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

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

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

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

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31 October, 2011

New Satellite Data Contradicts Carbon Dioxide Climate Theory

John O'Sullivan

Industrialized nations emit far less carbon dioxide than the Third World, according to latest evidence from Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Global warming alarmism is turned on its head and the supposed role of carbon dioxide in climate change may be wrong, if the latest evidence from Japan's scientists is to be believed.

Japanese national broadcaster, NHK World, broke the astonishing story on their main Sunday evening news bulletin (October 30, 2011). Television viewers learned that the country's groundbreaking IBUKU satellite, launched in June 2009, appears to have scorched an indelible hole in conventional global warming theory.

Standing in front of a telling array of colorful graphs, sober-suited Yasuhiro Sasano, Director of Japan's National Institute for Environmental Studies told viewers, "The [IBUKU satellite] map is to help us discover how much each region needs to reduce CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions."

Indeed, the map at which JAXA spokesman Sasano was pointing (see photo above) had been expected by most experts to show that western nations are to blame for substantial increases in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, causing global warming. But to an officious looking TV interviewer Sasano turned greenhouse gas theory on it's head.

According to UN science the greenhouse gas theory says more CO2 entering the atmosphere will warm the planet, while less CO2 is associated with cooling.

Gesturing to an indelible deep green hue streaked across the United States and Europe viewers were told, "in the high latitudes of the Northern hemisphere emissions were less than absorption levels."

Sasano proceeded to explain the color-coding system of the iconic maps showing where regions were either absorbing or emitting the trace atmospheric gas. Regions were alternately colored red (for high CO2 emission), white (low or neutral CO2 emissions) and green (no emissions: CO2 absorbers).

Bizarrely, the IBUKU maps prove exactly the opposite of all conventional expectations revealing that the least industrialized regions are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases on the planet.

Yes, you read that correctly: the U.S. and western European nations are areas where CO2 levels are lowest. This new evidence defies the consensus view promoted by mainstream newspapers, such as the New York Times.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had long claimed that, "there is a consensus among scientists that manmade emissions of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide (CO2), are harming global climate."

The Japanese satellite map shows regions colored the deepest leaf green (net absorbers of CO2) being predominantly those developed nations of Europe and North America; thus indicating built up environments absorbed more CO2 than they emitted into the atmosphere.

By contrast the bulk of the regions colored red (so-called 'carbon polluters') were in undeveloped, densely-forested equatorial regions of Africa and South America.


Judith Curry blows the whistle

Scientist who said climate change sceptics had been proved wrong accused of hiding truth by colleague

It was hailed as the scientific study that ended the global warming debate once and for all – the research that, in the words of its director, ‘proved you should not be a sceptic, at least not any longer’.

Professor Richard Muller, of Berkeley University in California, and his colleagues from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures project team (BEST) claimed to have shown that the planet has warmed by almost a degree centigrade since 1950 and is warming continually.

Published last week ahead of a major United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa, next month, their work was cited around the world as irrefutable evidence that only the most stringent measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions can save civilisation as we know it.

It was cited uncritically by, among others, reporters and commentators from the BBC, The Independent, The Guardian, The Economist and numerous media outlets in America.

The Washington Post said the BEST study had ‘settled the climate change debate’ and showed that anyone who remained a sceptic was committing a ‘cynical fraud’.

But today The Mail on Sunday can reveal that a leading member of Prof Muller’s team has accused him of trying to mislead the public by hiding the fact that BEST’s research shows global warming has stopped.

Prof Judith Curry, who chairs the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at America’s prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology, said that Prof Muller’s claim that he has proven global warming sceptics wrong was also a ‘huge mistake’, with no scientific basis.

Prof Curry is a distinguished climate researcher with more than 30 years experience and the second named co-author of the BEST project’s four research papers.

Her comments, in an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, seem certain to ignite a furious academic row. She said this affair had to be compared to the notorious ‘Climategate’ scandal two years ago.

Like the scientists exposed then by leaked emails from East Anglia University’s Climatic Research Unit, her colleagues from the BEST project seem to be trying to ‘hide the decline’ in rates of global warming.

In fact, Prof Curry said, the project’s research data show there has been no increase in world temperatures since the end of the Nineties – a fact confirmed by a new analysis that The Mail on Sunday has obtained.

However, Prof Muller denied warming was at a standstill. ‘We see no evidence of it [global warming] having slowed down,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. There was, he added, ‘no levelling off’.

A graph issued by the BEST project also suggests a continuing steep increase.

The graph that fooled the world

But a report to be published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation includes a graph of world average temperatures over the past ten years, drawn from the BEST project’s data and revealed on its website.

This graph shows that the trend of the last decade is absolutely flat, with no increase at all – though the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have carried on rising relentlessly.

‘This is nowhere near what the climate models were predicting,’ Prof Curry said. ‘Whatever it is that’s going on here, it doesn’t look like it’s being dominated by CO2.’

Prof Muller also wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal. It was here, under the headline ‘The case against global warming scepticism’, that he proclaimed ‘there were good reasons for doubt until now’.

This, too, went around the world, with The Economist, among many others, stating there was now ‘little room for doubt’.

Such claims left Prof Curry horrified. ‘Of course this isn’t the end of scepticism,’ she said. ‘To say that is the biggest mistake he [Prof Muller] has made. When I saw he was saying that I just thought, “Oh my God”.’

In fact, she added, in the wake of the unexpected global warming standstill, many climate scientists who had previously rejected sceptics’ arguments were now taking them much more seriously.

They were finally addressing questions such as the influence of clouds, natural temperature cycles and solar radiation – as they should have done, she said, a long time ago.

Yesterday Prof Muller insisted that neither his claims that there has not been a standstill, nor the graph, were misleading because the project had made its raw data available on its website, enabling others to draw their own graphs.

However, he admitted it was true that the BEST data suggested that world temperatures have not risen for about 13 years. But in his view, this might not be ‘statistically significant’, although, he added, it was equally possible that it was – a statement which left other scientists mystified. ‘I am baffled as to what he’s trying to do,’ Prof Curry said.

Prof Ross McKittrick, a climate statistics expert from Guelph University in Ontario, added: ‘You don’t look for statistically significant evidence of a standstill. ‘You look for statistically significant evidence of change.’

The BEST project, which has been lavishly funded, brings together experts from different fields from top American universities.

It was set up 18 months ago in an effort to devise a new and more accurate way of computing changes in world temperatures by using readings from some 39,000 weather stations on land, instead of adding sea temperatures as well.

Some scientists, Prof Muller included, believe that this should provide a more accurate indication of how the world is responding to carbon dioxide. The oceans, they argue, warm more slowly and this is why earlier global measurements which also cover the sea – such as those from the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University – have found no evidence of warming since the Nineties.

The usual way a high-profile project such as BEST would publish its results would be in a scientific journal, following a rigorous ‘peer review’ by other experts in the field.

The more eminent journals that publish climate research, such as Nature And Science, insist there must be no leaks to the media until this review is complete and if such leaks occur, they will automatically reject the research.

Earlier this year, the project completed four research papers.

As well as trends in world temperatures, they looked at the extent to which temperature readings can be distorted by urban ‘heat islands’ and the influence of long-term temperature cycles in the oceans. The papers were submitted to the Journal of Geophysical Research.

But although Prof Curry is the second named author of all four papers, Prof Muller failed to consult her before deciding to put them on the internet earlier this month, when the peer review process had barely started, and to issue a detailed press release at the same time.

He also briefed selected journalists individually. ‘It is not how I would have played it,’ Prof Curry said. ‘I was informed only when I got a group email. I think they have made errors and I distance myself from what they did.

‘It would have been smart to consult me.’ She said it was unfortunate that although the Journal of Geophysical Research had allowed Prof Muller to issue the papers, the reviewers were, under the journal’s policy, forbidden from public comment.

Prof McKittrick added: ‘The fact is that many of the people who are in a position to provide informed criticism of this work are currently bound by confidentiality agreements.

‘For the Berkeley team to have chosen this particular moment to launch a major international publicity blitz is a highly unethical sabotage of the peer review process.’

In Prof Curry’s view, two of the papers were not ready to be published, in part because they did not properly address the arguments of climate sceptics.

As for the graph disseminated to the media, she said: ‘This is “hide the decline” stuff. Our data show the pause, just as the other sets of data do. Muller is hiding the decline. ‘To say this is the end of scepticism is misleading, as is the statement that warming hasn’t paused. It is also misleading to say, as he has, that the issue of heat islands has been settled.’

Prof Muller defended his behaviour yesterday, saying that all he was doing was ‘returning to traditional peer review’, issuing draft papers to give the whole ‘climate community’ a chance to comment.

As for the press release, he claimed he was ‘not seeking publicity’, adding: ‘This is simply a way of getting the media to report this more accurately.’ He said his decision to publish was completely unrelated to the forthcoming United Nations climate conference. This, he said, was ‘irrelevant’, insisting that nothing could have been further from his mind than trying to influence it.


Lying, cheating climate scientists caught lying, cheating again

By James Delingpole

Oh dear. I really didn't want my first blog post in a week to be yet another one about global bloody warming. Problem is, if those lying, cheating climate scientists will insist on going on lying and cheating what else can I do other than expose their lying and cheating?

The story so far: ten days ago a self-proclaimed "sceptical" climate scientist named Professor Richard Muller of Berkeley University, California, managed to grab himself some space in the Wall Street Journal (of all places) claiming that the case for global warming scepticism was over. Thanks to research from his Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures (BEST) project, Professor Muller stated confidently, we now know that the planet has warmed by almost one degree centigrade since 1950. What's more, he told the BBC's Today programme, there is no sign that this global warming has slowed down.

Cue mass jubilation from a number of media outlets which, perhaps, ought to have known better – among them, the Independent, the Guardian, The Economist and Forbes magazine. To give you an idea of their self-righteous indignation at the supposed ignorance of climate change deniers, here is the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson in full spate:
We know that the rise in temperatures over the past five decades is abrupt and very large. We know it is consistent with models developed by other climate researchers that posit greenhouse gas emissions — the burning of fossil fuels by humans — as the cause. And now we know, thanks to Muller, that those other scientists have been both careful and honorable in their work.

Nobody’s fudging the numbers. Nobody’s manipulating data to win research grants, as Perry claims, or making an undue fuss over a “naturally occurring” warm-up, as Bachmann alleges. Contrary to what Cain says, the science is real.

Problem is, Eugene, almost every word of those two paragraphs is plain wrong, and your smugness embarrassingly misplaced.

As you know, I had my doubts about Muller's findings from the start. I thought it was at best disingenuous of him to pose as a "sceptic" when there is little evidence of him ever having been one. As for his argument that the BEST project confounds sceptics by proving global warming exists – this was never more than a straw man.

Now, though, it seems that BEST is even worse than I thought. Here is what Muller claimed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme:
In our data, which is only on the land we see no evidence of [global warming] having slowed down.

But this simply isn't true. Heaven forfend that a distinguished professor from Berkeley University should actually have been caught out telling a lie direct. No, clearly what has happened here is that Professor Muller has made the kind of mistake any self-respecting climate scientist could make: gone to press with some extravagant claims without having a smidgen of evidence to support them.

Here, to help the good professor out, is a chart produced by the Global Warming Policy Foundation's David Whitehouse. It was plotted from BEST's own figures. Note how the 10 year trend from 2001 to 2010 – in flat contradiction of Muller's claims – shows no warming whatsoever.

What's odd that BEST appears to have gone to great trouble – shades of "hide the decline", anyone? – to disguise this inconvenient truth. Here is a graph released by BEST:

The GWPF's David Whitehouse is not impressed:
Indeed Best seems to have worked hard to obscure it. They present data covering more almost 200 years is presented with a short x-axis and a stretched y-axis to accentuate the increase. The data is then smoothed using a ten year average which is ideally suited to removing the past five years of the past decade and mix the earlier standstill years with years when there was an increase. This is an ideal formula for suppressing the past decade’s data.

Muller's colleague Professor Judith Curry – who besides being a BEST co-author chairs the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at America’s prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology – is even less impressed.
There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped,’ she said. ‘To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.’


Brrr…the Troposphere Is Ignoring Your SUV

For those tracking the daily global temperature updates at the Discover website, you might have noticed the continuing drop this month in global temperatures. The mid-tropospheric AMSU channels are showing even cooler temperatures than we had at this date with the last (2008) La Nina. The following screen shot is for AMSU channel 6.

A check of the lower stratospheric channels (9, 10) suggests this is not a stratospheric effect bleeding over into the tropospheric channels.

With the current (and forecast to continue) stormy pattern over the U.S., I have to wonder whether the atmosphere is currently in a destabilized state. I doubt that surface temperatures anomalies are as anomalously low as the mid-troposphere temperatures are running, which in combination with anomalously cold mid- and upper-tropospheric temperatures means there is extra energy available for storms. (Since AMSR-E failed in early October, our sea surface temperature plot is no longer showing current data, so I have no easy way to check surface temperatures.)

Of course, this too shall pass. I just thought it was an interesting curiosity during a time when some pundits are claiming global warming is “accelerating”. Apparently, they are still stuck in the last millennium.


Shale gas in Britain

Beneath swathes of the UK lie billions of pounds worth of shale gas. And now we can get to it. David Rose reports on how the recession (and wind turbines) may soon be just a bad memory
Locked within the fissures inside that rock is an immense quantity of natural gas

Locked within the fissures inside that rock is an immense quantity of natural gas - virtually pure, unadulterated methane, of a quality so high it could be pumped direct to domestic and industrial users

Here are two visions of the future.

The first one lies at the end of a muddy track in the village of Banks, a 20-minute drive from Preston, Lancashire. It consists of a derrick about 60ft high, a few temporary buildings, a generator and some specialist machinery in a fenced square compound.

Powering the derrick and the drill at its centre is an eerily quiet electric motor. Today, on the first Friday of October, the bit it turns at the end of the drill pipe lies about a mile beneath our feet, boring steadily downwards at a rate of up to 500ft a day, depending on the hardness of the strata. It’s heading for a thick deposit of carboniferous shale, a rock made from the compressed mud which lay on a prehistoric seabed more than 300 million years ago, its upper edge some 7,500ft below the dark green fields of ripening cauliflower that surround the compound.

Locked within the fissures inside that rock is an immense quantity of natural gas – virtually pure, unadulterated methane, of a quality so high it could be pumped direct to domestic and industrial users, and to electricity generating stations.

Once the drill reaches the shale, the gas is released by a process known as ‘fracking’ – hydraulic fracturing, the pumping of a mixture of water and sand to widen the fissures and keep them open. Normally, you only have to frack an area once: after that, the gas tap stays open.

‘The installation you see here is only temporary,’ says Eric Vaughan, a veteran of drilling for gas from shale in America and the chief operating officer at Cuadrilla, the firm that runs the site.

‘If we go into production, we’d have up to ten wells radiating horizontally for distances of up to six miles from the bottom of this hole – what we call a pad. The derrick would be gone. All that would be left would be a bunch of tanks and a small building at the wellhead. There’d be miles between each pad. If you were standing here, you’d be lucky to spot another one.’
Drilling through more than 8,000ft of rock at a test-drilling site in Lancashire

Drilling through more than 8,000ft of rock at a test-drilling site in Lancashire. It is no exaggeration to state that shale gas could transform the prospects for the entire British economy

Cuadrilla, an independent British company formed in 2007 whose backers include the former BP chairman Lord Browne, was awarded gas-exploration rights to a rectangular 750-square-mile licence area, running east from Fleetwood on Morecambe Bay to the Forest of Bowland, and down to a line near Southport.

According to Peter Turner, Cuadrilla’s geologist, this one shale ‘sub-basin’ contains about 200 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Even if only ten per cent turns out to be commercially recoverable this would still be enough to meet Britain’s gas supply needs for around 15 years. In time it may be enough to offset the rapid decline in gas from the North Sea, and to remove any need for imports.

Cuadrilla’s forecast, based on analysis at two test sites and results from earlier ‘dry’ holes made by firms which were looking for conventional oil and gas, is scientific and credible, says Nigel Smith of the British Geological Survey. But it is also only the beginning.

‘The Lancashire licence area is just one part of a shale formation of a similar type that stretches across the Pennines to Lincolnshire, north through to Yorkshire, then up to Teesside and Northumbria. It’s also found in the Scottish Midlands valley,’ says Smith.

Still more lies beneath South Wales, near Bristol, and in Somerset.

‘There’s a huge amount more, at least four times as much, offshore,’ he adds.

It is no exaggeration to state that shale gas could transform the prospects for the entire British economy – turning the country into a major energy exporter for many decades, reducing costs to consumers, and attracting new industry through abundant cheap power.

‘We don’t want any subsidies. This is a sustainable business’, says Vaughan.

Shale gas production could create thousands of jobs directly, and provide many billions in tax revenue – as it is already doing in Texas, Pennsylvania and several other states in America.

It could also fill the looming black hole in Britain’s electricity generating capacity, the result of old coal and nuclear power stations being decommissioned: burnt in modern ‘combined cycle’ plants, shale gas plants would emit only 37 per cent of the carbon dioxide produced by their coal- or oil-fired predecessors.
The drill as seen from the surrounding cauliflower field

The drill as seen from the surrounding cauliflower field. Shale gas production could create thousands of jobs directly, and provide many billions in tax revenue

One such plant is currently being built at a cost of £500 million at Hoo St Werburgh in Kent. It will produce 1,000MW, enough to power a quarter of the homes in London.

The second vision is taking shape at the end of the Thames Estuary, where the foundations are being laid for the 217 turbines of the London Array, the world’s biggest offshore wind farm.

Covering 90 square miles, this too will have the capacity to generate 1GW (one billion watts). The turbines’ construction has been priced at £2 billion, four times as much as the Kentish gas plant, although this does not include the cost – perhaps a further £500 million – of connecting them to the National Grid, via 300 miles of undersea high-voltage cables.

Without the labyrinthine system of ‘green’ taxes and Government subsidies known as the Renewables Obligation, which is already adding an estimated £100 to the cost of every British household’s electricity bill, and an average 20 per cent to the charges paid by businesses, the wind farm could never be built, because it would be hopelessly uneconomic.

As well as being more expensive, the turbines will not last nearly as long: about 20 years, half the time of the gas-fired power station.

A gas plant, moreover, will produce electricity 24 hours day; the turbines won’t. British windmills can be expected to generate power only 27 per cent of the time. That figure falls to just ten per cent in the calm conditions of a bitter Arctic high, such as that which covered the entire UK, causing record low temperatures, for several weeks last December.

However, this is the vision supported by many environmentalists and the Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne. And there is a large and vociferous body of opinion that wants Lancashire’s gas to stay in the ground – forever.

So who’s right?

For an answer we need to look at what has happened in the United States. In the past five years shale gas production there has risen from one per cent to 20 per cent, while prices have fallen dramatically. Shale gas fields, among them the booming Marcellus field under Pennsylvania and New York states have brought employment, tax income and wealth, as well as reducing the need for energy imports.

Overall, the effect of the discovery of an estimated 3,000 trillion cubic feet of gas from shale is transforming the U.S. energy economy, a development with important geopolitical consequences.

