hour, in order to say that I get my water ‘for free’, we’d have to say that I would be better off collecting my own water than paying for it with what takes me just 30 hours to earn. Add to this the fact that now I’ve cut myself off from the rest of society, collecting water is now a matter of life and death.

I think I’m better off forking out the £300 a year. Moreover, this figure includes the cost of removing the water I no longer need.

The author of the editorial might protest that natural processes were still involved in the movement of the water onto higher-ground, where it found its way to aquifers and rivers, which supply our water infrastructure. But what if I live near the sea, and my water is supplied from a desalination plant, powered by nuclear energy? To what extent, then, am I dependent on ‘biodiversity’?

It seems obvious that our dependence on ‘biodiversity’ is greatly diminished by our self-dependence as a society. The time I would have spent collecting and processing water is reduced by my dependence on somebody else to do the job on a larger scale more efficiently, leaving me to spend my time and money on better things. This much is explained by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations. The point the Guardian editorial misses is that we are made richer by our self-dependence, and we are accordingly less and less dependent on ‘biodiversity’. We don’t need to ‘buy’ ‘ecosystem services’, we make better alternatives.

The Guardian grumbles on…
Last week the European commission unveiled its 2020 biodiversity strategy, and introduced the notion of a “green infrastructure” from Orkney to the Black Sea. A continent-sized strategy is indeed necessary: swifts, swallows and swallowtail butterflies do not care about national boundaries. It focuses on the economic value of forest, grassland, heath, wetland, lake, river and farmland ecosystems. The auguries are not encouraging. One fourth of all Europe’s farmland birds flew away between 1990 and 2007; 40 or more of Europe’s 435 butterflies are now fluttering to extinction. Yes, extinctions are a normal part of evolutionary history, but not on such a scale and pace. And who knows which species an ecosystem can do without, and still function for human benefit?

But what scale, and what pace are ‘Europe’s 435 butterflies are now fluttering to extinction’? What is the scale and pace of butterfly extinction that we should expect? Why wouldn’t ‘One fourth of all Europe’s farmland birds’ fly ‘away between 1990 and 2007′? What would have kept them where they were, if we weren’t here? Should these numerical statements be take at face value?

And indeed, ‘who knows which species an ecosystem can do without’?

By definition, an ecosystem without a species is no longer the same ecosystem. The mistake the Guardian makes is to imagine that ecosystems are tangible, bounded entities, rather than fluid and dynamic.

The myth that haunts this misconception is the mystical notion of ‘balance’. Just as the eddies formed by a butterfly’s wings are imagined to be capable of producing a storm elsewhere in the world, the Guardian seem to have this idea of ecosystems in such a perilous equilibrium that just the slightest horizontal force — the disappearance of just one tiny species — can begin a cascade of tipping points to oblivion. It is as if the disappearance of just one butterfly would cause rain to cease falling on the hill, for the sun to stop shining on the field, for the earth to become infertile. It is this mystical idea of ‘balance’ which, it seems, is supposed to keep the populations of butterflies and farmland birds in check. It doesn’t matter what the scale and pace are, anything could bring doom upon us.

I don’t wish to appear callous. I’m not arguing for the senseless destruction of all things bright and beautiful. I just think the Guardian talks a lot of crap. It continues…
The EU in 2006 vowed to halt species loss by 2010, but in 2008 admitted frankly that targets would not be met. Around 18% of Europe’s land area is protected, but governments and environment agencies need to think very hard about not just protecting but restoring habitats in much of the remaining 82%. Inevitably, those critics who do not condemn Brussels for the failure of its biodiversity policies so far will vilify it for fretting about dragonflies, toads and liverworts while economies stagnate and industries collapse. Both responses are wrong. Europe may propose, but the member states must implement. And although the cost of conserving biodiversity will be considerable, the price of not doing so could be truly terrible.

Given that, in spite of a whopping 18% of Europes 4.4 million sqKm being ‘protected’ the EU has nonetheless failed to meet this goal of ‘halting species loss’, it must be worth wondering if extending the protective cover to the remaining 82% would merely amplify the failure. Nature isn’t behaving as EU diktats have instructed! Might this failure be a fact owed less to environmental degradation and insufficient legislation than to the shortcomings of self-serving bureaucracy and mystical ideas about the natural world? Might it be the case that ‘the science’ has been prematurely turned into policy?

Sod the cost, says the Guardian, it could be doomsday. Fetch the buckets!

And isn’t that what they always say? With such a comprehensive inability to bring a sense of proportion to their analyses, any trivial issue becomes a matter of life and death. It’s the precautionary principle, all over again. It allows the likes of disoriented Guardian editors to speculate about some superficially plausible way by which we might all die horribly, thus giving momentum to their absurd agenda. Nebulous concepts like ‘biodiveristy’ and ‘ecosystem’, and bogus notions of connectedness and balance allow rank moral cowardice and intellectual vacuity to be concealed.

If these claims about biodiversity were not hidden behind the precautionary principle — if real numbers took the place of vapid speculation — Guardian editors would have nothing to hide behind. As the steam runs out of the climate change scare, so we can expect other ecological issues to dominate the ecological narrative: sustainability, population, and biodiversity. The same language and logic turns up in each attempt to tell the same story, passed off as new science, or new data.



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


8 May, 2011

Most widely used climate computer model exaggerates actual global warming by 67%

A paper published today in the Journal of Climate announces a new version of the computer climate model most widely used by climate scientists and the IPCC, called the Community Climate System Model (CCSM) version 4. The creators claim their program is
"a fully-coupled, global climate model that provides state-of-the-art computer simulations of the Earth’s past, present, and future climate states."

The abstract, however, contains a remarkable admission that the model exaggerates the global warming from 1850 to 2005 by 0.4°C more than observations. The observed global warming from 1850 to 2005 was only 0.6°C, thus the computer model predicted ~ 67% more global warming than actually occurred. This exaggeration alone could account for all of the claimed "heat trapping" from the increase in man-made carbon dioxide over that same 155 year period. IPCC projections for future global warming based upon this model may be similarly greatly exaggerated.
The Community Climate System Model Version 4


The fourth version of the Community Climate System Model (CCSM4) was recently completed and released to the climate community. This paper describes developments to all CCSM components, and documents fully coupled pre-industrial control runs compared to the previous version, CCSM3. Using the standard atmosphere and land resolution of 1° results in the sea surface temperature biases in the major upwelling regions being comparable to the 1.4° resolution CCSM3. Two changes to the deep convection scheme in the atmosphere component result in CCSM4 producing El Nino/Southern Oscillation variability with a much more realistic frequency distribution than CCSM3, although the amplitude is too large compared to observations. They also improve the Madden-Julian Oscillation, and the frequency distribution of tropical precipitation. A new overflow parameterization in the ocean component leads to an improved simulation of the Gulf Stream path and the North Atlantic Ocean meridional overturning circulation. Changes to CCSM4 land component lead to a much improved annual cycle of water storage, especially in the tropics. The CCSM4 sea ice component uses much more realistic albedos than CCSM3, and for several reasons the Arctic sea ice concentration is improved in CCSM4. An ensemble of 20th century simulations produces a pretty good match to the observed September Arctic sea ice extent from 1979 to 2005. The CCSM4 ensemble mean increase in globally-averaged surface temperature between 1850 and 2005 is larger than the observed increase by about 0.4°C. This is consistent with the fact that CCSM4 does not include a representation of the indirect effects of aerosols, although other factors may come into play. The CCSM4 still has significant biases, such as the mean precipitation distribution in the tropical Pacific Ocean, too much low cloud in the Arctic, and the latitudinal distributions of short-wave and long-wave cloud forcings.


After 20 years involved in academic psychological research, I concluded that most psychological research consisted simply of academics having fun playing silly games. The above would suggest the same of climate scientists -- JR

Australia: Crazy Greenie recycling scheme leads to dangerous parasites in the Sydney water supply

HUMAN faeces used as fertiliser on farms is being blamed for a breakout of Third World parasites causing a serious stomach illness across Sydney.

Doctors fear the Sydney Water Biosolids Strategy, which turns 180,000 tonnes of human waste into fertiliser yearly, could be behind the emergence of stomach bug, Blastocystis hominis, usually found in dirty water in Third World countries and spread via faeces, and a second parasite which often accompanies it, D. fragilis. Both cause cramps, extreme pain, distended stomach, diarrhoea, weight loss and fatigue.

Confidential microbiology tests, signed off on by Sydney Water in the past four months and obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, detected D. fragilis in one in five samples of primary wastewater. The tests did not look for Blastocystis hominis.

Solid waste removed from the sewage is turned into biosolids and sent to 20 farms in NSW to enrich soil under a sustainability program.

Professor Kerryn Phelps, former head of the Australian Medical Association said there needs to be an independent inquiry into the practice after detecting an increasing number of patients with the parasites in their gut. "I've noticed an increase in these pathogens in people who have not travelled overseas," she said.

"One hundred and eighty thousand tonnes of partially treated sewage is being used as fertiliser annually and the program had not been independently assessed. "From a public health point of view, we have what appears to be a significant problem."

Switzerland and Austria have banned the use of sewerage sludge as fertiliser, while in Sweden and parts of Germany, supermarkets do not stock products treated with biosolids.

Three studies, published in international medical and public health policy journals, found residents living near land where biosolids are used suffered a statistically higher rate of illness.

The most recent, a 2007 health survey of residents living near Ohio farm fields which use biosolids, published in the international journal, Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health, said this: "Results revealed that some reported health-related symptoms were statistically significantly elevated among the exposed residents. The findings suggest an increased risk for certain respiratory, gastrointestinal and other diseases among residents living near farm fields on which the use of biosolids was permitted."

Yet, NSW Health has not reviewed the potential health impacts of the program nor conducted tests on the farms where soil has been fertilised with human faeces.

Leading gastroenterologist, Professor Thomas Borody, who carried out research supporting the team that won a Nobel Prize for cure of stomach ulcers, said there needs to be an investigation into the biosolids program to give the public certainty that human faeces is not infecting our food supply.

He said in the past 10 to 15 years, 1500 people had been diagnosed with D. fragilis and Blastocystis in his practice. "If we are going to be using foods grown on crops which use these biosolids it would be good to have a certain level of assurance that they are not carrying pathogens," he said.

He said the parasite Blastocystis homonis was difficult to kill in humans. "The problem, apart from parasites, is viruses," he said. "Faecal matter transmits viruses that give you diarrhoea. What worries us more is the sporadic case of Hepatitis B and C when you do not know how it has been caught. Some people have never used needles."

Despite the discussion in medical journals about the transmission of D. fragilis, Sydney Water's spokesman said the bug was not a concern and was unlikely to survive for long outside the human body. "Sydney Water is unaware of any cases of illnesses directly caused by biosolids," the spokesman said.

Former general manager of Pittwater City Council, Angus Gordon, who retired in 2006, said NSW Health advised him not to use biosolids on sports ovals because it was not safe around children.

"The problem with biosolids was, at the time we were being advised, that there was the possibility of pathogens being within the biosolids," he said. "We were asking the question: if we were to use this material would it be safe for people, particularly children, to play on those fields, given that people do sustain injuries and grazes? "At the time we rejected it on the basis that we weren't able to get the assurances."

NSW Health's spokesman said if Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines were adhered to, the use of biosolids was unlikely to present a risk to public health. The 92-page long EPA guidelines state that if biosolids are used on agricultural land, crops - from potatoes to lettuce and turf - should not be grown for between 18 months and five years. There is also a 30-day harvesting rule for animal feed and fibre crops.

"Where there is a high potential for public exposure, access should be restricted by fencing and signing for one year after biosolids application," the guidelines state.

Sydney Water's water quality and public health program manager Peter Cox could not give a definitive answer when asked whether pathogens could be transferred from biosolids to humans, posing a health risk.

"What we do is we manage the guidelines to make sure that the biosolids are safe for the purpose that they are used," he said. "Pathogens can exist in very low numbers but not enough to cause any harm. There are lots and lots of pathogens and it will depend on the individual bit of biosolid that you pick up to analyse. The whole management of biosolids, which includes treatment and potential for exposure, is there so that it doesn't cause a risk to health."

Sydney Water does not conduct testing on its biosolids for the two parasites and would not reveal which pathogens, if any, it does test for. "We don't routinely test for things that are not required for us to test in the guidelines," Mr Cox said.


How to abolish the EPA

Over a dozen Senate Republicans led by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) are pushing a plan that would merge the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency into one department.

“The bill would provide cost savings by combining duplicative functions while improving the administration of energy and environmental policies by ensuring a coordinated approach,” Burr’s office said in a statement on the legislation.

Combining duplicative functions and nixing ineffective programs could save $3 billion over the next year alone, Burr’s office said.
The bill introduced Thursday would create a Department of Energy and Environment. It comes at a time when Republicans are alleging that many EPA policies are hindering domestic energy production.

Burr’s 15 co-sponsors include Sens. Jim Demint (R-S.C.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), as well as several freshmen such as Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and John Boozman (R-Ark.).


The dupication of functions argument is a good one. It could potentially lead to the complete abolition of Federal departments that overlap with State ones, such as the EPA -- JR

Dave Roberts Of Grist Tells Germans: “U.S. Climate Bill Is Dead"

According to, a warmist site operated by socialists and green Utopians, Dave Roberts was invited by the Heinrich Böll Foundation as a speaker for climate blogs at the network conference re:publica in Berlin last month. Roberts, you will recall, is the activist at Grist who in 2006 called for Nuremberg-type trials for bastards who deny global warming. interviewed Roberts here and asked him about the US failure to pass a climate bill and the power of American conservatives. He had some interesting responses. Here are some excerpts of questions and answers in paraphrased form (I’ve eliminated all the rambling).

klimaretter: After the wonderful election of Barack Obama, hopes to pass a climate were high. What happened?

Roberts: The idea that it would be enough to replace “bad people” with “good people” turned out to be utterly naive. Barack Obama seemed to be the Messiah we had been waiting for. But his charisma was not enough to solve the USA’s deep problems. The Republicans routinely used delay and disrupt tactics.

klimaretter: Why didn’t the law get passed?

Roberts: Obama thought he could quickly pass health care reform, and then use the momentum to pass a climate bill. But passing health care reform got bogged down and became a very difficult issue. The momentum got lost. So the climate bill died and the only thing left to do is to set our hopes on EPA and its authority to regulate CO2. The Republicans want to defund the EPA. The fight is tough, but it’s not over yet.

klimaretter: What makes the conservative climate skeptics so powerful in the USA?

Roberts: The conservatives really know how to create an atmosphere of controversy in order to block climate protection measures. The Republicans are focused on spreading doubt and portraying scientific consensus as being in dispute. There are great parallels with the tactics used by the tobacco industry.

klimaretter: Will it be possible to expect progress in US climate protection over the next 2 Obama years?

Roberts (see English below): Das Klimagesetz ist jedenfalls erstmal tot – wahrscheinlich sogar auf etliche Jahre. Und auch wenn Obama wiedergewählt wird und die Demokraten im Repräsentantenhaus die Mehrheit zurückgewinnen muss man sich fragen, ob das reichen wird. Denn an dem Punkt waren wir schon einmal – und das Klimagesetz ist trotzdem grandios gescheitert.

