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

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

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

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

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31 May, 2012

Lost photos prove Greenland's ice was melting FASTER 80 years ago than today

They can spin this how they like but it is clear that natural changes rival or exceed any changes attributed to global warming -- which makes the causes of all changes moot

A stash of 80-year-old photo plates in a Danish basement has proved that Greenland's ice was melting even faster then that it is now.

In the thirties, Greenland's ice was melting rapidly, then there was a cooling period in the middle part of the twentieth century, and now it is melting again, accelerating in the 2000s.

Images of ice shelves from the pre-satellite era are extremely rare, so it's often difficult to assess the scale and speed of Arctic ice melting today.

Researchers at the National Survey and Cadastre of Denmark had been storing the glass plates since explorer Knud Rasmussen's expedition to the southeast coast of Greenland in the early 1930s.

In this week's online edition of Nature Geoscience, Ohio State University researchers and colleagues in Denmark describe how they analyzed ice loss in the region by comparing the images on the plates to aerial photographs and satellite images taken from World War II to today.

Taken together, the imagery shows that glaciers in the region were melting even faster in the 1930s than they are today, said Jason Box, associate professor of geography and researcher at the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State.

A brief cooling period starting in the mid-20th century allowed new ice to form, and then the melting began to accelerate again in the 2000s.

‘Because of this study, we now have a detailed historical analogue for more recent glacier loss,’ Box said. ‘And we've confirmed that glaciers are very sensitive indicators of climate.’

Pre-satellite observations of Greenland glaciers are rare - but some are available.

Anders Anker Bjørk, doctoral fellow at the Natural History Museum of Denmark and lead author of the study, is trying to compile all such imagery. He found a clue in the archives of The Arctic Institute in Copenhagen in 2011.

‘We found flight journals for some old planes, and in them was a reference to National Survey and Cadastre of Denmark,’ Bjørk said.

As it happens, researchers at the National Survey had already contacted Bjørk about a find of their own.

‘They were cleaning up in the basement and had found some old glass plates with glaciers on them. The reason the plates were forgotten was that they were recorded for mapping, and once the map was produced they didn't have much value.’

Those plates turned out to be documentation of Rasmussen's 7th Thule Expedition to Greenland. They contained aerial photographs of land, sea and glaciers in the southeast region of the country, along with travel photos of Rasmussen's team.

The researchers digitized all the old images and used software to look for differences in the shape of the southeast Greenland coastline where the ice meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Then they calculated the distance the ice front moved in each time period.

Over the 80 years, two events stand out: glacial retreats from 1933-1934 and 2000-2010. In the 1930s, fewer glaciers were melting than are today, and most of those that were melting were land-terminating glaciers, meaning that they did not contact the sea.

Those that were melting retreated an average of 20 meters per year - the fastest retreating at 374 meters per year.

Fifty-five percent of the glaciers in the study had similar or higher retreat rates during the 1930s than they do today.

Still, more glaciers in southeast Greenland are retreating today, and the average ice loss is 50 meters per year.

That's because a few glaciers with very fast melting rates - including one retreating at 887 meters per year - boost the overall average.

But to Box, the most interesting part of the study is what happened between the two melting events.

From 1943-1972, southeast Greenland cooled - probably due to sulfur pollution, which reflects sunlight away from the earth.

Sulfur dioxide is a poisonous gas produced by volcanoes and industrial processes. It has been tied to serious health problems and death, and is also the main ingredient in acid rain. Its presence in the atmosphere peaked just after the Clean Air Act was established in 1963. As it was removed from the atmosphere, the earlier warming resumed.

The important point is not that deadly pollution caused the climate to cool, but rather that the brief cooling allowed researchers to see how Greenland ice responded to the changing climate.

The glaciers responded to the cooling more rapidly than researchers had seen in earlier studies. Sixty percent of the glaciers advanced during that time, while 12 percent were stationary. And now that the warming has resumed, the glacial retreat is dominated by marine-terminating outlet glaciers, the melting of which contributes to sea level rise.

‘From these images, we see that the mid-century cooling stabilized the glaciers,’ Box said. ‘That suggests that if we want to stabilize today's accelerating ice loss, we need to see a little cooling of our own.’

Southeast Greenland is a good place to study the effects of climate change, he explained, because the region is closely tied to air and water circulation patterns in the North Atlantic.

‘By far, more storms pass through this region - transporting heat into the Arctic - than anywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere. Climate change brings changes in snowfall and air temperature that compete for influence on a glacier's net behavior,’ he said.

SOURCE (See the original for graphics)

The day British villagers blew wind turbines away: Victory for the little man as High Court rules in favour of preserving the landscape

Villagers scored a major victory over the wind farm and green lobby yesterday.

A High Court judge ruled their right to preserve their landscape was more important than the Government’s renewable energy targets.

Mrs Justice Lang said building four 350ft turbines would harm the character and appearance of a beauty spot on the edge of the Norfolk Broads.

The proposal from Sea & Land Power and Energy had already been rejected by both council and government inspectors.

In what will be seen as a landmark ruling, the judge agreed, saying lower carbon emissions did not take ‘primacy’ over the concerns of the people of Hemsby.

Maria Ellis, a landscape gardener who petitioned against the turbines, said: ‘This has been hanging over us for ages because the company kept proposing it over and over again which just smacked of arrogance.

‘Norfolk is renowned for its open skyline which has inspired stories and poetry and literature. The site is on a hill between two villages and we already have wind turbines to the north, west and east.

‘It is overdevelopment, you can’t cover the hills and dales in turbines.’

Tory MP Brandon Lewis, who lives in Hemsby, said: ‘This decision should really set a precedent for planning officers, inspectors and courts to give weight to the feelings of local people in protecting their environment. It really shows that local people who are organised and feel passionately can have an impact and make a difference.

‘In Great Yarmouth, we have several wind farms nearby, and renewable energy is a huge part of our economy. Wind energy is important but it has to be in the right place and should not have a negative impact on the community or the countryside we love.’

The proposed wind farm was fewer than 300 yards from the edge of the Broads national park and around 800 yards from homes in Hemsby.

Villagers said they feared over-development because there were already three wind farms within three miles.

Ministers have made onshore and offshore turbines a central plank of their plans to plug Britain’s looming energy gap. At least 340 farms are up and running with many more planned.

Suffolk-based Sea & Land had said their four turbines could supply 5,500 homes – or around 14 per cent of the energy needs of the Great Yarmouth borough council area.

But the local planning inspector kicked out the bid, saying: ‘The development would result in material harm to the character and appearance of the area because of its scale and location and the cumulative impacts of other similar developments.’

The inspector said the existing wind farms were ‘visually prominent in this simple, attractive, tranquil landscape with its scattered villages and farmsteads’.

Sea & Land took the case to the High Court in London, insisting that the East of England had failed to meet its energy targets for 2010 and was unlikely to meet the Whitehall target to generate 17 per cent of energy from low-carbon sources by 2020.

Yesterday Mrs Justice Lang backed the inspector, saying Sea & Land’s point about its 2009 proposal was ‘unarguable’.

‘I do not accept that the inspector ought to have disregarded the local landscape policies in the light of the national policies,’ she said.

‘As a matter of law it is not correct to assert that the national policy promoting the use of renewable resources ... negates the local landscape policies or must be given primacy over them.

‘This is simply a case of policies pulling in different directions: harm to landscape and the benefits of renewable energy. The inspector was required to have regard to both sets of policies and to undertake a balancing exercise.’

Yesterday Roy Pinnock, an expert in planning law at the firm SNR Denton, said the case may bolster other villagers fighting wind farm projects.

‘It shows planning is all about balancing competing interests, and there will be a complex web of considerations in each case,’ he added.

‘There is a great emphasis on renewables, but this shows no one can claim that any particular outcome is preordained and it’s crucial that developers make an irresistible case for their development.’ Sea & Land can now take the case to the Court of Appeal.

Cally Smith, of the Broads Authority, said the turbines would have had a ‘significant and adverse impact on the protected landscape of the Broads’. She added: ‘This is not acceptable. There are other places which are better suited to accommodate development such as this.’

But Robert Norris of Renewable UK, the trade body for the wind industry, said the judge was wrong to suggest the case would have a wider impact.

‘It is absolutely vital for any developer to look at the impact on the landscape and wildlife before they can even think about going ahead with a project, but planners also have to consider the need to keep the lights on by generating electricity from sources that are clean and meet our carbon targets.’


'First nuclear station for 30 years': British government 'on cusp' of signing new deal

Ministers are ‘on the cusp’ of signing a deal for Britain’s first new nuclear power station for almost 30 years, the Government said last night.

Lord Marland, its energy spokesman in the Lords, said a final deal to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, in Somerset, would be sealed within months.

Plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations were rocked this month when German firms RWE and E.ON, which had each been expected to build a new plant in the UK, announced they were pulling out because of concerns the projects were not commercially viable.

The BBC reported last night that French firm EDF had delayed plans to announce the winner of the main £1billion contract to build the new Hinkley Point plant.

A spokesman said the company was ‘on track to deliver what is needed for the UK’.

Lord Marland said: ‘It has been 27 years since a new nuclear power station was commissioned and we are on the cusp of commissioning one in this country at Hinkley Point.’

It will then be up to Energy Secretary Ed Davey to apply for planning permission to install new reactors at the plant.

But Labour’s Lord Davies of Stamford criticised the Government for not acting quickly enough, telling peers that ‘not a single firm commitment’ had been made to build a new nuclear power station.

Last week it was revealed that the contract to run Britain’s next generation of nuclear power stations could be awarded to an arm of the Chinese government.


Climate "Deniers" Winning the War

“We are winning the war,” was a phrase I heard repeatedly this week. Congressman Sensenbrenner, Vice Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, said: “We won on these issues because we were right.”

Which war? The war that brought together more than 60 scientists from around the world—including astronauts, meteorologists, and physicians; politicians—comprising the Congressman, a head of state, and a member of the European Parliament; and policy analysts and media for two-and-a-half days in Chicago, in a battle over climate change and the belief that there needs to be real science—more “about honest debate than ideological warfare.”

Assembled by the Heartland Institute, the seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7) provided the second opportunity for Congressman Sensenbrenner to address the group. In his opening comments, Sensenbrenner said, “We’ve come a long way.”

He recounted: “When I last spoke, the House of Representatives was poised to pass the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill; the United Nations was promising the extension and expansion of the Kyoto Protocol; and President Obama was touting Spain as our model for a massive increase in renewable energy subsidies. Three years later, cap-and-tax is dead; the Kyoto Protocol is set to expire; and Spain recently announced that it eliminated new renewable energy subsidies.”

Sensenbrenner told about the behind the scenes wrangling that went on to get the Waxman-Markey bill passed. “I was on the House floor on June 29, 2009, when then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi desperately pulled Members aside to lobby, beg, and bargain for votes for the Waxman-Markey bill.” It did pass. But “the electoral consequences for the proponents of these policies was severe.” Just 16 months later, in the 2010 elections, “over two dozen of the Members she convinced to vote ‘yes’ lost their jobs.”

It wasn’t just the Members who suffered harsh political ramifications for their support of the Waxman-Markey bill—which was supposed to nullify the impact of manmade global warming through a cap-and-trade scheme. Sensenbrenner contends that support of the manmade (anthropogenic) global warming position (AGW) also cost Al Gore the presidency back in 2004. He explained: “West Virginia’s 5 electoral votes would have tipped the election for Gore, and Gore’s near-evangelical support for climate change easily cost him the 42,000 votes he would have needed to win there.”

While there is little debate that the climate does change, there is debate as to what causes it. The camps are divided into two general groups along the line of human’s role—with Al Gore’s camp believing that the “science is settled” concluding that man’s driving of SUVs burning petroleum products that emit CO2 (and other symptoms of the developed world) is the cause, and the other disagreeing. The “other” is who gathered in Chicago last week amid the thousands of NATO protestors. The “other” not only disagrees with Al Gore’s AGW position—but they disagree with each other.

I attended session after session where sunspots were addressed, deep ocean circulation changes were discussed, the CO2 contribution of volcanoes was brought up, and the health impacts of a warmer planet were touted—just to name a few. I brought home reams of documentation, some of which are, frankly, beyond my comprehension.

Whether or not the documentable climate change—cooler in the seventies, warmer in the nineties, stable for the last decade (just to point out some recent changes)—is due to the sun or the sea, or myriad other causes, the key take away is that the science is not settled.

Four former NASA employees presented at ICCC7—two astronauts: Walter Cunningham (Apollo 7) and Dr. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt (Apollo 17). They talked about a letter sent to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Jr., in which they requested that NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) “refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites.”

The March 28 letter, signed by 49 former NASA employees, declares that they “believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.

“The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.”

It is the “unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change” that should concern you and me—and, it is not just coming from NASA. It is coming from the White House and the EPA, from environmental groups and protestors.

The belief that CO2 is causing catastrophic climate change is the driver for today’s energy policy.

Based on a supposed “consensus,” politicians, and the nonelected bureaucrats they appointed, have, and are, making risky investments with taxpayer dollars (think Solyndra, et al); subsidizing “alternative” energies such as wind and solar that are not effective, efficient, or economical; blocking access to resources that are abundant, available, and affordable—which raises gasoline prices and punishes those who can least afford it; and regulating America’s most cost-effective electricity out of commission. The increasing energy costs are hurting all of America—individuals and industry—and our competitive edge.

Roger Helmer, a member of the European Parliament, offered these comments regarding wind energy and the entire green project in his presentation at ICCC7: “Wind plus gas back up results in virtually zero emissions savings. So, we are desecrating the countryside, we are wasting huge amounts of money, we are impoverishing our children, we are choosing poverty over prosperity—and after all that, we are not even achieving what we set out to achieve. This is madness, madness, madness writ large.”

Once you remove the manmade climate change/CO2 concerns, the foundation for expensive, intermittent “renewable” energy goes away—and there is a huge investment, emotional, ideological, and financial, in keeping the ruse alive.

In comparing the manmade climate change scheme to the European single currency, Helmer said: “Both of the projects are falling apart before our very eyes. But, as they fall apart, the true believers, especially the people with a financial interest—let’s not forget that these projects have attracted vast political and intellectual capital, but they’ve also attracted vast numbers of rent seekers and hangers on, and people whose jobs depend on these projects, and these people do not want to see them go away so these people are coming forward and—are thinking of every possible excuse which might explain what has gone wrong with the projects.”

No wonder there is a war. One side wants to “defend its findings,” while the other wants to “find the truth.”

While America is in an economic war, “advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers, is inappropriate.” In this election season, all candidates would do well to remember the fate of Al Gore and his many AGW supporters. Sensenbrenner offered these wise words on energy policy: “Going forward, we must continue to oppose bad ideas and continue to support technological development the only way it works—by allowing markets to determine the technological winners and losers.”

Echoing the war theme, Helmer offered encouragement in his closing remarks: “This is a battle that we must win. We must win it for America. We must win it for Europe. We must win it for our children and grandchildren. And, we must win it for all mankind. I’ll tell you why we will win it, because, we have two weapons in our armory that the bad guys don’t have. The first weapon is the truth, and the second weapon is the climate.”

Whether scientist or politician, policy analyst or media, one message that came through loud and clear at the ICCC7 is that we’ve come a long way in the climate change war, and we are winning, but we haven’t won yet! The climate change battle is at the center of global energy policy, and the countries that have the ability to develop their natural resources to produce cheap energy will be the victors.


Despite Solyndra, Obama still trying to reshape energy industry

"The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra," President Obama declared two years ago this past weekend. That statement was already doubtful in May, 2010, when Obama visited the solar panel manufacturer's Fremont, Calif., headquarters between political fundraisers, to celebrate the $500 million it had received in taxpayer-funded stimulus cash.

Today, with Solyndra's operations shuttered, its employees laid-off and its assets (including those paid for by taxpayers') divvied up among creditors in bankruptcy, Obama's statement from two years ago makes for a good laugh. Unfortunately, it isn't so funny for the operators of America's real economic engines -- the businesses out there that use energy and do not require government handouts for their day-to-day survival.

Even as he has shoveled stimulus cash into green losers like Solyndra, Beacon Power and others, Obama's EPA has been working hard to keep his 2008 campaign promise to make electricity prices "necessarily skyrocket" for winning businesses that employ Americans.

If you wonder how Obama could perform so poorly in his primaries against non-entity challengers in Appalachian states like Kentucky and West Virginia, look no further than the president's war on coal. A number of recent EPA rules issued by the Obama administration are shutting down coal-fired power plants, to the delight of environmental extremists in his base. The left-wing group Beyond Coal has gleefully posted a tally online of how many coal-fired plants have shut down so far -- 110 out of 522, or 13 percent of all coal-based electric capacity in the United States. Two rules in particular -- the Utility MACT rule and a rule on coal ash -- will place a $31 billion annual burden on the U.S. economy, according to EPA's own estimates, which will ultimately be borne by consumers and ratepayers.

The consequences of this regulatory demolition go far beyond the coal industry itself. Fox News Online last week noted the recent 2015 capacity auction held by PJM Interconnection, which operates the electric grid for 13 states, mostly in the lower Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. As a result of new EPA regulations that take effect in 2015, the market-clearing price was $136 per megawatt of capacity, or "eight times higher than the price for 2012." Generation capacity makes up only part of your utility bill, so don't expect to see a 700 percent rate increase in 2015 -- but do expect it to go up. Such a spike will have consequences for job creation, especially in energy-intensive fields like manufacturing, and it will come at a time when the job market should be regaining the ground it has lost since 2008.

The lesson of Solyndra's bankruptcy goes beyond one failed company whose investors bought influence in the Obama White House. It speaks more broadly to a president who knows little about industry, yet is determined to re-shape it in his own politically correct image and likeness. Ordinary working people will pay the price for his attempt to placate an ideological base consumed by hatred of coal and fear that global warming will soon send tidal waves through the streets of New York City.


Nicola Scafetta: The Theory Is Very Simple

Nicola Scafetta is a scientist at Duke University and at the Active Cavity Radiometer Solar Irradiance Monitor Lab which is associated with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. He claims that "at least 60% of the warming of the Earth observed since 1970 appears to be induced by natural cycles which are present in the solar system.” As his theory is controversial, we asked him to outline it. For the near future he predicts a stabilisation of global temperature or cooling until 2030-2040.

Q. What is your solar system cycles theory?

A. The theory is very simple in words. The solar system is characterized by a set of specific gravitational oscillations due to the fact that the planets are moving around the sun. Everything in the solar system tends to synchronize to these frequencies beginning with the sun itself. The oscillating sun then causes equivalent cycles in the climate system. Also the moon acts on the climate system with its own harmonics. In conclusion we have a climate system that is mostly made of a set of complex cycles that mirror astronomical cycles. Consequently it is possible to use these harmonics to both approximately hindcast and forecast the harmonic component of the climate, at least on a global scale. This theory is supported by strong empirical evidences using the available solar and climatic data.

The closest analogy is given by the harmonic model currently used to predict ocean tides.

Q. What is the physical mechanism?

A. There are three major mechanisms acting together: gravity, nuclear fusion - luminosity production, magnetism.

1) The planets act on the sun mostly via gravitational tidal forcings that are characterized by the astronomical harmonics in the same way that the tides on the Earth are regulated by lunar/solar gravitational harmonics.

2) The sun is in a state of almost perfect balance between gravitational forces and nuclear fusion luminosity production. This balance is very sensitive to gravitational or luminosity changes. If, for example, gravitational forces make some additional work (relative to a given average) on the sun, the sun responds by increasing its luminosity production to restore the balance, and vice-versa. The planetary tides slightly modulate the gravitational work balance inside the sun, and the sun responds by modulating its luminosity production. Because the luminosity production is energetically around 1,000,000 times the gravitational work released into the star, the solar core should work as a great amplifier of the planetary gravitational tidal energy. Thus, solar luminosity and all dynamical solar processes end up oscillating with a set of frequencies related to the planetary frequencies. This is the theory I propose in my last published paper, just last week.

3) The oscillating sun induces equivalent magnetic oscillations in the heliosphere. Magnetic oscillations have numerous effects: they modulate the incoming cosmic ray flux and modulate other electric currents in the heliosphere, that is, they regulate the space weather which is mostly made of electric phenomena. These phenomena occur together with the luminosity oscillations.

The Earth system is very sensitive to these electric changes because they cause ionization of the upper atmosphere and regulate cloud formation. Thus, the cloud formation will approximately follow the astronomical harmonics and make the albedo oscillate by about 1-3% . An oscillating albedo causes oscillations in the amount of light reaching the surface of the Earth, which is what causes the oscillations observed in the surface temperature.

Of course at the moment not all single physical mechanisms are understood, quantified or modeled.

Point 1 has can be easily quantified

Point 2 has been quantified, at least I made a proposal, but a full model also needs empirical modeling because solar physics is not so advanced.

Point 3 needs the understanding of how clouds form in details and the relation with cosmic ray etc. that is still under study. The modeling can be empirically done.

Q. How are your forecasts comparing with global temperatures?

A. The astronomical harmonic temperature model has been tested in its hindcast/forecast capabilities and performs quite well.

For example I calibrated the model in the period 1850-1950 and was able to reproduce all decadal multidecadal variation observed from 1950 to 2012, and vice versa. A full model that also included a possible anthropogenic component has been calibrated from 1970 to 2000 and was able to accurately forecast the temperature trend from 2000 to 2012.

About the solar harmonic model: it has been constructed by using physical information obtained in the period 1750-2010 and was able to hindcast all major solar and climatic variability observed during the Holocene (12,000 years). For example the model approximately hindcast the little ice age, medieval warm period, Dark Age cold period, roman warm period etc. The model reconstruct all secular scale oscillations observed in temperature and solar records for 2000 years at least: these include the Maunder minimum, Dalton minimum and other grand solar minima. Of course the model predicts the current warm period and a 60-year major modulation observed in the temperature since 1850. Thus the model may give some good idea about the future too. The sun is entering in a gran minimum that will reach the lowest level around in the 2030s and reach a new maximum in 2060s, the temperature will be partially regulated by this cycle.

Q. What is the reaction from other scientists?

A. The theory that I am proposing is relatively new and somehow revolutionary. Four major papers have been just published since January 2012. A real reaction can be measured only in the future.

The few scientists that have spent sufficient time in really studying my paper with an open mind were quite impressed and interested.

Unfortunately, the mainstream climate community and also the solar community is very closed because of their almost religious assumption that the science is settled and/or that climate (or the sun) is regulated by internal mechanisms alone.

So, it is easy for many to simply dismiss what I say without really understanding it. But, as I said major papers have been just published. So, I do not have really significant reaction yet.

However, the fact is that I can hindcast major properties observed in climate and solar records for decades, centuries and millennia, as my papers demonstrate while the mainstream climate community cannot do it. My models overcome any IPCC GCM for accuracy that is also demonstrated in one of my recent peer review publications just published.

Evidently, there is the need to wait some time for a full acknowledgment of the entire scientific community.

Q. Is a rational debate possible?

A. Yes, but there is the need to study the results that I am finding well. A rational debate requires the willingness to understand what the other person would like to say and how he is making the arguments: understanding what are his findings and so on. All this is time consuming, of course.

The issues are evidently complex, many physical details are of course still unknown and what is known needs to be understood in the way it can be understood, not just in the way one wishes to understand it.

A rational debate needs to be based on data analysis and their careful study, that is, people need to look at the data and at the results "carefully". People should not have the pretense that everything should have been clearly understood and explained already: we are talking about frontier science where it is normal to have open issues, etc.

Indeed, it is not difficult to understand the concept of "cycle" and if well presented the message is indeed quite simple and understandable.

By the way, people have always understood climate as partially/mostly influenced by astronomical cycles since antiquity up to the 20th century. From Ptolemy to Kepler, that was how climate change had to be understood. So, the theory I propose continues a long tradition, although right now it is an almost forgotten tradition.



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30 May, 2012

Warmists are still trying to "hide the decline"

Steve McIntryre's blog is in my opinion the most scholarly climate site on the net. I rarely quote from it, however, because it rapidly descends (as it should) into technicalities that are well beyond the lay reader. I am quoting the article below, however, both because it should be within the comprehension of lay readers and because it reveals clearly the low intellectual calibre of Warmist "scientists". Myles Allen is head of the Climate Dynamics group at the University of Oxford's Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Department but he is either a very poor communicator or is utterly confused.

Myles Allen has written here blaming Bishop Hill for “keeping the public focussed on irrelevancies” like the Hockey Stick:

"My fear is that by keeping the public focussed on irrelevancies, you are excluding them from the discussion of what we should do about climate change"

But it’s not Bishop Hill that Myles Allen should be criticizing; it’s John Houghton who more or less made the Hockey Stick the logo of the IPCC. Mann was told that IPCC higher-ups wanted a visual that didn’t “dilute the message” and they got one: they deleted the last part of the Briffa reconstruction – Hide the Decline.

If, as Allen now says, it’s an “irrelevancy”, then Houghton and IPCC should not have used it so prominently. And they should not have encouraged or condoned sharp practice like Hide the Decline.

In the run-up to AR4, I suggested that, if the topic was “irrelevant”, as some climate scientists have said, then IPCC should exclude it from the then AR4. Far from trying to keep the topic alive in AR4, I suggested that it be deleted altogether. I guess that there was a “consensus” otherwise. If Allen wants to complain, then he should first criticize IPCC.

Bishop Hill links to a presentation by Myles Allen to a 2011 conference on Climategate, which like every other such handwringing introspection by climate “communicators”, notably failed to invite any of the major CRU critics – people who might actually have given them some insight into Climategate.

In his presentation to climate communicators, Allen gave his own version of Hide the Decline. Allen showed the graphic below, sneering that the entire effect of Climategate was 0.02 deg C in the 1870s.

Needless to say, Allen’s graph has nothing to do with Hide the Decline and the Climategate dossier. Allen’s graph shows the CRUTEM temperature index from 1850, not the 1000 year reconstructions in which Hide the Decline occurred.

CRUTEM was only mentioned a couple of times in the Climategate dossier. Climategate was about the Hockey Stick, though this point was misunderstood by Sarah Palin and now, it seems, Myles Allen.

In contrast, here’s a graphic from Richard Muller’s 2011 lecture. Unlike Allen, Muller understood Hide the Decline, which is shown here in one of its manifestations. (This is the WMO graphic; the more important Hide the Decline was in the IPCC Third and Fourth Assessment reports.)

Hide the Decline is not 0.02 deg C in the 1870s; it was Briffa, Mann and Jones deleting the inconvenient portion of the Briffa reconstruction after 1960. And it wasn’t a microscopic difference. This difference is large enough that it might well have “diluted the message” that Houghton and others wanted to convey.

While one would hope and expect that Myles Allen would have had a better factual grasp on Climategate issues than Sarah Palin, it seems that we’ve been disappointed.

Allen’s decision to show temperature data rather than Hockey Stick reconstructions cleverly draws attention away from the problems of those reconstructions. The Climategate emails have a apt phrase for Allen’s technique. Showing an unrelated dispute about a temperature graphic rather than the decreasing Briffa reconstruction is itself just another …. trick to hide the decline.

Update: Lucia responded to Myles ALlen in the comments as follows:
[Myles Allen said]

"I appreciate that people like yourself who have devoted a lot of time to the analysis of paleoclimate data find it irritating when scientists who don’t work in that area dismiss it as uninformative."

First: communication tip: You need to learn to post complete thoughts. Uninformative about what? Everything? Climategate? Or the thermometer record? Or the strength of evidence for AGW?

Depending on how I read your mind, you may be saying something true or utterly false. If you are going to lecture people on communicating science you might want to stop making readers guess which you mean.

Second: It seems to me you are misunderstanding what SteveMc writes. He’s not saying he is irritated that someone thinks paleo data is uninformative. He is saying that you suggest the “whole affair” (i.e. climategate) is an argument about the thermometer record. The fact is: climategate is not merely or even mostly about the thermometer record.

And I stand by the assertion that, thanks to the sloppy coverage the affair received in the media, it wasn’t just Sarah Palin who got the impression that the instrumental temperature record was seriously compromised

I would suggest that the main reason for this “sloppy coverage” was that reporters turned to people trying to rebut those discussing climategate at blogs and in forums. Some people people who (like you) might prefer to discuss the thermometer record rather than misbehavior of scientists or what “hide the decline” meant, diverted the discussion to the thermomeber record.

I strongly suspect the behavior of the scientists who wanted to suppress discussion of climategate succeeded in giving the media the incorrect impression that climategate was about the thermometer record is one of the reasons much of the media, some politicians, and Sarah Palin developed the impression climategate is about the thermometer record.

That you can show they were confused about what people at blogs and forums were posting about merely shows you don’t know what it was about.

I would also suggest the only thing that can come of you continuing to try to convince people it was about the thermometer records is for people to explain that which you do not wish to be discussed: The Hockey Stick, misbehavior or scientists and the various whitewash investigations.

OTOH: If you simply wish to communicate that the topics that are central to climategate are not important to our understanding of climate change- that would be fine. But if you wish to make the case that the hockey stick doesn’t matter, then you need to make that clearly. Unfortunately for you, clear exposition requires discussion of the hockey stick!

A proper exposition might be to

a) Discuss what the hockey stick “is” with a little history.(Accuracy would be useful here. Mention it was used as background at IPCC meetings, and in Gore’s talk.)

b) Discuss why this shape is not important to our understanding of climate change. Show versions with and without the decline– and explain why even if the decline exists we do believe the world is warming. Do this by

c) Explaining the thermometer record.

Don’t try to take the tack of inaccurately claiming that climategate is actually about the thermometer record. If you take that tack, you’ll find yourself trying to defend your position– downgrading much of what you seemed to present rather strongly as your opinion, and burying your arguments in favor of your opinion deep in comments at a blog. (I’d note: I think much of your argument amounts to “changing the subject”– but that’s another matter.)

Moreover, I would like to point out that unless say what paleo is uninformative about your claim that paleo is not important (at all) seems a bit thin. Climate blog addicts can easily see see that on May 26, 2012 you are chiding Bishop Hill for discussing the Hockey Stick and providing lengthy explanations of its lack of importance while Real Climate’s front page is simultaneously running a post on discussing Hockey Sticks (See
Fresh hockey sticks from the Southern Hemisphere, May 22).

It’s quite likely some will suspect that your opinion that the hockey still is uninformative (about something you don’t quite spit out) is maybe not entirely correct.

Third: Returning to “first”. When I watched your talk, I was struck by your tendency toward vagueness. Based on what you write in your defense in comments, I learn that the allusion to “the data” at minute 2:37 likely meant “the thermometer record” and “impact of the whole affair” (i.e. climategate) must have meant “impact of portions of the climategate discussions that relate to the thermometer record”.

Your talk is riddled with these types of vague ambiguities. The consequence is that– on the whole– what your talk appears to communicate is false. If the audience comes away thinking you are suggesting that climategate was not about the paleo records, and that you think the only impact of climategate is a small tweak on the thermometer record, then the fault for their misunderstanding you falls on you for communicating rather badly.

Next time you want to make a presentation telling reporters that they shouldn’t focus on the paleo record but rather the thermometer record, you might be wise not to try to turn that into a talk about how the media got climategate wrong.

Try to bite off less– stick to just discussing the thermoter record and why you think it tells us that the world has warmed and it’s because of man.

If you want to discuss climategate and how scientists failed to communicate their position, you have a hard row to hoe. Much of the reason scientists communicated the issues in climategate badly is they didn’t want to talk about them.

Scientists' mistake was to respond to journalists by trying to change the subject; others with plenty of ink keep talking. All the whining in the world isn’t going to get people to stop discussing the topic.

You can keep trying to do that: it isn’t going to work any better in 2012 than it did from 2009-2011.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

More Coal, More Gas, More Nuclear: German Government May Abandon Green Energy Transition

The German government no longer believes in the green energy transition. Doubts are growing in the ruling coalition government that the ecological project can succeed.

The project, which involves shutting down Germany's nuclear power plants and an increase of the share of renewable energy to 40 percent, was a very ambitious goal, the parliamentary leader of the Free Liberal Party (FDP) Rainer Bruederle told "Welt am Sonntag". "We will have to build a whole range of new gas-and coal-fired power plants - perhaps more than we first thought. It cannot be that we are shutting down our nuclear power plants and then import nuclear electricity from France or the Czech Republic," he said.

The former minister accused the federal states of ignoring the consequence for climate change and energy security instead of focusing on a transition to an ecological energy systems.

Federal Research Minister Annette Schavan (CDU), told the paper that wind and solar energy were the long term goal, but that the target could only be achieved gradually. Along the way, however, gas and coal-fired power plants would have to fill the gaps.

The deputy leader of the parliamentary Conservative Party, Michael Fuchs (CDU), is now considering a delay of the nuclear phase-out. "So far, the green energy transition has been limited to the idea that we switch off our nuclear power plants, but the consequences have not been thought through," he said. "We haven't got the costs under control at all."


Furore in Britain over EU's new 'green' fuel drive that will force 4p a litre rise in petrol [gasoline]

Bureaucrats in Europe could push the price of petrol up in the UK by 4p a litre by dictating 'green' fuel targets to member states.

Under tough energy targets in a Brussels directive, 10 per cent of the energy used in the transport sector across the EU will have to come from biofuels or other 'renewable' energy sources rather than fossil fuel by 2020.

But campaigners argue that the green initiative will just penalise motorists and taxpayers in Britain who are already struggling to keep their head above water in the current economic climate.

Peter Carroll, of the FairFuel UK campaign, said: 'The absolute priority at the moment is getting petrol and diesel to an affordable level and anything that stops that from happening should be resisted.

'Many of our supporters have the environment at heart but before we can concentrate and invest in more environmentally friendly forms of transport, such as electric cars and better public transport, we need a secure economy that is stable and growing.

'Environmentalists do themselves a lot of harm by beating motorists with a stick on price. All this does is harm the hardworking individual without bringing in any realistic form of long-term change.

'How does this help the nurse who needs to dig in to her own pocket to pay for petrol to visit patients in rural areas because her fuel allowance won't cover the cost of the journeys? It's very naive.'

He added that as well as campaigning against the EU directive, FairFuel UK is also calling for the government to scrap the planned 3p price hike in August.

Mr Carroll argued that the level of duty on fuel in the UK should be brought down to the significantly lower level of other European countries - around 26 per cent - before any further costs are landed on motorists.

He added: 'Adding 3p per litre when the economy is on its knees, families are struggling to survive week by week and UK businesses are struggling borders on economic madness.

'A cut of just 2.5p per litre would boost growth by a much needed 0.33 per cent, create 175,000 jobs and crucially not harm Treasury revenues – the tax take on the stimulated economic growth compensates for the loss of Fuel Duty.'

Biofuels come from a range of sources including plants, fermented organic matter, bacteria and bio waste and it is considered to be the most viable way of cutting down greenhouse gas emissions. But the process is also very costly.

A Brussels directive in 2003 first insisted that 5.75 per cent of the energy used in the transport sector across the 27 EU member states should be 'green' by 2010 but it then increased the target again in 2009 to 10 per cent by 2020.

EU officials hope the tough targets will reduce dependency on oil-based fuels and help encourage an increased use of more environmentally friendly fuels. But critics still argue now is not the time to be putting more pressure on EU member states that are trying to revive their economies.

The move was described as 'insanity' by a leading campaigner for cheaper fuel Tory MP Robert Halfon. He told the Daily Express: 'This is insanity. This stupid directive would force the Treasury to put another 3 or 4p on a litre.

'The Government is trying to keep fuel duty down, but now we have these European bureaucrats meddling to force up the price. Frankly, the Government should tell them where to go. 'How can we get our economy moving again when Brussels keeps inventing new taxes to destroy growth and jobs?'


U.S. Senate panel reins in Pentagon on "clean" energy

The Pentagon's investment in green energy requires too much green paper for some in Congress.

A sharply divided Senate Armed Services Committee voted this week to prohibit the military from spending money on alternative fuels if the cost exceeds traditional fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil. The move underscores congressional concern about the greater expense of clean energy sources such as biofuels as the Pentagon wrestles with smaller budgets. The committee, in crafting a sweeping defense budget for next year, also voted to block Pentagon construction of a biofuels refinery or any other facility to refine biofuels.

Both efforts passed on 13-12 votes that were disclosed Friday.

"In a tough budget climate for the Defense Department, we need every dollar to protect our troops on the battlefield with energy technologies that reduce fuel demand and save lives," said Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee. "Spending $26 per gallon of biofuel is not consistent with that goal. The committee's action corrects this misplacement of priorities."

The moves by the Senate panel follow even tougher steps in the Republican-controlled House challenging the Pentagon's investment in clean energy. That version of the defense bill would bar the military from buying alternative fuels if the cost exceeds traditional fossil fuels. The bill also exempts the Pentagon from some requirements under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which is designed to increase production of clean renewable fuels.

The law stipulates that if a federal department or agency uses alternative fuels, they cannot produce more greenhouse gases than regular petroleum.

In threatening to veto the House bill, the White House said it objected to provisions that would affect the Defense Department's "ability to procure alternative fuels and would further increase American reliance on fossil fuels, thereby contributing to geopolitical instability and endangering our interests aboard."

The department is the nation's largest consumer of energy, spending about $15 billion last year on fuel for tanks, ships, aircraft and other operations. In Afghanistan, the military uses more than 50 million gallons of fuel each month.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently said higher fuel costs have hit the Pentagon hard, creating a budget shortfall of more than $3 billion.

The Navy and Air Force have pushed to use more biofuels to operate its aircraft and ships, with military leaders suggesting a greater reliance on alternative sources in the next decade to ease dependence on foreign oil.

The Pentagon is pushing for $1.4 billion in next year's budget for investments in clean energy, including hybrid electric drives for ships, more efficient engines, better generators and solar power.

"As one of the largest landowners and energy consumers in the world, our drive is to be more efficient and environmentally sustainable," Panetta said in a speech earlier this month to the Environmental Defense Fund. "We have to be able to have the potential to transform the nation's approach to the challenges we are facing in the environment and energy security. We've got to look ahead to try to see how we can best achieve that."

Panetta went as far as to suggest that environmental threats stand as threats to national security.

"The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security: Rising sea levels, to severe droughts, to the melting of the polar caps, to more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief," he said.

Days later, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe challenged Panetta's comments.

"Secretary Panetta has a real war to win, and he should not be wasting time perpetrating President Obama's global warming fantasies or his ongoing war on affordable energy," said the Oklahoma lawmaker. "At a time when the defense budget is being significantly reduced and the Pentagon is forced to make every dollar stretch even further, it is ludicrous for the DOD to spend billions of dollars on green energy projects. Instead, they should be using those funds on people, training and equipment."

It was Inhofe and McCain, who successfully pushed for the amendments limiting Pentagon investments in clean energy.


India May Ban European Airlines on EU Emission Rules

China has already hit back by blocking orders for new European aircraft. It takes a lot to get through the thick skulls of Green EU bureaucrats

NEW DELHI – India may ban European carriers from flying into the country if the European Union includes airlines in its emissions control system, a senior Indian government official said Friday.

"We will take retaliatory actions to counter steps taken by [the] EU. If Europe bans our carriers we will ban theirs as well," the official told reporters.

India and 26 other nations have protested against the EU's planned rules requiring all airlines to hold permits that allow them to emit carbon dioxide during any flight landing at or taking off from any airport in the region.

The potentially costly procedure will be an additional burden for Indian carriers, already reeling from huge financial losses. India has already barred its carriers from participating in the EU system.


"Death threats" to Australian climate scientists were all hokum

Scorn is not a death threat

The death threat saga has reached parliament, with questions being asked at a Senate Estimates Committee of Prof Ian Chubb, current Chief Scientist, but Vice Chancellor of the ANU until March 2011. Most amazingly, Chubb confirms there were no death threats until the journalists got hold of the story!

The Australian reports that Liberal senator Scott Ryan questioned Chubb, who responded that, in 2010: "A senior member of his staff came to him with concerns from the institution's climate scientists over emails they had received and said they had also had "a couple of visits from people who had walked in off the street".

The staff member expressed a desire to have the climate scientists moved from their then-location, Professor Chubb said. "We looked at what we could do and we moved them. Senator, we did not make a fanfare, we did not go public. We simply moved them and got on with our business,"

Basically they were given swipe card access. So does this incident refer to the "kangaroo cull" incident, or another? He goes on to confirm he never read the emails: "They were at least abusive but let me be clear . . . I didn't read the emails. I trusted the man who came to me, he was a senior member of the staff and he represented concerns of the staff to me," Professor Chubb said.

Yes, it has been accepted all along that the emails were offensive. However, Chubb saves the best until last: "For the record, there were no alleged death threats except when journalists picked up the story."

So is this a media beat up? Can we now assume that this means that during Chubb's watch as Vice Chancellor, which ended in March 2011 with the appointment of Ian Young, there were no death threats to climate scientists at ANU? If so, why are the ANU still insisting, through the ABC correction, that they did, in fact, receive such threats?

The window during which such threats must have been received is closing rapidly, and is now restricted to the period March - June 2011. I am still awaiting a response to the questions I sent to the ANU's media office on Friday, seeking clarification.

Time, I think, for the ANU to finally come clean on this mess.



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, 2012

Death by a thousand regulations: Britain's new Energy Bill

The Bill is designed primarily to implement the government’s proposed electricity market reforms (EMR) (which were discussed in previous Oxford Energy Comments

Return of the P-word in July 2011 and Back to the Future of December 2011

It contains provisions to implement Contracts for Differences (CfDs), the Capacity Market and so-called Investment Instruments, which are intended to prevent delays in investment as the other measures are being developed.

What is noteworthy in the Bill is that despite the words “contract” and “market”, all these provisions are designed around the same pattern – a power for the Secretary of State to make regulations by means of which obligations would be imposed on electricity generators and all suppliers. In other words, what will underpin both decarbonisation and security of supply in the future electricity industry will not be a market or private contracts but a complex set of government regulations – an ironic outcome for a process originally described as one of “deregulation”.

That is, however, deliberate. The government believes that the risks of investment (and along with them required rates of return) would otherwise be too high to be acceptable to investors and consumers; the regulated approach is designed to reduce risks and costs. But it also entails a massive and unprecedented degree of centralisation and detailed decision-making by the government.

For instance, the regulations on CfDs can specify:

* The means by which electricity is to be generated

* Generating capacity

* Plant location

* Location of supply

* Duration of the CfD

* Requirements to enter into agreements with third parties

* Setting the strike price

* Setting the market reference price

* Setting maximum overall costs

* Penalties, enforcement and many other administrative matters.

Similar provisions apply to the other instruments, and it is this complex web of regulation which will govern the future operation of the industry.

Other provisions in the draft Bill

Other provisions in the Bill are less radical but generally point in the same direction. For instance, one new power is for the Secretary of State to issue a Strategy and Policy Statement setting out its energy policy priorities. Ofgem will then have to act in the manner best calculated to further the delivery of these policy outcomes. Again (although the government does not admit it) this is a significant change. Originally Ofgem’s duties focused exclusively on economic regulation – the promotion of competition and consumer protection. There was a clear demarcation – the government was responsible for energy policy; the regulator for the operation of markets.

This distinction can no longer be drawn. It started to become blurred in the early 2000s. The regulator’s duties were amended to include the promotion of sustainable development and a requirement to have regard to the effect on the environment in carrying out its functions. Under the Utilities Act 2000, it also had to have regard to social and environmental guidance issued by the government.

By the late 2000s “E-Serve” (which implements the environmental aspects of the regulator’s functions) constituted the bulk of Ofgem’s spending. The latest development is the outcome of the recent Ofgem review. Ofgem will not just have to take account of the government’s policy goals; it will be expected to set out annually how it plans to deliver its contribution to each policy outcome. In other words the job of the regulator will be as much to help deliver the government’s policy goals, as to police markets.

Much more HERE


I have commented before about the political problems of the scientific community, which are typically being turned around against Republicans. In a post last month I recalled the 2004 remark by Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin in the New York Review of Books that “Most scientists are, at a minimum, liberals,” and the caution of MIT’s Kerry Emanuel about the dangers of “group think” and the “shocking lack of political diversity among American academics.” He concluded that “Until this profound and well-documented intellectual homogeneity changes, scientists will be suspected of constituting a leftist think tank.”

Well, this week the National Academy of Sciences had a chance to do something about this, and . . . completely blew it. A two-day symposium on science and public policy featured a panel of presidential science advisers, but the panel included only advisers to Democratic presidents, including Obama’s science adviser, the egregious John (sterilize the public) Holdren. The others were two advisers for Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter’s science adviser, the 87-year-old Frank Press.

Conspicuously missing from the panel was President Reagan’s science adviser Jay Keyworth, who is a spry 72. (He turns out to be the only living GOP science adviser.) When asked why Keyworth wasn’t invited, NAS president Ralph Cicerone said, “We didn’t want to go back that far.”

So let’s see: having Jimmy Carter’s 87-year-old science adviser apparently isn’t “going back that far,” but having Reagan’s still active 72-year old science adviser would be? And please tell me again why we shouldn’t regard scientific elites with suspicion?

Maybe the NAS should put together a panel to explore the strange bubble around the scientific establishment that distorts its outlook on the world. I used to respect Cicerone, in part for staring down the enviros when they tried to prevent an NAS panel on geoengineering. But no more. These people deserve every calumny thrown their way.


Obama taps Yucca Mountain critic to lead nuclear agency

Moving quickly to stem a controversy, President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated an expert on nuclear waste to lead the federal agency that regulates the nation's nuclear power plants.

Allison Macfarlane, who served on a presidential commission that studied new strategies to manage nuclear waste, would replace Gregory Jaczko as head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Jaczko announced his resignation Monday after a tumultuous three-year tenure in which he pushed for sweeping safety reforms but came under fire for an unyielding management style that fellow commissioners and agency employees described as bullying.

A White House spokesman said Obama believes Macfarlane is the right person to lead the commission, calling her a highly regarded expert who has spent years analyzing nuclear issues.

Macfarlane "understands the role that nuclear power must play in our nation's energy future while ensuring that we are always taking steps to produce this important energy source safely and securely," White House spokesman Clark Stevens said.

Stevens called the NRC crucial to protecting public health and safety and said Obama hopes the Senate considers her nomination quickly.

Macfarlane, 48, an associate professor of environmental science and policy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., wrote a book in 2006 that raised technical questions about a proposed nuclear waste dump at Nevada's Yucca Mountain.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who is the leading congressional opponent of the Yucca site, praised Macfarlane as someone who will make nuclear safety a top priority. Macfarlane's education and experience, especially her service on the blue-ribbon commission on nuclear waste, make her qualified to lead the NRC "for the foreseeable future," Reid said in a statement.

