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

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

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

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

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30 November, 2011

UN 'expert': climate change could lead to war

It's a good thing we live in an era of exceptional temperature stability, then. Warming is a prophecy. The facts say otherwise

Attempting to begin the United Nations climate change conference with a stirring call to action, one UN official blasted economic markets principles for asphyxiating "time-honored values of humanity" and suggested that failure to act on global warming fears could damage international human rights and destabilize "peace and security."

Describing the climate change conference as a "make or break moment for humanity," UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity Virginia Dandan said in a statement that failure to produce anti-greenhouse gas emissions policies "would impact on the three pillars of the UN – namely, peace and security, development and human rights, and pin the world down to ground zero.”

Dandan claimed a morally superior position to economic critics of global warming policy. “There is great need for a radical mindset change in order to bring back to the negotiating table the time-honoured values of humanity that have been forgotten after decades of market and profit-driven orientation,” she said.

Her logic might assume that some economic benefit would result from lowering greenhouse gas emissions, however, as Dandan called for conference attendees "to face the challenges posed by climate change such as . . . the continuing and widening poverty gap, and the series of food, energy, economic and financial global crises.”

Recently released emails indicate that scientists stoking the fears about global warming have manipulated the data to justify their political policies. One researcher even noted, in a private message, that “observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest.”


How going green goes against the environment

Going green has nasty un-environmental consequences that rank-and-file greenies either don't know or don't care about.

For example, those multi-acre wind farms not only kill millions of birds while delivering a mere fraction of the electricity compared to nearly every other power source but 420 of them in Pennsylvania killed 10,000 bats last year.

Bats, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, eat millions of crop-destroying insects. Fewer bats ("nature's pesticides") mean more bugs, causing farmers to spend more on chemical pesticides, raising food prices for everyone.

Bats also eat millions of mosquitoes, many of which may carry West Nile virus and other diseases deadly to humans.

The result: Everyone loses except Obama's taxpayer-subsidized "green jobs" cronies.

Meanwhile, localities nationwide are banning both paper and plastic bags, forcing grocery shoppers to switch to those reusable cloth bags.

But after all the tradeoffs are considered, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (PDF), reusable bags require far more energy and other resources to manufacture, and consume energy and water to wash them, so they must be used 103 times before yielding environmental benefits over paper or plastic bags (studies show they're typically reused 51 times).

The impact of swapping America's 193,979,654 fossil-fueled Light duty vehicles (cars, pickups, SUVs, etc., per Bureau of Transportation, 2009) for electric cars has so many negative impacts they can't even be touched in this article. Go to instead.

Problems like increased strip mining for the hazardous metals (lead-acid, nickel-metal hydride, lithium ion, etc.) plus processing to make those $8,000 car batteries that only last three years, and the hundreds of recycling plants and hazardous waste dumps to process the throwaways, all of which are energy intensive, are only the beginning.

What is rarely considered elsewhere, however, is explaining where all of the additional electricity required to keep all those car batteries recharged will come from.

It may mean doubling, tripling or quadrupling the nation's electric grid.

The most likely, realistic, way to do that is building hundreds of new coal-fired power generating plants.

City-dwelling green voters will be happy with their cleaner air, unmindful that the pollution has simply been shifted into other people's backyards out in Flyover Country, along with all those additional strip mines and hazardous waste dumps.

Libertarians rightfully insist that all environmental trade-offs be considered. Otherwise it isn't environmentalism, its just politics.


More Smoking Guns From The Global Warming Establishment

A new release of incriminating e-mail exchanges between leading climate scientists that is now being termed “Climategate II” actually represents but another episode in a continuing scandal that has been taking place for decades. This fraud of massive scope and consequence has served as the basis for arguably the greatest regulatory overreach of all time.

It has been used to justify the EPA’s demands that restrict carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gas” emissions from stationary sources they attribute to causing climate change. Included are electrical power generation facilities, iron and steel mills, pulp and paper mills, cement production, and the construction industry.

The EPA’s “Endangerment Finding” applied to support these actions was based upon politically-manipulated human-caused climate warming conclusions issued by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that were even at odds with findings of its own internal study on the matter. That EPA report stated “given the downward trend in temperatures since 1998 (which some think will continue until at least 2030), there is no particular reason to rush into decisions based upon a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data.”

As if the first round of e-mails purloined from the U.K.’s East Anglia University Climate Research Unit (CRU) network weren’t damning enough, the new batch of about 5,000 more obtained through an anonymous source identified as “FOIA” are truly stunning. Many clearly confirm that top IPCC scientists consciously misrepresented and actively withheld important information…then attempted to prevent discovery. Included are CRU’s Director of Research, Phil Jones, the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) climate’s analysis section head, Kevin Trenberth; and beleaguered Penn State University “hockey stick” originator, Michael Mann.

“If there were any doubts remaining after reading the first Climategate e-mails, the new batch of e-mails that appeared on the web today [November 22] make it clear that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an organized conspiracy dedicated to tricking the world into believing that global warming is a crisis that requires a drastic response,” said Myron Ebell, Director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center on Energy and Environment. “Several of the new e-mails show that the scientists involved in doctoring the IPCC reports are very aware that the energy-rationing policies that their junk science is meant to support would cost trillions of dollars.”

Phil Jones, who served as a lead author for one of the key chapters in IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (2007), leaves no doubt of intentions to keep embarrassing and conspiratorial disclosures under tight wraps:
I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working on AR5 would be to delete all e-mails at the end of the process. Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Department of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.

In another e-mail Jones admits that the climate models alarmist claims have been built upon can’t be trusted: “Basic problem is that all models are wrong – not got enough middle and low level clouds. …what he [Zwiers] has done comes to a different conclusion than Caspar and Gene! I reckon this can be saved by careful wording.”

Jones certainly isn’t alone in recognizing serious credibility problems posed by continued use of model-based climate forecasts. Regarding the “future of IPCC”, one scientist observes, “It is inconceivable that policymakers will be willing to make billion-and trillion-dollar decisions for adaptation to the projected regional climate change based on models that do not even describe and simulate the processes that are the building blocks of climate variability.” Another admits: “…clearly, some tuning or very good luck [is] involved. I doubt the modeling world will be able to get away with this much longer.” Tom Wigley of the NCAR complained in still another exchange: “Mike, the Figure you sent is very deceptive … there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC …”

After NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth found he couldn’t defend his correlation between global warming and extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes based upon Northern Hemisphere records, he instead advocated shifting IPCC report references to Japan events: “… opposing some things said by people like Chris Landsea who has said all the stuff going on is natural variability. In addition to the 4 hurricanes hitting Florida, there has been a record number hit Japan 10?? and I saw a report saying Japanese scientists had linked this to global warming … I am leaning toward the idea of getting a box on changes in hurricanes, perhaps written by a Japanese.” Phil Jones agreed, writing, “We can put a note in that something will be there in the next draft, or Kevin or I will write something – it depends on whether and what we get from Japan.”

Jones was anxious to get the warming-hurricane connection into the scientific literature. He wrote in another e-mail to Trenberth: “Kevin, Seems that this potential Nature [journal] paper may be worth citing, if it does say that GW [global warming] is having an effect on TC [tropical cyclone] activity.” And in another communication Jones wanted to make sure that people who supported this connection be represented in IPCC reviews. “Getting people we know and trust [into IPCC] is vital – hence my comment about the tornadoes group.”

Several exchanges reveal that certain researchers believed well-intentioned ideology trumped objective science. Jonathan Overpeck, a coordinating lead IPCC report author, stated: “The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is left out.”

Referring to his alarmist blog site, Michael Mann was obviously motivated to get his message out. He wrote: “… the important thing is to make sure they’re [the skeptics are] lo[o]sing the PR battle. That’s what the site [] is about.”

Some scientists candidly criticized Mann’s research competency and objectivity. John Mitchell of the U.K. Hadley Center’s Met Office rhetorically asked:
Is the PCA [principal components analysis] approach robust? Are the results statistically significant? It seems to me that in the case of MBH [one of the key hockey stick articles authored by Mann, Raymond S. Bradley, and Malcolm K. Hughes] the answer in each is no.

Even Raymond Bradley, Mann’s co-author for his most infamous hockey stick paper, took issue with another article jointly published by Mann and Jones, stating: “I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL [Geophysical Research Letters] paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction.” Rutgers University scientist G.H. Cook commented, “I am afraid that Mike [Mann] is defending something that increasingly can not be defended. He is investing too much personal stuff in this and not letting the science move ahead.”

And just how important are real facts? Tom Crowley, a key member of Mann’s global warming hockey team, didn’t seem overly concerned when he stated: “I am not convinced that the ‘truth’ is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships.” However another researcher saw a problem with this reasoning: “What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multi-decadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably…”

Writing to Jones, Peter Thorne of the U.K. Met Office also advised caution, saying: “Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary…” In another e-mail he stated: “I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.”

Yes, and that political spin has already been exceedingly costly. The U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) reports that federal climate spending has increased from $4.6 billion in 2003 to $8.8 billion in 2010 (a total $106.7 billion over that period). This doesn’t include $79 billion more spent for climate change technology research, tax breaks for “green energy”, foreign aid to help other countries address “climate problems”; another $16.1 billion since 1993 in federal revenue losses due to green energy subsidies; or still another $26 billion earmarked for climate change programs and related activities in the 2009 “Stimulus Bill”.

Virtually all of this is based upon unfounded representations that we are experiencing a known human-caused climate crisis, a claim based upon speculative theories, contrived data and totally unproven modeling predictions. And what redemptive solutions are urgently implored? We must give lots of money to the U.N. to redistribute; abandon fossil fuel use in favor of heavily subsidized but assuredly abundant, “free”, and “renewable” alternatives; and empower expanding government bureaucracies to protect us from free market excesses.

During an interview with Thalia Assuras of Energy Now News last week, EPA chief Lisa Jackson was asked about the agency’s regulatory boom and the resulting mass retirements of coal-fired plants which provide the majority share of all U.S. electricity. First she correctly denied that the EPA requires shutting down any plants. Of course, she’s right…EPA only writes rules so stringent that they are no longer economic to operate.

Then Jackson went on to explain:
No, I can’t say what a business will decide to do. Some businesses are investing in nuclear, some are looking at natural gas. There are some states that are leading the way on solar and wind…What EPA’s role is to do is to level the playing field so that pollution costs are not exported to the population but rather companies have to look at the pollution potential of any fuel or any process or any plant or any utility when they’re making investment decisions.

So let’s be really sure we understand. The EPA’s latest new role is to “level the playing field”? And by “pollution”, we’re referring here to CO2…the basic nutrient all plants (and thereby all animals) depend upon to live?

Might it be way past time to tromp large carbon footprints on some deserving bureaucrat butts?


Watching The Wheels Come Off The Green Machine

The body count continues to rise as the Green Jobs Revolution sputters its way to the end of a disastrous 2011. Few seemed to notice last week when the electric vehicle maker A123 Systems—poster child for successful clean tech investing—“temporarily” laid off 125 workers at its flagship manufacturing plants in Michigan on the eve of the Thanksgiving media break. It also reduced its earnings guidance for 2011 by $45 million, because its anchor customer, Fisker Automotive, “unexpectedly” delayed the production ramp-up for its Karma luxury electric car—again.

Could these be the same plants that Democratic congressional leaders hailed as the birth of a new era in American manufacturing? The same plants that received a $249 million U.S. Department of Energy grant from the same stimulus money bucket that funded Solyndra? The same plants for which Michigan shelled out $125 million in incentives to lure away from Massachusetts?

Environmentally correct planners put all this public money to work to relieve the technology bottleneck they believed held back our transition to electric cars. So they invested my money and yours into building the largest lithium ion automotive battery plant in North America—to supply a Finnish electric car manufacturer backed by Al Gore’s venture capital fund and which received $529 million in federal loan guarantees. That Finnish manufacturer was supposed to begin production in 2009, but to date has only shipped 40 cars into the U.S. Those cars were delivered to a handful of millionaires and billionaires like Leonardo DeCaprio and Ray Lane who received tax credits because they bought an electric car.

You can’t make this stuff up. Unless you are a central planner; then you can make up anything you want and get away with it as long as taxpayers keep writing checks, politicians keep spinning tales, and pundits keep giving them intellectual cover.

The coming glut of automotive lithium ion batteries will make for quite a fire sale. Forecasts made as recently as three months ago predicted that electric cars would become the leading application for lithium ion batteries by 2015, surpassing laptop PCs and other handheld devices. Who are they kidding? How many portable electronic devices do you own? How many electric cars have you ever even seen? By any rational standard the introduction of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, with fewer than 2,000 units sold between them last month, can only be described as disasters.

Investors who piled into the car battery market attracted by the flow of federal largesse had better put on their crash helmets. It’s going to get ugly when the reverse multiplier effect leverages hundreds of millions of public money into billions in private losses.

Watch this space for the post mortem when A123 is forced to declare bankruptcy just in time for the 2012 presidential election. Of course, this won’t happen until after the company blows through its next $134 million in scheduled DOE grants. Investigations to follow.

What is it that green planners don’t understand about the complexities of re-engineering an entire ecosystem? Do they think they’ll get an A for effort if they get a few pieces of the supply chain to work just as the rest come crashing down around them? Do they believe they can simply mothball the A123 plant while someone else figures out how to design and build an electric car that customers actually want?

Or maybe they believe all these problems can be fixed by forcing consumers to buy electric cars. After all, if we can be forced to buy health insurance, why not electric cars?

As silly as that sounds, this seems to be EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s plan. She recently overruled Congress by issuing regulations calling for America’s fleet of passenger vehicles to meet an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Overruled Congress? Yes, by declaring carbon dioxide—the stuff you and I breathe out and plants breath in—a pollutant, the EPA seeks to trump Congress’s 2007 CAFE legislation by twisting the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act beyond all recognition, thereby granting itself authority to enact fuel economy standards where none exists. Meanwhile, it dares a dysfunctional Congress to halt this unconstitutional power grab.

The EPA estimates that compliance with the new rules will cost Americans “only” $157 billion. Estimates weren’t provided for the additional highway deaths that would ensue when vehicle weights have to be reduced to meet the standard. But why should lives and money matter when green ideology is at stake?

One of the key tenets of activist government is that the failures of central planning can always be solved with more central planning, just as failed spending programs can be fixed with more spending. All it takes is the will to reallocate resources from the private sector to the state, along with the courage to forge ahead no matter how many failures pile up. President Obama has made this approach the centerpiece of his “We Can’t Wait” campaign, issuing a stream of executive orders to demonstrate his leadership abilities.

Leadership, indeed. But to where?


‘Prepare To Have That Puddle in Your Back Yard Regulated’

Just as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has used the Clean Air Act to broaden the scope of their authority way beyond its original intention with rules like MACT and CSAPR, the Clean Water Act is becoming a tool of overreach by the out of control agency.

Barack Obama and the EPA’s Lisa Jackson have made it clear through their actions that they will circumvent the legislature by using regulatory enforcement to enact Obama’s green dreams, and now it seems that circumvention includes the Supreme Court of the United States.

During the Bush presidency, a series of Supreme Court decisions acknowledged the limits of reach for the Clean Water Act. Most notably, the Supreme Court clarified that federal jurisdiction did not extend to wetlands and other “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. Through the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook Country v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2001) and Raponos v. U.S. (2006) the Supreme Court established that private property rights still mattered even in light of the Clean Water Act and that the federal government did not have authority over them.

This of course isn’t stopping Barack Obama and Lisa Jackson from moving forward anyway.

It’s important to remember the original purpose of the Clean Water Act (1972). It gives the federal government and the EPA the authority to regulate “navigable waterways.” In other words, not a ditch out front with a lot of water in it and certainly not acres upon acres of private or state owned wetlands. Yet, regulating these types of waters is precisely what the EPA is in the midst of doing.

The Army Corps (pronounced core) of Engineers and the EPA are in the process of finalizing “Draft Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act,” which is a fancy way of saying “we’re going to go out and change the definition of certain bodies of water so that we can pretend they fall within the Supreme Court’s definitions.”

The Barrasso-Heller Amendment, introduced by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), was created to prevent the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA from incorporating those Obama changes into the regulatory guidelines, which serves the purpose of distinguishing precisely what the Supreme Court had already covered when it established the clear limitations of the Act.


Australia: Growling grass frog cost $2.6 billion

A SMALL green frog could stop up to 66,000 houses being built and prevent $2.6 billion in development. A draft report on saving the growling grass frog has recommended the State Government declare 4400ha of the city's growth corridor off limits for developers.

Landowners say properties have been made worthless and question whether the frog is endangered.

The draft report calls for 200m no-go zones beside waterways in Melbourne's growth zones where the frogs are found.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy said he sympathised with developers, blaming an environmental agreement between the previous government and Canberra, which was adding thousands of dollars to the price of housing blocks.

"I don't know if it is endangered," he said. "All I know is it is a frog that is worth a lot of money in terms of land lots and is holding up a huge amount in our growth corridors and I question the arbitrary nature of some of the distances imposed by the Federal Government."

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said arrangements with the Victorian Government meant developments on Melbourne's fringe no longer needed individual assessments. "If the Victorian Government wishes to throw out the strategic assessment then we can go back to individual project assessments," he said. "This will increase the time it takes for approvals which will drive up the cost of housing."

Urban Development Institute of Australia chief executive Tony De Domenico said the frogs would drive the price of house blocks up by $5000 in some areas.

"We've been frustrated by growling grass frogs, bandicoots, legless lizards, mouthless moths, and the golden sun moth in particular," he said. "Some of these so-called endangered species are so endemic they are found everywhere."



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29 November, 2011

Anger at aid to help Africa cope with climate change: As UK faces economic meltdown, ministers hand over £330m

Hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash is to be poured into Africa to help it cope with the impact of climate change.

The £330million handout will be spent over the next four years on schemes to install solar power plants and encouraging investment in low-carbon transport.

One of the main beneficiaries will be South Africa, a country which is prosperous enough to have its own space agency.

Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem energy secretary, will unveil the foreign aid package at a United Nations summit on climate change which opens today.

The largesse will fuel criticism from Tory backbenchers over David Cameron’s promise to increase UK spending on aid at a time when public services in Britain are facing swingeing cuts.

Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, said: ‘It is completely unjustifiable to spend so much money at a time when we’re reducing the number of police officers in this country.’

Fellow Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘What makes it worse is that much of the aid budget is spent on things that are not really benefiting developing countries. The answer is trade, not aid.’

In a sign that the Government is pulling in different directions on environmental policy, George Osborne will announce tomorrow that the Treasury will offer £250million in tax breaks to firms hit by Mr Huhne’s climate change policies.

He will use his Autumn Statement – effectively a mini-Budget – to help companies that use large amounts of energy after being warned that Britain’s plans to cut carbon emissions faster than our competitors was driving business abroad.

Energy-intensive firms such as cement, aluminium and steel makers will get 95 per cent relief from the climate change levy as well as tens of millions of pounds to offset new carbon levies. Mr Osborne insists Britain should not seek to lead the world in cutting emissions and that he is not prepared to bankrupt British businesses by putting them at a competitive disadvantage.

But Mr Huhne is pressing ahead with spending taxpayers’ money promoting green policies in the rest of the world.

In the second week of the UN climate change conference in the South African city of Durban, he is expected to say the aid will go towards a variety of anti-climate change schemes, such as helping African farmers protect their crops against flooding and drought, installing solar panels in villages, and building slurry pits to produce gas for generators.

Projects to target illegal logging in tropical forests will also get cash.

Ethiopia and Rwanda are expected to benefit, as well as South Africa, the most developed country on the continent with an economy which grew far faster than Britain’s last year.

It is not known whether the money will go straight to governments or whether it will be channelled via charities and companies.

Some £282.5million has already been allocated towards aid for foreign climate-change projects. But next week’s announcement will see hundreds of millions more allocated to African climate-change projects by 2015.

Last night critics questioned whether so much money should continue to be ploughed into Africa, where aid money has a history of disappearing as a result of corruption. Just last week, an independent watchdog found that the rapid expansion of Britain’s international aid programme has left it increasingly exposed to fraud.

Julian Morris, president of the London-based think tank International Policy Network, said Mr Huhne’s announcement would be seen as a ‘bribe’.
A NASA thermal satellite image shows the world's arctic surface temperature trends. Experts have warned that levels of the greenhouse gases that drive climate change have reached a record high

A NASA thermal satellite image shows the world's arctic surface temperature trends. Experts have warned that levels of the greenhouse gases that drive climate change have reached a record high

‘The timing seems to be a cynical move by the British Government,’ he said.

‘It suggests this is an attempt to bribe African governments to sign up to whatever deals the British Government wants them to sign up to in Durban. The money will almost certainly go to foreign governments and do little to improve the lot of the poor.’

Robert Oxley of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘The Government should be freezing international aid, not increasing it.

‘Rather than throwing money away on corruption and programmes that deliver little of real substance, aid should be targeted at the world’s poorest who really need help.’

A spokesman for Mr Huhne’s Department for Energy and Climate Change would not confirm the total amount, and said it was not new money as it will be drawn from the Coalition’s fully- funded £2.9billion International Climate Fund.

Last night Business Department sources said Vince Cable had been instrumental in raising his concern about the cost of energy and climate change policies on manufacturing businesses, writing to the Prime Minister and George Osborne on the issue in April.

‘They have made considerable capital investment in their British plants to make sure they are energy efficient. This investment shows their commitment to the UK,’ said one.

‘That’s why it’s so vital we don’t repay their faith in Britain with the introduction of a hefty tax, which could see them relocate and result in the loss of British jobs and do nothing about reducing global carbon emissions.’


Nuclear power? Yes please!: A former British opponent does an about-face

By Fred Pearce (Fred Pearce is an author and environmental consultant at New Scientist magazine)

I never thought I’d say this – but the future is nuclear. Or it should be. And I urge Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne – who, like me, has been an opponent of nuclear power – to embrace that future. Our energy bills depend on it. And so may our climate.

Huhne’s ‘green tax’ sparked anger last week as it became clear that this surcharge on our energy bills will rise to £280 a year for every household by the end of the decade.

For what? Some of the revenue from the tax, currently set at £89 per household, goes to pay for renewable energy projects such as the sleek and costly offshore wind turbines sprouting across the North Sea. But don’t worry, Huhne says, because the tax will also pay to cut our need for energy by subsidising home insulation, better boilers and the like. We will all end up better off.

There is a deal of scepticism about that claim. And many people would prefer a couple of hundred quid in their pockets than a pile of foam insulation in their loft.

To be fair to Huhne, our current high energy bills are not mainly because of the green tax. The real problem for now is rising prices for gas and other fuels. But behind the immediate stink is a bigger issue. How do we want to get our electricity in future?

The truth is that our energy industry is in a mess. Ever since privatisation, the utilities have been mired in short-term thinking and have failed to invest. The big power stations built by the old Central Electricity Generating Board are reaching the end of their lives.

Unless Huhne does something to replace them, he will be remembered as the Minister who left us huddled over candles as well as forking out for a green tax.

Hopefully, Chancellor George Osborne will kick-start that process on Tuesday by announcing plans to accelerate infrastructure building as a recession-busting measure. But that still begs the question: What should we build? Should we opt for burning coal and gas, irradiating uranium or using Huhne’s green tax to harness the winds and tides?

In my judgment any long-term planning that ignores climate change is not just anti-green but botched business. Climate change is real. Admittedly, there are big uncertainties about how fast it will proceed, and what havoc it could cause. But the billions of tons of greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere each year by burning coal, oil and gas are trapping ever more of the sun’s heat. That’s 200-year-old physics.

So the world is going to have to move to low-carbon energy – and the sooner we get on this road the better. In Britain, now is the perfect time. And here is the good news. We don’t have to pay through the nose for a low-carbon future. All we have to do is to conquer our fear of nuclear power.

In fact, I see no sensible low-carbon future that does not involve a lot of nuclear power.

Here’s why. First, by most measures nuclear is much greener than renewables. Yes, you read that right. Like them, it is indisputably low-carbon. No carbon is burned in a nuclear reactor, so no carbon dioxide is produced.

But because you can get gigawatts of power from one site, nuclear is the only form of low-carbon energy that won’t blight the British countryside with wind turbines, solar panels or fleets of new pylons. Even better, because we have plenty of nuclear sites across the country where old power plants are shutting, new ones can be slotted in easily.

Second, nuclear is cheap. It is not yet quite as cheap as coal or gas but it is only half the cost of offshore wind, and an even better bargain compared with solar panels or tidal power. That calculation, incidentally, includes the huge costs of handling spent nuclear fuel and decommissioning the reactor when its days are done.

Third, nuclear is doable. France spotted this long ago. Starting in the Seventies, it fitted itself out with enough nukes to power most of the country – in just a decade. France now has some of the cheapest electricity in Europe. And the company that did it, EDF, would love to do the same here.

Of course, nuclear has a PR problem. Some say it is unsafe. Yet even when nature threw a magnitude-nine earthquake and a 50 ft tsunami at a clapped-out Japanese nuclear plant at Fukushima this year, the meltdown failed to kill anyone.

Then the German government announced it would phase out all its nuclear power plants by 2022. But that was a big environmental own goal for a country supposedly dedicated to fighting climate change because coal will be the big winner. Germany’s carbon emissions will rise as a result. Nice work, greens.

Some say we can’t handle the waste. Britain is sitting on enough high-level nuclear waste to fill three Olympic swimming pools, and enough intermediate waste to fill a supertanker. It’s all waiting for a final resting place. But for that we can blame vehement environmental opposition to every proposed burial site.

For the greens to argue that nuclear technology must be abandoned because disposal routes haven’t been secured is a bit rich. They are largely to blame. Even so, the radioactive nasties are mollycoddled in storage. It costs us £2 billion a year (thanks again, greens) but it is safe.

I fear the millions of tons of carbon dioxide spewing out of the coal-fired behemoths at Drax and Ferrybridge, Fiddlers Ferry and Didcot far more than the radiation that is under lock and key at Sellafield. If scientists are anything like right in their climate predictions, those carbon emissions are killing machines for the future.

Many greens – including Huhne before he became a Minister – like to believe that we can ban nukes and still banish climate change. But by throwing away the nuclear option, we would be throwing away the best – and cheapest – way of making big cuts in carbon emissions.

Their muddled thinking is in danger of pushing up our energy bills and peppering the countryside with wind turbines – without fixing the climate.

The Government’s Committee on Climate Change was right this year to conclude that nuclear is ‘the most cost-effective of the low-carbon technologies’ and might generate 40 per cent of our power by 2030. But we have to choose now.

As Huhne told the Royal Society in London last month, ‘time is running out ..... a quarter of our power stations will close by the end of the decade’. We need a new generation of power stations urgently.

We will need renewables and nuclear. Will Huhne bite the bullet? His website contains abundant evidence of his past opposition. ‘Nuclear power not needed to meet climate targets’ is the headline on one item from 2007.

But it is needed. If Huhne doesn’t make it happen, he will indeed be guilty of squandering our green taxes.


Dump the EPA

Like a bad lover, the EPA is a nagging, beguiling mooch. The EPA unconstitutionally barged into our lives and we need to break free from this destructive relationship; let’s give the EPA a two-letter title beginning with ‘E’ and ending with ‘X.’

President Nixon formed a group called the President’s Advisory Council on Executive Organization to help him sidestep Congress and mold public policy. On April 29, 1970, the Council wrote a memo advising Nixon to establish: “an Environmental Protection Administration, a new independent agency of the Executive Branch. … [and the] Executive Branch should be so structured that a high order of public interest is served in making policy, rather than a narrower advocacy position.”

Four decades later, the EPA has grown into the President’s pet behemoth—a darling dragon he can fly to over Congress and blow fire onto America’s energy producers and job creators.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson recently told University of Wisconsin-Madison students that she is proud to work for a President who will bypass Congress and create his own rules via executive order: ‘I’m proud to be part of an EPA that has mobilized science and the law to create modern and innovative protections for the health of the American people. I’m also proud to be working for a president who has said that “we can’t wait” on these issues.’

Jackson may think our President is a king. Yet the Constitution prohibits the President from making laws or delegating lawmaking to an extra-Congressional committee. Federalist and framer Alexander Hamilton explains in “The Federalist No. 78” that Congress controls the purse strings and makes laws while the president merely enforces the laws: “The Executive ... holds the sword of the community.”

I’m sure Alexander Hamilton would slap the President’s hand if he caught him in the cookie jar—seizing taxpayer dollars from the federal purse to sustain an extra-Congressional, policy-making agency like the EPA.

We already have Congress to make laws; we don’t need the EPA. “It has long been clear to me that elected representatives should write the rules, not the EPA,” Sen. Lindsey Graham has said.

The EPA’s regulations are so burdensome, sweeping and impractical that it’s nearly impossible for energy companies to comply without going out of business. Hence, businesspeople in the energy industry increasingly find themselves facing enormous fines and even criminal allegations.

In Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged,” a state scientist quips: “Did you really think we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. … We’re after power and we mean it. … There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them.”

Case in point: The April 20, 2010 BP oil rig explosion off the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people and caused oil to seep uncontrollably for 87 days. When this fatal environmental accident occurred on the EPA’s watch, the EPA’s regulators and enforcement partners within the Interior Department blamed the oil industry instead of owning up to their incompetence and deceit.

The Federal Government has charged BP as a “responsible party” in the spill and BP has set up a $20 billion fund to compensate victims. The Justice Department is also leading a criminal investigation into the spill.

Certainly BP’s laxity played a role in the accident. However, BP relied on government regulators and engineers who approved the use of a seal that had far too much cement and indeed reports now show that the excessive cement triggered the fatal explosion.

The government approved the faulty seal and granted BP a "categorical exemption" from performing an environmental impact analysis on its Gulf of Mexico lease less than two weeks before the spill. Who are the “criminals” here? BP executives or the environmental regulators who governed BP?

Per a 2007 Supreme Court Decision, the EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases—only if scientific data shows that greenhouse gases endanger public health.

But in September, the Associated Press revealed an internal government watchdog report: “The Obama administration cut corners…” because the EPA issued “controversial and expensive regulations to control greenhouse gases for the first time” despite the fact that the EPA did not conduct sufficient scientific studies to determine whether greenhouse gas emissions do in fact “pose dangers to human health and welfare.”

Today, tens of thousands of oil jobs (and therefore the public health) are in jeopardy because President Obama is citing faulty EPA data on greenhouse emissions to delay building the Keystone XL pipeline.

The EPA claims to be “working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.” Instead, the EPA places the environment and public health in jeopardy. Let’s dump the EPA.


More desertions from the Warmist cause at Durban

As this year's UN climate summit opens, some of the developing world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters are bidding to delay talks on a new global agreement. To the anger of small islands states, India and Brazil have joined rich nations in wanting to start talks on a legal deal no earlier than 2015.

The EU and climate-vulnerable blocs want to start as soon as possible, and have the deal finalised by 2015.

The UN summit, in Durban, South Africa, may make progress in a few areas. "We are in Durban with one purpose: to find a common solution that will secure a future to generations to come," said Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa's minister of international relations, who is chairing the summit.

But the process of finding that common solution, in the form of an agreement that can constrain greeenhouse gas emissions enough to keep the global average temperature rise below 2C, will entail some complex and difficult politics.

Developing countries will certainly target rich governments such as Japan, Canada and Russia over their refusal to commit to new emission cuts under the Kyoto Protocol, whose current targets expire at the end of next year. They see this as a breach of previous commitments and of trust. But some observers say small island states may begin "naming and shaming" developing countries that are also delaying progress.

They say the impasse should not delay talks on a new deal, arguing that to do so would be, in one delegate's wording, "the politics of mutually-assured destruction".

The politics of the UN climate process are undergoing something of a fundamental transformation.

Increasingly, countries are dividing into one group that wants a new global treaty as soon as possible - the EU plus lots of developing countries - and another that prefers a delay and perhaps something less rigorous than a full treaty.

The divide was evident earlier this month at the Major Economies Forum (MEF) meeting in Arlington, US - the body that includes 17 of the world's highest-polluting nations.

There, the UK and others argued that the Durban summit should agree to begin work on a new global agreement immediately, to have it in place by 2015, and operating by 2020 at the very latest.

The US, Russia and Japan were already arguing for a longer timeframe.

But BBC News has learned that at the MEF meeting, Brazil and India took the same position. Brazil wants the period 2012-15 to be a "reflection phase", while India suggested it should be a "technical/scientific period".

China, now the world's biggest emitter, is said by sources to be more flexible, though its top priority for Durban is the Kyoto Protocol.

And as the US left the protocol years ago, nations still signed on account only for about 15% of global emissions - which is why there is so much emphasis on a new instrument, with some legal force, covering all countries.

Cooling wish

The US, Russia, Japan and Canada have all argued for delaying negotiations on this for various domestic political reasons.
EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard Connie Hedegaard's EU is increasingly isolated among the industrialised world bloc

But the news that big developing countries are also lobbying for a delay is likely to lead to fireworks in Durban....

More here

Greenpeace behind climate "research"

Research with a foreordained conclusion is not research. It's fraud

From the Climategate 2.0 collection, Imperial College’s Sebastian Catovsky is “collaborating” with Greenpeace and he solicits the University of East Anglia’s to do the same:
Dear Dr Hulme,

I’m currently a post-doc at Imperial College Silwood Park working predominantly on impacts of global change on natural ecosystems. Recently, however, I’ve begun a collaboration with Greenpeace UK to look at direct impacts of climate change on humans. Greenpeace are keen to relate global issues in climate change to local effects in the UK – so that people can better see the consequences of changing energy consumption patterns. Greenpeace have this idea of distinguishing inevitable changes in climate from those that are avoidable if we reduce fossil fuel use. That way, people can recognize how their actions can achieve something tangible. They’d like to pinpoint specific areas in the UK that will be most sensitive to future climate changes – e.g. certain coastal areas if sea level rises.

Anyway, they drafted me in to tackle this from a scientific standpoint.

After some hard thinking, I’ve begun to think that some of the new IPCC Climate Scenarios reflect the inevitable vs. avoidable distinction very well. The A1 family of scenarios reflect a range of emission trajectories that clearly characterize different levels of fossil fuel dependence, from intensive use (A1FI) to alternative energy sources (A1T). Using these scenarios to drive our climate predictions would clearly highlight which impacts are avoidable if we take action now. I’d been now thinking about how we could specifically utilize these scenarios to develop some tangible climate impacts, and Doug Parr at Greenpeace mentioned your name. I think Greenpeace would be interested in investing some resources in the project if we could produce some testible hypotheses about effects of reducing fossil fuel use on UK climate…

I wonder if you’d be interested in collaborating in such a project. I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts on the matter, either way. At the moment, the project is quite fluid. Obviously, I’d expect to take on the bulk of the work – but I have no experience with running climate simulations etc., so I’d need a kick-start with someone with more experience in climate change modelling. I’d hope that we could benefit from funding from Greenpeace, and at least one credible scientific publication out of the work.

Let me know your thoughts on this matter. I’d be happy to talk further with you on the phone, if it’s more convenient.

Best regards,


Scientists Behaving Badly

More nails for the coffin of man-made global warming

Global-warming skeptics spend much of their time knocking down the fatuous warmist claim that the science is settled. According to the warmists, this singular piece of settled science is attested to by hundreds or thousands of highly credentialed scientists. In truth, virtually the entire warmist edifice is built around a small, tightly knit coterie of persons (one hesitates to refer to folks with so little respect for the scientific method as scientists) willing to falsify data and manipulate findings; or, to put it bluntly, to lie in order to push a political agenda not supported by empirical evidence. This is what made the original release of the Climategate e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia so valuable. They clearly identified the politicized core of climate watchers who were driving the entire warmist agenda. Following in their footsteps are all the other scientists who built their own research on top of the fraudulent data produced by the warmist core.

Last week over 5,000 new e-mails, already dubbed Climategate 2, were released. Anyone still desiring to contest the assertion that only a few persons controlled the entire warmist agenda will be brought up short by this note from one warmist protesting that his opinions were not getting the hearing they deserved: “It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by a select core group.” Over the years this core group, led by Phil Jones at East Anglia and Michael Mann at Penn State, became so close that even those inclined toward more honest appraisals of the state of climate science were hesitant to rock the boat. As one warm-monger states: “I am not convinced that the ‘truth’ is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships.” Silly me, how many years have I wasted believing that the very point of science was to pursue the truth in the face of all obstacles. On the basis of this evidence the scientific method must be rewritten so as to state: “Science must be as objective as possible, unless it offends your friends.”

Unfortunately, from the very beginning, the core group at the heart of Climategate had no interest in “scientific truth.” As one states: “The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guide what’s included and what is left out.” In other words, let’s decide on a conclusion and then use only evidence that proves that point, discarding everything else. One scientist who seems to have been slightly troubled by these methods wrote: “I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it, which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.” In another note to Phil Jones, this same scientist complained: “Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest.”

Of course, nothing of the sort was done. As one e-mail states: “The figure you sent is very deceptive . . . there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC [the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change].” Too bad these so-called scientists felt they could tell the truth only to one another and not the public at large. Some of the other truths they shared only with one another are astounding. For instance, one writes: “I find myself in the strange position of being very skeptical of the quality of all present reconstructions, yet sounding like a pro greenhouse zealot here!” So, despite having no confidence in any of the models the IPCC was using in its reports, this scientist was ready to support the IPCC findings to the hilt. And why didn’t he believe the models? Easy: They were designed to tell the big lie. For example, when confronted with the problem that if all the data were included, the warming disappeared, Phil Jones turned to a novel method: He used only “[time] periods that showed warming.”

At one point, Jones admits that the “basic problem is that all of the models are wrong.” Of course, there is a simple reason for this. When the models do not show what the warmists want them to show, they simply apply “some tuning.” One scientist was worried enough about this “tuning” to write that he “doubt[ed] the modeling world will be able to get away with this much longer.” In this case, “tuning” means changing the model until it tells you what you want it to. When it became impossible to torture the models any further without making their uselessness apparent to all, the warmists resorted to changing the data.

The most efficient method of corrupting the models was to use data only from time periods when there was warming and discard others, as Jones admits to doing. This method helped one scientist reduce the cooling in the northern hemisphere between 1940 and 1970, so that he did not have to make up an excuse blaming it on sulphates, which could not be proven. Another complains that no matter how much he fiddles with the data, it is “very difficult to make the Medieval Warming Period go away.” Solving this problem in the modern era was much easier: The warmists merely changed the temperature readings for much of the 20th century and threw away the original data.

Why? One e-mail clearly explains what was at stake: ”I can’t overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a message that the Government can give on climate change to help them tell their story. They want the story to be a very strong one and don’t want to be made to look foolish.” In other words, all the scientific lying was a result of scientists trying to give their political masters a major issue they could use to control people’s lives and justify wasting trillions of dollars. Success, as one warmist stated, rested on somehow convincing the public that “limate change is extremely complicated, BUT to accept the dominant view that people are affecting it, and that impacts produces risk that needs careful and urgent attention.” In other words, climate science is too complex for the simpleton voters, who must be made to believe that unless we wreck the global economy the planet will bake. As Michael Mann says in one e-mail: “the important thing is to make sure they’re losing the PR battle.” Moving even further away from their original calling as scientists, the warmists spend considerable time discussing the tactics of convincing the masses that global warming should be a major concern. For instance, one states: “Having established scale and urgency, the political challenge is then to turn this from an argument about the cost of cutting emissions — bad politics — to one about the value of a stable climate — much better politics. . . . the most valuable thing to do is to tell the story about abrupt change as vividly as possible.”

To win the public debate nothing was out of bounds. For instance, Mann, incensed that some skeptics had trashed his work, wrote to Jones, saying he had “been talking with folks in the states about finding an investigative journalist to investigate and expose McIntyre . . . perhaps the same needs to be done with this Kennan guy . . . I believe that the only way to stop these people is by exposing them and discrediting them.” Steve McIntyre and Doug Kennan are well-known skeptics. In fact, McIntyre’s work was crucial in proving that Mann’s infamous “hockey stick graph” — the heart of the United Nations’ IPCC-3 report — was a fraud. Rather than contest McIntyre’s findings with evidence and data, Mann decided that his best alternative was to smear his challenger’s reputation. Skeptics always had to be on the watch for Mann’s spiteful attacks. But what is interesting is that many of his fellow warmists had a low opinion of his work. Despite this, they were slow to criticize Mann — partly because they did not want to give the skeptics any more ammunition, but also because they were afraid of him. As one warmist wrote to Jones, Mann was a “serious enemy” and “vindictive.”

Worried that their e-mail discussions might turn a spotlight on their fraud, Jones and others were constantly advising one another on how to hide the evidence. For instance, Jones once sent out an e-mail stating: “I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI [Freedom of Information] Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process.” To which one warmist replied: “Phil, thanks for your thoughts — guarantee there will be no dirty laundry in the open.”

Still, none of this deception would be possible without the active collusion of much of the global press, which has swallowed the warmist agenda hook, line, and sinker. As one BBC journalist wrote to Phil Jones after running a piece slightly skeptical of the warmist position:

I can well understand your unhappiness at our running the other piece. But we are constantly being savaged by the loonies for not giving them any coverage at all, especially as you say with the COP [Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol] in the offing, and being the objective impartial (ho ho) BBC that we are, there is an expectation in some quarters that we will every now and then let them say something. I hope though that the weight of our coverage makes it clear that we think they are talking through their hats.

What is even more troubling is what appears to be the active collusion of government agencies charged with looking out for the public welfare. In one Jones e-mail, he discusses hiding data, making it clear that the U.S. Department of Energy was an active participant in his fraud: “Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get — and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (US Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.” I hope someone in Congress is interested in why the Department of Energy was involved in hiding climate data. One might assume that it would be harder to make an investment in Solyndra if the global-warming threat was proven a fraud.

My favorite quote of all those uncovered was from the climate criminal who asked his colleagues what would happen to them if it was discovered that climate change was “mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation,” as much of the evidence shows. He answers his own question: “They’ll kill us probably.”



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


28 November, 2011

Germany once again has global ambitions

German Environment Minister Röttgen asks for CO2 limit for every individual on earth according to an article in the online version of the German magazine "Der Spiegel". It quotes Röttgen's remarks he made in an interview with it. He says:

"It is sensible and necessary to introduce a global competitive order (meaning: to regulate competition) to protect the climate. The final goal is, a per head budget of green house gases for every person on earth (meaning: everybody gets the same budget).

Es ist vernünftig und geboten, eine globale Wettbewerbsordnung zum Schutz des Klimas einzuführen." Das Endziel sei "ein Pro-Kopf-Budget für die Emission von Treibhausgasen, das für jeden Menschen auf der Welt gilt."

He expresses his scepticism regarding a success in Durban: "In many countries of the world community the willingness is shrinking to accept binding targets to protect the climate - while at the same time climate change is advancing. The gap is widening and I am concerned about this."

Die Erfolgsaussichten der Konferenz in Durban bewertete Röttgen skeptisch: "In vielen Ländern der Weltgemeinschaft sinkt die Bereitschaft, verpflichtende Vorgaben für den Klimaschutz zu akzeptieren - gleichzeitig schreitet derKlimawandel voran. Die Schere geht weiter auseinander, und das macht mir Sorgen."

Spiegel writes that Röttgen is criticising the German minister of economic affairs Mr. Rössler (FDP) because Röttgen could not find an agreement regarding binding regulations for energy efficiency. "There is indeed a dissent" the minister says, adding: "I stick to it, that we have to set binding targets in which steps energy efficiency has to increase."

Im Streit um die Umsetzung der Energiewende in Deutschland kritisierte Röttgen Bundeswirtschaftsminister Philipp Rösler (FDP), mit dem er sich zuletzt nicht auf verbindliche Regeln für die Energieeffizienz einigen konnte. "Da gibt es tatsächlich einen Dissens", sagte Röttgen und fügte hinzu: "Ich bleibe dabei, dass wir uns verbindliche Ziele setzen müssen, in welchen Schritten die Energieeffizienz steigen soll."


Green energy could trigger 'catastrophic' blackouts

'Unstable' renewable energy sources increase the risk of 'supra-regional' electricity blackouts with multi-billion pound consequences, insurance giant Allianz has warned.

Solar panels and wind turbines are a "volatile" source of power with fluctuations in the electricity supply risking "grid instabilities" and triggering wide-scale blackouts.

Ageing infrastructure and increasingly cross-border electricity networks have heightened the likelihood of a devastating collapse of power supplies lasting months and covering several continents, according to the joint report by Allianz and the Chief Risk Officer Forum.

In eastern Germany, turbines in strong wind can produce more than all German coal and gas plants put together, while the need to switch off turbines in high winds causes a drop-off in electricity of 12GW - equal to two nuclear power plants. Outages are likely if there is too little demand or storage capacity to accommodate the jumps in supply.

Leading risk analysts modelled a worst-case scenario in which transformers are knocked out in the United States, causing outages to cascade through the grid into Canada, Russia and Scandanavia.

Credit cards and cash machines would stop immediately, and petrol pumps and refineries would shut-down within six hours. Back-up generators powering hospitals, stock exchanges, emergency services and sewerage plants could run out of fuel within days.

Industry would grind to a halt, cooling equipment would fail and homes would go without food supplies, water or heating, leaving families spending winter around open fires. Allianz predict it would take a year to get the transformers back online. The cost to insurers would top one trillion dollars and chronic power shortages would continue for up to a decade.

"Blackouts during the last ten years in Europe and Northern America have demonstrated an increasing likelihood of supra-national blackouts with accompanying large economic losses," the analysts wrote.

"Traditional scenarios only assume black-outs for a few days and losses seem to be moderate, but if we are considering longer lasting blackouts... the impacts on society and economy might be significant," the report said.

Outages could also be trigged by cyber attacks, terrorist action, natural disasters or solar storms - eruptions of charged particles from the surface of the sun which can distort magnetic fields and destroy electricity transmission lines. One such storm knocked out power for six million Canadians in 1989, with the next forecast for 2012.

Half of new electricity capacity worldwide comes from renewable sources such as wind farms, solar panels and biomass plants - up from just 8pc in 2009.

The report said privatisation of electricity networks had split power generating companies from distributors, removing incentives to invest in and maintain infrastructure - a problem exaccerbated by placing windfarms in remote areas. EU nations need to spend £20-25bn on new grid infrastructure by 2016.

The report highlighted how the failure of back-up generators at the Fukushima plant after the Japanese earthquake caused a Chernobyl-scale radiation leak and closed down 11pc of Japan's power supply, leaving factories idle and shrinking GDP by 3pc.

A blackout in the US and Canada in 2003, when the failure of one Ohio generating plant knocked out more than 100 others, left 50 million people without power for four days and cost £3-5bn.


British PM's green guru reveals his doubts over global warming

Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister’s director of strategy and ‘green guru’, is the latest person to admit to doubts about climate change. ‘I’m not sure I believe in it,’ he announced at a meeting of the Energy Department, prompting one aide to blurt out: ‘Did I just hear that correctly?’

According to one witness, Hilton, 41, the man who coined the slogan ‘Vote Blue and Go Green’ and changed the Tory symbol from a Stalinist style torch to an eco friendly tree, said: ‘Climate change arguments are highly complex. ‘My focus has always been more on using green issues to improve the quality of life.’

Hilton famously persuaded David Cameron to go to the Arctic with a pack of huskies to prove that he was determined to combat global warming in his early days as Tory leader. Now, however, Hilton as become a big fan of former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, a vocal critic of the global warming lobby.

Hilton’s new doubts chime with the Prime Minister’s decision to tone down his previous emphasis on environmental measures to concentrate on stimulating economic growth.

Earlier this year Hilton was said to be secretly plotting with London Mayor Boris Johnson to force the Prime Minister to drop his opposition to plans for a £40 billion airport in the Thames estuary.

The provocative move followed reports that Hilton was on the brink of walking out of No 10 because he thinks Mr Cameron was ‘losing his nerve’.

Mr Cameron believes Tory rival Mr Johnson’s plan for the airport, dubbed ‘Boris Island’, is a non-starter. The disclosure that Hilton had thrown his weight behind the idea was a big boost to Mr Johnson – and a snub to Mr Cameron.

Friends of Mr Cameron were convinced Mr Johnson was trying to exploit policy differences in a campaign to succeed him as Tory leader.


Why that 'eco-friendly' wood-burning stove could actually be harming the environment

The growing trend for fitting rustic wood-burning stoves is causing serious damage to the environment according to a United Nations report. Sales of the stoves, which emit harmful black carbon similar to diesel fumes from cars, have risen in recent years as homeowners seek a cosy alternative to gas-effect fires or a cheaper way to heat their properties.

Many believe the stoves to be eco-friendly as wood is a replenishable resource with some manufacturers going so far as to label their products carbon-neutral.

However the report, funded by the Swedish government, found that emissions from burning wood to be a major factor in 'climate forcing'.

While most of the damage was found to come from developing countries where wood is used in brick kilms and cooking stoves, Europe and North America are currently emitting 300,000 tons of black carbon every year.

The report predicted that as transport technology improves, burning wood will soon overtake diesel cars as the primary source of black carbon in the developed world.

Scientists now believe that by cutting back on black carbon and methane emissions, the rate of global warming could be reduced by up to 0.4C between now and 2040.

By fitting newer technologies such as pellet stoves and boilers the impact of black carbon emissions from the developed world could be almost halved.

The report predicted that as technology improves, burning wood will soon overtake diesel cars as the primary source of black carbon

Joseph Alcamo, chief scientist at the UN Environmental Programme told the Daily Telegraph: 'Whilst it is nice to burn wood in the evening and while it is better for the planet than burning coal, the reality is that it produces black carbon.

'Rather than feel guilty about it we suggest that there are alternatives that provide the same comforts as wood-burning stoves without producing the particle pollution.'

The smoke from wood-burning stoves is also believed to pose a more immediate threat to human health and has been compared to breathing in emissions from a car exhaust, research has shown. Inhaling the invisible particles in the smoke can lead to fatal heart disease and cancer, toxicology experts warn.


Europe plan to 'green' public buildings to cost Britain £50bn

Taxpayers will have to pay billions of pounds a year equipping council houses, town halls, hospitals and other public buildings with the latest green technology, under new proposals by the European Commission.

Local authorities and other public bodies, already struggling with spending cuts, will be obliged to fit schools, swimming pools and libraries, with state-of-the-art insulation, boilers, generators and windows.

Councils say the plan as it affects them alone would cost taxpayers up to £50bn.

The draft Energy Efficiency Directive states public bodies should "lead by example" and "purchase only products, services and buildings with high energy efficiency performance".

Public bodies will also be obliged to refurbish 3% of their properties to the high energy-efficient specification each year, under the plans.

Local authorities say the proposals – set to take effect in just over two years – may force them to make even deeper cuts to core services, such as rubbish collection and care for the elderly. It is understood ministers also strongly oppose the directive.

Disquiet in government over more EU regulations come just weeks after David Cameron, talked openly of repatriating power back from Europe. The prime minister is facing a wave of anti-Brussels from a new wave of eurosceptic MPs.

The Local Government Association (LGA) believes that complying with the legislation will cost councils nearly £50 billion over the next 33 years.

But the full annual cost to the taxpayer could run into billions when properties owned by the NHS, Ministry of Defence and other parts of the public sector are included.

David Parsons, chairman of the Improvement Programme Board at the LGA, this weekend wrote to ministers at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and two other Whitehall departments to raise his concerns about the directive.

"If realised as intended in the European Commission proposal, local authorities would be required to meet very significant costs which could not be funded via local taxation," the letter reads.

Member state governments would be obliged to ensure the new rules were strictly enforced.

There should be "legal and regulatory provisions, and administrative practices, regarding public purchasing and annual budgeting and accounting, with a view to ensuring that individual public bodies are not deterred from making efficiency-improving investments" the draft directive reads.

Many public buildings are more than 100 years old and would be expensive to equip to state-of-the-art energy efficient standards.

"The cost of refitting a Victorian town hall, Whitehall department or older council housing – it could be enormous," said a local government official who has examined the draft legislation.

"These plans will only put councils under even more financial pressure at a time that they really don't need it."

The directive is also opposed by the National Housing Federation (NHF), which represents 1,200 housing associations. The NHF fears that the directive could worsen the shortage of homes for Britain's poorest people.

"A sector that has little room in its investment capacity might lead to the sale of housing association stock in order to pay for the refurbishment obligation," the NHF said in a document sent to the government.

The directive has already had one reading in the European Parliament and is set to be discussed by the EU's energy council within the next few days.

A government spokesman said: "Better energy efficiency in the public sector can reduce expensive energy bills and help the environment. But any new rules should be proportionate and sensible. The overall goal should be to save taxpayers' money."

Eurosceptic Tory MPs are calling for "repatriation" of immigration, human rights and employment laws back from Brussels. Cameron said last month: "We do not agree about every aspect of European policy by any means."

However, there is deep division within the coalition over the government's stance towards to Europe. Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, has called Tories who want to claw back powers from Brussels as "extremists".

"Being shoved to the margins [of Europe], or retreating there voluntarily, would be economic suicide – a sure-fire way to hurt British businesses and lose jobs."


BBC sought advice from global warming scientists on economy, drama, music... and even game shows

Britain’s leading green activist research centre spent £15,000 on seminars for top BBC executives in an apparent bid to block climate change sceptics from the airwaves, a vast new cache of leaked ‘Climategate’ emails has revealed.

The emails – part of a trove of more than 5,200 messages that appear to have been stolen from computers at the University of East Anglia – shed light for the first time on an incestuous web of interlocking relationships between BBC journalists and the university’s scientists, which goes back more than a decade.

They show that University staff vetted BBC scripts, used their contacts at the Corporation to stop sceptics being interviewed and were consulted about how the broadcaster should alter its programme output.

Like the first ‘Climategate’ leaks two years ago, they were placed last week on a Russian server by an anonymous source.

Again like their predecessors, they have emerged just before a United Nations climate summit, which is to start this week in Durban.

BBC insiders say the close links between the Corporation and the UEA’s two climate science departments, the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, have had a significant impact on its coverage.

‘Following their lead has meant the whole thrust and tone of BBC reporting has been that the science is settled, and that there is no need for debate,’ one journalist said. ‘If you disagree, you’re branded a loony.’

In 2007, the BBC issued a formal editorial policy document, stating that ‘the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus’ – the view that the world faces catastrophe because of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

The document says the policy was decided after ‘a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts’ – including those from UEA.

The ‘Climategate 2’ emails disclose that in private some of those same scientists have had doubts about aspects of the global warming case.

For example, Professor Phil Jones, the head of the CRU, admitted there was no evidence that the snows of Kilimanjaro were melting because of climate change, and he and his colleagues agreed there were serious problems with the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph – the depiction of global temperatures that suggests they were broadly level for 1,000 years until they started to rise with industrialisation.

But although there is now more scientific debate than ever about influences on climate other than CO2, prompted by the fact that the world has not warmed for 15 years, a report from the BBC Trust this year compared climate change sceptics to the conspiracy theorists who blame America for 9/11, and said Britain’s main sceptic think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, should be given no air time.

The man at the centre of the BBC-UEA web is Roger Harrabin, the Corporation’s ‘environment analyst’, who reports for a range of programmes on radio and TV.

Last week The Mail on Sunday revealed that in 1996, he and his friend, Professor Joe Smith of the Open University, set up an informal two-man band to organise environment seminars for BBC executives.

Known as the Cambridge Media Environment Programme (CMEP), it operated until 2009, and over three years (2002 to 2005) received £15,000 from the Tyndall Centre. Mr Harrabin did not derive personal financial benefit, although Prof Smith was paid.

Yesterday Mike Hulme, UEA’s Professor of Climate Change, who set up the centre in 2000 and was its director until 2007, said he planned to fund CMEP from Tyndall’s outset, as an ‘integral part of our outreach and communication strategy’.

Mr Harrabin was also appointed to the Tyndall advisory board – an unpaid position he held for five years until 2005.

The Climategate 2 emails suggest Prof Hulme expected something in return – the slanting of BBC coverage to exclude global warming sceptics.

On February 25, 2002, the climate change sceptic Philip Stott, a London University professor, debated the subject with John Houghton of the Met Office on the Today programme.

This prompted an angry email to colleagues from Prof Hulme. ‘Did anyone hear Stott vs Houghton on Today, Radio 4, this morning?’ he wrote. ‘Woeful stuff really. This is one reason why Tyndall is sponsoring the Cambridge Media Environment Programme, to starve this type of reporting at source.’

Last night Prof Hulme denied he was trying to deny space to sceptics, saying: ‘What I wanted to “starve” at source was “this type of reporting” – in which the important and complex issues raised by climate change are reduced to an argument between two voices representing different positions on climate science, as though there is one right and one wrong answer to climate change.’

Far from wanting to narrow it, he said, he had tried to widen debate about the issue for years.

This was not the only time there was talk of sceptics being shut out. On December 7, 2004, the BBC’s then-environment correspondent Alex Kirby wrote to Prof Jones.

He had, he said, succeeded in blocking one sceptic from the BBC, claiming his work was ‘pure stream of consciousness rubbish’. But to his regret, he had been unable to stop a group of scientists who said there were flaws in the hockey-stick graph being featured.

‘I can well understand your unhappiness at our running the other piece,’ he wrote. ‘But we are constantly being savaged by the loonies for not giving them any coverage at all... and being the objective impartial (ho ho) BBC that we are, there is an expectation in some quarters that we will every now and then let them say something. I hope though that the weight of our coverage makes it clear that we think they are talking through their hats.’

Prof Jones commented: ‘I thought you exercised some caution with crackpots.’ Mr Kirby replied: ‘Oh Phil, what can I say...I hope you’ll still talk to me despite this.’

Yesterday Mr Kirby explained his joke, saying that editors often asked him to include sceptic views in his stories, in order to provide balance. ‘I felt then and I feel now that it’s not our job to inject artificial balance into an unbalanced reality,’ he said.

He believed scientists such as Prof Jones had got the subject ‘mainly right’, while those who rejected their conclusions were often not worth hearing.

In November 2008, in an email to his UEA colleague Claire Reeves, Prof Jones expressed his satisfaction that ‘the reporting of climate stories within the media (especially the BBC) is generally one-sided, ie the counter argument is rarely made’.

But alas, there was ‘still a vociferous and small majority [sic] of climate change sceptics... who engage the public/govt/media through web sites’.

He suggested UEA should set up a project to curb their influence, writing: ‘Issues to be addressed include: should a vociferous minority be able to bully mainstream scientists? Should mainstream climate scientists have to change the way they have worked for generations?’

Mr Harrabin shared his UEA contacts throughout the BBC. For example, in October 2003 Vicki Barker, a presenter on the World Service, wrote asking to visit Prof Hulme, saying: ‘My colleague Roger Harrabin suggested I contact you. I am about to spend several months attempting to answer the following question for senior BBC managers: If we were to reinvent economics coverage from scratch, TODAY, incorporating what we now know (or think we know) about global environmental and economic trends, what would it look like?’

She said she had noticed ‘environmental undertow’ that was ‘beginning to tug at economies around the world... I have wondered if current newsgathering practices and priorities are conveying these phenomena as effectively as they could be. Is this a question you and some of your colleagues feel like pondering?’

The same year, BBC1 broadcast a series on the British countryside presented by Alan Titchmarsh. The last programme presented a deeply pessimistic view of future global warming and before it was transmitted its producer, Dan Tapster, asked Prof Hulme to vet the script. ‘I’d be grateful if you could send me your hourly/daily rate as a script consultant so that I can budget your time,’ he wrote. Prof Hulme said he remembered going through the script, adding that he was not being paid, and was ‘certainly not an official adviser’.

Mr Harrabin knew that if he was seen to be too closely associated with green campaigners – in earlier years CMEP had accepted funding from activist organisation WWF – the impartiality he was supposed to demonstrate as a BBC reporter could be jeopardised.

In July 2004, in an email to Prof Hulme that asked him to continue funding CMEP seminars, Prof Smith explained: ‘The only change I anticipate is that we won’t be asking WWF to support the seminars: Roger particularly feels the association could be compromising to the “neutral” reputation should anyone look at it closely.’

Prof Smith told Prof Hulme that the seminars’ purpose was to influence BBC output.

He spoke of finding ways of getting environmental issues into ‘mainstream’ stories ‘by stealth’, adding: ‘It’s very important in my view that research feeds directly back into decision-maker conversations (policy and above all media). I hope and think that the seminars have laid the ground for this within the BBC... There is senior BBC buy in-for the approach I want to pursue.’

Yesterday he said he had always ensured there was a range of views at the seminar, while by using the phrase ‘by stealth’ he simply meant that ‘sustainability stories are elements of mainstream stories, but the complexity and uncertainty inherent in them make them difficult to report in isolation’.

In September 2001, another email reveals, Mr Harrabin and Prof Smith wrote to Prof Hulme, asking what the BBC should do to mark a climate summit the following year.

They said his suggestions would be ‘circulated among relevant BBC decision-makers’, while instead of confining himself to news and current affairs, he should also feel free to recommend ideas for ‘drama, music, game shows’.

Labour MP Graham Stringer last night said he would be writing this week to BBC director-general Mark Thompson to demand an investigation into the Corporation’s relationship with UEA. ‘The new leaked emails show that the UEA scientists at the Tyndall Centre and the CRU acted more like campaigners than academics, and that they succeeded in an attempt to influence the output of the BBC,’ Mr Stringer said.

Conservative MP David Davis said: ‘Using research money to evangelise one point of view and suppress another defies everything I ever learnt about the scientific method. These emails go to the heart of the BBC’s professed impartiality... its actions must be investigated.’

But the BBC insisted its relationship with UEA had never been ‘unhealthily close’, saying it was always impartial. A BBC spokesman said: ‘We would reject the claim that the Tyndall Centre influenced BBC editorial policy.’

As for Mr Harrabin’s place on the Tyndall board and the advice he gave, he said: ‘The idea was for him to look out for potential stories for the BBC and to offer academics a media perspective on climate change and policy. We do not believe that com-promised impartiality.’

Mr Harrabin added: ‘It was right that the BBC decided not to give sceptics parity on climate change,’ saying there was a ‘cross-party consensus.’ But he said he had maintained they should still be given some air time.



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


27 November, 2011

Warmists muzzle skeptical meteorologists

They fear the facts, as all they have is prophecy. An email from Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics), Corbett, Oregon USA, below. OMSI is the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, henceforth better known as the Oregon Museum for Silencing Inquiry

The Oregon American Meteorological Society's event featuring Meteorologist Chuck Wiese, Climatologist George Taylor, and me on November 29 at OMSI was canceled at the last minute today due to pressure from local universities and others who were apparently upset that our skeptical perspective on Global Warming would interfere with their climate agendas and Federal funding. Details will surely leak out as will whatever reasons they will cite as a cover story.

We suspected this would happen and would happen at the last minute to make it impossible to reschedule the event immediately. But we are grateful to the President of the local AMS chapter (Steve Pierce) and some members of his Board who have expressed a strong determination to reschedule this event in January. Even those Board members who may not support our position on Global Warming seem determined that this event WILL go forward. That should be a warning to those who orchestrated this power play. Most AMS members clearly want to hear both sides, without their organization taking any sides. I applaud their professional behavior. We are not seeking any endorsements, because that is not how science works.

We are seeking the opportunity to present the logic and evidence that are so crucial in objective science. That should not threaten ANYONE who supports real science.

Please be sure to mark your calenders for the January event when we have a specific date and venue that will be more difficult for Alarmists to scuttle.