In English: “The climate bill is now dead in any case – probably even for a number of years. And even if Obama gets re-elected and the Democrats regain the majority in the House of Representatives, one has to ask whether that will be enough. We were at that point once already, and the climate bill failed spectacularly.”


Corruption of Climate Science Has Created 30 Lost Years

Traditionally, the older scientists held to the prevailing wisdom and were challenged by the new, skeptical graduates looking for wider answers. In climatology, the opposite has happened. The so-called skeptics challenging the prevailing wisdom are the professors who have researched and taught the subject for 30 years or longer. Their knowledge is much wider than that of the new young scientists because climate science has stagnated for thirty years. All the funding was directed to only one side of climate science, and that was the side promoted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and accepted as the ‘official science’ by governments.

It’s now frightening how little climate science is known by both sides of the debate on human causation of global warming. I wrote this sentence before I saw a paper from Michigan State University that found,
Most college students in the United States do not grasp the scientific basis of the carbon cycle – an essential skill in understanding the causes and consequences of climate change.

The professor says students need to know because they must deal with the buildup of CO2 causing climate change. This discloses his ignorance about the science of the carbon cycle and the role of CO2 in climate. It’s not surprising, and caused by three major factors:

* a function of the emotional, irrational, religious approach to environmentalism;

* the takeover of climate science for a political agenda; and
funding directed to prove the political, rather than the scientific, agenda.

* The dogmatism of politics and religion combined to suppress openness of ideas and the advance of knowledge critical to science.

We now have a generation (30 years) of people teaching, researching, or running government that has little knowledge because of lack of fundamental education. Because of them, the public is ill-informed, doesn’t understand the problem, and doesn’t even know the questions to ask.

Correcting the education process will take time, because there are insufficient people with the knowledge or expertise. Correcting and widening the research functions will take longer because of removing or re-educating current personnel and the lack of qualified replacements. Even if achieved, success is unlikely because there is the massive problem of inadequate data.

Reduction in the number of weather stations, elimination of raw data by national governments, unexplained manipulations of existing data, and deliberate loss of data were all done to predetermine and justify results. This couples with failure to fund research to recover and reconstruct historical data. In his autobiography, Hubert Lamb said he founded the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in 1972 because
…it was clear that the first and greatest need was to establish the facts of the past record of the natural climate in times before any side effects of human activities could well be important.

The situation is worse now, sadly, due to the people at the CRU and government weather agencies.

The blame begins with the political manipulations of Maurice Strong, but he only succeeded because of the so-called climate scientists. Among them, computer modelers caused the biggest problem. They needed to know the most, but knew the least. If they knew anything, they would know there is inadequate data and understanding of the major components and mechanisms on which to build the models.

A former editor of an enlightened environmental journal said we need a committee of scientists from the many disciplines involved in climate science. Such a committee existed 25 years ago, and produced groundbreaking work. It was a joint project funded by The National Museum of Canada and Environment Canada under the title Climatic Change in Canada During the Past 20,000 Years. Each year a specific topic was considered, and scientists presented material that was published in Syllogeus. For example, Syllogeus 55 examined Critical Periods in the Quaternary of Climatic History of Northern North America. All the problems that plague climate science, such as tree rings, ice cores, circulation patterns, and proxy data, among many others, were identified and researched.

In the last meeting, I was elected Chair, and in my acceptance speech I said we needed to consider, carefully and scientifically, the claims of global warming. Environment Canada cut the funding, apparently, because it challenged the political position the agency had already taken; the project died. Canada should reconstitute it, because it was producing useful and non-political science.

People who totally accepted the corrupted, limited and narrowly focused science of the IPCC have taught climate science for the last 30 years. They should all read H.H. Lamb’s monumental two-volume set Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 1: Fundamentals and Climate Now (1972) and Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2: Climatic History and the Future (1977).

They’d learn that all issues now put forward as ‘new’ are not new at all. They only appear new because of the black hole that politicians, aided by a few climatically uneducated political scientists, have dragged climate science into over the last 30 years.


Warmists trying new legal ploy

A group of attorneys representing children and young adults began to file legal actions Wednesday in every state and Washington in an effort to force government intervention on climate change.

The courtroom ploy was backed by activists looking for a legal soft spot to advance a cause that has stumbled in the face of stiff congressional opposition and a skeptical U.S. Supreme Court.

The goal is to have the atmosphere declared for the first time as a "public trust" deserving special protection. That's a concept previously used to clean up polluted rivers and coastlines, although legal experts said they were uncertain it could be applied successfully to climate change.

The spate of lawsuits, led by an Oregon-based non-profit called Our Children's Trust, were based on "common law" theories, not statutes adopted by state or federal lawmakers. Documents in the cases were provided in advance to The Associated Press.

Conservative opponents warned the effort could overload the judicial system and paralyze the economy with over-regulation.

Attorneys involved in the lawsuits said a victory in even one or two cases would give environmentalists leverage, leading to new regulations to rein in greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are driving global temperatures higher.

State-level lawsuits were planned in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, organizers said. A federal lawsuit was to be filed in California, while regulatory petitions filed elsewhere would ask state environmental agencies to tighten restrictions on vehicle and industrial plant emissions.

A 16-year-old climate activist listed as a plaintiff in one of the cases, Alec Loorz of California, said he latched onto the effort because he thought "it would give us teeth, give us a bigger voice than just yelling and marching."

"People have tried pushing legislation and that hasn't worked. Obama hasn't been able to push anything through. The only option we have is the judicial system — taking this to the courts," said Loorz.

Loorz said he began giving public presentations on climate change when he was 13, soon after seeing former Vice-President Al Gore's movie, "Inconvenient Truth."

Another case that relied on unconventional legal tactics to address climate change got a tepid reception during arguments last month before the U.S. Supreme Court. That matter involved several states that sought to rein in power plant emissions by declaring them a public nuisance.

A ruling is pending, but Harvard Law School professor Jody Freeman said justices had questioned whether courts were the appropriate forum for the issue.

"I am generally skeptical the plaintiffs will succeed in the courts pressing for common-law remedies from judges," Freeman said.

Columbia University law professor Michael Gerrard described the public trust suits as a "bold move" by activists looking to use all available options to impose greenhouse gas restrictions. Still, he joined Freeman in saying the pending decision in the public nuisance case would heavily influence the outcome of the state-level lawsuits.

A more optimistic view came from Gus Speth, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Jimmy Carter.

Speth, now at the Vermont Law School, said public trust litigation over climate change could work if its backers can find a judge willing to innovate a new area of law.

Yet that outcome could only result if a judge is willing to buy into what conservative analyst Hans von Spakovsky called "a creative, made-up legal theory."

"This is a complete violation of our whole constitutional system. These kinds of public policy issues are up to either the state legislatures or Congress to determine, not judges," said von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Eddy and others involved in Wednesday's lawsuits credited University of Oregon law professor Mary Christina Wood as laying the legal groundwork for their litigation.

Wood told the AP that mainstream environmental groups had approached climate change with the same tactics used to combat industrial developments or protect endangered species. But she said lawsuits based on existing environmental laws had come up short.

What is needed, Wood said, is a sweeping challenge to the government's failure to address climate change. And having young people as plaintiffs in the cases gives added moral authority, she added.

The plaintiffs include college students, high school activists, and children of conservationists and attorneys, along with at least one environmental group WildEarth Guardians.

"We should be getting youths in front of the courts, not polar bears," Wood said, referring to widely publicized attempts to have courts declare polar bears endangered as rising temperatures melt Arctic ice.


Only one-quarter of Britons think risks of climate change outweigh the benefits

The private think-tank Ipsos recently surveyed more than 2,000 Britons aged 16 and above about their attitudes toward science. A news release about the survey findings says nothing about climate change.

But if you actually dig into the topline results there’s a startling finding with regard to climate change. I’m speaking of question Q11F, which asked respondents: From what you know or have heard about climate change, which of these statements, if any, most closely reflects your own opinion?

The following table shows the results of the survey (middle column) along with results of a similar question asked in 2004-2005 (far-right).

Let’s break that down. In the middle of the number of respondents believed the risks of climate change outweighed the benefits by a considerably more than three-to-one margin.

Fast forward to today. In Britain more people believe the benefits of climate change outweigh the risks than believe the risks outweigh the benefits. In fact, only about one-quarter of respondents seem to think the risks of climate change outweigh the benefits.

For more fun, check out the response to question Q10K, in which 75 percent of respondents deemed themselves as “very well” or “fairly well” informed about climate change. That was higher than every other scientific category measured, including vaccinations (74 percent), nuclear power (45 percent) and clinical trials (33 percent).

Now let’s say you’re a scientist concerned about climate change. (Despite what you may have read, a lot of them really are). Here’s the challenge you’re facing: Not only does the public not presently believe you, but 75 percent of them think they already know enough about the issue to not need any further lecturing from you, thank you very much.

It’s an overwhelming science communication challenge. Geoscientist Michael Oppenheimer recently offered some sage advice to colleagues considering the roles scientists can play in the public discourse of climate change. It’s worth a read.



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


7 May, 2011

Will All Animals Shrink Under a Warmer Climate?

This is quite pathetic nonsense. The basic postulate that warm climates make birds smaller is plainly wrong. One of the biggest birds is the emu, which is found across a wide habitat range in Australia but mostly lives in the hot dry interior. And the cassowary, which lives in Australia's hot Northern rainforsts, is roughly the same size as an emu. A theory that fails to account for whole species is risible

An unusually friendly cassowary

Rising temperatures in Australia have caused birds on that continent to shrink–some by nearly 4 percent. The findings of a study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B are the first to show that birds’ sizes are affected by global warming, although this phenomenon previously has been shown in fish and Soay sheep. Scientists postulate that the relationship between a warmer climate and smaller animals may be true for the animal kingdom as a whole.

Temperature has a clear impact on body size; it’s old news among scientists that birds closer to the equator evolved to be smaller than their peers near the poles. One possible explanation for this, called Bergmann’s Rule, is that larger animals conserve heat more efficiently, and this trait is naturally selected for in colder climates, but not in warmer climates. On this basis, scientists have predicted that climate change will affect the way animals vary in size at different latitudes [ABC Science]. The recent research on sheep and fish has corroborated this hypothesis by showing that these animals have become smaller as temperatures have risen.

By examining the skins of more than 500 southeastern Australian songbirds that were collected between 1860 and 2001, the research team found that wing length–a good measure of body size–decreased by between 1.8 to 3.6 percent, depending on the species. ”It is certainly a significant change,” said [co-author Janet] Gardner. ”Some declined in size more dramatically than others, but all the species were showing the same trend.” During the century Australia’s mean temperature rose by 0.7 degrees [The Sydney Morning Herald]. The scientists found no evidence that the decrease in size was due to nutritional changes among the birds.

Although there appears to be a short-term ability among certain animals to adapt to a warming climate, scientists aren’t sure how changing body size will affect animals, such as birds, in the future. “We don’t know how much a species can adapt to global warming and that of course is a very important question given the rate of warming is predicted to increase. How small can a bird go before its physiology is altered to the point where it can’t survive?” [ABC Science], says Gardner.


UPDATE: A reader comments ironically: "Of course, it has to be Global Warning. I'm sure that the the habitat in SE Australia in 2001 must have been exactly the same as in 1860 - nothing has changed in agriculture, population etc etc over that period."

Warming not global after all: Hardly visible in North America

Probably because U.S. and Canadian data is more extensive and harder to "fudge"

When your lawn scorches or the geraniums croak, it may be premature to blame global warming. One of the world's top science journals says climate hasn't changed in most of North America -yet. In fact, says a study in Science, temperatures in most of North America have resisted the global trend. Elsewhere, the warming has already affected agriculture significantly, reducing yields and causing food inflation.

Scientists from Stanford and Columbia Universities said Canadian and U.S. temperatures since 1980 have changed, but are still within the range of "natural variability" in weather. So in North America, the effects of climate change are practically invisible. A notable exception to the (world's) warming pattern is the United States," they write in a study published Friday. Co-author Wolfram Schlenker of Columbia University in New York City said in an interview that the record is "pretty much identical" in Canada. "Overall I would say it's pretty much the same story."

The study deals only with agricultural latitudes, not the Arctic, where scientists are in widespread agreement that warming has begun for real, melting glaciers and sea ice.

In a summary of the work, Science notes "there's a startling exception to the data (i.e. of global warming): the United States isn't getting hotter, nor are its crops decreasing. The rapid agricultural changes seen in the rest of the world have not been seen in the United States." Science concludes: "The results are a reminder that, while the relationship between crop production and climate change is obvious on a global scale, models that 'zoom in' and look at these relationships on a country-by-country basis won't necessarily see the same effects."

David Phillips, Environment Canada's senior climatologist, says people tend to explain every change in the weather as climate change."We just seem to gravitate toward the climate change as an explanation for everything that happens."

Schlenker and David Lobell of Stanford didn't try to interpret short-terms events such as wildfires in Australia or drought in Russia. "There's always been variability, so it's really hard to attribute one single event to climate change," Schlenker explained. Instead they looked at crop production (wheat, corn, rice, soybeans) during a 29-year stretch through 2008, searching for trends. (They also looked at the 20 years from 1960 to 1980 for comparison, finding no change in that period.)

But from 1980 on, the trend is dramatic, and global -- except for North America. The big losers were global corn and wheat production, which fell during the 29-year study period by 3.8 and 5.5 per cent, respectively.

But the findings are not likely to persuade everyone right away.Ernie Small, a senior crop scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, notes that some plants flower earlier in spring than they used too, a likely sign of climate change. He also says winters in Ottawa when he was young were "longer, colder, snowier and grimmer" than today. [That anecdotal evidence sure is impressive!]


Climategate scientists 'too secretive and may have broken Freedom of Information laws'

The British establishment is still covering for Warmism

The scientists at the heart of the Climategate email scandal were too secretive but their research was sound, MPs said last night. The verdict follows three investigations into the world-leading global warming unit at the University of East Anglia accused of manipulating data to inflate the case of manmade climate change.

The Government’s response is designed to draw a line under the 18-month-long saga blamed for denting the credibility of the science. But critics said that the UEA had not learned its lesson and was still being unnecessarily secretive.

The Climategate row, which was first revealed by the Daily Mail in November 2009, was triggered when a hacker stole hundreds of emails from the UEA’s Climatic Research Unit, which tracks long-term changes in temperature and plays a leading role in compiling UN reports. It is thought that the theft was motivated by the CRU’s repeated refusals to provide detailed information about the data underlying its temperature records.

The files showed scientists plotting how to avoid Freedom of Information requests and appeared to show them discussing how to manipulate data.

Some of the most controversial contained personal attacks on climate change sceptics and one, by the unit’s Professor Phil Jones, mentioned using a ‘trick’ to massage years of temperature data to ‘hide the decline’.

Giving evidence to the Science and Technology Committee’s enquiry, the professor denied manipulating the figures but admitted writing ‘some pretty awful emails’. He also admitted withholding data about global temperatures but said the information was publicly available from American websites.

And he claimed it was not ‘standard practice’ to release data and computer models so that other scientists could check and challenge the research.

