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, 2014

Hundreds of Records Fall During U.S. Cold Spell

Mid-November 2014 has been a time of record-setting temperatures and snowfall. Hardly anyone in the United States can avoid it, and even if your locale hasn’t experienced record cold itself, somewhere in your region has. This is not how global warming is supposed to work.

The United States has experienced an unusual amount of record-breaking cold weather and weather-related phenomena in 2014. Early in the year, in large part due to the polar vortex, hundreds, if not thousands, of American cities and towns experienced multiple days of record-setting temperatures – both record lows and record-low high temperatures.

This odd weather continued into the summer. In July, record lows or record-low high temperatures were set in cities across the nation, including in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, and Pittsburgh, as well as in states from Minnesota to Alabama and Florida. The streak continued into September, when 246 record-low high temperature records were broken or tied between September 1 and September 10 alone.

Jacksonville, Florida recently joined hundreds of other cities in the nation that have, since November 10, witnessed record lows – a low of 24 degrees broke the 141-year-old mark for November 20 by six degrees.

Weather Bell Analytics reports:

    An astounding 226 million Americans will experience at or below freezing temperatures (32°F) on Tuesday as well – if you venture outdoors.

    More than 85% of the surface area of the Lower 48 reached or fell below freezing Tuesday morning. All 50 states saw at or below freezing temperatures on Tuesday.

    Record lows from Idaho to Nebraska and Iowa south to Texas and east through the Great Lakes, the eastern 2/3 of the US will shatter decades-long and in some cases, century-long records. Temperatures east of the Rockies will be 20–40°F below climate normals.

    Compared to normal, temperatures over the past several days have dropped off a cliff – to 10°C below climate normal – more anomalous than even during the polar vortex of early January.

And reported 1,360 cities and towns set daily-low maximum records over the past week.

On one night in mid-November, every state in the nation, including Florida, Hawaii, and Texas, had one or more locations reporting at or below freezing temperatures, and 85 percent of the nation saw freezing temperatures. This is mid-November, not mid-winter.

And let’s not forget about snowfall. Buffalo, among other Great Lakes region cities, is experiencing “Snowpocalypse,” a phrase I’m copywriting if possible. More than six feet of snow fell in Buffalo in less than 48 hours, with three or more feet threatening to fall by the end of the week. This is more than the city typically gets annually.

By November 3, areas in Maine, which typically accumulate less than a foot of snow for the entire month of November, had already received two feet of snow. Not to be outdone, on November 1, South Carolina experienced its earliest snowfall since official records began in 1886. The previous earliest snowfall recorded was on November 9, 1913.

Indeed, snow currently covers more than 50 percent of the country, more than twice the coverage the United States usually experiences for mid-November.

The records keep falling and climate models keep getting it wrong.


Dear Northeast, how’s that solar working out for you?

A couple of months ago, effective in November, National Grid, one of Massachusetts’ two dominant utilities, announced rate increases of a “whopping” 37 percent over last year. Other utilities in the region are expected to follow suit.

It’s dramatic headlines like these that make rooftop solar sound so attractive to people wanting to save money. In fact, embedded within the online version of the Boston Globe story: “Electric rates in Mass. set to spike this winter,” is a link to another article: “How to install solar power and save.” The solar story points out: “By now everyone knows that solar power can save homeowners big money on utility bills.” It claims that solar works even in New England’s dreary winters and cites Henry K. Vandermark, founder and president of Solar Wave Energy in Cambridge, as saying: “Even snow doesn’t matter if your panels have a steep angle. It just slides right off them.”

Solar is not the panacea it is promoted to be, though it is true that—after a substantial investment, heavy government subsidies (funded by all taxpayers), and generous net-metering programs (that raise costs for non-solar customers)—solar systems can save money on the typical homeowners’ monthly bill.

New England has seen one big power plant close within the past year—Salem Harbor Power Station in Salem, Massachusetts went “dark” on June 1, in part due to tightening federal regulations. Another major closure will take place within weeks: Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

A new, state-of-the-art natural gas plant on 18 acres of the 65-acre Salem site will replace the Salem Harbor plant. The remaining 47 acres will see redevelopment, including renewable energy. But, that plan has received pushback from environmental groups that want it fully replaced with renewables. The Boston Globe states: “A decade ago, replacing the aging plant with a far cleaner natural gas facility would have thrilled environmental and public health advocates.” The Conservation Law Foundation filed a lawsuit against the project’s approval, claiming the state “failed to adequately consider its own climate change law when state energy officials approved the Salem plant.” In February, the group settled the suit after it caused construction delays and reliability concerns.

Just days before the plant closed, a report from The Daily Climate addressed the controversy over usage of the Salem Harbor site: “Many activists pushed back, arguing for wind or solar generation or non-energy uses, such as a marine biotechnology research facility.” One activist group: HealthLink, “has marshaled opposition to running a gas line to the new plant” and another: Grassroots Against Another Salem Plant (GAASP), “has pledged to use peaceful civil disobedience to block construction of the gas plant.”

The state of Massachusetts has offered three closed, or scheduled to be closed, coal-fueled power plant sites $6 million to pursue renewable energy projects—even though wind and solar require full back up from fossil fuel power plants so electricity is available in the frigid Northeast winters. Additionally, a new report from two Stanford Ph.Ds., who spent 4 years trying to prove renewables can, ultimately, replace fossil fuels, have had to admit defeat: “Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”

Having lived with the 63-year old Salem Harbor plant in her back yard for 20 years, Linda Haley, doesn’t, according to WGBH News, “understand why Salem would encourage use of a non-renewable fossil-fuel resource like natural gas when alternative investments in green technology finally seem possible.”

These stories reveal the snow job that has been perpetuated on the general public regarding renewable energy. They don’t understand the need for power or how it works. They seem to believe that when a rule passes a magic wand waves replacing older, but still fully functional, power plants with wind or solar—that doesn’t produce electricity 24/7/365 as do the decommissioned coal or nuclear plants and which requires far more land to produce the same amount of, albeit intermittent, electricity.

An iced up wind turbine or a solar panel covered in seven feet of snow—even if some of it slides off—doesn’t generate electricity. And the cold days of a Northeast winter create one of the times when energy demand peaks.

Remember last winter’s polar vortex, when freezing weather crippled the Northeast for days and put a tremendous strain on the electric supply?

Congress, following the near crisis, brought in utility executives to explain the situation. Regarding the nation’s electrical output last winter, Nicholas Akins, the CEO of the biggest generator of coal-fueled electricity in the U.S., American Electric Power (AEP), told Congress: “This country did not just dodge a bullet—we dodged a cannon ball.” Similarly, Michael Kormos, Executive VP of Operations for PJM Interconnection (the largest grid operator in the U.S. overseeing 13 states), commented on operations during the polar vortex: PJM was “never—as some accounts have portrayed—700 megawatts away from rolling blackouts. … On the worst day, January 7, our next step if we had lost a very large generator would have been to implement a small voltage reduction”—industry speak for the last option before power outages.

About last winter’s grid reliability, Glenn Beck claims: “I had an energy guy come to me about three weeks ago. …He said, ‘We were one power plant away from a blackout in the east all winter long… We were using so much electricity. We were at the top of the grid. There’s no more electricity. We’re at the top.’”

This winter’s extreme weather—with new records set for November power demand—has already arrived. Come January, there will be not one, but two fewer Northeast power plants since last year—not because they had to be retired, but because of EPA regulations and public sentiment. In a November 17 op-ed, former Senators Bayh (D-IN) and Judd (R-NH) said: “Vermont Yankee produced 26 percent of New England’s power during the peak of last year’s frigid weather.” The Northeast won’t have Vermont Yankee’s power this January.

Without these two vital power plants, what will the Northeast do?

For several months, since I had a chat with Weather Bell Analytics’ Joe Bastardi at the International Conference on Climate Change, I’ve continued to say that I fear people will have to die due to power outages that prevent them from heating their homes in the winter cold, before the public wakes up to the damage of these policies. AEP’s Atkins seems to agree. He told Columbus Business First: “Truth be known, something’s probably going to have to happen before people realize that there is an issue.”

“New England is in the midst of an energy crisis,” claims WGBH News. The report continues: “residents and businesses are facing a future that may include ‘rolling blackouts’ on days when usage is highest.”

ISO New England, the agency that oversees the power grid, warns, in the Boston Globe: “Boston and northeast Massachusetts are ‘expected to face an electricity capacity shortage’ that could lead to rolling blackouts or the use of trailer-mounted diesel generators—which emit far more pollutants than natural gas—to fill the gap.” Ray Hepper, the lawyer for ISO New England, in a court filing, wrote: “The ISO simply cannot make megawatts of generation materialize that are not on the system.” In an interview, he added: “We’re really, as a region, at the point of needing new power plants.”

As the Salem Harbor story illustrates, natural gas will likely fuel those new power plants and environmental groups are expected to challenge construction. Plus, natural gas faces cost volatility. On November 20, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), in the wake of November cold, not experienced since the 1970s when global cooling was predicted, featured an article titled: “Chill pushes up natural-gas prices” that stated: “Natural-gas stockpiles shrank by more than expected last week reflecting surging demand.” As in the ’70s, many are now projecting, based on solar activity and other natural variables, a long global cooling trend.

While the Boston Globe, in September, said: “The upcoming winter is not expected to be as cold as last season,” Bastardi told me otherwise. He said: “This winter could be as cold and nasty as last year and in a worst case go beyond that to some of the great winters of the late 1970s, lasting all the way into April. As it is, we still have a winter comparable to last year forecasted, though the position of the worst, relative to averages, may be further southeast than last year.” During a November 19 appearance with Neil Cavuto, Bastardi suggested that we may see a bit of warming after November, but will have one, or two, very cold months after that.

The WSJ quoted Brian Bradshaw, portfolio manager at BP Capital in Dallas: “‘Everyone thinks it’s not possible’ to have another winter like last year ‘But the weather does impossible things all the time.’” WSJ added: “the natural-gas market is setting up for a repeat of last winter.”

So, why, when natural gas prices sit at historic lows that experts predicted will lower electricity rates, is the Northeast facing double-digit increases? The answer: there is no magic wand. The changes have been mandated, but the replacements aren’t ready yet. Ray Gifford, former commissioner with the Colorado Public Utility Commission, told me: “I don’t see how the gas infrastructure in New England can be built fast enough to replace retiring baseload capacity.”

Within the past decade, natural gas went from supplying less than a fifth of New England’s power to one half—which could be great if New England had natural gas, but it is, as Tim Maverick, Commodities Correspondent for Wall Street Daily, says: “gas-starved.” After last winter’s freezing weather, Maverick wrote: “The Northeast was slapped in the face with the reality that there’s not sufficient pipeline infrastructure to provide it with the mega-energy pull it draws in the colder season. This is probably because not one new pipeline infrastructure has been introduced in over 40 years. Natural gas consumption in the Northeast has grown more than 20% in the last decade, and not one new pipeline has been built. Current pipelines are stuffed and can carry no more supply.”

At the Edison Electric Institute financial conference on November 11, AEP’s Atkins confirmed that the proposed timeline to cut pollution from the EPA will shutter coal plants before completion of construction of new power plants using other fuels, or the infrastructure to move the needed natural gas around.

The lack of available supply, results in higher prices. The Boston Globe explains: “gas supplies for home heating are purchased under long-term contracts arranged far in advance, so utilities have the advantage of locking in lower rates. Power plants, on the other hand, often buy shorter-term and are more exposed to price movements in the spot markets.” In the winter’s cold weather, the gas goes to people’s homes first. Different from coal, which is shipped by train, with a thirty-day supply easily held at the point of use, the switch to natural gas leaves power plants struggling to meet demand, paying higher prices.

Addressing the 2013/2014 winter, Terry Jarrett, a former public service commissioner and a nationally recognized leader in energy, utility, and regulatory issues, said: “Natural gas couldn’t shoulder that burden, due in part to a shortage of infrastructure to deliver gas where it was needed—this despite record-setting production in the Marcellus Shale and elsewhere. But more importantly, whereas coal’s sole purpose is to generate electricity, natural gas is also used for home heating. And when push comes to shove, heating gets priority over generation.”

Last winter, coal and nuclear met the demand to keep the lights on and heat homes and businesses. AEP reports that 89 percent of its coal plants, now slated for retirement, ran at capacity just to meet the peak demand.

These shortages in the Northeast occur before the implementation of Obama’s Clean Power Plan that experts believe will shut down hundreds of coal-fueled power plants nationwide by 2016. New pipelines and new plants need to be built, but “not-in-my-backyard” attitudes and environmental activists will probably further delay and prevent construction as they have done in the Northeast, which will result in higher electric bills nationwide.

“Because less-expensive coal generation is retiring and in part is being replaced by demand-response or other potential high energy cost resources, excess generation will narrow and energy prices could become more volatile due to the increasing reliance on natural gas for electricity generation,” PJM’s Kormos told Congress.

The lessons for America’s energy supply learned from the Northeast’s far-reaching experiment, that has only resulted only in price increases and potential energy shortages, are twofold. First, don’t shut down existing supply until the replacement is ready, as legal action and local attitudes can slow its development. Second, you can cover every square inch of available land with wind and solar, but when extreme weather hits, it requires a reliable energy supply, best met by coal and nuclear.

Current policy direction will have all of America, not just the Northeast, freezing in the dark. I hope it can it be turned back before it is too late.


States Reject GMO Scares

Voters in two states, Colorado and Oregon, defeated GMO labeling at the ballot box in the November elections. This is the third year in a row activists who want labels identifying genetically modified foods have lost state initiatives and referenda.

Voters rejected Colorado’s Proposition 105 with 67 percent of the vote. Measure 92 in Oregon was a much closer race, with 49 percent of the vote in support of the initiative.

Despite the continuous defeats, experts agree campaigns demanding GMO labeling are far from over.

Activists Won’t Give Up

“The hallmark of the hard left is never to give up on a theme until long after it is dead…. I expect no let-up,” said Dennis Avery, director of the Center for Global Food Issues, which studies agriculture and environmental concerns regarding food production.

Competitive Enterprise Institute Executive Director Greg Conko agreed, saying, “We’re just at the beginning.”

“I’m very happy the labeling initiatives in Colorado and Oregon failed on Election Day, just like prior initiatives in Washington State last year and California in 2012. But I’m still troubled they’ve attracted as much support as they have,” Conko added.

GMOs Declared Safe

Avery said the attraction for labeling genetically modified foods has grown over the last twenty years despite scientific research demonstrating the safety of genetic modification. Domestic and international bodies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Academies of Science, agree GMOs are safe.

Conko notes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration already requires producers to inform consumers any time a food has been changed in a way that impacts safety, wholesomeness, nutritional value, or even traits such as food’s taste, color, or mouth feel beyond the normal range of what consumers would expect.

Conko pointed out GMO labeling doesn’t actually tell consumers what’s different about their food. “Its sole purpose is to use scary terminology to make consumers think there’s something to be concerned about, when nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.

Opposing Interest Groups

The campaigns pitted environmental activists against major corporations, including Monsanto Co., Kraft Foods Group Inc., and Coca-Cola Co.

Grassroots campaigns in the two states had hoped to draw support from young voters. However, opponents don’t agree the so-called activists are really grassroots groups.

“These labeling initiatives are sometimes characterized by proponents as arising from grassroots movements, but they are something quite different: They are funded by self-interested special interests—the organic agriculture/food industry and the producers of various kinds of ‘natural’ remedies and other products that are nothing more than modern-day snake oil,” said Henry I. Miller, the Robert Wesson fellow in scientific philosophy and public policy at the Hoover Institution.

Conko argues anti-GMO laws and referenda are unnecessary because consumers already have multiple avenues to identify GMO products, including GMO-free shopping guides and smart phone apps listing GMO-free foods.

“The market has identified a demand for that information, and normal market forces are finding a variety of ways to supply it,” Conko said.


“No dirty-oil-and-gas” Queen revealed

Will the real Gwen Lachelt please step down? That’s no wisecrack, but a very serious question in Colorado because she’s using a position of political influence to strategically devastate the state’s petroleum industry – and saying otherwise.

Lachelt, a La Plata County Commissioner, is a long-time anti-oil and gas extremist who now co-chairs Democratic Governor John W. Hickenlooper’s oil and gas task force, a board of environmentalists and industry supporters convened to recommend drilling policies to the state legislature, debating key issues including a devastating fracking ban.

Lachelt says, “I have never taken a position to ban fracking” – which is technically true but realistically unbelievable. I have recorded the career of Gwen Lachelt and more than 250 other enviro activists since I wrote Undue Influence in 1999 and established its companion website a year later.

Take a look at Lachelt’s real history: She organized the Oil and Gas Accountability Project (originally the Citizens Oil and Gas Support Center) in 1999 in Durango, Colorado as a project of the rabidly anti-oil and gas San Juan Citizens Alliance.

Her early OGAP campaign, the Western Coalbed Methane Project attempted to stop all coalbed methane operations in the American West.

Another early campaign, Democratizing Oil & Gas Commissions (DOGCOM), attempted to remove anyone associated with the oil and gas industry from membership in Colorado’s Oil & Gas Commission.

By 2004, Lachelt was so successful as OGAP’s executive director ($42,000 salary) that the ultra-green Seattle-based software millionaire Paul Brainerd singled her out for a new strategy he had in mind: “market-based campaigns” to destroy a company’s finance and supply chain.

Brainerd’s foundation funded OGAP to hold “a workshop to train activists in Canada and the U.S. and to develop a corporate accountability campaign targeting one energy corporation that operates in both countries.”

With these instructions from Brainerd, OGAP and Canada’s Dogwood Initiative held the September, 2004 workshop for 40 activist leaders from all over Canada and the U.S., in a Denver venue. The workshop was titled, Corporate Energy Campaigning: Using financial pressure for conservation. Follow that link to see how vicious it was.

The corporate campaign was a tactic to destroy companies by targeting their banking and supplier relations, invented by labor organizer Raymond F. Rogers, Jr. in 1974 and well known among environmentalists by the 1980s. By 2008, it had been developed into a sophisticated nuclear option by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, deployed in their 2008 “Tar Sands Campaign” with its four-step corporate death march, “Raise the Negatives, Raise the Costs, Slow Down and Stop Infrastructure, and Enroll Key Decision Makers.”

Shortly after the OGAP workshop, Brainerd gave a “challenge grant” to the Washington, D.C.-based Mineral Policy Center (founded 1988), which had adapted the corporate campaign into an anti-mining tactic called “No Dirty Gold” under former Greenpeace leader, Steven D’Esposito. Brainerd directed the Mineral Policy Center to merge with the Oil and Gas Accountability Project and operate jointly under the new name, Earthworks. Brainerd lays out his strategy here.

Lachelt and D’Esposito immediately adapted the company-killing No Dirty Gold project, and co-founded the No Dirty Oil and Gas coalition. On Nov. 15, 2006, Earthworks registered the websites www.nodirtyoilandgas dot com and dot org.

OGAP, as part of  Earthworks, aggressively pushed for anti-oil and gas legislation in New Mexico in 2007, driving a number of oil and gas firms from the state, including Key Energy Services, which closed its Farmington, New Mexico natural gas operations in 2008, leaving 700 employees without a job.

Public outrage at Earthworks’ No Dirty Oil and Gas attacks made the name too shrill – and honest – and was morphed into “No Dirty Energy,” which it remains to this day.

That’s the real Gwen Lachelt. There’s no evidence that she has had a “Road to Damascus” persecution epiphany converting her to a moderate member of Hickenlooper’s oil and gas task force.

The task force itself was the result of a threat by a raging anti-oil and gas millionaire, Boulder Democrat U.S. Rep. Jared Polis. He accepted the task force as his price for withdrawing two ballot initiatives he funded that would have imposed devastatingly expensive restrictions on Colorado’s petroleum industry if they won. With out-of-state Big Green political money flooding in to support the initiatives, Hickenlooper couldn’t risk losing his state’s biggest industry. Thus we got the oil and gas task force.

Lachelt told The Durango Herald she has never taken a position on banning hydraulic fracturing but simply supports regulations on fracking, including under the Safe Drinking Water Act (with its environmental group lawsuit provisions).

Simply Raise the Negatives, Raise the Costs, Slow Down and Stop Infrastructure, Enroll Key Decision-Makers. Get rid of the companies and you get rid of fracking. And a large chunk of Colorado’s economy. She’s still the Queen of No Dirty Oil and Gas.


The Gruberization of environmental policies

Accumulation of fraudulent EPA regulations impacts energy, economy, jobs, families and health

Paul Driessen

Call it the Gruberization of America’s energy and environmental policies.

Former White House medical consultant Jonathan Gruber pocketed millions of taxpayer dollars before infamously explaining how ObamaCare was enacted. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” he said. “It was really, really critical to getting the bill passed.” At least one key provision was a “very clever basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”

The Barack Obama/Gina McCarthy Environmental Protection Agency is likewise exploiting its lack of transparency and most Americans’ lack of scientific understanding. EPA bureaucrats and their hired scientists, pressure groups and PR flacks are getting rich and powerful by implementing costly, punitive, dictatorial regulations “for our own good,” and pretending to be honest and publicly spirited.

EPA’s latest regulatory onslaught is its “Clean Power Plan.” The agency claims the CPP will control or prevent “dangerous manmade climate change,” by reducing carbon dioxide and “encouraging” greater use of renewable energy. In reality, as even EPA acknowledges, no commercial-scale technology exists that can remove CO2 from power plant emission streams. The real goal is forcing coal-fired power plants to reduce their operations significantly or (better still) shut down entirely.

The agency justifies this by deceitfully claiming major health benefits will result from eliminating coal in electricity generation – and deceptively ignoring the harmful effects that its regulations are having on people’s livelihoods, living standards, health and well-being. Its assertion that reducing the USA’s coal-related carbon dioxide emissions will make an iota of difference is just as disingenuous. China, India and other fast-developing nations must keep burning coal to generate electricity and lift people out of poverty, and CO2 plays only a tiny (if any) role in climate change and destructive weather events.

The new CPP amplifies Obama Administration diktats targeting coal use. Companion regulations cover mercury, particulates (soot), ozone, “cross-state” air pollution, sulfur and nitrogen oxides that contribute to haze in some areas, and water quality. Their real benefits are minimal to illusory … or fabricated.

American’s air is clean, thanks to scrubbers and other emission control systems that remove the vast majority of pollutants. Remaining pollutants pose few real health problems. To get the results it needs, EPA cherry picks often questionable research that supports its agenda and ignores all other studies. It low-balls costs, pays advisors and outside pressure groups millions of dollars to support its decisions, and ignores the cumulative effects of its regulations on energy costs and thus on businesses, jobs and families.

Now, for the first time, someone has tallied those costs. The results are sobering.

An exhaustive study by Energy Ventures Analysis, Inc. tallies the overall effects of EPA regulations on the electric power industry and provides state-by-state summaries of the rules’ impacts on residential, industrial and overall energy users. The study found that EPA rules and energy markets will inflict $284 billion per year in extra electricity and natural gas costs in 2020, compared to its 2012 baseline year.

The typical household’s annual electricity and natural gas bills will rise 35% or $680 by 2020, compared to 2012, and will climb every year after that, as EPA regulations get more and more stringent. Median family incomes are already $2,000 lower since President Obama took office, and electricity prices have soared 14-33% in states with the most wind power – so these extra costs will exact a heavy additional toll.

Manufacturing and other businesses will be hit even harder, the study concluded. Their electricity and natural gas costs will almost double between 2012 and 2020, increasing by nearly $200 billion annually over this short period. Energy-intensive industries like aluminum, steel and chemical manufacturing will find it increasingly hard to compete in global markets, but all businesses (and their employees) will suffer.

The EVA analysis calculates that industrial electricity rates will soar by 34% in West Virginia, 59% in Maryland and New York, and a whopping 74% in Ohio. Just imagine running a factory, school district or hospital – and having to factor skyrocketing costs like that into your budget. Where do you find that extra money? How many workers or teachers do you lay off, or patients do you turn away? Can you stay open?

The CPP will also force utility companies to spend billions building new generators (mostly gas-fired, plus wind turbines), and new transmission lines, gas lines and other infrastructure. But EPA does not factor those costs into its calculations; nor does it consider the many years it will take to design, permit, engineer, finance and build those systems – and battle Big Green lawsuits over them.

How “science-based” are EPA’s regulations, really? Its mercury rule is based on computer-generated risks to hypothetical American women who eat 296 pounds of fish a year that they catch themselves, a claim that its rule will prevent a theoretical reduction in IQ test scores by an undetectable “0.00209 points,” and similar absurdities. Its PM2.5 soot standard is equivalent to having one ounce of super-fine dust spread equally in a volume of air one-half mile long, one-half mile wide and one story tall.

No wonder EPA has paid its “independent” Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee $181 million and the American Lung Association $25 million since 2000 to rubberstamp its secretive, phony “science.”

Rural America will really be walloped by the total weight of EPA’s anti-coal regulations. Nonprofit electricity cooperatives serve 42 million people in 47 states, across three-fourths of the nation’s land area. They own and maintain 42% of America’s electric distribution lines and depend heavily on coal. They have already invested countless billions retrofitting coal-fired generators with state-of-the-art emission control systems, and thus emit very few actual pollutants. (CO2 fertilizes plants; it is not a pollutant.)

EPA’s air and water rules will force these coal units to slash their electricity generation or close down long before their productive lives are over – and before replacement units and transmission lines can be built. Electricity rates in these rural areas are already higher than in urban areas, but will go much higher. Experts warn that these premature shutdowns will slash electricity “reserve margins” to almost zero in some areas, make large sections of the power grid unstable, and create high risks of rolling blackouts and cascading power outages, especially in the Texas panhandle, western Kansas and northern Arkansas.

The rules will thus put the cooperatives in violation of the Rural Electrification Act and 16 other laws that require reliable, affordable electricity for these far-flung communities. EPA’s actions are also putting rural hospitals in greater jeopardy, as they try to cope with “Affordable Care Act” rules and other burdens that have already caused numerous closings. As USA Today reported, the shuttered hospitals mean some of the nation’s poorest and sickest patients will be denied accessible, affordable care – and people suffering strokes, heart attacks and accidents will not be able to reach emergency care during their “golden hour,” meaning many of them will die or be severely and permanently disabled.

EPA never bothered to consider any of these factors. Nor has it addressed the habitat, bird, bat and other environmental impacts that tens of thousands more wind turbines will have; the “human health hazards” that wind turbines have been shown to inflict on people living near them; or the high electricity costs, notorious unreliability, and increased power grid instability associated with the wind and solar installations that EPA seems to think can quickly and magically replace the coal-based electricity it is eliminating.

Congress, state legislators and attorneys general, governors and courts need to stop these secretive, duplicitous, dictatorial Executive Branch actions. Here’s one thought. Heartland Institute Science Director Jay Lehr helped organize the panel that called for establishing the Environmental Protection Agency. In a persuasive analysis, he says it’s time now to systematically dismantle the federal EPA and replace it with a “committee of the whole” of the 50 state environmental protection agencies.

The new organization would do a far better job of protecting our air and water quality, livelihoods, living standards, health and welfare. It will listen better to We the People – and less to eco-pressure groups.

Via email

Big Wind gusts in lame duck

Congress returns for a lame duck session that is beginning to look like a regular cornucopia of goodies for all those patient souls on Washington, D.C.’s K Street who, if they deliver, can expect nice bonuses to pad their mid-six figure paychecks.

With a bevy of tax credits scheduled to expire on December 31, there will be a scramble to approve a whole package of so-called tax extenders.  This tax package would in some cases push the life of these credits out for a few years, and in others, make them permanent.  After all, it is humiliating for those struggling Silicon Valley venture capitalists to have to grovel before Congress every couple of years to get their research and development tax credits when they could be doing something so much more important like pushing for our nation’s immigration laws to get turned upside down to allow them to hire cheap labor.

But one tax extender is coming under increasing scrutiny even though its supporters are some of the biggest blowhards in a town where this distinction is meaningful — the Wind Production Tax Credit.

That’s right, our government gives the hardscrabble wind energy industry tax credits so that they can sell the energy they produce to electric utilities for less than the cost of generating other non-subsidized electricity generating sources.

If downtrodden companies like Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway did not receive a tax credit for producing wind what would they do?

Here’s what, Warren — not Jimmy although to wrap your head around this you may need to be in Margaritaville — had to say, “we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them.”

Of course, the Wind Production Tax Credit is really small potatoes, only costing the U.S. Treasury $13 billion.  And with a regular two or three year renewal timeframe, it is constantly generating revenues for those ravenous lobbying firms and their latest ingénue who worked as a driver for a key Member of Congress in his/her first campaign.

So what’s not to like?

With the Wind Production Tax Credit you harm other legitimate non-subsidized electricity generating sources who apparently are paying too much attention to their business and not enough to keeping the D.C. politicians well watered.  This creates the fun situation where stable energy sources get shut down or downsized to accommodate sources that are dependent upon unstable atmospheric conditions.

Of course, the Wind Production Tax Credit has been in existence since 1992 scrambling along to help this nascent industry which is a 21st century adaptation of 15th century technology.

And finally, for all those nature haters, those giant blades scything through the sky have proven to be death traps to more than 600,000 bats annually which otherwise would be feasting on insects that can be killed just as easily using pesticides.  This is not to mention the Obama Administration waiver to allow these avian death machines to kill eagles for the next thirty years without facing a federal government fine that anyone else would receive.

And to think this important industry would be forced to fend for itself after December 31, 2014 unless Congress acts during this lame duck session.

What a tragedy.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


28 November, 2014

More unsettled science

The journal article below reveals that estimates of Antarctic ice were way out.  The sea ice should be shrinking according to the famous Warmist "models" but it is in fact expanding.  And now we know that it is not only expanding in area but also thickening in size.  Pesky!  So it will be more resistant to global warming than predicted, if such warming ever eventuates.  The findings are from what they found when they sent a robot sub under the ice. 

An explanation of "deformed" ice:  "These thick, craggy floes likely wouldn't exist without the fierce winds that circle Antarctica from west to east, the researchers said. Winter storms bash up the ice, freezing and reforming the rubble into new, thicker ice. "It must have been crunched up a tremendous amount and [the floes] piled up on top of each other," Maksym said"

A telling comment from one of the researchers:  ""If we don't know how much ice is there is, we can't validate the models we use to understand the global climate," Maksym told Live Science. "It looks like there are significant areas of thick ice that are probably not accounted for."

Thick and deformed Antarctic sea ice mapped with autonomous underwater vehicles

G. Williams et al.


Satellites have documented trends in Antarctic sea-ice extent and its variability for decades, but estimating sea-ice thickness in the Antarctic from remote sensing data remains challenging. In situ observations needed for validation of remote sensing data and sea-ice models are limited; most have been restricted to a few point measurements on selected ice floes, or to visual shipboard estimates. Here we present three-dimensional (3D) floe-scale maps of sea-ice draft for ten floes, compiled from two springtime expeditions by an autonomous underwater vehicle to the near-coastal regions of the Weddell, Bellingshausen, and Wilkes Land sectors of Antarctica. Mean drafts range from 1.4 to 5.5 m, with maxima up to 16 m. We also find that, on average, 76% of the ice volume is deformed ice. Our surveys indicate that the floes are much thicker and more deformed than reported by most drilling and ship-based measurements of Antarctic sea ice. We suggest that thick ice in the near-coastal and interior pack may be under-represented in existing in situ assessments of Antarctic sea ice and hence, on average, Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought.


Now Britian's Royal Society is doing a panic

Just computer games again, of course.  But they are giving themselves a century for it to come true.  Pretty safe.  They'll all be dead before they have to answer for being false prophets

Extreme temperatures, flash flooding is set to become far more common towards the end of the century, a group of respected scientists has predicted.

Changes in weather patterns globally will make people, especially ageing populations, far more vulnerable to extreme hot spells, according to a report published by the Royal Society.

And the experts also predict that the impact of blazing summers will increase ten-fold by 2100, while the impact of flooding will more than quadruple over the same period, the report estimates.

Scientists calculated the impact of climate change and population changes on the chances of people being affected by floods, droughts and heatwaves around the world.

Extended hot periods like that seen in 2003 - when temperatures soared to 101°F (38.5°C) and railway tracks buckled in the heat - will become far more common.

The report focuses on the risks to people from floods, droughts and heatwaves.

Drier parts of the world are expected to get drier and wetter parts, wetter.  [How handy!]

Increasing population numbers in areas that are exposed to extreme weather events exacerbate the risks from floods and droughts in many regions - especially East, West and Central Africa, India and South-East Asia.

Over-65s are one of the groups most vulnerable to heatwaves, which could hit the UK and Europe.

Changes in temperature and humidity could result in significant reductions in ability to work outdoors across much of Africa, Asia, and parts of North, South and Central America. This would impact rural communities and food production for a growing global population.

Scientists adopted a ‘worst case’ scenario by assuming an increase in average temperatures around the world of up to 4.8°C by 2100.

The researchers defined a heatwave as a run of five days during which night-time temperatures are at least 5°C above the norm. [Cripes!  By British standards, I live in a heatwave for 6 months of the year at that rate]

Professor Peter Cox, from the University of Exeter - one of the authors of the Royal Society report, said: ‘We measure exposure to individuals. That goes up because of more extreme events and because the size of the vulnerable population increases.

‘Climate change increases the risk to people by a factor of two or three and population change multiplies that by at least 1.5 and up to four times in the case of heatwaves.’

The report also found a dramatically increased risk of exposure to flooding in the UK and parts of western Europe, while the threat of drought hung over the Mediterranean.

Blah, blah, blah ...


A QUARTER of Canadian polar bears are under threat from global warming: They could be wiped out by shrinking ice caps (?)

Pure long term speculation based on some very complicated climate modelling procedures and using a worst case scenario.  No new observations of actual bear populations

Images of lonely polar bears seemingly stranded on chunks of drifting ice have become one of the defining images of global warming.  Now scientists warn that a quarter of Canadian polar bears could be wiped out by the end of the century because of shrinking ice caps.

Warming temperatures could destroy one tenth of the bear’s habitat, affecting their ability to roam across huge expanses of ice to hunt for food.

Biologists from the University of Alberta believe that as summers get warmer in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago - islands off the North American continent and Greenland – more permanent ice cover will melt away every year.

This means that by 2100, each polar bear population in the Archipelago may have to endure between two and five months of the year without ice at sea, which would likely lead to starvation and hamper their ability to mate.

Projected global warming would adversely affect one tenth of their habitat, which is being damaged by man-made pollution, according to the study.

It found that sea ice across the Arctic is declining and altering the physical characteristics of marine ecosystems.

Predatory animals are vulnerable to these changes in sea ice conditions because a smaller amount of sea ice lessens animals' opportunities to roam across expanses of ice and catch prey.

The study, published in Plos One, used sea ice projections from 2006 to 2100 to gain an insight into the conservation challenges for polar bears.

Biologist Stephen Hamilton from University of Alberta said: ‘We predict that nearly one-tenth of the world’s polar bear habitat, as much as one-quarter of their global population, may undergo significant habitat loss under business-as-usual climate projections.’


Projected Polar Bear Sea Ice Habitat in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

Stephen G. Hamilton et al.



Sea ice across the Arctic is declining and altering physical characteristics of marine ecosystems. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have been identified as vulnerable to changes in sea ice conditions. We use sea ice projections for the Canadian Arctic Archipelago from 2006 – 2100 to gain insight into the conservation challenges for polar bears with respect to habitat loss using metrics developed from polar bear energetics modeling.

Principal Findings

Shifts away from multiyear ice to annual ice cover throughout the region, as well as lengthening ice-free periods, may become critical for polar bears before the end of the 21st century with projected warming. Each polar bear population in the Archipelago may undergo 2–5 months of ice-free conditions, where no such conditions exist presently. We identify spatially and temporally explicit ice-free periods that extend beyond what polar bears require for nutritional and reproductive demands.


Under business-as-usual climate projections, polar bears may face starvation and reproductive failure across the entire Archipelago by the year 2100.


Britain’s energy policy is a catastrophic mess that will keep prices high

The story of how the Labour Party destroyed Britain’s system of financial regulation, launching the ill-fated Financial Services Authority, is now well known. The tale of how it wrecked the pioneering energy market painstakingly introduced by its predecessor, a process tragically continued by the present coalition, is far less well understood. We should thus be grateful for the latest paper from Reform, the think tank, which explains exactly how it all went wrong.

The main point is that Britain no longer has a real energy market and that the Coalition’s reforms are “the biggest expansion of state power since the nationalisations of the 1940s and 1950s”. Nominally private companies still generate and deliver electricity that consumers pay for but just about everything, from prices to outcomes, are now heavily determined by politicians.

The author, Rupert Darwall, finds that the result is a “vast ramshackle Public Private Partnership combining the worst of all worlds – state direction of investment funded by high cost private sector finance”. Devastatingly, as he notes cogently, almost all sorts of generation that currently take place in Britain – be it zero, low or high carbon – now benefits from handouts or various kinds of price supports.

The unfashionable truth is that the privatisation of the electricity industry in the 1980s and the introduction of genuine competition in the 1990s was a triumph. The real hero was Lord Lawson of Blaby, energy secretary in the 1980s. The system evolved and improved over time, with a key duopoly eventually broken up, with the pro-competition drive led by Stephen Littlechild, the brilliant economist who was in charge of energy regulation in the 1990s. Prices fell significantly, delivering large benefits to consumers and companies and helping to deliver a significant boost to competitiveness.

The rot really set in when Tony Blair decided in 2007 to impose a target that a predetermined proportion of energy would be generated from renewable energy, mainly wind and solar. Ed Miliband’s influence on the UK’s energy policy during his time in government was also catastrophic. The return of regulation was helped by the fact that energy prices had started to rise again for the first time in years, and the increase was blamed (entirely wrongly) on privatisation and markets. Paradoxically, the interventions of the Labour and coalition years seem almost designed to dramatically hike prices.

The Labour reforms ended the free market that had been introduced by the Tories and which had worked far better than many people realised at the time. The green quotas meant that the Government had to retake control of all electricity generation: given that it started to subsidise heavily certain forms of electricity, it also had to create artificial incentives to make that enough investment remained in other sources, rigging other markets, too.

It’s all a giant mess. The Government believes that a “fully competitive and open electricity market” will only be reintroduced in 2028. Unless we return to one much sooner, we will condemn ourselves to falling living standards, gross inefficiencies and a monumental misallocation of resources. Let us hope that the next government sees sense.


Think it's unusally warm outside? Then you must be left-wing: Climate change beliefs affect how we perceive the weather, study claims

If you don't believe in climate change, you're less likely to feel that the weather is getting warmer - and vice versa. That's according to a study that analysed how people remembered a particularly warm winter in the US in 2012.

And they found those who believed in climate change remembered it being warmer, while those who didn't thought it was colder.

The research, published in Nature Climate Change, was carried out by three US sociologists - , Dr Aaron McCright of Michigan State University, Dr Riley Dunlap of Oklahoma State, and Dr Chenyang Xiao of American University.

They studied how people remembered the erroneously warm winter of 2012, which was the fourth warmest on record for the US of the previous 117 winters.

During the winter, the seasonal average was about 1.9°C (3.9°F) above the 20th century average.

The researchers compared data from Gallup polls in early March 2012 after the winter ended with temperature data from the US, reports the Washington Post.

Most correctly said that the weather had been unusual, with those in more affected areas noticing the conditions more.

But those with certain political and scientific beliefs had differing views on how severe the changes had been.

'Democrats [were] more likely than Republicans to perceive local winter temperatures as warmer than usual,' the researchers wrote.

Liberals and women were also more likely than conservatives and males to attribute the warmer-than-normal local winter temperatures to global warming.

The results suggest that, apart from actual science, people's view on climate change can be skewed by their beliefs.


Australia: Green Party leader trying to hang on to renewable energy target

Greens leader Christine Milne has reached out to key crossbench senators to try to save the renewable energy target.

Senator Milne has sent three personalised letters to RET fence-sitters Jacqui Lambie, Nick Xenophon and Ricky Muir, detailing the impact scaling back the target would have on their states.

In one letter, she appeals to fellow Tasmanian, Senator Lambie, to help drive investment in renewable energy or face "economic pain, higher unemployment and social dislocation".

Senator Lambie has pushed for hydro to be included in the RET, claiming the target disproportionately affects Tasmanians - who predominantly run on hydro-electricity.

"I fear you have been misled by industries that have a financial interest in destroying Tasmania's emerging industries," Senator Milne writes.

The government wants to slash the target of 41,000 gigawatt hours to about 27,000, claiming that figure will represent 27 per cent of energy use by 2020 instead of the bipartisan level of 20 per cent.

Senator Milne's letters, obtained by AAP, follow a crossbench plan to include existing hydro and solar projects in the RET.

The proposal - spearheaded by Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm - would mean no significant new investment in renewable energy would be needed to meet the target.

It comes amid industry uncertainty prompted by a breakdown in major party negotiations.

Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer - with two Senate seats - is committed to maintaining the target, leaving Senator Muir and Senator Xenophon as crucial votes to pass the proposal if the government signs on.

Senator Milne claims including existing hydro in the target would cost households and would not reduce emissions nor drive new investment - a key aim of the policy.

"In other words, it would be all-pain for no gain," she writes to Senator Muir.

The Clean Energy Council believes the proposal would hand $13.5 billion to existing hydro power at the expense of much of the planned $14.5 billion of investment in new large-scale renewable energy.

Senator Milne has requested meetings with each senator next week.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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, 2014

The Ethanol Mandate Proves the Government Is a Poor Central Planner

The federal government’s mandate to require Americans to use expensive, inefficient biofuels is so broken and dysfunctional it can’t even decide the ideal target amount of production.

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency again announced that it would not determine the amount of ethanol and biofuels required to be mixed into every American’s fuel tank for 2014 by the Energy Independence and Security Act. In 2005, Congress mandated that alternative fuels, primarily corn-based ethanol, progressively be added to gasoline and diesel and that the EPA annually adjust the targets originally set by Congress as needed. Now that 2014 is almost over, the EPA has failed again to clarify the standards. Friday’s non-decision should remind us again of some of the reasons why it’s high time Congress repeal what some have accurately labeled a “Soviet-style production quota system” for the nation’s fuel supply.

1. The Renewable Fuel Standard hurts drivers, eaters, taxpayers and the environment. Because of the RFS, Americans have to pay more for fuel than they normally would without the mandate, and the fuel they put in their tanks is less energy efficient because ethanol isn’t as energy dense. Further, the increased demand for corn for use in ethanol increases the price of corn by as much as 68 percent, which affects not only Americans but the world, because corn is a staple food in many countries as well as a staple feed for livestock. In addition, ethanol has proven to be harmful to smaller engines.

Although environmental organizations initially supported the mandate to reduce oil use and greenhouse gas emissions, many now argue that the ethanol mandate is poor environmental policy. When radical environmentalists and free-market groups, the UN, motorcyclists, ranchers, anti-poverty groups, restaurants and others agree on something, maybe it’s time to listen.

2. The system is broken and full of uncertainty. The EPA was supposed to have published a proposed set of standards in September 2013 and finalized in November so that industry/refineries could plan for the following year. Through a series of delays and extensions, the final standards came out only last week.

Imagine if a teacher required students to regularly turn in homework and take tests but told students the grading scale hadn’t been determined yet. Imagine further that while the teacher promised to produce the grading scale before school started, she hadn’t yet developed it with two months of school left to go. Parents would be up in arms and students would be worried that their efforts might not have been enough and would cost them dearly. The teacher would rightly be fired.

But Congress continues to let a similar “teacher”—the EPA—carry on with a broken system which Congress itself created. Those in favor of the mandate are quick to say it creates “market certainty.” It’s hard to see how that is the case.

3. Unmet targets indicate why the federal government is a poor central planner. In fact, some targets have been missed by a long shot. The EPA routinely has had to keep cellulosic biofuel targets well below what Congress stipulated because the technology to turn corn refuse into fuel isn’t economically viable. Congress’s target for 2013 was to have 1 billion gallons in the nation’s fuel supply; in its 2013 revised target the EPA only mandated 6 million—less than 1 percent of the original target.

On the other hand, there is “too much” ethanol. Congress anticipated Americans would be driving a lot more than they are. In addition, because older or smaller vehicles can safely handle only a certain proportion of ethanol, we have run up against what some call a “blend wall” where the market has no outlet for more ethanol. When not enough of the cellulosic ethanol is produced, the EPA fines refineries and when there is the potential for too much ethanol or biodiesel, the EPA stamps down demand.

4. Only politically connected groups benefit from the RFS. A handful of organizations stand to benefit from the RFS such as corn and soybean growers, ethanol refiners, plant-based ethanol producers, and the politicians who get their votes. In fact, it appears that the string of delays for the 2014 standards occurred because the agriculture and ethanol lobbying arms were unhappy that the EPA originally proposed to cut the ethanol requirement for the first time in the mandate’s existence. But the RFS is a clear case of concentrated benefits to a handful of connected industries at the expense of the rest of America and the environment.

To make matters worse, the mandate stifles competition and growth in the alternative fuels industry. Instead of relying on a process that rewards competition and innovation, the mandate guarantees a market for the ethanol producers’ product and prevents the industry from achieving the price point at which the technology will be economically viable. When the government plays favorites, it traps valuable resources in unproductive places.

The path forward to remove favoritism and provide market opportunities for competition and innovation is to remove those policies that create those incentive structures. Congress should repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard.


RINO thinks global warming is a vote winner

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican once perceived as a moderate who favored bipartisan lawmaking back when that was still a thing in the GOP, has been talking recently about how his party needs a real climate change policy. And with stories rife this morning that Arizona Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain is urging him to run for president in 2016, Graham is going to have to figure out how to rein his party’s climate deniers.

“I think there will be a political problem for the Republican Party going into 2016 if we don’t define what we are for on the environment,” said Graham. “I don’t know what the environmental policy of the Republican Party is.”

But with incoming Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell promising to fast-track the Keystone XL pipeline and gut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it seems like they may actually have one—just not one that will help Graham’s cause, or the climate. And a bill offered up by departing Texas Congressman Steve Stockman, who did not run for reelection, adds fuel to the climate-denier fire.

You may remember Stockman as the Congressman in the Jon Stewart climate denier segment who grilled a testifying scientist about why climate change predictions did not take into account “global wobbling,” something that has nothing to do with the climate. His new bill is more of the same. Stockman has introduced H.B.  5718 or the “Stockman Effect Act,” (its official name in the Congressional Record) “to study the effect of the Earth’s magnetic field on the weather.”

It says, “Congress finds as follows: (1) Prior to a magnetic polar shift, there is a decline in the Earth’s magnetic fields. (2) Decrease in magnetic fields could impact global temperatures. (3) There is a possibility that the reason Mars lost its atmosphere was because of the loss of its magnetic field. (b) Magnetic Field Study. The director of the National Science Foundation shall commission a study on the impact that a shift in the Earth’s magnetic field could have on the weather.”

Alas, Congress is not a scientific body and Stockman is not a scientist. (He was formerly a computer salesman). And there is no “Stockman Effect,” at least none relating the the climate.

According to National Journal reporter Jason Plautz, “The bill doesn’t explicitly mention global warming, but would put Congress on record as saying that a ‘decrease in magnetic fields could impact global temperatures’ and instructs the director of the National Science Foundation to commission a study on the impact a shift in the Earth’s magnetic field could have on the weather. Scientists contacted by National Journal said they weren’t aware of a “Stockman Effect” related to geophysics or climate change.”

“But scientists say that the long-term changes in the magnetic field make it unlikely that it’s causing the rapid warming,” wrote Plautz. “Bob McPherron, a professor of space physics at the University of California Los Angeles, said the possible link was ‘very tenuous’ and that most of the science behind it is not well understood. A 2011 NASA publication noted that polarity reversals are ‘the rule, not the exception’ and said that fossils from the last reversal 780,000 years ago showed no change to plant or animal life or glacial activity.”

Former South Carolina congressman Bob Inglis, who served in the House with Graham in the late ’90s and early ’00s and later founded the Energy and Enterprise Initiative to take on the daunting task of convincing conservatives to act on climate change, told Roll Call he agrees with Graham.

“If conservatives plan on winning the White House back, we’ve got to have something on the menu that addresses this felt need for action on climate,” he said.


Caruba: Turning Climate Into Cash?

As this is being written, all fifty states have freezing weather and nearly a month before the winter solstice on December 21 some northeastern cities are buried in record-setting snowfalls.

At what point will the public conclude that virtually everything that we have been told about “global warming” and “climate change” by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC) as well as U.S. government agencies we’re supposed to trust has been bogus, based on computer models, none of which have proven to be accurate?

At what point will the public conclude that climate, a perfectly natural phenomenon so vast and so powerful, is being exploited in order to transfer large amounts of money from wealthy nations to those who are not? It is redistribution of wealth on a global scale. That is the primary reason for the U.N. climate fund. A total of $9.3 billion has been pledged by several nations.

My friend, Marc Morano, said this about the U.N. Green Climate Fund: 'It’s going to be a giant green slush fund of money distributed by the U.N. through political patronage system. It’s all designed to make climate an issue that every government has to pay attention to.”

“This is a new political party—if you will—the climate party, and it’s demanding a lot of fees and it’s demanding a lot of spending.  The U.N. bureaucracy loves to spend money, loves to have scandals, loves to empower themselves. So this is all about empowering UN bureaucrats, diplomats and delegates and the UN’s own sense of self importance.”

Morano is the Communications Director for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and executive editor and chief correspondent for the award-winning, a global warming and eco-news center founded in 2009. He has been on the front line of combating the lies told about global warming and climate change for many years.

I have been an advisor to CFACT over the years, sharing information that has consistently debunked what I regard as the greatest hoax of the modern era.

The worst part of the hoax was and is the billions that have been squandered on the bogus, useless “scientific” studies intended to keep it going. Then there have been billions more spent on the near useless “renewable” energy projects that have only demonstrated that wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of birds and solar farms have the same affect. The electricity they produce is minimal and so unpredictable it requires the backup of traditional fossil-fueled energy plants.

The near total lack of the impact of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere on its climate has not stopped the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from using carbon dioxide as justification for issuing a torrent of regulations that are crippling the provision of energy nationwide, attacking private property rights, and slowing the growth of our economy.

Thanks to Mother Nature, Americans and others around the world experiencing the 19-year-old cooling cycle the Earth has been in are beginning to realize that humans have nothing to do with causing climate change.

Sadly, too many world leaders, including our own, keep talking about climate change as if it was something we can influence by a reduction of “greenhouse gas” emissions. That’s just another way of saying use less energy.

The world leaders are wrong. Some are just flat out lying.

Editor's Note:

"According to Weatherbell: More than 85% of the surface area of the Lower 48 reached or fell below freezing Tuesday morning, November 18. All 50 states saw at or below freezing temperatures that day. reported 1,360 daily low maximum records were set, meaning  those 1,360 cities and towns saw their coldest daily highs ever recorded. In addition, snow covered more than 50 percent of the country, more than twice the coverage the U.S. usually experiences in mid-November CNN reported areas in Buffalo, New York, among other cities along the Great Lakes, experienced a year’s snow in just three days."

-- H. Sterling Burnett, Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News, Nov 25, 2014


Demagoguery Beats Data

By pest exterminator Rich Kozlovich

“What is more frightening than any particular policy or ideology is the widespread habit of disregarding facts. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey put it this way; "Demagoguery beats data." Thomas Sowell

The pest control industry seems to be faced with the same problem. We're constantly told how we have to restrict pesticide use. We are told we must find alternatives to what we're using. We're told we must adopt “least toxic” (whatever that means) pest control programs.


Because they claim that pesticides may affect our health and the environment adversely.  This isn’t only from the environmental activists outside of government.  It's also the constant refrain from those environmental activists within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It costs about three hundred million dollars to bring a pesticide to market - are we to assume that we don’t know what all the potential effects these products may have on people and the environment? Actually - yes! We aren’t allowed to test people, so we don’t really know what any product will do, whether it's pesticides or automobiles, until it is in common use. With pesticides ultimately the final testing ground will be agriculture.

In years gone by the structural pest control industry used far more liquid pesticides than we do now, and we were only using 4% of all the pesticides manufactured, liquids only being a part of that percentage. Four percent doesn’t make much money when the cost of testing is so high. Therefore any pesticide manufactured must be manufactured for use on corn, tobacco, cotton, rice, wheat, soybeans, etc. or it isn’t manufactured. We've changed what we're using in structural pest control dramatically over the last thirty years, we did so because of efficacy. We shifted to a higher reliance to baits for cockroaches and ants because of their effectiveness.  However we must understand - if a pesticide is used in structural pest control it is because it has been used profitably elsewhere and for some time. We get it last.

New technology in structural pest control is usually old technology everywhere else where pesticides are needed and used. So what must we conclude from that? If these products have been used extensively, and for some time, then the effect on people and the environment must absolutely be known to EPA.

So what then must we conclude from that?  Logically we can only conclude they don’t care what the facts are. They've apparently made up their minds to advocate the same view as the environmental activists and are not going to let facts stand in the way.  These "Sue and Settle" lawsuits, which is nothing short of illegal collusion between environmentalists  and government bureaucrats, gives clear evidence of that.   Between regulators, activists, universities, researchers, self serving politicians, and a compliant media,  they have managed to keep the public ignorant and frightened through “filtered facts” which has now given the completely opposite view of what is actually occurring.

Their answer to any criticism is that we must adopt IPM or "green" pest control, which cannot be truly defined. Name one thing you know for sure about IPM! Everybody has their own perception as to what it means, what products can be used, what techniques should be used, where and when they should be used if ever. This will always be debated because IPM is an “ideology, not a methodology” and "green" is nothing short of neo-pagan mysticism.

If these products are so dangerous and EPA has the authority to remove products that are harmful from the market, and they have traced the results of use of these products over the years - why don’t they do it? They clearly have the power and they certainly have the desire -  why don’t they do it? It is quite simple - the facts must not support such an action.

Why are they promoting IPM to the tune of thousands of dollars a year in the form of grant money? Is it because there are no facts to support the elimination of these products and no matter how many times they change the rules (Food Quality Protection Act is one example along with re-registration requirements) to make it impossible to use pesticides they still can’t find the science to support the ban of pesticides, so they attempt to do it through a back door called IPM, organic or green pest control.  And why IPM or green pest control?  Because if there's no alternative there's no problem.  IPM and Green Pest Control are their representatives of an alternative.

The public is constantly told by the media that pesticides cause every conceivable malady.  When it is discovered they're wrong or the facts were deliberately perverted - as in the Alar case - it's passed off as journalism. The activists jump up and down swearing it was good journalism. The media jumps up and down defending their right to say what they want no matter what the real truth is and no matter who is hurt, and as in the Alar case, refusing to publicly acknowledge their misconduct.

What are the facts regarding pesticides. There is no evidence that pesticides have adversely effected the general health of the population! In fact, if you compared the world before modern pesticides and today we find that we are better fed and healthier than ever in this nation’s history or any other nation that has adopted extensive pesticide use. Only the countries who are unable or unwilling to adopt modern practices suffer the consequences of dystopia; poverty, misery, disease, squalor, hunger, starvation and early death.

There has been a great deal of talk regarding trace amounts of chemicals in our waters and land, and even trace amounts of over 200 manmade chemicals in our bodies. So what? This must be a good thing since the advent of these products people are living longer and healthier lives. The appearance of chemicals has nothing to do with toxicity. It's the dose makes the poison, not it's presence, and there are toxic chemicals necessary for good health which appear in detectable trace amounts in our bodies.

Still we have educated individuals teaching (and being taught) in our schools and universities that manmade chemicals are the great evil and we need to go "green" or “all-natural” or “organic”. Whatever those terms mean!  I love the claim that things are "chemical free".  Let's get our heads on right about chemicals.   The universe - including you - is made up of chemicals - if it's chemical free it doesn't exist. 

Most people have been misled into thinking that "organic" foods are healthier, and "organic" food is pesticide free.  That's blatantly false!  As far as the claim they taste better - taste is subjective and in point of fact nothing could be further from the truth.

Note the following information by Dr. Bruce Ames.

Dr. Bruce Ames (a biochemistry professor at the University of California) pointed out in 1987 that we ingest in our diet about 1.5 grams per day of {natural} pesticides. Those foods contain 10,000 times more, by weight, of {natural} pesticides than of man-made pesticide residues. More than 90% of the pesticides in plants are produced {naturally} by the plants, which help protect them from insects, mites, nematodes, bacteria, and fungi. Those natural pesticides may make up 5% to 10% of a plant's dry weight, and nearly half of them that were tested on experimental animals were carcinogenic. Americans should therefore feel unconcerned about the harmless, infinitesimal traces of synthetic chemicals to which they may be exposed. The highly publicized traces of synthetic pesticides on fruits and vegetables worried some people so much that they began to favor ``organically produced'' foods, thinking that they would not contain any pesticides. Most people are not aware that organic gardeners can legally use a great many pesticides, so long as they are not man-made. They can use nicotine sulfate, rotenone, and pyrethrum (derived from plants), or any poisons that occur naturally, such as lime, sulfur, borax, cyanide, arsenic, and fluorine.

This apparently is OK because its “natural”. Chemicals are chemicals and guess what - they all have chemical names. If I presented you the following menu would you eat it? By the way, these foods are known carcinogens.

"Cream of Mushroom Soup, Carrots, Cherry Tomatoes, Celery, Mixed Roasted Nuts, Tossed Lettuce and Arugula with Basil-Mustard Vinaigrette, Roast Turkey, Bread Stuffing (with onions, celery, black pepper & mushrooms), Cranberry Sauce, Prime Rib of Beef with Parsley Sauce, Broccoli Spears, Baked Potato, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Fresh Apples, Grapes, Mangos, Pears, Pineapple, Red Wine, White Wine, Coffee, Tea., Jasmine Tea." (Source: American Council on Science and Health)

Here are the chemicals that make up this natural meal.

"Hydrazines, aniline, caffeic acid, benzaldehyde, caffeic acid, hydrogen peroxide, quercetin glycosides, caffeic acid, furan derivatives, psoralens, aflatoxin, furfural, allyl isothiocyanate, caffeic acid, estragole, methyl eugenol, heterocyclic amines, acrylamide, ethyl alcohol, benzo(a)pyrene, ethyl carbamate, furan derivatives, furfural, dihydrazines, d-limonene, psoralens, quercetin glycosides, safrole,furan derivatives ,benzene, heterocyclic amines, psoralens,allyl isothiocyanate,ethyl alcohol, caffeic acid,ethyl alcohol, furfural,acetaldehyde, benzene, ethyl alcohol, benzo(a)pyrene, ethyl carbamate, furan derivatives, furfural,benzo(a)pyrene, coumarin, methyl eugenol, safrole,acetaldehyde, caffeic acid, coumarin, estragole, ethyl alcohol, methyl eugenol, quercetin glycosides, safrole,acetaldehyde, benzaldehyde, caffeic acid, d-limonene, estragole, ethyl acrylate, quercetin glycosides,ethyl alcohol, ethyl carbamate,benzo(a)pyrene, benzaldehyde, benzene, benzofuran, caffeic acid, catechol, 1,2,5,6-dibenz(a)anthracene, ethyl benzene, furan, furfural, hydrogen peroxide, hydroquinone, d-limonene, 4-methylcatechol,benzo(a)pyrene, quercetin"

For those that read the chemicals listed above you will notice that some of them are repeated a number of times. I deliberately left the list in that way because you are getting a multiple dose in the above Thanksgiving meal.

Does that sound so bad now? It is unfortunate that so many in positions of authority and responsibility continue to allow filtered facts to become the conventional wisdom. More importantly it is impossible for any society to make intelligent long term decisions when preconceived notions are allowed to dictate what “facts” will be allowed to be presented. Then again, facts are confusing and that certainly is the last thing the public needs, after all it is the last thing the environmentalists and their minions want. It might interfere with all those scares they are constantly presenting as eminent disasters. That in turn would foul up contributions and then the greatest disaster of them all would occur. They would have to go out and get real jobs.

All of this is disturbing, but what I find most disturbing is the unwillingness of our industry's information deliverers - the trade journals and trade associations -  to stand up to these people and publish the truth. When we fail to stand up and be counted we're appeasers and enablers.  Eventually that will turn us into traitors to our own industry.


BHP Billiton’s short-lived climate cuddle

(BHP is one of the world's biggest miners -- Particularly in coal and iron)

The climate-friendly bonhomie of BHP Billiton’s Chairman, Jac Nasser, didn’t last long into question time at the company’s annual general meeting in Adelaide late last week.

Ahead of the AGM BHP had gone to great lengths to buff its climate policy credentials. In his opening speech Nasser even addressed climate change before discussing the state of the global economy.

However, when asked whether the company would continue to invest in thermal coal assets Nasser testily declared that there is no “realistic alternative” to the ongoing use of coal in power stations.

Aviva Imhof, representing her father and a number of other shareholders, had initially congratulated the board on their recent in acknowledging the seriousness of climate change and the implications of it for the company. [Disclosure: Ms Imhof is a work colleague]

“Will BHP Billiton rule out new investments in thermal coal? Do you believe that your existing investments in thermal coal risk becoming stranded assets due to the need to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius?,” she asked Nasser.

“It’s ‘no’ and ‘no’,” Nasser said. “Do you have any other questions?,” he bluntly asked.

She did. “So, given that the IPCC and the global consensus is that up to 80% of fossil fuels need to remain in the ground if we are to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, how could you justify additional investments in thermal coal?,” she asked.

Nasser reiterated that the company accepts the IPCC’s assessment of climate science. He argued that the company believed in the need to pursue a twin objectives of limiting climate change and track and providing for growing energy needs for development.

“You have to be realistic. The realistic side of this is that there are no real alternatives for the growing demand of energy over the next decade,” he said.

Imhof was stunned: “I’m really surprised to hear you say that Mr Chairman, given the absolutely astronomic decline in the price of solar and wind and other renewables. Solar is reaching grid parity in at least 16 markets around …”.

Nasser tersely interjected. “Ms Imhof, it’s not us, it’s the IPCC.”

“Yes and the IPCC say there has to be no investments in high-carbon infrastructure after 2017 if we are going to keep within two degrees of global warming. So it seems to me that if you say you are not going to rule out further investments in thermal coal you are not taking your commitment to climate change seriously,” she responded.

While Nasser was asserting there was no alternative to thermal coal last Thursday, an investor presentation briefing released on Monday morning indicated that the company is acutely aware of the declining financial performance of thermal coal and its vulnerability to energy competition.

In one slide (page 31) BHP Billiton states that energy growth will continue but concedes that “the shape of future energy demand mix is difficult to predict.” While the BHP Billiton code is cautious, the implication is clear: that at least in part, the growth of renewables and efficiency are posing a threat to thermal coal.

This is as good as confirmed when in another slide (page 33) the company refers to ‘energy coal’ as being “contestable.”

Another slide (page 48) charts the contribution of the company’s coal division to earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) plummeting from approximately 14 per cent in 2010 to approximately two percent in the space of five years.

In an accompanying note, BHP Billiton laments that the thermal coal market “remains well supplied” which is “prolonging the weaker pricing environment.” While demand it says “remains steady”, it soberly notes that prices will languish longer until further mines close.

As for the coal industry’s long touted silver bullet of Carbon Capture and Storage, in his speech Nasser would only go so far as to state that it is “exploring opportunities” to invest in the technology.


Australia: More Bureau of Meteorology shenanigans

(BOM:  "The Australian Climate Observations Reference Network – Surface Air Temperature (ACORN-SAT) dataset has been developed for monitoring climate variability and change in Australia. The dataset employs the latest analysis techniques and takes advantage of newly digitised observational data to provide a daily temperature record over the last 100 years")

The BoM ACORN SAT project has reconstructed Cobar temperature data commencing with an obviously invalid adjustment

This is the second episode in the Cobar ACORN-SAT series examining BoM adjustments to the CDO [Climate Data Online] temperature data – here I start to look at adjustments to minimum temperatures. The 1st episode looked at maximum temperatures.

A list of ACORN adjustments to Cobar data is here and you can see the first min adjustment listed is 1st Jan 1972 meaning the adjustment factor applies to all data earlier than that. You will see it is labelled as “Statistical” meaning there is no evidence for it in station diaries or admin records but it derives from computer driven comparisons sifting data differences from multiple stations as far away as Parkes and Hillston – see map. In this case of the 4th adjustment the following stations data was used.

Making the chart of Cobar annual minimum temperatures compared to ACORN-SAT my eye was caught by the adjustment starting in 2006 and affecting all earlier years which I have marked with a blue 6.

That is unlisted in the ACORN-SAT documentation and is substantial at about -0.4 degrees C. The slight mismatch between Cobar Met Office and ACORN from 2007-2013 is due to rounding differences because I have made my ACORN annuals by averaging a year of daily data which I leave as produced by Excel with multiple decimal places.

The next adjustment to look for is at 1971 where I have the blue 4, which is the 4th adjustment in the ACORN list and is listed at -0.49 degrees C. The increased departure of ACORN cooler than Met Office to about -0.9 is obvious on the chart.

