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

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

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30 May, 2014

British Antarctic survey dynamites W. Antarctic scare

Glacial retreat shown to be a recurring natural phenomenon. Journal abstract follows article below

Media reports have hyped the collapse of several large western Antarctic glaciers, quoting scientists who said the melting ice could raise sea levels by another 4 feet. Left-leaning news outlets ran with headlines like “This Ice Sheet Will Unleash a Global Superstorm Sandy That Never Ends” and “Global warming: it’s a point of no return in West Antarctica.”

“The collapse of this sector of West Antarctica appears to be unstoppable,” said NASA glaciologist Eric Rignot, whose research on the collapsing ice sheets made waves.

“The fact that the retreat is happening simultaneously over a large sector suggests it was triggered by a common cause, such as an increase in the amount of ocean heat beneath the floating sections of the glaciers,” Rignot said. “At this point, the end of this sector appears to be inevitable.”

But as BAS research shows, the collapse of Antarctic glaciers is nothing new. In fact, studies show this has been happening for thousands of years — without the help of mankind.

“Our results show that the large isotopic warming… since the 1950s is not unusual, with equally large warming and cooling trends observed several times over the past 308 years,” BAS scientists found. “This is consistent with a study from continental West Antarctica [Steig et al., 2013] which concluded that this recent warming is not unprecedented in the context of the past 2000 years.”

“The record reveals a reduction in multidecadal variability during the twentieth century and suggests that the warming since the late 1950s has not yet taken the system outside its natural range” the scientists continued. “This is not inconsistent with the exceptional recent global warming, during which approximately 20% of the observationally covered Earth’s surface still does not show 100 year trends that are signi?cantly larger than internal variability.”


A 308-year record of climate variability in West Antarctica

By Thomas, Elizabeth R et al.


We present a new stable isotope record from Ellsworth Land which provides a valuable 308-year record (1702-2009) of climate variability from coastal West Antarctica. Climate variability at this site is strongly forced by sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and atmospheric pressure in the tropical Pacific and related to local sea ice conditions. The record shows that this region has warmed since the late 1950s, at a similar magnitude to that observed in the Antarctic Peninsula and central West Antarctica, however, this warming trend is not unique. More dramatic isotopic warming (and cooling) trends occurred in the mid-19th and 18th centuries, suggesting that at present the effect of anthropogenic climate drivers at this location has not exceeded the natural range of climate variability in the context of the past ~300?years.

Geophysical Research Letters, 40 (20). 5492-5496.

EPA To Unilaterally Push Cap And Trade On Carbon Emissions

Despite being soundly rejected a few years ago, cap-and-trade will soon get its U.S. encore — but not in Congress. The Obama administration will likely use its executive power to unilaterally impose carbon dioxide emissions trading systems.

The Environmental Protection Agency will unveil regulations for existing U.S. power plants early next month. For months, onlookers have been speculating about what could be included in the EPA’s rule for existing power plants.

But over the past few days it has become clear that the Obama administration will use the EPA to push cap-and-trade systems and other anti-fossil fuel policies on U.S. states. Administration insiders have told news outlets that cap-and-trade will likely be one of the options the EPA gives states to cut their carbon dioxide emissions.

The Wall Street Journal reported the EPA’s proposal will “include a cap-and-trade component where a limit is set on emissions and companies can trade allowances or credits for emissions” to meet new federal rules. The Journal added that power plant “operators could trade emissions credits or use other offsets in the power sector, such as renewable energy or energy-efficiency programs, to meet the target.”

The plan is being sold as a “flexible” one. By allowing states a menu of policy options to meet federal mandates, the standards will ostensibly meet the unique needs of each individual state. But the stark reality behind the proposal is that it will be a boon for states that have already imposed cap-and-trade systems — which are overwhelmingly Democratic states.

The Washington Post reported last week that “the measure will spur regional carbon-trading programs on the East and West coasts” according to “several individuals briefed on the matter”.

The Democratic governors of California, Oregon, Washington have all signed executive agreements to tax on carbon dioxide. California already operates a cap-and-trade system that went into effect in 2012. Washington’s Democratic governor Jay Inslee recently signed an executive order to impose cap-and-trade and phase out coal power.

“This is the right time to act, the right place to act and we are the right people to act,” Inslee said last month. “We will engage the right people, consider the right options, ask the right questions and come to the right answers — answers that work for Washington.”

Several eastern U.S. states and Canadian provinces have already started their own regional cap-and-trade system called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Currently nine states participate in RGGI — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Only one of the nine states is led by a Republican.

News reports say that the EPA will require states to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by a whopping 25 percent in the coming decades. The new rules are set to be unveiled next week by President Obama himself, underpinning the significance of the new rules.

The EPA’s emissions limits for existing power plants will put new burdens on coal-reliant states and raise electricity prices as more coal plants are retired. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is set to release a study on the economic costs of the EPA’s carbon dioxide regulations, which will likely be staggering.

“We anticipate it to be unprecedented in complexity and cost,” Dan Byers, senior director for policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s energy arm, told an audience last week.

Environmentalists have argued that emissions limits for existing power plants would not only prove environmentally beneficial, but would also be a boon to the economy.

“This is a magic moment for the President — a chance to write his name into the record books,” Frank O’Donnell, director of Clean Air Watch, told the Post. “But history will ultimately judge this less by an excellent speech than by the final contents and outcome of this initiative.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council, like the Chamber, is preparing to release its own study this week on the economic benefits of carbon dioxide regulations.

NRDC argues that mandating emissions limits would spur jobs in energy efficiency and green energy and lower power bills and pollution levels.

But the coal industry disagrees. They have already seen the Obama administration effectively ban the building of new coal-fired power plants unless they use costly clean coal technology.

“The impact will not only be to greatly increase electricity rates, putting U.S. manufacturing at a competitive disadvantage, but [also to] jeopardize reliability of the nation’s electric grid,” said Hal Quinn, president of the National Mining Association.

Coal currently generates about 40 percent of the country’s electricity — a share which has declined in recent years because of stricter environmental regulations and increased competition from natural gas.

Hundreds of coal plants have already been slated for early retirement across the country, according to industry data. And many more are sure to follow once the Obama administration cracks down on emissions from existing power plants.

Retiring coal plants are already set to help increase power prices by 4 percent this year, according to the Energy Information Administration. By 2020, power prices are predicted to rise another 13 percent — not including the cost impacts of the EPA’s upcoming power plant rules.

“While President Obama continues to pedal around his climate agenda in the hopes of solidifying a presidential legacy, concerns about how American businesses and consumers will actually meet these costly rules have been met with only silence,” said Laura Sheehan, spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electrcity.

“Given the current path we’re on, the administration is gambling with the livelihoods of hardworking Americans and is threatening to tip our country over the edge in costly and unreliable energy policies,” Sheehan said. “And once we go over that ledge, there’s no coming back up.”


Germany’s Green Jobs Miracle Collapses

From: "Die Welt"

Renewable energy was supposed to create tens of thousands of green jobs. Yet despite three-digit Euro billions of subsidies, the number of jobs is falling rapidly. Seven out of ten jobs will only remain as long as the subsidies keep flowing.

The subsidization of renewable energy has not led to a significant, sustainable increase in jobs. According to recent figures from the German Government, the gross employment in renewable energy decreased by around seven per cent to 363,100 in 2013.

Counting the employees in government agencies and academic institution too, renewable energy creates work for about 370,000 people.

This means, however, that only to about 0.86 percent of the nearly 42 million workers, which are employed in Germany, work in the highly subsidized sector of renewable energy. Much of this employment is limited to the maintenance and operation of existing facilities.

Further job cuts expected

In the core of the industry, the production of renewable energy systems, only 230,800 people were employed last year: a drop of 13 percent within one year, which is primarily due to the collapse of the German solar industry.

There is no improvement in sight, according to the recent report by the Federal Government. It says: “Overall, a further decline of employees will probably be observed in the renewable energies sector this and next year.”

15 years after the start of green energy subsidies through the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the vast majority of jobs from in this sector are still dependent on subsidies.

Hardly any self-supporting jobs in Green energy

According to official figures from the Federal Government, 70% of gross employment was due to the EEG last year. Although this is a slight decrease compared to 2012, seven out of ten jobs in the eco-energy sector are still subsidized by the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG).

Around 137,800 employees work in the wind sector which was the only eco-energy sector, besides geothermal, that increased employment. About 56,000 employees in photovoltaic sector depend on EEG payments.

Investments drop by 20 percent

Subsidies for the generation of green electricity have been paid for almost 15 years and have piled up into a three-digit billion sum, which has to be paid over 20 years by electricity consumers through their electricity bills. This year alone, consumers must subsidize the production of green electricity to the tune of around 20 billion Euros. A lasting effect on the labour market is not obvious.

The report, “Gross employment in renewable energy sources in Germany in 2013?, commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy, was jointly written by the institutes DLR, DIW , STW , GWS and Prognos. According to the researchers, the cause of the decrease in employment is the declining investments in green energy systems.

The investments in renewable energy sources in Germany fell by a fifth, to 16.09 billion Euros in the past year. Only about half as many solar panels were installed in Germany as the year before. Investment in biomass plants and solar thermal dropped as well.

“Nothing left from the job miracle“

The researchers do not expect that the production of high quality green energy systems will still lead to a job boom in Germany. For this year and the next they expect a further decline in employment instead. Thereafter, low-tech sectors such as “operation and maintenance” as well as the supply of biomass fuels are expected to „stabilise the employment effect”.

„A few years ago the renewable sector was the job miracle in Germany, now nothing is left of all of that,” said the deputy leader of the Greens in the Bundestag, Oliver Krischer.

The Green politician is sceptical about the attempts by the Federal Government to reduce the subsidy dependence of the green energy sector: „The brakes on the expansion of renewables by the previous conservative-liberal government is now fully hitting the job market,” said Krischer: “Thanks to the current EEG reform by the Union and SPD, the innovative and young renewables industry will lose more jobs. “

The bottom line, no jobs remain

The report by the Federal Government explicitly estimates only the „gross employment“ created primarily by green subsidies. The same subsidies, however, have led to rising costs and job losses in many other areas, such as heavy industry and commerce as well as conventional power plant operators. For a net analysis, the number of jobs that have been prevented or destroyed as a result would have to be deducted from the gross number of green jobs.

Official figures for the net effect of renewables on employment in Germany were originally supposed to be presented in July, according to the Federal Economics Ministry. However, the presentation has now been delayed until the autumn.

Researchers such as the president of the Munich-based IFO institute, Hans-Werner Sinn, believe that the net effect of subsidies for renewable energy on the labour market is equal to zero:

“Whoever claims that net jobs have been created must prove that the capital intensity of production in the new sectors is smaller than in the old ones. There are no indications for that. ”

“There is no positive net effect on employment by the EEG,” said Sinn: “Through subsidies for inefficient technologies not a single new job has been created, but wealth has been destroyed. “


They were warned

Article below from September, 2009

One of the UK’s leading energy and environment economists warns that the government’s promise that green energy policies will create tens of thousands of jobs and stimulate competitive industries is an illusion.

In his report The Myth of Green Jobs, published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Professor Gordon Hughes (Edinburgh University) dispels this assumption by finding that

* The government target for generating electricity from renewable energy sources will involve a capital cost that is 9-10 times the amount required to meet the same demand by relying upon conventional power plants.

* The extra investment required for renewable energy – about £120 bln – will be diverted from more productive uses in the rest of the economy.

* Increases in the cost of energy together with the diversion of investment funds means that many manufacturing firms will either go bankrupt or relocate.

* It is impossible for the UK to acquire a long-term comparative advantage in the manufacture of renewable energy equipment by any combination of policies that are both feasible and affordable.

* Policies to promote renewable energy could add 0.6-0.7 percentage points per year to core inflation from now to 2020.

* The cumulative impact of these policies could amount to a loss of 2-3% of potential GDP for a period of 20 years or more.

“Claims by politicians and lobbyists that green energy policies will create a few thousand jobs are not supported by the evidence. In terms of the labour market, the gains for a small number of actual or potential employees in businesses specialising in renewable energy has to be weighed against the dismal prospects for a much larger group of workers producing tradable goods in the rest of the manufacturing sector,” Professor Hughes said.


The Obama Administration’s Hypocritical Environmental Policy

Congress and the federal government have enacted policies and made decisions in the name of protecting the environment. The problem is, now those decisions have backfired — and made us worse off environmentally. Here are five examples:

1. Keystone Delay Means More Rail: Stating concern for the environment, President Obama delayed and rejected the initial Keystone XL Pipeline permit even though the State Department found no environmental complications. After five years of political dodges and delays from the president, TransCanada is now seriously considering using railroads to deliver the oil to refineries – an option the State Department did find less environmentally safe. Carloads of crude oil have increased from 9,500 in 2008 to more than 407,000 last year. The State Department determined that rail delivery had a higher likelihood of spills and higher CO2 emissions than pipelines. Rail transport should be an option, of course. But if Obama’s top concern is the environment, he should opt for the pipeline – and not drive TransCanada to rail transportation.

2. Biofuels are an ecological and human disaster: As part of his climate change agenda, Obama has praised alternative fuels as the way of the future and condemned oil-based transportation fuels for tying the U.S. to dependence on CO2 emissions and foreign countries. But evidence continues to mount that ethanol, the largest source of alternative fuels, is at best accomplishing nothing in the way of efficiency or energy independence. Not only are biofuels an economic loser, the Department of Energy funded a recent report that found biofuels actually increase CO2 emissions. Other studies have shown our biofuels policy results in poorer land and water quality, not to mention higher food prices. Though America’s biofuels policies predate Obama, there’s no reason to support a policy that even environmental organizations have called “an ecological disaster.”

3. Wind Power and Bloody Bird Baths: There is no end to what the Obama administration will do to protect critters such as lesser prairie chicken, but it has a funny way of protecting the environment when it comes to politically correct renewable energy projects such as wind. For example, the Obama administration has worked to cut red tape for wind projects by allowing them a higher kill rate of bald and golden eagles during a project’s first 30 years of operation, which is conveniently the approximate lifetime of a wind generator. Who needs America’s bird when you can have an intermittent power source propped up with the taxpayer’s money?

4. Killing Nuclear Energy: Obama and his administration have expressed support for nuclear power, which fits neatly into their carbon-less vision for America’s electricity supply. Nuclear power is emissions-free. It also has a small physical footprint and waste stream compared to the massive amount of energy it generates. But one look at the state of the industry would tell you otherwise.

Because of the Department of Energy’s complete failure to meet its responsibilities to collect and dispose of nuclear waste, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has stopped all licensing activities. Through no fault of the industry or technology, this means no new plants or life extensions for existing ones. This has been a failure of many administrations and congresses, but Obama has distinguished himself by abandoning the waste plan Congress passed and replacing it with no plan at all. If that weren’t enough, an antiquated and onerous regulatory regime has only become more antiquated and onerous on Obama’s watch. Between his policies on nuclear waste and regulation, Obama is effectively killing an affordable, CO2-free energy source.

5. Global Warming Poverty Obama has set into motion regulations that severely limit CO2 emissions from electricity generation (as well as vehicles). If successful, these regulations will effectively phase out some 40 percent of the nation’s electricity, which is generated by coal. A Heritage Foundation study found that doing this will cause energy prices to rise (along with everything else that depends on energy) and jobs to be lost, particularly in manufacturing. One doesn’t have to look far or hard to see that some of the poorest countries in the world are those that struggle to provide affordable and reliable electricity, which is a basic building block of economic growth and human wellbeing. And energy poverty leads to environmental poverty, whether in Germany or in Africa. If these regulations hurt America’s economy, the long-term effect on America’s environment may well be negative – no matter how well-intentioned the original regulations were.


Australia: Vegetation-clearing curbs in fire-prone regions to be eased

Greenies trumped; Californians ought to be envious

Residents in bushfire-prone regions of NSW will be given greater scope to clear vegetation close to homes to reduce fire risks under laws proposed by the Baird government.

Households will be allowed to clear trees with 10 metres and shrubs and other vegetation within 50 metres of their homes.

"We’re putting people before trees," Premier Mike Baird told reporters in Sydney on Thursday. "This is empowering individuals."

The laws were first mooted late last year after bushfires in the Blue Mountains in October destroyed more than 200 homes and damaged more than 100 others. They also come as the prospects of an El Nino weather event in the Pacific increase; the resulting dry, warm conditions would raise the chances of another early and busy fire season.

"We have worked closely with the (Rural Fire Service) to develop these new rules which will empower landowners who are taking responsibility for minimising the fuel loads near their homes – a key fire prevention goal," Mr Baird said.

A report following the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria by Philip Gibbons from the Australian National University found that clearing trees and shrubs within 40 metres of homes was the most effective method of fuel reduction.

Ross Bradstock, from the University of Wollongong’s Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires, said land clearing could be beneficial in reducing the threat fires pose to houses but only if residents avoid planting gardens that nullified the benefits.

"There’s certainly evidence that clearing of this kind can contribute to a significant reduction of risk," Professor Bradstock said. "However, things like garden design particularly close into the house - which are not necessarily captured by this [policy] - can be very, very important."

RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers welcomed the new laws: "We need to ensure the community is as prepared as possible for bushfire and these changes will give residents the flexibility they need to clear their property from bushfire risk."


Trent Penman, a senior research scientist at the Wollongong centre, agreed that vegetation clearing near homes could reduce the risk of a second ignition source other than from ember attack.

Land clearing, though, has the potential to destabilise slopes and ridges, creating other threats to properties, particularly in the Blue Mountains, Ku-ring-gai Chase and the Illawarra Escarpment region near Wollongong.

"You might remove the trees but then you end up with unstable land surface that might slip under heavy rain," Dr Penman said. While ridge-tops could be undermined, "at the bottom of the ridge you don’t want things falling on your head, either", he said.

Councils and the RFS could also find themselves with additional monitoring roles without the extra resources needed to manage them. "It will create a lot of extra work for them," Dr Penman said.

The RFS's Mr Rogers said residents would be able to identify whether clearing posed any land-slip risks from maps that will be made available once the laws are passed.

He said that there was "no silver bullet" when it comes to reducing fire risks and residents in bushfire prone areas should continue to keep in contact with their local RFS unit and maintain a bushfire survival plan.

Threatened communities, species

Greg Banks, a former RFS staffer and now the bushfire policy officer for the NSW Nature Conservation Council, said the loosening of clearing rules could make communities less prepared.

"Under the existing process, it requires people to engage with the RFS so that they come out and have a look at their property before issuing a hazard-reduction certicate to clear," Mr Banks said.

Contact with fire experts can also assist homeowners to identify evacuation routes and even the preservation of some vegetation that might now be cleared, he said. "Some vegetation can prove very useful in providing a barrier to embers."

Tensions may also increase among residents of areas fringing bushland, such as Hornsby, Mosman and the Sutherland shire, many of whom have chosen to live in those regions because of the natural environment.

"Are they going to be do something on those properties because their neighbours already have?," Mr Banks said.

The Greens said the new laws would also give a "carte blanche" to the destruction of sensitive native habitat.

"Trees and scrub are essential vegetation for native animals, especially as effects of climate change continue to take place, so it is essential to retain oversight over clearing," said Greens MP and environment spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi .




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


29 May, 2014

Stranded on an ice floe

Polar bears on ice floes prove global warming so I guess this does too

(A recent photo from lake Superior)


Antarctic began melting 5,000 years earlier than first thought: Ice sheet's volatile past reveals an unstable future, claims study

The Warmists will try to spin this but the plain fact is that the Antarctic undergoes large natural fluctuations and nobody knows why. Attributing recent changes to global warming is therefore tendentious, a claim without evidence

The Antarctic ice sheet is more unstable than first thought with a new study suggesting melting began 5,000 years earlier than previously believed.

The study reveals that shrinking of the vast ice sheet accelerated during eight distinct periods between 20,000 and 9,000 years ago causing a rapid sea level rise.

During one period 14,600 years ago, melting glaciers released so many icebergs into the ocean that sea level rose 6.5ft (2 metres) in just 100 years.

The results provide the first clear evidence for dramatic melting in Antarctic's and reflect predictions for the region's future.

It also follows recent news that destabilisation of part of the West Antarctic ice sheet has already begun and could be 'unstoppable.'

The study was conducted by an international team including researchers from Germany, Canada, Hawaii, Lapland and Australia.

The group examined two sediment cores from the Scotia Sea between Antarctica and South America that contained ‘iceberg-rafted debris’.

This is debris that has been scraped off Antarctica by moving ice and deposited via icebergs into the sea.

As the icebergs melted, they dropped minerals into the seafloor sediments, giving scientists a glimpse into the past behaviour of the Antarctic ice sheet.

Periods of rapid increase in iceberg-rafted debris suggest that more icebergs were being released by the Antarctic ice sheet.

The researchers discovered increased amounts of debris during eight separate episodes beginning as early as 20,000 years ago, and continuing until 9,000 years ago.

Up until now, the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet wasn't thought to have started until 14,000 years ago.

‘Conventional thinking based on past research is that the Antarctic ice sheet has been relatively stable since the last ice age, that it began to melt relatively late during the deglaciation process, and that its decline was slow and steady until it reached its present size,’ said lead author Michael Weber, a scientist from the University of Cologne in Germany.

‘The sediment record suggests a different pattern – one that is more episodic and suggests that parts of the ice sheet repeatedly became unstable during the last deglaciation,’ Professor Weber added.

The research has provided the first solid evidence that the Antarctic ice sheet contributed to what is known as ‘meltwater pulse 1A’,

Meltwater pulse 1A was a period when sea levels rose rapidly from between 52 to 79ft (16 to 24m) around 14,600 to 13,500 years.

The largest of the eight episodic pulses outlined in the new Nature study coincides with this event.

‘During that time, the sea level on a global basis rose about 50 feet in just 350 years – or about 20 times faster than sea level rise over the last century,’ said Professor Peter Clark, an Oregon State University.

‘We don't yet know what triggered these eight episodes or pulses, but it appears that once the melting of the ice sheet began it was amplified by physical processes.’

Some 9,000 years ago, the episodic pulses of melting stopped, the researchers say.

‘Just as we are unsure of what triggered these eight pulses,’ Professor Clark said, ‘we don't know why they stopped.

‘Perhaps the sheet ran out of ice that was vulnerable to the physical changes that were taking place.

‘However, our new results suggest that the Antarctic ice sheet is more unstable than previously considered.’

Today, the annual calving of icebergs from Antarctic represents more than half of the annual loss of mass of the Antarctic ice sheet – an estimated 1,300 to 2,000 billion tonnes.

Earlier this month, Nasa said vast glaciers in West Antarctica seem to be locked in an irreversible thaw linked to global warming that may push up sea levels for centuries, according to scientists.

In a few hundred years they say the irreversible melt that has already started could eventually add four to 12 ft (1.2 to 3.7 metres) to current sea levels.


The Myth of the Climate Change '97%' consensus

What is the origin of the false belief—constantly repeated—that almost all scientists agree about global warming? A survey of the relevant claims below

Last week Secretary of State John Kerry warned graduating students at Boston College of the "crippling consequences" of climate change. "Ninety-seven percent of the world's scientists," he added, "tell us this is urgent."

Where did Mr. Kerry get the 97% figure? Perhaps from his boss, President Obama, who tweeted on May 16 that "Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous." Or maybe from NASA, which posted (in more measured language) on its website, "Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities."

Yet the assertion that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is a man-made, urgent problem is a fiction. The so-called consensus comes from a handful of surveys and abstract-counting exercises that have been contradicted by more reliable research.

One frequently cited source for the consensus is a 2004 opinion essay published in Science magazine by Naomi Oreskes, a science historian now at Harvard. She claimed to have examined abstracts of 928 articles published in scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and found that 75% supported the view that human activities are responsible for most of the observed warming over the previous 50 years while none directly dissented.

Ms. Oreskes's definition of consensus covered "man-made" but left out "dangerous"—and scores of articles by prominent scientists such as Richard Lindzen, John Christy, Sherwood Idso and Patrick Michaels, who question the consensus, were excluded. The methodology is also flawed. A study published earlier this year in Nature noted that abstracts of academic papers often contain claims that aren't substantiated in the papers.

Another widely cited source for the consensus view is a 2009 article in "Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union" by Maggie Kendall Zimmerman, a student at the University of Illinois, and her master's thesis adviser Peter Doran. It reported the results of a two-question online survey of selected scientists. Mr. Doran and Ms. Zimmerman claimed "97 percent of climate scientists agree" that global temperatures have risen and that humans are a significant contributing factor.

The survey's questions don't reveal much of interest. Most scientists who are skeptical of catastrophic global warming nevertheless would answer "yes" to both questions. The survey was silent on whether the human impact is large enough to constitute a problem. Nor did it include solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists or astronomers, who are the scientists most likely to be aware of natural causes of climate change.

The "97 percent" figure in the Zimmerman/Doran survey represents the views of only 79 respondents who listed climate science as an area of expertise and said they published more than half of their recent peer-reviewed papers on climate change. Seventy-nine scientists—of the 3,146 who responded to the survey—does not a consensus make.

In 2010, William R. Love Anderegg, then a student at Stanford University, used Google Scholar to identify the views of the most prolific writers on climate change. His findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. Mr. Love Anderegg found that 97% to 98% of the 200 most prolific writers on climate change believe "anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for 'most' of the 'unequivocal' warming." There was no mention of how dangerous this climate change might be; and, of course, 200 researchers out of the thousands who have contributed to the climate science debate is not evidence of consensus.

In 2013, John Cook, an Australia-based blogger, and some of his friends reviewed abstracts of peer-reviewed papers published from 1991 to 2011. Mr. Cook reported that 97% of those who stated a position explicitly or implicitly suggest that human activity is responsible for some warming. His findings were published in Environmental Research Letters.

Mr. Cook's work was quickly debunked. In Science and Education in August 2013, for example, David R. Legates (a professor of geography at the University of Delaware and former director of its Center for Climatic Research) and three coauthors reviewed the same papers as did Mr. Cook and found "only 41 papers—0.3 percent of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.0 percent of the 4,014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1 percent—had been found to endorse" the claim that human activity is causing most of the current warming. Elsewhere, climate scientists including Craig Idso, Nicola Scafetta, Nir J. Shaviv and Nils- Axel Morner, whose research questions the alleged consensus, protested that Mr. Cook ignored or misrepresented their work.

Rigorous international surveys conducted by German scientists Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch —most recently published in Environmental Science & Policy in 2010—have found that most climate scientists disagree with the consensus on key issues such as the reliability of climate data and computer models. They do not believe that climate processes such as cloud formation and precipitation are sufficiently understood to predict future climate change.

Surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus. Only 39.5% of 1,854 American Meteorological Society members who responded to a survey in 2012 said man-made global warming is dangerous.

Finally, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—which claims to speak for more than 2,500 scientists—is probably the most frequently cited source for the consensus. Its latest report claims that "human interference with the climate system is occurring, and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems." Yet relatively few have either written on or reviewed research having to do with the key question: How much of the temperature increase and other climate changes observed in the 20th century was caused by man-made greenhouse-gas emissions? The IPCC lists only 41 authors and editors of the relevant chapter of the Fifth Assessment Report addressing "anthropogenic and natural radiative forcing."

Of the various petitions on global warming circulated for signatures by scientists, the one by the Petition Project, a group of physicists and physical chemists based in La Jolla, Calif., has by far the most signatures—more than 31,000 (more than 9,000 with a Ph.D.). It was most recently published in 2009, and most signers were added or reaffirmed since 2007. The petition states that "there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of . . . carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate."

We could go on, but the larger point is plain. There is no basis for the claim that 97% of scientists believe that man-made climate change is a dangerous problem.


America's Highest Ranked Climate Charlatans: Obama and Kerry

By Alan Caruba

John Kerry, our Secretary of State, continues to provide reasons to believe he is either too stupid to hold such a high position or too willing to tell lies to keep pace with President Obama.

Their views on “climate change” are so lacking in scientific fact that they are telling people we’re all doomed if we don’t abandon vast traditional U.S. energy resources and continue to throw more billions at “renewable energy” that provides a very costly three percent of the nation’s huge energy needs. Meanwhile, nations in Europe, China, India and elsewhere are abandoning solar and wind, and building coal-fired plants.

At a Boston College commencement speech on May 19, Kerry outdid himself talking about climate change. “If we make the necessary efforts to address this challenge—and supposing I’m wrong or scientists are wrong, 97 percent of them all wrong—supposing they are, what’s the worst that can happen?” The worst is more wasted billions spent on something mankind can do nothing about and the administration’s continued efforts to control every inch of land in the U.S. and all of its waters.

In the May 27 edition of The Wall Street Journal, Joe Bast, the president of the free-market think tank, the Heartland Institute, and Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist for the University of Alabama, teamed out to write about “The Myth of the Climate Change 97%.” While demolishing this Big Lie, they noted that “Surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus. Only 39.5% of 1,854 American Meteorological Society members who responded to a survey in 2012 said man-made global warming is dangerous.”

Obama’s and Kerry’s problem, along with all the other climate change charlatans, is that is the Earth is now into its 17th year of a natural cooling cycle based on lower radiation from the Sun, itself in a natural cycle. It is the Sun, not mankind that determines the climate of the Earth.

The Petition Project in which 31,073 U.S. scientists, over 9,000 of whom have a Ph.D. in a scientific field, participated says “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will in the foreseeable future cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

“The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of ‘settled science’ and an overwhelming ‘consensus’ in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists.”

In his State of the Union speech, Obama said “climate change is a fact.” Well, yes, if you keep in mind that climate change is measured in centuries, not decades or years. Claiming that every hurricane or tornado is evidence of climate change ignores this. His claim that climate change is “settled science” is just one more lie.

The Obama administration recently released a Climate Assessment report that was nothing more than a repeat of the lies the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been telling since 1983. They have all been based on computer models rigged to produce a global warming outcome. This process continues in several U.S. government agencies.

Following the last mini-ice age that lasted from 1300 to 1850, the Earth quite naturally warmed, most of which occurred prior to 1945. Meanwhile, the ice sheets of both the Arctic and Antarctica have been growing, particularly at the South Pole. The rise of oceans is measured in mere centimeters, posing no threat to polar bears or the island of Manhattan.

To Kerry’s question, “What’s the worst that can happen?” a recent Wall Street Journal opinion said that answer is “we spend trillions of dollars trying to solve a problem that we can’t do anything to stop: that we misallocate scarce resources in a way that slows economic growth; that slower growth leads to less economic opportunity for Boston College grads and especially the world’s poor; and that America and the world become much less wealthy and technologically advanced than we would otherwise. All of which would make the world less able to cope with the costs of climate change if Mr. Kerry is right.”

Mr. Kerry isn't right and that makes him and President Obama a national and a global problem.


After Election Drubbing, UK Government Climate Adviser Backs Down On Wind, Tones Down Rhetoric

Britain has approved enough onshore wind turbines to meet climate change targets, leaving the public to choose other ways to cut emissions in future, the government’s chief climate adviser has said.

Lord Deben of Winston appeared to contradict forecasts by his own Committee on Climate Change of a tripling in the number of wind farms by 2030 — equivalent to almost 10,000 more turbines.

There are 4,400 onshore turbines operating with a capacity of seven gigawatts, while a further six gigawatts have received planning permission and are being built or awaiting construction. Last year the committee published four plans for cutting emissions by 2030, all of which included 25 gigawatts of onshore wind.

However, the Conservative peer, who was environment secretary in John Major’s government, said that there were enough wind farms with planning permission to meet a legally binding target for renewable energy by 2020. After that date the public may choose other methods of cutting emissions, he added.

Lord Deben also said that it was wrong to label people such as Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former chancellor, as “climate change deniers”. They should be called “dismissers”, he said.

Lord Lawson said this month that the phrase “climate change denier” was “deliberately designed to echo ‘Holocaust denier’ — as if questioning present policies and forecasts of the future is equivalent to casting malign doubt about an historical fact”.

Lord Deben said: “The dismissers are people who do not deny that climate change is happening, do not deny that human beings are largely [causing it], but who think you can dismiss its urgency and seriousness. That case only stands up if you ignore the vast majority of scientists.”

The peer, better known as John Gummer, said that Britain needed “a portfolio of different mechanisms” and “you have got to keep the portfolio in balance”. He added: “I’m happy that we have already got enough onshore wind to 2020 to meet that part of the portfolio.”

Asked if more onshore wind farms should be approved after 2020, he said: “It is likely that [onshore wind] will continue to play a part in our renewables after 2020, but it is not a decision we have to make now, and there are circumstances in which it might not. The public will decide what the balance is.” He added that power from offshore wind was “falling in price very significantly”.

The Conservatives pledged last month to end subsidies for new onshore wind turbines if they win the next election. Lord Deben declined to comment on the move, saying that he spoke as an independent on climate change. He appeared, though, to support the government’s announcement this month that it would end subsidies for large solar farms in the countryside. Lord Deben said that he backed the exploitation of shale gas and criticised campaigners who regarded fracking as “a sin against the Holy Ghost”.


Europe’s Energy Death Wish

Arthur Herman

Maybe the Ukraine crisis will awaken the Europeans to reconsider fracking and realize the danger their enviro fanatics have put them in.

Want to understand why Europe won’t stand up to Vladimir Putin’s dismemberment of Ukraine? Look at the recent meeting of the G-7’s energy ministers in Rome.

It’s common knowledge that Europeans are dependent on Russia’s state-run Gazprom for their natural-gas needs — up to 30 percent for the European Union as a whole, more for Eastern Europe. The threat of cutting off this vital supply allowed Putin to get away with annexing Crimea, cowing our NATO allies into quivering passivity in the face of naked aggression.

The energy ministers of France, Germany, Italy and Great Britain meeting in Rome know this, too. As the Brit representative at the Rome meeting put it, Europe desperately needs a plan “to prevent energy being used as a weapon in the future” — and to wean themselves off Gazprom.

But their “answer” is pathetic.

The draft 13-point plan includes everything from stockpiling more supplies of natural gas in case of a cutoff and diversifying supply sources (meaning not just buying from the Russians) to promoting more “clean and sustainable energy technologies” (meaning more windmills).

Everything, that is, except the most obvious solution of all: tapping into Europe’s own huge natural-gas reserves.

According to our Energy Information Administration, Europe sits on reserves equaling 639 trillion cubic feet of gas — roughly equal to half of Russia’s reserves (the world’s largest) and more than enough to make Europe independent of Putin and Gazprom.

But that tapping those reserves means embracing fracking, the technology that has revolutionized the US energy industry by unlocking vast amounts of shale gas and oil.

Like environmentalists here, Europe’s greens have made fracking a dirty word — and the European fanatics have more political clout.

For example, Exxon Mobil began fracking to harvest natural gas in Germany in 2008 — but had to stop when the government issued a moratorium. France has banned fracking outright. The United Kingdom has proven gas reserves of 200 trillion cubic feet in Lancashire alone — but with even the Cameron government pushing, it may be years before permits to drill get granted.

This is insanity in action. Every government in Europe knows fracking would produce enormous government revenues, create tens of thousands of jobs, reduce natural-gas prices there to something approaching the price here (which is about a quarter of what Germans or Italians pay), all while using the same technology that for 60 years has drilled 1.2 million wells in the United States without producing a single case of contaminated ground water.

But Europe’s environmentalists still see natural gas as a dreaded “fossil fuel” and so won’t let it happen. And so Putin is empowered to increase his grip over the continent’s future — even though the solution sits directly under everyone’s feet.

It’s a good lesson for us here, too. Letting the greens dictate your energy choices, whether it’s halting the XL Pipeline or fracking in New York, isn’t just bad economics. It can also leave your rivals and enemies controlling your energy destiny.


You know all those resources we're about to run out of? No, we aren't

Tim Worstall, a rare earth trader, displays the crass ignorance of Greenie resource scare-mongers

Among the more surprising things that the BBC revealed to us last week was that the UK was going to run out of coal within the next five years. Given that the island is pretty much built on a bed of coal, this is something of a puzzler.

The article states:

In just over five years Britain will have run out of oil, coal and gas, researchers have warned.

A report by the Global Sustainability Institute said shortages would increase dependency on Norway, Qatar and Russia.

As your intrepid mineral resources correspondent (aka El Reg's dodgy metals dealer) I thought I'd better have a look at the report that claimed this. As it happens, it appears to be an update of maps to this report from last year from the Institute And Faculty Of Actuaries that led to the claim.

Given my background, obviously I looked at the minerals rather than the fossil fuels part of it. And in this writer's opinion I have to say that the people who wrote it betray a baffling ignorance of the subject under discussion.

They appear to work under the impression that mineral reserves are somehow the definition of the number of minerals we have left to us, when in fact reserves are the working stock of extant mines (more or less). They also seem confused about mineral resources, which are the piles of stuff where we know their location, how to get them out, that we can do so while making a profit at current prices and with current technology, though we may not have got around to proving that to the required legal standard. When we have proven it, they will move from being resources to reserves.

Given that phosphate rock and potassium as resources are good for 1,500* and around 7,000** years to therefore claim that, as this report does, that they were in very scarce supply in this last decade just gone is thus, well, it's not very accurate is it?

Given that the two are also 0.2 per cent and 2.5 per cent of the entire crust of our planet the idea that we'll ever run out of either with future technologies also seems a tad suspect.

And then I spotted this one. It's a piece from New Scientist, a place I was knew as a seriously interesting magazine (Dedalus certainly used to make me larff).

In detail:

Without more recycling, antimony, which is used to make flame-retardant materials, will run out in 15 years, silver in 10 and indium in under five. In a more sophisticated analysis, Reller has included the effects of new technologies, and projects how many years we have left for some key metals. He estimates that zinc could be used up by 2037, both indium and hafnium - which is increasingly important in computer chips - could be gone by 2017, and terbium - used to make the green phosphors in fluorescent light bulbs - could run out before 2012.

This prediction was made in 2008. You recall how Apple stopped shipping iPads last year as the indium tin oxide to make the screens ran out? That we've been completely bereft of CFL lightbulbs for two years now as the terbium disappeared? No and no? Exactly.

For a metals guy, the one that stands out most is that reference to hafnium. It betrays a complete and total ignorance of how mining actually works. It's true that there are no mineral reserves of hafnium, nor are there any mineral resources. So, our guys looked at what was in stockpiles, saw there were no reserves nor resources and concluded that it will run out.

However, "resources" and "reserves" are a legal and economic description, not one of actual availability. And given that Hf doesn't form any interesting ores, we can't go digging for it and make a profit by having done so. This is not the same as stating that there's not plenty available though.

For when we go digging for zircon (the mineral sand) from which we extract zirconia (the oxide) and ultimately zirconium (the metal), we find that it contains two to four per cent Hf. We don't care though, Zr and Hf are so chemically similar that we just don't bother to separate them.

Except when we try to make nuclear-grade Zr: then we do care because Zr is transparent to neutrons and Hf opaque. So, to make those fuel rods for reactors, we extract the Hf from the Zr: and that's where the global supply of some few hundred tonnes a year (perhaps 500) of Hf comes from.

So yes, there are no reserves and no resources because we cannot mine for it directly or profitably. But we can still produce it profitably. There's some 18,000 tonnes a year of Hf in the 600,000 tonnes a year of Zr we do process and there's some thousands of years of that Zr out there for us to process. And we only use 500 tonnes a year of Hf... so it's not going to run out by 2017, is it?

This display of ignorance doesn't stop here:

Take the metal gallium, which along with indium is used to make indium gallium arsenide.

This is the semiconducting material at the heart of a new generation of solar cells that promise to be up to twice as efficient as conventional designs. Reserves of both metals are disputed, but in a recent report René Kleijn, a chemist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, concludes that current reserves "would not allow a substantial contribution of these cells" to the future supply of solar electricity. He estimates gallium and indium will probably contribute to less than 1 per cent of all future solar cells - a limitation imposed purely by a lack of raw material.

Sigh. Gallium is another one of these byproduct metals. We can't get it directly and profitably.

Fortunately we mine for aluminium by sticking bauxite into a Bayer Process plant, where we boil it in caustic soda. If you put the right doohicky on the side of this plant then you get the gallium out. It's at about 100ppm, 100 grammes per tonne of bauxite processed. Some 8,000 tonnes a year passes through those plants, which is useful because only a few of those BP plants have the doohickeys and globally we only use around 400 tonnes of gallium a year. And yes, we do know that there's around a 1,000-year supply of Ga in the bauxite that we already know that we'll process for the aluminium content.

We simply don't have any meaningful shortage of these metals that they're worrying about.




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


28 May, 2014

Sophisticated attempt to MEASURE the influence of CO2 finds it to be negligible

Tiny warming of residual anthropogenic CO2

François Gervais

The residual fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions which has not been captured by carbon sinks and remains in the atmosphere, is estimated by two independent experimental methods which support each other: the 13C/12C ratio and the temperature-independent fraction of d(CO2)/dt on a yearly scale after subtraction of annual fluctuations the amplitude ratio of which reaches a factor as large as 7. The anthropogenic fraction is then used to evaluate the additional warming by analysis of its spectral contribution to the outgoing long-wavelength radiation (OLR) measured by infrared spectrometers embarked in satellites looking down. The anthropogenic CO2 additional warming extrapolated in 2100 is found lower than 0.1°C in the absence of feedbacks. The global temperature data are fitted with an oscillation of period 60 years added to a linear contribution. The data which support the 60-year cycle are summarized, in particular sea surface temperatures and sea level rise measured either by tide gauge or by satellite altimetry. The tiny anthropogenic warming appears consistent with the absence of any detectable change of slope of the 130-year-long linear contribution to the temperature data before and after the onset of large CO2 emissions.

International Journal of Modern Physics B, Volume 28, Issue 13, 20 May 2014.

Prince Charles has drunk the Kool Aid

Prince Charles has called for an end to capitalism as we know it in order to save the planet from global warming.

In a speech to business leaders in London, the Prince said that a “fundamental transformation of global capitalism” was necessary in order to halt “dangerously accelerating climate change” that would “bring us to our own destruction”.

He called for companies to focus on “approaches that achieve lasting and meaningful returns” by protecting the environment, improving their employment practices and helping the vulnerable to develop a new "inclusive capitalism".

The Prince was taking part in his first major UK public engagement since sparking a diplomatic row last week by likening the behaviour of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, to Adolf Hitler.

In a politically-charged speech at the Inclusive Capitalism conference, the Prince said: “I remember when the Iron Curtain came down there was a certain amount of shouting about the triumph of capitalism over communism. Being somewhat contrary, I didn't think it was quite as simple as that. I felt that unless the business world considered the social, community and environmental dimensions, we might end up coming full circle.”

The Prince, who has long been outspoken about the need to tackle climate change, said the world now stood at “a pivotal moment in history” ahead of major UN summit in Paris next year on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Over the next eighteen months, and bearing in mind the urgency of the situation confronting us, the world faces what is probably the last effective window of opportunity to vacate the insidious lure of the ‘last chance saloon’ in order to agree an ambitious, equitable and far-sighted multilateral settlement in the context of the post-2015 sustainable development goals and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change,” he said.

“Either we continue along the path we seem collectively determined to follow, apparently at the mercy of those who so vociferously and aggressively deny that our current operating model has any effect upon dangerously accelerating climate change - which I fear will bring us to our own destruction - or we can choose to act now before it is finally too late, using all of the power and influence that each of you can bring to bear to create an inclusive, sustainable and resilient society,” he said.

The Prince was addressing an audience of 200 business leaders including Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and chief executives of multinational companies such as UBS, GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever.

He called on businesses to focus on the long-term and make “an authentic moral commitment to acting as true custodians of the Earth and architects of the well-being of current and future generations”.

“It is only by adopting a broader sense of value that our finances will be sustained and we can find new sources of profit,” he said.

His comments appear to align with those of Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, who has called for “responsible capitalism”.

The Prince suggested that companies must do more to put “young people properly at the heart of companies' employment practices and planning strategies, in order to tackle more effectively the world's growing youth unemployment crisis”.

Businesses must also “account properly for carbon dioxide emissions, the use of water and fertiliser, the pollution we produce and the biodiversity we lose”, he said.

The Prince said that businesses would be unpopular with their peers in the short term for going green but would reap “immense” rewards in the long term.


45 senators, including vulnerable Dems, are asking the EPA to delay incoming emissions regulations

It’s only a small matter of time until the Obama administration finally, rapturously releases what its hopes will be the crown jewel of its rise-of-the-oceans-slowing climate-change agenda: Regulations capping the emissions from existing power plants, a.k.a., stamping out coal plants across the country. This set of regs is going to be even more complicated and controversial than the regulations for only new power plants the administration released last year, and as the AP obliquely explains, we’re likely to start seeing those “necessarily skyrocketing” energy prices Obama once mentioned pretty quickly here:

"Electricity prices are probably on their way up across much of the U.S. as coal-fired plants, the dominant source of cheap power, shut down in response to environmental regulations and economic forces.

New and tighter pollution rules and tough competition from cleaner sources such as natural gas, wind and solar will lead to the closings of dozens of coal-burning plants across 20 states over the next three years. And many of those that stay open will need expensive retrofits.

Because of these and other factors, the Energy Department predicts retail power prices will rise 4 percent on average this year, the biggest increase since 2008. By 2020, prices are expected to climb an additional 13 percent, a forecast that does not include the costs of coming environmental rules.

The Obama administration, state governments and industry are struggling to balance this push for a cleaner environment with the need to keep the grid reliable and prevent prices from rocketing too much higher."

“Tough competition” from wind and solar? …That’s cute. Our egregiously subsidized wind and solar industries account for about 4 percent of our electricity generation and are terribly unreliable (just ask Germany, which has lately had to bring more coal plants online to make up for their faulty renewables), while coal still provides around 40 percent of our electricity and is the most reliable mass source we have. Natural gas is great with its cleaner-burning emissions, coming in with the really stiff competition at around 30 percent, but it has some infrastructural issues that are currently keeping it at second place in terms of reliability.

Make no mistake — the Obama administration swooping in with major regs that deeply affect 40 percent of our electricity generation is going to take its economic toll, and 45 senators — Democrats and Republicans included — would like the Obama administration to step back for a second a perhaps more deeply consider that toll. Via The Hill:

"Forty-five senators are pressing the Environmental Protection Agency to delay new rules on limiting carbon emissions from power plants. …

The senators are pressuring the EPA to set a 120-day comment period rather than the standard 60-day comment period. That would double the normal allotted for industry, consumers, businesses, and states to give their two cents on the rule.

Fifteen Democrats signed the letter, including the four seen as most vulnerable in the midterm elections: Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Warner (Va), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Mark Begich (Alaska). …

“Affordable, reliable, and redundant sources of electricity are essential to the economic well-being of our states and the quality of life of our constituents,” the letter to EPA chief Gina McCarthy said.

“While we all agree that clean air is vitally important, EPA has an obligation to understand the impacts that regulations have on all segments of society,” it said."


Greenie versus Greenie

Just what effect seismic testing will have along the Jersey Shore is in question, but it seems that almost everyone except the Obama Administration is opposed to taking a chance on any negative consequences resulting from it during a study that hardly appears to be of high priority.

Both recreational and commercial fishing representatives joined environmentalists at a Point Pleasant Beach rally Friday morning in an effort to postpone the Rutgers University project approved by the Obama Administration as a climate change study designed to access deep sea sediments. It's set to begin off the coast on June 3, and will utilize high energy seismic blasting that could disturb fish and marine mammal populations.

There probably wouldn't be so much opposition if the seismic blasting were to be conducted in mid-winter, but running the program during the prime inshore period of fish abundance doesn't seem to make any sense at all.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance notes that only President Obama and his Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, can postpone this study -- and they've been deaf to the bipartisan requests to do so. Gov. Chris Christie and his Department of Environmental Protection have been requesting a postponement along with many members of the N.J. Congressional delegation. A petition is being circulated by Clean Ocean Action, but it will take individual communications from voters to pressure President Obama into avoiding any negative consequences to the Shore and its economy during the prime season.


Why the Best Path to a Low-Carbon Future is Not Wind or Solar Power

As the science on climate change and its impacts on the global economy become clearer and more urgent, governments are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The largest source of these emissions comes from the combustion of fossil fuels—including coal, oil and natural gas—to produce electricity, an effort that in 2012 made up about 40 percent of emissions globally and 32 percent in the United States. More and more, countries are seeking to lower emissions in the electricity sector by turning to low and no-carbon generation options. However, until now, there has been little thorough, empirical analysis of which of these technologies is most efficient, and which provides the best “bang for our buck” as we seek to reduce emissions.

My new Brookings working paper breaks down the comprehensive costs and benefits of five common low-carbon electricity technologies: wind, solar, hydroelectric, nuclear, and gas combined cycle (an advanced, highly energy efficient type of natural gas plant). Using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the paper asks the question, “Which of the five low-carbon alternatives is most cost-effective in lowering emissions?” The results are highly policy-relevant, and offer enlightening answers to a number of questions that can help governments aiming for a low-carbon future.

1. What’s it going to cost me?

This is an important question because energy costs are private and owed by everyday consumers, whereas the benefits of reducing carbon use are shared as a global public good. So, what would it cost you and I to move toward a world where we generate electricity through mostly low-carbon technologies? How would the cost per megawatt hour (MWH) and kilowatt hour (KWH) change?

One of the best scenarios for our proposed low-carbon alternatives would be for each of them to replace the use of coal-fired plants when electricity demand is moderate, which is most of the time, and gas simple cycle plants during shorter periods of peak energy use.

The table above compares the cost per kilowatt-hour (KWH) of each of the five low-carbon technologies compared to the cost per KWH of the high-carbon technologies that it replaces. All of the low carbon technologies save on energy costs compared to coal and simple cycle gas plants: wind, solar and hydro because the energy from wind, sun and water is free; nuclear because uranium is cheaper than coal or gas per unit of energy; and gas combined cycle because it is much more energy efficient than coal or gas simple cycle. Four of the five low-carbon technologies, excluding gas combined cycle, have a much higher net capacity cost—that is, the cost of building and maintaining the low-carbon power plants—because all four are much more costly to build and maintain than a new coal or gas simple cycle plant. A gas combined cycle plant saves on capacity costs mainly because it costs about two-thirds less to build than a coal-fired plant.

Adding up the net energy cost and the net capacity cost of the five low-carbon alternatives, far and away the most expensive is solar. It costs almost 19 cents more per KWH than power from the coal or gas plants that it displaces. Wind power is the second most expensive. It costs nearly 6 cents more per KWH. Gas combined cycle is the least expensive. It does not cost more than the cost of power from the coal or less efficient gas plants that it displaces. Indeed, it costs about 3 cents less per KWH.

To place these additional costs in context, the average cost of electricity to U.S. consumers in 2012 was 9.84 cents per KWH, including the cost of transmission and distribution of electricity. This means a new wind plant could at least cost 50 percent more per KWH to produce electricity, and a new solar plant at least 200 percent more per KWH, than using coal and gas technologies.

2. Are the additional costs of wind and solar justified by the benefits of reduced carbon dioxide emissions?

The additional costs of wind and solar could be worthwhile, provided that the value of the emissions they avoid is great enough. However, as the following table shows, if we value the reduced emissions at $50 per ton of carbon dioxide, the benefits of wind and solar, net of their costs, is less than the other three low-carbon alternatives.

The emission benefits of four of the five low-carbon alternatives per KWH are roughly the same, about five cents per KWH. The benefits of wind and solar, minus their additional costs, are negative. The net benefits of the other three alternatives are positive and substantially higher. Gas combined cycle ranks number one in terms of net benefits while hydro and nuclear rank two and three.

A carbon dioxide price of $50 per metric ton places quite a high value on reducing carbon dioxide emissions. For example, the price for carbon dioxide emissions in the European Trading System reached a high of about 30 euros in 2006 and was trading around 5 euros at the end of 2013. Recent prices in trading systems in California have been around $12 and in several eastern U.S. states around $2 per ton.
3. Why are the costs per KWH of wind and solar so much higher, and the benefits not much different, than the other three low-carbon alternatives?

Costs are much higher for three reasons. First, the cost per MW of capacity to build a wind or solar plant is quite high (and much greater than that of a gas-fired plant). The cost per MW of solar capacity is especially high. Reductions in the cost of solar-voltaic panels have reduced the cost of building a solar plant by 22 percent between 2010 and 2012, but further reductions are likely to have a lesser effect because the cost of solar panels is only a fraction of the total cost of a utility-scale solar plant.

Second, a wind or solar plant operates at full capacity only a fraction of the time, when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. For example, a typical solar plant in the United States operates at only about 15 percent of full capacity and a wind plant only about 25 percent of full capacity, while a coal plant can operate 90 percent of full capacity on a year-round basis. Thus it takes six solar plants and almost four wind plants to produce the same amount of electricity as a single coal-fired plant.

Third, the output of wind and solar plants is highly variable—year by year, month by month, day by day and hour by hour—compared to a coal-fired plant, which can operate at full capacity about 90 percent of the time. Thus more than six solar plants and four wind plants are required to produce the same output with the same degree of reliability as a coal-fired plant of the same capacity. In the paper we estimate that at least 7.3 solar plants and 4.3 wind plants are required to produce the same amount of power with the same reliability as a coal-fired plant.

By way of contrast, a new low-carbon gas combined cycle or nuclear plant can operate also at 90 percent of full capacity and can replace a coal-fired plant on a one-to-one basis. A hydro plant with storage can operate at 100 percent capacity during peak periods and more than 40 percent during non-peak periods. In dollar terms, it takes a $29 million investment in solar capacity, and $10 million in wind capacity, to produce the same amount of electricity with the same reliability as a $1 million investment in gas combined cycle capacity.

The benefits of reduced emissions from wind and solar are limited because they operate at peak capacity only a fraction of the time. A nuclear or gas combined cycle plant avoids far more emissions per MW of capacity than wind or solar because it can operate at 90 percent of full capacity. Limited benefits and higher costs make wind and solar socially less valuable than nuclear, hydro, and combined cycle gas.

4. How can we be sure that a new low-carbon plant will replace a high-carbon coal plant rather than some other low-carbon plant?

We cannot be sure. If electricity producers do not have to pay a price for the carbon dioxide they emit, the likelihood is great than a new low-carbon plant will replace an existing, low-carbon gas combined cycle plant. The cost of running an existing coal plant is typically much less than running an existing combined cycle plant and the combined cycle plant will be shut down before the coal plant. The reduction in emissions will be far less than if the coal plant is shut down because a coal plant emits about three times as much carbon dioxide as a gas combined cycle plant.

However, if electricity producers have to pay a high enough price for the carbon dioxide they emit, then a coal plant will be shut down before a gas combined cycle plant. The price of carbon dioxide emissions required to tip the balance between shutting down coal and shutting down gas depends on the price of gas relative to that of coal. It also depends on whether we are talking about the short-term choice of running an existing gas plant rather than an existing coal plant or the longer term choice of investing in a new combined cycle gas plant rather than a new coal plant.

In the United States, where the price of natural gas is low compared to most other countries, the price for CO2 emissions had to be about $5 or more in 2013 in order to tip the short-term balance in favor of shutting down coal. At current U.S. gas prices, investment in new gas combined cycle is more profitable than an investment in a coal plant even without any price penalty attached to CO2 emissions.

In Europe, where the price of natural gas is much higher than in the United States, a CO2 emission price of $65 to $85 per metric ton is required to tip the short-term balance in favor of shutting down coal, far higher than the current price of CO2 emissions in the European Trading System. However, the price of CO2 emissions need only be about $12 to $22 per metric ton to tip the longer-term balance in favor of investing in a new gas combined cycle plant rather than a new coal plant.

5. What does this paper have for policymakers interested in reducing carbon dioxide emissions at a reasonable cost?

First, renewable incentives that are biased in favor of wind and solar and biased against large-scale hydro, nuclear and gas combined cycle are a very expensive and inefficient way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Second, renewable incentives in the absence of a suitably high carbon dioxide price are even less effective, because without a carbon price renewable energy will replace low-carbon gas plants rather than high-carbon coal plants.

Third, renewable incentives should be based not on output of renewable energy but on the reduction in CO2 emissions by renewable energy. They are not the same thing.

Fourth, a carbon price is far more effective in reducing carbon emissions precisely because it is not biased toward any one technology but rewards any technology that reduces emissions at a reasonable cost.

Fifth, the benefits of a natural gas combined cycle plant are not dependent on the natural gas fracking revolution in the United States. Combined cycle plants are highly beneficial even in Europe, where natural gas prices are higher and fracking more limited. The problem in Europe is that the price of CO2 emissions in the European Trading System is far too low to encourage production of electricity by gas rather than coal.

Sixth, even though the electricity sector accounts for only 40 percent of worldwide carbon emissions, cleaner electricity can reduce CO2 emissions in other sectors, for example by reducing the carbon footprint of electric vehicles and home heating.

Finally, the electricity sector offers one of the simplest and most cost effective ways of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Simply replacing all high-carbon U.S. coal plants with any of the five low-carbon alternatives can reduce U.S. CO2 emissions in the electricity sector by 50 to 70 percent. The potential reductions in other countries, such as China where coal is more important, are even greater.


Why Renewables Haven't Destroyed the Grid - Yet!

By Davis Swan

Most supporters of renewable energy development are probably pretty comfortable with the way things are going. Wind and Solar generation has been increasing both in "nameplate capacity" and in actual production of electricity. There have not been any significant grid failures that can be blamed on renewables. Apart from a consolidation within the solar cell manufacturing sector there have not been any notable bankruptcies within the electricity generating sector. All visible signs are positive for a continued expansion of renewable resources.

When I talk to groups about renewable energy I start off with a Youtube video which demonstrates testing the compression strength of a concrete block. For 2 minutes and 40 seconds this is the most boring video you could imagine. The block shows absolutely no sign of stress. At 2:41 the concrete block fails and is utterly destroyed. As far as I am concerned we are at about 2 minutes and 30 seconds with respect to the electrical grid.

In order to understand what I believe to be the serious risks facing the electrical generation and distribution system it is necessary to review the structure of the system as it was before renewables began to be developed in a significant way. The chart below shows hypothetical load profiles for a peak demand day during the spring/fall, winter and summer as well as a line that represents the overall generating capacity in the system.

It can be observed that the system demand/load varies considerably throughout the day and throughout the year. It is also clear that there is a great deal of excess supply available for most hours on most days. In fact, only on the highest peak demand days of the entire year will the demand come close to the supply. That is by design as every well-managed electrical generation system in the world requires a reserve margin of 8-15% above peak demand.

This reserve is meant to provide resiliency for the grid to accommodate scheduled maintenance shut-downs at major facilities such as nuclear plants, natural gas-fired and coal-fired plants as well as unscheduled outages due to storms or switching problems or other operational issues.

(Note: I appreciate that many people will raise objections to the demand curves presented in that their local situation might be very different. That is one of the challenges facing every Independent System/grid Operator. Local demand curves can be all over the map due to the mix of commercial, residential, and industrial users. My point is not that these particular curves are the most typical in all locations. The point is that demand varies significantly over the course of the day and through different seasons.)

So before we began to develop renewable energy there was plenty of generation capacity within the system. In fact, many generation facilities were not running at anything close to capacity most of the time.

Because of a public policy decision to reduce the burning of hydro-carbons (and the associated production of CO2 emissions) wind and solar generation sources have been subsidized through a variety of financial instruments including capital grants, tax credits, and feed-in-tariffs. Renewables have also been given preferential access to the grid in most jurisdictions.

These measures have achieved the stated policy goal. Wind and solar now make up a significant percentage of generation capacity in a number of jurisdictions and at times provide a large percentage of electrical production.

For example, Germany has developed over 30 GW of solar power and over 30 GW of Wind. On a blustery spring day in Germany renewables can meet up to 40% of the total electrical demand for a few hours at mid-day. There are regular announcements of "new records" for both solar and wind generation. A similar situation exists in Texas with regards to wind and in parts of Hawaii with regards to solar.

Remembering that there was already a surplus of generation capacity in the system before the development of renewables it is obvious that when renewables hit their generation peaks most traditional thermal generation plants are unable to sell electricity. That would not be a problem if the construction of these plants had not been financed based upon assumptions regarding how often they would be used and what wholesale electricity prices would be. In fact, the economics of running these plants has deteriorated to the point where many utilities, especially in Europe, are on a "credit watch".

The rational response of companies trying to sell electricity into a market that has a great over-supply would be to decommission some of the oldest and most polluting plants to bring supply and demand into a better balance. But there is a problem. Renewable resources cannot be relied upon, particularly at peak demand times.

In this situation demand rose throughout the week as a strong high pressure system spread across the state bringing with it colder temperatures while at the same time shorter days required more lighting. One of the more troublesome realities of meteorology is that large, stable high pressure systems are often responsible for peak electrical demand in both winter and summer because they are associated with clear skies and temperature extremes. These systems are also commonly characterized by very low winds across a wide area.

As a result while demand continued to climb wind energy faded away to almost nothing. At this point most of the thermal generation assets available within Texas had to come on-line in order to meet demand.

So it is impossible to decommission even the oldest and least efficient thermal generation plants in the system regardless of how many wind farms have been built and solar panels deployed. German utility E.on came face-to-face with that reality in the spring of 2013 when they were instructed by the local grid operator to keep an old plant operational even though it would rarely be needed.

But a new day is dawning in the U.S. and it could be a darn cold (or hot) one.

The EPA announced regulations in December 2011 that will require coal-fired thermal generation plants to clean up or shut down. The reality is that for many of these plants it will not be feasible to clean them up. In fact, in some cases the EPA will not even allow them to be updated with modern pollution controls. As a result more than 40 GW of firm generation capacity will be decommissioned over the next several years.

Plans to replace this loss are in some cases vague and have been changing often. Increased conservation and better utilization of existing plants are frequently included in Integrated Resource Plans. In other cases greater reliance upon renewables is explicitly identified. These are not really replacements for firm capacity.

A number of new Natural Gas fired plants are also under construction. While current low gas prices make this an attractive option the threat of future significant price hikes as well as the EPA's stated goal to regulate CO2 emissions are worrisome and are impacting the ability to secure financing of these plants in some cases.

As more and more coal-fired plants are retired it is likely that total system firm generation capacity will drop resulting in smaller reserves. This, in turn, will make the system more susceptible to storms or other unplanned outages.

The degree to which grid security is compromised will vary from region to region depending upon the penetration of renewables, number of coal-fired plant retirements and the health of the local economy which has a major impact on electricity demand. Based upon those factors I believe Texas and the Mid-west are the areas most at risk.

It may be that the reduction in coal-fired generation will do nothing more than cull excess capacity out of the system with no negative impacts. But groups such as the Institution of Engineering and Technology in the UK have issued warnings about the progressive stress on a system that has taken decades to evolve and is now faced with unprecedented challenges.