The enquiry went on to criticise the university for an ‘unacceptable’ culture of secrecy and added that it may have broken Freedom of Information laws.

But it cleared the researchers at the CRU of any wrongdoing and said there was no evidence they manipulated data to strengthen the case for manmade global warming.

The two further investigations also concluded that the scientists were honest but they were criticised for being disorganised, poor with figures [Climate statisticians poor with figures???] and naïve.

In its response to the Science and Technology Committee’s report today, the Government said that nothing done at the CRU undermines the scientific consensus on human-induced climate change’.

The response, drawn up by a range of departments, including the Government Office for Science, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Department of Energy and Climate Change concludes: ‘As the Committee notes, much rests on the accuracy and integrity of climate change science.

‘It is vital that the wider public and Government can take confidence in the evidence that underpins public policies. ‘Evidence from multiple disciplines and sources strongly indicates that climate change driven by human activities poses real risks for our future...

‘Important work remains to better understand the risks of climate change and how to manage them. ‘We welcome – and agree with – the finding of the Committee that it is time ‘with greater openness and transparency, to move on.'

The Information Commissioner’s office said that the researcher had breached the Freedom of Information acts when handling requests from climate change sceptics. But added that the scientists will escape prosecution because the case came to light outside the six month-time limit for cases to be brought.

The UEA has made an informal pledge to improve the way it handles FoI requests and new guidance on how the legislation applies to scientific research is expected later this year.

But Dr Benny Peiser, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said that the university had already broken its promise by turning down a FoI request made in the last few weeks. He added: ‘The big problem is that the UEA is still reluctant to provide independent researchers with information and datasets. ‘It would appear that the expectation of transparency and openness is not really being applied. ‘Until they can be open and transparent, there will remain the questions of reliability and trust.

‘Checks and balances are at the very centre of scientific enterprise. Given the huge importance of what they are asking us to do, and the financial burdens, it is paramount that their conclusions can be checked.’


Arctic Council unimpressed by Warmist prophecies

When the eight nations of the "Arctic Council" meet next week, climate change won't be on their agenda—despite a frightening new report on climate change by the council's own task force.

Members of the council are those nations bordering the Arctic Ocean—the United States, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Denmark and Iceland.

The council deals with crucial Arctic issues such as climate change, black carbon, oil exploration and drilling, and arctic shipping. Their report, released this week, details how global sea levels will rise at least five feet within the century in large part because of melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Nonetheless, climate change isn't an agenda item.

Black carbon, doesn’t make the cut either, even though the report outlines immediate measures that could be taken to reduce black carbon emissions, protect health (black carbon is a component of soot, a toxic air pollutant), and reduce warming and melting in the Arctic in the near term.

Here's what the council will discuss—search and rescue in the Arctic, as in who is responsible for missing ships or people. An important subject—especially as more and more ships are able to travel the Arctic waters. However, should search and rescue be the first “international binding agreement” that the council signs? It is set to be. And you can be sure that oil and gas development likewise will be considered a priority.

“Rapidly increasing warming and melting in the Arctic and the resulting catastrophic sea level rise apparently doesn’t qualify as a ‘challenge’ for the Arctic Council, but access to hydrocarbon resources apparently does,” said Earthjustice attorney Erika Rosenthal, who will be attending the meeting as a consultant with the Circumpolar Conservation Union.


Population, fertility, and liberty

People have been fretting about the “population problem” for at least fifty years. But over those five decades, the perceived problem has practically reversed. From the sixties to the eighties, the problems on people’s minds were overpopulation and the “population explosion.” The proposed solutions were usually government programs ranging from mild nudges (like free condoms and sex education) to horrific coercion (like India’s involuntary sterilizations and China’s one-child policy and forced abortions).[1]

During this period, libertarians were predictably quick to oppose government action and defend individuals’ right to have as many children as they wished.[2] But they also developed a more intellectually creative response. Under the seminal influence of Julian Simon, libertarians embraced the view that high and growing population is good. The title of Simon’s most famous book became a leading libertarian slogan: People are the ultimate resource.[3]

Over the last two decades, the perceived population problem has radically changed. Fertility has sharply fallen all over the world. It fell in less-developed nations, deflating long-standing Malthusian fears. But it fell in developed nations as well. Except for the United States and Israel, every modern economy now has fertility below the replacement rate.[4] Without high levels of immigration, most will see their populations fall in coming decades.[5] In Germany, Japan, and Russia, with total fertility rates around 1.3, population decline has already arrived.

Libertarians could celebrate these changes as proof that the problem of overpopulation solves itself whether or not governments do anything about it. But if Julian Simon and the intellectual tradition he inspired were right, libertarians should be experiencing severe cognitive dissonance. People with zero appreciation of Simon now worry about low birth rates and falling populations. How can those of us who long maintained that “people are the ultimate resource” fail to see anything amiss?

The easiest out for libertarians is to toss Simon’s pro-population arguments down the memory hole. We could hail economic growth and modernization for slaying the genuine dragon of overpopulation, and move on. The main problem with this easy out is that Simon’s arguments were correct. Indeed, population has benefits that Julian Simon himself undersold. My goal in this essay is two-fold. First, it is to recap and refine the case for population. Second, it is to find libertarian solutions for the world’s genuinely disappointing demographic trends.

Much more here

Diesel cars 'better than hybrids' for fuel efficiency in British tests

Some diesel cars are giving the much-hyped hybrids a run for their money when it comes to fuel efficiency. Toyota's petrol-electric Prius, which kick-started the fashion for hybrids a decade ago, achieved fewer miles to the gallon than a sporty BMW 3-series diesel, according to consumer watchdogs. Many more diesel cars are running neck and neck and giving the hybrids a run for their money, the Which? research shows.

And with customers generally paying a premium to buy a hybrid, which is generally a few thousand pounds more expensive than a standard petrol or diesel model, the extra cost of the car may outweigh the fuel saving. The news comes despite the price of diesel yesterday hitting a new record £6.50 a gallon.

The latest edition of Which? Car looked at the actual fuel efficiency achieved in 'real world' driving rather than the claims made by the manufacturers. This showed that in its tests a BMW 320Ed small executive saloon managed 64.2 miles to the gallon - ahead of the Prius's 61.4mpg. Over a year's driving of 12,000 miles, the BMW will cost £1,120 - or £51 less than the Prius at £1,171.

The Prius and other hybrids rely on one major leap forward in technology. The BMW relies for its fuel efficiency on what it terms 'efficient dynamics' - that is making lots of small efficiency gains across the length and breadth of the vehicle - from lighter seats or chassis to more frugal engines - which, when put together add up to one major gain.

The Prius is called a 'hybrid' because it combines a conventional 1.8 litre petrol engine with an electric motor which work seamlessly together.

The electric motor operates as a generator to help recover surplus energy, including from decelerating and braking, that would otherwise be wasted. This energy restores the charge of the high-power battery, which in turn can be used to power the car's wheels.

To cut fuel consumption and reduce harmful emissions, the car's electric motor takes the vehicle from rest, and lets the engine cut in when it is in motion. The two engines then dove-tail to maximise fuel efficiency and minimise emission levels. As a result, emissions of carbon-dioxide (CO2), the so-called 'greenhouse gas' blamed by scientists for global warming, are slashed. And fuel economy is boosted massively.

But Which? Car notes:'In most cases you'll save money with a hybrid. Fuel costs are low and they save drivers on tax, not to mention lower emissions. 'However, they're not always more fuel-efficient than advanced diesel engines. Which? Cart has found that a diesel BMW 320Ed (fuel costs for 1 year or 12,000 miles: £1,120) would cost you less at the pumps than a Toyota Prius (£1,171).'

Of the BMW, the report noted:'BMW may have a reputation for making aggressive, sporty saloons, but the 320Ed (Efficient Dynamics) makes an impressive statement about BMW's clever fuel-saving technology.'

It noted:'At first glance it's a standard 320d saloon, but the detail improvements lift claimed average fuel economy from 60.1 to 68.9mpg. We didn't quite match this, but the BMW did beat the Prius in our mpg tests.'

However, the report notes that hybrids do have some advantages:'It's important to look beyond just the headline economy stats. 'The difference in pump prices - with diesel around 6p a litre more than petrol - and the potential tax liabilities of each car, could also sway your decision.'

The Prius has CO2 emissions of 89g/km which mean it is free of car tax, compared to just £20 for the 109g/km BMW (though zero tax in the first year). Which? notes:'The Prius's lower CO2 emissions could also save company car drivers nearly £400 a year over the BMW.'

Among other models, the hybrid Honda Insight SE has an annual fuel bill of £1,171 - just £25 ahead of the diesel Skoda Octavia Greenline II at £1,196.

Among off-roaders, the Lexus RX 450h hybrid costs £2,115 a year for fuel, £78 cheaper than the diesel Volkswagen Touareg 3,0 litre TDi at £2,192.

Toyota' Auris Hybrid T4 costs £1,120 a year to fuel - £129 less than the diesel Vauxhall Astra 1.3 CDTi SRi.

The cost of diesel has reached the equivalent of £6.50 a gallon, according to AA figures. On average, motorists are paying 142.99p a litre (or £6.50 a gallon) for diesel, with petrol now at 137.24p a litre (or £6.24 a gallon).

A year ago, average petrol prices were 121.43p a litre, with diesel at 122.83p. Compared with a year ago, it is now costing nearly £8 more to fill a typical 50-litre tank with petrol, while filling up with diesel is now more than £10 more expensive, the AA said.

It added that a two-car family was now paying £33.57 more a month for petrol than a year ago, while the extra cost of filling an 80-litre diesel tank in a commercial van was £16.13.



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


6 May, 2011

Geophysicist Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner predicts new Little Ice Age by the middle of this century

Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner is the past chair of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden. Dr. Mörner has just published a peer-reviewed paper showing that the Sun will be in a new major Solar Minimum by the middle of this century, resulting in a new Little Ice Age over the Arctic and NW Europe. Dr. Morner bases his analysis upon solar influences on the Earth's length of day and the cosmic ray theory of Svensmark et al., and finds the analysis provides conclusions "completely opposite to the scenarios presented by the IPCC."

ABSTRACT: At around 2040-2050 we will be in a new major Solar Minimum. It is to be expected that we will then have a new “Little Ice Age” over the Arctic and NW Europe. The past Solar Minima were linked to a general speeding-up of the Earth’s rate of rotation. This affected the surface currents and southward penetration of Arctic water in the North Atlantic causing “Little Ice Ages” over northwestern Europe and the Arctic.

EXCERPTS: At around 2040-2050 the extrapolated cyclic behaviour of the observed Solar variability predicts a new Solar Minimum with return to Little Ice Age climatic conditions.

The date of the New Solar Minimum has been assigned at around 2040 by Mörner et al. (2003), at 2030-2040 by Harrara (2010), at 2042 ±11 by Abdassamatov (2010) and at 2030-2040 by Scafetta (2010), implying a fairly congruent picture despite somewhat different ways of transferring past signals into future predictions.

The onset of the associated cooling has been given at 2010 by Easterbrook (2010) and Herrara (2010), and at “approximately 2014” by Abdassamatov (2010). Easterbrook (2010) backs up his claim that the cooling has already commenced by geological observations facts.

At any rate, from a Solar-Terrestrial point of view, we will, by the middle of this century, be in a New Solar Minimum and in a New Little Ice Age (Figure 7). This conclusion is completely opposite to the scenarios presented by IPCC (2001, 2007) as illustrated in Figure 3. With “the Sun in the centre”, no other conclusion can be drawn, however.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Thick Ice Area Has Nearly Doubled Since 2008

Arctic rent seekers experts tell us that the ice is melting “faster than predicted.” Interesting conclusion, given that US Navy PIPS2 data shows that since 2008 the area of 2.5+ metre ice has nearly doubled and now covers almost the entire Arctic Basin.

NSIDC also shows that the area of multi-year ice has substantially increased since 2008.


Retreat on "biomass" in Massachusetts

Rules that would make constructing large wood-burning power plants in the state much more difficult were proposed yesterday by the Patrick administration.

If the regulations are made final, it could mean that three proposed large wood-burning, or biomass, plants in Russell, Springfield, and Greenfield would not be built because they would no longer be eligible for renewable energy credits that made them more competitive with traditional power sources. However, smaller plants that generate electricity and also use the heat are eligible and could be built.

“I suspect the [large-scale] power-generating-only facilities are not going to like these new regulations, because they will not be efficient enough to qualify for any’’ renewable credits, said Richard K. Sullivan Jr., secretary of energy and environmental affairs. But he said the rules were the product of “rigorous scientific study and a robust public process.’’

The proposed regulations will be reviewed by the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy for 30 days, before being reviewed for another 30 days by the Department of Energy Resources. That agency will then file the final rules with the secretary of state, to take effect early this summer.

While expected, the proposed rules are a stunning reversal for a power source the state once celebrated as so environmentally friendly it was considered a critical tool to battle man-made climate change. Wood burning has been promoted as a green energy source because growing forests can absorb the same amount of heat-trapping gases emitted by burning wood, essentially canceling out the pollutants.

But a 2010 study the state commissioned from the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences revealed a far different story, one that concluded the plants released more heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per unit of energy than oil, coal, or natural gas. The study also showed the greenhouse gases can take a far longer time for forests to absorb than previously thought.

Yesterday, biomass industry officials decried the proposed rules, saying the state’s decision could have far-reaching consequences for other renewable energy sources.

“We as an industry are deeply troubled where the Commonwealth induces investors to make large capital investment in renewable facilities only to change the rules in midstream,’’ said Bob Cleaves, president and chief executive officer of the Biomass Power Association. He still needs to review the rules in depth, Cleaves said. “If I was any renewable energy developer in the state I’d be worried I was next.’’


The attack on the washing machine

ou can chart the course of human progress in terms of how clean our clothing is. In early times people used animal skins, had no change of clothing, and had no soap. By Adam Smith's day soap had improved in quality, was produced industrially, and was becoming available to the common man.

In fact, the Industrial Revolution, which is usually discussed in terms of iron, steam, and factories, was actually all about bringing products like soap and underwear — previously only available to the rich — to the common peasants.

Only after WWII did electric automatic clothes washers displace hand-cranked machines. Then detergent replaced soap in the washing process, and competition resulted in much more effective products.

In 1956 the product Wisk was launched as the first liquid laundry detergent. And in 1968 its famous "Ring around the Collar" ads came along.

Other companies followed with products that were even better. Between the 1920s and the 1970s, washing clothes went from a grueling full-time job to a weekly activity that could be accomplished by young children.

Demographic researcher Hans Rosling has called the washing machine the greatest invention in the history of the Industrial Revolution. It liberated homemakers from boiling water and washing clothes. For women around the world, it makes the difference between poverty and prosperity.

Only two generations ago, nearly every mother in the world slaved at washing clothes. Today, no one in the developed world does this. Instead, they can read, do professional work, teach children, hold parties, and generally apply their time to building civilization. As Rosling says, "even the hard core of the green movement use the washing machine."

But government is working on systematically reversing these advances — attacking the washing machine's workings at the most fundamental level.