The Congressional Research Service recently estimated that America now has the biggest fossil fuel reserves in the world – more than Saudi Arabia, Iraq or China. The wholesale price of gas has roughly halved, to about $6 per thousand cubic feet – against $10.5 in Britain. As recently as 2003, America was building port facilities to cope with gas imports. They may now be used to send gas from shale abroad. And the same could happen here.

A few highly publicised incidents have caused concern among some environmental groups in the U.S., though.

‘Every method of producing energy carries risks,’ comments Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

Coal mines trap and kill workers; oil rigs blow up; nuclear plants succumb to tsunamis.

In Norway, wind farm blades have wiped out whole colonies of Europe’s largest bird of prey, the white-tailed eagle, and the giant offshore farms now planned – some of which will be 600ft high – may be still more devastating to avian life. Set against this, how do the risks of shale fracking compare?

One of the most controversial issues has been the use of chemicals in the ‘fracking fluid’, the water used to open the fissures in the shale, about a third of which will eventually flow back up the well to the surface.

Some U.S. firms have been reluctant to disclose the substances used, inviting the charge that underground aquifers and rivers may become polluted. In one notorious incident in the town of Dimock, Pennsylvania, in the heart of the Marcellus field, fracking fluid leaked into several households’ private wells.

‘But that was because the company wasn’t using proper pipe lining,’ says Chris Carney, who has lived in Dimock for most of his life and until last year represented the town and surrounding district as a Democratic member of the U.S Congress.

‘There was a row of houses along one of the local roads which had their wells polluted, so I guess they’re having to get water from somewhere else. But if it’s done right, fracking has little impact.’

In contrast to the leaky well in Dimock, Cuadrilla’s holes in Lancashire come with a thick, multiple-layer cement lining.

‘In engineering terms, you could say that’s overkill,’ says Cuadrilla’s Eric Vaughan.

A recent study by Duke University shows that in wells built to a similar standard, no leaks of water or gas have taken place.

As for the additive to the fracking fluid, Vaughan says, ‘We use only one chemical – 0.4 gallons per 1,000 gallons of water of polyacrylamide, a substance which makes water less sticky’.

Classed officially as a ‘non-hazardous chemical’, this is also used in drinking-water treatment plants and soft contact lenses. But in Lancashire, he insists, the fluid will not leak. The local drinking water aquifers lie more than 7,000ft above the level where fracking would take place.


Obama, Liberals, And Destructive Energy “Policies”

“Energy independence.” Doesn’t that sound like a great idea? Unfortunately, in the era of Barack Obama the goal of enabling the United States to meet its own energy needs has been subverted by some very destructive politics.

First, the term “energy independence” has been confused with the term “green energy.” While some people use the two expressions synonymously, the Obama Administration has gradually phased-out references to “energy independence” and moved towards “green energy” references exclusively.

This language shift from the Obama Administration raises some important questions: are we no longer seeking to become “energy independent?” And if we are still seeking “energy independence,” what is it, exactly, that we are trying to become independent from?

Since the days of the Nixon presidency most Americans have recognized the many problems associated with being dependent on foreign oil suppliers. And it was nearly six years ago when George W. Bush became the first U.S. President to proclaim that “America is addicted to oil.”

But now President Barack Obama seems to have determined that our problem isn’t so much “foreign oil,” but oil itself. His Administration has sought to force the nation away from consuming all types of oil – both foreign and domestic –and to move us in the direction of his environmentally preferred “green” energy sources.

Unfortunately, the President has approached energy policy just as he approaches most everything else – with the naïve assumption that as long as lots of government programs and mandates are established, the agenda will be accomplished and all will go well. Thus billions of our tax dollars have been handed-out in “loans” and “grants” to everything from solar panel manufacturers to electric car makers in Europe, while nearly all of the recipients have been “personal friends” of the President and people who are working for his re-election.

Further complicating things is the fact that since taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama has insisted on co-mingling our nation’s need for new energy resources, with our nation’s more immediate need to expand the employment sector of the economy. Thus we have become accustomed to President Obama’s concept of “green jobs” - which is a politically driven attempt to collapse two important and separate policy agendas in to one.

But just because Barack Obama says “let there be green energy jobs,” doesn’t mean that jobs will be created (and what exactly constitutes a “green job,” anyway?). Again the President’s undying confidence in the his power to create new realities has been obliterated by the fact that technological breakthroughs take time, involve “trial and error,” and require lots of “research and development” – none of which necessarily expedites job creation.

As if all this isn’t confounding enough, liberal activist groups across the U.S. have for the past year been taking direct aim at a private sector effort to reduce America’s dependence on oil from the Middle East, and other global regions. The Kearl Oil Sands project is a North American oil drilling effort in the Canadian Province of Alberta, and promises job creation for both Canada and the U.S. – but American liberals seem intent on destroying the project.

In the works since 1997, the project kicked-in to high gear twelve months ago with both the Conoco Phillips and Exxon-Mobil corporations delivering oil drilling equipment to Lewiston, a tiny inland port in northern Idaho that is accessible to small vessels from the Pacific Ocean. From there the drilling equipment gets trucked eastward into Montana, then north in to Alberta, where it is set up in preparation for what promises to be a robust new oil resource right here on our own continent.

The project has already created economic opportunity in the Mountain West states. Yet liberal activists have sought to hinder the plan at every turn.

For over a year, radical environmentalists have been filing law suits in both Montana and Idaho courts to try to prevent the big rig trucks from hauling the oil drilling equipment, and In some cases they have gathered on the highways to block the traffic - literally, physically, standing on the roads and at times laying-down on the roads - to prevent the trucks from rolling.

It does not matter that real "everyday" American men and women -moms and dads, sons and daughters, husband and wives - provide themselves and their dependents with food, healthcare, and housing by operating trucks and truck stops. The trucks are “aiding and abetting” the evil oil industry, so far as the liberal activists are concerned, so they have sought to do everything imaginable to deter the effort.

Fortunately the Kearl Oil Sands project has been moving forward, but not without costly delays, expensive legal fees, and near-constant opposition, as the companies are forced to fight in court just to keep the trucks rolling on Montana and Idaho interstates.

As the U.S. remains dependent and vulnerable to foreign oil barons, liberal Americans seem intent on holding us hostage to the status quo. Real “independence” will begin when we vote ourselves a “regime change” in 2012.



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


30 October, 2011

Increased illness due to warming?

I do a terrible, wicked thing when I read press reports about scientific findings that surprise me. I look up the original journal article that the report is based on! Doing so very often gives me a chuckle. In the present case, I was surpised to hear how very ill I and my family must have been as we grew up in the very warm weather of the tropics. And, true to expectation the journal abstract behind the report below is amusing. It reveals something you would never guess from the article.

Excerpt: "A total of 211,697 inpatient BSIs were reported during 9,423 hospital-months. Adjusting for long-term trends, BSIs caused by each Gram-negative organism examined were more frequent in summer months compared with winter months, with increases ranging from 12.2% for E. coli (95% CI 9.2–15.4) to 51.8% for Acinetobacter (95% CI 41.1–63.2). Summer season was associated with 8.7% fewer Enterococcus BSIs (95% CI 11.0–5.8) and no significant change in S. aureus BSI frequency relative to winter."

In other words, some types of infection rose but other types FELL during summer. So conclusions about a systematic effect of warming are unjustified

What makes hospital-acquired infections so intractable? There’s no question that some of the organisms that cause them are tricky: MRSA hangs out on the skin and and in the nostrils, and E. coli resides in the gut, making it easy for them to be carried into hospitals undetected. Hospital workers’ poor performance on hand-washing is well-documented. And recently, researchers have begun to wonder whether hospitals have missed an opportunity by not emphasizing environmental cleaning —- of rooms, computers and equipment, for instance -— given how persistently some bacteria can linger.

A new paper in PLoS One, though, says there’s another factor contributing to the problem, one that has missed consideration until now: weather. An 8-year study of infection data from 132 hospitals finds that as outside temperatures rise, in-hospital infections with some of the most problematic pathogens rise also.

The analysis is a warning to healthcare institutions to be additionally on guard when it is warm outside. But the authors say it’s also a warning to the rest of us: If global climate change raises ambient temperatures, it could increase the likelihood of deadly hospital infections as well.

The study — by researchers from the University of Iowa, University of Maryland, Princeton University and the nonprofit Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy — used a privately maintained national database of almost 212,000 clinical bloodstream cultures taken between Jan. 1999 and Sept. 2006. It plotted the infections’ incidence against data on mean temperature and dew point and total precipitation from the US National Climate Data Center. It accounted for the potentially confounding effect of seasonal variation in hospital admissions.

And it found: From winter to summer, Gram-negative bacteria, the most problematic hospital pathogens, rose anywhere from slightly to dramatically. E. coli infections rose 12.2 percent; Pseudomonas infections rose 28.1 percent; Klebsiella infections rose 28.6 percent; and Acinetobacter infections rose 51.8 percent.

Moreover, for every 10-degree Fahrenheit rise in mean temperature, there was a rise in infections with those same Gram-negatives. The increase varied from 3.5 percent for E. coli to 10.8 percent for Acinetobacter, independent of any changes in the season, the humidity or amounts of precipitation. Changes in temperature also affected S. aureus and MRSA, but much less: Those infections rose 2.2 percent for every 10-degree change.


Global warming strikes again!

Early snow storm wreaks havoc on US East coast

SNOW and icy rain has pelted the US east coast, with forecasters warning the "historic early season'' storm could dump up to a foot (30cm) of snow in some areas.

The rare October snowstorm was wreaking havoc on air and road traffic from Washington to Boston, with the National Weather Service warning that travel at night would be "extremely hazardous.''

Air travellers were seeing an average delay of six hours on flights to and from Newark International Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Similar problems were affecting New York's Kennedy international airport.

Forecasters issued a winter storm warning for large parts of the northeast, predicting heavy snow, freezing temperatures and strong winds with gusts up to 60 miles per hour (100 km/ph).

Up to a foot of snow was expected in parts of Connecticut and New Jersey, the weather service said. In Manhattan, forecasters said up to 10 inches (25cm) could fall.

Trees that have yet to shed their leaves toppled from the weight of the snow and knocked out power to thousands of homes, the National Weather Service said.

Unseasonably cold air was pouring into the northeast, and deep tropical moisture was set to surge northward along the east coast and "fuel an expanding area of heavy rain and snow''.

Much of the region was socked in August by Hurricane Irene, whose heavy rains and wind left millions without power, destroyed homes and caused record flooding. More than 40 people died.


Consensus? What consensus?

There is a consensus that global warming is not happening but no consensus about why

There is a news release by Paul Voosen on Greenwire titled

Provoked scientists try to explain lag in global warming (Tuesday, October 25, 2011)

There are some interesting quotes from climate scientists in this article that highlight a large degree of uncertainty with respect to the climate system, and the human role in it, even among scientists closely involved with the IPCC reports. The long article focuses on the question

‘Why, despite steadily accumulating greenhouse gases, did the rise of the planet’s temperature stall for the past decade?”

Interesting quotes and text {rearranged to order the persons’ quoted; I highly recommend reading the entire article include [highlight added]:

From John Barnes [Barnes's specialty is measuring stratospheric aerosols].

“If you look at the last decade of global temperature, it’s not increasing,” Barnes said. “There’s a lot of scatter to it. But the [climate] models go up. And that has to be explained. Why didn’t we warm up

Barnes has kept a lonely watch for 20 years [at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii]. Driving the winding, pothole-strewn road to this government-run lab, he has spent evening after evening waiting for the big one. His specialty is measuring stratospheric aerosols, reflective particles caused by volcanoes that are known to temporarily cool the planet. Only the most violent volcanic eruptions are able to loft emissions above the clouds, scientists thought, and so Barnes, after building the laser, waited for his time.

To this day, there hasn’t been a major volcanic eruption since 1991, when Mount Pinatubo scorched the Philippines, causing the Earth to cool by about a half degree for several years. But Barnes diligently monitored this radio silence, identifying the background level of particles in the stratosphere. And then, sitting in his prefab lab four years ago, not far from where Charles Keeling first made his historic measure of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, Barnes saw something odd in his aerosol records.

Barnes laments the boggling complexity of separating all the small forcings on the climate. It makes Charles Keeling’s careful work identifying rising CO2 levels seem downright simple.

“It’s really subtle,” he said. “It’s hard to track how much is going into the oceans, because the oceans are soaking up some of the heat. And in a lot of places the measurements just aren’t accurate enough. We do have satellites that can measure the energy budget, but there’s still assumptions there. There’s assumptions about the oceans, because we don’t have a whole lot of measurements in the ocean.”

From Jean-Paul Vernier

Five years ago, a balloon released over Saharan sands changed Jean-Paul Vernier’s life.

Climbing above the baked sand of Niger, the balloon, rigged to catch aerosols, the melange of natural and man-made particles suspended in the atmosphere, soared above the clouds and into the stratosphere. There, Vernier expected to find clear skies; after all, there had been no eruption like Pinatubo for more than a decade. But he was wrong. Twelve miles up, the balloon discovered a lode of aerosols.

Vernier had found one slice of the trend identified by Barnes at Mauna Loa in Hawaii. It was astonishing. Where could these heat-reflecting aerosols be originating? Vernier was unsure, but Barnes and his team hazarded a guess when announcing their finding. It was, they suggested, a rapidly increasing activity in China that has drawn plenty of alarm.

A French scientist who moved to NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia to study aerosols, Vernier, like Barnes, turned toward a laser to understand these rogue sulfates. But rather than using a laser lashed to the ground, he used a laser in space.

The same year as the Niger balloon campaign, NASA had launched a laser-equipped satellite aimed at observing aerosols among the clouds. Vernier and his peers suspected, with enough algorithmic ingenuity, that they could get the laser, CALIPSO, to speak clearly about the stratosphere. The avalanche of data streaming out of the satellite was chaotic — too noisy for Barnes’ taste, when he took a look — but several years on, Vernier had gotten a hold of it. He had found an answer.

Mostly, the aerosols didn’t seem to be China’s fault.

From Kevin Trenberth

The hiatus [in warming] was not unexpected. Variability in the climate can suppress rising temperatures temporarily, though before this decade scientists were uncertain how long such pauses could last. In any case, one decade is not long enough to say anything about human effects on climate; as one forthcoming paper lays out, 17 years is required.

For some scientists, chalking the hiatus up to the planet’s natural variability was enough. Temperatures would soon rise again, driven up inexorably by the ever-thickening blanket thrown on the atmosphere by greenhouse gases. People would forget about it.

But for others, this simple answer was a failure. If scientists were going to attribute the stall to natural variability, they faced a burden to explain, in a precise way, how this variation worked. Without evidence, their statements were no better than the unsubstantiated theories circulated by climate skeptics on the Internet.

“It has always bothered me,” said Kevin Trenberth, head of the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “Natural variability is not a cause. One has to say what aspect of natural variability.”

Until 2003, scientists had a reasonable understanding where the sun’s trapped heat was going; it was reflected in rising sea levels and temperatures. Since then, however, heat in the upper ocean has barely increased and the rate of sea level rise slowed, while data from a satellite monitoring incoming and outgoing heat — the Earth’s energy budget — found that an ever increasing amount of energy should be trapped on the planet. (Some scientists question relying on this satellite data too heavily, since the observed energy must be drastically revised downward, guided by climate models.) Given this budget ostensibly included the solar cycle and aerosols, something was missing.

Where was the heat going? Trenberth repeated the question time and again.

Recently, working with Gerald Meehl and others, Trenberth proposed one answer. In a paper published last month, they put forward a climate model showing that decade-long pauses in temperature rise, and its attendant missing energy, could arise by the heat sinking into the deep, frigid ocean waters, more than 2,000 feet down. The team used a new model, one prepared for the next U.N. climate assessment; unlike past models, it handles the Pacific’s variability well, which ”seems to be important,” Trenberth said.

“In La Niña, the colder sea surface temperatures in the Pacific mean there is less convective action there — fewer tropical storms, etc., and less clouds, but thus more sun,” he said. “The heat goes into the ocean but gets moved around by the ocean currents. So ironically colder conditions lead to more heat being sequestered

It is a compelling illustration of how natural variability, at least in this model, could overcome the influence of increasing greenhouse gases for a decade or more, several scientists said. However, according to one prominent researcher — NASA’s Hansen — it’s a search for an answer that doesn’t need to be solved.

That is because, according to Hansen, there is no missing energy.

Trenberth questions whether the Argo measurements are mature enough to tell as definite a story as Hansen lays out. He has seen many discrepancies among analyses of the data, and there are still “issues of missing and erroneous data and calibration,” he said. The Argo floats are valuable, he added, but “they’re not there yet.”

From Susan Solomon

“What’s really been exciting to me about this last 10-year period is that it has made people think about decadal variability much more carefully than they probably have before,” said Susan Solomon, an atmospheric chemist and former lead author of the United Nations’ climate change report, during a recent visit to MIT. “And that’s all good. There is no silver bullet. In this case, it’s four pieces or five pieces of silver buckshot.”

Already Solomon had shown that between 2000 and 2009, the amount of water vapor in the stratosphere declined by about 10 percent. This decline, caused either by natural variability — perhaps related to El Niño — or as a feedback to climate change, likely countered 25 percent of the warming that would have been caused by rising greenhouse gases. (Some scientists have found that estimate to be high.) Now, another dynamic seemed to be playing out above the clouds.

In a paper published this summer, Solomon, Vernier and others brought these discrete facts to their conclusion, estimating that these aerosols caused a cooling trend of 0.07 degrees Celsius over the past decade. Like the water vapor, it was not a single answer, but it was a small player. These are the type of low-grade influences that future climate models will have to incorporate, Livermore’s Santer said.

Solomon was surprised to see Vernier’s work. She remembered the Soufrière eruption, thinking “that one’s never going to make it into the stratosphere.” The received wisdom then quickly changed. ”You can actually see that all these little eruptions, which we thought didn’t matter, were mattering,” she said.

From Jim Hansen

These revelations are prompting the science’s biggest names to change their views.

Indeed, the most important outcome from the energy hunt may be that researchers are chronically underestimating air pollution’s reflective effect, said NASA’s James Hansen, head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Recent data has forced him to revise his views on how much of the sun’s energy is stored in the oceans, committing the planet to warming. Instead, he says, air pollution from fossil fuel burning, directly and indirectly, has been masking greenhouse warming more than anyone knew.

It was in no “way affected by the nonsensical statements of contrarians,” Hansen said. “These are fundamental matters that the science has always been focused on. The problem has been the absence of [scientific] observations.”

NASA’s Hansen disputes that worry about skeptics drove climate scientists to ignore the sun’s climate influence. His team, he said, has “always included solar forcing based on observations and Judith’s estimates for the period prior to accurate observations.”

“That makes the sun a bit more important, because the solar variability modulates the net planetary energy imbalance,” Hansen said. “But the solar forcing is too small to make the net imbalance negative, i.e., solar variations are not going to cause global cooling.”

“Unfortunately, when we focus on volcanic aerosol forcing, solar forcing and stratospheric water vapor changes, it is a case of looking for our lost keys under the streetlight,” Hansen said. “What we need to look at is the tropospheric aerosol forcing, but it is not under the street light.”