Like the concrete block in the Youtube video the system is not displaying any outward signs of weakness. The question is this - will the North American electricity system encounter its own version of second 2:41?




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


27 May, 2014

Researcher hits media & admits West Antarctica ice sheet melt not traceable to humans!

And we've got 200 years before anything much happens anyway

"I have a problem with the widespread implication (in the popular press) that the West Antarctic collapse can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change," said Mike Wolovik, a graduate researcher at Lamont-Doherty who studies ice sheet dynamics. "The marine ice sheet instability is an inherent part of ice sheet dynamics that doesn't require any human forcing to operate. When the papers say that collapse is underway, and likely to last for several hundred years, that's a reasonable and plausible conclusion."

But, he said, the link between CO2 levels and the loss of ice in West Antarctica "is pretty tenuous." The upwelling of warmer waters that melt the ice has been tied to stronger westerly winds around Antarctica, which have been linked to a stronger air pressure difference between the polar latitudes and the mid-latitudes, which have in turn been linked to global warming.

"I'm not an atmospheric scientist, so I can't evaluate the strength of all of those linkages," Wolovik said. "However, it's a lot of linkages." And that leaves a lot of room for uncertainty about what's actually causing the collapse of the glaciers, he said.

Researchers have been discussing the theory of how marine ice sheets become unstable for many years, said Stan Jacobs, an oceanographer at Lamont-Doherty who has studied ocean currents and their impact on ice shelves for several decades.

"Some of us are a bit wary of indications that substantial new ground has been broken" by the two new papers, Jacobs said. While ocean temperatures seem to be the main cause of the West Antarctic ice retreat, there's a lot of variability in how heat is transported around the ocean in the region, and it's unclear what's driving that, he said. And, he's skeptical that modeling the system at this point can accurately predict the timing of the ice's retreat.

But, he added, "this is one more message indicating that a substantial sea level rise from continued melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could occur in the foreseeable future.

Cochran agreed: The papers' message is "that … over the next couple hundred years, there's going to be a significant rise in sea level, and at this point we can't stop it."


We Can Easily Adapt To Sea Level Changes, New Report Says

Attempts to stem sea level rises by reducing CO2 levels in order to "combat" global warming are a complete waste of time says a new report by two of the world's leading oceanographic scientists.

Over the last 150 years, average global sea levels have risen by around 1.8 mm per annum - a continuation of the melting of the ice sheets which began 17,000 years ago. Satellite measurements (which began in 1992) put the rate higher - at 3mm per year. But there is no evidence whatsoever to support the doomsday claims made by Al Gore in 2006 that sea levels will rise by 20 feet by the end of the century, nor even the more modest prediction by James Hansen that they will rise by 5 metres.

Such modest rises, argue oceanographer Willem P de Lange and marine geologist Bob Carter in their report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, are far better dealt with by adaptation than by costly, ineffectual schemes to decarbonise the global economy.
They say:

"No justification exists for continuing to base sea-level policy and coastal management regulation upon the outcomes of deterministic or semi-empirical sea-level modelling. Such modelling remains speculative rather than predictive. The practice of using a global rate of sea-level change to manage specific coastal locations worldwide is irrational and should be abandoned."

It is irrational not least because it is based on a complete misunderstanding of the causes and nature of sea-level rises. There are parts of the world where the sea level is rising, others where it is falling - and this is dependent as much on what the land is doing (tectonic change) as on what the sea is doing.
In other words - a point once made very effectively by Canute - it is absurdly egotistical of man to imagine that he has the power to control something as vast as the sea. The best he can hope to do is to adapt, as previous generations have done, either by deciding to shore up eroding coastal areas or abandon them and move further inland.

And for those still in doubt, here is what Vincent Courtillot, Emeritus professor of geophysics at Paris Diderot University has to say in his introduction to the report:

"Sea level change is a naturally occurring process. Since the last glacial maximum, some 18,000 years ago, de-glaciation has taken place and this natural global warming has led to sea-level rise of on average 120 m or so. At some times, pulses of melt water coming from large peri-glacial lakes led to rates of sea level rise as high as 3 m per century. The rate slowed down some 7000 years ago and since then has been naturally fluctuating by only a few metres. The remaining global sea-level rise has been about 20 cm in the 20th century. Has this led to global disasters? The answer is no. If the projected rise over the 21st century is double what was seen in the 20th, is it likely that it will result in global disasters? Again, the answer is most likely no; human ingenuity, innovation and engineering, and the proper material and financial resources should solve local problems if and when they arrive, as they have in the 20th century."


Well, I Guess Obama Hasn't Healed the Planet

When Barack Obama won his party’s presidential nomination in 2008, he proclaimed that “generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that… this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Six years later, the president is threatening to go around Congress and upend the American economy in a misguided attempt to secure his legacy on climate change. He’s gone from the candidate who said, “I face this challenge with profound humility and knowledge of my own limitations” to the president who says if Congress won’t act on this issue, “I will.”

Despite Americans’ keen interest in just about any issue except climate change, the White House is encouraging climate hysteria to push the Environmental Protection Agency’s coming regulations.

President Obama wants to use the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. The two main problems with this: It would devastate the economy and it would NOT heal the planet, so to speak.

“Even if we were to stop emitting greenhouse gas emissions entirely, we would not moderate the Earth’s temperature more than a few tenths of a degree Celsius by the end of the century,” said Heritage’s Nicolas Loris, the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow.

Read that again: A few tenths of a degree—from taking extreme measures.

And how well do these dire climate projections do in reality? In fact, the climate models the administration relied on for its proposals projected the earth would warm 0.3 degree Celsius over the past 17 years—which did not happen, Loris reports. During that time, carbon dioxide emissions did increase—yet the projected warming did not happen.

That doesn’t bother the White House, which continues hyping the latest climate report with “with bogus claims of past, current and predicted climate impacts,” says David Kreutzer, Heritage’s research fellow in energy economics and climate change.

You may not be able to count on the White House’s climate projections, but there are several things you can count on from Obama’s action plan:

higher energy prices
lower incomes for Americans
slower economic growth

White House adviser John Podesta said this week that congressional attempts to block the administration have “zero percent chance” of working. Will members of Congress take that as a challenge and step up to protect Americans from this wrongheaded plan that would bring only economic harm for no environmental benefit?


The Slow, Sure Death of "Climate Change" Lies

By Alan Caruba

Even though President Obama continues to lie about “climate change” and employs the many elements of the federal government to repeat those lies, this huge hoax is dying.

Obama is on record saying that climate change “once considered an issue for the distant future, has moved firmly into the present” and is “affecting Americans right now.” Climate change as studied by climatologists is measured in terms of centuries whereas the weather is what is happening today. It has been happening before and since the rise of civilization. Obama’s claim that “climate-related changes are outside of recent experience” and “have become more frequent and/or intense” is a lie from start to finish.

The White House recently released its latest “National Climate Assessment.” It is 841 pages of outlandish claims that reflect the lies generated by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. When you consider that the federal government spends an estimated $2.6 billion annually in grants for climate research, about the only beneficiaries are those “scientists” employed to further the hoax.

The UN’s IPCC was created in 1983 and has issued a series of reports whose sole intention has been to frighten people around the world with claims of global warming that are scientifically baseless.

The Heartland Institute, a non-profit market-based think tank, responded by creating the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) and by sponsoring a series of international conferences. The 9th conference will be July 7-9 in Las Vegas. That effort began in 2003 in cooperation with the Science & Environmental Project led by Dr. S. Fred Singer and was joined by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.

I am an advisor to the Institute, having written about environmental and energy issues for several decades at this point.

Calling on thousands of scientists around the world, in 2013 the NIPCC published the first of a three-volume response to the IPCC’s fifth assessment. This year, it has published a volume of Climate Change Reconsidered devoted to biological impacts, a 1,062 page opus. The NIPCC is an international panel of scientists and scholars with no government affiliation or sponsorship, and it receives no corporate funding.

Writing in the Financial Post in October 2013, Lawrence Solomon, the executive director of Energy Probe, a Toronto-based environmental group, noted that “solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.” The Earth’s climate is primarily a reflection of solar radiation or the lack of it. From 1300 to 1850, the Earth was subject to a mini-ice age. While the global warming hoax began in the late 1980s, Solomon noted that, in the 1960s and 1970s, the scientific consensus was that the Earth “was entering a period of global cooling. The media in those years was filled with stories about a pending new ice age.

It was only the intervention of the UN’s IPCC that changed the “consensus” to one of global warming. A cooling cycle that began around fourteen years ago could lead to another mini-ice age or the planet could be on the cusp of a full-fledged one. On average, the interglacial periods of the Earth have lasted about 11,500 years and we are at the end of such a period.

Climate Change Reconsidered II devoted to biological impact features scientific studies that conclude:

# “Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant.” Considering that all vegetation on Earth depends on it, it is not surprising that another conclusion was that the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is causing a great greening of the Earth.

# As a result, “there is little or no risk of increasing food insecurity due to global warming or rising atmospheric CO2 levels and that terrestrial ecosystems have thrived throughout the world as a result of warming temperatures and rising levels of atmospheric CO2. Multiple lines of evidence indicate animal species are adapting, and in some cases, evolving, to cope with climate change of the modern era.”

# In addition, “rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels to no pose a significant threat to aquatic life and that a modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperate-related events.”

The irony of the latest NIPCC report, of course, is that it responds to the claims of global warming and carbon dioxide’s role at a time when the Earth is cooling. It makes one wish that all the talk about “greenhouse gases” is true enough to help us escape from the present cooling.

One thing we do know for sure is that the Greens talk of climate change has lost its grip on the public imagination and attention. As the cooling cycle continues, people around the world will be far more focused on increased evidence of massive ice sheets at both poles, on frozen lakes and rivers, on shortened growing seasons, and on the desperate need for more fossil fuels to warm our homes and workplaces.


Obama and EPA Use “National Security” to Block Independent Investigations!

The executive branch has an enormous amount of power and thanks to President Obama’s time in office, that power has expanded over the past 6 years.

The result of this extended power is that an overbearing executive branch comes into conflict with individual rights and liberties as it continues its expansion. The IRS scandal is an excellent example of how executive bureaucracy will go to any length to protect and perpetuate its own existence.

While the President does have extraordinary power over the executive branch, there are safeguards in place to prevent fraud and abuse. Inspectors general serve as a watchdog element to stop these bloated bureaucracies from devolving into tyranny and lawlessness. But what happens when these Inspectors General are shut out? What happens when members of the President’s inner circle deliberately try to thwart investigations into the Executive branch bureaucracies?

That is exactly what is happening at the Environmental Protection Agency! EPA Assistant Inspector General Patrick Sullivan testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that the EPA’s Office of Homeland Security, run by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, is currently acting as a “rogue law enforcement organization.” A unit run by Barack Obama’s political staff has been blocking independent investigations for years and preventing the Inspector General from doing his job.

Time and time again, when the Obama administration is forced to choose between transparency and opacity, it chooses the latter. This is corruption at its absolute worst!

This isn’t just a story about the EPA. Yes, that part of the story is important and should serve as a smoking gun, showing just how corrupt the Obama administration has become. But the story is much larger than just this one agency. Across the board, government agencies’ corrupt elements are being revealed. Not through legitimate investigation, but through the Obama administration’s resistance to oversight efforts.

The greatest comedy over the past six years is that as lawless as the Obama administration may be, many of the checks and balances designed to curtail White House abuses happen to have a serious conflict of interest.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals is charged with determining whether executive orders and bureaucratic regulations are constitutional. Last year, Harry Reid abolished the filibuster to allow Democrats to pack this court with Obama supporters. That check has been all but eliminated.

The Attorney General is supposed to enforce the law of the land. Unfortunately, Eric Holder has no intention of upholding anything. He refuses to enforce our immigration laws and has refused to defend laws passed by Congress when they come up before the Supreme Court. When Congress held Eric Holder in contempt, they turned the case over to… Eric Holder! As if this corrupt Obama appointee would ever police himself…

Now we have a branch within the Environmental Protection Agency that refuses to cooperate with independent investigators. The EPA already has a number of excuses that it uses to avoid oversight. The agency uses “public health” and “environmental protection” as excuses to explain away its actions. These latest discoveries show that the White House actually staffed the EPA’s Office of Homeland Security with Obama supporters for the sole purpose of blocking oversight investigations.

First of all, why on earth does the EPA need an Office of Homeland Security? The actual Department of Homeland Security is redundant enough as it is… why does the EPA need its own miniature, in-house version? The answer is simple. Now, whenever the Obama administration wants something to go away or for an investigation to stop, this small unit of Obama staffers can claim that a program or regulation is in the name of “national security.”

A lot of this is the Republicans’ fault. Both parties have contributed to the rise of national security justifications for illegal actions. We have been conditioned to just accept that whenever the goal is national security, the ends always justify the means. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The Obama administration’s politicization of this EPA unit shows just how corrupt our government has become. When confronted over environmental regulations and the EPA’s inner workings, the White House has actually tried to claim immunity and confidentiality by arguing the agency protects national security. The only things that the EPA protects are the wallets and bank accounts of the environmental lobby.

The Obama administration is out of control. But quite frankly, party affiliation has nothing to do with it. The Executive branch has grown to be so corrupt that it will stop at nothing to protect itself and shield itself from investigations. Even if it means claiming “national security” to stop investigations into the Environmental Protection Agency, the modern Presidency knows no shame.

This is completely absurd, but it is unfortunately our fault. We have allowed the Executive branch to become so bloated and corrupt. We have been conditioned by both political parties to accept “national security” as an excuse for practically anything


Australia: Green anti-coal seam gas activists at work

Anti-gas activist’s camp relies on gas cylinders, six drums of diesel and electric generator. Go figure.

Less than a week after a council vowed to shut down a large anti-coal seam gas protest camp in the state's north and promised police would be called in to send it packing, the activists have been told they can stay.

The Bentley camp, near Lismore, is a temporary home to between hundreds and thousands of people, depending on the day.

It was established in February on private land adjacent to the site where Metgasco plans to begin exploratory drilling for gas.

Richmond Valley Council announced last Wednesday the camp's approval would expire at the end of that week and not be renewed due to its burgeoning numbers, the length of time it had been there, and the "ongoing breach of many of the approval conditions".

The mayor, Ernie Bennett, said police would be required "for sure" to move the campers on.

But on Thursday morning, Mr Bennett said the protesters would not be moved, despite their occupation of the land being "illegal".

"I don't think it would be appropriate to remove them at this point," he said.

"Council is working with them to put an appropriate DA [development application] before council."

The Greens have said the police should not be used to break the protest.

“The NSW Police Force should not be used as private security to allow a coal seam gas company to force its way into a community that has overwhelmingly rejected the presence of gas fields in the Northern Rivers,” Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said this week.




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


26 May, 2014


University of Queensland (UoQ) stumbles into self-inflicted ethical dilemma by issuing legal threats to block scrutiny of a celebrated but now discredited global warming study. The infamous "97 percent consensus" paper created by cartoonist and self-styled climate expert, John Cook, on behalf of UoQ has been shown to be fraudulent after independent analysis.

An open letter addressed to the university from lawyer, Rud Istvan JD, on behalf of the public interest details how it betrayed its own openness policy in what appears to be a self-serving ploy to avert exposure and ridicule. Istvan’s letter to UoQ in full below:

Prof. Alistair McEwan, Acting-Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Queensland

Ms. Jane Malloch, Esq. Head Research Legal, University of Queensland

Mr. Graham Lloyd, Environmental Editor, The Australian

Prof. Richard Tol, University of Sussex


Prof. McEwan:

On May 20, 2014, you issued a formal statement concerning the controversy published byThe Australian on 5/17/14 surrounding Cook et. al, 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024, ‘Quantifying the Consensus’, hereinafter QtC. That statement presents the University of Queensland (UQ) with an ethical and legal dilemma. I call your attention to it expecting UQ will do the right thing.

Your statement makes it quite clear that UQ considers QtC was done under the sponsorship of and with support from UQ. This is indisputable. The solicitation for volunteer raters for the analysis that became QtC was: UQ released a statement about the importance of QtC in the UQ News on January 16, 2014 headlined, “UQ climate change paper has the whole world talking.”

Your 5/20/14 statement said in part:

“Only information that might be used to identify the individual research participants was withheld. This was in accordance with University ethical approval specifying that the identity of participants should remain confidential.”

And that is precisely your dilemma.

The published paper itself identified all the individual research participants (raters). They were either named authors (with affiliations provided, for example second author Dana Nuccitelli affiliated with UQ associated website SKS, as noted in UQ’s 1/20/14 news release, or were specifically named without affiliation in the paper’s acknowledgement. Lest you doubt this, following is that portion of the paper as originally published.

Your dilemma is this. If the UQ ethical approval exists as you officially stated, then the paper as published grossly violated it. QtC is therefore unethical according to UQ policy, and should be withdrawn forthwith.

We need not cite here all the governing Australian principles that UQ is obligated to follow under such unfortunate circumstances. Those include but are not limited to

There is 2014 retraction precedent concerning another unethical climate related paper from the University of Western Australia. If, on the other hand, there was no such ethical approval, or that approval did not require concealing rater identities, then you have officially misrepresented grossly invalid grounds for withholding the anonymized additional information needed for replication, such as date and time stamped ratings by anonymous rater. Said information has repeatedly, formally been requested by Prof. Richard S.J. Tol (Sussex University (U.K.), and an IPCC AR5 lead author) for his legitimate research purposes concerning what UQ said is a seminal paper. That data should still exist, and should be provided to Prof. Tol under UQ Policy 4.20.06a §8.2 and §9.1 (as last approved 11/28/13).

Either way, you and UQ both appear in a very bad light. It appears that UQ congratulates itself on gross ethical breaches (especially when basking in so much notoriety), while at the same time withholding anonymized primary data underlying a self admitted important research paper in contravention of UQ written research data policy. Either retract the admittedly unethical paper, or retract the grossly mistaken excuse and release the requested data to Tol.

I note in passing there is a third possibility, to wit Tol’s requested data does not exist. In which case, QtC should be retracted for being unsupportable if not also unethical. As you are probably aware, there have been many recent instances of unsupportable research subsequently retracted. These include but are not limited to papers from Ike Antkare in 2010, and many recent papers from the SCIgen group (which interestingly bears surficial similarities to SKS) now being retracted by Springer and by IEEE. Those two precedents may be particularly germane to UQ’s instant dilemma.

This letter is as copyrighted as those Ms. Malloch writes concerning this matter on UQ behalf. You and anyone else in the whole wide world are hereby granted permission to freely reproduce it in whole or in part. I suspect some may.

I look forward to whichever decision (retraction or data provision) you think best for UQ under the aforesaid circumstances.

Sincerely yours, s/s

Rud Istvan, Esq., JD/MBA


Russia's gas king laughs at Europe's "sustainable" energy sources

Europe has lost the global scramble for reliable energy supplies and faces a long-term queeze as Siberian gas is diverted to the fast-growing markets of Asia, Russia's gas chief has warned in scathing comments aimed at EU political leaders.

Alexey Miller, chairman of the state giant Gazprom, said Russia's $400bn deal this week to supply gas to China for 30 years is a black moment for Europe and will change the geo-strategic balance in the world. "The global competition for Russian gas resources started yesterday. Let there be no mistake about that. We have untapped the Asian market and this is going to have an impact on European gas prices," he said.

Mr Miller said the 38bn cubic metres (BCM) contract from 2018 is larger than the entire volume of liquefied natural gas (LNG) sold in the world. "You don't find that sort of contract on the side of the road in Europe," he told the St Petersburg Economic Forum.

Relishing his theme, he said China's gas demand is growing exponentially and would surge past Europe's total consumption to reach 400 BCM in "the very near future" as the Politburo tries to wean its polluted mega-cities off coal-powered plants. A large proportion of this will come from the vast Siberian fields, crowding out supplies for buyers in Europe deemed "less reliable".

Describing Europe's energy shortage as "scary", he ridiculed the EU's push for wind and solar power as a shambles, and said its LNG venture had gone nowhere with capacity use collapsing to 22pc. "Europe has lost the competition global for LNG, and in a single day it has just lost the competition for the world's pipeline gas as well," he said.

The comments reflect the fury in Russia over a string of hostile measures by Brussels following the Ukraine crisis, including a de facto freeze on the South Stream gas pipeline through the Black Sea and plans being developed by a team at the European Commission to slash reliance on Russian gas as quickly as possible.

The China prize has given Russia a dramatic means of fighting back, though it is far from clear what the Memorandum of Understanding between the two sides actually means. Most analysts say it is highly unlikely that China would wish to become too dependent on Russian supplies after witnessing the skirmishes in Europe.


Medical body not interested in the scientific facts when it comes to wind turbine noise

Australian Medical Association rebuked by leading acoustics expert, Dr Bruce Rapley, for their latest “cherry-picked” assessment of the dangers of noise emissions from wind farms.

In a comprehensive and worrying letter of rebuttal Dr Rapley accuses AMA of turning a deaf ear on the best science on the biological reception of low-frequency sound. Principia Scientific International herein publishes Dr Rapley’s letter to demonstrate how AMA is lying by omission to the general public about the health impacts of wind turbines.

28 March 2014

Dr Steve Hambleton, President,

Prof. Geoffrey Dobb, Vice-President,

Australian Medical Association,

P.O. Box 6090,


Dear Dr Hambleton, Professor Dobb and AMA members,

I recently became aware of your position statement on wind farms and health dated 14 March, 2014.

I have to say that this public statement has given me great concern with respect to a number of points which I will outline for you.

Your opening statement:

“Wind turbine technology is considered a comparatively inexpensive and effective means of energy production. ”

This raises a number of issues that I feel are inappropriate for a medical organisation to comment on. Firstly, line one is a statement regarding the economics of wind turbines which has no place in a statement regarding potential health effects. It is not within your organisation’s professional competence to comment on economic matters and to do so raises questions regarding your credibility and apparent bias. How would your organisation feel about the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) making statements about medical practice?

Secondly, your position statement then passes comment on acoustic immissions:

“Wind turbines generate sound, including infrasound, which is very low frequency noise that is generally inaudible to the human ear.”

To the best of my knowledge, medical practitioners are not generally known for their skill or expertise in acoustics, other than that directly associated with audiometry. To pass comment on areas beyond your knowledge is dangerous and leaves you wide open to serious challenge. Purporting to be experts in areas outside of medicine does not serve your credibility well.

The statement goes on to comment on infrasound, comparing immissions from different sources, yet lacking any sort of scientific credibility because of the significant lack of detailed evidence. Rather, the statements are reckless generalisations that provide no basis for comparison, let alone comprehension, other than in the broadest sense.

“Infrasound is ubiquitous in the environment, emanating from natural sources (e.g. wind, rivers) and from artificial sources including road traffic, ventilation systems, aircraft and other machinery.”

Such broad comparisons do not enhance scientific debate and offer little enlightenment to the uninformed, rather, they are more likely to mislead due to their lack of specificity. It is a well-established fact that low frequency and infrasound immissions from industrial wind turbines differ significantly in a number of critical ways, compared to natural sources like wind and water. Further, man-made sources such as road traffic all differ significantly from natural sources of infrasound. The most significant difference relates to the amplitude modulation of the signal due to blade pass frequency. This phenomenon is not apparent in natural or many other man-made sources: your comparison is without scientific foundation.

Next you appear to have become experts in engineering:

“All modern wind turbines in Australia are designed to be upwind, with the blade in front of the tower. These upwind turbines generate much lower levels of infrasound and low frequency sound.”

The first statement is factual. The second statement leaves out an important fact; when turbulent air is fed into the ‘modern’ upwind-bladed industrial turbines, they can generate significant quantities of infrasound and low-frequency noise. This was established in 1989 in Hawaii by NASA researchers Hubbard and Shepherd. Turbulence resulting from wind turbines being installed too close together, without complying with the international standard for turbine separation distances, is thought to be contributing to the infrasound and low-frequency noise problems at number of Australian wind development sites. Based on the evidence, it would not be unreasonable for the general public to assume that wind developers and turbine manufacturers are more concerned with maximising profit and income from renewable energy certificates (RECS) than from achieving engineering efficiency and safeguarding public health.

While the profit motive is an integral part of normal, accepted business practice, profiteering at the expense of public health is unacceptable. When profit overrides public health and well being of the general public, in the face of clear scientific/medical evidence, the practice is doubly damnable and ethically indefensible. To quote the obvious: “The devil is in the detail”. The fact that upwind industrial turbines create sounds that affect animals and humans is abundantly obvious and to compare this version of industrial wind turbine to older technology is of no benefit to those who suffer from the acoustic immissions from the current machines.

Your second paragraph alludes to such ‘devils’. While you state that:

“Infrasound levels in the vicinity of wind farms have been measured and compared to a number of urban and rural environments away from wind farms. The results of these measurements have shown that in rural residences both near to and far away from wind turbines, both indoor and outdoor infrasound levels are well below the perception threshold, and no greater than that experienced in other rural and urban environments.”

the reality is that these statements misrepresent the facts. In essence, what you have done is to ‘cherry-pick’ the data. Further, your statement leads the reader to believe that as long as sound levels are below conscious, and perhaps audible perception, there is no problem. This could not be further from the truth.

A significant problem with the determination of environmental noise relates to the inappropriate use of the A-weighting, still so commonly applied. As it significantly underestimates frequencies below 1,000 Hz and above 3,500 Hz this negates its usefulness in measuring low frequency and infrasound. The point should be obvious. Unfortunately regulation so often lags behind scientific knowledge.

Medicine, while based on a good deal of science, remains, as practiced, an ART. The reason for this is that the practice of medicine involves human beings. Human beings are not simply a collection of chemicals, cells and tissues, randomly existing in the biosphere. Rather they are sentient beings that are subject to multiple stimulatory mechanisms. This is one instance where a holistic viewpoint is nearer the truth than the traditional reductionist viewpoint. The consequence of this view needs further elaboration which you have chosen to omit . . .

The scientific method is something which is much talked about, but little understood, even by some scientists! The fact of the matter is that science begins with observation. This observation then gives rise to a question: how is that so? What caused that? How does that work? How did that happen?

The question, which usually has some practical relevance, leads to the creation of a ‘model’ of the ‘how’. That model is referred to as the hypothesis. And of course a hypothesis leads to the development of a testing methodology to see if it can be used to explain the facts. The testing usually takes place in a controlled environment where the idea (hypothesis) is put to test by way of practical experiments. With good design, these should attempt to limit the number of variables (things that can be manipulated/changed) and keep all other factors the same. In an ideal world, a control situation could be used to compare the test circumstances to the ‘normal’ condition.

A perfect example is a drug trial. Subjects would be randomly assigned (so as not to bias the results) to one of two groups. One group would receive the ‘test substance’ while the other, the control group, would receive a placebo. That is, they would receive a substance (for example a pill) but it would be inactive, that is, lacking the chemical species under test. The strength of the findings is further enhanced if the experimenter and the subjects are both blinded as to who got the real drug. That is the basis of the modern scientific method.

Another perfectly legitimate and accepted method of study for obtaining comparative data is that of the case crossover design, where people act as their own controls. This design is used to demonstrate a causal relationship in situations like allergic reactions to some foods and particular drugs, for example. People living with industrial wind turbines are conducting this experiment all the time. They go away, and notice their symptoms ameliorate. They come back home, and under certain predictable wind and weather conditions, their symptoms recur. This is a clear demonstration, using the scientific method, of a direct and causal relationship between exposure and response. This is why some doctors are advising their patients to move away. It is clear that the exposure to wind turbine noise is damaging their patient’s health, and there is nothing else they can suggest.

A common mistake, when selecting scientific data, relates to a process of choosing what to include. When selection bias exists in data selection, this is colloquially known as ‘cherry-picking’. When this occurs, it necessarily introduces a bias that affects the results. This is apparent from your statement above relating to human perception of sound. If you scan the literature more widely, then a plethora of papers appear which contradict the basis of your argument. To only present one side of the argument is to short-change the readers and the general public. It also facilitates the generation of false impressions.

To return to the scientific method for a moment: when an observation has been made; a question arisen; a hypothesis created; a series of experiments formulated to test the hypothesis and ultimately the results analysed, there are two relevant tests that need to be applied. First, the results have to either support or reject the hypothesis. That means that the hypothesis needs to be able to be falsified and results obtained which are relevant to support or rejection the hypothesis’s claim. Variables need to be measurable.

The second test, and equally important, is that the consequences of the results, i.e. acceptance or rejection of the hypothesis, have to be consistent with what is already known. To take an example: If the results of an experiment lead to the conclusion that the ‘conservation of momentum’ did not always occur, then there would be a great deal of concern. Physicists are most unlikely to let go of such a well-supported observation as the conservation of momentum. So, the new findings of an experiment have to fit with our existing reality.

In order to fit with our current reality, or paradigm, there needs to be both internal (within the experiment) and external (in relation to what is already generally known and accepted) consistency to be valid. This is not to say that one day we might not reject the generally accepted view of the conservation of momentum, only that there would need to be extraordinary evidence to cause us to reach that conclusion.

What assists us with comprehending new knowledge and integrating it into our existing understanding of how the universe works is the existence of a mechanism. That is, a way in which we can explain the circumstances we discover through our experiment within the current bounds of knowledge. For your stance to be accepted, there would need to be not only no evidence to the contrary, but also the lack of any understandable mechanism of action. Neither are in fact the case.

Many scientific papers expound the observation that stimuli below conscious perception do, in a number of instances, result in physiological response. This is the case for the effects of low frequency and infrasound, and was noted by Kelley 1987, Chen, Qibai & Shi 2004, Swinbanks 2012, and Schomer 2013 in addition to the work of Professor Salt, a leading neurophysiologist working in this area. Further, there are many plausible mechanisms to explain how sub-conscious perception threshold stimuli may interact with living organisms. The old notion that perception is the threshold above which biological effects occur is not only out-dated, it is a non-sequitur. Take x-rays for example, they are not readily consciously perceivable yet can be quite harmful. Light is in a similar category. Sound is another physical phenomenon that does not need conscious perception to be received by an organism or for that organism to react.

The work of Professor Alec Salt has done much in recent years to elucidate theory on the biological reception of low-frequency sound, complimenting this with extensive laboratory experimentation. To ignore this work is a travesty and is tantamount to lying by omission to the general public. It is another example of cherry-picking the data that effectively distorts the final impression. To add to this work, the research of Dr. Carey Balaban has done much to throw light on the neuronal mechanism of sound reception by the human body. We now have theory, experimental evidence and empirical observation, all pointing in the same direction. To blithely ignore such a body of science and come up with a generalisation of ‘no harm’ is not only lying to the general public but supports a point of view that is largely sympathetic to the commercial, industrial profit motive. This commercial bias has no place in medicine or public health.

The most recent article to come out of Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, from Professors Salt and Lichtenbaum is worthy of mention here. Their landmark paper appears in Acoustics Today, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 20-28, Winter 2014. In their paper: How does wind turbine noise affect people?, they succinctly describe the results of their recent work on the effects of low frequency and infrasound on the cochlea mechanism. It appears that the roles of the inner and outer hair cells differ in many significant ways. In particular, the outer hair cells account for only 5 % of the afferent nerve fibres in the acoustic nerve and are of Type II in comparison to the inner hair cells which equate to 95% of the acoustic nerves and are of Type I. Further, the inner hair cells, which are largely responsible for the faculty of hearing in the accepted frequency spectrum of 20 to 20,000 Hz, do not touch the tectorial membrane. They operate by way of transducing movements in the fluid below the membrane into nerve impulses. The outer hair cells, by contrast, are directly connected to the tectorial membrane and are far more responsive to low frequency and infrasound.

The point that Salt and Lichtenbaum are making is that the energy that enters the ear canal as low frequency and infrasound is readily translated into neural impulses which reach the brain, albeit they may not be consciously interpreted as sound, but they still reach the cognitive engine. Another critical point concerns their findings that biologically generated amplitude modulated signals occur in the pulse trains of nerve impulses from the inner hair cells as a result of stimulation from a 500 Hz tone summed with 4.8 Hz. (Their Figure 2.)

Their work is a clear demonstration of a biologically-generated modulation to a non-modulated stimulus. The cochlear microphonic response is generated by the outer hair cells,responding to both the high and low frequency components. This occurs either by saturation of the mechano-electric transducer or by cyclically changing the mechanical amplification of the high frequencies. Being insensitive to the lower frequencies, the inner hair cells detect only the high frequency component, which is amplitude modulated at twice the infrasound frequency, in their example. Thus, the inner hair cells essentially ‘see’ the effect of a high-pass filtered version of what the outer hair cells perceive. This is the most clear demonstration of the effect of infrasound on the cochlea. The biophysics of the ear creates an amplitude-modulated signal from a non-amplitude modulated source of two pure tones. This is a neurophysiological explanation of the effect reported by subjects who complain of adverse effects from living too close to industrial wind turbine installations. To ignore such clear evidence is to deny the very substance of the scientific method in favour of a biased commercial approach to public health.

The deliberate exclusion of empirical data, failure to acknowledge existing scientific knowledge and theory is to effectively lie by omission. Such distortion of reality is to degrade science, medicine and discredit the practitioners of those disciplines. I take exception to such biased reporting and the distribution of such misinformation. It is to degrade my profession as a scientist, researcher and consultant.

I urge you and your colleagues to rethink your position with all due speed. Simply put: do not comment on areas beyond your own boundaries of knowledge. Do not tell half-truths, present commercially biased information in the name of health care and stop lying directly and by omission to your patients and the public at large. This matter needs to be urgently addressed to minimise the fallout and retain the respectability that the practice of medicine deserves and the good name of your organisation.

Sincerely yours,

Bruce Rapley BSc, MPhil, PhD.

Principal Consultant, Acoustics and Human Health,

Atkinson & Rapley Consulting Ltd.


Woods Hole: Principles for sale

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is playing a leading role in raising the climate alarm — and scientific understanding — of the perils of climate change. Now it is helping oil and gas companies identify new sources of fossil fuels and signing agreements with Saudi Aramco to study the potential for “hydrocarbons” in the Red Sea.

Its famed research vessels and scientists are arrayed across the globe, installing weather instruments off the Cape, tracking water currents in the Labrador Sea, monitoring monsoons in India, and measuring melting ice in Antarctica.

In these and other ways, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is playing a leading role in raising the alarm — and scientific understanding — of the perils of climate change.

But now the nonprofit institution, facing a severe budget crunch as federal research funding is slashed, has a very different sort of venture in the offing: helping oil and gas companies identify new sources of the very fossil fuels believed to be damaging the environment.

The potential that Woods Hole’s world-renowned expertise in deep water exploration could become a new tool for oil firms — through its newly established Center for Marine Robotics — is troubling to some environmental groups and others who worry the institution’s scientists could be co-opted by private interests if they are forced to rely too heavily on their support for research.

“It is a real problem,” said Walter H. Munk, a professor of oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., which is part of the University of California, San Diego. His university has received money from corporate sponsors. “You have to be quite sure you are getting the money in circumstances that don’t limit your [scientific] freedom,” Munk said.

In the coming days, according to officials at Woods Hole, the institution is set to sign agreements with Saudi Aramco, the primary oil company owned by the Saudi government, to study the potential for “hydrocarbons” in the Red Sea. It is also preparing to ink a deal for a “simulation study” on behalf of the Italian oil company Eni, while it has half a dozen other proposals in the works with unnamed corporations, the officials said.

Yet earlier this month, Woods Hole coauthored the Obama administration’s National Climate Assessment, which partly blamed hydrocarbons for causing climate change and damaging oceans.

“In addition to causing changes in climate, increasing levels of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities have a direct affect on the world’s oceans,” the report found, particularly an increase in levels of acidity, which it said are a threat to marine life.


At Last: EU To Speed Up Shale Development In Response To Ukraine Crisis

Draft European Commission briefing note shows jitters over dependence on Russian gas

The European Union aims decisively to shift away from dependence on Russian gas imports, following previous failed attempts, according to a draft European Commission document on energy security.

The Ukraine crisis has deepened European jitters over gas imports, where Russia is its single biggest supplier.

The European Commission note mentioned the word “solidarity” seven times, in a draft note whose final version would be published in June, titled “European Energy Security Strategy – Comprehensive plan for the reduction of EU energy dependence.”

“The EU and its Member States have an overriding priority: ensure that best possible preparation and planning improve resilience to sudden disruptions in energy supplies, that strategic infrastructures are protected and that the most vulnerable Member States are collectively supported,” it said.

The EU relies on imports for 70% of its gas consumption. Six member states depended on Russia as their single external supplier for their entire gas imports, the Commission said.

It called for increased gas storage in the short-term, to prepare for possible disruption in the coming winter to Russian gas transiting through Ukraine, and the development of reverse flows through gas pipelines to allow a more flexible routing of gas to where it was most needed.

It also underlined the need for a diversification of gas supplies. That included exploitation of domestic shale gas, and imports from alternative suppliers, with more imports of liquefied natural gas, for example from Qatar and in future the United States.

“Producing oil and gas from unconventional sources in Europe, and especially shale gas, could partially compensate for declining conventional production, providing issues of public acceptance and environmental impact are adequately addressed.”

It also emphasised a greater role for energy efficiency, especially in buildings and industry.

It said that the Commission would prepare efficiency goals for 2030, in a sign that it would propose a concrete EU energy saving target as already agreed for 2020.

“Energy demand in the building sector, responsible for about 40% of energy consumption in the EU and a third of natural gas use9 could be cut by up to three quarters if the renovation of buildings is speeded up.”

Shifting energy politics were visible also on the Russian side, as it signed on Wednesday a major gas supply contract with China, reducing its dependence on sales to Europe.


The Commission saw closer ties between EU member states as the critical factor for improving energy security.

It showed impatience with resistance from Russian gas supplier, Gazprom, to EU competition legislation which limits ownership of both energy and transmission assets. Gazprom sees such rules as a threat to its new proposed gas pipeline through southern Europe.

“The recent experience of certain non-EU operators challenging the application of EU legislation on EU territory might call for a stricter approach and a reinforcement of the applicable (competition) rules at EU and Member states level,” the Commission said.

“Antitrust and merger control rules must continue to be vigorously enforced since they ensure that the EU security of supply and industry bargaining position is not weakened through anticompetitive behaviour from and/or excessive consolidation or vertical integration of non-EU energy companies.”

The Commission detailed a long list of “key actions”, and said that the bloc had done too little to improve its security since previous disruptions of Russian gas, in 2006 and 2009, following gas price disputes between Russia and Ukraine.

“The EU needs, therefore, a hard-headed strategy for energy security which promotes resilience to these shocks and disruptions to energy supplies.”


Australia: Lying Greenie faces jail

And his fellow Greenies don't like that prospect at all. They think they should be able to do anything without penalty

The campaigner behind an ANZ-Whitehaven Coal hoax email has pleaded guilty to disseminating false information. Jonathan Moylan, 26, of Newcastle was accused of sending out a fake ANZ press release claiming the bank was withdrawing from a $1.2 billion loan facility to Whitehaven's open-cut coalmine in Maules Creek, New South Wales, for ethical reasons.

The hoax email temporarily wiped more than $314 million off the value of Whitehaven's sharemarket value and was reported by a number of news organisations.

Mr Moylan, who had originally pleaded not guilty, appeared at a directions hearing in the New South Wales Supreme Court on Friday and pleaded guilty to charges relating to disseminating false information that was likely to induce a person to "dispose of financial products", the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said.

He was released on unconditional bail and will return to the NSW Supreme Court for sentencing on July 11.

Mr Moylan faces up to ten years in jail and a fine of $765,000 under the breaches of the Corporations Act.

He first appeared in court in July last year but was not required to enter a plea. At a later hearing in November, he entered a not guilty plea.

The hoax email was sent to media outlets in January last year.

The Maules Creek mine has been the subject of legal action by conservation group the Northern Inland Council for the Environment. The group claimed in court the former environment minister Tony Burke breached the law by hastily granting the project conditional approval.

The Federal Court rejected the claims and Whitehaven begun construction on the mine, in the Gunnedah Basin near Tamworth in northern NSW, in December.

Nicola Paris, the coordinator of Mr Moylan's support campaign, We Stand with Jonathan Moylan, said Mr Moylan would not be commenting until after submissions were made to the Supreme Court on July 11.

The Lock The Gate Alliance said last year that it was "extraordinary" Mr Moylan was facing jail.

"We are asking ASIC to reconsider their decision and withdraw the prosecution - the penalty is clearly disproportionate to the offence and Mr Moylan has apologised to anyone affected by his actions," Alliance president Drew Hutton said at the time.




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


25 May, 2014

Record Antarctic Ice Extent Throws Cold Water On Global Warming Scare

Antarctic polar ice extent has set another new record, defying alarmist global warming claims. Surpassing the greatest month-of-April ice extent in recorded history, the new record throws cold water on alarmist claims that the Antarctic ice cap has crossed a melting point of no return.

The most recent Antarctic ice sheet alarm began with a paper examining a particular glacier in West Antarctica that “has long been considered prone to instability.” The paper speculates that a collapse of this particular glacier is unavoidable, though it will not actually collapse for at least a couple centuries and possibly not until 2900 AD.

Notably, while the majority of Antarctica is getting colder and the Southern Hemisphere polar ice cap is expanding, West Antarctica is a smaller portion of the continent that is experiencing modest warming. Taking advantage of this outlier trend in a smaller portion of the continent, the media has a long history of highlighting modest warming in West Antarctica or a small retraction of West Antarctic sea ice and falsely claiming this is caused by global warming and is representative of Antarctica as a whole.

Guess what? Global warming alarmists and their media allies are at it again. Here is a representative sample of how the media have reported the new paper:

“Irreversible collapse of Antarctic glaciers has begun, studies say” – Los Angeles Times

“How Washington coastal cities will look when the Antarctic Ice Sheet melts” – Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Catastrophic collapse of Antarctic ice sheet now underway, say scientists” – Christian Science Monitor

Let’s do a side-by-side comparison. A paper speculates that a long-unstable glacier in one part of West Antarctica is inherently unstable and may collapse several hundred years from now. Compare that finding to the ridiculous alarmist headlines above.

The good news, beyond the less-than-alarming truth about the paper’s findings, is real-world scientific facts show Antarctic ice extent is undergoing a long-term expansion. Alarmists try to scare people into believing a “Catastrophic collapse of Antarctic ice sheet [is] now underway” at the very time that the Antarctic ice extent is setting record after record.

It’s not just the Antarctic, either. Precise satellite measurements of both polar ice caps show absolutely no decline in polar ice since the satellite instruments were launched in 1979. Not only is total polar ice extent currently greater than the long-term average; polar ice extent has been greater than the long term average for nearly all of the past 16 months.


State Waivers from EPA Regulation

The federal environmental regulatory system is broken. Thousands of pages of flawed environmental rules and regulations exist, with no reasonable chance they’ll ever be reformed given the entrenched special interests that benefit from them. The inherent subjectivity of environmental standards also allows these rules to grow without a scientific basis for them. They cannot be efficiently and cost-effectively enforced given the overwhelming amount of information they demand.

The emergence of capable state-level environmental agencies in all 50 states – agencies that did not exist when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created in 1971 – reduces the need for a federal environmental agency to have such control. States are already responsible for up to 90 percent of all environmental enforcement actions in the nation, yet they are allowed little flexibility for innovation.

Congress could effectively scale back the increasingly costly and bureaucratic federal EPA by allowing states to apply for regulatory waivers. Case Western University law professor Jonathan Adler and Cato Institute Vice President Jerry Taylor have written articles suggesting implementation of an EPA regulatory waiver similar to Section 160 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which allowed telecom companies to submit requests for regulatory waivers from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Applied to environmental policy, such a mechanism would allow states to apply for forbearance from any EPA rule or regulation by submitting supporting material “detailing the basis for the request and explaining why the waiver would serve the public interest. EPA would then provide public notice, seek comment from interested parties, and make a call one way or the other within one year pending judicial review under aegis of the Administrative Procedure Act,” Taylor writes.

Congress and the president should decentralize environmental regulation by allowing states to apply for regulatory waivers from EPA. This would allow greater regulatory experimentation at a lower cost, while also enabling greater containment of risk, thereby facilitating much-needed innovation in environmental regulation.


The Liberty and Energy Connection

Marita Noon

Following my appearance on the Daily Show, I’ve received emails and phone calls from people who don’t agree with my views about energy and the advantages America’s energy abundance provides—benefits that drive both progress and prosperity.

Some of the emails can’t be read in polite company, but one that can asked: “Please explain how energy from mountain top removal, fracking, and tar sands makes America great.” The word choices Greg selected tell me that he isn’t truly seeking enlightenment and is instead aiming to antagonize me. The next day, he sent another: “I have yet to hear back on this simple question. Please respond.” It does seem like a simple question. One I should be able to answer in an instant. But I didn’t want to offer platitudes. I felt the question deserved a thoughtful answer. So, Greg, here you are.

I’ve spent the past couple of days at a conference on “Energy, Economics and Liberty.” There discussions took place on the energy debate, government’s role, market solutions, and the geo-politics of energy. About twenty men—all experts in various aspects of energy—attended. I wasn’t just the only female I was the only energy advocate. The topics brought Greg’s request to mind and the conversations helped form the answers.

One of the participants, Jim Clarkson, wrote an article titled: “The Shale Gas Paradigm,” in which he states: “Increased access to energy is a key to economic progress in the undeveloped world.” Similarly, in my book, Energy Freedom, I quote Robert Bryce, author of Power Hungry, who says: “Electricity is the energy commodity that separates the developed countries from the rest. Countries that can provide cheap and reliable electric power to their citizens can grow their economies and create wealth. Those who can’t, can’t.”

Senate Major Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) once said: “Oil and gas are making us sick.” But I contend that they—along with coal—are the very things keeping us well. In Energy Freedom’s introduction, I point out: “Energy saves lives. When fire strikes or hurricanes are bearing down upon a city, it is energy—in this case in the form of gasoline—that allows people to drive away and escape death. … When weather is extreme, it is energy—usually in the form of electricity (most frequently from coal or natural gas)—that keeps people alive. Air conditioning allows people to live in comfort in Arizona in the summer. Heating keeps people from freezing to death in Alaska in the winter. Energy keeps us well. Energy makes us comfortable.”

The Energy, Economics and Liberty conference was hosted by the Liberty Fund. On its website, it offers this definition of liberty: “the beginning and the source of happiness from which all beneficial things flow in return.” Much like liberty, energy is the source from which many beneficial things flow. Energy has been a source of America’s freedom, a big part of what has made America great.

The conflicts in Ukraine have made the importance of energy freedom clear. Because of being on the Daily Show talking about fracking, I’ve been given other opportunities to address the topic. One was with former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura for his show Off the Grid. At the end of the twenty-minute interview, he asked me for closing comments. I said something like: “Because of fracking, OPEC would never be able to use energy as a weapon as it did to America in 1973 and as we see Russia doing to Ukraine today.”

Greg’s email to me used terms that lead to three different energy sources: coal, natural gas, and oil—and each have been big contributors to America’s progress and prosperity. Each has made the personal lives of Americans more pleasant and less painful. Together these energy sources have made America energy secure.

The email used the term “mountain top removal,” which is a method by which coal can be mined. It is safer than underground mines because it removes the risk of mine accidents, the horror of which we’ve recently witnessed in Turkey. (Note: America has far more stringent mining regulations today than does most of the world.) Greg likely selected the term “mountain top removal” because it sounds harsh. In fact, in the mountainous regions of Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, this surface mining process allows for hospitals, housing developments, shopping centers to be built—all which bring more economic development and much needed jobs.

I’ve toured regions where “mountain top removal” is being done and stood on top of the massive coal seam. The procedure is amazing. Picture the region like lots of upside down ice cream cones next to each other. Hills and valleys—but no place to create a community. In that mountain is a thick layer of coal that goes all the way through the mountain, north to south, east to west. To access it, the dirt, the tip of the ice cream cone, is taken off and the coal is removed.

In the past, when the coal had been extracted, a private landowner could ask the mining company to level out the land—making it economically productive. However, today’s regulations take away that property owner’s rights and require that the mountain be rebuilt and put back to its original condition. If the landowner wants to turn his land into a housing development, he then has to incur the expense of, once again, removing the peak and leveling the land.

The coal provides, and has provided, America with low-cost, base-load electricity—which, as we’ve already addressed, has given us a competitive advantage in the global marketplace and unmatched personal progress. And, therefore, energy from mountain top removal makes America Great.

Fracking—short for hydraulic fracturing—combined with the amazing technology of horizontal drilling, has brought America into a new era of energy abundance. Clarkson states: “Gas using industries are expanding while we enjoy a distinct advantage over the rest of the world.” He explains: “Shale gas lay worthless beneath the earth’s surface for the whole of man’s previous existence until human intelligence made it valuable”—and that was done with fracking.

One of the definitions of liberty found at is: “freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.” Clarkson points out: “There were no federal programs with subsidies, tax breaks, and mandated markets to favor the shale industry. …The new shale order of things is a triumph of free enterprise over government planning. The shale revolution shows that the good old American know-how and individual initiative that made this country great have survived the burden of big government and can still create economic miracles.” Clarkson closes with: “Some observers are already calling this the century of natural gas. This could also be the century of prosperity, free markets, and optimism as America regains its energy mojo.”

Unlike the pariah Greg presumes fracking to be, it is responsible for the shale gas phenomena.

Last, Greg asked about tar sands and how they make America great. Tar sands, or oil sands, allow America to get oil from our friendly Canadian neighbor and reduce our need to import OPEC’s oil. We then refine that oil into gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel that fuels our transportation fleet—something that wind and solar power cannot do.

I have been to the oil sands of Canada and what they are doing there is, like fracking and horizontal drilling, a technological miracle.

If you have ever walked on a California beach and stepped on a tar ball (created when the oil seeps out of the ground and is washed ashore mixed with sand), you have a clue what the tar sands are like. The naturally occurring tar sands are a layer in the earth (much like coal). This layer has raw crude oil mixed with the dirt/sands. I recall driving to the tar sands from the town where we stayed. As the elevation increased, I noticed that trees reached a certain height and then died. It was explained that as soon as the roots hit the bitumen (or tar) it kills the tree.

At the extraction site, the tar sands are bulldozed and dumped into giant trucks (much like surface coal mining). The tar and sand mixture is processed to separate the oil and the sand. (Think of taking that tar ball from the beach and boiling it. The oil melts and floats while the sand drops to the bottom.) The oil is now available for use and the clean sand is put back into the earth—only now the trees can actually grow. The reclaimed land is teeming with wildlife that lives in the healthy forest the extraction process provides. As a result, when the Keystone pipeline is approved, America would be far less dependent on people who aim to do us harm and OPEC couldn’t cause an instant recession as it did in 1973. Plus, Keystone will be safer and cheaper—not to mention creating more jobs—than shipping the oil via rail as we are currently doing.

And that, Greg, is how tar sands can make America greater.

Yes, mountain top removal—or coal; fracking—or natural gas; and tar sands—or oil, make America great. The use of natural resources are a part of liberty: “freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.”

People like Greg want to interfere, restrict, and hamper North America’s energy abundance—which will take away America’s ability to provide cheap and reliable power to her citizens and take away the ability to grow the economy and create wealth. Why would anyone want to do that?


Super PAC targets GOPers who deny human role in warming

As usual, they exaggerate skeptic spending and downplay their own

Retired hedge fund manager Tom Steyer is setting his sights on Republicans who reject climate change. The billionaire environmentalist is unveiling plans to spend $100 million this year in seven competitive Senate and gubernatorial races, as his super PAC works to counteract a flood of conservative spending by the Koch brothers.

The retired hedge fund manager’s super political action committee, NextGen Climate Action, announced plans Wednesday to plunge $100 million into seven congressional and gubernatorial races, where Democratic candidates face opponents who have publicly expressed doubts about anthropogenic climate change or who receive donations from the fossil fuel industry.

"The debate on climate change is settled," Mr. Steyer told Reuters. "It is here, it is human-caused, and it is already having a devastating impact on our communities, but we need to accelerate the level of political support to address this critical issue before it's too late."

Steyer has thrown his financial backing behind Democratic candidates in the past, including President Obama and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, but the NextGen campaign represents a more concerted effort to counter the massive sums being spent on Republican candidates by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch’s super PAC, Americans for Prosperity, according to NextGen's chief strategist, Chris Lehane.

"We're spending a drop in the big-oil bucket compare to what the fossil fuel industry is spending,” Mr. Lehane told the Associated Press. “All Tom is trying to do is really to level the playing field."

Steyer has already pledged $50 million of his own funds to NextGen and hopes to entice likeminded donors to match his contribution. Still, it is unclear if Democrats will be able to compete with Republican super PACs. The Koch brothers reportedly poured $400 million into the 2012 elections.

What NextGen lacks in spending power, it plans to make up for in pointed strategy. NextGen strategists will focus calculated ad campaigns that play on issues central to local constituencies in seven states. Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania are all in the super PAC’s sights.

“We are not going to be talking about polar bears and butterflies,” Lehane told the Los Angeles Times. “We are going to be talking about how this issue of climate impacts people in their backyards, in their states, in their communities.”

In Colorado, NextGen plans to capitalize on existing energy and environment concerns and urge voters to defeat Rep. Cory Gardner (R), who is running for the US Senate. Representative Gardner, who rejects the role of human activity in climate change, opposed new rules combating carbon pollution.

In Florida, NextGen is planning television ads that will highlight the potential impact of climate change on voters' budgets by way of soaring flood insurance premiums in an effort to turn voters against Gov. Rick Scott.

In New Hampshire, ads will likely target Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown’s recent oped backing the Keystone XL pipeline that "spouted regular Republican talking points that are absolute misinformation," NextGen's political director Sky Gallegos told the Associated Press.

In Iowa, NextGen will focus on the role of climate change in the drought that has plagued the state, the LATimes reports.

The idea is to initiate “a long-term conversation with voters,” Mr. Gallegos told the Times. “We want to talk to them and make a real connection of how climate hits them at the household level.


Tedious Warmist doomsaying is just another foolish squawk

Optimism isn't just an attitude—it's an accurate assessment of how well the human race has fared over the past several centuries

John Stossel

Are you worried about the future? It's hard not to be. If you watch the news, you mostly see violence, disasters, danger. Some in my business call it "fear porn" or "pessimism porn." People like the stuff; it makes them feel alive and informed.

Of course, it's our job to tell you about problems. If a plane crashes—or disappears—that's news. The fact that millions of planes arrive safely is a miracle, but it's not news.

So we soak in disasters—and warnings about the next one: bird flu, global warming, potential terrorism. I won Emmys hyping risks but stopped winning them when I wised up and started reporting on the overhyping of risks. My colleagues didn't like that as much.

In England, science journalist Matt Ridley also realized he had focused on the wrong things. That realization led to the more positive outlook in his book The Rational Optimist. Now Ridley gives lectures about why he's an optimist. It's not just an attitude; it's an accurate assessment of how well the human race has fared over the past several hundred years.

"I discovered that almost everything is getting better, even the things that people thought were getting worse," says Ridley.

He was taught to think the future was bleak. "The population explosion was unstoppable. Famine was inevitable. Pesticides were going to shorten our lives. The Ice Age was coming back. Acid rain was killing forests ... All these things were going to go wrong."

Yet time and again, humanity survived doomsday. Not just survived, we flourish. Population increases, yet famine becomes rarer. More energy is used, yet the environment gets cleaner. Innovation and trade keep improving our lives.

But the media win by selling pessimism porn. "People are much more interested in hearing about something that's gone wrong," says Ridley. "It sounds wiser to talk about what might go wrong than to talk about what might go right."

Or what already went right. Over the past 40 years, murder dropped by 40 percent, rape by 80 percent, and, outside of war zones, Islamic terrorism claims fewer than 400 lives a year. The last decade saw the fewest lives claimed in war since record keeping began.

One unnecessary death is tragic, but the big picture is good news.

Our brains just aren't very good at keeping track of the good news. Evolution programmed us to pay attention to problems. Good news often happens slowly. The media miss it.

There is, however, one big problem that threatens our future: the political class. Politicians offer us unsustainable debt and incomprehensible regulations. So far the economy has survived that because of what the Mercatus Center's Adam Thierer calls "permission-less innovation."

No one got approval from Washington to do Google searches, create Facebook profiles, or invent apps for Apple. If we did, they probably would never have happened. It's fortunate entrepreneurs keep making things faster than worried, control-freak government can smother them.

Google now informs us about most anything within seconds for free. Today people in the poorest countries have access to more information than the rich used to have. Email is free. So are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Skype.

The new "sharing economy" improves our lives. Companies like Roomorama and Airbnb let us share homes. Uber, Sidecar and Lyft let us share cars. lets us share a home-cooked meal.

Government regulators reflexively move to crush or control every such development, fearing that rooms rented online will be disruptive to neighbors, rides from Lyft too dangerous, and meals found through EatWith unhealthy. There's always some reason to worry—even though these same politicians don't worry too much about the risks of excessive government and its $17 trillion in debt.

Progress now depends on innovators finding customers faster than sleepy politicians can regulate. Better to beg forgiveness later than ask permission now. By the time bureaucrats wake up, entrepreneurs have lots of happy customers who lobby for the survival of those businesses.

You might call it "entrepreneurial civil disobedience." It's what it takes to win in today's hyper-regulated America. It's a good thing—and our best hope of having more good things in the future.


Key to the modern world – the sinister groupthink

Christopher Booker

All around us these days we see illustrations of what I have come to think of as one of the more illuminating insights into much of what goes on in our modern world. Consider one or two random examples. Some time back, under the heading “Thought police on patrol”, a well-known US journalist, Charles Krauthammer, reported how his newspaper had received a petition signed by more than 110,000 people calling on it not to carry any more articles questioning the fact of man-made global warming. He went on to recall how the new CEO of a leading media company, Mozilla, was recently forced to resign by the furore that erupted when it was revealed that, six years earlier, he had made a modest donation to a campaign in California to amend the state’s constitution, defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. Nearer home we have lately seen the extraordinary and unprecedented campaign by so much of the media to demonise and smear the UK Independence Party in general and Nigel Farage in particular (it appears he may have had the last laugh).

Some time back, a reader drew my attention to the book in which, 40 years ago, a Yale professor of psychology, Irving Janis, analysed what, with a conscious nod to George Orwell, he called “groupthink”. It is a term we all casually use (which even he derived from another writer), but he identified eight symptoms of groupthink. One is the urge of its victims to insist that their view is held as a “consensus” by all morally right-thinking people. Another is their ruthless desire to suppress any evidence that might lead someone to question it. A third is their urge to stereotype and denigrate anyone who dares hold a dissenting view. Their intolerance of “independent critical thinking”, as Janis put it, leads them to “irrational and dehumanised actions directed against outgroups”.

Of course, there is nothing new about this. Hostility to heretics and dissenters has characterised the more extreme forms of religious and political belief all down the ages. But as someone who tends often to come to views differing from those held by many other people – what Ibsen called that “majority” that is “always wrong” – I am quite sensitive to the power and prevalence of groupthink in our own time. It is particularly evident in views widely held on several subjects I regularly write about here, from climate change and “renewable energy” to everything its acolytes like to describe as “Europe”. It is their groupthinking intolerance that prompts them to stereotype anyone daring to disagree with their “consensus” as “deniers”, “flat-Earthers”, “creationists”, “xenophobes”, “homophobes”, “bigots”, “racists” or “fascists”.

But another characteristic of groupthink that Janis doesn’t fully explore in his book is that those caught up in these mindsets have never actually worked out their thinking on the subject for themselves. They have taken on their belief-system, and the reasons for supporting it, ready-made and wholesale from others. That is why it is impossible to have any intelligent dialogue with, say, zealots for man-made climate change or the European Union, because they have not really examined the evidence for themselves but have come to a set of opinions that are skin-deep and second-hand. They can only parrot the mantras they have picked up from others.

That is why, as we see illustrated on every side (not least in much of the output of the BBC, or, for that matter, the online comments below this column), they cannot tolerate or offer rational arguments, or explore the three-dimensional truth of a subject. They quickly resort just to dismissing anyone who disagrees with their beliefs as an “idiot”, “hopelessly ignorant”, “wildly inaccurate” or “anti-science”. Or they appeal to what Gustave Le Bon called “prestige”, citing supposedly respected authorities, such as the reports of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which are only voicing the “consensus” views of other adherents of the same groupthink.

When Ed Davey, our Energy and Climate Change Secretary, recently called on climate-change sceptics to “shut it”, he was merely reflecting the fact that absolutely nothing of all the nonsense he talks on this subject derives from his own independent thinking. He is merely repeating the nonsense he has been told by other people. But on this, as on so many other subjects these days, people like Mr Davey are just classic victims of groupthink. Because they don’t have any proper understanding of what they are talking about, they merely lash out with intolerant smears and ad hominem insults at anyone who does not inhabit the same “irrational and dehumanised” bubble in which they themselves have become, albeit quite unwittingly, trapped.




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


23 May, 2014

Fraction of the Globe in Drought: 1982-2012

None of the upsurge constantly asserted by Warmists. A slight decline in fact

The graph above shows the proportion of the planet in drought, by intensity, 1982-2012. The graph comes from a paper in a new Nature publication called Scientific Data and is open access.


House votes to defund Warmist nonsense

With a mostly party-line vote on Thursday, the House of Representatives passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) that seeks to prevent the Department of Defense from using funding to address the national security impacts of climate change.

The full text of McKinley’s amendment reads:

"None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order"

In other words, the House just tried to write climate denial into the Defense Department’s budget. “The McKinley amendment would require the Defense Department to assume that the cost of carbon pollution is zero,” Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Bobby Rush (D-IL) said in a letter to their colleagues before the vote.

The amendment forces the Defense Department to ignore the findings and recommendations of the National Climate Assessment and the IPCC’s latest climate assessment, specifically with regard to the national security impacts of climate change. It would also do the same for the Social Cost of Carbon, which provides a framework for rulemakers to take into account the societal, security, and economic costs associated with emitting more carbon dioxide.

Earlier this month with the release of the National Climate Assessment, 300 leading climate scientists and experts told Americans in no uncertain terms that time is running out to confront the dangerous impacts of climate change.

This week, 16 military experts agreed, telling Americans in a report that climate change is already threatening national security and the economy. The CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board authored the report, titled “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.”

“Civilian and uniformed leaders of our military know it is increasingly risky to depend on a single fuel source; these leaders are diversifying the military’s sources of power to make our bases more resilient and our forces more effective,” said Vice Admiral Gunn.

The Defense Department is beginning to take action. It recently started work on its largest solar project to date, and has been making progress on its “Net Zero” energy initiative. The goal? For bases to produce as much energy as they consume, and for forward combat operations to not have to rely on oil-heavy supply lines.

The McKinley amendment was added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which later passed, 325-98. Only three Republicans (Garrett, Gibson, LoBiondo) voted against the amendment, and four Democrats (Barrow, Cuellar, McIntyre, Rahall) voted for it.