In 1996, Consumer Reports tested 18 models of washing machines. It rated 13 models as excellent and 5 models as very good. They found that with enough hot water and any decent laundry detergent, any machine would get your clothes clean.

The invisible fist of government is the source of social problems.
In 2007, Consumer Reports tested 21 models and rated none of them as excellent and 7 models as poor; the rest of the models were rated mediocre. The old top-loading machines were mediocre or worse.

Consumer Reports found that in most cases your clothes were nearly as dirty as they were before washing. The newer front-loading machines worked better, but they were much more expensive and had mold problems, and you cannot add a dropped sock once the machine is started. None of the top-loading machines performed as well as a mediocre model from 1996.

This would seem to be a case of a broken invisible hand. The truth is that government's meddlesome hand is at fault. Between 1996 and 2007 the government's energy-efficiency standards were dramatically increased. In order to meet those standards, manufacturers had to switch to the inferior front-loading washers, which are more "energy efficient," and to design models that used less water. Less water in the machine means the machine uses less energy to rotate the clothes with the water and detergent. It also means less rinsing, which is a vital component to getting clothes clean.

The result is that clothes come out of the washer still dirty. The easy stuff like sweat is mostly removed, but all the tough stuff like grease and body oils largely remains. Most people are unaware of this problem either because they have an older model, they don't do their own laundry, or they are just oblivious to this type of thing.

Among those who face this problem, the answers are few. Some do multiple smaller loads with larger water levels, but of course this results in higher — not lower — energy and water usage. Others have tried to solve the problem by using more detergent, but this usually does not help — it can make the situation worse — and it reduces the durability of the machine — yet another inefficiency.

So there you have it. Politicians, environmentalists, and meddlesome bureaucrats have teamed up to dream up another attempt to serve the public interest. Left to its own the invisible hand of entrepreneurial competition would have naturally made doing laundry easier, better, cheaper, and more efficient. Instead we have more expensive, more inefficient, and truly ineffective clothes-washing machines.

Then there have been changes to laundry detergent, which have in combination with the "energy efficient machines" led to a return of "Ring around the Collar."

The invisible hand of the marketplace is the foundation of a free society and the source of prosperity. The invisible fist of government is the foundation of plunder and the source of social problems.

If we chart social progress by clean clothing, it is clear that we are headed backward in time. But the trend is easily reversed with a small change toward laissez-faire.


Rising gas prices shift energy debate

Just one year after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 and triggered a massive oil spill, there’s little appetite among legislators for new safety regulations. Instead, a single concern is prompting a drive for more drilling: $4-a-gallon gas.

Increased drilling won’t bring down the immediate cost U.S. consumers pay at the pump, but soaring fuel prices have transformed the U.S. energy debate, motivating the House this week to take up at least one of three bills that would ease the way for more energy exploration off both coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico. The first bill likely to hit the floor would revive canceled lease sales off Virginia and in the gulf.

The administration’s point man for oil and gas drilling regulations, Michael Bromwich, sharply questioned the House bills and defended the cautious approach taken since the end of last year’s five-month moratorium.

“There is a real risk that . . . we’re going to end up unraveling and undoing many of the reforms we’ve worked so hard to do over the last 10 months,” he said in an interview. “And that would be a tragedy.”

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), who has shepherded three bills through his committee aimed at boosting oil and gas production in the gulf as well as off both coasts and the Arctic, said he is confident public pressure will provide the political momentum his legislation needs to make it into law. On Thursday at a roundtable with constituents in Yakima, Wash., farmers expressed concern about how the cost of fuel would affect their operations.

“What will get the Senate to act is the rising price of gas at the pump,” Hastings said in a phone interview. “If my colleagues are hearing what I’m hearing in my district, clearly there has been a mood change.”

The bills would overhaul the permitting process to make it faster, which in some cases means jettisoning the more exacting reviews put in place after the BP spill. One measure would require the interior secretary to act on a permit to drill within 30 days; if no decision is made after a maximum of 60 days, the permit would be granted. It also would restart within 30 days gulf permits that were approved last year before the spill. Eleven exploration wells that were suspended in the gulf have been given permission to drill again, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

While the measure would require the interior secretary to conduct a safety review of permit applications, it would use the environmental analyses from before the explosion — which have since come under criticism as inadequate.

Another bill would expand drilling by establishing the first national production goal as part of Interior’s five-year offshore leasing plan; it would include lease sales in the areas containing the greatest-known oil and gas reserves.

American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerard, whose group represents major U.S. oil companies, said the bills are “a direct outcome and consequence of the political and economic reality we face.”

“What you’re hearing from the public is overwhelming support for the production of American energy by Americans and for Americans,” Gerard said.

But Democrats and environmentalists say that in a global marketplace, such moves have far less impact on prices than unrest in Libya and other geopolitical factors.

“We have limited capacity to affect the price of gas, despite what you might hear people bloviating on the Hill or elsewhere,” said Deron Lovaas, transportation policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. “We’re shackled to a global oil market.”

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said Democrats will question why companies have yet to produce oil and gas on the majority of the 75 million acres where they hold federal leases.

“I don’t think a bill would pass the Senate and be signed by the president that puts a clock on reviewing the safety and environmental issues for permitting operations in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Markey, who held a news conference on the issue last week at a gas station in his district.

The permitting process had already begun to ease, however. Production in the gulf dropped significantly after BP and other companies suspended their operations there: In December, the region was producing 1.58 million barrels a day, according to the Energy Information Administration, compared with 1.7 million barrels in December 2009. But BOEMRE has now issued 51 shallow-water permits and deepwater permits for a dozen unique wells in the gulf.

The administration plans to hold lease sales in the central and western gulf by the middle of next year. It has extended nine different leases affected by the moratorium and is considering others on a case-by-case basis. While those in the industry such as Jim Noe, executive director of the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition, want faster permit approvals, he said he’s been encouraged by “the tone of late between industry and the regulators.”

“Particularly with the run-up in gas prices, there is a lot of pent-up demand for drilling,” he said, adding, “The industry feels better today about the future of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico than any other time than in the last year.”


Something else that is not in the "models"

Study Shows Mangroves are a Major Player in Climate Change

Mangroves have declined by nearly half in the last 50 years. This is disconcerting to scientists because the hardy brackish tidal tree in an important bulkhead against climate change, according to findings is a recent study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Tropical mangrove trees are better at storing climate-warming carbon than most other forests, so cutting them down unleashes far more greenhouse gas than deforestation elsewhere, scientists reported in the study. In fact they store two to four times the carbon that tropical rainforests do according to Daniel Donato, U.S. Forest Service scientist and lead author of the study.

Destruction of these tropical coastal woodlands accounts for about 10 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation, the second largest source of CO2 after fossil fuel combustion, the study found.

Mangroves — whose twisted, exposed roots grace coastlines in more than 100 countries — provide many benefits. The trees act as a natural nursery for dozens of species of fish and shrimp essential to commercial fisheries around the world. They also serve as a natural bulwark against hurricanes and storm surges.

Donato, based in Hilo, Hawaii, and an international team of researchers examined the carbon content in 25 mangroves scattered across the Indo-Pacific region. The trees stored atmospheric carbon just as well as land-based tropical forests, they found. Below the water line, mangroves were even more efficient, hoarding five times more carbon over the same surface area.

“Mangroves are among the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics,” Donato said. “Our data show that discussion of the key role of tropical wetland forests in climate change could be broadened significantly to include mangroves.”



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


5 May, 2011

I predicted it! Even jokes come true where Warmists are concerned

Prominent Donk says Osama's death should encourage Warmists. I said on 2nd that the death of bin Laden would "prove" global warming somehow

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson hopes that Osama bin Laden's death will spur President Barack Obama to promote climate change legislation.

“My hope is that from this success in the foreign policy arena two days ago, that he will be emboldened to take once again to the Congress legislation — not just to increase a renewable energy standard — but climate change legislation that this country and the world need,” Richardson said Tuesday at a Climate Leadership Gala hosted by the Earth Day Network in Washington.

Climate change legislation, particularly anything labeled as toxic as “cap and trade,” is seen as non-starter while Republicans hold the House and many Senate Democrats are wary of the issue. But Richardson warned climate bill backers against standing on the sidelines.

“We can sit back and say, ‘Well we’ll wait until the next election, wait until the political climate is better.’ You know if we do that, we’re doomed — if we don’t take action right away,” he said.

The former energy secretary and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the Clinton administration called for a comprehensive nationwide greenhouse gas reduction program in addition to a national renewable energy standard.

Richardson suggested Obama offer Congress two options: an economy-wide cap-and-trade program with stringent timetables over several decades and a carbon tax. And if Congress fails to do either of those, EPA must plow ahead with climate change regulations, he said. “I’m still one of those who supports cap and trade, but it’s good I believe to offer choices,” he said.


Why tell the truth when lies suit so much better?

The blah below has been reported umpteen times in papers around the world lately. It is of course nothing more than another model-based projection. See the facts in the following post

Arctic Assessment bombshell: “Global sea level is projected to rise by 0.9–1.6 meter by 2100″

A major new multi-country scientific assessment of the Arctic has concluded that on our current greenhouse gas emissions path, we face 3 to 5 feet of sea level rise — far greater than the 2007 IPCC warned of. This is fully consistent with several recent studies (see “Sea levels may rise 3 times faster than IPCC estimated, could hit 6 feet by 2100“).

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme — formed in 1991 to advise the eight Arctic countries on threats to the Arctic from pollution — has released the Executive Summary of their Snow, Water, Ice and Permaforst in the Arctic (SWIPA) assessment on their website [big PDF here]. SWIPA “brings together the latest scientific knowledge about the changing state of each component of the Arctic cryosphere.”

The report notes that, “The observed changes in sea ice on the Arctic Ocean and in the mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet and Arctic ice caps and glaciers over the past ten years are dramatic and represent an obvious departure from the long-term patterns.” I’ll have more to say shortly on the effort by the anti-science crowd to mislead on this key point.


The sea-level reality

The image above shows actual sea level rise in blue measured by Envisat, versus the claimed rate of the "experts" (shown in green, appropriately enough)


Note: The actual rise translates to about a sixteenth of an inch per year. Panic!

New Report: Shale Gas Shock Challenges Climate and Energy Policies

The Global Warming Policy Foundation today publishes a detailed report about the shale gas revolution and its likely implications for UK and international climate policy.

The report The Shale Gas Shock, written by Matt Ridley and with a foreword by Professor Freeman Dyson, finds that shale gas:

* is not only abundant but relatively cheap and therefore promises to take market share from nuclear, coal and renewable energy and to replace oil in some transport and industrial uses, over coming decades.

* will help to keep the price of nitrogen fertiliser low and hence keep food prices down, other things being equal.

* is unlikely to be a major source of pollution or methane emissions, but in contrast promises to reduce pollution and accelerate the decarbonisation of the world economy.

Matt Ridley, the author of the GWPF report, said:

"Abundant and relatively cheap shale gas promises to lower the cost of gas relative to oil, coal and renewables. It indefinitely postpones the exhaustion of fossil fuels and makes reducing emissions of carbon dioxide possible without raising energy prices."

Freeman Dyson, in his foreword to the GWPF report, said:

"Shale gas is not a perfect solution to our economic and environmental problems, but it is here when it is needed, and it makes an enormous difference to the human condition.”

“Matt Ridley gives us a fair and even-handed account of the environmental costs and benefits of shale gas. The lessons to be learned are clear. The environmental costs of shale gas are much smaller than the environmental costs of coal.”

The full report is available here

George is lost -- for reasonable answers to Green "problems"

George Monbiot seems to be throwing in the towel. His newly discovered liking for nukes is being undermined by huge new discoveries of fossil fuels (principally shale gas)

Toon from "Private Eye"

You think you're discussing technologies, and you quickly discover that you're discussing belief systems. The battle among environmentalists over how or whether our future energy is supplied is a cipher for something much bigger: who we are, who we want to be, how we want society to evolve. Beside these concerns, technical matters – parts per million, costs per megawatt hour, cancers per sievert – carry little weight. We choose our technology – or absence of technology – according to a set of deep beliefs: beliefs that in some cases remain unexamined.

The case against abandoning nuclear power, for example, is a simple one: it will be replaced either by fossil fuels or by renewables that would otherwise have replaced fossil fuels. In either circumstance, greenhouse gases, other forms of destruction and human deaths and injuries all rise.

The case against reducing electricity supplies is just as clear. For example, the Zero Carbon Britain report published by the Centre for Alternative Technology urges a 55% cut in overall energy demand by 2030 – a goal I strongly support. It also envisages a near-doubling of electricity production. The reason is that the most viable means of decarbonising both transport and heating is to replace the fuels they use with low-carbon electricity. Cut the electricity supply and we're stuck with oil and gas. If we close down nuclear plants, we must accept an even greater expansion of renewables than currently proposed. Given the tremendous public resistance to even a modest increase in windfarms and new power lines, that's going to be tough.

What the nuclear question does is to concentrate the mind about the electricity question. Decarbonising the economy involves an increase in infrastructure. Infrastructure is ugly, destructive and controlled by remote governments and corporations. These questions are so divisive because the same world-view tells us that we must reduce emissions, defend our landscapes and resist both the state and big business. The four objectives are at odds.

But even if we can accept an expansion of infrastructure, the technocentric, carbon-counting vision I've favoured runs into trouble. The problem is that it seeks to accommodate a system that cannot be accommodated: a system that demands perpetual economic growth. We could, as Zero Carbon Britain envisages, become carbon-free by 2030. Growth then ensures that we have to address the problem all over again by 2050, 2070 and thereon after.

Accommodation makes sense only if the economy is reaching a steady state. But the clearer the vision becomes, the further away it seems. A steady state economy will be politically possible only if we can be persuaded to stop grabbing. This in turn will be feasible only if we feel more secure. But the global race to the bottom and its destruction of pensions, welfare, public services and stable employment make people less secure, encouraging us to grasp as much for ourselves as we can.

If this vision looks implausible, consider the alternatives. In the latest edition of his excellent magazine The Land, Simon Fairlie responds furiously to my suggestion that we should take industry into account when choosing our energy sources. His article exposes a remarkable but seldom noticed problem: that most of those who advocate an off-grid, land-based economy have made no provision for manufactures. I'm not talking about the pointless rubbish in the FT's How To Spend It supplement. I'm talking about the energy required to make bricks, glass, metal tools and utensils, textiles (except the hand-loomed tweed Fairlie suggests we wear), ceramics and soap: commodities that almost everyone sees as the barest possible requirements.

Are people like Fairlie really proposing that we do without them altogether? If not, what energy sources do they suggest we use? Charcoal would once again throw industry into direct competition with agriculture, spreading starvation and ensuring that manufactured products became the preserve of the very rich. (Remember, as EA Wrigley points out, that half the land surface of Britain could produce enough charcoal to make 1.25m tonnes of bar iron – a fraction of current demand – and nothing else.) An honest environmentalism needs to explain which products should continue to be manufactured and which should not, and what the energy sources for these manufactures should be.

There's a still bigger problem here: even if we make provision for some manufacturing but, like Fairlie, envisage a massive downsizing and a return to a land-based economy, how do we take people with us? Where is the public appetite for this transition?