“I suspect that there has been increased aerosols with the surge in coal use over the past half decade or so,” he said. “There is semi-quantitative evidence of that in the regions where it is expected. Unfortunately, the problem is that we are not measuring aerosols well enough to determine their forcing and how it is changing.”

More fundamentally, the Argo probe data has prompted Hansen to revise his understanding of how the climate works in a fundamental way, a change he lays out in a sure-to-be-controversial paper to be published later this year.

For decades, scientists have known that most of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases was going into the ocean, not the atmosphere; as a result, even if emissions stopped tomorrow, they said, the atmosphere would continue to warm as it sought balance with the overheated oceans. In a term Hansen coined, this extra warming would be “in the pipeline,” its effects lingering for years and years. But exactly how much warming would be in the pipeline depended on how efficiently heat mixed down into the oceans.

Hansen now believes he has an answer: All the climate models, compared to the Argo data and a tracer study soon to be released by several NASA peers, exaggerate how efficiently the ocean mixes heat into its recesses. Their unanimity in this efficient mixing could be due to some shared ancestry in their code. Whatever the case, it means that climate models have been overestimating the amount of energy in the climate, seeking to match the surface warming that would occur with efficient oceans. They were solving a problem, Hansen says, that didn’t exist.

At first glance, this could easily sound like good news, if true. But it’s not.

“Less efficient mixing, other things being equal, would mean that there is less warming ‘in the pipeline,’” Hansen said. “But it also implies that the negative aerosol forcing is probably larger than most models assumed. So the Faustian aerosol bargain is probably more of a problem than had been assumed.”

From John Daniel [a researcher at the Earth System Research Lab of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]

When the record came in 1998, though, scientists faltered. It’s a pattern often seen with high temperatures. They cut out too much nuance, said John Daniel, a researcher at the Earth System Research Lab of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“We make a mistake, anytime the temperature goes up, you imply this is due to global warming,” he said. “If you make a big deal about every time it goes up, it seems like you should make a big deal about every time it goes down.”

From Ben Santer

For a decade, that’s exactly what happened. Skeptics made exaggerated claims about “global cooling,” pointing to 1998. (For one representative example, two years ago columnist George Will referred to 1998 as warming’s “apogee.”) Scientists had to play defense, said Ben Santer, a climate modeler at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

“This no-warming-since-1998 discussion has prompted people to think about the why and try to understand the why,” Santer said. “But it’s also prompted people to correct these incorrect claims.”

“Susan’s stuff is particularly important,” Santer said. “Even if you have the hypothetical perfect model, if you leave out the wrong forcings, you will get the wrong answer.”

From Judith Lean

The answer to the hiatus, according to Judith Lean, is all in the stars. Or rather, one star.

Only recently have climate modelers followed how that 0.1 percent can influence the world’s climate over decade-long spans. (According to best estimates, it gooses temperatures by 0.1 degrees Celsius.) Before then, the sun, to quote the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, got no respect, according to Lean, a voluble solar scientist working out of the the space science division of the Naval Research Laboratory, a radar-bedecked facility tucked away down in the southwest tail of Washington, D.C.

Climate models failed to reflect the sun’s cyclical influence on the climate and “that has led to a sense that the sun isn’t a player,” Lean said. “And that they have to absolutely prove that it’s not a player.”

According to Lean, the combination of multiple La Niñas and the solar minimum, bottoming out for an unusually extended time in 2008 from its peak in 2001, are all that’s needed to cancel out the increased warming from rising greenhouse gases. Now that the sun has begun to gain in activity again, Lean suspects that temperatures will rise in parallel as the sun peaks around 2014.

This consistent trend has prompted Lean to take a rare step for a climate scientist: She’s made a short-term prediction. By 2014, she projects global surface temperatures to increase by 0.14 degrees Celsius, she says, driven by human warming and the sun.

More HERE (See the original for links)

The outstanding hypocrisy and lack of standards at "Nature" magazine

A comment by Nigel Calder below on a matter I used as my lead post on 27th

As a science writer I’m well used to picking my way through the minefield of embargoes on papers not yet published. I know, too, of possible risks to scientists as well as journalists, when quoting from preprints or even reporting results presented at a conference. Publication can be cancelled.

You’d expect clear guidance from leading journals on that subject. How bewildering then, to read an editorial “Scientific climate” in today’s Nature (vol. 478, p. 428). It’s on the subject of the Berkeley Earth / Richard Muller furore noted in my recent posts. The editorial’s sub-heading is: "Results confirming climate change are welcome, even when released before peer review."

… Where “climate change” is to be understood, I suppose, as “catastrophic manmade global warming”. Other points from the editorial are, as I construe them:
The welcome is the stronger because the Muller results can be used against the Republicans in the USA.

But Muller really should not have publicised his work as he did.

Muller is wrong to claim that Science and Nature forbid the discussion of unpublished results – Nature only opposes pre-publicity.

All that said, it was fine for physicists to give pre-publicity to apparent evidence of neutrinos travelling faster than light.

What on earth does all that mean, to scientists and journalists who are just trying to tell their stories promptly? Here are three extracts from Nature’s instructions to authors concerning embargoes, which can be seen in full here
“Material submitted to Nature journals must not be discussed with the media, except in the case of accepted contributions, which can be discussed with the media no more than a week before the publication date under our embargo conditions. We reserve the right to halt the consideration or publication of a paper if this condition is broken.”

“The benefits of peer review as a means of giving journalists confidence in new work published in journals are self-evident. Premature release to the media denies journalists that confidence. It also removes journalists’ ability to obtain informed reactions about the work from independent researchers in the field.”

“… communicate with other researchers as much as you wish, whether on a recognised community preprint server, on Nature Precedings, by discussion at scientific meetings (publication of abstracts in conference proceedings is allowed), in an academic thesis, or by online collaborative sites such as wikis; but do not encourage premature publication by discussion with the press (beyond a formal presentation, if at a conference).”

What the new editorial means, in my opinion, is that the politicisation of science has now penetrated right through to the workaday rituals of publication. On no account must you publicise your new work prematurely, unless you do it to bash the climate sceptics or the Republican Party or supporters of Special Relativity or anyone else the editors happen to dislike today. In that case they’ll forgive you.


How junk science is done: Start with a bogus model and fiddle with the parameters until you get the desired answer

From: "Global warming: Middle East's vital wet winters are disappearing -"
The team estimates that average precipitation from November through April in the region between 1971 and 2010 fell 6.8 percent below the average from 1902 to 1970.

The team began the hunt for causes.
...The team began using computer models to assess the effect of this ocean warming on the Mediterranean's winter precipitation.

The team found that warming all the oceans by a uniform 0.5 degrees Celsius (about 1 degree Fahrenheit) would dry out the eastern Mediterranean.

But the oceans haven't warmed uniformly. The greatest warming has come to tropical oceans. So the team focused next on warming the tropical oceans uniformly in their virtual world. The team got a Mediterranean-wide drying and a wetter northern Europe.

Still, neither of these experiments produced the strong positive North Atlantic Oscillation-like signal with enhanced drying to the south and heavier precipitation to the north.

But by adding another 0.5 degrees C to the Indian Ocean alone, model produced the strong north-south differences in precipitation associated with a positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation.

Comment on Overfitting:

With four parameters I can fit an elephant and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk -- John von Neumann


British government subsidy cut pulls plug on solar panels

Homeowners who decide to save money by generating their own renewable energy for the National Grid are to lose almost half their Government subsidy, prematurely published documents suggested yesterday.

Drastic cuts to the feed-in tariff (FIT) for solar power, the guaranteed income to anyone who installs working solar panels in their roof, are likely to be announced by the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne, on Monday.

And the precise level of the cut – from 43.3p per kilowatt hour of solar electricity to just 21p – appeared to be made clear yesterday in a document inadvertently published on the website of the Energy Saving Trust, the public advice body, and quickly taken down.

Although the Department for Energy and Climate Change said later that the published document was "neither final nor accurate", the swingeing 50 per cent cut in the subsidy it revealed was in linewith what observers have been expecting.

The feed-in tariff scheme, introduced 18 months ago, has been a huge success and has led to 100,000 households installing solar power.

This is because the levels on return on a typical £10,000 investment have been very generous, at about seven per cent per annum – far in excess of rates that can be found in the banks.

This has sparked a mini-solar boom, and from fewer than 500 companies employing about 3,000 people before the FIT was introduced, there are now 3,000 companies with a 25,000 workforce, which has been predicted to expand to 360,000 by 2020.

Yet the Government has become nervous of the subsidy's cost, as it is paid not from the Treasury but by a levy on household electricity bills – an increasingly sensitive subject – and wants to limit it.

Although it has been expected that the FIT level would drop as the cost of solar installation itself drops – it has come down 30 per cent in the time of the subsidy – the likely high level of the cut to be announced on Monday is dismaying the solar professionals.

"Coming from a Government that said it would be the greenest ever, this is completely misguided and will be a devastating blow for the solar industry," said Howard Johns of Solar Trade Association.

"Solar installation will be limited to a few rich people, and all the installation going on in solar housing will stop. Hundreds of companies will go bankrupt."



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29 October, 2011

Warmist Muller's actual data are more consistent with him being a skeptic

CO2 rose at an unprecedented record rate over the last decade, and temperatures went down. By contrast, from 1910 to 1940 temperatures rose very fast while CO2 hardly increased at all.

So the BEST data Proves That Muller Is A Skeptic


Pesky Bering sea not warming

It's got a mysterious and unexpected "cold pool"

As scientists observed climate warming in the Bering Sea, they suspected valuable commercial fish species such as Pacific cod and walleye pollock would move north toward the Bering Strait and into the Arctic Ocean.

But that's likely decades off, according to one surprising result from a study of the sea north of the Aleutian Islands.

Scientists say a pool of cold water in the northern Bering Sea has been a locked door to the northward migration of pollock and cod, the fish harvested for America's fish sticks and fast food sandwiches.

"Our original hypothesis was wrong, and we think they won't have habitat to occupy northward in the northern Bering Sea," said Mike Sigler of Juneau, a marine biologist with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Water along the ocean floor where pollock live has been kept cold by the layer of sea ice that forms every winter on the surface of the northern Bering Sea. That ice is expected to persist even with climate warming. Cold water sets up below the ice layer and remains cold throughout the summer.

"What it looks like at the moment is that the northern Bering Sea — and north to us is north of St. Matthew Island — looks like it is going to stay cold," said physical oceanographer Phyllis Stabeno of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle.

Sigler and Stabeno are two of more than 100 principal investigators taking part in a $52 million study of the eastern Bering Sea ecosystem. Supported by the National Science Foundation and the North Pacific Research Board, scientists are focusing on creatures from plankton to walrus.

"We're in the analysis and synthesis stage to complete the project," Sigler said, of the study that began in 2007..

Commercial fishermen in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands this year were allowed to catch 1.27 million metric tons (2.8 billion pounds) of pollock, and nearly 228,000 metric tons (510 million pounds) of Pacific cod.

Researchers had documented sub-arctic species including cod and pollock moving north within the Bering and assumed that would continue, until the discovery of the cold pool.

"The hypothesis that we had worked with for years was that as warming occurs, the Bering Sea would kind of warm uniformly," Stabeno said, meaning that fish species would move north. And that would have complicated matters for the commercial fishing fleet, increasing calls for a Coast Guard base, a deep water port and other infrastructure in northwest Alaska, which has remained remote because it's covered by ice so much of the year.

Temperature readings collected for more than a decade from fixed buoys and from cruises show an environment that remains inhospitable to pollock, cod and arrowtooth flounder, which do not like temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

The key is ice cover, which forms in the Bering Sea in December or January.

"In a cold year, like 2010, it will cover basically the whole eastern shelf," Stabeno said. "That's that broad area that's less than 200 meters (656 feet) deep. It stays until March, April. In the north, it stays until even into June sometimes.

Water below the ice chills to minus 1.73 degrees Celsius (28.9 degrees Fahrenheit), Stabeno said, the freezing point of seawater. In the north, after ice retreats in spring, a warm layer forms at the top that isolates cold water on the bottom.

The northern Bering Sea is hemmed in by Russia on the west and Alaska on the east, Stabeno said, likely contributing to colder water.


Romney morphing into a skeptic?

Mitt Romney is still trying to plant himself in the global warming skeptic camp. "My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet," the GOP presidential front-runner said Thursday during a fundraiser in Pittsburgh. "And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us."

The liberal blog Think Progress released a video here and a transcript of the exchange Friday.

Romney’s doubts about climate science — countering the widespread understanding that human activity and greenhouse gas emissions are a contributing factor to rises in global temperatures — have become a regular feature in his presidential campaign and represent a gradual rightward shift for someone who once considered putting a limit on power plant emissions.

In late August, as conservative lawmakers questioned his stance on the topic, Romney tried to align himself with those who dispute global warming science by questioning the role that humans play.

"Do I think the world's getting hotter? Yeah, I don't know that, but I think that it is," Romney said in New Hampshire, according to Reuters. "I don't know if it's mostly caused by humans."

Romney aides argued then that he wasn’t changing his position, noting that he’d made a similar case in his book "No Apology."

"I believe that climate change is occurring — the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore,” he wrote. “I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to man and how much is attributable to factors out of our control."

But in June, Romney ignited a conservative firestorm when he seemed to walk a bit too close to the line.

"I don't speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that," he said. "I can't prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer.

"No. 2, I believe that humans contribute to that," Romney continued. "I don't know how much our contribution is to that, because I know there's been periods of greater heat and warmth than in the past, but I believe we contribute to that. And so I think it's important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and global warming that you're seeing."

As Massachusetts governor, Romney in 2005 considered signing onto the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multistate cap-and-trade compact for power plant emissions. But he backed away from the program, citing a lack of economic safeguards.


America’s Worst Wind-Energy Project

Wind-energy proponents admit they need lots of spin to overwhelm the truly informed

The more people know about the wind-energy business, the less they like it. And when it comes to lousy wind deals, General Electric’s Shepherds Flat project in northern Oregon is a real stinker.

I’ll come back to the GE project momentarily. Before getting to that, please ponder that first sentence. It sounds like a claim made by an anti-renewable-energy campaigner. It’s not. Instead, that rather astounding admission was made by a communications strategist during a March 23 webinar sponsored by the American Council on Renewable Energy called “Speaking Out on Renewable Energy: Communications Strategies for the Renewable Energy Industry.”

During the webinar, Justin Rolfe-Redding, a doctoral student from the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, discussed ways for wind-energy proponents to get their message out to the public. Rolfe-Redding said that polling data showed that “after reading arguments for and against wind, wind lost support.” He went on to say that concerns about wind energy’s cost and its effect on property values “crowded out climate change” among those surveyed.

The most astounding thing to come out of Rolfe-Redding’s mouth — and yes, I heard him say it myself — was this: “The things people are educated about are a real deficit for us.” After the briefings on the pros and cons of wind, said Rolfe-Redding, “enthusiasm decreased for wind. That’s a troubling finding.” The solution to these problems, said Rolfe-Redding, was to “weaken counterarguments” against wind as much as possible. He suggested using “inoculation theory” by telling people that “wind is a clean source, it provides jobs” and adding that “it’s an investment in the future.” He also said that proponents should weaken objections by “saying prices are coming down every day.”

It’s remarkable to see how similar the arguments being put forward by wind-energy proponents are to those that the Obama administration is using to justify its support of Solyndra, the now-bankrupt solar company that got a $529 million loan guarantee from the federal government. But in some ways, the government support for the Shepherds Flat deal is worse than what happened with Solyndra.

The majority of the funding for the $1.9 billion, 845-megawatt Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon is coming courtesy of federal taxpayers. And that largesse will provide a windfall for General Electric and its partners on the deal who include Google, Sumitomo, and Caithness Energy. Not only is the Energy Department giving GE and its partners a $1.06 billion loan guarantee, but as soon as GE’s 338 turbines start turning at Shepherds Flat, the Treasury Department will send the project developers a cash grant of $490 million.

The deal was so lucrative for the project developers that last October, some of Obama’s top advisers, including energy-policy czar Carol Browner and economic adviser Larry Summers, wrote a memo saying that the project’s backers had “little skin in the game” while the government would be providing “a significant subsidy (65+ percent).” The memo goes on to say that, while the project backers would only provide equity equal to about 11 percent of the total cost of the wind project, they would receive an “estimated return on equity of 30 percent.”

The memo continues, explaining that the carbon dioxide reductions associated with the project “would have to be valued at nearly $130 per ton for CO2 for the climate benefits to equal the subsidies.” The memo continues, saying that that per-ton cost is “more than 6 times the primary estimate used by the government in evaluating rules.”

The Obama administration’s loan guarantee for the now-bankrupt Solyndra has garnered lots of attention, but the Shepherds Flat deal is an even better example of corporate welfare. Several questions are immediately obvious:

First: Why, as Browner and Summers asked, is the federal government providing loan guarantees and subsidies for an energy project that could easily be financed by GE, which has a market capitalization of about $170 billion?

Second: Why is the Obama administration providing subsidies to GE, which paid little or no federal income taxes last year even though it generated some $5.1 billion in profits from its U.S. operations?

Third: How is it that GE’s CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, can be the head of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness while his company is paying little or no federal income taxes? That question is particularly germane as the president never seems to tire of bashing the oil and gas industry for what he claims are the industry’s excessive tax breaks.

Over the past year, according to Yahoo! Finance, the average electric utility’s return on equity has been 7.1 percent. Thus, taxpayer money is helping GE and its partners earn more than four times the average return on equity in the electricity business.

A few months ago, I ran into Jim Rogers, the CEO of Duke Energy. I asked him why Duke — which has about 14,000 megawatts of coal-fired generation capacity — was investing in wind9energy projects. The answer, said Rogers forthrightly, was simple: The subsidies available for wind projects allow Duke to earn returns on equity of 17 to 22 percent.

In other words, for all of the bragging by the wind-industry proponents about the rapid growth in wind-generation capacity, the main reason that capacity is growing is that companies such as GE and Duke are able to goose their profits by putting up turbines so they can collect subsidies from taxpayers.

There are other reasons to dislike the Shepherds Flat project: It’s being built in Oregon to supply electricity to customers in Southern California. That’s nothing new. According to the Energy Information Administration, “California imports more electricity from other states than any other state.” Heaven forbid that consumers in the Golden State would have to actually live near a power plant, refinery, or any other industrial facility. And by building the wind project in Oregon, electricity consumers in California are only adding to the electricity congestion problems that have been plaguing the region served by the Bonneville Power Authority.

Earlier this year, the BPA was forced to curtail electricity generated by wind projects in the area because a near-record spring runoff had dramatically increased the amount of power generated by the BPA’s dams. In other words, Shepherds Flat is adding yet more wind turbines to a region that has been overwhelmed this year by excess electrical generation capacity from renewables. And that region will now have to spending huge sums of money building new transmission capacity to export its excess electricity.

Finally, there’s the question of the jobs being created by the new wind project. In 2009, when GE and Caithness announced the Shepherds Flat deal, CNN Money reported that the project would create 35 permanent jobs. And in an April 2011 press release issued by GE on the Shepherds Flat project, one of GE’s partners in the deal said they were pleased to be bringing “green energy jobs to our economy.”