Reid said he continues to have concerns about Republican Kristine Svinicki, who has been nominated by Obama for a new term on the commission, but added that he believes Svinicki and Macfarlane should be considered together, continuing a recent Senate tradition of considering NRC nominees from opposing parties at the same time.

Svinicki, a nuclear engineer and former Senate GOP aide, was among four NRC commissioners who publicly criticized Jaczko's management style last year. The commissioners - two Democrats and two Republicans - sent a letter to the White House last fall expressing "grave concern" about Jaczko' s actions, which they said were abusive and "causing serious damage" to the commission.

No disciplinary action was taken against Jaczko, who has strongly denied the allegations.

Jaczko, a Democrat, announced his resignation ahead of a potentially blistering report due out soon from the agency's inspector general, which has been investigating Jaczko's actions for more than a year.

A former Reid aide, Jaczko led a strong response to the nuclear disaster in Japan and was a favorite of industry watchdogs, who called his emphasis on safety a refreshing change from previous agency chiefs who were close to the nuclear industry or who came from it.

But scientists, fellow commissioners and many rank-and-file staffers said Jaczko had created a chilled working environment at the NRC, which oversees safety at the nation's 104 commercial nuclear reactors.

The Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry group, called Macfarlane "an active contributor to policy debates in the nuclear energy field for many years" and urged the Senate to confirm her nomination as soon as possible.

"It would not serve the public interest to have her nomination linger," the group said. "We urge the Senate to confirm both Commissioner Svinicki and Professor Macfarlane expeditiously."

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Environment Committee, said Macfarlane's background and experience demonstrate a strong commitment to safety - a commitment she called especially important in the wake of the nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

Boxer said she will schedule a joint hearing on the two NRC nominees in June.

Per Peterson, a professor of nuclear engineering at the University of California, served with Macfarlane on the nuclear waste commission, which was appointed by the Obama administration to make recommendations on how the nation should store and dispose of more than 71,000 tons of radioactive waste at dozens of sites across the country.

"I think she will be effective in leadership" of the NRC, "mainly because she listens," Peterson said of Macfarlane.

In a 2009 interview with Technology Review, Macfarlane acknowledged that most of the objections to the never-completed Yucca Mountain site were political, but added: "The technical objections are serious and real."

The area near Yucca Mountain is seismically and volcanically active, she said, adding that spent nuclear fuel could be stored safely at nuclear plants for decades.

The presidential panel recommended that the government start looking immediately for an alternative to Yucca Mountain. The report also recommended that responsibility for managing nuclear waste be transferred to a new organization, independent of the Energy Department.


Green Energy Transition: Germany Fears De-Industrialisation

As a result of Germany's green energy transition, electricity prices are exploding. Consumers and businesses are paying the price while Germany faces gradual de-industrialisation. Economists estimate that the cost of the green energy transition will total 170 billion Euros by 2020. This is more than double of what Germany would have to write off if Greece were to withdraw from the monetary union.

In June 2011, Angela Merkel said: "German companies just as citizens of Germany have to be supplied with affordable electricity, also in the future."

Today it is obvious that Merkel has promised too much. Energy prices in Germany are increasing dramatically - by 57 percent in just the past ten years - and not least because the state is one of the biggest drivers of cost. Taxes and duties on electricity prices have now risen to 23.7 billion Euros p.a. - an increase of just over 1,000 percent within 15 years. The levies on electricity look more like a special energy tax, which is higher than the revenue from tobacco and motor vehicle taxes combined.

This figure is the result of an electricity price analysis by the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industry (BDEW). It should have been a wakeup call for the Chancellor who met with the Prime Ministers of the German states in the Chancellery this week to discuss the green energy transition. The results of the meeting were meagre: the Federal Government and state governments will work together more closely in the future. Merkel announced that summit meetings will be held every six months.

"The green energy transition is a big task to which we are committed together," said the Chancellor. A Federal network planning law to expand the electricity grid should be agreed before the summer break and adopted by the end of the year.

According to Merkel, it was also agreed to harmonise the further expansion of renewable energy “with the need for base-load capable power plants." The Federal Government will soon make a suggestion towards this goal. The Chancellor also expressed the hope that there would be an agreement in the mediation process for the energy renovation of buildings and the planned cuts in solar subsidies by the government until the summer.

For industry and consumers, this is only a small consolation. Experts agree that renewables subsidies must be cut quickly. The promotion of renewable energy has become the largest single item of green taxes and levies. This year, the subsidies will increase to the highest ever annual figure of 14.1 billion Euros.

German industry, in particular, is suffering from high electricity prices. Most affected are the chemical, metal and paper industries. In the aluminium industry, the electricity costs amount to about 40 percent of total costs.

All industries complain; some companies have already closed down: the aluminium smelter Voerdal in the Lower Rhine town of Voerde recently filed for bankruptcy because of high energy prices. The U.S. chemical giant Dow Chemical currently operates 17 plants with more than 5,000 employees in Germany. "Because of the green energy transition I get increasingly critical questions from our corporate headquarters in the US about whether energy supply in Germany is still possible at competitive prices," said Germany boss Ralf Brinkmann.

Germany's de-industrialization has already begun

"The de-industrialization has already begun," Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has warned in an interview with the Handelsblatt. Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, President of the Steel Trade Association, complains: "The levels of industrial electricity prices are higher here than in most other countries."

Within the Federal Government, the concerns are growing: "The price of electricity has become the Achilles’ heel of the energy revolution. We must design it in such a way that electricity prices remain affordable," says Thomas Bareiß, energy policy coordinator of the Parliamentary Christian Democrats (CDU). Experts estimate that the cost of the green energy transition will total 170 billion Euros by 2020. This is more than double of what Germany would have to write off if Greece were to withdraw from the monetary union.

What is of particular concern is that Germany’s industry has helped the country to more economic growth compared to other countries during the recent years of crisis. Countries such as Britain envy Germany for the 22 percent share of industry in its GDP.

Therefore, policy makers face a dilemma. On the one hand, industry has to be relieved from energy costs in order not to jeopardize its international competitiveness, says CDU expert Thomas Bareiss. On the other hand, the burden should not unilaterally end up with households. "The only solution is to make the green energy transition as cost effective as possible," says the conservative politician. In this context, he criticised the federal states that had recently rejected a cut in solar subsidies by a two-thirds majority.

At the Chancellor’s energy meeting with the prime ministers of the German states, the issue of electricity prices will be high on the agenda. Merkel initially only wanted to talk about the expansion of the national grid. Maybe she did not want to be reminded of her promise from last June that the price of electricity would be affordable for industry and consumers.

Yet, the figures tell a different story. At the beginning of the liberalisation of the electricity market in 1998, government taxes and levies for all electricity consumers amounted to 2.28 billion Euros. In 2012 the figure is about ten times as high. The 14.1 billion in subsidies for the promotion of renewable energy is also the single largest item of government taxes and levies on electricity.

Taxes and levies already make up 45 percent of the electricity bill of an average private household with three people. The average household is charged 75 Euros per month, of which only 41 Euro are derived from the procurement, transportation and distribution of electricity, i.e. the actual service. 34 Euros are taxes and duties.

The tenfold increase in taxes represents only the beginning of a trend that will further accelerate significantly in the opinion of many experts. The reason: the green energy transition. If the Federal Government wants to achieve its ambitious goals, it will have to redistribute a lot of money, which it has collected from consumers. The share of renewable energy in electricity generation is supposed to increase from currently 20 percent to 35 percent by 2020 and to 50 percent by 2030.

That will incur additional costs. There are now a number of calculations and scenarios on the subject. In a report presented in early May, the management consultancy McKinsey comes to the conclusion that the total cost of the green energy transition will amount up to 175 billion Euros between 2011 and 2020. In 2020, Germany’s electricity consumers would have to bear costs of 21.5 billion Euros, costs that are caused entirely by the switch to renewable energy.


The worldwide crash of green energy companies

The RENIXX® (Renewable Energy Industrial Index) World is the first global stock index, which comprises the performance of the world´s 30 largest companies of the renewable energy industry

The RENIXX Index of the 30 largest renewable energy companies in the world is trading at an all-time low today and has lost over 90% of its value since 2008.

A partial listing of green energy companies that have already filed bankruptcy or are teetering on the brink is below. Many of these companies were financed by taxpayers.

Filed Bankruptcy:

Beacon Power
Range Fuels
Solar Trust of America
Evergreen Solar
Eastern Energy
Bright Automotive
Olson's Crop Service
Energy Conversion Devices
Mountain Plaza

Teetering on the Brink:

Abound Solar
A123 Systems
Brightsource Energy
Fisker Automotive
First Solar
Nevada Geothermal
The Bard Group
NRG Energy
Alterra Power
Enel Green Power
Sunpower Corp


Trying to supply a growing population with water without building any new dams has been a costly disaster in the Australian State of Queensland

Rather than build the new dams needed to cope with a rising population they grabbed at any and all alternatives -- too bad about what they cost. Dams are of course anathema to Greenies

THE LNP Government is struggling to meet a key election commitment to bring down water charges as miserly Queenslanders scarred by a decade of drought save every drop.

The state's refusal to squander water will cost the Government about $400 million in the next five years as water revenues dry up. The LNP had also inherited a water debt of about $9 billion rather than the $7 billion it was prepared for. The annual interest on the debt now exceeds half a billion dollars.

Premier Campbell Newman is trying to hammer out a plan to manage the water debt while still honouring his commitment to bring down water costs for Queenslanders by about $80 a year. "This is going to take a bit of working through," a Government spokesman said. "But the Government remains committed to reducing water bills for Queensland households."

The previous Labor government ran up a huge debt attempting to drought-proof Queensland with large-scale projects, including the Gold Coast desalination plant and the Western Corridor Recycled Water Project.

The Western Corridor was the largest such project in the southern hemisphere and included 200km of large-diameter pipe as well as advanced water treatment plants at Bundamba, Gibson Island and Luggage Point.

Revenue forecasts on the capital works program, completed when the state consumed more than 300 litres a day per individual, have proven wildly inaccurate.

The latest figures show daily residential water consumption across southeast Queensland for the 14-day period ending May 9 was 151 litres per person.

With water usage well below forecasts, about $400 million is predicted to be lost by 2016-17.

The LNP is examining a plan flagged during the election campaign that involves spreading the debt repayment plan over 40 years rather than 20 years.

A plan to restructure the state's water infrastructure involving the handing back of water distribution and retailing to councils is expected to go before Cabinet soon.

The plan will also involve amalgamating the four bulk water entities into one entity to reduce the cost of supply.

The Local Government Association of Queensland says it expects the pre-election pledge to lower water costs to be honoured.



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, 2012

Elites: Stop Reproducing – You’re Ruining the Planet

Today, there are more than 7 billion people living on earth. For the global elite, that is problem number one. The vast majority of us don't spend much time thinking about global population issues, but for many among the elite it is an absolute obsession. Many of them truly believe that you are ruining their planet and they desperately want you to stop reproducing so much.

Among the elite, the belief that the world is grossly overpopulated and that this is causing most of our major global problems crosses all political, cultural and social boundaries.

This philosophy is taught as gospel at the vast majority of all colleges and universities on the planet, and it is being relentlessly pushed by the United Nations, the WHO, the World Bank and national governments all over the globe.

When most people think of "overpopulation", they think of places such as India, but the truth is that those of us living in America are considered to be the worst offenders because our lifestyles are "polluting" the planet so rapidly. In fact, one scientist recently estimated that a child born in the United States has a "carbon legacy" 55 times greater than a child born in India.

The elite are convinced that if they can reduce the global population far enough and get the remaining people living on earth to switch over to "sustainable lifestyles" that they will be able to save "their" planet. But the draconian measures that would be necessary to achieve this dystopian dream would not be very palatable to the vast majority of us. In fact, if the most radical population control advocates get their way, we will experience global tyranny on a scale never seen before.

Right now, most of us living in the western world are not prepared to accept "forced" population control measures and the global elite know this. But the truth is that they absolutely love what is going on right now in places such as China.

In China today, a one child policy is strictly enforced, and women are literally pulled from their homes and taken to abortion clinics when they are found to be in violation. The following example comes from a recent CNN article
When Ji Yeqing awakened, she was already in the recovery room. Chinese authorities had dragged her out of her home and down four flights of stairs, she said, restraining and beating her husband as he tried to come to her aid.

They whisked her into a clinic, held her down on a bed and forced her to undergo an abortion. Her offense? Becoming pregnant with a second child, in violation of China's one-child policy.

So does the international community condemn China for such actions? No, in fact the United Nations gives China awards for their population reduction policies.

In the western world, there are also great efforts underway to reduce family sizes and to get women to choose not to have children. But these efforts are always "voluntary". We are told that if women are "empowered" that they will always choose to have fewer children.

But many radical environmentalists are openly complaining that these voluntary methods are not getting the job done fast enough.
For example, the following is from a recent article by Julia Whitty for Mother Jones
The only known solution to ecological overshoot is to decelerate our population growth faster than it's decelerating now and eventually reverse it-at the same time we slow and eventually reverse the rate at which we consume the planet's resources.

Success in these twin endeavors will crack our most pressing global issues: climate change, food scarcity, water supplies, immigration, health care, biodiversity loss, even war.

On one front, we've already made unprecedented strides, reducing global fertility from an average 4.92 children per woman in 1950 to 2.56 today-an accomplishment of trial and sometimes brutally coercive error, but also a result of one woman at a time making her individual choices. The speed of this childbearing revolution, swimming hard against biological programming, rates as perhaps our greatest collective feat to date.

But it's not enough. And it's still not fast enough. Faced with a world that can support either a lot of us consuming a lot less or far fewer of us consuming more, we're deadlocked: individuals, governments, the media, scientists, environmentalists, economists, human rights workers, liberals, conservatives, business and religious leaders.

For radicals such as Whitty, things are never moving fast enough. They truly believe that humanity is destroying the planet and that they are literally attempting to "save the world" by pushing for global population control.

But this kind of thinking is not just reflected in the writings of a few radicals. The truth is that "scientific reports" advocating global population control are regularly featured in the most important newspapers all over the planet. The following example comes from a recent article in the Guardian
World population needs to be stabilised quickly and high consumption in rich countries rapidly reduced to avoid "a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills", warns a major report from the Royal Society.

Contraception must be offered to all women who want it and consumption cut to reduce inequality, says the study published on Thursday, which was chaired by Nobel prize-winning biologist Sir John Sulston.

The assessment of humanity's prospects in the next 100 years, which has taken 21 months to complete, argues strongly that to achieve long and healthy lives for all 9 billion people expected to be living in 2050, the twin issues of population and consumption must be pushed to the top of political and economic agendas.

When was the last time that you saw an article that was 100% opposed to global population control featured in an important newspaper?

Sadly, this population control agenda has a complete stranglehold on the scientific community. The philosophy that the earth is massively overpopulated and that this overpopulation is causing most of our biggest problems is considered to be gospel at most of our colleges and universities today. If you question this orthodoxy, you risk being academically blackballed.

Not only that, but the scientific community considers the biggest offenders of all to be Americans because of our "excessive" lifestyles. For example, just check out what statistician Paul Murtaugh of Oregon State University said a while back
"Using United Nations projections of fertility, and projecting statistically through the lifespan of the mother's line-some lineages being short-lived, others indefinitely long-an American child born today adds an average 10,407 tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of her mother. That's almost six times more CO2 than the mother's own lifetime emissions.

Furthermore, the ecological costs of that child and her children far outweigh even the combined energy-saving choices from all a mother's other good decisions, like buying a fuel-efficient car, recycling, using energy-saving appliances and lightbulbs. The carbon legacy of one American child and her offspring is 20 times greater than all those other sustainable maternal choices combined."

Murtaugh also believes that a child born in the United States has a "carbon legacy" that is 55 times greater than that of a child born in India.

This helps to explain why the elite are so obsessed with abortion and "family planning". The elite are desperate to convince you to stop reproducing. They truly believe that they are helping to "save the world" when they convince us to have less children.

In fact, the amount of money that is being spent to promote "family planning" around the globe is absolutely staggering. For example, according to a recent MarketWatch article Bill and Melinda Gates plan to spend 4 billion dollars to get contraceptive devices into the hands of 120 million more women by the year 2020.
Melinda Gates recently announced a "new crusade" for her $32 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A recent Newsweek interview with Michelle Goldberg says it's a "decision that is likely to change lives all over the planet."

Gates has "decided to make family planning her signature issue," by investing "billions to revolutionize contraception worldwide," with substantial economic consequences.

The Gates decision will "be hugely significant for American women." She's "pouring money into the long-neglected field of contraceptive research, seeking entirely new methods of birth control," a "whole new class of drugs," some that could even work without hormones, and others, might be implantable devises that never need to be removed, can even be turned on and off by the woman.

While Bill and Melinda Gates portray their population control efforts as "humanitarian endeavors", others among the global elite are more open about what they consider the "endgame" to be.
The following examples are from a recent article by Paul Joseph Watson
- Finnish environmentalist guru Pentti Linkola, publicly called for climate change deniers be "re-educated" in eco-gulags and that the vast majority of humans be killed with the rest enslaved and controlled by a green police state, with people forcibly sterilized, cars confiscated and travel restricted to members of the elite.

- Another Finnish environmentalist writer, Martin Kreiggeist, hails Linkola's call for eco-gulags and oppression as "a solution," calling for people to "take up the axes" in pursuit of killing off the third world. Kreiggeist wants fellow eco-fascists to "act on" Linkola's call for mass murder in order to solve overpopulation.

- In 2010, James Lovelock, the creator of the Gaia hypothesis, told the Guardian that "democracy must be put on hold" to combat global warming and that "a few people with authority" should be allowed to run the planet because people were too stupid to be allowed to steer their own destinies.

There are a surprising number of people out there that actually advocate for mass murder and mass enslavement for the good of the planet. Dave Foreman, the co-founder of Earth First, once stated that reducing the global population to 100 million people is one of his three main goals
"My three main goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with it's full complement of species, returning throughout the world."

Sadly, this philosophy has even infected the U.S. government. The truth is that billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have been spent to promote population control around the globe, and it hasn't mattered much whether Republicans or Democrats were in the White House. The following is an excerpt from an article entitled "The Population Control Holocaust" by Robert Zubrin.
Of the billions of taxpayer dollars that the U.S. government has expended on population control abroad, a portion has been directly spent by USAID on its own field activities, but the majority has been laundered through a variety of international agencies. As a result of this indirect funding scheme, all attempts to compel the population control empire to conform its activities to accepted medical, ethical, safety, or human rights norms have proven futile.

Rather, in direct defiance of laws enacted by Congress to try to correct the situation, what has and continues to be perpetrated at public expense is an atrocity on a scale so vast and varied as to almost defy description. Nevertheless, it is worth attempting to convey to readers some sense of the evil that is being done with their money.

If you have not read the rest of that article yet, you really should. You can find the rest of that article right here.

At this point, nearly every major international organization is involved in these population control efforts to at least some degree. For example, a recent article by Jurriaan Maessen detailed how the World Bank is actually using "financial assistance" as leverage to get developing nations to conform to the global population control agenda

According to two subsequent documents put out by the World Bank, its guidelines dictate that in order to qualify for World Bank lending, sovereign nations must implement population reduction objectives as outlined by the World Bank and UN Population Fund. If they refuse, lending will be withdrawn.

Already pre-tested and implemented in Yemen and Niger, these guidelines are destined for global implementation within the next decade, says the World Bank.

Isn't that sick?

Later in that same article, Maessen discusses how the UN, the WHO, the World Bank and many other international organizations all work together to move this twisted agenda forward
Returning to the essence, the intention and the strategy leave little for the imagination: a global consensus is in place between all the major transnational institutions and banks: the earth's population must be brought down, with all means necessary. The World Bank uses financial tools to bring nations on their knees, demanding they cull their numbers; the UN guarantees the political legitimizing for these depopulation policies (Agenda 21); the Foundations develop the anti-fertility vaccines and GM Food, the World Health Organization takes care of the "health-standards" and distribution. With the help of this global construct, carefully coordinated from the top-down, the scientific dictatorship has circled the wagons around all of free humanity.

Sadly, there is so much more that could be said about all of this. If you are interested in learning more about the disgusting population control agenda of the global elite, the following are 10 more articles I would recommend checking out


More fraud: Sea-level rises are due to global "adjustments"

Frank Lansner’s first graph surprised me. It’s well known and often quoted that sea levels have been rising by 2-3mm a year every year for the last 20 years. But it’s not well known that the original raw satellite data doesn’t show that at all.

Fig 1 The data for recent years has gone through significant changes. In Morner 2004 the raw satellite data for sea level rise was shown with the original slope (the grey line with dots named “Topex/Poseidon as of 2001” above).

What astonished me was the sea levels first recorded by the Topex Poseidon satellite array showed virtually no rise at all from 1993-2001. Surely not, I thought. I asked sea-level expert Nils Axel-Morner, and he confirmed: “Yes, it is as bad as that.“ Now, given that Envisat (the European satellite) showed no rise from 2003-2011 (until it was adjusted) that means we have almost 20 years of raw satellite data showing very little rise.

We thought satellites would finally give us a definitive answer on sea levels. Instead, like the tide gauges, and every other tool available to mankind, apparently satellites systematically underestimate the rising trends. And despite the speed of light being quite quick and all, it can take years for the data to finally arrive. Sometimes 4 or 5 (or 10 years) after the measurement was made scientists “discover” that it was wrong.

Now of course, any one of these adjustments could be for very legitimate reasons and give us results closer to the truth. But the adjustments always bring data closer to the modeled trend. It’s decidedly non-random. Either there is a God who thinks teasing climate scientists is spiffy, or else there is something fishy going on, and some investigative journalists need to ask some investigative questions. Is that sea-level rise due to global warming or is it due to global adjustments?

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

America’s Real Climate and Environmental Crisis

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says we face serious threats to human health, welfare and justice. She’s absolutely right. However, the crisis is not due to factory or power plant emissions, or supposed effects of “dangerous manmade global warming.”

The crisis is the result of policies and regulations that her EPA is imposing in the name of preventing climate change and other hypothetical and exaggerated environmental problems. It is those government actions that are severely impacting Americans’ health, welfare, and pursuit of happiness and justice.

After Congress rejected cap-tax-and-trade, President Obama said there are “other ways to skin the cat.”

By hyper-regulating carbon dioxide, soot, mercury, “cross-state air pollution” from sources hundreds of miles away, and other air and water emissions, EPA intends to force numerous coal-fired power plants to shut down years before their productive life is over; block the construction of new coal-fired power plants, because none will be able to slash their carbon dioxide emissions to half of what average coal-fired plants now emit, without employing expensive (and nonexistent) CO2 capture and storage technologies; and sharply reduce emissions from cars, factories, refineries and other facilities, regardless of the cost.

EPA has also issued 588 pages of rules for hydraulic fracturing for critically needed oil and natural gas, while the Obama Administration has vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline and made 95% of all publicly owned (but government controlled) lands and resources off limits to leasing, exploration, drilling and mining.

These actions reflect President Obama’s campaign promise to “bankrupt any company that tries to build a new coal-fired power plant,” replace hydrocarbons with heavily subsidized solar, wind and biofuel energy, make energy prices “necessarily skyrocket” – and “fundamentally transform” America’s constitutional, legal, energy, economic and social structure.

Energy is the lifeblood of our nation’s economy, jobs, living standards and civil rights progress. Anything that affects energy availability, reliability and price affects every aspect of our lives. These diktats put the federal government in charge of our entire economy – and impair our health and welfare.

Moreover, the anti-hydrocarbon global warming “solutions” the Obama Administration is imposing will bring no real world benefits – even assuming carbon dioxide actually drives climate change. That’s largely because China, India and other developing countries are increasing their use of coal for electricity generation, and thus their CO2 emissions – far beyond our ability to reduce US emissions. These nations rightly refuse to sacrifice economic growth and poverty eradication on the altar of climate alarmism.

Even worse, the health, welfare and environmental justice benefits that EPA claims will result from its regulations are equally exaggerated and illusory. They exist only in the same dishonest computer-generated virtual reality that concocted its alleged climate change, health and environmental cataclysms, and in junk-science analyses that can only be described as borderline fraud.

Implementing EPA’s regulatory agenda will inflict severe economic dislocations and send shock waves through America’s factories, farmlands and families. Far from improving our health and welfare – they will make our economy, unemployment, living standards, health and welfare even worse.

EPA’s new automobile mileage standards alone will result in thousands of additional serious injuries and deaths every year, as cars are further downsized to meet its arbitrary 54.5 mpg requirements. Its anti-coal rulings and anti-fracking attitudes will severely impact electricity generation, reliability and prices; factory, office and hospital operations and budgets; American industries’ competitiveness in global markets; employment, hiring and layoffs; and the well-being of families and entire communities. Especially for areas that depend on mining and manufacturing – and the 26 states where coal-based power generation keeps electricity rates at half of what they are in states with the least coal use and toughest renewable energy mandates—it will be all pain, for no gain.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a White House letter to House Speaker John Boehner inadvertently acknowledged that EPA alone is still working on new regulations that the agency itself calculates will impose $105 billion in additional regulatory burdens and compliance costs. Win or lose in November, the Administration will likely impose these and other new rules after the elections. We, our children and grandchildren will pay for them in countless ways.

Utilities will have to spend $130 billion to retrofit or replace older coal-fired units, says energy analyst Roger Bezdek – and another $30 billion a year for operations, maintenance and extra fuel for energy-intensive scrubbers and other equipment, to generate increasingly expensive electricity.

Duke Energy’s new $3.3 billion coal gasification and carbon dioxide capture power plant will increase rates for its Indiana customers by some 15% the next two years. Hospitals, factories, shopping malls and school districts will have to pay an extra $150,000 a year in operating expenses for each million dollars in annual electricity bills. That’s four or five entry-level jobs that won’t be created or preserved.

Nationwide, 319 coal-fueled power plants totaling 42,895 megawatts (13% of the nation's coal fleet and enough for 40 million homes and small businesses) are already slated to close, the Sierra Club joyfully proclaimed. Illinois families and businesses could pay 20% more for electricity by 2014, the Chicago Tribune reports. Chicago public schools may have to find an extra $2.7 million a year to keep the lights and heat on and computers running.

Higher electricity prices will further strain refineries already struggling with soaring electricity costs and EPA’s sulfur and other regulations, restrictions on refinery upgrades and construction, constraints on moving crude oil to East Coast refineries, and other compliance costs – all of dubious environmental or health benefit. Three East Coast refineries have already closed, costing thousands of jobs and causing the Department of Energy to warn that pump prices are likely to soar even higher in Eastern states.

When we include discouraged workers who have given up looking for jobs and people who have been forced to work fewer hours or at temporary jobs, our unemployment rate is a whopping 19 percent – and double that for black and Hispanic young people. America’s labor force participation rate is at a 30-year low, its 2011 economic growth rate was a dismal 1.7 percent.

Well over a million US workers age 55 and older have now been out of work for 27 weeks or more. Not only do prospects plummet for re-employment of older workers. The longer they are unemployed, the more they are disconnected from society, the further their living standards fall, the more their physical and emotional well-being deteriorates, and the more likely they are to die prematurely.

The cumulative effect is that families have even less money to buy food, pay the rent or mortgage, repair the car or house, save for college and retirement, take a vacation – and keep people comfortable (and alive) on frigid winter nights and sweltering summer afternoons. Health and welfare, family relationships, future prospects and psychological well-being plummet. Because they spend the highest proportion of their incomes on energy, poor and minority families suffer disproportionately.

And yet EPA’s regulations, regulatory agenda and horse-blinder definition of health, welfare and justice ignore these realities – and ensure that this intolerable situation will only get worse. In fact, the only welfare EPA’s rules will ensure is the expansion of our welfare rolls, our unemployment lines and our already record-setting food stamp programs.

Worst of all, our Congress and courts have completely abdicated their obligations to provide oversight and control of this dictatorial agency and Obama Administration. If this is the hope, change and future we can look “forward” to, our nation’s health, well-being and justice will be bleak, indeed.


OMG! LA Bans Plastic

You can reuse them, you can recycle them, but if you own a store in Los Angeles, you had better not get caught with them. I’m talking about plastic bags which the LA City Council voted to ban on Wednesday.

“Handle less” bags that hold produce are exempt. Depending on the size of the store, merchants in the City of Angels have either six or twelve months to start selling reusable bags- or start providing them for free.

LA will have four Environmental Compliance Inspectors who will traverse the city enforcing the ban, which will cost $418,075 just to implement. Plastic bag scofflaws will first receive a warning, followed by a fine of $100. Should that fail to convince the storeowner, a fine of $200 will be levied. After that, retailers face a $500 fine for each day that they continue to show contempt for Mother Earth.

One great thing about plastic bags is that one can use them over and over again. I pack my lunch in them and there is nothing better for holding dirty clothes while traveling. And if I remember the propaganda correctly, plastic bags were going to be recycled into useful things like homes, bottles, and more plastic bags.

Another nifty thing about plastic bags is that people are needed to make and distribute them. According to CNS News, the American Progressive Bag Alliance employs 30,800 workers across the country, a figure that does not include those people who work in recycling centers.

But why should the environmental lobby meet the industry part-way on recycling, when it can get everything it wants handed to it in a bag? Or more appropriately without a bag?

So now Los Angeles merchants can look forward to increased costs, unannounced inspections, more government overhead, and the possibility of fines. All of which dovetail nicely with Governor Brown’s threat to hike taxes.

No wonder businesses are fleeing the Golden State for almost anywhere else. Just as long as they pack light. No telling when the plastic suitcase ban will go into effect.


Obama’s unreal world

Chairman Doc Hastings’s House Resources Committee released secret audio in which an Obama administration Interior Department official stunningly states, in connection to their rewrite of the 2008 Stream Buffer Rule, “this is not the real world, this is rulemaking” as a justification for not considering actual “conditions on the ground.”

“This is not the real world, this is rulemaking” should be the new slogan of Obama’s Committee to Reelect the President.

The ivory-tower approach that has led this administration to engage in an all-out war on mining has born the fruit of Obama losing 40 percent of the Democratic vote to a guy in prison in West Virginia, 42 percent of the Democratic vote in Kentucky to a blank spot on the ballot, and 40 percent to a guy who scraped together the cash to pay the $3,300 filing fee in Arkansas.

Take heart, Obama lovers, the myopic, destroy-the-resource-industry green approach that caused an EPA official in Texas to resign after his almost three-year-old “crucify” enforcement policy came to light is still alive and well.

The EPA just released a predetermination on the Pebble Mine Project in Alaska that far exceeds its authority and is designed to prejudice other regulators who actually are responsible for determining the viability of the project.

Even the EPA’s report admits that it did not provide an in-depth assessment of any mining project, yet it continues on to engage in a scare campaign about the Bristol Bay watershed that looks like an Environmental Defense Fund legal brief. No facts, just rhetoric and fear.

While the “assessment” might affect the proposed Pebble Mine Project, which coincidentally is on state land that is designated for mining and has the support of the state, the real danger is the EPA effectively destroys and usurps the entire NEPA process for getting projects approved. The EPA was so anxious to weigh in before the radicals in charge are turned out in January that they did not even wait for a mining plan to be presented, or evaluate the $130 million worth of environmental assessments done by the company to ensure that any mining plan met all legitimate environmental concerns.

The real danger in the EPA assessment is that it sets the dangerous precedent that the agency can effectively submarine any and all resource development in the country based upon political pressure without regard to the science, logic or needs of our nation.

In a world where Obama talks jobs, while his administration’s regulatory regime actively seeks to destroy them, it is reasonable to expect that one of his minions would declare that reality is completely disconnected from rulemaking.

Because in Obama’s world, it seems that the only thing that matters is the destruction of America’s private-sector natural resources production — consequences be damned. After all, consequences are real, and Obama’s regulators just don’t need to be bothered with them.


Studies indicate minimal health risks from radiation in the aftermath of Japan’s nuclear disaster

Around 170 of Fukushima’s workers have a slightly elevated risk of cancer due to their radiation exposure, says "Nature" magazine below

Few people will develop cancer as a consequence of being exposed to the radioactive material that spewed from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last year — and those who do will never know for sure what caused their disease. These conclusions are based on two comprehensive, independent assessments of the radiation doses received by Japanese citizens, as well as by the thousands of workers who battled to bring the shattered nuclear reactors under control.

The first report, seen exclusively by Nature, was produced by a subcommittee of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) in Vienna, and covers a wide swathe of issues related to all aspects of the accident. The second, a draft of which has been seen by Nature, comes from the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, and estimates doses received by the general public in the first year after the accident. Both reports will be discussed at UNSCEAR’s annual meeting in Vienna this week.

The UNSCEAR committee’s analyses show that 167 workers at the plant received radiation doses that slightly raise their risk of developing cancer. The general public was largely protected by being promptly evacuated, although the WHO report does find that some civilians’ exposure exceeded the government’s guidelines. “If there’s a health risk, it’s with the highly exposed workers,” says Wolfgang Weiss, the chair of UNSCEAR. Even for these workers, future cancers may never be directly tied to the accident, owing to the small number of people involved and the high background rates of cancer in developed countries such as Japan.

Scientists involved in producing the UNSCEAR report hope that their independent summary of the best available data could help to dispel some of the fear about fallout that has grown over the past year (see Nature 483, 138–140; 2012). As well as providing a preliminary assessment of workers’ exposure, the UNSCEAR report concludes that the Japanese government’s estimate of the radiation released was correct to within a factor of ten, and that further study is needed to fully understand the impacts of the accident on plants, animals and marine life near the power station. When a final version of the report is approved by the full UNSCEAR committee next year, it should provide a useful baseline for future studies.

The Fukushima crisis began on 11 March 2011, when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake triggered a tsunami off the coast of Japan. A 14-metre wave flooded four of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, knocking out emergency cooling systems and leading to meltdowns and explosions that released radioactivity into the air and ocean. In the year since the accident, the plant has been stabilized, and radioactive emissions have largely stopped.

From last autumn, UNSCEAR has been reviewing all the available data on Fukushima’s radiation — just as it did to produce what was then the definitive report on the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. In particular, it scoured anonymized medical data for 20,115 workers and contractors employed by the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which runs the plant. It found that 146 employees and 21 contractors received a dose of more than 100 millisieverts (mSv), the level at which there is an acknowledged slight increase in cancer risk. Six workers received more than the 250 mSv allowed by Japanese law for front-line emergency workers, and two operators in the control rooms for reactor units 3 and 4 received doses above 600 mSv, because they had not taken potassium iodide tablets to help prevent their bodies from absorbing radio­active iodine-131 (see ‘In the zone’). So far, neither operator seems to have suffered ill effects as a result of their exposure.

Most of the workers who received high doses were exposed in the early days of the crisis. In those first hours, they were huddled in darkened control rooms, while small teams made forays inside the reactor buildings to survey the damage and manually operate valves and other equipment. Often, they did not know how much radiation was present — the report says that an automated system designed to monitor their radiation levels was not operating properly. By mid-April, basic access control and monitoring had been restored on the site.

Experts agree that there is unlikely to be a detectable rise in thyroid cancer or leukaemia, the two cancers most likely to result from the accident. “There may be some increase in cancer risk that may not be detectable statistically,” says Kiyohiko Mabuchi, who heads Chernobyl studies at the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland. In Chernobyl, where clean-up workers were exposed to much higher doses, 0.1% of the 110,000 workers surveyed have so far developed leukaemia, although not all of those cases resulted from the accident.

The risk to the roughly 140,000 civilians who had been living within a few tens of kilometres of the plant seems even lower. Because detailed radiation measurements were un­available at the time of the accident, the WHO estimated doses to the public, including radiation exposure from inhalation, ingestion and fallout. The agency concludes that most residents of Fukushima and neighbouring Japanese prefectures received a dose below 10 mSv. Residents of Namie town and Iitate village, two areas that were not evacuated until months after the accident, received 10–50 mSv. The government aims to keep public exposure from the accident below 20mSv per year, but in the longer term it wants to decontaminate the region so that residents will receive no more than 1mSv per year from the accident.

The WHO’s calculations are consistent with several health surveys conducted by Japanese scientists, which found civilian doses at or below the 1–15-mSv range, even among people living near the plant. One worrying exception is that infants in Namie town may have been exposed to enough iodine-131 to receive an estimated thyroid dose of 100–200mSv, raising their risk of thyroid cancer. But data collected from 1,080 children in the region found that none had received a thyroid dose greater than 50mSv. Chernobyl’s main cancer legacy in children was thyroid cancer.

Fearful and angry

The large population involved could mean that the eventual number of radiation-induced cancers among the public will actually be higher than among workers, even though the risk to each individual civilian is tiny, says David Brenner, a radiologist at Columbia University in New York city. But he doubts a direct link will ever be definitively made. Under normal circumstances, “40% of everybody will get cancer”, he says. “It doesn’t seem to me that it’s possible to do an epidemiological study that will see an increased risk.” Still, it may be valuable to conduct studies to reassure the population that they are not being misled, he adds.

A far greater health risk may come from the psychological stress created by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. After Chernobyl, evacuees were more likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than the population as a whole, according to Evelyn Bromet, a psychiatric epidemiologist at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. The risk may be even greater at Fukushima. “I’ve never seen PTSD questionnaires like this,” she says of a survey being conducted by Fukushima Medical University. People are “utterly fearful and deeply angry. There’s nobody that they trust any more for information.”

Overall, the reports do lend credibility to the Japanese government’s actions immediately after the accident. Shunichi Yamashita, a researcher at Fukushima Medical University who is heading one local health survey, hopes that the findings will help to reduce stress among victims of the accident. But they may not be enough to rebuild trust between the government and local residents. Tatsuhiko Kodama, head of the radioisotope centre at the University of Tokyo and an outspoken critic of the government, questions the reports’ value. “I think international organizations should stop making hasty reports based on very short visits to Japan that don’t allow them to see what is happening locally,” he says.

UNSCEAR’s working committee of roughly 70 scientists still has much to do before the final report is completed. Committee members will continue to independently validate sources of data from the accident and work on models of the flow of radio­isotopes from the reactors into the environment. For the workers, “individual medical follow-up is more important than the statistical follow-up”, Weiss says. “People want to know whether what we say is true.”



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, 2012

Malthus is back!

No failure of prediction fazes the believers in too many people and diminishing resources

A couple of weeks ago The Royal Society published a major new report called People and the Planet(pdf),which has drawn a lot of criticism for its apparent commitment to outdated “Limits to Growth” type thinking.

As Tim Worstall points out, while there is much to merit in the nuanced analysis of the main report, in the actual discussions of what we should do about both consumption and population,

it appears that we really are running out of “reserves” and that we should hand out condoms to all and sundry. That last isn’t all that surprising, as Jonathan Porritt is part of the team and he’s incapable of saying anything else on the subject.

Indeed, Porritt is not of course a scientist at all, more an activist, and his presence here which does in itself raise serious questions about the integrity of the study, if it means that the science is being mixed up with ideological interpretations and policy recommendations.

Similarly, Mark Lynas argues

Whilst using a lot of dark language about increasing numbers of humans globally, the report nowhere acknowledges that the current median level of total worldwide fertility has fallen dramatically from 5.6 in the 1970s to only 2.4 today. In other words we are already close to natural replacement levels in terms of total fertility – the reason that the absolute population will continue to grow to 9 billion or more is that more children are living long enough have their own children. To my mind a reduction in infant mortality and an increase in life expectancy are self-evidently good and desirable – and their impact on world population levels should be celebrated, not bemoaned.

Lynas goes onto to explain that the main failing of neo-Malthussianism is that it assumes resource consumption is a “zero-sum game”- that there is a finite pie to be shared by an expanding population, with only one possible outcome- not enough pie to go around. While this might be true in an absolute sense, it ignores technological developments which allow economic growth – “qualitative” rather than just “quantitative” growth to continue even as per capita, and ultimately even total impacts may plateau and even decline.

Chris Goodall at Carbon Commentary picks up on this theme by arguing that more resource consumption and growth need not necessarily result in greater impact. He uses the example of waste and rubbish:

Waste production per person in the UK peaked at around 520 kg a year in the year to March 2002. The latest two quarters figures are fifteen per cent below that level. The latest quarterly figures suggest a figure of about 443 kg. The decline from year to year isn’t smooth but is probably getting steeper.

As societies get richer, they become smarter, more eco-conscious and generally have a tendency to clean up our act. Goodall wryly continues

In contrast to what the Royal Society says, growth may be good for the environment. We waste less and are prepared to devote more cash to ecological protection. Technology improvements mean things last longer and use fewer physical resources to make. Regretfully, I have to say that the world’s most prestigious scientific institution should spend more time checking its facts.

Ben Pile sees the Royal Society’s report in the context of climate change politics, an old story used to bolster the floundering old story of catastrophic climate change:

the Royal Society’s sideways step from climate alarmism to Malthusianism is also a step backwards. Before climate change became the dominant narrative of political environmentalism, the principle issues were ‘limits to growth’ and ‘the population bomb’. Those vehicles failed to give the environmentalists’ political project the profile it needed. Malthusianism was, in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, too easily rebutted. And in the dark days of the cold war, we seemed to have bigger problems to face. The end of the cold war arrived, and the brief era of optimism ended with climate change. It filled the nuclear-winter-shaped hole. But now there is widespread acknowledgement that climate change has been over-stated, the institutions which have sought to attach themselves to the issue have had to find a new story. And the new story is an old story…

Pile is critical of the august scientific institution stepping beyond its role of science into the realm of public policy and lifestyle recommendations- hand out contraception, get the rich world to curtail its consumption.

What caught my eye in particular was Pile’s pointing out that just the week before the publication of the report none other than Paul Ehrlich was made a fellow of the Royal Society.

And in doing so, the Royal Society abandons its claim to be a scientific authority. It has embraced a particular ideology… a nasty, anti-human perspective on the world. It can no longer say Nullius in Verba (on the word of no one). It’s perspective is no longer fixed on the material world. The object of its ‘science’ is now the human world, and control over it.

As it happens, I had just purchased on impulse a copy of a book that has quite a lot to say about Mr. Ehrlich. Future Babble by Dan Gardner is a truly fascinating study of failed predictions of apocalypse, both supernatural and ecological.

Gardner adopts Philip Tetler’s classification, after Isaiah Berlin, of experts as either “Hedgehogs” or “Foxes”

“The fox knows many things,” the warrior-poet Archilochus wrote, “but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

Tetlock was involved in a committee brought together by the National Research Council in 1984, at the height of the Cold War, to examine the success or failure of expert opinions. In an extensive study involving 284 experts in many different fields, Tetlock compared predictions with reality, and found that the foxes- who tended to make much more cautious and contingent predictions, scored much more highly than the over-confident hedgehogs.

“On both calibration and discrimination, complex and cautious thinking trounced simple and confident.”

Ehrlich provides a spectacular example of a hedgehog, having founded a career spanning several decades on failed predictions.

“In the early 1970s, the leading edge of the age of scarcity has arrived,” he wrote in 1974′s The End of Affluence. With it came a clearer look at the future, revealing more of the nature of the dark age to come.” Of course there would be mass starvation in the 1970s- “or, at least, the 1980s.” Shortages “will become more frequent and more severe”, he wrote. “We are facing, within the next three decades, the disintegration of nation-states infected with growthmania.”…The mere continuation of current trends will ensure that “by the year 2000 the United Kingdom wil simply be a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70million hungry people, of little or no concern to the other 5-7billion of a sick world.”

Despite these outrageously wide-of-the-mark predictions, Ehrlich’s appointment to the Royal Society is only the latest in a long string of top awards, including the Gold Medal Award of the World Wildlife Fund International; the John Muir Award of the Sierra Club; the MacArthur Fellowship, nicknamed the “Genius Award”; and the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, widely considered the Nobel of environmentalism. Many of these awards were for his work as a biologist, but they were often given for his popular books like The Population Bomb.

Gardner notes that “the Crafoord Prize citation specifically noted Ehrlich’s ‘numerous books on global environmental problems, such as overpopulation, resource depletion nuclear winter, and greenhouse effects. It has been said that with Rachel Carson he is the one person with the greatest importance for present-day awareness of the imminent global catastrophe.’”

No matter what global catastrophe, Gardner wryly points out- on a survey of Cambridge University alumni in 2009 producing a list of the most important 50 books ever on sustainability, representing “the wisdom of our age” The Population Bomb came in at number four…

Another doomer who has made a career from predicting collapse is peak-oil pundit James Howard Kunstler. Well known in the peak oil community for his role in the documentary The End of Suburbia and his 2005 book The Long Emergency, Kunstler is lesser-known, or perhaps forgotten as “one of the most extreme voices in the Y2K fiasco.”

“If nothing else, I expect Y2K to destablize world petroleum markets”, Kunstler wrote, and the effects of that wil be as bad as, or worse than, those of the 1973 oil embargo. Industrial agriculture will collapse. “Spectacular dysfunction” will plague car-dependent cities. Supply chains will crumble. “I doubt that the WalMarts and the K-Marts of the land will survive Y2K.” That was the minimum-damage outcome. He actually expected things to get much worse…

Failure- even repeated failure over decades- does not seem to be a hindrance for these hedgehogs. “One might think that after Kunstler’s Y2K pratfall people wouldn’t pay for him to be their tour guide to the future, but The Long Emergency was a best-seller and Kunstler- a wildly entertaining speaker- became a fixture on the lecture circuit, where he is paid significant amounts of money to tell audiences they are doomed”- while “for experts who want the public’s attention” Gardner observes, “Ehrlich is the gold standard. Be articulate, enthusiastic, and authoritative. Be likeable. See things through a single analytical lens and craft an explanatory story that is clear, conclusive, and compelling. Do not doubt yourself. Do not acknowledge mistakes. And never, ever say ‘I don’t know’.”

What is fascinating is that retrospect does not seem to make these predictors of doom any the wiser. Rather than admit failure and revise their approach- turning as it were from Hedgehog to Fox- both Ehrlich and Kunstler played down the gaps between forecast and reality: for Ehrlich, the expected population collapse may not have happened on the timescale expected, but it is bound to come sometime- all the signs are still there; while Kunstler tended to exaggerate the actual effects and downplay the extremity of his own predictions. And anyway, even if Y2K didn’t do for America, the whole place is on the way down anyway- which makes him nearly right in any case.


Warmist attention-seekers die

Had they stuck to science they might still be alive

Eco Everest tragedy: Attempt to raise climate change awareness ends in deaths

Congratulations !!! Eco Everest Expedition Spring 2012

[April 20, 2012] Eco Everest Expedition is a program organized in 2008 as a platform to attract maximum global attention. The main objective of this expedition is to raise awareness about the impact of climate change and glacier melting in the mountain leading to high risk of GLOF affecting the lives of the local people. The expedition organized by Asian Trekking focuses on climbing in an eco-sensitive manner and field testing different eco-sensitive methods to be adopted while climbing in the Himalaya.