Examining this adjustment in greater detail I have made a chart comparing Cobar MO and ACORN version with nearest neighbours Bourke, Wilcannia and Nyngan. The average difference between the 1971 & 1972 readings for these 3 stations is +0.2 at Cobar MO, +0.4 at Bourke PO, +0.4 at Nyngan, and -0.4 at Wilcannia, an average for the 3 Cobar neighbours of +0.13, not very different from the +0.2 that we know happened at Cobar Met Office.

But instead of leaving the higher quality Cobar Met Office readings well alone – what does the BoM decide to do with their adjustment #4? They take off 0.49° making the 1971-1972 difference now 0.7 – greater by 0.3 than any of the neighbours. Presumably the BoM justify this by their computer driven comparisons with sites as distant as Parkes.

If the reasons for an adjustment can not be seen in nearest neighbours then it must be an exercise in fantasy to search for a reason in a cherry picked array of more distant stations which are all of poorer quality than Cobar Met Office.

It is interesting to check the differences in annual minimums between Cobar Met Office and Cobar Airport which are only about 7 or 8 km apart. You might expect them to be very similar and in lockstep – not so from the chart.

Note the BoM never refer to Cobar Airport data in ACORN-SAT – but we are free to check it out.

First there is no evidence here of a step or jump around 2006 – 2007.

While there are such wildly varying and apparently random differences between these two very adjacent sites – what on earth can the BoM learn by comparing Cobar with Parkes – or indeed any other station in their adjustments list.

These are the sort of unsafe foundations that pro-IPCC climate science is based on.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


26 November, 2014

Craig Idso on facts the IPCC ignores


Cold-stunned turtles strand in record numbers

That global warming can be a bitch

Cape Cod:  Seated on the hard concrete floor of the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary’s maintenance barn, veterinarian Kelly Sattman lifted turtle No. 491 to eye level.

    She pressed a small speaker that looked like an old transistor radio up to one ear while holding a sensor to the turtle’s neck.

    Sattman tried to parse out the heartbeat from the white noise crackling from the speaker, and the roar of a heater struggling to keep the barn, set up as a turtle triage center on Friday, at 55 degrees.

    “Any time buddy,” she urged. “Show them that you’re living.”

    The count of recovered cold-stunned turtles was 520 on Friday, well past the 2012 record of 413. With survival rates at 80 percent, the sheer numbers of this year’s strandings taxed Audubon sanctuary staff and volunteers and overwhelmed the capacity of the New England Aquarium’s Quincy Animal Care Center, which can handle 70 turtles comfortably, and 120 in a pinch.

    On Thursday, the aquarium was able to transport 20 turtles from Quincy to the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay and another 31 were flown to a turtle rehab hospital in Georgia and to the South Carolina Aquarium. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries staff were also working to arrange air transport for those animals that had been stabilized.

    The Quincy facility took 70 Friday, but with hundreds sitting in crates awaiting transport and treatment, the aquarium sent veterinarian Leslie Neville to Wellfleet Friday to begin treatment.

    The metabolism of hypothermic sea turtles can be so depressed that their heartbeat slows to as low as one beat per hour.

    It can be hard to tell the dead from the living, but No. 491, a 5-pound Kemp’s ridley taken off Cold Storage Beach in Truro on Thursday, had a heart that was virtually racing at 12 beats per minute. He, or she, (it’s hard to tell the sex of juveniles) was returned to a towel-lined banana crate, then loaded into volunteer driver Dave Horton’s car for the trip to Quincy.

    By the late afternoon, aquarium and Audubon staffs were setting up kiddie pools, filling them with water to rehydrate and gradually warm up the turtles. Sattman and Neville recorded statistics like heartbeat and weight that would help speed the process when the turtles reached Quincy.


UK's blackout prevention plans in doubt after back-up power plant fails

What happens when you spend billions on useless windmills. The windmills don't even rate a mention below

Britain’s plans to keep the lights on this winter have been thrown into fresh doubt after a power plant supposed to provide back-up electricity supplies failed during testing.

The Peterhead gas-fired station in northern Scotland was unable to generate power as expected during a test last week, it has emerged.

The plant, owned by energy giant SSE, was one of three power stations handed a contract last month by National Grid to be paid to guarantee they could fire up if needed, as part of emergency measures to prevent blackouts.

The plans were drawn up after a series of power plant closures eroded Britain’s spare electricity generation capacity – the safety buffer between peak supply and demand – to wafer-thin levels.

The three back-up power plants recruited under the emergency plans were supposed to guarantee they would be available if required between 6am and 8pm on weekdays from November to February.

But Peterhead, a 32-year old plant with 780-megawatt capacity, unexpectedly failed to produce required power levels last Thursday during a monthly "proving" test.

“We are in the process of discussing what did go wrong,” a spokesman for National Grid said.

Both SSE and National Grid declined to disclose details of the fault or to confirm whether it had now been fixed.

Dan Lewis, senior energy policy adviser at the Institute of Directors, said the failure was "worrying".

“There’s just no margin for error," he said. "When we are up against tighter and tighter margins inevitably things start to trip up. You don’t need many cold days to put yourself in a difficult position.”

One industry source claimed Peterhead had simply failed to generate power at all during the test, while Utility Week, which first disclosed the failure, reported that power unexpectedly dropped from 780MW to zero, citing National Grid data.

“They should have awarded the contract to a more reliable plant,” one UK power trader told the publication.

National Grid’s spokesman said the company did not recognise the specific power output figures cited by Utility Week.

But they added: “The reason to do tests is to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen when you actually need them.”

National Grid’s spokesman added that SSE could face penalty charges if Peterhead “doesn’t function as it should”.

The disclosure of the problem at Peterhead highlights the fragility of Britain’s energy system heading into this winter as its ageing power plant fleet suffers unexpected shutdowns.

Peter Atherton, energy analyst at Liberum Capital, described the test failure as “embarrassing”.

Britain’s tight capacity margins mean “you can’t have many things go wrong,” he said.

Peterhead had functioned as expected in a previous test earlier this month. The two other power plants recruited to the scheme have also both been functioning in recent weeks.

As well as the back-up power plants, National Grid has also brought in emergency measures to pay industrial businesses to power down or switch to diesel generators from 4pm to 8pm on winter weekdays.

Fires at Ferrybridge and Ironbridge power plants had already eroded Britain’s spare capacity more than had been expected this winter and safety outages at four nuclear reactors worsened the situation.

However, two of the four nuclear reactors have now resumed operation with a third due to do so in coming days.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “This Government has a plan to keep the lights on now, and into the future, thanks to the new powers we have given to National Grid and investment in the UK’s energy infrastructure.

“National Grid undertakes these proving tests in order to be certain that plants are able to provide extra generating capacity when called upon.

"Peterhead is one of three plants who have been contracted to provide extra generation over the winter months if needed, while a number of other power units which were previously out of service have also begun the process of resuming generation.”


Environmental good deeds give people a 'warm glow'

That's what it is all about

Doing an environmentally good deed gives you a warm feeling - quite literally.  Psychologists found that when volunteers thought they were helping the environment their perception of temperature changed.  It was as if they were enveloped in a "warm glow", said the scientists.

People classed as environmentally "friendly" estimated the temperature around them to be around 1C higher than those led to believe their behaviour was environmentally "unfriendly".

The report authors, led by Danny Taufik, from the University of Griningen in the Netherlands, wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change: "Acting environmentally friendly boosts a person's self-concept, which is reflected in a literal warm glow.

"We also explored whether physical warmth (skin temperature) is affected by acting environmentally friendly, but we found no consistent evidence for this."

Students taking part in the study completed a questionnaire about their carbon footprint, and were told that lower scores indicated environmentally friendly behaviour.

They were then given a fake carbon footprint score for the "average" student, against which their own scores were compared.

Participants were also asked to guess the temperature of the room in which they were sitting.

Those whose carbon footprints appeared to be more environmentally friendly than average rated the room significantly warmer than students whose scores were less friendly.

The researchers concluded that helping the environment was intrinsically rewarding, which was something that should be recognised by "green" campaigns.

For instance, informing people they could help protect the environment by unplugging unused electronic devices may be a better strategy than telling them it will save money.

Future research could explore the extent to which acting in an environmentally friendly way might influence warmth-related behaviours such as setting central heating thermostats, said the scientists.

They added that other work had shown a negative psychological state caused by feeling lonely resulted in lower perceived temperatures, and also prompted people to take warmer showers "presumably to make one feel better


Needed: Accurate climate forecasts

Focusing on carbon dioxide (because that’s where the money is) threatens forecasts, and lives

By Paul Driessen and David R. Legates 

Pleistocene glaciers repeatedly buried almost half of the Northern Hemisphere under a mile of ice. The Medieval Warm Period (~950-1250 AD) enriched agriculture and civilizations across Asia and Europe, while the Little Ice Age that followed (~1350-1850) brought widespread famines and disasters. The Dust Bowl upended lives and livelihoods for millions of Americans, while decades-long droughts vanquished once-thriving Anasazi and Mayan cultures, and flood and drought cycles repeatedly pounded African, Asian and Australian communities. Hurricanes and tornadoes have also battered states and countries throughout history, in numbers and intensities that have been impossible to pattern or predict.

But today we are supposed to believe climate variability is due to humans – and computer models can now forecast climate changes with amazing accuracy. These models and the alarmist scientists behind them say greenhouse gases will increasingly trigger more “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people, species and ecosystems,” a recent UN report insists.

In reality, carbon dioxide’s effect on devastating weather patterns is greatly overstated. We are near a 30-year low in hurricane energy (measured by the ACE index of “accumulated cyclone energy”), and tropical cyclone and storm activity has not increased globally over that period. In fact, as of November 18, it’s been 3,310 days since a Category 3-5 hurricane hit the US mainland – by far the longest stretch since records began in 1900. This Atlantic hurricane season was the least active in 30 years.

Moreover, there has been no warming since 1995, several recent winters have been among the coldest in centuries in the United Kingdom and continental Europe, the 2013-14 winter was one of the coldest and snowiest in memory for much of the United States and Canada – and the cold spell could continue.

Accurate climate forecasts one, five or ten years in advance would certainly enable us to plan and prepare for, adapt to and mitigate the effects of significant or harmful climate variations, including temperatures, hurricanes, floods and droughts. However, such forecasts can never be even reasonably accurate under the climate change hypothesis that the IPCC, EPA and other agencies have adopted. The reason is simple.

Today’s climate research defines carbon dioxide as the principal driving force in global climate change. Virtually no IPCC-cited models or studies reflect the powerful, interconnected natural forces that clearly caused past climate fluctuations – most notably, variations in the sun’s energy output.

They also largely ignore significant effects of urban and other land use changes, and major high-impact fluctuations like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (El Niño and La Niña) and North Atlantic Oscillation. If we truly want reliable predictive capabilities, we must eliminate the obsession with carbon dioxide as the primary driver of climate change – and devote far more attention to studying all the powerful forces that have always driven climate change, the roles they play, and the complex interactions among them.

We also need to study variations in the sun’s energy output, winds high in the atmosphere, soil moisture, winter snow cover and volcanic eruptions, Weatherbell forecaster Joe D’Aleo emphasizes. We also need to examine unusual features like the pool of warm water that developed in the central Pacific during the super La Niña of 2010-2011 and slowly drifted with the wind-driven currents into the Gulf of Alaska, causing the “polar vortex” that led to the cold, snowy winter of 2013-2014, he stresses.

“The potential for climate modeling mischief and false scares from incorrect climate model scenarios is tremendous,” says Colorado State University analyst Bill Gray, who has been studying and forecasting tropical cyclones for nearly 60 years. Among the reasons he cites for grossly deficient models are their “unrealistic model input physics,” the “overly simplified and inadequate numerical techniques,” and the fact that decadal and century-scale circulation changes in the deep oceans “are very difficult to measure and are not yet well enough understood to be realistically included in the climate models.”

Nor does applying today’s super computers to climate forecasting help matters. NOAA, the British Meteorological Office and other government analysts have some of the world’s biggest and fastest computers – and yet their (and thus the IPCC’s and EPA’s) predictions are consistently and stupendously wrong. Speedier modern computers simply make the “garbage in, garbage out” adage occur much more quickly, thereby facilitating faster faulty forecasts. Why does this continue? Follow the money.

Billions of dollars are doled out every year for numerous “scientific studies” that supposedly link carbon dioxide and other alleged human factors to dwindling frog populations, melting glaciers, migrating birds and cockroaches, and scores of other remote to ridiculous assertions. Focusing on “dangerous human-induced” climate change in research proposals greatly improves the likelihood of receiving grants.

American taxpayers alone provide a tempting $2.5 billion annually for research focused on human factors, through the EPA, Global Change Research Program and other government agencies. Universities and other institutions receiving grants take 40% or more off the top for “project management” and “overhead.” None of them wants to upset this arrangement, and all of them fear that accepting grants to study natural factors or climate cycles might imperil funding from sources that have their own reasons for making grants tied to manmade warming, renewable energy or antipathy toward fossil fuels. Peer pressure and shared views on wealth redistribution via energy policies, also play major roles.

When Nebraska lawmakers budgeted $44,000 for a review of climate cycles and natural causes, state researchers said they would not be interested unless human influences were included. The “natural causes” proposal was ultimately scuttled in favor of yet another meaningless study of human influences.

The result is steady streams of computer model outputs that alarmists ensure us accurately predict climate changes. However, none of them forecast the 18-years-and-counting warming pause, the absence of hurricanes, or other real-world conditions. Nearly every one predicted temperatures that trend higher with every passing year and exceed recorded global temperatures by ever widening margins.

The constant predictions of looming manmade climate disasters are also used to justify demands that developed nations “compensate” poor and developing countries with tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in annual climate “reparation, adaptation and mitigation” money. Meanwhile, those no-longer-so-wealthy nations are implementing renewable energy and anti-hydrocarbon policies that drive up energy costs for businesses and families, kill millions of jobs, and result in thousands of deaths annually among elderly pensioners and others who can no longer afford to heat their homes properly during cold winters.

Worst of all, the climate disaster predictions are used to justify telling impoverished countries that they may develop only to extent enabled by wind and solar power. Financial institutions increasingly refuse to provide grants or loans for electricity generation projects fueled by coal or natural gas. Millions die every year because they do not have electricity to operate water purification facilities, refrigerators to keep food and medicine from spoiling, or stoves and heaters to replace wood and dung fires that cause rampant lung diseases. As Alex Epstein observes in his new book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels:

“If you’re living off the grid and can afford it, an installation with a battery that can power a few appliances might be better than the alternative (no energy or frequently returning to civilization for diesel fuel), but [such installations] are essentially useless in providing cheap, plentiful energy for 7 billion people – and to rely on them would be deadly.”

By expanding our research – to include careful, honest, accurate studies of natural factors – we will be better able to discern and separate significant human influences from the powerful natural forces that have caused minor to profound climate fluctuations throughout history. Only then will we begin to improve our ability to predict why, when, how and where Earth’s climate is likely to change in the future. Congress should reduce CO2 funding and earmark funds for researching natural forces that drive climate change.

Via email

Australian Wind Industry in a Tailspin as Senate Sets Up Inquiry Into the Great Wind Power Fraud & Cross-Benchers Lay Out Plans for the LRET

(LRET = Large-scale Renewable Energy Target)

STT recently covered a motion proposed by cross-bench Senators Leyonhjelm, Madigan, Day, Xenophon; with the support of the Coalition, through their Deputy Government Whip in the Senate, STT Champion, WA Senator, Chris Back to establish a wide-ranging inquiry into the wind industry in Australia. It gives us much pleasure to report that the Senate voted to establish the inquiry, as moved by David Leyonhjelm on Monday.

Sure, it was a close-run thing, but many a grand final has been won by a single kick.

Predictably, the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers have gone into a tailspin – wailing about the dreaded malady of “uncertainty” – of the kind that everyone else gets to face on a daily basis in every aspect of life and business – but from which the wind industry must be protected at all times.

But the Senate inquiry is just the beginning of the wind industry’s many woes.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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, 2014

World locked into 'alarming' global warming, says World Bank

On their own figures the warming is trivial  -- certainly not 'alarming'.  A temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius in the last 200 years is less than a one degree (i.e. .75 of a degree) rise per century. Are these guys serious?   At that rate no-one will notice anything about the climate.  One hopes that they understand more about money than they do about climate

The world is locked into 1.5°C global warming, posing severe risks to lives and livelihoods around the world, according to a new climate report commissioned by the World Bank.

The report, which called on a large body of scientific evidence, found that global warming of close to 1.5°C above pre-industrial times – up from 0.8°C today – is already locked into Earth's atmospheric system by past and predicted greenhouse gas emissions.

Such an increase could have potentially catastrophic consequences for mankind, causing the global sea level to rise more than 30 centimeters by 2100, droughts to become more severe and placing almost 90 percent of coral reefs at risk of extinction.

The World Bank called on scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics and asked them to look at the likely impacts of present day (0.8°C), 2°C and 4°C warming on agricultural production, water resources, cities and ecosystems across the world.

Their findings, collated in the Bank's third report on climate change published on Monday, specifically looked at the risks climate change poses to lives and livelihoods across Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa.

In the report entitled "Turndown the heat – Confronting the new climate normal," scientists warned that even a seemingly slight rise in global warming could have dramatic effects on us all.

"A world even 1.5°C [warmer] will mean more severe droughts and global sea level rise, increasing the risk of damage from storm surges and crop loss and raising the cost of adaptation for millions of people," the report with multiple authors said. "These changes are already underway, with global temperatures 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, and the impact on food security, water supplies and livelihoods is just beginning."

As temperatures rise, heat extremes on a par with the heat waves in the U.S. in 2012 and Russia in 2010 will also become more common, scientists believed. "Everyone will feel the impact, particularly the poor, as weather extremes become more common and risks to food, water, and energy security increase."

Without concerted action to reduce emissions, the report warns that the planet is on pace for 2°C warming by mid-century and 4°C or more by the time today's teenagers are in their 80s.

A temperature rise of this magnitude would create "a frightening world of increased risks and global instability," the World Bank Group's President Jim Yong Kim said, calling the scientists' findings "alarming."

"Today's report confirms what scientists have been saying – past emissions have set an unavoidable course of warming over the next two decades, which will affect the world's poorest and most vulnerable people the most," Kim said. "Climate change impacts such as extreme heat events may now be unavoidable," he added.

The effects of climate change are already starting to impact on mankind, the president noted, with record-breaking temperatures occurring more frequently, rainfall increasing in intensity in some places, while drought-prone regions like the Mediterranean are getting dryer. A significant increase in tropical North Atlantic cyclone activity is affecting the Caribbean and Central America.

The new report comes on the heels of strong new warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) about the pace of climate change and the energy transformations necessary to stay within 2°C warming.

Earlier in November, China and the U.S. signed a landmark agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 but there are fears those curbs don't go far enough to slow the onslaught of global warming. There are still many prominent and influential climate change skeptics to convince too.

Global governments are gathering in Lima, Peru at the start of December for the next round of climate negotiations. The World Bank said its latest report provides "direction and evidence of the risks and the need for ambitious goals to decarbonize economies now."


Brainwashed Greenie realizes she was wrong

“Yes, Monsanto is pure evil,” I said. This was about a year ago, in 2013, and I was defending science and nuanced thinking in the same sentence, no less. “Monsanto is pure evil,” I said, “but genetic engineering is just a tool and in itself is neither good or bad.” My University course literature had given a balanced view of many possible benefits to GM while highlighting a couple of areas of caution. My main insight on Monsanto came from the movie Food Inc., confirmed by plenty of common internet knowledge and a couple of trusted friends of mine.

I had always considered myself a rational and science-minded person so I was upset when I first heard people object to GMOs for reasons such as not wanting genes in their food (in the late nineties, when the topic was still very new and knowledge scarce) or just because ‘it wasn’t natural’, which I saw as a fear of the unknown.

Later on I was incredibly frustrated to find that a lot of people opposed standard vaccinations going counter to scientific evidence. So when I stumbled on a Facebook page called “We love vaccines and GMOs”, though I didn’t exactly think of my view on genetic engineering as ‘love’, I was happy to find a place to share my frustration. But as I started following their posts I was confronted with something that gave me pause. There were several that criticised organic farming.

I had been a loyal organic consumer for a decade. My vegan friends had talked a lot about how detrimental industrial agriculture was for the environment, and even my favourite ecology teacher back in the University mentioned how important it was to buy organic milk and meat. Living on student subsidies and saving on about everything else, I was convinced that buying ecological produce (In Finland the label actually goes under the name ‘Eco’, and the Swedish label, translated roughly to ‘Demand’, also states the food is ecologically produced. In Switzerland it’s called ‘Bio’ for biologically farmed.) was vital for the environment. Paying twice the price was more than worth it.

I couldn’t just leave the criticism unaddressed. Somebody needed to present a nuanced voice of organic farming, so that people would not group it together with anti-science sentiments. So I started digging. I read about comprehensive meta-analyses of studies where they found that organic food was no more nutritious than conventional produce1,2. Interesting, but hardly devastating. That wasn’t my reason for choosing organic. I read about how organic was an industry like any other, looking for profit, with all the dirt that entails3,4 – well sure. It couldn’t exactly be a charity, could it? Not every company was perfectly principled. It didn’t mean that the whole organic label was bad. Then I read a Swiss animal welfare organisation statement that organic did not necessarily reflect in greater well-being for the animals, that it was more narrowly focused on the farming of crops5. As a great animal lover I thought, okay, that’s a pity, for animal products I would have to look for different labels. But I would continue to support organic for the most important point, for the sake of the environment.

I continued. There were studies about organic pesticides being no more benign than conventional6. Well that was surprising, but made sense, they would all have to be some kind of chemicals that kill plants and insects. I further read about how the risks from pesticides for the consumer were actually very small7,8,9, and that people feared them much out of proportion! What a relief. Why did so many seem to think the opposite?

Further, there was a study that said organic farming actually contributed more to pollution of groundwater10, and then an analysis of more than a hundred studies saying organic had more ammonia and nitrogen run-off per product unit, leading to more eutrophication as well as acidification potential11. Ouch. That was not what I would have thought. But considering the imprecise mode of fertilisation (spreading out manure), that too did make sense. Most importantly, also confirmed by several sources, I found out that the big issue with organic farming was the yield – forgoing the more efficient synthetic methods meant having one third (or between a half and one fifth) less of end product2,11,12,13. Which in turn meant that scaling up organic farming, we would need to find a third more land to make up for its inefficiency.

When I looked at these studies one by one, my immediate reaction was: surely now that these results were available, where necessary, organic farming practices could be adapted so that they would continue to provide consumers with the best environmentally friendly sources of food. But that relied on an assumption I held that I had so far not even thought of checking.

I thought organic farming was based on evidence, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t designed by studying what would be best for the environment. On the contrary, to my surprise I found it’s roots were actually in biodynamic agriculture – a method that emphasizes spiritual and mystical perspectives on farming14. What? How could I have missed such a point for a decade? The picture I was beginning to piece together was that being ‘organic’ was based on the idea that modern farming – industrial agriculture – was bad, and the old ways of farming were better. That whatever natural was, that was better.

So anything created specifically in a lab, with intention, aim, and knowledge – anything synthetic – had to be bad15. Genetic engineering (which I had thought would go hand-in-hand with many of the ecological intentions of organic farming) had to be especially bad. And companies working on modern agricultural approaches were simply the worst16.

While I was in the midst of what I call my organic crisis, I saw another post that was at odds with my world view. But this one was over the top. A YouTube video called “I love Monsanto”17. I clicked on the link in disbelief as I had never seen those three words in the same sentence before. Obviously it was an attention-seeking stunt, and it worked. The man in the video, Dusty, went through one Monsanto-claim after another, and punched them full of holes. And quite easily too. He urged his watchers not to take his word but to read up on the claims themselves. I did. Alleged lawsuits, abusing and controlling farmers, bad treatment of employees, Indian farmer suicides, terminator seeds, terrible farming practices, toxic pesticides, devastating health impacts and on and on18,19,20,21,22.

I came up empty. There was nothing terrible left that I could accuse Monsanto of. I even skimmed back and forth in the movie Food Inc., and looked for supporting sources online, but instead of finding ammunition, I found more holes23,24. With a few emotional testimonies and dramatised footage the movie painted a worldview which made all its following insinuations plausible. I couldn’t believe I had not seen the gaps in its presentation on the first viewing. Why didn’t they interview any science experts or organisations? What about the FDA? Union representatives? Farming organisations? Lawyers? Immigration officials? Where was the actual evidence?

I was embarrassed and angry over how easily I had been fooled. Not only had I parroted silly slogans such as ‘Monsanto is evil’, but I had long and determinedly supported a branch of agriculture that I thought was making the world better. It dawned on me that the only improvements in fact being made were the ones in the minds of myself and the other organic supporters – thinking better of ourselves for making such ethical choices. I had shunned others for using the ‘natural’ argument, but with my wallet I had supported the idea that ‘natural’ methods were best in a mysterious way that was above and beyond evidence.

I began to question if there even was a ‘natural way to farm’? If natural was defined by, say, the exclusion of human activities, then surely there was nothing natural to farming. On the other hand, if we accepted humans as a part of nature, and our continued innovations as part of *our nature*, then all farming was natural. Saying that more traditional farming practices would be inherently better than those using more advanced technology wasn’t a concept that could be settled by a romantical appeal to nature. Only careful definitions of ‘better’, followed by observations, testing, and evaluation of evidence could tell us something about that.

Another thing which may or may not be considered natural, is how incredibly many humans there are on this planet today. My reading has made me accept that innovations like synthetic pesticides, fertilisers, and enhanced crops are important in the quest of keeping everybody fed. I have even begun to accept that Monsanto – gasp – could play a part in making the world better. As I see it, the best kind of agriculture going forward should be a scientifically oriented one. It should be free to combine the best methods whether they be derived from old traditions or created in the lab, using what makes most sense, in order to arrive at efficient and environmentally friendly ways of farming. And what has made me happy indeed, is realising that this is already being done2,12,25,26,27.

Organic labels on the other hand are not adapting. Actually, it appears they are spending considerable sums of money to mislead the public about science3,28,29. That is not something I can approve of. And I am not ready to give up one third more land to support the appealing idea of ‘being natural’. That is land which isn’t there. Land which comprises the last dwindling habitats for wild-life – the actual nature.

I am still searching for that label that would say ‘buying this will make the world a better place’. And if I do find one, I will do a proper background-check to see if I can verify its claims. I’ve realised that I am in no way immune to basing my views on unchecked assumptions, and I shouldn’t judge others for making the same mistake. Having to change a deep-seated world view can be exhausting and painful. I am thankful for this experience and see it as a reminder to stay respectful of others, no matter what beliefs they may hold. We can help each other in remaining open for opportunities to learn.


Keystone shows what most Democrats don't get

So the Senate Democrats just defeated the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline by 1 vote. Sitting duck Mary Landrieu — the soon-to-be former senator from Louisiana — begged her Democratic colleagues to vote for the energy-and-job-creating project but, no, the Fauxcahontas Elizabeth Warren “Green” wing of the party chose leftist sanctimoniousness over practicality.

Here’s the thing about energy: we need as much of it as we can get as cheaply as possible. Are you worried about “the environment,” “peak oil,” etc.? Then you should be an aivd supporter of fracking, the Keystone pipeline, and any other means of extracting fossil fuels from the bounty of the Earth. Why? Because what the United States needs is cheap, abundant energy, period (as the president might say). The reason is that if you want to help the downtrodden, save the environment, preserve the wetlands, and make the world safe for unbearable gasbags like Elizabeth Warren, then you need money. And to get money you need energy, lots and lots of energy.  Let’s say you are interested in developing viable alternatives to carbon-based fuels: how would you do it?  By basic research and an accumulation of engineering experiments.

What is the indispensable prerequisite for undertaking those tasks wholeheartedly? Money, wealth, prosperity. Without those golden keys, there is no research to speak of and little in the way of experimentation. The liberal (i.e., the wacko) wing of the Democratic Party doesn’t seem to understand that.

Or maybe it does understand it but chooses to ignore it. After all, a lack of resources does not hamper Elizabeth Warren’s movements. It merely hurts the people she pretends to serve. Air Force records show that Barack Obama charged the taxpayers $1,539,402.10 for his Labor Day travels for “fundraising, personal business, and politicking.” As Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton put it, “This Labor Day back-and-forth shows President Obama seems to confuse Air Force One with Uber.”


Climate Science is Settled?

Stop funding it then

Governments are running huge deficits, but still spend billions on “climate research” especially trying to model the effect of the atmosphere and its trace of carbon dioxide on surface temperature. Benefits are hard to find. It may have improved weather forecasts by a day or so, but official long-term predictions have not improved in the last fifty years. This is because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not the main driver of weather or climate.

“What is referred to reverently as “climate research” is mainly just grubby advocacy supporting the political war on carbon. Why are we still funding scientists who believe that “the science is settled”? If they believe that they know the answers, what are they are doing with their research funds?”

Around the world there are five official weather data-bases, about 14 weather satellites (some say there are 88 of them!), 73 climate computer models, at least 30 research groups and thousands of academics receiving grants and attending never-ending climate conferences. Much of this torrent of public money is now focussed on trying to torture a climate confession out of one normally un-noticed and totally innocent trace gas in the atmosphere – carbon dioxide.

The major determinants of surface weather are latitude, earth’s rotation, the seasons, the sun with its variable radiations and orbital changes; and nearness to the oceans which maintain the water cycle, moderate temperatures and house massive volcanic chains.

Earth’s mighty oceans cover 70% of the surface. Evaporation of water and convection in the atmosphere transfer large quantities of solar heat from the surface to the stratosphere. This process creates clouds, rain and snow and also forms low pressure zones which are the birthplace for cyclones and hurricanes. Wind direction and strength are related to sun-generated convection in the atmosphere, the transfer of solar heat from the equator to the poles, and the Coriolis effect of the rotation of the earth. Carbon dioxide plays no significant part in these processes.

Oceans also conceal most of the volcanic ring-of-fire and are home to huge numbers of volcanoes, many of which are active. The mighty weather-changing ENSO/El Nino starts with a pool of warm water in the eastern Pacific. Carbon dioxide plays no part in creating such hot-spots, but periodic eruption of undersea volcanoes may do it. We know less about the floor of the oceans and their volcanoes than we do about the surface of Mars.

The community is getting little benefit from much atmospheric research and most climate modelling, and that money should be redirected to more productive areas.

Half of “climate research” money should be spent on improving the ability of public infrastructure to survive natural disasters.

The remaining funds should be spent on real climate research - mapping the floor of the oceans, with particular reference to locating active volcanoes; and investigating how volcanism, solar variations and cycles of the sun, moon, planets and solar system impact long-term weather forecasts and future climate. This work should preferably be done by contracting private operators; and the climate models in public hands should be handed over to practising meteorologists to see if they are useful for short-term weather forecasting.


Green charades in Britain

On Wednesday, the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee is to hold a one-day inquiry into a report published by Lord Stern's New Climate Economy project (NCE) and will take evidence from Stern himself, as well as Jeremy Oppenheim, an economist from McKinsey and Co who is involved in the project.

According to its website, NCE is a joint initiative of the governments of seven countries, including the UK - no doubt this is Mr Davey's work then. A glance at the people involved suggests that it is one of those charades in which a panel of green activists selected from universities around the world  pretends that they have taken an objective look at the subject at hand before faithfully delivering up the required message.

In this case, the required message will then be reviewed by the ECC committee, a panel of (mostly) green activists selected from constituencies around the UK. The ECC will then pronounce the importance of the findings of the first panel before retiring to its trough. This committee of Parliament is in effect operating as the public relations arm of a green activist body.

It's this pretence of holding the executive to account that is behind the failure of our democracy here in the UK. And its why much of the Westminster elite so badly needs to be swept aside.


Australian astronomer, Michael Brown,  says science is not about debate, people are too stupid to judge

Michael Brown, recipient of taxpayer funds for astronomy, tells us that science is not about debate because people are not smart enough to judge the winner. He doesn’t list any evidence to support his faith in climate models (he’s just part of the herd following the consensus pack). Nor does he have any serious scientific criticism of the NIPCC climate report. But he uses plenty of names, baseless allusion, and innuendo. In the article ”Adversaries, zombies and NIPCC climate pseudoscience” in The Conversation he resorts to a group smear (with the help of the taxpayer funded site) in the hope that people won’t listen to those who disagree with him. Apparently he can’t win a fair and open debate, so he’s doing what he can to stop one.

If science now has “Gods” who are above question, it’s not science, it’s a religion. A scientist who says “I’m right because I’m a scientist” is neither right nor much of a scientist. Brown is acting like a self-appointed High-Priest of the Climate Doctrine.

The NIPCC report is more balanced, more comprehensive, and more accurate than the politically-guided tome from the IPCC . It contains hundreds of peer reviewed references put together by independent scientists. In his reply to it, Michael Brown tells us all we need to know about the intellectual state of Australian science, and the value of The Conversation.

This is the face of the Church of Global Warming.

How low can Brown go?  How about “zombies”, “aliens”,  and “pseudoscience”? As an unskeptical scientist (and we all know what that means), it appears Brown hopes to win through name-calling and “seeding doubt” about the motivations of people he disagrees with. Skeptical scientists are “skeptics” (always in quotes to imply they’re fakes) who are “bankrolled” (he’s blind to the evidence about the financial truth too).

For evidence Brown cites a consensus study that mixes up 0.3% with 97%. He likes the IPCC political-consensus approach. This is post-modern science (or post-science, science) forget radiosondes, just poll government appointees.

All the other evidence Brown lists is superficial and irrelevant. He claims: “there is remarkably good agreement between models of climate change and the temperature data.” Then offers as evidence the utterly banal and correct predictions of the “last 50 years” while ignoring the devastating failure in the predictions of the last 20 years that matter.

Modern science is broken — Astronomy in Australia is a small community and  illogical, unscientific people have already been promoted to influential positions. I could ask where the decent astronomers are, and why aren’t they protesting, but because Brown’s activism is so strong, so unscientific, and unequivocal, I expect those who disagree with him would choose to stay silent.  They wouldn’t know whether their next grant will be reviewed by him, but they know that if it is, and they are a vocal skeptic, it won’t help them. After a rant like this, why would anyone expect equal treatment?

This Heisenberg-like state of uncertainty (will or will he not be a reviewer for my application/proposal/paper? and will or will he not be biased if he thinks I am a zombie/denier/anti-science?) is enough to bring people in line. Welcome to the stifling blanket of self censorship.

Ode to the stupid: According to Brown, those who question the mantra of the IPCC are not just speaking their mind, they are using a pseudoscience “ploy” to fool the people (who are too dumb to realize).  These evil mercenary skeptics want you to think we need to debate complex, costly plans that are dependent on our knowledge of the weather. (Imagine that!) Luckily for us, Brown is here to correct the dumb engineers, doctors, and lawyers who are unconvinced a solar panel in Melbourne will help stop a flood in Bangladesh.

The call for adversarial debate is a variant of the debate ploy, a common pseudoscience tactic. At first glance having two teams present competing positions seems entirely reasonable, but this approach only works if the intended audience can effectively assess the arguments presented.

Who is the pseudoscientist using a ploy to fool the public? The geologist who tells us that this warming is not unusual, or the man who has no evidence, and a profoundly unscientific and patronizing belief that only the anointed can speak their mind?

How’s this for reasoning: According to Brown, adversarial debate failed once with Einstein’s theory of relativity (the audience were not able to get the right answer in 1920 on one of the most difficult and ground breaking scientific advances in centuries). Cue the High-Priest, therefore and verily says he, adversarial debate is always a waste of time and science can only advance if the populace lets politicians annoint Gods in each subject (and everyone bows to them).

No dissent will be tolerated, or we will call you a “zombie”!

Brown manages a few paragraphs of sciencey looking talk, but the papers he supposedly debunks are irrelevant to all the main NIPCC claims. The papers he cites as supporting him don’t have any evidence that the IPCC assumptions were correct.

Zombie Science: The Zombie in the room here is the dead science being revived endlessly by Brown and the IPCC, despite the evidence that climate models are based on flawed assumptions, which we know from 28 million weather balloons, 3000 ARGO buoys, 800,000 years  of ice cores, and 30 years of satellites.

Unlike Climate Gods, real scientists list real evidence. When theory clashes with data, the real scientists discard the theory.

Unlike government funded propaganda sites, we unfunded bloggers would never publish such a religious rant and call it “science”. We have standards.

We taxpayers want our money back. Let The Conversation compete in the free market.

Monash University may want to teach its scientists what science is and how to reason. Do Monash approve of this anti-science behaviour? Is this what they teach the students? Can someone ask the Dean?

If Monash don’t have good answers, the questions ought go to the Minister for Education. Why are tax dollars supporting university “science” which is so unscientific?

Send your questions to The Dean of Science at Monash, and or to The Minister for Education, The Hon Christopher Pyne MP, which not only funds Monash, but through Monash and other universities, The Conversation.

The ARC needs to start funding real scientists and stop funding religious activists.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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24 November, 2014

Keystone Vote Shows Ecofacists Own Democrats

Tom Steyer’s multi-million-dollar investment in Senate Democrats paid off Tuesday evening with the defeat of a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

“With today’s vote, the Senate chose to stand up for the American people,” Steyer declared in a statement after the bill fell one short vote of the 60 necessary to break a Democratic filibuster.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D., La.) pushed hard for the measure as she faces a tough runoff battle against her Republican challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy, who sponsored companion legislation in the House.

Landrieu has attracted Steyer’s ire for her Keystone support. His super PAC, NextGen Climate Action, even threatened to attack her directly over her pro-energy positions.

Thirteen of Landrieu’s Democratic colleagues joined her in supporting Keystone on Tuesday. Just one more Democratic vote would’ve sent the measure to the president’s desk.

Leading the anti-Keystone charge were a number of senators who have vocally supported Steyer’s efforts since he ramped up his political efforts last year.

Six Democratic Senators attended a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser at Steyer’s home in February. They included Mark Udall (D., Colo.), Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), and Sens. Ben Cardin (D., Md.), Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.). All six voted against the pipeline.

NextGen spent more than $7 million supporting Udall’s (D., Colo.) reelection bid, or attacking his opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner. Gardner prevailed, but Udall voted with Steyer on Tuesday.

The group also dropped more than $3 million attacking unsuccessful New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown. His opponent, Shaheen, voted against approving the pipeline.

NextGen eventually spent more than $60 million on federal elections, primarily a handful of Senate races. A majority of its chosen candidates lost their races.

Despite a resounding defeat at the polls in the midterms, Democrats are increasingly relying on campaign cash from hardline environmentalists. Those groups say that a purist Democratic Party without energy policy dissenters such as Landrieu is preferable to a Senate majority.

“We think the value gained in showing the Democratic Party that they need to be better on climate issues outweighs the marginal differences,” an operative with the radical environmentalist group told the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank.

“This is about sort of instigating a cultural shift and a political shift that sends a message to politicians that they all need to be better on climate issues,” she added.


EPA Chief: Pause In Global Warming ‘Doesn’t Represent Climate’

Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy told reporters Monday morning that the so-called pause in global warming was not representative of the broader trends in climate, which she says point to global warming.

“That is a short-lived issue that doesn’t represent climate,” McCarthy told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, adding that many other factors show the planet is changing because of human influence– though she did not elaborate on this point because the breakfast was nearing its end.

Satellite temperature data, which measures the lower parts of the Earth’s atmosphere, shows there has been no significant warming trend for the last 18 years or so. Surface temperatures from weather stations, buoys and ships show a lack of warming for about the last 15 years or so.

Scientists have struggled to explain the lack of warming in recent years, giving dozens of explanations for the pause, ranging from increased volcanic activity to natural ocean cycles. While scientists debate the causes of the pause, some are lowering their estimates of how much warming could occur in the future. Some scientists point to measures like warming ocean temperatures, melting Arctic Sea ice, extreme weather events or varying crop yields as evidence that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are having an impact on the planet, even though the temperature record may not currently reflect it.

Despite the lack of warming, the Obama administration has been pressing forward with climate rules to limit U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the fossil fuels industry. The most contentious regulation so far has been the EPA’s rule to limit emissions from power plants, which will likely cause coal plants to shut down.

“If you look at the science… nothing tells us we are being overly aggressive” in what the agency is doing, McCarthy told reporters Monday morning. Most recently, the Obama administration announced a vague climate agreement with China for both countries to reduce emissions in the coming years.

Critics have charged the deal binds the U.S. to deep emissions cuts that could hurt the economy, while China has does not have make any commitments to concrete emissions cuts. China simply promises to have its emissions peak in 2030, though energy experts have said China’s emissions are likely to peak around that time with or without an agreement.

Along with this agreement, the U.S. has pledged $3 billion to an international climate fund to pay for poor countries to adapt to a warmer world.

The China agreement has been criticized by Republicans who have vowed to fight the Obama administration’s global warming rules. Republicans argue these rules will do nothing to stop warming and only serve to raise energy prices and kill jobs.

“The president’s climate change agenda has only siphoned precious taxpayer dollars away from the real problems facing the American people,” said Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe, who will chair the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee in the new Congress.

“In a new Congress, I will be working with my colleagues to reset the misguided priorities of Washington in the past six years,” Inhofe said. “This includes getting our nation’s debt under control, securing proper equipment and training to protect our men and women in uniform, and repairing our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges. These are the realistic priorities of today.”

Republican leaders have said they will make sure to pass legislation in both chambers of Congress, ordering the EPA to roll back its agenda. If that doesn’t work, Inhofe and other lawmakers have also considered starving the EPA of its funding if it continues to promulgate climate rules.

But McCarthy said stripping EPA’s funding will be an unpopular move: “I feel very confident the American people understand the value of EPA,” she said. “EPA has not been a partisan agency.”


Obama Gives $3 Billion to U.N. Climate Fund Run by Communist, Terrorist Nations

President Obama has committed a mind-boggling $3 billion to a new United Nations Green Climate Fund run by officials from Communist nations, a country that appears on the State Department's list of terrorism-sponsors and an Arab oil-industry chief.

As if it weren't bad enough that our commander-in-chief is giving away money while the nation suffers through a colossal budget deficit, there are countless reasons why this is a lousy idea. First of all, the United Nations is a famously corrupt organization that is already largely funded by Uncle Sam to the tune of billions annually. The exact figure is tough to nail down because the U.S. cash flows, not just directly to U.N. coffers from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), but also from a number of other government agencies to the U.N. system.

The entire world body is well known as a pillar of fraud and mismanagement, but that hasn't slowed the tide of American taxpayer dollars. Even the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, funded primarily by American taxpayers, is a huge joke. A few years ago Judicial Watch reported that the U.N. awarded a genocidal warlord indicted by an international court for crimes against humanity a seat on its laughable human rights council. His name is Omar Al-Bashir, a ruthless African dictator charged by the International Criminal Court of war crimes in Darfur for killing thousands of his own citizens.

The last thing we need is another global U.N. initiative looking for cash. The "urgency and seriousness of climate change" inspired the crooked world body to create the Green Climate Fund, which aims to help the international community combat global warming. Here's the plan in a nutshell; the fund will promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This will be accomplished by following the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an international environmental treaty that aims to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations.

Predictably, this can't be accomplished cheaply and President Obama stepped up to the plate with the astounding $3 billion allotment. He made the announcement this month during a speech in Australia. "Now, today, I'm announcing that the United States will take another important step," Obama said "We are going to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund so we can help developing nations deal with climate change. So along with the other nations that have pledged support, this gives us the opportunity to help vulnerable communities with an early-warning system, with stronger defenses against storm surges, climate-resilient infrastructure." The speech, delivered at University of Queensland in Brisbane, went on and on but the snippet is sufficient to relay its gist.

Now let's take a look at who's running this new Green Climate Fund that's supposed to save the world from the ills of global warming. Among the board of directors is Yingming Yang, the Deputy Director General of Communist China's Ministry of Finance and Jorge Ferrer Rodriguez, a minister in Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Communist island has for years appeared on the State Department's list of nations that sponsor terrorism. Another interesting board member is Ayman Shasly, an official in Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

The selection of Shasly as a top dog of a conglomerate looking to halt climate change is peculiar since the oil industry contributes the most greenhouse gas and is well known to have a negative effect on the environment because it's toxic to nearly all forms of life. Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources is a government body in a country that happens to be the world's largest producer and exporter of oil. In fact, it has a quarter of the world's known oil reserves. Shasly's efforts as a global environmentalist may seem like a conflict of interest, especially since his government has announced plans to increase oil production from around 8 million barrels per day to 12.


Coal trumps nuclear in neurotic Germany. Government to bulldoze Green village to dig for brown coal

Green village to be bulldozed and mined for dirty brown coal in Germany's quest for non-nuclear fuel.  More than 800 residents including some 400 from a neighbouring village will be resettled. Brown coal is a big polluter, giving rise to serious health concerns.  It creates more pollution than other fuels

Even by German standards, Johannes Kapelle rates as a model green citizen. The roof of his meticulously restored 19th-century farm house is covered in solar panels. And when he walks into his large vegetable garden he points to a wind farm which helps provide not only his village but several others with all their energy needs.

Mr Kapelle has lived in the 500-year-old village of Proschim in east Germany's Lausitz region for most of his life. He, his 350 neighbours and the local farming community have devoted themselves to the green cause. The village is surrounded by wind turbines and solar and biogas plants which provide 15,000 homes with electricity.

The retired maths teacher, 78, remembers how under East German rule, Proschim used to reek of sulphur. The former communist state depended on so-called braunkohle the lignite coal fuel that is still being dug out of the ground in vast open-cast mines just a few kilometres away.

"We don't want to go back to those days. That is why we are doing everything we can to save Proschim," Mr Kapelle says.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's plan to end Germany's dependence on nuclear power by 2022 is set to bring about the destruction of Mr Kapelle's farm house and the rest of Proschim's buildings. More than 800 residents including some 400 from a neighbouring village will be resettled.

Proschim is just one of a cluster of east German villages and farms set to make way for new lignite mines. The fossil fuel is intended to "bridge" a widening energy gap resulting from the closure of Germany's nuclear power plants.

"There are not yet enough renewable energy sources to compensate for the loss of nuclear power," said Matti Nedoma, a spokesman for Proschim's Prenac farm complex. "So to meet the shortfall we are being told we must burn more coal and destroy farms and villages in the process," he said.

Mrs Merkel unveiled Germany's plan to axe nuclear power in 2011 in response to public concern over the Fukushima disaster. Eight of the country's 17 atomic power plants have since been shut down. Now, although modern filters have reduced pollution, figures for 2013 show that Germany burned more lignite than at any time since 1990.

In June the east German state of Brandenburg approved the state-owned Swedish energy giant Vattenfall's plans to extend its five lignite mines. The company plans to mine 200 million tons of coal from the extended open-cast pits from 2027.

The residents of Proschim are up in arms. A large billboard with a map of the area stands on a T-junction in the middle of the village. It displays 16 black crosses denoting the villages that have disappeared over the past decades to make way for new mines. Proschim is one of the red crosses denoting the villages now threatened with demolition.

Mr Kapelle's neighbour, Martin Boslau, 65, says Germany's politicians promised after reunification in 1990 that no further villages would be demolished to make way for coal. "That's why we did up our house and helped turn Proschim into a jewel. We are not going anywhere," he said.

Mr Boslau is one of more than 121,000 people who signed a petition opposing Vattenfall's plans. The village is planning to fight the Swedish energy giant with court injunctions at every step.

But the pro-coal lobby has 68,000 adherents. Local politicians and Vattenfall argue the region has depended on lignite mining for more than a century. The company says it provides 8,200 jobs in the region and that 25,000 others are linked to coal. Opponents say the new mines will create only 700 jobs.

Sigmar Gabriel, Chancellor Merkel's Energy minister, claims that more lignite mines are vital: "We need strategic reserves of gas and coal power for the times when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine," he said.

Opponents argue that the region already has almost 40 billion tons of lignite reserves. They also point out that Vattenfall exports much of the energy from its German operation.

They hope that the outcome of Sweden's recent election may yet rescue Proschim. The new Swedish government comprised of Social Democrats and Greens could insist Vattenfall halt its expansion. Lise Nordin, the Swedish Green party's energy spokeswoman, said last week that stopping Vattenfall's east German project was her party's "most pressing" decision.


Obama's Cruel and Costly Climate Hoax

By Alan Caruba

The intense cold that many Americans are encountering arrives more than a month before the official start of winter on December 2l.

To discuss this, we need to keep in mind that weather is what is occurring now. Climate is measured over longer periods, the minimum of which is thirty years and, beyond that, centuries.

We are colder these days because the Earth has been in a cooling cycle for 19 years and that cycle is based entirely on the Sun which has been radiating less heat for the same period of time.

Describing the role of the Sun, Australian geologist, Ian Plimer, said, “There is a big thermonuclear reactor in the sky that emits huge amounts of energy to the Earth…The Sun provides the energy for photosynthesis. The Sun is the bringer of life to Earth. If the Sun were more energetic the oceans would boil. If the Sun were less energetic the oceans would freeze and all life on Earth would be destroyed.”

We don’t control the Sun. Or the climate. It controls us.

Consider the fact that the Sun has a diameter of 865,000 miles. The Earth’s diameter is 7,917.5 miles. Thus, the Sun’s diameter is 109 times greater than the Earth’s. Carbon dioxide is barely 0.04% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Reducing it as the U.S.-China agreement proposes would have zero effect on the Earth’s climate.

We not only can, but should ignore the blatant lies of President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, both of whom have been saying things about “climate change” without a scintilla of science to back them up. They’re not alone, however. In August, the U.N. Climate Chief, Christiana Figueres, warned of climate “chaos” in 500 days and told the World Health Organization that climate change was on a par with the outbreak of Ebola as a public health emergency. 

It was big news on November 11 when The Wall Street Journal’s lead story on its front page reported that “The U.S. and China unveiled long-term plans to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to climate change, a surprise move aimed at kick-starting a new round of international climate negotiations and blunting domestic opposition to cuts in both countries.”

Someone needs to tell the Wall Street Journal there is no “climate change” that is not entirely NATURAL and unrelated to anything humans are doing.

The announcement plays into the longtime efforts of the environmental movement to impose energy limits on the world’s population. Similar limits will be called for when climate talks are launched in December by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Lima, Peru.

Why the leaders of nations keep calling for limits that can only result in the reduction of energy production, the loss of economic benefits from industrial activity and the jobs it provides, and the modern lifestyle of advanced nations is one of life’s great mysteries.

If you really disliked America, you would no doubt pursue President Obama’s anti-energy agenda. That agenda is expressed by a series of climate and pollution measures that an article in says “rivals any presidential environmental actions of the past quarter-century—a reality check for Republicans who think last week’s election gave them a mandate to end what they call the White House’s ‘War on Coal.’”

The authors of the article, Andrew Restuccia and Erica Martinson, note that Obama’s assault on the nation is “Tied to court-ordered deadlines, legal mandates and international climate talks” over the next two months, all in the name of a climate change “And incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have few options for stopping the onslaught, though Republicans may be able to slow pieces of it.”

“The coming rollout includes a Dec. 1 proposal by EPA to tighten limits on smog-causing ozone, which business groups say could be the costliest federal regulation of all time; a final rule Dec. 19 for clamping down on disposal of power plants’ toxic coal cash; the Jan. 1 start date for a long-debated rule prohibiting states from polluting the air of their downwind neighbors; and a Jan. 8 deadline for issuing a final rule restricting greenhouse gas emissions from future power plants. That last rule is a centerpiece of Obama’s most ambitious environmental effort, the big plan for combating climate change that he announced at Georgetown University in June 2013.”

This vile assault flies in the face of actual climate trends: record low tornadoes record low hurricanes, record gain in Arctic ice, record amount of Antarctic ice, no change in the rate of sea level rise, no evidence of a Greenland meltdown, and again no warming for 19 years.

As this and future winters turn colder, arrive sooner and stay around longer, Americans will be affected by the reduction of coal-fired plants that generate electrical power. The nation will encounter blizzards that will leave some homeowners and apartment dwellers without heat. It is predictable that some will die.

A cruel and costly climate hoax is being perpetrated by President Obama and, in particular, by the Environmental Protection Agency. The new Congress must take whatever action it can to reverse and stop the harm that it represents; people’s jobs and lives depend on it.


Gas is cheaper. Where are the grandstanding politicians?

by Jeff Jacoby

OIL PRICES are plunging. Gasoline is now cheaper than milk. Why doesn't Washington do something already?

Since peaking in June, the price of oil has tumbled by 25 percent. Texas light sweet crude futures have fallen to around $77.40 a barrel, a three-year low, while Brent oil, the global benchmark, sank on Monday to its lowest price in four years.

Oil prices, long steady at around $100 per barrel, have recently plunged to their lowest point in years.

With cheaper oil has come cheaper gasoline. The national average price for a gallon of regular is now just $2.926. Drivers haven't seen pump prices this low since December 2010. Nor have they seen such a sustained decline — the price has dropped for 46 days in a row — since 2008. According to AAA, "the national average could fall another 5-15 cents in the coming weeks, which could make for the cheapest Thanksgiving gas in half a decade."

Clearly the government needs to deal with this situation. What are Congress and the president waiting for?

You're looking at me as if I'm crazy.

Perhaps that's because you know that a drop of this magnitude in crude oil prices translates, as Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations observes, "into more than $200 billion a year of savings for US consumers through lower prices for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and home heating oil." Perhaps you've seen the estimates that cheaper oil could boost America's GDP by 0.4 percent. Perhaps you know that shrinking fuel bills have been a godsend for transportation industries: Airline stocks, to cite the most dramatic example, have been on fire, and appear to be heading for their best back-to-back annual performance in 20 years.

So only someone devoid of economic common sense would think of demanding that regulators or lawmakers "do something" about the shift in oil and gasoline prices, right?

And yet when the price of crude oil or gasoline is rising, politicians and their enablers howl for blood. They vow to "crack down" on Big Oil, to investigate price "manipulation" by energy speculators, or to strip oil and gas companies of their tax credits. They freak out about the oil industry's "windfall profits." They haul energy CEOs before Congress. They accuse them of "price gouging."

This past June, when crude oil was trading at $108 a barrel (about $12 more than it had fetched in January), Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and 17 Democratic cosponsors introduced legislation directing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to deploy its emergency powers to "eliminate excessive speculation in energy markets." It wasn't the interplay of supply and demand that was pushing prices higher, Sanders claimed, it was greedy "big oil companies and Wall Street speculators."

Less than five months later, with fuel prices at lows not seen in years, Sanders has lost interest in the subject, and now seeks other dragons to slay. But as University of Michigan economist Mark J. Perry points out, if the Sanders bill would make no sense now, it made no sense in June either — regardless of what oil was selling for on the futures and spot markets.

If wicked "speculators" were to blame for the $12 per barrel increase in oil prices between January and June, Perry asked rhetorically on his bracing economics blog, shouldn't the same speculators get credit for the much bigger drop in oil prices between June and November? Or "are we to assume that greedy speculators only enter the futures markets when they 'smell profits' from rising oil prices, but then they suddenly disappear whenever prices are falling?"

In most of the country, gasoline is now cheaper than milk.

It should go without saying that traders can make — or lose — money both ways. (The Wall Street Journal reported recently on several hedge-fund managers who shrewdly read the tea leaves and profited by betting on a dive in oil futures.) It should also go without saying that the recent free-fall in the price of oil and gasoline is hardly an unmitigated blessing. It is causing no end of pain in great swaths of the economy — from the giant oil companies whose profits are being squeezed, to the small wildcatters who can't survive when crude drops too low, to auto dealers struggling to move hybrids and other fuel-efficient small cars.

But grandstanding politicians would only make it worse. Market forces, not corporate villainy, explain why prices fluctuate. Thanks to America's fracking-driven oil surge, supplies of crude oil are unusually abundant; thanks to the economic slowdown overseas, global demand is unusually low. When rising supply meets falling demand, prices fall. As circumstances change, the pattern reverses. Volatility is normal.

So no — government doesn't need to "do something" about fuel prices. When gas is $2.92 a gallon, the best energy policy is a free and robust economy. It's also the best policy at any other price.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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23 November, 2014

It had to happen:  A claim that current cold weather proves  global warming

Science dabbler Chris Mooney says that there’s growing evidence that global warming is driving crazy winters.  You can put up a "post hoc" explanation for almost anything but in the end a failed prediction indicates a wrong theory

It may be the timeliest - and most troubling - idea in climate science.

Back in 2012, two researchers with a particular interest in the Arctic, Rutgers' Jennifer Francis and the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Stephen Vavrus, published a paper called "Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes."

In it, they suggested that the fact that the Arctic is warming so rapidly is leading to an unexpected but profound effect on the weather where the vast majority of Americans live - a change that, if their theory is correct, may have something to do with the extreme winter weather the US has seen lately.

In their paper, Francis and Vavrus suggested that a rapidly warming Arctic should interfere with the jet stream, the river of air high above us that flows eastward around the northern hemisphere and brings with it our weather. Sometimes, the jet stream flows relatively directly from west to east; but other times, it takes long, wavy loops, as in the image above. And according to Francis and Vavrus, Arctic warming should make the jet stream more wavy and loopy on average – some have called it "drunk" - with dramatic weather consequences.

Here's the atmospheric physics behind the idea: Warm air expands, and naturally there is much more warm air at the equator than at the poles. Thus, the atmosphere is thicker at the equator, and the jet stream's motion is driven by the decline in atmospheric thickness as one moves in a poleward direction - in effect, its atmospheric river flows "downhill," in Francis's words. However, if the Arctic is warming faster than the mid-latitudes, then the difference in thickness as you move in a poleward direction should decrease. And this should slow the jet stream, leading to more loops and turns - and consequently, weather of all types getting stuck in place for longer. There's a nice video explanation of this by Francis.

According to Francis, the extreme US winter of last year and now, the extremes at the beginning of this season, fit her theory. "This winter looks a whole lot like last winter, it's a very amplified jet stream pattern," she says. "We know that when we get these patterns, it tends to be very persistent. And it is definitely the type of pattern that we expect to see more often as the Artic continues to warm so fast."

To be sure, Francis acknowledges that our recent bout of extreme cold was kickstarted most directly by Typhoon Nuri, which swerved up into the mid-latitudes and exploded into an atmospheric bomb over the Bering Sea. "That had the downstream effect of basically taking the jet stream and giving it a whip, whipping a wave into it," says Francis. But she also suspects that the jet stream is more susceptible to these kinds of dramatic influences because it is weaker now. In general, her theory does not say global warming caused any particular weather event, only that it is shifting the overall pattern of jet stream behaviour, making certain kinds of persistent weather extremes more likely to occur.

Francis isn't the only one to suggest this. The widely read weather blogger Jeff Masters mused yesterday on whether the extreme snowfall in western New York this week might be due to "jet stream weirdness." "We've seen an unusual number of extreme jet stream patterns like this in the past fifteen years, which happens to coincide with the period of time we've been observing record loss of summertime Arctic sea ice and record retreat of springtime snow cover in the Arctic," noted Masters - although he refrained from fully embracing the theory, noting that it still has its detractors. Capital Weather Gang's Jason Samenow also just discussed the evidence behind Francis's idea, which he calls "controversial."

Francis argues, however, that the evidence in her favour is mounting - she cites no fewer than five scientific papers published in the last year or so that she considers supportive, and hints that more are coming. "We've got 5 papers that all look at that particular mechanism in different ways - different analysis, different data sets, observation and models - and they all come to the same conclusion and they all identify this mechanism independently," she says.

You can't call Francis's idea fully established. You can't say there's a "scientific consensus" on it. And you can't say that the august UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change embraces it. Not yet. But it's certainly a very serious idea and one of the most discussed theories in climate science. Call it a contender. And if it's right, well ... then we all know, already, what global warming feels like.  [COLD!]


Cold Breaks Records, Again!  A recap of 2014

During 2014, the U.S. has experienced an unusual amount of record breaking cold weather and weather related phenomena.  In large part due to the polar vortex, hundreds, if not thousands of cities and towns in the United States experienced multiple days of record setting temperatures — both record lows and record low high temperatures.

This continued into the summer.  In July record lows or record low high temperatures were set cities ranging from Atlanta to Baltimore, from Dallas to Pittsburgh, and in states from Minnesota to Alabama and Florida.

Record low temperatures continued into September when 246 record low high temperatures records were broken or tied between September 1 and September 10 alone. Some of the record breaking temperatures were as much as 16 degrees below the previous record low.

In addition to record cold, numerous cities and regions saw record snowfall, and lingering snow in early 2014.

Not to be outdone, late 2014 is already breaking temperature and snowfall records.  South Carolina, experienced its earliest snowfall on record , while other states are experiencing record amounts of early snowfall and/or low temperatures.  Some states and cities are 20 degrees below their normal temperatures for this time of year including Florida and Dallas, where I live. Denver has experienced record breaking low temperatures two days running with temperatures running 34 degrees below average and Maine has experienced its earliest double-digit snowfall.

Not to be outdone, the great lakes region, the Mid-West and the great Northwest, have all experienced either record lows, record low highs or record early snowfall or ice.  Most recently, Casper, Wyoming and Oklahoma are both more then 20 degrees below their average temperatures and while snowfall amounts accumulating in Idaho, Montana, Oregon,  Utah and Washington, are not extraordinary by mid-winter standards, for early fall they are impressive.

I’m sorry folks, but this is not how global warming is supposed to work!


White House #AskDrH Climate Social Media Campaign an #EpicFail

On Thursday afternoon (Nov. 13), the White House’s vaunted social media squad invited Americans to go on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, or Instagram and pose questions about climate change to the president’s science advisor using the hashtag #AskDrH. Said the White House blog:

"Dr. John P. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, wants to answer any questions that you have about climate change — what it means, how bad it actually is, and what we can do to fight it."

Wait a minute! Holdren will answer “any questions that you have about climate change” … but only if they conform to the notion that human activity is causing a climate crisis, and restricting human activity by government direction can “fight it.” I think the White House misspelled “any.”

As it turned out, this was not going to be a “live” social media event anyway. At some point in the future, we’re told, someone at the White House is going to hand pick a few questions Holdren to answer “on camera” for YouTube. As of Sunday evening, Holdren has provided no answers. Maybe that’s because the White House social media experts are having a hard time sifting through the wreckage of their ill-conceived campaign and finding the very few that conform to Holdren’s alarmist point of view.

The #AskDrH hashtag was hijacked by folks who had real, pointed, and scientifically based questions for Holdren. They also had a bit of fun at Holdren’s expense. I haven’t counted them all — that’s impossible, because new questions keep coming in, even days later — but it’s safe to say that … um … at least 97 percent of questioners don’t believe in man-caused global warming, and want Holdren to explain some inconvenient truths.

If he’s serious about his mission as “Science Advisor” to the President of the United States, he should address some of the many very serious questions on the science. The Heartland Institute has a long-standing challenge to Dr. Holdren to debate a skeptic climate scientist, and we threw that in to the #AskDrH stream many times.

No answer, so far.

Twitchy on Thursday, just hours after the call for questions went out, reported on the #EpicFail of the White House’s latest effort to rally public support around the climate crisis meme. If they were surprised that the vast majority of questions would be actually challenges on the science — as well as Holdren’s long public record of wildly goofy and wrong predictions about the climate — the person in charge of social media at the White House should consider another line of work. Perhaps barista.


Repealing the Ban on DDT is Bigger Than Bed Bugs!
Carbamates and organophosphates will kill bed bugs where DDT will not but onerous EPA  regulations have forced them out of production

By Rich Kozlovich

On November 20, 2014 Samantha Craggs of CBC News posted an article titled, DDT repeal would do nothing to combat bedbugs, stating that experts say 'DDT is going to have zero effect. All it’s going to do is a lot of damage'.

She goes on to state that; “Local bed bug and environmental experts say DDT would do little to curb the infestation.   DDT or no DDT, there is no magic chemical that will rid Hamilton of its bed bug problem.”  And they’re right!  DDT will not do one thing to alleviate the bed bug problem in this city or any other city in Canada, U.S or any other place in the world where DDT was used for this purpose.  But that’s not the real issue here!  Which is what I intend to will explore.

Apparently this article was inspired by the thoughts of a new councillor-elect, Matthew Green, that appeared in an article titled, New councillor wants to look at repealing DDT ban to fight bed bugs, that “says he wants the province to take “a closer look” at repealing the 40-year ban on DDT, or other powerful chemicals on a limited basis if they'll help eradicate bed bugs in Hamilton”.  What triggered his concerns?  Well, I think we can reasonably assume there's nothing like a good epidemic to get things started. 