How much will those “green energy” jobs cost? Well, if we ignore the value of the federal loan guarantee and only focus on the $490 million cash grant that will be given to GE and its partners when Shepherds Flat gets finished, the cost of those “green energy” jobs will be about $16.3 million each.

As Rolfe-Redding said, the more people know about the wind business, the less they like it.


More than two children is unethical? The old Zero Population Growth movement rides again

Check out the ethics of people-hating. In its white paper on “The Ethical Implications of Population Growth“, Population Matters states,
3. Reproductive ethics: It is also a fact that if two people with two living children have a third child, they will ratchet up the population of the planet, and thus: ratchet up damage to the environment; bring nearer the day of serious ecological failure; and ratchet down everyone else’s share of dwindling natural resources to cope with this. So individual decisions to create a whole extra lifetime of impacts affect everyone else (including their own children) – far more than any other environmentally damaging decision they make. We need to be aware of the ethical implications of having large families; and sex education in schools should include it.

That drastic population shrinking in the developed world is now underway seems to have escaped their notice


Australia: Farmers in green protesters' sights next as fight against mining escalates

FRUSTRATION: Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said the industry was frustrated with the contradictions of the State Government over mining exploration. Picture: Nathan Richter Source: The Courier-Mail

THE Federal Government has told environmental activists to get out of the way of mining and warned farmers are likely to be the next target of green protests.

But the State Government has also felt the wrath of the mining industry, with a survey showing that the worst thing about doing business in Queensland was dealing with the Bligh Government.

All those who stood in the way of mining faced a fierce attack yesterday, as more than 400 mining delegates gathered for the launch of the industry's scorecard in Brisbane.

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson told the function he accepted legitimate concerns about coal seam gas but environmental activists had to get out of the way of legitimate mining activity.

"Fundamentally, many of these groups are against economic development in all its forms and once they have moved on from protesting against CSG, they could very well have farmers in their sights as their next target over water access," Mr Ferguson said yesterday.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said the industry was frustrated with the contradictions of the State Government.

He said they wanted the Government to become a leader in exploration but then it "turns around and declares more than 23,000sq km of southeast Queensland off-limits to exploration".

Mr Roche also took on the anti-mining lobby, claiming that the public was being fed a constant diet of inaccurate information about mining exploration.



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


28 October, 2011

Why Economic Models Are Always Wrong

But climate models are right? Both types of model are of the same ilk. What the guy below says is what my son tells me: He builds mathematical models of flows in liquids so he can always test his models against reality. And what he tells me is that the tiniest inaccuracy in the parameter input can send the model output completely away from reality. And climate models are full of guesswork and unproven assumptions so are just as certainly wrong as are stockmarket models

When it comes to assigning blame for the current economic doldrums, the quants who build the complicated mathematic financial risk models, and the traders who rely on them, deserve their share of the blame. [See “A Formula For Economic Calamity” in the November 2011 issue]. But what if there were a way to come up with simpler models that perfectly reflected reality? And what if we had perfect financial data to plug into them?

Incredibly, even under those utterly unrealizable conditions, we'd still get bad predictions from models.

The reason is that current methods used to “calibrate” models often render them inaccurate.

That's what Jonathan Carter​ stumbled on in his study of geophysical models. Carter wanted to observe what happens to models when they're slightly flawed--that is, when they don't get the physics just right. But doing so required having a perfect model to establish a baseline. So Carter set up a model that described the conditions of a hypothetical oil field, and simply declared the model to perfectly represent what would happen in that field--since the field was hypothetical, he could take the physics to be whatever the model said it was. Then he had his perfect model generate three years of data of what would happen. This data then represented perfect data. So far so good.

The next step was "calibrating" the model. Almost all models have parameters that have to be adjusted to make a model applicable to the specific conditions to which it's being applied--the spring constant in Hooke's law, for example, or the resistance in an electrical circuit. Calibrating a complex model for which parameters can't be directly measured usually involves taking historical data, and, enlisting various computational techniques, adjusting the parameters so that the model would have "predicted" that historical data. At that point the model is considered calibrated, and should predict in theory what will happen going forward.

Carter had initially used arbitrary parameters in his perfect model to generate perfect data, but now, in order to assess his model in a realistic way, he threw those parameters out and used standard calibration techniques to match his perfect model to his perfect data. It was supposed to be a formality--he assumed, reasonably, that the process would simply produce the same parameters that had been used to produce the data in the first place. But it didn't. It turned out that there were many different sets of parameters that seemed to fit the historical data. And that made sense, he realized--given a mathematical expression with many terms and parameters in it, and thus many different ways to add up to the same single result, you'd expect there to be different ways to tweak the parameters so that they can produce similar sets of data over some limited time period.

The problem, of course, is that while these different versions of the model might all match the historical data, they would in general generate different predictions going forward--and sure enough, his calibrated model produced terrible predictions compared to the "reality" originally generated by the perfect model. Calibration--a standard procedure used by all modelers in all fields, including finance--had rendered a perfect model seriously flawed. Though taken aback, he continued his study, and found that having even tiny flaws in the model or the historical data made the situation far worse. "As far as I can tell, you'd have exactly the same situation with any model that has to be calibrated," says Carter.

That financial models are plagued by calibration problems is no surprise to Wilmott--he notes that it has become routine for modelers in finance to simply keep recalibrating their models over and over again as the models continue to turn out bad predictions. "When you have to keep recalibrating a model, something is wrong with it," he says. "If you had to readjust the constant in Newton's law of gravity every time you got out of bed in the morning in order for it to agree with your scale, it wouldn't be much of a law But in finance they just keep on recalibrating and pretending that the models work."


The Real Luddites

Have you noticed that any person who exhibits any skepticism about global warming alarmism will, sooner or later, be called a Luddite?

“Are you a Luddite, a troglodyte? Are you a part of ‘The Planet of the Apes’ that doesn’t want science? Where would you place yourself in this argument?” newscaster and anti-simian Chris Matthews “asked” a congressman a few years back. “Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the neo-Luddites who are turning the GOP into the anti-science party should pay attention,” warned columnist Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post this week.

And so on and so forth.

The Luddites, as you all know, were a 19th-century social movement that protested, often by violent means, the encroachment of the Industrial Revolution on their lives, fearing that it would leave them without their jobs and destroy their communities.

But Luddites weren’t challenging the veracity of some scientific theory; they just weren’t crazy about the options progress offered them.

So global warming skeptics — call them anti-science if you like — are not Luddites. Luddites have an irrational fear of development in a seemingly chaotic world. This is capitalism. Today’s Luddite fears that we have too much energy, too many people, too many choices, too much bad food, too many cheap knickknacks. Today’s Luddite believes that the free movement of money and economic productivity are immoral and that if your slice is too big, someone else’s slice has to be too small.

For example, Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. recently claimed that the iPad was “responsible for eliminating thousands of jobs,” you know, just like the modern-day automated loom. What, he wonders, will happen to “all the jobs associated with paper?” Surely, a remark as deeply juvenile as that one matches anything offered by those wild-eyed skeptics.

Or take President Barack Obama, who earlier this year — and not for the first time — claimed that “structural issues with our economy” have nothing to do with politicians. The problem, in his opinion, is that “a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient,” making the workforce smaller. “You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM. You don’t go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate.”

Those aren’t structural issues; they are productivity issues. And rather than kill jobs, efficiency drives output and growth and improves performance and the quality of goods and services — along with our lives. Perhaps if this administration weren’t busy trying to create morally pleasing but temporary and unsustainable jobs through bailouts, subsidies and “stimulus,” we could all hit that ATM more often.

Today’s Luddite also adamantly opposes a mythical institution called Wall Street, a place where a few players act illegally, some act recklessly and some team with government to undermine healthy competition. But the vast majority of companies create new technologies, services and products that make modern life possible. If they don’t, they fail.

Or at least they used to.

Luddites on the streets of Manhattan can demonize big oil, big food and big pharma all day long. They can decry profit as if Satan himself invented the notion. Yet when the multinational firm GlaxoSmithKline announces, as it did last week, that it has come up with the first effective vaccine for malaria, you can bet that it would never have happened in the system they propose. And if the vaccine is successful, the company will have done more good for the world than a million marches about the evils of capitalism could ever hope to produce.

What irks Robinson, Matthews and others like them is not that people do not accept “science,” but that they won’t accept the statist solutions tied to that science. Moreover, a Luddite opposes capitalism. A skeptic only asks questions.


It’s libel — except when a Warmist does it

Lewis Carroll died too soon. Just imagine the fun he’d have with the cliquish clan of climate catastrophe researchers who seek to control science, debate and public policy on global warming and energy – and then get outraged when someone challenges their findings, methodologies or integrity.

On Oct. 1, Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University and “hockey stick” fame published an angry riposte in Colorado’s obscure Vail Daily Voices (circulation 15,000), expressing his umbrage over an article that had appeared in the free coffee shop newspaper a day earlier.

“An individual named Martin Hertzberg did a grave disservice to your readers by making false and defamatory statements about me and my climate scientist colleagues in his recent commentary in your paper,” Mann began. (Hertzberg is a research scientist and former US Navy meteorologist.)

The thin-skinned Penn State scientist then ranted: “These are just lies, regurgitation of dishonest smears that have been manufactured by fossil fuel industry-funded climate change deniers, and those who do their bidding by lying to the public about the science.” [emphasis added]

Meanwhile, NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen, recipient of huge monetary awards for strident climate disaster claims, wants oil and coal company CEOs prosecuted for “crimes against humanity.”

So Mann and Hansen are honest scientists, trying to do their jobs. But Hertzberg and anyone else who questions the “imminent manmade climate change catastrophe” thesis are dishonest crooks, liars, Holocaust deniers, hired guns for fossil fuel interests, criminals threatening all humanity.

Hertzberg’s views were defamatory, but Mann’s and Hansen’s accusations are mild, rational and truthful. Uh-huh.

(Readers can find Mann’s letters and lively discussions about them and Hansen on Dr. Anthony Watts’ climate change website. Hertzberg’s letter appeared, mysteriously disappeared, then reappeared in the Vail Voices online archives as the controversy raged and ebbed.)

The bizarre saga gets even stranger when viewed alongside Dr. Mann’s kneejerk lawsuit against Dr. Tim Ball, a Canadian scientist, historical climatologist and retired professor who has frequently voiced his skepticism about claims that hydrocarbon use and carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of climate change and present an imminent risk of widespread planetary cataclysms. Dr. Ball has analyzed Canadian and global climate history, and does not regard computer models as much more than virtual reality scenarios that should never be the basis for real-world public policy.

Dr. Ball had poked fun at Dr. Mann, playing word games that suggest the computer guy should not be at Penn State, but in a similarly named state institution. Unfortunately, Mann is not easily amused, as Dr. Ball should have known from the PSU professor’s testy reaction to the “Hide the decline” animation and other spoofs that various AGW “deniers” posted online.

Mann insisted that Dr. Ball’s little joke was libelous and took him to court. Mann’s legal principal seems to be that libel is fine only when he and Hansen practice the craft, albeit with far less good humor than others display. More importantly, Dr. Ball does not live or work in the United States.

U.S. libel cases are governed by the First Amendment, “public figure” rules and other safeguards that ensure open, robust debate, and make it difficult and expensive to sue people over slights, affronts, insults, disagreements and jokes.

Canada, unfortunately, has more limited free speech protections. So Dr. Mike sued Dr. Tim in Canada, assuming victory would be rapid and sweet. Surprise! Dr. Ball decided to slug it out.

In Canada, the principal defenses against libel claims are that the alleged defamation constitutes “fair comment” or was in fact “the truth.” Ball chose the latter defense.

Doing so means the penalty for losing could be higher than under “fair comment” rules. But arguing that his statement was based on truth allows Dr. Ball to seek “discovery” of evidence that Dr. Mann’s actions reflect a use of public funds to alter or falsify scientific data, present highly speculative results as solid facts, or otherwise engage in something that a reasonable person would conclude constitutes dishonest activity or criminal culpability, undertaken moreover through the use of taxpayer funds.

Proving that will not be easy, especially since Mann has steadfastly refused to provide such potential evidence to anyone, including Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. That evidence might include Climategate emails; computer codes and data used, misused or used selectively to generate global warming spikes in historical graphs; and questionable research or proposals used to secure additional government grants, misinform citizens or lawmakers, or promote costly or harmful public policies.

The US government alone spent an estimated $79 billion on climate, renewable energy and related research between 1989 and 2009 — and many billions more since then. Obviously, there is a lot at stake for scientists, universities, government agencies and other institutions engaged in trying to demonstrate a link between human greenhouse gas emissions and climate, weather, agricultural, sea level and other “disasters.” The reputations and credibility of researchers and their institutions are likewise at stake.

Keeping people alarmed, insisting that numerous disasters will soon result from carbon dioxide emissions and a few degrees of planetary warming — and silencing anyone who questions climate chaos claims — are essential if this money train is to be kept on the tracks.

Dr. Mann is likely aided by Penn State lawyers, largely paid for with climate research taxpayer dollars the university wants to safeguard, by preventing criticism or scientific disclosure and transparency.

A judge and jury will decide the Mann vs. Ball case, after carefully weighing all the evidence on whether Dr. Ball’s allegations and insinuations were factual, accurate and truthful.

Dr. Mann’s research was conducted primarily with public money. It is being presented as valid, peer-reviewed science. It is also being used to champion and justify major policy recommendations at state, national and international levels. And those recommendations call for carbon taxes and other penalties for using hydrocarbon energy; the replacement of affordable, dependable fossil fuel energy with expensive, unreliable wind and solar facilities; a roll-back of living standards in rich developed nations; and limited or minimal energy and economic development in poor countries.

Therefore, as I have argued previously, the public has a right to demand that Mann & Comrades show their work, not merely their answers and policy demands. Thus far, serious questions about Mann’s research remain unanswered. The public also has a right to require that Mann, Penn State & Company provide their source material, not just their results — along with anything else that may be relevant to gauging the validity, accuracy and honesty of the work and its conclusions and policy recommendations.

We the People have a further right, duty and obligation to protect free speech, robust debate, the integrity of the scientific method, our personal freedoms, and our access to the reliable, affordable energy that makes our jobs and living standards possible. One way you can do this is by supporting Dr. Tim Ball’s legal defense fund. Just click here


Global Warming -- RIP

By historian Victor Davis Hanson

Not long ago, candidate Obama promised to cool the planet and lower the rising seas. Indeed, he campaigned on passing "cap-and-trade" legislation, a radical, costly effort to reduce America's traditional carbon energy use.

The theory was that new taxes and greater regulations would make Americans pay more for fossil-fuel energy -- a good thing if it reduced our burning of coal, oil and gas. Obama was not shy in admitting that under his green plans, electricity prices would "necessarily skyrocket." His energy secretary, Steven Chu, at one point had even said, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe" -- that is, about $8-$10 per gallon. Fairly or not, the warming movement seemed to cast a tiny elite imposing costs on a poorer and supposedly less informed middle class.

But despite a Democrat-controlled House and Senate in 2009-2010, President Obama never passed into law any global warming legislation. Now the issue is deader than a doornail -- despite the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency to enact new regulations that would never pass Congress.

So what happened to the global warming craze?

Corruption within the climate-change industry explains some of the sudden turnoff. "Climategate" -- the unauthorized 2009 release of private emails from the Climatic Research Unit in the United Kingdom -- revealed that many of the world's top climate scientists were knee-deep in manipulating scientific evidence to support preconceived conclusions and personal agendas. Shrill warnings about everything from melting Himalayan glaciers to shrinking polar bear populations turned out not always to be supported by scientific facts.

Unfortunately, "green" during the last three years has also become synonymous with Solyndra-style crony capitalism. Common-sense ideas like more windmills, solar panels, retrofitted houses and electric cars have all been in the news lately. But the common themes were depressingly similar: few jobs created and little competitively priced energy produced, but plenty of political donors who landed hundreds of millions of dollars in low-interest loans from the government.

Of course, it didn't help that the world's most prominent green spokesman, Nobel laureate Al Gore, made tens of millions of dollars from his own advocacy. And he adopted a lifestyle of jet travel and energy-hungry homes at odds with his pleas for everyone else to cut back.

But even without the corruption and hypocrisy, sincere advocates of man-made global warming themselves overreached. At news that the planet had not heated up at all during the last 10 years, "global warming" gave way to "climate change" -- as if to warn the public that unseasonable cold or wet weather was just as man-caused as were the old specters of drought and scorching temperatures.

Then, when "climate change" was not still enough to frighten the public into action, yet a third term followed: "climate chaos." Suddenly some "green experts" claimed that even more terrifying disasters -- from periodic hurricanes and tornadoes to volcanoes and earthquakes -- could for the first time be attributed to the burning of fossil fuels. At that point, serially changing the name of the problem suggested to many that there might not be such a problem after all.

Current hard times also explain the demise of global warming advocacy. With high unemployment and near nonexistent economic growth, Americans do not want to shut down generating plants or pay new surcharges on their power bills. Most people worry first about having any car that runs -- not whether it's a more expensive green hybrid model.

Over the last half-century, Americans have agreed that smoky plants and polluting industries needed to be cleaned up. But when the green movement began to classify clean-burning heat as a pollutant, it began to lose the cash-strapped public.

While the Obama administration was subsidizing failed or inefficient green industries, radical breakthroughs in domestic fossil-fuel exploration and recovery -- especially horizontal drilling and fracking -- have vastly increased the known American reserves of gas and oil. Modern efficient engines have meant that both can be consumed with little, if any, pollution -- at a time when a struggling U.S. economy is paying nearly half a trillion dollars for imported fossil fuels. The public apparently would prefer developing more of our own gas, oil, shale, tar sands and coal as an alternative to going broke by either importing more fuels from abroad or subsidizing more inefficient windmills and solar panels at home.

We simply don't know positively whether recent human activity has caused the planet to warm up to dangerous levels. But we do know that those who insist it does are sometimes disingenuous, often profit-minded, and nearly always impractical.


Be prudent with climate claims

Cardinal George Pell is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney. His Eminence approaches Warmism by looking to the scientific facts, not religion -- and notes religious fanaticism in Warmism:

SCIENCE and technology have already achieved considerable mastery over nature, and massive local achievements. But where is the borderline separating us from what is beyond human power?

Where does scientific striving become uneconomic, immoral or ineffectual and so lapse into hubris? Have scientists been co-opted on to a bigger, better-advertised and more expensive bandwagon than the millennium bug fiasco?

We can only attempt to identify the causes of climate change through science and these causes need to be clearly established after full debates, validated comprehensively, before expensive remedies are imposed on industries and communities.

I first became interested in the question in the 1990s when studying the anti-human claims of the "deep greens". Mine is not an appeal to the authority of any religious truth in the face of contrary scientific evidence. Neither is it even remotely tinged by a postmodernist hostility to rationality.

My appeal is to reason and evidence, and in my view the evidence is insufficient to achieve practical certainty on many of these scientific issues.

Recently Robert Manne, following fashionable opinion, wrote that "the science is truly settled" on the fundamental theory of climate change: global warming is happening; it is primarily caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide; and it is certain to have profound effects in the future.

His appeal is to the "consensual view among qualified scientists". This is a category error, scientifically and philosophically. In fact, it is also a cop-out, a way of avoiding the basic issues.