The Senate held first markup of their version of the bill on Wednesday. The NDAA sets out the budget for the Department of Defense, and details the expenditures it can make, though this is different than the budget that actually awards the appropriations. That will happen later this year.

The NDAA is one of the few pieces of legislation that actually work close to normal — the House passes its version, and the Senate passes its version. It remains to be seen if the Senate will take up and pass a similar amendment, but even if it does not, the final decision will come during conference. The two chambers go to conference to iron out the differences before final passage and the president’s signature.


Billions of barrels of oil found below Sussex. Hampshire and Kent: Analysis reveals vast scale of energy reserves underneath the counties

The Greenies will hate this. Where's "Hubbert's peak" gone?

Billions of barrels of oil have been found beneath the south of England, according to a report due out today.

The official analysis by the British Geological Survey (BGS) revealed the vast scale of energy reserves lying under parts of Sussex, Hampshire and Kent.

Last year the first BGS study exceeded even the most optimistic calculations – estimating that there is 1,300trillion cubic feet of gas underground in the north of England.

Today's report is expected to do the same for the south, although it is unclear how much oil could be extracted as some of it is under built-up areas.

But the revelation comes just weeks after the Mail revealed ministers are preparing controversial plans to change the trespass law, giving energy firms the right to frack beneath homes and private land without the owners' permission.

It has been suggested that the Weald Basin, a vast area covering around 3,500 square miles in the south, could contain up to a third of the oil discovered in the North Sea.

This would offer Britain greater energy security and help drive down fuel prices, but extracting it will involve fracking – a controversial drilling technique used to split rocks below ground and release their stores of oil or gas.

Professor Richard Selley, from Imperial College London, said earlier this year that the discovery of oil in the Weald 'should not be a surprise'. There are already a number of oilfields around the North and South Downs which have been known about for decades.

And southern England has Europe's biggest onshore oilfield at Wytch Farm, a forest area in Dorset. However the prospect of oil drilling across a swathe of southern England will heighten tensions over whether fracking can go ahead in the face of local opposition.

The oil-rich area revealed today is thought to include a large swathe of the South Downs National Park and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The National Trust has called for fracking to be banned in national parks. Green protesters say the drilling for gas and oil will harm the Government's commitment to green forms of energy. And local campaigners in the area, which has several Tory MPs, have raised fears about noise, traffic and water contamination

It was also revealed last night that communities which agree to shale wells being sunk are to get more cash – an average of £800,000. A source at the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: 'At the exploration stage?…?communities will receive £100,000.

'And then if a well site goes ahead, they will receive 1 per cent of gross revenue every single year – around £1million per well over ten years. 'And today we can announce, in addition to this, communities will receive £20,000 for each unique lateral well put in place underground. This is likely to mean an average of £800,000.'


Famous false prophet dreams up a new scare

A controversial Stanford professor has claimed overpopulation could lead to humanity having to eat the bodies of the dead.

Paul Ehrlich, best known for his prediction of human 'oblivion' 46 years ago, says that current population trends are on a course that could leave cannibalism as one of the only options.

Ehrlich claimed that scarcity of resources will get so bad that humans will need to drastically change our eating habits and agriculture.

Ehrlich claimed that scarcity of resources will get so bad that humans will need to drastically change our eating habits and agriculture.

'We will soon be asking is it perfectly okay to eat the bodies of your dead because we’re all so hungry?,' he told HuffPost live host Josh Zepps.

He added that humanity is 'moving in that direction with a ridiculous speed. 'In other words between now and 45 years from now, 2.5 billion people will be added to the planet. 'We are moving towards resource wars.

Ehrlich is widely known for his 1968 publication of 'The Population Bomb' which called for 'population control' to prevent global crises from overpopulation.

'In the 1970’s the world will undergo famines - hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death,' he predicted.

'our children will inherit a totally different world, a world in which the standards, politics, and economics of the 1960’s are dead.'

Ehrlich claims that the dangers of overpopulation are once again growing, blaming Republicans and the media for failing to take action.

'We all have to eat, and it's very destructive.

The ethical issues around the way we raise cattle are important, but relatively trivial compared to the wrecking of our life support systems. 'I can much more about people, because I'm a person.'

In his new book, called 'Hope On Earth,' Ehrlich worked with Michael Tobias. 'There's a tremendous amount of optimism in the book,' said Tobais. 'I really think we have a capacity to come to the aid of individuals.'

Tobias believes that young investors could hold the key to solving the problem, by investing in technologies to solve the problem.


The Fascist nature of Warmism is becoming more and more obvious

But historical Fascism was actually popular!

by Mark Steyn

My compatriot David Suzuki, CC, OBC, was on PBS with Bill Moyers the other day and re-iterated for Americans his previously stated position in Canada that climate-denying politicians should be jailed:

"Our politicians should be thrown in the slammer for willful blindness!" he asserted. "If we are in a position of being able to act, and we see something going on and we refuse to acknowledge the threat or act on it, we can be taken to court for willful blindness."

Suzuki seems to be willfully blind to his own ignorance: after his spectacular know-nothing performance on the ABC's Q&A Down Under last year, I'm amazed his minders still let him do TV, even with tongue-bath interrogators like Moyers. As I said a couple of days ago, a lot of these guys are a planet wide and an inch deep - especially those at the eco-totalitarian end. (Ezra Levant and I discussed the Suzuki beclowning about halfway through this show.) I suppose we should be grateful the ayatollah of alarmism only wants deniers "thrown in the slammer" rather than, as Professor Richard Parncutt favors, executed.

The climate mullahs don't seem to grasp that this is why they're going nowhere. As James Delingpole points out, "climate change" is the biggest PR flopperoo of all time:

"It was once conservatively estimated (by blogger Richard North) that the cost of propping up the global warming industry since 1989 was equivalent in real terms to five Manhattan Projects. But that was back in 2010, since when spending on green boondoggles (eg the Obama 'stimulus') has risen exponentially, so we're likely looking at ten Manhattan Projects now.

A good chunk of that spending has, of course, gone towards "educating" the public.

This "education" takes many forms: from blatant propaganda, like the UK government's £6 million "drowning puppy" ad campaign, the Obama administration's recent Climate Assessment Report and the one released by a group of compliant senior US military figures calling themselves CNA Military Advisory Board, to more subtle brainwashing ranging from school trips to wind farms and ice cream containers with pictures of wind farms on the side and oil company adverts illustrated with wind farms (to show they're not just "all about oil") to, well, pretty much everything these days from supermarket delivery vehicles boasting about how much biofuel they use to Greenpeace campaign ads involving polar bears to Roger Harrabin's reporting for the BBC to Showtime's Years Of Living Dangerously...."

I happen to be writing this in a rather attractive hotel room disfigured by signs everywhere about how the hotel is "committed" to "going green" and "saving the planet" by not changing my sheets and towels unless I arrange them in a designated fashion in the bathtub (presumably the internationally agreed symbol for a towel-change denialist, and possibly on page 734 of the Kyoto Treaty).

And yet, as James says, no one's interested. The numbers of people seriously worried about "climate change" are as flat as the handle of Mann's hockey stick, and the numbers who are worried enough to do anything more about it than suffer the same smelly, damp towel for their fortnight's vacation are even smaller.

The way to get those numbers up is through persuasion and argument, and seeking common ground with partial allies. Instead, the cultists demand 100 per cent ideological purity, and blacklist, sue or call for the imprisonment and execution of anyone who fails the test. You can bully Lennart Bengtsson, you can sue me, maybe one day you'll be able to jail and hang us. But you'll be as far away as ever from persuading the millions of ordinary citizens desensitized by two decades of shrieking hysteria.

Michael E Mann, liar, cheat, falsifier and fraud, is at the very center of this ever more witless thuggery. I'd been saving this Shakespearean headline for an upcoming piece on the fake Nobel Laureate, but The Prussian beat me to it: "What A Piece Of Work Is Mann." It's well worth a read, not least for its at-a-glance guide to some of the many versions of Mann's "hockey stick"*. But, as a scientist who thinks that anthropogenic global warming is real, The Prussian is less concerned with Mann's science (which seems to take up very little of his time) than with his general conduct:

"This behaviour isn't that of someone trying to gain rational agreement but of one enforcing a faith-based creed.

I'm really, really not surprised that there's so much denialism around, if this is the public face of climate science...

There's no such thing as specific censorship. You can't just hold down one thing, you always end up holding down the things next to it. If you, for example:

- Accept that global warming is real, but disagree about its extent, or

- Agree about the extent, but disagree about the rate, or

- Agree about the rate and the extent, but disagree about the effects or

- Agree about the rate, extent and effects, but disagree about how to deal with it, or

- Agree about all the foregoing, but disagree how to get those solutions done…

Mann's goonshow tactics will be trained on you. Why do I say that? For the simple reason that that is what is already happening. We will need the best ideas we can get to deal with this issue, and the only way to get those is to have the freest possible marketplace of ideas."

But in the marketplace of ideas Mann's idea is to sue you, and Suzuki's idea is to jail you, and Parncutt's idea is to execute you.

As for the latest goonshow hockey-sticking, Dr Judith Curry put it to him very directly on Twitter:

.@MichaelEMann Were you one of the U.S. scientists that pressured Bengtsson to resign from the GWPF?

Dr Mann seems to be in no hurry to respond.


Nostalgia for the absolute

by Mark Steyn

Yale law professor Stephen Carter has written an imaginary address to America's Class of 2014, which is currently busy disinviting truckloads of distinguished speakers from their graduation ceremonies. In the course of his remarks, Professor Carter observes:

"The literary critic George Steiner, in a wonderful little book titled "Nostalgia for the Absolute," long ago predicted this moment. We have an attraction, he contended, to higher truths that can sweep away complexity and nuance. We like systems that can explain everything. Intellectuals in the West are nostalgic for the tight grip religion once held on the Western imagination. They are attracted to modes of thought that are as comprehensive and authoritarian as the medieval church."

Oddly enough, Professor Carter doesn't so much as mention "climate change", but "Nostalgia for the Absolute" fits, doesn't it? "Higher truths that can sweep away complexity and nuance"? If you sweep them away as thoroughly as climate absolutist Michael E Mann, you find yourself sitting across the table from an interviewer who believes that, if it's 10 Celsius today and 15 Celsius tomorrow, that means it's 50 per cent warmer. And you don't mind the company you're keeping, because when it comes to your "higher truth" this guy believes, he believes absolutely - which is all that matters.

Swedish climatologist Lennart Bengtsson, on the other hand, tried to wiggle free of "the tight grip". The story of what happened when the Clime Syndicate had to jump him in the alley and hockey-stick him back into line has received big play in Fleet Street, including the front page of yesterday's Times.I confess I don't quite know what to make of Professor Bengtsson. As far as I can tell, he's not a warmist-turned-denier so much as a warmist who thought he might benefit from a wider range of acquaintances. So he joined the advisory board of Nigel Lawson's Global Warming Policy Foundation, which he has now been forced to unjoin. Where he goes next is unclear. So put him to one side. And also set aside the responses of Lord Lawson and his GWPF colleagues, which are uniformly more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger, deeply regret his decision but understand the enormous pressures, etc, etc.

Instead, consider the self-proclaimed side of virtue in this debate: the Conclave of Settled Scientists. Bishop Hill has a couple of their reactions. First up, atmospheric scientist Bart Verheggen on Bengtsson's charge of "climate McCarthyism":

Would it be McCarthyism if evolutionary biologists expressed dismay about a colleague joining the Creationist Institute?

Next up, Peter Gleick, the American Geophysical Union's "scientific ethics" chairman whose scientific ethics include using a false name to acquire confidential documents from the Heartland Institute. Gleick on Bengtsson:

Sailor joins flat earth society; doesn't understand why shipmates won't sail with him?

"Nostalgia for the Absolute" runs rampant through the Settled Science reactions. As Bishop Hill says, the only "scientific difference" between Gleick and Verheggen, on the one hand, and the GWPF, on the other, is really on the question of climate variability, a murky and imprecise topic. A round earth and a flat earth are two stark, mutually incompatible choices: one side is going to be 100 per cent right, and the other 100 per cent wrong. As the 17-year warming "pause" suggests, in climate science nobody's 100 per cent right; it's a field of "complexity and nuance", and somewhere in the grey blur people pick different points to pitch their tents. There is no Team Round and Team Flat. Steve McIntyre doesn't talk this way, nor does Nigel Lawson, nor does Richard Tol nor Judith Curry. Only the Settled Science enforcers do.

Bishop Hill calls this "the bigotry of the consensus". As one might expect, the worst reaction from among the Warmanos, in both its shallowness and repulsiveness, was that of Michael Mann. Yesterday morning, apropos the Times front page on Bengtsson, he Tweeted approvingly:

REAL story via @NafeezAhmed "Murdoch-owned media hypes lone meteorologist's #climate junk science"

So to Michael Mann Lennart Bengtsson is now "junk science"? For a decade, he was director of the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology. For another decade, he was Director of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. He's won the Descartes Prize, and a World Meteorological Organization prize for groundbreaking research in numerical weather prediction. Over the years, he and Michael Mann have collaborated on scientific conferences. But a half-century of distinguished service to climate science - the directorships, the prizes, all the peer-reviewed papers, the shared platforms with the great Dr Mann - is swept into the garbage can of history, and Bengtsson is now just another "denialist" peddling "junk science."

What a sad dead husk of a human being Michael Mann is to do such a thing to a professional colleague.

And who is this Nafeez Ahmed whose "REAL story" on Bengtsson's "junk science" Mann enthusiastically promotes to his groupies? As with the Irish Percentage Boy above, Mann's insistence on complete ideological fealty leads him to keep some very odd company. Nafeez Ahmed is, in the late Christopher Hitchens' summation, "a risible individual wedded to half-baked conspiracy-mongering" last heard from promoting the theory that climate change is responsible for kidnapping the Nigerian schoolgirls. Mr Ahmed believes that al-Qaeda is "an instrument of Western statecraft, a covert operations tool". He argues that ten of the named 9/11 hijackers are still alive and on the big day had their identities usurped by men trained by the US military and the CIA.

When you enforce the ideological purity tests that Mann does, and wind up casting Lennart Bengtsson, John Christy, Mike Hulme et al overboard, eventually you find yourself in an echo chamber with only a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and a man who thinks the temperature is going to increase by 25 per cent in the next 30 years for company. A Nostalgia for the Absolute has led Michael Mann to consort with absolute loons.

But the damage he does to science and scientists is very real. Dr Judith Curry writes:

"As a result of smearings by Romm, Mann, et al., I am excluded from serious consideration for administrative positions at universities, offices in professional societies, consideration for awards from professional societies, a number of people won't collaborate with me, and anyone who wants to invite me to be a keynote speaker has to justify this in light of all the cr*p that shows up if you google 'Judith Curry'. Does any of this really 'matter'? I've convinced myself that it doesn't (well not as much as my own conscience and integrity), but I suspect that such things would matter to most scientists."

Joe Romm engaging in such practices is reprehensible, but it is an issue of much greater concern when other scientists do it (notably Michael Mann).

Indeed it is. And a person who does it on the scale that Mann does is not, either principally or temperamentally, a scientist at all. He's operating out there on the same fringes as his buddy Nafeez Ahmed, peddling "systems that can explain everything", from Antarctic ice to Boko Haram.

Meanwhile, Dr Nicola Gulley, the editorial director at the Institute of Physics, purports to give us the real reason why Environmental Research Letters declined to publish Lennart Bengtsson's latest paper. Don't believe all that stuff from Bengtsson about it being rejected because it was too "helpful" to "climate sceptics". Oh, no, Dr Gulley eighty-sixed Bengtsson because his paper "contained errors, in our view did not provide a significant advancement in the field, and therefore could not be published in the journal".

So what were these "errors"? The anonymous peer-review Dr Gulley appends to her statement identifies only one: Professor Bengtsson's paper is about the way reality refuses to agree with the climate models, and the reviewer says this is a "false" comparison because "no consistency was to be expected in the first place".


As Steve McIntyre concludes his analysis:

"Given the failure of the publisher to show any "error" other than the expectation that models be consistent with observations, I think that readers are entirely justified in concluding that the article was rejected not because it "contained errors", but for the reason stated in the reviewers' summary: because it was perceived to be "harmful… and worse from the climate sceptics' media side".

The only "error" here was Bengtsson's careless assumption that the "higher truth" of Mann et al was subject to the same tests as real science.

This was not a good week for the climate cultists. The Climategate intimidation was done in the back rooms, sotto voce. This time they did it out in the open, to an eminent 79-year old scientist. The ugly truth about Mann's climate of fear is harder and harder to avoid.




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


22 May, 2014

NYT wisdom: The Big Melt Accelerates

Muir Glacier at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska is among the many worldwide that are disappearing. Muir, left, as seen in August 1941, and photographed in August 2004.



What the NYT didn’t note is that the glacier has been shrinking since at least 1794, which it was mapped by the Vancouver Expedition. That’s according to a 1912 book published by the National Geographic Society, and which is no longer in copyright. A page below:

The 1912 book says that Muir Glacier “extended 25 to 40 miles farther to the south in 1794” and that there were “native legends of the greater extension of the glaciers.” Muir Glacier receded 1.5 miles in a single 10-year period between the time John Muir himself documented it in 1879-1800 and H.F. Reid visited in 1890.

If this glacier has been retreating for over 220 years, and likely for centuries before if the native legends are accurate, how much of this is due to current CO2 production?

Weasel words about the Antarctic

by Dr. Tom Sheahen

Q. On TV I saw that the ice in Antarctica is collapsing, and that will raise sea level and inundate cities. Others reports say this will take thousands of years. How serious is the problem?

What you are witnessing here is a result of confusion between the public perception of the ordinary meaning of words, and the very special definitions used in scientific discourse.

Geologists deal with changes in the earth that occur over epochs of millions of years. Anything that happens in less than 10,000 years is “sudden,” and something happening in only 1,000 years is “instantaneous.” To geologists, the word “collapse” is appropriate for a 10,000 year process.

A hot-topic in the media these days has to do with the West Antarctic Ice Shelf (WAIS), a region comprising about 8% of the ice covering Antarctica. Within that region, there are two glaciers that are sliding down to the sea at a steady pace, as glaciers always do. They comprise about 10% of the WAIS, less than 1% of Antarctic ice. This descent has been in progress for several thousand years, and is neither new nor man-caused. It will go on for a few thousand more, after which they’ll be gone. In the parlance of geology, those two glaciers are collapsing.

If that doesn’t sound to you like your usual meaning of the word “collapse,” you’re absolutely right. It’s a specialized geological term.

Unfortunately, the major media overlook the distinction of meanings, and then make the further generalization from two specific glaciers to the entire WAIS, and moreover to Antarctica in general. Scientists who point out the small actual glacier size (and volume of ice) are brushed aside in the rush to get a headline or a flamboyant sound byte that will keep the viewers tuned in. Words like unavoidable collapse carry a sense of foreboding.

This isn’t just a problem from geology. Confusion over the meaning of words used in science crops up frequently. Laws of physics (e.g., conservation of energy) are said to be true in general, meaning “always true.” But if a physicist says “that is generally true,” a non-scientist hears “that is usually true” – meaning “most of the time, but not always.” Neither is aware of the other’s interpretation.

The word “average” is easily misunderstood. For any set of data, about any topic, you can construct an average. But it may be irrelevant – a good example being the “average temperature of the Earth.” Regional and seasonal variations are so great that a single average number is meaningless. And yet people have such familiarity with the word “average” – batting averages, school grade averages, etc. -- that it’s commonplace to believe that any statistic called an “average” represents something real.

Via email

Greedy Greenie in Britain

'Can't afford NYC I'm afraid mate. Am in a big job but low pay': Councillor slammed after he complained about his salary on Twitter - despite earning £32,000 a year

A local councillor has been slammed after he complained about the 'low pay' he gets for his public duties - despite earning £32,000 a year as an assistant mayor.

Bristol council cabinet member Gus Hoyt, 38, made the controversial remarks in a Twitter conversation with a friend about a trip to New York.

Green Party member Cllr Hoyt, who gave up work after he was elected, told the friend: 'Can't afford NYC I'm afraid mate. Am in a Big job but low pay...local government....'

His online remarks have since been blasted by political opponents, who branded him out of touch with ordinary people.

The council's Lib Dem deputy leader Chris Martin asked him: 'Your combined income is public record and is £32k - the question is how do you consider that low pay?'

And Labour candidate Naomi Rylatt added: 'I'm appalled that Councillor Hoyt is ignorant enough to think £32,000 is low pay.'

The £32,000 Cllr Hoyt gets in allowances for his council work are £5,300 more than the average British worker's annual wage.

Mr Hoyt, who is responsible for neighbourhoods, environment and council housing, later attempted to defend himself against online critics by writing: 'It's quite interesting how some people are only driven by negativity and hatred. Must be horrible.'

University-educated Hoyt receives a basic allowance of £11,530, which is paid to all councillors, on top of which he gets an extra £20,266 for being an assistant mayor.

He is not contracted to work a specific number of hours but said that he regards being a councillor and an assistant mayor as two full-time jobs.

Cllr Hoyt quit his job after being elected and now receives a basic allowance of £11,530 as well as an extra £20,266 for being an assistant mayor

The former labourer has since insisted that for most of his working life he has been on minimum wage and understood what it meant to exist on a low wage.

He said: 'My comments were said in the context of my friend living in New York and earning much more than me. 'I simply could not afford to go for a week's holiday.'

But he has continued to attract disapproving tweets from locals, with one Twitter user, Bristolgirl67, writing: 'If 32k is low pay I'd like to be low paid...I currently earn a quarter approx of that.'

The criticism comes after it was revealed Cllr Hoyt bought an ex-council house for £186,000 in an auction in 2012 - despite it being Green Party policy not to sell off authority homes.

Reacting to criticism over the purchase of the ex-council house, he said he entered into a blind auction for the property and did not know it was owned by the council until he had received official documents. [Disputed]

First elected to serve Bristol's Ashley ward in 2011, Mr Hoyt will have to contest his seat again next year.

The national average wage for a full-time worker is £26,500, and the annual salary for someone in a full time job on the national minimum wage is £13,124.


A celebration of Spring

A fraternal greeting from Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser, German-born and now living in Canada

If you live in the northern climes, as I do, spring is an overpowering force. After a long winter and weeks of nature seemingly in an eternal slumber, spring arrives overnight, without warning and drawn-out preludes.

One day it’s cold and dreary and the next day you wonder how life can re-emerge so exuberantly after a long hibernation.

In much of this continent’s environs, spring is almost non-existent, winter gives way directly to summer. Some voices say we have only two seasons - winter and construction season.

In contrast to central Europe, where spring starts in February or March with a slow but steady progression of nature, the continental climate here goes from one extreme to another in no time flat.

Yesterday you froze your buns, today you feel the heat. The trees are budding, the weeds are growing and everything else is forgotten.

Six months of drudgery shovelling snow and scraping the ice off your car’s windshield are all forgotten, swiftly becoming a distant memory. Welcome spring!

Enjoy the season!


The secrecy continues

Warmism cannot stand the light of day

Attempts to get critical information from agents of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meet with little success. Why? They claim immediate response to their work is mandatory for planetary survival and time is running out.

Here is what Slater reported on March 30 2014.

"In a new U.N. report released on Monday morning (Japan time) scientists come to a stark conclusion: Unless the world changes course immediately and dramatically, the fundamental systems that support human civilization are at risk."

If true, surely the world has the right to know every bit of information used for this conclusion, but that hasn’t happened. There’s a contradiction between orchestrated publicity raising the threat, but silence, obfuscation, and outright denial regarding questions about important data, process, and methodology. Suspicions are driven by natural curiosity and desire for complete openness in science, but also by their behavior to date.

What have they got to hide? A great deal, as the leaked Climate Research Unit (CRU) emails attest. CRU countered challenges to their views by setting up the PR web site RealClimate and controlling information such as William Connolley’s editing of Wikipedia entries. Publicly they played the victim card claiming they were ordinary scientists trying to do their work but overwhelmed, possibly deliberately, by Freedom of Information requests. The requests occurred because they refused to provide answers and information. A siege mentality was apparent from the start.

The Wegman Report investigation and analysis of the hockey stick fiasco provides an example in the critical paleoclimate group.

"Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent. Moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that this community can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility."

The latest effort to get information released was thwarted by a court ruling regarding Michael Mann’s material. It said Mann’s work was protected from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests due to the “proprietary nature” of the information. How this impinges on the Amicus Brief, filed by a consortium of media in Virginia to obtain the same information, remains to be seen. The real issue is the data he is withholding, but that is not the Amicus’ concern. The opening paragraph of the Argument explains,

"Exemptions to VFOIA (Virginia Freedom of Information Act) must be narrowly interpreted to comply with the legislative intent behind the law and to ensure the public and the news media sufficient access to the government to promote an understanding of its operations. Public universities are necessarily included in VFOIA and the media has a strong interest in being able to monitor University spending operations. While truly proprietary information in the possession of a public university should not be subject to request under VFOIA and in fact is properly exempted, email among professors is not entitled to a blanket treatment as proprietary. Instead, such communications are an essential part of the functioning of the University and must be subject to public scrutiny. Because such communications have been held not to implicate academic freedom, and because the type of email at issue here does not include unpublished information in which the professors or the University have a competitive interest, it must be subject to VFOIA. The lower court’s broad definition of “proprietary nature” cannot stand if VFOIA is to retain any meaning."

Openness and access for the media are important but abrogation of that responsibility by the mainstream media (MSM) allowed and encouraged CRU and IPCC behavior.

An appeal is necessary because of the nature of the material; taxpayers funded its production; and it is the basis of globally changing policy. State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli used the “Fraud against Taxpayers Act” against the University of Virginia when seeking Michael Mann’s work. When an author receives compensation does the ownership of the article belong to the payee, unless otherwise agreed? Did any of the IPCC participants contract retained ownership of their work? Participation in production of a public document with global policy implications implies you will provide full details in its derivation.

Leaked CRU emails indicate important players, like Phil Jones, CRU Director, anticipated the questions. He advised people how to hide and avoid FOI requests. Here is an email he sent on 2 February 2005.

"Just sent loads of station data to Scott. Make sure he documents everything better this time! And don’t leave stuff lying around on ftp sites – you never know who is trawling them. The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone. Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days? – our does ! The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it.We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind. Tom Wigley has sent me a worried email when he heard about it – thought people could ask him for his model code. He has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that. IPR should be relevant here, but I can see me getting into an argument with someone at UEA who’ll say we must adhere to it!"

On 10 December 2008 he wrote to Ben Santer;

"Haven’t got a reply from the FOI person here at UEA. So I’m not entirely confident the numbers are correct. One way of checking would be to look on CA (Climate Audit), but I’m not doing that. I did get an email from the FOI person here early yesterday to tell me I shouldn’t be deleting emails – unless this was ‘normal’ deleting to keep emails manageable! McIntyre hasn’t paid his £10, so nothing looks likely to happen re his Data Protection Act email.

Anyway requests have been of three types – observational data, paleo data and who made IPCC changes and why. Keith has got all the latter – and there have been at least 4. We made Susan (Solomon) aware of these – all came from David Holland. According to the FOI Commissioner’s Office, IPCC is an international organization, so is above any national FOI. Even if UEA holds anything about IPCC, we are not obliged to pass it on, unless it has anything to do with our core business – and it doesn’t! I’m sounding like Sir Humphrey (bureaucrat in English TV comedy series) here!"

And then a devastating postscript in a 21 February 2005 email to Michael Mann, cc’d to Bradley and Hughes.

"PS I’m getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station temperature data.

Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act !

On 21 January 2005 Phil Jones responded to concerns about FOIA from Tom Wigley, former Director of the CRU, grandfather overseer of the IPCC central characters.

As for FOIA Sarah isn’t technically employed by UEA and she will likely be paid by Manchester Metropolitan University. I wouldn’t worry about the code. If FOIA does ever get used by anyone, there is also IPR to consider as well. Data is covered by all the agreements we sign with people, so I will be hiding behind them. I’ll be passing any requests onto the person at UEA who has been given a post to deal with them."

IPR is Intellectual Property Rights and similar to the Proprietary Rights (PR) Michael Mann used to prevent release of his material. Jones suggests it is the final fall back position and so far it seems to work for Mann.

The Virginia media group Amicus Brief may redress problems created by Mann’s use of PR. Mann knew that as a “public figure” he was subject to a different level of what was defamatory. Shouldn’t that also apply to his PR? He tried to downplay the challenge claiming he was a ”reluctant public figure”. This reluctance didn’t prevent him promoting public adulation and recognition by bragging about and falsely claiming he was a Nobel Prize winner. Actually, the Nobel Institute gave it to the IPCC for their contribution to world peace. This categorically implies the IPCC work had global implications and therefore much greater consequence.

Mann consistently advances the importance of his work and the threat it confronts. He makes the link in such works as, “Do Global Warming and Climate Change Represent A Serious Threat To Our Welfare and Environment? He pushes the same message in manytelevision appearances. These are hardly the activities of a “reluctant” person.

In my opinion this changes the standard of disclosure for his data and work. What is the basis for such an alarmist message that demands world-changing action with economic and social upheaval? Taxpayers who funded and are impacted have a right to know.

Earlier I said the PR was the final fall back position, but that only applies to legal actions. Phil Jones used a few unscrupulous tactics successfully. He convinced the University of East Anglia (UEA) that they should not have to reply to request from Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit. He did it by denigrating and demeaning them with phrases like “types of people” in his 3 December 2008 email to Wigley,

"When the FOI requests began here, the FOI person said we had to abide by the requests. It took a couple of half hour sessions – one at a screen, to convince them otherwise showing them what CA was all about. Once they became aware of the types of people we were dealing with, everyone at UEA (in the registry and in the Environmental Sciences school – the head of school and a few others) became very supportive.

Jones anticipated FOI request for emails by advising erasure. On 2 February 2005 he wrote,

"If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone."

Did this attitude cause him to use the second defensive technique of losing the data? On 29 May 2008 he advised Mann and others to erase emails.

"Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith (Briffa) re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis. Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address. We will be getting Caspar to do likewise."

Apparently, Mann’s material or data is not erased or lost yet. Presumably he believes the PR ruling provides all the protection he needs.

Data Mann withholds was used to create the “hockey stick” handle and data Phil Jones lost created the blade, an event he said was “not acceptable”. The graph dominated the 2001 IPCC Report as Ross McKitrick detailed. The Report was pivotal in convincing the world that human produced CO2 was causing global warming. The hockey stick graph became the poster child.

Justice demands that Mann’s claim of Proprietary Rights be offset by the way in which the data and work was funded, produced and used. Funding was public at all levels, the IPCC is a UN agency globally funded, their work received maximum public approval with a Nobel Prize, their work was consciously directed and promoted to influence public policy through the Summary for Policymakers that profoundly altered national and international policies for energy and economies. If they believe the work done is so valuable, why do they persist in keeping it from the public? It is another example of the gap between justice and the law, especially as it relates to climate and the environment.



Four articles below

Climate Change Research Axed in Australia

The fallout from the new government’s budget is still being seen in Australia, but it is already obvious that climate change is a loser when it comes to funding. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has long been skeptical of global warming and the science behind it, but with his new-found legislative power it seems as though he is looking at making that viewpoint into law. According to critics, there is no longer even the pretence of working towards limiting the effects of climate change as the government works to protect the interests of fossil fuel producers and businesses. Whether or not there is a real connection between big business interest and the new budget, Abbott and his cabinet have taken the axe to climate change research and are poised to fundamentally damage all scientific research in Australia in the process.

The budgetary facts are inescapably grim for researchers and scientists based in renewable energies and research. The funding for all government programs related to climate change is set to shrink at an alarming rate, going from $5.75 billion this year to a scant $500 million in the next four years. Additionally, the Emissions Reduction Fund which is meant to help lower greenhouse gas emissions in Australia is going to be reduced to only $1.14 billion. This was devastating news after Environment Minister Greg Hunt had gone on record promising to provide $2.55 billion to fund the program. Nevertheless, it is not only climate change programs that are feeling the pinch of the Abbott budget. The Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency, will have $111 million worth of funding slashed over the next four years, which will affect an uncertain number of programs and a loss of tenth of the CSIRO workforce.

The outlook is bleak from the standpoint of scientists and researchers in Australia, many of whom will probably leave the country in order to find work elsewhere. This represents a loss of a skilled workforce for a country that is already seeing a six percent unemployment rate. Despite harping on the jobless rate, the Abbott government has not provided a solution to getting more people working. Cuts to climate change programs and scientific research are only the tip of the unemployment iceberg. Under this budget, unemployment rates are set to rise to 6.25 percent by June next year. This is worrying news for the hundreds of thousands of Australians currently out of work or who are facing the prospect of unemployment in the wake of the new budget plan.

But it is not only highly educated scientists who may lose their employment after climate change research was axed by the government that is currently running things in Australia. There are thousands of jobs connected to renewable resources that will also be lost due to funding cuts. Thousands of jobs exist in rural areas where renewable energy sources like wind and solar power have a great presence. Wind mills and solar energy outposts have to be built in rural areas that have enough space to accommodate them. People who own the land these are built on also see an income from the renting of their property to the operators of this machinery, an income they will most likely lose should funding be cut so drastically. It looks as though funding for climate change programs is not just an issue of ideology, but a problem of real-world economics.

Some have claimed that the cuts are completely ideologically driven and have nothing to do with principles of budget balance or good governance. Greens party leader Christine Milne called out the prime minister’s oppositional stance to climate change science. She referred to the government’s repeated claims to support emissions reduction and called the budget a repudiation of that, a dropping of the curtain on their real designs on the issue. She went a step further, calling the budget an attempt to “shore up the vested interests of coal-fired generators and the old order of Australia.” Her comment points to the role of the mining industry, which provides six percent of the country’s economy.

There is some good news for climate change funding and the scientific research community that is facing down the barrel of the Abbott government’s budget. Until the budget passes the senate, there will be no changes to funding and organization of the sector. For now, climate change research is safe from getting axed and if the senate does not allow the budget to go through, the jobs that could be lost will still exist in Australia’s renewable energy sector.


Qld solar tariffs under threat

QUEENSLAND homeowners who use solar panels could be worse off under laws that will no longer guarantee them a feed-in tariff of eight cents.

Laws due to be passed tonight will mean the responsibility for paying the tariff will switch from government-owned distributors to retailers after June 30.

And consumers will have to negotiate directly with their retailer for the price they are paid.

The Queensland Competition Authority will set a tariff rate for Ergon Energy customers in the immediate future, given the very limited competition outside the southeast corner.

Energy Minister Mark McArdle says the changes will lift the cost burden from the network businesses, making the scheme fairer for all Queensland consumers.

"It will put downward pressure on electricity prices," Mr McArdle told parliament.

"Feed-in tariff payments will not be cross subsidised by consumers, making the arrangement far more sustainable over the long term."

Electrical Trades Union state organiser Stuart Traill says the 40,000 consumers on the eight cents feed-in tariff will have little to no bargaining power with large energy corporations.

"They will be worse off, and a lot of them will be pensioners," he told AAP.

"And there will be job losses in the solar industry because there will be less incentives to move to solar now."

Mr Traill added the plan was ill considered, and the returns would be minuscule compared to how much could have been saved if the 44 cent feed-in tariff had been reformed.

The 44 cent tariff, paid to some 284,000 people who were first to sign up to the scheme, will remain unchanged.

Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the Opposition would not oppose the bill but said the Newman government had broken an election promise.

"The LNP promised the scheme would be safe and kept at the same rate," Mr Pitt told parliament.


Solar panels ‘are time bombs’

THE Coalition has likened the spate of house fires caused by allegedly faulty rooftop circuit-breakers to the pink batts fiasco, claiming Labor ignored warnings that subsidies for solar power would create a similar honey pot for dodgy operators.

As revealed by The Australian, Advancetech, the Queensland company that imported and sold 27,000 solar power DC isolators, went into receivership last Friday, leaving tens of thousands of homeowners to replace them in their rooftop arrays or risk a ­conflagration.

The Queensland and NSW governments have issued recall notices for the Avanco isolators after 70 of them burnt out, in some cases causing minor house fires.

Also recalled is a PVPower branded isolator imported and sold by Swiss electrotechnical products supplier DKSH, though that began in March at the instigation of the company.

Describing solar panels as “ticking time bombs”, Nationals senator Ron Boswell said there would be “possibly thousands” of other dangerous breakdowns.

The Queensland senator said the Labor government’s subsidy to encourage home owners to install solar panels, the Small-scale Renewable Energy Certificates scheme, led to an overheated market in which shoddy operators and cheap imports thrived.

“The flaws and waste associated with this scheme have been largely under the radar because of the scale of the personal tragedies associated with the pink batts fiasco, but as an exercise in silliness, waste, and maladministration, the solar scheme has been its absolute equal,” Senator Boswell said.

“It has a long way to go before it plays out, as systems installed age.

“Fire-prone isolators in rooftop solar arrays in Queensland and NSW are just the sort of problem Labor was warned about, and ignored, as it ramped up demand for its solar program in 2010.”

He quoted several experts who had given evidence to a Senate committee on the topic that year, including the chief executive of environmental credits trader Greenbank Environmental, Fiona O’Hehir, who said the subsidy gave rise to possible dodgy and dangerous installations.

“You would actually have DC generation on your roof, which can be as high as 120V DC. A flood of cheap imports into Australia could mean that we have significant risk,” she said at the time.

“If it continues at this rate, we will soon end up with a situation along the lines of the insulation program, which would be a disaster for the renewable energy industry.’’

The SREC scheme is still in place, though at a much reduced rate of subsidy, and is under review pending the outcome of the inquiry into renewable energy by businessman Dick Warburton.


Subsidies for clean energy to hit $21bn

SUBSIDIES for renewable energy schemes such as rooftop solar panels and wind farms will cost electricity consumers up to $21.6 billion by 2020, a new analysis has found.

A submission by the Minerals Council of Australia also warns that more gas- and coal-fired power stations could be mothballed or permanently closed as the renewable energy target puts pressure on the electricity market and slashes their revenues.

If this happens, retail electricity prices “can be expected to increase”, according to an economic analysis commissioned by the council which represents mining giants including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Glencore Xstrata.

The analysis also hits back at fresh claims by the clean energy sector that the RET will create up to 18,400 jobs by 2020, declaring “the most immediate effects” from subsidising the renewable sector are job losses as cheaper forms of energy are crowded out.

“Additional job losses can be expected to arise from the drain on economic activity as a result of higher electricity prices,” it finds.

Former Queensland treasurer Keith De Lacy — now one of the nation’s best-known company ­directors — declared it was “plain crazy” to have schemes such as the RET, solar feed-in tariffs and carbon tax that were driving up power bills.

“The Australian public keep complaining about the increases in the costs of living and this has become even more so since the budget,” Mr De Lacy told The Australian yesterday.

“But one of the biggest increases in cost has been the price of electricity ... It’s the most fundamental of services to the Aus­tralian public … These kind of things just make some people feel good but don’t achieve anything.

“They’ve got no place, I believe, in a modern economy.”

The comments add to pressure on the Coalition, given it is split over what to do about the RET.

According to the Principal Economics review commissioned by the Minerals Council, the RET scheme has an opportunity cost (money that could have been invested elsewhere) of more than $36bn by 2020-21.

The analysis finds that subsidies that are recovered through the sale of renewable ­energy certificates, which are ­directly passed on to consumers, could reach between $19.3bn and $21.6bn by 2020-21, covering part of the cost to build the ­infrastructure.

The miners are wielding the figures in a bid to convince the government-appointed RET review panel that the scheme is ­excessively costly for households and industry, and cannot continue the way it is.

“These are the additional costs paid by energy consumers: households, domestic firms and exporters such as the mining sector,” the council’s submission says.

The submission also warns that the RET will encumber business with “uncapped and high costs for subsidies”, particularly for the scheme for rooftop solar PV panels, “because of poor ­design and a series of inchoate policy shifts”.

In 2010, then federal minister Martin Ferguson said the RET was a “bonus to the renewable sector of the order of another $20bn to $30bn in commonwealth government support”.

The Australian Industry Group has called for the RET to be maintained, despite demands by some businesses that it be scrapped because it is expensive.

The AiGroup says that while the cost of building wind farms and solar panels is passed on to customers, extra energy from wind farms and solar panels has pushed down wholesale prices.

This has also been a key pillar of arguments by the Clean Energy Council, which is wielding its own research by ROAM Consulting that finds household energy prices would be $50 a year lower by 2020 with the RET, and that leaving it alone would create 18,400 jobs.

The Minerals Council has told the panel lower wholesale prices are not a “function of competitive forces but of government intervention”, are likely to be short-lived and undermine investments in coal- and gas-fired power stations needed for reliable electricity supplies.

The analysis points to power station retirements including the permanent shutdown of the Munmorah black coal power ­station in NSW and temporary closure of South Australia’s Playford.

“Overall retail price rises have therefore been lower than they otherwise would have been,’’ the analysis says.

Wholesale electricity prices are “likely to increase” if power generators that become unprofitable close. Minerals Council chief executive Brendan Pearson said access to cheap, reliable energy had been a “source of economic strength” for Australia. “This is no longer the case,” he said.

The analysis draws on previous modelling. It quotes estimates by SKM MMA for the Climate Change Authority in December 2012 that put the cost for buying certificates for large-scale renewables at $15.9bn by 2020-21 and for small-scale renewables at $3.4bn — totalling $19.3bn.

Like most of the figures cited in the new analysis, these are based on an assumption of no carbon price — which the analysis says is appropriate as the Abbott government has announced its plans to repeal it.

To get to the $21.6bn figure, the analysis cites modelling by ACIL Tasman for TRUenergy (now EnergyAustralia) — which wants the RET scaled back — that puts the subsidy for the small-scale scheme at $5.7bn.




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


21 May, 2014

Cynical lies designed to pressure big food companies

Warming would make great new areas of Northern Canada and Siberia suitable for grain farming. So the problem would be TOO MUCH food, not too little. And if some of the soils there are poor, adding supplements of various sorts is already routine

The price of cereals such as Corn Flakes could surge by as much as 44 percent in the next 15 years because of climate change, Oxfam has warned.

The charity has claimed the 'Big 10' food and drink companies combined emit more greenhouse gases than Scandinavia, and has warned these firms could face financial ruin if they do not do more to tackle climate change.

Oxfam says were companies Associated British Foods, Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelez International, Nestl‚, PepsiCo and Unilever a country, they would rank as the 25th most polluting.

In its new report Standing on the Sidelines, the international agency says these firms emit 264 million tons of greenhouse gases, according to the latest available figures, more than the combined 250 million ton total for Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

Oxfam says food supplies are being affected by storms, floods, droughts and shifting weather patterns caused by climate change, which is leading to more hunger and poverty.

It has been predicted that by 2050 there will be 50 million more people made hungry because of climate change, and Oxfam has suggested that the price of key products like Kellogg's Corn Flakes could rise by 44 percent by 2029.

In its critical report, the charity has called on the firms, which is says generate œ650 million a day in revenues - equivalent to the total gross domestic product of all the world's lower income countries - to cut their combined emissions by 80 million tons by 2020.

'By failing to cut emissions adequately the 'Big 10' are putting short term profits ahead of the long term interests of both themselves and the rest of us,' said Oxfam's director of UK campaigns and policy Sally Copley.

'Their influence and wealth are the perfect ingredients to stop putting their businesses at risk and making climate change worse.

'They need to look at the whole picture from how their ingredients are grown to how their goods are produced to cut emissions.

'They also need to pressure businesses and governments to do what is needed to tackle climate change and help build a future where everyone has enough to eat.'

Oxfam says that the food industry drives around 25 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and that these emissions are growing as demand for food rises.

'Experts say that if the world is to avoid warming of more than 2C, rising emissions from deforestation and agriculture need to be reversed by 2050 and agriculture and forests need to together become a carbon sink - effectively removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere,' said an Oxfam spokesman.

'Their influence and wealth are the perfect ingredients to stop putting their businesses at risk and making climate change worse'

Oxfam says some of the companies, Unilever, Coca-Cola, and Nestle, had taken steps to tackle climate change, and that Pepsico UK had committed to reduce emissions from its agricultural supply chain by 50 percent in five years.

But it singled out Kellogg, which produces cereals including Corn Flakes and Rice Crispies, and General Mills, which encompasses brands including Haagen-Dazs and Jus-Rol, as two of the 'worst' on climate.

In its report the charity called on these companies to lead the other firms towards more responsible policies and practices. Oxfam also urged the firms to disclose their agricultural emissions and biggest polluting suppliers, and set targets to cut emissions from their supply chains.

A spokesman from Kellog told MailOnline: 'Kellogg is committed to doing what's right for the environment and society. As part of this commitment, we are working to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions - along with energy use and water use - by 15-20 percent at our manufacturing facilities by 2015.

'We're pleased to see that Oxfam has recognized our commitment to working with global palm oil suppliers to source fully traceable palm oil, produced in a manner that's environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable. We've also made continuous improvements in the areas of Land, Women, Climate and Water.

'We value continued engagement and discussion with Oxfam, and other external stakeholders on the important issues of environmental and social sustainability.'

A General Mills spokesperson added: 'Climate Change is a serious issue, and as a food company we are very aware of the impact that climate change could have on agriculture and the world's food supply.

'General Mills has been actively engaged in positively influencing climate policy and has been taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its operations for many years.'


Comment by William Happer received by email: Meyers is an "instructor in medicine" and research scientist at the "Harvard Center for the Environment." This is not a very prestigious position. But if Meyers continues to produce horror stories like this for the establishment, it will soon bring him fame and fortune, just as environmental fanaticism has done for so many already, including Obama's Presidential Science Advisor and Al Gore. As for content, Meyers's paper sounds like rubbish to me. As best I know, grain is not the main source of nutritional zinc and iron anyway. And somebody should get the environmental enforcers after the growers of hothouse tomatoes, cucumbers, etc., who persist in doubling, tripling and quadrupling the CO2 levels in their greenhouses.

Judith Curry leaves the plantation

Doing science by consensus is not science at all, says the climatologist all the alarmists love to hate. Not that the enmity bothers Judith Curry too much -- and certainly not as much as the debasement of impartial inquiry by which the warmist establishment keeps all those lovely grants coming

When climatologist Judith Curry visited Melbourne last week she took the time to chat with Quadrant Online contributor Tony Thomas. The professor and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, she is something of a stormy petrel in the climate-change community, as she has broken ranks with alarmist colleagues to question the articles and ethics of the warmist faith. This has made her less than popular in certain circles, even inspiring Scientific American, house journal of the catastropharians, to brand her "a heretic" who has "turned on her colleagues." [only religions have heretics]

Such criticism leaves Curry unmoved. If anyone needs counselling, she says, then it is those academics who continue to preach the planet's sweaty doom despite the fact that no warming has been observed for almost two decades.

The edited transcript of Curry's conversation with Thomas is below:

TONY THOMAS: If the skeptic/orthodox spectrum is a range from 1 (intense skeptic) to 10 (intensely IPCC orthodox), where on the scale would you put yourself

(a) as at 2009, 7

(b) as at 2014, 3

and why has there been a shift (if any)?

JUDITH CURRY: In early 2009, I would have rated myself as 7; at this point I would rate myself as a 3. Climategate and the weak response of the IPCC and other scientists triggered a massive re-examination of my support of the IPCC, and made me look at the science much more sceptically.

THOMAS: The US debate has been galvanised in recent weeks by strong statements against CO2 emissions by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. What is your view of the case they made out, and your thoughts about why the statements are now being made?

CURRY: I am mystified as to why President Obama and John Kerry are making such strong (and indefensible) statements about climate change. Particularly with regards to extreme weather events, their case is very weak. Especially at this time, given that much of the rest of the world is pulling back against commitments to reduce emissions and combat climate change.

THOMAS: Re the halt to warming in the past 15-17 years, has this been adequately explained to the public? If it continues a few more years, is that the end of the orthodox case?
CURRY: Regarding the hiatus in warming, I would say that this has not been adequately explained to the public, the IPCC certainly gave the issue short shrift.

The hiatus is serving to highlight the importance of natural climate variability. If the hiatus continues a few more years, climate model results will seriously be called into question. When trying to understand and model a complex system, there is, unfortunately, no simple test for rejecting a hypothesis or a model.

THOMAS: What empirical evidence is there, as distinct from modelling, that `missing heat' has gone into the deep oceans?

CURRY: Basically, none. Observations below 2 km in the ocean are exceedingly rare, and it is only since 2005 that we have substantial coverage below 700 metres.


The fanaticism of Paul Watson

It's not only whale meat but ALL meat he wants us not to eat. There are certainly some problems with animal husbandry but, in the developed world, these problems are already heavily regulated. It is telling that most other environmental organizations do not agree with him. And the tales of destruction below are mostly mere assertions, not scientific facts

Veganism is real conservation in action. It validates a conservationist as virtuous and courageous in facing and exposing the most inconvenient truth of all

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is one of the very few, if not the only marine conservation organization in the world that actively promotes and practices veganism.

Why? Because we see the connections between animal husbandry and pollution in the ocean, diminishment of life in the seas, the destruction of the rainforests and climate change.

Veganism is real conservation in action. It goes beyond talking about climate change and diminishment of biodiversity and actually does something to address the problems.

Sea Shepherd ships have been vegan vessels since 2002 and before that vegan options were always provided. The ships were vegetarian vessels beginning in 1979.

The Sea Shepherd Conservations Society is not a vegan or vegetarian organization however, nor are we an Animal Rights or an Animal Welfare organization. We are a marine wildlife and habitat conservation movement.

So why are all the meals on Sea Shepherd ships vegan?
The answer is because vegetarianism and especially veganism are powerful alternatives to eight billion human beings and their domestic animals eating the oceans alive.

The diversity in our ocean is being diminished more and more every day and when diversity collapses, interdependence between species collapses and the result is a dead ocean.

And a dead ocean means death to all creatures big and small because if the ocean dies, we all die. The ocean is the heart of the planet and it sustains all life both on land and in the sea.
We are ruthlessly overfishing the seas and much of it is being done illegally.

Virtually every commercial fishing operation in the world is in a state of collapse. We are polluting the ocean with plastic, petro-chemicals, agricultural run-off and sewage. We are inflicting acidification, noise pollution and destroying coastal habitats for development.

The Sea Shepherd position's is that all commercial fisheries must be shut down so fish can have a chance to recover. The only relatively “sustainable” fisheries are artisanal fishing by fishermen working from very small boats out of tiny ports in India, Africa, etc.

We need to remove the corporations, the big trawlers, seiners, and long-liners, the heavy gear, the big nets, the long lines and the factory ships if our oceans are going to be saved.

So what has this got to do with anyone eating a hamburger, bacon and eggs or chicken? These creatures don’t live in the sea.
Yet they live off of the sea. Like us, they are land dwellers collectively eating the sea alive and they are doing it against their will to benefit the most destructive creature to ever venture into the ocean – the homo sapiens.

A third of all the marine life the fishing industry takes is called forage fish and it is extracted from the sea specifically to feed pigs, chickens, mink, foxes, domestic salmon, and house cats. In fact chickens are eating more fish than albatross, pigs are eating more fish than sharks and housecats are eating more fish than all the seals in the sea.

There are 1.5 billion cows on the planet, 1.2 billion sheep, more than a billion pigs, a half a billion dogs and 2 billion domestic and feral housecats.

Ten percent of the forage fish goes to feed cats. Fifty-five percent goes to pigs, the rest to chickens, mink, foxes, and domestic farm raised salmon.

There are 2 billion cats and a half a billion dogs in the world and less than fifty million seals in the sea. There are 18.6 billion chickens in the world far outnumbering all of the seabirds.

When you eat chicken you may be eating fish. When you eat bacon you may be eating fish. When you drink milk or eat eggs you maybe consuming marine wildlife.

Fishermen whine about seals eating all the fish. Just today there were 38 sea lions in the Columbia River and more than 500 anglers on the shore with their fishing rods but the government was gunning for the sea lions because they “eat fish.”
And on top of that we have the fact that animal husbandry produces more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry. When you consider it takes 600 barrels of water to produce one hamburger, the waste is simply unacceptable.

So Sea Shepherd decided many years ago that promoting veganism was in fact practicing good conservation ethics.

From 2003 to 2006 I was a national director of the Sierra Club in the United States. All of my attempts to address the environmental impact of animal husbandry were not only dismissed, they were laughed at. The Sierra Club absolutely refused to address human population growth and the escalating consumption of factory-farmed animal products as a significant factor contributing to climate change and habitat destruction.

Why? For the same reason that Greenpeace, Conservation International and numerous other large environmental groups willfully ignore the great inconvenient truth that it is the eating of animals that produces more greenhouse gas than the entire transportation industry. Even Al Gore conveniently neglected to mention that very important fact in his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth."

Why did he not mention it and why do the big groups refuse to even discuss the relationship between eating meat and climate change?
It is because they do not want to upset the public that gives them donations. Their big fear is that they will alienate their donor base.

And they are probably right. Sea Shepherd has lost support from people who eat meat because they have gotten angry about our message. But the difference between Sea Shepherd and these big groups in denial is that we want to save our oceans and our planet no matter how inconvenient people may think that is.

Change comes about because of action, not because of words. I resigned from the Sierra Club Board because the nation’s oldest environmental organization whose founder John Muir was a vegetarian and an anti-hunter is now pro-hunting and pro-animal husbandry. When I left I called them the Siesta Club Hunting and Conversation Society.

The planet will not be saved just by taking shorter showers, recycling your trash or driving in an electric car. It takes one hell of a lot of short showers to equal the six hundred barrels of water required to make that one hamburger.

In fact a vegan driving down the highway in a Hummer is contributing less to creating greenhouse gases than a meat-eater riding a bicycle.

The meat industry consumes more water than any other industry on the planet. It uses more land. It produces more waste. It produces the most greenhouse gases, especially methane.

There is a new documentary being released called "Cowspiracy" that investigates the contradictions by large environmental organizations that refuse to discuss or take seriously the connection between the meat industry and rising levels of global warming gases.

The filmmakers are addressing a forbidden subject and focusing on the big elephant in the room that mainstream conservation groups willfully refuse to see. In the film, Greenpeace will not even agree to meet with the filmmakers to discuss the project. The filmmakers went to the Greenpeace office after Greenpeace refused to answer their emails only to be told that Greenpeace had no interest in discussing anything to do that connects meat eating with climate change.


Vermont Maple Syrup Producer Complains: NBC Edited My Remarks to Support `Global Warming'

Sometimes the truth is much sweeter than the syrupy environmentalism of the national media.

While hyping the alleged effects on climate change, NBC's May 6 "Nightly News" tried to localize the impact by citing a different problem in each region. The broadcast played a clip of Burr Morse, a seventh-generation maple syrup producer from Montpelier, Vermont, stating that this season's weather had been too warm. Contrary to this clip's implications, Morse told the MRC's Business and Media Institute that cold weather actually did more to harm this year's maple syrup season.

Morse complained that NBC had selected a short sample of his full remarks to "support their point which was global warming." Morse said he didn't want "to be the cause of any hysteria," emphasizing that he is confident in the future of the maple syrup industry and its ability to "circumvent the weather with technology."

NBC White House Correspondent Peter Alexander told "Nightly News" that "Short winters are already harming Vermont maple syrup famer Burr Morse." Then, NBC played a clip of Morse saying "It didn't quite get cold enough at night."

Anybody who spent the 2013/14 winter on the East Coast should immediately have become suspicious as the winter remained cold through March, incidentally when the maple syrup harvest typically begins.

In fact, Morse claimed that winter "hung on a month longer than it usually does." Because of this lingering cold, Morse started tapping his maple trees in April instead of March. By April, however, the nights were slightly too warm for the ideal 20 degree temperature, hence the actual context for NBC's excerpt.

Rather than suffering from the heat, Morse described this season's primary hardship as cold, saying a "big part of the season was that it was too cold."

Morse expressed distaste for the way NBC handled his remarks. He told BMI that NBC took a video of his remarks but "only selected the words to support their point which was global warming."

Contrary to climate alarmists' repeated assertions in publications like the Huffington Post and USA Today, Morse maintained that the maple syrup industry is not in trouble. In fact, he made sure to tell BMI that "I don't want to be the cause of any hysteria."

Morse admitted that "we've had our challenges" but maple syrup producers were experimenting with new technologies to extract sap. For example, he told BMI the details of new vacuum technology that can get sap "in weather that isn't ideal." Morse appeared confident in "the ability to, in some ways, circumvent the weather with technology."


Politico Notices TV Meteorologists 'More Skeptical' of Climate Change Than Other Scientists

Politico's Darren Goode surprisingly highlighted the skepticism of many on-air meteorologists in a Monday item about President Obama's interviews with "some of television's most popular celebrities - weather forecasters - to ratchet up the volume on the administration's latest scientific assessment of climate change." Goode pointed out that "not all broadcast meteorologists have been conducive to the climate science message."

The writer cited Weather Channel founder John Coleman, who labeled global warming "the greatest scam in history" back in 2007. He also outlined the reason for many of the weather personalities' skepticism:

One explanation...which more than one meteorologist...shared with Politico is skepticism over climate modeling that tries to predict changes decades down the road. At least mathematically, these models aren't much different from the modeling that TV meteorologists use to forecast weather mere days in advance, which often can prove challenging to do accurately.

Goode quoted from Keith Seitter, executive director of the American Meteorological Society, in his article, "Obama tries weather outreach on climate." The AMS oversees certification "seals" for on-air meteorologists. Seitter praised the President's interviews with the broadcast forecasters as "absolutely...a great move," but later acknowledged the skeptics' viewpoint: "They know their own models become unreliable very quickly, and it makes it hard for them to become comfortable with a lot of the climate modeling being used to forecast many years rather than just a handful of days."

The Politico journalist also spotlighted a "June 2011 survey by the George Mason center [that] found that while 82 percent of TV meteorologists were convinced that the climate is changing, many don't think human activity has been the primary cause of changes over the past 150 years."

Later in his write-up, Goode underlined that "climate researchers counter that climate - which changes over decades and centuries - is much different from day-to-day weather." He also noted that "the official position of the American Meteorological Society since 2012 is that there is 'unequivocal evidence' and that the 'dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities.' 'This scientific finding is based on a large and persuasive body of research,' says the society, which represents about 14,000 members, about 10 percent of them involved in broadcasting."

One meteorologist that the journalist didn't mention is former AccuWeather forecaster Joe Bastardi, who lambasted Bill Nye the "Science Guy" and former CNN host Piers Morgan in a series of Twitter posts in December 2012. Back in May 2010, CBS Evening News also devoted a full report to the climate change skepticism of many broadcast weather forecasters.


Democrat Told President Nixon in 1970: It'll Be 7 Degrees Hotter and Sea Level Rise Will Wash Away NYC and DC by the Year 2000

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT from Limbaugh program

RUSH: Well, well, well, looky here. Koko Jr. at just sent me a quick note. "Documents released Friday..." This is from July of 2010, folks, so it's from the archives at "Documents released Friday by the Nixon Presidential Library show members of President Richard Nixon's inner circle discussing the possibilities of global warming more than 30 years ago.

"Advisor Daniel Patrick Moynihan, notable as a Democrat in the [Nixon] administration, urged the [Nixon] administration to initiate a worldwide system of monitoring carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, decades before the issue of global warming came to the public's attention." Here is the nub: Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned Richard Nixon in 1970 that unless the Nixon administration took drastic action to limit greenhouse gases, it would be seven degrees warmer in the year 2000 and parts of America would be underwater.

In 1970.

This is five years before the famous Newsweek cover on the coming ice age. Moynihan, in 1970, warned Nixon to act on global warming or parts of the country would be underwater by 2000. In fact, here's what he wrote: "This could increase the average temperature near the earth's surface by seven degrees Fahrenheit. This in turn could raise the level of the sea by 10 feet. Goodbye, New York.

"Goodbye, Washington, for that matter," by the year 2000. That's 14 years ago. In 1970, Nixon was told we gotta act now or by 30 years from now, in 2000, New York City's gone, Washington's gone, and we're gonna have temperature raise of seven degrees! There's nothing that has changed. There's nothing new. The predictions are the same. They never come true. All these predictions of doom and gloom and destitution never come true. What does happen?

While all of these predictions are out there, liberal policies are put into place, and they do cause havoc.

Paul Ehrlich was also in the 1970s.




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


20 May, 2014

Here we go again -- Exaggerated new claim of Antarctic melting

As the image shows, and as we already know, virtually ALL the melting is in the margins of the W. Antarctic sheet -- showing that it is a quite local effect, not a global effect. So far from being global, the effect does not even cover the whole of Antarctica. To reinforce the point that the effect is a purely local one (probably due to vulcanism) note that there has been no GLOBAL warming for 17 years. So the W. Antarctic warming cannot be due to something that does not exist

The Antarctic ice sheet is melting at its fastest rate in history, it has been revealed.

Three years of observations from ESA’s CryoSat satellite show that the Antarctic ice sheet is now losing 159 billion tonnes of ice each year – twice as much as when it was last surveyed.

The polar ice sheets are a major contributor to the rise in global sea levels, and these newly measured losses from Antarctica alone are enough to raise global sea levels by 0.45 mm each year.

These latest findings by a team of scientists from the UK’s Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling show that the pattern of imbalance continues to be dominated by glaciers thinning in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica.

Between 2010 and 2013, West Antarctica, East Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula lost 134, 3 and 23 billion tonnes of ice each year, respectively.

The average rate of ice thinning in West Antarctica has increased compared to previous measurements, and this area’s yearly loss is now one third more than measured over the five years before CryoSat’s launch.

The data collected from 2010-2013 was compared to that from 2005-2010.

'We find that ice losses continue to be most pronounced along the fast-flowing ice streams of the Amundsen Sea sector, with thinning rates of 4-8 m per year near to the grounding lines – where the ice streams lift up off the land and begin to float out over the ocean – of the Pine Island, Thwaites and Smith Glaciers,' said Dr Malcolm McMillan from the University of Leeds, UK, and lead author of the study.

This area has long been identified as the most vulnerable to changes in climate.

SOURCE. The journal article is "Increased ice losses from Antarctica detected by CryoSat-2"

A Californiam epicenter?

I guess Gov. Moonbeam speaks Californian. He make no sense otherwise. As anyone familiar with Greek prefixes can tell you, an epicenter is a point above a center. Nuclear bombs are normally exploded above a target, not on it. Classics aside, however, Brown's main point seems to be California's increasing wildfires. They however are an effect of Greenie meddling, not global warming. For some reason, Greenies seem to hate preventive burnoffs -- and the result is predictable

California is at the “epicenter” of global warming and other climate change, with the state experiencing longer fire seasons, rising sea levels and droughts that threaten agriculture, Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday.