This Canadian city is in the midst of a “bed bug epidemic since 2006, public health officials say, calls to the city have increased about 600 per cent. CityHousing Hamilton will spend $1 million this year alone battling the problem.”  If you read this article will notice there’s an opportunity for their reading public to vote on whether or not the ban on DDT should be lifted in some way asking “Should DDT ban be repealed to fight Hamilton bed bugs?”  In spite of the fact that I absolutely know DDT will not end their bed bug problem I voted yes to lift that ban along with 466 others.  Of that number 238 (50.96%) voted yes, 198 voted no (42.4%) and (31 6.64%) didn’t know.

The number that really strikes out at me is how many who didn’t know whether or not the ban should be lifted.  Remember - this is in Canada - where anti-pesticide activists have dominated the process with legislation and rank propaganda from the media, and yet over 6% “didn’t know”.  I think that’s an important statistic in viewing the public’s concerns about pesticides and the impact they make in the lives of western societies.  Between those who want ban lifted and those who don’t know that number comes to 57.6% of Canada’s population who aren't moved by the anti-pesticide claims of the environmental movement and their minions in the media and government, at least in a Canadian city that’s been so badly plagued.

The article goes on to quote local pest control operator Roger Burley, president of Aanteater Pest Control in Hamilton as saying “going back to old pesticides won’t fix it, particularly DDT”.  He further states that “Bed bugs are resistant to DDT and most other pesticides that used to treat it. “DDT is really dangerous, and it’s really not effective against bed bugs anyway,” he said. “I’d love to have a silver bullet that would wipe them right out, but it’s not DDT.” 

The article continues to quote him saying “every chemical that used to kill bed bugs wouldn’t work anymore”, and claims that bed bugs are “immune” to a chemical classification known as organophosphates, which would include Dursban, Diazinon and others.  He continues being quoted saying “Every 10 years, we have to find something new to kill them”, and “they’ve mutated so much. The chemicals we use now are not even related to those chemicals, and we’re actually having some success.”

The only thing Burley said that was correct was that DDT won’t kill bed bugs and we’re having some success - after that he became lost in the green fever swamps.  Resistance isn’t mutation and they are not resistant to organophosphates, and there’s some argument as to whether or not they’ve developed some resistance to carbamates, which are both still used in countries other than the United States.  Those who have studied the efficacy of propoxur (commonly known as Baygon), a carbamate, claim it’s still effective. 

In point of fact those two chemical classifications were what replaced DDT in the 1950’s when bed bugs became resistant to DDT. Organophosphates and carbamates were so effective we didn’t have bed bug problems again for almost 60 years.  The reality is this - carbamates and organophosphates were so effective against bed bugs we were protecting society from this plague without even being aware of it. An insect that plagued humanity all through human history until modern pesticide chemistry was introduced in the 1940’s with DDT. 

Let’s do a little history here.  This plague DID NOT return until the passage of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) and the loss of carbamates and organophosphates.  And they were NOT BANNED! 

EPA created a whole new set of regulations based on risk “assumptions” and added testing after 15 years of use.  They managed to side step science in order to create de-facto bans through use of economics and unscientific demands, thereby avoiding all the messy legal problems they would encounter if they actually attempted to ban these chemicals. FQPA created such an economic hardship the primary registrants simply refused to meet and made a business decision to pull their registrations.

But environmentalists understand the real issue here, and it isn’t just about bed bugs.  It's all about lifting the ban on DDT that would be far reaching.  The article goes on to say, “a local environmentalist and chemical scientist say thinking about bringing back powerful and banned chemicals is a bad idea.” 

There is the real issue in a nut shell.  If DDT’s ban is lifted then there will be serious efforts to do what this newly elected official wants to do when he uttered the most frightening words no green activist ever wants to hear: “I need to take a closer look at the science, but there are chemical solutions and I’d like to revisit that”. 

The raw emotion created by Rachel Carson’s fallacious diatribe in her successful "science fiction" book Silent Spring against chemical pesticides is long past, and any honest scientific effort to revisit all these laws and regulations used since 1972 to eliminate these life saving products from the marketplace would devastate their movement.

Of course any article about DDT must include claims that it was banned “because of its impact on wildlife, particularly bird populations”, and that it’s “persistent and it bio-accumulates, and it does some not-so-nice things".  All are either fallacious or misleading.

Bird populations were never so high in North America until the extensive use of DDT, and that includes the Bald Eagle, which increased during the DDT years.  Carson’s claim about how the poor robin was going to disappear was not only wrong she was deliberately lying.   Carson was a science writer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and absolutely had to know that in 1960 there were “12 times more robins, 21 times more cowbirds, 38 times more blackbirds, 131 times more grackles, etc. compared to 1941 numbers.  The claims about bird shell thinning was a lie based on studies that deliberately eliminated calcium from the test bird’s diets.  Carson had to know all of that and deliberately lied.  

 The bio-accumulation argument was a bust.  “The theory is that if a fish eats a large number of crustaceans, the fish will have a higher concentration of DDT than any one crustacean, and the duck that eats many fish, and the hawk that eats many ducks, will have higher and higher concentrations of DDT. To ``prove" this, propagandists analyzed the DDT levels in hawk brains (where they are highest) and duck fat, which has levels lower than hawk brain but higher than fish muscle. In fact, if one compares the level in muscle from crustacean, fish, duck, and hawk, there is no biomagnification at all. In fact, most of the DDT in fish comes through the gills; most DDT in food passes through the gut and is eliminated.”

As for the persistence argument: “Dr. Edwards can cite more than 140 articles demonstrating breakdown of DDT. In one experiment, a large amount of DDT was added to sea water in a glass container, which was closed and suspended in the ocean. After 38 days, 92% of the DDT and its metabolites was gone. The persistence myth was based partly on inaccurate measurements by gas-liquid chromatography. Many substances interfere with the analysis, including PCBs in fluorescent light ballasts or in the plastic tubing within the instrument. GLC, for example, ``showed" five kinds of chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides in soil samples, even though none existed until 30 years after the samples were sealed.

Even if the bioaccumulation argument was valid we have to ask ourselves where was the predicted devastation? Who were devastated?  What animals were devastated?  Since we’re living longer and healthier lives than any time inhuman history we must ask where's the predicted devastation?  We know that DDT did not then, and does not now, cause cancer, nor do the other pesticides that took its place.

Scientists – if that’s what you choose to call them – have been going along with this propaganda for decades because it’s profitable, and as the years have gone by I have discovered these people are incapable of ramping up the moral fiber to be the rock in the current.

What must really concern the greenies is the fact these other council members aren’t taking a strong stand against the new guy’s desire to review the science on pesticide bans saying: “the notion “needs to be assessed by public health officials, who can separate politics from science and conclude the best practices accordingly.  Another member is “open to forwarding a motion to the province” saying “The province needs to understand the severity of this problem, and if we keep hammering away with what we should be doing and what we can try, they might have to take a look at that”.  Even one who is opposed says, “He's not a fan of the DDT option, but he admires Green's commitment to the issue".  He goes further stating “I welcome councillor-elect Green to this very important discussion table.”  "His advocacy is welcomed." 

This is after decades of indoctrination by the activists, the media, academia and bureaucrats.   As for claims about DDT being linked to all sorts of afflictions.  "Linked to" is a weasel word for some professional’s opinion when in reality they don’t have a clue….but they make all the right noises.

As for my voting on that poll to restore DDT in spite of knowing it will have no direct positive impact on this city’s bed bug population – we need to understand the ban on DDT is foundational to the green movement.  If that’s overturned their foundation of sand will start to crumble and eventually everything they have promoted will be called into question.

That’s a day that’s long overdue!  The green movement's success has been humanities nightmare.  The socialist and green monsters of the 20th century have left human devastation in their wake.



5 Green-relevant current articles below -- two about  Obama

Good news: Leftist newspaper says the Australian government's climate change credentials have been battered

And see below that it includes some surprising claims, such as:  "The size of the Reef has halved in the past 30 years".  I have been following the barrier reef scares for around 60 years (long before global warming was invented) but that was a newie on me.

But I have traced the claim, and one amusing thing that we read there is:  "The exhaustive AIMS investigation reveals coral loss is uneven along the 2300km-long reef, with the far north still relatively healthy." So the WARMEST parts of the reef are doing best! How pesky can you get?

And what the research showed is NOT that the reef has shrunk by 50% but that the CORAL has shrunk by 50%.  The reef is of course an ancient and relatively permanent structure of dead coral skeletons.

 We also read:  "Storm damage accounted for 48 per cent of the coral loss in the past 27 years, crown-of-thorns starfish were responsible for 42 per cent, and bleaching caused 10 per cent of the coral to die".  No mention of global warming! Though no doubt they would claim that the storms were caused by global warming.  Since severe weather events worldwide  have been FEWER in recent years that however would be a rubbish claim, having no regard to the actual statistics.

Warmists have also been known to link starfish plagues with warming but again we read: "The study says the causes of the plagues were still not fully known".

And I won't mention that the period covered by the research was 27 years, not 30.

And I won't mention that the source paper for the research is no longer where it was.  Has it been taken down due to inaccuracy?

I could go on but the lesson is clear: As soon as we get into the details of the research findings, the sweeping claims made of the research by Warmists are extensively falsified.  So the appeals to authority below are junk.  It is the facts that matter, not authorities, and the facts are very pesky indeed for Warmists.

My habit of going back to the detailed research findings behind Green/Left claims once again shows what crooks and crazies they are

Prime Minister Tony Abbott's apparent, if modest, conversion to the idea that climate change was an "important subject"  following talks with French president Francois Hollande on Wednesday was greeted with no small measure of cynicism.

This was, after all, a politician who had built a political career on climate scepticism, with his famous remark in 2010 that it was "absolute crap" to assert the science was settled.

It took only two days, but the doubters can claim vindication after revelations that the government sent a briefing note to Barack Obama to dissuade him that the Great Barrier Reef was under threat by climate change.

In an interview with Fairfax Media's Latika Bourke in New York, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said the Reef was "not under threat from climate change because its biggest threat is the nutrient runoffs agricultural land, the second biggest threat is natural disasters, but this has been for 200 years".

This is disingenuous, and factually wrong.

To be sure, the government believes the world is warming, and that human factors play a part.

But when it comes to acknowledging the urgency of the problem, how climate change will impact on the world, and what must be done to avert a catastrophic four-degree rise in global temperature, the Abbott government offers obfuscation and excuses.

So it was with the response to Obama's speech in Brisbane last week, when the US leader called on Australia's youth to rise up and demand more action to combat climate change, remarking that "incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened".

The US leader's speech might have been undiplomatic and rude to his hosts - but his analysis of the impact of climate change on the Reef was spot on.

Just ask the federal government agencies charged with monitoring and protecting the Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said in its 2014: "Climate change remains the most serious threat to the Great Barrier Reef. It is already affecting the reef and is likely to have far-reaching consequences in the decades to come."

Averting further degradation of the Reef can "only be successful if climatic conditions are stabilised" reported the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), another government body.

The size of the Reef has halved in the past 30 years. Outbreaks of crown of thorn starfish which consume soft corals -  along with cyclones -  have contributed to about 90 per cent of that decline, says AIMS.

Coral bleaching is responsible for the remaining 10 per cent.

Coral bleaching is the direct result of rising sea temperatures caused by global warming. The acceleration of crown of thorn starfish infestations - which spawn in warmer months - is also driven, at least in part, by hotter weather.

And, warns the government's marine scientists, cyclone activity will only increase as the planet heats up.   

Bishop's personal political stocks have soared in recent months due to some forceful international diplomacy on the MH17 disaster and the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group.

Her intervention on the Reef is unlikely to faze Obama, or harm relations. But some of the gloss has come of Bishop's credentials as a moderate alternative to Abbott.

And, the government's climate change credentials, once again, have been battered. 


US President Barack Obama should look at his own environmental record before lecturing Australia

Those who live in glass houses ....

BARACK Obama won an Olympic gold medal for schmoozing in Brisbane last weekend.

Along the way, the US president exposed the opponents of coal seam gas in Queensland as utter hypocrites.

With China, the US is of course the worst polluter on the planet.

Yet the shale boom sweeping across America is unlocking oceans of underground gas, a cleaner energy gradually replacing coal in US power stations.

Obama knows gas is good. Gas drives his emissions reduction pact with China.

However, the Greenies who swooned over Obama for his environmental crusade are the same snarling, left-of-centre bigots backing sinister groups like Lock the Gate in attempting to sabotage the fledgling gas industry here.

In a week dominated by news about the $7 billion Adani coal deal the importance of gas to our state cannot be overstated.

Gas royalties will deliver rivers of gold to the Queensland treasury as it fights to restore the AAA credit rating trashed by the previous government.

A significant milestone looms. And it may change everything. In three weeks the first ever shipment of liquid natural gas sourced entirely from coal seam gas will be shipped to Asia by QGC. It's not just a Queensland first, it's a world first.

And, surprise, surprise, the gas drawn from beneath our cattle pastures may end up in China.  It will be traded on the open market in Asia so the destination remains unclear.

Following Obama's visit the irony that the Queensland gas is destined for China has not been lost on certain Queensland Cabinet ministers.

While the President discourteously attacked his host's environmental credentials, our gas will eventually assist cutting emissions globally.

Australia's gas exports are set to increase from about 20 billion cubic metres in 2012 to 114 billion cubic metres by 2040 as global demand is forecast to grow more than any other fuel source. So says the International Energy Agency.

And while many newspaper columnists were gushing about Obama's speech and his green advice to Tony Abbott, they neglected to report America's own disgusting record on carbon dioxide.

Why reporters ignored this part of the story is a bit of a mystery to me.  Suffice to say that the media craves celebrity and is often blinded by it. And Obama was certainly a celebrity whose light shone brightly that day.

At the risk of offending the Obama-love media, it has to be said our environmental record is cleaner than his.

So how dare Obama lecture us?

The US didn't sign the 1997 Kyoto agreement. Nevertheless it pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 7 per cent. Instead they soared.

Now we learn that over two decades from 1990 to 2010, US emissions grew by 53 times the actual growth of emissions in Australia.

I'm glad Environment Minister Greg Hunt pointed this out. He also revealed China's sorry record.  In the same two decades China's emissions soared from 3.4 billion tonnes to 9.8 billion tonnes. This is the fastest growth in emissions in human history, Hunt said.

"The increase in Chinese emissions was 640 times, or 64,000 per cent, greater than any change in Australia. Over the same period, Chinese coal consumption increased at the greatest rate in human history."

Of course Australia's footprint is insignificant compared to the superpowers and we shouldn't beat ourselves up about it. In 1990, according to Hunt's office, Australia produced 580 million tonnes of carbon, the US 5.38 billion tonnes and China 3.356 billion tonnes.

By 2010, Australia's emissions had barely increased, to 590 million tonnes. The US, on the other hand, registered a substantial increase to 5.923 billion tonnes and China to a staggering 9.769 billion tonnes.

By 2020, if Australia meets its target, it will produce 555 million tonnes while the US will produce 5.144 billion tonnes and China a truly astonishing 12.4 billion tonnes.

Nevertheless Obama's deal with China, greeted with rapturous approval by the media, deserves closer scrutiny.

China will continue to build a coal-fired power station every 10 days until 2030.

I'm told another 28 nuclear power stations are also in the pipeline. Good. Now we are getting somewhere. The US emissions, too, are staggering and will continue to rise for years.

The other inconvenient truth is that Obama doesn't have congressional backing so is unable to add legal force to the targets proposed with China.

Former Labor state treasurer Keith DeLacy was not blinded by Obama's halo. In an opinion piece in The Australian he said Obama was a "lame duck" president.

DeLacy said Chinese President Xi Jinping admits CO2 emissions will increase until 2030, pact or no pact.  And renewables such as wind and power would produce just 3 per cent of output, said Xi.

Said DeLacy: "China is currently increasing emissions every year by the equivalent of Australia's total emissions, and Xi's statement means this will continue to be the case."

He added: "Lame duck US President Obama signalled the US would not take any leadership role on climate change action.  "While he suggested the US would reduce total emissions by 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2025, everyone knew he could not deliver any legislative backing for measures to do this.

"However, he was confident the shale gas revolution and a spluttering US economy may be sufficient to reach this goal.

"When questioned on the depth of commitment the US had to this target, officials referred to past commitments."




MOST Queenslanders believe Tony Abbott was right to ignore international pressure and focus the G20 summit on the economy rather than on Climate change. 

Just one-quarter of those surveyed in a new opinion poll said they thought the top priority for G20 nations should be reducing carbon emissions -compared to half who said the focus should on be economic growth and jobs creation.

Both Labor and LNP suppporters rated economic growth higher than action on carbon.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has meanwhile sent a briefing to the White House to allay ' US President Barack Obama's concerns about Australia not working to protect the future of the Great.Barrier Reef.

From p. 31 of the Brisbane "Courier Mail" 22 Nov., 2014

Obama ignored embassy's warnings on climate change speech

BARACK  Obama defied the -advice of his embassy in Canberra to deliver a stinging attack on the Abbott government's climate policies in Brisbane last weekend.

The US embassy, under the leadership of ambassador John Berry, advised the President, through his senior staff, not to couch his climate change comments in a way that would be seen as disobliging to the Abbott government, sources have revealed.

When The Weekend Australian put this information to the US embassy, a spokesman said: "As is the case with all presidential speeches, President Obama's remarks at the University of Queensland in Brisbane were prepared by the White House."

It is normal practice when the US President makes an overseas visit that the ambassador in the country he is visiting is consulted about the contents of major speeches. It is unusual, though not unprecedented, for an embassy's advice to be ignored.

The Obama speech in Brisbane was added to the President's program at the last minute. During his extensive talks with Tony Abbott in Beijing at APEC, Mr Obama did not make any mention of a desire to make a speech, or of any of the contentious climate change content of the speech.

Only in Naypyidaw, in Myanmar, immediately prior to the leaders travelling to Brisbane for the G20 summit, did the US party demand that the President make a speech and that it be to an audience of young people. At the speech, the President did not -acknowledge the presence of Governor-General Peter Cosgrove.

Despite repeated Australian requests, White House officials refused to provide a text of the speech to their Australian hosts in advance, and did not provide a summary of what would be contained in the speech.

Mr Obama's repeated references to the climate change debate in Australia, his accusation that Australia was an inefficient user of energy and his repeated references to the Great Barrier Reef, which has figured heavily in the climate change debate, have led observers to conclude that the speech was a deliberate swipe at the Abbott government.

Historians of the US-Australia relationship are unable to nominate a case of a visiting president making such a hostile speech for the host government.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has accused Mr Obama of speaking in ignorance about the joint plans by the federal and Queensland governments to act to preserve the Great Barrier Reef. She sent a briefing on the reef to the White House after Mr Obama's speech was delivered.

Some days before the speech, at the World Parks Conference, Ms Bishop met US Secretary of the -Interior Sally Jewell and gave her the same briefing.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek yesterday accused Ms Bishop of "berating" the President and said Ms Bishop had created an "absurd" situation.

Sources in Washington said the Brisbane speech was a sign of deep divisions within the Obama administration over how to deal with Australia, and over Asian policy generally.

Senior US sources said Mr Obama had inadvertently overshadowed all the elements of his speech, which dealt with regional security and America's position in Asia. When the White House first proposed the speech, its subject was to be US leadership in Asia.

Mr Obama's speech was in marked contrast to the accomplished speeches, with their careful regional agendas, of China's President, Xi Jinping, and India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to the Australian parliament. Senior Washington sources told The Weekend Australian of a malaise in Obama administration policy towards Asia and the lack of influence of Asia experts lower down in the US government.

Since the Abbott government was elected last September, there has been a group within the Obama administration that wants to take a tougher public line against Canberra on differences over climate change, in particular the decision to abolish the carbon tax.

Washington sources say the figure who ultimately adjudicated on this internal debate was Mr Obama, who recognised that Mr Abbott had been elected with a clear mandate to abolish the tax.

This has resulted, in part, in differing accounts of the first meeting between Mr Abbott as Prime Minister and Mr Obama in Washington in June.  After the meeting, Australian officials briefed to the effect that climate change was raised with Mr Abbott only briefly by Mr Obama and in a non-contentious way.  This version was confirmed by senior US officials who offered the same account of the meeting.

US officials added that the Obama administration was acutely aware that the US had no national carbon tax itself and that the administration had been unable to get congress to agree to an emissions trading scheme, which the Americans call a cap-and-trade scheme.

They said the US was keen merely to confirm that the Abbott government was carrying out the commitments it had made on climate change, in particular to reach the target of 5 per cent reductions on 2000 levels of emissions by 2020.

At the same time, another account of the meeting was circulating through Washington to the effect that Mr Obama had been much more insistent on the issue with Mr Abbott. In this account, Mr Obama had repeatedly referred to the Sydney Opera House sinking as a result of global warming.

At the time Washington sources said this was an erroneous account of the meeting, which reflected the great hostility over the carbon tax issue that some of Mr Obama's domestic advisers felt.

Several former senior US officials characterise the White House as introverted and not inclined to pay too much attention to officials, either in the State Department or the Pentagon, who deal with Asia full time. Others suggest senior figures in the White House, when they think of Asia, tend to focus only on China.

Mr Obama has previously had a warm personal relationship with Mr Abbott. The President has been a frequent telephone caller to Mr Abbott, almost always with a request for Australian support for a US policy or initiative, from troops for the Middle East, US trade initiatives in Asia, or important regional diplomatic matters, especially those involving security. On every occasion the US President has asked for help, the Australian Prime Minister has provided it.


NSW conservative government cracks down on protesters, fast-tracks mining

The "close" relationship between the state government and the mining industry has come under renewed scrutiny after Premier Mike Baird announced faster mining approvals and harsher fines for protesters who illegally enter mining sites.

The announcement, at a dinner for mining heavyweights on Thursday night, came just hours after it was revealed that corrupt former Labor minister Ian Macdonald will face criminal charges over a mining deal.

Critics have accused the government of cutting "special deals" with the mining industry, and failing to follow advice by the corruption watchdog to safeguard the planning system.

Lock the Gate Alliance said protesters already face heavy penalties, citing farmer Ted Borowski, who was fined about $3000 for protesting against Santos' coal seam gas operation earlier this year.  By comparison, the company was fined $1500 for contaminating an aquifer with uranium.

The government says protesters do not have the right to act unlawfully, and industry and the community should not wait years for mining applications to be decided.

Mr Baird told a NSW Minerals Council event that his government will halve assessment times for so-called "state significant" proposals, such as mines and manufacturing plants. He said assessment times for mining projects had jumped from 500 to more than 1000 days in the past six years.

On Friday, Planning Minister Pru Goward said the government intends to slash 170 days from the average time it takes to assess major applications by introducing new timeframes and ensuring timely advice from government agencies.

New timeframes would also be applied to the Planning Assessment Commission, the independent body that decides some of the state's most controversial proposals.

The government has been under pressure to streamline the mining approvals process after its maligned planning reforms stalled in the upper house.

Fairfax Media has reported that 13 mining industry leaders met Mr Baird two weeks ago for a "crisis meeting" after Anglo American's application to extend the Drayton South coal mine project was rejected.

The industry has also called for stronger penalties for trespassers, following heated protests over projects such as Whitehaven Coal's Maules Creek mine and Santos' coal seam gas venture in north-west NSW.

Mr Baird said it was "galling" that the mining industry was responsible for the safety of trespassers. The government will seek changes to workplace health and safety laws, and increase penalties for protesters who break into mining operations, damage equipment or disrupt work.

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesman Phil Laird, whose organisation campaigns against coal and gas mining, said the announcement highlights the "close relationship and special treatment given to industry over the interests of communities".

He said the government had ignored advice by the Independent Commission Against Corruption to expand community appeal rights on planning decisions. A spokesman for Ms Goward said independent scrutiny of decisions already exists.

The NSW Minerals Council said the planning changes would "help attract investment and create jobs in our state".

Labor's environment spokesman Luke Foley welcomed the move towards faster approvals, but said it should not come at the expense of proper environmental, social and economic assessment.

Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham claimed the Liberal and National parties were "essentially just the political arm of the mining industry".



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21 November, 2014

Some comments on the latest Warmist shriek from Norm Kalmanovich

A summary of the latest IPCC emission is here.  It claims that the climate change "fight" is affordable and that we must cut emissions to zero by 2100.  That would mean putting all gasoline and diesel-fueled vehicles off the road and closing around 95% of America's electricity generators so is basically off with the fairies.  Facts don't matter to the insane, of course, but Norm Kalmanovich points us to the the basic facts anyway:

This latest HadCRUT4 global temperature data shows that the increase in CO2 emissions since 1850 has not resulted in detectable increase in global temperature above the natural warming of 0.5°C /century as the world recovered from the Little Ice Age.

A total of 0.79°C in 164 years is just 0.48°C/century and below the accepted natural warming rate of 0.5°C/century.

In 1850 CO2 emissions were under 0.5 gigatonne and today emissions are in excess of 35 gigatonnes, so even if this 0.79°C of net global warming since 1850 was entirely due to human sourced CO2 emissions; at this rate we would only be at  1.58°C in year 2178 (2014 + 164)!

Two graphs showing the slight temperature decline since 2002

Origin of the graphs

Before any further global warming can take place the world first has to stop cooling. TSI data from the World Radiation Centre in Davos Switzerland shows that there has been a decrease in total solar irradiance (solar output) of 0.8W/m2 since 2002 and with all five global temperature datasets showing global cooling since 2002; someone would have to be rather ignorant to claim that we need to reduce emissions to stop global warming when reduced output from the sun is currently causing the Earth to cool (albeit very slightly). Since 2002 there has been a 34% increase in CO2 emissions but with the world cooling as these emissions continue to increase there is no amount of peer reviewed articles, not even the 30,000 which claim support for AGW, that can alter the fact that CO2 emissions are not causing global warming and won’t be able to any time in the future; so why would anyone in their right mind 

Cripple the US economy by cutting back its fossil fuel energy supply!

Since we are only 0.79°C above the temperature prior to industrialization and with the world currently cooling; Obama needs to be challenged to first of all state when current global cooling will end and once (and if) it ends how is reducing emissions to zero going to be of any benefit in preventing the global temperature from warming a further 1.21°C when increased emissions over the past 164 years could only (and falsely) be attributed to just 0.79°C of warming!!

Via email

Historic snowfall buries a city that is no stranger to the cold

That global warming sure is pesky stuff!

For the hardy residents of Buffalo in northern New York state, digging out from deep snows dumped by biting winds sweeping across from Lake Erie is nothing new.

But even this industrial city near Niagara Falls was reeling after the largest one-day snowfall ever recorded in the United States more than a month before the official start of winter.

Some six feet of snow buried whole neighbourhoods in less than 24 hours, while drifts churned up by biting winds reached 20 feet high, crushing through doors and roofs and trapping motorists.

Dramatic walls of snow-clouds pummelled the city and “thunder snow” lit up the skies.

Across the US, temperatures plunged below zero in all 50 states, including Hawaii. The unseasonally early cold snap evoked bone-chilling memories of the “polar vortex” deep freeze that engulfed much of the country at the start of this year.

Buffalo bore the brunt as the monster snow-storm claimed at least five lives. A 46-year-old man was discovered dead in a car buried in snow, three victims suffered heart attacks while trying to shovel through the drifts and another was killed in a road crash.

Highway troopers rescued motorists and passengers from hundreds of stranded vehicles, including a women’s college basketball team who chronicled their 26 hours trapped inside a coach via social media after running out of food and water.

And a nurse delivered a baby in a fire station after her pregnant mother failed to make it to hospital, although the parents said they would spurn calls to name their child “Stormy”.

The southern side of Buffalo bore the brunt of the historic snowfall while districts just a few miles away experienced only a coating as the sun shone.

The cold blast across North America is the result of an extreme jet stream pattern funelling Arctic air directly into the US.

But Buffalo took a particular pounding as those cold winds moved across the warmer expanses of Lake Erie, picking up water vapour which froze and turned into walls of snow-clouds.

This phenomenon of “lake-effect snow” created blizzards and white-outs conditions on the southern side of the city while neighbourhoods just a few miles away experienced only inches of show and blue sunny skies.

The city authorities deployed bulldozers owned by private businesses to scoop up snow as many their regular snow-ploughs were trapped inside compounds by the drifts.

Elsewhere, paramedics ditched their ambulances in favor of snowmobiles to reach emergencies.

Another heavy of night of snow was forecast on Wednesday evening.

The good and bad news is that temperatures in Buffalo are predicted to rise to 13C within a few days, delivering a thaw that could produce flooding and water damage.


Weather Channel Co-Founder Predicting Snowier, Bitterly Colder Winter Ahead

The pre-Thanksgiving cold snap and a monster storm forecast to dump five feet of snow on Buffalo, N.Y. Tuesday are just “a preview” of the coming winter, which will be much colder and snowier than normal,  predicts Joseph D’Aleo, co-founder and first director of meteorology at the Weather Channel.

D’Aleo, now chief forecaster at WeatherBell Analytics, was one of the few meteorologists to accurately predict a colder-than-normal November.

He expects several major East Coast snowstorms and “widespread below-zero temperatures” that will plunge much of the nation into a deep freeze for as long as six weeks this winter.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it snows in Atlanta, Dallas, and Birmingham,” he told

“We’ve been talking about this being another one of those historic winters since the spring. The summer before last, we had seen last winter as being one that people near the Great Lakes would remember for a long time, and it turned out to be the coldest December to March on record in Chicago, and the snowiest in Detroit, and top five coldest in many places in the central [part of the U.S.]

“And we saw the same kind of extreme this winter, not exactly in the same place, but another winter that’s going to stress our electric grid and also the energy sources that we have, “D’Aleo told

“We were not surprised at the cold coming. We had a cold forecast in November even though all the tools that are used by forecasters to look ahead, even two weeks, right up to the end of October, [were] not seeing the cold. And then suddenly they caught on.

“But we use another approach where we look at all the factors globally: the oceans and the sun and winds in the upper atmosphere over the tropics, and we find years in the past when conditions were most similar. We call it an analog approach. Other people do analogs, too. And it was telling us that it would be a lot like last year in terms of cold. It told us November would be cold, so we were swimming against the strong current.”

D’Aleo noted that the unseasonably cold weather, which is being blamed for 17 deaths since Saturday, is just “a preview” of the coming months and years ahead, when he predicts that temperatures will be up to 20 degrees lower than normal.

“And then we think this winter will be another strong one. It may end early in some parts of the country, like the Northeast, but it will be very hard, especially in mid-winter. We’ll get a break after this [current] assault, it may ease a little bit, but we think there’ll be an extended period in mid-winter that will really be harsh all over the nation.”

The worst of the frigid winter weather will likely hit right around Christmas and last until the first week of February, he told

“Everything we look at suggest that January will be the hardest of the winter months. This is sort of a preview of that. Not to say there won’t be snow and cold in December. In February, it’ll be cold, but more from the snow on the ground than a continual feed of Arctic air.

“The snow will just make the cold worse,” he added. “It keeps temperatures in daytime down and makes it colder at night in between storms, so it’s going to be a very rough one for a lot of folks.”

“We might get a break next year,” the forecaster added on a hopeful note. “Often these cold winters come in two-year periods and then you get a break for a year as the oceans readjust. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a milder winter next year.” asked D’Aleo, who lives in New Hampshire and says he ran out of heating oil last winter due to the sub-normal temperatures, his reaction to last week’s agreement between President Obama  and Chinese President Xi Jinping to fight global warming by drastically reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

“From the government’s own data, there has been no warming in winter for 25 years,” D’Aleo replied. “In fact, there’s been cooling for 20 years. All nine climate regions have cooled in winter for 20 years.”

”This decade is just four years old, and we’ve already had 12 major impact East Coast snowstorms out of close to 50 since the 1950s, which they call NESIS (Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale) storms,” he continued. “This is the most active [snowiest] decade on record. The last decade, the 2000s, had 10. The 1960s had 10. This decade has 12 and we’re only four years into it…. We could really be creating an historic decade when all is said and done.”

“The major drivers [of the cold weather] are the oceans and the sun. The Pacific has turned cold and the Atlantic is scheduled to go into its cold mode within five years. And the sun is heading into a 200-year minimum. The last time it was this quiet, and it will likely be this quiet for two decades or so, was the early 1800s. That was called the Dalton Minimum,” D’Aleo pointed out, which was a period of low temperatures that corresponded with low solar activity between 1780 and 1840.

“That was the time of [Charles] Dickens. If you remember Dickens’ novels, the children always played in the snow in London. That’s what they’re doing again… And there’ll be more winters like the Dickens years in the years to come [because] we’re headed into a colder period that will likely last decades…

“That doesn’t mean we won’t have a hot summer or that next winter won’t be warmer, but on average we will experience more and more extreme cold winters and cool summers. It’s part of a trend, and like I said, it’s been cooling for 20 years, erratically but down.”


EPA’s next regulatory tsunami

Trillions of dollars in ozone compliance and economic stagnation costs, for fabricated benefits

Paul Driessen

Looming Environmental Protection Agency ozone regulations personify the Obama administration’s secrecy, collusion, fraud, and disdain for concerns about the effects that its tsunami of regulations is having on the livelihoods, living standards, health and welfare of millions of American families.

Virtually every EPA announcement of new regulations asserts that they will improve human health. Draconian carbon dioxide standards, for example, won’t just prevent climate change, even if rapidly developing countries continue emitting vast volumes of this plant-fertilizing gas. The rules will somehow reduce the spread of ticks and Lyme disease, and protect “our most vulnerable citizens.” It’s hogwash.

But Americans naturally worry about pollution harming children and the poor. That makes it easy for EPA to promulgate regulations based on false assumptions and linkages, black-box computer models, secretive collusion with activist groups, outright deception, and supposedly “scientific” reports whose shady data and methodologies the agency refuses to share with industries, citizens or even Congress.

It was only in May 2012 that EPA decided which US counties met new 2008 ozone standards that cut allowable ground-level ozone levels from 80 parts per billion to 75 ppb. Now EPA wants to slash allowable levels even further: to 70 or even 60 ppb, equivalent to 70 or 60 seconds in 32 years.

The lower limits are essential, it claims, to reduce smog, human respiratory problems and damage to vegetation. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says a 600-page agency staff report strongly recommends this reduction, and her Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee agrees. They all say the lower limits are vital for protecting public health, especially “at-risk populations and life stages.” Her decision will ultimately involve “a scientific judgment” and will “keep people safe,” Ms. McCarthy assures us.

Under terms of a convenient federal court settlement, EPA must issue its proposed new standards by December 1 of this year, and make a final decision by October 2015. The process will be “open and transparent,” with “multiple opportunities” for public hearings and comment throughout, she promised.

EPA has offered little transparency, honesty or opportunity for fair hearings and input by impacted parties thus far, and we should expect none here. But other problems with this proposal are much more serious.

If the 60 ppb standard is adopted, 85% of all US counties would likely become “non-attainment” areas, making it difficult to establish new industrial facilities or expand existing plants. Even in Big Sky, clean-air Wyoming, Teton County could be out of compliance – mostly due to emissions from pine trees!

A Manufacturers’ Alliance/MAPI study calculated that a 60 ppb ozone standard would cost the US economy a whopping $1 trillion per year and kill 7.3 million jobs by 2020. A Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and National Association of Manufacturers study concluded that a 60 ppb rule would penalize the state $189 billion for compliance and $53 billion in lost gross domestic product between 2017 and 2040. That’s $10 billion per year in just one state.

But the standard would save lives, EPA predictably claimed, citing 2009 research directed by University of California-Berkeley School of Public Health Professor Michael Jerrett. The study purportedly tracked 448,000 people and claimed to find a connection between long-term ozone exposure and death.

Other researchers sharply criticized Jerrett’s work. His study made questionable assumptions about ozone concentrations, did not rely on clinical tests, ignored the findings of other studies that found no significant link between ground-level ozone and health effects, and failed to gather critically important information on the subjects’ smoking patterns, they pointed out. When they asked to examine his data, Jerrett refused.

Michael Honeycutt, chief toxicologist for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, says Jerrett and EPA exaggerate health risks from ozone. The Texas Public Policy Foundation told EPA the agency needs to consider “the totality of studies on this issue, rather than giving exclusive weight to a single study,” the foundation emphasized. Unfortunately, EPA almost always focuses on one or two analyses that support its regulatory agenda – and ignores any that might slow or derail its onrushing freight train.

Even worse, those lost jobs and GDP result in major impacts on the lives, livelihoods, liberties, living standards, health, welfare and life spans of millions of Americans. And yet, EPA steadfastly refuses to consider these regulatory impacts: for ozone, carbon dioxide, soot, mercury and other rules.

Then there is the matter of outright deception, collusion and fraud at EPA, via these and other tactics.

One such tactic is sue-and-settle lawsuits. Agitator groups meet with EPA officials behind closed doors and agree on new rules or standards. The agency then conveniently misses a deadline, “forcing” the activists to sue. That leads to a court hearing (from which impacted parties are excluded), and a judgment “forcing” the agency to issue new regulations – and even pay the agitators’ attorney fees! American Lung Association, NRDC, Sierra Club and EPA sue-and-settle collusion resulted in the new ozone proposal.

This clever sue-and-settle tactic was devised by none other than John Beale – the con artist who’s now in prison for bilking taxpayers out of $1 million in salary and travel expenses for his mythical second job as a CIA agent. It defies belief to assume his fraudulent propensities did not extend to his official EPA duties as senior policy advisor with his boss and buddy Robert Brenner, helping Ms. McCarthy and her Office of Air and Radiation develop and implement oppressive regulations. Indeed, his own attorney says he had a “dysfunctional need to engage in excessively reckless, risky behavior” and “manipulate those around him through the fabrication of grandiose narratives.” A US Senate report details the sleazy practice.

As to the “experts” who claim lower ozone limits are vital for protecting public health, there’s this.

The American Lung Association supports the EPA health claims – but neglects to mention that EPA has given the ALA $24.7 million over the past 15 years. Overall, during this period, the ALA received $43 million via 591 federal grants, and Big Green foundations bankrolled it with an additional $76 million. But no one is supposed to question the ALA’s credibility, integrity or support for EPA “science.”

EPA also channels vast sums to its “independent” Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, which likewise rubberstamps the agency’s pollution claims and regulations. Fifteen CASAC members received over $181 million since 2000. CASAC excludes from its ranks industry and other experts who might question EPA findings. Both EPA and CASAC stonewall and slow-walk FOIA requests and deny requests for correction and reconsideration. Even congressional committees get nowhere.

As Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House on Science, Space and Technology Committee, noted in a letter, 16 of the 20 CASAC members who “peer-reviewed” the ozone studies also helped to write the studies. That makes it even less likely that their reviews were “independent.”

That Senate report, The Chains of Environmental Command, also notes that the Obama EPA has been deliberately packed with far-left environmental activists who work with their former Big Green colleagues to shape policy. They give radical groups critical insider access and also funnel millions of taxpayer dollars through grants to their former organizations, often in violation of agency ethics rules.

These arrogant, unelected, unaccountable, deceitful, dictatorial elites think they have a right to impose ozone, carbon dioxide, ObamaCare and other diktats on us, “for our own good.” They are a primary reason American businesses and families are already paying $1.9 trillion per year to comply with mountains of federal regulations – $353 billion of these costs from EPA alone. The damage to jobs, livelihoods, liberties, living standards, health and welfare is incalculable.

The next Congress should review all EPA data, documents and decisions, root out the fraud and collusion, and defund and ultimately reverse all regulations that do not pass muster. The principle is simple: No data, honesty, transparency or integrity – no regulation, and no taxpayer money to impose it.

Via email

Time is up for wind production tax credits

“The private sector can be expected to develop improved solar and wind technologies which will begin to become competitive and self-supporting on a national level by the end of the decade if assisted by tax credits and augmented by federally sponsored R&D,” testimony before the House of Representatives Subcommittees on Energy and Commerce offered by the American Wind Energy Association and others.

A reasonable statement of belief that wind energy just needs a little help to get off the ground and become financially viable.  And it was reasonable, in 1983, when it was made.

Now, thirty one years later, the powerful Big Wind lobbyists are at the trough once again asking for another extension of tax breaks.  Wind Production Tax Credits that distort the electricity market harming the ability of their competitors to invest profitably in alternative, competing electric generation sources.

Yet, those who promote this 21st century upgrade of 15th century technology continue to claim that if Congress just gives them one more fix they will be able to compete.

In the immortal words of Nancy Reagan, the lame duck Congress should just say no.

They should say no, because investment in wind energy production needs to stand on its own feet with the best technology emerging, and those that lag being left behind.  The natural selection of the marketplace needs to hone the industry so the most efficient, productive technologies can thrive and help meet our nation’s energy needs.

The lazy way is to get the government to provide the competitive difference allowing even poor performers to thrive.

Wind, and every other energy source, should compete on the level field of the marketplace without the corrosive effects of government tainting the game.

While others worry about the dangers that expanded wind energy pose to bird life as subsidized projects are being placed in some of nature’s most important flyways, and others express concern about the decimation of the bat population in some agriculture dependent areas, ultimately the question for Congress has to be – Is wind energy sustainable, or is it a permanent government dependent?

After more than 30 years living in Uncle Sam’s basement playing video games and eating Cheetos, its time for this industry to be kicked out of the nest.  It’s time for wind to fly.

Congress will be deciding whether to extend Wind Production Tax Credits in the weeks ahead, and for wind’s own sake, it is time allow them to die.  It is time for this industry to compete, for better or worse.

It’s time for Congress to mercifully end the Wind Production Tax Credit once and for all.


Severe bird population declines in Europe.  Windfarms the probable culprit

In an article published in The Guardian on November 7th, the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) is quoted saying that since 1980, across 25 European countries, house sparrow numbers have declined by 147 million, a 62% drop to 90 million. wind turbine bird kill According to the same report, starlings have fallen by 45 million, down to 40 million. As for Skylarks, their population went down by 37 million, to 43 million today. Says the author of the article, “It’s principally agricultural intensification that is behind the crisis.” (1)

Populations ranging from 40 to 90 million birds, for the most common of passerine species, are surprisingly small, spread as they are over 25 countries. Thus, if the researchers quoted by the RSPB are correct in their estimates, we are entitled to conclude that wind turbines and their power lines will have a significant impact on the number of all passerines flying our skies, eating our insects etc. Indeed, we know for instance that, in Spain alone, wind turbines kill 6 to 18 million birds and bats a year (2). Supposing that Europe has about 5 times as many wind turbines as Spain, the death toll for Europe would be 30 to 90 million birds and bats per annum – i.e. roughly 10 to 30 million birds a year, given that bats are attracted to wind turbines and killed about twice as often as birds. Comparing the numbers, and all things being equal, it is obvious that bird populations will erode further on account of wind farms, much faster than previously thought.

But no mention is made of this in the article. It’s not surprising, as both the RSPB and The Guardian are promoting the installation of ever more wind farms across Europe.

We also learn from The Guardian that the population of some raptors “is on the up in Britain”.  This assertion sounds suspicious to us at Save the Eagles International, for two main reasons:

A) - the article quotes no figures, no studies and no dates, and

B) - we know that raptors are attracted to windfarms (2), and killed in significant numbers (3).

The truth is that raptors have been recuperating in the UK since a very low point reached after two centuries of persecution.  Some species were wiped out. Then, a law was enacted to protect birds of prey, and reintroduction programmes were launched, e.g. for the Red Kite and the White-tailed Eagle.

Protection and reintroduction caused raptors' numbers to go up. But the question is: until when? We suspect that the recuperation of raptors in Britain has stopped with the advent of wind turbines, which attract and kill them. Actually, judging from the high mortality of raptors in other countries' windfarms, their UK population is most likely to be on the decline as well. But Britons are not being kept informed of these things.  To wit: in 2013 came due the decadal census of golden eagles. But nothing happened, and to those who inquired it was replied that the interval between these surveys had been changed from 10 years to 12. This does nothing to allay our fears that Scottish golden eagles are being decimated by wind turbines, many of which are spinning their deadly blades in their habitat.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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20 November, 2014

Another blast on the trans-fat trumpet

For many years, the received wisdom in the medical literature was that eating saturated fat was bad for you and likely to give you heart attacks.  That was always nonsense and, in one of those 180 degree turns so common in the medical literature, has recently been abandoned.  Such fats are good for you these days.

Greenies and food freaks (largely overlapping categories, it would seem) hopped on the bandwagon a decade or so ago and began their usual coercive strategies.  They pressured food manufacturers to stop using such fats.  Vegetable oils were the thing.  And, like a lot of their products, the food manufacturers crumbled.

But vegetable oils were not really very suitable for making cakes and cookies.  But if you added some extra hydrogen atoms to the vegetable oils, you could get a suitable result.  The hydrogenated oils became known as trans fats.

But just as there is no such thing as a happy Greenie so there is no such thing as a happy food freak.  Various claims supported by problematical research appeared which said that trans fats were bad for you too.  They also could damage your heart.

So the food manufacturers again mostly crumbled and now use a lot of palm oil instead of saturated fats and trans fats. The cake you buy has had an adventurous past.

So now palm oils are under attack.  To produce enough palm oil, lots of new trees have to be planted and to plant those trees you have to chop down lots of other trees that were already there --  and that will not do at all!  So the limited supply of palm oil drives up its price and makes it too expensive for some food manufacturers -- who have therefore stuck with their good ol' trans fats.  So the shriekers still have a satisfying campaign to wage.  And below (below the chevrons) is the latest shot in the war.

It features work by the hyperactive and normally skeptical Beatrice Golomb but does her no credit.  The research has not yet been published in the journals so I have not been able to look closely at it but it clearly has one large problem:  It is based on self-reports, which are very susceptible to biases of various sorts.  In particular, self-reporters tend to tell you either what they think you want to hear or what they think will make themselves look good.

And that is a very obvious contaminant in the research below.  Because people are always being told how evil cakes and cookies are, consumption of them is unprestigious so many of those answering a self-report questionnaire will under-report how many of such evil products that they consume -- while people less influenced by popular fads will be little bothered by admitting to their actual diets.  So who are the cake and biscuit gourmands?  Fatties and the poor most likely.  And what do we know about the poor?  As Charles Murray showed long ago, they have lower IQs.  Shocking of me to mention it, I know, but facts are chiels that winna ding, as the Scots say. 

And the memory task used by the gorgeous Dr Golomb (pic below) is IQ-related.  So the wicked eaters probably had lower IQs.   So it seems likely that Dr Golomb's finding is entirely artifactual  -- a product of her research methodology rather than information about the world.

I note that she did control for education but education and income are only weakly correlated, as many recent college graduates have found to their dismay.

Other research:  For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.

Food manufacturers should of course revert to using saturated fats, now that medical opinion is in their favour -- JR


I was pleased to receive a prompt and scholarly reply from Dr Golomb about my post.  Some scientists can get very defensive and snarky if their work is criticized but she did not. It says much for her character. I reproduce the reply below:

Dear John Ray,

 It is true that the findings are based on a food frequency questionnaire, and observational data are *always* subject to potential unmeasured confounding. That is why we never use(d) the word "cause" but only describe higher trans fat consumption as "associated" with worse memory. (I can't exactly say higher "reported" trans fat consumption because it wasn't actually trans fat consumption they reported.)

On the plus side, though, the data from which the analysis was done were collected in 1999-2004, a privileged time window vis a vis trans fat assessment --  after trans fat abstraction from foods was added to analysis of the Fred Hutchinson Food Frequency Questionnaire, but before the FDA trans fat labeling requirement that made it easy for people who were health conscious to more readily limit trans fats.

{Of note, this was also before most of the positive press about chocolate, when chocolate consumption was still widely viewed as a vice (hard to imagine that time was so recent). Yet, despite this, more frequent chocolate consumption was linked favorably to memory, and to body mass index. (We presented the former finding a couple years ago -- someone else's findings connecting the two got a lot of attention in the NY Times, I understand, last week; the latter finding has been replicated, e.g.,  in a study of European adolescents, and according to a Principal Investigator who contacted us, was also found in a randomized study, supporting causality; and a study in rodents found that cocoa-derived epicatechin led to reduced fat mass with calorie consumption unchanged). Meanwhile, trans fats emerged as adversely associated with both outcomes. This makes sense given that chocolate is rich in antioxidants and has compounds that support cell energy (e.g. via mitochondrial biogenesis and vascularity), while trans fats are prooxidant (and proinflammatory), and adverse to cell energy.  (The hippocampus, a brain area important in memory, is especially vulnerable to cell death in settings of inadequate energy.)

We are encouraged by the fact that, so far, our findings based on the dietary data have almost to a one been replicated, and/or have experimental support from animal research (adding the element of causality). For instance we previously found that, even adjusted for calories and exercise, trans fat consumption was linked to higher BMI and waist circumference. (By the way, I will mention since we have discovered that some scientists -- i.e. peer reviewers! -- are confused on this point, there is no violation of the second law of thermodynamics in that statement. Calories are disposed of in a range of ways -- heat generation, fat deposition, creating blood vessels and mitochondria -- and just what is done with them is subject to modulation by signaling pathways, in turn influenced by dietary factors.) Consistent with this, primate data show that incorporating trans fats, without changing calories, leads to increased deposition of abdominal/visceral fat.

Anyhow, thanks for sending, and thanks for your interest!



I replied:


Thank you for that interesting reply

I think you should have a closer look at the recent literature on anti-oxidants.  I think we are midway through an 180 degree turn there.  The latest thinking is that antioxidants are actually bad for us.  The body needs plenty of oxidants. So pro-oxidants could be a GOOD thing!



Eating cookies and cakes could damage your memory -  regardless of your age

Fats found in some biscuits, cakes and processed foods could have a harmful effect on memory, researchers have warned.

The fats, known as trans fats, are used both in processed food and in restaurants, often to improve the texture, shelf life or flavour.

They are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it more solid, which is why they are often called partially hydrogenated oils.

Now, a study of 1,000 healthy men aged under 45 found those who ate the most trans fat had worse scores in a word memory test.

The link remained after taking account of age, education and depression.

Study leader Dr Beatrice Golomb, of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, said: ‘Trans fats were most strongly linked to worse memory, in young and middle-aged men, during their working and career building years.

‘From a health standpoint, trans fat consumption has been linked to higher body weight, more aggression and heart disease.

‘As I tell my patients, while trans fats increase the shelf life of foods, they reduce the shelf life of people.’

The research team studied adults who had not been diagnosed with heart disease.  They were asked to complete a dietary questionnaire, from which the researchers estimated participants' trans fat consumption.

To assess memory, researchers presented participants with a series of 104 cards showing words.  Each person had to state whether each word was new or a word duplicated from a previously seen card.

Each additional gram a day of trans fats consumed was associated with an estimated 0.76 fewer words correctly recalled.

For those eating the highest amounts of trans fats, this translated to an estimated 11 fewer words – a reduction of 10 per cent in words recalled compared to adults who ate the least trans fat.

The average number of words correctly recalled was 86, according to research presented at the American heart Association’s Scientific sessions 2014 in Chicago.

Trans fat is widely considered the worst kind for your heart, even worse than saturated fat, which can also contribute to heart disease.

The UK food industry in recent years has reduced or eliminated industrially produced trans fat in foods.

Current dietary surveys suggest consumption levels provide less than one per cent of food energy, below the recommended two per cent maximum – about 5g a day.

The Food and Drug Administration is taking further steps to reduce the amount of artificial trans fats in the US food supply.


‘Thunder snow’ freezes all of USA

Which proves global warming, of course

IT is called a ‘lake-effect’ snowstorm — and it has paralysed cities across the US, with temperatures falling to freezing in all 50 states, including Hawaii.

Lake-effect snow is produced during cooler atmospheric conditions when cold winds move across long expanses of warmer lake water, providing energy and picking up water vapour, which freezes and is deposited on the leeward shores.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers calls it ‘thunder snow’.  “The steam from the lake ... (is) still much warmer than the air,” he said. “The air is in the teens and the water in the 40s. That steam comes up and wants to rise. That rise ... creates a thunder storm but it’s so cold it doesn’t rain. It just snows.”

The phenomenon paralysed the upstate New York city of Buffalo yesterday, forcing state police on snowmobiles to deliver blankets to stranded motorists on the main highway across New York State.

At least four people were killed in the storm, CNN reports.

One of the storm-related deaths was a vehicle accident, said Peter Anderson, a spokesman for the county executive. Three others were cardiac arrests as a result of shovelling.

In a region accustomed to highway-choking snowstorms, this one is being called one of the worst in memory.  “This storm is basically a knife that went right through the heart of Erie County,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.  “I can’t remember and I don’t think anyone else can remember this much snow falling in this short a period.”

The equivalent of a year’s worth of snow is going to pound some areas over a three-day period, Poloncarz said.

Meteorologists say temperatures in all 50 states fell to freezing or below on Tuesday.

That included Hawaii, where the temperature at Mauna Kea on the Big Island dropped to -0.5 degrees Celsius (31 Fahrenheit).

They say the low temperatures were more reminiscent of January than November.

The southeast wasn’t spared.  Schools closed in the North Carolina mountains amid blustery winds and ice-coated roads.  In Atlanta, tourists Morten and Annette Larsen from Copenhagen were caught off-guard by the sub-freezing weather as they took photos of a monument to the 1996 summer Olympics at Centennial Olympic Park.

“It’s as cold here as it is in Denmark right now. We didn’t expect that,” Larsen said, waving a hand over his denim jacket, buttoned tightly over a hooded sweatshirt.

The National Weather Service warned that the snow, generated by cold air blowing over the warmer Great Lakes, would continue through Wednesday and could eventually total 1.8 metres in places.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo deployed 150 member of the National Guard state militia to help clear snow-clogged roads and remove abandoned vehicles.


White House taunts GOP on climate change: ‘I don’t believe they can stop us’

The White House forged ahead Monday with yet another piece of its climate change agenda and bragged that Republicans are powerless to stop it.

A presidential task force unveiled a report on how communities across the country can prepare for the effects of global warming. In all, the recommendations on “climate preparedness and resilience” could cost the federal government more than $100 billion to protect drinking water supplies, shore up coastlines against rising sea levels and take other preventive measures.

The recommendations and subsequent expenses are just two pieces of an ever-expanding slate of global-warming that is sure to come under the microscope when Republicans assume control of the Senate in January.

But legal analysts say the Republicans have little ammunition to fight back, short of shutting down the federal government to stop Environmental Protection Agency funding.

White House officials, keenly aware of the executive power Mr. Obama holds on the issue of climate change, openly mocked incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues.

“I believe the president will complete actions. It is a top priority of his and I don’t believe they can stop us,” White House counselor John Podesta told reporters on a conference call Monday. “Not withstanding Sen. McConnell making this a top priority to leave the status quo, to leave the air dirtier.”

White House officials on Monday also detailed some the expenses associated with the task force recommendations, including $88 billion for North Atlantic states to protect against rising sea levels, $6 billion for Midwestern states to combat rising temperatures and $40 billion to improve California’s drinking water systems.

The report comes on the heels of other recent steps, including Mr. Obama’s greenhouse gas emissions deal with China. Under that agreement, the U.S. pledged to cut its emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025, while China merely said it will cap emissions no later than 2030.

To meet that goal, the administration is relying on its unprecedented restrictions on power plant pollution — regulations that have led to accusations of a “war on coal” — and new auto fuel-efficiency standards, among other steps.

Mr. Obama also is seeking $3 billion in taxpayer money to go toward a global climate fund aimed at helping developing nations boost their infrastructure.

Republicans appear ready to fight the president’s climate change agenda tooth and nail. After the GOP captured the Senate, Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said reining in the EPA would be a “top priority.”

He reiterated those comments over the weekend. “They’ve been on a rampage all across the country. And I think coal is the most conspicuous example, but it’s happening in a lot of other areas and I think you’re going to see bipartisan support for trying to rein them in,” he told an audience in Frankfort, Kentucky.

The larger climate change debate is intertwined with the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, the approval of which could come up for a Senate vote as early as Tuesday. The House already has passed legislation deeming the pipeline approved.

The White House, however, has hinted the president will veto the bill.


The Moral Case Against Fossil Fuels Matters. But It’s Absurd

Alex Epstein

Imagine you are talking to a tobacco advocate who claims that he has a new strategy for winning the hearts and minds of the public:

“We will explain to the public that we contribute to economic growth.”

“We will explain to the public that we create a lot of jobs.”

“We will link our industry to our national identity.”

“We will stress to the public that we are addressing our
attackers’ concerns—by lowering the emissions of our product.”

Would you be convinced? I doubt it, because none of these strategies does anything to address the industry’s fundamental problem—that the industry’s core product, tobacco, is viewed as a self-destructive addiction. So long as that is true, the industry will be viewed as an inherently immoral industry. And so long as that is true, no matter what the industry does, its critics will always have the moral high ground.

Sound familiar? Substitute “fossil fuels” for “tobacco” and you have the fundamental communications problem the fossil fuel industry–and anyone who supports fossil fuels–faces.

Opponents of coal, oil and natural gas have successfully portrayed fossil fuel energy as a self-destructive addiction that is destroying our planet and the energy industry as fundamentally immoral.

Why is the industry viewed as immoral? Because for decades, environmentalist leaders have made a false but unanswered moral case against the fossil fuel industry—by arguing that it inherently destroys our planet and should be replaced with environmentally beneficial solar, wind and biofuels.

According to this argument, it destroys our planet in two basic ways: by increasing environmental dangers (most notably through catastrophic global warming) and depleting environmental resources (through using fossil fuels and other resources at a rapid, “unsustainable” pace).

There is only one way to defeat the environmentalists’ moral case against fossil fuels—refute its central idea that fossil fuels destroy the planet. Because if we don’t refute that idea, we accept it, and if we accept that fossil fuels are destroying the planet, the only logical conclusion is to cease new development and slow down existing development as much as possible. That’s what gives moral standing to something like U.S.-China carbon emissions agreement, which deserves to be seen as an immoral cap on human progress.

I have come to believe that the moral case against fossil fuels is not only false, but is the exact opposite of the truth. Fossil fuels don’t take a clean environment and make it dirty, they take a dirty environment and make it clean. They don’t take a safe climate and make it dangerous, they take a dangerous climate and make it safe. The industry doesn’t deplete resources, it creates resources out of once-useless raw materials.

This is the moral case for fossil fuels. It will give us the moral high ground in the debate over fossil fuels. It is the subject of my new book.


Obama Says Keystone Won’t Benefit Americans, Contrary to Assessments by Dep’ts of State, Energy

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline to carry crude oil from Canada will only benefit our northern ally, and will neither lower gas prices in the U.S. nor entail a “massive jobs bill for the United States,” President Obama said while traveling in Asia last week.

During a press conference Friday in Yangon, Burma, Obama was asked about the project, which has been under review by the State Department for six years and faces a Senate vote on Tuesday.

“Understand what this project is,” he replied. “It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else.”  “It doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices,” he added.

Obama’s remarks contradict other assessments – including those of the Departments of State and Energy – that the 1,179-mile pipeline could not only create thousands of American jobs and pump billions of dollars into the U.S. economy but also increase the nation’s energy security.

The American Petroleum Institute, the trade association that advocates on behalf of the U.S. oil and gas industry, on Monday issued a plea to Obama about the pipeline and its benefits.

“Mr. President, do not outsource the 42,000 American jobs this pipeline represents, to move Canadian and U.S. energy resources from North Dakota and Montana, to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast,” API President and CEO Jack Gerard said in a statement.

“Americans are embracing our domestic energy renaissance but they can’t fully benefit from it unless there is a robust infrastructure system to transport the fuels they demand,” he added.

In a commentary on Friday the Wall Street Journal questioned Obama's understanding of global economics and the oil trade.  “Someone should tell the President that oil markets are global and adding to global supply might well reduce U.S. gas prices, other things being equal,” it said. “A tutor could add that Keystone XL will also carry U.S. light oil from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale.  “So even if he thinks that bilateral trade only helps Canada, he’s still wrong about Keystone.”

TransCanada, the company in charge of the Keystone XL pipeline construction, calls it “the definition of shovel-ready infrastructure project,” and cites the State Department’s own findings. (The department is in control of the project’s destiny because of its “international” element.)

“Almost overnight, Keystone XL could put 9,000 hard-working American men and women directly to work,” TransCanada says on its website. “The U.S. State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement found that the project would support more than 42,000 direct and indirect jobs nationwide.”

“In addition to construction jobs, an estimated 7,000 U.S. jobs are being supported in manufacturing the steel pipe and the thousands of fittings, valves, pumps and control devices required for a major oil pipeline,” it states.

“TransCanada has contracts with more than 50 suppliers across the U.S., including companies in Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Indiana, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Ohio, Arkansas, Kansas, California and Pennsylvania.”

TransCanada also cites a Canadian Energy Research Institute prediction that Keystone XL will add $172 billion to America’s gross domestic product by 2035 and will create an additional 1.8 million person-years of employment in the United States over the next 22 years.

The pipeline will also make the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil, thus increasing energy security, it says, citing a Department of Energy study.

“Keystone XL Pipeline will have the capacity to transport 830,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Canada and the continental United States to refineries on the Gulf Coast, where it can displace much of the higher-priced oil those refineries currently import from overseas,” TransCanada says.

“This view is backed up by a December, 2010 U.S. Department of Energy study which states: ‘Increased Canadian oil imports will help reduce U.S. imports of foreign oil from sources outside of North America.’”

In a move seemingly unheard of just weeks ago, the U.S. Senate is set to vote on Tuesday on legislation that would approve the Keystone project, a bill passed by the House of Representatives last week.

Obama has said he has not changed his position on the pipeline but has not specifically said he would veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

Asked again about the project at the end of a G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia on Sunday, Obama raised another potential objection – climate change.

“We’re going to let the process play itself out,” he told reporters. “And the determination will be made in the first instance by the Secretary of State. But I won’t hide my opinion about this, which is that one major determinant of whether we should approve a pipeline shipping Canadian oil to world markets, not to the United States, is: does it contribute to the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change?”


Australian PM will soon look like a genius for refusing to drag Australia to yet another climate fiasco

Even as he continues to win plaudits from visiting Chinese and Indian leaders, the high priests and priestesses of the fourth estate are in full-throated rebellion against Tony Abbott. Defensive, embarrassing, timid, insular, clumsy, flawed, weird, cringeworthy – this is just a sampler of media comment on Abbott’s performance at the G20 in Brisbane.

But it is perhaps better to see Abbott as someone who refuses to agree at all times with outspoken, self-appointed pressure groups that breed around controversial questions. He makes an inviting rhetorical target precisely because he embodies that down-to-earth quality in our national spirit that has been all but obliterated by the modern obsession with courting fashionable opinion. His bluntness – such as his defence of Big Coal or his threat to “shirtfront” Putin – takes him where mealy-mouthed politicians fear to tread.

I say this as someone who disagrees with his stance on Ukraine. It is one thing to try to subject the Russian-backed rebels to some scrutiny for 17 July; it is another thing for the leader of a middle power to issue dire threats and warnings to a nuclear power with vital strategic interests at stake in a region that has been in its sphere of influence for centuries.

All things considered, however, Abbott’s diplomatic conduct in recent days has been defensible.

Start with the China trade deal, a major victory for our exporters that will add tens of billions of dollars to the economy. The prime minister promised to clinch unprecedented and lucrative agreements with Japan, South Korea and China by the end of the year. His foreign affairs and trade team have achieved this goal with aplomb. The three nations account for about half of all our exports.

The critics were having a field day feasting on Abbott for daring to talk about his government’s domestic policy challenges; never mind that the leaders were invited to the G20 opening session to discuss how domestic politics impede a pro-growth reform agenda.

Then there is the G20 growth agreement itself, which will dramatically improve the lives of people all around the world, so long as nations deliver on their promises. Even Michael Gordon, one of Fairfax Media’s many Abbott critics, has conceded that for the first time the world’s richest economies have committed themselves to a specific (and ambitious) growth target and they have been prepared to allow independent bodies to scrutinise their approaches.

We are told that on climate change, the G20 leaders spectacularly wrong-footed Abbott. Yet he has merely defended the national interest and kept faith with the Australian people who gave him an electoral mandate to abolish Julia Gillard’s widely unpopular carbon tax. We are also told that Paris is the moment when the world will come together to save us from an excess of greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a fair bet Abbott’s position will be vindicated at the United Nations climate talks next year.

Shortly before Brisbane, Beijing concluded a bilateral accord with Washington in which they agreed (on a non-binding basis) to begin reducing their annual emissions by 2030. The understanding is clearly that, since Obama signed up to this deal (and indeed presented it as a triumph), he will not push the Chinese any further at next year’s meeting in Paris.

Meanwhile, Obama needs to ask the US Congress to appropriate $3bn for the global climate fund. Republicans will oppose it, and many Democrats repudiated Obama’s energy agenda in the recent midterm elections. No member of the visiting Washington press corps, judging from the press conference on Sunday, evidently thinks the issue is an American priority. Congress won’t legislate a carbon tax or a national emissions trading scheme.

As for China, their leaders’ priority is to grow their economy at 7-8% annually and to reduce poverty; and the cheapest way of doing so is via carbon energy (president Xi did not even mention climate change in his address to parliament yesterday.) True, Beijing is investing in renewable energy projects and piloting cap and trade schemes in some provinces. But China is also building a coal-fired power plant every 8-10 days and its net emissions continue to escalate steadily (on 1990 levels, Australia is set to cut its greenhouse gas emission by 4% by 2020.)