The basic issue is not whether the science is settled but whether the evidence and explanations are adequate in that paradigm.

I fear, too, that many politicians have never investigated the primary evidence.

Much is opaque to non-specialists, but persistent inquiry and study can produce useful clarifications, similar to the nine errors identified by the British High Court in Al Gore's propaganda film, An Inconvenient Truth.

The complacent appeal to scientific consensus is simply one more appeal to authority, quite inappropriate in science or philosophy.

It is not generally realised that in 2001 at least, one of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report's workinggroups agreed: "In climate research and modelling, we are dealing with a coupled, non-linear, chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible."

Claims of atmospheric warming often appear to conflict and depend upon the period of time under consideration.

* The earth has cooled during the past 10,000 years since the Holocene climate optimum.

* The earth has cooled since 1000 years ago, not yet achieving the temperatures of the Medieval Warm Period.

* The earth has warmed since 400 years ago after the Little Ice Age three centuries ago.

* The earth warmed between 1979 and 1998 and has cooled slightly since 2001.

The following facts are additional reasons for scepticism.

* In many places, most of the 11,700 years since the end of the last ice age were warmer than the present by up to 2C.

* Between 1695 and 1730, the temperature in England rose by 2.2C. That rapid warming, unparalleled since, occurred long before the Industrial Revolution.

* From 1976 to 2001, "the global warming rate was 0.16C per decade", as it was from 1860 to 1880 and again from 1910 to 1940.

My suspicions have been deepened through the years by the climate movement's totalitarian approach to opposing views. Those secure in their explanations do not need to be abusive.

The term "climate change denier", however expedient as an insult or propaganda weapon, with its deliberate overtones of comparison with Holocaust denial, is not a useful description of any significant participant in the discussion. I was not surprised to learn that the IPCC used some of the world's best advertising agencies to generate maximum effect among the public .

The rewards for proper environmental behaviour are uncertain, unlike the grim scenarios for the future as a result of human irresponsibility which have a dash of the apocalyptic about them.

The immense financial costs true believers would impose on economies can be compared with the sacrifices offered traditionally in religion, and the sale of carbon credits with the pre-Reformation practice of selling indulgences.

Some of those campaigning to save the planet are not merely zealous but zealots. To the religionless and spiritually rootless, mythology - whether comforting or discomforting - can be magnetically, even pathologically, attractive.

Whatever our political masters might decide at this high tide of Western indebtedness, they are increasingly unlikely, because of popular pressure, to impose new financial burdens on their populations in the hope of curbing the rise of global temperatures, except perhaps in Australia, which has 2 per cent of the world's industrial capacity and only 1.2 per cent of its CO2 emissions, while continuing to sell coal and iron worth billions of dollars to Asia.

Extreme weather events are to be expected. This is why I support the views of Bjorn Lomborg and Bob Carter that money should be used to raise living standards and reduce vulnerability to catastrophes.

The cost of attempts to make global warming go away will be very heavy. They may be levied initially on "the big polluters" but they will eventually trickle down to the end-users. Efforts to offset the effects on the vulnerable are well intentioned but history tells us they can only be partially successful.

Sometimes the very learned and clever can be brilliantly foolish, especially when seized by an apparently good cause. My request is for common sense and what the medievals, following Aristotle, called prudence.

The appeal must be to the evidence. First of all we need adequate scientific explanations as a basis for our economic estimates. We also need history, philosophy, even theology and many will use, perhaps create, mythologies. But most importantly we need to distinguish which is which.


Australia's "Solyndra"

SAYONARA, Premier. Anna Bligh's claims her bungled clean-coal dream would live on have collapsed, with the company at the centre put into liquidation at a loss to taxpayers of almost $160 million.

The Courier-Mail can reveal the controversial ZeroGen operation was shut down a fortnight ago, despite the Premier promising the ailing firm would be given to - and run by - the coal industry to ensure its work did not go to waste.

Documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission this month show the company is under external administration after a liquidator was appointed on October 11.

ZeroGen was set up to be owned by the Government to develop carbon capture technology. Its key project was to be a $4.3 billion clean coal power plant in central Queensland, running by 2015, with the power to capture 90 per cent of coal emissions.

The confirmation of the financial losses come as photos have emerged showing former ZeroGen chiefs living it up in Japan and Singapore as they tried to secure backing of business giant Mitsubishi Corp.

Former ZeroGen chief Tony Tarr and the company's corporate affairs manager Heather Brodie were snapped partying in kimonos and horseplaying in Singapore.

After scrapping the key "world-first" $4 billion central Queensland plant, the Bligh Government claimed ZeroGen would be given to the Australian Coal Association to ensure the knowledge it gained lived on.

Ms Bligh, who had insisted the money was not wasted, had said it would become "an independent entity, owned and run by industry and dedicated to the accelerated development and deployment of carbon capture storage".

But ACA chairman John Pegler yesterday said the group knew nothing of its supposed involvement. "We have never, ever, ever been in negotiations to take over ZeroGen," he said.

Contradiction also emerged in the office of Treasurer Andrew Fraser yesterday, who insisted the intellectual property still belonged to the state and would be used in future.

"The Federal Government was an equity partner in the venture and has been actively involved in the wind-up process," he said. The wind-up began in June.

But federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said the Commonwealth became aware only "in early October that the board may voluntarily liquidate the company".

Queensland has pumped $116 million into the project, the Commonwealth about $43 million and the coal industry about $50 million.

Federal Opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt yesterday called for an inquiry, saying the loss of so much money was scandalous.

"There should be an immediate, independent inquiry as to how this money has been lost and where it has gone," he said.

ZeroGen garnered attention across Asia and the US and was touted by Ms Bligh and former premier Peter Beattie as a ground-breaking world-first as far back as 2006.

But now the ZeroGen website has been closed. "The ZeroGen Project has concluded," the site states. "Arrangements are ongoing for final knowledge capture and dissemination with the assistance of the Global CCS Institute."

State Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney said ZeroGen epitomised the waste and mismanagement of a tired Labor Government. "Anna Bligh has still never fully explained why the warnings about ZeroGen were ignored for so long and why they were so gung ho to roll the dice with taxpayers' money," he said.



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


27 October, 2011

"Nature" is both apologetic and defiant about its premature promotion of the Berkeley/Muller claims

It is even embarrassed enough to include a letter from Fred Singer pointing out how unenlightening the Berkely/Muller data really is

Results confirming climate change are welcome, even when released before peer review.

Global warming is really happening — really. There was no conspiracy or cover-up. Peer review did not fail and the scien-tists who have spent decades working out the best way to handle and process data turned out to know how to handle and process data after all. Thank you Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study.

Four papers released by the BEST team at the University of California, Berkeley, last week are of undoubted interest to the media, given that they support what is portrayed as the mainstream scientific position on climate change. They could also find traction in politics, especially in the United States, where they could be used to combat the assertions of Republicans, who have effectively tossed climate science away. But the headline scientific conclusion, that a century and a half of instrumental measurements confirm a warming trend, is, well, all a little 1990.

Of course, reproduction of existing results is a valid contribution, and the statistical methods developed by the BEST team could be useful additions to climate science. But valid contributions and useful additions alone do not generate worldwide headlines, so the massive publicity associated with the release of the papers (which were simultaneously submitted to the Journal of Geophysical Research) is a curious affair.

There was predictable grumbling at the media coverage from within the scientific community, which saw it as publicity in lieu of peer review. Reporters are more than happy to cover the story now, while it's sexy, but will they cover it later, when the results are confirmed, adjusted or corrected in accordance with a thorough vetting? The short answer is no, many of them will not. Barring an extraordinary reversal of message, the wave of press coverage is likely to be only a ripple when the papers are finally published. And this is what upsets the purists: the communication of science in this case comes before the scientific process has run its course.

Members of the Berkeley team revelled in their role as scientific renegades. Richard Muller, the physicist in charge, even told the BBC: "That is the way I practised science for decades; it was the way everyone practised it until some magazines — particularly Science and Nature — forbade it."

This is both wrong and unhelpful. It is wrong because for years Nature has explicitly endorsed the use of preprint servers and conferences as important avenues for scientific discussion ahead of submission to this journal, or other Nature titles. For example, on page 493 this week we publish a paper that discusses the dwarf planet Eris, based on results that the lead author presented (with Nature's knowledge and consent) at a conference several weeks ago. Journalists are, of course, welcome to report what they come across in such venues — as several did on Eris. What Nature discourages is authors specifically promoting their work to the media before a peer-reviewed paper is available for others in the field to read and evaluate.

Muller's statement is unhelpful because such inflammatory claims can only fuel the heated but misguided debate on climate-sceptic blogs and elsewhere about the way science works and how it treats those who insist on viewing themselves as outsiders.

To solicit input on results before publication is not a guerrilla action against a shadowy scientific elite. Witness the posting on a preprint server last month of the paper reporting neutrinos that apparently travel faster than light: the authors made it clear that they were seeking help from the wider community to explain the findings, and the media stories (if not the headlines) mostly reflected that. To pretend otherwise can only erode public trust in science, as it is practised by all.


Fred Singer said:

Dear Editors of Nature:

What a curious editorial [p.428, Oct.26} -- and how revealing of yr bias! "Results confirming climate change are welcome, even when released before peer review"?

You imply that contrary results are not welcomed by Nature. But this has been obvious for many years.

Why are you so jubilant about the findings of the Berkeley Climate Project that you can hardly contain yourself? What do you think they proved? They certainly added little to the ongoing debate on human causes of climate change.

They included data from the same weather stations as the Climategate people, but reported that one-third showed cooling — not warming. They covered the same land area -- less than 30% of the Earth's surface -- housing recording stations that are poorly distributed, mainly in the US and Western Europe. They state that 70% of US stations are badly-sited and don't meet the standards set by government; the rest of the world is likely worse.

But unlike the land surface, the atmosphere has shown no warming trend, either over land or over ocean — according to satellites and independent data from weather balloons. This indicates to me that there is something very wrong with the land surface data. And did you know that climate models, run on super-computers, all insist that the atmosphere must warm faster than the surface? And so does theory.

And finally, we have non-thermometer temperature data from so-called "proxies": tree rings, ice cores, ocean sediments, stalagmites. They don't show any global warming since 1940!

The BEST (Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature) results in no way confirm the scientifically discredited Hockeystick graph, which had been so eagerly adopted by climate alarmists. In fact, the Hockeystick authors never published their post-1978 temperatures in their 1998 paper in Nature -- or since. The reason for hiding them? It's likely that those proxy data show no warming either. Why don't you ask them?

One last word: You evidently haven't read the four scientific BEST papers, submitted for peer review. There, the Berkeley scientists disclaim knowing the cause of the temperature increase reported by their project. They conclude, however: "The human component of global warming may be somewhat overestimated." I commend them for their honesty and skepticism.


S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project. His specialty is atmospheric and space physics. An expert in remote sensing and satellites, he served as the founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service and, more recently, as vice chair of the US National Advisory Committee on Oceans & Atmosphere. He is co-author of Climate Change Reconsidered [2009 and 2011] and of Unstoppable Global Warming 2007.



Hoodwinked by Berkeley Earth

Nigel Calder, former editor of "New Scientist" looks at the motives of Richard Muller and the significance of his findings

My previous post was too polite about Berkeley Earth. I’d not figured out Richard Muller’s game. The mainstream media have have portrayed him as a repentant climate sceptic who has wonderful new evidence confirming man-made global warming. To see how the story is playing, look for Richard Muller Berkeley on Google News (139 reports and counting).

Normally I try to stick to the science, without being naïve about the politics. Posted earlier on this blog is the text of a talk I gave called “Global Warming is Just Propaganda”, which you’ll find here here

It compares the behaviour of the warmists with the tradecraft of propaganda during the Second World War. And the latest bout from Berkeley and the media reminds me, belatedly, of a manipulation of British propaganda in the Balkans in the early 1940s. For global warming read Stalinism and (at the risk of grossly overstating his importance) for Richard Muller read Tito.

Hoodwinking Churchill: Tito’s Great Confidence Trick, by the TV producer and military historian Peter Batty, was published earlier this year. Helped by a Communist mole filtering messages in the British team in Cairo, Tito fooled the West into thinking that he was the hero of the fight against the Italian and German forces in Yugoslavia. In fact he was subverting other guerrilla bands, doing deals with the Germans, and keeping his forces safe for a postwar Communist takeover of Yugoslavia. As Batty relates, Tito secured his 35-year dictatorship by butchering the non-Communist guerrillas who had been the real fighters in the occupied Balkans.

When Richard Muller, leader of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures (BEST) project, gave testimony to the US Congress back in March, he called for the creation of an ARPA-like agency for climate issues. ARPA, more correctly nowadays called DARPA, is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a mighty organization with a $3 billion budget. Climate ARPA (CARPA?) might offer a promising niche for a 67-year-old astrophysicist.

But if that’s the aim, catastrophic man-made global warming must stay high on the political agenda. How better to go about making sure about that than to call yourself a sceptic, just as Tito pretended to be on Winston Churchill’s side. When the time came to show himself in his true colours Tito was celebrated in the Communist world. Similarly Muller has become an instant hero for the warmists.

Scientifically grotesque was the blurring in the Berkeley press release, as well as in the media, of the meaning of Muller’s main graph, shown in my previous post. Invited to comment by New Scientist, I said:

“What do they mean by ‘global warming is real’? The graph of global land temperature changes associated with BEST’s announcement neatly confirms by their independent method that the warming stopped about 15 years ago. The Sun’s recent laziness has apparently cancelled any effect of ever-increasing man-made greenhouse gases.”

The interviewer commented:

“I take your point about the reduced warming trend over the last 15 years, but this study is focused on the long-term warming trend which covers a century. How do you account for this long-term warming trend?”

My reply (which wasn’t reported by New Scientist) was:

“Increased activity of the Sun, of course, from 1950 to the early 1990s as signalled most strikingly by the decline in ionizing cosmic rays at the Earth’s surface. See the red curve (ion chamber) in the attached figure.”

This is a coloured version of a graph in Henrik Svensmark, Physical Review Letters, 81, 5027-30,1998.

The message about Muller in the media, that “the science is settled (again)”, is completely at odds with the evidence.


British Wind Farms Shut Down Again Because It's Too Windy

NATIONAL GRID has been forced to ask wind farms to shut down for the second time in a MONTH - because it's too windy. Seven wind farm operators switched off their turbines on Monday night. It leaves taxpayers with yet another bill.

National Grid said they were generating TOO MUCH power as storms ripped across Scotland.

It leaves taxpayers with yet another bill. National Grid has to pay wind farm operators compensation when asking them to stop the turbines.

National Grid said: "It was very windy yesterday and there was some curtailment of wind generation."

Despite huge subsidies for wind farm operators, National Grid claims its network is not ready to handle the power surge in storms.

Demand for electricity also drops off late at night.

National Grid paid out almost £3 million to wind farm operators in compensation in mid-September when a dozen wind farms were shut for three nights in a row.

Fred Olsen Renewables pocketed £1.2 million.

The Grid spokesman insisted: "This is all a normal part of how we balance the electricity transmission system and manage constraints on the network."


Another reason for disbelieving German Warmist Rahmstorf

Yesterday, I put up a restrained comment by Pielke Jr. that questioned a paper by Rahmstorf that attributed last year's Russian heatwave to global warming. The real experts on the subject, the guys at the Physical Sciences Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, of NOAA, disagree with Rahmstorf.

Scientific prose is a heavy read so let me summarize the abstract below: The heatwave was due to common natural factors, not global warming:

Was there a basis for anticipating the 2010 Russian heat wave?

By Randall Dole et al.


The 2010 summer heat wave in western Russia was extraordinary, with the region experiencing the warmest July since at least 1880 and numerous locations setting all-time maximum temperature records. This study explores whether early warning could have been provided through knowledge of natural and human-caused climate forcings. Model simulations and observational data are used to determine the impact of observed sea surface temperatures (SSTs), sea ice conditions and greenhouse gas concentrations. Analysis of forced model simulations indicates that neither human influences nor other slowly evolving ocean boundary conditions contributed substantially to the magnitude of this heat wave. They also provide evidence that such an intense event could be produced through natural variability alone. Analysis of observations indicate that this heat wave was mainly due to internal atmospheric dynamical processes that produced and maintained a strong and long-lived blocking event, and that similar atmospheric patterns have occurred with prior heat waves in this region. We conclude that the intense 2010 Russian heat wave was mainly due to natural internal atmospheric variability. Slowly varying boundary conditions that could have provided predictability and the potential for early warning did not appear to play an appreciable role in this event.


Rick Perry makes a good energy plan sound bad

The biggest problem with the energy plan that Rick Perry released recently is Rick Perry himself. Like a desperate used-car salesman, he is making such outlandish claims for it that his customers might walk out before taking a good look.

That, however, would be a pity, because the plan is actually better than any proposed by any president in recent memory.

The liberal blogosphere is up in arms against it because it stands for everything liberals despise. Unlike that other yahoo from Texas, George W. Bush, who made curing America’s “addiction to oil” a guiding principle, Perry is absolutely unapologetic about this “addiction.” To the contrary, rapidly exploiting America’s fossil fuel reserves—coal, oil, gas—is a key plank of his energy agenda.

To this end, he wants to:

* Expand oil drilling in the Gulf and the mid-Atlantic, as well as federal lands including Alaska’s hallowed Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

* Blast out natural gas trapped in shale basins through a new process called fracking. Fracking, incidentally, can help America unlock enough clean-burning natural gas to replace all its coal-generated electricity for 70 years. Enviros initially welcomed this development—until they realized it would make their beloved renewables even more uncompetitive.

* Rescue coal, as abundant in the U.S. as oil is in Saudi Arabia, from President Obama’s greenhouse gas strictures, which make it prohibitively expensive.

Perry isn’t hostile to renewables. He insists he would use an “all of the above” energy strategy, including wind, solar, and biomass. But he won’t give them government handouts, something that every president, Democrat or Republican, has done since Gerald Ford.

He also promises to end federal subsidies for non-renewables. This is more easily said than done, given the complex web of direct and indirect tax breaks and subsidies that have long distorted the energy sector. One would take his promise more seriously if he offered more specifics, but his plan is blissfully vague. Still, it represents progress (of sorts) that he hasn’t identified any sacred cows for special protections.

However, the part that has liberals really foaming at the mouth is his suggestion to severely check the power of the EPA and give states more leeway to set their own environmental regulations. The standard criticism of such rollbacks is that states, released from Uncle Sam’s iron fist, will engage in a race to the bottom and gut environmental standards to attract business. But states have a far greater incentive than distant bureaucrats to look for ways to protect their natural resources with minimal sacrifice of economic and other priorities.

All in all, Perry’s plan offers a radical blueprint for energy liberalization. So what’s wrong it? His sales pitch.

For starters, precisely because it is so ambitious, it won’t be easy to pull off. But instead of leveling with the American public, Perry is exaggerating the plan’s political feasibility, claiming that most of it can be implemented by executive fiat without congressional action.

Take the EPA, for example. It was created to enforce duly enacted federal laws, such as the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, whose constitutionality courts have long upheld. Rolling back the EPA’s authority over states will require congressional approval, something harder to come by, these days, than divine grace. Pretending otherwise is just dishonest.