Three climbers killed on Mount Everest - Telegraph

Officials in Nepal last night confirmed a German doctor, a Nepalese-Canadian businesswoman, and a Chinese man had died on May 19th as they descended the peak as part of the Eco Everest Expedition to clean debris from the mountain. ..This particular expedition was aimed at raising awareness of climate change on glaciers and testing new eco-sensitive techniques to climb the mountain without damaging its environment.

More HERE (See the original for links)

Comprehensive Alps Study Clearly Refutes Humans Are Causing More Weather Variability And Extremes!

A new paper authored by Reinhard Böhm of the Austrian Central Administration For Meteorology (ZAMG) refutes the notion that anthropogenic warming is causing an increase of climate extremes and making weather more variable and extreme.

The paper uses the monthly resolved data of the HISTALP data collection, which provides 58 single series for three climate elements: air pressure, air temperature and precipitation, which start earlier than 1831 and extend back to 1760 in some cases.

The paper’s abstract writes:

"The main goal is the analysis of trends or changes of high frequent interannual and interseasonal variability. In other words, it is features like extremely hot summers, very cold winters, excessively dry or wet seasons which the study aims at.”

The paper also concentrates on the recent three decades because “they are the first 30 years with dominating anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing”.

Conclusion? No change! The author of the warmist ZAMG doesn’t mince his words:

"We can show that also this recent anthropogenic normal period shows no widening of the PDF (probability density function) compared to the preceding ones.”

Not only did the author find no change in variability, but he also detected a ”centennial oscillating structure”.

The abstract continues:

"It shows that interannual variability changes show a clear centennial oscillating structure for all three climate elements in the region. For the time being we have no explanation for this empirical evidence.”

Please allow me to suggest one: take a look at the sun! As it stands, only an absolute moron can now remain oblivious to the huge, growing body of evidence pointing to solar activity cycles.

Böhm continues, reluctantly admitting there may be other mysterious factors out there playing a role:

"We argue that it should not be an artifact of any remaining data problems, but of course a centennial cyclic effect based on 250 years of data only is not really well consolidated in terms of sample length. But it is at least an interesting new feature and the subject is open for scientific discussion and for further studies dealing with circulation effects, long-term memories in the oceans etc.”

Hooray! It seems they are beginning to acknowledge the oceans as a possible factor in climate change! Thus there’s hope that one day they’ll realize the sun may be involved as well.

Finally, CO2 Handel here writes:

"Neither during the last 250 years nor the last 30 years, which have been strongly impacted by man, has the seasonal and annual fluctuation range hot-cold and dry-wet become greater.”


"The results are certainly surprising for many,’ explains climatologist and study-author Reinhard Böhm. We often hear there are no longer any transitions between seasons and that spring and autumn, as well as winter and summer, are increasingly characterized by extreme cold-warm fluctuations. ‘Our study clearly shows that this is not the case.’”

That is quite an admission for an author from a warmist outfit like the ZAMG.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Obama Blocks Uranium Mining without the Support of Science

The news came out today that the administration imposed its 20 year ban on uranium mining on federal land in Arizona with no scientific basis to support the move. In fact, an email from a National Park Service hydrologist states that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement fails to establish links between impacts on water and uranium mining. The leaked email states in part:

This is obviously a touchy case where the hard science doesn’t strongly support a policy position. Probably the best way to ‘finesse’ this would be fall back on the ‘precautionary principle’ and take the position that in absence of even more complete certainty that there is no connection between uranium mines and regional ground water, we need to be cautions[sic]??

You can read more here.

One thousand jobs and $29 million in revenue are on the block in this situation.

Utah Congressman Rob Bishop who is the chairman of the House, National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee released this statement.

“I am concerned and troubled by the Department of Interior’s decision to proceed with the ban despite the fact their own experts cautioned that scientific evidence was lacking. It is now increasingly apparent that the decision was motivated by politics rather than science as the Administration would have us believe. We feared this was the case when the DOI announced its intentions in January, and it is unfortunate that it has proven to be true…These emails illustrate that Secretary Salazar blatantly ignored the scientific analysis in order to advance the Administration’s narrow-minded political agenda. The Administration is working hard to protect certain interests, but just not those of the American people.”

Bishop and House Natural Resources Chair Doc Hastings are requesting all of the documents in the matter. Given the forthcoming nature of the administration, I suspect their grandchildren might receive them. Unless they get lucky and someone leaks something else.

It’s one thing to oppose nuclear energy. It is another thing to curtail it without scientific evidence.

Those of you east of the Mighty Mississippi might be surprised at this, but energy advocates in the West are merely shaking their heads and recalling the immortal words of Captain Renault from Casablanca : I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”


It's All Over: EU Carbon Trading "Plunges To Practically Zero"

Bavaria's stock exchange will abandon its carbon emissions certificate trading operations in the EU-traded CO2 market on June 30 after volumes in Europe "plunged to practically zero" in recent months, it said on Tuesday.

The EU's emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) limits the carbon dioxide emissions of the 27-nation bloc's factories and power plants and covers nearly half of EU emissions.

Prices in the ETS have shed around 60 percent of their value over the past year due to market worries about the growing supply glut and weak demand.

"Emissions trading will never find its feet again without radical political action," said Christine Bortenlaenger, the head of the exchange, in a statement.

"To actually achieve the original goal of reducing carbon emissions, trading prices must be boosted by drastically reducing the number of certificates. Only then will companies perceive investment in carbon reduction technologies as worthwhile," she added.

The bourse cited the uncertainty caused by the euro zone debt crisis which hampers industrial activity and hence the need to hedge or bring down carbon emissions output.


Australia's chief climate commissioner Tim Flannery calls for the removal of toxic teeth from dead people

Mercury in teeth is bad but mercury in CFL light bulbs is OK??

CLIMATE change campaigner Tim Flannery says mercury tooth fillings should be removed from corpses before they are cremated.

The practice should be made law, Australia's chief climate commissioner said.

"You don't want to poison people when you are cremated," Prof Flannery said. "No one would want that."

Addressing the Australian Medical Association's national conference in Melbourne yesterday, he said an awareness campaign was needed.

"I think people would be comfortable with removing the fillings, it is just a matter of awareness," he said.

Prof Flannery said undertakers should be required to remove the fillings and families also could request it.

"You just need a pair of pliers," he said. "It is a $2 solution."

He said the mercury in teeth fillings was not a problem in people alive because it was not in a methylated form.

"For mercury to become dangerous, it has to get into the atmosphere, which happens when we are cremated, then blow over the oceans (and) go into the ocean depths, where there is very low oxygen, and then transform by bacteria into a methylated form of mercury," Prof Flannery said.

"This is then ingested by fish and the fish get put on the dinner plate."

He said he had not raised the issue with the Federal Government, but he felt it was significant and could be dealt with easily.

While talking about health and environment at the AMA conference, he also raised concerns about a lack of readiness for extreme weather events.

Prof Flannery said deaths from heat were increasing and the community needed to be better educated about the health risks.

"Deaths from heat is a silent killer that is increasing around the world," he said. "The most vulnerable in our community are most at risk."

Prof Flannery said the loss of respect for science in the climate debate had been "one of the most damaging aspects".



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, 2012

The WWF's Living Planet Report

Last week the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released a new report. Titled Living Planet Report 2012, it was discussed with breathless credulity by numerous media outlets (see here, here, here, here, and here, for example).

But there's actually little that's fresh, urgent, or newsworthy within these 164 pages. The report is primarily a prop - a device to help the WWF keep its name in the news. In March, the media devoted gallons of ink to the corporate-driven WWF event known as Earth Hour. Mere weeks later, it's once again providing these professional nags with a megaphone.

What message is being broadcast? The same old, same old. Humans are a plague on the planet. The world is headed to hell in a hand basket. The sky is falling, and it's all our fault.

Over at The Register, Lewis Page has written a critical analysis of the report (be sure to click through to page 2; backup links here and here ). He points out that, rather than using standard measures commonly understood by everyone, the WWF and similar groups have invented their own indices. Might this be because, if they used a standard approach, they'd discover that things are not, in fact, getting worse?

Unlike most journalists, Page takes statements in this WWF document to their logical conclusion. In doing so, he sees a grim, grey future no one would want to bestow on their grandchildren:
the only people on Earth who are [currently] living within their means are those in the poorest nations - their "footprint" exactly matches the "biocapacity" in their countries.offering a picture of the sort of life all human beings could aspire to in a WWF-run world.

... you are to accept a massively lower standard of living, in order to reduce your "footprint" to match your nation's "biocapacity".That means less heating when it's cold - no cooling at all, probably, when it's hot. It means sharply limited hot water: so dirtier clothes, dirtier bedding and a dirtier you - which will be nice as you will also have to live in a smaller home and travel almost exclusively on crowded buses or trains along with similar smelly fellow eco-citizens.

Incidentally, it's worth noting that an electronic search within this report turns up:

* 46 instances in which the WWF talks about what we need (as in "the choices needed to ensure a sustainable existence")

* and 24 uses of the word must (as in "temperature must not rise more than 2 degrees")

There's also heavy use of the word should. Need. Must. Should. Bossy bunch of folks, aren't they?

Nowhere, however, does the WWF bother to explain why an organization that is supposed to be saving wildlife is making statements about other matters entirely. And yet this report is full of declarations such as "Equitable resource governance is essential." and catch phrases like "societal inequality" (see pages 61 and 162). Indeed, the terms inequality and equality appear 28 times in this report.

This is a huge red flag. Equality is a political concept. In the world in which I live, people who want to make political decisions first need to get themselves elected.


Obama's war on coal hits your electric bill

Obama's War on Coal has already taken a remarkable toll on coal-fired power plants in America. Last week the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a shocking drop in power sector coal consumption in the first quarter of 2012. Coal-fired power plants are now generating just 36 percent of U.S. electricity, versus 44.6 percent just one year ago. It's the result of an unprecedented regulatory assault on coal that will leave us all much poorer.

Last week PJM Interconnection, the company that operates the electric grid for 13 states (Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia) held its 2015 capacity auction. These are the first real, market prices that take Obama's most recent anti-coal regulations into account, and they prove that he is keeping his 2008 campaign promise to make electricity prices "necessarily skyrocket."

The market-clearing price for new 2015 capacity - almost all natural gas - was $136 per megawatt. That's eight times higher than the price for 2012, which was just $16 per megawatt. In the mid-Atlantic area covering New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and DC the new price is $167 per megawatt. For the northern Ohio territory served by FirstEnergy, the price is a shocking $357 per megawatt.

Why the massive price increases? Andy Ott from PJM stated the obvious: "Capacity prices were higher than last year's because of retirements of existing coal-fired generation resulting largely from environmental regulations which go into effect in 2015." Northern Ohio is suffering from more forced coal-plant retirements than the rest of the region, hence the even higher price.

These are not computer models or projections or estimates. These are the actual prices that electric distributors have agreed to pay for new capacity. The costs will be passed on to consumers at the retail level.

House Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) aptly explained: "The PJM auction forecasts a dim future where Americans will be paying more to keep the lights on. We are seeing more and more coal plants fall victim to EPA's destructive regulatory agenda, and as a result, we are seeing more job losses and higher electricity prices."

The only thing that can stop this massive price hike now is an all-out effort to end Obama's War on Coal and repeal this destructive regulatory agenda.

The Senate will have a critical opportunity to do just that when it votes on stopping Obama's most expensive anti-coal regulation sometime in the next couple of weeks. The vote is on the Inhofe Resolution, S.J. Res 37, to overturn the so-called Utility MACT rule, which the EPA itself acknowledges is its most expensive rule ever.

This vote is protected from filibuster, and it will take just 51 votes to send a clear message to Obama that his War on Coal must end.

Of course, Obama could veto the resolution and keep the rule intact, although that would force him to take full political responsibility for the massive impending jump in electricity prices.


Climate Change as pushed by the IPCC is Daylight Robbery

The first robbery was with the definition of climate change. Most believe they examine all causes of climate change, but they use Article 1 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
"a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over considerable time periods."

You cannot determine human effects unless you understand natural climate change and we don't.

The second robbery involved admitting the severe limitations of their science, but convincing the public it was settled. They produce "The Physical Science Basis" that they know few read or understand. It's completed and set aside while a Synthesis Report or Summary for Policymakers is written and released at an orchestrated press conference months before the Science Report. The two are markedly different.

The third robbery involves Summary claims that computer models are scientifically sound. Media focus on temperature projections invariably putting the highest increase in the headlines. These projections are predetermined, and always wrong. The Science Report explains why they cannot be correct. Here are 17 quotes from Chapter 8 of the 2007 Science Report.
Nevertheless, models still show significant errors. Although these are generally greater at smaller scales, important large-scale problems also remain.

Due to the limited resolutions of the models, many of these processes are not resolved adequately by the model grid and must therefore be parametrized. The differences between parameterizations are an important reason why climate model results differ.

Since the TAR, there have been few assessments of the capacity of climate models to simulate observed soil moisture. Despite the tremendous effort to collect and homogenize soil moisture measurements at global scales (Robock et al., 2000), discrepancies between large-scale estimates of observed soil moisture remain.

The global Aerosol Model Intercomparison project, AeroCom, has also been initiated in order to improve understanding of uncertainties of model estimates, and to reduce them (Kinne et al., 2003).

Our assessment is that although problems remain, climate models are improving in their simulation of extratropical cyclones.

Unfortunately, the total surface heat and water fluxes (see Supplementary Material, Figure S8.14) are not well observed.

These errors in oceanic heat uptake will also have a large impact on the reliability of the sea level rise projections.

Evaluation of the land surface component in coupled models is severely limited by the lack of suitable observations. Large discrepancies remain in albedo for forested areas under snowy conditions, due to difficulties in determining the extent of masking of snow by vegetation (Roesch, 2006).

The evaluation of the hydrological component of climate models has mainly been conducted uncoupled from AOGCMs (Bowling et al., 2003; Nijssen et al., 2003; Boone et al., 2004). This is due in part to the difficulties of evaluating runoff simulations across a range of climate models due to variations in rainfall, snowmelt and net radiation.

Despite considerable effort since the TAR, uncertainties remain in the representation of solar radiation in climate models (Potter and Cess, 2004). Several other groups have evaluated the impact of coupling specific models of carbon to climate models but clear results are difficult to obtain because of inevitable biases in both the terrestrial and atmospheric modules (e.g., Delire et al., 2003).

Blocking events are an important class of sectoral weather regimes (see Chapter 3), associated with local reversals of the mid-latitude westerlies. There is also evidence of connections between North and South Pacific blocking and ENSO variability.but these connections have not been systematically explored in AOGCMs.

Despite this progress, serious systematic errors in both the simulated mean climate and the natural variability persist.

Due to the computational cost associated with the requirement of a well-resolved stratosphere, the models employed for the current assessment do not generally include the QBO.

In short, most AOGCMs do not simulate the spatial or intra-seasonal variation of monsoon precipitation accurately.

For models to simulate accurately the seasonally varying pattern of precipitation, they must correctly simulate a number of processes (e.g., evapotranspiration, condensation, transport) that are difficult to evaluate at a global scale.

This suggests that ongoing improvements in model formulation driven primarily by the needs of weather forecasting may lead also to more reliable climate predictions.

The spatial resolution of the coupled ocean-atmosphere models used in the IPCC assessment is generally not high enough to resolve tropical cyclones, and especially to simulate their intensity.

Many won't understand the comments, which is exactly the point. Some of these alone are sufficient to invalidate the models. Collectively they're a disaster, but illustrate the charge of Daylight Robbery. IPCC can say we told you about the problems; it isn't our fault you don't understand.


Global Warming Author Says "Bar-Code Everyone at Birth"

Orwell lives!

In a fascinating insight into the mentality of those who espouse the mantra of catastrophic global warming, writer Elizabeth Moon has a short piece for the BBC in which she argues that everyone should be involuntarily implanted with a microchip at birth so that "anonymity would be impossible".

Elizabeth Moon, who writes about global warming, wants everyone implanted with microchips for ease of identification and enforcement.

Moon, who has published essays warning of the dire effects of global warming and even made catastrophic global warming part of the background to her novels, made the stunning revelation in a BBC Radio programme on possible futures. Asked for her vision for the future of humanity, Moon stunned and "terrified" the other guests with this vision:
If I were empress of the Universe I would insist on every individual having a unique ID permanently attached - a barcode if you will; an implanted chip to provide an easy, fast inexpensive way to identify individuals.

It would be imprinted on everyone at birth. Point the scanner at someone and there it is.

Anonymity would be impossible as would mistaken identity making it easier to place responsibility accurately, not only in war but also in non-combat situations far from the war

Moon's astonishing vision for the future reveals the warmist obsession with the supposed need for tracking and enforcement of personal behaviour. It reveals the fantasies of control and administration of everyday life that seem to motivate many of those whose professed concern is the future of the planet, but whose interests seem to actually lie in the ever-closer administration of individual's daily lives. Only last year, the Infowars website detailed some of the proposals that were being floated for controlling people's movements and activities, including carbon rationing and calorie cards whose avowed aim is the curtailment of people's lives in the name of saving the environment.

Given the horrific history of totalitarian state's attempts to dehumanise people by reducing them to mere ciphers, numbers in a database, you would think that an author such as Ms Moon who show a little cultural awareness and be wary of making proposals that apparently disregard the history of such attempts. But it seems that this is not the case. In revealing her fantasies of being "empress of the universe" and bar-coding humanity at birth, Ms Moon has done us all a service in giving us a glimpse into the future for us all which her and many others like her would like to see.


Poverty reduction vs climate change

by Professor Will Alexander, writing from South Africa

You might have noticed that the phrase poverty reduction is in the process of overtaking climate change as the issue of major international concern. The phrase sustainable development is also losing ground. It never was implementable and now the UN organisers of Rio+20 are struggling to get an international agreement on its objectives.

All of this is because climate change was used as a weapon by the affluent nations of the West to maintain their supremacy over the world's rapidly developing nations. The Kyoto Protocol was one of the mechanisms to achieve this objective. Another was promises of substantial economic aid (with conditions attached) to enable the developing nations to abandon the use of cheap coal to more expensive electricity generating methods such as wind turbines, solar panels and biofuels. Nuclear energy was the only economically viable large scale alternative but the public were worried because of its linkage with nuclear weapons and the consequences of nuclear fuel leakages and destruction of the power stations such as happened in Japan.

Despite these pressures, the use of coal continues to expand worldwide including here in South Africa. Now the world sees the almost universal use of shale gas as the alternative source of energy for the future. Here in South Africa the authorities have just given the go ahead for shale gas exploration after a long hesitation based on environmental considerations.

Economic turmoil

Unfulfilled promises of economic aid have been a characteristic of meetings of high-level wealthy nations under the leadership of the G8 nations. The establishment of the notorious and grossly misleading Stern Review was an outcome of the G8 meeting at Gleneagles in 2005.

The African countries have repeatedly stated that they require trade not aid. This fell on deaf ears in the Western countries but there has been a rapid growth of bilateral trade between the African and the developing Eastern countries, particularly China, India and South Korea.

As I write, the EU nations are in economic turmoil. Any thought of large scale financial assistance to the developing countries to control their emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other undesirable gases is out of the question.

As a consequence, we now see the IPCC changing its tactics from mitigation (prevention) to adaptation. This is described in the IPCC's recent special report. Note that they are in deep water because accommodating climatic extremes - mainly floods and droughts - has been a function of the civil engineering profession since the beginning of civilisation thousands of years ago.

Computer programs

In passing, the first civilian use of mainframe computers was for the electronic storage and processing of hydro-meteorological data. Appreciating this, IBM allocated two senior mathematicians (Mandelbrot and Wallis) to become involved in advanced hydrological analyses. They published many reports that are still valid today.

I have had the unusual privilege of being directly involved in the transition from mainframe computers that occupied several adjacent rooms in the Department of Water Affairs; to desktop microcomputers; to personal computers; to laptops and now to handheld tablet computers that are far more powerful than the mainframe computers of old. My first personal computer was a Sinclair ZX 81, followed by BBC microcomputers with their excellent version of BASIC. The IBM compatible PCs were late on the scene but soon dominated the markets. I wrote all my own computer programs. Initially the outputs were to Epson dot matrix printers. I still have my Sinclair and BBC computers in my garage. I am uncertain what to do with them.

Global warmers are babes in the wood when it comes to developing computer programs to model natural processes. They fail to appreciate that the greater the number of variables in the model, the greater the level of uncertainty in the output. They believe the opposite. I discussed this issue in my invited Stander Memorial lecture that I titled The case of the multidimensional watermelon. I discuss alternative forms of process modelling in my handbook on analytical methods.

Today there are half a dozen or so huge computer systems that we are told are capable of analysing climate on a global scale. There are two problems. The first is that the alarmist predictions produced by the models have failed to eventuate. The second and more important is that their outputs are not in a format that can be used for practical applications such as two-dimensional flood magnitude/ frequency relationships and three-dimensional drought magnitude/ frequency/ duration relationships. The next step is the determination of human and structural vulnerability to floods and droughts. The final step is the development of measures to reduce the impact of these events.

All of this is far beyond the knowledge and experience of climate change scientists. So why should we take any notice of them? The reason is that they have infiltrated the South African authorities by linking climate change with postulated environmental damage which has popular and consequently political interest. They have diverted attention away from the very real water resource management problems that lie ahead.

Chickens coming home

Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Last week our Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs addressed the media ahead of the budget vote in parliament. The following is a summary.

South Africa needs to spend R573bn over the next decade on water covering everything from maintenance and new infrastructures to operations. To do this it will need the private sector's help. Quite independently, there were television news items showing riots in parts of South Africa arising from lack of potable water supplies and deteriorating water infrastructures.

The future

I shudder when I consider how the South African authorities will cope with widespread droughts such as those of the 1980s and widespread floods such as those of the 1970s. There is nobody in authority with this experience. There will be chaos in this part of the world when (not if) the next round of widespread, severe droughts occurs. The authorities and even our research institutions are totally unprepared for this. The news media will not have difficulty in identifying the culprits for our unpreparedness.

Poverty reduction vs climate change


Pesky "Green" car

Report from Australia

Some customers have "failed" a Nissan test to see if they were suitable for the new Leaf electric car.

Nissan has knocked back some customers interested in purchasing its first electric car, the Leaf, because they have been deemed "unsuitable" for ownership.

The plug-in electric vehicle officially hits the market on June 1, but interested customers need to pass a two-stage approval test before being issued with a certificate that will allow them to purchase the $51,500 car from one of Nissan's special EV dealerships.

The test involves answering five questions about their intended usage for the car, followed by a visit from Nissan's electrical supplier Origin Energy for an assessment of the suitability of the customer's home electrical network.

Speaking at a promotional event at Melbourne's Federation Square designed to raise awareness of the Leaf's non-reliance on petrol, Nissan Australia model line manager James Staveley told Drive the company had approved about 100 customers with another 100 undergoing the process.

Some intending customers have also been declined. "If you answered that you regularly drive from Melbourne to Sydney, then we might have politely informed the customer that this is not the car for them," Staveley says.

"The majority of customers we have declined have been because they don't have off-street parking available to them, which we consider essential for a safe and convenient recharging environment."

When Mitsubishi brought the only other mass-produced electric car available in Australia to market, the i-MiEV, it initially appointed leases only to high-profile corporate customers.

As supply restrictions eased it later placed the car on general sale, although Nissan says it intends to maintain its selection criteria "to ensure our customers have a great experience with the Leaf".

Nissan Australia is only holding one firm order on its books for the Leaf. "We chose to do it that way. We held a competition to be the first person to own a Leaf in Australia, and the family that won now holds the first and only order," Staveley says.

For customers who pass the two "toll gates" of the selection process, the car will retail for $51,500 (plus on-road and dealer costs). That includes a recharging cable, but not a wall-mounted recharging station.

A package including the telephone book-sized station adds a minimum of $2700 to the price, or more depending on the logistics involved in its installation.

Staveley says the recharging station isn't a mandatory purchase, but that plugging the car directly into a 15-amp power outlet - which is the minimum infrastructure required and costs several hundreds of dollars to install - will take five hours longer to fully charge the car.

"It's the customer's choice but we'd really prefer that people take the option of the recharging station because then we know it's being properly and appropriately installed and minimises the risk of anything going astray," he says.



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, 2012

Environmentalist double standards

Environmental groups are attacking the secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, claiming he has a conflict of interest because of his previous work handling water pollution matters.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, and the Florida Clean Water Network are claiming Herschel Vinyard’s work in the private sector for different businesses represents a conflict of interest and that he should be disciplined for it. The groups claim Vinyard provided false information to the Environmental Protection Agency about the matter too, prompting them to call for a “citizen’s arrest” of Vinyard.

“Mr. Vinyard is making decisions that affect our waters every day, and most if not all of his decisions over the past 15 months have reflected a pro-polluter bias,” Linda Young, the director of the Florida Clean Water Network, said in a statement. “As a regular user of our waters I am personally so unimpressed with our state and federal government’s level of concern over Vinyard’s disregard for the law that I think a citizens’ arrest is now in order.”

In response to the left-wing group’s accusations and demands, Free Market Florida executive director Ryan Houck pointed out their hypocrisy as the EPA is littered with people who are tied to advocacy groups they support. “If EPA is on the hunt for conflicts of interest they can start in their own building,” Houck said in a statement. “Many of EPA’s top brass have extensive ties to environmental litigation groups with a clear financial interest in the outcome of major permitting battles. Somehow, I doubt the Florida Clean Water Network or PEER will be calling for their firing.”

In a press release, Houck’s organization published a lengthy list of left-wing environmentalists it claims are in the same predicament as Vinyard.

Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government told TheDC that EPA officials’ close relationships with left-wing advocacy groups is dangerous for the economy. “The revolving door between the environmental extremist groups and the EPA is shocking and sobering, when one considers the damage they continue to do to our nation’s economy.”


'Wind farms are green tokenism': British Actor Griff Rhys Jones attacks turbines and says it is not elitist to care about the countryside

Actor and comedian Griff Rhys Jones has hit out at the ‘hypocrisy’ of wind farms - labelling them ‘green tokenism.’ The 58-year-old also criticised the Government’s controversial planning reforms and the ‘indiscriminate barbarity’ of developers.

He told today’s Radio Times: ‘There is still the hypocrisy of a green tokenism. ‘Randomly deposited industrial wind farms still pop up in a fulfilment of a hectic ambition that won’t solve ten per cent of our energy needs.

‘It is not elitist to care about the countryside. It is not old-fashioned. It is not the preserve of old-age pensioners, or out-of-touch aesthetes, or little Englanders, or sentimentalists, or soppy nature worshippers or selfish nimbyists to require that this balance endures, and that our government ensures that it does. ‘It is the proper demand of a citizen.’

Mr Rhys Jones owns a home in Holbrook, Suffolk, near the proposed site of one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms.

The huge development off the Suffolk coast would cover 300 square kilometres and include 325 turbines.

A former president of heritage charity The Civic Trust, Mr Rhys Jones recently campaigned against plans to erect a line of electricity pylons across moorland near his home.

He used his article to draft planning reforms that aimed to ‘cut red tape’ and make it easier to build in the countryside.

In March, ministers altered the proposed regulations after opposition from conservation groups.
Rhys Jones feels that wind firms, like this one in Lanarkshire in Scotland, will not cure the UK's energy problems

Rhys Jones feels that wind firms, like this one in Lanarkshire in Scotland, will not cure the UK's energy problems

Mr Rhys Jones said: ‘The Government panicked. The planning regulations were torn up. Our sense of priorities warped before our very eyes.’

He added: ‘The landscape is just as much part of the urgent remit of our state as housing or transport or the National Health Service. It is our shared birthright.

‘It belongs to you and, more importantly to your great, great, great grand-children.

‘So don’t let them destroy our shared beauty in the name of a short-term economic sticking plaster.

‘Buildings never go back to fields. Cheap, shoddy solutions are never eradicated with time, Rage rage, rage against indiscriminate barbarity.’

Mr Rhys Jones presents BBC1’s Britain’s Lost Routes, a new four part series that explores forgotten transport routes across the British countryside.

While promoting his 2009 documentary River Journeys, he angered fishermen by saying they have too much access to the nation’s waterways.

He encouraged canoeists and boaters to ‘disturb as many fishermen as possible’, prompting an angry response from anglers groups.


Obama's Plan to Kill Coal

Obama will go down in history as the president who killed coal. Making no attempt to hide his disdain for one of America’s most abundant, efficient energy sources, then candidate Barack Obama said that, “if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can — it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”

Making good on that promise, President Obama charged Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Lisa Jackson with the task of regulating America’s coal industry out of existence. The EPA’s strategy is simple: impose punitive, costly regulations on existing coal plants and mandate unattainable emissions standards on future coal power plants.

This one-two punch has manifested itself in two bureaucratic sounding rules—the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (U-MACT) and the proposed regulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Costing an estimated $10 billion annually by 2016, the U-MACT wins the EPA’s pernicious accolade of most expensive regulation ever written for power plants. The U-MACT requires coal power plants to spend millions of dollars retrofitting their facilities or shutdown entirely. Unable to afford costly upgrades, many power plants will close their doors causing electricity prices and unemployment levels to rise.

But it gets worse, last month the EPA proposed carbon limits on new coal-fired power plants. This new rule effectively ensures that no new coal-fired power plants will ever be built in America. The EPA’s new carbon mandate requires new coal plants to accomplish the unattainable: achieve emissions parity with natural gas plants. Foolishly, President Obama is leveraging America’s newfound natural gas abundance against coal companies.

By writing this rule, the EPA has decreed that future power generation will come from natural gas-fired power plants—politics have prevented more nuclear power from coming online and wind and solar energy just don’t work. Antithetical to the free market, President Obama’s policies have further distorted America’s already convoluted electricity sector.

The EPA’s assault on coal—the resource that supplies over 40 percent of all electricity to America’s homes and businesses—has huge economic and social implications. Analyzing the cumulative impact of the U-MACT and three other EPA regulations, the National Economic Research Associates (NERA) found that the four rules could cause a net loss of 1.65 million jobs by 2020. Further studies show that the Obama’s regulations will threaten grid reliability and cause electricity prices to increase nearly ten percent in some states. When candidate Obama said he wanted to “make electricity rates skyrocket,” this is what he had in mind.

As long as Obama is calling the shots from the White House, the burden to overturn EPA’s destructive rules falls on Congress. Stepping up to the plate, Senator Inhofe (R-Okla.) is utilizing the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to expunge Obama’s U-MACT rule and rein-in the out of control EPA. Only requiring 51 Senators to overturn Obama’s regulation, Inhofe’s CRA has a real chance at passing the Senate. Democrat Senators in coal intensive Midwestern states will have to decide whether they want electricity rates to “skyrocket” or blue-collar jobs to return home. In short, Senators will have to side with their constituents or Obama’s regulators.

The EPA has gone too far—unelected bureaucrats now dictate what type of energy Americans can use to power their homes and businesses. Tell your Senator to let the free market work and oppose the U-MACT.


Calming the Climate Curriculum in schools

One contributing factor to the astonishing spread of alarm over CO2 and climate may be that most of us have not given much thought to climate other than complaining about bad winters/summers/storms or recalling sunnier times in our childhoods.

So the notion that the climate is changing worldwide, which ought to be as banal an observation as you can get since it has never stopped changing over a great range of scales, can yet come as a bit of a jolt.  And when some at least of the folks in white coats tell us we're causing the change, and that it must be for the worst, we get a further jolt.  And then when the unscrupulous or the merely irresponsible spot an opportunity to scare us for their financial and/or political advantage over 'climate change', then the jolts can arrive thick and fast - from the media, from the eco-activists, from the anti-capitalists, from the fundraising NGOs, from the financiers and investors in carbon credits or in the farming of subsidies for renewables, and from the politically ambitious who spotted the bandwagon in good time to help it along or who were merely swept along by it and all the opportunities it has provided.

One result of this headlong, headstrong stampede based as it is on mere supposition that the extra CO2 must have such a powerful directional effect on climate that we should be acutely alarmed by it, is that educators at all levels have been swept along too.

Many seem to be enjoying the chance to be spreading alarm amongst the young, given the explosion of websites, books, and other media aimed at them.  A common approach is to mention greenhouses - well known as hot and uncomfortable places - or cars parked in the sunlight with all windows closes - and assert that CO2 has the same effect on atmospheric temperatures as the glass has.  Not true of course, but truth is not a key concern where supposition suits so many.

A threatened polar bear pictured on an iceflow may be accompanied by text suggesting that switching off lights, driving less often, and using 'renewable energy' more will save it.  It is not true, of course, that they are under undue threat given that their numbers have generally been increasing in recent years

Another picture might show a high wave crashing against a seafront, covering nearby houses in spray, and be accompanied by dire warnings of dramatic rises in sea level underway, even accelerating.  Not true of course, since the slow ongoing rise of sea levels seems to be paying not the slightest attention to rising CO2 levels, and may even be flattening out in recent years as it has over the past thousands of the bigger picture.

But these untruths are helpful when you are making the case that humans are disrupting a fragile nature, heretofore in balance.  And of course, nature is neither fragile overall nor has it ever been 'in balance'.

No matter, we humans must be a bad lot, our inventions, our achievements in engineering and in food production, our tremendous victories over poverty and starvation, and over the vagaries of a variable climate, are to be decried in so far as they produce CO2.  That gas which does not act to raise temperatures like the glass in a greenhouse does, which does not appear to have ever been a driver of climate - in recent years or over millions of years, and whose recent rises coincide with both rising and declining temperatures, and with essentially business as usual as far as other weather or weather-related phenomena such as ice extents are concerned.

The madness over CO2 will surely continue to subside, and as it does, a calmer curriculum on climate will have to be found.  What might it look like?  Here are three items which caught my attention recently and which may be just the sort of thing that could inspire sensible and informative teaching on climate topics.

Item 1.  A simple display to help put CO2 in its proper context as one of many factors influencing climate in interacting ways:

 This diagram is due to Kiminori Itoh who used it in a guest post on the blog Climate Science: Robert Pielke Sr.  Such a diagram is not too complex.  It uses the idea of rivers flowing into each other, with many sources, and more than one outlet - to show more effects than just temperature changes.  CO2 can thus be seen as just one of several contributions, and we can readily imagine there may be many more.  Just as we could imagine a great river system as having innumerable sources or springs.  Feedbacks are not shown, but could be mentioned to appropriate classes by noting, for example, what regional climate changes could lead to more aerosols, or what temperature changes might produce more or less vegetation, or more or less de-gassing of CO2 from the sea.  Contrast the more complex river system with the one above it - which is of course the nearer analogy to the worldview pushed by the leaders of the IPCC.

Item 2.  Many, I'm tempted to say all, of those scientists most agitated by CO2 do not possess much by way of the gravitas associated with great achievement in physics.  Many are more like geographers than scientists in so far as they are documenting and describing and modelling what they believe is taking place rather than deriving results from hard theories which they rigorously test with new data.  There is a video showing an easy-paced talk on climate given in 2010 by a very accomplished physicist, William Happer of Princeton University, reported by Luboš Motl who also provides a summary of the contents.  As Motl notes, it is instructive to listen to the list of achievements of Prof Happer (given by the lady introducing his presentation) and wonder how they might compare with those of physicists on the agitated side of the CO2 debate!

 The video can be downloaded from here:  (I watched it using Quicktime, but to get the soundtrack to work properly when Happer comes on,  I had to mess around a bit.  In the end, I got it to work by adjusting the 'Wave Balance' to the left - a control option which appeared via 'Volume Control' in Windows XP).

Motl is himself a theoretical physicist, a subject about which he blogs as well as on climate.  His views are often expressed quite strongly.  Here is the last paragraph of his above-linked post on this video:

'It's too bad that all the arrogant yet uninformed folks who want to talk about the climate – all these Gores, Hansens, Manns, and similar jerks – can't be forced to learn the basic physics of these physical systems, at least at the level of Prof Happer's talk.'

I commend the presentation because it brings back memories for me of the very high quality of professors I was lucky enough to listen to many decades ago, and who would all, I like to think, have had no truck with the facile and irresponsible alarmism of so many of their counterparts today.  The presentation is calm, the discussion session frank and amiable, and there are no grandiose appeals to authority  nor scaremongering.  It is not perfect - stronger answers would be possible for some of the questions and points made, but it is honest and straightforward.  I think there are videos of Prof Lindzen which convey the same sense and sensibility, and these too could be used to help inspire better materials for schools.

Item 3.  This is a report of a school field trip led by staff from a school in Maryland, USA.  I only saw this today, and am relying on a single report re-published here. (hat-tip Tom Nelson)

The report is on one of the many 'climate alarm' websites (e.g. 'The climate crisis isn’t just some far-off threat: it’s a clear and present danger. Galvanized by this sobering reality, Climate Central has created a unique form of public outreach, informed by our own original research, targeted to local markets, and designed to make Americans feel the power of what’s really happening to the climate. Our goal is not just to inform people, but to inspire them to support the actions needed to keep the crisis from getting worse.) so I hope I am not being misled by it, but I found it encouraging.

The teachers involved do not seem to have set out to scare their pupils, and have also made a point of discussing positive and negative effects of particular changes in climate, or policy options such as oil pipelines.  They also looked at real data, asking 'how do we know?' and 'where is the proof?'  Finally, they were out in the field, not in a laboratory, not in a computer room, not watching a DVD, and doing measurements of their own.  I like to think the teachers will have helped the children feel we are not feeble victims of climate, but rather we can do and have done many things to protect ourselves from its variations.  A sensible level of confidence and optimism about the future would be good results from a calm curriculum on climate.


Global warming demoted in importance

Climate change is the environmental problem that obsesses us, the one that's the focus of high-flying international summits and hardcore national politics. But it's not the only environmental problem — and it's not even the biggest one. That happens to be the crisis in agriculture and land use, the subject of what Jon Foley — the head of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment — calls the "other inconvenient truth." Put simply, the act of feeding 7 billion plus human beings already puts more stress on the planet than any other single activity — and with both population and global wealth continuing to grow, we're going to need to figure out a way to produce more food without further damaging the environment. Otherwise we may end up running out of both food and the planet.

Of course, exactly how we should address these problems is the subject of fierce debate in the U.S. and beyond. Is the solution to go organic as much as possible, or should we focus on trying to extend the fertilizer and irrigation of the Green Revolution to underperforming agricultural areas in Africa and Asia? Do we need to change our diet and reduce meat consumption, or is it simply unrealistic to expect more of us to become semi-vegetarians — especially among the rising global middle class just getting a chance to eat like Americans? How much value do intact forests and wildlife habitat have as we struggle to feed the 1 billion people who go to bed hungry each night? And is it really food production we need to improve, or distribution?

I've had a chance to hear Foley ponder his inconvenient truth a couple of times recently — first at a panel I moderated at the New York Academy of Sciences, and then at the Cooking for Solutions conference at the Monterey Aquarium in California. I like Foley because he can distill the big questions facing the human race in a handful of striking facts or images, but also because he approaches those same questions with a resolute pragmatism you don't always find in the environmental field — especially when it comes to food. "Can we feed the world and sustain the planet?" asks Foley. "Yes it's possible. But not with business as usual."

It's important to understand just how massive global agriculture's footprint really is. First there's simply the matter of land: 6.2 million sq. mi (16 million sq. km) are currently used to grow crops — an amount of land about equal to the size of South America — while 11.6 million sq. mi (30 million sq. km) has been set aside for pastureland, an area equal to the entire African continent. Altogether that's more than 40% of the dry land on the planet. We use 60 times more land to grow and raise food than we do to live on. Farming takes half the world's available freshwater, much of which is used for irrigation. And all that activity — plus the deforestation and degradation that tends to go hand in hand with farming — helps make agriculture the single biggest source of manmade greenhouse gases, more than industry or transportation or electricity generation. "We are running out of everything," says Foley. "We are running out of planet."

That's worrying enough today, given the fact that so many human beings remain hungry even in this moment of unprecedented abundance. But depending on population growth and global diets, we may need to produce twice as much food by mid-century as we do now. The simplest way to grow more food is to farm on more land, but that would come with major environmental consequences. The arable territory that we haven't transformed into cropland or pastureland tends to be forest, including the great rainforests of South America and Asia. Cutting those forests down — as we're already doing now — might help produce more food, but it would come with a major environmental cost. We'd be wiping out the most important wildlife habitats left on this crowded planet, even as we add more carbon to the atmosphere through deforestation. "We need to freeze the footprint of agriculture," says Foley. "We need to farm the land we do farm better."


Green-Left climate change bias easy as ABC


MALE climate-change deniers are like terrorists, pedophiles and slave owners, claimed a contributor on BBC Radio 4's religious affairs slot Thought for the Day last week. By the BBC's lamentable standards, I'm afraid, this is what constitutes reasonable, fair and balanced commentary on the climate-change debate.

But as I've only now begun to appreciate after a month's tour of Australia, the greenie-lefty bias of your own ABC is, if anything, even worse.

In Melbourne, I had a run-in with prickly ABC talk radio host Jon Faine, who kept insisting how "professional" he was being during the course of a brusque, hugely unsympathetic interview in which he interrupted my every answer and tried to tar me as a card-carrying agent of Satan in the pay of Big Oil. Why? Because I have had the temerity to suggest that there is no strong scientific evidence to support the theory of man-made global warming. (Which there isn't).

My reception at Brisbane's local ABC branch was only marginally less frosty. Before I went on, the host actually felt compelled to apologise to his audience for having a "contrarian" such as me on the show. He was doing so in the interests of "balance", he cringeingly explained. "Gee, thanks, mate!" I thought. "With an intro like that anyone would think I was a kiddie-fiddler or a Nazi, not a climate sceptic!"

Now it's not that I'm afraid of tough interviews. Actually -- as I hope I showed to my new best mate Fainey -- I find them rather fun. Rather, my objection to the ABC, as it is to my own country's BBC, is that it acts clearly and persistently in violation of its obligations as a publicly funded national broadcaster. It's supposed to be fair and balanced -- and it is. But only so long as your definition of "fair and balanced" is greener than Christine Milne and further left than Julia Gillard. Which, in my book, isn't very.

Shortly before my interview with the ABC in Brisbane, I had the contrasting pleasure of a live encounter on 2GB with Australia's most popular talk radio host Alan Jones. Well, obviously I was going to enjoy it more: Jones, like me, like most of his listeners, is a climate-change sceptic. Of course, I realise that for some Australians Jones is more toxic than a blue-ringed octopus. But here's the difference between Jones and his ABC counterparts: if you don't like him you don't have to pay for him, not one cent.

Whereas with all the ABC's vast battery of presenters, of course, you do -- no matter how much you may dislike their almost uniformly green-left-progressive politics. (The single exception, as far as I'm aware, is Paul Comrie-Thomson's consistently superb Counterpoint: the ABC's equivalent of one of those Potemkin villages the Soviets used to build to impress visitors with just how free and lovely their country was.)

And you don't only pay for the presenters (and their battalions of support staff), either. You also pay -- out of the $1 billion-plus of your money spent by the government on the ABC each year -- for their lavishly appointed work environments. The studios in which I met the ABC's Steve Austin and 2GB's Jones couldn't have been more different. Austin's was spacious and state-of-the-art in an office building you could have mistaken for that of a law firm or a bank; Jones was squeezed into a shoebox like the Black Hole of Calcutta at the back of an anonymous industrial estate.

Does this reflect their audience size and reach? Of course not: Jones's show is many times more popular than Austin's. Rather, what this illustrates is the massive difference between public and private-sector budgeting. As the ABC shows, if it's coming out of the taxpayer's pocket then money is no object. In the real commercial world, on the other hand, not even the mighty Jones gets the gold star treatment because profligacy is the enemy of profit.

But the fact the ABC offers relatively poor value for money to its shareholders -- Australian taxpayers -- should be the least of your worries. What's of far more concern is the way that for years this fatly overindulged organisation, with its stranglehold on the Australian broadcast media, has been given carte blanche to skew the political debate in a relentlessly leftwards direction.

It's the same in Britain with the ABC's ugly elder sister, the BBC: on any given subject you know what the organisation's position is going to be -- anti-business, pro-regulation, credulous and uncritical on all green issues, slavish in its endorsement of politically correct pieties, always in favour of ever-expanding government.

Which is fine if you believe in that sort of thing but if you don't you have a problem: here you are, forced to dig into your pocket every year to help people whose politics you violently disagree with campaign for all the things you hate. Not only that, but people who are actively seeking to close down alternative points of view.

In Britain we've seen this with the Leveson inquiry, in Australia you've had a (bitter) taste of it with the Finkelstein report, and in the US it's evident in the ongoing attempts by the Left to hamstring (mostly conservative-leaning) talk shows with the Fairness Doctrine. Whatever their professed aims, each one of these represents a bullying attempt by the statist establishment -- fully endorsed and often orchestrated by its friends in the left-leaning mainstream media -- to gag any broadcast organisations that dare dissent from the prevailing politically correct orthodoxy.

One of the things that has always puzzled me about the Left is that for all its fine talk about the virtues of free speech, it's often at least as eager as any authoritarian Right regime to close it down.

Nowhere is this tendency better exemplified than by the behaviour of those two gruesome siblings, the BBC and the ABC: despite their pretensions of even-handedness and social responsibility, the way they abuse their near-monopolistic domination of their country's broadcast media owes more to statist tyrannies than free democracies.



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, 2012

Rare corporate courage and common sense

Wal-Mart stands up to activist intimidation, ensuring affordable, wholesome food for customers

Paul Driessen

Good for Wal-Mart! Despite intense pressure by anti-biotechnology activists, the retailing giant didn’t cave in to demands that it “reject” Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) sweet corn (maize).

Other retailers had capitulated to intimidation campaigns by Food and Water Watch, Greenpeace and similar anti-technology groups: McDonald’s, Heinz, Frito-Lay, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods. So this rare display of corporate courage, ethics and common sense should be applauded.

FWW launched its campaign in January 2012, claiming GE corn “hasn’t been tested for human safety” and contains DNA traits that “are potentially unsafe.” What utter nonsense.

All biotech crops, including GE sweet corn, have gone through years of testing, studies and approval processes by the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Nutrition, Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Environmental Protection Agency and other labs, before being placed on the market. In fact, biotech crops have been tested far more rigorously than any other foods (including organic products), hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have determined that they are safe to eat. In the 16 years since such crops were first introduced in 1996, people have eaten more than two trillion servings of foods containing biotech ingredients – without a single documented case of injury to a person.

We all want safe, nutritious food, grown under the best agricultural and environmental practices. That’s what makes biotechnology so important. By precisely inserting specific traits into the genetic makeup of important food crops, scientists have been able to make many foods safer, equally or more nutritious, and better for the environment. The following traits are especially important.