The governor made his remarks during a conference about the climate, as California was mopping up from a string of wildfires in San Diego County that caused more than $20 million in damage.

The event also came as scientists warn that higher temperatures will lead to more frequent and intense wildfires throughout the West, and after scientists confirmed that the huge West Antarctic ice sheet is beginning to collapse and could boost sea levels as much as 12 feet.

Brown said California has had almost twice the number of forest fires this year compared to normal levels, and the fire season is now 70 days longer than it was historically, adding that “we’ve got to adapt because the climate is changing.”


Greenies Emit More GHGs

Startup founder Ian Monroe has developed a carbon footprint-tracking app called Oroeco, which calculates your emissions contribution based on lifestyle choices. What he found was almost too predictable. According to Monroe, "The average person who says they care about climate change actually has a substantially worse than average footprint. Generally that's because they tend to have a bit more money, and they tend to be people who like to think of themselves as multicultural and like to get out and see the world. Which means that they're flying around a lot, and all that flying generally outweighs any other green lifestyle choices that they've made." Say, that sounds an awful lot like Al Gore.

Monroe says, "Realizing the hypocrisy in my own life is exactly why I wanted to create this [app]." At least he's putting his money where his mouth is. That's more than we can say about ecofascists.


German Government Falsifies IPCC Summary On Climate Policy

The UN’s climate report has debunked Germany’s green energy subsidies as useless. No one has noticed. That’s because the government has crudely falsified the official summary.

German consumers have subsidised renewable energy to the tune of hundreds of billions of euros. But is hasn’t done anything to protect the climate. That, in essence, is the conclusion stated in the recent UN climate report which was presented to the public in April. Mind you, no one so far has noticed.

One of the reasons for this unawareness is quite simple: The German government has simply concealed the findings of the UN researchers in the official German summary. Other embarrassing passages from the IPCC document were turned into the opposite.

Action on climate change

But first things first : On April 14, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented its most recent and, to date, most important report on climate change to the public. Although the first two IPCC reports assessed the causes and effects of climate change, the Working Group III report of its Fifth Assessment Report dealt with possible countermeasures.

For policy makers the advice by the IPCC is of utmost importance. Should governments respond to climate change with the introduction of CO2 taxes? Are subsidies for renewable energy advisable or is nuclear power more important? Or is setting up an emission trading system that forces industry and power plant operators to acquire emission allowances for each tonne of carbon dioxide they want to blow into the air more effective in the fight against the greenhouse effect?

These and similar questions were addressed by 235 leading researchers from 58 countries over a four year period. Hence, when IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri and the Co -Chair of the IPCC’s Working Group III, Ottmar Edenhofer, presented the results on April 14 in the Auditorium Maximum of the Technical University of Berlin, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) listened carefully.

Clear four sides

The presentation was of course too short for a deeper analysis of the several thousand-page UN report. The “Technical Summary” alone comprises 99 pages of complicated science poetry in English. And even the IPCC’s “Summary for Policymakers” with its 33 pages of English remains a challenge for politicians with very tight times schedules.

Journalists, speakers and environmental NGOs were therefore grateful that the government agencies responsible for climate change made a pretty clear four-page summary of “key messages” of the IPCC report available.

Responsible for the German summary were four high-ranking government agencies: in charge was the Ministry of the Environment; also involved were the German IPCC Coordination Office in Bonn, the Environment Agency in Dessau and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research . The German translation, one would therefore think, is an authoritative source for the interpretation of the IPCC findings. No one suspected that the ministerial summary did not match the original in important ways.

Green power useless – if there is emission trading

In its report the IPCC emphasises the futility of subsidies for renewable energy parallel to an emissions trading system: “The addition of a CO2 reduction policy to a second policy does not necessarily lead to greater CO2 reductions,” it says in a literal translation of the IPCC’s Technical Summary: “In an emissions trading scheme with a sufficiently stringent cap other measures such as subsidising renewable energy have no further influence on total CO2 emissions.”

Thus, the IPCC now confirms what the Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal Ministry of Economics, the Monopolies Commission or the President of the Ifo Institute, Hans -Werner Sinn, have been saying for years: Under the fixed cap of European emissions trading with its precisely calculated amount of pollution rights renewable energy subsidies only lead to a shift of CO2 emissions, but not to their reduction.

Where a wind farm displaces a German coal-fired power plant, for example, the total CO2 emissions of the plant in question are made available again to the market in the form of emission allowances. The supply is therefore greater and other European power plant operators, accordingly, can operate cheaper, using this vacant contingent of allowances. The avoided CO2 emissions in Germany are then blown into the air by someone else. For climate policy, the only crucial issue is that the total amount of all distributed CO2 allowances in Europe is never exceeded.

Clear judgement missing in Summary

Yet the IPCC’s clear verdict regarding the climate-political futility of green energy subsidies that run simultaneously to emissions trading does not appear in the German summary. The only comment on this issue reads completely differently: “Emissions trading affects the impact of others measures, unless the number of allowed certificates are adjusted flexibly.”

The difference is obvious: the IPCC has declared CO2 emissions trading to be an effective instrument that makes subsidies for renewable energy unnecessary. The German translation reverses this conclusion and makes emissions trading the culprit that allegedly “constricts the impact of other measures.”

Also questionable is what the IPCC summary – allegedly – says about the design of emissions trading itself: “For the success of emissions trading rights it is necessary to achieve sufficient high prices for emission allowances in order to offer incentives for low-carbon energy sources,” says the Summary by the Federal Government. Therefore, the number of tradable emission rights must be “adapted flexibly”.

Ministry : “First explanation in an intelligible form “

With this account, the German authorities have twisted the IPCC statements into its opposite. Emissions trading is by definition a system in which a number of freely tradeable emission certificates is specified so that they might be subject to free market prices. The German translation has turned this system of fixed rates and flexible prices into a system of flexible quantities in order to enforce the highest possible price for emission rights.

That, however, is contrary to the operating principle of emissions trading. Moreover, the demand for a ‘flexible’ adaptation of tradeable emission vouchers stands in direct contradiction to the IPCC report according to which the maximum number of emission allowances must be “binding”.

The statement that high CO2 prices are “necessary” for the success of emissions trading, as the German translation would have us believe, is nowhere to be found in the original. Basically, and this is precisely the great advantage of emissions trading, the set CO2 targets are achieved even when the market results in low prices for emission allowances. In this way, climate policy can be cheap if you allow the market mechanism to work. The emissions trading system cannot be blamed for the fact that the EU has set a relatively undemanding CO2 reduction targets: the instrument itself is working nevertheless.

Asked to comment, the Environment Ministry pointed to the German IPCC Coordination Office. There, however, the issue is played down. The “core messages” were “not a literal or even official translation of the IPCC report,” said a spokeswoman regarding the document on which the logos of the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Research and the Federal Environment Agency can be seen. It was “a first presentation of the report in an intelligible form.” The statements had been “derived” from various passages of the UN report . “It should also be noted that the ‘key messages’ have been developed in close collaboration with the authors of the IPCC report, and that elements of the report can be reflected only in highly abbreviated form. ”

IPCC : “That’s not what we wrote “

The IPCC scientists, however, have reacted very surprised when they were confronted by “Welt am Sonntag” with the German translation of their core messages. “That’s not what we wrote in the IPCC report ,” declared Ottmar Edenhofer who as Co-Chair of Working Group III has played a leading role in the formulation of the original IPCC report. “Basically, it is not for an emissions trading system to generate high prices.” “Only the original English version is important,” says Edenhofer, who is also deputy director and chief economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research ( PIK) . What “the ministries or other agencies do with it is not in my hands.”


Should teachers use the classroom for campaigning on climate change?

John Shade is a retired industrial statistician who runs the blog ‘Climate Lessons‘ to share his concerns about materials and campaigns aimed at children about the climate. He was co-author of the report ‘Climate Control: Brainwashing in schools’ which we covered on this site and requested this opportunity to share more fully his concerns…

Is the teaching of basic skills and basic knowledge not hard enough without adding the complication of deliberate political manipulation into the mix? Are teachers to be the willing servants of whichever government or ideological position happens to be currently fashionable or empowered? Are they also to willingly intervene between parents and their children in ways which seem intended to weaken the special bonds within a family?

I am particularly concerned with climate change and the associated wish of some powerful groups, not least in international agencies and NGOs, to make use of children as political tools with which to promote fundamental views about life, and even lifestyle and political choices, on to their parents. There are materials out there aimed at scaring children about their future, and surveys show that many are in fact living with a fear that they may not survive thanks to environmental catastrophes heading their way. There are materials aimed at distancing children from their own parents by persuading them, the children, that their parents are part of ‘the problem’ and need to be changed.

This combination of fear about the future and separation from previous sources of trust and guidance, are basic elements of brainwashing as described by Sowell (1993) in his book ‘Inside American Education’ where he provides several examples of such ‘stripping away of defences’ in schools in a range of programmes.

Andrew Montford and I have written a report entitled ‘Climate Control: Brainwashing in schools’ (GWPF, 2014) in which we focus on eco-alarms in general, and climate-related ones in particular. This was reported on here on the Schools Improvement Net (2014), where it attracted a few generally disparaging comments. None addressed our concerns that there may be widespread targeting of children in our schools with what amounts to eco-propaganda or, at the very least, inadequate treatment of important topics. But why should teachers be engaged at all with such campaigning in their classrooms and in extra-curricular events for their pupils? By all means, let them campaign with other adults, and engage them in debate on controversial issues. But surely it should be beneath them to seek to take advantage of their position in the classroom to try to persuade their pupils of their views?

‘Save the World on Your Own Time’. This is the title of a book by Fish (2008), and, although the book is about tertiary education, the spirit of that title is relevant here. The blurb about it on Amazon notes ‘When teachers offer themselves as moralists, political activists, or agents of social change rather than as credentialed experts in a particular subject and the methods used to analyze it, they abdicate their true purpose.’

An article in the Times Higher Education Supplement (THS, 2008) describes more of the content, e.g. ‘Many of the chapters sound like bluff common sense – “Do your job“, “Don’t try to do someone else’s job“, “Don’t let anyone else do your job” – ‘ and ‘In terms of what goes on in the classroom, Fish argues, “The line of virtue is very clear: are you asking academic questions or are you trying to nudge your students in some ideological partisan direction? ..’

Back in 2007, the then Labour government chose to distribute an emotive and politically-loaded DVD about climate to all schools in England & Wales. It was called ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, and was full of self-serving propaganda presented by a politician apparently intent on being seen as a saviour of the planet. In my view this was an astonishing and disgraceful action by the government. How dare they try to manipulate the young in such a fashion! Sadly it was part of a broader effort by them to use schools, and thus teachers, as agents for the promotion of far-reaching societal and personal changes linked to climate scares and the often associated topic of ‘sustainable development’. Far from being agreed, or even well-defined, these are controversial areas today, as indeed they were back in 2007.

So, gentle readers of this blog, do you think eco-activism should be given a free rein within schools? Do you think you should participate in raising fears, followed by giving detailed guidance on how your pupils should live, as well as on what they should think? Do you think it is part of your job to burden your pupils with ‘saving the planet’ and putting pressure on their parents?


Totally dishonest Canadian scare

In its latest entry on "health repercussions for Canadians of a changing climate" in the Globe and Mail newspaper, Karen McColl raises the alarm bells on "substantial increases in occurrences of extremely hot seasons" in Canada.

Apparently, "Clean Air Partnership [CAP], a non-profit that addresses climate-change issues, says maximum temperatures in Toronto are expected to rise 7 C over the next 30 to 40 years." That is a remarkable claim. A predicted 7 degrees Celsius increase in maximum temperatures over a 30-year period in Toronto equates to a rate of 23.3 degrees Celsius per century. To say that is insanely large would be an understatement.

So how does the historical trend in maximum temperatures for Toronto compare with this hysterical claim? The results are not promising for the Globe and Mail. Using the benchmark Environment Canada Adjusted and Homogenized Canadian Climate Data (AHCCD) database, the mean of daily maximum temperatures during the summer months in Toronto has not increased one bit since 1920. In other words, over the past century, the mean maximum summertime temperatures in Toronto exhibit absolutely no trend. None whatsoever.

If you are familiar with linear regression statistics, the p-value for the correlation is 0.87, which is almost a perfect non-correlation. In fact, the correlation coefficient is negative (r=-0.02), meaning that if there was a trend, it would likely involve declining summertime maximum temperatures.

The p-value for July -- the hottest individual month -- average maximum temperatures (p=0.93, r=-0.01) in Toronto from 1920 to 2012 is even worse for the climate alarmists. As it is for August (p=0.92, r=-0.01). Once again, there is absolutely no evidence that mean maximum summertime temperatures in Canada's largest city are increasing, never mind increasing at the crazy-high rate of 23.3 degrees Celsius per century.

What about extreme maximum temperatures in Toronto? Using data from the Environment Canada Historical Climate Data online database for the WMO certified Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport site, there is absolutely no temporal correlation for extreme maximum temperatures between 1938 (when the dataset begins) and 2012 during either July (p=0.79, r=-0.03) or August (p=0.36, r=-0.10). Actually, there is a modest possibility that extreme maximum temperatures are declining in August.

And yet we read this in the Globe and Mail article that "'this is major,' said CAP deputy director Kevin Behan, adding that by 2040, Toronto may jump from having one heat wave every other year, on average, to two or three heat waves each year." Huh? The historical climate data for this city unequivocally show that summertime maximum temperatures (both average maxima and the extremes) are in no way increasing since the first half of the 20th century, and yet somehow extreme heat climatageddon will occur in only the next couple decades?

To show how local governments have gone off the deep end, the article goes on to state that "'Looking forward, everywhere is going to get hotter in Canada,' said Ewa Jackson, director of ICLEI -- Local Governments for Sustainability, an organization that works with about 250 Canadian municipalities." Everywhere? That's a bold statement.

Here is a table of the trends in average maximum and extreme maximum summertime temperatures at Canada's major cities since 1920 or the earliest year available in the databases.Canada temps

There is not a single increasing summer maximum temperature trend at any of these major cities. I repeat, not one.

But the article also claims that "in 2009, Health Canada worked with four pilot communities to develop heat-alert and response programs. Windsor, Ont., is expected to be particularly hard hit." Ah yes, Windsor, where there has been no significant change in extreme maximum temperatures during July (p=0.43) or August (p=0.70) since records began in 1940, nor in average maximum temperatures during either the summertime period as a whole, or July and August individually.

And municipalities, and even higher levels of government, are going along willingly with this hysterical nonsense. Why? Follow the money. Drumming up public concern over climate change equals more funding for infrastructure and staff and a host of other projects, both within the government and for politically well-connected contractors. Who is getting duped? The taxpayers.




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


19 May, 2014

David Suzuki is a confused man

He says skeptics are playing the man and not the ball and then does exactly that himself! He says that skeptics attack Warmists on the basis of personalities rather than attending to the facts -- but he then attacks skeptics on the basis of personalities rather than the facts! He is a rather stark case of pychological projection, I think

In the second part of his conversation with Bill Moyers, Dr. David Suzuki says climate deniers are engaging in a good ol’ game of “kill the messenger.”

“This is a very effective thing that we know has been done by the tobacco industry [and] it’s being done by the fossil fuel industry… You attack a person on the basis of their trustworthiness, their ulterior motives, anything to get away from dealing with the issues,” the scientist, author and philanthropist said.

He said it’s not unlike the attacks he has experienced from Canada’s prime minister, corporations and others over the years for speaking his mind about the government and the fossil fuel industry.

“The fossil fuel industry knows that fossil fuel use is at the heart of climate change,” Suzuki said. “But the problem is their job as CEOs and executives is to make money for their shareholders, and they’ll do it.”


More dippiness from Climate Central: Antarctica stealing Australia's rain (?)

One slight problem! Rainfall trends have been increasing in Australia, since around 1970

The answer to one of the enduring puzzles of global warming — the apparently sluggish response of the Antarctic continent to rising greenhouse gas levels — may have been settled by Australian scientists. And, in the course of doing so, they may also have solved another problem: the parching of Australia itself.

Nerilie Abram, of the Australian National University’s Research School of Earth Sciences, and colleagues outline their findings in Nature Climate Change. They report that they looked at the pattern of climate in the southern hemisphere and have concluded that the Southern Ocean winds that normally deliver rain to South Australia are being pushed further south towards Antarctica.

Their research was focused on a meteorological phenomenon known — although probably only to climate scientists — as the Southern Annular Mode, which marks the pattern of climate variability south of the equator. For the last 25 years of climate observation, it has been obvious that changes in the northern hemisphere have not been matched by changes in the south.

There are geophysical reasons for some of the difference. For example, most of the inhabited landmass of the planet is in the northern hemisphere; the North Pole is covered by an ocean, while the South Pole is in the center of an enormous continental landmass piled high with ice and snow; and the seasons and wind patterns of the two hemispheres run counter to each other. The two hemispheres are very different.

Weather Observations

In addition, weather observations in the northern hemisphere are much more detailed and have been conducted over a much longer period than in the southern hemisphere.

Conspicuously, the Arctic has been the fastest warming region of the planet, and for more than a decade there was argument about whether the Antarctic was warming at all.

Lead researcher Dr. Abram and her fellow scientists took the measure of the Southern Annular Mode by looking at annual seasonal data since AD 1000 — recorded in Antarctic ice cores and South American tree rings. They then used the information to build up a picture of the past and the changing present.

“With greenhouse warming, Antarctica is actually stealing more of Australia’s rainfall,” she reported. “It’s not good news. As greenhouse gases continue to rise, we’ll get fewer storms chased up into Australia. As the westerly winds are getting tighter, they’re actually trapping more of the cold air over Antarctica. This is why the Antarctic has bucked the trend. Every other continent is warming, and the Arctic is warming fastest of anywhere on Earth.”


Hotter climate could turn sea turtles all-girl

And conservative gun owners might one day use their guns to wipe out all Leftists. Lots of things MIGHT happen. The article below is just a bit of speculation. There are many turtle clades from previous geological eras but we still have turtles

Out of her shell: Rising temperatures mean more female turtles.
Sea turtles are likely to be beneficiaries of a warming climate as hotter incubation conditions trigger a rising share of female hatchlings that could lift natural rates of population growth, new research to be published in Nature Climate Change on Monday shows.

But gains will be temporary if temperatures keep rising and nudge populations towards becoming all female, or exceed levels at which developing embryos die, the study found.

It will be end of story without human intervention.

"There'll be a bit of a breathing space … but down the track it'll be serious," said Graeme Hays from Deakin University, one of the report's authors.

It has been known for decades that reptile reproduction is highly sensitive to temperature, with the ratio of male to female offspring varying. For species of sea-turtles, the pivotal temperature is an oddly uniform 29 degrees for incubation, beyond which more females emerge from the eggs.

At about 30.5 degrees, populations become fully female. As remaining males die off, "it will be end of story without human intervention", Professor Hays said. At higher than 33 degrees, embryos do not survive.

The study focused on a globally important loggerhead turtle rookery on the Cape Verde Islands in the Atlantic but its results also apply to species elsewhere, including the Pacific. It found light-coloured sandy beaches already produce 70.1 per cent females, while beaches with darker sands are at 93.5 per cent.

The findings should help steer conservation efforts to make a priority of protecting lighter-coloured sandy beaches or planting more vegetation near dark ones to ameliorate the warming, Professor Hays said. "If you have to build a hotel, build it behind the dark-coloured beach," he said.

Since breeding populations are likely to swell in coming decades, sea turtle adult populations are "unlikely to be dire in the next 150 years", the paper said.

Professor Hays said any near-term increase in turtles would be modest compared with past populations. Green turtles in the Caribbean, for instance, are "a fraction of 1 per cent" of their original numbers.

Other changes linked to global warming, including effects on food sources, will also likely offset some of the benefits of having more breeding females, he said.

"Rising sea levels resulting in the loss of nesting beaches [through erosion] could push local turtle populations over the brink unless new suitable nesting beaches are found," the paper said.

It remains to be seen whether sea turtles, which have survived hundreds of millions of years, can adjust quickly enough to a changing climate, Professor Hays said.

Possible adjustments could include females laying their eggs at milder times of the year or shifting to cooler regions.



Written by Dr Sierra Rayne

With global temperature data now available for the first three months of 2014, an interesting trend has clearly emerged: global cooling. No longer is it just a hypothesis. For the first quarter of each calendar year since 2002, it is effectively a fact at reasonably strong statistical significance. Here is the data:

Temp Anomalies

That downward trend since 2002 has a p-value of 0.097 (r=-0.48), which is below the p=0.10 (90%) threshold used in many climate science studies for statistical significance, and very close to the standard p=0.05 (95%) threshold generally employed across the physical and biological sciences. The same level of statistical significance is obtained regardless of whether parametric or non-parametric trend analysis methods are employed.

Some readers may be looking at this plot and thinking that the global climate data since 1880 looks a lot like a cycle, with a stable period (of neither warming nor cooling) of, say, 140 years in length between the approximately 70-year long alternating cool and warm periods. It certainly has that appearance. If such is the case, we would expect a return to "normal" January-March global temperatures by 2050, give or take a decade or two.

In the United States, the January-March 2014 temperature was well below the 20th-century average. There has been no statistically significant trend in January-March temperatures in the contiguous USA since 1980. None, for 35 years and counting. The same lack of trend applies for the December-February temperatures. Depending on how you define winter, either – or both – of these timeframes is considered the wintertime period.

So there has been absolutely no change in wintertime temperatures in the United States since before Reagan was president, and yet the The Guardian is reporting that the latest National Climate Assessment finds climate change to be a "clear and present danger" and that "Americans are noticing changes all around them ... Winters are generally shorter and warmer."

There is no trend – I repeat: no trend – in wintertime temperatures in the United States since 1980.

On an annual basis ending in March, there has been no change in the contiguous U.S. temperature since 1986 (actually, probably since 1985, but we'll give the alarmists the benefit on this). You get the same result on a calendar-year basis. That's right: there has been no change in annual temperatures for the United States since Bon Jovi had a number-one hit with "You Give Love a Bad Name," the Bangles were telling us to "Walk Like an Egyptian," Madonna was asking her papa not to preach, and Robert Palmer was "Addicted to Love."

According to Virginia Burkett, the chief scientist for global change at the U.S. Geological Survey, "all areas are getting hotter." All of them? So bold, yet so inaccurate. The entire Ohio Valley climate division has not seen any significant warming on an annual basis since 1896. The entire U.S. South climate division hasn't warmed since 1907. Neither has the entire Southeast climate division since 1896.

The National Climate Assessment claims that "summers are longer and hotter." Hotter summers? There is no trend in the average June-August temperature (aka summer) in the USA since 1930. Same lack of trend for July and August average temperatures.

On an annual basis ending in March (allowing us to use the most complete dataset possible), global warming stopped cold in statistical terms during 1997. And since 2002, the correlation coefficient has – in fact – turned slightly negative. Very weak evidence for global cooling, but on the balance of probabilities, since 2002, there is more statistical evidence for global cooling than there is for global warming. Scientists such as Don Easterbrook, a professor emeritus of geology at Western Washington University, have been making similar predictions for global temperatures.

In the Southern Hemisphere, where climate scientists are now apparently warning that the "Antarctic Ice Shelf [is] on [the] brink of unstoppable melt that could raise sea levels for 10,000 years," the annual cooling trend since 2003 is even more probable (r=-0.22, p-value as low as 0.34 using non-parametric approaches).

The poor-quality science reporting on climate change is ubiquitous. Over at the Daily Kos, we find a plot of "Global Temperature (meteorological stations)." Given that oceans cover 71 percent of the planet's surface, what possible meaning could a "global temperature" derived only from "meteorological stations" have? The answer is none. Any talk of a global temperature must include both land and sea data, and be properly weighted according to station type and location. And this assumes that the data itself is correct. Various climate skeptic websites have repeatedly shown that we need to doubt the data itself, not just the analyses.

As the countdown to the proposed climate agreement in 2015 ticks along, expect more of this hysterical nonsense not founded in the underlying data, as well as more concerted and emphatic denials of the global cooling phase we may be entering. One can only hope that the moderately conservative leaders in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom will not fall prey to the hysteria, but instead take a principled scientific stand in 2015 and lead the charge to reject any international climate agreements.

Unfortunately, many crony capitalists – including a number in the fossil fuels industry itself – are starting to see greater financial benefits for themselves by going along with the hysteria, rather than fighting for reality.

Perilous times indeed. The next couple years may not only see the end of America's economic domination on the world stage, passing the torch instead to communist China, but also witness the final death throes of rigorous, objective science in the public interest.


The War on Mercury

Written by Dr Klaus L.E. Kaiser

EPA’s new MATS rule is not based on scientific evidence of benefit from the reduction of mercury emissions; it is nothing but a ruse. The U.S. Government’s “war on coal” claims to be a “war on mercury.”

While the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposed “Mercury and Air Toxics Standards” (MATS) rule is supposed to reduce exposure to “mercury” emissions, this is just a pretext; the real intent is to control “carbon” emissions, or carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, to be more precise.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury, signed by nearly 100 nations a few months ago, aims to reduce emissions of mercury and mercury compounds, (i.e. “total mercury”) to the atmosphere. The Convention derives its name from the town of Minamata Japan, where the “Minamata disease,” a form of neurological poisoning was observed in Japan in the 1950’s and later on also in other locations in Japan.

The Minamata disease was determined to result from “methyl-mercury,” a derivative of the element mercury. Methyl-mercury, in contrast to elemental mercury is a also a common product of microbial action upon other dissolved mercury compounds, especially in ocean and lake sediments of low oxygen content; more on that further down.

With EPA’s use of “mercury” as a way to regulate the coal-using industry it behooves us to look at the whole mercury situation in more detail. What could be the problem with EPA’s attempt to reduce “mercury”?

Mercury or CO2?

EPA uses “mercury emissions” as a convenient mechanism to regulate and discourage the use of coal for electricity generation and heating. However, EPA’s real intent is to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that President Obama frequently terms “carbon pollution.”

The mercury rule is nothing but a red herring to control fossil fuel-derived energy production which is claimed to contribute to “climate change.”

To use a crass analogy, it is akin to doing away with all civilian airplanes just because on 9/11 airplanes were used as weapons. Several trade unions recently called the proposed MATS rule “nothing less than industrial sabotage by regulatory means.”

While mercury (in whichever form) is only a minor by-product of burning coal, it is claimed to be the intended target of the proposed MATS rule. Therefore, it ought to be reasonable to look at the various forms and uses of the mercury, their chemistry, effects and quantities. Let’s begin with the element itself.

Use of Mercury

Elemental mercury is known to most people in the form of a silver-like shiny liquid. Elemental mercury is best known from such devices as thermometers like the kind used by your mom to measure your body temperature when you were a child and had a fever, or in motion-activated light switches under the hood of your old Chevy, or even some other electrical switches commonly found in households. For many decades, such uses were common throughout the western world. In fact, the humidity control device in my house contains a small glass vial with liquid mercury inside. It changes position with the humidity in the air to allow either a connection or break of the electrical circuit between the poles.

Because of its high density of 13.5 (relative to that of water, i.e. 1.0), liquid mercury can support all kinds of things close to its surface. There are practical uses for that property as in light houses. Widely used in former times and still found in some locations, their structures supporting the Fresnel lenses are floating on a bath of liquid mercury. The reason is twofold: there is hardly any friction to slowly turning the lens system for creating blinking lights and, more importantly the lens system is always perfectly parallel to the earth’s surface. The latter is critical to the distance from which the light can be seen to guide ships through treacherous waters.

In chemical laboratories around the world, elemental mercury is quite common. There are various applications of its unusual physical properties; from one-way valves to vacuum pumps. As a chemistry student, I worked with such things for years. With proper handling none of us experienced any problem using mercury.

Apart from applications that make use of elemental mercury’s physical properties like its high density and electrical conductivity, there are other common uses of mercury of which you may not be aware. Amalgam is one of those and more likely than not you have some of that in your mouth.


Indeed, you may have a significant amount of mercury in your body. I am not talking trace amounts here, but real quantities, say a volume like that of your mom’s sewing thimble filled with the element. Most of that mercury is found in your teeth, put there (after some drilling) by your friendly dentist. Of course, he or she didn’t put liquid mercury into your extended cavities but a mixture of mercury and another element such as silver powder. When well mixed, the liquid elemental mercury and the silver powder rapidly combine to a rock hard solid, generally known as an amalgam.

Silver-mercury amalgam is most suitable for filling dental cavities as it can be formed to any shape but will harden within a few minutes. It is also extremely durable, resisting any dissolution by saliva and can last for a lifetime. However, I do not dispute that some other amalgams, for example those made with lesser metals such as zinc, are less stable and should not have been used for dentistry.

Silver amalgam is still widely used by dentists around the world when it comes to filling cavities in teeth with a material that is easily applied, hardens rapidly, is strong and lasts a life time. Though quite obvious from its silver-like appearance, its properties for dental fillings are unsurpassed.

The ease with which mercury forms an amalgam with gold is also widely exploited by small claim gold miners around the world. Small claim panning for gold is a major use of mercury. In order to extract and consolidate the gold flakes and nuggets, miners in Brazil and elsewhere use elemental mercury to capture the gold flakes in water running over liquid mercury beds. The gold binds with the mercury and the solid gold-amalgam can be sieved off. The mercury is then easily recycled by heating the amalgam in an iron pot with the resulting mercury vapour forced through a water bath where it liquefies again. The gold remains as a solid lump in the crucible.

Mercury compounds are also common preservatives in various medicinal products such as vaccine solutions that require stability and shelf life before application.

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) Rule

In order to understand how the new MATS rule stacks up against reality, some simple calculations are useful. The most basic ones would give estimates of mercury emissions from the “villain du jeur” (coal) and other sources. Let’s do some math:

Mercury from Coal

The U.S. consumes close to 1,000 million tonnes of coal a year, or 10^12 kg. That coal contains close to 0.1 ppm (parts per million) of mercury. Hence, on combustion, of all that coal and without any cleansing of the flue gases, a total of 100 tonnes or 100,000 kg mercury would be coming out of all chimneys in one year. As the density of mercury is quite high (approximately 13 times that of water), roughly, that amount of mercury would fit into a volume occupied by a table that comfortably seats eight persons..

Mercury from Teeth

As mentioned, for the last one hundred years or so, silver amalgam has been the material of choice to fill dental cavities. I recently visited my favourite dentist and asked him about the amount of amalgam in my mouth. He assured me that it was quite comparable to his other patients of equal age. When I asked about the combined volume of all of such fillings, he guessed about one milli-liter or the volume of half a sewing thimble. That would represent about 10 grams, or 0.01 kg of mercury as amalgam.

Now, let’s multiply that by the population in North America, say 400 million, and you arrive at an amount of 4,000,000 kg of mercury in the entire population’s teeth. As you can see, that number is approximately 40 times that of the annual release of mercury from the burning of coal, 100,000 kg/per year. Wikipedia states the total amount of anthropogenic (manmade) emissions of “mercury” in the U.S as 144,000 kg/year.

At a death rate of approximately 8% of the population and with an estimated one third of the population being cremated, the amount of mercury so released then also comes to 0.1 million kg (elemental) mercury; the same quantity as calculated for the mercury from coal. Indeed, EPA concluded that only one half of the mercury emissions comes from coal.

Mercury from other Sources

Most difficult to estimate is the amount of mercury released from sources other than the two mentioned above. While the element (in any form) is relatively rare with its abundance in the earth’s crust estimated at 0.067 ppm, slightly higher than that of gold, it also is found in any rock and soil in nature; mercury compounds are ubiquitous in nature. Therefore, methyl-mercury and other mercury compounds are also found in aquatic organisms around the world including those far from any human settlement.

In nature, mercury is almost never found as the free element but only in compounds with other elements. Of these, cinnabar, mercury sulfide is by far the most common one. Its bright red color made it a favored cosmetic for millennia.

Toxicity of Mercury

This brief discourse on mercury would be incomplete without a quick review of mercury’s (in any form) toxicity. However, that is also a major bone of contention.

Elemental mercury, i.e. its vapor is a known neurotoxin. Many of the early investigators of mercury’s effect suffered from its neurological toxic effects before they were recognized. However, it would be wrong to call mercury a villain on that basis only.

Chronic exposure to elemental mercury vapor causes neurotoxic effects like the “mad hatters” disease. However, as with all things toxic, the dose or concentration over time of exposure is most critical. While long-time exposure to elemental mercury vapors causes severe effects, no such effect has been proven to arise from the extremely low levels of mercury and its compounds in the atmosphere that result from the burning of coal. Therefore, the limitations on coal-fired power plants based on their mercury emissions are not scientifically defensible.

Pollution by soluble mercury compounds in lakes, rivers or ocean embayments like at Minamata can lead to increased methyl-mercury levels in local fish above the natural background concentration of approximately 1 ppm. However, the amount of mercury contributed to the atmosphere from burning coal is miniscule relative to its natural background levels in most environs. Even without the use of any coal whatsoever, the concentrations of mercury and its compounds in the environment would not change materially.

Therefore, EPA’s MATS rule is not based on scientific evidence of benefit from the reduction of mercury emissions; it is nothing but a ruse, solely invented to couch the “war on coal” as a “war on mercury.”


The Loony Anti-Keystone Campaign

What is this incessant nonsense over Keystone XL?

It’s a pipeline, for crying out loud. The United States already has 185,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines, 320,000 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines, and more than 2,000,000 miles of gas distribution pipelines. Using the latest steel, valves and other technologies to build another 1,179 miles of pipe – to move 830,000 barrels of oil per day safely from Alberta, Canada oil sands country and North Dakota’s Bakken shale territory to Texas refineries – should not be an earth-shattering matter.

KXL would create jobs – in an economy that grew at a pathetic Depression-era clip of 0.1% during the first quarter, and where the true jobless rate (unemployed, underemployed and those no longer looking) is almost 13 percent, and much worse for minorities.

In fact, Keystone would create some 20,000 construction jobs; another 10,000 in factories that make the steel, pipelines, valves, cement and heavy equipment needed to build the pipeline; thousands more in hotel, restaurant and other support industries; and still more jobs in the oil fields whose output would be transported to refineries and petrochemical plants where still more workers would be employed.

States along the pipeline route would receive $5 billion in new property tax revenues, and still more in workers’ income tax payments. Depleted federal coffers would also realize hefty gains.

The pipeline would ease railroad congestion all over the central USA. The pipeline’s absence is forcing oil producers to move crude by railroad tanker car. That certainly improves the bottom line for RR companies and folks like Warren Buffet who have big-time investments in tankers.

But it causes train logjams and delays that are creating backlogs in getting fertilizer and other supplies to farmers, who have already been hard-hit by a long winter and now may not be able to plant on schedule. Come fall, their efforts to ship corn, wheat and other crops to market will also be stymied.

By reducing the need for RR tankers, KXL would also reduce oil spills and improve safety. A 2013 derailment in Quebec killed 47 people; 2014 rail accidents in Colorado and Virginia resulted in significant oil spills but fortunately no deaths. The Bakken Field’s light crude contains more dissolved gases and thus is more flammable than heavier crudes (like Canadian oil sands output), but both tanker cars and the Keystone pipeline would carry a variety of crude products.

Improved track maintenance, train scheduling and other safety practices would reduce rail accidents and spills. However, as US State Department studies point out, the Keystone pipeline is inherently safer than RR alternatives – and would likely result in fewer than 520 barrels of crude being spilled annually, compared to 32,000 barrels in the three rail spills just noted.

KXL will augment America’s national security, make North America more energy independent, further improve US balance of trade, reduce global supply and demand imbalances, and aid our European allies in their quest to counter Vladimir Putin’s energy blackmail.

The hydrocarbon wealth the pipeline would transport will help ensure improved human health, welfare, living standards and other many other benefits, in a more stable world that has more sources of jobs, wealth and income equality. Approval would improve relations with our ally and trading partner Canada. Not tapping and safely transporting all these oil, natural gas and propane resources makes no sense.

But despite all these solid reasons for building the pipeline President Obama refuses to approve it, even to protect vulnerable Democrat politicians, for fear of offending ultra Keystone hater Tom Steyer or losing his hardcore eco-base. Senator Harry Reid can hardly bring himself to allow even votes on nonbinding resolutions in support of KXL. And rabid environmentalists say they’re prepared to go to jail over it.

What in blazes is going on here?

Keystone is symbolic! In fact, it has become the symbol of Big Green environmentalism’s immutable opposition to … and hatred of … anything hydrocarbon. KXL is fracking, oil sands, onshore and offshore drilling and, above all, “catastrophic manmade climate disruption” (the latest nom de guerre, since the global warming and climate change monikers and models have abjectly failed to reflect climate reality).

KXL represents their determination to de-develop the United States, reduce our energy use and living standards, redistribute wealth – and permit Third World development only in accordance with their supposed “sustainable development” and “renewable” energy “principles.”

The Keystone XL pipeline issue is as phony as a $3 bill. Blocking its construction will have about as much effect on Earth’s climate as a hand grenade would in stopping a hurricane, even if carbon dioxide does influence weather and climate change far more than thousands of scientists say it does.

(More than 1,000 climate scientists, 31,000 American scientists and 48% of US meteorologists say there is no evidence that humans are causing dangerous warming or climate change. And it is increasingly obvious that much of the remaining “consensus” is obtained by harassing, intimidating and browbeating any scientists who might be tempted to stray from the alarmist party line.)

China, India, Indonesia, Brazil and dozens of other countries are burning coal, driving cars, modernizing their hydrocarbon-based economies and emitting CO2 at a fevered pace. Further delaying or ultimately blocking Keystone will have no effect, especially if the oil simply goes to Asia, instead of the USA.

However, Big Green has staked its power and reputation on Keystone – and it will not back down.

This $13.4-billion-per-year US eco industry is determined to block the Keystone pipeline. As Washington Examiner columnist Ron Arnold revealed, the $789-million Rockefeller Brothers Fund launched its “tar sands” and pipeline campaigns in 2008. It funded a dozen attack groups, told them what the Fund wanted done, and presented the strategy and tactics for mobilizing the troops, inventing and spotlighting the pipeline’s alleged dangers, recruiting always-helpful media allies, and slowing and stopping KXL.

The campaigns are backed up by other fat-cat liberal foundations that collectively have more than $100 billion in assets! As Arnold pointed out, they gave more than $80 billion to some 16,000 American environmental activist groups between 2000 and 2012 – and those groups were also supported by over $100 million in grants from US government agencies!

Hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer has promised to give $100 million to anti-Keystone Democrats. Law firms are making serious money filing lawsuits against KXL. And of course Hollywood elites can always be counted on to lend their support and innate grasp of energy and economic issues to pipeline opponents.

This is a force to be reckoned with, a force that is largely responsible for inflicting nearly $1.9 trillion in regulatory compliance costs on United States businesses and families. That’s one-eighth of the entire US economy. It’s no wonder job, economic and investment growth rates are so miserably low.

President Obama and other Democrats, environmentalists and liberals love to expound on how compassionate and socially responsible they are. How devoted to justice, workers, middle class families, jobs, and human health, safety and welfare. How honest, transparent, respectful of others’ opinions and needs, and accountable for their mistakes and failures.

Am I the only one who sees pitifully little evidence for any of these self-proclaimed saintly attributes?

Keystone epitomizes how callous, arrogant, hypocritical and destructive the Big Green authoritarians have become. It’s high time the rights and needs of poor and middle class families got some recognition.




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


18 May, 2014

Scientists Condemned For Political Bias On Climate Change

If you doubt global warming you should be

The journal says the Bengtsson paper was rejected on academic grounds. It would be interesting to see the actual reviewer reports to see just what those "academic" grounds were. I'll have a bet that they were very shallow. But given compulsive Warmist secrecy, I doubt that we will ever see that. "Hiding" things is essential to their modus operandi

Climate scientists who vilified a colleague for advising a think-tank are “blind to their own biases”, according to a former senior member of the UN’s climate change advisory body.

Mike Hulme, professor of climate and culture at King’s College London, condemned fellow scientists for “harassing” Lennart Bengtsson, and gave warning that climate science had become too political.

Professor Bengtsson resigned this week from the academic advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate sceptic think-tank, after being subjected to what he described as McCarthy-style pressure from fellow academics.
Professor Hulme, who helped to lead the team that produced the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2001 report, last night broke ranks within the climate science community to defend Professor Bengtsson.

He condemned climate scientists who “believe it’s their role to pass public judgment on whether a scientific colleague should offer advice to political, public or a campaigning organisations and to harass that scientist until they ‘fall into line’.”

He added that the episode said much about how politicised climate science had become and “how some scientists remain blind to their own biases”.

An academic journal yesterday defended its decision to reject a paper co-authored by Professor Bengtsson and four other leading climate scientists. The paper suggested that the climate might be much less sensitive to greenhouse gases than had been claimed by the IPCC in its report last September. An anonymous reviewer for Environmental Research Letters recommended rejecting the paper and described it as “harmful” because climate sceptics could use it to argue their case.

Nicola Gulley, editorial director at IOP Publishing, which publishes the online journal, said that the rejection was based solely on editorial standards. “The referees selected to review this paper were of the highest calibre and are respected members of the international science community,” she said. IOP declined to name the reviewer.

Joanna Haigh, co-director of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, said that external pressure on climate scientists had polarised the debate over global warming into “us and them” camps. “It is regrettable that perceived political stances on the climate issue are apparently so affecting academic activity,” she said.

In a statement last night issued via the University of Reading, where he is a research fellow, Professor Bengtsson said: “I am worried by a wider trend that science is gradually being influenced by political views. Policy decisions need to be based on solid fact.”


More Settled Science!

Sea levels to fall, at the same time as they rise!


More on the West Antarctic nonsense

Despite having local unstable regions Antarctica has more sea ice surrounding it than for many years, with more ice being added than is being lost by glaciers in the West Antarctic.

The media have been saying that the collapse of the West Antarctic glaciers is unstoppable; nothing can halt their retreat, say the headlines. They add that man-made climate change is one of the driving factors that will result in sea-level rises that will alter the coastlines of the world.

The media reports are based on two new studies, or rather the press releases associated with them. One of them looked at 40 years of data. The glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica “have passed the point of no return,” according to glaciologist Eric Rignot, of UC Irvine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The other study investigated nearby Thwaites glacier saying it will likely disappear in a few centuries.

It’s clear that this region is currently the most changeable part of Antarctica, but it’s not clear why, or how long it will go on for. Not every change seen in the past few decades (when we started obtaining reliable satellite data for the first time) is down to mankind.

The most famous and most studied glacier in the region is Pine Island. It has seen significant changes in the last few decades. Its velocity has increased by 40% between 1996 and 2007 and its grounding line retreated by about 1 km/yr between 1992 -2011. It seems that the grounding line – the boundary where a glacier touches the sea floor – is retreating allowing warm water to melt the glacier from below. This was seen for the first time in the 1990s. Since 2009 however there is some evidence that the glacier has been receding at a steady pace.

Because this region of glaciers rests on land below sea level, and there is no land formation to hold it back it is postulated that a runaway process will eventually cause the entire glacier to discharge out to sea, if things continue as they are. Timescales are important. The “collapse” of this particular ice sheet could happen in 200 years, or more likely in 500 or a thousand or more. One should be careful extrapolating hundreds of years into the future from just 20 years of data. The experience from the glaciers in Greenland is that you have to monitor them for much longer to see how variable is their output. “Rignot said, “It happened many times before when the Earth was as warm as it is about to be.” So the collapse needs the current conditions to last hundreds of years. Is that likely?

It’s all too easy to see such changes as obviously manifestations of man-made climate change. Mankind may have played a role. There is some evidence that ocean current changes induced by ozone depletion (down to us) have brought more warm water southward particularly affecting the Antarctic Peninsula.

The most relevant research, not mentioned in the recent media reports, that helps put the changes seen in this particular region into context is a study of the region’s glaciers over the past 8,000 years. The study showed that Pine Island Glacier has experienced rapid thinning in the past and that once set in motion the rapid changes can persist for centuries, and eventually reverse, without mankind’s help.

So this event occurs naturally and has happened before. Of course we are now more vulnerable to such changes that we were in the early Holocene and should monitor the area and make plans. It is an example that even without any human changes to the climate we humans will still have to adapt to climate changes, potentially big ones.

The ice discharge from Pine Island Glacier could rise to 130 GT/yr and lead to significant sea-level rise, perhaps over a metre. It’s a good thing that the vast majority of the 27 million GT of total Antarctic ice is stable.

Despite having local unstable regions Antarctica has more sea ice surrounding it than for many years, with more ice being added than is being lost by glaciers in the West Antarctic. Sea ice is however not the same as land ice. Sea ice is more variable and does not contribute to sea-level rise. No one really knows why the Antarctic sea ice is expanding, undermined as it is by the very same warm water that is said to be responsible for the increased glacier flow in the West Antarctic.


End to solar farm blight as subsidy scheme is scrapped in Britain

Subsidies that have driven the spread of large solar farms across Britain are to be scrapped under plans to stop the panels blighting the countryside.

Energy companies that build solar farms currently qualify for generous consumer-funded subsidies through the so-called 'Renewable Obligation' (RO) scheme, and had expected to keep doing so until 2017.

But the Department of Energy and Climate Change announced on Tuesday that it planned to shut the RO to new large solar farms two years early, from April next year.

The decision follows an admission by ministers that far more projects have been built than expected, leading to an rising subsidy bill for consumers and increasing local opposition.

Greg Barker, the energy minister, pledged last month that solar farms must not become "the new onshore wind" and said he wanted solar panels installed on factory rooftops instead.

Although a separate, new subsidy scheme will be made available to large solar farms, it is expected to be far more difficult for solar farms to gain funding under the new regime.

A Whitehall source said: "Large scale solar shouldn't be in any place or at any cost. The direction of travel is away from farms - especially where communities don't want them."

Leonie Greene, head of external affairs for the Solar Trade Association, said the industry was "dismayed" at the proposals.

She said that the replacement subsidy scheme - so-called 'contracts for difference' (CfD) - simply "doesn't work for solar".

The new scheme will have a capped budget and onshore wind and solar farm projects will be forced to compete with each other in reverse auctions to win subsidy contracts.

Ms Greene said that, on current costs, solar farms "can't compete with onshore wind". The uncertainty in the auction process also made solar farm development too risky for the small businesses who typically build them.

"Unless we can get major amendments to CfDs and fair treatment, they [large-scale solar farms] won't get built," she said.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "Large-scale solar is deploying much faster than we expected. Industry projections indicate that, by 2017, there could be more solar deployed than is affordable – more than the 2.4-4GW set out in the electricity market reform (EMR) delivery plan.

"We need to manage our financial support schemes effectively and responsibly. That means that we need to ensure that the growth of the solar sector is delivered in a way that gives best value for money to consumers and allows us to offer effective support to the renewables sector as a whole.

"So we are also consulting today on proposals to close the RO to new solar PV capacity above 5MW from 1st April 2015, across England, Wales and Scotland. Those proposals include grace period arrangements to protect developers who have already made significant financial commitments."

In a solar strategy released last month, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said: “We want to move the emphasis for growth away from large solar farms.”

Seb Berry, head of public affairs at solar company Solarcentury, said: "Today's announcement is unnecessary and totally at odds with the government's desire to reduce the cost to energy bill payers of delivering the 2020 renewable energy target.

"This policy proposal will undermine investor confidence in the entire UK renewable energy sector, by removing at a stroke the short and medium-term policy certainty required for major project investments.

“It is surprising that the government is trying justify this proposal on cost grounds. Large-scale solar is already significantly cheaper than offshore wind and will be competitive with onshore wind by 2017. In deliberately setting out to strangle the growth of cheaper solar from 2015, Secretary of State Ed Davey can no longer claim that government policy will deliver the most cost-effective mix of technologies by 2020."


Government Policy: Save the Planet from the Plague of Hungry Humans

I guess vegetables ARE mostly green

Our friends at the Independent Women’s Forum sent a letter the other day to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack expressing concern about the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee becoming overly ideological.

Brace yourself: The guidelines recommend taking great care to feed humanity while being mindful of the carbon footprint consuming food requires … no matter the cost.

IWF Senior Fellow Julie Gunlock wrote at National Review Online about the food nannies our First Lady has decided to direct:

"Every five years, a committee of officials chosen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reviews the federal dietary guidelines. This committee, called the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, is mandated by Congress to work on “providing nutritional and dietary information and guidelines for the general public . . . based on the preponderance of scientific and medical knowledge currently available.” In other words, these are the government-fat-camp counselors, and they’re here to tell you what to eat."

Gunlock notes the sketchy track record of the federal food police. Once they advocated a food pyramid that since 1992 was heavy on carbs. But under the guidance of our First Lady, we moved to the “Choose My Plate” program, which was high in vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Writes Gunlock:

"The new plate was met with much optimism. Celebrity chef Padma Lakshmi gushed that the new plate was a “triumph for the first lady and the rest of us.” Marion Nestle, professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University said, “The new design is a big improvement.” Others suggested the plate would finally knock some sense into us piggy Americans and make us eat better and lose weight.

Of course, reasonable people realize this is ludicrous because what normal person says, “You know, I really need to eat better. I think I’ll go check out the USDA website for diet info.”?

Only Washington bureaucrats could be oblivious enough to miss the utter uselessness of the DGAC. Only they could be unaware that the United States has a thriving, $60 billion diet and exercise industry (not to mention a whole host of independent bloggers) that already provides people with a variety of choices and advice on how to get fit and eat nutritiously. The DGAC members must avoid grocery stores altogether because if they did ever stand in the checkout lane, they’d be bombarded with magazine headlines promising guidance on dieting (along with pictures of bikini-clad hard bodies)."

Great point by Gunlock. Liberals have zero faith in the public to make the right choices — and an equal lack of recognition that the free market endlessly urges Americans to shape up. But nothing matters to a liberal unless the government urges/mandates it.

Gunlock watched the live feed of the DGAC event so you don’t have to, and noticed something that caught her attention — and should have yours:

"Kate Clancy, billed as a “food systems consultant” (yeah, so am I!) came to the podium and explained that the DGAC must integrate environmental concerns into the guidelines. As her speech went on, I heard phrases like “environmentally friendly food choices” and making “low impact food choices” and looking at things with an “ecological perspective.” Her point was clear: Americans must not only make nutritious food decisions, they must make environmentally responsible food decisions even if that means Americans’ food costs increase. And food prices most definitely will go up if her recommendations are included in the final guidelines."

The liberal elite shops at Whole Foods (despite it being headed by a libertarian), so everyone else should too!

"While Clancy doesn’t say we have to swear off meat altogether, she envisions a population that procures protein from local sources, only buying line-caught fish, grass-fed beef, and organic milk. Again, she makes no mention of the added costs associated with this Whole Foods-style food shopping. Which should make us all wonder, do these folks understand that the highest rates of obesity are suffered by those who live under the poverty line? This administration, which portrays itself as looking out for the poor, might want to reconsider making recommendations that will needlessly hike the prices of healthy food for that very demographic."

Sure. That will happen. As soon as kids all across the country stop dumping their First-Lady-approved lunches into the garbage.

When will we be free of the food nannies? Maybe when we all agree to compost the crappy food they demand we eat.


Environmental Shakedown

Over a three-year period, 2009-2012, Department of Justice data shows American taxpayers footed the bill for more than $53 million in so-called environmental groups’ legal fees—and the actual number could be much higher. The real motivation behind the Endangered Species Act (ESA) litigation, perhaps, could have more to do with vengeance and penance than with a real desire to protect flora and fauna.

On May 7, I spoke at the Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference in Farmington, New Mexico. During the two-day event, I sat in on many of the other sessions and had conversations with dozens of attendees. I left the event with the distinct impression that the current implementation of the ESA is a major impediment to the economic growth, tax revenue, and job creation that comes with oil-and-gas development. I have written on ESA issues many times, most recently I wrote about the lesser prairie chicken’s proposed “threatened” listing (which the Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS] listed on March 27) and the Oklahoma Attorney General’s lawsuit against the federal government over the “sue and settle” tactics of FWS and the Department of the Interior.

While at the conference, I received an email announcing that FWS has asked a federal court for a six-month delay in making a final determination on whether to list the Gunnison sage grouse as an endangered species—moving the decision past the November elections. Up for re-election, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) “cheered” the extension request. The E & E report states: Colorado elected leaders “fear the listing could have significant economic impacts.”

Kent Holsinger, a Colorado attorney specializing in lands, wildlife and water, posited: “Senator Udall is among those lauding the move—perhaps because a listing decision would affect his fate in the U.S. Senate. Gunnison sage grouse populations are stable, if not on the increase. In addition, myriad state, local and private conservation efforts have been put into place over the last decade. Those efforts, and the Gunnison sage grouse, are at risk if the FWS pursues listing.”

The report continues: “WildEarth Guardians is not opposing the latest extension after Fish and Wildlife agreed to some extensive new mitigation measures that will be made in the interim, including increasing buffer zones around sage grouse breeding grounds, called leks, and deferring coal, oil and gas leasing, said Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist with WildEarth Guardians.” It goes on to say: “But the Center for Biological Diversity, which is a party to the settlement agreements with WildEarth Guardians, said the latest extension is a bad move for the grouse, which it says has needed ESA protections for years.”

Two important items to notice in the Gunnison sage grouse story. One, the power the environmental groups wield. Two, part of appeasing the environmental groups involves “deferring coal, oil and gas leasing.”

It is widely known that these groups despise fossil fuels. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD)brags about its use of lawsuits to block development—but it is not just oil and gas they block, it is virtually all human activity.

In researching for this week’s column, I have talked to people from a variety of industry and conservation efforts. The conversations started because I read something they’d written about CBD. Whether I was talking to someone interested in protecting big horn sheep, a fishing enthusiast, or an attorney representing ranching or extractive industries, CBD seems to be a thorn in their side. All made comments similar to what Amos Eno, who has been involved in conservation for more than forty years, told me: “CBD doesn’t care about the critters. They are creating a listing pipeline and then making money off of it.” Environmental writer Ted Williams, in a piece on wolves, called CBD: “perennial plaintiffs.”

New Mexico rancher Stephen Wilmeth directed me to a CBD profile he’d written. In it he addressed how the CBD’s efforts targeted livestock grazing and sought “the removal of cattle from hundreds of miles of streams.” Wilmeth states: “CBD has elevated sue and settle tactics, injunctions, new species listings, and bad press surrounding legal action to a modern art form. Consent decrees more often than not result in closed door sessions with concessions or demands made on agency policy formulation.”

In a posting on the Society for Bighorn Sheep website titled: Legal tactics directly from the Center for Biological Diversity, board member Gary Thomas states: “The Center ranks people second. By their accounting, all human endeavors, agriculture, clean water, energy, development, recreation, materials extraction, and all human access to any space, are subordinate to the habitat requirements of all the world’s obscure animals and plants. But these selfish people don’t care about any person, plant, or animal. The Center collects obscure and unstudied species for a single purpose, specifically for use in their own genre of lawsuits. They measure their successes not by quality of life for man nor beast, but by counting wins in court like notches in the handle of a gun.”

You’d expect someone like me, an energy advocate, to dis the CBD—and I have (CBD is not too fond of me)—but how’d it get such a broad-based collection of negativity from within the environmental community?

Ted Williams told me: “environmentalists who are paying attention are not happy with CBD.” He has written the most comprehensive exposé on CBD that can be found—for which he was threatened with a lawsuit. Without Williams’ work, one has to resort to bits and pieces off the internet to put together CBD’s modus operandi—but there is plenty to choose from!

One of the most interesting ones to catch my eye was a part of the post on There, Thomas points out the fact that the three founders of CBD are ex-forest service workers. He states: “To donors, their motives appear altruistic. To the informed, they look more like a 20-year quest for revenge for their firing.”

I am fairly well acquainted with CBD, but Thomas’ accusation was new to me—though it fit what I knew. (One of the very first pieces I ever wrote, when I originally got into this work seven plus years ago, was on the one and only legal victory ever won against CBD. Arizona rancher Jim Chilton won a defamation suit against CBD with a $600,000 dollar settlement. Nearly everyone I talked to as a part of my research for this story mentioned Chilton’s name with reverence.)

I dug around and found an interesting story from Backpacker Magazine that gave credence to Thomas’ claim. The February 2003 issue features a multi-page profile on Kieran Suckling, co-founder and executive director. Addressing the three founders, who were working for the Forest Service, Backpacker reports: “All three of them were frustrated by their agencies’ inaction.” The story goes on to explain how the threesome “hatched a plan” to petition the Forest Service and force it to list the spotted owl.

Then, I found a 2009 profile on Suckling in High Country News (HCN). It quotes Suckling describing how the roots of his full-time activism started while working for the Forest Service doing spotted owl surveys: “We had signed contracts saying we wouldn’t divulge owl locations, but we went the next day to the Silver City Daily Press, with a map that told our story. We were fired within seconds. That was the start of us becoming full-time activists.”

These snippets help explain Suckling’s animosity toward the Forest Service and other government agencies. CBD is gleeful over its results. It has sued government agencies hundreds of times and has won the majority of the cases—though many never go to court and are settled in a backroom deal (hence the term: “sue and settle”). Thomas writes: “They are extremely proud to report that single-handedly they deplete the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s entire annual budget, approximately $5 million, for endangered species listings year after year by forcing them to use their limited funds defending lawsuits instead of their intended purpose.”

The HCN piece describes Suckling’s approach to getting what he wants—which he explains in the New Yorker, as “a new order in which plants and animals are part of the polity”: “The Forest Service needs our agreement to get back to work, and we are in the position of being able to powerfully negotiate the terms of releasing the injunction. … They [federal employees] feel like their careers are being mocked and destroyed—and they are. So they become much more willing to play by our rules and at least get something done. Psychological warfare is a very underappreciated aspect of environmental campaigning.”

“In CBD speak,” adds Wilmeth, “the suggestion of playing by the rules equates to its rules of manipulating positive outcomes for its mission.”

Putting the pieces together, it does appear, as Thomas asserts, that Suckling is on a 20+ year “quest for revenge” for being fired—vengeance that American taxpayers are funding.

Suckling is an interesting character. The Backpacker story cites his ex-wife, who said the following: “He’s not tethered on a daily basis to the same things you and I are tethered to.”

Tierra Curry is another name that comes up frequently in CBD coverage. CBD’s staff section of the website lists her as “senior scientist” and says she “focuses on the listing and recovery of endangered species.” As Warner Todd Huston reports: “Curry has an odd profile for an activist. She once claimed to have enjoyed dynamiting creek beds in rural Kentucky and taking perverse pleasure at sending fish and aquatic animals flying onto dry land and certain death. Now Curry spends her time filing petitions to ‘save’ some of the same animals she once enjoyed killing.”

Perhaps Curry’s frenetic listing efforts are her way of doing penance for her childhood penchant of killing critters.

The role vengeance and penance may play in CBD’s shakedown of the American public is just a hypothesis based on facts. But the dollars paid out are very real.

In an April 8, 2014 hearing before the House Committee on Natural Resources, fifth-generation rancher and attorney specializing in environmental litigation, Karen Budd-Falen talked about the need for ESA reform, as four different House bills propose: “Public information regarding payment of attorney’s fees for ESA litigation is equally difficult to access.” Addressing HR 4316—which requires a report on attorney’s fees and costs for ESA related litigation—she says: “It should not be a radical notion for the public to know how much is being paid by the federal government and to whom the check is written.”

As she reports in her testimony, Budd-Falen’s staff did an analysis of the 276-page spreadsheet run released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) listing litigation summaries in cases defended by the Environment and Natural Resources Division, Wildlife Section. She explains: “The spreadsheets are titled ‘Endangered Species Defensive Cases Active at some point during FY09-FY12 (through April 2012).’

Although the DOJ release itself contained no analysis, my legal staff calculated the following statistics.” Budd-Falen then shows how she came up with the nearly $53 million figure of taxpayer money paid out over an approximate three-year period. However, she then shows how her own Freedom of Information Act requests have proven “that the DOJ does not keep an accurate account of the cases it defends”—making the actual dollar figure much higher.

Budd-Falen has stated: “We believe when the curtain is raised we’ll be talking about radical environmental groups bilking the taxpayer for hundreds of millions of dollars, allegedly for ‘reimbursement for attorney fees.’”

Budd-Falen’s research shows that for groups like CBD—who sue on process not on substance—it really is about the money.

Eno believes that for the CBD, it isn’t about the critters: “CBD endangers the endangered species program on multiple fronts. First, their petitions and listing suits use up significant financial and personnel resources of both Office of Endangered Species and solicitors office in DOI. This means less funding and personnel devoted to species recovery. Second, CBD suits antagonize and jeopardize recovery programs of cooperating federal land management agencies, particularly USFS and BLM. Third, their suits have hampered forest and grassland management thereby inviting forest fires which endanger both human and wildlife (sage grouse) communities throughout the west. Fourth, CBD suits antagonize, alienate and create financial hardship for affected private land owners, thereby reducing both public support and initiatives and active assistance for listed species recovery.”

Despite numerous attempts, the ESA has not had any major revisions in more than 25 years. The Wall Street Journal states: “The ESA’s mixed record on wildlife restoration and its impact on business have made the law vulnerable to critics.” Groups like CBD have twisted the intent of the law. Reform is now essential—not just to save taxpayer dollars, but to put the focus back on actually saving the species rather than, as Wilmeth calls it: “the bastardized application of science, policy and education.”

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.




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


16 May, 2014

The spurious "97% consensus" claim now needs legal protection from being disproven

Anthony Watts has apparently obtained more of the data on which John Cook based his 97% claim and was set to publish an article showing just how disreputable the Cook claim is.

But the university where Cook works has now issued Watts with a threatening legal letter that forbids him from discussing Cook's work -- on the ground that Cook's work is copyrighted!

How Fascist can you get! A claim that cannot be discussed! It tells us most vividly how indefensible the claim is.

Anthony gives the gruesome details here

Science as McCarthyism

Another scientist gets blackballed for his skepticism about global warming.

On Monday, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson took a tilt at climate skeptics. “The assumption that the vast majority in a scientific field is engaged in fraud or corruption is frankly conspiratorial,” Gerson wrote. As a non-scientist, he decided that the answer to the question of whether humans had warmed the planet was to trust scientists.

The article’s timing was unfortunate. Three weeks ago, Lennart Bengtsson, a leading Swedish meteorologist approaching his 80s, announced that he was joining the avowedly skeptical Global Warming Policy Foundation think tank. In an interview with Spiegel Online, Bengtsson spoke of the need for climate-model predictions to be validated against observations. “Since the end of the 20th century, the warming of the Earth has been much weaker than what climate models show,” he said.