What’s more, Perry is touting his energy plan as a jobs program, claiming that it will create 1.2 million jobs. This is not as wild as Obama’s promise of generating 5 million green jobs by shoveling stimulus money into politically-connected duds like Solyndra. However, job projections are notoriously difficult to make accurately, and there is every reason to believe that Perry’s claims, largely lifted from oil industry studies, are way off. Michael Levi, senior fellow for energy and environment at the Council on Foreign Relations, estimates that Perry’s plan will create 620,000 jobs at best. If Levi is right, Perry has needlessly opened himself up to attack by using inflated numbers. And for what? The main point of energy liberalization is not to create jobs. It’s to make cheap and reliable energy available to individuals and businesses. That’s the message that Perry should be hammering.

Perry touts his plan as the road to energy independence, and in this lies its fatal flaw. The world market sets energy prices, especially the prices of oil and gas. Energy won’t cost any less because it is made in America. Yes, America should tap its energy resources if it can do so competitively. If it can’t, it should buy energy from abroad, just as it does food, clothing, electronics, and every other commodity. Chanting an energy independence mantra will commit America to generating its own energy, eviscerating the entire initial rationale for energy liberalization: letting the market determine where and how to generate supply to meet demand.

Perry has a solid energy plan that can distinguish him from the pack and force a real debate on the issue. But he has to stop claiming that it can cure every American ill. He’s pouring good medicine into a snake oil bottle.


Now it's rivers and streams that are at fault

Are SUVs off the hook now?

Rivers and streams in the United States are releasing substantially more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than previously thought. These findings could change the way scientists model the movement of carbon between land, water, and the atmosphere.

The findings were recently published in a Nature Geoscience article entitled “Significant efflux of carbon dioxide from streams and rivers in the United States” by David Butman and Professor Peter Raymond of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, as part of David’s Ph.D. thesis. Funding for the study was from NASA, NSF, and the USGS.

Butman and Raymond found that a significant amount of carbon accumulated by plant growth on land is decomposed, discharged into streams and rivers, and outgassed as carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. It is estimated that streams and rivers release almost 100 million metric tons of carbon each year. This release is equal to a car burning 40 billion gallons of gasoline, enough to drive back and forth to the moon 3.4 million times.

Average concentration at and distribution of USGS gauging stations used to calculated CO2 efflux from US streams and rivers. The names correspond to the subregions discussed in the text. Graph published in Nature Geoscience

Water chemistry data from more than 4,000 rivers and streams throughout the United States were incorporated with detailed geospatial data to model the flux of carbon dioxide from water. The river and stream samples were collected at USGS gaging stations and the geospatial data was produced by both the USGS and EPA.



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


26 October, 2011

Even the Arctic is letting the Warmists down

It's really only the Antarctic that matters as 91% of the earth's glacial ice is found there. But the Antarctic is stubbornly refusing to show any overall melting. So the Warmists turn to the Arctic -- as it is subject to a number of influences (wind changes, variable ocean currents, subsurface vulcanism etc) that make it satisfyingly unstable. So by judiciously cherrypicking the data, Warmists have been able to assert that the Arctic is melting.

BUT: Even that applecart has now been upset. The latest research shows that a key glacier melted 1400 years ago (long before SUVS and power stations) and only reformed 800 years ago. So there is every indication that Arctic changes are natural too

Arctic shelf ice has been in the news of late due to its shrinkage over the past few decades that most attribute to global warning. Thus, its levels and seemingly constant calving have become ecological barometers that environmentalists have come to use to show just how fast our planet is heating up.

Now however, new research by a team from Université Laval in Canada, led by Dermot Antoniadesa, have found, after studying sedimentary material on the bottom of the Disraeli Fiord, created by backup from an ice shelf in Northern Canada, that it experienced a major fracture that resulted in an overall reduction of the ice shelf some 1,400 years ago. Which means this isn’t the first time that the shelf ice has melted and broken apart. The team has published the results of its survey in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences....

The research team found that the ice shelf first appeared approximately 4,000 years ago and hung around for several thousand years. But then about 1,400 years ago, a major fracturing occurred that caused the shelf to shrink. It didn’t fully recover until about 800 years ago. After that, it held steady till the shrinkage that began nearly a hundred years ago and continues to this day.

At this point, it doesn’t appear that the shelf ice around Ellesmere Island is any smaller now than it was during the previous period of warming

The journal abstract:

Ice shelves in the Arctic lost more than 90% of their total surface area during the 20th century and are continuing to disintegrate rapidly. The significance of these changes, however, is obscured by the poorly constrained ontogeny of Arctic ice shelves. Here we use the sedimentary record behind the largest remaining ice shelf in the Arctic, the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf (Ellesmere Island, Canada), to establish a long-term context in which to evaluate recent ice-shelf deterioration. Multiproxy analysis of sediment cores revealed pronounced biological and geochemical changes in Disraeli Fiord in response to the formation of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf and its fluctuations through time. Our results show that the ice shelf was absent during the early Holocene and formed 4,000 years ago in response to climate cooling. Paleoecological data then indicate that the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf remained stable for almost three millennia before a major fracturing event that occurred 1,400 years ago. After reformation 800 years ago, freshwater was a constant feature of Disraeli Fiord until the catastrophic drainage of its epishelf lake in the early 21st century.


The "new" Berkeley/Muller climate record agrees with the tricky troika but not with history

Erase your memory. The 1970s ice age scare was a figment of your imagination. The CIA​ made the whole thing up, as did the directors of CRU and NCAR. Newsweek, Time, Science News, USA News, The New York Times and just about every other publication in the world was in on it too.

Richard Muller has shown us that there was no climate change between 1950 and 1970.

This is what a 1974 CIA report said (excerpt):
Early In the 1970s a series of adverse climate anomalies occurred

The world’s snow and ice cover has increased by 10-15%

In the eastern Canadian area of the Arctic Greenland, below normal temperatures were recorded for 19 consecutive months. Nothing like this has happened in the last 100 years.

The Moscow region suffered its worst drought in three to five hundred years

Massive floods took place in the midwestern United States

Drought occurred in Central America, the Sub-Sahara, South Asia, China, and Australia

Within a single year, adversity had visited almost every nation on the globe

The Director of CRU must have been lying when he said in 1972 that temperatures had been declining for 20 years. Muller tells us that the cooling never happened.

NCAR was lying too. Richard Muller tells us that there was no cooling between 1950 and 1970.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Debunked: Climate change not to blame for increased forest fires

You mean it’s not the barely detectable change in the bogus “mean global temperature” construct?

Spanish researchers report,
… the change in the occurrence of fires that are recorded in the historical research cannot be explained by the gradual change in climate, but rather that it corresponds to changes in the availability of fuel, the use of sources of energy and the continuity of the landscape.



The Games Climate Scientists Play

Rahmstorf is something like Germany's equivalent to Phil Jones, only more rabid, so this is no surprise

Here is another good example why I have come to view parts of the climate science research enterprise with a considerable degree of distrust.

A paper was released yesterday by PNAS, by Stefan Rahmstorf and Dim Coumou, which asserts that the 2010 Russian summer heat wave was, with 80% probability, the result of a background warming trend. But if you take a look at the actual paper you see that they made some arbitrary choices (which are at least unexplained from a scientific standpoint) that bias the results in a particular direction.

Look at the annotated figure above, which originally comes from an EGU poster by Dole et al. (programme here in PDF). It shows surface temperature anomalies in Russia dating back to 1880. I added in the green line which shows the date from which Rahmsdorf and Coumou decided to begin their analysis -- 1911, immediately after an extended warm period and at the start of an extended cool period.

Obviously, any examination of statistics will depend upon the data that is included and not included. Why did Rahmsdorf and Coumou start with 1911? A century, 100 years, is a nice round number, but it does not have any privileged scientific meaning. Why did they not report the sensitivity of their results to choice of start date? There may indeed be very good scientific reasons why starting the analysis in 1911 makes the most sense and for the paper to not report the sensitivity of results to the start date. But the authors did not share that information with their readers. Hence, the decision looks arbitrary and to have influenced the results.

Climate science -- or at least some parts of it -- seems to have devolved into an effort to generate media coverage and talking points for blogs, at the expense of actually adding to our scientific knowledge of the climate system. The new PNAS paper sure looks like a cherry pick to me. For a scientific exploration of the Russian heat wave that seems far more trustworthy to me, take a look at this paper.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Seven billion cheers for humanity!

According to the UN, some time next week the world's population will reach seven billion. Many will see this as a bad thing. But I think we should be cheering for joy. Seven billion mouths to feed also means seven billion brains – and it's brainpower that is the key to human flourishing.

The worriers take the Malthusian view of population. Thomas Malthus famously predicted that population growth would create a relentlessly poorer world, as population growth was geometric (2, 4, 8, 16, 32...) whereas technological advancement is only arithmetic (2, 3, 4, 5, 6...). Population would grow faster than farming technology could support it. What Malthus didn't realize was that technology and wealth are linked to population: the more people there are, the more brains there are. The more brains, the more ideas. And ideas are infinitely reproducable. Unlike economic goods, my posession of an idea doesn't deprive anybody else of possessing that idea as well.

Thus, one brilliant idea can improve an infinite number of lives. The most important of the last fifty years from a Malthusian point of view was Norman Borlaug, father of the "green revolution" that brought high-yield, disease-resistant strains of wheat to the poorest countries in the world. But there are plenty of others – two recently deceased ideas-generators are Steve Jobs and Dennis Ritchie (inventor of the C programming language). The ideas they came up with would be just as useful in a population of seven million as seven billion. The same goes for artists: a piece of music is just as beautiful listened to by seven people as seven billion.

But won't these extra people, born disproportionately to the world's poorest families, just hold others back? Another potential Steve Jobs is fine in California, you might say, but not Calcutta. Alas, more babies really are a burden to poor families. But, crucially, this isn't the cause of their poverty – there are plenty of poor countries that have very low birth rates, like Russia. The cause of poverty in the developing world isn't lots of babies, but bad government. The most famous example of famine in the last few decades was the Ethiopian catastrophe during the 1980s; a direct consequence of a war against the people by Ethiopia's communist government. Other, even more dreadful famines of the 20th Century – such as the Ukrainian Holodomor of the 1930s and the Great Chinese Famine of 1958–61 – were caused by incompetent or wicked states, not a natural lack of food.

Poverty today has similar roots: it's very hard to find a poor country with a good government. Where there is poverty and famine today, it's a consequence of bad government, not a Malthusian food shortage. And this also presents an opportunity for tremendous improvements in the lives of all humans: if, somehow, those bad governments can be improved, a billion brains are waiting to be unlocked. Having lots of people isn't an obstacle to more human flourishing. On the contrary: it's the best way we can achieve it.


This is the city that was going to die of drought, according to prominent Australian Warmist Tim Flannery

See the prediction here

Perth could receive a month's worth of rain this week alone - and more downfalls could be on the way to spoil the weekend Commonwealth Heads Of Government meeting.

Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke reported 28mm of rain in Perth since about 10pm last night and the the gauge is expected to get to 30mm before the showers clear later today.

Rain is then expected to return tomorrow and Thursday and, with a forecast for 10 to 20mm, the weekly rainfall could be pushing the October average of 52mm. "It's the biggest October rainfall in 12 years," Mr Dutschke said.

"Perth has had more than half its monthly rainfall overnight and, if the rain returns tomorrow and Thursday as we expect, it could be up around the month's average by week's end."

CHOGM will get underway on Friday with much fanfare but, by Sunday, participants and on-lookers could be again reaching for their umbrellas.

"There is a chance of the showers and storms returning on the weekend - probably moreso Sunday than Saturday," Mr Dutschke said.

"At the moment most of that weather looks like being to the north but there is some chance it will be seen in Perth as well." Several areas of the wheatbelt also received strong overnight falls.



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


25 October, 2011

Cult of Global Warming Is Losing Influence

Religious faith is a source of strength in many people's lives. But religious faith when taken too far can prove ludicrous -- or disastrous.

On Oct. 22, 1844, thousand of Millerites, having sold all their possessions, climbed to the top of hills in Upstate New York to await the return of Jesus and the end of the world. They suffered "the great disappointment" when it didn't happen.

In 1212, or so the legends go, thousands of Children's Crusaders set off from France and Germany expecting the sea to part so they could march peaceably and convert Muslims in the Holy Land. It didn't, and many were shipwrecked or sold into slavery.

In 1898, the cavalrymen of the Madhi, ruler of Sudan for 13 years, went into the Battle of Omdurman armed with swords, believing that they were impervious to bullets. They weren't, and they were mowed down by British Maxim guns.

A similar but more peaceable fate is befalling believers in what I think can be called the religion of the global warming alarmists.

They have an unshakeable faith that manmade carbon emissions will produce a hotter climate, causing multiple natural disasters. Their insistence that we can be absolutely certain this will come to pass is based not on science -- which is never fully settled, witness the recent experiments that may undermine Albert Einstein's theory of relativity -- but on something very much like religious faith.

All the trappings of religion are there. Original sin: Mankind is responsible for these prophesied disasters, especially those slobs who live on suburban cul-de-sacs and drive their SUVs to strip malls and tacky chain restaurants.

The need for atonement and repentance: We must impose a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system, which will increase the cost of everything and stunt economic growth.

Ritual, from the annual Earth Day to weekly recycling.

Indulgences, like those Martin Luther railed against: private jet-fliers like Al Gore and sitcom heiress Laurie David can buy carbon offsets to compensate for their carbon-emitting sins.

Corporate elitists, like General Electric's Jeff Immelt, profess to share this faith, just as cynical Venetian merchants and prim Victorian bankers gave lip service to the religious enthusiasms of their days. Bad for business not to. And if you're clever, you can figure out how to make money off it.

Believers in this religion have flocked to conferences in Rio de Janeiro, Kyoto and Copenhagen, just as Catholic bishops flocked to councils in Constance, Ferrara and Trent, to codify dogma and set new rules.

But like the Millerites, the global warming clergy has preached apocalyptic doom -- and is now facing an increasingly skeptical public. The idea that we can be so completely certain of climate change 70 to 90 years hence that we must inflict serious economic damage on ourselves in the meantime seems increasingly absurd.

If carbon emissions were the only thing affecting climate, the global-warming alarmists would be right. But it's obvious that climate is affected by many things, many not yet fully understood, and implausible that SUVs will affect it more than variations in the enormous energy produced by the sun.

Skepticism has been increased by the actions of believers. Passage of the House cap-and-trade bill in June 2009 focused politicians and voters on the costs of global-warming religion. And disclosure of the Climategate emails in November 2009 showed how the clerisy was willing to distort evidence and suppress dissenting views in the interest of propagation of the faith.

We have seen how the United Nations agency whose authority we are supposed to respect took an item from an environmental activist group predicting that the Himalayan glaciers would melt in 2350 and predicted that the melting would take place in 2035. No sensible society would stake its economic future on the word of folks capable of such an error.

In recent years, we have seen how negative to 2 percent growth hurts many, many people, as compared to what happens with 3 to 7 percent growth. So we're much less willing to adopt policies that will slow down growth not just for a few years but for the indefinite future.

Media, university and corporate elites still profess belief in global warming alarmism, but moves toward policies limiting carbon emissions have fizzled out, here and abroad. It looks like we'll dodge the fate of the Millerites, the children's crusaders and the Mahdi's cavalrymen.


The Energy Efficient New Liberal Order

Last week, the American Council of Energy Efficiency (ACEEE) released their 5th annual report on energy efficient states at the National Press Club in Washington, DC in another futile and laughable attempt to bolster the liberals’ “new energy economy” with hot air rather than actual, um…energy.

Or jobs.

Jobs seem to be not just optional, but unnecessary when it comes to the New Energy economy the New Liberal Order is creating for us all.

In the New Energy economy they probably want to “people” the jobs with energy efficient robots that will vote the straight union ticket and take a paycheck that goes to 100 percent to union dues.

That would be even easier for Obama to rule over than his expressed desire to rule over the Chinese.

The ACEEE report showed that for the first time Massachusetts knocked California off the top of the list as the most energy efficient state. Also making the top ten were New York, Oregon, Vermont, District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Connecticut and Maryland.

The states that ranked worst in energy efficiency were South Carolina, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming.

“Clearly, 2011 has not been kind to our economy, but energy efficiency remains a growth sector that attracts investment and creates jobs,” said Michael Sciortino, ACEEE senior policy analyst and the report’s lead author.

Investment maybe, thanks to an out of control federal government writing checks to any donor who promises to write a check back to the Democrat war chest.

But jobs? No.

Because when you look at the average unemployment numbers of the most efficient and least efficient states, the stats show that the more energy efficient states lag their lesser efficient brethren by 1.1 percentage points in unemployment.

The least efficient states enjoy average unemployment rate of 7.48 percent while the most energy efficient states have an average rate at 9 percent joblessness, right around the US average. That’s a 12 percent advantage in jobs for the big energy users; and more than just statistical noise.

“A sour U.S. economy, tight state budgets, and a failure by Congress to adopt a comprehensive energy strategy have not slowed the growing momentum among U.S. states toward increased energy efficiency,” said the accompanying press release by the ACEEE.

This shows the complete disconnect that Democrats have when it comes to creating an energy policy that actually, um…works.

And here’s more evidence:

“Illinois is a purposeful leader in the area of sustainability, investing more than $600 million in energy efficiency projects over the last four years alone,” Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Warren Ribley told the ACEEE with apparently a straight face.

Illinois, under Democrat Pat Quinn, ranks 17th in energy efficiency according to ACEEE presumably because the president subsidizes the state with much of his own hot air.

Illinois is tied at 17th with Michigan in the ACEEE rankings.

The folks in Peoria, however, have to be wondering how the state can be spending $600 million on energy efficient programs when facing an $8 billion budget deficit- $5.5 billion of which is just unpaid bills- despite raising corporate taxes by 45 percent this year with personal income taxes going up 66 percent.

Companies such as Motorola, Caterpillar, Jimmy Johns, US Cellular and even the Chicago Mercantile Exchange have threatened to leave Illinois over rising government costs. Remember: Illinois is a "purposeful leader." [Cough, hack].

Illinois ranks 41st in unemployment in the US, coming in at a 10 percent rate, while fellow energy efficient state Michigan ranks 48th at 11.1 percent joblessness.

But it’s not just the false New Energy Economy that’s a culprit here. Not one of the top ten most energy-efficient-greatest-in-the-world-states is a right-to-work state, while the seven of the 10 most energy-draining-scowl-faced states are right-to-work states.

It’s funny how efficient you can be when you let the free markets work. Free markets are operative in both energy and employment.


End Energy Subsidies, Jumpstart Tax Reform

It is time for our leaders in Congress – the ones lifted into power by a conservative wave – to take a bold, principled stand and put an end to energy subsidies. These subsidies distort private sector investment, waste taxpayer dollars, and allow the government to pick winners and losers. The subsidies exist not because they work, but because of the corrupt nexus between the Washington Establishment and the Bigs - Big Wall Street, Big Government, Big Labor and Big Business.

By one estimate, the direct cost of energy subsidies to taxpayers is $18.6 billion per year. Subsidies can take on various forms: direct payments, mandates, loan guarantees and tax gimmicks. Since comprehensive tax reform is a hot topic in Washington and around the country, let’s focus on the energy tax subsidies.