Herbicide resistance. Corn that is resistant to Roundup or other herbicides enables farmers to employ no-till techniques to control weeds, instead of using cultivators to bury them too deep to grow. This preserves soil nutrients and organic matter, increases water absorption and retention, and significantly reduces erosion – improving soil fertility and crop yields, while reducing irrigation and fuel costs.

Insect resistance. A single gene (derived from a natural soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, and inserted into the corn genome) enables corn plants to make a protein that is harmless to humans, but disrupts the digestive system of insects that munch on the plants’ roots or kernels, while leaving ladybugs, butterflies and other beneficial insects unaffected. The Bt gene augments corn plants’ natural defenses, slashes insecticide spraying (by up to 85% for sweet corn), dramatically reduces corn borer (caterpillar) and rootworm (beetle larvae) damage, keeps roots healthy and plants alive, and minimizes the amount of insect-damaged corn ears that are left to rot in fields or are rejected by consumers and thrown out by grocers.

Corn under corn borer attack

By killing insect borers in the ears, Bt corn largely eliminates pathways for fungal contamination that leads to dangerous levels of fumonisin in corn meal. This fungal toxin causes fatal diseases in horses and is linked to esophageal cancer in people and neural tube defects (like spinal bifida) in developing fetuses.

These benefits are hugely important for US farmers; for consumers who want safe, affordable, nutritious food; and especially for farmers and consumers in poor, drought-stricken, insect-plagued regions like Africa. They mean less land must be devoted to crops, leaving more for wildlife habitat, thereby improving biodiversity and ensuring sustainable agriculture. They explain why 10% of US sweet corn is already Bt (Syngenta introduced its Bt sweet corn more than a decade ago), 70% of processed foods in American diets contain ingredients from biotech crops (including corn, squash, soybeans, canola, sugarbeets and papayas), 88% of all corn (field and sweet) grown in the USA is biotech, and 17 million farmers in 29 nations (90% in developing countries) grow biotech crops on 395 million acres.

Wal-Mart doubtless understood all or most of this – and was not going be bamboozled or intimidated by a few noisy activists who did not represent its customers, sound science or the public interest.

Those activists may actually believe their allegations. They certainly know how to generate letters and phone calls, harass businesses, and frighten urban consumers who’ve never been on a farm, know little about how their food is produced, don’t understand genetics or biotechnology, and are thus susceptible to clever hoaxes and ridiculous claims by activists, who are often enlisted and paid by organic producers and retailers that profit mightily from their land and labor-intensive alternatives to conventional food.

In any event, Wal-Mart didn’t cave. So a few months later Food and Water Watch sent out a “we give up” letter, whining that Wal-Mart had “ignored the petitions, calls and public pressure” it had orchestrated. (Its 370-word letter included nine separate pitches for contributions.)

FWW also announced that it was launching a new campaign – to get state and federal laws passed, requiring that all GE foods be labeled. The proclaimed justification for labeling is that “people have a right to know what’s in their food and how it is produced.” The real reason is that labels will make it easier for anti-biotech activists to single out and stigmatize biotech products, generate consumer anxiety, and intimidate grocers into taking nutritious and perfectly safe products off their shelves.

While “progressive” (anti-business) states like California and Oregon may go along with this nonsense, responsible legislators will tell the activists to take a hike. Or they could require that all foods carry relevant (and spooky) safety labels, and consumers be offered more detailed information (prepared by competitors). For instance, lawmakers could mandate that organic products carry warnings like these.

* No studies have ever demonstrated that organic products are safer or more nutritious than milk, meat, fruits or vegetables produced by conventional or biotech methods.

* Various organic crops were developed using gamma rays, x-rays and potent chemicals like colchicine, to induce numerous (mostly unknown) mutations in seeds, in the hope that a few might be beneficial.

* Many organic farmers regularly spray live Bt spores and proteins, copper sulfate, petroleum oils and other insecticidal chemicals, to control crop pests. Some secretly use chemical herbicides and insecticides.

* Random testing has found that biotech corn meal has fumonisin levels well below the 500 parts per billion regulatory limit, whereas pure (non-blended) organic corn meal is often far above the limit – with some organic corn meal testing at 9,000 or even 16,000 ppb: 18-32 times above safety standards.

* Mad cow disease was first found on an English organic farm – and some organic dairy farmers continue milking cows infected with mastitis until the animals die, rather than treating them with antibiotics.

* The deadly spinach E. Coli outbreak several years ago was traced to a farm that was in transition from conventional to organic. Organic produce is always more susceptible to bacterial contamination, because the farmers rely on manure instead of chemical fertilizers (many derived from nitrogen in the air).

All these statements are true – but largely irrelevant. Thanks to regulations, inspections, and responsible practices by seed producers, farmers, processors and retailers, America’s food is generally very safe. The few occasional E. coli and salmonella outbreaks could be prevented by irradiating the most susceptible fruits, vegetables and meats – but anti-biotech activists also oppose irradiation. Go figure.

We’d all be better off if these ridiculous attacks on conventional and biotech (and organic) foods were simply thrown out with the garbage. Most critically, Third World farmers and families would suffer far less poverty, malnutrition, starvation, Vitamin A deficiency and deprivation, if anti-biotech activists (especially in Europe) would end their fanatical obsession about “potential” biotech “contamination” of conventional and organic foods (and flowers!) imported from Africa and other impoverished regions.

Meanwhile, let’s all congratulate Wal-Mart for taking a principled, ethical, scientific stand.


Hansen – The Climate Chiropractor

Need your climate adjusted? – call Dr. James Hansen at GISS. Below is a chronology of the destruction and politicization of the US and global temperature record.

The Northern Hemisphere used to have a broken hockey stick problem. According to the National Academy Of Sciences in 1975, the hemisphere had cooled 0.7C since the 1930s, and was colder than it was at the turn of century.

Dr. Hansen realized he had a problem when he took over – that data didn’t look anything like a hockey stick. So he fixed it! You can do such cool stuff when you are pushing an agenda, and you control the historical record.

The figure below shows Hansen’s remarkable changes to the pre-1975 temperature data. He simply removed that pesky warm period from 1890 to 1940.

But that was just the beginning of Hansen’s history rewrite. He had another problem – the United States.

Until the year 2000, the US temperature graph looked very similar to the 1975 NAS Northern Hemisphere graph.

Overlay below.

Hansen’s problem was that he had fixed the data for the rest of the world, but the US data was still not looking like a hockey stick.

Phil Jones and NOAA had clearly stated that there was no warming in the US.
February 04, 1989

Last week, scientists from the United States Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that a study of temperature readings for the contiguous 48 states over the last century showed there had been no significant change in average temperature over that period.

Dr. (Phil) Jones said in a telephone interview today that his own results for the 48 states agreed with those findings.

In 1999, Hansen himself said that he didn’t see much happening in the US.
Empirical evidence does not lend much support to the notion that climate is headed precipitately toward more extreme heat and drought. The drought of 1999 covered a smaller area than the 1988 drought, when the Mississippi almost dried up. And 1988 was a temporary inconvenience as compared with repeated droughts during the 1930s “Dust Bowl” that caused an exodus from the prairies, as chronicled in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath…..

in the U.S. there has been little temperature change in the past 50 years, the time of rapidly increasing greenhouse gases — in fact, there was a slight cooling throughout much of the country

Undaunted by reality, all the evidence, and millions of temperature records – in the year 2000 Dr. Hansen and Tom Karl at NOAA adjusted the US temperature record to make it look like Hansen’s already adjusted global temperature record.

Below is an animation of their handiwork. 1934 was no longer the hottest year, and the 1930s was no longer the hottest decade. Hansen essentially erased the Dust Bowl.

Conclusion. US and global surface temperature records are so corrupted as to be meaningless.

More HERE (See the original for links)

"Nature" magazine warns that scientific findings are full of systematic bias

Evidence is mounting that research is riddled with systematic errors. Left unchecked, this could erode public trust, warns Daniel Sarewitz below:

Alarming cracks are starting to penetrate deep into the scientific edifice. They threaten the status of science and its value to society. And they cannot be blamed on the usual suspects — inadequate funding, misconduct, political interference, an illiterate public. Their cause is bias, and the threat they pose goes to the heart of research.

Bias is an inescapable element of research, especially in fields such as biomedicine that strive to isolate cause–effect relations in complex systems in which relevant variables and phenomena can never be fully identified or characterized. Yet if biases were random, then multiple studies ought to converge on truth. Evidence is mounting that biases are not random. A Comment in Nature in March reported that researchers at Amgen were able to confirm the results of only six of 53 'landmark studies' in preclinical cancer research (C. G. Begley & L. M. Ellis Nature 483, 531–533; 2012). For more than a decade, and with increasing frequency, scientists and journalists have pointed out similar problems.

Early signs of trouble were appearing by the mid-1990s, when researchers began to document systematic positive bias in clinical trials funded by the pharmaceutical industry. Initially these biases seemed easy to address, and in some ways they offered psychological comfort. The problem, after all, was not with science, but with the poison of the profit motive. It could be countered with strict requirements to disclose conflicts of interest and to report all clinical trials.

Yet closer examination showed that the trouble ran deeper. Science's internal controls on bias were failing, and bias and error were trending in the same direction — towards the pervasive over-selection and over-reporting of false positive results. The problem was most provocatively asserted in a now-famous 2005 paper by John Ioannidis, currently at Stanford University in California: 'Why Most Published Research Findings Are False' (J. P. A. Ioannidis PLoS Med. 2, e124; 2005). Evidence of systematic positive bias was turning up in research ranging from basic to clinical, and on subjects ranging from genetic disease markers to testing of traditional Chinese medical practices.

How can we explain such pervasive bias? Like a magnetic field that pulls iron filings into alignment, a powerful cultural belief is aligning multiple sources of scientific bias in the same direction. The belief is that progress in science means the continual production of positive findings. All involved benefit from positive results, and from the appearance of progress. Scientists are rewarded both intellectually and professionally, science administrators are empowered and the public desire for a better world is answered. The lack of incentives to report negative results, replicate experiments or recognize inconsistencies, ambiguities and uncertainties is widely appreciated — but the necessary cultural change is incredibly difficult to achieve.

Researchers seek to reduce bias through tightly controlled experimental investigations. In doing so, however, they are also moving farther away from the real-world complexity in which scientific results must be applied to solve problems. The consequences of this strategy have become acutely apparent in mouse-model research. The technology to produce unlimited numbers of identical transgenic mice attracts legions of researchers and abundant funding because it allows for controlled, replicable experiments and rigorous hypothesis-testing — the canonical tenets of 'scientific excellence'. But the findings of such research often turn out to be invalid when applied to humans.

A biased scientific result is no different from a useless one. Neither can be turned into a real-world application. So it is not surprising that the cracks in the edifice are showing up first in the biomedical realm, because research results are constantly put to the practical test of improving human health. Nor is it surprising, even if it is painfully ironic, that some of the most troubling research to document these problems has come from industry, precisely because industry's profits depend on the results of basic biomedical science to help guide drug-development choices.

Scientists rightly extol the capacity of research to self-correct. But the lesson coming from biomedicine is that this self-correction depends not just on competition between researchers, but also on the close ties between science and its application that allow society to push back against biased and useless results.

It would therefore be naive to believe that systematic error is a problem for biomedicine alone. It is likely to be prevalent in any field that seeks to predict the behaviour of complex systems — economics, ecology, environmental science, epidemiology and so on. The cracks will be there, they are just harder to spot because it is harder to test research results through direct technological applications (such as drugs) and straightforward indicators of desired outcomes (such as reduced morbidity and mortality).

Nothing will corrode public trust more than a creeping awareness that scientists are unable to live up to the standards that they have set for themselves. Useful steps to deal with this threat may range from reducing the hype from universities and journals about specific projects, to strengthening collaborations between those involved in fundamental research and those who will put the results to use in the real world. There are no easy solutions. The first step is to face up to the problem — before the cracks undermine the very foundations of science.


Green grief

Periodically I like to review the news from the gay world of Gaia worship — that is, to pass along the latest stories on all matters green. And there is a lot to report.

Start with some interesting news from the animal kingdom. Despite sad sagas of emperor penguins disappearing as Antarctica allegedly melts (allegedly because of our greedy species’ greenhouse gas emissions), a recent story reports that more studies — ones that use satellite imagery to count the nattily attired birds — reveal that the penguins are doing just fine. By former estimates, there are about 270,000 to 350,000 of the waddling beasts. Now it appears that in reality, there are 595,000 of them! The aerial survey discovered a whole flock of new colonies. If the ice is melting, it doesn’t seem to be harming these birds.

Moving quickly to the other pole of the Earth: polar bears are also in great demographic shape. The bears have been centerpieces in some of the most lurid global warming tales: remember the infamous shot of a miserable looking polar bear clinging to a tiny ice floe. Because of such tales, the US put polar bears on the endangered species list. This, in spite of the fact that the beasts are far from cuddly — they are one of the few predators with a taste for human flesh, especially the human liver (with or without Fava beans).

But another recent story reports that in the crucial Nunavut region of Canada, the polar bear population — which in 2004 had been estimated at around 935 (22% lower than estimates made 20 years earlier), and was projected to fall even further, to 610 animals by 2011 — has now been more accurately counted. The Canadian government did aerial surveys and found 1,013 cute but vicious carnivores in that region alone. The population, far from dwindling, seems to be thriving, despite global warming and illegal hunting. (polar bear pelts fetch up to $15,000 in Russia and China, and about 450 bears are illegally killed each year). Despite the heat and the hunters, the polar bear population now appears to have reached the highest peak ever recorded — something like 25,000 across the Canadian Arctic.

Reports such as these are continually coming in. They may be the reason that no less a green guru than scientist James Lovelock, the fellow who came up with the whole “Gaia Concept,” now admits that his earlier warnings about a rapidly heating, life-killing earth were alarmist.

Turning now to green energy, here too a slew of politically incorrect reports continues to gut the Great Green Narrative. Start with the fascinating news that a recent survey of hybrid car owners (conducted by R.L. Polk and associates) indicates that hybrid owners of any model are unlikely to buy another hybrid — either the same model or any other. These are not good tidings for the future growth of the hybrid car market, as it shows that actual experience with the product tends to make consumers dislike it. Hardly a good omen.

The Polk data show that only 35% of hybrid owners of any brand bought another hybrid of any sort. At the high end was the Prius, but only 41% of Prius owners bought another hybrid (again, of any sort). At the other end of the scale is the Honda hybrid: only a pathetic 20% of Honda owners went on to buy another hybrid of any sort. And the aggregate numbers bear this poll out. At their peak in 2008 (when domestic gas prices hit their highest level ever), hybrid sales were only a miserable 2.9% of the American car market. Last year they dropped to 2.4%.

The problem is several-fold. First, regular internal combustion engines keep getting better and better gas mileage. The 2013 Nissan Altima is rated at 38 mpg, and the Ford Fusion is rated at 37 mpg — both quite close to what hybrids deliver. Second, hybrids are more expensive than similar internal combustion engine models. Indeed, it can take seven to ten years of ownership merely to recover the extra cost, and many Americans like to change cars more often than that.

And, by the bye, hybrids actually seem to get lower gas mileage than the EPA estimates. A recent piece reports that the EPA overestimated hybrid gas efficiency by 20% before 2008 and is still overestimating it now. This report also notes that as much as 40% of any real gas savings by hybrids is nullified by the extra driving done by the owners. The report reminds us that hybrids have batteries with lots of acid, lead, and other toxic crap, all of which requires enormous amounts of energy to mine and manufacture, and which subsequently fouls the environment when the batteries wear out and must be disposed of.

Finally — and this the article doesn’t note — most Americans view hybrids as cramped, clunky, slow, and butt-ugly.

Checking now on green power, we discover the great news that First Solar, maker of solar equipment, is cutting a third of its work force — over 2,000 jobs — closing a factory in Germany, halting another in Vietnam, and postponing the opening of yet another in Arizona. The company has lost 83% of its market capitalization over the past year, while losing nearly $40 million in the same period. The problem in this case is simple and clear. It is cheaper for power companies to buy solar panels from China. More importantly, countries around the world are cutting subsidies for solar power — and without government aid, solar is generally uncompetitive.

Grimly ironic is the report that BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah solar power project, located in the Mojave Desert, is killing desert tortoises — an endangered species! The Ivanpah project is huge: it will use 3,500 acres of public land — six square miles! — and cost $2 billion to produce only 400 megawatts of electricity at max (i.e., when the sun is shining overhead and no clouds are present). BrightSource says it has paid $56 million to help protect the environment, but tortoises are still dying. They die because even after BrightSource moved them out of the way of the construction, they still got crushed under truck tires or became vulnerable to predators. One research ecologist — Jeff Lovich, who has studied the impact of “renewable” energy projects on desert tortoises — notes, “What I determined is science is playing catch-up to energy concerns. . . . This is all a grand experiment and we need more research — both on the short-term effects and the long-term effects that projects like these are going to have on the wildlife and the ecosystem.” But he concludes ruefully, “For the desert tortoise, it really is death by a thousand cuts.”

So, surprise, solar power farms destroy flora and fauna. No surprise here, really — remember, wind farms also destroy massive amounts of wildlife — specifically, birds. American wind farms shred about 400,000 birds a year. The problem again is physics. Solar and wind power are just power derived directly or indirectly from the sun, and they collect only feeble amounts of solar radiation. Thus either form of energy requires a huge footprint — you need many acres of solar collectors or wind turbines to get appreciable amounts of power, compared to a small nuclear or fossil fuel powered plant. And bigness is bad for small animals.

About wind power there is a spate of bad news. Start with the report out of Nevada on the results of one of the state’s programs to get people to install wind turbines (especially outside of cities). The report points out that one of these programs, started five years ago, is already proving a costly, miserable failure.

Specifically, Rich Hamilton of the Clean Energy Center testified to the state Public Utilities Commission about the program’s problems. For one thing, the PUC gives rebates to customers who put up turbines, whether or not they actually generate appreciable energy. Under the 2007 law, the state has paid $46 million for 150 wind turbines. But in Reno, for example, the $416,000 it spent on wind turbines resulted in its receiving $150,000 in rebates but a laughable $2,800 savings in electricity costs. The bureaucrat who runs Reno’s renewable energy program, one Jason Geddes, had an amazing suggestion: accurately research wind patterns before building turbines. Obviously, this hasn't been done up till now.

Then there is the hilarious news that wind power may be harming the environment in a hitherto unsuspected way. We’ve known all along that wind turbines massacre birds. But it turns out that wind power actually increases ground temperature around the turbines. This is the result of a study published by Liming Zhou in the journal Nature Climate Change. Apparently the turbine blades pull down warmer air, displacing the cooler air on the ground.

The reason this is bad news is that heat can hurt crops and cattle, or the native ecosystem. This is especially troublesome for Texas (where the study was done), because it is already suffering from a drought and uses night irrigation, which may be affected by the action of the turbines.

Add to all that the Reuters report about Obama’s green energy jobs program. Despite his promise that his green energy push would create “millions” of jobs, it has been a costly failure. Since 2009, for example, during a period when the oil and gas industry created 75,000 high-paying blue-collar jobs — even in the face of a regulatory blitzkrieg by the Obama administration — the wind industry lost 10,000 jobs. Obama's $500 million green energy “job training” program was guaranteed to produce 80,000 jobs by 2013. So far, it has trained a miserable 20,000, to what lame standards we can only guess. Even the administration’s own Labor Department’s inspector general recommended last year that the department should end the boondoggle and give the unspent money back to the treasury.

The report gives figures that show a paradigm deflating. In 2008, Obama boastfully promised that if the taxpayers spent $150 billion on green energy, it would create five million jobs. A year later, VP Biden more modestly promised that the $90 billion in tax dollars then put aside for green energy jobs would buy 722,000 of them. A year after that (November 2010), the administration could show only 225,000 jobs created, and even that estimate appears to have been overly optimistic.

The green statist worldview faces a huge and swelling number of anomalies. That wouldn’t normally be so bad — every worldview faces some anomalies, after all. But the enviro worldview is the one being shoved down our throats. That is, it is the one that is being used by the state and federal governments to limit our liberties and prosperity, and to do so in a massive way.


Climate Nazis


What is it with the "warmists", Al Gore and his clones who keep insisting the Earth is warming, that too much carbon dioxide (CO2) will be the death of us, and that we have to immediately stop burning "fossil fuels" if we are to save the planet? They are the most relentless liars on the face of the planet.

They want us to cover the surface of the U.S. with solar panels and the mountains with wind turbines to generate the energy needed for everything we do. These Green energy alternatives are so wonderful they are producing a mere three percent of our current needs, require government subsidies and loan guarantees to exist, and tend not to be all that great when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing.

So why are we still hearing from this discredited and disgraced bunch of charlatans and buffoons? In early May, The New York Times published "Game Over for the Climate" by a major offender of the truth, Dr. James Hansen, who for some reason is still the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), despite having pocketed big bucks beyond his humble government salary. In 2007 he split a million dollar Dan Davis Prize with someone else and in 2001, received a $250,000 Heinz Award. Former GISS employees want him fired.

As debased as The Times is, in 2006 the American Association for the Advancement of Science selected Hansen to receive their Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility. I cite this as a warning that even a Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper and formerly respected science organization have long since gone over to the dark side when it comes to global warming. Nothing they have to say on the subject should be regarded as more than pure propaganda.

Suffice to say that Dr. Hansen's opinion article cited every global warming lie we have been hearing since 1988 when he first gained famed testifying before a congressional committee that we were doomed. In his Times article, he predicted that the "semi-permanent drought" would turn the Midwest into "a dust bowl." Like every other global warming prediction (that hasn't come true) this will happen "over the next several decades." Time enough for Dr. Hansen to pick up a few more awards and fatten his bank account.

The face of the global warming hoax, Al Gore, will not shut up. He made news in August 2011 when he totally lost it while speaking at the Aspen Institute. Anyone, noted climatologists, meteorologists, and mere science writers like myself were the target of his rant for actually citing things such as the fact that the Earth has been in a natural COOLING cycle since 1998 and other inconvenient facts about the climate.

"And some of the exact same people" said Gore, frothing at the mouth, "I can go down a list of their names-are involved in this. And so what do they do? They pay pseudo-scientists to pretend to be scientists to put out the message. ‘This climate thing, it's nonsense. Man-made CO2 doesn't trap heat. It may be volcanoes' Bullshit! ‘It may be sun spots.' Bullshit! ‘It's not getting warmer.' Bullshit!"

The climate is not cooperating. The Church of Global Warming is crumbling around them. People are making fun of them. Parents are objecting to their scaring children with their lies. People actually want to warm their homes in winter and cool them in the summer. Meanwhile, using the global warming lies, the Environmental Protection Agency is trying to shut down the entire U.S. coal mining industry and attacking "fracking" to access natural gas. The Department of the Interior has virtually shut down all oil drilling on federal land and offshore. How crazed is all this?

One of their number, Dr. Peter Gleick, formerly of the American Geophysical Union's Task Force on Scientific Ethics-the irony is too delicious-perpetrated a fraud against The Heartland Institute earlier this year, pretending to be a member of its board in order to secure a list of its donors and allegedly authoring a memo about a scheme to invade the nation's schoolrooms with a program to dispute global warming. After confessing to the former, he resigned from the task force. An FBI probe is underway to determine if he broke any laws. Heartland has dubbed it "Fakegate."

The Institute, by the way, is sponsoring its 7th annual conference on climate change, May 21-23, in Chicago, immediately following the NATO conference that will be held in the windy city where it is headquartered. Its theme this year is "Real Science, Real Choices." Among the speakers will be Czech President Vaclav Klaus, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, vice chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and two former NASA astronauts.

The lesson we can draw from the last few decades is that the entire environmental movement, of which the global warming hoax is one part, is an extension of what Dr. Robert Zubin, a Senior Fellow with the Center for Security Policy, addressed in his new book, "Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalism, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism."

Antihumanism has been around a long time. As Dr. Zubin points out, it has taken the form of "Darwinism, eugenics, German militarism, Nazism, xenophobia, the population control movement, environmentalism, technophobia, and most recently, the incredibly demented climatophobic movement, which seeks to justify mass human sacrifice for the purpose of weather control."

Al Gore, James Hansen, and even President Obama's science advisor, John Holden, are card-carrying members of this cult. In 1971 Holden co-authored "Global Ecology" with Paul Ehrlich, famed for his 1968 book, "The Population Bomb." They wrote "when a population of organisms grows in a finite environment, sooner or later, it will encounter a resource limit. This phenomenon, described by ecologists as reaching the ‘carrying capacity' of the environment, applies to bacteria on a culture dish, to fruit flies in a jar of agar, and to buffalo on a prairie. It must also apply to man on this finite planet."

So you need to understand that you are no better than a fruit fly and you need to die in order to avoid depleting the planet's supply of food and its energy resources.

God knows I would like to ignore or-better still-never have to hear from these climate Nazis, but that is not going to happen so long as The New York Times, the United Nations, and a host of others keep repeating their lethal lies.


Leaked Strategy Paper: EU Plans To Phase Out Green Energy Subsidies

The economic cost of the expansion of renewable energy could become prohibitively expensive. Subsidies in the EU for solar and wind power should be phased out as quickly as possible. That is what the European Commission says in an internal draft strategy paper that EU Energy Commissioner, Günther Oettinger, will present in Brussels early next month.

In doing so, the EU Commission is supporting the German government which wants to reduce solar subsidies by up to 30 percent, a plan which has met with resistance in the Upper House of the German Parliament.

The expansion and especially the maturity of renewable energy such as solar and wind power have grown much faster than expected, the strategy paper points out. The cost of photovoltaic systems, for instance, had fallen by 48 percent in the last five years. The cost for the construction of offshore wind farms had decreased by 12 percent since 2008. In light of these developments, member states would have to make their programmes more flexible to phase them out.

At the expense of taxpayers

If green subsidy programmes are too rigid, there is a risk that producers would be over-compensated and the cost of developing renewable energy would become intolerable, the paper warns. The sharp decline in the cost of many new green energy sources together with the strong expansion of solar and wind energy had driven the cost for consumers and, in some cases, for taxpayers sharply higher. For many people, energy costs were already too high, especially in light of the difficult economic situation today. The price for renewable energy such as solar and wind power would therefore have to be left entirely to the forces of the free market and as quickly as possible.

However, the Commission does not intend to abolish all forms of renewable subsidies. The development of newer green energy sources, such as geothermal or novel solar thermal power plants, that are not yet commercially viable should be encouraged even beyond the year 2020.

Harmonisation of green subsidies among member states

In its strategy paper, the Commission also calls for the harmonisation of national subsidy and support programmes. The Commission has been criticising the coexistence of different support systems for some time. This dicrepancy has led to the inefficient use of renewable energy within the EU given that they have often been developed in countries where they are simply inappropriate. Instead of subsidising the expansion of solar energy in Northern Europe, for example, the Commission wants these nations to finance their expansion in sunny countries like Greece. The paper specifically mentions the so-called Helios Project in Greece. Energy generated in such projects could then be counted towards the renewable targets which Northern Europeans have signed up.

Until now, the German government has opposed any such Europe-wide plan because it would put in question Germany’s Renewable Energy Law (EEG) in which the feed-in tariff for renewable energy is set out. Not a single German party is currently prepared to agree to such a plan.



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, 2012

The Face of Genocidal Eco-Fascism

I am not exaggerating.

This is Finnish writer Pentti Linkola — a man who demands that the human population reduce its size to around 500 million and abandon modern technology and the pursuit of economic growth — in his own words. He likens Earth today to an overflowing lifeboat:
What to do, when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and there is only one lifeboat? When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship’s axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides.

He sees America as the root of the problem:
The United States symbolises the worst ideologies in the world: growth and freedom.

He unapologetically advocates bloodthirsty dictatorship:
Any dictatorship would be better than modern democracy. There cannot be so incompetent a dictator that he would show more stupidity than a majority of the people. The best dictatorship would be one where lots of heads would roll and where government would prevent any economical growth.

We will have to learn from the history of revolutionary movements — the national socialists, the Finnish Stalinists, from the many stages of the Russian revolution, from the methods of the Red Brigades — and forget our narcissistic selves.

A fundamental, devastating error is to set up a political system based on desire. Society and life have been organized on the basis of what an individual wants, not on what is good for him or her.

As is often the way with extremist central planners Linkola believes he knows what is best for each and every individual, as well as society as a whole:
Just as only one out of 100,000 has the talent to be an engineer or an acrobat, only a few are those truly capable of managing the matters of a nation or mankind as a whole. In this time and this part of the World we are headlessly hanging on democracy and the parliamentary system, even though these are the most mindless and desperate experiments of mankind. In democratic coutries the destruction of nature and sum of ecological disasters has accumulated most. Our only hope lies in strong central government and uncompromising control of the individual citizen.

In that sense, Linkola’s agenda is really nothing new; it is as old as humans. And I am barely scratching the surface; Linkola has called for “some trans-national body like the UN” to reduce the population “via nuclear weapons” or with “bacteriological and chemical attacks”.

But really he is just another freedom-hating authoritarian — like the Nazis and Stalinists he so admires — who desires control over his fellow humans. Ecology, I think, is window-dressing. Certainly, he seems to have no real admiration or even concept of nature as a self-sustaining, self-organising mechanism, or faith that nature will be able to overcome whatever humanity throws at it. Nor does he seem to have any appreciation for the concept that humans are a product of and part of nature; if nature did not want us doing what we do nature would never have produced us. Nature is greater and smarter than we will probably ever be. I trust nature; Linkola seems to think he knows better. As George Carlin noted:
We’re so self-important. Everybody’s gonna save something now. Save the trees. Save the bees. Save the whales. Save those snails. And the greatest arrogance of all, save the planet. What? Are these f*cking people kidding me? Save the planet? We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven’t learned how to care for one another and we’re gonna save the f*cking planet?

There is nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The people are f*cked. Difference. The planet is fine.

Linkola and similar thinkers seem to have no real interest in meeting the challenges of life on Earth. Their platform seems less about the environment and more about exerting control over the rest of humanity. Linkola glories in brutality, suffering and mass-murder.

Now Linkola is just one fringe voice. But he embodies the key characteristic of the environmental movement today: the belief that human beings are a threat to their environment, and in order for that threat to be neutralised, governments must take away our rights to make our own decisions and implement some form of central planning. Linkola, of course, advocates an extreme and vile form of Malthusianism including genocide, forced abortion and eugenics.

But all forms of central planning are a dead end and lead inexorably toward breakdown; as Hayek demonstrated conclusively in the 1930s central planners have always had a horrible track record in decision making, because their decisions lack the dynamic feedback mechanism present in the market. This means that capital and labour are misallocated, and anyone who has studied even a cursory history of the USSR or Maoist China knows the kinds of outcomes that this has lead to: at best the rotting ghost cities of China today, and at worst the mass starvation of the Great Leap Forward resulting in millions of deaths and untold misery.

Environmentalists should instead pursue ideas that respect individual liberty and markets. There is more potential in developing technical solutions to environmental challenges than there is in implementing central planning.

If we are emitting excessive quantities of CO2 we don’t have to resort to authoritarian solutions. It’s far easier to develop and market technologies (that already exist today) like carbon scrubbing trees that can literally strip CO2 out of the air than it is to try and develop and enforce top-down controlling rules and regulations on individual carbon output. Or (even more simply), plant lots of trees and other such foliage (e.g. algae).

If the dangers of non-biodegradable plastic threaten our oceans, then develop and market processes (that already exist today) to clean up these plastics.

Worried about resource depletion? Asteroid mining can give us access to thousands of tonnes of metals, water, and even hydrocarbons (methane, etc). For more bountiful energy, synthetic oil technology exists today. And of course, more capturable solar energy hits the Earth in sunlight in a single day than we use in a year.

The real problem with centrally-planned Malthusian population reduction programs is that they greatly underestimate the value of human beings.

More people means more potential output — both in economic terms, as well as in terms of ideas. Simply, the more people on the planet, the more hours and brainpower we have to create technical solutions to these challenges. After all, the expansion of human capacity through technical development was precisely how humanity overcame the short-sighted and foolish apocalypticism of Thomas Malthus who wrongly predicted an imminent population crash in the 19th century.

My suggestion for all such thinkers is that if they want to reduce the global population they should measure up to their words and go first.


Obama wants it to be a lot more expensive to go Green (!)

Whose side is he on?

The Obama administration called Thursday for hefty tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels and cells, arguing China has been illegally "dumping" under-priced products on the U.S. market.

The preliminary ruling by the U.S. Department of Commerce seeks tariffs ranging from 31% to 250% on solar products imported from China. A final decision is expected later this year.

The trade case has divided the U.S. solar industry. Some manufacturers say China's subsidies have made it difficult for them to compete, causing several bankruptcies such as Solyndra's. Other U.S. solar companies say tariffs could hike solar panel prices, inflame trade tensions and stunt the industry's growth.

Commerce's ruling "is a bellwether decision," Steve Ostrenga, chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based Helios Solar Works, said in a statement. "It underscores the importance of domestic manufacturing to the U.S. economy and will help determine whether the country will be a global competitor in clean technologies or outsource them China. It is also critically important for thousands of U.S. workers."

Other U.S. solar companies said they would push for much lower tariffs,. They argue most solar-industry jobs are in sales, marketing, design, installation, engineering and maintenance of solar projects and higher solar prices could result in layoffs.

"This decision will increase solar electricity prices in the U.S. precisely at the moment solar power is becoming competitive with fossil fuel generated electricity," Jigar Shah, the president of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, which opposes the tariffs, said in a statement.

In October, Helios, N.J.-based MX Solar USA joined Oregon-based SolarWorld Industries America in filing a petition with the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission. They alleged Chinese manufacturers were illegally dumping solar cells and panels in the U.S. market and receiving billions in illegal subsidies.

In a preliminary decision in March, Commerce agreed that China had provided subsidies deemed illegal by the World Trade Organization and imposed tariffs of 2.9% to 4.7%, which were significantly lower than what the petitioners sought.

Commerce's ruling Thursday said Wuxi Suntech and Trina Solar will face tariffs of 31.22 and 31.14%, respectively, and 59 other solar panel exporters will be hit with a 31.18% tariff. The rest of the Chinese export market will face a 249.96% tariff. The tariffs apply to crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and will be retroactive for 90 days.

The department is expected to make its final decision this fall and will begin collecting the tariffs if the International Trade Commission determines in November that the under-priced panels are injuring the solar industry.

The Solar Energy Industries Association, the solar industry's trade group, called on China and the United States to work together to resolve the issue. Since it represents a wide range of solar companies, it has not taken an official position on the trade case.


Oil Production: United States Is Capable of Out-Producing World

President Obama has repeatedly asserted that the United States cannot drill its way to energy independence. This claim has been used as justification for extensive and costly efforts to develop renewable energy sources, says Investor's Business Daily.

However, a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) undermines the president's assumption. Focusing on the Green River Formation in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, GAO Director of Natural Resources and Environment Anu Mittal told Congress recently that just one small part of the United States is capable of out-producing the rest of the planet.

* The Green River Formation has been dubbed America's Persia on the Plains -- an area with recoverable oil in an amount estimated at four times the proven resources of Saudi Arabia.

* Given the current U.S. daily oil consumption of 19.5 million barrels, the staggering amount of Green River reserves would by itself supply domestic oil consumption for more than 200 years.

* The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil.

* The Rand Corporation estimates that 30 percent to 60 percent of this oil can be recovered.

This discovery undermines the president's oft-repeated claim that the United States contains only 2 percent of the world's proven reserves. Simultaneously, it begs the question as to why the federal government is doing its best to restrict the development of this government resource and create an artificial choke on fossil fuels.

Indeed, actions by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Environmental Protection Agency and President Obama himself seem bent on making domestic oil production as difficult as possible.

* Seventy-two percent of the oil shale within the Green River Formation lies beneath federal lands managed by BLM, meaning that the government holds the reins to the oil's extraction.

* Ninety-four percent of federal onshore lands and 97 percent of federal offshore lands are off-limits to oil and gas drilling.

* In fact, the Obama administration recently rescinded 77 oil and gas leases in Utah.


CBO "Energy Security" Report Exemplifies Washington's Failures

It’s no wonder most Americans don’t trust politicians and government agencies in Washington, D.C. Too often the city’s power brokers offer talking points that seem to fly in the face of logic. Now, a report from the Congressional Budget Office on U.S. energy security serves as the most recent example as to why American’s take information from Washington, D.C. with a hearty grain of salt.

In their report “Energy Security in the United States” the agency makes many errors that one would hope the analytical arm of Congress might avoid. Among these, the report dismisses entirely the idea that increased domestic oil production can have even a modest impact on U.S. energy security. It makes this determination by accepting the premise, without question, that increased U.S. oil production will be offset by decreased production elsewhere. Such a one-for-one assumption is overly simplistic, denies the most basic principles of the marketplace, and makes the report look more like a collection of election year talking points than an effort to provide clarity to U.S. energy policy.

One of the most egregious oversights is the fact the report never even mentions the enormity of North America’s newly found resource base. New technologies have caused resource estimates in the western hemisphere to skyrocket. One example, the discovery of technology to economically produce the Canadian Oil Sands increased that nation’s reserves to approximately 175 billion barrels of oil. Similar developments have increased our resource potential as well. For example, the Energy Information Administration indicates the U.S. now contains more than 198 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil. Taken together, these resources total approximately 373 billion barrels of oil, more than the reserves of Iraq and Iran combined. For this reason, recent studies and news articles have highlighted the U.S. can gain energy independence – or at the very least self-sufficiency- within the next few decades. This seems to be a pretty large omission for a report focused on our nation’s energy security.

However, what’s more important than the size of these newly available resources is the stability of the governments overlaying them. Adding a resource base that exceeds two of the top five OPEC nations not only increases the global supply of oil, it makes that supply more politically stable. It does so by reducing the leverage, and influence, of producing nations prone to political instability- a key determinant in global price stability.

The report’s errors don’t end in failing to recognize our enormous resource potential. Even if one accepts the premise that increased U.S. production will automatically be offset by decreased production elsewhere the report still misses the mark on its U.S. energy security predictions. The reason for this is simple. This view completely ignores the additional capacities that will rise as new resources are discovered or as production from older resources is curtailed. The mere presence of these additional resources, and the ability to produce them, serves as a downward force on global oil prices. After all, when additional capacities increase there is reduced risk that an unexpected disruption will cause serious shortages given the increased diversity of supply. Further, there is a tremendous price spread between North American crude oil supplies and the supplies that we are buying from overseas markets – as much as $30 per barrel according to one recent report.

Simply put, increasing our reliance on friendly nations and our own supplies serves our best interest by increasing the reliability of those supplies, reducing demand from unstable sources, and reducing the importance of any one nation in the global energy picture by expanding the overall resource pie.

Unfortunately, CBO has either missed these fundamental points and has provided Congress with a faulty analysis.

Now, more than at any point in our history, our nation requires, and is equally able to achieve, a bold “all of the above” energy policy focused on strengthening our national self-sufficiency. This can only be accomplished through the application of market based principles and the diversification of our conventional and renewable domestic energy resources. Failing to recognize these key facts serves no one and only detracts from developing a responsible national energy policy that will benefit the American economy and consumer.


The EPA Is Annexing Alaska

Need more proof that the Environmental Protection Agency is out of control? Friday they released a draft scientific study of the Bristol Bay watershed and its natural resources, conducted solely to form the basis for preemptively vetoing the Pebble Mine in Alaska. The group that is developing Pebble Mine hasn’t even formally submitted a proposal for permitting. Here’s are some details from the AP on this massive overstep of EPA power:

JUNEAU, Alaska — The possible failure of a dam holding waste from a large-scale mine near the headwaters of one of the world’s premier salmon fisheries in Alaska could wipe out or degrade rivers and streams in the region for decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a draft watershed assessment released Friday.

EPA regional administrator Dennis McLerran said there was a fairly low risk of that occurring, however, and the more likely impact would be direct loss of habitat from the mining activity itself.

The report responded to concerns about a large copper-and-gold prospect near the headwaters of Bristol Bay. It is a draft, with a final report that could affect permitting decisions perhaps due by the end of the year after public comment and peer review.

So what does the EPA say about the report?

Under the Clean Water Act, EPA has the authority and responsibility to protect the nation’s water and perform scientific studies that enhance the agency’s and the public’s knowledge of water resources. EPA’s focus in the assessment is scientific and technical; the agency has made no judgments about the use of its regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act and the draft study in no way prejudges future consideration of proposed mining activities.

You mean the authority that the Supreme Court just bitch-slapped you for abusing? Yep, the same…

The groundwork they’re laying implies that any building or project that could potentially impact water can be killed by the EPA without the project ever going through the permitting process, and without input from state, local, or other federal agencies. This in itself is a jobs and economy killer.

An article from Inside the EPA (subscription required) shows that environmentalists couldn’t be happier, and want the EPA to use this plan to kill other projects…

“Environmentalists are now calling on the agency to conduct a similar assessment of mining activity in the Great Lakes region. The Bristol Bay study “is comparable to what we’d like to see” in the Great Lakes, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) attorney Michelle Halley said on a May 10 conference call.”

It’s no coincidence that this is happening now, as President Obama is looking for massive bucks from the enviromentalist crowd to get re-elected.

An interesting side note from the report is that the Pebble Mine operation would have no impact on subsistence salmon fishing for the native population.

The Bristol Bay region’s salmon populations also support significant subsistence and recreational sport fisheries. For example, from 1990 to 2010, annual subsistence harvest averaged 140,767 salmon across all species, 78% of which were sockeye (Dye and Schwanke 2009, Salomone et al. 2011).

No subsistence salmon fisheries are documented in the mine footprint.

In summary, it is unlikely that there would be significant loss of salmon subsistence resources related to the mine footprint. Habitat modification in areas downstream of the mine site (Section 5.2) would have related impacts on downstream subsistence users. Some changes to salmon subsistence activities likely would result from development of the transportation corridor. In addition to the actual changes in subsistence resources, based on interviews with Tribal Elders, subsistence use could decrease downstream of the mine footprint, based solely on the perception that the salmon are being affected by the mine operation. Subsistence use could also decrease if fluctuations in downstream water levels reduce access for subsistence activities. Although this assessment is focused on salmon, the non-salmon-related impacts on Alaska Native cultures from routine mine operation are likely to be more significant, including cultural changes resulting from a shift to a market economy, increased access to the area, and direct effects on non-salmon subsistence resources.

The most important sentance of the 339 page report is highlighted above, “this assessment is focused on salmon.” It’s not the assessment of watershed, the effects of the overall ecosystem of the region, it’s simply a report on commercial salmon fishing in the area. Given that, this section is telling…

The effects of mining on fish populations could not be quantified because of the lack of quantitative information concerning salmon, char, and trout populations and their responses. The occurrence of salmonid species in rivers and major streams is generally known, but not their abundances, productivities, or limiting factors. Estimating changes in populations would require population modeling, which requires knowledge of life-stage-specific survival and production as well as knowledge of limiting factors and processes that were not available for this case.

Which is bureaucratic speak for “try as we might we could find or invent a quantifiable effect.”


Australia: Cockatoos come before people

The irony is that these birds are worth thousands of dollars overseas -- but it is forbidden to export them. Trapping and exporting them would be to everybody's benefit but bone-headed regulations stand in the way

WHITE cockatoos - not bats - are in plague proportions in Atherton, south of Cairns, and locals want the Queensland Government to consider a kill permit. The far north rural hub is under siege from thousands of protected sulphur-crested white cockatoos and locals want some shot or poisoned.

Huge flocks roost in the trees next to the Atherton Hospital directly in the flight path of the rescue helicopter, make a racket, strip and kill old gum trees, and ravage corn and peanut crops.

Council staff have started blasting the air with special blank cartridges called Bird Frite to try to scare away the birds.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell said the kill permit for bats, revealed by The Courier-Mail last week, was only a last-resort option for farmers, with no intent to deploy it in urban areas.

"The intent is to still look at relocating bats," Mr Powell said. He said there was no plan to extend it to the cockatoos.

Tablelands Mayor Rosa Lee Long said she hoped Bird Frite would not shift the problem to another part of town. "They are lovely birds, very pretty to look at, but they are a noisy nuisance and make a terrible mess," she said.

"The only other option is a cull. "It is a bit like the bats, if they are in plague proportions, they may need a cull to bring back a balance."

She urged the Government to consider extending lethal Damage Mitigation Permits to bats, dingoes, wild dogs, crocodiles and parrots.

"Like bats, dingoes, and crocodiles, the cockatoos are protected species. No one likes to kill anything, but our priority must be to protect the health, life and limb of people over wild creatures."

Pensioner Gaye Webster, in her 80s, lives under some of the favoured roosting trees of the vast flocks. She wants a cull.

"Shoot them," Mrs Webster said. "Kill off a few cockys. The mess they make is absolutely disgusting. "Bushies reckon it only takes a couple of dead cockatoos to scare the whole lot off. "It is like these bats and the Hendra virus. Give me the poison, I'll dish it up to them. "People against a cull are the ones who don't have to live with them."

Alex Adoberg, who owns the Atherton Hinterland Motel, said he was opposed to killing the parrots. But the Bird Frite program, trialled last year, did not seem very effective, he said. "They seem to lift off and then come back and land again. I'd prefer to keep trying to scare them off, I don't like the idea of a cull."

He said the biggest threat - other than farmers losing entire crops in a day - was the risk posed to incoming helicopter pilots. "They lift off out of the trees straight into the helicopter flight path. That is the scariest part."



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, 2012

Ya gotta laugh

Below is a recent bit of Warmist "research" from Australia. I guess that they hope nobody notices the figures behind their conclusions. I have always been one of those pesky people who look at the actual results in a scientific paper rather than the conclusions authors draw from their results -- and that habit is richly rewarded here.

What they actually found is quite hilarious. They found that the current temperature in the Australian region is essentially identical with the temperature in the 13th century!

To be precise, it was just nine hundredths of one degree warmer in the 20th century than it was in the 13th century. A better disproof of 20th century warming would be hard to imagine. The big surprise is that they didn't deep-six their study instead of publishing it
Journal of Climate 2012

Evidence of unusual late 20th century warming from an Australasian temperature reconstruction spanning the last millennium

Joëlle Gergis et al.


This study presents the first multi-proxy warm season (September-February) temperature reconstruction for the combined land and oceanic region of Australasia (0°S-50°S, 110°E-180°E). We perform a 3000-member ensemble Principal Component Reconstruction (PCR) using 27 temperature proxies from the region. The proxy network explained 69% of the inter-annual variance in the HadCRUT3v SONDJF spatial mean temperature over the 1921-1990 calibration period. Applying eight stringent reconstruction ‘reliability’ metrics identified post A.D. 1430 as the highest quality section of the reconstruction, but also revealed a skilful reconstruction is possible over the full A.D. 1000-2001 period.

