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

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

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November 30, 2012

More Settled Science: Wrong about Ice Melt in Greenland, Sea-Rise

New research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tends to now show that ice melt estimates previously calculated for Greenland have not significantly accelerated- as has been previously postulated- nor has the melt contributed in a meaningful way to the rise of sea levels.

Recently, much of the destruction on the east coast as a consequence of Super-Mega-Hurricane Sandy Gore was blamed on the rise in sea-levels, which have been blamed on… drum roll…global warming.

The newest revelation, amongst many in the last several years that have muffled the global warming chants of “settled science, settled science, settled science,” confirms that the model generally used to support climate change, global warming and/or Super-Mega-Hurricane Sandy Gore, is neither settled nor scientific.

Global Warming theorists have advanced the notion the melt from Greenland’s ice sheet is the prime culprit in elevated sea-levels. They advanced this theory after their previous theory- the ice melt in the Himalayas- was shown by the same process that has now debunked the Greenland ice theory to have been exaggerated.

And yes, the seas have risen not withstanding Obama’s election promise to make the seas stop rising. Presumably the Greatest Superhero President Ever was going to use some sort of magical veto power that was transmitted to him through his cartoon Nobel Prize Heroes to compel the seas to stop rising.

But back in the real world where science is based on facts, and prizes are awarded based on real accomplishments outside of Scandinavia and American Idol, the new report- which was generated by researchers at Princeton University- shows that the Greenland ice melt is happening at such a slow pace that in fact, there is no need to fret over the loss of ice in the Land of Green.

From the UK’s Register:

"If the Greenland ice losses aren't accelerating, there's no real reason to worry about them. According to the Princeton statement:

At current melt rates, the Greenland ice sheet would take about 13,000 years to melt completely, which would result in a global sea-level rise of more than 21 feet (6.5 meters)."

So does this mean that Obama has to serve 3,250 four-year terms as president before he can make the seas actually stop rising?

Liberals would like to think so. It will probably take that long just to get an Obama budget passed.

The Register says what the report really means is that sea-rise levels from the Greenland melt will be insignificant.

“Put another way, in that scenario we would be looking at 5cm of sea level rise from Greenland by the year 2130: a paltry amount,” writes the Register. “Authoritative recent research drawing together all possible causes of sea level rise bears this out, suggesting maximum possible rise in the worst case by 2100 will be 30cm. More probably it will be less, and there will hardly be any difference between the 20th and 21st centuries in sea level terms.”

But that’s very much a different conclusion than was drawn over the summer when scientists at NASA told us- gasp!- that all the ice in Greenland was melting at once, an event that had never been recorded in 30 years of satellite imaging of the ice sheets!

Imagine ice melting in the summer. Well, I never…

Yes. Never before- um, since they started looking at it in the late 1970s- had all the ice in Greenland melted at the same time. There must have been some union rule against it until now.

Bloggsters, like ScienceBlogs’ Greg Laden jumped on that NASA report saying “I have always felt that sea level rise would be quicker and higher than my colleagues in climate science have suggested.”

And he cited the report as more proof that the global-warming apocalypse, created by the fossil fuels that made possible things like indoor plumbing, modern medicine, sanitation and footwear not made from bark, will destroy the hallmarks of civilization like indoor plumbing, modern medicine, sanitation and footwear not made from bark.

But now we know that Laden was wrong. And he’ll just have to find some other culprit for the change in the weather.

But getting past all the scientific inquiry and theorizing based on fantasy, not facts, is what global warming scientists do best.

It doesn’t have to be settled or science. It just has to sell.


New paper finds Roman Warming Period in Florida was warmer than today

A new paper published in Quaternary International reconstructs temperatures in SW Florida and finds that summer temperatures during the Roman Warm Period [RWP] from 300 BC-550 AD were "insignificantly different from today" and that winters during the RWP were "colder than today at 150-200 AD and 250-300 AD, similar to today at 200-250 AD, 300-350 AD and 450-500 AD, and warmer than today at 500-550 AD." The paper adds to hundreds of other peer-reviewed papers demonstrating temperatures during the Medieval, Roman, Minoan, and other unnamed warming periods were as warm or warmer than today.

The paper also shows that tiny variations in Total Solar Irradiance [TSI] of less than 1 W/m2 correlated with significant changes in reconstructed temperature of up to 5C. The IPCC claims that changes in TSI during the 20th century of about 1.5 W/m2 cannot account for 0.7C observed global warming, but data from this paper and others suggests otherwise. In addition, the paper shows TSI lagged by 50 years is better correlated to reconstructed temperatures, perhaps as a result of the enormous thermal inertia of the oceans.
Seasonal climate change across the Roman Warm Period/Vandal Minimum transition using isotope sclerochronology in archaeological shells and otoliths, southwest Florida, USA

Ting Wang et al.


Archaeological evidence suggests that southwest Florida experienced variably warmer and wetter climate during the Roman Warm Period (RWP; 300 BC-550 AD) relative to the Vandal Minimum (VM; 550-800 AD). This hypothesis was tested by reconstructing seasonal-scale climate conditions for the latter part of the RWP (1-550 AD) by using high-resolution oxygen isotope ratios (?18O) of archaeological shells (Mercenaria campechiensis) and otoliths (Ariopsis felis). Eight shells radiocarbon-dated to 150-550 AD recorded that the RWP summers at 150-250 AD were insignificantly different from today and the RWP summers at 250-350 AD and 450-550 AD were drier relative to today. Eight otoliths indicate that the winters were variable during the RWP, colder than today at 150-200 AD and 250-300 AD, similar to today at 200-250 AD, 300-350 AD and 450-500 AD, and warmer than today at 500-550 AD. The climate reconstructions agree with archaeological observations and are partially coherent with the history of sea-level change, with a drying and cooling trend at the 95% confidence level across the RWP/VM transition. The climate transition is not only consistent with falling sea level, but also coherent with reduced solar radiation. Reduced solar radiation may have triggered a change in atmospheric circulation patterns that precipitated the observed climate transition.

Some British industries to be shielded from green energy costs as household bills to soar

Energy-intensive industries will be shielded from subsidising new nuclear power plants and wind farms, under Government plans that will see other businesses and consumers paying billions of pounds more for electricity.

Government estimates show that policies to subsidise low-carbon power alone will add £95 to household bills by 2020.

Ministers will on Thursday unveil the long-awaited Energy Bill, intended to encourage £110bn of investment in low-carbon generation this decade. It will offer generators long-term contracts guaranteeing prices for electricity from new power plants - paid for through levies on electricity bills.

Government estimates show that these and other subsidies for low-carbon power will add £95 to household bills by 2020. The cost to all energy consumers is likely to triple, up to cap set at £7.6bn a year by 2020 - with other 'green’ policies adding yet more.

Industry and consumer groups have warned that the additional costs could plunge more households into 'fuel poverty’, put some firms out of business and force industries to relocate overseas.

In an attempt to assuage fears, the Government will today unveil plans to exempt energy-intensive industries from additional costs arising from the new long-term electricity contracts.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “Decarbonisation should not mean deindustrialisation. There would be no advantage in simply forcing UK businesses to relocate to other countries.”

Ministers are yet to specify which industries will be exempt, or how much money they will save.

However, a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the exemption would not affect the £7.6bn total for subsidies by 2020 - so would see other businesses and households pick up the costs instead.

He insisted the impact of the exemption on others was “likely to be extremely small”.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said the move was a “critical reform” to ensure industry remained competitive.

Manufacturers union EEF welcomed the move but said the Government must act to protect all energy consumers.

The British Chambers of Commerce called on the Government to address wider concerns over business energy costs, warning that nearly 40pc of businesses felt rising energy bills had adversely affected their growth.

Ministers will also today announce a consultation on plans to reduce the UK’s energy demand. These could include paying consumers for electricity saved by installing energy-efficient lighting.


Alice in Wonderland science

Our energy and environment deserve better – in South Africa and Qatar

By Kelvin Kemm (Dr Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and business strategy consultant in Pretoria, South Africa)

A few weeks ago, perhaps as a prologue to the “global warming disaster” convention in Doha, Qatar, South Africa’s Department of Environment Affairs took out a full-page advertisement in our country’s newspapers, promoting National Marine Week.

The ad showed a map of the Antarctic continent, from above the pole, surrounded by the vast blue Southern Ocean. It also promoted South Africa’s new Antarctic research vessel, SA Agulhas II.

The advertisement’s text mentioned the massive Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which is responsible for distributing vital nutrients to the world’s oceans. It noted that the truly massive quantities of phytoplankton found in the ocean are vital marine building blocks in ocean processes. All that is true, and I certainly applaud efforts to protect the environment and promote National Marine Week and our country’s research efforts.

But then, sadly, the ad’s discussion of physics content went off the rails. Referring to phytoplankton, it said “these microscopic creatures also use carbon to create energy.” Wrong!

The most basic law of thermodynamics says energy is neither created nor destroyed, but merely converted from one form to another. The only way to “create” energy is via a nuclear process, whereby matter is converted to energy in a nuclear reaction, as Einstein famously postulated over a century ago. Nuclear processes operate outside the laws of thermodynamics, but there is certainly no nuclear process going on in phytoplankton.

I could have lived with that slip up in the physics. But it got worse – much worse. The ad went on to blame global warming for upsetting the phytoplankton. In a declaration straight out of Alice in Wonderland, it asserted: “The increase in surface temperature over Antarctica from climate change is having a catastrophic knock-on effect, depleting phytoplankton stocks, melting the Antarctic ice sheet and causing an alarming reduction in all marine life.”

First, to the best of my knowledge, there has been no “alarming reduction in all marine life.” None of my colleagues are aware of it. Second, the surface temperature over Antarctica is not increasing.

In fact, a new record has just been attained. Antarctic sea ice has just reached an all-time record for total acreage. Day 265 of the year 2012 set an all time record, and then on day 266 that record was broken. The days 265 to 270 were the six highest Antarctic sea ice extent days of all time.

The environment department then compounded these errors by committing the unforgivable scientific sin of claiming a supposed increase in surface air temperature over Antarctica “is having a catastrophic knock-on effect” – then providing no evidence to back up its assertion and not telling readers what the alleged knock-on effect is.

I cannot even begin to imagine how this knock-on is supposed to alter the Circumpolar Current, which in turn is somehow supposed to affect the “energy creation” capabilities of phytoplankton. Come off it, folks.

There is so much good Antarctic science to be proud of – and, for that matter, really fine South African scientific achievements in the Antarctic to brag about. That the DEA would feel compelled to celebrate National Maritime Week by resorting to phytoplankton scares supposedly related to nonexistent Antarctic heating is beyond mystifying.

Meanwhile, over the last few months, newspaper stories have told of reduced sea ice extent at our planet’s other pole, the Arctic. Terms like “alarming rate” of ice depletion were bandied about casually. Yes, there were reductions in Arctic sea ice cover.

However, on September 18, a video posted by NASA on its website showed that a large and long lasting Arctic cyclone “wreaked havoc on the Arctic sea ice cover,” by “breaking up sea ice.” The unusual reduction in Arctic sea ice cover was due to high winds – not to any warming of the Arctic or global warming in general. NASA’s belated analysis demonstrated that a large section of ice north of the Chukchi Sea was cut off by the churning storm, broken up and pushed south into warmer waters, where it melted.

The storm also broke up other ice, accelerating drifting and melting elsewhere. Reuters finally reported that “NASA says a powerful cyclone formed off the coast of Alaska in early August and moved toward the centre of the Arctic Ocean, weakening the already thin sea ice as it went.”

NASA noted that this was an “uncommon event” and that there have been only about eight storms of similar strength during August in 34 years of satellite records. However, a major storm every four years is not all that “uncommon.” Paul A. Newman, Chief Scientist for Atmospheric Sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, added that such wind disturbances produce many effects and can also lift warmer water from the depths of the Arctic Ocean up to the surface to accelerate melting.

For some reason – probably having to do with its regular promotion of “dangerous manmade global warming” claims – the storm story was barely mentioned in the mainstream popular media. By contrast, the “alarming ice cover reduction” narrative was covered extensively.

Now jump back in time five years, to December 12, 2007. On that date Associated Press writer Seth Borenstein distributed an article that stated: “An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer – a sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point. One scientist even speculated that summer sea ice could be gone in five years.”

Well, five years have come and gone. Borenstein was dead wrong. Does anyone suppose the AP will now publish an apology, admitting that its “science writer” was on thin ice when he made this outlandish statement, and saying he should not have tried to scare the public like that?

Perhaps the answer can be found in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

“There's no use trying,” Alice said. “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Especially with the Doha climate change confab in full swing, taxpayers, newspaper readers – and anyone dreaming of a better life through reliable, affordable energy – deserves more honest reporting and more science-based energy and environmental policies than they have been getting.

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Carbon Taxes

One suggestion for dealing with greenhouse gas emissions is to implement a revenue-neutral tax on carbon emissions. If we implemented a carbon tax and cut income taxes by the same amount, we would be reducing taxes on something we want (income) and increasing taxes on something we don’t (air pollution).

As good as it sounds, I’m skeptical of the merits of carbon taxes, even if our CO2 emissions cause global warming. Fossil fuels have been the energy source behind the remarkable economic progress we have had since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Taxing that energy source will lower economic growth. Reducing income taxes should increase economic growth, but the issue is more complex than just which tax would, in theory, be the least detrimental to growth. Here are six reasons for my skepticism on carbon taxes.

1. Fossil fuels have powered the Industrial Revolution. Let’s say that the Earth is 2-3 degrees warmer today than it would have been had the Industrial Revolution never occurred. Is that amount of warming worth it? Would you rather live in today’s world, or have the standard of living of people in 1750 and an Earth 2-3 degrees cooler? If that is the cost of the remarkable economic progress that has resulted from the Industrial Revolution, most people would gladly accept the warming.

2. Carbon taxes would slow economic growth not only because they would make the power that fuels it more costly, but also because carbon taxes are unlikely to be revenue-neutral, even when their advocates propose it. Look at the VAT in the EU, which was proposed as a revenue-neutral tax reform, and sparked a substantial growth of government across the EU countries. Look at the federal income tax, which started as a progressive tax with a top marginal tax rate of 7%. A carbon tax would not be implemented by an omniscient benevolent government that would produce the “optimal” policy, but by a democratic process that is laced with special interest politics and cronyism. A new revenue source, even if intended by its architects to be revenue-neutral, ultimately would lead to bigger government, placing even more of a burden on the productive capacity of the economy.

3. If we are concerned about our children and grandchildren, then combining the first two points, would we make future generations better off by leaving them a world that is slightly cooler, but also poorer?

4. We should weigh the benefits as well as the costs of global warming. What if the people arguing that human use of fossil fuels is warming the planet are right? CO2, which is often viewed as a pollutant, is necessary for plant growth, and a higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will mean healthier plants. A warmer climate will mean a longer growing season, so we can better feed our population. It would open up land to crops that currently is too far north. People in some places would surely be made worse off from a warmer planet, but people in other places — Siberia, Canada — would be better off. People are mobile, and populations would shift as climate change made some places more desirable relative to others. Global warming would bring with it benefits as well as costs.

5. There are benefits to waiting to deal with global warming, if it is a problem. One is that technology will develop so that it will become cheaper to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future. For example Air Fuel Synthesis is a company that takes CO2 from the air and hydrogen from water to make oil. I don’t know whether this is the winning technology, but over time more technological advances like this will occur, making it more cost-effective to deal with greenhouse gas emissions. Also over time, people get wealthier (if we don’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs), and are willing to pay for “green” energy. People in wealthier countries are choosing to spend their own money to buy solar panels to generate electricity, and to engage in other “green” activity without any government mandates telling them they have to. If it is desirable to do something to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, there are some benefits to doing something later rather than now.

6. Carbon taxes could increase the emissions of greenhouse gasses. If the US implemented carbon taxes unilaterally, that would raise the cost of manufacturing in the US, which would push manufacturing to other countries (like China) where manufacturing produces higher emissions than in the relatively clean US. The shift in manufacturing from low emissions countries to high emissions countries would result in more greenhouse gas emissions.

People who are skeptical about global warming will, of course, see no reason for carbon taxes, but the six points above make the argument that people who think global warming is real and man-made have good reason to question the desirability of carbon taxes.


Climate Change Think Tank Warns of Robot Uprising

Martin Rees, former president of the Royal Society, and ueber-alarmist, continues his descent into fringe theories

You know that sneaking suspicion you’ve always had that climate change alarmists are all doom fetishists with an unhealthy obsession with apocalyptic scenarios? Well you’re not too far from the mark, it would seem.

Martin Rees, former president of the Royal Society, and author of uber-alarmist global warming book Our Final Century, has teamed up with philosophy professor, Huw Price and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn to form the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER), a think tank devoted to looking at climate change and other ways we could all die. Maybe. Perhaps.

The BBC reports on the think tank and the inspiration behind it:

"The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) will study dangers posed by biotechnology, artificial life, nanotechnology and climate change.

The scientists said that to dismiss concerns of a potential robot uprising would be “dangerous”.

Fears that machines may take over have been central to the plot of some of the most popular science fiction films."

It is certainly appropriate that climate change is to be studied under the same roof as robot uprisings and fears about the triffids taking over the planet. Perhaps Bigfoot will also be looked into as well, we’re not sure on that one yet.

But what is certain is that from being a front page news story and worldwide concern, climate change alarmism has slipped ever further down the slope to fringe status, joining crackpot theories like robot uprisings at the outer margins of speculation. How fitting.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


November 29, 2012

Now SNOW is set to fall as Britain faces coldest winter for 100 years

Definitely global cooling

Britain will shiver tonight as temperatures plummet in the first taste of what promises to be one of our coldest winters for a century.

The cold snap is expected to last until the end of the week, creating dangerous conditions on the roads and adding to the misery of those already battling floods.

Temperatures could fall to as low as minus 3c (27f) in some places, with snow already falling in the Pennines.

The torrential rain which has deluged the country for the last week is expected to ease at last but the clearer skies, coupled with northerly winds, will send the mercury plummeting.

Tonight’s cold snap heralds a freezing winter ahead with long-range forecasters warning that temperatures could fall to as low as minus 20c (4f) in some areas through December and January.

They fear snow blizzards could close roads and shut down rail networks across the country as winter takes hold.

The cold, drier spell that starts tonight could be only a brief respite from the rain. More heavy showers are expected to return early next week, causing more misery to those trying to combat flood damage.

‘The weather will be much colder and drier across most of the UK today,’ said Meteogroup forecaster John Lee.

‘Northerly winds and clearer skies will make it feel much colder and we can expect widespread frost overnight when temperatures drop below freezing.

‘Wintry showers will bring sleet, snow and hail to higher ground tomorrow and there’s a risk of heavy snow showers in northern Scotland on Friday.

Local authorities say they are prepared for a harsh winter and have taken steps to avoid a repeat of two years ago, when a lack of gritters and snowploughs caused roads and transport networks to grind to a halt.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, said councils had stockpiled 1.3million tons of road salt and had ‘hundreds’ of gritters on standby.

‘Keeping the country moving is a community effort,’ said Peter Box, chairman of the LGA’s economy and transport board.

‘Councils will be treating as many roads as they can and have also installed and filled thousands of extra grit bins for people living in side streets, villages and housing estates.

‘They’ve given equipment to parish councils, community groups and snow wardens who have volunteered to grit hard-to-reach areas, and farmers will be helping out on country lanes.

‘Highways, street-cleaning and park staff could also be drafted in to help clear snow and ice around places like shops, schools and sheltered accommodation.’

He said councils would be using social media, including Twitter feeds and Facebook pages, to keep people up to date about how weather is affecting their area.


The WMO has its two cents worth at Doha

And two cents is its maximum value. So what if a lot of ice at one pole only has melted? There's clearly nothing global going on. And there has been no global warming for 16 years so global warming cannot be the culprit anyhow.

And how come we hear nothing of subsea vulcanism? There's heaps of it at the Gakkel ridge, which runs right under the Arctic sea ice.

There's NOTHING that they say below that proves ANYTHING! It's a parade of illogic

AN area of Arctic sea ice bigger than the United States melted this year, according the UN weather agency's annual climate report.

In a report released at UN climate talks in Doha, the World Meteorological Organisation said the Arctic ice melt was one of a myriad of extreme and record-breaking weather events to hit the planet in 2012.

Droughts devastated nearly two-thirds of the United States as well western Russia and southern Europe. Floods swamped west Africa and heat waves left much of the Northern Hemisphere sweltering.

But it was the ice melt that seemed to dominate the annual report, with the UN concluding ice cover had reached "a new record low" in the area around the North Pole and that the loss from March to September was a staggering 11.83 million square kilometres - an area bigger than the United States.

"The alarming rate of its melt this year highlighted the far-reaching changes taking place on Earth's oceans and biosphere," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said.

"Climate change is taking place before our eyes and will continue to do so as a result of the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which have risen constantly and again reached new records."

The dire climate news - following on the heels of a report on Tuesday that found melting permafrost could significantly amplify global warming - comes as delegates from nearly 200 countries struggled for a third day to lay the groundwork for a deal that would cut emissions in an attempt to ensure that temperatures don't rise more than 2C over what they were in preindustrial times. Temperatures have already risen about 0.8C, according to the latest report by the IPCC.

Discord between rich and poor countries on who should do what has kept the two-decade-old UN talks from delivering on that goal, and global emissions are still going up.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with former US Vice President Al Gore, urged delegates to heed the science and quickly take action.

"When I had the privilege in 2007 of accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC, in my speech I asked the rhetorical question, 'Will those responsible for decisions in the field of climate change at the global level listen to the voice of science and knowledge, which is now loud and clear,' " he said.

"I am not sure our voice is louder today but it is certainly clearer on the basis of the new knowledge."

Delegates in Doha are bickering over money from rich countries to help poorer ones adapt to and combat the impacts of climate change, and whether developed countries will sign onto an extension of a legally binding emissions pact, the Kyoto Protocol, that would run until 2020.

A pact that once incorporated all industrialised countries except the US would now include only the European Union, Australia and several smaller countries which together account for less than 15 per cent of global emissions.

And the US is refusing to offer any bolder commitments to cut its emissions beyond a non-binding pledge to reduce emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020.

"For developed country parties like the United States and the European Union, the pledges and commitments ... put forward on the table are far below what is required by the science," Su Wei, a member of the Chinese delegation, told reporters.

"And far below what is required by their historical responsibility."

Developing countries have said they are willing to take steps to control emissions, but that they must be given space to build their economies. Although China is the largest carbon polluter and India is rapidly catching up, both countries lag far behind the industrial countries in emissions per person and still have huge populations mired in poverty.


The real cause of variations in oceanic Ph ("acidity")

Warmists talk as if there is one level of Ph for all the globe and that global warming is moving it towards an acidic balance. None of that is true. Ph varies greatly from place to place in the oceans and the idea of getting a precise global average for it is a dream.

This video shows one of the main NATURAL causes of Ph variation in different areas of the ocean: Undersea volcanoes. The video is of a volcano in the Pacific around 4,000 feet down. The water temperature rose to 2,200 degrees F. and the eruption turned the water more acidic than battery acid. And this is just one volcano. There are lots of them under the Arctic ocean and elsewhere -- JR.

World Bank turns up the heat on global warming debate

A recent report by the World Bank has found that the world will warm by 4 degrees Celsius this century, and that the negative impacts of climate change will disproportionately hurt developing, poorer regions.

The report, “Turn Down the Heat,” warns of rising sea levels, less arable land, droughts, water contamination, more storms at greater strength and more, saying it was “likely that the poor will suffer most and the global community could become more fractured, and unequal than today.”

“We will never end poverty if we don’t tackle climate change,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim recently told reporters in a conference call highlighting the piece.

The report itself is light on details of how exactly the world’s temperature will be reduced, other than through amorphous “international and regional agreements” to substantially reduce carbon emissions, particularly in developed regions like the U.S. and Europe.

But even if the U.S. and other nations were to voluntarily restrict carbon emissions — a questionable proposition in itself — other nations like China and India would certainly fill in the gap to meet the needs of their own growing populations.

From that perspective, the World Bank’s report makes perfect sense. Perhaps the real agenda of those who cling to a belief in man-made climate change has little to do with alleviating global poverty or combating climate change.

The fact is, without enforcement of agreements restricting carbon emissions, which would require a near totalitarian control over the global economy and sovereignty by some internationalist body, agreements will simply fail to reduce carbon emissions. It is not a realistic policy objective.

So, maybe that is not the goal of such agreements. Examining their likely effects, however, reveals they will simply redirect the flow of the world’s energy trade, redistributing energy resources and wealth toward developing economies and away from the West.

That makes a whole lot more sense than these tortured “scientific” analyses amounting to little more than “the gods are angry”-type explanations for the state of the climate.

Besides, if the radical environmentalists ever did manage to substantially reduce carbon emissions and hence energy output all over the world, would we be able to produce enough food and water for 7 billion people? Or would conditions worsen?

Jim Yong Kim in the report’s foreword promises that “many opportunities exist to dramatically reduce the climate impact of development, without slowing down poverty alleviation and economic growth.” The report then subsequently fails to outline what those opportunities might be, of course.

Probably because they do not actually exist. Instead, it appears likely that a sudden, dramatic decline in energy output everywhere would wreck the global economy. Slower growth would lead to higher unemployment and less resources to go around. All of which would create more poverty, not less.

So let’s cut to the chase. This is about who controls the world’s energy supply. No more, no less. The questionable science of man-made climate change is merely the means to that redistributive end.


Can the EPA end logging? Supreme Court to decide

In June, when the U.S. Supreme Court came out with its ruling regarding the health care law, everyone sat on the edge of their seats in anticipation. And for a good reason; this law impacts every American.

Likewise, the Supreme Court is hearing the case Georgia-Pacific West v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center that will greatly impact an entire sector of businesses and jobs across the nation.

This is one of the biggest environmental cases to come before the Supreme Court in years. One that Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said has the capacity to “shut down forestry on private, state, and tribal lands.”

Since the Clean Water Act was enacted in 1972 runoff on logging roads, the point of contention in this lawsuit, is not subject to the same reviews or permitting process as factories, mines or chemical plants, because forestry falls under the section governing agriculture. At least until now.

In 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that these logging roads should have to comply with the same rules as those of factories and chemical plants. The Supreme Court has taken up the case and oral arguments are expected to be heard on Dec. 3.

If the Supreme Court sides with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the entire logging industry in these northwestern states will be brought to its knees.

Though this battle is specific towards logging road, opposition towards this industry as a whole is not new. In fact, even the federal government has taken a swing or two at the logging trade.

Some 20 years ago a 1-pound owl contributed to the demise of this very industry. The northern spotted owl was once thought to only be able to survive in old forests, overgrown and unmaintained. When it became an endangered special in 1990, and even before, great cutbacks were made in the logging industry throughout California, Oregon and Washington states. Yet, despite massive growths in forest land, the owl’s population continues to decline.

Bob Mion, communications director at California Forestry Association, said that many sawmills in Washington State were forced to shut down because of the spotted owl. Come to find out, he says, the owl thrives on managed lands, not the untouched, mismanaged federal lands. The owl’s favorite food is a wood rat, Mion claims. “If the forest is overgrown, it can’t see the rat.”

Furthermore, partly due to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and also for regulation purposes, the federal government now owns about 1 out of every 2 acres of land in western states like Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) told Americans for Limited Government (ALG) in a previous interview.

The more land the federal government snatches up, the more rules and restrictions come down on activities like logging. The continuing heavy hand of government coupled with an ongoing recession stalling the need for new-built homes, deals a heavy blow to this industry.

To put it into perspective, in 1988, the booming timber industry in Oregon harvested 8,743 MMBF (million board feet) of wood. In 2010, the amount harvested was less than half at only 3,227 MMBF.

For comparison, in 2009, Oregon Business cited Bob Ragon, executive director of Douglas Timber Operators, as saying that over the last two decades Oregon and Washington states have lost 35,000 jobs in the timber industry.

Despite the setbacks for this industry, its future and the thousands of jobs it provides very well may hang in the balance of this pending Supreme Court decision. The Court could reverse the Ninth Circuit’s ruling and logging roads would not be subject to the Clean Water Act. Or the Court could stand behind the Ninth Circuit’s decision.

If the latter takes place, all logging roads nationwide would require permits for each drainage point.

National Review explains why this change alone could effectively end this industry for good:

“Washington State, for example, has 57,000 miles of them [logging roads], with at least one drain point per mile. But now the Circuit Court panel has decreed that each flow-way must be permitted or shut down. By one estimate, processing a single Clean Water Act approval costs a state $2,800, meaning the decision could saddle Washington alone with a $159.6 million bill.”

What state can afford that high price—yet alone an already crippled industry?

Furthermore, that high price tag would only go up from there. With as many drainage points as there are on each of these miles of logging roads, some, if not all of them, would get tied up in yet another environmental lawsuit. This would not only prolong the arduous permitting process, but would cost more money.

A Court decision backing the Ninth Circuit’s ruling would not only end the logging trade on public and federal lands but also on private lands. The repercussions would spread far and wide. National Review further explains:

“Endangered, too, will be thousands of resorts, ranches, and communities scattered amid the circuit’s forestlands and dependent on the same roads loggers use. Controlling forest fires will become harder, posing even greater threats to everyone nearby as well as to firefighters. And regional sawmills, paper mills, and all who depend on western wood will suffer. By some estimates as many as a million jobs are in jeopardy.”

The question must be asked, how does this protect the environment?

Mark Pawlicki, director of corporate affairs and sustainability for Sierra Pacific Industries in California, told ALG in a past interview, “We are the only industry that helps air quality.” He goes on to say that because timber harvesters must replant much more than they remove from forests, long term studies have shown a reduction of greenhouse gases because younger trees grow faster and absorb more carbon and other gases.

If the Supreme Court rules on the side of the Ninth Circuit and logging roads are forced comply with the Clean Water Act, true environmentalism would take a backseat to permitting processes and litigation battles. Therefore, these roads and connecting waterways, which are now kept clean and healthy, would fall victim to overgrown forests, runoff and debris.

This begs the question, who are the true environmentalists: Those who care for the land and maintain it and its species, or those so hungry to destroy this one industry that any resulting environmental destruction is dismissed?


Washington state confronts ocean acidification

Gregoire as Canute

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) ordered state agencies on Tuesday to take steps to address the ocean’s increasing acidity, making it the first state to adopt a policy to take on what scientists describe as a growing environmental concern.

Ocean acidification poses a threat to the state’s $270 million shellfish industry, as well as to critical habitat off its shores.

The order signed by Gregoire, whose term will end in January, calls on the state to invest more money in scientific research, curb nutrient runoff from land, and push for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions on a regional, national and global scale. It accepts the recommendations that a blue-ribbon panel issued Tuesday on how to assess and limit the effects of ocean acidification. The group was co-chaired by former Environmental Protection Agency administrator William D. Ruckelshaus and former Gregoire chief of staff Jay Manning...

The ocean is becoming more acidic worldwide, but certain regions are affected more than others because local factors such as ocean currents or farm runoff can intensify the impact. Washington state policymakers have focused on the problem for several years because increasingly corrosive waters off the state’s shores threaten oyster-farming operations.


Comment on the above

“Increasingly corrosive waters” affecting oyster farming? But the daily pH variation in tidal areas is naturally large.

According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute,

[Researcher Francisco] Chavez is measuring pH in the intertidal because, as he points out, “These organisms are seeing large swings of pH on a daily basis.” Daily variations of pH can occur from photosynthesis and from animals respiring and releasing carbon dioxide. The pH also fluctuates when upwelled water reaches the intertidal.

In other words, tidal biota don’t live at an average pH, but in a naturally fluctuating range of pH values. Moreover, to the extent pH affects survival, natural selection will enable pH-hardier biota to thrive.

The left apparently only embraces Darwin when it comes to beating up religious conservatives.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


November 28, 2012

The permafrost scare is back again

This pops up every couple of years. Most of the permafrost concerned is in Russia and Russian scientists have repeatedly said the alarmists don't know what they are talking about.

The Russian Arctic, particularly in Siberia, is VERY cold, far too cold for a warming of a degree or two to have any effect

And the researchers below admit that they don't know what they have found! How's that as a solid basis for a climate theory? Forgive me while I laugh

I think they know what they have found. They just haven't been able to torture their data into saying what they want yet. They should get a copy of Darrell Huff's "How to lie with statistics". Let me suggest a technique: Extreme quintiles. I have never used it but it's used in the epidemiological literature all the time. It's a "respectable" way of throwing away most of your data. And epidemiology is a sensation-dependent literature too

THE world is on the cusp of a "tipping point" into dangerous climate change, according to new data gathered by scientists measuring methane leaking from the Arctic permafrost and a report presented to the United Nations on Tuesday.

"The permafrost carbon feedback is irreversible on human time scales," says the report, Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost. "Overall, these observations indicate that large-scale thawing of permafrost may already have started."

While countries the size of Australia tally up their greenhouse emissions in hundreds of millions of tonnes, the Arctic's stores are measured in tens of billions.

Human-induced emissions now appear to have warmed the Arctic enough to unlock this vast carbon bank, with stark implications for international efforts to hold global warming to a safe level. Ancient forests locked under ice tens of thousands of years ago are beginning to melt and rot, releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the air.

The report estimates the greenhouse gases leaking from the thawing Arctic will eventually add more to emissions than last year's combined carbon output of the US and Europe – a statistic which means present global plans to hold climate change to an average 2degree temperature rise this century are now likely to be much more difficult.

Until very recently permafrost was thought to have been melting too slowly to make a meaningful difference to temperatures this century, so it was left out of the Kyoto Protocol, and ignored by many climate change models.

What isn't known is the precise rate and scale of the melt, and that is being tackled in a remarkable NASA experiment that hardly anyone has heard of, but which could prove to be one of the most crucial pieces of scientific field work undertaken this century.

The findings, for now, are still under wraps. "But I think 'tantalising' is probably the right word," [Or is that "inconclusive"?] said Charles Miller, the principal investigator in NASA's Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment, or CARVE.

The findings of the first year of the experiment are so complex that Professor Miller and his team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are still trying to work out exactly what they have found.


Leaders face riddle of lack of warming

AROUND Doha, the capital of Qatar, which boasts the world's highest per capita carbon emissions, ramshackle humpies made of car tyres and recycled shipping pallets are springing up amid the city's shiny skyscrapers.

Together with a fleet of low-cost electric cars to ferry the A-list, the low-cost buildings are the organisers' eye-popping way to draw attention to the UN's annual climate change conference that kicks off on Monday.

In keeping with Doha's immaculately manicured image, the most common expression on eco-friendly portals has been surprise that it was possible to recycle anything in the Arabian sheikdom.

It is a mixed message that illustrates the state of global climate change negotiations. As usual, a raft of reports restating dire predictions has been released to coincide with the conference.

The World Meteorological Organisation confirmed atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide had risen to 390.9 parts a million, the highest on record.

A World Bank-commissioned report, Turn Down the Heat, warned that mankind was on track for a 4C warmer world, marked by extreme heatwaves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea-level rise.

The research was undertaken by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and mirrors the warnings of many institutions, including Australia's Climate Commission. A UN Environment Program report said countries were not doing enough to keep the world from warming 2C above pre-industrial levels.

"Not only are nations failing to close the gap between their actions and the two degrees goal," says Union of Concerned Scientists director Alden Meyer, "but the gap is actually widening."

Last month's Hurricane Sandy, which flooded New York City, has been widely cited as evidence that climate change is about bigger storms, not just higher temperatures. For climate change campaigners this is fortunate because the most recent global temperature record, released this week, shows the average global temperature fell last year for the second year.

The decline is not considered statistically significant - temperatures remain well above the long-term average - and is explained by the strong La Nina weather patterns that caused rain havoc across eastern Australia. But it is nonetheless counter-intuitive to claims that global temperatures are spinning out of control, just as increasing ice cover in Antarctica runs counter to the high level of scientific concern at increased ice melt in the Arctic.

The Antarctic ice growth does not necessarily undermine anxiety about the melting ice in the Arctic, but it does highlight the fact gaps remain in scientific understanding and that climate models don't always work.

The British Met Bureau was forced to furiously deny reports in Britain last month that the latest temperature data showed global warming stopped 16 years ago.

The bureau argues the trend is still unambiguously up, with global surface temperatures having risen by about 0.8C in the past 140 years. "However, within this record there have been several periods lasting a decade or more during which temperatures have risen very slowly or cooled," the bureau said. "The current period of reduced warming is not unprecedented and 15-year-long periods are not unusual."

In short, there is agreement that the rising trend has stalled.

Many scientists accept there are natural processes at work that are not properly factored into the global temperature models.

German environmentalist Fritz Vahrenholt, a former Social Democrat Party senator, founder of wind-energy company REpower and president of the German Wildlife Foundation, has been particularly outspoken.

"According to the IPCC climate models, there should be an increase in global temperature of 0.2C per decade," he says.

"But if you look at the data series of satellite-based temperature measurements and the data from the British Hadley Centre (HadCRUT), you find that since 1998 there has been no warming; the temperature has remained at a plateau. We know how mainstream climate scientists would answer this question: 15 years is not a climate signal; it must happen for 30 years," Vahrenholt says, "But there must be an explanation for the unexpected absence of warming."

Vahrenholt's answer is that the exclusion of solar activity and decadal oscillations from climate models leads to erroneous results. Vahrenholt's point is not that climate change shouldn't be addressed but that fear-driven energy policy works against the interests of nature, the poor and economic good sense. He says there is time to find solutions that work.

This is the background against which governments will meet in Doha to negotiate a globally binding agreement to cut carbon emissions, as agreed at last year's meeting in Cape Town, South Africa.

First, the developed world must decide what it wants to do about a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

After linking to the European carbon trading scheme, Australia has agreed to sign up to a Kyoto II, but Japan, Canada, Russia and New Zealand have said they are out.

Australia's Climate Institute deputy chief executive Erwin Jackson says there are three possible outcomes from Doha.

One is the collapse of talks, with Kyoto II falling over and the Bali Action Plan, where countries pledge carbon cuts, faltering.

Another possibility is that parties simply agree to keep talking.

Jackson says he is mildly confident of a focused outcome in which amendments are made to implement a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and the Bali Action Plan negotiations are closed. Such an outcome would allow talks to be integrated into a single track towards a global legally binding agreement.

The timetable set last year was for details of an agreement to be set by 2015, to take effect from 2020. Key, as always, will be the actions of the US, China and India, each motivated by its own self-interest.

The world's biggest carbon dioxide emitter, China, is keen to show good faith to deflect attention from its phenomenal rate of growth and emissions. But despite signing on to negotiations for a global treaty, China remains fiercely protective of preserving the ethic of "differentiated responsibility" between developed and developing countries.

As does India, which remains concerned primarily with achieving energy security as it struggles to lift hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty. India reluctantly agreed to the Cape Town agreement last year because it did not want to be seen as wrecker.

And despite the hype that a post-Sandy Obama administration will restart action on climate change, the biggest challenge may be keeping the US inside the UN framework.

The Obama administration reportedly is considering taking the action away from the annual UN climate summit into the Major Economies Forum, a platform of the world's largest CO2 emitters.

Such a move would leave the UN process with little more than the symbolism of a Doha humpy.


Doubts on $30 billion aid for climate change overshadow UN talks

Doubts mounted about whether developed nations honored a pledge to deliver $30 billion in aid for fighting and defend against climate change after two analysts estimated different amounts had been paid out.

The question over how much finance was provided under the “fast-start” program has the potential to undermine trust between donor and recipient nations during two weeks of United Nations talks on a treaty to curb global warming. Aid is the linchpin of the talks starting today in Doha after industrial nations pledged in 2009 to channel $100 billion a year for climate projects by 2020.

“We can’t say if it was delivered or not because we can’t be sure,” Seyni Nafo, a Malian envoy who speaks for a bloc of African nations, said in an interview yesterday, referring to the $30 billion pledge. “The process of fast-start finance was supposed to build trust, but it created more tension and frustration that what was proposed was not delivered.”

The European Union, U.S., Japan and other developed nations paid out $23.6 billion of assistance to poorer countries during the three years through 2012, falling short of the $30 billion promised in 2009, the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development said today. An estimate today from the World Resources Institute in Washington put the total paid at almost $34 billion.

A third estimate for the sum from Nick Robins, head of the Climate Change Center at HSBC Holdings Plc in London, valued it at $32 billion as of Oct. 25. Of that, $25 billion so far has been allocated to projects, HSBC said. Allocation doesn’t necessarily mean the funds have been paid.


“While countries are on track to fulfil their initial pledges, there continues to be a lack of clarity around the exact definition of what can count toward fast start finance,” Cliff Polycarp a senior associate at the WRI said in a statement. “This leaves room for doubt as to whether these targets are indeed being met.”

The UN talks involving more than 190 nations are working toward adopting a treaty in 2015 that would limit greenhouse gases starting in 2020. Richer countries pledged aid for poorer nations struggling to cope with the impact of global warming as a first step toward worldwide limits on fossil fuel emissions.

With the three-year fast-start aid period ending this year, envoys in Doha must also ensure aid doesn’t end next year, by doubling pledges to $60 billion for the three years through 2015 and plowing $10 billion to $15 billion into a new Green Climate Fund that was set up at last year’s round of talks, said the environmental group Conservation International in Washington.

‘Empty Promise’

“The $100 billion figure must not be an empty promise nor the Green Climate Fund an empty bank account,” Fred Boltz, vice-president for international policy at the group said today in an e-mailed statement.

As well as falling short of their pledges, developed countries didn’t make good on plans to detail the destination and nature of their payments and make them more transparent, the International Institute for Environment and Development said.


Global climate talks: If at the 17th you don’t succeed

Richard S J Tol

The 18th UN Conference on climate change negotiations has just started in Doha. This column suggests that the probability of success is a mere 2.3%. Recently, over $100 million per year was spent on fruitless negotiations. Having flogged, ever harder for 18 years, the dead horse of legally binding emission targets, the UN should close that chapter and try something new.

Game theory suggests that attempts to negotiate an international environmental agreement, aiming to provide a global public good such as greenhouse gas emission reduction, are bound to fail (Barrett 1991, Carraro and Siniscalco 1992, Carraro and Siniscalco 1993). The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) nonetheless sought to find an agreement on legally binding targets for emission abatement. International conferences have been held each year since 1995. This year’s event, the 18th Conference, is from 26 November to 7 December in Doha, Qatar.

The previous 17 conferences have failed to reduce emissions. There were glimmers of hope in 1997 and 2001 when the Kyoto Protocol was, respectively, initiated and finalised. This international treaty, however, bound Europe and Japan to do nothing much and most other countries to do nothing at all. The US and Canada would have had substantial obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, but the US decided not to ratify the treaty and Canada withdrew after ratification.

Suspending game theoretic insights for the moment, let us assume that the first Conference of the Parties in Berlin in 1995 had a 50-50 chance of succeeding. If we further assume that the successive negotiations were independent tries, we can estimate the probability of success in Doha. The outcome of the series of negotiations follows a binomial distribution. Initialising with a Jeffrey uninformative natural conjugate Beta prior, Figure 1 shows the evolution of the expected probability and its one-sided 95% confidence bound over time. There is a 2.3% change of success in Doha, and we are 95% confident that the success probability is smaller than 22%.

Figure 1. The expected probability of negotiation success (solid line), its 95% confidence bound (dashed line) and the annual costs of climate negotiations (triangles).

An obvious critique of this calculation is that the negotiations would have changed over time. This is not the case. In the run-up to Doha, a number of organisations have released alarming reports. This has happened every year. The only surprise in 2012 was that the report by the World Bank was prepared by a former director of Greenpeace (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics 2012). In the run-up to Doha, negotiators and climatocrats have called for legally-binding targets and timetables. Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, has called for a “centralised transformation” of the energy sector (Kolbert 2012), echoing other calls for a world government to solve the climate problem (Biermann et al. 2012). The policy rhetoric in 2012 is much the same as it was in 1995.

Empty promises and token actions by politicians are not new and not limited to greenhouse gas emission reduction policy. The international climate negotiations are expensive, though. Almost 1,000 delegates attended in 1995 (Schroeder et al. 2012). This rose to almost 11,000 in 2005 and to 24,000 in 2009. The numbers have fallen somewhat since then, with only 16,000 delegates in Durban in 2011. 17,000 delegates are expected in Doha. Almost 7,000 person-working-years have been spent on the conferences alone.

But the UNFCCC organises more than one meeting per year. In 2012, 107 meetings were held, down from 111 meetings in 2011. Meetings were (much) rarer in the earlier years. I reckon that the UNFCCC has organised 682 meetings since 1995. Some of these were small. Negotiation meetings, now held once every quarter, attract thousands of participants. Assuming an average attendance of 200 delegates (one per country) and a duration of one week (including travel), 3,000 person-working-years have been spent at subsidiary meetings. Travel and subsistence for these meetings (say $2,000/person for a subsidiary meeting and $3,000/person for a conference) would amount to over $700 million. If delegates earn $30,000/year on average, the total costs of the UNFCCC meetings alone (ignoring preparation and overhead) would be $1 billion.

Figure 1 depicts the estimated cost per year. Recently, over $100 million per year was spent in fruitless negotiations. This is not a large sum of money, but Figure 1 suggests that ever more effort has been put into an increasingly obviously hopeless venture. This seems foolhardy.

Alternatives have been suggested, and it is time they are taken seriously. Bradford (2008) points out that other global public goods are provided through voluntary contributions, often bolstered by international jamborees where countries pledge their contributions and review those of others. Tol (2010) argues that this is made easier by the international standards on emission monitoring and the international flexibility instruments through which countries and companies can invest in greenhouse gas emission reduction elsewhere. Having flogged, ever harder for 18 years, the dead horse of legally binding emission targets, the UNFCCC should close that chapter and try something new.


It's all over: C.I.A. Closes Its Climate Change Office

The Central Intelligence Agency has disbanded its Center on Climate Change and National Security, a unit formed in 2009 to monitor the interplay between a warming planet and intelligence and security challenges.

The creation of the office drew fire at the time from some Republicans, who said it was an unnecessary expense and a distraction from the agency’s focus on terrorism and other more immediate threats. The agency did not say whether the closing was related to budget constraints or other political pressures.

Todd Ebitz, a C.I.A. spokesman, said that the agency would continue to monitor the security and humanitarian challenges posed by climate change as part of its focus on economic security, but not in a stand-alone office.

“The C.I.A. for several years has studied the national security implications of climate change,” Mr. Ebitz said in an e-mailed statement. “As part of a broader realignment of analytic resources, this work continues to be performed by a dedicated team in a new office that looks at economic and energy matters affecting America’s national security. The mission and the resources devoted to it remain essentially unchanged.”

The closing of the office was first reported Monday by Greenwire.

The C.I.A. did not conduct its own scientific studies on climate change, instead relying on other government agencies and academic researchers. The National Research Council, an arm of the National Academies of Science, released an extensive report to the intelligence community last week on how it can better assess and respond to the impacts of climate change on vulnerable states.

Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, has been the most vocal critic of the C.I.A.’s climate change work. He welcomed the closing of its office.

“Closing the Climate Change Center at the C.I.A. was the right decision,” Mr. Barrasso said in a statement. “I offered an amendment on the Senate floor to eliminate the center because it was unnecessary, wasteful and totally out of place. It’s critically important for the C.I.A. to focus its resources on preventing terrorism and keeping Americans safe.”


EPA administrators invent excuses to avoid transparency

The Environmental Protection Agency is the latest Obama bureaucracy exposed for embarrassing efforts to avert transparency. Its administrator, Lisa Jackson, has been using the email alias "Richard Windsor" to conduct agency business, which might allow some policy conversations to avoid scrutiny and circumvent public records laws.

So far, the EPA has offered a two-part defense of such accounts, first revealed in my new book, "The Liberal War on Transparency." First, everybody does it: "For more than a decade, EPA administrators have been assigned two official, government-issued email accounts: a public account and an internal account." Second, the masses made us do it: the overwhelming volume of mail an administrator would receive from the public meant she needed an account she would actually read and write from.

Both excuses, though slight on detail, prove too much.

Consider what lies behind the anodyne phrase "for more than a decade." While researching my book, I discovered a 2008 EPA memo to the national archivist reporting a records management problem. The agency had discovered "secondary" nonpublic email accounts for EPA administrators instigated earlier, under and with the active participation of Clinton-era EPA administrator Carol Browner.

That is remarkable because in 2000, a federal court ordered Browner to preserve her records -- specifically her email -- in a lawsuit filed by Mark Levin's Landmark Legal Foundation. Although she later pled ignorance of the order, the next morning Browner instructed EPA information technology staff to erase her hard drive and backup tapes, as a computer contractor later testified.

Her defense for having records destroyed was that she didn't use her computer for email.

You can imagine my surprise, then, to read of her involvement in arranging what is fairly described as a secret email account. The April 11, 2008, memo that I obtained acknowledges that Browner had such an account, and that such accounts were initiated for the first time under her because it would be impractical to correspond with an email account whose address was known to the public.

This, and that she had assisted in creating the account also raised further questions about her explanation for having her computer's history erased.

The reason EPA was required to report to the archivist was that its technicians found that these accounts were set on "auto-delete," destroying all records 90 days after they were last modified. As such, EPA said, it was difficult but not impossible to reconstruct the accounts' activity. The agency did reconstruct some administrators' emails by finding copies sent to or received from the accounts by others in the agency, but they made no effort to reconstruct Ms. Browner's account.

Their reason was that "Former Administrator Browner reportedly did not use her secondary email account, therefore there was no loss of records."

Note that conclusion is simply an assertion, one EPA elected not to check.

It would seem worthwhile to check, given the massive, costly operation that Browner's cyber-bonfire created. On its face, this destruction of records seemingly violates the U.S. criminal code (Title 18 Section 2071). The same court ordered thousands of hard drives examined in search of Browner's. Once it was found, the FBI conducted a forensic examination leading only to the conclusion that her hard drive had indeed been "reformatted."

There are further reasons why this matters for Obama's administrator Jackson. Has EPA in fact been searching for and producing from the "Richard Windsor" account to satisfy Freedom of Information requests for Jackson's emails? They say yes, but I have found reasons to demand verification (which Congress has also requested).

One reason is a demonstrated bureaucratic practice of inventing excuses to not search or produce certain files when they don't want them released. Another is that Obama officials have moved government over to private email accounts, private computers and even privately owned and managed servers. All of these acts indicate a desire to hide what the supposedly most transparent administration in history is up to.

Finally, for some reason EPA continues to stonewall our request for Jackson's "Windsor" emails about the war on coal and backdoor efforts to make electricity rates, in President Obama's words, "necessarily skyrocket."

EPA owes a lot of answers. So far, all it has offered are excuses.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


November 27, 2012

Finally! Proof of global cooling

Warmists always assure us that droughts signal global warming so the big floods in Britain must signify global cooling!

Hundreds of homes across Britain have been flooded as heavy rain and strong winds continue to batter the country and environmental officials warn of more storms to come.

In a Twitter message, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, described scenes of flood in the rural south-western region of Cornwall as "shocking", and promised that his government "will help ensure everything is being done to help".

Two people have died since heavy rains began on Wednesday, including a woman killed by a falling tree in the south-western city of Exeter and a man who became trapped in his car in rising waters in Somerset, also in the south-west.

The Cornish village of Millbrook was reportedly under 1.5 metres of water with 40 homes evacuated, said a BBC reporter who lives there, after torrents of muddy water swept through the village on Saturday.

Many communities were cut off after police shut waterlogged roads in Cornwall, where four severe flood warnings were issued overnight over rapidly rising river levels, and neighbouring Devon.

Across Britain, the Environment Agency said nearly 500 homes had flooded since Wednesday and warned more rain was on the way on Monday.

In Malmesbury in Wiltshire, western England, pub landlord Tom Hudson said he had water lapping at the door in the worst floods he had seen for 14 years.

"It's gone down a lot but I'm trying to get hold of some sandbags because more rain is forecast for later today," he said.

"Houses across the road have been flooded to a depth of three or four feet, with furniture floating around in the rooms.

"I've been here 14 years and there were floods in 2000 and again in 2007 but this is much worse than either of those."


Legal victories for skeptics

It is at the courtrooms of British Columbia, Canada that we must first begin our rousing roundup of news. It is here that popular Canadian climatologist, Dr Tim Ball delivers the evidence signalling not one, but two impending dramatic legal victories against carbon hating junk climate scientists. Specialist Canadian libel firm, Pearlman Lindholm are to announce the filing of separate counterclaims on behalf of Dr. Ball and against discredited climate professors Michael Mann and Andrew Weaver. Recently the Nobel Committee affirmed that both professors lied when each claimed to be co-winners of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Ball's legal team are to file stiff counterclaims in the Supreme Court of British Columbia to coincide with the announcement of his victory not only over Mann, but also over fellow IPCC doomsayer, Weaver. Cynics will say Weaver’s qualification as a proven and adept liar who "bribed university students with research funding" helped clinch his position as new Green Party leader.

Sadly, for Weaver his new political position will do nothing to save his junk science. The dismissal of his vexatious libel suit against Ball is set to reverberate around the world as the death knell of all those now discredited "complex computer models" touted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Weaver, the IPCC’s chief climate modeler, has fallen foul of court rules because he, just like Mann, has been timed out for failing to advance his case since since it was filed in February 2011. This boils down to a bizarre refusal to comply with court rules to show what's behind his science. Honest scientists would have no qualms over a little 'show and tell' to convince a jury their science is "settled." But these charlatans must think its worth blowing a cool million to keep it hidden. As such, for their failures to come clean both their lawsuits are now scheduled for immediate summary dismissal, plus costs.

The desperate duo are represented by libel expert, Roger McConchie, a big-hitting lawyer unused to having his butt kicked so emphatically round a courtroom. The news is a devastating blow to alarmist attack dogs, DeSmogblog and climate kook, David "jail the deniers" Suzuki who allegedly bankrolled Weaver's failed lawsuit against Ball.

Yesterday (November 26, 2012) popular science blog WUWT ran a new article by Dr.Ball exposing the flaws in computer modeling. Ball and PSI are delighted and bullish after Weaver backed down over his pompous claims about the IPCC’s "complex models" that were long claimed to validate the GHE. But now the Canadian state has given ultimate legal validation of PSI's debunk of greenhouse gas physics. In his now defeated writ Weaver tried and failed to get the court to punish Ball for declaring Weaver was part of the "corruption of climate science." Ball further stated that Weaver was "unqualified" about climate and was dishonestly passing himself off as a climate expert when he wasn't. Hilariously, it seems the court agrees with Ball and Weaver has removed the claim from his website. Also now given legal validity is Ball's other claim that Weaver had his students heckle and interrupt Ball during a presentation at the University of Victoria in April, 2010.

More HERE (See the original for links)

Lonely old Mann

A group of prominent paleoclimatologists has written a paper rebutting one of Michael Mann's recent contributions to the scientific literature. The new paper was announced on the ITRBD Forum by Rob Wilson. The list of authors of the new paper is very long. Almost looks like they are ganging up on him. ;-)

"In February of this year, Mike Mann and colleagues published a paper in Nature Geoscience entitled, "Underestimation of volcanic cooling in tree-ring based reconstructions of hemispheric temperatures". Their main conclusion was that a tree-ring based Northern Hemisphere (NH) reconstruction of D'Arrigo et al. (2006) failed to corroborate volcanically forced cold years that were simulated in modelling results (e.g. 1258, 1816 etc). Their main hypothesis was that there was a temporary cessation of tree growth (i.e. missing rings for all trees) at some sites near the temperature limit for growth. This implies Dendrochronology's inability to detect missing rings results in an underestimation of reconstructed cold years when different regional chronologies are averaged to derive a large scale NH composite.

We scrutinized this study and wrote a response to Nature Geoscience. We are pleased to announce that our comment, along with a reply by Mann et al., was finally published on Nov. 25, 2012 -- 8 months after submission. Our comment focuses on several factors that challenge the Mann et al. (2012) hypothesis of missing tree rings. We highlight problems in Mann et al.'s implementation of the tree ring model used, a lack of consideration for uncertainty in the amplitude and spatial pattern of volcanic forcing and associated climate responses, and a lack of any empirical evidence for misdating of tree-ring chronologies.

We look forward to a continued discussion on this subject."


U.N. talks seen falling short despite climate change fears

Despite mounting alarm about climate change, almost 200 nations meeting in Doha from Monday are likely to pay little more than lip service to the need to rein in rising greenhouse gas emissions.
A likely failure to agree a meaningful extension of the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding plan for cutting emissions by developed nations, would also undercut work on a new deal meant to unite rich and poor in fighting global warming from 2020.

"The situation is very urgent ... We can no longer say that climate change is tomorrow's problem," Andrew Steer, president of the Washington-based World Resources Institute think-tank, said of the November 26-December 7 talks in Qatar.

Superstorm Sandy had been a wake-up call for many Americans as the sort of extreme event predicted by climate scientists in a warming world, he said, even though individual weather events cannot be blamed on man-made global warming.

A U.N. study last week said the world was on target for a rise in temperatures of between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius (5.4 to 9F) because of increasing emissions. That would cause more floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

A U.N. conference two years ago agreed to limit any rise in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6F) above pre-industrial times. But greenhouse gas levels hit a new record in 2011, despite the world economic slowdown.

And countries are showing little sign of raising ambition.

"A faster response to climate change is necessary and possible," Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, said in a statement outlining hopes for the talks.

"The climate talks so far have not produced anything like the results that the science tells us that we need," said Samantha Smith, leader of global climate and energy work at the WWF conservation group.

Delegates will meet in a cavernous conference center in Qatar - the first OPEC state to host the annual talks and the nation with the world's highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions, roughly three times those of the average American.


To keep up climate action, most countries favor extending the 1997 Kyoto pact, which binds developed nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average 5.2 percent below 1990 levels between the years 2008 and 2012.

But Russia, Japan and Canada have pulled out in recent years, meaning that Kyoto backers are down to a core led by the European Union and Australia that account for about 14 percent of world emissions.

The defectors say it is meaningless to extend cuts under Kyoto when big emerging countries, led by China, India, Brazil and South Africa, have no curbs on rising emissions. The United States never ratified Kyoto, for similar reasons.

Developing countries and Kyoto backers say it is vital that developed nations lead the way towards the new worldwide accord meant to be negotiated by the end of 2015 and to start up in 2020.

Failure to extend Kyoto would leave only national actions, with no legally binding U.N. framework. "The Kyoto Protocol is going to be very important for us," said Seyni Nafo, spokesman of the African group of nations. "And ambition is very low."

The EU and others agreed at last year's talks in Durban to extend Kyoto for a new period but details remain to be agreed, such as whether it should last five or eight years.

The EU said it would not deepen its own goal at Doha, of a 20 percent cut in emissions below 1990 levels by 2020, to an alternative of a 30 percent cut if other rich nations also act.

"We will ... keep the door open to go further, to 30 percent, even if that is not going to happen this year," said EU Artur Runge-Metzger of the EU Commission.

A study by the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development said on Monday that rich nations had fallen short on promises to give poor countries $30 billion in new aid to help them combat climate change from 2010 to 2012.