A third group tries to avoid such conflicts by predicting that the problem will be solved by collapse: doom is our salvation. Economic collapse, these people argue, is imminent and expiatory. I believe this is wrong on both counts.

Last week something astonishing happened: Fatih Birol, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency, revealed that peak oil has already happened. "We think that the crude oil production has already peaked, in 2006." If this is true, we should be extremely angry with the IEA. In 2005 its executive director mocked those who predicted peak oil as "doomsayers". Until 2008 (two years after the IEA now says it happened) the agency continued to dismiss the possibility that peak oil would occur.

But this also raises an awkward question for us greens: why hasn't the global economy collapsed as we predicted? Yes, it wobbled, though largely for other reasons. Now global growth is back with a vengeance: it reached 4.6% last year, and the IMF predicts roughly the same for 2011 and 2012. The reason, as Birol went on to explain, is that natural gas liquids and tar sands are already filling the gap. Not only does the economy appear to be more resistant to resource shocks than we assumed, but the result of those shocks is an increase, not a decline, in environmental destruction.

The problem we face is not that we have too little fossil fuel, but too much. As oil declines, economies will switch to tar sands, shale gas and coal; as accessible coal declines, they'll switch to ultra-deep reserves (using underground gasification to exploit them) and methane clathrates. The same probably applies to almost all minerals: we will find them, but exploiting them will mean trashing an ever greater proportion of the world's surface. We have enough non-renewable resources of all kinds to complete our wreckage of renewable resources: forests, soil, fish, freshwater, benign weather. Collapse will come one day, but not before we have pulled everything down with us.

And even if there were an immediate economic cataclysm, it's not clear that the result would be a decline in our capacity for destruction. In east Africa, for example, I've seen how, when supplies of paraffin or kerosene are disrupted, people don't give up cooking; they cut down more trees. History shows us that wherever large-scale collapse has occurred, psychopaths take over. This is hardly conducive to the rational use of natural assets.

All of us in the environment movement, in other words – whether we propose accommodation, radical downsizing or collapse – are lost. None of us yet has a convincing account of how humanity can get out of this mess. None of our chosen solutions break the atomising, planet-wrecking project. I hope that by laying out the problem I can encourage us to address it more logically, to abandon magical thinking and to recognise the contradictions we confront. But even that could be a tall order.


Australia: Solar panel silliness slowly fading away

THE Federal Government is set to cut $1000 off the solar panel subsidy to cool an overheating market which has started to push up electricity prices.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the subsidy would be reduced to around $3700. "We will be announcing today a reduction in the level of Federal Government support for the installation of solar panels on people's roofs," he told ABC Radio. "However, the cut we are making still means that a subsidy of around $3700 will be available."

Mr Combet said there had been such strong demand for the solar panels that it had resulted in higher electricity prices. "The Government is very keen to take pressure off prices," he said.

The problem stems from feed-in tariffs, particularly in NSW where the former Labor government introduced a very high rate to encourage solar panel take-up, the minister said. Under feed-in tariffs people who install solar panels are paid for electricity they feed back into the electricity grid.

Mr Combet said the tariffs paid by states and territories supplemented the Federal Government subsidy to install panels and the NSW tariff had been a key driver of demand. "There just needs to be some heat taken out of that market while we still provide encouragement for people to use renewable energy in this way," he said.



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


4 May, 2011

Nutty assumptions produce nutty conclusions

Alarmists of all kinds almost always use straight-line projections from some current trend. But most natural phenomena are not ordered in that way. Below is an example of how a straight-line projection of mortality from radioactivity gives absurd conclusions -- yet it precisely that sort of projection that is generally used by regulators.

The truth is that low to medium doses of ionizing radiation are harmless or even beneficial. It is only high doses that lead to adverse health effects. Google "radiation hormesis" for the relevant facts

Once again reality is not as simple as the theorists imagine

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) All Things Nuclear blog has an analysis of how many deaths occurred at Chernobyl based on linear no threshold view of radiation. So 0.01 milliSieverts (1 milliRem) for each of 6 billion people in the world is calculated to add 4000 deaths from cancer. 0.3 milliSieverts (30 milliRem) for 500 million people in europe is calculated to add 9000 more deaths from cancer.

Using the same analysis (NEI Nuclear Notes) found that, 79,000 and 40,000 would be reasonable estimates of the number of excess cancers and cancer deaths attributable to the flying in the past decade. The numbers increase even more over the 25 years since Chernobyl and would be 200,000 excess cancers and 100,000 excess deaths from commercial aviation over the last 25 years.

As the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) explains, exposure to cosmic radiation depends on altitude, latitude, and solar activity, but the EPA estimates that "a typical cross-country flight in a commercial airplane" results in "2 to 5 millirem (mrem)" of dose from radiation.

The statistics from the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics indicate that over 7 billion airline passengers (international and domestic) flew in the US between January 2001 and January 2011. Thus, if we assume a fairly low average value of 3 millirem per passenger, then aviation has resulted in a collective dose of 210,000 passenger-Sv over the past decade.

This is quite a large number already, but Dr. Gronlund did not consider the radiation exposure within just one country. She provided an estimate for the entire world. So we should follow suit.

The US aviation market comprises somewhere between 25 to 30 percent of the entire world's airline passengers (e.g., in 2009, passengers in the US comprised roughly 28% of the airline passengers worldwide, according to IATA statistics). Thus, if we conservatively assume that US passengers comprised 30% of the passengers worldwide during the past decade, then worldwide, the collective dose due to commercial aviation is 700,000 passenger-Sv.

Using Dr. Gronlund's methodology (which was taken from the BEIR VII report), we should assume that "the expected incidence and mortality of solid cancers and leukemia are 0.1135 cancer cases and 0.057 cancer deaths per Sv." Thus, because of radiation exposure due to the airline industry, the expected number of cancer cases is 79,000, of which some 40,000 should result in death.

Note however that, because exposure only increases the probability of developing cancer, we should keep in mind that no given cancer can be attributed to flying. Moreover, because these additional cancers will be distributed among hundreds of millions of people, it is practically impossible to discern them among all the other cancer cases. (About 42% of the general population have cancer at some point in their lives, and about 20% of the population die because of cancer or complications that result from cancer.)

It is somewhat illustrative to compare these numbers to the numbers presented by Dr. Gronlund for the Chernobyl accident: 68,000 cancer cases with 34,000 deaths. Given these numbers, one can scientifically conclude that the airline industry is far more dangerous -- in terms of deaths due to low-dose exposure to radiation -- than old, Soviet-era nuclear reactors.

In light of these numbers, I expect that the UCS will be setting itself up as an "aviation watchdog" any day now.


Time magazine's Bryan Walsh: Fossil fuels cause global terrorism

I prophesied on 2nd. that Osama bin Laden's death would be seen by some as proof of global warming. We're not quite there yet but the report below comes close

We know that `global warming' causes everything. We know that `fossil fuel funding' causes skepticism. Did you know that fossil fuel funding 'causes' Osama bin Laden? Journalist Bryan Walsh thinks so:
Born and raised in the petroleum cradle of Saudi Arabia, bin Laden was able to finance a global terrorist network thanks to the wealth crude oil had brought his homeland-and to America's addiction to the stuff.

From `fossil-fuel funded disinformation campaign' to `fossil-fuel funded terrorism', everything is caused by fossil fuels. The implication is clear enough:

Why this tortured, circuitous logic from a Time magazine journalist, we might wonder. Mr Walsh answers that question himself:
It can happen to any journalist-major news happens, but not on your beat. What do you do? You look for any entry point you can. But we don't have to stretch too far to examine the implications that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's death might have on global energy markets-and especially oil

Indeed, Mr Walsh, indeed - no stretching is required. `Global warming' and climate change is indeed connected to everything - from tornadoes to Osama bin Laden.


Warmists ignore variations in the amount of sunlight that is reflected rather than absorbed as heat

Moonlight is not light generated by the moon, but reflected sunlight. First astronauts on the moon were amazed by the brightness of Earth when it appeared over the lunar horizon. What they saw was Earthlight, which is also reflected sunlight. It's sunlight that does little to heat the Earth because it goes directly back out to space. The amount reflected varies with changes to the surface and atmosphere. These changes are significant, yet poorly measured or understood and pushed aside by the fanatic focus on CO2. Global warming due to humans is based on the hypothesis that our addition of CO2 has changed the balance of energy entering and leaving the Earth's atmosphere. There are a multitude of factors that can change this balance, many ignored or underplayed by climate science. They get away with this because the public is unaware.....

IPCC are projecting climate change for the next 50 years or more. So we have problems with the amount of incoming energy, but there are more problems with what happens to the energy once it enters the atmosphere.

One of these is change in albedo. Some believe it's more important than CO2 in affecting balance. The most interesting thing here is that the albedo forcings, in watts/sq meter seem to be fairly large. Larger than that of all manmade greenhouse gases combined.

Albedo is the amount of sunlight reflected from a surface. The lighter surface reflects more than the dark surface. When sunlight strikes a surface the color, texture and angle of the light (known as the angle of incidence) determines how much is reflected or absorbed. The difference between them, as a percentage, is called the albedo (from the root Latin word albus for white). With a pure white shiny surface, 100 percent of the light is reflected, so the albedo is 100. On a matte black surface, 100 percent is absorbed, and the albedo is zero (Figure 2). A solar collector needs to absorb as much solar energy as possible so is matte black and set at right angles to the solar rays.

The moon's albedo is 7, which means 93 units of 100 are absorbed and 7 units reflected. On average, Earth's albedo is 30 for the entire globe. The amount varies from a high of 75-95 percent for fresh snow down to 8-9 percent for coniferous forest. Seasonal variation in snow and ice cover is important as it affects global energy and therefore the weather from year to year.

However, the major factor is variability in the type and amount of cloud cover. Thick cloud varies from 60-90 and thin cloud from 30-50. This variability explains most of the change in albedo shown in Figure 3. The right side scale shows changes in energy with a range of about 9 watts per square meter. Compare this with the 2.5 watts per square meter change estimated to be due to human activities.

Earth's average albedo is not constant from one year to the next; it also changes over decadal timescales. The computer models currently used to study the climate system do not show such large decadal-scale variability of the albedo.

Sadly, there are many factors affecting climate change that the IPCC ignore or underplay to achieve the political result that human CO2 is the sole cause. They only acknowledge "cloud albedo effect", but correctly admit their level of scientific understanding (LOSU) is low.

So they ignore many variables and admit they know little about the ones they study. It is a total abrogation of scientific and social responsibility to let these results form the basis for draconian and destructive energy and environmental policies. They shouldn't have won a Nobel Peace Prize. They couldn't have won a Science Prize.

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

Greenie propaganda site for children tells blatant lies

They claim that a CO2 level of 500ppm would make the planet uninhabitable for most species -- ignoring that life flourished in the past when levels were higher than that -- and also ignoring that rising CO2 levels do NOT lead to warming, as we have seen in the last 12 years

It's not much of a secret that our planet is messed up. We're facing a long list of problems, and most of them are caused by by one simple thing: the burning of fossil fuels.

The most urgent problem is climate change, caused by our out of control addiction to fossil fuels. When we burn fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas, we emit all this extra carbon dioxide, CO2, into the atmosphere, which messes up the balance of the atmosphere.

Scientists that dedicate their entire lives to studying this, have made it clear: to avert the worst effects of climate change, the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere need to be at 350 parts per million (ppm). Right now we are at 391ppm. If we keep burning at the rate we are now, we will be at 500ppm by 2050. This would make earth a completely different planet, uninhabitable for most species. We can't let that happen.


An Alarming Shade of Green at Dartmouth College

"Fire and brimstone," "real collapse" and "biblical concern" are the kinds of phrases many of us have come to associate with global warming. Economist Eban Goodstein did not disappoint in his lecture at Dartmouth this April, using these terms and many others as he called on his audience to save the planet by redesigning "every city on Earth" and becoming superheroes like characters from "The Lord of the Rings." Before trying to build a new world order, however, it's worth taking all the hysteria about climate change with a grain of salt.

There's certainly been a lot of unfounded alarmism in recent decades. In 1970, ecologist Kenneth Watt said, "If present trends continue, the world will be . 11 degrees colder by the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age." In 2000, University of East Anglia senior research scientist David Viner predicted that within a few years, "Children just aren't going to know what snow is." It's time to stop taking people with academic credentials so seriously when they engage in such nonsensical speculation.

Goodstein predicted in his lecture that "Impacts from the arctic ice melting could cost . somewhere between $2.4 trillion and $24 trillion in cumulative damages by 2050." The absurdly unhelpful breadth of this range reflects how hopeless it is to try to predict temperature changes over four decades and then reduce to dollars and cents an infinite number of effects on issues such as animal welfare, forestry, human health, agriculture and energy use. These impacts aren't even necessarily negative ones - indeed, a model by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that a slight rise in temperature would cause modest growth in total world agricultural output.

It's far from clear that the past century's mild warming of about 0.6 degrees Celsius is really the result of increased human emissions. Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson points out, "When CO2 levels were over 10 times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years." Given the National Center for Policy Analysis estimate that humans are responsible for just 0.28 percent of the greenhouse effect, we shouldn't be too ready to assume responsibility for climate change. Indeed, temperatures actually fell from 1940 to 1970 at the same time that carbon dioxide emissions increased.

Considering the guesswork and subjective judgment involved in predicting the effects of climate change, it's no wonder that damage estimates for a metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions range from the $2 suggested by Dutch economist Richard Tol to the $85 proposed by British economist Nicholas Stern. It is disturbing that environmental groups believe the government should mandate massive and extraordinarily expensive infrastructure changes based on an almost arbitrary figure that could easily be off by a factor of 10.

Any government response to climate change will inevitably be more about politics than science. By exaggerating global warming threats, government officials can justify higher taxes and push a variety of preexisting agendas as they regulate the various human activities that contribute to emissions. Former Canadian Environment Minister Christine Stewart put it best when she said in 1998, "No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits ... climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world." This sentiment is perhaps shared by many members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which Vincent Gray, an expert reviewer on every IPCC report since 1990, insists "is not a scientific body. It is a political organization that puts out propaganda as naturally as Green Peace."

While environmental awareness is generally a good thing, we must be on guard against "experts" spouting sensational, politically-motivated scaremongering to make headlines and attract funding. Unfortunately, the College's decision to invite someone like Goodstein without bringing in opposing perspectives reflects the extent to which many members of the Dartmouth community have bought into the overblown hype surrounding climate change.


An even deeper shade of Green coming at CBS

By now, I'm sure you all know that Katie Couric, who must by law be described with the adjective "perky", has stepped down as anchor of the CBS Evening News after several years of doing to her ratings what hiring an elderly mule as a CEO would do to the stock of Apple. Her replacement is likely to be veteran 60 Minutes reporter Scott Pelley. Pelley, as CBS was proud to note, is an actual journalist who is responsible for half the awards won by his former show over the past several years.

