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

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

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30 November, 2013

My showdown with the Royal Society over global warming

Nigel Lawson

The long-discussed meeting between a group of climate scientists and Fellows of the Royal Society on the one side, and me and some colleagues from my think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation on the other, has now at last taken place. It was held behind closed doors in a committee room at the House of Lords, the secrecy — no press present — at the insistence of the Royal Society Fellows, an insistence I find puzzling given the clear public interest in the issue of climate change in general and climate change policy in particular. The origins go back almost a year, to a lecture by the president of the Royal Society, the biologist Sir Paul Nurse. In it he chose to launch a gratuitous personal attack on me, making a number of palpably false allegations. I wrote to him, pointing out his errors, and he replied — somewhat changing his tune — conceding that ‘it is quite legitimate for both of us to talk about climate change policy, but before doing so we need to have access to the highest quality climate science. I am not sure you are receiving the best advice, and I would be very happy to put you in contact with distinguished active climate research scientists if you think that would be useful.’

I readily accepted his offer: hence, at long last, this month’s meeting in the House of Lords. The charge that my critical views about climate change policy are based on inadequate exposure to reputable scientists was always absurd, not least given that the academic advisory council of the GWPF has on it, among others, the world’s most highly regarded physicist, Professor Freeman Dyson of Princeton, arguably the world’s most eminent climate scientist, Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT (who flew over for the meeting), and three Fellows of the Royal Society. So Nurse’s team were able to tell me little I did not already know. But what did emerge was that, if anyone needed educating, it was them. Despite the fact that they were headed by Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, the Director of the Grantham Institute, which has pronounced views on climate policy, and a member of the Climate Change Committee, which is concerned with the implementation of the Climate Change Act, they were very reluctant to engage on the crucial issue of climate change policy at all. What was clear, however, was that they had no understanding of, or interest in, the massive human and economic costs involved in the policies they so glibly endorse.


The Strange "Global Warming" of the Antarctic Peninsula

Where on earth would you expect to see the greatest increase in temperature as a result of greenhouse gas-induced global warming? How about one of the colder places on the planet? Like Antarctica. Temperatures there have been routinely measured at the Faraday/Vernadsky station on the Antarctic Peninsula ever since February of 1947; and they reveal a warming of approximately 3.8°C through January 2011, making the peninsula a veritable global warmer's paradise. But the location has one ... small ... problem. According to the recent study of Franzke (2013), "there is no evidence for an increase of the annual maximum temperature."
"Typically," in the words of Franzke, "one would expect that a significant warming also leads to absolute warmer temperatures and not just to a reduction in cold temperatures." But the latter is precisely what has happened at the Faraday/Vernadsky weather station: it's only the colder temperatures that have gotten warmer.

Climate models also seem to "think" like we do on this matter. Franzke writes, for example, that "global climate projections suggest that the frequency of hot extremes will increase due to global warming," citing Meehl et al. (2007). The models therefore also miss the mark as it applies to the Antarctic Peninsula, and to other parts of the world as well (see, for example, Kukla and Karl, 1993; Easterling et al., 1997). And thus it is that Franzke writes that the data from the Antarctic Peninsula "are somewhat at odds with the general opinion that global warming leads to more frequent and larger extremes." In fact, on the Antarctic Peninsula, Franzke finds that "annual maximum temperatures are almost constant over the last six decades," while minimum temperatures have actually gotten less extreme.

And so it is that we suggest that there may not have been even a relative heat wave on the Antarctic Peninsula since the start of temperature measurements there some six and a half decades ago.

Very strange!

More HERE (See the original for references)

The UN global warming hoax is slowly dying

By Alan Caruba

In 2007 Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner was interviewed on the subject of sea levels. He is the head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics Department at Stockholm University in Sweden. He is past president (1999-2003) of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, and leader of the Maldives Sea Level Project. Dr. Mörner has been studying the sea level and its effects on coastal areas for some 35 years.

“You have Vanuatu, and also in the Pacific, north of New Zealand and Fiji — there is the island Tegua. They said they had to evacuate it, because the sea level was rising. But again, you look at the tide-gauge record: There is absolutely no signal that the sea level is rising. If anything, you could say that maybe the tide is lowering a little bit, but absolutely no rising.”

The most recent edition of Bloomberg Businessweek features a cover that says, “This entire country is about to be wiped out by climate change. It won’t last.” It is devoted to Kribati, a Pacific island chain, and it is a total lie.

The media has been a co-conspirator to the global warming hoax and I take this latest example as one that reveals its utter desperation to maintain the greatest hoax of the modern era. The facts mean nothing to them. Real science means nothing to them. But reality is intruding on theirs and the United Nations environmental program just wrapped up Conference of Parties-19 in Warsaw, where more nations are now in open revolt.

Writing from the conference was Craig Rucker, Executive Director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a think tank that has helped organize the Poles to protest this travesty. “Poland has been bullied for decades and they are not about to cede their energy independence to Russia, the UN, or anyone. Nor should they.”

On November 21, Rucker reported that “COP-19 was shocked when China led a block of 132 nations in a walkout over ‘loss and damage.’ Loss and damage is a completely bogus concept that developed nations should be legally liable when natural disasters strike developing nations. There is of course no meaningful scientific or historical link that Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda was abnormal and with no global warming link.”

We owe a debt of gratitude as well to The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based free market think tank, that has sponsored eight international conferences on global warming since 2008 and recently released a report,“Global Warming Reconsidered II.” Like CFACT, Heartland has been on the forefront of those seeking to educate the public regarding the phony science claims put forth.

COP-19 was one more UN conference leading up to a new version of the Kyoto Protocol that required nations that signed onto it to reduce their so-called greenhouse gas emissions. The final push will come in 2015 in Paris.

Nations that did sign on — the U.S. Senate unanimously refused to ratify the treaty when the Protocol was initially introduced in 1997 — are realizing the economic harm that it imposed on them. The same afternoon of the China-led walkout, Poland announced that it had fired its environmental minister who is also the president of the UN conference, two days before the conference was supposed to end!

The Protocol, as is the entire global warming aka climate change hoax, is based on the lie that carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere is causing it to warm. In recent years CO2 has increased in the atmosphere and the Earth, some 15 or more years ago, entered a cooling cycle. It is getting colder.

“Never underestimate what a gathering of bureaucrats and carbon profiteers might accomplish when after your money”, warned Rucker.

A November 20 article in The Daily Caller reported, “It’s worth noting that U.S. diplomats were specifically instructed by the Obama Administration to oppose any attempts to create an independent fund for climate reparations from rich countries to poor countries.”

Three days later, the Administration announced that it now supports all nations declaring their targets for reducing CO2 emissions before 2015. Rucker warns that this now clears “the path for the UN to adopt a full climate treaty and successor to the Kyoto Protocol in 2015.” If the Senate is not controlled by Republicans at that point, it would permit the administration to sign onto a treaty. The harm to the economy would be incalculable.

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott, elected recently to undo the damage of a carbon tax, told the Washington Post: “Despite a carbon tax of $37 a ton by 2020, Australia’s domestic emissions were going up, not down. The carbon tax was basically socialism masquerading as environmentalism and that’s why it’s going to get abolished.” Australia did not send a representative to COP-19. Canada dropped out of the Protocol in recent years. Japan is abandoning the UN’s greenhouse gas emission reduction levels by allowing them to grow by 3 percent.

Nation by nation, the UN global warming hoax is being abandoned for the obvious reason that it is a lie perpetrated to transfer wealth from the developed nations to those less developed. It was never about saving the Earth from a global warming; that was a lie from start to finish.

Some journalists are trying to tell the truth, but magazines like BusinessWeek and newspapers like The New York Times continue to keep the hoax alive. An informed population, not just in the United States, but increasingly worldwide, will ensure that it dies a long overdue death.


BritGov 'fails to monitor whether green energy levies work’, National Audit Office warns

Ministers are failing to properly assess whether billions of pounds of levies charged to consumer energy bills are actually achieving desired policy aims, the National Audit Office has said.

A joint Treasury-Energy Department board tasked with monitoring spending is neglecting its remit to assess the “energy policy outcomes” of the levies, the watchdog said in a report.

The NAO also criticised the cap on levies as ill-defined - deterring investors in new power plants, lacking sufficient transparency, and potentially underestimating the true costs of green subsidies.

Ministers established the Levy Control Framework (LCF) in 2011 to monitor and control the costs of policies funded through levies on energy suppliers, who pass on the cost to consumers on bills.

The spending cap is set to rise from £2bn in 2011-12 to £7.6bn for 2020-21 to fund new green energy projects such as wind farms and solar panels.

But the board in charge of controlling spending has “not sought to identify the best combination of outcomes and affordability within that cap”, the NAO said.

The levy control board “has focused on cost control and not the associated impacts on energy policy outcomes”, it said, adding this was “contrary to its terms of reference”. For example, it would monitor how new wind farms affected bill levies but not “the resulting progress towards decarbonisation”.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) say the combined cost of all their policies is currently about £112 on a typical household energy bill and will rise to £191 in 2020. Only £90 of this 2020 total will actually be counted in the LCF, however, as the cap does not cover all policy costs paid for on bills.

Controversial energy efficiency schemes are excluded from the LCF - despite the fact the NAO said they could “reasonably be regarded as a levy”. There was no clear rationale for determining which schemes counted as levies, it said.

“As consumer-funded spending increases and new schemes are introduced, [DECC] needs to assure Parliament and the public that it has robust arrangements to monitor, control and report on all consumer-funded spending, and the outcomes it is intended to secure.”

DECC was yet to “define clearly the future scope” of the cap, the NAO added. “Investors seek transparency over the scope and scale of any caps on funding to give them confidence in the support available for potential investments.”

It warned that DECC may have underestimated the costs of a subsidy scheme that funds solar panels on houses and disclosed that while DECC believed the LCF would be enough to fund meeting green targets, it had also modelled scenarios where the cap was breached. It has not published these and will not say the likelihood the cap is exceeded.

A DECC spokesman said: "The NAO report is supportive of the work Government is doing to control costs for consumers and concludes that the Levy Control Framework (LCF) is providing certainty to investors.

“The LCF helps fund investment in renewable energy as well as support for vulnerable and elderly through the Warm Home Discount.

“Government monitors and controls expenditure on schemes that are funded by consumer bills very carefully.

Energy and climate change policies, will reduce household energy bills in the long-run, with bills being on average 11%, or £166, lower than they would otherwise be in 2020."


Energy Policy must respect Science and State Sovereignty

Editor's Note: The following urges Congress to pass two important energy bills. On Wednesday, November 20, 2013 the House passed one of them, H.R. 2728 which protects the sovereignty to regulate energy production within their borders. The bill passed by a 228-192 margin with seven Democrats joining the Republican majority. No word when, or if, the Senate will take up the bill. Unsurprisingly, the White House has threatened a veto.

America has lost confidence in government because our government has lost its credibility. During the past several years, the American electorate has been misled repeatedly solely for political purposes. And the less-than-truthful statements have been about topics that cut to the heart and stir up emotions.

What started with a promise to be "the most transparent administration in history" has become wrapped in endless scandals and no one ever seems to be held accountable. Political corruption and cronyism, targeting of Tea Partiers and even members of the press, spying and individual privacy violations, trampling the Constitution, and bald-faced lying are standard-operating-procedure. When pressed for answers all we get is an angry retort; "What difference does it make?"

As a result of President's Obama's prevarications, just 39 percent of Americans believe he's doing a good job; a majority says the President is dishonest and untrustworthy. Plus, members of Congress also are considering action that would require the campaigner-in-chief and his administration to lay politics aside and deal with certain issues objectively—for the good of the People rather than to advance his personal extreme agenda.

As evidence, consider two energy-related bills, H.R. 2728 and H.R. 2850, which would help to prevent the administration from politicizing energy policy. The first bill would retain the primacy of states over oil and natural gas development within their borders. It was drafted in response to a Bureau of Land Management proposal to add a one-size-fits-all layer of federal regulations on top of existing state regulations.

As the health care debacle has shown yet again, a one-size-fits-all federal approach doesn't work. There's no reason for a single, 60-year old man to be paying for maternity benefits, and there's no justification for Washington, D.C.-based regulators to be overseeing energy projects hundreds or thousands of miles away and in geology they know little about, especially when the states have regulated energy development effectively for decades.

The second bill would force the Environmental Protection Agency to rely on sound science for its upcoming report on fracking and drinking water. In the past four years, questions have been raised about the agency's objectivity due to evidence of an anti-fracking bias.

Who can forget the EPA regional director who threatened to crucify oil companies, improperly ordered an administrative action against a Texas gas producer falsely accused of harming drinking water, and who resigned to take a position with the Sierra Club?

And questions still remain about the EPA's groundwater testing methodologies in the Pavillion, Wyoming area, where the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) was called in to repeat the tests. But, "unlike the EPA, the USGS failed to find any traces" of the fracking chemicals the EPA claimed to have discovered, as well as "significantly lower concentrations of other materials identified by the EPA…which may not have resulted from the fracking at all," as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

To avoid such problems with the fracking study, H.R. 2850 would require peer-review and order EPA to produce a rigorous, scientific report untainted by politics.

Fracking is much too important to the nation's future to be sullied by politics. In combination with horizontal drilling, fracking is unlocking vast quantities of U.S. oil and natural gas. It is likely to make the United States the largest oil and gas producer in the world while lowering energy costs and fueling the reemergence of U.S. manufacturing. A new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts American energy self-sufficiency within two decades…if the federal government doesn't get in the way.

Fracking also is helping to fuel huge economic benefits without the government support handed to so-called "green" companies, many of which have failed. According to IHS Global Insight, shale energy produced by fracking could create 3.5 million U.S. jobs by 2035 and generate $2.5 trillion in cumulative added government revenues, making it the right prescription for our lackluster economic recovery.

Yet fracking has its detractors who continue to spread fear of the technology, claiming it pollutes groundwater. This scare-mongering is baseless with much of it coming from Hollywood and radical environmental groups. Well-regarded studies in Texas, Pennsylvania andArkansas have found no link between fracking and groundwater contamination.

Even the uber-green Obama cabinet officials profess the safety and benefits of fracking. The President's EPA Administrator and Interior Secretary testified to Congress that there is no evidence of groundwater contamination due to fracking. Further, Obama's current and former Energy Secretaries praise fracking as "a big contributor to our carbon reduction" and "something you can do in a safe way."

One might think it self-evident that science, not politics and myths, should direct public policy and that state sovereignty as guaranteed by the Constitution would be sacrosanct, but not in today's Washington, DC. That's why Congress should approve H.R. 2728 and H.R. 2850 to protect the truth and prevent another federal power grab by the Obama Administration.


Staggering Concessions By Austria’s National Weather Service: “Natural Factors Substantial…Models Inadequate”!

A November 11, 2013 press release by Austria’s national weather service, the Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG), somehow got by me. And not surprisingly it was completely ignored by the German-language mainstream media. It’s titled: “Slower temperature increase: climate models under scrutiny“.

In the introduction the ZAMG writes:

"If one compares the temperature development of the last 15 years to the simulations from the new climate model generation, then one sees a substantial deviation between reality and model: the so-called temperature hiatus.”

Air temperature is the preferred parameter that experts use to gauge climate change. On the hiatus the ZAMG writes, “In the last 15 years there has been a clear weakening in the global temperature rise; only 3 of 114 climate model simulations account for it

As possible causes for the unexpected temperature hiatus, the ZAMG cites: 1) the 11-year solar cycle, 2) volcanic activity, 3) internal climate variability and 4) man-made aerosols. Keep in mind that man-made aerosols have long been dubiously used as the preferred wild card to explain away deviations between models and observations. If there’s a misfit, no problem! Just adjust the aerosol weighting in the model until it there’s a fit! Never mind small details like reality.

Interestingly, the ZAMG also brings up global winter temperature trends.

Note how the northern hemisphere winters are cooling dramatically.

Ed Caryl recently wrote a piece on this and a couple of readers got a bit pissy about the claim wintertime temps are cooling. Well, here’s more proof that they indeed really are cooling. What more do you want?

So why are the models deviating so starkly from reality? The ZAMG writes:

"Why the global climate models are by far over-estimating the current temperature development – and thus obviously are not taking the processes behind it correctly – is the topic of discussion and is now the subject of ongoing research. According to the latest expert report, it could be an error in missing or incorrect radiative forcing, or a false reaction by the climate model to external drives. Moreover, some of the climate models are likely reacting too much to the concentrations of greenhouse gases.”

In layman’s terms: The modelers have no clue what’s wrong, and they are not even close to properly modeling the climate. The sheer simplicity of their models, when compared to the enormous complexity of the climate system, is a joke.

The Austrian ZAMG concludes:

"The research results of the last year make it ever clearer that natural fluctuations in climate are substantial. The current temperature hiatus shows that the climate system is not understood in its full complexity and that the climate models still are not adequate.”

Really makes you wonder about the scientists who claim to be 95% certain. That 5% uncertainty is looming larger than ever.

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



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


29 November, 2013


28 November, 2013

Meteorologist's poll finds no consensus on climate change & those with liberal political views far more likely to believe in man-made global warming

Meteorologists’ views about global warming: A survey of American Meteorological Society professional members

Meteorologists and other atmospheric science experts are playing important roles in helping society respond to climate change. Members of this professional community are not unanimous in their views of climate change, and there has been tension among members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) who hold different views on the topic.

In January 2012, the AMS surveyed its members via email and found 52 percent believe global warming is happening and is mostly human-caused, while 48 percent do not. The survey also found that scientists with professed liberal political views were far more likely to believe global warming is human-caused than others.

Authors of the survey recommended that the AMS should “acknowledge and explore the uncomfortable fact that political ideology influences the climate change views of meteorology professionals; refute the idea that those who do hold non-majority views just need to be “educated” about climate change; [and] continue to deal with the conflict among members of the meteorology community.”


A detailed discussion of the survey results can be found here.

Why greens love high fuel bills

Ever-rising energy prices are the product of green attacks on our consumption habits

Fuel Poverty Action (FPA) reacted angrily when the UK prime minister, David Cameron, said he would act to cut fuel bills. Why?

FPA campaigns against higher fuel bills that hurt the poor – or does it? Cameron said he would ‘cut the green crap’, meaning the ‘green levies’ that are added by law on fuel bills. Fuel Poverty Action, supposedly the friend of the poor, denounced the proposed cut.

FPA is organising protests against high prices in central London on 26 November, but its own policy seems to support higher prices. How did it tie itself in these knots? The answer is that FPA’s campaigners support the green levies on fuel bills.

Green levies on fuel bills were brought in by the New Labour government to finance the transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. They make up nine per cent of the cost of the average fuel bill, currently running at £1,300 a year.

It is easy to see how FPA and other defenders of the green levies have painted themselves into this corner. The levies are supposed to fund investment in wind power and other renewables, and also to pay for government schemes to insulate people’s houses so that they can cut their fuel use.

The problem is that both of these are long-term goals which – it is hoped – will cut the cost of fuel for households. But in the here and now they are adding to the cost of electricity bills. Green campaigners like FPA end up calling for higher fuel bills so we can have lower fuel bills. In 1947, the then president of France, Charles de Gaulle, said something similar: ‘We must all tighten our belts if the standard of living is to rise.’ A few days ago, the Guardian wrote about ‘green levies, which go towards… helping the poor cut their usage’.

Green campaigners have long known that there is a problem with their goal of reducing consumption, namely that it is unlikely to be popular with the vast majority of people, who are also consumers (it was a point that was hotly debated at the ‘climate camps’ – the annual green get-togethers – until they stopped in 2011). The point is sharply drawn in the green policy on fuel bills. Environmentalists want to see less fossil fuel burned, which means less electricity generated and higher prices. Moreover, environmentalists have long argued that prices are artificially low, and should include the cost of pollution.

The green levies on energy bills are based on those arguments. Higher fuel bills will cut consumption, and lead to smaller carbon emissions. To make their point, green protesters succeeded in blocking a proposed coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in 2008, and won a moratorium on future coal-burning plants – and cutting back on electricity generation in turn leads to higher prices.

The problem for the greens, and for their Labour Party allies, is that higher prices are very unpopular. Green activists, grappling among themselves with the charge that they are responsible for higher prices, have tried to explain the problem away. No, they say, we are not responsible for higher prices. Our policies are going to make prices lower because of the money earmarked for insulation schemes and alternative energy sources. Such is the appeal of green groupthink.

This argument might be convincing in an entirely abstract world. But in Britain in 2013, it is just wrong. The reason is that even if these changes could happen, they cannot happen immediately, before a great deal of time and energy is spent making those changes.

Take alternative energy sources. The most important of these is wind power, which, it is claimed, provides around five per cent of the country’s energy (though these statistics are almost certainly an exaggeration of the extent of UK wind power). That would mean that to push up alternative energy’s share in electricity generation, wind power would have to double in capacity. Right now, wind power is causing problems across the country, and its finances are questioned. Clearly wind power is not going to be Britain’s main source of energy for generations.

Second, there is insulation. Better insulation does reduce energy consumption. So far, 1,000 of the 26million households in Britain have taken up the government’s insulation scheme (which is paid for out of the green levy). Two hundred and nineteen homes have been insulated. Like the subsidies to wind power, those to home insulation have been criticised for being unrealistically costly. In any event, it seems unlikely that the home insulation scheme is going to make much impact before Christmas. At the current rate of progress, it would take 5,000 years to insulate half of British homes.

Assuming that the shift to alternative energy and investment in home insulation are good ideas, why are they not financed out of general taxation? The answer is that these schemes were brought in with the specific intent of pushing energy prices up.

The green levies are not the only reason that prices have gone up. It is the failure to match energy demands with energy generation that is forcing the price up. The failure to build enough electricity-generation plants – like the one at Kingsnorth – means that the UK is forced to buy the shortfall on the open market. Campaigners think that they are hitting the energy suppliers with these actions, but E.ON and the others can just as easily make money selling less electricity at a higher price as they can selling more at a lower price; indeed, judging by their profits it is a very successful business model. Cutting back supply can only make things worse.

You can see greens’ problem. Rising energy prices are the only policy ever introduced with the intention of cutting CO2 emissions that has actually worked. (The replacement of coal-fired plants with gas - the so-called ‘dash for gas’ - achieved substantial cuts in the Nineties and Noughties, but CO2 emissions were not the reason for the policy.) Overpriced energy actually does make people cut back their use. Historically, this is a great challenge to environmentalists. Only once in most people’s lives does the chance come actually to make a difference. Here, for the first time, the greens have succeeded in reducing carbon emissions.

So why will they not defend the policy? Instead of targeting the Big Six energy producers for raising prices, green protesters should be applauding them, or perhaps demanding that the prices go up even more. To do so, of course, would mean coming clean about the meaning of environmentalism – that it means cutting back people’s consumption. That is something that the environmental campaigners are too cowardly to say.

FPA highlights the economic hardship that higher prices cause, and also points to the increase in winter fuel deaths that come when prices rise. But just as many of those problems can be laid at the door of the supporters of the green levies.

FPA will be campaigning against the Big Six energy producers tomorrow – but that is just a smokescreen. Their main demand is that energy prices should rise, so that we can use less.


Senator Schatz is wrong about wind energy

A TV ad started last week shows U.S. Senator Brian Schatz promoting “energy that’s moving Hawaii forward. Senator Brian Schatz is leading the effort to harness our incredible wind energy potential with tax credits to grow wind energy production that would create thousands of new jobs and clean energy.”

Hawaii residents from Waianae to Kahuku, from Molokai to Lanai, and everywhere in the between dislike wind turbines. Senator Schatz promotes more taxpayer monies for special interests who are peddling a technology that cannot make it on its own. He is wrong for the following reasons.

Independently from any politics, a Punahou and UH-Manoa graduate student and I conducted detailed research on cost effective energy solutions for Hawaii, by examining all major energy sources available to Hawaii. A summary of our work was accepted by Pacific Business News last month, and was published this week: Making the Case for Liquefied Natural Gas.

Our research concluded that wind and solar power plants are ineffective; they require multimillion dollar subsidies. The solar energy in our research was the power plant type that consumes land in order to produce some daytime electricity, similar to the 36 acres wasted by the Pohoiki plant at Kalaeloa to produce only 5 MW.

On the other hand, solar photovoltaic panels have been locally accepted by thousands of homeowners and businesses. Rooftop PV is an incremental, distributed power source with near zero visual or other negative impacts for Hawaii, as I explained here: Big Rooftop Solar Panels Make Sense in Hawaii - without Any Subsidies! Rooftop PV supports dozens of local small businesses.

Recently BMW decided to locate its electric vehicle chassis assembly in a region of Washington State because the local electricity rate is 3 cents (!) per kilowatt-hour. HECO’s rate on Oahu is over 33 cents and thanks to Senator Schatz’s flawed advocacy, our electricity costs will increase, and Hawaii will become increasingly uncompetitive.

I urge Senator Schatz to review the three page summary of our research titled The Next 100 MW Power Plant for Oahu and modify his views about renewable energy. America’s future cannot be supported by intermittent, unreliable and expensive energy.

Hawaii does not need unsightly turbines and cannot afford their cost and flaky reliability. And please stop bragging about the jobs. Hawaii has fewer than 50 turbines and fewer than 50 people are located here to manage them … that is, when the turbines are not down due to fires or other self-inflicted damage.


Ethanol Mandate: ‘Little More Than Soviet-style Production Quota’

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision last week to reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply for the first time is a welcome acknowledgment that the regulation was little more than a “Soviet-style production quota,” according to Marlo Lewis, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).
“Like all central planning schemes, there comes a point where even the commissar has to admit that it’s just not working,” Lewis said in a statement.

On Nov. 15, EPA announced that it “is proposing a cellulosic biofuel volume for 2014 that is below the applicable volume specified in the [2007 Energy Independence and Security] Act,” due in part to the fact that only 20,000 gallons of cellulosic biofuels were produced last year, “in lower volumes than foreseen by statutory targets,” according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Those “statutory targets” required “1 billion gallons in 2013, increasing to 16 billion gallons by 2022,” EIA reported. But actual production of ethanol from wood, grass and inedible plant material didn’t even come close.

EPA scaled back its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, which has been in effect since 2007, from 18.15 billion gallons to 15.21 billion gallons in 2014 after an Associated Press investigation revealed that “even as environmental policy, the RFS is a bust.”

“As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they wiped out millions of acres of conservation land, destroyed habitat and polluted water supplies. Five million acres of land set aside for conservation — more than Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite National Parks combined — have vanished on Obama's watch,” AP reported. “The consequences are so severe that environmentalists and many scientists have now rejected corn-based ethanol as bad environmental policy.”

Instead of scaling back the ethanol mandate, Lewis says, Congress should just repeal it.

“Even if the RFS did not inflate food prices, increase pain at the pump, exacerbate world hunger, expand aquatic dead zones or contribute to habitat loss, Congress should still repeal it because the RFS flouts the core constitutional principal of equality under the law,” Lewis said. “The RFS literally compels one industry to purchase, process and sell other industries’ products.”


Keystone Cops Oppose Rail, Too

As we have reported on numerous occasions, the Keystone XL pipeline -- meant to transport Canadian oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast for refinement -- has been stalled by ecofascists who hold sway with the Obama administration. The White House has repeatedly stalled to grant the proper permits for the pipeline, appeasing those ecofascists but displeasing constituent unions who want the thousands of new jobs building and operating the pipeline would create.

We have also recounted how delaying the pipeline won't accomplish anything but deprive the U.S. of the oil. The Canadians will find a market for their product, most likely in China. In fact, according to The New York Times, "Suncor Energy, Canada's top petroleum producer, announced on Thursday that it would expand its oil production in 2014 by 10 percent, another sign that the Obama administration's delays are not holding back growth in the western Canadian oil sands fields."

The other option for import to the U.S. is rail, which means opponents have a new target. Indeed, they're pushing for heavy regulation of rail terminal projects in California, Washington state and elsewhere to block import of these oil sands. Of course, pipelines are safer and more efficient than rail, so perhaps it would make sense to relent on building the Keystone pipeline. But that would require leftists to think with their heads.


Another cost of EPA regulation: Price of Chicken Reaches All-Time High in U.S.

The price for fresh whole chickens hit its all-time high in the United States in October, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In January 1980, when BLS started tracking the price of this commodity, fresh whole chickens cost $0.69 per pound. By this October 2003, fresh whole chickens cost $1.54 per pound.

In the last decade alone, the price has gone up 51 percent, from $1.02 in October 2003 to the current price of $1.54 per pound.

One factor contributing to the increasing cost of chicken, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, is increased regulation of chicken farmers.

In 2003 and 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency used the Clean Water Act to impose new regulations on “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs),” targeting the manure they produce.

In 2003, the EPA issued a final rule in the Federal Register to “ensure that CAFOs take appropriate actions to manage manure effectively in order to protect the nation’s water quality.”

In 2008, the EPA published another final rule to further “the statutory goal of restoring and maintaining the nation’s water quality by ensuring that CAFOs properly manage manure generated by their operations.”

CNS News asked the American Farm Bureau Federation, which represents farm and ranch families, to ask if such regulation had impacted the price of chicken.

“It’s hard to establish direct cause and effect in a situation like that, but obviously the greater the regulatory burden, the higher production costs are going to be,” said John Anderson, deputy chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“As production costs go up, that’s going to reduce the amount that farmers are able to produce at any particular price point and eventually that works its way through the system in terms of higher prices,” said Anderson.

“So, yeah, in terms of quantifying how much effect it would have, or exactly the timing of those effects, you know that would be very difficult, but certainly, as a general principle, increased regulation brings increased costs, and that brings higher prices to the ultimate consumer. There’s no question about that,” he added.




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


27 November, 2013


26 November, 2013

63 Percent Chance Weather Predictors Are Skeptics on Global Warming

A new survey from the American Meteorological Society contains more bad news for global warming alarmist: people who actually get paid for accurately predicting weather are increasingly skeptical about whether global warming is man-made or natural or whether global warming is occurring at all.

The survey is the result of increasing tension amongst meteorologists regarding global warming.

“There has been tension in recent years among AMS members who hold different views on climate change,” explains the AMS in the introduction to the new report. “Some members have expressed that their views – which question the view that human-caused global warming was occurring – are treated with hostility within the AMS.”

Scientists? Bullying each other? Naaaaww.

The report found that only 37% of meteorologists who did not make a living by publishing papers supporting the theory that global warming is caused by human activity actually think that man-made global warming is real.

That is meteorologists who make a living predicting weather events are the ones least likely to believe the theories created by new found “climate science.”

The survey also found that of all meteorologists only a bare majority supported man-made global warming theory.

48 percent did not support man-made global warming theory.

The AMS sent out a survey to all meteorologists and got a return of 1854 responses.

The AMS says that the study finds that the more educated experts are about climate science, the more likely they are to believe that global warming is man-made.

But I say that the data just proves that the more dependent scientists are on believing global warming to be man-made in order to make a living through publishing, the more likely they are to believe global warming is man-made because that’s how they make their living.

Of 1821 meteorologist included in the survey, only 231 made a living publishing papers regarding man-made global warming theory. Yet they accounted for a larger share of meteorologists who believe in man-made global warming.

73% of scientists who publish papers regarding global warming and climate are inclined to believe that global warming is real and global warming is man-made.

The farther that science gets from this conflict of interest, it seems, the more likely it is that they are disinclined to believe global warming is man-made.

In essence, it’s as if a group surveyed the College of Cardinals to prove the existence of God and ascribed the results to the college members’ oversized education rather than their piety.

And all of this goes to show that the argument that there has already been a scientific consensus reached amongst experts that global warming is real and global warming is man-made is a political argument rather than a scientific one.

“A substantial number of expert AMS members – 22% of the most expert group in our sample – do not subscribe to the position that global warming is mostly human-caused,” says the AMS. “Climate experts are not completely homogenous in their views on global warming, just as climate skeptics have been shown to have a variety of nuanced opinions. Any suggestion that all those with non-majority views simply need to be ‘educated’ is inaccurate and likely to be insulting to a substantial number of AMS members.”

Gee, ya think?

Those of us who are skeptics about global warming are used to being marginalized, trivialized and brutalized by a tiny fraction of people whose wallets get fat by publishing papers in support of man-made global warming theory.

But while more and more data comes out calling into question man-made global warming models, it’s nice to see professional organizations start to treat skeptics with, if not exactly respect, at least the decency accorded people accused of some heinous crime.

Because while this is progress, make no mistake they’re still looking to prove us guilty, if necessary by reason of insanity, if in fact they can’t muster the scientific arguments.

Which of course they can’t.


Guilty plea in bird deaths at wind farms a first

A major U.S. power company has pleaded guilty to killing eagles and other birds at two Wyoming wind farms and agreed to pay $1 million as part of the first enforcement of environmental laws protecting birds against wind energy facilities.

Until the settlement announced Friday with Duke Energy Corp. and its renewable energy arm, not a single wind energy company had been prosecuted for a death of an eagle or other protected bird — even though each death is a violation of federal law, unless a company has a federal permit. Not a single wind energy facility has obtained a permit.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based company pleaded guilty to killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at its Top of the World and Campbell Hill wind farms outside Casper, Wyo. All the deaths, which included golden eagles, hawks, blackbirds, wrens and sparrows, occurred from 2009 to 2013.

"Wind energy is not green if it is killing hundreds of thousands of birds," said George Fenwick, president of the American Bird Conservancy, which supports properly sited wind farms. "The unfortunate reality is that the flagrant violations of the law seen in this case are widespread."

There could be more enforcement. The Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating 18 bird-death cases involving wind-power facilities, and about a half-dozen have been referred to the Justice Department.

Wind farms are clusters of turbines as tall as 30-story buildings, with spinning rotors as wide as a passenger jet's wingspan. Though the blades appear to move slowly, they can reach speeds up to 170 mph at the tips, creating tornado-like vortexes. Eagles are especially vulnerable because they don't look up as they scan the ground for food, failing to notice the blades until it's too late.

"No form of energy generation, or human activity for that matter, is completely free of impacts, and wind energy is no exception," the American Wind Energy Association said in a statement.

The case against Duke Energy and Duke Energy Renewables Inc. was the first prosecuted under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act against a wind energy company. The Obama administration has championed pollution-free wind power and used the same law against oil companies and power companies for drowning and electrocuting birds.

"In this plea agreement, Duke Energy Renewables acknowledges that it constructed these wind projects in a manner it knew beforehand would likely result in avian deaths," Robert G. Dreher, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, said in a statement.

Duke has a market capitalization of nearly $50 billion.

"We deeply regret the impacts of golden eagles at two of our wind facilities," Greg Wolf, president of Duke Energy Renewables, said in a statement. "Our goal is to provide the benefits of wind energy in the most environmentally responsible way possible."

A study in September by federal biologists found that wind turbines had killed at least 67 bald and golden eagles since 2008. Wyoming had the most eagle deaths. That did not include deaths at Altamont Pass, an area in northern California where wind farms kill an estimated 60 eagles a year.

An investigation in May by The Associated Press revealed dozens of eagle deaths from wind energy facilities, including at Duke's Top of the World farm, the deadliest for eagles of 15 such facilities that Duke operates nationwide.

In 2009, Exxon Mobil pleaded guilty and paid $600,000 for killing 85 birds in five states. The BP oil company was fined $100 million for killing and harming migratory birds during the 2010 Gulf oil spill. And PacifiCorp, which operates coal plants, paid more than $10.5 million in 2009 for electrocuting 232 eagles along power lines and at its substations.

The wind farms in Friday's settlement came on line before the Obama administration drafted voluntary guidelines encouraging wind energy companies to work with the Fish and Wildlife Service to avoid locations that would impact wildlife. Companies that choose to cooperate get rewarded because prosecutors take it into consideration before pursuing prosecution.

Once a wind farm is built, there is little a company can do to stop the deaths. Some companies have tried using radar to detect birds and to shut down the turbines when they get too close. Others have used human spotters to warn when birds are flying too close to the blades. Another tactic has been to remove vegetation to reduce the prey the birds like to eat.

As part of the agreement, Duke will continue to use field biologists to identify eagles and shut down turbines when they get too close. It will install new radar technology, similar to what is used in Afghanistan to track missiles. And it will continue to voluntarily report all eagle and bird deaths to the government.

The company will also have to apply for an eagle take permit and draft a plan to reduce eagle and bird deaths at its four wind farms in Wyoming.

Duke's $1 million will be divided. The fine — $400,000 — will go into a wetlands conservation fund. The state of Wyoming gets $100,000. The remainder will be used to purchase land or easements to protect golden eagle habitat and for projects aimed at minimizing interactions between eagles and wind turbines in Wyoming.


Change Of Wording Let’s Emerging Nations Off The Hook Over CO2 Emissions

Loopholes in a UN agreement on climate change will allow China, India and other emerging economies to delay setting any targets to cut their overall emissions.

European Union member states now face a dilemma over whether to continue with plans to make ambitious pledges next year to cut emissions by 2030 without any guarantee that countries with far larger carbon footprints will follow.

China weakened the wording of the agreement during a final negotiating session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Warsaw. This meant the meeting ended without setting a clear course towards the global deal on emissions scheduled to be signed in Paris in December 2015.

A suggestion by the US that each country should propose emissions targets for discussion by March 2015 was watered down by adding that only those nations “ready to do so” would observe the deadline. The word “commitments” was replaced with the weaker “contributions”.

The changes were made to accommodate a group of 130 developing nations which argue that Britain and other countries which were early to industrialise have a “historical responsibility” for emissions. The 130 are resisting setting their own binding targets, saying they must be allowed to continue expanding their economies. The EU and the US say that the distinction made between developing and developed countries in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol is increasingly irrelevant.

When the protocol was being negotiated, developing countries accounted for only about a third of emissions. Now they are responsible for 60 per cent and their share is still growing, with China this year overtaking the EU in emissions per person.

The conference agreed a new “Warsaw International Mechanism” to address the issue of losses incurred by developing countries from extreme weather events, which many scientists say have been intensified by climate change.

The agreement also includes a commitment to study the issue “to address gaps in the understanding” but stops short of committing rich countries to pay the compensation demanded by the Philippines and others.

A spokesman for the Department of ­Energy and Climate Change said that the mechanism included no new financial commitment “aside from some modest running costs”. However, it will result in the accumulation of evidence of losses which could strengthen future claims for compensation.


Poland recognizes the real global warming agenda

A cabal of climate change alarmists landed in Warsaw, Poland, last weekend, to hammer out terms and rally support for a new binding global agreement to “save the planet” from “dangerous global warming.”

Not so fast, tens of thousands of Poles responded. The facts support their position.

Average global temperatures have not risen in 16 years, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased steadily, helping plants grow faster and better. Antarctic ice is at a record high, Arctic sea ice is back to normal, and at current rates Greenland would not melt for 13,000 years. A new research paper in Global and Planetary Change reveals that global sea level rise has decelerated by 44 percent since 2004, to barely 7 inches per century!

These realities were underscored during a climate policy conference in Warsaw on the eve of the UN confab. The Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) keynoted the event, which was sponsored by Solidarity, the Institute for Globalization, and other Polish and European NGOs. Capping off the program, representatives from the United States, Italy, Sweden, Hungary, and Poland formally signed the “Warsaw Declaration.”

The declaration calls on the United Nations to discontinue work on a new treaty until a genuine “scientific consensus is reached on the phenomenon of so-called global warming,” including both its natural and human causes.

The next day, more than 50,000 enthusiastic Poles gathered in downtown Warsaw to celebrate National Independence Day, which commemorates the restoration of Poland’s statehood in 1918, after 123 years of partition and occupation by Russia, Prussia, and Austria.

As millions more watched on live television, I was honored to be invited to the stage, to deliver an address [interpreter at left in photo] celebrating freedom and warning against the UN’s dangerous, oppressive climate agenda. It was undoubtedly the largest audiences ever to hear a speech denouncing UN global warming policies, and I was proud to stand next to a CFACT banner that read “No to UN Climate Hype” in Polish — and to be surrounded by thousands of people wearing stickers bearing the same message.

It was clear that — after 12 decades of partition, 6 years of Nazi terror, and 44 years of Russian and Communist subjugation — few Poles are in any mood to have their lives, liberties, and living standards dictated by the European Union and United Nations, under the guise of “protecting the planet” from the supposed “ravages” of “cataclysmic” global warming (or “climate change” or “climate disruption” or whatever the catch-phrase of the week might be).

This is “a new battle for freedom,” I emphasized, “against those who would use environmental and climate alarmism to steal away our liberties and give international bureaucrats control over our energy sources, our daily lives, our prosperity, and our national sovereignty.”

During last year’s climate meeting in Rio de Janeiro, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said that what the UN intends is “a complete economic transformation of the world.” In 2000, former French President Jacques Chirac called the Kyoto climate treaty “the first component of authentic global governance.” And last year IPCC Working Group III co-chair Ottmar Edenhofer said international climate policy is not about environmental policy; it is about “how we redistribute the world’s wealth.”

These attitudes and agendas are bad news for those of us who love freedom. UN climate policy is bad news for the people of Poland, I stressed. The good news is that my address was carried live on Polish national television, covered by many international media outlets, and heartily endorsed by the throngs of independence celebrants, who gave a rousing chant in support of my message following my address.

My talk was certainly noticed by the UN climate alarmists, who were kicking off their COP-19 climate conference, power grab, and wealth redistribution schemes just a few kilometers away.

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion,” I continued, quoting from the Book of Proverbs. That is why environmentalists and climate bureaucrats don’t want to debate these issues or show anyone the assumptions, massaged temperature data, and secret codes that they use in their misleading global warming computer models. “They know they are deceiving the world.”

Those of us gathered in Warsaw that day, I concluded, “stand for freedom. We stand for opportunity. We stand for our families. We stand for a strong and prosperous future. Together let us be bold as a lion.”

The UN made a big mistake in choosing Poland to host this global warming treaty summit. The Poles see right through the global warming hype and propaganda. Having to endure generations of Nazi and Communist oppression, pollution, and economic deprivation has left them with a deep distaste for bureaucratic control and further curbs on freedom, opportunity, and growth. Having to live according to grim ideologies enforced by threats of jail, or worse, has made them angry about new codes of ecologically correct speech the global warming hype and propaganda.

Poland deserves freedom and prosperity. It knows it cannot move forward without energy — the Master Resource, the lifeblood of modern industrialized societies. The brave Poles are not about to cede their sovereignty to UN control — not about to let phony climate Armageddon alarms dictate their lives, livelihoods, liberties, living standards and life spans. They will not let the EU or UN control virtually everything they make, grow, ship, eat, drive and do.

They are fully aware that Poland is blessed with some of the biggest coal and shale gas reserves in all of Europe. They know Japan has reversed course, and
will now allow a 3 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions above 1990 levels, instead of mandating a 25 percent cut. They realize that “rich nations” (or more accurately, formerly rich nations) have rejected demands that they fork over $30 billion immediately, followed by $100 billion annually — in “compensation,” “adaptation,” and “mitigation” money, to pay for “damages” from more frequent, more intense climate changes that aren’t happening, but are supposedly caused by industrialized nations.

They also know Germany is expanding its coal use to generate affordable electricity, and to reverse the skyrocketing energy prices and job destruction that are sending shock waves through the German economy. Poland too needs all the coal, oil, and natural gas power it can muster, to build an economy that was held back for decades by war and Communist misrule.

CFACT has been an officially recognized NGO at United Nations conferences for nearly two decades. It will be in Warsaw throughout the 2-week-long COP-19 confab, with a delegation headlined by Apollo VII astronaut, Colonel Walter Cunningham, who is highly critical of UN climate pseudo-science.

We will steadfastly present the facts about natural and manmade climate change, and insist absolutely that environmental policies must reflect genuine science and the needs of human beings.

We will also support Polish feelings about the UN climate treaty — which boil down to what Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher told the Soviet Union: “Let Poland be Poland!”


Global Warming Activism: Another Year, Another U.N. Flop

Why do they bother? At this time every year, the U.N. holds a meeting of the Parties to its climate change treaty adopted at the Rio “Earth Summit” twenty-one years ago, and in force for 19 years. In the intervening time, there isn’t a single shred of evidence that it has done anything about global temperature.

In no small part, that’s because global temperature hasn’t done very much. Two years after it went into force—if you believe the surface temperature history that scientists consult the most—we entered into an era with no significant additional warming. That makes it kind of hard to find any signal resulting from the treaty.

The playbook is as predictable as the futility of the Cubs. Weeks before the confabs begin in November, environmental groups and activist scientists gin up the usual “it’s even worse than we thought” meme. The New York Times will carry a front page story by Justin Gillis, which will be shredded for its (many) sins of omission by the blogosphere before noon.

Not to be outdone, the Washington Post will carry a masthead piece that It’s Time to Get Serious, perhaps as Sewious as Elmer Fudd is about the Wascally Wabbit.

Soon the conference begins. This year, 10,000+ descended upon Warsaw, very few flying in the back of the airplane. While there are 189 signatories to the treaty, only 134 countries are sending anyone of ministerial rank. Hey, we’re serious about this!

An added fillip this year was the landfall of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines just days before the gathering. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was happy to conflate it with global warming, in complete contravention to his own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest science report, released just two month ago, saying that there’s really not much of a link, after all. According to the IPCC, “there is no significant trend in global tropical cyclone frequency.”

The purported business of Warsaw is to begin to hash out a new treaty, scheduled for 2015, to replace the predictable failure of the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases. Without jiggling the figures, most nations didn’t live up to their “commitments,” and even if everyone had, there would be no detectable effect on temperature—even six decades from now.

That’s the purported business. The real business is to serve as a two-week hectoring platform for poor countries to euchre the developed world for money to adapt to the supposed climate horrors we are raining down on them. The usual figure bandied about is $100 billion a year, mainly from U.S. taxpayers (and their children and their grandchildren). A nation pushing $17 trillion in debt isn’t likely to blithely take on another tranche.

It is a fact that poorer nations are impacted by the vagaries of weather and climate much more so than affluent ones. Even modest development helps a great deal. 43 years ago tropical cyclone Bohla—a mere category 3 storm—killed at least 300,000 in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Thanks to better infrastructure, detection and forecast technology, and improved communication, that’s just not likely to happen again, even in a stronger storm. Consequently, the way to adapt to weather, climate, and climate change is to foster economic growth, not to simply send money.

Near the end of each conference there’s the requisite foot-stamping. This year, these countries and the myriad environmental groups “walked out” in protest over the lack of action (i.e. money).

On the last scheduled day, (this year it was November 22), a vague draft “agreement” usually appears and news leaks of a “deadlock” between the developed and less-developed world. The attendees to stay overtime, usually overnight, and a breakthrough is announced.

Then nothing happens until next year.

Wait for the uptick in editorials about “it’s serious this time,” the breathless news stories and op-eds in the dinosaur media, their shredding in the blogosphere, and you’ll know the next UN climate confab is about to begin.


Australia's Environment Protection Agency sidelined after warning of high risks at AGL coal seam gas project

The NSW government has sidelined the Environment Protection Authority in pushing ahead with a coal seam gas project despite advice it is high risk, threatening valuable agricultural land.

In a submission that has been confidential until now, the EPA warned the Department of Trade against approving the disposal of waste water at AGL's Gloucester project as it would lead to dangerously high salt levels and the potential destruction of farmland.

Fairfax Media has learnt the EPA has been excluded from the approvals process for irrigation trials at Gloucester, after effectively being sidelined by the newly created Office of Coal Seam Gas.

The EPA was asked by the Department of Trade to undertake a review of AGL's Gloucester coal seam gas project in February last year. It made its submission in April but the report has been confidential since then, even though the irrigation trials have begun.

In its report, the EPA says the project is high risk and is likely to produce dangerously high salt levels under the present AGL proposal to "irrigate", or spray. the water from its mining onto surrounding farmland. It also warns of the damaging effects on local wildlife.

The submission says the government needs to ask for more information from AGL and that it is not possible to evaluate the effects on soil and water unless "adequate" information is provided by AGL.

Should the project continue as planned, 2500 tonnes of salt a year will be sprayed over the surrounding farmland, an outcome that independent geo-technical engineer Professor Philip Pells said could be disastrous for the environment.

Professor Pells is not anti-CSG. He approves of the AGL operations at Camden but said the geology at Gloucester was more sensitive as the basin structure beneath the project means the underground aquifers are "intimately connected" with the surface water.

Further, he said, AGL had no proper procedures for disposal of the saline waste water.

For its part, AGL has said the disposal of waste water from its CSG mining will have a "neutral or beneficial effect on water quality".

It has also disputed the EPA's findings that the soil was "strongly sodic", saying that referred to the natural soil quality at the location, which was no longer relevant as the company had treated the soils.

"AGL has added many hundreds of tonnes of compost, lime (calcium carbonate), gypsum (calcium sulphate) and zeolite minerals (which enhances the water retention quality of soils) and therefore the soil characteristics of the upper soils are now very different to the natural soil quality. These amended soils are now much more suitable for irrigation activities."

An EPA spokeswoman said the authority was assessing the application from AGL for an environment protection licence for the total Gloucester coal seam gas project, but not the trial.

"The EPA will take water and soil impacts and other relevant environmental considerations into account as part of its assessment."

EPA chief environmental regulator Mark Gifford said the irrigation trial was approved and was being overseen by the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas.

"The EPA is being ignored," Professor Pells said. "No one appears to be in control. "The trials were approved by the Department of Mineral Resources but now the process seems to have been taken over by the Office of Coal Seam Gas."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Industry said the water approved for irrigation was "two to five times less salty than water in the surrounding surface aquifers that also flow into the Avon River".

"It is the responsibility of AGL to conduct the trial within the approved guidelines," she said. "The risks are minimal and the monitoring and reporting is showing that the project is proceeding within the parameters of the approval."




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


25 November, 2013

Britain to be hit by entirely typical weather

TEMPERATURES in the UK are going to fall sharply over the coming weeks because that is what happens at this time of year, it has been claimed. During winter snow can often reach the ground

Meteorologists believe that winter, a spell of short, cold days commonly defined as a season, will be more or less exactly what you would expect.

Professor Henry Brubaker of the Institute for Studies said: “Household fuel costs will rise considerably as families try to increase the temperature of their homes.

“People on the verge of death may die.

“Ice and snow will create icy, snowy conditions.

“Your car will refuse to start.

“Because it’s winter.

“It’s really nothing to freak out about, unless you’re a pre-Neanderthal cave dweller who believes sunsets are caused by Gark, the angry moon god.”

He added: “There’s a high probability that this winter will be followed by another sudden, weather-related phenomenon known as spring.”

Housewife Nikki Hollis said: “The important thing is to stay inside, carry a flaming torch at all times and don’t be sentimental about eating your plumpest child.”


A Climate of Fear, Cash and Correctitude

Earth’s geological, archaeological and written histories are replete with climate changes: big and small, short and long, benign, beneficial, catastrophic and everything in between.

The Medieval Warm Period (950-1300 AD or CE) was a boon for agriculture, civilization and Viking settlers in Greenland. The Little Ice Age that followed (1300-1850) was calamitous, as were the Dust Bowl and the extended droughts that vanquished the Anasazi and Mayan cultures; cyclical droughts and floods in Africa, Asia and Australia; and periods of vicious hurricanes and tornadoes. Repeated Pleistocene Epoch ice ages covered much of North America, Europe and Asia under mile-thick ice sheets that denuded continents, stunted plant growth, and dropped ocean levels 400 feet for thousands of years.

Modern environmentalism, coupled with fears first of global cooling and then of global warming, persuaded politicians to launch the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Its original goal was to assess possible human influences on global warming and potential risks of human-induced warming. However, it wasn’t long before the Panel minimized, ignored and dismissed non-human factors to such a degree that its posture became the mantra that only humans are now affecting climate.