Hadn’t the IPCC covered this in its recent report? “Yes,” Bengtsson replied:

"the scientific report does this but, at least in my view, not critically enough. It does not bring up the large difference between observational results and model simulations. I have full respect for the scientific work behind the IPCC reports but I do not appreciate the need for consensus. It is important, and I will say essential, that society and the political community is also made aware of areas where consensus does not exist."

One of the most telling features of climate science is just how few climate scientists changed their minds as the evidence changed. The pause in global temperature in the last 15 years or so has been unexpected. Now we know why: Yesterday, Bengtsson dropped a bombshell. He was resigning from the think tank. In his resignation letter, Bengtsson wrote:

"I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. . . . Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc. I see no limit and end to what will happen. It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy."

Especially significant was a tweet from Gavin Schmidt, a leading climate modeler at the NASA Goddard Institute, who for many years worked alongside James Hansen. “Groups perceived to be acting in bad faith should not be surprised that they are toxic within the science community,” Schmidt tweeted. “Changing that requires that they not act in bad faith and not be seen to be acting in bad faith.”

Evidently the right to practice and discuss climate science should be subject to a faith test. It is an extraordinarily revealing development. Fears about unbelievers’ polluting the discourse, as some academics put it, illustrate the weakness of climate science: The evidence for harmful anthropogenic global warming is not strong enough to stand up for itself.

Inadvertently Schmidt’s tweet demonstrates how far climate science has crossed the boundary deep into pseudo-science. Karl Popper observed of the trio of pseudo-sciences prevalent in 1920s Vienna that their followers could explain why non-believers rejected their manifest truths. For Marxists, it was because of their class interests. For subscribers to Freudian psychoanalysis and Alfred Adler’s psychology, non-belief was evidence of unanalyzed repressions crying out for treatment. So it is with climate science. Only the pure of heart should be allowed an opinion on it.

Science regresses if it becomes intolerant of criticism. At the beginning of her reign, Queen Elizabeth I of England spoke words of tolerance in an age of religious strife, declaring that she had no intention of making windows into men’s souls. Unlike religion, science is not a matter of the heart or of belief. It exists only in what can be demonstrated. In their persecution of an aged colleague who stepped out of line and their call for scientists to be subject to a faith test, 21st-century climate scientists have shown less tolerance than a 16th-century monarch.

There is something rotten in the state of climate science.


More Green/Left Fascism

MSNBC’s Hayes: Some Conservative Beliefs Should Disqualify People From Public Office. This is a discussion by democratically deficient people. Who should decide what beliefs are to be disqualifying? The answer of course: dictators

On Tuesday’s All In, host Chris Hayes and his guests tackled a chilling and politically loaded subject: which beliefs should disqualify someone from holding public office. Among other things, the group decided that global warming “denialism,” opposition to same-sex marriage, and opposition to a “robust” Voting Rights Act should put a politician outside the mainstream and ruin their chances of holding public office.

Hayes seemed excited that politicians might be branded with a figurative scarlet letter for holding beliefs that run counter to his own far-left vision. In fact, he claimed the act of disqualification based on certain beliefs is a “tool of progress,” not something that “constrains consensus.” The host gloated:

It’s a tool of progress when we say that certain things, like opposing marriage equality, are sort of, like, not the kinds of things that mainstream American politicians –

One of Hayes’ guests cut him off, but he didn’t need to finish that sentence. The point is clear – Hayes has stumbled upon a new way to squelch debate in this country and pave the way for liberal domination of American political thought.

The host was particularly gleeful over the growing acceptance of the theory that human beings are driving climate change. After playing clips of Sen. Marco Rubio expressing skepticism of global warming and then trying to clarify when pressed on the issue, Hayes smirked:

[T]he fascinating aspect of this to me is that it looked to me for the first time in a long time that denialism was looking like a thing that was a disqualifier or at least something to be defensive about in a way I haven't seen in a while.

One of Hayes’ guests, former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, agreed:

And I think nowadays it is. I mean, this is an issue that’s – I mean, we’re all threatened by this. I mean, the planet is in danger. Something needs to be done. And I think if you’re just going to deny that this is even occurring, it means that you’re going to be blocking the policies that we need, and it should be a disqualifier.

Hayes even went so far as to call global warming skeptics "really cuckoo."

Regarding gay marriage, the host was also ready to declare the debate closed. He exulted that he has "never seen an issue go so quickly from a contentious, contested issue that’s at the center of our political debates to one in which opposition to it is quickly becoming taboo.”

But in many parts of the country, gay marriage still is a “contentious, contested issue.” Hayes only wishes it were a settled topic.

By the way, the host placed global warming skepticism and opposition to gay marriage in the same basket as 9/11 Trutherism. During his introduction to this discussion, Hayes mentioned that Van Jones, now a co-host of CNN’s Crossfire, was pressured into resigning from his job in the Obama White House because, among other things, his name appeared on a petition that suggested the George W. Bush administration may have knowingly allowed the 9/11 terrorist attacks to happen. The host failed to mention, of course, that MSNBC colleague Toure has a history of Truther-style statements.

That conspiracy theory is well outside of the mainstream, but it was what prompted Hayes to launch his discussion of other, more conservative beliefs that he wishes society would just laugh away.

Below is a transcript of the segment:

CHRIS HAYES: Van Jones says he never actually signed the 9/11 truther petition that prompted that spout of outrage, and he maintained from the start it did not reflect his actual views. But just that tiny little brush with trutherism was enough to get the guy drummed out of the White House. And all this got me thinking about what exactly should constitute a disqualifier when it comes to those who want to hold public office or even work in the government. Joining me now, Bob Herbert, distinguished senior fellow with Demos; Christina Bellantoni, editor-in-chief of Roll Call; and Richard Kim, executive editor of

I am really interested in the boundaries of taboo and consensus and what are the kinds of things that are the kinds of things that politicians can argue about, and the kinds of things that kind of place them off the table. And I thought it was interesting to see the Ernst campaign felt that that claim about WMD was an off-the-table kind of claim they had to then deny, which I found to be progress of a sort. Are there certain things you think, Bob, that should be in the kind of off-the-table category that aren't currently in the off-the-table category?

BOB HERBERT: Sure. I would start with if you don't have support for a robust Voting Rights Act for example. So if you're running for national office and you don't feel that qualified Americans ought to be guaranteed the right to vote, that should disqualify you.

HAYES: Just like Voting Rights Act as a matter of – Voting Rights Act or opposition to Voting Rights Act is off the table. But here’s the thing that's tricky about that, right, is that no one comes out. You're right. That is actually rhetorically where we are in American politics insofar as no one will come out and be like, I don't like the Voting Rights Act, unless, you know, Supreme Court justices. But, right, I think – don't you agree that if someone – no one would actually come out and say that.


HERBERT: – should have to come out and say it. I'm saying you need to be forthright in your support of a robust Voting Rights Act because you need to be forthright in your support of Americans' right to vote.

HAYES: And Rand Paul has come pretty close.

RICHARD KIM: With the Civil Rights Act, which is not the Voting Rights Act, but that package of civil rights legislation.

HAYES: And that infamous moment on Rachel’s show with the long, torturous, just train wreck of an interview in which he basically said, I'm not that into the public accommodation part of the Civil Rights Act, that was him flirting with precisely the line of the disqualifying.


JONATHAN KARL: Let me get this straight. You do not think that human activity, the production of CO2, has caused warming to our planet?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: I don't believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.

UNIDENTIFIED: What information, reports, studies or otherwise are you relying on to inform and reach your conclusion that human activity is not to blame for climate change?

RUBIO: Well, again, I mean – headlines notwithstanding, I’ve never disputed that the climate is changing, and I pointed out that climate, to some extent, is always changing. It’s never static.

HAYES: Nice try, Marco Rubio. I’m back with Bob Herbert, Christina Bellantoni, and Richard Kim. And the reason I want to play that, so Rubio – again, he stepped in it on that Jon Karl interview. I think he didn’t think it was going to become a headline. I mean, you can see his passive/aggressive note about headlines notwithstanding. And then today he tried to walk it back in a totally incoherent way. But the fascinating aspect of this to me is that it looked to me for the first time in a long time that denialism was looking like a thing that was a disqualifier or at least something to be defensive about in a way I haven't seen in a while.

HERBERT: And I think nowadays it is. I mean, this is an issue that’s – I mean, we’re all threatened by this. I mean, the planet is in danger. Something needs to be done. And I think if you’re just going to deny that this is even occurring, it means that you’re going to be blocking the policies that we need, and it should be a disqualifier.

HAYES: And the key here to me is, the conspiratorial thinking it requires to think that thousands of scientists across the globe are engaged in this massive hoax, which is basically what James Inhofe, who’s a sitting U.S. senator, believes, right? The conspiratorial thinking that it takes to believe that is really cuckoo. I mean, that is really out there.

KIM: Okay, I can't believe I'm going to take the other side on this. So obviously, I don't believe, you know, these views, and I think they’re sort of lunatic and really dangerous. On the other hand, large percentages of the American population believe that. And don't they have representation in that political process? And I also worry that if you have this circle of disqualified opinions, and you keep growing that circle, what that rewards is an incentive structure that depends on sort of an absolute certainty of emotion. Like a really kind of intense belief. And to keep feeding that, if the facts on the ground don't match, you invent a set of facts. And I think, actually, that is what has happened to the Republican Party. They’ve sort of produced this outrage machine.

HAYES: So you're just saying, like, against litmus tests as a broad –

KIM: I say let the democratic process play out, and people should vote these things down.

CHRISTINA BELLANTONI: On climate, as a specific thing. The candidate that appeals to the business community tends to be the candidate that’ll either win the nomination or win the general election. And so this is an area where you –

HAYES: In the Republican party, in particular.

BELLANTONI: In general, though, you have to be palpable to them to sit in the White House. And so with the business community shifting on this issue or on minimum wage issues or on some other labor issues, that's where you start to see the shifts. That guides the politician.

HAYES: But what you’re identifying, though, is precisely the nefarious ideological undercurrent of discussions about what's disqualifying. Because, I mean, that goes hand-in-glove with what Richard is saying. You’re saying the people that actually draw the lines around what’s disqualifying is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And like, frankly, that’s what’s going to decide if you're, like, a whacko.

BELLANTONI: And just watch with immigration reform. I mean, the conversation has completely changed since 2005-2006 when George Bush, people were angry at him in a certain segment of the population because he supported immigration reform. And now it is sort of a moderate Republican view.

HAYES: Or on marriage equality. I mean, that is a place where you really do see – I have never seen an issue go so quickly from a contentious, contested issue that’s at the center of our political debates to one in which opposition to it is quickly becoming taboo.

HERBERT: Well, the truth is that you can only do this as a hypothetical exercise, and that’s a good example of why. I mean, there was a time when no one could get elected if they were in favor of gay marriage. Now in many elections it’s a disqualifier if you’re opposed to gay marriage.

HAYES: But that makes me hopeful about the power of this kind of – the force of this, as opposed to this being something that constrains consensus, it actually is this tool, right? It’s a tool of progress when we say that certain things, like opposing marriage equality, are sort of, like, not the kinds of things that mainstream American politicians –

KIM: But it's also a double-edged sword. So things like supporting a 90 percent tax rate, which was once policy in the United States –

HAYES: Right, that's a very good point.

KIM: – would be a completely disqualifying characteristic for many, many people in this country.

HAYES: If you came forward and said I am for a 90 percent top marginal tax rate, which of course was what it was after World War II and the Eisenhower administration before the first round of tax cuts, you would be – that would be the equivalent.

KIM: Exactly.


What's the Real 'Climate Change' Agenda?

A Perfect Storm for an End Run on Liberty

We’re nearing the hot season in the Northern Hemisphere and, predictably, that means the Left’s alarmist “global warming” rhetoric is heating up. Never mind that most weather forecasts beyond 72 hours are largely speculative; these purveyors of hot gas believe we should accept their inviolable 100-year forecast.

Ahead of this year’s midterm elections, amid the plethora of its domestic and foreign policy failures, the Democrat Party has chosen to make their “climate change” fear and fright campaign an electoral centerpiece. Their strategy is to rally the most liberal cadres of Al Gore’s cult of Gorons, whose religious zeal toward “global warming” is fanatical. Unfortunately, for the rest of America, most who occupy this Leftist constituency are no longer capable of distinguishing fact from fiction.

Though the climate alarmists of the 1970s were driven by rhetoric over the coming ice age, the current climate calamity is one of global warming. But the question about climate isn’t if the weather is varying but why it is varying.

And the answer to that question is far less complicated than the “climate change” agenda, which is not about the weather, but about a political strategy to subjugate free enterprise under statist regulation – de facto socialism, under the aegis of “saving us from ourselves.”

The climate is always changing relative to complex short- and long-term climate cycles, so “climate change” is a superbly safe political “cause célèbre” – sort of like “heads we win, tails you lose.” So, declarations like Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union warning – “The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact” – fall into the “keen sense of the obvious” category.

In April, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change released a synopsis of thousands of climate studies, which contradict the conventional “global warming assumptions.” According to the Cato Institute’s Roger Pilon, “We are now at 17 years and eight months of no global warming.”

Not to be outdone by the NIPCC, however, the Obama administration released its own 800-page apocalyptic National Climate Assessment last week, with such erudite conclusions as, “[W]e know with increasing certainty that climate change is happening now.”

I “know” with more than “increasing certainty” that every time I walk outside, I can detect climate change, and this ever-changing condition is better known as “weather.”

Despite the hot hype, Jason Furman, chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, the week before Obama trotted out his climate assessment, had this to say about sluggish first quarter economic growth: “The first quarter of 2014 was marked by unusually severe winter weather.”

Global cooling? That’s right, economic stagnation is not the result of failed “economic recovery” policies but “unusually severe winter weather.”

Obama’s minister of propaganda, Jay Carney, followed with this explanation: “We had historically severe winter weather which temporarily lowered growth in the first quarter … in other words, a reduction of 1 to 1.5% in GDP as a result of what was historically severe weather, one of the coldest winters on record, the greatest number of snowstorms on record.”

After the White House climate assessment was released, Carney was challenged about the disparity between “historically severe winter weather” and global warming, and responded, “The impacts of climate change on weather are severe in both directions.”

Well there you go – climate change is the default explanation for hot and cold weather.

It was no small irony that last week, Obama chose to promote his administration’s “green agenda” with Walmart as a backdrop – ironic given that most of Walmart’s products are produced in China and other third-world nations, the biggest land, water and atmospheric polluters on the planet.

To that end, columnist Charles Krauthammer notes, “We have reduced our carbon dioxide emission since 1996 more than any other country in the world, and, yet, world emissions have risen. Why? We don’t control the other 96% of humanity. We can pass all the laws we want. We can stop all economic activity and take cold showers for the next 100 years, it will not change anything if India and China are opening a new coal plant every week.”

I would suggest to Charles that it’s called “global climate” because it is not “local climate,” even if China and India reduced their CO2 emissions it would not stop “climate change.”

Further, the administration’s report claims that “climate disruption” has resulted in a global temperature rise of 1.3 to 1.9 degrees since 1895 – and it is no coincidence that the report cherry-picked that starting date because 1890 is recognized as the end of the 300-year “Little Ice Age” global cooling period.

For the record, estimates of the minuscule temperature fluctuation over the last century, if correct, would explain why White House science adviser John Holdren has abandoned the term “global warming,” opting instead for the more ambiguous and all-encompassing phrase “global climate disruption.”

Fact is, we “disrupt” the global climate every time we exhale.

Such linguistic obfuscations would make the old Soviet Dezinformatsia Bureau proud! Of course, the Obama administration has mastered the art of the “BIG Lie” from the top down. (Think about it: Would you buy a used car from any of them?)

However, even the Left’s cherished United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that there “is limited evidence of changes in [weather] extremes associated with other climate variables since the mid-20th century.”

And, regarding the objectivity of all those erudite “climate change” scientists, columnist George Will observed, “There is a sociology of science. Scientists are not saints in white laboratory smocks. They have got interests like everybody else. If you want a tenure-track position in academia, don’t question the reigning orthodoxy on climate change. If you want money from the biggest source of direct research in this country, the federal government, don’t question its orthodoxy. If you want to get along with your peers, conform to peer pressure. This is what’s happening.”

Krauthammer added, “All physicists were once convinced that space and time were fixed until Einstein, working in a patent office, wrote a paper in which he showed that they are not. I’m not impressed by numbers. I’m not impressed by consensus.”

As for those of us who can distinguish between fact, fiction and political endgames, and are most decidedly not among Obama’s legions of pantywaist bed-wetters, he unilaterally suspends the revered scientific method and accuses us of “wasting everybody’s time on a settled debate – climate change is a fact. … Climate change is not some far-off problem in the future. It’s happening now. It’s causing hardship now.”

This week, you can expect to hear the Leftmedia trumpet some Antarctic ice melt, but you haven’t heard much about the record ice pack in the Arctic, which is threatening Al Gore’s once-marooned polar bear population, because the ice is too thick for the bears to reach their primary food source, seals.

Let me repeat myself: The climate hype is not about the weather, but about a political strategy to subjugate free enterprise under statist regulation – de facto socialism, under the aegis of “saving us from ourselves.”

Indeed, Obama’s economic policies and regulations have already moved our nation rapidly toward the brink of statist totalitarianism.

And there was more evidence this week of Obama’s reckless strategy to subjugate our economy and by extension, our national security, to his “climate change” agenda.

Adding to his “War on Coal,” Obama has ratcheted up his War on Energy Independence, not only refusing to complete the Keystone XL pipeline but now going after alternative oil exploration methods by implementing new fracking disclosure rules. On top of that, he is undermining alternate transportation options for oil in the absence of Keystone XL with new regulations for trains transporting oil, and specifications for rail cars. Oh, did I mention Obama’s regulatory obstacles to constructing new refineries despite the fact that our current refinement capacity is approaching its limit?

How does this all add up?

According to columnist Terence Jeffrey, “Ultimately, it will not matter if people in government cynically promote the theory that human activity is destroying the global climate as a means of taking control of your life, or if they take control of your life because they sincerely believe human activity is destroying the global climate. Either way, government will control of your life. … In a nation where government can de-develop the economy, stop population growth and redistribute wealth both inside and outside its borders, there will still be droughts, floods and hot summer nights. But there will be no freedom.”
In his 1735 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack, Benjamin Franklin observed, “Some are weatherwise, some are otherwise.” While the Left promotes its agenda as “weatherwise” and its detractors as “deniers,” fact is, they are otherwise.

Oh, wait, my bad. “The debate is settled.


Fossil-free isn't folly free

IF OKLAHOMA prison authorities had been able to carry out Clayton Lockett's execution using sodium thiopental, his death on April 29 would likely have been swift and relatively painless. The powerful sedative used to be part of the standard lethal-injection drug combination, but when its only American manufacturer stopped production in 2010, European governments barred pharmaceutical companies on the other side of the Atlantic from exporting sodium thiopental to the United States.

As the British business secretary, Vince Cable, made clear at the time, the point of the ban was to strike a moral pose. "This move underlines this government's and my own personal moral opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances," he said. The practical effect, however, has been to drive death-penalty states to devise new lethal injection protocols, sometimes with gruesome results.

Many Americans would say that Lockett's prolonged death was no less than he deserved for the vicious murder of 18-year-old Stephanie Neiman in 1999. But justice for murder victims isn't what the Europeans have in mind. They just want to demonstrate their antipathy to capital punishment. Refusing to sell the drugs that can make lethal injections the most humane form of execution enhances their self-image. It also turned Lockett's death from a rapid act of euthanasia into a grimacing, teeth-clenching ordeal that finally ended with a heart attack after more than 40 minutes.

There is a lesson here about the unintended consequences of economic boycotts that backers of the fossil-fuel divestment movement would do well to contemplate.

On college campuses across the country, activists have been urging administrators to adopt "fossil-free" investment policies and rid their endowment funds of shares in coal, oil, and gas stocks. Last week, Stanford became the first major university to join the boycott, announcing its intention to stop investing in "companies whose principal business is the mining of coal." Though Stanford's endowment, about $19 billion, is substantial, its actual investments in coal stocks are minimal. Divesting them will have no real financial impact on either the university or the companies. But it strikes a moral pose, and adds to the pressure on other universities to do likewise.

The biggest target of the divestment movement is Harvard, with its $32 billion endowment and outsize reputation. A student group, Divest Harvard, recently blocked the entrance to Massachusetts Hall, the university's main administration building, as part of a campaign to pressure the school to get rid of its fossil-fuel holdings. So far the university has said no, on the grounds that the endowment's purpose is to earn the income on which many Harvard priorities rely, and that "barring investments in a major, integral sector of the global economy would … come at a substantial economic cost."

Blockading the administration building may feel like disobedience in a righteous cause; students clamoring for hydrocarbon divestment may be convinced they're on the side of the angels. Are they convinced enough to risk the consequences of a weaker endowment? Such as less of the financial aid with which Harvard subsidizes 70 percent of its students?

You don't have to be an especially savvy investor to realize that divestment for ideological reasons doesn't increase your leverage, it eliminates it. Sell your profitable fossil-fuel stocks to show your concern about climate change, and the odds are they'll be snapped up by investors who care much less about the issue than you do. "It's like believing that pornography is evil," writes Canadian economist Todd Hirsch, "so you sell your stash of nudie magazines to the teenager next door."

Using economic weapons for ideological reasons so often leads to unintended and unwanted consequences. Prohibition triggered a host of negative outcomes that its promoters never anticipated, from a wave of restaurant failures to the elimination of thousands of blue-collar jobs to an explosion of crime and corruption.

To stigmatize fossil fuels and the corporations that extract them is to stigmatize the energy on which the modern world runs. This is moral preening, the hypocrisy of activists who want to strike a noble pose without paying a real-world price. Were they to get their way, the consequences would be disastrous, above all for the planet's poorest human beings, still mired in energy poverty, with all the misery it entails. A "fossil-free" future is a chimera, at least in our lifetime, and the divestment campaign can't make things better by pretending otherwise. But don't be surprised if it makes things worse.


Greenies trying to take control of farming and ranching

Australia: Nationals Senator Ron Boswell has warned primary producers to take action now to maintain control over production and marketing.

In what Senator Boswell described as his last substantial speech in the Senate, he said: “What I want to do is leave all Australian primary producers with a warning: take action now to maintain control over the production and marketing of your product.

“Primary producers are under threat from a long-term strategy by a powerful and sophisticated combination of environmental zealots and major corporations that would effectively control primary production practices worldwide.”

Senator Boswell said the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, an organisation created by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and dominated by non-producer bodies, was an example of the threat.

“I regard WWF and other environmental activists teaming up with major corporations to impose conditions on producers as a dangerous development,” Senator Boswell said.

“Management of primary production is being taken away from producers and from elected governments by environmental non-government organisations. They are doing it via environmental conditions enforced by corporations.

“This was encouraged during the six years of the previous Labor Government. That government was in effect a Labor-Greens alliance, and Labor surrendered to environmental lobbyists time and again. It is time the Australian Government re-asserted its legitimate role in management of primary production.

“WWF and other environmental activists are increasingly trying to dictate what can and can’t be caught, harvested, grown or mined in Australia.

WWF is an organisation with a turnover in the hundreds of millions of dollars and 5,000 staff spread across offices in 60 countries. It is a huge multi-national business with enormous resources. What’s more, it is handling the likes of roundtables and stewardship councils on a daily basis.

“By contrast, producers are often developing responses on the run, responding as best they can to a sophisticated, well-rehearsed strategy from WWF. Let’s not pretend that, individually, any single commodity or industry representative body can handle an organisation as powerful and sophisticated as WWF.

“I call on everyone involved in productive toil in our primary industries to address this issue. Work together, and with the Australian Government, to retain the influence you deserve to have over the way your industries operate.

“Producers have a fundamental knowledge of how their operations should be conducted. Government has the scientists, economists and resource managers to assist producers. Together, they can guarantee sensible, rational, sustainable management of this nation’s natural resources.”

Via email



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15 May, 2014

"Climate change" has lost its punch. People now know it is just global warming with lipstick on

A summary from the Left below

There are few things more symbolic of our climate dysfunction than the strange idea that if only we gave the problem a different name, we'd be able to deal with it. Nonetheless, for years there have been intimations that we should cease saying "global warming" and instead say "climate change"—albeit for wildly different reasons.

The case for this phrase change dates at least back to an infamous 2002 memo by conservative strategist Frank Luntz, who argued that "while global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge." Luntz was giving this advice in the context of also advising Republicans to highlight the "lack of scientific certainty" about climate change. In a study published in 2011, however, researchers at the University of Michigan actually found that Republicans seem to be more willing to accept the reality of the problem when the "climate change" label was used.

Most recently, however—and as Media Matters documents in the helpful video below—conservatives have seized on the bizarre idea that the environmental movement is now saying "climate change" because it can explain anything, including "decades of global cooling," as one Fox News host claimed. In other words, the accusation is that this a sneaky way to cover up the reality that global warming is a sham.

But which term should we use from a public opinion perspective? What's the better frame? Riley Dunlap, a sociologist at Oklahoma State University who is currently serving as the Gallup scholar for the environment, has just published a comprehensive polling analysis suggesting that basically, it's a wash. "The public responds to global warming and climate change in a similar fashion," writes Dunlap. For instance: When you show people a list of environmental problems and ask if they personally worry about each one "a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all," 34 percent say they worry a great deal about global warming, and 35 percent say the same about climate change.

The more pertinent issue, though, is whether ideological groups respond differently to different phrasings. Dunlap looked at that too. Breaking responses down by ideology, he found that only 16 percent of Republicans say they worry a great deal about "global warming"...and only 17 percent say the same for "climate change." In the other three possible response categories—a fair amount, only a little, not at all—the results were also quite similar

In sum, 36 percent of Republicans worried a great deal or a fair amount about "global warming," and 39 percent worried a great deal or a fair amount about "climate change." By contrast, 83 percent of Democrats worried either a great deal or a fair amount about both "global warming" and "climate change."

"While there are slight differences in the degree of partisan and ideological divergence in responses to global warming versus climate change," Dunlap concludes in his paper, "they are not statistically significant, and modest compared with the huge gaps in views of both terms held by Americans at the two ends of the political spectrum."

That's not to say there wasn't a time, perhaps as recently as mid-2009 (when the data were collected for the Michigan study cited above), when conservatives were indeed more open to taking the problem seriously if it was labeled "climate change" rather than "global warming." But if so, those days are long gone. Dunlap suggests that this is because conservatives have gotten just as used to dismissing "climate change" as they are to dismissing "global warming." Certainly, the name bestowed upon their favorite pseudo-scandal, late 2009's "ClimateGate," didn't help matters.

Nor does the right's cynical new idea that the climate crowd shifted to saying "climate change" in order to paper over a supposed lack of warming. "In recent years a popular meme on skeptic and conservative blogs is that climate scientists and climate policy advocates have shifted to climate change because it refers to abnormally cold as well as warm weather and is thus harder to dispute—even though climate scientists have used both terms from the late 1980s onward," comments Dunlap by email. "The result is that in conservative circles climate change has become as politicized as global warming, and the two terms now seem synonymous."

So, in sum: If you thought clever word-smithing was going to save the planet, forget about it.


Distinguished Swedish meteorologist, 78, terrorized by Warmists

Press Release from GWPF below

It is with great regret, and profound shock, that we have received Professor Lennart Bengtsson’s letter of resignation from his membership of the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council.

The Foundation, while of course respecting Professor Bengtsson’s decision, notes with deep concern the disgraceful intolerance within the climate science community which has prompted his resignation.

Professor Bengtsson’s letter of resignation from our Academic Advisory Council was sent to its chairman, Professor David Henderson. His letter and Professor Henderson’s response are attached below.

Dr Benny Peiser, Director, The Global Warming Policy Foundation

Resigning from the GWPF

Dear Professor Henderson,

I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc.

I see no limit and end to what will happen. It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years.

Under these situation I will be unable to contribute positively to the work of GWPF and consequently therefore I believe it is the best for me to reverse my decision to join its Board at the earliest possible time.

With my best regards
Lennart Bengtsson

Your letter of resignation

Dear Professor Bengtsson,

I have just seen your letter to me, resigning from the position which you had accepted just three weeks ago, as a member of the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s Academic Advisory Council.

Your letter came as a surprise and a shock. I greatly regret your decision, and I know that my regret will be shared by all my colleagues on the Council.

Your resignation is not only a sad event for us in the Foundation: it is also a matter of profound and much wider concern. The reactions that you speak of, and which have forced you to reconsider the decision to join us, reveal a degree of intolerance, and a rejection of the principle of open scientific inquiry, which are truly shocking. They are evidence of a situation which the Global Warming Policy Foundation was created to remedy.

In your recent published interview with Marcel Crok, you said that ‘if I cannot stand my own opinions, life will become completely unbearable’. All of us on the Council will feel deep sympathy with you in an ordeal which you should never have had to endure.

With great regret, and all good wishes for the future.

David Henderson, Chairman, GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council

Via email

British meteorologist knocks W. Antarctic scare on the head

Piers Corbyn

NASA gives its most deluded Scare story Ever - “Unstoppable break - up of (SOME) Antarctic Ice due to (non - existent) Global - Warming threatens sea level Rise (in 200 years time)”

W. Antarctic highlighted

This alarmist USA pre-election year hype produced by the US Government Science Denial Fantasy Factory Dept of NASA uses cherry - picked speculation for part of West Antarctica (cherry - color) which is negated by facts for a much larger area – the whole Antarctic & South Hemisphere - and longer time, issued by a respected USA body, the NSIDC (National Snow & Ice Data Center).

Even IF the somewhat controversial computer model (recall ALL the failed IPCC computer models!) assertion that part of the West Antarctica Ice - Sheet might break up (like it has in the past when there was less CO2) in the coming 200 yrs, does this automatically mean the end of Antarctic Ice &/or big sea level rise?

The graph says it all. Ice cover is on an INCREASING trend

NO! FACT: Antarctic ice AS A WHOLE is increasing which reduces water in the sea. The NASA assertion is as brain - dead as saying a storm that blows down a load of trees means the end of trees. MORE ice (like tree s) will come.

But then the NASA - BBC - AlJazeera - NYT... aim is brainwashing the public into stupidity and then treat them as stupid.


Of Mice and Men

Blame Barack Obama’s aggressive environmental agenda for the land-use fights that have broken out all over the West. The federal government has changed its polices in the last few months, passing over local governments and remaining stubborn on environmental policies. At least two new faces in the administration, both less than six months old, may have something to do with it.

John Podesta, a known “progressive” environmentalist, was brought on in December, in preparation for an environmental regulation push by Obama. And last November, Obama nominated Neil Kornze to head the Bureau of Land Management, which manages 13% of the total land in the United States, the bulk of which is in the West. Before taking the reins of BLM, Kornze advised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and he also worked on the Western Solar Plan.

While the headlines were full of the standoff at Cliven Bundy’s ranch, another group seems to have made more headway against government overreach. The ranchers of Otero County, New Mexico, decided to petition the government through legal means, with the backing of their local government.

On April 25, the Otero County Commission called an emergency meeting. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) was erecting a three-foot fence that kept cattle away from water in order to protect the endangered meadow jumping mouse. The commission cried foul saying the ranchers had rights to the water, and they wrote a cease and desist letter to USFS. “This amounts to nothing short of criminal trespass by your personnel, potential animal cruelty and several other violations of state criminal or civil law,” the commission stated in the letter. “Otero County respectfully demands that the USFS immediately cease and desist from all such activities. We respectfully encourage USFS to take a step back and respect private property rights and state law which the USFS has thus far failed to consider.”

District 3 Commissioner Ronny Rardin added, “I guess we need to put the cattle on the endangered species list so you guys can work diligently to protect them.”

When that didn’t work, the commission ordered Sheriff Benny House to open the gates so cattle could access water. But House hoped it wouldn’t escalate. “What’s going to happen here is that we could end up with a Bundy situation,” he said. “Hopefully, we can resolve it without it getting out of hand.”

Meanwhile, state legislators across the West are meeting, discussing how the states can wrest control of federal lands, which take up vast swaths of their states. The local governments “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” as Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, may be the best tool for checking too much federal power. The Endangered Species List has become a favorite vehicle for abusing that power.


No open minds at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)


Marc Morano's hate mail of the day

Where's that "civility" Obama was advocating?

"I hope you choke on fracking water fall in a pit and die clown ...yeah that's right I'll say what everyone else is to afraid to say ... you kill people slowly by feeding that crap and they thinks it's alright well guess what I hope you get it bad one day"

One has to feel a little sorry for the dupe -- JR

Via email

Five reasons voters don’t believe the White House about global warming

The White House released a third iteration of the “U.S. National Climate Assessment,” claiming it is “the most comprehensive scientific assessment ever generated of climate change and its impacts across every region of America and major sectors of the U.S. economy.” The report emphasizes the need for “urgent action to combat the threats from climate change.” Well, here are five reasons voters don’t believe what the White House says on climate change:

1. Overreach. The White House doesn’t just want it both ways, it wants it every way. Increasingly, when there is a topical weather event, be it a warm typhoon in the Pacific or a cold snap in the United States, we hear it is caused by global warming. But non-events, such as fewer tropical storms becoming hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico or the frustrating, inconvenient truth that there hasn’t been any warming in the past 15 years, are dismissed as meaningless because we are told you must evaluate climate change over the long term. On Tuesday, President Obama even took time to meet with local and national weather reporters as a way of emphasizing the effects of global warming on today’s weather. The left is inconsistent in its selection of what factors and events “prove” that manmade global warming is real.

2. Hypocrisy. Voters notice that the founding father of the global warming movement, Al Gore, has become fabulously wealthy by selling out to Middle Eastern oil and gas interests. Voters notice the mansions, private planes and the super-wealthy lifestyle. And Gore is not the only global warming hypocrite. I would guess that after he leaves office, President Obama will never again fly on a commercial airline – and he will probably be traveling by Global Expresses, Gulfstreams and the occasional large Falcon, not even on the more modest, smaller private jets. Voters are on to the fact that the global warming crusaders want us to pay more and live with less — but, of course, the rules don’t apply to the politicians who want everybody else to sacrifice. Not to mention, the people who insult and belittle anyone who has a question about the “science” of manmade global warming are often the same people who categorically dismiss the scientific proof of the viability, safety and reliability of nuclear energy. I have a little test for the global warming crusaders: If you’re not for nuclear energy and against ice cream, your commitment to the cause is questionable.

3. The global warming cause fits too nicely with the president’s left-wing political agenda. The prescriptions for dealing with climate change are the same policy objectives the left has promoted for other reasons for at least the past 25 years. That is, redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, anti-growth, anti-development regulations, etc. Because they don’t have much support from voters, the left has to advance its cause through surreptitious maneuvering rather than forthright advocacy of its specific global warming policies. The left never answers the questions of who pays, how much and for what result.

4. A lack of faith in foreign cooperation. Absent any verifiable, enforceable global warming treaty, any unilateral moves by the United States would be pointless. After all, the left wants us to believe that global warming really is global and that fossil fuels burned in distant lands are every bit as harmful as they are when they are utilized here at home. I would love to see a poll that asks American voters if they think American tax dollars should be spent on global warming remedies in foreign lands. Of course, we all know the vast majority of Americans would say no. Some say the United States should lead by example, but does anybody believe that if we affirmatively harm our own economy, others will somehow think that is a noble sacrifice and follow suit? The very notion is ridiculous.

5. This administration lacks credibility. For a long time, we have said in America, “If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we do X, Y or Z?” Well, in the Obama era, that adage has morphed into, “If he couldn’t get a Web site right, how are we supposed to believe he knows how to control the climate?” Who really believes that a massive government tax and reordering of the economy in the name of stopping global warming or climate change or whatever will go as planned and the world’s thermostat will adjust to something the Democrats find more acceptable? Answer: Almost nobody. Voters don’t believe what the White House says on this issue in part because it has not been credible on so many other important issues. We’ve heard everything from “you can keep your health-care plan” to there is a “red line” in Syria. Why should anyone believe the White House now?

As I’ve said before, voters aren’t stupid. They know when they are not being leveled with. And all the bluster, intimidation and angry frothing won’t make their doubts go away or make the Obama administration any more believable.




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


14 May, 2014

The Australian budget brings weeping and wailing and garnishing of teeth from Greenies

Australia's new conservative government brought down its first budget on Tuesday night

As feared, the first Budget delivered by the new Government has seen the axe swung upon the Australian Reneweable Energy Agency (ARENA).

According to the Budget papers:

"The Government will achieve savings of $1.3 billion over five years from 2017-18 (including $223.3 million in 2018-19, $455.9 million in 2019-20, $125.4 million in 2020-21 and $131.1 million in 2021-22) by abolishing the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and repealing the Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act 2011. Funding of $1.0 billion over eight years will remain available to support existing priority projects."

The Government says the savings will be redirected to repairing the Budget and to fund policy priorities.

The Clean Energy Council expressed its disappointment in the announcement.

"A global race for renewable energy is on, and the removal of ARENA will see potential Australian and international investors now look to countries with much stronger support for renewable energy innovation, meaning we may well miss out on billions of dollars of investment and highly-skilled jobs," said Deputy Chief Executive Kane Thornton.

"Abolishing ARENA is a backwards step for the 'clever country' at a time when job losses in traditional industries like the automotive and manufacturing sectors mean we need new, innovative industries to take their place and fill this void."

The Australian Solar Council also reacted strongly, calling the budget a "boulevard of broken dreams" for the solar industry.

"The Budget has delivered a trifecta of broken promises to the solar industry," said John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council.

"The Government promised the Australian people an additional million solar roofs by 2020. The Budget contains no funding to make this happen. A Million Solar Roofs is a mirage."

"The Government promised to maintain the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) but, instead, the Budget has delivered a death warrant for ARENA. Unless the Senate stands up to the Government, ARENA will be abolished."

"The Government promised to maintain the Renewable Energy Target but every indication is this key policy will also be thrown on the scrapheap."

The Sustainable Energy Association of Australia called the axing of ARENA a regressive step.

"ARENA was designed to increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia and to make it more affordable. It has been welcomed by both the industry and by investors, who were looking at Australia as a growing market for clean technologies," said SEA Chief Executive Kirsten Rose.

"Unfortunately, the proposed scrapping of ARENA means it’s likely that investment in a cleaner energy sector won’t happen in Australia, but will go to other countries with stronger, more stable policy environments for renewable energy," said Ms Rose.

Greens leader Senator Christine Milne said the Budget was "just a tunnel vision for motorways and stranded fossil fuel assets that will be worthless to our economy within decades."


GM hysteria

Apartheid for GM food!

Could we soon farm crops in disused MINES? Growing corn in colder, isolated conditions doesn't affect yield - and could stop GM pollen escaping into the foodchain

Kent might be known as the ‘Garden of England’ but one day parts of Wales, northern and south-west England could be home to underground ‘fields’ of corn and genetically modified crops.

Scientists have discovered that lowering the temperature reduces the height of corn crops without affecting its seed yield.

They think the crop could be grown in cool places such as caves and former mines in 'controlled-environment' facilities.

Researchers installed a growth chamber with insulation and yellow and blue high-intensity discharge lamps in a former limestone mine in Marengo, Indiana.

Their aim was to test how corn would react to an environment in which its growing conditions - light, temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide - were tightly controlled.

To reduce the corn's height, the researchers used a growth chamber that mimicked the temperature conditions and carbon dioxide levels of the mine.

They dropped the temperature to 16°C (60°F) for the first two hours of each photoperiod - the time in which the corn received light.

The temperature was restored to 27°C (80°F) for 14 hours and then lowered to 18°C (65 °F) for eight hours of darkness.

The temperature dip dwarfed stalk height by 10 per cent and reduced stalk diameter by nine per cent without significantly affecting the number and weight of the seeds.

Experts think this process could be easily achieved in caves and disused mines.

Genetically-modified crops could also be grown in such isolated environments as this would prevent genetically modified pollen and seed from escaping into the ecosystem and crossing with wild plants, experts claim.

Cary Mitchell, professor of horticulture at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, believes that the technique could be useful for growing transgenic crops to produce high-value medicinal products such as antibodies.

‘Grains of corn could be engineered to produce proteins that could be extracted and processed into medicine, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals such as essential vitamins,’ he said.

‘What we've done is show that you can successfully grow these high-value crops in contained environments.’

Professor Mitchell described corn as a ‘good candidate crop’ for the plant-derived pharmaceutical compounds industry.

Genetically-modified crops could be grown in isolated environments such as mines and caves as this would prevent genetically modified pollen and seed from escaping into the ecosystem and crossing with wild plants.


Hostile 8 min. Climate Debate Between Morano & TV Anchor on CCTV

Climate Depot’s Marc Morano vs. CCTV Anchor Anand Naidoo (formerly of Al Jazeera & CNN). Selected Excerpts from Monday May 13, 2014 Internationally Televised Debate on CCTV America (Chinese TV)

Marc Morano: You can distinguish between natural variability and the human impact. Nothing unusual is happening in our climate.

Sea level has been rising since the last 10,000. There has been no acceleration. In fact a new paper in the journal Nature since 2002, there has been a deceleration in sea level rise. Nothing alarming is happening with sea level rise. (More here and here)

President Obama claims we are feeling global warming here and now. But on every metric, you can talk tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, droughts. Not only are we not ‘feeling it now’, we are on no trend or declining trends on 50 to 100 year times scales.

Anchor Anand Naidoo: But we are feeling it, we have seen hurricanes, for instance hurricane Sandy. We have seen more Tornadoes in the Midwest in America. We have seen ocean levels rise in Bangladesh.

Morano: First of all, you used the word ‘facts’ earlier, I hope you are not using that now. Every bad weather event is now proof of global warming? There is no way to falsify the AGW theory.

We are actually going through the longest period a category 3 or larger hurricane hitting the U.S. since 2005. That is the longest period in at least a century. Big tornadoes F3 and larger since the 1950s and 1970s have been on a decline. There might be more tornadoes counted, because we have better monitoring but actual damaging tornadoes, huge decline. The most damaging decade for hurricanes was the 1940s. Droughts are on a decline in the U.S. (over the past century.)

Anchor Anand Naidoo: Are you saying nothing should be done?

Morano: Yes. There so-called solutions would have no detectable climate impact. Our President Obama, is on record as calling our failed cap and trade bill would make our planet 4 or 5 degrees cooler for our grandchildren. His then EPA director went to the US senate and testified that not only would the cap and trade bill not impact global temperature, it would not even impact global co2 levels. What they are proposing is pure symbolism. It is medieval witchcraft because they are saying we can alter through acts of congress, the EPA and United Nations treaties.

Every coal plant built today is radically cleaner than ones built 30 or 40 years ago. Natural gas fracking is replacing coal in many instances and that is causing dramatic reductions. Our emission levels are dropping due to technology. Not big government solutions brought up on by fear by people like John Holdren.

Look, in 1846, in Australia, Aborigines blamed the bad climate on the introduction of the White man in Australia. During World War 2, some blamed the war for causing unusual weather patterns. In 1933, Syria banned the Yo-Yo because they thought it caused drought. In the 1970s, the exact same things (bad weather) we are talking about today, were blamed on man-made global cooling.

Anchor Anand Naidoo: But if you say nothing should be done, doesn’t this play into the hands of big energy, oil companies?

Morano: When faced with a non-problem – as Lord Monckton once said – the best thing to do is have the courage to do nothing. On every metric they are failing. When current reality fails to alarm, they make a bunch of scary predictions. That what this report is, it is a political report. Please be careful with the word ‘fact’ that was a disturbing word you used earlier.


Anchor Anand Naidoo: You may call it a political report. It is fact. 300 scientists were involved in compilation of the White House report. There were hundreds more scientists involved in the UN report. What are your qualifications in the climate?


Morano: My qualifications are I have a background in political science which is the perfect qualification to examine global warming claims. But I don’t rely on myself, I have actually worked with teams of scientists. I authored a report of over 1000 international scientists that have dissented from so called man-made global warming claims.

Anchor Anand Naidoo: But this is climate science.

Morano: But the [Obama climate report] report you are referencing included Nature Conservancy, the Union of Concerned Scientists. It was written to cause a political agenda. And the American people are not stupid.

Anchor Anand Naidoo asks about Climate Depot funding:

Morano: One donation from the from Natural gas industry – carbon based energy – to the Sierra Club of $26 million exceeded my [parent company CFACT’s total annual] budget by about five times – just one donation to Sierra Club.

I used to work for Senator Inhofe, when he was asked ‘how much does big energy’ give you? His answer was ‘not enough when you look at how well financed the greens are’

The Koch brothers, are only 59th giving in American politics. That is where they come in. You have billionaire democrats like Tom Steyer. Are you looking at into that? Are you worried about their bias right now?

Your last guest (Michael Dorsey) talked about minorities and African Americans the disproportionate impact of ‘global warming.’ The biggest impact that minorities, seniors, and people on fixed incomes face — are so-called ‘solutions’ which drive up the cost of our energy.

In the UK people have died this past winter because of commitment to green energy based on global warming fears.

President Obama has done us a favor in a way, because no one is going to take this report seriously. Al Gore has made global warming a partisan issue and Obama has furthered that cause.

Anchor Anand Naidoo: Well, I am not sure that no one is going to take this seriously.

Morano: Well, the usual suspects will.

Anchor Anand Naidoo: Obviously there are various viewpoints on this. Marc Morano, thank you very much for joining us.


The medical experts who refuse to use low-energy lightbulbs in their homes

Professors have stocked up on old-style bulbs to protect against skin cancer and blindness. So should YOU be worried?

How would you view a man who's stockpiled a lifetime supply of old-fashioned lightbulbs because he believes low-energy bulbs could lead to blindness?

You might well dismiss him as dotty. But the man in question, John Marshall, is no crank. In fact, he's one of Britain's most eminent eye experts, the professor of ophthalmology at the University College London Institute of Ophthalmology. So concerned is he that he has boxes stacked with old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs at home.

'I bulk bought incandescent lightbulbs before the Government made it illegal to import them,' he says.
'I can't give you an exact number, but I have enough to see me out.'

Nor is he alone in his concerns about modern lightbulbs. Another eminent British professor, John Hawk, an expert in skin disease, is warning they may cause sunburn-like damage, premature aging and even skin cancer.

He doesn't have any low-energy bulbs in his house, explaining: 'I have lots of old-style bulbs I bought in bulk when they were available.'

Incandescent bulbs had been the standard form of illumination for more than a century. But following an EU directive, the Government banned the import of 100-watt bulbs from 2009. This was followed by a ban on 60w bulbs in 2011 and a full ban on all 'traditional' bulbs in 2012.

The EU directive was aimed at cutting fuel and carbon emissions. The low-energy bulbs - or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), to give them their technical name - are said to use 80 per cent less electricity and to last longer.

Old-fashioned incandescent bulbs work by electrically heating a filament inside a glass globe filled with inert gas, so that it emits light.

Instead of a glowing filament, low-energy bulbs have argon and mercury vapour within a spiral-shaped tube. When the gas gets heated, it produces ultraviolet light. This stimulates a fluorescent coating painted on the inside of the tube. As this coating absorbs energy, it emits light.

The concern is about some of the light rays emitted in high levels by these bulbs, says Professor Marshall. Recent scientific evidence shows these specific rays are particularly damaging to human eyes and skin.

Light is made up of a spectrum of different coloured rays of light, which have different wavelengths. As he explains: 'Light is a form of radiation. The shorter the wavelength, the more energy it contains.

'The most damaging part of the spectrum is the short wavelength light at the indigo/violet end of blue.

'Incandescent bulbs did not cause problems, but these low-energy lamps emit high peaks of blue and ultraviolet light at this wavelength.'


Rubio: Climate Change Proposals ‘Will Destroy Our Economy’

Marco Rubio doesn’t think human behavior is causing the world’s climate to significantly change.

“I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” the Florida Republican senator told ABC’s “This Week” in an interview that aired Sunday.

“And I do not believe,” Rubio continued, “that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy.”

Saying that the global climate “is always changing,” Rubio said scientists had taken “a handful of decades of research” and called it “evidence of a longer-term trend that’s directly and almost solely attributable to manmade activity.”

Nick Loris, the Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said Rubio was “spot on in saying climate regulations will do much more to harm our economy than combat climate change.”
“Despite Congress’s rejection of cap-and-trade proposals,” warned Loris, “the administration is moving forward with the regulatory equivalent that will drive up energy prices for American families and businesses, reducing income and destroying jobs in the process.”


Obama Slams 'Climate Deniers'

While delivering a speech promoting renewable energy last week, Barack Obama said, “[W]e’ve still got some climate deniers who shout loud, but they’re wasting everybody’s time on a settled debate.” He added, “Hundreds of scientists, experts and businesses, not-for-profits, local communities – all contributed over the course of four years. What they found was unequivocally that climate change is not some far-off problem in the future. It’s happening now. It’s causing hardship now.”

Really, it took a plethora of scientific groups to figure out that the climate is always in a state of change? And yet they still don’t get it. Mona Charen recently wrote, “The Economist magazine noted [that] ‘half of all published research cannot be replicated … and that may be optimistic.’” Such fabrication would include the EPA itself. “The point,” Charen concludes, “is not to ignore scientific data but to treat all studies, models and predictions with a degree of skepticism.” Something for those who emphatically proclaim “the science is settled” to consider.


Obama Shines on Walmart

Barack Obama visited a California Walmart to announce a new push for solar energy. He unveiled some executive actions so minor even The New York Times admitted Obama's "initiatives will not amount to much in terms of energy policy or their impact on global warming." The Times continued by saying Obama's move is preparation for a new round of EPA regulations that will be unveiled in June.

Obama praised Walmart for its green initiatives like installing solar panels, saying, "Those upgrades created dozens of construction jobs, and helped this store save money on its energy bills. And that why I'm here today, because more and more companies like Walmart realize that wasting less energy isn't just good for the environment, it's good for business."

If Walmart did that on its own, why do we need the vacation-taking, porn-watching EPA to draft more red tape in its spare time?




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


13 May, 2014


Global warming is all that the article below talks about by way of explanation but bringing just a touch of extra evidence to bear alters the picture.

If warming is causing the glaciers to melt, how come the sea ice is at a record high? Is the land warming while the sea is cooling? If so we are looking at local effects not global ones.

And there IS a local warming effect that could be at work. Also in West Antarctica, an active sub-sea volcano has just been discovered. And the discoverers note: "Numerous volcanoes exist in Marie Byrd Land, a highland region of West Antarctica". See the article following the one below. And volcanoes are very hot. So it is not at all improbable that there is vulcanism elsewhere in West Antartica which is warming things up and melting glaciers.

Vulcanism is at least as good an explanation as global warming as an explanation of glacial changes for 2 reasons: 1). We know there is vulcanism nearby whereas we know that there is NO global warming going on at the moment. 2). Vulcanism explains the opposite trends in sea ice and glacial ice -- which global warming cannot do -- JR

The huge West Antarctic ice sheet is starting a glacially slow collapse in an unstoppable way, two new studies show. Alarmed scientists say that means even more sea level rise than they figured.

The worrisome outcomes won't be seen soon. Scientists are talking hundreds of years, but over that time the melt that has started could eventually add 4 to 12 feet to current sea levels.

A NASA study looking at 40 years of ground, airplane and satellite data of what researchers call "the weak underbelly of West Antarctica" shows the melt is happening faster than scientists had predicted, crossing a critical threshold that has begun a domino-like process.

"It does seem to be happening quickly," said University of Washington glaciologist Ian Joughin, lead author of one study. "We really are witnessing the beginning stages."

It's likely because of man-made global warming and the ozone hole which have changed the Antarctic winds and warmed the water that eats away at the feet of the ice, researchers said at a NASA news conference Monday.

"The system is in sort of a chain reaction that is unstoppable," said NASA glaciologist Eric Rignot, chief author of the NASA study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. "Every process in this reaction is feeding the next one."

Curbing emissions from fossil fuels to slow climate change will probably not halt the melting but it could slow the speed of the problem, Rignot said.


Newly-discovered active volcano underneath ice in West Antarctica

A newly-discovered active volcano could erupt underneath Antarctica, melting the ice from below and compounding the effects of global warming, according to scientists.

Researchers discovered the volcano underneath the ice after setting up devices to measure tectonic activity across Marie Byrd Land in the west of the continent.

Scientists had intended to use the seismograph machines to help in their efforts to weight the ice sheet - only to find that a volcano was in fact forming underneath the ice.

Volcanic activity was discovered around 30 miles from Antarctica's highest volcano, Mount Sidley, and although an eruption would be unlikely to breach the ice - the accompanying heat could have an effect on the landscape.

Even a sub-glacial eruption would still be able to melt ice, creating huge amounts of water which could flow beneath the ice and towards the sea - hastening the flow of the overlying ice and potentially speed up the rate of ice sheet loss.

'Numerous volcanoes exist in Marie Byrd Land, a highland region of West Antarctica,' said Amanda Lough, of Washington University in St Louis in the team's paper on the subject, published in the Nature Geoscience journal.

'High heat flow through the crust in this region may influence the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.'

The Antarctic ice sheet is one of the Earth's two polar ice caps and covers an area of 5.4 million square miles - around 98 percent of the continent, making it the largest single mass of ice on earth.

Although scientists have suggested that sea ice around the continent is increasing, land ice appears to be decreasing and the area is very sensitive to global warming.

Seismologists had set up two crossing lines of seismographs across Marie Byrd Land in 2010 - the first time such instruments able to withstand the cold temperatures year-round had been used.

They had hoped that discovering the weight of the ice would help them to work out the history of Antarctica's climate, but to do this needed to know how the Earth's mantle might respond to such a large mass of ice.

Software that might detect anything unusual beneath the ice surface was deployed, and in January 2010 and March 2011 this recorded two bursts of seismic activity.

When the scientists looked into what might have caused this activity they discovered what they believe to be a new volcano, forming around half a mile below the ice.

Ms Lough added: 'Eruptions at this site are unlikely to penetrate the 1.2 to 2-km-thick overlying ice, but would generate large volumes of melt water that could significantly affect ice stream flow.'




The Himalayan mountain system to the north of the Indian land mass with arcuate strike of NW–SE for about 2400 km holds one of the largest concentration of glaciers outside the polar regions in its high-altitude regions. Perennial snow and ice-melt from these frozen reservoirs is used in catchments and alluvial plains of the three major Himalayan river systems, i.e. the Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra for irrigation, hydropower generation, production of bio-resources and fulfilling the domestic water demand. Also, variations in the extent of these glaciers are understood to be a sensitive indicator of climatic variations of the earth system and might have implications on the availability of water resources in the river systems. Therefore, mapping and monitoring of these fresh water resources is require d for the planning of water resources and understanding the impact of climatic variations. Thus a study has been carried out to find the change in the extent of Himalayan glaciers during the last decade using IRS LISS III images of 2000/01/02 and 2010/11.

Two thousand and eighteen glaciers representing climatically diverse terrains in the Himalaya were mapped and monitored. It includes glaciers of Karakoram, Himachal, Zanskar, Uttarakhand, Nepal and Sikkim regions. Among these, 1752 glaciers (86.8%) were observed having stable fronts (no change in the snout position and area of ablation zone), 248 (12.3%) exhibited retreat and 18 (0.9%) of them exhibited advancement of snout. The net loss in 10,250.68 sq km area of the 2018 glaciers put together was found to be 20.94 sq km or 0.2% (±2.5 % of 20.94 sq km). [...]

The results of the present study indicate that most of the glaciers were in a steady state compared to the results of other studies carried out for the period prior to 2001. This period of monitoring almost corresponds to hiatus in global warming in the last decade. It may happen that an interval of one decade could be smaller than the response time of glaciers to be reflected in terms of any significant change with 23.5 m spatial resolution of data. This point requires further studies using high-resolution data for a longer interval of time.

Currrent Science April 2014

Will the solar doldrums of the coming decades lead to cooling? A look at the latest scientific publications

By Dr. Sebastian Lüning and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt
(Translated/edited by NoTricksZone)

Seldom has the sun been as strong as we have seen it over the last 5 decades. Is it just a coincidence that the largest warming of the last 500 years occurred during this phase?

Just a few years ago the tide changed when the sun ended its hyperactive phase. Few people had anticipated this, and so it was a surprise for many. Solar physicist Leif Svalgaard of California’s Stanford University expressed it as follows at the American Geophysical Union last December:

“None of us alive have ever seen such a weak cycle. So we will learn something.”

And so science commenced to consider and think about what all this could lead to. The latest works on the subject include Qian et al. 2014 (“Secular changes in the thermosphere and ionosphere between two quiet Sun periods“), Zhao et al. 2014 (Modulation of galactic cosmic rays during the unusual solar minimum between cycles 23 and 24) and McCracken & Beer 2014 (Comparison of the extended solar minimum of 2006–2009 with the Spoerer, Maunder, and Dalton Grand Minima in solar activity in the past).

After a number of studies it has become clearer: It’s only the beginning! It is expected that the sun will continue becoming quieter over the coming decades. This has pretty much become the consensus among solar physicists. The latest studies on the subject come from Roth & Joos 2013, who assume a decline in solar activity to normal levels will occur during the 21st century. Salvador 2013 goes further and anticipates a solar minimum for the coming 30-100 years. Read the original abstract:

Using many features of Ian Wilson’s Tidal Torque theory, a mathematical model of the sunspot cycle has been created that reproduces changing sunspot cycle lengths and has an 85% correlation with the sunspot numbers from 1749 to 2013. The model makes a reasonable representation of the sunspot cycle for the past 1000 yr, placing all the solar minimums in their right time periods. More importantly, I believe the model can be used to forecast future solar cycles quantitatively for 30 yr and directionally for 100 yr. The forecast is for a solar minimum and quiet Sun for the next 30 to 100 yr. The model is a slowly changing chaotic system with patterns that are never repeated in exactly the same way. Inferences as to the causes of the sunspot cycle patterns can be made by looking at the model’s terms and relating them to aspects of the Tidal Torque theory and, possibly, Jovian magnetic field interactions.

In the Journal of Geophysical Research a study by Goelzer et al. appeared in December 2013 and also foresees a decline in solar activity.

What climatic consequences could this have? In our book “The Neglected Sun” we assume that temperatures could be two tenths of a degree lower by 2030 as a result, which would mean warming getting postponed far into the future. Russian scientists foresee an even more dramatic situation, as described in Germany’s leading national daily Bild of April 4,2013:

AND NOW THIS! Russian scientist sees next approaching ice age
It will get colder beginning in 2014 +++ Human migration cannot be ruled out”

Just a month earlier The Voice of Russia reported:

Planet on the verge of an ice age

Russian scientists are predicting that a little ice age will begin in 2014. They refute the claims of global warming and describe them as a marketing trick. Global warming is indeed happening. The earth has been continuously getting warmer since the second half of the 18th century, the start of the Industrial Revolution. This is why the process gets connected to an anthropogenic impact. Mankind increased CO2 emissions, which caused a greenhouse effect. But Russian scientist Vladimir Baschkin categorically disagrees. He claims that the climatic changes have a cyclic character and are not at all related in any way to human activities. Together with his colleague, Rauf Galiullin, of the Institute for Fundamental Problems of Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, he points out that the current warming is merely the continuation of the post Little Ice Age and that, measured on a geological scale, the occurrence of a new ice age is approaching.”

Other scientists share this view as well, among them Professor Cliff Ollier of the School of Earth and Environmental Studies at the University of Western Australia:

Professor Cliff Ollier of the School of Earth and Environmental Studies, the University of Western Australia, recently presented a paper in Poznan, Poland, in which he described the sun as the major control of climate, but not through greenhouse gases.”There is a very good correlation of sunspots and climate. Solar cycles provide a basis for prediction. Solar Cycle 24 has started and we can expect serious cooling.”

H.S. Ahluwalia of the Department of Physics & Astronomy of the University of New Mexico sees it in similar way, as he describes in an article in the journal of Advances in Space Research in February 2014. Ahluwalia expects a Dalton-type minimum and reminds us that the last minimum of this kind back around 1810 resulted in a cold period.


What would climate change without politics look like?

No sooner had the White House doomsday report on climate change been released and the media had frantically sensationalized it ("No one will be spared" – NBC News) than the left said We Told You So and the right said It's All Lies.

The climate change nee global warming that everyone in America reads about, hears about and is told about is the political version of climate change.

The proof is in the pudding and the pudding is political. Politics cannot control the climate; politics exists expressly to control people.

Therefore climate change MUST be caused by people; else there is nothing for the political power elites to control.

There's no secret that the division between believers and deniers breaks down almost exclusively along the lines of political philosophy. Why is that? Why does virtually every political-left person in America believe in human-caused warming while nearly every political-right person rejects it?

Look at the solution the political left offers us as a means of combating anthropomorphic climate change: more direct government hands-on regulation of our lives, more laws, more control, more bureaucratic and political power, massively more extractions of our incomes, more loss of our individual choices and our freedoms and our property.

It just seems like an incredible coincidence that the "solution" to the "scientific fact" of human-caused climate change just happens to perfectly coincide with the coercively collectivist elitist-controlled social and cultural philosophy of the political left.

But consider what would happen if libertarians pointed out a little fact of history.

Nearly every great human achievement, in knowledge, technology, architecture, medicine, the arts, has been the result of free individuals working alone or in voluntary concert in a culture of free enquiry and free action.

If the climate change we're told about is real and therefore needs a real solution history tells us how to go about finding it: Unleash the imagination and creativity of every human being by abolishing coercion, intimidation and fraud – the prime movers behind politicized climate change – and let everyone seek solutions everywhere. Knowledge is diffused throughout society, not monopolized by the minds of a superior elitist few.

But then the left would reject climate change because it would not serve its predetermined agenda.

We will never know the truth about climate change unless and until we expunge all of the power, profit and politics from it and free the actual science.


Marco Rubio: I Don't Believe Humans Are Causing Climate Change

Of all the states that stand to suffer from climate change, Florida is facing potentially the bleakest consequences. A New York Times report noted last week that global warming was already having an effect on everyday life, like leading to flooding on streets that never used to flood.

Meanwhile, a National Climate Assessment has named Miami as the city most vulnerable to damage from rising sea levels. While a Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact paper warned that water in the area could rise by as much as two feet by the year 2060.

On Sunday, one of the state's U.S. senators, Marco Rubio (R), was pressed about the general subject of climate change, and despite the warnings outlined above, he argued that there was nothing lawmakers could or should do to reverse the climate trends (whose origins he also questioned).

"I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it," Rubio said, according to excerpts released by ABC "This Week," "and I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy."

"The fact is that these events that we're talking about are impacting us, because we built very expensive structures in Florida and other parts of the country near areas that are prone to hurricanes. We've had hurricanes in Florida forever. And the question is, what do we do about the fact that we have built expensive structures, real estate and population centers near those vulnerable areas?" he asked. "I have no problem with taking mitigation activity."