It said commitments so far totaled just $23.6 billion, and most was in loans that would have to be repaid by the poor.

Another study by international aid agency Oxfam also estimated that only 33 per cent of the "fast-start finance" promised at a Copenhagen summit in 2009 could be considered new.

Rich nations have also promised aid totaling $100 billion a year by 2020, but did not make any clear pledges for 2013-2019.


DOE corruption—appointed and elected officials should face prison

An exhaustive review of 350+ pages of leaked emails regarding the Obama administration’s handling of the various green-energy loan and grant programs makes several things very clear: they lied, engaged in favoritism, and rushed application approvals to suit the political agenda of the White House. At the same time, worthy projects that went through a complete due diligence process were denied or ultimately withdrawn, as the lengthy approval process “taxed investors’ patience”—as was the case with Aptera Motors, which worked closely with the DOE for two years.

Paul Wilbur, President and CEO at Aptera, didn’t think they were treated unfairly. He told me, “At the end of the day, we couldn’t get through the process.” But, he admits, he hasn’t read the emails.

Aptera was trying to build a very efficient electric vehicle with an under $30K price point. Wilbur met with Secretary Chu who could see the value in the technology. But our research shows that value was not the deciding factor in which projects got funded and which ones didn’t. Wilbur reports that he didn’t donate to any candidate. He wanted to keep the whole process clean and do what was “good for America.”

The report from the House Oversight Committee says Aptera first applied for an ATVM loan in December of 2008 and “shut down on December 2, 2011.” The report implies that Aptera was led on: “After numerous negotiations with DOE, in September 2011, Aptera received a conditional loan commitment of $150 million if the company was able to raise $80 million privately.” And: “The loans given to Fisker and Tesla gave Aptera hope that DOE would eventually act on their application. More importantly, since the DOE continued to engage with the company throughout the time period, management was convinced that DOE was interested and willing to provide financing for the company.”

Aptera’s 100% US technology has since been sold to a Chinese company.

Aptera was applying for an Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan (ATVM). Only five loans were given out through the program and all have political ramifications. Christine Lakatos, who has worked with me on the green-energy, crony-corruption reports I’ve written, has done thorough research on the topic. She has read each and every one of the 350+ pages of emails released on October 31 and has written a blog post specifically addressing the ATVM program and its hijinks. As she cites, Fisker and Tesla (which Romney referenced in the first debate), got loans in 2010 and then the Vehicle Production Group’s loan was the only ATVM loan closed in 2011; all have ties to Obama bundlers. The other two ATVM loans went to Ford and Nissan—both of which, according to the House report, “were heavily engaged in negotiations with the Administration over fuel economy standards for model years 2012-2016 at the time the DOE was considering their applications. Both companies eventually expressed publicly their support for these standards, which the Administration described as the ‘Historic Agreement.’”

Armed with the sweeping knowledge of the House reports and subsequent hearings, evidence from DOE staffers (many of whom were appointed by Obama), Lakatos’ research, and personal experience, a different ATVM applicant has now taken its case to court citing “corruption and negligence.”

On November 16, 2012, XP Technologies filed a lawsuit against the federal government concerning the DOE’s denial of XP Technology’s loan guarantee application. The complaint alleges: “criminal activities did take place by DOE staff and affiliates.” A November 23 press release announces that XP Technologies is now represented by Cause of Action, “a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses investigative, legal, and communication tools to educate the public on how government accountability and transparency protects taxpayer interests and economic activity.”

According to the document filed on November 16, “Plaintiffs' backgrounds include extensive issued patents on seminal technologies in use world-wide, White House and Congressional commendations and an engineering team of highly experienced auto-makers. Plaintiff brought a vehicle design, which was proposed as the longest range, safest, lowest cost electric vehicle, to be built in America in order to deliver extensive American jobs nationwide. No other applicant, or award ‘winner’, has succeeded in meeting, or (is) intending to meet, that milestone. XP Technology developed a patented lightweight, low-cost, long-range, electric vehicle using air-expanded foam-skinned material for a portion of the polymer body and received numerous patents, acclaim and superior computer modeling metrics over any competing solution. XP presented a vast set of letters of support to DOE from pending customers. Major auto-industry facilities and engineers had joined forces to bring the vehicle to the defense, commercial and consumer market.”

Over the weekend, we had an exclusive interview, on condition of anonymity, with a senior official at XP Technologies about the lawsuit and the experience.

He reported: “Staff from within the DOE have provided evidence which is quite compelling.” As Aptera's Wilbur made clear, the individuals within the DOE were very thorough. One of the emails, in the 350+ pages, was from Secretary Chu himself in which he criticized staffers for taking a “principled stand,” which held up the approval process of projects the White House wanted advanced. Another indicated that the pressure to rush was coming from “above the agency.” Overall, the emails show that projects were rushed so that announcements could coincide with visits, speeches, and photo ops—as well as providing talking points for the president.

Our XP source told us “We experienced, and have been provided evidence of, applicant submissions and reviews being modified in order to benefit some and disadvantage others, and the business connections between the different parties associated with the ones that benefited is quite extraordinary.” The leaked emails support this accusation, specifically regarding the “business connections.” In her post, Lakatos calls it “green fraternizing.” The emails show that certain applicants and decision makers went bike riding together, had coffee meetings, sleepovers, beer summits, parties, dinners, and fundraisers.

While he didn’t provide us with a name, the XP official said, “We experienced a senior senator blockading our efforts and then providing favors to a competitor, which then benefited his family financially.” The discovery the lawsuit will provide will expose the “senior senator,” but our previous research shows that Senator Harry Reid’s actions seem to fit the XP official’s comment.

XP Technologies believes that “DOE officials changed the first-come-first-served published rules and standards of the funding in order to take applicants in order of who they favored and who had purchased the most influence instead of the order in which they applied, as required.”

Having extensively studied the DOE’s various loan programs, including the ATVM, Lakatos and I agree with our source’s startling conclusion: “Based on the evidence provided by investigators, and experienced directly by our team, it is hard to imagine that at least one or more elected, or?appointed, officials might not be seeing measures ranging from censure or even federal prison time.”

Time, the lawsuit, and subsequent investigation will tell.

While the House Oversight Committee has been digging deeply into the mismanagement and corruption of the green energy loans, the media has paid little attention. Other than our report, the October 31 release of the emails cited here received virtually no news reporting. Even the Fox News Channel ignored the story. The plight of promising companies like Aptera and XP Technologies would have gone unnoticed if not for the lawsuit. The legal complaint attracted attention.

On November 16, the Heritage Foundation broke the XP story: “A lawsuit filed in federal court on Wednesday alleges mass favoritism in the Department of Energy’s decisions to award federal grants to major car companies to develop electric vehicles, according to a legal complaint obtained by Scribe.”

On November 19, Lakatos, whose work is listed as “evidence” in the legal complaint, received a call from Fox News’ Gary Gastelu—who reported on the story on November 20. The next day, Fox News covered the lawsuit on America’s Newsroom. Even the Drudge Report picked up on the story.

XP has a litigation website on which the company states: “The case has nothing to do with complaining about not getting the loans. It has everything to do with HOW the applicants didn't get the loans!” They are communicating with other applicants about participating in the lawsuit.

The XP story and subsequent media coverage offers a lesson for others—especially industries who have been wronged by the Obama Administration’s practices (such as energy). The lawsuit may—or may not—send officials to federal prison, as our XP source suggests, but it could go a long way to winning in the court of public opinion.



Three current articles below

Climate skeptics equated to pedophiles on public broadcaster

This morning on the “science” show Robyn Williams equates skeptics to pedophiles, people pushing asbestos, and drug pushers. Williams starts the show by framing republicans (and skeptics) as liars: “New Scientist complained about the “gross distortions” and “barefaced lying” politicians come out with…” He’s goes on to make the most blatant, baseless, and outrageous insults by equating skeptics to people who promote pedophilia, asbestos and drugs.
“What if I told you pedophilia is good for children, or that asbestos is an excellent inhalant for those with asthmatics, or that smoking crack is a normal part and a healthy one of teenage life, to be encouraged? You’d rightly find it outrageous, but there have been similar statements coming out of inexpert mouths, distorting the science.”

“These distortions of science are far from trivial, our neglect of what may be clear and urgent problems could be catastrophic and now a professor of psychology at UWA has shown what he says is the basis of this unrelenting debauchery of the facts…”

What the "professor of psychology at UWA" (Stephan Lewandowsky) said:
“They were rejecting the science not based on the science... but on other factors… what we basically found was the driving motivating factor behind their attitudes was their ideology. People who endorse an extreme version of free market fundamentalism … They are also rejecting the link between smoking and lung cancer, and between HIV and AIDS…

Ladies and gentlemen it’s time to get serious. Both Williams and Lewandowsky are ignoring the scientific evidence, denigrating their opponents, destroying rational conversation and honest discussion before it can even start. We can’t let them get away with this.

They are paid public servants who use taxpayer funds to push their personal ideology. It has to stop.

Robyn Williams, what you do is not science. It’s crass tribal warfare.

Stephan Lewandowsky, skeptics base their arguments on evidence. You are in denial. We don’t deny AIDS or that smoking causes cancer, and we never have. Your tactic of deliberately seeking out a few nutters (or fakes) to interview, then besmirching the names of serious commentators is blatant, obvious and documented.

Name-calling in order to suppress debate

The class of people who use regulations to control others, rather than persuasion and voluntary competition, have resorted to name calling for years to suppress the free and fair debates that they cannot win. Now they are employing that technique in other areas.

What they road-tested on skeptics, they now use in the wider political debate against their political opponents — such as Tony Abbott and Alan Jones. With each success they are becoming more loud, aggressive, and obnoxious.

The mainstream media makes this cheap tactic successful. As long as they promote these anti-science, baseless smears as if they were serious commentary the media is the problem.


Official prediction: Solar and wind to be the cheapest sources of energy

Just dreams. I wonder what the heck they are on? Sounds like potent stuff.

Nothing comes close to brown coal for cheap energy. Even "Green" Germany is building more brown coal power plants

SOLAR and wind could become the cheapest sources of energy and almost exclusively power the country in coming decades as carbon prices climb, the Climate Commission says.

A report, to be released today by chief commissioner Professor Tim Flannery, notes the vast potential from sunlight and wind and "solar PV and wind could be the cheapest forms of power in Australia for retail users by 2030, if not earlier, as carbon prices rise".

Prof Flannery said improvements had driven down the cost of renewable energy so much that Australia's uptake had increased more than a decade faster than earlier imagined.

He said people might find it hard to believe communities could one day be powered almost entirely by renewable energy, but people would never have believed they would one day carry around little computers in their pockets.

"It's like anything, computers or mobile phones, they started off expensive and over time the cost just declines and we've seen that with wind and now with solar," he said.

But the report The Critical Decade: Generating a Renewable Australia has no detail around how renewable energy and fossil fuel prices might compare in the future. Prof Flannery said technology moved so quickly, it was impossible to form concrete predictions.

Renewables currently make up 10 per cent of Australia's energy mix and the report says growth was subject to innovation, community acceptance and regulation.


Weather forecasting a shambles in Australia too

A NEW $30 million meteorology forecasting and warning system has failed in its key aim of freeing up staff to focus on severe weather events.

The NexGen FWS computerised system is being rolled out nationwide over five years with Queensland the second-last state or territory to get it in late 2013.

Federal Sustainability parliamentary secretary Don Farrell said the timing was deliberate to allow additional development to cater for the more complex weather in tropical areas such as cyclones.

In making its case for the NexGen FWS system to be included in the 2009-10 Budget, the Bureau of Meteorology argued that it would "provide additional time for forecasters to focus on activities such as the prediction of high-impact weather events".

But a major independent review of the bureau's capacity by Clean Energy Regulator Chloe Munro, commissioned after the 2010-11 summer of disaster, found it failed to deliver.

Unlike a system introduced by the UK's MetOffice, NexGen still requires forecasters to spend time editing automated text and images.

"While automation has enabled forecasting offices to meet greater demand for day-to-day forecasting services with current staff levels, there is no evidence that it has freed up forecaster time in a way that augments capacity to respond to severe weather events," the June report says.

Of the 500 employees classified as "meteorologists", only 220 of them had the necessary qualifications to work as "operational meteorologists" and 100 of those were employed in aviation and defence support roles, leaving just 120 frontline staff across seven regional offices.

Overall, 10 per cent to 15 per cent of text forecasts generated by NexGen FWS were altered by forecasters.

The bureau has been criticised for failing to give specific warning of the intense storm cell that hit Brisbane last Saturday until 20 minutes after it happened.

Three months ago the Crime and Misconduct Commission, in its report on the performance of dam engineers during the fatal floods of January 2011, noted that the bureau failed to issue a flood warning for the Lockyer Valley and Gatton until an hour after the disaster despite Weatherwatch forecaster Anthony Cornelius highlighting the danger four hours earlier.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


November 26, 2012

"Nature Geoscience" says CO2 causes atmospheric cooling

I think I understand the CO2-based global warming theory well enough -- well enough to expect that its effect should be as trivial as it in fact is. So the following article, which assumes that CO2 reflects heat AWAY from the outer atmosphere makes sense. But the logic suggests that the same thing should happen WHEREVER in the atmosphere CO2 is located.

"Nature Geoscience" is an eminent academic journal, but usually with a Warmist slant

Observations of increasing carbon dioxide concentration in Earth's thermosphere

By J. T. Emmert et al.


Carbon dioxide occurs naturally throughout Earth'satmosphere. In the thermosphere, CO2 is the primary radiative cooling agent and fundamentally affects the energy balance and temperature of this high-altitude atmospheric layer1, 2. Anthropogenic CO2 increases are expected to propagate upward throughout the entire atmosphere, which should result in a cooler, more contracted thermosphere3, 4, 5. This contraction, in turn, will reduce atmospheric drag on satellites and may have adverse consequences for the orbital debris environment that is already unstable6, 7. However, observed thermospheric mass density trends derived from satellite orbits are generally stronger than model predictions8, 9, indicating that our quantitative understanding of these changes is incomplete. So far, CO2 trends have been measured only up to 35?km altitude10, 11, 12. Here, we present direct evidence that CO2 concentrations in the upper atmosphere-probably the primary driver of long-term thermospheric trends-are increasing. We analyse eight years of CO2 and carbon monoxide mixing ratios derived from satellite-based solar occultation spectra. After correcting for seasonal-latitudinal and solar influences, we obtain an estimated global increase in COx (CO2 and CO, combined) concentrations of 23.5ñ6.3?ppm per decade at an altitude of 101?km, about 10?ppm per decade faster than predicted by an upper atmospheric model. We suggest that this discrepancy may explain why the thermospheric density decrease is stronger than expected.


Panic! panic! "Rising acidity levels threaten ocean's food chain"

All sorts of fun here.

1). Reducing the frequency of one creature will not generally "threaten" any food chain. Food chains are complex and the only likely effect is that another species will become more abundant. And in fact no food-chain analysis is attempted.

2). The academic journal article is appended and we find that the chief data-gatherer was from the notoriously crooked UEA. Their frank admissions of manipulating the data (as revealed in the ClimateGate emails) must make us ask for independent replication of any findings emanating from there.

3). The study compares EXISTING ocean regions and finds that some tiny snails have thicker calcium carbonate shells where there is a LOT of calcium carbonate in the water. Why that is a surprise and what it tells us about climate I have no idea.

4). If the theory is that global warming will put more CO2 into the water then I have good news for them -- though why basic physics should be news I also have no idea. Henry's law tells us that warmer water will OUTGAS CO2, so there will in fact be less of that naughty CO2 in the ocean under global warming.

5). I could go on ....

The shells of some marine snails in the seas around Antarctica are dissolving as the water becomes more acidic, threatening the food chain, a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience said on Sunday.

The tiny snails, known as ``sea butterflies'', live in the seas around Antarctica and are left more vulnerable to predators and disease as a result of having thinner shells, scientists say.

The study presents rare evidence of living creatures suffering the results of ocean acidification caused by rising carbon dioxide levels from fossil fuel burning, the British Antarctic Survey said in a statement.

``The finding supports predictions that the impact of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems and food webs may be significant.''

The tiny snail, named for two wing-like appendices, does not necessarily die as a result of losing its shell, but it becomes an easier target for fish and bird predators, as well as infection.

This trend may have a follow-through effect on other parts of the food chain, of which they form a core element.

The world's oceans absorb more than a quarter of man-made carbon dioxide emissions, which lower the sea water pH.

Since the beginning of the industrial era, our oceans have become 30 per cent more acidic, reaching an acidity peak not seen in at least 55 million years, scientists say.

Scientists discovered the effects of acidification on the sea butterflies from samples taken around the Scotia Sea region of the Southern Ocean in February 2008.

Oceans soak up about a quarter of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year and as CO2 levels in the atmosphere increase from burning fossil fuels, so do ocean levels, making seas more acidic.

Ocean acidification is one of the effects of climate change and threatens coral reefs, marine ecosystems and wildlife.

The study involved researchers from the British Antarctic Survey, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other institutions found.

"The corrosive properties of the water caused shells of live animals to be severely dissolved and this demonstrates how vulnerable pteropods are," said lead author Nina Bednarek, from the NOAA.

"Ocean acidification, resulting from the addition of human-induced carbon dioxide, contributed to this dissolution."

Until now, there has been little evidence of the impact of ocean acidification on such live organisms in their natural environment and the study supports predictions that acidification could have a significant effect on marine ecosystems.

The researchers examined surface water, where wind causes cold water to be pushed up from deeper water, because it is usually more corrosive to a particular type of calcium carbonate which the sea snails use to build and maintain their shells.

"We know that the seawater becomes more corrosive ... below a certain depth which occurs at around 1,000m. However, at one of our sampling sites, we discovered that this point was reached at 200m depth. Marine snails - pteropods - live in this top layer of the ocean," Bednarek said.

Climate models forecast more intense winds in the Southern Ocean this century if CO2 continues to increase, which will make the mixing of deep water with more acidic surface waters more frequent, the study said.

This will make calcium carbonate reach the upper surface layers of the Southern Ocean by 2050 in winter and by 2100 all year round, said the study's co-author Dorothee Bakker, research officer at the University of East Anglia.

If CO2 levels continue to rise in the future, surface waters could be almost 150 per cent more acidic by the end of this century, which has not been experienced for more than 20 million years.

Extensive dissolution of live pteropods in the Southern Ocean

By N. Bednarsek et al.


The carbonate chemistry of the surface ocean is rapidly changing with ocean acidification, a result of human activities. In the upper layers of the Southern Ocean, aragonite-a metastable form of calcium carbonate with rapid dissolution kinetics-may become undersaturated by 2050 (ref. 2). Aragonite undersaturation is likely to affect aragonite-shelled organisms, which can dominate surface water communities in polar regions. Here we present analyses of specimens of the pteropod Limacina helicina antarctica that were extracted live from the Southern Ocean early in 2008. We sampled from the top 200m of the water column, where aragonite saturation levels were around 1, as upwelled deep water is mixed with surface water containing anthropogenic CO2. Comparing the shell structure with samples from aragonite-supersaturated regions elsewhere under a scanning electron microscope, we found severe levels of shell dissolution in the undersaturated region alone. According to laboratory incubations of intact samples with a range of aragonite saturation levels, eight days of incubation in aragonite saturation levels of 0.94-1.12 produces equivalent levels of dissolution. As deep-water upwelling and CO2 absorption by surface waters is likely to increase as a result of human activities2, 4, we conclude that upper ocean regions where aragonite-shelled organisms are affected by dissolution are likely to expand.


More on the big hit-piece in Germany

P. Gosselin

On Friday I wrote about how the print edition of Die Zeit had published a twisted drive-by slander piece on climate skeptics, targeting Marc Morano of Climate Depot, the Heartland Institute, EIKE and Fritz Vahrenholt (photo left).

Unsurprisingly the report’s authors, Kerstin Kohlenberg and Anita Blasberg, have no formal science training; they are sociology majors. That explains one reason why the piece had no focus at all on the science. The other reason is that science just doesn’t support their narrative. No warming in 15 years.

Die Zeit’s lengthy article exposes a perception of the climate debate that is foreign to reality. They seriously believe it is being masterminded by a few evil industrialists and a PR wizard, at least that’s what their readers should believe. Anyone familiar with even the most basic of research quickly sees that there’s a huge growing body of science that has long since cast serious doubt in the field.

The doubt stems from the science, not from bloggers or PR people.

The climate skepticism movement is driven by bloggers and non-mainstream media outlets who base all their reporting on the latest science coming out, and the major flaws found in the old science. All the skeptic blogs out there are not centrally orchestrated by sinister industrialists. We’re funded by millions? Give me a break.

I can’t speak for all blogs, but you can be sure that almost all of them are getting by on a shoestring, operated voluntarily. NoTricksZone, for example, is purely voluntary and receives no donations. A tiny bit of money is earned through ads. It’s a one-man show.

If the blogs received just a small fraction of the funding and media attention the NGOs and environmental organisations get, the debate would end lightning fast. Already just one single major media skeptic report is enough to throw throw the entire warmist movement into chaos for weeks.

Marc Morano doesn’t write the stuff that bloggers report. His Climate Depot is an aggregator of everything the bloggers and skeptic journalists write. Many of the skeptic blogs are run by scientists, engineers, statistics experts and so on who see serious flaws in the data.

Much more HERE

British government ministers fall out in new row over wind farms

The growing Coalition row over wind farms saw a Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister take legal advice in a battle to remove official responsibilities from his Conservative deputy.

The fall out - one of the most serious Whitehall clashes since the Coalition was formed in May 2010 - involved Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, appealing in vain to David Cameron over comments made by John Hayes, the Energy Minister, who is a firm opponent of onshore wind power.

Last night, a spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) admitted there were "some differences over some areas of policy" between the two.

This month. Mr Hayes defied his Lib Dem boss to insist no more wind farms beyond those already planned would be built. "Job done . end of story," he said in a round of interviews.

A furious Mr Davey revealed this weekend that Mr Hayes's remarks "against Coalition policy" had seen him attempt to have Mr Hayes stripped of his departmental responsibility for green energy policy.

He said he had consulted lawyers from his department over concerns that Mr Hayes's continued presence in the job risked the department's decisions being more at risk of judicial review at a time when the Government was trying to create "certainty" for energy investors.

Mr Davey said: "I left the decision with the Prime Minister. He has not written back formally, but it is fair to guess that he has come to the conclusion that renewable energy deployment could stay with John."

The dispute appears to prevent anything resembling a working relationship between the two and underlines the stark differences of approach to a key policy between Liberal Democrats and most Tories.

Last week saw George Osborne, the Chancellor, strike a "deal" with Liberal Democrat ministers to pay for nuclear power stations and wind farms. Households and businesses will have to pay £7.6 billion a year by 2020 - with a typical energy bill set to rise by up to £178 annually.

Conservatives claimed the agreement saw Mr Osborne emerge victorious - because the Lib Dems originally wanted more taxpayer cash spent on green energy sources in the long term.

A Lib Dem demand for a target which would have forced Britain to get all its power from green sources by 2030 was thrown out, enraging green groups.

However, Mr Davey hit back with a claim that Mr Osborne has allowed him to give "advice" to the National Grid on the need to prioritise renewable energy. He said he would be sending the message "very clearly" that the Grid must increase the ratio of green energy consumed. He also declared that shale gas reserves - a source being seized on by Conservatives as being likely to help meet Britain's energy needs will not make a significant short-term contribution to the UK's energy "mix".

Mr Cameron ruffled Lib Dem feathers with changes at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in September's reshuffle. Responsibility for green energy was taken away from Charles Hendry, a Tory who supports wind farms, and handed to Mr Hayes.

Last month Mr Hayes said: "We can no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities. I can't single-handedly build a new Jerusalem but I can protect our green and pleasant land. "We have issued a call for evidence on wind. We need to understand communities' genuine desires. We will form our policy in the future on the basis of that, not on a bourgeois Left article of faith."

Mr Davey said: "When he made his statements against Coalition policy, I did think there was a question mark whether he should even continue to have responsibility for renewable energy deployment. I asked the legal department here whether there was a danger John had prejudiced himself because he had made these statements, and they said there was a danger."

A DECC spokeswoman said: "The Coalition has agreed an ambitious package on energy policy that will put the UK on track to delivering its low-carbon objectives. John Hayes and Ed Davey are working together on this in the national interest.

"Yes, there are some differences over some areas of policy, but there is also a great deal of agreement."


Cold homes are triggering heart attacks and strokes in older people - and costing the NHS £1.36billion a year

Greenie-driven increases in the costs of heating in the UK are pricing it out of the reach of many elderly. A few pounds can make a lot of difference to the elderly

Crippling energy prices and badly insulated homes will lead to the loss of thousands of lives and seriously damage older people's health this winter, warns a new report.

It shows cold homes are costing the NHS £1.36 billion every year in hospital and primary care as older people struggle with respiratory problems, stroke and heart attacks triggered by the cold.

Around 27,000 excess winter deaths are expected this year, including avoidable fatalities among older people, says the charity Age UK.

In a new report The Cost of Cold, it says a `major factor' in two out of five extra winter deaths is living in a cold home.

It says superior building standards in countries like Finland and Sweden which insist on insulation and double glazing mean they have warmer homes than in the UK, which has a milder climate.

There are higher rates of excess winter deaths - above what would normally be expected - in Britain compared with Scandinavian countries.

Older people living in cold homes are at higher risk of death and illnesses such as arthritis and rheumatism, with the risks going up as temperatures plummet.

There are around 8,000 extra deaths for every one degree drop in average temperature.

Temperatures lower than 16 degrees appear to impair respiratory functions, those below 12 degrees place strain on the cardiovascular system and temperatures below six degrees place people at risk of hypothermia, say researchers.

People living in the coldest homes are three times as likely to die from a cold-related illness compared to those in warmer homes, says the report.

`The prevalence of poorly insulated homes coupled with sharp increases in energy prices over recent years has exacerbated the UK's growing fuel poverty problem, forcing many older people to cut back on their heating in a bid to control costs' says the report.
Millions of older people are having to choose between staying warm and energy bills they can afford, the report warns

Millions of older people are having to choose between staying warm and energy bills they can afford, the report warns

Michelle Mitchell, charity director general at Age UK said `It's an absolute scandal that tens of thousands of older people will become ill or die this winter because they are unable to keep warm.

`Not only is this resulting in an incalculable human cost but the NHS is spending more than a billion pounds on treating the casualties of cold every year.
'Can't we turn the heating on just once?'

`At the root of the problem are badly insulated homes, which together with cripplingly high energy prices, are leaving millions of older people having to choose between staying warm and energy bills they can afford.

`We are calling on all local authorities to recognise the issue as a major health priority and make sure they are doing everything within their power to keep older people warm.

`The government must also invest in a major energy efficiency programme to help insulate older people against the cold weather and the high cost of energy' she said.

The Age UK report found two-fifths of people wrongly see hypothermia as the biggest threat to older people's health in winter, as it accounts for only one in 100 excess winter deaths.

The most common risk factor is cardiovascular diseases - strokes caused by blood-clotting or heart attacks - which account for 40 per cent of excess winter deaths.

Last year a report found poor insulation means £1 in every £4 spent heating homes in Britain is wasted.


Germany Opens Another Coal Power Station

And it's fuelled by the hated brown coal! The brown coal just happened to be handy. Germany has heaps of the stuff

Vattenfall have begun operations at its new coal fired power station in Saxony, Germany this week and the state governor is heralding the plant as important in guaranteeing Saxony's energy security.

The 675 MW Boxberg R plant will be fuelled with local brown coal from an adjacent eastern German mining area and cost $1.29bn to build.

Saxony state premier Stanislaw Tillich said the brown coal would complement renewables, such as solar and windpower, whose output varies depending on weather patterns, reports Reuters.
"Our domestic brown coal is an important partner for renewable energy because it guarantees security of supply," he said in a statement.

This new plant follows the commissioning in August of an even bigger, 2200MW coal power plant in Neurath, and is the second such power station on the list of 16 due to be built in Germany by 2020.

As the Saxony governor points out, the new plant will not only help to guarantee their energy security, but will have the added benefit of protecting jobs in the local mining areas. Common sense, you would have thought!

In other news :-

* Saudi Arabia has awarded a $3.2bn contract to Hyundai to build a 2640MW coal plant.

8 Contracts have been awarded for two turbines at the 320MW coal fired generator in Paco, Panama.

* Kolin Insaat have announced plans to invest $1bn in building a 450MW lignite fired power plant in Turkey's Aegean region.

* The UAE are to invest $408 million in a 270MW coal fired plant, due for completion in 2015.

* Poland is to go ahead with building a 1800MW coal power plant, after a court lifted a ban, following legal challenges by green groups.

* Alstom will supply two turbines as part of a $128 million deal to equip the 1200MW Dongbu Green coal power station being built in Korea.

* The Japanese government is seeking to relax procedures on environmental impact, in order to make it easier to build more coal power stations.

None of these are being fitted with "Carbon Capture & Sequestration", which remains a pipedream, but which, nevertheless, must, by law, be fitted to all new UK coal power stations.

Again the UK media seems to remain totally silent about these developments. One wonders why?




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


25 November, 2012

Hilarious Warmist screech from Germany

The photo above is of ever-friendly and enthusiastic journalist Marc Morano. Marc must have been play-acting when they took that snap but major (but very "Green") German weekly "Die Zeit" has just used it to help portray Morano as some sort of Mafia boss. His Italian surname and Italian looks help a bit, I guess.

The article is unbelievably corny. To get the flavor of it, here are the opening sentences:
Marc Morano sows doubt with keypresses. He sits in the back of a black Lincoln Towncar limousine and uses his most important weapon, a laptop. Outside the autumn forest flies past while Morano crafts a new hit-piece for his website...

The car picked up Morano half an hour earlier from his big house in a suburb of the American capital, Washington. Now he glides to the TV studio of the news station, Fox news. There Morano has his next engagement.

(In German: Marc Morano saet den Zweifel per Tastendruck. Er sitzt im Fond einer schwarzen Lincoln-Town-Car-Limousine und bedient seine wichtigste Waffe, den Laptop. Drausen fliegt der Herbstwald vorbei, Morano ladt eine neue Schlagzeile auf seine Web site: ?Die amerikanische Umweltbehorde wird beschuldigt, Menschenversuche durchzufuhren?. Der Wagen hat Morano vor einer halben Stunde vor seinem grosen Haus in einem Vorort der amerikanischen Hauptstadt Washington abgeholt, jetzt gleitet er zum Fernsehstudio des Nachrichtensenders Fox News. Dort hat Marc Morano seinen nachsten Einsatz.)

You'd think they would be embarrassed to print such corny stuff! But you have to be unembarrassable to be a Warmist in the first place I guess. Marc comments: "I assure you all, my home is a bit over 2000 sq foot vinyl sided colonial on barely 1/3 acre. The cars referred to are simply sedans Fox News uses to pick up any guest."

Pierre Gosselin has a full takedown of the "Die Zeit" article.

First Casualty Of British Green Energy Bill: Steel Giant Tata To Cut 900 UK Jobs

Steel giant Tata is cutting 900 jobs and closing 12 sites under plans to improve competitiveness, the firm announced today.

Most of the job losses will be in south Wales, including 500 at the Port Talbot plant, under restructuring of management and administrative posts. A total of 580 jobs will be cut in Wales, 155 in Yorkshire, 120 in the West Midlands and 30 on Teesside.

The proposals include the restructuring of management and administrative functions at Tata Steel’s Port Talbot-based production hub with the loss of around 500 jobs. Around 3,500 are currently employed at the site.

The company is also planning to close its sites at Tafarnaubach and Cross Keys. Production from Tafarnaubach will be relocated to other sites, while the Colorsteels operation will be relocated to Tata Steel’s key site at Shotton, in north Wales.

The move places 154 jobs at risk at Tafarnaubach and Cross Keys, although the restructuring will create 38 new roles in Shotton, Deeside. [...]

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "This is very disappointing news, and a massive blow to those who will be losing their jobs.

"The Welsh Government has a very strong relationship with the company and officials will now work with Tata to establish a task force and identify what support we can provide for those affected.

"Tata's decision reflects the serious and ongoing challenges faced by manufacturing industries during these very difficult economic times. In addition to these challenges, it is clear that high energy costs and uncertainty over UK Government energy policy are having a significant impact on business investment decisions. As a Government, we have warned for some time of the need for these costs to be reduced.


Are Al Gore’s “Dirty Weather” Claims And Tactics Criminal?

Tim Ball

Fraud is defined as “wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.” Did Al Gore campaign to deceive the world about the role of human produced CO2 causing world ending global warming and climate change. He profited through carbon credits based on the false need to reduce CO2 and advanced his political career by “saving the planet.”

Others distorted climate science for a political agenda, but none with the intensity of Gore. One was Senator Tim Wirth who in 1993 said,

“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing …”

He staged the starting point of deception with James Hansen’s testimony before the Gore chaired Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He said,

“…we knew there was this scientist at NASA who had really identified the human impact before anybody else had done so and was very certain about it. So we called him up and asked him if he would testify.”

The New York Times headline next day said “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate”. They didn’t report that Wirth deliberately selected the historically hottest day, and …
“What we did it was went in the night before and opened all the windows, I will admit, right? So that the air conditioning wasnt working inside the room and so when the, when the hearing occurred there was not only bliss, which is television cameras in double figures, but it was really hot. …”

Al Gore, likely knew what was done. He became the most vocal champion of Hansen’s claims. However, he fails to provide accurate unbiased information and to correct errors, as is well documented.

He claimed, incorrectly, the UK court ruled in his favour of his movie An Inconvenient Truth. Documentary producer McAleem asked him :
The judge in the British High Court after a lengthy hearing found that there were nine significant errors (in the movie). This has been shown to children. Do you accept those findings, and have you done anything to correct those errors?

“…..the ruling was in favor of the movie, by the way, and the ruling was in favor of showing the movie in schools. And …..that’s really the…… bottom line on that.”

It wasn’t in his favor. The judge said show the movie but only after bias and errors were identified by the teacher and suggested balance such as the documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle.

But what about the public? In contrast, Swindle producer Martin Durkin, withheld release of the DVD at great personal expense to correct a very minor error. The UK Court identified nine major errors in Gore’s movie, but there are some 35 errors. None are corrected, but it’s still used worldwide by hundreds of Gore trained acolytes.

Justice Burton’s commentary is perceptive about Gore’s use (misuse) of science.

“ Although I can only express an opinion as a viewer rather than as a judge, it is plainly, as witnessed by the fact that it received an Oscar this year for best documentary film, a powerful, dramatically presented and highly professionally produced film. It is built round the charismatic presence of the ex-Vice-President, Al Gore, whose crusade it now is to persuade the world of the dangers of climate change caused by global warming. It is now common ground that it is not simply a science film – although it is clear that it is based substantially on scientific research and opinion – but that it is a political film, albeit of course not party political. Its theme is not merely the fact that there is global warming, and that there is a powerful case that such global warming is caused by man, but that urgent, and if necessary expensive and inconvenient, steps must be taken to counter it, many of which are spelt out. Paul Downes, using persuasive force almost equivalent to that of Mr Gore, has established his case that the views in the film are political by submitting that Mr Gore promotes an apocalyptic vision, which would be used to influence a vast array of political policies, which he illustrates in paragraph 30 of his skeleton argument:
“(i) Fiscal policy and the way that a whole variety of activities are taxed, including fuel consumption, travel and manufacturing …

(ii) Investment policy and the way that governments encourage directly and indirectly various forms of activity.

(iii) Energy policy and the fuels (in particular nuclear) employed for the future.

(iv)Foreign policy and the relationship held with nations that consume and/or produce carbon-based fuels.”

Gore continued his deceptions with a series of media events, the most recent was The Climate Reality Project. Distortions and errors were numerous. The political practice of inflating participants was apparently used. It parallels Gore use of consensus as ‘proof’ the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ostensibly the source of his information, was correct. It was implied in his 2007 evidence to the US Senate that inaccurately said, “the debate is over, the science is settled.” Consensus is not a scientific fact. Numbers are meaningless if the data is incorrect. Let’s examine what he said as recently as August 2011 in Aspen with his comment and my reply.
They pay pseudo-scientists, to pretend to be scientists, to put out the message: “This climate thing, it’s nonsense. Man-made CO2 doesn’t trap heat. It may be volcanoes.” Bulls–t! “It may be sun spots.” Bulls–t! “It’s not getting warmer.” Bulls–t!

Who pays the pseudo-scientists? Almost all climate research funding is from government.

What “climate thing? Climate change is occurring, has always occurred and will continue. Current changes are well within natural variability, despite Gore’s false claims about increasing severe weather. Inadequate computer models aren’t the problem as one editorial claims. The record hurricane record shows no increase in the last 30 years when the IPCC say human CO2 was cause of climate change. Besides, the science say there are fewer severe events with the IPCC warming hypothesis.

It may be volcanoes, but not the small amount of CO2 they produce. The dust they eject is significant and a poorly measured factor. Look at the impact of Tambora in 1815, Krakatoa in 1883 and Pinatubo in 1991.

It isn’t the sunspots per se, but their relationship to changes in the Sun’s magnetic field, which determines number of cosmic rays forming low cloud. The hypothesis is in the literature since 1991 and since proved, but it is not included in IPCC comments or models.

“It’s not getting warmer.” It stopped warming after 1998, a fact tacitly acknowledged by the IPCC when they changed from global warming to climate change.

Apparently the crude language is supposed to indicate anger, concern and the illusion his comments are accurate. It works because few people know or understand. It is as phony as Gore’s actions. Hypocrisy was exposed with his massive carbon footprint, the amount of money he made from the carbon credit delusion and recently we learn the portfolio was not in sustainability. As Junkscience reports Gore:
“…may be “talking the talk” but not “walking the walk” when it comes to investing in so-called “sustainable” businesses.”

He promoted carbon credits, the modern equivalent of medieval church Indulgences. Buy your way into heaven by giving money to the church. Chaucer understood the character when he created the Pardoner who said:
“What! Do you think, as long as I can preach

And get this over for the things I teach,

that I will live in poverty, from choice?

That’s not the counsel of my inner voice!

No! Let me preach and bake from Kirk (church) to Kirk

and never do an honest job of work,

no, nor make baskets, like St. Paul, to gain

a livelihood. I do not preach in vain.

Gore, like most who claim human CO2 is causing warming and climate change, will not debate. He uses personal attacks, propaganda and misleading information. He profits while accusing others of profiting. He uses science for political and personal gain by misrepresenting the facts and evidence. He refuses to correct errors even when identified in Court. It appears to fit the definition of fraud.


China’s Great Green Energy Disaster

China’s leadership committed about $290 billion to cleantech. Now, the green bubble is about to burst

One-quarter of China’s wind farms are not connected to a power grid—a reflection of poor planning, insufficient transmission lines, and technical concerns by regional utilities that the intermittency of wind power can be disruptive to normal operations. Wind-related power failures have caused blackouts in three provinces, while exploding equipment has been blamed in the deaths of several workers, according to local press accounts.

Responding to a perceived market for green energy in Europe and North America, China engaged in a massive production build-up of wind turbines and photovoltaic panels. China was successful in building a vast production capacity of green energy generation. And now, China must face the consequences of its great success.

China’s $30 billion solar power industry is overbuilt and heavily in debt. Analysts say even billions of dollars in new government loans may not be able to pull it out of the hole…. Suntech Power Holdings (STP), the world’s largest solar panel maker, announced in September it would cut or reassign 1,500 workers at its photovoltaic cell factory in Wuxi.

Suntech is counting on a $32 million loan from local authorities to avoid more job losses. To stay solvent, LDK Solar (LDK), China’s second-largest maker of solar wafers, was forced to sell a 20 percent stake to a renewable energy investor part-owned by the city of Xinyu, where LDK is headquartered. The support comes as the companies prepare to report combined 2012 losses of $987 million… Regional governments are loath to let their local solar panel makers fail.

… Help from local governments may be the biggest hurdle to making China’s solar industry competitive, says Shyam Mehta, solar analyst at the Boston consulting company GTM Research: “Until they stop supporting the uncompetitive manufacturers, this won’t go away.”

…LDK and Suntech both have balance sheets “so egregious” they would be “imminent bankruptcy candidates if they were American or European,” says Pavel Molchanov, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates. The companies didn’t respond to requests for comment. Molchanov believes infusions of government money won’t stop the losses until China grapples with its massive overcapacity—the same glut of panels that cut global prices by half in the last two years and drove U.S. solar panel makers such as Solyndra out of business.

“Every province, every city, every bank is going to try to protect their vested interest as best they can,” he says. “That’s why kicking the can down the road has been the dynamic so far.” Aaron Chew, an analyst at Maxim Group in New York, concurs: “The government’s subsidy plan is better than nothing, but I don’t think it will save the industry as it’s still not profitable.”

The nation’s investments in wind power are faring no better. One-quarter of China’s wind farms are not connected to a power grid—a reflection of poor planning, insufficient transmission lines, and technical concerns by regional utilities that the intermittency of wind power can be disruptive to normal operations. Wind-related power failures have caused blackouts in three provinces, while exploding equipment has been blamed in the deaths of several workers, according to local press accounts. China Datang Corporation Renewable Power, a state-owned wind energy developer, saw first-half 2012 profits plunge 76 percent, in part because regional utilities simply don’t have the capacity to accept all the energy it produces.

China’s wind turbine manufacturers, responsible for 40 percent of the world’s output, are suffering a double squeeze, as demand has stalled both at home and abroad. Sinovel Wind Group, the world’s largest wind turbine maker by market value, posted a $45 million third-quarter loss this year on an 82 percent drop in sales—its largest loss since its initial public offering in January 2011. _Businessweek

China’s green energy woes should have been expected, given the experience of other nations that followed a similar slippery downhill path.

Epic Failure of Spain’s Grand Green Energy Gesture

Obama’s Legacy of Corrupt Green Failures

Germany pays the price for its green foolishness

Modern industrial power grids cannot tolerate the huge moment-to-moment energy fluctuations of intermittent unreliable energy sources such as big wind and big solar.

Whenever attempting a large scale conversion to “green power,” initial economic costs are exorbitant. The cost of the power plants themselves, the cost of new power grid infrastructure, and the huge cost of maintaining spinning backup power sources. And then there is the cost to society as lower and middle income customers strain to pay skyrocketing power bills.

But the real costs of such an ideologically driven, top-down attempt to transform a national power grid and power supply, begin to emerge as the unreliables approach 20% or more of total power capacity to the grid. The violent and unpredictable intermittency of big wind power in particular, leads to power failures — blackouts, brownouts, selective shutdowns of power customers, etc.


Britain's "Green" policies under attack from Europe!

The future of the Government's flagship Green Deal programme hangs in the balance after an intensifying tax dispute with the European Commission.

Brussels bureaucrats have warned Whitehall to overhaul the tax rules regarding energy-saving materials or face the prospect of massive fines at the European Court of Justice.

Currently, the UK Treasury levies a reduced rate of 5% VAT for insulation materials for walls, ceilings, floors and water tanks. However, the full 20% rate of VAT still applies to energy-efficient windows and doors.

In August, the European Commission warned the UK Government the reduced 5% tax rate is unlawful and it must change the law or face the prospect of the European Court imposing huge financial penalties.

The UK Government is fiercely disputing the ruling but today a spokesperson for Europe's Tax Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta said it was unlikely the challenge will be successful and said the UK had only this week filed the formal paperwork to appeal.

“The current infringement proceeding is on the application of the reduced VAT rate to some goods and services which according to the VAT directive would not be subject to this rate,” she added.

“How this infringement interacts with the eligibility criteria of investments under the Green Deal is a domestic UK issue on which we do not have comments.”

However, she warned of a lengthy delay to a final outcome as the Commission deals on average with 400 to 500 infringement cases a month.

If, as threatened, Europe sticks to its ruling it means the Green Deal will be grounded because it will no longer be financially viable.

The energy-saving programme is underpinned by the so-called 'golden rule', which means the expected financial savings must be greater than the costs attached to the energy bill.

The imposition of an unexpected quadrupling in tax will rule many green improvements out of the scheme.

A spokesman for DECC admitted the department is closely monitoring the situation but did not want to discuss the implications while the crunch decision from Brussels is awaited.

If, as expected, the case is referred to the European Court of Justice to impose financial penalties the issue could drag on until the middle of next year at the earliest.

In the meantime, the Government is desperate to avoid repeating a boom similar to the Feed-in Tariff for solar PV as it may be penalised further to compensate for the retrospective difference in tax levels.

The October 1 launch of the Green Deal was played down by Ministers although earlier this month the Energy Secretary Ed Davey announced that householders insulating their homes would be able to claim up to £1,000 in cash from the Government in January.

The dispute has been simmering for decades as the UK government gradually expanded the list of energy-saving devices that qualify for lower rate VAT.

As the rate on electricity and gas consumption has long been set at 5%, the UK Government thought it appropriate to reduce the levels for energy conservation to the same level.

It is only now, 12 years after the five per cent rate for some key energy-saving measures was introduced, that the EC is challenging their legality. And it is seeking to force the UK government to remove all exemptions, thereby raising the VAT rate for all energy efficiency actions to the full 20%.

Shortly after the General Election, the EC tax inspectorate indicated disquiet about these lower VAT rates because they were beyond the permissible categories for reductions.

A 'formal notice' followed but HMRC believed they had answered the objections. HMRC then received an official Reasoned Opinion, claiming that the existing concessions were in breach of Annex 3 of the latest VAT directive. This states that the 5% rate is permitted only for the “provision, construction, renovation and alteration of housing, as part of a social policy”.

The Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin, briefed by HMRC, has strenuously rejected the claim that installing energy saving measures does not have a social purpose.

As well as issues raised by having a flagship policy disrupted, the Government also faces the problem of achieving carbon targets, energy security and its pledges on eradicating fuel policy, three of the aims of the Green Deal.

Three-quarters of the energy used in UK homes is for heating rooms and water, which accounts for 13% of UK emissions. Workplaces account for 20% of the total. To help meet the UK carbon budgets emissions in homes and communities must be reduced by 29% and by 13% in workplaces by 2022.

The energy efficiency sector in the UK already accounts for around 136,000 jobs, and had sales of £17.6 billion in 2010/11.

Sales in this sector have grown by over 4% per year in the UK since 2007/08, and are projected to grow by around 5% per year between 2010/11 and 2014/15.

With millions of the UK’s ageing houses being energy inefficient, the potential of the retrofit market is estimated at £500bn.


Green/Left accused of keeping Australian Aborigines in poverty

THE Aboriginal academic Marcia Langton has accused the left of standing in the way of indigenous advancement, consigning the nation's first peoples to lives of poverty.

In her second Boyer lecture, an extract of which is published in the Herald, Professor Langton argues the environmental movement has emerged as "one of the most difficult of all the obstacles hindering Aboriginal economic development".

"Among the left and among those opinion leaders who hang on to the idea of the new 'noble savage', Aboriginal poverty is invisible, masked by a 'wilderness' ideology," Professor Langton argues in the lecture, which will be broadcast on Sunday.

"Whenever an Aboriginal group negotiates with a resource extraction company there is an unspoken expectation that no Aboriginal group should become engaged in any economic development. They only tolerate Aboriginal people living on their own land as caretakers of wilderness, living in poverty and remaining uneducated and isolated."

Professor Langton, the chairwoman of Australian indigenous studies at the University of Melbourne, attacks environmental campaigners who teamed with dissident Aboriginal groups to oppose development at Jabiluka in western Arnhem Land and elsewhere "not because of impacts on Aboriginal people but to preserve nature and 'wilderness"'.

"Whether Aboriginal groups had projects imposed on them or negotiated successful settlements, these professional protesters, supported by sophisticated non-government organisations funded by a gullible public, accused Aboriginal leaders of 'selling out'. Not once have they campaigned against Aboriginal poverty. They assume that this is the normal for the natives.

"Time and again, native title groups have spent years getting an agreement with a resource company over the line, negotiating income streams that might shift indigenous people from the margins to the centre of regional economic development in return for land access, only for a ragtag team of 'wilderness' campaigners to turn up with an entourage of disaffected Aboriginal protesters to stop development at the eleventh hour."

She accuses Labor of taking Aboriginal voters for granted since the days of the Whitlam government but says this changed with the election of the West Australian Liberal MP Ken Wyatt as the first indigenous member of the House of Representatives, and the defeat of the Labor government in this year's Northern Territory election, largely due to the disaffection of indigenous voters in bush seats.

Professor Langton says the territory result challenged mainstream perceptions of the marginal power of the Aboriginal vote and demonstrated the Country Liberal Party - once rabidly opposed to Aboriginal rights - had changed its colour.

Professor Langton's lecture will be broadcast on ABC Radio National on Sunday at 5pm and will be available at




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


23 November, 2012

Now it's global darkening!

Norwegian coastal waters are darkening due to changes in weather and climate, damaging optical conditions for marine animals.

Marine biologist Dag L Aksnes of the University of Bergen has analysed the impacts of these declining optical conditions with some funding from the Research Council of Norway's research programme on the Oceans and Coastal Areas (HAVKYST). He explained that this occurs when coloured matter from rivers and lakes flows into the sea and mixes with salt water.

"This fresh water contains far more coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) than marine water, so our coastal waters are darkening," explains Aksnes, the Research Cuncil reports.

Aksnes and his colleagues have been studying the Lurefjorden and Masfjorden fjords in northern Hordaland county on Norway's western coast for many years.

While the fjords are similar and close to each other, Masfjorden contains far more seawater than Lurefjorden, which contains lower-salinity coastal water all the way down to its seabed. Although Masfjorden still has an ecosystem dominated by fish, the darker Lurefjorden has a greater abundance of the jellyfish Periphylla periphylla.

"Periphylla periphylla is a very light-sensitive jellyfish that thrives best in the world's very deep marine waters," continued Aksnes. "But the water in Lurefjorden has now become so murky and dark that it is probably helping this jellyfish to thrive. At the same time, the fjord has become less hospitable as a habitat for important fish species."

Visibility conditions at Lurefjorden have made it more difficult for fish to find their prey, but not for the blind jellyfish. The jellyfish now have virtually no competition for the abundant prey organisms, Aksnes elaborated.

He highlighted that there is a clear correlation between poorer conditions for fish, the increase in jellyfish and the lasting changes in light conditions in the country’s coastal waters.

These conditions also affect algal photosynthesis and the production of organic compounds – which is why the researchers believe that light conditions impact most organisms.

The project demonstrates that changes normally linked to eutrophication (nutrient pollution) and human emissions of nutrients can also cause the water to become darker, reducing the abundance of attached algae such as seaweed and kelp while fueling the growth of planktonic algae.

Meanwhile, nutrient concentration climbs and oxygen saturation in the marine layers falls.

"More precipitation means that more murky fresh water mixes with the coastal water, making it less saline and murkier," explained Aksnes.

"Furthermore, studies done at the University of Oslo indicate that increased precipitation and rising temperatures lead to changes in vegetation on land, which in turn increases the concentration of CDOM in the fresh water that mixes with the coastal water. We don't know yet whether this leads to undesired changes in our coastal ecosystems, but if so, it will be hard to reverse," the professor added.


Skeptics Pursue Mass NY Police Complaint Against Climatologist James Hansen

Skeptics of man-made global warming are piling pressure on New York’s finest to mount a criminal investigation into what may be intentional data fraud by government climatologists. In a bold initiative one blogger yesterday (November 20,2012) filed a police complaint against one of America’s top climate scientists, NASA’s Dr. James Hansen. Other Big Apple citizens are urged to follow suit.

Pierre Gosselin, who owns the ‘NoTrickZone’ blog insists Dr. Hansen is a key climate data rigger misappropriating tax payer funds to ply junk science on U.S. policymakers. Gosselin continues, “I am officially reporting, to the NYC police, NASA-GISS scientist James Hansen, for manipulating and falsifying U.S. Government temperature data, with the likely intent to defraud U.S. citizens.” New Yorker Gosselin is urging other city residents to act on their “public duty” and partake in a mass grassroots protest to compel police to probe alleged shenanigans at NASA GISS, Columbia University, where Hansen works. On his blog, Gosselin makes the following appeal:

“All witnesses are urged to notify the authorities and to provide evidence of Hansen’s activity so that the authorities can properly investigate what plainly appears as criminal activity in broad daylight and, as duty calls, to render protection to the public they have sworn to serve.” The blogger further claims Hansen is being aided and abetted in his climate conspiracy by a “white, balding male, donning a goatee, who appears to be Hansen’s assistant and goes by the name “Gavin.””

Gosselin seems perfectly serious urging other “caring citizens“ to contact NYPD, 26th Precinct, 520 West 126th Street, New York, NY 10027, Tel. (212) 678-1311. See NYPD’s webpage here. It appears this precinct is responsible for NASA GISS, Columbia University, where Dr. Hansen works as head of climate research for the U.S. government agency.

Citing as evidence obtained by fellow skeptics such as Steven Goddard and others Gosselin insists Hansen has falsified climate data to deceive tax payers and policymakers “not just once but on multiple occasions.” With so many independent analysts over so many years having found irregularities in the strange “science” of Dr. Hansen surely there must now be sufficient evidence of a prima facie case here to warrant a police probe. I think Gosselin has a point. As a fellow NY homeowner I’m happy to be in on this.


The BBC and the consensus

The 28gate seminar's finding that global warming science is settled and that "due balance" requires dissenting views to be seen and heard less is insidious. In this post I'm going to try to set out why.

What is the consensus? That carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas? Yup. That man's activities are increasing carbon dioxide levels? Certainly. That temperatures went up at the end of the twentieth century and have not gone up since? Definitely. That human beings can affect the climate? Without a shadow of doubt.

Anything else? I don't think so. Even simple questions like whether observed temperature rises are anything out of the ordinary remain hugely controversial. The extent to which mankind has affected and will affect temperatures is likewise unknown, a great amphitheatre of ignorance dimly illuminated by a handful of aged CFLs - the climate models that scientists have pinned their hopes on - and little else. That these models are wrong is not in doubt - all models are wrong after all - but how wrong and how useful they are as tools to guide public policy is just another mystery. How can there possibly be consensus in these circumstances?

The impacts of climate change and the economics of climate change and policy responses to climate change are likewise entirely up in the air, with new hypotheses flown every day and shot down every evening and a mishmash of often contradictary empirical observations lending colour to the chaos. A glance tells you that there is no consensus.

So let us be clear, we don't even know if we have a big problem or a small one.

Yet the seminar has decided that sceptic input is not required in any of these areas. When did you last hear it put on the BBC that climate sensitivity might be low and that we were getting worked up about nothing? When did you last hear the Stern report or decarbonisation challenged on the BBC? 2007? I certainly can't recall any recent outings for views like this: they are sceptic views and are not to be aired. Yet these are all areas in which there is precisely no academic consensus. Indeed in the case of Stern one could probably make the case that there is something approaching consensus that the noble lord is talking out of his hat.

The concepts of mainstream and sceptic, upholder and dissentient, warmist and denier are profoundly unhelpful in the climate debate. The range of questions at issue mean that it is simply preposterous to divide everyone into two camps as the BBC has done - it's simply not logical.

Of course, given that the seminar was run for the benefit of green pressure groups, it's clear that logic had nothing to do with it. The BBC has used the seminar to minimise criticism of any aspect of climate science, climate economics and climate policy.

Quentin Cooper, the presenter of the BBC's Material World radio programme, asked on a recent show why he had never heard about the problems with biofuels. Frankly I'm amazed that he can't work it out.


The great British wind scam

Your taxes are meant to be supporting smaller turbines. In fact, they’re making giant ones less efficient

Almost everybody agrees that wind turbines are ugly and inefficient. But you’d think that the government, if it must persist in subsidising renewable energy, would do everything it could to incentivise wind power producers to create as much energy as possible while keeping the aesthetic damage to a minimum. Astonishingly, it is doing the opposite.

Inquiries by The Spectator have revealed a scam known as ‘de-rating’. Green businesses are modifying large turbines to make them less productive, because perverse government subsidies reward machines that produce less energy at nearly double the rate of more efficient ones. It’s extraordinarily profitable for a few beneficiaries, even if it clutters the countryside and does little to save the planet.

Under the government’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) scheme, which aims to make renewable energies competitive with fossil fuels, the size of a turbine is measured not by height but by power output. If a turbine pumps out more than 500kW, its owners receive 9.5p per kilowatt hour. But a ‘smaller’ sub-500kW one receives a subsidy of 17.5p per kilowatt hour, supposedly to compensate for its lower efficiency. The idea is to lure smaller wind-power producers into the market.

Problem is, while smaller turbines are more popular with the public, those designs don’t produce anything like the 500kW needed to take full advantage of the subsidy. So instead, investors are buying big, powerful turbines and downgrading them, tweaking their components to churn out no more than the magic 500kW. It’s simply far more lucrative to hobble bigger turbines — machines that ought to be capable of producing almost twice as much electricity.

For instance, it would cost a farmer roughly £1.5 million to plan, buy and put up a single 80-metre turbine, which could produce up to 900kW. He could run it at full capacity, and see a 7 to 10 per cent return on his investment each year. But if the machine’s efficiency were lowered, industry sources suggest, the return would jump to between 17 and 20 per cent. Clearly, the under-500kW subsidy bracket is where the money is. Last year, Ofgem reported a 850 per cent rise in FIT approvals for 100 to 500kW turbines, compared with 56 per cent for the 500kW to 1.5mW category.

Turbine suppliers boast about selling products that take advantage. The German firm PowerWind says on its website that it has developed its PowerWind 500 turbines ‘especially for the UK market’ and encourages potential customers to ‘secure the highest FIT in Europe’. In other words: turbines designed especially to game British subsidies.

Or take EWT, a Dutch manufacturer of wind turbines. Its website lists the giant DW 52/54 turbine — as tall as seven double-decker buses — in two forms, one producing 500kW and the other 900kW. Why such a difference in power output, if the specifications suggest they’re the same machine? A sales representative from EWT explains that it offers the less-productive model because ‘the tariff is very, very advantageous’. So why buy the less efficient model, when it has the same environmental footprint? Because ‘you have a better return on investment… you get more money per kilowatt’. The EWT salesman conceded the British system is ‘very very strange’. It’s all about the subsidy, not the environment.


BBC in breach of its obligations

A letter to the BBC Trust from Don Keiller, Deputy Head of Life Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge

I am writing to you about a serious concern regarding the BBC’s reporting of climate change science and associated issues.

From the detail emerging in the aftermath of Mr. Tony Newbery’s F.O.I case (EA/2009/0118) it is absolutely clear that the BBC is in breach of its Charter, which requires it to be impartial. Furthermore it knowingly and wilfully breached its Charter in this regard and has since tried to hide this fact from the Public and license fee payers, at the Publics’ expense.

In June, 2007, the BBC Trust published a report entitled “From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel: Safeguarding impartiality in the 21st Century”. That report, which is fully endorsed by the BBC Trust, contains the following statement (page 40):

“The BBC has held a high‐level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus."