Over the last three decades, five IPCC “assessment reports,” dozens of computer models, scores of conferences and thousands of papers focused almost entirely on human fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide/greenhouse gas emissions, as being responsible for “dangerous” global warming, climate change, climate “disruption,” and almost every “extreme” weather or climate event. Tens of billions of dollars have supported these efforts, while only a few million have been devoted to analyses of all factors – natural and human – that affect and drive planetary climate change.

You would think researchers would welcome an opportunity to balance that vast library of one-sided research with an analysis of the natural causes of climate change – to enable them to evaluate the relative impact of human activities, more accurately predict future changes, and ensure that communities, states and nations can plan for, mitigate and adapt to those impacts. You would be wrong.

A few weeks ago, Nebraska lawmakers called for a wide-ranging study of “cyclical” climate change. Funded by the state, the $44,000 effort was to be limited to natural causes – not additional speculation about manmade effects. Amazingly, University of Nebraska scientists are not just refusing to participate in the study, unless it includes human influences. One climatologist at the university’s National Drought Mitigation Center actually said he would not be comfortable circulating a study proposal or asking other scientists to participate in it; in fact, he “would not send it out” to anyone. The director of the High Plains Climate Center sniffed, “If it’s only natural causes, we would not be interested.”

Their dismissive stance seems mystifying – until one examines climate change politics and financing.

None of these Nebraska scientists seems reluctant to accept far larger sums for “research” that focuses solely on human causes; nor do professors at Penn State, Virginia, George Mason or other academic or research institutions. They’re likewise not shy about connecting “dangerous manmade global warming” to dwindling frog populations, shrinking Italian pasta supplies, clownfish getting lost, cockroaches migrating, and scores of other remote to ridiculous assertions – if the claims bring in research grants.

American taxpayers alone are providing billions of dollars annually for such research, through the EPA and numerous other government agencies – and the colleges, universities and other institutions routinely take 40% or more off the top for “project management” and “overhead.” None of them wants to derail that gravy train, and all fear that accepting grants to study natural factors or climate cycles would imperil funding from sources that have ideological, political or crony corporatist reasons for making grants tied to manmade warming, renewable energy and related topics. Perhaps they would be tempted if the Nebraska legislators were offering $4 million or even $440,000. But a lousy $44,000?

Peer pressure, eco-activist harassment, politically correct posturing, and shared ideologies about fossil fuels, forced economic transformations and wealth redistribution via energy policies also play a major role, especially on campuses. Racial and sexual diversity is applauded, encouraged, even required, as is political diversity across the “entire” spectrum from communist to “progressive.” But diversity of opinion is restricted to 20x20-foot “free speech zones,” and would-be free speech practitioners are vilified, exiled to academic Siberia, dismissed or penalized – as “climate skeptics” from Delaware, Oregon, Virginia and other institutions can testify. Robust debate about energy and climate issues is denounced and obstructed.

As The Right Climate Stuff team points out, we cannot possibly model or distinguish human influences on climate change, without first understanding and modeling natural factors. But solar, cosmic ray, oceanic and other natural forces are dismissed in the corridors of alarmism. Even the adverse effects of climate change and renewable energy policies on jobs, economic growth, human health and welfare, and bird and bat populations receive little attention. Sadly, science has been subjected to such tyranny before.

When Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo found that science and observations did not support Ptolemy’s clever and complex model of the solar system, the totalitarian establishment of their day advised such heretics to recant – or be battered, banished or even burned at the stake. Today’s climate models are even more clever and complex, dependent on questionable assumptions and massaged data, unable to predict temperatures or climate events, and employed to justify costly energy and economic policies.

The modelers nevertheless continue to enjoy fame, fortune, power and academic glory – while those who question the garbage in-garbage out models are denounced and ostracized.

A particularly ugly example of junk science occurred in Stalin’s Soviet Union, where Trofim Lysenko rejected plant genetics and promoted the idea that traits were acquired by exposure to environmental influences. His delusions fit the regime’s utopian fantasies so well that a generation of scientists accepted them as fact, or at least said they did, so as to stay employed, and alive. Meanwhile, Lysenko’s crackpot ideas led to agricultural decline, crop failures, starvation, and finally the demise of the centrally planned Soviet economic system that perpetrated and perpetuated suffering for millions of people.

Skepticism and debate would have saved resources and lives. However, the Stalinist political machine would not tolerate dissent. Today’s scientific disease is less pernicious. However, politically driven science still frames critical public policies, because ideologically driven government has become the dominant financier of science. The disease has already crippled Europe’s industry and economy. It now threatens the vitality of the once powerful and innovative American system.

We’re all familiar with the Third World “democratic” process, where voters are “persuaded” by fear, fraud, deception, free meals and sham theatrics to give tin-pot dictators 97% of the “freely” cast votes.

Today we’re told 97% of climate scientists agree that the science is “settled” on climate change. Not only is this sham “consensus” based on a tiny percentage of scientists who bothered to respond to a carefully worded survey. It also ignores the 700 climate scientists, 31,000 American scientists and 48% of US meteorologists who say there is no evidence that humans are causing dangerous climate change.

More important, science is not a popularity contest or a matter of votes. As Galileo and Einstein demonstrated, one scientist who is right, and can prove it with evidence, trumps hundreds who have nothing but models, old paradigms, scary headlines and government cash to support their hypotheses.

Few scientists would say the Dust Bowl was caused by humans, even though poor farming practices clearly exacerbated it. Few would say cancer research should be limited to manmade chemicals, even though they may be responsible for some cancers.

Nebraskan (and other) researchers must end their hide-bound focus on human causes – and start working to understand all the complex, interrelated factors behind global climate changes and cycles. Government financiers and policy makers must do likewise. Our future well-being depends on it.


Worried About the Climate? End Subsidies

Ronald Bailey

At the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP-19) of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), one of the better ideas for lowering the emissions of greenhouse gases is to eliminate consumer and producer fossil fuel consumption subsidies.

The International Energy Agency estimates that consumption subsidies amounted to $544 billion in 2012. Ending subsidies would encourage consumers and producers to cut back fossil fuel use, which in turn would reduce carbon dioxide emissions. And would save taxpayers a great deal of money.

On Thursday, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) held a session on reducing nitrous oxide emissions. Nitrous oxide is a long-lived gas that has a global warming potential of 310, meaning one molecule traps over 310 times more heat than a molecule of carbon dioxide. The amount of nitrous oxide put into the atmosphere is equivalent to about 3 gigatons of carbon dioxide, which approximates the emissions of half of the world’s entire vehicle fleet. In addition, nitrous oxide depletes the stratospheric ozone layer that shields the earth’s surface from damaging ultraviolet light. So preventing nitrous oxide emissions is a twofer—cutting it lowers the temperature and protects the ozone layer.

Nitrous oxide exists naturally in the atmosphere, but, as a result of human activities, its concentration has increased by 20 percent over pre-industrial levels, making it the third most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and methane. The new UNEP report, Drawing Down N2O, outlines several ways to cut emissions.

Two-thirds of human emissions come from agricultural activities, e.g., using nitrogen fertilizer or livestock waste management. It is not an exaggeration to say that the invention of a process to synthesize nitrogen fertilizer made the modern world possible, as fertilizers boost crop yields as much as 50 percent. Nitrogen fertilizer that isn’t taken up by plants boosts input costs to farmers. However, farmers have to make tradeoffs between a number of different costs for fuel, equipment, seed, labor, fertilizer, and so forth in order to make a profit, and managing nitrogen fertilizer is usually not at the top of the list for improving the bottom line.

That being said, if it’s economic and ecological madness to subsidize the burning of fossil fuels, it’s just as barmy to subsidize agriculture in the amount of $300 billion annually. The World Bank reported in 2012 that fertilizer subsidies in India amounted to 2 percent of that country’s GDP. Agricultural subsidies clearly encourage farmers to overuse fertilizer, which in turn produces nitrous oxide emissions that harm the ozone layer and raise global temperature. The UNEP report notes that research and development can help improve nitrogen use efficiency. As it happens, private seed growers have already developed crop plants that use half of the nitrogen of conventional plants.

Another UNEP report reckons that, in order to remain on a path that keeps the average increase in global temperatures below 2 degrees centigrade of the pre-industrial level, the world must close a “gap” in what countries have pledged to cut under the UNFCCC by an additional 8 to 12 gigatons of greenhouse gases by 2020. The UNEP nitrous oxide report estimates that by 2020 it should be possible to cut those emissions corresponding to about 0.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide. Such a reduction would represent about 8 percent of the cuts needed to close the emissions gap and it would also help protect the ozone layer.

Finally, cutting back on the emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as refrigerants would help lower projected future increases in the mean global temperature. HFCs were introduced in the 1990s to replace chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants whose emissions were damaging the ozone layer. Under the Montreal Protocol in 1987 countries began a phase-out of CFCs, a project I agreed with, as explained in my book Eco-Scam: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse. CFCs were also powerful greenhouse gases and eliminating them avoided emissions equivalent to 8 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year between 1990 and 2010. With respect to keeping the mean global temperature down, the effects of cuts in CFC emissions are calculated to have been four times greater than the carbon dioxide reductions achieved under the UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol.

While the HFCs that replaced CFCs do not harm the ozone layer, they do have very high global warming potentials. For example, a molecule of HFC 134a, which is often used in home refrigerators and car air conditioners, has a global warming potential that is 3400 times greater than a molecule of carbon dioxide. HFCs already represent about one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The United States, Canada, and Mexico have been pushing to phase-out HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, which would lead to a 2.2 gigaton reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020, with cuts eventually amounting to the equivalent of 100 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050.

Ironically, carbon dioxide is a cost-effective replacement for HFCs in large-scale refrigeration in grocery stores and warehouses. Amusingly, environmentalist proponents of using carbon dioxide as a coolant coyly refer to it as “natural” refrigerant. In other applications, Dupont and Honeywell have developed a new refrigerant, hydrofluoroolefin (HFO-1234yf), which is a near drop-in replacement for HFC refrigerants in automobile air conditioners. The new HFO refrigerant has a global warming potential of less than one. Of course, transitioning away from HFCs will not be costless, but if man-made global warming turns out to be a problem, reducing their emissions would likely be less costly than cutting the equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions.


Taxpayers Lose $139 Million After Energy Dept. Loan to Electric Car Maker is Sold

The Department of Energy sold part of its $192 million loan to electric carmaker Fisker Automotive on Friday to a Chinese investor. The sale represents yet another loss for American taxpayers over a stimulus-backed “green” initiative—this time to the tune of $139 million.

The Daily Caller has the details:

"Including the $25 million loan sale, the DOE has recovered only $53 million of the original $192 million disbursed — netting taxpayers a $139 million loss.

Fisker was awarded a $529 million loan guarantee by the Obama administration in 2009 to produce a luxury hybrid car, the Karma, which sold for a $103,000 per unit. However, failure to meet Energy Department benchmarks to receive funding resulted in the company losing its loan guarantee in 2011. The company drew down on $192 million before having its federal funding pulled. The Obama administration seized $21 million from the company in April to help repay taxpayers for its loan.

Earlier this year, reports came out that Fisker had violated its loan agreements multiple times before being cut off by the Obama administration in 2011. Bloomberg reported that Fisker’s technical defaults began in 2011 partly due to “lower-than-required earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, and failing to meet a production milestone of at least 11,000 vehicles sold to dealers for an average of $87,500 by Sept. 30, 2011.”

Fisker's collapse closes yet another sad chapter in DOE's troubled portfolio. The jobs that were promised never materialized and, once again, taxpayers are on the hook for the administration’s reckless gamble,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Pa., and House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy, R-Pa., said in a joint statement.

The sale represents the biggest taxpayer loss on a green loan since the Solyndra collapse, which cost taxpayers $528 million.

"Once again, American taxpayers are losing out to foreign investors due to the Obama administration's failed green energy policies," Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said. "Time after time this administration has fumbled the ball with their attempts to pick winners and losers when it comes to American energy.


Green Energy: The Rotary Dial Phone of the Future

The whole idea of green energy—renewable resources—grew out of an energy reality that was much different from today’s. It was in the 1970s, following the OPEC Oil Embargo that solar panels began popping up on rooftops and “gasohol” subsidies were enacted. It was believed that green energy would move the U.S. off of foreign oil and prevent oil from being used as a weapon against us.

Today, that entire paradigm has been upended and OPEC’s power has been virtually neutered by increasing domestic oil production and decreasing gasoline consumption.

Jay Lehr, Heartland Institute science director, likens continuing “as though our new energy riches did not exist” to “ignoring our telecommunication revolution by supporting operator-assisted telephones with party lines.”

Instead of growing our gas, we need to be growing food that can feed a hungry world and balance out the U.S. trade deficit.

In a November 17 editorial, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) perfectly sums up the current renewable resource status: “After 35 years of exaggerations about the benefits of renewable fuels, the industry has lost credibility.” Similarly, on the same day, the Washington Post (WP) went a step further, stating that ethanol “has been exposed as an environmental and economic mistake.”

It seems that ethanol is an idea whose time has come—and gone.


Mandated for blending into America’s gasoline supply in 2007 through the Energy Security and Independence Act, ethanol now has an unlikely coalition of opponents—including car and small-engine manufacturers, oil companies and refiners, and food producers and environmental groups.

A national movement is growing and calling for the end of the ethanol mandates that, according to the WSJ, have “drained the Treasury of almost $40 billion” since the first gasohol subsides were enacted in 1978. Realize the word “Treasury,” used here, really means “taxpayer.”

“At the end of 2011, the ethanol industry lost a $6 billion per year tax-credit subsidy,” the WP points out. But the mandate for the American consumer to use ethanol remains through what Senator David Vitter (R-LA) calls: “a fundamentally flawed program that limps along year after year.”

Imagine the surprise, given that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy asserts: “Biofuels are a key part of the Obama Administration’s ‘all of the above’ energy strategy, helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, cut carbon pollution and create jobs,” when, on November 15, the EPA gave a nod toward market and technological realities and, for the first time, proposed a reduction in the renewable volume obligations—below 2012 and 2013 levels.

On a call with reporters, a senior administration official explained: “While under the law volumes of renewable fuel are set to increase each year this unanticipated reduction in fuel consumption brings us to a point where the realities of the fuel market must be addressed to properly implement the program.”

The WP describes the problem: “Mixing more and more ethanol into a fixed or shrinking pool of fuel would bump up against the capacity of existing engines to burn it, as well as the capacity of the existing distribution network to pump it.” It states: “The downward revision of roughly 3 billion gallons is the first such reduction since Congress enacted the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in 2007.”

The EPA’s decision is lauded by AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet: “The EPA has finally put consumers first.” He said the targets in the 2007 law “are unreachable without putting motorists and their vehicles at risk.”

The November 15 announcement has even received rare bipartisian support. In a joint statement, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and ranking member Henry Waxman (D-CA) praised EPA’s decision to cut into the biofuels mandate next year. “As our white papers and hearings made clear, the status quo is no longer workable,” Upton said. “Many of the issues raised by EPA, stakeholders, and consumer advocates are now reflected in the agency’s proposed rule.” Both suggested the committee would continue to examine possible legislative changes to the overall mandate.

The ethanol lobby is not so enthusiastic. “Despite a lack of demand,” states the WSJ, it “wants government to force a blend of E15 or higher on millions of consumers and force car makers to adapt their fleets to a fuel that offers less octane per mile traveled and no environmental benefit.”

Brooke Coleman, Advanced Ethanol Council executive director, expressed the industry’s disappointment: “While only a proposed rule at this point, this is the first time the Obama administration has shown any sign of wavering when it comes to implementing the RFS.”

Coleman added: “What we’re seeing is the oil industry taking one last run at trying to convince administrators of the RFS to relieve the legal obligation on them to blend more biofuel based on clever arguments meant to disguise the fact that oil companies just don’t want to blend more biofuel. The RFS is designed to bust the oil monopoly. It’s not going to be easy,” To which, Taylor Smith, Heartland Institute policy analyst, quipped: “The renewable fuel industry has reacted to EPA’s announcement as if something big has been taken away from them, when technically nothing has been taken away from them, just less will be given to them in the future. The oil industry’s heavy lobbying may be blamed for EPA’s announcement, but ethanol’s failure to lower CO2 emissions or reduce oil use or oil imports since the law was passed has just as much if not more to do with it.”

Ethanol is setback.


While the ethanol mandate hasn’t been eliminated, the administration has wavered and has given a nod toward “market and technological reality.” Likewise, those of us opposed to government mandates and subsidies were handed a small victory in Arizona when, on November 14, the commissioners tipped their hand by setting a new direction for solar energy policy. In a 3-2 vote, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) took a step and added a monthly fee onto the utility bills of new solar customers to make them pay for using the power grid.

While the ACC decision didn’t make national headlines, as the EPA decision did, it has huge national implications.

The issue is net-metering—a policy that allows customers with solar panels to receive full retail credit for power they deliver to the grid. Supporters of the current policy—including President Obama—believe that ending it “would kill their business.” Opponents believe it “unfairly shifts costs from solar homes to non-solar homes.”

The ACC vote kept the net-metering program, but added a small fee that solar supporters call “troubling.” Officials for SolarCity and SunRun—companies that install solar arrays—have reportedly said: “The new fees mean fewer customers will be able realize any savings.”

“What amounts to a $5 charge is a big hit to the solar industry,” said Bryan Miller, SunRunvice president for public policy and power markets. “In our experience, you need to show customers some savings.”

Considering that Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) wanted to cut the rate paid to customers with solar and wanted a much larger fee added, the ACC decision might not seem like a victory. In fact, the solar supporters called it a victory for their side, claiming “policymakers in Arizona stood up for its citizens, by rejecting an attempt from the state’s largest utility to squash rooftop solar.” But that’s not the full story.

The new fee passed 3-2—which might sound like a narrow margin. However, the two “no” votes, voted “no” because each believed the fee should be higher—meaning that all five commissioners wanted a fee added (four of the five had previously indicated that they were ready to add fees as high as $50 a month). Additionally, the fee is only in place until the next rate case that will be filed in June of 2015. Plus, a clause was added that allows the commission to adjust the charge annually. After December 31, solar customers will be presented with a document making it clear that the fees they pay the utility may increase.

James Montgomery, associate editor, reported that the Alliance for Solar Choice representative, Hugh Hallman, acknowledged that there is a cost-shift that the solar sector needs to address. In the ACC case, it was the solar industry that proposed the fee—even thought it had “bitterly” fought any new fees. The Arizona Republic coverage of the vote states: “The solar industry offered the $5 compromise as it faced the reality that the commissioners appeared poised to enact even higher fees closer to what APS requested.” And adds: “The meeting appeared to be going against the solar industry.”

Commissioner Brenda Burns, who was one of the “no” votes because she wanted higher fees, called out the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association over a statement made in a letter claiming that solar customers used their own money to install solar at no cost to their neighbors. She noted: “Solar customers got up-front incentives to pay for their solar panels until they expired in October. Those incentives came from other customers and ran into the thousands of dollars for many solar users. APS ratepayers paid more than $170 million in cash incentives,” she said. “It is a fact, and we shouldn’t ignore the fact.”

The ACC’s process pointed out the customers’ savings that $170 million in cash incentives got them could be “largely or entirely wiped out” with a $5 fee. It solidified that there is cost-shifting taking place—which the industry has denied. And, it set up larger fees and potential credit adjustments in the near future.

Rhone Resch, Solar Industries Association president/CEO, called the ACC decision “precedent setting action.” There are a number of other state commissions currently reviewing net-metering policies.

Renewable energy has suffered a setback in both the EPA ethanol decision and the ACC solar decision. Will wind be next?


On November 14, fifty-two Congressmen signed a letter, organized by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), calling for the end of the wind production tax credit (PTC). In the letter addressed to Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, they point out that the PTC, which was scheduled to end on December 31, 2012, was extended “during the closing hours of the last Congress,” as a part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA). Not only was it extended, but it was enhanced by modifying the eligibility criteria. Originally, wind turbines needed to be “placed in service” by the end of the expiration of the PTC to qualify for the tax credit. Under the ATRA, they need only to be “under construction” to qualify.

The letter points out: “If a wind project developer merely places a 5% deposit on a project initiated in 2013, it will have at least until 2015 and possibly 2016 to place the project in service and obtain the PTC. That means that a wind project that ‘begins construction’ in 2013 could receive subsidies until 2026.”

Like ethanol and solar, “the growth in wind is driven not by market demand, but by a combination of state renewable portfolio standards and a tax credit that is now more valuable than the price of the electricity the plants actually generate.”

Earlier this month, more than 100 organizations—including the two for which I serve as executive director—sent a letter to Congress calling for them to allow the PTC to expire as scheduled. This letter states “after 20 years of preferential tax treatment,” wind energy “remains woefully dependent on this federal support” and calls for “energy solutions that make it on their own in the marketplace—not ones that need to be propped up by the government indefinitely.”

Both of these actions come at a time when wind energy is suffering some embarrassing setbacks of its own.

On November 20, the sixth GE 1.6 megawatt wind-turbine blade in 17 months broke off. Three “incidents” have taken place in Illinois (most recently on November 20), two in Michigan (November 12), and one in New York (November 17). The blades weigh about 20,000 pounds and are about 160 feet long. These six cases are called “rare” and “isolated” but there are hundreds of the same GE turbines in the same industrial wind parks where the blades broke off. One can’t help but wonder which turbine will “crash to the ground” tomorrow?

Reports indicate that so far, “no one was injured.” However, locals have reported shrapnel from the blade break has been found more than 1500 feet away.Setbacks for turbine installations are 511 feet from roads and only 700 feet from property lines, so the possibility of somebody getting killed is a real probability.

Note: The North American Wind Power story on the Michigan failures, states: “GE’s 1.6-100 is one of North America’s most sought-after turbines.” Woe to the person who has a different manufacturer’s turbine nearby if these are the “most sought after.”

While, to date, no one has been killed by a wind-turbine blade, plenty of birds—including federally protected birds, such as bald eagles—have been killed. On November 22, the first-ever criminal enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for unpermitted avian takings at wind projects was settled. Duke Energy agreed to pay fines, restitution, and community service totaling $1 million and was placed on probation for five years.

The EPA finally saw some sense when it announced the reduction in the amount of ethanol that refiners are required to blend into gasoline in 2014. The ACC signaled a change in ratepayer compensation for solar energy. Will Congress show similar wisdom and allow the wind tax credit to expire at the end of 2013?

These mandates and tax credits are remnants of an outdated energy policy that is akin to “ignoring our telecommunication revolution by supporting operator-assisted telephones with party lines.” America’s energy paradigm has changed and our energy policies need to keep up and be revised to fit our new reality.



It is only one sentence in the coalition agreement, but it could mean the end of Germany’s green energy shift (Energiewende). The Christian Democrats (CDU) and Social Democrats (SPD) want to force the renewable industry to pay for conventional back-up energy generation.

Almost unnoticed by the public, Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) and North Rhine Westphalia’s Prime Minister Hannelore Kraft (SPD) have agreed upon on a passage in the Energy chapter of the draft coalition agreement that could ensure the end of the green energy transition and seal the fate of the renewable energy industry. “This is massive,” is the comment even in government circles. The decisive statement has allegedly been included in the draft contract under pressure from the bosses of RWE and E.on, Peter Terium and John Teyssen.

The renewable energy lobby has not even noticed the attack on its core business. The decisive statement can be found in line 259 of the 11 November draft agreement. It says: “We will examine whether large producers of electricity from renewable sources must guarantee a base load portion of their maximum feed in order to contribute to supply security.”

This refers to the cardinal problem of solar and wind energy, the intermittency of power generation that depends on the weather. The year has 8,760 hours; wind turbines, however, only produce for 1,530 hours at full power, photovoltaic systems even just for 980 hours. To make matters worse, no one knows in advance when green electricity is fed into the grid, and when it’s not available.

The proposal by Altmaier and Kraft boils down to a requirement for operators of wind and solar power to take out a form of insurance. In principle, they must guarantee the supply of the kilowatt hours usually provided by their systems, regardless of whether the wind blows or the sun is shining. However, this is only possible for wind and solar systems by guaranteed power of conventional power plants. This way, coal or gas power plants would be brought back into the business – and the green power producers would have to pay for it. They would be forced to do business with RWE and Co.

The business model of renewable energy operators would be destroyed. This is made clear by a simple calculation: the cost of conventional power plant capacity in Europe is typically estimated at 60 Euros per kilowatt. Since solar energy systems need the back-up only for about 1,000 hours per year, this would result in a kilowatt-hour price of approximately six cents for the insurance. An operator of solar power systems would have to pay this amount for every kilowatt hour generated by himself to the operators of a coal or gas power plant, so that they hold up the necessary safe plant capacity.

Part of the legally guaranteed EEG feed-in tariff, which has the objective to promote green electricity, would end up with the operators of conventional power plants in this way. It is such a big amount that one could no longer make any profit with green electricity. If they had to shoulder the burden, the development of renewable energies would come to an end – and so would the green energy transition.

Operators of onshore wind turbines would be charged for the usual hours at full load with less than four cents per kilowatt hour. The feed-in tariffs for new wind turbines is currently around nine cents. Take away four cents for back-up and the wind operator would be left with five cents per kilowatt hour. For this amount, however, nobody is building a wind turbine. The green energy transition would be killed instantly. Instead, RWE and Co. could breath again. It cannot be ruled out that their current search for a new corporate image would be undermined as a result.

Whether it will actually get that far is uncertain. After all, the formulation in the draft coalition agreement includes three vague concepts. Firstly, the matter should only be “examined”. Secondly, only “large” green power producers should be obliged, if at all. And thirdly, the back-up insurance should be organized only for a proportion of the base load. Disaster is looming but there is still hope.

The mere fact that the coalition partners are flirting with the idea of promoting old energy at the expense of new one is a revelation. It shows how much the CDU and the SPD are now distancing themselves from the green energy transition.




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


24 November, 2013

House Votes on Energy Bills

The House passed three bills this week, largely along party lines, to ease restrictions on oil and gas drilling. The first bill aimed to streamline the permitting process by setting a 60-day deadline for drilling applications on federal lands. It passed 228-192 with 10 Democrats supporting the measure. The second, which passed 235-187 with a similar number of Democrats, would block the Interior Department from enforcing rules on hydraulic fracturing in states that already have their own regulations in place. The third bill, which passed with the help of 26 Democrats, would tighten the deadlines for rulings on natural gas pipeline projects.

These bills collectively seek to encourage an oil and gas boom that would boost the economy. As we noted Wednesday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) recently announced that by 2015, the U.S. will top Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world's leading oil producer and, in the next 20 years, will near energy independence.

But that all makes it a primary candidate for Barack Obama to oppose. Indeed, the White House issued a veto threat and the legislation stands little chance of reaching a Senate vote. Obama continues to hold fast to his claim that the federal government is helping the energy industry even though regulations continue to stymie any opportunities for effective development of America's natural resources.


Recent 10 Months U.S. Temperature trend/decade: – 1.1 F COOLER in 100 years

And the cooling continues. Sorry – I mean that Global Warming is really an imminent threat to humankind. Especially in Warsaw

So here are the recent 10 months (year to date, January- October) US temperature from a “historic” perspective. To see how the decade trends have evolved during the last 113 years.

Especially to see how the decade trends have evolved during the last 43 years. The period that according to the Global Warming Hysterics and computer models they worship should show a steady and accelerated increase in temperature.

I don’t know about you, but I consider a 10 month, a year by year consecutive trend 113 years long to be a “quite good” indicator.

And as I always point out:

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

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

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

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

Met Office Global Warming Prediction Falls Flat

In 2007, a team of climate scientists from the UK Met Office led by Doug Smith wrote a paper “Improved Surface Temperature Prediction for the Coming Decade from a Global Climate Model”, published in the journal Science. Although published in 2007, the paper made predictions for the decade 2004-2014. (Presumably the work was started around 2004 and it took some time for the paper to be published). The paper made claims about the “skill” of the model, for example “Having established the predictive skill of DePreSys…”

The Smith et al paper made the following specific predictions:

* There would be 0.3°C warming over the decade 2004-2014

* At least half of the years after 2009 would be warmer than the record year of 1998.

Note that at that time, 2007, the warmest year was thought to be 1998; subsequent adjustments to the method made 2005 warmer than 1998.

The predictions were spread far and wide. They were included in a Met Office Press release, and a glossy brochure on “Informing Government policy into the future”, with the almost obligatory scaremongering background pictures of black clouds and people wearing facemasks. Vicky Pope gave a talk on these predictions, saying that “these are very strong statements about what will happen over the next 10 years.”

And of course the faithful media reported the story without questioning it.

These predictions have turned out to be wrong. We are almost into 2014 and there has been no warming at all since 2004. Of the years since 2009, none of them have broken the record of 1998 according to HADCRUT3 data. Using HADCRUT4, 2010 is warmer by a meaningless 0.01°C (that’s one tenth of the error estimate). 2011 and 2012 were cooler and it’s now clear that 2013 will be cooler also.

The warming prediction was for 0.30° ± 0.21°C [5 to 95% confidence interval (CI)], so unless we get some significant warming over the next few months it looks as though the observations will be outside the CI of the model.

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

Heat 'not undermining Greenland's ice sheet'

SCIENTISTS have found that record melting is not undermining Greenland's massive ice sheet, reducing fears that it could literally slide into the ocean.

A study reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found the ice sheet moved more slowly than average in 2012, despite “unbelievably warm” temperatures that triggered the most extreme melting in 123 years.

The findings alleviate concerns that lubrication caused by meltwaters which sink to the base of the ice sheet could accelerate its flow into the ocean.

“It’s a bit like walking into a bathroom with a wet floor,” said co-author Matt King of the University of Tasmania. “All of a sudden you’re moving a lot faster than you intended to.”

He said the ice sheet flowed up to twice as quickly during warm summer periods such as July 12 last year, when 99 per cent of the ice sheet experienced some melting – the most widespread melt since 1889.

For the last decade scientists have speculated that this accelerated flow could exacerbate sea level rises caused by surface runoff and icebergs breaking away from the world’s second biggest ice sheet.

Professor King said 2012 was an ideal time to test the theory, because surface temperatures had reached levels considered likely to be commonplace by the end of the century. “It gave us a great opportunity to (see) how the ice sheet responds under those conditions,” he said.

The study used GPS to track the movement of poles sunk into a 120 kilometre strip of ice in south-western Greenland. It found that the total amount of ice flowing into the ocean in 2012 was 6 per cent less than in the “average” melt year of 2009.

The researchers reasoned that accelerated summer ice flows were “negated” by unusually slow flows during the winter, when the water at the base of the ice sheet could not build up enough pressure to maintain the momentum. “The summer isn’t the full story – you need to look at the whole year,” Professor King said.

He said the finding reinforced the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which found that the mechanism would only have a small effect on sea levels. “But they could only have medium confidence in that (prediction),” he said.

“We’re adding more weight of evidence to their decisions. It definitely doesn’t look like this is going to be a major player in the future.”


Does global warming WEAKEN tornadoes?

By Richard A. Muller, a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley

Yes, you read that correctly. Despite the recent spate of deadly twisters, including those that tore through the Midwest over the weekend, the scientific evidence shows that strong to violent tornadoes have actually been decreasing for the past 58 years, and it is possible that the explanation lies with global warming.

That is certainly not the popular impression. Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, commented in May on the powerful tornadoes that had just hit Oklahoma. “This is climate change,” she said, adding: “You’re going to have terrible storms. You’re going to have tornadoes.” Commenting around the same time, Michael E. Mann, a prominent climatologist, was only slightly more cautious. He said, “If you’re a betting person — or the insurance or reinsurance industry, for that matter — you’d probably go with a prediction of greater frequency and intensity of tornadoes as a result of human-caused climate change.”

But the evidence shows the opposite.

I am not talking about global warming per se, which I am convinced is real and caused by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases. But not everything attributed to global warming has a scientific basis.

Let’s begin by consulting the relevant data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On its website, NOAA has a chart plotting the total number of tornadoes recorded in the United States from 1950 to 2011. At first glance, the increase looks dramatic: The number of tornadoes in 1950 was only 200, and by 2011 it had shot up to 1,700.

But the 200 number is ridiculously small. If it had truly been that low in the past, “The Wizard of Oz” never would have been written. And indeed NOAA accounts for those early small numbers by explaining that originally only the most violent tornadoes were recorded, leading to lower reported totals. By contrast, these days even little storms are logged; backyard dust devils are reported for insurance claims, and Doppler radar makes it hard for any tornado to escape notice.

What about in more recent decades? If you look at the numbers plotted on the NOAA chart for 1976, you’ll see that only about 800 tornadoes were recorded in the United States — around half of today’s numbers. This increase also looks dramatic.

But here, too, the increase is a function of enhanced reporting. The scientists at NOAA note explicitly that the rise in the numbers has come almost exclusively from the improved documentation of so-called category EF0 tornadoes — the ones that are so weak that their legacy consists only of broken branches and damaged billboards. As another NOAA website warns, “This can create a misleading appearance of an increasing trend in tornado frequency.”

Misleading indeed. If you count all tornadoes except the EF0 tornadoes, then the number has remained fairly steady from 1954 to now.

But enhanced reporting might be distorting more than just the numbers of the very weakest storms. So let’s consider only the most violent tornadoes, the ones in categories EF3 to EF5. A tornado of EF3 is “severe,” with winds of 136 to 165 miles per hour. Roofs of strong houses are ripped off; trains are overturned. EF4 and EF5 are worse, hurling cars and destroying even well-built homes. These devastating tornadoes are always reported.

The NOAA chart shows that the number of these storms has been significantly decreasing over the past 58 years, from over 50 per year in the first half to under 40 per year in the second. The statistical significance of this decrease is extremely high: well above 99 percent confidence.

How can this be? What about all the recent horrible tornadoes? What about the fact that a tornado in Oklahoma in May set a width record of 2.6 miles?

It is wise to be cautious about the panic that sets in when a storm kills a large number of people. People search for reasons to believe the storms are worse than in the past, even if the numbers contradict them. Victims naturally wish to explain why loved ones died and they look for a villain — and they can find one in global warming.

But global warming does not obviously lead to increased or more violent tornadoes. It is possible, for instance, that the increased energy brought by the higher temperatures of global warming is less significant than global warming’s reduction in the north-south temperature difference (the poles warm more than the Equator). The latter could reduce the kind of hot-cold weather fronts that generate severe storms. The current climate models are simply unable to make a clear prediction, and reduced tornadoes from global warming are just as plausible as increased ones.

One thing is clear, however: The number of severe tornadoes has gone down. That is not a scientific hypothesis, but a scientific conclusion based on observation. Regardless of the limitations of climate theory, we can take some comfort in that fact.


Australia: The Industry Department's new secretary gives warning to climate change employees: Labelled 'unusual'

Whether it's unusual or not, it's certainly realistic. The bureaucracy seems mostly to be comprised of people with heavily Green/Left views

Hundreds of public servants from the Industry and Climate Change departments have been told to quit their jobs if they do not want to implement the Abbott government's policies.

The warning was issued just days after the former Climate Change chief and Industry boss were sacked by the Coalition government on its first day in office and the opposition says the "extraordinary'' comments were part of a concerted effort to "intimidate" the public service.

The Industry Department's new secretary, Glenys Beauchamp, gathered about 1500 of her workers in Canberra on September 20 for a briefing and told them to reconsider their positions if they were not prepared to serve the government of the day.

The tough talk to the workers, many of whom had been moved from the abolished Climate Change Department, was leaked to former industry minister Kim Carr, leading to a grilling of Ms Beauchamp at an estimates committee hearing on Thursday in Canberra.

Under the questioning, Ms Beauchamp told the senator she had responded to a question from a worker about how they would administer climate change policy, with a reminder of their duties as public servants.

"I said a range of things, what a secretary of a new portfolio would be expected to say, there were questions from the floor," Ms Beauchamp told Senator Carr.

"There was a question around what I thought of some of the arrangements around the formation of the new portfolio and I responded in the way a professional public servant does, as in 'we are here to serve the government of the day and public servants, like any other employees have choices whether they would like to abide by code of conduct and APS values and continue the journey'."

Senator Carr said he was surprised the secretary had felt the need to make those remarks to a group of professional public servants.

"Whatever the secretary's intention, these were unusual comments to be making," Senator Carr said.




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


22 November, 2013

British PM reportedly tells aides to 'get rid of the green c**p'

David Cameron has reportedly told ministers to scrap the “green c**p” driving up household energy bills.

The Prime Minister, who once promised to lead the “greenest government ever” is said to have privately ordered to find a way to ditch green commitments that are putting added financial pressure on consumers.

Mr Cameron has promised to “roll back” green levies which he says add around £112 a year to the average energy bill.

A senior source is reported to have said: “He’s telling everyone, ‘We’ve got to get rid of all this green c**p.’ He’s absolutely focused on it.” Downing Street denied the claims and said: “We do not recognise this at all.”

It is claimed that Downing Street has now abandoned Mr Cameron’s pre-election slogan, “vote blue, go green”. “It’s vote blue, get real, now – and woe betide anyone who doesn’t get the memo,” a source told The Daily Mail.

The reported comments are a far cry from Mr Cameron's previous image as a green Conservative. After becoming party leader, Mr Cameron travelled to the Arctic in a bid to prove his green credentials. He also put a windmill on his house.

According to Government figures, the green levies add £112 to a typical household bill. The money is then used to pay for loft insulation schemes and subsidies for renewable energy projects, under the Coalition’s rules.

Downing Street has said that, if there was no policy change, green levies could rise from the current £112 to £194 - or 14 per cent of the typical household bill - by 2020.

Labour has said that £67 of the £112 levies were accounted for by measures introduced by the coalition.

Tim Farron, the Lib Dem president, told The Sun: “The ‘green c**p’, as the Tories call it, are the funds that pay for insulating the homes of elderly people and which support thousands of British manufacturing jobs.

“This is depressingly cynical – only bothering about political spin, not in protecting our children’s future.”


GOOGLE private jets blow 100 million lbs CO2 into atmosphere with its government subsidized fuel

Google may tout itself as being a publicly responsible, green fingered, all-things-good company that touts green technology, but the companies chief executives are not setting a good example from on high.In fact, it would appear they're flying high whilst American taxpayers foot the bill.

Despite lobbying the federal government on environmental policy, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt have put 3.4 million miles on their private jets in recent years, polluting the atmosphere with 100 million pounds of carbon dioxide according to The Blaze.

Forget using Google Hangouts to conduct business, the execs prefer the old-fashioned method of face-to-face communication. Often, they'll take a trip on one of the enormous corporate fuel-guzzling 757 or 767 aircraft or the more exclusive Gulfstream V at a moments notice – and sometimes to the most exotic of vacation destinations.

Their trips have been analyzed and logged and show that despite trying to convince federal lawmakers to introduce stringent and restrictive environmental regulations, they happily jet off using gallons of polluting aviation fuel.

It might not be such a big deal if Google would practice what it preaches. The search engine powerhouse has been a leading proponent of encouraging the federal government to, as the company says, ‘put a price on carbon through cap-and-trade or a carbon tax.’

Through has introduced its own Google Green Initiative as well as a Clean Energy 2030 proposal to wean the U.S. off its reliance on fossil fuels.

Google wishes to transform the economy from one running on fossil fuels to one largely based on clean energy.

They’re happy to talk about building whole new industries and creating millions of new jobs along with cutting energy costs both at the gas pump and at home. Could it be that this is nothing more than hot-air in an effort to maintain its hip image?

The Blaze claim that when a company attempts to manipulate the government into using environmental policies to determine what types of cars Americans can drive, what kinds of jobs Americans can have and how taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars are spent, it should at least be unerring in its commitment to the environment.

Drew Johnson, a fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom has been looking through the hours and hours of flying time generated by Google’s Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt.

Google maintains a hangar of jets ready to take to the air at a moments’ notice.

In total, according to flight data that was analyzed, Google executives have flown more than 3.4 million miles, burning an average of 100,000 gallons of fuel every month in recent years.

Google’s planes burned through nearly 59 million barrels of crude since 2007, much of it on non-essential trips to adult playgrounds Nantucket, Aspen, Costa Rica, St. Maarten, Hawaii, Bermuda and Tahiti.

The supposedly environmentally conscious company’s jets have emitted more than 100 million pounds of carbon dioxide over the last four years alone.

It even appears that Google is hand-in-glove with the government. Google has snagged a few favors along the way and has been getting preferential rent when it comes to housing their collection of gigantic jets.

Since 2007, the private airplane fleet owned by Google execs has been housed in a hangar at NASA’s Ames Research Center just outside Google’s Mountain View, California HQ. The hangars are funded by the taxpayer and are supposed to be for aircraft conducting scientific research for NASA.

The government is even allowing Google to fill itself up with jet fuel at a cut price deal – again, thanks to U.S. taxpayers. The fuel was of course meant for NASA and Department of Defense aircraft, but why fly somewhere else to fill up when you have it on tap?

Mr Johnson estimates that Google officials spent $29 million on jet fuel – a saving of around $10 million. But what is $10 million to a company that has generated $60 billion in revenue over the past few years?

It should come as no surprise that as a result of Google’s involvement with the government and securing their cheap and exclusive parking space and fuel s for the company’s jets, Google also happens to be among the largest contributors to political campaigns in the United States.

Almost a million dollars was given to President Obama’s campaign in 2008 with a similar amount in 2012.

Mr Johnson claims that ‘by pushing strict ‘climate change’ policy on everyone else, while polluting up a storm themselves. ‘ Google reaches levels of hypocrisy not seen since I uncovered the inconvenient truth about frenzied environmentalist Al Gore, who devours about 20 times more electricity in his mansion than the average American family uses in their home over the course of a year.’ Incidentally, Mr Gore has been an company has had plenty of time to learn directly from the discredited environmental prophet, whom they have paid handsomely to serve as a ‘senior adviser‘ since 2001.’

As Google continues to extol the virtues of environmental purity and encourage the government to limit carbon emissions for the rest of the American economy, its own company VIPs are busy zooming around, polluting the skies as they go on travel subsidized by American taxpayers.

Perhaps Google should begin by Googling the word ‘Hypocrites’?


Fueling the American resurgence

In the modern world, where energy flows, commerce and prosperity follows. The growth of the United States’ economy is being stunted by the Obama administration’s activist energy policies which are bankrupting the producers of abundant, affordable energy.

The American way of life developed over the last century stands as history’s greatest example to date of what an economy and society can achieve through robust industrial growth and technological innovation. The last generation’s historic growth was fueled by the energy expansion through fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum that now sustain the foundation of the modern economy.

At the end of the fourth year following the 2009 recession, the United States economy (as measured by GDP) continues to experience anemic growth at less than three percent annually. To put that into perspective, three percent represents less than half the 7.26 percent average annual growth from 1972 to 2007 and would be the second slowest post-recession annual growth rate since 1960.

A second American economic ascension beyond the achievements of the last generation necessitates the growth of our current energy foundation as a springboard into the future.

Coal and petroleum are mainstays of the last century’s development and together offer a stable, long-term foundation for innovation and future competition in the energy market. Unless politically-driven government regulations render them unsustainable, there is enough of these resources alone to power the nation for hundreds of years.

Natural gas is a relatively recent addition as a primary energy producer in the United States. Fifty year old hydraulic fracturing technology has advanced quickly over the past decade almost exclusively through private sector funding and it is quickly becoming a primary producer for national energy needs. Similarly, nuclear energy shows great potential to operate with high efficiency. Natural gas and nuclear energy productions emit next to no emissions and together produce 49 percent of the nation’s electricity.

Today there are more options for energy production than at any time in history. Competition within the ever-evolving market creates a consistent demand for more abundant, inexpensive energy sources and dynamic innovation in developing new power-generation technologies.

The opportunity for growth into another American century of economic pre-eminence and prosperity is immediately available. Inexpensive domestic energy will allow manufacturing to thrive, transportation industries to grow, good jobs to be created, and a middle class that sees the wage stagnation of the past twenty years ended due to American ingenuity and the increased demand for the services of skilled workers.

The single greatest threat to this renewed American economy and the bright future it promises is the obstructionism from our federal agencies.

The nation must allow the development of our naturally abundant resources for inexpensive, domestically produced energy and in time, the market will achieve an economic renaissance beyond even the wildest promises of any politician.

However, if federal agencies like the EPA continue operating as political agents for leftist environmental organizations, that promise will be squelched and likely killed forever.

Instead, if the federal government focused on ensuring the safe production of energy, the resulting market stability will result in massive investment and even greater innovation.

The technological advances of the last hundred years could never have been presumed by the 1912 world. Similarly today, we have no idea what energy solutions the market will develop to meet the needs of the nation.

What we do know is that if regulatory policies like the ones championed by the current Administration become entrenched, these innovations will almost certainly be achieved outside of the United States where the free market is given room to thrive. It is up to each American whether they will choose to build for their posterity a greater future, or if America resigns itself to having seen its best days.


States Fight for Their Rights with the EPA

EPA regulations have been getting tougher, and now the states are fighting back to try and take back some of their power in this situation. The newest carbon emissions standards for existing power plants will be coming out in June and the states are looking to keep the EPA from destroying their abilities to make their own decisions.

The National Association of State Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) adopted a resolution today calling on the EPA to recognize the primacy of states to “lead the creation of emission performance systems that reflect the policies, energy needs, resource mix, economic conditions of each State and region.”

The NARUC also stated in their resolution that,

“[T]he guidelines should be flexible enough to allow States individually or regionally to take into account, when establishing standards of performance, the different makeup of existing power generation in each State and region.”

[T]he guidelines should provide sufficiently flexible compliance pathways or mechanisms that recognize State and regional variations to achieve the most cost-effective emissions reductions in each State,”

How many times does one need to explain that states always know what’s best for their citizens and their companies. The NARUC couldn’t have said it any better. The EPA needs to stop meddling in states’ rights and allow them to prosper, yet comply with new (absurd) regulations in their own ways.


UN aims for ‘complete transformation of the economic structure of the world’

The United Nations’ climate change meeting began on Nov. 11 in Warsaw, Poland, to discuss “global warming,” but when the globe stopped warming 16 years ago, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was forced to reveal its real agenda.

Last year in Doha, Qatar, the treaty’s Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres told the world that the purpose of the UNFCCC is a “complete transformation of the economic structure of the world.” The scheme is to use the eternally unpredictable weather that affects everyone to manipulate a transfer of wealth from rich to poor nations, which in turn degrades every nation’s standard of living.

Rather than serving as a warning to Americans, President Obama’s delegation in Warsaw is steadfastly supporting the development of funding mechanisms for the transfer of wealth scheme through the Green Climate Fund, although it is somewhat reluctant to support its proposed new mechanism for “loss and damages.” A new treaty to replace the redistributionist Kyoto Protocol is in the works and set for completion in 2015 in Paris, France, to go into affect in 2020.

Americans are paying for the rope to hang ourselves. We pay nearly $567 million a year while two dozen countries of the 193 UN members pay only about $1000 or less, yet have the same voting privileges as the U.S.

Worse than one nation, one vote is that voting rarely happens at the UN. Instead, consensus is the UN’s preferred process.

Consensus is unilaterally determined by a facilitator leading a meeting. It lacks transparency and allows the UN to manipulate for predetermined outcomes.

Former Prime Minister of the UK Margaret Thatcher defined consensus stating, “To me, consensus seems to be: the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that need to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner ‘I stand for consensus’?”

Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it. That is until the United Nations started talking about it. Their talks started with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. They have since convinced the world they can not only predict the weather but can control it. These talks continue in Warsaw, Poland for the next two weeks, November 11-22, 2013, as the Conference of the Parties COP19 meet with country delegates, non-government organizations NGO’s, and media to discuss not the weather but the climate. The climate is what you expect. The weather is what you get and the UN is certainly getting something much different than what they predicted.

The U.N. persists in its quest to convince the world that human activity is causing global warming and global warming will lead to the devastation of the earth. The earth has not warmed since 1998 but the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC continues to issue reports claiming global warming not only exists but is getting worse.

Their claims are based on pseudo science and totally unreliable computer models used to predict future weather patterns. The latest report issued just before COP19 claims that projected warming will likely raise temperatures 0.5 to 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit by the late 21st century if carbon emissions are not reduced. The report responds to the lack of warming since 1998 as probably linked to natural swings in the climate. In other words, they can’t explain why their computer models have been so wrong.

The talks are about blame. To blame is to make someone responsible for the supposed wrong doing and if someone has done wrong they should pay a penalty. The U.N. has made the case that developed nations such as the U.S. are to blame because we’ve enjoyed the fruits of the industrial revolution in our lifestyles. These lifestyles have polluted a finite atmosphere causing global warming. Having used up this finite atmosphere cheats developing nations from achieving similar lifestyles. This is referred to as “historical responsibility.” The penalty to be paid by developed nations, according to the U.N., is reparations (money) and technology.

Since global warming isn’t really occurring now, the IPCC claims it’s the cause of all the extreme weather patterns that have occurred in the past few years. The most recent tragic events of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has given the perfect fuel for developing nations at COP19. The tragedy the Philippine people have suffered is incomprehensible to most of us, but to think the human activity of developed nations caused the event should be beyond the realm of any intelligent person’s thinking. Not so at COP19.

The first day of the conference, the Climate Change Commissioner from the Philippines, Nadrev Sano, gave a speech in the main plenary blaming this on developed nations. He began crying and said he would, in solidarity with his people, voluntarily fast until the COP reaches a meaningful outcome and delivers on climate action. Translated this means “Let me see the money.”

In a press conference, another Philippine delegate made similar remarks, saying the tragedy was “an abomination which is not our doing” and “we have to get support from someone else’s pocket.” Yet nobody mentioned the U.S. Marines went in immediately to the worst hit areas bringing water, generators and other critical supplies. The U.S. military also offered aircraft and manpower for search and rescue. Private groups from the U. S. have sent in medicines, food, blankets, etc. U.S. AID sent 55 metric tons of food. So how much is enough?

This redistribution of wealth for the perceived “moral and ethical injustice” of climate change was first tried by the U.N. through Clean Development Mechanisms CDM’s. This was a way to get money and technology to developing nations through investments and loans for new infrastructure or just anything green. But as with most U. N. programs there was abuse. Most investments and loans went to China, India and Brazil and almost nothing went to the very small countries.

When CDM’s didn’t work, the Green Climate Fund GCF was introduced at COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009. It was proposed $30 billion be given by developed countries over three years until 2012 as fast-start funding. Then additionally, none other than Hillary Clinton proposed that developed countries collectively pledge $100 billion per year until 2020. This sounded good but the pledges have been far short of anything close to $100 billion. The U.S. claims to has given $32 billion from 2010-2012 and it is calculated, according to a U.S. delegate, the 2013 contribution will be $2.7 billion.

If the U.N. bureaucrats and the developing countries can’t get concrete funding for the GCF at COP19, then the next trick up their sleeves is something called a “loss and damage” mechanism. Loss and damage are insurance terms. Legally loss means “the value placed on injury or damages due to an accident caused by another’s negligence, a breach of contract or other wrongdoing.” Damage can mean “injury or harm impairing the function or condition of a person or thing.” Damages can also be ordered to be paid as compensation for injury or loss.

Defining and developing a loss and damage mechanism at COP19 is a top priority. Whatever form this mechanism takes, it can only be seen as having one function and that is developed countries being responsible for insuring developing countries against natural disasters. Again, the typhoon tragedy in the Philippines happened at an opportune time for COP19. This will be used as a driving force to get loss and damage pushed through.

One nation is taking issue with the consensus process by demanding that it be defined. Russia, not America, balked at the unilateral decision-making consensus process and is demanding transparency. The reason for the Russians demands is that at last year’s meeting in Doha, Qatar, the UN took away its greenhouse gas credits accrued before the fall of communism. That means that Russia would “supposedly” be on an even playing field in this proposed new economic order being built under the treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

The U.S. is a party to the UNFCCC, but not its Kyoto Protocol that was ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties. The U.S. declined to be one of the 37 nations to be legally bound to Kyoto’s emission limitation and reduction commitments. In Doha in 2012, a second commitment period was created for the Kyoto Protocol, with the U.S. remaining out. However, the U.S. is looking favorably at joining the 2015 treaty. More than 100 Heads of State of the 195 Parties to the treaty are scheduled to attend the high-level segment of the meeting, which concludes on November 22.