Here are just a few examples:

A $1.00 per gallon subsidy for biodiesel blenders for pure biodiesel, agri-biodiesel, or renewable diesel blended with petroleum diesel;

An additional $0.10 per gallon subsidy for small agri-biodiesel producers;

A $0.50 per gallon subsidy for various liquefied alternative fuels, which includes natural gas, petroleum gas, biomass and others;

A $0.50 per gallon subsidy for mixing various liquefied alternative fuels;

A $0.45 per gallon subsidy for ethanol blenders;

An additional $0.10 per gallon subsidy for small ethanol producers; and,

A $2,500 to $7,500 subsidy for purchase of qualified plug-in electric vehicles.

The list of subsidies goes on…and in the near future, Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) will introduce legislation to end these and many other energy tax subsidies.

Slowly but surely, good conservatives inside Washington are standing up and taking wasteful energy subsidies head on. Earlier this year, nearly thirty conservative organizations, including Heritage Action for America, sent a letter to Congress saying it was time to end energy subsidies.

Congressman Pompeo introduced a resolution declaring it was time to “end all subsidies aimed at specific energy technologies or fuels.” Congressmen Tom McClintock (R-CA), Raul Labrador (R-ID) and Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) joined the effort and many more voiced support.

Of course, the lobbyists, accountants, politicians and bureaucrats who comprise the Washington Establishment have a stake in maintaining the status quo, which they are able to manipulate to their advantage. For that reason, big, politically connected energy interests will fight tooth and nail to keep their handouts.

We know about Solyndra, but just look at John Bryson, President Obama’s new Secretary of Commerce. He is the founder of the radical environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council and was most recently the chairman of BrightSource Energy’s board. BrightSource is a California-based solar company that received a $1.37 billion loan guarantee from the stimulus.

It’s an anecdote that perfectly captures the problem with the Washington Establishment. By going after energy subsidies – even just the expiring tax subsidies – lawmakers could demonstrate a seriousness of purpose, a real determination to ending the status quo and bringing about a flatter and fairer tax code.

The Heritage Foundation explains the importance of an improved tax code. Tax cuts spur economic growth because they reduce “government's influence on economic decisions and allowing people to respond more to market mechanisms, thereby encouraging more productive behavior.”

History is our guide. President Reagan’s tax cuts ushered in seven years of uninterrupted economic growth that saw the creation of nearly 20 million jobs. In the six quarters before President Bush’s 2003 tax cuts, economic growth was a paltry 1.7 percent. In the six quarters after, the growth was 4.1 percent.

For job-creating tax reform to become a reality, lawmakers must be willing to take on the corrupt nexus between the Washington Establishment and the Bigs. Of course, the current political dynamic in Washington will not allow for the type of fundamental tax reform our country needs as President Barack Obama and his allies in the Senate are totally committed to a class warfare strategy that divides the country by taxing success.

But that does not mean our leaders in Congress should back away from the legislative fight. If lawmakers really want a flatter and fairer tax system, they have to be willing to take on special interest subsidies. By taking on energy subsidies, they can show American people they are principled and committed.

To be clear, enacting comprehensive tax reform jeopardizes the very existence of the Washington Establishment. We can jumpstart that process by ending energy subsidies.


"Clean" Energy's Dirty Secret: Cancer

Abound Solar is Colorado’s homegrown Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) solar panel manufacturer. With more than $400 million in taxpayer-funded loan guarantees and tax incentives, Abound employs roughly 350 people with plans for another 850 to 1000 employees in an Indiana facility sometime in 2012 or 2013.

GE’s entry into the Colorado market comes on the heels of its acquisition of Colorado-based PrimeStar Solar, culminating in plans to develop a $300 million project that promises those 355 jobs—at a cost of $28 million in municipal and state-based incentives.

What kind of solar panels will GE’s Colorado plant manufacture? Cadmium telluride, the same as Abound Solar, which the New York Times declared would put the loan guaranteed Abound—and by extension, taxpayers—“at risk.”

All of these solar panel producers have something in common; they need raw materials, specifically rare earth minerals, to manufacture their products. The U.S. currently does little mining or processing of rare earths.

When the Denver Post fawned over the taxpayer-subsidized GE solar manufacturing plant coming to Colorado, it concluded with the typical appeal to “energy independence.”

But solar energy does not equate to “energy independence” because it relies upon other countries, namely China, for the necessary supply of rare earths. Late last year, the Department of Energy (DOE) acknowledged the problem and published a report titled “Critical Materials Strategies” which focused on rare earths used in the production of various “clean” technologies.

‘Current global materials markets pose several challenges to the growing clean energy economy. Lead times with respect to new mining operations are long (from 2–10 years). Thus, the supply response to scarcity may be slow, limiting production of technologies that depend on such mining operations or causing sharp price increases. In addition, production of some materials is at present heavily concentrated in one or a small number of countries. (More than 95% of current production capacity for rare earth metals is currently in China.) Concentration of production in any supplier creates risks for global markets and creates geopolitical dynamics with the potential to affect other strategic interests of the United States.’

So the country that is challenging the U.S. economically and is the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt also controls the very materials needed to ensure our “energy independence.”

Rare earths are needed for more than just solar panels. They are used for wind turbines and hybrid car batteries. And if our “energy independence” comes from renewables such as solar, they will have to compete with iPods, cell phones, computers, batteries, and more.

The myth that green energy is “clean” energy

Manufacturing solar panels isn’t clean. Two of the three solar companies profiled earlier, GE and Abound, already produce or plan to make Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) thin film photovoltaics (PV). CdTe is a compound formed from Cadmium and Tellurium. While Tellurium is rare, Cadmium is a highly toxic human carcinogen. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the compound CdTe is also a carcinogen. Depending on the level of exposure, health effects range from kidney damage, fragile bones, lung damage, and death.

Because the U.S. doesn’t mine these much of these elements here, U.S. manufacturers look elsewhere. Sadly, individual tragedy in China’s “cancer villages” reveals the dirty secret of “clean energy.”

‘Yun Yaoshun's two granddaughters died at the ages of 12 and 18, succumbing to kidney and stomach cancer even though these types of cancers rarely affect children. The World Health Organization has suggested that the high rate of such digestive cancers are due to the ingestion of polluted water.

The river where the children played stretches from the bottom of the Daboshan mine…Its waters are contaminated by cadmium, lead, indium and zinc and other metals.’

Mining in China has turned towns and hamlets into “cancer villages.” Rivers run murky white to shades of orange. Fish and ducks are dead. And villagers bury friends and neighbors who die of cancer in their 30s and 40s reports Intellasia.

Another eye-opening news report on rare earth mining and processing from the Channel 4 in the United Kingdom claims, “it doesn’t look very green, rare earth processing in China is a messy, dangerous, polluting business. It uses toxic chemicals…workers have little or no protection.”

We still don’t know how large solar installations covering thousands of acres in the desert over long periods of time will affect the ecosystem.

To answer our earlier question, is the taxpayer “investment” in solar power worth the cost to achieve “energy independence” with “clean” power sources? It’s a trick question because solar is neither a domestic product nor a clean one.

The bottom line is that all energy sources come with some type of risk and to assume that solar panels are an economic and environmental panacea is wrong, despite what the Denver Post and other New Energy Economy cheerleaders would like us to believe.

If we are going to continue on the path of alternative energy, we should do so with out eyes wide open.


Going Green with Shady Deals

Madness in Rhode Island

We all know about Solyndra. We are learning about Fisker, the start-up electric car company, which received a $529 million loan from the Department of Energy. Touted by Vice President Biden as “a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs,” the cars are being manufactured in Finland. These are big stories being covered by the major media outlets. And these are only two such stories out there.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about two smaller stories from little states where shenanigans, at the least, and possible outright corruption, at the worst, were engaged in attempting to push through supposed green-energy projects. While researching those, another shady story surfaced: Rhode Island’s Block Island Wind Farm Project.

Back in 2004, in a different political and economic world, the RI General Assembly passed a Renewable Energy Standard that states: “fossil fuel prices are extremely variable and created economic hardships for employers and families, and increased use of renewable energy can both lower and stabilize energy cost.” The ratepayers of RI were sold a bill of goods that renewable energy can lower energy costs.

Republican Governor Donald Carcieri wanted to make RI the first state in the country with an offshore wind farm. In 2008, he pushed the Block Island Wind Farm project. It may give him a longed-for legacy—but it will not “lower energy costs.” The RI Public Utility Commission rejected the project as “commercially not reasonable.”

Undaunted, Carcieri and the General Assembly, in a late-night session, rushed to change the law, mandating that the PUC reconsider its rejection—a decision that would ultimately guarantee the project’s approval.

Within the plan, hatched by then-Governor Carcieri’s administration, is a guaranteed 3.5% price escalation for Deepwater Wind Inc., the New Jersey-based company developing the project—pricing starts at 24.4 cents/kwh, which will become 47 cents/kwh in 20 years. However, earlier this year, because of a drop in natural gas prices—the source fuel for most of RI’s electricity generation—the RI PUC approved a rate decrease from 9.4 cents/kwh to 6.9. Wind power rates nearly quadruple current prices logically should have sunk the Block Island project.

Nevertheless, it has continued forward.

The project’s viability was based on a politically motivated Power Purchase Agreement. After the PUC did ultimately approve the PPA, three groups appealed the decision to the Supreme Court: two businesses based on economic damage and irrational decision making, a conservation group who’d initially supported the project but became concerned about inappropriate process and backroom dealing, and the Attorney General who believed the project was bad for consumers.

The 2010 election brought about changes.

The new AG, Peter Kilmartin, was in the legislature at the time of the dead-of-night rule change that allowed the Deepwater Wind project to go forward. He’d voted for it. No surprise, as the new AG, he dismissed the former AG’s appeal.

Former Carcieri chief of staff Jeffrey Grybowski is now chief administrative officer for Deepwater Wind.

The Supreme Court heard the remaining two appeals despite a conflict of interest. Judge Maureen McKenna Goldberg’s husband, Robert, had received $100k as a lobbyist for Deepwater Wind. Not surprisingly, the Supreme Court upheld the approval of the PPA.

But more rule changes are in order. Within the PPA was an automatic termination clause if regulatory approval was not received by June 30, 2011—one year from signing. On July 1, 2011 the Supreme Court upheld the PUC’s approval. Logic would dictate that the contract is terminated. On September 29, Deepwater Wind filed a petition with the PUC to waive the termination clause. On October 15, Toray Plastics responded and filed an objection to the waiver.

Why would the former governor, the state legislature, and the Supreme Court go to such extreme measures to raise energy rates for the state of RI? Why would the EPA Administrator continue to issue one cost-increasing regulation after another? Why does the Energy Secretary want America’s gasoline prices on par with the European model? Why does President Obama believe that electricity prices will necessarily skyrocket?

As was illustrated a couple of weeks ago in the article about Toray Plastics, cost-effective energy is an important part of manufacturing and jobs in America. Energy is more than a jobs plan. Energy is about more than anti-terrorism. Energy is an integral part of the economy. Energy makes America great.

So why is there a campaign to block or restrict it? How will raising the price help business or the tapped-out household?

As we head into the 2012 election cycle, energy needs to be front and center. It needs to be a part of the presidential debates and a part of kitchen-table discussions.


“Peak Oil” takes a deadly blow

Although he is a Leftist, HotCock gets some things right. He has an interesting point below

I’ve never believed in “peak oil.” (The notion held with religious conviction by many on the left here, that world production is topping out — and will soon slide, plunging the world into economic chaos.) There’s plenty of oil, with the constraints, as always, being the cost of recovery. Witness the vast new North Dakota oil shale fields. I regard oil “shortages” as contrivances by the oil companies, allied brokers and middlemen to run up the price. I fill my aging fleet of 50s and 60s era Chryslers with a light heart. The 59 Imperial ragtop and the 62 Belevedere wagon get around 18 mpg, which is still way ahead of the SUVs.

Contrary to the lurid predictions of declining U.S. oil production, disastrous dependence on foreign oil and the need for new offshore drilling, not to mention the gloom-sodden predictions of the “peak oil” crowd, the big crisis for the U.S. oil companies can be summed up in a single word that drives an oil executive to panic like a lightning bolt striking a herd of snoozing Longhorns: glut.

Let me wheel on a very useful report, “Exporting Energy Security: Keystone XL Exposed,” issued by Oil Change International, a “clean energy” advocate. The explosive sentences (underpinned by the latest figures from the government’s Energy Information Administration) come on Pages 3 and 4: “For the last two years, and for the foreseeable future demand (for oil in the United States) is in decline, while domestic supply is rising … Gasoline demand is declining due to increasing vehicle efficiency and slow economic growth;” meanwhile, “as a result of stagnant demand and the rise in both domestic (notably North Dakota) and Canadian oil production, there is a glut of oil in the U.S. market. Refiners have therefore identified the export market as their primary hope for growth and maximum profits.”

By the way, I’m by no means endorsing the rest of Oil Change International’s piously trendy “clean energy” platform. But I am full of admiration for whoever put this report together; in two pages they’ve brought out enough useful facts on the domestic oil situation to devastate a decade’s worth of Stakhanovite propagandizing by Time, Newsweek, The Economist, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the TV networks, the environmental mega-foundations and, of course, the entire spectrum of establishment think tanks from loony liberal to crazed conservative.

The current focus of debate on whether America is oil-rich or oil starved is the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline extension — a $7 billion project to bring heavy, “sour” crude oil extracted from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, down through Montana and the Plains states to refineries on the Gulf Coast, notably in Port Arthur, Texas. There were fierce protests outside the White House last month, led by Bill McKibben, about the proposed pipeline, which is prospectively guilty of many sins, led by its putative enhancement of the theory known as anthropogenic global warming. The protesters have now furled their banners and headed home, or maybe they’re “occupying Wall Street,” this month’s whack at capitalism and greed.

Now the Obama administration will decide whether to issue a presidential permit for the object of last month’s protests. There’s a ninety-day review period. If federal agencies aren’t unanimous, then the final say-so is up to Obama. It’s a political hot potato and a “yes” from Obama will cost him a bit among the greens, but where are they going to go?

It’s a sound bet that Obama will issue approval. Would the ductile president risk a thrashing from Republicans for putting birds ahead of jobs? Undoubtedly, the prime rationale put forward by the president will be security of supply and energy “independence,” meaning in this instance supply from the fine, upstanding Calgary-based, Trans-Canada Corp., as opposed to “not secure and reliable sources of crude oil, including the Middle East, Africa, Mexico and South America.”

We saw this bait-and-switch game a generation ago amid the battles over oil in Alaska, where the North Slope drilling and pipeline were approved by Congress only because the oil was intended to buttress America’s energy independence. Congress required the oil companies operating on the North Slope to refine the crude in the United States, with no exports permitted.

In fact, the oil companies had as their long-term strategy the aim of exporting Alaska’s crude to Asia, thus ensuring that home heating fuel prices in the Midwest in winter would stay high.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton, extended Lincoln bedroom sleeping privileges and a Rose Garden birthday party to Arco’s former CEO Lodwrick Cook. In exchange for campaign cash, Clinton signed an executive order OK’ing foreign sales of Alaskan crude.

This time, there will be no 25-year pause. From day one of the Keystone XL scheme, the oil companies’ plan has been to take the heavy crude from Alberta, refine it in Texas and then ship it out in the form of “middle distillates” — diesel, jet fuel, heating oil — primarily to Europe and Latin America.

Enter San Antonio based Valero Energy, the largest exporter of refined oil products in the United States and a big-time retailer of gasoline in this country through its Valero, Diamond Shamrock and Beacon stations. As Oil Change International’s report emphasizes, the Keystone XL pipeline would “probably not have gotten off the drawing board” if it hadn’t been for Valero. The company has the biggest commitment to the pipeline, guaranteeing a TransCanada Corp. purchase of at least 100,000 barrels a day, 20 percent of Keystone XL’s capacity, until 2030.

Valero’s CEO and chairman, Bill Klesse, doesn’t keep his firm’s business plan a secret. The big overseas market is diesel because Europeans, Latin Americans and others like the more fuel-efficient diesel engine. Valero’s Port Arthur refinery can process cheap heavy crude from Canadian tar sands into high-value, ultra-low sulfur diesel. Better still, since the refinery operates as a “foreign trade zone,” it won’t pay tax and custom duties on exports or on any gasoline imports from its Welsh refinery.

In fact, there’s no national need for the Keystone XL extension. It spares TransCanada the task of trying to send the tar sands oil to Canadian terminals through fractious First Nations north of the border. It feeds big oil’s bottom line. It’s an environmental nightmare — mainly because of the certainty of corporate penny-pinching in maintenance and the equally appalling (and deliberate) lack of government safety enforcement.

Money talks, of course. Obama received $884,000 from the oil and gas industry during the 2008 campaign, more than any other lawmaker except John McCain. Valero throws money around. Across 2008, 2010 and thus far in the 2012 campaign, it ranks in the top six contributors from the oil and gas industry — favoring Republicans by 80 percent or more. Between 1998 and 2010, Valero gave $147,895 to Rick Perry, outstripped only by Exxon. Surely, one way or the other, Bill Klesse can hope for a night in the Lincoln bedroom.



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24 October, 2011

Interesting election result in Switzerland

Greens lose ground but Green Liberals gain

Compared with the elections of four years ago, the Greens sustained a setback, taking 7.9 percent of the vote, a drop of 1.7 percent and seven seats in the lower house while the centrist Green Liberal Party, picked up 9 seats, in part riding a wave of anti-nuclear sentiment following the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima plant in March. The Green Liberal Party campaigned for renewable energy while also promoting entrepreneurship.

So the Swiss appear to be unique in having a Green party that is NOT anti-business and anti-modernity. One can only hope that similar dilution of extreme environmentalism occurs elsewhere

More details here and here

More maybes

And maybe pigs might fly. Or as the old Middle English proverb has it: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans, there's be no room for tinkers". Who do they think this repetetive outpouring of vague speculation is going to impress? I think the reason behind it has to be that of Dr. Goebbels: "Tell a big enough lie often enough and people will believe it". It's not working very well this time however

Global temperature rise could exceed "safe" levels of two degrees Celsius in some parts of the world in many of our lifetimes if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, two research papers published in the journal Nature warned.

"Certain levels of climate change are very likely within the lifetimes of many people living now ... unless emissions of greenhouse gases are substantially reduced in the coming decades," said a study on Sunday by academics at the English universities of Reading and Oxford, the UK's Met Office Hadley Centre and the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

"Large parts of Eurasia, North Africa and Canada could potentially experience individual five-year average temperatures that exceed the 2 degree Celsius threshold by 2030 -- a timescale that is not so distant," the paper said.

Two years ago, industrialized nations set a 2 degree Celsius warming as the maximum limit to avoid dangerous climate changes including more floods, droughts and rising seas, while some experts said a 1.5 degree limit would be safer.

It is widely agreed among scientists that global pledges so far for curbing greenhouse gas emissions are not strong enough to prevent "dangerous" climate change.

Next month, nations will meet for the next U.N. climate summit in Durban, South Africa, where a binding pact to reduce emissions looks unlikely to be delivered.

Instead, a global deal might not emerge until 2014 or 2015.