This statement forms the basis for the BBC’s decision to breach its Charter and abandon impartiality on the subject of climate change and instead provide a highly biased and alarmist presentation of the science of climate change, without any attempt at counterbalancing argument, let alone “equal space”. Since then attempts have been made, via FOI requests, to find out the identities of the so-called “best scientific experts” who attended the “high level seminar” which thereby provided the justification for the BBC to abandon its principle of impartiality in this area. To my best knowledge, the BBC has not abandoned its impartiality in this way, even in wartime.

Tony Newbery, a pensioner, clearly felt the same way and has gone through a long series of FOI requests and processes, culminating, earlier this month, in a tribunal at the Central London Civil Justice Centre (case no. EA/2009/0118). The FOI request was for the identities of the “best scientific experts” who attended the seminar. In order to conceal this information, the BBC fielded a team of 6 lawyers, including barristers, at an estimated cost of £40,000 per day, to prevent the list of names from being published. Whilst they were successful, it was a pyrric victory, as it transpires that this information, that the BBC had tried so hard to conceal, had been in the Public domain for some time.

So who were these “best scientific experts”?

It turns out to be a motley collection of climate alarmists, activists, environmental advocates and those with vested financial interests:

Blake Lee-Harwood, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace
Andrew Dlugolecki, Insurance industry consultant
Trevor Evans, US Embassy
Colin Challen MP, Chair, All Party Group on Climate Change
Anuradha Vittachi, Director,
Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation
Claire Foster, Church of England
Saleemul Huq, IIED
Poshendra Satyal Pravat, Open University
Li Moxuan, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace China
Tadesse Dadi, Tearfund Ethiopia
Iain Wright, CO2 Project Manager, BP International
Ashok Sinha, Stop Climate Chaos
Andy Atkins, Advocacy Director, Tearfund
Matthew Farrow, CBI
Rafael Hidalgo, TV/multimedia producer
Cheryl Campbell, Executive Director, Television for the Environment
Kevin McCullough, Director, Npower Renewables
Richard D North, Institute of Economic Affairs
Steve Widdicombe, Plymouth Marine Labs
Joe Smith, The Open University
Mark Galloway, Director, IBT
Anita Neville, E3G
Eleni Andreadis, Harvard University
Jos Wheatley, Global Environment Assets Team, DFID
Tessa Tennant, Chair, AsRia.

Not one of these could be described as “scientific”, let alone an expert.

The remainder:

Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London
Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA
Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

are scientists, but were misleadingly described in court by Helen Boaden (of Jimmy Saville infamy), as “scientists with contrasting views”. In fact all are unashamedly alarmist. Pointedly, not one of these scientists deals with attribution science, or the atmospheric physics of global warming.

So where are the real experts? Scientists from the Met Office, or the Hadley Centre, one of the foremost climate research centres in the world? Where are the names of Dr.Chris Landsea, World expert on hurricanes, or Dr. Nils‐Axel Mörner, World authority on sea level rises? Or Professors Richard Lindzen, or Murry Salby, World experts on atmospheric physics? Why are there no experts from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia?

It now crystal clear why the BBC went to such great lengths and expense to withhold the names of those attending. They are not the “best scientific experts” but rather a group overwhelmingly comprised of environmental activists and NGO’s, with no scientific training, whatsoever, or those with a vested interest, often financial, in keeping climate change alarmism firmly in the Public eye.

In conclusion I put it to the BBC Trust that:

1. The BBC and, by endorsing the report, the BBC Trust, have lied to the public that they organised and/or attended a seminar at BBC Television Centre involving the “best scientific experts” on climate change.

2. That its change of policy to no longer be impartial on the subject of climate change was not based on scientific evidence, or the views of the “best scientific experts”, but in fact was as a result of listening to the views, advice and lobbying from inappropriate and biased individuals, groups and organisations including Greenpeace, Tearfund, US Embassy, BP, IIED, IBT, AsRia, E3G etc.

3. That the BBC and the BBC Trust are in breach of the charter and acting unlawfully. The following quotations are taken from the BBC website here

1.2.1 Trust

Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest. We are committed to achieving the highest standards of due accuracy and impartiality and strive to avoid knowingly and materially misleading our audiences.

1.2.2 Truth and Accuracy

We seek to establish the truth of what has happened and are committed to achieving due accuracy in all our output. Accuracy is not simply a matter of getting facts right; when necessary, we will weigh relevant facts and information to get at the truth. Our output, as appropriate to its subject and nature, will be well sourced, based on sound evidence, thoroughly tested and presented in clear, precise language. We will strive to be honest and open about what we don't know and avoid unfounded speculation.

1.2.3 Impartiality

Impartiality lies at the core of the BBC's commitment to its audiences. We will apply due impartiality to all our subject matter and will reflect a breadth and diversity of opinion across our output as a whole, over an appropriate period, so that no significant strand of thought is knowingly unreflected or under-represented. We will be fair and open-minded when examining evidence and weighing material facts.
1.2.4 Editorial Integrity and Independence
The BBC is independent of outside interests and arrangements that could undermine our editorial integrity. Our audiences should be confident that our decisions are not influenced by outside interests, political or commercial pressures, or any personal interests.

Each and every one of these guidelines has been knowingly breached.

This is a scandal that is, in its own way, more disturbing than the one over the Jimmy Savile affair, as it has implications for the whole population. Interestingly the key players in this scandal, George Entwistle, Helen Boaden, Peter Rippon and Steve Mitchell, are also key players in the Savile affair. However whilst the Savile scandal is being looked into by a series of inquiries, this has been ignored.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course on this matter. Please also be advised that I have sent a copy of this letter to the Director of the BBC Trust.

Nov 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM | Don Keiller


Big UK firms may move to America for cheap energy

Some of Britain’s biggest companies may be forced to move to the US or Eastern Europe, where energy costs are dramatically lower, the Energy Intensive Users Group is warning this weekend. Jeremy Nicholson, director of the powerful lobby group that campaigns for companies in the steel, chemical and glass industries, said that British companies could not compete against US groups because their energy costs were four times cheaper.

He said Britain needed to develop its own shale gas industry, which would decisively transform the economics of the intensive energy industry.

Britain should also pay compensation to firms that face huge bills to meet climate change targets, he added. ‘The solution for intensive industry depends on maximising the opportunity for responsible production of shale gas in the UK as well as completing the electricity market reform process so the UK can deliver low carbon nuclear energy and renewables at least cost to consumers,’ he said.

He added that the Government and intensive-energy industries had to reach a deal that would give compensation to firms forced to pay for higher-price energy to meet climate change policies.

Germany’s biggest companies have also warned of an inability to compete with the US because they do not have access to the same quantity of cheap shale gas.

The warning comes as the Government looks set to announce that Britain has discovered huge shale gas deposits in the North-West, East Midlands, Sussex and Kent. The Mail on Sunday revealed last week that Britain was sitting on shale gas reserves worth £1.5 trillion.

The amount – more than the remaining gas reserves of the North Sea – is bigger than previously thought and would potentially bring energy price stability and independence from imports for decades.

Nicholson said: ‘It’s inevitable that our members will have to think about moving if energy prices keep going up so fast and our competitors have the advantage of gas three to four times cheaper.’

He said Britain had an opportunity to compete because of the discovery of large quantities of shale gas – and much of this was in areas where our biggest energy producers had major facilities.
‘We are well placed to exploit shale gas here,’ he said.
‘The environmental agency is a very responsible agency and it would not get in the way of responsible development.’




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


22 November, 2012

Fascist climate dreamer

Christiana Figueres, the UN's climate chief, is interviewed at Yale360. Her views on science and public policy are startling to say the least:

"It is the most inspiring job in the world because what we are doing here is we are inspiring government, private sector, and civil society to [make] the biggest transformation that they have ever undertaken. The Industrial Revolution was also a transformation, but it wasn't a guided transformation from a centralized policy perspective. This is a centralized transformation that is taking place because governments have decided that they need to listen to science. So it's a very, very different transformation and one that is going to make the life of everyone on the planet very different."

Didn't they once call this "scientific socialism"?


‘Cooling World’ Is Hot Potato for UN Climate Summit

THE world’s climate has cooled during 2011 and 2012, temperature data from Britain’s Met Office reveals — just before this year’s talks on cutting global greenhouse gas emissions. The figures show that, although global temperatures are still well above the long-term average, they have fallen significantly (sic) since the record seen in 2010.

The findings could prove politically sensitive, coming ahead of the United Nation’s climate summit in Doha, Qatar, where the global system for regulating greenhouse gas emissions faces collapse.

The threat comes because the Kyoto treaty, under which developed nations pledged to cut their carbon emissions, expires at the end of this year. Doha is seen as the last hope of securing an extension.

In such a febrile situation, any data casting doubt on climate scientists’ predictions is potentially explosive. The World Meteorological Organisation, which oversees the publication of climate trend data from the four main global centres, including the Met Office, has been strongly criticised for its policy of releasing such data just before the UN’s key annual summits.

“In the past two years we have seen a slight decline in temperature,” said Peter Stott, the Met Office’s head of climate monitoring and attribution. “However, it is such a short period that it is scientifically meaningless. Climate change can only be measured over decades — and the records show that the world has warmed by 0.75C over the past century.” i.e. Only three quarters of one degree

The Met Office figures show that, for the first 10 months of 2012, global temperatures averaged 14.43C; 2010 was significantly (sic) hotter at 14.54C.

Stott says the heat of 2010 was caused by an “El Niño” event, where warm water currents in the Pacific released unusual amounts of heat into the atmosphere. “It is a natural short-term fluctuation and nothing to do with climate change,” he said.

The longer-term record shows global temperatures have hardly risen for about 15 years. Stott said, however, that the key point was that, although global temperatures had not risen as predicted over the past decade or so, they had remained consistently above the long-term average.

“This is why the Arctic icecap is melting and extreme weather events are increasing,” he said. So the icecap is melting because it is NOT warming?


The EPA vs. state economies

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency rejected petitions from the governors of Georgia, Texas, Arkansas, Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, and North Carolina to suspend the biofuel-blending requirements established by the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) program.

This program requires refiners to blend increasing quantities of biofuel — mostly corn ethanol — into the nation’s motor-fuel supply. The 2012 target is to blend 13.2 billion gallons of biofuel into our gasoline, a quantity that ratchets up to 13.8 billion gallons in 2013. This year, about 4.7 billion bushels, or 40 percent of the nation’s corn crop, will be consumed by ethanol manufacturing. The governors contend that the RFS program, combined with the worst drought in 50 years, pushed corn prices to record highs, harming their states’ poultry, beef, pork, and dairy producers, who use corn as animal feed. The Clean Air Act authorizes Lisa P. Jackson, the EPA’s administrator, to waive the RFS targets for one year if those requirements would “severely harm” the economy of a state, a region, or the United States as a whole.

The RFS program guarantees that the gas we buy contains up to 10 percent ethanol and may soon contain up to 15 percent. In a competitive market, hardly anyone would buy ethanol as motor fuel, because the substance has one-third less energy than gasoline and does not make up the difference in price. To the contrary, the higher the ethanol blend, the more money you spend on each mile driven. At current prices, it would cost the average driver $500 a year to switch to E85, a fuel that is 85 percent ethanol, according to, a website jointly administered by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Arkansas governor Mike Beebe’s petition concisely explained why Jackson should have granted the waiver. “Virtually all of Arkansas is suffering from severe, extreme, or exceptional drought conditions,” and accelerating corn prices are “having a severe economic impact” on the state’s livestock producers. “While the drought may have triggered the price spike in corn,” the fuel standards exacerbated the problem — the policy has boosted corn prices 193 percent since 2005. Agriculture accounts for “nearly one-quarter” of the state’s economic activity, and livestock sectors hit hard by rising corn prices “represent nearly half” of Arkansas’s farm sales.

However, the EPA stacked the decks against petitioners, establishing a burden of proof that was virtually impossible to meet. Indeed, the agency’s August 30 Request for Comment telegraphed the decision Jackson reached on Friday. The EPA stated petitioners would have to show that the “RFS itself” was the cause of severe harm, not merely a “contributing” factor. In addition, petitioners would have to show that waiving the RFS would be a “remedy” for the hardship facing livestock producers.

These criteria are ridiculous. The Clean Air Act does not require the EPA to don analytical blinkers and ignore other factors that, in combination with the RFS, cause severe harm, nor does it say that any waiver granted must be a silver bullet.

Severe distress in any state, region, or the nation as a whole typically results from a combination of factors, not a single one. A fuel standard that causes little economic harm when unemployment rates are low, corn production is booming, corn stocks are high, and China’s demand for U.S. corn imports is low could inflict severe harm when the opposite conditions obtain — as they do today.

The EPA’s requirement that the waiver provide a cure for high corn prices is the flip side of the same trick coin. By law, the EPA may grant a waiver for only one year at a time. So even if a multi-year waiver would provide a complete remedy, the EPA could reject each successive one-year waiver on the grounds that it would not solve the problem by itself.

It is true that a one-year waiver may have little impact on the price of corn, given that the market would expect the fuel requirements not only to return, but to continue to rise in a year’s time. In addition, much of the ethanol blended into regular gasoline is used as an octane booster; it cannot be removed until refiners develop a workable substitute, which is unlikely to happen in less than a year. (The substance refiners used as an octane booster before ethanol has been banned in most states.)

The EPA takes an entirely different tack when the issue is not whether to grant regulatory relief but whether to impose additional regulatory burdens. In such cases, even small contributions to an alleged harm are considered sufficient grounds for regulation, and even minute regulatory contributions to the hoped-for solution are deemed fully justified.

Consider the EPA’s greenhouse-gas emission standards for heavy-duty trucks, which will go into effect for model-year 2014–2018 vehicles. The EPA estimates that these standards will reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations by 0.732 parts per million, which in turn will avert an estimated 0.002 to 0.004 degrees Celsius of global warming and 0.012 to 0.048 centimeters of sea-level rise by the year 2100. Such changes would be too small for scientists to distinguish from noise in the climate data. The EPA acknowledges no obligation to demonstrate either that heavy-truck GHG emissions alone harm public health and welfare or that regulating these trucks would take verifiable bites out of global temperatures and sea-level rise.

For sheer results-be-damned regulation, however, nothing beats the EPA’s proposed CO2 emission standards for fossil-fuel power plants. The EPA does “not anticipate any notable CO2 emissions changes resulting from” the standards and, thus, concludes that “there are no direct monetized climate benefits in terms of CO2 emission reductions associated with this rulemaking.” In short, the standards would not even make a negligible contribution to a solution — yet the EPA proposes them anyway.

Such glaring inconsistency is a reminder (if any is needed) that agencies are not impartial umpires but interested parties in the rules they administer.

This cloud may yet have a silver lining. Jackson’s rejection of the waiver petitions exposes the RFS program as an arbitrary, inflexible system that provides corporate welfare to corn farmers at the expense of livestock producers, consumers, and hungry people in developing countries. The EPA’s decision may very well build support for RFS reform — or repeal.


British households 'may have to pay up to £125' for green changes to poor homes

Households may have to pay up to £125 per year to cover the cost of "green" home improvements for the poorest customers under Coalition plans, energy companies have warned.

Industry sources said the cost of a new green scheme has been underestimated by up to £1.8 billion per year by Whitehall officials. The new policy, called the Energy Company Obligation, will begin to hit households next year at a time when rising gas prices have already pushed the average bill above £1,335 annually.

Under the initiative, gas and electricity suppliers will be forced to offer poor households ways to save energy, such as insulation and more efficient boilers, which will be charged back to all households through bills.

Ministers claim this will cost bill-payers just £1.3 billion per year or about £50 per household - the same as under current schemes to help poor customers.

However, one major energy company told The Daily Telegraph that it is preparing for the cost of ECO to be up to £3.1 billion per year - or £125 per household. Another senior energy boss agreed with this assessment, saying the Government "needs to switch its digits around" to from £1.3 billion to £3.1 billion.

The Government strongly disputes its scheme will be so expensive. Greg Barker, the climate change minister, said he "will certainly not allow customer bills to be impacted in that way". He added: "The Prime Minister showed this week with his determination to legislate to get people the lowest energy tariffs that we are the Government on the side of the consumer."

Mr Barker said energy companies will be forced to meet their obligations at the Government's price or hand over their responsibilities to third parties to deliver more cheaply. "We believe our economic model is robust and [the companies] are not taking into account the dynamics of the market," he told The Daily Telegraph.

Energy companies are currently lobbying the Government to put a £1.3 billion cap on the cost of ECO, amid fears that suppliers will be blamed for rising bills when the scheme comes into force.

Energy UK, the industry group representing the Big Six suppliers, has commissioned an independent report into the issue, which will be presented to the Prime Minister and Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, today.

This study by NERA Economic Consulting found the cost of the green charges will be around £2.3 billion - or £95 per household. But it says this estimate may be too low as there are other risks to the green scheme that could cause the real cost to "exceed" this figure.

The report, due to be published on Monday, will say "unreliable" calculations by the Department of Energy and Climate Change have led it to underestimate the charges.

The NERA economists will also conclude that the ECO system is an "expensive" way of helping poorer households bring down their energy bills.

Last night, a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "ECO replaces existing energy efficiency schemes almost pound for pound, so there will be no additional costs on bills. "New powers under the Energy Act 2011 will allow us to require energy companies to provide regular information on the actual costs of delivery and how these are passed through to consumers. For the first time we will know if energy companies are simply passing through actual costs or looking to increase their profits by charging consumers more than is necessary. "We will keep the impact on consumer bills under constant review throughout the lifetime of the scheme."

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has found that the rising gas price is the biggest cause of higher bills for energy customers, adding around £290 to the average annual bill between 2004 and 2010.

Green charges have contributed around £75, including £30 to support investment in low-carbon power generation, and £45 for funding energy efficiency improvements in homes.

However, the effect of environmental policies on bills is likely to get bigger over the next decade as bill-payers will have to partially subsidise new wind farms and nuclear power stations. The CCC believes environmental policies will raise bills by around £110 a year by 2020.

Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, says this will be cheaper for households in the long run as too much reliance on gas power stations will leave the UK exposed to the rising price of fossil fuels. He told MPs on the Energy Committee this week that most experts believe gas prices will "stay high or go higher".


Climate Deadlock Solidified: Emerging Nations Rule Out New ‘Climate Protocol’

China, India, South Africa and Brazil say a climate agreement expected to take effect in 2020 won’t be a “new regime,” potentially setting up a confrontation with the United States, which is seeking to eliminate a firewall in negotiations between developed and developing nations.

The four countries are reining in expectations for the Durban Platform, according to a statement released following a meeting of the so-called Basic bloc in Beijing.

Delegates at United Nations treaty talks in the South African city agreed in December that nations will hammer out a new deal to fight climate change by 2015 and implement it five years later

The statement may set up a conflict with the U.S. at two weeks of U.N. climate talks that start next week in Doha, Qatar. The U.S. has said any climate deals must treat nations equally, a shift from the Kyoto Protocol that has separate terms for developed and developing countries.

“The Durban Platform is by no means a process to negotiate a new regime, nor to renegotiate, rewrite or reinterpret the convention and its principles and provisions,” the countries said, referring to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. The outcome of the discussions are governed by “in particular the principles of equity.”

At last year’s discussions, the U.S. opposed inclusion of the concept of “equity” in the Durban mandate because lead envoy Todd Stern said it could be used to perpetuate a “firewall” that assigned developed countries binding emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol, while setting no enforceable greenhouse-gas goals for big developing countries such as India and China.

On a conference call with reporters that followed the Durban talks, Stern was asked whether he’d said “if equity’s in, we’re out,” in the final discussions that crafted the mandate.
“I might have, but that’s certainly the idea,” Stern said in the Dec. 13 teleconference.

“We just thought that that would be a distraction that would tend to drive people back into the old paradigm and we didn’t want to go there,” Stern said. The “key element” of a new deal is “to include all the major players in the same legal system kind of together,” he said.

China is willing to cooperate with the U.S. to push climate change negotiation progress, Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of National Development and Reform Commission, told reporters in Beijing Tuesday. “Developed nations should make greater efforts to cut emissions,” he said.
China and the U.S. in July agreed that greater climate- protection efforts are needed before a binding global treaty comes into force in 2020, joining nations at a meeting in Germany to acknowledge that current pledges fall short.

The U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization said that concentrations in the atmosphere of the three main heat- trapping gases, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, rose to a record. The International Energy Agency said earlier this month that rising concentrations of the gases threaten to render impossible the UN goal of containing the temperature rise since industrialization to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Agreeing to a second round of emissions reduction targets for parties to the Kyoto Protocol that will be implemented from January is the “key deliverable” from Doha, the Basic countries said. “Developed countries should take the lead and scale up ambition” for emissions-slashing and climate aid efforts between now and 2020.

The U.S. never ratified Kyoto, so it isn’t subject to its targets, while Japan, Canada and New Zealand have all said they won’t take part in a second round of commitments. That leaves the 27-nation European Union and Australia as the main countries seeking new targets. Russia has indicated it may not take on new targets, though has yet to fully spell out its stance.

The Basic countries said those developed nations not taking part in the so-called second-commitment period of Kyoto should take on “ambitious and comparable emissions reduction targets”

“The original idea when negotiating the climate change convention is developed nations will take the lead in reducing their emissions and in providing the resources for developing nations to change their economy that will be necessary for their efforts,” Brazilian envoy Andre Correa do Lago told reporters. “This is not happening.”



Three current articles below

The fine art of scaring children

by Tony Thomas

Ballarat has a great art gallery, with its original architecture and gold-financed 19th century acquisitions. I was stooging around there last week after enjoying its show on floral illustrations, dating back to William Dampier.In the main halls it has an “art trail” for children, directing them to half a dozen works. Each has a screed alongside backgrounding the painting and giving the kids some quizzes.

So far so good…until I began reading those screeds.

The first involved an aquatic storm scene by ship captain-turned-artist Johan Bennetter (1886), A Bore on the Hooghli. Sailing ships and lifeboats thrash about amid surges and spume under a furious sky. (A “bore” is a storm surge after a very low tide).

The screed quickly cuts to the chase:

“Climate change, bringing with it an increase in extreme weather and rising sea levels, means that phenomena like the famous bores on the Hooghli at the Bay of Bengal now threaten the lives and livelihoods of literally hundreds of millions of people. This is one of the places in the world most vulnerable to catastrophe arising out of rapid rises in sea level…

What other changes in natural phenomena do you know of as a result of global warming?

How will predicted climate change affect your life?”

Hmmm. The author may be referring to the prediction in 2005 by the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) of 50 million “climate refugees” by 2010.[1] An astute reporter for Asian Correspondent realized last year that the prediction had fallen due, but not a single “climate refugee” could be identified. Embarrassed, UNEP and its scientific boosters furtively rubbed out their map of 50 million climate refugees, circa 2010, and shifted the year out to 2020.

Let us move on to the next way-station along the kiddie-art climate trail.

At Kiddie Station 2 we find David Davies (1890), Under the Burden and Heat of the Day, which shows a swaggie near-collapsed from heat and being offered a mug of water by his fellow swaggie in the red shirt.

The screed:

“…Australia is getting hotter and climate change has arrived. There is more on the way, but how much of an increase will depend on us. How do we cope with such heat? Massive air conditioner use threatens peak electrical supply while the electricity used to power them comes mainly from coal. Greenhouse gases are produced to cope with the symptoms of existing greenhouse gases – we are kelpies chasing our tails on a hot day.

Renewable energy, better house design and a reduction in the atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases will all be needed if we are going to beat the heat…

How can we keep cool without making demands on energy supplies? How do we know whether our individual actions make a difference?”

It was a fairly hot day outside but cool inside the gallery. Reason: It is air-conditioned.[2] [3]

Kiddie Station 3. A modern work: Tony Cran (2007) – “We’ve come for what’s ours” . This shows a kangaroo, a reindeer and a wolf on the coastline, two of them brandishing a eucalypt swatch.

Our narrator tells the kids:

“In this vision we have poisoned our environment with toxic waste and used up all the natural resources until the earth could no longer support us…In this painting, people are just a memory. The earth has survived and with it some of the plants and animals which lived in harmony with nature, only taking what they needed and adapting…

We have become reckless with our consumption, buying bigger and better things with more and more packaging [blah blah, insert here more Greens Party boilerplate].

Who should be responsible for the effects of our heavy consumption of resources? How can we reduce the cost of sustaining our natural resources?”

To me, this draws the long bow. For a start, although "people are just a memory", a lighthouse in the background is still lit up. Maybe the reindeer is maintaining it. Second, it’s nice that the three animals are living in harmony with nature, only taking what they need. Let’s hope for the ’roo and reindeer’s sake that this particular wolf is a vegetarian.


High chance of above-average rainfall for southeast Queensland until February

Wot?? No drought. Warmists are united in saying the the drought in parts of the USA is due to global warming so surely Australia should be having drought too? I hate to mention it, but Australia IS part of the globe!

THE chances of southeast Queensland and eastern NSW receiving above median rainfall from next month to February are 60 per cent to 75 per cent.

National Climate Centre climatologist Andrew Watkins said the forecast for potentially wetter than average conditions was because it was the wettest time of year for the southeast and an expectation that moisture would be dragged across the continent by warmer Indian Ocean temperatures.

``It will be wetter than the last forecast period but even though it will be above median odds, it will be nothing like (La Nina years) 2010-11,'' Dr Watkins said.

Chances of a drought-bearing El Nino occurring had reduced over the past two months and the Pacific ocean had cooled to neutral levels. It will be the first neutral summer since 2005-06.

Sea surface temperatures in the Indian ocean off the West Australian coast were the equal second warmest on record for October. A warm Indian Ocean is associated with increased summer rainfall over eastern parts of the continent and large parts of WA.

It and a powerful La Nina were the major factors in floods last year and in 2010.



"Drought" in Britain too: Drat that pesky global warming!

Swathes of Britain were under water yesterday as rain battered the country, turning roads and railways into rivers. Homes were flooded and transport networks ground to a halt as two weeks’ worth of rain fell overnight in some areas.

Hazardous travelling conditions were exacerbated by 60mph winds, bringing widespread disruption across the UK. Debris and leaves blocked drains, adding to the chaos.

The West Country and the Midlands were the worst hit, but the storms moved east and were expected to drench more areas overnight and today – with forecasters predicting 2.5in of rain in places.

The Met Office warned that it had weather warnings out for south-west England and south-east Wales, as well as western Scotland, over the next few days.

The Environment Agency put more than 200 flood warnings and alerts in place yesterday, mostly in the South West and the Midlands.


Greens support sliding away in Tasmania

Tassie is the stronghold of the Greens in Oz

THE Tasmanian Greens and their leader Nick McKim have suffered a major slump in popularity, according to the latest EMRS poll.

At the same time that the Tasmanian Liberals have continued a strong showing in the polls, Mr McKim's approval rating as preferred premier and that of his party have dropped to the lowest levels since the March 2010 election when the Greens formed government with Labor.

The Opposition's push for a majority government also appears to be working, with the figures showing that for the first time since August 2011, the gap between support for the Liberal Party and the cumulative support of Labor and Greens has widened.

The poll of 1000 Tasmanians undertaken between November 12 and 16 shows support for Labor had remained steady while the Greens slumped by seven percentage points.

Coming off the back of calls for Mr McKim to be kicked out of Cabinet for linking forest protesters to Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, the Greens leader's approval rating as preferred premier dropped from 15 per cent to 11 per cent, down from 17 per cent in May this year.

Ms Giddings approval rating as preferred premier grew 3 per cent to 25 per cent while Mr Hodgman's went to 47 per cent, up from 45 per cent in August but down from 48 per cent in November last year.

Support for the Liberal Party returned to that seen in August 2011, 55 per cent, largely on the back of a decrease in support for the Greens.

Ms Giddings said the Liberals' strong showing was the result of a strong advertising campaign off the back of tobacco donations. "It just goes to show what $40,000 of tobacco donation money can buy you in months and months worth of TV advertising," Ms Giddings said. "I believe you are also seeing people don't accept the glib one-liners from Will Hodgman."

Mr McKim said the poll had highlighted the volatility of opinion polls. "The Greens are not a poll-driven party," he said. "We will always act based on our values and what we believe is right, no matter what the polls are saying."

Will Hodgman said the poll showed that Tasmanians saw the Labor-Green experiment as failing. "It's clear that only the Liberals can deliver the strong, stable majority government that Tasmania needs."




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


21 November, 2012

A very strange Warmist

He makes the most alarming predictions and then admits it's all speculation! Why does he bother? He even makes predictions about the 23rd century! Spare us!

And I think his physiology is wrong too. I grew up in a place (Cairns in tropical Australia) where very hot days -- over 30 degrees Celsius -- were common and where the humidity was also high (being beside the seaside). And funnily enough I am not dead. And Cairns people just go about their business every day as they would in any other city of the developed world.

I think he is just an attention-seeker who will say anything to gain kudos

The problem is not just temperature, but a combination of temperature and humidity. Humans are remarkably resilient to high temperatures – provided the air contains little moisture. This is because we possess an effective cooling mechanism, namely sweating. When sweat evaporates from our skin, which it will do rapidly in hot, dry air, it will remove a great deal of energy from your body. The same thing happens when you breathe in and out – the water evaporating from the lining of your lungs and respiratory tract also evaporates cooling you down quite dramatically. That is why, provided you stay out of direct sunlight and provided you have enough water to drink, you can survive indefinitely in temperatures of 45C or even more. Provided, again, the humidity is low.

But make the air more humid and you are in trouble. When the air is fully saturated (contains as much water vapour as possible depending on its temperature and pressure) sweating no longer works. On Earth this ‘wet bulb’ temperature (so called because you can gauge it by using a thermometer wrapped in a wet cloth) rarely reaches 30C – the temperature of the hottest, sweatiest jungles in the tropics. The startling difference between wet-bulb and dry-bulb temperatures can be seen if you fly from the hot desert of, say, the American southwest (where temperatures may be well into the 40s) to somewhere like Singapore (where it usually hovers in the high 20s). You will be hot, but fairly comfortable in the deserts, but drenched and deeply uncomfortable after an hour or so in Singapore.

But if the wet-bulb temperature climbs to more than 35C you will not just be uncomfortable, but dead. Even at this seemingly modest temperature, if the humidity is high enough a human – even a naked human, standing still, in the dark, in front of a powerful fan, will die of heatstroke.

Currently nowhere on Earth sees wetbulb temperatures exceed 31C. But according to Steven Sherwood, an Atmospheric Scientist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, rising overall temperatures will mean that this limit will soon regularly be breached and the 35C limit of human survivability will be surpassed on a regular basis. “I just knew from basic physics that there would be a point where heat and humidity became intolerable, and it didn’t seem that anyone had looked at that from a climate change perspective.”

By the last 23rd Century, the cities of Houston, Shanghai, New Orleans, Tel Aviv and Lagos will be abandoned – not because of sea level rises but because in the summer months at least they will simply be uninhabitable. Humans walking around outside will die. No one will live in Florida any more, or Louisiana. Much of the American sunbelt will be reduced to a depopulated desert or swamp. Even in our lifetimes we could see tens of thousands dying of heat stress in ever more frequent heatwaves.

This is, of course, speculation. Global temperatures will have to rise a great deal for heat stress to cause the evacuation of the Deep South and that is far from being a given. As I have said many times when it comes to models, it is often a case of rubbish in, nonsense out. But pump enough CO2 in and something nasty is going to happen.


Shhh… Serious Scientists At Work

USA Today of course sucks this crap up without doing any fact checking.
Iowa scientists: Drought a sign of climate change

The report was signed by 138 scientists and researchers from 27 Iowa colleges and universities. They said they wanted to release the updated report now while the drought is still fresh in the public’s mind. “The drought is sort of a teachable moment,” said Jerry Schnoor, co-director of the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research at the University of Iowa.

Brilliant theory – except that Iowa has been getting wetter and experiencing fewer droughts.

More HERE (See the original for links)

A Hurricane of Global Warming Lies‏

By Alan Caruba

At his recent press conference, President Obama, in response to a question, said “You know, as you know, Mark, we can’t attribute any particular weather event to climate change. What we do know is the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even ten years ago.” That is a flat out lie. The temperature of the Earth has been cooling for at least sixteen years.

The devastation that Hurricane Sandy wrought defies the imagination, particularly for those on the East Coast where so much destruction was inflicted. It mirrored 2005’s Hurricane Katrina and it is only natural for people to believe there has been an increase in hurricanes striking the U.S. homeland, but there hasn’t.

Despite 2009’s “Climategate” that revealed that global warming is a hoax, many still believe it exists. In a letter to Fred Upton, the Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on November 11th, meteorologists and climatologists joined to warn that “Global warming that has not actually occurred can scarcely have contributed much to vast destruction wrought by Sandy.”

Dr. Bill Gray, the nation’s expert on hurricanes, was joined by Dr. Willie Soon, Prof. Fred Singer, and Lord Christopher Monckton, a science advisor to Britain’s former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, to say that “Hurricane Sandy was a freak storm, not the type of extreme weather event that climate scientists have said will become more frequent and more severe if we fail to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.”

“After almost 16 years without global warming, there are still a few who implausibly try to blame this non-existent global warming for causing various weather-related disasters in the past two or three years.” The letter advised against holding hearings on the recent hurricane. “With the election behind us, we will have an opportunity to begin again and give this matter the attention it deserves—none at all.”

Writing in Forbes magazine, James Taylor, the Heartland Institute’s editor of Environment and Climate News, spelled out the actual record of hurricane activity in the decades prior to the global warming hoax which began in the late 1980s and since.

“The National Hurricane Center (NHC) provides information on major U.S. hurricanes during the past 100-plus years. According to the NHC, 70 major hurricanes struck the United States in the 100 years between 1911 and 2010. That is an average of seven major hurricane strikes per decade.”

In all the decades back to 1961, the 100-year average remained intact with major hurricanes ranging from as few per decade as four and as many as seven. Not a single decade varied from this.

In the decades since the 1980s when alarmists began warning of a major increase in the overall temperature of the Earth, claiming it would trigger major weather events like hurricanes, nothing changed. In the decades in which carbon dioxide emissions were said to be the cause, the average remained the same.

Taylor examined the preceding 50 years before “the alleged human-induced global warming crisis.” He spelled out the data from 1951 to 1920 that reveals that the 100-year average was unchanged.

Despite the global warming claims “during the past four decades, the time period during which global warming alarmists claim human-induced global warming accelerated rapidly and became incontrovertible, the fewest number of major hurricanes struck during any 40-year period since at least the 1800s.”

In the first two years of this current decade “exactly zero major hurricanes struck the United States.”

Despite this, the calls for carbon taxes are being heard; taxes that would affect all industry and businesses nationwide. Such a tax, already in place in California, would drive large scale manufacturing out of the nation and take with them hundreds of thousands of jobs. It would impact the nation’s utilities and drive up the cost of electricity, the life blood of the nation.

If Americans do not wake up to this threat, do not realize that hurricane activity has not increased, and realize, too, that the Earth has been in a cooling cycle since 1998, they will fall victim to the vast matrix of environmental organizations, government agencies, and the mainstream media that continues to spread alarm in the name of global warming and climate change.


Obama’s war on energy is a war on jobs

Three hours west of Washington, D.C., U.S. Route 50 emerges from the West Virginia forest in a gentle curve. On the south side of the highway rises an enormous natural gas drilling rig. To its left and slightly behind it is a gas separation plant under construction. This is the "wet gas" portion of the Marcellus shale-gas play that underlies Appalachia. The separation plant will divide the wet gas into propane, pentane, butane and the like. In front of the rig and closest to the highway is a kind of filling station with color-coded fittings instead of hoses on the pumps. When it's completed, 40 tanker trucks a day will pull up and load the various gases for delivery to plants up the chemistry food chain.

Watching over this process was a man about 50 years old in a new but dusty white pickup. He's the site-preparation foreman, there to make certain everything is squared away properly. Natural gas drilling is a second career for him. He worked for many years in the aluminum plant in Ravenswood, W.V., until it closed. He's visibly tired because he's been working hard, probably with a lot of overtime, but for once in his life, he is making excellent wages and benefits. During the summer, he got a little time off and took his wife deep-sea fishing off Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Since the end of World War II, there have been three economic revolutions: the jet engine, integrated circuits (modern electronics) and the Internet, all of them either invented by or developed by Americans. A monthlong, 5,000-mile journey by four-wheel-drive pickup through the back roads of the Marcellus in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, the Bakken in northern North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in South Texas made it overwhelmingly clear that hydro-fracking for shale oil and gas is the fourth one. Fracking has been around for a long time, but it's the new technology, particularly the horizontal drilling aspect, that makes it so exciting. Dow Jones reports that the International Energy Agency believes that the global energy map is being redrawn by the resurgence in oil and gas production in the United States.

All an observer has to do is stand and watch the activity in little towns like Waverly, W.V., Nixon, Texas, or Killdeer, N.D., and it is impossible not to be caught up in the excitement. Nixon, for example, has no stoplight, but it does have a four-way stop sign. From the west comes a line of diesel-fuel tankers, from the north the flatbeds loaded with drilling pipe, from the east the gravel and cement trucks, all turning south toward Karnes City, a center of the Eagle Ford drilling operations. Up from the south comes a line of empties. All the drivers are very polite. Everyone takes his turn at the four-way because this is not a one-off; it's a continuous process.

Numbers? How about $5.1 trillion in capital spending to rejuvenate the American manufacturing sector, or 3.5 million new jobs, all rippling their way through the American economy over the next 10 to 20 years? These numbers come from respected oil analyst Daniel Yergen. Add in the hundred years of new natural gas reserves in the United States and the 50 percent reduction in emissions that natural gas gives over traditional means of electrical generation, and the tens of billions of dollars in new downstream chemical plants that depend on natural gas feed stocks.

My investigation was originally intended to look at an exhilarating new industry, but discovered a startling series of human-interest stories. A young man in his early 20s from upstate New York drives a gravel truck in North Dakota. Two very tired Hispanic diesel mechanics in their 30s enjoy a quick lunch at the Dairy Queen near Leal, Texas. All make do very well, all contributing to American energy security. Arguably, the most sensitive cases are those who have seen hard times and are getting a second chance, like the recovering addict in his 40s from Chicago who is clean because the companies are strict about random drug tests. Now he's a rigger battling winter ice in North Dakota, working long hours but making more money than he has ever seen in his life.

Sadly, all of this has its enemies. Within hours of President Obama's re-election, the National Journal released a profile, saying, "The man who crushed [the] Keystone [pipeline] is targeting fossil fuels in an anti-apartheid campaign." Mr. Obama himself sent out the semaphore signals in his victory speech election night, calling for efforts to make certain America "isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet." Watch out for rule by decree. It may be coming.


Speak loudly and carry a busted hockey stick

Walter Starck comments from Australia

The average temperature for the Earth, or any region or even any specific place is very difficult to determine with any accuracy. At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. Weather stations are relatively few and located very irregularly. Well maintained stations with good records going back a century or more can be counted on one’s fingers. Even then only maximum and minimum temperatures or ones at a few particular times of day are usually available. Maintenance, siting, and surrounding land use also all have influences on the temperatures recorded.

The purported 0.7°C of average global warming over the past century is highly uncertain. It is in fact less than the margin of error in our ability to determine the average temperature anywhere, much less globally. What portion of any such warming might be due to due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions is even less certain. There are, however, numerous phenomena which are affected by temperature and which can provide good evidence of relative warming or cooling and, in some cases, even actual temperatures. These include growth rings in trees, corals and stalactites, borehole temperature profiles and the isotopic and biologic signatures in core samples from sediments or glaciers. In addition, historical accounts of crops grown, harvest times, freezes, sea ice, river levels, glacial advances or retreats and other such records provide clear indication of warming and cooling.

Recent Warming Nothing Unusual

The temperature record everywhere shows evidence of warming and cooling in accord with cycles on many different time scales from daily to annual, decadal, centennial, millennial and even longer. Many of these seem to correlate with various cycles of solar activity and the Earth’s own orbital mechanics. The temperature record is also marked by seemingly random events which appear to follow no discernable pattern.

Over the past 3000 years there is evidence from hundreds of independent proxy studies, as well as historical records, for a Minoan Warm period around 1000 BC, a Roman Warm Period about 2000 years ago, a Medieval Warm Period (WMP) about 1000 years ago and a Modern Warm Period now developing. In between were markedly colder periods in the Dark Ages and another between the 16th and 19th centuries which is now known as the Little Ice Age (LIA). The warmer periods were times of bountiful crops, increasing population and a general flourishing of human societies. The cold periods were times of droughts, famines, epidemics, wars and population declines. Clearly life has been much better in the times of warmer climate, and there is nothing to indicate that the apparent mild warming of the past century is anything other than a return of this millennial scale warming cycle.

Good News Unwelcome to Alarmists

This rather good news about a possibly warmer climate has not met with hopeful interest from those who purport to be so concerned about the possibly dangerous effects of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). On the contrary, their reaction has overwhelmingly been a strong rejection of any beneficial possibility. It is apparent that their deepest commitment is to the threat itself and not to any rational assessment of real world probabilities or the broader consequences of any of their proposed remedies.

Fabricating a Hockey Stick from Hot Air

This blanket rejection of any possibility other than the hypothetical threat of AGW has led to some strange behaviour for people who modestly proclaim themselves to be the world’s top climate scientists. Not only have they ignored and dismissed the hundreds of studies indicating the global existence of a Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, they have set out to fabricate an alternate reality in the form of a graph purporting to represent the global temperature for the past thousand years. It portrays a near straight line wiggling up and down only a fraction of a degree for centuries until it begins an exponential rise gradually starting at the beginning of the 20th century and then shooting steeply up in the latter part of that century. This hockey stick-shaped graph was then heavily promoted as the icon of AGW. It appeared on the cover of the third climate assessment report of the IPCC published in 2003 and was reproduced at various places in the report itself.

Among the emails between leading climate researchers released in the Climategate affair were a number which revealed a concerted effort to come up with some means to deny the existence of the MWP. The implement chosen to do this became known as the Hockey Stick Graph.

The methodology used to construct the graph involved the use of estimates of temperatures from a very small sample of tree growth rings from the Yamal Peninsula in far northern Siberia and ancient stunted pine trees from near the tree line in the High Sierras of California. This data was then subjected to a statistical treatment later shown by critics to produce a hockey stick form of graph even when random numbers were used as raw input data. To make matters even worse, the same tree ring data also indicated a significant decline in temperature for the 20th century, but this was hidden by burying it in a much larger number of data points from instrument measurements. The resulting study was published in the prestigious scientific journal, Nature in 1998. Remarkably, this very small, highly selected and deceptively manipulated graph was proclaimed to be an accurate representation of global temperatures and the extensive body of contrary evidence was simply ignored.

Continuing the Game With a Busted Stick

When serious shortcomings of the hockey stick study began to be exposed and questioned the climate alarmists closed ranks and proclaimed their preeminent authority and expertise but refused to engage in any genuine scientific debate with their critics. Instead, they appealed to a supposed consensus of experts, peer review, and personal denigration of any who dared to disagree.

All of the name calling, pissing contests over credentials and abstruse statistical manipulations made it difficult for the general public to come to any conclusion. Regardless of various provable errors and conflicting evidence, the alarmists could and did simply ignore it all and claim the HS graph as gospel truth.

Then came Climategate. Obvious scams, lies and connivance are something that doesn’t require a computer model or a PhD to recognise. In the Climategate emails discussion of things like things like “…Mike’s Nature trick…,”, manipulations to “…hide the decline”, requests to destroy correspondence, efforts to supress publication of conflicting studies, vilification of critics, and abuse of peer review were matters anyone could see were not ethical. Certainly they were not the kind of behaviour we should expect from high level scientists whose advice we are being asked to accept in policies that could be expected to have major effects on the prosperity of our entire society.

The loss of public trust and credibility resulting from Climategate was immense and has been compounded by additional ongoing exposures of misconduct, repeated failures of alarmist predictions and the slow motion economic train wreck of green energy initiatives.

Although one might rationally expect that the obvious collapse of alarmist momentum would have them reassessing their approach and perhaps even the validity of their earlier assumptions, it seems that the idea that they may have been wrong in any respect must be be inconceivable to them. Instead, their response to conflicting reality and declining credibility has been only to declare still greater certainty and ratchet up the alarm to an even less believable level of hype.

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Repeat the Failure

Introduction of the carbon tax in Australia was supposed to lead the world along the path of righteousness toward cheap renewable energy and environmental correctness. Unfortunately for the current government both economic reality and climate itself have not co-operated. The intended good example is becoming one of an obvious foolishness to be avoided and nobody is following. Ongoing exposure of scientific misconduct by alarmist researchers and repeated failure of their predictions haven’t helped either. The alarmist community is in disarray and becoming increasingly shrill in the tone of their pronouncements. The need for strong new scientific evidence to reinforce the shredded remnants of their discredited claims is becoming desperate.

CSIRO has tried to help with a series of increasingly dire predictions but having become a heavily bureaucratised and politicised institution they have been careful to cover their backsides with qualifiers and disclaimers which dull the sharp edge of hype, certainty and urgency needed by government. However, through generous grants government has also bought and paid for reliable cadres of university based academics whose funding and even whole careers are now based on research into Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW). Although science may aspire to value free objectivity, it is observable fact that when generous funding is provided to study a purported problem, one thing is certain. It will never be found that there really wasn’t one.

Climatology - Science or Ideology?

Climatology is no longer recognisable as a science but has morphed into a fundamentalist ideology of a millenarian nature. Science only serves it to enhance claims of authority and certainty. Scientific ethics and evidence are employed selectively in accord with the noble cause of saving the planet from the corruptions of humanity and capitalism. Any conflicting reason or evidence is never sufficient for doubt but is only a test of faith to be overcome. Any opposing argument is not simply incorrect but driven by wilful evil, in league with big business if not Satan himself.


World Bank warns of “4 degree” threshold

It's just prophecy and the idea that a bank has any expertise at prophecy is laughable. How come they have so many bad loans if they can foresee the future?

The World Bank is urging stepped-up efforts to meet world carbon-reduction goals after looking at what it says would be the catastrophic consequences if average world temperatures rise more than 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.

In what World Bank President Jim Yong Kim acknowledged was a “doomsday scenario,” a new study by the organization cited the 4-degree increase as a threshold that would be likely to trigger widespread crop failures and malnutrition and dislocate large numbers of people from land inundated by rising seas.

World climate goals aim to hold the mean temperature increase to less than 2 degrees Celsius, by curbing emissions of greenhouse gases that trap heat — a phenomenon already thought to have boosted average temperatures nearly 1 degree from levels present before the start of the industrial age, Kim said in a briefing last week.

That goal is unlikely to be met, he said, with an increase of 3 or 3.5 degrees Celsius now considered probable.

The report noted that a drop in average temperature of around 4.5 degrees Celsius (8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) triggered the last ice age, and it predicted that a temperature increase of that magnitude would similarly reshape the planet.

In looking at the effects of a 4-degree increase, Kim said the bank was hoping to encourage countries to act more aggressively to achieve climate goals and to prompt poorer nations to begin planning ways to offset the long list of potential impacts.

Those could include sea levels as much as three feet higher than currently expected — a potentially devastating problem for large coastal cities in Asia and Africa. Warming on such a scale could also limit access to fresh water for irrigation and cause heat, drought and disease-related problems that could make it more difficult to meet world food demands and improve health.

“The kind of sea level rise we are talking about is going to make the process of urban planning and services to the poor absolutely fundamental,” said Rachel Kyte, the World Bank’s vice president for sustainable development. “The race to [develop] heat-resistant and drought-resistant strains [of staple food crops] becomes fundamental.”

Kyte said the organization has begun more intense and frequent talks with poorer nations over how to prepare for climate change — usually at the instigation of officials who have seen the effects of shifting weather and climate patterns and now feel they need to plan for the worst.

Countries such as Nigeria, Vietnam and Thailand “are coming and saying, ‘help us think through the options,’ ” Kyte said. “This is an absolute change in the conversation we are having with our clients.”

The bank’s report, “Turn Down the Heat,” cast some doubt on how much can be done to avoid the worst outcomes.

Predicting the course of the world’s climate is a difficult science, and it is impossible to forecast how technology, demographics and politics will shape what the world looks like in 90 years — regardless of the temperature.

But the report concluded that a 4-degree jump in average temperatures would push some countries or regions to the brink of collapse, regardless of how hard they try to adapt.

“A 4°C world is likely to be one in which communities, cities and countries would experience severe disruptions, damage, and dislocation,” the report said. “There is no certainty that adaptation to a 4°C world is possible.”




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


20 November, 2012

New paper finds Siberian temperatures 5,000 years ago were up to 1.5C higher than today

A paper published today in Quaternary International reconstructs temperatures over the past 10,000 years and finds that July temperatures in Siberia were "equal or up to 1.5 °C higher than today between 6,000 and 5000 years [ago]" during the Holocene Climate Optimum.
Holocene climate conditions in central Yakutia (Eastern Siberia) inferred from sediment composition and fossil chironomids of Lake Temje

Larisa Nazarovaa et al.


A 380 cm long sediment core from Lake Temje (central Yakutia, Eastern Siberia) was studied to infer Holocene palaeoenvironmental change in the extreme periglacial setting of eastern Siberia during the last 10,000 years. Data on sediment composition were used to characterize changes in the depositional environment during the ontogenetic development of the Lake Temje. The analysis of fossil chironomid remains and statistical treatment of chironomid data by the application of a newly developed regional Russian transfer functions provided inferences of mean July air temperatures (TJuly) and water depths (WD). Reconstructed WDs show minor changes throughout the core and range between 80 and 120 cm. All the fluctuations in reconstructed water depth lie within the mean error of prediction of the inference model (RMSEP = 0.35) so it is not possible to draw conclusions from the reconstructions. A qualitative and quantitative reconstruction of Holocene climate in central Yakutia recognized three stages of palaeoenvironmental changes. The early Holocene between 10 and 8 ka BP was characterized by colder-than-today and moist summer conditions. Cryotextures in the lake sediments document full freezing of the lake water during the winter time. A general warming trend started around 8.0 ka BP in concert with enhanced biological productivity. Reconstructed mean TJuly were equal or up to 1.5 °C higher than today between 6.0 ka and 5.0 ka BP. During the entire late Holocene after 4.8 ka BP, reconstructed mean TJuly remained below modern value. Limnological conditions did not change significantly. The inference of a mid-Holocene climate optimum supports scenarios of Holocene climatic changes in the subpolar part of eastern Siberia and indicates climate teleconnections to the North Atlantic realm


Russian Arctic Scientist: Permafrost Changes Due To Natural Factors…”It’s Going To Be Colder”!

Sebastian Lüning’s and Fritz Vahrenholt’s "Die kalte Sonne" presents an interesting view on permafrost from Russia. I’ve added some extra quotes from the video for non-German readers.

After widespread sea ice melt in the Arctic in the 1930s and 40s, the ice re-established itself. In the 1970s the temperature dropped and sea ice increased. In the 1970s and 90s at the Hudson Bay and Beaufort Sea, seals suffered under the extensive ice and the population fell dramatically.

In Siberia today the permafrost is supposed to be gradually melting, so we are told. But if you ask local Russian scientists, this cannot be confirmed

In the video a German journalist travels to Siberia and speaks with Russian permafrost expert Michali Grigoryev on the state of the permafrost (2007). Grigoryev shows the journalist a rare baby mammoth uncovered from the ice, and adds that such finds are becoming more and more frequent today. “Because of climate change”, the journalist asks at the 0:48 mark? Grigoryev answers:

"No, you are wrong. The permafrost is not melting. There is no man-made climate change.”

The journalist then quotes the Russian scientist:

"Indeed above at the surface it has gotten warmer, but that’s just part of a normal cycle. The permafrost is rock hard, And that is how it is going to stay. There’s no talk of thawing.”

At the 1:24 mark, the scientist says:

"The cyclic warming is coming to an end. It is going to get colder soon. The climate depends on the sun and the oceans. Three factors have coincided and have warmed the climate, but in 8 to 15 years, it’s going to be colder again.”

As the clip was made in 2007, that means we have just 3 to 10 years left before the cooling sets in in earnest. We note that there’s been no warming in 15 years and that the signs for cooling are mounting.

In another another study from Siberia, multiple super warm periods were found over the last 2.8 million years. Those were certainly caused by purely natural processes, and not anthropogenic influences.

But let’s look at the more recent 10,000 years, i.e. the current interglacial. A German-Norwegian team led by Juliane Müller of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bermerhaven, Germany, recently discovered that the sea ice cover west of Spitzbergen gradually increased from 8500 to 1000 years before present. Off Eastern Greenland sea ice pretty much remained constant during this period. The study appeared in July 2012 in the Quaternary Science Reviews.

In yet another study by a team led by Funder shows that the Arctic sea ice 8000 years ago was less than half of the minimum we saw in 2007. In the meantime most of the climate models are able to reproduce this lack of ice during the middle of the interglacial (Berger et al 2012, Climate of the Past Discussions). The cause of this warming and the ice melt in this case was the Milankovitch cycles.

Finally, we have the Medieval Warm Period back. Canadian scientists have just discovered that the Northwest Passage had been completely ice-free during the summer, which today is still not the case.


Britain’s Green Agenda Disintegrating

Plans to limit the carbon emissions of future power stations are on the brink of being delayed until next parliament, in what would be a blow to the climate and energy secretary, green campaigners and business chiefs.

Ministers have been wrangling over whether to include a 2030 “decarbonisation target” for the power sector in the energy bill, which is expected to be published in parliament within the next fortnight.

The Guardian understands a decision on such a target now risks being delayed until after the next general election. A senior source close to the talks said: “It’s been a very difficult negotiation, there has been talk of postponing the setting of a target until next parliament.

But if we are to address investor concerns, it has to be addressed this parliament.”
However, the source added that the talks were still ongoing and “it is still possible that there could be agreement on a target to be set this parliament, and that will come down to how hard they want to negotiate on the Liberal Democrat side.”

A spokeswoman for the climate and energy secretary, Ed Davey, denied the target had been dropped or delayed. “We’ve not actually reached an agreement in government on the various energy negotiations we’ve been having,” she told the Guardian.

The splits between the coalition on energy are reportedly so unresolved they were left off the agenda at the "quad" meeting on Thursday of the four most senior figures - David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander.

Dropping or delaying the target would clear the way for the "dash for gas" backed by the chancellor, and mark a defeat for Davey and the Liberal Democrats, who backed a motion in favour of a decarbonisation target at their conference.


Solar storm as desert plan to power Europe falters

The physics of it made some sense but nothing else did

An ambitious plan to provide 15% of Europe's power needs from solar plants in North Africa has run into trouble.

The Desertec initiative hoped to deliver electricity from a network of renewable energy sources to Europe via cables under the sea. But in recent weeks, two big industrial backers have pulled out.

And the Spanish government has baulked at signing an agreement to build solar power plants in Morocco.

Desertec was set up in 2009 with a projected budget of 400bn euros to tap the enormous potential of solar and other renewables in North Africa.

The hope was that by 2050, around 125 gigawatts of electric power could be generated. This would meet all the local needs and also allow huge amounts of power to be exported to Europe via high-voltage direct current cables under the Mediterranean sea.

But three years later, the project has little to show for its efforts. Two large industrial partners, Siemens and Bosch, have decided they will no longer be part of the initiative.

According to Dr Daniel Ayuk Mbi Egbe, a professor at the University of Linz in Austria and an expert on African solar resources, this is not good news. "Siemens and Bosch are very big companies," he told BBC News, "if they don't want to support this initiative it is going to be difficult for Desertec."

It seems some governments share this reluctance to go forward.

One of the first concrete steps that Desertec announced was a plan to build three solar power plants in Morocco. A declaration of intent was due to be signed recently by a group of countries including Spain and Italy. But the Spanish government demurred, citing difficulties in finding the subsidies the project would need.

Hans-Josef Fell is a Green party MP in the German parliament who has sponsored renewable energy legislation. He's sometimes referred to as the father of the feed-in tariff that has helped wind and solar power succeed in Germany. He thinks the Desertec initiative is too reliant on public subsidies.

"The governments get cold feet for one reason, Desertec needs too much support in tax money - all the public budgets are over borrowed - and tax money is not easily available," Mr Fell said.

Desertec says that these are small problems and will not detract from the overall success of the project. Spokesman Klaus Schmidtke told BBC News the initiative is in good shape.

In reference to the problems with Spain he said: "We are talking about a declaration of intent between some government so the Desertec initiative is not involved in these negotiations - these are done by the governments. There is no reason for us to fear any problems."

But others are not so sure. Prof Peter Droege is the head of Eurosolar, the European association for renewable energy. "I think it is struggling to find a reason to continue - It is clear it's lost its original purpose, it is looking for a new direction," he commented.

"One of the main attractions of renewable is to become energy independent," he said. "If you have tied yourself to another external source you have to pay for, you are missing the entire point of the renewable energy transition we are in."

There have been worries that the unstable political situation in North Africa is also causing concerns for investors and for governments.

One positive element for the project is that there have been suggestions that China might be willing to invest so that it can get access to technology. It is interested in learning how to use high-voltage direct current cables such as those proposed for bringing power across the Mediterranean.


Rooting Out the Motive of “Plant Rights” Advocates

Almost forty years after animal rights advocates began asking us to put down our steak knives, plant advocates may start asking us to relinquish our salad forks as well.

Plants have rights too, they say, and we ought to “reconsider our ethical approach to eating them.” Michael Marder, a philosopher writing recently for the New York Times, bases a call for “plant liberation” on the idea that plants possess a primitive form of “awareness,” in that they have a capacity to react to certain stimuli, and that they engage in a simple form of biochemical communication, through the release of chemical hormones that can send signals to other nearby plants.

Now, most readers of this argument will think that the idea of plant rights is silly—indeed, many responders to his article said so. But while Marder’s argument is ridiculous, his goal is serious, dangerous, and not to be ignored. Here we should take the advice of Ellsworth Toohey, villain of The Fountainhead: “Don’t bother to examine a folly—ask yourself only what it accomplishes.”

So what does Marder seek to accomplish through his call for “plant liberation”?

Marder reveals part of his motive when he explains that, contrary to the implication of his article’s title, “If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?,” he does not proscribe all consumption of plants:

How do these new [scientific] findings [about plants] bear upon dietary ethics? First, they do not mean that we should stop eating plants. Rather, the idea is not to reduce plants to storehouses of carbohydrates and vitamins or to that other source of energy so widely applauded today, biofuel. . . . It is especially pernicious to grow plants from sterile seeds, already robbed of their reproductive potential, patented and appropriated by profit-driven enterprises. Not only do these agricultural “innovations” harm farmers, who are forced to buy seeds from multinational corporations, but they also violate the capacity for reproduction at the core of the Aristotelian vegetal soul. [emphasis added]

Adding to the clarity of his goal, Marder goes on to say that “[v]iolence against plants backfires, as it leads to violence against humans and against the environment as a whole, for instance when plants are genetically modified and made resistant to insects, pests, or disease.”