$4.5M Fed Study: 'Effects of Climate Change on Indoor Air

The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking non-profit organizations to conduct “research to improve understanding of the effects of climate change on indoor air quality and the resulting health effects.”

The total funding for the grants, announced on Oct. 25, is $4.5 million and applicants have until Jan. 23, 2014 to submit proposals.

In a 20-page explanation and guidelines for the “funding opportunities,” the synopsis of the project states: “EPA is interested in supporting research that will explore the anticipated effects of climate change on indoor air quality directly through a variety of mechanisms, and indirectly through adaptations in building use and design.”

The background portion of the document includes a list of ways (with related-studies notations) that “climate change has the potential to affect human health in indoor environments” as follows:

Changes in pesticide use and ventilation patterns in response to changes in seasonal survival and geographic distribution of disease vectors and indoor pests. These changes may lead to increased body burden for a variety of agents, and correspondingly diverse associated health effects.

Changes in VOC (volatile organic compounds) exposures resulting from increased thermal insulation potentially associated to health endpoints that remain poorly explored.

Changes in exposure to bioaerosols and VOCs resulting from decreased ventilation and increased relative humidity, manifesting in respiratory, neurological, or other morbidity.

Increases in radon exposure resulting from reduced ventilation when combustion-free (e.g. heat-pumps) or high-efficiency combustion equipment is installed in basements.

Changes in the proportion of time spent outdoors vs. indoors, for some age groups, or in the physical intensity of activities.

The project, part of EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is closely tied to the agency’s agenda to improve “public health.” The document states that the lack of research on indoor air and climate change “poses significant challenges to the development of guidelines for adaptations that would be broadly applicable to protect public health.” asked EPA a series of questions about the $4.5 million grant funding via e-mail. The agency’s responses to those questions follow: What is the definition of climate change as it applies to this study -- is it strictly based on the United Nation's data?

EPA: As stated in the Indoor Air and Climate Change Request for Applications (RFA), the interaction of air quality, climate and energy, and their human health impacts has been designated as a high-priority research area by the agency. The general definition for climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. This definition and additional information on climate change can be viewed at Beyond the general meaning as used by the Agency, applicants are free to use the operational definition of climate change with the greatest merit in their own judgment when applying for Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants through RFAs. How will the results of this project be used by the EPA, i.e. for regulatory or other purposes?

EPA: EPA-funded research allows our nation's scientist and engineers to provide critical information supporting the scientific basis for decisions on national environmental issues. For any research results or direct impacts from the STAR grants awarded under this RFA, view the annual reports that will be posted on EPA Extramural Research pages through the duration of the grants. How is this grant funded?

EPA: Any grants awarded under this RFA will be awarded through the Agency’s Science To Achieve Results (STAR) program. Applications are evaluated on scientific merit by expert reviewers from outside the Agency. For more information on the Peer Review process, visit Can you explain what is meant by "development of guidelines for adaptations that would be broadly applicable to public health?" (page 3) The Indoor Air and Climate Change RFA states "development of guidelines for adaptations that would be broadly applicable to protect public health."

EPA: To counter any effects of climate change relevant to public health, such as extreme heat episodes, or deteriorating air quality, some adaptation measures can be developed. Those verified as effective can then be compiled into guidelines by a variety of organizations with public health protection objectives. However, some adaptations (as exemplified in the text) may be more likely than others to be adopted because of geographic, demographic, or socio-economic issue.




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


21 November, 2013

LOL: 132 poor Countries Walk Out Of UN Climate Talks

Representatives of most of the world's poor countries have walked out of increasingly fractious climate negotiations after the EU, Australia, the US and other developed countries insisted that the question of who should pay compensation for extreme climate events be discussed only after 2015.

The orchestrated move by the G77 and China bloc of 132 countries came during talks about "loss and damage" – how countries should respond to climate impacts that are difficult or impossible to adapt to, such as typhoon Haiyan.

Saleemul Huq, the scientist whose work on loss and damage helped put the issue of recompense on the conference agenda, said: "Discussions were oing well in a spirit of co-operation, but at the end of the session on loss and damage Australia put everything agreed into brackets, so the whole debate went to waste."

Australia was accused of not taking the negotiations seriously. "They wore T-shirts and gorged on snacks throughout the negotiation. That gives some indication of the manner they are behaving in," said a spokeswoman for Climate Action Network.

Developing countries have demanded that a new UN institution be set up to oversee compensation but rich countries have been dismissive, blocking calls for a full debate in the climate talks.

"The EU understands that the issue is incredibly important for developing countries. But they should be careful about … creating a new institution. This is not [what] this process needs," said Connie Hedegaard, EU climate commissioner.

She ruled out their most important demand, insisting: "We cannot have a system where we have automatic compensation when severe events happen around the world. That is not feasible."

The G77 and China group, which is due to give a press conference on Wednesday to explain the walkout, has made progress on loss and damage, which it says is a "red line" issue. It claims to be unified with similar blocs including the Least Developed Countries, Alliance of Small Island States and the Africa Group of negotiators.


After Haiyan: how to act on scientific advice that's politically inconvenient?

In the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan, debates over extreme weather require us to think harder about the relationship between the evidence, politics and institutions of scientific advice

The proposal, advanced by the G77 plus China, that the US and other nations should pay tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars to poor countries that suffer disasters, is a central theme of the climate negotiations now taking place in Warsaw, Poland.

It's an idea that has been made more tangible by the tragic loss of life and devastation in the Philippines caused by super typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful observed storms of recent decades. This disaster in the Philippines is part of a long-term trend of increasing damage resulting from extreme weather events around the world.

The US has already provided $6bn to developing countries in "climate finance" over the past two years and has committed to spend more. In light of the demands for even more money in the form of climate reparations, last week a leaked US diplomatic cable expressed the Obama administration's concern that poor nations will be "seeking redress for climate damages from sea level rise, droughts, powerful storms and other adverse impacts".

In principle, this debate should be a short one. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently issued two major assessments on extreme weather. Its report issued last month found little evidence to support claims that tropical cyclones (that is, hurricanes and typhoons), floods, drought, winter storms or tornadoes had become more frequent or intense. In the Western Pacific, where Haiyan occurred, in addition to a decreasing number of landfalls, the strongest storms have actually become weaker in recent decades, according to a recent analysis.

More to the point, a 2012 IPCC special report focused on extreme events and concluded that "long-term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded". In other words, if changes in climate – whether due to human or other influences – are influencing the rising costs of disasters, we can't detect that influence in the data. Yet, despite the IPCC's findings, the issue of compensation for historic emissions has continued to gain traction in the international community.

The Obama administration is right to be concerned about this issue because it risks derailing discussions about energy policies, and wider actions to reduce vulnerabilities to disasters that might actually prove effective in the context of the very real threats posed by climate change.

Yet partial responsibility for the emergence of a debate on historical reparations lies squarely with President Obama. Despite the scientific evidence to the contrary, President Obama declared in his 2013 State of the Union Address that "Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods – all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen, were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science." According to the IPCC, only one of these claims is correct – we have indeed seen more heat waves.

With the president implying US responsibility for weather disasters, it should be no surprise that developing nations are taking him at his word and are asking for compensation. And the Obama administration is not being helped by its supporters. For instance, Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Columbia Earth Institute, tweeted in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan that: "Climate liars like Rupert Murdoch & Koch Brothers have more & more blood on their hands as climate disasters claim lives across world." Similarly, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a thinktank influential with the White House, penned an op-ed in the Washington Post that claimed Haiyan shows that, "There is a theological prescription, in a classical sense, for what we must do: confession, repentance and change." Climate scientist Michael Mann of Penn State, in between campaigning for Terry McAullife in the Virginia governor race and lobbying the California governor to halt fracking for natural gas, found time to claim that "global warming likely put [Haiyan] on steroids".

More prominently, Sunday's New York Times included a 1,500-word, front page article on the issue of climate "compensation", citing Philippine and Indian typhoons, as well as African drought, as indicative of "possible consequences of climate change [that] have surged". It went on to suggest that "the current global turbulence, consistent with what scientists expect to happen as the climate changes, is already taking a toll".

None of these examples referenced the conclusions of the IPCC's recent reports on extreme events, and the incorrect claims of the New York Times were made without any supporting evidence or attribution.

That politicians, academics or journalists express outlier or even incorrect views is usually not problematic: both science and democracy are self-correcting, and challenging ideas helps to make them stronger. However, in cases where evidence matters in policy making, decision makers need a way to separate the reliable from the hyperbole.

The IPCC, despite the fact that it has made some missteps in the past, is exactly the sort of institution for providing scientific advice to help evaluate conflicting and uncertain empirical claims. In the case of loss and damage from extreme events, the evidence is extremely strong. There is at present no evidentiary basis to support demands for reparations. That may change in the future, but the IPCC's recent assessments are an accurate reflection of where the science is today.

Disasters are important because people die and economies are disrupted. Abandoning the conclusions of the institution that we depend upon to evaluate evidence in climate science for policy making in this context may be politically popular in some circles. However, ignoring that evidence is unlikely to help us arrive at solutions that will improve future outcomes related to disasters, which will only get worse as global population and wealth continue to grow, and will be exacerbated if climate extremes become more frequent or intense, as expected by the IPCC.

For the Obama administration, it is not too late to recover – "to restore science to its rightful place", as the phrase goes. But this means relying upon institutions of scientific advice for evidence, rather than on political campaigners or error-strewn media reports. It shouldn't be a difficult choice. For those interested in both scientific integrity and action on climate change, the issue of extreme weather provides a useful case for thinking about institutions of scientific advice. Are they only useful when the results are politically convenient?


Green Madness: EU To Spend Staggering €180 Billion To Fight Climate Change

20% of the EU’s budget will go towards fighting climate change, climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard announced in Warsaw today.

This equates to €180 billion on climate spending between 2014 and 2020, which will be used to reduce emissions domestically and help developing countries adapt to climate change—three times what was provided in the previous budget.

Much of this will be spent on domestic projects, helping with the development of climate-smart agriculture, energy efficiency and the transport sector.

Over the next seven years, €15 billion from the EU’s overseas development budget will be ringfenced for climate spending. This is separate from what is provided each year by individual member states. For instance, the UK will provide £3.87bn of international climate aid between 2011 and 2015.

Speaking at a press conference in Warsaw today, EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that if the world is successfully going to tackle climate change “one of the things we need is to change is the whole economic paradigm, including the way we construct our budgets.” She added that Europe is the first region to construct its budget in this way.

Finance meeting

Dr Celine Herweijer, partner at consultancy firm PwC says that, with high-level discussions on climate finance taking place tomorrow, other countries may soon announce similar policies.

“The EU finance announcement will hopefully be followed by many others in the coming hours and days. Finance holds the key to unlocking the stalemate we are seeing on the post 2020 agreement,” said Herweijer.

But she added: “Whether we’ll get the scale of movement on finance we need is unlikely. Targets of $60bn-$70bn by 2016 have been mentioned by some of the developing country groupings. Getting there would be a huge outcome.”

This will be the first time that there has been a ministerial dialogue dedicated to climate finance. The purpose of the discussion is to find a way to scale up the finance promised by developed countries to the US$ 100bn they have promised to deliver annually from 2020 to be delivered through the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

It comes with high expectations. “Countries have known about this for a long while,” says Liz Gallagher, senior policy advisor at E3G. “I get a sense there’s going to be some announcements on a range of different issues associated with finance. Whether that will be enough to placate and temper some of the quite heightened frustration in these negotiations, I don’t know.”

Green Climate Fund

There has been some doubt over whether the GCF will be able to harness the level of funding that was promised at UN climate talks in Cancun in 2010. At a press conference today, UN chief Ban Ki-moon called the Fund an “empty shell” and urged developing nations to fulfill their promise to supply $100bn.

“We need a lot of resources and financial resources is the most important and quickest way [of addressing climate change],” he said.

But speaking today in Warsaw, Manfred Konukiewitz, co-chair of the GCF board, said that the fund was “on track”, and that there was a “good chance” that the fund would be capitalised in 2014.

But while he said that the “window is now open” for countries to make a success out of the GCF “it won’t stay open for an unlimited time.” He stressed that the credibility of the UN climate process depended on successful capitalisation of the fund.

“Looking at the entire year we have the opportunity to really bring the fund to the point where it can mobilise resources and where it can spend money,” he said. “If we miss that opportunity we have a problem because that will certainly not be good for the credibility of this whole process and we don’t know when the next such opportunity will arise.”

Hedegaard said that EU contributions to the GCF remained dependent on the eventual mechanisms contained within the fund, but said that once it was set up, many member states would be ready to contribute.


Climate talks: Polish environment minister sacked to accelerate shale gas operations

Poland's prime minister Donald Tusk dismissed environment minister Marcin Korolec on Wednesday as part of a government reshuffle, but said the latter would continue to represent the country in ongoing UN climate talks.

Korolec will be replaced by Maciej Grabowski, former deputy finance minister responsible for preparing shale gas taxation.

"It is about radical acceleration of shale gas operations. Mr Korolec will remain the government's plenipotentiary for the climate negotiations," Tusk told a news conference.

Warsaw is hosting this year's UN climate talks, at which almost 200 countries are trying to make progress on a global climate deal that should be agreed by 2015.

Korolec, as Poland's environment minister, assumed the presidency of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change process on November 11, the first day of the two-week conference, and was to hold it throughout 2014.

His dismissal raised questions over Poland's position in the negotiations.

Some delegates complained about the timing of the reshuffle, saying it indicated that Poland was not interested in ensuring tougher global action to combat global warming.

"This is nuts. Changing the minister leading the climate negotiations after a race to the bottom by parties of the convention shows Prime Minister Tusk is not sincere about the need for an ambitious climate deal," said Maciej Muskat, director of Greenpeace Poland.

"Furthermore, justifying the change of minister by the need to push the exploitation of another fossil fuel in Poland is beyond words," he said.

One delegate added: "Poland hosted a conference to promote coal earlier this week and now this. You have to question how serious they are."

The country, which generates 90% of its electricity from coal, has been one of the most reluctant European Union members to toughen the existing goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020.

The environment ministry under Korolec was criticised for hampering work on new shale gas legislation, which, together with red tape and poor results, forced a number of global players to quit Poland.


New paper finds Pacific cyclone activity is at the lowest levels of the past 5,000 years

A new paper published in Quaternary Science Reviews reconstructs cyclones of the central Pacific and finds cyclone activity of the 21st century is at the lowest levels of the past 5,000 years. The paper also shows typhoons in Japan at the lowest levels of the past 3,500 years and that North Atlantic hurricanes were more frequent/severe than modern times during various intervals over the past 3,000 years.

The authors attribute the changes in Pacific cyclones to the El Nino Southern Oscillation [ENSO], which is also shown to be at the lowest levels of the past 5,000 years. In addition, the paper shows sea levels of the central Pacific were ~.5 meters [~1.6 feet] higher than modern times from ~1,700 to ~2,500 years ago. Contrary to the claims of climate alarmists, the paper demonstrates cyclone activity and the frequency of El Ninos are currently at very low levels relative to the past 5,000 years.

Reconstructing mid-late Holocene cyclone variability in the Central Pacific using sedimentary records from Tahaa, French Polynesia

By Michael R. Toomeya et al.


We lack an understanding of the geographic and temporal controls on South Pacific cyclone activity. Overwash records from backbarrier salt marshes and coastal ponds have been used to reconstruct tropical cyclone strikes in the North Atlantic basin. However, these specific backbarrier environments are scarce in the South Pacific, with cyclone records limited primarily to the period of modern observation.This instrumental record suggests a correlation with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), but longer records are necessary to test this relationship over geologic timescales and explore other potential climate drivers of tropical cyclone variability. Deep lagoons behind coral reefs are widespread in the Pacific and provide an alternative setting for developing long-term sedimentary reconstructions of tropical cyclone occurrence. Coarse-grained event deposits within the sediments of a back-reef lagoon surrounding Tahaa reveal a 5000-year record of cyclone occurrences. Timing of recent high-energy deposits matches well with observed tropical cyclone strikes and indicates coarse deposits are storm derived.Longer records show tropical cyclone activity was higher from 5000 to 3800 and 2900 to 500 yrs BP. Comparison to records from the North Pacific (out-of-phase) and North Atlantic (in phase) suggests a coordinated pattern of storm activity across tropical cyclone basins over the mid-late Holocene. The changes in tropical cyclone activity we observe in the South Pacific and across other basins may be related to ENSO as well as precession driven changes in ocean-atmosphere thermal gradients.


Norwegian army goes vegetarian as it goes to war against climate change by cutting ‘ecologically unfriendly’ foods

The Norwegian army has announced it will feed soldiers a vegetarian diet once a week in an effort to cut down on ecologically unfriendly foods. 'Meatless Mondays' have been introduced at one of the country's main bases and will soon be rolled out to all units in a boycott of food whose production contributes heavily to global warming.

With livestock farming accounting for almost 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, the army's proposal has been welcomed by environmental groups.

'It's a step to protect our climate. The idea is to serve food that's respectful of the environment," a Norweigan army spokesman said.

Eystein Kvarving added: 'It's not about saving money. 'It's about being more concerned for our climate, more ecologically friendly and also healthier.'

Environmental group, The Future in Our Hands, praised the defence ministry for 'taking climate and environmental issues seriously,' reports The Local.

According to research carried out by the orgnisation, the average Norweigan adult eats more than 1,200 animals over the course of their life, including 1,147chickens, 22 sheep, six cattle and more than two deer.

The army estimates that its meat consumption will be cut by 150 tonnes per year by following the plan.




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


20 November, 2013

A 2015 climate treaty? Don't bother, Congress says

As activists gathering this week for U.N. climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, fuel hopes for a 2015 legally binding treaty, U.S. lawmakers already are throwing cold water on the prospects.

In interviews this week with members of Congress on the right and left, even the most ardent supporters of international efforts to curb global greenhouse gas emissions said chances of Senate approval for a treaty have not improved much since the Kyoto Protocol crashed and burned in Washington, D.C., in 1997.

"It will be difficult to get a treaty passed in 2015 in the U.S. Senate as it is presently constituted," said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who co-chairs the Senate Climate Change Clearinghouse, aimed at supporting legislation to cut carbon emissions.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) agreed: "I am for global action on climate change. I am a proud supporter and very anxious for the U.S. to participate globally." But, he added, "I think if you look at the current makeup of the U.S. Senate, it's very difficult."

The Obama administration and nearly 200 other governments have pledged to devise a new international pact to curb global emissions, expected to go into effect by 2020. Talks this week in Warsaw and over the next two years will hammer out the contours of that deal -- including whether it is a formal agreement under international law or something looser and more fluid.

The United States is pressing for a "flexible" agreement in which each country decides what level of cuts it is able to offer the world, and a combination of strict reporting and peer pressure from the international community helps ensure that collectively the efforts are enough to avert catastrophic warming.

Whether it will ultimately become a "protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force," as the tortured language of a 2-year-old U.N. agreement laying out the options for the 2015 deal offers, is unclear, and Obama officials have not formally stated a preference.

But U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern cautioned in a speech last month: "Keep our eyes on the prize of creating an ambitious, effective and durable agreement. Insisting that only one way can work, such as an agreement that is internationally binding in all respects, could put that prize out of reach."

If the deal winds up being a treaty, Republican opponents of climate action have said, it won't get far -- even if, as the Obama administration has insisted, it puts major economies like China on an equal legal standing with the United States.

"It's not going to go anywhere. It's dead on arrival," said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who argued that new U.S. EPA authority imposing carbon dioxide emissions limits on new power plants is "hurting our economy on a daily basis."

And Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who maintained that "there is a lot of difference of opinion among very educated people on the science" of global warming, said he, too, does not believe a treaty would pass muster in the Senate.

"I kind of doubt it," he said. "There is still a legitimate question of science, and you can't brush that away."

Others say the political winds in Congress might shift enough in the next few years that support for a treaty might be possible by 2015.

Fresh from a Wednesday briefing of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change on a study that showed strong public support for federal climate action, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) yesterday said he saw "seismic shifts" in the political landscape.

"I think this is an issue that can flip very quickly," said Whitehouse, who chairs the task force with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).

For one thing, he said, President Obama's Climate Action Plan, released in June, which includes the EPA regulations, will "put a lot of costs on polluters and cause them to rethink the wisdom of an economywide carbon fee." For another, the emergence of donors like billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer means industrial donors may not always have the upper hand when it comes to political spending over the climate debate.

"If we can organize the armies on our side, it's a rout," Whitehouse said. "We just haven't bothered to organize them."

He argued that if climate change is seen to have been an important issue in the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans competing for their party's presidential nod the following year might move away from a hard-line position against cutting carbon.

"So all that adds up to 2015 being a pretty good year," Whitehouse said. Climate change legislation might again be possible, and the United States might be better-positioned to support a U.N. climate change agreement, he said.

Waxman said he believes a global agreement on carbon dioxide emissions will be necessary.

"This problem is global, not just related to any one country or only one region," he said. "We need an international effort, and I think there's growing support for that in the United States."

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said the United States needs to focus first on putting its EPA regulations into play and proving it is taking its domestic emissions seriously.

"We need to set a good example to the rest of the world," Carper said. "That way, when we call on China and India and other big emitters, we can say not only 'Do as I say,' but 'Do as I do.'"

Markey said, "Increasingly, the U.S. is being viewed as a leader. Especially if the administration takes action on coal-fired power plants, I think it will be very hard, then, for China and India to say the U.S. is not acting."

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who sponsored two cap-and-trade bills in the last decade, said he thinks "some kind of catastrophe" might be required to spur action on climate change.

"I think it's real, and I think that we should continue to explore our options to reduce the effects of it," McCain said, but he added he has not liked "anything I've seen lately" through the U.N. climate process to address the issue. Still, he said the United States should remain involved internationally.

"I don't think talking hurts," McCain said. "It probably helps."


Warmist nutcase thinks it helps if he stinks

Kevin Anderson, a professor of Energy and Climate Change at the University of Manchester and Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the UK, acknowledged in an interview at the UN climate summit in Warsaw that he has made personal hygiene changes in his life in order to help fight global warming.

Anderson was confronted with his 2012 comments that he was going to do his part to reduce emissions by reducing his amount of bathing and showering.

“I’ve cut back on washing and showering – but only to levels that were the norm just a few years back,” Anderson ( wrote on October 1, 2012.

“I’ve done without a fridge for 12 years, but recently relented and joined the very small proportion of the world’s population that has a fridge – this I may have to reverse!”

Anderson added: “I haven’t flown for almost eight years – and that will have to continue. I have halved the distance I drive each year and have significantly changed how I drive.”

Anderson was confronted with questions about his personal bathing habits in a contentious interview with Climate Depot’s Marc Morano at the UN climate summit in Warsaw on November 19, following a press conference featuring global warming skeptics.

Anderson conceded that he has cut back on his personal hygiene after Morano read aloud to him his 2012 quotes. “That is why I smell, yes,” Anderson told Climate Depot.

Morano then asked Anderson: “And you really believe that [not bathing] is going to help people avoid typhoons? “I think you misunderstand the point, I do not believe it would help as an individual,” Anderson responded.

“So it’s symbolic?” Morano asked.

“Well, it’s symbolic, it catalyzes action,” Anderson replied. “That’s the point of that. It may not in that in that particular case, but if we don’t make some attempt I don’t think we can catalyze action elsewhere. I don’t think it’s up to actual individual to bring about the change. But it is up to individuals to stand up for the morals they believe in and the science that they believe in. You have your view and I have my views and you act accordingly.”

Morano then asked about Anderson’s advocacy of “planned recessions” to help reduce emissions and allegedly reduce man-made global warming. See: ‘Planned recession’ could avoid catastrophic climate change

Anderson responded: “First, it’s not ‘believe’. I concluded. And it’s related to some caveats that went with it.”

Anderson and his colleague Alice Bows wrote in 2008: “Unless economic growth can be reconciled with unprecedented rates of decarbonization (in excess of 6% per year15), it is difficult to envisage anything other than a planned economic recession being compatible with stabilization at or below 650?ppmv CO2e.”

Anderson and Bows explained that global warming was such an urgent problem that it “demands a radical reframing of both the climate change agenda, and the economic characterization of contemporary society.”

Morano concluded the interview with Anderson by stating: “So you don’t shower, you don’t bathe regularly. You believe in planned recessions.”


Poland recognizes the real global warming agenda

Decades of oppression make Poles wary of being subjugated in name of “climate protection”

David Rothbard, writing from Poland

A cabal of climate change alarmists landed in Warsaw, Poland last weekend, to hammer out terms and rally support for a new binding global agreement to “save the planet” from “dangerous global warming.”

Not so fast, tens of thousands of Poles responded. The facts support their position.

Average global temperatures have not risen in 16 years, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased steadily, helping plants grow faster and better. Antarctic ice is at a record high, Arctic sea ice is back to normal, and at current rates Greenland would not melt for 13,000 years. A new research paper in Global and Planetary Change reveals that global sea level rise has decelerated by 44% since 2004, to barely 7 inches per century!

These realities were underscored during a climate policy conference in Warsaw, on the eve of the UN confab. The Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) keynoted the event, which was sponsored by Solidarity, the Institute for Globalization, and other Polish and European NGOs. Capping off the program, representatives from the United States, Italy, Sweden, Hungary and Poland formally signed the “Warsaw Declaration.”

The declaration calls on the United Nations to discontinue work on a new treaty until a genuine “scientific consensus is reached on the phenomenon of so-called global warming,” including both its natural and human causes.

The next day, more than 50,000 enthusiastic Poles gathered in downtown Warsaw to celebrate National Independence Day, which commemorates the restoration of Poland’s statehood in 1918, after 123 years of partition and occupation by Russia, Prussia and Austria.

As millions more watched on live television, I was honored to be invited to the stage, to deliver an address celebrating freedom and warning against the UN’s dangerous, oppressive climate agenda. It was undoubtedly the largest audiences ever to hear a speech denouncing UN global warming policies, and I was proud to stand next to a CFACT banner that read “No to UN Climate Hype” in Polish, and be surrounded by thousands of people wearing stickers bearing the same message.

It was clear that – after twelve decades of partition, six years of Nazi terror, and 44 years of Russian and Communist subjugation – few Poles are in any mood to have their lives, liberties and living standards dictated by the European Union and United Nations, under the guise of “protecting the planet” from the supposed “ravages” of “cataclysmic” global warming (or “climate change” or “climate disruption” or whatever the catch-phrase of the week might be).

This is “a new battle for freedom,” I emphasized, “against those who would use environmental and climate alarmism to steal away our liberties and give international bureaucrats control over our energy sources, our daily lives, our prosperity, and our national sovereignty.”

During last year’s climate meeting in Rio de Janeiro, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said that what the UN intends is “a complete economic transformation of the world.” In 2000, former French President Jacques Chirac called the Kyoto climate treaty “the first component of authentic global governance.” And last year IPCC Working Group III co-chair Ottmar Edenhofer said international climate policy is not about environmental policy; it is about “how we redistribute the world’s wealth.”

These attitudes and agendas are bad news for those of us who love freedom. UN climate policy is bad news for the people of Poland, I stressed. The good news is that my address was carried live on Polish national television, covered by many international media outlets, and heartily endorsed by the throngs of independence celebrants, who gave a rousing chant in support of my message, following my address.

My talk was certainly noticed by the UN climate alarmists, who were kicking off their COP-19 climate conference, power grab and wealth redistribution schemes just a few kilometers away.

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion,” I continued, quoting from the Book of Proverbs. That is why environmentalists and climate bureaucrats don’t want to debate these issues or show anyone the assumptions, massaged temperature data and secret codes that they use in their misleading global warming computer models. “They know they are deceiving the world.”

Those of us gathered in Warsaw that day, I concluded, “stand for freedom. We stand for opportunity. We stand for our families. We stand for a strong and prosperous future. Together let us be bold as a lion.”

The UN made a big mistake in choosing Poland to host this global warming treaty summit. The Poles see right through the global warming hype and propaganda. Having to endure generations of Nazi and Communist oppression, pollution and economic deprivation has left them with a deep distaste for bureaucratic control and further curbs on freedom, opportunity and growth. Having to live according to grim ideologies enforced by threats of jail, or worse, has made them angry about new codes of ecologically correct speech.

Poland deserves freedom and prosperity. It knows it cannot move forward without energy – the Master Resource, the lifeblood of modern industrialized societies. The brave Poles are not about to cede their sovereignty to UN control – not about to let phony climate Armageddon alarms dictate their lives, livelihoods, liberties, living standards and life spans. They will not let the EU or UN control virtually everything they make, grow, ship, eat, drive and do.

They are fully aware that Poland is blessed with some of the biggest coal and shale gas reserves in all of Europe. They know Japan has reversed course, and will now allow a 3% increase in greenhouse gas emissions above 1990 levels, instead of mandating a 25% cut. They realize that “rich nations” (or more accurately, formerly rich nations) have rejected demands that they fork over $30 billion immediately, followed by $100 billion annually – in “compensation,” “adaptation” and “mitigation” money, to pay for “damages” from more frequent, more intense climate changes that aren’t happening, but are supposedly caused by industrialized nations.

They also know Germany is expanding its coal use to generate affordable electricity, and reverse the skyrocketing energy prices and job destruction that are sending shock waves through the German economy. Poland too needs all the coal, oil and natural gas power it can muster, to build an economy that was held back for decades by war and Communist misrule.

CFACT has been an officially recognized NGO at United Nations conferences for nearly two decades. It will be in Warsaw throughout the two-week-long COP-19 confab, with a delegation headlined by Apollo VII astronaut Colonel Walter Cunningham, who is highly critical of UN climate pseudo-science.

We will steadfastly present the facts about natural and manmade climate change, and the absolute requirement that environmental policies must reflect genuine science and the needs of human beings.

We will also support Polish feelings about the UN climate treaty – which boil down to what Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher told the Soviet Union: “Let Poland be Poland!”

Via email

Germany To Open 10 New Coal-Fired Power Stations

Steag GmbH started Germany’s first new power plant fueled by hard coal in eight years, allowing the generator and energy trader to take advantage of near record-low coal prices that have widened profit margins.

The 725-megawatt Walsum-10 plant, located near Dortmund in the western part of the country, began electricity output today, the Essen-based company said in an e-mailed statement. It will probably start commercial operations later in the year after “optimization works and testing,” it said.

The plant is the first new hard-coal-fired generator in Europe’s biggest power market since 2005. It marks the start of Germany’s biggest new-build program for hard coal stations since its liberalization in 1998. Ten new hard-coal power stations, or 7,985 megawatts, are scheduled to start producing electricity in the next two years, according to information from German grid regulator Bundesnetzagentur and operators.

“Coal prices recently fell to their lowest price for over four years in October and carbon prices are half what they were two years ago, making coal-burn extremely attractive to generators in terms of profitability,” Gary Hornby, energy markets analyst at Inenco Group Ltd., said by e-mail today.

The price for coal used in thermal plants for delivery to Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Antwerp next year, dropped to a record low of $80.25 a metric ton on Oct. 14, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. The contract traded at $81.60 at 2:51 p.m. London time, broker data show.
Widest Gap

Generating electricity by burning coal currently makes a profit of 9.16 euros a megawatt hour, compared with a loss of 19.31 euros a megawatt hour from gas, according to data compiled by Bloomberg based on next-year German power prices. This is the widest gap between the two fuels for at least four years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Gas power plants coming off line must be replaced with baseload generation, coal seems the logical solution,” said Hornby.

The 10 new units will boost German hard coal generation capacity by 33 percent to 32,432 megawatts from 24,447 megawatts as of Oct. 16, regulator data show.

Walsum-10 will probably operate 5,000 to 6,000 hours per year, Juergen Froehlich, a Steag spokesman, said Oct. 30 by e-mail.

Steag has sold 57 percent of the plant’s output to EVN AG, a utility based in Vienna, while EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG is buying 35 percent under a long-term contract.


Government Funded Tesla Is One Hot Ride

Elon Musk of Tesla got a U.S. federal government loan of $465 million to produce the upscale Tesla Model S electric car. At more than $70,000 the car is too expensive for most consumers and as Britain’s “Top Gear” found, the car ran far less between charges than Elon Musk claimed. Now other problems have emerged.

In recent months, three Tesla Model S cars caught on fire, the last two reportedly caused by road debris. The other fire occurred in Mexico when the car hit a wall. No injuries reported in the fires, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking into the safety issue. As it happens, safety problems are not limited to the pricey Tesla Model S.

Recall that Fisker Automotive, Inc, got a federal loan of $529 million to produce its $100,000 Fisker Karma hybrid, built not in America by American workers but in Finland by Finnish workers. Before Fisker went bankrupt, 16 of its upscale vehicles caught fire and blew up during Hurricane Sandy.

In 2011 in Hangzhou, China, an electric Zotye Multipla taxi burst into flames for reasons. Chinese firefighters were unable to discern. Apparently it was an absolute “fireball” that firefighters could not control, and the second such fire that year. That’s not good for areas of high population density, though the passengers and drivers apparently escaped unharmed.

Electric vehicles could well be unsafe at any speed, but they have not attracted attention from alleged consumer watchdog Ralph Nader. Likewise, the safety problems have not caused the federal government to revise its stimulus policies. Those may be risky for taxpayers, but they certainly proved bountiful for Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk. The man whose luxury plug-ins are catching fire plunked down $17 million for a 20,248-square-foot Bel-Air mansion with a gym, seven bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, tennis court, motor court, and a swimming pool.


United States Considers Ethanol Blend Increase

The United States, the world's largest ethanol producer, is weighing options to boost domestic use of the controversial fuel, according to the country's new agriculture administrator.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recommends that a higher percentage of ethanol be blended into gasoline to support the nation's struggling biofuel industry. The United States currently allows gasoline to contain a maximum of 10.2 percent ethanol, most of which is produced from corn.

"My hope is that we get a blend rate that's higher than 10 percent," Vilsack said, according to Reuters. "That's going to create more opportunities for the ethanol industry."

Vilsack said he is discussing an increase in the blend target with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the department that controls the nation's biofuel standard. A higher blend rate would appease the ethanol industry by expanding the market, but environmentalists say it would further exacerbate climate change.

Ethanol demand has fallen since oil prices plunged following a peak last summer. Several ethanol producers have struggled ever since. An estimated 21 percent of U.S. ethanol production capacity is currently shut down, according to ethanol producer Archer Daniels Midland.

Industry groups suggest that the EPA respond by increasing blend rates to 15-20 percent, which they argue would guarantee greater demand.

"Just think - if the EPA would move the ethanol blend cap from 10 to 20 percent - that would open up an additional 15 billion gallons of potential demand," said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, at a conference last year.

The EPA and U.S. Department of Energy are studying how a higher blend rate would affect both vehicle handling and the environment. According to the auto industry, most cars are not designed to run on a higher ethanol blend. It also remains unclear how the higher blend ratio would affect air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

A coalition of environmentalists, meanwhile, is calling for the biofuel to be phased out altogether. The groups, which include the Clean Air Task Force, Environmental Working Group, and Friends of the Earth, say the U.S. ethanol standard should remain at current levels and then be lowered gradually - unless the fuels can be guaranteed to meet "minimum environment, health, and consumer protection standards."

Researchers have criticised corn-based ethanol for its varied environmental and economic impacts. In the United States, rising demand for corn has been associated with greater usage of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as the depletion and contamination of water resources. Converting the crop into a fuel source may have contributed to last summer's global rise in food prices. And several studies suggest that the life cycle of ethanol, from the field to the fuel tank, may release more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional gasoline, depending on the feedstock used and how this is grown.

"The notion that [corn-based] ethanol fuels are carbon neutral has been proven false," said Jonathan Lewis, an environmental lawyer with the Clean Air Task Force.

The United States is slated to increase its use of biofuels from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons by 2022, under a federal "Renewable Fuel Standard" [PDF]. While Vilsack recognizes the limitations of corn-based ethanol, he says the fuel will help the country transition to more-advanced "cellulosic" biofuels made from non-food crops or waste materials. Such biofuels are considered to be more environmentally friendly.

"There are a number of challenges to the way in which ethanol is being produced today, and we have to respond to those challenges," Vilsack said in his first press conference as agriculture secretary. "One way we respond is by accelerating significantly the research that will allow us to be more efficient with the feedstocks that we have the same time, working on promoting second- and third-generation feedstocks that may be even more beneficial from a climate change perspective."

Craig Cox, Midwest vice president at the Environmental Working Group, said that government support for corn-based ethanol may prevent the industry from transitioning rapidly to advanced biofuels. Corn ethanol accounted for three-quarters of the tax benefits and two-thirds of all federal subsidies allotted for renewable energy sources in 2007, according to his organization's research.

"The financial and political capital invested in corn ethanol may be a barrier rather than a bridge to cellulosic ethanol," Cox said.

But the industry insists that ethanol efficiency is improving, and cellulosic ethanol is on its way to becoming cost efficient.

"It is intentionally misleading to deny the concrete strides American farmers and ethanol producers are making to improve our energy security, mitigate climate impacts...and create hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic opportunity," the Renewable Fuels Association said in a statement on Wednesday.

Environmentalists in the European Union have also called for their region's ethanol targets to be reduced, in part out of a concern about rising food prices. Biofuel supporters prevailed, however, and the EU in 2008 included a 10 percent mandate for renewable fuel in its region-wide plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020.

The United States produced almost 9 billion gallons of ethanol last year. It was followed by Brazil, which generated 6.5 billion gallons, primarily from sugar cane. The European Union and China rounded out the top four, producing a combined 1.2 billion gallons, according to commodity analyst F.O. Licht.




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


19 November, 2013

A curious claim from the Warsaw climate conference

"There is no doubt that now another climate change takes place - during the last hundred years the average global temperature rose by 0.74°C[1], the sea level increased for the first time since the last ice age (over 20cm since 1870, and the pace of the increase is getting faster), glaciers melt and the snow cap of the Northern hemisphere decreases."


There has been a HUGE sea level rise since the last ice-age, most of it in prehistory

Antarctica, a land of ice and FIRE: Active volcano is discovered under continent - and it could speed up melting

Subsurface vulcanism has long been known in the Arctic so finding something similar in the Antarctic is no surprise. The surprise is how thoroughly Warmists manage to ignore it. It does of course make nonsense of their claims that melting ice CAN ONLY be caused by CO2 increase. The Gakkel ridge in the Arctic is big and quite active. It is the most likely source of Arctic ice variability. It would be interesting to put a volcano under the bottom of some Warmists and see how long they managed to say it did nothing

Forget global warming, the ice sheets of Antarctica face a different and a potentially more imminent threat in the form an active volcano buried deep beneath.

Researchers from Washington University discovered the volcano - which is yet to be named - by accident in the Marie Byrd Land region of West Antarctica.

Swarms of tremors were detected in January 2010 and February 2011 and ash found trapped in the ice suggest it has been active for around 8,000 years.

In January 2010, a team of scientists from the St. Louis-based university set up two crossing lines of seismographs across Marie Byrd Land in West Antarctica.

Doug Wiens, professor of earth and planetary science at Washington University, and his team wanted to weigh the ice sheet to help create a picture of Antarctica's climate history.

Like a giant CT machine, the seismograph array used disturbances created by distant earthquakes to make images of the ice and rock deep within the region.

The technology found two bursts of seismic events between January 2010 and March 2011, which Wiens' PhD student Amanda Lough believed were caused by a previously unseen volcano buried over half a mile (1 kilometre) beneath the ice sheet.

‘I started seeing events that kept occurring at the same location, which was odd,’ Lough said. ‘Then I realised they were close to some mountains - but not right on top of them.

‘My first thought was, "Okay, maybe it’s just coincidence." But then I looked more closely and realised that the mountains were actually volcanoes and there was an age progression to the range.

'The volcanoes closest to the seismic events were the youngest ones.’

The tremors were weak and very low frequency, which Lough said suggested they weren't caused by movements in tectonic plates, associated with earthquakes.

For example, low-magnitude seismic tremors caused by tectonic movement typically have frequencies of 10 to 20 cycles per second, continued Lough. The shaking she discovered was in frequencies of 2 to 4 cycles per second.

Lough then used a global computer model of seismic speeds to find exactly where the seismic events were taking place.

It is thought that the newly discovered volcano is near the Executive Committee Range of extinct volcanoes.

The researchers also found that almost all of the events happened between 25 to 40 kilometres below the surface.

Lough said this is ‘extraordinarily deep - deep enough to be near the boundary between the Earth's crust and mantle, called the Moho.’ This suggested to Lough that the tremors weren’t caused by shifting ice or glacial movement. It also further ruled out the tectonic theory. ‘A tectonic event might have a hypocentre 10 to 15 kilometres deep, but at 25 to 40 kilometres, these were way too deep,’ Lough said.

This led Lough and her colleague to conclude the tremors and the waveforms they created looked like Deep Long Period earthquakes, or DPLs, which occur in volcanic areas.

The seismologists also talked to Antarctica experts Duncan Young and Don Blankenship from the University of Texas.

‘Their best guess is that it came from Mount Waesche, an existing volcano near Mount Sidley. But that is also interesting because scientists had no idea when Mount Waesche was last active, and the ash layer sets the age of the eruption at 8,000 years ago.‘

‘Most mountains in Antarctica are not volcanic,’ Wiens said. ‘But most in this area are. Is it because East and West Antarctica are slowly drifting apart? We don't know exactly. But we think there is probably a hot spot in the mantle here producing magma far beneath the surface.’

‘People aren't really sure what causes DPLs,' Lough continued. ‘It seems to vary by volcanic complex, but most people think it's the movement of magma and other fluids that leads to pressure-induced vibrations in cracks within volcanic and hydrothermal systems.’

Lough added that the volcano will ‘definitely’ erupt in the future but can’t be sure when. Such a subglacial eruption would cause enough heat flow to melt a substantial part of ice sheet.

‘The volcano will create millions of gallons of water beneath the ice - many lakes full,’ said Wiens.
This water will cause surrounding streams and sea levels to rise.

Lough added, though, that only an enormous eruption - one that released a thousand times more energy than a typical eruption - would be strong enough to breach the ice above the volcano.

The findings are published in the Nature Geoscience journal.


Canadian govt. scientists censored

A large survey of science professionals in the federal public service has found that almost 25 per cent of respondents say they have been directly asked to exclude or alter information for "non-scientific reasons."

Some 71 per cent of those surveyed said political interference is compromising policy development based on scientific evidence, and almost half of those who took part said they were aware of cases in which their department or agency suppressed information.scientists protest

The study, entitled "The Big Chill," was commissioned by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, and paints a disturbing picture of government scientists who feel they are being muzzled.

More than 4,000 federal scientists -- out of more than 15,000 who were invited --responded to the union-commissioned, online survey handled by the polling firm Environics.

"A chill has settled on federal government science that is even greater than that suggested by the cases so far reported by the media," Gary Corbett, the president of PIPSC, said Monday.

Federal Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault is already conducting a study of how communications policy changes under the Harper government have clamped down on the sharing of government science with the public.

Legault was spurred to investigate the issue by a lengthy report from the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria and the ethics advocacy group Democracy Watch, which included a score of anecdotes from six different government departments or agencies.

The PIPSC survey, which was conducted June 5-19 and surveyed 4,069 of the union's 15,398 members, adds statistical heft to that anecdotal evidence.

The responses came from across more than 40 government departments and agencies and included 670 Environment Canada scientists, 651 from Health Canada, 427 Defence department employees, 343 from Fisheries and Oceans, 335 from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and almost 300 each from Agriculture Canada and Natural Resources Canada.

Greg Rickford, the Conservative minister of state for science and technology, said in an email that the Conservatives have made "record investments in science."

"Science can power commerce, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for all Canadians," said the junior minister's email.

Through his office, however, Rickford did not respond to questions about the issue at hand: the alleged muzzling of scientists and the suppression of science in policy development.

A government official, speaking on background, said Environment Canada scientists alone attended 300 conferences in 2011, published 600 articles and participated in some 1,200 interviews.

The exchange with Rickford's office may help to illustrate the vast chasm between the perspective of elected officials and public servants.

The Conservative government, it appears, believes communication needs are easily met with carefully scripted and vetted talking points, even if off topic. Federal scientists, on the other hand, may feel differently.

Fully 90 per cent of respondents, however, said they don't feel they're allowed to speak freely about their work in the media, and 86 per cent believe they would face retaliation if they went public with information about harm to public health, safety or the environment.

Corbett noted the 2006 Government of Canada communications policy states it must provide the public with "timely, accurate, clear, objective and complete information" about its policies, services and programs.

"Whether by implicit policy or explicit action, there has been silencing and it continues," Corbett said.

But the survey was equally damning in its assessment of the government's use of scientific research.


Salby in Edinburgh, Nov. 7

On a windswept evening in the heart of Scotland's capital an eager audience was left in no doubt about Salby's message. The Australian climate professor, fired by his university for daring to speak the unspeakable truth, admitted that the peer-reviewed historical data proves that global temperatures conclusively drive carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, not the reverse.

In short, the message from this principled researcher stands loud and clear for policymakers: the CO2-forcing 'greenhouse gas' hypothesis has 'cause and effect' back to front. But before we go deeper into Salby's presentation we can't overlook a most bizarre appearance (enter stage door left!) from the indefatigable (Lord) Christopher Monckton of Brenchley.

Obviously it was quite a surprise to all present when the self-styled former "science adviser" to Margaret Thatcher popped up out of the blue. Judging by the facial expression of Mike Haseler (the scottish sceptic who organised this event) it surprised Mike as much as the rest of us. That said, his lordship was quickly allowed a small speaking slot before Salby. Salby did look a little none plussed, but leaned in the doorway and warmed to the speech as Monckton did his usual excellent job (more on that later below).

Salby was able to demonstrate, by reference to such official data, that recent and short term CO2 levels do not directly follow temperature swings, but are induced by and dependent upon the time integration of the temperature changes. If Salby's analysis is correct, then all those expensive government computer models programmed to show CO2 and temperature correlation are completely wrong and the ‘decarbonisation’ crusade is all based on junk science.

Salby's assessment is in line with that of Principia Scientific International (PSI); there appears to be broad agreement that both the UN IPCC and its latest AR5 report are rendered increasingly irrelevant, while all government subsidies for renewables now look to be pointless, too, for having no credible scientific basis.

Moreover, green taxes, carbon trading, carbon capture and sequetration and all related legislation are likewise redundant. But even better for populations crying out for cheaper energy is the clear implication that we need not close any coal fired powered stations or restrict shale gas exploration. So perhaps cheaper energy for all?

But let's just pause for a moment and give thanks to Hassler - he deserves much praise for his organisational efforts. Feedback to Mike may be posted here at However, an even bigger thanks should go to Principia Scientific International (PSI), who via the generous four-figure sum donated by Ken Coffman (Stairway Press), helped cover Salby's expenses.

Professor Salby’s presentation was especially interesting in regards to the C12 and C13 ratio, which is an often overlooked aspect of climate attribution, as addressed so eloquently by 'The Chiefio' in 'The Trouble with C12 C13 Ratios' (February, 2009).

Salby accepts the consensus figures, he displayed them to his audience, and then questioned them, using the consensus’s own logic. By this means he found the accepted interpretations are wrong, or at least not supported by the consensus’s own figures. The Aussie climatologist used the same method with the global energy budgets and showed the intrigued ensemble they only allow CO2 to change temperature, which he also showed to be not the case, again using the consensus’s own figures.

Neat, Simple, Understandable, Logical and Questioning

However, we know the consensus figures for the modern global CO2 atmospheric concentration (ie, MLO) are questionable, if not completely wrong, as per Beck (see: 'Ernst Georg Beck: A Major Contributor to Climate Science Effectively Sidelined by Climate Deceivers').

We know the proxy record for CO2 atmospheric concentration (ice cores in this case) are questionable, if not completely wrong, as per Drake. We know the method by which they were spliced together is also questionable. Indeed, temperature reconstructions from ice cores are questionable (for the same reasons as CO2 reconstructions), ocean temperatures are questionable, if not just wrong, etc.

Is there a single reliable, unquestionable global metric in climate science? Almost certainly not. Yet, Professor Salby produces plots with a scale of 0.1 parts per million for global CO2 atmospheric concentration, without error bars. I would suggest that the noise is far, far larger than the signal. So, although excellent, it probably proves nothing, except the consensus does not have any reliable figures.

Professor Salby's questioning of the global energy budgets does stand up though, in my opinion. He showed they must be wrong, and at a very basic level, again, only by using the consensus’s own logic and figures.

But towards a new theory of climate though? NOT without including realistic thermodynamics, and that Professor Salby did not need to cover, because the consensus does not, and neither do most others. Mores the pity. All in all, his presentation was brilliant and a correct way to go about matters. I take my hat off to the good climate professor. Thank you Murry Salby.


The secret, dirty cost of Obama's green energy push

The hills of southern Iowa bear the scars of America's push for green energy: The brown gashes where rain has washed away the soil. The polluted streams that dump fertilizer into the water supply.

Even the cemetery that disappeared like an apparition into a cornfield.

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

With the Iowa political caucuses on the horizon in 2007, presidential candidate Barack Obama made homegrown corn a centerpiece of his plan to slow global warming. And when President George W. Bush signed a law that year requiring oil companies to add billions of gallons of ethanol to their gasoline each year, Bush predicted it would make the country "stronger, cleaner and more secure."

But the ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.

As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they wiped out millions of acres of conservation land, destroyed habitat and polluted water supplies, an Associated Press investigation found.

Five million acres of land set aside for conservation - more than Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite National Parks combined - have vanished on Obama's watch.

Landowners filled in wetlands. They plowed into pristine prairies, releasing carbon dioxide that had been locked in the soil.

Sprayers pumped out billions of pounds of fertilizer, some of which seeped into drinking water, contaminated rivers and worsened the huge dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico where marine life can't survive.

The consequences are so severe that environmentalists and many scientists have now rejected corn-based ethanol as bad environmental policy. But the Obama administration stands by it, highlighting its benefits to the farming industry rather than any negative impact.

Farmers planted 15 million more acres of corn last year than before the ethanol boom, and the effects are visible in places like south central Iowa.

The hilly, once-grassy landscape is made up of fragile soil that, unlike the earth in the rest of the state, is poorly suited for corn. Nevertheless, it has yielded to America's demand for it.

"They're raping the land," said Bill Alley, a member of the board of supervisors in Wayne County, which now bears little resemblance to the rolling cow pastures shown in postcards sold at a Corydon pharmacy.

All energy comes at a cost. The environmental consequences of drilling for oil and natural gas are well documented and severe. But in the president's push to reduce greenhouse gases and curtail global warming, his administration has allowed so-called green energy to do not-so-green things.

In some cases, such as its decision to allow wind farms to kill eagles, the administration accepts environmental costs because they pale in comparison to the havoc it believes global warming could ultimately cause.

Ethanol is different.

The government's predictions of the benefits have proven so inaccurate that independent scientists question whether it will ever achieve its central environmental goal: reducing greenhouse gases. That makes the hidden costs even more significant.

"This is an ecological disaster," said Craig Cox with the Environmental Working Group, a natural ally of the president that, like others, now finds itself at odds with the White House.

But it's a cost the administration is willing to accept. It believes supporting corn ethanol is the best way to encourage the development of biofuels that will someday be cleaner and greener than today's. Pulling the plug on corn ethanol, officials fear, might mean killing any hope of these next-generation fuels.

"That is what you give up if you don't recognize that renewable fuels have some place here," EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said in a recent interview with AP. "All renewable fuels are not corn ethanol."

Still, corn supplies the overwhelming majority of ethanol in the United States, and the administration is loath to discuss the environmental consequences.