The transcript does not indicate what Rubio's "mitigation activity" would consist of, but his assessment that the laws currently being proposed to address climate change won't help, and will only hurt the economy, is at odds with his own history as a politician.

As the leader of the Florida House in 2008, Rubio helped pass a law directing the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop a carbon emissions capping system. He has since distanced himself from that vote, arguing that he never supported cap and trade, only the idea that the state should look into such a system. And when the system ultimately did not pass, he cheered its failure.

But those who worked on that bill in Florida have called him an opportunist and a flip-flopper on the topic.

"For Rubio to say that all along he knew it wouldn't really come to pass is illogical," Jay Liles of the Florida Wildlife Federation, who lobbied for the bill, told the Miami Herald in 2009. "He set the stage for (cap and trade) to happen."




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


12 May, 2014

An amusing piece of dogmatism from "Climate Science Watch"

It defends the Obama "report" in even more extreme terms than the report itself. The editor of the site appears to be Rick Piltz, who is a journalist with no scientific qualifications -- so his naivety and the failure to mention a single scientific fact about the climate in the article he prints can perhaps be understood. Interesting that the actual author of the article is anonymous. Perhaps he too is a blithering ignoramus like Rick.

The article makes large claims about what "the science" shows but the author has obviously not read the science that he links to. He implies, for instance, that heat-waves have increased recently. That is the exact opposite of what the heat-wave reference in the report shows. I quote: "For heat waves “the highest number of heat waves occurred in the 1930s, with the fewest in the 1960s. The 2001–10 decade was the second highest but well below the 1930s.”. I could call Mr Anonymous a liar but I think he is just a gullible idiot. His various other assertions below could also be ripped apart but what's the point? He's an ignoramus

In response to the release of the latest National Climate Assessment (NCA), the Wall Street Journal has unleashed an unfortunately typical stream of distractions, straw men, and outright falsehoods in the form of an editorial as well as an op-ed by Steven F. Hayward. Both pieces seek to portray the assessment as politicized, practically suggesting that President Obama personally composed the report off the top of his head. But neither the President nor the administration wrote the report: scientists did. The attempts to imply political subterfuge show how increasingly desperate the detractors of climate science are growing, and how unable they are to engage with the science itself.

The report’s conclusions are in fact completely uncontroversial in the world of science, and should be considered separately from the political drama which some are trying to impose on them.

The report was written by scientists. To be exact, hundreds of authors, each experts in their respective fields, cited over 3,000 individual studies to create the final product. The report received thousands of public comments and review from both green groups and industry groups, and was reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences. A spokesperson from oil giant Chevron endorsed the report, saying, “Chevron recognizes and shares the concerns of governments and the public about climate change.” The report is one of a series mandated by Congress in the U.S. Global Change Research Act, enacted during the administration of George H.W. Bush. And the report’s conclusions echo the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a global scientific organization completely outside the scope of the U.S. administration.

The summary reflects the balance of the evidence. In an attempt to show that the summary is “politicized,” the WSJ editorial quotes a line from the underlying chapters about uncertainty over trends in tornadoes. However, the summary states that climate change is worsening extreme weather, because it is: heat waves, extreme precipitation, wildfires, higher storm surges, and increased drought in currently dry areas all show clear climate connections that are reflected in the assessment. Tornadoes are an outlier to this body of evidence, and using them as a primary example is transparently misleading.

The report doesn’t prescribe political action. It shows we have a problem, and that Americans’ livelihoods will be harmed if we don’t take action to fix it. It’s not surprising that these conclusions would be unpopular with Hayward, who is a board member and treasurer for the Donors Capital Fund, described as the Koch brothers’ “dark-money ATM.” Strategically, these groups are trying to preemptively discredit the report to forestall any potential future action. But the report itself does not take political sides or advocate any one policy solution over others.

Inaction on climate change poses serious economic risks. Both the IPCC and NCA support this conclusion, contrary to the suggestions in both WSJ pieces that climate action would derail the economy. The NCA documents the growing evidence of climate change impacts, with clear economic implications for coastal properties, fisheries, water resources, transportation infrastructure, energy availability, and more. The latest IPCC report further concluded that delaying action would be far costlier than taking action immediately.

Climate change is caused by humans. This statement is the definition of old news, yet both WSJ pieces imply the opposite. From the editorial we get the tired old maxim that we’ve had extreme weather in the distant past, so there can’t possibly be a human contribution. Hayward claims outright that proof of human-caused climate change “is far from definitive.” This is simply not true. The latest IPCC report’s best estimate is that all of modern climate change was caused by humans, and possibly more (this is possible because natural factors may have actually reduced the observed warming). It just doesn’t get more definitive than that, and Hayward is unwilling to acknowledge this simple fact.

The National Climate Assessment is a scientific document, not a political one. Its findings are of immediate practical use to Americans in all regions and economic sectors of the country. It provides a blueprint for actions as simple and commonsense as raising roadways that are now routinely flooded due to sea level rise, an occurrence that Miami knows all too well. Despite the obvious utility of this information, some politically motivated voices are trying to stigmatize it, and the Wall Street Journal is handing them a megaphone. But the facts themselves are undeniable, even if the Journal fails to show them clearly to its readers.


Kidnap of Nigerian schoolgirls due to climate change

Or so Nafeez Ahmed says in the Guardian (below). That there has been no climate change for 17 years does not faze him. I am sad that I have to spell it out but things that don't exist cannot cause anything. Nafeez Ahmed is clearly a lamebrain. But you can get any crap into The Guardian if it is ideologically congenial

The kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian school girls, and the massacre of as many as 300 civilians in the town of Gamboru Ngala, by the militant al-Qaeda affiliated group, Boko Haram, has shocked the world.

But while condemnations have rightly been forthcoming from a whole range of senior figures from celebrities to government officials, less attention has been paid to the roots of the crisis.

Instability in Nigeria, however, has been growing steadily over the last decade - and one reason is climate change. In 2009, a UK Department for International Development (Dfid) study warned that climate change could contribute to increasing resource shortages in the country due to land scarcity from desertification, water shortages, and mounting crop failures.

A more recent study by the Congressionally-funded US Institute for Peace confirmed a "basic causal mechanism" that "links climate change with violence in Nigeria." The report concludes:

"...poor responses to climatic shifts create shortages of resources such as land and water. Shortages are followed by negative secondary impacts, such as more sickness, hunger, and joblessness. Poor responses to these, in turn, open the door to conflict."


Antarctic sea ice at record levels

91% of the earth's glacial ice is in the Antarctic so by any estimate the Antarctic is what matters. Yet the Warmists keep dribbling on about the Arctic! Reality is not their scene

ANTARCTIC sea ice has expanded to record levels for April, increasing by more than 110,000sq km a day last month to nine million square kilometres.

The National Snow and Ice Data Centre said the rapid expansion had continued into May and the seasonal cover was now bigger than the record “by a significant margin’’.

“This exceeds the past record for the satellite era by about 320,000sq km, which was set in April 2008,’’ the centre said.

Increased ice cover in Antarctic continues to be at odds with falling Arctic ice levels, where the summer melt has again pushed levels well below the average extent for 1981-2010. The centre said while the rate of ­Arctic-wide retreat was rapid through the first half of April, it had slowed.

The April Arctic minimum was 270,000sq km higher than the record April low, which occurred in 2007. The Antarctic sea ice extent anomalies were greatest in the eastern Weddell and along a long stretch of coastline south of Australia and the southeastern Indian Ocean. The centre said the increased ice extent in the Weddell Sea region appeared to be associated with a broad area of persistent easterly winds in March and April, and lower-than-average temperatures.

Changing wind patterns are increasingly cited to explain the expanding Antarctic sea ice.

Research suggests that the changes in Antarctic sea ice, both where it is increasing and where it is decreasing, are caused in part by the strengthening of the westerly winds that flow unhindered in a circle above the Southern Ocean.


Eco-Fascism alive and well in Ireland

An Irish Fascist in a blue (!) tie

Climate change deniers “are lying to themselves and lying to the country and they need to be swept aside”, Minister of State Brian Hayes has said. Mr Hayes, who has responsibility for the Office of Public Works, was speaking during a question-and-answer session at an OPW flood-risk management conference in Dublin Castle.

“The scientific evidence confirming climate change is compelling,” he told the 250 attendees, many of whom came from communities in the south and southeast badly affected by the past winter’s storms and flooding. “We must now accept the reality of climate change and prepare for the likely consequences.

“Coping with frequent flooding will, in some cases, mean working with nature, rather than controlling it. “In some situations flood management may include the restoration of natural flood plains and a willingness to allow rivers to flood in a controlled manner in order to prevent greater damage.”

Dealing with the problems generated by climate change meant being “honest and realistic about what we can do”. Not every yard of coast or beach could be protected; “we cannot defend every field”.

He continued: The political system also needs to grow up. Because politics in Ireland is very local – it’s equally very short-term. We are not good at planning for the long-term and having to make tough choices especially when it comes to good planning and development. If ever we need a national response, it is on this issue.”

He criticised some planning decision of recent years that had seen building permitted on known flood plains, and warned that the State would not compensate, or underwrite, the financial consequences of such decisions in the future.

The conference heard from several senior staff at the OPW on the Cfram programme – the Catchment-based Flood Risk Assessment and Management project – under which the likelihood of flooding along the country’s major rivers and 90 coastal areas is being quantified scientifically. Based on this, maps will be published this summer showing where flooding is likely and what action, if any, needs to be taken.

Paul MacDonnell of Insurance Ireland said flooding correlated not to weather but poverty and bad planning. Adequate flood defences allowed insurers to assess risk.

Tom Turley of the IFA said the Shannon and other rivers should be dredged. “We can’t wait for reports and planning.”


UNH and Union of Concerned Scientist Report is Wrong on the Facts

14 Prominent Scientists and Academics Refute Claims with Historical Data

Today a group of prominent scientists and meteorologists called into question the findings of a recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the University of New Hampshire, “Climate Change in New Hampshire: Past, Present, and Future.”

“It is disappointing that New Hampshire’s leading University has chosen to publish a report which is not grounded on actual facts, but on conjecture,” stated Joe D’Aleo. ‘The authors have based all of their findings on the failed climate models. Scientists like Dr. John Christy and Dr. Judith Curry have written extensively on the failure of the climate models and how the projections fall below accepted levels of scientific significance. UNH and the UCS blindly hold to the model forecasts for their projections, despite the models incredibly poor track record.

Citing data from numerous national and global climate resources, the group identified nine specific claims that actual data refutes. This includes claims about extreme weather, changes in New Hampshire’s temperatures, reduction in our snowfall and changes in our agricultural production. All of these claims are contradicted by the facts.

“We cannot understand how scientists can use these flawed models as the basis for their projections,” continued Mr. D’Aleo. “Just as concerning is how these scientists do not provide policy makers and elected officials a fair and unbiased representation of what is going on with our weather and climate. Our brief report can provide decision makers with a better understanding of our climate through actual data instead of the conjecture provided by UNH and the UCS.”

SOURCE. See also here.

First British shale gas 'to fuel homes next year’

Shale gas could be fuelling British homes for the first time by late 2015, under plans from fracking firm Cuadrilla. The company is preparing to submit planning applications by the end of this month to frack at two sites in Lancashire next year.

Francis Egan, Cuadrilla chief executive, said that, if successful, it planned to connect the test fracking sites up to the gas grid, in what would be a milestone first for the fledgling British shale gas industry.

He also suggested homeowners hostile to fracking beneath their land should be entitled to only minimal compensation, if any.

Cuadrilla hopes to gain planning permission for its two sites, near the villages of Roseacre and Little Plumpton, in time to start drilling at the end of this year. They could then be fracked next summer “in a best case scenario”.

“After the initial flow test period, which is up to 90 days, if the flow rates look good then we would want to tie the well into the gas transmission system and flow it for a longer period to assess the flow rate over 18 to 24 months,” Mr Egan said.

The first shale gas could be flowing into the grid by the end of next year. Although quantities of gas from the exploratory sites would be relatively small, the step would be a symbolic first for the industry in Britain.

Just one shale gas well has been partially fracked in the UK to date, by Cuadrilla in 2011, with work halted when it caused earthquakes.

Cuadrilla, however, faces a number of hurdles if it is to proceed as planned at its new sites. As well as planning permission it must obtain numerous permits from the Environment Agency.

Industry sources fear any permission to frack may face judicial review challenge from environmental campaigners.

Cuadrilla could also find its optimal drilling routes blocked by hostile homeowners. The company intends to drill down vertically at each of its sites then out horizontally west for up to two kilometres.

It has signed agreements with farmers at each site allowing it to drill under their land – meaning at least some drilling will be possible - but not with all homeowners above the potential underground drilling area.

“If we were unable to get permission from householders we would have a smaller area, but we could still drill,” Mr Egan said.

Under current trespass law Cuadrilla would have to take hostile landowners to court to gain the right to drill beneath them, but the government is planning give companies an automatic right to drill.

Asked whether compensation should be paid to landowners, Mr Egan said: “I don’t think there’s any disturbance. If someone flies two miles above your house, do you get compensation?”

He said if compensation were due it should be “in the region” of a test case on the issue, involving oil drilling, in which Mohamed Fayed’s company Bocardo was awarded £1,000 for trespass under its land, but an appeal court judge later ruled this to be “generous” and suggested £82.50 would have been fair.

He insisted the law change was necessary in order to achieve widespread shale production in the UK. “If you can’t get access at all, if there’s no amount of money people are interested in, then the resource can’t be developed,” he said.

Taking homeowners to court would take “years” and “no company would hang around for that”, he said. “I don’t think companies will invest if they think it will take years to drill each horizontal well.”




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


11 May, 2014

The Ethanol Disaster

America's renewables policy is bad for consumers, the environment, and the global poor

Last November, when the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) proposed moderating years of escalating mandates by reducing the amount of ethanol that must be mixed into gasoline, a top ethanol lobbyist seemed perplexed. "We're all just sort of scratching our heads here today and wondering why this administration is telling us to burn less of a clean-burning American fuel," Bob Dineen, head of the Renewable Fuels Association, told The New York Times.

Here are a few possible reasons why: America's ethanol requirement destroys the environment, damages car engines, increases gas prices, and contributes to the starvation of the global poor. It's an unmitigated disaster on nearly every level.

Start with the environment. After all, when the renewable fuel standard (RFS), which since 2005 has set forth a minimum annual volume of renewable fuels nationwide, was first set, one of the primary arguments for mandating ethanol use was that it was a greener, more environmentally friendly source of fuel that released fewer greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

This turns out to be complete hogwash. Researchers have known for years that, when the entire production process is taken into account, most supposedly green biofuels actually emit more greenhouse gasses than traditional fuels.

Some proponents of the ethanol mandate have argued that the requirement was nonetheless necessary in order to spur demand for and development of more advanced, environmentally friendly biofuel like cellulosic ethanol, which is converted into fuel from corn-farm leftovers. But there are two serious problems with cellosic ethanol. The first is that cellulosic ethanol turns out to be rather difficult to produce; despite EPA projections that the market would produce at least 5 million gallons in 2010 and 6.6 million in 2011, the United States produced exactly zero gallons both years—and just 20,069 gallons in 2012.

The second is that cellulosic ethanol is also bad for the environment. At least in the short-term, the corn-residue biofuels release about 7 percent more greenhouse gases than traditional fuels, according to a federally funded, peer-reviewed study that appeared in the journal Nature Climate Change last month.

The environmental evidence against ethanol seems to mount almost daily: Another study published last week in Nature Geoscience found that in São Paulo, Brazil, the more ethanol that drivers used, the more local ozone levels increased. The study is particularly important because it relies on real-world measurements rather than on models, many of which predicted that increased ethanol use would cause ozone levels to decline.

To make things worse, ethanol requirements are bad for cars and drivers. Automakers say that gasoline blended with ethanol can damage vehicles by corroding fuel lines and injectors. An ethanol glut caused by a misalignment of regulatory quotas and demand has helped drive up prices at the pump. And the product is actually worse: ethanol blends are less energy dense than regular gasoline, which means that cars relying on it significantly worse mileage per gallon.

American drivers have it bad, but the global poor have it far worse. Ethanol requirements at home have helped drive up the price of food worldwide by diverting corn production to energy, which dramatically reducing the available calorie supply. A 25-gallon tank full of pure ethanol requires about 450 pounds of corn—roughly the amount of calories required to feed someone for a year. Some 40 percent of U.S. corn crops go to ethanol production, which in effect means we're burning food for automobile fuel rather than eating it. Studies by economists at the World Bank have found that a one percent increase in world food prices correlates with a half-percent decrease in calorie consumption amongst the world's poor. When world food prices spiked between 2007 and 2008, between 20 and 40 percent of the effect was attributable to increased global reliance on biofuels. The effect on world hunger is simply devastating.

Ethanol lobbyists are still pretending the renewable fuels mandate is a success, and Senators from corn-friendly states in the Midwest are still urging the agency not to proceed with the proposed reduction to the mandate. But at this point, ethanol requirements have few serious defenders except the people who profit from its production and the politicians who rely on those people for votes and campaign contributions.

Judging by the cut it proposed last November, even the EPA seems to be wavering. A final regulation has yet to be submitted, but the proposal would reduce the amount of renewable fuels the agency requires this year from 18.15 billion gallons to 15.2 billion gallons. That's if the EPA sticks to its original plan. The agency is under heavy pressure to moderate its proposed cuts, or avoid them entirely.

Those cuts, if approved, would represent a productive step forward. But they wouldn't be enough. Congress should vote to repeal the renewable fuel standard entirely. The federal government shouldn't be telling people to burn less ethanol; it shouldn't be telling anyone to burn any of it at all.


Manmade Climate Disruption – the Hype and Reality

Paul Driessen replies to some of the claims in Obama's "Report"

The White House has released its latest National Climate Assessment. An 829-page report and 127-page “summary” were quickly followed by press releases, television appearances, interviews and photo ops with tornado victims – all to underscore President Obama’s central claims:

Human-induced climate change, “once considered an issue for the distant future, has moved firmly into the present.” It is “affecting Americans right now,” disrupting their lives. The effects of “are already being felt in every corner of the United States.” Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington, maple syrup producers in Vermont, crop-growth cycles in Great Plains states “are all observing climate-related changes that are outside of recent experience.” Extreme weather events “have become more frequent and/or intense.”

It’s pretty scary sounding. It has to be. First, it is designed to distract us from topics that the President and Democrats do not want to talk about: ObamaCare, the IRS scandals, Benghazi, a host of foreign policy failures, still horrid jobless and workforce participation rates, and an abysmal 0.1% first quarter GDP growth rate that hearkens back to the Great Depression.

Second, fear-inducing “climate disruption” claims are needed to justify job-killing, economy-choking policies like the endless delays on the Keystone XL pipeline; still more wind, solar and ethanol mandates, tax breaks and subsidies; and regulatory compliance costs that have reached $1.9 trillion per year – nearly one-eighth of the entire US economy.

Third, scary hyperventilating serves to obscure important realities about Earth’s weather and climate, and even the NCA report itself. Although atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been rising steadily for decades, contrary to White House claims, average planetary temperatures have not budged for 17 years.

No Category 3-5 hurricane has made landfall in the United States since 2005, the longest such period since at least 1900. Even with the recent Midwestern twisters, US tornado frequency remains very low, and property damage and loss of life from tornadoes have decreased over the past six decades.

Sea levels are rising at a mere seven inches per century. Antarctic sea ice recently reached a new record high. A new report says natural forces could account for as much as half of Arctic warming, and warming and cooling periods have alternated for centuries in the Arctic. Even in early May this year, some 30% of Lake Superior was still ice-covered, which appears to be unprecedented in historical records. And to top it off, rising CO2 levels improve forest, grassland and crop growth, greening the planet.

Press releases on the NCA report say global temperatures, heat waves, sea levels, storms, droughts and other events are “forecast” or “projected” to increase over the next century. However, the palm reading was done by computer models – which are based on the false assumption that carbon dioxide now drives climate change, and that powerful natural forces no longer play a role. The models have never been able to predict global temperatures accurately, and the divergence between model predictions and actual measured temperatures gets worse with every passing year. The models cannot even “hindcast” temperatures over the past quarter century, without using fudge factors and other clever tricks.

Moreover, much of the White House and media spin contradicts what the NCA report actually says. For example, it concludes that “there has been no universal trend in the overall extent of drought across the continental U.S. since 1900.” Other trends in severe storms, it states, “are uncertain.”

Climate change, Johnstown Floods, Dust Bowls, extreme weather events and forest fires have been part of Earth and human history forever – and no amount of White House spin can alter that fact. To suggest that any changes in weather or climate – or any temporary increases in extreme weather events – are due to humans is patently absurd. To ignore positive trends and the 17-year absence of warming is abominable.

Fourth, sticking to the “manmade climate disaster” script is essential to protect the turf, reputations, funding and power of climate alarmists and government bureaucrats. The federal government doles out some $2.6 billion annually in grants for climate research – but only for work that reflects White House perspectives. Billions more support subsidies and loans for renewable energy programs that represent major revenue streams for companies large and small, and part of that money ends up in campaign war chests for (mostly Democrat) legislators who support the climate regulatory-industrial complex.

None of them is likely to admit any doubts, alter any claims or policies, or reduce their increasingly vitriolic attacks on skeptics of “dangerous manmade global warming.” They do not want to risk being exposed as false prophets and charlatans, or worse.

Last, and most important, climate disruption claims drive a regulatory agenda that few Americans support. Presidential candidate Obama said his goal was “fundamentally transforming” the United States and ensuring that electricity rates “necessarily skyrocket.” On climate change, President Obama has made it clear that he “can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will.” His Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, Department of Energy and other officials have steadfastly implemented his anti-hydrocarbon policies.

Chief Obama science advisor John Holdren famously said: “A massive campaign must be launched to … de-develop the UnitedStates … bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation.… [Economists] must design a stable, low-consumption economy in which there is a much more equitable distribution of wealth.”

This agenda translates into greater government control over energy production and use, job creation and economic growth, and people’s lives, livelihoods, living standards, liberties, health and welfare. It means fewer opportunities and lower standards of living for poor and middle class working Americans. It means greater power and control for politicians, bureaucrats, activists and judges – but with little or no accountability for mistakes made, damage done or penalties exacted on innocent people.

A strong economy, modern technologies, and abundant, reliable, affordable energy are absolutely essential if we are to adapt to future climate changes, whatever their cause – and survive the heat waves, cold winters, floods, droughts and vicious weather events that will most certainly continue coming.

The Obama agenda will reduce our capacity to adapt, survive and thrive. It will leave more millions jobless, and reduce the ability of families to heat and cool their homes properly, assure nutritious meals, pay their rent or mortgage, and pursue their American dreams.

America’s minority and blue collar families will suffer – while Washington, DC power brokers and lobbyists will continue to enjoy a standard of living, housing boom and luxury cars unknown in the nation’s heartland. Think Hunger Games or the Politburo and nomenklatura of Soviet Russia.

Worst, it will all be for nothing, even if carbon dioxide does exert a stronger influence on Earth’s climate than actual evidence suggests. While the United States slashes its hydrocarbon use, job creation, economic growth and international competitiveness, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia – and Spain, Germany, France and Great Britain – will all continue increasing their coal use … and CO2 emissions.

President Obama and White House advisor John Podesta are convinced that Congress and the American people have no power or ability to derail the Administration’s determination to unilaterally enact costly policies to combat “dangerous manmade climate disruption” – and that the courts will do nothing to curb their use of executive orders and regulatory fiats.

If they are right, we are in for some very rough times – and it becomes even more critical that voters eject Harry Reid and his Senate majority, to restore some semblance of checks and balances.


Repeal the Gas Tax…and Get Rid of the Department of Transportation

Daniel J. Mitchell

More than three years ago, I wrote that the Department of Transportation should be dismantled for the simple reason that we’ll get better roads at lower cost with the federalist approach of returning responsibility to state and local governments.

I echoed those sentiments in this CNBC interview.

Since there’s only an opportunity to exchange soundbites in these interviews, let me elaborate on some of the reasons why transportation should be a state and local responsibility.

1. Washington involvement is a recipe for pork and corruption. Lawmakers in Congress – including Republicans – get on the Transportation Committees precisely because they can buy votes and raise campaign cash by diverting taxpayer money to friends and cronies.

2. Washington involvement in transportation is just the tip of the iceberg. As I said in the interview, the federal budget is mostly a scam where endless streams of money are shifted back and forth in leaky buckets. This scam is great for insiders and bad news for taxpayers.

3. Washington involvement necessarily means another layer of costly bureaucracy. And this is not a trivial issues since the Department of Transportation is infamous for overpaid bureaucrats.

4. Washington involvement gives state and local politicians an excuse to duck responsibility for low-quality infrastructure. Why make adult decisions, after all, when you can shift the blame to DC for not providing enough handouts.

While I think I made some decent points in the interview, I should have addressed the assertion that our infrastructure is falling apart. My colleague at the Cato Institute, Chris Edwards, effectively dealt with this scare tactic in hisrecent Congressional testimony.

I also should have pointed out that a big chunk of the gas tax is diverted to boondoggle mass transit projects.

Last but not least, I’m disappointed that I failed to connect some very important dots. Gov. Rendell and the CNBC host both fretted that the current system isn’t producing a desirable outcome, but they’re the ones advocating for a continuation of the status quo! Heck, they want even more of the system that they admit doesn’t work.



How much porn does it take to get fired at EPA?

As a U.S. House committee looked at allegations that a special homeland security unit within the Environmental Protection Agency was blocking investigations by the EPA's Inspector General, lawmakers also veered into other internal probes at that agency, demanding to know why it is so difficult to get rid of federal workers involved in on-the-job misconduct.

"When we have an employee who is looking at over 600 porn sites in a four day period - and it's there in black and white - fire them!" said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).

At the hearing, investigators detailed for lawmakers how a six figure EPA employee had admitted watching large amounts of porn on the job; he remains on the payroll, but his case has been referred to the Justice Department for possible prosecution.

"So this guy is making $125,000, spending two to six hours a day looking at porno," said Rep. John Mica (R-FL), who was told by officials that the worker had been given performance awards - despite one time spending four straight hours on a website called, "Sadism is Beautiful."

"How much pornography would it take for an EPA employee to lose their job?" asked a frustrated Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).

There was no concrete response from officials, given the lengthy process that it takes for the federal government to "separate" an employee from the civil service.

One note about this case - when an agent from the IG's office went to interview the employee in question about his porn habit - that agent found the man sitting at his desk - watching porn.

"The OIG’s investigation determined that the employee downloaded and viewed more than 7,000 pornographic files during duty hours," the IG's office reported.

Other cases discussed before the House Oversight Committee included an EPA employee who had been tele-working from home for 20 years - but not really producing anything on a regular basis - seemingly with the backing of the boss.

"It is estimated that the manager’s approval of fraudulent time-and-attendance records cost the government more than $500,000," said Allan Williams of the EPA Inspector General's office.

Williams detailed for lawmakers how the manager allowed the employee to not show up at work, not produce any work of value for the agency, and yet still give that employee "exemplary performance appraisals that resulted in a cash award to the employee."

"Just unbelievable," said a disgusted Rep. Mica.


Australia: Queensland government approves mega coal mine in Galilee Basin

One in the eye for Greenies

The Queensland government has signed off on what could be the biggest coal mine in Australia and one of the largest in the world.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney told parliament on Thursday the proposed $16.5 billion Indian-owned Adani Carmichael coal mine project in the Galilee Basin had been approved by the state's coordinator-general.

The mine is still to receive federal approval.

But Mr Seeney said he believed it would serve a "vital role" in opening the Galilee basin, which is also home to Clive Palmer's proposed coal mine and the Hancock-GVK Alpha mine project.

"The [Carmichael] project has the potential to create 2500 construction and 3900 operational jobs," he said.

"Jobs that would be significant to the future economic prosperity of that region and to all of Queensland.

"It also includes a 189-kilometre rail line, water supply infrastructure, coal handling and processing plant and off-site infrastructure including workers' accommodation village and airport."

At full export capacity, the mine is expected to produce 60 million tonnes of thermal coal per annum for export.

The coordinator-general set down 190 conditions in a 600-page report.

Mr Seeney said Adani would be required to reach "make-good agreements with all affected landholders including the identification and provision of alternative water supplies".

“Adani will also be required to contribute water monitoring data and funding to a Galilee region water resource model," Mr Seeney.

The Queensland Coordinator-General’s report has been sent to the Commonwealth environment minister for a decision.


A Greenie pesticide ban bites the dust in one Australian State

TASMANIA'S new Liberal government is scrapping a ban on the controversial pesticide 1080. The former Labor-Green government had imposed a ban due to begin next year.

Primary industries minister Jeremy Rockliff said the chemical would not be phased out until a viable alternative was available.
"One of the many challenges facing our farmers is the significant pasture and crop losses caused by some of our abundant wildlife - particularly wallabies and possums," Mr Rockliff said in a statement.

Farmers have applauded the move, saying they lose on average a quarter of their income to browsing animals.

"Animal rights campaigners have suggested fencing is the solution (but) it is enormously expensive and, in many areas, physically impractical," Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association boss Jan Davis said.

Green groups, though, reacted angrily to the announcement, saying it went against community sentiment. "Resorting to 1080 poison is the cheapest, nastiest and cruellest way to prevent browsing by native animals," state Greens leader Kim Booth said.

The poison, also known as sodium fluoroacetate, is widely used to bait foxes in Australia.




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


9 May, 2014

Forgive me while I laugh

It would be absurd for me to try to read the whole 800 pages of Obama's recent climate "Report" but I thought I should at least dip into it. I went to the section "Recent U.S. Temperature Trends" and clicked the "supporting evidence" gadget. I found that the evidence was in the form of four workshops. I picked the workshop on heat waves with T.C. Peterson as lead author. The "workshop" was in the form of an academic journal article (“Monitoring and Understanding Changes in Heat Waves, Cold Waves, Floods and Droughts in the United States- State of Knowledge”) published by the American Meteorological Society in June 2013. So I went to the article, didn't I? Academic articles have no terrors for me. I have written plenty of them.

The article was a ball of fun. It started out admitting that the the data was so diverse that it was difficult to draw conclusions from it. So they had the workshop so that participants could discuss the data and come to a consensus. In other words the conclusions were an opinion about the data, not the data itself.

And under the heading HEAT WAVES AND COLD WAVES (Subsection "Observed changes"), the fun really began. We read for instance:

"For heat waves “the highest number of heat waves occurred in the 1930s, with the fewest in the 1960s. The 2001–10 decade was the second highest but well below the 1930s.”

Come again??? That is supposed to prove global warming? I could make a better case for it proving global cooling. You should read the whole thing. It's a riot (unintentionally). They conclude what they want to conclude and evidence be damned.

I am pleased, however, that the scientists were rather frank. The "Report" as a whole however is a heap of corruption. It's authors did not at all reflect the science in their own report -- JR

Harry Reid: The Koch Brothers Are Causing Climate Change

Harry is driven mad by the people he refers to as the "Coke brothers". He has really lost his marbles over them. But I can see his dilemma about the pronunciation. The German guttural (ch) is too hard and a straightforward prounciation could sound rude. He could refer to them as the "Cook" brothers. "Koch" is German for cook

The Senate Majority Leader has a penchant for bashing the Koch Brothers for all sorts of things. But this might take the cake. Sen. Reid openly declared today on the Senate floor that two “multizillionaires” named David and Charles Koch are not a cause of climate change, mind you, but rather "one of the main causes." Let that sink in.

This is a point he made explicitly, delivering it with both conviction and certainty. But while trolling the Koch brothers (who most Americans have never heard of, by the way) might be his latest obsession, at what point do his crazy rants reach the point of diminishing returns?

For example, Forbes contributor and Townhall columnist Ralph Benko is already calling on Republicans to censure him. That is, if and when they wield enough political power to bring that tantalizing idea to fruition:

Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) trafficked in the culture of allegations of the “un-American.” He was censured by the United Senate and died disgraced.

Now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is engaging in misconduct comparably shameful: “redbaiting” those with red state values. He deserves censure for such misconduct. If the Democrats will not provide it, if the Republicans regain the majority in the U.S. Senate the censuring of Harry Reid deserves to be the first order of business next year.

Leader Reid has cast himself as the point man in a campaign by the left to vilify Charles and David Koch. As recently inventoried by The Washington Free Beacon, and as noted by The Washington Post, Reid has vilified the Koch name, at last count, 134 times.

This is not a random act by Reid.

Of course it isn’t. The politics of destruction and vilification are very much in play here -- and will continue to be for some time. Reid, too, more than anyone else in his caucus, is promoting Kochsteria like it’s his job. But again, when does a “campaign strategy” become so farcical and so ridiculous that its chief spokesman loses all credibility? Apparently we haven’t reached that point…yet. But how far off can we really be?

Accusing two private citizens of effectively causing climate change is insane. Surely even Senate Democrats must realize this:


Yes It’s Real: GlobalChange.Gov

CS Lewis warned us about men without chests. That is technocrats who use what Winston Churchill called “the lights of perverted science” to play God without ethics, without morality, without responsibility.

And now they have a website. It's called

And they have a legal mandate too, not just to investigate so-called climate change, but to investigate “global change” in general.

“The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP,)” says the website, “was established by Presidential Initiative in 1989 and mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990 to ‘assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.’”


And whatever else that open-ended mission statement means, one thing you can be sure of is that the USGCRP will get shriller, more strident and more partisan as the science behind so-called “global change” becomes more damning to their hypothesis.

“Researchers have issued the ‘loudest and clearest alarm bell to date,’” reports Bloomberg, “signaling the need for urgent actions to combat climate change in the U.S., the president's science adviser said May 6. The third and most comprehensive installment of the National Climate Assessment shows that evidence of human-induced climate change is growing stronger as its impacts are increasingly felt across the country.”

Most comprehensive? Yes, and so was Tolstoy’s War and Peace. But then both are only works of fiction.

Still, mainstream media is using's latest position paper as more thin scientific evidence-- and I use the term sarcastically-- that global warming is already causing great harm to the United States.

The rest of us, they believe, are just too stupid to know it without a website.

The report catalogs a litany of hypothesis, fantasy, wishful thinking and poor science to bolster claims about so-called climate change that have already been proven scientifically incorrect.

For example, the report states that since 1980 hurricanes have become more prevalent, more intense, and probably--it's implied--much more racist.

In fact the scientific evidence and history show just the opposite.

While the so-called climate change models have predicted a vast number of killer hurricanes, and the hurricane predictors year after year have predicted a vast number of killer hurricanes, the predictions have been so far off base that hurricane predictions are even less reliable than NFL draft projections.

This most popularized predicted effect of global warming from the models given us by the climate change clowns-- increased hurricane and tropical storm activity-- was shown conclusively to be without merit in 2011 by a paper produced by the science and operations officer at the National Hurricane Center, Dr. Chris Landsea.

In a workpublished in late November of 2011 and carefully labeled an “opinion” piece on the site for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration- which is quick to distance itself from the conclusions reached by Landsea-- concludes that “the overall impact of global warming on hurricanes is currently negligible and likely to remain quite tiny even a century from now.”

Lansea is a supporter of the theory of man-caused global warming, but says the models for hurricanes are wrong.

In the rarefied atmosphere of climate politics this deviation was enough to get him labeled as a "climate skeptic," perhaps enough to get him excommunicated as a "climate denier." Landsea resigned from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2005 because he felt it had become politicized and was ignoring the science.

Yet somehow he remains the leading hurricane expert in the US, despite his "shoddy" science.

Landsea attacked three specific datasets that are often used by global warming alarmists to show that the warming of the earth will have terrible consequences for human-kind: 1) the frequency of storms; 2) the intensity of storms and; 3) the economic damage of storms.

In each data subset he showed that apparent increases in storm activity or effect can be ascribed to advances in technology or development that skew the data rather than a real increased frequency or effect of storms.

And that's exactly what you'd expect from CS Lewis's “Men without Chests”-- that is men without hearts.

You'd expect them to skew the data by using technology and development, and then shinning the light of perverted science upon it, with an assist by perverted media, to institute global change, whatever that ‘change’ happens to entail.

But you don’t need to worry about that, they say. They'll tell you what you need to know and when you need to know it,

Because now they have a website, just like they do for all of their other programs.

They still, however, don't have hearts.


This is why wind energy can neither have nor produce nice things

The wind lobby has yet to give up on their quest to renew the egregiously generous production tax credit that essentially keeps the wind industry afloat by providing 2.3 cents for every kilowatt-hour of energy output during the first ten years of a given project’s operation; that lucrative subsidy expired on January 1st of this year, but it wouldn’t be the first time — or the second, or the third – that Congress has belatedly bestowed a retroactive extension. Most recently, the wind industry was awarded a one-year extension of the credit at the start of 2013, with the new and convenient condition that any project that simply began construction in 2013 would receive the full benefits of the credit (whereas in the past, installations had to be completed) — and for a demonstration of just how precious that credit really is, here are a couple of handy visuals via The Atlantic:

According to the AWEA, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group, wind turbine installations hit a record 8,385 megawatts in the fourth quarter of 2012 only to crash in the first quarter of 2013 to 1.6 megawatts—and, yes, the decimal place is in the right place. In other words, thousands of wind turbines went online at the end of 2012 to power about 2.1 million American homes. Three months later, about one more turbine had been installed, generating just enough juice to supply about 405 homes.

The downdraft continued in the first quarter of this year, according to the AWEA, when 133 turbines producing 433 megawatts went online. …

Installations skyrocketed in 2012 before dropping off like crazy when the credit expired, and then when the credit was renewed with the new and more flexible condition that projects only needed to have begun construction before it expired at the end of 2013, a bunch of projects got in just under the wire. Could the wind industry’s utter dependence on government taxpayer “help” (which actually discourages the price efficiency that could make wind viable in the long run) be any more apparent?

But rather than heeding my umpteenth rant on the mind-boggling perversity of supporting a technology that so clearly cannot survive in the free market based on its own competitive merits, let’s mix it up and look to — oh, I don’t know — how about billionaire Warren Buffet, noted supporter of hiking taxes on the wealthy, in Omaha this past weekend? Via the editors of the WSJ:

So it was fascinating to hear Mr. Buffett explain that his real tax rule is to pay as little as possible, both personally and at the corporate level. “I will not pay a dime more of individual taxes than I owe, and I won’t pay a dime more of corporate taxes than we owe. And that’s very simple,” Mr. Buffett told Fortune magazine in an interview last week.

The billionaire was even more explicit about his goal of reducing his company’s tax payments. “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate,” he said. “For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

Think about that one. Mr. Buffett says it makes no economic sense to build wind farms without a tax credit, which he gladly uses to reduce his company’s tax payments to the Treasury. So political favors for the wind industry induce a leading U.S. company to misallocate its scarce investment dollars for an uneconomic purpose. Berkshire and its billionaire shareholder get a tax break and the feds get less revenue, which must be made up by raising tax rates on millions of other Americans who are much less well-heeled than Mr. Buffett.

Just take a moment and let that really wash over you, and then take a gander at the still other subsidy-goodies the Obama administration is doling out to its politically preferred pet projects. …Just today. Via The Hill:

"The Department of Energy (DOE) Wednesday said it will give up to $47 million each to three offshore wind power projects over the next four years to pioneer “innovative” technology.

The planned projects are off the costs of New Jersey, Oregon and Virginia. DOE said the money will help speed the deployment of efficient wind power technologies as part of the government’s effort to expand the use of wind power."


Senate takes up energy bill amid Keystone squabble

The Senate moved closer to a showdown over the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline Tuesday, as a related energy bill cleared an early procedural hurdle.

Senators voted 79-20 to take up an energy efficiency bill that Keystone supporters want to amend with language authorizing immediate construction of the proposed pipeline from Canada to the United States. Despite the vote, the two parties were still arguing over whether to allow amendments to the measure, including one by Keystone supporters that would end years of delay by the Obama administration on whether to approve the pipeline.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., denied a Republican request for an amendment on the pipeline, but said he was open to a stand-alone vote on a pipeline bill later.

Reid accused Republicans of trying to block the energy bill, which has bipartisan support. Republicans said Reid was backing away from a promise to allow a vote on Keystone.

"Senate Republicans keep changing their requests," Reid said, noting that some Republicans first asked for a "sense of the Senate" resolution on Keystone and then later called for a binding vote.

"It seems like this is nothing but a game of diversion and obstruction to many Senate Republicans," Reid said on the Senate floor. "But it's not a game. Every time a group of Republicans feigns interest in bipartisanship, only to scramble away at the last moment, it is part of a calculated political scheme."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Reid's claim "laughable," and said all that Senate Republicans seek is a full and open debate on energy policy.

"The American people have waited seven long years for a serious energy debate in the Democrat-run Senate," McConnell said, noting that the Senate has not approved a major energy bill since 2007.

In addition to Keystone, Republican senators have prepared a host of amendments to the energy bill, including one that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. Lawmakers from both parties also support a measure to speed approval of terminals to export liquefied natural gas.

"The American people deserve a real debate on how we can best tap our own extraordinary natural resources to achieve energy independence at home and how we can help our allies overseas through increased exports of American energy. But we can't move forward if the Democrats who run the Senate keep trying to protect the president at the expense of serving their constituents," McConnell said.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., one of the bill's co-sponsors, said the measure was an affordable approach to boost energy efficiency, which she said is the best way to save money on energy use.

"Energy efficiency is no longer about putting on a sweater and lowering the thermostat. It's about the technologies that can reduce energy use," she said.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said the bill does not include mandates but merely encourages homes and businesses to increase efficiency.

"The least expensive form of energy is the energy we don't end up having to use," he said.


Spare me TV's climate change experts

Clive James is a skeptic as well as a wit and an entertainer. I like the way he pisses on false prophet Tim Flannery

Because of its many beautiful images of my homeland, I couldn’t help watching the repeat of Australia with Simon Reeve (BBC Two). I thought I was being idle, but suddenly a big idea occurred to me.... an idea relevant to countless BBC programmes about the environment over the course of the past decade and a half. Let me try to evoke the moment in which the idea occurred. Simon was talking to a man in charge of a South Australian wine factory which covered thousands of acres with its enormous shining silver vats and bins. The factory produces a zillion bottles of wine per year, and uses, in the process, a gazillion gallons of water.

The water is drawn from the Murray-Darling river system. If it occurred to you to wonder what would happen to the output of wine if the input of water were to be restricted, it occurred to Reeve too. So did he ask the professionally knowledgeable bloke in charge of the wine whether he anticipated any restrictions in the water supply?

No, he asked a climate change expert. In Australia, climate change experts are not hard to find. Indeed it is very hard to keep them out of your car: unless you wind the window all the way up, one of them will climb in. This climate change expert was called Tim. Armed with his ability to read the future, Tim predicted that any dry area of the Murray-Darling system was “an indication of what’s coming”, and that “what Australia is experiencing here now” would eventually be experienced by “hundreds of millions of people around the world”.

Simon nodded his moustache sagely but didn’t once ask whether the flourishing wine industry was not part of what Australia is experiencing here now. Nor did he ask whether, in view of climate change, the wine industry was doomed. It was then that the big idea hit me. Why hadn’t he asked the wine grower? It would have been easy to frame the question, perhaps along the lines of: “In view of what is happening to the planet, have you any plans for selling all this colossal acreage of silver metal for scrap?”

It would have been worth asking the wine grower because his whole way of life depends on what he thinks about the water supply, whereas, with Tim, nothing depends on what he thinks about the water supply except his next research grant and his prospects of getting on screen with the visiting TV presenter so that they can shoot off their mouths together. And at that point I started thinking about all those BBC environment and nature programmes from the immediate past that might just turn out, in retrospect, to have been souping up their science with science fiction.

But you can see the attraction. Sensationalism makes for a splash of danger, and sometimes, when the danger isn’t there, you miss it. In a re-run of the classic little wildlife programme of 2006 Rabbits of Skomer (BBC Four) you could see the danger, or lack of danger, that some animal shows faced before the global warming theme got going.

On the island of Skomer the rabbits, like the puffins, face no mammal predators. In the air, the odd short-eared owl or greater black-backed gull lurks hungrily, but on the whole the rabbits have got it made. They stick their heads up out of their holes and sniff, but all they find is a camera crew looking at them. There is not a single whiff of oncoming planetary doom. If the show were being made now, there would have to be a climate change expert called Tim to say that the whole island will soon be a hundred feet under water with sharks cruising through waves dotted with the corpses of rabbits and puffin chicks.

Or perhaps not. Perhaps the Beeb, in view of the current shifting of the emphasis in climate science from mitigation to adaptation, is now, at last, dialling down the alarmism. Perhaps they put the Skomer rabbits back on air as a portent of the nature programmes they will make next, with the future restored to its erstwhile position as the long stretch of time about which not even science can know everything.




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


8 May, 2014

More on yesterday's climate "report"

The Obama administration today released its third National Climate Assessment (NCA) predicting a series of calamities and urging action on the president’s climate agenda.

“This laughably misleading report is the predictable result when hard-core environmental activists are chosen to write up a climate assessment for, and subject to the approval and revisions of, the Obama administration. It is like the punch line to a bad joke: ‘How many environmental activists does it take to put together an alarmist global warming report?’

“Leading authors of this report include staffers for activist groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists, Planet Forward, The Nature Conservancy, and Second Nature. Few objective climate experts will take this report seriously. Even those scientists who are not overtly affiliated with environmental activist groups were almost uniformly on the record as global warming alarmists before being chosen to write this report. The only real surprise in the report is it didn’t take the opportunity to trumpet the Union of Concerned Scientists’ call for U.S. unilateral nuclear disarmament.

“It would take a whole squadron of environmental activists years to come up with the whoppers told in this report. The report falsely asserts that global warming is causing more extreme weather events, more droughts, more record high temperatures, more wildfires, warmer winters, etc., when each and every one of these false assertions is contradicted by objective, verifiable evidence. It reads like a press release from The Nature Conservancy and the Union of Concerned Scientists – probably because it essentially is a press release from The Nature Conservancy and the Union of Concerned Scientists.”


Nature CAN cope with climate change: Unusual behaviour of plants and animals suggests we've underestimated their ability to adapt, claim studies

Responses to local warming episodes are instructive

As the planet warms, animals and plants are learning to adapt to their new environment by either migrating or evolving, new research has revealed.

Many scientists believe the rate of climate change is too rapid for various species to keep up. But two new studies have offered some hope that experts may have underestimated their abilities.

The first study reveals how a species of butterfly named the quino checkerspot has defied expectations of extinction by moving to cooler climes and changing its diet.

The quino checkerspot, found in Mexico and California, moved to higher altitudes to avoid extinction, according to research presented at the Butterfly Conservation's symposium in Southampton.

Its rapid adaption offers some hope to scientists that other insects could be able to change their environment and survive a warmer climate.

Separate research led by Stanford University scientist Steve Palumbi found how some corals can quickly switch on or off certain genes in order to survive in warmer-than-average tidal waters.

The research team discovered corals can adjust their internal functions to tolerate hot water 50 times faster than they would adapt through evolutionary change alone.

‘The temperature of coral reefs is variable, so it stands to reason that corals should have some capacity to respond to different heat levels,’ Professor Palumbi said.

‘These results tell us that both nature and nurture play a role in deciding how heat-tolerant a coral colony is.

‘Nurture, the effect of environment, can change heat tolerance much more quickly - within the lifetime of one coral rather than over many generations.’

It’s not just butterflies and corals that are adapting. From chipmunks to Mediterranean spiders, scientists are increasingly tracking how animals are evolving to cope with the effects of hotter temperatures.

‘Most of the models that ecologists are putting out are assuming that there's no adaptive capacity. And that's silly,’ Ary Hoffmann, a geneticist at the University of Melbourne told National Geographic. ‘Organisms are not static.’

Writing for Pacific Standard, systems biologist Michael White said scientists tracking the movements of animals have repeatedly found that plants and animals have altered their behaviour in response to earlier springs and milder temperatures.

Dr White cited the work of a team of scientists at the University of California-Berkeley as an example of how creatures are adapting to warmer temperatures.

The scientists studied alpine chipmunks living in Yosemite National Park and found that over 100 years the animals have moved to higher altitudes as the average temperature of the park has risen by 3°C.

DNA evidence also suggests the European wasp spider is evolving and have colonised new areas as they seek cooler climates.

The spiders primarily lived in Mediterranean regions until the 1930s but have gradually crept northwards to colonise Scandinavia, Poland and the Baltic region.

Interestingly while scientists thought they were trying to find new places to live that were the same temperature as the Mediterranean before temperatures have risen, the spiders have actually moved into regions that are cooler than their original homes.

The reason for their behaviour is they have been mating with spiders that like the cold, to create an invading species that can survive freezing temperatures that would kill its Mediterranean relatives, researchers from Germany's Max Plank Institute told Dr White.

A 2011 review of data on hundreds of moving species found a average shift to higher altitudes of 36 feet (11 metres) per decade and a average shift to higher latitudes of about 10.5 miles (17 km) per decade.

‘I think we should feel impressed by the impact that we have, that we can change the course of evolution around us by the way we change the environment,’ Menno Schilthuizen, from Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, Netherlands told National Geographic.

‘Our impact is much further and deeper than we tend to think.’



It's funny that those who stress the scientific credentials of the anthropogenic global warming theory (AGWT) use very unscientific and indeed political ways and means to silence all contradictory -- or even skeptical -- views about it.

For example, AGWT activists, scientists and even some MPs have written to the BBC begging it not to give “airtime” to AGWT skeptics or critics. This is a kind of (non)scientific version of the British Leftists' “no platform” policy; which is similarly used to silence literally all the people who dare to have nonconformist views about various and many political subjects.

Indeed individuals in America have even argued that AGWT skeptics should be prosecuted or criminalized -- quite literally!

Will there now be a Gulag built for those who dare to question the complete and total truth of the AGWT? Are all AGW skeptics, by definition, “flat-earthers”, “knuckle-draggers” or the paid agents of Big Business?

So it's clear that these AGW totalitarians don't want to give any “oxygen of publicity” -- to use Margaret Thatcher's phrase about terrorists - to skeptics or critics. Yet we're not talking about terrorists here! We're talking, in many cases, about scientists and those who simply question many -- or simply some -- aspects of what is supposed to be a scientific theory. Aren't questioning and criticism part of the very essence of science? And doesn't all this AGW evangelism show that the theory may in fact be more political than scientific after all?

David Bellamy OBE (Order of the British Empire) himself called the AGWT “poppycock”.

Mr. Bellamy was once a very well-known British TV presenter. He's also a scientist (a botanist). For over two decades, he was almost the face (after Sir David Attenborough) of science -- or at least of natural history -- on British television. He made and presented countless TV programs, wrote over 45 books and even had a top 40 hit called 'Brontosaurus, Will You Wait For Me?' He also set up many charities and, at one point in time, was the patron of more than 400 of them.

However, it was his character -- often parodied by comedians -- which proved to be the most endearing to British people,

David Bellamy first rejected the AGWT in 2004. What happened then? According to David Bellamy himself, this:

“From that moment, I really wasn’t welcome at the BBC. They froze me out, because I don’t believe in global warming. My career dried up. I was thrown out of my own conservation groups and I got spat at in London.”

Now it's not clear from that whether or not the BBC “froze out” Bellamy because it feared he would articulate his skepticism about the AGWT on air; or that it simply froze him out because of what he believed.

Things got worse for Mr. Bellamy.

He was then dropped, in 2005, by The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. (He was the president of that organization at the time.) The RSWT said: “We are not happy with his line of climate change.”

In response, Bellamy said:

“I worked with the Wildlife Trusts for 52 years. And when they dropped me, they didn’t even tell me.”

Later, in October 2006, the New Zealand Herald reported that Bellamy had joined the AGWT-skeptic New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. Following that, in May 2007, Bellamy and Jack Barrett wrote a paper -- in the Civil Engineering journal of the Institution of Civil Engineers -- called 'Climate stability: an inconvenient proof'.

(One claim in that article is that the predicted doubling of carbon dioxide levels from natural, pre-industrial levels was not only unlikely but would also amount to less than 1 degree C of global warming.)

As for Bellamy's evidence against the AGWT, he once said the following:

“For the last 16 years, temperatures have been going down and the carbon dioxide has been going up and the crops have got greener and grow quicker. We’ve done plenty to smash up the planet, but there’s been no global warming caused by man.”

Now that evidence alone is of course far from conclusive. And I don't think that Bellamy himself, as a scientist, would see it as being conclusive. (No single “bit” -- or bits -- of evidence are ever conclusive in science.) In other words, those simple facts don't disprove the AGWT. But that's primarily because proof and disproof are not notions that are used in science in the first place: they are exclusively, strictly speaking, mathematical and logical notions.

In addition, Bellamy's facts (which may well be facts) are simply not enough to even discredit -- never mind disprove -- the AGWT. However, he wouldn't claim, I hope, that they do that. Nonetheless, the facts he cites -- as well as the innumerable other counter-AGWT facts -- do give us at least some grounds for skepticism. Indeed many people argue that they give us grounds for intense skepticism.

This isn't a matter of whether or not the AGWT is true or not. In fact the AGWT can be neither true nor false. (Let's forget here about the fact many philosophers of science, and some scientists also, have a problem with the very notion of truth -- as applied to scientific theories -- in the first place.) Only single statements or propositions can be true or false. More relevantly, the AGWT is so broad, and contains so many variables, that it's difficult to decipher what people are actually saying when they make general statements about it. The AGWT can, at most, only be true or false in part.

So this is in fact a matter of the tactics and opinions of those who zealously and piously uphold the theory in the rather Stalinist manner they do. Indeed the very political nature of this intolerance of different views (as well the scientific fundamentalism of the believers) leads one to think that these things occur precisely because the AGWT itself is essentially political in nature. That is, the obvious political underpinnings of the AGWT (which the believers don't deny) are quite naturally leading to the very political methods and means which are used to create a 'no platform' policy for all those who dare to question it. Indeed it can even be said that anthropogenicglobalwarmingism (as it were) is the Lysenkoism of our time and that the United Nations -- or at least the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- is a contemporary version of the Soviet Union's Institute of Genetics of the Academy of Sciences.



Independent science shows that C.20 global warming has been greatly overestimated

The Connolly Scientific Research Group is a family-run independent entity based in Ireland and has provided fascinating new research and analysis on the global warming controversy.

Below Ronan Connolly has set out the group's complete body of work and invites full open peer review in the spirit that PSI endorses.

Dr Connolly reports:

I have uploaded datasets for all of our papers to the Figshare website (, and provided links to the datasets on the corresponding article pages at

In total, we have written eight articles on climate science/atmospheric science.

We believe that science thrives through openness, and so we have decided to use a fully open peer review system for the peer review process, i.e., our new Open Peer Review Journal. As a trial run for this system, we are using our own research. But, if the system is successful, we hope to expand the journal to accept submissions from other researchers.

We are also providing open access to the data for all our papers so that people can check and/or use our analysis.

We are very interested in feedback from the scientific community on our research, whether positive or negative. So, if any of your readers are interested in posting a technical comment or review on one (or more) of articles, they are more than welcome to do so. Instructions are provided on the OPRJ website:

I have provided brief summaries and links to our eight articles below:

In three of the articles we revisit the urbanization bias problem and argue that this has led to a substantial overestimation of "global warming" trends:

R. Connolly, and M. Connolly (2014). Urbanization bias I. Is it a negligible problem for global temperature estimates?, Open Peer Rev. J., 28 (Clim. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).

Article URL:

SI dataset:

R. Connolly, and M. Connolly (2014). Urbanization bias II. An assessment of the NASA GISS urbanization adjustment method, Open Peer Rev. J., 31 (Clim. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).
Article URL:

SI dataset:

R. Connolly, and M. Connolly (2014). Urbanization bias III. Estimating the extent of bias in the Historical Climatology Network datasets, Open Peer Rev. J., 34 (Clim. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).
Article URL:

SI dataset:

In another three articles we develop a new approach for describing and explaining the temperature and energy profiles of the atmosphere. Our findings suggest to us that the physics used by the current climate models is wholly inadequate, and as a result their results are unrealistic:

M. Connolly, and R. Connolly (2014). The physics of the Earth’s atmosphere I. Phase change associated with tropopause, Open Peer Rev. J., 19 (Atm. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).

Article URL:

SI dataset:

M. Connolly, and R. Connolly (2014). The physics of the Earth’s atmosphere II. Multimerization of atmospheric gases above the troposphere, Open Peer Rev. J., 22 (Atm. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).
Article URL:

SI dataset:

M. Connolly, and R. Connolly (2014). The physics of the Earth’s atmosphere III. Pervective power, Open Peer Rev. J., 25 (Atm. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).
Article URL:

SI dataset:

In another article we reviewed the various temperature proxy estimates of global temperature trends of the last 1000 years.Unlike previous reviews, technical analyses presented via internet blogs were considered as well as the conventional peer-reviewed literature.

R. Connolly, and M. Connolly (2014). Global temperature changes of the last millennium, Open Peer Rev. J., 16 (Clim. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).

Article URL:

SI dataset:

For the eight article we revisited the poor station siting problem associated with weather station records. Using the results of Anthony Watts et al.’s Surface stations project, we find that poor station siting has introduced a substantial warming bias into U.S. temperature trends. It is likely that similar biases also occur for global temperature trends.

R. Connolly, and M. Connolly (2014). Has poor station quality biased U.S. temperature trend estimates?, Open Peer Rev. J., 11 (Clim. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).

Article URL:

SI dataset:


More Greenie job-killing

In 2009 — the immediately preceding time four council seats contested last year in Whatcom County, Wash., were open — candidates spent less than $7,000 on their campaigns. But during the 2013 election cycle, spending skyrocketed, with outside groups forking over as much as $148,000 to campaign for a single council seat.

There’s one man primarily responsible for this precipitous spending hike: Tom Steyer, an environmental enthusiast, hedge-fund manager, California billionaire, and emerging Democratic kingmaker.

Steyer’s interest in these four obscure local races is simple. The Whatcom county council will ultimately decide the fate of a proposed coal-export facility on the West Coast. If it receives approval, it would be the largest such American facility on the West Coast, but Steyer and his green allies fervently oppose the use of coal, so they spent heavily to support council candidates likely to vote against the export facility. Their efforts were ultimately successful, with candidates perceived as green winning all four contested seats.

“I wouldn’t say [Steyer] was decisive, but he definitely moved the needle [in] the environmental candidates’ favor,” says Todd Donovan, a political-science professor at Western Washington University, which is located in Whatcom County. “He provided an unprecedented amount of money spent on behalf of the environmental candidates, and they all won — and they were fighting an uphill battle. . . . We’ve never seen anything like it.”

Steyer’s political action committee, NextGen Climate, gave $275,000 to the Washington Conservation Voters Action Fund, which in turn spent at least $210,000 on the Whatcom county-council elections. But it’s impossible to get an exact figure for how much Steyer money was spent in Whatcom County.

Randy Pepple, a Republican political strategist in Washington State, says Steyer’s lack of transparency was particularly alarming.

“Instead of Tom Steyer for NextGen PAC writing the checks, instead he wrote them to other organizations that were spending money, particularly the Conservation Voters,” he says. “He hid it. For all his challenges on Politico to be transparent, up here, he laundered money through political committees, so it was not entirely clear where he put all his money.”

Outside cash may have played an instrumental role in the Whatcom county-council elections, but that’s not the only development bothering some of its residents. In particular, union members in Whatcom County are concerned that, if the coal-export facility fails to garner council approval, there will be a huge economic cost.

The proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal would export up to 54 million metric tons each year, the majority of which would be coal extracted in Wyoming and Montana being shipped to buyers as far away as China. The export terminal would also pay more than $92 million in state and local taxes in the two-year construction period alone, and then contribute $11.2 million a year to the government’s coffers after the project’s completion.

Approval would result in nearly 4,500 construction jobs, as well as 1,250 permanent jobs in Whatcom County — no small matter in a region where unemployment in February 2014 was 7.4 percent. And many of the jobs the Gateway Pacific Terminal would provide are unionized, a fact that hasn’t escaped the notice of local labor leaders like Mike Elliott, a spokesman and lobbyist for the Washington State Legislative Board of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

“These are the types of jobs we want to create,” Elliott tells National Review Online. “We weren’t going to get on board with these projects unless they would use union construction people and union longshoremen to run the thing. But opponents brought in this billionaire environmentalist from California, and not just him — they’ve come up with a whole lot of money. They’ve got more resources than we will ever have, and it makes all the difference in the world. You shouldn’t be able to come in with a wheelbarrow full of money and influence the electoral process. I just think that’s wrong.”

In Whatcom County, Steyer’s big donations helped Democrat-affiliated groups outspend their Republican counterparts two-to-one. But he may well have created an interesting dilemma for Democrats during future elections. Steyer’s spending in Whatcom County pitted environmental groups against organized labor, creating a deep division among two of the Democrats’ key constituent groups.

Steyer’s spending may have a similarly divisive effect on the national stage. In February, he pledged to donate more than $100 million in support of environmentalist Democratic candidates. Just two months later, the Obama administration announced it would opportunely delay its decision on the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project as reviled by environmental groups as it is beloved of Big Labor.

Ken Oplinger, a self-identified “business Democrat” who served as head of the Whatcom County Chamber of Commerce for a decade, tells NRO that while intra-party divisions may not be enough to win labor over to Republicans, they may well split the vote between Democratic candidates.

“In Whatcom County, because the coal terminal was such an all-encompassing issue, it really did play a role because it was the key issue for labor,” he says. “In places where economic development and jobs [are pitted against environmental concerns], you’ll see that happen, and it’s going to be on a case-by-case level. The blue-green connection is still there, and it’s still strong. But they’re going to disagree on some key issues, and when [they do], it may play a role in those races as it did in Whatcom County.”


Australian government plan to strip Tasmania forest of World Heritage status was made without external review

Greenies don't like miners having a say in mining decisions, so why should Greenies have a say in environmental decisions?

The federal government's unprecedented bid to strip Tasmanian forests of World Heritage status was put together without any external advice, a Senate committee has heard.

The original case to list 170,000 hectares of mainly forested land as World Heritage emerged as part of the most comprehensive regional forests review ever undertaken in Australia, the committee was told.

The extension to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area gained the backing of the World Conservation Union and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and was unanimously approved by the World Heritage Committee in 2013.

A push by the Abbott government to excise 74,000 hectares of forest from that extension "flies in the face" of the findings of an expert Independent Verification Group set up to decide the fate of Tasmanian forests, IVG member Professor Brendan Mackey said.

"Regarding the 74,000 hectares, 90 per cent has not been industrially logged, only four per cent is heavily disturbed, 35 per cent is actually mapped as old growth, " said Professor Mackey, of Griffith University.

The Senate committee inquiring into the de-listing attempt heard the case for it was prepared by the Environment Department to meet a Coalition election commitment to wind back the listing.