Marder is not advancing the idea of plant rights because he cares about the interests of plants; he has no problem with our growing and eating them. Nor is he overtly anti-farmer; he expresses concern for them. Rather, as a careful reading of Marder’s article reveals, his real animus is against profit-seeking, multinational agricultural biotechnology companies that patent and sell a variety of genetically-modified plant seeds. In short, Marder is not pro-plant, he is anti-Monsanto.

Though agricultural biotechnology companies such as Monsanto have enabled the vital production of greater yields of high-quality crops, allowing for cheaper and more widely available food, Marder seeks to curtail these life-promoting values through a sophistical argument for “plant rights.” In so doing, he reveals himself to be no different from scores of other environmentalists who, though they hide behind a veneer of concern for “the environment,” are actually anti-industry and, therefore, are anti-man.


EPA won’t waive ethanol mandate for gasoline

The Environmental Protection Agency has decided to move forward with a mandate for corn ethanol in gasoline, denying requests to suspend the requirement following a drought that drove up corn prices.

The EPA said Friday its renewable-fuel standard was not causing economic harm. The agency said it had determined that suspending the standard would reduce corn prices by only 1%.

In the midst of a drought this year, livestock producers complained that the mandate for corn ethanol was driving up demand for dwindling supplies of corn.

In August, the governors and Arkansas and North Carolina formally asked the EPA to waive the standard, triggering a 90-day review by the agency.

"We recognize that this year's drought has created hardship in some sectors of the economy, particularly for livestock producers," said Gina McCarthy, EPA's air chief said in a statement. "But our extensive analysis makes clear that congressional requirements for a waiver have not been met and that waiving the RFS will have little, if any, impact."




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


19 November, 2012

Forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference: Has the foolish fad finally faded fatally?

With little over a week to go until COP18 [18th Conference of the Parties] starts, there are increasing signs that the Anthropogenic Global Warming boondoggle is disintegrating at an ever increasing pace.

Attendance is down to a lower level than COP17, so slow has the take up for visas been that, the counter for visa applications was removed from the COP18 website.

Then in one of the strangest statements to ever come out of the UNFCCC, the COP18 President, Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah declared that Shale Gas was good news for the world as it would provide energy security for the next 300 years, which is poles apart from the UN official meme of abandoning the use of fossil fuels.

Now the United States has suggested that the UN is not the best place to ever achieve a climate deal:
US suggestions that the UN climate talks are not the best arena to address climate change just over a week before the next round of negotiations start in Doha have been branded “unhelpful” and “provocative”.

News agency EurActiv reports that Washington is increasingly keen to see some elements of the UN talks shifted to the 19-member Major Economies Forum (MEF).

The MEF’s members, which include Australia, the EU, China and India account for 85% of the world’s emissions. However, talks at this forum would sideline the most vulnerable with Small Island States and the Least Developed Countries omitted. These two groups frequently push for greater ambition at the climate talks.

So much for the warmists expectations and hopes that Barack Obama in his second term would push for a UN Climate deal, what however is more interesting, is the split developing in the Climate Talks between established economies with the fast developing economies like China and India, and the EU with its alignment with the grasping for western money states like the Maldives and Tuvalu, neither of which are sinking beneath the waves.

The next event is even stranger, the IPCC, the UN’s own junk science outfit have not been invited to speak at COP18:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will not be attending the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP18/CMP8) in Doha, chairman Dr Rajendra K Pachauri has said. “For the first time in the 18 years of COP, the IPCC will not be attending, because we have not been invited,” he told Gulf Times in Doha.

OK so the organisation that produces the assesment reports warming alarmist bibles that are the backbone of the Great Global Warming Scam, and frequently quoted by all Greens is not going to Doha, the big question is why?

Could it be that even the warming alarmists are embarrassed by the IPCC?

As Greenpeace, WWF amd Foe will be sending huge delegations to COP18 the IPCC going would merely duplicate the presence already there from Green NGOs?

Finally all pretence at science is being abandoned and the real political agenda behind the AGW scam will from now on be publicly embraced?

Just a few years ago the MSM would have been full of climate of fear stories as a UN COP conference loomed, now there is barely a mention even in the UK Guardian about COP18.

Even the under 25s are losing their climate religion:
Young Islington environmentalist heads out to UN climate summit

“When I talk about my climate change campaign with my friends,” she says, “they tend to switch off – and I end up having to change the subject.” ...

People and Planet campaigns have included a “lie-in” outside a central branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland in protest against the bank’s funding of fossil fuel extraction. Dozens of protesters – including Sophia – dressed up as clowns.

However, she admits she was too embarrassed to tell some of her close friends: “It can be quite alienating when you have a passion your friends don’t share.”

That is the fundamental problem with belief systems that are based on a fad, and Anthropogenic Global Warming was just a fad, the majority of people move on to a new fad, and that usually leaves a minority of increasingly isolated zealots.


More on the BBC's *secret* list of climate advisers

Secrecy is chronic among Warmists and whenever that secrecy is finally busted we see why: The facts are destructive to their scam

A list of attendees at a climate-change seminar the BBC has spent tens of thousands of pounds trying to keep secret has been unearthed on an internet archive. The listed names emerged after the publicly-funded broadcaster fought off requests for the list under freedom of information (FOI) laws.

This surreal story is only tangentially about climate change: the disclosure raises questions about the evidence submitted to the information tribunal by the BBC and Helen Boaden - its director of news who "stepped aside" this week.

The case also highlights once again the BBC's corporate strategy of using an FOI derogation, or legal "opt-out" clause, to withhold a wide range of material from citizens who wish to know whether the BBC is fulfilling its statutory obligations under its Royal charter.

And it raises further questions about the effectiveness of the BBC Trust. The trust, which replaced the Board of Governors, was created with a mission: an "unprecedented obligation to openness and transparency". It has yet to enquire into the corporation's use of FOI derogation to withhold data such as the BBC's US tax contributions, website statistics, and strategic policy-making decisions.

A 'brainstorm' that became historic

The seminar whose attendees the Beeb sought to keep secret was birthed by three organisations. In 2004, the International Broadcasting Trust - a lobby group funded by a number of charities, including many involved in campaigning on climate change - devised the first in a series of seminars on development issues, where the lobbyists could address broadcasters.

One event on 26 January 2006 was a "brainstorm", in the IBT's own words, "focusing on climate change and its impact on development". The BBC sent 28 senior staff, and 28 outsiders were invited. The event was also organised by CMEP, its second parent - a now dormant or defunct outfit operated by BBC reporter Roger Harrabin and climate activist Dr Joe Smith, and once funded by the Tyndall Centre at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and pressure groups.

Harrabin later explained that the BBC's head of news in the 1990s, Tony Hall, had invited him "to devise meetings with politicians, business people, think tanks, academics from many universities and specialisms (science, technology, economic and social sciences, and history), and policy experts and field workers from NGOs – particularly from the developing world".

The third parent of the seminar was the BBC.

Normally such a talking-shop would have no great significance. The 2006 seminar, however, subsequently became very important indeed. The following year a thoughtful BBC Trust report on impartiality cited the discussion there and said it had settled the argument - as far as the BBC was concerned - on climate change.

Filmmaker John Bridcut wrote:

"The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts [our emphasis] and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus [on anthropogenic climate change]."

The BBC is under a statutory obligation to remain impartial, so this gave the "brainstorm" a historic significance: the BBC has not previously abandoned impartiality in peacetime.

A blogger, Tony Newbery, was struck by the difference between contemporary evidence that the seminar was educational and composed largely of activists - as confirmed by Harrabin - and the trust's insistence that it was a sober scientific presentation that could justify a historic policy change. (The BBC Trust has done nothing to disown or qualify Bridcut's description of the event.)

Fresh light was shed on Harrabin's CMEP in 2010, in the second batch of Climategate emails. An email from Mike Hulme, the director of the Tyndall Centre for Climatic Change Research at UEA, complained about a BBC Radio 4 item broadcast in February 2002. The piece featured global-warming sceptic Professor Philip Stott and Sir John Houghton, who was a Met Office chief and the editor of the first three IPCC reports on climate change. Houghton came off worst, and an infuriated Hulme wrote:

"Did anyone hear Stott vs Houghton on Today, Radio 4 this morning? Woeful stuff really. This is one reason why Tyndall is sponsoring the Cambridge Media/Environment Programme to starve this type of reporting at source."

Newbery filed his FOI request for the seminar's attendees to the BBC in 2007 and was rebuffed, setting him on a long path that culminated in a second round of information tribunal hearings a fortnight ago. The cross-examination of the BBC's Helen Boaden in a court room was reported here.

The BBC is regarded as a public authority by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, but it can withhold information held "for the purposes of journalism". But how wide should this derogation be?

In an earlier and separate FOI case against the BBC, Supreme Court Judge Neuberger argued the opt-out should be interpreted narrowly - otherwise the BBC could withhold information about "cleaning the board room floor" using the journalism get-out clause - an absurdity.

In the Newbery case, the BBC maintained that archival material on the seminar could not be found, but also it should not be found: as a back-up argument it argued that the seminar was held under the Chatham House Rule - an agreement of etiquette, rather than a law, to prevent quotes being attributed to particular speakers at a meeting - information that Newbery did not seek.

On Friday the tribunal ruled decisively against Newbery, and for the the BBC.

Case closed? Think again

However science writer Maurizio Morabito has unearthed a list - once hosted on the IBT's website and now stored in the Wayback Machine's cache of the internet.

It confirms the accuracy of Harrabin's description of the composition of the invitees, with most coming from industry, think tanks and NGOs. And as suspected, climate campaigners Greenpeace are present, while actual scientific experts are thin on the ground: not one attendee deals with attribution science, the physics of global warming. These are scarcely "some of the best scientific experts", whose input could justify a historic abandonment of the BBC's famous impartiality.

Intriguingly, Tony Newbery had been supplied with a later version of this document, he tells us - but with the attendee list stripped out. Newbery says he has written to the BBC's solicitor to confirm whether the Wayback Machine IBT list is accurate.

The dramatic appearance of the list raises many questions. Did the BBC know the information was publicly available? If so, why were corporation lawyers spending thousands of pounds to keep a public document "secret"? (FOI requests for public information typically state, quite simply, "this information is public".) How much is this legal strategy costing TV licence-fee payers? (An FOI attempt to obtain legal costs in the similar case Sugar vs BBC was rejected by the BBC.)

Questions abound this morning on Twitter about the ability of the BBC Trust to maintain its duty to transparency. The BBC's legal strategy entails the indiscriminate application of its FOI derogation "for the purposes of journalism" - this effectively rewrites the 2000 Act, and redefines the BBC as a private body. The trust is surely aware of this; it has a small mountain of correspondence on the subject. But it has yet to enquire, let alone pronounce on whether this is healthy - or legal.


Popular British singer warns wind farms 'scarring' British countryside

Bryan Ferry, the British rock star, has hit out at wind farms that are spoiling Britain’s countryside, warning that “enough is enough”. In an outspoken attack, the 67 year-old, said he was left angry at the “scarring” of “breathtaking” views after he took a flight over Yorkshire. “I absolutely hate them,” said the father-of-four adult children, whose current wife Amanda is 36 years his junior.

“I was in a plane a while ago and I was flying over Yorkshire. “It is possibly one of the most beautiful landscapes in this country and I looked down from the window and all you could see were wind farms scarring this gorgeous, breathtaking countryside. Enough is enough, when is this going to stop?”

His comments in the Mail on Sunday’s Live magazine came amid a new debate over the role of wind farms in Britain.

Last week a Conservative minister defied Liberal Democrat Energy secretary Ed Davey to insist no more onshore wind farms would be built beyond those already planned. Energy Minister John Hayes said it was “job done” in terms of the number of onshore wind farms required to hit European Union renewable energy targets.

Asked on Channel Four News whether more onshore wind farms were needed, Mr Hayes said: “With respect of what’s built, with what’s consented and with a small proportion of what’s in the planning system, we will have reached our ambition in respect of the renewables’ target – end of story.” Almost 4,000 turbines are scheduled to be built across Britain in the coming years.

Prime Minister David Cameron had appeared to back Mr Hayes when he was careful only to couch support for wind farms in terms of wind turbines sited off the coast of Britain and not on the mainland UK.

Several senior Tories, including Owen Paterson, the new Environment Secretary, believe wind farm “blight” has not been properly considered before allowing development. Mr Paterson will formally respond to a government review on the community benefit of wind farms shortly and is expected to warn about their impact on rural areas.

Earlier this year, more than 100 Conservative MPs urged David Cameron to block the further expansion of onshore wind power.

Also last week George Osborne’s father-in-law, Lord Howell of Guildford, said the Chancellor was the driving force behind an apparent policy shift against onshore wind farms. The peer, a Government minister until September’s reshuffle, was secretly videoed by green campaigners suggesting that Mr Osborne was behind the about-turn.

Eco-campaigners have been alarmed by an apparent policy shift, with sceptic Tory ministers like Environment secretary Owen Paterson and energy minister John Hayes appointed to key positions in the Government.

A spokesman for Mr Osborne said: "The Chancellor supports Government policy which has helped secure record investment into the UK energy infrastructure."

The Government is finalising a new energy bill which will replace existing subsidies in 2017, and add incentives for nuclear power stations.


Canadian boondoggle

Greenies do a good job of impoverishing the countries they parasitize

Ontario's Electricity Distribution Companies: Truth In Advertising
When ratepayers in Ontario opened their mail from Hydro One, Toronto Hydro or any of the other 75 local distribution companies (LDCs) over the past month they were offered free stuff like a free energy display or a free programmable thermostat. They also were offered 100 Bonus Air Miles. While the latter is worth about $10.00 the two former items are said to be worth $250.00, not including, in the case of the thermostat, installation costs which are also free. The only condition attached to these free offers is that you must join “peaksaverPLUS” a trademark of the Ontario Power Authority. The peaksaverPLUS program is designed to; help you conserve energy and allow the LDC, for example, to remotely control your thermostat or refrigerator and reduce electricity demand on hot summer days.

So the question becomes, how can these LDCs give away all that “free” stuff? To put the potential costs in perspective; if all of Hydro One's 1.2 million customers joined, the costs would be quite significant. With installation costs of say $100.00 per thermostat the total costs ($250 + $100) to install them in all households would be a staggering $420 million dollars and represent about 65% of Hydro One's annual income for 2011. For Toronto Hydro the cost of those free energy displays would be about $155 million or $59 million more then they earned in 2011.

Further costs to the LDCs would be the loss of revenue as a result of the reduced consumption, through individual ratepayers conservation efforts, or the LDCs ability to remotely turn up air conditioners or turn off refrigerators during summer hot spells using the smart meters.

The Energy Minister (Brad Duguid) issued a March 31, 2010 directive that instructed the LDCs to reduce energy consumption via conservation by 1330 megawatts (MW) over the January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2014 period. If the target is achieved that would reduce consumption by about 12 million MWh per annum, which, at current delivery prices would reduce revenues of the LDCs by almost $1 billion and reduce revenue to Ontario Power Generation (with production of 60% of Ontario's consumption) by almost $400 million at 5.5 cents per kWh.

The optical effect of the directive from the Energy Minister coupled with the free handouts would appear, on the surface, to be bad news for the LDCs because of all that lost revenue however, shed no tears for them. What appears to be a weird economic theory is simply a government monopoly that will make up revenue losses by hitting up ratepayers for the lost revenues. Reflecting on the latter point the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) have an annual conservation program budget of $360 million funded by ratepayers. That budget is allocated to the electricity rates via the Global Adjustment that finances expensive renewable wind and solar projects and also pays the likes of Hydro One and Toronto Hydro for the “free” stuff. In 2011 Hydro One received $39 million and Toronto Hydro received $13.7 million. That money takes care of the free stuff that includes; picking up that old fridge or freezer as well as the free thermostats and energy displays units.

The lost revenue from conservation is also clawed back. If the LDC can point to a reduction in consumption by their customers and label it as conservation they can apply for a rate increase to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). The OEB generally blesses the request meaning the price for delivery of the electricity goes up to compensate for that lost revenue.

The almost $2 billion dollars spent on conservation over the past 5 years has partly gone to attract electricity consumers to the “peaksaver” programs which had about 185,000 members at the end of 2011. As a result the cost of attracting members to “peaksavers” is a big multiple of the cost of those free thermostats.

So, exactly, how does the conservation program make any sense? The money spent on conservation could have gone to building the two gas plants that have so far, cost Ontario's taxpayers and ratepayers over $1 billion. Through the conservation initiatives, ratepayers have in effect paid for almost double the eventual cost of obtaining about 1200 MW of new gas generation without the benefit of actually having any new power or capital expenditures to improve the delivery of electricity by their local LDC. Ratepayers will now pay another $1.5 billion to hopefully save approximately the same amount of megawatts through conservation by 2014 and at that time still have no better delivery service!

As the foregoing demonstrates there are no free thermostats, there are no free old freezer pickups nor are there any savings from reducing our consumption. It is time to come clean and demand “truth in advertising” from our politicians and our publicly owned energy sector companies. Its time to stop wasting taxpayer and ratepayer dollars on concepts that have no value; such as we have with wind and solar generation that must be backed up with gas plants because of their intermittent nature.

Save the ratepayer money and declare a moratorium on conservation!


USA would not be harmed by global warming

IN HIS victory speech, US President Barack Obama said: "We want our children to live in an America … that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet."

Someone should have told him that neither the US nor any other country is seriously threatened by global warming.

In a warmer world, less energy would be needed for heating and transportation, resulting in less air, land and water pollution. Snow and ice that seriously hamper movement and increase the costs of land and water shipping are reduced. Roads, bridges and other infrastructure maintenance costs drop as there would be less freeze/thaw and ice damage. Clothing expenses drop in a warmer world and construction costs plummet as less insulation is required in all buildings.

The benefits of warming are especially prominent in agriculture. Longer frost-free periods will extend growing seasons as well as the extent of agriculture in middle-and high-latitude regions. More and greater varieties of food are then possible in areas that are currently agriculturally marginal. A warmer world is a wetter world with less, not more, drought, as evaporation increases, putting more moisture into the atmosphere.

If the world warms significantly due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, an unlikely scenario, temperatures at high latitudes are forecast to rise the most, reducing the difference between arctic and tropical temperatures. Since this differential drives weather, we should see less extremes in weather, not more.

Far more people die due to excessive cold than due to excessive warmth. Cold weather is much harder on our bodies.

History demonstrates that warming has been good and cooling bad for civilisation. That is why geologists named past warm periods "optimums" and cold times "dark ages". It was during the warmest period since the end of the last ice age, the Holocene Optimum between 9,000 and 5,000 years ago, that the first civilisations flourished in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. Other warm periods, climate optimums during Minoan, Roman and Medieval times, and of course, the modern warm period, have all resulted in increased food productivity, lower death rates and greater prosperity.

In contrast, cold periods have been rough on societies. The Dark Ages Cold Period from about 600-900AD was a time of great retreat of agriculture and depression of human activity. There were plagues and starvation in many regions and people had to migrate from farms in central Europe and Scandinavia.

The Little Ice Age (LIA) from about 1350 to 1850 was worse and there was great misery for people around the world. Alpine glaciers overran mountain villages in Europe and cold and wet weather killed millions of farm animals and ruined crops. With famine weakening the population, more than a third of Europeans died of bubonic plague. Later in the LIA, 1-million people died in Ireland and 1-million more left the country due to the potato famine caused by the cold weather.

We are the first generation to believe climatic warming is a bad thing.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 Working Group 2 report on "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability" says "a focus on key vulnerabilities is meant to help policy makers and stakeholders assess the level of risk and design … response strategies".

It is impossible to do this without understanding the benefits of warming and the dangers of cooling. The experience of India, which has prospered while warming over the past 50 years, demonstrates how well humans, even those in hot climates, can adapt to warming. But, cooling is a killer, and, scientists increasingly say, a more probable event as well.

The earth is warmer when the sun is more active as indicated by sunspot count. Our planet is cooler when there are fewer sunspots. The current 11-year sunspot cycle, Cycle 24, is showing less spots than predicted and expectations are for lower numbers still in Cycle 25, expected to start in about 10 years. Not surprisingly, global temperatures have levelled and show signs of declining. By the mid to late 2020s, conditions comparable to the LIA are a distinct possibility.

We must forget about vainly trying to control the global climate and instead get ready for the destructive power of a cooling planet.


The Coming Environmental Battles

Paul Driessen

The United States is now Balkanized into five distinct voting blocs, says Joel Kotkin. Other political analysts see the nation bifurcating along “makers” and “takers” lines, while still others say 50.6% of the popular vote is hardly a mandate. In any event, when American voters reelected President Obama, they also returned his EPA, Interior, Energy and Justice Departments, and their wide-ranging agenda for “fundamentally transforming” our nation.

This won’t mean just Obamacare, higher taxes on businesses and families, rampant spending, and tens of thousands of pages of new regulations. It will also bring more disputes over energy and environmental policies, the vanguard of Mr. Obama’s determined campaign to eliminate hydrocarbons that power our economy and embrace more “green” energy. The conflict will be fought primarily on six battlegrounds.

Carbon taxes. Hurricane Sandy presented another pretext for regulating and taxing hydrocarbons. No respectable climatologist or meteorologist believes atmospheric carbon dioxide conjured up the destructive storm, but climate alarmism has always been about political science, not real science.

Rep. Jim McDermott’s Managed Carbon Price Act imputes a cost for CO2 emissions and compels energy producers and users to buy carbon permits. The President is considering a direct carbon tax that he says will raise billions of dollars annually and reduce deficits. Both ought to be DOA in the House, if only because taxing energy use will impose tens of billions of dollars in new expenses on businesses that are already struggling to pay for the Unaffordable Care Act and countless other new government programs.

Another round of probably pointless UN-sponsored discussions on climate treaties, emission reductions and carbon taxes will kick off later this month in Doha, Qatar. The real threat is Environmental Protection Agency regulations limiting CO2 from power plants and other sources by executive fiat, and regardless of popular or congressional opposition.

With China, India and other developing countries massively increasing their greenhouse gas emissions, EPA’s actions would do nothing to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels. In fact, by 2013, China will emit twice as much carbon dioxide as the United States. The EPA regs would, however, put government in charge of our entire economy, sharply increase energy prices for every business and household, kill millions of jobs, ensure that net tax revenues never materialize, and hurt poor families most.

War on hydrocarbons. The United States and North America still have abundant hydrocarbons, onshore and offshore, including centuries’ of natural gas for heating, petrochemicals, electricity generation and vehicles. The International Energy Agency says the U.S. could overtake Saudi Arabia, to become the world’s largest oil producer by around 2020 – if radical green politics don’t get in the way.

But with little to hold their pre-election anti-energy instincts in check, the White House, EPA and Interior could well continue opposing oil sands operations and the Keystone pipeline, further delay onshore and offshore drilling, and unleash a blitzkrieg of new rules on hydraulic fracturing and coal-fired power plants. That would further undermine job creation, revenue generation and economic growth, while leaving the nation dependent on despotic regimes and costly renewable energy schemes.

Renewable energy preferences. Anti-hydrocarbon policies remain one arm of a pincer move that also uses mandates, fuel standards and subsidies to advance wind, solar and biofuel power. The looming battle over the “production tax credit” for wind-based electricity will determine whether more billions will be taken from families and profitable sectors of the economy, and given to politically connected Big Wind.

Other battles will be fought over corn for food versus cars; growing opposition to bird-killing industrial wind facilities and habitat-smothering solar projects; the impact of carbon taxes and pricey renewable energy on families, schools, hospitals, factories, businesses and jobs; and corrupt corporate cronyism among politicians and the heavily subsidized campaign contributors who run wind, solar, biofuel and electric car companies.

Unequal treatment under law. Even “renewable portfolio standards” and huge subsidies are not enough to keep industrial wind facilities in business. Without exemptions from endangered species, migratory bird, environmental review and other laws, the companies would drown under fines and regulations.

Even wildly speculative environmental impacts can scuttle oil, gas, coal and uranium proposals – and oil companies are routinely assessed major fines if ducks die in uncovered waste pits. However, wind operators incur no penalties for killing thousands of eagles, hawks, whooping cranes, bats and other rare and vital flying creatures every year. Citizens and legislators are expressing increased intolerance toward this separate regulatory regime and unequal treatment under law, to prop up expensive, unreliable energy.

Agenda science. Science, sound risk assessment and honest cost-benefit analyses have been replaced by conjecture, exaggeration, and agenda-driven politicized science at too many federal agencies. EPA is the worst offender, but the Interior, Energy and even Defense Departments are also culprits.

Risks from climate change, mercury, soot and industrial chemicals are routinely inflated, as are the purported benefits of exorbitantly expensive regulations. Meanwhile, the rules’ impacts on energy prices, business profits and competitiveness, jobs, and thus overall human health and welfare are ignored. With total federal regulatory compliance costs now estimated at $1.75 trillion and 8.8 billion hours annually, this legislative and regulatory battle could determine the fate of countless jobs and small businesses.

Subsidized pressure and propaganda. Billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies continue to flow each year to bureaucratic zealots, environmentalist pressure groups, universities and other organizations – to fund junk science, strained justifications for indefensible rules, more pressure to regulate for increasingly diminishing returns, and outright propaganda.

More watchdog and citizen groups want federal and state legislators to hold investigative hearings, demand accountability, cut bloated agency budgets that enable such expenditures, and question why tax-exempt activist groups should receive taxpayer money funneled through government agencies.

Elections have consequences. The question for those who voted for Mr. Obama is whether they truly desire the unintended consequences that could well flow from this election. For instance, unemployment is 14.3% among blacks, 10% among Hispanics and 11.8% among young adults under 30. And yet these constituencies voted heavily for Obama: blacks 93, Hispanics 71, youths 60 percent.

Do they really desire the consequences that could easily flow from anti-hydrocarbon, anti-economic growth, anti-job creation policy choices that could easily result from this election?

America can continue paying billions in subsidies annually to finance “green” technologies and agenda-driven science. Or we can generate hundreds of billions a year in royalties and taxes, create millions of jobs, and rejuvenate our economy through hydrocarbons, nuclear power and commonsense regulations.

Will President Obama, Congress and Executive Branch agencies now be more receptive to bipartisan approaches – to institutionalizing all-of-the-above (and below) energy decisions that make scientific, economic, environmental and technological sense? Or will key factions be even more entrenched, knowing the White House can act via executive decree, if Congress does nothing?

The answer will determine whether the United States becomes an economic powerhouse once again – or an enormous Greece, blessed with more oil, gas and coal than almost any other nation on earth, but refusing to develop its resources.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


18 November, 2012

British Met Office lets the side down

The following is from the official blog of Britain's Met Office news team. They are irritated by some forecasts that December will be unusually cold. But in their keenness to scotch that prediction they make a stunning admission: "The science does not exist to make detailed forecasts for temperature and snowfall for the end of this month, let alone for December or even the winter as a whole". Yet they use recent differences in temperature calibrated in tenths and hundredths of a degree to predict what the temperature will be 50 years hence? According to their own admission we surely have to say: "The science does not exist" for that

We wrote only last week that it seems that it is the time of year again for colourful headlines about an impending big freeze.

We had them at this time last year, which prompted our Chief Executive to write an opinion piece in The Times. Now we have very similar stories again, with the front page of the Daily Express declaring last week ‘Coldest winter freeze on way’ and warning that temperatures are set to plunge as low as -15C and again a week on we have another front page from the Daily Express which declares ‘Coldest winter for 100 years on way‘. with the UK expected to grind to a halt within weeks.

These longer range forecasts for December and January have not come from the Met Office and a look at our current 30 day forecast provides perhaps a more measured assessment of our weather prospects to the middle of December:

As is usual, there are uncertainties in the forecast for this period. Whilst changeable conditions are considered more likely initially, some signs are beginning to emerge for more settled conditions to develop over parts of Europe. The signal is that these conditions may extend towards the UK during the first part of December. So, although there are no strong indications of any particular weather type predominating, on balance, colder and drier-than-average conditions are favoured over the recent mild and damp weather many areas have experienced.

What is clear from the forecast is that although there are some signs that after a rather unsettled period, the weather may become colder and drier than we have seen recently there is still a lot of uncertainty in the forecast which again the article has failed to pick up on and report to its readers.

The science does not exist to make detailed forecasts for temperature and snowfall for the end of this month, let alone for December or even the winter as a whole with these types of forecasts only able to provide an indication of how our weather might change, or be different from normal, (i.e. warmer, colder, wetter, drier) across the whole UK or even Europe

Ultimately, we’re heading into winter and it is perfectly possible that we will see the whole range of weather that we get in winter at some point over the coming months, including snow and freezing temperatures, but also heavy rain, windy weather and mild conditions too.

Our five day forecasts and warnings will provide you with the best possible guidance on any periods of cold weather, frost or the likelihood of snow, giving detailed local information across the UK to help you make the most of the weather over the coming months.


Warmists now admit that warmism is "evangelism" and a "movement"

And you of course get an Old Fashioned Revival Hour to go with it. And guess who the Satan is!’s #DoTheMath was described by 350 National Coordinator Joshua Kahn Russell as a “back-to-back-to-back-to-back” tour of major cities and college campuses across the country to evangelize people around the fight to save the Earth from an impending depletion.

On November 16 the tour took over New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom for an evening of talks, conversations, music, video, exhortations and promises to start taking a more militant stand in the efforts to halt climate change.

The keynote speakers ranged in age, experience and perspective: Bill McKibben [whose Rolling Stone article “Global Warming's Terrifying New Math” had 10 times as many likes as the article published in the same issue about Justin Bieber], Nation columnist Naomi Klein author of Shock Doctrine, Josh Fox, one of the director of the award-winning documentary, Gasland, and DJ Spooky as well as Van Jones via steaming video, who talked about how erratic weather patterns caused by climate change disproportionately affects black and brown people in the global south.

As Tom Zeller pointed out recently for Huffington Post, the camaign is a way to underscore and understand the terrifying math that needs to be grappled with: “565 and 2,795. The former is the upper limit, in gigatons, of carbon dioxide that many scientists believe humanity can still dump into the atmosphere while managing to avoid the 2 degree uptick in global temperatures that would be disastrous to humandkind. The latter refers to the amount of carbon dioxide that fossil fuel companies currently possess and are seemingly ready to exploit for profit.

The dynamic speakers gave way to an unusual event that went well beyond the lecture series that many in the audience were expecting to a night filled with music, laughter and talk of movement-building.

Paul D. Miller, aka “DJ Spooky” continued on the theme of numerical patterns by performing parts of his project “Artic Notes” where he took algorithms found in weather patterns over the past few decades and used them to design beats. Miller also gave a brief presentation outlining his inspirations which included photos of a recent trip to the North Pole he took to a synopsis of a Johnannes Kepler's essay “Six Sides of a Snowflake”.

Klein spoke strongly about a movement that encouraged her own politicization. The first protest she ever attended was an anti-Apartheid demonstration on her campus during the late 1980s--outlining that #DoTheMath is calling for the next anti-Apartheid movement pulling in participation from everybody from college students, to global leaders, in order to build a mass boycott campaign with the capacity to force fossil fuel companies into the status of “social pariah” that Big Tobacco companies came to eventually occupy in this country.


Britain's Green Deal 'in tatters' as no-one registers

The launch of the Coalition’s flagship green energy project is “in tatters” after a Government minister admitted that not a single household has yet registered for the deal.

The Green Deal encourages homeowners to take out a loan to make their house more energy-efficient. The project goes live in 10 weeks but households have had since October 1 to have their home assessed for the scheme prior to its launch.

However Greg Barker, the climate change minister, has admitted that “no assessments have yet been lodged” on the Government’s official register by homeowners.

Luciana Berger, the shadow climate change minister, described the Green Deal as a “shambles” and said its launch is “lying in tatters”. The Coalition hopes that owners of up to 14 million draughty homes will sign up to the scheme.

Last night the energy industry called on the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to launch an urgent marketing campaign to alert homeowners to the scheme.

Angel Knight, the head of Energy UK, which represents energy companies, said that members of the public are simply unaware of the Green Deal: “If you ask people what they think of the Green Deal they will say ‘I don’t know what it means, will you tell me about it?’”

Mr Barker made the disclosure in an answer to a parliamentary question by Ms Berger. She asked him how many in-house assessments have been carried out since that part of the scheme launched at the start of October.

Mr Barker answered: “Green Deal assessments are completed when they have been conducted in the property and the results are lodged on the Energy Performance Certificate register, through software developed specifically for occupancy assessments. While we understand a number of appointments for the in-property assessments have been made, no assessments have yet been lodged on the register.”

The Green Deal is the Government’s flagship policy to make homes more energy efficient and – ultimately - cut energy bills, which have soared in recent years. This week British Gas raised prices for the 10 million homes it supplies, and other large companies have done the same.

Under the Green Deal people can borrow up to £10,000 from a private sector loan provider and have loft and wall insulation fitted in their homes. The loan is repaid over a period of up to 25 years through higher bills. The idea is that bills will fall once the loan has been paid off because the houses need less energy.

Central to the deal is the ‘golden rule’, which states that the expected savings that a homeowner ultimately makes must be equal to or greater than the cost of the work being done.

Speaking in June 2011, Mr Barker said that the Green Deal would be “the biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War”.

Homeowners could book an assessment from October 1 and the scheme actually launches on January 28. However the slow start has made people nervous.

In an effort to kick-start interest, DECC last month announced a £125 million ‘cashback’ scheme, offering homes up to £1,000 if they sign up as ‘early adopters’.

Ms Berger said that homeowners are being put off by the Deal’s complicated finance arrangements: “The scheme had the potential to create thousands of jobs and help everyone lower their energy bills. Instead bungling ministers have squandered this opportunity by designing a scheme that is a bad deal for the public and doing nothing to promote it.”

As well as lack of interest from homeowners, building companies are also shying away from getting involved.

According to the Federation of Master Builders, the UK’s biggest building trade body, only one firm from its 10,000-strong membership has signed up to become an accredited Green Deal installer.

Brian Berry, the chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “Only one building company [that is a FMB member] has signed up to become an installer out of 10,000 because that demonstrates the lack of a market.”

The Government’s official register of Green Deal installers, providers and assessors – including non-FMB members - shows that just under 300 companies have signed up to be involved.


What Ice Caps?

An interesting point, widely forgotten, or ignored, by the folks in a panic over arctic ice, is that we’ve not always had them. They come, they go. Life goes on.

I was looking up something else, having to do with Egypt, and ended up looking at the tendency of the entire Mediterranean Sea to come and go. So all the folks in a panic over a little sea level variation maybe ought to also think about how nature periodically erases the entire Mediterranean. Then puts it back.

Realize, too, that this isn’t exactly happening in ‘deep time’. Long long ago, yes. But we’re not talking Billions of years here. More like 5 Million. (As humans started evolving a distinct line about 6 Million Years Ago, this sort of matters to us. We humans WERE around then, just in the south of the Nile system, and changes in the Mediterranean and Nile would have chosen our destiny.)
The Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC), also referred to as the Messinian Event, and in its latest stage as the Lago Mare event, was a geological event during which the Mediterranean Sea went into a cycle of partly or nearly complete desiccation throughout the latter part of the Messinian age of the Miocene epoch, from 5.96 to 5.33 Ma (million years ago). It ended with the so-called Zanclean flood, when the Atlantic reclaimed the basin.

What I found interesting about this was the probable cause, and the state of the world oceans at the time. First, the likely cause is that the Strait Of Gibraltar is not stable, in geologic terms. It just so happens that Africa is slamming into Europe from the south. So land ‘around there’ gets thrust up in some places, buckled under in others; and, it would seem, wobbles back and forth in the Strait opening and closing the spigot from time to time.

Further down that analysis of the evaporative cycles of the Mediterranean, it says:
Changes in climate must almost certainly be invoked to explain the periodic nature of the events. They occur during cool periods of Milankovic cycles, when less solar energy reached the Earth. This led to less evaporation of the North Atlantic, hence less rainfall over the Mediterranean. This would have starved the basin of water supply from rivers and allowed its desiccation.

Contrary to many people’s instincts, there is now a scientific consensus that global sea level fluctuations cannot have been the major cause, although it may have played a role. The lack of ice caps at the time means there was no realistic mechanism to cause significant changes in sea level — there was nowhere for the water to go, and the morphology of ocean basins cannot change on such a short timescale

Oh Dear! NO Ice caps?

So let me get this straight: There were NO ice caps during a critical evolutionary part of human development. We had bears and penguins and all survive quite nicely then, too? OK…

That makes it look, to me, like the folks in a panic about polar ice can choose either to accept that the history of the Mediterranean Sea is correctly understood, or that they are in a panic about not very much at all with respect to living things. (Yes, it would be a mess for coastal cities).

Heck, we had the entire Mediterranean Sea evaporating and returning, several times. I think that shows life can adapt to a little change in ocean hight. And the climate will have swung dramatically with the massive water, water vapor, and temperature moderating changes.
The water from the Mediterranean would have been redistributed in the world ocean, raising global sea level by as much as 10 m (33 ft). The Mediterranean basin also sequestered below its seabed a significant percentage of the salt from Earth’s oceans; this decreased the average salinity of the world ocean and raised its freezing point.

So some geological shifting can happen (has happened many times) and the global sea level can be modulated by 10 m or 33 feet? The entire freeze / thaw cycle can be shifted by salinity changes? Oh Dear! Talk about your climate change!

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

New York Misses Out on Natural Gas Revolution as Junk Science Carries the Day

With President Obama back in the White House next year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to roll out a new regulation to control drilling techniques used to access natural gas. Even so, the expected surge in U.S. oil production will likely outpace political paybacks to green groups that can be uprooted over time.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) and U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) all anticipate the U.S. becoming less dependent on foreign oil sources as the natural gas revolution takes hold. Current forecasts show that the U.S. could overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer by 2020.

At issue is a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), that makes use of pressurized water and chemicals to break open rocks to access natural gas. Green groups have worked successfully to block industry from development natural gas resources in New York by arguing that fracking could lead to groundwater contamination. In 2010, former Gov. David Patterson issued an executive order that prevents new drilling permits from being issued until after the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issues a new impact statement. With the public comment period now over, the DEC is expected to release an updated impact statement and a regulatory plan before the end of 2012.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a former chief economist with the U.S. Department of Labor, has a recommendation.

“For fiscal health, New York should emulate Pennsylvania and develop its natural gas reserves,” she suggests. “If New York were to permit fracking, the Empire State would see new jobs, a surge of economic activity, and more tax revenues.”

At a time when New York’s budget deficit exceeds $8 billion, the economic rationale for natural gas development cannot be dismissed. But it is possible to cajole politicians and frighten the public on basis of junk science. The environmental organizations opposed to fracking incessantly claim that it opens the way to water contamination. Here are some key facts:

In a regulatory statement, the Texas Railroad Commission said “Though hydraulic fracturing has been used for over 60 years in Texas, our Railroad Commission records do not reflect a single documented surface or groundwater contamination case associated with hydraulic fracturing.

In Pennsylvania, Scott Perry, director of the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Oil Management has told members of the press “There has never been any evidence of fracking ever causing direct contamination of fresh groundwater in Pennsylvania or anywhere else.”

The major claims included in the anti-fracking documentary “Gasland” aimed at shutting have also been debunked by scientists and researchers.

But here’s the kicker. The major studies funded by the environmental activists through the left-leaning Park Foundation could not find any evidence that fracking causes water contamination.

A series of papers from researchers at Duke University, for example, did not find any fracturing fluids in water wells. “The occurrences of saline water do not correlate with the location of shale-gas wells and are consistent with reported data before rapid shale-gas development in the region,” one of the latest reports concludes. Duke University receives funding from the Park Foundation, based in New York, which is also a major backer of the environmental movement.

Going forward, public officials should not allow junk science to carry the day when so much is at stake for average families, and small-sized businesses that cannot compete against well-funded green activists.

The Marcellus Shale cuts across New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. It could potentially to help transform the world’s energy portfolio in manner that benefits America’s interest over the long-term. But this will require public policy decisions that rooted in sound science not unsubstantiated alarmism.


Australia: $100m off power bills after solar credits scheme axed early

The Gillard Government will phase out its solar credits multiplier because a massive surge in panels fitted to roofs was driving up electricity costs. Source: The Courier-Mail
HOUSEHOLDS will avoid up to $100 million in power bill increases next year because a green scheme is being axed early.

The Gillard Government said it would phase out its solar credits multiplier in January, six months ahead of schedule, because a massive surge in panels fitted to roofs was driving up electricity costs.

The multiplier effectively provides double payments for solar energy created by homes with photovoltaic panels.

But Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said households had borne the brunt of those payments, through higher power bills, and the multiplier should be scrapped early.

"This will lower the impact of the high uptake of solar PV on electricity costs for homes and businesses," Mr Combet said.

"Phasing out the multiplier early will strike the balance between easing upward pressure on electricity prices and supporting households and suppliers who install solar PV. The overall reduction in 2013 electricity bills is estimated to be in the order of $80 million to $100 million."

Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said the Government had "finally admitted its solar phantom credits scheme has driven up electricity prices".

"The Coalition warned the Government for over three years that the creation of so-called 'phantom credits', where people were paid for solar energy they didn't generate, would drive up the cost of the scheme for everyone else," he said.

He said the decision to scrap the multiplier was welcome but "does nothing for the current high power bills which people have just paid this quarter".

Australian Solar Council chief executive John Grimes hit out at the decision, saying it had left the industry in a state of chaos.

He disputed Mr Combet's assertion that solar was driving up electricity bills, saying it would bring down generation costs and help ease demand on hot summer days.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


16 November, 2012

A compliment from Al Gore?

He went on Reddit, writing as follows:
Hello Reddit, I'll be here from 1:00-1:30pm EST to answer your questions. I'd also like to take this opportunity to invite Reddit to take part in the Climate Reality Project's 24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report. This is a live internet broadcast, intended to unite people around the world in demanding action to address the climate crisis. Despite overwhelming scientific consensus, climate change deniers continue to stand in the way of meaningful solutions and the reality-based community cannot afford to stay silent any longer.

"climate change deniers continue to stand in the way".

That is cheering. We deniers have stopped the Warmists! Al Gore says so. Perhaps we should have a few victory celebrations.
There are at least 15 deeply researched separate lines of evidence that all confirm man-made global warming. They are all consistent, each with the others. Every National Academy of Science on the planet agrees with the consensus. The Academies describe the evidence as "indisputable". Every professional scientific society in every field related to climate science and earth science also agree. And 97-98% of climate scientists worldwide most actively publishing also agree. Animals and plants also agree -- in that they are moving their ranges by latitude and altitude to find climate niches similar to the ones in which they evolved. Even if you leave climate science completely out of it and just measure extreme temperatures, the statistical record of global temperatures shows that three-standard deviation events have increased from 0.25% of the time (from 1951-1980) to 10% of the time now. There is as strong a consensus as you will find in science, with the possible exception of the existence of gravity.

Gore goes on above using language no scientist would. What is "deeply researched"? You can exert great research efforts, going as deep as the Marianas trench if you like, but if your asssumptions are wrong or your methodology flawed you will still be wrong. A scientist might have said "rigorously" researched but that would be a large claim for any Warmist research.

And what ARE these lines of evidence? Can he not name them? It would be fascinating to hear. He does name one of them: That extreme temperature events have become more frequent since 1980. He neither names the direction of those events nor their magnitiude, however, which is a hoot. About half of those events will be unusual COLD. And Warmists compare years down to hundredths of a degree Celsius so even tiny and inconsequential changes will make Gore's list.

If that's the best he can do, the prospects for the rest of the "deeply researched" evidence seem very bleak indeed. The man is a charlatan -- JR


Time To End The Denial

Millions dead from floods, tornadoes and drought! Enough talk already- government must take action to restore the climate to the pristine state it was in eighty years ago.

More HERE (See the original for links)

Link between global warming and drought questioned

The claim that warming causes drought is totally irrational anyway. Warmer oceans should evaporate off more and thus cause MORE rainfall

THE world has been suffering more droughts in recent decades, and climate change will bring many more, according to received wisdom. Now it is being challenged by an analysis that questions a key index on which it is based.

Predictions of megadroughts affecting Africa and the western side of North America may be wrong. We could even be headed for wetter times, says Justin Sheffield of Princeton University.

This potential handbrake turn for climate forecasts hangs on the accuracy of our main measure of drought, the Palmer Drought Severity Index. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 science assessment cited studies using the PDSI to conclude that "droughts have become more common since the 1970s" as the world has warmed - a position we take to be true in this week's cover story (see "Climate downgrade: Arctic warming"). The report predicted droughts will increase with global warming.

The problem with the PDSI, says Sheffield, is that it does not directly measure drought. Instead, it looks at the difference between precipitation and evaporation. But since evaporation rates are hard to determine, it uses temperature as a proxy, on the assumption that evaporation rises as it gets hotter.

Sheffield points out that temperature is only one factor influencing evaporation. He inferred evaporation rates using the Penman-Monteith equation, which includes factors such as wind speed and humidity, and found "little change in global drought over the past 60 years" (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature11575). His new calculations back up his own previous analysis that the most significant of recent droughts mostly occurred in the 1950s and 60s, before global warming got going.

The PDSI was created in the 1960s by US meteorologist Wayne Palmer to help allocate aid to drought-hit farmers, and was then widely adopted by climate scientists for its simplicity. Sheffield says he finds its continued use "a little strange".

Roger Pielke Jr of the University of Colorado in Boulder says that since the PDSI uses a formula that assumes higher temperatures cause more droughts, it was hardly surprising that it finds a link.

Simon Brown of the UK Met Office in Exeter says Sheffield's analysis is probably right. "There has been a growing acknowledgement that the PDSI should not be trusted when doing climate change studies," he says. But one of the lead authors of parts of the 2007 IPCC report, Kevin Trenberth of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, is sceptical [Trenberth would be]. He backs work by Aiguo Dai of the State University of New York, Albany, who reported last year that using the Penman-Monteith equation "only slightly reduces the drying trend".

Sheffield's findings raise important questions, says Steve Running at the University of Montana in Missoula. "If global drought is not increasing, if warmer temperatures are accompanied by more rainfall and lower evaporation rates, then a warmer wetter world would [mean] a more benign climate."


Why you should care that courts overturn EPA’s carbon pollution standard

The 2012 elections ensure that President Obama’s “war on coal” will continue for at least two more years. The administration’s preferred M.O. has been for the EPA to “enact” anti-coal policies that Congress would reject if such measures were introduced as legislation and put to a vote. Had Gov. Romney won the presidential race and the GOP gained control of the Senate, affordable energy advocates could now go on offense and pursue a legislative strategy to roll back various EPA global warming regulations, air pollution regulations, and restrictions on mountaintop mining. But Romney lost and Democrats gained two Senate seats.

Consequently, defenders of free-market energy are stuck playing defense and their main weapon now is litigation. This is a hard slog because courts usually defer to agency interpretations of the statutes they administer. But sometimes petitioners win. In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals struck down the EPA’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), a regulation chiefly targeting coal-fired power plants. The Court found that the CSAPR exceeded the agency’s statutory authority. Similarly, in March, the Court ruled that the EPA exceeded its authority when it revoked a Clean Water Act permit for Arch Coal’s Spruce Mine No. 1 in Logan Country, West Virginia.

A key litigation target in 2013 is EPA’s proposal to establish greenhouse gas (GHG) “new source performance standards” (NSPS) for power plants. This so-called carbon pollution standard is not based on policy-neutral health or scientific criteria. Rather, the EPA contrived the standard so that commercially-viable coal plants cannot meet it. The rule effectively bans investment in new coal generation.

We Can Win This One

Prospects for overturning the rule are good for three main reasons.

(1) Banning new coal electric generation is a policy Congress has not authorized and would reject if proposed in legislation and put to a vote. Once again the EPA is acting beyond its authority.

The proposed “carbon pollution” standard requires new fossil-fuel electric generating units (EGUs) to emit no more than 1,000 lbs of carbon dioxide (CO2) per megawatt hour (MWh). About 95% of all natural gas combined cycle power plants already meet the standard, according to the EPA. No existing coal power plants come close; even the most efficient, on average, emit 1,800 lbs CO2/MWh.

A coal power plant equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology could meet the standard, but the levelized cost of new coal plants already exceeds that of new natural gas combined cycle plants, and “today’s CCS technologies would add around 80% to the cost of electricity for a new pulverized coal (PC) plant, and around 35% to the cost of electricity for a new advanced gasification-based (IGCC) plant,” the EPA acknowledges.

In short, the EPA has proposed a standard no economical coal plant can meet. Not surprising given President Obama’s longstanding ambition to “bankrupt” anyone who builds a new coal power plant and his vow to find other ways of “skinning the cat” after the 2010 election-day “slaughter” of 29 cap-and-trade Democrats. But the big picture is hard to miss: Congress never signed off on this policy.

The only time Congress even considered imposing GHG performance standards on power plants was during the debate on the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill. Section 216 of Waxman-Markey would have established NSPS requiring new coal power plants to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% during 2009-2020 and by 65% after 2020 – roughly what the EPA is now proposing. Although Waxman-Markey narrowly passed in the House, it became so unpopular as “cap-and-tax” that Senate leaders pulled the plug on companion legislation.

Team Obama is attempting to accomplish through the regulatory backdoor what it could not achieve through the legislative front door. The “carbon pollution” rule is an affront to the separation of powers.

(2) The “carbon pollution” standard is regulation by misdirection – an underhanded ‘bait-and-fuel-switch.’

In Massachusetts v. EPA (April 2007), the Supreme Court held that GHGs are “air pollutants” for regulatory purposes. This spawned years of speculation about whether the EPA would define “best available control technology” (BACT) standards for “major” GHG emitters so stringently that utilities could not obtain pre-construction permits unless they built natural gas power plants instead of new coal power plants.

In March 2011, the EPA published a guidance document assuring stakeholders that BACT for CO2 would not require a permit applicant “to switch to a primary fuel type” different from the fuel type the applicant planned to use for its primary combustion process. The agency specifically disavowed plans to “redefine the source [category]” such that coal boilers are held to the same standard as gas turbines.

The EPA reiterated this assurance in a Q&A document accompanying the guidance. One question asks: “Does this guidance say that fuel switching (coal to natural gas) should be selected as BACT for a power plant?” The EPA gives a one-word response: “No.”

This bears directly on the legal propriety of the “carbon pollution” standard. In general, NSPS are less stringent than BACT. NSPS provide the “floor” or minimum emission control standard for determining an emitter’s BACT requirements. BACT is intended to push individual sources to make deeper emission cuts than the category-wide NSPS requires.

Yet despite the EPA’s assurance that BACT, although tougher than NSPS, would not require fuel switching or redefine coal power plants into the same source category as natural gas power plants, the “carbon pollution” rule does exactly that.

In April 2011, the House passed H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), by a vote of 255-172. H.R. 910 would overturn all of the EPA’s GHG regulations except for those the auto and trucking industries had already made investments to comply with. Sen. James Inhofe’s companion bill (S. 482) failed by one vote. In June 2010, Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) Congressional Review Act resolution to strip the agency of its Mass v. EPA-awarded power to regulate GHGs failed by four votes. One or both of those measures might have passed had the EPA come clean about its agenda and stated in 2009 it would eventually propose GHG performance standards no affordable coal power plant can meet.

Much more HERE

The orgy of greed spoiling our countryside: why I campaigned in Corby

By James Delingpole

The Yorkshire moorland that inspired Wuthering Heights is about to be blighted by nine 377ft wind turbines, each one the height of Salisbury Cathedral.

Do you need to be a rabid, bat-crazy, monomaniacal, classical liberal loon to find this upsetting? I hope not, I really do. The vandalisation of Ovenden Moor, near Haworth, in the heart of Brontë country should concern us all, regardless of which way we vote or what newspaper we read.

Caring greenies ought to be dismayed by the widespread environmental havoc it will wreak: the kestrels it will slice and dice, the protected bats it will cause to implode, the huge concrete bases, the poisonous rare earth minerals mined under the most atrocious conditions in China. Bookish Left-leaning wimmin in glasses with large, red plastic frames ought surely to be concerned by the blighting of the landscape which inspired Emily – and Charlotte, and Anne.

Red meat socialists ought to be spitting blood at the injustice the Great Wind Scam perpetrates against the common man. It takes money from the poor and funnels it straight into the pockets of greedy, often toffy landowners and rapacious, mostly foreign-owned energy companies.

Here, roughly, is how the spoils will be divided among the troughers at Ovenden Moor. The landowner will be paid £401,000 pa, index-linked, for the next 25 years. The developer will get an income of around £2,679,300 pa, index-linked, over the same period. The vast bulk of this will come straight from the taxpayer in the form of compulsory subsidies, payable even if the turbines produce no power.

And the energy that will emerge from this orgy of greed and destruction? It will be neither green, clean, abundant or useful. Wind power requires full back-up from fossil-fuel-powered stations. It doesn’t save CO2, nor provide energy security, nor contribute anything to the base load power Britain so badly needs to keep the lights on.

These are just a few of the reasons why I consider the Great Wind Scam to be the biggest political scandal of our generation, and why I accepted an invitation by local wind-farm protesters to stand as their candidate in the Corby by-election.

As I said right from the start, the very last thing I wanted was to be an MP: my wife would divorce me. But what I didn’t want to do either was to let down my cause with a really crappy showing on election night. That’s why my strategy was to play the whole thing by ear. If I thought I stood a chance of becoming one of those Martin Bell-type outsiders who sweeps the board, well, whoop-di-do, I’d risk the divorce and spend two years in Westminster doing what I like best – really peeing my enemies off. If I could achieve more with a tactical, last‑minute withdrawal, well that would suit me too – not least because I’d no longer be letting down my friends in Ukip.

I love Ukip. There’s barely a single one of their policies I disagree with. Inevitably, there was much upset among my Ukip pals when I announced I’d be standing against them: they were worried that I’d take away votes from their excellent candidate, Margot Parker. This I didn’t want to do.

Equally, though, I had a lot of sympathy for my local Conservative MP, Chris Heaton-Harris, whom I got to know and like at a Tory conference in Windsor in September and who is masterminding the Tory campaign in Corby. Chris is the kind of Conservative who would have me voting Tory again: small-government, anti-EU, massively anti-wind. He, too, was worried I’d steal Tory votes – gosh how nice it is to feel important! – and was keen to show me that his party was at last seeing sense.

For example, he was the one who drew my attention to the anti-wind speeches made by Owen Paterson and the new energy minister, John Hayes, at the Tory conference. It was newspaper reports of some even stronger anti-wind remarks by Hayes which gave me just the excuse I needed to withdraw from the election with honour, claiming victory.

The timing was perfect. Obviously, I totally love the idea that the Coalition rewrote its entire energy policy because of me – and if the Guardian and Greenpeace wish to credit me with such mighty powers, as they did yesterday, then great. But politics is a bit more complicated than that. George Osborne is known to be fiercely anti-wind; Cameron, it is rumoured, appointed Hayes and Paterson quite deliberately to placate all those shire Tories mortified at the bat-chomping eco-crucifixes ruining their views and wiping out their property values. So while I’m proud to have played my small part in the war to defeat the great wind menace, I think it’s more likely that I was only ever a humble Sancho Panza rather than the true Don Quixote.


Australia's largest fishery to be wiped out

It's been fished for a couple of hundred years and is still there -- but you would never know that listening to the Greenies

THE commercial fishing industry fears a $100 million assistance package will not be enough to compensate people affected by the proclamation of the world's biggest network of marine reserves.

More than 2.3 million square kilometres of ocean environment around Australia will be protected from July 2014.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke says the government recognises there will be impacts on some fishers which is why $100 million is being allocated under a fisheries adjustment assistance package.

Furious commercial fishers and charter operators say the move will doom their trade and end in a skyrocketing price and more imported seafood for consumers.

The Commonwealth Fisheries Association, which represents the interests of commercial fishers, is concerned compensation is being capped.

However, Protect Our Coral Sea and marine conservation groups such as the Pew Foundation welcomed the proclamation as "one of the most significant" in the nation's conservation history.

Under the plan, no new "on-the-water" changes will come into effect until July 2014 after the next federal election, after which the Coalition has promised to revoke any declaration should it win government.

Veteran Nationals senator Ron Boswell, a fierce opponent of the marine reserves, said the $100 million allocation would not go far enough. "There is going to be a lot of people put out of business with no compensation."

Mr Burke dismissed the criticism, saying people needed to know the parameters of any assistance. "You can't have an open-ended bottomless pit," he said.

The average recreational angler in a runabout is unlikely to be affected with the closest new "no-go zones" 440km out from Brisbane, 330km from Townsville, and 210km from Cairns.

Commercial operators in the Coral Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria including tuna long-liners and prawn trawlers out of Mooloolaba, Cairns and Karumba, will negotiate over a $100 million fisheries adjustment package.

"Australia is a world leader when it comes to protecting our oceans," Mr Burke said. "And so we should be, we've got responsibility for more of the ocean than almost any other country on Earth.

"Many of the world's endangered marine animals, including green turtle, blue whale, southern right whale, Australian sea lion and the whale shark, are found in these protected waters," Mr Burke said.

Most of 80,000 submissions supported the national marine network plan - that will cover an area roughly equal to Australia's land mass, he said.

Catch-and-release fishing practised by the marlin fishing game boats will still be allowed in the Coral Sea except in the designated green zone over the eastern half of the proposed marine park.

Outraged third-generation aquarium collector Lyall Squire Jr, of Cairns Marine, said the decision had the potential to put his family-owned $6 million-a-year company out of business.

"We have grave fears for our survival, worse, this is not about science," said the director of Australia's largest aquarium supplier, who exports species such as clown fish, sharks and rays to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the US.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


15 November, 2012

How Much should it cost to get back to the speed standards of 100 years ago?

In Britain, the Swindon-built "City of Truro" steam train exceeded 100 mph in 1904 so American speeds would have soon emulated that. Earlier American records are in fact claimed but not substantiated. And note this comment by a passenger on the record run by "City of Truro": "At this time the travelling was so curiously smooth that, but for the sound, it was difficult to believe we were moving at all...". So they built good track back then too. And it is not only good track that the Great Western Railway company built. "City of Truro" itself still exists in good condition in Britain's National Railway museum. It is only regulations that have slowed us down in modern times

News stories in the Midwest last month cited a “historic” 15-mile Amtrak trip between Dwight and Pontiac, IL run at 110 mph. Those are the first 15 miles of the Chicago-St. Louis route that have been fully upgraded for the increased top speed (compared with the usual top speed of 79 mph). Upgrading involves installing positive train control (required by law for passenger rail going faster than 79 mph), fencing, a four-gate system at grade crossings, and upgraded track with concrete ties. On board were DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Sen. Dick Durbin, and other dignitaries.

The overall federally aided project intends to upgrade the entire 284 miles of track between Chicago and St. Louis for higher-speed rail with 110 mph top speed and an average speed of 71 mph, enabling the trip time to be cut to four hours from the current five and a half hours. Thus far, $1.6 billion has been spent ($1.2 billion from you and me, as federal taxpayers and another $400 million from Illinois taxpayers.) The total price tag for the route upgrade is $6 billion—and that does not include double-tracking the mostly single-track line.