"It just caught us completely off guard," said Doug Davenport, a Department of Agriculture official who encourages southern Iowa farmers to use conservation practices on their land. Despite those efforts, Davenport said he was surprised at how much fragile, erodible land was turned into corn fields.

Shortly after Davenport spoke to The Associated Press, he got an email ordering him to stop talking.

"We just want to have a consistent message on the topic," an Agriculture Department spokesman in Iowa said.

That consistent message was laid out by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who spoke to ethanol lobbyists on Capitol Hill recently and said ethanol was good for business.

"We are committed to this industry because we understand its benefits," he said. "We understand it's about farm income. It's about stabilizing and maintaining farm income which is at record levels."

The numbers behind the ethanol mandate have become so unworkable that, for the first time, the EPA is soon expected to reduce the amount of ethanol required to be added to the gasoline supply. An unusual coalition of big oil companies, environmental groups and food companies is pushing the government to go even further and reconsider the entire ethanol program.

The ethanol industry is fighting hard against that effort. Industry spokesman Brooke Coleman dismissed this story as "propaganda on a page." An industry blog in Minnesota said the AP had succumbed "to Big Oil's deep pockets and powerful influence."

Much more HERE

Australian PM rejects climate change fund proposal

Canada too

Colombo, Sri Lanka: Prime Minister Tony Abbott has rejected a proposal from the 53-nation Commonwealth to establish a new fund to help poor and island countries to combat climate change.

As an extraordinary Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting concluded in Colombo, Mr Abbott joined with Canada in rejecting a decision by the summit to push for a Green Capital Fund to help vulnerable island states and poor African countries address the effects of rising sea levels, prolonged droughts, or catastrophic weather incidents, caused by climate change.

The proposal is for Commonwealth countries to work within the UN climate change network to build the fund for small and poor countries to access.

But the final agreement from the 53 members of the Anglosphere Commonwealth noted that “Australia and Canada… indicated they could not support a Green Capital Fund at this time”.

One of the key themes of the summit was the plight of low-lying, and poor states who are especially vulnerable to climate change, but don't have the money for adaptation.

Malta will host the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, offering to stage the event after Mauritius withdrew in protest over Sri Lanka hosting this year's forum.

Prime Minister of Mauritius Navin Ramgoolam did not attend the Colombo meeting in protest at Sri Lanka's human rights record, and said his country would not be prepared to present the next one.

The issue of human rights violations dominated the final day of CHOGM 2013. Under questioning from foreign journalists, and in response to spirited defences from local reporters, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse asked the international community to give his country time to reconcile after 30 years of civil war.

“This is not something you can do overnight. You must also respect our own views without trying to push us into a corner, so please be fair.”

Four years since the war's end, relations between Sri Lanka's Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim communities remain strained. But Mr Rajapakse said he felt responsible for the welfare of all citizens of the island nation.

“They are all my people, my citizens, I will look after them, it is my responsibility… I will do it.”




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


18 November, 2013

IPCC ‘s Bogus Evidence for Global Warming

by S. Fred Singer

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up by the United Nations in 1988 and has been trying very hard to demonstrate the threat of a dangerous human influence on climate due to the emission of greenhouse gases. This is in line with their Charter, which directs the IPCC to assemble reports in support of the Global Climate Treaty – the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) of Rio de Janeiro.

It is interesting that IPCC “evidence” was based on peer-reviewed publications - but (reluctantly) abandoned only after protracted critiques from outside scientists. E-mails among members of the IPCC team, revealed in the 2009 ‘Climategate’ leak, describe their strenuous efforts to silence such critiques, often using unethical methods.

I will show here that the first three IPCC assessment reports contain erroneous scientific arguments, which have never been retracted or formally corrected, but at least have now been abandoned by the IPCC — while the last two reports, AR4 and AR5, use an argument that seems to be circular and does not support their conclusion. Australian Prof. “Bob” Carter, marine geologist and paleo-climatologist, refers to IPCC as using “hocus-pocus” science. He is a co-author of the latest (2013) NIPCC (Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change) report “Climate Change Reconsidered-II“. We also co-authored a critique of the 2013 IPCC-AR5 Summary.

1. IPCC-AR1 (1990)

This first report of the IPCC bases its entire claim for AGW on the fact that both CO2 and surface temperatures increased during the 20th century – although not in lock-step. They assign the major warming of 1910 to 1940 to a human influence — based on a peer-reviewed paper by BD Santer and TML Wigley, which uses a very strange statistical argument. But the basis of their statistics has been critiqued (by Tsonis and Swanson) — and I have demonstrated empirically elsewhere that their conclusion does not hold.

While this faulty paper has never been retracted, it is now no longer quoted as evidence by the IPCC — nor accepted by the overwhelming majority of IPCC scientists: Most if not all warming of the early 20th century is due to natural, not human causes.

2. IPCC AR2 (1996)

This report devotes a whole chapter, #8, to “Attribution and Detection.” Its main feature is what one might call the “invention” of the “Hotspot,” i.e. an enhanced warming trend in the tropical troposphere — never actually observed.

Unfortunately, the “evidence,” as presented by BD Santer, was published only after the IPCC report itself appeared; it contains two fundamental errors. The first error was to argue that the Hotspot is a “fingerprint” of human influence — and specifically, related to an increase in greenhouse gases. This is not true. The Hotspot, according to all model calculations, is simply an atmospheric amplification of a surface trend, a consequence of the physics of the tropical atmosphere.

[Technically speaking, it is caused by increased convective activity whereby cumulus clouds carry latent heat from the surface of the tropical ocean into the upper troposphere. In other words, the Hotspot is not human-caused, but arises from a "moist-adiabatic lapse rate" of the atmosphere. This effect is discussed in most meteorological textbooks and is widely accepted.]
How then did AR2 conclude that a Hotspot exists observationally? This is the second issue: The IPCC selected a short interval in the atmospheric temperature record that showed an increase — while the general trend was one of cooling. In other words, they cherry-picked their data to invent a Hotspot — as pointed out in a subsequent publication by PJ Michaels and PC Knappenberger [see graph below]

The matter of the existence of a Hotspot in the actual tropical troposphere has been the topic of lively debate ever since. On the one hand, DH Douglass, JR Christy, BD Pearson and SF Singer, demonstrated absence of a Hotspot empirically while Santer (and 17[!] IPCC coauthors), publishing in the same journal, argued the opposite. This issue now seems to have been finally settled, as discussed by Singer in two papers in Energy & Environment [2011 and 2013].

It is worth noting that a US government report [CCSP-SAP-1.1 (2006)] showed absence of a Hotspot in the tropics (Chapter 5, BD Santer, lead author). But the report’s Executive Summary managed to obfuscate this result by referring to global atmosphere rather than tropical.

It is also worth noting that while the IPCC-AR2 used the Hotspot invention to argue that the “balance of evidence suggest a human influence,” later IPCC reports no longer use the Hotspot argument.

Nevertheless, one consequence of this unfortunate phrase in AR2 has been the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. Even though Kyoto expired in 2012, it has managed to waste hundreds of billions of dollars so far — and continues to distort energy policies with uneconomic schemes in most industrialized nations.

3. IPCC AR3 (2001)

AR3 attributes global warming to human influences based on the “Hockey-Stick” graph, using published papers by Michael Mann, derived from his analysis of multi-proxy data. The hockeystick graph [bottom graph below] claims that the 20th century showed unusually rapid warming — and thus suggests a strong human influence. The graph also does away with the well-established Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, which were shown in earlier IPCC reports [see top graph below].

It was soon found that the Hockeystick graph was in error and did not deserve continued reliance. Canadian statisticians Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick demonstrated errors in Mann’s statistical analysis and in the use of certain tree-ring data for calibration. In fact, they showed that Mann’s algorithm would generate a Hockeystick graph — even if the input data was pure noise. [I served as a reviewer for M&M's initial paper in Energy & Environment 2003.]

It is worth noting that the IPCC no longer uses the Hockeystick to support human-caused warming, even though AR3 still claims to be at least 66% certain that greenhouse-gas emissions are responsible for 20th century warming.

4. IPCC-AR4 (2007) and AR5 (2013)

Both reports use essentially the same faulty argument in their attempt to support their conclusion of human-caused global warming. Their first step is to construct a model that tries to match the reported 20th-century surface warming. This is not very difficult; it is essentially a ‘curve-fitting’ exercise: By selecting the right level of climate sensitivity and the right amount of aerosol forcing, they can match the reported temperature rise of the final decades of the 20th century, but not the initial decades — as becomes evident from a detailed graph in their Attribution chapter. This lack of agreement is due to the fact that their models ignore major forcings — both from variations of solar activity and from changes in ocean circulation.

They then use the following trick. They re-plot their model graph, but without an increase in greenhouse gases; this absence of forcing now generates a gap between the reported warming and unforced model. Then they turn around and argue that this gap must be due to an increase in greenhouse gases. It appears to me that this argument may be circular. Even if the reported late-20th-century surface warming really exists (it is absent from the satellite and radiosonde records), the IPCC argument is not convincing.

It is ironic, however, that IPCC claims increasing certainty (at 90% in AR4 and at least 95% in AR5) for an attribution to human causes, which appears to be contrived. Additionally, while AR4 calculates a Climate Sensitivity (for a doubling of CO2) of 2.0 – 4.5 degC, AR5 expands the uncertainty interval to 1.5 – 4.5 degC. So much for the claim of increased certainty in the IPCC-AR5 Summary.

Yet, while claiming increased certainty about manmade global warming, both reports essentially ignore the absence of any surface warming trend since about 1998. Of course, they also ignore absence of any significant warming in the troposphere, ocean record, and proxy data during the crucial preceding (1979-1997) interval.


In spite of much effort, the IPCC has never succeeded in demonstrating that climate change is significantly affected by human activities — and in particular, by the emission of greenhouse gases. Over the last 25 years, their supporting arguments have shifted drastically — and are shown to be worthless. It appears more than likely that climate change is controlled by variations in solar magnetic activity and by periodic changes in ocean circulation.


Science and Journalism Take a Vacation

A recent Times of London article claimed new “research” demonstrates that a “chemical onslaught is destroying Britain’s amphibians.” A “toxic cocktail,” it stated, is killing UK frogs, toads and newts.

Manmade chemicals “can affect animals’ immune systems – leaving them vulnerable to attack by fungi, bacteria and other infections,” it continued, citing statements by two scientists. Laboratory experiments show that pesticides have a “powerful effect on amphibian immune systems, even at low concentrations,” causing diseases that have been around for decades to “suddenly become much more deadly.”

And not just for amphibians, the story added. “Some fear the same effects could extend to humans, who are exposed to numerous manmade chemicals, in food, drinks and the air.”

It concluded by quoting Elizabeth Salter Green, director of CHEM Trust, which the Times said sponsored the so-called research. “There is mounting evidence that exposure to even tiny levels of these [agricultural pesticides and urban] chemicals can compromise the immune system. The European Union needs to take a lead on both identifying and controlling the risks,” she insisted.

The story certainly sounds plausible. However, as Baltimore journalist H. L. Mencken observed, “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem – neat, plausible, and wrong.” Indeed, there are ample reasons for skepticism. The Times “news story” underscores what happens when genuine science and objective journalism take a vacation, on chemicals, medicine, global warming and other topics.

CHEM Trust is financially supported by and promotes the work of Greenpeace, an organization that co-founder Patrick Moore says has become “anti-science, anti-technology and anti-human.” Greenpeace fabricated claims that Shell Oil’s Brent Spar production platform contained tons of oil, toxic wastes and radioactive materials, to attract donations and ensure that the platform was not sunk as an artificial reef.

The Rainbow Warriors spend tens of millions of dollars opposing pesticide spraying to prevent malaria that kills nearly a million people annually; Golden Rice, the genetically modified grain that contains a Vitamin A precursor that can save millions of developing world children from blindness and death; and fossil fuels that enhance and safeguard lives in countries everywhere. Canada refused to grant charitable status to Greenpeace, due to its repeated falsehoods, politicized activities and lack of “public benefit.”

Had CHEM Trust been an industry-funded organization, the Times would almost certainly have noted that affiliation, regardless of how scrupulous and transparent the research might have been. Author Jonathan Leake’s failure to mention the Greenpeace connection reflects his (and the Times) tendency to promote environmentalist views and assertions as straightforward, unimpeachable science.

The CHEM Trust paper wasn’t even research. It was an advocacy brief – a summary of research papers and conclusions carefully selected to support claims that chemicals pose unacceptable risks to wildlife and humans. As the document itself suggests, its ultimate purpose is to secure even more draconian changes in EU chemicals policy and legislation, which already reflect the “precautionary principle.”

That vague and arbitrary “principle” focuses on the risks of using chemicals – but never on the risks of not using them. It spotlights risks that a chemical might theoretically cause, but ignores the risks that it would clearly reduce or prevent. It is another potent weapon for anti-technology activists: Whatever they support complies with the precautionary principle; whatever they oppose violates it.

Just as bad, the Times article was apparently based on exclusive access to the embargoed report. This shabby willingness to be used as an activist mouthpiece is reminiscent of the now-infamous 2012 Seralini “study.” Giles-Eric Seralini is a well-known anti-biotechnology activist associated with a lobbying group that released a paper purporting to prove that genetically modified foods cause cancer in rats.

Accompanied by gruesome photographs of lab rats with massive tumors, the study was released under an “embargo” to selected journalists, who signed an agreement not to show the paper to outside scientists before the story hit the newspapers and airwaves. That meant the journalists could not seek unbiased comments or provide any balance or corrections to the activist storyline.

New York Times blogger Carl Zimmer called the episode “a rancid, corrupt way to report about science.” Nevertheless, many “mainstream” publications took Seralini up on his offer, including Agence France Presse and Reuters. Within 24 hours after the embargo was lifted, independent scientists piled on, exposing almost every aspect of the “study” as flawed, and even dishonest and fraudulent. One said the story was “designed to frighten” people, and the author and editors “should be ashamed.”

But Seralini got the headlines he wanted. So did Greenpeace and CHEM Trust.

Making this latest debasement of science and journalism even more disturbing is that fact that the “toxic cocktail” of agricultural and urban chemicals is merely the latest in a long line of “studies” that activists have offered as “proof positive” that modern technologies are destroying amphibians and nature. Previous alleged perpetrators have included pesticides alone, acid rain, ozone depletion and global warming – whatever was fashionable at the time, and whatever activist groups calculated would attract donations, expand their political power, and help enact punitive laws and regulations.

Some species develop resistance to pesticides, but meanwhile the real causes of disappearing amphibians receive insufficient study and attention, to address the problem in time to prevent more extinctions.

For example, a year ago the Washington Post ran a dramatic story about scientists in the Panamanian rainforest desperately trying to save dwindling frog species. “Where there once was a crazy cacophony of frog song,” its reporters wrote, there is now only “a spooky quiet. The streams have gone silent.” The golden frog, Panama’s animal mascot, has not been seen since 2009.

However, these rainforests are as pristine as habitats can get. There are virtually no pesticides or other chemical pollutants. Disease is the real culprit, in this case Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, the “Bd fungus,” which has been decimating amphibians in Panama, the USA and elsewhere for years.

For several decades, African clawed frogs were imported into the United States and other countries as pets, for scientific research and as pregnancy tests (they ovulate when injected with a pregnant woman’s urine). Unfortunately, because these frogs are largely immune to the Bd fungus, they are effective carriers of this devastating non-native disease. (So are Pacific tree frogs.) As they escape or are released into the wild, and then migrate further, into other habitats, they spread the fungus; people hiking in those habitats pick the fungus up on their boots and shoes, spreading it even further. Clawed frogs have been implicated in the decline or extinction of some 200 frog species worldwide.

Native to eastern North America, American bullfrogs are raised as food and pets in factory farms in the US, China and other countries. They too are largely immune to Bd and other chytrid skin fungus diseases, which cause amphibians’ skins to thicken and lead to cardiac arrest, and thus have been major carriers.

In high enough concentrations, pesticides can kill amphibians, fish and other wildlife. It is also possible that lower concentrations of pesticides and other chemicals might reduce immunities to fungal and bacterial agents. But it’s dangerous to base conclusions on cherry-picked studies disseminated by CHEM Trust and Greenpeace. As to genetic deformities and other abnormalities, the same chemicals may be responsible – but so too might other ubiquitous chemicals that rarely get mentioned in activist press releases or media stories, because it wouldn’t be politically correct: namely, birth control medicines that are flushed down toilets or discharged in urine, especially around urban centers. The jury is still out.

Good science and journalism must make clear what is verifiable fact; what is simply hypothesis, conjecture or rank opinion; and what is outright, disingenuous activist advocacy. The Times of London writers were either snookered or willing dupes. Either way, its credibility has been seriously undermined.


Warmists can’t stop themselves


Climate alarmists' tactics -- exaggeration, misrepresentation, smear and scorn -- have hurt the movement more than helped it. No surprise there. Cultists are always the last to recognise the folly of their ways

When the idea of dangerous anthropogenic global warming (AGW) from fossil fuel emissions arose it found strong resonance across a variety of important interests. For researchers it meant funding and recognition. With the media it was attention-grabbing drama. To activists it was the mother of all eco-threats. Business saw huge profits to be made, while bureaucrats recognised the potential for massive increases in power and control.

For politicians it was a no-brainer, with strong popularity on one side and only denigration on the other.

An impressive AGW bandwagon soon assembled and fired-up a luxurious hundred billion dollar gravy train. In late 2009 everything was on track for a glorious triumph by AGW forces at the Copenhagen Climate Summit, which was to have been the gateway to the clean, green new world promised by the eco-prophets.

Then came Climategate and the wheels started to come off.

In reality the whole vast AGW structure was built on a flimsy foundation of highly dubious prophesies by a small coterie of third-rate academics whose reputations and careers have been based almost entirely on dramatic claims about climate change which have proved to be either wrong, doubtful, or at best, yet to be verified. The description of their being “third rate” is used with due consideration. The attention-grabbing claims concerning AGW have been both fraught with uncertainty and subject to diverse unrefuted criticism. Well-founded credentials and reputations in research are not based on iffy speculation and un-verified predictions. Competent scientists avoid such speculation and take care to clearly qualify the limits and uncertainties involved in any opinions or predictions they may offer.

With rare exception, all of the leading scientific proponents of catastrophic AGW have been unknown academics until they climbed onto the climate change bandwagon and began to make dramatic predictions of imminent catastrophe. The few exceptions with established reputations outside of climate catastrophism seem to have been already committed to a catastrophist view of other environmental threats for which AGW is only the latest, greatest and most popular. It also has boasted the added attraction of being by far the most rewarding.

In addition, climatology was a little known, highly interdisciplinary area of study in which researchers from almost any field could participate and call themselves climatologists. Doing so and offering some dramatic claim about AGW virtually assured widespread news coverage with anointment by the media of status as an “expert”. Generous grants were sure to follow.

For an academic with only a meagre reputation to risk, the temptation would have been hard to resist — especially so for those suffering from that common academic malady, an inflated opinion of one’s own importance and intellectual ability. The opening of a shortcut to fame and fortune while bypassing the normal and tedious slog to recognised expertise was surely too right to have been just luck. It must have been meant to be and has accordingly been defended with all the ferocity of true believers.

In climate alarmism the perceived righteousness of the cause has led to a wholesale abandonment of what had previously been considered to be proper scientific practice. In climate research it has become widespread and accepted practice to refuse to reveal methods and materials, ignore opposing evidence, misrepresent findings, exaggerate confidence, suppress publication of conflicting findings and use personal denigration to discredit anyone who dares to raise questions about the latest and endless streams of claims and assertions. While such malpractice has become pervasive, it will usually involve just complex technical matter at a time, requiring a considerable level of background knowledge if arguments are to be fully understand.

However, the fundamental ethical issues are something everyone can understand and it is here where the alarmists have done the most to discredit themselves. Whenever clear evidence of dishonest behaviour by AGW proponents has been exposed, instead of simply condemning it they have followed a pattern of first trying to deny it then, when that fails, attempting to justify it. Finally, when mis-information has been thoroughly exposed, they seek to trivialise “mistakes” as being of no importance in any case. In doing this they have make it clear that any regard for truth is subordinate to the righteousness of their cause.

Before widespread systematic scientific misconduct began to be exposed in climate research, science enjoyed a high level of public trust. In abusing this trust, climate alarmists gained a short-lived advantage. However, the inevitable exposures have inflicted serious and long lived damage to both their own cause and to the reputation of science itself. This will be difficult to repair.

Now, it seems that all of the dire predictions about warming temperatures, species extinctions, extreme weather, melting glaciers, accelerating sea levels, epidemics, crop failures and sundry other climate catastrophes are starting to be seen as having failed. Having denied any possibility of natural variability in the modest rise in global temperature observed in the latter part of the 20th century, the alarmists are now finding it difficult to explain why their most certain hopes have not materialised. That they might have been wrong all along is, of course, unthinkable.

In the face of an ever increasing departure from unfolding reality their response has been to simply ratchet up the level of alarm and claim more certainty than ever. This seems a bizarre strategy, especially from a group which purports to be composed of scientists of the highest calibre. They must deem reality itself to be subordinate to a dubious theory ratified only by group consensus.

From the outside it looks like a retreat to the bunkers for a last stand by fanatical adherents of an extremist cult preparing for martyrdom in a final paroxysm of righteousness. Perhaps it’s the prophesied battle of Armageddon featuring the righteous hosts of postmodernism vs. the Satanic idea of an objective reality independent of anything one might choose to believe. Or could it just be that the constant misrepresentation of reality that is now the norm in climate research has become so ingrained that adherents have difficulty differentiating reality from fantasy, not unlike the condition psychiatrists used to call Pseudologia Fantastica?

However it is characterised, the current tactics of climate alarmists in public debate are doing nothing to restore their credibility, serving only to make themselves look ever more foolish and untrustworthy.

If they are really as certain as they profess to be, the best thing they could do at this point would be to shut up. If they are right, reality should prove them so soon enough. And if the science is settled, as they claim, there is no need for more research anyway. Of course they won’t do anything of the sort. Shutting up would mean giving surrendering all that flattering attention and funding they have come to accept as their just due.

So, in all probability the show will continue, not as a debate but as a farce, with the lead characters making ever-bigger fools of themselves until the public tires of paying the bills and finds something better to do with its tax money.


Warmism is motivated cognition -- it serves needs for its believers

Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the author of Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed, said that some people’s belief in man-made global warming goes back to the same “long-proved human instinct” to assign blame that led to witch trials throughout history.

“Previously, when the crops failed, leading to famine, babies died…you’d blame the witch next door, throw her on the fire,” Horner said on The Glenn Beck Program. “Now, it’s when these catastrophes occur.”

The author told Stu Burguiere, who was filling in for Glenn Beck, that it is “tiresome” when such individuals “do this ritual in response to every blizzard or heat wave,” and “disgusting or sick” when man-made global warming is consistently blamed for natural catastrophes.

But Horner argued that there are different reasons people feel so strongly about the issue, and that for some, it simply comes down to “desperation.”

“Obviously when the spaceship that they either promised or were promised continues to not show up, or the comet continues to not come by, doomsday remains elusive, they’re grabbing anything that floats by,” he said.

But for others, Horner said that man-made global warming “affirms (their) worldview” that “modernity, whatever it is, wealth is horrible.”

The two also discussed the back-story behind the often-repeated line that “the science is settled,” and Horner said that in some cases, those climate change “experts” have included “hotel administrators, experts in ancient Chinese healing techniques, (and) gynecologists.”

The bottom line, the author argued, is if those who believe that man-made global warming had a real argument, “they’d make it, and…they’d stick with it.”

“They wouldn’t bounce between drought, rain, hot, cold, snow, no snow, warming, weather, climate, jobs, the French will like us (to prove their point),” Horner remarked. “They’d make their case.”


The Fracking Fight Goes Way Left

The fight against hydraulic fracturing has recently ratcheted up. On November 5, one town in Ohio and three in Colorado, passed ballot measures designed to ban or temporarily halt hydraulic fracturing—the brief (3-5 day) phase, often referred to as “fracking”—that is essential to the advanced oil-and-gas extraction processes that have given America the lead in global energy production. A fourth Colorado town awaits a recount. Initial election results showed the moratorium in Broomfield, Co—failed by 13 votes. However, on November 13, after all the overseas, military, provisional and other outstanding ballots were counted, it had passed by 17 votes. A margin of less than 0.5 percent triggers an automatic recount—leaving the final outcome currently unknown. In Bowling Green and Youngstown, Ohio, the opposite happened. Similar proposed bans against fracking were defeated.

Of the four votes in Colorado, Tisha Schuller, president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) calls the Boulder and Lafayette votes merely “symbolic,” and noted that “Lafayette's last new well permit was in the early 1990s and Boulder's last oil and gas well was plugged in 1999.”

However, Fort Collins, CO, is near the promising production of the Niobrara shale. The Fort Collins city council passed a resolution encouraging voters to reject the proposed moratorium. And, in Broomfield, the city council, in August, entered into a memorandum of understanding that would allow energy company Sovereign to drill 21 wells—as long as stringent standards are met. In these cities, these five-year bans will bite.

In Ohio, the Oberlin ban is, likewise, “symbolic,” as Oberlin, a college town, has no drilling plans. Bowling Green, which rejected the ban, also has no drilling plans. However, in the Mahoning Valley where Youngstown is located, there is current oil-and-gas activity. In Youngstown, which is a depressed former steel town, residents have twice voted down a fracking ban. The Akron Beacon Journal reports: “the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396 spent more than $74,000 trying to defeat the amendment. The union called it a job-killer.” Supporters of the ban claim “the loss can be explained by voters who are hard up for the jobs energy development brings.” (Note: “energy development” does bring jobs.)

Within the past year, Longmont, CO, became the first town in the state to ban fracking and Mora County, NM, became the first county in New Mexico to ban the “extraction of oil, natural gas, or other hydrocarbons.”

National Geographic states: “the wins provide momentum for the national movement to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.” Former Colorado State House Representative, B.J. Nikkel, is quoted as saying: “This is round one in a much longer match.” Mora County Commissioner, John Olivas, declared: “We’re ready for this fight.” Fracking opponent, Gretchen Goldman, an analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy, said: “The decision of whether or not hydraulic fracturing occurs in these Colorado communities may ultimately lie with the courts, where the city of Longmont is already being sued by COGA and the state of Colorado over its fracking ban.”

Because fracking is governed by the states, the bans put cities and counties at odds with state—and even federal—laws. According to a New York Times (NYT) article written at the time of Longmont’s fracking ban passage (November 2012), Colorado’s Democrat Governor, John W. Hickenlooper, warned residents of a lawsuit from the state and insisted that only the state has “the authority to regulate drilling.”

Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources also, according to RC 1509, has the “sole and exclusive authority to regulate the permitting, location, and spacing of oil and gas wells and production operations within the state …” A recent lawsuit in Ohio challenged the idea of “preemption.” The City of Munroe Falls argued “home-rule” authority to regulate gas-drilling operations and won the case in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, but was reversed by the Ninth District Court of Appeals in what has been described as a “knock-out punch.” The case will now go before the Ohio State Supreme Court with a decision expected this spring.

In July 2013, Hickenlooper’s administration joined COGA in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Longmont’s fracking ban.

Concerned about the lawsuits, Longmont’s Mayor Dennis L. Coombs said: “People really didn’t think through this too well.”

Stan Dempsey, President of the Colorado Petroleum Association, told me he “expects the Fort Collins and Broomfield bans will be fought in court.”

The NYT states that seven former mayors of Longmont fought the ban and cites Bill Swenson, who said the ban was “contrary to state laws.” Swenson believes, “We are, in effect, taking your property.”

In New Mexico, where a lawsuit was filed, on November 11, against the Mora County drilling ban, former State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons, agrees. Under his leadership, many tracts were leased for potential drilling in Mora County which he said “could be a big boon for the economy.” Lyons told me Mora’s drilling ban is a “private property takings.”

However, the lawsuit against Mora County, and its leaders, didn’t go the “takings” route. Instead, the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico, along with one individual and two New Mexico land owners, argue that Mora County’s ordinance violates their rights under the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as corresponding rights under the New Mexico Constitution. The suit alleges that the Commission lacks authority to pass this unconstitutional ordinance that impacts property rights, due process and First Amendment rights.

In 1978, New Mexico passed the New Mexico Oil and Gas Act, which created the Oil Conservation Commission and Oil Conservation Division, which are vested with complete “jurisdiction, authority and control” regarding the development of oil or gas. The Division regulates oil-and-natural gas activity within the State so as to protect, among other things, fresh water, public health, safety and the environment, and issues rules for “safety procedures for drilling and production of oil and gas wells.”

Unlike the Colorado lawsuits, the suit against Mora Country, has not, to date, been joined by New Mexico government. Lyons believes New Mexico’s Land Commissioner, Ray Powell, “should be taking a strong stand for New Mexico’s children. He should be one of the lead participants in the fight for New Mexico.”

Lyons is referencing the fact that in New Mexico, revenues from oil-and-gas activity on state lands go directly into the Permanent Fund and each tract has a specific beneficiary assigned to it. Some of the beneficiaries that will be losing out of the millions of dollars that could be generated over the life of the Mora County leases include: NM School for the Visually Handicapped and NM School for hearing impaired; NM State Hospital and Carrie Tingley Hospital; the NM Boys School, NM Institute of Mining and Technology, and Eastern NM University; and K-12 schools throughout the state.

The New Mexico civil rights lawsuit was filed by the Mountain States Legal Foundation, whose President, William Perry Pendley, sent me the following statement:

“The lawlessness we have seen emanating from Washington, DC, has spread like a wildfire across the country. When elected politicians, senior administration officials, and career bureaucrats proudly proclaim that the Constitution is irrelevant and the law is whatever they say it is, it is little wonder that officials across the country follow their bad example. From coast-to-coast, isolated units of local government have declared that, regardless of what the federal and state constitutions or federal and state laws provide, they will bar their residents from using their property, creating jobs, and generating revenue and if the locals do not like it, then they can sue. I am proud that landowners in Mora County and the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico have the courage to demand adherence to constitutional liberties and the rule of law and have asked Mountain States Legal Foundation to represent them in that important battle.”

As Pendley indicates, all of these fracking and drilling bans and/or moratoriums are part of an attempted national movement led by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which has drafted model legislation for communities—such as Mora County, NM; Oberlin, OH; and Lafayette, CO—known as the Community Bill of Rights.

The “symbolic” votes in communities with no oil-and-gas development are part of a strategy to target left-leaning constituencies where ordinances can be passed and momentum can be built. Addressing the approach, Nikkel observed: “As the debate moves from places like Boulder and Lafayette—which come with highly Democratic constituencies—to purple Colorado, you're going to see a different outcome.”

Because of efforts to ban fracking—which, along with horizontal drilling has just allowed the U.S. to pass a milestone in the march toward energy self-sufficiency—the House of Representatives has drafted the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act (H.R. 2728), which would keep states in charge of hydraulic fracturing as they have always done and keep the EPA out of it. H.R. 2728 is scheduled to come up for a vote as early as November 18. Please contact your Representative to encourage support of H.R. 2728.

“When we talk about banning fracking, we’re talking about outlawing a process that is absolutely critical to developing our vast energy resources and intentionally forfeiting billions in economic activity and tax revenue.” Addressing the election results, Jon Haubert, Communications Director for Coloradoans for Responsible Energy Development, adds: “The need for education about one of our state’s—and nation’s—most important topics clearly won’t be going away. In Colorado especially, there are high standards and model regulations in place to ensure that the health and safety of our communities come first. As we discovered in these elections, not enough know that.” Haubert places some of the blame “squarely on the oil and natural gas industry for not properly educating the public.”

Russell Mendell, statewide director for Frack Free Colorado, has declared: “This is the point in history where communities need to decide if they want to stay addicted to hydrocarbons and fossil fuels or move toward sustainable energy.” In response, many have proposed that if communities with potential oil-and-gas development choose to ban it, they should truly break their so-called hydrocarbon addiction and quit using oil and gas.

The outcome of the fracking fight will be fought in the court of public opinion, as much as it will be in state and federal courtrooms. Though environmental groups have declared victory in this round, the fight is far from over. Earlier this year, Democratic Governor, Jerry Brown of California, signed a law in September that specifically allows fracking. Across the country, people—from Youngstown, OH, to California’s Governor Brown—understand that “energy development” bring jobs and economic growth. They understand that energy makes America great.


Strange Doings on the Sun

The sun should be at the climax of its usual 11-year cycle of activity, but solar physicists are puzzled by its mellow solar maximum. WSJ's Robert Lee Hotz reports. Periods of low activity have in the past coincided with cold periods on earth

Something is up with the sun.

Scientists say that solar activity is stranger than in a century or more, with the sun producing barely half the number of sunspots as expected and its magnetic poles oddly out of sync.

The sun generates immense magnetic fields as it spins. Sunspots—often broader in diameter than Earth—mark areas of intense magnetic force that brew disruptive solar storms. These storms may abruptly lash their charged particles across millions of miles of space toward Earth, where they can short-circuit satellites, smother cellular signals or damage electrical systems.

Based on historical records, astronomers say the sun this fall ought to be nearing the explosive climax of its approximate 11-year cycle of activity—the so-called solar maximum. But this peak is "a total punk," said Jonathan Cirtain, who works at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as project scientist for the Japanese satellite Hinode, which maps solar magnetic fields.

"I would say it is the weakest in 200 years," said David Hathaway, head of the solar physics group at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Researchers are puzzled. They can't tell if the lull is temporary or the onset of a decades-long decline, which might ease global warming a bit by altering the sun's brightness or the wavelengths of its light.

"There is no scientist alive who has seen a solar cycle as weak as this one," said Andrés Munoz-Jaramillo, who studies the solar-magnetic cycle at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass.

To complicate the riddle, the sun also is undergoing one of its oddest magnetic reversals on record.

Normally, the sun's magnetic north and south poles change polarity every 11 years or so. During a magnetic-field reversal, the sun's polar magnetic fields weaken, drop to zero, and then emerge again with the opposite polarity. As far as scientists know, the magnetic shift is notable only because it signals the peak of the solar maximum, said Douglas Biesecker at NASA's Space Environment Center.

But in this cycle, the sun's magnetic poles are out of sync, solar scientists said. The sun's north magnetic pole reversed polarity more than a year ago, so it has the same polarity as the south pole.

"The delay between the two reversals is unusually long," said solar physicist Karel Schrijver at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, Calif.

Scientists said they are puzzled, but not concerned, by the unusual delay. They expect the sun's south pole to change polarity next month, based on current satellite measurements of its shifting magnetic fields.

At the same time, scientists can't explain the scarcity of sunspots. While still turbulent, the sun seems feeble compared with its peak power in previous decades. "It is not just that there are fewer sunspots, but they are less active sunspots," Dr. Schrijver said.

However, the sun isn't idle: After months of quiescence, it unleashed vast streams of charged particles into space five times in as many days last month, and flared again last week. Even so, these outbursts exhibited a fraction of the force of previous solar maximums.

By comparison, a Halloween solar storm in 2003, near the peak of the last solar maximum, was the largest of the Space Age. Even though it mostly bypassed Earth, the storm disabled a Japanese satellite, sent astronauts aboard the International Space Station scrambling for radiation shelter, disrupted drilling for oil and gas in Alaska, scrambled GPS navigation and forced the U.S. Defense Department to cancel military maneuvers.

As the solar cycle winds down in the years ahead as part of its normal cycle, blasts of charged particles should become even less frequent. Among other things, Earth's outer atmosphere will cool and contract, which can extend the life of satellites by lessening the drag on them.

"That makes the commercial satellite operators all happy," said Todd Hoeksema at Stanford University's Wilcox Solar Observatory. "And the astronauts are happy when there is no radiation."

Several solar scientists speculated that the sun may be returning to a more relaxed state after an era of unusually high activity that started in the 1940s.

"More than half of solar physicists would say we are returning to a norm," said physicist Mark Miesch at the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colo., who studies the internal dynamics of stars. "We might be in for a longer state of suppressed activity."

If so, the decline in magnetic activity could ease global warming, the scientists said. But such a subtle change in the sun—lowering its luminosity by about 0.1%—wouldn't be enough to outweigh the build-up of greenhouse gases and soot that most researchers consider the main cause of rising world temperatures over the past century or so.




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


17 November, 2013

Japan axes targets to cut greenhouse gases

Japan last night became the first major economy to abandon the greenhouse-gas promises made in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. In a setback for the UN talks on climate change this week in Warsaw, Tokyo announced it will let emissions rise 3 per cent above 1990 levels by 2020.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said Japan’s decision was ‘deeply disappointing’ and a ‘major step backwards’.

However some Tory MPs called for the UK to follow Tokyo’s lead. Japan, which hosted the Kyoto Protocol, had promised to cut emissions by 25 per cent.

But the fifth biggest producer of greenhouse gases said the original targets could not be met following the decision to mothball its nuclear plants after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

The country’s chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, said the 2020 target of a 25 per cent cut was ‘completely baseless’.

The loss of a quarter of its power production leaves Japan more reliant on high-polluting coal and gas.

It insists the change to the target is temporary, while it resolves its energy supply issues, and it still intends to halve emissions by 2050.

Britain, which derives about 20 per cent of its energy from nuclear, is on track to cut carbon emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels. It has a legally binding target to cut them by 80 per cent by 2050.

Mr Davey said: ‘It is deeply disappointing that the Japanese government has taken this decision to significantly revise down its 2020 emissions target.

'This is inconsistent with the unequivocal message from the scientific evidence, which clearly underlines the urgency of addressing emissions reductions.’

Britain has committed to build a new generation of nuclear power stations, which will help cut emissions; the first deal was signed for a reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset last month.

But they will take years to produce power and Tory MPs are concerned that meeting climate targets with green taxes on homes and businesses, and building expensive wind farms, will harm economic growth.

Mr Cameron has already promised to ‘roll back’ green taxes on household bills this year - although they are expected to be put into general taxation instead.

Peter Lilley, a Tory MP and former trade minister who sits on the Commons energy and climate change committee, said: ‘This is part of a pattern. We have seen Canada resile from its climate targets, Australia abandoning green taxes, now Japan, and I think we will see something similar in Germany which is clearly going to be unable to reach its ambitions for the same reason as the Japanese.

'You cannot say it makes any sense for Britain... to continue trying to set an example by crippling our industry with high costs and our customers with unbearable bills. Unilateral energy disarmament can only handicap us.'


How the BBC turned a catastrophic crisis into a drama about global warming

Listeners to Radio 4's Today programme were given an unmistakable but totally bogus message last week: that catastrophic storms such as Typhoon Haiyan are linked to global warming – and are set to increase.

The same claim, which has no scientific basis, was echoed by David Cameron, who said there was 'growing evidence' that warming was responsible for storms.

Interviewing Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, presenter Evan Davis announced that climate change has made the Philippine islands 'one of the most fragile parts of the planet' and asked what would the world do if more frequent storms forced its population to abandon them.

'That's a great question,' Kim replied. In his view, rising seas caused by global warming would make not just islands but the Thai capital Bangkok uninhabitable 'within the next 20 to 30 years'.

'The predictions the scientists are making are that the severity and frequency of these extreme weather events are going to go up,' he said.

The response of Davis – with the full weight and authority of the BBC's morning news flagship behind him – was to muse: 'If we don't invest in the prevention of climate change, we'd better invest in border control.'

In fact, basic facts Davis and the Today programme's army of researchers failed – or refused – to raise with Jim Yong Kim include:

* A study based on data from the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre and the Japan Meteorological Agency shows the number of typhoons making landfall in the Philippines has declined since 1990.

* The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – hailed by greens as the ultimate arbiter – does not agree tropical storms have become more intense or frequent, but says the opposite. Their special report last year said: 'There is low confidence in any observed long-term (40 years or more) increases in tropical cyclone activity (ie intensity, frequency, duration).' Its authoritative Fifth Assessment Report added in September there have been 'no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century'.

* The reason Bangkok is suffering serious floods isn't rising sea levels but the fact the city is built on soft clay – the weight of its skyscrapers is causing subsidence of up to 2in a year. Local expert Anond Snidvongs says: 'The rise in sea level is not that great and climate change only plays a fairly small part – about one-fifth – in the current scenario.'

* There have been very few Category 5 storms like Haiyan in the Pacific since 1991. A study published this year by the American Meteorological Society states in the North Pacific 'overall tropical cyclone activity shows a significant decrease' since 1998.

* This year has been the quietest Atlantic hurricane season for decades. No Category 3 or stronger storm has made landfall in the US since Katrina in 2005 – the longest hurricane 'drought' on record.

* A new study published last week said the rate of sea level rise has diminished by 44 per cent since 2004, to just 1.8mm per year – 18cm (7in) per century. The reason is the 17-years-and-counting global warming 'pause', which was not predicted by computer models.

Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said both Mr Cameron and Today seemed 'totally unaware of both the science and changing international realities. Every scientist is adamant that the typhoon has nothing to do with global warming.'


If You Liked ObamaCare, You’ll Love ClimateCare

Wrecking both health care and energy as a presidential legacy

As Barack Obama’s signature health insurance program implodes, some observers are speculating that regulatory action on climate change could afford the beleaguered president a second chance at establishing an enduring policy legacy. Unfortunately, Obama’s climate policies, like his health care policies, highlight his fondness for centralized economic planning.

The president unveiled his “new national climate action plan” at Georgetown University last June. The plan aims to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to 17 percent below their 2005 levels. In his speech, the president noted that he had urged Congress to adopt a “bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change.” But he also said he wasn’t going wait for Congress to act, so outlined what amounts to a kind of Climate Five-Year Plan, setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions at home while pursuing efforts abroad to reach “a new global agreement to reduce carbon pollution through concrete action.”

To get some idea of the kind of climate change legacy President Obama might yearn for, let’s take a look back at what his proposals were before the friction of actual governance stymied his plans. Back in 2008, then-candidate Obama offered up a “plan to combat climate change and create a green economy,” the goal of which was to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. At the center of his plan was a cap-and-trade system that would have required that 100 percent of permits covering all greenhouse emissions be auctioned off. What might the price for each ton of greenhouse gas have been, and how would it affect the way Americans live?

To get handle on this question, consider the calculations the administration did last May to compute the social cost of carbon—that is, the harms of climate change caused by the emissions of greenhouse gases, chiefly carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels. The Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon reported various values for the social cost of carbon in 2015, ranging from $12 to $109 per ton. To get a rough idea of the total cost to the U.S. economy, let’s use the $58 per ton cost as a possible auction price.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. emitted the equivalent of 6.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2011. Auctioning off permits for that amount of emissions would yield about $388 billion in revenues per year. For comparison, federal individual income tax revenues in 2012 amounted to $1.1 trillion. The original Obama Climate Plan did not swap the carbon taxes out for other taxes, such as individual or corporate income taxes, but would instead used them to fund clean-energy and energy-efficiency projects and to help lower income Americans to pay for the resulting higher energy costs. While such a tax would reduce carbon dioxide emissions, simply piling it onto existing taxes would further distort markets and reduce overall economic efficiency and competitiveness.

Using figures derived from a May 2013 Congressional Budget Office report on the economic effects of a carbon tax, an auction price of nearly $60 per ton would boost the price of a gallon of gasoline by 60 cents per gallon and the average price of electricity by about 48 percent. The average household consumes just over 1,000 gallons of gasoline annually. Increasing the price of a gallon of gas from the current average of $3.20 to $3.80 would raise household gasoline expenditures by $600 per year. Similarly, average annual household electric bills more rise by more than $600.

Auctioning off emissions permits was not enough. The original Obama Climate Plan would have required that the United States obtain 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources—wind, solar, geothermal, and so on—by 2025. Nuclear and natural gas were not mentioned. As it happens, in 2012, solar, geothermal, and wind energy generated 0.11, 0.41, and 3.46 percent respectively of electric power in the United States. A recent Information Technology and Innovation Foundation study estimated that replacing all U.S. fossil fuel power by 2030 would cost each American household nearly $5,700 per year. Extrapolating from that, the earlier Obama electric power renewable fuel mandate would result in an increase in household electricity costs on the neighborhood of $570 per year.

In his Georgetown speech, the president scaled back his renewable energy mandate to doubling production by 2020, which would mean that solar, geothermal, and wind would produce 0.2, 0.8, and 7 percent respectively of America’s electric power by then.

An analysis by the market-oriented Manhattan Institute compared the price trends of electricity between coal-dependent states that have adopted renewable fuel mandates of the sort that the president favors and those that did not. The study found that between 2001 and 2010, residential electricity rates had increased by an average of 54.2 percent in the states with mandates, more than twice the increase seen in comparable states without a renewable fuel requirement.

The Georgetown speech also included a reference to the EPA’s new automobile fuel economy standards (CAFE): “We doubled the mileage our cars will get on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade.” Estimates by the National Automobile Dealers Association found that the new CAFE standards will boost the average price of a car by $3,000. Proponents correctly counter that that additional cost will be offset in extra fuel savings. On the other hand, a 2012 analysis by scholars at Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that setting automobile fuel economy standards is at least six to 14 times as costly to the economy as a gasoline tax that achieves the same cumulative carbon dioxide reduction. Technology mandates are a very expensive way to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

I say all this not to suggest that we should do nothing to address the possibility of a climate catastrophe. I say it because the Obamacare fiasco should be a warning to the president and other policymakers that a comparable ClimateCare program of top-down centralized planning will miscarry just as spectacularly. Wrecking both the health care and the energy sectors is hardly the kind of legacy a president should want to leave.


8 More Coal-Fired Power Plants Set to Close

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced earlier today that it will be closing 8 coal-fired power plants. The TVA is one the country’s 5 biggest users of coal for electricity, these 8 plants creating 3,300 megawatts of electricity.

This move is a decision made by executives to try and reduce coal to 20% of its total generating capacity. Two plants in Kentucky will be closed even though Senator Mitch McConnell tried to convince them not to do so in order to save jobs.

Of course the Sierra Club was at the forefront of the battle to get these plants closed. They had a lawyer involved in the negotiations with TVA from the beginning. Obviously it doesn’t help anything that the EPA keeps putting stricter rules and regulations on coal powered plants.

Deciding to close these plants not only puts many people out of work, but now this source of electricity is gone for many people in the areas around the plants. The plants set for closure include 6 in Alabama and 2 in Kentucky. It will be interesting to see the repercussions of their decision to close all of these plants in favor of gas-fired plants.

The energy war will continue on with the EPA in President Obama’s hands.


Rubbery Warmist "facts"

A leaked report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change depicts a crashing world, complete with impending wars and economic turmoil fostered by man-made greenhouse gases and overpopulation. We've all heard this before, but even as evidence mounts that the globe is reversing course, the IPCC continues to double down on catastrophic alarmism.

The Los Angeles Times writes, "The report describes a planet in peril as a result of the human-caused buildup of greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution, where glaciers are shrinking and plants and animals have shifted their ranges in response to rising temperatures. As global warming continues through the 21st century, many species will face greater risk of extinction, marine life will shift toward the poles and seawater will grow more acidic, the report says." Consequently, rising oceans will force millions near coastal waters from their homes, the global food supply will be severely suppressed, monumental heat waves will worsen (which, coupled with a growing population, will result in an increase in the number of deaths), extreme weather events will accelerate, and -- worst of all -- these effects will escalate the threat of regional wars. And that's not to mention sweaty underarms and burnt popcorn.

Meanwhile, the IPCC quietly corrected erroneous figures they cited in September. According to Reuters, "[T]he IPCC revised down the cumulative amount of carbon emitted since 1860-1881 to 515 billion tonnes from 531 billion given in September, and revised up the amount emitted since 1750 to 555 billion tonnes from 545 billion." Of course, they claim that the revision doesn't effect their climate prognostications. Recall in September when the panel was forced to address the unanticipated hiatus in global warming -- a development they attributed to unforeseen, natural factors that won't prevent long-term warming. In other words, their facts -- like their predictions -- are "evolving."

Such nonsense would be amusing if it weren't for the fact that economic stability and, yes, people's lives are being directly affected by policies based on scientific fallacies. Skeptics are continually chastised for questioning the legitimacy of the so-called scientific consensus that purports to know our future despite being continually and profoundly wrong. Ecofacists want to talk about what's moral? Then look in the mirror.


Local residents in Britain to get say on applications for wind farms in their area under new laws

Residents will have to be consulted over applications for wind farms in their area, under new laws set to come into force next month.

Currently only developers of a handful of the biggest wind farms have to discuss the implications of their projects with local people.

But new rules from the department of Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will mean even small developments of two or more turbines which are at least 50ft high will have to go through a similar process.

Officials said smaller developments can have a major impact on local areas and be widely opposed - but often the first time residents are aware of them is when an application is received by the council.

Under the new system, a consultation will have to be publicised before an application is made - either by email or letter or in a public meeting.

It will not guarantee more applications are rejected but will mean local residents get a greater say over the size and location from the start, when they have more opportunity to influence the process.

Mr Pickles, the communities secretary said: ‘We are making sure local people have a crystal clear voice in airing their opinions on wind turbines very early on. From day one communities should be centre stage in crafting plans that affect their lives instead of having them forced upon them.

‘Ensuring communities have a greater say at an early stage allows developers to consider much earlier whether to pursue a proposal and what changes they should consider before putting forward formal plans. Our changes allow people’s views and other impacts to be taken into consideration much earlier.’

There are already 4,000 onshore wind turbines in Britain and it is estimated 10,000 will be needed by the end of the decade to meet targets to cut carbon emissions.

But applications by developers, who stand to rake in tens of thousands of pounds in subsidies have angered local communities who think they blight the landscape and hit house prices.

Council planners already reject around half the applications they receive, but many are then approved on appeal by planning inspectors to champion green energy.

Mr Pickles announced this year that the drive to build wind farms would no longer automatically trump protecting the landscape.

In a major boost for anti-wind farm campaigners, their concerns about the visual and environmental impact must be taken into account, and that for six months his Whitehall department would centrally review some of the appeals to make sure residents get a say.

Wind farms are a running sore between the Liberal Democrats and the Tories. Over a hundred Conservative backbenchers, as well as some cabinet ministers, are opposed to onshore wind farms, which they say ruin the countryside and do not help mitigate climate change.

Tory energy minister Michael Fallon said: ‘These new rules will help ensure that in future people have a say earlier on in the process over where onshore turbines are sited. Wind is an important part of the UK’s energy mix, and both Government and industry agree that these proposals will ensure that new turbines are appropriately sited.’




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


November 15, 2013

Pollster Krosnick: Another climate crook

Stanford University’s Jon Krosnick ( has been receiving a huge splash of publicity with his allegedly surprising state-by-state poling showing ‘the vast majority of Americans in each of 40-plus states surveyed say global warming is real, serious and man-made’ (USA Today)

Jon Krosnick is the director of Stanford’s Political Psychology Research Group.

Krosnick’s polling results, complete with handy maps showing rising “belief” in man-made global warming, are a climate activists dream. According to Krosnick’s new poll: “Majorities of residents in every state surveyed said the government should limit greenhouse gas emissions by businesses and, in particular, by power plants. Majorities also favored a cap-and-trade system to limit emissions; tax breaks to encourage the production of energy from the sun, wind and water; carbon sequestration; and government regulations or tax breaks to require or encourage improvements in the energy efficiency of automobiles, appliances and buildings. No state had a majority of residents opposed to any of those policies.”

Could Krosnick be right? Is his poll a true shocker that shows the American public is now in lock step with Al Gore and the UN IPCC and the mainstream media?! Answer: Don’t bet on it.

Even fellow global warming activists like UN IPCC’s Princeton University Prof. Michael Oppenheimer acknowledged this week that Krosnick’s Stanford polls tend to skew to more “believers” in man-made global warming. Oppenheimer tweeted on November 12: “Interesting new poll; often more believers in Stanford polls.”