The average reconstructed temperature anomaly in Australasia during A.D. 1238-1267, the warmest 30-year pre-instrumental period, is 0.09°C (±0.19°C) below 1961-1990 levels. Following peak pre-industrial warmth, a cooling trend culminates in a temperature anomaly of 0.44°C (±0.18°C) below 1961-1990 levels between A.D. 1830-1859. A preliminary assessment of the roles of solar, volcanic, and anthropogenic forcings and natural ocean-atmosphere variability is performed using CSIRO Mk3L model simulations and independent palaeoclimate records. Solar and volcanic forcing does not have a marked influence on reconstructed Australasian temperature variations, which appear to be masked by internal variability.

In 94.5% of the 3000-member reconstruction ensemble, there are no other warm periods in the past 1,000 years that match or exceed post-1950 warming observed in Australasia. The unusual 20th century warming cannot be explained by natural variability alone, suggesting a strong influence of anthropogenic forcing in the Australasian region


Monckton replies to Warmist

Writing on the Yale Forum, Warmist "scientist" Scott Denning wrote an article quoting not one scientific fact but claiming that it is "commonsense" that global warming is going on -- and accusing skeptics of irrationality for denying it.

Lord Monckton wrote a comprehensive reply to Denning which was not published by the Yale Forum. The Forum did however summarize Monckton's reply as follows. I guess that those of us who think science trumps commonsense have to be thankful for small mercies

British climate skeptic Christopher Monckton is having none of Colorado State University climate scientist Scott Denning’s recent posting calling for a change in the culture of climate change dialogues.

Denning in that piece singled-out Monckton and two other climate science skeptics as unlikely to have been swayed by Denning’s 2010 and 2011 presentations before skeptical Heartland Institute annual meeting audiences. He was right on that point, Monckton confirmed in a 10-page 4,547-word essay he submitted for posting.

Given the length of that response, The Yale Forum has decided not to post it as either a feature or as a comment, as it vastly exceeds the length of all but a few previous postings. The full Monckton commentary is available here.

Among points Monckton makes in his response to Denning:

* He argues that “consensus will not do as the basis for policy-making” and rejects Denning’s citations to work pointing to widespread agreement among climate scientists.

* He claims there is “much heat, little literature, and no consensus” on the question of how much global warming actually will occur, and argues that numerical methods based on “big computer models” about the climate’s long-term evolution amount to no more than “expensive guesswork.”

* He argues that climate sensitivity analysis “openly questions whether we shall see more than about 1 Celsius degree of global warming this century” and says much of that warming “would be beneficial, not harmful.”

* He says “the true difference between [what he calls] the true-believers and the skeptics” is found in temperature feedbacks, which he concludes will be “somewhat net-negative, attenuating rather than amplifying the direct warming and removing the climate problem altogether.” This leads him to conclude that “this century’s CO2–driven warming will be just 0.5 Celsius,” about .8 F.

* “CO2 mitigation measures inexpensive enough to be affordable will be ineffective,” Monckton argues, and “measures expensive enough to be effective will be unaffordable. Since the premium exceeds the cost of the risk, don’t insure.”

* He accuses Denning of setting up “a number of straw men” and maintains that the actual consensus is that “a degree or two [Celsius] of warming would indeed be good for us.”

* He criticizes Denning for providing “not a single quantitative argument,” but rather for providing a commentary “full of politics and polemics and emotion and a startling number of fallacies.” “This does not impress,” he writes.

* “Skeptics use reason. True-believers don’t,” Monckton concludes. “The general public — not half as dim as academe imagines — can tell the difference.”

Monckton’s views are unlikely to come as news either to those who accept or those who reject them and who have followed his frequent public presentations over the past few years in the U.S. and overseas. They are views that the scientific establishment by and large has repeatedly evaluated and found unconvincing based on the broad understanding of relevant scientific evidence.


Methane hydrates, another nasty one for the Greenies

Yet another reason why we are not going to run out of energy. Methane hydrate usability now demonstrated

In a joint announcement two weeks ago, the United States and Japan (along with ConocoPhillips, the U.S.-based multinational oil company) announced the world’s first successful field trial (in Alaska) of a technology that uses carbon dioxide to free natural gas from methane hydrates – the globally abundant hunks of porous ice that trap huge amounts of natural gas in deposits, onshore and offshore, around the world. It’s a neat feat. You use CO2, which isn’t wanted, to produce natural gas, which is.

Methane hydrates constitute the world’s No. 1 reservoir of fossil fuel. Ubiquitous along vast stretches of Earth’s continental shelves, they hold enough natural gas to fuel the world for a thousand years – and beyond. Who says so? Using the most conservative of assumptions, the U.S. Geological and Geophysical Service says so.

The U.S. now produces 21 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas a year. But it possesses 330,000 tcf of natural gas in its methane hydrate resource – theoretically enough to supply the country for 3,000 years (give or take). Using less conservative numbers (for example, a methane hydrate resource of 670,000 tcf), the U.S. is good to go for 6,000 years (give or take).

Worldwide, methane hydrate reserves add 1,000,000 tcf to the global natural gas resource. We have a ways to go before commercial exploitation begins but the question must now be asked: Isn’t it time to relax a bit about peak oil – or, for that matter, peak primary energy? We are not apt to run out of carbon to burn for a very long time. It is true: Only a fraction of these resources can be deemed economic in the near term. But a fraction of them could still deliver plentiful energy for many centuries.

According to one conservative academic calculation, Earth’s conventional reserves of natural gas hold 96 billion tonnes of carbon. Earth’s reserves of oil contain 160 billion tonnes. Earth’s reserves of coal contain 675 billion tonnes: Taken together, 931 billion tonnes of fossil fuel. But Earth’s methane hydrates contain 3,000 billion tons of carbon.

Or more. Methane hydrates are found at larger and larger volumes the deeper you drill. ConocoPhillips drilled 830 metres for its field test at Prudhoe Bay. At this level, you calculate the reservoir of methane gas in the hundreds (100s) of trillions of cubic feet (tcf). Drill deeper and you calculate reserves in the thousands (1,000s) of trillion cubic feet. Drill deeper still and you calculate reserves in the hundred-thousands (100,000s) of trillion cubic feet. Earth’s reserves of this resource could theoretically reach millions (1,000,000s) of trillion cubic feet.

Citing the first prolonged release of natural gas from methane hydrates, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu celebrated the “enormous potential for U.S. economic and energy security” of the new technology. The U.S. has reserves of 2,600 tcf of conventional natural gas. The Gulf Coast alone holds methane hydrate reserves of 220,000 tcf – nearly 100 times as much. For the next technology trial, the partners will head to the Gulf.

The Arctic trial began (with drilling) on Feb. 15. It concluded on April 10 (when the experiment was arbitrarily ended). In the interim, the partners “safely extract[ed] a steady flow of natural gas from methane hydrates” for 30 consecutive days – the first-ever test of a technology that uses CO2 to capture the cleanest of the fossil fuels. (Using different technology in 2008, a Canada-Japan trial produced a continuous flow of natural gas from methane hydrates for six days.)

Methane hydrates are hunks of porous ice that grip natural gas molecules as they rise naturally from deep reservoirs under the Earth’s surface – and grip them tightly, under pressure, in cold waters. In the successful test this spring, ConocoPhillips used CO2 to relieve the pressure, causing the ice cages to open and to liberate the trapped gas.

Why trade CO2 for methane gas that, when burned, releases carbon dioxide? And isn’t methane gas especially dangerous? In Conoco’s revolutionary technology, the CO2 not only replaces freed methane but simultaneously disposes of waste CO2 from conventional oil field production. This isn’t zero sum. It’s net gain – which is why Energy Secretary Chu, a celebrated environmentalist, champions it. Mr. Chu says, incidentally, that methane hydrates could cut the price of natural gas, already cheap, by one-third – within 10 years.


Warmists Running for Cover from ICCC-7

Global warming alarmists are proving once again that they fear public discussion and debate over global warming issues.

The Heartland Institute invited more than 50 warmists to attend and speak at the Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-7), to be held Monday through Wednesday in Chicago, yet none has accepted the invitation.

Had warmists accepted the invitations to speak at the conference, they would have comprised a large majority of the speakers. Even given the opportunity to speak with such an advantage, warmists showed once again that they fear public dialogue and debate with scientists skeptical of a global warming crisis.

All of the invitations to the 50-plus warmists were extended well before The Heartland Institute’s controversial global warming billboard was displayed in Chicago on May 4. All of the warmists who explicitly declined to participate provided notice of their decision prior to May 4.

The 50-plus warmists who declined invitations to participate in this year’s ICCC join dozens of warmists who have declined to participate in prior ICCCs.

Global warming alarmists often say they welcome skeptical scientific discussion and debate, but their actions speak louder than their words.


Are climate scientists a self-selecting set of climate activists?

Comment from Australia

I was prompted to address this issue following the "hottest 50 years in a millennium" story earlier today. A little Googling from regular commenter Baldrick showed that the lead researcher on that story, Joelle Gergis, had posted on her blog in November 2007 about being pleased that Kevin Rudd had been voted in as PM, because now she might finally "see real action on climate". She writes:
As a climate scientist, I am hopeful that we will finally see real action on climate change. According to COSMOS, Rudd is expected to receive a “rock star’s welcome” to the world stage at crucial U.N. climate change talks in Bali next month. He will be hailed for agreeing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement aimed at curbing global greenhouse gas emissions.

Up to 140 world environment ministers will attend the conference. It is hoped the meeting will bring vital breakthroughs in the effort to achieve a new climate agreement. It is expected to deliver a road map to show how to keep the planet’s temperature from rising more than two degrees. The agreement must be in place before the Kyoto Protocol’s first phase ends in 2012.

Clearly this person had formed the view, at some time prior to the post in November 2007, that there was a climate crisis of some kind that required action. We can safely assume, I think, that she believed that anthropogenic emissions were causing dangerous climate change, and therefore such emissions must be reduced to "save the planet". In other words, she's a true believer. Her biography would tend to confirm this conclusion.

Today in the news, we read that Gergis' latest paper shows that the last 50 years warming are unprecedented in the last 1000, which, naturally, tends to support the notion of dangerous AGW which requires urgent action, thereby supporting the position she herself expressed back in 2007.

And it made me think: why is no-one complaining about this? Why is it OK for climate activists to be climate scientists? Why is it that association with an environmental advocacy group such as WWF or Greenpeace is perfectly acceptable for certain climate scientists currently working towards IPCC AR5, but association with an oil or energy company isn't? The hypocrisy and double standards are obvious, aren't they? Why is Big Green any better than Big Oil?

So the key question, which I do not pretend to have an answer to, is this: "Is the present cohort of emerging climate scientists a self-selecting set based on a pre-existing belief in the seriousness of man-made climate change?"

Or in other words, do those with a prior concern about AGW naturally gravitate towards careers in climate science or environmental studies, therefore leading to an unbalanced representation of the genuine spectrum of scientific perspectives on climate change? To put it another way, would a student without such a passion for "environmental causes" choose to enter that area of science? Would anyone other than such a person ever choose to become an environmental or climate scientist?

I'm sure the answer is 'no'. Why would you choose any branch of environmental science unless you wanted, even in some small way, to save the planet?

The majority of climate scientists are funded by governments which are committed (to different degrees) to taking "action" on climate change. At no point do I allege that people are changing their views because of the funding they receive (something that I do not believe happens on either side of the debate), merely that they are a self-selecting group based on prior beliefs. Which would explain why environmental and climate science departments are full of AGW believers.

And it would also explain why environmental journalists are AGW believers too. If you weren't, why would you become an environmental journalist in the first place?

It's the final extrapolation of confirmation bias - you choose your entire career based on your beliefs.

Many teenagers get into the whole "green" thing at some point, whether at school or through friends - for some it's a passing fad, for others it becomes a passion, and eventually a career. But for those who never had that environmental passion, or for whom it faded, would they still choose to make it their career? I doubt it.

And the same would be true of the other side of the debate. For the vast majority of teenagers who do not have that passion, their careers will take them in a multitude of differing paths, other areas of science, commerce, law, you name it.

And it is only when some of those others, who, much later in life perhaps, have their curiosity piqued by some piece of crazy climate legislation, like Gillard's carbon tax or Kevin Rudd's proposed Emissions Trading Scheme, and decide to take a look over the fence in to the world of environmental and climate science in academia, or the machiavellian shenanigans of the IPCC or the CSIRO, or the hopelessly political statements of formerly respected academic institutions, like the Royal Society, and are utterly shocked by what they see. And they start voicing those concerns about the lack of proper scientific integrity or the politicisation of the climate debate on blogs, written in their spare time. Like this one.

Is there a solution? Probably not. It would be along the lines of "funding the defence" in the climate debate, so that those with a prior belief that there was no climate crisis would be equally motivated to pursue a career in environmental or climate science. But that's not going to happen, is it?


The Canadian solution to climate panic

Just go quiet on the issue

Let’s recap the Harper government’s record on climate change, shall we?

In the beginning, the Conservatives said nothing. Climate change wasn’t even mentioned in the 2006 election platform.

But in 2007 climate change became a top public priority and Stephen Harper became very concerned. Climate change is “perhaps the biggest threat to confront the future of humanity today,” the Prime Minister declared. And yes, the Conservatives had plans. Big plans. Unlike the Liberals, who talked lots but accomplished little, the Conservatives were going to get the job done.

In early 2008, the government promised to work with the United States to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions by creating a North American cap-and-trade system. When Stéphane Dion’s Liberals also promised to put a price on carbon emissions, but with a carbon tax instead, the Conservatives savaged it as a “tax on everything” and vilified Dion as the man who would destroy the economy.

When the global economy melted down, public concern about climate change plunged. At the same time, and to the same extent, the prominence of climate change in government communications also plunged.

In December, 2009, in Copenhagen, the government met with others from around the world and agreed to cut Canada’s emissions by 17 per cent from the 2005 levels by 2020. It later formally scrapped Canada’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, which had committed this country to much steeper reductions. The government said Canada couldn’t possibly meet the Kyoto targets without damaging the economy, which was probably true since it, and its predecessors, had spent so many years doing nothing. But anyway, Peter Kent said when he became environment minister, the government was fiercely committed to the Copenhagen targets.

In 2011, after the Conservatives won their long-desired majority, the government delivered a Throne Speech. Climate change wasn’t mentioned. Same for the 2012 budget.

The budget did, however, scrap the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, a body created by the Mulroney government to provide expert policy advice to the government. It’s not needed any more, Kent said. There’s lots of policy advice out there. Just Google it.

Last week, the environment commissioner, who works within the auditor general’s office, reported on the government’s climate change plan. There isn’t one, he said. Or rather, there isn’t anything sufficiently coherent and developed to be worthy of the name. Rather than putting a price on carbon emissions — either by a cap-and-trade system or by a carbon tax — the government went with command-and-control regulations and the commissioner’s report noted that the government doesn’t know what the costs of its regulations will be, or whether they will do any good. The commissioner also reported that if current trends persist, Canada’s emissions in 2020 will be 7.5 per cent higher than they were in 2005, not 17 per cent lower, as the government had committed.

That takes us to Monday, when John Baird — foreign affairs minister and former environment minister — defended the government’s decision to scrap the NRTEE in the House of Commons. “Why should taxpayers have to pay for more than 10 reports promoting a carbon tax, something that the people of Canada have repeatedly rejected?” Baird fumed. “That is a message the Liberal party just will not accept. It should agree with Canadians. It should agree with the government to no discussion of a carbon tax that would kill and hurt Canadian families.”

Presumably, Baird meant “kill jobs,” not Canadian families, however given the government’s penchant for rhetorical excess we can’t be sure. But let’s leave that aside.

Baird confirmed that the government scrapped NRTEE because it didn’t like the advice its (Conservative-appointed) members were giving. This is the Soviet approach to research: Politics and ideology determine the correct answer, and it is the researchers’ job to prove that the correct answer is correct. Failure means Siberia.

Baird’s references to “a carbon tax” are also misleading. The NRTEE insisted that putting a price on carbon emissions is by far the most effective way to reduce emissions (as virtually all experts in this field agree). But that could be done with a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system — like the one the Conservatives promised to set up back in 2008.

But that was 2008. This is now. Back then, public support for action was at an all-time high, and now it’s low: Goodbye, price on emissions. Farewell, NRTEE.

So what can we make of all this? There are two possibilities.

First, Stephen Harper and Company may be sincere about tackling climate change. In that case, they are grossly incompetent. Their policy is a mess. They have accomplished little or nothing. And there’s no reason to think they will do any better in the future.

The other possibility is that Stephen Harper and Company are lying. They do not have any intention of tackling climate change. They never did. Their only real goal is to manage the file so it doesn’t become a political liability, which they have done with considerable success.

When I’ve raised these possible explanations in the past the response has been curious.

Unsurprisingly, critics of the prime minister write to say, in effect, “hell yeah he’s lying!” But so do many conservatives. Climate change is a fraud, they say, but the government has to pretend it believes in it, and is doing something about it, to satisfy the gullible. It’s a lie, they say. But it’s a noble lie. Hooray for the prime minister.

That strange argument has even made the august pages of Policy Options, where Michael Hart — a Carleton University professor who apparently believes anthropogenic climate change is some sort of socialist plot — praised the prime minister. “Harper has successfully ridden the climate change juggernaut to its inevitable end,” Hart wrote. “By not directly confronting an inherited policy that he found distasteful, he has been able to manage it to a conclusion that has alienated fewer and satisfied more Canadians. In the years to come, as the international climate change file gradually fades into obscurity, similar to many other such utopian initiatives, he can look back with satisfaction at a job well done.”

That’s how professors say, “hell yeah he’s lying!”


What Is Behind The Fall Of Germany’s Eco-Minister?

Norbert Röttgen, Angela Merkel's Environment Minister, was - until a few hours ago - the face of Germany’s green energy transition. He aligned himself with a goal which can be stated politically, but which cannot be reached technically. His sacking was therefore inevitable. He is the first political victim of the green energy transition - he will almost certainly not be the last.

Norbert Röttgen is a lawyer. That is not without advantages, especially if one is engaged as a politician in matters of legislation. To have no technical knowledge, however, is a disadvantage if political intentions cast as legislation do not take physical conditions into account. And when it comes to technology, our politicians fail regularly over these conditions. This has been proven again today. Röttgen was - until a few hours ago - the face of Germany’s green energy transition. He aligned himself with a goal, which can be stated politically, but which cannot be reached technically. His sacking was therefore inevitable. He is the first political victim of the green energy transition - he will almost certainly not be the last.

The poll disaster of the election in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) was not, as mainstream media think, the underlying reason of his dismissal; neither was it his strategy to turn the Christian Democrats (CDU) into a better Green party. This only drove Christian Democratic core voters in droves either to the Free Democrats (FDP) or completely away from the polls. These are nothing but the straws that broke the camel's back. The cause for his sacking is the looming failure of the green energy transition. Angela Merkel's statement is quite clear if one is able to translate political language. She said:

“The energy transition is a central project of this legislative period. The foundations have been laid but we still have quite bit of work ahead of us. [...] It is obvious that the implementation of energy policy still requires great efforts.”

In other words, we have achieved nothing and it is unclear how we can achieve anything.

For the Chancellor, the green energy transition is probably not something that she does out of conviction. She has just - as so often –adopted a policy in order to neutralize it, to give her opponents no point of attack, no room for distinction and no potential for mobilization. As part of this political tactic, she initially scheduled the nuclear phase-out for 2040, far enough into the future in order not to do anything significant today. After Fukushima, however, she brought the date forward by 18 years, not for technical reasons, but solely in order to maintain power. So she closed down a couple of old, inefficient plants so that folks did not start demonstrating and voting for the Green Party. What she needed was a minister who followed this plan in a way that was politically communicable but would not lead to major upheavals in practice.

What she got was a man of conviction. No mechanic of power. She got someone who was apparently deeply convinced not only of the need but also of the possibility of a switch to renewable energy sources combined with significant energy savings. Someone who actually thought this would be good for the industrialized nation Germany. Someone who actually actively tried to push the green energy revolution instead of just sitting it out and remove it from the headlines. And then when it mattered, someone who failed to bridge the gap between his own convictions and the will to power. Someone who, as environment minister, fell prey to populism and wanted to increase the commuter subsidy and cut the solar subsidies. Which destroyed his authenticity and enabled the enemy to go for new attacks.

Angela Merkel makes a lot of mistakes. What distinguishes her is her ability to correct them quickly and radically when it matters. It is exactly this capability she demonstrated once again today. On Monday, the government said, Röttgen was a good Environment Minister and would stay in office. Since then crucial things have changed obviously. One can only speculate, but perhaps direct talks revealed to the Chancellor her mistake.

Röttgen did not fail as a result of the election result in NRW but due to himself. He imagined he could ignore rising energy costs, dwindling security of supply and the deterioration of the framework for investment in newer and better energy infrastructure. He might even knowingly have accepted the immediate impacts of his policies in order to follow his ideology. But Merkel knows: you cannot put voters into such difficulties if you want to stay in power.

Consequently, she has now appointed Peter Altmair. He is also a lawyer; just as Röttgen. He is also someone who does not know terms like power line frequency or voltage stability; someone who may think that because a torch works with batteries, this must also apply for an aluminium smelter. Nevertheless, he is a politician of her stable, a confidant, a mechanic of power, just as she is. Someone who understands Merkel's tactics because he has partly designed them himself. Someone who is quoted with the following words today: “The energy revolution is a societal challenge.”

It’s a challenge, not a necessity. This quote can also be read as "If it does not work, we all are guilty; not just me." The wise man makes preparations. Let us see if Altmaier keeps that strategy. If he descends, like Norbert Röttgen into activism, then he will probably not survive very long in his new office. This will be ensured again by the laws of physics, which not even lawyers can regulate out of existence.


Australia is a very gassy place

Mining companies are increasingly taking an interest in shale after it took off in the US, writes Paddy Manning.

Nobody knows the extent of the shale gas resource in Australia but the potential is big, perhaps big enough to reduce coal seam gas to a sideshow.

The federal agency Geoscience Australia set the theme of this week's annual Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference by estimating shale gas could double Australia's natural gas reserves, from 400 to 800 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.

The US shale revolution, spurred by the advent of horizontal drilling and fracture stimulation (or fracking) technology, transformed world energy markets in five years.

Shale gas now accounts for about 23 per cent of the US's annual gas production, according to the US Energy Information Administration. By contrast, coal seam gas (CSG, or coal bed methane as it is known in the US) provides about 7 to 9 per cent, says the managing director of Beach Energy, Reg Nelson.

What has happened in the US is likely to happen here, he says.

Beach, which gets most of its revenue from oil production, has been a pioneer in unconventional gas. Beach sold an early-stage investment in coal seam gas play Arrow Energy to Shell, at a handsome profit.

Beach has some of the best exploration acreage in Australia's most prospective shale gas field, the Cooper Basin in South Australia. Beach shares dived this week after a media report suggested the company had shut down a data room opened to potential co-investors, due to a lack of interest. Nelson says Beach terminated the sale process once it got strong gas flows from one of its wells in the Cooper: "We thought, we've got something big here, we can add value to this. And when we sell it, we're not going to sell it for a small premium. It's going to be a big one."

Certainly there is plenty of jockeying going on, with juniors including Senex, Drillsearch and others seeking to prove up their shale reserves and sell on to a larger company. Big oil producers such as BP, Total and Shell are interested; BHP Billiton's petroleum chief, Mike Yeager, said his team was "studying every square inch of Australia right now" looking for shale gas.

Australia's shale gas reserves are not located under prime agricultural country but in the middle of the desert, and there is a gas pipeline nearby at Moomba. Shale gas wells are deeper - generally well below aquifers - and typically recover more gas per well, meaning fewer wells need to be drilled.

Drew Hutton, the president of the anti-coal seam gas group Lock the Gate, warns shale gas production in the Cooper could have implications for Western Queensland's wild rivers, protected under legislation. "The nomination of the western rivers came about because the traditional owners, local cattleman and local councils got together with the wilderness society and lobbied for it."

He says the US experience shows there are still groundwater concerns associated with shale gas extraction, and there would likely be an environmental campaign - though perhaps not a Lock the Gate campaign - against shale gas in the Cooper.

Nelson, a former South Australian mining regulator who spent much time capping uncontrolled flows from bores in the Great Artesian Basin, says he has "no concerns whatsoever" about groundwater contamination from shale gas.

"The important point is, Cooper Basin gas has been around for 40-50 years. A lot of these reservoirs have been fracked, because the sands are tight. There's been about 700 wells fracked since 1969."

If Cooper Basin shale production was safer, could the entire coal seam gas debate be bypassed? The vice-president for eastern Australia at Santos, James Baulderstone, says at an estimated $6 per gigajoule, shale gas is 20 to 30 per cent more expensive to produce than coal seam gas, and technology and capital constraints mean significant shale production is unlikely to be economic this decade. Santos is concentrating on getting more out of the declining conventional gas reserves in the Cooper Basin, with advanced infill drilling, and on developing its coal seam gas fields in the NSW Gunnedah Basin.

"You need a diversity of supply," he says. "One of the great things about NSW's gas resource is its location to market and where it sits on the cost structure. When you model the cost curve, the coal seam gas will be cheaper than shale to start with, it's easier to develop and we believe that it will fill market demand in the 2015-25 window. Shale would then come on stream towards the end of the 2020 decade, and start to displace coal seam gas as it becomes cheaper over time."

With a majority stake in the Moomba gas plant, and the most acreage in the Cooper Basin, Santos will play a big role in developing Australia's shale resource. It has recently drilled its first vertical shale well, and will drill its first horizontal well later this year.

"We're all very excited about shale but it's not something you can do overnight," Baulderstone says.



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, 2012

Only global poverty can save the planet, insists WWF - and the ESA!

Windfarms for all, but without using steel or concrete (?)

Analysis Extremist green campaigning group WWF - endorsed by no less a body than the European Space Agency - has stated that economic growth should be abandoned, that citizens of the world's wealthy nations should prepare for poverty and that all the human race's energy should be produced as renewable electricity within 38 years from now.

Most astonishingly of all, the green hardliners demand that the enormous numbers of wind farms, tidal barriers and solar powerplants required under their plans should somehow be built while at the same time severely rationing supplies of concrete, steel, copper and glass.

The WWF presents these demands in its just-issued Living Planet Report for 2012. It's a remarkable document, not least for the fact that it is formally endorsed for the first time by the European Space Agency (ESA) - an organisation which would cease to exist in any meaningful form if the document's recommendations were to be carried out.

The report is also unusual in that it seeks to set policy on economics and energy, but doesn't anywhere give any figures expressed in units of energy (watt-hours, joules etc) or currency (dollars, euros or what have you). Instead the WWF activists prefer to base their argument on various indices invented either by themselves or by other international non- or quasi-governmental organisations.

For instance one key figure used in the report is the Living Planet Index, invented by the WWF, which apparently shows "trends in the overall state of global biodiversity".

It does this by examining the number of individuals (or sometimes pairs) in various local populations of 2,688 selected species - of vertebrates only. Every two years WWF changes what species and populations are included, in large numbers: and anyone would acknowledge that a limited, localised picture of a couple of thousand vertebrate-only species is an utterly minuscule, extremely selective pinpoint on the picture of all the Earth's life.

Nonetheless WWF think that their LPI number offers conclusive proof that "biodiversity has decreased globally".

This is bad, because:

* Biodiversity is vital for human health and livelihoods ...

* All human activities make use of ecosystem services – but can also put pressure on the biodiversity that supports these systems.

If that's not enough for you, the document is liberally spattered with case studies showing how various animal populations have plunged. For instance there are now many fewer wild tigers than there were in 1970, which is plainly a bad thing for human health and livelihoods.

The report then assumes that global resources in general are limited, which is easily achieved by measuring them in terms of "biocapacity" expressed in hectares of Earth surface, and further stipulating that no resources can come from beyond Earth (which seems an odd idea for a major space agency to endorse, but there). WWF goes on to assign numbers showing how much of these hectare-resources everyone is using, their "ecological footprint".

In these terms, the only people on Earth who are living within their means are those in the poorest nations - their "footprint" exactly matches the "biocapacity" in their countries (doubtless a coincidence) offering a picture of the sort of life all human beings could aspire to in a WWF-run world. Middle-income nations use more "biocapacity" than they actually have, and high-income ones - all the ones where you as a Register reader are most likely to live - use nearly twice as many eco-resources as they produce.

What does this mean?

* The Earth’s natural capital – biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem services – is limited ...

* Human demands on the planet exceed supply.

The WWF eco-nomists also argue that human beings actually don't - or anyway, shouldn't - want to get richer, as people getting rich means economic growth and that (regardless of what all world governments and almost all economists think, especially right now) is a Bad Thing as it leads to consumer demand which leads to resources and energy being used.

"We need to measure success beyond GDP," says WWF, an argument they've made before. In particular the organisation argues that "human development" or the still-flakier metric "inequality adjusted human development" is a far better one than GDP per capita. (One may note that under the normal HDI (Human Development Index) it is better to live in Ireland, Hong Kong, Israel, Korea, Slovenia, Spain, Italy or the Czech Republic than in the UK.)

As the green hardliners note:

* In countries with a low level of development, [HDI] development level is independent of per capita [ecological] Footprint.

* As development increases beyond a certain level, so does per person Footprint — eventually to the point where small gains in development come at the cost of very large Footprint increases.

Or, paraphrased, provided that development and consumption are both miserably low, you can achieve some development without noticeably increasing consumption. Of course only a cynic would suggest that the very design of the "human development" index - whether adjusted for inequality or not - ensures that there will come a point where only tiny increases in development can be achieved no matter the resources used. This is because the Human Development is on a scale from zero to 1, with 1 being unachievable.

It's not just resources that are limited, in the WWF's view: human potential itself is up against a hard limit beyond which the race cannot ever advance. Even progress thus far, as seen in the wealthy nations, has been achieved only by an unfair and wasteful over-use of precious resources: we rich Westerners are already beyond the practical limits that humans should ever aspire to achieve in terms of health, wealth - and even of education.

That's not economics - that's religion. And not very nice religion either.

All this is followed up with some standard rehashing of the standard carbon-driven apocalypse arguments, so setting the stage for WWF's policy agenda. Some of it is relatively uncontroversial: creation of nature reserves, efforts to control overfishing, efforts to ease deforestation.

But then we get onto the big stuff. First up, there must be an "immediate focus" on "drastically shrinking the ecological footprint of high income populations".

That means you, Reg reader: you are to accept a massively lower standard of living, in order to reduce your "footprint" to match your nation's "biocapacity". Then you'll have to take another cut, because your nation - being rich - has more "biocapacity" than a poor country does (despite their claim that planetary resources are finite, WWF acknowledges that new "biocapacity" can be created in the form of cropland, forests etc), but this should be shared with the poorer lands under "equitable resource governance".

That means less heating when it's cold - no cooling at all, probably, when it's hot. It means sharply limited hot water: so dirtier clothes, dirtier bedding and a dirtier you - which will be nice as you will also have to live in a smaller home and travel almost exclusively on crowded buses or trains along with similar smelly fellow eco-citizens. Food will be scarcer and realistically much less nutritious (milk for kids will be a luxury, let alone meat, fruit, coffee, that sort of stuff. Get ready to eat a lot of turnips, if you're a Brit.)


Environmentalism and the Decline of the West

A major contributor to our current societal malaise has been a tendency to moral crusades which have only exacerbated the problems they were intended to fix while generating an ongoing residue of collateral damage, unintended consequences, bureaucracy and repression. Over the past century major initiatives of this nature have included prohibition, the war on drugs, the war on terror and repeated efforts to impose or repress various political ideologies.

Although all these efforts have inflicted great suffering and socio-economic damage, probably none have resulted in such ongoing, widespread and ever increasing detriment as has environmentalism. While the benefits of cleaner air and water have been apparent and undeniable, the damage inflicted by misguided environmentalism has been largely unrecognised even though massively extensive and deleterious to human wellbeing.

This damage has included direct impacts and benefits prevented as well as the more indirect effects of repression and loss of freedom and opportunity:

Some Direct Damages of Misguided Environmentalism

* Tens of millions of deaths and debilitating infections by malaria which could have been prevented by indoor use of DDT with minimal environmental impact.

* Destruction of millions of Ha of rainforest to grow biofuels for an immeasurably trivial reduction in CO2 emissions.

* It has been estimated that as many as 20 million people have been robbed of their lands and forced into poverty as conservations refugees. After millennia of harmonious co-existence with their natural environment they have been driven out to “protect” it.

* Even in developed countries multitudes of honest, productive families of small farmers, stockmen and fishermen have also been stripped of a long standing sustainable livelihood to pander to the uninformed notions of green urbanites.

* In recent years significant increases in food prices have resulted from large areas of land being removed from food production in order to grow uneconomic subsidised biofuels. In addition food production has suffered from reductions in water rights, prohibition of native vegetation clearance, expansion of parks along with myriad environmental restrictions and demands that reduce productivity or increase cost with little or no actual environmental benefit. A further direct consequence has been an increase in malnutrition, especially in underdeveloped countries dependent on staple food imports. This affects tens of millions of people and the trend is getting worse not better.

* One of the more serious effects of misguided environmentalism has also been the corruption of science. This is resulting in a marked dulling of our most effective tool for informed decision making at a time when it is needed more than ever to deal with an increasingly complex world. In the environmental sciences repeated exposures of junk science and concerted scientific misconduct along with exaggerated predictions which fail their reality test have damaged public trust in all science. Lavish funding for agenda driven junk science has also resulted in a virtual abandonment of sound basic research in favour of research aimed at promoting the existence of purported threats.

Benefits Denied through Environmentalism

* Ignorance and ill-founded fears about genetically modified crops has prevented their introduction in many places. While reasonable prudence is warranted in the adoption of this powerful technology, its blanket prohibition is unwarranted by extensive experience as well as our best scientific understanding. The benefits of increased production, disease resistance, and nutritional improvements as well as the reduced use of fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides are huge. They amount to hundreds of billions of dollars per year in addition to more and better food for billions of people.

* Unbelievably the GMO hysteria has extended even to the rejection of food aid in a famine in Africa because of concerns about it possibly containing GM material. Apparently the eco-logic is that it is better to starve than to risk an undefined possibility of some unhealthy effect from eating GM food which is consumed by hundreds of millions of people elsewhere with no adverse consequences known.

* The energy from fossil fuels is the very foundation of modern society and its rising cost is now having a damaging economic impact on all developed economies. Despite its vital importance, however, increasing imposts, restrictions and liabilities have become a major impediment to production. It appears probable that we are headed for a severe energy crisis including some nations with large natural reserves such as the U.S. and Australia. Certainly the increasing cost of energy is already having a significant negative impact on the prosperity of millions of people even in the most prosperous nations.

* Although aquaculture has been highly successful in producing affordable high quality animal protein with minimal environmental detriment it has also become subject to increasing restrictions, prohibitions and costs imposed on the basis of ill-founded environmental concerns. At the same time recent large scale clinical and epidemiological studies have found strong correlation between increased seafood consumption and significant health benefits. These encompass a broad spectrum of major disorders including cardiovascular diseases, a variety of immune related disorders and neurological development and functioning. There is strong indication that increased seafood consumption in most Western nations could save billions of dollars annually in health care costs along with a greatly improved quality of life for tens of millions of people. Although globally there is limited potential for further increasing production in wild caught fisheries, there is great potential for expanded aquaculture. The only real impediment is misguided environmentalism.

Repression and loss of freedom and opportunity imposed by environmentalism

* Hunting, fishing and camping for recreational and food supplementation purposes have long been healthy activities open to people of all ages and social classes. Over the past few decades, however, increasingly harsh, restrictive, complex and costly regulations enacted under the banner of environmental management have taken much of the fun as well as the affordability out of these activities.

* Strong property rights have been a core element of long standing in the development of Western democracies. A person’s home has been their castle and private property was indeed private. However, that is now history. The new eco-fascism is busy imposing myriad restrictions and demands regarding what one can, cannot and must do on one’s own land. Land ownership is becoming more a matter of onerous, ever increasing and arbitrary obligations than of any secure rights. Land holding is effectually in the process of being transformed into a new form of serfdom with the state as the true owner and the liege lord to whom all obligations must be paid and permissions sought.

* For millennia fishermen were among the freest of people, the industry was open to anyone and the price of entry was only time and effort. The ideal of fisheries management was to maximise the sustainable yield. Then came the development of academically trained office based eco-management conducted by experts in theoretical ideas about things they have never seen and about which little is actually known. Management claims have expanded to include the entire marine ecosystem with a focus on the maintenance of species diversity and community resiliency while protecting from an endless array of possible threats, all with an eye to erring on the side of precaution. The favourite tool has become the computer model which can be readily adjusted to provide any desired result, lends an aura of high tech certainty and is safely inaccessible to independent examination. The freedom to fish has been transformed into privatised, corporatized, tradable rights accompanied by blizzards of paperwork. The result has been a declining industry with ageing participants and no new generation coming on to replace them. The rights to the most valuable fisheries are all becoming the private property of corporations and investors to be fished by struggling share croppers who bear all the risk and effort but enjoy only a minority of the profit.

The inverse relation of environmentalism and productivity -

While concern for the environment has unquestionably resulted in valuable benefits from pollution reduction, preservation of nature and more sustainable utilisation of natural resources; it has also spawned the development of environmentalism as a malignant ideological offshoot with far less benign consequences. Environmentalism has become both a powerful political lever putting dangerous power in the hands of ignorance as well as a convenient cloak for sundry hidden agendas. That it has cost tens of millions of lives, hundreds of billions of dollars and had significant impacts on health, prosperity, freedom and enjoyment of life over much of the world is all too real even if still largely unrecognised.

In most developed nations a large majority of the population now dwell in cities and only a minority toil to produce the goods and services which support us all. For many urbanites in particular the environment has acquired a romantic, somewhat sacred, status. Though themselves voracious consumers, they are removed from the production that supplies their demands. Those who provide their needs tend to be seen as greedy exploiters and defilers of nature. Even more ironically, their own lifestyle has virtually annihilated the natural world in a small portion of the environment and that is where they choose to live.

Environmental delusions and deceptions -

The reality of a constant struggle for survival in a dynamic, ever changing, often harsh natural world has been replaced by a romantic notion of nature in a blissful state of harmony and balance, something pure and perfect where any detectable human influence is by definition a desecration. This sacred perspective of the environment manifests itself in language where fragile and delicate become almost mandatory adjectives in describing the natural world.

An unholy coalition of politicians, activists, bureaucrats, academics, and the media have found it profitable to feed into and use the urban eco-delusions for sundry other agendas. For the politicians it affords a cheap shop at green votes. For activists it’s campaigns that attract public attention and donations. For bureaucrats it’s increased authority and budgets. For academics it’s grants and recognition. For the media it’s the attention grabbing drama of threats and conflicts.

Like every effective propaganda machine environmentalism has created it’s own special terms of emotional index designed to trigger reflexive notions of good and evil. Terms such as sustainable, biodiversity, ecosystem-based management, ecologically sustainable development, modelled, precautionary, overexploited, threatened, endangered, deniers and even the very words environment and ecology have been co-opted and associated with desired connotations to serve as buzz words.

A peculiar adjunct of all this has been the enshrinement of an imaginary precautionary principle concocted to mandate that any suggestion of a detrimental environmental effect must be addressed with full measures to prevent it. Its formulation makes no reference to probability, cost, or risks and it offers a ready cloak for sundry other agendas. Logically it would even preclude itself as everything we do or don’t do entails risk, including precautionary measures themselves. Amazingly, this vacuous and pernicious piece of nonsense has even been written into the enabling legislation of various government agencies charged with various facets of environmental management.

To make matters worse, environmentalism has also become heavily infected with the intellectual malignancy of political correctness wherein certain attitudes, beliefs and perspectives are deemed to be so unarguably true and proper as to be beyond any questioning or critical examination. To attempt to do so is not simply to be mistaken. It is evidence of moral degeneration and wilful evil.

This then brings us to the mother of all environmental threats, Anthropogenic Global Warming (a.k.a. Climate Change). AGW has been the eco-saviour’s ultimate wet dream. In the short term it has afforded healthy portions of fame, fortune, authority and great righteousness. Further along it promises to save the world, punish unbelievers and bring about a fair, harmonious, balanced, sustainable restoration of Eden. The fact that all such dreams of ideal societies have had a 100% track record of failure is not even a consideration. To the faithful every time, this time is always different and each time the believers are certain they “know” the truth and surely couldn’t be wrong because it is confirmed by all their fellow believers and politically correct as well.


Britain's Energy Policy Is An Unmitigated Disaster

The cost of household energy has risen seven times faster than household income since 2004, according to a study.

The average household's annual energy bill of £1,252 now accounts for 11pc of a couple's basic state pension of £11,175 a year, the study by price comparison website found.

The cost of energy is now the top household worry for Britons (90pc), ahead of the rising cost of food (77pc) and mortgage payments (42pc). Almost a third of consumers (32pc) say that household energy is unaffordable in the UK, the poll found.

While the average UK household income has increased by 20pc from £32,812 in 2004 to £39,468 today, the average energy bill has risen by 140pc, according to uSwitch figures. Households were spending an average of £522 a year for their energy in 2004, but now pay £1,252 a year - 3.2pc of income or double the 1.6pc of eight years ago.

Britons now have an average of £297 of disposable income left each month after all essential household bills are paid.

The study found 83pc of people believe that rising energy bills have had an impact on their disposable income, with 17pc of these reporting that they no longer have any disposable income as a result and 27pc saying energy bills have reduced their disposable income dramatically.

Director of consumer policy at Ann Robinson said: "This is the cold reality facing households today; in less than 10 years our energy bills have rocketed by 140pc. The break-neck speed at which energy prices have sprinted upwards has caught many people unawares. Consumers are still playing catch-up.

"Energy now accounts for a significant slice of household income which is why the numbers rationing their energy use have risen so steeply in recent years. But going cold or without is a short-term and potentially harmful fix and not a long-term solution.

"The fact is that consumers can control how much they spend on energy by making their homes more energy-efficient and paying less for the energy they do use by moving to a competitively-priced energy plan.

"Those who are on a low income or benefits could even benefit from free insulation from their energy supplier, so it's always worth contacting them first to see what financial help you can get."


LOL! Shale gas boom threatens European renewables investments

Investments in renewable energy could be put on hold while European governments develop clear policies on shale gas, according to a biomass energy expert.

The prospect of increasing production of cheap shale gas in Europe has impacted investors’ forward planning, Chris Moore, CEO of MGT Power, a UK-based large-scale biomass developer, told a forest industry conference in London on Thursday.

Until clear policies emerge on whether countries will allow the exploitation of shale gas reserves, investments in biomass and other renewables might be put on hold, while investors whether better opportunities lie in shale gas than renewables.

“If anything, it’s going to cause a waiting period, and that’s bad for [renewable energy],” Moore told Pöyry’s Forest Industry: Challenges and Opportunities conference.

Currently, most shale gas operations are concentrated in the US, but deposits have been found in Europe and Asia, creating investment opportunities.

The UK government released a report in April backing shale gas extraction in the UK and is also planning to launch a new gas-fuelled power generation strategy this year.

“This is a clear signal to the market that we’re moving towards a higher [proportion of] gas generation”, which could put renewable energy under a lot of pressure, said Moore.

Investment firm F&C has said that shale gas is a “viable investment opportunity” in which UK pension funds will increasingly invest, predicting the industry will grow throughout Europe.

“You’re going to see a lot of question marks on renewables and their affordability,” said Moore.

However, he said “more expensive” renewable sectors, such as solar and wind, face a bigger challenge than biomass, should the shale gas industry expand significantly.


Gore targets Heartland Skeptic Conference With Billboard

Climate Depot Responds:

The New York Times is promoting a billboard sponsored by Al Gore's Climate Reality Project. The billboard asks: “Who to believe on climate? Heartland ... or EVERY National Scientific Academy in the world?”

The billboard is timed to counter Heartland Institute's 7th International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago from May 21-23. (Note: CFACT's Climate Depot is a co-sponsor of the conference and Climate Depot's Morano is a featured speaker.) Maggie L. Fox, chief executive of the Climate Reality Project, said the Gore billboard touting the National Scientific Academies was “a small reminder of who is really on the fringe.”

Climate Depot Response:

This claim that the alleged “consensus” is true because the governing boards of politically savvy National Academy of Sciences endorse UN IPCC like statements -- is pure politics.

Only two dozen or so governing board members of the academies of sciences votes on bland UN IPCC like statements. The governing boards are steeped in funding and the state sponsored science of the day. The full membership, ie., the rank and file scientists, do not get to vote on this statement and in many cases are completely unaware any such warmist statement has been released to the public by the governing board.

Many science organizations have been under munity by their skeptical rank-and-file member scientists for such warmist statements. See: Climate Revolt: World's Largest Science Group 'Startled' By Outpouring of Scientists Rejecting Man-Made Climate Fears! Clamor for Editor to Be Removed!

The governing boards of these organizations reflect the politically correct view of UN and Gore-inspired science and they refuse to allow a direct vote on the statemetns by their member scientists.

U.S. National Academy of Sciences Turns to Advocacy
In the case of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, it has morphed into a warmist climate advocacy group. NAS, under Ralph Cicerone, is dedicated to producing science that fits the man-made global warming narrative.

Gore would have us accept as “unbiased”, the science from the NAS under Cicerone, despite the fact that NAS took $6 million from Congress and lobbied for a cap-and-trade bill. See: National Research Council Chaired by Warmist Ralph Cicerone: Turned Org. into political advocacy group: $6 million NAS study used to lobby for climate bill

Despite the fact that Cicerone personally lobbied the for nations to reduce emissions at a UN conference. See: This is 'science'? NAS's Ralph Cicerone goes political -- Urges nations to reduce emissions at UN climate talks

Despite the fact the U.S. National Academy of Sciences views on man-made global warming are predetermined. See: MIT's Lindzen Slams: 'Ralph Cicerone of NAS/NRC is saying that regardless of evidence the answer is predetermined. If gov't wants carbon control, that is the answer that the Academies will provide'

More HERE (See the original for links)

Australian conservative leader rejects claim the carbon tax will have trivial impact

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has rejected claims he's "over-egged the pudding" with his warnings on the climate tax.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet yesterday said Australians would realise Mr Abbott had been scaremongering when the tax is implemented in July.

But Mr Abbott is standing by his claims, saying the more people know about the tax the less they like it.

"This is a gratuitous act of economic self-harm," he said at Flemington Markets in Sydney's west today.

"The carbon tax is socialism masquerading as environmentalism.