How many more passengers will the 1.5-hour shorter trip attract? Prof. Ray Mundy, Director of Transportation Studies at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, told public radio’s “Marketplace” that “the amount of people that are going from downtown St. Louis to downtown Chicago that would be affected by improved rail service . . . probably wouldn’t be enough to fill up a 737 that Southwest flies.”

It’s not clear to me, even if Mundy is off by a factor of ten, that spending $6 billion of general taxpayers’ money to provide subsidized competition to tax-paying, self-supporting airlines and bus lines could possibly make sense.

And by the way, as transportation reporter Jon Hilkevitch pointed out in an Oct. 19th Chicago Tribune story on this test run, in the days of steam locomotives passenger trains in the Midwest often exceeded 100 mph.


CO2 is GOOD!

Human Carbon Emissions Seen by Researchers as Holding Back Ice Age -- but they only say so in a last-ditch attempt to save their addled theory about the effects of CO2

Human emissions of fossil carbon into the atmosphere and the resulting increase in temperatures may be holding off the next ice age, according to research from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg.

“We are probably entering a new ice age right now,” Lars Franzen, a professor of physical geography at the university, was cited as saying in an online statement today. “However, we’re not noticing it due to the effects of carbon dioxide.”

Franzen and three other researchers calculated how much of Sweden might be covered by peat lands during an interglacial, the period between two ice ages. Peat absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, and the study found that the country’s carbon-sink potential could increase six- to 10-fold, which theoretically might cause a drop in temperatures.

Increased felling of woodlands and expansion of agricultural land, combined with early industrialization, probably halted the so-called Little Ice Age from the 16th to the 18th century, slowing down or even reversing a cooling trend, according to the researchers.

“It’s certainly possible that mankind’s various activities contributed towards extending our ice age interval by keeping carbon dioxide levels high enough,” Franzen said. “Without the human impact, the inevitable progression toward an ice age would have continued.”

The earth experienced at least 30 periods of ice age in the past 3 million years, according to the university. There were no emissions of fossil carbon in earlier interglacial periods, and carbon sequestration in peat lands may have been one of the main reasons why ice age conditions occurred, according to Franzen.

“The spread of peat lands is an important factor,” Franzen said. “If we accept that rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to an increase in global temperature, the logical conclusion must be that reduced levels lead to a drop in temperature.”


Geoscientist explains why man-made CO2 is not the driver of global warming

He puts facts first, not theory

Dr. Ole Humlum, Professor of Geosciences at the University of Oslo, has published a summary and reply to comments on his groundbreaking paper demonstrating why man-made CO2 is not the driver of global warming. Dr. Humlum summarizes the main findings of his paper at a Norwegian website for geologists:

1. [Observations show] The temperature rise begins at sea level and spreads gradually to the land and atmosphere several months later. This is contrary to the IPCC CO2 hypothesis that atmospheric CO2 controls land and ocean temperature.

2. The geographical distribution of a CO2 increase doesn't start at 30-50 degrees North latitude, which one would expect if the source were mainly created by the fossil fuel industry and transport in the Northern Hemisphere. Instead, the increase of CO2 starts just south of the equator. This is contrary to the IPCC hypothesis that use of fossil fuels is the primary cause of increased CO2 levels.

Dr. Humlum notes that existing climate models are based on the improper assumption that CO2 controls temperature and have not provided skillful predictions so far. He concludes:

"One should therefore consider moving the focus of climate research from CO2 to the nature and significance of natural variation, both related to the sun and other [natural causes]. It is most likely where we will find the main reason for the present (and future) climate change."


BBC abandoned balanced climate reporting after meeting with these 28 campaigners

A BBC coverup defeated -- and we can see the reason behind the secrecy now. Their "experts" were just a grab-bag of alarmists

In 2006, the BBC decided to stop providing balanced coverage of global warming science and policy after “a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts.” UK blogger Tony Newbery filed a freedom of information request to determine just who the 28 “best scientific experts” were. The BBC refused to comply and went to great (and expensive) legal lengths to avoid the disclosure.

The internet, however, has a long memory. A search of an internet “wayback” machine revealed the 28 names the BBC was hiding. Surprise, surprise, the list revealed few “best scientific experts” no scientific experts skeptical of the global warming science and policy the BBC would choose to champion, numerous global warming campaigners and business people seeking to protect and expand taxpayer subsidies to their carbon and alternative energy schemes.

Four senior representatives of the BBC, including BBC Director General George Entwistle, who attended the 2006 meeting have just been disciplined or resigned from their posts at the BBC following a serious scandal which paints them not as neutral journalists reporting for a taxpayer funded news service, but as “ends justify the means” left-wing campaigners. BBC Newsnight falsely reported that Lord McAlpine, who served as Treasurer of the Conservative Party and adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was involved in the North Wales child abuse scandal. The charges, which have proven false, were made by the BBC without ever contacting Lord McAlpine to hear his side of the story — apparently, a sad pattern at the BBC. This has left many asking whether these BBC officials were so filled with disdain for Baroness Thatcher that they rushed onto the air a story which would damage her legacy.

Similarly, were these BBC officials so enamored of the goals of radical global warming advocates to implement their agenda by stifling all question and debate, that they rushed the BBC into its policy of only reporting one side of this expensive and controversial set of policies?

Consider Christopher Booker’s report The BBC and Climate Change: A Triple Betrayal, published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

The “Guido Fawkes” blog released the following 28 names as those who counseled the BBC to abandon impartial journalism on climate. Judge for yourself:

Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London
Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA
Blake Lee-Harwood, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace
Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
Andrew Dlugolecki, Insurance industry consultant
Trevor Evans, US Embassy
Colin Challen MP, Chair, All Party Group on Climate Change
Anuradha Vittachi, Director,
Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation
Claire Foster, Church of England
Saleemul Huq, IIED
Poshendra Satyal Pravat, Open University
Li Moxuan, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace China
Tadesse Dadi, Tearfund Ethiopia
Iain Wright, CO2 Project Manager, BP International
Ashok Sinha, Stop Climate Chaos
Andy Atkins, Advocacy Director, Tearfund
Matthew Farrow, CBI
Rafael Hidalgo, TV/multimedia producer
Cheryl Campbell, Executive Director, Television for the Environment
Kevin McCullough, Director, Npower Renewables
Richard D North, Institute of Economic Affairs
Steve Widdicombe, Plymouth Marine Labs
Joe Smith, The Open University
Mark Galloway, Director, IBT
Anita Neville, E3G
Eleni Andreadis, Harvard University
Jos Wheatley, Global Environment Assets Team, DFID
Tessa Tennant, Chair, AsRia


The Climate Change Lies Ramp Up Again

By Alan Caruba

Within days of the election, Rasmussen Reports said that “While there was little talk of climate change during the president campaign, the number of U.S. voters who see global warming as a serious problem is at an all-time high.

A survey reported on November 9th found that “68% of likely U.S. voters now say that global warming is at least a somewhat serious problem, including 38% who think it is very serious. Thirty percent (30%) don’t see global warming as a serious problem, with 12% who think it’s not serious at all.”

There’s nothing like a devastating Hurricane Sandy and a follow-up “nor’easter” to get people thinking that “climate” is changing, but the simple unadorned fact is that the Earth has been in a cooling cycle since 1998. It’s getting colder all over the world.

Meteorologist Tim Kelley says “Sandy is not an unprecedented storm. The 1938 hurricane was worse, and was followed by major hurricanes in 1944 and 1954; three major hurricanes in 16 years. We are fortunate to have gone nearly 60 years without a comparable storm here in the northeast.”

“The alarm and fear of anthropogenic (manmade) global warming is a major distraction,” said Kelley, “and a waste of resources that could otherwise go to helping humanity.” There are some simple truths that most people just don’t get. “Heat on Earth comes from our Sun and is stored in our oceans. Small fluctuations in solar and oceanic cycles draft any impact on climate when compared to the influence of anthropogenic CO2.”

“From a scientific perspective,” says Kelley, “it’s almost unfathomable that we have been duped into believing the scare generated by climate change alarmists.” And, yet, clearly a lot of people have been and continue to be duped.

So, like a zombie, climate change is back after the politicians managed to say nothing about it during the long campaign, plus three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate. It has been around since 1988. The greatest charlatan and buffoon the political class has produced, Al Gore, became the face of the global warming hoax. In 2009, when the emails between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists were exposed, it became clear that they were fearful that the new cooling cycle would end their grants and funding.
Headlines blared regarding the hoax and then they were forgotten, ignored.

No matter how many times the facts are presented, the global warming/climate change liars just produce some new report or study proclaiming that “97% of climate experts agree that humanity is causing global warming and other problematic climate change because of our greenhouse gas emissions.” That was the message of the Doran/Zimmerman global warming poll in April 2008 and published in January 2009. As Tom Harris of the International Climate Science Coalition pointed out, the survey has been thorough debunked. It doesn’t matter.

Just after the election, Environmental Defense Fund president, Fred Krupp, congratulated President Obama on reelection, saying he expects the 113th Congress to “make global climate change" a top priority.

Friends of the Earth, another environmental powerhouse, expressed similar thoughts. “In his acceptance speech, President Obama acknowledged the ‘destructive power of a warming planet.’ It is ironic that the outcome of a campaign so marked by the silence of both candidates would be definitively influenced by Superstorm Sandy, but history will show that the winds of Hurricane Sandy blew President Obama back into office.”

Surely some voters looked at the hurricane and concluded that it was “proof” of global warming and/or climate change. It was only proof that hurricanes have been occurring before and since the dawn of mankind.

It was proof of the gullibility, the ignorance of simple facts about the climate, that vast multitudes of Americans have been indoctrinated to believe when they attended school and by the constant media exposure of the repeated lies about global warming.
Ignored in the midst of this is the way such lies get translated into government policies that do immeasurable harm to the economy.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute called on President Obama to take reasoned steps

- Suspend and re-open the rulemaking process for the EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions regulations and other major Clean Air Act rules designed to close coal-fired power plants and raise electric rates and cancel the revised offshore drilling plan and revert to the much-more-ambitious 2008 plan.

- Open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration

- Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline

- Stop the EPA from interfering in state regulation of hydraulic fracturing.

- Suspend the Renewable Futures Standard for 2013 so corn prices can stabilize and

- Suspend, for obvious reasons, the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program to “green” energy companies.

That’s the real impact of all the climate change hogwash. Hurricane Sandy left a wide swath of Americans in the dark prior to and during the election. The bunkum about greenhouse gas emissions will impede the steps the nation must take to ensure sufficient energy to keep the lights on from coast to coast.


EU fogs post-2012 climate aid pledges

Europe’s finance ministers will not promise any specific new monies for fast-dwindling climate aid to the developing world when they meet in Brussels today (13 November), according to draft conclusions seen by EurActiv.

The EU has stumped up €7.2 billion of climate finance in the 2010-2012 period under a Fast Start Finance (FSF) deal, due to run out at the end of this year.

The FSF was intended to kickstart a global Green Climate Fund that will eventually generate $100 billion (€78.9 billion) a year in climate aid, but has been beset by squabbles over seats, sources of funding, methods of payment, and beneficiaries.

But the draft economic minister’s council (Ecofin) conclusions say only that the EU will “continue to provide climate finance support after 2012”, without providing details of any 2013-2019 package.

If a gap did appear in funding, “that would be disastrous for us, very negative” said Evans Davie Njewa, a climate negotiator for Malawi and the 48 least developed countries (LDCs).

“I remember Paul Watkinson [France’s chief climate negotiator] assuring us on behalf of the EU that there would be no gap after the 2012,” he told EurActiv. “A gap now would mean our communities having difficulties in adapting [to climate change] and our countries being hurt.”

Of the EU’s €7.2 billion funding to date, the draft conclusions says that 40.5% of the total has been spent on mitigation measures, 30.1% on adaptation and 13% on support action to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.

Oxfam described the figures as “relatively balanced”, although it questioned whether the funds were really new, and additional to pre-existing funds that had been earmarked for overseas aid.

Many developing countries though question the allocation of EU FSF funds, 60% of which have been delivered without consulting the affected countries, according to Oxfam.

Mitigation or adaptation

Davie Njewa said that most revenue had so far gone to fund mitigation projects favoured by the wealthy North, rather than adaptation measures, favoured by the LDCs themselves.

“We don’t even have a clear registry where the support has been recorded,” he complained. “We’re told that the money has been going to straight to communities but I don’t know how much because we don’t get official reports,” he said.

Such perceived lack of transparency has fed suspicions that beneficiary countries may have been chosen according to their historic bilateral links with donors, and their economic and political proximities.

Tomorrow’s draft ministerial conclusion says that the EU “should work in a constructive manner with other developed countries towards the identification of pathways for scaling up climate finance from 2013 to 2020 from a wide variety of sources.”

These could include public, private, bilateral, unilateral and alternative sources of finance.

The conclusion also reiterates a previous council statement that revenues collected from airlines in the ETS framework could be used for climate aid.

However that commitment, like the EU’s climate finance program itself, may now be on hold.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


14 November, 2012

Kilimanjaro's glaciers shrinking? Alarmists warn Africa's highest mountain may soon be ice free

Here we go again. The snow on Kilimanjaro waxes and wanes according to the amount of PRECIPITATION. As recently as 8 months ago, there were reports of snow INCREASING there. See also here

The peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro, the world's highest free-standing mountain, may soon be ice free, scientists warn. Between 1912 and 2011, the mass of ice on the summit of the 19,341ft dormant stratovolcano in Tanzania decreased by more than 85 per cent, say researchers with Nasa's Earth Observatory.

Kimberly Casey, a glaciologist based at the U.S. space agency's Goddard Space Flight Centre, who visited the mountain earlier this year, also noticed Kilimanjaro's north ice field had separated.

The glacier had been developing a hole since the Seventies, but this is the first year in which it had been seen to divide in two. 'We were able to walk on land — or we could have even ridden a bicycle — directly through the rift,' Dr Casey said.

Scientists now warn it’s no longer a question of whether Kilimanjaro's ice will disappear, but when. Estimates vary, but several scientists predict it will be gone by 2060.

The views from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro are as surreal as they are spectacular.

After ascending through multiple ecosystems — including cropland, lush rainforest, alpine desert, and a virtual dead zone near the summit — climbers can find themselves peering down on a thick blanket of clouds below that seems to stretch endlessly in the distance.

But in the immediate foreground, ice dominates the view. Looking north, a shelf-like block of ice with a sharp vertical cliff sits on an otherwise featureless, sand-covered plateau.

In the other direction, a second ice field spills off the edge of the plateau, down the mountain’s southern face.

Despite Mount Kilimanjaro’s location in the tropics, the dry and cold air at the top of the mountain has sustained large quantities of ice for more than 10,000 years.

At points, ice has completely surrounded the crater. Studies of ice core samples show that Kilimanjaro’s ice has persisted through multiple warm spells, droughts, and periods of abrupt climate change.

Rising air temperatures due to global warming could be contributing to the ice loss, researchers say, but a number of other factors are just as important, if not more so.

An increasingly dry regional atmosphere, for example, is starving the mountain of the fresh snow needed to sustain the ice fields. Drier air is also reducing cloud cover and allowing more solar energy to warm the ice surfaces.

Dr Casey visited Kilimanjaro as part of a research expedition in September this year.


Mega-pesky! New paper finds clouds COOL the climate

A new paper published in Environmental Research Letters examines satellite data over Eurasia to find that total cloud cover acts as a net negative feedback to cool the climate. The finding contradicts the assumptions programmed into climate models that clouds act as a net positive feedback to cause warming.

Environmental Research Letters Volume 7 Number 1, 2012:

By Qiuhong Tang and Guoyong Leng


The relationship between summer temperature, total cloud cover and precipitation over Eurasia was investigated using observation-based products of temperature and precipitation, and satellite-derived cloud cover and radiation products. We used a partial least squares regression approach to separate the local influences of cloud cover and precipitation on temperature variations. Our results suggest that the variance of summer temperature is partly explained by changes in summer cloudiness. The summer temperature dependence on cloud cover is strong at the high latitudes and in the middle latitude semi-humid area, while the dependence on precipitation is strong in the Central Asia arid area and the southern Asia humid area. During the period 1982–2009, the damped warming in extended West Siberia was accompanied with increases in cloud cover, and the pronounced warming in Europe and Mongolia was associated with a decrease in cloud cover and precipitation. Our results suggest that cloud cover may be the important local factor influencing the summer temperature variation in Eurasia


It was the sun wot did it!

Warming did accelerate a bit in the late 20th century and now we seem to have the culprit

A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examines ice core and tree ring radionuclides and finds solar activity at the end of the 20th century was at the highest levels of the record spanning the past 9,400 years.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 April 17; 109(16): 5967-5971. Published online 2012

9,400 years of cosmic radiation and solar activity from ice cores and tree rings

Friedhelm Steinhilber et al.


Understanding the temporal variation of cosmic radiation and solar activity during the Holocene is essential for studies of the solar-terrestrial relationship. Cosmic-ray produced radionuclides, such as 10Be and 14C which are stored in polar ice cores and tree rings, offer the unique opportunity to reconstruct the history of cosmic radiation and solar activity over many millennia. Although records from different archives basically agree, they also show some deviations during certain periods. So far most reconstructions were based on only one single radionuclide record, which makes detection and correction of these deviations impossible. Here we combine different 10Be ice core records from Greenland and Antarctica with the global 14C tree ring record using principal component analysis. This approach is only possible due to a new high-resolution 10Be record from Dronning Maud Land obtained within the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica in Antarctica. The new cosmic radiation record enables us to derive total solar irradiance, which is then used as a proxy of solar activity to identify the solar imprint in an Asian climate record. Though generally the agreement between solar forcing and Asian climate is good, there are also periods without any coherence, pointing to other forcings like volcanoes and greenhouse gases and their corresponding feedbacks. The newly derived records have the potential to improve our understanding of the solar dynamics and to quantify the solar influence on climate.


Sometimes environmentalists and their policies don’t get along

As green energy technologies continue to spread throughout all areas of the U.S. it has angered a peculiar new bully:

Environmentalists. Yes. Sometimes green energy and environmentalists don’t get along. In fact, these conflicts are becoming more common.

A New York Post article highlighting the environmentalist’s attack on green energy states, “Nationally, environmental activists push the expansion of renewable energy — solar, wind, etc. But when industries work to implement those initiatives at the community level, local greens scream at the impact on their community; they’d rather keep the land as it is.”

How is green energy supposed to replace our current energy supplies if those who want it most keep fighting against it?

Some examples of this conflict cited in the New York Post article: Environmentalists trying to stop a cable that would bring affordable hydropower electricity from Canada to New York City out of fear it might somehow damage the Hudson River. Another example: Wind energy developers evaluating sites in the New York Harbor and Hudson River for a future project are being stalled by environmentalists concerned about the impact these turbines will have on the American Eel.

This plays out across the country too. In Southern California, environmentalists are hoping a court will curb the area’s growing wind energy industry, which is believed to pose a threat to the endangered condor. The backers of this lawsuit: The Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club. These groups “said in the filing that a neighboring wind farm, Pine Tree, has killed at least eight golden eagles and that California condors could be at risk from the blades of turbines as well.”

These lawsuits even extend from green energy to green living. In San Francisco, the city planned to paint bicycle lanes on their streets, a big win for environmentalists, however a resident said no with the thinking that the lanes may cause additional pollution.

Maybe green energy and green living are necessary requirements as long as they don’t appear in the backyards of their strongest advocates.

Unless environmentalists are willing to take some hits, green energy will never become the energy of the future.

But environmentalists aren’t the only obstacle standing in the way. The more prolific green energy becomes the more local communities and cities see it as something to be taxed or further regulated by their rules — often making the already high-priced technology even more expensive to consumers.

Furthermore, a proposed green project may cause others to worry about the impact it will have in their personal lives. You might have a great view out in front of your house now, but how will it look with a wind farm in the foreground?

Given that green energy is struggling to break through the strongholds of its environmental champions, saying that it faces incredible obstacles in its bid to become America’s main energy source is a bit of an understatement.

If green energy is causing alarm among environmentalists, it makes sense to hold onto the productive, affordable and reliable energy sources currently available in America.


£12m wind farm with nine giant turbines will blight Britain's Bronte country despite pleas not to ruin landscape

A wind farm of nine giant turbines will be built on the bleak moors which inspired Emily Bronte's classic novel Wuthering Heights.

The £12million scheme was approved yesterday despite impassioned pleas not to ruin the character of the iconic landscape.

At 377ft (115 metres) high, the turbines will be more than twice the 169ft height of Nelson's Column. Each giant blade will measure 131ft (40 metres).

The local planning committee's unanimous decision will allow energy giant E.ON to build the controversial wind farm at Ovendon Moor, West Yorkshire.

Campaigners are also furious that building the foundations involves injecting 35,000 tonnes of concrete into the moorland.

The giant turbines will replace a wind farm of 23 turbines, less than half the size, built in 1993.

Objectors said the huge new structures will cause far greater visual damage and hit the area's vital tourist industry hard.

High moorland overlooking the Bronte parsonage at Haworth could also marred by plans for another £12million wind farm.

Four turbines soaring to 328ft could be built on pristine open moorland. Consent for a test mast has already been given.

Campaigners fear the battle against this project, just four miles from the Ovendon Moor wind farm, could be doomed after yesterday's decision by Calderdale Council.

Bronte Society chairman Sally McDonald said last night that she was 'gutted' by the ruling. 'These turbines will loom over the whole landscape and visitors will be disappointed because the feeling of isolation will be gone,' she warned.

'Who knows what the next planning application will be? Haworth could be increasingly surrounded by such structures. There has been a lack of sensitivity to the value of this unique and iconic landscape. It is hugely disappointing. We were not objecting to wind farms, just the visibility of the turbines.

'What visitors expect to see was “the high waving heather” described by Emily Bronte, not high spinning turbines.'

Miss McDonald told councillors the upgraded wind farm would be 'wholly inappropriate'. She said: 'This landscape is part of our national heritage. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.'

Friends of the Earth put in one of the eight submissions in favour of the scheme.

The new wind farm will more than double the energy-generating capacity of the site.


The Hope-a-Nomics Disaster: One Company's Horror Story

President Obama promises to move the country forward with his recycled pledge of five million green jobs. But in the real world, small businesses are struggling to stay afloat as they deal with the fiscal wreckage of this administration's disastrous venture socialism. Here's the tale of just one Colorado company victimized by the Obama Department of Energy (DOE).

Colorado Distribution Group is a privately held storage and shipping company based in Denver. Thanks to hope-a-nomics, its warehouse is saddled with nearly 7,000 pallets of federally subsidized solar panels (one-third of which are completely spoiled and unsalable), along with related detritus such as broken glass and stray module parts.

While $22,000/month in storage costs go unpaid, the panels consume up to a third of the company's warehouse space. Legal costs have forced CDG to slash payroll and lay off at least three employees. A source with knowledge of CDG's woes told me this week the company is facing pressure by the Department of Energy to drop its petition to recoup those costs. The feds want CDG to swallow a $1.4 million tab to dispose of the bum solar panels.

In July, according to Dow Jones, CDG asked a Delaware bankruptcy court "for permission either to sell or collect rent on the property Abound Solar Inc. has at its facility, saying the situation is threatening its ability to stay in business." Like many private enterprises in the Age of Obama's Brass-Knuckled Politics of Revenge, fear of retribution holds back many from coming forward publicly about such attempted shakedowns.

CDG serves industries ranging from automotive to food and beverage, electronic, medical, furniture, clothing, sporting goods and telecommunications. Founded in 2005, CDG handles distribution, fulfillment, transportation, logistics and inventory management using a high-tech data system. For the past three years, the company warehoused solar panels manufactured by Fort Collins-based Abound Solar.

Yes, Abound Solar. Also known as: Colorado's own Solyndra.

In June, less than a year after fellow Obama green boondoggle Solyndra went belly up, Abound filed for bankruptcy. As I reported in March, the financial outlook of the $400 million DOE loan guarantee recipient was based on false hope and imaginary change. Obama's envirocrats ignored bright red flags from Fitch Ratings about Abound's substandard technology and failures to meet basic efficiency targets.

Abound borrowed $70 million against its $400 million Obama DOE loan guarantee; taxpayers will lose up to $60 million on the loan after the bankruptcy proceedings are complete. Nearly 125 Abound Solar employees lost their jobs. Screwed-over companies like CDG that did business with Abound are not alone. At least one other warehouse in Colorado is storing the costly panels. And an untold number of related contractors and businesses have been stiffed. "I did a lot of machining for Abound," one business owner told me this summer, "and they went under owing me a fair amount."

Recently released internal documents show that customers demanded replacements for the panels after experiencing "low performance," "under performance" and "catastrophic failures." Credit and technical advisers at DOE complained about having "major issues" with the Abound Solar deal and expressed concern over the "transaction pressure under which we are all now operating." The documents fly in the face of Obama's denial -- just days before Election Day -- that his White House played any role in this fiscal disaster.

The investigative work of Colorado's Todd Shepherd at, Amy Oliver at the Independence Institute and Michael Sandoval now of the Heritage Foundation exposed Abound's crony ties to the Obama administration. Like Solyndra, Abound had a deep-pocketed bundler with ties to the White House. Progressive activist and billionaire heiress Pat Stryker, a repeat visitor to the Obama White House, owns an investment firm that invested considerably in Abound and donated nearly $500 million to the Democrats between 2008 and 2012.

Criminal and civil probes into Abound Solar's alleged malfeasance -- there are reports that the firm knowingly sold faulty goods -- have been launched in both Colorado and on Capitol Hill. The stench of pay-for-play abounds. While Obama giddily promises his cronies and sycophants that "the best is yet to come," small-business owners are fighting for their lives. Where's their "fair share"?




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


13 November, 2012

Antarctic sea ice increase caused by winds?

All the derision from skeptics based on ice growth in the Antarctic finally seems to be getting through to Warmists. They note it below now that they finally think they have figured how to explain it away.

What they say may even be right. There is certainly evidence that DECREASES in Arctic ice are caused by changing winds. So once you bring winds into the equation and stop pretending that CO2 is the key factor, it could well be "one all" as they say in some sports. Ice changes at NEITHER pole are caused by global warming but rather by local factors.

In support of their views, climate change skeptics have long pointed to the fact that Antarctic sea ice - unlike that in the Arctic - is actually growing.

Now, though, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) say they know why.

It's sea ice drift caused by changing weather patterns, they say, after examining over five million individual daily ice motion measurements captured over a period of 19 years by four US Defense Meteorological satellites.

"Until now these changes in ice drift were only speculated upon, using computer models of Antarctic winds," says Dr Paul Holland of BAS.

"The total Antarctic sea-ice cover is increasing slowly, but individual regions are actually experiencing much larger gains and losses that are almost offsetting each other overall. We now know that these regional changes are caused by changes in the winds, which in turn affect the ice cover through changes in both ice drift and air temperature."

The changes in ice drift, says Holland, also suggest large changes in the ocean surrounding Antarctica, which is very sensitive to the cold and salty water produced by sea-ice growth.

"Sea ice is constantly on the move; around Antarctica the ice is blown away from the continent by strong northward winds," he says.

"Since 1992 this ice drift has changed. In some areas the export of ice away from Antarctica has doubled, while in others it has decreased significantly."

The research also helps explain why changes in the amount of sea-ice cover are so different in the two polar regions. The Arctic has experienced dramatic ice losses in recent decades whi,le the overall extent of ice cover in the Antarctic has increased slightly.

This small Antarctic increase is actually the result of much larger regional increases and decreases, says the team, which are now shown to be caused by wind-driven changes. In places, it now appears, increased northward winds have caused the sea-ice cover to expand outwards from Antarctica. But because the Arctic Ocean is surrounded by land, changed winds can't cause Arctic ice tomake it expand in the same way.

"The Antarctic sea ice cover interacts with the global climate system very differently than that of the Arctic, and these results highlight the sensitivity of the Antarctic ice coverage to changes in the strength of the winds around the continent," says Dr Ron Kwok of JPL.


Saudi Arabia reveals plans to power country entirely by renewable energy

Weird -- but probably just hot air

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil producer, has plans to become 100% powered by renewable and low-carbon forms of energy, according to an influential member of the royal family.

Saudi Arabia's energy use is almost entirely from fossil fuels at present, with about two-thirds coming from oil and the remainder from gas. The state produces close to 12m barrels of oil a day, representing more than 12% of world crude production, and has about one-fifth of the world's oil reserves, according to the US government's Energy Information Administration. Energy use per person within the kingdom is also high by world standards, because energy prices are kept so low.

As Prince Turki noted, however, the kingdom has vast potential for using solar power. "The cost of solar energy is now 15% of what it was 20 years ago," he noted. Saudi Arabia has also signed memoranda of understanding – though no final deal as yet – with Argentina over nuclear energy.
But despite his commitment to advancing renewable energy in the Middle East, Prince Turki – who served as director of Saudi Arabia's intelligence services for more than 20 years and has also been an ambassador to the UK and the US – was also clear that the rest of the world was likely to continue to rely on fossil fuels for many years to come. "No country can ban itself from any one form of energy," he said.

One of the other potentially important technologies for Saudi Arabia is carbon capture and storage, as depleted oil fields could be used as storage for compressed carbon dioxide, but it has so far made little progress. The prince said the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology should be seen as an international effort rather than the responsibility of single countries.

Nebjsa Nakicenovic, deputy chief of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, said CCS was likely to be a vital technology around the world. Though he acknowledged there could be problems, as the technology is still unproven, he warned: "Do not discount CCS."

On renewables, Nakicenovic said the world should aim to generate 30% of energy from sustainable renewable sources by 2030. That would represent more than a doubling of current renewable energy usage, because although on paper about 15% of energy now comes from renewable sources, this includes a large amount of biomass – mostly wood, dung and other waste – burned in developing countries. Much of this is unsustainable, and requires a significant use of resources in foraging for firewood. "So [the target] is very ambitious, but doable," he said.


Michiganders recognize Warmist wet dream for what it is

Why Michigan voters wisely rejected the crazy idea of 25% electricity from renewables by 2025

By Kevon Martis from IICC

The Michigan Energy-Michigan Jobs (MEMJ) Proposal 3 – its 25 by 25 gambit – would have forced Michigan taxpayers and ratepayers to produce 25 percent of the Wolverine State’s electricity via expensive, unreliable, parasitic wind and solar projects by 2025.

The misguided program has now been laid to rest by the wisdom of Michigan’s voters. What can we learn by autopsying its corpse?

This initiative was hardly local. It was driven by out-of-state pressure groups like the Sierra Club that were backed by the League of Conservation Voters, natural gas company Chesapeake Energy, and a number of deep-pocketed elites. MEMJ itself was funded largely by the Green Tech Action Fund of San Francisco; the Natural Resources Defense Fund of New York, whose president is multi-millionaire Frances Beinecke; and San Francisco hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer.

These carpetbagger activists placed a bull’s-eye on Michigan ratepayers with Proposal 3. Sierra Club was blunt: “If successful, the [Michigan] 25x25 initiative will send an important signal to the nation that public desire to move toward green energy remains strong.”

The grassroots activists who defeated this proposal had no billionaire largesse to draw upon. They were united under the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition, a bipartisan renewable energy consumers watchdog group dependent on small contributions to support its work and committed to advancing sensible science-based energy policies and free market land use policies.

Compelled by the principle that industrial renewable energy schemes like Proposal 3 bring far more benefit to their invisible corporate cronies than to the environment, IICC members traveled the state on their own dime to speak out, protest, educate and inform. Their reward was sweet: they took their message of science-based energy policy to the people, who responded at the ballot box, soundly defeating Proposal 3 by 64-36 percent.

Using Sierra’s own test, Michigan ratepayers have shouted there is no such “public desire.”

In fact, there is widespread opposition to mandating forest-denuding biomass and massively expensive solar. But the hottest conflict focused on industrial wind. Michigan wind projects have lost at the ballot box virtually every time they have been put to the vote in a fair manner – and by similar margins.

At the township level, opposition to wind cronyism is just as strong. In Lenawee County, Riga Township rejected wind-friendly zoning by 64-36 percent. Two more Lenawee Townships followed suit. In Huron County, Lake Township removed a wind friendly ordinance by a similar 61-39 percent. And in Clinton County townships are intent on adopting police power regulations for wind energy installations, in defiance of too-permissive county level zoning.

This opposition is strongly bipartisan. Proposal 3 and its miles of wind turbines were opposed by both the free market Americans for Prosperity and Michael Moore movie producer Jeff Gibbs.

The ballot box evidence is clear. Michigan ratepayers from left to right are emphatic that there is no “desire” for mandated and subsidized industrial wind projects, in their backyard or anywhere in the State.

The push for Prop 3 also broke the big utilities’ code of silence on wind inefficacy. MEMJ unwittingly exposed CMS Energy’s duplicity on this issue – observing that CMS praised its new Ludington area wind plant for furnishing “reliable and affordable energy,” even as its public relations surrogate Care for Michigan was calling wind “expensive and unreliable.” Unfortunately for MEMJ, the Care for Michigan version was the truth.

Opponents of renewable energy have long pointed out that wind energy is parasitic – totally dependent on fossil fuels for backup power, with every megawatt of wind power supported by a megawatt of redundant coal or natural gas generating plants. So wind cannot possibly or meaningfully reduce emissions.

But the utilities stood silent. Their beloved existing 10 percent renewable mandate, PA295, restored their monopoly status and guaranteed them nice profits, in exchange for a small number of renewable projects. They were not interested in biting the legislative hand that was (and is) feeding them.

But Prop 3 brought all stick and no carrot for the utilities. They could no longer remain silent. Out came the truth. Wind cannot replace fossil fuel plants. Wind is not getting inexorably cheaper, but is far more expensive than current generation and, minus the huge hidden subsidies, more expensive than new coal. Wind cannot increase employment without costing employment in other industries that get stuck with soaring electricity bills. Wind energy cannot liberate us from foreign oil or from out-of-state coal imports.

What then did our autopsy discover? Michigan renewable energy mandates – including PA295 – are doomed. Because of gluttonous overreach, they will die by their own hand. Politicians need not fear public reprisal for opposing and repealing renewable energy mandates. It is now safe for lawmakers to acknowledge and act on the fact that renewables mandates like PA 295 are of no benefit to ratepayers, employers or employees, and are of dubious benefit to the environment.

Through the failure of Proposal 3, Michigan wind has been dissected and eviscerated by public opinion. The sooner our elected officials zip the death bag shut and send the corpse out for burial, the sooner Michigan can protect its rural areas from needless industrialization and our energy intensive industries from rising electricity costs that compromise their competitive edge.

Other states, and our federal government, should take note.

Received via email

Shale Boom to Turn US Into World's Largest Oil Producer

Benoit Faucon

A shale oil boom means the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer by 2020, a radical shift that could profoundly transform not just the world's energy supplies, but also its geopolitics, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

In its closely watched annual World Energy Outlook, the IEA, which advises industrialized nations on their energy policies, said the global energy map "is being redrawn by the resurgence in oil and gas production in the United States."

The assessment is in contrast with last year, when it envisioned Russia and Saudi Arabia vying for the top position.

"By around 2020, the United States is projected to become the largest global oil producer" and overtake Saudi Arabia for a time, the agency said. "The result is a continued fall in U.S. oil imports (currently at 20% of its needs) to the extent that North America becomes a net oil exporter around 2030."

This major shift will be driven by the faster-than-expected development of hydrocarbon resources locked in shale and other tight rock that have just started to be unlocked by a new combination of technologies called hydraulic fracturing.

According to Washington's Energy Information Administration, U.S. oil production has increased 7% to 10.76 million barrels a day since the IEA's last outlook a year ago. The agency's conclusions are partly backed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which last week acknowledged for the first time that shale oil would significantly diminish its share of the U.S. market.

The group said the U.S. would import less than 2 million barrels a day in 2035, almost three-quarters less than it does today. That is not to say OPEC's role will be marginalized globally. The group's share of global production will increase from 42% today to 50% in 2035, with much of it going to Asia, according to the IEA.

The IEA hinted that newly found U.S. energy independence could redefine military alliances, with Washington being replaced by Asian nations as those needing to secure oil shipping lanes.

"It accelerates the switch in direction of international oil trade towards Asia, putting a focus on the security of the strategic routes that bring Middle East oil to Asian markets," it said.

Some in the U.S. are already questioning the reasons for keeping U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf. "It's insane that we have the Fifth Fleet of the U.S. Navy tied up there to protect oil that ends up in China and Europe," T. Boone Pickens, chief executive of energy-focused hedge fund BP Capital Management, was quoted as saying last week in U.S. magazine Parade.

The IEA also warned that the emergence of shale gas as a game changer in global energy has a downside risk, contributing to increased competition for water resources needed for energy projects.

Shale oil and gas are extracted by pumping water, sand and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to crack rocks open, a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." But the intensive use of water, "will increasingly impose additional costs," and could "threaten the viability of projects" for shale oil and gas, and biofuels, the agency said.


Green Trauma: Enough Energy For 1000 Years As Methane Hydrates Is Tested As Possible New Energy Source

A half mile below the ground at Prudhoe Bay, above the vast oil field that helped trigger construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline, a drill rig has tapped what might one day be the next big energy source.

The Department of Energy and industry partners over two winters drilled into a reservoir of methane hydrate, which looks like ice but burns like a candle if a match warms its molecules.

There is little need now for methane, the main ingredient of natural gas. With the boom in production from hydraulic fracturing (so-called "fracking"), the United States is awash in natural gas for the near future and is considering exporting it, but the DOE wants to be ready with methane if there's a need.

"If you wait until you need it, and then you have 20 years of research to do, that's not a good plan," said Ray Boswell, technology manager for methane hydrates within the DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory.

The nearly $29 million science experiment on the North Slope produced 1 million cubic feet of methane. Researchers have begun the complex task of analyzing how the reservoir responded to extraction.

Much is unknown but interest has accelerated over the past decade, said Tim Collett, a research geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver.

U.S. operators in Alaska, he said, may want to harvest methane so they can re-inject it into the ground. Crude oil is more lucrative than natural gas, which is routinely injected into North Slope fields to maintain underground pressure, which aids in oil extraction.

Japan, Korea, India and China, however, want to cut down on natural gas imports by burning methane. Japan is setting up for a production test on a gas hydrate accumulation in the Nankai Trough south of Honshu, its main island.

"That will be the first marine gas hydrate test anywhere in the world," Collett said.

The Energy Department describes methane hydrate as a lattice of ice that traps methane molecules but does not bind them chemically. They are released when warmed or depressurized.

Methane comes from buried organic matter after it's ingested by bacteria or heated and cooked. The gas migrates upward, under high pressure and low temperature, and can combine with water to form methane hydrate.

Most deposits are below the sea floor off the continental shelf or under permafrost. Shallow pockets of methane hydrate release the potent greenhouse gas into the atmosphere and that process is exacerbated by climate warming.

That's why Brendan Cummings of the Center for Biological Diversity says research money should be poured into renewable resources, not more fossil fuel sources. Methane is 20 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than CO2, though not as long-lived.

"Any exploration activities designed to extract methane hydrates run the risk of unintended consequences, of unleashing the monster," he said. Even if methane is extracted safely, burning it will add to climate warming, he said.

The world has a lot of methane hydrate. A Minerals Management Service study in 2008 estimated methane hydrate resources in the northern Gulf of Mexico at 21,000 trillion cubic feet, or 100 times current U.S. reserves of natural gas. The combined energy content of methane hydrate may exceed all other known fossil fuels, according to the DOE.

Not all is accessible, but high concentrations in permeable rock where there's existing drilling infrastructure would be among early candidates for development. The USGS in 2008 estimated 85 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable gas within methane hydrate deposits on Alaska's North Slope.

It will not be simply dug out of the ground, Boswell said. "One of the basic messages is, we're not mining," he said. "It's using existing drilling techniques."

Methane could be extracted by lowering pressure or increasing temperature in an underground reservoir.

"One of the issues with that, though, is that you are melting the ice, and adding a lot of gas and water to the reservoir, which can compromise the reservoir's strength," Boswell said.

The Alaska research focused on a method aimed at preserving the underground ice structure. The extraction technique was based on studies done by Houston-based ConocoPhillips and the University of Bergen in Norway. Researchers in a laboratory injected carbon dioxide into methane hydrate. CO2 molecules swapped places with methane molecules, freeing the methane to be harvested but preserving the ice.

The DOE worked with ConocoPhillips and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. to see if it would work in the field. They named the North Slope well Ignik Sikumi, an Inupiat Eskimo phrase that translates as "fire in the ice."

Researchers injected 210,000 cubic feet of carbon dioxide and nitrogen into the underground reservoir through perforated pipe. Instruments measured pressure, temperature and produced gases. They tracked injected gases without fracturing the formation.

Scientists collected data from 30 days of methane production, five times longer than anyone had done before. They are now trying to determine if methane produced was from an exchange with CO2, a reaction to the nitrogen, or a reaction to pressure changes down the hole.

Researchers are optimistic.

"From the lab data we had, it seemed like it was some strong evidence that it was not a lot of wholesale destruction of the solid hydrate," Boswell said.



Three current articles below

Green bank won't deliver "clean" energy by 2020

Unless it's backed up by more compulsion

The $10 billion clean energy finance corporation will not deliver additional clean energy by 2020 but will just shuffle renewable energy investment from wind power to solar, new modelling says.

But the modelling found the "green bank" could deliver "bang for its buck" if the government expanded the renewable energy target to apply to the projects it funded.

Two sets of modelling for the WWF and the Australian Solar Council found that, as it is proposed, the green bank's proposed $2 billion a year in investments would drive no additional renewable energy investment by 2020.

But expanding the renewable energy target - which requires electricity providers to source 45,000 gigawatt hours of power from renewable sources by 2020 - could see Australia generate an additional 3 per cent of its electricity from renewables (26 per cent rather than 23 per cent) without any change to government spending and without hitting electricity prices.

The green bank is intended to provide both commercial and subsidised loans to big clean energy projects, but from its inception green groups argued that while the carbon price was still relatively low the projects would also need the additional "leg up" from the ongoing effective subsidy of being included in the government's renewable energy target (RET).

The modelling shows that, if the RET was expanded, both wind and solar photovoltaics would get a boost, substantially reducing emissions.

And it argues that because renewables, especially solar, reduce peak demand and lower wholesale prices, this would offset a slight increase in retail prices from the move - resulting in no net increase for household power bills.

"There is an opportunity for the CEFC to have a greater potentially no additional cost to the public," said WWF climate change manager Kellie Caught.

Chief executive of the Australian Solar Council John Grimes said even though solar would be the winner under current policy settings, it made sense to boost renewables overall.

The modelling will be provided to the Climate Change Authority which is reviewing the RET, with many industry groups and state governments arguing that it should be wound back rather than expanded.

The new modelling came as proponents confirmed the demise of the $1.2 billion Solar Dawn project, which was to begin construction of a 250 megawatt solar thermal power plant near Chinchilla in 2013, after the decision by the new Queensland Government earlier this year to cancel promised state funding.


Renewable energy scheme cost $3.2 billion

The federal government’s solar renewable energy scheme has cost households $3.2 billion over the past two years alone, according to Origin Energy.

At its annual general meeting today, Origin managing director Mr Grant King said the funds could have easily funded a roll-out of smart meters which would help cut electricity use.

"The uncapped nature of the small scale renewable scheme has led to an increased cost of the scheme to customers of about approximately $3.2 billion," he said.

“The $3.2 billion cost of the [scheme] would have allowed most Australians to have smart meters installed.”

The small scale scheme forms part of the federal government’s renewable energy target for at least 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity supply to come from renewable sources by 2020.

Origin estimates renewable energy could supply up to 27 per cent of electricity by 2020.

"This will come at a considerable cost," the chairman Mr Kevin McCann said. "Homes and businesses will bear the cost and are likely to be unaware of that. In addition, there will be technical build and grid impact issues that must be carefully considered."

“I never thought Australia would be in this position where the dysfunctional regulation between state and federal authorities could cost us, for example, the flawed Queensland pricing determination mechanism.”

The cost of complying with the renewable energy scheme was a prime factor in Origin’s profit downgrade at the end of last week. It now expects no profit growth this financial year, which has pushed the company’s shares to 5-year lows.

Origin also attributed the share price slide to a “lack of patience by investors who are concerned whether large resource projects like [Origin’s] APLNG will be on time on or within budget”.

Shareholders expressed concern about the impact of coal seam gas extraction by the company, with one shareholder worried that Origin may become "a modern day James Hardie", in reference to that company’s ongoing asbestos liability.

“We won’t jeopardise our social licence and we certainly don’t want to be a James Hardie,” Mr McCann said. “We have a team of environmentalists working with the government under strict regulations in Queensland. But it is important to note that gas is no longer a transitional fuel."

Shareholder concerns about the lack of geothermal, solar and wind energy production dominated the rest of the meeting.

Mr McCann said investment in renewable energy is not cheap in Australia, although the company is active in overseas countries such as New Zealand and Chile, where it is more competitive.


A scientist's open mind snaps shut

by Tony Thomas

Suzanne Cory AC, FAA, FRS, has been president of the Australian Academy of Science since 2010 and is a distinguished researcher in the molecular genetics of cancer. I interviewed her on climate change for Quadrant (May 2012) and was impressed that she was more open-minded on the controversies about catastrophic human-caused global warming (CAGW) than her authoritarian predecessor Kurt Lambeck.

As I quoted Cory:

“As a professional I’d be happy to talk about cancer but not about climate change… It is really important to allow scientists to seriously question any matter from any perspective. You discover truth by knocking down an hypothesis with new evidence. Scientific debate on climate change is the only way we will improve the science.”

“So the science is not settled?” I asked.

“Exactly,” she replied.

It was therefore disappointing to read her remarks in The Weekend Australian magazine on October 20. Her views on the climate controversies seemed unworthy of her. Maybe the reporter edited out any sensible comments. The published bits of her Good Weekend interview were:

Q: Do you find the lack of scientific literacy in the general community dispiriting?

A: Yes. We have people taking false comfort in alleged cancer remedies and others dismissing climate change research or immunization research as a matter of political opinion. Such poor understanding of current knowledge diminishes all our social debates.

Q: Has the climate change debate politicized science?

A: The media’s pursuit of balance in reporting has meant that a very small minority has been given equal weight to the huge majority. Science is not political. It is a process of observation, hypothesis, challenge and proof, and the science of anthropogenic climate change is very well established.

Cory assumes there is some solid corpus of scientific knowledge called “climate change research”, which would only be challenged by those with “a poor understanding of current knowledge”.

Similarly she refers to “the science” of anthropogenic climate change as being “very well established”. This is equivalent to her saying that “the science” of molecular genetics of cancer is “very well established”, thus skating over the molecular-genetic controversies which I am sure exist in her own discipline (or is the job done?).

Cory has merely set up a straw man to attack. Indeed AGW is well established, and most skeptics agree that human-caused CO2 emissions may well be causing some mild (maybe beneficial), warming.

If Cory were conversant with the actual climate debate, and chose to take sides, she would instead have said that (a) “the credibility of CAGW forecasts” is very well established. She would also have said (b) that “the three-fold feedback impacts on temperature asserted by the climate modellers, consequent on a doubling of atmospheric CO2” is also very well established. These are statements capable of falsification and therefore worth making, in lieu of motherhoodisms.

She taunts anti-consensus climate researchers and aligns them with quacks in other fields in a way I am sure she would not do to any researchers within her own discipline. To Cory, disagreement with her take on climate catastropharianism is “taking false comfort”, or “poor understanding” which “diminishes all our social debates”.

Her argument includes that the media should not give equal weight to “a very small minority” of skeptics, compared with “a huge majority” of warmists. Cory appears to have swallowed the finding of a student M.Sc. thesis that 97% of climate scientists believe in CAGW.[1] Anyone in her medical cancer research field who put out data of such mendacity, would be tarred and feathered by Cory and run out of town on a rail.[2]

Cory ignores the roll-call of American scientists, 31,000 to date, who have rejected the CAGW hypothesis.[3] Even allowing for the credibility issues in all such petitions, there is obviously a reputable and substantial group of her global science peers who do not subscribe to her “climate-majority” views. This formidable body of scholars, she asserts, has “poor understanding”, a la anti-vaccination nuts, and is degrading public debate.

She also seems unaware of her crushing non-sequitur. She argues that the media should respect only the views of the “huge majority” of warmists. Then without pausing for breath she says that “science is not political” but based on “observation, hypothesis, challenge and proof”.

So what is the media meant to do if it comes across scientific findings that, say, Antarctic ice is increasing (despite the globe allegedly warming strongly), that the Roman and Medieval warmings were higher than the 20th century warmings (giving our CO2 warmists an obvious question to answer), or, dare I mention it, that there has been no statistically significant warming for the past 16 years?[4][5][6] Would the President of the Australian Academy of Science prefer that such findings be suppressed by a compliant media?

Cory began her term at the AAS as an unthinking warmist, accepting the fanciful findings of the Raupachs, Karolys and Flannerys as holy writ.[7] [8] [9]A few months ago she appeared to have become more respectful of “the science” as opposed to “the warmism”. But today she’s again a climate dogma devotee. How sad for the Academy.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


12 November, 2012

Demoralized Republicans to allow a carbon tax?

EARLY WEDNESDAY, delivering his victory speech in Chicago, President Obama elevated an issue that had hardly come up during the campaign. “We want our children to live in an America,” he said, “that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

Later that day, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters that climate change is an important issue and that he wants to “address it reasonably” — particularly following big storms in the Northeast that have highlighted rising sea levels and other dangers associated with global warming.

House Speaker John R. Boehner (R-Ohio), meanwhile, spoke about cooperating with Democrats on urgently needed budget reform.

Now if there were just some policy that would reduce carbon emissions and raise federal ­revenue . . . .

A tax on carbon, of course, is that policy, and lawmakers and the president should be discussing it. The idea is to put a simple price on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases — some dollar amount per ton of CO² — that steadily increases at a pre-set rate.

This is the best plan lawmakers can take off the shelf to fight global warming. As an added benefit, it would reduce dependence on imported oil. If businesses and consumers had to pay something for the otherwise invisible costs of their actions — in this case, pollution — they would be more careful. Their combined preferences, not those of Congress or bureaucrats, would determine how to wring carbon out of the economy.

Homeowners might turn down their thermostats or weatherize their windows. Power companies would devise the cheapest ways to reduce the carbon dioxide they emit, without the government ordering them to build this or to refrain from that. At first, they would probably burn more natural gas and less coal, a cheap way to cut lots of emissions quickly. In the long term, the demand for green technologies would expand, and with it private investment.

A carbon tax would make sense regardless of the revenue it would raise. But the policy could bring in serious money. Economists at Resources for the Future, a nonpartisan think tank, estimate that a tax of $25 per ton of CO² would raise $125 billion a year. That’s more than entirely eliminating the tax deduction for mortgage interest. Carbon taxes hit lower-income households hardest, so Congress should rebate some money to consumers. But that would still leave plenty of revenue to make a difference in budget reform.

The federal government needs new, economically efficient streams of revenue, to fund priorities such as scientific research and to narrow the deficit. A carbon tax should be atop the list.


Can Medieval Heat Cool Warming Worries?

A flurry of recent scientific papers has tried to measure the warmth of the “Medieval Warm Period” (MWP) of about 1,000 years ago. Scientists have long debated whether it was cooler or warmer than today, and whether the warmth was global or regional. The point for nonscientists: If recent warming has precedents, some might find it less alarming.

Until the late 1990s, researchers generally agreed that the MWP was warmer than today and that the “Little Ice Age” of 1500-1800 was colder. Then in 2001 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change adopted the “hockey stick” graph devised by Michael Mann at the University of Virginia and colleagues.

Using temperature indicators such as tree rings and lake sediments, the graph rewrote history by showing little warmth in the 11th century and little cold in the 17th, but a sharp spike in late-20th-century temperatures. That graph helped to persuade many people (such as me) that recent temperature rises were unprecedented in scale and speed in at least 1,400 years.

But critics of the graph pointed out that it used a statistical technique that overemphasized hockey-stick shaped data from unreliable indicators, such as tree rings in bristlecone pine trees and Scandinavian lake sediments influenced by 20th-century land-use changes. Four recent studies have now rehabilitated the MWP as a period of unusual warmth, though they disagree on whether it was as warm or warmer than today.

Jan Esper of the University of Mainz and his colleagues looked at pine wood densities from Sweden and Finland and found “evidence for substantial warmth during Roman and medieval times, larger in extent and longer in duration than 20th-century warmth.” Bo Christiansen of the Danish Meteorological Institute and Fredrik Ljungqvist of Stockholm University looked at 32 indicators across the Northern Hemisphere and found the level of warmth during the peak of the MWP “in the second half of the 10th century equaling or slightly exceeding the mid-20th century warming.”

Thomas Melvin of the University of East Anglia and colleagues reanalyzed one of the tree samples from Sweden used in the “hockey stick” and concluded: “We can infer the existence of generally warm summers in the 10th and 11th centuries, similar to the level of those in the 20th century.”

A fourth study of creatures called diatoms in Chinese lake sediments found that the period “between ca. A.D. 1150 and 1200 was the warmest interval of the past 1,000 years.”

Taken together, these studies cast doubt on the IPCC’s conclusion in 2007 that “the evidence is not sufficient to support a conclusion that [Northern] hemispheric mean temperatures were as warm, or the extent of warm regions as expansive, as those in the 20th century as a whole, during any period in medieval times.”

But was the medieval warm period confined to the Northern Hemisphere?

I consulted a database of papers collated by the climate-skeptic website, run by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a nonprofit research center in Tempe, Ariz. The database contains numerous published studies of isotopes and other indicators in caves, lake sediments and other samples from Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and Antarctica that find the MWP warmer than today. Two Antarctic studies, for instance, concluded that current warming “is not yet as extreme in nature as the MWP” and that “the present state of reduced ice on the western Antarctic Peninsula is not unprecedented.” A far smaller number of studies, such as one from Lake Tanganyika, found the MWP cooler than today.

It remains possible that today’s warming is different from that of the Middle Ages. For example, while summers might have been warmer then, winters might be warmer today (if today’s warming is caused by carbon dioxide, that should be true). And of course, it is the future, not the past, that scientists expect to be dangerous. Nonetheless, the evidence increasingly vindicates the scientists who first discovered the Medieval Warm Period.


Unnatural Stupidity

Landed on CNN and they were nattering on about a Global Warming topic. That ‘bit’ was focused on a new Natural Disaster Movie being touted by the maker. It is about glacial melt, mostly, and “global warming” as catastrophe. What caught my attention was a new level of idiocy in the Stupid Meme department. The speaker (that I think was the film maker) while painting a picture (with calving glaciers in the background) of runaway weather and pending doom said “Nature isn’t Natural anymore!!!”

That is one heck of a level of unnatural stupidity, IMHO.

But expect to see it ‘coming around’ as a slogan / talking point in the AlGore “Dirty Weather” campaign....

What interests me out of all this is that such things as movies on “dirty weather” or “unnatural nature” or whatever, have a fairly long lead time to plan and prepare. That means the “meme” has been ‘in the works’ for a while. Which further implies that the folks who were hard pushing “Global Warming” most likely KNEW we were headed into a ‘regime change’ in the weather as the PDO / AMO flip happen and as “global warming” returned to the more storm prone (and colder) patterns of my youth.

The weather NOW is substantially identical to what it was in the 1950s. It is not “dirty weather”, nor is it “unnatural nature”. It is the absolutely natural and consistently historical pattern of weather prior to the warm / stable phase of the PDO that we’ve had for the last 30 years. It is a 60 year cycle, so not all that surprising that the last similar storm to hit the New York / New Jersey area was about 60 years ago. (Though that one was stronger). Similarly, it is absolutely normal that glaciers that had relentlessly ADVANCED during the Little Ice Age would turn around and retreat during the rebound to normal warmth when that Little Ice Age ended. As we are at the end of that period, the retreat would be maximum now. As we enter the next cold phase, they will again advance after the turn is well underway.

So looking at this, it is clear to me that there is a “pattern”. One that says there is an understanding of what are leading and lagging indicators. That there is planning to shift to lagging indicators when an expected cyclical turn happens, and that implies a cynical understanding that this is a ‘put up job’.

No, not by all participants. Many will be “useful idiots” picking up the latest twist and turn of the narrative and parroting it, blissfully unaware of ‘yesterdays story’ and how the narrative has changed. Yet the planners must know. Due to lead time.

There is a small possibility of a ‘synchronous shift’ where the ‘narrative’ is mutated in real time with the weather cycle. That depends on fairly fast cycle times on things like making movies and writing scripts. It would also depend on a certain amount of ‘opportunism’ where, for example, you film a lot of things then ‘fix it up’ in the editing. But that’s a hard way to make a film. So the more likely is a planned and coordinated shift with understanding of what the natural cycle will do.


Secret! Those who made the BBC Green will not be named

Warmism thrives on secrecy, which should tell you most of what you need to know

As expected, the BBC has won its legal battle against blogger Tony Newbery.

Newbery wanted the list of "scientific experts" who attended a BBC seminar at which, according to the BBC Trust, they convinced the broadcaster to abandon impartiality and take a firmly warmist position when reporting climate change. When the Beeb refused to divulge who these people were and who they worked for, Newbery took the corporation to an information tribunal. Now the names and affiliations of the 28 people who decided the Beeb climate stance - acknowledged by the Corporation to include various non-scientists such as NGO people, activists etc - will remain a secret.

The case was heard on Monday and Tuesday last week; the BBC was represented by a team of five, at times six, lawyers, including lead counsel Kate Gallafent, a barrister at Blackstone Chambers. Newbery, who represented himself, was accompanied by his wife. The hearing included cross-examination of the BBC's director of news Helen Boaden.

Newbery had asked for the attendance list in a freedom-of-information request to the BBC some 18 months after the seminar took place in early 2006. He had been struck by a disparity between the BBC Trust's description of the event - "a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts" - and subsequent accounts of the confab, which suggested the 28 invitees included a number of environmental activists and ideologues. Newbery wanted to know how many scientists were there, and what they said that had been so convincing.

The BBC argued that it was able to derogate from the Freedom of Information Act because the seminar was held "for the purposes of journalism" and its attendance list is therefore protected by the law.

And in any case, according to the Beeb's lawyers, the information didn't exist at the time of the request - despite its historic significance: the public-funded broadcaster has statutory obligations, under Royal Charter, to be impartial.

The "purposes of journalism" get-out-clause has been used by the BBC on various other occasions as a cloak to conceal information requested by the public under the act. For example, the corporation has refused to disclose how much tax its commercial operation BBC Worldwide pays in the United States, and its US web traffic numbers, using the "purposes of journalism" catch-all.

The speed of the verdict is a surprise - most deliberations take four to six weeks, but this took a mere ten days. However the verdict itself is less surprising: the Supreme Court earlier this year upheld the BBC's "purposes of journalism" derogation and supported its right to withhold an internal review, dubbed the Balen Report, of its Middle East coverage.