Krosnick’s polling flies in the face of recent polling showing a committed lack of belief and concern about man-made global warming from large segments of the U.S. public. See: 2013 Rasmussen Reports Poll: Most People Don’t Blame Humans for Global Warming Pew poll: ‘Americans are relatively unconcerned about global climate change’ — ‘Americans among the least concerned about this issue of the 39 publics surveyed’

Obama: ‘Dial testing’ of his State of the Union speech showed that the favorability ratings ‘plummeted’ when he vowed to act on climate change if Congress refused to do so – Wash Post excerpt: ‘Obama expressed concerns about the political pain involved, saying that ‘dial testing’ of his State of the Union speech showed that the favorability ratings ‘plummeted’ when he vowed to act on climate change if Congress refused to do so.’

2013 Pew Survey says only 42% say both that climate change is happening AND that it is mostly caused by human activity – ‘Not even Hurricane Sandy led to a lasting change in attitudes’

Washington Post Insiders: ‘Democrats’ lost momentum on climate change’ — ‘Climate change is probably leaving the stage as a political issue — just as Pres. Obama is trying to gather momentum for a major push’

Washington Post: ‘The public’s interest in climate change is waning’ – ‘A new Pew poll shows the percentage who say that global warming is a ‘very serious’ problem has slipped six points since October’

Cheers! Global Poll: ‘The perceived seriousness of climate change has fallen particularly sharply since unsuccessful UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen in Dec. 2009?

Krosnick Publicly Reprimanded for poor results and methods by both Gallup & Pew

Krosnick’s polling methods have been publicly reprimanded by both Gallup and Pew Center Survey for his faulty results and analyses. See: Warming propagandist Prof. Krosnick exposed: Pew research ‘says that Krosnick’s survey is marred by faulty methodology. …used words that encouraged a positive response’ - Pew: ‘This is known in the polling world as acquiescence bias…almost all (surveys), except Mr. Krosnick’s, show a significant decline in belief in climate change’


Polling propaganda Prof. Krosnick slapped down by Gallup Polling! Recent polling ‘shows demonstrable drops in Americans’ acknowledgment of and concern about global warming’ - Krosnick’s Op-Ed ‘could leave the impression that polls showing a decline in American concern about climate change should be ignored or are incorrect. This would be a mistake. A number of survey questions, conducted by several polling organizations — including Mr. Krosnick’s own recent survey — show demonstrable drops in Americans’ acknowledgment of and concern about global warming.”

Krosnick’s polling results on global warming have been challenged for years. See: Flashback 2008: Krosnick’s long history of climate propaganda: ‘Krosnick invents a consensus position: climate change is occurring. But this is a meaningless assertion, devoid of any scientific value the public can expect psychologists to be engaged in brainwashing them into accepting political propaganda’ – ‘Krosnick conducted a poll amongst the public, to see if their beliefs match those of the scientists, but neglected to poll scientists to establish their views’

Professor Krosnick’s polling has been seen as propaganda for years. One 2010 headline said it all: Krosnick’s Polling Con Job: ‘When you don’t like the poll numbers, make up your own poll’

Now, in November 2013, Krosnick is at it again. He claims his latest survey purportedly reveals “Majorities consistently said that the U.S. should take action regardless of what other countries do.” Krosnick also conveniently claimed his research “suggested members of Congress who question global warming or oppose EPA power plant rules may not have an accurate view of what their constituents want.”

In short, Krosnick’s own personal views of on climate change and what he would like to see happen with regard to energy policy are now projected onto the American public.

Krosnick Using 2006 Polling Public Opinion Data to Draw Conclusions in 2013

Krosnick’s media hyped state-by-state climate survey, relies on a mix of 21 existing surveys (mostly by Stanford) of recent polling data and some very old polling data going back to 2006! According to Stanford’s website, Krosnick relied on 21 surveys “primarily conducted between 2006 and 2013. Data from 19,751 respondents were analyzed.:

Krosnick would have us believe that 2006 polling data is somehow relevant to today’s global warming debate. Is 2006 data relevant to the UN climate summit or EPA regulations in 2013? But don’t worry, we are assured by Stanford University that Krosnick applied his special techniques to massage er — conduct a “secondary analysis” of the data to reach his obviously predetermined results.


Early Northern winter -- global cooling?

One half of North America’s largest ski area will open this weekend, thirteen days ahead of schedule.

Whistler Mountain at Whistler Blackcomb will now open on Saturday, thanks to cold temperatures, intensive snowmaking and heavy snowfall.

Five lifts will be in operation and guests will have the option of uploading from the Whistler Village or Creekside gondolas, with three lifts running higher up the mountain. Blackcomb Mountain will open as scheduled on 28 November.

A statement from Whistler said: "Thanks to oodles of snow, Whistler Mountain will open 13 days early this season. Whistler is renowned, season upon season, for being the number one ski resort for guaranteed snow - lots of it - and this winter will be no exception."

A number of resorts are already open in North America and Europe, including Obergurgl in Austria, which opened today, and Cairngorm Mountain in Scotland which opened last weekend, its earliest start since 2008.


It's Not Just Winter, It's a New Ice Age

By Alan Caruba

When you consider that a bunch of global warming propagandists, the 19th Conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to reduce “greenhouse gas” emissions has been meeting in Warsaw this month are still claiming that we are in the midst of global warming, you have a demonstration of how great a hoax has been perpetrating on the peoples of the world. These people and the scientists who supplied the falsified and inaccurate climate models to support the global warming claims have committed a criminal fraud.

Bit by bit, the truth in the form of increasingly cold weather is causing people to wonder whether they are being duped. The media has either buried the stories of extraordinary cold events or continues to tip-toe around the truth.

An example is a recent Wall Street Journal article by Robert Lee Hotz,“Strange Doings on the Sun”, Hotz reported that “Researchers are puzzled. They can’t tell if the lull is temporary or the onset of a decades-long decline, which might ease global warming a bit by altering the sun’s brightness or the wavelengths of its light.”

After describing the fact that the Sun has entered a period of reduced sunspot activity, always a precursor to a cooling cycle and even an ice age, Dr. David Hathaway, head of the solar physics group at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, is quoted as saying “It may give us a brief respite from global warming, but it is not going to stop it.”

Plainly said, you cannot trust what government scientists have to say about global warming. The government’s policy since the late 1980s has been that global warming is real and poses a great threat to the Earth. What Dr. Hathaway and other “warmists” are desperately trying to ignore is the fact that the Earth entered a natural and predictable cooling cycle around 1997 or 1998. It has been cooling ever since!

In 1997 Robert W. Felix authored the definitive book on the coming ice age in his book, “Not by Fire, but by Ice.” It is still widely available. His website, provides updated information on the many weather events around the world that demonstrate an ice age—whether it is a mini-ice age or a full-scale one—is occurring. Felix says that a major Ice Age, when it begins, will come on very swiftly.

One post on Felix’s website is about Victor Emanuel Velasco Herrera, a geophysicist at the University of Mexico, who predicts that the “Earth will enter a ‘Little Ice Age’ which will last from 60 to 80 years and may be caused by the decrease in solar activity.” You don’t have to be a geophysicist to figure out that less solar activity adds up to a colder Earth.

2014 is the year many scientists believe an ice age, “mini” or full-scale will begin. Herrera hedged his prediction saying that “with the mass production of current carbon dioxide (CO2) it is unlikely that we will see a major ice age like the one experienced 12,000 years ago.” Carbon Dioxide plays no role in warming the Earth. It is a very minor element of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The implications of an ice age, no matter how long or short, is its impact on the growing of crops to feed everyone. Dr. Tim Patterson of Canada’s Carleton University’s Department of Earth Sciences, in a May 18, 2007 article in the Calgary Times, wrote that satellite data “shows that by the year 2020 the next solar cycle is going to be solar cycle 25—the weakest one since the Little Ice Age (that started in the 13th century and ended around 1860)…should be a great strategic concern in Canada because nobody is farming north of us. In other words, Canada—the great breadbasket of the world—might not be able to grow grains in much of the prairies.” This prediction applies as well, of course, to the U.S. production of grains.

Other scientists have been sounding the alarm, predicting dramatic cooling to begin in the current decade. Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, a Fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, has noted that “Earth has passed the peak of its warmer period and a fairly cold spell will set in quite soon, by 2012, real cold will come when solar activity reaches its minimum, by 2041, and will last for 50-60 years or even longer.” While the years cited by scientists may differ, they are in agreement that we are looking at decades of cold.

In the years since the late 1980s when “global warming” was unleashed on the world as the greatest hoax of the modern era, billions have come to believe the Earth was threatened by greater warming cause by man-made “greenhouse gases” resulting from industrial and all other uses of fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. While carbon dioxide has, indeed, increased in the atmosphere, the truth is that the Earth has entered a cooling cycle and that it is on the cusp of very cold weather for decades. We could even cross over into a full-fledged Ice Age because one is overdue at this point in time.

You cannot depend on what the mass media tells you. They are hardwired to continue the global warming hoax. You can, however, educate yourself with books such as Robert Felix’s. You can use Google to find out more about ice ages. You can and should prepare yourself for changes in the Earth’s climate that will have vast impacts on the global economy and on the ability to grow enough crops to feed the world’s population.


The 52% ‘consensus’

by Judith Curry

A comprehensive survey has been conducted of the American Meteorological Society membership to elicit their views on global warming.

The most interesting finding is this table:

Table 1. Meteorologists’ assessment of human-712 caused global warming by area and level of expertise. Figures are percentages rounded to the nearest whole number. Numbers in the bottom four rows represent percentage of respondents giving each possible response to the follow-up email question, including non-response to the email (labeled “insufficient evidence – unknown”). These responses together add to the same number as displayed in the insufficient evidence (total) row; some differences occur due to rounding. Similarly, columns total to 100% if all numbers except those in the bottom four rows are added, and differences from 100 are due to rounding. Although 1854 people completed some portion of the survey, this table only displays the results for 1821 respondents, since 33 (less than 2% of the sample) did not answer one or more of the questions on expertise and global warming causation.

Look at the views in column 1, then look at the % in the rightmost column: 52% state the the warming since 1850 is mostly anthropogenic. One common categorization would categorize the other 48% as ‘deniers’.

The table seeks to discriminate between those whose expertise is in climate science vs meteorology/atmospheric science. In the context of the AMS membership, I think this distinction is ambiguous. With regards to myself, I would have checked atmospheric science (most of my research is related to physical processes, not to climate change per se). I suspect that those focusing on climate impacts would check the box for climate expertise (note, only 222 checked the box for climate science). The distinction between publishing vs non publishing members probably is meaningful; only 52% of the respondents held Ph.Ds. Non Ph.D. members may be in the private sector or government employees.

JC comments:

This study is an important one, in spite of its methodological flaws and not-quite-adequate list of questions.

Members of the American Meteorological Society generally have better expertise for assessing issues related to climate change detection and attribution than the AGU (with substantial numbers of geophysicists, geochemists, etc), the AAAS, the APS, etc. And this is in spite of the fact that a substantial number of members do not have a Ph.D. We have discussed previously on the Joe Bastardi thread the value of the perspectives of forecast meteorologists, including those without Ph.D.s – they certainly understand limitations of forecasting and general circulation models.


Funding Drought Threatens 2015 UN Climate Agreement

A major UN climate change summit opens in Poland today amid warnings talks could collapse because of a lack of financial support from rich nations.

Oxfam says developed countries are giving more to the fossil fuel industry than to projects in poorer regions focused on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and are way off meeting a collective promise to supply US$ 100 billion a year by 2020.

It calculates as little as US$ 7.6 billion may have been provided in 2013, with some wealthier countries such as Canada and Australia offering nothing at all. That’s around US$ 24 billion less than was delivered in the previous two years.

And the NGO says the ability of developing nations to build ‘green’ economies that can cope with projected impacts from global warming is being put at risk by this funding shortfall.

“Rich countries must make it clear to poor countries what money is available now and in the coming years to help them adapt to climate change and reduce their emissions,” said Oxfam’s Climate spokesperson, Kelly Dent.

“Uncertainty from one year to the next makes it impossible for vulnerable countries to take the action they need to protect their citizens. This murkiness will only heighten distrust around the negotiating table.”

The flow of finance between developed and developing nations is a running sore point between the two sides at UN talks.

After a brief peak between 2010-2012 when US$ 30bn was delivered to help climate-related initiatives in the Global South, contributions have fallen off sharply.

In 2012 the UK committed to doubling its climate finance levels up to 2015, while Germany and France have also offered increases up to 2014.

But elsewhere the picture appears bleak, with the USA’s chief climate diplomat Todd Stern admitting last month that the “hard reality” was funding was unlikely to rise soon.

“The fiscal reality of the United States and other developed countries is not going to allow it,” he said in a speech in London.

“This is not just a matter of the recent financial crisis; it is structural, based on the huge obligations we face from aging populations and other pressing needs for infrastructure, education, health care and the like.”


Australia: Climate tax, aid and fees off table as cabinet toughens stance

The federal cabinet has ruled that Australia will not sign up to any new contributions, taxes or charges at this week's global summit on climate change, in a significant toughening of its stance as it plans to move within days to repeal the carbon tax.

Cabinet ministers have decided to reject any measures of "socialism masquerading as environmentalism" after meeting last week to consider a submission on the position the government would take to the Warsaw conference.

A further document was produced after the meeting that outlines the government's position.

The Australian has seen part of the document and it declares that, while Australia will remain "a good international citizen" and remains "committed to achieving the 5 per cent reduction" by 2020 of the 2000 levels of emissions, it will not sign up to any new agreement that involves spending money or levying taxes.

This rules out Australia playing any role in a wealth transfer from rich countries to developing nations to pay them to decrease their carbon emissions.

The decision hardens the nation's approach to the UN's negotiations amid a renewed push from less-developed countries this week for $100 billion a year in finance to deal with climate change.

Cabinet decided that Australia would consider joining a new scheme after 2015, but only if all the major global economies did likewise.

Senior ministers believe there is absolutely no chance of that happening.

The Abbott government has explicitly decided that it will not agree to any payments or accept any liabilities as part of any carbon agreement.

The government's document also says that Australia "will not support any measures which are socialism masquerading as environmentalism".

The document's commitment that the government "will review its commitment in 2015 in light of the science and international developments" deliberately allows a range of policy outcomes.

In the unlikely event that all major economies move in a concerted way, Australia could join in. However, the language provides that if the science becomes more unclear, and if nations move away from their earlier enthusiasm for action, then Australia also could wind back its efforts.

This explicitly does not mean winding back on the 5 per cent reduction target for 2020, but does mean that after 2020 things are less clear.

The government's document also says Australia's efforts on greenhouse gases will be conditioned by "fiscal circumstances"....

Mr Abbott has been strongly critical of agreements in which Australian funds are used to buy permits that are meant to fund cuts to greenhouse gas reductions in other countries - a key mechanism in the global talks.

The Coalition based its criticism of Labor policy on official forecasts showing Australian emissions would rise over time and that the 5 per cent target was only reached by purchasing overseas permits at an eventual cost of $150bn a year in 2050.

"This is by far the biggest wealth transfer from Australians to foreigners that's ever been contemplated," Mr Abbott said of purchasing offshore carbon permits.

By formalising these concerns in official policy, federal cabinet is preparing to counter any move at the Warsaw talks to accelerate climate change financing deals meant to be worth $100bn a year.

On a per-capita basis, Australia's contribution to the $100bn in global climate change finance would be $2.4bn or more.




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


November 14, 2013

That pesky temperature stasis (referred to by Warmists as a "slowdown" now that they have eventually admitted it)

Since even Warmist figures show temperatures on a plateau for the last 17 years that is mighty embarrassing to Warmists. Something must be done! And, regrettably, the only thing that CAN really be done is to throw all the existing figures out the window! And a new paper by Cowtan and Wray (no relation) does just that. And their new method of juggling the figures shows warming!

Skeptics have of course been having a ball poking holes in it but I will simply reproduce below Judith Curry's evaluation of the paper. As a senior climate scientist, she knows where the skeletons are buried. After a thorough survey of the paper she concludes as follows:

Let’s take a look at the 3 methods they use to fill in missing data, primarily in Africa, Arctic, and Antarctic.

1. Kriging
2. UAH satellite analyses of surface air temperature
3. NCAR NCEP reanalysis

They state that most of the difference in their reconstructed global average comes from the Arctic, so I focus on the Arctic (which is where I have special expertise in any event).

First, Kriging. Kriging across land/ocean/sea ice boundaries makes no physical sense. While the paper cites Rigor et al. (2000) that shows ‘some’ correlation in winter between land and sea ice temps at up to 1000 km, I would expect no correlation in other seasons.

Second, UAH satellite analyses. Not useful at high latitudes in the presence of temperature inversions and not useful over sea ice (which has a very complex spatially varying microwave emission signature). Hopefully John Christy will chime in on this.

Third, re reanalyses in the Arctic. See Fig 1 from this paper, which gives you a sense of the magnitude of grid point errors for one point over an annual cycle. Some potential utility here, but reanalyses are not useful for trends owing to temporal inhomogeneities in the datasets that are assimilated.

So I don’t think Cowtan and Wray’s analysis adds anything to our understanding of the global surface temperature field and the ‘pause.’

The bottom line remains Ed Hawkins’ figure that compares climate model simulations for regions where the surface observations exist. This is the appropriate way to compare climate models to surface observations, and the outstanding issue is that the climate models and observations disagree.


That's a pretty swingeing dismissal of the paper. Note: Kriging is estimating a curve from a small number of data points: Educated guesswork, in short -- JR

Another puerile atempt to exploit the recent cyclone in the Philippines

We skeptics have blood on our hands according to Jeffrey Sachs, a prominent Warmist academic -- who claims that Typhoons and the like are increasing. Roger Pielke Jr., however, shows what the facts are: He Tweeted:

"Wrong @JeffDSachs Attached figure from paper you (mis)cite for WNP basin (where Haiyan hit) showing trends, see any?"

There is of course no trend. WNP = Western North Pacific -- one of the 7 basins where cyclones occur

More typhoons will happen unless liberal energy policies are adopted, and those who disagree have “blood on their hands” – at least according to climate alarmist Jeffrey Sachs.

Sachs, a friend of liberal billionaire George Soros and head of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and a favorite of the news media, appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Nov. 12 to discuss the recent tragedy caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

“What’s happening here, and this is the part that people have a hard time, you know, coming to grips with, is that we’re partly causing this,” Sachs said. “We’re causing this because there are more and more of these storms, because of the way that humanity is changing the world’s environment.”

Sach’s referenced an unnamed study that said that inclement weather was getting worse over time. “I brought along from 2008 a scientific study showing that the number of extreme storms or – not the frequency, but the power of them has been rising decade by decade, as the ocean water is warming And so this kind of event, we’re seeing more of it.”

Sachs’ claim was right out of the global warming activist playbook for any sort of natural disaster. However, he ignored the Atlantic hurricane season forecasts’ “bust” in 2013. In fact, so far 2013 has been only two storms away from going the entire season without a single hurricane.

Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons all fall in the category of tropical cyclones according to Time. Time’s Bryan Walsh in a piece advocating for reductions in greenhouse gase emissions admitted that the IPCC’s latest report had “low confidence” there would be more intense tropical cyclones in coming decades. He also wrote, “if existing climate change played a role in supercharging Haiyan, it’s likely tiny, as NASA climatologist Bill Patzert told the Pasadena Star-News: The fingerprint is very small, if at all. If the winds are 200 mph, global warming might have contributed 5 mph to that 200 mph.”

Despite what Sachs and the media have claimed about climate change not all scientists are of the same viewpoint. More than 1,000 scientists are on record dissenting in some way from the so-called "consensus." U.S. government atmospheric scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has said, "It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don't buy into anthropogenic [manmade] global warming." Other scientists disagree about the extent of man’s influence on climate or over how threatening that is to the planet.

According to Sachs, those who oppose changing the way our nation uses energy are to blame for these kinds of disasters. “This kind of event will happen more frequently unless we change the way we run our energy system. This is what humanity is doing. This is very, very hard to come to grips with,” Sachs said.

Sachs wasn’t just saying that energy policy has to be changed either. He thinks that people responsible for opposing “green” energy plans are guilty whenever someone dies from a natural disaster. Sachs tweeted on Nov. 10 that “Climate liars like Rupert Murdoch & Koch Brothers have more & more blood on their hands as climate disasters claim lives across the world.”


The theology of global warming (It's all theology anyway)

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, M.Div., Ph.D., Professor of Theology and Immediate Past President of Chicago Theological Seminary, fills us in. She seems to think God is a Warmist. Maybe someone should thwaite her thistle. My theological pronouncement on the matter: "All Thistlethwaites and Gilfillans have icewater where blood should be"

Christian theology distinguishes between “natural evil,” that is, destruction and suffering that can be caused by natural phenomena like earthquakes or storms, and moral evil, the kind of evils that result from the interlocking effects of human sin.

Is the destructiveness of Typhoon Haiyan a tragedy of “natural evil,” the kind of horrible occurrence that occurs randomly in nature? Or, is it actually moral evil, traceable to human sin?

There is no doubt this storm is a massive evil. Haiyan, with its sustained wind speeds of 150 to 170 mph, is among the strongest storms on record and it has produced mass suffering and death, as well as widespread destruction.

The fact that we are having to invent new language to describe such massively destructive storms, like “Super Typhoon Haiyan” or “Superstorm Sandy” suggests we need to take a different look at such violent storms today and theologically assess the human responsibility for them.

These “superstorms” aren’t an “act of God,” but an act of willful disregard for God’s creation, and the neglect of the human responsibility to care for the planet.

There is a stronger and stronger case to be made that these “superstorms” and “supertyphoon” phenomena are product of abrupt climate changes due to global warming produced by the continued (and increasing) burning fossil fuels.

As these massively destructive storms capture our attention, our compassion, and hopefully our charity as well, they are also convincing many more Americans that human activity is the cause.

There is a theological prescription, in a classical sense, for what we must do: confession, repentance and change. In the case of what we are up against in terms of planetary destruction, those theological directives look like this:

Admit human caused, violently destructive climate change is happening. The harm to God’s creation is real, it is happening and human beings bear enormous responsibility for it.

Repent for what we have already lost by inaction. Those who talk about “reversing the effects of climate change” are also engaging in a form of denial. There is no reversing, but that does not mean the climate change is unstoppable at current levels. But action to stop what we have already done, and slow down future changes, is urgent.

Change personal practice and public policy. The World Health Organization has a good analysis of climate change policies that are needed. So do many other reputable organizations. Individuals need to take responsibility as well, both to move toward less of a carbon footprint, and to vote for those who will make positive policy changes.


Political rows over energy ‘will leave Britain debating in the dark’

Political rows over energy policy will leave Britain “having a debate in the dark” as investors are spooked from building new power plants, a leading investor has warned.

Wind farm developer Dong Energy said it was now extremely difficult” for the company to make investment decisions in the UK because energy was being treated as a “political football” and delays to policy reforms.

The chief executives of two other energy giants, Drax and E.On, echoed the warnings at an energy industry conference on Tuesday, saying the political climate was worrying and driving up the cost of capital.

Benj Sykes, UK country manager at Dong Energy, which has invested about £4bn in the UK over the past decade, said: “We are now living in the world of rhetoric and unfortunately rational debate is becoming an endangered species.”

The company was now looking back “wistfully” on the past few years’ broad consensus on energy, he said, adding: “My goodness what a difference a conference season can make.”

Since Ed Miliband announced plans at the Labour Party Conference for a retail energy price freeze, the Prime Minister has responded with an announcement of a review of "green levies". Some ministers have suggested this includes a review of levies to subsidise new power plants, despite denials from the Energy Department.

Mr Sykes said he was struggling to convince Dong’s board in Copenhagen that there was the political agreement and certainty needed to invest in the UK, warning: “We need to get back to agreeing on a few things otherwise we are all going to be sat here having a debate in the dark.”

Mr Sykes also criticised the slow pace of the Government’s energy policy reforms, which are supposed to encourage construction of new power plants. He complaining the process had been going on for three years and had “more than 4,000 pages of consultation and documentation” but still had “quite a bit to go, quite a lot of detail to be finalised”.

“For us that is starting to become a challenge. Our future round of investments – we are talking a few billion pounds worth of investments - they are not on the horizon, they are actually knocking on the door now. So we do need that certainty, and time is getting short,” he told the EnergyUK conference.

Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of Drax, which is in the process of converting the UKs largest coal-fired power station to burn biomass, also warned about the nature of the political debate. “I worry about what’s going on,” she said. “Rational behaviour starts to get set aside when things get too emotional. And there is a lot of emotion at the present.”

She said the industry wanted to find a solution to the basic challenge of balancing affordability, energy security and decarbonisation but warned:

“There is no obvious solution,” she added.

Tony Cocker, chief executive of E.On, said: “The perception of political risk has increased over the past few weeks.”

Mr Cocker has already written to Mr Miliband to warn that the cost of capital for investors – and therefore future energy prices - had been increased because of the “disproportionate and inappropriate” price freeze.


Warmists debate a "green dictatorship"

But the writer below concludes regretfully that it would be too hard to do

This diary was composed in response to a comment in my last diary to the effect that what the world needs is some sort of "green dictatorship" -- that if people are not going to do of their own free will what is necessary to mitigate the coming global warming catastrophe, then people need to be forced to quit accelerating the Earth's transformation into some sort of cooler version of Venus through runaway global warming. I can only assume that arguments of this sort are made out of a sort of realistic desperation, given the enormous scope of the problem and the general unwillingness of present-day human governments to do a whole lot about it....

As I understand them, dictatorships (and authoritarian governments in general) are mostly about process. Fundamentally, they are about two processes which can be queried as follows: 1) what does it take to become a dictator? and 2) what does it take to maintain a dictatorship? Generally dictatorships thrive on mechanisms of power: total surveillance, militarization of everyday life, persecution of dissidents, placation of the masses, ideological propaganda, and so on. We have plenty of that throughout the world even though it coexists with "democracy" quite well.

Consumer products are good things for a dictatorship, because the masses can be bribed with them. Accept our tyranny, the regime says, because most of you will get a cheap toaster oven. Capitalism is also good for authoritarian governance, because that way you can have "leaders" who take responsibility for official actions, and moneyed power behind the scenes directing everything with massive infusions of cash.

Voting is good for dictatorship maintenance. Voting is especially good when you have an oligarchic system, with two major parties. The dictators can switch positions now and then, and the electoral system can endlessly promote "voter choice" even when the outcomes are similar in many respects regardless of who wins. (The idea that "the Republicans are worse," although true, does not contradict this reality.) Dictatorship is not contradicted by voting; the Soviets voted. Real democracy is when the public will makes policy decisions -- it's not "American Fascism" or "inverted totalitarianism" or "no functioning democracy." Thus the word "democracy" -- "demos" = the people, "cratein" = to rule.

The masses are going to need some amount of hope, and global warming is not going to give them hope. So I don't see how the coming eco-dictatorship is going to supply people with hope. I suppose they could feed everyone a bunch of false hope while pursuing a green agenda, but who is going to buy into that? And where is the truth when everyone is lying? Apparently the Chinese want to pursue green energy to a much greater extent than they do, but they still keep burning enormous quantities of coal nonetheless, having thrown their lot in with the ideological hopes of capitalist growth. And even so, ecology appears to be on the side of rebellion in China, which has experienced no shortage of despairing anti-pollution protests in the past few decades (at least if you believe the economist Minqi Li).

Dictatorships typically arise on the crest of an ideological wave. The Nazis had Nazism, which was created before their takeover in 1933; Mussolini's autobiography boasts that he had parlayed the culture of the people into a position of power, and the Soviets combined Czarist brutality with a cultural communism which had already been part of Russian culture by the time 1917 rolled around. So why would green-thinking people want to trust a dictatorship to remold the world today?

Groupthink thrives in dictatorships. Even if our favored dictatorship's groupthink were the "right" groupthink -- for instance, you'd want everyone to agree that something needs to be done about global warming -- you'd still run into implementation problems. We'll need creative solutions to the food problem, for instance, as the global food transportation system is partially dismantled in favor of local food production/ consumption. Climate change is the sort of problem that requires creativity, and creativity is hindered when everyone is following orders or going along with official directives.

Wanting to remold society according to one's wishes is nice, pleasant wishful thinking. In reality, the means of remolding would take over if we could somehow amass the power to realize eco-fantasies of global transformation through dictatorship, and bring us the same crazy world we thought we were trying to transcend. If we are to change the world to survive global warming, we must have the patience, humility, and expertise of star teachers, and cultivate learning experiences in which the people find out how to direct their own, collective fates. It can happen democratically.


Australia: Vegetation clearing rules to be eased in fire-prone parts of NSW

The NSW government plans to loosen planning rules to give residents in bushfire-prone regions more freedom to clear vegetation around their homes without a permit.

The new rules, to be introduced next year in the next session of Parliament, would allow homeowners in designated areas to fell trees within 10 metres of their homes and clear shrubs and other vegetation out to 50 metres on their own land without requiring planning permission.

The proposal comes weeks after early-season bushfires in the Blue Mountains and elsewhere destroyed more than 200 homes and damaged 120 more.

"Residents in designated bushfire prone areas will not need to seek permission to sensibly clear vegetation from around their property that is posing a fire risk," Premier Barry O'Farrell said in a statement.

"This will need to be done in an environmentally responsible manner."

Homeowners will be encouraged to "responsibly manage fire risks on their own properties", Mr O'Farrell said.

"Our changes will ensure the rules regarding hazard reduction are based on protecting lives and property – and not satisfying a narrow Green agenda that seeks to put trees before people."

While the clearing rules won't go before the Parliament this year, the government will this week introduce laws giving the Rural Fire Service Commissioner the power to carry out hazard reduction burning on private land without consent of the owner if "reasonable attempts to contact the landowner have failed", the statement said.

The RFS Commissioner will also have the power to direct a Bush Fire Management Committee to amend its Bush Fire Risk Management Plan if it is considered to be inadequate, the statement said.

"We need to ensure the community is as prepared as it possibly can be for future bushfires and that authorities have the powers they need to conduct essential hazard reduction work," Mr O'Farrell said.




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


November 13, 2013

Everything the Australian Green Party claims about this typhoon is wrong

Andrew Bolt

The Greens are despicable. They are enemies of reason, and the question is whether their sin is ignorance or deceit. Here is deputy Greens leader Adam Bandt today:

"Well, I think if the Prime Minister is out there referring to the Leader of the Opposition as ‘Electricity’ Bill, then he can be expected to be referred to as Typhoon Tony himself. The head in the sand approach to global warming in the face of the leaders of the Philippines themselves saying this is what we are in store for unless we get global warming under control makes Australia an international pariah and shows that really at the end of the day Tony Abbott does not believe the science."

Here is Greens leader Christine Milne yesterday:

"In our region Typhoon Haiyan and 10,000 people if not more dead in the Phillipines from a storm with such intensity there is now debate whether it is the strongest typhoon ever. Prof Steffen, one our leading scientists, is out saying that it is the warming of the oceans off the eastern Philippines that has led to the intensity of the typhoon."

Almost everything both Greens have said is false, baseless or misleading. Fact check:

* Was this typhoon the strongest ever? No. Typhoon Reming, which struck the Philippines seven years ago, was stronger, says the Philippine Met Agency.

* Was this typhoon the deadliest ever? No. The death toll, now estimated by the Philippines president at 2000 to 2500, is dwarfed by death tolls of 300,000 or even more from past typhoons and cyclones. The deadliest 35 cyclones in history all killed more than 12,000 people.

* Does data show we’re getting more or worse cyclones? No, says the latest IPCC report.

* Did this typhoon pass over seas made warmer than usual, thanks to global warming? No. Sea temperatures in the typhoon’s path were at the 30 year average.

* Have more cyclones struck the Philippines over recent decades? No, say experts.

This was an incredibly strong typhoon, and it has caused a terrible loss of life. But there is no global warming signal here. Nor would anything Tony Abbott did - or failed to do - make cyclones more or less likely.

Adam Bandt has ignored all the science and all reason to slur Abbott. He shames himself. This is ignorance posing as virtue.


The Greens have censored almost every sceptical comment from their thread on this topic:

Off-topic and abusive posts have been removed. Please do not allow conversation to be derailed by those people refusing to confront the scientific reality of climate change. The debate has been had, the science is in. Links to conspiracy theorists, deniers and the blog of News Limited’s highest-paid internet troll will be removed.


Typhoon Haiyan overshadows UN climate talks

The devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan cast a gloom over U.N. climate talks Monday as the envoy from the Philippines broke down in tears and announced he would fast until a "meaningful outcome is in sight."

Naderev "Yeb" Sano's emotional appeal was met with a standing ovation at the start of two-week talks in Warsaw where more than 190 countries will try to lay the groundwork for a new pact to fight global warming.

U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres also made reference to the "devastating impact" of the typhoon in her opening speech, and urged delegates to "go that extra mile" in their negotiations.

Scientists say single weather events cannot conclusively be linked to global warming. Also, the link between man-made warming and hurricane activity is unclear, though rising sea levels are expected to make low-lying nations more vulnerable to storm surges.

Nevertheless, extreme weather such as hurricanes often prompt calls for urgency at the U.N. talks.

Last year, Hurricane Sandy's assault on the U.S. East Coast and Typhoon Bopha's impact on the Philippines were mentioned as examples of disasters the world could see more of unless it reins in the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are warming the planet.

"We can fix this. We can stop this madness. Right now, right here," Sano told delegates in Warsaw.

Choking on his words, he said he was waiting in agony for news from relatives caught in the massive storm's path, though he was relieved to hear his brother had survived. "In the last two days he has been gathering bodies of the dead with his own two hands," Sano said.

"In solidarity with my countrymen who are struggling to find food back home ... I will now commence a voluntary fasting for the climate," he added. "This means I will voluntarily refrain from eating food during this (conference) until a meaningful outcome is in sight."

On the sidelines of the conference, climate activists called on developed countries to step up their emissions cuts and their pledges of financing to help poor countries adapt to rising seas and other impacts of climate change.

Tense discussions also are expected on a proposed "loss and damage" mechanism that would allow vulnerable countries to get compensation for climate impacts that it's already too late to adapt to.

Asked whether the U.S. had any plans to increase its emissions target in the international talks, U.S. negotiator Trigg Talley said the "focus for us now" is to meet the existing target, of cutting emissions by 17 percent between 2005 and 2020.

"I think that we are on the right track to achieve it," he said, noting President Barack Obama's plans to cut emissions from power plants, boost renewable energy and other measures.

Though no major decisions are expected at the conference in Warsaw's National Stadium, the level of progress could be an indicator of the world's chances of reaching a deal in 2015. That's the new watershed year in the U.N.-led process after a 2009 summit in Copenhagen ended in discord.


Green dreams following the kibbutz track to oblivion

Comment from Australia

SOMETIMES it pays to revisit significant cultural moments, even the small ones that slip by unnoticed. Back in March 2007, then presenter of ABC TV's The 7.30 Report, Kerry O'Brien, introduced a story about the kibbutz movement in Israel.

It was, said O'Brien, "a remarkable experiment in how humans can live together, but it's now facing the end of an era". O'Brien continued: "After almost 100 years, Israel's first kibbutz, the model for all that followed, has become a victim of market forces and has given up on the collectivist dream."

Around the country, members of the Left were surely shedding quiet tears as their utopian dream was exposed as just that: misplaced hopes by well-meaning people who refuse to face reality. Reporter David Hardaker picked up the story from Kibbutz Degania, explaining that "some on the kibbutz weren't as industrious as others. Money and reward for effort became a flashpoint."

He reported that market forces had "crushed the ideal, and young people have been deserting the kibbutz for the outside world where, the harder you work, the more you get". To its credit, the kibbutz movement managed to deceive itself about human nature and market forces for almost 100 years. But sooner or later, reality hit. As Hardaker reported, "By a vote of 85 per cent, (Kibbutz Degania) decided the individual could and should be paid according to effort."

And when reality does hit, it ought to be a reminder that there will always be another generation of dreamers. And sooner or later they, too, will discover that reality trumps sandcastles in the air.

O'Brien's lament about the end of the kibbutz movement came to mind when, earlier this month, German environmentalists sought to put ownership of power assets back in the hands of German people. Could there be another significant cultural moment around the corner, this time about the unreality of green dreams?

This time it will be a clash between reality and misplaced aspirations of environmentalists who believe they, unlike the farmers at a kibbutz, can actually beat market forces.

Will human nature and market forces once again be the ruination of utopian dreamers?

More than two decades after governments sold off power assets, the people of Hamburg last month voted to put them back in the hands of the people. There was a similar push in Berlin earlier this month where activists and green groups at the Energietisch (or Energy Table) tried to sell the dream that buying back power stations and electricity grids would bring down the skyrocketing price of energy and increase the use of renewable energy.

While the vote failed, that is unlikely to be the end of the story. European elites tend to keep putting their agendas to a vote until the lumpenproletariat follow their lead. The activists want nothing short of a green revolution - to raise renewable energy from its present one-quarter of Germany's electricity supply to 80 per cent by 2050.

The question is at what cost? And who will pay?

An article in Der Spiegel last month summed up the reasons Germany provides a critical lesson about a green energy utopia. Headlined "How Electricity Became a Luxury Good", it blows the whistle on the bogus nature of the green dream as Germans pay the highest electricity costs in Europe.

"The costs have reached levels comparable only to the eurozone bailouts," reports Der Spiegel. "This year, German consumers will be forced to pay €20 billion ($26bn) for electricity from solar, wind and biogas plants - electricity with a market price of just over €3bn.

"Even the figure of €20bn is disputable if you include all the unintended costs and collateral damage associated with the project. Solar panels and wind turbines at times generate huge amounts of electricity, and sometimes none at all. Depending on the weather and the time of day, the country can face absurd states of energy surplus or deficit."

And Germans are discovering that their warm embrace of green policies is leaving the most vulnerable citizens out in the cold - quite literally. Charities call it "energy poverty". Rising electricity bills, in large part due to Germany's renewable energy surcharges, have seen power cut off to more than 300,000 households a year because of unpaid bills.

As Stefan Becker from Catholic charity Caritas in Berlin told Der Spiegel, "People here have to decide between spending money on an expensive energy-saving bulb or a hot meal."

In other words, the fine-sounding push towards renewable energy - through subsidies to an expensive and haphazard renewable industry - redistributes money from a poor family living in a tiny apartment to a well-to-do family living in a house with roof-mounted solar panels.

And as Der Spiegel points out, the left-wing parties are most responsible for hurting the poor. The Social Democrats, "which sees itself as the party of the working class, long ignored this regressive aspect of the system. The Greens, the party of higher earners, continue to do so."

Former German environment minister Jurgen Tritten of the Green Party once said that Germany's switch to renewable energy would cost each German no more than the cost of a scoop of ice cream. In fact, rising electricity prices mean that the poor can barely pay for dinner, let alone dessert.

The same crunch is happening in Britain where Prime Minister David Cameron once declared his government would be the "greenest government ever". Cameron now admits that green levies for renewable energy are causing "energy poverty" for 2.4 million British households.

The lessons from Germany and Britain should be high in the minds of the Abbott government. Environment Minister Greg Hunt has made it clear that the fight is not over the science, it is about electricity prices. Last year the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal found that green schemes in Australia will add $316 to the average power bill, the carbon tax adding $168 and the renewable energy schemes another $148. The Productivity Commission and the Institute of Public Affairs have warned that renewable energy policies in Australia defy reality with increased electricity bills delivering no environment benefit.

After the Abbott government tables legislation to repeal the carbon tax today it should get to work to get rid of these other expensive green-led policies. Rather than mandate a 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020, why not let the market decide? If renewable energy makes sense, it will thrive without mandates.

Sadly, there is a stubborn attachment by both sides of politics to expensive, inefficient and environmentally worthless renewable energy policies. But, sooner or later, surely these lazy, feel-good green dreams will go the same way as the kibbutz movement. When that happens, it will signal another important cultural moment, this time where reality trumps a green utopia.


Regulatory Commissars exploiting holes in Clean Water Act

Ronald Reagan once noted, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'” Under the Obama administration, the EPA is relentlessly proving Reagan's observation by attempting to regulate small water bodies as “wetlands” under the Clean Water Act. Naturally, leftist green pressure groups who mindlessly believe an ever more intrusive big government bureaucracy is the most effective environmental steward are cheering the agency's mission creep.

EPA's gambit to regulate these water bodies is based on its novel new interpretation of the Clean Water Act's applicability to its undefined phrase, “waters of the United States.” Judges and EPA regulators have struggled to interpret this phrase in the absence of legislative clarity. Now the agency is proposing a regulatory solution and conducting a politically tainted review to accumulate evidence to back up its interpretation of its shiny new rule. Lost in the politicizing fog is the common-sense notion that bodies of water can't all be wetlands – they're either water or land.

As with so many of the Obama agencies, EPA has run wild and must be reined in. Perhaps the 2014 election will bring conservatives to office who will do just that.


French-owned energy company holding British government's feet to the fire over Green levies

Energy giant EDF Energy was criticised for holding the Government to ransom today as it vowed to cap a winter gas and electricity price increase if Ministers cut "green" levies.

French-owned EDF announced plans to up prices by just 3.9 per cent for more than two million customers on January 3, the smallest increase of all the 'Big Six' so far.

But Vincent de Rivaz, EDF chief executive, warned that the company would review its plans if anticipated changes by Ministers to the way social and environmental charges are funded were not as dramatic as expected.

The threat came just weeks after EDF struck a huge deal with Ministers to build a new nuclear power station in Hinkley Point, Somerset, which guarantees almost £80 billion of revenues for the company and its partners over the next 35 years.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Mr de Rivaz insisted EDF was not holding a gun to the Government's head. But industry experts said EDF's statement was "astonishing".

Reg Platt, senior research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank said: "EDF have in effect issued a threat to Government saying 'cut back your policies or we'll raise our prices further'.

"The policy they want to cut, Eco, provides households with insulation and efficient boilers to protect them against rising energy bills. David Cameron has said he wants to roll back so-called ' green levies'.

"If this means the Government is going to roll over to the energy companies and cut spending on energy efficiency policy if will be bill players to get hurt."

Andrew Warren, director at the Association for the Conservation of Energy, added: "It is absolutely disgraceful that a company that is majority owned by another Government should be seeking to blackmail the UK Government into changing its established policy.

"This concerted attack is predominantly a distraction technique to draw attention away from the price gouging they are practicing."

Currently, 'Eco' programmes such as free cavity wall insulation for vulnerable homeowners are funded through domestic bills, but the industry wants the burden shifted onto taxpayers, or the deadline to carry out the work to be extended.

Analysts said EDF's price increase would likely be more than 7 per cent if no action was taken on the green levies by Government in the Autumn Statement next month.

A rise of 3.9 per cent would push up dual fuel gas and electricity bills by around £50 a year to £1,384 and compares to hikes of 9.2 per cent at British Gas and 10.4 per cent at npower.

Mr De Rivaz refused to be drawn on what may happen to EDF's pricing if Ministers back down on plans to change green schemes.

But he insisted he was confident the Government would introduce the changes he expected, to "bear costs down".

He said: "My expectation is that something will be done. Through collaborative and constructive dialogue, between policymakers, industry, we will be able to find solutions."

He added the relatively low, 3.9 per cent increase was not a "quid, pro, quo" for the Hinkley Point deal. Mr de Rivaz said: "Our approach is very rational. 3.9 per cent is very different to our rivals, it's less than half the others. It's clear that the time to act is now.

"I am asking people 'Judge us on what we do'. My 15,000 employees are a force for good."

Details of EDF's price change came just hours after The Daily Telegraph revealed E.ON was planning to annouce a 6.6 per cent price rise later this month.

Separately, industry figures showed that almost all of the 'Big Six' risk missing 'Eco' targets for the current year. Npower is just 2 per cent of the way to a March 2014 target to install wall insulation in homes in deprived areas, with British Gas at 6 per cent.

Speaking at a conference organised by Energy UK, the trade association for the 'Big Six', energy secretary Ed Davey warned energy companies their reputations were as low as Fred Goodwin, the disgraced former head of Royal Bank of Scotland, and demanded they "open their books" to improve transparency.

Energy UK countered that Government policy could push up bills by as much as 50 per cent by 2020.

Mr de Rivaz said politicians should stop trying to "fan the flames". Anti-austerity campaigners are already planning "outrageous, creative and inclusive" protest outside the London office of one of the Big Six suppliers on November 26.

Mr de Rivaz said: "There is no need to fan the flames, we need to arrive at a solution together."

Richard Lloyd, executive director at consumer watchdog Which? said EDF's price announcement would be welcomed by its customers, and would make people "question why other major suppliers have hit their customers so much harder".

He added: "People want to hear more than just tough talk from the politicians – they want to see tough new action to fix our broken energy market, not tinkering at the edges while consumers grapple with the rising cost of living.

“With trust at rock bottom and record numbers very worried about rising energy costs, we’re calling on the Chancellor to stand up for consumers when he stands up in the House of Commons to deliver this year’s Autumn Statement.”


Australian Govt's tough message on carbon tax repeal

THE federal government has issued a blunt warning to Labor and the Australian Greens as it prepares to introduce its carbon tax repeal bills to parliament.

"Do not stand in the way of the will of the people," Environment Minister Greg Hunt told ABC radio on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott will deliver a long-held promise to abolish the carbon tax, introduced by Labor in 2012, when he presents his government's first major piece of legislation shortly after 9am (AEDT).

After that Mr Hunt and Treasurer Joe Hockey will introduce seven more bills repealing other aspects of Labor's clean energy laws.

While the government has the numbers to pass the legislation through parliament's lower house, Labor and the Greens have the numbers in the Senate to block the bills.

Mr Hunt would not be drawn on whether the government will pursue a double-dissolution election if its legislation is blocked by parliament.

The alternative is to wait until July 2014 for a likely more favourable Senate to repeal the tax.

An alliance of industry groups says any delay will achieve nothing for the environment and hurt businesses.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia and the Minerals Council of Australia is urging parliament to approve the repeal bills.

Labor is not backing away from its position to oppose the repeal of the carbon tax without its replacement by an emissions trading scheme.

"We're going to the parliament to do exactly what we told the Australian people what we'd do," frontbencher Tony Burke told ABC radio.

He dismissed as "simply untrue" business claims that delaying repeal of the tax would damage the economy.

A Senate vote on the repeal bills is unlikely before twin upper house inquiries into the legislation and the government's direct action plan to reduce carbon emissions.

"If Tony Abbott is committed to throwing out the baby with the bath water on climate change, it is reasonable for the parliament and the community to expect a reasonable level of detail about their alternative climate change policy," opposition climate change spokesman Mark Butler said.




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


November 12, 2013

Energy bills could fall by 7pc if Brit. Government cuts green tax

Leading members of the “Big Six” energy companies promise to cut prices if Government scraps or delays green tax scheme

Britain's energy giants are to offer to cut bills by up to 7pc if the Government agrees to remove the cost of multi-billion-pound green schemes.

In a move which could seize the initiative from critics of the rising cost of bills, leading members of the “Big Six” energy companies have laid out two options to the Government.

One would see the costs of the Energy Companies Obligation (known as the ECO scheme) removed entirely.

If that is agreed, energy leaders have said they could immediately reduce bills by between 6pc and 7pc.

The second option is to delay the implementation of the ECO scheme by 18 months and allow a wider range of energy efficiency measures which are not as expensive.

At present, the ECO scheme demands that houses should be provided with solid wall insulation, which can cost up to £10,000.

Delaying the scheme will lead to only a 3pc fall in bills, the energy sector has calculated.

It is not thought that such a small fall will be seen as sufficient by the Government, which wants consumers to notice a significant fall in bills.

A 7pc drop, even if it funded by some increases in taxes, could see the average bill of £1,300 pounds fall by £91 a year.

The Telegraph revealed in September that energy companies were in late-stage negotiations with the Government over the ECO scheme.

Companies face fines of up to 10pc of turnover if they do not hit the environmental targets and have said that the total cost of the scheme could be as high as £3.1bn, or £125 on the average bill.

Energy companies have assured the Government that if there is any deal – which now looks increasingly likely – they will announce immediately that they will pass on the savings.

The Chancellor could make an announcement on a deal as early as the Autumn Statement, which is scheduled for the first week of December. The Government is keen to act after the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, announced plans for an energy price freeze if he were to win the next election.

In a recent appearance before MPs, William Morris, SSE’s managing director, said the price cut could happen “in a matter of weeks” from taxes being taken off bills and suggested that the regulator Ofgem should oversee the process.

It is also believed that Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has given a personal assurance to the Prime Minister that the energy supplier will reduce bills straight away.

The proposals come as both Centrica and SSE are due to update the market this week on their financial performance. Centrica is expected to give details of Mr Laidlaw’s thinking on the possible ECO deal.

SSE is expected to announce that its household electricity and gas supply business fell to a £100m operating loss for the six months to the end of September, strengthening its arguments over the need for price rises which energy companies have blamed on rising commodity and environmental costs.

The company reports half-year results on Wednesday. It has already announced an 8.2pc price rise in bills, affecting about 4m customers, which comes into force on Friday.

Analysts at Exane BNP Paribas forecast that the SSE group’s adjusted, pre-tax profits will fall 19pc to £321m.

Despite the £100m operating loss forecast for the retail arm, SSE group is still expected to return operating profits of £504m – down 15pc on last year – thanks to its power generation and energy networks businesses, where profits have risen.

The company has previously pointed to the fact it expects its retail arm to be loss-making as justification for its price rise.

The company’s financial year-end of March means its profits are usually skewed much more heavily to the second half when customers use more gas to heat their homes in the winter months.


'Going Green' Costing US Greenbacks for Little Reward

President Barack Obama has shown that he is willing to ignore reason and logic time and time again in order to further to his philosophical agenda. This has been evident in the predictably failed rollout of healthcare reform, but it is also seen in the president’s inexplicable and constant support of so-called “green energy” – at the expense of consumers and without any evidence of success.

The Washington Examiner conducted an analysis of the tangible impact of LEED standards in New York City, asking the one question that matters: do LEED certified buildings use less energy on a relative basis than non-LEED certified buildings? The answer: No. The Examiner analysis found that buildings with LEED certifications use more energy per square foot than buildings without the certification.

LEED certification was developed and championed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) – which is not a government entity, but a private group – which profits from this faux certification boom and describes themselves as being "committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings."

In fact, I would have no problem with LEED standards if they were completely voluntary within the private sector – that is, if those builders that wanted LEED certifications were able to get them and those that didn't were not forced to comply.

But the USGBC managed a coup - somehow convincing (or bullying) the federal government, as well as more than 400 state and local communities that LEED standards were in the public's interest. Such is not the case. First, the National Research Council estimates that this green building mandate adds 8 percent to design and construction costs.

But, beyond strict costs, LEED standards have two main flaws: they are impractical and ineffective.

On the impractical front, LEED standards prevent buildings from using certain safety materials, including bulletproof glass, in courthouses, prisons and other government buildings. LEED standards don't account for the fact that government buildings are high-profile targets, and safety measures should be determined by public safety professionals not by environmental profiteers like those at the USGBC.

The USGBC also arbitrarily mandates that the wood used in LEED buildings be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a favorite standard of fringe environmental groups, including Greenpeace. Most American forests are certified using two other standards – the American Tree Farm System and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. May seem like semantics, but it is not. As a result of this deliberate decision, 90 percent of timber used is from foreign sources. In effect, LEED standards are shipping jobs overseas.

But these standards are also less effective. Some environmentalists are critical of the FSC - noting that the FSC is biased towards large conglomerates and that shipping timber from afar increases consumption of gasoline and emits more greenhouse gasses.

Fewer jobs alongside dubious results - these are not outcomes federal, state and local governments should mandate. Reversing strict adherence to LEED standards, in addition to other arbitrary “green energy” initiatives, will help leaders realize these programs are impractical and ineffective in their goal of reducing energy consumption, while the regulations also negatively impact thousands of workers and families in their area.