BANNED BY OMSI, Portland State University, and others - Come and find out what they did not want you to hear!

Received via email

Go green and burn

General Motors Co.'s electric plug- in hybrid Chevrolet Volt is the subject of a US safety probe after its lithium-ion batteries, supplied by LG Chem Ltd., caught fire in crash tests.

A Volt caught fire three weeks after a side-impact crash test May 12 while parked at a testing center in Wisconsin, leading regulators to conduct more tests. Volt battery packs were damaged in three more tests last week, causing two fires, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said yesterday in a statement on its website.

"The agency is concerned that damage to the Volt's batteries as part of three tests that are explicitly designed to replicate real-world crash scenarios have resulted in fire," NHTSA said in the statement.

The US regulator said it doesn't know of any crashes outside of testing that have led to battery-related fires in Volts or other cars powered by lithium-ion batteries. Chevy Volt owners whose vehicles have not been in a serious crash don't need to be concerned, the agency said.

GM maintains that the car is safe. The automaker and NHTSA have been working for months to replicate the fire in the car's lithium-ion battery that occurred three weeks after the May collision test, Greg Martin, a GM spokesman, said by telephone.

The testing, which involved a stand-alone battery assembly, "is part of a broader program over the last six months to induce battery failure under extreme conditions," Martin said.

LG Chem, South Korea's biggest chemical maker, is the Volt's battery vendor. Dick Pacini, a spokesman with the Millerschin Group, which works for LG Chem, said he couldn't immediately provide comment. On Nov. 22, LG Chem said in a statement that it was cooperating with NHTSA and GM.

NHTSA, which said it's working with the US Defense and Energy departments to analyze the fires, conducted its first new test on Nov. 16 without a fire. The second test on Nov. 17 saw an initial temporary increase in battery temperature after the crash, and the battery pack caught fire at the test facility on Nov. 24. In a third test on Nov. 18, the battery was rotated hours after the crash and "began to smoke and emit sparks shortly after," NHTSA said.

At this stage of Volt marketing, the NHTSA investigation will probably not hurt sales, said Jim Hall, principal of 2953 Analytics Inc., a consulting firm in Birmingham, Michigan.

The car has been on sale for a year as the manufacturer ramps up production. Most Volt owners are early adopters with an interest in the technology, and won't be deterred by the post- collision fires, Hall said in a telephone interview.

"If they were selling to the mass market, it would be a bigger problem," he said.

GM started selling the car in seven states and began offering the Volt in all 50 states in October, Martin said.

GM, based in Detroit, sold 5,003 Volts this year through October, according to Autodata Corp., a research firm in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. GM will push production to a rate of 60,000 a year starting in January. Of the 60,000 GM plans to build next year, 45,000 are earmarked for the US, and the rest will be exported, the company has said.


Emission Controls: The Exodus from Britain Begins

Rio Tinto Alcan is closing its Northumberland aluminium smelting plant in north-east England – a direct result of EU climate legislation. The closure of the decades old smelting plant is devastating for an area with already high unemployment.

Not that the Rio Tinto Alcan plant isn’t making a profit, mind you. Even in an era of spiking energy costs generally, it is. But in 2013 the plant faces a profit-erasing rise of around £56 million to enable it to comply with a further tranche of European and UK carbon legislation. As Rio Tinto’s CEO Jacynthe Côté told the London Financial Times, “It is clear that the smelter is no longer a sustainable business because its energy costs are increasing significantly, due largely to emerging legislation.” Note the sting in the tail. Not, as politicians often like to insist, due to rising energy costs, but “emerging legislation”.

Rio Tinto’s plant closure is just one part of a plan to divest the company of $8 billion of aluminium assets. How much is due to “emerging legislation” on emission controls is impossible to say. But expect more jobs to be shed elsewhere.

Britain’s huge energy-intensive chemical industry contributes £30 million a day to the UK economy. But it is clear already that new green legislation has begun to force early closures and a business exodus to foreign parts. Steve Elliott, chief executive for the Chemical Industries Association, told BBC News in October that he feared more British job losses were imminent, with small and medium companies with narrow profit margins especially vulnerable. “There will come a moment when people say enough is enough,” said Elliot, adding, “And there will only be one direction of travel – out of the UK.” Hardly good news for a country that is consistently top of the European league when it comes to attracting inward investment.

In the English Midlands, a region famed for its pottery manufacture, Dr Laura Cohen of the British Ceramic Confederation told BBC News that high energy costs augmented by anti-carbon costs has forced factory after factory in the pottery industry to close, with one firm recently relocating its operations to China.

Not that UK companies have not done their bit to ‘go green’. Cemex UK operates the country’s largest cement plant. It has already moved away from dependence on coal alone. But Director Andy Spencer estimates incoming carbon legislation will increase his energy costs by £12 million. What concerns Spencer most of all is that he knows other countries will not impose similar taxes on their cement industries. He states that Cemex UK is already considering transferring operations to plants it runs abroad, especially Egypt. “I can see a time when it makes more sense to do that,” Spencer told the BBC, “and that time is not far away.”

Steel giant Tata which employs 21,000 people has warned the British government that its planned £1.2 billion investment program could be put at risk by “over the top” green policies. A study by the UK manufacturer’s association EEF has shown that the introduction of the Carbon Price Floor in 2013 will cost the UK manufacturing industry £250 million a year by 2020. The EEF is demanding compensation to help energy-intensive industries – yet another potential hidden cost of carbon legislation.

In August, a UK Department of Energy and Climate Change study estimated that energy-intensive industries, such as steel and paper mills, would likely have to pay 58 percent more for electricity by 2030 compared to what it would cost them in the absence of current climate policies.

Just last week, GDF Suez SA cited EU regulations as creating an unstable investment environment that was discouraging energy investment. Jean-Francois Cirelli, vice-chair and president of GDF Suez told the European Autumn Gas Conference in Paris, “Governments do not hesitate to take decisions that are not totally based on economic rationale”.

In other words political ideology and sheer wishful-thinking in the war on fossil fuels means that many of those making the political decisions still aren’t “getting it”. Britain’s energy and climate minister Chris Huhne exemplifies the ‘disconnect’ by persistently deeming climate policies sacrosanct while insisting high energy costs alone are to blame. “We’ve had a 27 percent increase in the gas price on world markets over the year to August,” says Huhne. “Now with the best will in the world, I can’t do anything about that.” Huhne is clearly not listening to industry bosses who cite the profit-destroying effect of climate policies, especially the EU-imposed extra green costs currently being factored into budgets from 2013.

The EU Climate Commissar is Connie Hedegaard. She was voted in by nobody yet this unelected official is behind the new EU directive on fuel quality. This measure sets minimum standards for a range of fuels. It is this directive which threatens to label Canada’s oil sands as “dirty” and threaten the future of Europe-wide shale gas development.

Hedegaard says, “With this measure, we are sending a clear signal to fossil fuel suppliers. As fossil fuels will be a reality in the foreseeable future, it’s important to give them the right value.” De-coding Euro-speak, Hedegaard wants fossil fuels made as expensive as renewables.

A plague of profit-busting climate policies is indeed sending a “clear signal” to energy-intensive industries: divest yourself of assets, shed jobs – or just plain ship out. Cocooned in ideological green protectionism, however, don’t expect Hedegaard and Huhne to “get” it.


The Non-Green Jobs Boom

Forget 'clean energy.' Oil and gas are boosting U.S. employment

So President Obama was right all along. Domestic energy production really is a path to prosperity and new job creation. His mistake was predicting that those new jobs would be "green," when the real employment boom is taking place in oil and gas.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently that the U.S. jobless rate remains a dreadful 9%. But look more closely at the data and you can see which industries are bucking the jobless trend. One is oil and gas production, which now employs some 440,000 workers, an 80% increase, or 200,000 more jobs, since 2003. Oil and gas jobs account for more than one in five of all net new private jobs in that period.

The ironies here are richer than the shale deposits in North Dakota's Bakken formation. While Washington has tried to force-feed renewable energy with tens of billions in special subsidies, oil and gas production has boomed thanks to private investment. And while renewable technology breakthroughs never seem to arrive, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have revolutionized oil and gas extraction—with no Energy Department loan guarantees needed.

The oil and gas rush has led to a jobs boom. North Dakota has the nation's lowest jobless rate, at 3.5%, and the state now has some 200 rigs pumping 440,000 barrels of oil a day, four times the amount in 2006. The state reports more than 16,000 current job openings, and places like Williston have become meccas for workers seeking jobs that often pay more than $100,000 a year.

Or take production in Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale formation, which the state Department of Labor and Industry says created 18,000 new jobs in the first half of 2011. Some 214,000 jobs are now tied to a natural gas industry that barely existed in the Keystone State a decade ago. Energy firms are also rushing to develop the Utica shale in eastern Ohio, and they are expanding operations in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, among other places.

Good news? You'd think so, but liberals can't seem to handle this truth so they are now trying to discredit the jobs that accompany it. The American Petroleum Institute recently commissioned a study by the Wood Mackenzie consulting firm, which estimated that better federal energy policy would create an additional 1.4 million jobs by 2030.

This has caused a fury on the political left, which complains that the study included estimates of direct and indirect jobs (such as equipment suppliers) but also "induced" jobs, or jobs created when oil workers spend their salaries at, say, hotels, restaurants or bowling alleys. It seems these claims rely on—drum roll, please—"multipliers" to produce estimates of knock-on jobs.

Liberals know all about multipliers, which are the central operating conceit of modern Keynesian economics. The entire public justification for the $820 billion Obama stimulus was the claim that every $1 of spending would have a multiplier effect of 1.5 or more and thus create millions of new jobs.

That looks like a joke now. But Democrats and liberals continue to cite the black-box multiplier claims of Moody's Mark Zandi, who says the latest Obama jobs bill will create 1.9 million jobs. Some 750,000 of those jobs are supposed to appear merely from extending the payroll tax holiday for workers, giving them more money to spend on, say, hotels or restaurants or bowling alleys. All such multipliers are suspect, but the liberals can't have it both ways and invoke them to justify government spending but then repudiate them for private business.

In any case the beauty of the oil and gas boom is that multipliers aren't needed to predict job growth. It's happening right before our eyes. And it stands to reason that if the Obama Administration dropped its hostility to oil and gas energy, even more jobs would be created as the industry invested to exploit other areas with new technology and production methods.

Yet earlier this month the Interior Department released a new five-year plan that puts most of the Outer Continental Shelf off-limits for oil drilling. And the Administration has delayed for at least another year the Keystone XL pipeline that is shovel-ready to create 20,000 new direct, pipeline-related jobs.

The Office of Natural Resources Revenue recently noted that federal revenue from offshore bonus bids (from lease sales) in fiscal 2011 was merely $36 million—down from $9.5 billion in fiscal 2008. The Obama Administration has managed the nearly impossible feat of turning energy policy into a money loser, pouring taxpayer dollars into green-energy busts like Solyndra. The Washington Post reported in September that Mr. Obama's $38.6 billion green loan program had created a mere 3,500 jobs over two years. He had predicted it would "save or create" 65,000.

Mr. Obama nonetheless keeps talking about "green jobs" as if repetition will conjure them. He'd do more for the economy if he dropped the ideological illusions and embraced the job-creating, wealth-producing reality of domestic fossil fuels.


"Green jobs" are in trouble in China too

Losses for China’s largest solar manufacturers, including Suntech Power Holdings Co. and JA Solar Holdings Co. may continue through next year as declining shipments prompt them to slash prices and liquidate inventory.

Shipments at Suntech will fall about 20 percent in the fourth quarter from the third, the world’s largest panel maker said today in its third-quarter earnings report. JA Solar, the country’s biggest cell producer, also said shipments will fall sequentially, and it wrote off inventory in response to falling prices, driving down gross margins.

Cell prices have fallen 59 percent since Dec. 27, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Seven Chinese companies reported lower gross margins since yesterday and three said margins have moved into negative territory, an unsustainable level, said Hari Chandra Polavarapu, an analyst at Auriga USA in New York.

“Liquidation is leading to suicidal pricing.” Polavarapu said in an interview today. There are too many solar companies in China, he said, and they are cutting prices to maintain share. “China’s strongest manufacturers are sacrificing profitability because the weakest players still exist.”

Chinese solar manufacturers expanded capacity faster this year while demand growth slowed in Europe, the top regional market.

“We are seeing a softening in the European market continue into the fourth quarter,” Suntech Chief Executive Officer Zhengrong Shi said today on a conference call. “We expect that the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first half of 2012 will be a challenge for all solar companies.” Panel shipments for 2011 will be about 2,000 megawatts, down from an Aug. 22 forecast of 2,200 megawatts, Suntech said.

‘Pricing Has Collapsed’

JA Solar said it expects shipments of solar cells and modules of 310 megawatts to 330 megawatts in the fourth quarter, compared with 445 megawatts last quarter. Neither gave a forecast for next year.

“Demand has not lived up to expectations and pricing has collapsed over the last three quarters,” Aaron Chew, an analyst at Maxim Group LLC in New York, said today in an interview. “Most of the major cell, wafer and module manufacturers are poised to report four quarters in a row of losses and this is just the first one.”

Suntech reported a net loss of $116 million for the third quarter, or 64 cents an American depositary receipt, on sales of $809.8 million. JA Solar posted a net loss of $59 million, or 36 cents an ADR, on sales of $388 million.


Warmist Mike Hulme: "Sexing-up evidence is so easy to do, isn't it?"

Email 3895 below. I assume that the EDP is This

Sexing-up evidence is so easy to do, isn't it?

Reading your letter in the EDP today makes me wonder who your source inside the Tyndall Centre was supplying you with such exaggerated evidence?

Surely it wasn't me, was it? Treating Dick Lindzen with the esteem of flat-earthers; could this claim have been inserted by politicians seeking to make a dramatic point to their audience? Or was it really what the experts in the Tyndall Centre think? Perhaps we need an enquiry.

Don't worry - I'm not thinking of committing suicide should I be exposed as the source of this story; but then again, it couldn't have been me, could it?

I didn't say that after all; all I said was that we are well aware of Dick Lindzen and his arguments (in fact, Dick Lindzen is a pretty smart meteorologist who just takes a more cautious view of the scientific evidence for human causes of global warming; similar in caution in some ways to David Kelly even).

Yes, sexing-up is so easy to do. Be warned.




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


26 November, 2011

Evidence? Who needs evidence?

Warmists certainly don't. Prophecy is their stock in trade. They're not even good at theory, let alone evidence. One of their more absurd prophecies is that global warming will lead to greater ocean acidity which will dissolve the shells of various marine animals. This is based on the fact that CO2 in water forms carbonic acid. What they fail to mention, however, is that warming REDUCES the ability of water to absorb CO2 -- so warming should in fact make the ocean more alkaline.

Theory is all very well, however. What actually happens in the ocean? Is greater acidity IN FACT fatal for animals living in shells?

Some Russian researchers found out. They were obviously oblivious to global warming. They were in fact looking at concentations of various elements in marine organisms located in proximity to undersea thermal vents (hydrothermal fields). Along the way, however, they did give brief descriptions of the animals they were studying. Below are two such:
The shells of the vesicomyid clam Archivesica gigas are an important target for Ba, Mn, and to a lesser extent of Fe (Figure 3a), however for other metals, they play only a small role. Taking into account the large mass of the shell relative to the soft tissue of clams (in which the former may reach one order of magnitude higher that the latter), we can suggest that shells, which have accumulated trace metals during biomineralization and adsorption, might serve as a great reservoir for many metals. The second abundant bivalve mollusk Leda (Nuculana grasslei) lives on substratum saturated with hydrocarbons (Allen, 1993). Unlike similar species, this animal has an extremely thick periostratum (an exterior part of the shell) that is considered to be an adaptation to functioning in an acidic environment enriched in sulfides. Its nutritional source has not yet been studied completely, but some researchers regard Leda as a symbiotrophic organism containing bacteria in its gills that can combine symbiotrophy with filter-feeding.

So a clam in a very acidic environment was unusually large and had a very THICK shell. The stupid thing obviously can't read what learned Warmists say! Instead of dying, it prospered!

And another mollusk (Leda) also had a very thick shell. Doesn't it know that its shell is supposed to have dissolved away?

What the Warmists overlook is that shell formation is a active process. The shell is not something that just sits there waiting to be eaten away. So even high levels of acidity don't faze the marine animal at all.

Lord Lawson & Lord Turnbull Respond To Britain's climate boss

In a letter sent to Chris Huhne today, Lord Lawson and Lord Turnbull respond to the Secretary of State's letter of 18 November

Dear Secretary of State

We are pleased that you have decided that a public response to growing criticism of your climate policies is now required. We regret, however, that you do not address our main arguments and key concerns. Neither are we impressed by evidently ill-advised assertions.

For a start, you make the mistake of connecting the reality of 20th century global warming, which no one doubts, with the various causes for it. You claim that the evidence for man's influence is getting stronger every year, yet you fail to provide any empirical evidence for this statement.

In reality, over the past few years there has been a growing realisation among scientists that other influences (such as solar, stratospheric water vapour, oceanic cycles, to name but the most dominant) are likely to be more significant than previously thought. These factors have seriously impinged on estimates of the magnitude of mankind's influence.

Your faith in the conclusion of Australia's Garnaut Review - that there has been no change in the rate of global warming in recent years – is wholly at odds with the latest scientific work and even the Government's own Met Office: Most research papers published in the last 12 months confirm that there has been no warming trend in the last 10 years.

It is true that the fundamental greenhouse effect yields only a 1.2°C increase for a doubling of CO2 (so-called climate sensitivity) and that larger increases depend upon various feedback mechanisms. There is no convincing evidence, however, to support your assertion that the increase of the level of water vapour in the atmosphere (as a result of doubling of CO2) would (other things being equal) raise global average temperature by around 3°C.

In reality, the magnitude of water vapor feedbacks, positive as well as negative (such as increased cloud cover and precipitation) remains a poorly understood subject. Do you seriously belief that only 'one or two people' (sic) have published research that shows moderate rather than catastrophic warming in the next 100 years?

You do not seem to appreciate the incomplete state of scientific knowledge regarding these extremely complex feedbacks. In reality, most scientists will tell you that we do not know all of them; and that most of those we do know, we understand only rudimentary.

What is more, estimates for climate sensitivity in the peer reviewed literature have been going down. You and your advisers will no doubt take a look at the latest research findings on this very subject by Schmittner et al. published this week in the journal Science. This is yet another study that corroborates a low estimate of climate sensitivity and concludes that "these results imply a lower probability of imminent extreme climate change than previously thought."

Your faith in the integrity of the IPCC process is no less ill-advised. There have been three reports on the IPCC - by the InterAcademy Council in 2010; the recent book by Donna Laframboise; and the report by Professor Ross McKitrick published recently by the GWPF (a copy of which is attached). You and your advisers need to study all three as they all identify a common set shortcomings in the IPCC's scientific approach and its working methods.

The IPCC seeks to present itself as embodying the independent, impartial advice of the world's best scientists in the field. All three reports reveal serious flaws in this claim - its lack of transparency in how the so-called experts are chosen, its resistance to views challenging its orthodoxy, its lack of proper governance to deal with conflicts of interest, its excessive use of non-peer reviewed (grey literature), and its infiltration by activists from environmental pressure groups.

We are surprised that you have been so slow to recognise that the IPCC, which has influenced a great deal of UK policy, no longer carries the credibility necessary to persuade society of the massive changes it is advocating. It should be drastically reformed or wound up and replaced.

We note that you appear to be denying the charge on unilateralism in UK policy. This is curious as you and your predecessors were keen to boast that the Climate Change Act made Britain a world leader in decarbonisation. And you personally have been urging the EU to adopt even more ambitious targets, fortunately unsuccessfully.

Admittedly, you limit your claim that Britain has not adopted unilateral policies to "until 2020," but even this ceiling is at odds with the introduction of the carbon floor price which you wish to introduce in the next couple of years. This scheme most certainly is a unilateral folly which is already having a devastating effect on manufacturing and energy-intensive industries - which, of course, are also concerned about what is planned for after 2020.

In reality, the UK stands alone as the only country in the world to impose long-term legally binding CO2 emissions targets. No other country in the world is willing to inflict such unilateral burden on its business sector and economy.

Even within the EU Commission major concerns about its unilateral targets have begun to surface. The EU is now seriously considering to discontinue its unilateral decarbonisation in the absence of a global agreement.

Whether you like it or not, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has pledged that the government will no longer be bound by unilateral decarbonisation targets that cut CO2 emissions in Britain faster and deeper than other countries in Europe. We trust that his promise to abandon the path of green unilateralism will be followed, sooner rather than later, by a less extreme and more pragmatic policy.

Received via email

According to a report in The Economist, the Isle of Wight has been designated as Britain’s first ‘eco’ island

The plan is to make the island self-sufficient in energy by smothering it with wind farms and solar panels. It’s the brainchild of an outfit called Ecoisland (geddit?), which is described as ‘so green that the invitations it sent to an event at Britain’s House of Commons were printed on recycled paper embedded with meadow-flower seeds (just plant, water and watch them grow)’.

The report continues: ‘Ecoisland plans to . . . insulate houses better, make greater use of geothermal, wind and tidal energy, and generate power from waste. There are also plans for electric vehicles that residents and visitors alike can hire.

‘Locally grown food would be delivered through island-wide supply hubs. A concerted effort is under way to reduce water use and capture more rainwater (about one-third of the island’s fresh water at present is pumped from the mainland).’

All very commendable, you might think. But they’re not doing this simply for the sake of saving the polar bears.

Someone has worked out there’s a nice drink in it for them — which is why the project is being sponsored by multi-national companies such as IBM and Toshiba. While the idea of generating all our energy supplies from natural, sustainable sources is hugely attractive in theory — and would certainly have found favour with the 1970 Isle of Wight pop festival crowd — the problem is that it doesn’t work in practice and is hideously expensive.

Already, every household in Britain is set to pay £280 a year over the odds for gas and electricity to fund the Government’s ‘green’ agenda, which amounts to little more than bunging foreign firms billions of pounds to clutter up our beautiful, world-heritage site countryside and our outstanding natural coastline with utterly useless War of the Worlds windmills.

I wonder if anyone has bothered to ask the inhabitants of the Isle of Wight if they want to be forced to drive rented electric cars, knit their own toilet paper and have their scenery desecrated by hopelessly inefficient solar panels and wind turbines sprouting like triffids. And having to pay through the nose for the privilege.

What have they done to deserve being singled out for a expensive eco-experiment?

In future, the only tourists prepared to travel to the island will be woolly-headed Guardian readers posing for pictures in front of an artificial forest of aluminium windmills before retreating to their over-priced, wood-fired Stoke Newington slums, where they can revel in the snapshots of their eco-friendly vacation on their nuclear-powered iPads over bowls of meadow-flower muesli.


New Revelations Cast Doubt On Climategate Inquiries

The head of a key British climate lab, a central figure in the 2009 "Climategate" scandal, thought requests made under Great Britain's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) were a nuisance that should be stonewalled while crucial correspondence is deleted -- unless someone pays up first, that is.

"I wasted a part of a day deleting numerous emails and exchanges with almost all the skeptics. So I have virtually nothing. I even deleted the email that I inadvertently sent," wrote Phil Jones, the head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, according to a December 2008 email leaked to a Russian website Tuesday.

"There might be some bits of pieces of paper, but I'm not wasting my time going through these," the email reads.

The correspondence was one of 5,000 emails stolen from the servers at the University of East Anglia's climate research facility in England and posted online Tuesday. Along with the day-to-day work of science, the emails reveal internal debates, anger at skeptics and even deception from scientists investigation whether man's actions are warming the planet.

The newly leaked emails span from 2000 to 2009 and fill in correspondence first seen in December 2009, when a batch of emails from the data breach dubbed "Climategate" turned the world's attention to East Anglia. University spokesman Simon Dunford told the Associated Press that a small sample examined by the university "appears to be genuine."

According to the December 2008 email exchange, Jones wrote to David Palmer, the information policy and compliance manager for East Anglia's research unit at the time, arguing that unless a fee accompanied a FOIA request for information, he didn't need to bother going to the trouble of replying.

"Dave, do I understand it correctly -- if he doesn't pay the £10 we don't have to respond?" Jones asked. The sum he requested, £10, is worth about $16 U.S. dollars.

"No, we don't have to respond unless we get the £10," Palmer told Jones -- before reading him the riot act over deleting emails, a direct violation of Britain's Data Protection Act of 1998, he said.

Neither Jones nor Palmer responded to requests to confirm the validity of the email correspondence, although Jones said Wednesday morning in a press conference that the emails were being "cherry-picked" and explained away many of the messages.

The email echoes other correspondence from Jones discovered in 2009. Jones admitted to the House of Commons in 2010 that he had "written some very awful emails," including one in which he rejected a request for information on the ground that the person receiving it might criticize his work.

Lisa Horton, a spokeswoman with the university, pointed to a website statement attacking the timing of the release.

"This appears to be a carefully-timed attempt to reignite controversy over the science behind climate change when that science has been vindicated by three separate independent inquiries and [a] number of studies – including, most recently, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group."

Steven McIntyre, a noted climate skeptic and author of the blog Climate Audit, disputed those vindications vehemently.

"Unfortunately none of the 'inquiries' did even a reasonable job," he told "None of them interviewed any of the critics … there were no transcripts. The inquiries made erroneous findings on facts known to thousands." "In my opinion, the 'inquiries' have actually made matters worse," McIntyre told

The newly released emails come less than a week before the Nov. 28 opening of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa, which is intended to control carbon emissions and monitor the world's climate -- a fact underscored in a document that accompanied the leaked emails.


At least some members of "The Team" conceded that the MWP was real and not merely local

Email 466:

[Ed Cook] So, at this stage I would argue that the Medieval Warm Period was probably a global extra-tropical event, at the very least, with warmth that was persistent and probably comparable to much of what we have experienced in the 20th century.

However, I would not claim (and nor would Jan) that it exceeded the warmth of the late 20th century. We simply do not have the precision or the proxy replication to say that yet.

This being said, I do find the dismissal of the Medieval Warm Period as a meaningful global event to be grossly premature and probably wrong. Kind of like Mark Twain's commment that accounts of his death were greatly exaggerated.

If, as some people believe, a degree of symmetry in climate exists between the hemispheres, which would appear to arise from the tropics, then the existence of a Medieval Warm Period in the extra-tropics of the NH and SH argues for its existence in the tropics as well. Only time and an enlarged suite of proxies that extend into the tropics will tell if this is true.


EU carbon emissions trading scheme is a waste - UBS Report

The Australian reported that Swiss banking giant UBS said that the European Union's emissions trading scheme has cost the continent's consumers USD 287 billion for almost zero impact on cutting carbon emissions, and has warned that the EU's carbon pricing market is on the verge of a crash in 2012.

In a damning report to clients, UBS Investment Research said that had the EUR 210 billion the European ETS had cost consumers been used in a targeted approach to replace the EU's dirtiest power plants, emissions could have been reduced by 43% instead of almost zero impact on the back of emissions trading.

Describing the EU's ETS as having limited benefits and embarrassing consequences, the report said there was fading political support for the scheme, the price was too low to have any significant environmental impact and it had provided windfall profits to market participants, paid for by electricity customers.

The report's criticism of the EU's ETS follows Mr Barack Obama's confirmation last week that the US would not have a cap and trade scheme and Canada's refusal to implement an ETS.

In the November 17th 2011 report, UBS forecast the EU carbon price would average EUR 5 a tonne for 2012-13 with a floor of EUR 3, attributing the slump to a large surplus of permits. The report added that "We see few buyers of the surplus until after a crash."

It argued the surplus could continue until 2025 when the ETS would work as it was supposed to.

European carbon prices have already been under pressure as part of the market turbulence triggered by the European debt crisis. Analysts are predicting EU carbon permits may fall to a record low EUR 8.60 this week on a future supply glut.

UBS said sources of the oversupply of permits include the European Investment Bank, EU governments, Russia and Ukraine.


Win for the Greens, but a loss for Australia

Huge fishery locked away

The Government’s decision to release the proposed maps of the million square kilometre Coral Sea Marine Reserve was a great victory for the American environmental group, PEW foundation, and their public relations tactics. But it has been a huge loss to the Australian fishing charter boat industry and will have an effect on recreational fishing, Queensland Senator Ron Boswell said today. “Charter boats, trawlers, fishermen, are going to bear a very heavy cost for the government and the 'green movements' decision.

And the processors, slip ways, refrigeration operations industry and all other supporting industries, are going to take a huge hit." “There is a thirty boat, charter industry that operates out of Cairns. It pumps about sixty million dollars into the local economy every year. It brings wealthy international travellers in to enjoy the North Queensland Marlin fishery. It is tag and release fishing, and is one of the most sustainable in the world," Senator Boswell said. “The charter boats, and the small number of fisherman, will be excluded from the massive green zone."

Both the Greens and the Minister recognise that the Coral Sea is in a pristine condition. This is due to the charter boats and fishermen who fish in the green zone and monitor any illegal fishing methods, such as drift nets, super seiners, and long liners mass destructive methods, and report any illegal fishing in the area. They also monitor catches and pass that information on to government.

Senator Boswell also said that, “this decision will leave the Coral Sea with no monitoring, there will be no observation of illegal fishing, and if the Coral Sea is in pristine condition, the Greens can thank the charter boat and fishermen who work the area for keeping it so."

“There will be no activity out there in the Coral Sea to observe, it will be an open invite to illegal fishing in the Coral Sea."

“Trawlers will also be completely excluded from the marine park. Forty deep sea trawlers that work in the southern end of the marine park, and a hundred other east coast licences that work on an irregular basis will be excluded."

Press release dated 25 Nov. from Queensland Senator Boswell above

Australia: New twist on a stupid Greenie scheme

These "public bicycle" schemes usually suffer from a low uptake and theft of the bicycles. Brisbane's council has increased the uptake only at the expense of another loss

THE CityCycle trial of free helmets and more flexible subscription packages has been a success with a 72 per cent increase in the number of weekly trips since the changes were made by Lord Mayor Graham Quirk three months ago.

But council audits have found about 250 of the initial 400 courtesy helmets had been "misplaced" during the trial.

The loss of 250 helmets is the latest issue to plague CityCycle, which has faced a host of problems since its conception. Originally planned to be launched in 2009, the initiative was delayed a year when the operator couldn’t find enough free space around town to install the cycle stations.

Within three months of its launch in 2010, the amount of annual subscribers plummeted dramatically from 1251 when it started in October to just 131 in January 2011.

With less and less people subscribing, the Council dropped the daily charges from $11 to just $2 in August and offered free helmets as an incentive. The helmets cost around $10 each for the Council to replace.

The CityScycle scheme has cost ratepayers around $300,000 as of August.

Public and Active Transport Chairman Julian Simmonds said the weekly average of the scheme during its first 10 months was 1,470 trips. During the past three months the average had jumped to 2,530 trips per week.

CityCycle last week celebrated its 100,000th trip since its launch in October last year and often reaches 500 trips a day.

“Every CityCycle trip is potentially one less vehicle on the road and it is part of Brisbane’s overall public transport infrastructure and offering residents and visitors an alternative, sustainable mode of travel in the inner-city," Cr Simmonds said.

“Courtesy helmets and cheaper subscriptions have clearly made it easier for people to hop on a bike so we’re going to distribute an extra 500 free helmets at no additional cost to ratepayers and also introduce a more affordable package for students.”

Cr Simmonds said the 500 new helmets would be jointly provided with operator JC Decaux. Council’s $2,500 share of the cost would come from the existing CityCycle marketing budget.

Construction has commenced on stage two of CityCycle which will see a further 46 stations rolled out across Milton, Auchenflower, Toowong, St Lucia and Dutton Park.

Six new stations have already opened, including new stations at South Bank’s Maritime Museum, at the popular café precinct in Park Road at Milton, as well as a new station on the Bicentennial Bikeway.



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


25 November, 2011

Looks like the sky is falling in Canada

According to a Canadian Leftist site we've only got weeks to go:
Runaway Global Warming promises to literally burn-up agricultural areas into dust worldwide by 2012, causing global famine, anarchy, diseases, and war on a global scale as military powers including the U.S., Russia, and China, fight for control of the Earth's remaining resources.

Over 4.5 billion people could die from Global Warming related causes by 2012, as planet Earth accelarates into a greed-driven horrific catastrophe.

It doesn't seem to occur to them that even if their warming prophecies come true it would open up great swathes of productive agricultural land in Canada, Northern Russia, Siberia and Alaska. It would INCREASE the availability of food and other resources. And Hokkaido is a rather large but very Northerly Japanese island that would serve Japan well too. It is roughly the same size as Ireland and already has a railway connection to the mainland (Honshu)

Climate forecasts 'exaggerated': Science journal

"Science" has been solidly Warmist so far -- so cracks are appearing in the dam that is holding real science back

DRAMATIC forecasts of global warming resulting from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide have been exaggerated, according to a peer-reviewed study by a team of international researchers.

In the study, published today in the leading journal Science, the researchers found that while rising levels of CO2 would cause climate change, the most severe predictions - some of which were adopted by the UN's peak climate body in its seminal 2007 report - had been significantly overstated.

The authors used a novel approach based on modelling the effects of reduced CO2 levels on climate, which they compared with proxy-records of conditions during the last glaciation, to infer the effects of doubling CO2 levels.

They concluded that current worst-case scenarios for global warming were exaggerated. "Now these very large changes (predicted for the coming decades) can be ruled out, and we have some room to breathe and time to figure out solutions to the problem," the study's lead author, Andreas Schmittner, an associate professor at Oregon State University, said.

Scientists have struggled for many years to understand how to quantify "climate sensitivity" - how Earth will respond to projected increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

In 2007, the UN's peak climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warned that a doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels would warm the Earth's surface by an average of 2C to 4.5C, although some studies have claimed the impact could be 10C or higher.

Professor Schmittner said it had been very difficult to rule out these extreme "high-sensitivity" scenarios, which were very important for understanding risks associated with climate change.

The study found high-sensitivity models led to a "runaway effect" under which the Earth would have been covered in ice during the last glacial maximum, about 20,000 years ago, when CO2 levels were much lower. "Clearly that didn't happen, and that's why we are pretty confident that these high climate sensitivities can be ruled out," he said.

Professor Schmittner said taking his results literally, the IPCC's average or "expected" value of a 3C average temperature increase for a doubling of CO2 ought to be regarded as an upper limit.

"Many previous climate-sensitivity studies have looked at the past only from 1850 through to today, and not fully integrated paleoclimate data, especially on a global scale," he said. "If these paleoclimatic constraints apply to the future, as predicted by our model, the results imply less probability of extreme climatic change than previously thought."

However, he cautioned that extreme climate change could still occur in some areas.

Dave Griggs, a professor of sustainability at Monash University, said that while models such as the one used by Professor Schmittner and his team were "the only tool we have" to assess long-term climate variability, they were also inherently imperfect.

"We are already heading towards a doubling of CO2 concentrations, so if we're going to get an equilibrium change of 3C that's actually pretty serious," Professor Griggs said.


Britain's Green 'tax' to rise every year... but don't worry, ministers claim overall bills will be lower - because their policies will make you use less energy

Families will pay £280 a year in ‘green taxes’ by 2020 to fund the shift to wind, solar and nuclear power, ministers admitted yesterday. The huge cost faced by ordinary people will pay for the Government’s pledge to cut carbon emissions and be ‘the greenest ever’.

Households currently pay £89 a year on their bills for the green energy drive, but this will increase every year to reach £280 by 2020, according to the Government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The ‘taxes’ will provide almost £8billion a year towards the £200billion cost of vast wind farms, nuclear power stations, a new pylon network, and to put up solar panels.

But in a bizarre statement, energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne told the House of Commons that his policies mean consumers will actually be better off. He said: ‘By 2020, we expect household bills to be 7 per cent – or £94 – lower than they would otherwise be without our policies. ‘Britain’s homes will be cheaper to heat and light than if we did nothing.’

His claim is based on a controversial assumption that families will make vast reductions in their electricity and gas bills by 2020 – wiping out the £280 in green taxes. It also assumes there will be a large uptake of government-backed schemes for insulation projects.

The revelation threatens to spark a revolt from consumers, who are suffering the biggest and longest squeeze on living standards in more than 60 years. In addition, Chancellor George Osborne is under pressure to over-rule Mr Huhne and halt the rush to green energy in a bid to protect British industry.

The fear is that manufacturers and other businesses will be saddled with huge levies on energy bills, pushing up costs and threatening their ability to sell goods around the world.

The details were revealed in the small print in DECC documents.

The current average annual energy bill is around £1,200. DECC said the figure would be £1,379 by 2020 without any government measures to drive a switch to green and nuclear power.

It claimed the figure would be £1,285 based on the impact of its green taxes and associated policies to cut household energy use and curb wholesale prices.

However, a DECC source admitted this lower figure would be possible only if households slashed electricity use by a third (from 4.5 to 3 megawatt hours a year) and gas by 6 per cent.

The Government has a target of providing 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Despite the £280 price tag of government policies, Mr Huhne insisted rising fossil fuel prices rather than green taxes were to blame for higher energy bills.

He said: ‘I want to insulate Britain’s homes not just from the cold weather, but also from the chill winds of global fossil fuel prices. It’s these that are pushing up consumer energy prices.

‘We will secure our energy at the lowest cost: in the short term by promoting competition; in the medium term by insulating our homes and in the long term by steering us away from excessive reliance on fossil fuels and on to clean, green and secure energy.’

But Dr Benny Peiser, of the Global Warming Foundation, said Mr Huhne’s reassurances were ‘political spin’. ‘All analysis by City banks and others make clear that current government policy will lead to big increases in energy bills,’ he said. ‘The energy-use reductions being assumed by the Government to justify the claim that bills will fall are not based on any sound economic facts. They are pure guesswork.’

Government policy is based on an assumption that gas prices will continue to rise, but Dr Peiser said the price could fall. He said: ‘Prices are likely to come down very significantly, perhaps by 30 to 40 per cent if the UK Government gives the green light to shale gas exploration. The UK is sitting on a gold mine of shale gas.’

Energy industry expert Joe Malinowski, of, said he was ‘deeply sceptical’ about Mr Huhne’s claims of lower bills.

The CBI is particularly fearful of the impact of green taxes. Chief policy director Katja Hall said: ‘Energy intensive industries underpin the UK’s manufacturing sector, making products as diverse as the steel and chemicals needed for wind turbines and low-rolling resistance tyres. ‘The Government is in serious danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater if it continues to pile new costs on to industries.’

The Government plans to spend £11billion installing smart meters in every property, saying that once people see how much energy they use, they will make cutbacks.

Ministers say energy use will also be reduced by the so-called Green Deal, which will allow people to install double-glazing and loft insulation at no upfront cost. But a spokesman for consumer group Which? said: ‘If take-up is lower than expected, energy bills will be pushed up even further.’


Google's promise of solar power 'cheaper than coal' turns out to be hot air as search giant shelves Green Energy division

Google's engineers famously spend 20 per cent of their time on what the company calls '20 per cent projects' - off-the-wall ideas that are 'personal' technologies. Some of these are highly surreal, 'blue sky' projects - and not all of them work.

Google Inc has abandoned an ambitious project to make renewable energy cheaper than coal, the latest target of Chief Executive Larry Page's moves to focus the Internet giant on fewer efforts.

Google said on Tuesday that it was pulling the plug on seven projects, including Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal - a rather vague project aimed at producing good-value renewable energy.

Google said that it believed other institutions were better positioned to take its renewable energy efforts 'to the next level.'

Google began making investments and doing research into technology to drive down the price of renewable energy in 2007, with a particular focus on solar power technology. In 2009, the company's so-called Green Energy Czar, Bill Weihl, said he expected to demonstrate within a few years working technology that could produce renewable energy at a cheaper price than coal. 'It is even odds, more or less,' Weihl said at the time. 'In three years, we could have multiple megawatts of plants out there.' A Google spokesman said that Weihl had left Google earlier this month.

Google said today, 'This is our third off-season spring cleaning. We're in the process of shutting a number of products which haven't had the impact we'd hoped for.' 'Over all, our aim is to build a simpler, more intuitive truly beautiful Google user experience.'

The latest round of victims are Google Friend Connect - a social feature allowing webmasters to add Google friend features to their sites, Google Bookmark Lists, which allows home users to share bookmarks, and Google Search Timeline, which graphed search results for a particular query.

Google's version of Wikipedia, the clunky, unpopular Knol, will also be shut off.


'Green' debacle: Tens of thousands of abandoned wind turbines now litter American landscape

Literal beacons of the "green" energy movement, giant wind turbines have been one of the renewable energy sources of choice for the US government, which has spent billions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing their construction and use across the country. But high maintenance costs, high rates of failure, and fluctuating weather conditions that affect energy production render wind turbines expensive and inefficient, which is why more than 14,000 of them have since been abandoned.

Before government subsidies for the giant metals were cut or eliminated in many areas, wind farms were an energy boom business. But in the post-tax subsidy era, the costs of maintaining and operating wind turbines far outweighs the minimal power they generate in many areas, which has left a patchwork of wind turbine graveyards in many of the most popular wind farming areas of the US.

"Thousands of abandoned wind turbines littered the landscape of wind energy's California 'big three' locations which include Altamont Pass, Tehachapin and San Gorgonio, considered among the world's best wind sites," writes Andrew Walden of the American Thinker. "In the best wind spots on earth, over 14,000 turbines were simply abandoned. Spinning, post-industrial junk which generates nothing but bird kills."

Walden speaks, of course, about the birds, bats, and other air creatures that routinely get tangled in and killed by wind turbine propellers. And as far as the "post-industrial junk" language, well, if it costs too much to run the machines in the first place, then it definitely costs too much to uproot and remove them post-construction.

This whole wind energy mess just further illustrates how the American people have been played by their elected officials who bought into the "global warming" hysteria that spawned the push for wind energy in the first place. And now that the renewable energy tax subsidies are gradually coming to an end in some places, the true financial and economic viability, or lack of wind energy, is on display for the world to see.

"It is all about the tax subsidies," writes Don Surber of the Charleston Daily Mail. "The blades churn until the money runs out. If an honest history is written about the turn of the 21st century, it will include a large, harsh chapter on how fears about global warming were overplayed for profit by corporations."


Some of the Wackier Ideas for Improving the Environment

There is a proposal before the United Nations for environmental justice, in order to save the planet. Said justice calls for legal representation on behalf of the environment – plants, animals, insects – against us pesky humans, with the power to seek financial compensation for damages.

* This one is a bit of a touchy subject. Though the thought is in the right place, the evidence seems to suggest that the concept wasn’t entirely thought through. The push to replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL’s (compact fluorescent lamps) would indeed conserve energy. However, they contain significant levels of mercury which, without any safe means of recycling them, would introduce unsafe levels of mercury back into the environment.

* In an effort to safeguard the sanctuary of indigent marine wildlife, the city of San Diego is set to enact laws that would ban birthday parties at local parks within the vicinity of said wildlife.

* As a means to harness human energy and transform it into useable energy, the concept of the human-powered floating gym came into being. Imagine, if you will, dozens of sweaty fitness-minded bodies, powering their way upstream in a bubble, and you’ve got a vague idea of what this truly wacky project is all about.

* Here’s another idea that someone pulled out of their, um … notebook: The basic premise is that the methane produced through cow flatulence is a major contributor to greenhouse gases (14%) and needs to be stopped. The answer? Kangaroo farts. Apparently their marsupial mates are methane-free down under, and possess a bacterium that it is suggested to be injected into cattle.

* Based on the cooling effect that the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo had on the planet 20 years ago, scientists had the brainstorm idea of triggering other volcanoes in the hopes of having similar results. We can only hope that our tax dollars don’t literally go up in (volcanic) smoke, and ash.

* The Eco-Kettle is supposedly the answer to a question we have no idea why anyone would even ask: namely, sparing our precious globe from the bane of our existence known as (wait for it) boiling too much water (gasp!).

* Asus came up with this gem a while back as a solution to excessive use of plastics in consumer product manufacturing: the bamboo laptop. We would love to have seen this sold as part of an office starter package, with a tiki torch desk lamp and margarita mixer.

* Pig pee for plastics. The idea here is to reduce the use of petroleum in the manufacture of plastic plates. The urea in pig urine would act as a bulking agent in its place. Trouble is (among other things -ugh!) is that when these pig-pee plates are discarded? You guessed it, they will emit methane. Maybe we first need to cross-breed these pigs with kangaroos. Yeah, that’s the ticket: pigaroo plates.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


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


24 November, 2011

Ya gotta laugh: Loss of Sea Ice is ‘Unprecedented’, says Study

It's unlikely that this is true since the only accurate history goes back only to 1979 but even if it were true, so what? Melting sea ice has zero effect on ocean levels and since there has been no warming for over a decade any recent ice loss CANNOT be due to warming. These guys really are desperate

The loss of sea ice in the Arctic at the end of the 20th Century is “unprecedented” in the past 1,450 years in its duration and magnitude, an indication of human-influenced climate change, a study said.

So-called greenhouse gases may be contributing to the warming, and trends from the last several decades suggest there may soon be an ice-free Arctic in the summer, according to a study published today in the journal Nature.

The ice, which melts every summer before cold weather makes it expand again, shrank this year to its second-smallest size since 1979, covering 4.33 million square kilometers (1.67 million square miles), according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. Although previous sea ice declines have occurred at a similar pace, they don’t match the extent of the melt, the study authors said.

“This drastic and continuous decrease we’ve been seeing from the satellites does seem to be anomalous,” Christophe Kinnard, a study author and a geographer at the Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Aridas in La Serena, Chile, said in a telephone interview. “It does point to a continuation of this trend in the future.”

The researchers used ice core records, tree ring data, lake sediment and historical evidence to reconstruct the amount of Arctic cover. The thickness and extent of sea ice have declined dramatically over the last 30 years, the researchers said.

Arctic sea ice influences the global climate, since 80 percent of the sunlight that strikes it is reflected back to space. When the ice melts in the summer, it exposes the ocean surface, which absorbs about 90 percent of the light, heating the water, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. That influences climate patterns.

“You increase the radiation that’s absorbed by the oceans, that’s one of the strongest climate feedback mechanisms,” Kinnard said. “The more sea ice you lose, the more energy you get in the ocean, which warms the atmosphere.”


From the Climategate 2.0 files: CRU scientist admits ‘…”our” reaction on the errors found in Mike Mann’s work were not especially honest.’

(Dr. Douglas Maraun performs time series analysis, extreme value statistics, and analysis of precipitation extremes at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia)

Dr. Douglas Maraun, a scientist at the Climatic Reasearch Unit at the University of East Anglia wrote to his colleages in an e-mail on October 24, 2007.

Dr. Maraun, who seems to have more of a conscience than many of his colleagues, had some concerns which he wished to address in a “discussion seminar” to be held in the coffee room that afternoon. Among Dr. Maraun’s points he wished to discuss were:

"How should we deal with flaws inside the climate community? I think, that “our” reaction on the errors found in Mike Mann’s work were not especially honest."

He also actually pondered, “how do we avoid sounding religious or arrogant?”


The idiot bozo

ClimateGate 2: Email 202:

[2003] from: Stephen H Schneider
subject: Re: Fw: New Study Questions Kyoto Global Warming Data

Hello all. Ah ha--the latest idiot--McKitrick--reenters the scene. He and another incompetent had a book signing party at the US Capitol

...It was a scream. He argued there is no such thing as global temperature change, just local--all natural variablity mostly. ...THe freshman was smarter than this bozo. It is improtant to get that op-ed to simply tell all reporters how unbelievably incompetent he is, and should not even be given the time of day over climate issues, for which his one "contribution" is laughably incompetent.


McKitrick replies:

Yes, I saw that one. Schneider was referring to this op-ed here

Have a look at it. In addition to debunking an episode of West Wing, I was responding to a claim David Suzuki had made a few days earlier on TV. He said that when he grew up in London Ontario, winter always set in by the end of October, but now it comes much later, i.e. November or December. The host had lapped it up without question. So I looked up the weather records for London Ontario and Erie Pennsylvania, which together provided complete records from the 40s to the present for that region, and showed that autumn temperatures had actually trended down since Suzuki was a child.

In other words, I did not claim that late fall temperature records in the western Lake Erie area were an indicator of global climate, but were an indicator of late fall temperatures in the western Lake Erie region. To Stephen Schneider this made me an unbelievably incompetent idiot bozo. What does that make him?

McKitrick reply received via email

EPA determined to wreak havoc

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson recently announced that her agency would proceed with twice-delayed regulations targeting power plants that emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Mrs. Jackson’s decision ignores three vital pieces of information that should make it easy for Congress to prevent unelected bureaucrats from regulating CO2:

* The EPA inspector general’s finding that EPA did not follow federal data quality standards in preparing its “endangerment finding” regarding greenhouse gases.

* The profusion of scientific dissent.

* The massive economic costs and minimal environmental benefits.

In April 2009, the EPA issued an endangerment finding stating that the gases pose a serious threat to human health and public safety. It provided a lengthy technical support document to justify this position.

But this September, the EPA's Office of Inspector General released its own report concluding that the agency’s document failed to follow federal guidelines for a “highly influential scientific assessment.” Specifically, the EPA had failed to publicly report its review results. Moreover, one of the federal climate-change scientists reviewing the document was an EPA employee.

The EPA responded by arguing that the document did not qualify as “highly influential,” yet the agency offered it to justify one of the most expansive - and expensive - regulations in history. If that’s not highly influential, what is?

The inspector general’s report does not question the scientific validity of the endangerment finding. But disagreement among the scientific community regarding the magnitude of anthropogenic global warming should have been sufficient reason for the EPA not to issue the endangerment finding in the first place.

In 2001, Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, participated in a 12-member panel of the National Academy of Sciences and produced a report essentially saying that the Earth is warming, and rising CO2 levels are playing a role in that warming, but we don’t know how much.

A decade later, little has changed. On Nov. 14, Reps. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, and Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat, architects of cap-and-trade legislation that failed to become law, hosted a briefing called “The End of Climate Change Skepticism.” One of three star witnesses, University of California, Berkeley astrophysicist Richard Muller said, “The amount that’s due to humans is still open, and there are fairly big uncertainties about that.”

Questions about how the sun and ocean currents affect warming remain unanswered, too, he added. Much to the hosts’ dismay, their own briefing revealed that “the science” on this issue is far from settled.

Regardless, the EPA’s CO2 regulations won’t reduce emissions enough to have any meaningful effect, anyway. China emits far more CO2 than we do, and its emissions - along with India’s - are increasing rapidly. Neither nation has any intention of scaling back economic growth to curb emissions. Unilateral U.S. action, therefore, wouldn’t make a dent in global temperatures.

The EPA’s regulations would, however, inflict serious economic harm. Although the agency targets the largest emitters of greenhouse gases first, the financial burden would extend to every American. The agency’s first two targets are fossil-fuel power plants and petroleum refineries. The U.S. gets 85 percent of its energy from fossil fuels. Regulating these entities would significantly increase energy costs - electricity, gasoline, diesel fuel and heating oil - directly.

It also would raise consumer costs for all other goods. Higher energy costs increase transportation and operating costs for businesses, too. These additional expenses are passed on to consumers. The end result: A dramatically slower economy and many lost jobs.


‘The Green Evolution’ Report Reveals That Fewer Consumers Are Buying Green Products

Extensive Survey Finds That 65 Percent of Consumers Changed Their Green Buying Habits Due to the Recession

Grail Research, Integreon’s strategic research group, today released the results of an extensive survey designed to gauge U.S. consumers’ sentiments and behaviors related to sustainability and “green” products, as well as evaluate how consumers interpret the marketing efforts of the companies that offer them.

The survey, detailed in the report “The Green Evolution,” found that consumers who previously purchased green products have decreased their green purchasing as a result of the recession. Specifically, 43 percent of “light green” consumers – those who buy some green products – reduced their usage of green products or switched to conventional ones. At the same time, the percentage of non-green consumers rose from 15 percent to 22 percent.

“Although it’s clear that the market for green products is here to stay, the number of green consumers declined over the past two years,” said Annica Blake, Global Head, Research Services at Grail Research. “Conversely, the number of ‘dark green’ consumers – those who select earth-friendly products for most of their purchases – increased by one percent, and now make up nine percent of the consumer market.”

“The Green Evolution,” is available now on the Grail Research website, The research was conducted to explore several core themes:

1. Identify changes that occurred in the green product market segment since Grail Research first identified the different types of green consumers and attributes they associate with green products in the 2009 report, “The Green Revolution”;

2. Uncover insights that corporations and marketers can use to more effectively communicate the value of their green products; and

3. Reveal how consumers in different green categories respond to today’s market conditions.

Key findings and insights from Grail Research’s “The Green Evolution” report include:

* The number of green consumers in the U.S. is decreasing as the recession continues.

The number of light green consumers, those who purchase some green products, decreased from 76 percent to 60 percent of the population.

The percentage of former green consumers rose from only one percent in the previous survey to 10 percent of consumers.

Among green consumers, 43 percent cited the economic recession as the reason for not purchasing green products in specific categories – the top reason given.

As opposed to previous years, growth will increasingly take place when green products can demonstrate equal or better performance and value than conventional products.

* Consumers who have yet to switch to green products are unlikely to do so.

Nine percent of consumers say they never consider buying green products – an increase of four percentage points since the previous report.

Five percent of dark green consumers and 22 percent of light green consumers switched from green to conventional products.

Sixty-five percent of respondents changed their purchasing behavior as a result of the recession, with most turning to less expensive green products.

Green as a whole is no longer a fast-growth market.

* Most consumers do not seek out information on green products.

Only 11 percent of consumers report that they seek information on green companies and their products.

Packaging still remains the most important source of information for green products, with more than half of consumers saying it impacts their purchasing decision.

Word of mouth influence is still strong, with 40 percent of respondents citing it as a source of information about green products.

The volume of green product and brand information is not proportional to its impact on consumer behavior.

* Most consumers don’t understand green certifications.

Dark green consumers most associate the use of natural ingredients with being green, while light green consumers, as well as former green consumers, associate recyclability of packaging with being green.

More than half (51 percent) of all green consumers would like to see a “greenness” rating for products, even if it’s provided by the retailer.

Seventy-four percent of dark green consumers and 48 percent of light green consumers would be very likely to use a rating system to make their green purchase decisions.

Consumers are more likely to find green claims compelling if they provide quantitative information in an easy to visualize description that communicates the impact on the environment.


U.S. And Europe threaten their own energy independence

Canada's conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, understands that energy means influence and independence. It would be tough to argue that Canada is on some kind of power trip, and it's not difficult to understand why the country is interested in establishing oil trade deals that would help its closest ideological allies retain their energy independence.

Decisions by Europe and America in the past month have pushed away Canada and its oil overtures under the guise of environmentalism -- which is turning out to be the new protectionism. And for what? So America and Europe can explore more "green-friendly" petroleum deals with unstable Middle Eastern and African regimes? It's not as if curtailing purchasing can stop production. China has expressed an interest in having it shipped in -- so Europe and America are effectively shifting any environmental impact to another part of the globe with even fewer controls.

The latest blow came a few days ago, when the U.S. government delayed the Keystone crude oil pipeline that would deliver Canadian oil to Texas. Officials cited concern over a water supply in Nebraska along the pipeline's proposed route. Who knows now whether the project will ever be completed. In the meantime, Canada is gushing out more oil than it knows what to do with, while the American government ensures that its citizens remain at the mercy of Middle Eastern regional strife and whether or not a petro-sheik wakes up on the right side of the bed.

So if you're an American upset about the price of oil, blame the government. It just had an opportunity to lower the price but gave it away -- likely to the Chinese, who will gladly choke the polar bears that Westerners won't.

Another anti-Canadian oil decision came late last month from the European Union. Canada has been trying to work out a free-trade deal with Europe, but the bloc ruled last month that Canadian crude oil extracted from oil sands is more of a pollutant than other sources of oil, assigning it a bureaucratic rating to reflect this assessment. Canada is arguing that over the course of the entire extraction-to-delivery cycle, oil sand products are no dirtier than other alternatives, and is criticizing the lack of transparency in the decision while threatening to appeal the decision to the World Trade Organization. Europeans, meanwhile, are selling their first-to-sixth-born children to put gas in their Renaults.

It's not that Europeans couldn't use Canadian oil. European countries are currently negotiating for oil with post-Gaddafi Libya, without really yet knowing who they're dealing with. They've been importing it from Russia, contributing to Putin's oil-for-influence program. Not too long ago, Russia shut off Europe's oil tap because it got into a tiff with Belarus, and the pipeline to Europe runs through that country. All these headaches, and yet Europe doesn't currently ship in any oil from Canada, although it quite feasibly could -- if it weren't for blatant protectionism cloaked in environmentalism.

It doesn't help that domestic Canadian lobbying groups are actively working against their own economic interests, claiming oil sand products inherently damage aboriginals and perform unspeakable acts on Mother Nature. Over the past week, I've seen two documentaries on the Kremlin-funded Russian international television network making similar claims about North American natural resource industrialism -- all while Russia opens up its new Nord Stream natural gas line running right under the Baltic Sea from Russia directly into Germany, where it can provide an environmentally friendlier alternative to crude while not ceding an inch of crude-oil imperialism.

No one's telling Russia it has to make cars that plug into walls or put windmills atop the Kremlin. Instead, the West will probably just keep kicking Canada until its own toes bleed.



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


23 November, 2011


This new email release OUGHT to be the end of the credibility of the Warmist "scientists" but people's ability to believe what they want to believe is phenomenal so true believers are unlikely to be perturbed.

I have put up below two comments on the bombshell plus a link to another but the blogoshere is full of it all today so I am not going to post much today in the belief that readers will want to look around among all the material available. Marc Morano has lots of links if you want to explore -- JR

CLIMATEGATE 2: Sensational new Email Release

John O'Sullivan

The world’s media is recoiling in astonishment at the sudden release of a massive new cache of Climategate emails that are further damning proof of how politics manufactured the man-made global warming agenda.

The emails have been made available once again in a free for all from a Russian server called Mysteriously, the server has since gone offline. However, thousands of bloggers still had time to download and share copies of the new release of a 173MB zip file called "FOIA2011."

Analysts are convinced the release was timed to cause maximum impact on this week's international COP 17 climate summit in Durban. Unless a global greenhouse gas reduction deal is signed at Durban nothing will replace the Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012. As such international agreement on greenhouse gas reduction targets will be dead in the water.

The notable difference between the 'Climategate1.0' and the new '2.0 version' is that the whistleblower this time has added his/her own personal message which includes the plea, "Today's decisions should be based on all the information we can get, not on hiding the decline" (a cutting reference to doomsayer, Dr. Michael Mann's shabby statistical graph trick).

The Climategate 2.0 data file contains more than 5,000 new emails that make a mockery of five ‘whitewash’ investigations conducted after the first Climategate scandal.

A full taster menu of the sensational revelation can be found at Tallbloke's website and discussion and analysis is already fervently under way on popular skeptic blogs Watts Up With That, Climate Audit, TallBloke and The Air Vent. Also, not to be outdone, Daily Telegraph’s popular skeptic writer, James Delingpole has his own take on the story.

An embarrassed University of East Anglia has issued a swift public announcement refusing to explicitly confirm or deny if the new release is genuine. But a spokesperson conceded, “these emails have the appearance of having been held back after the theft of data and emails in 2009.”

Michael Mann Firmly in the Dock for Data Abuse Fraud

Many of the new disclosures will cause considerable distress to Dr. Michael Mann but profound joy to Dr. Tim Ball. Mann is currently suing Ball for libel in the Supreme Court of British Columbia after Ball expressed the opinion that Mann belongs in “the state pen, not Penn State.”

Mann is director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University and is currently trying to block a Virginia Court ruling ordering his former employers, the University of Virginia, to release withheld files from their archives to disgruntled taxpayers suspicious of grant fraud.

The following excerpts give just a flavor of the huge headache Mann’s attorney, Roger McConchie, will have in court trying to present his client as a credible and respected researcher.

<4369> Cook:
“I am afraid that Mike [Mann] is defending something that increasingly can not be defended. He is investing too much personal stuff in this and not letting the science move ahead.”

<5055> Cook:
“One problem is that he [Mann] will be using the RegEM method, which provides no better diagnostics (e.g. betas) than his original method. So we will still not know where his estimates are coming from.”

Disgraced British climate professor, Phil Jones is mired as much as Mann for his part in the sleazy cover up.

[on FOI and temperature data]
”Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (US Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.”

Mann reacted with his usual characteristic petulance at the release describing it as "truly pathetic.” By contrast, Dr. Ball was elated at the news. Commenting by email Dr. Ball said:

“These comments are even more damaging than the last. They show the political bias, the control of publications and the fact they were very aware that what they were doing was wrong. I am taking it to my lawyer this morning.”

More HERE (See the original for links).

Climategate 2.0: ‘Hockey stick’ debunking confirmed

Hockey sticks, hockey sticks, everywhere a hockey stick.

From the Climate 2.0 collection, alarmist Rob Wilson (?) confirms Steve McIntyre’s debunking of Michael Mann’s hockey stick:

"I thought I’d play around with some randomly generated time-series and see if I could ‘reconstruct’ northern hemisphere temperatures. [...] The reconstructions clearly show a ‘hockey-stick’ trend. I guess this is precisely the phenomenon that Macintyre has been going on about."

McIntyre had reported that Mann’s temperature reconstruction model produced a hockey stick no matter what temperature data was input to it.


Lubos Motl also has some interesting comments and quotes

Germany’s Green Energy Revolution Falters

Germany's abandonment of nuclear power is facing increasing obstacles. The rating agency Moody's has warned Europe's electricity and gas suppliers about downgrading their creditworthiness due to growing political risks. This means that German energy companies which are supposed to make the switch to renewable energies are having increasing difficulties to get raise money on the capital markets. At the same time, the expansion of renewable energies has made only little progress.

After the nuclear disaster in Japan in March, Chancellor Angela Merkel (Christian Democratic Party, CDU) had called the switch to alternative energies a "huge opportunity". Eight months later, the issue has slipped far down the political agenda as the political parties are blocking key laws."The many fragments that have been legislated at the federal and state level must now be brought together," demanded Hildegard Müller, chief lobbyist from the industry association BDEW.

Federal and state governments are divided about the question, which should carry the burden of the proposed tax benefits for the people and companies that increase the energy efficiency of their buildings. A first attempt by the Conciliation Committee to resolve the dispute failed. On the crucial issue of energy efficiency, the federal government is divided: The Free Democrats (FDP) reject an ambitious EU proposal, which would provide mandatory targets. At the same, German states develop energy plans – but uncoordinated." Next year, we need a script for the energy transformation," said Mueller.

Fritz Vahrenholt, CEO of RWE's renewable division, warned against the "danger of blackouts" given the rapid shutdown of many German nuclear power plants and pointed to rising energy prices and the growing import of nuclear power. At the same time, the nuclear energy phase-out also removes a source of revenue for investments in green power for energy suppliers. Lack of electricity grids are further slowing down the development of renewables; delays are caused by bureaucratic procedures and citizen protests.

The situation is critical for wind energy, which plays a central role in the energy concept of the government. On Wednesday, the electricity network operator Tennet, which has to wire all offshore installations in the North Sea, warned that to wire dozens of wind farms at a same time, as planned, would fail due to "lack of financial, human and material resources of all involved", as it is written in an urgent letter to the Chancellor's Office, the Economic and Environment Ministries. "The conditions have to be substantially revised and the burden has to spread over more shoulders."