Any “deal” at Paris will merely give China and India a free rein until the 2030s without any binding obligation to be monitored and scrutinised by the west on their actual behaviour. That is why Abbott is wise to make any Australian climate policies conditional on a legally binding, verifiable, enforceable and genuinely global agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol. Even the Germans have essentially done that.

What is shaping up now, as Benny Peiser of the London-based Global Warming Policy Forum predicts, is a huge blame game over the likely failure to agree to a post-Kyoto treaty. China and India will blame the west for its failure to deliver $100 bn per annum – yes, $100bn – that was promised at Copenhagen. Obama and the left will blame the Republicans. The EU will blame the Americans. Climate enthusiasts and developing nations will blame all and sundry.

And Abbott will look like a genius for keeping Australia on the margins of yet another climate summit fiasco.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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, 2014

Is global warming pushing up the price of sushi?

Since there has been NO global warming for 18 years, attributing recent events to it is just careless journalism.  There may indeed have been warmer seas off Chile but fluctuating  ocean currents are the likely cause of that. If I remember  rightly, the El Nino/La Nina oscillation was first observed off Chile

Sushi prices in restaurants and supermarkets are tipped to soar after a sharp increase in one of the key costs of creating the Japanese dish.

A large proportion of sushi, which combines raw fish or vegetables with cooked vinegared rice, contains farmed shrimp, prawns or salmon.

The cost of the main feed for farmed fish has jumped by almost 50 per cent in two weeks to reach a record high, according to reports.  The feed, called fishmeal, is a brown powder made from dried fish bones and the trimmings of small marine species such as anchovies.

Rising sea temperatures led to a drop in anchovy catches in Peru, the world's largest exporter, pushing up prices. A tonne of fishmeal now costs $2,500, according to the Financial Times, up from $1,689 at the end of October.

Fishmeal prices have risen fourfold in a decade due to climate change and increased demand, with around four per cent more farmed fish being eaten every year.

The increased costs are expected to be passed on to diners as restaurants and cafés serving sushi put up prices to maintain their margins.

The most popular sushi consist of raw, prawns, salmon and shrimp and rice. Most of the raw fish is farmed.

The growth of sushi, which has become fashionable in Britain and other western nations over the past few years, and the general popularity of fish this year led to global farmed fish consumption surpassing that of "captured" fish for the first time


Obama: ‘We Are Going to Contribute $3 Billion to the Green Climate Fund'

But where is he going to get the money from?

Speaking at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia on Saturday, President Barack Obama vowed to contribute $3 billion from the U.S. Treasury to the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund.
"We are going to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund so we can help developing nations deal with climate change,” said Obama.

The Green Climate Fund says that it aims to promote a “paradigm shift” in the use of energy and in development.

“The Fund will contribute to the achievement of the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),” the fund says on its website. “In the context of sustainable development, the Fund will promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change, taking into account the needs of those developing countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The Fund will be guided by the principles and provisions of the Convention.”

This fund to which Obama intends to funnel $3 billion in U.S. taxpayer money lists among its board members Ziqian Liang, the deputy director general of the International Department of the Ministry of Finance of the People’s Republic of China. It also lists as board members Ayman Shasly, and international policies consultant with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia; and Jorge Ferrer Rodriquez, a minister counsellor with the Multilateral Affairs and International Law General Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba.

“We cannot forget the need to lead on the global fight against climate change,” Obama said in his speech at the University of Queensland.

“Here in the Asia Pacific, nobody has more at stake when it comes to thinking about and then acting on climate change,” Obama said. “Here, a climate that increases in temperature will mean more extreme and frequent storms, more flooding, rising seas that submerge Pacific islands.  Here in Australia, it means longer droughts, more wildfires.  The incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threated.  Worldwide, this past summer was the hottest on record.  No nation is immune, and every nation has a responsibility to do its part.”

Obama called on younger people to become climate change activists.

“But let me say, particularly again to the young people here:  Combating climate change cannot be the work of governments alone,” Obama said. “Citizens, especially the next generation, you have to keep raising your voices, because you deserve to live your lives in a world that is cleaner and that is healthier and that is sustainable.  But that is not going to happen unless you are heard.”

The Associated Press cited former U.S. Sen. Tim Wirth who said that he did not believe Obama could get the $3 billion to give to this U.N. fund without the approval of Congress.

The AP reported: “It wasn't immediately clear where Obama planned to find the money. Sen. Timothy Wirth, vice chairman of the United Nations Foundation and a politician who has been on both House and Senate budget committees, said he doesn't see how the Obama administration can get the money without approval from a Republican Congress, which he said is unlikely to happen.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, who is the senior member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued a statement criticizing Obama’s pledge.

"President Obama’s pledge to give unelected bureaucrats at the U.N. $3 billion for climate change initiatives is an unfortunate decision to not listen to voters in this most recent election cycle,” Inhofe said. “His climate change spending priorities, estimated to be $120 billion since the beginning of his administration, were on the ballot, and Americans spoke.

“The President’s climate change agenda has only siphoned precious taxpayer dollars away from the real problems facing the American people,” said Inhofe. “In a new Congress, I will be working with my colleagues to reset the misguided priorities of Washington in the past six years. This includes getting our nation’s debt under control, securing proper equipment and training to protect our men and women in uniform, and repairing our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges. These are the realistic priorities of today.”


Luxemburg crook 'sacks' EU scientific adviser over her pro-GM views

Jean-Claude is widely believed to have facilitated dodgy tax avoidance deals while he was Prime Minister of Luxemburg.  He is under investigation over it

Jean-Claude Juncker fired Professor Anne Glover on Thursday as part of his plans to allow countries to ban GM crops even if scientific advice says the technology is safe.

“It’s a sad day for science, policy, politics and the public in Europe,” said Professor Colin Blakemore and the University of London.

Dr Roberto Bertollini, Chief Scientist and World Health Organization representative to the EU, attacked a decision that shows Mr Juncker’s “unwillingness to accept independent scientific opinion”.

“Ideology and vested interests continue to dominate the public debate in Europe and elsewhere irrespective of the attempts to bring knowledge and science based advice in the picture,” he said.

Mr Juncker’s final decision to sack Prof Glover came after France made it clear to him that her opinions on GM technology were unacceptable and that the post should be scrapped.

“She’s controversial because of her views on GM. Juncker doesn’t like the idea of GM crops being approved by the EU on scientific grounds. Even worse, she had upset the French,’ said an EU source.

As the former prime minister of Luxembourg, a country that along with France, Austria, Greece and Hungary, that has banned, and is opposed, to the use of GM crops on political grounds, Mr Juncker's personal views are well known.

On taking the post as commission president, despite opposition from David Cameron, the Prime Minister, Mr Juncker has announced plans to review EU rules on authorising biotechnology in order to allow countries to ban their use.

Mr Juncker has also come under intense pressure from France, MEPs, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and lobby groups to abolish Professor Glover’s post because of her views.

“The current chief scientific adviser presented one-sided, partial opinions on the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture, repeatedly claiming that there was a scientific consensus about their safety,” said a letter in July signed by Greenpeace and other green groups.

“We hope that you as the incoming commission president will decide not to nominate a chief scientific adviser.”

Last September, Mrs Glover incensed anti-GM countries, such as Mr Juncker’s Luxembourg, by telling a Scottish scientific conference that there was “not a single piece of scientific evidence” to support bans of biotechnology on safety grounds.

“No other foodstuff has been so thoroughly investigated as GM,” she said. “Opposition to GM, and the benefits it can bring, is a form of madness I don’t understand.”

Julie Girling, a Conservative MEP, accused Mr Juncker on going back on a commitment that Prof Glover’s job was safe that he had given to a meeting in the European Parliament in July.

“I fear Mr Juncker has caved in to the green lobby. They have been very vociferous,” she said. “He has reneged on promises he gave to us.”

Britain’s farmers have condemned Mr Juncker decision as “deeply troubling”.

“At a time when we need to address serious concerns around food security, energy security and the collective EU response to the threat of climate change; it is deeply concerning that the voice of science should be stifled,” said Meurig Raymond, the president of the National Farmers Union.

A spokesman for Mr Juncker denied that Mrs Glover had been sacked on political grounds.

“The post automatically ended with the old commission,” she said. “He is keen on having good quality scientific advice but he has yet to make up his mind how to organise it.”

Greenpeace have welcomed Mr Juncker’s decision to axe the post and claimed that Prof Glover had “ended up hindering” the provision of “wide-ranging and transparent scientific advice”.

“This is not about being for or against issues like GM food, contentious chemicals, nanotechnology or climate change,” said Marco Contiero, Greenpeace’s EU agriculture policy director.


Is Julie Borlaug a disgrace to her grandfather?

During her presentation at the Bayer CropScience Corn and Soybean Future Forum Julie Borlaug told the audience they are not doing a good job of communicating what they are doing to the broad general consuming audience. That raised a few eyebrows.

What she suggests is making message more personal and not so polarizing as we sometimes see with the GMO debate as a good example. Activists are using emotion to make their points and I think we need to get emotion in our messaging too. That doesn’t exclude including scientific information.

Mischa Popoff comments:

What??? Where does Julie Borlaug get off telling people they’re not doing a good job of communicating?

She’s the one who fails to speak out against tax-subsidized organic activists who want GMOs to be banned.

She’s the one who thinks the organic industry shouldn’t be criticized even though her grandfather openly criticized anyone who rejected science in agriculture!

And worst of all, Julie Borlaug let President Obama off the hook when he wrote a lukewarm letter of support for the science of genetic engineering without clearing up where he stands on GMO banning and labeling campaigns. Julie just let him off the hook! She didn’t ask him to clarify his comments, and in fact supported him in his calculated indecision.

Thomas Edison never “engaged” with the public over how great the light bulb was. The only reason people like Borlaug want to blame farmers is because she’s done such a horrible job of defending this new science from attacks launched by tax-funded organic activists. And why? Because she’s reluctant to offend organic activists. But sometimes being right requires offending those who are wrong.

Who seems to be winning the debate long term?

It’s impossible to say. Sure, we won Colorado and Oregon… but Oregon is already home to the 6th county in America to ban GMOs. Meanwhile, we lost Maui last Tuesday, and Vermont was a huge loss earlier in the year.

And however things go at the ballot box, remember that things were going great for DDT back in the 1960s. Rachel Carson never called for DDT to be banned. And yet in 1972 it was banned, resulting in over 1 million deaths a year – mostly children under the age of 5 – from preventable diseases like malaria and dengue fever in the Third World.

This is one debate where you simply don’t know if you’re going to win or lose until you’re at the finish line.



Five current articles below

Despite opposition from Greens and farmers, NSW is pushing to get coal seam gas extraction up and running  -- as it already is in Qld

THE NSW Aboriginal Land Council will miss out on a ­series of valuable mining licences as part of the Baird government’s coal seam gas revamp.

Resources Minister ­Anthony Roberts announced plans last week to reopen the CSG industry, which has been beset by safety fears and ­community protests, in order to boost gas supplies and lower household bills.

As a first step, the government is cancelling 16 pending gas exploration applications put on ice during chief scientist Mary O’Kane’s study of the CSG industry and its extraction methods.

Six of those applications ­belong to the NSW Aboriginal Land Council and cover exploration for conventional petroleum gas deposits and possible CSG extraction sites in the state’s far west.

Land Council chairman Craig Cromelin said losing the applications was a blow to indigenous communities, who had hoped to secure a jobs and cash windfall through mining.

“We certainly think we’re being unfairly treated,” Mr Cromelin said.

“If Aboriginal people are going to break out of the ­dependency system that exists we’re going to have to be given an opportunity to prove that we can make a fist of businesses like gas extraction.”

The Land Council, which had appointed a gas industry partner to help develop its proposed mining projects, wants the government to reconsider its plan to scrap its six applications. It is prepared to accept a ban on CSG mining if it can proceed on the basis that it would mine gas using other methods.

A spokesman for Mr Roberts said the Land Council would be able to reapply, should the land where it wants to explore become available again under the state government’s new CSG regime, which is expected to be formalised next year.

“New areas of exploration will only be released after an assessment of economic environmental and social factors,” the spokesman said.


Australian uranium shipments planned for 2015 as India ramps up nuclear power

Greenies LOATHE uranium and try to stop Australia exporting it

The uranium industry is hoping to make trial shipments to India next year as the nation makes plans to move to 25 per cent nuclear power by 2050.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Indian leader Narendra Modi have discussed the supply of Australian uranium for India's nuclear power plants.

It follows their signing of a safeguards agreement in New Delhi in September, overturning a long-standing ban on uranium exports to the subcontinent.

In his address to federal parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi said he saw Australia as a major partner in his country's quest to boost electricity production and address climate change.

"(We seek) energy that does not cause our glaciers to melt," he said.  "Clean coal and gas, renewable energy and fuel for nuclear power."

The pair discussed energy security and what Mr Abbott called Australia's "readiness and willingness" to supply uranium to India for peaceful purposes.

"If all goes to plan, Australia will export uranium to India - under suitable safeguards ofcourse - because cleaner energy is one of the most important contributions that Australia can make to the wider world," Mr Abbott said.

The agreement is now being examined by the parliamentary treaties committee, which will close submissions on November 28.  There are also talks between officials on administrative arrangements.

Both the treaties process and the administrative arrangements must be finalised before Australian uranium producers can start exports to India.

Minerals Council uranium spokesman Daniel Zavattiero said the industry expected to start shipments next year.  "The industry position is things are moving okay," he said.  "We expect some point next year it will come into force and become operational, then we can start on shipments and sales."

Initial sales are expected to start on a small scale, but the outlook is strong.

The International Energy Agency estimates that while nuclear provides three per cent of India's power today, it will grow to 12 per cent by 2030 and 25 per cent in 2050.  India plans to invest $96 billion in nuclear plants to 2040, with 21 operating now, six under construction and 57 planned or proposed.  "It's very positive for us," Mr Zavattiero said.

The agreement stipulates India must only use the uranium for peaceful purposes that adhere to recognised international safety standards.  It is controversial because India has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty despite possessing an arsenal of atomic weapons.

Australia has the largest share of uranium resources in the world but currently exports only 8400 tonnes a year, valued at over $820 million.


Western Australia's EPA gives green light for new iron mine

The Green/Left loathe ALL mines, for some obscure reason

Western Australia's environmental watchdog has given Rio Tinto the green light for a new 70 million tonne a year iron ore mine in the Pilbara, amidst growing concern about a global supply glut.

The state's Environmental Protection Authority has awarded conditional approval to the greenfields Koodaideri mine and infrastructure proposal, which was submitted by Rio Tinto subsidiary Mount Bruce Mining.

If approved by the state's Minister for Environment Albert Jacob, the mine is expected to produce as much as 70 million tonnes per annum of iron ore for a mine life of 30 years, Rio's Pilbara division is on track to export around 270 million tonnes in the 2014 calendar year, so the new mine would contribute a meaningful amount to the company's production volumes as well as sustaining pressure on the region's smaller miners.

A sharp fall in the iron ore price this year to around $US78 a tonne has put serious pressure on junior Pilbara iron ore miners, many of which are struggling to break even and are blaming Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton for flooding the market and causing prices to crash.

The project is part of Rio's long-term plans to grow its Pilbara exports to 360 million tonnes per year, with seeds for the growth sewn in November 2013 when Rio revealed its "breakthrough pathway for iron ore expansion in Australia".

That pathway proposed to build cheaper brownfields expansions at mines such as Yandicoogina and West Angelas, and delay an investment decision on new, more expensive greenfields mines such as Koodaideri and Silvergrass.

The company said that an investment decision on Silvergrass has been deferred to the third quarter of 2014 and the earliest decision on the Koodaideri deposit has been postponed to 2016.

Rio has been approached for comment about whether the EPA verdict will alter its plans to hold off on a decision to develop the mine.

EPA chairman Dr Paul Vogel has set 14 conditions for the development of the mine and surrounding infrastructure including strict rehabilitation and offset requirements and the creation of an exclusion zone to protect local species. The proposal was first brought to the EPA in 2012 and was assessed under the authority's highest level of scrutiny.

Dr Vogel said Rio had actively sought to avoid, minimise and rehabilitate environmental impacts through the proposal's design and had conducted numerous studies to address issues raised in the public submissions. Five public and eleven agency submissions were received during the comment period. The proposal is now open to a two week public appeals period before going to the Minister for a final decision.


Chinese Premier came bearing gifts, Barack Obama just attacked Australia over global warming

WHO would have thought it?  A US president comes to Australia with the specific intention of damaging the Australian government politically on climate change, while a Chinese president comes here with nothing but gifts.

Xi Jinping’s accomplished, well-considered speech to parliament yesterday contained no references to climate change and no implicit criticism of Australia. After all, there are other forums for that issue, China is not committed to any carbon emissions targets and why would you go out of your way to embarrass your host?

The contrast with Barack Obama was staggering. More than that, Xi was charming, respectful and helpful to all Australians he mentioned. He completed the free-trade agreement, which is a big win for both countries. But more generally his speech was one of reassurance and reasonable ambition.

Xi touched on some of the ­issues important to him and his government: China would remain a nation of socialism with Chinese characteristics. But he presented these values in a way designed to soothe and reassure. More than that, the substance of his message was one of reassurance more generally to the whole Asia-Pacific ­region. China was a peaceful country, he said, and repeated. China had suffered bullying and ­oppression. It would not visit these indignities on other nations.

Given how robustly the Abbott government has backed Japan’s strategic re-emergence, and protested against Beijing’s declaration of an air defence identification zone around the disputed Senkaku/­Diaoyu islands, as well as declining recently to join, at least for now, China’s new infrastructure bank, many analysts in Washington and Australia had expected some overt display of Chinese displeasure.

But the Chinese seem to value their relationship with the Abbott government, certainly to the extent that they would not embarrass their host by emphasising disagreements. Of course, the Chinese are being nice to everyone at the moment, including the Americans and even the ­Japanese. The question remains whether this will be the character of Chinese attitudes into the future.

But when China is being nice, everyone breathes easy.


China, US deal on global warming a load of hot air

ALMOST everything you’re told about Barack Obama’s “breakthrough” deal with China on global warming is a con.  But, God, listen to the spin.

President Obama told ecstatic students in Brisbane on Saturday that last week’s deal to limit carbon dioxide emissions would help save our Great Barrier Reef and “I want that there 50 years from now”.

Greens leader Christine Milne insisted it showed the Prime Minister Tony Abbott “is completely out of step with the rest of the world”.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it recognised “human activity is already changing the world’s climate system”, and “we most certainly need to address climate change as the presidents of China and the United States have done”.

Red China was going green, agreed the warmist ABC, since “the most concrete target is to have 20 per cent of China’s energy produced from renewable sources by 2030”.

Hear all that?  Every claim is actually false, fake or overblown, as so often with the global warming scare.  Here are the five biggest falsehoods told about this “breakthrough”.

First, Labor is wrong: this deal proves nothing about global warming. In fact, there has still been no warming of the atmosphere for 16 years, contrary to almost every prediction.

Forget the excuse that the missing heat is hiding in the deep ocean. NASA researchers last month said a new study had found the “waters of Earth’s deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005”.

Nor, incidentally, have we seen the biennial bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef predicted in 1999 by Australian alarmist Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Second, this is not a real deal.  China, already the world’s biggest emitter, is actually promising little more than what it always planned — to let emissions keep soaring until 2030 as it makes its people richer.  China will cap its emissions only in 2030 — the never-never — when its electricity supply is deployed and its population is set to plummet.

In exchange, Obama promises to cut US emissions by 26 per cent of 2005 levels by 2025.  But Obama’s term ends in two years and the Republicans who now control Congress say they’ll try to block his deal.  Republican Mitch McConnell, the new majority leader in the Senate, said he was “particularly distressed by the deal”, which “requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years”.

And, to add to the phoniness, the deal is neither binding nor enforceable.

Third falsehood? No, this deal doesn’t show the Abbott Government is out of step.  The Government’s own planned cuts to emissions — 5 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020 — are not wildly behind the US ones over a similar time span.

If anyone is out of step it’s Labor, since China and the US plan to cut their emissions not with a Labor-style carbon tax but with Liberal-style direct action policies.

Fourth falsehood: China did not promise to get 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, as many journalists report.

The deal instead says that 20 per cent will come from “non-fossil fuels”, which in China’s case includes nuclear power.  Indeed, China plans to have at least five times more nuclear power by 2030, with Sun Qin, chairman of the China National Nuclear Corp, confirming earlier this year that “nuclear plants will play an important role in … raising the proportion of energy produced by non-fossil fuel”.

And the fifth falsehood?  The Greens and Labor don’t actually want us to follow the lead of the US and China at all.  Not when it comes to how those promises are meant to be delivered.

That’s because most of America’s cuts to emissions come from fracking, a technique that has given the US huge new supplies of natural gas, cheaper than coal and more greenhouse-friendly. But the Greens vehemently oppose fracking, and Labor wants it restricted.

As for China, it plans to have much of its non-fossil power supplied by nuclear plants and controversial dams like the massive Three Gorges project.  But, again, Labor and the Greens oppose nuclear power and fight new dams.

So without fracking, new dams or nuclear power, how could Australia possibly match the US and China?  How, given wind power is too unreliable and solar hideously expensive?

So what a con you’re being sold.  No, this isn’t a real deal.

To recap: China won’t cut emissions for another 16 years, and Congress will oppose Obama.  And reality check: Labor and the Greens actually oppose the technologies the US and China most rely upon to cut emissions.

Oh, and still the planet refuses to warm, for all Obama’s happy yammer. 



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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, 2014

The Democrats’ climate change agenda is a loser

President Obama’s climate change policy played a key role in the midterm elections and helped Republicans take control of the Senate.

Obama emphasized the elections were about his policies saying, “Make no mistake, these policies are on the ballot, every single one of them.” Judging by the results his climate change agenda got trounced.

Obama’s refusal to approve the Keystone XL pipeline hurt the re-election prospects for three term Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA). After failing to fight off two Republican challengers on November 4, Landrieu must face Representative Bill Cassidy in a runoff on December 6.

Most damaging to the Democrats, however, was voter push back against Obama’s war on coal.

Obama’s anti-coal policies have devastated the coal mining industry resulting in bankrupting two companies and thousands of job losses in the coal dependent states of Kentucky and West Virginia.

Riding the pro-coal wave propelled Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell over competitor Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and Republican Representative Shelly Moore Capito over Democrat Natalie Tennant in West Virginia. Both Republicans tied Obama’s anti-coal policies to their opponents.

McConnell got significant support in the coal mining region of Kentucky. According to the Associated Press, McConnell received an eight-fold increase in votes from the eastern part of the state this election compared to 2008 — 64,000 vs 8,000, respectively.

While McConnell’s pro-coal vote was impressive, nothing compares to West Virginia where Obama’s war on coal is responsible for the fundamental transformation of the political makeup of West Virginia.

The transformation in West Virginia did not end with the historic election of Capito. Obama’s anti-coal policies also resulted in a GOP pick up of two seats in the House of Representatives and a change in the state government.

Not only did Capito trounce Tennant in the open seat vacated by retiring Democrat Jay Rockefeller, she became the first female Senator from the state and the first Republican Senator in half a century.

In the House of Representatives, Republican Alex Mooney beat Democrat Nick Casey in Capito’s former Congressional district and even more significant Evan Jenkins beat Democrat Nick Joe Rahall who held the seat for almost 40 years.

As a result, for the first time since 1922 the entire West Virginia delegation is Republican.

The gains in the state government were equally impressive. The state’s House of Delegates Democrats lost 19 seats and now it’s controlled by Republicans - 1933 was the last time that happened.

The West Virginia Senate is also now controlled by Republicans. After the loss of seven Democrat seats the Senate was tied at 17 each but after Daniel Hall switched parties the Republicans had a one seat advantage.

The Republican wave was so strong in West Virginia it was rumored that Democrat Joe Manchin was considering switching to the GOP but his spokesman denied that claim stating Manchin will remain a Democrat.


Climate change and the left

The left has fallen head over heels in love with global warming ideology

by Lord Donoughue (Donoughue was often prominent in the Labour Party in his earlier years)

The issue of why the political left is overwhelmingly supportive of the climate change alarmist ideology/faith, and hence there are relatively few left wing sceptics, is quite complex and would take more space and time than I intend to impose on you here. But may I, as a lifelong Labour supporter, offer a couple of broad observations. They are by no means comprehensive and omit many nuances. But they are major general factors which I have observed in the party for 61 years, and in Parliament for almost 30 years.

First is that most leftish British people get politically involved because they genuinely believe they wish to contribute to the common good in our society. (They tend to believe , rightly or wrongly, that the right wing wishes to contribute to their own individual or class good). At first this drew many to sympathise with Marxist ideology, until the Soviets discredited that. More sympathised and many still do with the social democratic ideals of equality and civil liberty, though that position lacks the ideological certainties and claimed scientific basis of old Marxism.

With the collapse of Marxism, there was created a vacuum on the left. Those seeking an ideological faith to cling on to for moral certainty, felt bereft. They also wanted a faith which again gave them a feeling of still pursuing the common good of society, especially the new global society, and even more a feeling of moral superiority, which is a characteristic of many middle and professional types on the left. Climate change and the moral common good of saving the planet, with its claimed scientific certainties, offered to fill the vacuum. It may or may not be a coincidence that the climate change faith gained momentum in the 1990s immediately after Marxism collapsed with the Berlin Wall.

I notice that my Labour colleagues who are troubled by the cost of the war on climate change, and especially when I point out that its costs fall heavily on the poorer classes, while its financial benefits go to rich landowners and individuals on the Climate Change Committee, still won't face those facts because they want to cling on to the new climate faith because they want to believe it is in the common good. They are not bad or stupid people. Many are better and cleverer than me. But they have a need for a faith which they believe is for the global good. They don't want a moral vacuum. And the current leaders of the social democratic parties in Britain and Europe are not offering them much else. For Ed Miliband, who is not a bad or stupid man, but coming from a Marxist heritage, when asked for more vision, he grasps climate change like a drowning man clasping a lifebelt.

While this need persists and there persists the misconception that the Green faith is somehow leftish and in pursuit of the common good, then most on the political left will stay with it. To shake them it will be necessary to show them that the costs of implementing climate alarmism will actually destroy the economic hopes of the poor and is often a cynical device to enrich the wealthy. That it enables self righteous middle class posturers to parade their assumed moral superiority at the expense of the poor. And that it's so-called scientific certainties are very uncertain indeed. It is also necessary for the sceptical and realistic side to show more publicly that they accept the proven aspects of climate change (which every sceptic I know does) and care about the genuine concerns of the environment (which the Greens ignore by littering our landscapes with inefficient and costly windmills.)

My second point concerns the Stalinist tactics of the Green activists in trying to suppress any questioning of their dogmatic faith and to damage the lives and careers of any professional person who attempts to examine this subject in an honest way which might undermine their dogmatic claims. Their use of Holocaust language such as 'Denier', implying their target is akin to a neo Nazi, is but one example of the Stalinist mentality. In that political context, where any questioner is so derided, it is no surprise that most Labour supporters choose not to take the risk - especially when it immediately throws them into confrontation with their embattled leader.

Sorry to go on so long. But they are my observational conclusions on why it is not easy for the sceptical side to make progress on the political left. Interestingly, polls suggest it is among Labour working classes, always more practical than our Hampstead/Guardian types, that there is the biggest dissent from the Green religion - and some of them are already slipping off to UKIP, which shows more concern for their suffering under the Green taxes.

This battle to bring understanding to Labour that its climate policies punish its core supporters, will take a while to win, partly for the two reasons I offer above.


Climate “Deniers” Must Be Jailed or Killed (!)

Fascist Robert Kennedy, full of anger and hate

We have frequently noted in these pages that the environmental movement has a number of extremist elements that are anti-civilization in their outlook and have a very mean authoritarian streak. Among other things we have frequently cited the fact that many from the authoritarian Left have drifted into this (and other) movements after their sugar daddy in Moscow expired with the fall of the Soviet Union. However, this extremism is now increasingly going mainstream. After the earth’s climate has stopped warming for 18 years running (plus one month) in spite of atmospheric CO2 rising by one third over the same period, many apparently think the best course would be to shut up critics by force.

Let us first define the people who are on the receiving end of the derogatory “denier” term (it is derogatory because it reminds of the term “holocaust denier” and it is clear that this is the reason it was picked). None of them “deny” that the climate is changing. It would be a foolish thing to assert, given that the climate has always changed and always will. The scientists who try to debunk climate alarmism are simply not alarmist.

The vast bulk of them concedes that human activity likely has some influence on the planet’s climate, but they believe that there is no certainty about the size of this influence, and whether CO2 (which the alarmists have declared to be the main “climate forcing” agent) really has all that much to do with it. The paleoclimate record clearly suggests that this is not the case, as CO2 increases in the atmosphere have always followed warming periods with a considerable lag and not led them in a single instance. Moreover, the historical climate record – almost regardless of how far back one looks – shows that the earth’s climate has frequently been far warmer than today, long before anyone thought of burning fossil fuels.

In short, the skeptical argument boils down to: we do not know enough to indict human activity. Much of what we observe could simply be natural variation. Therefore, we should think twice before we take actions that threaten to destroy economic growth and ultimately industrial civilization. By now a powerful record of evidence is backing the skeptics up. Alarmists have invented 52 different excuses over just the past half year or so as to why their “predictive computer models” have failed to predict the “pause” – or why, indeed, they have failed to predict anything at all (the latest, and probably funniest excuse yet, is that they “could have predicted it if they had a time machine and could go back into the past”).

Again, it is important to remember here: not a single alarmist prediction made since the late 1970s has come true – not one. However, alarmism sells: it sells newspapers, it is loved by the political class, as it justifies ever greater government interference in the economy, and it is therefore the source of a huge gravy train of scientific grants. Many scientists try to be as alarmist as possible for this very reason: it keeps the grant money flowing. When they think no-one’s looking, they admit to each other what a “travesty” it all is (their words, from the “Climategate” e-mails).

Indeed, there is travesty galore. For instance, supposedly scientifically neutral government-owned agencies have repeatedly been caught falsifying past temperature records (here is a recent example, but there are many more as a quick Google search reveals) – and always with the same outcome: to make the most recent warming period look much worse than it really was.

Last time we wrote on this topic we mentioned efforts to “remove the Holocene from the climate record” (i.e., the fairly recent past since the end of the last ice age) – it is clear why: the modern warming period looks like an unimpressive dimple at the lower end of the temperature range on the chart.

Meet the soon-to-be-excised Holocene. Allegedly human-induced “catastrophic warming” is in the tiny green box to the right so as to help you spot it

It should be pointed out that not even the alarmists deny any of the data we mention above (otherwise there wouldn’t be a scramble to explain and if possible downplay the significance of the “pause”). We would also like to stress that just because someone is a member of what could be broadly termed the “alarmist camp”, it certainly doesn’t mean they are not doing serious scientific work. Skeptics spend a great deal of time studying everything that is published by the mainstream and there are many areas of agreement.

The problem as we see it is only that the worst of the alarmists have developed a “gatekeeper” function at scientific journals, trying to suppress all research that contradicts their claims and that they enjoy a monopoly on the media echo chamber, which is incessantly used to propagate the most ludicrous claims. Even worse, the government-mandated switch to “green energy” already has serious negative economic ramifications in several European countries, most notably Germany (a “disaster”) and Great Britain (a “fiasco”).

However, in light of the fact that the “global warming” meme appears to be collapsing on the hard rocks of reality, authoritarians apparently feel the time to hold back is over and are frequently coming out of the closet of late.

Skeptics Must be Silenced by All Means – Killing Them is OK Too

We all know that skeptics have been smeared for many years as being in the employ of industrial polluters. This was always a lie, but it is clear that skeptics are largely excluded from government funding (i.e., they do not receive money that is forcibly extracted from tax payers), so much of the little funding they get presumably does come from the private sector – but the claim that they are funded by ‘polluters’ is a lie. What we didn’t know is that the smear campaign is a coordinated project that was started in 1991 by Al Gore’s senate office; a recent paper reviews the damning evidence.

Smears about funding are one thing though – demands to jail or kill skeptics are a significant step up in rhetoric. First we came across something that we thought reflects the authoritarian mindset of the Left quite nicely. Australia’s government bureaucracy in the capital territory (ACT) has just approved government funding for a theater project with the rather unsubtle title “Kill Climate Deniers”. Here is an excerpt from the list of successful Arts Fund applicants:

2015 ACT Arts Fund successful applicants – Project Funding

The Project Funding round is offered once a year and presents the ACT community with the opportunity to propose one-off arts activities.

Successful 2015 Project Funding applicants were announced in September 2014. Below is a list of successful applicants by name in alphabetical order.

A Chorus of Women: $24,990 to assist with costs of performances of a community oratorio ‘A Passion for Peace’.

Art Song Canberra Inc: $6,713 to assist with costs of presenting art song concerts, classes and events.

Art Space: $15,600 to assist with costs of a creative development project with artists living with disability.

Aspen Island Theatre Company: $18,793 to assist with costs of the creative development of a new theatre work, ‘Kill Climate Deniers’.

As conservative columnist Andrew Bolt remarked:

“The Left is the natural home of the modern totalitarian – and of all those who feel entitled by their superior morality to act as savages. How does the ACT Government justify spending taxpayers’ money on a theater work entitled ”Kill Climate Deniers”?  What sane Government donates to a project urging others to kill fellow citizens, even as a “joke”? Are these people mad? The theater company says it’s not into actual killing, just “exploring” ways to get political change:

“We are not advocating the murder of carbon lobbyists! We are instead seeking to explore the question: What does it take to achieve political change in this society?” the company said.

You know, like killing. If I were thug enough to write a play with the title “Kill Climate Scientists” would I get a grant? Would the ABC rush to present my defense?”

This comes on the heels of the similarly unsubtle “no pressure” advertising campaign in Britain that was ultimately retracted.

However, the Left’s search for a “final solution” to the problem of skeptics is continuing. In March an article by Adam Weinstein was posted at “Gawker”, entitled “Arrest Climate Change Deniers”, in support of a previous jeremiad along similar lines by a professor of philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, one Lawrence Toricello. So if you say that 18 years of zero warming and 36 years of failing predictions by alarmists should give us pause and represent a good reason to rethink the entire alarmist argument, you are “criminally negligent” and should be jailed for daring to air your dissent. Interestingly, already the first two sentences of the article are baseless assertions/lies:

“Man-made climate change happens . Man-made climate change kills a lot of people. It’s going to kill a lot more. We have laws on the books to punish anyone whose lies contribute to people’s deaths. It’s time to punish the climate-change liars.”

Even though, for rather obvious reasons, they don’t call it “global warming” anymore, that is what they mean by “man-made climate change”. The fact of the matter is however that regardless of what caused the most recent warming period, it has stopped. So it would be correct to write: “if there actually is man-made climate change, it isn’t happening anymore”.

The claim that it “kills a lot of people” is so ludicrous it seems hardly deserving of comment, but allow us just to point out here the obvious basic fact that something that is not happening cannot “kill” anyone. Even if the warming period had continued, this claim would be nonsense.

It seems very difficult to assert that the Roman and medieval warm periods (both were much warmer than today) “killed a lot of people”, as they were actually periods when human civilization flourished nicely. By contrast, it is an apodictic certainty that the “little ice age” after the medieval warming period did kill a lot of people, as there were serious harvest failures all over the world.

Anyway, who cares about such pesky facts? We must arrest and jail the “deniers”! But you are graciously allowed to remain a “simple skeptic”. Adam Weinstein will presumably draw up a plan of how to distinguish between “simple skeptics” and “harmless men in the street” and those he thinks are “dangerous deniers” that need to be jailed. Note his condescension toward the common man who is evidently too stupid to understand the Weinstein-approved truth. Such condescension is a typical attribute of leftist authoritarians:

“Those denialists should face jail. They should face fines. They should face lawsuits from the classes of people whose lives and livelihoods are most threatened by denialist tactics.

Let’s make a clear distinction here: I’m not talking about the man on the street who thinks Rush Limbaugh is right, and climate change is a socialist United Nations conspiracy foisted by a Muslim U.S. president on an unwitting public to erode its civil liberties.

You all know that man. That man is an idiot. He is too stupid to do anything other than choke the earth’s atmosphere a little more with his Mr. Pibb burps and his F-150’s gassy exhaust. Few of us believers in climate change can do much more—or less—than he can.

Nor am I talking about simple skeptics, particularly the scientists who must constantly hypo-test our existing assumptions about the world in order to check their accuracy. That is part and parcel of the important public policy discussion about what we do next.

But there is scientific skepticism… and there is a malicious, profiteering quietist agenda posturing as skepticism. There is uncertainty about whether man-made climate change can be stopped or reversed… and there is the body of purulent pundits, paid sponsors, and corporate grifters who exploit the smallest uncertainty at the edges of a settled science.

I’m talking about Rush and his multi-million-dollar ilk in the disinformation business. I’m talking about Americans for Prosperity and the businesses and billionaires who back its obfuscatory propaganda. I’m talking about public persons and organizations and corporations for whom denying a fundamental scientific fact is profitable, who encourage the acceleration of an anti-environment course of unregulated consumption and production that, frankly, will screw my son and your children and whatever progeny they manage to have. Those malcontents must be punished and stopped.”

So is it OK if we call Adam Weinstein and his ilk Climate Nazis? We actually think it is. As an aside, Weinstein also dredges up the “97% consensus” claim, which has been debunked so completely one should really be embarrassed to even mention it. Needless to say, science has never advanced by “consensus” anyway. Nearly all scientific discoveries in the history of mankind that have revolutionized our understanding of the world have faced massive resistance from the establishment status quo (from Galileo to the discoverer of plate tectonics, Alfred Wegener, who was disbelieved and denounced by the scientific community for a full 50 years).

Mr. Weinstein is by far not the only authoritarian Leftist who wants to jail climate skeptics. We have previously reported on humanity-hating eco-fascists like Finnish radical “activist” Pennti Linkola or UK scientist James Lovelock. The former simply wants to depopulate the planet and put all his surviving enemies into concentration camps and “re-education” gulags, while the latter thinks it is “time to put democracy on hold”, so that governments can cram his vision of what should be done down our throats by force. It is actually proper to call the leftist radicals advocating such tactics “eco-fascists” as well, because that is precisely what they are. After all, the socialist and fascist ideologies are really only two sides of the same authoritarian coin.

In late September, prominent environmental attorney Robert Kennedy jr. (a member of the Kennedy clan that is one of the “political dynasties” in the Land of the Free) also let his mask slip. As Charles W. Cooke reports on this “aspiring tyrant”:

“Blissfully unaware of how hot the irony burned, Robert Kennedy Jr. yesterday took to a public protest to rail avidly in favor of censorship. The United States government, Kennedy lamented in an interview with Climate Depot, is not permitted by law to “punish” or to imprison those who disagree with him — and this, he proposed, is a problem of existential proportions.

Were he to have his way, Kennedy admitted, he would cheer the prosecution of a host of “treasonous” figures — among them a number of unspecified “politicians”; those bêtes noires of the global Left, Kansas’s own Koch Brothers; “the oil industry and the Republican echo chamber”; and, for good measure, anybody else whose estimation of the threat posed by fossil fuels has provoked them into “selling out the public trust.” Those who contend that global warming “does not exist,” Kennedy claimed, are guilty of “a criminal offense — and they ought to be serving time for it.”

Cooke’s entire article is well worth reading. Here is one more excerpt in which he reminds Mr. Kennedy that once one decides to prohibit free speech in one area, there will soon no longer be any area that will be off-limits in justifying more such prohibitions.

“When Robert Kennedy contends that there ought to be “a law” with which the state “could punish” nonconformists, he is in effect inviting Washington, D.C., to establish itself as an oracle, to ensconce in aspic a set of approved facts, and to cast those who refuse to accede as heretics who must be hunted down and burned in the interest of the greater good.

As the blood-spattered history of the human race shows us in appalling and graphic detail, the wise response to the man who insists that the Holocaust did not happen, or that 2 + 2 = 5, or that the United States is geographically smaller than Sweden is to gently correct him — and, if one must, to mock or ignore or berate him, too. It is never — under any circumstances — to push him through the criminal-justice system. The cry “but this is different” remains in the case of climate change precisely what it has always been: the cry of the ambitious and the despotic. Once the principle of free speech is subordinated to expedience, circumstances can always be found to justify its suppression.”

We would note to this that not a single skeptic has as of yet called for the jailing or extermination of members of the Church of Global Warming – so even if we knew nothing about the underlying issues, we would find it easy to decide which group we’d rather support. Since we do know a little about the issues, it is an even easier decision.


Extreme Leftism among German Greens

The Green Party on Wednesday apologized to victims of sexual abuse for its support of paedophilic groups in the 1980s.

"We deeply regret these events that are included in our early party history," Green co-president Simone Peter said at the presentation of a report on the party's past.

An election platform from the Alternative Green Initiative List (AGIL), the Green party's predecessor, took on the interests of paedophiles by suggesting that sex with minors should be decriminalised, providing the sex was free from violence or the threat of violence.

The document was brought to light during the election of 2013, as it was one of the party's key candidates, Jürgen Tritten, then a student running for city hall, who had cosigned it.

Peter said her party should have owned up and apologized for their support before.

"We again apologize to all victims of sexual abuse who, through Green party debates in the 1980s were hurt and felt ridiculed," she said.

In their early days, the Greens sought out support by catering to minority interest groups as part of a "leftist liberalism" policy with roots in the 1960s.


Slavery Was The Norm In The Pre-hydrocarbon Era The Democrats Want Us To Go Back To Living In

During the pre fossil fuel era life was short and brutal and the main sources of energy were human and animal labor. Human slavery was the norm. In the post fossil fuel era life expectancy soared. Factories powered by fossil fuel produce our food, clothing and everything else we need, use, and want to make our lives better. Trucks, trains and large cargo ships powered by fossil fuel transport these products to our friendly neighborhood store or now (via FedEx or UPS) our very door step. Fossil fuel guzzling jets take a fraction of the time it did in the past to whisk us to far off lands or visit our families living hundreds of miles away. All of these wonders made possible by fossil fuel could come to an end however. Civilization could revert back to a pre fossil fuel era if the anti fossil fuel movement led by the Democrats prevail.

The Democrats tell you that modern civilization can run on wind, solar and other alternative sources of energy that will “save the earth” from evil polluting fossil fuel carbon (aka CO2) emissions. What they don’t tell you is that alternative sources of energy like wind and solar are fossil fuel guzzling sources of energy thus will not reduce carbon “polluting” emissions.

The Democrats also fail to disclose the fact Wind and Solar produce less power during their life time than it takes to produce, use and dispose of them.

“Prieto is not alone in reaching such sobering conclusions. A 2013 Stanford University report, for example, calculated that global photovoltaic industry now requires more electricity to make silicon wafers and solar troughs than it actually produces in return. Since 2000 the industry consumed 75 per cent more energy than it put onto the grid and all during its manufacturing and installation process.” What is ironic is that if the Democrats were really interested in a fossil free world Nuclear power and Hydro power would provide the answer which, of-course, they are against.

The other elephant in the room is the inconsistency inherent in the Democrat’s anti-fossil fuel  ideology.  The Democrats claim to be the saviors of the poor when without cheap energy from fossil fuel civilization will revert back to human and animal labor as the main sources of energy when slavery was the norm. The bottom line is the Democrats preferred alternative to fossil fuel cannot support modern civilization.

What is even more nutty is the Democrats like Nancy Pelosi seem to believe they can get rid of fossil fuel while at the same time providing people free health care that will allow them the opportunity to not work for a living. Pelosi regarding the benefits of Obamacare  “Think of the economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or, eh, a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance”  Earth to the Democrats if you really believe people don’t have to work for a living, can get free health care and all other sorts of free stuff from the government why are you at the same time for driving up the cost of energy to the point it is unaffordable?  Why are you supporting wind and solar that are fossil fuel dependent BIG CARBON FOOTPRINT sources of energy that use more energy than they make? Are you insane?


Australia: Queensland government determined to get big coal mining project off the ground

Greenie pressure on banks means that finance for such projects is hard to get so the State government is going to come to the party

Come hell, high-water or - worse - lack of private investment, the Queensland government is going to make sure the Galilee Basin is "open for business".

In his excitement at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit on Sunday, Premier Campbell Newman pre-empted Monday's big announcement that the state government would be prepared to fund the infrastructure needed to get the Galilee Basin projects happening.

"We'll be saying, if necessary, we'll be prepared to invest in infrastructure, core infrastructure, common-use infrastructure, we'll be making the case that we are prepared to do that to get this going," he said on Sunday morning.

"The role of the government, given the financial situation we face these days, the role would be to make targeted investments to help get something going and then within a few years time exit those investments so the private sector can then get on with it, but I stress, open to all comers - we just want a new coal resource basin to be opened up."

Climate change and the need to take carbon emission reduction more seriously may have hijacked the G20 agenda, but privately, Tony Abbott reportedly repeated Australia's commitment to coal, an attitude Mr Newman echoes.

The government sees the Galilee Basin as key to turning around the state's economy.  Gas projects initiated under the previous Labor governments are transitioning from the construction to production phase and shedding jobs at a rapid rate.

Mr Newman has said previously he wanted to see preliminary works on the Galilee Basin projects, the most significant of which is the Indian company Adani's Carmichael mine, set to be the largest coal mine in Australia, begin early next year.

So far the private sector has had issues securing the funding needed to begin work.  Mr Newman has not said how the government would fund the infrastructure or whether it would be part of its asset sales agenda.

But the announcement has already created ripples.  Director of Energy Resource Studies Australasia at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), Tim Buckley, said it was a financially irresponsible decision, and labelled the Galilee Basin projects "unviable".  "Many would consider this a Government simply pissing taxpayers' money up against the wall," he said in a statement.

"The people of Queensland and Australia should be outraged at this idea of questionable politicians spending many billions of tax payer dollars to make an unviable, unwanted and dangerous mega coal project a reality.

"The Galilee coal projects are totally commercially unviable. Any project undertaken is highly likely to end up as a stranded fossil fuel asset as the rest of the world rapidly transitions to lower carbon solutions. Coal has entered structural decline – there is no two ways about that fact."

Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters labelled it a bad decision, for both the environment and economy.  "Not only is this environmentally disastrous, it's economically insane, especially when you're spending the state's public wealth," she said.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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17 November, 2014


Seven current articles below, including Mr Obama's latest effusion

University of Qld preaches Warmism

They think that you learn critical thinking by absorbing warmist dogma, not by criticizing it.  Course outline below.  It's clear that climate skepticism has got them rattled.  It's an EDx (online) course -- which makes it difficult to ask questions and answer back.  The University of Qld is one of the homes of "Mr. 97%" -- psychologist John Cook.  

In my years doing psychological research I grew accustomed to finding conclusions in the work of my colleagues that were  at variance with what they actually found.  And Mr Cook's work does not disappoint.  As you see below, the take-home message of his study was that "97% of climate scientists conclude humans are causing global warming".  What he actually found however was that two thirds of the academic publications he surveyed "expressed no position" on warming, probably suggesting that many of the writers disagreed with it.  Disagreeing with it explicitly is perilous for a scientist these days

There are also other serious problems with the Cook study and its conclusions

The fact that UQ students are being taught the sort of deceptive nonsense below goes a long way towards explaining why Obama got a rapturous response from some UQ students when he gave a Warmist speech there

Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

Climate change is real, so why the controversy and debate? Learn to make sense of the science and to respond to climate change denial.

About this Course

In public discussions, climate change is a highly controversial topic. However, in the scientific community, there is little controversy with 97% of climate scientists concluding humans are causing global warming.

Why the gap between the public and scientists?

What are the psychological and social drivers of the rejection of the scientific consensus?

How has climate denial influenced public perceptions and attitudes towards climate change?

This course examines the science of climate science denial.

We will look at the most common climate myths from “global warming stopped in 1998” to “global warming is caused by the sun” to “climate impacts are nothing to worry about.”

We’ll find out what lessons are to be learnt from past climate change as well as better understand how climate models predict future climate impacts. You’ll learn both the science of climate change and the techniques used to distort the science.

With every myth we debunk, you’ll learn the critical thinking needed to identify the fallacies associated with the myth. Finally, armed with all this knowledge, you’ll learn the psychology of misinformation. This will equip you to effectively respond to climate misinformation and debunk myths.


Green Obama in Australia

He knows how to sound good to the ill-informed, as Leftists usually do.  It's their stock in trade.  Doing good is however usually beyond them

U.S. President Barack Obama gave a landmark speech at the G20 Summit on Saturday where his call for immediate action to protect the Great Barrier Reef was met with rousing applause.

Conservationists have claimed that the U.S. President's urging should force industrialisation along the Queensland coast to stop immediately.

Mr Obama piled pressure on the Abbott government to act on climate change, declaring that natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef were under direct threat from climate change.

And although Prime Minister Tony Abbott did not mention climate change in his opening address to G20 leaders, it appears the government may be backing down on the eve of the main leaders' event.

The U.S. President said today that no country was immune to the effects of climate change and that everyone must play a role in fighting the global phenomena.

'I want my daughters to be able to come back and I want them to be able to bring their daughters or sons to visit, he told an audience at the University of Queensland to loud applause.  'I want that there 50 years from now.'

Despite the official G20 agenda excluding the issue of climate change, President Obama mirrored the concerns raised by protesters outside the venue in South Brisbane, calling for developed nations to join in the 'global fight'.

While the Australian government attempted to keep the focus of the Asia-Pacific leaders summit on economic growth and jobs, Mr Obama steered the focus back to climate change, following the U.S. deal with China to slash emissions.

The U.S. President also urged younger Australians to put pressure on politicians to take action on the issue and committed $US3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to aid developing nations to assist with initiating economies that were cleaner-fueled.

Japan is also expected to unveil a $US1.5 billion contribution to the fund over the G20 summit weekend.  Civil society groups are urging Australia to make its own contribution.

President Obama's speech to several hundred lucky students was one of the hottest items on the G20 agenda, and he didn't disappoint

The Australian Marine Conservation Society said the US president had put the reef's future front and centre, and the government must stop paying lip service to serious concerns raised by UNESCO, the UN's environmental arm.

UNESCO has given Australia until February to show it is properly managing the Barrier Reef, and if the world body is not satisfied with the response, the reef could be listed as a World Heritage site 'in danger'.

Felicity Wishart, spokeswoman for the Marine Conservation Society said that it was time for the Federal and Queensland governments to 'take heed and act decisively.'

She claimed that the government had attempted to 'placate concerns by whitewashing international consternation such as that expressed by UNESCO and the World Heritage committee.'

Ms Wishart said that in order to reverse the trend, 'our governments must stop the rapid industrialisation of the coastline, driven primarily by plans for increased coal mining.'

President Obama also issued a stark warning to Russia over the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and pleaded for the world to act on climate change.

President Obama told the audience that Russian aggression was a 'threat' to the world

In the address, the president also urged the world to seal a global deal on climate change, 'because I have not had time to visit the Great Barrier Reef,' Mr Obama said, to a roar of laughter. 'And I want to come back!'

The president also acknowledged Australia has had a 'healthy debate' about action to stop climate change but he said that if China and the United States could strike a deal on the global threat - as they did earlier this week: 'We can get this done.'

After the address, Australian political bigwigs seemed to transform into political groupies, delighting in receiving a handshake from the president as he left the room.


Obama a Peking lame-duck president

Piers Akerman

IT doesn’t take much to fool the hopey-wishy media, as the announcement of a ­non-binding agreement between the US and China on global ­warming has so clearly demonstrated.

Labor and the Greens were also there, sucked in and trying to exploit the empty pledge to wedge the Abbott government on its Direct Action emission ­reduction plan.

Stripped of the pretentious verbiage, the announcement merely states that the US and China have a non-binding intention to cut C02 emissions.

The Chinese have made a Peking duck out of the lame-duck US President Barack Obama — who was resoundingly rejected by American voters at last week’s midterm ­elections.

Reader Alan M. Jones put the Obama administration’s non-binding intention “to achieve an economy-wide target of reducing emissions by 26 per cent to 28 per cent” by 2025 into perspective.

He found that the US ­reduction target, based on its peak 2005 emissions baseline of 6112 million tonnes per year, if achieved, would bring US C02 emissions to about 4523 million tonnes by 2025, or to about 5318 million tonnes by 2020, or in other words about 11 per cent below 2000 US levels of 5971 million tonnes.

Owing to a combination of sluggish economic growth under the Obama presidency and the huge ­uptake of domestic gas, the US had already dropped to almost exactly that level (5383 million tonnes) by 2012.

China’s non-binding ­intention to reduce emissions from 2030 is equally laughable.

By contrast, the Abbott government has won ­binding legislation that will see Australia reduce its C02 emissions by 2020 by 5 per cent below its low 2000 ­levels, unconditionally, or 13 per cent below its similarly relatively high 2005 C02 output.

While Labor, the Greens and their media friends at the ABC and Fairfax Media have tried to beat up on the Coalition, the authoritative US journal The Hill reports from Washington that senior Republican, Senator James Inhofe, who will head the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee next year, says China can’t be expected to hold up its end of the bargain.

“It’s hollow and not ­believable for China to claim it will shift 20 per cent of its energy to non-fossil fuels by 2030, and a promise to peak its carbon emissions only ­allows the world’s largest economy to buy time,” ­Inhofe said. “China builds a coal-fired power plant every 10 days, is the largest ­importer of coal in the world, and has no known ­reserves of natural gas.

“This deal is a non-­binding charade.”

China accounted for more than 70 per cent of the world’s energy consumption growth in 2011, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, and not ­unnaturally, its emissions have risen correspondingly.

China’s chief negotiator at the Doha climate change conference, Xie Zhenhua, told the Xinhua news agency that the country’s greenhouse gas emissions — which rose 171 per cent between 2000 and 2011, and by just under 10 per cent last year — would keep rising until its per capita GDP had reached $20,000 to $25,000. It currently stands at $5000.

Taking anything the ­Chinese say at face value is risky though, as the left-wingers’ bible The Guardian ­acknowledged in its report on the non-binding deal.

The paper reported that “China’s environmental authorities are notoriously opaque, making the true extent of its carbon emissions — and its progress in mitigating them — difficult to assess. In June, scientists from China, Britain and the US reviewed data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics and found that the country’s total emissions from 1997 to 2010 may be 20 per cent (1.4 billion tonnes) higher than reported.”

While a raft of NGOs ­palpitate over Australia’s role in supplying the energy that has lifted thousands of millions out of poverty in China and elsewhere, left-wing organisations rail against C02, the tasteless, odourless gas that is ­essential to plant growth and is boosting crop ­production globally.

One of Australia’s largest food producers, the Costa group, which is expanding its Guyra tomato-growing glasshouse complex and increasing its employees to about 470, generates about 1800 tonnes of C02 a year by burning propane to keep the glasshouses at a constant temperature. This C02 is ­indispensable to the growth of Costa’s tomatoes, as it is to all forms of plant life, though green-left vegetarians won’t recognise this fact.

What the luvvies like is the vibe of the empty statement. As Fairfax’s rapidly shrinking print organs ­wistfully reported, “symbolism is the most potent ­element”, as if there was some ­substance in the hot air erupting from Beijing.

With global warming alarmists unable to explain the pause in rising temperature, the failure of the IPCC to present any new data in its most recent report, and the hollowness of the ­commitment made by the world’s two biggest economies, Labor and the Greens have again shown ­themselves to be out of touch with reality.


Warmists rely on outdated data

Michael Asten, a professor of geophysics, points to inconvenient data that the IPCC has left out

THE climate lobby will be working the corridors of the G20 ­meeting in Brisbane this weekend, using the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Synthesis Report and Climate Council ­commentary.

Curiously, neither has updated the underlying observational ­science relating to climate change; the figures are subsets from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, where data and literature review stops at 2012. Observational data and climate model predictions are presented separately, concealing the uncomfortable truth of the global temperature ­hiatus, which challenges the fundamental ­assumptions of the models. It is a challenge that gets stronger every year as increasing atmospheric CO2 content is unmatched by predicted temperature increase.

How would Joe Hockey fare if he went to the G20 with economic data that was two years out of date?

While scientists published in top journals treat the temperature hiatus as fact, activists still deny its existence. Thus the Climate Council (once a proud group of government-­funded scientists in the Climate Commission, now a privately funded lobby group) claims, “Myth: The Earth has stopped warming since 1998”. Use of the word warming is imprecise, being interpreted as “temperature” or “heat content” dep­ending on the argument of the moment.

The “heat content” approach hypothesised that warming of the deep oceans was compensating for lack of global surface warming. This has been studied in a series of important papers, most recently by William Llovel and co-workers at the California Institute of Technology who used quantitative observations of global ocean mass and temperature profiles to show that the deep ocean has in fact cooled slightly in the past decade.

Failure to include this in updated assessments by the IPCC and Climate Council is inexcusable.

The hiatus in temperature can also be studied using smoothed averages. Both the Synthesis Report and the Climate Council report use old plots that show a steady rise in smoothed temperature to 2010.

Yet NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies’ global temperature graphs are updated monthly, show five-year averages, are publicly available on the internet and show average temperatures peaked in 2004 and show a decline for the following eight years. Since similar declines in global temperature occurred in 1880-1910 and 1950-75, it is reasonable to ask whether the present apparent decline is historically unusual, and why our government science advisers ­persist in the view that steady increases in atmospheric CO2 are the major driver of such changes.

If a downward trend in global temperature is confirmed in the next decade, it will be no surprise — at least three recent peer­-eviewed papers predict that — but such views are not even hinted at in the IPCC or Climate Council reviews of possible scenarios.

The dichotomy between observational data and models is similarly marked with sea-level data of the past 120 years. The rate of rise across the past century is 1.7mm a year and has increased to about 3.2mm a year across the past 20 years. The data shows that the fast 3.2mm a year rate of rise has occurred twice in historic times (around 1860-80 and 1930-50). The IPCC modelling studies of sea level rise to 2100 show up to 80cm of total rise by 2100, increasing from the present 3.2 to a predicted huge 15mm a year. These projections have immense economic and community importance, as they have been supplied to government and planning bodies for consideration of restrictions on coastal land development.

Given we have 20 years of over­lapping precise satellite ­alti­meter-observed data and the mod­els, we should have been given comparisons between sea-level data and model predictions, and assessment of any evidence for acceleration of the rate of rise in the first sixth of this century. Yet neither the IPCC nor the Climate Council, or the publicly funded CSIRO on its website, even admits the existence of recent data such as that by Anny Cazenave and co-workers at the Geophysical and Oceanography Laboratory, Toulouse, which shows that from 1994 to 2011 the rate of observed rise in global sea level decreased from 3.5 to 2.5mm a year.

It is of great concern that bodies meant to provide scientific advice are unable to admit that observations show the rate of sea level rise going in the opposite direction to predictions for the first 15 per cent of the model time span.

If Australian politicians get shirt-fronted at the G20 on climate change, they should insist on briefings on recent observational data and its implications for climate model predictions before committing taxpayer dollars to the $100 billion a year UN-led Green Climate Fund.


Save that tree!  Too bad if your house burns down

Typical Greenie disregard for people

Almost all NSW's coastal land from one end of the state to the other is affected by the controversial 10/50 bushfire clearing laws, a never-before-seen map drawn up by the NSW Rural Fire Service shows.

The laws allow people living near bushfire prone areas to remove trees within 10 metres of their house without seeking any approval, leading to concerns the green light would be given to lopping trees in sought-after suburbs.

The map, which the RFS told the NSW parliament in August did not exist, was obtained by Greens MP David Shoebridge after a Freedom of Information battle with the fire agency.

Mr Shoebridge said it shows how much land is affected by the new laws.

"The potential reach of the 10/50 laws is far greater than previously thought," Mr Shoebridge said.

"The chainsaws are loose in the third of the state where almost everybody lives, it looks like this is just the starting point for the 10/50 laws."

A spokesman for the Rural Fire Service said that "much of the NSW coast has been identified by local councils as being bushfire prone land."

"However, it would be misleading to say that most of the coastline falls within a 10/50 entitlement area, as much of this area consists of national parks, public land and private land, on which there are no homes,"  the spokesman said.

The Sun-Herald reported in August widespread concerns that the new 10/50 bushfire laws were being abused by some landowners up and down the coast felling trees and shrubs for harbour views and development potential rather than reducing bushfire risks.

Councils and community groups have complained that trees have been disappearing overnight in some Sydney suburbs. Lane Cove residents Corrine Fisher and Gaye White have recorded the felling of 240 trees in their suburb since the introduction of the laws on August 1. Ms Fisher said of those maybe five were for bushfire safety reasons.

Ms Fisher said an added complication has been that the chip bark from the felled trees was being dumped or spread around the suburb, adding to the bush fire risk. "This is a complete and utter policy failure," she said.

The new laws were introduced to give people living near fire-prone category I or category II bushland the ability to increase their level of protection against fires, after the devastating blazes that destroyed more than 200 homes last year.

An investigation by The Sun-Herald into the 10/50 laws revealed that since the laws were introduced on August 1, trees were being stripped from areas from Palm Beach to Pittwater, Mosman and Sutherland Shire to improve views and property potential.

A critically endangered remnant rainforest has been being cleared on a property at Fingal Head on the north coast and tree-lopping companies advertised discount rates for streets banding together to clear unwanted trees. Concerned residents have said almost all the central coast appears to have been affected.

Fairfax Media reportedthis week that the trees on 92 per cent of Lake Macquarie properties south of Newcastle, could be removed if the new laws stayed.

After a public outcry, the RFS has agreed to review the laws and take submissions made by the public, councils and community groups. The spokesman said by the closing date they had already received more than 1200 submissions, which would be taken into consideration.

However, residents are calling for an immediate moratorium on the laws until the review has finished and are planning a protest outside the Premier Mike Baird's office on November 24.


Conservative NSW government puts NSW coal seam gas plan on table

Coal seam gas projects would be considered for Sydney's sensitive drinking water catchments and landholders will have no legal right to refuse drilling on their land under a state government plan for the controversial industry.

The government hopes the announcement will defuse community angst over coal seam gas mining ahead of the election next March. However voters will not be told where coal seam gas mining is allowed until after the election.

Announcing the plan on Thursday, NSW Nationals leader Troy Grant said coal seam gas was the "most polarising" issue facing the government. The plan would toughen regulation and take a more strategic and transparent approach to releasing land for gas exploration, including better science and data collection.

Resources and Energy Minister Anthony Roberts said the regime would secure the state's gas supplies and drive down prices.

There is a temporary ban on coal seam gas activity in Sydney's water catchment buffer zones known as "special areas". However under the new regime, coal seam gas operations anywhere in water catchments would be considered.

The position is at odds with a 2009 promise by then opposition leader Barry O'Farrell, who said a Liberal-National government would "ensure that mining cannot occur in any water catchment area. No ifs, no buts. A guarantee".

The government said it had adopted the 16 recommendations of NSW Chief Scientist Mary O'Kane's landmark report into the industry, including rigorous enforcement, improved communication and better compensation for landholders and communities.

A new assessment framework will determine which areas are open for gas exploration, considering economic, environmental and social factors. It will not be in place until mid-2015.

Mr Grant said the government would only allow operations "where it is safe and appropriate" and all national parks and urban areas will be protected.

Coal seam gas operators Santos and AGL have agreed not to enter properties to drill without landholder consent, but the deal is not legally binding. The government's new plan does not enshrine a veto right in legislation.

However, the government will require gas companies to negotiate land access arrangements and pay compensation to landholders.

The government will extinguish 16 pending petroleum licence applications covering 43 per cent of the state, and continue a freeze on new licence applications.

The Environment Protection Authority will assume responsibility for enforcement and compliance. Existing coal seam gas projects, such as those at Camden, Gloucester and the Pilliga, will not be subject to the stricter rules. 

The Greens and Labor both claimed the plan gave the green light to the coal seam gas industry, and questioned the government's claim that Professor O'Kane's recommendations had been fully implemented.

AGL welcomed the plan, saying it acknowledged the need to secure the state's gas supplies. Santos warned the announcement must not slow existing projects.

Protect Sydney's Water Alliance spokeswoman Isabel McIntosh said coal seam gas mining can have unintended results, and the industry must be permanently barred from water catchments.


Vic Libs preference Greens last: Napthine

This refers to an important peculiarity of the Australian electoral system that non-Australians are unlikely to understand immediately:

THE Liberals will preference the Greens last in all lower house seats in the upcoming Victorian election, Premier Denis Napthine says.

DR Napthine said the Greens were bad for the economy and bad for Victoria.  "The Greens will threaten the future of our strong economy," he told reporters on Thursday.  "They will destroy jobs and put Victorian families at risk."

Dr Napthine was unclear on whether this would mean the Liberals would preference the Greens higher than controversial parties such as Rise Up Australia.