Study: Fracking Cuts Energy Costs, Raises Living Standards

The recovery of natural gas through smart drilling and hydraulic fracturing is cutting energy costs and raising living standards throughout the United States, a newly published study has found. Economists at IHS Inc. report hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, will likely raise average U.S. household income by $2,700 per year and create 1.2 million new jobs by 2020.

Hydraulic fracturing is the process of extracting oil and natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth. Engineers drill thousands of feet below the earth’s surface and then create cracks in the shale formations by injecting water, sand, and trace chemicals under high pressure. Although energy producers have utilized fracking since the middle of the last century, Americans are benefiting from a fracking revolution today thanks to recent technological advances and new oil and natural gas discoveries.

Widespread Economic Benefits

“A revolution is under way in the production of unconventional oil and natural gas that is transforming America’s energy future and strengthening its overall economy,” the study reports.

IHS economists report fracking, by increasing energy supplies and lowering energy prices, is creating extensive benefits in the U.S. manufacturing industry. By 2020, total manufacturing production will increase 3.5 percent over baseline levels thanks to the lower energy costs, the IHS study concluded.

The study also found the increase in manufacturing production will create a $51 billion increase in annual revenue for federal, state, and local governments by 2020.

The United States leads the world in shale oil and natural gas resources, and fracking is giving American entrepreneurs a new edge in global economic competition, the study observes.

“The unconventional [energy] revolution is also contributing to a shift in global competitiveness for the United States by unlocking new production cost advantages for U.S. industries benefitting from lower prices for raw materials and the energy they use,” according to the study.

Government Threats Loom

The only appreciable danger to this increase in production and revenue, the authors state, is government regulations or prohibitions. Although top EPA officials have repeatedly testified they have never found a single incident of the fracking process contaminating groundwater, environmental activists claim fracking endangers groundwater and seek to ban or severely restrict fracking.

Revenue Windfalls

Merrill Matthews, a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation, says both taxpayers and tax collectors benefit from fracking.

“Fracking has dramatically increased the supply of natural gas, which has, one, turned the U.S. into one of the top producers—if not the top producer—of natural gas in the world, and, two, reduced costs so much that natural gas has become cheap,” said Matthews.

“The energy boom has also been a windfall for states and the federal government. In 2012 the energy industry, gas and oil, paid $9.7 billion in federal royalties, rents, and bonuses. And in 2010 the energy industry paid $8.5 billion in federal income taxes. That's money that the federal government doesn't have to take from taxpayers or borrow,” he explained.

Environmental Benefits

Despite the huge economic windfall, environmental activists would like to smother the baby while it’s still in the crib, Matthews said.

“Ironically, it is the increased use of natural gas in power generation plants that has reduced our energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to near 1990 levels. While most countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol promising to dramatically reduce their CO2 levels have increased their emissions, the U.S. has been reducing its energy-related CO2 emissions—and the U.S. never signed the treaty,” Matthews explained. “Limiting fracking, which would reduce U.S. natural gas production, would likely have the effect of increasing CO2 emissions.”

Boon to Manufacturers

Josiah Neeley, a policy analyst at the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, says reliable energy is the lifeblood of businesses and manufacturing.

“If you manufacture or ship products and goods, you use electricity to produce and deliver them. There will be nationwide benefits from fracking due to resultant lower energy costs. Businesses will expand, and new plants will open. What this all means is there will be more jobs,” said Neeley.

International Security Benefits

Fracking also offers international and national security benefits, Neely observed.

“U.S. natural gas production and exports will undercut Russia’s role as a dominant natural gas producer. Accordingly, other nations will no longer be at Russia’s energy mercy. Also, by stabilizing the world’s energy reserves, America and other nations won’t have to do business with odious and unstable regimes,” he explained.

Politics Could Jeopardize Benefits

H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, says the United States could increase oil and gas production even more, and further reduce its need for foreign oil, if the federal government would remove barriers to increased production and forego new ones.

“The Obama administration is considering more stringent regulations, despite numerous studies showing fracking has few, if any, negative environmental consequences. Additionally, the EPA has already tried to halt a number of operations, but they’ve had to back down when challenged in the courts,” said Burnett.


SCOTUS Revisits EPA Regulation of CO2

On October 15, 2013, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) granted ‘Certiorari’ to Petitioners who have been suing the EPA over regulations to control CO2. In 2007, SCOTUS had ruled that CO2 may be considered a pollutant under the Clean Air Act (CAA), provided EPA could demonstrate that continued emission of CO2 would harm ‘human health and welfare.’ In 2009, EPA published the required Endangerment Finding, which was subsequently attacked on scientific grounds by a collection of plaintiffs. [Full disclosure: SEPP is one of the many plaintiffs involved in this lawsuit.]

However, in June 2012, the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled against plaintiffs, giving deference on the science to EPA. EPA had proceeded to institute emission limits for motor vehicles, essentially by setting mileage standards. EPA is now arguing that, having successfully set CO2 limits for motor vehicles in May 2010, the CAA requires that emission limits be set on all other emitters of CO2. Using their statutory authority to set New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), EPA has proposed stringent limits on new power plants that will make new coal plants virtually impossible to construct. The EPA also wants to limit emissions from existing coal plants, arguing that EPA can set guidelines which the states would have to follow in regulating emissions from existing plants.

In the coming case, plaintiffs are essentially appealing the decision of the DC Circuit Appeals Court and hope to prevail — even though SCOTUS is not likely to listen to scientific arguments — although publication of the authoritative NIPCC report “Climate Change Reconsidered-II” (Heartland, 2013) cannot be ignored. In fact, the Supreme Court has restricted its Cert to the single question: Is EPA permitted to extend its authority to regulate emissions from motor vehicles to stationary sources?

The EPA is likely to use a section of the Clean Air Act called Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD). They have a strong case; it will require considerable ingenuity for the plaintiffs’ lawyers to prevail over the EPA. One sees at least two possibilities.

A. NAAQS (National ambient air quality standards)

The CAA requires the setting of NAAQS. However, it is a fact that

1. EPA has not set a NAAQS for CO2

2. EPA does not know how to set a NAAQS for CO2. There is no scientific basis for doing so.

3. Even if EPA were to set a NAAQS, there is no way in which EPA can demonstrate that its regulations can achieve it; further, there is no way whereby EPA can enforce it — since CO2 is global and EPA cannot control emissions from other nations, like China.

4. But without a NAAQS as a goal, any effort to set emission limits must be judged to be ‘arbitrary and capricious.’ In other words, without a specific target, there is no rational way for setting emission limits for power plants or other emitters.

B. Tailoring Rule

In the regulation of ‘criteria pollutants’ (of which there are currently six) the arcane provisions of the CAA require EPA to regulate emissions from sources that emit more than either 100 or 250 tons per year.

These limits are ok for CO2 from individual small sources, motor vehicles and even big trucks. But when applied to stationary sources, there would be millions of them, including apartment and office buildings, hospitals, schools, prisons, etc.

Clearly, EPA is unable to muster an effort to issue controls for all such sources. They have therefore arbitrarily raised the lower limit to 75,000 to 100,000 tons per year — by issuing a so-called ‘Tailoring Rule.’ It would permit regulation of major sources, such as power plants, refineries, and other large industrial installations.

However, EPA cannot simply change the law to suit its convenience. This cannot be done by administrative action; it must be done by the author of the law — which is Congress. Again, EPA’s revised lower limit may be considered “arbitrary and capricious”

What to do?

The sensible course for EPA is to go back to Congress and suggest an amendment to the Clean Air Act to permit continuing without setting a NAAQS for CO2 and for allowing a ‘Tailoring Rule’ that makes CO2 regulation more manageable. But it is unlikely that EPA will choose to do this. Because once the matter goes back to Congress, it is no longer under the control of the executive branch of government.

Congress, in its wisdom, could decide to do away with the PSD (Prevention of Significant Deterioration) requirement for CO2 and thus not permit EPA to extend emission controls to power stations. Or, going even further, Congress may decide that CO2 is not to be considered as a criteria pollutant and cannot be regulated at all under the Clean Air Act. In other words, Congress may decide that CO2 is not a ‘pollutant’ — and thus overturn and make irrelevant the Supreme Court decision of 2007.

There is little doubt that the House, as currently constituted, would choose one of these routes. It is entirely possible that the US Senate will go along — even though it has a Democratic majority. But 16 Democratic senators are up for re-election in 2014 — with some from coal states in the Midwest. So there is a strong possibility that the Congress will consider CO2 to be a non-pollutant. Even if the White House were to apply a veto, there is a good chance that it will be overturned — which would constitute a big defeat for the Obama Administration.

But political futures are hard to predict. Much may ride on the outcome of Obamacare and other snafus that might affect public opinion about the White House and thereby the mood of Congress. One thing for sure: public policy should not be set by unelected bureaucrats.


The Cryosphere

One of the most common claims made by those who warn of an anthropogenic global warming crisis is that increases in temperature have led to unusual melting in mountain glaciers, Arctic sea ice, and polar icecaps. Known collectively as the cryosphere, these are areas on or near Earth’s surface so cold that water is present in solid form as snow or ice in glaciers, icecaps, and sea ice.

A report from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), an independent group of some 50 scientists from 15 countries, titled Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, summarizes the large, significant body of research examining the effect of global warming on the cryosphere. The research shows changes in glacier and sea-ice extent occur in ways that frequently contradict and rarely concur with the claims of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the projections of its climate models.

Although the NIPCC report finds some melting of mountain glaciers, it notes melting is not occurring in other areas of the cryosphere. The current state of Arctic sea ice and polar icecaps is not “unnatural” and does not constitute evidence of a human impact on climate.

Information on the global ice budget collected from satellite and airborne resources, methods that are still in the early stages of development, suggest both the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Caps are close to balance. The global extent of sea-ice cover remains similar to what it was at the start of satellite observations in 1979, with ice shrinkage in the Arctic Ocean being offset by growth around Antarctica.

Contrary to claims by the IPCC, the research examined by NIPCC finds changes in the cryosphere occur in natural multidecadal, centennial, and millennial time-scale cycles independent of any human-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Historically, glaciers have been both considerably larger and substantially smaller than they are today; over the past 25,000 years, glaciers around the world have fluctuated widely in concert with changing climate, at times shrinking to positions and volumes smaller than today.

Although shrinking mountain glaciers make for popular propaganda videos, one mountain glacier is not indicative of the climate as a whole, and they do not respond to global temperature change in a simple, uniform way. Recent research indicates the observed changes in temperature, snowfall, ice flow speed, glacial extent, and iceberg calving in both Greenland and Antarctica lie within the limits of natural climate variation.

CCR-II concludes new research finds less melting of ice in the Arctic, Antarctic, and mountain glaciers than previously feared, and no melting at all that could be uniquely attributed to rising carbon dioxide levels.

More HERE (See the original for links)

Australia: Greens protest killed my father, man says

GREEN protesters will be subject to workplace safety laws after a Forestry NSW worker was killed while standing guard between demonstrators and a logging site.

John Creighton, 59, who worked in forestry for 39 years, was hit by a falling log while overseeing the work on private land in Whian Whian in the state's north.

His son Russell said while he didn't want to lay blame he knew work practices on the day were changed as a result of the protesters on the site. "He was standing where he was because of that," he said. "He was called into these areas because of his experience - because he followed the letter of the law. That impacts us as a family."

Initial investigations revealed Mr Creighton was standing between a group of protesters and the logging site when he was hit in the head by the log on October 9. He died two days later in hospital.

As a result, Finance and Services Minister Andrew Constance said he and Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson would move to make protesters subject to the workplace and safety laws of any site they enter.

"Enough is enough," Mr Constance said. "Forestry activists need to understand they are entering the worksites of one of the most risky industries that operate in NSW."

Mr Creighton Jr said, while his dad had spent the majority of his career in forestry, he understood the right of people to protest against it.

"He said the majority of people out there had good intentions - but then there's the radical element," he said.

He said he would support any law change that forced protesters to follow work safety rules: "If it was a union picket and blokes invaded a work site they would be hauled away by police and face fines."

Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser last week blamed the protesters for Mr Creighton's death and called them "ratbags".

"Mr Creighton should not have been there. However, because of work health and safety concerns it was deemed necessary for Mr Creighton to be there,'' Mr Fraser said.

"A family has lost their father because greens failed to comply with health and safety regulations."




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


November 11, 2013

Lewandowski proves himself a liar and a cheat

He knew that his work was unethical so deceived his university to get past its ethical restrictions. Such dishonesty nullifies the work of any scientist. Are his research findings lies too? Lewandowski's findings about what skeptics think were always dodgy on sampling grounds alone. Now we have to ask if his oddly chosen interviewees even said what he claims they said.

The now-withdrawn Lewandowsky Fury paper (link) is possibly one of the egregious examples of ethically compromised research encountered. Delve into the paper, the first thing crossing one’s mind is: how did the university ethics committee approve this project? This was the study protocol - Lewandowsky’s associates would carry out real-time surveillance on people criticizing his paper, prod and provoke them, record their responses and perform ‘analysis’. How did they say yes?

Lewandowsky’s correspondence with University of Western Australia (UWA) officials has been released (link). Amidst a storm of emails on this previous work, he writes to the secretary of the ethics committee (10 Sep 2012) of his intention to start another project:

This is just to inform you of the fact that I will be writing a follow-up paper to the one that just caused this enormous stir. The follow-up paper will analyze the response to my first paper …

Lewandowsky states there will be no interaction with his subjects: none of the research “will involve experimentation, surveys, questionnaires or a direct approach of participants of any sort"

What would the research be? According to Lewandowsky, his team would “analyz[e] “Google trends” and other indicators of content that are already in the public domain (e.g. blog posts, newspapers, comments on blogs, that type of thing)”. The research would “basically just summarize and provide a timeline of the public’s response.”

The email is a remarkably misleading and limited description of the project he and his associates conducted.

The ethics office response is further divorced from reality. The approval was granted as a “follow-up” study to the ‘Moon’ paper. The ‘Moon Hoax’ paper was itself was approved under an application for “Understanding Statistical Trends”. As recounted here, “Understanding Statistical Trends” was a study where Lewandowsky’s associates showed a graph to shopping mall visitors and asked questions (link pdf). This application was modified to add the ‘Moon hoax’ questions on the day the original paper was accepted for publication. The same application was modified for the ‘Recursive Fury’ paper. Each modification introduced ethical considerations not present in the previous step. Nevertheless, three unrelated research projects were allowed to be stacked on to a single ethics approval by the university board. In this way, Lewandowsky was able to carry out covert observational activities on members of the general public, as they reacted to his own work, with no human research ethical oversight.

Lewandowsky pitches his study proposal as non-intrusive, observational and retrospective in design: there is “no human participation”, the “content is already in the public domain”, and “irrespective of whether we then summarize that activity”. What he implied was there was minimal concern for more elaborate safeguards and vetting usually put in place when working with human subjects.

Yet during the period of study, Lewandowsky was in direct conversation with his study subjects (even as he ostensibly observed them). On a posting spree, he wrote 9 articles at between Sept 3 – 19, 2012. About half of these were written after he approached the ethics office on the 10th. All but two were written after he announced that he was already collecting data, to the university deputy vice chancellor on the 5th. Among individuals named in the paper as harboring conspiracist ideas, three posted detailed comments with multiple questions responding to these posts, on his website. The subjects wrote numerous posts at their own blogs on Lewandowsky’s actions in the same interval. The flow of comments, appearance and final content were influenced by the second author, John Cook. A team headed by Cook operated as moderators at, deleting parts, or whole comments offered by the subjects in the same interval. The elicited comments and posts were harvested as data for the paper.

The study was thus not an examination of archived material on blogs. As the authors themselves describe, they recorded subject comments and blog-posts in “real-time”, responses occurring to events set in motion by themselves. It cannot be considered a observational study either as authors interacted with the purported subjects during the period of study.

In her reply, the ethics secretary directs Lewandowsky to the UWA Human Subjects research web page (link). The page contains a ‘risk assessment checklist’ to guide researchers to whether a planned study would need ethics approval. It has these questions:

Active concealment of information from participants and/or planned deception of participants

Will participants be quoted or be identifiable, either directly or indirectly, in reporting of the research?

Will data that can identify an individual (or be used to re-identify an individual) be obtained from databanks, databases, tissue banks or other similar data sources?

Might the research procedures cause participants psychological or emotional distress?

Does the research involve covert observation?

The answer is a ‘Yes’ to many of these questions. ’Participants’ declared to be conspiratorial by Lewandowsky are directly identified by name in the paper. The element of covert observation is undeniable.

The possibility of ethical breaches with internet-based research are well-understood. Clare Madge (2007) observed ethically questionable research could come to be carried out “under the radar screens of ethics committees” simply owing to the ease and speed of internet-based research resulting in ‘shoddy cowboy research’ and proliferation of ethical misconduct. The study design and conduct of the Lewandowsky et al 2013 ‘Recursive Fury’ contains numerous ethical failures. Lewandowsky’s email characterized his work in terms which turned out to be their opposite. There was no formal application and there was no review and consequently the prospective,non-observational nature of his project went unscrutinized.


So Much For Germany’s Green Economy (Welcome, Dirty Coal)

A new outbreak of irrationality in Germany. Has ecofascism replaced National Socialism? It would not be a big leap. The NSDAP was the first "Green" political party to win power

Not only do solar and wind raise costs, they also reduce stability. The rising and setting of the sun can be predicted to seconds, but the intensity of light and KWhrs of power are less reliable. Wind is even worse, leaving generating capacity idle during peak demand one day but contributing the next. Under such circumstances, most countries ensure a base load of supply by maintaining low-cost always-on power sources such as nuclear or coal.

The drive to renewables in Germany should run counter to maintaining a high dependency on coal, but (and some may say hypocritically) Germany has five new coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of around 4 GW going through their “first fire” trials this summer. Although generators are at pains to stress how very efficient these new plants are, much of Germany’s coal-fired power production uses lignite, the dirtiest form of coal. Overall, Germany’s coal-fired power plants (including lignite) contributed more than 50% to the nation’s electricity demand in the first half of this year, with more coal-fired capacity likely to be commissioned before the first nuclear plant is taken out of service in 2015, Platts tells us.

But if lowering total emissions is the objective of the government’s potentially ruinous investment in renewables, their decision in May 2011 to immediately shut down eight of the country’s 17 nuclear reactors, with the remainder to close before 2022, is bizarre. The decision was taken, so we are told, in response to the Fukushima tsunami, perhaps on the basis that Germany’s reactors could experience the same catastrophe.

Before the shutdown of the eight reactors is taken into account, Germany relies on nuclear power for 23% of its electricity generating capacity and 46% of its base-load electricity production. Coal will partially replace that nuclear base load– but at the cost of CO2 emissions, which can presumably only be countered by further renewable investment. According to another Platts article, power generation from natural gas fired plants actually decreased this year to under 10%.

So what does the future hold for Germany’s industrial model? Just as the US is benefiting from an era of low power costs, a promise that has already encouraged significant investment in the petrochemicals, steel, and fertilizers, Germany will be entering an era of ever higher power costs.


Renowned Warmist Scientist Peter Lemke: Antarctic Sea Ice “More Extensive, Thicker, And More Densely Packed” Than In 1992!

Polar scientist Dr. Peter Lemke of Germany’s renowned Alfred Wegener Institute was interviewed here about climate change, its affect on the Earth’s polar regions and about his recent winter expedition to Antarctica.

In the Arctic part of the interview, Lemke repeats the usual man-is-melting-the-Arctic narrative that you often hear from many state-funded alarmist climate scientists. No surprise here.

But as always, when it comes to sea ice, eventually warmist polar scientists get tripped up by Antarctica. And sure enough, Lemke trips and stumbles when Antarctic sea ice gets brought up. Before too long he is forced to concede he is stumped and has to admit that sea ice at the South Pole has grown and that he has no real explanation.

Peter Lemke has been on several expeditions to Antarctica: in 1989, 1992, 2006, and now 2013. And each time they collected data. Today, after comparing the preliminary results of the 2013 to those of 1992, here’s what Lemke says:

“…from our early results, it looks like that the sea ice mass around Antarctica has increased slightly. Our measurements showed that the sea ice was more extensive, thicker and more densely packed as compared to our 1992 expedition, which was on the same track during the same season.”

Increased slightly? In the following chart I’ve highlighted the winter of the years 1992 and 2013 to show what Lemke means by “increased slightly“:

It’s obvious that Lemke is attempting to seriously downplay the Antarctic sea ice growth that has occurred since 1992. Indeed the above chart shows that sea ice has grown by more than 1.5 million square kilometers. That’s not increasing “slightly”. We suppose that if the trend had been the other way around, we’d be hearing terms like considerable reduction or even possibly dramatic reduction.

What’s more, Lemke also confirms that this extra 1.5 million square kilometers is “thicker” and “more compact”, meaning there’s much more ice mass.

So why is the ice growing? This goes against all the claims of global warming. Here, typical of warmist scientists who are confronted with inconvenient data, Lemke acts like he has the answer…before admitting he really has no clue (my emphasis):

One explanation is that in the Southern Hemisphere the westerly winds are increasing, and through friction this drives the ice towards lower latitudes and the extent is getting a bit bigger. When the ice expands there is open water between ice floes, and it’s still cold enough in winter that ice freezes in the open patches.

There are other physical processes that may be involved, such as the heavy snow cover that blankets the Antarctic sea ice. Sometimes the heavy snow load submerges the ice floe underwater so that the interface of ice and snow is actually below sea level, and seawater drains into the snow and freezes. That may be one process, but there are others that are not really resolved yet.

We don’t yet have the answers to these questions, because there are very few measurements and you cannot deduce snow from satellite remote sensing data, yet. To find out, you have to go there and make measurements yourself. But winter expeditions are very rare. There are very few icebreakers that can actually go into the Antarctic winter into the sea ice.”

The science is settled, except for the majority that isn’t.

Never trust a climate scientist who acts like he’s sure. It’s a dead give away that he hasn’t got a clue about what’s really going on.


Scientists Blast Obama’s Global Warming Myth: You’re Basing Politics on Faulty Computer Models Rather than Science

On Friday, Obama signed an executive order that instructs federal agencies to work with state and local governments to boost preparations for the impact of global warming. Obama’s war on coal has threatened one sixth of America’s electrical output by placing 150 coal-burning power plants on the chopping block – all due to global warming. Citing global warming has already having an effect on communities and public health across the nation, Obama directed infrastructure projects to take into consideration future climate conditions which naturally could result in a higher price tag for new projects or repairs to already existing structures. However, new scientific evidence has surfaced that “the solar activity is decreasing at the fastest rate as anytime in the last 10,000 years”.

Environmentalist Lawrence Solomon wrote in the Financial Post, “Now an increasing number of scientists are swinging back to the thinking of the 1960s and 1970s. The global cooling hypothesis may have been right after all, they say Earth may be entering a new Little Ice Age.”

The Daily Caller reported:

Solomon adds that Columbia University’s George Kukla – who warned the US government about the dangers of global cooling in 1972 – postulated that “global warming always precedes an ice age … The warming we saw in the 1980s and 1990s, in other words, was expected all along, much as the calm before the storm.”

Recently, scientists have been looking to solar activity as a predictor of world climate. Low solar activity has been connected with cold periods in human history, while high levels of solar activity have been connected with warming periods, like the one from the 1950s to 1998.

The United Nation’s climate authority has tried to downplay the influence of solar activity on the Earth’s climate, but climate scientists have been more assertive that the sun plays a role in affecting global temperatures.

According to Dr. Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, the public debate is moving away from the 15-17 year pause and toward the cooling since 2002.

Professor Cliff Ollier of the School of Earth and Environmental Studies at the University of Western Australia indicates a correlation between sunspots and climate change. Prof. Ollier postulated earlier this year that the sun was the major controller of the climate.

According to Ollier, “Solar cycles provide a basis for prediction. Solar Cycle 24 has started and we can expect serious cooling. Many think that political decisions about climate are based on scientific predictions, but what politicians get are projections based on computer models.”

Scientists from Russia and the UK are also positing global cooling based on Solar Cycle 24. Habibullo Abdussamatov of the Russian Academy of Science expects global cooling to begin as early as 2014 with another “Little Ice Age” in 2055. Professor Mike Lockwood of Reading University predicts a “Little Ice Age” for Northern Europe because of the decline in solar activity.
Prof. Lockwood bases his postulation on the examination of certain isotopes contained in ice core samples, indicating how active the sun has been over the last thousands of years. Lockwood believes the sun is declining in activity “more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.”

The last Little Ice Age occurred in the 1600s and coincided with an inactive sun, called the Maunder solar minimum. According to Don Easterbrook, professor emeritus of geology as Western Washington University, the earth has been thawing out for the last 400 years.Bogus

Easterbrook states, “So the warming we saw, which lasted only from 1978 to 1998, is something that is predictable and expectable. When the ocean changed temperatures, global cooling is almost a slam dunk. You can expect to find about 25 to 30 years yet ahead of us before it starts to warm up again. It might be even more than that.”

So, scientists studying solar activity and the sun along with isotopes from ice core samples have identified a cycle correlating warming and cooling periods of the earth with the solar cycle. These correlations are based on actual observation and study, not a computer model whose predictions are based on information supplied by scientists who cannot identify all variables to enter into the equation. The computer model information then becomes faulty, inaccurate and cannot satisfy the requirements for the scientific method. Model prediction versus observational, data gathering analysis is a no win scenario for model prediction.

Since Obama has declared “global warming/climate change” a dire threat to the US – a threat that must be acted on immediately – all other scientific data opposing the big myth of global warming is ignored. It is ignored because it does not meet the political agenda.

The identification of solar cycles leading to periods of warming and cooling flies in the face of Obama’s agenda to cripple the United States. If these postulations are correct, instead of destroying one sixth of America’s electrical output, measures should be taken to secure electrical output. America should sustain dependable energy sources instead of chasing the pipe dream of “renewable energy.” America should be working to increase its security from invasion, shore up its economy and stimulate job growth and independence of its people. This is not done by expanding federal government, but holding it to its constitutional limits with the possibility of dismantling unconstitutional agencies and declaring null and void strangling regulations based on controlling businesses and the citizenry.

This administration and Congress would rather cripple this nation’s resources, by stalling a pipeline project and destroying the coal industry, to make Americans more dependent on the government – the more people that are dependent on the government, the easier they are to control. If the government controls resources, such as water and electricity, an entire community could be deprived of resources to bring it in line with the government agenda. The theoretical myth of global warming accomplishes this whereas the cyclical climate trend of the earth caused by solar activity does not.

By ignoring these scientific facts on solar activity and ice core samples, Obama is demonstrating hard headed, stubborn, narcissistic and dictatorial behavior. He supports a lie instead of the truth. It isn’t a far stretch to see that last statement as fact. Every time he opens his mouth to speak, an entire repertoire of lies is forthcoming; Obama lives a lie. To him, a lie is truth as long as you can hide the facts, berate others who bring forth the facts, and hypnotize a population of low intellect individuals. A lie benefits an agenda to where the end justifies the means.

As I learned as a child, if you tell one lie, you have to tell another to prop it up; then, you have to keep telling lies to prop up all the previous ones. At that point, you have built a house of cards that comes tumbling down at the slightest of disturbances. Lies end up catching up to the liar as it is harder to remember what lies you have told than it is to tell the truth; truth does not change. The point eventually comes when there are no more lies to tell and the house of cards cannot stand; the lies then become the card that topples the house.


Hopes for strong 2015 climate deal fade

World governments are likely to recoil from plans for an ambitious 2015 climate change deal at talks next week, concern over economic growth at least partially eclipsing scientists' warnings of rising temperatures and water levels.

"We are in the eye of a storm," said Yvo de Boer, United Nations climate chief in 2009 when a summit in Copenhagen ended without agreement. After Copenhagen, nations targeted a 2015 deal to enter into force from 2020 with the goal of averting more floods, heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels.

The outline of a more modest 2015 deal, to be discussed at annual U.N. climate talks in Warsaw on November11-22, is emerging that will not halt a creeping rise in temperatures but might be a guide for tougher measures in later years.

Since 2009, scientists' warnings have become more strident and new factors have emerged, sometimes dampening the impact of their message that human activity is driving warming.

The U.S. shale boom helped push U.S. carbon emissions to an 18-year low last year, for instance; but it also shifted cheap coal into Europe where it was used in power stations.

Despite repeated promises to tackle the problem, developed nations have been preoccupied with spurring sluggish growth. And recession has itself braked emissions from factories, power plants and cars, a phenomenon that may prove short-lived.

Emerging economies such as China and India, heavily reliant on cheap, high-polluting coal to end poverty, are reluctant to take the lead despite rising emissions and pollution that are choking cities.

"Our concern is urgency" in tackling climate change, said Marlene Moses of Nauru, chair of the Alliance of Small Island States whose members fear they will be swamped by rising sea levels. "Vague promises will no longer suffice."

She wants progress when senior officials and environment ministers from almost 200 nations meet in Warsaw to discuss the 2015 deal, as well as climate aid to poor nations and ways to compensate them for loss and damage from global warming.

Yet many governments, especially in Europe, are concerned that climate policies, such as generous support schemes for solar energy, push up consumer energy bills.

Some want to emulate the success of the United States in bringing down energy prices via shale gas - a fossil fuel that can help cut greenhouse emissions if it replaces coal but at the same time can divert investments from cleaner energy.

Many Warsaw delegates say the 2015 accord looks likely to be a patchwork of national pledges for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, anchored in domestic legislation, after Copenhagen failed to agree a sweeping treaty built on international law.

The less ambitious model is a shift from the existing Kyoto Protocol, agreed in 1997. That set a central target for emissions cuts by industrialized countries and then shared them out among about 40 nations.

But Kyoto has not worked well, partly because the United States did not join, objecting that the treaty would cost U.S. jobs and set no targets for big emerging nations. Russia, Canada and Japan have since dropped out.

A more flexible approach for 2015, championed by the United States, raises risks that many nations will simply set themselves weak goals, hoping others will take up the slack.

But it may have a better chance of ratification by national parliaments. The idea is that negotiators will find a way to compare the ambition of promises and develop a mechanism to ratchet the weak ones up in coming years.


Australia snubs global climate talks, as Environment Minister stays home to repeal carbon tax

AUSTRALIA will be represented by a diplomat rather than a senior minister at international climate talks in Poland next week aimed at securing an agreement to cut global carbon emissions.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt won't attend annual United Nations climate change talks in Warsaw, saying he'll be busy repealing the carbon tax in the first fortnight of parliament.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will also not attend. Neither her parliamentary secretary Brett Mason nor Mr Hunt's deputy, Simon Birmingham, have been delegated to attend.

Instead, Australia will be represented by Australia's Climate Change Ambassador Justin Lee, who is based in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Hunt said through a spokesman that he would be “fully engaged in repealing the carbon tax” while the conference was underway.

The Environment Minister, who'd been expected to attend the talks, yesterday cancelled scheduled briefings on the Warsaw talks with business representatives, lobby groups and foreign diplomats.

Asked about the decision, Mr Hunt's spokesman said the talks were a foreign affairs issue.

Australia's stance at the upcoming meeting was due to be considered by federal cabinet on Monday.

Lobby groups said other nations were anxious to see what role Australia would play in global climate change negotiations under a Coalition government.

Speaking to reporters this morning, Mr Hunt said Australian delegates to the UN climate summit in Poland will seek a “deep, strong international agreement”. “The first part of the delegation leaves today for Warsaw and I think there'll be plenty of engagement with business and community over the coming weeks,” he also told ABC radio.

But the government's move not to send a minister to Poland has raised eyebrows. “It's highly unusual,” the Climate Institute's John Connor said. “Australia's heft is significantly undermined by not having one of its senior elected representatives there.”

A government minister had attended the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks since Ian Campbell headed the delegation under John Howard's first government in 1997.

Labor sent climate change ministers Penny Wong and Greg Combet from 2007, except last year when the Gillard government's parliamentary secretary on climate change Mark Dreyfus stood in for Mr Combet.

Opposition climate spokesman Mark Butler said the move was unprecedented and sent a bad signal. “The political statement that's being made is all negative,” he told Sky News. “Other countries are going to read into it at best with confusion and at worst that the Abbott government is walking away from global action on climate change.”

While no major decisions will be made at Warsaw, it's expected the meeting will build momentum in the lead-up to major negotiations for a global agreement on cutting greenhouse gases in Paris in 2015.

Mr Connor said other countries were “nervous” about the direction the Australian government was heading on climate change, and they'd have to reinforce their commitment to global action.

Mr Hunt said Dr Lee's delegation would stand by Australia's target of at least a five per cent emissions cut by 2020 and seek a “deep, strong international agreement”.

“In my case, we've got parliament over the next two weeks and I'm dealing with the legislation for repeal of the carbon tax,” he told ABC radio.




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


10 November, 2013

Couple win landmark battle to have 10 wind turbines taken down because they spoil the view from their dream home in France

A couple have won a landmark legal battle to have 10 wind turbines taken down because they spoil the view from their dream home in France.

In a judgement which could have widespread implication across Europe, including Britain, the husband and wife successfully argued that the 360ft high structures ruined their quality of life.

As well as agreeing that the turbines ‘spoiled the view’, judges noted the ‘groaning and whistling’ and ‘unsightliness of white and red flashing lights’.

Now the company responsible has to take them down, and pay large fines and legal expenses.

It is seen as a major victory for those campaigning against wind farms, and those who believe their spread is destroying both beloved countryside and cultural heritages.

Erik Wallecan, a retired vet, and his wife Ingrid bought the 18th Century Chateau de Flers in the Pas-de-Calais, in northern France, in 1996, after moving from nearby Belgium.

Their restoration of the house and its 42 acres became a labour of love, and they also turned adjoining buildings into a guesthouse.

But when, in 2007, the ten wind turbines went up, they were horrified to suddenly lose their ‘bucolic and rustic’ view.

They first spotted them on returning from a trip to Anvers, in Belgium, with Mr Wallecan telling Le Monde: ‘The first evening when we arrived in the chateau after their construction, there was a firework display and we wondered where these lights were coming from. ‘We were not even aware that these projects existed.

'Three huge turbines are visible when gazing across the gardens from the bay windows in the chateau’s grand salon. ‘Every day we have to suffer the visual and noise pollution. I can see the turbines from everywhere in the house, from every room.’

The Wallecans launched a civil action against La Compagnie du Vent (The Wind Company), a subsidiary of the energy giant GDF Suez, which runs the turbines.

Judges in Montpellier ruled that the structures blighted the countryside, causing the ‘total disfigurement of a bucolic and rustic landscape’.

The company was ordered to pay the Wallecans the equivalent of £31,500 in damages and to remove the wind farm within four months or face a fine of £450 per day per turbine.

La Compagnie du Vent said it would appeal the judgement, but Philippe Bodereau, the Wallecans’ lawyer said: ‘People are often too scared to take action and suffer in silence.

‘Today we are saying no - justice has been done and this shows all those who suffer wind farms with a sense of powerlessness that the fight is not vain, that one can have one’s life respected — one’s right to peace.’

In August, a French court banned a local council from erecting turbines near the Mont Saint Michel abbey in Normandy, after Unesco warned they could cost France’s most visited provincial tourist site its World Heritage status.

A plan to build a vast offshore wind farm within view of several Normandy D-Day beaches has also been condemned as ‘an insult to the memory of the thousands who died there’.


Fracking 'is safe... and it's coming soon' to Brits

Households “right across the South” should prepare for gas fracking to begin in their areas, a senior minister has warned.

Michael Fallon says that in the next few weeks, a study by the water industry will conclude that fracking will not contaminate the water supply.

He told The Telegraph that places such as Wiltshire, Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex will become centres of the potential source of energy. The Conservative minister, who has posts at the business and energy departments, said Britain had the scope to emulate US states such as Texas in exploiting shale gas.

Mr Fallon also pledged to block wind farms, saying that only one in three sites is being approved following planning restrictions.

In other comments, he said energy bills would be “pegged back” when the Coalition cuts green levies on power next month, and that the Conservatives could fight the next election on a promise to reduce taxes for lower-paid workers by increasing the income tax threshold above £10,000.

Mr Fallon was this week named minister of the year by The Spectator magazine because of his successful management of the Royal Mail privatisation.

He will now focus on trying to win wider acceptance for fracking.

Fears about the process are “myths” and it could provide “the most exciting home-grown source of energy we’ve seen for years”, he said. Fracking is a method of extracting small pockets of gas trapped in rocks by pumping in pressurised water. Advocates say it could produce large amounts of cheap energy, but critics fear it will cause environmental damage.

Water UK, which represents water companies, expressed fears about fracking earlier in the year and began a study.

Mr Fallon said its report will conclude that fracking is largely safe, and will say there is no risk of contamination of water supplies. The report will be part of a drive by the Government to dispel fears about shale gas, which have led to protests against energy firms considering fracking — protests backed by some Tory MPs.

The water industry study follows research from Public Health England which said last month that fracking did not pose a serious medical risk.

“There are genuine concerns, but there are also myths and we are tackling them,” Mr Fallon said.

Shale gas exploration has so far been concentrated in the North, but Mr Fallon said the South could also be in line for fracking. Next year, the British Geological Survey will publish a map of the “southern basin” of England, identifying sites most likely to be rich in shale gas.

“It’s right across the South we’re talking about: Wiltshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, into Kent,” said Mr Fallon, the MP for Sevenoaks. Ministers have reduced the regulatory barriers to fracking, clearing the way for the industry to spread across the country, he said, adding: “There is shale in the Midlands too.”

Mr Fallon said he had discussed fracking recently with Rick Perry, the governor of Texas. He admitted that the state had little in common with the Home Counties, but said: “He was telling me about the number of new businesses that shale had brought to Texas — technology companies, energy companies, lots of new jobs.

“There are differences, but the potential is there and we should check it out.”


Electric cars guru sees shares in firm tumble by a fifth after three vehicles catch fire in five weeks

Nick Clegg’s new adviser on motoring has seen the value of his electric car firm slump by a fifth after three vehicles burst into flames. Billionaire Elon Musk, who founded PayPal, was revealed by the Deputy Prime Minister yesterday to be working with the government on how to increase take up of electric cars.

But his company Tesla Motor Inc has suffered a string of bad headlines about Model S electric cars being destroyed by fires.

Mr Clegg said the government has enlisted the help of the electric car pioneer to advise ministers on how to reach a ‘tipping point’ for the take-up of green vehicles.

The involvement of Mr Musk, who runs the firm behind the Tesla electric sports car, came as Mr Clegg called for large fleet companies, taxi firms and public agencies to explain what more could be done by ministers to encourage them to change to ultra-low emission vehicles.

Setting out the details of Mr Musk's role, Mr Clegg said: ‘He brings unmatched expertise to the table. Among other issues, he'll consider how we can boost investment, massively increase the take up of electric vehicles across the country and promote the benefits of ultra-low emission vehicles more widely to drivers.’

However, in the last week shares in Tesla have tumbled on the back of three Model S electric cars catching light and poor trading figures.

A Tesla Model S electric car caught fire this week after hitting road debris on a Tennessee freeway, the third fire in a Model S in the past five weeks. Two previous fires have also been linked to accidents, Tesla insists.

The Model S has a large battery pack under the passenger compartment, protected by a quarter-inch-thick metal shield. Experts say that if debris punctures the shield and damages the battery, it can cause shorts and arcing that can touch off fires.

Yesterday shares fell by seven per cent, after falling by 14 per cent on Wednesday. The company has also posted weak financial results, after admitting selling fewer of the £60,000 cars than expected.

Karl Brauer, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book, said: ‘For a company with a stock price based as much or more on image than financials, those recurring headlines are highly damaging.’

Mr Clegg had hoped Mr Musk's appointment would be the centrepiece of a speech attacking the Tories over their reluctance to commit to the green agenda.

But after news of the latest fire, a spokesman for the Deputy Prime Minister said: ‘We are not under any obligation to follow any of his recommendations.’

Mr Musk will not be paid to write his report on increasing the roll-out of charging points for electric cars, due to be published in the New Year.

The Government wants all new cars and vans purchased in the UK to be ‘effectively zero emission’ by 2040 and £400 million has been committed over the course of this Parliament to support the technology.


California Wind Farm Seeking First Permit to Kill Protected Golden Eagles

A wind farm in the Montezuma Hills region of Northern California is seeking a permit to legally kill up to five golden eagles over the next five years even though the raptors are currently protected under federal law and an international migratory bird treaty.

Noting that “the project contributes to California’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard goals,” the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has recommended a five-year permit with additional mitigation and monitoring efforts, including the purchase of “conservation credits in an approved mitigation bank.”

Due to the government shutdown last month, the public comment period on the permit has been extended to Nov. 12th.

If approved, the 3,500-acre Shiloh IV Wind Project in Solano County, which is owned by EDF Renewable Energy, would receive the nation’s first “eagle take permit” allowing the project’s 50 two-megawatt wind turbines to legally kill the birds of prey without penalty. An estimated 315 birds and 258 bats will be killed by each turbine per year, according to the project’s Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA). (See Shiloh DEA.pdf)

Earlier this year, a similar wind farm in Nevada faced a $200,000 fine for killing a single golden eagle without a take permit.

The Migratory Birds Treaty and the Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act forbid the killing of even one of the estimated 527 golden eagles that live within 140 miles of the project area. “Wind facilities are believed to be one of the currently leading causes of mortality,” according to the DEA.

According to a new FWS study published in September in the Journal of Raptor Research, eagle deaths have spiked in recent years, with wind farms killing “at least 85 eagles” in 10 states between 1997 and 2012.

Seventy-nine of the fatalities were golden eagles who inadvertently flew into spinning turbine blades. One was electrocuted by a high-power line.

However, the study, which “excluded 17 eagle deaths for which there was ‘not enough evidence’,” warned that due to the lack of monitoring and voluntary reporting by wind-energy companies, that figure “substantially underestimates” total eagle mortality from wind turbines.

The DEA determined that nesting adult eagles and their offspring found within 10 miles of the wind farm “are at risk from project operations.” Although EDF replaced 230 of its 1980s –era wind turbines with 50 newer ones, FWS noted that the risk to eagles has actually “increased because of the larger size of the turbine blades.”

Golden eagles, one of the largest raptors in North America, are particularly vulnerable to wind turbines because they tend to look down for prey while they are in flight.

A recent FWS estimate put the total population of golden eagles at 20,722. A 2009 analysis of the golden eagle populations in the Shiloh IV area found that it “might not be able to sustain any additional unmitigated mortality, and set the thresholds for this species at zero,”and any authorized killing must be offset by “compensatory mitigation” efforts.

EDF Renewable Energy, which has a number of wind, solar and biomass projects throughout the country, signed a purchase agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) to provide wind-powered electricity to the utility over the next 25 years. A mandate passed by the California legislature requires that 33 percent of the state’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 allow a 2.3-cent per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for wind projects such as Shiloh IV. According to the DOE, the federal government spent $9.7 billion on 24,711 renewable energy projects, with 79 percent going to wind energy projects.


EPA Regulations: Browning out America’s future

In the modern world, where energy flows, commerce and prosperity follows. The economic and industrial greatness behind the United States is built on the back of an infrastructure that makes massive amounts of energy accessible and affordable. Coal is a indispensible pillar of that infrastructure.

Since becoming an economic powerhouse, the United States has consistently relied upon coal as an abundant, reliable source of energy. According to the Institute for Energy Research, coal-burning power plants make up 37 percent of all electric energy generation in the United States. There is enough naturally-resting coal in the United States to power the nation for over 500 years at current energy consumption rates. America’s coal resources more than double the amount of natural coal found in the world’s second-largest repository nation, Russia. Coal offers the U.S. a great strategic advantage in the international marketplace.

On January 17, 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama held a press conference outlining his desires for the future of energy regulations. When questioned about his intended regulatory burden on the coal industry, Obama quipped, “if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it’s going to bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” He made it clear that his ideas for environmental preservation took precedent over economic growth and those who rely on inexpensive energy.

From the Oval Office Obama kept his promise, utilizing all of the executive regulatory resources at his disposal through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to apply as much pressure on coal-powered energy as possible. On September 20, 2013, the EPA issued a major rule restricting the amount of CO2 emissions allowed from new power plants.This regulation virtually removes the economic possibility for the future development of new coal plants in the U.S. Strict emission regulations on current plants remain to be formally announced by the EPA.

One hundred thirty-eight coal plants have already shut down since Obama took office, eliminating nearly 10 percent of coal-powered energy generating capacity. Two hundred seven more have announced closure over the next decade due to prohibitive EPA regulations. Before any further plant closures are announced and new regulations designed by the EPA, the United States will lose 32 percent of its coal-fired plants due directly to the EPA’s presidential task to decommission the coal industry.

Energy demand is growing in the United States. The U.S. Energy Information Administration anticipates energy demands increasing at a rate of about 1 percent per year until 2040. Energy sector expert Lawrence J. Makovich, PhD speculates even more dramatic growth in demand, as high as 1.7 percent annually. As the nation’s economy continues to recover from the 2009 recession, any economic advance must have a reliable energy foundation from which to develop.

President Obama has often pointed to wind and solar options to replace coal in the future. Conceding this very well may be the case in this distant future, neither option is viable to sustain the United States as an immediate replacement for coal. In 2012, wind and solar made up 3.6 percent of net electricity generation in the U.S.; less than a tenth of coal’s generating capacity. Further, none of this takes into account practical inconsistencies inherent within wind and solar energy sources: solar panels only absorb sunrays with the sun shines and wind turbines only spin when the wind blows. Coal plants are fundamentally reliable.

Economic growth necessitates energy reliability. If the economy ever begins growing faster than the anemic rates of the post-recession years, the nation’s power grid must maintain the capacity to support that growth and offer inexpensive energy. The policies of the President’s regulatory state and the EPA are undermining sustainable reliability in exchange for historically unreliable options and untraceable dreams of reversing global climate trends. These damaging policies toward coal are laying the groundwork for stunted economic growth and a dark, expensive energy future.


Australia: Utilities to share carbon cuts

THE bosses of two of Australia's biggest power companies have vowed to slash hundreds of dollars from family power bills the moment the carbon tax is removed.

Origin Energy's Frank Calabria last night told The Daily Telegraph: "To keep things simple, if the carbon price is removed as an input cost to energy bills, we will pass the benefit on to consumers."

At AGL, the nation's largest electricity provider, boss Michael Fraser said: "Once the repeal … legislation is effective, AGL would expect to apply this to bills accordingly.

"The savings on bills may be expected to vary by state and consumers should also be aware that any savings will depend on their individual circumstances."

But when contacted on whether they would make similar moves, NSW's other major energy providers Momentum Energy and EnergyAustralia did not comment.

The comments follow those of corporate watchdog chief Rod Sims, who described the carbon tax removal as "not a massively complicated process" and tipped prices to fall by as much as 9 per cent once the tax was repealed.

The Abbott government has said the repeal of the tax should lead to a 9 per cent fall in power bills and a 7?per cent fall in gas prices.

Over the past five years, the average household electricity bill has risen between 37 and 80 per cent.

Energy Supply Association chief executive Matthew Warren said the full carbon component of energy bills would be passed through.

"The impact of carbon on the energy supply chain is complex but it can be unravelled and the industry will continue to work with the Abbott government to deliver this," he said.

Recent NSW Audit Office figures have shown the state government's electricity companies boosted their combined profit to $1.54 billion in the year to June - up from $1.03 billion only a year earlier. The state government has sold the retail operations of NSW's main electricity companies, including EnergyAustralia, Integral and Country Energy.

The electricity companies' high profitability helped boost their overall contribution to the government's coffers to $2.2 billion from $1.82 billion a year earlier.

Mum-of-three Katie Davis said the tax had made day-to-day living close to unaffordable and she planned to spend the extra cash saved on power bills on minor luxuries such as family dinners out. "The power bill is up to about $1000 a quarter, it's ridiculous," she said. "When it comes in every time ... it seems like it's been going up and up and you wonder when it's going to stop."




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


8 November, 2013

Global warming 'pause' may last for 20 more years and Arctic sea ice has already started to recover

The 17-year pause in global warming is likely to last into the 2030s and the Arctic sea ice has already started to recover, according to new research.

A paper in the peer-reviewed journal Climate Dynamics – by Professor Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Dr Marcia Wyatt – amounts to a stunning challenge to climate science orthodoxy.

Not only does it explain the unexpected pause, it suggests that the scientific majority – whose views are represented by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – have underestimated the role of natural cycles and exaggerated that of greenhouse gases.

The research comes amid mounting evidence that the computer models on which the IPCC based the gloomy forecasts of a rapidly warming planet in its latest report, published in September, are diverging widely from reality.

The graph shown above, based on a version published by Dr Ed Hawkins of Reading University on his blog, Climate Lab Book, reveals that actual temperatures are now below the predictions made by almost all the 138 models on which the IPCC relies.

The pause means there has been no statistically significant increase in world average surface temperatures since the beginning of 1997, despite the models’ projection of a steeply rising trend.

According to Dr Hawkins, the divergence is now so great that the world’s climate is cooler than what the models collectively predicted with ‘five to 95 per cent certainty’.

Curry and Wyatt say they have identified a climatic ‘stadium wave’ – the phenomenon known in Britain as a Mexican wave, in which the crowd at a stadium stand and sit so that a wave seems to circle the audience.

In similar fashion, a number of cycles in the temperature of air and oceans, and the level of Arctic ice, take place across the Northern hemisphere over decades. Curry and Wyatt say there is evidence of this going back at least 300 years.

According to Curry and Wyatt, the theory may explain both the warming pause and why the computer models did not forecast it.

It also means that a large proportion of the warming that did occur in the years before the pause was due not to greenhouse gas emissions, but to the same cyclical wave.

‘The stadium wave signal predicts that the current pause in global warming could extend into the 2030s,’ said Wyatt. This is in sharp contrast with the IPCC’s report, which predicts warming of between 0.3 and 0.7C by 2035.

Wyatt added: ‘The stadium wave forecasts that sea ice will recover from its recent minimum.’ The record low seen in 2012, followed by the large increase in 2013, is consistent with the theory, she said.

Even IPCC report co-authors such as Dr Hawkins admit some of the models are ‘too hot’. He said: ‘The upper end of the latest climate model projections is inconsistent’ with observed temperatures, though he added even the lower predictions could have ‘negative impacts’ if true.

But if the pause lasted another ten years, and there were no large volcanic eruptions, ‘then global surface temperatures would be outside the IPCC’s indicative likely range’.

Professor Curry went much further. ‘The growing divergence between climate model simulations and observations raises the prospect that climate models are inadequate in fundamental ways,’ she said.

If the pause continued, this would suggest that the models were not ‘fit for purpose’.


Fighting Fracking Fiction

Providing yet more proof of the falsity of the anti-fracking fracas, a study performed by Public Health England (PHE), an agency within Britain's Department of Health has found that hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” as a means of tapping into vast underground resources of natural gas poses few emissions-related health risks when operations are run properly. The study, which examined fracking operations in countries including the United States, also found that “[c]ontamination of groundwater from the underground fracking process itself … is unlikely.”

This comes on the heels of another recent study that showed fracking hardly poses the grave greenhouse gas emissions threat that ecofascists claim. Unfortunately, the truth – however often confirmed – is unlikely to mollify anti-fracking alarmists, who have said the process does everything from ignite tap water to cause bowel disease. (And that's not even mentioning all those fracking-induced traffic accidents. Seriously, folks, we can't make this stuff up.) What the truth does do, however, is make it more and more difficult for fracking's foes credibly to fight the facts with little more than fiction.


Regulatory Commissars: Order to Combat Warming

In a Friday afternoon executive order, Barack Obama ordered the federal government to do even more to combat so-called climate change. The order read, in part, “The impacts of climate change – including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification and sea-level rise – are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies and public health across the nation. The federal government must build on recent progress and pursue new strategies to improve the nation's preparedness and resilience.” The order, of course, not only ignores that the climate has not warmed over the last 15 years but also deceitfully asserts that wildfires, droughts and so forth are increasing.