Tennet estimates that investments of 5-6 billion Euros are needed over the next ten years. The company wants, among other things, to extend the target deadlines: currently, it must add a wind farm to the grid within 30 months after approval, which fails regularly. Installation vessels as well as sufficient suppliers of sea cable are lacking. The construction of wind turbines is getting delayed too – banks shy away from financing the 1.5 billion-Euro projects.

The financial strength of the energy industry, meanwhile, is disappearing fast. The valuation of the companies with the lowest A-level "A3" is at risk, according to Moody's. So far, RWE, E.ON and EnBW still have this investment-grade and are considered as prime borrowers. However, the nuclear phase-out and fuel taxes increase the burden on their balance sheets.

What is more, the industries of the future suffer: Almost all solar companies are deep in the red, wind turbine manufacturers complain about lack of demand and are reporting growing losses. The stock index Renixx, which lists 30 international Greentech companies, has lost 56 percent since the year-high in April.


U.S. temperature trend 1900 to 2011 is a rise of a THIRD of one degree Fahrenheit!

In other words, so minuscule as to be effectively static. Swedish blogger Sophia seems to love statistics and making graphs out of them. She is amusing hereself lately with looking at what can be found in the official Warmist figures and finds the stats for the USA rather hilarious. I reproduce just an excerpt from her post below but my headline above is her most amusing finding. It refers to the month of October only but if the October temperature is so unchanging there is not much scope for change elsewhere. She also finds, as expected. that it has been COOLING in this century -- JR

I thought it would be interesting to look at the recent October US temperature from a “historic” perspective. To see how the decade trends have evolved during the last 111 years.

Especially to see how the decade trends have evolved during the last 31 years. The period that according to the Global Warming Hysterics and computer models they worship should show a steady and accelerated increase in temperature.

And as I always point out:

Remember, these are the official figures. With the poor placement of stations (91 % of the stations are CRN 3 to 5 = bad to very poor); where they have purposely taken away the urban heat island effect, use huge smoothing radius, the historical “adjustment and tweaking” to cool the past etc.

Not to mention the great slaughter of GHCN stations 1990-1993 – roughly 63 % of all stations were “dropped”. Oddly enough many of them in cold places – Hmmm? Now the number of GHCN stations is back at the same numbers as in 1890.

Also remember that the US stations are now nearly a third of the all GHCN world stations.

So here are the trends:

US temperature October 1900-2011

The trend for 1900 to 2011 is 0.03 F / Decade

US temperature October 1980-2011

The trend for 1980 to 2011 is 0.39 F / Decade

US temperature October 1990-2011

The trend for 1990 to 2011 is 0.16 F / Decade

US temperature October 2000-2011

The trend for 2000 to 2011 is - 0.20 F / Decade

And as I said in the beginning – always remember that these figures are based on the official data that has been tweaked, “adjusted” and manipulated to fit their agenda (cool the past, ignore UHI and land use change factors, huge smoothing radius – 1200km etc.)..

So the “warming trend” 2000-2011 for October is exactly - 0.20 F degrees a decade. That is a - 2.0 F COOLER in 100 years. Take cover!

And for this predicted trend the politicians want to take our societies back to the Stone Age. But, as usual, they DO NOTHING about the actual trend.

Even worse, “our” politicians, “scientists”, journalists” and the mainstream medias attitude is: Move on, NOTHING to see here.

As I have been saying all along, it has always been a political agenda – anti human, anti freedom, anti development and anti capitalism. And this Global Warming Hysteria is part of that agenda. It has nothing to do with science, facts or saving the environment or the Earth.

All of this, as always, paid by us, the common people, in the form of taxes, high energy costs and reducing our living standard back to the Stone Age.

More HERE (See the original for graphics)


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


22 November, 2011

Trees Before Poverty at Durban

New Report Reveals World Bank Forestry Scheme Ignored Deforestation Emissions Data; Donor Aid Money Being Misused

A new report by World Growth released today in the lead up to the Durban climate talks reveals how the World Bank ignored a report it commissioned that indicated forestry from tropical developing countries could account for as low as 6 percent of all global emissions; yet, the Bank continues using donor aid money amounting to US$4 billion from countries like the United States, Australia and others to pursue a forest and climate policy strategy based on the overstated figure that forestry accounts for 17 percent of global emissions. We call upon World Bank President Robert Zoellick to undertake an urgent blue-ribbon panel review of the Bank’s forestry and climate strategy, and halt all activities while the review is underway.

World Growth Chairman Ambassador Alan Oxley released the following statement:
“The Bank’s strategy to reduce emissions by limiting forestry in developing countries is not working. This strategy is based on overstated data that corroborates with the Bank’s fashionable new agenda to reduce global emissions rather than its original stated mission to reduce poverty.

“The World Bank strategy to spend US$4 billion on claims that forestry in tropical developing countries generates 17 percent of global emissions is based on unproven information. The Bank has therefore wasted taxpayers’ money on a blatantly manipulated environmentalist agenda – this represents a disgraceful outcome for a formerly effective development agency that has now undermined its goal to alleviate poverty.

“This strategy – to co-opt select data in order to push an anti-forestry agenda – is part of a larger campaign by the World Bank. This week in Guatemala at the International Tropical Timber Organization’s (ITTO), the World Bank pushed for its preferred scheme to reduce emissions and restrict forest development – the Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme – a program that only serves to provide aid money to poor countries to restrict their own development.

“At the time of great uncertainty about the direction of the global economy, the World Bank should not be advocating climate change strategies that would retard, not support, expansion of economic growth in developing countries. Negotiators at the upcoming Durban Climate Summit should be cautioned against advancing skewed forestry emissions data to push for a global climate change agenda that’s increasingly not welcome in the developing world.”

World Growth is an international non-governmental organization established to expand the research, information, advocacy, and other resources to improve the economic conditions and living standards in developing and transitional countries. At World Growth, we embrace the age of globalization and the power of free trade to eradicate poverty and create jobs and opportunities. World Growth supports the production of palm oil and the use of forestry as a means to promote economic growth, reduce poverty and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. World Growth believes a robust cultivation of palm oil and forestry provides an effective means of environmental stewardship that can serve as the catalyst for increasing social and economic development.

For more information on World Growth, visit To speak with World Growth's experts or find out more about its work, please email or call +1-866-467-7200.

Press release received via email

British wind turbines turned off when it's windy ... because high winds make them too noisy for nearby residents

You can't make stuff like this up

Wind turbines are being turned off during high winds because they are too noisy. Documents from local authorities show that 269 complaints were received about noise from the rotating blades in the past three years. Some came from residents living up to three miles away.

In nearly half of these cases, operators switched turbines off or reduced their speed. The owner of one wind farm in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, was served with a noise abatement notice.

At Askam wind farm near Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, a control system was installed to turn the seven turbines off at high wind speeds.

Council officers found 12 turbines on a former RAF base in Lissett, near Bridlington in East Yorkshire, had exceeded noise limits after complaints from residents. They arranged with the operators for some to turn more slowly. Similar action was taken following complaints about turbines in Whittlesey in Cambridgeshire and Skelmonae in Aberdeenshire.

A quarter of the complaints were related to small wind turbines which can be fitted on to homes, schools and hospitals. But the rest involved large turbines which can be more than 400ft high.

One in six large wind farms built since 2008 have attracted noise complaints, with residents reporting that humming sounds disrupt their sleep. Locals near a 22-turbine farm in Fullabrook, Devon, said the noise was like a tumble dryer.

A 2009 study of people living close to wind farms in Britain, the U.S., Italy, Ireland and Canada found they caused stress and could increase the risk of heart disease, panic attacks and migraines.

A spokesman for Renewables UK, which represents the industry, said: ‘Wind farm operators strive to be good neighbours and are conscientious in responding to local concerns.’


The Duke of Edinburgh has said just what we’re all thinking about Britain's disgraceful wind farms

By Clive Aslet (Clive Aslet is Editor at Large of 'Country Life’)

You have to hand it to the Duke of Edinburgh. At 90, he is still as incisive as ever. Once again, the Royal family has articulated what ordinary people, without the ear of the media, have long felt. His son might have called the wind farms that are besmirching our mountains and waving their giant arms inanely out at sea “a monstrous carbuncle”. Prince Philip chose “disgrace”. So they are. The politicians who foisted them upon us should be put in the stocks.

Wind farms are Blairism incarnate. Wanting to look big on the international stage, he committed Britain to some preposterously over-ambitious targets for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. As ever, this was glittering, shop-window stuff, the bill for which would somehow be obfuscated by the dour Scot in accounts. After due nail-biting, Brown came up with a system so convoluted that most people have only just realised that the person who ultimately pays is the consumer.

We are all generously subsidising the wind farms which many of us hate through our electricity bills. Why? Because unlike other forms of renewable energy, which would have required the Treasury to build huge civil engineering projects, the cost could be met through a trade in Renewable Obligations Certificates (ROCs). It works like this. Power companies are required by law to provide a proportion of green energy and if they don’t meet the target, they are fined. But they can avoid the fine if they buy-in green energy credits, which are traded in the shape of ROCs.

The money from selling ROCs is far more attractive to the wind farm speculators than the value of the energy itself. The power companies simply pass on the cost to the poor sap who buys their electricity. It’s Machiavellian. Worse, it’s Brownian — and, as the Duke says, a disgrace. But from the Blairite shallows, it was much better than having to confront a decision that might have incurred short-term unpopularity, but is all but inevitable for our future energy security: the building of more nuclear power stations.

Of course, in the boom times, when the economy was growing, this green indulgence might have been like that extra chocolate you shouldn’t have; nobody would notice it when the suit had been let out. We have now found that the waist band isn’t infinitely elastic. But just as belts are being tightened, green energy has bloated our bills by, as Lord Marland from the Department of Energy and Climate Change revealed in the House of Lords last month, a whopping £7.1 billion. Think how many libraries that would keep open. It is due to get worse. According to the Renewable Energy Foundation, whose sums have so far proved accurate, that figure will have risen to some £40 billion by 2020 — that’s between £6 billion and £8 billion a year; nearly all of it taken by wind.

I’m not the first person to have noticed that wind farms only generate electricity when the wind is blowing. On a freezing day, when the country turns up its electric blanket, the ear hearkens to what Robert Bridges called “the stillness of the solemn air”. No wind. However many turbines bristle on Welsh mountain tops or pylons stride through the Great Glen, we’ll only be tickling the nose of our energy crisis. We’re missing those targets to reduce emissions by a country mile. Yet as the winter progresses, life for some of the poorest members of society will become more difficult because of it. Food and fuel are going up in price, fuel by more than it need do because of those wretched wind farms.

We all know about David Cameron’s green instincts: he paraded them before the election as part of the campaign to convince voters that the Tories weren’t simply driven by the bottom line. He even put a windmill on his London chimney, even though there is not enough wind in cities. Now he should go and see that Meryl Streep film, and remind himself of the great lesson that Mrs Thatcher taught us: subsidies for industry don’t work.

We need more research into renewables, to find technologies that will work. But no form of green energy except nuclear is ready to take over from present sources of production. As fossil fuel prices rise, entrepreneurs will find ways of producing energy more cheaply. Wind farms are the modern British Leyland; the Government tried to pick a winner, but picked wrong.

Throw them out. Throw out the windmonger in chief, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, and leave it to the money men. Green MP Caroline Lucas may instinctively defend the interests of people rich enough to put solar panels on their roofs against those of the lowly consumers who have to pay to subsidise them, but the Treasury is, quite rightly, reducing the feed-in tariff for solar panels.

Less attention has been attracted by the intention to reduce subsidies for wind. Not by very much, mind you, and not by enough; but sufficient to send a signal to would-be investors that this rash, fierce blaze of riot cannot last. We can’t go on wrecking the landscape and spending money we don’t have. As the Admiral would have said in Mary Poppins, heavy weather is brewing for wind farms. It can’t arrive a moment too soon.


Private property is the solution

What to do about certain environmental problems is the great question of our age. It's obvious that, steering clear of contentious matters like the atmosphere, that we're driving some ecosystems entirely into extinction. How to stop this, how to solve these sorts of problems, is something we really ought to be concentrating on. And as it turns out, private property rights are indeed, for some subset of these problems, that very answer.

Take fishing for example: we're vacuuming everything edible out of the seas at present and we're really not going to be able to do that much longer. The current bureaucratic methods of trying to control this aren't working: we're still vacuuming just about everything edible out of the oceans. Which is what makes this story so interesting.

Chesapeake Bay is that huge squiggle on the map, running some 200 miles south from Washington DC in between Maryland and Virginia. It's also long been the source of bounteous harvests of oysters (my own immediately post-school teenage years were spent opening such delights for restaurant patrons in the area). However, the legal regimes on each side have been completely different. On the Maryland side, only the "hunting" of wild stock was allowed, on the Virginia the leasing of seabed and planting then harvesting.

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise to find out that Virginia produces vast numbers of fat oysters and has similarly vast numbers still in the water. Maryland has been pretty much fished out.

We really do need to take note of where fisheries are abundant and where they're not and then copy the management methods of the abundant ones: the Alaskan halibut fishery, the Icelandic and Faroese general fisheries, the New Zealand Orange Roughy. These are the places which have granted private property rights to fishermen and which as a result have waters still teeming with fish.

In effect, we've got to stop fisheries operating on hunter gatherer economics and move them over to working on farming such.


Secretary Chu’s ‘Clean Energy Race’ Blather

There simply is no green energy race with China. No one needs the product.

The House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee grilled Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu for four hours yesterday about his role in approving and managing a $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra. The solar technology company — celebrated by President Obama and other top administration officials as a “green jobs” and Stimulus success story in 2009 and 2010 — closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2011.

Yesterday’s hearing was part of a nine-month investigation. The Committee reviewed 186,000 pages of documents from DOE, 10,000 pages from the White House, and another 1,000 from Treasury. Oversight Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and other GOP Members charge that Obama officials rushed the Solyndra loan out the door without due diligence, ignored the company’s significant financial problems, and illegally gave investors first dibs over taxpayers in collecting $75 million loaned to the company in early 2011.

The Committee developed this case in several briefing memos (Sep. 12, Sep. 23, Oct. 12, Nov. 17) and published collections of supporting emails and documentation (here, here, here). Allegations — as yet unproven — have also been raised claiming the DOE loan and taxpayer subordination were political payoffs to George Kaiser, a big-time bundler for Obama’s presidential campaign who was also a major investor in Solyndra.

As expected, Chu denied that DOE officials acted incompetently or improperly, or that politics intruded in any of the decisions DOE made in reviewing, approving, and restructuring the Solyndra loan. However, Chu had so little to say about specific emails, most of which he had not seen until published by the Committee, that he came across as a man out of the loop at his own agency.

Chu probably failed to persuade any Republican on the Committee that Solyndra was just a good bet gone sour. On the other hand, GOP Committee members did not produce smoking-gun evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Chu’s written testimony — barely three pages long — recycled his customary spiel about the promise and peril of the global “clean energy race.” The argument has become a staple of green rhetoric: China is spending billions subsidizing its clean tech sector, if we don’t “invest” in “our” clean tech firms America will lose the race and China will “eat our lunch.”

Talk of a clean energy race harkens to the “space race” and “arms race” of the Cold War era. But although those races had economic spinoffs, they were first and foremost geopolitical, not commercial. Renewable energy advocates now try to recreate a Cold War sense of drama about companies like Solyndra. Nukes and missiles had an obvious potential to affect the outcome of a global power struggle. But wind turbines and solar panels?

The global marketplace comprises countless races, because each firm typically faces competition from many others. Dannon, Yoplait, General Mills, Kraft Foods, and Chobani, for example, are engaged in a global yogurt race, and by all accounts “we” (General Mills, Kraft) are losing. Yet you probably won’t read about the yogurt race in the Washington Post.

Chu has probably done more than any other official to popularize the notion of a clean energy race. A testimony he gave in November 2009 offers a more complete explanation than the one he gave yesterday.

Chu argued that the world would need to invest $2.1 trillion in wind turbines and $1.5 trillion in solar panels to meet global emission reduction targets. Thus, to his mind: “The only question is … who will invent, manufacture, and export these clean technologies and which countries will become dependent on foreign products.”

Chu warned that China was investing “about $9 billion a month on clean energy” and lamented that America had “fallen behind” other countries in global market share, but said the Stimulus was helping U.S. firms make a comeback. However, he cautioned the only way to ensure our clean tech companies can compete is to put a steadily tightening “cap” on carbon emissions. “That critical step will drive investment decisions toward clean energy.”

This does not compute.

China does not cap carbon. China is fueling its development chiefly with coal, oil, and hydro-power, not wind and solar. Almost 80% of China’s electricity comes from coal, and China is investing billions in Canadian tar sands oil production. If China is both threat and model, won’t America fall further behind in the “economic growth race” if we wage political warfare on coal and block the Keystone XL Pipeline?

Be that as it may, from day one President Obama’s goal has been to make wind and solar power “the profitable kind of energy” by handicapping economically efficient power generation from coal and natural gas. Banking on this, Solyndra’s business plan assumed that Congress would pass the Waxman-Markey bill, with its carbon caps and renewable electricity mandates.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to the clean energy future. One month after Chu’s 2009 testimony, the Copenhagen climate conference fizzled. In 2010, Senate leaders pulled the plug on a Waxman-Markey companion bill, and the November elections nailed the coffin shut on cap-and-trade.

By Chu’s (and Solyndra’s) logic, the clean energy race, predicated as it was on handicapping carbon-based energy, should be over. Nonetheless, we hear the same old, same old. China is pumping billions into wind and solar. If we don’t do the same, we’ll become dependent on Chinese products.

This is bad advice for three reasons.

First, the easiest and cheapest way not to become “dependent” on Chinese wind turbines and solar panels is not to shoot ourselves in the foot in the first place. The Chinese are selling to an artificial market, one created by European and U.S. policies mandating reliance on high-cost, intermittent electricity sources. Get rid of these Soviet-style production quota, and we won’t be tempted to buy Chinese products!

Second, we cannot beat China in catering to this ersatz market, and cannot afford to do so even if we could.

As my colleague Chris Horner points out, America’s strength is innovation but China’s is mass production. Chinese solar panels are not more innovative than Solyndra’s — quite the contrary. But China, with its cheap labor, coal-based power, and a government free to fleece consumers and taxpayers for the benefit of favored producers (they’re communists, after all), will always be able to undersell competitors in a market where what really counts is not satisfying non-coerced customers but simply meeting politically imposed quota.

To suppose that we can subsidize our way to a level playing field is to forget that Beijing is flush with cash and Washington is broke.

Third, even China’s profits may turn into losses, because the renewable energy market looks like a bubble about to burst. As CCNet’s Benny Peiser reports, the recession and sovereign debt crisis are putting pressure on governments to scale back green energy subsidies. Spain’s Industry Ministry announced it intends to cut the feed-in tariff for wind turbines by 40%. Britain too may cut subsidies for wind farms and household solar panels. Japan, worried about the billions it is paying other countries for carbon credits, is reconsidering its commitment to cut carbon dioxide emissions 25% by 2020. Even the European Union acknowledges a “trade-off between climate change policies and competitiveness,” and is questioning whether it should press ahead with decarbonization if other countries don’t follow suit.

China is to our times what Japan was to the 1980s — an economic rival that supposedly proves the superiority of politically directed industrial policy to free markets. But Japan, Inc. turned out to be a bubble economy, with the booming 1980s followed by the “lost decade” of the 1990s.

In August, China instituted a feed-in tariff program to offset declining demand as large buyers such as Germany and Italy shrunk their subsidies for solar panels. The feed-in tariff may be enough to keep the bubble inflated, but it too is a subsidy. And subsidies consume wealth, they do not create it.


Poisoner targets birds in Australian city

The story below is extremely unpleasant but is entirely predictable. Despite nuisance birds like crows and magpies not being remotely "endangered species" they are protected by law. So people cannot shoot ones that are a particular nuisance and the government almost never does anything to remove them. So where the law fails people you have got to expect somebody to become so fed up that they take their own measures. And inevitably those measures will be crude

IT'S a murder of crows . . . and magpies and seabirds. The hunt continues for an elusive bird killer in greater Brisbane's bayside. The killer has been stalking the streets of Cleveland in Redland City, poisoning prey with chemical-laced meat.

The entire local magpie population may now have been successfully wiped out.

The stealthy perpetrator is believed to be responsible for the poisoning death of 68 birds, including 50 magpies and 16 crows, in the central business district.

RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said he was shocked by the scale of the poisoning campaign, which was the worst he had seen. "I've not seen anything on this scale," Mr Beatty said. "There are lots of cases where a few birds have been poisoned but not an ongoing campaign like this and certainly not on this scale."

Scores of dead or paralysed birds have been found on green spaces within blocks of each other on Bloomfield, Doig and Waterloo streets and Taylor Cres. Another two dead birds turned up last week.

Sample testing has shown the presence of an organophosphate chemical that is particularly toxic to birds.

However, almost five months of investigations and a public information campaign has failed to uncover any tangible leads.

Pelican Seabird Rescue vice-president Natalie Forrest, who is caring for five surviving magpies, said she was sickened by the parade of carcasses that also included a black-faced cuckoo shrike, a flying fox and a mouse.

"It's totally unnecessary and very cruel," Ms Forrest said. "It's an absolutely terrible sort of cruelty and I would like to see the offender found and punished appropriately. I have never seen anything like it. "Yes we have seen poisoning but it's usually a one-off event. This has been very deliberate now for six months."

The first poisoned birds began appearing in June, but the number of cases then dropped off again until last month when more dead birds began turning up.

If found, the killer could face a fine of up to $100,000 or two years in jail, depending on the relevant law.



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


21 November, 2011

Another heavy-duty coverup

These coverups are a work of desperation. Warmists must know that coverups show them in an extremely bad light. Below is a brief comment by Bishop Hill on some Warmist corruption by the BBC and Cambridge university. You can read the University's desperate attempts to keep the matter under wraps here. They were even willing to break the law if they could get away with it.

Even curiouser is that the Daily Mail article His Grace refers to seems now to have been pulled -- doubtless after threats of legal action. They acted too late however. Copies of the article are all over the blogosphere. For reader convenience I reproduce it immediately below His Grace's comment. I downloaded it direct from the DM within hours of its being published

David Rose at the Mail on Sunday has a long article about the Cambridge Media and Environment Programme, the seminars set up by Roger Harrabin and Joe Smith to inform BBC editorial policy. I get a mention
[Joe Smith's] opinion, which he sets out on his website, is that ‘everyday human activity – moving, eating, keeping warm or cool – is gently stoking a slow-boil apocalypse’. He calls climate change ‘one of the challenges of the age’ and urges the world to take radical action. A Freedom of Information Act disclosure obtained by Andrew Montford, who writes the climate-change blog Bishop Hill, reveals that the Tyndall Centre provided £5,000 a year for three years from 2002.

The BBC has given Rose a response to the article as follows:
‘The BBC is aware of the funding arrangements for the Real World seminars. They have been considered against our editorial guidelines and raised no issues about impartiality for the BBC or its output.

When you think about it, this is pretty amazing.

BBC editorial policy can be decided by a bunch of environmentalists sitting round a table with senior BBC decision-makers and this raises no issues about impartiality?

UEA can fund the private activity of a BBC journalist and this raises no issues about impartiality either?



BBC's Mr Climate Change accepted £15,000 in grants from university rocked by global warning scandal

A senior BBC journalist accepted £15,000 in grants from the university at the heart of the ‘Climategate’ scandal – and later went on to cover the story without declaring an interest to viewers.

Roger Harrabin, the BBC’s ‘environment analyst’, used the money from the University of East Anglia’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to fund an ‘ad hoc’ partnership he ran with a friend.

Mr Harrabin, an influential figure who both broadcasts and advises other BBC journalists, later reported extensively about Climategate. The scandal erupted two years ago when emails were leaked from the Tyndall Centre’s sister department, the Climatic Research Unit at the same university.

The leaks left the scientific community in dis-array after claims that key data was manipulated in the run-up to a major climate change summit.

An official inquiry later found that although there had been no scientific fraud, there was ‘a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness, both on the part of CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA’.

In none of Mr Harrabin’s reports on the subject were the grants that he and his friend Dr Joe Smith had received from UEA ever mentioned. However, BBC insiders claim that the use to which the money was put – annual Real World seminars for top BBC executives on issues including climate change – had a significant impact on the Corporation’s output.

‘The seminars organised by Roger and his friend were part of a process which has effectively stifled all debate within the BBC about man-made global warming,’ said one senior journalist. ‘As far as the high-ups are concerned, the science is settled.’

Last night, Mr Harrabin insisted he does not derive any personal financial benefit from the grants and that far from making him more sympathetic to UEA, the sponsorship – of which the BBC had been aware – ‘made me doubly determined to investigate Climategate. If I had been misled by UEA I wanted to be among the first to know’.

In none of Mr Harrabin’s reports on the subject were the grants that he and his friend Dr Joe Smith had received from UEA ever mentioned.

He added: ‘The funding from the Tyndall Centre came long before Climategate. And I was forensic in exposing it. So any suggestion that I was biased or soft on Climategate in any way is completely untrue as demonstrated by my reporting.

‘I was praised by the world’s leading climate sceptics for my reporting. Those seminars – for which I received no personal gain – included contributions from sceptics.”

He said his report into the subsequent inquiry into Climategate, led by Lord Oxburgh, was praised for its ‘forensic impartiality’.

Disclosure of the payments to Mr Harrabin’s private partnership comes in the wake of a damning report last week by the BBC Trust Editorial Standards Committee.

It revealed ‘sponsored’ documentaries on environmental issues, whose production costs had been met by ‘non-commercial’ bodies such as the UN Environmental Programme, have been shown frequently on the BBC World news channel without viewers being made properly aware of their funding.

Trust investigators discovered that of a sample of 60 sponsored programmes broadcast between February and July this year, a total of 15 breached the BBC’s editorial guidelines.

The investigators said some of the breaches involved direct conflicts of interests – with the funders being the subjects of the programmes they were paying for – and that others failed to observe BBC rules on telling viewers where the programme budget had come from.

Two films in the latter category, part of BBC World’s Earth Reporters series, had Dr Smith as their chief scientific adviser. He is a climate change specialist at the Open University.

He said yesterday that the Open University sought to ensure that the programmes they co-produced were factually accurate, but beyond the usual formally agreed acknowledgement of the university, programme credits were the ‘concern of the BBC’. Dr Smith agreed with the Trust’s conclusions on the matter.

However, it is clear that sponsored programmes about the environment of the type the Trust now deplores have been made on a huge scale for years.

Almost all the £1.4 million annual income of TVE, the production company behind the Earth Reporters series, comes from non-commercial bodies, including the EU, UN agencies and campaign groups such as WWF, which co-founded the company 27 years ago. Jenny Richards, TVE’s deputy chief executive, said the firm had made ‘hundreds’ of programmes for the BBC, and described the Trust’s criticisms as a ‘slap on the wrist’.

The Trust has demanded sweeping changes to the BBC’s commissioning process, and the Corporation has agreed that from now on programmes sponsored by non-commercial bodies will be forbidden. Those from independent production companies will be scrutinised for possible conflicts of interest.

Dr Smith has acted as a scientific consultant to dozens of other BBC programmes, including high-profile documentaries about climate change fronted by Sir David Attenborough.

A Trust spokeswoman said: ‘Anything that affects the trust of viewers is a serious matter and the steps we are taking to prevent it from happening in future are very clear.’

Mr Harrabin’s partnership with Dr Smith – the Cambridge Media Environment Programme (CMEP) – began in 1996. That was when Mr Harrabin spent a sabbatical at Cambridge University, where Dr Smith was working at the time.

From then until 2009 they organised their seminars, which Dr Smith described as an ‘ad hoc’ arrangement. ‘It was just a light touch thing. These were occasional seminars held in an academic environment that brought a diverse mix of research, business and policy people together with media people,’ he said.

While Dr Smith was paid less than £5,000 for organising each conference, Mr Harrabin did not benefit financially. Dr Smith added that people with dissenting views on climate change were represented, and the purpose of the events was to encourage reflective thinking away from the pressure of deadlines.

His own opinion, which he sets out on his website, is that ‘everyday human activity – moving, eating, keeping warm or cool – is gently stoking a slow-boil apocalypse’. He calls climate change ‘one of the challenges of the age’ and urges the world to take radical action. A Freedom of Information Act disclosure obtained by Andrew Montford, who writes the climate-change blog Bishop Hill, reveals that the Tyndall Centre provided £5,000 a year for three years from 2002.

The centre’s newsletter said then it was giving CMEP the money ‘because we share its commitment to the effective communication of climate change information to increase knowledge and inspire discussion and debate in society’.

In addition to the Tyndall Centre, the CMEP received funding from energy giant BG, HSBC, Vivendi, the Bowring Trust and the WWF.

Dr Smith has acted as a scientific consultant to dozens of other BBC programmes, including high-profile documentaries about climate change fronted by Sir David Attenborough.

He was also involved in the BBC2 drama series Burn Up, in which a central character argued that the world had only five years to save itself before global warming became irreversible.

A BBC spokeswoman said: ‘The BBC is aware of the funding arrangements for the Real World seminars. They have been considered against our editorial guidelines and raised no issues about impartiality for the BBC or its output.’


Physical analysis shows CO2 is a COOLANT for the atmosphere

The author below, Dr. J. Cao, is an expert on heat measurement. He is Australian Councillor for the International Confederation for Thermal Analysis & Calorimetry and member of the International Advisory Board for the first Beijing International Huaxia Conference on Thermal Analysis & Calorimetry

There is a fallacy dominating the way of our thinking in current climate research that radiative gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapour are regarded greenhouse gases that trap heat and warm up the atmosphere. Physics analysis of carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen molecules, however, tells a different story: carbon dioxide is cooler than, gains heat by molecular collision from, and dissipates heat by radiation for nitrogen and oxygen. Indeed, CO2 is a coolant of the atmosphere, and it is nitrogen and oxygen gases that award the Earth a warm liveable near surface atmosphere.

The physical principle behind the analysis lies in the Kirchhoff’s law of 19th century radiation physics, which can be restated in plain English as: an object that absorbs emits and an object that emits absorbs. Absorption and emission are two inseparable equivalent identities of the same physical essence. Carbon dioxide absorbs infrared therefore it emits as well thermal radiation. Nitrogen and oxygen do not absorb, therefore do not emit. CO2 approaches 0 K because of its emission if there is no radiation source; absorption of the thermal radiation from the earth ground surface rises CO2 temperature from -273.15°C to -78°C only. CO2 gains heat by colliding with warmer nitrogen and oxygen to rise its temperature further, which can be measured by spectroscopy.

We will have a better understanding of the physical principle if one notices that a computer case is often designed black. This is because a black surface emits more heat out so the computer will be cooler. On the other hand, an industrial boiler is usually painted silver to reduce thermal emission to reserve heat.

With this alternative interpretation, we have a better explanation of the temperature-altitude profile of the atmosphere; in particular, a better explanation of the existence of the thermosphere where the molecular temperature of residual oxygen gas is well above 100°C ¾ CO2 gas is sorted out in the thermosphere due to its heavier molecular weight.

A PDF file of the full manuscript entitled “Role of heat reservation of N2 and O2 and the role of heat dissipation of CO2 and water vapour” is available to download if interested.


Acting ‘Green’ Is Now More Important Than Helping Environment

As environmentalism has become more trendy, the value of appearing green is now more important than helping the environment, argues Todd Myers in a new book called “Eco-Fads.” He spoke at Heritage this week and joined us for Scribecast.

Myers cited the Obama administration’s $535 million Solyndra scandal as a high-profile example of how environmentalism is actually harming the environment. Myers noted that solar panels are among the worst performing as far as reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

“Waste of money is waste of resources,” Myers said. “And anybody who believes in the free market … is against the waste of resources. That’s the power of the free market because it does more with less. That is also at the heart of environmentalism — doing more with less. And yet so many environmentalists on the left see those two things at antithetical.”

Myers’ book includes many examples of eco-fads. One of the most egregious is the explosion of green buildings, particularly in his home state of Washington. Politicians there even mandated that construction of new schools be built to “green” standards such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

But after conducting research using the government’s own data, Myers found that the new “green” schools consumed more energy. Those schools cost more to build and have not delivered on the benefits politicians promised.


Prince Philip dismisses wind farms as 'a useless disgrace' and says people who back them believe in a 'fairy tale'

Prince Philip has launched an outspoken attack on wind farms, branding them ‘absolutely useless’. In comments that put him sharply at odds with the Government, the Prince reportedly said the farms were a ‘disgrace’ and they would never work. He also described people who backed them as believing in a ‘fairy tale’.

The Prince’s views will be welcomed by critics who say the wind turbines, which can be up to 300ft tall, are noisy, spoil the countryside and drive up energy bills.

But the Government is determined to increase the proportion of electricity produced by the turbines as part of its environmentally friendly energy policies.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne last month denounced opponents of the plans as ‘curmudgeons and fault-finders’ and praised the turbines as ‘elegant’ and ‘beautiful’.

There are currently 3,421 turbines in Britain – 2,941 of them onshore. A further 4,500 are planned over the next few years. The Prince is said to have voiced his views in a private conversation with an executive for a leading wind farm company at a recent reception in London.

According to today’s Sunday Telegraph, he told Esbjorn Wilmar, managing director of Infinergy, a firm that builds and operates turbines, that they were over-reliant on subsidies.

The newspaper quoted Mr Wilmar as saying: ‘He said they were absolutely useless, completely reliant on subsidies and an absolute disgrace. He said, “You don’t believe in fairy tales, do you?” ‘He said that they would never work as they need back-up capacity. I was surprised by his very frank views.’

It was disclosed last year that electricity customers are paying an average of £90 a year to subsidise wind farms and other forms of renewable energy as part of a Government scheme to meet carbon-reduction targets.

Mr Wilmar said one of the main reasons the Duke thought onshore wind farms to be ‘a very bad idea’ was their reliance on such subsidies.

The financial incentives being offered to green energy developers have led landowners – including the Duke of Gloucester, the Queen’s cousin – to look to build wind farms on their estates.

Prince Philip said he would never consider allowing his land to be used for turbines and complained about their impact on the countryside.

Mr Wilmar said: ‘He said he thought that they’re not nice at all for the landscape.’

The Duke’s comments echo the views of his son Prince Charles, who has refused to have any built on his Duchy of Cornwall land.

However, while they are opposed to onshore wind farms, the Royal Family stands to earn millions of pounds from those placed offshore.

Last year, the Crown Estate, the £7 billion land and property portfolio, approved an increase in the number of sites around the coast of England. The Crown Estate owns almost all of the seabed off Britain’s 7,700-mile coastline. Experts predict the growth in offshore wind farms could be worth £250 million a year.

Buckingham Palace said it did not comment on private conversations.


Left/Big-Green Agenda Abuses Working Poor

Democrats and their progressive allies claim to be champions of both the working poor and the environment. But that is impossible because the Big Green agenda isn’t compatible with the needs of the least among us.

Current state and national energy policy is simply cruel. It reflects an emotionally and financially abusive relationship where the left tells those at the lowest end of socioeconomic spectrum that “we are the only ones who love you” while favoring wealthy environmentalists, crony capitalists, and crony philanthropists at the expense of the impoverished.

The infamous Department of Energy loan program has provided nearly $36 billion in taxpayer guaranteed loans for the purpose of mitigating “the financing risks associated with building out commercial-scale clean energy projects” for some of the world’s wealthiest corporations including Goldman Sachs, Ford, and Nissan.

Let’s face it; the Big Green industry has a lot more money to donate to political campaigns than the poor. The relationship between political donations on the left and taxpayer subsidized loans to wealthy Big Green investors such as Pat Stryker (Abound Solar) and George Kaiser (Solyndra) has been well documented.

Add in renewable energy mandates and ask what do taxpayers and electricity consumers get for their “investment” in the Big Green agenda? While wealthy Big Green investors get richer, the rest of us get more debt, failing companies, and higher energy costs, which certainly doesn’t help the unemployed or the working poor.

Poverty rates rising

Several weeks ago the U.S. Census Bureau released data showing an additional 2.6 million Americans fell below the poverty line last year, forcing up the poverty rate from 14.3 percent in 2009 to 15.1 percent in 2010.

Currently, more than 46 million Americans live below the government-defined poverty line of $22,314 in income per year for a family of four and $11,139 for an individual.

CNN Money quoted Paul Osterman, author of "Good Jobs America," and a labor economist at MIT, “The results are not surprising given the economy. You would expect with so many people unemployed, the poverty rate would go up. It's just another sign of what a difficult time this is for so many people.”

A recent study from the liberal Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute titled “The State of Working Colorado” sounded the alarm bells reporting that from 2000 to 2009 “experienced the fasted growth in child poverty in the country…nearly on in five kids in Colorado are in poor families, and more than one-third live in families with incomes of less than twice the Federal Poverty Level.”

In addition, Colorado, home of the New Energy Economy and an aggressive renewable energy mandate, now has 40,000 fewer jobs than in 2000 with 900,000 more residents, the highest rates of unemployment in 28 years, and the median salary remains at the same level it was in 2000. The wage gap is considerable between black and Hispanic households, which make $20,000 less than the state’s median household income of $54,000.

The Big Green agenda obviously hasn’t helped job creation in Colorado.

Set aside for a moment arguments about whether or not the “war on poverty” is an effective way to help the poor and consider this: Why advance energy policy that makes it more difficult for Americans to make ends meet?

The Cost of Renewable Portfolio Standards

As Michael Sandoval and I reported last week on these pages, 24 states and the District of Columbia have Renewable Portfolios Standards (RPS) that mandate a percentage of electric power come from “renewable” sources such as wind and solar by a certain date. Maine claims the highest standard at 40 percent followed closely by California at 33 percent and Colorado at 30 percent.

Despite the claims of green advocates, Renewable Portfolio Standards are costly to consumers, taxpayers, and the economy. Taxpayer subsidies to uber-rich corporations such as Goldman Sachs and billionaire investors such as Pat Stryker are one thing, but most devastating is what they do to energy costs and the economy.

A study from the American Tradition Institute (ATI), which is legally challenging Colorado’s RPS, found that the RPS costs to both the economy and consumers are enormous. Using economic modeling, ATI estimated a low, average, and high cost for the state’s RPS and found:

* From 2011 to 2020, the RPS “will cost Colorado citizens an additional $11.78 billion over conventional power.”

* By 2020, the RPS will force working families to an average of $337 more per year.

* By 2020, the RPS will cost commercial businesses an average of $2,360 per year.

* By 2020, the RPS will cost industrial businesses an average of $43,367 per year.

And the increased energy prices will have a huge impact on the economy.

* By 2020 “Colorado will lose an average of 18,380 jobs.”

* Wages will be reduced by an average of $1,269 per worker.

* Total “annual real disposable income will fall by $1.87 billion.

(Full disclosure: I am a media fellow with American Tradition Institute)

Jobs will be harder to find, wages will decline, and the cost of energy will go up. The cost for goods and services that use electricity for production (just about everything) will also increase. The result, Coloradans will have less money to spend on everything from groceries to child care to school supplies. Those on the lowest end of the socioeconomic spectrum, including minorities and female-headed households, will feel this most acutely.

Colorado is just one of 24 states and the District of Columbia that have an RPS. ATI has done cost studies on other states as well including Montana, New Mexico, and Delaware. Depending on the level of RPS, your state could fare better or worse.

Make no mistake; the Big Green lobby would love nothing more than a national renewable energy standard. The New York Times reported in February 2009, that after getting the “stimulus package of their dreams, packed with tax credits and grants and loan programs intended to restart their industry,” environmentalists were turning their attention to a national RPS of 25 percent by 2025.

According to the Big Green lobby, “in spite of the new tax credits, some renewable sources, especially solar, still cost more than conventional sources of electricity like coal or natural gas. So a mandate to build more solar arrays and wind farms in theory would speed things along.”

So they acknowledge that even with all the taxpayer subsidies, renewables are still too expensive. Why should wealthy environmentalists care about the working poor? If it only saved one Arapahoe snowfly, wouldn’t it be worth it?

Big Philanthropy versus working poor

The Renewable Portfolio Standard is crucial to the Big Green agenda, which blames man made global warming for destroying the planet. The only way to save it is to rid the world of fossil fuels and replace them with renewables, thereby reducing the amount of carbon emissions.

Global warming alarmists have employed animated images of polar bears drowning and fake “hockey stick” graphs to advance their pet energy sources such as solar and wind, which are neither green nor clean, but that’s not important.

The poster child for wealthy environmentalists is the non-profit World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and it’s cute panda bear logo. The global warming alarmist behemoth boasts operating funds of $224.2 million, a 1.3 percent increase over the prior year. WWF spent $300,000 in 2009 lobbying Congress to address global warming and support renewable energy according to Open Secrets.

WWF pays it’s top 15 employees $3,652,220 in total compensation; that’s an average of $243,481, more than ten times the U.S. poverty level for a family of four.

Global warming critic Christopher Booker exposed WWF’s real agenda (hint: not necessarily the environment) in a March 2010 column. Regarding a program to preserve the Amazon rain forest, Booker wrote:

“[A] hidden agenda of the scheme to preserve this chunk of the forest was to allow the WWF and its partners to share the selling of carbon credits worth $60 billion, to enable firms in the industrial world to carry on emitting CO2 just as before, more than a few eyebrows might be raised. The idea is that credits representing the CO2 locked into this particular area of jungle – so remote that it is not under any threat – should be sold on the international market, allowing thousands of companies in the developed world to buy their way out of having to restrict their carbon emissions. The net effect would simply be to make the WWF and its partners much richer while making no contribution to lowering overall CO2 emissions.”


The relationship between the left and the Big Green lobby has served both very well, as the money has flowed freely between them.

But how does the left successfully lays claim to champion of the downtrodden at the same time? The Big Green agenda energy policy enriches the wealthiest non-profits, investors, and corporations at the expense of taxpayers, consumers, and those at the lowest end of the socioeconomic spectrum.

The obvious hypocrisy leaves me wondering why the working poor, minorities, or female head of households would ever cast a vote for such a cruel policy that perpetuates their own economic challenges.

When the abusive relationship is exposed, we can’t even get an apology from Energy Secretary Steven Chu.



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


20 November, 2011

Bare-faced lie from Warmist "scientist"

On the threat of trace amounts of CO2: "The end-point of that path looks something like Venus". But that is nonsense. The huge surface temperature of Venus is adiabatic -- the product of the weight of Venus's huge atmosphere. And adiabtics is basic physics so he had to know about that

The keynote speaker was Mark Jaccard, who teaches in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

Jaccard -- with former vice president Al Gore and colleagues on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for helping to raise awareness of global warming.

...Still, at the end of his address, Jaccard faced questions from audience members who clearly were dubious.

One person asked what made Jaccard so sure that global warming was man-made and not a result of natural warming and cooling cycles.

"One hundred and fifty years ago, people were predicting that if we continued to dump these gases into the atmosphere, temperatures would rise, and the increase would be dramatically different from the natural 10,000-year cycles that you're talking about," Jaccard replied. "And that's exactly what's happening.".

...It's not that the earth will warm up, then flatten out and everyone will adapt to that new reality, Jaccard insisted. "The end-point of that path looks something like Venus. It's really hot. At some point, we're going to panic and say we need to do something about that."

Temperature of Venus

Where the Earth has an average surface temperature of 14 degrees Celsius, the average temperature of Venus is 460 degrees Celsius. That is 410 degrees hotter than the hottest deserts on our planet.

...The temperature of Venus is not the only extreme on the planet. The atmosphere is constantly churned by hurricane force winds reaching 360 kph.


A reply to a featherhead

In response to Naomi Klein's article "Capitalism vs. the Climate" in "The Nation", Dr. Martin Hertzberg wrote a succinct reply for publication in the magazine. As the likelihood of it being published there is negligible, I reproduce it below. A very detailed critique of the Klein article can also be found in Joanne Nova's website

What Naomi Klein fails to understand in her "Capitalism vs. the Climate" article is that weather and climate are controlled by the laws of Physics and Chemistry on a macroscopic scale. They engender forces and motions that are beyond human control, and the scrawny human constructs of Capitalism, or Communism, or Fascism, or Socialism have absolutely no role in weather or climate.

Weather and Climate existed long before humans appeared on Earth and they will exist in the same way long after we disappear either individually or collectively as the human race. What should have been an objective evaluation of climatological data, and a respectful scientific dialogue on whether or not CO2 and other "greenhouse gases" are causing global warming or climate change, has unfortunately degenerated into a partisan political harangue.

While right wing reactionaries like Limbaugh and the Koch brother's "think tanks" are partly responsible for that degeneration, some of the blame is shared by the Gore-Hansen-IPCC clique of fear-mongers, environmental lobbyists, and progressive Democrats. Klein's article is only the latest example of that degeneration.

She simply swallows the dogma that the "consensus" of the self proclaimed "climate scientists" who are motivated by the noblest of motives, is correct. Thus, the thousands of knowledgeable meteorologists and climatologists throughout the world who disagree with that phony consensus are wrong and motivated by money given to them by the fossil fuel industry.

Thus, she claims that the "scientific theories presented here (the latest Heartland Conference) are old and long discredited" even though she knows absolutely nothing about those theories. She claims that we have just experienced "the end of the hottest decade in recorded history": a statement that reveals her ignorance of the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period, the Holocene, and the five Interglacial Warming that preceded them during the last 450,000 years. Those periods were all considerably warmer than today in the absence of any significant human CO2 emission.

The underdeveloped world will have to depend on the use of fossil fuels to improve their standard of living just as the developed nations have. Draconian measures of "carbon control" to address the non-existent problem of "global warming / climate change" will significantly impede their development just as the fiscal draconian measures imposed on them by the IMF and the World Bank did.

The overwhelming weight of scientific and cultural evidence shows clearly that the theory that human emission of CO2 and greenhouse gases is causing "global warming/climate change" is one of the greatest frauds in the history of science. Klein's fact-deficient political harangue is thus totally out of touch with reality.

Received by email

The Global Warming Guessing Game

Less than a week after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged developing nations to commit billions of dollars to fight the effects of climate change, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a well-timed preliminary report that basically said its climate models were fairly useless at the moment. In the process, they also threw out basic scientific principles by stating that extreme weather events would become more common, and that its climate models didn't have practical predictability.

If it sounds like the IPCC wants its cake without it melting first, you'd be correct. Keep in mind that the next official release from the IPCC (and its myriad working groups) isn't until 2014, but that hasn't stopped the bureaucrats who run the IPCC from issuing a report that backs up the claims made by the UN Secretary General.

So how did the IPCC come to these conclusions? The following admission by Chris Fields, a co-author of this recent report, comes from a Reuters news article:

Sceptics have questioned the models the IPCC uses to make its climate predictions, but Fields defended the science: “There are many cases in which just from observations, we’ve seen a change,” he said.

“Climate models are only some of the tools used to make future projections. Some … are based on projecting historical data forward or what we know about the physics of the system. Lots of observations are built in for us to test how they work.”

Keep in mind that the theory of anthropogenic (man-made) global warming is just that: still a theory. Fields does not elaborate on what these other "tools" are, only that observational testing is built into proving the IPCC's theory correct. Dr. Roger Pielke provides insight into the failure of Global Multi-Decadal Climate Models.

I completely agree that we should rely on observational data as a tool. Compare what the computer models predicted 10 years ago to what has actually been observed in the global temperature records, and something remarkable occurs. They aren't very accurate.

Carbon Dioxide levels have risen, likely caused by human activity, geographical occurrences, solar output, and China's ever-growing dependence on coal for energy production, but temperatures haven't.

With that in mind, let's see how well the computer models predict the next ten years based on what we observe (which requires patience and waiting), and we'll have twenty years of projected data by computer models versus real-world data.

Alarmists have already stated that it's too late anyways, so before we throw money, resources, and unproven technologies at a problem that's still, from a scientific standpoint, still theoretical, 10 years of gathering data coupled with the previous ten years seems reasonable, at least to me, to both sides of the debate.

What we do know is that we are still in a natural warming trend that started in 1850 after emerging from a cold spell known as the "Little Ice Age." This four-hundred-year-long atmospheric drop in temperatures is recognized as having occurred by the IPCC, NASA, and climatologists.

Whether the post-1850 warming is due to man-made, cyclical, or natural incidents is simply unknown. Global temperatures considered remotely reliable, uniform, and accurate have only 'come of age' in the last thirty years. Some say only 10. Others say we still have a long way to go. I tend to agree with the latter.

For those who remember last year's New England winter, the brutal cold, the almost-weekly snowstorms, it came as a surprise when climate alarmists said it was a result of global warming. More CO2 in the air means more water in the air means more snow [As an aside, I remember my high school science teacher teaching us that the colder the air, the less moisture it can hold].

From the same Reuters article we learn that, "There is medium confidence that droughts will intensify in the 21st century ... due to reduced precipitation and/or increased evapotranspiration…" Evapotranspiration is simply the process by which water is transferred from the land to the atmosphere by evaporation…

The report also states, "It is likely the frequency of heavy precipitation ... will increase in the 21st century over many areas…" Confused? Don't be. It simply means, at least according to the IPCC, that you can now blame any extreme weather event on global warming.

These conclusions are guesses, probabilities, computer model predictions, and it urges that countries make disaster-management plans and risk assessments - just as Ban Ki-moon urged less than a week before. In marketing parlance, this is known as a promotional tie-in.

My opinions about the future of the climate are no more accurate than the IPCC's. The hysterical alarmism promoted by environmental groups, the media (we read and watch and glorify death and destruction; it's human nature), politicians, governments, and litigators do more harm to the planet than any amount of CO2 could ever do.

You would never take a medication unless it was put through unbiased double-blind clinical trials, the results duplicated by a disinterested party, and then gone through the FDA's rigorous testing and screening process. And even then, it may get revoked by the FDA because it wasn't living up to it's intended purpose.

Why should we believe in the future, predicted severity of the climate and how it will affect us twenty, thirty, even a hundred years from now when the "accepted" climate research has been so muddled, biased, non-reproducible, and worse, disproved repeatedly by disinterested climatologists?

I'm afraid we may never know the answer until enough time has passed where we can look back in hindsight at our collective folly so as not to repeat the same mistakes. But in the meantime, we can all take our best guesses. Just like the IPCC.


Green Fiascoes and Boondoggles

A barrage of news headlines on the Solyndra scandal continue to remind us that President Obama made green jobs one of his administration’s priorities. Those headlines also reveal this initiative to have been a costly mistake.

The bankruptcy of Solyndra, the solar-panel manufacturer that has collapsed despite receiving half a billion dollars from the federal government, is only the tip of the iceberg. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that several other green companies that received generous federal aid are teetering on the brink.

Ener1, whose subsidiary EnerDel received a $118 million federal grant, lost $165 million in fiscal 2010 and has dim prospects. According to the Journal, Ener1 had “lost its bid to supply batteries to Fisker Automotive, a battery-powered car maker which received a $529 million U.S. taxpayer-backed federal loan guarantee in 2010,” when “Fisker chose to buy its batteries from a company called A123 Systems, itself the recipient of a $249 million U.S. Department of Energy grant.”

Great! First Team Obama extends taxpayer dollars to green companies, then it torpedoes them by giving larger grants to their competitors. Meanwhile, Fisker, itself a recipient of over a half-billion dollar handout from Uncle Sam, is making its cars in Finland.

Team Obama’s record on creating green jobs is no more confidence-inspiring than its record in midwifing a viable electric car industry.

A recent study by the Labor Department’s Inspector General examined what became of $162.8 million of Obama stimulus money funneled to the Employment and Training Administration. Set up to “train and prepare individuals for careers in ‘green jobs,’” the score is this: 53,000 individuals were trained, 8,035 got jobs, and only 1,033 trainees still held those jobs after six months.

There are at least four important reasons why we should stop funding “green” government programs:

First lesson: government-appointed experts are incompetent economic planners—a fact of life that any intelligent adult should know after the spectacular failure of central economic planning in the socialist experiments of the 20th century. No matter how brilliant and how well-intentioned government planners may be, they do not and cannot know what consumers want and how much they are willing to pay for it. Only free markets can solve this challenge. If electric cars are to be a viable industry, private companies will make them so.

Second lesson: The government's involvement in Solyndra raises troubling questions about possible corruption. While I think the Solyndra deal stinks to high heaven, I wonder whether any laws have been broken. Where is the dividing line between influence peddling, legitimate lobbying, political deal-making, and actual crime? Many farm-state Republicans have supported the uneconomical ethanol boondoggle for decades in exchange for generous support of their electoral campaigns, so the practice is bipartisan.

Third lesson: Government job programs are a blatant failure. They have never been economically beneficial. In the 1930s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had the department of agriculture hire 100,000 Americans to monitor how much acreage American farmers were cultivating. These federal jobs produced no wealth. Their jobs made no more economic sense than paying people to dig holes and then fill them up.

Today's green workers are economically nonsensical, too. True, they sometimes produce something, but the economic value is invariably less than the amount of tax dollars needed to subsidize their job. In other words, federal jobs make us poorer.

Fourth lesson: Finally, we simply can't afford these green boondoggles. Uncle Sam’s official debt is now $15 trillion, and when you include off-budget items and unfunded liabilities, the situation is far worse. Given this fiscal reality, it is the height of irresponsibility to throw taxpayer dollars at any special interests, and it is particularly egregious to subsidize enterprises that are plainly uneconomical.

I am not opposed to green industries. What we need is for the government to get out of the way and let green technologies prove themselves in the competitive marketplace. It's time for change and an end to economic foolishness. Let’s get the burden of green boondoggles off the taxpayers’ back.


Dutch Fall Out Of Love With Windmills

For centuries, the Netherlands has harnessed wind power, using windmills to drain water from low-lying marsh and turn it into arable land. Now however, Holland is falling out of love with its iconic technology.

When the Netherlands built its first sea-based wind turbines in 2006, they were seen as symbols of a greener future. Towering over the waves of the North Sea like an army of giants, blades whipping through the wind, the turbines were the country's best hope to curb carbon emissions and meet growing demand for electricity.

The 36 turbines -- each one the height of a 30-storey building -- produce enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 100,000 households each year.

But five years later the green future looks a long way off. Faced with the need to cut its budget deficit, the Dutch government says offshore wind power is too expensive and that it cannot afford to subsidize the entire cost of 18 cents per kilowatt hour -- some 4.5 billion euros last year.

The government now plans to transfer the financial burden to households and industrial consumers in order to secure the funds for wind power and try to attract private sector investment. It will start billing consumers and companies in January 2013 and simultaneously launch a system under which investors will be able to apply to participate in renewable energy projects.

But the new billing system will reap only a third of what was previously available to the industry in subsidies -- the government forecasts 1.5 billion euros every year -- while the pricing scale of the investment plan makes it more likely that interested parties will choose less expensive technologies than wind. The outlook for Dutch wind projects seems bleak.


The truth will out on the Australian Labor Party's carbon scam

Censorship won't help them

THE whitewash begins. Now that the carbon tax has passed through federal parliament, the government's clean-up brigade is getting into the swing by trying to erase any dissent against the jobs-destroying legislation.

On cue comes the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which this week issued warnings to businesses that they will face whopping fines of up to $1.1m if they blame the carbon tax for price rises.

It says it has been "directed by the Australian government to undertake a compliance and enforcement role in relation to claims made about the impact of a carbon price."

Businesses are not even allowed to throw special carbon tax sales promotions before the tax arrives on July 1. "Beat the Carbon Tax - Buy Now" or "Buy now before the carbon tax bites" are sales pitches that are verboten. Or at least, as the ACCC puts it, "you should be very cautious about making these types of claims".

There will be 23 carbon cops roaming the streets doing snap audits of businesses that "choose to link your price increases to a carbon price".

Instead, the ACCC suggests you tell customers you've raised prices because "the overall cost of running (your) business has increased".

It's all very Orwellian: the tax whose name cannot be spoken. We are already paying for the climate-change hysteria that has gripped Australia for a decade. Replacing even a portion of our cheap, coal-fired power with renewable energy is hellishly expensive. It also requires costly adaptation of existing infrastructure.

That's a big reason why electricity prices have hit the roof already. So when we accelerate the process with the carbon tax, the pain will escalate. That's the whole point of carbon pricing. A record number of households have had their electricity disconnected because they can't pay their power bills.

Household energy costs are estimated to have risen 17 per cent since July, with the result that the ranks of the energy poor are swelling.

In NSW, the Energy and Water Ombudsman has reported an 18 per cent increase in complaints from people whose electricity has been disconnected.

Then there are all the little immeasurables. For instance, last winter the price of Lebanese cucumbers in NSW skyrocketed because soaring energy costs forced the biggest grower to shut off heat lamps in some of his growing sheds. Result: fewer cucumbers - so prices rose to meet demand.

But no matter how Orwellian the tactics, no matter how many carbon cops are sent into hairdressing salons to interrogate barbers on the precise nature of their price rises, the truth remains: Australia has gone out on a limb, imposing a carbon tax that will send businesses to the wall, cause undue hardship to families, and tether Australians more tightly to government handouts.

And soon, we will send billions of dollars overseas to buy useless pieces of paper called carbon credits. Invest-ment bankers, lawyers and carbon traders will get rich, as will all the usual spivs and scam artists ready to stick a bucket under the government spigot raining taxpayer cash.

It doesn't matter how many fairy stories the Greens tell about how the carbon tax will "save" the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu. Or how many gullible people believe hurricanes, floods and earthquakes are the result of man-made global warming. Eventually, the truth will out.

Even the International Panel on Climate Change, whose bureaucrat-written summaries cherrypick the most alarming scientific forecasts, is holding back in the face of runaway alarmist rhetoric from politicians.

In fact, leaked draft copies of the IPCC's latest special report into "Extreme Events and Disasters" reveal declining scientific certainty about the threat of human-produced greenhouse gases.

"There are a lot more unknowns than knowns," says BBC environment correspondent Richard Black.

The rising toll of extreme weather events cannot be blamed on greenhouse gas emissions, according to Black, who has seen the draft.

"Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two to three decades is relatively large because climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability," says the IPCC report. In other words, the effect of human-produced greenhouse gas on the climate is insignificant when compared to natural climate change.

Since he's dropped in for 26 hours, US President Barack Obama could explain to his new best friend Julia Gillard why he decided not to impose a carbon tax on his ailing economy. Or why Canada has prudently ruled out a carbon scheme, and New Zealand is scaling its back and China and India continue to sit on their hands. Durban will be fun.



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


19 November, 2011

GWPF Responds To New IPCC Report

Natural Variability To Dominate Weather Events Over Coming 20-30 Years

London: For many decades to come, and probably longer, mankind’s influence on the frequency of extreme weather events will be insignificant.

According to a preliminary report released by the IPCC, there will be no detectable influence of mankind’s influence on the Earth’s weather systems for at least thirty years, and possibly not until the end of this century.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation, is in stark contrast to other statements made by the IPCC. It shows that mankind’s influence on the weather is far smaller than natural factors.

If and when mankind’s influence becomes apparent it may be just as likely to reduce the number of extreme weather events as increase them.

Surveying the state of scientific knowledge IPCC scientists say they cannot determine if mankind’s influence will result in more, or fewer, extreme weather events over the next thirty years or more.

The IPCC report says:

"Projected changes in climate extremes under different emissions scenarios generally do not strongly diverge in the coming two to three decades, but these signals are relatively small compared to natural climate variability over this time frame. Even the sign of projected changes in some climate extremes over this time frame is uncertain"

"This shows the depth of our ignorance of this subject," says Dr David Whitehouse, science editor of the GWPF. "Whilst it is always important to think about the future in the light of changes we observe to the Earth’s climate, in trying to draw conclusions so far ahead based on what we know, the IPCC scientists are speculating far beyond any reasonable scientific justification."

Even making the questionable assumption that our computer models are good enough to predict what will happen in the future, for projected changes by the end of the 21st century, the uncertainties in those computer models, and the range of natural climatic variability, are far larger than any predicted human-influenced effects.

Extreme weather events have always been with us, and will continue to be so. It is the international community's responsibility to make those likely to be subjected to them become more resilient.

Contact: Dr David Whitehouse;

Dr Benny Peiser

Press release received via email

IPCC scientists test the Exit doors

This is another big tipping point on the slide out of the Great Global Scam. IPCC scientists — facing the travesty of predictions-gone-wrong — are trying to salvage some face, and plant some escape-clause seeds for later. But people are not stupid.

A conveniently leaked IPCC draft is testing the ground. What excuses can they get away with? Hidden underneath some pat lines about how anthropogenic global warming is “likely” to influence… ah cold days and warm days, is the get-out-of-jail clause that’s really a bombshell:
“Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two to three decades is relatively large because climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability”.

Translated: The natural climate forces are stronger than we thought, and we give up, we can’t say whether it will get warmer or colder in the next twenty years.

This multipurpose prediction means that in the future, if it’s colder, they’re right; if it’s warmer, they’re right; and they have it covered for more or less storms, floods, droughts, blizzards and frost too.

And then there’s the perpetual-motion aspect of the threat. Greenhouse gases might not be dominant now (like they’ve been saying for the last 20 years) but they will be, they tell us. They will be! Look out! The storms are coming, we’re all doomed. (Well we definitely absolutely might be.) Got that?
If the century progresses without restraints on greenhouse gas emissions, their impacts will come to dominate, it forecasts:

“It is very likely that the length, frequency and/or intensity of warm spells, including heat waves, will continue to increase over most land areas…

“It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation or the proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls will increase in the 21st Century over many areas of the globe…

“Mean tropical cyclone maximum wind speed is likely to increase…

“There is medium confidence that droughts will intensify in the 21st Century in some seasons and areas…

“Low-probability high-impact changes associated with the crossing of poorly understood thresholds cannot be excluded, given the transient and complex nature of the climate system.”

Then look for the segue where the scientists and activist-journalists, quietly shift the goal-posts;
It’s impossible to read the draft without coming away with the impression that with or without anthropogenic climate change, extreme weather impacts are going to be felt more and more, simply because there are more and more people on planet Earth – particularly in the swelling “megacities” of the developing world that overwhelmingly lie on the coast or on big rivers close to the coast.

That’s an EXIT clause and it reads like this: We might have been wrong about CO2 causing the disasters, but disasters are still coming. More people are going to die from climate catastrophes because there are lots more people! See, “we were right all along to be concerned about the climate”. (Just not quite right about the cause).

This is a handy excuse. Al Gore tried a segue like this out a couple of years ago — pretending that he was just fine tuning his altruistic saintly concern by saying quietly that CO2 wasn’t as bad as he’d thought but Black Carbon (!) was awful pollution. In other words, he’ll never admit he made a bad call, or has been caught pushing a scam, he’ll just say he was right all along, “carbon is still the issue, it’s just a slightly different form”.

These IPCC scientists are using the same technique: Climate Disasters are still the issue — it’s just a slightly different reason.

Repeat after me: AGW is still bad, skeptics are still wrong, and look over here at this slightly new twist on the predictions of disaster.

We all know there won’t be a slew of headlines trumpeting:

New IPCC leaked report; Weather could get warmer or colder!

“Storms might be not quite as bad, but could be much worse!”

“IPCC underestimate natural climate forces! Skeptics correct!”