"The more the public see of the carbon tax, the less they like it.

"I think the public understand that compensation is for today, but the tax is forever and it's going to go up and up and up as time goes on."

From July 1, the Government will make less than 500 of Australia's biggest polluters pay an initial $23 for every tonne of carbon they put into the atmosphere.

This will be followed by a market-based emissions trading scheme in 2015.

The aim is to cut 160 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by 2020.



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, 2012

Owners of "Green" cars may still have to pay more in Britain

Motorists could face a 50 per cent rise in fuel duty in future years to cover a £13 billion hole in Treasury coffers caused by the increased use of environmentally friendly cars, according to a report.

The gap in public finances will come from increasing use of more fuel-efficient cars and a switch to electric vehicles, the RAC Foundation-commissioned report claims.

It added that while the fuel duty collected by the Exchequer stands at 1.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), this rate will tumble to 1.1 per cent of GDP by 2029, leaving the Treasury with a big shortfall.

The report said vehicle excise duty (VED) would also drop over this period, from 0.4 per cent of GDP to 0.1 per cent, with the combined fall leading to the £13 billion shortfall.

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: 'If the Chancellor was faced with a £13 billion shortfall in motoring tax revenue today, he would need to push the rate of fuel duty up from 58p per litre to 87p per litre to fill the financial black hole.

'Clearly there is no guarantee that future rises in duty rates will be limited to inflation, as is current policy.'

He added: 'As drivers endure record prices at the pumps they might be surprised to learn that future governments face a drought in motoring tax income.

'The irony is that while ministers encourage us to buy greener, leaner cars, they are being forced to look at ways of clawing back the money motorists think they will be saving. This isn't scaremongering.

'The Treasury has already announced a review of VED bands to ensure drivers make a fair contribution to the public finances even as cars become more fuel-efficient.'

The report was prepared for the RAC Foundation by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Institute director Paul Johnson said motoring taxation did not reflect the costs drivers impose on others and that revenue from petrol was set to fall.

He added: 'A national system of charging related to mileage and congestion, largely replacing the current system of fuel taxation, would help solve both those problems.'


Deep Tory Rift Over Green Agenda

William Hague, the foreign secretary, has warned the prime minister that Britain’s green technology companies and potential exports are being undermined by the failure of ministers to make the case vigorously for low carbon growth. Mr Hague pleaded with Mr Cameron to take the lead by making a speech on the subject; in the event the prime minister’s long-heralded “green speech” was downgraded.

In a private letter to David Cameron, Mr Hague urges him to promote “a stronger narrative on low carbon growth”, which he argues will help persuade potential customers such as China to embrace a new economic model.

Mr Hague has emerged as one of the government’s greenest ministers and he will today tell the CBI employers’ group that he sees low carbon technology as one of Britain’s most promising export sectors.

Although Mr Hague’s aides deny he is criticising colleagues, his letter – seen by the Financial Times – appears to be a warning that the Tory party’s hardening rhetoric on green issues is causing economic damage.

George Osborne, the chancellor, captured the new mood on the Tory right when he told last year’s Conservative party conference: “We’re not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business.”

Conservative MPs have also condemned what one called “wind turbine Toryism”, claiming that Mr Cameron’s promise to lead Britain’s greenest-ever government was forcing up energy prices and holding back the economy.

Mr Hague delivered his counterblast on March 19. In a letter marked “restricted”, the foreign secretary said a greater domestic focus on low carbon growth would “give our commercial diplomacy more purchase” in countries like China.

He added: “It is also essential for our climate diplomacy. We will not secure a binding climate agreement in 2015 unless the idea of low carbon growth becomes dominant across the major economies before then.

“We can leverage this. But our diplomacy will only succeed if it is rooted in our own domestic narrative.”

Mr Hague pleaded with Mr Cameron to take the lead by making a speech on the subject; in the event the prime minister’s long-heralded “green speech” was downgraded in April into some opening remarks at a conference.

The foreign secretary says the government has credibility in the field through the creation of the Green Investment Bank, electricity market reform and the “green deal” to improve energy efficiency, but he clearly believes the government is too timid in proclaiming these achievements.

Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, was warned by manufacturers in Asia during a trip in March that the British government was sending out mixed signals on green energy.

Mr Hague’s green credentials have been lauded by the Liberal Democrats but will raise eyebrows on the Tory right, for whom green issues have sometimes been ranked alongside gay marriage and Lords reform as being distractions to the main task of reviving the economy.


Progressive climate science

Progressive ideology has solidly controlled environmental science at least since the publication of Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring" in 1962. But, somehow, one of the environmental sciences -- climatology -- managed to escape ideological pollution for some years. This brief liberty for climatology likely occurred because the profession was populated with field scientists, who brought a real-world perspective that at least balanced out more theoretical and ideological views.

Today, though, progressivism has the upper hand here too, and it is dictating what is and is not acceptable, especially in the academic arena of atmospheric science. A good example of this can be found in "the Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines" by Dr. Michael E. Mann, a Penn State University professor and director of the university's Earth System Science Center.

The book chronicles the emergence and fame of the "hockey-stick graph" that was so prominently displayed in the U.N.'s 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report summary document for policymakers.

The hockey-stick graph usurped the traditional, apolitical climate graph of Earth's recent temperature changes. The traditional graph showed dramatic warming during a "medieval warm period" (about 950 to 1250 A.D.) and distinct cooling during a "little ice age" (about 1400 to 1850 A.D.). However, the hockey-stick shaped graph displayed temperatures over the past several hundred years fluctuating only a little from year to year (the relatively flat handle of the hockey stick) until the 1900s when the temperatures began to rise dramatically (the blade of the stick). This graph helped to convince many in government that human carbon emissions were behind an unprecedented increase in global temperatures and that drastic, immediate action was necessary to once again save the planet. The graph's construction was challenged by scientists and statisticians who had a very different and also valid view of climate data selection and analysis.

Mann uses the book's peer-reviewed science references to defend his data selection and graphing techniques, as well as many reasoned, passionate arguments. It will be frequently quoted to support the current status quo in the academic world of climate science. But the book still presents a limited perspective based on progressive groupthink.

Dr. Mann relies substantially on slanted sources such as Media Transparency (part of the Media Matters for America action network "dedicated to analyzing and correcting conservative misinformation"),,, the Union of Concerned Scientists (a very politically active group), the Government Accountability Project, the Center for American Progress, ThinkProgress, et cetera, ad nauseam.

Dr. Mann also seems to relish the pejorative phrase "climate change denier" to describe his challengers. As the professor himself observes in a recent letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, the denier label is an attempt to "politically pigeonhole" those who are not convinced of his position on the merits. This is an ideological mode of argument, not a scientific one. Such rhetoric also betrays an inability on the author's part to learn from his own unfortunate experience of others trying to silence his views.

The book's unintentionally arrogant tone is perhaps a hint as to what irritates the masses about ex cathedra climate science proclamations. Furthermore, the book promises that a new Climate Science Rapid Response Team will be summoned to trample any threat to the institutional ideology posed by the many skeptical atmospheric scientists practicing in the real world.

These real-world meteorologists and climatologists know that the climate system is too complex for global outlooks into the decades ahead. They strongly suspect that man-made carbon dioxide is far less determinative of climate change than the academics say it is. After all, what really regulates climate in nature is water in all its forms -- as solid in ice sheets, cloud crystals and snow; liquid in cloud droplets and oceans; and vapor in ambient air.

In the long run, vain progressive ideology is no match for natural forces.


German Chancellor Fires Green Energy Minister

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sacked her environment minister, Norbert Roettgen, days after he led her party to a crushing defeat in a key regional election.

Mr Roettgen was the candidate of Ms Merkel's Christian Democrats for the post of state premier in North-Rhine Westphalia.

He was widely blamed for the party's heavy defeat to the Social Democrats.

The loss was seen as a serious blow to Ms Merkel's government.

She told a hastily arranged news conference on Wednesday that Mr Roettgen had been dismissed "to allow a change in personnel".

He was replaced by Peter Altmaier, the Christian Democrats' leader in the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag.

Mr Roettgen provoked controversy early in the North-Rhine Westphalia campaign by refusing to commit to giving up his job as national environment minister and becoming full-time opposition leader in the state if he lost.

In unusually strongly worded remarks, Horst Seehofer, the head of the Christian Democrats' powerful sister party in Bavaria, the Christian Social Union, accused Mr Roettgen of having made a "very serious mistake".

Pointing out that Mr Roettgen had started the campaign three percentage points ahead in the polls, Mr Seehofer said he was astonished that the lead had "melted away like a bowl of ice cream in the sun".

His remarks on Monday to broadcaster ZDF caused a sensation in the German media.

Support for the Christian Democrats dropped from 35% to 26% in Sunday's North-Rhine Westphalia election. It was the party's worst result in the state.

Official results give the Social Democrats (SPD) 39.1%, the Christian Democrats (CDU) 26.3%, the Greens 11.3%, the Free Democrats (FDP) 8.6%, the Pirates 7.8% and the Left, 2.5%, reported AP news agency.

The FDP, the CDU's national coalition partner, performed better than expected, increasing their vote by nearly two percentage points and thereby giving the lie to speculation that they might fail to win seats.


Green Energy Fiasco: German Electricity Prices To Double

A recent study estimates that the Germans will soon have to reckon with dramatic price rises in their electricity bills. According to the study, electricity cost for households will doubled in ten years. The rising costs are due to the expansion of renewable energy as well as the necessary grid expansion and the subsidisation of solar and wind power.

Electricity prices in Germany will rise by 70 percent by the year 2025 according to a study.

The costs are due to the green energy transition and the planned phase out of nuclear power, according to a new report by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The study was commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

The experts see this as a threat to Germany's economy: "If electricity prices are rising so dramatically, we have concerns about the competitiveness of German companies," said Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Bernd Bechtold.

The price increases were calculated for large customer contracts according to the study. "For households, prices are expected to increase even more because they cannot negotiate such high discounts," said engineer Karl-Friedrich Ziegahn, who coordinated the study.

German power prices highest in the EU

The rising costs are due to the expansion of renewable energy as well as the necessary grid expansion and the subsidization of solar and wind power. In early May, a study by energy experts at McKinsey suggested that electricity consumers would face 21.5 billion Euros in costs in 2020 caused by the transition to renewable energy.

"We already have the highest electricity prices in the EU today," said Bechtold. In France, the cost of electricity is about 40 percent lower.

The German industry could not afford such a price difference in the long run.


Brazil Cuts Energy Taxes To Revive Economy

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff plans to cut and simplify taxes for electricity producers and distributors, two senior officials told Reuters, as part of a strategy to reduce Brazil's high business costs and stimulate its struggling economy.

Brazil has been on the brink of recession since mid-2011 as high taxes, an overvalued exchange rate and other structural problems squeeze what had previously been one of the world's most dynamic emerging economies.

Rousseff has in recent months announced targeted tax cuts for stagnant sectors such as the automotive industry, embracing an incremental approach to reform that has drawn criticism from investors who say more drastic changes are needed.

But the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the tax reductions for electricity companies, which Rousseff will announce in coming weeks, would likely be the most far-reaching to date.

Brazil has the world's third-highest power costs, and Rousseff is aiming to give relief to consumers as well as companies in energy-intensive areas such as steel and petrochemicals.

Internal government studies suggest that, depending on which taxes are cut, electricity costs could fall by between 3 and 10 percent starting as early as 2013, the officials said.

That would have a measurable impact on inflation and aid Rousseff's quest to push Brazilian interest rates lower.

Rousseff said in a speech on Tuesday that deep changes to Brazil's tax code were necessary, and cited electricity as an example of what is wrong with the current system.

"I don't know of many countries that tax electricity, but we tax it," she told a group of mayors. "We tax things that are fundamental for the development of the country. ... We need to push through the tax reform that we all want."

Rousseff probably will not pass the electricity tax cuts by decree, meaning she will have to negotiate with Congress and other groups. She plans to use her record-high popularity ratings to push through cuts to taxes at both the federal and state level, with a special focus on eliminating levies that overlap or are difficult to calculate, the officials said.

Brazil's tax code is so complex that an average company spends 2,600 hours a year calculating what it owes, according to the World Bank's annual Doing Business study, which compares business practices around the world. That is almost 14 times the time needed to do taxes in the United States, and by far the highest among the 183 countries in the World Bank's survey.

"The focus is as much on simplifying taxes as reducing them," one of the officials said.

Brazil's electricity industry includes state-run companies such as Eletrobras (LIPR3.SA) as well as multi-nationals like AES Corp (AES.N) and GDF Suez (GSZ.PA). Hydroelectric power supplies about three-quarters of Brazil's electricity needs, with nuclear, thermal and wind power accounting for the rest.

If the initiative is successful, Rousseff will use a similar blueprint to reduce taxes for other industries in coming months, possibly including telecoms, the officials said.

Specific details such as the size of the tax cuts, which taxes will be targeted, and the timing of the announcement are still being finalized by Rousseff's team, the officials said. One said the plan would likely be unveiled in late June, before politicians nationwide turn their attention to municipal elections in October.


Electricity prices are a big component of the so-called "Brazil cost" - the mix of taxes, high interest rates, labour costs, infrastructure bottlenecks, and other issues that have caused the economy to become less competitive.

After a decade of strong performance, Brazil grew below the Latin American average in 2011 and so far this year.

Brazil's average electricity cost of $180 per megawatt hour is exceeded only by Italy and Slovakia, the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a private think-tank, said in a 2011 study based on data from the International Energy Agency.

High electricity rates have contributed to stagnant investment and production in energy-intensive industries. Despite Brazil's bauxite and alumina resources, no new aluminium factories have been built in Brazil since 1985 and two have closed, keeping production levels stagnant, the Getulio Vargas study said. It said electricity accounts for 35 percent - "an insane proportion" - of the industry's production costs.

U.S.-based aluminium producer Alcoa (AA.N) said in April it was considering big production cuts at two of its Brazil factories in part because of high electricity costs.

One of the officials who spoke to Reuters said the situation at Alcoa had added urgency to Rousseff's plan to cut taxes.

All told, taxes account for about half of the cost of electricity in Brazil, studies show. The taxes themselves are roughly evenly split between the federal and state level.



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, 2012

Using Earth’s Blessings To Better Mankind and Planet

David Legates

Although he has rarely been willing to discuss or debate energy or environmental issues with those who do not share his views, environmentalist David Suzuki frequently challenges them on other grounds. In his recent article, “Religious Right is wrong about climate change,” Suzuki claims that some US and Canadian scientists hold religious views that are anti-science.

Suzuki asserts that some climate scientists – including me, by name – put “misguided beliefs above rational thought.” His implicit assumption is that conservative Christian views are irrational and incompatible with science, and that I have replaced Almighty God with the “almighty dollar,” believing the economy matters more than the environment.

As a coauthor of the Cornwall Alliance’s Renewed Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Examination of the Theology, Science and Economics of Global Warming, which forms the basis for the Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming that Suzuki criticizes, I know the Cornwall Alliance fully and carefully integrates scientific, economic, ethical and theological reasoning to support its conclusions. There’s nothing at all irrational about it – unless you consider religion irrational per se.

However, Suzuki is correct regarding one aspect of my belief: the economy does matter as much as the environment. Good environmental stewardship requires sound financial footing – and improving and safeguarding human health and welfare requires maintaining a strong, vibrant, innovative economy that can sustain continued environmental progress.

When a country is in dire need of food, clothing, shelter and other necessities for life, it cannot possibly be concerned with environmental issues. The poor people of India pour untreated sewage into the Ganges River – and then draw their drinking and “cleaning” water from it. So poor that they’re desperate simply for survival, they cannot possibly concern themselves with environmental stewardship. Only when economic improvements allow technological advancements to increase the quality of life, provide ample food and clothing, house citizens, provide clean drinking water, and treat and eradicate diseases can a thus wealthier society turn its attention to caring for the environment.

That is precisely what has happened in more developed nations. As the United States and Canada advanced economically, we developed technologies and policies that increased our quality and length of life. In turn, this has led us to be more proactive with our environmental stewardship.

We emit far less pollution and waste today, both per person and per unit of production, than we did fifty years ago. We feed more people with every parcel of land, we get more energy from every drop of oil, we are more efficient at everything we do, and we are much better stewards of our environment. But none of that could have occurred without a strong and developing economy.

Unfortunately, some so-called environmentalists wish to keep Africa and other developing nations in perpetual underdevelopment. They pay them off to be “environmentally conscious,” by giving them handouts – food and monetary aid – to keep them alive and perhaps have little solar panels on their huts. But they also ensure that those poor families never prosper or become middle class – so as to perpetuate environmentalist notions of “noble natives,” supposedly “at one” with their environment and living a “sustainable” existence.

Equally harmful, much of that money is lost to corruption, while the people are forced to continue living in a state of poverty, disease, malnutrition and deprivation, as technologies that could enhance their length and quality of life are denied to them. Among the technologies denied are modern seeds, fertilizers, and high-tech, high-yield farming methods to increase food supplies; natural gas and electricity to heat homes and cook food, instead of cutting down forests and burning wood, thereby degrading indoor air quality and causing lethal lung infections; refrigeration so that people do not have to choose between eating spoiled food and going hungry; and the use of insecticides, including the powerful insect repellant DDT, to spare them from the agonizing illness and death brought on by malaria.

Each of these enhancements requires plentiful, dependable, affordable energy. Yet in the name of “saving the planet” or “preventing cataclysmic climate change,” environmentalists like Suzuki deny developing countries the modern technologies and energy they need to improve their lives and environment – thereby perpetuating high infant mortality, significantly shortened life spans, and greatly decreased quality of life.

Climate alarmism is the rationale for these deadly policies – and that is where political ideology mixes with the new religion of environmentalism. Overstated or non-existent threats to the environment, along with impractical or imaginary ways to prevent the purported threats, are the new scripture on which the adherents develop their theologies and policies for directing and micromanaging the course of human events. Unfortunately, these eco-religionists never encounter (or intentionally avert their eyes from) the misery and devastation that their policies dramatically inflict on the world’s poorest people. That is because they are too concerned with “saving the planet.”

Back in North America, some wish to have energy rationed or be made increasingly expensive, creating artificial fuel poverty for millions. Such policies will make food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and medical care – in short, everything – more expensive and scarce, create more unemployed workers, push many people back into conditions of poverty and deprivation, and gravely impair human health and welfare. This strategy will not save the planet, as they hope, because one of its first casualties will be environmental stewardship. History and human nature both testify that, forced by economic limits to choose between a cleaner environment and food on the table, people always choose food.

In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus told of a master who gave one of his servants a single talent, and then condemned him for hiding it in the earth and not putting it to use. Often we think of the talent only as money or ability, but it really stands for every resource – including natural resources. How will the Master of all creation judge us if we hide our resources in the earth, and then on Judgment Day say, “Behold, you have what is yours”?

If we do not use the resources God has set before us in the earth to care for those in need, our Creator will likely condemn us, saying: “You kept buried what I gave you, instead of using and investing it. You failed to employ my gifts to care for the poor, the hungry, the sick, and those who were dying from disease. You have been worthless, irresponsible stewards of my creation.” We would deserve the same fate as the servant the master called “wicked and lazy.”

I fail to understand how anyone thinking rationally can argue that poverty and economic hardship will enhance environmental stewardship, or that the planet is more important than the people who live on it.


Guilt by Association

by Patrick J. Michaels

My friends on the left make much of the apparent correlation between creationism and skepticism about assured climate disaster. It is the “some–all fallacy” writ large. “Some” climate scientists who happen to believe in intelligent design, a variant of creationism, also question the high-sensitivity climate model. Therefore “all” who hypothesize that warming has been overblown must also question evolution; i.e., they are ignorant dolts.

Note to the Left on this one: No one — scientist or otherwise — has yet come up with the definitive explanation of the first life forms on earth. There is no conclusive bridge between self-replicating molecules capable of mutation (a definition of life) and the primordial, lifeless, dimly-lit planet Earth of some 3 billion years ago. So even the most erudite thinkers must resort to aliens, life-bearing comets, God — or, in my case, beats-the-heck-out-of-me.

My lefty friends are somewhat condescending towards skeptical climate scientists. Who hasn’t heard of Chris Mooney’s drivel that Republicans (in general), and those who think climate change isn’t horrible (in particular), are mentally ill? I guess it’s a good way to win an argument; after all, I think the people I disagree with are nuts, too.

The “some” of the fallacy is the University of Alabama’s Roy Spencer, a climate physicist who argues (as do I) that the “sensitivity” of climate to dreaded carbon dioxide has been overestimated in computer models. Spencer also believes in intelligent design.

Spencer’s chosen form of belief to explain the mystery of the first life on Earth is hardly germane to a rational discussion of his interpretation of climate findings. There are plenty of productive and successful scientists who go to church — most of which preach that God created man. And there are plenty of good scientists who don’t.

So far as I can tell, the percentage of climate skeptics who are also religious is about the same as among the entire population of climate scientists in general. Some apocalyptic warmists believe in God, too, you know. At the University of Virginia, where I spent 30 years in the Department of Environmental Sciences, most of my colleagues didn’t attend church, but some did. There was little correlation between their religious beliefs and their scientific success. While the atmospheric scientists in that department were known for their skepticism about the upcoming climate disaster, none were churchgoers.

Away from academia, some creationists are successfully pushing state legislatures to dictate that their point of view, as well as global-warming skepticism, be a part of the public-school curriculum. These people are not just skeptics about climate change, but, rather, skeptics about science itself, because it is inconsistent with their belief system. Biblical literalists don’t like the easy demonstration that the Earth is billions of years old — and that’s merely the beginning of their complaints about science.

The lesson is that in the civilian world, people with strong beliefs try to manipulate science. But in the universe of scientific professionals, belief has little bearing on science. (This does not mean that there are no inherent biases in environmental science, but that’s a separate topic.)

While literalists are uncomfortable with science, they (generally) will go to a physician for science-based treatment, and (most) will immunize their children. That’s because they obtain gain — relief from pain, prevention of disease — from accepting modern medical science. Scientific skepticism is suspended when it can cost your life.

But things are different when a belief extracts no cost, which is the case with creationism. It doesn’t get suspended. On the other hand, science should be vigorously questioned if it indeed leads to massive societal costs, as must be the case if global warming is portrayed by scientists as a calamity.

It should not be forgotten that scientific history is littered with discredited theories that were once universally accepted as truth. I and others hypothesize that we will one day add to that list the dogmatic beliefthat global warming will spell the end of humanity as we know it. On that day, the river of criticism about the dangers of blind faith will flow in the other direction.

Let’s stop conflating the creationist hoi polloi with skeptical climate scientists. The mystery about how life arose on earth is simply unrelated to global-warming science, no matter what those scientists might believe.


Wind Energy: The Next Green Black-Hole

The wind energy industry has been having a hard time. The taxpayer funding that has kept it alive for the last twenty years is coming to an end, and those promoting the industry are panicking.

Perhaps this current wave started when one of wind energy’s most noted supporters, T. Boone Pickens, “Mr. Wind,” in an April 12 interview on MSNBC said, “I’m in the wind business…I lost my ass in the business.”

The industry’s fortunes didn’t get any better when on May 4, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) wrote an editorial titled, “Gouged by the wind,” in which they stated: “With natural gases not far from $2 per million BTU, the competitiveness of wind power is highly suspect.” Citing a study on renewable energy mandates, the WSJ says: “The states with mandates paid 31.9% more for electricity than states without them.”

Then, last week the Financial Times did a comprehensive story: “US Renewables boom could turn into a bust” in which they predict the “enthusiasm for renewables” … “could fizzle out.” The article says: “US industry is stalling and may be about to go into reverse. …Governments all over the world have been curbing support for renewable energy.”

Michael Liebreich of the research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance says: “With a financially stressed electorate, it’s really hard to go to them and say: ‘Gas is cheap, but we’ve decided to build wind farms for no good reason that we can articulate.’” Christopher Blansett, who is a top analyst in the alternative-energy sector in the Best on the Street survey, says, “People want cheap energy. They don't necessarily want clean energy.”

It all boils down to a production tax credit (PTC) that is set to expire at the end 2012. Four attempts to get it extended have already been beaten back so far this year—and we are only in the fifth month. The Financial Times reports: “Time-limited subsidy programmes…face an uphill battle. The biggest to expire this year is the production tax credit for onshore wind power, the most important factor behind the fourfold expansion of US wind generation since 2006. Recent attempts in Congress to extend it have failed.”

According to the WSJ, “The industry is launching into a lobbying blitz.” The “2012 Strategy” from the American Wind Energy Association includes:

* “To maximize WindPAC’s in?uence, WindPAC will increase the number of fundraisers we hold for Members of Congress.”

* “Continue the Iowa caucus program to ensure the successful implanting of a pro-wind message into the Republican presidential primary campaign.”

* “Respond quickly to unfavorable articles by posting comments online, using the AWEA blog and twitter, and putting out press releases.”

* “Continue to advocate for long term extension of PTC and ITC option for offshore wind.”

* “AWEA requested a funding level of $144.2 million for FY 2012 for the Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Energy Program, an increase of $17.3 million above the President’s Congressional budget request.”

A wind turbine manufacturer quoted in the Financial Times article says, “If the PTC just disappears, then the industry will collapse.” Regarding United Technologies plans to sell its wind turbine business, chief financial officer Greg Hayes admitted: “We all make mistakes.”

Despite twenty years of taxpayer funding, according to the Financial Times, “Most of these technologies are unable to stand on their own commercially, particularly in competition with a resurgent natural gas industry that has created a supply glut and driven prices to 10-year lows.” The WSJ opines: “the tax subsidy has sustained the industry on a scale that wouldn’t have been possible if they had to follow the same rules as everyone else.” A level playing field would mean that wind developers would lose the exemptions from environmental and economic laws.

It is the fear of having to play by “the same rules as everyone else”—like the free market does— that must have propelled the anti-fossil fuel Checks and Balances Project to dig deep to unearth a “confidential” document. The brainstorming document was designed to trigger conversation during an initial meeting of grassroots folks with a common goal—the document’s author didn’t even join us and his ideas received little attention. The meeting was February 1 and 2. I was there. But suddenly, on May 8, our little meeting is in the news.

Many of us who were at the meeting received calls from a variety of publications including The National Journal, The Washington Times and Bloomberg News—none of whom ran with the story (after talking to a number of us, the Bloomberg reporter concluded “I don't think we're writing a story about this”)—and The Guardian who did. The Guardian story was picked up and expanded on in Environment & Energy (the reporter did talk to several of us), HuffPost, Tree Hugger, Think Progress’ Climate Progress, and others. (Note: Climate Progress and Tree Hugger remove any comment in opposition to wind energy as soon as it is posted.) From there, some form of the story is all over the Internet.

The wind energy industry panic explains the sudden interest, but why our little group?

Washington Examiner columnist, Timothy Carney, provides the answer: “AWEA plans ‘continued deployment of opposition research through third parties to cause critics to have to respond,’ the battle plan states. In other words: When people attack AWEA's subsidies, AWEA might feed an unflattering story on that person to some ideological or partisan media outlet or activist group.” We are the people who have attacked the subsidies and AWEA has, through a “third party” fed “an unflattering story” to a “partisan media outlet.” Our collaborative actions have helped block the PTC extension efforts.

A common thread in the news stories is that we are really an oil-and-gas funded entity. They’ve tied us to the Koch Brothers. We all wish. Apparently they can’t believe that individuals and local groups can think for themselves and impact public policy without a puppet master telling us what to do and say.

In fact, the group has no funding. As we began to email back and forth over the sudden reporter interest, one meeting attendee quipped: “My trip was funded, in part, by MY brother, Paul, who donated frequent flyer miles for my trip. I can assure you that my brother is not part of the Koch family. I paid for the rest of the trip out of my own pocket.” Yet, the reporters seemed determined to find a funding link. I told the Bloomberg reporter that we each paid our own way, that the meeting was held in a budget hotel outside of DC (unlike the AWEA meeting held at the prestigious La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, CA), and that we each had to pay for our own transportation, food, and lodging. My comments never made it into print. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am the executive director of companion organizations that do receive funding from oil and gas companies and individual donors. But I, like the others, was invited as an individual, not as a member of any organization.

Additionally, we are not even a formal group. We met to consider forming a group. The “leaked” memo, addresses finding a group that might absorb us, affiliate with us, or align with us.

Attendees brought their individual issues, observations, and successes. Each had valid insights to contribute. Some viewed health impacts as the most important ammunition. Others, economics. Some, setbacks or bird deaths or land use. Others, including the meeting’s organizer, John Droz, believe that the science—or lack thereof, is the best weapon. There are so many reasons to oppose wind that come down to government use of taxpayer money to support something that raises electricity prices based on the failed concept of man-made global warming. As a result of the meeting, we now know we are not alone, and we can call on one another for insight and advice.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Gabe Elsner, a co-director of the Checks and Balances Project. Without his discovery and subsequent exposure of the “document,” we’d still be just loosely affiliated individuals and small citizens’ groups. The attack has emboldened us and helped others find us! A representative from the Blue Mountain Alliance sent Droz an email stating: “I probably need to send them a thank you note for leading me to you and your efforts.”

After the murmurings became known, one of the meeting attendees, Paul Driessen, wrote a detailed and data-filled column, “Why we need to terminate Big Wind subsidies,” which has garnered more than 700 Facebook “likes” on (To give perspective, I am pleased if I get 50 “likes.” Each “like” generally represents thousands of readers.) In just a few days, his column is all over the Internet.

Wind energy has more opposition than most people realize, and Elsner, who has served as the “third party” in the AWEA strategy, has allowed us to find one another. While a few attendees at the DC meeting were concerned about all the publicity, attorney Brad Tupi, who has represented citizens victimized by wind energy projects, responded: “I would plead guilty to participating in a meeting of concerned citizens opposed to wasteful, unproven, inefficient wind energy. I would agree that we are interested in coordinating with other reputable organizations, and I personally would be honored to work with Heartland Institute and others.”

If you do not support industrial, tax-payer-funded, wind-energy projects that are promoted based on ideology and emotion rather than facts and sound science, you can benefit from our affiliation. Droz has a wonderful presentation full of helpful information. A few of the websites from the meeting attendees include: Illinois Wind Watch, Coalition for Sensible Siting, Energy Integrity Project, and Citizen Power Alliance.

The lesson to be learned from the attack on these hard-working citizens is that the little people can make a difference! We’ve got the subsidy-seeking, wind-energy supporters running scared—along with the crony capitalism that accompanies them. Remember, “If the PTC just disappears”—meaning if we do not keep giving them taxpayer dollars—“then the industry will collapse.” Your phone call or email to a Senator or Congressman, such as Steve King or Dave Reichert who recently came out in support of the PTC, can make a difference. Tell them, as the WSJ said, “If the party is serious about tax reform…it will vote to take wind power off the taxpayer dole.”

It is time for the AWEA and the politicians who support the PTC to explain why higher electricity costs, human health impacts, substantial loss of property values in rural communities, dead bats and birds, and increased national debt are good for America and her taxpayers.


Peak oil debate is over, say experts

THE debate about peak oil is over and the world has used just a fraction of the petroleum it will be possible to extract, an expert believes.

Speaking at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) 2012 conference in Adelaide, oil major Total's chief executive Christophe de Margerie said new sources of petroleum, such as tight gas and shale oil, meant that the world had ample supplies of petroleum.

Mr de Margerie said while there were economic and environmental issues which would affect how quickly resources were exploited, there was "definitely not a concern about reserves''.

His comments were echoed by Saudi Arabia's Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali I. Naimi, who told the conference new technology would continue to drive the petroleum sector.

"It is estimated that the world has consumed something like one trillion barrels of oil since the industry started in the nineteenth century,'' he said.

"It is thought there are at least five trillion barrels of petroleum potentially recoverable.

"But it is not just that oil continues to be discovered. It is that technology, partly driven by prices, enables ever greater reserves to be booked, and eventually recovered.

"The world has plenty of reserves, and they will continue to fuel prosperity and growth around the world for many decades.''

Mr I. Naimi said the petroleum sector sector did need to be supplemented with other forms of energy such as solar and other renewable sources.

"The challenge for all of us is to use our technology and ingenuity to create a low carbon future,'' he said.

"I call for greater collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Australia on this, but also among all countries.''


Old-fashioned water-pumping windmills no good (They actually work as intended)

Ken Spring of Longview says he does everything by the book. He said all the buildings on his neatly tended property in Cowlitz County are permitted and he always tries to abide by the law.

But he also said he is willing to fight to keep a newly built, 30-foot tall windmill on his land. “You'll find this hard to believe, but I'll die for that,” he said as the windmill spun around overhead. “I am fed up.”

The windmill, which is the old-fashioned type found on farms for centuries, is connected to a small pump that draws water out of a well as the blades turn. The water is stored in a big tank next to the windmill.

Spring said he's going to use the well water to take care of the fruit orchard on his sprawling property. He said he built it to avoid paying Longview’s expensive water and sewer bills.

Spring claims the City of Longview has no statutes covering the use of windmills and now that the windmill is working, the city is trying to charge him for $3,000 so planners can investigate how windmills might be permitted within the city.

“I tried every legal way I could think of to get a permit” for the windmill, Spring said.

"It's not a matter of us not wanting him to do it. There's just a process that has to be gone through to allow it," John Brickey, Longview Community Development Director told KATU News.

Spring claims it’s just a move by the city to milk more money out of homeowners and he is not about to pay.

Spring said the windmill conserves Longview’s water, makes very little noise and he is ready to fight city hall over it.

“This was just my line in the sand here,” he said. “If this windmill is down, you’ll know that I’m dead.”


Wasteful U.S. public-land policy must change

Like much else in government, U.S. public-land policy is a vestige of the past, established around 1910 when America's population was just 92.2million, Nevada had only 81,000 residents and Arizona, with 200,000 people, was still a territory.

Today, our needs are both much different and much greater. The United States can no longer afford to keep tens of millions of acres of "public" land locked up and out of service.

Some of these lands have great commercial value; others are environmental treasures. We need policies capable of distinguishing between the two.

Few Easterners realize the immense magnitude of the public lands. The federal government's holdings include about 58 million acres in Nevada, or 83 percent of the state's total land mass; 45million acres in California (45 percent of the state); 34million acres in Utah (65 percent); 33million acres in Idaho (63 percent); and more than a fourth of all the land in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Wyoming. Today, Arizona is still 45 percent federal land.

Most public-land decisions are made by two federal agencies, the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, and involve matters such as the number of cows that will be allowed to graze, the areas available to off-road recreational vehicles, the prevention and fighting of forest fires, the building of local roads, the amount of timber harvesting, the leasing of land for oil and gas drilling, mineral rights and other such details.

Outside the rural West, most such decisions are made by private landowners or by state and local governments. In the West, Washington acts as if it knows best.

Like other grand designs of the "progressive" era, public-land policy has failed the test of time.

Public lands have not been managed efficiently to maximize national benefits, but instead, in response to political pressures.

Past mismanagement has turned many national forests into flammable tinderboxes where intense crown fires reaching to the top of the trees -- once a rarity -- consume entire forests.

Rural Westerners receive significant financial benefits when the federal government pays for many of their local roads, and conservation services provide many high-paying local federal jobs.

Increasingly, however, Westerners are questioning the tradeoffs involved.

Daniel Kemmis, a former Democratic speaker and minority leader of the Montana House and one-time mayor of Missoula, the state's second-largest city after Billings, laments that "our public lands ... are burdened by a steadily more outdated regulatory and governing framework," which he describes as a "frustrating, alienating, bureaucratic paternalism."

Professor Sally Fairfax of the University of California-Berkeley observes that the creation of the national forests established "a relationship between the national government and the Western states that is usefully described as colonial."

Little has changed, even as the federal system has become more and more dysfunctional.

The fact is that probably no more than 20 percent of the tens of millions of acres of public lands is nationally important, requiring federal oversight and protection.

This includes 45 million acres of Forest Service and BLM lands included in the national wilderness system and other environmentally special areas such as the BLM's Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.

An additional 60 percent, perhaps, is made up of more-ordinary lands, used principally for recreational purposes, such as hiking, hunting, fishing and off-road vehicle use.

Most of the remaining public lands are useful primarily for commercial purposes, such as intense recreational or mining uses in Arizona or timber-rich federal forests in the Pacific Northwest.

A rational public-lands policy in Arizona and other Western states that is more suited to current and future needs would put the nationally important lands into a newly reorganized federal environmental protection system.

Ordinary recreational lands would be managed at the state and local level, perhaps by transferring them to local counties. What better steward of a local recreation area than the people who live in the area?

The commercially most valuable lands, meanwhile, would be transferred to new ownerships or put under long-term federal leases.

Lands that have real commercial value can produce a double benefit: revenue from leases and land sales and additional revenue from the jobs, minerals, oil, gas, lumber and other commodities the freed-up lands would produce.

It is time to end the outdated federal land policies, which are draining our country's wealth, tying up valuable resources in red tape and bureaucracy and harming the environment.

Transitioning to a new system would take time, but it might reasonably be completed over a 10-year period, the same time frame Washington is using for deficit-reduction planning.



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, 2012

Hoerling To Hansen : Facts Do Matter …. To Some People

NOAA’s extreme weather expert, Martin Hoerling, slammed Hansen on Andy Revkin’s blog yesterday.
“Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.”

He doesnt define “several decades,” but a reasonable assumption is that he refers to a period from today through mid-century. I am unaware of any projection for “semi-permanent” drought in this time frame over the expansive region of the Central Great Plains. He implies the drought will be due to a lack of rain (except for the brief, and ineffective downpours). I am unaware of indications, from model projections, for a material decline in mean rainfall. Indeed, that region has seen a general increase in rainfall over the long term during most seasons (certainly no material decline). Also, for the warm season when evaporative loss is especially effective, the climate of the central Great Plains has not become materially warmer (perhaps even cooled) since 1900. In other words, climate conditions in the growing season of the Central Great Plains are today not materially different from those existing 100 years ago. This observational fact belies the expectations from climate simulations and, in truth, our science lacks a good explanation for this discrepancy.

The Hansen piece is policy more than it is science, to be sure, and one can read it for the former. But facts should, and do, matter to some. The vision of a Midwest Dustbowl is a scary one, and the author appears intent to instill fear rather than reason.

The article makes these additional assertions:

“The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather…”

This is patently false. Take temperature over the U.S. as an example. The variability of daily temperature over the U.S. is much larger than the anthropogenic warming signal at the time scales of local weather. Depending on season and location, the disparity is at least a factor of 5 to 10.

I think that a more scientifically justifiable statement, at least for the U.S. and extratropical land areas is that daily weather noise continues to drum out the siren call of climate change on local, weather scales.

Hansen goes on to assert that:

“Extremely hot summers have increased noticeably. We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events — they were caused by human-induced climate change.”

Published scientific studies on the Russian heat wave indicate this claim to be false. Our own study on the Texas heat wave and drought, submitted this week to the Journal of Climate, likewise shows that that event was not caused by human-induced climate change. These are not de novoevents, but upon scientific scrutiny, one finds both the Russian and Texas extreme events to be part of the physics of what has driven variability in those regions over the past century. This is not to say that climate change didn’t contribute to those cases, but their intensity owes to natural, not human, causes.

The closing comment by Hansen is then all the more ironic, though not surprising knowing he often writes from passion and not reason:

“The science of the situation is clear — it’s time for the politics to follow. ”

Let me borrow from a recent excellent piece in New Scientist by tornado expert Dr. Harold Brooks regarding the global warming and tornado debate, and state:

“Those who continue to talk in certain terms of how local weather extremes are the result of human climate change are failing to heed all the available evidence.”


Green power failure

Global-warming-related catastrophes are increasingly hitting vulnerable populations around the world, with one species in particular danger: the electricity ratepayer. In Canada, in the U.K., in Spain, in Denmark, in Germany and elsewhere the danger to ratepayers is especially great, but ratepayers in one country — the U.S. — seem to have weathered the worst of the disaster.

America’s secret? Unlike leaders in other countries, which to their countries’ ruin adopted policies as if global warming mattered, U.S. leaders more paid lip service to it. While citizens in other countries are now seeing soaring power rates, American householders can look forward to declining rates.

The North American exemplar of acting on the perceived threat of global warming is Ontario, which dismantled one of the continent’s finest fleets of coal plants in pursuit of becoming a green leader. Then, to induce developers to build uneconomic renewable energy facilities, the Ontario government paid them as much as 80 times the market rate for power. The result is power prices that rose rapidly (about 50% since 2005) and will continue to do so: Ontarians can expect power prices that are 46% higher over the next five years, according to a 2010 Ontario government estimate, and more than 100% higher according to independent estimates. The rest of Canada may not fare much better — the National Energy Board forecasts power prices 42% higher by 2035, while some estimates have Canadian power prices 50% higher by 2020.

The story throughout much of Europe is similar. Denmark, an early adopter of the global-warming mania, now requires its households to pay the developed world’s highest power prices — about 40¢ a kilowatt hour, or three to four times what North Americans pay today. Germany, whose powerhouse economy gave green developers a blank cheque, is a close second, followed by other politically correct nations such as Belgium, the headquarters of the EU, and distressed nations such as Spain.

The result is chaos to the economic well-being of the EU nations. Even in rock-solid Germany, up to 15% of the populace is now believed to be in “fuel poverty” — defined by governments as needing to spend more than 10% of the total household income on electricity and gas. Some 600,000 low-income Germans are now being cut off by their power companies annually, a number expected to increase as a never-ending stream of global-warming projects in the pipeline wallops customers. In the U.K., which has laboured under the most politically correct climate leadership in the world, some 12 million people are already in fuel poverty, 900,000 of them in wind-infested Scotland alone, and the U.K. has now entered a double-dip recession.

The U.S., in contrast, will see power rates decline starting next year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, dropping by more than 22% by the end of the decade and then staying flat to 2035. Why the fall? Mainly because the U.S. will rely overwhelmingly on fossil fuels in the years ahead, not just coal, which dominates the current power system, but increasingly natural gas, which is expected to account for 60% of all new generating capacity in the future. Thanks to fracking, the U.S. effectively has limitless amounts of inexpensive natural gas to add to its limitless coal.

While the rest of the developed world was in thrall to global-warming rhetoric, the U.S. talked the talk but balked at following through. In 1997, then president Bill Clinton and his vice-president, Al Gore, happily signed on to the Kyoto Treaty, which coerced the countries of the developed world into compromising their economies in order to save the planet. While other nations then dutifully complied, the U.S. Senate — as Clinton and Gore knew it would — refused to ratify Kyoto by a 95-0 vote. Clinton’s successor, George W. Bush, did an equally superb job of talking but balking at taking economy-killing measures. Bush successor Barack Obama, although a global-warming true believer, also put global warming on the back burner, preferring to make Obamacare, rather than climate change, his signature issue.

With the Republicans all but certain to control the purse strings following the November elections by dint of a majority in the House of Representatives, European-style legislation in the U.S. in aid of global warming will be impossible, even if the Republicans don’t also capture the Senate and the White House, as polls now indicate they will. In the event of a Republican sweep, the gap between power prices in the U.S. and the rest of the developed world will increase even more as “Drill, baby, drill” Republicans remove the existing restraints on the U.S. fossil-fuel industry, and slash the remaining subsidies on the U.S. renewable-energy industry.


Germany Faces Energy Disaster Next Winter

Last winter, on several occasions, Germany escaped only just large-scale power outages. Next winter the risk of large blackouts is even greater. The culprit for the looming crisis is the single most important instrument of German energy policy: the "Renewable Energy Law."

The dramatic tone of the report by the Federal Network Agency (FNA) on the near-blackouts last winter is hard to overestimate: although the cold spell was short and mild, the situation in the German electricity network was “very precarious” according to the Agency.

Several times, the pre-ordered reserve power plants in Austria and Germany were fully utilized. On several occassions, the network operators were not even able to mobilize additionally needed emergency reserves abroad. The number of short-term emergency interventions in network and power plant operating shot up by more than 30,000 percentage points on some network portions.

"Had a failure of a large power plant taken place in this situation, there would have been hardly any room for maneuver available." This quote from the FNA report is translation for "We narrowly escaped a catastrophe."

There is no reason for a sigh of relief, however: Next winter, which will possibly be even more severe, everything could get much worse, officials warn. Because then even less base-load gas- and coal-fired power plants will be available to reliably compensate for wind lulls and the almost complete absence of solar power for months.

Disastrous side effects

The culprit for the looming crisis is the single most important instrument of German energy policy: the "Renewable Energy Law" (EEG). It stipulates the priority of green electricity supply. What was once useful as an aid for the market introduction of wind and solar power, has today, 12 years later, disastrous side effects.

It pushes those plants which alone can guarantee a stable power supply, i.e. gas- and coal-fired power plants, out of the market far too early. More and more facilities are being decommissioned. The result is a significantly higher risk of large-scale power outages, so-called blackouts, whose duration and propagation is hard to predict.

The economic cost of a wide-scale blackout are measured in billions of Euros per day. If power outages last longer, one has to expect a high number of deaths. The most important test of energy policy is now the stability of power – so far only the cost of the green energy transition has been focused upon.

Because the federal government does not have the guts to start an overdue and fundamental debate about the usefulness of a 12-year-old, now totally outdated, "launch aid" called EEG, it now threatens to over-steer, with the green energy transition ending up in a crash. Fasten your seat belts.


Germany's Energy Fiasco: Desperate Greens Call For Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Winfried Kretschmann (Green Party), the prime minister of the state of Baden Wuerttemberg, is urging Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) to encourage the construction of new gas-fired power plants. Especially in southern Germany energy security is at risk, according to Kretschmann.

"I am firmly convinced that the market in its current form is not suitable to meet the challenges of the energy revolution," he wrote in a letter to the Chancellor seen by the Financial Times Deutschland. It lacked both the incentives for building new power plants and for the maintenance of existing ones.

Especially in southern Germany energy security is at risk, according to Kretschmann. Germany is heavily dependent on flexible gas power plants to compensate for intermittent green energy. At the same time, however, the green energy boom is having a fatal side effect: Because the production of wind and solar power have been given priority in the electricity market, the building of gas-fired power plants is no longer profitable. Often, it does not even pay to maintain existing power plants. Analysts at Goldman Sachs are already warning of a large-scale demise of power plants in 2013. Grid operators, on the other hand, fear nothing more than the loss of additional power plants in southern Germany, which is particularly affected by the nuclear phase-out.


Australia: Western Sydney Liberal Party MPs reject climate 'scare tactics'

You would think that the Warmists would be embarrassed to use Flannery as spokesman, given his unbroken record of false prophecies. But it is the big lie at work here so I suppose he fits in well with that

LIBERAL MPs in western Sydney electorates say predictions the region will suffer more ill-effects from climate change than the city's east are "alarmist" and politically motivated.