Tribunal judge David Marks QC supported the broadcaster, cut off several avenues of questioning from Newbery, and agreed with the BBC that it can be considered a "private organisation", despite the fact that it is funded by a compulsory tax.

The hostility of lay judge Alison Lowton, one of the three-strong panel, to Newbery was also noticeable - but perhaps understandable. The former director of legal services [PDF] of Camden Council took a six-figure severance package in 2007 when her post was abolished. Camden fought to keep the details of the settlement away from freedom-of-information requests.

The other lay judge, former Haringey councillor Narendra Makanji, appears to have strong views on climate-change skeptics, as he tweeted here this year:

We asked the Information Commissioner's Office how a lay judge with such partisan views on climate change came to oversee hearings so closely coupled to the subject of climate. Campaigning lay judges would not normally be appointed to sit on such a case, a spokesman noted, and concerns would be legitimate grounds for appeal.

Makanji was a councillor from 1982 to 2006 and sits on the boards of various quangos and charities, according to his tribunal service profile [PDF], including the Selby Trust, which makes grants to bodies promoting climate-change issues.

The BBC Trust may have erred in giving the seminar, arranged by Beeb reporter Roger Harrabin and climate activist Joe Smith, such significance. However by a year later, the BBC had an elegant solution before it: in June 2007, the BBC Trust published a report, known as the Bridcut Report [PDF], which grappled with the issue of impartiality. Bridcut agreed that it was impractical and unreasonable for every point of view to be included in every report. However, turning to the topic of climate change, he warned:

"These dissenters (or even sceptics) will still be heard, as they should, because it is not the BBC’s role to close down this debate. They cannot be simply dismissed as "Flat Earthers" or "deniers", who "should not be given a platform" by the BBC. Impartiality always requires a breadth of view: for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space. ‘Bias by elimination’ is even more offensive today than it was in 1926. The BBC has many public purposes of both ambition and merit – but joining campaigns to save the planet is not one of them.

The report was ignored - and in the best tradition of a British bureaucratic establishment under siege, the Beeb simply dug in deeper. Our postbag reflects widespread disquiet from supporters of the BBC about the disparity between its declarations of intent on transparency, and the reality. A refusal to make itself accountable to the citizens only makes political meddling more likely - so by winning an expensive legal battle, it risks losing a rather more important war.

Newbery has told us he is mulling a request to appeal.


Scottish Borders 'on course for 1,000 wind turbines'

A thousand wind turbines are on course to be built in the Scottish Borders thanks to the SNP's "backroom bullying" of the local council to ignore public opposition, it has been claimed.

Campaigners said official figures showed wind farm developers have already built or have planning permission for 403 turbines in the picturesque tourist area.

An additional 418 are in the planning system, either as live applications or appeals, while wind farm companies have started scoping and screening for around a further 200 turbines.

The figures emerged the day after the Daily Telegraph disclosed how SNP ministers are pressurising Scottish Borders Council to allow more wind farms even where they risk reaching "saturation point".

Scottish Government planning officials have asked the local authority to change a new blueprint for the area's future development after complaining of the "negative language" about wind farms.

The council also acceded to another SNP demand to drop proposals for turbine "buffer zones" around castles, abbeys, stately homes and gardens.

Mark Rowley, chairman of Cranshaws, Ellemford and Longformacus Community Council, compiled the total number turbines built and in the pipeline after becoming concerned about the effect on tourism, agriculture and country sports.

He said: "I'm sure the many Borders residents who have made their concerns about oppressive wind farm development known will be shocked to discover that whilst they were openly engaging in the planning process, the Scottish Government was busy behind the scenes bullying the council into consenting more turbines.

"Our residents are clear - they have supported schemes in the past but think enough is enough." Although the local authority's website contains details of wind farm numbers up to March this year, he has compiled figures that include plans lodged up to this month.

Scottish Borders Council is in the process of drawing up a new local development plan (LDP), which will decide which areas are appropriate for new housing, businesses and wind turbines.

One of the first stages was producing a document called a major issues report (MIR), which highlights the most prominent development pressures facing the region.

Correspondence published under the Freedom of Information Act showed the Scottish Government has written to the council attacking the MIR's "negative language" about wind farms and urging it to recognise the "positive benefits".

Anne Grove, a senior planner, wrote: "It is regrettable that the only alternative option suggested is a negative one stating that the Borders landscape is at saturation point for wind turbines."

The council has protested their policies are compliant with national guidelines, but has agreed to consider ministers' views and commission further research before drawing up a final version of the LDP next year.

John Lamont, Tory MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, said: "This correspondence from the Scottish Government just goes to show how ruthless they are being in pursuing their wind farm agenda.

"The SNP are insistent that more and more sites should be given planning permission to help them reach their ludicrous energy targets regardless of the views of local residents."

Ray Porter, an anti-turbine campaigner who lives near the village of Coldingham, said the Borders was in danger of becoming a "turbine landscape".

A Scottish Government spokesman said it was a legal requirement for councils to consult them on emerging development plans and they provide comments when this occurs.


Australia: Future of NSW environment office at risk after cuts

THE Premier, Barry O'Farrell, has refused to guarantee future funding for the Environmental Defender's Office of NSW, the legal agency that represents community groups against developers in environmental disputes.

With reduced funding available only to March, the office has been put on notice while the Attorney-General conducts a review of community legal advice.

The Minister for Energy, Chris Hartcher, has accused the group of helping activist groups hurt the coal and coal seam gas industries as part of a "left agenda to destroy the economy".

When asked if he endorsed Mr Hartcher's views, Mr O'Farrell did not comment. "The Premier supports the comments made last week by the Attorney-General," a spokesman for Mr O'Farrell said.

The Attorney-General, Greg Smith, said no decision had been made about the EDO's future. Most of its funding - about $1.12 million this year - comes from the Public Purpose Fund, based on interest on unclaimed solicitor's fees.

Mr Smith would be concerned if resources were "diverted from those who need it most to other activities, particularly given limited funding and the state of the Public Purpose Fund", a spokeswoman for Mr Smith said.

The environmental office said its staff would have to be reduced from 25 people to just three people if funding was not restored. It denies it is engaged in activism and said most of its cases involved providing legal help to farmers.

"We have had an extraordinary level of support from people in the community since they heard about the threat to cut funding," said the office's executive director, Jeff Smith.

Among supporters is a group of 59 environmental law academics, who have written to the state government asking that the future of the office be guaranteed.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


11 November, 2012

It's all about "the fossil-fuel companies with their unprecedented profits and unbearably overpaid executives and shareholders"

And who says so? Tom Engelhardt says so, our Manhattan Greenie who writes for a Muslim news outlet. Mind you, he's not much of a Greenie if he lives in Manhattan. There's not much rainforest there -- though there are plenty of Orangutans.

He admits that big storm Sandy can't be linked to global warming but he links it anyway. He puts up a big list of bad things that he says are caused by global warming and moans that "nothing is being done" about them. Why? Could it be that there IS no global warming? No. Tom believes and, just as religious men have done at least since Moses in Exodus, he cries "Why won't people BELIEVE?" And Yahveh hasn't yet popped up to help out by visiting boils, frogs and other afflictions on the unbelievers.

But he has an answer to his agonized question: The Lucifer of today is "fossil-fuel companies" who mislead the people into worshipping the Baals of skepticism. But how does Tom know THAT? The fossil fuel companies give far more to Greenies than to anybody else so there must be another source for Tom's insight.

And there is. See the quote heading this comment. The companies are the Devil because they are RICH. It is their money that is unbearable. Tom's envy-fuelled anger has led him to truth. Sure beats the facts! Hate triumphant!

See here. Tom Nelson has a laugh at Engelhardt too.

Coral reef alarmists can't keep their story straight

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is an immense coral structure stretching over more than 1500 miles in a roughly North to South direction. Its corals and fish are beautiful and it is a "must see" for recreational divers.

Because it is so admirable, however, Warmists have long had their beady eyes on it. If they can make a case that global warming is destroying it they see a propaganda victory. It is however peskily resilient so far. When bits get damaged they heal up again. (Diaz-Pulido, 2009; Bellwood, 2006)

But WHAT IF we do finally get the two or more degrees of warming that Warmists regularly predict? Aha! Then the reef will be in trouble, they say.

As I live in the Australian State where the reef is located, I hear rather a lot about the doom hanging over the GBR, with academics from both the University of Queensland and James Cook University huffing and puffing from time to time. Hoagy (Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg) used to be the chief doomster but he mostly seems to be handing over to a younger generation these days.


And, hey presto! Included in my local newpaper that I got yesterday (Nov. 11) was a colour magazine called "QWeekend" which included a big feature on coral. I reproduce the attractive opening page below.

Magazines of this sort seem to be beyond the reach of Google so it is interesting to see what is slipping by the reach of internet users but still lodging in at least the local public consciousness.

And it's a lot of fun. I reproduce below a couple of bits. I rather like this bald assertion (end of excerpt) from a Dr. Matt Lybolt, protege of Fra Pandolf himself: "A sea-level rise is good for reefs".


WHAAT? Panic stations! That is the WRONG thing to say! Any Warmist will tell you that global warming will lead to sea-level rise. So will global warming be GOOD for reefs? Unthinkable! Dr. Lybolt is a very bad boy,

p. 29

So we come to our next excerpt. Lybolt is at it again: "The Great Barrier Reef is not in trouble". He qualifies that statement in a totally confusing way but he is obviously having trouble toeing the party line. That he and his supervisor are Warmists, however, there is no doubt.

I have dealt with Fra Pandolf's nonsense about the effects of human settlement a couple of days ago -- JR


Bellwood, D.R. et al. (2006) "Coral bleaching, reef fish community phase shifts and the resilience of coral reefs" Global Change Biology 12 (9), 1587-1594

Diaz-Pulido, G. et al. (2009) "Doom and Boom on a Resilient Reef: Climate Change, Algal Overgrowth and Coral Recovery" PLoS ONE 4(4): e5239.

Monckton can't keep a straight face

His sense of humour shows even when he is being serious. The following is an open letter that Monckton and some fellow "conspirators" sent to the Reps recently. It is in part a response to a NYT article that begins: "Climate change is accelerating, and it will place unparalleled strains on American military and intelligence agencies in coming years by causing ever more disruptive events around the globe, the nation's top scientific research group said in a report issued Friday"


The Honorable Fred Upton
Committee on Energy & Commerce

The Honorable Ed Whitfield
Subcommittee on Energy & Power

U.S. House of Representatives
2125 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
11 November 2012

Dear Chairman Upton and Chairman Whitfield:

The recent election should be a time to return to fact-based policy making. This is especially true in energy policy.

Last week, a tropical storm intensified by meeting two other storms struck the East Coast. The storm battered the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, devastating portions of New York and New Jersey and resulting in more than 8 million homes losing electricity from the Carolinas to Wisconsin. Experts are projecting $10 bn in damages and lost business.

Hurricane Sandy was a freak storm, not the type of extreme weather event that climate scientists have said will become more frequent and more severe if we fail to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (which is not a pollutant). That is why we are writing to request that you do not hold a hearing on the storm and its very limited relation to climate change in the lame duck session.

Some of us have testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee on several occasions to request that the Committee exercise due caution when hearing rent-seeking scientists and other global warming profiteers who try to exploit every extreme-weather event.

After almost 16 years without global warming, there are still a few who implausibly try to blame this non-existent global warming for causing various weather-related disasters in the past two or three years, and who invite you to hold hearings on it. Commendably, you have not once responded to or even acknowledged their requests.

Global warming that has not actually occurred can scarcely have contributed much to the vast devastation wrought by tropical storm Sandy. So there is no need for you reconsider your approach to vested interests asking you to hold pointless hearings.

For two years, the House of Representatives has realized that global warming is not happening and that the consequences of a decade and a half without any warming can be dismissed without concern. With the election behind us, we will have an opportunity to begin again and give this matter the attention it deserves - none at all. We urge you to seize this opportunity not to hold a hearing during the lame duck session.


(Professor) Fred Singer
(Dr.) Bill Gray
(Dr.) Willie Soon
Monckton of Brenchley

Even the White House isn't green enough for its green regulators

This is from a few months ago but still worth reposting

President Obama's regulatory agenda rarely inspires sympathy, but it does have its lighter moments when you have to feel sorry for the guy: No matter how much running room he gives to his crowd at the Environmental Protection Agency, they can never be happy. Read on for the story of the $1 billion rules, the leaked emails and the green bureaucrats who can't keep the White House on message.

It all started in August 2010, when Speaker John Boehner sent Mr. Obama a letter noting that "major rules" are usually defined as costing the private economy more than $100 million annually-but the Administration had been cooking up regulations that cost 10 times more. Maybe he could get a list of the $1 billion-plus rules on the drawing board?

It took another year, and another request from Mr. Boehner, for the White House to respond with a pro forma, 19-sentence letter: "I agree that it is extremely important to minimize regulatory burdens and to avoid unjustified regulatory costs . . ."

We'll spare you the rest of the boilerplate, though an appendix did list seven rules breaking the $1 billion barrier, four of them from EPA. The total cost for EPA hit $104.5 billion, versus $5 billion for the entire rest of the government.

Acknowledging this reality in print was apparently too much for the EPA, which prefers to hide its damage in the arcana of the Federal Register. According to emails obtained by an outfit called the Center for Progressive Reform, the White House hadn't given the agency a "heads up on this letter." Red alert!

Dan Kanninen, then the EPA's White House liaison, called up to complain. "First," as he later described his dressing-down, "we've spent a great deal of time and energy framing these rules with the public health and environmental benefits, and when and how they are driven by statutory, scientific and legal obligations, which this letter and appendix do not."

In other words, the White House forgot to include the EPA's political agitprop when answering a simple query from Congress. Come to think of it, that is a fairly significant oversight for the Chicago crew.


Shale oil will change global supply, Opec admits

Oil cartel Opec acknowledged the growing importance of unconventional 'shale' oil reserves for the first time on Thursday - as it cut its oil demand forecasts on fears over eurozone growth.

In its annual world oil outlook report, Opec - whose 12 members include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Venezuela - said: "Shale oil represents a large change to the supply picture."

While in previous reports "no significant shale oil contribution to liquids supply was envisaged," this year "a rise in the importance of shale oil is expected", Opec said.

"Resource development is moving rapidly in the US and production has markedly increased."

Opec cut its forecast for demand for its own crude supplies, while forecasting that non-Opec oil supply would grow significantly.

Between 2011 and 2016 non-Opec liquids supply would be boosted by increased output "mainly from shale oil in the US, Canadian oil sands, and crude oil from the Caspian and Brazil".

With Opec supplies also growing, Opec was expected to have crude oil spare capacity in excess of 5mbpd (million barrels per day) "as early as 2013/14".

However it said that future shale oil production was "likely to be beset by several constraints and challenges, such as environmental concerns, questions over the availability of equipment and skilled labour, rising costs and steep well-production declines".

With the "best shale oil plays tapped first", Opec forecast modest shale oil growth beyond 2020, to 3mbpd by 2035.

Opec also used the report to return to a more bearish stance on the eurozone.

Having revised down its medium-term oil demand projections "as the recession unravelled and GDP forecasts were amended down", it had, for the last two years, taken a more positive view of economic recovery due to the "extraordinary monetary and fiscal stimulus that were put in place".

This year, however, there was "growing concern about immediate prospects for economic growth, particularly in the eurozone", Opec said.

It cut 2012 demand forecasts by 820,000 bpd compared with its 2011 report, and cut its 2016 forecast by more than 1mbpd on last year's prediction.

"Over the period 2011-2016, OECD oil demand declines each year, having peaked in 2005," it said.


British cities resort to incinerating millions of tons of "recycled" household rubbish

Millions of tons of household rubbish was burned instead of recycled by councils last year, new figures revealed yesterday.

The amount sent to incinerators shot up by almost a quarter - while the amount sent for recycling went up by barely a single percentage point.

The burning boom means millions of families who have been forced to cope with fortnightly collections, rubbish rationing and wheelie bin fines in the name of saving the environment now have to live with the pollution risks of incinerators.

A report from the Environment Department admitted the amount of rubbish being recycled by town halls is `levelling off' and that the amount of rubbish kept out of landfill is still far short of targets set by the European Union.

Britain faces large fines from Brussels if councils are burying more than half of all the rubbish they collect in landfill sites by 2020.

The leap in incineration follows the imposition of fortnightly collections - compulsory recycling schemes in which general refuse is collected only once a fortnight and those who break the rules face draconian fines - on half the homes in the country since 2005.

The fortnightly schemes proved highly unpopular, so councils have been attempting to bring in alternatives, including straightforward limits on the amount of non-recycling rubbish they will collect from homes, and complicated `slopbucket' schemes in which food waste is collected separately from other refuse.

But even as the compulsory recycling schemes were brought in, the rate of increase in the amount of rubbish recycled was slowing, DEFRA's figures showed.

But it added that `an increase in incineration may have partly accounted for the change in landfill.'

The amount of rubbish collected by councils in England and sent to incinerators went up in a year by nearly a million metric tonnes, from 3,975,000 tonnes to 4,878,000 - a 22.7 per cent increase.

Waste sent to incinerators has now more than doubled in 10 years.

Confirming the rise in the burning of rubbish in electricity-generating incinerators last year, the report said: `Generating energy from waste is preferable to landfilling, albeit less so than recycling.'

By contrast, the amount of rubbish recycled went up from 10,588,000 tonnes to 10,712,000, a rise of just 124,000 tonnes, or just over one per cent.

In the past five years of voter anger over bin collection cutbacks, the amount of waste recycled has gone up by only just over 10 per cent, the figures showed.

DEFRA's report said of recycling, which now accounts for 43 per cent of household waste: `This year on year increase was the smallest for 10 years; the rate of increase has been slowing since its peak around 2005, which could indicate that local authorities have by now exploited the easiest targets in terms of recycling, and are increasingly facing challenges in influencing behaviour change and identifying new areas and efficiencies in the waste services they provide.'

It added: `Incineration increased by around one quarter from the previous year.

It is difficult to determine if this increase in incineration reflects any long term change in approach local authorities have taken in their choices on waste treatment options.'

The introduction of fortnightly collections and other bin restrictions was introduced in the name of hitting green targets and reducing carbon emissions.

The DEFRA report said that incineration and landfill together were responsible for the emission of 2.7 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent last year.

Critics of compulsory recycling said they feared new and draconian measures to force householders and families to put out less rubbish.

Doretta Cocks of the Campaign for Weekly Waste Collections said: `The whole fortnightly collection exercise has been completely pointless, except as a way for them to save money by cutting back on services to the public.

`The only worry now is what they will do next. There is already talk from some people that fortnightly collections are not enough, and there should be monthly collections.'

Environment Minister Lord de Mauley said: `More still needs to be done and we continue to push towards our aim of a zero waste economy, with businesses, councils and householders all doing their bit.'

Clyde Loakes of the Local Government Association, the umbrella body for councils, said: `Councils will always recycle where they can, but it remains the case that not all black bag rubbish can be recycled or reused in a practical or affordable way.

`Incinerating waste which can't affordably be recycled saves money by avoiding landfill taxes. It also generates energy and produces fewer carbon emissions than sending the equivalent waste to landfill.'




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


9 November, 2012

Tell me the old old story about wicked mankind and coral reefs

I have been hearing the story at the bottom of this post all my life (and I am now in my 70th year) but it has remained just theory. At least global warming gets a rest this time, I suppose.

If someone measured agricultural runoff and correlated coral damage with it, I might believe it -- but there are no such studies. And I think I know why. At least a third of the Great Barrier Reef runs alongside Cape York Peninsula, which has no significant agriculture -- and there are changes in the reef there too.

Note that the data for the study below was from one small island -- while the reef is 1500 miles long! They don't call it the "Great" barrier reef for nothing. And Pelorus is actually a popular diving spot for coral reef exploration so is anything but blighted! I shouldn't laugh.

I wonder what Hoagy (Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg), Australia's no.1 coral doomster, has got to say about this? He seemed to fall into a depression for a couple of years when his own research showed that coral reefs bounce back rapidly from damage but he has started squeaking up again lately. But his evasiveness shows what slime he is.

While I am talking about it, I might as well mention another recent bit of alarmism headed "Coral recovery may not herald the return of fishes on damaged coral reefs" by Bellwood et al. That sounds pretty alarming, does it not? In fact it's just Bellwood's attempt to ingratiate himself with the alarmists. The paper is essentially a reprise of an earlier paper with some awkward findings. Let me quote:
"We found no decrease in diversity, richness or abundance in reef fishes over the 12-year study period. Indeed, as in most previous studies, the three main metrics, species richness, diversity (H0) and total abundance showed no response to a major disturbance (in this case the 1998 coral bleaching event).

So what gives? What Bellwood actually found was that a disturbance altered the *makeup* of the fish community. Some species became relatively more abundant and other species less so. And overall there were MORE fish! Not quite what you might expect from his more recent heading!

You have to feel rather sorry for scientists who are under such pressure to be "correct" but it is a pity that truth tends to get lost in the process
The influx of Europeans to Australia had a catastrophic effect on the Great Barrier Reef as far back as 90 years ago, before tourism and climate change made an impact, new research claims.

A study found that run-off of pesticides and fertiliser from farms near the Queensland coast clouded the waters of the reef, killing off its natural coral and drastically changing its ecology.

The change was disastrous for many of the animal species that lived in the reef, and for the nearby coastline since the native species had weakened the surf as it came crashing in from the Pacific Ocean.

The study, published yesterday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, suggests that humans had disrupted the ecology of the Great Barrier Reef decades before climate change and reef tourism.

'There was a very significant shift in the coral community composition that was associated with the colonisation of Queensland,' study co-author John Pandolfi of the University of Queensland told LiveScience.

The European colonisation of Queensland began in the 1860s, with settlers hacking down forests to make space for farming. By the Twenties, rivers were pouring huge quantities of fertiliser and pesticides into the ocean.

To find out the impact that this early European colonisation had on the Great Barrier Reef, Professor Pandolfi's team drilled sediment cores 6.5 to 16.5ft deep into the reef off Pelorus Island, off the Queensland coast.

The professor told LiveScience that when coral dies, new coral sprouts on the skeletons and ocean sediments eventually bury them in place. The story of the reef can thus be reconstructed by dating the sediment layers.

The team found that for a millenium prior to the arrival of the European colonists, the reef was dominated by the massive, three-dimensional Acropora coral.

This species grows up to 16ft high and 65ft across, forming a labyrinthine network of nooks and crannies for marine life to inhabit, Professor Pandolfi said. 'They're like the big buildings in the city, they house a lot of the biodiversity,' he told LiveScience.

However, from the Twenties onwards, the impact of humans on the environment began to stifle the Acropora and sometime before the mid-Fifties it had stopped growing altogether - replaced by a slow-growing, spindly coral called Pavona.

The University of Queensland team believes that the polluted run-off from the new farms over time clouded the pristine waters off the coast, poisoning the native species. They also believe that same pollution fed an algae that smothered the native coral species' attempts to regenerate.

Several recent studies have shown that climate change and snorkellers have proved catastrophic for coral, with one finding that half the Great Barrier Reef has died off in the past 50 years.

But Professor Pandolfi and his colleagues' findings suggest that man has been damaging that reef and others for much longer than previously thought. The professor, however, says his work also suggests that the problem has a straightforward solution - reduce polluted run-off into the ocean.

'Any kind of measures that are going to improve the water quality should help those reefs to recover,' he added.


Green Energy Policy Is Threatening Europe’s Industrial Base

Europe’s ability to compete against the US as a manufacturing centre is being damaged by rising energy costs as North America benefits from cheap natural shale gas, Germany’s biggest companies have warned.

The energy cost advantage for US companies is rising and is expected to persist until at least 2020, according to the BDI, the German industry lobby group.

German industrial companies such as Bayer and BASF are among the those alarmed over the gap.

Some executives fear a growing divide between European and US energy costs could see energy-intensive manufacturers divert investments that might have gone into Europe to the US instead.

Harald Schwager, the member of BASF’s executive board responsible for Europe, told the Financial Times: “We Europeans are currently paying up to four or five times more for natural gas than the Americans … Of course that means increased competition for all the European manufacturing sites.”

BASF, the German chemicals company, recently converted its steam-cracker in Texas to run on shale gas and says its production complex in Louisiana – where it is building a formic acid plant – is very competitive.

Marijn Dekkers, the chief executive of Bayer, the German drugs and plastics maker, also told the Financial Times: “Energy costs in Europe and Germany in particular will continue to rise. That will have an effect on the competitiveness of several sectors.”

In a report to be published in coming days, the BDI forecast US natural gas prices would remain at €16 per ­megawatt hour (MWh) until 2020 – some 40 per cent less than the last peak, around €25 in 2008.

In contrast, German gas prices will rise from €48 per MWh to €61, an increase of 27 per cent by the end of the decade.

Compounding German industry’s fears is chancellor Angela Merkel’s plan to phase out nuclear power by 2022 and replace it with renewable energy sources, which companies say could drive a bigger transatlantic divergence in electricity prices.

The BDI’s projection, put together by BCG, the consultancy, says electricity prices for German industrial users will rise from €90 per kWh today to €98 or even €110 in 2020. US prices are expected to rise only from €48 to €54 in the same period.


European companies announce 10,000 job losses

Largely "Green"

Leading European companies announced job losses totalling more than 10,000 on Wednesday, underlining the scale of problems facing the continent's manufacturers.

Vestas, the world's largest wind turbine manufacturer, said 2,000 jobs would be cut after it posted an almost doubling of pre-tax losses in the face of falling prices and fierce competition from China.

Some of those jobs could be in the UK, where 500 jobs are also likely to go at Maltby coalmine in south Yorkshire after its owner, Hargreaves Services, declared it unsafe.

Mobile telecoms equipment maker Ericsson said it would cut 1,550 jobs – nearly 10% of its staff in Sweden – blaming weakness in global demand for falling exports. Elsewhere garden equipment maker Husqvarna cut 600 jobs and German steel company Klöckner axed 1,800.

In finance, the Dutch bank ING said it was laying off 2,350 people and a German newspaper reported that Commerzbank, the country's second biggest lender, might cut between 5,000 and 6,000 jobs. Commerzbank declined to comment, ahead of its financial results on Thursday.

The Vestas cuts underline the crisis in the renewable energy sector and will reduce its workforce to 16,000 by the end of 2013 from nearly 23,000 just a year ago.

The green energy sector has been hit by increasing uncertainty over government subsidy levels globally while facing a drop in prices caused by new competition from low-cost countries such as China.

Ditlev Engel, the Vestas chief executive, unveiled the latest cutbacks as he reported a pre-tax loss of €158m (£126m) for the third quarter compared with €83m for the same period of 2011.

The cuts would be made through asset divestments and retrenchments in various markets. Asked whether they would include the Isle of Wight, where the Danish-headquartered company has a research and development arm, Engel said: "I am not going to say that there are not going to be any." But he indicated they would be relatively small and achieved by natural wastage rather forced redundancies.

Vestas said it had already faced serious challenges in 2012 and had to position itself for a "tough" 2013, with a previously-buoyant US market going into decline. The company, which closed a manufacturing plant on the Isle of Wight three years ago and this year abandoned plans to build a new turbine building plant at the port of Sheerness in Kent, said it still had hopes for the UK wind market despite negative comments about onshore wind from new energy minister John Hayes and uncertainty over coalition clean energy policies.

"The industry is concerned that there will be an investment gap as one [industry support] mechanism is phased out and another phased in … Our clients [windfarm developers] do need to be confident about [the] long term."

Engel was careful not to criticise Hayes or vocal Tory backbench wind sceptics but emphasised that the UK had "fantastic [wind] resources" comparable to Denmark. "I can only say when I look at wind opportunities in the UK and Denmark that we [Denmark] have 50% of electricity coming from wind by 2020," he added.

Vestas is preparing itself for subsidies such as the US production tax credit for wind power being cut even though the subsidy worth $1bn a year has had the support of the newly-elected Barack Obama.

The uncertainty surrounding the tax credit decreased General Electric's energy infrastructure revenues by 5% in the third quarter as wind turbine sales dropped in the third quarter.

Earlier this week Keith MacLean of the SSE power company, which is developing UK offshore farms, told the FT the UK government had introduced an "unnecessary investment freeze" by trying to change the way it subsidised low-carbon energy.

Siemens is one of the few turbine manufacturers to have taken an offshore order in Britain over the past year while solar companies are furious about coalition cutbacks in the feed-in tariff.


Losing their religion as evidence cools off

ONCE upon a time when Christendom was at its peak, missionaries would be dispatched to the four corners of the globe in search of converts. They believed their mission would expand the influence of Rome and save heathens from eternal damnation.

It was a compelling message. Convert and enjoy everlasting life in the hereafter. The advantage the missionaries had was that the religion they taught had no hypotheses that could be tested. Death - "the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns" - meant that the afterlife could be neither proved nor disproved. Faith was the only thing needed.

Climate science is a bit like that - push the rewards and the catastrophes far enough into the future, and have faith that the prophecies will come true. However, unlike heaven, which we may reach at any time, climate prophecies need to be distant enough to make them hard to challenge yet sufficiently close to generate urgent action.

So when in 1969 Paul Ehrlich claimed because of global cooling it was an even-money bet whether England would survive until the year 2000, he could not immediately be proven wrong. After all, this was a cooling period.

Unfortunately for him, England is still inhabited and his predictions are still remembered. Ehrlich is now a warmist. Like a good stock analyst, when the company doesn't perform as you thought, better to change the recommendation from a sell to a buy, than admit you were wrong.

When Mother Nature decided in 1980 to change gears from cooler to warmer, a new global warming religion was born, replete with its own church (the UN), a papacy, (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and a global warming priesthood masquerading as climate scientists. Selfish humans in rich, polluting countries were blamed for the warming and had to pay for past trespasses by providing material compensation to poor nations as penance. Cutting greenhouse gas emissions became the new holy grail. With a warm wind at their backs, these fundamentalists collected hundreds of billions of dollars from naive governments that adopted their faith on behalf of billions of people. No crusader was ever so effective.

The message was stark. If the non-believers didn't convert immediately, our children and grandchildren would face a hell on earth. The priesthood excommunicated and humiliated sceptics and deniers. Alternative views were not tolerated and, where possible, were suppressed. Did someone mention the dark ages?

Because the new arrangements would distort capital allocations, disciples wrote economic texts showing how inefficient, productivity-sapping and costly green industries would actually boost economic activity and employment.

Unfortunately, the cost of saving the planet would fall disproportionately on the poor. This wealth transfer to the rich was unavoidable and, if the poor or the infirm died of cold or heat because they could not afford airconditioning, they would simply be martyrs to the cause. In any case, who could they appeal to? All political parties had signed up to the new religion.

But, self-deluded by the warming period and their confirmatory bias, the priesthood was overtaken by hubris and made increasingly extravagant claims. We were advised that Armageddon was now even closer at hand.

Regrettably for the global warming religion, its predictions have started to appear shaky, and the converts, many of whom have lost their jobs and much of their wealth, are losing faith. Worse, heretic scientists have been giving the lie to many of the prophecies described in the IPCC bible. They could not be silenced.

Of course, the IPCC texts can be interpreted in different ways and sceptics have obviously chosen the wrong interpretation.

When atmospheric temperatures on which we had relied failed to comply with the prophecies, the waverers were instructed to look at ocean temperatures and rising sea levels.

So far, so good. However, the British arm of the climate establishment silently released an encyclical that revealed no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures from the beginning of 1997 until August this year.

This communique was unearthed by the heretic newspaper, the Daily Mail, which pointed out that this period was of about the same duration as when temperatures rose between 1980 to 1996.

Of course, the religious high priests were quick to play down the significance of this pause. Phil Jones of the Climategate denomination claimed it was to be expected and, he insisted, 15 or 16 years is not a significant period.

Yet in 2009 he said that a "no upward trend has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried". But that was then and this is now and he is not about to lose his religion simply because the evidence doesn't support the text.

And, of course, there are always extenuating circumstances. El Nino and La Nina are there when you need them, to be forgotten when temperatures are warming or remembered if they are cooling. And, we've had a record Arctic melt. But better not mention the storm that NASA concedes broke the ice up and drove it south, or the record Antarctic ice gain.

Rather we must listen to Australia's Climate Change Commission novitiates who, against the evidence, have delivered a parable linking Superstorm Sandy to global warming.

At least the media disciples are keeping the faith by emphasising what supports the gospel and, where possible, omitting that which doesn't. New, corroborative revelations enjoy widespread publicity. If the same findings are later retracted for lack of scientific rigour, they are simply allowed to disappear without comment.

Yet despite all, believers in man-made global warming are declining. It will require an extraordinary crusade presaging even direr climate consequences for defying the warmist faith, before defectors even contemplate rejoining the religion. If that fails it may be time to burn sceptics at the stake. But then that would increase CO2 emissions. A dilemma, to be sure.


Green Madness: Britain’s Unilateral Carbon Targets May Cost £330 Billion By 2030

Britain will need to invest 330 billion pounds in its energy sector, excluding networks, by 2030 and return its economy to growth to meet carbon emissions reduction targets, the London School of Economics said in a report on Thursday.

Britain aims to cut carbon emissions by 34 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050, but does not have a binding target for 2030.

The investments are needed to build new power plants, retrofit existing ones with carbon-reduction technology and to limit energy demand.

"The key question will be how do we attract pension funds, which are one source of capital, and generally the financial sector, being banks and insurance companies, to join the market?" said Volker Beckers, chief executive of RWE npower, which commissioned the report.

He said only around 30-40 percent of the investment can be covered by balance sheets and project finance of British energy companies, leaving the lion's share of money needed to other investors.

Experts have forecast Britain's energy investments at 200 billion pounds until 2020.

A separate report showed on Wednesday that Britain's power grid alone needs a yearly investment of 1.6 billion pounds to connect renewable energy.

If Britain wants to reach its long-term climate change targets, it also needs to return to stable economic growth and the eurozone debt crisis has to be resolved, the LSE said.

This scenario is one of three pathways the report outlines, setting out the most optimistic option for Britain's energy system, but also the most expensive one.

"It involves a financial services sector in good health, that has not only recovered sufficiently to channel higher levels of inward investment and to attract international investment in the UK," the LSE said in its report.

The school estimates that by 2030 around 67 gigawatts (GW) of power plants in Britain will be a mixture of gas plants fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology (10 GW), traditional fossil fuel plants (40.5 GW) and nuclear power stations (16.5 GW).

This will be paired with around 50 GW of renewable energy capacity, such as wind and solar farms.

The two alternative scenarios paint a more gloomy outlook for economic growth, with a gas-focused option predicting return to economic growth from the early 2020s and an austerity scenario forecasting anaemic growth until 2030.

Under neither of these circumstances would Britain meet its carbon reduction targets and investments coming forward would be tighter at 180 billion and 130 billion, respectively.


Some out of date tokenism

AUSTRALIA will sign up to a second commitment to the Kyoto protocol, ahead of what the Gillard government expects will be a comprehensive global emissions agreement taking effect in 2020.

Signing the first Kyoto protocol was one of the first acts of the Labor government in December 2007, following John Howard's reluctance to back the agreement.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet told a carbon expo in Melbourne on Friday that Australia was "ready to join a second commitment period" of the protocol, which is to be discussed at global climate talks in Doha in December.

But the protocol - which covers less than 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and only from developed nations - was not enough on its own, he said.

Australia will continue to push for a more comprehensive agreement, to be concluded by 2015, and take action through such measures as carbon pricing.

"From 2020 we expect all countries - including the United States, the European Union, China, Japan, India, Indonesia and South Korea - will be part of a new agreement to reduce emissions," Mr Combet said. "This will bring all countries onto the same legal platform to reduce emissions."

Without taking action to reduce emissions, the Australian economy would face a "severe economic shock" from 2020 and it was better to tackle it now.

The Kyoto protocol was the first global treaty to set binding obligations on countries to cut emissions.

It also created the world's first global carbon market spanning developed and developing countries and the private sector.

It establishes a set of rules and accounting procedures for emissions, and the Kyoto market mechanisms help developed countries meet their commitments and developing countries access clean technology.

Australia's preparedness to join a second commitment period relied on a continuation of the existing land sector rules and access to the Kyoto market mechanisms from January 1, 2013, Mr Combet said.

If these conditions were met in Doha, Australia would take on an emissions reduction target for the Kyoto protocol's second commitment period consistent with the bipartisan commitment to cut emissions by five per cent below 2000 levels by 2020.

There also was the potential to increase this target to 15 or 25 per cent, depending on the scale of global action, Mr Combet said.

Signing the protocol would not affect the liabilities of companies covered under the carbon price which started on July 1.

Rather, it would give businesses greater certainty of access to international carbon markets and provide new opportunities for carbon farming.

In his speech, Mr Combet criticised the Australian Greens and the opposition, saying Labor had been committed to climate action since "before the Greens existed" and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had "wilfully deceived" people over carbon pricing.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


8 November, 2012

Current Climate Changes Are Normal: It’s Time The Media Got the Story Correct

by Dr. Tim Ball

Challengers to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) science of global warming and later climate change were rewarded with illogical, personal attacks, not answers. Most, especially the media, never investigated questions challengers asked or considered contradicting facts they presented. Challengers were always questioned about qualifications, funding or political affiliations. Questions never asked of members and supporters of the IPCC.

Challengers were called global warming skeptics even though they acknowledged warming but showed it was not due to CO2. They also pointed out that all scientists must be skeptics. They were called climate change deniers when they knew climate changes and educated anybody who would listen how much and how often. The media never even investigated why the IPCC changed from Global Warming to Climate Change.

Bloomberg Business News cover page headline about the storm Sandy that hit New York says, “It’s Global Warming, Stupid.” This is a candidate for one of the most ill-informed, misleading, headlines. Apparently they, like most of the media, are so blinded by political bias they neglect to check facts. They know the public, especially those with similar political persuasion, don’t understand that;

* the world hasn’t warmed since 1997;

* the storm, Sandy, that triggered the headline wasn’t unusual in the historic record;

* the intensity of the storm was amplified by cold arctic air brought in by the Jet Stream a factor that was ignored because warm is the default bias;

* and weather patterns are well within natural climate variability, which is far greater and more rapid than most understand.

Sandy occurred mostly New York State so its history is telling. Only 8000 years ago New York State emerged from under the massive ice sheet that covered two-thirds of North America just 18,000 years ago. There were similar large ice sheets in Europe and Asia.

Water removed from the oceans to build the glaciers lowered sea level by 140 m. It has risen by that amount since and the rate of rise has leveled.

The graph shows how much temperature changes naturally with a range of 12°C and dramatic swings. These are greater when you understand that a 70 year smoothing average is applied. This equates to using a single temperature for the last 70 years. Which 70 years would the media choose as ‘better’ than today. Think of recent cold winters and consider whether it was better. The world was almost as warm as today for a fraction of the last half million years.

For most of the last 10,000 years the world was warmer than today: a period variously known as the Climatic Optimum, the Hypsithermal and now the Holocene Optimum. It is recorded in the Greenland ice core.

On average it was 3°C warmer than today for most of the 10,000 years. Further tangible evidence of warmth is the existence of a fossilized white spruce photographed and radiocarbon dated at 4949 before present (BP) by Professor Ritchie. (indicated on the ice core chart.).

It is important to note the existence of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the more recent Little Ice Age (LIA) on the right side of the graph. Through the work of Michael Mann and others at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of East Anglia and given prominence in the 2001 IPCC Report the MWP was eliminated. Phil Jones, another CRU and IPCC author, determined the up turn in temperatures after the LIA was more and faster than any in the natural record and proof of human CO2 influence. Compare that claim with the remainder of the Greenland and Antarctic ice core records. Compare it with the fluctuations in the modern record from 1750.

None of those temperature records are driven by CO2. In each the temperature increases before the CO2 contradicting the fundamental assumption of the IPCC . The modern record shows a similar pattern with natural and human CO2 production. In the twentieth century temperature increased the most from 1900 to 1950 but human production of CO2 was lower. Production increased dramatically after WW II, but temperatures declined.

They increased from 1980 to 1998 and the IPCC exploited this as proof of global warming. They claimed the 1990s was the warmest decade ever and was the result of increasing CO2 from human activities. Then in 2000 the wheels fell off – CO2 continued to increase but temperatures stopped increasing. Instead of acknowledging their hypothesis was wrong because their predictions were wrong and the evidence didn’t match their claims the IPCC moved the goalposts from global warming to climate change. The biased media were easily duped, asked the wrong questions or no questions at all and attacked those who did. They didn’t consider the historic context or ask what caused the changes because they didn’t know that climate changes all the time and current changes are natural. Would somebody please tell them?

More HERE (See the original for links, more graphics)

Climate skeptic called a pedophile -- despite sweeping exoneration in court

John O'Sullivan writes:

HuffPo duly obliged by running an attack piece by Brendan DeMelle on yours truly based on “evidence” submitted in a sworn affidavit from one of Mann’s loyal supporters. I was singled out for a vicious attack after the story that I literally wagered my house on Ball beating Mann went viral. HuffPo’s “evidence” was gleaned from an affidavit submitted by Andrew Skolnick, a disgraced [fired by the AMA] former editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), to the B.C. Supreme Court.

But neither DeMelle or HuffPo did any proper due diligence on Skolnick. They were so impressed by his bogus affidavit claim to be a “Pulitzer Prize nominee” they simply swallowed whole his pack of lies. And why wouldn’t they – it was all in Skolnick’s sworn Canadian court affidavit for Mann’s team so it must be true right? Wrong.

Skolnick is no less a perjurer than Mann. The most sickening part of HuffPo’s attack piece was the (already officially discredited) lie that I unlawfully misrepresented my legal credentials in Canada, plus the inference I was a pedophile (disproved by a full official UK Govt. investigation). But even when the New York County Lawyers Association came out to denounce HuffPo’s misrepresentations with evidence in my defense, no retractions were made. But to anyone up on the law it is very obvious I would face criminal prosecution if I’d falsely represented myself as a licensed attorney.

But as we have seen so often with these pro-green radicals, their mission isn’t to gauge the veracity of the evidence, it’s simply to wound their target with lots of cheap shots and innuendo. Skolnick’s “pedophile” slur relies heavily on newspaper cuttings from 2004 from a time when I was working as a schoolteacher. I had been arrested, tried and then acquitted on six criminal counts involving a teenage girl in my care. Naturally, such a salacious story had initially filled the British national press and, up till the surprise verdict, I was certainly painted as a violent pedophile.

But as we have learned from media coverage about global warming, the truth is often very different from what is portrayed in the mainstream press. Yes, I was accused of some awful crimes. Yes, even being accused is very damaging not just to me, but to my family, especially my young son and daughter. But I wasn’t a quitter. I mounted my own defense and I set out to prove that the key physical “evidence” against me, a transcript of a secretly recorded conversation between the girl and me, had been faked. In a three-day ordeal by public trial I exposed the lies of the prosecutor and his witnesses. A verdict of “not guilty” was handed down on all charges within 30 minutes. All this is on court record.

Just as with the Mann lawsuits versus Ball and others, in my story we find eerie parallels of evidence abuse and fake claims made from authority. Unbeknown to me the girl had taped the conversation I had with her at the time of the alleged “attack.” In my case the court was urged to accept on police and Crown Prosecution authority that the transcript they provided of the girl’s secret tape recording was a reliable and true record. In it’s submissions, the only evidence the prosecutor wanted the court to examine was their carefully prepared transcript, not the secret tape recording itself. However, I fought for my rights until I was granted a full courtroom examination of the tape,too.

Given access to listen to the tape I prepared my own transcript and presented it to the court alongside the prosecutor’s version. Thereby everyone present in the court could verify for themselves the reliability of each transcript by comparison to the tape recording as it was played out repeatedly to a stunned court. Such is how the truth is uncovered. No evidence should be kept secret under lock and key and no authority can be assumed to be always faithful to the truth.

Against the odds I succeeded in forcing the Crown Prosecution Service to comply with the rules of evidence to ensure a full, fair and open examination of ALL the evidence. Widespread shock and outrage ensued when the prosecutor’s transcript was shown to be so riddled with omissions and bogus added dialog (damning words not heard on the tape) that such “mistakes” all somehow favored the prosecutor’s case and/or harmed my own. Angry voices at the back of the court could be heard that, in legal parlance, accused the prosecution of succumbing to noble cause corruption. In the fifteen minutes it took for the court to hear the tape recording the case against me had unraveled and the girl exposed as a liar.

Of course, the British tabloids, always keen to get their teeth into a salacious story had already done the damage to my reputation. The press has never had a good track record when it comes to putting right their mistakes. It seems the same goes for the HuffPo.

Upon my full acquittal a full internal police inquiry ensued and I prepared for a long legal battle to claim damages. Soon my case was used by civil rights activists as evidence for a change in English law so that schoolteachers accused of child sex offenses should have their identities kept anonymous, unless found guilty.

Moreover, medical evidence that could have proven the girl was mentally ill was never allowed to be presented at trial. No press stories ever appeared about my complete vindication or the exposure of the police and prosecution conspiracy. The case was virtually “sanitized” from the Internet. But a year later the matter was eventually settled out of court in my favor. The Secretary of State for Education completely exonerated me and contrary to Skolnick’s lies, I could resume teaching any time I wanted. But because of my change in financial circumstances I chose not to.

It is from such personal experience that private individuals become inspired to fight government corruption. This is how I first became immersed in the Climategate scandal. I wanted to be a champion for climate truth and, as they say, eventually “the truth will out!” Now, I sense another legal victory coming. When it happens I hope to see criminal prosecutions against those climatologists that knowingly engaged in the conspiracy to falsify data to bolster a concocted narrative. Fraudsters who peddled the lie of catastrophic man-made global warming should also pay for such “noble cause corruption.”

More HERE (See the original for links)

Climate scientists’ “consensus” based on a myth

Doran/Zimmerman global warming poll a tragic example of research gone wrong

It’s a “fact” asserted by political leaders, media and activists worldwide. Important public policy and corporate decisions are based on it. Researchers and public opinion survey coordinators take it as a given. School children and college and university students are assured it is true.

It is the idea that scientists agree that we are causing climate catastrophe. It is perhaps best summed up by the following statement, one heard often over the past three years:

“97% of climate experts agree that humanity is causing dangerous global warming and other problematic climate change because of our greenhouse gas emissions.”

No poll of experts has actually shown this. There has never been a reputable worldwide survey of climate scientists that has even asked the question. In fact, it has never even been demonstrated that there is any “global scientific consensus about the climate crisis”, as Al Gore continually assures us that there is.

This is simply one more of the many urban legends that permeate the climate debate, myths that are costing societies across the world billions of dollars every year.

Two pieces of evidence are most often cited to support the 97%/consensus argument:

* A 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS) by Anderegg et al.

* A poll conducted in April 2008 by Professor Peter Doran and then-graduate student Margaret R. K. Zimmerman at University of Illinois at Chicago. The survey results were summarized in a paper published in January 2009 in the science journal EOS.

Contrary to popular belief, the Anderegg et al study did not poll any experts at all. Instead, the paper’s authors merely evaluated the publication record of scientists they chose to represent two sides in the global warming debate. This study has been roundly condemned as worse than useless by several authors and, because I was personally involved in assembling some of the lists of experts cited by the researchers and so understand the limitations of those lists, I will explain in a future FCPP blog posting why the Anderegg et al study is not a meaningful indicator of expert opinion about this topic.

The Doran/Zimmerman study, which did poll experts, has also been thoroughly debunked by many writers and so there is little point in repeating their criticisms in this blog posting. However, there are two problems with the study that have received little or no coverage to date. Both of these problems destroy the poll’s credibility as a reliable measure of the stance of climate scientists on the supposed climate crisis.

1). First, to be included in the final list of 77 climatologists (75 of whom, or 97%, answered yes to Doran and Zimmerman’s ambiguous question about the causes of climate change (see below)) scientists must have published at least 50% of their peer-reviewed publications in the last five years on the subject of climate change. This means that a climatologist who has published three papers in the past five years, two of which were on the subject of climate change, would have been included in the final 77. A scientist who published 40 papers in the past five years, 19 of which were in the field of climate change would not have made the cut. How this serious flaw in the survey methodology affected the results is impossible to determine without examining the raw polling data. More information is required from Doran and Zimmerman to determine the effect of this problem.

2). The second issue is far more serious and undoubtedly skewed the results in favour of the view that most experts in the field agree that human-caused climate change is a problem.

Zimmerman’s Master’s thesis, the foundation of the EOS paper, apparently did not appear on line until September 2011, two years and eight months after the EOS paper was published (how media and others could trumpet the results presented in the EOS paper without first examining the survey methodology and raw data is a topic for another blog posting).

Zimmerman’s thesis can now be downloaded here for $1.98. It is well worth reading, not only to note the apparent researcher bias revealed in the introduction and the obvious flaws in much of the survey methodology, but also as an interesting summary of the problems in the research on consensus among climate experts to that point.

Even more illuminating are the thesis appendices which include hundreds of comments from the scientists being polled. Therein, it is revealed that many of the very serious problems with the survey questions and methodology were pointed out repeatedly by the scientist respondents while the poll was being run.

Here is just one example of the many issues respondents had with the survey.

The two principle questions in the poll, the results of which monopolized media coverage, were:

Q1. “When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?”

Q2. “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?” The possible answers were, “Yes”, “No”, and “I’m not sure.”

In later queries, survey respondents were given the opportunity to enter text in response to, for example, question 3c:

“What makes you unsure if human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing global mean temperatures?”

Not surprisingly, many experts took the opportunity to thoroughly dismantle the obvious problems in these questions. For example, at least 34 scientists objected to the use of the word “significant” when applied in this context....

Imagine if, while a bridge was being constructed, 34 civil engineering experts all warned that the bridge would collapse unless there were major changes in its design. What sane chief engineer would not go back to the drawing board and make the changes necessary to avoid catastrophe?

Yet, I see no evidence that the very serious wording problems discussed by survey respondents above were properly addressed, let alone corrected, as a result of the feedback from the scientists being polled.

More HERE (See the original for the many objections of survey respondents)

The political storm over climate change

The fallout from Hurricane Sandy confirms how hard it is to have a rational debate about climatic issues.

Superstorm Sandy was not the end of New York City as we know it (although it may be the end of the known Jersey Shore.) The city will recover, of course. Power will be restored. Path trains to New Jersey and the New York subway system, which sustained the worst damage in its 108-year history, will eventually be fully repaired, with difficulty. (The system is now partially restored.)

But it was an unprecedented storm that wreaked unprecedented damage (multi-billion dollar damage), although neither the storm nor the damage was un-predicted. Scientists have long warned that New York was at serious risk of the serious flooding wrought by the 13-foot storm surge that accompanied Sandy. Still the city was unprepared and will be unprepared again if hit by a similar storm in the next few years. Massive new infrastructure required to protect it from predictable future floods is not even in the planning stage.

Sea levels are rising; that’s a fact. Storms, and droughts, have increased in severity and weirdness in recent years; that’s a fact, too, but one open to interpretation. Maybe the freak storms we’ve been experiencing are mere blips. Maybe not. Maybe the convergence of extreme weather events with predictions of extreme weather events by believers in climate change is mere coincidence. Maybe not.

Might we conduct a serious, substantive, public discussion about the fact of rising seas and the possibilities of climate change? Probably not in the near future, if the past and present are prologue. Climate change has not been discussed much, if at all, in the 2012 presidential race, although both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have expressed belief that it’s occurring.

‘I believe the world is getting warmer’, Romney said, in June, 2011. ‘It’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases.’ But on the right, climate change is regarded as a left-wing conspiracy or fable. (Right-wing religious nuts periodically attribute severe storms to God’s wrath at our tolerance of gay people.) So Romney’s hesitancy to repeat his 2011 belief in 2012 is unsurprising. (And, anyone paying attention to him knows that the opinions Romney expresses today are rarely predictive of the opinions he’ll express tomorrow.)

Obama’s reasons for ignoring the climate change debate are less clear. Maybe it’s simply been overshadowed by the economy. Maybe it’s considered a dangerously controversial subject. But, interestingly, according to the Pew Forum, a strong majority believes that climate change is occurring:

‘Currently 67 per cent (of survey respondents) say there is solid evidence that the Earth’s average temperature has been getting warmer over the past few decades, up four points since last year and 10 points since 2009. Similarly, an increasing proportion say that the rise in the Earth’s temperature has mostly been caused by human activity. Currently, 42 per cent say the warming is mostly caused by human activity, such as burning fossil fuels, while 19 per cent say it is mostly caused by natural patterns in the Earth’s environment. Last year, 38 per cent mostly attributed global warming to human activity, and in 2010 34 per cent did so.’

What does the public know? Public opinion reacts to weather patterns, not data. How much opinion is influenced by politics and media coverage is unclear. But it is clear that the subject of climate change has been so thoroughly politicised that, outside the scientific community, it exists more as an ideological marker than a matter for informed debate. ‘Partisan affiliation is the best predictor of someone’s belief in climate change’, Brookings Institute fellow Barry Rabe recently remarked.

If you’re a right-wing Republican, you’re likely to scoff at climate change and the people who believe in it. If you’re a left-wing Democrat, you’re likely to warn of its imminent dangers, scoffing at the people who consider it fantasy or hoax. Like abortion rights, gay marriage or assisted dying, climate change is treated as a moral or ideological question. That is simply idiotic. Yes, people who consider climate change a pressing reality can make moral arguments for addressing it; but whether or not it is actually occurring is question of fact, not morality or ideology. If climate change is illusory, an ideological bias favouring it is irrelevant; so is an ideological bias against it, if climate change is real.


Fractured Fairy Tales

Greens hate natural gas and fracking, but costly, parasitic wind energy can't live without it.

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have boosted shale gas production from zero a few years ago to 10% of all US energy supplies in 2012, observes energy analyst Daniel Yergin. Fracking has also increased US oil production 25% since 2008 - almost all on state and private lands, and in the face of more federal land and resource withdrawals, permitting delays and declining public land production.

In the process, the fracking revolution created 1.7 million jobs in oil fields, equipment manufacturing, legal and information technology services, and other sectors. It will generate over $60 billion this year in state and federal tax and royalty revenues, reduce America's oil import bill by $75 billion, and save us $100 billion in imported liquefied natural gas, concludes a new IMF Global Insight analysis.

A resurgent American petroleum industry could add "as many as 3.6 million jobs by 2020, and increase the US gross domestic product by as much as 3 percent," says Citigroup's "Energy 2020" report. Fracking is bringing new jobs and revenues to states underlain by shale deposits, and could give our nation over a century of hydrocarbon energy that will keep prices low for fuel and petrochemical feed stocks.

That means more manufacturing and other jobs for millions of graduates and unemployed workers, and new prosperity for the "Rust Belt" and other areas. "Plunging natural gas prices have turned the US into one of the most profitable places in the world to make chemicals and fertilizer," says the Wall Street Journal. It's also "slashed costs for makers of energy-intensive products such as aluminum, steel and glass."

It could make North America energy independent and even a net exporter of natural gas. In fact, this amazing new technology could turn the United States into the world's #1 oil producer within just a few more years.

For people still concerned about "catastrophic manmade global warming" (despite 16 years of stable global temperatures), unconventional gas also provides a way to cut carbon dioxide emissions by up to 40% using clean-burning fuel that costs a third less than oil on a per BTU basis, notes Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg. The USA's CO2 emissions are now at their lowest levels in 20 years, because of natural gas, a sluggish economy, and the retirement of 100-200 coal-fired power plants due to an EPA regulatory onslaught that is based heavily on agenda-driven, slipshod and even fraudulent and illegal science.

Logic and common sense would engender unprecedented public, political and even environmentalist support for hydraulic fracturing and expanded oil and gas production. Indeed, that is Governor Romney's perspective and policy. Unfortunately, Team Obama remains largely opposed to domestic drilling, fixated on "renewable" energy, despite having already wasted some $97 billion on wind, solar and algae projects - and poised to unleash a boxcar of new EPA and BLM rules designed to usurp state control and restrict or hyper-regulate fracking on federal, state and private lands alike, win or lose on November 6.

Team Obama justifies its stance by citing public anxiety over fracking. It fails to mention that this anxiety has been nurtured and orchestrated by a host of environmental pressure groups whose existence, monetary sustenance and political power depend on a steady stream of new eco-hobgoblins. Their fractured fairy tales about this game-changing energy technology would be as funny as the Rocky and Bullwinkle tales, if the economic, employment, national security and environmental consequences weren't so serious.

Hydraulic fracturing devastates their mantra that we are running out of oil and gas. It annihilates their incessant assertions that hydrocarbons are the energy of the past, and renewables are the future. In reality, wind and solar cannot live with cheap natural gas (because they cannot possibly compete with it) and cannot live without it (because they only work 20% of the time and need gas as constant backup power).

Consequently, the anti-fracking factions have concocted a hodgepodge of eco-scares, each one more absurd and indefensible than the last.

Burning tap water. Yes, you can ignite methane at your kitchen faucet, if your well was drilled through gas-bearing rock formations and was not properly cemented and sealed to keep gas out. (Eternal Flame Falls in New York's Chestnut Ridge Park is one example of natural methane leakage.) But fracturing zones are thousands of feet below groundwater supplies; production wells use cement and steel casing that extends hundreds of feet below the surface; and sensitive instruments monitor downhole activity, to ensure that valuable gas does not escape into near-surface formations or the atmosphere.

Groundwater contamination. Fracking fluids are 99.5% water and sand. The other 0.5% is chemicals that fight bacterial growth, keep sand particles suspended in the liquid and improve production. The vast majority today are found in household items that Americans use safely every day - including cheese, beer, canned fish, dairy desserts, shampoo and cosmetic products. New fluids like those developed by FamilyJoule and Halliburton represent the new kinds of entirely nontoxic and biodegradable chemicals that almost all drillers are now using.

Steadily improving technologies, techniques and regulations minimize risks even further. For instance, heavy plastic liners are now commonplace under drilling rigs, storage tanks and containment pits. Along with modern drilling and well casing methods, they help make the likelihood of chemical or salt contamination of groundwater a minuscule fraction of what is posed by winter salting of icy roads.

Wastewater and water depletion. In addition to changing the composition of fracking fluids (and making that information readily available online), to address concerns about water use and wastewater disposal, drilling companies increasingly recycle the water they use. Devon and other companies have recycled hundreds of millions of gallons, and some 90% of water produced in the Marcellus shale region of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia is now reused. Moreover, the amount of water used in fracking is far less than what is required to grow corn and process it into ethanol.

Earthquakes. Fracturing rocks does cause cracking that can be measured with ultra-sensitive equipment. But these micro-seismic events measure around 0.8 on the Richter Scale, about what is caused by a car passing by. Even loaded dump trucks register only a 3 (the minimum that can be felt by humans), and property damage does not begin until level 5. Deep injection of water for geothermal energy development or enhanced oil recovery operations (or to dispose of petroleum, municipal or industrial wastewater) has caused detectable seismic activity; however, of more than 800,000 injection wells nationwide, only about 40 were actually felt at the surface. Rules and practices increasingly address these injection well issues.