Obviously this is an all-encompassing all-occasion document. For journalists fishing for disaster, there are ways to find it in the prophesies, and for scientists who want to be able to say “My predictions were right” in five years time, they can find just about any prediction under the sun somewhere in there and point to it to say “I told you so”.

Even Hulme is acknowledging that things are changing and the “climate” meme is receding.
As UK academic Mike Hulme and others have argued, such events will occur whether exacerbated by climate change or not; and vulnerable societies need protection irrespective of climate change.

He’s argued for a divorce, therefore, between the issues of adaptation, which he says could usefully be added into the overall process of overseas development assistance, and mitigation of emissions.

In other words, the money will still flow, it’s just being rebadged. But the developing nations don’t like that. They prefer the current arrangement when developed nations atone for carbon sins and “pay” the third world. The alternative is the same cash, but it’s called “aid” and that comes with more strings. Everyone wants to be paid their rightful due, and no one wants to be “indebted” in any sense.....

The shape-shifting here is entirely predictable. It means the machine adapts to reality, but hardly anyone one gets punished. A bit like the bailouts and fraud on Wall St — no one went to jail. (Occupy Climate anyone?) They just change the letterheads on the parasitic agencies that pretend to help the poor and care about lemurs, and all of them get away with the sloppy reasoning, wasteful practices, bullying, deceit, and corruption.

Unless of course, the internet foils that plan. May we always be free from the forces of censorship.


Scientific consensus?: Governments (Yes: Governments) fighting over IPCC climate hoax details

IPCC expected to confirm link between climate change and extreme weather | Environment |
The final details are being fought over by governments, as the "summary for policymakers" of the report has to be agreed in full by every nation that chooses to be involved. But the conclusions are expected to be that emissions from human activities are increasing the frequency of extreme weather events. In particular, there are likely to be many more heatwaves, droughts and changes in rainfall patterns.

Jake Schmidt of the US-based Natural Resources Defense Council said: "This report should be a wake-up call to those that believe that climate change is some distant issue that might impact someone else. The report documents that extreme weather is happening now and that global warming will bring very dangerous events in the future. From the report you can see that extreme weather will impact everyone in one way or another. This is a window into the future if our political response doesn't change quickly."

...Mike Hulme at the Tyndall Centre said it would be dangerous for governments to use this report in order to justify directing overseas aid only to those countries that could be proved to be suffering from climate change, rather than other problems. In that scenario, he said: "Funding will no longer go to those who are most at risk from climate-impacts and with low adaptive capacity, but will go to those who are lucky enough to live in regions of the world where weather extremes happen to be most attributable by climate models to human agency. These regions tend to be in mid-to-high latitudes, with lots of good weather data and well calibrated models. So, goodbye Africa."


Matt Ridley: How Fossil Fuels Helped End Slavery -- and saved the whales

Excerpt from Matt Ridley’s brilliant 2010 book The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves explains how non-renewable, finite energy sources paradoxically made economic growth sustainable. With inanimate objects doing the work instead of slaves, we can, as he says, all “live the life of a Sun King.”

In 1807, as Parliament in London was preparing to pass at last William Wilberforce’s bill to abolish the slave trade, the largest factory complex in the world had just opened at Ancoats in Manchester. Powered by steam and lit by gas, both generated by coal, Murrays’ Mills drew curious visitors from all over the country and beyond to marvel at their modern machinery. There is a connection between these two events. The Lancashire cotton industry was rapidly converting from water power to coal. The world would follow suit and by the late twentieth century, 85 percent of all energy used by humankind would come from fossil fuels. It was fossil fuels that eventually made slavery–along with animal power, and wood, wind and water–uneconomic. Wilberforce’s ambition would have been harder to obtain without fossil fuels. ‘History supports this truth,” writes the economist Don Boudreaux. ‘Capitalism exterminated slavery.’

The story of energy is simple. Once upon a time all work was done by people for themselves using their own muscles. Then there came a time when some people got other people to do the work for them, and the result was pyramids and leisure for a few, drudgery and exhaustion for the many. Then there was a gradual progression from one source of energy to another: human to animal to wind to fossil fuel. In each case, the amount of work one man could do for another was amplified by the animal or the machine. The Roman empire was built largely on human muscle power, in the shape of slaves. It was Spartacus and his friends who built the roads and houses, who tilled the ground and trampled the grapes. There were horses, forges and sailing ships as well, but the chief source of watts in Rome was people.

The period that followed the Roman empire, especially in Europe, saw the widespread replacement of that human muscle power by animal muscle power. The European early middle ages were the age of the ox. The invention of dried-grass hay enabled northern European to feed oxen through the winter. Slaves were replaced by beasts, more out of practicality than compassion one suspects. Oxen eat simpler food, complain less and are stronger than slaves… With the invention of the horse collar, oxen then gave way to horses, which can plough at nearly twice the speed of an ox thus doubling the productivity of a man and enabling each farmer either to feed more people or to spend more time consuming other’s work.

In turn oxen and horses were soon being replaced by inanimate power. The watermill, known to the Romans but comparatively little used, became so common in the Dark Ages that by the time of the Domesday Book (1086), there was one for every fifty people in southern England…. The windmill appeared first in the twelfth century and spread rapidly throughout the Low Countries, where water power was not an option. But it was peat, rather than wind, that gave the Dutch the power to become the world’s workshop in the 1600s. Peat dug on a vast scale from freshly drained bogs fuelled the brick, ceramic, beer, soap, salt and sugar industries. Harlem bleached linen for the whole of Germany. At a time when timber was scarce and expensive, peat gave the Dutch their chance.

Hay, water, and wind are ways of drawing upon the sun’s energy: the sun powers plants, rain and the wind. Timber is a way of drawing on a store of the sun’s energy laid down in previous decades–on solar capital, as it were. Peat is an older store of the sunlight–solar capital laid down over millennia. And coal, whose high energy content enabled the British to overtake the Dutch, is still older sunlight, mostly captured around 300 million years before. The secret of the industrial revolution was shifting from current solar power to stored solar power. Not that human muscle power disappeared: slavery continued, in Russia, the Caribbean and America as well as many other places. But gradually, erratically, more and more of the goods people made were made with fossil energy.

Fossil fuels cannot explain the start of the industrial revolution. But they do explain why it did not end. Once fossil fuels joined in, economic growth truly took off, and became almost infinitely capable of bursting through the Malthusian ceiling and raising living standards. Only then did growth become, in a word, sustainable. This leads to a shocking irony. Economic growth only became sustainable when it began to rely on non-renewable, non-green, non-clean power. Every economic boom in history, from Uruk onwards, had ended in bust because renewable sources of energy ran out: timber, cropland, pasture, labour, water, peat. All self-replenishing, but far too slowly, and easily exhausted by a swelling populace.

Coal not only did not run out, no matter how much was used: it actually became cheaper and more abundant as time went by, in marked contrast to charcoal, which always grew more expensive once its use expanded beyond a certain point, for the simple reason that people had to go further in search of timber. Had England never used coal, it could still have had an industrial miracle of sorts, because it could have (and did) use water power to drive the frames and looms that turned Lancashire into the cotton capital of the world. But water power, though renewable, is very much finite, and Britain’s industrial boom would have petered out as expansion became impossible, population pressure overtook income and wages fell, depressing demand.

This is not to imply that non-renewable resources are infinite–of course not. The Atlantic Ocean is not infinite, but that does not mean you have to worry about bumping into Newfoundland if you row a dinghy out of a harbour in Ireland. Some things are finite but vast; some things are infinitely renewable, but very limited. Non-renewable resources such as coal are sufficiently abundant to allow an expansion of both economic activity and population to the point where they can generate sustainable wealth for all the people of the planet without hitting a Malthusian ceiling, and can then hand the baton to some other form of energy.

The blinding brightness of this realisation still amazes me: we can build a civilisation in which everybody lives the life of the Sun King, because everybody is served by (and serves) a thousand servants, each of whose service is amplified by extraordinary amounts of inanimate energy and each of whom is also living like the Sun King.


When the BEST Ain’t Good Enough, Make Stuff Up

This story was intended for Spiked-Online, who may be publishing it at some point, but I wanted to get it out a bit sooner.
A new scientific study of the Earth’s temperature record aimed to rescue climate science’s reputation from the aftermath of the ‘Climategate’ affair. Advocates of climate policies have long argued that unimpeachable science has driven policy-making, but climate sceptics argued that due scientific process had not been observed. Climategate and other revelations that seemed to undermine climate science seemed to make the sceptics’ case. Rather than bringing clarity to the debate, however, the new study inadvertently demonstrates that the desire for unimpeachable scientific answers belies a fundamentally political debate.

The ‘Climategate’ affair broke In late 2009. Thousands of private emails between climate researchers based at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unity were leaked onto the internet, the contents of which raised questions about the propriety of high profile scientists. Whether or not they had done anything wrong, the authors of these emails seemed to have been caught taking liberties with statistics, concealing their data and methodology from scrutiny, and treating the critics of their research with contempt. In the wake of Climategate, Professor of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley, Richard Muller said,
Quite frankly as a scientist, I have a list of people whose papers I won’t read any more. You’re not allowed to do this in science; this is not up to our standards. [...] This is why I’m leading a group to re-do all this in a totally transparent way.

The first results from Muller’s group — Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) — have been released. Rather than being released through publication in a peer-reviewed journal, however, Muller and his associates took the somewhat unusual step of publishing draft copies of their studies, and made themselves available for comment in the media. Fuelling controversy further, Muller wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal, which an editor gave the title, ‘The Case Against Global Warming Skepticism — There were good reasons for doubt until now’.

This comment came to the delight of climate activist journalists, scientists and other commentators. ‘Sceptical climate scientists concede Earth has warmed’, announced the New Scientist. ‘BEST reconfirm: warming is happening’, said the influential Carbon Brief blog, which is staffed predominantly by activists from environmental NGOs. Channel 4 News’s science correspondent, Tom Clarke was asked, ‘so does this finally vindicate climate change science’. ‘In a word, yes’, replied Clarke. According to Clarke, the BEST team’s discovery that the world is warming got those implicated by Climategate off the hook.

From the copy it had generated, it would seem that BEST had ended the debate. But climate scientist, and contributor to the BEST project, Judith Curry observed, ‘the spin on the press release and Muller’s subsequent statements have introduced unnecessary controversy into the BEST data and papers’. Curry’s comments were picked up by Daily Mail journalist, David Rose, who wrote
‘The Mail on Sunday can reveal that a leading member of Prof Muller’s team has accused him of trying to mislead the public by hiding the fact that BEST’s research shows global warming has stopped.’

Exciting stuff. But not what Curry had told Rose. ‘To set the record straight, some of the other sentiments attributed to me [in Roses's Daily Mail article] are not quite right’, she wrote on her blog. Meanwhile, Muller himself was distancing himself from the headlines of the article in the Wall Street Journal. ‘It doesn’t represent the article’, he told a journalist in New Mexico. But sceptics pointed out that Muller had said,
Without good answers to [sceptics' concerns about various attempts to measure global warming and its effects], global-warming skepticism seems sensible. But now let me explain why you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer.

Confusion reigns. The coverage had by now been established as so much he-said-she-said. Sceptics pointed out that, in spite of the claims that the debate was now over, the BEST study still had argued that ‘human component of global warming may be somewhat overestimated’. The data still reflected a stalling of global temperatures over the past decade, and the study’s attempt to rule out one of the main concerns sceptics have about the way temperature data is recorded appear to have some serious shortcomings. Even the project’s leader didn’t seem to be making consistent statements about what his research meant for the climate change debate. None of this phased the BBC’s environmental correspondent, Richard Black, who continued covering the affair in much the same way....

Had Black wished to overcome the limitations of mediocre journalism, to get to the heart of the debate, there are many well-informed sceptics he could have turned to for comment and advice. One such is Andrew Montford, author of ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’ and a report published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) on the Climategate affair (PDF). ‘He’s not representing what the sceptic’s arguments are’, Montford told me.
The majority of sceptics say ‘yes, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and that the world has warmed’. That’s really hasn’t been argued very much for a long time. There are few people out there arguing [against] that, but really not very many. What you read about sceptic objections in the newspapers is not really what the sceptics’ objections are.

Montford agrees that there is no definitive ‘sceptic’ argument. This fact mirrors the many varied positive claims that are made on the other ‘side’ of the climate debate, but which seem to emerge axiomatically from the fact that ‘climate change is happening’. For many sceptics, too much rests on the claim, however true it is, which is in the first place a question of degree with a considerable amount of latitude, even within the ‘scientific consensus’. A concatenation of non-sequiturs cascade from the first: about sea-level rise, species extinction, drought, famine, resources wars, and so on. And these consequences seem to cascade just as ‘inevitably’ to the remedy: the creation of powerful political institutions, a transformation of the global economy, and the de facto rationing of energy and regulation of lifestyle.

In short, the climate debate is by definition as complex as the whole of human social life and natural science combined. But such a complex state of affairs does not make for easy reportage, especially by journalists who don’t seem able to digest nuance and complexity, let alone reflect meaningfully on them. And so to take issue with any aspect of the debate is to seemingly deny that the earth has warmed approximately 0.7 degrees centigrade and that humans had some part in it.

So what does the BEST study really reveal, according to sceptics? And how has it changed things in the post-Climategate world? Montford tells me that,
[BEST] doesn’t really change anything. People like Steve McIntyre [the climate blogger who first raised issues with how historical temperature records were created] were saying long before Climategate: you’re not going to find a smoking gun in the temperature record, and you always had the satellite records which were telling pretty much the same story. [The Climategate researchers] are just being civil servants and trying to hide the fact that they’re not doing very much, they haven’t got many quality-control procedures, and they’ve got commercial incentives to keep everything under wraps. That’s the only reason for the secrecy.

So it would seem that few, if any, sceptics were claiming that there had been no warming, or that the scientific data had been plucked out of thin air. BEST merely confirmed what most sceptics agreed was probably happening anyway. Nonetheless, the BEST story was widely reported as representing a meaningful end to the climate debate. Muller had made ambiguous comments, which were amplified by an incautious sub-editor. A phantom news story appeared out of an uncontroversial study. Journalists were reporting from inside their own heads, not from the real world. And that is an interesting phenomenon, and one which needs some explanation.


White House Involved in Warmist Smear Campaign

Remember when Governor Rick Perry burst into the presidential race? Arguably one of the things that made him quickly rise to the top was the answer he gave to a question about global warming at an August 17th event: "I think we're seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change."

Just a day later, the Washington Post described what Perry's campaign sent them as proof to back his statement:
... a link to something called the [Oregon] Petition Project, which claims to have collected the signatures of 31,487 "American scientists" on a petition that says there is "no convincing scientific evidence" that human release of greenhouse gasses will "cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the earth's climate".

Now imagine, for a moment, news of such a petition being so inconvenient to the Obama administration in light of the upcoming U.N. climate conference in Durban, South Africa that they made efforts to marginalize it via a prominently placed op-ed saying that the petition had fake names in it.

Imagine that these efforts involved a relatively unknown scientist who coordinated his efforts to write the anti-skeptic op-ed with the White House Office of Science and Technology (headed by Obama Science Czar John Holdren), and with an enviro-activist group famous for slamming skeptic scientists -- like Greenpeace, for example.

Then again, there's no need to imagine -- all this apparently did happen, and John Holdren was involved, but it didn't take place just recently. It was aimed at the U.N. climate conference in Buenos Aires in 1998 during the Clinton/Gore administration, and was in response to a favorable article written by the Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby about the then-17,000 signers of the petition and how the news of so many skeptics might derail the conference's efforts to "to put teeth into the treaty that came out of Kyoto" just a year earlier. And the enviro-activist group was Ozone Action, which was later merged into Greenpeace USA in 2000.

Back on August 26, 2010, I wrote a piece about the unhelpful appearance of Holdren and Jane Lubchenco, current head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), being tied to Ozone Action's initial 1998 efforts to marginalize the petition. On October 4, 2010, I wrote another article which went into much greater detail about the highly questionable efforts of Ozone Action to portray the petition as tainted by "fake" names.

I was unaware of the direct White House involvement until I ran across page 2 of this scan. Scientist George Woodwell is appealing for help from John Holdren, who was on Clinton's President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST):
The Globe does not wish to publish it, at least over my name alone. (Who is he?) The thought is that you would lend legitimacy and tip the scales in favor of publishing, especially if you cite (or allow others to cite) your PSAC connection. I would, of course, be delighted to have you as an author, even the author, if you are willing. ...

The issue has become urgent in that the Jacoby distortion is being circulated in Buenos Aires to stop any action at all. I am dealing with John Passaccantando of Ozone Action and Ann Kenzig, now in the White House on this project.

Woodwell misspells Ann Kinzig's last name. Kinzig was "an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow in the Office of Science and Technology Policy" (OSTP), coincidentally at the same time when Jane Lubchenco was the chair of AAAS.

Additional evidence of Ozone Action's ties to the White House comes in the form of a March 1998 e-mail alert to them from the OSTP's Rosina Bierbaum regarding a Small Business Survival Committee (SBSC) press release describing faults in the IPCC:
Despite White House claims that the debate over global warming is in fact over, an examination of their substantiation of '2,000 scientists' reveals experts in Chinese medicines as well as 'urban studies', hotel administrators, 'masters of arts' psychiatrists...

In case anybody has missed the news of it, these sorts of crippling problems in the IPCC are substantiated in intricate detail within Donna Laframboise's brand-new book, The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World's Top Climate Expert.

One more reason Ms. Bierbaum specifically alerts Ozone Action: the SBSC press release also notes climate scientist skeptics who signed the Leipzig Declaration, an effort put together by atmospheric scientist (and AT contributor) Dr. S. Fred Singer. Dr Singer was a harsh critic of Ozone Action back when that group focused purely on how chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) supposedly were a driver of ozone depletion, and he became one of the primary targets of that group and anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan. Those are the same enviro-activists I cover in my writings about how the fossil-fuel-industry-funding-corruption accusation against skeptics appears to be completely unsupportable.

Apparently, with White House assistance and Holdren's co-authorship, Woodwell got an op-ed in at the NY Times/International Herald Tribune, which, as I reported in my October 4, 2010 article, mimicked prior recent pieces by Ozone Action personnel about fake names being seen in the Oregon Petition Project. Not helping this narrative are confessions from SourceWatch (" ... environmental activists successfully added the names of several fictional characters and celebrities to the list ... "), and DesmogBlog ("According to the May 1998 Associated Press article, the Oregon petition included names that were intentionally placed to prove the invalid methodology ... "). Problem is, I noted in another of my articles how SourceWatch's Sheldon Rampton had close ties to Ross Gelbspan, and the narrative in the short version of the AP article DeSmog links to is different from the long version, switching from "[s]everal environmental groups" questioning the names in the petition to simply Ozone Action questioning them.

Compare this to other like-minded tactics: the credibility of assertions about Tea Party people hurling Nazi epithets apparently had to be "helped along" at one rally via a planted sign orchestrated to be seen by a photographer associated with a "progressive" website, as Michelle Malkin summarized in her April 12, 2010 blog post. CBS news anchorman Dan Rather and whatever dislike he had for George W. Bush apparently had to be "helped along" with the use of forged National Guard documents. Then there were the efforts to portray Rush Limbaugh as a racist, which seemed to require the use of planted quotes Limbaugh never said.

Same tactic in the petition smear. Don't meet your critics in a head-to-head debate; instead, marginalize what they say, ridicule their efforts, and plant evidence if their efforts don't look ridiculous enough to tilt public opinion in your favor.

If there is one example of how far-left ideology can't defend itself, it is the entire idea of man-caused global warming. Just look at what its promoters must do to keep it alive in the face of withering criticism. The disturbing thing about it is how long they've kept up this juvenile tactic, thanks to a complicit mainstream media.



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


18 November, 2011

Warmism as the new "Protocols"

As I read the account below it struck me that the “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” have a lot in common with Warmism -- the contradictions, the irrefutability, the absence of any proof, the hate etc. Greenies hate people in general so I suppose it should be no surprise that the products of hate are similar in different eras.

I have long pointed out on my sidebar that, just as "The Jews" were once blamed for every ill, so Global Warming is nowadays blamed for every ill. I will not try to spell out the similarities in any further detail but I think readers will see for themselves areas of similarity well enough. Even the first sentence could well apply to Warmism.

“The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” are perhaps the best proof that the Nazis’ “Big Lie” theory — tell something long enough and loud enough, and some people are sure to believe it is true.

A fabrication of the Russian Secret Police between 1897 and 1903, the documents described a putative Jewish plot to take over the world. Their speciousness repeatedly proven over the years, they continue to fuel anti-Semitism: in Nazi Germany, in communist Russia, in anti-Semitic Arab countries, in the writings of Western racists and so on.

And “The Protocols,” translated into scores of languages, continue to live on in popular culture — a 2005 documentary, a new novel (“The Prague Cemetery”) by Italy’s Umberto Eco, a new nonfiction book (“License to Murder”) by Alex Grobman, director of the America-Israel Friendship League. The Jewish Week spoke with Grobman this week about “The Protocols.”

Q: More than a century after “The Protocols” were written — and discredited as a fraud — why are we still talking and worrying about them?

A: The myth of an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world as advanced in “The Protocols” has been exposed by historians, journalists, politicians, police and religious leaders. Yet this has not stopped “The Protocols” from being part of a view held by many people. The potential danger of “The Protocols” in shaping public opinion is real and should not be underestimated. When Jews are portrayed as manipulators who seek power over other people’s lives, they come — only naturally — to be perceived as severe dire threats.

It is thus particularly disconcerting that this false and harmful perception of Jews is embraced even today by the leadership of the Arab-Muslim world, where “The Protocols” continues to be published in vast quantities, and cited in the writings of mainstream academics, who lend credibility and legitimacy to this falsehood and utter fallacy.

Q. Who takes ‘The Protocols’ seriously today?

Aside from many in the Arab world, the belief that Jews have an inordinate amount of power in the world can also be found throughout the West as well. In September 2007, The Financial Times reported that “Currency Wars,” a Chinese bestseller, claimed “The Battle of Waterloo. The deaths of six U.S. presidents. The rise of Adolf Hitler. The deflation of the Japanese bubble economy, the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and even environmental destruction in the developing world,” which occurred over two centuries “have a single root cause: the control of money issuance through history by the Rothschild banking dynasty.”

Every time a friend returns from international theological conferences, he laments how pervasive the underlying belief in “The Protocols” is among leading theologians. Were you to confront them, they would be highly insulted, yet they accept the basic premise.

Jewish history is full of bogus accusations against Jews, like the blood libel. Why have “The Protocols” had such a lasting influence?

The notion of the Jew as a demonic character is still prevalent, allowing anti-Semites to use “The Protocols” to incite against Jews, particularly during times of political and social unrest. Conspiracy theories are attractive because they absolve the individual of any personal responsibility for failures, reverses and suffering. In this moral universe of “us” and “them,” the victim is not responsible at all for what has occurred. The conspirators are the ones who are culpable.

The fact that it was allegedly written by Jews makes the work more authentic. Reliance on contradiction— that to succeed Jews employ capitalism and communism, philo-Semitism and anti-Semitism, democracy and tyranny — made it possible for “The Protocols” to reach out to all: rich and poor, right and left, Christian and Muslim, American and Japanese.

Debating the advocates of “The Protocols” doesn’t work. Showing that “The Protocols” is a fraud doesn’t work. Banning the book — as some countries have tried — doesn't work. What works?

Certain portions of the population will never be convinced that “The Protocols” are a forgery or that Jews are not an evil force trying to control the world. Logic and reason have little or no place in their way of thinking.

The purpose of [Grobman’s new book] is to inform those interested in historical truth why this canard and other lies against the Jewish people are so pervasive, and why they pose a danger not only to the Jewish people, but to all those who cherish a democratic way of life. If we do not respond to the canards, the assumption will be that we have no answers.


The Fukushima disaster gave a test to all the Greenie panic about nuclear reactor accidents

Radiation levels at Fukushima are negligible

The fallout from the radiation leak at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor in Japan may be less severe than predicted.

Radiology researcher Ikuo Kashiwakura of Hirosaki University, Japan, and colleagues responded immediately to the disaster, travelling south to Fukushima prefecture to measure radiation levels in more than 5000 people there between 15 March and 20 June.

They found just 10 people with unusually high levels of radiation, but those levels were still below the threshold at which acute radiation syndrome sets in and destroys the gastrointestinal tract. Geiger-counter readings categorised all others in the area at a "no contamination level".

How did the population of Fukushima prefecture dodge the radioactivity? Gerry Thomas at Imperial College London, director of the Chernobyl Tissue Bank, says the answer is simple. "Not an awful lot [of radioactive material] got out of the plant – it was not Chernobyl." The Chernobyl nuclear disaster released 10 times as much radiation as Fukushima Daiichi.
Rapid response

Thomas says the quick and thorough response by the Japanese government limited radioactive exposure among the population. On 12 March, the same day as the first explosion at Fukushima Daiichi, the government ordered the evacuation of residents within 20 kilometres, and asked various institutions to begin monitoring contamination levels.

"They had no faxes, no emails, nothing was working," says Thomas, adding that other countries might not have coped as well with a combined earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant malfunction. "Given the circumstances, they did phenomenally."


14000 Abandoned Wind Turbines In The USA

Doesn't that tell anybody anything?

There are many hidden truths about the world of wind turbines from the pollution and environmental damage caused in China by manufacturing bird choppers, the blight on people’s lives of noise and the flicker factor and the countless numbers of birds that are killed each year by these blots on the landscape.

The symbol of Green renewable energy, our saviour from the non existent problem of Global Warming, abandoned wind farms are starting to litter the planet as globally governments cut the subsidies taxes that consumers pay for the privilege of having a very expensive power source that does not work every day for various reasons like it’s too cold or the wind speed is too high.

The US experience with wind farms has left over 14,000 wind turbines abandoned and slowly decaying, in most instances the turbines are just left as symbols of a dying Climate Religion, nowhere have the Green Environmentalists appeared to clear up their mess or even complain about the abandoned wind farms.

The US has had wind farms since 1981:
“Some say that Ka Le is haunted—and it is. But it’s haunted not by Hawaii’s legendary night marchers. The mysterious sounds are “Na leo o Kamaoa”– the disembodied voices of 37 skeletal wind turbines abandoned to rust on the hundred-acre site of the former Kamaoa Wind Farm…

The ghosts of Kamaoa are not alone in warning us. Five other abandoned wind sites dot the Hawaiian Isles—but it is in California where the impact of past mandates and subsidies is felt most strongly. Thousands of abandoned wind turbines littered the landscape of wind energy’s California “big three” locations—Altamont Pass, Tehachapin (above), and San Gorgonio—considered among the world’s best wind sites…

California’s wind farms— comprising about 80% of the world’s wind generation capacity—ceased to generate much more quickly than Kamaoa. In the best wind spots on earth, over 14,000 turbines were simply abandoned. Spinning, post-industrial junk which generates nothing but bird kills…”

The problem with wind farms when they are abandoned is getting the turbines removed, as usual there are non Green environmentalists to be seen:
The City of Palm Springs was forced to enact an ordinance requiring their removal from San Gorgonio. But California’s Kern County, encompassing the Tehachapi area, has no such law

Imagine the outraged Green chorus if those turbines were abandoned oil drilling rigs.
It took nearly a decade from the time the first flimsy wind turbines were installed before the performance of California wind projects could dispel the widespread belief among the public and investors that wind energy was just a tax scam.

Ben Lieberman, a senior policy analyst focusing on energy and environmental issues for the Heritage Foundation, is not surprised. He asks: “If wind power made sense, why would it need a government subsidy in the first place? It’s a bubble which bursts as soon as the government subsidies end.”

“It’s a bubble which bursts as soon as the government subsidies end” therein lies a lesson that is going be learnt by those that sought to make fortunes out of tax payer subsidies, the whole renewables industry of solar, wind and biomass is just an artificial bubble incapable of surviving without subsides from governments and tax payers which many businesses and NGO’s like WWF, FoE and Greenpeace now think is their god given right, as the money is going on Green Climate Religion approved clean energy.

The Green evangelists who push so hard for these wind farms, as usual have not thought the whole idea through, no surprises for a left agenda like Climate Change, which like all things Green and socialist is just a knee jerk reaction:
Altamont’s turbines have since 2008 been tethered four months of every year in an effort to protect migrating birds after environmentalists filed suit. According to the Golden Gate Audubon Society, 75 to 110 Golden Eagles, 380 Burrowing Owls, 300 Red-tailed Hawks, and 333 American Kestrels (falcons) are killed by Altamont turbines annually. A July, 2008 study by the Alameda County Community Development Agency points to 10,000 annual bird deaths from Altamont Pass wind turbines. Audubon calls Altamont, “probably the worst site ever chosen for a wind energy project.”

The same areas that are good for siting wind farms are also good for birds of prey and migrating birds to pass through, shame for the birds that none of the Green mental midgets who care so much about everything in nature, thought that one through when pushing their anti fossil fuel agenda.
After the debacle of the First California Wind Rush, the European Union had moved ahead of the US on efforts to subsidize “renewable” energy–including a “Feed in Tariff” even more lucrative than the ISO4 contracts.

The tax payers who paid for the subsidies to build the wind farms, then paid over the odds for an unreliable source of power generation will, ultimately be left to pick up the bill for clearing up the Green eco mess in the post man made Global Warming world.


'Meteorologists monitoring Antarctic conditions say it is the highest snowfall in the region in years'‏

THEY’VE been on the ice less than three weeks but hell has already frozen over for Aussie adventurers James Castrission and Justin Jones. Nightmare winds, heavy snowfall and days of total white-out have turned what was already a monumental challenge into an epic battle of will versus weather.

The pair, who made world headlines three years ago after crossing the Tasman in a kayak, are aiming to become the first people to trek 2200km from the edge of the Antarctic to the South Pole and back, unassisted.

Months of training in New Zealand and the Snowy Mountains helped steel the duo for the journey and each gained about 20kg in weight to increase their fat stores. However, little could prepare them for the conditions they have so far endured.

“We’ve been pushing hard on the trail (but) we’ve had some atrocious conditions and we’ve been making some really, really average mileage,” Jones reported on a well-earned rest day earlier this week. “At the moment it’s blowing about 60km/h outside which is just phenomenally hectic.”

Today marks day 18 on what is meant to be a three-month expedition. Castrission, 29, and Jones, 28, have so far trudged 165km from their starting point at Hercules Inlet, some days progressing at less than a kilometre an hour. Part of the problem is the fresh soft snow, which makes it almost impossible to drag 200kg sleds carrying vital supplies.

Meteorologists monitoring Antarctic conditions say it is the highest snowfall in the region in years.

In their latest update filed via satellite phone, Jones said damage to their tent had made life even more difficult temporarily. “I’ve put this lovely patch on the door, two poles fixed, everything is all good and we’re rearing to get back into tomorrow,” he said.


Energy Dept. pushed to keep layoffs quiet

Solyndra cuts not made public until after midterm elections

The Obama administration, which gave the solar company Solyndra a half-billion-dollar loan to help create jobs, asked the company to delay announcing it would lay off workers until after the hotly contested November 2010 midterm elections that imperiled Democratic control of Congress, newly released e-mails show.

The announcement could have been politically damaging because President Barack Obama and others in the administration had held up Solyndra as a poster child of its clean-energy initiative, saying the company's new factory, built with the help of stimulus funds, could create 1,000 jobs.

Six months before the midterm election, Obama visited Solyndra's California plant to praise its success, even though outside auditors had questioned whether the operation might collapse in debt.

As the contentious 2010 election approached, Solyndra found itself foundering, and it warned the Energy Department that it would need an emergency cash infusion.

A Solyndra investment adviser wrote in an Oct. 30, 2010, e-mail, without explaining the reasons, that Energy Department officials were pushing "very hard" to delay making the layoffs public until the day after the election.

The announcement ultimately was made on Nov. 3, immediately following the Nov. 2 vote.

E-mails describing the events were released Tuesday as part of a House Energy and Commerce Committee memo, provided in advance of Energy Secretary Steven Chu's scheduled testimony before the committee's investigative panel on Thursday. As a result of the 2010 election, that committee is now controlled by Republicans, whose aggressive nine-month investigation into Solyndra has focused partly on whether politics played a role in the company's selection for a federal loan.

Amid the fallout from the company's shutdown in August, the White House has said tough scrutiny of the department's oversight efforts is warranted and has launched its own independent review of the loan program. Although the president has publicly supported Chu, senior White House officials in February circulated an outside adviser's recommendation that Chu be replaced because of anticipated political controversy over the energy loans.

On Tuesday, Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera declined to confirm events described in the e-mails or to identify who at the department may have urged the delay in the layoff announcement. He stressed, however, that "decisions about this loan were made on the merits." In an interview aired Tuesday on NPR, Chu said that politics did not enter into any decisions he or his staff made regarding Solyndra and that there was no way to foresee the company's demise.

The White House declined to comment Tuesday on whether senior White House officials attempted to influence the timing of the layoff announcement.


End the Green Nightmare

There is currently a maelstrom of news about costly failures in the so-called green energy industry. Of course, solar power is prominently featured, and the Solyndra fiasco is only one of the scandals. Rapidly rising to public consciousness is another crony capitalist solar company, SunPower, which looks like it too will go bust and cost the American taxpayer a fortune. Also in this club of losers are solar companies such as First Solar and Abengoa, both again the recipients of taxpayer dollars, thanks to the current administration’s rigid environmentalist ideological mindset.

But not to be overlooked are disappointments in the other segments of the green energy industry. Corn-based ethanol has proven to be such a wasteful boondoggle that even Al Gore has rethought his support of it. And wind power has come in for a good deal of scrutiny. Why, even geothermal companies are proving questionable. A recent report of three on the biggest such companies — Nevada Geothermal Power, Raser Technologies, and U.S. Geothermal — shows that they are all in financial difficulty or are just not profitable. All are recipients all of taxpayer loans or loan guarantees.

This has left the proponents of green power trying desperately to explain away its dismal failure — both here and abroad — to prove itself commercially viable without massive governmental subsidization, and without the corruption that governmental subsidies typically bring. But while we are witnessing the bursting of the Great Green Energy Bubble, we are also witnessing a renaissance of fossil fuels — the very fuels that Malthusian prophets of doom have for decades claimed are “running out.”

This renaissance has been caused by a technological revolution that is transforming oil and gas drilling. Because of it, oil and gas are far more plentiful here and in countries outside the Middle East and other hostile neighborhoods, such as Russia and Venezuela. I am thinking especially of two technologies, fracking and horizontal drilling. The rebirth of fossil fuel production was unimaginable a few years ago. It is completely beyond the ken of the Greens who constitute the Obama Regime, people who never anticipate revolutions that are not run from above, by them, but instead originate in the distributed intelligence of regular (read: creative) people.

Start with fracking. It has certainly made some energy companies rich. For, example, Noble Energy has just paid a whopping $3.4 billion for a half-interest in the Marcellus Shale holdings of Consol Energy. Together they plan to develop a huge chunk of Pennsylvania and West Virginia (663,000 acres). Even after selling off half its holdings, Consol still expects to extract a massive 350 billion cubic feet of gas.

What is fascinating is that Conrol Energy is a Pennsylvania-based coal company — you know, one of those, well, fossils of the fossil fuel industry. It is nicely positioning itself for the inevitable shutting down of coal-fired power plants under the relentless pressure of the EPA. Consol and Noble are just two of the flood of companies moving in to develop the Marcellus Shale formation.

Fracking is also rewarding key players in the industry. Marcus Rowland, the CEO of the small but important player, Frac Tech International, earned a tidy $24.4 million last year. His compensation made him the highest paid CEO of any publicly-traded energy company. He is paid more than the CEO of IBM.

Frac Tech is beating many other energy companies by providing hydraulic fracturing services for big energy companies such as Chesapeake Energy and ExxonMobil. It brought in nearly $1.3 billion in revenues. In the world of fracking, only Halliburton and Schlumberger are bigger.

There is a very recent report about the development of a shale field of truly stupefying proportions. The Utica Shale deposit is an enormous geological formation stretching from Quebec to Kentucky. It may be an even more fertile source for oil and gas than the Marcellus Shale field. Ohio state geologists — a neutral source, please note — estimate that Ohio’s share of this field holds upwards of 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 5.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil (or roughly a third of the production of America’s largest oil reserve, Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay).

Then there is brilliant article discussing one of the unsung creative geniuses of American industry, Harold Hamm. In a week dominated by paeans to the fallen Steve Jobs — who rightly deserved recognition for his amazing success in making Apple what it is — it was nice to see a piece on the remarkable Mr. Hamm.

Hamm is the founder and CEO of Continental Resources. He rose from humble origins — the thirteenth child of Oklahoma sharecroppers — to become thirty-third on the current Forbes list of wealthy Americans. Yes, Virginia, there is a Horatio Alger. Hamm is almost certainly going to rise to a much higher place on the list, given how much oil he owns.

He made his early success as a wildcatter with a keen sense of where oil could be found. But his greatest contribution was his early employment and improvement of a second innovative fossil fuel technology, a method called horizontal drilling. This is a technique whereby the drilling company drills downward (up to two miles deep), then drills outward, horizontally. This technology has — as dramatically as fracking — allowed energy companies to exploit petroleum and gas reserves hitherto not commercially viable.

Hamm is the discoverer of the famous Bakken oil field that extends from Montana to North Dakota. So fertile has this field proven that it has helped put America back in third place in the world in oil production. He estimates the reserves in Bakken alone at 24 billion barrels — which if true is double our currently proven national reserves. Continental has seen its proven reserves go from 118 million barrels in 2000 to 421 million barrels this year.

One might expect that the Obama Administration would be delighted at the prospects of America’s becoming energy independent — and potentially millions of American blue-collar workers getting high-paying jobs.

But one would be wrong. Far from welcoming the renaissance of the American fossil fuel industry, the Obama Regime has fought it tooth and nail. It is attacking shale oil and gas with every tool at its disposal. Its Department of the Interior has undertaken a jihad against them. It has locked away from exploration and development vast new areas of the Midwest and has waged a war against conventional offshore drilling. It is now doing its best to stop the new technological drilling, even in lands that have been drilled conventionally before.

The Green Regime’s SEC has entered the fray, demanding that companies like Continental follow new Sarbanes-Oxley requirements about reporting royalty and production figures, meaning that CEOs like Hamm face jail time if some low-level operator misreports production from a field.

Ironically, the feds never apply Sarbanes-Oxley to themselves. If Obama or any of his administration misreports taxpayer liabilities, say, for solar industry loans, nobody faces any consequences.

In addition, the Regime is pushing de facto tax increases for the oil and gas industry, by ending various tax credits the oil industry has long enjoyed. This — coming from an administration lavish in its subsidies to minor and expensive energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and ethanol — is from the point of view of physical science simply bizarre.

Finally, the Green Dream Team has brought its Justice Department into the jihad. It recently brought charges against seven oil companies in North Dakota for killing 28 birds. Continental has been accused of killing — one bird! But this is not a minor matter: the executives face six months in jail if convicted. (Note: The same Justice Department has never even once pursued any American wind power company, even though American wind power facilities kill on the order of half a million birds a year.)

But even as the Regime wages its jihad against domestic fossil fuel industries, other countries are moving ahead with the new fossil fuel technologies. As I noted in an earlier piece, Israel has set about using fracking to free itself from reliance on foreign sources of oil, which would mean changing the balance of power in the Middle East. Israel is using fracking to exploit some major fields, the most recent being a field (named “Leviathan”) which holds 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, or about a century’s worth of gas at Israel’s current usage. This field is only part of the massive Levant Basin shale field, which holds upwards of 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, or about eight centuries’ worth.

More recently, a small energy player in the UK has announced that the Bowland Shale field, in northwest England, contains an estimated 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This estimate (by Cuadrilla Resources) means that this one shale field contains enough natural gas for two-thirds of a century of the UK’s needs at present levels. And that is only one field.

More here


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


17 November, 2011

Chinese scientists diss global warming

They have surveyed the available scientific evidence and find only uncertainty in it. The Abstract of their paper is below. The full paper is here (PDF)
Global warming, human-induced carbon emissions, and their uncertainties

By FANG JingYun et al.

In recent decades, there have been a number of debates on climate warming and its driving forces. Based on an extensive literature review, we suggest that (1) climate warming occurs with great uncertainty in the magnitude of the temperature increase; (2) both human activities and natural forces contribute to climate change, but their relative contributions are difficult to quantify; and (3) the dominant role of the increase in the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases (including CO2) in the global warming claimed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is questioned by the scientific communities because of large uncertainties in the mechanisms of natural factors and anthropogenic activities and in the sources of the increased atmospheric CO2 concentration. More efforts should be made in order to clarify these uncertainties.

Climate threat is now local, not global

Since there's nothing happening globally, this is a logical step -- for them

Der Spiegel reports today how the UN has just come out with a new report that now claims the big threat is local heat waves and freak storms. That’s quite a change from global-wide warming and sea level rise.

Remember how for years and years UN scientists, armed with their mighty models, warned the planet faced massive hurricanes, rapid sea level rise to global-wide warming? Funny how we’ve been hearing very little about that lately. We’ve gone from “global warming” to “spot heating” and local storms.

Maybe it has something to do with the hard statistics showing no real hurricanes hitting the USA in over 3 years or so. In fact it’s been yet another year with not a hurricane hitting the coast. Indeed tropical cyclone activity looks everything but out of control, and has been taming big time for 20 years! See: Ryan Maue. Can’t dupe the public with that anymore.

Even worse (if you’re an alarmist) is that sea levels are dropping! See Steve Goddard’s site here. They’ve been showing a declining trend over the last couple years. Oh dear! oh dear! The models never predicted that.

These disappearing horrors, once their favorites, have turned into shock and awe over the warmist camp. It’s panic time for them. How on Earth are they now supposed to spread fear and panic when all their old horror scenarios are dissolving before their very eyes?

The answer of course is to trot out new ones, this time they’re using horrors where the statistics are incomplete, thus making it difficult to disprove alleged increasing trends. Not only that, their models have suddenly begun to show they’re coming! And we all know how flawless their models are.

Der Spiegel reports today on how a new UN study has now just come up with local extreme heat waves as the next man-made climate disaster. It’s perfect – man-made heat waves are now lurking somewhere out there, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting regions and fry unprepared citizens. It could happen anywhere, and you may be next! The UN cites Russia and Texas as compelling evidence. Also waiting to ambush locally are storms and flash floods, so says the UN.

But even Der Spiegel is not so convinced and adds: "This year other studies show no increase in weather extremes: Winter storms in the northern hemisphere have been trending less, report scientists in the magazine ‘Tellus’. The same goes for river flooding in USA. That US rivers are being influenced by man-made climate change cannot be discerned, the US Geological Service summed up in October.”

Global sea level rise and global-scale warming are obviously dead. Looks like a tough road ahead for warmists and their desperate efforts to keep the climate Halloween party going.


Graft Grows with Government Gifts to Green COs

If you thought the green company graft ended when the Department of Energy’s Cash by Suckers program expired at the end of September, you are mistaken.

The Cash by Suckers program was the DOE program under which failed solar company Solyndra stuck taxpayers with a half-a-billion dollar bill.

Yet despite the expiration of one program, the US government is still giving money to so-called “green” companies under another Obama program. But rather than giving money as loan guarantees as the DOE was doing, this money is an outright gift to private companies with no strings attached by the US Treasury.

According to a press release by US Geothermal, the company just received a bridge loan in anticipation of a $10 million cash grant from the United States Treasury under its Section 1603 program.

The Section 1603 program was designed to pay for “green” purchases under the, ahem, American Recovery Act. In essence, it makes the $10 million received by US Geothermal a gift from US taxpayers to the company.

And that’s just the tip of the government’s green largesse for US Geothermal, a company that generates power through geothermal energy. At the end of August the company received a $100 million loan guarantee under Obama’s Cash by Suckers program just as the program was set to expire. Interestingly the project lender for the US Geothermal loan isn’t a private bank, as usual, but rather the Federal Financing Bank, a bank wholly-owned by US taxpayers.

Generally under the DOE loan program the taxpayers have only been on the hook for 80 percent of the loan.

But in the case of US Geothermal via the Federal Financing Bank, the US government is effectively on the hook for the entire $100 million loan because US taxpayers own the bank.

The Solar Energy Industry Association, the lobbying arm for the nationwide solar scheme, says that the US government has thus far “awarded 3,156 grants (2,982 for solar electric technology and 174 for solar heating & cooling technology) for more than 6,300 projects totaling $1.33 billion and supported over $4.44 billion in solar investment in 46 states,” under the Section 1603 program.

When they talk about supporting solar investment what they really mean is that they gave solar investors gifts of $1.33 billion courtesy of the US taxpayer.

In fact, the Washington Post recently detailed how the US government has spent $171 billion in various energy schemes since 1961 with little or nothing to show for it.

“Not a single one of these much-ballyhooed initiatives is producing or saving a drop or a watt or a whiff of energy,” writes Steven Mufson in the Post, “but they have managed to burn through far more taxpayer money than the ill-fated Solyndra.

Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute’s Downsizing Government echoes the claim of waste when he writes:

Federal energy research has a poor track record. With regard to fossil fuels research, for example, the Congressional Budget Office has concluded: “Federal programs have had a long history of funding fossil-fuel technologies that, although interesting technically, had little chance of commercial implementation. As a result, much of the federal spending has not been productive.” That is a polite way of saying that these programs have been a waste of taxpayer money.

So why has the Obama administration continued to pin their hopes on jumpstarting the economy with green schemes that fail the economy and the taxpayer?

Because the schemes fill political coffers. According to Heritage, a new book by Hoover Institution fellow Peter Schweizer shows that 80 percent of the money from the DOE Cash by Suckers program went to companies that were supporters of Obama.

According to Schweizer:

[A]n examination of grants and guaranteed loans offered by just one stimulus program run by the Department of Energy, for alternative-energy projects, is stunning. The so-called 1705 Loan Guarantee Program and the 1603 Grant Program channeled billions of dollars to all sorts of energy companies…

…In the 1705 government-backed-loan program [alone], for example, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted as of Sept. 15 went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers—individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party.

Indeed, Goldman Sachs, which has contributed close to $40 million in political donations since 1989 with 60 percent of it going to Democrats, owns 5 million shares of US Geothermal.

Still, don’t bank on the company, even with government help.

Officers have been selling the stock since last year at prices above $1.00 while institutions have liquated 4.8 million shares recently.

The stock has traded down to .48 cents recently with a market capitalization of about $40 million on total revenue of $3 million.

How do you pay interest on a $100 million loan with $3 million in revenues? A $10 million gift from the federal government is a good start. But as to the rest?

Go ask our Investor-in-Chief Obama.


EPA: By 2025, Pigs Will Fly

Washington’s press corps this afternoon dutifully parroted the White House announcement that by 2025, cars must get 54.5 mpg. And we’ll put humans on Neptune.

The EPA said the new 900-page regulation will require a 5 percent gain in fuel efficiency per year, will save consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump, and will provide “net societal benefits of $420 billion,” whatever that means. These are carnival-barker numbers. “Drink our serum and you’ll be a foot taller!”

But for harder numbers, how are the automakers doing on the more immediate EPA mandate of 35.5 mpg by 2015? They’re not even close.

Take, for example, the best-selling car in America: the brand-new, totally redesigned, state-of-the-art, four-cylinder, base model 2012 Toyota Camry (255,000 units sold far this year) that will still be Toyota’s standard-bearer three years from now. Its fuel economy is just 28 mpg. That’s the average American car.

Indeed, 15 years ago, the Camry got 23 mpg, meaning that its fuel economy has improved at 1.5 percent each year. Now the high priests of the EPA are requiring that it improve 5 percent per year over the next 15 years.

And they’ll mandate magic wands to get us there.


Will Blocking Keystone XL Increase GHG Emissions?

Greenies don't care. They know what they hate

Last week, after three years of environmental review, public meetings, and public comment, President Obama postponed until first quarter 2013 a decision on whether or not to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline — the $7 billion, shovel-ready project to deliver up to 830,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil from Canada to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. Obama’s punt, which Keystone opponents hope effectively kills the pipeline, is topic-of-the-week on National Journal’s Energy Experts Blog. So far, a dozen ”experts” have posted, including yours truly.

Now, if you’ve been paying attention at all over the past 40 years, you may suspect that most Keystone opponents want to kill the pipeline just because they hate oil and oil companies — even as they fill up their tanks to drive to the next demonstration. Bill McKibben, lead organizer of the anti-Keystone protest rallies outside the White House, lives in Vermont. On the Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert asked McKibben: ”You’re from Vermont? Did you ride your bicycle down here? Or did you ride ox cart? How did you get down here? Or do you have a vehicle that runs on hypocrisy?”

If we take them at their word, McKibben and his climate guru, NASA scientist James Hansen, oppose Keystone because they believe it will contribute to global warming. How? The cutting-edge method for extracting oil from tar sands is a process called steam assisted gravity drainage. SAGD uses natural gas to heat and liquefy bitumen, a tar-like form of petroleum too viscous to be pumped by conventional wells, and burning natural gas emits carbon dioxide (CO2). So their gripe is that replacing conventional oil with tar sands oil will increase CO2 emissions from the U.S. transport sector. Maybe by only 1% annually,* but to hard-core warmists, any increase is intolerable.

Enter the Law of Unintended Consequences. If McKibben and Hansen succeed in killing the pipeline, petroleum-related CO2 emissions might actually increase!

Charles Drevna of the National Petroleum Refiners Association (NPRA) made this point on the aforementioned National Journal energy blog:
A study last year by Barr Engineering found that shipping more Canadian oil to Asia and shipping more oil from other parts of the world to the United States would increase greenhouse gas emissions, because of the long sea voyages. Barr Engineering called this the crude oil shuffle. So using more Canadian oil in the United States would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Barr Engineering study analyzes the impacts on CO2 emissions of a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) that effectively bars U.S. imports of Canadian tar sands oil. Because global petroleum demand is growing, Canada would continue to produce tar sands oil even if the USA adopts an LCFS. However, instead of shipping the oil to the USA, Canada would ship the oil to China. At the same time, to meet U.S. demand that the LCFS does not allow Canada to fill, Middle East countries would ship oil to the USA that would otherwise go to China. The Canadian oil re-routed to China and Mideastern oil re-routed to the USA would travel by tankers, which burn fuel and emit CO2. Longer transport routes mean higher CO2 emissions. From the report:
Under the base case, crude is transported approximately 8,500 to 9,000 miles from Edmonton [Canada] to Chicago and from Basrah [Iraq] to Ningbo [China]. Under the crude shuffle case, total transport distance nearly triples, with crude transported approximately 22,300 to 22,700 miles from Basrah to Chicago and from Edmongton to Ningbo. Resulting GHG emissions are approximately twice as high on a total basis (for any of the crude displacement scenarios considered). . . .Under all scenarios considered, the crude shuffle results in emissions that are approximately twice as great as the emissions associatd with current base-case crude transport patterns.

Although killing Keystone would not ban imports of Canadian tar sands oil, as would an LCFS, it would effectively block much of the forecast 830,000 daily barrels of tar sands from reaching U.S. refineries. That, in turn, would induce similar re-routing of international oil flows. Each barrel “shuffled” to more distant markets would have a bigger carbon footprint than a barrel of Canadian crude shipped via Keystone to the USA.

* The State Department estimates that full operation of the Keystone pipeline would produce incremental greenhouse gas emissions of 3 million to 21 million metric tons of CO2 annually (ES-15). For perspective, the U.S. transport sector in 2009 generated 1,854.5 million metric tons of CO2.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

There Are No “Natural Resources”

Resources are created by human activity. I made exactly that point in 1974 -- JR

His name is not found in economics textbooks or histories of economic thought. Where it does appear, his Germanic surname is often misspelled. His contribution is virtually unknown in the world’s vast mineral-resource industries today. Government policies owe little or nothing to him. Yet Erich Zimmermann (1888–1961) developed a new theory to explain why fixity and depletion were the wrong way to view minerals in an economic and business sense.

Zimmermann’s 1933 World Resources and Industries began a line of analysis that would explain a paradox of economic life—the growth of supposedly “depletable” supply, whether measured as current production or known reserves. …. Economists from Jevons forward focused on a conception of known resource quantities that, by definition, depleted as they were mined and consumed. Future production costs would rise as mining progressed from superior to inferior deposits. Resource prices were destined to increase in the face of continuing demand and, certainly, demand growth. The increasing scarcity of mineral resources might be gradual or rapid, but the direction was not in doubt, even allowing for improved exploration and extraction technology.

Zimmermann rejected this outside-in view that saw resources as a knowable, fixed quantity. Such a perspective was for the natural sciences, not economics. Instead, he started from the inside out: “the appraising mind of the economic decision-maker.” Resources, defined as “the environment in the service of man,” exist only from “human wants and abilities.” Resources without man are not resources. The interaction between man and environment is central.

Resources to Zimmermann are not fixed, permanent things but what technology creates for want satisfaction at any moment in time. Coal and copper were not resources once and may not be resources at some future time. Resources come in and out of existence, part of what economist Joseph Schumpeter would call creative destruction. “Creating the better,” Zimmermann stated, “we must often destroy the good.” Different resources, Zimmermann continued, are more than variety; they are potential substitutes. Substitution grows from the cumulative nature of scientific discovery where “each invention gives rise to numerous others.” This insight would be seized by later thinkers to bring Zimmermann’s functional theory of resources to a grand conclusion—recognition of the vast potential of man to overcome, even overwhelm, diminishing returns and the “fixity” of resources….

Physical to functional; objective to subjective; absolute to relative; static to dynamic—Zimmermann presented a real world theory to help intellectuals, industrialists, and policymakers solve the paradox of nondepleting depletable resources.



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


16 November, 2011

Forgive me while I laugh

Read the UPI "news" report below and then read the academic article it is based on. I will then have some comments on both

A U.S. study shows day-to-day weather has grown increasingly erratic and extreme, with significant fluctuations in sunshine and rainfall around the planet.

Princeton University researchers say extremely sunny or cloudy days are more common than in the early 1980s, and swings from thunderstorms to dry days rose considerably since the late 1990s.

These swings could have consequences for industries such as agriculture and solar-energy production, which are vulnerable to inconsistent and extreme weather, the researchers said in a release issued by the Ivy League school in New Jersey Tuesday.

Existing climate-change models have historically been based on monthly averages, an approach that hides variability, David Medvigy, an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences, said.

"Monthly averages reflect a misty world that is a little rainy and cloudy every day. That is very different from the weather of our actual world, where some days are very sunny and dry," Medvigy said.

"Nobody has looked for these daily changes on a global scale. We usually think of climate change as an increase in mean global temperature and potentially more extreme conditions -- there's practically no discussion of day-to-day variability."

Analysis of erratic daily conditions such as frequent thunderstorms may be crucial to understanding factors shaping the climate and affecting the atmosphere, the researchers said.

Journal of Climate 2011 ; e-View
doi: 10.1175/2011JCLI4115.1

Trends in daily solar radiation and precipitation coefficients of variation since 1984

David Medvigya and Claudie Beaulieu


This study investigates the possibility of changes in daily-scale solar radiation and precipitation variability. Coefficients of variation (CV) were computed for the daily downward surface solar radiation product from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project and the daily precipitation product from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project. Regression analysis was used to identify trends in CV. Statistically significant changes in solar radiation variability were found for 35% of the globe, and particularly large increases were found for tropical Africa and the Maritime Continent. These increases in solar radiation variability were correlated with increases in precipitation variability and increases in deep convective cloud amount. The changes in high-frequency climate variability identified here have consequences for any process depending nonlinearly on climate, including solar energy production and terrestrial ecosystem photosynthesis. In order to assess these consequences, additional work is needed to understand how high-frequency climate variability will change in the coming decades.

The first thing to note here is that we are NOT dealing with a global phenomenon. Changes in cloud cover were observed for only one third of the globe. We are looking at local effects. And what did changes in cloud cover affect? Hold on to your hat for the amazing news: RAIN!

No mention of clouds affecting temperature. And that is the dog that did not bark. Cloud changes SHOULD have affected temperature. Why is the effect not reported? That the effect was COOLING, not the warming assumed by Warmists is the obvious conjecture. What a crock!

Ideology and climate change

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." - H. L. Mencken

A good friend of mine is a meteorologist and professor who can be called a Left-Statist. That is, his ideological inclinations are NOT toward free markets and limited government. But he separates his ideology from his scientific judgment, and he remains unconvinced that human industry has had any more than a negligible influence on any supposed changes in the climate. He has also mentioned colleagues, subsidized by grant money, who felt pressure to remove "inconvenient truths" from their studies that conflict with the pre-determined conclusion of man-made climate change.

My friend has also discussed changes in universities, where "sustainability" as a political goal has replaced "geography" as an academic subject.

I don't know enough about weather and climate to hold an informed opinion on man-made "climate change." But there are good reasons to be skeptical, even if I ignored the judgment of my scientist friend.

For example: In a recent lecture, scientist and journalist Matt Ridley made the following observations regarding the theory of man-made "climate change" (Hat Tip: Ronald Bailey at Hit and Run):
I’ve looked and looked but I cannot find one piece of data – as opposed to a model – that shows either unprecedented change or change is that is anywhere close to causing real harm....

Meanwhile, I see confirmation bias everywhere in the climate debate. Hurricane Katrina, Mount Kilimanjaro, the extinction of golden toads – all cited wrongly as evidence of climate change. A snowy December, the BBC lectures us, is ‘just weather’; a flood in Pakistan or a drought in Texas is ‘the sort of weather we can expect more of’. A theory so flexible it can rationalize any outcome is a pseudoscientific theory.

Ridley goes on to say that "you can accept all the basic tenets of greenhouse physics and still conclude that the threat of a dangerously large warming is so improbable" and that "we may be putting a tourniquet round our necks to stop a nosebleed."

Is skepticism toward climate change "anti-science" or "anti-intellectual?" Or are the scientists promoting the theory doing so because they are ideologically Statist themselves, and come to their conclusions using research money funded by politicians? If so, three doubts about their work come to mind:

* It is the latest hobgoblin to frighten us into sacrificing our economic and personal freedom.

* People who have most loudly promoted climate change have ALSO been vociferously anti-market, anti-freedom over the years, and "climate change" is just their latest excuse.

* Scientists who are employed by public univeristies (that is, on The State's payroll), or whose research is funded by the State, will be naturally under pressure to come to conclusions that encourage MORE State control, not less.

The climate change/global warming scare has been used to further the cause of Statism. In that sense, it is similar to WMD's in Iraq and terror "threats" on American soil. When the State funds the people who produce the "evidence," that is its own proof that the evidence should be doubted.


Sea Level Continues To Plummet

New data is available, and Envisat continues to show sea level declining at a rate of more than 5mm/year since the beginning of 2010. This is due to the record melting in Greenland over the last two years that we keep hearing about – which is filling up the oceans with anti-water.


No more nonsense from Russia

Russia's chief climate negotiator said the country will "never" sign up to extend the Kyoto Protocol for a second implementation period, casting further doubt on chances of a deal at the international climate conference in South Africa at the end of this month.

"We will never sign Kyoto 2 because it would not cover every country," Oleg Shamanov, director of international cooperation on the environment at the Foreign Ministry, said late last week.

The comments came the same week that the International Energy Agency declared that the world has just five years to cut greenhouse gas emissions to avert "irreversible" climate change, putting pressure on governments to come up with a deal at the summit in Durban, which takes place from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9.

Refusal by Russia, Japan and Canada to renew Kyoto for a second period dashed hopes of an agreement at the Cancun climate talks last year.

An alliance of Pacific island states recently accused the three of trying to "stall" agreement of a new climate treaty until 2020. But Shamanov insists that the Russian position is one of practicality.

"Any question about our participation is a question about everyone's participation," he said. Essentially, Russia does not see any benefits in a legally binding consensus unless "everybody signs."

That is "not going to happen," David Burwell, head of the energy and climate program at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, said at the meeting in Moscow attended by Shamanov on Thursday evening. "Quite frankly, the best way to be a leader is not to push for a legally binding consensus," he said in remarks apparently designed to defend the U.S. position.

When the United States refused to sign up, Russia's ratification in 2005 was instrumental in getting the original Kyoto Protocol — which created a mechanism for countries that slash carbon emissions to benefit financially — into force.

It is also the only one of the BRIC emerging economies to be party to annex No. 1 of the treaty, obligating it to reduce its carbon emissions.

At the time, it made financial common sense. Russia is one of few countries to have slashed its carbon emissions compared with 1990s levels — largely as a result of the collapse of industrial output after 1991.

That gave it a vast surplus of "carbon credits" — the currency of the Kyoto trading system — to sell to other countries.

And the country has managed to hang on to that lead even as growth returned. Between 1998 and 2008, Russian GDP nearly doubled in real terms, while carbon emissions increased only 12 percent.

In public, Russian officials insist that they are still a climate protection leader — citing the remarkable emissions reductions and President Dmitry Medvedev's ambitious 2008 energy efficiency decree, which set a target of slashing Russia's energy consumption by 40 percent by 2020.

But there is no doubt that the country could do more.

Would-be carbon traders say Russia has been slow to wake up to the financial opportunity, though interest has started to rise after an intervention from Medvedev, who in June said Russia should do more to take advantage of the UN's offsetting mechanism.

The IEA said last week that Russia could save enough energy to meet the annual energy needs of the entire United Kingdom.

Diplomats and politicians will try to hammer out the basis of a replacement international climate negotiation plan in Durban at the end of this month.

Russia is still key — both because of its diplomatic clout, and its status as the fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China, the United States and India.

But the main element in climate talks is "directing giant cash flows from rich countries to developing nations," said Alexei Kokorin, director of the climate change and energy program at WWF Russia. "Russia is neither a recipient nor a great contributor, it is not as important as some other countries," he added.

As such, Kokorin concedes that the chances of renewing Kyoto are effectively nil, but was not deeply critical of the Russian position — singling out instead India, China and the oil-producing Middle Eastern countries as the main obstacles to a deal.

Instead, he hopes that the summit will produce resolutions to create an international fund to finance adaptation and mitigation projects; a technology exchange deal; and a mechanism for the sensitive topic of reporting and verification of carbon emissions.

The first two points are much closer to being realized than the one about reporting.

Russia's priority is simply that "everyone signs" and that the resulting treaty is "balanced," Shamanov said.

But he insisted that officials and environmentalists are fundamentally on the same side.

"About 20 years ago, there was a time when environmental NGOs were the forces of light battling the dark legions of bureaucrats. We are not the dark side anymore," he told the meeting.


Britain backing off

A new and broader climate deal is out of reach for now and instead nations need to focus on how to replace the ailing Kyoto Protocol before 2020, Britain's minister of state for energy and climate change said on Monday.

The view is recognition that agreement on a pact that commits all major greenhouse gas polluters to curbing the growth in planet-warming emissions is slipping further away, in part because of sluggish economic growth and a mounting debt crisis.

Negotiators from nearly 200 nations meet from Nov 28 to Dec 9 in Durban, South Africa, for an annual summit on climate change. Previous talks have failed to secure a successor to Kyoto -- the main global accord on tackling climate change.

Expectations for Durban are low, even as global greenhouse gas emissions keep rising, increasing the likelihood the world will miss a chance to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius, the International Energy Agency says.