The regulations that will come out of such a general order are sure to be costly or even crippling to the economy. As we have already seen, Obama's refusal to approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast is driven in part by a desire to appease his ecofascist constituents who claim drilling exacerbates global warming. Obama's EPA has also issued crushing new regulations on coal-burning power plants – regulations that will put many plants out of business and even prevent construction of new ones. The EPA has turned a deaf ear to those concerned about the economic impact of its rules, and it regularly continues to abuse its authority.

Mountains of new regulations is one reason that Obama is seeking to pack the DC Circuit Court with nominees who will see things his way.


British power crisis risk 'worse than feared' this winter, SSE warns

The risk of power shortages this winter has been underestimated by ministers and the National Grid, with factory shutdowns and “politically unacceptable” price spikes more likely than had been feared, energy giant SSE has warned.

National Grid last month said that in a cold winter the UK’s electricity “margin” - the safety buffer between peak demand and supply - would fall to just 5pc, the lowest since 2007, as old power stations are switched off.

But Keith MacLean, SSE’s director of policy and research, warned: “We think that could easily flip to minus 5pc.”

“We are heading for a critical period. We worry that [the Department of Energy and Climate Change] and National Grid have been over-optimistic,” he said.

National Grid’s estimates of peak demand were too low, at 2GW below levels seen in December 2012, he said.

The Grid had also admitted it had been counting on supply from power stations that would not actually be available this winter - potentially taking away about 1.5GW or 2GW of supply, Mr MacLean said.

“It’s easy to see how you get from just about having enough, to not having quite enough,” he warned.

He said Britain would not face blackouts “unless National Grid really cocks up quite badly” as it had measures to manage demand, such as asking industrial sites to switch off.

But he said: “Is that really the answer we want when trying to drive a bit of growth into the economy? I don’t think it is.”

Power shortages would also mean that “the price is going to start spiking”, he said, resulting in levels that were “not politically acceptable... either for industry or certainly not for domestic consumers”.

SSE was the first energy giant to raise its prices this year, blaming rising costs of wholesale energy, network charges and green levies on bills for the 8.2pc increase.

Mr MacLean blamed politicians for the looming power crunch.

“We have an enormous number of policy interventions but they are creating an incredibly complex picture which no-one really is able to understand,” he told the Stationers’ Company Autumn Forum in London.

“We are moving to a centrally-planned system, but you try to find someone who thinks it’s their responsibility to say what that plan is, or find a copy of that plan, you’ll be looking for a long time.”

Gas plants are currently being mothballed because of “extremely unattractive” economics that means most are loss-making.

“The cheapest way to keep the lights on at the moment is to keep what we have got going and to stop any more plant being mothballed,” he said, suggesting the Government should bring forward a proposed “capacity mechanism” policy to pay plants to be available as back-up, which was only due to start operating in 2018.

A National Grid spokesman said: “Our report uses historical data and information from the market to outline scenarios for the coming winter. It’s not a prediction, but this year’s report does shows that the market has the capability to meet electricity and gas demand.”

A DECC spokesman said that National Grid estimated a capacity margin of about 8pc this winter, only falling to 5pc in high demand.

Regulator Ofgem estimates the margin to be about 6pc, while DECC's own analysis suggests margins will be nearer 10pc.

The DECC spokesman said: “We have enough energy to meet our needs this winter. Our infrastructure can deliver more than we need and has coped well during recent very cold winter spells.”


Australia: Razor taken to CSIRO

Global Warmists get the boot. Their completely unscientific support of global warming dogma has destroyed much of the respect the CSIRO once had

Almost a quarter of scientists, researchers and workers at Australia's premier science institution will lose their jobs under the federal government's present public service jobs freeze.

The blanket staff freeze across the public service threatens the jobs of 1400 "non-ongoing" workers at the CSIRO and could paralyse some of the organisation's premier research projects, with a ban on hiring, extending or renewing short-term contracts effective immediately.

The impact of the freeze on the CSIRO follows fears expressed in the scientific community about the Abbott government's failure to nominate a dedicated science minister out of his cabinet or ministerial team. The concerns have been heightened by subsequent decisions, including the closure of the global warming advisory body the Climate Change Commission, and revelations on Thursday that Australia will not be sending its Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, or any ministerial stand-in to international climate change negotiations starting on Monday in Warsaw.

The freeze is part of the Abbott government's plan to cut 12,000 jobs from the public service.

On Friday, the government will also announce the immediate dismantling of a raft of government advisory bodies, expert panels and national steering committees, covering diverse areas including ageing, legal affairs, ethics and animal welfare. Federal cabinet this week signed off on the changes, which will see a dozen "non-statutory" bodies axed altogether, and several more amalgamated with other bodies or absorbed into existing departmental functions.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott repeatedly promised before the election that a Coalition government would dramatically reduce the size of the bureaucracy and would do away with thousands of regulations said to be clogging the economy.

"There are currently more than 50,000 Acts and legislative instruments, many of which are a handbrake on Australia's ability to get things done," Mr Abbott said.

The bodies scrapped are: Australian Animals Welfare Advisory Committee; Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Committee; International Legal Services Advisory Committee; National Inter-country Adoption Advisory Council; National Steering Committee on Corporate Wrongdoing; Antarctic Animal Ethics Committee; Advisory Panel on the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formula; High Speed Rail Advisory Group; Maritime Workforce Development Forum; Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing; Insurance Reform Advisory Group; and the National Housing Supply Council.

On Friday, the head of the advisory panel on positive ageing, Everald Compton, said his group had only six months of important work to go - and was not expensive.

"A few hundred thousand dollars a year, a couple of hundred thousand I think it is," he told ABC Radio. "We run a lean, mean operation. We don't go anywhere that we don't have to. We're not causing a financial disturbance in the government."

Mr Compton said that the group was on brink of presenting government with a blueprint on the legislative and financial changes that were needed over the next 25 years to turn ageing "into an asset rather than a liability".

"I find it a little hard to understand why, when we're so close to finishing something that we've had some years of work in, that it's chopped off and that the Government does not appear to want a report on how ageing is going to hit Australia."

At the CSIRO, staff leaders fronted their bosses on Thursday, demanding answers on the fate of the workers on contracts, which can often last up to 24 months.

CSIRO has an unusually high proportion of “non-ongoings” with 990 “term” workers and about 440 casual staff among its 6500 headcount.

"It's going to be a huge problem," said one staff member, who wanted to remain anonymous.

Staff were told last week of the decision, which will hit the organisation's 11 research divisions and 11 national research flagships, as well as critical support for frontline scientists.

In an email to staff, CSIRO chief executive Megan Clarke said: "I announce an immediate recruitment freeze covering the following: External recruitment; and, entering into any new, or extending existing term or contract employment arrangements."

Catriona Jackson, the chief executive of Science and Technology Australia, the peak lobby for the nation's scientists, said she was "concerned that cuts to the public service may fall disproportionately on scientists".

West Australian federal Liberal Dennis Jensen, himself a former research scientist at CSIRO, said the suggestion that the government had an anti-science bias was incorrect.

But he admitted the failure to have a dedicated science minister worried him. "That does concern me," he said.

"If somebody wanted to raise a concern from one of the Cooperative Research Centres, often a bridge between academia and industry, then who would they write to? Do they write to the education minister or the industry minister, I think that is the major problem, that the focus and drive of a single minister is lost."

Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos told Sky News on Friday that only 500-600 support staff could go at the CSIRO but argued the new government needed to be able to choose where it allocated and prioritised resources. "The new government has to have a capacity to do that," he said.

A CSIRO spokesman said the number of jobs under threat had been exaggerated by the staff association. The spokesman said that no more than 550 casual and “term” workers were facing contract renewals this financial year.

CSIRO's executive and senior staff have been frantically seeking explanations from government as to how the edict is to be interpreted.

Labor's spokesman for the environment, climate change and water, Mark Butler, said he wasn't surprised that scientists were being sacked by the government, say Mr Abbott does not respect scientists' work, particulary on climate change.

"And I don't think it's a coincidence that the experts being sacked by this government have previously pointed out the serious flaws in the Coalition's direct action con," Mr Butler said.

"If the government consulted independent scientists and researchers instead of Wikipedia, they would know their direct action policy will do nothing to tackle pollution and will end up costing households more.

"The government is sacking the experts and shutting out anyone who doesn't agree with them. It's a disgraceful act."


The tragedy of the elites

By Robert Romano

One of the most influential works that advises today’s brand of excessive environmental regulations by federal regulatory organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was written 45 years ago in 1968. In “The tragedy of the commons,” Garrett Hardin set forth arguments against overpopulation, resource depletion and pollution.

Although it predated modern concern over carbon emissions now regulated by the EPA, he still laid forth a framework that can give everyday Americans an idea of at least an intellectual basis for the radical ideology that today threatens economic growth and the ability to provide for ourselves.

On the resource management side of the equation, Hardin made the Malthusian assumption of scarcity, using the example of overgrazing of cattle on the frontier to argue against Adam Smith’s implicit presumption that everyone working in their self-interests would enhance the common good.

Argued Hardin, “Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit — in a world that is limited. Ruin is the devastation toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.”

By “commons,” Hardin is essentially referring to natural resources, and access to them. He worried about a “pasture open to all.” Except, there was no such pasture. Lands are either public or private, a detail he later gets to.

To navigate the problem, he argued, “We might sell them off as private property. We might keep them as public property, but allocate the right to enter them.” This reflects the permitting system that was already in place for resource extraction on public lands, and the general concept of private property that long predated Hardin’s essay.

Here, he is using property, whether held privately or publicly as a matter of law, to show that a problem without what he said had “no technical solution” that might otherwise be solved through scientific means required further action — i.e. the coercive power of the government.

Which brings us to pollution, and the primary concern of this essay, what I shall call the tragedy of the elites. His views on resource management being dealt with via property, whether public or private, leave far less to be questioned than his views on pollution, and what happens when the two concepts are married and the government begins to view the resources as the source of the pollution.

“[T]he air and waters surrounding us cannot readily be fenced, and so the tragedy of the commons as a cesspool must be prevented by a different means,” Hardin wrote, adding, “by coercive laws or taxing devices that make it cheaper for the polluter to treat his pollutants than to discharge them untreated.”

Here, one can begin to see the intellectual framework for proposals such as a carbon tax, or for requiring coal-fired power plants to burn “cleaner,” or for carbon sequestration (i.e. requiring emitters to “store” carbon emissions without releasing them into the atmosphere). How did we get here?

The EPA was required by the Supreme Court in 2007 in Massachusetts v. EPA to reinterpret the Clean Air Act. Under that decision, carbon emissions were defined as a “harmful pollutant,” even though the statute never even mentioned carbon dioxide, a gas necessary for the very existence of life.

Here, again, Garrett was prophetic. “The law, always behind the times, requires elaborate stitching and fitting to adapt it to this newly perceived aspect of the commons.” What better articulation of the preferred tactic of the radical environmentalist movement? Whether it’s sue and settle arrangements or the Supreme Court decision, the EPA’s powers have been vastly expanded through what can only be called an “elaborate stitching” of the law.

The beauty of the judicial route, from the environmentalist perspective, is that it is inoculated against almost any potential legislative remedy. Now, the agency can regulate carbon emissions on motor vehicles, power plants, and everything else — at will — without any vote in Congress.

At first it will be, as Hardin suggests, “coercive laws or taxing devices” to combat perceived “man-made,” carbon-induced climate change. But ultimately, being an advocate of population control, Hardin foresaw even more drastic means to deal with the problem since, as he noted, “The pollution problem is a consequence of population.”

That is why, ultimately, he viewed the solution to pollution is “by relinquishing the freedom to breed, and that very soon.” Have you signed up for your parental licenses yet?

The population explosion over the past 200 years is entirely owed to the Industrial Revolution that was fueled in large part by increased energy output, particularly carbon-based energy. The necessary consequence of dramatically reducing carbon-based energy consumption — and the food production, medical advancement, and economic growth that depends on it — would have to be a commensurate, significant decrease in the human population.

Really, it all depends on just how draconian the agency’s restrictions of carbon emissions are. How much of a price will be placed on carbon emissions by the agency? If it’s too high, the impact could be devastating, resulting in the means of sustaining the world’s population being suddenly restricted or gradually reduced.

Moreover, even if all of the resources, particularly energy, are indeed finite or if the impact of carbon emissions were truly impactful on climatic conditions—both questionable prospects—an arbitrary restriction of consumption and economic growth will not permit or at least severely reduce the possibility of market-based solutions to these problems.

Instead, Hardin’s approach, once resources become “pollutants” and the law is perverted to restrict extraction and use, knowledge itself is compartmentalized.

Solutions become dependent upon an a priori, top-down, regulatory approach utilizing fewer individuals to achieve innovation and sustainability for a growing population.

Hydraulic fracturing of shale oil and the proliferation of nuclear energy as a public utility are both market-driven solutions to resource problems. Both assume that resources can be expanded if people choose to chip in and pay for them. But they will not be permitted, the moment the government decides that accessing these resources somehow they will destroy the environment.

How many more innovations will be suppressed in an environment where the government will eventually not even permit the economy to grow? The solutions are more likely to be found in conditions that permit the freedom to innovate in areas thought to be daunting today.

Therein lays the tragedy of the elites, for Hardin’s central premise is that the government knows better now — the future be damned.




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


7 November, 2013

Solar Industry Takes on Crony Capitalism in Arizona

As Henry Kissinger once said: "It's a pity they can't both lose"

A heated battle is taking place in Arizona between the fledgling solar industry and APS, the state’s largest energy company, which enjoys a state-granted near-monopoly over energy. In sunny Arizona, it is peculiar that solar energy is being portrayed as the bad guy. Since Arizona is a Republican-dominated state, APS is sneakily buying up influential Republicans, both directly and indirectly, to perpetuate its crony capitalism. The Washington Post refers to these Republicans as “some of the best pollsters and consultants money can buy.”

The spin goes like this, “stop subsidizing the solar industry.” The word “subsidy” is used to scare Republicans. The solar companies are being compared to Solyndra, the green energy company that went bankrupt despite receiving more than $500 million in loans from the Department of Energy.

The reality is, the solar industry is not being “subsidized.” Energy users who do not use APS power, but use their solar panels instead for power, are simply not being double-charged. When they are not using APS power, but are instead sending unused solar power energy back to the grid for others to use, they receive a rebate. This is known as “net metering” and has been in place since 2009. APS wants to eliminate this, which will essentially have the effect of charging solar users for APS power they do not use. Instead of receiving 15 cents per kilowatt-hour rebates for power the solar users send back to the grid, APS wants to reduce the rebate to 4 to 10 cents. This would add $50 to $100 a month to the power bills of solar users. The utility also wants to start charging solar users a monthly maintenance fee.

Solar users are saving everyone additional costs. As energy users dependent upon APS decrease their usage and move to solar power, fewer generating stations need to be built, and fewer distribution lines put into place. While it is true that solar users are paying less towards the maintenance costs of APS, it is because they are using less of APS’ services.

What has complicated the issue and made it easy for crony capitalist arguments to prevail is that energy is not a purely free market commodity. Due to the limited nature of energy, and the expense of outfitting each home with energy sources, it is virtually impossible for competing energy sources to exist without government - or some type of neutral entity - stepping in to split up the pot in some way. If APS has its way, it will continue to be propped up as a near-monopoly by the government, subsidized by taxpayers. Allowing solar companies to compete merely reduces the gargantuan market share that is artificially allocated to APS. I lived alone in a small home in Arizona for most of the last 12 years, and thought it was outrageous that my bill from APS was frequently close to $300 per month, no matter how frugally I used electricity and air conditioning.

This feud has come to a head this year because APS is discovering its profits are decreasing as more and more people in Arizona move to solar power. This is happening in part because the cost of installing solar panels has decreased drastically in recent years. About 200 APS customerseach month are adding solar to their houses now.

APS has been secretly contributing large amounts of money to conservative organizations like 60 Plus Association, the conservative alternative to the AARP, and the conservative organization Prosper, in order to influence the groups to run negative ads against solar power. When a reporter asked APS spokesman Jim McDonald in July whether APS was funding the 60 Plus costly TV ads, he denied it, saying, “No, we are not.” Instead, APS claimed it was a coincidence that the two organizations were aligned with it. McDonald has a history of advocating for tax increases.

In October, it was discovered that APS had been lying all along about funding conservative organizations to run attack ads. These groups bashed the solar net-metering policy as “corporate welfare.” It is ironic, because corporate welfare is actually what APS is demanding for itself.

Perhaps the term “net metering” needs to be changed to something more accurate, so consumers aren’t as easily fooled into believing it is a subsidy to solar companies. Call it what it is, non-double charging or rebates for contributing power.

Some conservatives have been fooled, lining up behind crony capitalism. Others see through the false rhetoric. Barry Goldwater, Jr., has come out against APS’ near monopoly. A Green Tea Party Coalition has been formed in Georgia by Debbie Dooley, national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots and co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party.

Conservatives who can see through the crony capitalism are forming a strange alliance with the left. It is one of very few issues that liberals and conservatives can both agree on, although for different reasons. Obama’s Organizing for America organization is taking sides with the solar companies in the name of “climate change.”

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) will be starting hearings on November 13 regarding net metering. The ACC has rejected APS’ proposals so far. If the ACC does not resolve the matter this month, debate could continue for two more years until APS’ next rate hearing. Commissioner Bob Burns has asked for an investigation into APS funding of 60 Plus, demanding information on any secret funding of nonprofits or public relations campaigns. It would be brutally unfair if APS customers’ money is being used to kill off the solar industry, and is likely a violation of the utility’s last rate case settlement.

Forty-three states and the District of Columbia use net metering. Arizona State University’s business school has determined that Arizona is the most promising state in the country for solar production. Jason Rose, a veteran Republican consultant working for the solar industry, told The Washington Post, “If the utilities are able to upend rooftop solar in Arizona, the sunniest state, then imagine what they can do everywhere else.”

This is a case of follow the money. When there is big money involved, which a utility company with a state-sanctioned near-monopoly is lying about, and conservatives are backing crony capitalism, you can be assured theirs is not the conservative position.


Common Sense Mining Policy? Rare!

What is essential to modern energy production and management including oil-and-gas development, wind and solar, and LED lights—just to name a few—and has rare bipartisan support in both houses of Congress?

The answer is something “rare.” Something that is currently used in almost everything modern, but that is abundant and recoverable in very few places on the planet—hence the “rare” moniker. Something that China has in abundance and that they are using as an economic weapon against the rest of the world—much like OPEC uses oil. And, this something is also found in the U.S., which could give us a competitive advantage in the global economy.

Have you guessed it? “Rare” was a big clue.

I am talking about Rare Earth Elements (REEs), many of which are recognized as Critical Minerals.

REEs are found in almost all massive rock formations—though their concentrations range from 10 to a few hundred parts per million by weight, which makes them difficult to extract. There are 17 different REEs with names ending in “ium” such as: dysprosium, yttrium, neodymium, terbium, cerium, and europium—just to name a few.

While most people don’t give REEs a thought, we all use them in our modern lives as they are a part of what makes cell phones, flat screens, and computer chips work. But REEs are not just about convenience and luxury. They are in every modern vehicle from a Prius to a Ford F-150. They enable miniaturization—making things fast and light.

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), “A Department of Energy report in 2010 noted that several minerals vital to clean-energy applications, including neodymium and dysprosium, face ‘critical’ supply questions over the next 15 years.” A 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers report revealed that 73 percent of CEOs in the automotive industry have businesses that face minerals and metals scarcity. The same problem applies to 78 percent of high-tech industry CEOs and 50 percent of aviation CEOs.

But, perhaps, most importantly, REEs are playing an ever-increasing role in vital defense technologies. REEs are used in stealth radar-evading technology, in targeting mechanisms for missiles and temperature-resistant magnets, and materials used in jet engines and aerofoil components in manned aircraft and, increasingly, in unmanned drones. The U.S. Department of Defense recently released findings from the “Strategic and Critical Materials 2013 Report on Stockpile Requirements,” which identified 23 critical minerals, of which shortages are likely. They include several vital to defense technologies, such as search and navigation equipment, missiles, and space vehicles. Such shortages will limit our ability to produce the defense systems of the future.

The U.S. is one of only a few countries with known recoverable REE deposits (with approximately 13 percent of the world’s total reserves), and we have more commodity minerals and metals than any other country. Yet, today, less than half the minerals U.S. manufacturers use comes from domestically mined resources. More specifically, China currently has a near-monopoly on the production of REEs—generally supplying approximately 85 percent of the world’s current REE supply and 100 percent of several REEs. Additionally, in recent years, China has imposed quotas on exports to protect its need for REEs and to compel high-tech companies to establish production in China by giving them the benefit of lower prices and guaranteed supply. In US News, Eric Hannis, senior fellow in defense studies at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC, addressed companies’ increasing hesitancy to move production to mainland China: “the need to gain a cost-effective, guaranteed supply of rare earths means that many have been forced to make a ‘deal with the devil.’”

Instead of easing the mining regulatory framework to help promote domestic REE production, the Obama administration engaged in the governmental form of a temper tantrum. It joined countries without the quality resources found in the U.S. and lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO), claiming that Beijing is unfairly choking off exports of the commodities to benefit its domestic industries. (Imagine that a government would make policy that was designed to benefit its own? Perhaps the White House should try that.) In fact, if the WTO initiative is successful and China is forced to reverse its current policy of keeping the majority of its REEs in-country for its own use, we might end up encouraging them to flood global markets with REEs again, driving the price down—as they did in the 80s and 90s. By joining in the WTO case, the Administration could make it very difficult for U.S. projects to get up and running and stay competitive—and this could be their plan. Gratefully, the very low cost of production expected at Molycorp’s Mountain Pass mine provides some economic cushion.

The WSJ reports that the U.S. was once self-sufficient in REE production but ceded the market to China over the past two decades, “partly because of environmental concerns over energy-intensive mining and partly because of falling global demand and prices,” as a result of China dumping huge quantities of REEs onto the world market.

REEs in China were first discovered in 1927, with the Bayan Obo mine open in 1950. The U.S. dominated global production from the 60s and into the 80s with light and heavy REE production at Mountain Pass, but China then launched a dedicated campaign to dominate the REE supply chain. In 1986, Deng Xiaoping, a Chinese politician and reformist leader of the Communist Party who, after Mao's death, led his country towards a market economy, established the National High Technology Research and Development Program. His goal was to help China “achieve breakthroughs in key technical fields that concern the national economic lifeline and national security, and to achieve leapfrog development in key high-tech fields in which China enjoys relative advantages.” In 1992, Xiaoping boldly proclaimed: the “Middle East has oil, China has rare earths.”

This brings us to today.

REEs have gone “from being practically unheard of a few years ago to being one of the most-talked-about commodities,” according to the WSJ. There has been growing concern in the U.S. regarding our reliance on China for our REE needs, which has resulted in unusual bipartisan support for increased domestic REE production.

Regarding the U.S. position in the international REE arena, Hannis states: “In much the same way that we should strive for independence from Middle Eastern oil, the United States now needs to make ‘rare earth independence’ from China a key priority of government. After all, the nation that supplies our rare earths shares one key similarity to the region that supplies much of our oil: neither are getting friendlier to America.”

Apparently Congress has gotten the message. Last year, Rep. Doc Hastings, (R-WA), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said: “Just like the United States' dependence on foreign oil causes pain at the pump, Americans will soon feel the impact of China's monopoly on the rare-earth element market.”

In September, the House of Representatives passed, with bipartisan support, HR 761: the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013, with the goal of allowing for the more efficient development of the U.S.’s $6.2 trillion worth of minerals and metals without minimizing or hindering the environmental review process.

On October 29, 17 Senators (nine Republicans and eight Democrats) introduced similar legislation: The Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013 to “help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign suppliers.” According to the Background and Section-by-Section Summary: “The legislation directs the Secretary of Interior to establish a list of minerals critical to the U.S. economy and, pursuant to those designations, outlines a comprehensive set of policies that will bolster critical mineral production, expand manufacturing, and promote recycling and alternatives—all while maintaining strong environmental protections.”

The Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013 has widespread industry support—even though it calls for yet another stall-tactic study, when 23 studies have already determined that we have a crisis and an emergency.

Hal Quinn, National Mining Association CEO, heralded the bill as “a welcome recognition of the urgent need to facilitate the development of American minerals.” He observed that the measure would analyze the “impediments to domestic minerals mining that hamper the prospects of a sustainable U.S. manufacturing renaissance. It is widely understood that the slow and inefficient permitting system in the U.S. poses the largest impediment to unlocking the full value of American minerals.”

Likewise, the Women’s Mining Coalition statement reads: “this bill will provide high-paying, long-term employment for many Americans, while also providing world-respected environmental management practices and implementation.”

The House bill passed with the support of 100 percent of the Republicans and many Democrats. The same can be assumed for the Senate version. Senate Democrats need to hear from their constituents, they need to know that you support The Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013. Please call your Senator and ask for his or her support.

Right now, there are only two non-Chinese suppliers for REEs (Molycorp in California and Lynas Corp. in Australia)—but there are several projects, such as Rare Elements Resources’ “Bear Lodge,” in development in the U.S. that could be providing national and economic security within a few years with the passage of The Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013. America’s REE resources and potential production and refining give us a strong global advantage—but we must accelerate and streamline the permitting process. It is time for our government to make policy that is designed to benefit its own.


Greens Starting to See Nuclear’s Merit

Over the weekend, four leading climate scientists begged the green movement to see reason on nuclear energy. The group—which included the scientist cum-activist who ominously (and wrongly) predicted that developing Canadian tar sands oil would be “game over” for the planet—sent a letter to a number of green groups making the case for the latest generation of nuclear reactors as a realistic green resource. Here’s the gist of the letter, courtesy of the NYT‘s Andrew Revkin:

"As climate and energy scientists concerned with global climate change, we are writing to urge you to advocate the development and deployment of safer nuclear energy systems. We appreciate your organization’s concern about global warming, and your advocacy of renewable energy. But continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.

We call on your organization to support the development and deployment of safer nuclear power systems as a practical means of addressing the climate change problem. Global demand for energy is growing rapidly and must continue to grow to provide the needs of developing economies. At the same time, the need to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions is becoming ever clearer. We can only increase energy supply while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions if new power plants turn away from using the atmosphere as a waste dump.

Renewables like wind and solar and biomass will certainly play roles in a future energy economy, but those energy sources cannot scale up fast enough to deliver cheap and reliable power at the scale the global economy requires. While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize the climate without nuclear power, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power."

There’s a lot to be excited about in the world of nuclear energy, and an end to the stubborn emotional green resistance may be the least of it. Next generation nuclear technologies like fast reactors, molten salt reactors, thorium reactors, and even nuclear fusion are making furious progress. Bill Gates sees energy as the best way to combat global poverty, and in pursuit of that goal is choosing to back next generation nuclear technologies. Hans Blix, the former UN weapons inspector, recently voiced his support for thorium for its non-proliferation potential.

That’s not to say that a new nuclear revolution is necessarily at hand. The cost of new plants is very high, and nuclear is being undercut by cheap shale gas in the US. Germany, Japan, and now South Korea have all walked back their nuclear energy ambitions in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. But while the momentum seemed decidedly against the zero carbon energy source in recent years, there is a growing sense that the newest generation of reactors have a bigger part to play yet.


British utility threatening to pull plug on £2bn offshore wind farm plan

Centrica is preparing to abandon a £2bn offshore wind farm project because subsidies offered by the government are too low.

The British Gas owner will not build the Race Bank wind farm, 17 miles off the north Norfolk coast, unless proposed subsidies are significantly increased, three sources told The Telegraph.

Ministers will not confirm final subsidy levels until December but are thought unlikely to increase draft prices enough for the project, which Centrica said could power 450,000 homes, to go ahead.

The move will raise fresh doubts over the future for the offshore wind industry, which ministers publicly insist they want to see developed.

They have privately indicated that they are happy to see some planned wind farms scrapped because they believe some companies, such as Centrica and its unnamed financial partner for Race Bank, are demanding too high returns.

Subsidies for wind farms will be paid for through levies on consumer energy bills, just as ministers are attempting to reduce such “green taxes” that companies, including Centrica, have blamed for pushing up household energy bills.

British Gas raised prices by 9.2pc last month and defended its right to make a 5pc post-tax profit, the highest of the Big Six suppliers, so as to fund investments.

“We believe these are fair profits, funding investments in UK energy infrastructure and securing future energy supplies for the UK, keeping homes warm and keeping the lights on,” the company said.

Its probable abandonment of Race Bank would, however, be its third high-profile withdrawal from planned UK investments on the grounds that subsidies footed by consumers were too low.

In February, it abandoned its 20pc stake in EDF’s planned Hinkley Point nuclear plant, writing off £231m, after complaining the returns were not attractive given the timescale and high cost. EDF last month agreed a subsidy deal for the project that analysts say could yield £1bn a year in pre-tax profits.

In September, Centrica wrote off £240m for planned gas storage facilities, which it had argued should be subsidised to avoid price spikes when supplies ran low.

Michael Fallon, the Energy Minister, rejected the claim, telling The Telegraph at the time: “I am not prepared to see fuel bills rise further just to give Centrica additional subsidy.”

Centrica had planned to invest up to £200m of the Race Bank project with partners funding the rest. It opened talks with the government about terms of a subsidy deal earlier this year.

In May, chairman Sir Roger Carr warned: “If the Government wish to have as part of their mix the renewable wind offshore, there is a price for that. We are happy to deliver the product provided we get the return that is reasonable. If we do not get the return it is not something, like nuclear, we can contemplate.”

In June, ministers unveiled the proposed levels of subsidies for offshore wind farms for the rest of this decade, which the company believes are too low.

Under the plans, wind farms that begin operating in 2014-15 will be offered £155 for every megawatt-hour of power they generate over a 15 year contract, about three times the market price of electricity, with the difference paid for in subsidies.

The subsidised price would fall 10pc to £140/MWh for projects starting up in 2017-18 and £135/MWh the year after.

The Committee on Climate Change, the government’s official adviser, said in September that the cut was too steep and the plans would “put required investment at risk”.

It said investors were also spooked by suggestions ministers envisaged as little as 8GW of offshore wind would being running by 2020, compared with previous plans for as much as 18GW, up from 3.3GW now.

Mr Fallon told The Telegraph this weekend that he was still reviewing consultation responses over the draft subsidy levels and could yet increase them, but that some wind farm developers were happy with the existing plans.

Centrica began planning Race Bank in 2004 and was granted consent for the project from the Department of Energy and Climate Change in July 2012. It had hoped to take a final investment decision early this year but said last month that any decision had now slipped into 2014.

Its plans for another offshore wind farm were rejected because it would have killed too many Sandwich terns.

Centrica declined to comment.


Coal, Gas, Oil and Uranium Are Still Best Energy Alternatives

Is U.S. mining for raw materials—coal, uranium and hard-rock minerals—an economic activity whose time has passed? And if so, what can replace it?

The Obama administration certainly has done its best to make domestic mining and energy production much more costly. Its “war on coal” is well documented. After clamping restrictions on airborne emissions of ground-level ozone and mercury at coal-fired plants, the Environmental Protection Agency has called for carbon-emissions’ standards that cannot be met even with the most advanced technologies.

The Carbon Power Plant, Utah’s oldest coal-fired electricity generating facility, will close in 2015 because not enough physical space is available for the equipment needed to meet the EPA’s new mercury limits.

Not surprisingly, these policies have contributed to a sharp drop in coal use. Its share of electricity generation for 2013 is expected to dip below 40 percent, the lowest level since World War II. Coal consumption has fallen dramatically from 1.2 billion tons a year to just over 800 million tons a year.

Dozens of U.S. coal mines have closed, idling more than 150 of them this year and leaving thousands of miners jobless.

Implicit in the administration’s hostility to coal is an assumption that other, greener energy sources are available to continue to ensure reliable and adequate supplies of electricity. But that is just whistling in the wind.

Nuclear power now generates 20 percent of our nation’s electricity. It turns out, though, that we are more dependent on imported uranium than we ever were on crude oil. Once a top uranium producer, the United States has only about nine operating uranium mines, and we import 90 percent of the uranium we use, much of it from Russia and Kazakhstan.

The United States has considerable uranium resources. Domestic supplies could fill electricity production and defense requirements many times over, but former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar banned mining on 1 million acres of the Arizona Strip covering northern Arizona and southern Utah. And, of course, Washington has blocked attempts to create a national repository for spent nuclear fuel.

Meanwhile, mining of another resource linked to energy production—fine-grained sand—is under attack from opponents of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for recovering shale oil and natural gas. Environmentalists want local governments to curtail sand mining, arguing that inhaling tiny particles of airborne silica could cause a lung disease called silicosis. The Greens are certain of this, I’m sure.

Without sand mines, many of them in Wisconsin and Minnesota, there wouldn’t have been a shale revolution. The United States now has abundant supplies of low-cost natural gas from fracking, in which a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is pumped underground at high pressure to break through shale deposits. The process has been so successful that cheap gas is fueling a surge in U.S. manufacturing of everything from chemicals and plastics to steel.

And sand mining is critical to shale-oil production. Thanks to the surge in shale-oil fracking, mainly in North Dakota and Texas, OPEC is no longer calling the shots. With oil imports at a 25-year low, U.S. refineries are operating at full capacity, and the net benefits from domestically produced oil and gas to the U.S. economy have reached $1 billion per day. Unconventional oil and gas production supported more than 1.7 million jobs last year, and is on pace to support 3 million by 2020. It’s also contributed tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues and helped reduce the trade deficit.

If the supply of fine sand is cut off, the boom could go bust.

Energy independence is not a goal that most economists support, but it’s been an objective pursued by every president over the past 40 years. What is consistent with economic reasoning, though, is to maintain a diversified portfolio of energy sources so as to avoid overreliance on any one of them.

Like it or not, oil and natural gas, coal and nuclear power now and for the foreseeable future are the best available alternatives.


Climate change 'exaggerated', former Australian PM says

FORMER PM John Howard thinks there'll never be a worldwide climate change agreement and admits he only backed emissions trading before the 2007 election because he faced a "perfect storm" on the issue.

Mr Howard delivered the Global Warming Policy Foundation's annual lecture in London on Tuesday night. The foundation was established by former Thatcher minister Nigel Lawson, who is sceptical about the impact of rising temperatures.

"I've always been agnostic about it (climate change)," Mr Howard told reporters in London before his address. "I don't completely dismiss the more dire warnings but I instinctively feel that some of the claims are exaggerated. "I don't accept all of the alarmist conclusions."

Mr Howard said he'd grown up being told ulcers were caused by stress but it was later revealed a virus was to blame. "You can never be absolutely certain that all the science is in."

Before the 2007 federal election then prime minister Howard pledged a re-elected conservative government would introduce an emissions trading scheme (ETS).

But he now says that was because by late 2006 his government hit a "perfect storm" with on-going drought, severe water restrictions, bushfires and the release of the Stern Review and Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth. "To put it bluntly, 'doing something' about global warming gathered strong political momentum in Australia," Mr Howard said in his written lecture.

Regardless, Labor won the 2007 poll. Mr Howard says that was partly because the party had even "more fashionable" views on climate change.

But six years on, Australia's second-longest serving prime minister insists the high tide of public support for "over-zealous action" on global warming has passed.

"I am very sceptical about the possibility of a global agreement ever being reached when you look at what happened in Copenhagen," he said, adding there was no real prospect of a deal between the major emitters Europe, the US and north Asia.

Mr Howard believes anti-global warming policies should never stand in the way of economic growth in developing countries.

Most economists believe current Prime Minister Tony Abbott's direct action approach to curbing carbon emissions will be more expensive than an ETS.

But Mr Howard on Tuesday refused to be drawn on his protegee's policy. "It's better for the government that's proposing the direct action plan to engage in the debate," he said.

The former Liberal leader was forced to defend his decision to read Lord Lawson's book An Appeal to Reason twice despite not having picked up any other book on global warming.

Asked if that was unbalanced, the ex-PM said he re-read the work as a courtesy after being invited by Lord Lawson to deliver the lecture.

Mr Howard said it was a "counterbalance" to advice previously received from government departments and stressed he'd read "numerous articles" on climate change.

The 74-year-old also used the lecture to argue nuclear power "must be part of the long term response" to global warming. "It is a very clean source of energy."

Mr Howard later criticised the ABC for being captured by climate change "alarmists". "The group-think at the ABC on this issue is quite clear," he said during the question and answer session after his lecture. "On this issue it's signed up - there's no doubt about that."

The former prime minister said the Murdoch press, particularly The Australian newspaper, was more sceptical.

"(But) talkback radio commentators in Australia have more political influence than they do in this country (and) they are ferociously sceptical.

"So we have had, for some time, a more balanced debate."




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


6 November, 2013


5 November, 2013


4 November, 2013

Stock up on vacuum cleaners?

Bureaucrats in Brussels are trying to make it harder to clean your home by banning the sale of powerful vacuum cleaners, it emerged today.

New European Commission rules will outlaw any new machine with a motor that exceeds 1,600 watts from next September to make them more energy efficient.

Currently the average vacuum cleaner on the market has a wattage of 1,800, but by 2017 that figure will have to fall to 900W.

The 'ecodesign' regulations have been drafted after years of research by officials and external consultants.

Vacuum cleaners will also be graded from A to G on how much noise they make, the energy efficiency of their suction and the levels of dust pumped out by their 'exhaust air'.

Similar 'eco-labels' have been displayed on washing machines for more than 15 years.

Among the models that will be affected are Hoover's Dust Manager model, which uses a 2,200W motor and its Hurricane upright vacuum cleaner, which has a 2,100W motor.

The British-made Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner and the Vax U90-MA-R, which is currently the bestselling upright vacuum cleaner on, will both have to be updated because they use 1,200W motors.

Existing vacuum cleaners will not be affected by the new rules, but manufacturers will have to abide by them when making new appliances.

EC president Jose Manuel Barroso has said the new rules will save energy equivalent to that produced by four nuclear power stations.

But manufacturers claim the regulations are misleading and will make it more difficult for customers to clean their homes.

Justin Binks, director of Sebo UK, which produces a range of vacuum cleaners, told The Sunday Times: 'If the proposed regulations for vacuum cleaners come into force as planned next year, they could hugely frustrate anyone trying to clean their home.

'Presented initially as eco-regulations, the proposals now go way beyond the simple premise of reducing the power consumption of vacuum cleaners; they embrace issues such as noise and will limit performance using unrealistic criteria.'

Sir James Dyson, the billionaire entrepreneur who pioneered 'bagless' vacuums, has launched a judicial review at the European Court of Justice in an attempt to block the eco-labelling.

Sir James, whose firms does not produce any vacuum cleaners over 1,400W, claims the labels will not take into account the cost and waste of vacuum bags and filters.


Obama's Backdoor Ban on Ammunition -- via the EPA

Without ammunition, guns are useless. Without lead, ammunition is ineffective and lead-free alternatives are more expensive. Thanks to new EPA regulations, the last lead smelting company in the country has been forced to close its doors.

Since 1892, the Doe Run Resources Corporation has served as the country’s primary lead refinery. Located in Southeast Missouri, within the state’s Lead Belt, Doe Run has developed in the largest lead producer in the Western World. Ammunition manufactures like Federal and Lake City (which also service the U.S. Military) deliberately set-up shop in the region in order to be close to the raw materials.

Thanks to the EPA’s new clean air regulations, Doe Run has been forced to close its doors. The EPA calls the shutdown simply a “business decision,” however given the fact that it would have cost the company over $100 million to comply with the regulations, there really was no other alternative.

The results are staggering. Despite being the world’s third-largest producer of lead ore, U.S. mines are now forced to transport their 444,000 metric tons of lead ore abroad for it to be refined.

This forces domestic ammunition manufacturers – servicing the world’s largest military and the majority of the world’s civilian gun owners – to pick up the tab on this international freight.

These new costs will inevitably become astronomical and will be passed on to the consumer.

Gun owners are well aware of the dangers of lead poisoning. But make no mistake: these new regulations aren’t about protecting the environment. This is about forcing ammunition companies to import lead from abroad and increasing the burden on America’s already-encumbered gun owners.


The Supraterranean War On Sanity: Scientists Versus Civilians

Cast your mind back to 1980. Nobody, not a soul, knew that gaspers, coffin nails, and cancer sticks were bad for you. Tobacco companies used an advanced form of mind control (the technology in now in the hands of the government) to envelope the nation in a smoky cloud of ignorance. Yet somehow, mysteriously, people awakened from their nicotine-induced slumber.

Hop in your time machine and pop forward a decade to 1990. Remember how we are all going to die of that noble and brave disease, AIDS? Well, maybe not all of us, but most of us were going to kick over, horribly and soon. Everybody was at risk.

Yet somehow, most of us didn’t.

Now shift forward eight years. That’s 1998, for you Brown University graduates. We were all going to die of heat frustration, choking on our own exhaust; we were all going to drown in our own sweat. The end was nigh.

Yet somehow the heat went into hiding. Nobody knows where it is.

If there’s one thing you can count on in a scientist, it’s that he never lets his failures hold him back. How could they? He never remembers them. No matter how many mistakes the scientist has made, no matter how over-certain he has in the past proved to be, he will sally forth boldly in his newest venture chock full of assuredness.

And, boy, will he be angry if you don’t fall in at his heels chirping, “You’re so smart. We ought to listen to you.” If you have the temerity to remind him of his previous sins, he will boast, “Science is self-correcting!”, never realizing that this argument is fallacious. Self-correcting science may be, but this is not evidence that the theory in front of us does not need correcting. Tell a modern scientist this and he begins to babble about “deniers”.

Consider this silly whine—The Subterranean War on Science—from Stephan Lewandowsky, Mike Mann, Linda Bauld, Gerard Hastings, and, I’m sad to report, Elizabeth Loftus in the Association for Psychological Science’s Observer.

Lewandowsky in particular, like most who teeter on the leftmost fringe of thought, finds it unfathomable that anybody can differ from his opinion. He dismisses as ludicrous the idea his opponents hold reasonable arguments. No: it must be some deep-seated pathology, some psychological aberration that accounts for the deviant behavior he feels surrounds him, that is closing in on him, constricting his movements, tightening the noose…it’s a conspiracy of oil companies and nefarious corporations! Not corporations like Apple and Solyndra, of course; bad corporations.

He and his co-authors are amazed—amazed!—that after years of nannying the citizenry over how much pop they can drink, what time they should go to bed; that after decades of stridently insisting that citizens should stay away from deadly potato chips, ice cream, popcorn; after the increasing hectoring of citizens about the sacking in which they carry their groceries, of what type of water containers are forbidden and on and on and ever on, that citizens are beginning to push back and tell the experts to mind their own damn business.

The world views of the experts are being challenged, and the experts are aghast, unsure what to do about it. Lewandowsky, after all but labeling his opponents mentally ill dimwits, was horrified—he tells us this—I almost can’t bring myself to type it—that somebody called him a bad name. Oh, the humanity!

Mann is a pest, an intellectual lightweight who in his imagination sees himself sparring with the big boys, but who puts on his glasses and whimpers at the first sign of trouble. Somebody dared asked for proof of his statistical, government-funded ravings and the poor dear was reduced to a blubbering mess.

Bauld and Hastings never go out after dark because they fret that every glowing cigarette—there’s one in every bush—is attached to an assassin dispatched by Big Tobacco.

Loftus, whom I admire, took one in the neck, too. But from a rival, as it were, and not a vexed citizen.

Look, some of the challenges by citizens of science are sensible, some not so much. But then, some of what scientists say is sensible, some not so much. Neither side can boast of a record when it comes to those areas which affect people. Not all science attains the same level of veracity, either. People know the difference. This is why you never see marches for or against the Standard Model in physics, or agitations pro and con over the best doping agents in transistors.

We’re not done with this paper, not by far.


Rebellion over wind turbine plan for 320 year old English battlefield

Campaigners are fighting plans to build a wind turbine overlooking the site of the last pitched battle on English soil

Three centuries ago, it saw the last pitched battle to take place on English soil, the result ending the so-called “Pitchfork Rebellion” and securing the ruling dynasty, at least for a time.

Now, dividing lines are once again being drawn at the site of the Battle of Sedgemoor, on the Somerset Levels, where locals, heritage groups and the area’s MP are resisting attempts to build a 250ft wind turbine overlooking the battlefield.

Opponents argue the structure would ruin the setting of what is one of England’s best preserved battlefields.

It is one of only 46 registered battlefields in the country and, according to experts, is in the top ten in the country, in terms of significance and preservation, being largely undeveloped since the action was fought, in 1685.

The clash was the culmination of the Monmouth Rebellion, an attempt to usurp the crown of England by James Scott, the Protestant Duke of Monmouth, from the Catholic King James II of England and VII of Scotland.

The rebel, an illegitimate son of the previous king, Charles II, landed in Dorset on June 11 1685 and had gathered around him an army of 7,000 men by the time he was faced by the royal army near the village of Westonzoyland, almost a month later.

A significant proportion of them were nonconformists who had suffered increasing persecution under Charles II, the king’s brother and predecessor.

Others were artisans and peasants disaffected by an economic climate which had hit the south west particularly hard, and the rising became known as the Pitchfork Rebellion.

The rebels included amongst their number Daniel Defoe, later to become famous as an author.

Monmouth decided to chance all upon a night attack. The battle began during the evening of 5/6 July, but a counter attack at dawn by the King’s men, commanded by John Churchill – who later, as Duke of Marlborough, would be responsible for some of Britain’s most famous victories – forced the rebels to flee.

Experts believe this chaotic retreat, during which Monmouth’s men were cut down, occurred over the ground where the developers want to erect the structure.

Survivors were rounded up and locked in a local church which is now still the most prominent feature on the landscape.

Three days after his defeat, Monmouth was captured and later executed. Hundreds of his supporters suffered at the hands of Judge Jeffreys in what became known as the Bloody Assizes.

However, James II himself lasted only another three years on the throne before he was ousted by William III in the Glorious Revolution.

Part of the registered battlefield, as defined by English Heritage, is within a Special Landscape Area. It is also an Area of High Archaeological Potential and was featured in the BBC show Two Men in a Trench.

The proposed turbine is just outside the battlefield boundary, within around 80 yards, although the fields immediately to the north and east are both within the zone.

However, the Government’s National Planning Practice Guidance states when considering proposals for wind turbines near to “heritage assets”, officials should consider not just their “physical presence” but their “setting”.

It adds: “Depending on their scale, design and prominence a wind turbine within the setting of a heritage asset may cause substantial harm to the significance of the asset.”

The application comes at a time of intense debate over the efficiency of wind turbines and controversial subsidies offered to developers behind the schemes.

It was originally lodged with Sedgemoor Council in September by the local landowner, Edward Heal, and a renewable energy firm, Mi-Grid.

The council had to reopen the consultation period late last month after it realised English Heritage had not been invited to take part in the process. Its officials are due to conduct a site visit before proving a response.

However, others have already responded, with a local wildlife trust and nearby residents among those raising a variety of concerns, ranging from fears over the impact on birds, and property prices in the nearby village, to the historical significance of the site.

Julian Humphrys, from the Battlefields Trust, which has lodged an objection, said: “Sedgemoor is a jewel in the crown. It is the last pitched battle fought on English soil, and one of the most undeveloped battlefields left in the country. Without doubt, it is one of the most evocative and putting in something like a turbine over it, changes the character of the area.

“We’re not involved in the debate over wind power itself. The point here is that even if you think they are the most beautiful and efficient structures, there are still appropriate places for them, and putting one here shows a lack of concern for the location and its historical significance. We're not nimbys - this is England's back yard”

Ian Liddell-Grainger, the local MP, added: “We’re proud of our history and it Sedgemoor. is an important part of who we are. In the Houses of Parliament, if you walk from the central lobby towards the chamber, the first painting you come to is one of the Battle of Sedgemoor. That is how important it is to us and I don’t agree at all with the idea that we should ruin the setting with a wind turbine.

“I am against onshore wind, in any case. We are about to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, in my constituency, which will produce real power on a scale not seen before. These turbines produce diddly squat.”

An historical “Environmental Impact Assessment” carried out for the developers conceded the site was of “very high significance” and acknowledged that the impact would be “negative/moderate” on the nearby heritage.

A spokesman for Mi-Grid said: “The historic visual impact assessment identified that the only physical elements of the battle to survive are below-ground remains and that the landscape has changed dramatically since the battle. The assessment concluded that the landscape of the battlefield has changed a great deal and it is no longer possible to appreciate the experience of the battlefield as it once was. As there are no visible assets of the battlefield remaining its setting cannot be impacted.”


Nebraska Moves Forward with Study of Natural Climate Change

The Nebraska Climate Assessment and Response Committee will proceed with a study on the effects of natural climate change on the state, despite vigorous opposition from global warming activists. The activists, including some state-funded scientists, pledged to boycott the study unless it includes or focuses on human-caused climate change in the state. Other scientists, however, noted the study represents an important effort to analyze the often overlooked effects of natural climate cycles.

In March of this year the Nebraska legislature passed LB 583, directing the Climate and Assessment Response Committee to study the effects of climate change in the state. The study was the top priority of Democratic Sen. Ken Haar. At the urging of Republican Sen. Beau McCoy, however, the legislature specified the study should focus on the role of natural or cyclical climate change.

Wanted More Money, Manmade Focus
Haar and global warming activists protested the focus on natural climate change. State climatologist Al Dutcher claimed the scientific community does not recognize “cyclical” climate change and does not study it. Dutcher also said the $44,000 set aside for the study was woefully short of the $300,000 to $500,000 he and fellow scientists would expect for such a typical study.

Haar, while agreeing with most of Dutcher’s criticisms, supported the lower budget for the study, saying he envisioned the study being a straightforward overview of scientific research already conducted.

Scientists Applaud Challenge

Despite the complaints by global warming activists, some climate scientists applauded the study’s focus on natural climate change, while warning against a kneejerk reaction that would completely dismiss human influences on climate.

“I think a useful study should consider both natural and human influences on the climate. It would be a mistake to make the study a mirror image of establishment studies, which long trivialized the influence of natural influences on climate,” Princeton University physics professor William Happer said. “Poorly defined natural influences may well have been much more important than CO2 in determining the Earth's surface temperature.”

“More CO2 will be especially good for Nebraska, with its marginal rainfall, since plants in water-stressed environments are much better able to resist drought when the ambient CO2 levels are higher. A greening of the Earth has occurred during the satellite era, a greening which is probably due to more CO2. The greening of Nebraska, like other rainfall-limited parts of the Earth, has been especially pronounced,” Happer explained.

Happer said he is not surprised some government-funded scientists criticized the study proposal.

“The reaction of the ‘climate scientists’ in Nebraska is entirely predictable. Many of them have been generously funded for several decades at levels much higher than the paltry $40,000 the Nebraska Legislature set aside for the climate study. Researchers like myself, with excellent backgrounds in the science of climate but with no need to demonize CO2 to keep academic empires funded, are persuaded that the warming potential of rising CO2 levels is small and beneficial, and that natural factors will continue to dominate the earth's climate for centuries,” said Happer.

“The appropriate course, in my view, is to include what we know about anthropogenic effects -- including land surface changes as well as the effect of greenhouse gases (which is often ignored) -- but with a healthy dose of the uncertainties involved with forecasting the future using models,” said David Legates, a Ph.D. climatologist and professor at the University of Delaware.

Howard Hayden, emeritus professor of physics at the University of Connecticut, agreed with Happer that scientists should look not overlook natural or human influences. However, he said he understood why the legislature would specify natural climate cycles, given all the federal funding for studying asserted human-caused climate change.

“You can't leave out the human influence on climate, but you also can't emphasize it at the expense of ignoring others,” said Hayden.