Fracking regulations. State and local regulation and cooperation with industry, constant refinements and improvements in rules and practices, and accommodation to public concerns about water, drilling and fracking fluids, road congestion, community impacts and other issues have been ongoing for decades. That is part of the reason that 2.5 million instances of fracking worldwide (over 1 million in the USA) since 1949 have not caused any serious harm. That's a safety record any industry would envy.

Unfortunately, environmentalist fractured fairy tales cost us energy, jobs, revenue and prosperity - for no ecological benefit. The ultimate irony is Europe, where Big Green opposition to fracking and nuclear power is ushering in a coal-burning renaissance. Germany and other central EU countries will be building 10,600 megawatts of new coal-fired electrical power plants during the next four years!

Meanwhile, green power mandates have already pushed Germany's electricity prices to the second highest in Europe (32 cents per kWh, compared to an average of 10 cents in the USA) - and the average German household faces another big rate hike over the next year. Countless jobs are also at risk.

America has the world's largest reserves of oil, gas and coal. We need access to these deposits, under rational regulations that reflect reality, instead of eco fairy tales. We need people in the White House, Congress and government bureaucracies who can distinguish between fact and fiction, understand how to produce real energy, jobs and revenues, and don't have an agenda to "fundamentally transform" our nation.



Three current articles below

Extreme heat in 1896 (Yes. 1896, not 1986): Panic stricken people fled the outback on special trains as hundreds die

It is as if history is being erased. For all that we hear about recent record-breaking climate extremes, records that are equally extreme, and sometimes even more so, are ignored.

In January 1896 a savage blast “like a furnace” stretched across Australia from east to west and lasted for weeks. The death toll reached 437 people in the eastern states. Newspaper reports showed that in Bourke the heat approached 120°F (48.9°C) on three days (1)(2)(3). It stayed above 100 degrees F (38.8°C) for 24 days straight.

By Tuesday Jan 14, people were reported falling dead in the streets. Unable to sleep, people in Brewarrina walked the streets at night for hours, the thermometer recording 109F at midnight. Overnight, the temperature did not fall below 103°F. On Jan 18 in Wilcannia, five deaths were recorded in one day, the hospitals were overcrowded and reports said that “more deaths are hourly expected”. By January 24, in Bourke, many businesses had shut down (almost everything bar the hotels). Panic stricken Australians were fleeing to the hills in climate refugee trains. As reported at the time, the government felt the situation was so serious that to save lives and ease the suffering of its citizens they added cheaper train services:

“The Commissioner of Railways promised a deputation of members of Parliament to run a special train every Friday at holiday excursion rates for the next month to enable settlers resident in the Western part of the colony to reach the mountains to escape the great heat prevailing.” (Source)

It got hotter and hotter and the crowded trains ran on more days of the week. The area of exodus was extended to allow not only refugees from western NSW to flee to the Blue Mountains but also people to escape via train from the Riverina to the Snowy Mountains. The stories are heartbreaking. “A child sent to the mountains to escape the city heat died at the moment the train arrived.” “Six infants have died at Goulburn since January 1 through the excessive heat.” Towns were losing their esteemed, lamenting the loss of the good reverend, or of their well known miners. Children were orphaned.

“A woman has been brought to the Bulli Hospital in a demented condition, suffering from sunstroke. She was tramping the roads, with her husband, two days before, when she was prostrated by a sunstroke. Her husband carried her through all the sweltering heat to Bulli, taking two days over the journey.” (Source).

In 1896 the heat was causing people to faint, become demented and was even blamed for driving people mad. “Several women fainted in the streets. A little girl, while walking along Surrey Hills, suddenly became demented through the heat.” In Bendigo “a young man named Edward Swift, hairdresser, was so overcome by the heat that he was unable to work, and in despair shot himself, in the breast. It is a hopeless case.” Longreach “police authorities at Longreach received information that a man who was insane was about fourteen miles out of the town.” “The bodies of people who die of sunstroke decompose very quickly”. An axe wielding man in Bourke cut down three telegraph poles before he was “secured” by police. Presumably the real cause of the madness was something else, but the heat was the last straw. “Birregurra was stirred from its wanted sleepiness on Saturday evening last by the appearance in the streets of a mad man who caused no small consternation.” It could be that nuttiness was equally common on other months, or other years. But at the time, people blamed the heat.

With this and people dropping dead in the streets from Perth through Adelaide to Sydney, the heat wave was described as being universal from west to east . It went north into Queensland and south through Victoria.…twice, by which time Australians considered themselves to be “Under Fire”.

Later in 1896, heat waves also occurred in India, Burma, Borneo, America. (It was bad in New York. Listen here.) There was heat in England, Germany and Spain. 1896 was an example of extreme weather. [It was obviously the fault of the evil power stations, eh? Just 14 years earlier, Edison had built the first coal-fired electric generating station. If only people had understood just how dangerous it was. - Jo]

More HERE (See the original for links)

Energy dreams tempered by realism

AUSTRALIA could source 85 per cent of its power from clean energy sources by 2050 according to modelling contained in the government's energy white paper.

But the transformation from coal dependency to a clean energy future would require more than $200 billion investment in new power plants, including $100 billion in renewable sources of powers and $50 billion to $60 billion in gas, it says. The paper also makes it clear that fossil fuels will continue to underpin Australia's energy security "for many years to come".

It says the striking advance of clean energy envisaged is "far from guaranteed" and that some of the technologies are not yet commercially available.

Releasing the paper on Thursday, Resources Minister Martin Ferguson will also demand NSW and Queensland t follow Victoria's lead and deregulate electricity prices to stop soaring power bills.

He will concede that electricity price rises over recent years have hurt households and businesses and are "simply not sustainable".

And he will challenge the states to sign up to energy market reforms that tackle the biggest cause of price rises — on top of the carbon price which, he says, adds only "marginally to costs".


Green/Left coalition continues in ACT despite near wipeout of Greens in recent election

ACT is Australia's version of DC

Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury has been handed five portfolios in the new-look ACT government cabinet, announced this morning, while the Chief Minister has retained the Health portfolio.

Mr Rattenbury will take the reins at Territory and Municipal Services, Corrections, Housing, Ageing, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher unveiled her new-look cabinet, this morning, confirming that she will stay on as Minister for Health, and will also take the newly formed Regional Development and Higher Education portfolios.

Ms Gallagher pointed towards reform in ACT Health as her reason for retaining the portfolio.

"A massive reform agenda is underway across the health system and it will be a privilege to serve alongside all the doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and administrators as we continue to build and improve a regional public health system,” Ms Gallagher said.

Simon Corbell has kept his position as Attorney-General, while Andrew Barr will stay on as Treasurer.

Ms Gallagher said the portfolios announced today deliver the right balance of skills, experience, interests and shared workload within a five member Cabinet.

“Finalising the Ministerial arrangements is an important first step in getting on with the agenda we took to the 2012 election along with the shared commitments in the Parliamentary Agreement with the ACT Greens,” Ms Gallagher said.

"I think I can speak on behalf of the ACT cabinet to say that we are all looking forward to serving the community in our new roles and the hard work of the next four years begins today.

“I look forward to working with all of my colleagues as we meet the challenges and opportunities head on and work to create a better and stronger Canberra."




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


7 November, 2012

Lewandowski loves Sandy

Lugubrious Australian-based American psychologist Stephan Lewandowski keeps making attempts to brand climate skeptics as psychologically deficient. And in his latest effusion he thinks big storm Sandy helps make his case. Everything he says however is vitiated by his failure to get his basic climate facts right. He puts up a list of "extreme" and "record" weather events which he says prove global warming. But direct measures of temperature show no warming for around 16 years so he MUST be wrong. If warming does not exist, it cannot explain ANYTHING, let alone Sandy. What a laugh! Lewandowski is a strange psychological specimen himself

But is it really a matter of mere “stupidity” to deny the link between climate change and Sandy’s fury — a link that has been drawn carefully but quite explicitly by scientists around the world, including in Australia?

No, it is not a matter of stupidity.

On the contrary, it takes considerable, if ethically disembodied, intelligence to mislead the public about the link between climate change and Sandy as thoroughly as our national “news”paper has done for the umpteenth time.

It is not a matter of stupidity. It is a matter of ideology.

People who subscribe to a fundamentalist conception of the free market will deny climate change irrespective of the overwhelming strength of the scientific evidence. They will deny any link between climate change and events such as the unprecedented Frankenstorm Sandy, or the unprecedented Texas drought, or the unprecedented series of Derechos, or the unprecedented flooding in Tennessee, or the unprecedented Arctic melt, or the unprecedented retreat of Alpine glaciers, or the unprecedented tripling of extreme weather events during the last 30 years.

There is no longer any reasonable doubt that climate change is happening all around us. There is also no doubt that ideology is the principal driver of climate denial.

So what effect will Sandy have on public opinion?

On the one hand, the deniers will likely double down and their claims will become ever more discordant with the reality on this planet. Their denial will continue even if palm trees grow in Alaska and if storms such as Sandy — or far worse — have become commonplace.

On the other hand, the vast majority of people who are not in the clutches of a self-destructive ideology will likely wake up and smell the science. Even before Sandy, a recent Pew poll (PDF) revealed that acceptance of climate change among the American public rebounded by 10 percentage points in the last few years. There is every reason to expect that Sandy will accelerate this trend towards acceptance of the dramatic changes our planet is undergoing.

Much research has shown that people’s attitude towards climate change depends on specific events and anecdotal evidence. For example, people are more likely to endorse the science on a hot day than on a cool day, all other things being equal. Even a seemingly trivial stimulus such as a dead plant in an office can enhance people’s acceptance of the science (three dead plants are even better). This human tendency to focus on scientifically irrelevant anecdotes rather than on data can be unfortunate, especially because it lends itself to exploitation by propagandists who haul out every cool day in Wagga Wagga as “evidence” that climate change is a hoax.


Natural variability makes accurate climate predictions for America impossible

Or so the latest paper shows:. But never fear. In the absence of data, the Warmists have always got their toy "models"
Communication of the role of natural variability in future North American climate

By Clara Deser et al.


As climate models improve, decision-makers' expectations for accurate climate predictions are growing. Natural climate variability, however, poses inherent limits to climate predictability and the related goal of adaptation guidance in many places, as illustrated here for North America. Other locations with low natural variability show a more predictable future in which anthropogenic forcing can be more readily identified, even on small scales. We call for a more focused dialogue between scientists, policymakers and the public to improve communication and avoid raising expectations for accurate regional predictions everywhere.

Nature Climate Change, 2, 775–779 (2012)

Warmists scrambling to explain lack of warming

The prolonged temperature plateau is getting a bit much for even Wamists to ignore. But never fear! They have plenty of theories -- just not ones with any predictive power. And predictive power is the test of a theory. There will still be some believers preaching warming when the next ice-age hits

Sun-dimming industrial pollution in China or signs that greenhouse gases trap less heat in the atmosphere than expected may help explain an apparent slowdown in global warming since 2000, experts say.

Most climate scientists acknowledge an "apparent slowdown" since 2000, after fast warming in the 1990s, but say the long-term trend is up. So far, 2012 is the eighth warmest year in records back to the mid-19th century, according to U.S. data.

"The simplest explanation is that China's sulphate emissions did not go down as they suggested they would," said Myles Allen, a professor of geosystem science at Oxford University, who also pointed to rising pollution in many emerging nations.

Coal-fired power plants emit sulphate pollution that dims sunlight and so offsets warming. Allen said a decade was too short to measure long-term trends for climate change.

According to the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization, the decade 2001-10 was the warmest on record. The years 2010 and 2005 were warmest, just above the third warmest, 1998.

A yet-to-be-published study says that the atmosphere may be less affected by rising concentrations of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from burning fossil fuels, than expected.

"If we're correct it will make it easier (to slow global warming) but it will still require dramatic reductions in emissions," said Terje Berntsen, a professor at the University of Oslo and an author of the report.

Temperatures are now about 0.8 degree C (1.4 F) above pre-industrial times. Two degrees is viewed as a threshold to dangerous change including more powerful storms like Sandy that struck the United States last week, more heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels.

A minority of scientists who doubt that mankind's emissions have much impact say that natural swings are the main cause of rising temperatures in recent decades. If true, that would make it less urgent to invest in measures to cut emissions.

"Natural internal variability due to heat exchanges between the ocean and the surface" account for the apparent slowdown since 2000, said Richard Lindzen, a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He said the IPCC exaggerated the risks.

Another study last year, based on a reconstruction of temperatures back 21,000 years, also showed that the climate's sensitivity to a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations was a median 2.3 degrees C (4.1 F), less than the IPCC estimate.

"If true it would be good news" for efforts to rein in climate change, lead author Andreas Schmittner at Oregon State University, said of his findings.

"Clouds are still a big wild card. Other uncertainties are possible release of carbon dioxide and methane from melting of permafrost in the Arctic," he said. Clouds at low levels reflect heat back into space - high clouds tend to trap heat.


Yvo deBoer is still singing the same old boering tune. 16 years of no warming have not dented HIM

He would be a nobody without global warming so why should he quit now?

THE next United Nations climate report will ''scare the wits out of everyone'' and should provide the impetus needed for the world to finally sign an agreement to tackle global warming, the former head of the UN negotiations said.

Yvo de Boer, the UN climate chief during the 2009 Copenhagen climate change talks, said his conversations with scientists working on the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggested the findings would be shocking.

"That report is going to scare the wits out of everyone,'' Mr de Boer said in the only scheduled interview of his visit to Australia. "I'm confident those scientific findings will create new political momentum.''

The IPCC's fifth assessment report is due to be published in late 2013 and early 2014.

Before then is the next end-of-year UN climate meeting in Doha, Qatar. Delegates will discuss a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding accord to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Last December nations agreed in South Africa to work on a binding agreement that would cover all countries. That work is expected to continue until 2015.

Mr de Boer, who is now special global advisor on climate change for KPMG, said the best prospect may be for nations to settle on targets that they write into their national laws, rather than a binding international deal.

The latter would be "almost impossible to get through the US Senate", he said, no matter whether incumbent Barack Obama or challenger Mitt Romney wins the US presidential election.

Three years on from Copenhagen, Mr de Boer said he has neither nightmares nor withdrawal symptoms from those failed talks, which included a final 12-hour marathon of discussions behind closed doors with Mr Obama, former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd and 23 other global leaders.

"That was such a fantastic opportunity and it slipped between our fingers," said Mr de Boer. "That's my big frustration."

He said Copenhagen's legacy had changed political attitudes to climate talks.

"Most politicians will think twice about going to a climate event, and if they go again, they will be damned sure that they'll be celebrating success rather than be associated with failure,'' he said.

Expectations of global action on climate change have diminished, but Mr de Boer said it would still be "a very, very difficult conference" for his successor, Christiana Figueres.

He said the mandate for 2015 remained ambiguous and nations would be reluctant to sign up before they know what they were getting into.

The Kyoto Protocol has not been ratified by the US, and Canada, Japan and Russia have said they would not sign up to a second round when the current commitment lapses at the end of the year. Australia is yet to announce whether it will commit. Developing nations are holding back until they can see the rich acting.

They also want proof the UN's Green Climate Fund - aimed at supporting efforts to counter climate change - will get the $US100 billion in government and private funding promised.

He said superstorm Sandy may spur more Americans, and people elsewhere, to consider the risks of climate change, but warned: "It's a bit like being shocked into stopping smoking when you've been told you've got terminal cancer."


The huge Greenie shakedown of the American taxpayer

For mostly destructive ends

If you were looking for that last-minute pre-poll pitch to that favorite undecided voter in your life, you are done shopping. If any fence sitters needed convincing that the liberal agenda is costly, and hypocritical, let them feast their eyes on the following.

David Williams of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance has uncovered a history of abuse of your tax dollars to fund “environmentally responsible” projects across the globe that have done little but fatten wallets and in at lest one case has resulted in the destruction of a village. The TPA is calling it “The Environmental Shakedown of American Taxpayers” which is about as accurate description as one could ask for.

The report highlights the startling amount of your money that has gone to environmental non-governmental agencies or NGOs, and the uses to which that money is put. In some the funding and expenditures will boggle the mind of even the most hardened of news junkies.

Of note, the report talks about the World Wildlife Federation which forced more than a million people in India and thousands in Indonesia, to leave their homes to make room for the local tiger populations. Never mind that these people have lived alongside the tigers for thousands of years, they needed to be uprooted and sent to the cities so the WWF could create tiger preserves.

It’s a nice thought, acre upon acre of pristine land left for the tigers in Indonesia to eat, sleep play and make little tigers. But according to the report, while the natives have had to seek their fortune elsewhere, the WWF’s travel company charges tourists 10 grand a head to drive through the preserve on eco-adventures. While this certainly helps to bolster the coffers of the WWF, local environmentalists are more than somewhat put off, claiming that the WWF is exploiting the area for profit and in the process destroying the ecosystem.

Earlier this year, the WWF employees were discovered embezzling hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, but not before an event in 2011 in which thousands of villagers were evicted from the Tanzanian forest, their homes and rice paddies burned in preparation for a visit from Prince Charles who was coming to present the “Living Planet” award to local leaders for preserving the world’s largest mangrove forest. This was done by local authorities who were working closely with the WWF.

According to the report, since 2000, the World Wildlife Fund has received 497 million in federal funding, including $7.3 in taxpayer money this fiscal year. In 2009, the president of the WWF made $425,000 in salary and $30,147 in benefits. Of note: in 2006 members of the Foundation board of directors paid $347,891 in campaign money to the Democratic Party. And the report states that in 2011, the Foundation paid for a 10 day trip to Botswana and South Africa for four members of Congress and their wives at a cost of around $30,000 per legislator.

Wetlands International was also the recipient of your largesse-by-proxy. According to the report, some of the handouts that came to the organization via the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service include $15,000 for a neotropical waterbird monitoring program; $6,000 for a coastal wetlands conservation and agriculture program and $5,000 for professional services in India.

In Indonesia and Malaysia, Wetlands International is stopping the natives from draining peat swamps, as they have for centuries to use the peat for fuel and the land for farming. Wetlands International has determined that the natives using the peat bogs for these purposes releases dangerous CO2 into the air, causing havoc in the atmosphere. But then, somehow it always comes down the ozone layer doesn’t it? Whether it is oil, gas, coal, asthma inhalers, or swamps in Asia, it always manages to come down to that old devil Greenhouse Gas.

I have seen in my travels some great NGOs that have done some fantastic work in the Third World. And having sacrificed a knee in my short stint as a wildland firefighter, I appreciate the beauty and importance of the natural world. I walk with a limp because of that appreciation; believe me, the money wasn’t the motivation. And with that in mind, it seems to me that you are the best steward of your finances, and that you are the best judge of which charities deserve your donations.


Siemens to take further writedown on solar business

German engineering conglomerate Siemens (SIE.DE) will have to take additional gross writedowns of more than 250 million euros ($321.13 million) on the solar business that it is exiting, a German paper reported.

The additional amount is made up of writedowns on the value of company units, operational losses and writedowns on solar projects that have already been started, Financial Times Deutschland reported in a story to be published on Monday, citing company sources.

In total, the company is booking losses of 800 million euros on its solar business, which it started in 2009, the paper added.
Siemens announced last month it was pulling the plug on its loss-making solar business as part of plans to improve profitability.
Siemens was not immediately available for comment.

As part of its plans to quit solar, Siemens is exiting the Desertec project, which envisages Europe will import up to a fifth of its electricity from solar and wind parks in North Africa and the Middle East by 2050.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


6 November, 2012

November surprise: An EPA crackdown on coal

On the eve of the 2012 election, more than 50 of President Obama's EPA staffers are crashing to finish new greenhouse gas emission standards. The rules would make the construction of new coal-fired power plants nearly impossible. A government-imposed switch from coal to other forms of energy would cost the economy about $700 billion over several years, according to the Manhattan Institute.

The bureaucrats are clearly in a hurry to get this done. Never before has the EPA devoted so many staffers to a single regulation. Take it as a sign of pre-election panic by environmentalists inside the Obama administration. If Mitt Romney wins tomorrow's election, regulators will have only a narrow window to enact anti-fossil fuel regulations that would then be very hard for the new president to undo.

The domestic coal industry has already taken a beating. The advent of cheap natural gas, which is itself creating thousands of new jobs, is one of the culprits. Another is the Obama administration. Even as Obama's EPA quietly develops new regulations on hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") that will impede the natural gas boom, it wants to further appease environmentalists by delivering a coup de grace to domestic coal use. It is a silly idea that will ultimately have no environmental benefit, but it is sure to drive up electricity costs.

In order to survive, the domestic coal industry has sharply ramped up exports of its product to countries that are happy to burn it. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, coal exports from the U.S. have risen by nearly 200 percent since Obama took office. Exports have grown so fast that they are about halfway toward making up for recent decreases in domestic coal consumption.

So at best, this forthcoming regulation will just shift carbon emissions from the United States to other parts of the world, where they may even be more harmful. The same coal will probably be burned with fewer environmental controls, since U.S. coal plants have made great strides in reducing pollutants such as sulfur and lead. The EIA projects that, with or without our coal, world demand will double by 2035. So even if Obama can put all U.S. coal producers out of business, the developing world will get its coal somewhere, rendering any U.S. reductions in carbon emissions insignificant.

So what is the point of this pre-election flurry of regulation? It is a time-tested way of complicating the life of an incoming presidential administration. In 2000, the outgoing Clinton administration rushed out a finding that mercury emissions from power plants were a growing public health threat under the Clean Air Act. Thirteen years later, the resulting proposed rule is set to cost the economy $10 billion annually, according to the EPA itself. And that is just one example among many.

So if Obama loses the election on Tuesday, he'll go out with a gift to his pals in the environmental movement -- and a thumb in the eye to coal country and electricity consumers.


Mega-SuperStorm Sandy Endorses Obama, Cites War on Women

Alternately referring to Hurricane Sandy as either a “superstorm” or a “megastorm” our friends at the Liberal Press Office have helped put Sandy in perspective by letting us know that this year’s meteorological winner of American Idol was spawned by global warming, intensified by rising ocean temperatures and sponsored by Big Oil.

Citing no actual scientific evidence- why use science when you believe SO strongly?- it’s apparent that the headlines used by the mainstream media to cover the post-Sandy ascendancy virtually wrote themselves well prior to Sandy’s gestation.
Megastorm Sandy injects climate into presidential vote, Agence France Presse

Is Hurricane Sandy the face of climate change? Yes, is the surprising (ha!) answer from UC Berkley’s Jayni Foley Hein, Executive Director, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment.

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath: Why Climate Change is the Key Issue for Millennial Voters, PolicyMic

Sandy Raises Questions About Climate And The Future, NPR

Hurricane Sandy: The Last Straw on Climate Change, says The Daily Beast’s Bill McKibben, with a subhead: “The deniers have been beaten by Sandy and other overwhelming evidence.
The question now: what do we do?”
Quick: Let’s pass a human emissions tax. We can start with McKibben, because when there is stench, there’s greenhouse trapping gas.
Settled Science! Hurry, supplies are limited, call now, operators are standing by, As Seen on TV! Superstorm Sandy Backs Barack, Cites War on Women!

Now to be fair to the Big Bird station, NPR only quoted one source in the story on Sandy and global warming. Mayor Bloomberg’s “climate science lead for the science policy team of the New York City Panel on Climate Change,” Radley Horton in an interview offered his own “proof”- sometimes known as an “opinion” outside of global warming circles- that global warming had an effect on Hurricane Sandy.

Yes, that is the journalistic equivalent of citing Bill Clinton on Bill Clinton, but the Iowa Electoral College vote’s REALLY important.

“It's difficult to know whether this year's rise in ocean temperatures was associated with climate change,” says NPR, “but Horton says that Hurricane Sandy moved over unusually warm waters in the North Atlantic.”

See, the scientists can’t actually PROVE their science, but that’s only because they are really great at speculating about it. Doesn’t implying their views very gravely to taxpayer supported journalists actually count as settled science?

"As the planet continues to warm, we expect ocean temperatures to go up," says Horton. "All things being equal, that does give a storm like Sandy more energy."

Well, at least he got the science right, right?

Naw. Science, facts, truth, justice? Those concepts are as old-fashioned as the American Way.

What matters is keeping the federal bureaucracy going and giving Obama a fighting chance in places like, Iowa, which suddenly has become a Super-Mega Battleground State.

NOAA climate scientist Martin Hoerling said that the sea surface temperatures were actually insignificant in the case of Sandy, directly contradicting the “settled” science offered by Horton.

From the Environmental Editor at the Australian:
Dr Hoerling told US public radio in the aftermath of Sandy that ocean temperatures adjacent to the US eastern seaboard had been running several degrees higher than normal.

But he said the unusually warm waters were in areas where the background temperature was relatively cool. "So adding a few degrees Fahrenheit at that cool water temperature doesn't matter too much for the intensity of a hurricane," Dr Hoerling said.

The guys at the NOAA, although government employees, are the leading proponents for restoring science to the science of global warming.

This isn’t the first time that Hoerling has debunked media claims that current weather events are due to global warming. There is very little evidence that links hurricanes, drought, tornadoes and other extreme events to global warming. There us actually quite a bit of evidence that extreme weather events have not been driven by global warming.

Remember the droughts in Texas and Russia, which the climate scientists and assorted a.k.a.’s from the media declared was more “proof” that global warming was real?

Here’s Hoerling in the New York Times: “Published scientific studies on the Russian heat wave indicate this claim to be false. Our own study on the Texas heat wave and drought, submitted this week to the Journal of Climate, likewise shows that that event was not caused by human-induced climate change. These are not de novo events, but upon scientific scrutiny, one finds both the Russian and Texas extreme events to be part of the physics of what has driven variability in those regions over the past century. This is not to say that climate change didn’t contribute to those cases, but their intensity owes to natural, not human, causes.”

And he concludes by quoting Dr. Harold Brooks in the New Scientist, who warns in an article concluding that there is no evidence to link tornadoes and global warming, against using local weather events as proof of global warming:

“Those who continue to talk in certain terms of how local weather extremes,” writes Brooks, “are the result of human climate change are failing to heed all the available evidence.”

Heedless? Climate scientists? Naw. Iowa’s in play


Why would we expect truth and accuracy from the Australian Climate Commission?

They are official government Warmists but only the credulous would be deceived by them. Their latest puff says:

"Temperatures are expected to continue rising this century. The average temperature for Queensland has risen by about 1°C since early last century, with most of the warming occurring since the 1950s..."

But the rise is almost all "adjustments" to the actual temperature record -- as the blink comparator for S.E. Qld. below shows:

To make it worse, the graph that they themselves provide is completely wacky:

As Jo Nova says: "Eyeballing this graph suggests Queensland’s average temperature has risen by 2.7 C since the 1950′s."

So which is it? A rise of "about" one degree or 2.7 degrees?

With carelessness like that, one is inclined to infer that they are not really serious: Just doing the hack job to deceive the uninformed public that the government pays them to do. If they put up a piece saying that there has been no significant rise in temperatures for the last century, they would soon be out on their ear.

Anybody with normal healthy skepticism would accept government science pronouncements with a large dose of rock-salt and the nonsense above is a good confirmation of the need for that. What does it say about the integrity of the "eminent" people who have put their name to it, however?

Warwick Hughes has a laugh at them too.

Insiders get rich on Obama's green energy stimulus

"I had a friend who said, 'You don't just pick the winners and losers,' " Mitt Romney told President Obama in the first presidential debate. "You pick the losers."

Romney's assessment of the billions that Obama has wasted on green energies is dead on. And unfortunately, it only tells half of the story. According to a Washington Examiner analysis of publicly available data, corporate insiders at the 15 publicly traded green energy companies that received federal stimulus subsidies pocketed tens of millions by selling their stock after the government's money poured in and before their companies' values plummeted.

The Obama administration gave more than $700 million in grants and guaranteed an additional $500 million in loans to publicly traded green energy companies through its 2009 stimulus package. If Obama had invested all that money in a Standard & Poors index fund of the top 500 publicly traded companies, his investment would have seen a 73 percent return since he took office. In contrast, the Obama "green energy" stimulus portfolio has fallen by 78 percent -- performing about five points worse than green energy companies that didn't get subsidies.

The insider trades by officers and directors of these companies tell us still more. They cashed out a net $63.9 million in stock gains before their companies' stock prices collapsed.

Biofuel manufacturer Amyris Inc., for example, was given $24.3 million in taxpayer money to turn plant sugars into diesel fuel. At one point, this helped push its stock price above $30 a share. Today, Amyris has closed two of its three plants, and its stock sells for less than $3. Amyris' insiders got rich first, though, netting $21 million in stock sales after the firm went public in September 2010.

Solazyme, another biofuel manufacturer, received $21.8 million from Obama's Energy Department. Its stock once traded at more than $25 a share but now is worth less than $9. Its corporate insiders realized $18.4 million in capital gains before the stock price collapsed.

Corporate insiders at A123 Systems were not as quick to cash out as their biofuel colleagues. The Massachusetts electric-car battery manufacturer received a $249 million grant from Obama's Energy Department in 2009, before going bankrupt last month. Its stock was worth more than $25 a share when it first went public in September 2009. A123 officers and directors still made more than $11 million in stock sales.

This analysis does not include some of the best-known Obama energy failures. Solyndra, for example, blew through more than $500 million in taxpayer-guaranteed loans before it could even go public. Another high-profile failure, First Solar, is not included because it sold off much of its $3 billion in federal loan guarantees to third parties before it laid off 30 percent of its workforce and its stock price declined by more than 90 percent from its 2011 high. The company's head, Michael Ahearn, has extracted more than $329 million in stock sales since 2009 all by himself.

One would hope that Obama would have learned some lessons from the epic failures of his green energy investments. But Americans are not that lucky. Campaigning early this year in Florida, Obama promised to "double-down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising."

The federal government has a role to play in funding basic scientific research. It has done so for decades, through universities and through the national academies. But Obama crossed the line by investing in specific companies and their business models. As a result, the American people have lost billions in tax dollars, corporate insiders have pocketed millions in gains and we are no closer to a green energy economy.


Science Reporting No Different Than Activists' Own Hype

Following Hurricane Sandy’s massive devastation across the northeast, many were quick to tie it to “climate change” (you know, what “global warming” and the “new ice age” used to be.). In a blog post on Tuesday, former Vice President Al Gore wrote “Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come. We must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis. Dirty energy makes dirty weather.”

Meghan McCain sarcastically weighed in on Twitter, “So are we still going to go with climate change not being real fellow republicans?”

As his city struggles in the Sandy aftermath, Mayor Mike Bloomberg endorsed President Obama because he says one candidate “sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.”

As if climate change believers aren’t practicing their own brand of politics. I’m sure they are already writing that with this kind of consensus between the two parties, the science is settled!

Of course, Gore, Bloomberg and McCain aren’t the first liberals (yes, liberals) to use the devastation of a hurricane to push the climate change agenda. Following Hurricane Katrina, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote on The Huffington Post, “Katrina is giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children.”

But, our children aren’t the only victims. Rich liberals are also suffering. Al Gore was unable to attend Bette Midler’s French-themed Halloween party in hurricane-struck New York this week. Midler tweeted, “k, the man we invited to address us te #globalwarmingisreal could not make it because of GLOBALWARMING!! So sad, Al Gore..see you soon xox”

In Godless Ann Coulter wrote, “Warm trends prove global warming. Cold trends also prove global warming. This is the philosophy of a madman.”

Yet no one in the mainstream media questions the science of climate change. Instead, they amblify it.

Such is the case with Bisphenol A, also known as BPA. Like “climate change,” BPA is blamed for myriad health woes, none of which have ever been proved, and we only hear about the evidence that confirms a particular and negative view. For awhile now I’ve followed the reporting on BPA because it’s illustrative of the emergence of reporters picking and choosing scientific studies to further a political agenda. The anti-BPA agenda seeks bans or further regulating of BPA, which can be found in water bottles, food can liners (it prevents botulism and spoilage), thermal register tape and many other products, in order to have their foot on the neck of every business that produces BPA and every business that makes a product that contains BPA.

There have been numerous studies by the FDA, CDC, World Health Organization, and European Food Safety Authority that have found that BPA is easily and quickly metabolized and does no discernible harm to humans of any age. However, the agenda-driven media hypes any study claiming negative effects from BPA. In their latest attempt, activists and the hysterical media jumped on a study by the University of California’s Michael Baker. The Baker study used a computer model to show the effects of metabolized BPA. The media jumped on the study with hysterical headlines like “BPA is Bad to the Bone, Now We Know Why,” and “New studies add fuel to concerns over BPA.” But in an odd twist, the researcher who approved the hyped-up news release now says “neither BPA nor its metabolites are harmful.”

In a lengthy think piece on, science writer Jon Entine wrote, “The news reports shared a common theme—asserting or at least suggesting that the Baker study was a smoking gun and perhaps the final scientific word that activists have been awaiting to confirm their long-held belief that BPA is harmful and should be banned or sharply restricted. The irony is that the Baker study, when analyzed, does not support that view. Rather, it provides additional confirmation of the unlikelihood that BPA or many other so-called ‘endocrine disrupting’ chemicals pose serious health threats.”

Entine called Baker for additional background. He found out that Baker had no prior experience researching BPA. Additionally, Baker confirmed that he and those promoting the study to the press “were aware of the slew of popular and research reports damning BPA as dangerous, which shaped the tone and wording of the release.” Baker also admitted that he approved the release.

Baker also said to Entine, “I’m not an expert on BPA, by any means. It’s possible, that the metabolite that I studied would not have any effect on humans and I have no evidence, none at all, that BPA causes any problems in humans. This was a theoretical exercise, and it would be trumped by what actually happens in the real world. Based on what I know now, neither BPA nor its metabolites are harmful. I am upset that my structural study is misused by some.”

Entine also contacted California Watch, an environmental group that targets BPA producers. They admitted that the Baker study offered no new information to suggest that BPA was dangerous. Yet they reported on the study in near-hysterical terms.

It’s now common knowledge that the profession of journalism has morphed into political activism. We have outfits like Politico, MSNBC, ABC and CBS on the left and Fox News, and Daily Caller on the right. A media segmented by ideology is easier to embrace when the general public has enough knowledge to make an informed decision on what media to consume. Unfortunately, in the field of science reporting we’re starting to see the same segmentation by ideology, but the public isn’t as informed as they should be.

Activists on the Left and their cohorts in the media want to pin the world’s diseases and disasters on one enemy: humans.


The environment will improve, with or without the Greenies

A British view from Madsen Pirie

Despite all the scare stories, I'm optimistic that the next generation will live on a planet that is cleaner and greener, and probably nicer to look at.

Claims are made that our cities, rivers and coasts grow more polluted by the day. In fact some areas have improved considerably. The streets of late Victorian London were awash with horse manure, with children standing at street corners to clear a path in exchange for a small coin.

City air was more polluted when nearly all homes burned coal fires. The London smog of 1952 killed an estimated 12,000 people in a fortnight, with theatres closed because audiences could not see the stage. It prompted the Clean Air Act of 1956.

In the late 1970s most London buildings were black, including Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster and Whitehall. They were cleaned up only when the air became sufficiently soot-free to make it last. The Thames, once toxic to fish, now bears stocks of several species. Other rivers and coastlines are much cleaner than they have been.

Even air pollution from industrial activity is diminishing in Britain and most advanced economies. New technology makes this possible, and it is the poorer and up-and-coming countries that find it too expensive. China is building new coal-fired power stations at a rate of more than one a week, and plans to do so for at least a decade. It will make sense to develop the technology for cleaner burning so that it becomes affordable.

In fact one of the biggest aids to reducing pollution is the switch to natural gas-fired power stations, since it burns much cleaner. With maybe 100 or more years of gas reserves now extractable, the switch from coal to gas will have a major impact on pollution. The switch to electric vehicles charged from gas-fired power will dramatically cut the pollution caused by engines burning petrol or diesel.

The second Green Revolution in agriculture will increase yields from acres under cultivation and bring hitherto marginal land into use. This will give the rainforest more protection than all the pledges and treaties that have hitherto been resorted to.

In all of this it is technology, rather than behavioural change, that is making the difference and which will bring results. We do not have to live more simply, just more cleverly so that we can achieve our aims while leaving a smaller footprint. I have confidence in our ability to do this.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


5 November, 2012

Was It Global Warming When Stronger Hurricanes Hit the East Coast in the 1950s?

By professional weather forecaster Joe Bastardi

The following three articles by me have dealt in some degree before the fact on the matter of Hurricanes and climate change.

This Storm Is Long Overdue!
Increased U.S. Hurricane Threat in Coming Years
Hurricanes and Climate Change

It is frustrating to be out in front of the hurricane threat on the U.S. Coast, and then have people who either have not looked, or have, and are simply ignoring the facts, come in after the fact and make their claims. I have referred to these people as weather "voyeurs." They only look when it suits their purpose. In the private sector, our fight is every day, and the knowledge of the past and the reasons for the weather and climate are the foundations for any success in the future. A good meteorologist has to know his weather and climate history or he will fall prey to the whims of the computer models. Perhaps you saw some of that with Hurricane Sandy. Until the middle of the week before the storm, the U.S. generated model was taking the storm out to sea and there was denial in some circles that Sandy was going to come back and hit the coast.

Of course, the usual suspects piled on the disaster train once it became obvious, to push their AGW agenda. They are nowhere to be found before the fact, but certainly come out of the woodwork after. I leave the reader to judge the tree by the fruit on it.

Here are a few reminders that will assure you that a storm like Sandy is well within the realm of what nature can, and in reality, should do, especially given the cycle we are in, which is very similar to the 1950s (cooling Pacific, with a still warm Atlantic). This cycle was forecasted years ago by Dr William Gray from Colorado State, and for my money, he was spot on. As with many visionaries, he was scoffed at, and what is particularly galling is now that it is happening, people pushing AGW try to discredit him. But his generation of meteorologist that did not rely on computers had a keen sense of the past and actual weather rather than the virtual reality type forecasting that seems to be in vogue today. Example: Look at the ride the climate models have taken us on. Their forecast for warming has obviously gone astray as seen here.

You have seen the chart many times, but it does not get old, nor does the fact change that the earth is no longer warming, but CO2 is going up. That chart should be enough to debunk the AGW idea on hurricanes since if the earth is not warming, it can't be warming that is causing more hurricane hits. The other problem is that there are not more hurricane hits -- the total global tropical activity is down! The Global ACE index (accumulated cyclonic energy) which gives us an objective way at looking at total global tropical cyclone activity, has tailed off to record low levels.

So we have two objective measurements saying that:

a.) The earth is no longer warming.
b.) Tropical activity is not getting worse.

Interestingly enough, as if to teach a lesson to the Nobel Committee, the tropical activity started tailing off most strongly after Al Gore was awarded a Nobel prize for his movie "An Inconvenient Truth." The actual Truth is the opposite (which is inconvenient, though apparently largely ignored by Al Gore.)

But the irony grows even richer when one considers the fact that hurricane hits on the U.S. Coast were greatest when there was less CO2!

Now, if I wanted to demagogue this in the spirit of some of the AGW advocates, I could say, "Look, more CO2 drives down hurricane hits!" But I know there is no proof of that. But I also know that given the actual facts, it's certainly not leading to more hits!

Finally, the cycle we have entered is one that should lead to more storms hitting the East Coast. This happened in the 1950s -- the Pacific cooled, the Atlantic was in its warm cycle, and the resultant climate pattern lead to drought and heat over much of the nation in the summer, and increased hurricane hits on the East Coast. The facts are clear: The 1950s had a road map of destruction up the East Coast, not 2 in 2 years (by the way, neither Irene or Sandy were major hurricanes by the 1950's standards, so one can say we still are not close to where we were. Sandy was a major hurricane on my power scale, which I am trying to replace the Saffir Simpson Scale with ... another story for another time.) But this map speaks for itself.

By the way, the destruction of Sandy, as bad as it was, is not the "ultimate" storm by any means for the Northeast, the same way Katrina was not the "ultimate" storm for New Orleans. While not wishing to bore you with the details, in my hurricane talks I cover the tracks of storms that would cause the most damage to the various areas of the coast that have been hit over the past 20 years (again we have been lucky compared to the 1940s and 1950s.) If you are interested in this, I do give talks on this and please feel free to contact the office on it. The more people I can get my message out to, the more I can do to counter the distortions that are out there.

In the end, blaming Sandy on Global Warming or "Climate Change" is, as I put it on the O'Reilly Factor, shockingly ignorant or shockingly deceptive. The facts are clear on this and not hard to see, if one simply looks!

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Global Warming Ate My Homework

100 Things Blamed on Global Warming

Late for a party? Miss a meeting? Forget to pay your rent? Blame climate change; everyone else is doing it. From an increase in severe acne to all societal collapses since the beginning of time, just about everything gone wrong in the world today can be attributed to climate change. Here’s a list of 100 storylines blaming climate change as the problem.

1. The deaths of Aspen trees in the West
2. Incredible shrinking sheep
3. Caribbean coral deaths
4. Eskimos forced to leave their village
5. Disappearing lake in Chile
6. Early heat wave in Vietnam
7. Malaria and water-borne diseases in Africa
8. Invasion of jellyfish in the Mediterranean
9. Break in the Arctic Ice Shelf
10. Monsoons in India
11. Birds laying their eggs early
12. 160,000 deaths a year
13. 315,000 deaths a year
14. 300,000 deaths a year
15. Decline in snowpack in the West
16. Deaths of walruses in Alaska
17. Hunger in Nepal
18. The appearance of oxygen-starved dead zones in the oceans
19. Surge in fatal shark attacks
20. Increasing number of typhoid cases in the Philippines
21. Boy Scout tornado deaths
22. Rise in asthma and hayfever
23. Duller fall foliage in 2007
24. Floods in Jakarta
25. Radical ecological shift in the North Sea
26. Snowfall in Baghdad
27. Western tree deaths
28. Diminishing desert resources
29. Pine beetles
30. Swedish beetles
31. Severe acne
32. Global conflict
33. Crash of Air France 447
34. Black Hawk Down incident
35. Amphibians breeding earlier
36. Flesh-eating disease
37. Global cooling
38. Bird strikes on US Airways 1549
39. Beer tastes different
40. Cougar attacks in Alberta
41. Suicide of farmers in Australia
42. Squirrels reproduce earlier
43. Monkeys moving to Great Rift Valley in Kenya
44. Confusion of migrating birds
45. Bigger tuna fish
46. Water shortages in Las Vegas
47. Worldwide hunger
48. Longer days
49. Earth spinning faster
50. Gender balance of crocodiles
51. Skin cancer deaths in UK
52. Increase in kidney stones in India
53. Penguin chicks frozen by global warming
54. Deaths of Minnesota moose
55. Increased threat of HIV/AIDS in developing countries
56. Increase of wasps in Alaska
57. Killer stingrays off British coasts
58. All societal collapses since the beginning of time
59. Bigger spiders
60. Increase in size of giant squid
61. Increase of orchids in UK
62. Collapse of gingerbread houses in Sweden
63. Cow infertility
64. Conflict in Darfur
65. Bluetongue outbreak in UK cows
66. Worldwide wars
67. Insomnia of children worried about global warming
68. Anxiety problems for people worried about climate change
69. Migration of cockroaches
70. Taller mountains due to melting glaciers
71. Drowning of four polar bears
72. UFO sightings in the UK
73. Hurricane Katrina
74. Greener mountains in Sweden
75. Decreased maple in maple trees
76. Cold wave in India
77. Worse traffic in LA because immigrants moving north
78. Increase in heart attacks and strokes
79. Rise in insurance premiums
80. Invasion of European species of earthworm in UK
81. Cold spells in Australia
82. Increase in crime
83. Boiling oceans
84. Grizzly deaths
85. Dengue fever
86. Lack of monsoons
87. Caterpillars devouring 45 towns in Liberia
88. Acid rain recovery
89. Global wheat shortage; food price hikes
90. Extinction of 13 species in Bangladesh
91. Changes in swan migration patterns in Siberia
92. The early arrival of Turkey’s endangered caretta carettas
93. Radical North Sea shift
94. Heroin addiction
95. Plant species climbing up mountains
96. Deadly fires in Australia
97. Droughts in Australia
98. The demise of California’s agriculture by the end of the century
99. Tsunami in South East Asia
100. Fashion victim: the death of the winter wardrobe

And the list goes on. The truth is climate change is causing some of these events, but the earth’s average temperature has been increasing and decreasing since the beginning of time. Maybe the increase in UFO sightings can’t be pinpointed to climate change but certainly animals will adapt to new habitats as the climate changes. But climate change and adaptation to it is nothing new. There’s an underlying assumption that human activity is causing the climate to change in many of these stories, but the scientific consensus on what causes climate change is anything but a consensus. Temperatures have risen and fallen many times before and the earth was cooling as recently as the period from the 1940s to the 1970s giving rise to fears of a coming ice age:

“At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1969, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.” C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, “The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.”

The other implication of this list is that a reduction in Co2 with cap and trade policies like Waxman-Markey and Boxer-Kerry will cure problems as disparate as hurricanes, wars, crime, hunger and…cow infertility. The problem is that no one can actually claim that a reduction of Co2 will prevent these occurrences; one can only speculate that they will be worse in a world that has more rather than less Co2. Given cap and trade’s massive economic consequences and negligible effects on the earth’s temperature, this is a bold and potentially very costly speculation.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Fashionable Apocalypses

Even a Warmist thinks the scares are implausible and exaggerated

In summary (I hope), the problem with the Sandy discussion is two-fold, I think:
The notion that it and the flooding and destruction was caused by climate change, that it's a binary situation and this, or something very much like it, wouldn't have happened if climate change wasn't occurring. Andrew Revkin put it well on Science Friday yesterday, and it's worth a listen.

The situation we're now in where every extreme weather event being somehow due to climate change. They are not -- hurricanes, floods, and fires have happened through history, some of them devastating. (Even drowned animals -- see below).

Here is just a small set of claims I found this morning:

Hurricane Sandy (October 2012):
Politico: "'This is an absolutely unprecedented storm,' McKibben said."

Hurricane Isaac (August 2012):
Climate Progress: "Hurricane Isaac Caps Off America’s Summer of Extreme Weather"

Colorado Wildfires (June 2012):
Brad Johnson, Think Progress: June 2012: "Obama announces an “all-hands-on-deck” response in his weekly address to the nation from Colorado Springs, after visiting the devastating wildfires, but does not mention the role climate change had in fueling the fires, including higher temperatures, more intense drought, and bark beetle infestations."

Minnesota Flooding (June 2012):
Steve Perlberg, Think Progress: "Western wildfires, record-setting temperatures, devastating floods, and other extreme weather made more extreme by global warming have welcomed us to summer 2012..... Zoo Animals Drowned in Minnesota Floods"

Hurricane Irene (August 2011):
The Daily Beast: "Hurricane Irene’s dangerous power can be traced to global warming says Bill McKibben—and Obama is at fault for his failed leadership on the environment."

Hurricane Earl (Aug-Sept 2010):
Associated Press: "Warm water, especially more than 80 degrees, fuels hurricanes. As a storm heads north, usually the water is cooler and the hurricane quickly runs out of steam. But not this time.... With global warming, water is likely to be warmer farther north than it is was [sic] for the past century,” Borenstein adds."

New England Flooding (April 2010):
Brad Johnson, Think Progress: "Global Boiling Is Washing Away The Northeast With Wild Wet Weather" (emphasis mine)

Hurricane Ike (September 2008):
Brad Johnson, Think Progress: "Global Boiling: Hurricane Ike Part Of New Era Of More Destructive Storms"

One could, of course, easily go on. And some have. (To be fair, some have not.)

Last night I started reading the novel Earth by David Brin. In a section written as a book excerpt from the year 2035, he wrote,
In ages past, men and women kept foretelling the End of the World. Calamity seemed never farther than the next earthquake or failed harvest. And each dire happening, from tempest to barbarian invasion, was explained as wrathful punishment from Heaven.

Eventually, humanity began accepting more of the credit, or blame, for impending Armageddon. Between the World Wars, for instance, novelists prophesied annihilation by poison gas. Later it was assumed we'd blow ourselves to hell with nuclear weapons. Horrible new diseases and other biological scourges terrified populations during the Helvetian struggle. And between wars, of course, our burgeoning human population fostered countless dread specters of mass starvation.

Apocalypses, apparently, are subject to fashion like everything else. What terrifies one generation can seem obsolete and trivial to the next

I am not saying climate change will come to be seen as obsolete and trivial. Just the opposite -- it's a potential calamity of a unique order, though we're in the beginning of it -- it's the projections which are scary, which is why so many scientists are so deeply concerned about it in a different sense than any previous threat (even nuclear war -- that would be a decision based on political and diplomatic failures; climate change is due simply to how we live).

But it can become an hysteria too, while now might be happening, thanks to pushy activists like those above who are using it for their particular purposes. Even though many of them no doubt think we should be getting hysterical, blaming everything on climate change is as misleading as ignoring or denying it completely. More importantly, it's ineffective, not least because it ruins your credibility. But clearly some activists have calculated that their PR message is worth the risk to their trustworthiness.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Scientific fraud is rife -- except in climate science

The article below is from the faltering Leftist "Guardian". Everything they say below is right and well judged -- but it is amusing to see not a single mention of Warmism

Science is broken. Psychology was rocked recently by stories of academics making up data, sometimes overshadowing whole careers. And it isn't the only discipline with problems - the current record for fraudulent papers is held by anaesthesiologist Yoshitaka Fujii, with 172 faked articles.

These scandals highlight deeper cultural problems in academia. Pressure to turn out lots of high-quality publications not only promotes extreme behaviours, it normalises the little things, like the selective publication of positive novel findings – which leads to "non-significant" but possibly true findings sitting unpublished on shelves, and a lack of much needed replication studies.

Why does this matter? Science is about furthering our collective knowledge, and it happens in increments. Successive generations of scientists build upon theoretical foundations set by their predecessors. If those foundations are made of sand, though, then time and money will be wasted in the pursuit of ideas that simply aren't right.

A recent paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that since 1973, nearly a thousand biomedical papers have been retracted because someone cheated the system. That's a massive 67% of all biomedical retractions. And the situation is getting worse - last year, Nature reported that the rise in retraction rates has overtaken the rise in the number of papers being published.

This is happening because the entire way that we go about funding, researching and publishing science is flawed. As Chris Chambers and Petroc Sumner point out, the reasons are numerous and interconnecting:

* Pressure to publish in "high impact" journals, at all research career levels;

* Universities treat successful grant applications as outputs, upon which continued careers depend;

* Statistical analyses are hard, and sometimes researchers get it wrong;

* Journals favour positive results over null findings, even though null findings from a well conducted study are just as informative;

* The way journal articles are assessed is inconsistent and secretive, and allows statistical errors to creep through.

Problems occur at all levels in the system, and we need to stop stubbornly arguing that "it's not that bad" or that talking about it somehow damages science. The damage has already been done – now we need to start fixing it.

Chambers and Sumner argue that replication is critical to keeping science honest, and they are right. Replication is a great way to verify the results of a given study, and its widespread adoption would, in time, act as a deterrent for dodgy practices. The nature of statistics means that sometimes positive findings arise by chance, and if replications aren't published, we can't be sure that a finding wasn't simply a statistical anomaly.

But replication isn't enough: we need to enact practical changes at all levels in the system. The scientific process must be as open to scrutiny as possible – that means enforcing study pre-registration to deter inappropriate post-hoc statistical testing, archiving and sharing data online for others to scrutinise, and incentivising these practices (such as guaranteeing publications, regardless of findings).

The peer-review process needs to be overhauled. Currently, it happens behind closed doors, with anonymous reviews only seen by journal editors and manuscript authors. This means we have no real idea how effective peer review is – though we know it can easily be gamed. Extreme examples of fake reviewers, fake journal articles, and even fake journals have been uncovered.

More often, shoddy science and dodgy statistics are accepted for publication by reviewers with inadequate levels of expertise. Peer review must become more transparent. Journals like Frontiers already use an interactive reviewing format, with reviewers and authors discussing a paper in a real-time, forum-like setting.

A simple next step would be to make this system open and viewable by everyone, while maintaining the anonymity of the reviewers themselves. This would allow young researchers to be critical of a senior academic's paper without fear of career suicide.

On 12 November, we are hosting a session on academic misconduct at SpotOn London, Nature's conference about all things science online.

The aim of the session is to find practical solutions to these problems that science faces. It will involve scientific researchers, journalists and journal editors. We've made some suggestions here, but we want more from you. What would you like to see discussed? Do you have any ideas, opinions or solutions?

We'll take the best points and air them at the session, so speak up now! Let's stop burying our heads in the sand and stand up for good science.


New review of global climate change consensus

The Cato Institute has released a comprehensive report detailing information that wasn’t included in the 2009 report from the U.S Global Change Research Program that’s being used by the EPA as scientific support for regulating carbon dioxide emissions.

The 216-page Cato report, Addendum: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, provides extensive commentary and evidence of finding “systematic bias in the direction of alarmist findings” in the GCRP’s report. In the preface, Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies Patrick J. Michaels wrote:
Of all of the “consensus” government or intergovernmental documents of this genre that I have reviewed in my 30+ years in this profession, there is no doubt that this is absolutely the worst of all. Virtually every sentence can be contested or does not repre­sent a complete survey of a relevant litera­ture…

…There is an overwhelming amount of misleading material in the CCSP’s “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States.” It is immediately obvious that the intent of the report is not to provide a ac­curate scientific assessment of the current and future impacts of climate change in the United States but to confuse the reader by a loose handling of normal climate events (made seemingly more frequent, intense and damaging simply by our growing popu­lation, population movements, and wealth) presented as climate change events. Addition­ally, there is absolutely no effort made by the CCSP authors to include any dissenting opinion to their declarative statements, despite the peer-reviewed scientific litera­ture being full of legitimate and applicable reports and observations that provide con­trasting findings.

…The uninformed reader (i.e., the public, reporters, and policy-makers) upon read­ing this report will be led to believe that a terrible disaster is soon to befall the United States from human-induced climate change and that almost all of the impacts will be negative and devastating. Of course, if the purpose here is not really to produce an unbiased review of the impact of climate change on the United States, but a politi­cal document that will give cover for EPA’s decision to regulate carbon dioxide, then there is really no reason to go through the ruse of gathering comments from scientists knowledgeable about the issues, as the only science that is relevant is selected work that fits the authors’ pre-existing paradigm.


Australian Leftist PM rejects Greens advice to increase mining tax

The Federal Government has flatly dismissed efforts by the Greens to increase budget revenue from the mining tax.

The Greens have used their 20th national conference in Sydney to spruik their economic agenda.

Greens leader Christine Milne urged the Federal Government to delay the budget surplus.

They have also commissioned costings data which reveal that a 40 per cent increase in the Minerals Resource Rent Tax would increase budget revenue by $26 billion over four years. "If we invested it wisely we could lift Newstart, we could make sure we ploughed that money into education," Ms Milne said.

But Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she will not be heeding the Greens advice. "We have implemented the mining tax that we believe is the right one for the nation," she said.

Senator Milne says Ms Gillard's refusal proves she has caved in to the mining industry.

"At the moment the mining tax is securing zero, it's projected to secure $9 billion, well we could take that out to $26 billion," she said.

"So this goes to the heart of the Prime Minister's claims to be the great negotiator, she negotiated a tax that has resulted in zero in the first three months."

The Greens conference also canvassed the party's core policies towards the environment, Indigenous recognition and same-sex marriage.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


4 November, 2012

Sandy and Climate Change

The case for climate change, formerly the case for global warming, entails a series of propositions that begin with the unobjectionable and escalate to the absurd: that the climate is changing, that these changes are likely to be dangerous and destructive, that these changes are in the main the result of human action, that carbon-dioxide emissions are the major factor, that these changes can be forestalled or reversed by political means, that such political actions are likely to be on the right side of the cost-benefit analysis, etc. The least plausible claims are those holding that specific events, such as the horrific damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy, are attributable to specific U.S. public-policy decisions. That this lattermost claim is absurd and stands in contravention of the best scientific analysis has not stopped the most hysterical climate alarmists from making it, but then it is the nature of hysterical alarmists to exceed the bounds of reason.

Among others, Chris Mooney of Mother Jones was sure enough of himself to declare categorically of Sandy: “Climate change, a topic embarrassingly ignored in the three recent presidential debates, made it worse.” Bill McKibben of Democracy Now and others on the left made similar statements, while Businessweek practically wet itself. There is little or no evidence that this claim is true in any meaningful sense, and many climate scientists believe that warming has resulted in fewer powerful hurricanes striking the United States. As usual, the science is complex while the politics are unfortunately simpleminded.

The conventional climate-change argument holds that warmer oceans will lead to more intense hurricanes and other extreme weather events. But Sandy was not an unprecedentedly powerful hurricane — it inflicted such remarkable damage because it arrived at the confluence of a nor’easter and a high-pressure system, and plowed into densely populated urban areas at high tide. In fact, the arrival of powerful hurricanes on our shores is somewhat diminished of late: The last Category 3 hurricane to make landfall was seven years ago, the longest such interval in a century. As Professor Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado points out, 1954–55 saw three back-to-back hurricanes — two in the same month — more destructive than Sandy crashing onto our shores.

It is true that the New York harbor is about a foot higher than it was a century ago, though how much of that is the result of anthropogenic global warming is uncertain. But that additional foot, even if it were entirely the result of a failure to control carbon-dioxide emissions, was a relatively small component in the monstrous storm tide that inundated New York, New Jersey, and other coastal areas. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s projections, contrary to the alarmists, do not suggest that future storm surges would be much worse as a result of global warming. (See here, for example.)

There were a great many institutional failures that made Sandy worse than it had to be. In retrospect, Mayor Bloomberg should perhaps have been worried more about the readiness of the city’s hospitals than the salt content of its snack foods. His obsession with Big Gulps, in the context of this destruction, is both hilarious and horrifying. Perhaps there was nothing that could have been done to prevent the flooding of the tunnels and the collapse of the electrical supply, but surely a great deal of capital and energy that were directed toward trivial pursuits good for very little other than generating headlines would have been better deployed toward the unglamorous but necessary work of ensuring that low-lying coastal cities are sufficiently inured to the threats posed by hurricanes and other common, inevitable events. New York City is many things: over-engineered against hurricanes is not one of them.

Resources are scarce. Even if we take at face value the entirety of the anthropogenic-global-warming hypothesis, it is extraordinarily unlikely that U.S. policies would succeed in halting or reversing that trend in a world in which China, India, and the rest of the developing world have made it plain that they will not reduce emissions under any foreseeable circumstances. Global-warming hysteria is a fashion, and it is exciting to a certain sort of person. Tunnel-improvement projects do not have the sex appeal of a global climate crusade, but they represent a more prudent use of our capital, both political and real. It would not be accurate to say that this hysteria serves no one, but Al Gore’s fortune is not in obvious need of further supplementation, and we did not believe Barack Obama’s promise of halting the oceans’ rise the first time around.


Climate link to Sandy invalid

AUSTRALIA'S Climate Commission has misrepresented data from the leading US meteorological bureau to highlight a link between climate change and the severity of Superstorm Sandy which this week crippled New York.