"The reality is, we're not going to be able to agree a global, binding treaty at Durban," Gregory Barker told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Mumbai. "The reality is, it's unlikely we will be able to do that next year either, and probably not the year after that."

"But what we should do is start agreeing that is where we need to get to, and put in place a framework that allows us to get there in a realistic timetable," he added. "We need a global treaty before the end of the decade."

The International Energy Agency said last week mankind's greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal, oil and gas, as well as deforestation, hit a record last year.

It said the world might not be able to limit global temperature rise to safe levels if new international climate action is not taken by 2017, given the large number of fossil fuel power plants and factories being built.

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 and entered into force in 2005. It subjects 37 richer countries, known as "Annex 1" countries, to legally binding targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions during its 2008-12 first commitment period.

The United States has not ratified the treaty, which aims to reduce the risk of greater extremes of weather, rising sea levels and crop failures.

Developing countries have since become major emitters, with China overtaking the United States to become the world's biggest producer of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. India is now number three.

Yet poorer nations still want the Kyoto Protocol to be extended into a second period with new targets for rich nations. But wealthier nations say a broader pact is needed to include all the big polluters. The opposing views have virtually deadlocked the talks.

Russia, Japan and Canada have said they will not sign up for a second commitment period unless the biggest emitters do, too.

"We are certainly open to the renewal of the Kyoto Protocol. But if we are going to have a (second period), we will need to see movement toward a larger solution," said Barker. "We won't get a global treaty unless all of the key players are engaged," he said.


Obscene Green Gold Rush Embarasses even the New York Times

Advocates of industrial policy have been pointing to ‘smart subsidies’ for green technology as proof that government can function as an effective venture capitalist, directing subsidies effectively toward ‘sunrise’ industries.

We will probably be hearing less of those claims now as the public digests the massive excess, failure and fraud that have turned the Obama administration’s green subsidy program into a symbol of good intentions gone awry. It turns out public policy is hard, and not every green minded NGO apparatchik is very good at hard things.

Decrying what it calls a “gold rush” mentality that primarily benefited companies like Goldman Sachs and others in need of no special help, a recent article in the New York Times surveyed a range of projects where taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies have taken all risk from the private sector and all but guaranteed large profits “for years to come.” Even some of the companies involved in the porkfest acknowledge that things got a little out of hand; some projects that have been heavily subsidized “would have been built anyway,” they say. The drunken sailor on shore leave style economic stimulus spending gets special attention as wasteful, misguided and lavished on corporate welfare for energy giants.

GOP operatives looking for killer attack ads for 2012 will find useful leads in the story; unless they are careful Democrats are going to have Goldman Sachs hanging around their necks in the upcoming election campaign.

Hint to green wastrels in the Energy Department and elsewhere: when even the New York Times thinks the green madness has gone too far, it has.

Putting green lipstick on a pig doesn’t turn that pig into Ralph Nader. A full generation after the movement kicked off, too many greens are still clueless babes in the woods, regularly taken to the cleaners by cunning and clever corporate interests who know how to say all the right words. Like ethanol, solar and subsidy.

There may be a dumber mass movement in the country than the fuzzy minded sentimentalists of the great green herd, but it isn’t easy to figure out which mass movement that would be.



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


15 November, 2011

Excitement! The draft of the next IPCC report fell off the back of a truck in front of the BBC's Richard Black

He advises that it is a lot more cautious than their previous efforts

On the one hand, it says it is "very likely" that the incidence of cold days and nights has gone down and the incidence of warm days and nights has risen globally. And the human and financial toll of extreme weather events has risen.

But when you get down to specifics, the academic consensus is far less certain.

There is "low confidence" that tropical cyclones have become more frequent, "limited-to-medium evidence available" to assess whether climatic factors have changed the frequency of floods, and "low confidence" on a global scale even on whether the frequency has risen or fallen.

In terms of attribution of trends to rising greenhouse gas concentrations, the uncertainties continue.

While it is "likely" that anthropogenic influences are behind the changes in cold days and warm days, there is only "medium confidence" that they are behind changes in extreme rainfall events, and "low confidence" in attributing any changes in tropical cyclone activity to greenhouse gas emissions or anything else humanity has done.

(These terms have specific meanings in IPCC-speak, with "very likely" meaning 90-100% and "likely" 66-100%, for example.)

And for the future, the draft gives even less succour to those seeking here a new mandate for urgent action on greenhouse gas emissions, declaring: "Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two to three decades is relatively large because climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability".

It's also explicit in laying out that the rise in impacts we've seen from extreme weather events cannot be laid at the door of greenhouse gas emissions: "Increasing exposure of people and economic assets is the major cause of the long-term changes in economic disaster losses (high confidence).

The succour only lasts for so long, however.

If the century progresses without restraints on greenhouse gas emissions, their impacts will come to dominate, it forecasts:

"It is very likely that the length, frequency and/or intensity of warm spells, including heat waves, will continue to increase over most land areas...

"It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation or the proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls will increase in the 21st Century over many areas of the globe...

"Mean tropical cyclone maximum wind speed is likely to increase...

"There is medium confidence that droughts will intensify in the 21st Century in some seasons and areas...

"Low-probability high-impact changes associated with the crossing of poorly understood thresholds cannot be excluded, given the transient and complex nature of the climate system."

The draft report makes clear that lack of evidence or lack of confidence on a particular impact doesn't mean it won't occur; just that it's hard to tell.

It's impossible to read the draft without coming away with the impression that with or without anthropogenic climate change, extreme weather impacts are going to be felt more and more, simply because there are more and more people on planet Earth - particularly in the swelling "megacities" of the developing world that overwhelmingly lie on the coast or on big rivers close to the coast.


Why I want Mike Mann’s Emails

What is he hiding? He is certainly doing a good job of underlining the shiftiness of Warmists

By Dr. David Schnare (Dr. Schnare is the lead attorney in the UVA-Mann email case)

This week Nature Magazine published an editorial suggesting that “access to personal correspondence is a freedom too far” and that Michael Mann, whom they favorably compare to Galileo, should have his emails, written and received while he was a young professor at the University of Virginia, protected from public release on the core basis that to do otherwise would “chill” the work of scientists and academics. I note Galileo was forced to keep his work private. Had he the opportunity, he would have published it far and wide. Mann is quite the opposite. He wants to keep secrets and let no one know what he did and how he did it.

Nature, unfamiliar with the facts, law and both academic and university policy as applies in this case, conflates too many issues and misunderstands the transparency questions we raise.

The facts of the case include that these emails are more than five years old; that they contain none of the email attachments, no computer code, no data, no draft papers, no draft reports; that the university has already released over 2,000 of them, some academic and some not; that when they were written Mann knew there was no expectation of privacy; that all emails sent or received by a federal addressee are subject to the federal FOIA, and many have already been released; and that nearly 200 of the emails the University refuses to release were released by a whistleblower in England.

That latter group of emails, part of the “Climategate” release, do more than merely suggest Mann engaged in academic improprieties. They show he was a willing participant in efforts to “discriminate against or harass colleagues” and a failure to “respect and defend the free inquiry of associates, even when it leads to findings and conclusions that differ from their own.” Other emails document Mann’s communications were not “conducted professionally and with civility.”

Thus, emails already available to the public demonstrate that Michael Mann failed to comply with the University of Virginia Code of Ethics and the American Association of University Professors Statement on Professional Ethics.

A question, not mine, but asked by many who are interested in the history of this period, is not whether Mann failed to live up to the professional code expected of him. It is to what degree he failed to do so and to what lengths the university will go to hide this misbehavior. If we merely sought to expose Mann’s failure to display full academic professionalism, we would not need these emails. Those already in the public eye are more than sufficient for any such purposes.

I want those emails for a very different reason. Our law center seeks to defend good science and proper governmental behavior, and conversely to expose the converse. Without access to those kinds of emails, and, notably, research records themselves, it is not possible for anyone to adequately credit good behavior and expose bad behavior. This is one of two reasons we prosecute this case. It is the core purpose of a freedom of information act. Because the public paid for this work and owns this university, it has not merely a right to determine whether the faculty are doing their jobs properly; it has a duty to do so. This is not about peer review; it is about citizens’ acting as the sovereign and taking any appropriate step necessary to ensure those given stewardship over an arm of the Commonwealth are faithfully performing.

The second reason we bring this case is to defend science and the scientific process. Anyone who has taken a high school science laboratory course knows that the research or experimental process begins with recording what was done and what was observed. As UVA explains in its Research Policy RES-002, “The retention of accurately recorded and retrievable results is of the utmost importance in the conduct of research.” Why? “To enable an investigator to reproduce the steps taken.”

Currently public emails show Mann was unable to provide even his close colleagues data he used in some of his papers and could not remember which data sets he used. A query to UVA shows the university, who owns “the data and notebooks resulting from sponsored research,” had no copy of Mann’s logbooks and never gave him permission to take them with him when he left UVA. The university refused to inquire within Mann’s department as to whether anyone there knew whether he even kept a research logbook, so it’s impossible for me to know whether he stole the logbook or just never prepared one in the first place.

The emails ATI seeks are all that appears to be left of a history of what he did and how. Absent access to those emails, anyone seeking to duplicate his work, using the exact same data and methods, has no way to do so. That is in direct conflict with both good science and the UVA research policy.

Nor should access to these kind of emails “chill” the academic process.

As a former academic scientist, I understand the need and desire to keep close the research work while it is underway. Both I and the university have a proprietary interest in that work, while it is ongoing. Once completed, however, I have a duty to share not only the data and methods with the academic community, I also have a duty to share the mistakes, the blind alleys, the bad guesses and the work and theories abandoned.

Science advances knowledge by demonstrating that a theory is wrong. All the mistakes, blind alleys and bad guesses are valuable, not just to the scientist himself, but to his colleagues. By knowing what did not work, one does more than simply save time. One gains direction. One mistake revealed often opens a vista of other ideas and opportunities. The communications between scientists during a period of research are the grist for the next generation of work. Ask any doctoral candidate or post-doc how important being part of the process is on the direction of their future research. They will tell you that these unpublished communications are as much an important scientific contribution as the final papers themselves. Anyone who wishes to hide those thoughtful discussions hides knowledge.

If anything is “chilling” it is the thought that a neo-Galileo is hiding knowledge.


The work of Zbigniew Jaworowski M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc

by Dr. Tim Ball

I was saddened to learn that Dr. Jaworowski has passed away. He had a distinguished career as a first class scientist. He was Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw and former Chair of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (1981–82) he was lead investigator on four research projects of the International Atomic Energy Agency and three projects of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He held posts with the National Institute for Polar Research in Tokyo, the Norwegian Polar Research Institute, the Centre d’Etude Nucleaires, Paris, and the Biophysical Group of the Institute of Physics, University of Oslo.

I became aware of his work as early as 1992 as he published, wrote, and spoke about the problems with the ice core records and determination of CO2 levels. He was one of few who dared to challenge head on a critical piece of the global warming propaganda, the Antarctic Ice Core record. An early appearance was in 1987 with a 160,000 Vostok record by Baronial et al., which was followed by Jouzel et. al., in 1990. It was seized on as evidence of CO2 driving temperature increase. This occurred despite warnings about rushing to judgment. These warnings were confirmed in 2003 when the real, inverse relationship was disclosed.

Jaworowski was skeptical about the ice core record from the start. Here is what he wrote in 2007.
The basic assumption behind the CO2 glaciology is a tacit view that air inclusions in ice are a closed system, which permanently preserves the original chemical and isotopic composition of gas, and thus that the inclusions are a suitable matrix for reliable reconstruction of the pre-industrial and ancient atmosphere. This assumption is in conflict with ample evidence from numerous earlier CO2 studies, indicating the opposite (see review in Jaworowski et al. 1992b).

Proxy determinations of the atmospheric CO2 level by analysis of ice cores, reported since 1985, have been generally lower than the levels measured recently in the atmosphere. But, before 1985, the ice cores were showing values much higher than the current atmospheric concentrations (Jaworowski et al. 1992b). These recent proxy ice core values remained low during the entire past 650,000 years (Siegenthaler et al. 2005)—even during the six former inter-glacial warm periods, when the global temperature was as much as 5°C warmer than in our current interglacial! This means that either atmospheric CO2 levels have no discernible influence on climate (which is true), or that the proxy ice core reconstructions of the chemical composition of the ancient atmosphere are false (which is also true, as shown below).

He was especially critical of what was going on within the ice and the bubble over time claiming the CO2 record is not a measure of the annual atmospheric CO2 level, but reflects structural changes within the ice as it becomes part of lower layers and then is further compromised during extraction with the coring process.

There is a war going over climate science and as Aeschylus said truth is the first casualty. Propaganda is an effective and devastating vehicle of war so a measure of the effectiveness of a person and their science is the level of propaganda their work engenders. Few were attacked as much as Zbigniew. One reason for nasty personal attacks is when someone is qualified. Here are his remarks to the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology in 2004.
“For the past 40 years I was involved in glacier studies, using snow and ice as a matrix for reconstruction of history of man-made pollution of the global atmosphere. A part of these studies was related to the climatic issues. Ice core records of CO2 have been widely used as a proof that, due to man’s activity the current atmospheric level of CO2 is about 25% higher than in the pre-industrial period. These records became the basic input parameters in the models of the global carbon cycle and a cornerstone of the man-made climatic warming hypothesis. These records do not represent the atmospheric reality, as I will try to demonstrate in my statement.”

I had another connection with Zbigniew through the work of Ernst Georg Beck, another person whose contributions are measured by the nastiness of attacks on him and his work. Zbigniew recognized the valuable work Beck produced with atmospheric CO2 levels an incorporated it into his work. He also understood the corruption of the records Beck exposed. These were used to ‘prove’ a pre-industrial level of 270 ppm necessary to support the claim that it was human industrial activity that was responsible for the increase.

It is time for people to become familiar with or revisit Zbigniew’s work.Three important papers, available at Warwick Hughes’ web site, provide a good over view here, here and here. In this day of corruption of climate science on a global scale we must be grateful for people like Zbigniew. He was a true scientist because he questioned everything. He was a great citizen because he wasn’t afraid to stand up. I know what he did was a great inspiration for me.


Raging debate inside Richard Muller's head: “we’re getting very steep warming” and "we don't know that it's warming"

Is he schizophrenic, manic or what?

Quote 1:

" he told MSNBC’s Morning Joe today that “we’re getting very steep warming” and that because “we are dumping enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that we’re working in a dangerous realm, I realm where I think, we may really have trouble in the next coming decades.”

Quote 2:

"Right now," he says of the earth as a whole, "we don't know that it's warming. It may be constant, we don't know."

The quotes both come after the release of his findings but the latter was to a more sophisticated audience. He certainly does his bit to underline the shiftiness of Warmists

More HERE (See the original for links)

Before Solyndra, a long history of failed government energy projects

Solyndra, the solar-panel maker that received more than half a billion dollars in federal loans from the Obama administration only to go bankrupt this fall, isn’t the first dud for U.S. government officials trying to play venture capitalist in the energy industry.

The Clinch River Breeder Reactor. The Synthetic Fuels Corporation. The hydrogen car. Clean coal. These are but a few examples spanning several decades — a graveyard of costly and failed projects.

Not a single one of these much-ballyhooed initiatives is producing or saving a drop or a watt or a whiff of energy, but they have managed to burn through far more more taxpayer money than the ill-fated Solyndra. An Energy Department report in 2008 estimated that the federal government had spent $172 billion since 1961 on basic research and the development of advanced energy technologies.

What does Washington have to show for these investments? And should the government even be in the business of promoting particular energy technologies?

Some economists, executives and financiers — as well as Energy Secretary Steven Chu — argue that the government must play a role because certain technologies have non-financial benefits, such as producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions or easing U.S. reliance on foreign oil. The semiconductor industry is often held up as a model of how government money can help build a new type of economy.

But others argue that the history of government attempts to reach for the holy grail of new energy technology — a history that features both political parties — is not inspiring. “We’re making very large bets, and the decisions seem to be more grounded in politics and geography than in engineering and science,” said Michael Graetz, a professor at Columbia Law School and the author of “The End of Energy.”

Consider the saga of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon set a goal of building an experimental nuclear power plant. The Clinch River reactor was supposed to be a sort of perpetual motion machine, producing power as well as plutonium that could be used in other plants.

Private utilities agreed to kick in $175 million, less than half of the $400 million that the Atomic Energy Commission estimated it would cost to build. As expenses ballooned, the government covered all the overruns. The project was criticized by activists and scientists worried about the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation. Cheap uranium undercut it.

After President Ronald Reagan was elected, Clinch River survived the first round of his spending cuts, in part out of deference to Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker (R-Tenn.), a strong supporter of the reactor, which was in his home state. But finally, in 1983, with the Congressional Budget Office saying the cost might exceed $4 billion, Congress terminated the program. Blueprints had been drawn up, modeling done, components ordered and some ground cleared, but the reactor was never built. The price tag for the federal government: $1.7 billion ($3.9 billion in today’s dollars).

Much more HERE

Green kickbacks

80% of DOE Green Energy Loans Went to Obama Backers

A new book by Hoover Institution fellow Peter Schweizer details the startling extent of the cronyism that has pervaded President Obama’s “green jobs” push. According to Schweizer, 4 out of every 5 renewable energy companies backed by the Energy Department was “run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers.”

Those companies’ “political largesse is probably the best investment they ever made in alternative energy,” Schweizer explains. “It brought them returns many times over.”

Such is the inevitable consequence of large government interventions in private markets. Leaving aside the losses associated with transfers of funds from self-sustaining industries to ones that rely on government support, such interventions also encourage unproductive business activities by making “subsidy suckling” far more profitable than run-of-the-mill business expansions or product improvements.

Doug Ross spotted the relevant excerpt of Schweizer’s book (h/t Ben Domenech’s Transom):
When President-elect Obama came to Washington in late 2008, he was outspoken about the need for an economic stimulus to revive a struggling economy… After he was sworn in as president, he proclaimed that taxpayer money would assuredly not be doled out to political friends…

…But an examination of grants and guaranteed loans offered by just one stimulus program run by the Department of Energy, for alternative-energy projects, is stunning. The so-called 1705 Loan Guarantee Program and the 1603 Grant Program channeled billions of dollars to all sorts of energy companies…

…In the 1705 government-backed-loan program [alone], for example, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted as of Sept. 15 went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers—individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party. The grant and guaranteed-loan recipients were early backers of Obama before he ran for president, people who continued to give to his campaigns and exclusively to the Democratic Party in the years leading up to 2008. Their political largesse is probably the best investment they ever made in alternative energy. It brought them returns many times over.

…The Government Accountability Office has been highly critical of the way guaranteed loans and grants were doled out by the Department of Energy, complaining that the process appears “arbitrary” and lacks transparency. In March 2011, for example, the GAO examined the first 18 loans that were approved and found that none were properly documented. It also noted that officials “did not always record the results of analysis” of these applications. A loan program for electric cars, for example, “lacks performance measures.” No notes were kept during the review process, so it is difficult to determine how loan decisions were made. The GAO further declared that the Department of Energy “had treated applicants inconsistently in the application review process, favoring some applicants and disadvantaging others.” The Department of Energy’s inspector general, Gregory Friedman, … has testified that contracts have been steered to “friends and family.”

…These programs might be the greatest—and most expensive—example of crony capitalism in American history. Tens of billions of dollars went to firms controlled or owned by fundraisers, bundlers, and political allies, many of whom—surprise!—are now raising money for Obama again.



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


14 November, 2011

The ocean acidity hoax

There all sorts of holes in the acidification scare but Jo Nova wanted to hit the thing well and truly on the head. So she got a distinguished chemist to spell out some of the problems with the scare in great detail. The technically-minded will want to read the whole paper but for others I reproduce her summary of it below

First a comment of my own on the ironies involved, however: If the earth really WERE warming that would reduce the acidity "problem", because warmer water would outgas CO2. It is only the present situation where CO2 levels are increasing WITHOUT any temperature rise that could theoretically cause a problem. So whichever way you jump, the Warmist argument loses: Either the earth is not warming or there is no acidity problem -- JR

The ocean acidification threat is a big can of worms. I asked Professor Brice Bosnich to help create a quick reference page on the chemistry and was pleased he could find the time to help. Here’s everything you wanted to know about the basics…

He explains what pH means, and points out that:

Ocean pH varies by 0.3 naturally.

Claims of acidification since 1750 are based on dubious models and few observations.

There are reasons to assume that marine life will not be overly affected by an increase in ocean acidity due to atmospheric carbon dioxide:

Ocean life evolved and survived far higher levels of CO2 for millions of years in the past.

Marine organisms actively create carbonate shells (using energy) which means crustacea, corals and molluscs aren’t automatically prey to pH changes in the same way that say a limestone rock would be.

The world’s oceans may have warmed a mere 0.17C since 1955, hardly a significant threat to marine life.

We also find out that acidic water is added to the ocean from rainfall and floods (and he explains why raindrops will always be acidic).


German Professor Slams Global Warming Science – Calls Mann’s Hockey Stick “A Very Very Nasty Fabrication”

Video at source -- in German

Michael Krüger at our friends Science Skeptical brings us this jewel of German dissent. Professor Dr. rer. nat. Richard Dronskowski at Aachen Unisversity brings loud applause from what appears to be a lecture hall full of his students as he slams the AGW science and the hucksters behind it.

At the 1.10 mark he calls Al Gore’s film An Inconveninet Truth “inconsistent” and reminds us how scientists warned of cooling” in 1970s. At the 2.25 mark he brings up Michael Mann’s hockey stick chart: "No chart has been so falsified as the hockey stick chart. It’s an embarrassment for the IPCC.”

A little later he referred to it as a “nasty fabrication” that was debunked by a “Canadian think tank”. Dronskowski reminds his audience that the scientists are talking about “tenths of a degree” with error margins “of a full degree” and that “nobody can believe it”. At the 3:42 mark he again repeats: “This hockey stick curve was a very very nasty fabrication designed to spread fear”.

At the 4.00 min mark he shows the GISS temperature chart and reminds us at the 4.50 mark that: "It was supposed to get warmer, but the temperature hasn’t gone anywhere."

He cautioned the audience that “the datasets are very shaky”. At the 5:45 mark he brings up consensus, and states emphatically: "There is absolutely no consensus. Zero consensus!”

And then slams Al Gore’s claim that CO2 caused warming, and not vice versa. At the 7.20 mark he tells the audience that there is huge money in the game…”$100 billion a year flow because of climate change” and calls the government’s attempt to limit the temperature when they can’t even limit health insurance costs as “madness”. At this point the audience applauds loudly.

He then slams the corruptive effects that the funding has on academics: “I know colleagues who run entire institutes only with climate. There’s no way for them to back down, otherwise the institute will be ruined.”

At the 8.25 mark he reminds the audience: "I want to be clear. There is no causal effect! No consensus! Correlation is not proof!”

To illustrate the point he shows how US domestic oil production is a function of rock music quality, which brings thunderous applause from the audience.

This is indeed a surprising development for Germany. Prof Dronskowski should not wake up tomorrow morning and wonder why many other German scientists, who are swimming in climate funding, are suddenly no longer talking to him.

Prof. Richard Dronskowski a chemist and physicist. he has a faculty position at the Solid State and Quantam Chemistry Deapartment at the RWTH Aachen and is the winner of the Otto-Hahn-Medaille Award of the Max-Planck Society. He’s a member of the Collegium of the German Resarch Society, member of the German Physical Society and the American Chemical Society.


Following The Paper Trail Of Mike’s Nature Trick

Steven Goddard

As of 1999, temperatures were going the wrong direction for 70 years, and something had to be done about it

James Hansen and USHCN fixed this in 2000, and made temperatures do what they were supposed to do.

After the adjustment, 1934 and 1998 got relatively shifted by 0.7C. A move which would make Bernie Madoff jealous

So how did they do this? Mainly by adding on to post 1960 temperatures, as seen below.

Tree rings didn’t agree with the phony adjustments, and didn’t show any increase in temperatures after 1960. So Michael Mann had to step in with his nature trick. He replaced the tree ring data post 1960 with the adjusted thermometer data. Then he blamed his and Hansen’s junk science on CO2 affecting the trees.

More HERE (See the original for links)

Global Warming Could Soon Land cuddly Pika on the Endangered List (?)

The American pika, a short-legged, hamster-sized fur ball that huddles in high mountain slopes [AP] and inhabits 10 Western states, may become the first species in the lower 48 states to be listed as endangered due to global warming. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide by May 1 whether or not the pika, whose populations are dwindling, should be studied in depth and included on the endangered species list.

Studies have shown that the little animals have already been forced to higher altitudes because of rising temperatures; one study in particular, from 2005, showed that pikas lived at 5,700 feet above sea level at one point, but now average higher than 8,000 feet. They are now running out of mountain and face possible extinction if average temperatures continue to push higher [The Guardian]. The pika is “feeling an exaggerated brunt of global warming. Unlike others, it can’t move north. It’s stuck” [AP], said Greg Loarie, an environmental lawyer.

Part of the problem is that the pika’s peculiar traits are suited for alpine conditions: dense fur, slow reproductivity and a thermal regulation system that doesn’t do well when temperatures get above about 78 degrees. “There’s not a lot of wiggle room with these guys,” [geologist Erik] Beever said, referring to the small difference between pikas’ mean body temperature and the temperature at which they die [AP]. But not everyone agrees that the pika is endangered. While they face serious threats in certain parts of the West where global warming is expected to produce the most drastic temperature changes in the country, their populations seem to be holding steadier in other areas, such as the Sierra Nevada mountains.


Only one problem: It has NOT been warming in the areas where pikas are "dying out". It has in fact been cooling. Steve Goddard has the graphs and links to prove it.

In Energy War, Obama Surrenders US without a Shot

We are in an economic war—and it is bigger than Republicans and Democrats battling over tax increases and spending cuts. It is global.

The stock market has gone up and down, based on news of Europe’s financial solutions one day, and demise the next. Their success or failure impacts the global economy—including the United States.

The various troubled countries: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain are often referred to as the PIIGS. While there are myriad reasons for their difficulties, one not discussed on the nightly news is their lack of natural resources. By comparison, the BRIC countries—those with growing economies: Brazil, Russia, India, and China, are rich with resources, which they maximize.

America has an abundance of natural resources, yet our policies keep them locked up. We can’t drill in the Gulf. ANWAR is off limits. Mining is nearly impossible due to regulations. “Endangered species” threaten existing supplies.

Meanwhile resource discoveries are being made the world over.

Last week, Repsol announced a new discovery in Argentina—estimated to be more than 900 million barrels of oil. The oil shale find is reported to be Repsol’s largest ever. Argentina’s potential has attracted investment from both majors and independents. Argentina’s rising energy consumption and higher prices make Repsol’s success especially welcome, representing a potential windfall for the country. Argentina is not crying.

On October 20, a “giant” gas discovery was announced off the coast of Mozambique. It is reported that the results of the exploration well “exceed pre-drill expectations and confirm the Rovuma Basin as a world-class natural gas province.” Then, one week later, word came out that the find was 50% greater than originally estimated with up to 22.5 trillion cubic feet of gas. Estimates are expected to increase. Infrastructure, including LNG facilities, will have to be built to support the recent exploration successes with the natural gas expected to be brought to the market in 2018.

The day before the original Mozambique “giant” discovery announcement, it was reported that companies such as ExxonMobil would invest $100 billion to develop and upgrade oil fields in Iraq. The investment is expected to up Iraq’s oil production to at least 6.8 million barrels of oil a day by 2017—making Iraq one of the world’s largest producers of crude oil.

Also, on October 19, reports came out saying that the North Sea Statoil discovery is bigger than originally estimated with a potential of 2.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent—which would make it the third-largest find ever made on the Norwegian shelf. Production is expected to begin by 2018.

One day earlier, October 18, service provider Odebrecht announced plans to triple its revenues over the next three years. In support of Brazil’s vast deepwater oilfields, the company is spending $5 billion in equipment, from drilling ships and floating oil platforms to pipeline-laying vessels. Odebrecht says: “This year we should [have] revenues of about $500 million and we are going to double that next year, and be at $1.5 billion by 2013.”

This, all in the past couple of weeks.

In late-December 2010, 16 trillion cubic feet of gas was found off the cost of Israel in what is being called the Leviathan Field. The Julia Field was discovered in 2008 in the Gulf of Mexico and is called one of the greatest discoveries of the Gulf with an estimated 1 billion barrels of oil—but the Interior Department is now fighting ExxonMobil over its control.

Clearly there is no energy shortage.

While Europe is not rich in energy resources, they do understand their importance. They know they need energy.

Last week, on November 8, the Nord Stream Pipeline opened and began delivering Russian gas to Germany. With proposed plans to close their nuclear power plants by 2022, Germany needs the resource from Russia—though it does raise the specter of dependence on Russia/Russian energy control. Work is underway to build pipelines from other sources, which will minimize Russian domination.

Two days later, on November 10, President Obama announced a delay of more than a year to the true-shovel-ready XL Pipeline that would have created thousands of jobs and reduced America’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil. The pipeline would have brought both Canadian and northern US oil to refineries in the southern United States. Instead of diversifying our energy supplies and suppliers, we remain reliant on unfriendly countries.

Some might point to the November 8 announcement of a “modest expansion” in offshore leasing to indicate a change in the Obama administration’s attitude—though, in light of his ideological opposition to oil, gas, and coal, the proposed plan is more likely the result of public and industry pressure and the upcoming presidential election. Many of the most promising energy resources in the world will still be off limits.

Worldwide, more and more energy resources are being discovered, developed, and delivered. In the United States, not so much. In the global economic war, America is not poised to win.


A Stupid Energy Policy

If lawmakers really cared about consumers, they would ditch expensive renewable energy mandates that require a subsidized market for resources that are not practical on a large scale. It’s a classic case of putting the cart before the horse; policy came before practical application.

The Department of Energy (DOE) reports that 24 states and the district of Columbia have renewable energy mandates ranging from Maine’s high of 40 percent to Pennsylvania’s low of 8 percent. Also known as a “Renewable Portfolio Standard” (RPS), these policies require that energy providers ignore practicality and price in order to obtain a minimum amount of electricity by a specific date from sources that environmental zealots consider “renewable,” such as solar and wind.

Five other states, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and Vermont, placate special interest groups while remaining more realistic with “non-binding goals” rather than an RPS.

Does it matter if the resources don’t exist to fulfill the RPS? No. Government will subsidize the manufacturing of those resources. Does it matter if those resources are little more than science projects? No. Government still will subsidize them.

The U.S. doesn’t have a corner on the market of misguided energy policy. Europe is also a major contributor to the myth of enlightened energy policies.

These mandates are rooted in a clean, green fantasy, and a market must be invented to fulfill it. If that isn’t ridiculous enough, government then cannibalizes the market it created by subsidizing companies where the market is already saturated.

Colorado, with its 30 percent RPS, is a perfect case study of an energy absurdity. In particular, its highly subsidized solar panel industry likely is contributing to a global decline in the market that threatens the very fantasy it is trying to fulfill.

General economics of the solar industry

To say the taxpayer-supported solar panel industry is struggling is an understatement. The Economist explains that subsidized manufacturing and purchasing distorted the market. Prices declined but subsidies didn’t. As a result, global “demand for solar panels doubled last year driven by soaring growth in Germany and Italy.”

American manufacturing, much of it subsidized with taxpayer guaranteed loans, ramped up in response to European demand as well as the push to meet U.S. state renewable energy mandates.

What a difference a year makes. Facing a massive debt crisis and the enormous cost of the subsidies to European electricity consumers, governments greatly reduced their subsidies and demand for solar panels plummeted.

The Economist concludes that the market is grossly oversaturated. “In expectation of more roaring growth, the world’s panel-making capacity was tripled over two years, 2010-11...Much of the excess capacity is being shut down, yet there are already plenty of unwanted panels out there. To avoid being stuck with old stock—a ruinous prospect when prices are falling rapidly—panel-makers are now slashing margins.”

This is a disaster for U.S. solar panel manufacturers, even low-cost ones. With a saturated market and cuts in European subsidies, manufacturers are stuck with panels they can’t sell at cost.

First Solar

Tempe-based First Solar, manufacturer of one of the world’s cheapest thin-filmed panel, is in a world of hurt. Its stock price has crashed from a 52 week high of $175.45 to under $50.

Just recently, First Solar CEO Rob Gillette was fired and replace with co-founder Michael Ahern. Not even Ahern has complete faith in the company he started. He sold off “notable quantities of First Solar stock over the years, including about $150 million worth in March and August of this year, and $142 million in February 2010.”

Reuters reports a “massive oversupply of solar panels and the plummeting costs of polysilicon panels are putting pressure on First Solar's core business. The firm's thin-film panels are among the industry's cheapest, but Chinese-made polysilicon panels are still cheaper—and increasingly so.”

“It has become a familiar story in the solar industry—and a key reason why Solyndra, another thin-film solar panel maker, fell apart. Government subsidy cutbacks have reduced demand, while cheaper panel prices have given an edge to Chinese manufacturers.”

If the largest producer of the least expensive, thin-filmed panels is struggling under the weight of too much supply (including cheap Chinese panels), not enough demand, and not enough taxpayer money, why would we subsidize more solar panel manufacturers and further distort the market? Good question.

Colorado, with help from the federal government, has done just that.

Narrowly Avoiding a Colorado ‘Solyndra’

In early 2009, then newly appointed U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) touted the prospects of Ascent Solar, a Colorado solar panel manufacturer, and the plans for a new facility to add as many as 200 new jobs for the state’s “New Energy Economy.” Then-Governor Bill Ritter and U.S. Senator Mark Udall, joined their fellow Democrat in offering pleasant platitudes about the “green energy” panacea.

Ritter was effusive with his praise and optimistic about Ascent’s future. “The New Energy Economy is leading Colorado forward and will be one of the keys to bringing us out of this recession. Colorado and Ascent Solar’s success are a model for how America can and must re-tool our entire economy,” declared Ritter. Even the local media couldn’t help but promote such rosy projections.

Fast-forward less than two years. Ascent, perhaps recognizing the fragility of the market, or at the very least, an unprofitable business model, conducted a “market pivot” and a change in business strategy. That switch meant cutting staff—instead of growth of nearly 200 jobs Ascent pared its staff back by half, mostly in production.

All of this occurred while Ascent had reached the ‘due diligence’ phase of the infamous DOE loan guarantee program, with the firm asking for $275 million in taxpayer assistance. But the change in business plans forced Ascent to reconsider its application and the request was quietly pulled—receiving almost no media coverage months after the announcement of DOE consideration.

The decision elicited just a few lines in its 10-Q filing for the first six months of 2011. “On February 23, 2011, the DOE informed us that our submission was selected for due diligence review by the DOE. Timing and funding requirements under the loan guarantee program did not correlate with our revised business plan and consequently, in April 2011, we informed the DOE that we were withdrawing our submission from further consideration under the program,” said Ascent.

Or perhaps it also had something to do with the $85 million write-down that Ascent would incur in altering its business plan, on top of the nearly $90 million in losses it had already accumulated in just five years. Measured against just a little more than $8.6 million in sales over the same time frame, Ascent was nowhere near profitability.

The DOE, however, saw fit to advance the company’s application to the ‘due diligence’ phase. But it would not be American taxpayers on the hook this time, as Asian investors made a $437 million last-minute bailout of the company.

But the consolidation of companies isn’t an indicator of the health of the industry, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. A worldwide price plunge in solar manufacturing has forced weaker (read: not viable) companies to merge or close.

So, without government subsidies there would be almost no supply of solar modules, but without government subsidies there is almost no demand. Artificial markets are doomed to failure. At this juncture, only low-cost Chinese manufacturers may stay afloat with more limited competition, while that country maintains a near-monopoly on the precious, non-green rare earth minerals critical to solar manufacture. Oh boy.

Despite Ascent’s retraction, Colorado is home to DOE recipients, including Goldman-Sachs subsidiary Cogentrix and its $90.6 million loan, and the darling of local Democratic donor Pat Stryker’s Abound Solar, which received a $400 million guarantee.

GE plans to build the country’s biggest solar plant in Colorado, a $300 million project. Their source for inspiration? First Solar. Both make the more harmful Cadmium telluride panels. And who does GE put directly at risk in the fragile solar market? According to the New York Times, it’s Abound Solar.

All while GE itself stands to receive more than $1.5 billion in government loans and grants for a windmill project in Oregon, despite being a company with $170 billion market cap and paying virtually no federal income taxes in 2010.

Considering that almost any DOE or any government subsidy these days is charged to the country’s credit card as debt financing, these government subsidies are actually turning into the dollars that China uses to subsidize its own solar firms. Financing not only your company but also that of your competition is sheer government malfeasance and economic suicide.


To say that both national and state energy policies on renewables – especially solar – are absurd is unfair to the word absurd. The fantasy of “green energy” as policy requires that government mandate, create, and, then, subsidize an economically impractical source of energy. It makes no sense. Just look at Ascent, Abound, Solyndra, First Solar, and, of course, consumers .

The Independence Institute’s environmental policy center estimates that Colorado’s RPS will cost Xcel Energy (our primary electricity supplier) ratepayers more than $100 million in 2011 alone. That’s just one year in one state.

In its most recent compliance plan, Xcel admits what many “green” energy zealots won’t, that without massive taxpayer subsidies, renewable energy isn’t economically viable.

Europe is also realizing how expensive it is and is slashing subsidies. A recent report predicts electricity prices will go up 100 percent by 2050.

At least one elected official in the U.S. has come to his senses. Maine Governor Paul LePage recently stated that his state must get rid of its job-killing 40 percent RPS because it raises energy costs putting the state at an economic disadvantage.

It is time for more common sense such as Gov. LePage demonstrated. Government must stop enabling the fantasies of green energy zealots with renewable energy mandates and massive taxpayer subsidies for failed companies and their science projects.



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


13 November, 2011

A review of peer review

After much experience of the process I have little respect for it. It should screen out egregious errors and make reporting more complete but it often does not even do that. I am not alone in such a negative opinion. Judith Curry, a recovering Warmist, has gathered some comments by others on the process and put her own conclusion at the end of it. One of the critics she quotes complains that the process holds up publication of his papers by 9 months. He's lucky. In my experience a delay of 2 years is not uncommon, even where a paper is accepted with only minor requests for revision. An excerpt below -- JR
But the truth is that peer review as practiced in the 21st century biomedical research poisons science. It is conservative, cumbersome, capricious and intrusive. It slows down the communication of new ideas and discoveries, while failing to accomplish most of what it purports to do. And, worst of all, the mythical veneer of peer review has created the perception that a handful of journals stand as gatekeepers of success in science, ceding undue power to them, and thereby stifling innovation in scientific communication.

So begins a post “Peer review is f***ed up” on the blog it is NOT junk, by evolutionary biologist Michael Eisen. Some excerpts:
There are too many things that are wrong with this process, but I want to focus on two here:

1) The process takes a really long time. In my experience, the first round of reviews rarely takes less than a month, and often take a lot longer, with papers sitting on reviewers’ desks the primary rate-limiting step. But even more time consuming is what happens after the initial round of review, when papers have to be rewritten, often with new data collected and analyses done. For typical papers from my lab it takes 6 to 9 months from initial submission to publication.

The scientific enterprise is all about building on the results of others – but this can’t be done if the results of others are languishing in the hands of reviewers, or suffering through multiple rounds of peer review. There can be little doubt that this delay slows down scientific discovery and the introduction to the public of new ways to diagnose and treat disease [this is something Pat Brown and I have talked about trying to quantify, but I don't have anything yet].

2) The system is not very good at what it purports to do. The values that people primarily ascribe to peer review are maintaining the integrity of the scientific literature by preventing the publication of flawed science; filtering of the mass of papers into to identify those one should read; and providing a system for evaluating the contribution of individual scientists for hiring, funding and promotion. But it doesn’t actually do any of these things effectively.

The kind of flawed science that people are most worried about are deceptive or fraudulent papers, especially those dealing with clinical topics. And while I am sure that some egregious papers are prevented from being published by peer review, the reality is that with 10,000 or so journals out there, most papers that are not obviously flawed will ultimately get published if the authors are sufficiently persistent. The peer reviewed literature is filled with all manner of crappy papers – especially in more clinical fields. And even the supposedly more rigorous standards of the elite journals fail to prevent flawed papers from being published (witness the recent Arsenic paper published by Science). So, while it might be a nice idea to imagine peer review as some kind of defender of scientific integrity – it isn’t.

And even if you believed that peer review could do this – several aspects of the current system make it more difficult. First, the focus on the importance of a paper in the publishing decision often deemphasizes technical issues. And, more importantly, the current system relies on three reviewers judging the technical merits of a paper under a fairly strict time constraint – conditions that are not ideally suited to recognize anything but the most obvious flaws. In my experience the most important technical flaws are uncovered after papers are published. And yet, because we have a system that places so much emphasis on where a paper is published, we have no effective way to annotate previously published papers that turn out to be wrong: once a Nature paper, always a Nature paper.

JC comments: During the past few weeks, we have seen two interesting examples of peer review: the pre-publication extended peer review of the BEST papers, and the post-publication extended peer review of the Ludecke et al. papers. The extended peer review in the blogosphere was far more substantial than the papers were likely to receive in the normal peer review process. In both instances, the extended peer review of these papers conducted in the blogosphere were not part of the formal peer review process. Scientists who do not check the blogs might be completely unaware that this extended peer review has occurred.

I am a big fan of preprint servers such as ArXiv, and also the online discussion journals such as Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. ACPD actually posts the reviews along with the paper, and allows people to comment during the peer review process. Extending this to include blog discussions on the paper would be great.

The prestige journals such as Nature, Science, and PNAS do not allow any pre-publication of the paper and serve a gate-keeping role in determining “significance.” Personally I am not a fan of this approach, but it seems to have worked in terms of generating high impact factors for these journals.


Air Pollution: Bad For Health, But Good For Planet?

Give people a silly premise and they can logically draw all sorts of bizarre conclusions from it. We see below that the global warming scare leads some people to arrive at the bizarre conclusion that air pollution is a good thing!

Cleaning up the air, while good for our lungs, could make global warming worse. That conclusion is underscored by a new study, which looks at the pollutants that go up smokestacks along with carbon dioxide.

These pollutants are called aerosols and they include soot as well as compounds of nitrogen and sulfur and other stuff into the air. Natalie Mahowald, a climate researcher at Cornell University, says so far, scientists have mostly tried to understand what those aerosols do while they're actually in the air.

"There are so many different kinds of aerosols and they have many different sources," she says. "Some warm and some cool. But in the net, humans are emitting a lot of extra aerosols, and they tend to cool for the most part."

As we clean up the aerosols, which we really want to do for public health reasons, we are going to be perhaps causing ourselves more trouble in terms of the climate situation.

The aerosols reflect sunlight back into space, or they stimulate clouds that keep us cool. But it turns out that's not all they do. These aerosols also influence how much carbon dioxide gets drawn out of the air by plants on land and in the sea.

"They can add nutrients, for example, to the oceans or to the land," Mahowald says. "But also while they're in the atmosphere they can change the climate, and so that also can impact the amount of carbon the land or the ocean can take up. So there are quite a few different ways that aerosols can interact."

In an article published in Science magazine, she concludes that those effects add up to quite a bit. At the moment, aerosols are not only helping reduce global warming by cooling the atmosphere, but they're helping reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that stays in the air once we emit it.

That's good news for now — it means the planet isn't heating up quite as fast as it could. But that's bad news looking down the road a little bit. That's because many aerosols make people sick — heart and lung disease in particular. So some nations are now in the process of trying to rein them in.


"Dangerous" climate change?

This is a slightly edited version of a comment Richard Betts left on the discussion forum. I thought it was quite challenging to much of what we hear about climate change in the mainstream media and therefore worthy of posting here as a header post. (Richard, for anyone visiting for the first time, is head of climate change impacts at Britain's Met Office).

Most climate scientists* do not subscribe to the 2 degrees "Dangerous Climate Change" meme (I know I don't). "Dangerous" is a value judgement, and the relationship between any particular level of global mean temperature rise and impacts on society are fraught with uncertainties, including the nature of regional climate responses and the vulnerability/resilience of society. The most solid evidence for something with serious global implications that might happen at 2 degrees is the possible passing of a key threshold for the Greenland ice sheet, but even then that's the lower limit and also would probably take centuries to take full effect. Other impacts like drought and crop failures are massively uncertain, and while severe negative impacts may occur in some regions, positive impacts may occur in others. While the major negative impacts can't be ruled out, their certainty is wildly over-stated.

While really bad things may happen at 2 degrees, they may very well not happen either - especially in the short term (there may be a committment to longer-term consequences such as ongoing sea level rise that future generations have to deal with, but imminent catastrophe affecting the current generation is far less certain than people make out. We just don't know.

The thing that worries me about the talking-up of doom at 2 degrees is that this could lead to some very bad and expensive decisions in terms of adaptation. It probably is correct that we have about 5 years to achieve a peak and decline of global emissions that give a reasonable probability of staying below 2 degrees, but what happens in 10 years' time when emissions are still rising and we are probably on course for 2 degrees? If the doom scenario is right then it would make sense to prepare to adapt to the massive impacts expected within a few decades, and hence we'd have to start spending billions on new flood defences, water infrastructure and storm shelters, and it would probably also make sense for conservationists to give up on areas of biodiversity that are apparently "committed to extinction" - however all these things do not make sense if the probability of the major impacts is actually quite small.

So while I do agree that climate change is a serious issue and it makes sense to try to avoid committing the planet to long-term changes, creating a sense of urgency by over-stating imminent catastrophe at 2 degrees could paint us into a corner when 2 degrees does become inevitable.

*I prefer to distinguish between "climate scientists" (who are mainly atmospheric physicists) and "climate change scientists" who seem to be just about anyone in science or social science that has decided to see what climate change means for their own particular field of expertise. While many of these folks do have a good grasp of climate science (atmospheric physics) and the uncertainties in attribution of past events and future projections, many sadly do not. "Climate change science" is unfortunately a rather disconnected set of disciplines with some not understanding the others - see the inconsistencies between WG1 and WG2 in IPCC AR4 for example. We are working hard to overcome these barriers but there is a long way to go.


Britain's fruit and nuts are ripening 18 days earlier than a decade ago due to warmer weather

Pesky that there has in fact been NO warming in the last decade -- so if there IS any real change it is certainly not due to warming

Fruit and nuts from British trees are ripening an average of 18 days earlier than a decade ago. Figures from the Woodland Trust suggest that the changing climate is altering the patterns of a range of trees.

The trend has been seen across a dozen species, with acorns ripening 13 days earlier than they did between 2000 and 2002; beech nuts 19 days earlier; and rowan berries almost a month ahead of schedule.

Experts believe the shift is down to the trees flowering earlier in the face of warmer springs.

Professor Tim Sparks, nature adviser for the Trust, said: ‘There is a suggestion that the average ripening dates have some correlation with mean temperatures recorded for April, so we presume that the link is through earlier flowering leading to earlier ripening.

‘However, to see such a uniform advance across so many species is most unusual and we need many years’ more data from the public to try to better understand the reasons for these changes.’ [Good to see that someone has got a brain]

The Trust said the changes may mean that wildlife will have access to more food earlier – but the reserves could then be depleted earlier in the winter.

It added that 2011 would go down on record as a ‘mast year’, or bumper crop, for beech and oak trees, possibly as a result of the early, hot spring.

The charity is urging people to plant a million trees for its Jubilee Woods project to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee.


Lying Penn State President Fired

Steve McIntyre

His lack of any ethics finally caught up with him

On the same day that Nature published yet another editorial repudiating public examination of the conduct of academic institutions, Penn State President Graham Spanier was fired from his $813,000/year job for failing to ensure that a proper investigation was carried out in respect to pedophilia allegations in Penn State’s hugely profitable football program. The story is receiving massive coverage in North America because the iconic Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno, was also fired today.

CA readers are aware of Spanier’s failure to ensure proper investigation of Climategate emails and his untrue puffs about the ineffective Penn State Inquiry Committee, reported at CA here and by the the Penn State Collegian as follows:

Graham Spanier addressed the inquiry and the panel’s work during the Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 22. Penn State President Spanier is quoted as saying:

“I know they’ve taken the time and spent hundreds of hours studying documents and interviewing people and looking at issues from all sides,” Spanier said.

Spanier’s claims were totally untrue. Not only did the Inquiry Committee fail to “look at issues from all sides”, they didn’t even interview or take evidence from critics – as they were required to do under the applicable Penn State policy. As I reported at CA at the time:

The only interviews mentioned in the report (aside from Mann) are with Gerry North and Donald Kennedy, editor of Science. [Since they are required to provide a transcript or summary of all interviews, I presume that the Inquiry did not carry out any other interviews.] What does Donald Kennedy know about the matter? These two hardly constitute “looking at issues from all sides”. [A CA reader observed below that "North [at a Rice University event] admitted that he had not read any of the EAU e-mails and did not even know that software files were included in the release.”] They didn’t even talk to Wegman. Contrary to Spanier’s claim, they did not make the slightest effort to talk to any critic or even neutral observer.

Although State Senator Piccola had written to Penn State President Spanier asking him to ensure that “the university must deploy its fullest resources to conduct an investigation of this case”, the Inquiry Committee decided that the investigation committee should not investigate three of the four charges “synthesized” by the inquiry committee and, as a result, despite the request of Piccola and others, no investigation was ever carried out Penn State on any of the key issues e.g the “trick… to hide the decline”, Mann’s role in the email deletion enterprise organised by Phil Jones or the failure to report adverse data which the House Energy and Commerce Committee had asked about (but not investigated by the NAS panel, whose terms of reference were sabotaged by Ralph Cicerone, President of NAS).

When told by the subsequent Investigation Committee that they weren’t investigating the substantive charges, Richard Lindzen told the committee,

“It’s thoroughly amazing. I mean these issues are explicitly stated in the emails. I’m wondering what’s going on?”

Clive Crook of the Atlantic Monthly mercilessly criticized Penn State for their fatuous findings that success in bringing revenue to the university and accolades from peers necessarily meant that misconduct was precluded:

The Penn State inquiry exonerating Michael Mann — the paleoclimatologist who came up with “the hockey stick” — would be difficult to parody. Three of four allegations are dismissed out of hand at the outset: the inquiry announces that, for “lack of credible evidence”, it will not even investigate them. …

You think I exaggerate?

This level of success in proposing research, and obtaining funding to conduct it, clearly places Dr. Mann among the most respected scientists in his field. Such success would not have been possible had he not met or exceeded the highest standards of his profession for proposing research…

Had Dr. Mann’s conduct of his research been outside the range of accepted practices, it would have been impossible for him to receive so many awards and recognitions, which typically involve intense scrutiny from scientists who may or may not agree with his scientific conclusions…

Clearly, Dr. Mann’s reporting of his research has been successful and judged to be outstanding by his peers. This would have been impossible had his activities in reporting his work been outside of accepted practices in his field.


In short, the case for the prosecution is never heard. Mann is asked if the allegations (well, one of them) are true, and says no.

In the case of Climategate, President Spanier apparently saw nothing wrong with reasoning that equated revenue generation with virtue and accepted the report.

In such a febrile environment, the likelihood of wilful blindness in respect to the far more profitable football program was that much greater and that appears to have been what happened. Even though a Penn State staff member witnessed a rape of a 10-year old by a more senior Penn State official, the junior Penn State staff member did not intervene at the time and investigation by more senior Penn State officials appears to have been cursory until a recent grand jury. (For example, they don’t appear to have bothered even identifying or interviewing the victims.)

It’s hard not to transpose the conclusions of the Penn State Climategate “investigation” into Penn State’s attitude towards misconduct charges in their profitable football program:

This level of success on the football field and revenue generated from it, clearly places Coaches Paterno and Sandusky among the most respected professionals in their field. Such success would not have been possible had he not met or exceeded the highest standards of their profession in operating a football program…

Had Coach Paterno or Coach Sandusky’s conduct of their program been outside the range of accepted practices, it would have been impossible for them to receive so many awards and recognitions, which typically involve intense scrutiny from peers who may or may not agree with his program …

Spanier planned to introduce Michael Mann at an invited lecture next February. I guess that someone else will make the introduction.

Spanier was fired not because of any personal role in the Sandusky football scandal, but because of negligence on his part in ensuring that the allegations were properly investigated. This was not the only case in which Spanier failed to ensure proper investigation of misconduct allegations. As noted above, Spanier had falsely reported to the Penn State trustees and the public that the Penn State Inquiry Committee had properly interviewed critics and had examined the Climategate documents and issues “from all sides”.


Some realism from a Warmist

He knows that reliance on "renewables" is a fantasy

Environmentalists who believe a massive global investment in renewable energy is the answer to future demands are “smoking dope,” International Energy Agency Deputy Executive Director Richard Jones said on Wednesday.

He was responding to Greenpeace Canada accusations that the IEA was taking an “intellectually and morally inconsistent” stand by supporting pipelines and the oilsands sector while scolding world leaders about climate change inaction.

Pipeline megaprojects, and the oilsands bitumen that would be carried by proposed energy arteries from Alberta to B.C.’s west coast and to Texas, are important components of global energy security, Jones said.

He was commenting on his organization’s annual report that warns of stark consequences if the world doesn’t take far tougher action to reduce carbon emissions.

“We don’t have any inhibitions in saying we support the development of the oilsands because it’s an important resource,” Jones told The Journal.

The world is going to need energy from all sources in coming needs to meet rising demand, he said. He also noted that coal-fired power plants are the main source of global warming because they are “much dirtier” than the oilsands.

“Obviously we think over time fossil fuels should be phased out, but we recognize that for the foreseeable future there’s going to be major demand for oil and gas. And some of that demand might as well be filled by oilsands because of the security benefit.”

While he wouldn’t comment on the current debate over whether Canada’s oil can be considered “ethical,” the former senior U.S. diplomat and ex-ambassador to Kuwait agreed with the Canadian industry’s defenders that Canada represents a secure oil source.

“As an American I’d rather send my dollars to Canada than to Kuwait, even though I have a lot of friends in Kuwait. They’re in a pretty volatile part of the planet and who knows where that money might end up?”

He wouldn’t comment specifically on whether the IEA supports two controversial proposed megaprojects advanced by Calgary firms: TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas, and Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project linking Alberta bitumen to Asian markets via Kitimat, B.C.

The Keystone proposal is now awaiting a politically-charged decision from President Barack Obama on whether it can proceed. The Northern Gateway proposal, widely criticized by B.C. aboriginal and environmental groups, is before the National Energy Board.

“In general we support pipelines because they increase the diversity of supply, and they make the systems more robust. And the more sources the consumers have, and the more markets producers have, increases the security of both.”

Greenpeace Canada analyst Keith Stewart said the IEA, funded by 28 member countries including the U.S. and Canadian governments, is being influenced by a political agenda.

He said the IEA’s endorsement of the oilsands and pipelines contradicts its warning Wednesday against allowing the buildup of a carbon-heavy infrastructure that raises the risk of catastrophic temperature increases later in the century.

“Allowing pipelines like Keystone XL or Gateway to go forward, along with the expansion of the tar sands necessary to fill them with high-carbon oil, is intellectually and morally inconsistent with stopping global warming,” Stewart said in a statement.

Greenpeace also slammed the IEA for proposing solutions that rely far too heavily on nuclear energy and unproven carbon capture and storage technology.

Instead, governments should focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy as replacements for coal, nuclear energy, and high-carbon sources like Canada’s bitumen, according to Greenpeace.

Jones said there’s no realistic way renewable energy sources can expand so dramatically by 2035.

“We think the people who just say, ‘you can wave a magic wand and replace all of these other technologies with renewables’ are smoking dope.”

Jones said the IEA’s decision to advance a less-ambitious plan to reduce carbon emissions, compared to a more aggressive proposal in 2009, is based on the failure at international gatherings to come to an agreement on putting a price on carbon.

Only the European Union, New Zealand and, as of this week, Australia have established carbon pricing systems. The IEA projects that South Korea will have its own system in 2015 and China in 2020.

Neither Canada nor the U.S. are expected to establish carbon pricing at the national government level during this period, according to the report.

“Canada can’t do it because the Canadian market is linked to the U.S. through NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), and so Canada won’t do it unless the United States does it. And in the U.S. politically it looks pretty much dead in the water.

“There’s just unfortunately a lot of demagoguery on the issue in the U.S. right now.”



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


12 November, 2011

The "Telegraph" has been conned

Attenborough-worship has made them forget to check the historical facts. See my addendum to the excerpt below for the missing history

It’s just one of a host of mind-blowing images in Sir David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet – but it also provides a taste of things to come both in the series and in the white world at large. In the opening minutes of this week’s episode, the camera followed a rushing river of meltwater, carving a curving canyon in an Arctic ice-shelf before plunging off it in just one of a thousand waterfalls.

In itself, of course, this is normal enough: it happens every summer as the sun returns after the long polar night. But, in a sense, the hurrying water carries with it the series’ ultimate message; that the ice is melting not just on a seasonal, but an epochal scale.

For as the 85-year-old Attenborough, like Prospero, sees his “project gather to a head” in what will surely be his last blockbuster series, two largely separate strands of his life – as the father of natural history television, and as a growing voice of environmental concern – are finally coming together.

It is likely to be a persuasive development, for until quite recently the old magician was a global warming sceptic, waiting, as he put it, “until the proof was conclusive that it was humanity changing the climate”. Now the man who easily topped a poll to find Britain’s most trusted public figure (Peter Mandelson came bottom, so it must have been accurate) says he has “no doubt” that it is “man-made”.

So far the issue has scarcely featured amid the amazing sequences of killer whales washing seals off ice floes, penguins surfing Antarctic waves, or wolves bringing down a bison – all, and so very much more, filmed over four years during a record 2,356 crew days in the field which consumed 598 pairs of thermals. There has been just one reference to icebergs steadily increasing “as the world continues to warm”, though in pieces to camera at the North and South Poles in the opening episode Sir David says we may be seeing their wonders “for the last time”.

But during his next appearance – in the last episode, with something of a personal testimony – there will be no mistaking the message. Standing at the North Pole on ice just a couple of yards thick, he will warn that it is likely that “within the next few decades there will be open water here for the first time in human recorded history”.

The warning may have been a while coming, but Sir David – as he insists, no propagandist – has long campaigned on green issues. As “a very junior squirt” he helped start the World Wildlife Fund 50 years ago and has since supported almost every conceivable conservationist cause, while being particularly vocal on population growth.


ADDENDUM: Was Attenborough ever a skeptic? We read above: "quite recently the old magician was a global warming sceptic" But read a small excerpt from an April 2008 article that is now offline but still in the Google cache:

"In conversation, Attenborough's optimism about the current state of human interest in climate issues can seem at times naive: "In the last five or 10 years global warming has become incontrovertible," he says, seemingly unaware of the huge numbers of people who continue to believe it quite controvertible. "We have to work harder to convince people; over the years your country has changed its view," he says, glossing over the U.S.'s still tenuous relationship with the subject.... Attenborough's focus on population control as a major solution to environmental problems is well-documented"

So he has always been just another Greenie misanthrope.

Peskiest all is that there was NO ICE at the North pole in the year 2000. How does that fit with Attenborough's assertion that "“within the next few decades there will be open water here for the first time in human recorded history”. Did human history begin in 2001?. The man is either a fraud or a fool.

In support of the "fraud" accusation is that he lives in London despite his proclaimed love of natural environments. If he really did think that way he would be living in the Southland of New Zealand -- infinitely more pristine and naturally beautiful than London. And yet they have good internet access there and speak English. And you can definitely drink the water. He might even discover what fresh food tastes like in New Zealand -- JR

Don't Stop Doubting

Just a few weeks ago, a formerly skeptical scientist made news when he changed his mind about global warming. If he looked at the new data a meteorologist has pulled up, he'd change it back again.

Richard Muller, a physics professor at the University of California, said that data from his Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures (BEST) project convinced him that "global warming is real." "We see no evidence," he said Oct. 21, that global warming has "slowed down."

The alarmists, of course, leveraged Muller's statements to suit their agenda.

But Muller's is not the "consensus" position of the team. Judith Curry, a Georgia Tech climate researcher with more than 30 years experience who was also part of the BEST project, has said "there is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn't stopped." She looked at the same data Muller did and noted it shows global temperatures haven't increased since the late 1990s.

Now comes meteorologist Anthony Watts armed with data showing the continental U.S. has not warmed in the last 10 years, and in fact has grown cooler in the summer and colder in the winter. The numbers aren't a collection of weather forecasts from Watts, who runs the website "Watts Up With That," but data from the National Climatic Data Center.

Granted, the Lower 48 aren't the entire world, only a small slice of it. But it is a large portion of the developed world, a significant contributor of man-made carbon dioxide emissions and full of "heat islands" — big cities — that should be skewing temperature data upward.

Yet, that's not what's happening. The 2001-to-2011 trend shows a cooling of 0.87 degrees Fahrenheit compared with the 1911-2010 average. Backing up the starting date to 1996 doesn't help the alarmists' case, either. Temperatures are flat over that period.

Both the falling and flat temperature trends are coming at a time when man is putting out more emissions of carbon monoxide than ever. Given that, it seems to us that the U.S. should be warming.
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Unlike Muller, we remain skeptics and would be even if he were right. Because rising temperatures are indicative of only one thing — rising temperatures — it'll take more than an upward trend line to change our minds.


Developing nations are more easily conned

Because of Leftist media monopolies, Leftist political monopolies and lesser education

Climate sceptics have gained a significant foothold in right-leaning U.S. and U.K. print media but are virtually absent in news reports in key developing world nations such as China, India and Brazil, a new Oxford University study shows.

That’s in part because fossil-fuel lobby groups are weaker in many of those countries, and homegrown climate skeptics simply fewer. But it’s also because many developing countries have more first-hand experience with the impacts of climate change, suggests the report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

China’s government, for instance, has “a very clear position, that climate change is real,” said Rebecca Nadin, director of the British Council’s climate change and sustainability programme in China, and one of the authors of the report.

As a result, in a country where the government plays such a powerful rule, “climate change is not contentious, unlike other issues,” she said. [China just does nothing about it]

In Brazil, where hydropower provides 80 percent of electricity, the oil industry was until recently a state monopoly, and many leading newspapers have well-trained teams of science journalists, “climate skepticism is hardly present” in the media, the report said.

And in India, where an array of strong civil society groups are convinced by the science of climate change, the country’s media spend little time questioning climate science, focusing instead on how the need to address climate change might impact development, and who should pay the price, the report said.

That’s in stark contrast to the United States, where a powerful fossil fuel industry funds climate sceptic organizations, and a journalistic culture of seeking “balance” in stories drives reporters to seek opposing views, even if they are less well-founded in science.

That, combined with a failure to differentiate between sceptics who doubt the science of climate change and sceptics who simply disagree with the policy approaches to addressing it, means “most everything gets distilled down to a shouting match between those claiming a hoax and those claiming catastrophe,” noted Andy Revkin, a New York Times opinion writer and author on climate issues, who spoke via phone link at the report launch in London Thursday night.

In the U.K., by comparison, tabloid print media – who depend on controversy to attract readers – have been major outlets for climate sceptic views, the report found.

The political leanings of media also play a key role in whether sceptical voices are included in stories on climate change, noted the study.

A range of right-leaning UK newspapers, including the Sun, Express and Telegraph, and the Wall Street Journal in the United States, regularly featured “non-contested” climate skeptic voices in opinion and news features. The more left-leaning New York Times and UK-based Guardian newspapers, by comparison, never did, the study found.