Member for Macarthur Russell Matheson said the Tim Flannery-headed Climate Commission was trying mount a favourable case for the government's looming carbon tax.

“They're trying to justify the carbon tax,” said Mr Matheson, whose seat takes in parts of Campbelltown and is one of Sydney's most westerly urban electorates.

He said the “doom and gloom” prediction was not borne out by recent experience. “I think people are waking up to the fact that we're actually going through a cooling period at the present time,” Mr Matheson said.

“You've only got to look at aerial photographs of aerial Sydney to know we've been progressively greening the area.”

Liberal MP Craig Kelly, who represents the neighbouring electorate of Hughes, branded the Climate Comission's findings as “nonsense”. “It's just more of the alarmist scare tactics we've heard from Mr Flannery,' he said. “That's what he seems to be employed for. He is just ramping the scare tactics al the time.”

He said while western Sydney suffered during hot weather, it also experienced colder conditions than other areas of Sydney because it was further from the coast.

The Climate Commission report finds heatwaves are increasing in length and intensity and that the number of hot days in western Sydney rose by 60 per cent since the 1970s.

This was making the state more susceptible to bushfires and putting coastal areas at risk from sea level rises, it warns.

Mr Flannery, launching the report in Sydney, acknowledged the report had drawn criticism. “Look, this is a hot political issue in Australia, there's no doubt about that,” he said. “I hope people will take a common sense approach to this and see that this is something we need to do.”

Fellow climate commissioner Professor Lesley Hughes said the report's aim wasn't to scare people but to prepare the public for the health risks associated with climate change.

Acting NSW Premier Andrew Stoner said the state government would consider the report, but said most people would view the commission's findings as “alarmist”.


14 May, 2012

BBC runs an old fashioned revival hour for Greenies

Is this an attempt to outdo the Heartland Institute? On Thought for the Day, BBC Radio 4's prime time religion slot, John Bell, a church of Scotland minister, discussed men, and in particular their badness:

"However the notion that men are inherently superior doesn’t stand up to empirical proof. While in physical strength they might usually have the advantage, in terms of moral fibre and human decency men don’t always come out on top."

No indeed. One aspect of their badness that is of concern to John Bell is of course, climate change:

"...the people who are most vocal in denying human responsibility for the disastrous effects of climate change are mostly male."

That's bad, I must say. But there are other equally bad men around, sinners to rank alongside those who are a bit doubtful about whether we are all about to fry. Can you guess what they are?

* people who control factories of wage slaves in the developing world

* the commanders of terrorist regimes

* leaders who threaten or declare war

* those involved in paedophile gangs

* networks of men who organise systematically the abuse of children


"Expert" warns of global food shortages

Hard to believer that such Malthusian tosh is still being mouthed. Does he realize that Hitler said the same thing? Does he realize that capitalistic policies have made CHINA a major food exporter? He quite obviously is speaking about a subject he knows nothing about -- and he is not going to learn anytime soon

AS MUCH food is wasted in developed countries as is produced in sub-Saharan Africa.

This "eye-popping" statistic highlights one of the big changes urgently required to meet the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050, a visiting expert in agriculture and economics has said.

Chris Barrett, of Cornell University, warns there is "dangerous complacency" about global food security. Professor Barrett, who will give a public lecture on Wednesday night at the University of Sydney, said that demand for food is about to rise significantly, particularly as a result of population growth in developing countries, rises in income and the migration of people to towns and cities.

There is no magic bullet with which to meet this unprecedented demand, which will be for animal products, processed foods, fruit and vegetables, and traditional staples, he said.

"We need a multipronged strategy to ensure our grandchildren's generations do not confront chronic global food crises of the sort that our grandparents' generations so skilfully averted on our behalf."

If can be difficult for people in countries like Australia, with an abundance of affordable food, to fully appreciate the looming problem fully but it will eventually affect food prices everywhere if it is not addressed.

"The global food price crises of 2008 and 2011 offered a glimpse of what is to come if we do not act swiftly," he said. The requirement for more food would also have environmental consequences, increasing the pressure to convert forests, wetlands and grasslands to crop and livestock production.

As an exporter of food, and a world leader in agricultural research and innovation, Australia has an important role to play in helping feed the world, Professor Barrett said.

Change must occur disproportionately in Asia and Africa, where the extra food was most needed, because food is perishable and expensive to transport, he said. At present, yields in these regions are only a third of those in higher-income nations. Governments and the private sector needed to invest substantially in agricultural productivity to improve the nutritional value of foods, not just the amount of calories, Professor Barrett said. "One hundred million to 140 million children are deficient in vitamin A. Two billion people are iron deficient, mainly women," he said.

The regions where food demand is expected to be the greatest are those that will be worst affected by global warming, yet there has been "no significant progress on mitigating or adapting to climate change", he said.

Rich nations could do a lot to reduce their food consumption, reduce food waste and ease the pressure to farm more land.


The global-warming fight is a thinly disguised anti-capitalist movement

By strangling the U.S. economy, President Obama may have single-handedly saved the planet. That’s the upshot of a paper recently published in the scientific journal Environmental Science & Policy by researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Valladolid in Spain. Congratulations, Mr. President.

The study found the Great Recession a boon when it comes to preventing global warming. The scientists hypothesized that the worldwide economic collapse contributed to a drop in atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels in 2009. For devotees of climate change, CO2 isn’t the gas that animals exhale and plants convert into energy, preserving life on this planet. They believe instead that carbon dioxide is sometimes an enemy that heats the globe, kills polar bears and provokes disaster on an apocalyptic scale.

Alarmists insist only the carbon-dioxide molecules that are the byproduct of capitalism can cause environmental damage. As this new research claims, natural cycles, such as the El Nino climate pattern, are not responsible for elevating bad carbon-dioxide levels. “The major conclusion of our study is that the annual growth of atmospheric CO2 levels is strongly dependent on the absolute growth of the world economy, so that the annual absolute increase of (world gross domestic product) is a key variable to capture the annual increase in atmospheric CO2,” the report found.

This finding highlights how the global-warming movement has always been about reversing the industrial revolution, making the world a better place. Al Gore’s seminal 1992 work “Earth in the Balance” declared the internal-combustion engine a “mortal threat” to the future of the planet.

Mr. Gore chose his target well. Internal combustion multiplied the effectiveness of mass production, allowing the industrial revolution to better the lives of everyone. Socialists hate the idea that individuals acting through the free market would be allowed to improve their living conditions as a result of a process lacking centralized direction. The leftist impulse is to entrust government with the responsibility of making decisions and imposing order.

That’s why today’s liberals remain enthralled with green technologies like wind and solar. Though these are promoted as if they were forward-looking alternatives to fossil fuels, they’re really throwbacks to pre-industrial times. Humanity has moved past these quaint energy sources. Once upon a time, a wind-powered ship was called a sailboat. A solar-powered clock was called a sundial. Now retrograde “achievements” like powering homes with 15th century windmills is something celebrated with lavish taxpayer grant funding.

Forcing adoption of expensive and inefficient sources of power only drags down the economy, which is exactly what global warming’s believers want. In that respect, Mr. Obama’s stimulus policy wasn’t a colossal failure after all. The massive unemployment and lackluster growth that followed his $831 billion spending spree were a smashing success, so long as one is more worried about carbon-dioxide levels than the number of lasting jobs.


Electric car burns house down

Last week, a fire badly damaged the home of a new Fisker Karma owner, and authorities are saying that the electric car was the source of the blaze.

According to Fort Bend County, Texas, chief fire investigator Robert Baker, the Fisker Karma started the fire that spread to the house.

“Yes, the Karma was the origin of the fire, but what exactly caused that we don't know at this time,” he said. The car was a complete loss.

According to Baker, the driver arrived home in the Fisker, pulled into the garage, and less than three minutes later the car was in flames. It reportedly was not plugged in at the time of the fire and the Karma's battery remains intact.

Right before the fire, the owner reported a smell of burning rubber.

“The car was brand-new,” said Baker. “He still had paper tags on it, so it was 60 days old at [most].”

According to Baker, the Karma was a post-recall vehicle bought in April.

There was substantial damage to the garage, which then spread to the second floor. No injures were attributed to incident. The house was new, but the owner had already moved in.

Baker estimated damages at roughly $100,000, not including the other two vehicles in the garage, a Mercedes-Benz SUV and an Acura NSX.

“This looks just like golf cart fires we have down here,” said Baker. The suburban Houston area has approximately 50 golf cart fires a year, he said.

“I've worked homicide scenes with less secrecy,” Baker added. “There have to be about 15 engineers down here working on this one.”

While Baker seems certain of his conclusions, the incident is the subject of an ongoing investigation, and an official report is expected in the near future.

When reached for comment, Fisker had this to say:
Last week, Fisker Automotive was made aware of a garage fire involving three vehicles, including a Karma sedan, that were parked at a newly-constructed residence in Sugar Land, Texas. There were no injuries.

There are conflicting reports and uncertainty surrounding this particular incident. The cause of the fire is not yet known and is being investigated.

We have not yet seen any written report form the Fort Bend fire department and believe that their investigation is continuing. As of now, multiple insurance investigators are involved, and we have not ruled out possible fraud or malicious intent. We are aware that fireworks were found in the garage in or around the vehicles. Also, an electrical panel located in the garage next to the vehicles is also being examined by the investigators as well as fire department officials. Based on initial observations and inspections, the Karma's lithium ion battery pack was not being charged at the time and is still intact and does not appear to have been a contributing factor in this incident.

Fisker will continue to participate fully in the investigation but will not be commenting further until all the facts are established.


12 May, 2012

White House Lied, Jobs Died

While the White House and its media water-carriers try to distract the American public with gay-marriage talk and half-century-old tales of Mitt Romney's prep school pranks, the inconvenient truth remains: President Obama is responsible for perpetrating jaw-dropping, job-killing scientific fraud. And his minions are still trying to cover it up.

New internal e-mails disclosed by the House Natural Resources Committee this week show that a supposedly exculpatory report on the administration's doctored drilling moratorium analysis -- issued by the Department of Interior's Inspector General's office -- was itself incomplete, misleading and unsubstantiated. Even more damning, the documents reveal that the White House actively blocked investigators and refuses to comply with subpoenas.

Now, as one senior IG agent warned his bosses, "the chickens may be coming home to roost."

A quick refresher: After the BP oil spill in 2010, the White House imposed a radical six-month moratorium on America's entire deepwater drilling industry. The overbroad ban -- inserted into a technical safety document in the middle of the night by Obama's green extremists -- cost an estimated 19,000 jobs and $1.1 billion in lost wages.

The anti-drilling administration based its draconian order on recommendations from an expert oil spill panel. But that panel's own members (along with the federal judiciary) called out then-eco czar Carol Browner for misleading the public about the scientific evidence and "contributing to the perception that the government's findings were more exact than they actually were." Browner and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar oversaw the false rewriting of the drilling ban report to completely misrepresent the Obama-appointed panel's own overwhelming scientific objections to the job-killing edict.

Federal judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana blasted the Obama Interior Department for defying his May 2010 order to lift its fraudulent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf. He called out the administration's culture of contempt and "determined disregard" for the law.

Ever since, GOP watchdogs have attempted to hold administration officials accountable for the drilling ban fraud. In November 2010, the DOI Inspector General issued a report cited by Salazar to argue that any editing of the drilling ban report was unintentional and mistaken. But e-mails from IG senior agent Richard Larrabee released by the House Natural Resources Committee flatly contradict Salazar.

"I truly believe the editing WAS intentional -- by an overzealous staffer at the White House. And, if asked, I, as the case agent, would be happy to state that opinion to anyone interested," Larrabee wrote.

He noted that the IG report failed to mention that investigators were unable to independently validate e-mails supplied by Salazar's office -- and that the report was "simply silent" about how the White House blocked investigators' attempts to interview one of Browner's chief henchmen, Joe Aldy. "Well, it will be interesting to see if anyone picks up on these things, or cares about them," Larrabee wrote.

Well, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., cares. In a letter to the DOI Inspector General's office, Hastings blasted the stonewallers who have hid in the dark for more than a year. "The IG report is being used by the Obama Administration and others as a defense that this matter has already been investigated and resolved. These emails contradict that claim and raise new questions on whether the IG's investigation was as thorough and complete as it should have been," Hastings wrote.

The actual drafts of the drilling moratorium report and the communications between senior Interior Department officials and White House political appointees remain out of public view. "To date, the Interior Department has never had to disclose documents to the IG or to Congress," Hastings noted. "Despite the President's pledge of transparency, this Administration has not answered questions by anyone on how this decision was made that forced thousands of Americans out of work and cost millions of dollars in lost economic activity."

This election isn't just about jobs, jobs, jobs. It's about the lies, lies, lies that have led to massive job destruction -- and the ruthless corruptocrats using our tax dollars to whitewash their radical green agenda.


Biodiesel maker throws in the towel

New data show that its products cost more than $30 a gallon to make

Amyris, a company that uses synthetic biology to make alternatives to conventional petroleum products, recently decided to wind down its biofuels business and focus on selling higher-value products such as cosmetics. Now it's clear why.

Details about Amyris were disclosed during the company's earnings call last night. They show just how far the company is from making biofuel profitably, and illustrate why the company is getting out of the biofuels business—for now.

Shortly after it was founded, Amyris had set out to make biofuel using genetically modified organisms and simple chemistry to turn sugar into a type of oil that's similar to diesel. It had some success making biodiesel for buses in Brazil. But the chemicals produced by the company's microörganisms can be used for other things as well, such as moisturizers and fragrances, that sell for higher prices.

Last night, the company said the average selling price for all its products is $7.70 per liter, or $29 per gallon, far higher than the price for petroleum-based diesel. (In Brazil, diesel costs about $1 per liter.)

The average price—which is propped up by the price it can charge for moisturizer—is higher than what Amyris sells biodiesel for. (It didn't disclose the exact price for the fuel.) But even $7.70 per liter isn't enough for the company to break even.

According to its earnings report, Amyris lost about $95 million in the first quarter of 2012, compared to a loss of $33 million for the same period last year. CEO John Melo said the company expects to lower costs to the break-even point by the end of the year. He's betting this can be done by focusing on improving the company's production process—tweaking fermentation conditions, for example—rather than improving the microörganisms themselves.

Melo said the need to focus on operations and end a "bias toward R&D" was the reason he reorganized the company last week, pushing out employees such as Neil Renninger, one of the company's cofounders and its chief technology officer. (Renninger is still a member of the board.)

Amyris is still producing biodiesel, but will stop by midyear, the company said last night. It is also still working on joint ventures that could allow it to build large plants for making fuels at some point in the future, but first it will try to make its moisturizer and fragrance business profitable. Meanwhile, it's looking to raise new money this year, mainly through partnerships and collaboration agreements, to keep itself afloat.


Newspaper admits to pollution deception

Where there's smoke, there's fire in the bellies of readers. Several times in past months the Herald has used photographs of steam rising from power station chimneys with captions or subheads intimating that the steam was a polluting pall.

The most recent example was on the cover of BusinessDay on April 17. The photo, taken at Bayswater power station in July last year, shows funnels of dark steam silhouetted against white clouds and a blue sky. It is an arresting image, so much so that several readers suggested it had been manipulated. A subhead was placed on it which said "Up in smoke". One picture, three words, dozens of complaints.

An example: "This is clearly a digitally enhanced photograph but, because it focuses on smoke, it has nothing whatever to do with the story below it, which is about government policy regarding global warming, which relates to greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, not smoke. Worse, there is no smoke in this photograph. If there was going to be smoke, it would come from the two narrow chimneys in the centre of the photograph. What is inferred to be smoke is actually steam, coming from the two cooling towers on either side of the chimneys."

Another reader suggested it had been shot at sunset "when everyone knows that objects become blacker and more two-dimensional". And another, who described the image and subhead as "an egregious deception", added: "An old trick, been done many times before, and hardly appropriate for a serious section of a serious newspaper."

First, the photographer did not manipulate the image in any way. He says he shot a series of four in the middle of the day using F22, which means a small aperture made the images razor sharp. And the reason he stopped to take the pics on the way to another job was because the scene looked so unusual. He presumes the darkness of the vapour was because it was heavy with moisture.

Second, and for me the most galling, is that the photographer had clearly written in his attached caption: "Please note that it is NOT smoke coming out of the stacks, it is steam."

Many readers feel the Herald and The Sun-Herald do not publish enough alternative opinions and stories on climate change and global warming, that they have formed an opinion and will stick with it. If you read the Herald's editorials, there appears little doubt that it has accepted the scientific consensus on the effects of carbon pollution on climate: there has been a gradual warming of the planet. The Sun-Herald leans that way, too. So when those who question the climate-change science see what they consider examples of the "old trick" referred to by the reader, they feel their concerns are justified.

The decision to use the image with such a misleading subhead was a poor one, and one which drew a message from the editor to ensure it did not recur. Although it was not the first time it has happened, hopefully it will be the last.


Another Obama favor for his solar cronies

Vice President Biden has never been one for understatement. Speaking to reporters in April, he declared that America's "energy policy is the best it's ever been."

Since taking office, Biden has been head cheerleader for Team Obama's energy policy, particularly its efforts to promote solar power. In 2010, he and Energy Secretary Steven Chu were hawking a report on the administration's efforts to make solar power cheaper.

Those were the days. Now the administration's solar policy seems to be centered on making solar more expensive. In March, the Commerce Department announced it would impose tariffs on imported Chinese solar panels. Those tariffs will be passed on to solar panel buyers in the form of higher prices.

Why this assault on Americans who buy solar panels made in China? Because Chinese solar panel makers receive government subsidies. The tariff is meant to tip the playing field back toward American producers.

There's nothing admirable about government subsidies for energy. We should break that habit ourselves. But in this case, Americans benefit without paying. If another country wants to subsidize the production of solar panels and sell them at a loss to consumers in the United States, why not let them do so? We Americans should be happy to let another government foot part of our bill for cleaner energy. Think of it as a gift from China to the American solar consumer.

The Obama administration, though, doesn't think of it that way. Instead, the administration wants to energize the business of its cronies, some of whom manufacture solar panels. So we have here protectionism mixed with cronyism. The benefits flow to Obama's friends at the expense not only of politically convenient villains, such as the oil and gas industry, but also -- and more importantly -- of American consumers.

Even renewable-crazed Europeans are realizing the folly of subsidizing solar. Recently both Spain and Germany have sharply reduced solar subsidies.

Though the Obama administration hates to admit it, oil and natural gas are here to stay. According to the government's own data, 77 percent of the nation's energy demands will be met by fossil fuels in 2035. Oil and natural gas are among the only energy sources that are economically viable without government handouts.

This isn't the first time the administration has played favorites with politically connected energy firms. The biggest investor in Solyndra -- whose bankruptcy cost taxpayers half a billion dollars -- was also a major Obama campaign donor, and his company's loan guarantee was approved despite the government's knowledge that the project was "not ready for prime time." According to Peter Schweizer of the Hoover Institution, 80 percent of the Energy Department's taxpayer-backed sweetheart loans were "run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers." The Commerce Department's decision to slap tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports just represents more of the same cronyism at work.

Appearing at an Ohio solar plant in 2009, Biden declared that the Obama administration was ready to help America's solar energy manufacturers prepare to "compete with anybody in the world." These new tariffs indicate that the administration recognizes its favored manufacturers can't be competitive on their own.


Interior Looks to Expand Permits for Killing Bald Eagles to Accommodate Wind Energy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a division of the Interior Department, is considering loosening regulations on the killing of bald eagles, the national bird of the United States, to accommodate the development of wind energy sources.

A draft regulation first filed in April would allow businesses to apply for 30-year permits allowing them to kill bald eagles in the course of other legal activities. The length of those permits would be a six-fold increase over the five-year window allowed under current law.

The USFWS explains at

"We have reviewed applications from proponents of renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar power facilities, for programmatic permits to authorize eagle take that may result from both the construction and ongoing operations of renewable energy projects. During our review, it became evident that the 5-year term limit imposed by the 2009 regulations (see 50 CFR 22.26(h)) needed to be extended to better correspond to the timeframe of renewable energy projects."

Current law allows permitting for “programmatic” killing of bald eagles, which “is recurring, is not caused solely by indirect effects, and that occurs over the long term or in a location or locations that cannot be specifically identified.”

The USFWS notes that permits “may authorize lethal take that is incidental to an otherwise lawful activity, such as mortalities caused by collisions with rotating wind turbines.”

According to the regulation, measures will be taken to attempt to minimize bald eagle mortalities, and additional actions may be authorized if mortalities exceed “anticipated” levels. USFWS began investigating numerous bald eagle deaths associated with wind turbines in early 2012.

Without the proper permit, the killing of a bald eagle is a federal crime.


Defense Secretary Proclaims Global Warming Farce to Be a National Security Threat

With an adolescent moonbat in change of the Executive Branch, it should come as no surprise that the international situation is spinning out of control. Fortunately communist-affiliated lifelong leftist hack and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has identified a crisis sure to take everyone’s mind off the Chen Guangcheng fiasco in China and Russia’s threat to blow up NATO missile defenses.

Being an imaginary problem, it can be cured with the imaginary solutions that are all our government has. On Wednesday Panetta declared to the Environmental Defense Fund:
“The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security. Rising sea levels, severe droughts, the melting of the polar caps, the more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”

Back on earth, CO2 levels steadily rise, yet the National Weather Service Forecast Office reports:
This has been an extreme winter for sea ice in the Bering Sea and now we have broken the records for most number of days with ice at both Saint Paul Island and Saint George Island.

Like the global warming farce, our rulers have become a tired joke.



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, 2012

Is 'global cooling' on the way? Lake sediment proves sun cooled earth 2,800 years ago - and it could happen again soon

This article appeared in Britain's widely-read "Daily Mail"

When the Greek poet Homer was writing The Odyssey around 2,800 years ago, the Earth went through an abrupt period of cooling, caused by the sun - and the same could happen again soon.

Scientists at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences analysed lake sediment in Lake Meerfelder Maar, and found direct evidence of a sudden cooling caused by a 'solar minimum'.

Some scientists suspect that the current period of high solar activity - including increased sunspots and solar storms thsi year - will be followed by a 'minimum' period, which could even cause an Ice Age.

If the GFZ research is correct, a new 'solar minimum' could have a direct impact on Earth's climate - cooling our planet drastically, and knocking the predictions of global-warming alarmists out of whack.

Dr Achim Brauer of the GFZ said,'An abrupt cooling in Europe together with an increase in humidity and particularly in windiness coincided with a sustained reduction in solar activity 2800 years ago.' Brauer's measurement's of lake sediments allow 'a precise dating even of short-term climate changes.'

The 'Homeric Minimum' - the solar minimum that coincided with the famous poet's lifetime - caused a cool period that lasted 200 years.

'Scientists from the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ in collaboration with Swedish and Dutch colleagues provide evidence for a direct solar-climate linkage on centennial timescales,' say the researchers.

'Using the most modern methodological approach, they analysed sediments from Lake Meerfelder Maar, a maar lake in the Eifel/Germany, to determine annual variations in climate and solar activity.'

Three centuries ago similar changes in the Sun were linked to a period of almost unprecedented cold, known as the ‘little ice-age’ - a time when the ice on London’s River Thames was regularly a foot deep and when thousands went hungry because crops froze in the fields.

The link between Solar ‘moods’ and the weather down here on Earth was first noticed in the 1970s, when the American astronomer Jack Eddy noticed a strong correlation between historic weather records and contemporaneous accounts of Solar activity, most notably the long record of sunspots published a century before by the astronomer Edward Maunder.

Eddy noticed that a ‘quiet’ Sun correlates with cold weather and a manic phase means warmer conditions.

His best evidence for this link comes from the last time the Sun went to sleep, the so-called ‘Maunder Minimum’ period from 1645 to 1715. During this period and for about a century either side, much of Europe and North America suffered a succession of bitterly cold winters and damp washout summers - the ‘little ice age’.


Pesky Greenland glaciers

Their water output is much less than predicted. Don't they know they're supposed to MELT?
21st-Century Evolution of Greenland Outlet Glacier Velocities

T. Moon et al.


Earlier observations on several of Greenland’s outlet glaciers, starting near the turn of the 21st century, indicated rapid (annual-scale) and large (>100%) increases in glacier velocity. Combining data from several satellites, we produce a decade-long (2000 to 2010) record documenting the ongoing velocity evolution of nearly all (200+) of Greenland’s major outlet glaciers, revealing complex spatial and temporal patterns. Changes on fast-flow marine-terminating glaciers contrast with steady velocities on ice-shelf–terminating glaciers and slow speeds on land-terminating glaciers. Regionally, glaciers in the northwest accelerated steadily, with more variability in the southeast and relatively steady flow elsewhere. Intraregional variability shows a complex response to regional and local forcing. Observed acceleration indicates that sea level rise from Greenland may fall well below proposed upper bounds.

Science 4 May 2012: Vol. 336 no. 6081 pp. 576-578

Eugenics, Malthusianism, and Trepidation

Greenies are of course enthusiastic Malthusians. They hate people and want many fewer of them -- "for the planet's sake", of course

The Nazis were eugenicists and Malthusians (see Mein Kampf, chapter 4). They wanted to murder "the inferior" because they were convinced there wasn't enough food to go around. The Malthusianism told them that millions had to die; the eugenics told them who the victims ought to be.

Strangely, though, the Nazis' crimes discredited only eugenics, not Malthus. After the Holocaust, you'd think that anyone muttering, "There are too many people running around," would be an instant pariah. But that's not how things worked out.

This is especially strange because there's nothing intrinsically misanthropic about eugenics. As I've explained before, eugenics plus the Law of Comparative Advantage leads to trade, not barbarity:

Suppose we have an isolated society in which everyone is a genius. Let's call them the Brains. Who takes out the garbage? A Brain, obviously. Who does the farming? Again, Brains.

Now what happens if the geniuses come into contact with a society where everyone is of average intelligence at best? Let's call them the Brawns. If the Brains allow the Brawns to join their society, the average genetic quality of the Brains' society plummets. But everyone is better off as a result! Now the Brains can specialize in jobs that require high intelligence, and the Brawns can take over the menial labor. Total production goes up.

Malthusianism, in contrast, is intrinsically misanthropic. By hook or by crook, population has to go down. Sure, they'd prefer voluntary sub-replacement fertility. But if that's not in the cards, the next steps are government pressure to discourage fertility, then caps on family size, followed by forced sterilization, mandatory abortion, and finally mass murder.

An hysterical straw man? Hardly. Malthusianism was Hitler's official argument for his greatest crimes. Germany's problem, in Hitler's own words:

"The annual increase of population in Germany amounts to almost 900,000 souls. The difficulties of providing for this army of new citizens must grow from year to year and must finally lead to a catastrophe, unless ways and means are found which will forestall the danger of misery and hunger."

After considering all the viable solutions within a Malthusian framework, Hitler picks his favorite: Seizing more land in Europe.

"Of course people will not voluntarily make that accommodation. At this point the right of self-preservation comes into effect. And when attempts to settle the difficulty in an amicable way are rejected the clenched hand must take by force that which was refused to the open hand of friendship. If in the past our ancestors had based their political decisions on similar pacifist nonsense as our present generation does, we should not possess more than one-third of the national territory that we possess to-day and probably there would be no German nation to worry about its future in Europe."

As I sum up:

When someone says "There are too many Jews," we suspect that he wants to kill Jews. Similarly, it turns out that at the root of Hitler's propensity to kill people was his belief that there are too many people.

My claim is not that, "Malthusianism is false because Hitler believed it." Hitler presumably believed that the sky is blue.

My claim, rather, is that Malthusianism is a more dangerous doctrine than eugenics. If the whiff of eugenics leads you to say, "We should be very careful here, because these ideas can easily lead to terrible things," the whiff of Malthusianism should inspire even greater trepidation.


EPA and radical environmentalists work to take America back to the 20th Century—B.C.

As if a war on America’s coal industry wasn’t enough, it turns out natural gas isn’t a friend to the environment either — or nuclear, hydro and in some cases wind power.

What’s left? Solar? But then there’s the uncertainty of how to properly dispose of solar panels if they break or lose their power because of the chemical process used to make them.

What, if any, energy sources does this country have left that are deemed environmentally fit for today’s strict “green” standards? How has America found itself in a place where its critical energy sources are in jeopardy?

It is as if today’s radical environmentalists would like to see America as it was in the 20th Century — B.C.

With allies to this extreme environmental movement strategically placed throughout this administration, in the White House and in radical “green” groups throughout the nation, it is no wonder Americans are being regulated back to a time before humans existed. The sad part is this reckless agenda is moving full-steam ahead, taking jobs, livelihoods and America’s prosperity along with it.

For example, as video evidence proves Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official Al Armendariz saying in 2010 he would “crucify” oil and gas companies to send a message, it is no secret that the coal industry has been under countless attacks.

One particularly egregious act by the EPA against the coal industry is its rules on mercury emissions. The EPA has found mercury to be a harmful and threatening element to the well being of humans and all blame for the emissions of it appear to have landed on coal power plants. It is important to note that U.S. power plants account for less than 0.5 percent of all the mercury in the air Americans breathe. Virtually all of the other 99.5 percent of mercury in the environment comes from natural occurrences like forest fires, volcanoes, subsea vents, geysers and other sources, including food.

But now, in order to eliminate this 0.5 percent of mercury emitted from U.S. power plants, utility companies either go out of business or have to spend billions of dollars just to attempt to meet these new standards. Knowing that thousands of jobs would be at risk as a result of this new regulation, and that coal is an integral part of America’s energy supply, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) will place a resolution on the floor of the Senate that will require an up or down vote on whether or not to allow this EPA regulation to go into effect.

“Mercury is a natural part of the Earth’s environment yet the EPA in its infinite wisdom has decided to target the relatively low amount of mercury that is emitted by coal-fired plants in the U.S.,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “These regulations require these power plants to be retrofitted with new technologies that will cost tens of billions of dollars to implement, while failing to prevent more than 99 percent of mercury from being emitted into the environment. It is hard to find a costlier regulation that would achieve so little.”

Sen. Inhofe hopes to bring his resolution, S.J. Res. 37, to the Senate floor after Memorial Day and pull out a win for the coal industry.

But even if enough members support rolling back the EPA on this standard, the coal industry still has numerous battles to fight as the EPA and “green” groups continue on with their mission to rid America of its use of coal.

Staying true to form, another EPA guideline attacks the mountaintop mining of coal. The Clean Water Act requires streams to be kept cleaner and to a higher standard than that of tap water. Even EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said of the new guidelines, “the goal is a standard so strict that few, if any, permits would be issued for valley fills.”

Furthermore, the coal industry has also been punished for Carbon Dioxide emissions—yes, that same element that is critical to life. The EPA proposes that new fossil‐fuel‐fired power plants meet an output‐based standard of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt‐hour (lb CO2/MWh gross). Most natural gas power plants built since 2005 already meet this new standard. And lending a “helpful” hand to coal power plants, the EPA suggests new technology such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) to rein in their emissions. The problem is this technology is prohibitively expensive and will likely result in the shutting down of coal plants across the nation.

It is from all these radical EPA regulations that the coal industry is at risk of falling prey to the “green” agenda. Now that attacks on coal are across the board, extreme environmental groups turn their heads to another critical fossil fuel to America’s energy source—natural gas.

Take for example the methods used by radical environmental group Sierra Club and you will begin to understand the manipulation and coerciveness of this “green” agenda. Sierra Club crawled into bed with Chesapeake Energy—a natural gas giant—and collected $26 million dollars to fight coal plants. Once progress was made on that front and lawsuits and regulations abounded against the coal industry, Sierra Club decided natural gas wasn’t environmentally friendly either. And if that’s not enough, radical agendas like those of the Sierra Club are often rewarded with taxpayer dollars. You see, taxpayer dollars are rewarded to those groups who successfully challenge the EPA, which creates a lot of incentive for “green” groups to push the regulations of the EPA even further.

Now taking all this into consideration, pretend for a moment the EPA and radical environmentalists succeed in shutting down America’s domestic supply of fossil fuels. Just to give you an idea, coal, petroleum (oil), and natural gas together meet around 84 percent of U.S. energy demand.

What substitute would compensate for this loss? Renewable energies?

Data from the Institute of Energy Research (IER) states that about 8 percent of all energy consumed in the United States in 2010 was from renewable sources: hydropower, biomass wood, biomass waste, biomass biofuels and wind.

Eight percent will not even come close to meeting the energy demands of America, yet alone become a substitute for fossil fuels. Yet even with this knowledge environmental groups and the EPA continue to rally against America’s proven and reliable energy sources.

Without fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, America will be left with no source of reliable and cost-effective energy. Even precious solar panels and wind turbines require other sources of energy to be built.

And if you’re thinking worst-case scenario that at least humans could attempt an energy-less America by using a wood-burning fire for survival, you’d be wrong because that too emits way too much pollution and would require too many trees — these same radical environmental groups would contest. America better start preparing for 20th Century, B.C., if it is forced to continue along this path.


Heartland Institute 'Unabomber billboard' brings out Global Warming Alarmists' One-Trick Pony

For those who missed this explosive mini-controversy from last week, the Heartland Institute, a think tank publishing lengthy reports contradicting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) about man-caused global warming, paid for the placement of an electronic billboard in Chicago that repeated a notorious criminal's belief in global warming. A huge outpouring of criticism about the billboard prompted Heartland to pull it.

It was illustrating absurdity with absurdity that backfired because global warming alarmists weren't put into a defensive position of explaining why the issue is on the verge of total collapse. As Rush Limbaugh noted recently, "you never descend to the level of your opponent or they win."

The billboard clearly did not advance the skeptic position, but it at least illustrates how the best defense is to go on the offense. As this opportunity was widely grabbed by alarmists to portray Heartland as daffy, corrupt, and politically motivated, it serves as one more example of how alarmists rely on shell games keep the public from fully comprehending the enormous faults in the idea of man-caused global warming.

Yawn. A tried-and-true shell game tactic to distract the public away from the existence of legitimate scientific skepticism, which is found in abundance in Heartland's multi-thousand page reports citing thousands of peer-reviewed science journal-published papers that seriously questions the IPCC's climate assessments.

Yes, the billboard was a gift to alarmists on a silver platter, but ultimately is a fleeting reprieve in the unavoidable collapse of the entire issue.

The issue is only kept alive when people -- whoever they happen to be -- unquestioningly accept a trio of 15 year-old talking points saying "the science is settled, skeptics are corrupted by industry money, and everyone may ignore skeptics because of the prior two points". Alarmists have failed for nearly 20 years to prove the science is settled or that skeptics are unworthy of public trust, but they've only accomplished this by avoiding any debate about those assertions.

When a shell game tactic is the only thing global warming alarmists have to rely on to keep their issue alive, it speaks volumes about their agenda.


What fun! European parliament cancels attendance at big Warmist pow-wow

"Cost" is their excuse but cost has never seemed to hold them back from anything else

The European Parliament has cancelled plans to send a delegation to the UN's Rio+20 summit on sustainable development taking place in June, saying the costs are too prohibitive.

The Parliament had planned to send 11 MEPs. But yesterday the political group co-ordinators on the environment committee decided that hotel costs, of up to €800 a night, were too exorbitant. A delegation from the European Commission will attend, led by Janez Potocnik, the European commissioner for the environment.

“The huge increase in the estimated cost of attending the summit is simply not justifiable, especially at a time when many Europeans are faced with economic hardship,” said Matthias Groote, the chairman of the environment committee.

“The Brazilian government should have taken action to avoid hotels abusing their position. That's also part of the responsibility of hosting such a large conference,” said Dutch Liberal MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, who was to lead the delegation.

Expectations for the summit, which is being held on the 20 year anniversary of the Earth Summit that led to the establishment of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, have been marked down in recent months. Negotiations for a draft conclusion for the summit have progressed slowly.

Talks in New York last week that were intended to be the last before the summit were inconclusive, prompting another round to be scheduled. Disagreements remain between developing and developed countries over whether the text should call for “common but differentiated responsibilities” for the two.



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10 May, 2012

New paper finds extreme floods and droughts occurred in China at a time when CO2 was "safe"

A paper published today in The Holocene finds "extraordinary droughts and floods were parts of the [entirely natural] climate variability" in Northwest China between 3200 and 3000 years ago during the mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum.

The paper examines sedimentary records to document flooding 4.5 to 5 times the size of the largest measured flood since 1934. The paper adds to thousands of others documenting natural 'climate change' and extraordinary 'extreme weather' prior to any possible effect of man-made CO2.
Sedimentary records of extraordinary floods at the ending of the mid-Holocene climatic optimum along the Upper Weihe River, China

Chun Chang Huang et al.


Sedimentary records of the Holocene extraordinary floods were investigated in the upper reaches of the Weihe River, a major tributary in the middle Yellow River basin. Palaeoflood slackwater deposits (SWD) were identified at several sites on the riverbanks. These clayey silt beds are inserted into the Holocene aeolian loess-soil profiles and slope clastic deposits. They have recorded the extraordinary palaeoflood events which occurred between 3200 and 3000 yr BP [before the present] as dated by OSL method and checked by the archaeological remains of the Neolithic and Bronze Age retrieved from the profile.

The minimum flood peak discharges were estimated at between 22 560 and 25 960 m3/s by using palaeohydrological methods. It is 4.5–5.0 times the largest gauged flood (5030 m3/s) that has ever occurred since 1934.

The palaeoflood slackwater deposits were found inserted into the pedostratigraphic boundary between the late-Holocene loess (L0) and the mid-Holocene Luvisol (S0) in the riverbank profile. This indicates that the extraordinary flood events were synchronous with the pedogenic regression at the end of the mid-Holocene climatic optimum.

The climatic proxies from the studied profile and the correlative profiles in the river valley and the Loess Plateau show that the pedogenic regression was forced by climatic aridity and intensified dust storms and dust falls in connection with monsoonal shift over the Yellow River basin at about 3100 yr BP.

The extraordinary flood events were documented not only on the Weihe River, but also on the mainstream and other tributaries of the Yellow River. These suggest that both extraordinary floods and droughts were parts of the climatic variability during the monsoonal shift. These findings are of great importance in understanding the interactions between hydrological system and climatic change in the semi-arid and subhumid regions of the world.


Note that the Chinese findings above correspond fairly closely to a period when ice cores also indicate a much warmer temperature than today -- the Minoan Warm period. And we do have written historical records of the small but flourishing Minoan civilization of that time. So we know that they didn't drive SUVs or build power stations

Lying Climate Scientists Lie Again


There's a great scoop in The Australian today about more lying climate scientists making stuff up - about death threats this time.

CLAIMS that some of Australia's leading climate change scientists were subjected to death threats as part of a vicious and unrelenting email campaign have been debunked by the Privacy Commissioner.

Timothy Pilgrim was called in to adjudicate on a Freedom of Information application in relation to Fairfax and ABC reports last June alleging that Australian National University climate change researchers were facing the ongoing campaign and had been moved to "more secure buildings" following explicit threats.

Needless to say the University did everything it could to prevent the investigation, arguing that the release of the climate scientists' emails (why am I getting an eerie sense of deja vu here?) "would or could reasonably be expected to.endanger the life or physical safety of any person".

But doughty Sydney blogger Simon Turnill appealed against this stonewalling drivel and won. And here's what was revealed when the 11 relevant emails were eventually released.

Ten of the documents "did not contain threats to kill or threats of harm." Of the 11th, the Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said: "I consider the danger to life or physical safety in this case to be only a possibility, not a real chance."

No wonder the university was so keen to keep things quiet. Contrary to the claims of the "climate" "scientists" - widely reported, of course, in the left-wing media - there had been no death threats whatsoever. Yet their vice-chancellor at the time - now the Australian government's Chief Scientist - Professor Ian Chubb decided to move them to "more secure buildings" without, he now admits, having read the emails to see whether these threats actually existed.

Maybe it's time someone did an FOI to see whether the UEA's dodgy and discredited Phil Jones really did get any of those "death threats" he claims to have received after Climategate and which allegedly drove him to consider suicide. Speaking for myself, if Phil Jones released a report claiming that grass is green I'd feel compelled to go outside just to double check.

You'll remember that after Climategate, the University of Easy Access's main concern was not so much to investigate any potential malfeasance by its Climatic Research Unit gang of FOI-breaching, data-fudging, scientific-method-abusing, grant-troughing second-raters as to put the right spin on them.

That tame "woe is me" interview Jones gave to a compliant Sunday Times was part of a strategy arranged by the public relations company UEA had employed - no doubt at lavish taxpayer expense - to make the disgraced Jones and his department look more sinned against than sinning.

I've a strong suspicion that the emails I get in my inbox most days from the ecoloons who congregate at places like the Guardian's Komment Macht Frei are far more foul-mouthed, repellant and poisonous than anything these junk scientists have ever received.

The difference is, I do my damnedest to stick to the truth and I'm not being paid zillions of pounds or dollars at public expense to promote the most expensive and mendacious scam in the history of science. There's just no justice is there?


The Belief That CO2 Can Regulate Climate Is “Sheer Absurdity” Says Prominent German Meteorologist

Physicist and meteorologist Klaus-Eckart Puls was interviewed by Bettina Hahne-Waldscheck of the Swiss magazine “factum“.

I’ve translated and summarized the interview, paraphrasing for brevity.

factum: You’ve been criticising the theory of man-made global warming for years. How did you become skeptical?

Puls: Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data – first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it. The CO2-climate hysteria in Germany is propagated by people who are in it for lots of money, attention and power.

factum: Is there really climate change?

Puls: Climate change is normal. There have always been phases of climate warming, many that even far exceeded the extent we see today. But there hasn’t been any warming since 1998. In fact the IPCC suppliers of data even show a slight cooling.

factum: The IPCC is projecting 0.2°C warming per decade, i.e. 2 to 4°C by the year 2100. What’s your view?

Puls: These are speculative model projections, so-called scenarios – and not prognoses. Because of climate’s high complexity, reliable prognoses just aren’t possible. Nature does what it wants, and not what the models present as prophesy. The entire CO2-debate is nonsense. Even if CO2 were doubled, the temperature would rise only 1°C. The remainder of the IPCC’s assumed warming is based purely on speculative amplification mechanisms. Even though CO2 has risen, there has been no warming in 13 years.

factum: How does sea level rise look?

Puls: Sea level rise has slowed down. Moreover, it has dropped a half centimeter over the last 2 years. It’s important to remember that mean sea level is a calculated magnitude, and not a measured one. There are a great number of factors that influence sea level, e.g. tectonic processes, continental shifting, wind currents, passats, volcanoes. Climate change is only one of ten factors.

factum: What have we measured at the North Sea?

Puls: In the last 400 years, sea level at the North Sea coast has risen about 1.40 meters. That’s about 35 centimeters per century. In the last 100 years, the North Sea has risen only 25 centimeters.

factum: Does the sea level rise have anything to do with the melting North Pole?

Puls: That’s a misleading conclusion. Even if the entire North Pole melted, there would be no sea level rise because of the principles of buoyancy.

factum: Is the melting of the glaciers in the Alps caused by global warming?

Puls: There are many factors at play. As one climbs a mountain, the temperature drops about 0.65°C per 100 meters. Over the last 100 years it has gotten about 0.75°C warmer and so the temperature boundary has shifted up about 100 meters. But observations tell us that also ice 1000 meters up and higher has melted. Clearly there are other reasons for this, namely soot and dust. But soot and dust do not only have anthropogenic origins; they are also caused by nature via volcanoes, dust storms and wildfires. Advancing and retreating of glaciers have always taken place throughout the Earth’s history. Glaciology studies clearly show that glaciers over the last 10,0000 years were smaller on average than today.

factum: In your view, melting Antarctic sea ice and the fracture of a huge iceberg 3 years ago are nothing to worry about?

Puls: To the contrary, the Antarctic ice cap has grown both in area and volume over the last 30 years, and temperature has declined. This 30-year trend is clear to see. The Amundsen Scott Station of the USA shows that temperature has been declining there since 1957. 90% of the Earth’s ice is stored in Antarctica, which is one and half times larger than Europe.

factum: Then why do we always read it is getting warmer down there?

Puls: Here they are only talking about the West Antarctic peninsula, which is where the big chunk of ice broke off in 2008 – from the Wilkins-Shelf. This area is hardly 1% of the entire area of Antarctica, but it is exposed to Southern Hemisphere west wind drift and some of the strongest storms on the planet.

factum: What causes such massive chunks of ice to break off?

Puls: There are lots of factors, among them the intensity of the west wind fluctuations. These west winds have intensified over the last 20 years as part of natural ocean and atmospheric cycles, and so it has gotten warmer on the west coast of the Antarctic peninsula. A second factor are the larger waves associated with the stronger storms. The waves are more powerful and so they break off more ice. All these causes are meteorological and physical, and have nothing to do with a climate catastrophe.

factum: Then such ice breaks had to have occurred in the past too?

Puls: This has been going on for thousands of years, also in the 1970s, back when all the talk was about “global cooling”. Back then there were breaks with ice chunks hundreds of square kilometres in area. People were even discussing the possibilities of towing these huge ice chunks to dry countries like South Africa or Namibia in order to use them as a drinking water supply.

factum: What about all the media photos of polar bears losing their ice?

Puls: That is one of the worst myths used for generating climate hysteria. Polar bears don’t eat ice, they eat seals. Polar bears go hungry if we shoot their food supply of seals. The polar bear population has increased with moderately rising temperatures, from 5000 50 years ago to 25,000 today.

factum: But it is true that unlike Antarctica, the Arctic is melting?

Puls: It has been melting for 30 years. That also happened twice already in the last 150 years. The low point was reached in 2007 and the ice has since begun to recover. There have always been phases of Arctic melting. Between 900 and 1300 Greenland was green on the edges and the Vikings settled there.

factum: And what do you say about the alleged expanding deserts?

Puls: That doesn”t exist. For example the Sahara is shrinking and has lost in the north an area as large as Germany over the last 20 years. The same is true in the South Sahara. The famine that struck Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia was mainly caused by the leasing of large swaths of land to large international corporations so that they could grow crops for biofuels for Europe, and by war. But it is much easier for prosperous Europe to blame the world’s political failures on a fictional climate catastrophe instead.

factum: So we don’t need to do anything against climate change?

Puls: There’s nothing we can do to stop it. Scientifically it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob. Many confuse environmental protection with climate protection. it’s impossible to protect the climate, but we can protect the environment and our drinking water. On the debate concerning alternative energies, which is sensible, it is often driven by the irrational climate debate. One has nothing to do with the other.


Biofuels On The Brink in Europe

Are biofuels about to become irrelevant in Europe? It is not just austerity on the decline throughout Europe with France’s Nicolas Sarkozy another leader down. While Europeans are rethinking their countries’ austere budgets, European Union officials in Brussels are also doubting the efficacy of biofuels.