"We'll be putting the Greens last in lower house seats, and we'll be reserving judgment in the upper house," he said.  "In most cases, we'll be putting the Greens last."

Victorians go to the polls on November 29.

Dr Napthine said it was not known who all the candidates are yet, and when asked about Rise Up Australia, said: "We've got to see where they've got candidates".  "We will put the Greens last as a general rule."  "If there's extremist candidates we will consider putting them below the Greens."

The Greens say they had already assumed they wouldn't get the preferences.  "The fact is many inner city Liberal voters ignore the how-to-vote card and preference Green anyway," the party said.

Labor has already shunned a formal preference deal with the Greens.



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16 November, 2014

China Vows To Begin Aggressively Falsifying Air Pollution Numbers

The Onion has got it pretty right

BEIJING—Acknowledging the industrialized nation’s role in global climate change, China reportedly reached a landmark agreement with the United States Wednesday, pledging to significantly increase the rate at which it falsifies air pollution data over the next 15 years.

“As the world’s leading manufacturer and a rising global economy, we consider it our responsibility to begin taking aggressive measures to fabricate pollution statistics and openly misinform the rest of the world about our level of carbon emissions,” said Chinese president Xi Jinping during a joint press conference with U.S. president Barack Obama, noting that, while China has already taken steps to misrepresent its air quality, it will steadily expand its current deception and begin distorting data in a variety of new sectors, such as grossly overstating its level of investment in solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources.

“China is strongly committed to the goal of claiming its greenhouse gas output has been cut in half by 2030. We will work tirelessly to exaggerate, manipulate, and in many cases flat-out lie about the amount of pollutants Chinese factories and energy plants release into the atmosphere. That is our unwavering pledge.”

At press time, Chinese officials announced that the country had already met its goal.


The Inconvenient Truth About the U.S.-China Emissions Deal: It’s Meaningless

It's a desperate grasp for relevance from a Lame Duck president

On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a “joint announcement on climate change” in which each country made pledges about how they intend to handle future emissions of their greenhouse gases. The announcement was hailed by most environmental groups and much of the media as “historic,” a “breakthrough, and a “game-changer.” Careful parsing of the text’s diplomatic jargon suggests that the joint announcement is, in fact, none of those.

To understand the nebulous nature of the announcement, don’t focus first on the promised trajectories of future greenhouse gas emissions by both countries. Instead consider the loopholes. For example, this bit of climate change diplomatic arcana in which the two countries promise to work together “to adopt a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties at the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris in 2015.”

That convoluted phraseology was hammered out at as a compromise at the 2011 Durban climate conference. The European Union was strongly insisting that the U.N. climate conferees commit to “a protocol or other legal instrument” as the ultimate goal for a comprehensive global treaty in 2015. Why? Because that exact language had earlier propelled the agreement to the Kyoto Protocol that established the only legally binding emissions reduction targets on any countries.

China and India, however, objected and sought to water down the language by including “or an agreed outcome with legal force.” The Chinese and Indians evidently believe that that phraseology suggests whatever climate negotiations do achieve by 2015, the result will be that they still will have fewer obligations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions than will rich developing countries.

But what about the phrase, “applicable to all Parties?” At Durban, the United States insisted that in any future climate agreement “legal parity” must apply to big emerging economies like China, India, and Brazil. That means that they would be bound to cut their emissions in the same way that industrialized countries are. If the China, India, and Brazil will not accept legally binding targets, then neither would the United States.

The joint announcement, most likely at the insistence of China, also reaffirmed “the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances” enshrined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. China has consistently interpreted that principle as meaning that countries that were rich and developed in 1992 when the Convention was adopted are obligated to cut their emissions, while countries that were then poor are not.

What about the actual emissions pledges? The joint announcement states that the United States intends to achieve an economy-wide target of reducing its emissions by 26%-28% below its 2005 level in 2025 and to make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28%. Additionally, China intends to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 and to make best efforts to peak early and intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20% by 2030. The crucial word here is “intends.” It is clear that the announcement is not meant to create any new obligations.

While China declared that its carbon dioxide emission (not greenhouse gases) will peak by 2030, the announcement said nothing about the level at which they will peak. So at what level might China’s emissions peak? Assuming the recent 3% annual increase in China’s carbon dioxide continues for the next 16 years, emissions would reach 16 gigatons by 2030.

In 2005, the U.S. emitted the equivalent of 7.26 gigatons of carbon dioxide. So cutting emissions by 28% by 2025 implies emissions of 5.23 gigatons in 2025, which is about the amount that the U.S. emitted in 1992. Assuming that Chinese emissions did peak in 2030, the country could by then be emitting three times more than the U.S.

Looking at the previously announced energy and climate policies of both the U.S. and China, the new pledges appear to add little to their existing plans to reduce their emissions. The new Obama pledges basically track the reductions that would result from the administration’s plan to boost automobile fuel economy standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 and the Environmental Protection Agency’s new scheme to cut by 2030 the carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants by 30% below their 2005 level.

Xi was no doubt aware that a week earlier an analysis of demographic, urbanization, and industrial trends by Chinese Academy of Social Science had predicted that China’s emissions peak would occur between 2025 and 2040.

Supporters hope that the joint announcement is the prelude to a “great leap forward” to a broad and binding global climate change agreement at Paris in 2015. Perhaps, but the U.S. and China left themselves plenty of room to step back if their pledges become inconvenient.


Congress considers Keystone XL as Louisiana hangs in balance

Who would have guessed that the November 4 election results would break the logjam on an issue that pits North American energy independence and radical environmentalists determined to stop the use of fossil fuels?

Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana did not lose on election day, but she also did not win.  Due to Louisiana’s unique jungle election system, the state has a run-off on December 6 that will determine whether Landrieu maintains her seat.

While most political pundits are predicting Landrieu’s political demise, Senate Democrats are desperate to retain the seat.  They are so desperate that they plan to bring up a vote on the Senate floor on legislation directing that the Keystone XL pipeline be completed.

Why Keystone?

Louisiana is an energy producing state, and the pipeline from Canada has come to symbolize the Obama Administration’s war on energy.  Landrieu’s entire campaign has revolved around her supposed clout as Chairman of the key Committee handling energy issues.  The multi-year failure of the Obama Administration to approve what was initially seen as a simple request, and Landrieu’s inability to have any influence over that decision has decimated the legitimacy of Landrieu’s claim to power.

Now, with her career on the line, Senate Democrats are attempting to restore her illusion of influence.

Countering the Senate action, House Republicans are moving forward with legislation sponsored by Cassidy that will authorize the project.

After years of Obama Administration delays, it now appears that the project’s approval will be on the President’s desk before Thanksgiving.

The only question that will remain is whether Obama values Landrieu’s place in the Senate more than he values his place at Al Gore’s table.

Senate Democrats should watch Obama’s actions warily.  Nothing could be more dangerous for an elected Member of Congress than a lame duck President who proves that he doesn’t care about their political needs while he recklessly seeks a legacy based upon Executive Orders and Constitutional disregard.

Should Obama veto the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline it will send an unmistakable notice to every sitting Democrat that they should trust and follow Obama over the next two years at their own risk.

It may just turn out that Mary Landrieu becomes the poster Senator for the dangers of getting to close to the self-absorbed Obama presidency.


The abiotic oil theory gets a boost

The fact that oilwells these days go as far a 7 miles down shows that oil is not a fossil fuel.  7 miles is way below levels at which fossils are found

Last week new NASA photographs proved methane lakes exist on Saturn's moon, Titan, showing that such hydrocarbons (or so-called 'fossil fuels') are seemingly plentiful in our solar system. Cassini passes Saturn This startling discovery turns on its head the long-held western belief that petroleum is a limited resource, because it is primarily derived (we had been told) from the fossilized remains of dead dinosaurs and rotted carbon-based vegetation.

But with that notion now exploded in the article 'NASA Finds Lakes of Hydrocarbons on Saturn's Moon, Titan' thanks to NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, energy scientists are now compelled to admit that petroleum oil is, in fact, substantially mineral in origin and occuring all through the galaxies.

Two Years ago it was reported that the Max Planck Institute, Germany have discovered that the Horse Head Nebula galaxy in the Orion constellation contains a vast field of hydrocarbon (see 'Top German Scientists Discover 'Fossil Fuel' in the Stars').

As such, long-held fears about Earth's shrinking 'fossil fuel' reserves may be bogus. These important new cosmological discoveries come coincidentally at a time when huge succeses in American oil drilling technology ('frakking') are bringing a glut of oil onto the energy markets, causing a slide in global oil prices. Fresh oil reserves are being struck all over - some miles beneath the oceans, where Dino the dinosaur never roamed.

As we reported (November 08, 2014) NASA's new evidence supports previously controversial Russian claims that ‘fossil’ fuel theory is junk science.  No wonder skepticism of the wide-ranging Green Agenda grows and serious doubts are rising as to whether humans need to divest themselves of the supposedly fast-diminishing energy source after all.

Bodies of credible, independent western scientists, collaborating and collating their findings via the internet through fledgling organisations such as Principia Scientific International are calling for a re-assessment of over 2,000 eastern European peer-reviewed science papers on the issue, previously ignored by western governments, state-funded universities and the mainstream media.

For decades Russian scientists have known that the fossil fuel theory is bogus and have compellingly demonstrated that petroleum is derived from highly compressed mineral deposits deep beneath the surface. But the most startling consequence to these findings is that oil is a constant renewable regenerating in nature.

Since the Middle East oil crisis of the 1970’s gasoline suppliers have stoked media fears that our planet’s reserves are fast in decline. The term ‘peak oil’ was coined and we were told ‘fossil fuels’ would have to become increasingly more expensive as our insatiable appetite drank this ‘finite’ liquid energy source dry. Are we talking conspiracy theory or well-intentioned, but misguided group think that limits to our industrial expansion were essential if we were to tackle 'peak oil' and fears over man-made global warming (which has been stalled for a generation).

Let's be in no doubt, the emergence of group think about our 'carbon footprint' (dare we call it, propaganda) suited the long-term interests of the oil industry and western governments. 'Big Oil' has benefited from being told by academics that their resource was precious and limited (putting upward pressure on prices). Tax-raising governments are being increasingly taken to task for encouraging (through generous research grants) sympathetic academics to get on board to build a consensus on these inter-related but evidentially weak scientific theories.

Repositioning Theory as Fact

For decades the terms ‘peak oil’ and ‘fossil fuels’ have been synonymous. They imply we are inexorably faced with diminishing natural resources and the days of cheap carbon-based energy are gone. Supplanted in the public consciousness as real we grew to accept the inevitable coming of ever-higher energy prices as a consequence of our energy-reliant, consumer lifestyle.

Journalists gleaned their own ‘evidence’ for such an apocalyptic narrative from bleak books such as James Howard Kunstler’s ‘The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century’ and Richard Heinberg’s ‘The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies’ among others and the public were sold on the fears.

Constantly fed a diet of this garbage our collective unconsciousness unwittingly allowed the repositioning of Hubbert's Theory of Peak Oil into fossil fuel fact.

As a consequence, in 2005, Congressional Representative Roscoe G. Bartlett, Republican of Maryland, and Senator Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat created the Congressional Peak Oil Caucus and at a stroke turned attention to debunking such 'limits to growth' fallacies.

Scientists who dissented from the (peer-reviewed) groupspeak were vilified or ignored. In the 1980’s distinguished British scientist, Sir Fred Hoyle FRS was one who tried and failed to expose the chicanery of proponents of the fossil fuel theory and diminishing world oil reserves. Hoyle, without the benefit of the worldwide web tried repeatedly to expose this flimflam,

"The suggestion that petroleum might have arisen from some transformation of squashed fish or biological detritus is surely the silliest notion to have been entertained by substantial numbers of persons over an extended period of time."

The English professor valiantly argued that oil is abiogenic (i.e. from mineral deposition) and cannot be a biotic (from fossils). Yet despite his eminent stature Hoyle’s sage insight gained him no media platform.

Along with Hoyle other western scientists refused to toe the politically correct line as evidenced in an increasing number of articles to redress the balance about petroleum economics. While several papers by Professor Michael C. Lynch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also exposed the myth of "oil exhaustion" and demonstrating the high-pressure genesis of petroleum. No media voice for them either.

Russia Becomes World Energy Superpower

Only in Russia, a nation that since the 1990's and fall of the Berlin Wall, has eschewed military supremacy to become a global economic superpower, did Hoyle’s and Lynch’s words find a welcome community of likeminded scientists. Indeed, outside of the English-speaking world there is no controversy and its common parlance that oil is a mineral, not a biological product and as such our planet has endless untapped reserves.

As a consequence of applying this knowledge Russia has gone from strength to strength astutely capitalising on its ‘liquid gold’ reserves. "I would describe the mindset right now among the Russian political elite as infused with 'petroconfidence',” So says Cliff Kupchan of the Eurasia Group, in an interview with the BBC.

Indeed, between 1951-2001, thousands of articles and many books and monographs were published mainly in the mainstream Russian scientific journals proving abiotic petroleum origins - all ignored by western governments and media. For example, leading expert V. A. Krayushkin has alone published more than two hundred fifty articles on modern petroleum geology, and several books.

Russian mineralogists, oil explorers and each successive government since the dark days of the former Soviet Union have been unalterably upbeat that they’ve ousted the ‘peak oil, fossil fuels’ nonsense. And who are we to argue - they’ve got the money in the bank to prove it.

As a result Russia is firmly ensconced as the world's second-largest oil exporter and is becoming so preeminent in the field of oil and gas exploration and innovation that the nation is set to usurp the U.S. not as a military force, but as the world’s energy superpower for the 21st century.

Oil – Our Greatest Natural Renewable Energy Source

Exploiting their cutting-edge technology Russia has successfully discovered numerous petroleum fields, a number of which produce either partly or entirely from a crystalline basement and which appears distinctly self-replenishing. Yes, you read that right – Russia enjoys the best naturally renewable energy source – petroleum! No billions wasted on wind farms, solar or wave white elephants here.

Indeed, to our former soviet cousins, the idea of ‘peak oil’ is laughable because, if they’re calculations are right, oil is the most bountiful, most efficient and cheapest renewable fuel and will last at least for many hundreds of years to come.

Disgruntled that the Russians have been allowed to take such a big lead the brightest and the best in the west are now using the blogosphere in helping to forge resurgence against the fossil fuel, peak oil myth. So says Daniel Yergin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power” and chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a company that advises governments and industry.

Yergin like others cites the compelling evidence that the MSM won’t show you; these anti-fossil fuel theorists cite alkanes, kerogens and many other petroleum related chemicals that have been found on meteorites – which we know can support no organic life and thus proving the lie of the fossil fuel theory.

Why are We Still Being Lied to?

Indeed, so lame has the fossil fuel theory become that even its most strident supporters are unable to muster the flimsiest of evidence for their position. In "The Abiotic Oil Controversy" key proponent of the abiotic (fossil) origin, Richard Heinberg admits his case is exposed as threadbare lamenting,

"Perhaps one day there will be general agreement that at least some oil is indeed abiotic. Maybe there are indeed deep methane belts twenty miles below the Earth’s surface.”

So scant is the evidence to support Heinberg and other western pro-fossil fuel theorists that in researching his article ‘The Evidence for Limitless Oil and Gas’ (Digital Journal), Bill Jencks reveals,

“I searched the internet including Google Scholar and there seems to be no 'absolute proof' or support from direct modern research for the Biogenic Theory of oil and gas formation. This theory -- for want of a better word -- seems to be greatly 'assumed' by geologists throughout geological research.”

Like me, Jencks found a mountain of evidence backing Russian claims. From the Joint Institute of the Physics of the Earth Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow we find incredible sources as revealed by A Dissertation by J.F. Kenney which condemns the outmoded 18th century “anarchaic hypothesis” that petroleum somehow (miraculously) evolved from biological detritus, and is accordingly limited in abundance.

Instead, the fossil fuels hypothesis has been replaced during the past forty years by the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins which has established that petroleum is a primordial material erupted from great depth. Kenney states,

“Therefore, petroleum abundances are limited by little more than the quantities of its constituents as were incorporated into the Earth at the time of its formation; and its availability depends upon technological development and exploration competence."

In a straight scientific shootout Peak Oil Theory vs Russian-Ukraine Modern Theory the Russians win hands down. But it remains a peculiar anachronism that there is no body of American or other English language peer review to verify or disprove the Russian science.

But why are we still being lied to? With such unwillingness to correct these intellectual failings it is little wonder that there is growing dissatisfaction among voters and thinkers in English-speaking nations and the EU. Those who study carefully the facts now reasonably conclude that beyond the media hard sell there is no energy crisis; the world has a plentiful supply of cheap renewable petroleum and another enviro-myth needs to be mercilessly culled.


Warmism as cargo cult science

Warmists sure crave that cargo

Richard Feynman was a theoretical physicist who shared in the 1965 Nobel prize for his mathematical formulations relating to sub-atomic particle interactions. He was for awhile a professor at Cornell; was offered a professorship at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Studies, where Einstein was a member of the faculty; but instead chose to take a position at sunny Caltech, where he was to do his greatest work. Perhaps you recall the stir Feynman caused when, as a member of the Roger Commission investigating the 1986 Challenger disaster, he performed his on-camera experiment demonstrating the fragility of the booster o-ring material at and below freezing temperatures. All he needed was a glass of ice water and a sample of the ring material to illustrate the folly of having launched the shuttle in sub-freezing temperatures – against the advice of engineers, by the way. Feynman died in 1988.

“Cargo cult science” is a term coined by Feynman in conjunction with his commencement address to the Caltech graduating class of 1974. His personal investigations into a number of popular paranormal fads, along with his considerations regarding “modern” theories of education and of criminal rehabilitation, led him to the following conclusion:

    "So we really ought to look into theories that don’t work, and science that isn’t science.

    I think the educational and psychological studies I mentioned are examples of what I would like to call cargo cult science. In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they’ve arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head to headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas — he’s the controller — and they wait for the airplanes to land. They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn’t work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they’re missing something essential, because the planes don’t land."

He goes on to explain wherein the problem lies:

    "… But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science… It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty — a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid — not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked — to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated."

I can only imagine what he might have to say about Al Gore and his “scientific consensus” regarding “global warming,” now recast as “climate change” since there seems to have been a pause in the “warming” bit. Today’s politics, and its deliberate misuse of “science” and “new studies,” seem to not permit, let alone reward, any sort of “utter honesty” or “leaning over backwards” when legislating law, administering policy, reporting the news, or while truth searching at university. Certainty is the watchword. Doubt verboten.

One seemingly unanswerable question is how much of this nonsense is really cargo-cultism, that is, ignorance, and how much is obfuscation or deliberate deception? Are the political, educational and punditry high priests and priestesses true believers? Or do they just perpetuate the myths to perpetuate themselves? Is there a way to tell? To distinguish between the cultists and those who are not? Would it make any difference if we could? Questions, I suppose, without answers.

Feynman may provide a bit of one possible answer when he cautions:

    "… Nature’s phenomena will agree or they’ll disagree with your theory. And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven’t tried to be very careful in this kind of work. And it’s this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in cargo cult science."

When it comes to cargo cult politics, such prudence seems in short supply. Fooling oneself is more likely par for this course.

The American electorate seems to have fashioned itself into two large political cargo cults. We have the forms – elections, representatives, courts – the appurtenances of democracy. But judging from the current economic chaos and its concomitant middle class angst, the dismay of conservatives, as well as what seems a perpetual leftist hostile rant, all we seem capable of is fashioning more form. More law, more regulation, more studies, more Congressional testimony… more, more, more. Is it time for less? Is it time to stop being fooled? Whether by ourselves or our cargo cult leaders? Who, in turn, may very well themselves be fooled?

Feynman concluded:

    "So I have just one wish for you — the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom." 

Do you? Do I? I certainly hope so. But I try not to fool myself and thus do I wonder.


The One Statistic Climate Catastrophists Don’t Want You to Know

If you ever get asked the vague but morally-charged question “Do you believe in climate change?” someone is trying to put something over on you.

Climate change is a constant of nature and everyone agrees that fossil fuels have some impact on our naturally variable, volatile, and often vicious climate.

The question is whether it will have a catastrophic impact—one so bad it justifies restricting the only practical way to get energy in the foreseeable future to the 3 billion people who have next to none of it: fossil fuels. (No country relies on the sun and wind for energy, but rich countries can afford to pay tens or hundreds of billions to install and accommodate allegedly virtuous wind turbines and solar panels on their grids.)

The real issue is climate catastrophe. I’m not a climate-change skeptic. I’m a climate catastrophe skeptic—and there’s one graph that shows why you should be, too.

No, it’s not showing temperatures have gone up half a degree in the 80 years we’ve used a lot of fossil fuels, which is barely more than they went up the prior 80 years. Nor does it show temperatures have flattened in the past eighteen years—while  the world’s leading climate catastrophists predicted dramatic, accelerating, runaway warming. Dr. James Hansen predicted that temperatures would increase between two-and-a-half and five degrees in 20 years!

 There is no intrinsically perfect global temperature and, if there was, we would expect it to be warmer. Until it became politically correct for temperature trends to warm, people around the world prayed for far more warming than we’ve experienced. There is no time in human history when it has been considered “too warm” for human beings.

What matters is: is the climate becoming more or less livable? The key statistic here, one that is unfortunately almost never mentioned, is “climate-related deaths.”

The best source I have found for this data is the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters International Disaster Database (OFDA/CRED EM-DAT), based in Brussels. It gathers data about disasters since 1900.

Here is a graph comparing CO2 emissions, the alleged climate danger, to the number of climate-related deaths, which reflects actual climate danger to humans. It’s striking—as CO2 emissions rise, climate-related deaths plunge.

Sources: Boden, Marland, Andres (2013); Etheridge et al. (1998); Keeling et al. (2001); MacFarling Meure et al. (2006); Merged IceCore Record Data, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; EM-DAT International Disaster DatabaseSources: Boden, Marland, Andres (2013); Etheridge et al. (1998); Keeling et al. (2001); MacFarling Meure et al. (2006); Merged IceCore Record Data, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; EM-DAT International Disaster Database

To make matters better, in reality the trend is even more dramatically downward, as before the 1970s many disasters went unreported. One big reason for this was lack of satellite data—we can now see the whole world, enabling us to track icecaps and disaster areas with relative ease. In 1950, if there was a disaster in the middle of what is now Bangladesh, would information have been accurately collected? In general, we can expect in more recent years, more deaths were recorded and in earlier years, fewer deaths were recorded. For some countries there is simply no good data, because in underdeveloped places like Haiti or Ethiopia we do not even know exactly how many people lived in a particular place before a disaster struck. Today we have much better information—and because disaster statistics are tied to aid, there is incentive to overreport.

And the more we dig into the data, the stronger the correlations get.

Here are a couple of striking numbers from the data: in the decade from 2004 to 2013, worldwide climate-related deaths (including droughts, floods, extreme temperatures, wildfires, and storms) plummeted to a level 88.6 percent below that of the peak decade, 1930 to 1939.2 The year 2013, with 29,404 reported deaths, had 99.4 percent fewer climate-related deaths than the historic record year of 1932, which had 5,073,283 reported deaths for the same category.3

That reduction occurred despite more complete reporting, an incentive to declare greater damage to gain more aid, and a massively growing population, particularly in vulnerable places like coastal areas, in recent times.

The climate catastrophists don’t want you to know this because it reveals how fundamentally flawed their viewpoint is. They treat the global climate system as a stable and safe place we make volatile and dangerous. In fact, the global climate system is naturally volatile and dangerous—we make it livable through development and technology—development and technology powered by the only form of cheap, reliable, scalable reliable energy that can make climate livable for 7 billion people.

As the climate-related death data show, there are some major benefits—namely, the power of fossil-fueled machines to build a durable civilization highly resilient to extreme heat, extreme cold, floods, storms, and so on. Why weren’t those mentioned in the discussion when we talked about storms like Sandy and Irene, even though anyone going through those storms was far more protected from them than he or she would have been a century ago?

I have debated representatives of the three leading environmental organizations in the world—Greenpeace, Sierra Club and—including’s Bill McKibben, the leading environmentalist in the world today—and every time, I have repeatedly mentioned the climate livability statistics. I raised it to Bill McKibben before I debated him and half a dozen times during my debate with him—he didn’t acknowledge it. He just called it “one number.” Yeah, one number, based on billions of empirical observations, that destroys billions of dollars worth of speculation.

Why? Because the dogma that man is ruining the planet rather than improving it is a religion, a source of prestige, and a career for too many people. But for the rest of us, the statistic climate catastrophists don’t want us to know is very, very good news.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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14 November, 2014

Western diets must be abandoned for vegetarianism or greenhouse gases will rise by 80%, experts warn

The medical journals are full of findings that red meat is bad for you.  Yet never before have Americans eaten more of it and never before have Americans lived so long.  So what gives? 

Before I answer that, let me mention another fact:  Australians  are big meat eaters too and yet the life expectancy of Australians is up there along with Japan and the Scandinavian countries.  In some reckonings, the Australian life expectancy is the longest of any national population.  And what is behind that statistic?  Nonagenarians.  There are an incredible number of people aged over 90 tottering around in Australia.  Most families include or have recently included one among their close relatives. 

So what food did those nonagenerians grow up on?  They grew up on a traditional British diet and still mostly eat that to this day.  It sounds (and was) unbelievably boring but every night they would sit down to fried meat of some sort, often steak.  And it would be fried in dripping -- i.e. beef fat --  and accompanied by boiled vegetables.  Lifespan is the ultimate test of any diet so plenty of beef and fat therefore stands thoroughly vindicated as a healthy diet.

So what are the medical journals blathering about?  The studies they rely on are epidemiological.  They report correlations of uncertain meaning  -- so the authors simply leap on the interpretation  that they like -- without proof.  I know of no double blind controlled study which shows significant ill-effects on lifespan from eating red meat.  Ancel Keys was the first to claim ill effects and his studies were very broadly epidemiological indeed.

So why do many medical researchers want to find that red meat is bad for you?  Elitism, Hubris.  They know they are smart and are sufficiently weak in character that they want to announce that far and wide. The humility preached by Jesus in Matthew chapter 6 is not for them.  And one way they can announce their superiority is by mocking and scorning anything that is popular.  And red meat is VERY popular.

And the Green/Left too are elitists.  They think they are so superior that they can and should tell the rest of us what to do and are prepared to use force to bring that about wherever they can.

So the article below is just another superiority claim

One notes that they have also slipped into their story one of the scarcity warnings that they so love.  According to the Green/Left, there is always something that we are in danger of running out of. Their claim that in future we may not have enough food for  everyone is as old as Thomas Malthus and Adolf Hitler's

The fact of course is that the whole trend in agricultural and other primary production has been towards greater abundance, even  food surpluses, which is why food has never been as cheap as it is now.  The Green/Left prefer theory to facts

A love of meat and sugary treats could be damaging the planet, as well as your health.

By 2050, experts predict that these so-called western diets, which are typically high in fats and oils, will cause greenhouse gas emissions to increase by 80 per cent.

If left unchecked, this could also lead to an extra billion hectares of habitat being destroyed to make way for the extra land needed for food production and agriculture.

‘Rising incomes and urbanisation are driving a global dietary transition in which traditional diets are replaced by diets higher in refined sugars, refined fats, oils and meats,’ explained ecologists Professor David Tilman and graduate student Matthew Clark from the University of Minnesota.

‘By 2050, these dietary trends will be a major contributor to an estimated 80 per cent increase in global agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from food production and to global land clearing.’

The researchers said these dietary shifts are also greatly increasing the number of cases of Type II diabetes, coronary heart disease and other chronic diseases that lower global life expectancies.

Their study, published in the journal Nature, analysed data on environmental costs of food production, diet trends, relationships between diet and health and population growth.

Between 1961 and 2009, the pair discovered that consumption of meat and calories per person rose in tandem with income.

Combining this with forecasts of population and income growth for the coming decades, the researchers showed diets in 2050 would contain fewer servings of fruits and vegetables, but 25 to 50 percent more pork, poultry, beef, dairy and eggs.

The study also used a computer model to see how changing from an omnivore diet to a typical Mediterranean, pescatarian or vegetarian alternative could make a difference.

Their {model] results show that these alternatives have the potential to reduce incidences of Type II diabetes by, on average, 27 per cent, cancer by about 10 per cent and heart disease deaths by about 20 per cent.

‘Alternative diets that offer substantial health benefits could, if widely adopted, reduce global agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, reduce land clearing and resultant species extinctions, and help prevent such diet-related chronic non-communicable diseases.

‘In particular, if the world were to adopt variations on three common diets health would be greatly increased at the same time global greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by an amount equal to the current greenhouse gas emissions of all cars, trucks, plans trains and ships.

‘This dietary shift would prevent the destruction of an area of tropical forests and savannas as large as half of the United States.’

The results back up the findings of a previous study from the University of Cambridge and University of Aberdeen that said eating less meat is 'essential' to ensure future demand for food can be met and 'dangerous' climate change avoided.

The study found food production alone could exceed targets for greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 if current trends continue.

Population growth and the global shift towards 'meat-heavy Western diets' has meant increasing agricultural yields will not meet projected food demands for an expected 9.6 billion world population in 30 years, according to the researchers 



In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG thinks he knows why China agreed to Obama's climate push

Host of G20 meeting in Australia  says jobs and growth, not climate, top of the  agenda

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has insisted jobs and economic growth, not "what might happen in 16 years' time" on climate change will be front and centre at the G20 summit in Brisbane, even as senior US officials said climate change was an issue for the global economy.

In an extraordinary statement, Mr Abbott, who last month said "coal is good for humanity" and would remain an "essential part of our economic future" in Australia and right around the world, argued "for Australia, I'm focusing not on what might happen in 16 years' time, I'm focusing on what we're doing now and we're not talking, we're acting" despite the long-ranging superpowers' climate deal.

In Washington, US State Department senior spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that at the G20 meeting "there will be a focus on economic issues and how we are co-ordinating with the global economy. Climate in our view is part of that".

In Beijing, analysts told Fairfax Media China was unlikely to push as hard as the US appeared to be doing to put climate talks on the G20 agenda.

The Prime Minister's comments came after the United States and China announced a deal that will see the US target an emissions cut of 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025 and as China pledged to cap growing carbon emissions by 2030.

The federal government's Direct Action policy, in contrast, mandates a 5 per cent cut in emissions by 2020 against 2000 levels, a target Mr Abbott said he was confident Australia would hit.

While Mr Abbott and his most senior ministers, including Joe Hockey and Julie Bishop, welcomed the US-China deal on Thursday,  they hosed down its immediate impact on Australia's post-2020 emissions reduction target, which is due to ne set in the first half of 2015.

Mr Abbott has resisted attempts to make climate change a high priority agenda item for the G20 summit of world leaders and Mr Hockey said climate change would only be "part of the agenda" while accusing companies who do not pay tax where they earn profits of committing "theft".

Mr Abbott said the US and China were the "two most significant countries and they're obviously the two biggest emitters" but said that at the APEC Beijing conference "climate change was hardly mentioned".

Forthcoming climate conferences in Lima and Paris would focus on the environment and he expected at the G20 "if other countries want to raise other subjects they're entirely welcome to do so but my focus, and I believe the principal focus, of the conference will be on growth and jobs".

In Washington, Ms Psaki said the US hoped the China climate deal would provide momentum for further international action and "I am certain in bilateral meetings the issue of climate, as we look to the Paris negotiations a year from now, will be a part of the agenda" at the G20.

The joint US-China announcement is seen as deft diplomacy by Chinese President Xi Jinping, with the deal seen as symbolically important, as China's economy has already begun shifting away from dirty coal and its 2030 target is not seen as overly ambitious.

Wang Tao, a Beijing-based climate change expert at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy, said the joint announcement was a "clear signal" that would have leverage and implications on potential negotiations around climate change at the G20.

"It's regrettable that Australia's scrapped the carbon tax and it's actually moving on the other direction from everyone else in the climate change negotiations," Dr Wang said.


Get Ready for Obama's Climate Offensive

After last week’s GOP election wave, Barack Obama is desperate to prove he’s still relevant. And when a narcissist gets desperate, well, look out. The president is set to issue a series of sweeping executive orders over the next few weeks, all meant to address allegedly man-made global warming – as some parts of the U.S. see record cold and snow fall.

Politico reports, “The coming rollout includes a Dec. 1 proposal by EPA to tighten limits on smog-causing ozone, which business groups say could be the costliest federal regulation of all time; a final rule Dec. 19 for clamping down on disposal of power plants' toxic coal ash; the Jan. 1 start date for a long-debated rule prohibiting states from polluting the air of their downwind neighbors; and a Jan. 8 deadline for issuing a final rule restricting greenhouse gas emissions from future power plants.

That last rule is a centerpiece of Obama’s most ambitious environmental effort, the big plan for combating climate change that he announced at Georgetown University in June 2013.”

Congressional Republicans may have little recourse beyond a fight over funding to stop the president, who is determined to crush the economy and shred the Constitution on the way to enacting his climate agenda.


Proposed Water Rule Could Put ‘Property Rights of Every American Entirely at the Mercy’ of EPA

It seems incredible, but a single missing word could turn a water law into a government land grab so horrendous even a U.S. Supreme Court justice warned it would “put the property rights of every American entirely at the mercy of Environmental Protection Agency employees.”

The missing word is “navigable.” The Obama administration is proposing a rule titled “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act,” which would strike “navigable” from American water law and redefine any piece of land that is wet at least part of the year, no matter how remote or isolated it may be from truly navigable waters, as “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS.

The proposed rule would provide EPA and the Corps of Engineers (as well as litigious environmental groups) with the power to dictate the land-use decisions of homeowners, small businesses and local communities throughout the United States. There would be virtually no limit to the federal government’s authority over private property.

The proposed rule has ignited a firestorm of protest. Agricultural and business interests, free-market think tanks, state agencies, attorneys general and governors have joined the “Ditch the Rule” movement and demanded it be withdrawn.

The Obama administration is conducting an aggressive shield campaign to downplay the proposed rule’s huge negative impacts and paint critics as opponents of clean water, shills for development interests or anything other than concerned citizens.

Obama’s own political shills for anti-development interests, such as Organizing for Action, Natural Resources Defense Council and Clean Water Action, are marching in lockstep with the agencies to discredit any opposition to the rule.

But recently, a group of 25 U.S. senators called out the Obama administration for misleading Americans on the proposed rule. In a scathing letter to the EPA and the Corps, the senators detailed the administration’s deceptions and bias:

EPA has attempted to delegitimize questions and concerns surrounding the proposed rule. Concerns are legitimate.
EPA and the Corps have blatantly misrepresented the impacts of increased Clean Water Act jurisdiction. The impacts are real.
EPA’s social media advocacy in favor of the proposed “Waters of the United States” rule prejudices the rulemaking process. It kills debate.

Affected parties are more credible in this battle than the administration. The American Farm Bureau started the “Ditch the Rule” movement with pictures that showed what the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers would regulate if the Waters of the United States rule takes effect: “wetlands” that are nothing more than low spots on a farm field, the decorative pond of a suburban home or even a vacant lot that the agency designates as possessing the requisite wetness.

If the farmer fills in low spots or the homeowner builds a child’s playhouse by the pond, or a business constructs a new office on the vacant lot or anyone touches any bureaucrat-designated “wetland” in any way, the EPA or Corps may order the owners to cease activity, restore original conditions and abandon any use of the property.

If the owners do not comply, they could be fined up to $75,000 per day—$37,500 for violating the rule and another $37,500 for violating the agency’s order. The property owner is blocked from going to court until sued by the agency, which could dawdle until fines have skyrocketed into the millions.

That’s no exaggeration.

It’s from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s concurring decision in the 2012 case of Michael and Chantell Sackett, an Idaho couple who placed fill material on their property to build their dream home and suffered exactly the outrageous treatment the justice described.

After failing in lower courts, the Sacketts finally won a Supreme Court ruling that they had the right to sue the EPA for exceeding the reach of the Clean Water Act. At least three other Supreme Court rulings have rejected parts of the administration’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act.

The Supreme Court trumps the president of the United States, and in this instance shares the concerns of the “Senate 25.” But none of the high court’s decisions answer the exact question: What is the reach of the Clean Water Act?

Therein lies the crux of the WOTUS menace: The reach of the Clean Water Act is notoriously unclear, and EPA and the Corps have kept it that way.

The Farm Bureau is particularly concerned by EPA’s refusal to answer direct questions such as, “Name three things that get wet, like roadside drainages, irrigation ditches, and livestock watering ponds, that would not be regulated by WOTUS.” Dead silence. And a permit to do anything in a designated “wetland” can cost upwards of $250,000.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses asserted in its official comments to the EPA, “The CWA is unconstitutionally vague because the regulated community cannot readily determine whether a given property is, or is not, a jurisdictional wetland.” The uncertainty helps the Obama shield campaign.

Two weeks before the Senate 25 called out the EPA, the attorneys general of 11 states and the governors of six states sent a similar letter to the EPA and the Corps.

“This rule should be withdrawn and replaced with a common-sense alternative that respects states’ primary responsibility over lands and waters within their borders while also giving land owners clear guidance,” the letter stated.

Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general and a leader in drafting the states’ letter, told The Daily Signal, “The proposed ‘WOTUS’ rule unlawfully and unconstitutionally asserts federal control over local water and land by needlessly replacing state and local land-use management with top-down, federal control.”

“Unlawful” and “unconstitutional” are not words attorneys general use lightly. When asked to size up the overall issue, Pruitt said, “The WOTUS rule appears to be another attempt by federal agencies to implement an agenda through regulations to affect land-use decisions that should be left to the states and private property owners.”

In September, the House passed bipartisan legislation, H.R. 5078, that prohibits the EPA and Corps from finalizing the WOTUS rule. A companion bill is stalled in the Senate.

With the coal industry overpowered, Obama’s rogue administration looks to have declared war on the rest of us.


Background briefing for climate teachers: false prophets and false prophecies from the cult of CO2 alarmism

What with a Nobel Peace Prize shared between the IPCC and Al Gore, and no end of awards presented by CO2 alarmists and their followers to one another, the casual observer is at risk of concluding that wise and distinguished people are leading the call for dramatic reductions in our CO2 emissions. The reality is that buffoons and charlatans, confidence tricksters and shallow opportunists, not to mention malevolent sociopaths, are in this odious vanguard. Dramatic threats of imminent doom, portentous language, terrifying imagery about what is going to happen to us are their stock in trade. A journalist has picked up on summaries of failed prophecies from such as the WUWT site, and in a recent article at The New American he notes:

'Warnings have been issued for many decades now regarding catastrophic climate change that forecasted certain trends or occurrences that we should already have witnessed. Yet such predictions have turned out to be very, very wrong. This was certainly the case with the alarmist predictions of the 1960s and ’70s that man’s activities on Earth were causing a catastrophic cooling trend that would bring on another ice age. And it is also the case with the more recent claims about catastrophic global warming. '

The examples he gives are listed below:

Global cooling – one of the eco-threats of the 1970s: FAIL (see the article for more details of each fail here and below)

Global warming – one of the eco-threats from the 1980s onwards: FAIL after FAIL after FAIL:

'In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that imminent sea-level rises, increased hurricanes, and desertification caused by “man-made global warming” would lead to massive population disruptions. '  FAIL

'In its final 2007 report, widely considered the “gospel” of “settled” climate “science,” the UN IPCC suggested that Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035 or sooner. ' FAIL

'Like the UN, the Pentagon commissioned a report on “climate change” that also offered some highly alarming visions of the future under “global warming.” The 2003 document, entitled “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security,” ...

By now, according to the “not implausible” scaremongering outlined in the report for a 10-year time period, the world should be a post-apocalyptic disaster zone. Among other outlandish scenarios envisioned in the report over the preceding decade: California flooded with inland seas, parts of the Netherlands “unlivable,” polar ice all but gone in the summers, and surging temperatures. Mass increases in hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters were supposed to be wreaking havoc across the globe, too. All of that would supposedly spark resource wars and all sorts of other horrors.' FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL

'For well over a decade now, climate alarmists have been claiming that snow would soon become a thing of the past. In March 2000, for example, “senior research scientist” David Viner, working at the time for the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, told the U.K. Independent that within “a few years,” snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event” in Britain. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he was quoted as claiming in the article, headlined “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” ' FAIL

'The IPCC has also been relentlessly hyping the snowless winter scare, along with gullible or agenda-driven politicians. In its 2001 Third Assessment Report, for example, the IPCC claimed “milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms. ' FAIL

'In 1988, Hansen was asked by journalist and author Rob Reiss how the “greenhouse effect’ would affect the neighborhood outside his window within 20 years (by 2008). “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water,” Hansen claimed. “And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change...There will be more police cars .... [since] you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.” In 1986, Hansen also predicted in congressional testimony that the Earth would be some two degrees warmer within 20 years. ' FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL

'Separately, another prominent alarmist, Princeton professor and lead UN IPCC author Michael Oppenheimer, made some dramatic predictions in 1990 while working as “chief scientist” for the Environmental Defense Fund. By 1995, he said then, the “greenhouse effect” would be “desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots.” By 1996, he added, the Platte River of Nebraska “would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers.” The situation would get so bad that “Mexican police will round up illegal American migrants surging into Mexico seeking work as field hands.” '  FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL

'Perhaps nowhere have the alarmists’ predictions been proven as wrong as at the Earth’s poles. In 2007, 2008, and 2009, Al Gore, the high priest for a movement described by critics as the “climate cult,’ publicly warned that the North Pole would be “ice-free” in the summer by around 2013 because of alleged “man-made global warming.” ' FAIL

'Even more embarrassing for the warmists have been trends in the Southern Hemisphere. Of course, all of the “climate models” and “climate experts” and “scientists” predicted that rising CO2 emissions would increase global temperatures, which would melt the ice in Antarctica - by far the largest mass of frozen H2O on the planet. ' FAIL

'In his second-term inaugural address, Obama also made some climate claims, saying: “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgement of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and powerful storms.” Ironically, all three of the examples he provided of what he called the “threat of climate change” actually discredit his argument. ' FAIL FAIL FAIL

The article, by journalist Alex Newman, concludes

'Few people would make an important decision based on next week’s weather forecast. When it comes to “climate,” though, the $360 billion-per-year climate establishment is telling humanity that civilization must be reorganized from top to bottom based on failed models purporting to make predictions decades and even centuries in advance. Flawed predictions aside, a great deal of evidence suggests accuracy or truth was never the intent — generating fear to seize more money and power was (and is). Many top alarmists have admitted as much, with some responding to the implosion of their theories with calls for censorship or, more extreme still, the imprisonment, re-education, and even execution of “climate deniers.” '

So, beware of what you are letting into your classroom should you be tempted to bow to the establishment pressure to promote acute alarm over our CO2 emissions. The case for alarm over these emissions is very weak (See for example the recent NIPCC reports). On the other hand, the case for alarm over those those who promote such alarm is very strong.


More "proof" that cooling proves warming

A fantasy by some Australian authors

GLOBAL warming could be making parts of the world colder. Yes, you read that right. Here’s why this is not a crazy thing to say.

There’s a strong outbreak of cold weather across parts of the United States this week. It’s similar in some ways to last year’s so-called polar vortex — that conveyor belt of frigid Arctic air which parked itself on top of large parts of the United States, bringing bitter cold for days.

This week’s cold outbreak is much weaker, but it’s again making people question the widely accepted narrative of global warming.

The sceptic’s logic train is understandable: if it’s so damn cold, how can the world be warming?

Time magazine did a fair job of explaining all that earlier this year. We paraphrase a little here, but here’s how their theory works in regards to the polar vortex:

1. Sea ice is vanishing from the Arctic, which leaves behind dark open ocean water.

2. That water absorbs more of the heat from the sun than reflective ice.

3. Relatively warmer water is the main reason the Arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the planet.

4. As the temperature difference between the polar north and more temperate latitudes diminishes, a band of high-level strong winds called the “jet stream” weakens.

5. For want of a more technical description, the jet stream kind of holds all the weather systems in place. Most of the time it keeps the cold stuff north and the warm stuff south.

6. But a weakened jet stream can develop what Time calls “kinks”. Time reported that an unusually large kink in the jet stream was what allowed all that Arctic air to flow much further south than normal during the polar vortex.

Statistics show that most people tune out about halfway through most stories, so we thoug

Statistics show that most people tune out about halfway through most stories, so we thought this penguin might encourage you to struggle all the way through. Source: Supplied

So there’s your theory. It’s extremely cold a little more often as an indirect result of the world getting warmer. Or as Dan Pydynowski, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather told USA Today. “It’s a similar pattern. The jet stream buckles and releases Arctic air from its circulation over the North Pole. Here comes that cold air.”

Closer to home, there’s another example of how warming can produce seemingly contradictory effects. Warmer temperatures are not only causing more snowfall in Antarctica, scientists believe, but could also be producing more sea ice.

The basic theory is that melting water from glaciers is slightly colder than the seawater into which it flows. That means the ocean around the continent is more likely to freeze.

The bottom line here is that a few cold outbreaks in the USA, no matter how severe, don’t mean the world isn’t warming.

The world definitely is warming, according to just about every reputable science body, including our own Bureau of Meteorology, which says Australia’s climate has warmed by 0.9°C since 1910, with more extreme heat and fewer cool extremes.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


13 November, 2014

As Obama Announces 'Ambitious' New CO2 Reduction Targets, China Agrees to Unspecified Cuts

Hot air.  He can have all the targets he likes but he won't be around long enough to do much about them. He can't control the future. Such targets are a matter for Congress anyway and they would only stick with bipartisan support -- which they won't get.  He is just blowing smoke

 President Obama in Beijing on Wednesday declared far-reaching new targets for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and for the first time, China agreed  to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for climate change.

"This is an ambitious goal, but it is an achievable goal," Obama said. "It will double the pace at which we're reducing carbon pollution in the United States. It puts us on a path to achieving the deep emissions reductions by advanced economies that the scientific community says is necessary to prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change."

Obama said the new goal was to reduce domestic emissions in the U.S. by 26-28 percent by 2025, compared with 2005 levels. By contrast, Obama at a climate conference in Copenhagen in late 2009 set a U.S. reduction goal of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that his country would aim for its greenhouse gas emissions to peak by 2030, or earlier. Unlike Obama, he did not commit to a specific reduction percentage target.

China has also agreed to increase the proportion of energy it gets from non-fossil fuel sources – such as solar, wind and nuclear – to about 20 percent by 2030, according to the White House.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called Obama’s targets unrealistic.

“Our economy can’t take the president’s ideological war on coal that will increase the squeeze on middle-class families and struggling miners,” he said in a statement. “Easing the burden already created by EPA regulations will continue to be a priority for me in the new Congress.”

Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been ardently promoting climate change cooperation between the world’s two biggest emitters, hailed the agreement as a “breakthrough.”

In a New York Times op-ed, Kerry called the new U.S. targets “both ambitious and feasible.”

“It roughly doubles the pace of carbon reductions in the period from 2020 to 2025 as compared to the period from 2005 to 2020,” he said, adding that it puts the U.S. on track to reduce emissions by some 80 percent by the middle of the century.

Kerry expressed hope that the U.S. and Chinese announcements would encourage other countries, ahead of climate negotiations resuming in Lima, Peru next month, and a major climate conference in Paris, France in a year’s time that aims to deliver a universal agreement on emission reduction for the post-2020 period.

“The commitment of both presidents to take ambitious action in our own countries, and work closely to remove obstacles on the road to Paris, sends an important signal that we must get this agreement done, that we can get it done, and that we will get it done.”

Climate activist and former Vice President Al Gore praised “President Obama’s commitment to reduce US emissions despite legislative obstruction,” and called the joint announcement “a major step forward in the global effort to solve the climate crisis.”

“Much more will be required – including a global agreement from all nations – but these actions demonstrate a serious commitment by the top two global polluters,” Gore said in a statement.


A frustrated Al Gore


Sen.-Elect Capito Vows 'Extremely Aggressive' Fight Against EPA Regs

Sen.-elect Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) pledged on “Fox News Sunday” to be “extremely aggressive” in trying to rollback some regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Extremely aggressive,” she said when asked how aggressive she would be in the Senate in trying to rollback some of the EPA regulations. “That is my promise to West Virginia. We have lost over the last two years, 5,000 jobs. Those are just coal jobs.

“We had several thousand other miners who are what are called a warn notice, meaning they're potentially going to be losing their jobs. That doesn't even count the transportation job, the electricians, the tire distributors, all the other jobs that go with coal mining,” Capito said. “Coal is our base load fuel.”

Capito, currently a U.S. congresswoman, became the first woman elected as West Virginia senator in last week’s midterm election.

She said President Barack Obama’s policies are “disenfranchising” her part of the country.  “We've been picked as a loser. I'm not going to stand for it. Rolling back the EPA regulations is the way to do it,” she said.

Capito said it would be “really smart” for the president to back down on the Keystone pipeline.

“I think he'd be really smart to do it when he sees a margin in the Senate of over probably 65 votes. I would hope so. I mean, if we're looking at jobs, if we're looking at infrastructure, we've got an energy growth in our country that we really need to capitalize on,” she said.


Brainless EPA Puts Inert Argon on List of Banned Pesticide Ingredients

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed taking 72 hazardous chemicals off of its approved list of inert ingredients allowed for use in pesticides.

But the inclusion of argon (AR) - a naturally occurring element and the third most abundant gas in the Earth’s atmosphere - has left some people scratching their heads.

According to the Gas Encyclopedia, “the name argon comes from the Greek argos, meaning ‘the lazy one’” because it is so chemically stable. The element, which was discovered in 1894, is “so unreactive” that it is primarily used to provide “an inert atmosphere in which hot metals can be worked.”

This “noble gas” is also used in auto air bags, fluorescent light bulbs, as insulation in double-glazed windows, and for growing semiconductor crystals.

In a May 22 letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris and representatives of two environmental groups denying petitions they “submitted in 2006 identifying 371 pesticide inert ingredients as hazardous,” EPA Assistant Administrator James Jones assured them that “the agency would take appropriate action to address risks from pesticide inert ingredients.”

EPA whittled their original list down to 72 inert ingredients, including turpentine oil and nitrous oxide, because none of them are currently being used in any registered pesticides, according to the EPA.

“Once an inert ingredient is removed from the list, any proposed future use of the inert ingredient would need to be supported by data provided to and reviewed by the EPA as part of a new inert ingredient submission request,” the agency noted.

But because people breathe argon and its atoms “do not combine with one another, nor have they been observed to combine chemically with atoms of any other element,” a number of public comments posted on EPA’s website expressed incredulity that argon is on any hazardous list in the first place:

“I'm a professor of chemistry at the University of Nebraska. Removal of argon, the quintessential common inert gas, from the approved inert ingredients list, is likely to result in ridicule for the EPA. Government science agencies have a poor enough reputation already. Please don't make it worse!”

“You should withdraw this entire proposal, and tell the activists that you will consider their petition to be a sham and a mockery of science, based on their inclusion of argon on the list.”

“I was absolutely dumbfounded to see Argon (#48) on this list. Considering that this noble gas is TOTALLY INERT and no compounds that can be created with this element (only by using extraordinary effort in a lab environment) can survive at room temperature, why on earth would it even be on a list of banned substances?!! I think someone at the EPA must have previously consumed too much of some banned substance -- as this makes absolutely no sense!”

“The ridiculous inclusion of Argon, a noble gas and the fourth largest component of Earth's atmosphere behind Nitrogen, Oxygen and water, on this list, casts tremendous doubt on the knowledge and expertise of the list's creators. It provides reason to genuinely doubt the inclusion of any of the other 71 ingredients on the list as well.”

“The burden of proof lies on those who want ingredients removed. Ingredients should be removed only if there is substantial evidence of their causing harm (certainly not the case with Argon, which we all breathe in great quantities each and every day). To remove ingredients first and require proof of non-harm (a null hypothesis situation) in the future directly opposes the scientific process upon which all of our knowledge of the world is built.”

“Banning Argon? It's an inert gas. Think about it. This is beyond human comprehension. What idiotic environmentalist came up with this idea? Aren't you embarrassed?”

“Argon? C’mon, who's checking this stuff before you publish it?” did not receive a reply to its request that an EPA spokeswoman explain why it is proposing to ban argon from its list of approved pesticide ingredients.

The agency will be accepting public comments on the proposed action until Nov. 21.


UK: Fracking ‘will transform the North’: Minister reveals Government plans for 'sovereign wealth fund' which will hold revenues from shale gas in certain parts of the country

Fracking for shale gas could prompt a gold rush that will turn northern towns like Blackpool into British equivalents of oil-rich communities in the Middle East, a Cabinet minister has claimed.

Business and energy minister Matthew Hancock revealed that the Government is preparing to announce plans for a ‘sovereign wealth fund’ to hold the revenues from fracking for the north of England.

Such state-owned funds have been set up in the Middle East and Norway to generate huge sums from the proceeds of oil and gas exploration.

They invest in assets such as stocks, property, infrastructure and precious metals, with proceeds able to fund public spending. Chancellor George Osborne is expected to unveil details of a fund in his autumn statement next month.

Mr Hancock will also today announce the creation of a new National College for Onshore Oil and Gas, based in Blackpool with offshoots in Chester, Portsmouth, Redcar and Strathclyde.

It will train school leavers and graduates in fracking technology, enabling them to win lucrative jobs in the industry.

Ministers believe fracking could herald an energy revolution that will boost the economy, make Britain more self-sufficient and bring down sky-high bills from greedy energy firms. The Treasury has offered generous tax breaks to kickstart the technology.

Scientists say the UK is potentially sitting on shale deposits filled with enough gas to supply the whole country for at least 40 years – a discovery that could see a repeat of the North Sea oil boom.

Shale gas development has taken off in the US, using the controversial process of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing. Gas deposits trapped underground are extracted by fracturing shale rock with blasts of water, sand and chemicals.

Opponents warn that the technology risks causing small earthquakes, polluting water supplies, blighting the countryside and affecting house prices.

Possible sites for the extraction of shale gas have been identified across the north of England, from Morecambe Bay and Cheshire across to North Lincolnshire and Humberside. The Weald Basin and the central belt of Scotland also harbour potentially valuable deposits, experts say.

Mr Hancock told the Daily Mail: ‘Fifty years ago there was a debate about whether we get oil out from under the North Sea. Our country would have been much poorer if we had chosen not to do so.

‘Now we need to extract the gas that’s deep beneath the ground to improve our energy security and provide jobs and prosperity.

‘Aberdeen has become a global hub for offshore oil and gas expertise. We want Blackpool to become the hub for expertise in onshore oil and gas.

‘We have to make sure that when the revenues flow, we make best use of them. As well as money going directly to local communities and landowners, we are also working on a sovereign wealth fund to make sure the revenues are well spent on behalf of the nation.

‘Lots of different countries have these funds. Norway is the best example and the Shetland Islands also have a fund using some of the oil revenues that they keep.

‘When we extract shale gas, there is the potential for very large returns and we have to ensure they are spent wisely. A sovereign wealth fund would make sure the money is spent for the long-term.

‘There is a very good case for it to focus on where the shale flows from, which would make at least part of it a northern fund.’

Mr Hancock said it was estimated that at least £3.5 billion a year in net benefits could flow from shale extraction.

‘One shale pad has the potential to generate between £5 million and £10 million-worth of gas over its lifetime, which is a transformative amount in a local community.

‘The truth is, nobody knows exactly how much is down there or how much we can get out. The way to find out is to get on with it.’

As well as the economic benefits, Mr Hancock suggested it was important to reduce Britain’s dependence on foreign gas.

‘In terms of our energy security, we import eight per cent of our gas from Qatar. We import a small amount from Russia. Domestic gas is a much more secure supply,’ he said.

‘It has been extracted from the North Sea for 50 years, but that’s on a downward trend.’

Despite Mr Hancock’s enthusiasm for the technology, some of the Government’s own energy advisers suggested yesterday that ministers may have overstated the potential of fracking to transform the British economy.

Criticising politicians’ ‘premature’ claims, scientists from the UK Energy Research Centre said the need for gas is falling - not growing - and shale can only have a limited role in Britain.

Professor Jim Watson, research director of UKERC and an advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), dismissed suggestions of a rapid economic revolution.

‘I think where the Government has gone wrong is talking this whole thing up, in the early days when it first came on the agenda, as if it was going to reduce consumer bills and tackle energy security problems in a substantial way any time soon,’ he said.

Dr Christophe McGlade of University College London, an author of a new report on fracking, said: ‘There’s no evidence there will be a huge boom in the UK: absolutely explore, but stop banking on it being plentiful and cheap.’


There is NO optimal population

A sophisticated  argument from economics below  --  too erudite for the simple Mathusians of the Green/Left

Tyler Cowen has a column in the New York Times that discusses the issue of population. I mostly agree with his policy recommendations, but what interests me is the underlying assumptions. What is the optimal global population? What is the optimal population for each country? How should global population be distributed?

Tyler notes that global population will increase sharply over the next century, with almost all of the growth occurring in relatively underdeveloped Africa and South Asia. In contrast, population will actually decline in some countries, and indeed is already doing so in Japan. So why should we care?

"It's an area that will prove central to understanding whether nations will grow richer -- or will stagnate and lose global importance."

This begs the question of what we mean by "richer" and "stagnate" and "global importance." Later Tyler notes that many economists have steered clear of the difficult problem of population:

Many economists are uncomfortable with population issues, perhaps because they aren't covered in depth in the standard graduate curriculum, or because they touch on topics that may be culturally controversial or even politically incorrect. That's unfortunate.

"In the future, population economics -- and associated social issues -- are likely to be at front and center of our most important policy concerns."

This is probably correct, but leaves out one additional problem---we don't have a good model. In my area (monetary economics) I take population as a given, and look for policies that will maximize aggregate utility, or utility per capita. If we take population as a given then those two goals are identical. Not all economists are utilitarian, but most use utilitarian assumptions in their analysis.

Even if population is assumed fixed, utilitarianism raises all sorts of thorny problems. For instance, can we really make interpersonal comparisons? But if we allow population to be endogenous then the problems multiply exponentially. Perhaps the biggest problem is determining our objective function; what are we trying to maximize? (And of course, who is "we?") Is it total aggregate utility? Is it utility per capita? Those two objectives might lead to radically different policy conclusions.

For the sake of argument, let's assume that utility is positive, on average. Even this seems like a leap of faith to me; I can't even imagine how we could reach that conclusion scientifically. You'd expect the forces of evolution to program us with strong survival instincts even if most people "lead lives of quiet desperation." Nonetheless, it seems completely unproductive to make any assumption other than that most people are net positive in utility.

The much tougher problem is whether to focus on average utility, total utility, or some third category (which seems implied in Tyler's essay.) If average utility is the right criterion, the optimal global population might be quite small. Or it might not, we simply don't know. I've lived in both Australia (1991) and England (1986), which are near the extremes of population density for the developed world (England is far more densely populated than metro Atlanta, and Australia has 1/10th the US population in an area almost as large as the continental US.) It seemed to me that living standards were considerably higher in Australia, mostly because it was much less crowded. But that's obviously highly subjective; Australia lacks a city as sophisticated as London.

On the other hand if total utility is the right criterion, and if people in even poor countries are often surprisingly happy (as many surveys suggest), then the optimal population might be extremely large. Bryan Caplan has made a similar argument from a non-utilitarian perspective, as do religions like Christianity.

There are probably intermediate criteria that put some weight on both average utility and maximizing the number of geniuses (and hence culture and science,). Here I have something in mind that might view Germany as in some sense more successful than both Luxembourg and India, despite having a smaller total GDP than India and a smaller GDP per person than Luxembourg.

In any case, it seems clear to me that one reason that economists steer clear of the population question is that they don't have any confidence in any particular "model."

I also have a few observations about Japan's falling population, which is something that Tyler views as being worrisome. I'm also a bit pessimistic about Japan, but it's worth noting that it's really hard to make an objective argument that falling population is a problem, in and of itself. Consider a few possible scenarios:

1. Suppose Japan's population kept falling until it reached about half its current level of 125 million. It would still have almost as many people as Britain and France do today. Would that sort of population reduction significantly impact its ability to influence world events? A little bit, but It's hard for me to imagine that Japan's ability in the long run to hold onto the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, for instance, will hinge on that sort of change in population. China's already 11 times more populous, and has nukes. Either China will get he islands or it won't--I doubt Japanese population will play much of a role. And are those tiny uninhabited islets actually very important--for reasons other than national pride?

2. Now let's suppose that after Japan's population falls in half, real estate becomes so inexpensive that the Japanese start living in Dallas-style McMansions and having 2.1 kids per family. So the population levels off and the Japanese islands are less crowded. Is that population "wrong"? It's hard to say. Also suppose New Zealand's population grows from 4 million to 40 million, at which point they call a halt to immigration and level off. New Zealand would still have fewer people than Japan. What should we focus on, levels or changes? Which country would have the "better" population policy? It's a historical accident that these two highly fertile Pacific islands have such vastly different populations. Why should we regard either country's current population as being even close to "optimal?"

3. Is aging really a problem? Aging is generally associated with better health. Suppose we made the retirement age for public pensions equal to life expectancy minus 25% of the gap between life expectancy and age 20. In other words, if life expectancy was 80, people would retire at 80 - 0.25(80-20), which equals 65. If life expectancy rose to 100, the retirement age would rise to 80. An aging population by itself does not create any special challenges for fiscal policy, unless we allow it to. I.e. unless we arbitrarily keep reducing the share of adult years that people are required to work before getting a public pension. On the other hand aging combined with a low birth rate, as in Japan, does put a temporary burden on the public sector, until Japan's population levels off. But it's a transitional problem, not a long run problem.

To summarize, I remain an extreme agnostic on all population questions. I have no idea what the optimal population is for planet Earth. If there is a "true" answer to that question, it might well be 20 billion, or 2 billion, or zero. And how much weight should we put on animal welfare? Given all that uncertainty, I'll keep working to improve living standards for the people who are actually here, by advocating non-destructive monetary policies such as NGDPLT. I'll let much smarter people like Bryan and Tyler wrestle with the big questions.

PS. You might think my real estate price argument is implausible, as Japan would still be much more densely populated than places like Australia. But Australia has strict zoning laws, and hence I'd guess that in 50 years houses in Sydney will cost much more than in Osaka.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


12 November, 2014

The prophecies never stop

They've got a shiny new model

Global warming caused by greenhouse emissions may slow down before it speeds up again, scientists claim.

Man-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere forms a blanket around Earth, trapping heat and preventing it from escaping back into space, causing temperatures to rise.

While this blanket-effect may cause a brief pause, global warming is expected to speed up because of the amount of carbon dioxide that has been emitted into the atmosphere, researchers warn.

A team from the University of Washington and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) explained that instead of carbon dioxide simply creating a blanket to slowly warm the planet, the story is more complicated - although the ending is the same.

Carbon dioxide being belched out by factories and vehicles acts as a blanket, trapping long-wave infrared energy coming off the Earth.

The atmosphere then emits less of this long-wave radiation to space because the upper atmosphere is cooler than the Earth's surface.

But the Earth gradually heats up under this ‘blanket’ and hotter objects emit more long-wave radiation, according to the Pnas study.

So within about a decade the effect of adding the thicker ‘blanket’ has been cancelled by the warmer body emitting more energy, the experts explained.

In the longer term, the study and its computer models show that the Earth will begin to absorb more shortwave radiation - the high-energy rays coming directly from the sun.

Experts have previously shied away from talking about shortwave radiation because clouds can reflect this visible light back to space and clouds remain one of the big unknowns under climate change. [A crucial admission]

The researchers warn that the planet is likely to have less ice and the air will become more humid under climate change, both of which will act to absorb more shortwave radiation from the sun.

Those effects will be like putting tanning oil on the planet, letting it absorb more of the sun's incoming rays, they explained.

Melting ice creates darker surfaces that can absorb more heat, and the more melting, the more heat it can absorb. Likewise, warmer air holds more water vapour, causing it to absorb solar radiation that might otherwise bounce back off clouds, ice or snow.

‘While greenhouse gases trap one type of radiation, it's the other type - visible, shortwave radiation - that is really sustaining global warming over the long term,’ said co-author Kyle Armour, a postdoctoral researcher at MIT.

The computer models should help scientists better detect climate change in satellite data, which can measure both shortwave radiation reflected by the Earth and long-wave radiation emitted by the Earth.

Most of the study's simulations involved a one-time addition of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Yet one scenario simulated continuously increasing carbon dioxide, as is happening now, and found the long-wave radiation effect lasted about 20 years before the shortwave effect took over.

Professor of atmospheric sciences David Battisti at Washington University said: 'Our results do not change our overall expectation that the planet will continue to warm due to the burning of fossil fuels, but they do change our fundamental understanding of how that warming comes about.'


UK: Fracking firms should be allowed to cause bigger earth tremors, academics claim

Fracking firms must be allowed to cause far more significant earth tremors if the Government wants the shale gas industry to succeed, leading academics have warned.