The absence of right-leaning political parties and media in Brazil, India and France is one reason climate sceptics rarely appear in media reports, the study noted.


US to seek new Keystone route, delaying approval

The United States said on Thursday it will study a new route for the Keystone XL Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, delaying any final approval beyond the U.S. 2012 election and sparing U.S. President Barack Obama a politically risky decision during an election year.

The decision was a victory for environmental groups, who say producing oil sands crude emits large amounts of greenhouse gases. It was a blow to TransCanada Corp, which planned to build and operate the conduit.

The State Department said that based on past experience a study of the new route could be completed as early as the first three months of 2013, well past the November 6 2012 U.S. presidential election.

Department officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the new study a would examine a route that avoids the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills of Nebraska.

The U.S. State Department had previously said it hoped to make a decision on the $7 billion project by the end of this year.

Analysts have said a long delay could kill the pipeline project because it would cause shippers and refiners to look for alternative routes to get Canadian oil sands crude.

The White House denied that the decision to look into a new route was politically motivated.

While the decision may hurt Obama with industry and could allow Republicans to argue that he has cost the nation jobs, it also may shore up his support from environmentalists, an important constituency for Obama and his fellow Democrats.

"Politically it's an effort to avoid antagonizing either side of the issue," said David Pumphrey, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former Energy Department official.

"Both sides are likely to be disappointed, but since it's impossible to calculate the most damaging outcome, better to buy time," Pumphrey said.

National Wildlife Federation President Larry Schweiger called the move a major victory for environmentalists but that they would keep up the fight against oil sands.

"The president should know that nothing that happened today changes our position -- we're unequivocal in our opposition," said Bill McKibben the leader of recent protests at the White House against the pipeline that drew thousands of opponents.

"If this pipeline proposal reemerges from the review process intact we will use every form of nonviolent civil disobedience to keep it from ever being built," he said.

TransCanada shares were down 30 Canadian cents to C$40.28 by midafternoon on the Toronto Stock exchange, in line with the market. Rival Enbridge Inc, which stands to benefit should Keystone XL be canceled as shippers move Canadian oil onto its U.S. pipeline network, fell a similar amount.

Charles Ebinger of the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington said the decision would hurt U.S.-Canadian relations at least temporarily given Canada's strong backing for the pipeline and was probably a mixed bag for Obama politically.

"It will set back our relations with Canada -- not irreparably because, of course, we have so many areas of common interest," he said.

The Keystone XL project is seen as the most important North American oil pipeline plan for several decades and was strongly championed by Canadian officials.

While U.S. officials said that politics played no role in its decision, it was clear Republicans were likely to use it against Obama.

"It shows, again, that they are letting environmental ideology trump job creation and economic development," said Republican political consultant Matt Mackowiak, anticipating a likely line of attack against Obama. "He really has demonstrated that he is beholden to the environmental lobby."


Real monsters didn’t disappear after Halloween, say churchmen

Energy-depriving, job-killing, income-squeezing regulations have a frightening impact

By Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr. and Reverend Efrain Piñeda

Halloween is over. The “scary” costumes are packed away. The monster/slasher movie extravaganza has concluded. All that remains are several weeks of sugar highs.

But as winter sets in, America faces real monsters: government regulations that stifle energy production, increase energy prices, kill jobs, squeeze family and business incomes, and threaten living standards and productivity.

Millions of poor, black, Latino and elderly Americans will bear the brunt of rising energy costs. Even middle class families will have to decide whether to heat their homes or buy groceries or medicine.

A recent USA Today story revealed how our sluggish economy has impacted families and communities. “Across the nation, the middle class share of the nation’s income is shrinking,” the article stated. “The vast middle class has less of the pie than it had before,” it continued, quoting Pew Research Center Executive Vice President Paul Taylor.

In Reno, Nevada, the paper noted, unemployment jumped from 4 percent in 2006 to 14 percent last year. Empty storefronts and rows of home-for-sale signs are commonplace.

USA TODAY also mentioned New Bern, North Carolina, where most middle class residents are retirees living on investments and fixed incomes. Plummeting portfolio values have forced many of them to look for work in an market where the trucking and boat and appliance manufacturing base has been battered.

What USA Today did not do was analyze the depressing problem.

In the case of Nevada, it could have observed that the federal government owns 85 percent of the state. Once managed under “multiple use” principles that allow mining, drilling, timber cutting, and even grazing, snowmobiles and vehicles in many areas, it is now ruled with little but environmental preservation in mind. Multiple use activities are highly restricted or banned, and few business and employment opportunities remain.

President Obama didn’t help either state when he said, “When times are tough, you don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas. You don’t go buying a boat.” In the wake of that remark, many singles, families and companies took their vacations and conventions somewhere other than Nevada, further increasing unemployment. Combined with his stated intention to raise taxes on wealthy (boat and appliance buying) families, the President didn’t help New Bern, either.

The ongoing legislative and regulatory binge has kept businesses and investors on the sidelines, stifling economic recovery. Actions on energy have been especially damaging, because reliable, affordable energy is the key to living standards, jobs, and everything we make, ship, eat and do.

Yet, the Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency are locking up more oil, gas and coal prospects; delaying or denying onshore and offshore drilling permits; and imposing countless costly regulations on electricity generation that is the backbone of affordable energy for factories, workers and families. Despite the Solyndra, SunPower and Fisker scandals, the Energy Department spent billions more to subsidize expensive, intermittent green energy.

When the Democrat-controlled senate wouldn’t pass cap-tax-and-trade, President Obama said he would go around Congress and impose more rules on his own. EPA then decreed that carbon dioxide is a dangerous, climate altering pollutant. However, CO2 is essential to life on Earth: we exhale it and plants absorb it. The decision will adversely affect factories, power plants, refineries and numerous other facilities, costing hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

EPA’s ultra-expensive ozone rules could affect 85% of all US counties. Its Maximum Achievable Control Technology rules for power plants, cement kilns and other facilities will cost still more jobs.

EPA insists its rules will improve health and environmental quality. But as a report posted at explains, there is no medical or scientific basis for most of these claims. The agency needs to consider how its policies will affect energy and reliability, business and family energy bills, jobs, and people’s health and welfare.

EPA and other agencies recently postponed some of their most costly regulations. After the 2012 elections, however, many will likely be back. Going down this road will bring to America what “green” energy policies, mandates, taxes and tariffs have inflicted on Britain.

Energy prices in the UK have skyrocketed. One-fifth of all British households are in “fuel poverty,” spending over 10 percent of their total incomes on gasoline and heating. Millions of workers have lost their jobs, or will soon, as energy-intensive companies lay people off, close their doors or outsource operations to China and India. A recent government-commissioned report concluded that 2,700 people will die this winter, because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly.

Poor and middle class Americans deserve a better future.

Government must stop transferring money from productive sectors to green theory capitalists – and fostering excessive legislation, taxation, regulation and litigation. It must promulgate sensible laws and regulations, to protect citizens, consumers and our environment from the unscrupulous, while allowing businesses and markets to operate more freely and profitably.

“Going green” must turn the corner from a marketing philosophy that does not carry its own weight, to a process that involves real data and considers the impact on poor and minority families.

That is how we can transform a monstrous “green” government into a facilitator of sustainable jobs, growth and revenue.


In praise of Britain's Global Warming Policy Foundation

In the last few years, many conservatives have sensed a tendency within the media to give scientists, analysts and commentators who believe in global warming theories a free run. In many cases, those pro-global warming voices were unchallenged, and no balance was provided in the programmes on which they appeared.

Pieser Benny DrThe Global Warming Policy Foundation is a think-tank founded in November 2009, directed by Dr Benny Peiser (pictured right), and chaired by Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Chancellor. The GWPF describes itself as "open-minded on the contested science of global warming", but "deeply concerned about the costs and other implications of many of the policies currently being advocated".

The GWPF is a registered educational charity as well as a think-tank, and it boasts cross-party support: its Board of Trustees includes crossbench, Liberal Democrat, and Labour peers, as well as the Bishop of Chester, Peter Forster. The Academic Advisory Council features leading scientists including Professor Freeman Dyson and Dr Matt Ridley.

The GWPF is one of the most important think-tanks in Britain today, because it is helping to provide the balance that has been so sorely lacking in the mainstream of our economic and environmental policy debate for much of the last decade. The GWPF offers reports, lectures and scientific analysis.

Its website includes a section called The Observatory, edited by Dr David Whitehouse, which provides analysis of recent developments. It also includes an opinion section, UK, international, energy and science news sections, and a "best of the blogs" roundup.

Here is a selection of the GWPF's published lectures, essays and scientific analysis:

Dr David Whitehouse analyses new findings by the Best global temperature initiative: "Indeed Best seems to have worked hard to obscure it. They present data covering more. Almost 200 years is presented with a short x-axis and a stretched y-axis to accentuate the increase. The data is then smoothed using a ten year average which is ideally suited to removing the past five years of the past decade and mix the earlier standstill years with years when there was an increase. This is an ideal formula for suppressing the past decade’s data. When examined more objectively Best data confirms the global temperature standstill of the past decade."

Dr Whitehouse predicts 2012 will be a cold year - current prediction models are "unable to explain what is going on": "Under the current hypothesis the annual average global temperature must start increasing. One can invoke natural decade cycles to hold it back for so long, but they must eventually give way to greenhouse gas forcing. Eventually the temperature must increase at a faster rate than it would have done to make up for its temporary suppression. The problem is, of course, the data. We are at the stage where theory is becoming unable to explain what is going on. We have had no global temperature increase since the 1998 super El Nino, and now have the prospect of 2011 and 2012 being significantly cooler than the temperature plateau of the past decade."

Andrew McKillop analyses the failure of Silicon Valley's green fuel industry: "The big difference, of course, is that oil & gas spending produces energy. Failed Silicon Valley start ups and the Cleantech hedge funds that go with them do not, time after time. Mortality rates in Cleantech were and are extremely high, but Myrhvold shrugs this aside as venture-capital investing being inherently high-risk. More spectacular examples, like the collapse of Solyndra LLC the solar-cell company and its fallout reaching right up to the White House are reminiscent of the dotcom-telecom crash at the turn of the century, for Myrhvold. For others, they are yet another proof that Silicon Valley-type investing in green energy is the wrong model: incompetently analysed, badly programmed, sloppily managed and born to fail."

For the GWPF's annual lecture, Cardinal George Pell provided highlighted the ever-changing phrases to describe climate change (pdf): "In the 1990s we were warned of the “greenhouse effect”, but in the first decade of the new millennium “global warming” stopped. The next retreat was to the concept of “anthropogenic global warming” or AGW; then we were called to cope with the challenge of “climate change”. Then it became apparent that the climate is changing no more now than it has in the past. Seamlessly, the claim shifted to “anthropogenic climate disruption”. These redefinitions have captured the discourse. Who would want to be denounced and caricatured as a “denier”?"

In a report last month, "The Myth of Green Jobs" (pdf), Professor Gordon Hughes showed how the rise of "green jobs" will ultimately benefit China's manufacturing industry: "It is argued that green energy policies will promote innovation and the development of new industries. Almost every country in the world wants to claim the same benefit, so the numbers do not add up. Total employment in manufacturing wind turbines, solar cells, etc is small when compared with employment in the manufacture of conventional equipment for power generation and transmission.

Some small countries – Denmark or Israel – have gained an initial advantage but this is rapidly disappearing as factors such as skills, transport costs, local demand and existing patterns of specialisation reassert themselves. For the longer term, there is little doubt that the primary beneficiary will be China. That is already apparent from the way the market is developing."

In an essay published in August, "The Truth About Greenhouse Gases" (pdf), Professor William Happer writes that the IPCC "re-wrote" history, by introducing its "hockey stick" theory: "The existence of the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period was an embarrassment to the global-warming establishment because it showed that the current warming is almost indistinguishable from previous warmings and coolings that had nothing to do with burning of fossil fuels.

The organization charged with producing scientific support for the climate crusade, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), finally found a solution. They rewrote the climate history of the past 1000 years with the celebrated “hockey stick” temperature record. The first IPCC report, issued in 1990, showed both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age very clearly. In the IPCC’s 2001 report was a graph that purported to show the earth’s mean temperature since the year 1000. A yet more extreme version of the hockey stick graph made the cover of the 50th Anniversary Report of the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization.

To the surprise of everyone who knew about the strong evidence for the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period, the graph showed a nearly constant temperature from the year 1000 until about 150 years ago, when the temperature began to rise abruptly like the blade of a hockey stick."

As testament to the GWPF's impact on the media this year, Bob Ward of the Guardian's environmental section wrote earlier this month:

"Many parts of the media now feel obliged to include the views of Lawson and other representatives of the foundation in reports about climate change issues in order to "balance" the statements made by mainstream researchers and policymakers."



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


11 November, 2011

Warmist ignoramus "surprised" that trees like a warmer climate

The hyphenated lady quoted below is a strange biologist. She should know that ALL life prefers warmth. You should see how life springs out at you in the tropics, where I come from. And elderly NYC Jews don't move to Boca Raton because it's colder there

There WAS some warming in the late 20th century, which is the period the hyphen is talking about below

This good news from Alaska will not please warmists:

Evergreen trees at the edge of Alaska's tundra are growing faster, suggesting that at least some forests may be adapting to a rapidly warming climate, says a new study.
While forests elsewhere are thinning from wildfires, insect damage and droughts partially attributed to global warming, some white spruce trees in the far north of Alaska have grown more vigorously in the last hundred years, especially since 1950, the study has found. The health of forests globally is gaining attention, because trees are thought to absorb a third of all industrial carbon emissions, transferring carbon dioxide into soil and wood.

The study, in the journal Environmental Research Letters, spans 1,000 years and bolsters the idea that far northern ecosystems may play a future role in the balance of planet-warming carbon dioxide that remains in the air. It also strengthens support for an alternative technique for teasing climate data from trees in the far north, sidestepping recent methodological objections from climate skeptics.

"I was expecting to see trees stressed from the warmer temperatures," said study lead author Laia Andreu-Hayles, a tree ring scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "What we found was a surprise."

This study does not rely on climate models, which probably is why the results were such a "surprise" to the scientists.

SOURCE. H/T New Nostradamus

The Green wing of Nazism never died in Germany

Review of "Environmental Organizations in Modern Germany" by Prof. W.T. Markham

Review By William Walter Kay

Professor Markham’s nine-year project, Environmental Organizations in Modern Germany, is another inside job. Markham thanks Professor Wiesenthal for opening doors to the German environmental movement and to the Green Party. He also thanks: two officials from the German Nature Protection League, the former President of the German League for Environment and Nature Protection, and the faculty at Wageningen University’s Environmental Policy Group. While writing this book Markham was supported by the German Academic Exchange Service and the Wageningen Institute for Environment and Climate Research. He spent weeks at Neubrandenburg’s Study Archive for Environmental History and Bonn’s Federal Nature Protection Library. He interviewed two dozen German enviro-organization leaders and he watched a lot of German TV. As ever with enviro-scholars, Professor Markham knoweth not what he hath wrought.


* Germany is driving the Climate Change campaign.

* Many major international enviro-organizations (Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Birdlife International, etc.) are controlled by their German chapters.

* Several militant leaders of Germany’s confrontational early-1980s environmentalist protests were, a decade later, running government ministries.

* While Germany’s big enviro-organizations masquerade as citizens’ crusades, they are in fact top-down bureaucracies full of cynical well-paid careerists who work in tandem with state and corporate elites.

* Only 40 (forty) persons within Greenpeace-Germany’s half million members may vote for the board of directors. WWF-Germany has a self-perpetuating board and zero internal democracy.

* The League for Homeland and Environment, League for Nature Protection, and League for Environment and Nature Protection have intertwined histories, memberships, and goals. They were reactionaries before, and raving Nazis during, the Third Reich. Collectively they now have one million supporters spread over 4,000 local clubs. These are “mainstream” German enviro-organizations.

* Although it came as a revelation to Professor Markham, beneath the surface of Germany’s 9,000 “mainstream” enviro-organizations lurks a huge sub-movement that can only be described as Neo-Nazi. Markham concludes this sub-movement retains the potential to take over the entire movement.


Third Quietest Hurricane Period On Record In The US

US hurricane strikes have been on the decline since NOAA started measuring them before the Civil War. Over the last six years, there have been officially five hurricane strikes in the US, the third quietest period on record. Six out of the seven quietest periods have been since 1975 – Tamino’s period of modern global warming.

The LSM is calling this one of the most active hurricane seasons on record, because they are completely incapable of thinking for themselves or doing any independent research.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Hansen rolls the ‘climate dice’ in new paper…

by Steve Milloy

… and craps out.

NASA’s James Hansen has a new essay on his web site called “Climate Variability and Climate Change: The New Climate Dice“, in which he argues that unless global warming is slowed there will be more extreme weather events. His argument goes like this:

* Extreme temperatures are more common now than during the period 1951-1980.

* Fossil fuel emissions are increasing.

* Increasing emissions will cause more global warming (i.e., “loading the dice”) and extreme temperatures.

* Therefore, we need to put a price on carbon “if we are to preserve life as we know it.”

The problem of course is that Hansen assumes that temperatures are driven by CO2. He offers no scientific evidence of this phenomenon — he just assumes that it goes without saying.

Hansen says: "People who deny the global warming cause of these extreme events usually offer instead a meteorological “explanation”. For example, it is said that the Moscow heat wave was caused by an atmospheric “blocking” situation, or the Texas heat wave was caused by La Nina ocean temperature patterns."

Wrong. We say there is no evidence that atmospheric CO2 levels have any discernible role in weather events.

Expect to hear more of the “loaded dice” analogy — in some ways it’s an appropriate one. “Loaded dice” are used by con artists — like anyone we know?


The Green millstone around the neck of Chile

Progress improves lives. It brings better, cleaner, more energy efficient technology. It reduces poverty and improves working conditions, health, nutrition, living standards and social equity. It generates revenues to pay employees, churches and taxes, support government programs, and protect the environment.

There can be no progress without investors, inventors, innovators and businessmen – or without developing energy, minerals, forest products, agriculture and the economy.

People engaged in these enterprises should provide quality products and services, at fair prices, to create jobs and meet people’s needs. They should be honest and ethical in their dealings with customers, employees, neighbors and regulators; transparent in their dealings with others; and accountable for their mistakes. That is the meaning of corporate social responsibility.

CSR also means providing consumer products and reliable, affordable energy, with minimal pollution, so that people can cook, heat their homes, travel and work.

American billionaire, Chilean landowner and development opponent, Doug Tompkins, does not agree. He became wealthy through manufacturing and global trade – by making expensive clothing in big factories, from organic cotton, petrochemicals and metals that required more land, water, mining, oil drilling and electricity to produce. He is a capitalist and industrialist who took advantage of modern technology and the global economy to get rich.

But now that he is rich, Tompkins has become a leader of the Deep Ecology movement, which claims the world faces an environmental apocalypse. Now he opposes modern technology, energy, economic development and global trade for Chile. Now he says trade, development, consumerism, fossil fuel use and cheap energy are not sustainable. Now he says they will cause catastrophic climate change and a collapse of ecosystems.

He has targeted Chile, because it has rich mineral resources, ecological treasures and a successful free market economy.

He thinks it is OK for him to travel the world, have multiple homes and enjoy a very comfortable life. But it is not OK for Chile to develop further, generate more electricity, and ensure greater progress and opportunity for its people.

His Deep Ecology Foundation and other American foundations give millions of dollars every year to environmental groups, to oppose HidroAysen, other electricity projects and economic development in Chile. They also bought land in Chile. They say it was to “preserve ecosystems and genetic banks.” It was really to create kayaking and hiking areas for themselves, and block north-south travel, transmission lines, economic development and true social equity in Chile.
Tompkins and his corporations believe they should be held to different standards

The foundations and activist groups are all corporations. They should operate according to the CSR standards they demand for profit-making corporations. But Tompkins and his corporations believe they should be held to different standards.

They think they should be allowed to exaggerate or misrepresent science, use scare stories that have no basis in fact, and be less than honest about what they are doing. They see no need to be transparent about who is getting paid how much by whom, to oppose electricity and economic progress.

They think they have a right to dictate Chile’s future, keep families from achieving their economic dreams, and reduce government revenues and people’s living standards, by preventing new development.

In Uganda, Ghana, South Africa and other impoverished countries – where 95% of the people never have electricity or have it only a few hours a week – the same environmental groups and their allies block electricity development, prevent the use of insecticides that could save millions of lives from malaria, and oppose modern seeds and agriculture that could reduce malnutrition and save more lives.

These foundations and environmental groups think they should not be held accountable for their dishonest and unethical actions, or the harm they cause to jobs, health and lives of people in these countries.

The fact is, their campaign against energy and economic development is based largely on deceptive, misleading and blatantly false claims that would land businessmen, bankers and stockbrokers in jail.

Deep Ecologist claims about imminent manmade catastrophic climate change, oil and gas depletion, ecological cataclysms, and virtues of wind and solar power over traditional electricity generation are based on assumptions, assertions, a smattering of anecdotal evidence and, in some cases, computer models and scenarios that bear little or no resemblance to observed reality. They insist that conservation alone will free up enough spare electricity that more power plants won’t be needed.
Eco-imperialism and environmental colonialism

And yet, despite an absence of any factual, replicable evidence to support these claims, they have been made the foundation for intense, well-funded pressure campaigns intended to drive public policies that raise energy and consumer prices, destroy jobs, and hurt poor and middle class families.

That is immoral. It is eco-imperialism and environmental colonialism.

Every country should have the right to decide its own future, based on factual science and economics – and after open, honest discussions and debates that consider all feasible options, the economic and environmental risks and benefits of each alternative, and the informed wishes of their people.

Too often, well-funded environmental groups obstruct this process, misrepresent the facts, prevent progress, reduce people’s choices and opportunities, and harm the health and living standards of families and communities.

Chile is blessed with magnificent ecosystems, natural resources and smart, hard-working people. It can have a prosperous future, and preserve its magnificent environment. It does not have to sacrifice that future on the altar of Deep Ecology.


New Zealand wising up

While cheers and jeers were heard in federal Parliament in Canberra when the so-called ‘clean energy future’ legislation was passed in the Senate this week, a much quieter emissions announcement took place in Wellington.

In 2009, the National-led government unveiled what was then the world’s first all-sectors, all-gases emissions trading scheme. This week, the same government quietly announced that parts of the scheme would be delayed because they were too expensive and the benefits were not clear.

Carbon pricing is no longer a big a political issue in New Zealand. The National Party has a massive lead in the opinion polls (52.5% of the primary vote). And those who staunchly oppose an emissions trading scheme will probably vote for it anyway.

Hence the shelving of some elements of the emissions trading scheme is not driven by retail politics but by real concerns that moving too quickly will harm New Zealand’s international competitiveness while doing little for the environment.

Moving towards the much-vaunted ‘clean energy economy’ remains the official policy. Yet agriculture will not be included in the scheme until ‘at least’ 2015. The official announcement explained that the absence ‘of any practical and real technologies to reduce agricultural emissions means that it would only impose a cost or tax on our most important export industry.’

While Australia moves full steam ahead of the world on carbon tax/emissions trading, the Key government has overseen an orderly and slow but persistent retreat. Due to the real world costs of pricing carbon, New Zealand has pulled back and is no longer leading the world. And that seems like the sensible thing to do.



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


10 November, 2011

Sober and cautious expenditure of the public's money? Not in Washington DC

Solyndra Emails Claim Biden Team 'About Had an Orgasm' About Energy Loans to Firm

A series of emails provided to the House Energy and Commerce Committee from individuals tied to Solyndra offer striking characterizations about running strategy with the White House to secure assistance for the now-bankrupt solar energy firm.

Emails among George Kaiser, head of the George Kaiser Family Foundation; Ken Levit, the executive director of the Foundation; and Steve Mitchell, who manages Argonaut Private Equity and was a member of Solyndra's board; show that Vice President Joe Biden's office were very gung-ho.

"They about had an orgasm in Biden's office when we mentioned Solyndra," reads a Feb. 27, 2010, email from Levit to Mitchell. A follow-up email from Mitchell to Levit later that day responds with: "That's awesome! Get us a (Department of Energy) loan."

According to exchanges obtained by Fox News, in an email from Mitchell to Kaiser on March 5, 2010, Mitchell writes that "it appears things are headed in the right direction and (Energy Secretary Steven) Chu is apparently staying involved in Solyndra's application and continues to talk up the company as a success story."

In a Feb. 27, 2010, message from Levit to a party whose name has been redacted, Levit writes that there was a meeting with a group of people in "Biden's office -- they seemed to love our Brady Project -- also all big fans of Solyndra."

In an email from Mitchell to Kaiser on March 5, 2010, Mitchell writes that "it appears things are headed in the right direction and Chu is apparently staying involved in Solyndra's application and continues to talk up the company as a success story."

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the document dump from the House Energy and Commerce Committee offers only "cherry-picked" emails.

"Even the documents cherry-picked by House Republicans today affirm what we have said all along: this loan was a decision made on the merits at the Department of Energy. Nothing in the 85,000 pages of documents produced thus far by the administration or in these four indicate any favoritism to political supporters. We wish that House Republicans were as zealous about creating jobs as they were about this oversight investigation," he said.

Solyndra received a half billion dollars in loans from the Department of Energy even as questions were raised over whether the California-based firm would stay afloat. The company filed for bankruptcy in September just weeks after the administration weighed a bailout.

One email from Kaiser to Mitchell and Levit on Oct. 6, 2010, reads: "We can possibly reinforce the effort so long as it is in the form of 'I thought you should know, in case it comes up' rather than 'can you help with this.'"

In another communique dated Oct. 6, 2010, Kaiser tells Mitchell and Levit that he is "concerned that DOE/Chu would resent the intervention and your problem could get more difficult. I would see an appeal as only as last resort an, even then, questionable. We need to discuss."

In an email between Mitchell and Kaiser, Mitchell notes that the White House has "started a policy discussion as to whether a company should be able to get a second loan."

House Republicans received the emails after subpoenaing the White House last week. Lawmakers say they want to know how much influence the White House put on the Energy Department to approve the loans. The administration denies anyone tried to influence the decision.


Chinese airlines to sue EU over carbon price

Sounds like the EU had better not expect any more Airbus orders from China unless they change their tune. Could be good for Boeing

Air China and three other major Chinese carriers are planning to jointly sue the European Union for its plan to charge airlines for carbon emissions, a senior official with the country's industry group said yesterday.

Under the EU's proposals to put a price on pollution, airlines will have to buy permits to help offset greenhouse emissions from jetliners operating in, to and from Europe.

"It's unfair. We are buying Airbus planes. If anyone is to blame for the emission problem, it should be the manufacturer not the customers," Cai Haibo, deputy secretary general of the China Air Transportation Association, said.

China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines, are also part of the planned legal action, Cai said.

In protest against the EU law, due to take effect on January 1, the Air Transport Association of America, American Airlines and United Continental took their case to the High Court in London, which referred it to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) last year.

In October, the advocate general in a preliminary opinion said the EU was acting within the law. Her opinion is not binding, but is a good gauge of the ECJ's final ruling expected early next year.

Last week, the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization adopted a working paper from the United States, China and two dozen other nations urging the EU not to include non-EU carriers in its plan.

The Republican-led US House of Representatives voted last month to ban US airline compliance with the scheme, raising the prospect that flights could be disrupted. It remained unclear if the Democratic-controlled Senate would back the move, which the EU has criticised as an attack on its laws.

Opposing nations say the plan would infringe a "cardinal principle of state sovereignty" by basing its charges on the distance flown by each flight, which means calculations would include foreign airspace, in violation of a 1944 pact that gives each country exclusive authority over its skies.

It would also discriminate against nations located furthest away from Europe.

China is a major market for Airbus, which aims to supply at least half of the more than 4000 commercial jets the country is expected to need over the next 20 years.


Court sends Cape Wind back to the drawing board

The Air Traffic Safety Issue of a Government-enabled Project

“While of course the wind farm may be one of those projects with such overwhelming policy benefits (and political support) as to trump all other considerations, even as they relate to safety, the record expresses no such proposition.”

- Town of Barnstable, Massachusetts v. Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Court of Appeals (DC Circuit), October 28, 2011.

Earlier this year, Industrial Wind Action Group (home) wrote how turbines sited within fifty miles of U.S. radar installations are now disrupting our navigation aids and impairing U.S. national security.

FAA and military radar experts in the field are well aware of the compromises to radar resolution caused by poorly sited turbines. But with the debate surrounding energy policy dominated by politics and money, they’ve bowed to the pressure.

Last week we learned of another project that poses safety risks.

The D.C. Circuit found that the FAA failed to adequately analyze whether Cape Wind, the controversial proposal to erect 130 utility-scale turbines offshore in Nantucket Sound, would pose a hazard to air navigation. The project’s proponent vigorously defended the agency’s review claiming that for over eight years the FAA repeatedly found the project would pose no hazard. But the record clearly shows otherwise.

In May 2010, the FAA issued identical Determinations of No Hazard for each of the Cape Wind turbines. These determinations were conditioned on implementing a tiered mitigation plan that incrementally upgraded nearby radar systems to correct for any interference the turbines would produce. While the upgrades would limit the impact of the spinning blades, the FAA acknowledged that the “fixes” would reduce the resolution of the radar, and might not work. Like Travis Air Force Base which we previously wrote about, aircraft flying in the area would go undetected or false objects could appear. If, after the turbines go online, the interference was found to be a safety risk, the FAA recommended revising airspace procedures to restrict air traffic to transponder only — also like Travis.

Transponder-only airspace is an unacceptable mitigation option since it relies on pilots complying with the rules. Not all aircraft are adequately equipped and not all pilots may want to be seen. We remind readers that the first thing the 9/11 hijackers did after seizing control of our passenger planes was to turn off the transponders.

Remarkably, this is not the first time the FAA’s No Hazard determinations on wind turbines were overturned by the Courts. In 2008, a near identical finding to the Cape Wind case was reached by the Federal Appeals Court. In that case, Clark County, NV challenged the FAA over turbines proposed to be built several miles from the County’s planned airport. has interviewed radar specialists familiar with the mitigations implemented at Travis AFB and those proposed near Nantucket Sound and elsewhere. They are very clear that the reduction in radar resolution poses a serious risk to air safety and should not be permitted.

Our national security and air safety have been compromised by wind turbines and U.S. taxpayers are unknowingly funding the degradation of our radar through federal renewable programs. The larger question is why? Why are our agencies and military services allowing these compromises and why are the courts — and not the agencies themselves — being called upon to correct their actions? Indeed, political pressure is playing a role in these compromises along with a general disinterest by many in Washington to consider both the good and bad of renewable energy. Public safety should never take a back seat when siting projects.


Plastic Bag Bans Are Bad for the Environment

The past several years have seen a groundswell of regulations on plastics, particularly plastic bags and cups and food containers made from polystyrene or Styrofoam. Supporters of these bans mostly claim that such policies promote environmental protection, when in reality they carry considerable environmental tradeoffs and impose needless burdens on consumers and economic growth.

In the United States, California has taken the lead in passing anti-plastic policies, encouraging localities and other states to follow suit. This past summer, the California State Senate passed a bill, sponsored by Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), banning foam cups and food containers statewide. This statewide ban failed in the California State Assembly, but localities around the state have already imposed foam packaging bans-including Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Monterey, San Francisco, and more. Plastic grocery bags have been banned in several California cities, including Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Long Beach. California is not alone. Plastic grocery bags are banned in Aspen, Colorado, and the trend is spreading as other cities, including Austin, Boulder, Philadelphia, and Portland, Oregon, consider potential plastic bans. Some cities have opted for a tax on plastic bags, such as Washington, D.C.

Anti-plastic crusades are ongoing in other nations as well. In September, British Prime Minister David Cameron called on supermarkets to reduce usage of plastic bags-or prepare for national restrictions. Public officials in Europe are considering banning plastic bags for the entire European Union. In January 2011, Italy banned their use at supermarkets. Plastic packaging bans are being advanced in places as far off as India and the Phillippines.

Lawmakers provide some silly justifications for such policies. For example, California Sen. Lowenthal explained that he advanced his bill to ban foam cups and packaging "because it's a job booster for California." Earlier this year, Italy's Minister of the Environment exclaimed that the nation's ban on plastic bags was "a great innovation." Others suggest that elimination of plastics is simply good environmental policy.

In reality, bans never promote innovation or growth-they do the opposite. Bans destroy the investment, productivity, and creativity of those who invent and develop products, and they divert resources from useful enterprises in order to find alternative products, which are usually inferior to those they replace. Accordingly, lawmakers should never ban products for arbitrary or political reasons. They should have clear and convincing evidence that such bans are the only means for protecting the public-a situation that rarely exists. It is obvious to see that plastics industry workers can lose jobs as markets shift to supposedly "environmentally better" products, and consumers lose convenience from such bans. Less obvious is the fact that these anti-plastics policies are not the slam-dunk for Mother Nature that supporters claim.


More Greenie Misanthropy -- telling seniors to die faster

by Steve Milloy

If you are aged 66-83, you are part of a “clueless cohort” against which “generational warfare” may be waged because you aren’t dying fast enough.

In “Gen Y and Gen X get it right on the environment; old folks don’t“,’s Lisa Hymas writes,
Generation Y is more likely than older generations to support clean energy and environmental protection and to believe climate change is happening and is caused by human activity, according to new Pew polling and analysis. Generation X is close behind. Boomers aren’t so bad either. It’s the old folks, the so-called Silent Generation aged 66-83, that are the big problem.

There’s long been talk about how gay rights will continue to advance as homophobic old codgers die off. Looks like the push for a cleaner, greener society will get a boost from that same cohort replacement effect…

When it comes to environmental laws and regulations, the oldsters are even more out of touch…

The younger you are, the more you’re going to get screwed by climate change. Many retirees might be loath to shake up the system in their twilight years, but younger people know the system’s already broken and needs an overhaul. Unfortunately, we don’t have time to wait for the clueless cohort to exit stage left; we need to act yesterday. For starters, younger voters need to come out to the polls in at least the same numbers as the fogies.

Class warfare has made a comeback. Is it time for some generational warfare too?

So as it turns out the recent anti-Obamacare video ad that shows grandma being pushed off the cliff, may actually be more appropriate with respect to the greens.

And the irony is that German researchers just calculated that age 65 is when personal carbon emissions begin to decline.

But if you’re not with the greens politically, you might as well be dead.


Australia: Carbon casualties - three million families will suffer under new carbon tax regime

That's a big fraction of Australia's total 22 million population

THE Samuelsons are the face of the carbon tax three million - the families who will bear the cost of the Gillard government's latest levy.

Teddy Samuelson and her husband Nik from Castle Hill will be out of pocket about $700 a year even after receiving increased family payments of about $75, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The stay-at-home mum said her husband worked "bloody hard for his money" with the family battling existing expenses and the cost of raising three boys in Sydney on Mr Samuelson's wage of more than $150,000 a year.

"When I look at bills I think what we pay now is more than enough - to think that number is going to rise is just wrong," Mrs Samuelson said yesterday. "I don't think anyone is really sure how much the tax is going to impact their lives."

She said the concept of taxing families who are earning more but not compensating them was unfair: "I don't see why we have to suffer because he earns slightly more."

While the increased financial burden will hurt, it was the way the government handled the policy which frustrated the Samuelsons most: "I don't believe the Australian public should pay for big business's carbon emissions. "A lot of the debate is based on inconclusive scientific evidence ... we don't really get a say in anything any more."

The almost three million Australian households who will either not be compensated or will get only partial assistance includes single-income parents earning $65,000 or more and singles on more than $55,000.

Treasurer Wayne Swan yesterday provided an example of parents on a dual income totalling $85,000 with two young children who would be $375 a year better off. But that will be paid for in part by families earning more.

The highest income earners - on $200,000 a year - will be out of pocket more than $1000 a year. At the other end of the spectrum, four million low-income households will be better off and two million will be fully compensated.

The government yesterday declared the debate over. Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a speech to a carbon expo in Melbourne: "The time for words ended yesterday." After a standing ovation, Ms Gillard said "a second industrial revolution is needed" and carbon pricing was the "key that unlocks the door to a clean energy future".



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


9 November, 2011

Carbon tax now enacted in Australia

By a very unpopular Leftist government. The conservatives are set to abolish it after the next election

The government's controversial carbon tax has passed through the Parliament - and is now set to become law.

Electricity suppliers have warned that their bills will rise under the scheme because they will apply a "risk premium" to current price contracts as a hedge against more expensive carbon permits later on.

But the Government says its compensation package is adequate and will flow to nine out of 10 households and more than fully compensate many for any extra costs. Treasury modelling predicts the average household will pay an extra $9.90 per week under the scheme but will receive $10.10 in compensation.

This is backed by more recent independent modelling, which found the compensation - starting two months before the price applies in May next year - will leave the average household $2.20 better off per week after compensation.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who voted against the scheme, said electricity costs would increase by 10 per cent because the Government had defeated his amendment to allow for the deferred payment of forward-dated carbon permits.

"Energy companies forward-sell electricity - it's a core part of their business. Why would we make them pay upfront for permits which they won't receive the revenue for until years later?" he said.

The Senate vote, which was greeted by applause in the packed public galleries, gives Australia one of the world's first economy-wide carbon pricing systems from July 1, 2012.

It will apply to fewer than 500 of the largest polluting companies and begin with an initial fixed value of $23 a tonne, climbing by 5 per cent a year before moving to a full floating price from mid-2015.

However, the $23 figure, set months ago, is more than double that on Europe's carbon market, where the price has plummeted recently amid its widening economic malaise.

Ms Gillard applauded yesterday's vote, calling it "historic Labor reform", but it remains deeply unpopular with voters and comes at a difficult time for households already facing skyrocketing power bills.

Adelaide electricity prices have increased by 25 per cent in the past year, 4 per cent more than the next-largest increase in Hobart.

Energy Users Association of Australia executive director Roman Domanski said the Producer Price Index information released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed electricity prices had continued to rise by "large and disturbing amounts over the past year" in all states. "The level of electricity price increases we are seeing across the country continues to be of major concern," he said.

Cries of "betrayal" and "doormats to the Greens" echoed across the Senate as the package passed into law.

Ms Gillard acknowledged that some voters harboured "a great deal of anxiety" about the tax. She flagged an advertising campaign, saying the Government would take the necessary steps to give people the facts.

But she faces a steep climb back to voters' hearts, especially as the Opposition will tie all future price rises to the new carbon price - whether related or not. "It is not a defeat - it's an adjournment," said Nationals frontbencher Barnaby Joyce.

Opposition MPs drew out the vote for as long as possible to expose Ms Gillard's no-carbon-tax promise. But in the end, the 18-Bill Clean Energy package passed with 36 Labor and Greens votes to 32 Opposition and independents.


Roman warming period recognized in the NYT, no less

Mr. Routson and his co-authors, Connie A. Woodhouse and Jonathan T. Overpeck, focused on bristlecone pines, the longest-lived of all trees. They found a stand near Summitville, Colo., covering more than 2,000 years, and were able to obtain specimens of dead wood and thin cores from living trees. (The trees were not harmed by the research.)

Analyzing tree rings and matching them with previous work, they found what they consider to be compelling evidence a long dry spell in the Southwest stretching through the first four centuries of the Christian era and punctuated by more acute dry stretches.

Scientists already knew the Southwest was prone to long, severe megadroughts far worse than anything that has happened there since European settlement of the region began. Some of the same scientists involved in this work helped document such a drought in the medieval era. And some previous research had already pointed toward the likelihood of a second-century megadrought. But with the fresh evidence, the Arizona scientists believe the case is nailed.

“Our record brings these previous studies together to show that is event was indeed real and widespread,” Mr. Routson told me by e-mail.

Evidence of the causes is of course quite thin, but the scientists speculate that one factor may have been a broad pattern of warmth in the Northern Hemisphere, possibly caused by an uptick in the sun’s energy output. This warm spell is often called the “Roman Warm Period,” and while it has not been definitively proven to exist, evidence for the idea is growing.

Climate-change contrarians love to cite the Roman Warm Period and its counterpart, the Medieval Warm Period, as proof that there is nothing unusual about today’s rising temperatures. But mainstream climate scientists say these earlier episodes, while intriguing, do not necessarily shed light on the question of whether modern-day human activity is causing the climate to warm, as their evidence suggests it is.

“The evidence for human-induced warming is overwhelming, but not the focus of this study,” Mr. Routson said.

Scientists expect temperatures in the coming century to rise substantially compared with these earlier warm periods. Since the earlier periods were associated with severe droughts and climate disruptions in some parts of the world, they warn of a potential replay — except that the coming megadroughts could be worse.


2012 GOP Candidates Demonstrate Dramatic Political Shift on Climate

Republican candidates for the 2012 presidential nomination overwhelmingly agree in rejecting evidence that Earth is warming and that humans are substantially responsible. But just three years ago, both major party presidential candidates were pledging to cut greenhouse emissions. What’s changed?

Americans voting in November 2008 chose between two presidential candidates who had each pledged to take significant action on climate change.

“We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world,” Republican nominee John McCain said on the campaign trail in Oregon. “Time is short and the dangers are great.”

McCain proposed cutting greenhouse emissions by 60 percent by 2050. Then-candidate Barack Obama said he supported cuts of 80 percent.

Fast-forward three years, and scientists remain convinced that Earth is warming and that people are substantially responsible.

But the political landscape has shifted dramatically. All the Republican presidential candidates now either oppose greenhouse regulations or outright deny that climate change is occurring.

Take Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who has described global warming as “voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax” and carbon dioxide as “a natural byproduct of nature.”

Business executive Herman Cain has said the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative should instead be called the “Regional Greenhouse Gas Rip-off.” Texas Congressman Ron Paul has said global warming is a hoax; former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has called it “a beautifully concocted scheme.”

There’s also Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has claimed that “there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects.”

Youtube video no longer available to embed. View it at Perry suggests global warming is a hoax

In 2008, former House Speaker and now candidate Newt Gingrich appeared in an advertisement with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi on behalf of Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection. “Our country must take action to address climate change,” he said in the ad.

But in the heat of the presidential campaign, Gingrich has said he regrets participating in the ad and that his appearance had been “misconstrued.”

In the GOP field, former Ambassador to China and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman stands virtually alone in his clear support for the evidence on climate change, which he expressed via Twitter.

That tweet prompted a swipe from GOP veteran Pat Buchanan, speaking on MSNBC: “If he’s running for the Republican nomination, he is crazy,” Buchanan said.

But even Huntsman doesn’t support legislation to address emissions. He told Time in May that “this isn’t the moment” to take action on climate change.

Mitt Romney’s Cooling Climate Views

The changed political prospects for climate change are most obvious in former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s shifting position on the issue. When Romney was governor, his administration capped emissions from coal-fired power plants. The limits, Romney said in a December 2005 press release, would provide “real and immediate progress in the battle to improve our environment.”

The Romney administration also helped negotiate a regional cap-and-trade initiative, although the governor ultimately backed out of the deal.

As recently as June 3, 2011, Romney offered support for the scientific consensus on climate change.

“I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that,” he said in Manchester, New Hampshire. “I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and global warming that you’re seeing.”

Then conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh seized on Romney’s comments. “Bye bye, nomination. Another one down,” Limbaugh said.

By August, Romney seemed to soften his stance. “Do I think the world’s getting hotter? Yeah, I don’t know that, but I think that it is,” Romney said in Lebanon, New Hampshire. “I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans.” He added: “What I’m not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don’t know the answer to.”

In early September, Romney released his jobs plan, in which he pledged to move to amend the Clean Air Act so that carbon dioxide could not be regulated as a pollutant.

That didn’t stop Rick Perry from using Romney’s climate-change record as attack fodder. “Massachusetts was one of the first states to implement its own cap-and-trade program, which included limits on carbon emissions from power plants,” Perry said in a Georgia speech that likened Romney to President Obama. The Perry campaign released a video describing Romney and Obama as “carbon copies.”

The Romney campaign replied with its own climate-tinged swipe: “Rick Perry supported Al Gore for president,” spokeswoman Andrea Saul told Politico. “Instead of distorting Mitt Romney’s record, Mr. Perry should explain why he lined up behind Al Gore’s radical environmental agenda.”

Then, speaking in Pennsylvania in late October, Romney reversed his position on climate change. “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” he said.

Four Reasons The Debate Has Changed

What’s changed since 2008? Drexel University’s Robert Brulle, professor of sociology and environmental science, says four factors help explain climate change’s political problems, even within the Obama camp. The administration is “not really talking much about climate change at all, either,” he said. “You have the Democrats sort of just getting quieter and quieter, and the Republicans getting louder and louder in denial.”

First, in the summer of 2008 — when the last presidential campaign was in high gear — unemployment was low. The opposite is true today. ”Climate change becomes a peripheral issue when unemployment is so high,” Brulle said in a recent interview.

The second factor: the rise of the Tea Party. In 2008, the Tea Party did not exist. By 2010, it was an organized political force.

According to a poll conducted in April and May of this year, led by Yale Forum publisher Anthony Leiserowitz, 53 percent of Republicans who do not identify with the Tea Party say that global warming is happening. In contrast, among Tea Party members — who make up 12 percent of the American public — only 34 percent say that global warming is occurring.

“All the Republican candidates have to go through the gauntlet of the Republican primary, which is where the Tea Party is going to have the most influence,” Brulle said. The result is that candidates are taking positions to appeal to their political base in the upcoming primaries.

Dwindling news coverage is also a factor in this year’s climate politics. Media coverage and public concern about climate change increased dramatically in 2006 and 2007, during the period when Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” was released, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its Fourth Assessment Report, and Gore and the IPCC won the Nobel Peace Prize.

But by 2010, coverage had returned to 2004 levels, Brulle said: “It’s just not a major item of discussion.”

Finally, the movement to oppose action on climate change has grown much stronger since 2008, Brulle said. In the wake of hacked e-mail controversies, for example, climate “skeptics” feel free to claim publicly, though falsely, that climate scientists faked their data.


"Nature" pans Gore's old-fashioned revival hour

The November 2011 edition of Nature Climate Change pans Al Gore's 24 Hours of 'Reality', disputing Gore's suggestion that global warming is responsible for all extreme weather and noting,

"Gore may have briefly pumped up his disillusioned environmental base, but it's hard to imagine such a polarizing figure convincing anybody who has honest doubts about the severity of the problem, let alone the diehard skeptics."

The article is behind a paywall but the introduction is available here and there is an image below


Climate change caused $14 billion in health costs?

Did merely six “climate change related events” cause $14 billion in health costs in the past decade?

That’s what the Natural Resources Defense Council says in its new study, “Six Climate Change–Related Events In The United States Accounted For About $14 Billion In Lost Lives And Health Costs.

The events were:

US Ozone Air Pollution, 2000–02
California Heat Wave, 2006
Florida Hurricane Season, 2004
West Nile Virus Outbreak In Louisiana, 2002
Red River Flooding In North Dakota, 2009
Southern California Wildfires, 2003

So if you assume that all losses are due to climate change and then multiply deaths by the EPA-per-life-valuation of $7.9 million, like the NRDC does, you get to $14 billion pretty quickly.

There is, however, no evidence that these or any other discrete weather events were caused by climate change, manmade or otherwise. But that would get in the way of the creation of another green factoid to be mindlessly parroted.

And since all the events listed took place AFTER the warming ceased in 1999, they CANNOT be due to warming! -- JR


Another step backwards from "The Ecologist"

They ask, below, of the Durban climate summit: is it time to forget about 2 degrees of warming?

Is it time environmentalists let go of the holy grail of carbon emission reduction targets and looked at alternatives such as 'carbon clubs'?

Second tier politicians will gather around and agree of the need to tackle the problem of climate change and possibly commit funds for poorer countries for adaptation.

A binding or voluntary agreement on cutting carbon dioxide emissions will remain out of reach though, with the US, China and subsequently others, unwilling to commit to substantial reductions.

As things stand, it’s the most likely outcome from the latest instalment of the annual climate talks taking place later this month in Durban, South Africa. Roll on 2012.

But there is another way. Led by political academics, there is an emerging consensus that it is time to drop idealistic hopes of an all-encompassing and workable global deal.

A decade of failure

The summits in Copenhagen and Cancun continued what a number of observers believe is a forlorn quest to get the major polluting countries to agree a legally binding greenhouse gas emission reduction deal.

‘We’ve been doing the same kind of approach for 20 years now, and it’s going nowhere’, explains Professor Scott Barrett, from the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Simply put, the major polluting countries like the US, Russia and China are unwilling to commit to making the changes to their industries and economies that would be necessary to make a real difference to climate change.

‘We’re expecting the world to do something it is just not ready to do and we’ve already delayed action for two decades,’ says Professor Barrett.

One major factor holding back a new approach is the groundbreaking Kyoto Treaty, which committed countries to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by around 5 per cent below their 1990 levels by 2013.

With the US refusing to join in the agreement and global emissions on the rise, the Treaty, however well intentioned, is failing in its ultimate goal.

Less industrialised countries in the global south, who are expected to bear the brunt of the worst effects of climate change, are unsurprisingly reluctant to let go of the one binding commitment they have from the major-polluting countries to reduce emissions.

For now the negotiations on an extension to the Kyoto Treaty, which expires at the end of 2012, continue. But hardly anyone expects an agreement to be reached.

‘Kyoto is just too complicated. Countries are wary of agreeing to it in case it has some terrible consequences for national interest down the line,’ says Oliver Tickell, author of Kyoto2.

Dr Heike Schroeder from the Tyndall Centre says Japan, Russia and Canada have already said they will oppose any new deal. While the EU says it is unwilling to agree to a deal without the US, which in turn says it won’t agree to any deal without China.

‘It’s become a game of “passing the buck” with no-one willing to do anything,’ says Dr Schroeder.

Environmental campaign groups have been blamed, in part, for the continued push for a target-driven global deal.

While accepting the slow progress of negotiations, Friends of the Earth say abandoning the UN process altogether would see, ‘global temperatures rise by five degrees – putting people and wildlife all over the world in grave jeopardy’.

Even sceptical groups like Carbon Trade Watch, while accepting the limitations of Kyoto - no emissions reductions, no sanctions on those failing to reach targets and a carbon market that rewards polluters – say they still want a legally binding deal.

‘Kyoto is based on targets (although weak), which is key for real mitigation,’ says researcher Joanna Cabello. ‘We need a strong legally binding emission reduction targets at source which cannot be bought or sold in any market, and fossil fuels need to be phased-out from our societies.’

The ‘carbon club’ idea

For all the vocal urgency by NGOs and politicians and the clear scientific consensus on man-made climate change, a deal does not appear any closer today than it was two years ago at Copenhagen.

The solution, according to a growing consensus of observers, but which is likely to anger environmental NGOs, is to ditch the UN negotiations, breaking them down into a smaller ‘carbon club’ of the major polluting countries.

What’s more, rather than a top-down global goal to limit warming to 2 degrees, as demanded by climate scientists and campaigners, negotiations should start from what each individual country is willing and able to offer. Be it emission reductions or policies to help spread low-emission investment in developing countries.

‘Negotiations begin with the “carbon club” and focus on policies that countries can reliably implement,’ explains Professor David Victor, a strong advocate, in his book, Global Warming Gridlock.

‘Those policies, which will be offered to other club members as bids, will be contingent. If many countries are willing to adopt strict limits then each nation individually will be wiling to ramp up its own efforts.’

The ultimate goal, says Professor Victor, should be to move away from abstract promises few governments look willing or able to meet. Instead we should look to the example of trade negotiations like World Trade Organisation (WTO) as the model for climate negotiations at Durban and beyond.

‘So far the incentives have favoured speedy negotiations, high-profile summits, and a focus on simplistic emission targets. The result has been the illusion of action but not much impact on the underlying problem.’



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


8 November, 2011

Even Warmist datasets show that U.S. regional temperature trends are DOWNWARDS

Since U.S. temperature data is by far the most extensive such databody that there is, a Swedish blogger has been laboriously tabulating the temperature trends for various U.S. regions over recent years. She uses the 9-month average (Jan-Sept) so that she can include data from the current year. All her figuring is set out in a multitude of graphs so I reproduce below just her introduction and conclusions:

Remember, these are the official figures. With the poor placement of stations (91 % of the stations are CRN 3 to 5 = bad to very poor); where they have purposely taken away the urban heat island effect, use huge smoothing radius, the historical “adjustment and tweaking” to cool the past etc.

Not to mention the great slaughter of GHCN stations 1990-1993 – roughly 63 % of all stations were “dropped”. Oddly enough many of them in cold places – Hmmm? Now the number of GHCN stations is back at the same numbers as in 1890.

Also remember that the US stations are now nearly a third of the all GHCN world stations.......

So the “warming trend” 2000-2011 is exactly - 1.84 F, - 0.19 F and - 1.05 F degrees COOLER a decade for these 3 regions. That is a whopping - 18.4 F, - 1.9 F and- 10.5 F COOLER in 100 years. The freezer next!

And this is also the decade that the Global Warming Hysterics have been screaming at the top of their lungs, trying to scare us to death, about the catastrophic treat that the “extreme increase” in temperature is to mankind and earth.

According to the computer models that the Global Warming Hysterics love so much, worship and blindly follows (especially our intelligent politicians), it should be EXACTLY the opposite.

And we are supposed to be very worried about a predicted rise of 3-4 F in 100 years? But not this ACTUAL trend?

And for this predicted trend the politicians want to take our societies back to the Stone Age. But, as usual, they DO NOTHING about the actual trend.

So to summarize this evidence of this “accelerated warming” trend:

The Southwest recent 9 months trend 2000 -2011 is exactly - 1.84 F degrees a decade.

The South recent 9 months trend 2000 -2011 is exactly - 0.19 F degrees a decade.

The East North Central recent 9 months trend 2000-2011 is exactly – 1.05 F degrees a decade.

So the “warming” trend is really accelerating wouldn’t you say. Some more “rapid warming” like this and the freezer looks really comfortable and warm.

Another brilliant and glorious example of RAPID WARMING and an eminent threat to humankind!


Fracking-hatred again

Greenies hate anything that benefits humanity

I am bemused to see that there is a moderate earthquake in Oklahoma making the news.

Such things are not unknown, of course, but the “Green” oriented blogs are all blaming the earthquake on “fracking”.

This is a “hot” item, since the oil shales of North Dakota and Pennsylvania are potential “black gold” that will rewrite the balance of oil from the Middle East (although most US oil is actually from either the US or other western hemisphere areas, mainly Canada).

I wasn’t aware that “fracking” was being done in Oklahoma, but they do “inject” wells, and it is well known that you can cause earthquakes by taking out oil if you don’t pump water back into the hole.

So if the Oklahoma earthquakes were caused by bad oil pumping, there is an argument to clarify the problem and fix it.

Yes, I said “Fix it”.

The environmentalists might want to stop pumping all oil, but my Oklahoma neighbors were delighted when the price of oil went up and they restarted pumping in our area. Many were working in low wage jobs, or were working on oil rigs or in countries such as Venezuela and Nigeria that had started becoming a bit dangerous. More local jobs were both needed and welcome. The attitude was: environmental problems? You can’t eat the environment.

Even health problems thought to be due to the wells were shrugged off as the price of having a job. True, most folks do want a cleanup of environmental damage from the past, but they also want and need jobs.

But the real question is: can the earthquakes be blamed on something simple, like improper oil extraction, (which could be “fixed” with another techological fix) or is there a fault line or other cause that scientists can’t find?

Missing a fault line that could blow at any time would actually be more of a worry. Most homes and buildings in much of the central US are not “earthquake proof” even though the New Madrid fault near St. Louis was the largest earthquake in US recorded history.

Heck, most of them are not even “tornado proof”, even though folks live in “Tornado alley”.

For those who are not familiar with the landscape, Here is a list of earthquakes in Oklahoma since Dec 1897.

Due to oil?

The first oil well in Oklahoma was in April 1897…but the Oklahoma Geological survey states:

The earliest documented earthquake in Oklahoma occurred on October 22, 1882, and while it cannot be precisely located, the strongest shaking, Modified Mercalli Intensity of VIII, was reported at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory. On April 9, 1952 the largest instrumentally recorded earthquake in Oklahoma occurred near El Reno in Canadian County. This earthquake had a magnitude of 5.5 and caused damage to the State Capitol Office Building in Oklahoma City. Its effects were felt as far away as Austin, Texas and Des Moines, Iowa.

So earthquakes were there before the oil wells.

And most of the earthquakes are in central Oklahoma, where they do pump oil, but a bit west of the Tulsa oil fields which have suffered few reported earthquakes.


So what does the Oklahoma Geological survey say about the earthquake cause?

Generally away from plate boundary settings, such as Oklahoma, earthquakes will be smaller with magnitudes generally less than 6.5. Small earthquakes (magnitudes 5 or less) occur nearly everywhere in the world. These types of earthquakes can cause damage and loss of life, but damage is usually moderate and closely concentrated around the epicenter, where the earthquake occurred. Oklahoma earthquakes generally occur at shallow depths ranging from about 5 to 15 kilometers (3-10 miles) depth.

In other words, except for a faultline in SW Oklahoma that last slipped 1200 years ago, things should stay about the same.

But one does wish for a good geological explanation, and if the opening of the oil wells correlates with the recent earthquakes.

E&E News examines the problem and finds no easy answer.

A previously unreported study out of the Oklahoma Geological Survey has found that hydraulic fracturing may have triggered a swarm of small earthquakes earlier this year in Oklahoma. The quakes, which struck on Jan. 18 in a rural area near Elmore City, peaked at magnitude 2.8 and caused no deaths or property damage…The majority of the microquakes struck within 3.5 kilometers of the fracturing well, Picket Unit B 4-18. The quakes were shallow and fit well in time and space with the start of fracturing in the nearby well. The geophysical model fit, too…

The fracturing continued at the Picket well after the earthquakes, and the survey detected no additional seismic activity during that time, Holland said. The well was located in a geologically complex region riven by thrust rocks, he added, and a quake would likely have occurred at some point with or without the drilling — the rocks were primed for it.

“These earthquakes were likely to happen,” he said.

So the answer is: yes, no, and maybe. Or maybe “all of the above”.
Jumping to conclusions based on one’s ideological background (it was the fracking or from hydrolic injection of water, or that it was ordinary earthquakes and that the green lobby is again lying about the risk) without good geological knowledge only clouds the issue.


Debunking the EROEI "Golden rule"

(The latest Greenie anti-fracking argument. Tim Worstall points out that it all depends on where the energy comes from)

I wrote recently about how peak oil is a rather nonsensical concept: technology is advancing at such a rate that we’re discovering entire new planets to explore for the stuff.

The latest comment to come back to me on that argues that because of ERoEI (Energy Return on Energy Invested) peak oil really is a serious problem and, essentially, that I’m all wet for disagreeing. The problem with this is that while the math and physics of ERoEI is just fine, indisputable even, it’s just not a very useful conceit except in certain very limited situations.

Basically, what is being said is that as oil gets deeper, more difficult to pump up, perhaps with tar sands we’ve got to use more energy to purify the stuff, then at some point we hit a boundary, a system boundary. We’ll be using more energy to get the oil out than we’ll get energy from the oil we get out. Which, self-evidently, is nonsense, that’s like the internet companies losing money on every transaction and they’ll make it up in volume.

That is, as far as I understand it, the argument. And it does work in certain special situations. It would indeed be self-evidently absurd to use 10 barrels of oil at one site to pump up one barrel of oil. Better, obviously, to use one of the 10 you have and have 9 left over.

However, this doesn’t work as an assumption about the wider world in general. For energy comes in a number of different forms, dispersed, concentrated, at various different times, some of it is directly usuable, other of it has to be transformed to become so and so on.

We have, for example, no problem at all in using tonnes of one form of oil, shipping diesel, to get an aircraft carrier and it’s aviation gasoline close to the Libyan shore so that a few gallons of that avgas can be used to bomb Ghadaffi (OK,so should be past tense there). We’re just fine with using fuel to get fuel to places.

But let’s really go wild here and think about something very different indeed.

Take, for example, the humble loaf of bread, the staff of life. We use vastly more energy to create that loaf of bread than we get out of having produced it.

Leave aside the oil use, the fertiliser, the transport, all of that. Consider instead just water. It takes 1,000 tonnes of water to grow a tonne of wheat. That water must be fresh water. Producing fresh water requires huge amounts of energy. The Sun does this very nicely for us, evaporating it from the oceans and sending it back down as rain again.

Now, think of the energy that is required to evaporate 1,000 tonnes of water…..that’s 1 million kilos at 419 kJ per kilo. 419 million kJ.

There’s around 3,000 calories in a kg of wheat. So our tonne of wheat provides us with 3 million calories. 3 million kcal (nutritional calories that is) is 12560400 kJ. A little over 12 million kJ.

So, in producing that staff of life, those grains which keep the entire world turning, we use 35 times as much energy as an input as we get as an output.

And we’re quite happy with this. We don’t think it odd at all. And we most certainly don’t say that it’s unsustainable because it doesn’t pass the ERoEI calculation.

The reason we’re not worried about it is because we’ve got vast amounts of energy coming to us as sunlight. Huge, massive, great big gobs of it. And we’re entirely happy to use it copiously, waste huge amounts of it, because there is so much. We want that energy in a form that can be used by our bodies and we’re just delighted to waste 97% of the energy in order to get a bit in the form we can use.

ERoEI just isn’t a binding constraint on our system, not at any human scale.

Sure, the entire world cannot use more energy than there is available to the entire world, that’s true. And it is pretty silly to use more of one form of energy to produce less of that same form of energy. But outside those two special cases, ERoEI just doesn’t mean very much.

And the reason that ERoEI doesn’t mean very much is that we’re not, an any kind of human scale, limited by the availbility of energy. The Sun simply pumps in so much energy that total energy availability simply isn’t a binding constraint upon us. What we’re interested in is usable energy and we’re quite happy to waste total energy in order to get usable. As in the growing wheat example, there’s 35 times more energy going into the system than energy we get out of it and yet we’re all just entirely delighted with said system.

So no, I’m sorry, ERoEI does not in fact mean that peak oil is inevitable or even a problem even if it is. For the math and the physics of the idea only apply in certain very specific circumstances, not as a general rule across life or the planet.


Peak Stuff has been and gone

Prices are fixing "waste"

One of the amusements I delight in about the environmental movement is that they're generals, always fighting the last war. We've still got doomongers warning about population when we already know the answer to that. Indeed, are implementing the answer to it. Population, birth rates, fall when places get rich (not least because rich places have more for women to do than endlessly pump out more babies) and as the world is getting rich we've solved that problem. We've similarly got doomongers telling us all that minerals are about to run out: without noting that we're recycling ever more of them and in many places co0nsumption of virgin material is falling as we replace it with recycled (the iron industry being an obvious example).

One that is similarly popular is that we're just simply using too much stuff, that on a limited planet we can't all just keep having more. But it appears that peak stuff has already been and gone:

In 2001, Goodall says, the UK's consumption of paper and cardboard finally started to decline. This was followed, in 2002, by a fall in our use of primary energy: the raw heat and power generated by all fossil fuels and other energy sources. The following year, 2003, saw the start of a decline in the amount of household waste (including recycling) generated by each person in the country – a downward trend that before long could also be observed in the commercial and construction waste sectors.