The department's internal experts on world heritage were consulted, as was the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries and its ministerial offices, Greens leader Christine Milne was told.

"We had a number of discussions with the minister [for Environment, Greg Hunt] about the options being produced and the merits and demerits of the options," said departmental deputy secretary Kimberley Dripps.

"Was there any peer review, any verification from outside at all?" Senator Milne said. "No," Dr Dripps replied.

The government argues in its submission to the World Heritage Committee that the removal would enhance the overall standing of the 1.6 million hectare Tasmanian Wilderness WHA.

"... It's unusual, if not unprecedented, for it to be achieved in the reduction of the property unless there is a corresponding increase elsewhere," said Dr Dripps.

She will lead the Australian delegation to the World Heritage Committee meeting in Doha next month, where she said one of four options would be on the table.

The 21 nation World Heritage Committee could choose to accept the wind-back; reject it outright; refer it back for additional information; or defer it for a more substantial submission in 2016.

A former Environment Department staffer who worked on World Heritage issues, Peter Matthews, told the Senate committee that once an area was on the list, the World Heritage Committee had never agreed to a wind-back as a principle.

"It actually has to be demonstrated that it has lost its outstanding universal value," Mr Matthews said.




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


7 May, 2014

White House calls for urgent climate change action after report warns of more extreme weather

All the usual lies gathered together in one place. I can't find a single true statement in it. Note: The climate report was supposed to be released in APRIL... I guess it was too cold!

The White House called on Tuesday for urgent action to combat climate change, as it released a study on the impact of global warming across the United States and key sectors of the US economy.

The four-year survey warned of serious threats to homes and infrastructure and industry in the face of extreme weather events.

President Barack Obama vowed during his victorious 2008 presidential campaign to make the United States a leader in tackling climate change and the "security threat" it poses.

But he has failed to convince Congress to take significant action during his subsequent years in office.

As part of a new push on the issue this week, Obama was to give televised interviews with various meteorologists on Tuesday to discuss the findings of the third US National Climate Assessment.

Hundreds of the nation's best climate scientists and technical experts - from both the private and public sectors - worked on the report, which examines the impact of climate change today and makes forecasts for the next century.

The government’s newest national assessment of climate change, released early on Tuesday, declares what a wide majority of scientists say is clear: Americans are already feeling the effects of global warming.

Heavy Northeast downpours unleashed by super storms such as Sandy, flooding from sea-level rise from Norfolk to Miami along the Atlantic Ocean, record-setting monster wildfires in several Western states, a crop-destroying heat wave in the Midwest, and drought that has parched southern California, have all taken place in recent years.

“The report affirms a number of things we have known,” said Katharine Hayhoe, a Texas Tech University professor and lead co-author of the changing-climate chapter of the assessment.

“But there are new aspects,” Hayhoe said. “For a long time we have perceived climate change as an issue that’s distant, affecting just polar bears or something that matters to our kids. This shows it’s not just in the future; it matters today. Many people are feeling the effects.”

The researchers warned of drought in the state of California, prairie fires in Oklahoma and rising ocean levels on the East Coast, particularly in Florida, most of them caused by humans.

Sea level rise is also eating away at low-lying areas in places like Mississippi.

In the Southeast and Caribbean regions, home to more than 80 million people and some of the nation's fastest-growing metropolitan areas, "sea level rise combines with other climate-related impacts and existing pressures such as land subsidence, causing significant economic and ecological implications."

The report cited a locally-sponsored study as saying that coastal areas in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas could face annual losses of $US23 billion ($24.59 billion) by 2030, with about half of those costs related to climate change.

The impact of global warming is unevenly distributed across US territory, with spectacular effects in Alaska, which researchers said warmed twice as fast as the rest of the country.

"Arctic summer sea ice is receding faster than previously projected and is expected to virtually disappear before mid-century," the report said.

"This is altering marine ecosystems and leading to greater ship access, offshore development opportunity and increased community vulnerability to coastal erosion."

It warned that rising permafrost temperatures would cause drier landscapes, more wildfire, changes to wildlife habitat, greater infrastructure maintenance costs and the release of greenhouse gases that increase global warming.

Facilities and roads that are vital to the US economy are also under the threat of rising water levels or an increase in already reported tropical storms hitting coastal areas, the report says.

It cites in particular State Highway 1 in Louisiana, the only road linking New Orleans to Port Fourchon, a strategic oil hub. The road is "sinking, at the same time sea level is rising," resulting in more frequent and more severe flooding during high tides and storms. A 90-day shut down of this highway would cost the nation an estimated $US7.8 billion ($8.34 billion).

Rising temperatures

The decade starting in 2000 was the hottest on record, and 2012, the year Sandy followed an epic summer drought, was the hottest ever recorded in the nation’s history, the report says. US temperature is 0.72 to 1.05 degrees Celsius warmer now than it was in 1895, and most of that increase — 80 per cent, the assessment says — occurred over the last 44 years.

David Wolfe, a professor at Cornell University who was a lead co-author of the report’s chapter on change in the Northeast, said that might sound frightening, but he and other authors of the study are optimistic that climate impacts can be mitigated.

Business leaders are looking more toward investments in renewable energy, he said. This third assessment, unlike the others, offers a website with interactive tools showing how to reduce climate impacts.

“It will be a living document, a resource for people,” he said. “It’s a place to start.”

Critics of global warming

Wolfe’s optimism wasn’t universally shared, even among some co-authors who described the assessment as too conservative — a consensus document meant to reflect the diverse views of the more than 300 scientists who crafted it.

Other contrarians include libertarians at the Cato Institute, founded by Charles and David Koch, brothers whose multibillion-dollar fortune is partly derived from fossil fuels, and are well-known to deny the impacts of climate change.

Cato researchers Paul C. Knappenberger and Patrick J. Michaels said the assessment was “biased toward pessimism,” the opposite of how Wolfe described it. As a resource, it is meant to justify “federal regulation aimed towards mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.”

The report’s early reception reflects the deep partisan divide over climate that fractures along party lines and even has finer breaks within each party, between liberals and progressives and mainline conservatives and tea party factions.

The higher the temperature, the more dire the impact

Burning coal for electricity, using oil and gasoline in vehicles, clear-cutting forests and engaging in certain agricultural practices — all for the convenience of humans — contribute to the problem, the assessment said.

By the end of the century, temperatures could be up to 2.77 degrees Celsius higher if the nation acts aggressively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industry, or up to 5.55 degrees Celcius if emissions are high.

Extreme weather in the United States has “increased in recent decades,” the report said.

The assessment carves the nation into sections and examines the impacts: More sea-level rise, flooding, storm surge, precipitation and heat waves in the Northeast; frequent water shortages and hurricanes in the Southeast and Caribbean; more drought and wildfires in the Southwest.

Rapidly receding ice and shrinking glaciers are occurring in Alaska, which warmed twice as fast as the rest of the country in the past 60 years. And warmer oceans, along with increased acidification, particularly in the Pacific, have put marine life in peril.

Sea-level rise is a major concern to the District, Maryland and Virginia. A report last year by the Maryland Commission on Climate Change found that coastal sea-level rise on the state shoreline will range from slightly less than a 30 centimetres to more than 60 centimetres by mid-century, and from 120 centimetres to 360 centimetres by the end of the century, depending on whether carbon emissions increase or decrease.

Climate change is also leading to heat stress events, forcing people with respiratory illnesses to turn to devices such as inhalers or to hospitals, the federal assessment said. It is leading to more severe allergies and waterborne illnesses as pathogens increase. Minority communities are especially vulnerable.

Extreme heat causes more deaths than other weather events, and that is expected to continue. Such deaths have decreased in recent years, but the assessment attributed that to better weather forecasting.

In more general terms, climate change will increase costs for the country's transport system and its users, said the authors, who warn that major adaptation measures will be necessary to overcome this.

Republican opponents

The report, which can be viewed at and aims to mobilise American citizens as well as local communities, is part of Obama's sputtering efforts to address global warming, which have gone nowhere in Congress. There, Republicans control the House of Representatives.

The fight against climate change, once a high priority issue when Obama took office, was relegated to the back burner after a bill failed in Congress early in his first term, when Democrats still held both houses.

The president's Republican foes, who now hold a majority in the House of Representatives, reject new federal laws on emissions, which they say harm growth and employment.

And Democrats from states that are heavily dependent on fossil fuels, such as oil-rich Louisiana and coal-rich West Virginia, have also come out against a transition to green energy.

During his January 28 State of the Union address, Obama reiterated that climate change is real and promised unilateral action, without Congress, to promote his energy agenda.

The administration has already taken regulatory measures, in particular by introducing tougher federal emission standards for vehicles.

Impact of heat on oceans

The risk of dying from extreme heat has declined for decades and by now “this should be rather unsurprising as it has been demonstrated over and over again.”

But increased heat doesn’t just affect humans. In warmer and more acidic oceans, particularly the Pacific, the effects of climate change are deadly, said Drew Harvell, a Cornell University professor of ecology and a co-author of the marine resources chapter of the assessment.

Marine scientists in the Pacific have traced the mass die-off of the sunflower star, a type of sea star, to warmer temperatures. In a laboratory, 10 sunflower stars were placed in water with normal temperature and another 10 in water only 0.72 degrees Celsius warmer.

Within two days, half the sunflower stars in the warmer water were dead. “It’s going to get worse with warming,” Harvell said.

Thirty per cent of carbon released into the atmosphere is sucked up by the ocean, leading to acidification that’s killing coral and shell life. Coral protects young fish from predators, and tiny shellfish, at the bottom of the food chain, help feed entire ecosystems.

“A third of all coral is at the risk of extinction,” Harvell said. After two decades of studying marine life, she holds a more negative view of the future than both Wolfe and the Cato researchers.

“It’s important to understand that this is a very, very, very conservative document, a consensus document,” Harvell said of the assessment. The truth is more dire, she said.

“The Pacific Ocean is the place with the most extreme problem with acidification and salmon, mussels, things heavily affected,” she said. “I’m not sure there are many mitigations to these impacts. There’s hope, but there’s got to be some pretty radical changes to practices and policies.”


Antarctic Sea Ice Blows Away Records In April

Antarctic sea ice continues to set new records, with extent in April at the highest since measurements began in 1979.

Ice extent has also been above last year’s already high levels for most of this year.

Meanwhile, both GISS surface and UAH satellite datasets show the Antarctic has been much colder than usual recently.

Finally, global sea ice area remains well above average.

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

Lennart Bengtsson: “The whole concept behind IPCC is basically wrong”

The GWPF yesterday announced that Swedish scientist Lennart Bengtsson joins their Academic Advisory Council. Among the members of this council are many well-known “climate sceptics” like Richard Lindzen, Ross McKitrick, Henrik Svensmark, Bob Carter, Nir Shaviv etc.

Bengtsson (born 1935) was the director of of ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting) for 18 years and after that he was the director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. So his background is very “mainstream”. His entry to the GWPF Council will certainly have raised a few eyebrows in the climate community that sees the GWPF as a sceptical think tank.

Bengtsson has written some very nuanced/critical opinion articles in recent years (see here and here). I decided today to ask Bengtsson about his motivation to join the GWPF Council and sent him a list of questions to which he kindly responded.

Q. Why did you join the GWPF Academic Council?

I know some of the scientists in GWPF and they have made fine contributions to science. I also respect individuals that speak their mind as they consider scientific truth (to that extent we can determine it) more important than to be politically correct. I believe it is important to express different views in an area that is potentially so important and complex and still insufficiently known as climate change.

My interest in climate science is strictly scientific and I very much regret the politicisation that has taken place in climate research. I believe most serious scientists are sceptics and are frustrated that we are not able to properly validate climate change simulations. I have always tried to follow the philosophy of Karl Popper. I also believe that most scientists are potentially worried because of the long residence time of many greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, our worries must be put into a context as there are endless matters to worry about, practically all of them impossible to predict. Just move yourself backward in time exactly 100 years and try to foresee the evolution in the world for the following 100 years.

Q. Is this your way of telling the world that you have become a “climate sceptic”? (many people might interpret it that way) If not, how would you position yourself in the global warming debate?
I have always been sort of a climate sceptic. I do not consider this in any way as negative but in fact as a natural attitude for a scientist. I have never been overly worried to express my opinion and have not really changed my opinion or attitude to science. I have always been driven by curiosity but will of course always try to see that science is useful for society. This is the reason that I have devoted so much of my carrier to improve weather prediction.

Q. Is there according to you a “climate consensus” in the community of climate scientists and if so what is it?
I believe the whole climate consensus debate is silly. There is not a single well educated scientist that question that greenhouse gases do affect climate. However, this is not the issue but rather how much and how fast. Here there is no consensus as you can see from the IPCC report where climate sensitivity varies with a factor of three! Based on observational data climate sensitivity is clearly rather small and much smaller that the majority of models. Here I intend to stick to Karl Popper in highlighting the need for proper validation.

Q. Mojib Latif once said at a conference of the WMO (in 2009) “we have to ask the nasty questions ourselves”. Do you think the climate community is doing that (enough)? or are others like the GWPF needed to ask these “nasty” questions? If so, what does this say about the state of Academia?

I think the climate community shall be more critical and spend more time to understand what they are doing instead of presenting endless and often superficial results and to do this with a critical mind. I do not believe that the IPCC machinery is what is best for science in the long term. We are still in a situation where our knowledge is insufficient and climate models are not good enough. What we need is more basic research freely organized and driven by leading scientists without time pressure to deliver and only deliver when they believe the result is good and solid enough. It is not for scientists to determine what society should do. In order for society to make sensible decisions in complex issues it is essential to have input from different areas and from different individuals. The whole concept behind IPCC is basically wrong.

Q. I noticed that some climate scientists grow more sceptical about global warming after their retirement. Can you confirm this? Does it apply to yourself? Is there a lot of social pressure to follow the climate consensus among working climate scientists which can explain this?

Wisdom perhaps comes with age. I also believe you are becoming more independent and less sensitive to political or group pressure. Such pressure is too high today and many good scientists I believe are suffering. I am presently a lot on my own. As I have replied to such questions before, if I cannot stand my own opinions, life will become completely unbearable.

Q. Are you satisfied with the role that the GWPF has played so far? What could or should they do differently in order to play a more successful and/or constructive role in the discussions about climate and energy?

My impression is that this is a very respectable and honest organisation but I will be happy to reply to your question more in depth when I have got experience of it.

From the GWPF:

Professor Lennart Bengtsson has a long and distinguished international career in meteorology and climate research. He participated actively in the development of ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting) where he was Head of Research 1975-1981 and Director 1982-1990. In 1991-2000 he was Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. Since 2000 he has been professor at the University of Reading and from 2008 the Director of the International Space Science Institute in Bern, Switzerland.

Professor Bengtsson has received many awards including the German Environmental Reward, The Descartes Price by the EU and the IMI price from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). He is member of many academies and societies and is honorary member of the American Meteorological Society, the Royal Meteorological Society and European Geophysical Union. His research work covers some 225 publications in the field of meteorology and climatology. In recent years he has been involved with climate and energy policy issues at the Swedish Academy of Sciences.


It Is "Very Likely" That Scientists Are Confusing Us About Global Warming

Veteran psychologizer, Chris Mooney, is mourning below the fact that the IPCC mostly uses moderate scientific language. Even a whiff of science is bad for Warmism

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a big, big production. Its reports, released roughly every five years, are considered the gold standard of climate science, and are always a major media event. Thousands of scientists contribute to the reports, all of them volunteering their expertise to make the world just a little bit better.

There's just one problem: According to a new paper out in Nature: Climate Change, the IPCC may be dramatically undermining its own work through one of its trademark tools: A system of language that the group uses to describe how certain (or uncertain) researchers are about its scientific findings. According to the new study, this system (which involves describing conclusions as "likely," "very likely," and so on) has the unfortunate effect of making people less sure than they ought to be of the IPCC's most important conclusions.

Unintentionally, then, the IPCC seems to be doing just what climate skeptics and deniers are so often accused of: Sowing doubt.

The new study, by psychologist David Budescu of Fordham University and his colleagues, is actually the latest in a string of papers by these researchers showing that people systematically misunderstand what the IPCC means when it uses phrases such as "likely" and "very likely" to describe the strength of its conclusions. Take, for instance, the IPCC's famous finding, in 2007, that "most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic [human-produced] greenhouse gas concentrations." According to Budescu's research, while the IPCC intends for "very likely" to mean a greater than 90 percent likelihood, that's not necessarily the message the average person hears. Instead, when Budesco and his colleagues asked members of the public to assign a probability to the term "very likely," the mean estimate people gave was just 62 percent.

Unintentionally, the IPCC seems to be doing just what climate skeptics are so often accused of: Sowing doubt.
In general, Budescu finds that when the IPCC assigns a high level of certainty to a conclusion, using terms like "very likely" or "extremely likely," people adjust their interpretation downward, taking the conclusion to be considerably less certain than it actually is. When the IPCC assigns a low probability, meanwhile, people adjust their assessment upwards, taking the conclusion to be considerably more certain than it actually is. Thus for instance, when the IPCC calls a conclusion "very unlikely," it means there is less than a 10 percent chance that it's true. But the mean estimate given by members of the public for what this term means is 41 percent. To see how much confusion this can cause, just consider another 2007 IPCC statement: "It is very unlikely that climate changes of at least the seven centuries prior to 1950 were due to variability generated within the climate system alone."

Budescu and his colleagues have found these results consistently, across samples. In 2009, they found as much with a sample of college students and members of a single university community. In 2012, they did so again with a nationally representative sample of Americans. And in the new Nature: Climate Change study, they present the same finding with citizens of 25 countries, having now conducted the research in multiple languages. Again and again, it would seem that the IPCC's language about uncertainty backfires, and undermines itself. It sows doubt in the minds of the public.

Moreover, given that Budescu's first paper on this subject was published in 2009, the IPCC should presumably know by now that its practices appear to have caused the public to be far more doubtful than it should be about the science of climate change. In fairness, the current approach exists for a reason: It avoids requiring scientists to be too precise about their level of certainty, and it allows for the possibility that different scientists would come up with somewhat different numbers for their extent of certainty.

"I think that they are finding their way slowly, and they are trying things," remarks Budescu of the IPCC's uncertainty practices. "A lot of the things that they are trying make sense, and are reasonable. I think they are slow in adjusting."

Solving this problem would be quite simple: Budescu's research shows that people's misunderstanding of the IPCC's language about uncertainty decreases if you simply include a numeric value next to the standard uncertainty language. Thus, instead of merely saying "very likely," the IPCC could just prominently add "(> 90% likelihood)," or something similar. As it is, these numerical values are included as a footnote in the IPCC's widely read "Summary for Policymakers" reports, and a box in the much less widely read technical report; Budescu's research suggests they should appear throughout the text.

It is critical to underscore just how problematic the IPCC's ill-calibrated uncertainty language is. The IPCC produces many thousands of words in its reports, and spends five or more years doing so; and yet generally, there is one sentence from each report that is almost universally quoted in the press, on blogs, and beyond. It is always the sentence that describes how certain the IPCC is about the conclusion that humans are causing global warming; and that sentence always contains the IPCC's confusing uncertainty-speak. In 2001, the IPCC found the conclusion "likely"; in 2007, "very likely"; and in 2013, "extremely likely." To the IPCC, that meant "greater than 66 percent likelihood," "greater than 90 percent," and "greater than 95 percent," respectively. Based on the latest research, the public took away a very different message indeed.

Journalists may partly mitigate this problem, to be sure. Outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post, in their coverage of last year's IPCC report, took it upon themselves to include a numerical probability value as they explained the IPCC's conclusion that it is now "extremely likely" that humans are driving global warming. Yet not all media outlets did: Take this report from ABC News, for instance; it included a clip of an IPCC official saying it's "extremely likely" that humans are causing climate change but did not include any numerical explanation of what that means.

The IPCC has been extensively faulted in the past for a wide range of communications failures. Not all of them have easy fixes, but this one surely does.


Putin’s Anti-Fracking Campaign

He knows that European greens can help further his dreams of conquest

Vladimir Putin, the ruler of Russia, wants to ban fracking in other countries. He is very concerned about their environments. If you frack, Putin told a global economic conference last year, “black stuff comes out of the tap.”

Alexey Miller — a longtime Putin crony going back to the early 1990s, when they stole the money that was supposed to buy food for the starving city of Leningrad, who now oversees the Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom — strongly supports his friend on this issue. He would like to see an EU-wide ban on fracking, and the Gazprom board is with him 100 percent. “The production of shale gas is associated with significant environmental risks, in particular the hazard of surface and underground water contamination with chemicals applied in the production process,” they warned the world in 2011. “This fact has already caused the prohibition of the shale gas development and production in France.”

Alexandr Medvedev, the general director of Gazprom Export, is also very supportive of efforts to ban fracking in Europe. “I would like to quote the president of France, who said that as long as he’s president, he will not allow the production of shale gas in France,” Medvedev said in a television interview last August. “The cost of production of shale gas in Europe is incomparably higher than in the U.S. and also the situation with the environment is different, because in the U.S. its main production is in unpopulated areas, which are quite available in the U.S., but in Europe we can’t find such big unpopulated areas with reach to the water.”

The fact that Kremlin opposition to European fracking has nothing to do with environmental concerns should be clear even to the dullest among us, because Russia has massive fracking projects of its own underway in Siberia. The real goal is to keep Europe dependent upon Russia for its fuel supply. Natural-gas prices in Europe are quadruple those prevailing in the United States, and by maintaining a near-monopoly on overpriced European natural-gas imports, the Putin regime assures itself of a vast source of revenue. This allows it to rule and rearm Russia without permitting the freedom necessary to develop the country’s human potential. Furthermore, so long as Europe is kept critically dependent upon Russia for fuel, Moscow can paralyze and render ineffective any Western response to its plans for conquest, whose initial steps are currently being demonstrated in Ukraine. More, and much worse, is certain to follow so long as Europe remains helpless.

In a recent four-hour television appearance in Moscow, Putin explicitly embraced Kremlin fascist ideologue Alexander Dugin’s grand design of creating a united totalitarian Eurasia, “from Lisbon to Vladivostok.” If he can maintain control of Europe’s critical fuel supplies, he just might be able to pull it off.

So it should come as no surprise that the Putin regime is pulling out all the stops in fomenting the global anti-fracking movement, with Europe as its central target. Leading the propaganda campaign has been RT News, Russia’s state-owned television network, which broadcasts around the world in English and other languages.

Here is a small sample of RT’s incessant anti-fracking drumbeat:

Wrecking the Earth: Fracking has grave radiation risks few talk about, August 28, 2013

Fracking fluid linked to fish die-off, August 29, 2013

US fracking wells annually produce 280bn gallons of toxic waste water destroying environment – report, October 4, 2013

Chevron halts search for shale gas in Romania following public outrage, October 17, 2013

“We say no to shale gas”: World unites against fracking, October 20, 2013

Money & influence: Oil & gas co’s hush threats of fracking, November 21, 2013

Fracking dilemma: Fresh water or cheap gas? The latter “is not likely to happen,” November 25, 2013

Fracking nightmare: “Like living in a very heavy industrial zone,” November 29, 2013

Massachusetts seeks 10-yr ban on gas fracking after series of Texas quakes, November 30, 2011

City of Dallas effectively bans fracking, December 13, 2013

Hazardous fracking waste: Activists alarm at proposal to move it by river, December 16, 2013

Fracking chemicals disrupt human hormone functions, study claims, December 17, 2013

UK government found ‘cheerleading’ for fracking industry, January 18, 2014

UK Fracking could be allowed under people’s homes without their consent, January 27, 2014

Living near fracking sites increases infant birth defects – study, January 31, 2014

“Most of us eventually get gagged by the industry”: Restrained activist exposes fracking business, February 3, 2014

Hundreds gather for anti-fracking march in Manchester, March 9, 2014

Anti-fracking activist asks court to lift ban keeping her from local hospital, grocery store, March 24, 2014

Oklahoma breaks record with hundreds of earthquakes after fracking intensifies, April 7, 2014

Methane emissions from fracking vastly underestimated by EPA – study, April 16, 2014

The Voice of Russia has been equally ardent in propagandizing for a halt to Western fracking, with one recent article going so far as to advance the claim that riots in Venezuela are being caused by American fracking. Here are some selections from another, which argues that the U.S. is “demonizing Putin” in order to stampede the EU into accepting fracking:

“It all falls into place,” says Peter Koenig, a former World Bank economist and the author of Implosion — An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed, in an interview with the Voice of Russia. “If Washington and its media outlets are successful in portraying Vladimir Putin as a demon of war, then American energy companies will have the green light to frack in Europe in order to reduce the dependency on Russia. They will be seen as a lesser evil or even as benefactors saving Europe from the ‘evil Putin.’ ”

The VoR then breathlessly asks: “Does Europe really want to risk its citizens’ health in order to obtain some shale gas?” Koenig continues:

The spineless European politicians will bend over backwards to satisfy the American energy companies. The Obama Administration is proposing a trade agreement between the US and the EU, involving the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia’s energy resources. . . . The US is leading the EU into a trap, making European countries give up on their environmental standards for the sake of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. . . . Following America and serving the interests of its corporate and banking elites is not a good idea. But all is not lost. So far, sanctions are nothing more than bluff and fracking has not begun yet. For Europe there is still time to come to its senses.

The Kremlin’s all-out effort to stop fracking in Western nations is not limited to openly broadcasting lies, hysteria, and propaganda through its official media organizations. It also engages in covert operations, behind-the-scenes lobbying and payoffs, and political manipulations using its agents of influence. Many of these are documented by former U.S. ambassador to Lithuania Keith C. Smith in a recent paper published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In this paper, titled “Unconventional Gas and European Security: Politics and Foreign Policy of Fracking in Europe,” Smith details Kremlin/Gazprom behind-the-scenes operations that were instrumental in obtaining fracking bans in Germany and Bulgaria. Similar dirty work appears to have been involved in ramming through fracking bans in France, Italy, and other European countries.


Green No More, Europe Is Desperate For Cheap Coal

At the biggest power plant in the U.K., operated by Drax Group PLC, a small black mountain of a million tons of coal sits at the base of a dozen 374-foot cooling towers.

Much of it is high-sulfur coal from under the plains of Illinois and Indiana—exactly the kind of high-emission, power-plant fuel receiving closer scrutiny from U.S. regulators and courts. Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of enforcing regulations that require power plants in 28 states to cut coal emissions that blow across state lines.

Many U.S. power plants were already reducing emissions in anticipation of tougher Environmental Protection Agency rules that take effect in 2015. Now, the Supreme Court ruling could affect 1,000 power plants in the eastern U.S. that might need to install additional pollution controls or cut back on coal consumption.

These are tough times for the global coal industry, which has been battered in recent years by regulations, the U.S. boom in extracting gas from shale-rock formations, and lower prices caused by softening demand from China. Coal now generates about 39% of electric power in the U.S., off from 55% in 1990.

Low domestic demand has renewed the focus on U.S. exports, which are on track for a record-setting third straight year of more than 100 million tons. The 28-nation EU imported 47.2 million tons of U.S. coal last year, up from 13.6 million tons in 2003. Exports to the U.K. alone are up tenfold in the same period. The U.S. ranked second only to Russia in supplying Europe with coal last year, and the U.S. could further increase its market share if recent political tensions with Moscow disrupt Russian shipments.

Germany's decision to phase out of nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan has also made it a significant buyer of U.S. coal, mostly because the commodity is so inexpensive.

"Before the financial crisis, Europe was happy to favor the environment, but when the economy started not doing well, they weren't quite ready to accept the high power price," so energy consumers returned to coal, says Daniel Rohr, an analyst for Morningstar Inc.

Since 2003, German imports of U.S. coal have risen to more than 15 million tons from under a million tons. A spokesman for E.ON EOAN.XE -0.50% SE, Germany's largest power and natural-gas utility, says it now purchases more than four million tons of coal a year, or 17% of its total, from the U.S., up from 800,000 tons in 2010. E.ON operates power plants in several European countries.

Although sales have tapered off in recent weeks because of higher inventory levels, the U.S. coal industry expects the EU to be a good long-term bet. Several U.S. mining companies, including Foresight Energy LLC and Arch Coal Inc., ACI -4.30% recently opened new sales offices on the Continent.

The big gainer—accounting for roughly one-third of U.S. exports, up from almost nothing 10 years ago—has been high-sulfur coal taken from thick coal seams in Illinois and Indiana. It is loaded onto barges and shipped 800 miles down the Mississippi River to a terminal on the Gulf of Mexico. From there, it heads across the Atlantic to people like Dave Docker, head of fuel procurement at Drax, who buys nine million tons of coal a year on global markets.

Mr. Docker says the Illinois and Indiana coal, shunned in some places in the U.S. because of its high sulfur content, offers a less-expensive alternative than coal from nearby European mines—even including transportation costs.

Phil Gonet, president of the Illinois Coal Association, says geography helps keep prices low. "Our coal is easy to extract and we're right next door to two rivers that can take the coal to anywhere in the world," he says, referring to the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Mr. Gonet argues that Illinois Basin coal is a viable, cost-effective fuel alternative given new scrubbing technology that removes sulfur from power-plant emissions.

The Illinois Basin—located in Illinois, Indiana and parts of Kentucky—possesses some of the world's richest coal seams, but high sulfur and ash content caused the coal to be shunned after the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970. By 2002, mining in Illinois reached its lowest levels since the Great Depression.

That is when a handful of companies, led largely by two private operators, Chris Cline and Robert Murray, snapped up mines on the cheap. The acquirers, bet—correctly, it turned out—on scrubbing technology that can remove almost all the sulfur. They also counted on the coal appetite of export markets such as the U.K.

Mr. Cline's Foresight Energy—Drax's top U.S. supplier—last year offered its coal for as little as $65 a ton in Europe, including freight, compared with $80 a ton from U.K. mines near the Drax power plant.

For Mr. Docker, the coal's low cost is a saving grace. He has made enough other improvements to plant operations—in particular, new technology to remove sulfur better—to allow Drax to burn cheap dirty coal and still comply with strict EU laws.

The Drax power plant was built in northern England in the 1970s, following the conventional model of building power plants next to coal mines. Coal was basically shoveled straight from the mine. Next to hangars housing the six boilers and 30 turbines that generate electricity are a five-week supply of coal, as well as little green hills. The hills, say Drax officials, are actually piles of ash waste that are ideal for growing grass and hedges.

In 2005, EU regulators set up rules that fixed Drax's sulfur-emissions quota at 33,000 tons a year. Drax, which bought almost all of its coal from local mines, began importing cleaner coal from Russia and Colombia that contains less than 1% sulfur, compared with the 2.5%-3% sulfur content of Illinois Basin coal.

At the same time, Drax also started burning dried vegetation that emits almost no sulfur and reduced the amount of coal needed. One of Drax's six boilers now burns biomass, or compressed plant and wood material, much of it imported from the U.S. The plan is to convert two more of the boilers to biomass fuel by 2020.

Drax was emitting less than the allotted 33,000 tons of sulfur by using the cleaner Russian and Colombian coal and the biomass, giving Mr. Docker an opportunity to burn dirtier coal. "I have headroom now to emit more sulfur, and that can be filled with Illinois Basin [coal]," he says. His engineers would prefer Appalachian coal, which is cleaner, burns more efficiently and doesn't impose as much wear and tear on the boilers. "But it's too expensive," Mr. Docker says. Appalachian coal typically sells for 20% more than Illinois Basin coal.

The use of high-sulfur Illinois Basin coal in Europe is disrupting the plans of policy makers hoping to wean the EU off dirty fuel sources, and has angered environmentalists who contend its high sulfur content damages the environment, despite power plants now using scrubbers to remove more than 90% of the sulfur. Imports have also brought high-cost coal mines in Germany, Poland and the U.K. to the brink of closure. U.K. coal output fell 24% last year to 13 million tons.

Tara Connolly, a Greenpeace activist in Brussels, says dirty coal shouldn't be burned no matter how cheap it is and that quotas simply give companies permission to continue polluting, just not as much.

Quotas have allowed the U.S. "to export its emissions to Europe," Ms. Connolly says. She says that a better approach would be an outright ban of dirty coal in favor of alternative clean-energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass. "We want to end the Age of Coal," she says.

EU officials are aware of the rise in high-sulfur Illinois Basin coal imports and are concerned, says Joe Hennon, a spokesman for the European Commission, the EU's executive arm. "We've seen the increase in shale gas in the U.S. and more U.S. coal coming to Europe," he says.

Many EU countries are in violation of the bloc's emissions rules, and 19 have been subject to formal complaints from the European Commission. Drax and the U.K. haven't faced any complaints, Mr. Hennon says.

The EU is studying possible new rules governing emissions from coal-fired power plants.




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


6 May, 2014

Global warming is 'not uniform': Regions of the planet have actually COOLED over the past 100 years -- particularly in the Southern Hemisphere

It's long been known that S. Hemisphere temps did not warm during the Northern warming period but who needs the silly old S. Hemisphere cluttering up their theory? It's only half of the globe!

It can be easy to dismiss talks on global warming if your part of the world is feeling colder than usual.

But a new study claims that while the world is getting warmer, the heating effect on the Earth has not been uniform across the planet.

The research provides the first detailed analysis of global land surface warming trends over the century.

‘Global warming was not as understood as we thought,’ said Zhaohua Wu, an assistant professor of meteorology at Florida State University.

Professor Wu used a newly-developed analysis method on historical temperature records to examine land surface temperature trends from 1900 onward for the entire globe, minus Antarctica.

Previous work by scientists on global warming could not provide information of non-uniform warming in location and time due to limitations of analysis methods.

The research team found that noticeable warming first started around the regions circling the Arctic and subtropical regions in both hemispheres.

But the largest warming to date has been at the northern mid-latitudes. The research team also found that in some areas of the world, cooling had occurred.

‘The global warming is not uniform,’ Professor Eric Chassignet said. ‘You have areas that have cooled and areas that have warmed.’

For example, from about 1910 to 1980, while the rest of the world was warming up, some areas south of the Equator, such as those near the Andes, were cooling down, and then had no change at all until the mid-1990s.

Other areas near and south of the Equator didn't see significant changes comparable to the rest of the world at all.

The detailed picture of when and where the world has warmed or cooled will provide a greater context to global warming research overall, Professor Wu said.


Hurrah! The price of carbon credits is approaching zero

Written by Tim Worstall

This is very much a time for celebration as the carbon credit price in the EU's trading system rapidly approaches zero. Of course, we do have people taking the wrong message from this, such as our own UK government who reacted to the price falls by insisting that there must be a minimum price for such credits. But then none of us really thought that governments were going to approach this particular problem with even a modicum of good sense, did we?

December EU carbon permits dropped 4.4 percent to 5.22 euros ($7.23) a ton at 4:59 p.m. on ICE Futures Europe in London. The contract earlier slumped as much as 6 percent, the most since April 25. December CERs were unchanged at 15 euro cents a ton, while no ERUs were traded. The program’s rules curb offset use in the 13 years through 2020 to about 1.59 billion tons, 25 percent of which remains unused after today’s announcement, according to New Energy data.

There are two roughly market based ways of dealing with emissions. We could tax them at some rate and see what emissions were. Or we could limit emissions through permits and then see what the price would be. Obviously, the higher we put the price of the tax then the more we would expect emissions to fall. However, the corollary often gets missed (as HMG missed it). Once we've limited emissions though the number of permits then we obviously want the cost of each permit to be as low as possible.

For we have already defined the emissions limit and are now looking to the market to tell us the price of achieving that limit: clearly and obviously a lower price to meet the goal is better than a higher one.

Thus, if we've set a limit, if 25% of those permits won't ever be used, and if those that are being cost somewhere around spit, then we're solving the emissions problem much more cheaply than anyone thought we would. Which is excellent news, isn't it? Thus, and inevitably, those who blather about how awful it is that permits are cheap have got entirely the wrong end of the stick. Which is where HMG comes in again with their imposition of a m,inimum price for such permits. They're deliberately making it all more expensive than it need bem, the very fact that permits are cheaper than their minimum being all the proof that we need.

Climate change is bad enough without people deliberately, or perhaps through ignorance, making dealing with it more expensive than it need be.

We could of course insist that the original targets were wrong: but that would also be saying that government is incompetent in dealing with climate change. Which isn't a great argument for having them do more, is it?


Regulate-First-Think-Later Approach to Harm Honeybees

European bureaucrats placed a two-year ban on a class of pesticides in the name of “protecting honeybees” when in fact, as one EU official recently admitted, they didn’t have evidence that the chemicals present a serious threat to honeybee health. According to an article in Food Chemical News, the European Commission official admitted that the government banned the chemicals simply because it was “the only factor” that the commission could quickly regulate.

It’s a case of “regulate first, think later.” That’s not only dumb; it’s dangerous, because it threatens farmers’ ability to provide affordable food and may harm honeybees rather than help them.

As noted in earlier posts (here and here) and on and all the many articles linked therein, mystery surrounds periodic disappearances of honeybee hives. It appears that numerous factors, including cold weather, new and old diseases, nutritional issues, and potentially some chemicals affect hive health, making the hives more susceptible when certain diseases strike.

Mother Nature and hive management appear to play critically important roles in honeybee health, but all the focus has been on one class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, even though they have not been shown of the source significant problems in real life settings. Randomly banning these pesticides simply harms farmers’ ability to produce food and may force them to switch to other chemicals that pose even greater risks to honeybees.

To top it off, this regulate-first-and-think-later approach diverts attention and resources away from exploring and discovering the actual causes of the problem. For example, researchers point out, in a recent issue of the journal EcoHealth, that the likely potential causes are not getting enough attention. They explain:

Although many environmental and anthropogenic factors remain under investigation for their role in annual honey bee colony losses, the introduction of pests and pathogens, and large-scale shifts in management practices may be significant, under-researched drivers of colony losses in Europe and North America.

The recently expressed rationale for their regulation highlights the shortsighted nature of European bureaucrats’ approach. Environmentalists, beekeepers, farmers, and others should be up in arms, calling for an approach that includes research focused on likely causes and careful evaluation of the existing science.

While the issue may be complicated, solutions are out there, but public officials have to be willing to look in the right places.


A New God of Chaos

Climate change scientists are spreading panic and disrupting our conception of nature. Interview with Benny Peiser

Q. You have previously argued that scientists are overstating the significance of anthropogenic climate change. What, then, do you believe is the source of our panic over global warming?

I think it's a combination of factors. It's of course something comparatively new, and what very often occurs when people experience a new hazard, a new risk that they haven't encountered before, is that they are increasingly concerned because it's an unknown hazard. So that's the backdrop to the concern, and then of course we've had the climate science community ratcheting up the rhetoric, which was kicked up by the media because the media like a good scare.

In reality of course, if you just look at the observational evidence, there was no real signal or any evidence to suggest that we are facing an imminent disaster. The warming of the last 150 years has been very slow and very moderate – 0.8 degrees of warming over 150 years is very, very moderate. Very slow and very gradual, and there's no cause for alarm. The actual warming we have experienced is rather low, and the alarm is about speculations of what may happen in the future. There is a reliance on predictions of the future, based on computer modeling.

So I would argue there is a discrepancy between what has been observed in reality, and what has been claimed is going to happen in the future. I think the alarm is mainly based on the claims that the future will be so much worse than what we have observed over the last 100 or 150 years. And that, of course, is pure conjecture. Doomsday prophets have always managed to scare people by making very strong predictions of the future, and so the question then is how reliable are these predictions.

Q. Is the damage done by over-preparing for potential environmental disaster comparable to the damage done by being under-prepared for it?

Given that we've had so many environmental scares over the last 40 or 50 years, it’s safe to say that the world would respond differently if we were actually experiencing a real climate crisis.

Q. Really?

Of course! The reason why the international community isn't doing anything about it effectively is twofold: A, it's extremely expensive; and B, there's no political pressure to do anything about it because the public, by and large, is not concerned. So in a way the alarm isn't actually working.

Q. That's an interesting thing, the panic and then the lack of action. It's a curious thing.

It's a combination, as I said. Some countries have actually tried to do something about it, but they are now feeling the pain and the cost of doing it on their own when it hasn't had any actual effect on CO2 emissions.

Q. What kind of cost do you mean?

Well, countries like Germany and other European countries, and even Britain, building wind farms and solar panels in the name of saving the planet, or saving the climate. Of course it has absolutely no effect on either CO2 emissions, or global CO2 emissions, or the climate. But it is very costly, and people have to pay for it through their energy bills, so you have a public increasingly more worried about the cost of energy bills than climate change.

So there's a political cost and an economic cost. It's difficult to actually address the underlying issues, which are CO2 emissions, the result of the world using cheap fossil fuels. And to get away from that turns out to be almost impossible.

Another reason, apart from the economic and political hurdles and costs, is the fact that people are not concerned about climate change. They might be, if we had increasingly rising temperatures and heat wave after heat wave and disaster after disaster, and people might say: “Well we must prevent this from going on.” But by and large, survey after survey shows that climate change seems to be at the bottom of people's concerns. So there's a discrepancy between the panic generated by campaigners and some scientists and media, and the public response, which is: “I don't care, I'm not bothered.” So that discrepancy is quite manifest.

Q. Is there a spiritual element to our relationship to the earth? And, if so, is this relevant to our response to these predictions about climate change?

I would call it a more religious kind of shift. During the enlightenment of the last 200 years or so, the enlightenment scientists and philosophers worked on the assumption that the world is a fairly stable and resilient system, that nature is cold but that we live in a world that is fairly stable. That was the main outlook of enlightenment philosophy and science. That also resonated with their view (their religious or irreligious view) that the world in a way was resilient, and humans were resilient to whatever nature was throwing at us, so to speak. That we could cope with that. And it’s worth saying that previous generations were much less prepared, technologically, economically than today's generation.

But what has changed is that many of today’s scientists and, by and large, the public think that nature is very fickle, very unstable, that anything could tip it into utter chaos. We're almost back to the view of nature where the ancient pagans looked like they thought they were at the whim of irrational gods punishing mankind at will. They didn't understand basic physics, the basic scientific dynamics of nature. That was the big breakthrough of the enlightenment, where we discovered we could understand exactly how nature works. And today we're back in the situation where people no longer trust nature, and they feel that anything we do, any intervention could flip nature into some kind of 'revenge of Gaia', that certainly there could be a tipping point that could tip our stable environment into a chaotic, disastrous downturn.

That is a view that makes many people very fearful of any new technological advance, because they think any new intervention of humans has the potential to be the final straw that kills nature.

Q. Rather than it being something positive?

Yes, rather than being something that actually could, and actually has, improved our living standards and our environment. So that's why people are so afraid of any new technology

Q. Is that because they now feel like climate change is a human-caused event, so it almost seems like we deserve it, or is it because we seem to know so much more about what's going on, and all the data intimidates us?

It is more because you don't trust nature any more. And you don't trust humans either, and that the best way of going through life is not to risk anything, just to keep the status quo, the stability, the order as it is. Because that will guarantee that there won't be any risk, no accident, no big change. People are extremely afraid of novelty, new technology, intervention, because they have this fickle view of nature, that it is inherently unstable and disastrous. And so they are afraid. That's why they're afraid of the CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, because they think this could at any point turn into a disaster.

Q. Like a new god of chaos.

Yeah, it's like a new kind of chaos philosophy. Nature used to be something that people adored: the beauty of nature, the harmony of nature, the Newtonian worldview where the universe works like clockwork and we can predict exactly the movements of the planets and we know when the sun rises. We know everything, we can predict everything: even evolution, which had this kind of almost progressive idea of development and things getting better. But all of this has been turned upside down, and everything that is new and happening though mankind is threatening the stability of the natural order.

Q. We kind of hate those ideas of nature having some sort of teleological direction, don't we?

Yes, well it doesn't, in the view of modern man. Nature is a truly random chance conglomerate of things that can easily tip into chaos. That changes our response to any large-scale human technology or intervention into nature. Of all the interventions climate change is the most global. The alarmists fear that it will cause disaster, will cause a climate catastrophe. And of course the vast majority of people don't think about it at all. You can't see it; it's not like pollution which you breathe in or drink or whatever. This is invisible to most people so they ignore it, and the very small minority of scientists who think that the world is more stable than the alarmists fear, they don't see any evidence that it is causing any significant change. If we were to see signals of significant change or significant deterioration then we would be much more concerned, but people don't see that.

Q. And is that because the scientists who see nature as more stable take a wider view?

I think because of the new, changed view of our world as inherently unstable, the vast majority of scientists are more concerned still. Because it is a paradigm that is more deeply rooted now. We've heard in the last 40 or 50 years that man is destroying nature and the environment, against all evidence showing the opposite, the general thinking is that we are actually destroying the environment. That is the perception. When you actually look at issue after issue – whether it's forests or water or food or agriculture – in reality things are actually improving rather than deteriorating. Technology makes it much easier to produce food or clean water, air and so on.

If you think about Britain, just as an example. Compare Britain to what it looked like 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago. The rivers are cleaner than ever before, the air is cleaner, the water's cleaner, living standards are going up. 100 years ago the average life expectancy was 40 years or something like that. Many kids would die early on. Things for families and individuals, and the environment, have actually improved. But the general perception is that it's going down the drain.

Q. So, if not climate change, what do you think is the single biggest threat to the earth today?

There's no threat to the earth, there's no global threat. We could be hit by a large asteroid, which hits every million years or so. So the likelihood is very remote. Even that wouldn't destroy the earth, it might destroy the global economy though. So the biggest realistic threat to an open and liberal society is irrationality and fanaticism. That is the biggest risk we face in my view. That is a political issue that can be solved long-term. War often results as a direct consequence of these extreme ideologies and fanaticism. Although even the number of wars has gone down significantly over the last few generations, globally, maybe because we have more democracies than ever before. That is still in my view the biggest risk we face.

Q. Do you think that there could be wars based on our fears about climate change?

No. that is highly unlikely. For a start, countries are actually getting better all the time. The scenarios we hear – water wars or something like that – the reality is that even countries that are enemies are dealing with water issues, because they have to, they rely on it. And also, because of desalination a lot of countries that are struggling with water issues are increasingly able to produce desalinated water. There's a boom in desalination plants around the world. I wouldn't be surprised that within 50 years or so there wouldn't be any problems with water at all. By means of technological solutions.

Q. Aren’t there are objections to desalination plants on the grounds that the process is environmentally unfriendly?

Well they are environmentally unfriendly only to people who hate energy. They are energy intensive, so you need a lot of energy, but by and large they don't cause any environmental damage.

But don't get me wrong, there are a lot of energy issues around the world, in China for example. But they will solve their problem of air pollution the same way we did. We started with the industrial revolution with terrible air pollution. But we sorted it out. It also requires a certain economic development. What is the top priority for China? The top priority is getting their people out of poverty. Once that happens and they have a kind of middle class, urban lifestyle, they will say: “OK, now I’ve got a job, and I’ve got a flat and a telly and fridge, OK now I also want clean air. This is how things tend to develop. First food on the table and then clean air.


'Peak oil' theory runs out of gas

The problem is, it’s just so hard to be an alarmist these days. Temperatures aren’t rising, U.S. emissions are down, and now it turns out that peak oil won’t peak. What’s a scare-monger to do?

“Peak oil proponents — the guys and gals who believe overconsumption combined with scarce resources will lead to stratospheric energy prices — are now clinging to the hope that the shale oil and gas boom will fizzle out as the cost of drilling climbs,” reports Business Insider. “For the most part, the boom has held up, though no one believes it will last forever. But there is a fifth-column phenomenon this group has completely overlooked that will once-and-for-all obliterate their arguments: energy consumption efficiency.”

Put simply, we won’t run out of oil and gas (and other fuels) because we’re using less and less of them.

Not because demand is down, but because efficiency is up.

“Contained in Exxon’s new Outlook for Energy report is the following damning statistic: Electricity generation will grow by 90 percent by 2040, but the amount of fuel needed to generate that electricity will only have to grow by 50 percent,” the magazine reports. “And the projected increase in energy demand is 20 percent less than the demand increase seen from 1980 to 2010. The IEA has previously projected that electricity will become more affordable over time in most regions as income levels increase faster than household electricity bills.”

In one sense, this is a victory for the conservationists. It’s difficult to quantify, but the EPA’s Energy Star program no doubt played a part. Consumers were encouraged — but not forced — to spend their money on more energy-efficient appliances. Consumers were rewarded for their purchases with tax credits — and lower electricity bills.

Although the General Accounting Office has criticized the Energy Star program’s implementation, it was at least a free market approach to saving energy.

The free market deserves a lot of the credit for the failure of peak oil claims, as well. Companies, as well as consumers, seek to trim their expenses, and energy is always a big expense. There’s a built-in motivation for efficiency that everyone responds to.

Writing in the Dallas Business Journal, Nicholas Sakelaris says that efficiency can be seen as our greatest “green” energy source. He quoted Ted Pirog, an energy analyst with Exxon.

“Our greatest source of energy in the future is our ability to use it more efficiently,” Pirog said.

Don’t tell that to Daryl Hannah, the Hollywood star who has been arrested in East Texas protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.

“We should be starting to build some resilience and some self-sufficiency by developing renewable energy infrastructure,” she says.

And she’s right, to a degree. There’s nothing wrong with a true “all-of-the-above” energy policy.

But we can’t let the alarmists continue touting the peak oil theory, which was first expounded in 1956 by Shell scientist M. King Hubbert. He said U.S. oil production would peak between 1965 and 1971, and after that, costs would steadily rise until we’re out of oil completely.

It didn’t — and it won’t.


Nuclear Adaptation – How Evolution Works

CATCHING evolution in action is hard. The best-known examples are those where human action, in the form of pesticides, herbicides or drugs, has intentionally made the world a nastier place for some specific group of creatures, and natural selection has pushed back to create resistance (see article). But a group led by Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina, Anders Moller of the CNRS, in France, and Ismael Galván of the Doñana Research Station in Spain has now, in a paper in Functional Ecology, provided an example of selection responding to a human action that was most definitely unintentional: the explosion and fire at a nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, Ukraine, 28 years ago.

Dr Mousseau and Dr Moller knew from previous work that birds living near Chernobyl have better survival rates than those living near Fukushima, in Japan, where a serious reactor accident happened in 2011. They suspected that was because the Ukrainian birds had had time to evolve resistance. They therefore sent blood and feather samples from 120 birds of 13 species they collected from both high- and low-radiation regions around the defunct reactor at Chernobyl to Dr Galván, who looked for genetic damage in them and also analysed their levels of glutathione, an antioxidant that mops up highly reactive (and therefore harmful) molecules created when radiation hits biological tissues.

In those birds taken from low-radiation zones the average concentration of glutathione was 450 micrograms per gram of body mass; in high-radiation areas it was 725 micrograms per gram. Moreover, the higher a bird’s glutathione level, the lower the amount of genetic damage Dr Galván could spot in its cells. Birds in high-radiation zones, then, seem to have evolved to deal with the threat, just as Darwin would have predicted.




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


5 May, 2014

The Warmist strategy: If the facts don't suit you, make up them up

There's no such thing as an honest Warmist and Michael Mann is a model of that.

He starts out below with an implication that a CO2 level of 450ppm would be dangerous but blithely ignores the fact that for many years Warmists said 400 ppm was the danger point. But 400 ppm has been reached and nothing happened. So how do we know that any other ppm figure is not just another figure plucked out of the air? It is exactly that of course

Then he goes on to a real whopper: "the earth’s temperature has ticked up just as expected". Even people like IPCC chair Rajenda Pachauri and NASA's Jim Hansen have admitted that global warming has been halted for the last 17 years but Mann makes no mention of that

He ends up however admitting that the predictions are uncertain and even implies that they are of very low probablity -- so the truth is gradually getting to him

On April 30, a research professor at the center of the so-called “climate wars” came to Fordham to talk about rising carbon dioxide emissions and the science that shows they need to be curtailed.

The speaker was Michael E. Mann, Ph.D., director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, whose research helped the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change secure a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 and who has authored two books on the topic. Mann has been the target of climate change deniers, who hacked into his e-mail account in an attempt to discredit him.

He spoke at the Rose Hill campus and was introduced by Stephen Holler, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics.

Mann started with a basic description of greenhouse effect, caused by the buildup of carbon dioxide that “traps” part of the infrared radiation emitted by the Earth. The resulting warming is amplified by feedback mechanisms such as increased evaporation, which boosts the amount of airborne water vapor that, in turn, acts as a greenhouse gas as well, he said.

In 2013, carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million for the first time, he said. If there’s no change in the burning of fossil fuels, levels will reach 450 parts per million in a matter of just decades. By the mid-21st century, it will be be double the level that existed in preindustrial times. Meanwhile, he said, the earth’s temperature has ticked up just as expected.

“Everything I told you thus far wasn't based on climate models; it was based on simple physics that we've known about for two centuries—irrefutable measurements that tell us we're changing the composition of the atmosphere in an unprecedented manner and that the Earth is warming up as we expect it to,” he said.

“Scientists around the world would be completely stumped … if the Earth were not warming up,” he said.

Mann discussed climate change projections based on computer models, saying that one of the more benign projections—that the Earth will experience an increase in global temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius, compared to preindustrial times, if nothing is done—“puts us firmly into the danger zone.”

“You start to see bad things happen when you talk about human health, water resources, food, national security, our economy, biodiversity, and across the board,” he said.

Such an increase could be three degrees higher, he said—“the difference between a problem that would be moderate, and which we could adapt to, and a problem that would be catastrophic.”

“Some people say, ‘Well, it's uncertain—maybe we'll be lucky,’” he said. “It’s true, maybe we'll get lucky. But maybe we'll get unlucky.”

Invoking the example of a cost-benefit analysis, he said, “we buy fire insurance not because we think our homes are going to burn down, but because if they did burn down it would be catastrophic. It's a very low-probability event with an effectively infinite cost to us [because] it ruins our lives if it happens.”

“I would argue that reducing greenhouse gas emission is a planetary insurance policy” because of the possibility that the worst projections could come true, he said.


Are pets bad for the environment?

The author's subheading below reveals the emptiness of his case. His basic assumption is wrong. He implies that the world's resources are running out. But they are not. Our entire history for the last few centuries is one of increasing resources. Mankind is always inventing new ones, with fracking being the latest example. The stone age did not end because people ran out of stone. It ended because human ingenuity converted more and more physical "things" into resources. Bauxite pebbles did not become a resource untill Hall & Heroult figured out how to convert it into aluminium. We in fact face a future of ever-increasing resources and affluence. Fracking is the great resource upsurge of recent times but all history tells us that there is more to come

With the world's resources under increasing pressure, Erik Assadourian argues that pet ownership needs a drastic rethink

Early last month the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition launched an update for its Pet Industry Sustainability Toolkit (yes, it's called PIST). Touting a partner like Natural Capital Solutions, this toolkit, in theory, should offer some bold ways the industry could become sustainable – such as promoting small dog ownership (as they eat less) – but instead it offers remedial advice like how to reduce packaging waste, make buildings more efficient, and remove toxic chemicals from supply chains.

Meanwhile, less than two weeks later, hundreds of companies and entrepreneurs convened in Orlando for the 10th annual Global Pet Expo to sell more useless stuff to pet owners – everything from remote video camera treat dispensing systems (for the guilty pet owner who spends all day at the office) to designer pet clothes, toys, even burial caskets – helping to stoke the annual $55.7bn pet industry in the US.

As our pets increasingly adopt the consumer habits of their owners, it's clear that no matter how "green" this industry becomes, it will never become sustainable. But even if we severely restrict what pet products can be sold, and even if we stop overfeeding our increasingly overweight pet populations – 53% of dogs and 58% of cats are overweight or obese in the US, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention – can pets be part of a sustainable future?

The short, if unpopular, answer is probably not. Two German Shepherds use more resources just for their annual food needs than the average Bangladeshi uses each year in total. And while pet owners may disagree that Bangladeshis have more right to exist than their precious Schnookums, the truth is that pets serve little more societal purpose than keeping us company in an increasingly individualistic and socially isolated consumer society.

So fast forward to a climate disrupted future, which the new IPCC report suggests is coming faster than we thought. Where do pets fit in? When climate change disrupts grain supplies, shoots food prices through the roof and also eviscerates the global consumer economy, pets may be abandoned in droves, as families suddenly can no longer afford their upkeep. We've seen this happen in times of economic crises, hence the large feral dog population in Detroit today. But perhaps at that point the pet issue will solve itself – as these packs of dogs become a bridge food for the hungry unemployed masses.

In other words, as we prepare for the contracting future ahead, a low-hanging fruit is to change the culture around pet ownership. Not just by putting the above barriers in place to discourage overall ownership, but to help shift the norms around what pet ownership means.


North American Natural Gas Seeks Markets Overseas

A slew of multibillion-dollar coastal projects compete to ship super-chilled LNG to Asia and Europe

North America's natural gas boom is now so big that the industry and its supporters believe it should not be contained to just one continent.

They argue this new bounty should be shared—especially with hungry markets in Asia and Europe willing to pay a high price for the fuel. But long-distance transport of natural gas is one of the world's most expensive engineering feats, and it will require government approvals, community support, and billions of dollars in capital to take North American gas overseas.

Despite the challenges, proposals are now moving forward to make the Chesapeake Bay waterfront community of Cove Point, Maryland, into a global gateway for Pennsylvania shale gas, and to turn the remote British Columbia coastal village of Kitimat into an international energy hub.

Supercool Gas

In all, some 40 new export projects have been proposed in the United States and Canada, giant multibillion-dollar facilities to superchill natural gas into liquid form at -260°F (-162°C) so it can be shipped by refrigerated tanker. This liquefied natural gas, or LNG, takes 600 times less space, making it economical to move by vessel.

The LNG business has been around for decades; Japan, the world's largest importer, relies on such shipments for all of its natural gas. But as the distance between the world natural gas supply and demand centers becomes more clear, price disparities have grown. The International Energy Agency noted last fall that the price of natural gas in the European Union has been running at roughly triple the price in the United States, while Japan has been paying nearly five times as much.

As a result, there is a frenzy of building and planning to build and expand LNG terminals, not only in North America, but in other energy-rich locations such as Australia, the Middle East, and Russia.

Chris Holmes, senior director of global gas and LNG at the consulting firm IHS Energy, said proposed new and expanded international export facilities, a dozen of of which are already under construction, would nearly triple the amount of liquefied natural gas on the market. The increase would likely meet global demand for decades, he said.

"You have a wide [price] spread there and that's the attraction," Holmes said.

Yet industry analysts say many of the proposed export facilities might not get beyond the planning stage because of high costs and stiff international competition. Exporting natural gas by ship requires building massive facilities to supercool the gas. Holmes said these liquefaction facilities cost as much as $10 billion, only part of a $30 billion investment to build a new export facility.

"This is a very challenging business," Holmes said, adding that it can take more than a decade to turn a profit.

A Gas Wedge Against Putin?

The financial realities mean that North American natural gas will not be hitting the high seas anytime soon. That means U.S. energy supplies made bountiful by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are not likely to be a useful lever in the short term against the world's other natural gas powerhouse, Russia, in the current crisis over Crimea and Ukraine, experts say.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has suggested that the lack of U.S. natural gas ports amounts to a "de facto ban on exports," and he has called for President Barack Obama's administration to dramatically expand natural gas production and speed export facilities in order to supplant Russia as Europe's natural gas supplier.

The Netherlands opened its first import terminal for LNG, a facility on the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam, in 2011.

However, IHS said the Ukrainian crisis "may promote a shift to simplifying (and expediting)" the U.S. government's export approval process.


Caruba: Science, Free Speech, and the Courts?

By Alan Caruba

The public, after decades of global warming advocacy, now called “climate change”, has begun to conclude that claims of a massive warming trend were dubious and that real climate change is the natural response of the planet to forces well beyond any impact of the human race.

The fact is that the Earth has been in a cooling cycle for some 17 years based on lower rates of solar radiation as the Sun undergoes one of its natural cycles, a reduction in the number of sunspots or magnetic storms on its surface.

The May 5th edition of the National Review devotes its cover story to “The Case Against Michael Mann: The Hockey Stick and Free Speech” by Charles C.W. Cooke because the creator of the “hockey stick” graph purporting a massive warming is suing the magazine, commentator Mark Steyn, along with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Rand Simberg. In his suit, filed in the D.C. Superior Court, Mann asserts that “in making the defamatory statement” they acted intentionally, maliciously, willfully, and with the intent to injure Dr. Mann, or to benefit (National Review) and Steyn.”

Mann is asserting a “narrow form of libel that American law prohibits” said Cooke. “As a seminal Supreme Court case, New York Times v. Sullivan, outlined in 1964, using the law of libel, to drag journalists into court for expressing their sincere views on matters of major public importance is entirely inconsistent with our ‘national commitment to principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide open.’”

Mann’s feelings are hurt and he believes that any criticism of the questionable science he applied to the creation of his now-famous global warming graph is libel. I believe the court will conclude that using the charge of libel to silence his critics is wrong. That’s what makes the case important, in particular for a basic principle of science, and in general for the public understanding that global warming and/or climate change depends on vigorous debate.

Science depends on being able to reproduce the results of an assertion by other scientists. Suffice to say that Mann’s graph has been extensively disputed and found lacking in the methods used to produce it.

As Cooke reports, the graph “purports to depict global temperature trends between the years A.D. 1000 and 2000” and takes its name from “a mostly flat line of temperature data from the year 1000 until about 1900 (the handled of the hockey stick), followed by a sharp uptick over the 20th century (the blade).” The graph was published in the 2001 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Since then the IPCC has been retreating from its vehement claim that global warming posed a major threat to life on Earth.

In 2009, the leak of many emails between members of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Center and others engaging in the global warming claims revealed that “Mann and his colleagues have processed their data in a way that makes global warming appear more severe than the evidence suggests on its own.” Most damning was Mann’s use of tree ring data and the way other data was ignored in order to make his claims about global warming appear to be valid. “The leaked emails suggest that some members of the IPCC were well aware of these inconsistencies—and even may have sought to conceal them,” notes Cooke.

Aside from the dubious science cited, the issue before the court is whether publicly questioning Mann can or should be deemed libelous. If it concludes that it is, then the most fundamental principle of science will be destroyed and the courts will fill up with similar cases whose purpose would be to censor and silence the debate that is the life blood of science.

Mann has claimed to have been a Nobel Prize laureate, but Cooke notes that the Nobel Committee “explicitly said that he is not.” He has claimed that the National Academy of Sciences and that the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit investigations into his conduct and his work “have fully vindicated him “when they in fact have done no such thing.”

Worldwide, people have been subjected to the greatest hoax of the modern era and 17 years of cooling demonstrates that carbon dioxide, a “greenhouse gas” plays no role in heating the Earth. All of the claims about global warming are demonstrably wrong, along with all of the computer models and other “proof” inaccurate to the point of being purposefully deceptive.