Current regulations, imposed two years ago, are equivalent to banning buses from driving past houses or prohibiting the slamming of wooden doors, according to Dr Rob Westaway and Professor Paul Younger, of the University of Glasgow's School of Engineering.

The academics claimed that the overly-stringent rules, which force fracking operations to be stopped if tremors above 0.5 on the Richter scale are detected, were acting as a deterrent to would-be investors in Britain’s hoped-for shale gas boom.

Fracking involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to hydraulically fracture rocks, releasing gas trapped within them.

Ministers drew up the current restrictions following a moratorium on fracking, imposed after Cuadrilla caused two earth tremors while fracking near Blackpool in 2011. The tremors measured 1.5 and 2.3 on the Richter scale.

Earthquakes below 3 on the Richter scale are not generally felt on the surface and only those above magnitude 4 are regarded as “significant” by the British Geological Survey, according to fracking trade body the UK Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG).

A report commissioned by Cuadrilla had originally suggested a much higher limit of 1.7 on the Richter scale before fracking operations should cease.

Dr Westaway said the current rules were “ridiculous”.  “The present regulation is a deterrent to investment and will need to be changed before energy companies are willing to invest the large sums that will need to be spent to develop shale gas in the UK,” he said.

"If regulations for other vibration-causing activities were similarly restrictive you'd have to prevent buses from driving in built-up areas or outlaw slamming wooden doors."

In a paper published in the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, the academics said they had concluded that the maximum possible tremor that could be caused by fracking would be 3.6 on the Richter scale – and this was “very unlikely”.

Professor Younger said: "That might be sufficient to cause minor damage on the surface such as cracked plaster.”

But he said there was “already regulation in place for compensation for similar incidents caused by RAF fly-bys or mining operations”.  He suggested it would "make sense for similar schemes to be put into place for fracking".

"For example, induced earthquakes of magnitude 3 from fracking activities 1.6 miles below the earth's surface will create surface vibrations similar to the limits allowable from quarry blasting," he said.

These surface vibrations caused by a magnitude 3 earthquake would be roughly 25 times those that would be likely to be caused by the current limit of a 0.5 magnitude quake.

A spokesman for Cuadrilla said: “Whilst Professor Young and Dr Westaway are correct that the current seismic restrictions in place for hydraulic fracturing are low compared with other industries we support the Government’s undertaking that for the exploration phase of shale gas, seismic levels will be stringent with a view to further review once it can be confirmed that levels can be adjusted upwards without compromising safety.”

A spokesman for UKOOG said the industry was “committed to working within” the existing regulations set by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

“The system was designed by DECC in consultation with the industry to control the effects of induced seismicity during the shale exploration phase,” he said.

“It is recognised by both DECC and industry that the current [threshold] is subject to review as more is known about local geology, faulting systems and well performance. Only time will tell how restrictive or not the current threshold is, but it is important that the industry is aligned on managing induced seismicity in a pro-active manner.”

A DECC spokesman said: “The threshold was set on the basis of a report by a group of independent experts. Our robust regulatory regime will allow shale exploration to take place while keeping the public safe.”

A spokesman for IGas said it was happy with the current regulations.


A Physicist Ponders the "Pause"

After surviving a storm-tossed voyage, King James I concluded that witches must have conjured tempests to do him ill because nothing ever happens by chance. In promoting the notion that climate trends are shaped by an industrialised world's CO2 emissions, warmists are in the same boat

John Reid

What bothers me, in the light of the continued denial by some of The Pause — the global climate’s prolonged refusal to grow warmer as the “settled science” predicted — is how this whole climate issue reflects a deeper malaise. It suggests a sort of Calvinistic determinism in which the future is cast in concrete and all that remains for us to do is to remove the form-work. This is in sharp contrast to Eastern philosophy, such as Taoism and the I Ching, which are based on the idea of continuous change. As Heraclitus noted quite some time ago, we may never step twice into the same river.

Determinism has long been there, underlying Western Christian thought, but it has recently come to dominate (or perhaps replace) scientific thinking. I believe that this is an unintended consequence of numerical modeling which is now widespread in science. Computers have, in general, been such a boon to science that no-one any longer questions the validity of some applications, particularly those numerical models which are based on differential equations. All such models rest on certain assumptions — assumptions which are very rarely questioned or even acknowledged. These include assumptions about the complete absence of discontinuities — cliffs and fronts and shocks — which are, in reality, widespread in nature.

However, by far the most subtle and far-reaching hidden assumption is that of determinism, the idea put forward by Pierre-Simon Laplace that if une intelligence knows the precise state of the universe at one instant it can predict the state of the universe at any future time. This idea underlies computer modeling and, in my view, is the root cause of much of the vitriol expressed by warmists. It goes hand-in-hand with ideas of omniscience and perfectability.

The other edge of this deterministic sword is the idea of the Malevolent Force. Under this mentality nothing ever happens by chance and so, when things go wrong and our predictions fail, then there must be a reason. The reason is usually human. If a divinely appointed king is threatened by a storm at sea then it must be the fault of witches, as  James I concluded after a pair of tempest-tossed voyages. If a Communist utopia fails, then it must be the fault of recidivists. If a climate model is called into question, it must be the mischief of deniers.

This is not science. This is not physics. Physicists have understood the underlying stochastic (i.e.random) propensities of nature for more than a century. To a physicist, deterministic, numerical models of natural processes may have their uses, but they are known to be limited in scope. Meteorological models cannot predict beyond about a week ahead. These models are typically time-domain models and their underlying assumption of continuity is known to be wrong, no more than a useful approximation.

On the other hand stochastic models (i.e. models which contain some random elements) are usually frequency-domain models and are much more powerful. If the theory doesn’t fit the data, then the theory is wrong; there is no room for special pleading. Stochastic models frequently involve an examination of the distribution of energy or variance with frequency known as a “power spectrum”. It was this sort of modeling which led to the invention of quantum mechanics in the last decade of the nineteenth century, one of the great triumphs of modern physics.

Today the climate field is once again dominated by time-domain, deterministic modeling; computer programmers have replaced physicists. A deterministic modeler looks at the graph of global average temperature for the last century and sees that it is increasing. This small change in temperature must have a cause because everything has to have a cause, according to his or her world view. A good candidate must be increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 due to modern industry. In the laboratory CO2 absorbs radiant heat, so this must be more of the same on a global scale. The modeler ignores the simple physical facts that total man-made production of CO2 since the start of the Industrial Revolution only accounts for about one percent of the total CO2 in the ocean-atmosphere system and that convection completely dominates radiation in the transport of heat through the atmosphere. Never mind, they tell themselves, we can always plug in enough feedbacks and fudge factors to make the model work.

At least in the short term.

A stochastic modeler (i.e. a physicist) looks at the same data and sees quasi-cyclic random fluctuations superimposed on a linear trend. It looks like red noise, which means that random variations are bigger at longer time scales than at shorter time scales. The apparent linear trend in recent global average temperature is quite possibly the outcome of noise components which are longer than the record length. Examination of much longer records of temperature data from ice-cores shows that this is indeed the case. The data does indeed have a red spectrum, and the observed temperature record is typical of what you get when you take a short sample from such a red noise time series. There is nothing unusual about the twentieth century climate.

The stochastic modeler then takes a longer look at the ice core time series over the last half million years or so. It is very interesting. There have indeed been large swings in climate. The last one ended 11,000 years ago. Climate at this longer time scale looks very much like a particular type of red spectrum known as  a “random walk”. (A random walk is the sum that you get if you throw a coin over and over again and add one for heads and subtract one for tails after each throw.) There is a big difference though. Random walks tend to wander further and further away from zero (variance increases with time) but the temperature throughout the succession of ice ages remains within a narrow channel (between about -18 and +10 deg C). It is a “bounded random walk”.

Why should it be bounded?

Simple physics tells us that, even in the complete absence of greenhouse gases, the planet cannot get any colder than the Ice Age temperature of -18 C because, at that temperature, the earth’s surface radiates the same amount of heat that it receives from the sun. This is the Stefan-Boltzman Law and it accounts for the lower boundary.

It is an observed fact that, in the present epoch, the surface temperature of the sea under natural conditions in the tropics rarely rises above 28 deg C. Any extra heat causes no increase in temperature. Instead, adding heat causes more rapid evaporation, followed by more vigorous turbulent convection (a stochastic process) which carries the extra heat to the top of the atmosphere where radiates into space. This accounts for the upper boundary.

The stochastic modeler’s theory of climate as a bounded random walk is physically reasonable.

On the other hand, a deterministic modeler (e.g. the palaeoclimatologist Richard Ally in the video below) looking at the same Ice Age temperature time series, sees that there have been large, rapid fluctuations which he cannot explain because he does not understand stochastic process. His response? Climate is obviously highly unstable and we don’t understand it and so we cannot be too careful, therefore we must de-industrialise the world immediately.

And the present pause? To a stochastic modeler it comes as no surprise. It could have been predicted 20 years ago on a desktop computer using a simple autoregressive (AR) model. However, such mundane predictions are rarely published or funded. Only alarmism works.


UK: Hinkley Point C verdict clears the way for new UK nuclear; opens possibilities in Europe

The prospects for new nuclear plants in the UK have been given a boost with a European Commission approval of the Contract for Difference funding mechanism. While there are some organisations against the project, the CfD mechanism could open the door to new-build projects in Europe.

EDF Energy’s plans for a new reactor in the UK have cleared a major hurdle with European Commission (EC) approval of the funding mechanism involved.

The Hinkley Point C project in Somerset, west England, was dependent on EC acceptance of the UK government’s proposed Contract for Difference (CfD) scheme.

Over the last year the EC has led a probe into whether the CfD concept, which would guarantee EDF an income of GBP£92.50 (USD$155/€112) per megawatt-hour for the 35-year contract term of the plant, constituted state aid.

“The Commission found that the long-term contract and the guarantee constitute an appropriate and proportionate way for the UK to meet its need for secure, low carbon energy,” said EDF in a press release.

In theory, the ruling clears the way for EDF and its project partners to make a final funding decision, which is expected to happen before the end of this year.

Legal challenges

Meanwhile, however, the non-nuclear Republic of Austria and Ecotricity, a UK renewable energy supplier, are both said to be pondering legal challenges to the EC decision, according to press reports.

Austria’s opposition to the funding mechanism was made public before the outcome of the EC investigation. A source at EDF said the company had not yet seen any further evidence of the lawsuits.

It is understood any parties wishing to contest the EC finding would first have to demonstrate that they would be directly affected by the decision.

Whether or not the legal threats translate into formal lawsuits remains to be seen; neither the Austrian government nor Ecotricity responded to requests for information from Nuclear Energy Insider. It is also unclear whether other parties will come forward to challenge the EC finding.

In the meantime, though, a number of parties in the UK and elsewhere in Europe are also said to be watching developments with interest, but with a possible view to using similar funding arrangements elsewhere.

CfD scheme

“We understand that other countries in Europe, such as Poland, have already expressed an interest in the CfD scheme,” says Dr Jonathan Cobb, senior communication manager at the World Nuclear Association in London.

“Existing measures, such as the carbon price floor or the Emissions Trading Scheme, do not adequately meet the market failure which exists in the UK market. Where similar market failures exist elsewhere in Europe, the CfD scheme will be one option to address these failures.”

Similar schemes could be applied to funding for nuclear, or indeed a range of low-carbon generation projects, elsewhere in Europe, Cobb points out.

“Although this judgement relates only to the Hinkley Point C project, the approval establishes the CfD as a valid option for such projects.”

For now, EDF is preparing for the outcome of the final investment decision later this year.

Preparation work

The company is already carrying out some preparation work on site, including road improvements and engagement with suppliers, although EDF Energy emphasises that this is “at their own commercial risk.”

Pending a positive go-ahead on investment, EDF says Hinkley Point C, which is forecast to cost expected to be £14bn in 2012 money, is still on track for commissioning in 2023.

In parallel, the EC and the UK Secretary of State will need to approve waste transfer contract arrangements. EDF also hopes the European decision could spell good news for its next new-build project, Sizewell C, which too is expected to rely on CfD funding in order to be viable.

If this second project goes ahead then EDF has agreed with the UK government that the CfD ‘strike price’ for both plants will drop to £89.50 per megawatt hour.

In addition, says EDF: “As proposed in October 2013, the Contract for Difference already contained a series of ‘gainshare’ mechanisms in which customers would benefit if the project construction costs or equity returns were more favourable than forecast.


Voters Reject the Green Political Agenda

By Alan Caruba

What the midterm voters wanted was an economy that returned to its average 3.3% annual growth since the end of World War II. For six years of the Obama presidency, growth has all but disappeared. In 2013, as measured by the World Bank, it was barely 1.9% That translated into a lack of jobs, stagnant middle class income, and what Obama correctly called the Great Recession, but could not end.

Instead, in the lead-up to the midterm elections, he was still talking about “climate change” as the greatest threat to the nation and the world. For the voters, however, climate change wasn’t even on its list of priorities and with good reason, there is nothing anyone or any nation can or should do about the great forces of nature that determine what the Earth’s climate will be; starting with the Sun.

The day after the elections two major environmental organizations, the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth (FOE), wrote to their members. Their message was similar and their conclusions were absurd.

“The election’s over and the planet lost,” wrote Erich Pica, FOE president. “The next Congress will be controlled by politicians elected with millions of dollars of the Koch brothers’ oil money—putting at risk the vital environmental protections we’ve fought so hard to achieve.” FOE has more than 2 million activists in 75 nations including the U.S.

What Pica does not mention in his letter is the estimated $85 million spent on six Senate races by what The Hill described as “the nation’s top environmental groups including the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and billionaire Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate…”

So the Koch brother’s money is evil, but environmental organizations’ money is okay?

As far as FOE’s Pica is concerned, “The truth is, President Obama hasn’t always done the right thing for the environment. He should have denied the Keystone Pipeline years ago, he should be rolling back unchecked fracking, and he should have taken stronger action on climate both at home and in international negotiations.”

FOE could care less about the thousands of jobs the Keystone pipeline would create, plus the revenue from refining the oil it would transport to the Gulf States. As for fracking, it is not “unchecked.” It has to be done within the context of safety and environmental laws. As for the climate, China and India are just two nations increasing the use of coal to generate the electrical power they need to stimulate industrialization and improve the lives of their citizens by bringing power where he has never been before.

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, wrote that “Friends of Big Oil have taken control of the Senate” claiming they have “a 100-day action plan that reads like Big Oil’s wish list. Our opposition is about to have free reign to implement their anti-environment agenda. And approving the Keystone XL pipeline and destroying proposed environmental regulations top their list.”

Oh, really? If the polls and elections are any indicator, a lot of Americans want to see the pipeline construction. As for the “anti-environment agenda”, that too is pure fiction. What Americans oppose is the forced closure of electricity generation plants in the name of a global warming that is not happening. Or a climate change over which no government has any role or control.

To drive home his doom-and-gloom message, Brune added that “Rare species of wildlife already hanging by a threat will not survive this onslaught.”  Consider the absurdity of the claim that a Republican controlled Congress will be responsible for species extinction. For good measure, Brune, like the FOE, mentioned the Koch brothers, labeling them “big polluters.” Since when is drilling for oil and providing it to a world that runs on it “pollution”? It’s not. It’s progress that benefits humanity.

Commenting on the elections, Dr. Jay Lehr, the Science Director of The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, characterized them as “the repudiation of the President’s policies” and the nation’s political pundits all agree. Dr. Lehr called for “a bill to require the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline which has bipartisan support and has passed every environmental test.”

Dr. Lehr called on Congress to “require the government to open up public lands to environmentally safe mineral and energy exploration as well as speed up approval of permits to drill and mine for resources on already approved lands. This will ensure our resource independence in both areas for centuries to come.”

High on my list of priorities was reflected by Dr. Lehr’s call for Congress “to take charge of the funding of the Environmental Protection Agency which has gone rogue in efforts to impede virtually all economic development in our nation, and eventually phase out the EPA, passing on its responsibilities to a committee of the whole of our fifty state environmental protection agencies.”

A November 6 article, “Climate change supporters suffer losses”, published in The Hill, reported that “Despite millions spent to make climate change a wedge issue during the midterms, environmentally friendly candidates didn’t fare well on Election Day.” Even so, the Sierra Club’s Brune was quoted saying, “Public support is solidly behind action to tackle the climate crisis. While we have lost friends in Congress, we are gaining them in the streets, as our movement grows stronger and broader.” NOT!

Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, echoed Brune’s empty boasts. “Whatever may have driven individual races, the American people want action on climate change.” NOT!

As far as the environment is concerned, it is way down on the list of the voter’s priorities and the change of leadership and control of Congress reflects that. The voters don’t want a lot of vapid, idiotic talk of climate change and other environmental fantasies. They want jobs. They want an economy that will provide them. They want a better future for themselves and their children. And whether they know it or not, they want a conservative approach to government.


The ideas of a hate-filled eco-Fascist: Finland's Pentti Linkola

Pentti Linkola carries Greenie assumptions to their logical conclusions.  He would make Stalin look like a humanitarian if he ever got any power

Quotations from Linkola:

"What to do, when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and there is only one lifeboat? When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship's axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides."

"The composition of the Greens seems to be the same as that of the population in general — mainly pieces of drifting wood, people who never think."

"A minority can never have any other effective means to influence the course of matters but through the use of violence."

"Any dictatorship would be better than modern democracy. There cannot be so incompetent dictator, that he would show more stupidity than a majority of the people. Best dictatorship would be one where lots of heads would roll and government would prevent any economical growth."

"The most central and irrational faith among people is the faith in technology and economical growth. Its priests believe until their death that material prosperity bring enjoyment and happiness - even though all the proofs in history have shown that only lack and attempt cause a life worth living, that the material prosperity doesn't bring anything else than despair. These priests believe in technology still when they choke in their gas masks."

"That there are billions of people over 60kg weight on this planet is recklessness."

"Alternative movements and groups are a welcome relief and a present for the society of economic growth."

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

"Everything we have developed over the last 100 years should be destroyed."

"A fundamental, devastating error is to set up a political system based on desire. Society and life are been organized on basis of what an individual wants, not on what is good for him or her...Just as only one out of 100,000 has the talent to be an engineer or an acrobat, only a few are those truly capable of managing the matters of a nation or mankind as a whole...In this time and this part of the World we are headlessly hanging on democracy and parliamentary system, even though these are the most mindless and desperate experiments of the mankind...In democratic coutries the destruction of nature and sum of ecological disasters has accumulated most...Our only hope lies in strong central government and uncompromizing control of the individual citizen."

"If the present amount of Earths population is preserved and is reduced only by the means of birth control, then:

Birthgiving must be licenced. To enhance population quality, genetically or socially unfit homes will be denied offspring, so that several birth licences can be allowed to families of quality.

Energy production must be drastically reduced. Electricity is allowed only for the most necessary lighting and communications.

Food: Hunting must be made more efficient. Human diet will include rats and invertebrate animals. Agriculture moves to small un-mechanized units. All human manure is used as fertilizer.

Traffic is mostly done with bicycles and rowing boats. Private cars are confiscated. Long-distance travel is done with sparse mass transport. Trees will be planted on most roads.

Foreign affairs: All mass immigration and most of import-export trade must stop. Cross-border travel is allowed only for small numbers of diplomats and correspondents.

Business will mostly end. Manufacture is allowed only for well argumented needs. All major manufacturing capacity is state owned. Products will be durable and last for generations.

Science and schooling: Education will concentrate on practical skills. All competition is rooted out. Technological research is reduced to extreme minimum. But every child will learn how to clean a fish in a way that only the big shiny bones are left over."

In the eyes of the most credible sources, planet Earth can sustain a half-billion humans without any sizable destruction of our habitat, or any loss in species or stability of our ecosystem. Any numbers higher than that, no matter how much they recycle, will cause environmental chaos.

The modern leftist-tinged environmental movement is terrified of telling anyone that they cannot breed and keep buying whatever strikes their fancy, but someone must do this in the future. The sooner we do it, the fewer people in the future will be left without a means of sustenance and thus require termination.

"We still have a chance to be cruel. But if we are not cruel today, all is lost."



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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11 November, 2014

Living in cities makes you look older: Polluted urban air will make you age 10 per cent faster than in the country (?)

This claim is full of holes.  For a start it appears to have been done in China, where the pollution is apocalyptic in many places and includes all sorts of industrial chemicals.  So its generalizability to other countries cannot be accepted.  Secondly, the interpretation of the results is guesswork anyway.  There are many differences between city and country living other than pollution.  A more straightforward interpretation of the results would be to say that city living is more stressful and that produces the differences observed

Women who live in the countryside look younger for longer, a study suggests.  City living makes the skin age 10 per cent faster than a rural existence.

Costmetics firm Procter & Gamble claims that polluted air contains 224 chemicals which damage the skin.  The airborne particles each damage proteins in the skin called keratins, which stop cells drying out.

A study of 200 women aged between 30 and 45, funded by P&G, compared the skin quality of inner-city dwellers with that of women living in the country.

Both groups had similar lifestyles and were exposed to comparable amounts of ultraviolet radiation.

But while those from the country showed higher rates of sunlight-related ageing, overall damage was worse among those living in the inner city.

The research was carried out by Professor Wei Liu, a dermatologist at the China Air Force general hospital in Beijing.

Pollution causes inflammation, disrupts the skin’s barrier, damages the collagen that maintains skin elasticity and accelerates wrinkling and ageing.

Frauke Neuser, scientific spokesman for P&G, which makes Olay and other skincare products, said: ‘In the past it was believed toxic particles in urban dust may stick to the face, but are too large to penetrate skin.  ‘We now know particles as small as 0.1 of a micrometre, many times smaller than a grain of sand, carry a variety of these toxins and can get below the skin.’

Professor Mark Birch-Machin, a molecular dermatologist at Newcastle University, told the Sunday Times there was no dispute that air pollution can damage skin, but added: ‘There are no concrete figures as to how much of a problem this is.’


A great myth

That looks like defeated Australian Leftist leader Julia Gillard in the toon -- but I don't think she ever did ask that question

British wind farms paid £43million to stand idle so far this year because they were producing more power than the National Grid could handle

Public money spent for no public benefit

Wind farms have been paid £43million to stand idle so far this year, a new British record.  The payments, funded through householders’ electricity bills, were made to suppliers because the National Grid was unable to use their electricity.

The sums paid in ‘constraint payments’ to wind farms have risen rapidly in the past four years, according to electricity market data.  The total with two months still to go has already far surpassed the £32million paid in the whole of 2013.  Payments totalled £6million in 2012 and £174,000 in 2010.

High winds last month set new daily records for compensation - with £3.07million paid to 33 wind farms to switch off on a single day, October 26.

John Constable, of the Renewable Energy Foundation which campaigns against energy subsidies, said too many wind farms had been built too quickly, without the infrastructure to cope with the power.

Officials are also pandering to suppliers running the Government’s ‘pet technology’, he said, allowing them to charge whatever they wanted to switch off.

The wind industry claims the payments are justified because of the operational costs involved in switching off.  They say other energy industries, such as coal plants, can far more easily stop production and save money when they do so.

But critics point out that the high value of payments reflect a fundamental problem with wind power.  Wind turbines are inherently unpredictable, depending on the weather, and so must be controlled to stop surges causing physical damage to electricity cables and equipment.

The windiest places are often the furthest away from cities where the power is needed, meaning high transmission costs.

The overwhelming majority of the payments to date have been to wind farms in Scotland, where the bulk of wind farms are located.

Electricity demand in Scotland does not match the power produced on the windier days, but cable networks to take the power south into England have not yet been constructed.  As a result National Grid has to pay the wind farm owners to stop generating in order to keep supply and demand balanced.

Renewable UK, which represents the wind industry, points out that wind power is reaching more homes than ever before – supplying a record 24 per cent of the nation’s electricity on one particularly windy day last month.

Jennifer Webber, its director of external affairs, said last in October: ‘Wind power is often used as a convenient whipping boy by political opponents and vested interests.  ‘All the while, it’s been quietly powering millions of homes across the UK and providing a robust response to its vocal detractors.’

But Dr Constable said: ‘Managing wind power is a very expensive business.   'We built too much, too quickly. It is unpredictable and because it tends to be sited in a location a long way from people, it costs a lot to transmit.

‘Building more grid is given as the answer, but that is very expensive - it would have been cheaper not to build these wind farms in the first place.

‘They are charging very high prices to switch off - far higher than the cost of actually producing the power - but officials will not challenge them because this the Government’s pet technology.’

The cost of wind power has become an increasingly divisive issue at the heart of Government.  David Cameron has pledged to place new limits on onshore wind farms if the Tories win a majority at the next election, a policy that has been bitterly opposed by Liberal Democrats.

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Energy Secretary, last week said acting to scrap wind power was a dangerous and populist idea.  Speaking in the House of Commons, he attacked ‘anti-renewables, anti-wind tendency’ of his Conservative Coalition colleagues.  He said: ‘It is imperative that these tendencies are resisted, particularly in the run-up to the general election. Short-term populism is the most dangerous enemy energy and climate change policy has.’

Defending the constraint payments yesterday, a spokesman for Mr Davey’s Department of Energy and Climate Change said: ‘National Grid has been paying coal and gas generators – and others – to change their planned output well before wind farms joined the mix.

‘In fact, the majority of compensation goes to fossil fuel generators rather than onshore wind farms. The impact on energy bills is negligible.’

Energy regulator Ofgem told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘National Grid’s costs for making these payments have increased as more renewable generators have connected to Britain’s networks before investment programmes have been completed to build new capacity.

‘Last year Ofgem approved a major eight-year network investment programme to address this through renewing and building new capacity.’

The wind industry said it receives a tiny proportion of the budget spent on balancing electricity demand.

A spokesman for Renewable UK said last night: ‘Constraint payments are one of the tools National Grid use to manage the supply and demand of electricity, with payments going to different types of generators, both renewables and fossil fuels.

‘Last year wind received just 5 per cent of the total payments for balancing the grid, equating to 65p a year on the average household bill.’


British climate scientist mocks frantic Warmist prophet

Ed Hawkins, climate scientist at Reading University and contributor to IPCC AR5, does not seem to think too much of fellow climatologist and  uber warmist, Professor Peter Wadhams. It is Wadhams, you may recall, who has regularly been telling us that all the Arctic ice would have melted away by now.

Having failed to get it right before, the good professor now tells us we will have to wait till 2020. This is his latest offering:

"Get ready to order those beach umbrellas in Barrow. One of the leading authorities on the physics of northern seas is predicting an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2020. That’s about two decades sooner than various models for climatic warming have indicated the Arctic might fully open.

"No models here," Peter Wadhams, professor of applied mathematics and theoretical physics at the University of Cambridge in England, told the Arctic Circle Assembly on Sunday. "This is data."

Wadhams has access to data not only on the extent of ice covering the Arctic, but on the thickness of that ice. The latter comes from submarines that have been beneath the ice collecting measurements every year since 1979.

This data shows ice volume "is accelerating downward," Wadhams said. "There doesn’t seem to be anything to stop it from going down to zero.

"By 2020, one would expect the summer sea ice to disappear. By summer, we mean September. … (but) not many years after, the neighboring months would also become ice-free."

As one of Wadham’s fellow climate scientists, James Annan, observed:  "Hasn’t Wadhams already predicted 4 of the last 0 ice-free summers?"

In the meantime, Wadhams might care to study the phenomenon known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, or AMO. It might stop him looking quite so ridiculous.

When the index starts to rise, Arctic temperatures increase and ice extent falls, just as it did after 1920 and has done again since 1975.

And when it starts to fall, watch out!

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

A New Temperature History (AD 674-2010) of Southeast Finland
Paper Reviewed:  Helama, S., Vartiainen, M., Holopainen, J., Makela, H.M., Kolstrom, T. and Merilainen, J. 2014. "A palaeotemperature record for the Finnish Lakeland based on microdensitometric variations in tree rings". Geochronometria 41: 265-277.

In a study published in the journal Geochronometria, Helama et al. (2014) describe how they created, calibrated and verified a continuous dendroclimatic record of the summer temperatures of southeast Finland that spanned the period from AD 674 to 2010, based on X-ray-derived tree-ring maximum latewood density (MXD) measurements made on subfossil and modern pine (Pinus sylvesris) materials.

This record, in their words, depicts "multi-centennial warmth spanning from the 9th to the 12th century," and they say that the long-term cooling observed since Medieval times until the end of the 19th century was similar to what has been observed in MXD and multi-proxy records of northern Fennoscandia, citing Esper et al. (2012) and Helama et al. (2010), as well as what has been observed throughout the entire Northern Hemisphere, citing Mann et al. (1999). And they add that the warmest 250-year periods in the reconstructions of Esper et al. and Helama et al. occurred from AD 816-1065 and AD 932-1181, respectively, during what they refer to as the Medieval Climate Anomaly. In addition, they say this warmth appears to be "coeval to a number of proxy-based hemispheric climate records that show evidence concerning the relatively warm conditions during the same centuries," citing Ljungqvist et al. (2012).

Subsequently, the six Finnish scientists report that a "concentration of markedly cool periods was recorded from the 17th to the early 20th century," coeval with "the wide-spread climatic cooling between AD 1570 and 1900 when Northern Hemisphere summer temperatures fell significantly below their recent (AD 1961-1990) mean level," citing Matthews and Briffa (2005). They also note, in this regard, that the coolest temperatures they recorded during this "Little Ice Age" were from the years between AD 1704 and 1753. And this interval, in their words, "was synchronous with, albeit slightly post-dating, the period of the Maunder Minimum (AD 1645 to 1715," as per Eddy (1976), and especially so with the late Maunder Minimum (AD 1675-1715) that has been denoted "the climax of the Little Ice Age in Europe," as per Luterbacher et al. (2001).

Writing further about this Little Ice Age climax, Helama et al. say it was a period "during which the overall activity of the Sun was drastically reduced and sunspots virtually disappeared," citing Hoyt and Schatten (1998). And they note that cooling in this region could have been expected "approximately two decades after the solar irradiance decreases," due to "inertia in the oceanic response and shift towards the negative phase in the atmospheric oscillations pattern over the North Atlantic and European land areas," citing Shindell et al. (2001).

Taken in their entirety, these several observations clearly reveal the natural, and possibly solar-induced, warming and cooling and warming again that produced Earth's Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age and Current Warm Period, which phenomenon demonstrates that there is nothing unusual, unnatural or unprecedented about the Earth's current level of flat-lining warmth.


IPCC’s 'scary’ new report is needle stuck in an old groove

Christopher Booker below is quite correct but his allusion to gramophone needles may escape the younger generation

Ploughing through the new “Synthesis Report” put out by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we may be reminded of one of those old gramophone records, when the needle got horribly stuck in a groove. Compiled by many of the IPCC’s veteran alarmists, in yet another bid to get that “global climate treaty” that isn’t going to happen in Paris next year, it wheels on all the familiar scare stories. Melting polar ice, rising sea levels, floods, droughts and hurricanes are all in there – even though these are largely contradicted not just by the actual evidence, but even by the much more cautious contents of the vast technical reports they were meant to be “synthesising”.

On the basis of these increasingly implausible claims, the report’s authors join the growing chorus of calls for humanity to cut CO? emissions by 80 per cent, the cost of which, they tell us, would only require us to reduce the world’s economic growth by a mere 0.06 per cent, or 1/1,666th.

Their report is aptly dedicated to the memory of Stephen Schneider, a US physicist who died in 2010 after 40 years as one of the most fanatical “climate crusaders” of them all. Only by wondrous contortions do they try to get round their biggest challenge, in accounting for how global temperatures have failed to rise for 18 years, making a mockery of all those computer model predictions on which the IPCC’s previous four reports relied to drive the scare.

Some 40 different theories have now been offered to explain why, despite the temperature “pause”, the Earth is still in the grip of runaway warming. The latest suggests that it has been temporarily halted by “aerosols” emitted by volcanoes, which, strangely, takes us back to one of the very first scientific papers warning of disastrous climate change, published in 1971.

As a young doctoral student, Schneider predicted that, although rising CO? levels could cause global warming, this might be so counteracted by “aerosols” blocking out radiation from the sun that they could be “sufficient to trigger an ice age”.

That needle has sure got stuck in its groove.


Anti-car nonsense destroys convenience and hurts small business in an Australian country town

Toowoomba: HAIRDRESSER Leanne White has chipped in to pay for her customers' parking fines because she feels the parking situation in the area is unfair.

Ms White owns Lush Hair and Beauty on Ruthven St, a strip which recently lost its angle parking to make way for the addition of a bike lane.

The parallel parks outside her business are two-hour paid meters.

"The council has taken away half the parks to put in the bike lane. I'm not against the idea of having a bike lane but I never see anyone use it; cyclists use the footpaths instead," she said.

"We've lost valuable parking for clients and the lack of parking is turning people away.

"We chose this location to be in the CBD and there was ample parking at the time but now I'm considering relocating the business."

Ms White has bought private parking for her workers because she did not want them walking from the nearest long-term parking spots available, at the PCYC.  "That's costing me $1600 a year," she said.  "It's not just about business but also a safety issue for us."

She said business owners in the area were running out of patience with the lack of parking in Ruthven St.  "People are screaming for it but nothing is being done," she said.  "I'm planning on organising a petition because there are so many people concerned."

The owner of La Taste Takeaway Paul Worrall said business in the whole area had dropped off.  "I'm not aware of anyone who thought the bike lane was a good idea," Mr Worrall said.

He also had major concerns for the lack of accessibility to the library, particularly for elderly and disabled customers.

"I watched one old lady with her child who had Down Syndrome driving around trying to find a carpark and they were getting visibly upset," he said.

"The council has made the wrong decision when what you need is more car parks."



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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, 2014

There is no "hidden" heat

Just in case you were not aware, since about 1997 or so, there has been nearly no global temperature rise. This is despite atmospheric CO2 concentration continuing to rise. To date there are some 55 ideas to explain this slowdown in global warming. Some of the ‘explanations’ presume the so-called ‘greenhouse effect’ is operating as the IPCC models calculated; it’s just that the heat has hidden elsewhere, maybe deep in the ocean.

I wondered if there was empirical data available of the greenhouse effect? And could it show whether or not the greenhouse effect is increasing with increasing CO2, as the IPCC models expect?

First a very quick summary of the IPCC’s greenhouse theory goes something like this.  Increasing CO2 absorbs some of the upwards radiation from the surface, and then re-emits it back toward earth. This has the effect of increasing earth’s atmospheric temperature as outgoing longwave infrared radiation (OLWIR) is reduced by increasing quantities of CO2. Then, recognising that water vapour is the main greenhouse gas, the IPCC models propose that positive feedbacks dominate. This is where some warming leads to increased water vapour, and as water vapour is the main greenhouse gas this increases the greenhouse effect, this further lowers OLWIR, and increases the temperature.

So let’s see how the measurements fit the theory. I needed two data sets, one for OLWIR, and the other global temperature.

I emailed the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) asking for website directions to their OLWIR data. Their response was quick and I downloaded monthly average OLWIR (W/m2) for each 2.5 degree latitude by 2.5 degree longitude area of the globe. After converting the netCDF files to Excel, I scaled each area’s OLWIR to account for the varying size of the area, resulting in a global average OLWIR. (I used Cosine(Latitude) to approximate the relative areas). (There was also some missing data mid 1994 to early 95. I populated this by a linear interpolation). The resulting annual average OLWIR is shown in the graph below for the years 1979 to 2012. A linear regression fit shows a generally increasing trend in OLWIR over this period.

The temperature data I chose is the average of both University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS). The result is also plotted on the graph below. A linear regression fit shows a generally increasing trend for years 1979 to 2012. 2013.

And now we’ll take a look at the Stefan-Boltzmann (SB) relative emissivity trend. Using an average global temperature of 14C, the SB relative emissivity has been derived using E/(K*T^4) for each year and plotted on the graph. If the greenhouse effect was increasing, the relative SB should be declining.  It’s not.  It’s flat lining.

The two primary results of this empirical study are:

The missing heat has gone back to space as it always has – as per SB law, via OLWIR.

And more importantly, the greenhouse effect is not increasing as per IPCC dogma.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

Is Obama's latest green-energy boondoggle the biggest ever?: World's largest solar plant seeks "obscene" $539 million taxpayer bailout

Obama's green energy scorecard has already racked up over $2.7 billion in losses, and now the world's largest solar/fossil fuel/bird-incinerating plant, co-owned by Google and renewable energy giant NRG Energy, is asking for an additional $539 million in free taxpayer funds to pay off their $1.5 billion federal loan.

"the plant has not lived up to its clean energy promise. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the plant produced only about a quarter of the power it's supposed to, a disappointing 254,263 megawatt-hours of electricity from January through August, not the million megawatt-hours it promised."

In addition, the plant recently filed with regulators to greatly increase the fossil fuels burned by the "solar" plant's inefficient boiler system, due to insufficient heat input from the Sun on cloudy days and at night. The plant wants to burn 1,575 million standard cubic feet [mmcf] of natural gas every year, which will increase its CO2 emissions 59% to 94,749 tons per year.

"To get a sense of that volume, an average U.S. natural gas-fired power plant [using much more efficient and clean-burning turbines instead of boilers] might be expected to produce about 200,000 MWh from 1,575 mmcf of gas, according to the EIA."

Therefore, the plant is producing about 254,263 * 12/8 = ~381,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year using natural gas that could otherwise supply 200,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year. Thus, over one-half [about 52%] of the plant electricity output is from inefficient use of fossil fuels.

For a huge [$2.2 billion and counting] US taxpayer-subsidized expense, plus high electricity rates guaranteed by long-term contracts with California utilities/ratepayers, 59% more greenhouse gas emissions, and 75% less electricity than promised, could Ivanpah be the world's biggest green energy boondoggle ever?

The Ivanpah solar electric generating plant is owned by Google and renewable energy giant NRG, which are responsible for paying off their federal loan. If approved by the U.S. Treasury, the two corporations will not use their own money, but taxpayer cash to pay off 30 percent of the cost of their plant, but taxpayers will receive none of the millions in revenues the plant will generate over the next 30 years.

"They're already paying less than the market rate," said Morris, author of a lengthy report detailing alleged cronyism and corruption in the Obama administration's green energy programs. "Now demanding or asking for a subsidy in the form of a grant directly paying off the loan is an egregious abuse."

NRG doesn't see it that way, telling Fox News the money is there for the taking."NRG believes in a clean and sustainable energy future and therefore participates in available government programs to develop and expand the use of clean energy to accelerate America’s energy independence." In 2013, the Obama administration handed out $18.5 billion in renewable energy grants, with $4.4 billion going to solar projects.

Ivanpah is the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world. It was unveiled in February with great fanfare. Dr. Ernest Moniz, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, justified taxpayers' investment at the time, saying, "We want to be technology leaders. It's good for our economy and it’s also good for helping stimulate the global transition to low carbon."

But since then the plant has not lived up to its clean energy promise. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the plant produced only about a quarter of the power it's supposed to, a disappointing 254,263 megawatt-hours of electricity from January through August, not the million megawatt-hours it promised.

A NRG spokesman blamed the weather, saying the sun didn't shine as often as years of studies predicted. However by the four-year mark, NRG has "every confidence that the plant will function as anticipated for the life of the facility,"according to the company.

Touted as a clean, green energy, some environmentalists have turned against concentrated solar as a technology, deeming it dangerous and a threat to wildlife. Unlike solar photovoltaics, which turn sunlight directly into electricity, CSP uses thousands of large mirrors to concentrate reflected sunlight into powerful beams aimed at “power towers.” The heat generates steam to turn turbines that create electricity.

The problem is that birds see the mirrors as water. As they approach, the 800º F solar beams roast any bird that happens to fly by. A recent study released by the California Energy Commission conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity called Ivanpah a “mega-trap” that will kill up to 28,000 birds a year.

The plants' owner at the time, BrightSource Energy, said it will likely kill only a thousand birds a year. BrightSource came under scrutiny by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and investigators found the company received direct “guidance and support from the White House” for how it obtained its $1.6 billion in federal loans.


Breakthrough Eyed in Farmer’s Property Rights Dispute With Green Group

Martha Boneta’s years of struggle with a powerful conservation group could come to the beginning of an end this week.

Boneta owns the 64-acre Liberty Farm in the Paris area of Fauquier County, Va. Almost since her family bought the property in 2006, she has been embroiled in a series of disputes with the Piedmont Environmental Council.

At issue:  the conservation organization’s enforcement of an agreement that limits development of the land.

But the Virginia Outdoors Foundation’s board of trustees will meet Thursday in Richmond to consider a resolution in which it would agree to take over all enforcement of the easement on Liberty Farm from the Piedmont Environmental Council.

The environmental council appears to be “open-minded in terms of being willing to discuss the matter,” the foundation’s executive director, Brett Glymph, told The Daily Signal.

The foundation has no power to constrain the actions of the environmental council or other conservation organizations and no oversight role in state law.

The proposed resolution, Boneta says, merely calls for the organization to declare it is willing to take over all enforcement if she and the environmental council can agree it should.

The Piedmont Environmental Council is a land trust, an organization that works to conserve open space by removing land from development. It offers easements, which are legal agreements in which property owners accept cash payments or tax breaks in exchange for accepting limits on development.

Boneta bought her farm from the Warrenton-based environmental council with the easement attached.

The green group’s aggressive efforts to enforce that easement, however,  have resulted in three lawsuits filed by Boneta. One she settled with the green group, a second she withdrew but says she may refile. A third, against Fauquier County over zoning citations, is pending.

Enter the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. Created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1966 to oversee easement enforcement and policy matters and help preserve open lands, the foundation already is a co-holder of the easement on Boneta’s Liberty Farm.

The foundation inspects the adjoining Oak Road Forest and the land itself. The Piedmont Environmental Council is responsible for building structures and architecture.

In September, the outdoors foundation met separately with Boneta and her lawyer and with the environmental council and its legal counsel.

The meetings led to the resolution, proposed by Boneta’s attorney, William Hurd, a former solicitor general for the state of Virginia, which the board could vote on as early as Thursday’s meeting.

“After so many years of inappropriate inspections by the PEC, isn’t it time for the PEC to step aside and turn its share of the enforcement role over to [the Virginia Outdoors Foundation]?” Hurd asks in a letter.

It is easy to see why Boneta would agree to a takeover by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation.

Glymph said Boneta “has caused no trouble” for the organization. The foundation, in fact, turned down the environmental council’s suggestion that surveillance cameras be installed to monitor Boneta’s compliance with the easement covering her property.

Boneta’s relationship with the Piedmont Environmental Council, conversely, has been nothing but rocky.

She has contended in court documents and elsewhere that the green group’s enforcement efforts went far beyond what was required to ensure compliance with the easement. She cites snooping through personal possessions, overzealous zoning enforcement and using high-level connections at the Internal Revenue Service  to trigger an audit of her finances.

The Piedmont Environmental Council may be equally eager to move on. The group has endured bad publicity from property rights activists, multiple articles in The Daily Signal and other media, and Boneta’s appearances on TV news programs.

The environmental council’s  enforcement actions led to state legislation, known as the Boneta Bill, that took aim at easement enforcement and clarified farmers’ rights on their land.

The environmental council has issued at least three documents defending itself from Boneta’s charges and assertions.

In one, the group says it holds or co-holds 51 easements that involve nearly 7,600 acres of land, mostly in Virginia’s Hunt Country. But the Boneta case is the only time in the environmental council’s 41-year history that it has gone to court with a property owner.

“The PEC is squandering an incredible amount of money on staff time and attorneys’ fees in its relentless harassment of Martha Boneta,” said Bonner Cohen, senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, a free-market organization that focuses on property rights.  "And all it has to show for it is a raft of richly deserved bad publicity that has exposed the PEC as an elitist bully willing to do whatever it takes to crush a small farmer."

The environmental council’s representatives did not respond to The Daily Signal’s phone calls or emails requesting comment.

Glymph, the outdoors foundation’s executive director,  said the environmental council “did not shut the door on the proposal” to move toward handing off enforcement of the Liberty Farm easement to the foundation. She said:

They made no promises, but it appeared to me they were open-minded in terms of being willing to discuss the matter further. They seemed receptive to the idea.

Boneta and representatives of  the Piedmont Environmental Council each will get 20 minutes to address the board of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation at Thursday’s meeting.

The board has moved the meeting to the Virginia State Capitol building to accommodate what is expected to be a much larger crowd than its gatherings usually draw.

If the foundation’s board adopts the resolution, it would be up to Boneta and the environmental council to come to an agreement under which the foundation would assume enforcement responsibilities.

John Taylor, president of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, a free-market policy group, credits Boneta for “shining a light and exposing the actions”  of the Piedmont Environmental Council.

But Taylor also expressed concern that average citizens who differ on public policy with well-funded groups such as the environmental council will continue to be at a disadvantage. He said:

We’re seeing a disparate influence of money, and it’s not a fair fight. Here in Virginia, the environmental groups are trying to put all of the rural lands into conservation easements, and they have abandoned any consideration of economic growth and job opportunities.

This makes it difficult for future generations to own property and earn money.  I don’t support permanent easements that forever lock away land. I’m glad Martha [Boneta] is doing what’s she’s doing. The exposure is good for all of us.


Another Endangered Species Act Legal Victory for Landowners and Conservation

Yesterday, proponents of balancing the mandates of the Endangered Species Act with human needs scored a major victory. The U.S. District Court in Utah struck down the federal government’s protection of the Utah prairie dog by ruling in favor of People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners, represented by Jonathan Wood of the Pacific Legal Foundation, in a lawsuit challenging the constitutional ability of the federal government to regulate the prairie dog on non-federal land. This decision may also lead to more successful endangered species conservation.

This victory comes on the heels of another legal victory a month ago in which the Federal District Court in D.C. found in favor of the 2012 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service not to list the dunes sagebrush lizard under the Endangered Species Act. The judge in the case based much of his ruling on a conservation plan for the lizard that is successful due in no small part to its protection of participating landowners’ confidentiality. This encourages landowners to participate without fear that data about their property could be used by the Fish and Wildlife Service to invoke the Endangered Species Act’s much-feared regulations.

The Texas Comptroller, Susan Combs, who led the effort on the conservation plan, was granted lead intervenor status in the case. The conservation plan involves a wide range of stakeholders, including various oil and gas trade associations, which were also granted intervenor status.

More broadly, the court’s decision is a vindication of the approach taken by the Texas Comptroller’s office over the past several years to find creative, state-based solutions to endangered species issues, which are often complex, conflict-ridden, and involve a dizzying array of public and private sector interests—all of which are trying to cope with the country’s most powerful environmental law.

The Utah prairie dog case is different than the dunes sagebrush lizard case but equally as important. The crux of the lawsuit brought by People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners and the Pacific Legal Foundation is that the federal government’s use of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause as justification for protecting the prairie dog—because the rodents are somehow involved in interstate commerce, which creates a “nexus” for federal regulation—is invalid because, quite simply, the prairie dog lives entirely within Utah and is not involved any interstate commerce. “The problem, for the federal government, is that the species is only found in this small area of Utah and has nothing to do with the nation’s $15 trillion economy,” according to Jonathan Wood. “Yet, the government attempted to justify its intrusion into this local matter based on the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.”

The court found:

"Although the Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to do many things, it does not authorize Congress to regulate takes of a purely intrastate species that has no substantial effect on interstate commerce. Congress similarly lacks authority through the Necessary and Proper Clause because the regulation of takes of Utah prairie dogs is not essential or necessary to the ESA’s economic scheme."

The court also found:

"If Congress could use the Commerce Clause to regulate anything that might affect the ecosystem (to say nothing about its effect on commerce), there would be no logical stopping point to congressional power under the Commerce Clause."

Also figuring in the court’s decision is the Necessary and Proper Clause of Constitution, which states:

"The Congress shall have Power…To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

While this case has to do with Constitutional law, the reason why residents of southern Utah are so upset—in particular those in Iron County because it contains most of the prairie dog’s population—is that for decades they have been forced to bear the costs, often substantial, of living with prairie dogs. The examples are legion, but a few of them are:

* Children have been prevented from playing in the field owned by and adjacent to Grace Christian Church in the town of Parowan because prairie dogs pockmarked the field with burrow holes, which could easily cause injury to a running child.

* In the town of Paragonah, prairie dogs reside in the cemetery where their burrows undermine headstones and cause them to lean and even tip over.

* Prairie dog burrows undermine the runway of the Parowan airport, causing it to sink and buckle in places, which poses a serious safety hazard.

* Farmers have long suffered from machinery and irrigation infrastructure damaged by prairie dog burrows, as well as prairie dogs eating crops. In 1984, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated the Utah prairie dog was costing farmers $1.5 million annually due to crop loss and equipment damage.

* In Cedar City, the seat of Iron County, “The town has been inundated with prairie dogs that are leaving parks, gardens, vacant lots, the golf course and even the local cemetery pockmarked with burrows and tunnels,” Jonathan Wood of the Pacific Legal Foundation told the Deseret News.

The desecration of cemeteries in Paragonah and Cedar City by prairie dogs is in many ways the issue that most angered residents of Iron County. According to the lawsuit filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation:

“The city wishes to operate a cemetery that is a pleasant and peaceful place of reflection for people visiting the remains of their deceased loved ones. But the Utah prairie dogs are a safety hazard for visitors to the cemetery. Their burrowing creates an uneven ground on which it is more difficult to safely traverse, particularly for the elderly and disabled.

“The Utah prairie dog threatens the peaceful operation of the cemetery and the sanctity of the grave sites. Recently, a funeral service was interrupted by a prairie dog that scampered around the service and began barking loudly and incessantly. This disturbance caused great stress to the unfortunate widow. The prairie dogs also destroy remembrances left at grave sites. For example, the prairie dogs eat flowers and other plants that visitors place near tombstones. Also, the city wishes to expand the cemetery to provide much needed space for additional grave sites. This expansion, however, has been prevented because the prairie dog has infested the area.”

In response to these problems, the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1984 reclassified the prairie dog from endangered to the less-imperiled status of threatened and promulgated a 4(d) rule that allows “take” of prairie dogs through translocation and lethal means.

But this has done little to solve the problem of prairie dogs occupying and damaging private land. According to the Service’s 2012 recovery plan, private lands contain 78% of the Utah prairie dog’s population. The reason for this is private lands have higher quality forage due to mowing and irrigation. This is especially true of private lands in Iron County, which contain 67% of the population.

Since 1984, as it has become increasingly clear that even with the Fish and Wildlife Service’s permitted “take”, property damage caused by prairie dogs and resentment by people forced to bear the costs of harboring the rodents without any compensation has been getting worse.


German Analysis Finds IPCC “Synthesis” Lacks Facts

The summary for policymakers released in early November by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has once again betrayed the science found in the body of the report. In addition, its conclusions and warnings fly squarely in the face of measurable evidence concerning the state of the climate.

The European Institute for Climate and Energy (which goes by its German acronym, EIKE) has done a careful analysis of the IPCC summary for policymakers (SPM) and its synthesis report. These documents purportedly reflect the findings of the IPCC’s three volumes assessing the science, vulnerabilities, and possible responses to climate change.

The SPM includes significant contradictions, simplifications, and even distortions of the science contained in the full reports. In addition, on major points, its conclusions and warnings stand in stark contrast to almost all of the measurements and trends observed in nature.

The EIKE report looks at nine specific claims made in the IPCC’s SPM and synthesis report and finds fault with each one. The claims concern air temperature, sea level rise, ocean temperature, storms, polar ice, extreme weather, crop yields, species extinctions, and man’s responsibility for climate change.

Concerning air temperature and temperature rise, the IPCC’s SPM warns of dramatic temperature rises under business-as-usual scenarios over the next century. The actual range of temperature rise reported in the IPCC’s science reports, however, is as little as 0.3° to a high of 4.8° Celsius, a 16-fold difference, with all values along the scale equally likely. In other words, actual temperature rise is just as likely to be negligible as it is to be dramatic. And all of this ignores a critical real-world observation: Despite a continued rise in CO2 emissions, temperatures have not risen for the past 18 years.

In addition, the SPM claims “the global mean sea level in the 21st Century continues to climb, very likely with a higher speed ... probably in the range of 26 to 82 cm ...” The reality is sea level rise over the past 200 years has not accelerated, and over the past decade the rate of rise has declined.

The IPCC’s SPM hints extreme weather events have become more frequent and intense. Real-world observations disagree: Neither hurricanes, tornados, extreme rainfall events, nor droughts have increased measurably in number or intensity.

The story is the same when it comes to crop failures. While the IPCC’s SPM warns of a decline in staple crops including wheat and corn, each year new records are being set on crop production. Some of IPCC’s own work has shown increased CO2 levels are producing an increase in plant cover and crop growth.

In short, as the German magazine der Spiegel reported, “At the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Alarmism comes before Accuracy.”


Australia:  We need fossil fuels says Qld. Premier Newman

Queensland must transition away from its fossil fuel reliant economy, Premier Campbell Newman says.  But not yet.

He was responding to the United Nations report on climate change, which found the world must stop almost all greenhouse gas emissions through a phased elimination of fossil fuels by 2100 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Mr Newman agreed that in "the longer term, Queensland has to move to a new type of economy".  "And I have said that before," he said.

"I mean, coal has been great for this state over many decades and coal will be very important for some decades to come. Gas as a transition fuel, is a cleaner fuel, and that is a great opportunity and that is why this government backs gas, because it is cleaner than coal.

"Those who say we can immediately change, I am afraid, are condemning people in China, and particularly in India, who live in poverty, are condemning them to that poverty."

The Queensland government has been an unapologetic supporter of mining projects and is relying on mines opening in the resource-rich Galilee Basin to turn around the state's economy.

The projects, particularly the Indian-owned Adani Carmichael mine, which once operational will become the biggest coal mine in the country, have faced fierce opposition from conservationist and environmental groups.

One Indian conservationist has brought legal action against the Carmichael mine in the Queensland courts on the basis of the damage it will bring Indian communities who live near its final destination. 

But Mr Newman said if India didn't take Queensland's coal, it would buy it from somewhere else.  "I think the point needs to be made that to take 1.3 billion people in India out of poverty is going to require significant energy and coal, particularly, is what they are after," he said.

"And if Queensland doesn't sell our cleaner coal, our low emissions coal to them, it will be acquired from other places where the coals have all sorts of nasties like sulphur in them and it will be burnt.

"They will improve a lot of their people and I think the opportunity for Queensland is to sell them a superior product as we then work here to try and transition our economy to a new type of economy in the future."

Adani is expected to begin work on its Galilee Basin projects next year.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


9 November, 2014

Could ADHD be triggered by mothers being exposed to air pollution while pregnant?

It is saddening that I have to say so but the study described below is typical epidemiological crap. They concluded what they wanted to conclude and damn the data.  The focus of the study was Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the atmosphere and in food.  So what did the results show?  "Maternal and cord adducts were not significantly correlated with prenatally air monitored PAH, ETS, or dietary PAH."  In other words those villainous PAHs had no effects that could be detected in the blood of the mother or the blood of the placenta.  So the whole theory fails at the first hurdle.  All other associations observable in the data were not due to anything in the atmosphere or in the diet. A few molecules of PAH in people must have come from somewhere but it would appear that they were so few that the research could not detect their origin.  The women examined were all black NYC residents from the ghettoes so perhaps they got the stuff from something to do with their lifestyle.  Drugs perhaps?

Children exposed to high levels of pollution in the womb are at greater risk of suffering attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a new study has found.

Scientists at Columbia University studied 233 non-smoking pregnant women living in New York.  They found children exposed to high levels of air pollution during pregnancy were five times more likely to have ADHD by the time they were nine years old.

The nine-year study looked at levels of common pollutants polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).  Researchers measured the levels of PAH in maternal and umbilical cord blood shortly after delivery.  And they repeated tests when each of the children were three and five, measuring levels of PAH in their urine.

Thirty-three children who had high levels of exposure to PAHs, as measured at birth.  Of those, 13 were diagnosed with ADHD hyperactive-impulsive subtype, seven the inattentive subtype, and 13 had both.

Professor Frederica Perera, first author of the study, said: 'Those children born to moms who were exposed to high levels of PAH during pregnancy had five times the odds of having an increased number of symptoms.'

PAHs are created when products like coal, oil, gas and rubbish are burned but not completely.  They don't burn easily, and as a result remain in the environment for long periods of time.  Most are used to conduct research though some are used to make dyes, plastics and pesticides.

One of the most common ways they enter the body is through breathing in contaminated air.

To establish children's exposure to PAHs in the womb, the scientists measured levels of fragments of the mothers' DNA bonded to PAH molecules, also known as DNA adducts, in umbilical cord blood. 

Previous studies carried out by Professor Perera and her team identified links between higher levels of prenatal PAH exposure and developmental delays in children by the age of three.

They also noted lower IQ scores at five, and increased risk a child will suffer anxiety, depression and attention problems at six and seven.

The new study, published in the journal PLoS One, looked at the children's ADHD symptoms using the Child Behavior Checklist and the Conners' Parent Rating Scale - two screening tests used to diagnose the condition.

Professor Perera said this is the first time a link has been established between prenatal PAH exposure and ADHD symptoms.  She told LiveScience: 'If replicated, then these findings could lead to new ways or stronger ways, better ways, to prevent ADHD.

'By nature, environmental exposures are preventable, this we consider one possible contributor to ADHD and one that's preventable, and the findings should be followed up so that necessary preventive strategies could be taken.'

She said pregnant women concerned about the effect of pollution levels on their unborn babies, can eat plenty of fresh produce which helps offset the effects of pollutants.


Early-Life Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and ADHD Behavior Problems

Frederica P. Perera et al.



Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are widespread urban air pollutants from combustion of fossil fuel and other organic material shown previously to be neurotoxic.


In a prospective cohort study, we evaluated the relationship between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder behavior problems and prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure, adjusting for postnatal exposure.

Materials and Methods

Children of nonsmoking African-American and Dominican women in New York City were followed from in utero to 9 years. Prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure was estimated by levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon- DNA adducts in maternal and cord blood collected at delivery. Postnatal exposure was estimated by the concentration of urinary polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolites at ages 3 or 5. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder behavior problems were assessed using the Child Behavior Checklist and the Conners Parent Rating Scale- Revised.


High prenatal adduct exposure, measured by elevated maternal adducts was significantly associated with all Conners Parent Rating Scale-Revised subscales when the raw scores were analyzed continuously (N = 233). After dichotomizing at the threshold for moderately to markedly atypical symptoms, high maternal adducts were significantly associated with the Conners Parent Rating Scale-Revised DSM-IV Inattentive (OR = 5.06, 95% CI [1.43, 17.93]) and DSM-IV Total (OR = 3.37, 95% CI [1.10, 10.34]) subscales. High maternal adducts were positivity associated with the DSM-oriented Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Problems scale on the Child Behavior Checklist, albeit not significant. In the smaller sample with cord adducts, the associations between outcomes and high cord adduct exposure were not statistically significant (N = 162).


The results suggest that exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons encountered in New York City air may play a role in childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder behavior problems.


UK: Family energy bills to be £70 HIGHER than ministers claimed... despite millions lavished of green energy schemes

Chimerical "savings" from government-encouraged use of home insulation and lower-powered electrical appliances are supposed to more than  offset green levies on British power bills -- so you can have your cake and eat it too!  Reality is beginning to intrude however. I wonder if they have yet factored in the fact that lower powered electrical appliances tend to be run longer.  If, for instance, a low-powered dishwasher doesn't get the dishes very clean, people tend to re-run the cycle  -- thus using MORE power than if the government hadn't meddled

Family energy bills in five years’ time will be £70 a year higher than previously thought, the Government admitted today.

In 2020, the average energy bill will be £1,319 – around £50 cheaper than today – the Department of Energy and Climate Change has estimated in a report published today. This is £92 cheaper than without Government measure, the report claims.

But in March last year, ministers promised that the raft of green policies it has introduced to reduce Britain’s dependence on coal would drive down prices down to £1,245 a year on average – or £166 cheaper than if the Government did nothing.

It means bills will be some £74 higher than the Government claimed last year.

Despite the setback the Government insists its green policies mean household fuel bills are £90 cheaper this year than they would be without the raft of policies to cut emissions and save energy.

Families will also be saving £92 a year on their electricity and gas bills by 2020, the Department of Energy and Climate Change estimates.

But the figure for the end of the decade is significantly lower than savings of £166 predicted last March.

The assessment shows that while measures to support clean power – like subsidies for wind farms – push up bills, other policies to save energy, including insulation programmes and regulations on more efficient appliances, bring them down.

This year the average household energy bill is £1,369, compared with an estimated figure of £1,459 if there were no Government energy policies.

The £90 saving includes a £50 reduction as a result of moves brought in by the Government last December.

The majority of the £50 savings came from the Energy Company Obligation scheme which helps poorer families with energy efficiency measures to provide them with warmer homes and cheaper bills.

Subsidies for low carbon power makes up around 5 per cent of the average bill and energy efficiency measures make up around 2-3 per cent, the assessment shows.

But gas use is down 10 per cent and electricity use is 17 per cent less as a result of policies that save energy, Decc said.

By 2030, bills are predicted to rise to £1,524 with policies on emissions and energy savings, compared with £1,586 without any measures - though the estimates do not include extra policies that could be needed to cut carbon further.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: ‘We have the best energy security in Europe - and to stay that way we need to deal with a legacy of under investment and build a clean, secure energy system based on home-grown supplies.

‘I’m determined that while we tackle these challenges, consumers don’t pay a penny more than they have to for the energy they use.

‘We’re making homes warmer and cheaper to run, giving particular help to the most vulnerable people and avoiding the predicted energy crunch, meaning we can drive down bills and support investment in the economy with more secure energy supplies and more stable bills.’


More unsettled science

It's been overlooked for decades, but now scientists believe infrared energy could turn out to be a major contributor to warming in the Arctic region.

Infrared is invisible to human eyes but accounts for about half the energy emitted by Earth's surface. This process balances out incoming solar energy.

However, researchers hadn't previously thought to consider the long-wavelength region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Now, they believe its inclusion could change existing climate models.

Earth's surface is thought to radiate the equivalent of 17 per cent of incoming solar energy as thermal infrared.

Despite its importance in the planet's energy budget, it's difficult to measure a surface's effectiveness in emitting far-infrared energy.   As a result, its influence on the planet's climate is not well represented in climate models, which assume that all surfaces are 100 per cent efficient in emitting far-infrared energy.

That's not the case. The scientists found that open oceans are much less efficient than sea ice when it comes to emitting in the far-infrared region of the spectrum.

This means that the Arctic Ocean traps much of the energy in far-infrared radiation - a previously unknown phenomenon that is likely contributing to the warming of the polar climate.

'Far-infrared surface emissivity is an unexplored topic, but it deserves more attention,' said Daniel Feldman, a scientist in Berkeley Lab's Earth Sciences Division.

'Our research found that non-frozen surfaces are poor emitters compared to frozen surfaces. This discrepancy has a much bigger impact on the polar climate than today's models indicate.

Professor Feldman's simulations revealed that far-infrared surface emissions have the biggest impact on the climates of arid high-latitude and high-altitude regions.

In the Arctic, the simulations found that open oceans hold more far-infrared energy than sea ice, resulting in warmer oceans, melting sea ice, and a 2°C increase in the polar climate after only a 25-year run.

This could help explain why polar warming is most pronounced during the three-month winter when there is no sun.

It also complements a process in which darker oceans absorb more solar energy than sea ice.

'The Earth continues to emit energy in the far infrared during the polar winter,' Professor Feldman said.  'And because ocean surfaces trap this energy, the system is warmer throughout the year as opposed to only when the sun is out.'

The simulations revealed a similar warming effect on the Tibetan plateau, where there was five per cent less snowpack after a 25-year run.

This means more non-frozen surface area to trap far-infrared energy, which further contributes to warming in the region.

'We found that in very arid areas, the extent to which the surface emits far-infrared energy really matters,' said Professor Feldman.   'It controls the thermal energy budget for the entire region, so we need to measure and model it better.'


Will Obama Regulation Shut Off the Lights?

National pundits have largely dismissed the large role that energy played in the Democrat wipeout part deux.

However, the Obama Administration and his big money environmental extremist allies lost two Senate seats due to the issue, and it is likely to get worse for the greenies in the next two years.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), described by Bloomberg News as “a non-profit that assures adequate voltage and power reserves to keep the electric grid functioning” pushed for delay of Environmental Protection Agency power plant regulations warning in a report that, “The proposed timeline does not provide enough time to develop sufficient resources to ensure continued reliable operation of the electric grid by 2020.”

House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) reacted by promising, “to do everything we can to assure American businesses and families are not left in the dark.”

Whitfield continued saying, “NERC’s report underscores the growing reliability concerns with EPA’s unworkable plan. EPA is seeking to eliminate one of our nation’s most abundant and affordable sources of power, but the administration has yet to provide honest answers about just how damaging the consequences will be for our nation’s power grid and our economy.”

The Obama Administration regulation designed to force electric generating utilities to replace coal as a fuel source has come under increasing scrutiny as its implementation date draws near.