In 2004, our purchases of new cars started to fall – as did our consumption of water. The next year, 2005, saw our household energy consumption starting to slump (notwithstanding an uptick last year due to the cold winter). And in 2006 we seem to have got bored with roads and railways, with a decline in the average distance traveled on private and public transport. All of this while GDP – and population – went up.

The secret to this is that GDP is the "value of all goods and services produced". And we can, as we have been, increase GDP by increasing the value added rather than the quantity of goods and services. There's actually no great secret here at all: it's exactly what we would expect to happen in fact, if raw materials get more expensive (as those who insist they are running out would say they are) then we'll use less of them.

And note, no one planned this, insisted upon it, regulated for it or imposed it. Just happened quite naturally as the market response to higher raw material prices. As we've seen the quite natural market response to greater wealth being fewer children, prices encouraging recycling of metals and all the rest.

Great things markets, aren't they? If only more environmentalists would realize that they are the method of getting what we all desire, that cleaner, greener, richer, world.


Scrapping wind farms in favour of nuclear and gas would save each Briton £550

Shelving expensive wind farms in favour of cheaper nuclear and gas-fired power stations would save every Briton almost £550, it is claimed. Government plans to cut pollution by a third by 2020 rely heavily on wind power and will cost £108billion to implement, an accountancy firm has calculated.

But shifting the emphasis away from turbines and towards nuclear and gas-fired power stations would slash the bill by £34billion, according to KPMG. This equates to around £550 for every person in the country.

The preliminary conclusions of the Thinking About the Affordable report come as spiralling gas and electricity bills have left millions worrying about how they will keep warm this winter.

The average annual dual fuel bill stands at £1,345, almost double the £740 of five years ago.

Bills are predicted to rise another 25 per cent over the next four years, taking one in four households – 7.25million – into fuel poverty.

Wind turbines produce around 5 per cent of the country’s electricity, or enough to power 3.2million homes. This will increase around five-fold by 2020 under plans to raise the amount of green energy produced, while cutting carbon emissions.

But wind power is one of the most expensive forms of electricity generation to build. For instance, an offshore wind farm capable of powering 800,000 homes would cost £2.4billion. The bill for an equivalent power station fired by gas, a cleaner alternative to coal, would come in at £400million, or one sixth of the amount.
Power station: Nuclear power could prove to be more economical than wind

Wind farms and nuclear power stations cost similar amounts, but turbines are seen as more expensive as depending on nature means they often operate at a fraction of full capacity.

KPMG, which advises the Government on energy pricing, says wind power is too expensive. Mark Powell, the report’s author, said: ‘Taking a clinical economist’s view of hitting our carbon-reduction targets for the least cost shows we can reach our goal for a lot less. ‘However, to do this, the most expensive forms of renewable energies, particularly offshore wind, need to be scaled back.

‘Trying to meet carbon targets with a heavy reliance on renewable energy was a laudable vision but ... it’s time to face facts on how the huge level of investment may translate into fuel poverty.’

He said focusing on gas-fired and nuclear power plants would help Britain reach its target of a 34 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide by 2020 and increase the level of energy from renewable resources to 15 per cent. The bill, which will be footed by the consumer, would fall from £108billion to £74billion.

But the wind industry said the figures do not factor in points such as the farms being cheaper to run or benefits of not being reliant on imported gas.

The Energy Department echoed the criticism, saying KPMG ‘ignored long-term benefits to customers of energy sources that involve no on-going fuel costs’. [But DO involve huge maintenance costs]


Australia: NSW Auditor-General reveals $4 billion blow-out in NSW Solar Bonus Scheme

The controversial Solar Bonus Scheme would have blown out to almost $4 billion - more than 10 times its original estimated cost to taxpayers - had it been left to continue running as it was, a scathing assessment by the NSW Auditor-General has found.

The report by Peter Achterstraat, released this morning, says the scheme "lacked the most elementary operational controls, had no overall plan and risks were poorly managed."

It also found that the previous government and its agencies "grossly underestimated" the cost of the scheme and the number of people who would be encouraged to install solar systems.
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The findings will be embarrassing for the current Labor leader, John Robertson, who was energy minister when the scheme was designed under the former government.

Mr Achterstraat said the likely cost of the scheme to taxpayers is up to $1.75 billion, following the decision by the O'Farrell government to close it to new entrants this year. This was still "significantly more than the original $362 million estimate," he said.

Households who signed up to the original scheme were paid 60 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity their solar panels fed back into the grid.

The Keneally government belatedly slashed the rate paid to customers in the scheme from 60 cents a kilowatt hour to 20 cents last year after the cost blowout was uncovered.

"The New South Wales Scheme was far more generous than other states and contributed to many more people joining the scheme than were expected," Mr Achterstraat said.

In May the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, tried to rein in the blowout by retrospectively cutting the tariff paid to participants from 60 cents a kilowatt hour to 40 cents a kilowatt hour.

The plan caused widespread outrage from existing customers and the solar energy industry and sparked a backbench revolt which forced him to back down and commit to covering the cost in the state budget.

Mr Achterstraat said the Labor government failed to carry out a cost/benefit analysis for the scheme before it was implemented and there was no contingency planning.

"There was no budget for dollars or the number of connections and consequently very little control over the cost of the Solar Bonus Scheme," he said.



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


7 November, 2011

Head of 40,000 parasites says being Green is a Christian obligation

Money donated to World Vision is supposed to support poor children but is used instead to pay 40,000 staff. Would you buy a used car from this man? Note that he doesn't quote a single Bible verse. Some Christian! Global Warming is clearly his religion

So let me tell this "whited sepulchre" what the Bible DOES say: "God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Genesis 1:28 NIV)

That sounds like the opposite of the Greenie agenda to me

And how do these texts preach concern for global anything? "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36) and "And the world and its desires are fading away, but the person who does God's will remains forever" (1 John 2:17 (ISV). I could go on but I think I have exposed this Pharisee for what he is

ALL Bible-reading Christians should be "greenies" because "creation carries the imprint of the maker", says the head of World Vision Australia, the Reverend Tim Costello.

Speaking at the start of a national day of prayer on climate change yesterday, Mr Costello said it was incumbent on Christians to take the problem of global warming seriously, and to battle cynicism and despair.

"World Vision has 40,000 staff around the world … they are saying the same thing: the droughts are longer, the monsoons when they come are floods, we used to get two crops a year, now … one. These stories seem to correlate with what the science is saying."

His remarks stand in stark contrast to a speech given a fortnight ago by the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, who told a Westminster audience that efforts to rein in global warming were a sign of "hubris" and would be as "misdirected" as the efforts of Babylonians to construct the ill-fated tower of Babel.

Slamming what he described as the "propaganda achievements of the climate extremists", Cardinal Pell said CO2 was not a pollutant but "part of the stuff of life" and that plants would "love" a doubling of CO2 levels.

Mr Costello argued that "creation care is a fundamental building block of Christian faith, so it is incumbent on all Christians to say we have to take this [global warming] seriously."

He was speaking as a new coalition, Hope for Creation, launched the national day of prayer, with thousands of Christians taking part nationally and joining those from 40 other countries.


How to make our world a little less green, and a lot more expensive‏

Last Saturday I attended the open house at the new AES Laurel Mountain wind farm which straddles the border between Randolph and Barbour counties in West Virginia. Before a short tour of this windturbine facility that began generating electricity in July,there was welcoming talk by the wind farm’s general manager,John Arose, followed by a question and answer session.Frank O’Hara, from the watchdog citizen’s organization Allegheny Front Alliance, asked about a rumored bird kill of between 500 and 600 birds at the AES location.

Subsequent accounts have reported that 484 birds werekilled at the AES facility, apparently drawn in under foggy conditions by lights at the ridge top substation.

Mr. Arose confirmed that a bird kill had indeed occurred but didn’t share any other details except that AES Laurel Mountain was cooperatingwith the investigatingauthorities.Further inquiry indicates that,rather than the large raptors usually associated with birddeaths at wind farms, the birdskilled at Laurel Mountain were mainly blackpoll warblers ontheir fall migration to SouthAmerica. I believe that this mayqualify as the largestdocumented kill of its kind associated with a wind turbine facility. It would be another first for West Virginia which is nationally known for the thousands of bats killed at theTucker County, Mountaineer facility on Backbone Mountain.

With the Pinnacle wind farm nearly ready to begin spinning in Keyser, and the AES New Creek wind project beginning construction a few miles away, one wonderswhat unintended consequence will occur next?The Allegheny Highlands are not a suitable location for industrial wind power.Government wind maps show only the highest ridges in very few locations havingratings of #3 (fair) to #4 (good) on a scale that goes to #7(superior). Think of the blue sky/white turbine pictures you’ve seen in the ads. Those photos are never in mountains like ours for good reason. Observations of the operation of the windturbines at AES Laurel Mountain seem to illustrate the poorness of the wind resource.

Any one from Elkins can tell you that there are many days when several of the 61 turbines are still. Oddly, the case is often that three or four turbines in a rowwill be turning while others will have been randomly turned out of the wind. Somedays, by contrast, almost all may have been placed into service. Yesterday, on a drive to town, half the turbines were idle and the one, out my window at home, spun for three minutes around noon and again for an hour and fifty-five minutes before being turned off again at 5:51pm.

Why should we care, as precious little of the wind generated electricity is consumed in West Virginia and Western Maryland? It might be because a project like AES Laurel Mountain is enabled by your taxes. In this case 30% or $72 million of the cost of the wind farm was provided as a cash grant (not a loan) from the federal government. States contribute to this delinquency by setting "Renewable PortfolioStandards" with little more than good intentions as justification. Perhaps you mightwant to see a better return on such a large investment. As for me, I’m happy to see your dollars go to waste because when the air is still,the constant drone of the turbines, like a distant, endless freight train, is absent and the hills are, at least for a moment, quiet once more and the birds fly free in safety.


The "Berkeley" data is full of errors

In a surprising number of records, the “seasonally adjusted” station data in the Berekely archive contains wildly incorrect data. Gary shows a number of cases, one of which, Longmont 2ESE, outside the nest of climate scientists in Boulder CO, is said to have temperatures below minus 50 deg C in the late fall as shown below:

This is not an isolated incident. Gary reports:

Of the 39028 sites listed in the data.txt file, arbitrarily counting only sites with 60 months of data or more, 34 had temperature blips of greater than +/- 50 degrees C, 215 greater than +/- 40 C, 592 greater than +/- 30 C, and 1404 greater than +/- 20 C. That is quite a large number of faulty temperature records, considering that this kind of error is something that is so easy to check for. A couple hours work is all it took to find these numbers.

In the engineering world, this kind of error is not acceptable. It is an indication of poor quality control. Statistical algorithms were run on the data without subsequent checks on the results. Coding errors obviously existed that would have been caught with just a cursory examination of a few site temperature plots. That the BEST team felt the quality of their work, though preliminary, was adequate for public display is disconcerting.

Gary also observed a strange ringing problem in the data.

I observed earlier that I had been unable to replicate the implied calculation of monthly anomalies that occurred somewhere in the BEST algorithm in several stations that I looked at (with less exotic results.) It seems likely that there is some sort of error in the BEST algorithm for calculating monthly anomalies as the problems are always in the same month. When I looked at this previously, I couldn’t see where the problem occurred. (There isn’t any master script or road map to the code and I wasn’t sufficiently interested in the issue to try to figure out where their problem occurred. That should be their responsibility.)


Even though GHCN data is the common building block of all the major temperature indices, its location information is inaccurate. Peter O’Neill see has spot checked a number of stations, locating numerous stations which are nowhere near their GHCN locations. Peter has notified GHCN of many of these errors. However, with the stubbornness that it is all too typical of the climate “community”, GHCN’s most recent edition (Aug 2011) perpetuated the location errors (see Peter’s account here.)

Unfortunately, BEST has directly used GHCN location data, apparently without any due diligence of their own on these locations, though this has been a known problem area. In a number of cases, the incorrect locations will be classified as “very rural” under MODIS. For example, the incorrect locations of Cherbourg stations in the English Channel or Limassol in the Mediterranean will obviously not be classified as urban. In a number of cases that I looked at, BEST had duplicate versions of stations with incorrect GHCN locations. In cases where the incorrect location was classified differently than the correct location, essentially the same data would be classified as both rural and urban.

I haven’t parsed the BEST station details, but did look up some of the erroneous locations already noted by Peter and report on the first few that I looked at.

Peter observed that Kzyl-Orda, Kazakhstan has a GHCN location of 49.82N 65.50E, which was over 5 degrees of separation from its true location near 44.71N 65.69E. BEST station 148338 Kzyl-Orda is also at GHCN 49.82N 65.50E. Other versions (124613 and 146861) are at 44.8233 65.530E and 44.8000 65.500E.

Peter observed that Isola Gorgona, Italy had GHCN location of 42.40N 9.90E more than one degree away from its true location of 43.43N, 9.910E. BEST station 148309 (ISOLA GORGONA) has the incorrect GHCN location of 42.4N 9.9E.

The same sort of errors can be observed in virtually all the stations in Peter’s listing.

I realize that the climate community is pretty stubborn about this sort of thing. (Early CA readers recall that the “rain in Maine falls mainly in the Seine” – an error stubbornly repeated in Mann et al 2007.) While BEST should have been alert to this sort of known problem, it’s hardly unreasonable for them to presume that GHCN had done some sort of quality control on station locations during the past 20 years, but this in fact was presuming too much.

These errors will affect the BEST urbanization paper (the amount of the effect is not known at present.)

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

Obama Tightens Screw on America's Coal Supply

Weeks after the infamous BP oil spill in late-April 2010, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the agency that managed leasing and regulation, was split up into three parts.

Addressing the reorganization, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, said: “We will be able to strengthen oversight of the companies that develop our nation’s energy resources.” He addressed a perceived conflict of interest between departments due to the leasing and regulatory functions being in one agency—one brings in revenue and one regulates (and perhaps punishes) the businesses generating the income.

His mid-May 2010 actions bring his new Secretarial Order to reorganize a different agency into question.

On October 26, 2011, Secretary Salazar signed Secretarial Order 3315 that will consolidate the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The Order states that “fee collections” and “regulation, inspection and enforcement, and state program oversight” will now be integrated—the very tasks split out within the MMS reorganization.

Because this new order seems in direct contradiction to the 2010 SO 3299, it raises suspicion as to the true purpose of the agency reorganization—especially since the impacted industry is the administration’s favorite villain—coal.

SO 3315 was announced to the surprise of most in the industry. Charlie Boddy, a mining and government relations consultant with more than 40 years in the industry and former VP of government relations with Usibelli Coal Mine Inc., said when he first heard the announcement, he thought it was a joke. “It is,” he said, “without a doubt, the most bizarre proposal to come out of the Obama Administration.”

The fact that there was no consultation with the stakeholders, states, or Congress raises additional concerns. If there was a desire to work with the industry, the general belief is that they would have been involved. The order’s surprise element can’t mean good things for coal mining.

On November 4, as a part of a hearing on an investigation into a re-write of the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule, Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) stated: “In addition, we will also discuss the recent Secretarial Order requiring the merger of the Office of Surface Mining with the Bureau of Land Management. A proposal I am deeply concerned about impacting the ability of the nation’s ability to access our vast coal resources. Furthermore there are clear statutory limitations prohibiting the OSM from leasing or promoting coal, which is a key responsibility of the BLM.”

Doc Hastings (R-WA), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, issued the following statement: “I have serious concerns about this Secretarial Order to suddenly and dramatically alter the management of coal mining and the multiple-use of Western BLM lands. The Obama Administration has not made secret its desire to put an end to America’s coal-mining industry, and this appears to be one more step in that direction.”

Because of the “bombshell” nature of the announcement, the administration’s attitude toward the coal industry, the totally different missions of the OSM and the BLM, and the fact that they operate under different specific provisions and acts of Congress, the proposed merger can only be considered suspect.

In an internal memo to the DOI team, Secretary Salazar states: “This integration reflects our ongoing commitment to good government” and claims that it is about “Doing more in a limited budget environment.”

The OSM is a little agency by comparison to the BLM. OSM's 2011 budget appropriation is about $160 million compared to more than $1.1 billion for BLM. OSM has about 500 employees, compared to 10,000 at BLM. “In the scheme of government fat, OSM is one of the tiniest little targets you can take aim at,” said Kathy Karpan, a former OSM director. “It's a little, tiny entity that would be lost at BLM.”

Industry sources fear that OSM will be lost inside the BLM and view the move as a way to make coal mining more difficult; to delay permitting. Normally a coal mine can be permitted through OSM in less than a year. Permitting of a hard rock mine through the BLM can take 7-10 years.

The OSM deals with mines on private or Indian lands—mostly in the east. They cooperate with the states. They do regulation.

The BLM deals with federal lands—mostly in the west. They have little experience with private lands or state agencies. The generate revenues.

Like last year’s SO 3310 that circumvented Congress’ unique ability to designate Wilderness Areas by creating a new “Wild Lands” designation, SO 3315 brings authority into question. Insiders believe that a reorganization of this magnitude requires congressional action.

Some industry groups are taking a wait-and-see approach: “It may be a good idea, but no one really knows.” Coal mining companies are still evaluating, but initial reactions are not supportive.

History tells us that we do not need to “wait and see.” The longer there is silence, the harder it will be to reverse the order, which is scheduled to become effective December 1, 2011—following consultation with applicable congressional committees and will remain in effect until “amended, superseded, or revoked, whichever occurs first.”

While this may seem like a little issue in light of all the big problems we are facing in America, it is one more in a string of power grabs designed to take away authority from the states and move it to the federal government—meaning more centralized power. Don’t let them slip it in until “revoked.” Call Congress and stop SO 3315 before it starts.

Ultimately, less coal mining means job cuts, higher electricity prices, and a diminished America.


Wasted ‘Climate Change’ Cash Could Save Lives Instead

Tomorrow’s theoretical problems have been trumping today’s urgent needs

When it comes to climate change, our leaders would do well to follow Buddhist advice: when struck by an arrow, first remove it before seeking out your assailant. Otherwise, you will die.

But most governments and charitable foundations today do exactly the opposite. They try so hard to appease climate activists — who seem more concerned about the possible plight of people yet to be born than those suffering today — that millions of people have been abandoned to misery and early death in the poorest parts of the world.

The Canadian government is providing what might appear to be a generous $142 million to help victims of drought and famine in East Africa. Australia has also committed over $103 million. That is certainly far more money than either China or Saudi Arabia — the latter situated just across the Red Sea from the disaster area — are contributing. But it pales in comparison with what Canada and Australia are paying to fulfill their entirely voluntary Copenhagen Accord climate change commitments. Australia committed $599 million and Canada $1.2 billion between 2010 and 2012.

Both nations have already donated the first third of this commitment, an amount that is almost exactly the current shortfall in the international Horn of Africa Drought fund, a deficit that may lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people if it is not rectified.

The Copenhagen Accord specified that contributions should be split 50-50 between helping people adapt to climate change and stopping (or “mitigating”) climate change. Australia is generally following this formula, but 90% of Canada’s first $400 million donation is dedicated entirely to mitigation.

This undue focus on mitigation of a hypothetical human-caused dangerous warming that has yet even to be measured comes at the expense of the urgent needs of the world’s most vulnerable peoples. For example, ClimateWorks Foundation — an American climate activist group that has donated millions to Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection — received over $500 million from charitable foundations when they launched in 2008. This was twice as much as foundations contributed to the World Health Organization, and over seven times as much as they donated to UNICEF in that year.

Over the last two decades ending in 2009, the U.S. government spent a total of $68 billion for climate science research and climate-related technology development. Worldwide, it is estimated that Western countries alone are pouring at least $10 billion annually (2009) into global warming related research and policy formulation.

There are untold amounts being spent by corporations around the world on greenhouse gas reduction schemes, the costs of which are passed almost entirely on to consumers.

On October 27, the Climate Policy Initiative issued a report showing that at least $97 billion per year is being provided to “climate finance.” Tragically, just $4.4 billion — about 5% — of the total is going to help countries and communities adapt to climate change.

All the while, aid agencies remain drastically underfunded, even in the midst of East Africa’s worst famine in decades. Developing countries are pressured by eco-activists, media, and the UN to enable impractical “climate-friendly” energy policies that even developed nations cannot afford. At the same time, millions of the world’s poor lack access to electricity, running water, and basic sanitation.

And what is the world getting in return for this sacrifice? If the science being relied upon by the governments and the UN were correct, and all the countries of the world that have emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol actually met their targets, then 0.05 degrees Celsius of warming might end up being prevented by 2050. In other words, trillions of dollars of expenditure will be wasted for an impact on climate that is not even measurable.

Clearly, the time has long since passed to take an entirely different approach to the climate hazard issue. We need to pull out the arrow, address the real wound, and leave learning more about the possible assailant to another day.

Despite the demonstrated failure of the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming, a very real climate problem does exist. It is the ongoing risk associated with natural climatic variations. This includes short-term events such as floods and cyclones, intermediate scale events such as drought, and longer-term warming and cooling trends.

That such climate change is natural does not imply it is benign or gentle. Coming out of the last glacial period, during which sea levels were over 100 meters lower than today and kilometer-thick ice sheets made Canada, the northern U.S., and northern Eurasia uninhabitable, warming and cooling many times faster than our 20th century changes occurred. Even as recently as the 1920s, the “average annual temperature” rose between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius (and by as much as 6 degrees C in winter) in less than ten years at weather stations in Greenland.

Such natural changes have serious impact on human societies. From the demise of the robust Greenland Vikings to the sudden disappearance of the powerful pre-Incan civilizations of the Moche and the Tiwanaku, history is littered with examples of what happens when societies are unprepared for or unable to adapt to climate change.

Even when civilizations do not completely collapse due to extreme climate and weather changes, great calamities often ensue. Witness the extreme hardship and famine in Europe during the most severe phases of the 1250-1875 Little Ice Age, and similarly in the 1930s Dust Bowl event in America. Or how about the 1998 ice storm that paralyzed much of Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States?

We need to prepare for such events by hardening society’s infrastructure through activities such as burying electricity transmission lines underground. Had this been the norm, the freak October snowstorm that just hit the northeast U.S. would not have caused widespread power outages.

Similarly there is a need to “waterproof” southeastern Australia, which can be expected to experience irregular drought periods in the future naturally — quite irrespective of speculative human causation. This could be accomplished through pumping fresh water into the Murray Darling Basin from northern rivers, by recycling of waste water, by the construction of new dam reservoirs or desalinization plants, and by the prevention of water waste through evaporation and leakage from irrigation systems.

There is no question that climate change adaptation measures can be expensive. But unlike today’s completely futile and even more expensive attempts to stop the world’s climate from changing, expenditure on preparation for and adaptation to dangerous climatic events will pass on a more robust and wealthy society to future generations.

And perhaps some of the billions of dollars that we choose not to squander on futile mitigation measures can instead be committed to helping populations already living at the edge of survival.

For the cast-iron reality is that all countries need to have available to them the financial resources to cope with the natural climatic hazards that nature will inevitably continue to throw at us all.


Australia Chemical company's $1b expansion 'threatened by carbon tax'

With production shifting to much more polluting facilities in China

A CHEMICAL company that operates in Prime Minister Julia Gillard's electorate says it will shelve a $1 billion world-class expansion because of the carbon tax.

With the Senate set to approve the historic climate change policy tomorrow, Coogee Chemicals says it also threatens the long-term sustainability and jobs at the nation's only methanol factory in Laverton North.

Coogee Chemicals chairman Gordon Martin told the Herald Sun the company had been planning a new $1 billion plant in country Victoria, southern Queensland or in NSW around the seat held by Climate Change Minister Greg Combet.

It would have created 150 high-skilled jobs and export earnings of $14 billion, but Mr Martin said the carbon tax made it "uncompetitive and unviable". "The carbon tax will stop a significant Australian project that would value-add to Australia's abundant gas resource and jeopardise the long-term sustainability of the existing methanol plant at Laverton," he said.

The existing plant is in Ms Gillard's western suburbs seat of Lalor, where she will host Community Cabinet on Wednesday. The Laverton factory takes natural gas from Bass Strait and turns it into clear, colourless liquid called methanol.

Plant manager Grant Lukey said "every home will have something that includes methanol".

It is a critical ingredient for items such as particle board for building, table tops, aerosols, windshield wiper fluid, plastic soft drink bottles, paint, cycling tights and mattress foam.

Overseas it is an alternative to ethanol for car fuel, particularly in China.

Dr Lukey said the Laverton factory had the lowest carbon dioxide emissions per tonne of any methanol plant in the world. He said emissions were four-times greater at coal-based plants in China where 11 were built this year. "We've spent 16 years developing the best technology and now a world-scale project is going to go belly-up," Dr Lukey said.

Opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt blamed the Government. "There couldn't be a plainer example of the stupidity of the carbon tax than losing a $1 billion investment with all of the associated jobs while sending global emissions up rather than down," Mr Hunt said.

Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan said when the Senate passed the carbon tax it would be "a historic day for Australia". "As well as a cleaner environment, it will deliver better jobs for our children and grandchildren and a more secure economic future," Mr Swan said. "It's not an easy reform but it's the type of responsible, forward-looking policy that this Government is committed to delivering."

A tax of $23 a tonne will be paid by the top 500 polluters from July 1. Industry gets $3 billion a year in compensation and households $5 billion in tax cuts and welfare.



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


6 November, 2011

Arctic Ice Extent Has Increased 85% Since September

When there was a big melt of Arctic ice in 2007, it gave the Warmists a real horn, so much so that it has not gone down to this day. They just assume that the melting has continued. They keep asserting that the Arctic is still melting as if it were a fact. That 2007 was just a blip that has now very much gone into reverse cannot penetrate their closed minds -- JR

While the LSM talks endlessly about record melt in the Arctic, a record freeze up is occurring.

Arctic autumn temperatures have been the coldest in at least a decade, and possibly since 1996. That is why the record fast freeze is occurring.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Are Revkin and the NYT too moderate?

There is a curious site which calls itself the "NYT Examiner". It attacks the NYT from the Left. The latest attack is on the NYT global warming coverage. Excerpt below. Andrew Revkin, who blogs for the Times on climate, is seen by skeptics as a Warmist whom you can sometimes reason with. He is not as oblivious to the facts as are most Warmists. But that won't do at all, apparently:

An Interview with Howard Friel by NYTX:

Q. Howard, you have said that you were writing a book about the coverage of climate change by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal when you changed your mind to write a book about Bjorn Lomborg and climate skepticism. What did you find out about the coverage of climate change by the Times and Journal?

A. For one thing, the Times’ coverage of climate change was much better in the 1990s, when the reporter covering the issue back then, William K. Stevens, actually made a genuine attempt to cover climate science. Since then, the person who took the place of Stevens, Andrew Revkin, who blogs for the Times at Dot Earth, this was around year 2000, has deemphasized the climate science and instead has conducted a kind of features column about himself and the people that he emails or talks to.

Revkin was critical of the climate coverage of the Guardian and Independent beginning around 2004 or 2005, when the published climate science shifted, and began to point toward worst-case scenarios pretty much across the board. The Guardian and Independent were following the science to this effect. Revkin referred to this kind of science-based coverage as “climate porn”—probably quoting somebody else to this effect, but adopting the term for himself. Shortly thereafter, with enough high-profile climate skeptics adopting this view, this criticism coincided with an apparent reduction in the climate-based coverage by the Guardian and Independent.

Revkin also psychoanalyzes his readers by claiming that they can’t handle all the bad climate news, and so that’s his official rationale for not reporting it. I hope to write about this more in the future with more detail. As for the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the people there who write for that page are all corporate shills and climate deniers, so that’s easy to characterize. Revkin’s performance is more complicated, but it faithfully reflects the Times’ editorial policy.

Q. What do you mean when you say that about Revkin and the Times’ editorial policy?

A. The Times’ editorial policy is to not go out on a limb on any issue; to play it moderately; to be “objective”; to play it cool; to not be a crusading newspaper about any issue; to not permit the Times to be too strongly identified with any point of view on the important and controversial issues of the day. This policy has been articulated and repeated over and over again by the line of Times publishers and top editors over the years, going back to the late nineteenth century, with the Times’ founder Adolph Ochs.

However, to not take a position on issues of settled law and science—like the international law prohibition against the threat and use of force, and climate science and what that is telling us—is like a return to the Dark Ages, and is a very reckless and irresponsible position. Likewise, Revkin has avoided taking the view that reflects the very high factual probability and likelihood that the physical science basis of climate change is pointing toward a very serious and probably irreversible problem, which tracks worst-case scenarios, if we don’t act immediately to dramatically cut CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Instead, Revkin gravitates toward people like Roger Pielke Jr., who specializes in obfuscation and is an almost classic hot-air type social scientist.


Is "The Ecologist" preparing for a retreat?

"The Ecologist" makes large claims about its influence on environmental thinking so it is a surprise to find in it multiple admissions that climate prophecies have serious weaknesses. Some excerpts:

Its political and social importance has seen climate modelling come under more scrutiny than ever before. As a result the pressure is on climate scientists to be as precise as it is possible to be, not least because of the speed with which any perceived data discrepancies are seized upon by different interest groups.

Mistakes, cover-ups and inaccuracies have served to undermine many people’s faith in climate science at a time when its work is more important than ever.

Climate modelling has a different problem: based on forecast and projection, it is by definition an inexact science, but one upon which concrete decisions must be based if governments and societies are to assess risks and plan ahead. Somewhere in the grey area between prediction and policy, this uncertainty becomes more concrete.

Vicky Pope, head of climate science advice at the Met Office, says it is important to keep the politics and science separate. Problems arise, she says, when campaigning groups seek to use the science to make their own arguments. ‘The science needs to be seen to be objective, peer-reviewed and open, so people can ask questions.’

A step in this direction was made In July this year. After a two-year battle following ‘Climategate’, an Oxford academic won the right to get access to the UEA data, including 160 years’ worth of thermometer readings from 4,000 weather stations. As a result of the ruling, climate researchers from now on will be required to make their research publicly available.

Climate models translate the climate of the earth into mathematics. The simpler ones do so in order for scientists better to understand the processes and establish patterns. More complex examples (General Circulation Models) attempt to represent everything – clouds, air movement, rain, shrinking ice, ocean heat, as well as the interaction between all these things, which in effect define climate – as well as use archive information to model climates from the past, in order to make predictions for the future.

GCMs are currently the best means of creating a climate forecast, but because of the complexity of the weather systems they calculate can be difficult to analyse and understand. And even the very best models are only as good as our current level of knowledge and the computer technology available to us.

There are 22 major global climate models and many more regional ones that submit their data to the IPCC. It produces a report comparing and synthesising all of the data, noting discrepancies and scientific disagreements – some models have different ways of representing clouds, for example.

This makes it one of the most powerful ways to assess the uncertainty inherent in the process, says Vicky Pope. She adds that the IPCC process ‘isn’t perfect’ but significant improvements are made to it on an ongoing basis.

‘These are projections – there is no way to provide an accurate prediction of the future – and their goal and that of climate science is to produce a risk assessment of what the science is telling us about how the climate will change. It is up to politicians and society to decide on a response. Our role is simply to supply objective evidence and to represent the uncertainty inherent in the scientific process. It isn’t a question of right and wrong, but of trying to give a balanced assessment of what is certain and uncertain.’

But new research from the Lancaster Centre for Forecasting at Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) does suggest that current forecasts can be made more accurate.

Report co-author Robert Fildes, a forecast researcher, developing a simple statistical model that delivers better results when compared with previous climate forecasts, i.e. by adding certain data he has been able to match his figures more accurately with a historic forecast.

‘If the climate model was as good as it is possible to be, my simple statistical model should not have added any value. But broadly speaking, it does. My research revealed the limited availability of “proper” forecasts from these climate models, yet we are risking the world on them. The whole thing is based on a set of forecasts – for example, how high should our flood defences be? – and we need to know how accurate they are.’

Weather forecasters get immediate feedback, he points out: if they forecast rain for tomorrow, they know tomorrow whether they were right. While there are methodological problems inherent in forecasts with a 10-20-year horizon, Fildes is critical of the fact that climate scientists have ‘tended to say it’s too difficult and not perfect so we won’t do it. They can do it, and do it better.’

He stresses that his work should not be misinterpreted as being negative about climate modelling, but he says climate modelling would be improved if it absorbed the lessons learnt by the forecasting and economic communities over the past 20-30 years, primarily that rigorous evaluation and benchmarking methods – comparing forecasts against some established benchmark to assess their accuracy – are vital.

Another issue is that current GCMs are by no means exhaustive. In a recent report, Nasa climate change scientist James Hansen observed that current climate models do not factor in ‘climate forcing’ – changes that affect the energy balance of the planet – caused by aerosols, and as such deliver incorrect results. He calls it ‘the principal barrier to quantitative understanding of ongoing climate change. Until aerosol forcing is measured, its magnitude will continue to be crudely inferred, implicitly or explicitly, via observations of climate change and knowledge of climate sensitivity.’

Fildes argues that policymakers need to be responding to a wide range of other climate forcings – not simply greenhouse gases – and considering their effects regionally as well as globally. The IPCC climate modelling process is unreliable because it does not do so, he says, adding that the focus on greenhouse gases has been driven by a priori assumptions in the models themselves. This will have to change in the future, he adds.


Another climate liar -- and a prominent one

Truth has never been much of a priority for the Green/Left but this is pretty blatant -- JR

From an ABC interview with Richard Somerville:
Q : for some decades climate scientists have been predicting that heavy snowfalls in the winter would be more frequent.

A : That’s right, in fact …..

Given that Richard Somerville is an IPCC lead author, he should probably be aware that one decade ago the IPCC predicted the exact opposite of what he claims.
IPCC 2001 Ice Storms

Milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms


According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes – or eventually “feel” virtual cold.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Warming is over. Global cooling is the immediate threat

Some excerpts from Don Easterbrook -- who has the distinction of having made TRUE predictions about climate change -- something no Warmist has managed

Global climate changes have been far more intense (12 to 20 times as intense in some cases) than the global warming of the past century, and they took place in as little as 20–100 years. Global warming of the past century (0.8° C) is virtually insignificant when compared to the magnitude of at least 10 global climate changes in the past 15,000 years. None of these sudden global climate changes could possibly have been caused by human CO2 input to the atmosphere because they all took place long before anthropogenic CO2 emissions began. The cause of the ten earlier ‘natural’ climate changes was most likely the same as the cause of global warming from 1977 to 1998.

After several decades of studying alpine glacier fluctuations in the North Cascade Range, my research showed a distinct pattern of glacial advances and retreats (the Glacial Decadal Oscillation, GDO) that correlated well with climate records. In 1992, Mantua published the Pacific Decadal Oscillation curve showing warming and cooling of the Pacific Ocean that correlated remarkably well with glacial fluctuations. Both the GDA and the PDO matched global temperature records and were obviously related (Fig. 4). All but the latest 30 years of changes occurred prior to significant CO2 emissions so they were clearly unrelated to atmospheric CO2.

The significance of the correlation between the GDO, PDO, and global temperature is that once this connection has been made, climatic changes during the past century can be understood, and the pattern of glacial and climatic fluctuations over the past millennia can be reconstructed. These patterns can then be used to project climatic changes in the future.

Using the pattern established for the past several hundred years, in 1998 I projected the temperature curve for the past century into the next century and came up with curve ‘A’ in Figure 5 as an approximation of what might be in store for the world if the pattern of past climate changes continued. Ironically, that prediction was made in the warmest year of the past three decades and at the acme of the 1977-1998 warm period. At that time, the projected curved indicated global cooling beginning about 2005 ± 3-5 years until about 2030, then renewed warming from about 2030 to about 2060 (unrelated to CO2—just continuation of the natural cycle), then another cool period from about 2060 to about 2090.

This was admittedly an approximation, but it was radically different from the 1° F per decade warming called for by the IPCC. Because the prediction was so different from the IPCC prediction, time would obviously show which projection was ultimately correct.

Now a decade later, the global climate has not warmed 1° F as forecast by the IPCC but has cooled slightly until 2007-08 when global temperatures turned sharply downward. In 2008, NASA satellite imagery (Figure 6) confirmed that the Pacific Ocean had switched from the warm mode it had been in since 1977 to its cool mode, similar to that of the 1945-1977 global cooling period. The shift strongly suggests that the next several decades will be cooler, not warmer as predicted by the IPCC.

The IPCC prediction of global temperatures, 1° F warmer by 2011 and 2° F by 2038 (Fig. 1), stand little chance of being correct. NASA’s imagery showing that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) has shifted to its cool phase is right on schedule as predicted by past climate and PDO changes (Easterbrook, 2001, 2006, 2007).

The PDO typically lasts 25-30 years and assures North America of cool, wetter climates during its cool phases and warmer, drier climates during its warm phases. The establishment of the cool PDO, together with similar cooling of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), virtually assures several decades of global cooling and the end of the past 30-year warm phase. It also means that the IPCC predictions of catastrophic global warming this century were highly inaccurate.

The switch of PDO cool mode to warm mode in 1977 initiated several decades of global warming. The PDO has now switched from its warm mode (where it had been since 1977) into its cool mode. As shown on the graph above, each time this had happened in the past century, global temperature has followed.

Comparisons of historic global climate warming and cooling over the past century with PDO and NAO oscillations, glacial fluctuations, and sun spot activity show strong correlations and provide a solid data base for future climate change projections.

The ramifications of the global cooling cycle for the next 30 years are far reaching―e.g., failure of crops in critical agricultural areas (it’s already happening this year), increasing energy demands, transportation difficulties, and habitat change. All this during which global population will increase from six billion to about nine billion. The real danger in spending trillions of dollars trying to reduce atmospheric CO2 is that little will be left to deal with the very real problems engendered by global cooling.


Global warming (i.e, the warming since 1977) is over. The minute increase of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere (0.008%) was not the cause of the warming—it was a continuation of natural cycles that occurred over the past 500 years.

The PDO cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling, perhaps much deeper than the global cooling from about 1945 to 1977. Just how much cooler the global climate will be during this cool cycle is uncertain. Recent solar changes suggest that it could be fairly severe, perhaps more like the 1880 to 1915 cool cycle than the more moderate 1945-1977 cool cycle. A more drastic cooling, similar to that during the Dalton and Maunder minimums, could plunge the Earth into another Little Ice Age, but only time will tell if that is likely.

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

Fulfilling The President's Green Dreams Through Private Competition

The Reason Foundation’s Julian Morris and Adam Peshek argue that instead of handing out loans to companies like Solyndra, the government should offer prizes for actual results

Solar-panel maker Solyndra, with its $535 million loan guarantee from taxpayers, was supposed to help usher in the era of clean energy and green jobs that President Obama has been promising. Instead, Solyndra went bankrupt and the FBI, Treasury Department and Congress are all investigating the company’s collapse and how it got its loan.

The Department of Energy program that made the disastrous loan to Solyndra was supposed to “accelerate the domestic commercial deployment of innovative and advanced clean energy technologies at a scale sufficient to contribute meaningfully to the achievement of our national clean energy objectives.” That obviously didn’t happen. And since the energy program handed out numerous other loans worth over $16 billion since 2009, it is likely we’ll be hearing about more “green” failures and further taxpayer losses.

The Obama administration should be examining a recent example that shows how to spur environmental innovation and progress – without putting any taxpayer money at risk. Last year, the X Prize Foundation and Wendy Schmidt partnered to create the Oil Cleanup X Challenge to “develop innovative, rapidly deployable, and highly efficient methods of capturing crude oil from the ocean surface.”

The Deep Water Horizon explosion and oil spill off the coast of Louisiana in 2010 demonstrated how little improvement in oil cleanup technology had been made since the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. So the Oil Cleanup X Challenge’s goal was straightforward: whoever could create the most efficient method of removing oil from the surface of sea water, meeting a minimum oil recovery rate of 2,500 gallons per minute, would receive $1 million. Second- and third-place would get $300,000 and $100,000 respectively.

This $1.4 million call to action prompted over 350 teams to pre-register and the results, announced October 11, were impressive. Seven of the final 10 teams doubled the standard oil recovery rate of 1,100 gallons per minute. The winner, privately-held Elastec/American Marine of Illinois produced an oil recovery rate of nearly 4,700 gallons a minute. In a single year, without any federal funding, the X Prize had identified a problem, incentivized a solution, and produced a more efficient and cheaper technology that more than quadrupled the industry standard for cleaning oil spills.

The primary difference between the Oil Cleanup X Challenge and the disastrous federal loan program that gave Solyndra over half a billion dollars is clear: The government program wasn’t based on results. It loaned money to the companies, like Solyndra, that had the most lobbying influence and best political connections. The oil cleanup contest awarded money for outcomes. It was an even playing field open to all comers. Companies didn’t compete through grant applications or lobbying. The best products won.

Some governments have started recognizing the merits of prizes over subsidies. In 2009, the governments of the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Russia and Norway, together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed $1.5 billion to buy vaccines for diseases that primarily affect people in poorer countries. The first company to develop an effective vaccine is rewarded with a prize in the form of large scale purchases of its vaccine. The push for this prize-like system came after conventional government subsidies for vaccine research failed.

Government shouldn’t be in the business of selecting winners and losers in business at all. But if it is going to attempt to drive “green” innovation, it should use prizes to reward actual results and minimize corruption and corporate welfare. Prizes could be used to increase energy efficiency, cost-effectively convert solar energy to electricity, waste reduction efforts, and drive advancements on any number of environmental issues. The type of crony capitalism that led taxpayers to waste over half-a-billion dollars on Solyndra needs to be eliminated. And rewarding proven success through prizes is a significantly better policy than subsidizing failure.



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


5 November, 2011

This guy is extrememely logical, except for just one fault in his sorites (logical chain)

So where did he go wrong? See what follows the excerpt below

We've had some amazing, record-breaking weather in the past few years, including a rare October snow. But the big question is: Why? NBC10 Chief Meteorologist Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz offers an explanation as to what could be contributing to these extremes.

It is unbelievable! The chance of it happening by chance is microscopically small! But there’s a simple, easy explanation it happening. We’re talking about the many all-time records of extreme weather we’ve seen in Philadelphia in less than three years. The records include:


Snowiest winter ever recorded (since 1880s)
Snowiest February ever recorded
Snowiest month ever recorded (Feb.)
2nd and 3rd biggest snowstorms ever recorded

FROM 2010

Hottest summer ever recorded
Hottest June ever recorded
3rd Hottest July ever recorded
Most 90+ degree days ever recorded
4th Hottest Sept. ever recorded
Wettest March ever recorded

FROM 2011

Hottest July ever recorded
Wettest August ever recorded
3rd Wettest September ever recorded
Wettest Aug/Sept ever recorded (any 2 months)

Some of these all-time records were not broken by just a few percent, as is usually the case, but by 60-percent! I’ve been a meteorologist for nearly 40 years, and have never seen anything like this! In fact, I wouldn’t have believed such a thing was even possible in so short a time. But it did happen.

How can we explain such an amazing number of extremes? Remember, this is just for Philadelphia, and there have been similar multiple all-time records set over other parts of the country and elsewhere in the world. What is going on?

In science, we try to explain every unknown. Sometimes we can’t, and we have to settle for answering “we don’t know” to certain questions. There’s a difference between a credible explanation and proof, though, and we don’t need absolute proof to explain things.

The first step is to see if there are any similarities in most or all of the records. In this case, ALL of the records involve HEAT and/or MOISTURE.

What about the snow? That’s the moisture part. While we haven’t seen cold temperature records, we have seen higher amounts of snow in the storms that have occurred. It’s just a colder version of the extreme rainfall and flooding we’ve seen. The common element is an increase in WATER VAPOR, which has been measured to have increased worldwide in recent decades.

So, the ONLY reasonable explanation is that “global warming” is having some effect on this extreme weather. Computer models (and simple meteorological logic) have shown for a long time that higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere would lead to more heat and more water vapor.

I even believe our record October snowstorm is more evidence of global warming rather than the opposite, which would seem more logical (how many times have you heard skeptics say that a snowstorm or snowy winter refutes global warming?)


So what's the fault in his logic? He makes a false assumption: He assumes that the globe has been warming in recent years. But even Warmist scientists now admit that there has been no warming for 12 years or so (and skeptical scientists even see a cooling trend). And if something doesn't exist it cannot cause anything! He's one hell of a crappy meteorologist not to know that.

Jack-booted thug calls Republicans jack-booted thugs

If anybody is trying force their will on everybody else by hook or by crook, it's the fanatical Lisa Jackson

U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson took on congressional Republicans for trying to blame a sour economy on environmental regulations yesterday in a speech at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

Jackson accused House and Senate Republicans of deliberately misusing EPA's assertion that it would need 230,000 people to enforce greenhouse gas regulations. The number, she said, was drawn from an agency document arguing for "tailoring" the regulations to exempt small businesses.

"Those jack-booted thugs knew that," she said of the Republicans.

The EPA chief has been on an offensive lately against Republican charges that environmental regulations are threatening the U.S. economy. Yesterday, she reprised the assertion she made in a Los Angeles Times op-ed last month that Republicans consider coal-fired power plants, industrial boilers and other polluting facilities "too dirty to fail."


Auto Dealers Rebut "Scientist" group (One of whose members is a dog)

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and seven other green groups sent the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) a letter (dated October 19) criticizing NADA’s opposition to President Obama’s plan to increase new-car fuel economy standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by Model Year (MY) 2025.

The UCS letter parrots the administration’s claims about the many wonderful benefits more stringent fuel economy standards will achieve during MYs 2017-2025. In a letter dated November 2, NADA points out that the claimed benefits depend on assumptions, such as future gasoline prices and, most importantly, whether consumers will want to buy the cars auto makers are forced to produce.

The UCS letter neglects to mention that, according to the administration’s own estimates, the MY 2025 standard would add at least $3,100 to the average cost of a new vehicle. NADA also notes other likely consumer impacts:

* Vehicles that currently cost $15,000 and less effectively regulated out of existence.

* Weight reductions of 15%-25%, with potential adverse effects on vehicle safety in collisions.

* 25% to 66% of the fleet required to be hybrid or electric, even though hybrids today account for only 2-3% of new vehicle sales.

The “concerned” scientists also completely ignore NADA’s critique of the legal basis of Obama’s fuel economy agenda. EPA and the California Air Resources Board are implicitly regulating fuel economy. Yet EPA has no statutory authority to prescribe fuel economy standards, and federal law expressly prohibits states from adopting laws or regulations “related to” fuel economy.

To help restore the statutory scheme Congress created, NADA supports Reps. Steve Austria (R-Ohio) and John Carter’s (R-Texas) amendment to the fiscal year 2012 EPA/Interior appropriations bill. The amendment would bar EPA from spending any money in FY 2012 to develop greenhouse gas/fuel economy standards for MY 2017 and beyond, or to consider or grant a waiver for California to develop such standards.


The Democrats' Blue-Collar Blues

Why is the president considering tanking thousands of union jobs in a 9% unemployment economy?


'Blue and green should never be seen without a color in between," runs the old design line. An imperiled President Obama is learning the political pain of mixing colors.

His greens are certainly in evidence, camped in ever greater numbers in front of the White House to protest the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that will move oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The pipeline officially needs State Department approval, though this week Mr. Obama further elevated the controversy by announcing that he would be making the final call.

Which gets us to his blues, or rather the 20,000 blue-collar construction jobs that would come with the pipeline, and the further 118,000 spin-off jobs. The unions—from the Teamsters, to the Plumbers and Pipefitters, to the Laborers—are out in force pushing for this giant job creator. "We can't wait to get America building again," blares a union-sponsored website in support of Keystone, poking at the president's latest political rhetoric.

Keystone is more than just the administration's latest headache. It's the clear culmination of an Obama governing philosophy that has consistently put green priorities ahead of blue-collar workers, and that is now one of the biggest threats to his re-election.

This isn't a constituency Mr. Obama should ever have dared to slight. Working-class white males were the Hillary Clinton bloc in 2008 and helped her trounce him in key states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio. Mr. Obama would go on in the general election to lock up the college-educated, the affluent, the women, the minorities, the first-time voters—you name it. He lost the white working class by 18 points.

Rather than court this constituency, Mr. Obama has spent three years waging war on them. Under the sway of (former) green czar Carol Browner, Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Jackson and the environmental lobby, the Obama administration has done more to kill working-class industries than any modern predecessor.

The EPA has labored over an ozone rule (estimated job losses: 7.3 million), power plant rules (1.4 million), a boiler rule (789,000), a coal-ash rule (316,00), a cement rule (23,000), and greenhouse gas rules (even Joe Biden can't count that high). The administration blew up Louisiana's offshore deepwater drilling industry, insisted Detroit make cars nobody wants to buy and, just to stay consistent, is moving to clamp down on the country's one booming industry: natural gas.

Those going the way of the dodo are utility workers, pipefitters, construction guys, coal miners, factory workers, truck drivers, electrical workers and machinists. Many of these are union Democrats who don't care if their union bosses are publicly sticking with the president. They are pessimistic about the future and increasingly angry over the president's attack on their work.

A Pew poll this year found an astonishing 43% of the white working class didn't believe they'd be better off in 10 years—the most negative views of any group polled, by far. It helps explain why, in the 2010 election, the white working class surged to give the GOP a record 63% of their vote, 30 points more than for Democrats. It's why a poll out of the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania just found that 59% of union households now say they want someone in the White House other than Barack Obama.

Despite the media obsession with America's changing demographics, blue-collar, white workers still make up 40% of the electorate, even more in states Mr. Obama needs. The latest 2012 census data suggest that white working-class voters could make up some 55% of the Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan votes.

This explains the White House's recent decision to delay or scale back some EPA regs, including on greenhouse gases and ozone. A red-faced Mrs. Jackson has issued all manner of excuses. But the reality is the rule changes were a direct give-back to the blue-collar unions, which have been publicly protesting the regulations and privately warning the administration about electoral death. The White House had also been getting an earful from vulnerable congressional Democrats, who threatened to start voting with Republicans against these job-killers if the White House didn't take them off the table.

More telling is that the White House is moving in a way that suggests even it knows these gestures come too late. Mr. Obama is throwing his campaign attention at Southern and Rocky Mountain states he won in 2008 (North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada, Colorado), looking for a way to 270 that goes around the Rust Belt.

This might also help explain Mr. Obama's continued dithering on Keystone XL. Most presidents would eat dog food for the chance to generate a job bonanza and billions in investment with a project his own State Department says poses no environmental threat. But the green lobby hates it, and that green lobby is a staple of the liberal, educated, affluent base, and that's the group the Obama team is ever more convinced it's going to need in 2012.

And so we have a president who is seriously considering tanking thousands of union jobs, in a 9% unemployment economy, and while on a jobs tour. If that sounds crazy, well . .


Alarming the Children: creating climate activists in Africa

Outside of religion, outside of totalitarian regimes, has there ever been such targeting of the young to win recruits for a cause such as we are seeing being used by climate campaigners around the world? With fear as the spur to catch their attention: you are going to be doomed/suffer greatly/kill polar bears/etc etc unless you, your parents, your teachers, your communities, your businesses, your governments follow the party line - a line which calls for weakening your society's ability to respond to climate variation by, for example, subsidising windfarms and discouraging more reliable and less expensive ways to generate electricity.

By what stretch of a tortured imagination, can it be found desirable to abandon the basic adult responsibility of protecting the young from being terrified of their future? The fact that this abandonment is based ultimately on computer models that can be tweaked to produce anything the owners of them want to see [apart from verisimilitude] is even more jaw-dropping.

Here it is happening in Africa. Read this extract from a press release by UNICEF dated 31 October 2011:

'UNICEF urges media to hear the voices of children on climate change

PRETORIA, 31 October 2011 - As South Africa prepares for the 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban from 28 November to 9 December 2011, UNICEF is urging media to consult with children on what they believe to be the key issues surrounding climate change, its impact on the children of South Africa, and what role children can play to address climate change.

A new study commissioned by UNICEF in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, to be launched in mid-November 2011, highlights the importance of child participation in designing effective responses to climate change.

The study ‘The Impact of Climate Change on Children in South Africa’ highlights the expected impact of climate change on children’s health, education, nutrition, safety and access to adequate housing and sanitation in South Africa – both directly and indirectly. However, in spite of their increased vulnerability, children cannot be viewed simply as victims of climate change. Children need to be – and have a right to be – actively involved in the discussions and planning of mitigation and adaptation strategies, as well as policies and plans by various levels of government.

The study also reveals that there are a number of existing initiatives in South Africa through which children are participating in the climate change agenda. These could be strengthened to create a solid foundation for effective participation by children on climate change issues that can feed into, and strengthen policy and national response.'


For Tiffany, All that Glitters Isn’t Gold

The fashionable jeweler has joined an effort to block an Alaskan gold mine from operating.

Occupy Wall Street’s demands seem incoherent and childish, but one of the reasons the protesters have struck a chord with the American people is the unsavory conduct of a number of major corporations. News stories have focused on a few big financial firms, but if you want to see a venerable company in another field behaving badly, take a look at Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany has decided to curry favor with their rich and famous and largely politically correct clientele by going green in a shamelessly hypocritical way. Three and a half years ago, the upscale jewelry store chain signed on to a campaign by an obscure environmental pressure group to stop a major new copper and gold mine in Alaska.

To be fair, a lot of other jewelry retailers, including Target, WalMart, Zale, and Cartier, have also signed Earthworks’s “No Dirty Gold” petition. Most have done so because their web sites and in some cases their stores have been besieged by anti-mining activists. Signing the petition is a cheap way to earn a little green virtue.

But now Tiffany has started to put money and its public prestige into the effort to stop development of the proposed Pebble Mine, which is located two hundred miles southwest of Anchorage in the Bristol Bay area. Tiffany is one of the sponsors of a “roadshow” put on by “Save Bristol Bay.”

The roadshow consists of public screenings in six Western cities (Seattle, Portland, Corvallis, San Francisco, Santa Fe, and Denver) in October and a private screening in New York City on November 1st of a propaganda film that claims that the Pebble Mine would harm or even destroy Bristol Bay’s wild salmon fishery.

This charge would be extremely worrying if there were any chance that the mine would pollute the rivers, because the Bristol Bay watershed is the largest sockeye fishery in the world and has big runs of several other varieties of salmon. If this were 1911 or even 1961, that would be a legitimate concern. But in 2011, federal environmental controls are so strict that the water that new mines put back into rivers is cleaner than before the water was taken out of the river.

The company that is trying to develop the Pebble Mine has been preparing an application for a Clean Water Act permit for several years. So far they have spent $125 million on hundreds of environmental studies that cover every possible aspect of the mine’s potential impacts. If the Environmental Protection Agency concludes that the mine could ever pose any threat to the Bristol Bay watershed, then the permit will be denied.

That is the reality. But in this case at least, Tiffany is concerned with public relations, not reality. They have mindlessly accepted the anti-mining propaganda without any apparent concern for the facts or the damaging effects of their political advocacy. If the “No Dirty Gold” campaign succeeds, one of the largest copper and gold discoveries in the world will not be mined.

The economic loss to Alaska will be staggering. Hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth will not be created. One thousand high-paying jobs that the mine would provide for at least thirty years (and probably for several more decades) will vanish.

Of course, that would be just the beginning. If “No Dirty Gold” succeeds in blocking the Pebble Mine, then they will be in a stronger position to block other proposed mines around the country.

Tiffany doesn’t care about destroying one thousand American mining jobs. What’s a thousand jobs compared to enhancing Tiffany’s environmental image with their fashionable customers? After all, it’s unlikely that any miner will ever be able to afford a $3800 gold bangle imprinted with the Tiffany logo.

However, when their own profits are threatened, the company takes a very different position. In an official 2010 letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tiffany’s general counsel objected to an obscure provision in the Dodd-Frank banking reform bill that requires the company to certify that their jewelry does not contain any gold produced in or around the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The general counsel notes correctly that there is no way to determine where refined gold has been produced. Trying to comply with the so-called “conflict mineral” provision would be “impracticable and extremely costly.”

Rather than hypocritically trying to score points by opposing so-called “dirty gold,” Tiffany needs to clean up its own act.


Australia: Queensland Conservative leader to open up some wilderness areas to mining

THE Steve Irwin Reserve set up by former Liberal PM John Howard will be opened up to mining, under plans by LNP leader Campbell Newman to restrict Queensland's landmark Wild Rivers Act.

Mr Newman announced yesterday that statutory protection of rivers would be repealed. It means major developments such as mining will potentially be allowed much closer to rivers under an impact assessment system.

Mr Newman will remove Cape York's Wenlock, Stewart, Archer and Lockhart rivers from legislative protection but - at this stage - leave others to stand. Mr Newman said the changes would give Cape York locals greater control of their economic future.

Terri Irwin, wife of the late Steve Irwin, said she had tried unsuccessfully to talk to Mr Newman about the issue. "Considering that a child dies every 20 seconds ... from drinking polluted water, I think it's absolutely ridiculous to be considering anything other than supporting wild rivers," Ms Irwin said.

Environment Minister Vicky Darling said Mr Newman described his scheme as a pilot plan, which made her wonder what would be next. "I'd urge Mr Newman to go up country and see what people say about wild rivers," she said.

Mr Newman said Cape York would be better protected by his plan. "It is clear wild rivers was designed more to capture green preferences, rather than for genuine, balanced environmental and development outcomes on Cape York," he said.



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


4 November, 2011

CO2 Equals Temperature – Even If It Doesn’t

The theory that CO2 rise causes temperature rise is no longer a theory to Warmists. It is an axiom: An unquestionable truth. That it is false is impossible for them to see. Their minds just cannot handle the equation being wrong, even when it obviously is. They have a sort of short circuit in their brains that skips over all evidence on the question -- JR

A peek inside the wildly disordered minds of climate alarmists.
Biggest jump ever seen in global warming gases
By SETH BORENSTEIN AP Science Writer November 3, 2011 8:48PM

WASHINGTON — The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated, a sign of how feeble the world’s efforts are at slowing man-made global warming.

CO2 is increasing very quickly, but temperatures have been flat or down for almost 15 years. Someone with a functional brain might recognize that they need to mentally decouple CO2 from temperature.
“It’s a big jump,” said Tom Boden, director of the Energy Department’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at Oak Ridge National Lab.

Boden said the latest figures put global emissions higher than the worst case projections from the climate panel. Those forecast global temperatures rising between 4 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century with the best estimate at 7.5 degrees.

Tom, if the trend so far this century continues – there will be zero degrees of warming by the end of the century. Why are you pulling nonsensical numbers out of your nether regions? You have no clue what the weather will be like next week, much less 90 years from now.
“Really dismaying,” said Granger Morgan, head of the engineering and public policy department at Carnegie Mellon University. “We are building up a horrible legacy for our children and grandchildren.”

Yes we are. Children are going to think that all scientists are either idiots, or criminals.

CO2 is increasing rapidly. Temperatures aren’t. If you made it past the first grade, try putting two and two together.


Why I Remain a Global-Warming Skeptic: Searching for scientific truth in the realm of climate

Good to see this in the WSJ, even if only in the European edition


Last month the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project released the findings of its extensive study on global land temperatures over the past century. Physics professor Richard Muller, who led the study, heralded the findings with a number of controversial statements in the press, including an op-ed in this newspaper titled "The Case Against Global-Warming Skepticism." And yet Mr. Muller remains a true skeptic—a searcher for scientific truth. I congratulate Mr. Muller and his Berkeley Earth team for undertaking this difficult task in the realm of climate.

The Berkeley study reported a warming trend of about 1º Celsius since 1950, even greater than the warming reported by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I disagree with this result, which perhaps makes me a little more of a skeptic than Mr. Muller.

Mr. Muller has been brutally frank about the poor quality of the weather-station data, noting that 70% of U.S. stations involve uncertainties of between two and five degrees Celsius. One could interpret the Berkeley study's results as confirmation of earlier studies and of the IPCC's conclusions, despite the poor quality of the stations used. But perhaps the issue is that the Berkeley study and the ones that came before suffer from common errors. I suspect that the temperature records still are affected by the urban heat-island effect—a term given to any local warming, whatever its cause—despite efforts to correct for this. The urban heat-island effect could include heat produced not only in urban areas, but also due to changes in land use or poor station siting. Therefore, I suggest additional tests:

1. Disassemble the "global average" temperature to get a better picture of what's going on regionally. This could involve plotting both the IPCC's and the Berkeley study's data only for tropical regions, separating the northern and southern hemispheres and testing for seasonal variation and differences between day and night.

2. Better describe what we can think of as the demographics of weather stations, a major source of possible error. The IPCC used 6,000 stations in 1970 and only about 2,000 in 2000. Let's examine their latitude, altitude and possible urbanization, and see if there have been major changes in the stations sampled between 1970 and 2000. For example, it is very likely that airports were used as temperature stations in both 1970 and 2000, because airport stations are generally of high quality. But airports are likely warming rapidly because of increasing traffic and urbanization. So if the number of airport stations remained constant at, say, 1,200 over that 30-year interval, the warming observed there might have increased between 20% and 60% over the same period of time, thereby producing an artificial warming trend.

3. The Berkeley study used a total of 39,000 weather stations, an impressive number. But again, we need to know if that number changed significantly between 1970 and 2000, and how the demographics of the stations changed—both for stations that showed cooling and for those that showed warming.

But the main reason that I am skeptical about the IPCC, and now the Berkeley, findings, is that they disagree with most every other data source I can find. I confine this critique to the period between 1978 and 1997, thereby avoiding the Super El Niño of 1998 that had nothing to do with greenhouse gases or other human influences.

Contrary to both global-warming theory and climate models, data from weather satellites show no atmospheric temperature increase over this period, and neither do the entirely independent radiosondes carried in weather balloons. The Berkeley study confined its findings to land temperatures as recorded by weather stations. Yet oceans cover 71% of the earth's surface, and the marine atmosphere shows no warming trend. The absence of warming is in accord with the theory that climate is heavily impacted by solar variability, and agrees with the solar data presented in a 2007 paper by Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

Moreover, independent data using temperature proxies—various non-thermometer sources such as tree rings, ocean and lake sediments, ice cores, stalagmites, and so on—also support an absence of warming between 1978 and 1997. Coral data also show no pronounced warming trend of the sea surface, and there are good reasons to believe that reported sea-surface warming is an artifact of thermometer measurements.

The IPCC's 2007 Summary for Policy makers claims that "Most of the observed increase in global average [surface] temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [90-99% sure] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations." While Mr. Muller now seems to agree that there has been such global average warming since the mid-20th century, he nonetheless ended his op-ed by disclaiming that he knows the cause of any temperature increase. Moreover, the Berkeley team's research paper comments: "The human component of global warming may be somewhat overestimated." I commend Mr. Muller and his team for their honesty and skepticism.


Richard Muller was never a warming skeptic, he admits

Though by no means a climate change denier, Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, whose work in nuclear and astrophysics is well known, had long been suspicious of some of the science underpinning the accepted catechism on global warming.

He wondered, for example, about the the potential for urban areas, which retain and generate inordinate amounts of heat, to distort data suggesting that things were getting warmer. He also questioned the reliability of surface temperature readings collected from aging and error-prone monitoring stations all over the planet.

Muller's desire to examine these issues -- along with a willingness to excoriate prominent climate scientists for what he considered bad behavior, and to cheer climate change skeptics for bucking received orthodoxies on the topic -- certainly made him something of an orphan in the ever-polarized climate wars. But to his mind, it didn't mean he rejected the basic mechanics of global warming.