Of course, you know that if someone is getting accolades by the MSM, they can't be good for anyone with a conservative view of the world, and Pelley certainly isn't. He made a bit of a name for himself in 2006 when he equated those who don't worship at the altar of Global Warming with Holocaust deniers:
Pelley's most recent report, like his first, did not pause to acknowledge global warming skeptics, instead treating the existence of global warming as an established fact. I again asked him why. "If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel," he asks, "am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?" He says his team tried hard to find a respected scientist who contradicted the prevailing opinion in the scientific community, but there was no one out there who fit that description. "This isn't about politics or pseudo-science or conspiracy theory blogs," he says. "This is about sound science."

But doesn't the fact that there are a lot of Americans who are skeptical of global warming - not well respected scientists, perhaps, but ordinary people watching the segment - warrant at least some recognition of the other side? "There becomes a point in journalism where striving for balance becomes irresponsible," says Pelley.

So, not only is he an insulting journalist but one who has taken it solely upon himself to decide what is and isn't responsible journalism. This includes, you'll notice, deciding who is "respectable" based on criteria to which only he holds the magic key.

Pelley's global warming reporting since than has been both alarmist and oddly conspiratorial. In fact, in one report in 2008 he accused the Bush White House of tampering with the science in order to downplay what he considered the certain threat of global warming. In 2009, Pelley filed a report so full of distortions about The Eeeeevil Oil Companies (the global warming cult's favorite villain not named George Bush or Dick Cheney) that even the Columbia Journalism Review felt the need to write a detailed criticism. He's also swung his bias stick hard at coal companies and, in a non-global warming turn, gave the would-be builder of the Ground Zero Mosque a completely free field to hawk his project.

I could go on - believe me, there are plenty of examples of Pelley's unchecked bias to fill a small book - but you get the point. CBS executives could have replaced the perky Katie Couric with a serious journalist who would be honest about his biases and work hard to overcome them. Instead, they opted for just another narrative-pusher, a carbon-copy talking head with an inflated sense of self-worth whose only real effect on the network's news coverage will be to drive it even further into irrelevance.



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


3 May, 2011

Some "old" ice could be quite new

Another reason for skepticism about ice-core proxies for CO2 levels etc. The lower part of an Antarctic drill core may NOT be older than the upper parts -- completely overturning all existing ice-core assumptions. As of now, caution indicates that the lower part of any existing drill core must be taken as uninformative about the past
Science 25 March 2011: Vol. 331 no. 6024 pp. 1592-1595

Widespread Persistent Thickening of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet by Freezing from the Base

Robin E. Bell et al.


An International Polar Year aerogeophysical investigation of the high interior of East Antarctica reveals widespread freeze-on that drives substantial mass redistribution at the bottom of the ice sheet. Although the surface accumulation of snow remains the primary mechanism for ice sheet growth, beneath Dome A, 24% of the base by area is frozen-on ice. In some places, up to half of the ice thickness has been added from below. These ice packages result from the conductive cooling of water ponded near the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountain ridges and the supercooling of water forced up steep valley walls. Persistent freeze-on thickens the ice column, alters basal ice rheology and fabric, and upwarps the overlying ice sheet, including the oldest atmospheric climate archive, and drives flow behavior not captured in present models.


Prominent Warmist "scientist" ignores the facts about tornadoes

Romm is blaming the high tornado count the last two weeks on global warming. There are so many things wrong with his analysis, it is difficult to tell where to start.

* Global temperatures have been below the 30 year mean this year

* Most of the increase in tornadoes is due to better detection of small tornadoes. It is well know that severe tornadoes (F3 and above) have declined, and that “significant” tornadoes (F2 and above) have also declined.

* It is also well understood that the tornadoes this year are the result of very cold water and air to the northwest, colliding with warm humid air in the southeast. Last spring was much warmer and had below normal tornadoes.

Similarly, Romm blames the flooding on the Mississippi on global warming, despite the fact that there is no trend in precipitation.

Is the problem that Romm is not very bright, or is he just wildly dishonest?

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Now that we’ve killed Osama bin Laden, oil should be the next target

Drill, baby, drill? The article below makes a good case for unleashing oil exploration in the USA but that is not the intention. The article comes from the deep Green "Grist". What they are promoting is nostrums like Priuses and bicycles

The U.S. military's killing of Osama bin Laden is a huge victory in the war against terror and on behalf of a safer, freer world.

But if this is to be the beginning of the end for al Qaeda and repressive governments everywhere, we have to make it our national mission not just to hunt down terrorist leaders, but also to wipe out the single greatest source of their money and power: oil.

From the beginning, Osama bin Laden's rise was made possible by oil money. He acquired the millions of dollars that allowed him to start and finance al Qaeda from his huge family construction business, which literally paved the way for Saudi Arabia's massive oil boom. Al Qaeda continues to receive tens of millions of dollars from oil-rich sympathizers in the Gulf. But they're hardly alone in feeding their brutality with oil.

Libya's Muammar Gadaffi is able to hang on against an intense NATO campaign largely because of the billions of dollars in oil money he's stockpiled to pay African mercenaries and buy off potential opponents. Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has financed Hezbollah and Hamas and poured billions into a nuclear weapons program with profits from Iran's huge oil deposits. Further down on the repression scale, Bahrain's royal family has imported Saudi troops to crush the country's democratic reform movement, while Vladimir Putin is able to resist calls for openness and economic innovation because of the flood of oil dollars entering his country.

In contrast, Tunisia and Egypt's relative lack of oil meant that their governments didn't have the same level of resources to maintain the support of loyalists or try to temporarily buy off their people.

Indeed, not only does oil finance terror and repression, it enables it. According to an extraordinary statistical analysis by UCLA political scientist Michael Ross, a country's "reliance on either oil or mineral exports tends to make it less democratic," and "this effect is not caused by other types of primary exports; ... it is not limited to the Arabian Peninsula, to the Middle East, or sub-Saharan Africa; and ... it is not limited to small states."

When demand surges and the price of oil rises, terrorist groups are better financed and repressive governments have more resources with which to repress their people and more ability to resist pressure to respect human rights and democratize


The Green gravy train rolls on

A satisfied comment from CA below

Tackling climate change just got a little bit easier, with some help from federal funding.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded grants to five local and tribal governments in California for projects that include reducing waste, improving energy efficiency and planting drought-resistant gardens. Nationwide, 50 communities will receive funds for localized efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, totaling $20 million in two years.

While there isn't a national target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the state's Global Warming Solutions Act (known as AB 32) mandates a reduction to 1990 levels by 2020, about 15 percent less than current emissions.*

In the Bay Area, Alameda County's Stop Waste program received $498,720 to reduce industrial packaging waste, swapping cardboard boxes and wooden pallets with more durable and reusable totes. The project began as a pilot program in 2007 and is expanding thanks to the federal dollars. But working with local businesses that use national suppliers can be a challenge, said Justin Lehrer, the project manager.

"It involves making a change to transport packaging, so it's more than just putting recycling bins in place," he said. "It creates ripples throughout the (supply chain) system."

One example is Oakland-based Peerless Coffee & Tea. The company had to retrofit its truck fleet to accommodate the reusable totes that replaced boxes and pallets. And though there is often an up-front cost for reusables, Lehrer said their program works with companies to identify long-term savings. The program is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 16,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

For Humboldt County's Waste Management Authority, the program's goal is to turn commercial food waste into fuel through the use of an anaerobic food digester. Collecting organic waste from Humboldt State University, St. Joseph's Hospital, Costco and a number of breweries and cheese makers, the digester will break down the food waste, collect the by-product – methane gas – and use it to generate electricity.

Beginning this year, the pilot project will help identify benefits for its customers, reduce overall waste and identify the most efficient route for the collection trucks using GIS mapping technology. Juliette Bohn, the project manager, said the program creates local jobs, produces renewable electricity and helps meet a number of statewide goals for climate change and renewable energy.

"If we are going to reach our AB 32 goals, then we should get reductions in every way we can," Bohn said.

Sacramento County is using its $486,668 grant to expand a river-friendly landscaping program, part of a sustainable landscaping initiative. Encouraging homeowners and businesses to plant "rain gardens," the county provides a handy guide to selecting native and drought-resistant vegetation.

The native plants not only reduce storm water runoff, they attract bees and butterflies, and reduce the "heat island" effect that occurs in urban areas in the summer. Individuals can receive up to a $500 rebate to offset the costs of supplies and labor, said media representative Diane Margetts. The county estimates the project will reduce emissions by the equivalent of 10,350 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Other winners in California include the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians in Santa Barbara County, and the Small Cities Climate Action Partnership, which includes Albany, El Cerrito, Piedmont and San Pablo. The tribal program aims to educate the community about energy efficiency, which includes retrofitting and weatherizing homes. It will also include job training to teach solar panel installation. The Small Cities partnership also promotes energy efficiency, the EPA's website states.

According to the agency, nearly 20 percent of the applications for the Climate Showcase Communities program in the two-year grant cycle came from California. All 50 programs are estimated to reduce emissions by the equivalent of 350,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, by 2014.

An EPA representative emphasized that those are estimates, and each program is required to monitor and report actual reductions. The "showcase" programs are intended to serve as replicable models for other communities.

"We're pleased to see the federal government supporting efforts at the local level and among tribal lands to promote climate change programs," Stanley Young, a representative for the state's Air Resources Board, said in an e-mail message. "This helps ensure that the effort to reach a clean energy future is a commitment at every level of government, and it's an example of the kind of cooperation that supports plans and projects that touch people's everyday lives and supports the specific, on-the-ground solutions."


Why the public won’t buy greenhouse limits

In the April 21st issue of the far-left New Republic, associate editor Bradford Plumer asked his readers whether the Greens’ climate strategy had been a “total flop.” He said the Greens had helped elect Barack Obama and a filibuster-proof majority in both Houses of Congress, and approved Obama’s Cabinet and “czars.” The President was expected to roll over the climate deniers.

“Instead,” says Plumer, “the climate push was . . . a total flop. By late 2010, the main cap-and-trade bill had fizzled out in the Senate; not a single Republican would agree to vote for it. Greens ended up winning zilch from Congress, not even minor legislation to boost renewable electricity or energy efficiency. Worse, after the 2010 midterms, the House GOP became overrun with climate deniers, while voters turned apathetic about global warming.”

Plumer wants to know who or what to blame. Was it strategy? Money? A failure of Presidential will? None of the above. The Greens and Obama are failing on emission controls for the simplest of reasons. The earth stopped warming.

James Hansen told the Senate in 1988 that the earth would thenceforth do nothing but get rapidly warmer, dictated by rising concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. For a time, Hansen’s predictions seemed to be accurate—but then after 1998 the warming trend stopped. CO2 concentrations continued to rise, but the temperatures didn’t. The public began to wonder if the previous warming-with-CO2 had been a coincidence.

Then came 2007, and a sharp drop in global temperatures! The computer models’ predictions had failed. The mainstream media kept mostly silent about this unnerving development, but the blogs and talk radio didn’t. This was itself a key change in the public persuasion machinery, which had previously been unanimous in its promotion of man-made warming.

The lack of public panic on temperatures has been supported by the satellites, arguably the best source of global temperature information ever devised. The alarmists kept shouting “record high averages” but the satellites have revealed only a modest increase since 1979, and no recent upward temperature trend.

The skeptics also note that the thermometer record has recently trended both upward and downward—in 30-year spurts. Those spurts now appear linked to a 60-year cycle in the Pacific. In 2008, NASA said its satellites confirmed the Pacific moving into a cool phase, which is likely to last 25 years. The sunspot index has just been through an ultra-long minimum, which also suggests colder temperatures. Is this another climate step-change?

Climate legislation now hinges on the temperatures over the next three years or so. A cooling trend will endorse the solar cause of warming. A resumption of warming will re-endorse the greenhouse theory.

But the public isn’t waiting. They’ve already “gone apathetic,” to quote Plumer. Concern about global warming has dropped 12 percent in America since 2001, according to a March Gallup poll. We’ve had a series of obviously colder, snow-filled winters. Several of the IPCC scare stories have been proven wrong. The fear of man-made warming has dropped below critical levels.

Prediction: Global warming is a dead issue unless the planet can be persuaded to start warming again, quickly. Don’t blame the President or the eco-ad campaign. Blame the thermometers.


Australia's official climate experts: Clueless

Climate commissioner Will Steffen said the following at a meeting of the commission chaired by the ABC's Tony Eastley at Port Macquarie April 28. (Video available HERE)

At 16:09 WILL STEFFEN: "Great Barrier Reef: about 15 years ago there were no bleaching events. The sea surface temperatures is risen, we've had 7 or 8 severe bleaching events in the last 15 years in the Great Barrier Reef"

The Facts

15 years from 2011 that would be 1996. Let's see what the record says:

According to the IPCC AR4 WGII (p.512) "Eight mass bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef since 1979"

According to wikipedia "The Great Barrier Reef along the coast of Australia experienced bleaching events in 1980, 1982, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006.[24

A question from the audience about 0:27:05:

At the time of the dinosaurs what would you imagine the temperature would have been?

WILL STEFFEN: Good question. That would have been about 65 million years ago. Much Much warmer than today, probably on the order of 5 or 6 degrees warmer. CO2 was much much higher than today as well, probably 900 to 1000ppm.

The Facts

1. Dinosaurs actually extinct 65 million years ago. They dominated life on earth for 160 million years between the Triassic and Cretaceous, living through a wide range of climates. FAIL

2. For the Cretaceous temperatures about 4 degrees warmer, CO2 about 1700ppm. For the Jurassic temperatures about 3 degrees warmer, CO2 about 1950ppm. For the Triassic temperatures about 3 degrees warmer, CO2 about 1750ppm. FAIL

Clearly Will Steffen is getting his facts mixed up and is misinforming and misleading the audience. Will ABC's embedded reporter cover the lies, or let it slip? (or are they just mistakes-what from an expert, surely not).

We expect experts paid good money out of our taxes to get things right. It is news when they get things wrong.

(Note that the the main reason for an absence in bleaching being noted prior to 1980 has more to do with a lack of observers than events-but more on that later)



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


2 May, 2011

Osama bin Laden dead -- proof of global warming

How come? Beats me. But EVERYTHING is caused by global warming. Just you wait and see!

New Zealand: Conservative government reverses Leftist ban on incandescent light bulbs

Old news now but welcome

Energy and Resources Minister, Gerry Brownlee, has told Parliament today the ban on traditional light bulbs is being lifted.

"This government has real concerns about telling people they have to move to energy efficient light bulbs by decree," he said.

"It has been well signaled and will come as no surprise that the government is lifting the ban on traditional or incandescent light bulbs," said Mr Brownlee.

"We are committed to energy efficiency in the home and efficient lighting has an important role to play in helping us reduce the amount of energy we use, but this Government believes it is a matter of consumer choice.

"People need good, credible information about the different lighting options that are available to them, and then they can decide what is right for them in their homes."

"Lifting the previous government's ban on incandescent light bulbs simply means we are allowing their continued sale, and I am confident the consumer trend to energy efficient bulbs will continue," said Mr Brownlee.