A recent study by the non-profit Institute for Energy Research shows that the concerns about the power grids capacity to withstand the loss of electric power generation are real.  If the EPA rules go into effect, they will eliminate enough electricity generating capacity to provide power to 44.7 million homes.

The Daily Caller quotes Tom Pyle, President of IER as worrying, “These shutdowns will send electricity prices through the roof—inflicting the most harm on the elderly, the poor, those on fixed incomes, businesses, families, schools, and hospitals.”

Pyle said. “These shutdowns also threaten the reliability of our grid and will cost thousands of Americans their jobs.”

With Senator Mitch McConnell from the coal producing state of Kentucky set to take the reins of the Senate in January, it is becoming increasingly likely that a showdown is looming over the climate change motivated rules issued by the EPA.  After winning a hard fought victory by touting his record of fighting for coal and the jobs it brings to his state, it is almost guaranteed that protecting the electric power grid from this little known overreaching Obama regulation will become one of the first flash points in the weeks ahead.


John Kerry has a flash of realism

Kerry: Even Carpooling, Biking, Tree-Planting Americans Wouldn’t Offset China’s Emissions

 Even if carpooling, bicycling, tree-planting Americans managed to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions to zero, that still wouldn’t be enough to counteract emissions coming from China and the rest of the world, Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday.

In a speech focusing on U.S.-China relations, Kerry stressed the importance of the world’s two largest economies and greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters working together to confront climate change, saying neither the U.S. nor China could “solve this problem” alone.

“Even if every single American biked to work or carpooled to school or used only solar panels to power their homes – if we reduced our emissions to zero, if we planted each of us in America a dozen trees, if we somehow eliminated all of our domestic greenhouse gas emissions, guess what?” he said.

“That still wouldn’t be enough to counteract the carbon pollution coming from China and the rest of the world.”

“And the same would be true for China if they reduced everything and we continued,” Kerry said. “We would wipe out their gains; they would wipe out our gains. Because today, if even one or two major economies neglects to respond to this threat, it will erase the good work done everywhere else.”

In the speech at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Kerry pointed to the latest U.N-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, calling it “another wakeup call to everybody.”

The report released Sunday warned of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems,” if action is not taken to reduce GHGs globally – with a target of zero by 2100.

The IPCC also, for the first time, said the use of fossil fuels will need to be “phased out almost entirely” by the end of the century.

“The science could not be clearer,” Kerry said. “Our planet is warming and it is warming due to our actions, human input. And the damage is already visible, and it is visible at a faster and greater rate than scientists predicted. That’s why there’s cause for alarm, because everything that they predicted is happening, but happening faster and happening to a greater degree.”

A major U.N. climate conference scheduled for November 2015 in Paris, France aims to deliver a universal agreement for the post-2020 period on reducing GHG emissions and mitigating climate change. A lead-up conference will be held in Lima, Peru next month.

Kerry expressed hope that the U.S. and China could together set an example for other countries to follow.

“Next year, countries are supposed to come forward with their stated [emission-reduction] goals. And we hope that the partnership between China and the United States can help set an example for global leadership and for the seriousness of purpose on those targets and on the negotiations overall,” he said.

“If the two countries that together are nearing 50 percent of all the emissions in the world, which happen to be also the two largest economies in the world, if they can come together and show seriousness of purpose, imagine what the impact could be on the rest of the world.”

Kerry and Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi last year launched a U.S.-China working group on climate change. Projects have been launched or agreements reached on carbon capture, utilization and storage, vehicle fuel efficiency, GHG emission standards and a climate and forests initiative, among others.


Argentina: The Most Attractive Shale Play Outside US

Great geology; Nutty politics

Cristina Fernandez, president of Argentina, is the sort of populist political leader financial markets love to hate.

For business interests and the media, she has become an archetypal villain, a symbol of everything that has gone wrong with the country's economy over the last century.

Extreme political polarisation, serial defaults, devaluations, hyper-inflation and expropriations of foreign property, culminating in the nationalisation of oil company YPF in 2012 and a standoff with the U.S. courts over unpaid foreign debts in 2014 - Argentina's economic dysfunction is legendary.

The country remains frozen out of foreign debt markets while its lawyers argue about how to pay restructured bond holders without also paying investors who refused to participate in the restructuring.

The federal government enforces strict controls on imports as well as the export of capital and earnings to protect Argentina's meagre foreign exchange reserves.

Relations between the government and much of the business community and foreign investors can best be described as confrontational.

In the energy sector, oil and gas production has stagnated over the past two decades as consumption has grown, adding to pressure on the balance of payments.

Oil output has been falling, from a peak of more than 900,000 barrels per day in 1998 to a little over 700,000 bpd in 2013, and Argentina became a net petroleum importer in 2012.

In the foothills of the Andes, however, the country has world-class shale resources in the Neuquen Basin's Vaca Muerta (Dead Cow) and Los Molles formations.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates Argentina has the world's fourth-largest technically recoverable shale oil resources at around 27 billion barrels, putting it behind only Russia, the United States and China.

The government recently updated the energy laws to ease exchange controls for investors in the oil and gas sector, harmonise treatment across provinces and provide more favourable fiscal terms.

Many observers remain sceptical, however, about whether shale can be successfully developed without a fundamental change in the business climate.

"Flogging a Dead Cow" was the headline of an article that appeared in the Economist magazine in July 2013, typical of the attitude of the international media.

But there is another side to the story, which suggests Argentina could be one of the first large shale plays outside the United States ("Flirting with default, Argentina enjoys drilling boom" July 21).

Follow the Drilling

There are more rigs drilling for oil and gas in the country than at any time in the last 30 years, according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes. With over 100 rigs operating in September, the number of rigs has doubled since 2009. (

There is more drilling activity in Argentina than anywhere else except the United States, Canada, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and India.

In 2013, U.S. oil major Chevron signed a deal with YPF on a drilling programme across 5,000 acres in the Neuquen Basin.

In total, they drilled 109 wells in 2013, and the drilling plan includes a further 140 wells in 2014, according to Chevron.

In a conference call with investors on Aug. 1, the company disclosed it had 19 active rigs in the first half of the year and had already drilled 89 wells.

"Chevron is pleased with our initial results in the Vaca Muerta," Chevron's exploration chief told analysts. "Drilling results have identified two sweet spots where we are focusing our activity. In one of these areas we have commenced a horizontal (drilling) programme."

He continued, "We have seen a production uptick, which gives us confidence that we will deliver the growth we anticipated when we entered this play."

Other smaller North American exploration and production companies also have active drilling programmes in the Vaca Muerta.

Of course, all these exploration and production companies are very bullish about the play's future. But it would be a mistake to write off their enthusiasm entirely.

Vaca Muerta has made faster progress than other shale plays in Poland and China.

World Class Resource
The play remains speculative from a regulatory and political perspective. But the geology is favourable (with hundreds of feet of thick organic-rich marine shale). Neuquen has a long history of conventional production as well as existing pipelines to Buenos Aires.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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7 November, 2014

National Academy of Sciences wants us to stop breathing

National Academy of Sciences Panel: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Have to Drop to Zero

Panelists at a National Academy of Sciences event on the health risks to humans posed by climate change called Tuesday for an end to all greenhouse gas emissions.

“[E]missions have to go to zero,” said Anthony Janetos, professor of Earth and Environment at Boston University, told the event in Washington D.C., which brought together climate change modelers, public health experts, and environmental health researchers.

The workshop’s agenda stated that human health and wellbeing are at risk as a result of the effects of climate change, including heatwaves, other extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification.

“Moreover, these risks occur against a backdrop of changing socioeconomic conditions, medical technology, population demographics, health status, environmental conditions, and other factors important for determining health effects.”

According to an NAS study, “most scientists agree that the warming in recent decades [What warming?] has been caused primarily by human activities that have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, have increased significantly since the Industrial Revolution, mostly from the burning of fossil fuels for energy, industrial processes, and transportation. Carbon dioxide levels are at their highest in at least 650,000 years and continue to rise.”

Panelists claimed that in order to stabilize atmospheric conditions, greenhouse gas emissions would have to drop to zero.

“I think there is a systematic underestimation of how big a problem this really is,” said Janetos. “It’s not like it’s news to the research community that if you are trying to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases that emissions have to go to zero.”

“There is a lot of discussion that 2100 is just so far away,” said panelist Kristie Ebi, professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. “But anyone who is young enough to have young children – and some of the people on the panel are young enough to have young children; anybody who is old enough to have grandchildren – life expectancy in most of the developing world is around 85 – those children will be alive in 2100. It is not that far away.”

“We need to help move understanding that the temporal scale is short,” said Ebi.  “Those of us who have been working in this field a long time are facing impacts we thought would not occur in our lifetimes, or if they did it wouldn’t be until much later in our lifetimes.”

“And we’re already seeing impacts that were originally projected in 2050,” she added. “And children and grandchildren born now are going to be seeing the consequences of the actions that are taken.”

World Bank senior economist Stephane Hallegatte echoed concerns about the long-term impact of global warming.

“One of the questions I have is, if you are thinking about mitigation and the target in terms of climate change we have, maybe everything depends on what happens in 2100 and beyond,” he said.

“If you want to keep the temperature at a certain level, it means that over the long term you need to achieve zero CO2 emission,” said Hallegatte.  “And this would then drive everything else in terms of policies. If you agree that the end goal is zero emission of CO2.”


Obama and Dems Rebuked by Electorate on Climate and Energy Policy

President Barack Obama had hoped to make addressing climate change and the transformation of the U.S. energy generation system one of the chief legacies of his administration. The Republican takeover in the Senate and the increased Republican majority in the House of Representatives will likely stymie the president's efforts to impose various forms of energy rationing.

Keystone Pipeline: No less than three environmental reviews have found that this pipeline that would transport nearly 1 million barrels per day of Canadian oilsands crude to the Gulf Coast for refining is adequately safe. In a perfect example of cowardly political calculation, the president has been afraid to nix the project because it would alienate the crucial union voting bloc. Now both the House and the Senate will pass legislation approving the pipeline which the president may well veto. Who's causing gridlock now?

U.N. Climate Change negotiations: The nations of the world are supposed to adopt a binding treaty limiting the emissions of greenhouse gases at the 2015 U.N. climate change conference in Paris. The president has long recognized that there was no way that such a treaty would obtain the required two-thirds vote of the Senate for ratification. Instead, the president has devised a plan in which a U.S. pledge to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, and 83 percent by 2050 would be tacked onto the existing U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. The president argues that such pledges do not need further ratification by the U.S. Senate. The new Republican majority will beg to differ.

EPA's Plan to Cut Electric Power Carbon Dioxide emissions: In June, the Obama administration proposed regulations that aim to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s power plants 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The Republicans denounced this as Obama's War on Coal. The election of Shelley Moore Capito as the first Republican senator from West Virginia in nearly 55 years suggests that the war is not going so well for the president; not to mention the re-election of Mitch McConnell from Kentucky.

Environmentalist PAC Spending: Billionaire Tom Steyer's NextGen Climate PAC reportedly spent $74 million attacking Republicans he regards as climate change "deniers." The National Journal succinctly notes, "He Didn't Get Much to Show For It." The New Republic grouses that the voters have made "climate change denier" Sen. James Inhofe "the most powerful senator on the environment."

The day before the mid-term elections, The Hill reported:

"Nearly half of voters in the midterm election want the federal government to adopt more policies to fight climate change, according to a new poll.

The Huffington Post/YouGov survey concluded that 49 percent of people likely to vote in Tuesday’s election want stricter climate policies. Thirty-five percent opposed climate rules."

Well, maybe. But it's pretty clear that as worried as Americans might be about future climate change, they regard other issues as more pressing.


Outcome of Anti-GMO Initiatives in Oregon and Colorado

Voters in the Oregon and Colorado were asked to vote on ballot initiatives that would require many foods made with ingredients derived from modern biotech crops to be labeled as such. Science won in Colorado with voters rejecting the mandatory labeling requirement by 68 to 32 percent. The Oregon vote is still too close to call, but the vote was now around 51 percent against labeling and 49 percent in favor. The final results in Oregon may not be known until Friday.

Both initiatives are egregiously unscientific, but the Oregon Measure 92 is particularly dishonest. Measure 92 misleadingly asserts that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration...

"...does not require or conduct safety studies of genetically engineered foods. Instead, any safety consultations are voluntary, and genetically engineered food developers may decide what information to provide to the agency. Market approval of genetically engineered food is based on industry research alone."

Of course, this is precisely the way in which new pharmaceuticals are regulated and approved. Companies keep providing information about each new crop variety to the FDA regulators until they have no more questions. In any case, this process is unnecessary. If a trait (pest resistance or herbicide resistance) is safe in one crop it is safe in all crops. There should be no need for approval for each new variety.

Another false Measure 92 finding and declaration is ...

"The genetic engineering of plants and animals often causes unintended consequences. Manipulating genes via genetic engineering and inserting them into organisms is an imprecise process. The results are not always predictable or controllable. Mixing plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes through genetic engineering in combinations that cannot occur in nature may produce results that lead to adverse health or environmental consequences."

The proponents of Measure 92 offer no examples of "adverse health or environmental consequences." Why? Because none have been reported. As I have noted elsewhere:

"The World Health Organization flatly states, “No effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved.

In 2010, a European Commission review of 50 studies on the safety of biotech crops found “no scientific evidence associating GMOs with higher risks for the environment or for food and feed safety than conventional plants and organisms.”

At its annual meeting in June, 2013 the American Medical Association endorsed a report on the labeling of bioengineered foods from its Council on Science and Public Health. The report concluded that “Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature.”

And one other bit of misinformation is the claim that ...

"The cultivation of genetically engineered crops can have serious effects on the environment. For example, in 2013, 93 percent of all soy grown in the U.S. was engineered to be herbicide resistance. In fact, the vast majority of genetically engineered crops are designed to withstand herbicides, and therefore promote indiscriminate herbicide use. As a result, genetically engineered, herbicide resistant crops have caused 527 million pounds of additional herbicides to be applied to the nation's farmland."

Actually, the USDA released in May, 2014 its report, Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008, in which it analyzed the trends in herbicide and pesticide use. The study found that herbicide applications peaked at 478 million pounds in 1981 and since drifted down to 394 million pounds in 2008, the latest year for which the agency has figures. Interestingly, Measure 92 fails to mention that pesticide applications peaked in 1972 at 158 million pounds and has now fallen to 29 million pounds. Why? Because of crops genetically engineered to resist insect and other pests.

Colorado's Proposition 105 is more succinct in its misleading assertions:



Measure 92 would require that "Genetically Engineered" clearly and conspicuously appear on the front or back of the package of foods using ingredients from biotech crops by January, 2016. Similarly, Proposition 105 would mandate "PRODUCED WITH GENETIC ENGINEERING" APPEAR IN A CLEAR AND CONSPICUOUS MANNER ON ITS LABEL" by July, 2016.

Addendum: A referendnum in Maui County in Hawaii passed 50 to 48 percent to ban the growing of biotech crops in the jurisdiction. For more background on the scientifically idiotic campaign against biotech crops in Hawaii see my article, "The Fable of Hawaiian Frankencorn."


How corals can actually benefit from climate change effects

Researchers from Northeastern University's Marine Science Center and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found that moderate ocean acidification and warming can actually enhance the growth rate of one reef-building coral species. Only under extreme acidification and thermal conditions did calcification decline.

 Their work, which was published Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, is the first to show that some corals may benefit from moderate ocean .

The authors attribute the coral's positive response to moderately elevated carbon dioxide to the fertilization of photosynthesis within the coral's algal symbionts, which may provide the coral with more energy for calcification even though the seawater is more acidic. They propose that the eventual decline in coral calcification at the very high levels of carbon dioxide occurs when the beneficial effects of fertilizing photosynthesis are outweighed by the negative effects of acidification on the skeleton-forming process.

"The study showed that this species of coral (Siderastrea siderea) exhibited a peaked or parabolic response to both warming and acidification, that is, moderate acidification and warming actually enhanced coral calcification, with only extreme warming and acidification negatively impacting the corals," Ries said. "This was surprising given that most studies have shown that corals exhibit a more negative response to even moderate acidification."

Furthermore, their work indicates that ocean warming is likely to threaten this coral species more than acidification by the end of the century, based on projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

He noted that in the past 200 years, ocean pH level has dropped from 8.2 to 8.1 and is expected to fall even further to about 7.8 over the next one or two centuries. That is a significant decrease over a relatively short period of time, Ries said, when looking at the geologic history of ocean acidification.

"The amount of change that would typically occur in about 10 million years is being condensed into a 300-year period," Ries said. "It's not the just the magnitude of the change that matters to the organisms, but how quickly it is occurring."

"Acidification of the surrounding seawater is certainly important for marine organisms, but what is equally as important—perhaps even more important—is how the chemistry of their internal calcifying fluid responds to these changes in seawater chemistry," Ries said.


Climate scientist Judith Curry  sees too much uncertainty to say that global-warming action is "urgent"

This particular post is triggered by today’s release of the IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report and Press Release and Press Conference.  A good summary of what has been going on is given by this BBC article Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 says IPCC.  The highlights:

CO2 emissions must be reducedby almost half by 2030 or global temperatures will eventually rise by between 2C and 5C.

Humans must pump no more than a further one trillion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere if temperature change is to be kept below 2C.
To keep warming below 2°C, the world will have to cut greenhouse gas emissions between 40 and 70 percent by 2050—and then keep cutting until they’re essentially zero by 2100.

Tweeted comments from Ban-Ki Moon’s press conference:

“Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in their message. Leaders must act. Time is not on our side.”

“When your child is sick with a high temperature, you have to take all the medicine”

“Synthesis Report gives major push for Paris, mobilise action to 2C pathway”

How long do we have to act?

Lets accept for the sake of argument that there is a risk that adding CO2 will eventually cause undesirable climate change.  Further, there seems to be broad agreement that it is in everyone’s long term interests to move away from fossil fuels as a primary energy source (these resources are finite, at some point they will become very costly to extract, and there are pollution/health issues associated with burning fossil fuels).

But how urgently do we need to act in terms decarbonization, even if you buy the 2C danger limit?  The 16 year deadline comes from the business as usual emissions scenario, whereby climate model projections state that the 2C threshold would likely be crossed in 2040.

Here is why it is increasingly unlikely that that we will reach the 2C danger limit by 2040:

the ongoing surface temperature hiatus, which may continue until the 2030’s or even 2040 if the increasing number of hypotheses about AMO, PDO and natural internal variability are correct.

the growing number of observation-based climate sensitivity studies that find lower values of transient and equilibrium climate sensitivity (e.g Lewis & Curry, WSJ op-ed).

unrealistic scenarios of future coal burning by the IPCC (see Dave Rutledge’s previous posts)

underestimate by 16% of plant CO2 absorption

So how much do these factors individually and collectively delay the warming, beyond 2040?   Well, the hiatus one is pretty straightforward.   It has been estimated that Lewis and Curry TCR estimate delays the warming by 10 yrs.  No estimate that I‘ve seen re delays associated with carbon budget scenarios.

What does 10 years buy us?

For the sake of argument, lets play it conservative and assume that these factors buy us 10 more years (personally, I think much longer), beyond the IPCC’s time scale.  What difference does 10 years make?

Lets look back 10 years ago, to 2004, or even to 2006 when Hansen made his first proclamation:

fracking wasn’t on the radar screen

there was very little penetration of wind and solar power

there was optimism about cap and trade policies

the pause was less than 10 years, and not yet identified as such

the U.S. was the leader in CO2 emissions

the massive Chinese modernization was just underway

devastating hurricane landfalls in the US in 2004/2005

Things look pretty different now than they did 10 years ago.  What can we anticipate in the next 10 years?

the pause will continue, or surface temperatures will resume warming.  If the latter, then climate models are demonstrated to be not fit for purpose for projecting 21st century climate change and climate sensitivity, and the IPCC’s attribution conclusion will become unsupportable.

greater clarity on the role of the sun in 20th and 21st century climate variations and change

longer historical perspectives on sea ice, ocean temperatures, etc. and refinements to paleo climate analyses of the last two millennia, which will clarify detection of anthropogenic climate change relative to natural variability

continued growth in emissions, particularly from the developing world

continued strains on food and water associated with growing populations, unless effective plans for dealing with this are implemented

growing vulnerability to extreme weather events associated with population and property increases in hazard-prone zones, unless effective plans for dealing with this are implemented

new advances in energy technologies

continued regional experiments with new and renewable energy technologies


Business as usual, or implement UNFCCC policies?

As described above, business as usual on decadal time scales can be associated with unanticipated surprises – science, technologies, and societal changes.  Should we let economic development and other policies play out, perhaps with some climate informed decision analysis, or implement the UNFCCC policies and drastically decarbonize the economy?

Well 10 years (or even 5 years) will provide substantial clarity on the relative importance of human-caused and naturally varying climate change, and how rapidly humans can be expected to change the climate in the 21st century.

The solutions to decarbonizing the global economy are more likely to come from technological advances rather than from global UNFCCC treaties.  Does it make any sense to push the decarbonization policies faster than they can be supported by technology?

The UN seems to be playing a game, which is aptly described from this tweet by Rupert Darwell:

There’s one thing you will never hear #ippc say:”It’s now too late to act.” That way, IPCC can live on forever.


Focus on stopping global warming and extreme weather is unscientific and immoral

“IPCC Chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri was right to advocate “a global agreement to finally reverse course on climate change” when he spoke to delegates tasked with approving the IPCC Synthesis Report, released today," said Tom Harris, executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC).

“The new direction governments should follow must be one in which the known needs of people suffering today are given priority over problems that might someday be faced by those yet to be born.”

“Yet, exactly the opposite is happening,” continued Harris. “Of the roughly one billion U.S. dollars spent every day across the world on climate finance, only 6% of it is devoted to helping people adapt to climate change in the present. The rest is wasted trying to stop improbable future climatic events. That is immoral.”

ICSC chief science advisor, Professor Bob Carter, former Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at James Cook University in Australia and author of Taxing Air explained, “Science has yet to provide unambiguous evidence that problematic, or even measurable, human-caused global warming is occurring. The hypothesis of dangerous man-made climate change is based solely on computerized models that have repeatedly failed in practice in the real world.”

New Zealand-based Terry Dunleavy, ICSC founding chairman and strategic advisor remarked, “U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon often makes unjustified statements about climate change and extreme weather. However, in their still unanswered November 29, 2012 open letter to the Secretary General, 134 scientists from across the world asserted, ‘The U.K. Met Office recently released data showing that there has been no statistically significant global warming for almost 16 [now 18] years. During this period…carbon dioxide concentrations rose by nearly 9%…The NOAA “State of the Climate in 2008” report asserted that 15 years or more without any statistically-significant warming would indicate a discrepancy between observation and prediction. Sixteen years without warming have therefore now proven that the models are wrong by their creators’ own criterion.”

“Although today’s climate and extreme weather are well within the bounds of natural variability and the intensity and magnitude of extreme events is not increasing, there is, most definitely, a climate problem,” said Carter. “Natural climate change brings with it very real human and environmental costs. Therefore, we must carefully prepare for and adapt to climate hazards as and when they happen. Spending billions of dollars on expensive and ineffectual carbon dioxide controls in a futile attempt to stop natural climate change impoverishes societies and reduces our capacity to address these and other real world problems.”

“The heavily referenced reports of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change demonstrate that, scientifically speaking, the global warming scare is over,” concluded Harris. “It is time to defund the IPCC and dedicate our resources to helping solve today’s genuine humanitarian problems.”
The ICSC is a non-partisan group of scientists, economists and energy and policy experts who are working to promote better understanding of climate science and related policy worldwide. We aim to help create an environment in which a more rational, open discussion about climate issues emerges, thereby moving the debate away from implementation of costly and ineffectual “climate control” measures. Instead, ICSC encourages effective planning for, and adaptation to, inevitable natural climate variability, and continuing scientific research into the causes and impacts of climate change. 

ICSC also focuses on publicizing the repercussions of misguided plans to “solve the climate crisis”. This includes, but is not limited to, “carbon” sequestration as well as the dangerous impacts of attempts to replace conventional energy supplies with wind turbines, solar power, most biofuels and other ineffective and expensive energy sources.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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, 2014

The biggest loser in this election was the climate scare

In the run-up to the 2014 midterms, a lot of green groups had been hoping that this would finally be the US election in which climate change was a defining issue.

You had liberal billionaire Tom Steyer spending $57 million from his own pocket trying to convince voters to care about global warming. You had the League of Conservation Voters pouring in another $25 million, more than it had in the past two elections combined. All the while, media outlets suggested that natural disasters — from Superstorm Sandy two years ago to the ongoing drought in the West — might push climate issues to the fore.

Ultimately, none of it really mattered. Congress' indifference to climate change issues will remain as solid as it's ever been.

Sure, there are small shifts in attitude here and there. Many Republican candidates now appear to think it's unviable to dismiss outright the basic facts of climate change. Instead, they just say "I'm not a scientist" when asked. (Overt climate denial, it seems, no longer polls well.) But that's one of the few signs anything has shifted. Climate change remains a low-priority issue — it ranked a lowly 8th (out of 11) on the list of issues voters care about in this Pew poll.

Congress' indifference is a huge problem for climate policy

In the very, very short term, this won't affect climate policy much. The main action in Washington over the next few years will happen inside the Environmental Protection Agency, which is crafting rules to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from existing power plants between now and 2030. These regulations don't require congressional approval (they're being done under the existing Clean Air Act), and Obama will likely veto any attempts by Republicans to block them.

But the fact that global warming continues to be a non-issue will be a massive problem for future climate policy. The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that global emissions would have to fall a staggering 42 to 71 percent below 2010 levels by mid-century if we wanted to fend off the worst impacts of global warming and prevent average temperatures rising more than 2°C (or 3.6°F). That's already incredibly difficult. But it gets harder and more expensive the longer we delay.

Obviously the United States can't solve climate change entirely on its own. China, India, Europe, and a whole bunch of other countries would also have to get on board. But as one of the world's largest emitters, the US would certainly have to make sweeping cuts of its own to help meet that goal — cuts that are far, far greater than the EPA is contemplating. According to the IPCC, we'd have to triple or quadruple the amount of low-carbon energy we use by mid-century and get radically more efficient in the way we use energy.

Only Congress can make the sort of truly sweeping policy changes that experts say will likely prove necessary — through things like pricing carbon or providing incentives for cleaner energy. And, in all likelihood, Congress would need to set those policies soon in order to make the transition as smooth as possible. Even though US greenhouse-gas emissions fell between 2005 and 2012, they're now slowly starting to rise again.

Without a major global shift on climate policy, the IPCC was clear on what would happen. The world is currently on pace to heat up between 3.7°C and 4.8°C by the end of the century. (That's 6.6°F and 8.6°F.) That much heat would bring with it all sorts of "irreversible" impacts, raising the risk of drastic sea level rises, crop failures, the flooding of major cities, mass extinctions. Some scientists now warn that these sorts a world that hot may not be "able to support society as we currently know it."

The basic message of the IPCC report is that countries need to get moving today if they want to avoid the planet from heating up dramatically. Not tomorrow. Not the day after. And certainly not five years from now. But the basic message of this election is that Congress isn't going to give much thought to climate change these next two years. Maybe not the two years after that. And it doesn't seem to be in the power of either committed billionaires or Mother Nature to get them to do so.


Greenie fail:  They spent big to get people to Vote On Global Warming Issues

Greens took to social media to convince followers to get out to the polls Tuesday with some using the hashtag #climatevoter in an attempt to make their message go viral.

Environmental groups have spent at least $85 million this election, according to the Washington Post’s Chris Mooney. Most of that money has come from one man — San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer.

Steyer’s activist group NextGen Climate Action has spent a whopping $57 million on election activities, including media blitzes, backing Democratic candidates and promoting global warming policies this cycle. Steyer’s money has made environmental groups a major funding force this election.

The League of Conservation Voters has also unleashed a torrent of funding this election cycle, spending $30 million to help keep Democrats in office and push environmental policies.

LCV dedicated $19 million in election funding to federal races, including backing Democrats in tough races. The group has even backed Democrats like Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, who support the Keystone XL pipeline and oil and natural gas drilling.

NextGen and LCV together spent $87 million this election cycle alone. This is just the tip of the iceberg since there are other major environmental groups like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council that have also ponied up this election.

The problem all of these groups face is that voters give fighting global warming a very low priority despite maybe even agreeing that warming is an issue that needs to be addressed.


New Climate Report Says Resistance Is Futile

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report on the earth’s climate Sunday, and it reaffirms what climate alarmists have been yammering for years. Chicken Little has nothing on these guys.

“Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system,” the report states, “increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts.” The report notes that governments now face the question of whether they can act to slow global warming to a pace at which humans and ecosystems can adapt, or risk “abrupt and irreversible changes” to the planet.

The report is the final piece of work in five years of assessments by thousands of scientists, and it is meant to offer a framework of data for world leaders to work with when they meet in 2015 to debate an international climate treaty. There have been a number of these five-year assessments since the 1990s, but this latest one contains the direst of predictions.

The IPCC concludes with 95% certainty that global warming is a man-made phenomenon, and the warming trend seen on land and in the oceans since the 1950s is “unequivocal.” According to IPCC research, each of the last three decades have been successively warmer, with the period from 1983 to 2012 likely being the warmest 30-year period in the Northern Hemisphere in the last 1,400 years. This would be an alarming piece of news except for the fact that the report admits this 1,400-year assessment is merely theoretical.

There have been previous theories about the sources and dangers of global warming. Rational scientists – the ones conveniently labeled “deniers” by ecofascists – have frequently questioned the methods by which the IPCC and its associated scientists collect their data. There was the famous “hockey stick” debate of 2003, when statisticians proved that the data behind the theory of steeply rising global temperatures was fundamentally flawed. And let’s not forget Climategate, the 2009 scandal in which the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit was caught fudging its climate data in an effort to prove the dire consequences of man-made global warming.

The IPCC remains undeterred in its mission, and inconvenient truths won’t get in its way. For instance, 18 years in which we have seen no warming accompanied by yet another record extent in Antarctic sea ice is considered temporary and due to “natural variability.” The IPCC report calls this trend merely a pause: “Trends based on short records are very sensitive to the beginning and end dates and do not in general reflect long-term climate trends.”

So an 18-year block within the time period from 1950 to 2014 is a short record without scientific meaning, but the IPCC bases its “settled science” on a 64-year block (1950-2014) within a 1,400-year period – that is admittedly theoretical – and we’re just supposed to accept that as fact.

The IPCC points out that it does not have the power to make policy, but it’s surely going to do everything it can to help shape whatever policy governments will make when they gather in Paris next year. The report claims a global temperature rise greater than 2°C would be catastrophic. If that threshold is crossed, the damage caused by global warming would be irreversible – even if all fossil-fuel use were to end tomorrow. By the way, that 2°C threshold was developed in 2009 and is relative to the 1861-1880 baseline for global temperature. There seems to be no explanation why this statistically short record is now gospel as opposed to any other 20-year span prior to the mass production of the automobile.

In any event, if this seemingly arbitrary 2°C threshold is to be maintained, carbon emissions need to be brought to near zero by 2100. “It’s not too late,” says Gary Yohe, a professor from Wesleyan University who contributed to the report. “But the longer you wait, the more expensive it gets.” It’s never too late for these folks.

Just how expensive will it be? The report is evasive: “These impact estimates are incomplete and depend on a large number of assumptions, many of which are disputable. … As a result, mitigation cost and climate damage estimates at any given temperature level cannot be compared to evaluate the costs and benefits of mitigation.” That’s a convenient way to avoid the hot seat for something that would drastically reduce global GDP over the next 85 years.

Ronald Bailey of Reason Magazine boils it down: “One way to think of this is that people today making an average global per capita income of just under $10,000 per year are being asked to sacrifice economic growth and development for people whose incomes will likely be over $61,000 per year in 2100.”

While the IPCC admits there are disputable elements and that it cannot determine just what the economic impact of its proposals would be, it argues we should unquestioningly accept its final conclusion.

The IPCC and its climate alarmist cohorts are asking the world to put the brakes on economic development based on information that is still very much up for debate. But never mind that, they say, the “Science™ is settled.”


BOOK REVIEW of "Cracking Big Green?"

Alan Caruba

It is doubtful that most Americans and others around the world know how vast the organizational structure of the environmental movement is and how much wealth it generates for those engaged in an agenda that would drag humanity back to the Stone Age.

If that sounds extreme, consider a world without access to and use of energy or any of the technological and scientific advances that have extended and enhanced our lives, from pesticides that kill insect and rodent disease vectors to genetically modified seeds that yield greater crop volumes.

Two of my colleagues in the effort to get the truth out are Paul Driessen and Ron Arnold, both of whom are affiliated with a free market think tank, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, CFACT, They have done the research necessary to expose the wealth and the power structure of the environmental movement. They have joined together to write “Cracking Big Green: To Save the World from the Save-the-Earth Money Machine.” ($4.99, available from

The Greens are forever claiming that anyone who disputes their lies is receiving money from big energy companies, but my experience is that it is think tanks like CFACT, small by any comparison with any major environmental organization, that support the search for the truth and its dissemination.

“Big Green” was formerly known as the Iron Triangle, “a mutually supportive relationship between power elites,” so-named by Mark Tapscott, the Washington Examiner’s executive editor. It consisted of “government agencies, special interest lobbying organizations, and legislators with jurisdiction over their interests.” Today, it includes major environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council. To these add wealthy foundations and corporations that fund them.

It will no doubt astound many readers to learn that there are more than 26,500 American environmental groups. They collected total revenues of more than $81 billion from 2000 to 2012, according to Giving USA Institute, with only a small part of that coming from membership dues and individual contributions.

“Cracking Big Green” examined the Internal Revenue Service Form 990 reports of non-profit organizations. Driessen and Arnold discovered that, among the 2012 incomes of better-known environmental groups, the Sierra Club took in $97,757,678 and its Foundation took in $47,163,599. The Environmental Defense Fund listed $111,915,138 in earnings, the Natural Resources Defense Council took in $98,701,707 and the National Audubon Society took in $96,206,883. These four groups accounted for more than $353 million in one year.

That pays for a lot of lobbying at the state and federal level. It pays for a lot of propaganda that the Earth needs saving because of global warming or climate change. Now add in Greenpeace USA at $32,791,149, the Greenpeace Fund at $12,878,777; the National Wildlife Federation at $84,725,518; the National Parks Conservation Association at $25,782,975; and The Wilderness Society at $24,862,909. Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection took in $19,150,215. That’s a lot of money to protect something that cannot be “protected,” but small in comparison to other Green organizations.

“If that sounds too intimidating to confront,” say Driessen and Arnold, “it gets worse. Our research found a truly shocking blind spot; many major environmental groups get nearly half their revenue from private foundations like the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Wal-Mart’s Walton Family Foundation. Just the top 50 foundation donors (out of 81,777) gave green groups $812,639,999 (2010 figures), according to the Foundation Center’s vast database.”

If you wonder why you have been hearing and reading endless doomsday scenarios about the warming of the Earth, the rise of the seas, and the disappearance of species and forests, for decades, the reason is that a huge propaganda machine is financed at levels that are mind boggling.

Allied with politicians in high places, Big Green can count on them to maintain the lies. When the Earth ceased to warming nineteen years ago, it changed its doomsday campaign to “climate change,” but the objective is the same: keep people so scared they will accept all manner of restrictions on their lives, at the same time the availability of the energy on which they depend is reduced by a “war on coal” and other measures to keep oil and natural gas in the ground where it cannot be used.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” said President Obama on January 21, 2013, in his second inaugural address. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and powerful storms.” 

This may appeal to those who do not or cannot examine these claims, but the reality is that the climate is always in a state of change, is largely determined by the Sun and other factors such as the oceans and volcanic activity. Humans play virtually no role whatever and Big Green’s Big Lie, that carbon dioxide (C02) emissions influence the weather and/or the climate, has long been disproved and debunked. The problem is that that the news and other media continue to tell the Big Lie.

For Big Green, science is not about irrefutable truth. It is an instrument of propaganda to be distorted to advance their lies.

The impact on their lives and on our economy can be seen in “higher energy bills, disappearing jobs, diminished family incomes, and fewer opportunities for better living standards for their children,” all factors that played into the outcome of the recent midterm elections. 

For a short, powerful insight to Big Green power and agenda, I heartily recommend you read “Cracking Big Green.”

Via email

More of that global warming hits America

After a weekend with record cold and snow, more waves of cold air and snow are on the way through the middle of November from the Midwest to the East.

A storm last weekend produced the earliest snowfall on record in Columbia, South Carolina, on Saturday. Freezing temperatures settled over much of the South and, when combined with the snow in the southern Appalachians, allowed some ski resorts to open early.

Snow buried part of New England later in the weekend, as the same storm pushed off the coast, turned northward and ramped up.

Another shot of cold air will follow a fast-moving storm forecast to sweep from the Midwest to the East during the second half of the week.

The new storm later this week will not be as strong as the system that hit the Midwest and East this past weekend. However, it will bring spotty rain and snow to parts of the northern Plains Wednesday then the Great Lakes on Thursday.


Danish dreaming:  Denmark Plans to Phase Out Coal by 2025

Denmark should ban coal use by 2025 to make the Nordic nation a leader in fighting global warming, adding to green measures ranging from wind energy to bicycle power, Denmark's climate minister said on Saturday.

Denmark has already taken big steps to break reliance on high-polluting coal - wind turbines are set to generate more than half of all electricity by 2020 and 41 percent of people in Copenhagen cycle to work or school, higher than in Amsterdam.

"The cost (of phasing out coal) would not be significant," Climate, Energy and Building Minister Helveg Petersen told Reuters of a proposal he made this week to bring forward a planned phase-out of all coal use to 2025 from 2030.

His ministry is studying details of how it would work before unveiling a formal plan. Denmark imports about 6 million tonnes a year of coal on world markets, currently from Russia, so a ban would coincidentally cut dependence on Moscow for energy.

The Danish Energy Association, representing energy firms, said a faster phase-out of coal would bring risks that wind turbines could not meet demand on calm days. Coal now generates about a third of Danish electricity.

"There will be a bill to pay," said Anders Stouge, deputy head of the association. Petersen said that some coal-fired plants could shift to burning wood as a backup.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


5 November, 2014

'Alarmist' green groups made 'exaggerated' claims about global warming, UN climate change scientist says

Green groups have been unhelpfully “alarmist” in making the case for tackling global warming - but the world now needs to take urgent and radical action if it wants to prevent dangerous climate change, leading UN scientists have said.

Some claims that non-governmental organisations have made about climate change “have undoubtedly been exaggerated”, Professor Myles Allen, one of the lead authors of a major new report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said.

“NGOs have at times been alarmist over climate change… but the IPCC has been very clear and measured throughout. I think alarmism on any issue is unhelpful.”

He suggested the alarmism had resulted in the general public getting the wrong impression about what climate change entailed.

“People think climate change is just all about melting icecaps and the Arctic, the reality is climate change is about the weather changing in many parts of the world including where many people live,” he said.

Prof Allen was speaking after the IPCC unveiled a major report warning that time is running out to prevent "irreversible and dangerous impacts" of climate change.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said the report showed “massive and urgent and immediate action” was required to cut greenhouse gas emissions to prevent warming of more than 2C above pre-industrial levels, the threshold regarded as dangerous.

To achieve this, global emissions must fall by at least 40 per cent by 2050 from 2010 levels, and be cut to zero – or even “negative” - by the end of the century. Negative emissions could entail huge programmes of planting forests to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Failure to take further action to limit greenhouse gas emissions will be more likely than not to result in warming of more than 4C above pre-industrial levels by 2100, the report warns, with “severe and pervasive” impacts including flooding, dangerous heatwaves, ill health and violent conflicts.

“The risks associated with temperatures at or above 4C include substantial species extinction, global and regional food insecurity, consequential constraints on common human activities, and limited potential for adaptation in some cases,” the report warns.

Mr Ban said he was “confident” that world leaders could agree a deal to curb emissions by a crunch summit in Paris late next year – despite widespread scepticism from many that Governments will be prepared to take as radical action as the IPCC says is needed.

Cutting emissions to keep warming within 2C would be likely to require some 80 per cent of the world’s electricity to be generated from low-carbon sources such as nuclear reactors or wind farms by 2050, up from about 30 per cent today, the report said.

By 2100 fossil fuel power generation would be “almost entirely phased out” unless power plants were fitted with ‘carbon capture and storage’ (CCS) technology to bury carbon dioxide emissions in the ground.

Despite fears over the costs of green energy, Mr Ban said it was a “myth” that tackling climate change would “cost heavily” and said the IPCC’s reports made clear that “inaction will cost much, much more”.

“Science has spoken, there is no ambiguity in their message. Leaders must act, time is not on our side,” he said.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, said there was "little time before the window of opportunity to stay within 2C of warming closes". Delaying action until even 2030 would significantly increase the costs and challenges of preventing dangerous warning, he said.

But he dismissed claims by green groups that the forecasts rendered much of the world’s oil and gas reserves “unburnable”. “I don’t think one can translate the findings into fossil fuel assets becoming redundant because with CCS it is entirely possible that fossil fuels can continue to be used on a large scale,” he said.

He warned that if the world failed to act then by the end of the century crop yields would decrease substantially. “Starvation and hunger" would become “large threats to human society”, he said. “The cost of inaction will be horrendously higher than the cost of action,” he warned.

Ed Davey, the secretary of state for energy and climate change, said: “This is the most comprehensive, thorough and robust assessment of climate change ever produced. It sends a clear message that should be heard across the world – we must act on climate change now. It’s now up to the politicians – we must safeguard the world for future generations by striking a new climate deal in Paris next year.”


Climate change is a problem. But our attempts to fix it could be worse than useless

By Bjorn Lomborg

The UN Climate Panel came out with its final report yesterday. It is a summary of its 3 main reports, published over the last year. It tells us that global warming is real and a significant problem. And as usual, the media hears something else – in the words of Mother Jones magazine, how future warming will be “ghastly, horrid, awful, shocking, grisly, gruesome.”

In between the alarmist hype and the reality of climate change we once again risk losing an opportunity to think smartly about energy and find a realistic way to fix global warming.

Fossil fuels aren't going anywhere

We need to realise that the world will not come off fossil fuels for many decades. Globally, we get a minuscule 0.3pc of our energy from solar and wind. According to the International Energy Agency, even with a wildly optimistic scenario, we will get just 3.5pc of our energy from solar and wind in 2035, while paying almost $100 billion in annual subsidies. Today, the world gets 82pc of its energy from fossil fuels, in 21 years it will still be more than 79pc.

The simple reason is that cheap and abundant energy is what powers economic growth. And for now, that means four fifths from fossil fuel, and much of the rest from water and nuclear. While wind is lower cost in a few, rural areas, coal is for the most part much cheaper, and provides power, also when the wind is not blowing.

As the poor half of our world is reaching for a similar development to that of China, they will also want much, much more power, most of it powered by coal. Even the climate-worried World Bank president accepts that "there’s never been a country that has developed with intermittent power."

Realising that fossil fuels will be here for a long time means stronger focus on moving from coal to gas, since gas emits about half the greenhouse gasses. The US shale gas revolution has reduced gas prices and lead to a significant switch from coal to gas. This has reduced US CO? emissions to their lowest in 20 years.

In 2012, US shale gas reduced emissions three times more than all the solar and wind in Europe. At the same time, Europe paid about $40 billion in annual subsidies for solar, while the Americans made more than $200 billion every year from the shale gas revolution. Gas is obviously still a fossil fuel and not the final solution, but it can reduce emissions over the next 10-20 years, especially if the shale revolution is expanded to China and the rest of the developing world.

Climate change is a problem - but not the biggest the world faces

Poverty, disease, poor sanitation and starvation kill more people than climate change will

While global warming will be a problem, much of the rhetoric is wildly exaggerated – like when UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon calls it “an existential challenge for the whole human race.” The IPCC finds that the total cost of climate change by 2070 is between 0.2pc and 2pc of GDP. While this is definitely a problem, it is equivalent to less than one year of recession over the next 60 years.

Global warming pales when compared to many other global problems. While the WHO estimates 250,000 annual deaths from global warming in 30 years, 4.3 million die right now each year from indoor air pollution, 800 million are starving, and 2.5 billion live in poverty and lack clean water and sanitation.

When the UN asked 5 million people for their top priorities the answers were better education and health care, less corruption, more jobs and affordable food. They placed global warming at the very last spot, as priority number 17.

Bad 'solutions' can cause more problems than they fix

Growing crops for biofuels has destroyed rainforests and driven up the cost of food

Climate policies can easily cost much more than the global warming damage will – while helping very little. The German solar adventure, which has cost taxpayers more than $130 billion, will at the end of the century just postpone global warming by a trivial 37 hours.

While a low carbon tax in theory could help a little, the political reality is that climate policies almost everywhere have been ineffective, done little good while sustaining the most wasteful technologies. The IPCC warns than less-than-perfect climate policies can be 2-4 times more expensive. Biofuels, for instance, have driven up food costs, likely causing an extra 30 million starving, with prospects of starving another 100 million by 2020. And it is likely that biofuels cause net increase in CO? emissions, because they force agriculture to cut down forests elsewhere to grow food.

This is why we have to be careful in pushing for the right policies. For twenty years, the refrain has been promises to cut CO?, like the Kyoto Protocol. For twenty years these policies have failed. We should instead look to climate economics to find smarter solutions.

The fundamental problem is that green energy is too expensive, which is why it will need billions in subsidies the next two decades. Instead of making more failed promises to pay ever more subsidies, we should spend the money on research and development of the next generations of green energy sources. If we can innovate the price of green energy down below the cost of fossil fuels, everyone will switch, including China and India. Economics confirm that for every dollar spent on green R&D, we will avoid $11 of climate damage.

But this requires us to separate the hype from the real message from IPCC: global warming is a problem, but unless we fix it smartly, we won’t fix it at all.


No matter how much Tom Steyer spends, Florida isn’t buying climate disaster

The legendary bank robber Willie Sutton apparently did not say that he robbed banks “because that’s where the money is,” even though everyone thinks he did. And, apparently, rich donors also don’t identify issues that are “where the voters are,” at least in Florida.

Billionaire Tom Steyer has spent $12 million trying to make Floridians scared of global warming — an issue Gallup recently found ranks dead last among voter priorities. Other research indicates that the more people are harangued about it, the more they turn off, making this money not well spent.

Blame the information age, where people can easily see for themselves that we are in our 18th year without a global-warming trend. They can also go the National Climatic Data Center’s website and plot out Florida’s yearly temperature; there is no overall significant warming trend in the entire record, which covers 118 years.

A little advance work could have saved a ton of money. The most popular climate change website in the world, Anthony Watts’s, now has well over 200 million views. It is decidedly nonapocalyptic. The most prominent scare site,, has a hundred times fewer views.

Watts’s site is run on a shoestring. While some of Steyer’s ads blame the Koch Brothers for skepticism about the end of the world, Watts has never seen a dollar of their support — or, for that matter, many dollars of anyone’s support, as it is mostly run with a tip jar.

Here’s the cool part: According to the model the Environmental Protection Agency uses to assess the climatic effects of various policies, if the emissions from the entire state of Florida dropped immediately to zero, the amount of global warming that would be saved by the year 2100 would be a grand total of seven thousandths of a degree Celsius (0.007°C). Such action would cost the Florida economy a fortune — even more money down the climate rat hole.

And thanks in no small part to the nearly two decades without any warming, it looks as though the amount the EPA assumes will occur this century was substantially exaggerated.

Some of Steyer’s ad footage clearly conflates warming and tidal inundations caused by hurricane winds. The fact is a lot of people in Florida don’t remember the last big (Category 3 or higher) one, Hurricane Wilma, which made landfall in Florida on Oct. 24, 2005. In fact, Wilma was the last such Category 3 to strike in the entire U.S., 3,292 days ago. This is the longest that the country has gone without such a storm since the Civil War era, and 23 days from now, we will be in the longest major hurricane drought in our recorded history.

The truth of the matter is, the planet is warmer than it was, and there’s some evidence that people have something to do with it. It just doesn’t have anything to do with hurricanes and their brethren around the entire planet, nor is it strong enough to even induce a significant warming trend in the overall Florida record.

Incidentally, the hallmark of warming from carbon dioxide (recent years notwithstanding) is that the coldest air masses of the winter are what warm the most. These are what freeze Florida’s orange crop. One notorious 1977 freeze, dubbed The Siberian Express, actually put down snow in Miami, for the first and only time since good weather records have been kept.

As Casey Stengel would have said, “you could look it up,” which is precisely what people do when hectored about the upcoming climate apocalypse. People my age have lived through about nine such apocalypses. “Acid rain” seems so quaint now, doesn’t it?

The reason voters rank global warming dead last is because they are tired of these false apocalypses. They are suffering from apocalypse fatigue, something well-heeled political donors would do well to recognize. Throwing money at exaggerated disasters may cost more votes than it buys.


Climate Scientists Aren't Alarmist Enough (?)

Ecofascists have a clear motive when fearmongering about global warming. They want more and more government control over our everyday lives. That’s what we expect the day after tomorrow. The Washington Post reports, “On Nov. 2, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release its ‘Synthesis Report,’ the final stage in a yearlong document dump that, collectively, presents the current expert consensus about climate change and its consequences.”

No one has ever accused these scientists of underestimating the threat. Until now. The Post notes, “According to a number of scientific critics, the scientific consensus represented by the IPCC is a very conservative consensus. IPCC’s reports, they say, often underestimate the severity of global warming, in a way that may actually confuse policymakers (or worse). The IPCC, one scientific group charged last year, has a tendency to ‘err on the side of least drama.’” The least drama? What movie have they been watching? Certainly not “The Day After Tomorrow.


It’s Rarely About the Environment Anymore

Paul Driessen

Back in 1970, when I got involved in the first Earth Day and nascent environmental movement, we had real pollution problems. But over time, new laws, regulations, attitudes and technologies cleaned up our air, water and sloppy industry practices. By contrast, today’s battles are rarely about the environment.

As Ron Arnold and I detail in our new book, Cracking Big Green: To save the world from the save-the-Earth money machine, today’s eco-battles pit a $13.4-billion-per-year U.S. environmentalist industry against the reliable, affordable, 82 percent fossil fuel energy that makes our jobs, living standards, health, welfare and environmental quality possible. A new Senate Minority Staff Report chronicles how today’s battles pit poor, minority and blue-collar families against a far-left “Billionaires Club” and the radical environmentalist groups it supports and directs, in collusion with federal, state and local bureaucrats, politicians and judges – and with thousands of corporate bosses and alarmist scientists who profit mightily from the arrangements.

These ideologues run masterful, well-funded, highly coordinated campaigns that have targeted, not just coal, but all hydrocarbon energy, as well as nuclear and even hydroelectric power. They fully support the Obama agenda, largely because they helped create that agenda.

They seek ever-greater control over our lives, livelihoods, living standards and liberties – in part because they know they will rarely, if ever, be held accountable for the fraudulent science they employ and the callous, careless or deliberate harm they inflict. And because they know their wealth and power will largely shield them from the deprivations that their policies impose on the vast majority of Americans.

These Radical Greens have shuttered coal mines, coal-fired power plants, factories, the jobs that went with them, and the family security, health and welfare that went with those jobs. They have largely eliminated leasing, drilling, mining and timber harvesting across hundreds of millions of acres in the western United States and Alaska – and are now targeting ranchers. In an era of innovative seismic and drilling technologies, they have cut oil production by 6% on federally controlled onshore and offshore lands.

Meanwhile, thanks to a hydraulic fracturing revolution that somehow flew in under the Radical Green radar, oil production on state and private lands has soared by 60% – from 5 million barrels per day in 2008 (the lowest ebb since 1943) to 8 million bpd in 2014. Natural gas output climbed even more rapidly. This production reduced gas and gasoline prices and created hundreds of thousands of jobs in hundreds of industries and virtually every state. So now, of course, Big Green is waging war on “fracking” (which the late Total Oil CEO Christophe de Margerie jovially preferred to call “rock massage”).

As Marita Noon recently noted, Environment America has issued a phony “Fracking by the Numbers” screed. It grossly misrepresents this 67-year-old technology and falsely claims the oil industry deliberately obscures the alleged environmental, health and community impacts of fracking, by limiting its definition to only the actual moment in the extraction process when rock is fractured. For facts about fracking, revisit a few of my previous articles: here, here and here.

Moreover, when it comes to renewable energy, Big Green studiously ignores its own demands for full disclosure and obfuscates the impacts of technologies it promotes. Wind power is a perfect example.

Far from being “free” and “eco-friendly,” wind-based electricity is extremely unreliable and expensive, despite the mandates and subsidies lavished on it. The cradle-to-grave ecological impacts are startling.

The United States currently has over 40,000 turbines, up to 450 feet tall and 1.5 megawatts in nameplate output. Unpredictable winds mean they generate electricity at 15-20 percent of this “rated capacity.” The rest of the time mostly fossil fuel generators do the work. That means we need 5 to 15 times more steel, concrete, copper and other raw materials, to build huge wind facilities, transmission lines to far-off urban centers, and “backup” generators – than if we simply built the backups near cities and forgot about the turbines.

Every one of those materials requires mining, processing, shipping – and fossil fuels. Every turbine, backup generator and transmission line component requires manufacturing, shipping – and fossil fuels. The backups run on fossil fuels, and because they must “ramp up” dozens of times a day, they burn fuel very inefficiently, need far more fuel, and emit far more “greenhouse gases,” than if we simply built the backups and forgot about the wind turbines. The related land and environmental impacts are enormous.

Environmentalists almost never mention any of this – or the wildlife and human impacts.

Bald and golden eagles and other raptors are attracted to wind turbines, by prey and the prospect of using the towers for perches, nests and resting spots, Save the Eagles International president Mark Duchamp noted in comments to the US Fish & Wildlife Service. As a result, thousands of these magnificent flyers are slaughtered by turbines every year. Indeed, he says, turbines are “the perfect ecological trap” for attracting and killing eagles, especially as more and more are built in and near important habitats.

Every year, Duchamp says, they also butcher millions of other birds and millions of bats that are attracted to turbines by abundant insects – or simply fail to see the turbine blades, whose tips travel at 170 mph.

Indeed, the death toll is orders of magnitude higher than the “only” 440,000 per year admitted to by Big Wind companies and the USFWS. Using careful carcass counts tallied for several European studies, I have estimated that turbines actually kill at least 13,000,000 birds and bats per year in the USA alone!

Wildlife consultant Jim Wiegand has written several articles that document these horrendous impacts on raptors, the devious methods the wind industry uses to hide the slaughter, and the many ways the FWS and Big Green collude with Big Wind operators to exempt wind turbines from endangered species, migratory bird and other laws that are imposed with iron fists on oil, gas, timber and mining companies. The FWS and other Interior Department agencies are using sage grouse habitats and White Nose Bat Syndrome to block mining, drilling and fracking. But wind turbines get a free pass, a license to kill.

Big Green, Big Wind and Big Government regulators likewise almost never mention the human costs – the sleep deprivation and other health impacts from infrasound noise and constant light flickering effects associated with nearby turbines, as documented by Dr. Sarah Laurie and other researchers.

In short, wind power may well be our least sustainable energy source – and the one least able to replace fossil fuels or reduce carbon dioxide emissions that anti-energy activists falsely blame for climate change (that they absurdly claim never happened prior to the modern industrial age). But of course their rants have nothing to do with climate change or environmental protection.

The climate change dangers exist only in computer models, junk-science “studies” and press releases. But as the “People’s Climate March” made clear, today’s watermelon environmentalists (green on the outside, red on the inside) do not merely despise fossil fuels, fracking and the Keystone pipeline. They also detest free enterprise capitalism, modern living standards, private property … and even pro football!

They invent and inflate risks that have nothing to do with reality, and dismiss the incredible benefits that fracking and fossil fuels have brought to people worldwide. They go ballistic over alleged risks of using modern technologies, but are silent about the clear risks of not using those technologies. And when it comes to themselves, Big Green and the Billionaires Club oppose and ignore the transparency, integrity, democracy and accountability that they demand from everyone they attack.


Fred Singer Closing in on Fact: CO2 Doesn’t Affect Global Temperature

 by Dr Pierre R Latour

I write to concur with conclusions in Dr S Fred Singer’s recent essay: “The Climate Sensitivity Controversy”, by  S. Fred Singer, American Thinker (October 15, 2014) and to solve the puzzles he posed. fred singer

In particular he concludes “climate sensitivity, CS, is close to zero”. This means any effect of CO2 on Earth’s temperature and climate is vanishingly small, hence unimportant. Singer leaves his warmist camp and joins the denier camp of skeptics.

I met Singer at his University of Houston lecture hosted by Prof Larry Bell on February 6, 2012 and his several talks at the latest Heartland Institute ICCC, Las Vegas, July 7-9, 2014. He has played an important role in disputing alarmist global warming claims for decades. He has received many awards.

Singer reveals he assumes CO2 warms Earth because it is called a greenhouse gas, which does not make it so. It is also green plant food, which does chemically make it a coolant.  Great confusion arises when a radiating gas, which cools the atmosphere, is incorrectly labeled a greenhouse gas and then warming is arbitrarily assigned to it, by virtue of the nomenclature change.

I discovered in 2012 introducing radiating gases like H2O and CO2 to the atmosphere actually cools the Earth slightly and had useful direct email exchanges with Singer on the matter. Naturally I am pleased he has reached a similar conclusion, perhaps by another way.

The proper way to calculate CS is from the laws of physics, chemistry, biology and chemical engineering with correct physical properties. Relying on empiricism and data regression for large complex engineering systems is well known to be incorrect and flawed. They never represent the nonlinear world outside their domain of fit; cannot extrapolate, only interpolate. Same for stock market charting. The whole data fitting exercise to support GHGT (greenhouse gas theories) is worthless from its inception. (Except it conveniently proved CO2 lags temperature by 800 years from Al Gore’s 420,000 year trend, proving CO2 could not cause these temperature changes; the sun did it.)

My way is physics, the Stefan Boltzmann Law of radiation intensity from all matter proportional to its temperature and emissivity. This Law works for entire planets, even when there are clouds, thermal feedbacks and hurricanes.

I parted company with Singer with his current “Of course, the proper way to determine Climate Sensitivity (CS) is empirically -- by using the climate data.” two years ago. That is wrong. He expresses misgivings himself.

Singer and GHGT promoters are wedded to the idea of correlating temperature and CO2 data, which alone can only prove correlation, never causation. A corollary error is to account for other known causes driving temperature, like solar, and ascribe all response discrepancy actually due to unknown causes, to CO2. Another error is to statistically fit data to empirical equations and attempt to extrapolate outside the validity domain of the data. Interpolation is allowed, extrapolation of nonlinear natural world outside the domain is not. A fourth error is to deviate from the scientific method practice which uses experimental data to falsify proposed theories that don’t predict nature’s behavior well, rather than claim validity of when predictions are confirmed by luck. A fifth error is to keep data analysis methods used to support validity of hunches confidential, particularly when publically financed. (Newton’s Principia Mathematica made him famous by full disclosure.) Worst of all is filing defamation lawsuits against skeptics questioning secret GHGT methods, assumptions and scientific basis. Even smearing them and attacking their character is unacceptable. Five strikes and you are way out. These principles are well known to control systems engineers, but not UN IPCC GHGT promoters that lack credentials.

Singer correctly notes there are several different temperatures involved; a source of confusion I discovered years ago. The GHGT literature is intellectually incoherent, a mess. He is correct to point out atmospheric global warming ceased since 1997 until now, 2014. The globe warms about half the time, 4.6 billion/2 = 2.3 billion years. It cools half the time also.

He has been wandering around in the swamp of atmospheric feedbacks, positive or negative, proclaiming it is all too complicated and controversial. Like esteemed MIT Professor Richard Lindzen and other meteorologists, he is trapped in his feedback swamp and can’t get out.

Feedbacks are the province of control systems engineering. (I know what feedback control is and how to build it. In 1997 I proved any thermostat for Earth adjusting fossil fuel combustion is unmeasurable, unobservable and uncontrollable; it will never work. Even Lord Monckton is beginning to consider control systems engineering; I encountered him personally in Las Vegas.)

Singer calls for more research, while promoters at UN IPCC and global climate change organizations are already wasting $1 billion/day in hopeless controversy and useless assessment reports.

Inventing a new mechanism of radiant heat transfer, back-radiation, from cold atmospheric CO2 molecules back down to Earth’s surface, with intensity 333 w/m2 (compared to solar intensity reaching surface which averages 161 w/m2 of surface) warming it further, causing it to radiate up even more intensely at 396 w/m2, violates FLoT and SLoT, constituting a perpetual motion machine creating energy to drive global warming, an impossibility of nature. Heat does not flow from cold matter to hot matter, heating hot further; only from hot to cold. This is engineering fraud of the first order. GHGT has been falsified by eminent physicists.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


4 November, 2014

IPCC Links New Report to Sneering Stephen Schneider

An organization whose reputation is in tatters links its new document to a rude, intolerant, highly politicized climate crusader

Earlier today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the final installment of its latest tome. The 40-page summary of what is, itself, a summary of already-public material can be seen here.

Page two contains the following statement: “This report is dedicated to the memory of Stephen H. Schneider 1945-2010.”

That’s right. This supposedly scientific body, composed of supposedly dispassionate scientific experts discussing what many believe to be the world’s most pressing problem, have deliberately undercut their own case. They’ve chosen to contaminate their conclusions by linking them to a specific individual.

The late Stephen Schneider was no pillar of scientific integrity. He was not a role model any of us would wish our children to emulate. Indeed, the portrait of him that emerged via the climategate files is cringe-worthy.

I’ve previously discussed an e-mail he wrote to a lawyer employed by the activist group known as the Environmental Defense Fund, but cc’d to 14 now prominent climate actors (backed up here). Schneider, being significantly older than many of these individuals, was in a leadership position. It was his job to set an example of how scientists in his camp should behave toward those of a more skeptical frame of mind.

Rather than demonstrating grace, tolerance, humility, or patience he acted like a demented sports fan – the sort who riot and beat-up people when their team doesn’t win. (The metaphor isn’t mine. Schneider titled his 2009 book Science as a Contact Sport.)

When these kinds of riots take place, honourable ideas such as fair play and good sportsmanship are pushed aside by something uglier. That e-mail exposes Schneider as a sneering, smearing individiual – as someone who responds to critics by hurling insults, by calling them “idiots,” “incompetents,” and “bozos.” The lesson he taught these younger scientists had two components:

    lawyers paid to advance activist agendas are part of the in-crowd

    people on the other team are unworthy of simple human courtesy, never mind serious consideration

A second climategate e-mail makes it clear that Schneider was a dangerous enemy of free speech. As I explain here, when Schneider turned down an invitation to participate in a 2003 conference, it wasn’t for scientific reasons – but political ones. In the universe Schneider inhabited, a company that had the temerity to publish a book with which he disagreed – Bjorn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist - deserved to be bad-mouthed and boycotted.

In that e-mail (backed up here), Schneider refuses to attend the conference because material presented there will, afterward, be published by Cambridge University Press. He says the only way he’d consider associating himself with that publishing house is if it

    withdrew Lomborg’s book

    apologized “to the scientific community” and

    admitted to “scientific fraud”

For good measure, Schneider’s e-mail accuses an editor of being “dishonest” and of “wrapping him self up in an authors right to speak” (sic). Heaven forfend that anyone employed in the publishing industry should defend free and open debate.

But let us bring this discussion back to the IPCC – those geniuses who thought it was a good idea to link their findings to a rude, intolerant, highly politicized climate crusader. On page 125 of his above-mentioned book, Schneider confirms that the IPCC is just another old boys’ club.

Like hundreds of other people, he received a draft of the IPCC’s first report and was invited to provide feedback. This means he served as an external expert reviewer. The IPCC then lied to the public about his role. Here are Schneider’s own words:

    "They used some of my suggestions, and when the Assessment Report was published a year later, I was listed as a contributing author. It was flattering they thought to acknowledge me, since I spent only a dozen or so hours on it."

At the IPCC, there is a huge difference between an expert reviewer and a contributing author. The two are not the same, and everyone knows it. Yet, from its earliest days the IPCC thought it was OK to indulge in this sort of sleight-of-hand.

Schneider, who later became an IPCC mover-and-shaker, saw nothing wrong with this. Rather than insisting that the record be corrected, his ego basked in the flattery. Rather than insisting on the unvarnished truth so that no one would have any reason to doubt the word of this UN-sponsored body, he went along with the lie.

Which is why the IPCC’s latest report belongs in the dustbin. After all the criticism that has been leveled against this organization in recent years, it still doesn’t get it. It doesn’t understand that its reputation is in tatters. It doesn’t recognize any need whatsoever for scrupulous, disinterested, and – above all – apolitical behaviour.

In that sense, the IPCC has done us all a favour by linking its latest document to a scientist whose legacy falls far short of admirable. Those two things do, indeed, belong together.