Can Regional Study Justify Costs?
“The $44,000 price tag obviously would not be enough to do hands-on research, and one year is far too short a time to have any meaning. The $44,000 would be enough for somebody with scientific expertise to read a lot of papers and provide a summary. For the summary to be worthwhile, the investigator must not ignore any of the positive contributions or any of the negative contributions to temperature change,” Hayden explained. “The least reliable of all IPCC forecasts, by their own admission, are regional predictions. Discovering that single fact should make the researcher tell the legislature that the study would be pointless.”

Patrick Michaels, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science and past president of the American Association of State Climatologists, agreed any attempt to forecast Nebraska climate change, natural or human-caused, would be too speculative to justify the expense.

"In its legislative preamble, the bill should state that there is no scientific evidence that climate models can produce reliable forecasts for future climate for individual states and therefore it would be a disservice to the people of Nebraska to use such models to form state policy,” said Michaels.

“The Nebraska study would do better to note that there is simply no demonstrated skill in future climate projections at the regional level, and that making a forecast without a verified regional model borders on scientific malpractice,” Michaels added.


Burnout is no cause for alarm

Bjorn Lomborg, writing for an Australian audience

LAST week in this newspaper I pointed out that global warming is actually a net benefit for the world and for Australia, at least until 2050. This is because the benefits of agricultural CO2 fertilisation are much bigger than the costs of increased water stress, and because fewer cold deaths outweigh extra heat deaths.

This is documented in the latest and most comprehensive, peer-reviewed article, collecting all published estimates showing an overwhelming likelihood that global warming below 2C is beneficial.

This does not imply that global warming is not a long-run problem. Moreover, cost-effective solutions are still warranted for the adverse effects by the year 2100 and beyond.

But it shows we need less scaremongering in the climate debate.

To many, the information was genuinely new in a debate entirely focused on one-sided negatives. To others, the information was genuinely outrageous. Environment Victoria's campaign director suggested I was "shameless" for making my case while "NSW is burning". But while the bushfires are definitely detrimental, they simply do not cancel out everything else. Yet in the past weeks they have been used as the latest cudgel to showcase the dangers of global warming and argue for strong carbon cuts.

UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres told CNN that global warming and bushfires were "absolutely" connected, and former US vice-president Al Gore made it even clearer on the ABC: "When the temperature goes up and when the vegetation and soils dry out, then wildfires become more pervasive and more dangerous. That's not me saying it, that's what the scientific community says."

The problem is, that is simply not what the science says. The latest peer-reviewed study on global fire, run with a record 16 climate models, tells us that sometimes heat and dryness lead to more fire, but sometimes lead to less fire. This is because with less precipitation the biomass burns more easily, but with less precipitation there is also less growth and hence less biomass to burn.

For Mediterranean-type ecosystems, such as southwest and south Australia, it turns out that more than half the time, future drying means less fire. Gore's generalisation is simply wrong.

For now, the models give strongly contradictory results about climate impacts on future fire across the world, some finding more fire in the tropics and less in boreal areas, others the exact opposite. Even within a single fire model, the large discrepancies in precipitation from different climate models means we are unsure if there will be more or less fire on more than half the planet's surface. This is also why there is no established scientific link (a so-called climate attribution) between current fire frequency and climate change.

Even Figueres accepts that. "The World Meteorological Organisation has not established the direct link between this wildfire and climate change," she said, though she optimistically added a prophesying "yet" to her sentence. Instead she emphasised that we would see increasing heat waves (correct), and somehow looked satisfied, as if that were sufficient to link it to Australia's bushfires. However, it is likely that, in the long run, global warming will lead to more fire. Sixty per cent of the planet's surface will see a higher probability of fire by the end of the century, though more than one-fifth will see lower fire probability, including Mexico, most of South America, almost all of Africa below the Sahara, Southeast Asia, India and about half of Australia.

Moreover, global fire activity is estimated to have declined 10 per cent from its maximum around 1950. For the past 60 years we have seen less global fire activity, despite rising temperatures.

Even with global warming, the fire activity decline will likely continue until about 2025 and only then start going up.

It will still not reach current levels again before the second half of this century, and only later, possibly into the 22nd century, go above 1950s levels.

But Figueres argues that the Australian fires support the argument for substantial CO2 cuts. Somewhat undermining her argument with a "maybe", she insists that the pictures of bushfires are "an example of what we may be looking at unless we take actual vigorous action". Yet dramatic CO2 cuts would likely be one of the least effective ways to help fire. If we could get the entire rich world to cut emissions to the extent the EU has already promised for 2020, the cost would be at least $500 billion annually. Yet, towards the end of the century we would have spent more than $30 trillion, and reduced temperatures by only an immeasurable 0.1C. It would have virtually no impact on fire, even in 100 years.

Phil Cheney, a former head of CSIRO Bushfire Research, points out the main problem is the increasing fuel loads that dramatically increase fire danger. The obvious solution is "to increase the amount of prescribed burning and fuel management".

Such simple, smart and cost-effective solutions to bushfires don't negate the need to tackle global warming. But they underline how alarmist rhetoric often leads to bad policies. Bushfires are very poor arguments for climate policies, and strong, immediate carbon cuts are costly ways to achieve tiny temperature reductions.

Smart climate policies need to focus on the most cost-effective solutions because green policies will be sustainable only if they are economical. We need to focus on R&D to create innovations that will bring down the price of green energy so it can eventually outcompete fossil fuels.

It is not shameless to correctly point out that global warming will likely be a net benefit till after 2050. Hopefully that fact can cool the climate conversation, so we can choose the better solutions.




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


3 November, 2013

Baffin Is. again

Don J. Easterbrook is the latest (below) to dynamite the stupid Baffin Is. study

Miller et al. radiocarbon dated 145 rooted tundra plants revealed by receding ice in the eastern Canadian Arctic and say that it constitutes the first direct evidence that recent temperatures now exceed those of any century in the Holocene, including the Holocene Thermal Maximum.

They further contend that (1) average summer temperatures of the last ~100 years were higher than any century in the past 44,000 years and suggest that present temperatures have not been exceeded in the past ~120,000 years, at or near the end of the last interglaciation, and (2) they conclude that this ‘unprecedented’ warming was caused by anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gases. So let’s look at some of the assumptions that form the basis for their conclusions and compare their conclusions to other Arctic data.

Assertions and assumptions by Miller et al.:

[1] Miller el al. contend that “although glaciers are frequently associated with deep and widespread erosion, small, cold-based ice caps that mantle relatively flat terrain typically advance by lateral accretion rather than by basal flow, and are thus capable of preserving even the most delicate features of the landscape. As these ice caps recede, they often reveal rooted tundra plants that were living at the time snow and ice last covered the site.” They further contend that “Surface-elevation contours of the continental Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) show that all four ice caps with pre-Holocene dated plants were above the surface of the LIS at its last glacial maximum. These sites thus supported only local ice caps then as now. And, because the ice caps occupy flat summits of less than 0.2 km2 surrounded by steep slopes, ice thicknesses of more than 70 meters could not have been sustained.”

The assumptions in these statements are:

Miller et al. assume that the ice caps are cold-based (i.e., basal ice is frozen to the ground below) and that there is no basal sliding of the ice and no basal erosion. However, deep fiords and ice-scoured scoured bedrock in the area attest to active subglacial erosion (i.e., basal sliding rather than frozen to the ground), although most of the obvious erosion is probably related to Pleistocene glaciation. The Greenland ice sheet just across the Davis Strait at the same latitude is not frozen to its base, and the average summer temperature at Clyde (north of the sample sites) is 3°C above freezing during June, July, August, and September (Fig. 5). Summer temperatures of all of the more than half dozen weather stations along the east coast of Baffin, where the sample sites are located, are above freezing during June, July, August, and September. Thus, the Miller et al. conclusion that the small ice caps in this study are frozen to their base is highly questionable and most likely not true.

Miller et al. contend that the Laurentide Ice Sheet did not cover the area of the ice caps and that there has been no erosion since the Eemian Interglacial 120,000 years ago. However, the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) extended eastward beyond this area to the coast (Fig. 1) and reconstructed ice surface elevations show the area to be close to the 1000 m and 2000 m contours, i.e., close to or above the present ice caps. The scale of the ice surface reconstructions is not detailed enough to show exactly how high the LIS surface was at the sites, but at least suggest a good possibility that the area was overridden by the LIS. The importance of this is their conclusion that the older sites have not been disturbed for 120,000 years, but to make this assertion they need to provide adequate evidence.

The Miller et al. assertion that the ice caps were not more than 70m thick is highly questionable. The ice caps expanded noticeably during the Little Ice Age and even if the LIS didn’t overrun the ice cap sites, the ice caps must surely have thickened, especially since the surrounding lower areas were filled with LIS ice. Thus, their contention that the ice caps could not have been more than 70 m thick is most likely not valid.

[2] Miller et al. claim that recent exposure of moss by melting ice proves that modern temperatures at the site were as high or higher than at any time since the moss was covered by ice and that therefore present temperatures have not been exceeded in 120,000 years. But is this necessarily true? If a block of ice is placed on the floor of a room and the thermostat is turned to 90°F, the ice will begin to melt. If the thermostat is then turned down to 40°F before all of the ice has melted, ice will continue to melt until the floor is uncovered, but to conclude that the temperature had never risen above 40°F since the floor was first covered with ice would be totally false. The same is true of the Baffin ice caps—if moss is uncovered at today’s temperatures, that doesn’t mean that higher temperatures haven’t occurred previously. Thus, the Miller et al. conclusions that “temperatures of the past century must have exceeded those of any century in more than 44 ka” and “there has been no intervening century during which warmth exceeded that of the last 100 years” are illogical and badly flawed.

One wonders how this bad logic got past peer review. In addition, we know from data in the Greenland GISP2 ice core that temperatures in Greenland rose more than 20°F per century at least three times in the past 15,000 years, well within the 120,000 years claimed by Miller et al. to have never been warmer than recently.

[3] Among the 145 14C dates on exposed moss in this study are 10 dates ranging in age from 23,900 to 50,700 years, leading to their conclusion that temperatures today are the hottest in >50 ka and most likely in the past 120 ka. They explain the disparity between these old dates and the multitude of young Holocene dates as due to higher elevations of the older samples so the younger sites could be exposed by melting of ice while the higher, older sites remained ice covered. But as shown by their data, this really isn’t true. Figures 1 and 3 show site M10-231v as an ‘Eemian’ site with dates ranging from 23,900 to 44,300 years. But ages at two nearby sites, M10-B226v and M10-223v, whose ages are shown as 2-3,000 and 4-5,000 years old, are higher than the site with old dates (Figure 4).

This totally destroys their argument for no temperature as warm as the present since the Eemian Interglacial. All they have shown is that melting of the ice caps on Baffin Island wasn’t complete during the Holocene and recent warming has continued the melting.

Comparison of Miller et al. conclusons with other Arctic data.

The conclusions of the Miller et al. paper are that “there has been no intervening century during which summer warmth exceeded that of the last ~100 years” and “average summer temperatures of the last ~100 years are now higher than any century in more than 44,000 years.” How do these conclusions stack up against other data concerning past Arctic temperatures? Let’s compare them with recent recorded temperatures in Greenland and with past temperatures derived from Greenland ice core data.

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

Rosenthal et al 2013

There has been considerable recent attention to Rosenthal et al 2013: WUWT here, Judy Curry here, Andy Revkin here.

The article itself presents a Holocene temperature reconstruction that is very much at odds both with Marcott et al 2013 and Mann et al 2008. And, only a few weeks after IPCC expressed great confidence in the non-worldwideness of the Medieval Warm Period, Rosenthal et al 2013 argued that the Little Ice Age, Medieval Warm Period and Holocene Optimum were all global events.

Although (or perhaps because) the article apparently contradicts heroes of the revolution, Rosenthal et al 2013 included a single sentence of genuflection to CAGW:

"The modern rate of Pacific OHC change is, however, the highest in the past 10,000 years (Fig. 4 and table S3)."

In the press release accompanying the article, this claim was ratcheted up into the much more grandiose assertion that modern warming is “15 times faster” than in previous warming cycles over the past 10,000 years (though the term “15 times faster” is not actually made in the peer reviewed article):

"In a reconstruction of Pacific Ocean temperatures in the last 10,000 years, researchers have found that its middle depths have warmed 15 times faster in the last 60 years than they did during apparent natural warming cycles in the previous 10,000."

Rather than quoting the article itself, Michael Mann, an academic activist at Penn State University, repeated the claim from the press release in an article at Huffington Post entitled “Pacific Ocean Warming at Fastest Rate in 10,000 Years”.

However, both the claim in the press release and the somewhat weaker claim in the article appear to be unsupported by the actual data.

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

J’accuse! EPA’s carbon dioxide regulations would endanger public health and welfare

J’accuse! was the headline for Emile Zola’s famous 1898 article protesting a corrupt and anti-Semitic French military that had falsely convicted Alfred Dreyfus of treason. Today I use these same words — “I accuse” — to protest the Environmental Protection Agency’s attack on coal use, based on false scientific claims about the “dangers” of carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, and on EPA’s failure to acknowledge the harmful effects that its regulations will have on human health and welfare.

J’accuse the EPA of imposing rules that would abolish coal use for power plants, unnecessarily increase electricity costs, harm our nation’s economy, kill millions of jobs, hurt people’s well-being and living standards, and shorten many lives — for no climate, health or environmental benefit.

J’accuse the EPA of planning to gradually extend its carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas regulations to cover nearly all the hydrocarbon energy that powers our economy: for cars and trucks, trains and airplanes, factories, shopping malls, large office and apartment buildings, and even farms and other sources — and ultimately everything Americans make, grow, transport, eat, drink and do.

J’accuse the EPA of cherry-picking studies that support this anti-fossil fuel agenda, while dismissing severe shortcomings and misrepresentations in IPCC documents, and ignoring a vast body of scientific studies and empirical observations that sharply contradict EPA’s claims and decisions. For five years the EPA has waged war on fossil fuels, to advance its misguided view that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels causes catastrophic global warming.

By substituting the words “carbon pollution” for carbon dioxide, EPA further misleads the public about its aims. People think “carbon pollution” means soot, which conjures up images of blackened winter snow and black dirt on cars that was prevalent before 1970, before environmental controls all but eliminated these and other pollutants associated with burning coal. Modern power plants emit very little besides water vapor and CO2.

Even as the United States has dramatically reduced its pollution and its emissions of plant-fertilizing CO2 per unit of economic output, worldwide fossil fuel use has increased significantly, as developing nations try to bring decent living standards to their impoverished people. This caused atmospheric carbon dioxide to increase from 310 parts per million (ppm) in 1950 to 400 ppm in 2013 (0.04 percent of Earth’s atmosphere).

For more than a century, scientists have known that atmospheric carbon dioxide contributes slightly to a “greenhouse effect” that helps warm our planet. Water vapor produces the same effect, but far more so, since its average atmosphere concentration is 10,000 ppm. All of this also means planetary CO2 levels will keep increasing, even if the United States destroys its economy to slash its own CO2 emissions.

Concerns about global warming resulted in creation of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988. Since then, the IPCC has published five reports (1990, 1995, 2001, 2007, and 2013), each one insisting that human CO2 is now the dominant factor in climate change and relying on computer climate models that claim we face future disasters.

The EPA uses these IPCC reports, models, and predictions as its primary source of information on climate change, and its principal justification for restricting fossil fuel use. The IPPC and EPA have refused to engage in discussions or debates with the thousands of scientists who disagree with their claims that humans are responsible for climate change, and that any future warming or climate change will be disastrous. They have likewise been exempt from any real oversight. In fact, the 2007 IPCC report stirred up tremendous controversy over major errors, serious omissions, and fraudulent claims that student papers and environmental activist reports were “peer-reviewed scientific studies.”

The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) were creeated in 2003, to restore balance and scientific integrity to this process — and ensure that citizens, politicians, journalists, and other people have access to the scientific findings that the EPA and IPCC have ignored. In 2008, the NIPCC issued its own scientific analysis, Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate. To highlight more IPCC errors, the NIPCC then produced an 856-page report, Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.

The Heartland Institute helped prepare and publish these reports, and held conferences and media briefings to publicize their findings. Anticipating that future IPCC reports would have similar shortcomings, the NIPCC produced a 2011 Climate Change Reconsidered interim report, featuring scientific evidence and information that was not available for its 2009 report. Both reports can be found at

As the IPCC prepared to publish its fifth report in 2013, a number of its charts and findings were leaked to the media. This enabled the NIPCC and other scientists to examine the IPCC data and challenge many of its assumptions and claims. The NIPCC released its 1000-page report, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science and a 20-page Summary for Policymakers, on September 17, 2013. Their principal findings are that:

(1) human impacts on climate are very small;

(2) any changes in temperatures that might be occurring or will occur in the future are too small to be noticed against the climate’s entirely natural variability;

(3) the IPCC’s 2013 report glosses over the fact that there has been no global warming for 16 years; and

(4) the IPCC global climate models completely failed to forecast this hiatus in global warming and the record lulls in major hurricane and tornado activity.

These NIPCC reports are available at . People can easily compare the NIPCC and IPCC summaries and findings, by going to .

EPA refuses to acknowledge the clear benefits of CO2 and moderate global warming, the need for fossil fuels to power modern societies, or the fact that atmospheric CO2 causes negligible warming. Thousands of papers and books showcase these benefits, and British science journalist Matt Ridley’s October 19, 2013, article “Why climate change is good for the world” provides an excellent summary.

Warming saves lives, while cold kills. Some 29,000 Britons died in this past winter because they could not afford to heat their homes properly, due to soaring energy costs resulting from the UK’s renewable energy and climate change policies. Increasing atmospheric CO2 increases plant growth and makes them more drought resistant. We are able to feed our planet’s 7 billion people in part because the 40 percent rise in CO2 since the start of the Industrial Revolution has helped food crops grow better.

After EPA issued its September 2013 proposed regulations, the Investor’s Business Daily said the rules would “kill the coal industry.” The IBD editorial stated, “Far from being a plan to clean up the environment, it is in fact a road map to de-industrialization and poverty.” The article highlighted power plant shutdowns and threats of businesses to leave the country due to escalating electricity prices.

Gas turbine combined-cycle power plants can meet EPA’s proposed standards for no more than 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour (MWh). However, even high-performance coal-fired power plants typically emit 1,800 pounds of CO2 per MWh and cannot meet that standard without CO2 capture and sequestration — a technology that has not been demonstrated for large power plants.

The unproven process is very expensive, requires one-third of a power plant’s entire electricity production, and then must find places where billions of tons of high-pressure CO2 can be stored safely underground. Such underground storage of high-pressure CO2 presents human and wildlife safety problems that have never been encountered in the United States. Because CO2 is denser than typical air, leaking gas would spread along the earth’s surface and suffocate any people, domestic animals, and wildlife in its path.

In 1986, CO2 emerging from a natural reservoir under Lake Nyos in the Cameroon suffocated 1,700 people and thousands of cattle. Similar events have occurred elsewhere in Africa. How ironic that the agency charged with ensuring the safety, health, and welfare of American citizens is promoting regulations that will supposedly address a global warming and climate change problem that thousands of scientists say does not exist — and is addressing that non-existent hazard by creating rules that will kill jobs, harm human welfare, and threaten unsuspecting citizens with death from CO2 leaks.

In summary, using poor science and a lack of judgment, the EPA has promulgated CO2 rules that are intended to drastically reduce or even eliminate our nation’s use of its huge reservoirs of fossil fuels. Once these rules are implemented, even more onerous rules will follow. Great economic damage will result, leading to fewer jobs, increased poverty, greater hardships, and reduced nutrition, health, welfare, living standards and life spans for our citizens — all in the name of preventing global warming and climate changes that exist only in IPCC computer models and EPA press releases.


Let's get rid of all the useless wind farms

By TERRY MCCRANN, a much-read Australian financial journalist

I STILL have a dream. Of that one day when we start pulling down all the utterly useless, landscape-blighting, bird-killing, people-punishing, so-called wind farms.

We'll leave a few, some stripped of their turbines, some left with a blade to turn lazily and even more uselessly in the occasional breeze; all, like fragments of the Berlin Wall, as testimony to the time when insanity engulfed our supposed intellectual and policymaking elites.

Why, we could even keep one as a particular memorial to a certain former prime minister and his "greatest moral challenge of our time". This one, shorn of its blades, to mark his squibbing of that challenge.

The Climate Change Authority's 177 pages of sheer drivel, released today, as disconnected from reality as an abandoned wind farm is from the grid, comes close to ranking as the high-water mark of this insanity.

Although it came after a pretty competitive week, after the hysterical fires fanned by the ABC and Fairfax media, and in particular down at Climate Frenzy Central, the Age broadloid newspaper.

For the Big C, as the CCA styles itself, was not content with just doubling down on the climate stupidity, it tripled down in its draft report.

Indeed, it was even gathering its collective loins, to quintuple down in its final, and hopefully FINAL, as in ever, report early next year.

Thanks to Julia Gillard and Bob Brown - endorsed so memorably by that in-chamber kiss from the squibber, Kevin Rudd - Australia is legally committed to cutting its emissions of carbon dioxide by 5 per cent by 2020.

Thankfully, the way the legislation was constructed, the 23?million individual Australians are excused from having to reduce their bodily CO2 emissions by that 5?per cent; or required as an alternative to buy the appropriate permit to emit.

Well, the CCA says that's "inadequate". It said, we've got to shoot for at least 15?per cent; and it left little doubt that it really thought 25?per cent was where we should be aiming.

That's hardly surprising given the troika of professorial climate hysterics, Hamilton (Clive), Karoly (David) and Quiggin (John) that are the CCA's core. It's only surprising they didn't persuade their fellow members to shoot for something more tangible - like closing down all our real power stations by 2020.

The central argument from the CCA for bigger CO2 emission cuts, was that "evidence is also mounting" that several other comparable countries were "gearing up" to reduce their emissions even more aggressively by 2020.

This was followed by the usual 'what will they think of us' bleat from the policy activist, that a 5 per cent target would leave Australia lagging behind others, including the US.

Well, Greg Sheridan at our sister paper The Australian, utterly shredded that claim two weeks ago, so far as action through an emissions trading scheme is concerned.

Of the 195 members in the UN Framework Convention on Climate, only 34 had anything resembling an ETS and 27 of those were in the European Union - where the way it rigged the measurement of CO2 cuts around the closing down of inefficient former eastern European industry, has run out of steam anyway.

Japan had effectively abandoned plans for an ETS, Sheridan wrote. South Korea had one but was going to issue all permits for free. Some of the biggest emitters, like Indonesia and India, actually subsidised carbon-based fuels.

Yes, the US has an impressive target. It also stumbled on shale oil and gas - like winning the CO2-cut lottery. But it does not have either a carbon tax or an ETS and never will.

But it all really comes back to the carbon elephant in the room: China. Which of course buys a lot of coal and iron ore from us and turns that into steel, a little bit of power and a lot of CO2.

It is this context that the CCA lives up to its claim of independence. It just failed to add, that was, independence from reason. The world it projects of robust action on cutting CO2 emissions is like an alternative universe - a universe that exists only in the delusions of especially Hamilton and Quiggin. But now it would appear also, of their fellow CCA members.

The report claimed that China was stepping up its efforts to "reduce emissions." And that it was "investing heavily in renewable energy projects, closing inefficient coal power plants".

The first is simply and completely untrue. As the fine print of the CCA report itself noted, China is only aiming to cut CO2 emission intensity not emissions per se. By cutting emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 per cent by 2020.

That might sound impressive, but given China's phenomenal pace of growth, its actual total emissions in 2020 will be significantly higher than they are today.

Do the math and the very best outcome would see China increase its emissions between now and 2020 by more than the total of Australia's emissions.

More realistic projections would see China increase its emissions by up to `10 Australia's.' That's to say, China would go up by perhaps 200 times as much as we cut at 5 per cent; by 67 times as much even if we cut by 15?per cent,

And that's assuming it actually met its target. It's not binding; and as even the Sydney Morning Herald has noted in an analysis from Reuters, China's actual carbon intensity was unchanged from 2009 to 2011.

The third CCA claim is a deliberate constructive lie. Yes, China is closing down old coal-fired power stations - to reduce REAL pollution, the dirty little bits of grit that really does kill people in poor energy-deprived countries.

But is replacing them with modern plants that pump out just as much CO2 plant food, but does it cleanly. Indeed, it's building far more than it replaces.

As the Economist Intelligence Unit noted in an analysis in July, China's CO2 emissions were headed for a 40 per cent INCREASE by 2020. Why? Because of rapidly expanding coal-fired power generation.

The CCA report is worse than a disgrace. It proposes wilful pain on all Australians and extraordinarily serious damage to the economy.

To cut emissions by 25?per cent in just seven years would require us to send the economy into recession, or write out multi-billion dollar cheques to foreigners, just for `permission' to keep our lights on and (any remaining) factories operating.

And all for utterly no point. Even if you believe the climate hysteria, it would make no difference to global or indeed Australian temperatures; and the CCA lies aside, the rest of the world is NOT following anyway.

The report could just as well have been written by Bob Brown and Christine Milne. It certainly channelled all their fantasies.


Biofuel Policy Follies

In this Policy Outlook, Institute CEO William O’Keefe examines federal biofuels policy concluding that history of federal subsidies and mandates for ethanol and its derivatives (notably, cellulosic ethanol) have failed.

O’Keefe argues that federal mandates and monetary supports for biofuels have had little positive impact, but have come at great cost to the American public. He argues: “For almost 30 years, the U.S. pursuit of a biofuels policy to reduce dependence on foreign oil and improve air quality has been a case study in misguided policy and unintended consequences, namely, promoting crony capitalism. “

A particularly acute example of policy follow is the decision to mandate specific targets and timetables for use of cellulosic ethanol, O’Keefe says. Energy legislation approved in 2007 mandated use of 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2010, growing to 16 billion gallons in 2022.

“The mandate in EISA, as well as the commitment in the 2006 State of the Union, reflects breath-taking ignorance and political hubris,” states O’Keefe.” The notion that government believes it can mandate specific targets and timetables when no facility and no technology existed to achieve any of the mandate’s goals is incomprehensible.”

PDF here

Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time Renewable Energy Technology

Model T energy tech is no way to address climate change

“We have the tools—the technologies, the resources, the economic models—to deliver cost-effective climate solutions at scale,” testified K.C. Golden of the U.S.-based NGO Climate Solutions before the Senate Public Works Committee in July 2013. Friends of the Earth issued a similar statement in September: “We have the technology we need [to address climate change] and we know what needs to happen. We just need to get politicians to do it.” Tove Maria Ryding, coordinator for climate policy at Greenpeace International, sounded the same note last year: “We have all the technology we need to solve the [climate] problem while creating new green jobs.”

The implication is that humanity could deploy a suite of currently available zero-carbon energy production technologies and energy efficiency improvements to avert the impending climate catastrophe. And the idea has been around for a while. Back in 2008, Al Gore urged America “to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years,” a goal that he pronounced “achievable, affordable and transformative.” His plan was possible, he explained, because the price of the technologies needed to produce no-carbon electricity—solar, wind, and geothermal—were falling dramatically.

As it happens, America did not take up the former vice president’s challenge. In 2012, solar, geothermal, and wind energy generated 0.11, 0.41, and 3.46 percent respectively of electric power in the United States.

Was Gore right five years ago? And are the folks at Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and Climate Solutions right now that the no-carbon energy technologies needed to replace fossil fuels are readily available and ready to go?

Not really, concludes a new report, “Challenging the Clean Energy Deployment Consensus,” by the D.C.-based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). Such plans, the study argues, “are akin to attempting large-scale moon colonization using Apollo-age spacecraft technology.” Such a feat may be technically feasible, but only at vast expense.

Would you rather drive a 1913 Model T Ford or a 2013 Ford Fiesta? They both cost about the same amount of money in inflation-adjusted dollars. The ITIF analysts think the advocates of immediately deploying current zero-carbon energy production technologies are essentially arguing that we should all drive Model T Fords now.

To get some idea of what would be involved in “repowering” America using only the currently available zero-carbon technologies, let’s delve into one of the more ambitious of the studies that the ITIF folks criticize. In a 2011 paper, the Stanford engineer Mark Jacobson and the University of California–Davis transportation researcher Mark Delucchi calculated what it would take to produce all the energy (not just electric power generation) to fuel the United States using zero-carbon sources by 2030. They conclude that this would require 590,000 5-megawatt wind turbines, 110,000 wave devices, 830 geothermal plants, 140 new hydroelectric dams, 7,600 tidal turbines, 265 million roof-top solar photovoltaic systems, 6,200 300-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plants, and 7,600 300-megawatt concentrated solar power plants.

Let’s adjust those figures to take into account the fact that we currently use 40 percent of primary energy to generate electricity. Making the heroic assumption that Americans will consume no more electricity in 2030 than they do today, what would it take to “repower” the country’s 1,000-gigawatt electric generation sector entirely in zero-carbon renewable energy sources? Keep in mind that the total asset value of the entire U.S. electrical system, including generation, distribution, and transmission, amounted to $800 billion in 2003.

Well, first we would have to install 15,000 new wind turbines, 155 solar photovoltaic, and 190 concentrated solar power plants each year. In 2012, the U.S. wind industry installed a record 13 gigawatts of rated generating capacity; construction of 15,000 5-megawatt turbines annually for the next 16 years entails a five-fold jump in the installation rate. Building 13 gigawatts cost $25 billion, which implies an increase to $125 billion annually, reaching a total cost over the next 16 years of $2 trillion. And that’s just for wind power.

The world’s largest solar photovoltaic plant has just come online in Arizona at Agua Caliente. That facility, rated at 250 megwatts of generation capacity, cost $1.8 billion to build. Achieving the zero-carbon repowering goal implies constructing 155 of these each year for the next 16 years. The costs would amount to roughly $280 billion annually, for a total of $4.5 trillion. The U.S. is also home to the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant at Ivanpah, California. That 372-megawatt plant cost $2.2 billion to build that implies spending of about $440 billion annually for 190 such plants, adding up over 16 years to roughly $7 trillion.

That’s just to build enough rated zero-carbon generation capacity to replace what we have now. As the ITIF study makes clear, most renewable power sources are highly variable in their production. The deploy-now crowd hopes that somebody will invent some way to store electricity so that it could make up for shortfalls when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind fails to blow.

A 2013 study analyzed by the ITIF researchers cleverly solves this renewable energy storage problem by oversizing—that is by building two to three times more generating capacity than would be necessary if they could operate near their rated capacity all of the time. This suggests that at the low end of this estimate would raise the estimated costs in the repowering scenario by 2030 to $4 trillion for wind generation and to more than $23 trillion the total solar portion.

But my calculations assume that costs for constructing zero-carbon energy sources do not fall over the next 16 years. The price of the Model T Ford fell from $550 ($13,000 in 2013 dollars) to $260 ($3,500 in 2013 dollars) by its last year of production in 1927. Assuming that the costs of installing current versions of zero-carbon energy production technologies fell as much immediately, the total costs for would still amount to roughly $7 trillion by 2030.

The ITIF analysis alternatively adds up all of the costs in the Jacobson/Delucchi paper to estimate that weaning Americans off of fossil fuels entirely by 2030 would add up to a more modest total of $13 trillion, i.e., 5 percent of each year’s GDP over the next 16 years. The upshot is that this repowering would cost each American household an additional $5,664 per year until 2030.

Are Americans really willing to shell out that much cash for zero-carbon energy? The ITIF report observes that a 2011 poll found that Americans were willing to pay just under $10 per month ($120 per year) more for electricity generated by renewable sources. In addition, half of Americans can choose to pay about 10 percent more to purchase electricity generated from renewable sources, but only 1 percent actually do so.

These calculations are just for the United States. Somewhere around 1.3 billion people around the world still do not have access to electricity. Taking the Jacobson and Delucchi figures for the world, the total cost to completely eliminate fossil fuels by 2030 would amount to $100 trillion, i.e., eight percent of global annual GDP. The global cost per household per year would amount to $3,571. The nearly three billion people who live on less than $2,000 per year simply cannot pay the prices needed to deploy current versions of renewable power technologies.

The ITIF researchers conclude, “The key to mitigating climate change is to make clean energy cheap enough to replace conventional energy without mandates, subsidies, or carbon taxes.” That’s entirely correct. But how to do that? Chiefly they advocate boosting federally-funded energy research and development from $5 billion to $15 billion per year in search of technological breakthroughs aiming to achieve dramatic cost reductions.

That overstates the efficacy federal energy R&D. But it does make a lot more sense than trying to force everybody into the equivalent of a Model T Ford.




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


1 November, 2013

Five Of The Six Snowiest Winters Have Occurred Since David Viner Declared The End Of Snow

Rutgers University Climate Lab :: Global Snow Lab

According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past – Environment – The Independent


Wolf-protection cages for Kids at School Bus Stops Spark Outrage

Greenies are the enemies of civilization

Environmentalists have galvanized behind a movement to resurrect wolf populations in rural America. Public support, particularly from urban regions, appears to favor the idea of returning this iconic symbol of the wilderness to America’s rural landscapes. Unfortunately there is a lack of public awareness to the real life consequences for those living with wolves. The result is a misguided Federal wolf introduction program that disregards protests from states where wolves are forced on communities that don’t want them.

In Catron County, New Mexico, aggressive Mexican gray wolves are terrorizing residents. Here wolves are killing pets in front yards in broad daylight, and forcing parents to stand guard when children play outside. The threat has become so ominous the local school district has decided to place wolf shelters (kid cages) at school bus stops to protect school children from wolves while they wait for the bus or parents. These wolf proof cages, constructed from plywood and wire, are designed to prevent wolves from taking a child. The absurdity of this scenario is mind-numbing. What kind of society accepts the idea of children in cages while wolves are free to roam where they choose?

This situation exemplifies the problem with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). It has drifted far from its original intent and become a useful tool for extreme environmentalists to push their agendas, often placing the interests of wild animals above the interests of real people.

The ESA allowed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to release captive Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico and Arizona in 1998 as a “nonessential experimental population.” The experiment isn’t going so well. 15 years after its inception the wolf population in these states is growing and so are conflicts between wolves, livestock, local residents, and federal government agencies in charge of the program. Now, despite growing resistance from local communities, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed an expansion of the Mexican gray wolf program.

Those forced to live with wolves on a daily basis have found there is little they can do about the harmful consequences imposed on them by their government. They find themselves having to deal with two predators—one from the wild and the other from Washington, D.C.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, willfully harassing, harming, or killing a species listed on the ESA can lead to fines up to $100,000 and one year in jail.

The local sheriff in Truth or Consequences is Joe Baca, a no-nonsense law enforcement officer who doesn’t take kindly to outside influences dictating terms for how public safety matters are dealt with. I recently met with Sheriff Baca to learn the truth about wolf threats to humans and the consequences of government programs that force wolves on civilized areas.

“My number one priority is public safety,” Baca told me, “I don’t work for the Federal government. I work for the residents of this county. The truth is that one of these days we are going to have a wolf incident with a human tragedy. In my opinion our citizens are more important than any endangered species. There is no way I am going to allow any Federal agent to come into my county and arrest someone for protecting their livestock or their family by killing a wolf.”

Local resident Crystal Diamond has experienced several run-ins with wolves, including two close encounters when she was alone with her young children. She expressed her growing frustration with this government induced wolf problem — “As mothers raising our children in wolf country, we have the additional responsibility of protecting our children from a threat that is imposed by our own government and funded by our own tax dollars.”

Many rural communities in New Mexico and Arizona view the Federal government’s artificial wolf introduction program as a predatory action against state’s rights to manage wildlife, and local government authority to protect private property and public safety. When it comes to the ESA, the Federal government has often misused the law to usurp state’s authority and override local concerns by imposing restrictions on land use and wildlife stewardship.

Conflicts over the ESA primarily revolve around competing sets of values. Rarely is the debate over whether a species is threatened with extinction. The truth is that most of the species listed as endangered, including the gray wolf, are not in any danger of extinction. These so-called endangered species are simply not deemed at acceptable levels in a geographic location.

Those who believe ecosystems must to return to an original pre-human settled state, use the ESA to protect species from harm by forcing mankind to modify behaviors. The result is slowed and stalled infrastructure projects, higher costs of goods, restrictions on development, and limitations on private property rights. But the preeminent problem is contrasting values that juxtapose those who believe in mankind’s superiority to animals with those that place animals and humans on a level of equal value, or in some cases, give higher value to an animal, bird or fish.

There are around 1,500 species listed as endangered or threatened by the ESA. Only 27 have been deemed recovered and delisted. While the Mexican gray wolf program may be expanded, its more common cousin, the gray wolf, is now under consideration for delisting, in part because as the numbers grow, so does the difficulty of managing this predator.

Wolves are a unique predator. There were very valid reasons why they were driven from the lower 48 states through government wolf eradication projects in the early 1900‘s. There is no other apex, top-of-the-food-chain predator in North America so destructive to livestock, wildlife, pets, and ultimately economies, as the wolf. After a long absence of wolf populations in the lower 48 states, public opinion of the wolf changed. It has become a non-threatening symbol of environmental idealism. But with the return of the wolf, and their destructive behavior, rural America is quickly learning why wolves were removed from settled areas.

Wolves reintroduction programs began in earnest in the mid-1990‘s when Canadian wolves were planted in Yellowstone Park. Here their killing capability is on full display. As pack hunters, wolves have a huge advantage over their prey. The northern Yellowstone elk herd numbered around 20,000 in 1995 despite predators such grizzly bears and mountain lions. Today the same herd is less than 4,000 — an 80% reduction. Moose populations have also suffered enormous losses to wolves in the Yellowstone area.

States like Montana and Idaho have felt the economic impact of having large numbers of game animals killed by wolves. With fewer hunters and less permits issued, annual funding revenues for state Fish and Game departments have decreased. Less hunters mean less money, and taxes collected, in small communities that depend on this industry.

The problem with wolves is that there is no such thing as just a few wolves. Wolves breed at extraordinarily high rates and as their numbers grow, their territory naturally expands. One year three females in the Yellowstone Druid pack had a total litter of 21 pups – 20 of them survived. It doesn’t take long for the population to explode, and that is precisely what has happened. There are now hundreds of wolves roaming Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

The ESA brought wolves into Yellowstone, but didn’t consider the economic impact on neighboring states. Nor did it take into account the jeopardy to small business owners in the livestock industry who have been forced into the unfortunate reality of feeding wolves with their livestock.

Wolves are killing machines with a naturally ingrained instinct to chase. At times this inclination can lead to sport killing. Sheep are often the victims of these rampages and offer a convenient training opportunity for young wolves to learn the art of the kill. This past summer Montana rancher Bill Hoppe had 18 sheep killed by a collared wolf from Yellowstone Park — none of the dead sheep were eaten. The Siddoway Sheep Company in Eastern Idaho had 176 sheep killed in a wolf induced stampede. Only two sheep were partially eaten. Over the course of two month’s the Siddoways lost 250 sheep, several dogs, and a horse to wolf attacks.

Serious problems with wolves are not limited to their capacity to kill. They are known carriers of disease that can cause severe problems and even death in both animals and humans. In Alaska 300 people have contracted the deadly hydatid disease from encountering wolf scat and tracking it into homes. This disease has been identified in over 60% of wolves in Montana and Idaho. Wolves spread anthrax, brucellosis and other diseases throughout wildlife and livestock populations, causing infertility, miscarriage and death.

Some large predators, such as wolves, are simply incompatible with civilization. The grizzly bear is a case in point. California, where I currently live, has a grizzly bear on the state seal and flag. At one time as many as 10,000 grizzlies roamed the state. But grizzly bears have not been in California since 1922. There’s just no way to mix such an aggressive predator with populated areas. Wolves are an even more difficult predator to manage.

Gray wolf populations now far exceed the recovery goals established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. With the gray wolf now under consideration for removal from the endangered list, wolf management would return to where it belongs — in the hands of states instead of the Federal government. Management of wildlife, including endangered species, should be the responsibility of states rather than bureaucrats in far-off places like Washington, D.C.

Since artificial wolf introduction programs began, wolf proponents have used every possible means at their disposal to keep wolves from being delisted from the endangered list. It took an act of Congress in 2011 to delist wolves in Montana and Idaho. Legislation was attached to a must-pass budget bill, resulting in legislation being used for the first time to remove ESA protection of a species.

Last week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced an extension for public comment on gray wolf delisting and expansion of the Mexican gray wolf program. The deadline for public comment submissions is December 17, 2013. Four public hearings will also take place; Denver, Colorado (Nov. 19), Albuquerque, New Mexico (Nov. 20), Sacramento, California (Nov. 22), and Pinetop, Arizona (Dec. 3).

The pro-wolf lobby is powerful and well-funded. Extreme environmentalists such as Defenders of Wildlife, Wild Earth Guardians, Sierra Club, and the Center for Biological Diversity are aggressively lobbying to keep wolves on the endangered list. Unfortunately, rural communities most impacted by wolves, don’t have such well-funded organizations fighting on their behalf.

The truth is wolves are not compatible with people living in populated areas including most of the settled territory of the lower 48 states. Wolves need to be managed in a way that does not subject children to cages at school bus stops, drive small business owners in the livestock industry to ruin, burden taxpayers with expensive wolf management programs and lost tax revenues, and force local communities to suffer consequences of Federal government actions.

Allowing the Endangered Species Act to place the interests of animals, birds, fish and plants above the interests of mankind is a recipe for disaster. We have a clear choice; either we control predators in the wild, and in government — or they will control us.


Emerging nations nearing half of global carbon dioxide emissions: study

Total greenhouse gas emissions by China and other emerging nations since 1850 will surpass those of rich nations this decade, a study has showed.

The announcement is likely to complicate upcoming UN talks about who is most to blame for global warming.

Developing nations accounted for 48 per cent of cumulative emissions from 1850 to 2010, according to the study by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, research group Ecofys and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre.

"Somewhere in the current decade the share of the cumulative historical emissions of developing countries will surpass that of developed countries," a statement said.

Developing nations' emissions are rising fast and the report predicted that their share of cumulative emissions would reach 51 per cent by 2020.

Almost 200 governments will meet in Warsaw, Poland, from November 11-22 to discuss plans for a new, global deal to fight climate change meant to be agreed in 2010 and to enter into force from 2020.

"Discussions at the UN climate negotiations tend to focus on which countries have contributed most to climate change," the study said.

The biggest emitters since 1850, taken as the start of widespread industrial use of fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases when burnt, were the United States, China, the European Union and Russia, it said.

China, with 1.3 billion inhabitants, argues that its per capita emissions since 1850 are still far below those of developed nations, meaning it has less responsibility to rein in emissions than rich nations.


Obama will use executive powers to conserve lands: Interior secretary

US president Barack Obama will use his executive powers to protect more mountains, rivers and forests from development if Congress does not act to preserve such wild spaces, his interior secretary has said.

Portions of the Grand Canyon, Redwood forests in California and Caribbean seascapes have been protected under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives the president broad authority to put natural terrain and historic sites under federal protection.

Such preservation efforts can also come through Congress but presidents in a second term have typically felt freer to designate such spaces unilaterally.

On Thursday, interior secretary Sally Jewell said that the president was ready to move ahead.

"There's no question that if Congress doesn't act, we will act," Ms Jewell said at a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington.

Lawmakers have proposed roughly two dozen sites for federal protection, but partisan divisions have helped stall many of those plans.

Ms Jewell said proposals that have backing in Congress - including planned designation of coastal regions of California and Maine, as well as a swath of the Arizona desert - are among the first that could be considered.

"I'll be understanding why these places are special before we go ahead with any action," Ms Jewell said of her plans to visit parts of the country in the coming weeks where there is a public groundswell for putting land under federal stewardship.

One of the projects thought to have public support is the Hermosa Creek Watershed in south-western Colorado, where more than 40,000 hectares of hilly, arid terrain is already popular among outdoor enthusiasts.

The proposed site abuts state and national parks.

Scott Tipton, a Republican congressman from western Colorado, this year joined with the state's Democratic senator Michael Bennet to push for designation.

Although the project has local support, Mr Tipton said the designation should come through congressional action and he discouraged the president from moving unilaterally.

"I'd be disappointed if they went ahead with this tactic," he said.

But Senator Bennet said some projects should not be held ransom to inaction in Congress.

"The Antiquities Act is an important conservation tool, particularly when a dysfunctional Congress can't even pass non-controversial and widely supported preservation proposals," he said in a statement.

Besides managing national parks, monuments and historic sites, the interior department oversees oil and gas drilling on federal land.

Jewell called for a "balanced approach to development" and said she would order future drilling proposals for federal land to include plans to mitigate surface disturbances and damage to the landscape.

Ellis Richard, the founder of Park Rangers for Our Lands, which is a voice for former National Park docents, said that he was impressed with secretary Jewell's conservation message.

"Her speech gives us hope that we will see progress in bringing balance between protecting national parks and energy development on public lands," he said.


James Cameron Gets Matt Damon, Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger for Climate Hysteria Series

Showtime announced last year that it had commissioned Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron to produce an eight-part series for the network designed to scare the public into thinking the world is doomed as a result of global warming.

Coincidentally on Halloween, the cable network released a trailer for the April 2014 series entitled Years of Living Dangerously and credits that identify key Hollywood contributors such as Jessica Alba, Matt Damon, Harrison Ford, and Arnold Schwarzenegger

The website describes the series thusly:

"YEARS of LIVING DANGEROUSLY is global warming like you’ve never seen it before. Coming to SHOWTIME in April, this multi-part television event tells the biggest story of our time: climate change and the impact it's having on people right now in the US and all over the world. Over the course of eight episodes, we’ll report on the crippling effects of climate change-related weather events and the ways individuals, communities, companies and governments are struggling to find solutions to the biggest threat our world has ever faced. An all-star cast of correspondents goes into the field—to Texas, Kansas, California, Colorado, New York, Maine, Montana, Washington, the Carolinas, Florida, the Middle East, Africa, the Andes, the North Pole, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the South Pacific—to meet the people and see the places affected by climate change."

Boo! Scary!

Now check out the stars involved in this nightmare:

Jessica Alba, Mark Bittman, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, America Ferrera, Harrison Ford, Thomas L. Friedman, Michael C. Hall, Chris Hayes, Olivia Munn, M. Sanjaya, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ian Somerhalder, and Lesley Stahl

Now take a look at the "Science Advisors" to the series:

Robert Corell, Heidi Cullen, Charles H. Greene, James Hansen, Katharine Hayhoe, Radley Horton, Michael Mann, Michael Oppenheimer, Joseph Romm

Think Cameron and Company will give any time to the thousands upon thousands of scientists that don't believe any of this nonsense?

Highly unlikely.

Consider that in August 2010, Cameron dropped out of a global warming debate THAT HE organized!

Earlier that year, he advocated shooting people that don't believe this theory.

So don't expect to hear the other side in this series.


Unprecedented (?) Arctic warming

Judith Curry makes essentially the same points that I made (on 27 Oct.) about the Baffin Island study -- that the Baffin Is. data is not representative of anything -- but she does so with more detail

A new paper by Miller et al. is getting a great deal of press:

Unprecedented recent warmth in Arctic Canada

Abstract. Arctic air temperatures have increased in recent decades, along with documented reductions in sea ice, glacier size, and snowcover. However, the extent to which recent Arctic warming has been anomalous with respect to long-term natural climate variability remains uncertain. Here we use 145 radiocarbon dates on rooted tundra plants revealed by receding cold-based ice caps in the Eastern Canadian Arctic to show that 5000 years of regional summertime cooling has been reversed, with average summer temperatures of the last ~100 years now higher than during any century in more than 44,000 years, including peak warmth of the early Holocene when high latitude summer insolation was 9% greater than present. Reconstructed changes in snow line elevation suggest that summers cooled ~2.7 °C over the past 5000 years, approximately twice the response predicted by CMIP5 climate models. Our results indicate that anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gases have led to unprecedented regional warmth.

Published by Geophysical Research Letters

The region of Northeast Canada (Baffin Island, Ellesmere Island) and west Greenland certainly seems to be a hotspot of recent warming. The west Greenland warming was discussed in the recent post Chasing Ice. I have personally been focussing on the collapse of the Ellesmere ice shelves, which has been quite dramatic in recent years, for a recent summary see this post at Dosbat.

Miller et al. assume that the Baffin Island melting is attributable to AGW. Maybe it is. In the Chasing Ice post, I noted that the peak glacier discharge from West Greenland occurred in the 1930?s. The Ellesmere ice shelves also saw a melt back earlier in the 20th century circa the 1930?s. The Miller et al. paper does not remark on any evidence of warming in the 1930?s, or the LIA or MWP for that matter, but note only a cooling over the past 5000 years, with marked warming in the past 100 years. The reasoning behind the Miller et al. conclusions is rather complex, with a number of assumptions, I’m not sure what to make of their arguments.

In any event, how representative of the Arctic is their findings from Baffin Island? Well, it doesn’t even seem to be too representative even of Ellesmere Island and West Greenland.

There is another paper published almost concurrently, which hasn’t gotten any media attention as far as I can tell, but it does make one think twice about automatically attributing the Baffin warming to AGW:

Eurasian Arctic climate over the past millennium as recorded in the Akademii Nauk ice core (Severnaya Zemlya)

T. Opel, D. Friezsche, H. Meyer

Abstract. Understanding recent Arctic climate change requires detailed information on past changes, in particular on a regional scale. The extension of the depth–age relation of the Akademii Nauk (AN) ice core from Severnaya Zemlya (SZ) to the last 1100 yr provides new perspectives on past climate fluctuations in the Barents and Kara seas region. Here, we present the easternmost high-resolution ice-core climate proxy records (?18O and sodium) from the Arctic. Multi-annual AN ?18O data as near-surface air-temperature proxies reveal major temperature changes over the last millennium, including the absolute minimum around 1800 and the unprecedented warming to a double-peak maximum in the early 20th century. The long-term cooling trend in ?18O is related to a decline in summer insolation but also to the growth of the AN ice cap as indicated by decreasing sodium concentrations. Neither a pronounced Medieval Climate Anomaly nor a Little Ice Age are detectable in the AN ?18O record. In contrast, there is evidence of several abrupt warming and cooling events, such as in the 15th and 16th centuries, partly accompanied by corresponding changes in sodium concentrations. These abrupt changes are assumed to be related to sea-ice cover variability in the Barents and Kara seas region, which might be caused by shifts in atmospheric circulation patterns. Our results indicate a significant impact of internal climate variability on Arctic climate change in the last millennium.

Published in Climate of the Past.

Severnaya Zemlya is in a very interesting location. As per the Wikipedia, Svernaya Zemlya is an archipelago in the Russian high Arctic. It is located off mainland Siberia‘s Taymyr Peninsula across the Vilkitsky Strait. This archipelago separates two marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean, the Kara Sea in the west and the Laptev Sea in the east.

Recall that Kara/Laptev Seas is in the heart of the lynch pin region for the Stadium Wave. Note, Marcia Wyatt did not have any data sets from the Baffin/Ellesmere region of the Canadian Arctic to include in the stadium wave analysis.

Clearly, there is substantial spatial variability of climate variability in the Arctic, with Opel et al. noting a see-saw between the Eurasian vs North American Arctic and seasonal variations (annual vs summer). Especially interesting is the absence of MWP and LIA in some of these high latitude data sets.

In any event, extrapolating from one location in the Arctic to inferring Arctic-wide change is clearly not supported. It further seems that single locations don’t have a very large radius of influence, viz the differences between Baffin and Ellesmere.

The natural internal variability in the Arctic seems to be an exceedingly complex dance between atmospheric circulations, sea ice, ocean circulations and ice sheet dynamics, on a range of timescales. We have some hints about how all this interacts, but much is unknown. In light of this, simplistic inferences about global warming in the Arctic seem unjustified.




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


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman


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)

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