At the heart of the case against the National Review is whether a scientist can silence his critics and one can only hope for the sake of science, free speech, freedom of the press, and the truth that Mann loses.

Editor’s note: The testimony of climate scientist Dr. John R. Christy of the University of Alabama before a 2011 U.S. House hearing on climate change addresses how and why Michael Mann and his “hockey stick” became such a prominent part of the IPCC Third Assessment Report in 2011. It is available here (PDF)


Fracking: EU red tape threat to British energy boom

Britain will be told to get fracking faster for shale gas when the House of Lords economy committee publishes its report this week

Britain’s fracking industry is being held back by environmental regulations drawn up in Brussels, a senior committee of the House of Lords is expected to say this week.

In a major report, the Lords are expected to call for permits to be granted more quickly to drilling companies to allow them to test the potential of newly drilled shale gas wells.

Government experts believe that Britain’s shale gas and oil reserves, buried deep underground, could generate billions of pounds worth of fuel in future.

Ministers hope that exploiting the shale gas and oil reserves, through the controversial process of fracking, could help secure a home-grown energy supply and reduce household gas and electricity bills in future.

David Cameron has said the Ukraine crisis should act as a spur to encourage Britain and the rest of the European Union to embrace fracking and reduce its reliance on imported gas from Russia.

But the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, whose members include the former Conservative chancellor, Lord Lawson of Blaby, is expected to conclude that it is impossible to know what the UK’s shale reserves will be worth without more widespread fracking.

The Lords committee has been investigating the potential impact of shale gas and oil on the UK economy and energy policy since October 2013.

They are expected to conclude that the potential benefits to Britain from fracking are huge but that progress in the exploration of new wells, and testing the "flow rate" of gas and oil from these wells, should be accelerated.

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, involves pumping water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into shale rock deep underground, which then fractures, releasing its reserves of gas and oil.

Environmental concerns have been raised over the potential risks to drinking water supplies from contamination by fracking waste chemicals and water, and the danger of causing earth tremors.

Cuadrilla, the shale gas exploration company, has written to the committee warning that progress has so far been slow due to the “very lengthy” process of agreeing permits to frack with the Environment Agency, the state regulator.

The company’s chief executive, Francis Egan, told the Lords committee that the past two years had seen “a huge amount of debate and development of environmental permit requirements for shale, not least in respect of the application of various European Union Directives”.

The company will submit fresh applications for fracking permits to the Environment Agency, including proposals to develop several new sites, “in the near future”, he said, adding that he hoped the regulator’s response would be “speedy”.

Industry groups warned the committee that Britain’s onshore oil and gas businesses were governed by 14 separate EU directives, ranging from water directives to minor waste regulations.

British ministers, including Mr Cameron and the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, have been fighting attempts to impose new EU directives on the fracking industry across Europe.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, Mr Cameron warned Europe against imposing “burdensome” new red tape on the fracking industry.

He said businesses wanting to relocate in Europe needed “cheap and predictable sources of energy”.

“If the European Union or its member states impose burdensome, unjustified or premature regulatory burdens on shale gas exploration in Europe, investors will quickly head elsewhere,” he said.

George Osborne, the Chancellor, has said that shale gas could bring “thousands of jobs, billions of pounds of business investment, and lower energy bills”.

However, only a relatively small proportion of Britain – about 7,300 sq miles – has so far been licensed for oil and gas drilling. This includes parts of Sussex, where drilling for oil at Balcombe by Cuadrilla caused fierce protests.

Last year, ministers commissioned consultants to identify which other areas are suitable for drilling. Greenpeace, which opposes fracking, says the areas being assessed cover some 32,000 sq miles.

A government report is expected to be published soon setting out the next wave of potential fracking opportunities in southern England.

The Committee, chaired by Lord MacGregor of Pulham Market, a Cabinet minister in the governments of Baroness Thatcher and Sir John Major, will publish its report on the economic impact of shale gas on Thursday.

The peers have heard evidence from witnesses including academic experts, government officials, companies involved in the extraction of shale gas and oil, and anti-fracking campaigners.

Ministers have announced measures to ensure the safety of fracking after concerns that the process can trigger earthquakes.

Seismic activity during fracking will be closely monitored and any significant changes will result in the process being slowed or stopped.


Australia: Climate scientists in audit commission's crosshairs

And are they squealing!

The nation’s climate and weather predicting capacity and the jobs of dozens of scientists are at risk if the Abbott government accepts a recommendation of the National Commission of Audit to axe a key program, researchers said.

The Australian Climate Change Science Program’s four-year funding of $31.6 million, mostly to the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology, duplicates work by those and other agencies and “should be returned to the budget or allocated to priority areas”, the commission said in its report.

But scientists, including Michael Raupach, formerly of the CSIRO and now at the Australian National University, said the program supported a “great deal of critical scientific work” that helps refine climate models which are also used for weather forecasting.

“The future course of climate change matters hugely for Australia, and continued observation and modelling of climate is absolutely vital,” said Dr Raupach, whose research over more than three decades for CSIRO also included funding from the program. “The ACCSP is an important component of our national effort, and the whole effort would be much reduced without this program.”

“The government is currently considering the commission of audit,” said a spokesman for Environment Minister Greg Hunt, declining to elaborate.

While the bulk of the commission’s recommendations – ranging from cutting the minimum wage to raising the cost of doctor visits – are not expected to feature in the federal budget on Tuesday week, the dismissal of the threat from global warming by senior Abbott government members has scientists nervous about their future.

One scientist said the $4 million or so provided to the CSIRO by the ACCSP per year was the reason the institution “was still in the game". Another said 30 to 35 climate scientists would lose their jobs directly if the program ceased and probably a similar number indirectly.

Despite the increasing heatwaves, rising sea levels and ocean acidification - which scientists link to rising greenhouse gas levels - the Abbott government has downplayed the risks from climate change, said Opposition climate change spokesman Mark Butler.

“This is a government that has shown a disdain for scientific research,” Mr Butler said. “From the Prime Minister down, it has regularly denigrated the work of scientists here in Australia and internationally around the area of climate change.”

Last week Treasury launched a Productivity Commission inquiry into disaster relief funding with its terms of reference omitting any mention of climate change, noting only that "the impacts and costs of extreme weather events can be expected to increase in the future with population growth and the expanding urbanisation of coast lines and mountain districts near our cities".

Axing the ACCSP may also put at risk Australia’s ability to receive information from other agencies. Australia's area of expertise includes the Southern Ocean and Antarctica, information the program shares with international bodies, receiving access to their work in turn on other regions also important to Australia’s climate.

“Climate change has not gone away,” said Dr Raupach. “The best scientific assessments indicate that Australia could be subject to warming over the 21st century that could range from less than two to more than five degrees.”

“The high end of this range would be catastrophic,” he said.

The potential for cuts to climate modelling comes as odds increase for an El Nino weather pattern in the Pacific. Recent signals include a significant weakening of the tradewinds and the warm pool of water now extending east of the international dateline.

El Nino years tend to be drier and hotter than average in Australia, with increased risk of droughts and bushfires.




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


May 04, 2014

Meet the Billionaire Obama and Reid Listen To

Tom Steyer, co-founder of Advanced Energy Economy, speaks to the delegates on the second night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention

You’ve got to hand it to billionaire Tom Steyer. He tells Barack Obama and Harry Reid to jump, and they obediently reply: How high?

Mr. Steyer pulled off the policy coup of the year last week when the White House announced it would place the Keystone XL pipeline in regulatory purgatory for another six months at least. Mr. Steyer has promised $100 million to Democrats to beat back Republicans in the midterm elections this fall, and the campaign funds have already paid off in the scuttling of this $3 billion pipeline project. (Remember when Democrats were pro-infrastructure?) President Obama says we have to determine whether it is “in the national interest.”

Mr. Steyer protested this week that he is not the Democratic party’s version of the Koch brothers, who fund efforts to promote liberty and free enterprise. Mr. Steyer says that “there are real distinctions between the Koch brothers and us,” because the Kochs personally benefit from their political advocacy, while he is donating to save the planet. Never mind that he’s a major investor in solar-energy projects that compete with fossil fuels. Let’s just say that Steyer got more than just a lousy T-shirt for his political pay-to-play investment.

But Steyer, like most fanatical greens, really does have an intense hatred of this pipeline — and thus a motive that goes beyond any personal gain. To the far left, Keystone has become the symbol of the North American shale-oil-and-gas revolution that is crushing the brief and ill-fated renewable-energy fad. So anything that would efficiently transport these fossil fuels to market is evil.

For his part, Obama repeated the Big Green mantra that we shouldn’t build the pipeline if it would contribute to “carbon pollution.” By this logic, the U.S. government should shut down the existing 100,000 miles of pipeline in North America and stop all domestic fossil-fuel production.

But all of this is a sideshow to the really big question here, which is whether the GOP leaders are smart enough to capitalize on this Keystone blunder. The controversy exposes a widening fault line within the Democratic coalition that could split the party in two. It’s an intra-party blood feud between the blues and the greens: Blue-collar union Democrats (those who work in the private sector) desperately want the jobs associated with drilling, mining, and building the infrastructure to make those things happen. Many of the big unions, from the Teamsters to the welders and pipefitters, support the project and have furiously objected to Obama’s decision. The project creates 10,000 jobs that would pay between $50,000 and $100,000 a year. This isn’t minimum-wage stuff we are talking about.

Obama has made the laughable claim recently that the pipeline would lead to “only 50 permanent jobs.” So a $3 billion multistate pipeline that stretches more than 1,000 miles shouldn’t go forward, because it won’t boost employment permanently? Someone might want to explain to the president that in the private sector there is no such thing as a permanent job. (Those are to be found only in the government.)

We will surely see more of these blue-versus-green economic-development battles emerge in the months and years ahead. Already West Virginia has flipped from Democratic blue to Republican red in recent years because of the Left’s war on coal, while other resource states — including Colorado, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Virginia, and, who knows, maybe even New York — could shift into the red column once the old blue-collar Reagan Democrats realize that the greens who run and now finance the Democratic party have become unhinged, and constitute a clear and present danger to the jobs and livelihoods of middle-class America.

Hollywood elites, and billionaire hedge-fund managers like Tom Steyer, can live with that result. A Pew Research poll has found that Keystone is unpopular with only two demographic groups: Democrats who earn more than $100,000 and Democrats with postgraduate degrees.

But the working class in America that cares a lot more about a paycheck than about stopping the rise of the oceans is tiring of being the frontline victim of this green menace. Barack Obama won the 2012 election because he persuaded middle-class voters that he cares more about them than do the Republicans. The latest Keystone XL pipeline travesty is the most recent evidence that this is a lot of bunk.


Will: ‘Global Warming Is Socialism by the Back Door’

George Will said recently “global warming is socialism by the back door.”

In an interview with The Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein, Will points out that progressives use warming to rationalize “more and more power in Washington” to “micromanage the lives of the American people—our shower heads, our toilets, our bathtubs, our garden hoses.” Watch:


Renewable Energy in Decline, Less than 1% of Global Energy

The global energy outlook has changed radically in just six years. President Obama was elected in 2008 by voters who believed we were running out of oil and gas, that climate change needed to be halted, and that renewables were the energy source of the near future.

But an unexpected transformation of energy markets and politics may instead make 2014 the year of peak renewables.

In December of 2007, former Vice President Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize for work on man-made climate change, leading an international crusade to halt global warming. In June, 2008 after securing a majority of primary delegates, candidate Barack Obama stated, “…this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal…” Climate activists looked to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference as the next major step to control greenhouse gas emissions.

The price of crude oil hit $145 per barrel in June, 2008. The International Energy Agency and other organizations declared that we were at peak oil, forecasting a decline in global production. Many claimed that the world was running out of hydrocarbon energy.

Driven by the twin demons of global warming and peak oil, world governments clamored to support renewables. Twenty years of subsidies, tax-breaks, feed-in tariffs, and mandates resulted in an explosion of renewable energy installations. The Renewable Energy Index (RENIXX) of the world’s 30 top renewable energy companies soared to over 1,800.

Tens of thousands of wind turbine towers were installed, totaling more than 200,000 windmills worldwide by the end of 2012. Germany led the world with more than one million rooftop solar installations. Forty percent of the US corn crop was converted to ethanol vehicle fuel.

But at the same time, an unexpected energy revolution was underway. Using good old Yankee ingenuity, the US oil and gas industry discovered how to produce oil and natural gas from shale. With hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, vast quantities of hydrocarbon resources became available from shale fields in Texas, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

From 2008 to 2013, US petroleum production soared 50 percent. US natural gas production rose 34 percent from a 2005 low. Russia, China, Ukraine, Turkey, and more than ten nations in Europe began issuing permits for hydraulic fracturing. The dragon of peak oil and gas was slain.

In 2009, the ideology of Climatism, the belief that humans were causing dangerous global warming, came under serious attack. In November, emails were released from top climate scientists at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, an incident christened Climategate. The communications showed bias, manipulation of data, avoidance of freedom of information requests, and efforts to subvert the peer-review process, all to further the cause of man-made climate change.

One month later, the Copenhagen Climate Conference failed to agree on a successor climate treaty to the Kyoto Protocol. Failures at United Nations conferences at Cancun (2010), Durban (2011), Doha (2012), and Warsaw (2013) followed. Canada, Japan, Russia, and the United States announced that they would not participate in an extension of the Kyoto Protocol.

Major climate legislation faltered across the world. Cap and trade failed in Congress in 2009, with growing opposition from the Republican Party. The price of carbon permits in the European Emissions Trading System crashed in April 2013 when the European Union voted not to support the permit price. Australia elected Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the fall of 2013 on a platform of scrapping the nation’s carbon tax.

Europeans discovered that subsidy support for renewables was unsustainable. Subsidy obligations soared in Germany to over $140 billion and in Spain to over $34 billion by 2013. Renewable subsidies produced the world’s highest electricity rates in Denmark and Germany. Electricity and natural gas prices in Europe rose to double those of the United States.

Worried about bloated budgets, declining industrial competitiveness, and citizen backlash, European nations have been retreating from green energy for the last four years. Spain slashed solar subsidies in 2009 and photovoltaic sales fell 80 percent in a single year. Germany cut subsidies in 2011 and 2012 and the number of jobs in the German solar industry dropped by 50 percent. Renewable subsidy cuts in the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom added to the cascade. The RENIXX Renewable Energy Index fell below 200 in 2012, down 90 percent from the 2008 peak.

Once a climate change leader, Germany turned to coal after the 2012 decision to close nuclear power plants. Coal now provides more than 50 percent of Germany’s electricity and 23 new coal-fired power plants are planned. Global energy from coal has grown by 4.4 percent per year over the last ten years.

Spending on renewables is in decline. From a record $318 billion in 2011, world renewable energy spending fell to $280 billion in 2012 and then fell again to $254 billion in 2013, according to Bloomberg. The biggest drop occurred in Europe, where investment plummeted 41 percent last year. The 2013 expiration of the US Production Tax Credit for wind energy will continue the downward momentum.

Today, wind and solar provide less than one percent of global energy. While these sources will continue to grow, it’s likely they will deliver only a tiny amount of the world’s energy for decades to come. Renewable energy output may have peaked, at least as a percentage of global energy production.


Vermont GMO Labeling Law Will Set Back America’s Food Supply

Look under the hood of every movement to forestall the use of genetically-modified grains and you’ll find a preponderance of folks in the organic food industry. They are celebrating today the passage of a law in Vermont making it the first state to require the labeling of foods made with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), and they’re pretending this law will actually protect people.

But there is no such thing as contamination of an organic crop by GMOs. Organic farmers are certainly not allowed to make use of GMO technology according to rules written, edited and finalized by organic industry stakeholders over 10 years ago. But not a single organic farmer has ever been de-certified anywhere in the United States due to pollen drift from, or commingling with, a GMO crop.

There have been many legal suits, meanwhile, against conventional farmers for allegedly contaminating organic fields with prohibited pesticide spray. But none for alleged contamination by GMOs. Not one.

And it’s not a mere technicality in the law that prevents such a lawsuit. It’s the fact that such cross-pollination and commingling between an organic and GMO crop simply does not qualify, either from a scientific or regulatory perspective, as actual contamination.

Think of it like a bunch of Dixiecrat racists trying to keep African Americans out of their favorite lunch counter back in the 1960s. They might claim that African Americans are “impure” and that they “contaminate” their otherwise “pure” white surroundings. But science, and the law, both say we’re all equal. And this is what the USDA’s National Organic Program says unambiguously when it comes to GMOs. As long as organic farmers do not themselves use them, they are a non-issue where organic production is concerned.

Racism still exists. Likewise there are those who insist on a 100 percent GMO free diet, referred to proudly as “zero tolerance.” One supposes this is their right, but they can’t very well impose their views on others. So why, one must ask, are organic activists trying so hard to get GMOs labelled or banned if they pose no threat to organic farms, or to anyone or anything else?

It’s precisely because GMOs pose no threat that activists have embarked upon a nationwide campaign to discredit this new, perfectly safe field of science which, ironically enough, already delivers on many of the organic movement’s goals of reducing environmental toxicity and minimizing modern farming’s footprint on the landscape.

This is the real reason why GMOs pose a “threat” in the eyes of anti-GMO organic activists; they could one day replace organics in the hearts of the American public.

After choosing to reject GMOs during the Clinton Administration, the collective aim of the organic industry has been to get foods containing GMOs banned or labelled like a package of cigarettes, thereby scaring American consumers into buying more certified-organic food.

Once a patchwork of GMO-labeling laws such as Vermont’s is achieved, even in just a handful of states, food manufacturers will find themselves forced to label all of their products with a GMO label because it will be too costly to label food for states that have mandatory labeling, but not for the majority of states that don’t. The tail will wag the dog.

The fact that roughly 70 percent of processed foods now contain GMOs should testify to their safety. But once a few more state labeling laws are passed, it’s yet another reason we’ll see all foods labeled — all foods except for organic ones.


Climate science isn’t necessarily ‘settled’

By John R. Christy

Why do we argue about climate change?

The reason there is so much contention regarding “global warming” is relatively simple to understand: In climate change science we basically cannot prove anything about how the climate will change as a result of adding extra greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

So we are left to argue about unprovable claims.

We can measure and prove that greenhouse gases are increasing. And, in the laboratory, we can measure and prove that adding greenhouse gases to a jar of air will lead to further warming.

But when it comes to how the actual climate system might respond to extra greenhouse gases, we’re out of luck in terms of “proof” because the climate’s complexities are innumerable and poorly understood.

Climate science is a murky science. When dealing with temperature variations and trends, we do not have an instrument that tells us how much change is due to humans and how much to Mother Nature. Measuring the temperature change over long time periods is difficult enough, but we do not have a thermometer that says why these changes occur.

We cannot appeal to direct evidence for the cause of change, so we argue.

The real climate system is so massively complex we do not have the ability to test global-size theories in a laboratory. Without this ability, we tend to travel all sorts of other avenues to confirm what are essentially our unprovable views about climate. These avenues tend to comfort our souls because we crave certainty over ambiguity.

It is a fundamental characteristic of the scientific method and, therefore, of the confidence we have in our theories, that when we finally understand a system, we are able to predict its behavior.

One avenue of inquiry is computer simulation. If a system’s important details can be represented properly in a computer model, predictions can be accurate and therefore valuable.

My local supermarket can predict with great skill what I am going to buy, thanks to the information-gathering system now utilized and my boring eating habits. Unfortunately, even the most advanced set of climate-model simulations does not deliver much in the way of certainty.

For example, I analyzed the tropical atmospheric temperature change in 102 of the latest climate-model simulations covering the past 35 years. The temperature of this region is a key target variable because it is tied directly to the response to extra greenhouse gases in models. If greenhouse gases are warming the Earth, this is the first place to look.

All 102 model runs overshot the actual temperature change on average by a factor of three. Not only does this tell us we don’t have a good grasp on the way climate varies, but the fact that all simulations overcooked the atmosphere means there is probably a warm bias built into the basic theory — the same theory we’ve been told is “settled science.”

To me, being off by a factor of three doesn’t qualify as “settled.”

As important as models can be for problems like this, it is clear we have a long way to go. And it is troubling that current policy is being based on these computer models, none of which has been validated by a formalized, independent Red Team analysis. (Congress, EPA: Are you listening?)

Others might look to certain climate anomalies and convince themselves that humans are the cause. I often hear claims that extreme weather is getting worse. Now, here we do have direct evidence to check. Whether it’s tornadoes (no change over the past 60 years), hurricanes (no changes over the past 120 years) or droughts and heat waves (not as bad as they were during the past 1,000 years), the evidence doesn’t support those claims. So, we argue.

Without direct evidence and with poor model predictability, what other avenues are available to us? This is where things get messy because we are humans, and humans tend to select those avenues that confirm their biases. (It seems to me that the less direct evidence there is for a position, the more passion is applied and the more certainty is claimed.)

One avenue many folks tend to latch onto is the self-selected “authority.” Once selected, this “authority” does the thinking for them, not realizing that this “authority” doesn’t have any more direct evidence than they do.

Other avenues follow a different path: Without direct evidence, folks start with their core beliefs (be they political, social or religious) and extrapolate an answer to climate change from there. That’s scary.

Then, there is that time-honored, media-approved, headline-grabbing source of truth — the opinion poll. The poll can be of scientists, nonscientists, the man on the street, anyone with a smartphone or groundhogs. If no one (not even an esteemed scientific organization) has direct evidence to substantiate any claim of the impact of greenhouse gases on climate, what would an opinion poll provide besides entertainment or (worse) justification for one’s agenda?

This polling tack is relatively clever. Without direct evidence to prove or refute the claims of a climate poll, the poll becomes the popular avenue for supporting whatever claims are being made. With enough attention, a poll’s climate claim morphs into “settled science.”

So we argue even more.

Finally, what to do about climate change is not a scientific question; it is a moral question: Is there value in enhancing the quality and length of human life?

If one believes greenhouse gases will cause terrible climate problems, then stopping their release from sources of carbon-burning energy means energy costs will skyrocket.

However, the length and quality of human life is directly proportional to the availability of affordable energy, which today is about 85 percent carbon-based. The truth is, carbon emissions will continue to rise no matter what the U.S. does, because most of the world has already answered the real question — that argument is settled.

Should we study new sources of energy? Absolutely.

And when they become safe and affordable, they could be ready for deployment. Until then, I’d rather see my five grandchildren have the opportunity to accumulate wealth, enabled by affordable energy, rather than be made poorer and thus less able to face whatever vagaries the world and the climate might throw at them in the future.

This is much more than a murky scientific issue and why the stakes, and thus passions, can be so high — and why we argue.


EPA Chief Hits Warming Skeptics

EPA Chief Gina McCarthy has declared that the science behind global warming is settled. "It's worrisome that our science seems to be under constant assault by a small -- but vocal -- group of critics," McCarthy said. "I bet when those same critics get sick, they run to doctors and hospitals that rely on science from -- guess who -- Harvard University and the American Cancer Society," McCarthy continued, going off on a litany of ways the nanny state protects us from every ill. "People and businesses around the world look to EPA and other federal agencies because our science is reliable, and our scientists are credible," she insisted. And the kicker: "Climate change is not the product of conspiracies or political agendas."

On the contrary, climate change has everything to do with the political agenda of those who want to empower government. It's no coincidence that McCarthy's EPA is the agency that has usurped the most regulatory authority in this area. But shut up, she explained.


Train Derailment and Oil Transport

A train transporting crude oil derailed in Lynchburg, Virginia, this week dumping 50,000 gallons of oil. It's the latest in a string of similar train wrecks. "This is another national wake-up call," said Jim Hall, a former NTSB chairman said. "We have these oil trains moving all across the United States through communities and the growth and distribution of this has all occurred, unfortunately, while the federal regulators have been asleep."

We doubt this is a case of too little regulation. What it truly highlights once again is the need for the Keystone pipeline and others like it. Pipelines are far safer than trains for transporting oil, and despite leftists' political weaponization of conservation, stewardship of the environment is a very conservative thing to do.




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


2 May, 2014

Lord Lawson gets a forum

The essay excerpted below is based on the text of a speech given to the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment at the University of Bath

There is something odd about the global warming debate — or the climate change debate, as we are now expected to call it, since global warming has for the time being come to a halt.

I have never shied away from controversy, nor — for example, as Chancellor — worried about being unpopular if I believed that what I was saying and doing was in the public interest.

But I have never in my life experienced the extremes of personal hostility, vituperation and vilification which I — along with other dissenters, of course — have received for my views on global warming and global warming policies.

For example, according to the Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, the global warming dissenters are, without exception, “wilfully ignorant” and in the view of the Prince of Wales we are “headless chickens”. Not that “dissenter” is a term they use. We are regularly referred to as “climate change deniers”, a phrase deliberately designed to echo “Holocaust denier” — as if questioning present policies and forecasts of the future is equivalent to casting malign doubt about a historical fact.

The heir to the throne and the minister are senior public figures, who watch their language. The abuse I received after appearing on the BBC’s Today programme last February was far less restrained. Both the BBC and I received an orchestrated barrage of complaints to the effect that it was an outrage that I was allowed to discuss the issue on the programme at all. And even the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons shamefully joined the chorus of those who seek to suppress debate.

In fact, despite having written a thoroughly documented book about global warming more than five years ago, which happily became something of a bestseller, and having founded a think tank on the subject — the Global Warming Policy Foundation — the following year, and despite frequently being invited on Today to discuss economic issues, this was the first time I had ever been asked to discuss climate change. I strongly suspect it will also be the last time.

The BBC received a well-organised deluge of complaints — some of them, inevitably, from those with a vested interest in renewable energy — accusing me, among other things, of being a geriatric retired politician and not a climate scientist, and so wholly unqualified to discuss the issue.

Perhaps, in passing, I should address the frequent accusation from those who violently object to any challenge to any aspect of the prevailing climate change doctrine, that the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s non-disclosure of the names of our donors is proof that we are a thoroughly sinister organisation and a front for the fossil fuel industry.

As I have pointed out on a number of occasions, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees decided, from the outset, that it would neither solicit nor accept any money from the energy industry or from anyone with a significant interest in the energy industry. And to those who are not-regrettably-prepared to accept my word, I would point out that among our trustees are a bishop of the Church of England, a former private secretary to the Queen, and a former head of the Civil Service. Anyone who imagines that we are all engaged in a conspiracy to lie is clearly in an advanced stage of paranoia.

The reason why we do not reveal the names of our donors, who are private citizens of a philanthropic disposition, is in fact pretty obvious. Were we to do so, they, too, would be likely to be subject to the vilification and abuse I mentioned earlier. And that is something which, understandably, they can do without.

That said, I must admit I am strongly tempted to agree that, since I am not a climate scientist, I should from now on remain silent on the subject — on the clear understanding, of course, that everyone else plays by the same rules. No more statements by Ed Davey, or indeed any other politician, including Ed Milliband, Lord Deben and Al Gore. Nothing more from the Prince of Wales, or from Lord Stern. What bliss!

But of course this is not going to happen. Nor should it; for at bottom this is not a scientific issue. That is to say, the issue is not climate change but climate change alarmism, and the hugely damaging policies that are advocated, and in some cases put in place, in its name. And alarmism is a feature not of the physical world, which is what climate scientists study, but of human behaviour; the province, in other words, of economists, historians, sociologists, psychologists and — dare I say it — politicians.......

Throughout the Western world, the two creeds that used to vie for popular support, Christianity and the atheistic belief system of Communism, are each clearly in decline. Yet people still feel the need both for the comfort and for the transcendent values that religion can provide. It is the quasi-religion of green alarmism and global salvationism, of which the climate change dogma is the prime example, which has filled the vacuum, with reasoned questioning of its mantras regarded as little short of sacrilege.

The parallel goes deeper. As I mentioned earlier, throughout the ages the weather has been an important part of the religious narrative. In primitive societies it was customary for extreme weather events to be explained as punishment from the gods for the sins of the people; and there is no shortage of this theme in the Bible, either — particularly, but not exclusively, in the Old Testament. The contemporary version of this is that, as a result of heedless industrialisation within a framework of materialistic capitalism, we have directly (albeit not deliberately) perverted the weather, and will duly receive our comeuppance.

There is another aspect, too, which may account for the appeal of this so-called explanation. Throughout the ages, something deep in man's psyche has made him receptive to apocalyptic warnings that the end of the world is nigh. And almost all of us, whether we like it or not, are imbued with feelings of guilt and a sense of sin. How much less uncomfortable it is, how much more convenient, to divert attention away from our individual sins and reasons to feel guilty, and to sublimate them in collective guilt and collective sin.

Why does this matter? It matters, and matters a great deal, on two quite separate grounds. The first is that it has gone a long way towards ushering in a new age of unreason. It is a cruel irony that, while it was science which, more than anything else, was able by its great achievements, to establish the age of reason, it is all too many climate scientists and their hangers-on who have become the high priests of a new age of unreason.

But what moves me most is that the policies invoked in its name are grossly immoral. We have, in the UK, devised the most blatant transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich — and I am slightly surprised that it is so strongly supported by those who consider themselves to be the tribunes of the people and politically on the Left. I refer to our system of heavily subsidising wealthy landlords to have wind farms on their land, so that the poor can be supplied with one of the most expensive forms of electricity known to man.

This is also, of course, inflicting increasing damage on the British economy, to no useful purpose whatever. More serious morally, because it is on a much larger scale, is the perverse intergenerational transfer of wealth implied by orthodox climate change policies. It is not much in dispute that future generations — those yet unborn — will be far wealthier than those — ourselves, our children, and for many of us our grandchildren — alive today. This is the inevitable consequence of the projected economic growth which, on a "business as usual" basis, drives the increased carbon emissions which in turn determine the projected future warming. It is surely perverse that those alive today should be told that they must impoverish themselves, by abandoning what is far and away the cheapest source of energy, in order to ensure that those yet to be born, who will in any case be signally better off than they are, will be better off still, by escaping the disadvantages of any warming that might occur.

However, the greatest immorality of all concerns the masses in the developing world. It is excellent that, in so many parts of the developing world — the so-called emerging economies — economic growth is now firmly on the march, as they belatedly put in place the sort of economic policy framework that brought prosperity to the Western world. Inevitably, they already account for, and will increasingly account for, the lion's share of global carbon emissions.

But, despite their success, there are still hundreds of millions of people in these countries in dire poverty, suffering all the ills that this brings, in terms of malnutrition, preventable disease, and premature death. Asking these countries to abandon the cheapest available sources of energy is, at the very least, asking them to delay the conquest of malnutrition, to perpetuate the incidence of preventable disease, and to increase the numbers of premature deaths.

Global warming orthodoxy is not merely irrational. It is wicked.

Much more HERE

The terror of global cooling

The effects of global warming would be benign compared with the real possibility of global cooling

What if the planet is actually cooling? Devoted warmists might welcome the idea, perhaps seeing in the falling mercury hope for a better, safer planet. If so, they would be even more deluded than usual, as author David Archibald lays out in his new and deeply disturbing book

I have just put down a book readers of this website are sure to take to heart — Twilight of Abundance by David Archibald, a fellow Quadrant contributor and currently Visiting Fellow at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. The book arrived in the mail, sent to me by the author, so I did the dutiful thing and read the first page, and then I did the self-indulgent thing and read it through as fast as time would allow over the next two days — and with such enormous pleasure that the only fault I might mention is how short it is. (I know, two days for a short book, but I’m a slow reader at the best of times.)

You could say Archibald’s book is about climate change, and it is, and you could say it’s about resource depletion, and it is that as well, and you could also say it’s about the breakdown of international order and it is about that too. But really, what it does is take everything I already believe about the problems the West must face and put them together into a tapestry of such pessimistic realism that it is hard not to be drawn in.

But having read the book, the most astonishing thing is that now, when I find myself in the company of greens and leftists preaching the end of civilisation as we know it, I can now so out-do anything bleak prospect they offer and leave them in the dismal, cooling shade. They talk of fifty year and the rising of the seas etc, etc. But their scenarios have nothing to compare with global cooling’s horrors if anything like the kind of picture Archibald paints comes to pass.

And while the book may be overly pessimistic about the challenges we face – and I emphasise that it may only be overly pessimistic because it might actually be the best set of forecasts available anywhere – there is nothing in it that struck me as seriously over the top. What the book does is outline the kinds of trends he sees, starting with the effects that will flow from a cooling of the global temperature just as we are running out of the abundant fossil fuels we have taken for granted for the past two hundred years.

The book reminds me just how viciously stupid have been the left’s attempts to gag debate on global warming. Had the only evidence available supported the warmists’ cause, there might have been something worth continuing to discuss. Instead, with the abrupt end to the warming phase between fifteen and twenty years ago (depending on whose charts and numbers you prefer), and which has followed the solar cycle in the exact way temperatures have always done, we should actually be looking at the effects that may follow if a solar minimum is about to recur, as it did during the Little Ice Age which ended not all that long ago. Suppose the Thames were to begin freezing over again, as it last did in 1802, how will we get on in a world of such cold and reduced growing seasons? Try that out in conversation the next time some propaganda-programmed dimwit brings up climate change.

Global warming is climate change for idiots. A cooling climate may be the real thing and the possibility should be treated with the utmost seriousness. The subtitle, “Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish and Short’’, is exactly what the book explains. It’s a book with a message we should all be thinking about


Global Warming alias Climate Change [the non-existent, incredibly expensive, threat to us all, including to our grandchildren]

Excerpt below from a booklet by Dr David Kear (former Director-General, NZ DSIR; United Nations consultant; & South Pacific geoscientist)

This booklet suggests that Global-Warming-alias-Climate-Change, as proposed by “Global Warmers” makes no sense. You, as the reader, must judge that for yourself – not to help the writer of this booklet, but to help you and your family. Do you think after reading all this that the proponents are absolutely reliable? Should you add your voice to those against it, or at least talk to your councillors and members of parliament and see how they feel?


Our Earth’s climate is highly variable, and records show clearly that it always has been so. Animals and plants have had no option but to accept what comes, and to adapt life in ways that suit best. Evolution gave some help by introducing “the Survival of the Fittest” Humans found early that their discussion and understanding were helped by a belief in some extraneous source being the cause of recorded changes of climate – perhaps with divine power.

This booklet uses “Mother Nature” in that role to avoid wordy explanations. Humans discovered that they could ameliorate climatic effects with buildings, clothing and the rest, and even create “microclimates” through windbreaks, forest clearing, artificial lakes, fossil fuel burning, and the rest.

However, no-one originally thought seriously that man could change the basic influences to our climate – our Sun, our Earth’s rotation, the total quantity of our Planet’s water, and the rest. Mother Nature is able to change all such things (and has been doing so for some 3,000,000,000 years), but we are not.



That ancient and acceptable view was amended in the minds of some people whom I call the “Global Warmers”. I’ve heard nothing convincing about their so-called “Science”; but what they publish convinces me that it’s close to nonsense.

My interest in our changing climate and sea level During fieldwork for a PhD thesis I found a coastal exposure of soft sandstone at Ohuka Creek, south of Port Waikato. There were Pliocene fossils of marine shellfish below an extensive horizontal bedding plane. Above that plane were more fossils, but of cool-loving a plants. A finger could show the exact location of the abrupt change to the cooler climate at the onset of the first of the world-wide Pleistocene glaciations [Ice Ages]. Ice formed widely at the ultimate expense of sea water, so sea level fell. At Ohuka, sea bed had become land. Such changes are rarely seen in a continuous sequence, so I recorded it in a 1957 scientific paper

That resulted in my joining an informal world-wide Group researching changing sea levels. Most interest then was about the rate of sea level rise as the Earth warmed following the “Little Ice Age”. That cool period, from about 1500 to 1700 AD, halted wine- making in England and taro cropping in New Zealand. Our Group determined the rate of sea level rise in many different World regions, from widely-available readings of tide gauges (less variable than those of thermometers). The average for us all was 125 mm/century (“125” here). Hence it would take 8 centuries for sea level to rise 1m – no serious threat to us.

Global Warming Dawns

Subsequently, I attended many international science conferences representing DSIR, NZ or Pacific Nations. I noted the words “Global Warming” appearing increasingly in paper titles, and sensed a growing number of adherents. Those latter arranged a first-ever “Conference on Global Warming” in Vienna in 1985.

Unlike most such meetings, where a communiqué summarising achievements was released on the final day, the full results of this one were delayed for over 2 years. When they did appear (front page, NZ Herald, two days before Christmas 1987) a World Declaration included “Overseas scientists have estimated that the seas around New Zealand will rise by up to 1.4 m in the next 40 years”.

That article concentrated on the massive consequent problems, caused by our carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions, but gave no adequate supporting science. That rate of rise was equivalent to 3,500 mm/century, 28 times faster than our 125. Hence we stupidly ignored it, thinking no- one could possibly believe it.

But the World did believe, and the Global Warming mirage was born. Had 3,500 been true, sea level should have risen by almost 1 m by today – it hasn’t, not even closely. This showed unambiguously that those “Overseas Scientists” were not true scientists. They ignored a most important basic rule of true science “Thou shall not publish Science without first checking it. A check against local tide gauges would have shown how wrong 1.4 m in 40 yrs was; they simply hadn’t bothered to check. That was a First Grave Error.

Australian government scientists were concerned about the effects on Pacific Island nations by any sea level rise of around 3,500 mm/century, and launched a project to determine the correct figure at that time. They announced the result at the 1992 meeting of SOPAC – a geoscientific organisation of South Pacific nations. Their figure was 122 mm/century, confirming the order of magnitude of our group’s 125 average value.

Fooling the World

The Global Warmers persisted with their use of pseudo-science and made further predictions. Understandably they too all proved wrong. At conferences I began to hear, regardless of the science involved, when a speaker wished to “rubbish” some scientific idea or research, he/she stated that conclusion firmly, and followed it by “Just like Global Warming”.

Clearly the Global Warmers heard that too. They didn’t change their pseudo-science, but cleverly changed the name to ‘Climate Change”. [One can disprove warming, but the words change of climate can’t be proved wrong].

The United Nations became interested – major sea level rise could cause havoc in low-lying areas or island groups. They established an Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) and invited nations to send delegates. Not surprisingly those chosen were almost entirely Global Warmers, because they clearly knew something about it. But to do them credit the Panel members acted a little more like true scientists than those earlier. They accepted that “1.4 m in 40 yrs” was wrong and re-evaluated it as “0.49 m by 2100”, [roundly a century ahead].

Thus they dropped 3,500 down to 500 mm/century – to 14% of the original. The cause remained unchanged – our CO 2 emissions to the atmosphere. In no other human activity would those involved retain a belief when the most crucial item involved was found to be 86% wrong by themselves. That was a Second Grave Error.

In spite of that, the World was taken in. Politicians were able to promise to save us from the consequences, and the Media had an unending “Field Day”. It wasn’t that people necessarily believed, but they lacked the courage to risk that it might come true, and that they might have to bear the terrible consequences that had been so forcibly promised.

The New Errors

The new value of “0.49 m by 2100” became widely accepted. In New Zealand, District Councils were instructed by Government Departments, like Conservation and Environment, and by Regional Councils, that they must take full account of the risk that “0.49” implied for a sea level rise by 2100. Councils had to consider that in the same way as earthquake and volcanic risk.

Yet that “0.49” value doesn’t stand up to the most simple scientific scrutiny. First, the rate is four times faster than the current sea level rise, as indicated by regional, widely-available tide gauges; second, no reason was given for quadrupling the value, and third, good science interprets “0.49” in this sense as being deliberately different from 0.48 and 0.50. Thus that effectively claims that those who determined that value know, for sure, where sea level will be a century ahead to ±5 mm.

That was, and is, patently absurd These were the Third, Fourth & Fifth Grave Errors.

Further Damning Disclosures

The United Nations appointed me personally to their UNCSTD Committee which assists small countries with their ability regarding Science and Technology Development. Three or so of us would go to a central city to talk and discuss their options with delegates from regional countries. On one occasion we met in Prague, to assist countries on both sides of the “Iron Curtain”.

While there, we were invited to visit the World’s only “Institute for Global Warming”. It was founded and funded incredibly by the USA and Soviet Union jointly, at the height of their “Cold War”, in an attempt to fund something “for the good of Mankind”, rather than “for armaments”. Some of its staff could have attended the 1985 Conference, and helped create the 1987 World Declaration.

I took the opportunity of asking to see copies of the documents that had been brought to that 1985 Meeting in neutral Austria. Several attendees brought their estimates for sea level rise due to Global Warming. The values, converted to mm/century, ranged from 500 minimum to 3,500 maximum. There can be no doubt that, to ensure that their 1987 World Declaration made the greatest impact, they published the maximum value – contravening the most sacred rule of acceptable science Thou shall not publish items for monetary, political, or personal gain that are not clear un-biased un-inflated truths.

The fact that “up to” was used, might be allowed in non-scientific areas, but not in Science. If World Media had distorted the message, the Warmers should immediately have denied what was wrongly claimed, and ensured that the proper statement got equal publicity. Using a maximum value for greatest effect was the Sixth (and Worst) Grave Error.

Much more HERE

No evidence of unusual, unnatural, or unprecedented warming in Antarctica

Discussing: van Ommen, T. 2013. Antarctic response. Nature Geoscience 6: 334-335.

In a news & views item published in Nature Geoscience, van Ommen (2013) comments on the prior publications of Abram et al. (2013) and Steig et al. (2013), which, in his words, "add to the evidence that changes currently seen in Antarctica are unusual relative to the past 2000 years." And he says that "taken together, alongside other indicators of change, the message is becoming clearer: Antarctica is very likely to be showing a response to the warming climate of the planet," which he says may "reflect the effects of a combination of natural variability and the early impacts of rising greenhouse gas concentrations."

But are the findings of Abram et al. and Steig et al. truly unusual relative to the past 2000 years? In a word, no. And why? Because several scientific studies of Antarctic temperature reconstructions clearly suggest otherwise, as can readily be verified by perusing the brief one-sentence synopses listed below that pertain to a half-dozen journal articles on this subject.

1. Roberts et al. (2004) conducted a fossil diatom analysis of an 82-cm sediment core that was removed from the deepest part of one of the Windmill Islands of East Antarctica, finding a multi-centennial period of warmth (2000-1700 14C yr BP) that experienced summer temperatures they described as being "much higher than present summer temperatures."

2. Hall et al. (2006) found evidence of elephant seal presence at 14 different locations along Antarctica's Victoria Land Coast between 600 BC and AD1400, which they said is indicative of "warmer-than-present climate conditions."

3. Hall (2007) determined that the Collins Ice Cap margin on Fildes Peninsula (King George Island, South Shetland Islands) "is still more extensive than it was prior to ~650 cal. yr BP," which led her to conclude that the climate prior to that time may have been "as warm as or warmer than present."

4. Hall et al. (2010) examined organic-rich sediments exposed by the recent retreat of the Marr Ice Piedmont on western Anvers Island near Norsel Point, finding peat from the exposed sediments dated between 707 ± 36 and 967 ± 47 cal. yr B.P., which led them to conclude that "ice was at or behind its present position at ca. 700-970 cal. yr B.P.," meaning that temperatures during that period were as warm as or warmer than they are currently.

5. Bertler et al. (2011) studied deuterium (?D) data obtained from a 180-meter-long ice core that had been extracted from the ice divide of Victoria Lower Glacier in the northernmost McMurdo Dry Valleys, finding that "the McMurdo Dry Valleys were 0.35°C warmer during the Medieval Warm Period than during the Modern Era."

6. Lu et al. (2012), working with "a downcore ?18O record of natural ikaite hydration waters and crystals collected from the Antarctic Peninsula," found that the "most recent crystals suggest a warming relative to the Little Ice Age in the last century, possibly as part of the regional recent rapid warming," but they add that this latter event "is not yet as extreme in nature as the Medieval Warm Period."

So, no. There is nothing unusual, unnatural or unprecedented about the current level of warmth in and around Antarctica relative to the past 2000 years. And, therefore, there is no logical basis for accusing the historical increase in the air's CO2 concentration over the past 2000 years of having caused any unusual, unnatural or unprecedented warming of the globe, simply because there has been no such warming.


Mandate on ethanol fuel costs drivers dearly: study

Comment from Australia

NSW'S E10 unleaded fuel mandate is a "debacle" and is costing the state's motorists millions, according to an international study.

The Texas Tech University research found motorists had a "significant aversion" to the ethanol blended product.

With the push for E10 reducing the availability of regular grade unleaded, motorists had instead flocked to the more expensive premium petrol because of concerns about E10's potential engine damage as well as fuel efficiency.

"The effect was so pronounced that premium grade gasoline became the No.1 selling grade of gasoline," said the report's authors Michael Noel and Travis Roach.

The mandate was a debacle which had cost motorists "$345 million and counting", said Professor Noel, from the university's department of economics. That figure calculated the price difference between regular unleaded and premium.

"In 2010, one out of every three consumers forced off of regular switched to premium instead of E10," Professor Noel said. "Now six out of 10 consumers are. It is costing more and more for less and less."

While the mandate is hurting motorists, the push to premium is a win for petrol retailers.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission research, Australian fuel retailers enjoy an average profit margin of 3.69¢ a litre of premium fuel sold, compared with 1.77¢ a litre of regular unleaded petrol.

Greens MP John Kaye said the mandate was not working for consumers or the environment. "Motorists who had been using regular unleaded have been faced with the choice of a fuel they don't want and a fuel that is much more expensive," Dr Kaye said.

"While per litre it [the E10 price] looks better, you have to burn more of it to cover the same distance, and you get more air pollution and more CO2 emissions.

"There's no evidence that requiring motorists to use ethanol blended fuels has any net greenhouse gas gain or much in the way of air quality improvement."

Service Station Association senior manager Colin Long said E10 needed to be cheaper if the government wanted more people to buy it.

But the NRMA's motoring and services director Kyle Loades said motorists were switching to premium unnecessarily.


Australia: Ben and Jerry's ice cream hurting Great Barrier reef

Ben and Jerry’s ice cream has been hauled over the coals by the Queensland government for supporting WWF’s "propaganda" save the reef campaign.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell wants Australians to boycott the American company, saying they’ve damaged the reputation of the reef and jeopardised jobs and tourism dollars.

"Another company has signed up to the campaign of lies and deceit that’s been propagated by WWF," Mr Powell said. "The only people taking a scoop out of the reef is Ben and Jerry’s and Unilever. "If you understand the facts, you’d want to be boycotting Ben and Jerry’s."

The minister says he’d be writing to parent company Unilever to express concerns and brief them on the truth.

Earlier this month, Ben and Jerry’s withdrew popular flavour Phish Food because of its allusion to fishfood, as a way of drawing attention to the potential damage to the reef.

They also embarked on a road trip around parts of Australia, giving out free ice cream to highlight their concerns over damage to the reef.

They say the reef is at serious risk of destruction from intensive dredging and dumping, mega-ports and shipping highways.

The brand has championed environmental causes in its 35-year history, including opposing drilling in the Arctic, and says it’s a proud supporter of WWF’s campaign.

"Ben & Jerry’s believes that dredging and dumping in world heritage waters surrounding the marine park area will be detrimental to the reef ecology," Australia brand manager Kalli Swaik said. "It threatens the health of one of Australia’s most iconic treasures."

The Queensland and federal governments in January approved the dumping of three million cubic metres of dredge spoil in the marine park and World Heritage area to enable the Abbot Point coal port expansion.

The government says 70 per cent of the spoil is expected to settle on the seabed.

WWF fears spoil could get caught in currents and smother or poison reefs just 40km away.

CEO Dermot O’Gorman says Ben and Jerry’s involvement reflects the concern of people around the world about how the reef is being managed. "Ben & Jerry’s’ tour is a timely reminder that the world expects the Queensland and Australian governments to lift their game," he said.

UNESCO is due to meet in June to consider the Australian government’s progress in improving the management of the reef.

It’s due to decide this year or next whether to list the reef as a world heritage site in danger.




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


1 May, 2014

Did global warming cause the tragedy on Everest?

This is so brain-dead as not really to deserve reply but maybe I should nonetheless point out the obvious. Since there has been no global warming for 17 years, any recent warming in the Himalayas can only be due to local changes, not global ones. At any one time glaciers across the world are both retreating and advancing due to local effects -- mostly changes in precipitation. Geoffrey Lean is an old Greenie propagandist from way back so the fact that he felt the need to write the tosh below shows how desperate the Warmists now are

It hasn't been much remarked upon during the anguished coverage in Europe and the United States of the deaths of 16 Sherpas in an avalanche on Mount Everest last week, but there is growing concern in the Himalayas that global warming may have played a part in the tragedy – and that it may go on to make the world's highest mountain unclimbable.

Both Sherpas and western climbers are increasingly sounding the alarm, saying that climate change is seriously destabilising the way up the mountain and making its ascent even more dangerous than before.

Concern about melting snow and ice in the Himalayas has been distinctly out of fashion for then past four years or so, following the discovery of a gross error in the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which predicted that the giant mountain chain's glaciers would disappear by 2035. But the melting has continued, albeit at a much smaller pace, all the same.

Research published by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development in Kathmandu last year concluded that Nepal's glaciers have shrunk by 21 per cent over three decades. And studies on the Tibetan side of the range by the Chinese Acadamy of Science have reported that glaciers on Everest have declined ten per cent in the last 40.

"The legendary Apa Sherpa, who jointly holds the record of 21 ascents of the mountain, has long been warning of the effects on the ground. “In 1989, when I first climbed Everest, there was a lot of snow and ice, but now most of it has just become bare rock” he said back in 2012.


New skeptic publication in Nature Climate Change rebuts Åström et al. claims of increased deaths due to heat waves

I do not normally reproduce articles from the Anthonly Watts blog -- on the grounds that anybody reading this blog would already have read the better-known Watts blog. Anthony has however specifically asked for the findings below to be as widely disseminated as possible so I am doing what I can by posting it here -- JR

Rebuttal to Åström et al. Attributing mortality from extreme temperatures to climate change in Stockholm, Sweden., published in Nature Climate Change by Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger, Patrick J. Michaels, and Anthony Watts

Last fall, the press pounced on the results of a new study that found that global climate change was leading to an increasing frequency of heat waves and resulting in greater heat-related mortality. Finally a scientific study showing that global warming is killing us after all! See all you climate change optimists have been wrong all along, human-caused global warming is a threat to our health and welfare.

Not so fast.

Upon closer inspection, it turns out that the authors of that study—which examined heat-related mortality in Stockholm, Sweden—failed to include the impacts of adaptation in their analysis as well as the possibility that some of the temperature rise which has taken place in Stockholm is not from “global” climate change but rather local and regional processes not related to human greenhouse gas emissions.

What the researchers Daniel Oustin Åström and colleagues left out of their original analysis, we (Chip Knappenberger, Pat Michaels, and Anthony Watts) factored in. And when we did so, we arrived at the distinct possibility that global warming led to a reduction in the rate of heat-related mortality in Stockholm.

Our findings have just been published (paywalled) in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change as a Comment on the original Oustin Åström paper (which was published in the same journal).

We were immediately skeptical because the original Oustin Åström results run contrary to a solid body of scientific evidence (including our own) that shows that heat-related mortality and the population’s sensitivity to heat waves was been declining in major cities across America and Europe as people take adaptive measures to protect themselves from the rising heat.

Contrarily, Oudin Åström reported that as a result of an increase in the number of heat waves occurring in Stockholm, more people died from extreme heat during the latter portion of the 20th century than would have had the climate of Stockholm been similar to what it was in the early part of the 20th century—a time during which fewer heat waves were recorded. The implication was that global warming from increasing human greenhouse gas emissions was killing people from increased heat.

But the variability in the climate of Stockholm is a product of much more than human greenhouse gas emissions. Variations in the natural patterns of regional-scale atmospheric circulation, such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), as well as local impacts associated with urbanization and environmental changes in the direct vicinity of the thermometer are reflected in the city’s temperature history, and the original Oudin Åström et al. publication did not take this into account. This effect is potentially significant as Stockholm is one of Europe’s fastest growing cities.

But regardless of the cause, rising temperatures spur adaptation. Expanded use of air conditioning, biophysical changes, behavior modification, and community awareness programs are all examples of actions which take place to make us better protected from the dangers associated with heat waves. Additionally, better medical practices, building practices, etc. have further reduced heat-related stress and mortality over the years.

The net result is that as result of the combination of all the adaptive measures that have taken place over the course of the 20th century in Stockholm, on average people currently die in heat waves at a rate four times less than they did during the beginning of the 20th century. The effect of adaptation overwhelms the effect of an increase in the number of heat waves.

In fact, it is not a stretch to say that much of the adaptation has likely occurred because of an increased frequency of heat waves. As heat waves become more common, the better adapted to them the population becomes.

Our analysis highlights one of the often overlooked intricacies of the human response to climate change—the fact that the response to a changing climate can actually improve public health and welfare.


Reality Check: Coal To Fill China's Nuclear Gap

Though China is pushing nuclear energy and renewables hard, coal will be the fuel of the world's most populous, and polluted, country into the foreseeable future.

To combat worsening greenhouse-gas emissions and pollution, China aims to raise its nuclear capacity to 200 gigawatts by 2030, from only 14.6 gigawatts last year.

But it probably won't reach that goal, energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie forecast in a report Monday—which will mean opportunities for miners to supply huge amounts of additional coal to make up the power shortfall.

Shortages of qualified personnel, technology constraints, inadequate infrastructure for uranium-fuel fabrication and disposal, and public opposition to inland nuclear plants all mean a more realistic nuclear capacity in 2030 will be 175 gigawatts.

"China's nuclear capacity will account for 30% of the world's total nuclear fleet," said Gavin Thompson, head of Asia Pacific gas and power research at the consultancy. "Putting things into context, in 2013 China made up a mere 4.5% of the global nuclear fleet. Therefore the growth we expect in this time frame is phenomenal, even if targets are not met."

A shortfall of 25 gigawatts would equate to additional annual coal demand of 63 million tons by 2025, falling to 55 million tons by 2030, with gas and renewables filling the rest of the gap, he said.

Coal produced 65% of the electricity used by China last year, with hydropower second at less than 20%, Fitch Ratings said in March, adding that coal plants represent about 70% of national power capacity. Wood Mackenzie puts coal's share of China's energy mix last year higher, at close to 75%, and forecasts it will ease to 64% by 2030.

While such forecasts can be affected by many factors, "our nuclear outlook for China reinforces Wood Mackenzie's view that coal will continue to play a dominant role in power generation in the foreseeable future, even with the successful implementation of new environmental measures," Mr. Thompson said.


Reality Check II: Post-Fukushima Japan Chooses Coal Over Renewable Energy

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing Japan’s coal industry to expand sales at home and abroad, undermining hopes among environmentalists that he’d use the Fukushima nuclear accident to switch the nation to renewables.

A new energy plan approved by Japan’s cabinet on April 11 designates coal an important long-term electricity source while falling short of setting specific targets for cleaner energy from wind, solar and geothermal. The policy also gives nuclear power the same prominence as coal in Japan’s energy strategy.

In many ways, utilities are already ahead of policy makers. With nuclear reactors idled for safety checks, Japan’s 10 power companies consumed 5.66 million metric tons of coal in January, a record for the month and 12 percent more than a year ago, according to industry figures.

“You cannot exclude coal when you think about the best energy mix for Japan to keep energy costs stable,” said Naoya Domoto, president of energy and plant operations at IHI Corp., a developer of a technology known as A-USC that burns coal to produce a higher temperature steam. “One way to do that is to use coal efficiently.”

Japan’s appetite for coal mirrors trends in Europe and the U.S., where the push for cheaper electricity is undermining rules limiting fossil fuel emissions and supporting cleaner energy. In the U.S., a frigid winter boosted natural gas prices, providing catalyst for utilities to extend the lives of dirtier coal plants. Germany, Spain and Britain are slashing subsidies for renewables to rein in the cost of electricity.


How Britain Is Wasting Its Real Shale Potential

One of the world's most sclerotic bureaucratic states shows its form

WITH the Ukraine crisis intensifying and concerns growing over its impact on energy security, the government has responded this week with rather inconsistent messages: it announced more multi-billion subsidies for unreliable renewable energy projects and another promise to speed up shale gas extraction in Britain.

Speaking at a conference in Blackpool, and with a new report finding that shale could attract £33bn in investment and create 64,000 jobs, energy minister Michael Fallon claimed that this week will see the “kick off” in the development of shale gas in the UK. We’ve heard similar pronouncements before. Exactly one year ago, Fallon announced that Britain was “on track to accelerate” its shale gas programme. Yet there has been no progress in actually getting shale gas out of the ground.

In Texas, it takes seven days to get a permission for hydraulic fracturing of shale. In Britain, the wait has been going on for a whopping seven years. In 2007, Cuadrilla was granted a licence for shale gas exploration in Lancashire. Seven years later, not a single cubic foot of gas has been extracted.

Compare this with the Vaca Muerta shale basin in Argentina, discovered just over three years ago. The first horizontal well was drilled within 12 months. One year on, it produced over 20,000 barrels of shale oil per day.

For too long, the coalition has been talking the talk. Chris Wright, a leading US shale investor, told a parliamentary committee last year that he won’t invest in UK shale exploration because green tape and bureaucratic hurdles are making the approval process far too long and convoluted.

The government has promised a new, fast-track regulatory framework for fracking licences. Whether it will remove the existing obstacles remains to be seen. But in any case, the government seems far more concerned with speeding up the approval of costly green energy projects. This week, energy secretary Ed Davey announced generous subsidies for new offshore wind farms and other renewable projects. They will cost consumers more than twice the amount they have to pay for the current wholesale price of electricity, increasing household electricity bills by 2 per cent.

Interestingly, Davey no longer denies the growing burden of his subsidies, but argues that renewable energy is essential to boost energy security in light of Ukraine. In reality, wind and solar energy have become a serious energy security risk in a number of European countries, because they are intermittent and thus an unreliable way to generate electricity. Preferential support for green energy projects and environmental opposition to fracking have also slowed or stopped shale exploration in many parts of Europe.

Only now that the Ukraine crisis is intensifying by the day are European leaders calling for the EU to speed up the development and exploitation of shale resources. They have identified shale gas as one of the “indigenous” sources of energy that will help reduce dependency on gas imports from an increasingly erratic Russia.

In light of this, and the need to bring down (rather than drive up) energy prices, the UK would be well advised to proceed as rapidly as possible with its domestic shale development.


Big Win for Obama's EPA, As SCOTUS Upholds Cross-State Pollution Rule

The SCOTUS majority just made the law up as they went along

In a major anti-pollution ruling, the Supreme Court on Tuesday backed federally imposed limits on smokestack emissions that cross state lines and burden downwind areas with bad air from power plants they can't control.

The 6-2 ruling was an important victory for the Obama administration in controlling emissions from power plants in 27 Midwestern and Appalachian states that contribute to soot and smog along the East Coast.

It also capped a decades-long effort by the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that states are good neighbors and don't contribute to pollution problems elsewhere. The rule upheld Tuesday was EPA's third attempt to solve the problem.

The rule, challenged by industry and upwind states, had been cast by foes as an attempt by the Obama administration to step on states' rights and to shut down aging coal-fired power plants. Opponents said the decision could embolden the agency to take the same tack later this year when it proposes rules to limit carbon pollution. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has said the agency will be flexible and work with states on the first-ever controls on power plants for the gases blamed for global warming.

On Tuesday, the court upheld a rule adopted by the EPA in 2011 that would force polluting states to reduce smokestack emissions that contaminate the air in downwind states. Power companies and several states sued to block the rule, and a federal appeals court in Washington agreed with them in 2012.

The Supreme Court reversed that decision. Writing for the majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg acknowledged the complexity of the problem before EPA. "In crafting a solution to the problem of interstate air pollution, regulators must account for the vagaries of the wind," Ginsburg wrote.

The high court said the EPA, under the Clean Air Act, can implement federal plans in states that do not adequately control downwind pollution. But the court also ruled that the EPA can consider the cost of pollution controls and does not have to require states to reduce pollution by the precise amount they send to downwind states.

McCarthy called the court's ruling "a resounding victory for public health and a key component of EPA's efforts to make sure all Americans have clean air to breathe."

But Justice Antonin Scalia, in a vigorous dissent from the outcome, said, "Today's decision feeds the uncontrolled growth of the administrative state at the expense of government by the people." Reading part of his dissent from the bench, Scalia said the result "comes at the expense of endorsing, and thereby encouraging for the future, rogue administration of the law."

Justice Clarence Thomas joined Scalia in dissent. Justice Samuel Alito took no part in consideration of the case.

The new downwind pollution rule was triggered by a federal court throwing out a previous Bush administration regulation. The Bush-era rule has remained in effect while the courts have weighed challenges to the latest version, and EPA officials said the Bush rule would remain in place while they digested the Supreme Court's opinion.

The new rule would cost power plant operators $800 million annually, starting in 2014, according to EPA estimates. Some $1.6 billion per year has been spent to comply with the 2005 Bush rule.

The EPA says the investments would be far outweighed by the hundreds of billions of dollars in health care savings from cleaner air. The agency said the rule would prevent more than 30,000 premature deaths and hundreds of thousands of illnesses each year.

"The Supreme Court today laid to rest the well-worn issue of how to regulate air pollution that is transported hundreds of miles throughout the eastern U.S. and that makes it nearly impossible for states acting alone to protect the health and welfare of their citizens," said Bill Becker, the executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, which represents air pollution control agencies in 45 states and territories and 116 major metropolitan areas nationwide.

Texas led 14 states and industry groups in challenging the rule. Most downwind states support it.

States had argued, and the lower court had agreed, that they deserved a chance to figure out how much they were contributing to pollution in other states and how to reduce it before the EPA prescribed fixes. The lower court also faulted the EPA for requiring states to reduce pollution through a complex formula based on cost that did not exactly match how much downwind pollution a state was responsible for.

Agreeing with the EPA, Ginsburg wrote that the realities of interstate air pollution "are not so simple." She wrote, "Most upwind states contribute to pollution to multiple downwind states in varying amounts."

The lower court will still have to decide if the EPA acted properly when it rejected state plans that had been approved under an earlier version of the rule.

Opponents of the decision Tuesday said it violated the intent of the Clean Air Act, which envisions states and the EPA working cooperatively to reduce air pollution.

"The Supreme Court majority has refused to allow the states to have any voice in the practicalities of determining the impact of their emissions on neighboring states," said Richard Faulk, senior director at George Mason Law School's Energy and Environment Initiative.

As for legal grounds, Scalia said the majority had "zero textual basis" in the Clean Air Act for justifying the EPA's approach, and he mocked its analysis as "Look Ma, no hands!"

Ginsburg said Scalia's approach would result in "costly overregulation" and called it "both inefficient and inequitable."




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


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich


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

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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