The Lies Phony Climate Experts Tell

By Alan Caruba

For decades now both the U.S. and Europe have suffered the arrogance and the lies of so-called “climate experts.” Mind you, there are some real ones and, when it comes to global warming and climate change, the interchangeable names for the lies, they are the ones labeled “deniers” and worse for telling the truth.

The fundamental lie is that humans, through their use of fossil fuels, coal, oil and natural gas, are creating huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) which in turn is warming the Earth. You will hear the lies again when the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its latest report.

“The report should galvanize the world to take urgent and collective action to curb climate change,” says Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We’re almost out of time to avoid the worst…”

We have been told this since the 1980s. It is pure fear mongering.

The problem for the phony “climate experts” is that the Earth has not warmed in the last 19 years and CO2 plays a minimal role in the alleged warming. What you never hear the “climate experts” tell you is that CO2 is vital to all life on Earth because it is the “food” that all vegetation depends upon for growth. More CO2 is a very good thing and, in the past, its levels in the atmosphere have been much higher.

On October 24 my eye was caught by a news article that reported that “European Union leaders agreed on a set of long-term targets on energy and climate change, Friday, giving financial sweeteners and weakening some objectives along the way to secure a deal…European leaders committed to cutting carbon emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels, which will be legally binding on every member state.”

One of the real meteorologists, Anthony Watts, took notice of the EU. “…Anyone who is expecting a rational re-appraisal of European environment policy—don’t underestimate the blind determination of Europe’s green elite to fulfill their dream of an emission free Europe. They will, in my opinion, happily bomb the European economy back into the stone age to achieve their ridiculous goal.”

In November of last year, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, took note of Germany’s “love affair with renewables (solar and wind energy) brings high prices, potential blackouts, and worries about ‘deindustrialization.’”

“Like Mao urging peasants to melt down their pots, pans and farm tools to turn China into a steel-producing superpower overnight, Germany dished out subsidies to encourage homeowners and farms to install solar panels and windmills and sell energy back to the power company at inflated prices. Success—Germany now gets 25% of its power from renewables—has turned out to be a disaster.”

Jenkins noted that not only had Germany’s output of carbon dioxide increased, but “money-strapped utilities have switched to burning cheap American coal to provide the necessary standby power when wind and sun fail.” The cost of electricity rates in Germany is triple those in the U.S.

Yes, solar and wind power everywhere require fossil fuel plants as a backup whenever the sun is obscured by clouds or the wind doesn’t blow. In the U.S., Obama’s “war on coal” has decreased the number of utilities that utilize it and, in turn, reduced the amount of electricity available. The prospect of blackouts here has increased. If we encounter a harsh winter, that would put people’s lives in danger.

One has to understand that the lies about global warming and/or climate change are in fact an environmental agenda designed to reduce industrialization and the use of energy everywhere.

Harold Schwager, a senior member of BASF’s executive board said in an interview, “Many European companies which are energy-intensive are finding out that the benefits of shifting investment to the U.S. are significant.” Germany and the EU are driving out industry and the jobs it represents because of their idiotic carbon dioxide emissions policies.

This is why we all need to understand the real “environmental” agenda. Writing in the Financial Times on October 27, Nick Butler said “Last week’s European summit on climate change failed to address the hard reality that current policies are not working.”

As in the U.S. the construction of wind turbine farms such as the one offshore of Borkum, Germany in the North Sea only exist by virtue of extensive subsidies that are wreaking havoc on European energy markets. That’s the reality!

Here in the U.S. in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama gave a speech in Golden, Colorado, saying that his planned investments in “green energy” would create “five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever been outsourced.”

How did that work out? Six years later we know those “green” jobs were not created and that his energy policies have actually reduced the production of vital electricity. Will new jobs in industries dependent on fossil-fuels be created? Yes and they will come from European industrial investment and increased oil and natural gas production here despite Obama’s agenda.

That is why the European Union’s idiotic commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) is putting the entire continent in danger and that is why America has to stop providing subsidies and tax breaks to “renewable”, “green” energy here and mandating its use.

Whenever you hear some “climate expert” or politician refer to global warming or climate change, they are lying to you. We have more CO2 in the atmosphere and the Earth is still in a cooling cycle.


Polar bear biologists doing mark-recapture work in Hudson Bay may have misled the world

What exactly are Western Hudson Bay (WHB) polar bear researchers hiding? Since 2004, research on the body condition and cub production of Western Hudson Bay (WHB) polar bears has been carried out but none of the results of these mark-recapture studies have been made public.

The researchers all claim that WHB polar bears are struggling to survive because of recent sea ice changes but won’t release the 10 years worth of updated information they possess on the bears or the sea ice.

Mark-recapture work entails chasing the bears down with helicopters (including females with newborn cubs), drugging them with a cocktail of sedatives that taint the meat (and perhaps the milk of nursing mothers) for months afterward, installing radio collars or ear tags, extracting a tooth for aging, drawing blood and fat samples, and before it’s all over, posing for a few up-close-and-personal photos with the tiny cubs of drugged females

That’s a lot of stress to the bears and to what end? Detailed biological information about the bears that’s necessary for sound management, we are told.

In order to assess the true status of a population, biologists tell us they need to compare the size of litters, the proportion of yearlings (1-2 yrs old), the rate of cub survival, and the weight of adult bears (altogether, these are the so-called “vital rates” of the population).

However, I just updated a list I made in this previous post (which has the references) and you should know that by 2014, there has now been:

— No published data available for size of WHB litters or proportion of independent yearlings since 1998 (16 yrs ago).

— No data on cub survival in WHB since 1992 (22 yrs ago).

— No data published on weight of lone WHB females since 2004 (10 yrs ago)

— No data published on weight of adult WHB males and females with cubs since 1998 (16 years ago)

There has also been no sea ice data published for Hudson Bay since 2004 (10 yrs ago) using the old method of determining breakup/freeze-up (50% ice coverage); using the new method of determining breakup and freeze-up (30% coverage/10% coverage over WHB, respectively), the last year of data is 2009 (5 yrs ago).

The Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) promised in February 2014 that this year, polar bear data collected since 2004 in WHB would be released:

“A new population estimate based on extensive continued Physical Capture-Recapture will be available in 2014 and, will provide an updated assessment of the long-term trend in population size and vital rates, that is not possible from a single aerial survey.“

[Note that the upgrade to the trend status for the WHB subpopulation recently made by Environment Canada (discussed here) — from “declining” (according the PBSG in February 2014) to “likely stable” (June 2014) — appears to have been based on the publication of a peer-reviewed paper on aerial survey population size estimate (Stapleton et al. 2014, discussed here), not mark-recapture results]

And with little more than two months remaining in the year, there has been nary a whisper of what those mark-recapture studies showed. What we have heard is an ever-increasing litany of polar bear woos:

“Melting ice is cutting polar bears off from their food source in Hudson Bay, and death rates have soared.”

Polar bear biologist Andrew Derocher, in a recent CBC documentary (links to the videos here), said this:

“Our estimation is that we probably won’t have polar bears in Churchill once we get out to mid-century … They could be gone in a couple of years.”

And Steve Amstrup, spokesperson for Polar Bears International, claimed in an interview a few weeks ago that in WHB:

“Only about 3 percent of the western Hudson Bay population, for example, is now composed of yearlings.“

Compared to what? Apparently, Amstrup knows but we aren’t allowed to see the details of the studies that generated that information.

Andrew Derocher (University of Alberta) and several of his students (including Patrick Mislan shown above), Nick Lunn (Environment Canada), and conservation activist organization Polar Bears International (led by former USGS biologist Steve Amstrup) have all been doing invasive research on WHB polar bears using mark-recapture methods over the last 10 years but none of the data on body condition, cub survival and litter sizes have been published.

Remember this when you hear and read statements from these biologists and other conservation activists over the next few weeks and months. You might even ask yourself:

Are polar bear biologists withholding data on Western Hudson Bay mark-recapture work and breakup/freeze-up dates because the results don’t support their claims? Should the recent upgrade to “likely stable“ have happened five years ago — or even earlier?

We wait, with bated breath, for evidence that the biologists entrusted with collecting and publishing unbiased scientific data have not been deliberately misleading us about the current status of Western Hudson Bay polar bears.


The Obama war on pipelines

Expedite wind and solar – but block coal, oil, gas, pipelines, jobs and economic recovery

Paul Driessen

“This is not the same industry we had 15 years ago,” Natural Gas Supply Association VP Jennifer Fordham said recently. That’s an understatement. The oil, petrochemical and manufacturing industries are also far different from those of 15 years ago. Together, they’ve created hundreds of thousands of new jobs and generated countless billions of dollars in economic activity. No thanks to the Obama Administration.

From EPA to Interior and even the Energy Department, the Administration continues to display a strong animosity toward fossil fuels. Its war on coal has hounded mines, power plants, jobs and communities. Its opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline has thwarted the creation of tens of thousands of construction jobs. Its bans on leasing, drilling and hydraulic fracturing on federal onshore and offshore lands have caused a 6% drop in oil production from those lands and a 28% plunge in natural gas output – costing thousands of jobs and tens of billions in bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenues to the U.S. Treasury.

Nevertheless, you’d think Obama regulators and policy makers would support natural gas pipelines. Even the Sierra Club promoted this fuel as a “clean alternative to coal” just a couple years ago. But no.

The fracking revolution on America’s state and private lands has unleashed a gusher of mammoth proportions. In just six years, 2008-2014, it has generated a 58% increase in oil production (from 5 million to 8 million barrels per day) – and a 21% rise in natural gas production. By the end of this year, U.S. crude oil production is projected to reach 9 million bpd. In the Marcellus Shale region, gas production is expected to reach 16 billion cubic feet a day, twice the volume of only two years ago.

However, this miraculous cornucopia is overwhelming the nation’s existing delivery systems and, far from striving to eliminate the bottleneck, the Obama Administration is creating new ones.

Not having the Keystone pipeline to transport Upper Midwest crude to refineries has forced oil companies to move that oil by train. Rail accidents have caused spills and deaths, but the regulatory focus has been on stronger tanker cars, with insufficient attention paid to track maintenance and safety – or pipelines.

Insufficient natural gas pipelines mean producers cannot deliver this vital fuel to homes, hospitals, factories and electricity generating plants, or to petrochemical plants that use it as a feed stock for literally thousands of products. Pipeline companies are clamoring for construction permits.

With supplies rising, prices for oil and natural gas are declining. Global crude oil prices have fallen more than $20 a barrel and are cheaper in the United States than in Europe.  Natural gas prices in the Marcellus area have been about half the U.S. benchmark price, which is below $4 per thousand cubic feet (mcf), compared to prices as high as $9 or even $20 per mcf (or Btu) in Europe and Asia. As a result, despite a clear need for gas, some drillers are re-examining their Marcellus plans, and an estimated 1,750 Pennsylvania natural gas wells are not currently producing because pipeline connections are not available.

Natural gas pipelines also ensure energy conservation and reduce air pollution. A North Dakota pipeline would collect gas produced with crude oil, eliminating the need to “flare” the gas. But permit delays, largely by federal agencies, mean enough gas to heat 160,000 homes goes up in smoke every month.

Why are pipelines lagging behind production? First, pipeline companies build new capacity only when there is a demonstrated need. Second, and most important, pipeline permit approvals are being delayed.

A 2013 INGAA Foundation study found that the number of interstate natural gas pipeline authorizations issued more than 90 days after federal environmental assessments were completed climbed from 8% to 28% since Congress passed the 2005 Energy Policy Act. Rather than streamlining permits, as Congress had intended, the law had the opposite effect. It removed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s ability to keep project reviews on a strict schedule, allowed both state and federal agencies to drag their heels on pipeline permitting, and opened the door to more objections by environmental pressure groups.

Authorization delays were caused by conflicts among federal agencies, as well as inadequate or under-trained agency staff, applicant changes to projects requiring additional or revised environmental review (often in response to environmentalist or other third-party protests and demands), site-access problems, and FERC and other agency reviews of requirements for mitigating asserted environmental impacts, INGAA concluded. Increased partisanship at FERC has also increased delays.

The Obama Army Corps of Engineers slowed pipeline permits by citing the Clean Water Act. Its Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) cited the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to justify slow-walking permits. Its Environmental Protection Agency wants to control all “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), so as to exert regulatory authority over activities on federal, state and private lands – including drilling, fracking and pipelines – in the name of sustainability, climate change prevention and other eco-mantras.

The MBTA bans the “taking” (harassing, harming, killing, capturing or wounding) of migratory birds, their nests and eggs related to natural gas pipelines and other projects. Because building a pipeline requires clearing a right-of-way, excavating and other activities that could affect wildlife for a short time, a permit is required. But native grasses soon cover the route, and state-of-the-art steel, valves and safety features greatly reduce the likelihood of ruptures and spills, compared to earlier generation pipelines.

And yet the Obama FWS drags its feet on pipeline permits – while approving numerous renewable energy projects beloved by the President and his “green” base, including massive wind turbines that slaughter millions of eagles, hawks, bats and other threatened, endangered and migratory species every year.

The FWS also blessed the huge Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System on the Nevada/California border. It uses 300,000 mirrors to reflect the sun’s rays onto three 40-story water-filled towers to produce steam and generate electricity. Eagles, owls, falcons and other birds that fly between the solar panels and towers become “streamers,” because the 500-degree heat turns them into smoking, disintegrating corpses as they plummet to earth. There’s little left to find or bury – making it easy for Big Solar regulators, operators and promoters to claim “minimal” wildlife impacts. In fact, during the Ivanpah project’s environmental review, the FWS focused on desert tortoises and missed the bird crematorium issue.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Land Management unveiled a sweeping plan that would revise longstanding resource management plans, to install buffer zones around “sensitive” Gunnison sage grouse habitats, impose seasonal restrictions on oil and gas drilling and livestock grazing, and close roads and trails wherever grouse are present. But in the midst of this effort, BLM and various state governments are also working to streamline “eco-friendly” solar, wind, geothermal and transmission line projects that they claim will reduce “dangerous” carbon dioxide emissions. Natural gas would do that, too, of course.

Natural gas is clean, affordable and reliable – if it can reach consumers through pipelines, which are the safest form of energy transportation. Unfortunately, the Obama principle seems to be: If it requires subsidies, raises energy prices, costs jobs, impacts thousands of acres, and butchers birds and bats – expedite approval. If it generates royalty and tax revenues, produces reliable, affordable energy, creates jobs, and has minimal impacts on endangered and migratory species – delay or ban it. Talk about crazy.

The administration’s fixation on ideological environmentalism is not helping the environment, the economy, or consumers. It is a political ploy designed to garner liberal votes and rake in more money from campaign donors like Tom Steyer, the billionaire hedge fund manager who got his money from coal.

America needs more pipelines. The Obama Administration needs to let industry build them. Perhaps a reconstituted Senate (with Harry Reid as Minority Leader) can lead the way. America will prosper!

Via email

RI flooding not WV’s fault

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is misguided on sea level rise: seacoasts won’t be flooded due to coal burning

Tom Harris & Bob Carter

It must have taken the patience of Job for West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin to participate in Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s climate change tour of the Ocean State on October 10. Whitehouse promised Manchin that he would go to West Virginia to learn about the coal industry if Manchin would come to Rhode Island to view the supposed effects of global warming on sea-level.

It is important to put the concerns of the two senators in perspective.

On the one hand, Manchin is fighting for the survival of West Virginia’s coal sector, his state’s most important industry, the source of 95% of its electricity, and the foundation for thousands of jobs in dozens of communities. The state’s use of abundant, domestically mined coal gives West Virginia the 7th lowest electricity costs in America – at about one-half the price in California, New York, Rhode Island and several other states.

But West Virginia’s coal sector is under siege from increasingly damaging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules. Those rules have meant total coal production in West Virginia declined 9% between 2012 and 2013, a period during which 17% of the Mountain State’s coal mines closed, and coal employment decreased 6.4% for a loss of 3,457 jobs already. Even before the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan regulations, which Whitehouse promotes, come into force, the EPA and Obama Administration’s “war on coal” has already cost West Virginia billions of dollars.

Senator Manchin, in other words, is concerned about the immediate, real-world impacts of climate change regulations on real people, families and businesses in his state.

Senator Whitehouse has a different perspective and is apparently not concerned about the cost of EPA emission regulations. Rhode Island gets none of its electricity from coal, having chosen less-carbon-intensive natural gas as its preferred source of power.

As a result, the state has the 7th highest electricity prices in the continental United States. The impact of these high prices on hospitals, schools, churches, businesses and families is significant.

The White House, of course, shares Senator Whitehouse’s perspective. Neither seems worried that, under the EPA rules, electricity prices will “necessarily skyrocket,” as Obama put it when describing his energy plans as Democratic candidate for president in 2008.

Mr. Whitehouse is, however, worried about the hypothetical future impact of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired power stations on “global temperatures.” He believes this will cause “dangerous” sea-level rise along Rhode Island’s coast. Mr. Whitehouse does not hide the fact that, because of these beliefs, he sees his mission as “more or less” to put the coal industry out of business.

If it were known with a high degree of probability that dangerous human-caused sea-level rise was right around the corner, then Mr. Manchin might have reason to sacrifice his constituents’ livelihoods to help save Rhode Islanders from being submerged. But this is not the case.

The September 2013 report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change states: “Sea-level rise is not accelerating. The global average sea-level continues to increase at its long-term rate of 1–2 mm/year [0.04-0.08 inches/year] globally” – or four to eight inches over the next century.

As it happens, sea-level rise on the coast of Rhode Island is slightly faster than the global rate – about a tenth of an inch per year in Newport, for example – or ten inches over the next 100 years. Nonetheless, such a slow rate of rise is relatively easy to adapt to, and certainly not worth ruining West Virginia’s economy on the off-chance that it would make any difference to coastal conditions in Rhode Island.

Bear in mind that sea levels have already risen nearly 400 feet since the end of the last Pleistocene Era ice age some 12,000 years ago.

The conflict between the two senators arises because of Mr. Whitehouse’s outmoded belief that rapid CO2-driven global warming is occurring. This, he believes, will cause accelerated glacial melting, the ocean volume to expand, and global sea-level to rise quickly. That in turn would subject low-lying coastal areas of Rhode Island to increasingly intense peak-tide or storm-surge flooding.

Drastically reducing our CO2 emissions is necessary to avoid this looming crisis, he asserts.

However, every step in Whitehouse’s chain of reasoning is either wrong or misleading and based on computer models that falsely assume rising atmospheric CO2 levels will cause rapid global warming. In reality, no global (atmospheric) warming has occurred for the last 18 years, even though CO2 levels have risen 9% during this time.

Neither has there been significant ocean warming since at least 2003. As a consequence, the ocean is not expanding and cannot be causing extra sea-level rise. In fact, the global rate of sea-level rise has actually decreased over the last decade.

The only way the sort of sea-level rise feared by Mr. Whitehouse is possible is if massive quantities of the Antarctic and Greenland ice-caps melted. Not only did that not happen even during the two-degree warmer Holocene Optimum, five to nine thousands years ago, but both the Greenland and Antarctic ice fields have been expanding in recent years.

Moreover, rates of modern sea-level change are controlled by the volume of water in the ocean (which is dependant on worldwide volumes of land ice at any given time), by dynamic oceanographic features such as movements in major ocean currents, and by the uplift or subsidence of the solid earth beneath any measuring station. Humans control none of these factors.

Senator Whitehouse should recognize that Rhode Island’s coastal management problems are his own state’s responsibility, not those of West Virginians.  As sea-level continues its natural slow rise along Rhode Island’s coast, flooding due to peak tides and storm surges will continue much as it has for the past century. The way to cope with any small increase in the magnitude of these events is to apply and strengthen current strategies that increase coastal resilience.

In his June 4, 2008 speech on winning the Democratic primaries, President Obama said, “If we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that, generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment ...when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Senator Whitehouse may still believe this pious dream. However, Senator Manchin must resist the nonsensical demand that West Virginians sacrifice their livelihoods and living standards in a vain and King Canute-like attempt to stop the seas from rising.

Via email

YES, THE SCIENCE IS NOW SETTLED ...  it’s total bunkum!

Comment by conservative Australian cartoonist, Larry Pickering.  He left school at 14 so is much more interested in reality than in theory

What will it take to convince the true believers of global warming that they have been led up a garden path? A garden path paved in gold for the scammers of the UN, the IPCC and all those set for a windfall in carbon credit trading.

Ban Ki-moon is throwing everything he has at the failing global warming hoax in one last ditch stand to justify his tenure as Secretary General which ends next year.

Let’s get this matter cleared up once and for all. The IPCC is not in any way a scientific body (it forecast the Himalayas would be devoid of snow for Christ’s sake) it is no more than a publicity arm of outrageous warming lobbyists and is stacked with well-paid misfits who are also set for a windfall if they can pull this one off.

The IPCC’s job is to collate, and present as fact, papers of the pro-warming nutters holed up in universities and the far Left and Greens who dream of a UN dominated world financed by a carbon scam worth an anticipated trillions a year.

The UN receives 10 per cent of all receipts from countries running global warming carbon schemes. It has already pocketed a packet of Aussies’ hard-earned via Julia Gillard.

What more does the Left need than to view a hideous Australian landscape visually polluted with ineffective, unprofitable, inefficient and costly wind farms that are killing birdlife and causing migraines.

How painful is it to see desalination plants littering our coast lines, de-commissioned, in disrepair, rusting and never to be used?

Why did we suffer fools like Garnaut and Flannery (neither of whom are climatologists) who advised gullible Labor leaders like Queensland’s Bligh to waste billions on a pipeline between Brisbane and the Gold Coast’s Hinze Dam?  A pipeline that was completed just in time for torrential rains to fill every dam to capacity and flood homes.

The alarmist wastrels already have rap sheets as long as their arms with their Y2K bug, Crown of Thorns Star fish, a disappearing ozone layer, a disappearing Great Barrier Reef, soil erosion and forest degradation, etc, etc... all of which were furphies designed to keep grants flowing from taxpayers.

Now, totally discredited, they have turned to a “you beaut” global warming hoax... and it’s a bloody pearler!

Overnight they declared the plant nutrient CO2 a pollutant, organised America’s greatest fraudster, Al Gore to convince everyone our polar caps are disappearing and that New York would be under water in weeks and that Greenland would soon be growing grapes, while a fool named Flannery was suggesting it would never rain again, and that island nations urgently needed face masks and snorkels.

Dramatic footage of the extremities of glaciers breaking off and crashing into the ocean makes for good TV. But the simple truth has nothing to do with warming. The ice at the glacier’s source is actually increasing and has nowhere else to go.

It’s amazing the propaganda creative warmists can cook up when given free air time from willing media!

Universities are churning out thousands of illiterate kids on marine biology grants to float aimlessly among coral reefs trying to find something wrong to enable their grants to continue and hopefully increase. What a life! Beats the hell out of getting a proper job.

To Tony Abbott’s dismay, his warmist Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt has just pulled an unexpected swifty with renewable energy targets that are about to cost taxpayers another $2.5 billion to reduce emissions that were reducing way beyond expectations anyway.

Renewable energy is a misnomer! Everything is renewable, even water, oil and coal, it’s just a matter of how long you want to hang around!

The Greens refuse to selectively log old growth trees to allow new growth, refuse to allow the damming of rivers to give us clean hydro electricity and reject nuclear energy, the only practical, economic and freely-available source of clean energy we have, and the rest of the world has embraced.

Green councils impose fines for clearing the combustible undergrowth that burns your house down and they don’t want money spent on roads because it only encourages the use of petrol. WTF?

The earth lovers killed the introduced Asian buffalo to protect barramundi breeding sites thereby denying crocodiles of their buffalo food source, leaving the crocs with nothing else to eat except the barramundi.

The Fisheries Department sets minimum sizes for fish caught, so only the larger breeding fish are taken. Madness! And the loony environmentalists insist crocodiles and sharks be permitted to eat people

Media’s Left misrepresents steam from nuclear generators as scary smoke, tells us Julia Gillard has been cleared of all charges, promotes Islam as the religion of peace and suggests Islamic State Jihadists returning home be offered free counselling.

So why the hell would anyone believe anything the mad Left media says anyway?



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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3 November, 2014

2014 Won’t Be Warmest Year

And what do a few hundredths of a degree matter anyway?  That's the quantum of the differences between years this century.  And across the entire thermometer record the differences are only in tenths of a degree Celsius

Contrary to projections made by environmental journalist Seth Borenstein in a widely reprinted article, 2014 will not be the hottest year on record.

Based on average surface temperature data for January–September 2014, Borenstein said the year is on pace to be the warmest in the modern instrumental record. He’ll be proven wrong.

Dr. Roy Spencer points out thermometers can’t measure global averages – only satellites can. Satellites measure nearly every square mile of Earth’s lower atmosphere daily. By contrast, there are many areas where one could travel hundreds of miles without finding a thermometer nearby.

According to the two main research groups tracking global lower-tropospheric temperatures – Spencer’s group at the University of Alabama - Huntsville and the Remote Sensing Systems group – the 2014 average temperature is significantly lower than those in 2010 and especially 1998. There’s no way the global average will increase enough in the remaining three months of the year to catch up.

Sparse coverage by land-based thermometers is one problem. A bigger problem is the “homogenization” or adjustments to the land-based data. When researchers actually throw out the real measured temperatures and replace them with guesstimates, the surface temperature record amounts to nothing more than garbage in, garbage out.

In addition, Spencer points out land-based measurements are biased as a result of location. “[L]land-based thermometers are placed where people live, and people build stuff, often replacing cooling vegetation with manmade structures that cause an artificial warming (urban heat island, UHI) effect right around the thermometer. The data adjustment processes in place cannot reliably remove the UHI effect because it can’t be distinguished from real global warming.”

Climate alarmists, who claim to be the champions of science, still “use the outdated, spotty, and heavily-massaged thermometer data to support their case,” wrote Spencer. They also continue to tout flawed climate models that have missed both the pause in warming and the slowing of the rise in sea levels. Spencer adds, “they sure do cling bitterly to whatever will support their case,” and he quotes British economist Ronald Coase: “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.”


Same old, same old prophecies -- but this time nobody thinks governments will do anything about it

The world is on course to experience “severe and pervasive” negative impacts from climate change unless it takes rapid action to slash its greenhouse gas emissions, a major UN report is expected to warn on Sunday.

Flooding, dangerous heatwaves, ill health and violent conflicts are among the likely risks if temperatures exceed 2C above pre-industrial levels, the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will say.

Yet on current trends, continued burning of fossil fuels could see temperature increases of between 3.7C and 4.8C by the end of the century, the report warns, according to a draft seen by the Telegraph.

Warming beyond 4C would likely result in “substantial species extinction, large risks to global and regional food security, impacts on normal human activities”.

The final document, which has been agreed line-by-line by international government officials at a summit in Copenhagen over the past week, is intended to provide the clearest and most concise summary yet of the widely-agreed scientific evidence on climate change.

It is a "synthesis" document bringing together the conclusions of three major IPCC studies issued over the past year into the science, impacts and ways of tackling climate change.

It is designed to act as a guide for policymakers ahead of a year of intense political negotiations on how to tackle climate change, culminating in a crunch summit in Paris next year where an international deal on curbing emissions is due to be signed.

Yet despite the IPCC’s stark warnings, there is widespread agreement from climate change activists, sceptics and, privately, UK Government officials, that the summit in Paris is unlikely to achieve a legally-binding deal that will curb warming to the 2C level.

Doing so would require a drastic overhaul of global energy systems in order to cut emissions by between 40pc and 70pc from 2010 levels by 2050.

The proportion of energy sourced from low-carbon sources such as wind farms, solar power and nuclear reactors would have to triple or nearly quadruple, the draft says.

The expansion of such technologies has already proved controversial in the UK.

Owen Paterson, the former environment secretary, has called for the UK’s Climate Change Act, which imposes tough unilateral emissions-reductions goals, to be suspended until other countries agree to similar measures.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN IPCC, opened the Copenhagen summit by acknowledging the “seeming hopelessness of addressing climate change” but imploring policymakers to “avoid being overcome” by it.

"It is not hopeless," he said, calling on governments to make decisions “informed by the science".

Richard Black, director of the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, said the key question for those finalising the IPCC report was “what to say about the elephant in the room… that if the computer model projections are right, keeping global warming below 2C basically means ending fossil fuel use well before today’s children start drawing their pensions”.

The UK Government has pushed for the wording of the report to be strengthened to make crystal clear the emissions cuts that would be needed to hit the 2C target, the risks of delaying action and also the “co-benefits”, such as improved air quality.

These facts must not be “hidden in supporting text”, according to a UK submission seen by website Responding To Climate Change.

But countries including Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, have demanded the text should also acknowledge the negative economic effects of abandoning fossil fuels.

Benny Peiser, of the climate-sceptic Global Warming Policy Foundation, said the IPCC report contents would not translate to agreement on a deal in Paris.

“On the science there is no real discrepancy: the governments agree we should make sure warming isn’t more than 2C. But when it really comes to caps on their CO2 emissions there is simply no chance of an agreement whatsoever,” he said.

“There are a number of countries that simply can’t afford to forgo the cheap energy they are sitting on, countries like India and China. They will make sure they can use the cheap fossil fuels they have under their feet.”

Bob Ward, policy director at the LSE’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, said the report made clear it was “still technically possible to avoid dangerous climate change”, but that required emissions reductions would “only be possible if action starts immediately”.

“If strong action is not well underway by 2020, the chance of avoiding dangerous climate change will be very small, if indeed possible at all,” he said.

“I think there will be an international agreement in Paris next year, but the commitments by individual countries to cut emissions will not be consistent with the goal of avoiding global warming of more than 2C.

“World leaders may wait until there is even more evidence of the damaging impacts of climate change before they accelerate action to cut emissions, but any further delay will increase the magnitude of the risks the world faces.”


EU climate compromise: I will if you will

After the 2009 Copenhagen global climate conference failed to produce a legally-binding global treaty to replace the lapsing Kyoto Protocol, climate campaigners are eager to put some kind of win on the board. Therefore, despite threats to veto the deal and discussions that ran into the wee hours, the European Union’s agreement on a new set of climate and energy goals is being heralded as “a new global standard”—though it is really more “I will, if you will.”

On Thursday October 23, 28 European leaders met at a summit in Brussels to reach a climate deal that would build on previous targets of a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gases, a 20 percent boost in the use of renewable sources, and a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency, from the benchmark year of 1990, by 2020.

Prior to the meeting, countries such as Poland (which wanted to protect its coal industry) and Portugal (which has excess renewable energy that it cannot, currently, export to the rest of Europe) threatened to block the deal. Poorer states in Eastern Europe feared new cuts in carbon output would hurt them economically by slowing business growth. Industrialists complained that the new regulations would discourage business and investment in the bloc, at a time when its faltering economy can ill afford to lose it.

In an interview with Reuters before the summit, Connie Hedegaard, European Climate Commissioner, declared: “There should not be problems that could not be overcome.” As predicated, a deal was struck—though the current team of commissioners steps aside in days and the new commission will have to finesse the implementation.

“It was not easy, not at all, but we managed to reach a fair decision,” European Council President Herman Van Rompuy stated.

The “problems” mentioned by Hedegaard were “overcome”—by cash. To get opposing countries, like Poland, to come onboard, Van Rompuy pledged “extra support for lower-income countries, both through adequate targets and through additional funds to help them catch up in their clean-energy transition.” Reports indicate that Poland “secured a complex set of financial incentives …to soften the impact of the target on Polish coal miners and the coal-fired power stations on which its 38 million people depend.”

The “decision” calls for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of at least 40 percent and a 27 percent increase in renewables and energy efficiency, from 1990 levels, by 2030—though the original plan called for a 30-percent increase in renewables and efficiency.

Already complaining, environmentalists are accusing Europe of abdicating its “climate policy leadership.” The EU accounts for about a tenth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, but has generally done more than other major industrial powers to curb them.

Greenpeace claimed the compromise “pulled the handbrake on clean energy” and Oxfam called for targets of 55 percent in emissions cuts, and increases of 40 percent in energy savings (efficiency) and 45 percent for use of renewable energy.

While Environmentalists are not happy, the BBC reports: “Europe’s leaders have been under heavy pressure not to impose much higher costs, especially when the economy is struggling.”

“Poland has long argued,” according to Reuters, “there is no reason for Europe …to commit to deeper emissions cuts before the rest of the world does”—and this is where “I will, if you will” comes in.

EU leaders claim to be “setting an example for the rest of the world,” yet the final text includes a “flexibility clause,” also called the “Paris review clause.” According to the EU Observer, “The EU agreement—the so-called climate and energy framework—is to be reviewed after an international summit on climate change in Paris in 2015. This means that, in theory, the European Council can change the targets if they are not matched by non-European countries.” The report continued: “Several eastern and central European countries feared that if the EU set too ambitious targets, while other nations like China or the US, slack, it could harm their competitiveness.”

The Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch explains it this way: “the EU goals are not legally binding until a new United Nations climate treaty is approved.” He adds: “the EU’s climate targets are only proposals laid out as a bargaining chip before next year’s UN summit in Paris. A clause in the EU agreement would trigger a ‘review’ of key climate targets if the UN summit is a dud.”

Dr. Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation agrees: “The EU announcement was reported in the media as if the EU has already adopted these aggressive new CO2 targets. This is however not the case. In reality the EU Commission only proposed a conditional offer as a negotiation card to be played during the 2015 negotiations at the UN climate conference in Paris. In the absence of an international agreement it is very unlikely that the EU will adopt any new unilateral targets. The EU has made it perfectly clear that it is no longer willing to go it alone.”

The chances of a new global treaty in Paris are slim.

190 countries, that, in 2009, pledged $190 billion in aid for climate-related projects for developing countries, can’t agree on a formula for their aid commitments. Without the aid, island nations won’t agree to emissions reductions.

President Obama, according to the New York Times (NYT), looks toward an “agreement,” a “politically binding” deal, not a “legally binding treaty”—as the Senate will not ratify a new climate treaty (especially if the Republicans take control). The NYT quotes Paul Bledsoe, a top climate-change official in the Clinton administration who works closely with the Obama White House in international climate policy: “If you want a deal that includes all the major emitters, including the U.S., you cannot realistically pursue a legally binding treaty at this time.” The “agreement” would include “voluntary pledges.”

Addressing the potential success of a 2015 global climate agreement, Roman Kilisek, in Breaking Energy, posits that “it will be illusive and will at best consist of a plethora of watered down, voluntary, and above all, flexible carbon emission reduction targets and strategies.”

The NYT’s reporting concurs with the “I will, if you will” approach: “unilateral action by the world’s largest economy will not be enough to curb the rise of carbon pollution across the globe. That will be possible only if the world’s largest economies, including India and China, agree to enact similar cuts.”

For more than twenty years, international discussions designed to address climate change have taken place. Parties have signed treaties, pledges, agreements, and accords. Yet, carbon dioxide emissions are higher than ever, predictions haven’t come true, and the planet hasn’t warmed. Polls continue to show that climate change is a low priority for Americans. Even NPR has cut its climate reporting staff by 75 percent.

Engaging in the symbolism over substance that is typical of the climate change campaign, the EU agreed to emissions cuts—but only if everyone else does (the U.S. won’t).


Silly young Warmist acolyte has at least learnt the system:  You talk a lot about science but don't actually mention any

Miroslava Korenha

Science has touched every facet of my life and on a broader scale has touched every facet of our existence as human beings.

It's the reason we can have clean water to drink, the reason we can enjoy a life expectancy over 40 and the reason why we are no longer left to wonder about the particles that comprise our cells and make life possible.

Science is enlightenment and science is power yet science must also be valued and respected.  Science is neither partisan nor political and it never should be.

Unfortunately denying science has become a prevalent position in this country and more critically one amongst our political leaders.

Denial that our global climate patterns are changing as direct result of human activity has become an acceptable viewpoint and even more dishearteningly a counter-view to belief in facts.

If the polls and pundits are right, next week, Democrats will likely lose control of the Senate and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)--a man who denies climate change--will gain the chairmanship of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

This is the same man who calls the consensus of 97% of climate scientists that our planet is warming due to human activity a hoax--he's even written a book about it.

Fortunately for him, at 80 years old, Senator Inhofe will never have to live with the consequences of his actions denying science.

He will likely never see how shifting weather patterns will alter where we live, what we eat and how we adapt to water scarcity. He will likely never see the wheat crops of his native state of Oklahoma suffer as result of unpredictable rain patterns.

Senator Inhofe will be allowed to enjoy spreading incredibly dangerous rhetoric for a few more years for his political gain and will then pass leaving a struggling planet in the hands of younger generations.  This sounds awfully convenient.

I am a millennial, a staunch believer in science and I think it is a shame that this man will be given an opportunity to chair a committee whose central jurisdiction is that of science.


‘I am sceptical humans are causing global warming’: Buzz Aldrin says more research - and less politics - is needed

The second man on the moon has revealed his thoughts on climate change, one-way missions to Mars and the state of space exploration.

On 11 November 1966 he set a record for the longest spacewalk at the time, five and a half hours, during the Gemini 12 mission. He solved many of the problems that had plagued previous spacewalks, notably using handrails and footrests to prevent over-exertion.

On 20 July 1969, he became the second man to walk on the moon after Neil Armstrong. The first words from the lunar surface were actually spoken by Dr Aldrin when their spacecraft touched down, when he said: ‘Contact light’.

He resigned from Nasa in July 1971 and later the Air Force. Since then he has remained an advocate of space exploration, penning papers and books including ‘Return to Earth’ and the recent ‘Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration’.

This inevitably leads to questions about our own planet - for example, are humans causing global warming that will render our world uninhabitable?

‘In the news today I hear about the large solar flares, which is an indication of the power of the sun to influence Earth and our climate,’ Dr Aldrin said.

‘My first inclination is to be a bit sceptical about the claims that human-produced carbon dioxide is the direct contributor to global warming.

‘And if there is that doubt, then I think an unbiased non-politically motivated group of people worldwide, representing us instead of creating taxes like the carbon tax, should examine the output of different nations that might contribute to the very large cycles of warming and cooling that have taken place long before we started to have humans producing emissions.

‘In a short period of time it appears to some people [that humans are] the cause of global warming - which is now called climate change - [but] climate change has certainly existed over time.’

It's a position that will no doubt strike a chord with Nasa, who have been performing extensive climate missions in recent years to find out the impact humans are having on the climate.

‘You can tell I’m not too bashful about some of my feelings,’ he says,’But I try and limit them to areas that I feel my development of innovations and thinking can be brought to bear on challenges that are facing civilisation here on Earth.’

He also bemoans some of the excessive funding that is allocated to climate change research, saying: ‘Space is not as enthusiastically supported by the world and by the American people anywhere near as much as it was during the pioneering years of the 60s and 70s.

Dr Aldrin now runs a charity for veterans of previous conflicts and war-like activities to help them deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.



Three current articles below

Voluntary carbon scheme now law

With the backing of Mr Palmer's senators and crossbenchers Nick Xenophon and John Madigan, the policy passed the Senate after a marathon sitting that went into Friday morning.

At the heart of Direct Action is a $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund. While the carbon tax encouraged reductions in emissions by penalising polluters, Direct Action works on the reverse principle.

Instead, the government will pay emitters to reduce their carbon footprint.

Firms will bid for taxpayers' money at a so-called "reverse auction". Those that propose to get most carbon reduction for the dollar win the government funding

With the fund are a series of programs, some carried on from Labor, which earmark how the reductions must be made. Reforestation of degraded land, carbon capture by farmers, improved indigenous land clearing techniques and energy efficiency initiatives on a "grand scale" are all eligible.

There is very little encouragement for wind, hydro and solar energy, but plenty of support for the Coalition's traditional constituents in big business and regional Australia.

And the scheme, unlike the carbon tax or other types of emissions trading scheme, is voluntary.

The fund is the carrot, the stick is less well-defined. Penalties for those who opt out, continue polluting and jeopardise Australia's international obligation of a 5 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020 are yet to be defined and won't kick in for almost two years.

Mr Hunt said this week he didn't expect any businesses to be penalised.

For the government, Direct Action is a win for the environment and the hip pocket;  direct action will achieve "real and significant" emissions reductions even as the repeal of the carbon tax eases pressure on household power bills.

Will direct action work?

There is evidence to back the government's claim that power bills are being cut due to the carbon tax, or at least are lower than they would be. The latest Australian Consumer and Competition Commission assessment reports that savings on electricity bills will vary between 5 and 12 per cent, for a maximum annual saving to household of $263.

But whether Mr Hunt's confident assurance that the outlay of $2.5 billion in taxpayer funds will be enough to meet Australia's modest target of reducing carbon emission in 2020 by 5 per cent compared to levels in 2000 remains highly contested.

Almost all the modelling conducted by private firms, some of them linked to clean energy industry, find that it will fall well short.

Market analysis firm Reputex says it will achieve just 20 to 30 per cent of the greenhouse gas reductions needed to satisfy the 5 per cent goal.

Research commissioned by the Climate Institute says a shortfall would mean the government will have to spend an extra $4 billion to meet the obligation, which is a binding commitment.

"I wouldn't be quite so categorical that we won't reach the target," said Frank Jotzo, director of the Centre for Climate Economics and Policy at the Australian National University.

Trends towards greater energy efficiency, the decline of the manufacturing sector, a drop in demand for residential electricity due to high prices and investing in solar could all mean the 5 per cent goal is met, even if the contribution from Direct Action is minimal.

Even so, it's an extremely costly way of delivering lower carbon emissions, argues Mr Jotzo, and completely inadequate when it comes to reducing emissions beyond the currently mandated 5 per cent decline.

By the end of next year at a UN-sponsored summit in Paris, Australia will be required to join other nations in committing to further reductions in greenhouse gases well beyond 2020.

"There's an expectation that something quite significant will happen in Paris. There will be significant reductions in emissions. You just can't scale up Direct Action to deal with that without costing huge amounts of money."

Subsidising industry rather than using market forces to achieve a policy outcome is at odds with the philosophy of the government, not to mention its core policy objective of repairing the budget deficit.

The approach has always puzzled analysts, although Greens leader Christine Milne believes it is explained by the government's desire to look after its mates.

Such exhortations against big capital by the Greens might be considered pro forma.

But the Abbott government's ties to big business, and the mining and energy sector in particular, have no precedent in modern political history.

The Business Council of Australia chairman and chief economist helmed the government's commission of audit into the state of the budget.

The BCA, which represents the chief executives of Australia's biggest companies, was also instrumental in developing the government's industry policy released last month, where two of the five sectors earmarked for special assistance were in the mining sector.

The mining industry spent an extraordinary $22 million in six weeks during 2010 to discredit the mining tax, and has also provided political and financial support to Abbott's anti-carbon tax campaign.

An analysis of political donations by the Greens, sourced from Australian Electoral Commission data, show the fossil fuel sector donated $11.8 million to the major parties over the past 15 years, of which $8 million went to the Coalition.

Mr Palmer, too, benefits financially from the government's climate change approach. His Queensland nickel refinery is an emitter that paid almost $10 million in carbon taxes. It could now apply for a Direct Action subsidy to reduce emissions.

His extensive coalmining tenements in Queensland's Galilee Basin means he has an interest in the ongoing success of coal-fired power generators, big winners with the end of the carbon tax.

After announcing the policy backflip, Mr Palmer spruiked the merits of "clean" Australian coal as a solution to global warming.

Questions of whether Mr Palmer always intended to put his business interests first will linger. Certainly, the mining magnate began his journey into politics after Campbell Newman's Liberal National government in Queensland refused to support a proposed rail line that would serve his as yet undeveloped coalmines.

Until then, the former press secretary to Queensland premier Joh Bjelke Petersen was the party's major donor and a Coalition grandee.

Those who advised Mr Palmer insist the assessment is too harsh.

Don Henry, the former boss of the Australian Conservation Foundation, led the negotiations with Mr Palmer on behalf of Mr Gore.

He says Mr Palmer is a "complex character" who is "genuinely interested in a clean economy".

"He's genuinely wants to champion an ETS," says Mr Henry, adding "there was never any expectation that the government would immediately embrace it".

"It's good that the Climate Change Authority has been saved and given an additional and important role to look at an ETS and to look at the international targeting. I think it's an important step forward."

The stay of execution for the CCA, which is independent and advises government on what a future emissions reduction target should be and how to achieve it,  was the government's "gesture" to compensate Mr Palmer for rejecting his demand for an ETS with a price on carbon of zero that would rise as other countries embraced emissions reduction.

Despite a draft being circulated among press gallery staff in Canberra, the terms of reference for the review, let alone a plan to replace about 20 CCA staff who have resigned since the Coalition took office, are not yet forthcoming. At any rate, Mr Hunt, almost gleefully, said he will ignore any recommendation in favour of an ETS, as the body has done before.

"Our position is absolutely clear. We've just abolished the carbon tax and we're not about to reinstitute it whether you call it a carbon tax or an ETS," Mr Hunt told Fairfax Radio.


The crooked BOM again

Heat is on the Weather Bureau after MP accuses it of wiping 118-year-old temperature records to justify claims of climate change

An MP will launch an inquiry which accuses the Bureau of Meteorology of manipulating figures on the impact of climate change.

George Christensen, member off the Nationals party, claimed the Bureau had 'fudged' records of rising temperatures as well as tampering with older data in order to justify claims of climate change.

The member for the seat of Dawson in Queensland used records from a drought in 1896, when temperatures reached 50C in Camden, south-west of Sydney, as well as 43C in Geelong, south-west of Melbourne.

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Mr Christensen said: 'I rise to paint a picture of Camden. A picture where Camden, just to the south-west of Sydney, is sweltering in 50C heat.'

He cited that in the summer of 1896 alone, there were 435 instances of heat related deaths.

'The Bureau of Meteorology claims it's getting hotter and hotter. How can last year be the hottest on record if it was hotter back in 1896, 118 years ago?' 'It's relatively simple: the early years are simply wiped from the official record.'

Mr Christensen claimed you can find the values he is referring to on the Bureau website, but they are not part of the official temperature record the bureau uses to report on climate change issues.

He said the Bureau was also involved in a process of tampering with the raw data so the past appeared cooler than the present.

'Obviously if you drop down temperatures from the past, all the later temperatures will appear warmer even if they are not,' he said.

'We cannot use fudged figures skewed to support a global warming hypothesis. We have a scientific process being tainted at the source.'

Mr Christensen said he would use evidence of the Bureau's misconduct to launch an inquiry this week.

Senator Simon Birmingham, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, told Daily Mail Australia 'the country's climate record and the methods used for analysis by the Bureau were independently reviewed by international experts in 2012 to ensure quality assurance, transparency and communication''

'The review concluded that the Bureau's data and methods for climate analysis were among the best in the world,' Mr Birmingham said.

'The review also recommended that a regular and independent technical forum occur to ensure continuous confidence in and improvement of this dataset.

'These measures should give all Australians confidence that the Bureau is continually striving to deliver the most accurate climate records, based on the best available scientific methodologies.'


Road to hellish environmental concern

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Unfortunately the Anglican Church of Australia seems to have set out on its own journey to that fiery destination.

Campaigners in the Anglican Diocese of Perth, led by convicted Hilton bomber Evan Pederick, have followed national church policy and forced the Perth synod to dump all its fossil fuel investments.

Other dioceses, as well as Anglican National Super which provides superannuation for the wider church, have now followed Perth’s lead.

According to Pederick, the decision to sell off coal, gas and oil holdings was an entirely moral one taken to protect God’s creation and the livelihoods of human beings.

But as The Australian’s columnist Gary Johns has pointed out, “an effective divestment campaign would increase the cost of power and harm the poor.”

Just who is the church trying to help? Fuel costs are already on the rise hitting poorer people hard in the hip pocket. The church doesn’t seem to care much about them.

Nor is it concerned to protect the jobs of those who live in communities like the NSW coalmining town of Denman.

“At the heart of this issue is people with mortgages, people with families,” says Jody Zammit, a priest in the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle where coal has been the lifeblood of the region for years.

There is little sign the church is being mindful of any issue concerning the well-being of families, communities and people. Nor is it thinking seriously about energy policy.

Nuclear power would be a good alternative to power derived from coal, but the Anglican Church is dead set against that option. And it’s not much keener on cheap, affordable hydro-electric power.

In fact, the Anglican Church is probably not so much concerned with developing an effective national energy policy as it is with struggling to secure its own survival as church attendance drops.

Ageing church members are dying off leaving empty pews that are not being filled by new parishioners. As a result, the size of the Sunday collection put in the plate each week is dropping too.

The church is desperate to connect with a younger generation of people and to stem the drift away from church life.

Many Anglican church leaders think that greater advocacy on fashionable issues such as safeguarding the environment will help them connect with that missing generation.

But while the church is pursuing the idealistic environmentalists it will actually be harming working parents with families to raise, bills to pay, and homes to heat.

G.K. Chesterton once said, “Those who marry the spirit of the age will find themselves widows in the next.”  The Anglican Church of Australia is making the very mistake which Chesterton warned about.

No doubt church leaders are well-intentioned. But sometimes good intentions are not enough. Especially when the consequences of actions have a whiff of sulphur about them.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


2 November, 2014

A disagreement over climate-conflict link heats up

I agree with one of the critics below about meta-analyses.  They are very susceptible to bias.  See, for instance here. One good solid gold study beats any meta-analysis.  My own research into various effects of a warmer climate ended up with findings of no effect

A debate among scientists over climate change and conflict has turned ugly. At issue is the question of whether the hotter temperatures and chaotic weather produced by climate change are causing higher rates of violence. A new analysis refutes earlier research that found a link, and the two lead researchers are exchanging some pointed remarks.

Last year, a team of U.S. researchers reported a robust connection between climate and violence in Science. But in a critique published online yesterday in Climatic Change, a team of mostly European researchers dismissed the connection as "inconclusive." The Science authors are hitting back, claiming that the critics are fudging the statistics and even manipulating their figures.

The new analysis "is entirely based on surprisingly bold misrepresentations of our article, the literature, basic statistics, and their own findings," says Solomon Hsiang, the lead author of the Science paper and an economist at the University of California, Berkeley.

Numerous past studies have found a correlation between heat waves and violence, manifesting as conflicts between individuals and between groups. Demonstrating a direct connection between climate change and violence on a global scale, however, is tricky. It requires a meta-analysis of hundreds of already published studies that have slightly different techniques and measurement scales. Hsiang's team performed just such a meta-analysis and grabbed headlines with their findings that a changing climate appeared to be amping up conflict.

The Science paper was met with some skepticism, however, and some of those skeptics have been building their case. The Climatic Change critique is authored by Halvard Buhaug, an economist at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, and co-signed by 25 of his colleagues. The problem, Buhaug wrote in an e-mail to ScienceInsider, is that the meta-analysis "blends all sorts of actors at all sorts of spatial and temporal scales. … [They] draw sweeping conclusions that, supposedly, are robust and apply across scales and types of violent conflict. Of course that doesn’t make sense. But it works if you seek attention." He also accuses Hsiang's team of "severe bias in sample selection” and says that his analysis of the same data did not support the climate-conflict link.

Why critique the research now? The study "appears to have had some influence on policy thinking," Buhaug wrote, citing a recent U.S. Department of Defense road map on addressing climate change in military planning and another report by the CNA Corporation on climate change and security. Such official statements "reinforce the impression that the climate-conflict link is considered uncontroversial in policy circles,” Buhaug wrote. “As scientists and experts on this issue, we see it as our duty to provide a more balanced message."

Hsiang in standing by his analysis. In a detailed, blow-by-blow blog post responding to the new paper, Hsiang charges Buhaug with basic mathematical errors that undermine his conclusion. In an e-mail to ScienceInsider, Hsiang also accuses Buhaug’s group of "doctoring the display of their figures." (The evidence of that alleged doctoring is laid out in Hsiang’s blog post.)

The spat has other researchers exasperated. "What is frustrating is that they can't work together," says Andrew Solow, a statistician at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, who is associated with neither side. "Why can't they get together and thrash these issues out? Even if they don't come to an agreement, they could explore alternative modeling choices and their implications."

Solow adds that he is "not a big fan" of meta-analysis, in part because the technique sparks disputes like these. Rather than directly addressing the scientific question of whether climate change is causing an increase in conflict, he says, "this disagreement is over the degree to which studies of the climate-conflict link agree [with each other]."


UK: Offshore wind farms may be scrapped due to budget cap, ScottishPower warns

Several proposed offshore wind farms may be scrapped in coming months because the Government is not awarding enough subsidies, the head of energy giant ScottishPower has said.

Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer, said it was cutting the size of its planned 240-turbine East Anglia offshore wind farm because the budget for subsidies to be awarded this year was “not big enough”. The project could be scrapped altogether if it did not secure a subsidy contract this year.

Those offshore wind farms that do get built in coming years will be unnecessarily expensive because ministers are effectively forcing companies to build smaller projects, preventing them from developing economies of scale, he claimed. As a result the Government would miss its own target for cutting offshore wind’s costs by 2020, Mr Anderson, the former head of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, forecast.

Offshore wind farms are heavily subsidised through levies on consumer energy bills. Ministers are preparing to award subsidy contracts for new projects in a "reverse auction" over coming months, but the maximum available budget is barely half the size the wind industry had expected, Mr Anderson said.

About five projects are expected to compete for the subsidies, which can realistically fund just one 700MW-800MW offshore wind farm, according to industry body Renewable UK.

Mr Anderson told the Telegraph that ScottishPower was being forced to scale back its proposed 1.2 gigawatt (GW) wind farm off the coast of East Anglia in order that its total annual subsidy requirement would be less than £235m – the maximum budget being awarded this year.

Even then, it risked losing out to rival projects.

“There will be more applications than there is budget,” Mr Anderson confirmed. “I think on the back of the auction there will be a lot of companies re-examining what they do with their projects and whether they are viable any more.

“We are hopeful we can submit a competitive bid and win, but if we are sitting here in January and have not got a contract we would have to totally reschedule the project timeline. Until we had analysed all of that we wouldn’t have a clue as to whether the project would still be economically viable. We would have to totally reassess and re-examine the whole project.”

No subsidy allocation has been confirmed to be awarded next year, although ministers have indicated there is roughly £1bn to be allocated over the rest of the decade.

Mr Anderson said that by awarding such limited budgets at a time, the Government was stymieing its own aim of cutting the technology’s costs.

Offshore wind farms currently receive about £150 - roughly triple the market price of power – for every megawatt-hour of power they generate. Ministers have said that cost should be cut to £100 for projects being awarded contracts in 2020.

“You cannot build a huge big project, so you will not get the big economies of scale,” Mr Anderson said. He said the kind of projects being proposed now had originally been expected to be at least 1GW each in order to drive cost efficiencies.

“Our belief is if you drove the process to do projects of that size and scale you would drive the costs down harder and faster. If you push the projects down to smaller size and scale, we don’t think you will get the cost reduction coming through the industry as quickly as you could.

“If you wanted to hit magical £100 target by 2020, I think doing it this way pushes it out by a few years,” he said. “It’s been made more difficult and it will take longer.”

Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, said the government had no plans to increase its subsidy cap so as to ensure customers get best value for money.

“It’s very important that government has a budget and doesn’t have unconstrained spending which won’t provide the best value for consumers” said the Liberal Democrat minister.

“Having a disciplined budget will help drive competition and if it means we only get the most efficient projects coming forward ahead of others, then I celebrate that.”

Mr Davey added that he believes the government is still on target to bring down the costs of wind power by 2020.

“Green energy is part of the government’s long term economic plan and we are seeing wind generation increase in very big increases. We are ahead of our targets.”


GM food: saving lives, or lining corporate pockets?

The problems of GM are more  political than scientific

Frankenfood or saviour of the starving? In the latest blow to the anti-GM movement, a consortium of European scientists has urged government to embrace GM food as the only way to feed the planet. They're not the only ones: last year, the then Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, made a major speech calling on the European Union to drop its barriers preventing genetically modified organisms being grown and sold in Europe. It could, he said, be the difference between survival and starvation for millions of people around the world.

So what's the truth? (And if what follows is familiar, it's because it's based on a piece I wrote at the time of Paterson's speech - but then, the facts about GM haven't changed in that time.)

Everyone agrees that we need to get better at feeding people. Our population reached seven billion two years ago; it is predicted to level off at nine billion in the middle of this century. GM proponents suggest that it can be an important tool in our battle to feed that ever-growing number of mouths; opponents suggest that it is a distraction, and a dangerous one.

There’s no denying that it has the power to do good, says Mark Lynas, an environmental writer and author of The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans. “For example, in Missouri, they’re growing GM cassava, which is an important food crop for 300 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. The cassava that’s being grown in Africa is being hit by a viral infection that’s sweeping across the continent, so a major threat to food security. There’s no way a resistant strain can be made by conventional breeding – it’s a bit like vaccination, in that a tiny bit of viral DNA is put into the plant genome, and you can’t do that with selective breeding.” It could undoubtedly save lives, he says.

There is a precedent here. In the 1960s, much of the developing world faced starvation. But using agricultural technology – not GM, but older methods such as backcrossing – a man called Norman Borlaug created dwarf grains which grew faster and were more resilient, and staved off disaster. Borlaug’s inventions are credited with saving as many as a billion lives.

The GM revolution may have similarly dramatic effects: scientists have high hopes for salt-resistant crops which could grow in previously unusable coastal land; the agricultural research group Rothamsted Research has developed an aphid-resistant wheat. But activists are concerned that the companies which develop these strains will have unprecedented power over the food chain. “My main concern is the empowerment of the food corporations,” says George Monbiot, the environmentalist and author of Feral: Searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding. “An executive of the biotech company Monsanto said in 1996 that their aim was the ‘consolidation of the entire food chain’,” he says. “Monsanto quite overtly positioned GM as their means of achieving that goal, and it was quite a clear battle-plan that they had: an aggressive patenting regime, patenting technologies and genetic material.”

The GM organisms themselves, he says, are far less of a concern. “Primarily, it’s about power,” he says. “A huge volume of academic work has shown that how well people are fed is less to do with the actual quantity of food available in the world, and more to do with who controls the food chain, how well the food is distributed, and the degree of democracy – people don’t starve in democracies, because they are able to lobby to get access to food.” GM, and the ability to patent genomes, place far more power in the hands of major companies. He also points out that despite the grand claims that GM could feed the poor, the majority of GM crops in Europe have been used as animal feed.

Lynas agrees that aggressive patenting is a concern. “Ownership of this technology could be concentrated in too few hands; I would like to see a much more open-source approach. A lot of biotech scientists are very critical of the overuse of the patenting system.” But it’s a wider problem than GM alone. “It’s about how technology is controlled in a society. It’s not an argument against the use of that technology.”

We have to strike a balance, he says, between allowing firms to make a profit – which, after all, is how much innovation happens – and allowing the spread of these technologies in a way that allows them to get to where they are needed. There are positive steps being taken: some publicly funded researchers like Rothamsted patent their work but then make it available on public licences; the “golden rice” project, a GM crop which is designed to combat vitamin A deficiency, is being made available for free to poor subsistence farmers in Asia on similar free licences, by (among others) Monsanto. But there are still problems, analogous to those of making antiretroviral drugs affordable to poor African HIV sufferers.

The problem is that the GM debate is framed too much as a Manichaean good-and-evil thing, says Lynas (and Monbiot, who also acknowledges that new technology is vital in the fight to feed the world), who blames a lot of the opposition to it on “the naturalistic fallacy”. “Like splitting the atom, it doesn’t happen in nature, so it’s bad,” he says. “It’s a deep cultural response, almost a lizard-brain thing.” But to be for or against “GM” as a monolithic entity is irrational. “It’s just a technique. It’s like saying I’m against tractors,” he says.


Have Warmists lost the NYT?

Not entirely but the NYT no longer preaches "consensus", it appears

Few topics fuel as much reader attention as climate change. Adam Bryant recently became editor of The Times’s expanded team covering the environment. We asked him how he is approaching the position.

How did this job come about for you?

When I met with Dean Baquet, our executive editor, in August, he said he wanted to beef up The Times’s coverage of climate change and the environment, and asked me if I would be interested in overseeing an expanded team of reporters. I had just come off a long project – I was part of the team that worked on the Innovation Report – and I jumped at the opportunity.

It’s a fascinating and important topic, full of nuance and complexity (example here), and I get to work with an amazing group of reporters. It’s also a subject that touches on so many different aspects – science, politics, policy, population growth, agriculture, history. The list goes on and on.

It is a sprawling topic. What is your strategy for covering it?

There’s no simple playbook, but here are a few thoughts. Part of The Times’s role is to separate the signal from the noise. There are a lot of reports and papers and studies published every day, and Times readers rely on us to choose carefully which ones we’re going to cover.

We also want to cover this story on all fronts – including threats, causes and potential solutions. We want to focus on what’s happening now (examples here and here), as well as what may happen in the future (examples here and here). I also want to make sure we give readers guidance about the relative importance and impact of different causes and potential solutions – for example, how do emissions from coal plants compare to tailpipe emissions from cars?

One challenge about the coverage is that many people may have a sense that the story line is somewhat fixed – they believe climate change is a problem, or perhaps they don’t. So we’ll look for opportunities to connect dots in new ways, or frame stories based on “good dumb questions,” as journalists like to call them.

Is the equivalency issue dead? To what extent should we feel obligated to include the views of climate change skeptics?

Claims that the entire field of climate science is some kind of giant hoax do not hold water, and we have made a conscious decision that we are not going to take that point of view seriously. At the same time, there is a huge amount of legitimate debate and uncertainty within mainstream science. Scientists are pretty open about not being sure how bad things will get, or how quickly. These are the valid scientific issues and uncertainties that we want to cover.

A recent front-page piece by Justin Gillis — Scientists Trace Extreme Heat in Australia to Climate Change – provides a good example of providing informed second opinions on a topic. In his piece, Justin quoted an expert who has often been skeptical of claimed links between weather events and global warming in the past. But in this new study we were reporting on, he said the evidence was strong. That insight is more useful to readers than quoting someone who believes the entire field of study is built on a pillar of sand.

There’s so much bad news and warnings that have been reported in recent years. How do you keep a certain numbness from setting in on the part of readers?

The grim news can be overwhelming – droughts, fires, flooding, deforestation, etc. But there is a lot happening around the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. Germany is on track to get close to 30 percent of its energy from renewables this year, for example, as we reported in a recent front-page article. The cost of wind and solar energy is dropping fast around the world.

You’ve worked as an editor on the national desk and in features, but you’ve spent most of your career as a reporter and editor covering business. Do you have a background in science?

I don’t have a background in science, though I’ve always been curious about how our world is changing, the forces at work, how big decisions are made, and the people who make them (in that regard, I’ll be continuing with my Corner Office interviews in the Sunday Business section, though I’ve dropped the Friday installment to concentrate on my new job). I’m going to have a steep learning curve, but many of the reporters on my team have breathtakingly deep knowledge on a range of subjects. My job as editor will be to help choose the topics that are most important, then to make sure the stories are told in a clear, understandable, watertight and compelling way.


The Greenies want it both ways about acidic oceans

Radio 4's Today swallows the bunkum spouted by 'warmists' such as Lord May

Profitable prophet Walport

 The main qualifications for being paid £165,000-a-year to act as the government’s “chief scientific adviser” these days, it seems, are that (a) one should know nothing about climate science, and (b) that one should then appear regularly on the Today programme to terrify listeners that the threat posed by man-made global warming is “much worse than was previously thought”.

Following those “population biologists” Lord May and Sir John Beddington, and the “surface chemist” Sir David King, the latest to play this game is the immunologist Sir Mark Walport. On Friday he was invited by Jim Naughtie to pronounce gravely about yet another new study claiming that the oceans are “acidifying”, to a level not known for “65 million years”.

For every scientific paper that pushes this particular long-familiar scare story, another points out that to talk about the oceans turning to acid when their average pH level is still way above 7.0 is just scientific bunkum.

But what the warmists also overlook is the science that tells us that when the oceans grow warmer they give off more CO2 rather than the other way round. So, if the oceans are warming, as the warmists like to claim, they should contain less CO2, not more. They cannot have it both ways. But we can no more expect our immunologist to know this than we can expect Mr Naughtie to do anything but eagerly murmur assent to the great man’s every nonsensical word.


EPA Director on Environmental Laws: ‘Enforcement Really is Democracy in Action’

EPA Director Gina McCarthy has praised environmental lawyers for their work, telling them “enforcement really is democracy in action.”

“When I think about how effective we’ve been I keep coming back to the same reason for that effectiveness, it’s because our laws have teeth, it’s because EPA is empowered to enforce them,” McCarthy told attendees at the American Bar Association Fall Conference.

“And its because of your work, your hard work to uphold the integrity of those environmental statutes. Enforcement really is democracy in action.”

McCarthy was a keynote speaker for the Oct. 9th event in Miami.

“You know that America’s rule of law is only as good as the credible system that implements and enforces it. Laws talk the talk but implementation and strong enforcement is what walks the walk. It separates us from other nations,” McCarthy said.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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