The Great Hypotheses Scam

As painful at it is, it must be recognized that The Great Hypotheses Scam has infected every aspect of our society and nowhere is this more painful and evident than in our government institutions. Here is a press release about a report issued by the Interior Department's Bureau of Reclamation

"Interior Releases Report Highlighting Impacts of Climate Change to Western Water Resources"

The report is not about any current impact from climate change but are projections of future impacts as this excerpt points out:
The report, which responds to requirements under the SECURE Water Act of 2009, shows several increased risks to western United States water resources during the 21st century. Specific projections include:

a temperature increase of 5-7 degrees Fahrenheit;

a precipitation increase over the northwestern and north-central portions of the western United States and a decrease over the southwestern and south-central areas;

a decrease for almost all of the April 1st snowpack, a standard benchmark measurement used to project river basin runoff; and

an 8 to 20 percent decrease in average annual stream flow in several river basins, including the Colorado, the Rio Grande, and the San Joaquin.

The report notes that projected changes in temperature and precipitation are likely to impact the timing and quantity of stream flows in all western basins, which could impact water available to farms and cities, hydropower generation, fish and wildlife, and other uses such as recreation.

Policy makers are making decisions based on this report which as the report itself clearly states is primarily the result of modelling hypotheses not actual measurable science:
To develop the report, Reclamation used original research and a literature synthesis of existing peer-reviewed studies. Projections of future temperature and precipitation are based on multiple climate models and various projections of future greenhouse gas emissions, technological advancements, and global population estimates. Reclamation will develop future reports to Congress under the authorities of the SECURE Water Act that will build upon the level of information currently available and the rapidly developing science to address how changes in supply and demands will impact water management.

From the actual report we have even greater detail of the modelling they used to determine their projections:
The analysis involves developing hydrologic projections associated with World Climate Research Programme Coupled Model Intercomparison Project3 (WCRP CMIP3) climate projections that have been bias-corrected and spatially downscaled and served here.

In total, 112 hydrologic projections were developed, relying on watershed applications of the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) macroscale hydrology model (described below). From these time-series climate and hydrologic projections (or hydroclimate projections), changes in hydroclimate variables were computed for three future decades: 2020s (water years 2020–2029), 2050s (water years 2050–2059) and 2070 (water years 2070–2079) from the reference 1990s’ decade (water years 1990–1999). The reference 1990s are from the ensemble of simulated historical hydroclimates, not from the observed 1990s.

So as pointed out the report issued and submitted to congress is based on climate modelling, a hypotheses, not evidence, but note the last sentence of this paragraph "The reference 1990s are from the ensemble of simulated historical hydroclimates, not from the observed 1990s."

So pervasive is the reliance on modelling in the climate science arena that even when there exists actual, verifiable, measured data to work with, they choose "simulated historical hydroclimates"

Consider that little tidbit of information when you read in the report:
In the context of assessing future hydrologic impacts using these BCSD hydrologic projections, the findings from the assessment are:

Precipitation is expected to increase from the 1990s’ level during the 2020s and 2050s but to decline nominally during the 2070s (though the early to middle 21st century, increases could be artifacts of the BCSD climate projections development leading to slightly wetter projections).

Temperature shows a persistent increasing trend from the 1990s’ level.

April 1st snow water equivalent (SWE) shows a persistent decreasing trend from the 1990s’ level

Annual runoff shows some increase for the 2020s’ decade from the 1990s’ level but shows decline moving forward to the 2050s’ and 2070s’ decade from the 1990s’ reference, suggesting that, although precipitation changes are projected to remain positive through the 2050s, temperature changes begin to offset these precipitation increases leading to net loss in the water balance through increased evapotranspiration losses.

Winter season (December–March) runoff shows an increasing trend.
Spring–summer season (April–July) runoff shows a decreasing trend.

Now all of this upon which important decisions are to be made are nothing more than computer generated projections but in addition, the past which they are comparing it to "the 1990's" is not the actual historical 1990's but rather a simulated historical hydroclimate.

Not only is the future being divined by computer modelling but so too is the past.


Green schemes are 'wide open to major corruption'

Millions of pounds in grants and aid are being siphoned off by fraudsters, warns report

Corruption is threatening global steps to combat climate change, a new report from Transparency International (TI) warned yesterday. Billions of pounds will be plundered and wasted, it says, unless stronger measures are introduced against embezzlement and misappropriation.

The organisation warns that 20 nations most vulnerable to climate change – where millions in grants and aid will be targeted – are judged to be among the most corrupt in the world – and stronger oversight is needed to ensure the funds are properly spent. None of the countries, which include Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Vietnam, scores higher than 3.6 on TI's influential Corruption Perception Index, where 0 is wholly corrupt and 10 "very clean".

Any siphoning off of green grants would undermine efforts to reduce the impact of climate change by developing projects such as wind farms or solar power plants, improving sea wall defences, irrigation systems and housing capable of withstanding natural disasters, says TI.

"Corruption holds nothing sacred, not even our planet's future," said Huguette Labelle, chair of TI. "Failure to properly govern climate change measures now will not only lead to misallocated resources and fraudulent projects today, but also hurts future generations," The report, Global Corruption Report: Climate Change, estimates the total investment into combating global climate change will reach almost $700bn (£420bn) by 2020. "Where huge amounts of money flow through new and untested financial markets and mechanisms, there is a risk of corruption," it says.

Carbon markets, the main financial tool for combating climate change, have already been hit by fraud, the report points out. In January, the European Union's carbon market was shut down after it was attacked by cyber-hackers. More than three million carbon credits were stolen from government and private company accounts.

The system has also been hit by repeated tax frauds. One scheme to meet all of Europe's power needs from concentrated solar power plants covering 1 per cent of the Sahara desert was undermined after experts said bureaucratic complexity and corruption in north Africa raised the risks and costs of investment there. After an investigation by Spanish officials, it was discovered that more than one in 10 of its solar parks was falsely registered as operational, despite making no contribution to the energy grid.

The dash for low-carbon solutions is proving a curse for some communities, TI warns; governments who sell off land for bio-fuel cultivation must respect local land rights. Half the world's known reserves of the lithium vital for electric vehicles are believed to lie in Bolivia's Uyuni salt lake, but companies exploiting the reserves have failed to consult with local groups and have damaged eco-systems, threatened water supplies, and blighted tourism.

Illegal logging, an industry estimated to be worth more than $10bn a year, is fuelled by corrupted customs and other officials, the report says. Some countries have already claimed carbon credits for fictitious forest plantation projects. In Kenya, deforestation is exacerbated by corruption among under-resourced forest guards. TI estimates that in 1963 Kenya had about 10 per cent forest cover; by 2006, it was less than 2 per cent.

All countries are vulnerable: Britain is criticised for its failure to deal with so-called "greenwashing" marketing techniques used by companies to misrepresent how environmentally friendly their products are.


Energy Independence is a Myth

Answering a question on America’s foreign dependence on oil from a Northern Virginia Community College student at a town hall event on April 19, Barack Obama boldly alleged, “we have actually continually increased U.S. production, so U.S. production is as high as it’s ever been.” It was a claim so false as to be laughable.

In fact, in 1970, the U.S. produced 9.6 million barrels of oil a day, the most we ever produced. But today, we only produce 5.5 million a day. And while domestic production slightly increased in the past two years, according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA), it now projects declines of 30,000 barrels a day in 2011 and 120,000 barrels a day in 2012, when production will only be 5.36 million.

So much for that. But then again, energy independence has always been a myth.

Or, in the least, the promise of energy independence by politicians dating back to Richard Nixon has been a fairy tale. In 1974, in response to the oil embargo, then-President Nixon promised, “Let this be our national goal: At the end of this decade, in the year 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need to provide our jobs, to heat our homes, and to keep our transportation moving.”

The only problem is that by 1980, we were only producing 8.5 million barrels a day — some 1.1 million less than we were in 1970. It declined every single year after Nixon set the goal while he was in office.

The challenge facing the country, with oil prices spiking once again, is that the U.S. consumes about 18.7 million barrels of petroleum a day, a net 9.6 million of which is imported. At $110 a barrel, we’re spending about $2.057 billion daily. If the price stays that high for a year, it will cost $750.8 billion, of which $385.4 billion would be shipped overseas!

So, besides the high prices of staples like gasoline and home heating oil, there are perfectly legitimate reasons to ramp up crude oil production, namely to stop shipping hundreds of billions of dollars overseas every day unnecessarily. That’s money that could be reinvested here.

Overall, the historic decline of the U.S. oil industry has played a key role in debilitating the domestic economy, driving overall investment overseas too, and killing American jobs.

Currently, the oil and gas industry employs 9.2 million. If the current 5.5 million barrels a day production were doubled, millions more jobs would be created. Instead oil production, like manufacturing, has been outsourced. With unemployment so high, shouldn’t we be creating jobs here in America?

The reasons to increase oil production go on. If the U.S. became energy independent, it would not be subject to foreign supply shocks, such as occurred in 1973 with the oil embargo.

Finally, because of its abundant supply, natural gas is one energy commodity that has not been spiking exponentially in price. Similarly, if the U.S. could dramatically expand its domestic supplies of oil, it would necessarily have an impact upon the price.

Although current oil prices are undoubtedly presently spiking because of the weak dollar, that does not mean that we do not need to be drilling. The reasons are plentiful.

So, with all of the benefits of being energy independent, why is it that politicians like Obama and Nixon only have paid lip service to the idea?


Environmentalism as a Surrogate Religion

As we reflect on Earth Day 2011 (April 22) and on passionate appeals that we support environmental initiatives almost too numerous to count, we should also reflect on a fundamental new reality.

Environmentalism has replaced religion for many of its adherents.

The ending “-ism” denotes a way of thinking, perceiving and structuring one's life. Every “ism” is based on underlying assumptions, principles and beliefs that tell its adherents what they ought to believe and do. Providing ethical guidance for its members is a major part of what an “-ism” does.

Followers of Judaism who observe Passover as their ancestors’ liberation from slavery in Egypt – and Christians who commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter – have no problem acknowledging that these are matters of belief.

They would never claim that science provides absolute proof of authenticity – although many find in science valuable support for the validity of their beliefs. Those who can see an underlying compatibility between science and religious faith are comfortable in both realms.

Environmentalism likewise provides ethical guidance. But its followers generally recoil from the suggestion that it’s a religion. The traditional buildings and rituals are absent; moreover, many adherents come from a background of explicitly rejecting “institutional” religions. Nevertheless, a careful examination of the basic assumptions shows that environmentalism indeed meets the criteria of a secular religion.

In environmentalism, “Mother Earth” (Gaia the Earth Goddess) replaces God as the object of special devotion, causing some of environmentalism’s subsequent assertions to be in direct opposition to fundamental teachings of Christianity and Judaism. Another cornerstone beliefis that mankind is just one species among many; this view opposes the Judeo-Christian belief that God considers mankind to be very special.

Science appears to play a major role in environmentalism, but actually its role is distinctly secondary: Science is used subjectively, not objectively. After a set of beliefshas been established, various fields of science (and scholarly studies within those fields), are carefully sifted to select facts that support those beliefs. Facts and scientific fields that contravene or fail to support core beliefs are rejected or ignored.

That’s not the way science is supposed to work. However, it happens every day in environmentalism, as reflected in movies, magazines, blogs, television programs, newspapers – and legislative and regulatory initiatives.

In his excellent book, “The New Holy Wars: Economic Religion vs. Environmental Religion in Contemporary America,” Professor Robert H. Nelson likens the contemporary struggle between those two secular religions to John Calvin's struggle against the establishment of Catholicism 500 years ago.

Nelson’s book concludes: “It is time to take secular religion seriously. It is real religion. In the twentieth century, it showed greater energy, won more converts, and had more impact on the western world than the traditional, institutional forms of Christianity.”

For the believing environmentalist, there is a certain “Garden of Eden” narrative: the beginning of evil came with the development of agriculture, when mankind rose above hunter-gatherer status and began to control and improve on nature to meet his needs. Thereafter came civilization and all its negative environmental effects and associations. The whole story hangs together within a religious framework.

In America today, the religion of environmentalism has the distinct advantage of being taught in the public schools, and receiving plentiful government funding. Some of its beliefs are fairly benign, such as sympathy for polar bear cubs. But other beliefs have had horrible consequences.

The chemical spray DDT is a powerful weapon against malaria. It wiped the disease out in the developed world. Sprayed on walls, DDT acts for six months or more with a single application, keeping mosquitoes out of homes, preventing them from biting, and killing any that land.

However, environmental activism and incorrect scientific interpretations led politicians to believe DDT harmed birds and fish, and the insecticide was banned in the United States in 1972. Since then, it has been largely purged from the disease control arsenal worldwide, even though malaria still infects a billion people in poor countries every year, killing up to one million.

Today, many environmentalists view the alleged dangers of using DDT as being worse than the misery and death caused by the disease. Since 1972, at least 20 million African children have died from malaria.

Throwing trash out of your car window is considered a sin by environmentalism. In other religions, allowing the preventable death of millions of children is a far greater sin.

This year Easter, Passover and Earth Day all came close together. Now may be a good time to ask whether environmentalism can be reconciled with traditional religions.

Most religious people who believe in God as Christians or Jews also want to protect the environment. They see ecological stewardship as part of their responsibility to God.

Indeed, that is the message of another excellent book, “Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition.” Published by the Acton Institute a decade ago, it is a brief collection of essays by Protestant, Jewish and Catholic scholars who have pondered how and why their own faith embraces care for God's creation.

In all cases, these authors root their arguments in Scripture, abetted by an understanding of modern science. They stress that the word “dominion” used in the Bible does not mean people have a right to wreck the planet. Rather, it means mankind is a partner chosen by God to be a responsible steward of creation.

Emphatically, these Christian and Jewish authors do not regard mankind as just “one species among many.” And they don't confuse “mother earth” with God.


Australia: Poll shows Queenslanders against planned carbon tax

And Queensland is the swing State that makes or breaks Federal governments

QUEENSLAND will be at the centre of the Government's battle to win support for its carbon tax, with a new poll finding the state has the strongest opposition to the plan.

A Galaxy poll commissioned by the Australian Coal Association found the highest opposition to the tax was in Queensland mining towns, where 73 per cent of voters were against it.

The findings come as the Federal Government talked down the likely level of the carbon tax in an attempt to argue the climate change measures would not cost jobs in high-polluting industries.

New Treasury modelling shows the carbon tax would have a minor impact on production costs of coal, steel and aluminium compared with the hit from the high Australian dollar and commodity price movements.

But Australian Coal Association chairman John Pegler warned the tax could be the end for Queensland coal mines.

"As the cost of this rolls along over time, it's going to cost jobs. It will certainly cost investment," Mr Pegler told The Courier-Mail.

Coal miners would support a different carbon pricing scheme if they had greater protection, Mr Pegler said.

The poll, which surveyed 1400 voters on April 12 and 14, found 63 per cent of Queenslanders opposed the tax compared with 55 per cent nationally.

Even more worrying for the Government, 77 per cent of voters across the country thought the carbon tax would leave them worse off. Only 6 per cent believed they would be better off.

A breakdown of the poll results in Queensland mining towns - in electorates including Capricornia, Dawson and Flynn - showed only 1 per cent thought they would be better off.

Almost half the respondents in coal towns in Queensland and NSW said they were unlikely to vote for a candidate who strongly backed the carbon tax. In metropolitan areas, the figure was 41 per cent.