Biofuels have become a lynchpin in the European Union’s long-term energy strategy. As Europe lurches towards a goal of 20 percent of its total energy requirements by 2020, biofuels are an important part of that goal. Another EU directive mandates that 10 percent of transport fuel comes from renewable energy sources. But “renewable” has become a loaded word when it comes to biofuels because of the effects they have on land where they are grown as well as their resulting emissions.

At issue is the concept of indirect land use change (ILUC). ILUC theory dictates that by converting farms for food into land grown for biofuel crops, such production increases an overall demand for additional land for farming. If farmers therefore cut down trees or drain wetlands, the results would be the release of millions of tons of carbon emissions that would otherwise be sequestered in peat bogs and forests.

Studies the EU commissioned suggest that the risk of ILUC is higher for biodiesel, often made from oilseeds, than for bioethanol, manufactured out of sugar or grain. Meanwhile there is talk in Brussels over whether biodiesel is really better for the environment than conventional diesel, though some experts argue that plants grown for biodiesel’s production offsets any carbon emissions from biofuels.

The result has been reported infighting between the EU’s Climate Commission, which supports the move to include ILUC emissions in the overall emissions count of crops used to produce biofuels. The Energy Department, however, opposes such a rule. Naturally the biofuels industry, worth approximately $17 billion in Europe, is against such a change because such a shift could drastically affect its business. Farmers, generally a powerful lobby throughout Europe, could see their bottom line take a hit as well.

Saving the Planet by Crucifying the Incompliant

What do Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico have in common?

They comprise the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region VI. They also constitute the core of America’s energy production, especially oil.

Thus, they needed to be taught a lesson. And who better for that than Alfredo J. Armendariz, the EPA’s administrator for Region VI, who served as an expert witness for environmental groups before joining the EPA in November 2009?

Mr. Armendariz is no longer with the EPA. He resigned on April 30 for committing the sin of clarity. He was a little too honest in conveying the Obama Administration’s way of doing business.

In a videotaped speech he made in Dish, Texas in May, 2010, and which was posted on the website of Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-OK), he answered a question this way:

“I was in a meeting once, and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting, but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I said. It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years. And so you make examples out of people, who are in this case, not compliant with the law….So, that is our general philosophy….”

Indeed, in slightly less colorful language, Steven Chu, who is now Energy Secretary, told the Wall Street Journal in September 2008 that he hoped Americans would pay as much for a gallon of gas as Europeans do. At the time, gas was more than $8 a gallon in Europe. The Obama Administration has been doing its manful best to get there, with a gallon rising from $1.78 in 2008 to around $4 a gallon now – halfway there!

Holding a few regulatory crucifixions would be a nifty way to discourage oil drilling and thereby jack up the price of gas even more. Then we could all be forced into Chevy Volts or rickshaws.

But it could take a long time. Democrats insisted in 2010 that more drilling wouldn’t help for at least 10 years. If that’s so, it’s kind of funny watching Mr. Obama pretend in his campaign speeches that his administration has increased the current supply of domestic oil. If it takes a decade to affect supply, well, you do the math.

Mr. Obama has, in fact, done everything possible to discourage more sources, from halting new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, stifling offshore drilling in Alaska, and stopping the Keystone pipeline from Canada. Meanwhile, billions of taxpayer dollars flow to solar and wind company owners, who gratefully donate to the president’s re-election campaign before declaring bankruptcy.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson distanced herself from Mr. Armendariz’s remarks, calling them “inflammatory but also wrong.” This tells us that “inflammatory” stuff can also be true and right as rain. Remember this the next time some Obama spokesman or media hack calls Tea Party people “extremists” for expecting lawmakers to abide by the Constitution.

Ms. Jackson herself is no shrinking violet when it comes to power. Despite Congress’s failure to enact “cap and trade” carbon trading legislation, the EPA went ahead and began issuing regulations as if the law had passed. Since Mr. Obama threatened in 2008 to “bankrupt” any new coal-fired energy plants “because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted,”you could argue that Ms. Jackson is just being a loyal soldier, albeit a particularly eager one.

We could have seen this coming back when she was New Jersey’s Environmental Protection Commissioner. In 2007, Ms. Jackson yanked the tax exemption from the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association’s seaside pavilion property in Neptune Township for not hosting two lesbian civil union ceremonies. The church said that to use its property to celebrate sin would violate its biblical beliefs regarding sexual morality. But two homosexual activist groups had written to Jackson on September 6, 2007, requesting the denial, as did the ACLU of New Jersey in a separate letter.

Here’s how the New York Times explained it: “Every three years since 1989, the association has applied for, and received, tax exemptions for its boardwalk, beach and the pavilion under the Green Acres Program, designed to encourage the use of privately owned lands for public recreation and conservation. This is the first time any part of its application has been turned down.”

What’s an environmental agency got to do with levying taxes on church property? Beats me, except that they do these sorts of things in New Jersey. If you’re a Garden Stater who doesn’t like it, you can move to Pennsylvania, where Keystone State environmental bureaucrats can abuse you in their own ingenious ways.

Ms. Jackson has now been loosed upon the whole nation, using her EPA platform to rail against fossil fuels, especially coal. Last year, she keynoted the conference, the radical environmental youth group that has as a goal the formation of a five million-strong Clean Energy Job Corps. Think of Mao’s Red Guards dressed in Jolly Green Giant outfits and you get the picture.

The point is that the green movement’s expanding tentacles are empowering government at all levels. As Nancy Pelosi once said, “I’m trying to save the planet! I’m trying to save the planet!”

Indeed. But who will save America from the “inflammatory but also wrong” environmental movement and their government enablers?

Mr. Armendariz is not the only bureaucrat who dreams of crucifying fossil fuel producers, just the one who got caught dreaming out loud.


A disgusting RINO

Robin Hayes, chairman of North Carolina's Republican Party, painted a target last month on Alaska's proposed Pebble Mine. In an open letter, he endorsed the Environmental Protection Agency's use of an unprecedented regulatory gimmick to veto the mine in advance, even before its plans are complete -- ostensibly to protect Bristol Bay salmon runs and fishermen.

That gush of Big Green rhetoric coming from Hayes is odd. During his five terms in Congress, he had racked up a League of Conservation Voters lifetime green voting score of only 11 percent.

His letter sent chills through the state's Republican leaders and outraged major state donors. It also infuriated his Republican National Committee colleague in Alaska, state Chairman Randy Ruedrich.

"What was he thinking?" an angry Ruedrich asked rhetorically. "A respected leader from North Carolina urges the Obama administration to deny Alaska its regulatory authority. The mine site is on Alaska state land, not federal land. Mr. Hayes has betrayed Alaska's sovereignty."

Ruedrich spoke in a firm, controlled voice. "Mr. Hayes has imposed his viewpoint on a trusting public, saying that federal regulations should be used to destroy our state's depressed economy, to wipe out our expectation of thousands of high-paying year-round jobs, and to condemn young Native Alaskans to a low-wage seasonal piece-work future. ...

Mr. Hayes' interference in this high-profile Alaska issue does not benefit the Republican Party or the state of Alaska. It only serves to advocate for federal intrusion outside of long-recognized permit methods and to deny the ability of Alaskans to consider for themselves the potential benefits of a project like Pebble."

Ruedrich continued: "Personally, I'd like for Mr. Hayes to consult with his North Carolina party leaders before using his title as a party official to work in direct opposition to the Alaska Republican Party platform and planks."

Many others feel the same way. Emails quietly flew among party leaders and activists across the nation who saw the real problem: The EPA was using a disputed clause in Section 404 (c) of the Clean Water Act to conduct a "watershed assessment," whose purpose is to justify the killing of the mine project before anyone even applies for its first dredge-and-fill permit.

This would not just affect one mine in Alaska. It would also create a new and unlimited power for the EPA. If it can kill the Pebble Mine this way, it can kill any type of development in advance, and kill it anywhere. For businesses potentially facing the same treatment from the EPA in the future, this was a line-in-the-sand conflict.

So what is Hayes up to? It might have something to do with his favorite Bristol Bay fishing hole.

The Hill tacked a short profile of Hayes to his letter, saying, "He is a frequent visitor to Alaska's Bristol Bay, where he stays at Brian Kraft's Alaska Sportsman's Lodges."

The reference is to two luxury lodges, where the tab for one week is $8,675, or more than the per capita annual income in nearby Nondalton ($8,411), where 37 percent of families are below the poverty line. The lodge prices don't faze Hayes, who owns a hosiery mill in North Carolina. His grandfather was textile magnate Charles Cannon of Cannon towels and sheets fame.

Kraft has been fighting to preserve his lodges' privacy by stopping the Pebble Mine, whose site is about 65 miles from his nearest lodge. Kraft founded and funded the Bristol Bay Alliance in 2004 for this purpose. He also became a project director for Trout Unlimited's Alaska chapter in 2005. And David E. Sandlin, half-owner of the lodges with Kraft, is an old schoolmate of Hayes at North Carolina's Duke University -- they were two years apart.

If Obama's EPA kills Pebble this way, it will have grabbed the power to kill any American business. And it will have done so with Hayes' assistance.



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, 2012

More evidence of crookedness at CRU

Steve McIntyre has just got Britain's freedom of Information authorities to force CRU to release some more of their tree-ring data. Steve wtites in a very technical way so to save trouble for people who are not immersed in the subject, I am going to offer a quick layman's summary of what the new data showed.

In their publications showing a 20th century temperature rise, CRU used a highly selected body of tree ring data from N.W. Russia. They had a lot of data from that region but used only an odd subset of it.

But what happens when you use ALL the data? What if you use all the data available for the whole of the region concerned? You can see that below. There is NO anomalous temperature rise in recent times.

CRU knew that using all the data would destroy their claims of warming so they did a cherry-pick instead. This is plain scientific dishonesty and would normally get an academic fired. But with the whole of the political Left behind the Warmist nonsense you can be sure that the fraud will be excused. We have heard the "fake but accurate" story before (As claimed by the NYT in connection with Dan Rather's attempted defamation of GW Bush).


The Green/Left are vicious

It’s a commonplace of the mainstream media that climate scientists and environmentalists are operating in a “climate of fear” under a barrage of death threats from hardline skeptics, determined to get their way using violence and intimidation. The fact that the threats mentioned turn out to be largely non-existent almost seems neither here nor there for the media. The story is never followed up. But the fact remains that there is a climate of fear. There is a campaign of terror being waged against scientists and technicians. The difference is that this campaign is being waged by environmental extremists and unlike the sceptic “campaign” it is very, very real.

Earlier this week, Roberto Adinolfi, the head of Ansaldo Nucleare an Italian nuclear engineering company, was shot in the leg by gunmen on a motorbike in a commando style “hit”. He was, in other words, literally kneecapped in the street. The Guardian reported:
A source told Reuters two people on a motorbike wearing helmets fired three shots, hitting Adinolfi in the leg. The bullet fractured his right knee.
The article notes that this style of attack is reminiscent of the tactics used by the Red Brigade, a left-wing guerilla movement active in the 1970s, but beyond that doesn’t have much to say about who might be responsible for this act of terrorism. However, other less visible news outlets were less coy:
GENOA, May 8 — Police believe the gunmen who wounded the head of a nuclear engineering company in Italy yesterday could be members of a radical Marxist-Leninist group or anarchists involved in eco-extremism, investigative sources said.

Local media said the attack could also be linked to Ansaldo Nucleare’s dealings in eastern Europe, where the company is selling its know-how on managing toxic waste after a national referendum rejected the use of nuclear power in Italy for the second time last year.

Nor is this at all unlikely. There is a substantial history in Italy of eco-extremist terrorism. As The Independent reported in 2010, when Italian police just managed to foil a terrorist bomb attack by environmental activists on a science facility:
On the night of 15 April [2010] local officers pulled over a car on one of the town’s quiet streets. Inside the vehicle they found a large cache of explosives, primed and ready to detonate. The three people in the car are alleged to have been members of the murky Italian anarchist group Il Silvestre, who were reportedly on a mission to blow up the nearby unfinished £55m IBM nanotechnology facility.

The apparent attack is believed to be part of a new co-ordinated wave of eco-terror on the continent. The IBM site is due to be opened next year and will be the most advanced centre for nano- and biological scientific research in Europe. According to reports, the eco anarchists Il Silvestre are opposed to all forms of nanotechnology. The group was formed in Tuscany and is considered by some to be one of the rising “eco-terror” groups in Europe, with a rigid cell structure, access to explosives, and a membership that supposedly has no qualms about killing to achieve its goals.
Notice that the target is a scientific institution and is targeted for that very reason. The threat here was not imaginary. It wasn’t alluded to in emails, or the result of overheated discussion in internet chat rooms. It was real and it was vicious. This was a planned, deliberate attempt to blow up a scientific institution for which environmental activists with links to international environmental groups like the Earth Liberation Front have been found guilty in a court of law.

In the Americas, similar terrorist attacks by environmental extremists have been carried out, largely unreported in the English-speaking media. Letterbombs have been sent to the science departments of Mexican universities engaged in research into nanotechnology, a technology which has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of cancer and other illnesses. The report on the Earth First! website quotes the perpetrator’s communique arguing an environmental justification for the attacks on scientists:
But what’s wrong with creating solar energy through modified nanoparticles? some will say. ITS answer: When these modified viruses affect the way we develop as the result of a nanobacteriological war, by some laboratory error, or by the explosion of nanocontamination that compromises the air, food, transportation, water, in short, the entire world . . . It is logical we will continue with these acts, and other scientists and the rest of technoswillology [sic] must pay the consequences of their actions.
If there was any doubt remaining that the real danger to scientists and the public at large comes not from irked sceptics, but from eco-extremists, the FBI themselves have declared that eco-terrorism and animal rights activism are the “number one threat”. Nothing else, according to the FBI’s top man on domestic terrorism, compares to the threat posed by eco-extremism:

More HERE (See the original for links)

No agreement in sight at next big climate gala

Representatives from governments negotiating the outcome document for the United Nations Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20) today agreed to add five more days of deliberations to bridge differences that have kept them from making further progress in negotiations.

“The present negotiation approach has run its course,” said Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukang, adding that there is a need to proceed with a sense of urgency.

The negotiated document, along with voluntary commitments by governments, businesses and civil society, is meant to set the stage for the global community to recommit to sustainable development and agree to concrete actions when they gather at the Rio+20 Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 22 June.

Mr. Sha called for greater political will and agreement on all sides and underlined that the main objective is to get to Rio de Janeiro with at least 90 per cent of the text ready and only the most difficult 10 per cent left to be negotiated there.

“We can have an outcome document which builds upon earlier agreements – an outcome document which is action-oriented in spelling out the future we want,” he said.

Mr. Sha stressed that the present document, despite having been reduced by about 100 pages, still has too many paragraphs and contains too much repetition. “Currently, the negotiating text is a far cry from the 'focused political document' called for by the General Assembly,” he said.

Countries have voiced concern over accountability and implementation of the commitments made, as well as over the theme of the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty, with some developing countries asserting that a green economy approach should not lead to green protectionism or limit growth and poverty eradication.

“Delegates have expressed disappointment and frustration at the lack of progress,” Rio+20 Preparatory Committee co-chair Kim Sook told participants at the concluding meeting of the latest round of talks yesterday.

Mr. Kim emphasized that there will be a change in working methods when negotiations resume that will include working from a new text prepared by the co-chairs, as well as other changes in the negotiating procedures.

The five added negotiating days have been set for 29 May to 2 June and will take place in New York.

More than 120 Heads of State have registered to attend Rio+20, and some 50,000 people, including business executives, mayors, representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), youth and indigenous people, among others, are expected to participate in both official and informal events during the Conference.


Love Of Theory Is The Root Of All Evil

Love of truth, on the other hand, is the root of all that is good

Bill Whittle at PJTV very kindly produced a video entitled “Best. Sentence. Ever.” (it does not embed) by which he meant the title sentence of this post, and the motto I have plastered on the leftmost portion of the screen. Please watch—he even quotes Patton.

When and if a theory describes reality without error it is no longer a theory but truth. If a theory does not describe reality perfectly, then it is not true. To love a theory over truth is the mark of madness. Or of Enlightenment. Or, nowadays often, of tenure.

Everybody knows the hoary old joke about the academic who says, “That works fine in reality, but does it work in theory?” Only it isn’t a joke. Many cannot think of truth except in the framework of theory. Just bring to mind the standard issue (media) climatologist and you’ll have the idea. And then recall literary “theorists”, the field of art “theory”, and so on ad infinitum.

David Stove (as usual) said it best. He was speaking of the probability and logic and the attempts to turn them into “theory”, but sharp readers will be able to fill in the probability terms and personalities with nomenclature and names from their own favorite fields:
It is true, as I know from expériences nombreuses et funestes, that you cannot make the simplest and most specific assessment of logical probability, without some people supposing that you are hereby committed to so-and-so’s system of logical probability, with all the attendant difficulties, however peculiar to it. You need only say that ‘Abe is black’ has probability 0.9 in relation to ‘Abe is a raven and just 90 percent of ravens are black,’ and some philosophers will at once start talking to you about… Carnap! About Carnap and ‘the zero-probability of laws’; Carnap and ‘grue’; Carnap and ‘c-star’ versus ‘c-dagger’; and so on, and on. But this is no less ridiculous than it is vexatious. You might as well suppose that a man cannot say that ‘All ravens are black and Abe is a raven’ entails ‘Abe is black’, without his being thereby obliged to defend Aristotelian logic, or the system of Principia Mathematica, or Quine.
It is truth which gives weight to a theory, it is not so that theory gives weight to truth. What is true just is true, regardless whether it can be shoehorned into some theory. Truth cannot be rejected because it does not fit a theory. Just to poke fun and for an example: frequentist theory rejects the truth “‘Abe is black’ has probability 0.9 in relation to ‘Abe is a raven and just 90 percent of ravens are black,’” because this truth doesn’t fit into the formal theoretical framework, which is too beautiful to abandon.

A climatological version of Stove’s quotation: “Sure, Alaska had one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record, but theory warns us that ________” Fill in the blank yourself: or change the particular weather event with any other.

If I had more time, I could give dozens of examples from as many fields. But I’m running behind my time. We’ll surely revisit this material later.


Time To Terminate Big Wind Subsidies

And Protect Environmental Values, Endangered Species, Jobs And Human Welfare

By Paul Driessen

Unprecedented! As bills to extend seemingly perpetual wind energy subsidies were again introduced by industry lobbyists late last year, taxpayers finally decided they’d had enough.

Informed and inspired by a loose but growing national coalition of groups opposed to more giveaways with no scientifically proven net benefits, thousands of citizens called their senators and representatives – and rounded up enough Nay votes to run four different bills aground. For once, democracy worked.

A shocked American Wind Energy Association and its allies began even more aggressive recruiting of well-connected Democrat and Republican political operatives and cosponsors – and introducing more proposals like HR 3307 to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC). Parallel efforts were launched in state legislatures, to maintain mandates, subsidies, feed-in tariffs, renewable energy credits, and other “temporary” ratepayer and taxpayer obligations.

This “emerging industry” is “vitally important” to our energy future, supporters insisted. It provides “clean energy” and “over 37,000” jobs that “states can’t afford to lose.” It helps prevent global warming.

None of these sales pitches holds up under objective scrutiny, and their growing awareness of this basic reality has finally made many in Congress inclined to eliminate this wasteful spending on wind power.

Entitlement advocates are petrified at that possibility. Crony corporatist lobbyists and politicians have built a small army to take on beleaguered taxpayers, rate payers and business owners who say America can no longer afford to spend more borrowed money, to prop up energy policies that drive up electricity costs, damage the environment, and primarily benefit foreign conglomerates and a privileged few.

To confront the growing onslaught of wind industry pressure and propaganda, citizens should understand the fundamental facts about wind energy. Here are some of the top reasons for opposing further handouts.

Energy 101. It is impossible to have wind turbines without fossil fuels, especially natural gas. Turbines average only 30% of their “rated capacity” – and less than 5% on the hottest and coldest days, when electricity is needed most. They produce excessive electricity when it is least needed, and electricity cannot be stored for later use. Hydrocarbon-fired backup generators must run constantly, to fill the gap and avoid brownouts, blackouts, and grid destabilization due to constant surges and falloffs in electricity to the grid. Wind turbines frequently draw electricity from the grid, to keep blades turning when the wind is not blowing, reduce strain on turbine gears, and prevent icing during periods of winter calm.

Energy 201. Despite tens of billions in subsidies, wind turbines still generate less than 3% of US electricity. Thankfully, conventional sources keep our country running – and America still has centuries of hydrocarbon resources. It’s time our government allowed us to develop and use those resources.

Economics 101. It is likewise impossible to have wind turbines without perpetual subsidies – mostly money borrowed from Chinese banks and future generations. Wind has never been able to compete economically with traditional energy, and there is no credible evidence that it will be able to in the foreseeable future, especially with abundant natural gas costing one-fourth what it did just a few years ago. It thus makes far more sense to rely on the plentiful, reliable, affordable electricity sources that have powered our economy for decades, build more gas-fired generators – and recycle wind turbines into useful products (while preserving a few as museum exhibits).

Economics 201. As Spain, Germany, Britain and other countries have learned, wind energy mandates and subsidies drive up the price of electricity – for families, factories, hospitals, schools, offices and shops. They squeeze budgets and cost jobs. Indeed, studies have found that two to four traditional jobs are lost for every wind or other “green” job created. That means the supposed 37,000 jobs (perpetuated by $5 billion to $10 billion in combined annual subsidies, or $135,000 to $270,000 per wind job) are likely costing the United States 74,000 to 158,000 traditional jobs, while diverting billions from far more productive uses.

Environment 101. Industrial wind turbine projects require enormous quantities of rare earth metals, concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and other raw materials, for highly inefficient turbines, multiple backup generators and thousands of miles of high-voltage transmission lines. Extracting and processing these materials, turning them into finished components, and shipping and installing the turbines and power lines involve enormous amounts of fossil fuel and extensive environmental damage. Offshore wind turbine projects are even more expensive, resource intensive and indefensible. Calling wind energy “clean” or “eco-friendly” is an extraordinary distortion of the facts.

Environment 201. Wind turbines, transmission lines and backup generators also require vast amounts of crop, scenic and wildlife habitat land. Where a typical 600-megawatt coal or gas-fired power plant requires 250-750 acres, to generate power 90-95% of the year, a 600-MW wind installation needs 40,000 to 50,000 acres (or more), to deliver 30% performance. And while gas, coal and nuclear plants can be built close to cities, wind installations must go where the wind blows, typically hundreds of miles away – adding thousands of additional acres to every project for transmission lines.

Environment 301. Sometimes referred to as “Cuisinarts of the air,” US wind turbines also slaughter nearly half a million eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures, ducks, geese, bats and other rare, threatened, endangered and otherwise protected flying creatures every year. (Those aren’t song birds killed by house cats, and this may be a conservative number, as coyotes and turbine operator cleanup crews remove much of the evidence.) But while oil companies are prosecuted for the deaths of even a dozen common ducks, turbine operators have been granted a blanket exemption from endangered and migratory species laws and penalties. Now the US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a formal rule to allow repeated “takings” (killings) of bald and golden eagles by wind turbines – in effect granting operators a 007 license to kill.

Environment 401. Scientific support for CO2-driven catastrophic manmade global warming continues to diminish. Even if carbon dioxide does contribute to climate change, there is no evidence that even thousands of US wind turbines will affect future global temperatures by more than a few hundredths of a degree. Not only do CO2 emissions from backup generators (and wind turbine manufacturing) offset any reductions by the turbines, but rapidly increasing emissions from Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and other rapidly developing countries dwarf any possible US wind-related CO2 reductions.

Human Health and Welfare 101. Skyrocketing electricity prices due to “renewable portfolio standards” raise heating and air conditioning costs; drive families into fuel poverty; increase food, medical, school and other costs; and force companies to lay off workers, further impairing their families’ health and welfare. The strobe-light effect, annoying audible noise, and inaudible low-frequency sound from whirling blades result in nervous fatigue, headaches, dizziness, irritability, sleep problems, and vibro-acoustic effects on people’s hearts and lungs. Land owners receive royalties for having turbines on their property, but neighbors receive no income and face adverse health effects, decreased property values and difficulty selling their homes. Formerly close-knit communities are torn apart.

Real World Civics 101. Politicians take billions from taxpayers, ratepayers and profitable businesses, to provide subsidies to Big Wind companies, who buy mostly Made Somewhere Else turbines – and then contribute millions to the politicians’ reelection campaigns, to keep the incestuous cycle going.

It is truly government gone wild – GSA on steroids. It is unsustainable. It is a classic sWINDle.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

1 May, 2012

Proof global warming isn't making weather wackier?

    From hurricanes and tornadoes to deep freezes and droughts, extremes of weather are often blamed on global warming.

Greenhouse gases do much more than just warm the planet, some environmentalists warn: They cause hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, droughts, and even extreme cold spells. Or do they?

Steven Goddard, who runs the skeptical climate blog Real Science and has a background in geology and computer science, has spent thousands of hours studying bad weather events around the world.

He found that the weather was wilder and weirder in the past than it is today.

“People are claiming there are more disasters now,” Goddard said. “That’s crazy. The weather was terrible in the past, back when CO2 was below 350ppm."

1) Deadly hurricanes

The deadliest hurricane in U.S. history was not hurricane Katrina, but rather one that hit Galveston, Tex., more than a century ago. The Texas State Historical Association notes that, upon the first signs of the hurricane in 1900, a local weather official drove “a horse-drawn cart around low areas warning people to leave.”

For many, the warning was too late.  “A storm wave… caused a sudden rise of 4 feet in water depth, and shortly afterward the entire city was underwater to a maximum depth of 15 feet.”

The hurricane destroyed most of the city, killing between 10,000 and 12,000.

“Hurricanes have not become more frequent or intense,” University of Alabama climate scientist John Christy told NOAA hurricane records back up that claim.

“The story on hurricanes is a mixed bag,” says Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate scientist at the Union for Concerned Scientists.

2) Melting Glaciers

Glaciers are melting around the world, and many worry that will cause flooding. But the melting is not necessarily due to greenhouse gases. Goddard points to places where glaciers nearly vanished due to natural warming.

Glacier Bay, in Alaska, is one such place. The glacier was discovered in 1794, but the National Park Service reports that “by 1879… naturalist John Muir discovered that the ice had retreated more than 30 miles ... By 1916 it … had melted back 60 miles.”

3) Extreme Cold

It was so cold in New York City that the rivers around Manhattan froze over for five weeks -- in 1780, that is. British troops occupying the city at the time rolled cannons from Manhattan across the ice to Staten Island. They even built temporary fortifications on the ice, which stayed solid enough to support men on horseback until March 17.  Throughout the 1800s, the rivers froze over at least six times.

4) Extreme Heat

Many scientists argue that greenhouse gases have made extreme heat events more common.

“If we keep putting heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere at current rates, we can expect a city like NYC to go from having less than 10 days over 100F to between 30 and 45 [such days] by the end of the century,” Ekwurzel of the Union for Concerned Scientists told, citing a government study.

But Goddard notes that heat waves are nothing new. One newspaper reported that on June 5, 1921, the temperature in New York rose to 107 degrees. In Washington, DC, “an egg carefully broken ... on an asphalt pavement … as an experiment was completely fried in 9 minutes.”

The deadliest heat wave in U.S. history also struck long ago, in 1936, causing some 5,000 deaths nationwide.

“Twenty-four of the lower 48 states set their all-time temperature records in the 1930s,” Goddard said. “Just one state [Arizona] has set a new record since the turn of the millennium.”

That shows that U.S. weather has been more extreme in the past, but does not indicate whether climate has warmed in general.

“The warmest month in U.S. history was July of 1936 -- and the coldest month in U.S. history was February of that same year,” Goddard said, noting that such rapid changes were due to fluctuations in a major air current known as the jet stream.

5) Drought

The worst drought in U.S. history also took place in the 1930s, destroying so many crops in the Midwest that, as a USDA report put it, “The eroding soil from once-productive range and crop lands filled the air with billowing clouds of dust that subsequently buried farm equipment, buildings and even barbed-wire fences.”

The disaster became known as “The Dust Bowl,” as 2.5 million Americans abandoned their farms.

“Climate was never safe,” Goddard said. “You had horrific fires, droughts, floods, heat waves -- it hasn't gotten any worse with the CO2 increase.”


Censored science

True to form, the overwhelming majority of press outlets failed to report the juiciest global-warming gossip of the week — a change of heart on the issue by one of the world’s most celebrated environmentalists. Also true to form, the press failed to report the most profound science story of the week — a startling theory that not only absolves humans of blame in global warming but sheds light on another taboo subject: shortcomings in Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Take the juicy global-warming story I referred to. Several years ago, environmentalist James Lovelock made headlines when he announced that global warming would end the world as we know it — he predicted that “billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.” Google searches associating his name with global warming and climate change now exceed one million hits, and understandably so, given his reputation. Lovelock has infused environmental thought for decades through best-selling books describing Earth as a living organism — Lovelock is the one who coined the Gaia concept. Among many other honours heaped on Lovelock, Time magazine featured him in a series on Heroes of the Environment.

So, why, when Lovelock this week recanted his past views on global warming as being “alarmist,” did virtually every major news outlet on the planet ignore his change of heart? It wasn’t because he minced his words:  “The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago,” he admitted, adding that temperatures haven’t increased as expected over the last 12 years. “There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now.”

What else has the press, in its wisdom, decided to keep from the public in recent days? One eye-opener is the advance of ice in both the Arctic and the Antarctic — both are now at or above average levels. Another is an announcement by researchers at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the Riken research foundation that the world may be heading into a prolonged period of global cooling — the Japanese study compared sunspot activity today with sunspots that preceded the Little Ice Age in the 17th century to find close similarities.

Had questioning of global warming not been taboo to most journalists, these stories would have doubtless merited ink and air time, not least because they tell a fresh story. Because the subject is taboo, the press censors itself.

The freshest story of all this week, which by rights should have rated stellar coverage, involved a powerful refutation of Darwin’s theory of evolution and its mechanism, natural selection. “Natural selection acts only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a great and sudden leap, but must advance by short and sure, though slow steps,” Darwin wrote. Now, suggests a study published by the U.K.’s Royal Astronomical Society, life on Earth did not evolve smoothly at all: To the contrary, the planet owes its diversity to intense periods of productivity interspersed with immense periods of stagnancy. The mechanism for this evolving theory? Climate change on Earth, driven by galactic cosmic rays originating from exploding supernovas — the final act of stars.

This study, Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth, does have a problem, although it convincingly correlates the development of life on Earth with the explosion of nearby stars over the past 510 million years. The problem is its author, Henrik Svensmark, a professor of physics at the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish Space Research Institute, who is reviled in the global warming science establishment for studies showing that the Sun and cosmic rays, not man, drives the current climate on Earth.

Reporters on the global-warming beat and their editors have long ignored if not disparaged Svensmark. His latest study, which shows cosmic rays to have also driven the ancient climate, provides most journalists with reason enough to continue to ignore him, even though his study has been published by the world’s oldest and one of its most illustrious astronomical societies.

There is hope, however, both for Svensmark and for the information-consuming public, which is not only starved of balanced information on global warming and evolution but on numerous other politically correct scientific subjects, popularly known as junk science. Svensmark has shown that evolutionary change can occur very rapidly after long barren periods. Journalists themselves may soon evolve into science-capable skeptical practitioners.


Attacks on Lovelock are absurd

James Lovelock has been called the godfather of global warming.   He’s one of the world’s most honoured scientists and environmentalists.  His “Gaia theory” — that the Earth operates as a single, living organism — created an entirely new field of Earth science studies following its publication in 1979.

His electron capture detector first enabled scientists to detect CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and other pollutants in the atmosphere, which in many ways was the start of the modern environmental movement.  His inventions have been used by NASA.

His books on the potentially cataclysmic effects of man-made climate change — The Revenge of Gaia and The Vanishing Face of Gaia — are required reading for anyone wanting to understand modern-day thinking on global warming.

And last week, in an interview with, he admitted he has been unduly “alarmist” about climate change, along with others like Al Gore.   Lovelock said it’s not happening as quickly as he feared and that he and many others have been “extrapolating too far” from computer models.  “The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing,” Lovelock said. “We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books — mine included — because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened.

Even though Lovelock is revered by global warmists for his Gaia theory and his previous writings predicting billions would die from it by the end of this century, his latest comments have prompted outrage from the same quarters.

Suddenly, the godfather of global warming is being condemned as everything from over-the-hill (he’s 92 and shows no signs of slowing down) to allegations he’s just seeking publicity for his new book and playing into the hands of climate deniers.

All these allegations are absurd.

Lovelock is a self-made genius, who already has all the fame he needs.

He hasn’t broken with the theory of man-made global warming. He still believes it’s happening, just not as quickly as he once thought.

His next book will outline ways in which he believes mankind can help regulate the Earth’s natural systems.

What’s marked Lovelock’s scientific career, however, most of it spent outside the academic establishment (his laboratory is a converted barn near Cornwall, England) is his willingness to test theories against real-world observation.

As “an independent and loner,” Lovelock told, he doesn’t mind admitting “all right, I made a mistake”, as opposed to university and government scientists whom, he said, fear admitting error will lead to a loss of funding.

Indeed, Lovelock regularly angers global warmists and environmentalists by refusing to toe the party line.  He’s long argued wind turbines and solar panels are useless when it comes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, as well as being blights on the landscape.  He says the most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally is through the increased use of nuclear power.

He compares environmentalists who demand the world must rapidly abandon fossil fuels to passengers on an airplane, who, having discovered it is pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, insist the pilot turn off the engines, thinking that will fix the problem.

“We cannot turn off our energy-intensive, fossil-fuel-powered civilization without crashing,” Lovelock warns. “We need the soft landing of a powered descent.” Exactly.

Lovelock’s only real problem when it comes to dealing with the global warming establishment, is that he’s always been too smart for the room.


Hellfire and Heresy: Global Warming Hotheads Inflamed About Skeptical Challengers

Nobel Physics laureate Ivar Giaever has called global warming (now “climate change”) a “new religion”. Its temple is built on grounds of faith rather than scientific foundations.

Author Michael Crichton articulated the essence of this creed in a 2003 speech whereby “There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with Nature; there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result from eating from the tree of knowledge; and as a result of our actions, there is a judgment day coming for all of us. We are energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability.

Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment, just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs imbibe.”

It seems the deepest, hottest pit of fossil-fueled climate change hell is reserved for crisis “deniers”. These are the heretics who have either turned their backs on true villainy of human climate sin, or worse, are its evil agents.

An article written by Forbes contributor Steve Zwick last month charges the latter. Moreover, he called for retribution, venting: “We know who the active denialists are–not the people who buy the lies, mind you, but the people who create the lies. Let’s start keeping track of them now, and when the famines come, let’s make them pay. Let’s let their houses burn. Let’s swap their safe land for submerged islands. Let’s force them to bear the cost of rising food prices. They broke the climate. Why should the rest of us have to pay for it?”

After his article ignited a firestorm of inflamed reader responses, Steve has subsequently posted a second one clarifying that it wasn’t really his wish to incite burning of skeptical households. And it’s unlikely that most ever saw that as his literal intent. I certainly understand that opinion columns, very much including mine, should often be expected to present controversial viewpoints that provoke reflection and commentary. No doubt, he clearly accomplished that.

Environmental blog author Mark Lynas has expressed a similarly harsh moral view of climate crisis skeptics: “I wonder what sentences judges might hand down at future international criminal tribunals on those who are partially but directly responsible for millions of deaths from starvation, famine and disease in decades ahead. I put this in a similar moral category to Holocaust denial-except that this time the Holocaust is yet to come, and we still have time to avoid it. Those who try to ensure we don’t will one day have to answer for their crimes.”

The horrifically offensive Holocaust/climate denier conflation has come to be indelibly inculcated into the attack lexicon through repeated references. For example, when television commentator Scott Pelly was asked in a March 23, 2006 CBS PublicEye blog post why he didn’t interview anyone who didn’t agree that global warming is a threat, he compared scientists who are skeptical about human-caused catastrophic climate change to Holocaust deniers: “If I do an interview with [Holocaust survivor] Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?”

David Roberts, a regular contributor to Grist, a prominent environmental news and commentary blog site, carried the denier Holocaust theme even farther. Referring to the “denial industry”, he stated that we should have “war crime trials for these bastards—some sort of Nuremberg.”

UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chairman, Rajendra Pachuri, even went beyond the Holocaust to compare the views of global warming crisis skeptics with those of Hitler himself. Referring to the well-known skeptic Bjorn Lombord, Pachuri stated, “What is the difference between Lomborg’s views on humans and Hitler’s? You cannot treat people like cattle.”

Another broadly applied denigration strategy is to accuse skeptical scientists and organizations of having nefarious financial ties to “evil” special interest sponsors, most particularly, being in the pockets of Big Oil companies.  An example is Al Gore’s claim in a Rolling Stones article last year that: “Polluters and Ideologues are financing pseudoscientists whose job it is to manufacture doubt about what is true and false [and] ….spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year on misleading advertisements in the mass media.”

Al didn’t happen to mention, however,  that his alarmist Alliance for Climate Protection organization reportedly netted more than $88 million in 2008, that the Natural Resources Defense Council took in more than $95 million in 2011 operating revenues, or that the World Wildlife Fund raised more than $238 million last year. Nor did he call attention to his Generation Investment Management hedge fund that realizes huge profits from investors in government subsidized “green” projects.

But Gore hasn’t been the least bit reticent about taking high-profile positions in support of personally lucrative cap-and-trade legislation and alternative energy subsidies. Speaking before a 2007 U.S. Joint House Energy and Science Committee, he enthused: “As soon as carbon has a price, you’re going to see a wave of investment in it–there will be unchained investment.”

Yes, what better way to reduce evil carbon than to make it a profitable commodity?

Some bent on linking climate crisis skeptics to greedy corporate agendas have reverted to the desperation tactic of fabricating such evidence. A recent incident involved noted climate skeptic critic Peter Gleick who, ironically, chaired the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Task force on Scientific Ethics. Gleick illegally obtained confidential materials including financial sponsorship documents from the conservative Heartland Institute. He then publicly distributed them along with a forged document which falsely reported a $200,000 contribution from the Koch Foundation along with other intentionally misleading claims.

In reality, Heartland had received only $25,000 from Koch interests over an entire ten year period to help support a health care newsletter. None of that money was either intended or used for their climate-related research and information services. The organization had received no funding from Exxon or other petroleum companies.

Al Gore’s assertion that climate alarm skeptics, motivated by prurient interests, are “manufacturing doubt about what is true and false” ignores a far different reality. Most of that media climate reporting emanates from tax-supported government and university climate scientists whose jobs depend upon stoking alarm-fueled funding pots.

Disquieting and costly consequences of this circumstance have become apparent through Freedom of Information Act exposure of scandalous e-mail exchanges between international researchers within the U.K.’s University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU) network. Many of these communications clearly reveal that top IPCC scientists consciously misrepresented and actively withheld vitally important information …then attempted to prevent discovery. As Myron Ebell, Director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center on Energy and Environment observes stated: “Several of the new e-mails show that the scientists involved in doctoring the IPCC reports are very aware that the energy-rationing policies that their junk science is meant to support would cost trillions of dollars.”

In one e-mail, a scientist warned: “It is inconceivable that policymakers will be willing to make billion-and trillion-dollar decisions for adaptation to the projected regional climate change based on models that do not even describe and simulate the processes that are the building blocks of climate variability.” Another admits: “…clearly, some tuning or very good luck [is] involved.  I doubt the modeling world will be able to get away with this much longer.” Still another modeler complained: “Mike, the Figure you sent is very deceptive — there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC …”

Of course climate model projections are fatally compromised from the get-go when based upon poor global temperature records. One e-mail posted by database programmer Ian “Harry” Harris reports: “[The] hopeless state of their [CRU] database. No uniform data integrity. It’s just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they’re found…There are hundreds if not thousands of pairs of dummy [surface temperature recording] stations…and duplicates…Aarrggghh! There truly is no end in sight. This project is such a MESS. No wonder I needed therapy!!”

One key source of that data is NASA’s Goddard Institute of Climate Science (GISS), headed by the Father of Fright, James Hansen. For example, on December 6, 2005 Hansen stated that the Earth’s climate was already reaching a tipping point that will result in the loss of Arctic ice as we know it, with sea levels rising as much as 80 feet during this century (40 times higher than even the upper end of the most recent IPCC summary report has projected), thus flooding coastal areas.

A GISS researcher confessed in an e-mail that “[the United States Historical Climate Network] data are not routinely kept up-to-date, and in another that NASA had inflated its temperature data since 2000 on a questionable basis. “NASA’s assumption that the adjustments made the older data consistent with future data…may not have been correct.”

Under Hansen’s influence, irresponsible GISS performance has been a long-term embarrassment to many at NASA who believe it reflects very badly upon its public reputation. This concern prompted 49 former NASA scientists and astronauts to send a letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on April 10, admonishing the agency for its role in advocating a high degree of certainty that man-made CO2 is a major cause of climate change, while neglecting basic empirical evidence that calls the theory into question.

The group, which includes seven Apollo astronauts and two former directors of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, are dismayed over the failure of NASA, particularly GISS, to make an objective assessment of all available scientific data on climate change. They charge that NASA is relying too heavily upon complex climate models that have proven to be scientifically inadequate for climate predictions as little as one or two decades in advance.

Senator John Kerry, who civil servant Hansen had famously endorsed for his 2004 presidential run, recently lamented a political climate change regarding what he referred to as “the flat-Earth caucus” of global warming skeptics, saying: “Even amid the ‘Tuesday Group’…a bi-partisan block of lawmakers, mostly Democrats, who are interested in energy issues… you can’t talk about climate now.  People just turn off. It’s extraordinary. Only for national security and jobs will they open their minds.”

More and more Americans no longer buy that indictment. Nor, apparently, do many Democrat senators who are currently facing hot challenges from skeptical cooler-headed opponents.


 Solar Climate Change is happening now

The sun is entering a ‘muddled’ magnetic state. 'Little Ice Age ' (Maunder-Dalton) circulation patterns are emerging and more rapid world cooling is taking over  -- says Piers Corbyn, astrophysicist and forecaster

"The Sun’s magnetic field is getting into a muddle as one half of it changes out of step with the other and this muddled behavior is likely to become very marked in MAY.

"This strange behavior was pointed out by Japanese researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the Riken research foundation* who say this was the sort of behavior which probably took place during low periods of solar activity in the past** and which drove the world into a cold state of longer winters, cold Spring months and lousy summers.

"At the same time independent observers have noticed an increase in Little Ice Age type (Maunder-Dalton type) weather events and circulation patterns around the world such as more extreme hailstorms and cyclonic cold weather in Britain and Ireland with the Jet stream shifted well south***.

"These changes and findings increase our confidence in our forecast made two years ago of general world cooling and our specific forecasts for individual months and regions such as for an exceptionally cold May this year in central and east Britain and West Europe – and which comes with the present very warm weather in East Europe which we predicted 4 weeks ahead.

"Although these developing circulation patterns are generally cold the wide-amplitude swings of the jet stream of which they are part also mean there will be some warm or very warm spots. This happened in March with a generally cold or very cold Northern Hemisphere while the UK and USA were warm and extremely warm respectively.

"May will also see dramatic contrasts and we will have more of a grasp on the boundaries between contrasting parts in our detailed May forecasts for Britain and Ireland, Europe and the USA issued at the end of April.


Global Warming Alarmist Steve Zwick's 'Science' Is More Troubling Than His Vitriol

Scientists and public policy analysts were justifiably appalled by Steve Zwick writing in his column last week that firemen should let houses burn down if they are owned or occupied by global warming “denialists.” Lost in Zwick’s over-the-top rhetoric, however, has been his even more troubling assertion of what constitutes sound science.

Before we get to the science, however, let’s clarify one point about the rhetoric.

For all the crying by global warming alarmists about the lack of civility in the global warming debate, almost all of the over-the-top vitriol among spokespersons for each point of view emanates from the alarmist crowd. Zwick’s call for skeptics’ houses to burn down is actually mild compared to other prominent alarmists calling for the murder, imprisonment, and execution of skeptics. These violent and hateful statements are made by alarmists on a fairly regular basis, yet the predominantly left-leaning media ignores it. By contrast, when serial name-caller Michael Mann cries “woe is me” because people actually follow the Scientific Method and criticize his methods or theories, the media goes on a tear-jerking bender of stories about scientists being under attack. Oh, please…..

Now, on to Zwick’s science.

When you dig beneath the vitriolic rhetoric of Zwick’s column, he makes the following scientific argument: “A recent poll by Yale and George Mason Universities shows that most Americans are at or near that point on climate change, with 72% of us seeing a link between extreme weather and our own actions. It’s a link that climate models have long predicted, and with the benefit of hindsight we see that even the earliest models have proven accurate over time.”

Let’s take a closer look at the survey Zwick cites.

The Yale Project on Climate Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication have released a joint survey about Americans’ impressions of recent extreme weather events. Much like the phenomenon where millions of people claim and apparently believe they were actually at the 1969 Woodstock music festival, a ridiculously high percentage of people claim in the Yale/George Mason survey to have personally experienced severe weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes during the past year.

Twenty-one percent of survey respondents say they personally experienced a tornado last year. This is astonishing. Unless the survey was conducted almost exclusively in Joplin, Missouri, or Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I am guessing the Woodstock effect is occurring here.

Even more remarkably, 16 percent say they personally experienced a hurricane last year. Not a single hurricane struck the United States last year. Tropical Storm Irene, often mislabeled as a hurricane, came the closest, with 70 mph winds striking small portions of the minimally populated North Carolina Outer Banks. So how did 16 percent of Americans personally experience a hurricane last year? Perhaps they were all together on a cruise ship off the Mexican coast in October when Hurricane Rina spun around in the Caribbean Sea for a few days.

While the Yale/George Mason survey showed people are prone to altered memories and imagining they have experienced mythical extreme weather events, this hasn’t stopped global warming alarmists like Zwick from waving the survey as “proof” of an asserted global warming crisis. Indeed, it is entirely fitting that alarmists like Zwick are using people’s imaginations about mythical extreme weather events to justify their call for emergency action to fight a fictitious global warming crisis.

So here we have an all-too-clear glimpse into the alarmist playbook: Create climate models that predict catastrophes. Objective data show catastrophes are not materializing. Call an audible by asking people if they believe they have experienced a catastrophe. Take the patently ridiculous subjective survey results to claim the catastrophes actually did occur. Assert these reconstructed memories as proof that your models were correct after all. Repeat these steps as necessary.

There you have your global warming crisis.



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


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

Climate is the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds pass overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)