In a statement on the disaster that hit North America on Monday, the federal government-sponsored Climate Commission said "all the evidence suggests that climate change exacerbated the severity of Hurricane Sandy".

Matthew England, chairman of the commission's Science Advisory Panel, said it was important to get the message out that storms today were "operating in a different environment than they were 100 years ago".

Professor England said increased humidity, higher sea levels and warmer sea surface temperatures were all contributing to the severity of storms.

The commission quoted data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that "the temperature of the surface waters from which Sandy drew energy were three to five degrees warmer than average".

However, senior NOAA climate scientist Martin Hoerling said the higher sea-surface temperatures quoted by the Climate Commission were not significant in relation to Sandy.

Dr Hoerling told US public radio in the aftermath of Sandy that ocean temperatures adjacent to the US eastern seaboard had been running several degrees higher than normal.

But he said the unusually warm waters were in areas where the background temperature was relatively cool. "So adding a few degrees Fahrenheit at that cool water temperature doesn't matter too much for the intensity of a hurricane," Dr Hoerling said.

Dr Hoerling is a research meteorologist, specialising in climate dynamics, in NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory located in Boulder, Colorado.

He is chairman of the US CLIVAR (Climate Variability) research program, has served as editor of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, and has published more than 50 scientific papers dealing with climate variability and change.

Late yesterday, Professor England conceded the sea-surface temperature highlighted in the Climate Commission document was not significant.

"The ocean temperature anomalies of 3-5C off New York that would feed energy into the extra-tropical cyclone in that part of the world matter much less than if such anomalies were located under the storm in the tropics," Professor England said.

"Basically tropical cyclones are very sensitive to underlying ocean temperatures, but cyclones outside the tropics care somewhat less about the underlying ocean temperatures.

"So the climate change signal in Sandy is largely due to sea-level rise, the increased humidity in the world's atmosphere, and the tropical ocean temperature anomalies. The temperatures up near New York, while still a factor in the storm, are less of a factor than the above three changes."

Dr Hoerling said Sandy was not unprecedented. He said a storm surge at New York in 1821 was greater than that of Sandy. However, like the Climate Commission, he said rising sea levels could exacerbate the damage from big storms.

He said the record showed a rise in the total sea level of about 30cm over the past 150 years in New York. "We have a 14-foot (4.2m) rise related to Sandy," he said. "So one foot out of 14 may not be something that is critical, but it may very well be in the sense that that last foot may be the foot that moved the water into very prone areas."


The Big Apple survives Sandy and shows how to live with natural disasters

Technology and human ingenuity can defuse natural disasters that once killed thousands

Anyone who loves New York will be familiar with the moment, during the cab ride from the airport, when the Manhattan skyline comes into view and the heart misses a beat. It’s odd; there is nothing inherently beautiful about seeing concrete spires crammed absurdly on to the end of an island. The beauty lies in what it all represents: a city founded by immigrants, who built skyscrapers as if to challenge the Atlantic storms to do their worst.

The city of New York always has been a paean to human achievement – but seldom more than it is this week. The recovery from Hurricane Sandy is turning out to be more spectacular than the storm itself. The New York marathon is to proceed as planned on Sunday, sending 50,000 runners down streets where taxis were floating just a few days ago. A subway system which was deluged with seawater on Tuesday has already started to roar back to life. The New York Stock Exchange was open again after just two days, and was ashamed to have closed for even that long. Broadway shows have reopened. Work has begun pumping 86 million gallons of water from the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

The city’s true resilience, however, lay in the way that people helped each other, in a thousand different ways. “I have power and hot water,” wrote Rob Hart of Staten Island on Facebook. “If anyone needs a shower or to charge some gadgets or just wants to bask in the beauty of artificial light, hit me up.” When the street lights went out, traffic was kept moving by volunteers. The city’s finest steakhouses sold cut-price sirloins in the street; other restaurants gave food away free. Before and after the flood, there was amazingly little sign of panic. The city was, as Walt Whitman once put it, “sane, unruly, musical, self-sufficient”.

For decades, now, mankind has been getting far better at dealing with whatever nature has to throw at us. We have the technology to cope with most things, from building skyscrapers that can stand up to hurricanes to making cities spring from the desert. It’s not just America: modern Israel was made possible by ingenious ways of turning scrubland into farms. Dubai has tamed the elements to the extent that it offers year-round skiing, on the world’s first indoor slope. World over, towns stand on places regarded a generation or two ago as uninhabitable.

Had Superstorm Sandy struck five years ago, we would by now be hearing all manner of theories linking it to climate change or murky claims that it represented Gaia’s revenge. But as science evolves, the hysteria is draining out of the climate change debate – and a new rationalism taking its place. We might not be sure that we can make any meaningful difference to its trajectory, but we know that we can adapt to it.

In the old days, prime ministers would jet off to climate summits, making Flash Gordon-style declarations about there being only so many hours left to save the world. If you believed that the planet is warming, and that human activity is at least in part to blame (which I do) then you were asked to sign up to all manner of carbon-cutting schemes, regardless of what they’d accomplish. Environmentalism became the new Live Aid. Posters linked third-world floods to wasteful British household habits.

It has since become harder to sustain such simplistic, emotive claims. The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted that the extent of mankind’s influence on extreme weather events is uncertain – and may not be clear for another 30 years. Fossil fuel consumption in the rich world peaked five years ago; the rise now comes from poorer countries, where millions are living longer, better (and yes, more carbon-intensive) lives. It would be impossible, not to say sadistic, to try to impede such progress.

So rising carbon emissions are, to a significant extent, a side effect of alleviating global poverty. And poverty is by far a bigger killer than climate. At least 74 people died from Superstorm Sandy, but had a similar storm struck Asia, the toll could have run into the thousands. A recent MIT study into natural disasters between 1980 and 2002 found that America suffered an average of 17 deaths per windstorm, compared to almost 2,000 in Bangladesh. The average flood cost six lives in the former, but 210 in the latter. It wasn’t that the storms were more severe or more frequent – just that America had the money to cope better.

When environmentalists predict doom for countries like Bangladesh, this is what they forget. Their computer models assume that as sea levels rise, millions of Bangladeshis will become environmental refugees by 2050. But the same model assumes that Bangladesh will, by then, be as rich as Britain is today. If so, it is fairly likely that it will be able to afford the odd flood defence.

The weather is not, by itself, a killer: what matters is how prepared you are. Already, Bangladesh is making incredible progress. Its government scientists say that its land mass is expanding, not contracting, a trend that is set to continue as they get better at building dams.

Had environmentalists been looking at the Netherlands a century ago, they would have concluded that the Dutch were doomed. Two thirds of the country is vulnerable to flooding, and the population density has long been among the highest in Europe. But it also has the world’s best dams, which can cope with the flooding expected in 3,999 out of every 4,000 years. Schiphol Airport, one of the world’s biggest, stands on what was once a large lake. Our technology for dealing with water is evolving faster than the sea levels are rising.

Of course, while America’s storms are not as lethal as they once were, its droughts – and its government policies – still can be. The Midwest’s long, dry summer has sent global food prices towards what the United Nations regards as crisis levels.

And a significant part of the pain, which will be felt worldwide, will be inflicted by rules mandating that two fifths of maize crops are used to make ethanol, an environmentally friendly car fuel. In this way, policies designed to slow global warming may end up inflicting more harm than global warming itself.

How, then, to respond? It’s easy to see the harm that anti-carbon policies inflict, but it’s far less easy to see what they achieve. We have imposed levies on fuel bills to subsidise wind farms, making it expensive to heat homes in winter. We have added charges to air fares, taxing the poor out of the sky. And to what end? Will all this do anything more than delay the effect of global warming by a few years? If this is about saving lives, then isn’t it better to spend money in a way that helps poor countries develop?

When a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil, we may well get a tornado on the coast of Florida. Or we may just get an exhausted butterfly in Rio. We simply don’t know: we’re still not much good at predicting the weather, and changing the climate several decades from now may well prove far beyond our capabilities. But the lesson of New York is that we are rather good at preparing for the weather, and needn’t live in fear of it.

Nature’s fury can be awesome – but man’s resilience and inventiveness is more awesome still.


Global warming and mainstream dogmatism‏

New book: Dogmatism in Science and Medicine: How Dominant Theories Monopolize Research and Stifle the Search for Truth

Here's a synopsis:

Unwarranted dogmatism has taken over in many fields of science: in Big-Bang cosmology, dinosaur extinction, theory of smell, string theory, Alzheimer's amyloid theory, specificity and efficacy of psychotropic drugs, cold fusion, second-hand smoke, continental drift . . . The list goes on and on.

Dissenting views are dismissed without further ado, and dissenters' careers are badly affected. Where public policy is involved - as with human-caused global warming and HIV/AIDS - the excommunication and harassment of dissenters reaches a fever pitch with charges of "denialism" and "denialists", a deliberate ploy of association with the no-no of Holocaust denying.

The book describes these circumstances. It claims that this is a sea change in scientific activity and in the interaction of science and society in the last half century or so, and points to likely causes of that sea change. The best remedy would seem to be the founding of a Science Court, much discussed several decades ago but never acted on.

Reviews so far have been quite favorable, see here

Received via email from the author: Henry H. Bauer [], professor emeritus of chemistry and science studies and dean emeritus of arts and sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech)

A Greenie who likes cities

Most Greenies live in urban areas. There are plenmty of places where you can "get away from it all" but they like that idea in theory only. They are armchair Greenies. One Greenie has now found a rationale for what they do:

The best way to measure carbon is per person. Places should be judged not by how much carbon they emit, but by how much carbon they cause us to emit. There are only so many people in the United States at any given time, and they can be encouraged to live where they have the smallest environmental footprint. That place turns out to be the city — the denser the better.

For this reason, when Bernstein replaced carbon per square mile with carbon per household, the colors simply flipped. Now the hottest areas in each American metropolitan area — and their web site shows hundreds, from Abilene to Yuma — are inevitably the outer suburbs. The coolest are smack-dab in the center of town.

To be accurate: Bernstein’s maps have a limitation. They do not show full carbon output; they only show CO2 from household automotive use — data that are much easier to collect. But this limitation turns out to be useful, for several reasons: first, because it causes us to confirm that automobile use is not only the single greatest contributor to our total carbon footprint, but also a reliable indicator of that total; and second, because limiting our greenhouse gas emissions, for many, is a much less pressing issue than our dependence on foreign oil.


US Treasury study to link tax code to carbon emissions

Coming soon: a green tax code for American businesses and individual taxpayers alike?

A major tax study currently being sponsored by the U.S. Treasury will give environmental activists a powerful new weapon in their campaign to alter the entire American economic and social landscape in the name of halting “climate change”—including the possible levying of new carbon taxes.

That campaign is bound to intensify in the aftermath of Nov. 6’s presidential election, regardless of who wins the race, as the nation faces the challenge of deficit reduction and tax reform that will be required to overhaul the country’s over-strained finances. Environmental advocates and others are likely to raise such innovative mechanisms as carbon taxes and major shifts in tax rates and incentives as part of the process—and the impending study may well provide them with important ammunition.

Under the bland title of Effects of Provisions in the Internal Revenue Code on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, the $1.5 million study is being carried out under the auspices of the National Academy of Science (NAS). Originally planned to take two years, the ambitious project aims to take an inventory of the U.S. tax code in terms of the effects of its most important provisions on the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions—a huge and complicated exercise in environmental and economic modelling.

The study itself will not be available until after the election. Originally slated for completion in September of this year, its publication has since been postponed until the first quarter of next year.

According to a NAS spokesperson, one reason is that it must go through a rigorous, anonymous review process. But according to a NAS staffer who spoke with Fox News, another significant reason is the Academy’s demand for a “consensus” among the committee members charged with its production before the review process begins. According to the staffer the study is “still in the process of late stage revision by the committee,” and will go for review “in the near future.”

The results will likely bring an entirely new dimension to any future bargaining table in Washington that aims at achieving financial reform. Such bargaining is considered nearly inevitable as the U.S. tries to back away from the fiscal cliff created by towering annual deficits and still accelerating obligations under Social Security and still-to-be implemented Obamacare.

What the NAS study will examine are the basic building blocks of the tax system, but not from a job creation or growth perspective. Instead, the question is what levels of greenhouse gas are currently produced by its provisions.

These include not only deductions and allowances for production of varying types of energy, but also such things as the home mortgage deduction and the investment tax credit to spur business activity, not to mention tax provisions that affect patterns of urban development, agriculture, forestry and all manner of industrial processes.

In short, just about everything.

The terms of reference of the study say it “will not recommend particular new taxes or tax incentives nor changes in existing provisions of the tax code.” On the other hand, the study “may evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of different tax measures in reducing GHG emissions relative to other policy instruments.”

In other words, the study may provide the means to “comparison shop” tax levels and tax incentives for a wide variety of economic and social activities on the basis of their alleged impact on global warming.

One element of such an approach has been frequently hinted at by the Obama Administration during the election campaign, as it has argued against unspecified subsidies for the oil, gas and coal industries and greater emphasis on “renewable” energy sources such as solar and wind which have so far proved to be much more expensive.

The National Academy’s study is being overseen by an ad hoc committee of experts, whose membership is approved by the National Academy’s president, Ralph J. Cicerone—himself an expert on atmospheric chemistry. The membership list is a lengthy roster of climate change and legal experts as well as economists versed in the arcana of computerized economic modeling.

The committee is chaired by William Nordhaus, a distinguished professor of economics at Yale University and former member of the President’s Council of Economics under Jimmy Carter. Nordhaus has been involved in previous National Academy efforts to, as the study website puts it, “integrate environmental and other non-market activity into the national economic accounts.”

Approached by Fox News to discuss the study, Nordhaus declined until after its publication.

Until the study itself is published, it is also not possible to examine the research efforts that have gone into it, which largely consist, apparently, of four consultants’ reports commissioned by the National Academy’s committee selected to oversee the study.

One of those reports was delivered by a consulting firm headed by Dale Jorgenson, a renowned professor economics at Harvard University, and former chairman of the specific board of the National Academy of Science that was charged with producing the new tax code study.

Contacted by Fox News, Jorgenson also declined to speak about the project until a final report is published.

Among the many research items on Jorgenson’s Harvard University website, however, is testimony last June before the Senate Committee on Finance entitled “Tax Reform: the Impact on U.S. Energy Policy,” in which the economist outlines a new system of energy taxes on coal, oil and natural gas that could “clean up the environment and slow global warming” The new tax revenue could also “close the budget gap and reduce tax rates as part of comprehensive tax reform.”

According to Ken Green, an environmental expert at the American Enterprise Institute, the entire NAS study “look like another effort aimed at paving the way for weaving carbon taxes into tax reform.”

Green says that option is favored not only by political liberals, but also by some conservatives who want a “revenue-neutral” version of carbon taxes to, among other things, “green up the conservative brand.”

Green argues that such taxes are not only ineffective, but dampen economic growth and are actually regressive, hitting lower-income Americans higher than harder-income earners.

To Congressman James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the National Academy’s study, whenever it appears, is “a waste of money,” whose results, whenever they appear, should be opposed. “They are simply trying to bypass the people’s representatives and use technocrats to achieve their agenda,” he argues.

Sensenbrenner, a Republican, is a former member of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, created by the Democratic congressional majority during the Bush Administration.

It is there, he says, that the National Academy study was first ordered up, by Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, in 2008—but never funded, until the advent of the Obama Administration.

Rep. Blumenauer, a Democrat, is a strong advocate of “sustainable communities” and environmental causes. His office confirmed that he had originally proposed the National Academy study, but did not reply to additional requests for interviews or information.

Whatever the study’s origins, its research will be what counts—and in the tug-of-war between “climate change” concerns and economic growth, however that research is eventually used will still depend greatly on the results on Nov. 6.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


2 November, 2012

Emails Catch White House Lie on Green-Energy Loans

Marita Noon

When he is confronted about the failed green-energy loan program, President Obama deflects blame—pointing to “career bureaucrats” in the Department of Energy (DOE) who supposedly approved the loans that have become an embarrassment to the White House.

For months, along with researcher Christine Lakotos, I’ve been reporting on, first, the junk-bond rated projects (such as Solyndra) that received fast-tracked approval from the DOE and, then, the failed and troubled stimulus funded companies. Solyndra was just the tip of the iceberg. Embarrassment after embarrassment has come to light as the projects touted as the hope for America’s future have filed for bankruptcy, sent money and jobs overseas, and faced technical difficulties.

The 1705 loan guarantee program had 460 applicants, but only 7% were approved—26 projects were funded. Of those 26 projects 22 were junk-bond rated—meaning private investors wouldn’t fund them. So why did we, the taxpayers?

Our research showed that at least 90% of the projects had close ties to the White House and other high ranking Democrats. Despite the obvious connection, President Obama has repeatedly denied any involvement—preferring to blame “career bureaucrats” who could take the fall with no political consequence.

In March, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, testified that, “We looked at the loans on their own merits.” Also, back in November 2011, he said: “I am aware of no communication from White House to Department of Energy saying to make the loan or to restructure.”

Just last week, on October 26, President Obama affirmed Chu’s position when he said: “Decisions made in the loan program office are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics.”

However, late Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a new report of “over 150 emails that contradict statements by the President, Secretary Chu, and White House and DOE officials.” The emails reveal a series of questionable practices, including coercion, cronyism and, cover ups.

The Committee has been asking for the emails and additional testimony since the Solyndra story broke in September of 2011, but the DOE has been refusing to cooperate. Emails were finally leaked from former DOE employees. Some of the incriminating evidence includes the following:

From an email dated March 1, 2010 from David Schmitzer, DOE LPO Director of Loan Origination to LPO Credit Advisor McCrea and others:

“Jonathan just said at our staff meeting that, opposite the message received on Thursday, AREVA is now a “go” (seems on Friday POTUS himself approved moving it ahead).”

From an email dated June 25, 2010, LPO Executive Director Jonathan Silver encourages LPO Credit Advisor Jim McCrea to remind a Treasury official of White House Interest in now bankrupt Abound Solar:

"You better let him know that WH wants to move Abound forward. Policy will have to wait unless they have a specific policy problem with abound.”

From an email dated September 9, 2010 from LPO Credit Advisor McCrea to DOE contractor Brian Oakley:

"Pressure is on real heavy on SF [Shepherds Flat] due to interest from VP.”

These emails are just a snippet of the 150 emails we are reviewing as a part of the just-released report. We have reported on each of the projects listed above and will report further.

We know that the Obama Administration operates from a “culture of corruption,” now we see that there is also a culture of deception within the White House walls. The White House green lies are bigger than innocent, little white lies, they are expensive green lies that have produced $34.7 billion in red ink for the taxpayers.

The Obama green energy program is the largest, most expensive, and deceptive case of crony capitalism in American history.


Biofuels are heavy competitors for scarce water resources

No Greenie screeches about resource conservation here?

The Department of Energy (DOE) has projected that 30 percent of U.S. transportation fuel could be provided by biofuels, ethanol, and biodiesel from all feedstocks by 2030.

There will likely be adjustments brought about by international trade. The use of corn, soybeans, and sugar for liquid fuels is going to be affected by international production and demand for these commodities. International trade in ethanol or biodiesel will affect production of these in the United States to some extent, but the trade volumes initially will be modest at best. In the case of low-value, high-volume crops for cellulosic conversion, these are unlikely to be traded because transportation costs become limiting.

Biofuels will be an important component of the nation’s energy portfolio for at least the next several decades (Doering, 2005). As total biofuels production expands to meet national goals, the long-term sustainability of the groundwater and surface water resources used for biofuel feedstocks and production facilities will be key issues to consider. Irrigation of crops creates consumptive use of water in areas where aquifers are being depleted and/or surface water quality is impaired. Policies designed to conserve water and prevent the unsustainable withdrawal of water from depleted aquifers could be formulated.

From a water quality perspective, it is vitally important to pursue policies that prevent an increase in total loadings of nutrient and sediments to waters. It may even be possible to design policies in such a way to reduce loadings across the agricultural sector, for example, those that support the production of feedstocks with lower inputs of nutrients (see Chapter 3). Cellulosic feedstocks, which have a lower expected impact on water quality in most cases (with the exception of the excessive removal of corn stover from fields without conservation tillage), could be an important alternative to pursue, keeping in mind that there are many uncertainties regarding the large-scale production of these crops.

It should be noted that current agricultural production is not an appropriate benchmark against which to set environmental standards. As noted early, in many regions, water resources have already been stressed.


Crowd control: The enviros’ final solution

10 billion. That will be the world’s population in 2050 by United Nations’ projections.

Can the global economy sustain that many people? Will there be rationing of vital resources? Can free markets survive with less to go around? What of liberty?

These questions are of vital importance not just to Americans, but all of humanity. For, the answers will tell us if the coming century will be one of expanded liberty and prosperity throughout the world. Or, one of rising tyranny, rationing, and crowd control by increasingly oppressive governments.

Since the pendulum is already swinging in favor of more government, it then falls on those who favor liberty and choices — which are what markets represent vis-à-vis the economy — to make the case that freedom not only should endure, but can prevail despite limited resources.

A quiet fascism

Because, frankly, the deck is stacked against us at the moment. In everything from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon endangerment finding to Obamacare to regulations that seal off hundreds of millions acres of potentially cultivable land from ever being developed, the administrative state has circumvented the representative, democratic process in favor of state-imposed rationing.

So pervasive are these elements they have infiltrated just about every powerful institution in government, academia, media, and finance. Their dogma is quite simple: We’re running out of resources, and we’re destroying the planet to boot.

In 2009, billionaires Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, David Rockefeller, Eli Broad, George Soros, Ted Turner, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Bloomberg, and others all met to ostensibly discuss their philanthropic undertakings. Gates outlined his idea of capping the world’s population at 8.3 billion instead of a projected peak of 9.3 billion.

The gathering of some of the most highly influential individuals in the world agreed population control was a priority, according to a Times of London account of the meeting. is a well-funded British outfit that specifically advocates for “a voluntary reduction in population over time to a level that enables an acceptable quality of life for all, protects wildlife and is ecologically sustainable.”

Seemingly taking his cue from this group, in 2009, Jonathon Porritt, one of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s advisers, called for a halving of the UK’s 61 million population to 30 million by 2031.

The Worldwatch Institute alarmingly warns, “Increases in food production, per hectare of land, have not kept pace with increases in population, and the planet has virtually no more arable land or fresh water to spare.”

These are just a few examples of this Malthusian canon on display. As if governments, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, needed any additional encouragement to proceed with policies that, in effect, make it costlier for individuals to raise their families.

But there is no need for such drastic measures. We are being brainwashed with linear thinking — a corrosive propaganda — all to justify a quiet fascism and the elimination of the choices we make every day about where to live and work, what to consume, and how many children to have.

More than enough to go around

In fact, only 1.5 billion of the world’s 13 billion hectares of land are even utilized for cropland — about 11.5 percent — according to a 1999 study on soil degradation. 1.7 billion hectares of potentially arable land are not even being used to grow crops. The Food and Agricultural Organization notes that only 22 percent of potentially arable land in sub-Saharan Africa is being cultivated.

Another 10 billion hectares are deemed unusable or too remote for agriculture, seemingly discounting irrigation, desalinization, floating farms, and other innovations that could dramatically expand the world’s food supply.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce notes that the world has more than enough energy at the moment, too: at least 200 years of oil, 120 years of natural gas, and 450 years of coal. And that’s just fossil fuel. There is as much as a 190 years’ supply of uranium for nuclear electricity, according to the World Nuclear Association.

And all of the above, again, discounts future innovations that will be made to increase the yield and supply of energy.

Here’s a proposition. It is not government that will make these innovations, especially not with its current regime of oppressive policies. But markets will. Necessity will dictate new solutions to sustaining the world’s growing population, and innovators with real economic incentive (i.e. the profit motive) will be the ones who find a way.

That is, as long as government gets out of the way. If markets are allowed to work, we will be able to feed the growing population. But if the environmental radicals ever have their way, and the advancements of the Industrial Revolution are indeed rolled back, a sharp, precipitous decline in population will become inevitable.

Malthus lives

Perhaps that is the real goal. Maybe today’s current policy malaise is not brought on by overpopulation, resource depletion, or even man-made global warming at all. But an irrational fear stirred up by powerful institutions that believe somehow, man is the problem.

In the process of enforcing this dogma, governments have seemingly bought into Agent Smith’s indictment of humanity in the sci-fi classic, The Matrix: “Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet.”

That is what they really believe. It takes a fictional machine to tell us, but that’s the long and short of it. There is no need for innovation with such a harsh view of mankind, just an imperative to control us and if needs be, to eliminate the virus.


The goal, for now, is to hold back population effectively through regulatory-imposed inflation. The idea is simple: the more it costs to have and raise children, the less people will procreate.

But so far the policies enacted affect mostly the developed world, where there is not even a hint of an overpopulation problem — if anything we actually have a fertility problem. The policies do little to touch the developing world, where we are seeing the real exponential growth in population.

Eventually, the powers that be will either give up on their Malthusian crusade after having inflicted massive damage on families and whole regions, or else convince themselves that they must escalate their efforts to enforce population control on the developing world, inevitably leading to war and subjugation.

Unless they are defeated today. There is in fact a conflict of interests between the goals of environmentalists, who actively seek to restrict access to resources, and those who truly seek to sustain the world’s population, including the people themselves who will demand those resources be used to feed and sustain their families.

The next century need not be one of rationing and crowd control. It can and should be one of liberty, choices, and in extension, markets that embody humanity’s best attributes to adapt, innovate, and expand. It is the only alternative where families can survive and children not be subjugated to being raised by “guardians” as in Plato’s Republic.

While we still have the freedom to decide, that is the only rational choice left to make — for, to paraphrase Patrick Henry, a life without liberty is not one worth living.


Antarctic marine park negotiations end in failure

No consensus! How awful!

Conservation groups are angry an international conference has failed to agree on new marine reserves around Antarctica.

About 250 delegates representing 25 countries have been locked in talks at the meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

Australia wanted 1.9 million kilometres of Antarctica's east coast protected. France and the European Union had backed the proposal.

After 11 days of intense talks, the meeting was dogged by conflicting demands, among them China's concern over restrictions to ocean resources.

The Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) and the World Wildlife Fund say they are disappointed a consensus could not be reached.

AOA campaign manager Steve Campbell says the failure to find consensus could impact on climate change research, sustainable fishing and marine wildlife.

"It's nearly 10,000 species. It's one of the last wild places," he said.

Mr Campbell says protestors will continue to push for reserves.

"We have over 1.2 million people around the world who have taken action against this campaign," he said.

"We'll be making sure that they hear our voices loud and clear."

Campaigner Blair Palese says the pristine area should have been protected.

"We just didn't get that and I think the frustration is what will it take if we can't protect some of these most beautiful and really difficult to get to areas," he said.

"How hard can it be to protect these areas in the ocean?

"We'd like to see it get up to show not only can it be done but it makes good environmental and scientific sense."

The proposal will be discussed again at a meeting in Germany next July.


Ten years too late, it’s good riddance to Britain's wind farms – one of the most dangerous delusions of our age

By Christopher Booker

The significance of yesterday’s shock announce-ment by our Energy Minister John Hayes that the Government plans to put a firm limit on the building of any more onshore windfarms is hard to exaggerate.

On the face of it, this promises to be the beginning of an end to one of the greatest and most dangerous political delusions of our time.

For years now, the plan to cover hundreds of square miles of the British countryside with ever more wind turbines has been the centrepiece of Britain’s energy policy — and one supported by all three major political parties.

Back in 2008, when Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced his wish to see the country spend £100 billion on windfarms, the only response from the Tory leader David Cameron was to say that he should have done it sooner.

It was the only way, they all agreed, Britain could meet our commitment to the EU that, by 2020, we must produce nearly a third of our electricity from ‘renewables’ — with the largest part provided by tens of thousands more wind turbines.

Yet now, out of the blue, has come this announcement by the Coalition Energy Minister that from now on there is to be a moratorium on building onshore turbines other than those for which consent has already been given.

What made this even more piquant was the fact that Mr Hayes chose to drop this bombshell just hours before attending a conference in Glasgow staged by RenewableUK, the professional lobby group for Britain’s wind industry.

These are the very people who for years have been making fortunes out of the greatest public subsidy bonanza of modern times. Now Mr Hayes is to stop their gravy train in its tracks. It will give them the biggest shock of their professional lives.

The ramifications of such a policy U-turn stretch in all directions, not least to Brussels, where our EU colleagues won’t be taken in for a moment by Mr Hayes’s disingenuous claim that Britain doesn’t need more onshore windfarms because we are now on course to meet our ‘renewables’ target without them.

But nowhere will this announcement be greeted with more delirious surprise than in all those hundreds of communities across the land where outraged local protest groups have formed in ever greater numbers to fight the onward march of what they see as the greatest threat to Britain’s countryside for centuries.

I have been following this extraordinary story for ten years ever since, in 2002, I first began looking carefully at what really lay behind this deceptive obsession with the charms of wind power. It didn’t take me long, talking to experts and reading up on the technical facts, to see that the fashionable enthusiasm for wind energy was based on a colossal illusion.

I first warned about what I called ‘the greatest mistake in our history’ in an article in the Mail almost ten years ago.

I described the claim that it would be the answer to all our future energy problems as a catastrophic failure of judgment. I feared that windpower was stupendously inefficient and ludicrously expensive and that by falling for the greatest energy hoax of our time, the Labour government could be consigning Britain to a very dark future.

So unreliable are wind turbines — thanks to the wind’s constant vagaries — that they are one of the most inefficient means of producing electricity ever devised.

Indeed, the amount of power they generate is so derisory that, even now, when we have built 3,500 turbines, the average amount of power we get from all of them combined is no more than what we get from a single medium-size, gas-fired power station, built at only fraction of the cost.

No one would dream of building windfarms unless the Government had arranged to pay their developers a subsidy of 100 per cent on all the power they produce, paid for by all of us through a hidden charge on our electricity bills.

The only way the industry managed to fool politicians into accepting this crazy deal was by subterfuge — referring to turbines only in terms of their ‘capacity’ (i.e. what they could produce if the wind was blowing at optimum speeds 24 hours of every day). The truth is that their average actual output is barely a quarter of that figure.

Yet it was on this deception that the industry managed to fool pretty well everyone that windfarms could make a contribution to Britain’s energy needs four times larger than reality — and thus was ‘the great wind scam’ launched on its way.

For years our politicians continued to fall for this racket, as they ruthlessly bent the planning rules to ensure that nothing stood in the way of the turbines.

Meanwhile, ever more rural communities fought to stop the countryside around their homes being threatened with these monsters.

At long last, the penny began to drop with a growing number of MPs being besieged by constituents who wanted to know why our green and pleasant land should be disfigured for no obvious purpose other than to enrich the developers, and landowners such as David Cameron’s father-in-law Sir Reginald Sheffield, who has cheerfully admitted that the turbines on his Lincolnshire estate earn him £1,000 a day.

Earlier this year, 100 MPs, led by Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry, called for an end to building any more onshore turbines, on the grounds that the public should no longer be expected to pay out hundreds of millions of pounds a year in subsidies for something which was both useless and a crazy waste of money.

It was this groundswell of opposition, coming mainly from the Tory shires but winning support from MPs of all parties, which recently led David Cameron to appoint John Hayes as our new Energy Minister — with the private brief that he must find a way to curb those windfarms which are so massively unpopular.

Hence last night’s startling U-turn — which will destroy the long-standing all-party consensus on the issue.

The Lib Dems — led by our technically illiterate Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey — the Labour Party and Brussels will scarcely be able to contain their anger.

For countless others, this blast of realism will send up a cheer of relief across Britain — apart from Scotland, which has devolved powers. First Minister Alex Salmond has laughably pledged that, within eight years, it must derive all its electricity from ‘renewables’. (He has never explained what happens when the wind drops.)

In terms of seeing off the great wind delusion, however, this is only what Churchill once described as ‘the end of the beginning’.

When all those MPs finally became brave enough to recognise that onshore wind turbines are both useless and a waste of money, what they omitted to say was that the same objections apply twice over to those we are erecting in the seas around our coasts.

It’s not just that the thousands of offshore turbines that the Government still wants built will not only produce amounts of electricity scarcely less pitiful than those onshore. Because they are so much more expensive to build, they attract subsidies not at 100 per cent but at 200 per cent.

Thus, every reason that led John Hayes to strike such a blow yesterday for common sense in respect of onshore windfarms also applies, with redoubled force, to those vast offshore wind factories.

Until our politicians finally have the courage of their newfound convictions and halt this madness, too, one of the most bizarre follies of our age will not have been finally chucked where it belongs — firmly into the rubbish bin of history.


British parliamentarian runs slap bang into BBC bias; No deception is beneath them

Letter below from Rt Hon Peter Lilley MP, Member of Parliament for Hitchin and Harpenden to David Jordan, BBC, Director Editorial Policy and Standards, BBC

I would be grateful if you would look into my complaints about the Newsnight programme on Wednesday 5th September in which I participated (having just published a substantial critique of the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change) along with Natalie Bennett (newly elected Leader of the Green Party).

First, though least important, the BBC reneged on assurances I was given about the nature of the programme. Second, the introductory sequence was misleading, inaccurate and biased. Third, and most important, it demonstrates a systemic bias in the BBC’s approach to Climate Change.

Breach of assurances

I was told beforehand that although the programme would use the current record low in Arctic summer sea ice extent we would not discuss the science but ‘take the IPCC assessment of global warming as given’ and discuss what should be done about it. It was impressed upon me that I must not get into discussions of the science. I was perfectly happy with that a) because it is impossible sensibly to discuss both the scientific issues and the economic issues in a single brief item, b) because that was the approach I had taken in my report – I take the IPCC science as given and certainly do not dispute the reality of the greenhouse effect.

Despite those assurances, our discussion was preceded by a lengthy introductory film claiming to provide “new evidence”, “obtained by the BBC” that the ice was going to melt far earlier than previously thought and that this would lead to far more rapid, dangerous and unstoppable global warming. In fact it contained no “new evidence” only a piece of non-peer reviewed, non-research containing the tired old alarmist meme that “it’s worse than we thought” trotted out by a well known climate alarmist who has made the same assertions before; but this time implicitly endorsed by the BBC science editor who “obtained this evidence”.

I was therefore faced with a dilemma. If I adhered to my instructions and the original game plan it meant effectively accepting a highly tendentious bit of alarmism which contradicts the IPCC assessment of the science. On the other hand if I responded to this contentious piece I had to leave the points made by the Green Party leader unanswered. It also meant abandoning the original, sensible plan to focus on the economics/policy responses.

While the trailer was being shown I expressed my dismay at the bias of its contents to Jeremy Paxman who indicated that he would let me respond, which he did. I should make it clear that I have no criticism of the way Jeremy Paxman handled the programme – on the contrary my impression was that he was annoyed that the preamble had made a sensible discussion focused on the economics impossible.

I am happy to discuss either the economics or the science. And I have plenty of experience of being ‘ambushed’ in media interviews and can respond accordingly. If the blogosphere and my inbox are to be believed I came off best, the Green Leader was discomforted and Paxman dismayed. But that is not the point. It is wrong in principle to renege on assurances given. And the net result was to reduce the discussion to a muddle. The viewers were deprived of a meaningful discussion of the policy options.

More important is the bias displayed by the preamble.

* Susan Watts’ opening claim that this was a “new” thesis is untrue. The albedo effect and the possibility of methane emissions have been fully integrated into the IPCC assessments and projections as well as climate models for decades.

* Far from being “new research” Prof Wadhams has made similar alarmist claims in the past e.g. in “Planet Earth We Have a Problem: Feedback dynamics and the acceleration of climate change” June 2007.

* If “the new figures given to the BBC” do show that “the loss of Arctic ice is massively compounding the effects of greenhouse gas emissions” to a far greater extent than is assumed in the climate models collated by the IPCC then it follows that the underlying climate sensitivity must be far less than those models have assumed. If more of the observed warming has been the result of the albedo effect then less of it must have been the result of all other factors. Thus once the sea ice has melted and the maximum albedo effect is operating, the additional effect of further CO2 emissions will just be proportional to this lower underlying sensitivity. So the temperature will rise thereafter less rapidly than previously predicted. This fairly basic point does not seem to have struck either your science editor or Professor Wadham.

* The assertion that the summer ice will regularly disappear “within a few years” (or even happen soon after 2030 as attributed to the Met Office) contradicted the IPCC assessment which was not even mentioned. The IPCC Assessment Report Summary for Policy Makers says: “Sea ice is projected to shrink in both the Arctic and Antarctic under all SRES scenarios. In some projections arctic late-summer sea ice disappears almost entirely by the latter part of the 21st Century” (my emphasis). The Working Group1 report Chapter says “the coupled models show a range of responses in Northern Hemisphere sea ice area extent ranging from very little change to a strong and accelerating reduction over the 21st century” but as shown in the accompanying chart no projection shows an ice free summer before 2070.

* Prof Wadhams’ assertion that “the temperature” has been rising was accepted by your programme makers uncritically. As was his almost meaningless phrase that “parts of the Arctic Ocean are as warm in summer as the North Sea in winter” (very cold in my experience!) In fact the remarkable thing has been the unchanging arctic temperature in summer – see appended charts. Global warming may be supplying heat to melt ice but it has not raised the temperature and a major factor affecting ice cover is wind blowing the ice out of the Arctic Ocean.

Much more HERE



Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


1 November, 2012

Big Storm Opportunism

Did you know Hurricane Sandy favors higher marginal tax rates?

Our former editor Robert Bartley once quipped (fondly) about the writer Jude Wanniski that he thought a capital-gains tax cut could intercept a Soviet SS-20 missile in mid-flight. We were reminded of that monomania Tuesday as the political left more or less declared in unison that the ravages of Hurricane Sandy prove that America needs bigger government.

We know liberals are worried that President Obama might lose next week, but are they so panicky that they want to suggest even before the storm has passed that Mitt Romney and Republicans are against disaster relief? Apparently so. It's an especially low-rent tactic, akin to blaming the tea party for Jared Lee Loughner's shooting of Gabby Giffords. But it's equally absurd to argue that a once-in-a-century storm means you can't block-grant Medicaid.

The rap on Mr. Romney seems to be that he once said emergency management could be done well and perhaps better at the state level, and he also endorsed Paul Ryan's House Republican budget.

Let's look at the record. Regarding the budget for FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), Mr. Obama's own fiscal 2013 budget sought $10.008 billion. That was a cut of $641.5 million, or 6.02%, from fiscal 2012. We couldn't find an apples-to-apples comparison in the Ryan budget resolution, because FEMA spending was part of a larger category and the Senate never did pass its budget. But if budget cuts to FEMA are the liberal standard, their beef is with Mr. Obama. By the way, Mr. Romney says he doesn't want to abolish FEMA.

None of which means that FEMA is above reform. Matt Mayer of the Heritage Foundation has found that annual FEMA disaster declarations have multiplied since the Clinton years and have reached a yearly average of 153 under Mr. Obama. That compares to 129.6 under George W. Bush, 89.5 under Mr. Clinton, and only 28 a year under Reagan. Mr. Mayer argues that taxpayers and storm victims would be better served if FEMA devoted itself to helping out in the biggest disasters, such as Sandy, and not dive in at every political request for assistance.

As for Mr. Romney and FEMA, the liberals are excavating remarks from one of the early GOP debates. CNN's John King asked if "the states should take on more" of a role in disaster relief as FEMA was running out of money.

Mr. Romney: "Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better.

"Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut—we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we're doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we're doing that we don't have to do? And those things we've got to stop doing, because we're borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we're taking in."

This isn't an argument for abolishing FEMA so much as it is for the traditional federalist view that the feds shouldn't supplant state action. As it happens, the response to Hurricane Sandy has been a model of such a division of responsibility.

Citizens in the Northeast aren't turning on their TVs, if they have electricity, to hear Mr. Obama opine about subway flooding. They're tuning in to hear Governor Chris Christie talk about the damage to the Jersey shore, Mayor Mike Bloomberg tell them when bus service might resume in New York City, and Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy say when the state's highways might reopen.

Energetic governors and mayors are best equipped to handle disaster relief because they know their cities and neighborhoods far better than the feds ever will, and they know their citizens will hold them accountable. The feds can help with money and perhaps expertise.

The larger liberal fallacy here is that effective government requires bigger government. Americans expect a government, at whatever level, to do its core functions well. But the bigger and more costly the government, the more likely it is to do more things poorly.

The rush to use Hurricane Sandy to justify a bigger federal government makes us wonder if there's an excuse liberals won't use to grow Leviathan? The reality of the federal fisc is that whoever wins next Tuesday is going to have to choose between functions best done by the federal government and those that can be done better by others. A government that can't distinguish between a big storm and Big Bird is simply too big.


Hurricanes and Human Choice

Sandy was terrible, but we're currently in a relative hurricane 'drought.' Connecting energy policy and disasters makes little scientific sense

By Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado.

Hurricane Sandy left in its path some impressive statistics. Its central pressure was the lowest ever recorded for a storm north of North Carolina, breaking a record set by the devastating "Long Island Express" hurricane of 1938. Along the East Coast, Sandy led to more than 50 deaths, left millions without power and caused an estimated $20 billion or more in damage.

But to call Sandy a harbinger of a "new normal," in which unprecedented weather events cause unprecedented destruction, would be wrong. This historic storm should remind us that planet Earth is a dangerous place, where extreme events are commonplace and disasters are to be expected. In the proper context, Sandy is less an example of how bad things can get than a reminder that they could be much worse.

In studying hurricanes, we can make rough comparisons over time by adjusting past losses to account for inflation and the growth of coastal communities. If Sandy causes $20 billion in damage (in 2012 dollars), it would rank as the 17th most damaging hurricane or tropical storm (out of 242) to hit the U.S. since 1900—a significant event, but not close to the top 10. The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 tops the list (according to estimates by the catastrophe-insurance provider ICAT), as it would cause $180 billion in damage if it were to strike today. Hurricane Katrina ranks fourth at $85 billion.

To put things into even starker perspective, consider that from August 1954 through August 1955, the East Coast saw three different storms make landfall—Carol, Hazel and Diane—that in 2012 each would have caused about twice as much damage as Sandy.

While it's hardly mentioned in the media, the U.S. is currently in an extended and intense hurricane "drought." The last Category 3 or stronger storm to make landfall was Wilma in 2005. The more than seven years since then is the longest such span in over a century.

Flood damage has decreased as a proportion of the economy since reliable records were first kept by the National Weather Service in the 1930s, and there is no evidence of increasing extreme river floods. Historic tornado damage (adjusted for changing levels of development) has decreased since 1950, paralleling a dramatic reduction in casualties. Although the tragic impacts of tornadoes in 2011 (including 553 confirmed deaths) were comparable only to those of 1953 and 1964, such tornado impacts were far more common in the first half of the 20th century.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that drought in America's central plains has decreased in recent decades. And even when extensive drought occurs, we fare better. For example, the widespread 2012 drought was about 10% as costly to the U.S. economy as the multiyear 1988-89 drought, indicating greater resiliency of American agriculture.

There is therefore reason to believe we are living in an extended period of relatively good fortune with respect to disasters. A recurrence of the 1908 San Francisco earthquake today, for example, could cause more than $300 billion in damage and thousands of lives, according to a study I co-published in 2009.

So how can today's disasters, even if less physically powerful than previous ones, have such staggering financial costs? One reason: There are more people and more wealth in harm's way. Partly this is due to local land-use policies, partly to incentives such as government-subsidized insurance, but mostly to the simple fact that people like being on the coast and near rivers.

Even so, with respect to disasters we really do make our own luck. The relatively low number of casualties caused by Sandy is a testament to the success story that is the U.S. National Weather Service and parallel efforts of those who emphasize preparedness and emergency response in the public and private sectors. Everyone in the disaster-management community deserves thanks; the mitigation of the impacts from natural disasters has been a true national success story of the past century.

But continued success isn't guaranteed. The bungled response and tragic consequences associated with Hurricane Katrina tell us what can happen when we let our guard down.

And there are indications that we are setting the stage for making future disasters worse. For instance, a U.S. polar-satellite program crucial to weather forecasting has been described by the administrator of the federal agency that oversees it—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—as a "dysfunctional program that had become a national embarrassment due to chronic management problems." The lack of effective presidential and congressional oversight of this program over more than a decade can be blamed on both Republicans and Democrats. The program's mishandling may mean a gap in satellite coverage and a possible degradation in forecasts.

Another danger: Public discussion of disasters risks being taken over by the climate lobby and its allies, who exploit every extreme event to argue for action on energy policy. In New York this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared: "I think at this point it is undeniable but that we have a higher frequency of these extreme weather situations and we're going to have to deal with it." New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke similarly.

Humans do affect the climate system, and it is indeed important to take action on energy policy—but to connect energy policy and disasters makes little scientific or policy sense. There are no signs that human-caused climate change has increased the toll of recent disasters, as even the most recent extreme-event report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finds. And even under the assumptions of the IPCC, changes to energy policies wouldn't have a discernible impact on future disasters for the better part of a century or more.

The only strategies that will help us effectively prepare for future disasters are those that have succeeded in the past: strategic land use, structural protection, and effective forecasts, warnings and evacuations. That is the real lesson of Sandy.


Distorting the energy market

The government is hurting our ability to develop new sources of energy; and both the Republicans and Democrats are to blame.

In the most general terms, Republicans support continued tax breaks and subsidies for the oil and gas industry, and Democrats support grants, subsidies, and tax breaks for such new forms of energy as wind and solar. Neither party has a good energy policy. Both are blocking the path of innovation.

To create a fossil fuel alternative we must find an energy source that is cheaper, easier, and better than fossil fuel. But when government is picking which alternatives are worth pursuing, in addition to funding traditional energy sources, our view of what energy sources may work out becomes clouded. As long as government provides subsidies and tax loopholes to oil and gas

companies, they will hold an advantage in the market. Not only does government intervention in this manner make fossil fuels a highly lucrative industry, thus attracting many bright businesspeople, engineers, and scientists, but it makes the introduction of alternatives more difficult, since potential new competitors find working in an unbalanced market nearly impossible. Even if there were an energy alternative that consumers would want, the alternative would not be able to seize enough market share to turn a profit, because the coalition of government and big oil cannot be challenged by a newcomer.

With few exceptions, people agree we need to move away from burning fossil fuels if we want to meet future energy needs with as little disturbance to existing ecosystems as possible or beyond what we might consider desirable. And because oil and gas receive government benefits, the conventional thinking goes, so too should alternative energy exploration, in order to “level the playing field.” But what the best alternative might be is still unclear. One reason why it is unclear is that government involvement clouds the picture.

Think of ethanol. For years, because of Iowa's importance in the presidential nomination process, ethanol was highly subsidized by the government. Now we discover that it was not a workable, standalone alternative to fossil fuels. Consider all the resources that were misallocated because of this pursuit. Private resources, such as time and expertise, were focused on making ethanol work — in order to procure government money. If there had been no government money in ethanol research, engineers and scientists in the energy industry would have had a greater incentive to look elsewhere for a good alternative. But when the government creates a market there is no need to look elsewhere. The only problem is that the government lacks anything like a good record as a venture capitalist.

If it is true that necessity is the mother of invention, then the government is stripping us of that necessity. What is necessary for every company to operate is money, and if it doesn’t have a strong need for money, because government is supplying all it needs and then some, its incentive for invention is stripped away. If we want to find the best energy source, both long-term and short-term, the government needs to stop trying to control which sources come to market, or stay in the market.The government needs to divest itself of all financial interests in the energy industry.


Obama’s environmental policies extend to America’s oceans—and into the upcoming elections

By Rebekah Rast – You can definitely see a partisan line when it comes to environmental policies in this country. One side thinks many related laws and regulations go too far; the other side thinks many of these laws don’t go far enough.

However, it seems this partisan line also stretches past the land of the U.S. and deep into its oceans.

In 2010, when President Obama passed his executive order “Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes,” he claimed it “strengthens ocean governance and coordination, establishes guiding principles for ocean management, and adopts a flexible framework for effective coastal and marine spatial planning to address conservation, economic activity, user conflict, and sustainable use of the ocean, our coasts and the Great Lakes.”

Not everyone agrees with his claim and now this oceans and lakes power play has sparked quite a partisan fight going into this election year.

Many Republicans see this Executive Order as nothing more than an absurd power grab by the Obama administration. To control the country’s lakes, oceans and coastlands by issuing strict usage regulations and restrictions will only hurt such livelihoods as farming, fishing and logging.

Many Democrats and environmental allies see this as a positive step forward that will protect the nation’s oceans and also limit the number of conflicts over how the waters are used.

The Washington Post cites a recent study where Boston University biologist Les Kaufman was a contributor. The study shows “that using ocean zoning to help design wind farms in Massachusetts Bay could prevent more than $1 million in losses to local fishery and whale-watching operators while allowing wind producers to reap $10 billion in added profits by placing the turbines in the best locations.”

Kaufman responds to the study saying, “The whole concept of national ocean policy is to maximize the benefit and minimize the damage. What’s not to love?”

Meanwhile, Florida Republican Rep. Steve Southerland II, who is in a tight reelection race, says this ocean policy was “like air traffic control helping coordinate an air invasion on our freedoms,” as quoted by the Washington Post.

Despite its lack of support from many Republican members of Congress, it is the process by which this policy was put into place—through Executive Order – that is most puzzling and troublesome to some.

In 2007, a similar bill was proposed in Congress, which at that time was controlled by Democrats in both chambers, called OCEANS-21. It would have established a comprehensive National Oceans Policy, very similar to what the president is working on today. The bill never became law. In spite of having an overwhelming partisan Democrat majority in his first two years in office, Obama chose to ignore the will of Congress altogether, by mandating the policy into existence with a overly broad use of his powers to issue an Executive Order—involving only a small team of White House staff.

As Rep. Southerland compares this ocean policy to a rogue traffic control operation, all would agree that traffic control is a good operation to have.

However, it is not an uncommon practice of government, when it is given a little jurisdiction, to take much more. This is exactly what concerns Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), the House Natural Resources Committee Chairman. The Washington Post summarizes his thoughts as not being opposed to a national ocean policy, per se, but concerned about the administration’s vague and broad definition of what “ocean” means exactly. If it includes runoff from land in its jurisdiction then it could open the door to regulating all inland activities, because “all water going downhill goes into the ocean… That potential could be there,” Rep. Hastings said.

Out of concern for the thousands of American jobs that rely on America’s Great Lakes and oceans, the House voted in May to block the federal government from spending money on implementing the policy, though the amendment has not passed the Senate.

In an interview with Americans for Limited Government (ALG) earlier this year, Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, took Chairman Hastings’ comments even farther and said that this ocean policy is nothing more than private property theft. “This is a government takeover of every piece of water that drains into the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico,” he says. “This is taking state’s rights away, land rights and personal property rights.”

As this ocean policy becomes a more contentious battle for various campaigns it could also become one for voters whose livelihoods could very well be impacted as this policy moves forward.

Bill Wilson, president ALG, expressed outrage at the decision voters are facing, “Law abiding Americans should not be forced to choose between their livelihoods and following an Executive Order that has not passed Congress and is not being funded by Congress. This is the ultimate thug government mentality that has become all too prevalent with this Administration.”

Will voters decide on Nov. 6 that this administration’s environmental policies, land and sea, have gone too far? America will have its answer soon.


British Minister signals end of the wind farm: We can't pepper turbines across the country - enough is enough, declares energy minister

The relentless march of onshore wind farms is at an end, a minister declared last night.

Insisting ‘enough is enough’, John Hayes said turbines had been ‘peppered around the country’ with little or no regard for local opinion. He said existing sites and those in the pipeline would be enough to meet green commitments with no need for more. ‘Even if a minority of what’s in the system is built we are going to reach our 2020 target,’ he said. ‘I’m saying enough is enough.’

Mr Hayes told the Mail he had commissioned research on the impact of wind turbines on the landscape and whether they drive down house prices.

He has also asked scientists to examine noise complaints and more sinister suggestions that the turbines endanger military aircraft by blocking radar signals.

The intervention by Mr Hayes, who became energy minister in last month’s reshuffle, will delight 100-plus fellow Tory MPs who have urged David Cameron to take a more sceptical approach to onshore wind power. It does however risk a clash with the Liberal Democrats, who are enthusiastic advocates of renewable energy.

Mr Hayes suggested the controversy over turbines was giving other sources of renewable power – such as offshore wind, solar and tidal power – a bad name.

‘The onshore wind debate is skewing the whole debate, which is not good for the Government, not good for people and not good for the renewables lobby,’he told the Mail.

‘We can no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities. I can’t single-handedly build a new Jerusalem but I can protect our green and pleasant land.

‘Firstly, I have asked the planning minister to look again at the relationship between these turbines and the landscape. ‘It seems extraordinary to have allowed them to be peppered around the country without due regard for the interests of the local community or their wishes.

‘We have issued a call for evidence on wind. That is about cost but also about community buy-in. We need to understand communities’ genuine desires.’

Mr Hayes said policy should not be based on some ‘bourgeois left article of faith’. ‘These things are about the people and I am the people’s minister,’ he added. ‘I want to look at a broader analysis of the effects – I mean house price values, and other quality of life issues. I want to look particularly at noise, so I have asked the Institute of Acoustics to look at the noise issue from a completely independent perspective.

‘There is a case where people had to move from their family farm because of noise. It is very often the case that local authorities don’t have the wherewithal to address these planning issues.’

Mr Hayes said defence ministers had agreed to investigate claims of radar interference from the spinning blades.

The Government has set a target of increasing the amount of power generated by onshore wind farms to 13 gigawatts by 2020.

But in an indication of a shift in Government policy, ministers announced this summer that the subsidy for onshore wind power generation would be cut by 10 per cent this year.

Approvals for onshore wind farms – around 3,800 turbines are in operation – have however reached record levels, according to figures published yesterday.

RenewableUK, the wind industry trade body, said in a statement: ‘For the first time in five years, the UK is seeing a rise in the amount of UK capacity approved at a local level.’
Controversial: The Energy Minister said onshore wind farms are turning people against other sources of renewable energy such as offshore alternatives and solar power

There was a 15 per cent increase in approval rates for smaller onshore projects with capacity of less than 50 megawatts last year compared with the previous year, it said.

Applications for new wind farms have to be made to councils, and around a half are refused. But under the existing system, energy companies often win on appeal to the planning inspectorate.

Campaigners took heart from a court ruling in May, in which villagers in Hemsby, on the edge of the Norfolk Broads, succeeded in blocking four 350ft turbines after a judge agreed their right to preserve their landscape was more important than renewable energy targets.

Tory MP Chris Heaton Harris, who has led calls for a rethink on wind power, said of Mr Hayes’s remarks: ‘This is a huge step forward. These awful turbines do nothing for the environment – they barely reduce CO2 – they force up energy bills and put more people into fuel poverty.

‘It’s about time the Government listened in this way. Communities will be delighted that they may now be spared the torment they have seen others go through when turbines go up.’

Former Conservative Chancellor Lord Lawson, an arch-sceptic on climate change, said: ‘I would welcome the minister’s statements. I would hope they would translate into a moratorium. An additional problem is that wind power is one of the most expensive forms of generating electricity there is.

‘At a time when there is so much concern both from households and industry about the cost of energy, that too should be a decisive argument against going this way.’


Decency demands an end to all ethanol fuel requirements now

Last year six million children starved to death around the world — again. On top of this, reports that 925 million people went hungry in 2010 worldwide.

Anyone who has watched television late at night has seen the commercials for charity organizations showing starving and malnourished children struggling to survive another day in a plea for money to help alleviate their plight.

Incredibly at the same time that millions of children are dying from malnutrition worldwide, the U.S. government in its war on fossil fuels has continued to push and promote the growing and burning of potential life-saving corn in our gas tanks. When we pull up to the gas pump and see that the gas has been mixed with up to fifteen percent ethanol, that is corn converted to fuel for your car.

This federal government mandate for ethanol use is now coming under fire as politicians react to the rising corn prices resulting from this summer’s drought that wiped out one sixth of our nation’s corn crop. Governors of seven states have already requested that the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waive the ethanol mandate as the production of vehicle fuel consumes more and more of the corn crop at the expense of livestock and the hungry around the world.

As a recent commentary by Tim Worstall in Forbes points out, “In normal times, it’s said that up to 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop is converted into ethanol which is then fed into cars. When the crop slumps this proportion is likely to rise. For a drought and a shortage of corn is not going to do much to change driving habits. But still, despite that shortage of corn the gasoline allowable for sale has to be blended with ethanol.”

The insanity of our federal government continuing to demand that corn be turned into fuel is brought home even more directly when you consider that the head of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization argued that it is lifting the grain price worldwide even before the drought. These price rises are particularly impactful in areas that depend upon grains for basic survival.

All courtesy of a big, all knowing U.S. government that for the past three decades has chosen to promote the burning of corn as a bio-fuel solution to our energy needs at a cost of $45 billion over the last 30 years. In 2011 alone corn ethanol subsidies ate up $6 billion in taxpayer dollars.

Contrast this with Brazil, where it wasn’t the government which drove the bio-fuel industry, it was the private sector. With abundant sugar cane to easily turn into bio-fuel, Brazilians drive flex fuel vehicles that burn both traditional oil or sugarcane ethanol.

Why did this occur in Brazil, but not in the United States?

First and foremost, sugar cane grows in abundance in Brazil, making it a readily available bio-fuel crop.

However, U.S. farmers grow energy sugar beets which the North Dakota Renewable Energy Council claims have the “power to produce double the amount of ethanol in one acre when compared to corn.”

Also, in contrast to either sugarcane or beets, corn is a starch which must be converted to sugar in order to become a bio-fuel. Sugarcane or beets don’t need to undergo this process making it a much more efficient production process. One study showed that in 2005 the cost of sugarcane ethanol in Brazil was 39 percent lower than for corn ethanol in the United States.

Add to this the fact that sugarcane yields between 600-750 gallons of ethanol compared to 400 gallons for corn, and it is not hard to see why corn makes a great food for both humans and livestock, but is a disastrously inefficient fuel.

And that is what government typically creates through attempts to intervene in markets. Until this past year, tariffs on sugarcane ethanol combined with U.S. taxpayer subsidies for its production largely locked the import of the Brazilian bio-fuel out of the U.S. market. Now, even with the tariffs dropped, Brazil is dealing with its own bureaucratic bungling and high taxes that are strangling ethanol production making any immediate impact of Brazilian sugarcane ethanol on the U.S. market unlikely.

As an increasing amount of U.S. corn is being used to meet government mandated rising ethanol demand, the United States — the world’s dominant producer and exporter of corn — is exporting less — increasing the likelihood of an international food crisis.

To avert this potential catastrophe, the Obama Administration should immediately rescind all ethanol fuel requirements, and Congress should deny any funding for government programs that pick winners and losers in alternative fuels production.

It is truly a sad legacy that after thirty years and 45 billion dollars, the only thing that has really been gained through the corn ethanol experiment are hundreds of millions of hungry people around the world, and the retardation in the development of alternative, more efficient, domestically grown bio-fuels.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

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

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman


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.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)