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


1 May, 2011

Contemptible Green/Leftists

How low can liberals sink? This low: Think Progress blames the tornadoes that killed close to 300 across the South on those states' Congressional delegations: "Catastrophic Climate: Storms Kill 292 In States Represented By Climate Pollution Deniers."
The Congressional delegations of these states overwhelmingly voted (HR 910 and McConnell Amendment 183) to reject the science that polluting the climate is dangerous:

That is typical Think Progress: the votes were not, of course, on whether "polluting the climate"--whatever that means--"is dangerous." The votes were to overturn the EPA's carbon dioxide endangerment finding.
"Given that global warming is unequivocal," climate scientist Kevin Trenberth cautioned the American Meteorological Society in January of this year, "the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming rather than the inane statements along the lines of 'of course we cannot attribute any particular weather event to global warming.'"

The implication is that this week's tornadoes were caused by anthropogenic global warming. As regular readers know, my view is that the scientific evidence overwhelmingly refutes the politically-motivated claim that the earth's climate is warming significantly, and the primary cause is human activity. But put the broader issue aside for the moment. The southern states have always been prone to tornadoes in the spring. Tornadoes existed long before the Industrial Revolution. There is zero evidence--none--that this week's weather had anything to do with human activity of any sort.

It is ironic that Think Progress quotes Kevin Trenberth for the proposition that all weather events--heat, cold, rain, drought, wind, no wind, you name it--should be presumed to be "affected by global warming." Trenberth is the very pseudo-scientist who admitted that he and his fellow alarmists have no idea what actually causes the weather, which usually fails to conform to the alarmists' predictions. Trenberth wrote, in one of the most famous Climategate emails:
Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low. This is January weather (see the Rockies baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last night in below freezing weather). ...

The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

Got that? The climate isn't behaving as Trenberth and his fellow alarmists predicted; they have no idea why; the alarmists' inability to explain observed weather patterns is a "travesty;" and the data the alarmists rely on is "surely wrong" because their "observing system is inadequate." What's the solution? No problem--just ignore the data and presume that "all weather events are affected by global warming." Sure, that works--if you are a political activist, rather than a scientist.

The AFP offered a saner assessment of this week's tragic storms: "Tornadoes whipped up by wind, not climate."
US meteorologists warned Thursday it would be a mistake to blame climate change for a seeming increase in tornadoes in the wake of deadly storms that have ripped through the US south.

"If you look at the past 60 years of data, the number of tornadoes is increasing significantly, but it's agreed upon by the tornado community that it's not a real increase," said Grady Dixon, assistant professor of meteorology and climatology at Mississippi State University.

"It's having to do with better (weather tracking) technology, more population, the fact that the population is better educated and more aware. So we're seeing them more often," Dixon said.

But he said it would be "a terrible mistake" to relate the up-tick to climate change. ...

Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), also dismissed Thursday climate change as a factor in the deadly tornadoes: "Actually what we're seeing is springtime," he said. ...

[T]he stronger-than-usual tornadoes affecting the southern states were actually predicted from examining the planet's climatological patterns, specifically those related to the La Nina phenomenon. "We knew it was going to be a big tornado year," he said. But the key to that tip-off was unrelated to climate change: "It is related to the natural fluctuations of the planet."

Everyone is mistaken sometimes, but Think Progress and similar far-left web sites are unique in that they engage in a systematic effort to mislead their readers in order to advance a political agenda. Reading them makes you stupid.


Tornadoes influenced by the sun

A geologist says mini-tornadoes under very different conditions in Australia throw light on the cause of all tornadoes

National Geographic:
The tornado that devastated Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Wednesday was the result of an unusual confluence of meteorological conditions. Current estimates put the twister’s wind speed at about 260 mph, and it may have remained in contact with the ground for more than 200 miles. An unusually strong jet stream over the region, with wind speeds of 150 mph, caused intense upward motion in the atmosphere. The colder, drier air within combined with the warm, moist air already in place to create rotating thunderstorms known as supercells—one of the few types of storms that spawn tornadoes. A 50 mph wind closer to the ground only increased the storms’ rotation. Wednesday’s tornado outbreak included more than 100 twisters across 6 states and killed at least 283 people, making it the worst outbreak since 3 April 1974, when 330 people were killed in an area that stretched from Alabama to Indiana

The appearance of a strong jet stream can be linked into the solar plasma surges that Piers Corbyn has identified as drivers of the earth’s weather. The plasma surge causes the polar auroras to appear, and apparently affect the polar jet stream. What makes it interesting is the picture that Marc Morano posted up on Climate Depot and which is reproduced below:

These intense, swirling vortices are associated with electric fields up to 10,000 volts, and as the image above shows, also with lightning. It is believed that this lightning is produced by charge separation inside clouds. Dust devils are also small scale vortices in air, and a normal occurrence in outback Australian summers. I frequently observe them during my field work and have wondered why these small dust devils dart about the surface in hot humid motionless air. These dust devils are also associated with electric fields up to 10,000 volts and it’s obvious that an electric field implies the existence of charge separation. The major problem is that often these small, darting dust devils occur in windless, hot humid air masses, so the belief that bumping molecules of air is the mechanism for charge separation, has some problems. Exactly how does moist still air cause charge separation? And how on earth can an isotropic, motionless, hot and humid mass of air develop an intense, small, vortex that develops into a dust devil?

We have it back to front. It’s the atmospheric electricity that is forming the dust devils, hurricanes, tornadoes and other rotational weather phenomena, not the phenomena the electricity. If this is the case then its pretty clear why Piers Corbyn gets his forecasts so accurate – its the electric current surges into the earth from solar fluctuations that causes the earth’s weather. Carbon dioxide has nothing to do with it.


Being in the prophecy business is a mug's game

But seeing that the facts are against them, prophecy is all the Warmists have got
(Aug. 31, 2007) — NASA scientists have developed a new climate model that indicates that the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common as Earth’s climate warms.

Previous climate model studies have shown that heavy rainstorms will be more common in a warmer climate, but few global models have attempted to simulate the strength of updrafts in these storms. The model developed at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies by researchers Tony Del Genio, Mao-Sung Yao, and Jeff Jonas is the first to successfully simulate the observed difference in strength between land and ocean storms and is the first to estimate how the strength will change in a warming climate, including “severe thunderstorms” that also occur with significant wind shear and produce damaging winds at the ground.

This information can be derived from the temperatures and humidities predicted by a climate computer model, according to the new study published on August 17 in the American Geophysical Union’s Geophysical Research Letters. It predicts that in a warmer climate, stronger and more severe storms can be expected, but with fewer storms overall.

Their model makes no sense theoretically or empirically. Severe tornadoes declined as the world warmed from 1975-2000, just as theory predicts they should. Severe tornadoes increased from 1950-1975, as the world cooled. 1975 was the peak of the global cooling panic

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Junk science book links global warming and ill health

Since life expectancies keep lengthening, we must be experiencing global cooling by that reasoning.

And the fact that hospitals and funeral services are busiest in winter also seems to be overlooked

Climate change isn’t just bad for the polar bears, argue Dan Ferber and Paul Epstein. In “Changing Planet, Changing Health,” the authors link global warming to declining human health.

The book explores places where the effects of climate change can already be observed — not only through the now-familiar indicators such as extreme weather events, drought, flooding and species decline, but also by the resulting impacts on human health.

Ferber, a science journalist, and Epstein, a medical doctor and health and disease expert, reveal the complex links between global warming and cholera, malaria, Lyme disease, asthma and other health threats.

The authors offer sustainable solutions that encourage humanity’s own capactiy for change and the options already within our grasp.


Carbon and Carbon Dioxide: Clearing Up the Confusion

We are constantly bombarded with information – much of it inaccurate, misleading, even deliberately so.

We are frequently told we must reduce carbon emissions, support “carbon disclosure” and invest in “carbon trusts” – to prevent catastrophic global warming, global climate change or global climate “disruption.” News stories, advocacy and lobbying activities, and corporate “ethics” promotions frequently use “carbon” and “carbon dioxide” almost interchangeably; some occasionally talk about “dangerous carbon monoxide emissions.”

Torn by misplaced hydrocarbon guilt, wanting to do right ecologically, and often scientifically challenged, people are naturally confused. Because so much is at stake – for our energy supplies and prices, jobs, economies, living standards, budget deficits and environment – clearing up that confusion is a high priority.

“Carbon” (chemical symbol C) is what we burn to get energy to power modern society. Carbon is the molecular building block for wood, charcoal and coal, and hydrocarbons (HC) like oil and natural gas. Cars and power plants do not emit carbon, except in the form of soot. Thus, talk of “carbon disclosure” or “reducing our carbon emissions” is misleading, unless one is confessing how much charcoal was used at a picnic, or apologizing for not having pollution controls on a wood-burning stove.

“Carbon monoxide” (CO) is an odorless, deadly gas. A natural product of combustion, it increases when ventilation is poor, oxygen levels are low and burning is inefficient. It’s why we shouldn’t use charcoal grills indoors or operate cars in garages, unless we’re suicidal.

“Carbon dioxide” (CO2) is another natural byproduct of combustion, from power plants, factories, vehicles, homes, hospitals and other users of wood, coal, petroleum and biofuels. This is what many environmental activists, politicians and scientists blame for recent and future climate change.

(The other major byproduct is water vapor or steam – plus pollutants that reflect impurities in the fuel and are removed via scrubbers and other technologies, or reduced by controlling the temperature, airflow and efficiency of combustion processes: sulfur and nitrogen oxides, particulates, mercury and so on.)

Literally thousands of scientists vigorously disagree with the hypothesis that CO2 is responsible for (dangerous) climate change. It plays only a minor role, they argue, in a complex, chaotic climate system that is driven by numerous natural forces, cycles, and positive and negative feedback loops. They also note that CO2 increases have followed, not preceded, temperature rises, throughout Earth’s history.

CO2 constitutes a mere 0.0380% of our atmosphere. That’s 380 parts per million (380 ppm), which sounds much more threatening, especially when used in juxtaposition with the pre-Industrial Revolution figure of 280 ppm. But even that 100 ppm increase represents only 0.0100% of Earth’s atmosphere – equivalent to one penny out of $100.

380 is far below historical CO2 levels. During the Jurassic and Early Carboniferous periods, geologists calculate, our atmosphere contained 1,500-2,500 ppm carbon dioxide. However, even at today’s comparatively CO2-impoverished levels, this trace gas is vital to the health of our planet.

As every grade schooler learns, CO2 enables photosynthesis and plant growth: carbon dioxide in, oxygen out, through complex chemical reactions. Without CO2, there would be no plants and no oxygen; life as we know it would cease. Carbon dioxide is truly the “gas of life” – and no attempt by Al Gore, James Hansen or EPA to brand it as a dangerous pollutant can change that.

The 100 ppm rise in CO2 levels came courtesy of two things. As oceans warmed after the Little Ice Age ended 160 years ago, they released some of their carbon dioxide storehouses. (As with beer and soda water, seawater is able to retain less CO2 as it warms.) The rest came from hydrocarbon fuels burned during the Industrial Revolution and modern era, and from billions more impoverished people still burning wood and animal dung in open fires.

Though vilified by radical greens and climate alarmists, hydrocarbon energy and the Industrial Revolution have hugely benefitted mankind. They doubled average life expectances in industrialized nations and increased prosperity, overall health and living standards, in proportion to the ability of poor communities to acquire electricity and modern technologies. Thus, telling poor countries to limit hydrocarbon use, and focus instead on wind and solar power, sharply limits their ability to modernize, create jobs, and improve health, living conditions and life spans.

And all that extra CO2 from electrical generation and other economic activities? As Drs. Craig and Sherwood Idso explain on their website and in their fascinating book, The Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment, the extra carbon dioxide has blessed people and planet in at least 55 ways.

For example, increased atmospheric carbon dioxide increases the photosynthesis rates for plants. It enables plants to extract more moisture from the air and soil, thereby expanding root systems that stabilize soil, reduce erosion and help plants survive better during droughts.

Higher CO2 levels also reduce the need for plants to keep their stomata (pores in leaves) open to absorb carbon dioxide – and in the process release moisture from the plant – further increasing drought resistance. Because stomata don’t need to be open as much, plants also reduce their absorption of harmful pollutants that can damage their tissue. As with the air in greenhouses, rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations improves nitrogen fixation by soil bacteria, increasing the availability of this important chemical.

CO2-enriched air also increases plants’ ability to manufacture Vitamin C, antioxidants, and health-promoting substances in medicinal plants – while likewise improving plants’ immune systems and ability to withstand a wide variety of common plant diseases.

Many climatologists and astrophysicists believe recent sun spot, Pacific Ocean and global temperature trends suggest that our planet may have entered a cool phase that could last for 25 years. If that is the case, the additional carbon dioxide being emitted by China, India and other developing countries could bring a major additional benefit: helping to protect wildlife habitats, enhance oceanic biota and preserve crop yields under sub-optimal climatic conditions.

Attempts to coerce expanded wind and solar installations will require that we devote still more land, raw materials and taxpayer subsidies to these expensive, unreliable energy supplies. And trying to capture and store carbon dioxide from power plants and factories will require trillions of dollars and vast supplies of energy, to take this plant-fertilizing gas out of the atmosphere and inject it under high pressure deep into the earth – and keep it from escaping, to kill animals and people.

To get 1000 megawatts of net electricity from a power plant designed for CO2-capture-and-storage would require building (at minimum) a 1300-MW plant, burning at least one-third more fuel than a conventional plant does, using over one-third of the 1300 MW to power the CCS equipment – and paying much higher electricity prices. The impact on factories, shops, jobs, household budgets and fuel supplies would be significant.

Legislators and regulators need to focus on controlling unhealthy amounts of real pollutants (based on valid medical and environmental science) – and keep their pesky hands off our CO2!


Australia: Struggling families delay paying electricity bills inflated by Greenie charges

MORE than 1.1 million Australians were late paying their utility bills in the past three months as soaring electricity prices put pressure on household budgets. The figures come from a survey by credit information agency Veda Advantage and show the number of customers who missed a payment in any given quarter has risen by 40 per cent in the past 12 months.

Average arrears on utility bills have hit a record $500, said credit and collections agency Dun & Bradstreet.

The figures have been described as bordering on a national crisis, and are likely to get worse. Pricing regulator IPART has already said that NSW customers will be slugged with an 18 per cent price rise from July 1.

"It's a really worrying situation because there is clearly a growing group of people having difficulty with utility bills as the costs continue to rise and it doesn't look as though things are going to get any easier," said Chris Gration of Veda.

Ausgrid chairman John Conde offered no comfort to customers hoping his company would take action to ease bills, saying the company had introduced payment plans for struggling householders.

Clare Petre, the Energy and Water Ombudsman, said there was an ever-increasing number of complaints. "The 'usage' element of the bill is the smallest, with the bulk taken up by the fixed network charges, so it doesn't matter what the customer does to limit their usage, their bills are still unaffordable -- this is my biggest concern," she said.

Katherine Lane of the Consumer Credit Legal Centre said the State Government must legislate so households that cannot afford their bills are not unjustly cut off.



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


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)