Casual readers, perusing the headlines over the last two weeks, would be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

After Muller's two-year-old Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project began publishing its findings on these and other questions late last month, numerous news outlets have portrayed him as a former skeptic whose research has led him back to the global warming fold.

Those portrayals then generated a subsequent wave of opprobrium from the small but vocal community of skeptics and deniers who think, across the broadest spectrum, that global warming is nonsense, that humans aren't contributing to it, or some mixture of both. Efforts to disown him as part of Team Skeptic ensued.

"Richard Muller is not who he says he is. He is an advocate of the theory of man-made global warming," wrote a columnist in The Charleston Daily Mail. "The skeptic who claims to have debunked climate skepticism never was a skeptic," declared the folks at

Muller suggested the bluster on all sides was somewhat misplaced.

"It is ironic if some people treat me as a traitor, since I was never a skeptic -- only a scientific skeptic," he said in a recent email exchange with The Huffington Post. "Some people called me a skeptic because in my best-seller 'Physics for Future Presidents' I had drawn attention to the numerous scientific errors in the movie 'An Inconvenient Truth.' But I never felt that pointing out mistakes qualified me to be called a climate skeptic."

In a nutshell, Muller and his team at Berkeley, which includes his daughter, Elizabeth, merged and analyzed a staggering amount of data collected from temperature monitoring stations the world over in order to address several complaints about climate research thus far. Skeptics, for example, have long argued -- legitimately, in Muller's view -- that climate researchers have relied on too small or too selective a sample of station data to definitively conclude that temperatures are rising; that many of the stations offer unreliable data, or are skewed upward by proximity to urban "heat islands"; or that researchers have made inappropriate adjustments in data to compensate for changes in measuring equipment and other local variables that crop up over decades of pulse-taking.

None of these concerns proved significant. "Our analysis of the complete data set showed that none of these four major concerns of the skeptics had biased the answer," Muller said.

In fact, the results closely matched most previous analyses showing a clear up-tick in temperature -- roughly 1 degree Celsius -- over the last half-century. And their estimate even exceeded the conservative estimate of a 0.64 degree increase promulgated by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Asked whether his group's findings have been mischaracterized since publication, Muller -- who has been accused of mischaracterizations of his own -- was unequivocal. "By nearly every news, radio, and TV station that has reported on us," he said. "I have been misquoted more in the last two weeks than in the prior several decades of my professional life." Among other trouble spots, Muller said, was the headline put atop his own op-ed contribution to The Wall Street Journal, which described his findings as "The Case Against Global-Warming Skepticism."

Muller said he'd submitted a much more contemplative title for the piece -- "Cooling the Warming Debate."

"I certainly feel that there is lots of room for skepticism on the human component of warming," Muller said.

Indeed, if anything qualifies Muller as any sort of climate skeptic, it's on this point -- but only in the broadest sense. What role do humans play in all this warming? The BEST team didn't examine this question, but for most researchers, it's long been a bit of a no-brainer. Carbon dioxide, among other gases, acts like a great big blanket around the planet, trapping heat in the atmosphere and driving temperatures upward. As for where the carbon dioxide is coming from, if you drive a car, use electricity or otherwise live in the modern world, just look in the mirror.

For his part, Muller doesn't dispute that human activity plays a large role, but the scientist in him remains uncertain of just how to quantify that. "Although it is not a conclusion of the Berkeley Earth group, it is my personal opinion that greenhouse gas emissions from humans have contributed to the observed warming," Muller said. "The IPCC says that 'most' of the 0.6-degree Celsius warming of the past 50 years is anthropogenic. If 'most' means between 0.3- and 0.6-degrees Celsius, then that is certainly within the realm of possibility."

Muller added that the work done by his team does show that "variations in the temperature of the North Atlantic have a much larger effect on the global land temperature than had previously been recognized." Many researchers suspect that these North Atlantic variations are due to fluctuations in what's called the "thermohaline circulation" -- a slow and deep flow of ocean water around the planet.

"If that is the case," Muller said, "then part of the [temperature] rise observed may be due to such ocean variability, and that would imply that the human contribution is less."

That caveat notwithstanding, the Charles G. Koch Foundation, a philanthropy famous for underwriting climate denialism that provided $150,000 in funding for the BEST team's work, did feel compelled to cooly qualify Muller's research as still in need of peer review.

The foundation also noted that the BEST team had examined neither humanity's role in rising temperatures, nor whether ocean temperatures -- as opposed to land-based readings -- suggest that global warming is actually slowing, as some skeptics believe. Muller says further examination of those questions are on his to-do list.

"Scientists," he said, "have a professional responsibility to be skeptical."


With or without global warming, the only problems with feeding the world will be political

The characteristic state of markets for farm products is glut

My colleague Julian Morris, the vice-president for research at the Reason Foundation, along with Ohio State University natural resource economist Douglas Southgate have issued a new report, Weathering Global Warming in Agriculture [PDF]. Global warming will clearly affect what, how, and where farmers will grow food in the future as rainfall and temperature patterns shift. Will farmers be able to keep up with any changes in the weather and provide the food that 9 billion people will need by 2050? Yes, according to the new report, if they are allowed to adapt and trade.

Interestingly, the report highlights the fact that a lot of the projections for future agricultural production assume that farmers will be using pretty much the same technologies and growing the same crop varieties in the same areas as they do now. It's like assuming that person will allow themselves to be drowned by standing still in a rising tide.

In fact, during the last half century, farmers around the globe have proven themselves highly adaptable if given the chance. As the world's population burgeoned, food production more than kept up:
...mainly thanks to technological advances during and since the Green Revolution that have caused global yields of cereals (which comprise at least 60 percent of the human diet if the grain consumed by livestock is taken into account) to rise by 150 percent since the early 1960s.

The general tendency of food supplies to overwhelm food demand has registered in the marketplace. Corrected for inflation, prices of corn, rice and wheat declined by approximately 75 percent between 1950 and the middle 1980s, and then remained at historically low levels for another two decades. Food prices spiked in 2007 and 2008 due to rising agricultural production costs resulting from higher energy prices, expanded conversion of corn and other crops into biofuels, and export restrictions implemented by nations such as Argentina, Ukraine and Vietnam. However, markets soon returned to normal, with prices in late 2008 a little above what they had been before the spike.

Occasional upswings like those of 2007 and 2008 notwithstanding, food prices can remain at current levels or even decline further in the years to come. For example, the World Bank anticipates a deceleration of demand growth, mainly because population increases will dwindle as human fertility continues to decline and because the rate of growth for grain consumption per capita promises to slow down in emerging economies. In addition, ample opportunities remain for boosting production. Under the Bank’s baseline scenario, real food prices should be slightly below current levels in 2050, when human numbers will be at around nine billion and close to stabilizing.

What needs to be done in the future? As the report spells out, reforms must be taken to privatize and market price irrigation water, stop agricultural subsidies and end trade barriers, and allow farmers to adopt new crop varieties including those developed by biotechnology.

The report concludes:
If agriculture suffers because of climate change, the fault will lie not with underlying environmental scarcity, but rather with the absence of reforms such as these—reforms for which the case could hardly be more compelling.


China's corn crop keeps rising

Rising CO2 doesn't seem to be doing any damage!

Corn production in China, the world’s largest grower and consumer after the U.S., probably rose 6.7 percent to a record this year as farmers planted more and favorable weather boosted yields, a survey showed.

Output jumped to 189.18 million metric tons (7.5 billion bushels) from 177.24 million last year, based on a survey of the seven largest corn-growing provinces during the harvest in September and October by Geneva-based SGS SA for Bloomberg. The estimate tops the 182 million tons forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Oct. 12. Chinese growers may boost acreage 4.6 percent in 2012, SGS said.

Domestic production will reach a record for the seventh time in eight years after farmers planted 6.1 percent more land than in 2010, according to the survey of farmers in the northeast provinces of Jilin, Heilongjiang, Shandong, Henan, Hebei, Liaoning and Inner Mongolia from Sept. 26 to Oct. 20. China is expanding domestic supply as rising meat and dairy consumption boost demand for grain used as livestock feed.

“The extra acreage was the biggest factor for higher production, and it looks like farmers want to plant more next year,” Mark Oulton, the market research director for SGS, said yesterday in a telephone interview from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. “Corn is more profitable than other crops.”

After wet, cold weather delayed planting in much of northeastern China, farmers benefited from regular rains and no sustained periods of heat, according to World Weather Inc. in Overland Park, Kansas. Dry weather aided harvesting in September and October. Yields in the seven provinces increased 0.6 percent, according to SGS estimates.

Heilongjiang, the top-growing region last year, saw a 14 percent increase in planted area that offset an 8.6 percent drop in yields from wind and insect damage, survey data show. Acreage rose 3.7 percent in Jilin, the second-largest grower, while dry weather and winds cut yields 4 percent. Disease caused less harm this year, with 11 percent suffering normal to severe damage, down from 15 percent a year earlier.

The biggest jump in productivity occurred in Liaoning Province, where rains and reduced damage from insects led to a 36 percent jump in yields, compared with last year’s drought- damaged crop, the survey showed.

Fewer Farmers

Less than 50 percent of China’s population, the world’s largest, is involved in agriculture, down from more than 70 percent a decade ago, Fang Yan, the deputy director at the National Development and Reform Commission, said this week.

“Some people are just moving into the cities and renting out the land to their neighbors,” Oulton said.

The number of rented farms increased to 27 percent of the total surveyed, from 21 percent a year earlier, SGS said. Farmers rented 39 percent of the land for corn cultivation in Heilongjiang, the most in the survey. Farmers paid rent on 30 percent of the corn land in Jilin, and 6 percent in Hebei, the least in the survey.


Natural gas versus windmills

Which would you rather have in the view from your house? A thing about the size of a domestic garage, or eight towers twice the height of Nelson’s column with blades noisily thrumming the air. The energy they can produce over ten years is similar: eight wind turbines of 2.5-megawatts (working at roughly 25% capacity) roughly equal the output of an average Pennsylvania shale gas well (converted to electricity at 50% efficiency) in its first ten years.

Difficult choice? Let’s make it easier. The gas well can be hidden in a hollow, behind a hedge. The eight wind turbines must be on top of hills, because that is where the wind blows, visible for up to 40 miles. And they require the construction of new pylons marching to the towns; the gas well is connected by an underground pipe.

Unpersuaded? Wind turbines slice thousands of birds of prey in half every year, including white-tailed eagles in Norway, golden eagles in California, wedge-tailed eagles in Tasmania. There’s a video on YouTube of one winging a griffon vulture in Crete. According to a study in Pennsylvania, a wind farm with eight turbines would kill about a 200 bats a year. The pressure wave from the passing blade just implodes the little creatures’ lungs. You and I can go to jail for harming bats or eagles; wind companies are immune.

Still can’t make up your mind? The wind farm requires eight tonnes of an element called neodymium, which is produced only in Inner Mongolia, by boiling ores in acid leaving lakes of radioactive tailings so toxic no creature goes near them.

Not convinced? The gas well requires no subsidy – in fact it pays a hefty tax to the government – whereas the wind turbines each cost you a substantial add-on to your electricity bill, part of which goes to the rich landowner whose land they stand on. Wind power costs three times as much as gas-fired power. Make that nine times if the wind farm is offshore. And that’s assuming the cost of decommissioning the wind farm is left to your children – few will last 25 years.

Decided yet? I forgot to mention something. If you choose the gas well, that’s it, you can have it. If you choose the wind farm, you are going to need the gas well too. That’s because when the wind does not blow you will need a back-up power station running on something more reliable. But the bloke who builds gas turbines is not happy to build one that only operates when the wind drops, so he’s now demanding a subsidy, too.

What’s that you say? Gas is running out? Have you not heard the news? It’s not. Till five years ago gas was the fuel everybody thought would run out first, before oil and coal. America was getting so worried even Alan Greenspan told it to start building gas import terminals, which it did. They are now being mothballed, or turned into export terminals.

A chap called George Mitchell turned the gas industry on its head. Using just the right combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) – both well established technologies -- he worked out how to get gas out of shale where most of it is, rather than just out of (conventional) porous rocks, where it sometimes pools. The Barnett shale in Texas, where Mitchell worked, turned into one of the biggest gas reserves in America. Then the Haynesville shale in Louisiana dwarfed it. The Marcellus shale mainly in Pennsylvania then trumped that with a barely believable 500 trillion cubic feet of gas, as big as any oil field ever found, on the doorstep of the biggest market in the world.

The impact of shale gas in America is already huge. Gas prices have decoupled from oil prices and are half what they are in Europe. Chemical companies, which use gas as a feedstock, are rushing back from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Mexico. Cities are converting their bus fleets to gas. Coal projects are being shelved; nuclear ones abandoned.

Rural Pennsylvania is being transformed by the royalties that shale gas pays (Lancashire take note). Drive around the hills near Pittsburgh and you see new fences, repainted barns and – in the local towns – thriving car dealerships and upmarket shops. The one thing you barely see is gas rigs. The one I visited was hidden in a hollow in the woods, invisible till I came round the last corner where a flock of wild turkeys was crossing the road. Drilling rigs are on site for about five weeks, fracking trucks a few weeks after that, and when they are gone all that is left is a “Christmas tree” wellhead and a few small storage tanks.

The International Energy Agency reckons there is quarter of a millennium’s worth of cheap shale gas in the world. A company called Cuadrilla drilled a hole in Blackpool, hoping to find a few trillion cubic feet of gas. Last month it announced 200 trillion cubic feet, nearly half the size of the giant Marcellus field. That’s enough to keep the entire British economy going for many decades. And it’s just the first field to have been drilled.

Jesse Ausubel is a soft-spoken academic ecologist at Rockefeller University in New York, not given to hyperbole. So when I asked him about the future of gas, I was surprised by the strength of his reply. “It’s unstoppable,” he says simply. Gas, he says, will be the world’s dominant fuel for most of the next century. Coal and renewables will have to give way, while oil is used mainly for transport. Even nuclear may have to wait in the wings.

And he is not even talking mainly about shale gas. He reckons a still bigger story is waiting to be told about offshore gas from the so-called cold seeps around the continental margins. Israel has made a huge find and is planning a pipeline to Greece, to the irritation of the Turks. The Brazilians are striking rich. The Gulf of Guinea is hot. Even our own Rockall Bank looks promising. Ausubel thinks that much of this gas is not even “fossil” fuel, but ancient methane from the universe that was trapped deep in the earth’s rocks – like the methane that forms lakes on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.

The best thing about cheap gas is whom it annoys. The Russians and the Iranians hate it because they thought they were going to corner the gas market in the coming decades. The greens hate it because it destroys their argument that fossil fuels are going to get more and more costly till even wind and solar power are competitive. The nuclear industry ditto. The coal industry will be a big loser (incidentally, as somebody who gets some income from coal, I declare that writing this article is against my vested interest).

Little wonder a furious attempt to blacken shale gas’s reputation is under way, driven by an unlikely alliance of big green, big coal, big nuclear and conventional gas producers. The environmental objections to shale gas are almost comically fabricated or exaggerated. Hydraulic fracturing or fracking uses 99.86% water and sand, the rest being a dilute solution of a few chemicals of the kind you find beneath your kitchen sink.

State regulators in Alaska, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming have all asserted in writing that there have been no verified or documented cases of groundwater contamination as a result of hydraulic fracking. Those flaming taps in the film “Gasland” were literally nothing to do with shale gas drilling and the film maker knew it before he wrote the script. The claim that gas production generates more greenhouse gases than coal is based on mistaken assumptions about gas leakage rates and cherry-picked time horizons for computing greenhouse impact.

Like Japanese soldiers hiding in the jungle decades after the war was over, our political masters have apparently not heard the news. David Cameron and Chris Huhne are still insisting that the future belongs to renewables. They are still signing contracts on your behalf guaranteeing huge incomes to landowners and power companies, and guaranteeing thereby the destruction of landscapes and jobs. The government’s “green” subsidies are costing the average small business £250,000 a year. That’s ten jobs per firm. Making energy cheap is – as the industrial revolution proved – the quickest way to create jobs; making it expensive is the quickest way to lose them.

Not only are renewables far more expensive, intermittent and resource-depleting (their demand for steel and concrete is gigantic) than gas; they are also hugely more damaging to the environment, because they are so land-hungry. Wind kills birds and spoils landscapes; solar paves deserts; tidal wipes out the ecosystems of migratory birds; biofuel starves the poor and devastates the rain forest; hydro interrupts fish migration. Next time you hear somebody call these “clean” energy, don’t let him get away with it.

Wind cannot even help cut carbon emissions, because it needs carbon back-up, which is wastefully inefficient when powering up or down (nuclear cannot be turned on and off so fast). Even Germany and Denmark have failed to cut their carbon emissions by installing vast quantities of wind.

Yet switching to gas would hasten decarbonisation. In a combined cycle turbine gas converts to electricity with higher efficiency than other fossil fuels. And when you burn gas, you oxidise four hydrogen atoms for every carbon atom. That’s a better ratio than oil, much better than coal and much, much better than wood. Ausubel calculates that, thanks to gas, we will accelerate a relentless shift from carbon to hydrogen as the source of our energy without touching renewables.

To persist with a policy of pursuing subsidized renewable energy in the midst of a terrible recession, at a time when vast reserves of cheap low-carbon gas have suddenly become available is so perverse it borders on the insane. Nothing but bureaucratic inertia and vested interest can explain it.



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


3 November, 2011

Autumn Snow Cover Has Increased Almost 50% Over The Last 15 Years

It's hard to get away from that global cooling

The graph below shows Rutgers Northern Hemisphere week 43 snow cover since 1986, right before CO2 hit 350 ppm.


Coke burnishes its "Green' credentials

It's common for big business to go along with the accepted wisdom. Truth is a secondary concern

For years Coca-Cola has given millions of dollars to eco-extreme group World Wildlife Fund, whose alarmism and perpetration of falsehoods are unmatched among its cohorts in climate activism.

Now Coke has initiated a new campaign with WWF that features its iconic advertising species in an effort to drive more funding to the international nonprofit group to “protect the polar bears’ Arctic home.”

The promotion will include new packaging for Coke over the holiday season, changing its familiar red cans to white, and featuring an image of a mother polar bear and her cubs on the side. Coke says it will donate $2 million over five years to WWF for “polar bear conservation efforts,” and will also match donations made at Last year Coke gave WWF $1.64 million for its various activities globally.

“The planet is changing very quickly, and nowhere more quickly than in the Arctic,” says Gerald Butts, president of WWF-Canada.

“It’s really important that we all understand that they need our help,” he added. “Climate change is changing livelihoods, it’s changing migration patterns for species, and we want to plan ahead. We want a future for the Arctic where the communities of people who live there are vibrant and sustainable, and the iconic species – in particular the polar bear – has a long-term future on the planet.”

Butts speaks so little truth. First with the easy part: more human beings die in cold weather than in heat. As for the Arctic, temperatures in the 1930s increased at a rate of .5 degrees per year, so the idea that any possible current warming is unprecedented is silly. And a recent Canadian study found evidence that an Arctic ice shelf fractured 1,400 years ago, “long before industrialization had any impact on the planet.” Meanwhile Arctic ice is growing at a record rate, and more than 30 percent of the missing ice area in the western Arctic has recovered since 2007. Arctic climate patterns, which have shown warming in recent years, are attributable to solar changes and ocean currents, not increases in human-produced carbon dioxide.

And then there are the precious polar bears. Their estimated numbers – according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – have increased by somewhere between double and quintuple (that is, growing from between 5,000 and 10,000 to 20,000-25,000) from the 1950s until now. They are also known to be tremendously resilient, and in some areas where they have declined, the reason has been attributed to too much ice. As far as healthy populations, according to officials in the extreme northern territory of Nunavut in Canada, polar bears “have not declined.”

“Based on hunter observations, polar bears are presently still healthy and abundant across Nunavut,” said territorial Environment Minister Daniel Shewchuk, “and for that reason, not a species of special concern.”

Meanwhile a study often cited as proof of the dangers of global warming to polar bears was “filled with baseless assumptions.” The report, by biologist Charles Monnett, discussed the discovery of four bear carcasses in the sea, and implied that the deaths were attributed to loss of ice. Monnett was placed on administrative leave and he and a collaborator are being investigated for scientific misconduct.

As for advocacy-oriented WWF and the “sound science” of proven global warming, it is a fantasy. Alarmists have long held up the reports of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as the authoritative attestation by scholarly researchers that the planet is warming because of human-produced emissions through the burning of fossil fuels for energy. But thanks to revelations from the Climategate scandal and other discoveries (like the debunked Hockey Stick chart), the IPCC reports were sourced in many parts with non-peer reviewed literature like boot-cleaning guides, student dissertations, climbing magazines, and even (drum roll please)…WWF pamphlets!

Such is the shaky foundation upon which the catastrophic global warming edifice has been constructed, and now WWF (net assets as of Fiscal Year 2009: $238 million) hopes its ongoing relationship with Coca-Cola will continue to provide millions of dollars for its anti-fossil fuels campaign. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, WWF – a truly international organization – spent $1.6 million on lobbying in 2009, just in the United States. Its stated agenda items for lobbying purposes included:

* Development of climate legislation including mitigation, adaptation, reduced tropical deforestation

* Energy efficiency provisions in stimulus, budget and energy legislation (Crony capitalistic slush funding for illusionary “Green jobs”)

* International financing for clean technology transfer and cooperation (like funding for overseas “Solyndras”)

Meanwhile WWF officials, like so many climate crusaders, fail to abide by the practices they admonish others to follow. The organization wants limits placed upon aviation because of its significant contribution to carbon dioxide emissions, but WWF president Carter Roberts (total 2009 compensation: $455,147) fails to lead by example, and routinely flies to remote locales as though it helps call attention to the planet’s plight. According to its tax returns WWF spent $5.1 million in 2009 on travel, which included a flight by Roberts as “one of several passengers on a roundtrip charter flight from Winnipeg to Churchill, (Manitoba).” Claiming there were no commercial flights available, WWF reported, “this trip was part of a field visit by staff and donors to see WWF’s work in the Arctic and the impacts of climate change.”

As for political inclinations, WWF’s managing director of climate change, Lou Leonard, was environmental policy analyst and field organizer for President Obama’s presidential campaign. His bio on the WWF Web site states, “As an environmental lawyer and climate policy expert, you can imagine the list of ‘to-do’s’ he has for the new administration.”

So each purchase of a white Coca-Cola can supports: false testimony on global warming; perpetration of the myth about endangered polar bears; ongoing distortion of the UN IPCC process; activism to fight the development of affordable coal, oil and natural gas; hypocrites who won’t follow their own recommendations; and expansion of already excessive environmental regulations.

Doesn’t it make your heart all fizzy?


Solyndra Redux: Another DOE Loan Recipient Files for Bankruptcy – 14 (Failed) Jobs for $43 Million

Well add another loser to the Obama Administration’s green energy portfolio.
Beacon Power Corp filed for bankruptcy on Sunday, just a year after the energy storage company received a $43 million loan guarantee from a controversial Department of Energy program.

The bankruptcy comes about two months after Solyndra — a solar panel maker with a $535 million loan guarantee — also filed for Chapter 11, creating a political embarrassment for the administration of President Barack Obama, which has championed the loans as a way to create “green energy” jobs.

Oh lighten up Reuters. The Administration created 14 jobs with that $43 million. At $3 million and change per job, it’s a wonder they lasted almost 2 years.

Yes, another “embarrassment” for the remarkably scandal-free Obama Administration. Well at least in this case there doesn’t seem to be any indication that cronyism played in role in the awarding of these funds. Oh wait (from 2009):
Beacon is using the money to develop a 20 MW regulation plant at a site in Stephenton, NY. The site will use several 1 MW flywheels to store energy as well as electrical and technological equipment.

Company spokesman Gene Hunt said Beacon didn’t have financial advisors per se, just its outside law firm of Edwards, Angell, Palmer & Dodge. “We also used our in-house expertise and we have good relationships with our congressional members.”

I bet they do. For the record, Senator Kristen Gillibrand (Democrat, pictured second from right) and former congressman Scott Murphy (D) from New York were both on hand when Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the loan award.

It looks like the Administration will also have some questions to answer about their evaluation of Beacon’s credit-worthiness. Because just weeks before before the DOE granted final approval of the loan, they were on the verge of being de-listed.
In mid-September [2009], Beacon received word from NASDAQ that it was out of compliance with the exchange’s minimum trading-price of $1 per share. Beacon Power closed at 72 cents a share the day NASDAQ sent its notice. Beacon said it believes it meets applicable standards, other than the minimum bid price requirement.

Something tells me there will be more to this story. Exit question: will Steven Chu or Eric Holder be the first to go?

Surprise, surprise. Walter Reed, the managing partner of the law firm representing Beacon Power in the acquisition of this loan, was an Obama donor in 2008, and also donated $10,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2010.


Warmist insurer gets it wrong

Their assertions disproved from their own data

by Roger Pielke, Jr

A New Study on Insured Losses and Climate Change
The global reinsurer Munich Re has received a lot of attention for its press releases on climate change, such as this statement issued one year ago: "A month before the start of the world climate summit, Munich Re is drawing attention to the strong probability that there is a connection between the large number of weather extremes and climate change. The reinsurer has built up the world’s most comprehensive natural catastrophe database, which shows a marked increase in the number of weather-related events. For instance, globally, loss-related floods have more than tripled since 1980, and windstorm natural catastrophes more than doubled, with particularly heavy losses from Atlantic hurricanes. This rise cannot be explained without global warming."

Munich Re also said via press release: "[I]t would seem that the only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change."

A new paper is forthcoming in the journal Climatic Change in 2012 helps to shed some additional light on such claims. The new paper -- titled "A Trend Analysis of Normalized Insured Damage from Natural Disasters" by Fabian Barthel and Eric Neumayer of the London School of Economics -- is a follow on to their earlier work which was published last November (and if you read that one, the new study won't be surprising).

Here is what the new paper concludes based on its examination of weather-related losses from the Munich Re global dataset from 1980 to 2008:
[At a global scale] no significant trend is discernible. Similarly, we do not find a significant trend if we constrain our analysis to non-geophysical disasters in developed countries . . .

Convective events, i.e. flash floods, hail storms, tempest storms, tornados, and lightning, deserve closer attention since these are likely to be particularly affected by future global warming (Trapp et al. 2007, 2009; Botzen et al. 2009) and there is some evidence that past climatic changes already affected severe thunderstorm activity in some regions (Dessens 1995; Kunz et al. 2009). Figure 7a shows that there is no significant trend in global insured losses for these peril types. Similarly, there is no significant trend in insured losses for storm events (Figure 7b), tropical cyclones (Figure 7c) or precipitation-related events (Figure 7d).

They do find a positive trend in insured losses in the US since 1973, and for specific phenomena such as hurricanes and floods, for which longer-term data sets show no upwards trends for either phenomena (and which Barthel and Neumayer acknowledge). Interestingly, they also claim to find a positive trend in insured losses from convective events in the US (including tornadoes), which is in sharp disagreement with our recent work on normalized tornado losses, which finds a dramatic reduction in both economic losses and strong tornadoes since 1950 (in fact, even the non-normalized economic losses show a downward trend). They also find upward trends in storm losses in the western part of Germany. The acknowledge that both regional trends might be associated with simple variability or how they adjust for insurance penetration -- it will be interesting to reconcile our tornado work with theirs (ours focuses on total damage).

Based on their analysis they conclude:
Climate change neither is nor should be the main concern for the insurance industry. The accumulation of wealth in disaster-prone areas is and will always remain by far the most important driver of future economic disaster damage. . .

What the results tell us is that, based on the very limited time-series data we have for most countries, there is no evidence so far for a statistically significant upward trend in normalized insured loss from extreme events outside the US and West Germany. . .

[W]e warn against taking the findings for the US and Germany as conclusive evidence that climate change has already caused more frequent and/or more intensive natural disasters affecting this country. To start with, one needs to be careful in attributing such a trend to anthropogenic climate change, i.e. climate change caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Our findings reported in this article could be down to natural climate variability that has nothing to do with anthropogenic climate change. Such natural climate variability may well explain our finding of a significant upward trend in insured loss from hurricanes in the US, for example. . .

They offer several other methodological cautions about the interpretation of the few trends that they found, and quite appropriately.

But the most interesting part of their study is not their conclusions, which are both a valuable contribution to this area of research and perfectly consistent with the growing literature on this topic, but rather, what is found in the acknowledgments:
The authors acknowledge support from the Munich Re Programme “Evaluating the Economics of Climate Risks & Opportunities in the Insurance Sector” at LSE.

My favorite press spokesman at LSE, Bob Ward, also gets an acknowledgment.

So the next time that Munich Re wants to attribute the growing toll of disaster losses to climate change, or you see someone citing Munich Re saying as much, they might be reminded of the Munich Re funded (and peer-reviewed) research which tells quite a different story than that found in press releases.


Toxic emissions from the EPA

It is time for Lisa P. Jackson to resign. Last Friday at Howard University, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) railed against the coal industry, saying, “In [the coal industry's] entire history – 50, 60, 70 years or even 30 – they never found the time or the reason to clean up their act. They’re literally on life support. And the people keeping them on life support are all of us.”

This is patently false, of course, as emissions from U.S. coal-fired power plants are quite heavily regulated. Those emissions controls are the reason U.S. air is clean and safe and why, say, the air in regulation-free China is not.

As West Virginia’s Republican Rep. David B. McKinley pointed out, to the extent that the coal industry is “on life support,” it is Ms. Jackson’s EPA and the rest of the Obama administration that has put it there with a slew of proposed and finalized anti-coal regulations.

A week before, Ms. Jackson appeared on “Real Time With Bill Maher,” where she said, “We’re actually at the point in many areas of this country where, on a hot summer day, the best advice we can give you is don’t go outside. Don’t breathe the air, it might kill you.”

But there is no scientific or medical evidence to support this statement — not now or even when the EPA was organized and the Clean Air Act was amended to its current form in 1970.

Akin to shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater, her inflammatory rhetoric actually serves to undermine all the efforts put forth and money spent by government and industry to clean the air the past 40 years.

In an Oct. 21 Los Angeles Times op-ed, Ms. Jackson essentially accused congressional Republicans of attempting to kill Americans.

“Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws. … How we respond to this assault on our environmental and public health protections will mean the difference between sickness and health – in some cases, life and death — for hundreds of thousands of citizens.”

But the bills the House GOP has passed would do nothing more than delay a few proposed and recently issued EPA regulations pending a cost-benefit analysis, including input from other federal agencies. Long-standing, pre-Obama administration emissions standards would remain in effect without any changes.

An Oct. 16 USA Today op-ed co-signed with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated, “There shouldn’t be a single neighborhood where parents have to worry about letting their kids play outside for fear they might get sick. Yet today, one in every 12 Americans — and one in 10 children — suffers from asthma, which is worsened by air pollution.”

The good news is that there aren’t such neighborhoods. In fact, there is no American adult or child whose health is compromised by ambient air quality. Yet reality doesn’t temper Ms. Jackson’s vitriol.

At a September House hearing, Ms. Jackson told Rep. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, “[Airborne] particulate matter causes premature death. It doesn’t make you sick. It’s directly causal to dying sooner than you should.”

And how many people does Ms. Jackson claim suffer avoidable deaths from particulate matter? She told Mr. Markey, “If we could reduce particulate matter to healthy levels, it would have the same impact as finding a cure for cancer in our country.”

But last year, about 570,000 people died from cancer amid a death toll of about 2.2 million. So Ms. Jackson is misleading Congress into thinking that 25 percent of deaths in America are caused by air pollution. The real toll from ambient air, however, is zero – and there is no scientific or medical evidence to the contrary.

All this shrillness is a sign that Ms. Jackson is feeling tremendous political pressure from her efforts to use junk science to shut down the American economy.

She has overreacted by borrowing from the playbook of Clinton EPA administrator and former Obama environment and energy czar Carol M. Browner, who ran roughshod not only over congressional Republicans but also over Al Gore in ramming through costly air-pollution regulations in 1997.

Whatever the reason, however, Ms. Jackson’s nonsensical Earth First!-like scaremongering is hardly befitting of a responsible senior government official who is in charge of a supposedly independent agency that regulates much of the nation’s economy.

Ms. Jackson wants to be unaccountable for her actions and is trying to intimidate her critics into silence and resignation with flagrant falsehoods.

An EPA administrator whose rhetoric is as apocalyptic as that of the most strident environmental extremists – and whose agenda matches – isn’t serving the public. At a time when it is more important than ever to avoid damaging the economy, Ms. Jackson’s actions prove she isn’t fit to serve.


Loss of crop diversity a myth, study says

“The conventional wisdom that says the 20th century was a disaster for crop diversity is nothing more than a myth, according to a forthcoming study by a University of Illinois expert in intellectual property law…” The University of Illinois media release continues:
Law professor Paul Heald says overall varietal diversity of the $20 billion market for vegetable crops and apples in the U.S. actually has increased over the past 100 years, a finding that should change the highly politicized debate over intellectual property policy.

“The conventional wisdom, as illustrated in the July 2011 issue of National Geographic, holds that the last century was a disaster for crop diversity,” he said. “In the mainstream media, this position is so entrenched that it no longer merits a citation.”

To support their conclusions, Heald and co-author Susannah Chapman, a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of Georgia, studied thousands of commercially available varieties of 42 vegetable crops from 1903 to 2004, as well as varieties of apples from 1900 to 2000.

“When we began this study, we started with the assumption that every year we advanced in the 20th century there would be fewer and fewer varieties offered for sale commercially,” Heald said.

But when the researchers went to Washington to study varieties available in historical commercial seed and nursery catalogs, they were surprised by what they found as they worked through the years 1900 to 1930.

“There was no evident sign of decline, so we decided to step back and take a snapshot of 1903 and 2004, two years where others had collected full data on all important vegetable crops,” Heald said. “We came to this with the exact same preconceptions as everyone else, but we couldn’t ignore facts that were smacking us in the face.”

According to Heald, the reason no one questioned the conventional wisdom of a crop diversity crisis earlier is that the narrative “resonates so completely with assumptions made in all the socio-biological fields.”

“Humans generally cause significant environmental damage, so this false notion of waning crop diversity fits an accepted narrative,” Heald said. “It reconfirms what people already believe, and that belief is certainly bolstered by people’s casual observations about lack of diversity in the supermarket.”

Heald says the lack of choice in the fruit and vegetable section of grocery stores creates the impression that there’s a diversity crisis.

“Since we don’t see the diversity, it must not be there,” he said. “It fits in with a narrative of bad environmental news. There’s no doubt the 20th century was a bad century for the environment, so it must also have been a bad century for crop diversity. But it turns out this is one area in the last century that was pretty good. So all these factors bundled together led to a consensus that was never questioned and never really explored systematically until now.”

According to the study, 40 percent of the diversity gains the researchers found were from imports, but only 3 percent of gains could be traced to patents and less than 1 percent from biotechnological innovation.

“The influx of immigrants from South America and Asia have really brought a lot of new germ plasm into the U.S.,” Heald said. “Seeds stored in suitcases and purses can move around the world without anyone knowing or the government playing any significant role. On the other hand, government stimulus, like patent law, plays a role in only 3 percent of diversity gains, with biotech innovation constituting less than 1 percent.”

In the debate between economists who believe that patent law is essential to increasing plant diversity through innovation, and anthropologists and ethno-botanists who believe that patents destroyed plant diversity in the 20th century, Heald says the study demonstrates that both sides are wrong.

“The story of vegetables and apples in the 20th century is a story of markets working without government intervention, so it’s really a confluence of liberal and conservative dogma,” he said. “You see immigrants, off-the-grid seed savers, small farmers and local gardeners preserving and innovating. They create what appears to be a very efficient market for diversity in the absence of significant legal regulation.”

The study also includes the caveat that corn may be the exception to the influence of the patent system, as federal property rights play a more prevalent role in the ubiquitous crop, as well as with soybeans and cotton.

“The interesting question is, ‘Why do firms patent these new strains of corn?’ ” Heald said. “Some agricultural economists would say that patents allow a firm to capture a certain segment of the market, but people who study varieties of patented corn say that it’s more of a phenomenon of defensive patenting, where you patent something because you don’t want to be sued by someone else when they try to patent the exact same thing. Since patent suits can be expensive, it’s easier and safer to patent what you produce.”

But to become a player in the corn market, you may need as big of a patent portfolio as the competition, Heald says.

“There’s also the sense – and this has been borne out in other industries, such as computer technology – that you want to create this huge arsenal of patents that you can wield as a big club in the market,” he said. “If that’s true, then, ironically, it may be inefficient to have patent protection, if the public gets too much of this sort of game-playing and legal jockeying.

“So the interesting question is, do you really need patent protection to stimulate new kinds of corn? That, of course, is going to turn on how expensive it is to create a new strain, and how easy to appropriate the technology.”

Heald’s study will be published in the University of Illinois Law Review.



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


2 November, 2011

Global cooling in the Rockies

Snow is already piling up in the high country, but not all of the unusually deep snow from last winter has melted. As a result, some glaciers and snowfields are actually gaining volume this year.

Scientists have measured new ice in Montana's Glacier National Park and atop Colorado's Front Range mountains. In northwest Wyoming, there is photographic evidence of snowfield growth after Bob Comey, director of the Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center, compared photos of peaks from year to year.

His images taken before snow started falling again this autumn show what appears to be significantly more ice in the Teton Range compared with two years ago.

Last spring, record snow depths and avalanches around Jackson Hole gave way to concern about possible flooding, but fairly cool weather kept much of the snow right where it was. The flooding that did occur, at least in Wyoming, was less severe than feared.

"I've never seen a season with a gain like we've seen this summer," Comey said.


IPCC Lying About Their Past
‘Snowtober’ fits U.N. climate change predictions

While the Northeast is still reeling from a surprise October snowstorm that has left more than a million people without power for days, the United Nations is about to release its latest document on adaptation to climate change.

The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected conclude that there is a high probability that man-made greenhouse gases already are causing extreme weather that has cost governments, insurers, businesses and individuals billions of dollars. And it is certain to predict that costs due to extreme weather will rise and some areas of the world will become more perilous places to live.

Complete bullshit. They predicted the exact opposite.
IPCC Draft 1995

A “striking” retreat of mountain glaciers around the world, accompanied in the Northern Hemisphere by a shrinking snow cover in winter.

IPCC 2001 Ice Storms

Milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms

The alarmist climate science community seems to be incapable of ever telling the truth about anything. I posted the IPCC links in the comment section of the LA Times article, and they were taken down within five minutes. The last thing these people want is an honest discussion.

SOURCE (See the original for full links). Roger Pielke Sr gives the LA Times article an even bigger blast.

A simple experiment exhibits some large truths

An eloquent experiment by geologist Tom Segalstad, dramatic proof of the rapid absorption of CO2 by water. The calcium carbonate touch confounds the Greenies even further. Segalstad explains:
This video shows that a candle floating on water, burning in the air inside a glass, converts the oxygen in the air to CO2. The water rises in the glass because the CO2, which replaced the oxygen, is quickly dissolved in the water. The water contains calcium ions Ca++, because we initially dissolved calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2 in the water. The CO2 produced during oxygen burning reacts with the calcium ions to produce solid calcium carbonate CaCO3, which is easily visible as a whitening of the water when we switch on a flashlight. This little kitchen experiment demonstrates the inorganic carbon cycle in nature. The oceans take out our anthropogenic CO2 gas by quickly dissolving it as bicarbonate HCO3-, which in turn forms solid calcium carbonate either organically in calcareous organisms or precipitates inorganically. The CaCO3 is precipitating and not dissolving during this process, because buffering in the ocean maintains a stable pH around 8. We also see that CO2 reacts very fast with the water, contrary to the claim by the IPCC that it takes 50 - 200 years for this to happen. Try this for yourself in your kitchen!


Going back to wood-burning loses its charm

The following information was released by the Scottish Government:

Mr Ewing will meet the UK Government's Minister for Energy and Climate Change Charles Hendry tomorrow, and host a meeting with bioenergy stakeholders.

He will urge Mr Hendry to follow the Scottish Government's lead and abandon subsidy for large-scale woody biomass in plants which produce electricity only.

Earlier this month the Scottish Government published a consultation which proposed removing all subsidy from large-scale woody biomass electricity plants.

The Scottish Government supports the deployment of woody biomass in heat-only or combined heat and power plants, particularly off gas-grid, on a small scale which maximises the use of heat and local supply chains.

But large-scale electricity-only biomass is inefficient and requires more wood than the UK can produce. Although current plans are to import wood, there is no guarantee biomass plant operators will look exclusively abroad for their wood, and the overseas supply may not be stable or secure.

The current subsidy means biomass providers will be able to afford more than the current market rate for wood, and may push prices up, pricing out traditional wood industries such as sawmills, wood panel mills, furniture manufacturers and construction. This in turn puts hundreds of skilled rural jobs at risk.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:

"I have grave concerns about the UK Government's ambition for biomass electricity. Large-scale woody biomass used for electricity generation is much less efficient than smaller scale neighbourhood plants.

"Huge electricity-only biomass plants require vast quantities of wood - far more than the UK can provide. Even if every stick of wood grown commercially in the UK went to biomass, it would supply less than a third of the fuel we will require by 2020 if the UK Government's plan for biomass goes ahead.

"Large scale electricity-only biomass will make us reliant on overseas timber markets for our energy. Both oil and gas prices have shown us the importance of a secure, local supply, and if we rely too heavily on imported timber there is a risk of energy security problems in the future.

"Extensive use of large scale biomass for electricity only is likely to push up timber prices and risk hundreds of jobs in traditional wood industries.

"That is why I am urging the UK Government to join the Scottish Government in removing subsidies from large-scale biomass electricity generation."

The UK Government's ambitions for large scale biomass electricity will require approximately 37-67 million green tonnes of biomass by 2020. The Forestry Commission's current Softwood Production Forecast for Great Britain estimates an annual average of almost 12 million green tonnes over the five year period 2017 to 2021.


Seven billion people

Sometime today, the UN estimates that world population will hit 7 billion people. Some people are worried about how those 7 billion mouths will be fed. Here’s Paul Ehrlich in 1968′s The Population Bomb, when world population was not yet 4 billion:
The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines – hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash program embarked upon now.

Not so much, thankfully. Ehrlich and other people who live in bed-wetting fear of their fellow man forget that people are more than stomachs; they are also brains. And brains have an increasing return to scale. The more of them there are, and the more they can interact and exchange with one another, the faster they can outpace the rumbling stomachs.

That’s why real world per capita GDP is 16 times higher than it was before the Industrial Revolution — even without correcting for the increased quality of goods. Including that omission would bring the increase to something like 100-fold, according to the economist Deirdre McCloskey. And this is per capita; remember, world population has increased about 7-fold since 1800.

The data are simply astonishing. Seven times as many of us are each at least 16 times and as much as 100 times better off than our great-great-great-great grandparents. This is the single most important event in human since the Agricultural Revolution. It is so important that McCloskey calls it the Great Fact.

And the data show no signs of the Great Fact reversing itself, or even slowing down. if anything, China and India’s recent partial embrace of liberalism has quickened the brain’s still-incomplete conquest over the stomach.

Former CEI Warren Brookes Fellow Ron Bailey has more at Reason. Elsewhere, Steven Landsburg thinks that current human population might be too small.


Green capitalists hijack carbon agenda

By Gary Johns, writing from Australia on the perfidy of big business

THERE was a time when capitalists were capitalists. Now, half the bastards parade as greens making money from green ideology. The other half have given up in the face of environmentalism.

The combination of corporate rent-seeking and capitulation makes the world more vulnerable to mishap. No wonder the gormless ferals "Occupying" city squares across the Western world are confused.

Green capitalism wants public corporations to behave not as shareholders and taxpayers wish but as green activists wish. Green activists and corporate people cosy up to regulators and governments, but especially the UN.

Corporations accept the activity as strategic, coping with political pressure for the nebulous desire for sustainability. Some corporations acquiesce, some make money.

There are crooks such as Enron and jokers such as BP (remember Beyond Petroleum?) who play the game. Others just attend conferences. But attending lends weight to stupidity and rent-seeking on a global scale.

These conferences become places where politicians grandstand. Remember Kevin at Copenhagen? A few days ago in Washington, DC, a group of chief executives, "major investors and bankers", together with former British prime minister Gordon Brown and former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, called for a "far-reaching reform of the global financial system". The price of applause is taxpayer subsidies and preferential regulation.

These people helped the US and Europe live beyond their means. Now, under the banner of the UN Environment Program Finance Initiative Global Roundtable they want to direct good money into bad investments under the guise of sustainability.

This is the crowd that brought the massive waste of debt forgiveness, Make Poverty History and the Clean Development Mechanism. Brown has suggested a global tax to raise even more money for aid and the environment. Tell that to the Greeks and the Irish.

This is the crowd plotting the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (or Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro where even more promises will be made with money that does not exist. They want to "mobilise investment at scale by the banking and investment sectors into the clean energy sector, renewable energy, green buildings and retrofitting, clean vehicles and fuels". You will pay for this.

The farce is that even on its own terms, the combination of green activists, corporate capitulation and UN mischief-making moves the world further from the possibility of coping with issues such as climate change and poverty.

Take the example of nuclear power. Siemens built all of Germany's 17 nuclear reactors. In 2006 Siemens' president and chief executive Peter Loescher said: "In view of global climate change and the increasing power demand worldwide, for us nuclear energy remains an essential part of a sustainable energy mix. Nuclear energy, which is practically CO2-free, will gain in importance above all with a view to climate protection."

In September this year Loescher announced Siemens' withdrawal from the nuclear industry. The firm will no longer build nuclear power stations.

Although the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March pushed it across the line, it was the constant drip of ideology that broke the company's resolve. As Loescher said, it was the firm's answer to "the clear positioning of German society and politics for a pullout from nuclear energy".

Siemens' 17 nuclear reactors accounted for 23 per cent of German electricity production. A lot of solar panels and windmills are going to be built with taxpayers' subsidy to fill that gaping hole. Should the windmills come at the expense of the Greece bailout?

And our little green capitalists' tentacles reach from global to local. A recent press release screamed: "World's largest investors, worth $20 trillion, step up call for urgent policy action on climate change".' It was our friends at the UNEP Finance Initiative, in tandem with the likes of the local Investor Group on Climate Change.

IGCC is a green-capitalist crowd. It represents finance, including church and industry super funds. Being from finance, they seek rent rather than capitulate a la Siemens. IGCC wants to "encourage government policies and investment practices that address the risks and opportunities of climate change, for the ultimate benefit of superannuants and unit holders". You bet they do.

The Australian chief executive is Nathan Fabian, former adviser to Penny Wong in the opposition portfolio of corporate governance and responsibility. Fabian by name, Fabian by nature.

Are the Fabians telling investors that the Senate estimates statement by Treasury's Martin Parkinson on October 20, that "the cost impact of the carbon tax is very, very small", was based on an assumption there would be a global agreement on reductions of CO2 emissions?

Julia Gillard cannot achieve what the great Kevin Rudd could not. An agreement by developing countries attending the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban next month to curb emissions will not be forthcoming.

Make sure you tell your members, Fabian.



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


1 November, 2011

I knew it! (See my 2nd post of Oct. 30)

Recent N. American blizzards a sign of global warming! The writer below fails to note that they are having unusually warm weather in England at the moment -- so there is nothing global involved. He is not a total nit however. Unlikle many Warmists he has picked up: "Dr. Richard Miller still doesn’t support human activity as the cause"

There’s frost on the pumpkin and then there’s snow, which was all over pumpkins in the Northeast because of a blizzard that didn’t wait even for November. Nearly one million people in Connecticut alone were without power.

Coincidentally, last week a former global warming skeptic announced that he had become a believer.

He changed his mind because of research he had begun last year that he thought would enable him to challenge data that climatic scientists have cited to prove the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity.

But instead of discovering that the Earth is not getting warmer, the scientist confirmed that it is. Dr. Richard Miller still doesn’t support human activity as the cause, but he agrees that warming is happening.

One sign of that warming is freakish weather, and the weekend storm certainly qualifies. Connecticut hadn’t had an October snow like this since 1804, and that was caused by a hurricane. It’s the sort of freakish weather that is happening more often.

There’s a good debate to be had about the long-term effects of global warming. Climate scientists disagree on the severity and the timetable. All say, however, that the impacts eventually will be serious unless we stop pumping so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

We believe that the weekend blizzard shows again the effects of global warming.


Disobedient trees

The Warmists were sure that a big study would show a Northward movement of tree species -- but it isn't happening. I wonder why? Could it be that there has been NO warming for a long time now?

More than half of eastern U.S. tree species examined in a massive new Duke University-led study aren't adapting to climate change as quickly or consistently as predicted.

"Many models have suggested that trees will migrate rapidly to higher latitudes and elevations in response to warming temperatures, but evidence for a consistent, climate-driven northward migration is essentially absent in this large analysis," says James S. Clark, H.L. Blomquist Professor of Environment at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.

Nearly 59 percent of the species examined by Clark and his colleagues showed signs that their geographic ranges are contracting from both the north and south.

Fewer species -- only about 21 percent -- appeared to be shifting northward as predicted. About 16 percent seemed to be advancing southward, and around 4 percent appeared to be expanding in both directions.

The scientists analyzed data on 92 species in more than 43,000 forest plots in 31 states. They published their findings this month in the journal Global Change Biology.

The study found no consistent evidence that population spread is greatest in areas where climate has changed the most; nor do the species' response patterns appear to be related to seed size or dispersal characteristics.

"Warm zones have shifted northward by up to 100 kilometers in some parts of the eastern United States, but our results do not inspire confidence that tree populations are tracking those changes," says Clark, who also holds appointments at Duke as a professor of biology and statistics. "This increases the risk of serious lags in tree migrations."

The concept of climate-driven migration is based on the assumption that as temperatures warm, the southern edge of some tree species' ranges could begin to erode as adult trees die and the seeds they leave behind in the soil can no longer sprout. At the same time, the species could spread to higher latitudes as seedlings dispersed on their northern boundaries are able to take root in newly favorable climates there.

To test whether this predicted response was occurring in real life, Clark and his colleagues pored through decades of data compiled by the U.S. Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis Program. They compared the relative distributions of seedlings, saplings and adult trees of 92 widely distributed eastern U.S. species at 43,334 plots in 30 different longitudinal bands, and factored in things like seed characteristics, and changes in climate and precipitation.

"The patterns of tree responses we were able to document using this seedling-versus-tree analysis are more consistent with range contraction than with northward migration, although there are signs some species are shifting to higher elevations," Clark says.

The fact that the majority of the northernmost latitudes documented for seedlings was lower than those for adult trees of the same species indicates "a lack of evidence for climate-mediated migration, and should increase concern for the risks posed by climate change," he says. [A complete non-sequitur]


Disobedient animals too

Last month we spotlighted a study that claimed global warming would shrink animals by causing them to grow faster and stop growing sooner, leaving them smaller.

Scarcely 30 days later, however, San Francisco State University researchers report that global warming is making birds get bigger. Here’s the media release:
Birds are getting bigger in central California, and that was a big surprise for Rae Goodman and her colleagues.

Goodman uncovered the trend while working as a graduate student for San Francisco State University biologist Gretchen LeBuhn, analyzing data from thousands of birds caught and released each year at two sites near San Francisco Bay and the Point Reyes National Seashore.

The SF State scientists, working with researchers from PRBO Conservation Science and the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory who collected the data, found that birds’ wings have grown longer and birds are increasing in mass over the last 27 to 40 years.

What’s making the birds bigger? The researchers think that the trend is due to climate change, but their findings put a twist in the usual thinking about climate change and body size. A well-known ecological rule, called Bergmann’s Rule, states that animals tend to be larger at higher latitudes. One reason for this rule might be that larger animals conserve body heat better, allowing them to thrive in the generally colder climate of higher latitudes.

Under this reasoning, some scientists have predicted that animals would get smaller as the Earth has warmed up over the past 100 years. But the study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, suggests that the connection may not be so simple.

Climate change may affect body size in a variety of ways, they note in their paper. For instance, birds might get bigger as they store more fat to ride out severe weather events, which are expected to be more common under global climate change. Climate change could also alter a region’s plant growth, which may eventually lead to changes in a bird’s diet that affect its size.

LeBuhn, an assistant professor of biology, said she was “completely surprised” to find that the central California birds were growing larger over time. “It’s one of those moments where you ask, ‘what’s happening here?’” The results were so unexpected, she said, that the findings made them take a step back and look more closely at how climate change could influence body size.

The bird data come from two long-term “banding stations” in central California, where a wide variety of birds are captured, banded about the leg with an identification tag, and weighed and measured before being released. Many of the same birds were captured each year, allowing the researchers at the sites to build up a unique database that could be used to track changes among the birds over several decades.

The researchers used data from 14,735 individual birds collected from 1971 to 2010 at the Palomarin Field Station, near the southern end of the Point Reyes National Seashore, by researchers from PRBO Conservation Science. Their study also included data on 18,052 birds collected between 1983 and 2009, from the Coyote Creek Field Station at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay by the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory.

“At the time I started my research, a few studies had looked at body size changes in a few species in Europe and the Middle East, but no one had examined bird body size changes in North America,” said Goodman, who now teaches Biology and Environmental Science at San Francisco’s Jewish Community High School of the Bay.

“We had the good fortune to find an unexpected result — a gem in research science,” she added. “But we were then left with the puzzle of figuring out what was going on.”

After testing and discarding a number of other explanations, Goodman and her colleagues were confident that climate change was behind the longer wings and bigger bodies in most of the birds. The birds may be responding to climate-related changes in plant growth or increased climate variability in central California, the researchers suggest in the paper.

“The fingerprint of climate change is showing up in many of our ecosystems,” explains Nat Seavy, research director for the Central Coast at PRBO Conservation Science. “The challenge is to use the long-term data we’ve been collecting to understand how, where and why these changes are occurring.”

The findings offer a glimpse at the potent effects of climate change across a wide range of species, LeBuhn said. “Even over a pretty short period of time, we’ve documented changes in important traits like body size, where we don’t expect to see much flexibility.”

“But in some ways,” she added, “it gave me a little more hope that these birds are able to respond — hopefully in time — to changes in climate.”

“Although it is encouraging that species are changing in response to climate change,” said Seavy, “it is also troubling that environmental stressors are pushing and pulling on species in diverse ways…What will happen to our ecosystems as some species get larger and others get smaller? We need long-term monitoring to help us understand the impact of these changes.”

Well, whatever is going on, if anything at all, you can be sure that these researchers are clueless.


And disobedient flooding!

Al Gore, where are you?

No — or, more precisely, not yet — conclude R.M. Hirsch and K.R. Ryberg of the U.S. Geological Survey in a recent study published in Hydrological Sciences Journal.

“One of the anticipated hydrological impacts of increases in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere is an increase in the magnitude of floods,” note Hirsch and Ryberg. Righto! Google “global warming” and “flood predictions,” and you’ll find more than 2.7 million sites where this hypothesis is affirmed or at least discussed. The researchers explain:
Greenhouse gases change the energy balance of the atmosphere and lead to atmospheric warming, which increases the water-holding capacity of the atmosphere, which in turn, potentially changes the amount of precipitable water.

Sounds plausible, but all weather is local or regional, and a lot more goes into making weather than average global temperature. In addition, all flooding is local or regional, and a lot more goes into determining flood risk than local or regional weather patterns.

As Hirsch and Ryberg point out, “human influences associated with large numbers of very small impoundments and changes in land use also could play a role in changing flood magnitude,” and “at time scales on the order of a century it is difficult to make a quantitative assessment of the changes in these factors over time.”

That, however, did not stop good ol’ Al Gore from claiming that global warming is responsible for a decade-by-decade increase in the number of large floods around the world (An Inconvenient Truth, p. 106). Gore’s source was a chart from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (Figure 16.5, p. 448):

The chart does appear to show significant decadal increases in the number of floods. However, what the chart actually measures is the number of “damaging” floods, and whether or not a flood is classified as “damaging” is influenced by socio-economic and even political factors. As the MEA report explains:
Only events that are classified as disasters are reported in this database. (An event is classified as a disaster if it meets at least one of the following criteria: 10 or more people reported killed; 100 or more people reported affected; international assistance was called; or a state of emergency was declared . . .

Obviously, the database is going to be skewed towards more events in later decades simply because of better reporting, more declared states of emergency, and more calls for international assistance. As the MEA report observes, “although the number has been increasing, the actual reporting and recording of floods have also increased since 1940, due to the improvements in telecommunications and improved coverage of global information.”

The MEA report identifies several non-climatic factors that influence flood risk: wetlands loss and deforestation, changes in engineering practices, irrigation, urbanization, and, perhaps most importantly, population growth and economic development in flood plains.

In short, teasing out a greenhouse warming “signal” from flood damages influenced by both natural climate variability and a host of societal factors is a daunting task. Yet Gore treats flood damage data as unambiguous evidence of a warming-ravaged planet.

Okay, let’s get back to the USGS scientists. Hirsch and Ryberg acknowledge they cannot entirely filter out “reservoir storage, urban development, or other human activities in the watersheds” without narrowing their study “almost entirely to very small watersheds, typically in remote and often mountainous areas.” As a reasonable compromise, they examined flood data from “200 streamgauges operated by the US Geological Survey (USGS) in the coterminous USA, of at least 85 years length through water year 2008, from basins with little or no reservoir storage or urban development (less than 150 persons per square kilometre in 2000).”

What did they find? From the paper’s abstract:
In none of the four regions [Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, Southwest] defined in this study is there strong statistical evidence for flood magnitudes increasing with increasing GMCO2 [global mean carbon dioxide concentration]. One region, the southwest, shows a statistically significant negative relationship between GMOC2 and flood magnitudes.

For further reading, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change summarizes the results of 21 peer-reviewed studies on flooding and climate variability in North America. The Center concludes:
Taken together, the research described in this Summary suggests that, if anything, North American flooding tends to become both less frequent and less severe when the planet warms, although there have been some exceptions to this general rule. Hence, although there could also be exceptions to this rule in the case of future warming, on average, we would expect that any further warming of the globe would tend to further reduce both the frequency and severity of flooding in North America, which, of course, is just the opposite of what the world’s climate alarmists continue to claim would occur.


Why climate change demands skepticism

In "Why I Deny Global Warming" geophysicist David Deming recounts, "When I testified before the US Senate in 2006, I stated that a major climate researcher told me in 1995 that "we have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period."

It "had to be erased from history for ideological reasons," he explains.

Now, as if on cue, fellow Examiner Paul Hamaker reports that the other politically incorrect historical event, the non-human-caused Little Ice Age that so vexes Climate Changers has been debunked.

In "Proof: Climate change is not normal" he cites Swedish climate research claiming that the Little Ice Age was localized to the northern hemisphere and therefore not a case of global climate change.

Unfortunately, climate change science has been thoroughly polluted with blind faith, corruption, greed, and lies (you can read proof and disproof all over the internet. Take your cherry-pick).

When progressives smell something fishy in the non-progressive world they chant, "Follow the money!"

So why don’t they do the same with climate change? "Follow the government subsidy money!"

It’s because they apparently can’t see climate change as a Get Rich Quicker Scheme for the ruling class.

Climate change today is part religion, part politics, part big money corporatist opportunism, and part science. The part that is genuine science has been so unscrupulously steamrolled by the other, dominate parts, that it ceases to be science once it leaves the hands of the scientists, becomes bastardized by a watchdog-turned-neutered-lapdog media, and is put on display as fact.

Failure, or refusal, by the dogmatic left progressive environmental religionists to follow the climate change subsidy money while screaming, "Follow the money" at everyone else is hypocritical.

Remove all the subsidy money from climate change and the whole issue disappears overnight.

With so much corruption, we may never know in our lifetimes whether climate change is human-caused or not, whether climate science is a real science or just palm reading for the rubes, or a religion that would have remained a cult if only big bucks weren’t involved.

Remove the religious fervor, political corruption, profit motive and media mendacity from climate change and there might be a chance for intelligent discourse.

And then, considering that every anti-libertarian anti-freedom "solution" to the climate change "problem" demands trillions more tax dollars and thousands more coercive government-dictated regulations, deep skepticism is the only intelligent position possible.


Foolish population scares

English demographer Thomas Malthus issued his dire warning of global famine in 1798 as the population was approaching 1 billion. He and all of his successors - including Aldous Huxley, William Vogt, Paul Ehrlich, the Club of Rome and Lester Brown and Dick Smith - have been insistent for two centuries now, and they have all been wrong.

Not only that, but trends suggest that population growth is a self-limiting phenomenon. The rate of population increase peaked in the 1960s. It has been falling steadily ever since. The UN now projects that world population will peak in about 2050. And later this century it will start to fall, perhaps quite quickly. If the growing global population is a problem, it's one that is in the process of solving itself.

India and China are now not so sure that their policies of forced population repression were such a good idea. Both the Indian policy of forced sterilisation and the Chinese one-child policy have created unforeseen problems of gender imbalance, with serious social consequences.

And China's policy was so successful that it has set the country up for a new problem it had not imagined - in a few decades China will become the fastest-ageing country in the world. It will lack the working-age population to support the elderly. This is just one of the reasons that China has maintained the policy on its books but now pursues only partial and haphazard enforcement.

So how are we to make sense of these apparent contradictions?

The reason Malthus was wrong is that he observed two trends that he argued were irreconcilable. Population grew exponentially, while food supply grew arithmetically; drawn on a graph, the two lines grew apart at an ever-steepening rate as population far outstripped food. Result - global famine.

It turns out that he was wrong about both parts of the equation. The population growth rate behaved as he thought, but only for a while. It changed and has been slowing, not accelerating, for half a century because the improving prosperity of the people in the fast-developing poor countries has led them to curb the size of their families.

Prosperity is a contraceptive. The solution, it turned out, was not to limit poor people's reproductive freedom by government diktat. It was to enable ordinary people to grow wealthier.

And the rate of food output turns out to have been the exact opposite of the Malthusian Armageddon - it has grown exponentially, not arithmetically.

The Green Revolution of the postwar years saw stunning increases in crop yields thanks to plant genetics and modern farming techniques. Indeed, the world today is already producing enough food to feed 12 billion, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

If there is so much food available, why are food prices soaring? And why is one-sixth of humanity permanently hungry?

There are very serious problems that the world needs to address. It's just that the reflexive Malthusian worry - that we are destined to have too many mouths for the planet to feed - is the wrong problem.

What are the right problems to work on? We do churn through the planet's resources faster than nature replenishes them. At the present rates of consumption, we'll need a second Earth to supply the raw materials we need and absorb the wastes we produce, according to the US environmental group the Global Footprint Network.

And if all the world's people enjoyed Western standards of living and consumption, we'd need five planets right now. It's self-evident that our species needs to become more efficient and more creative in the ways it harvests its food, water and fuel.

A staggering amount of food is wasted each year in the process of getting it from the farm gate to the consumer.

If the food that is today thrown away, spoiled or eaten by pests along the way were instead delivered to kitchen tables, the amount of food available for eating would increase by an astonishing 50 per cent, according to a major new research project co-ordinated through Canada's McGill University.

Governments need to set frameworks, but it's markets that do the work of improving efficiency. One of the increasingly fashionable reactions by governments is to resort to protectionism under the misnomer of ''food security''.

The distribution of food in the world is already bastardised by the protectionism in the richest nations. Closing borders and supply lines will make the problem worse, not better.



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


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

Climate is the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds pass overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)