The study found that most of the world's land surface is very likely to experience five-year average temperatures that exceed 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2060.

If emissions are substantially lowered, the two degree threshold might be delayed by up to several decades, it added.

However, even if global temperature rises are kept under two degrees by aggressive emissions cuts, some regions will still not avoid warming and the likelihood of extreme events such as heatwaves is still high in even a marginally warmer world.


UHI: Steven Goddard reports

Downtown Washington DC is 8-12 degrees (F) warmer this morning than surrounding rural areas. I’ve been out riding along the Little Patuxent River since 6:15 AM, and it is very chilly.

Temperatures in degrees Celsius as downloaded from Weather Undergound on 23 October, 2011. Note that the 12 degrees shown for Washington DC is much higher than that for all surroundung areas, and some areas are much cooler

Note also that the figures above are in whole degrees. Warmist statistics are tabulated in tenths of a degree so the gap between the reality above and what Warmists assert is huge

Leading expert Muller tells us that these large UHI effects do not affect the accuracy of the claimed 0.63C rise in temperatures over the last 150 years.

Experts also tell us that nighttime temperatures have risen, and the cause is CO2.


Another old-time revival preacher prophesying Armageddon

He says people are not coming to his rallies and criticizing him so much any more. He doesn't consider that people now know that all he has to offer are prophecies and they have seen too often that prophecies don't come true. As usual he cherry-picks weather events and finds portents of doom in them. Jehovah's Witnesses do the same. Also like Jehovah's Witnesses he relies on appeals to authority -- not the Bible in his case but campaigners like Jim Hansen

The one thing missing in his diatribe is science. That would require him to compare the present with the past or one part of the globe with another. No mention that droughts in Texas are accompanied by floods in Australia, for instance. If you are sincerely interested in GLOBAL phenomena you have to look at the global picture. South Florida is not the world, news though that may be to some

The rising sea will wash across great swaths of South Florida. Salt water will contaminate the well fields. Roads and farmland and low-lying neighborhoods will be inundated. The soil will no longer absorb the kind of heavy rainfalls that drenched South Florida last weekend. Septic tanks will fail. Drainage canals won’t drain. Sewers will back up. Intense storms will pummel the beachfront. Mighty rainfalls, in between droughts, will bring more floods.

The economic losses and the mitigation costs associated with the effects of global warming over the next few decades will be overwhelming. It will cost a medium-sized town like Pompano Beach hundreds of millions just to salvage its water and sewage systems.

A sobering study released by Florida Atlantic University contemplated the effects of global warming in specific terms, particularly for South Florida, considered one of the more vulnerable metropolitan areas in the world, with six million residents clustered by the ocean, living barely above sea level.

The study from FAU’s Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions, adding to an overwhelming scientific consensus about the disastrous effects of global warming, and along with growing hard evidence that temperature changes are already altering the environment, ought to have sent tremors through the halls of government.

Except it didn’t. Perhaps the most peculiar phenomenon associated with global warming has been a burgeoning disdain for climate science even as scientific consensus grows more urgent. Forget the stickier question of whether global warming has been fueled by human activity (as an overwhelming percentage of climate scientists believe), a poll by the Pew last year found that only 59 percent of Americans will even acknowledge the earth is warming, compared to 79 percent just five years ago.

This peculiarly American phenomenon comes despite a decade of record high temperatures. And despite findings of a sustained global temperature increase from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Hadley Centre in England, and, just last week, the University of California’s Berkeley Earth project, which compiled more than a billion temperature records dating back to the 1800s from 15 sources around the world.

If a billion temperature readings and a record-breaking drought this summer in Texas and Oklahoma weren’t convincing enough, global warming should be as plain as the Google Earth satellite photos of polar icecaps.

“It is really quite an unbelievable time,” said Harold Wanless, chairman of the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami. Wanless, who contributed to the FAU study, described the “dramatically accelerating melt from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.” He said, “We have forced the greenhouse gasses to levels that have not been reached since sea level was about 100 feet higher than present.”

And yet, Wanless lamented, “The population and many politicians seem to be grabbing at whatever denial statements are tossed out. Seems a bit like smoker and alcohol addiction.”

Somehow, lamented FAU’s Ricardo Alvarez, an expert on structural vulnerabilities and hazard mitigation, denial of global warming has been absorbed into an ever more contentious competition between political convictions in the U.S. “It’s no a matter of belief. It’s not religion,” he said.

Climate is not politics. Not abortion. Not gun rights. Yet another Pew poll this spring found 75 percent of far right conservatives, 63 percent of libertarians and 55 percent of self-described “Main Street” Republicans did not “believe” in global warming. The denial doctrine seems to have been embraced by the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, with the exception of Jon Huntsman, as a rite of passage.

Barry N. Heimlich, lead researcher on the FAU study, suggested Friday that the media has contributed to the gulf between science and the public. “By giving equal credence to positions that are not well supported by science, the media presents a confusing and distorted picture to the public,” he said. “I believe that the media has a responsibility to present all sides of a story, but it also has an obligation to emphasize the truth and provide people with the proper balance of information so they can make intelligent, informed choices based on information that is reliable, supported by facts and not manipulated by special interests.”

Yet Heimlich is something of an optimist. In a state dominated by right-wing politics, with a climate denier in the governor’s office, he said, South Florida has remained a relative island of climate enlightenment. Heimlich talked about the green initiatives by both the Broward and Miami-Dade county commissions and by city governments. He spoke of the sense of urgency among the 40 South Florida water managers he interviewed for the study.

Heimlich insisted that in the hundreds of talks he has given across the region, from schools to political groups to civic organizations, deniers are a diminishing presence. It could be that the utter specifics that Heimlich and his researchers have accumulated simply scare the skeptics into silence. Daunting facts just tumbled out of his mouth: add another six inches to the sea level, he said, and 15 of Miami-Dade’s 28 flood-gate structures lose their ability to drain the region. Those six inches are an imminent inevitablity.


A UN agency exhumes the old Ehrlich population scare

That birthrates in just about all developed countries are sub-replacement does not matter apparently. It is undoubtedly true that members of many African populations will starve in the future but they have been doing that for many years and all the best efforts in the world have so far been unable to stop them doing that. A major fallacy below is to regard the world's population as one undifferentiated whole. You can't get much more divirced from reality than that

But not to worry, we all disappeared in a cloud of steam in 1992 anyway:

H/t Steve Goddard

The United Nations will warn this week that the world's population could more than double to 15 billion by the end of this century, putting a catastrophic strain on the planet's resources unless urgent action is taken to curb growth rates, the Observer can reveal.

That figure is likely to shock many experts as it is far higher than many current estimates. A previous UN estimate had expected the world to have more than 10 billion people by 2100; currently, there are nearly 7 billion.

The new figure is contained in a landmark study by the United Nations Population Fund (Unfpa) that will be released this week. The report –The State of World Population 2011 – is being compiled to mark the expected moment this month when somewhere on Earth a person will be born who will take the current world population over the 7 billion mark, and will be released simultaneously in cities across the globe.

Some experts reacted with shock to the figure. Roger Martin, chairman of Population Matters, which campaigns on population control, said that the Earth was entering a dangerous new phase. "Our planet is approaching a perfect storm of population growth, climate change and peak oil," he said. "The planet is not actually sustaining 7 billion people."

The Earth has now doubled in population since the 1960s, boosted by high birthrates in Africa, Asia and Latin America as the spread of medicine and better healthcare has seen the mortality rate for young children decline. This has easily offset the general decline in the birthrate of advanced countries. It has also been boosted by an increase in lifespans of people across the world.

Some experts reacted with scepticism that the population would really hit the upper end of the predicted spectrum of growth and reach 15 billion so quickly. Professor Jack Goldstone of George Mason University, author of The Population Bomb, said that he thought world leaders would act to ensure the Earth's population would start to plateau below that higher level. "The means and the desire to reduce the number of children people have is spreading around the world," he said, adding that he thought a level of 10-12 billion would be more likely by 2100.

Many policy experts believe that governments and NGOs have the tools to limit and control the world's population. The key effort, many say, is simply making sure that effective family planning spreads throughout the developing world. "What's really critical is the political commitment of governments. Family planning is not actually that expensive," said John Bongaarts, vice-president of the New York-based Population Council.

However, campaigners on family planning issues often come across cultural and religious factors that make educating women and reducing the size of families difficult.

Some governments make a point of trying to increase their populations, while many religious groups preach against the use of contraceptives.

The Population Research Institute, a Virginia-based group linked to anti-abortion organisations in America, last week welcomed the news that the world's population was set to hit 7 billion this month. "Humanity's long-term problem is not going to be too many children, but too few," said the institute's president, Steven Mosher.


Greenpeace leader booted out by Indonesia

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, was denied entry to Indonesia because he would “threaten the stability of the country,” the immigration office has said.

“There was the possibility that [Sauven] would bring instability and disorder here,” immigration spokesman Herawan Sukoaji said on Friday.

When pressed for further details he declined to comment, saying that it was a “state secret.”

He also declined to comment on whether, as has been suggested, the private sector had anything to do with the ban. The state, he said, had the right to prevent entry to any non-Indonesian.

Sauven was turned back by immigration officials at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Thursday afternoon.

Sauven said in a written statement to the Jakarta Globe that in his more than 20 years working for Greenpeace, it was the first time he had been refused entry to a country.

“I had the correct visa, issued from the Indonesian Embassy in London, but apparently that doesn’t count for very much when fighting against companies who have powerful connections in Government. At immigration I was informed I am on a “red list,” banned from the country. No official explanation was provided,” he said.

He said that during his visit, he had planned to meet with several government officials, the British ambassador, one of Indonesia’s largest palm oil producers and visit an area deforested by a pulp and paper company in Sumatra.

Sauven denied that he had previously been refused entry to the country to attend a conference on deforestation where President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pledged to prioritize rainforest protection for the rest of his presidency.

Sauven said: “What sort of message does it send to the world about Indonesia when representatives from an environmental group working peacefully in support of the President’s stated commitments to stop deforestation are banned from the country, whilst the companies undermining those commitments in Indonesia continue business as usual?”



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


23 October, 2011

What a laugh! Warmist temperature predictions accurate????

Figure 1. Temperature predictions vs. observations as portrayed by Dana1981

Warmists clearly rely on their followers being scientifically totally illiterate. The above diagram purports to show that Warmist computer projections have been matched by actual measured temperatures. But the graph clearly shows a total failure of their projections over the last 10 years. The red line (actual temperature) clearly does not rise at all overall. It just oscillates. Yet all the predictions are of rising temperature! The Warmists did NOT predict the stasis of the last 10 years. Their own data makes a mockery of them.

There's a lot more wrong with this strange graph. Don Easterbrook has a few words on it below and his full demolition of it is here

Note also: If their models did accurately predict the half a degree or so warming over the last 100 years, why are these same people warning of five degrees warming in the next 100 years? Either the models are accurate and warming is not a problem, or the models are wrong and warming is not a problem -- JR

The October 18, 2011 post on Skeptical Science entitled “How Global Temperatures Predictions Compare to What Happened (Skeptics Off Target)” by ‘Dana 1981’ claimed that “the IPCC projections have thus far been the most accurate” and “mainstream climate science predictions ….. have mostly done well …….. and the “skeptics” have generally done rather poorly.” ““several skeptics basically failed, while leading scientists such as Dr. James Hansen (a regular climate activist, as well as the top climatologist at NASA) and those at the IPCC did pretty darn well.” Figure 1 shows a graphical comparison of predictions vs. observations as portrayed by Dana1981.

However, the graph and these statements seemed to fly in the face of data, which show just the opposite—that computer models have failed badly in predicting temperatures over the past decade. So how could anyone make these claims? Figure 2 shows the IPCC temperature predictions from 2000 to 2011, taken from the IPCC website in 2000. Note that their projection is for warming of 0.6ºC (1.1ºF) between 2003 and now.


Another "skeptics are nuts" claim

Or as they put it a little more delicately: Skeptics are "imperfectly rational"

The Warmists need to believe that skepticism is due to a mental defect now that their scares have largely failed. Psychologists call such needs "motivated cognition" -- so it is the Warmists who are nuts if anybody.

The Warmists talk of "providing information" but that's the last thing they do. Since when did you hear a Warmist proclaim publicly that temperatures have risen by less than one degree in the last 100 years?

All the Warmists provide is prophecies and prophecies have a well-deserved record of failure. It is perfectly rational to be highly skeptical about prophecies

People know about climate change. For years now, media stories and scientific reports have poured down on the public, telling them that climate change is real, dangerous and happening now. But for some reason the public has not risen up, en masse, and demanded policy solutions, stopped driving cars and started planting trees. Heck, many can't bring themselves to believe it is real. Others believe it, but go on with their lives without confronting it, paralyzed by the enormity of the problem.

Okay, so just providing information is clearly not enough. In Miami today, at the annual meeting of the Society for Environmental Journalists, a panel of three social scientists tackled the question of how to get people to change behavior. Never mind whether they care or not. How can the culture be tweaked? How can policies be set to influence human behaviors to emit less greenhouse gas?

One - perhaps controversial - recommendation they all echoed was to avoid the phrase 'climate change,' which they say has become too politicized. Kenneth Broad, the director of the Leonard and Jane Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy at the University of Miami suggested 'environmental change.' Shahzeen Attari, who studies human behavior and energy use at Indiana University likes "climate disruption."

Michel Handgraaf, a psychologist who works among economists at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, emphasized that rewards for behavior have to be immediate to really work. People are less likely to buy an energy efficient fridge if it costs more money now, even if it will save them twice as much in energy bills over the long run. So incentive programs should figure out how to deliver those savings right away. Handgraaf says that we are simply not evolved to be long term thinkers. "We are meant to deal with predators jumping out of the bush, or for maybe a year ahead--we should store food for the winter," he says.

Another approach is to emphasize the social benefits of action. In one study, people claimed that their energy efficient behavior was motivated by saving money. But those same subjects were willing to go the farthest if they were told that their neighbors were also taking aggressive action. "We think we are economic animals, but really we are social animals," says Handgraaf.

Journalists and environmentalists in the audience raised the point that the kind of individual consumer behaviors the panel were focusing on were all well and good, but that bigger forces matter more in the end, from city planning to the decisions made by power companies to international agreements on carbon limits or taxes.

Attari agreed that individual behavior can only go so far when it is "embedded in unsustainable structures." But of course power company executives, politicians and car manufacturers are individuals too, people with the same kinds of imperfectly rational evolved brains. If we can "psych out" the man on the street and get him biking to work, we should be able to influence the major decisions that shape our global energy economy. Perhaps environmental organizations should start recruiting in psychology departments and in the intelligence community.


Both warming and cooling cause African drought??

Romm blames African droughts on global warming.
By Joe Romm on Oct 19, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Somalia’s “mis-government” has turned a brutal drought into a horrific famine. But “if it weren’t in drought, it wouldn’t be in famine,” as Dr. Chris Funk, one of the world’s foremost authorities on East African drought explained to me in an exclusive interview today.

And Funk’s work provides strong evidence that global warming has exacerbated the drought.

In 1974, African drought was blamed on global cooling.
Another Ice Age?
Monday, June 24, 1974

In Africa, drought continues for the sixth consecutive year, adding terribly to the toll of famine victims.

Not to mention Pakistani flooding, record tornadoes …..

During 1972 record rains in parts of the U.S., Pakistan and Japan caused some of the worst flooding in centuries.

Scientists have found other indications of global cooling.

drought-ridden areas stretching all the way from Central America to the Middle East and India, the polar winds have in effect caused the Sahara and other deserts to reach farther to the south.

Cold air is pulled down across the Western U.S. and warm air is swept up to the Northeast. The collision of air masses of widely differing temperatures and humidity can create violent storms—the Midwest’s recent rash of disastrous tornadoes, for example.

The 1974 arguments make sense. Romm’s arguments are – as always -- completely inane.


New Tree Ring Study Shows Little Ice Age And Medieval Warm Period Were Global

A new paper here on the Jorge Montt Glacier at the Chilean Patagonia is out in Climate of the Past journal. What’s interesting is that this glacier is located in Chile – in South America, far away from the North Atlantic region.

A team of scientists studied tree rings from old trees recently exposed by the retreating Patagonian glaciers. Samples of these trees were dated using radiocarbon methods, yielding burial ages between 460 and 250 years ago.

Well guess what! The study confirms that the Little Ice Age existed in Chile too. Now remember how the high-sticking hockey team kept trying to have us believe that the Medieval Warm Period-Little Ice Age thing was a local phenomena, and not global? That claim is looking more and more like a real joke with every passing study.

The person who brought my attention to this paper is an expert geologist, and wishes to remain anonymous. He wrote me in an e-mail: "Amazing how globally widespread the ‘local North Atlantic’ Little Ice Age was in fact.” And he quoted the paper’s abstract:

"The dendrochronology and maps indicate that Glaciar Jorge Montt was at its present position before the beginning of the LIA, in concert with several other glaciers in Southern Patagonia, and reached its maximum advance position between 1650 and 1750 AD.”

No misprint there. It’s correct. Before the LIA the Chilean glaciers were at the same spot as the present position. Send a copy of that paper to Michael Mann and the rest of the climate clowns.


California votes to place yet more burdens on its businesses

Hello more unemployment!

California approved one of the broadest and most controversial components of its landmark climate change law, pushing the state toward a low-carbon economy that relies less on imported foreign oil. The California Air Resources Board on Thursday voted to adopt final rules that will regulate carbon emissions across a broad cross section of the state's economy, including oil and gas producers, utilities and transportation companies, farmers and the building industry. "We will look back at this as an important date in California's transition to a clean energy economy," said Mary Nichols, the air board's chairwoman.

Dubbed the economic equivalent of "a moonshot" by its backers and a "job killer" by detractors, the "cap and trade" system adopted Thursday sets limits on the amount of carbon dioxide that can be produced by 350 of the state's largest industrial polluters starting in January 2013. The state will issue a set number of "carbon allowances." Companies that pollute less than their limit can sell their unused allowances to companies that pollute heavily, creating market incentives to reduce emissions.

The program will create the nation's largest market for trading pollution allowances. Congress in 2009 rejected legislation that would have created a federal cap and trade system. In California, 90 percent of the allowances will be given out free, but 10 percent will be sold on the open market, which some say could raise $500 million a year for the state's climate-change programs.

Proponents say cap and trade will not only reduce greenhouse gases but will spur innovation in the clean-technology sector. Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, said the vote is a historic event and shows that California can move in a big way toward cutting carbon pollution. As the world's eighth largest economy, much of California's future growth will emerge from development of clean technologies, he said.

In a joint statement emailed to the media, the American Lung Association in California, the Union of Concerned Scientists and other top public health and environment groups lauded the air board's vote, saying the new regulations will lower health care costs caused by breathing polluted air. "We believe this program represents a major milestone that will set California on a course to fundamentally shift the way we use energy and resources," the groups said.

Businesses counter that the measure will increase electricity and gasoline prices and could prompt manufacturers and other large employers to move to states where business costs are lower. In a letter to the air board, the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and several other business organizations said that with the statewide unemployment rate at 12.1 percent, many businesses cannot bear the added costs. "In view of the fragile state of California's economy, this is the worst possible time to impose yet another energy tax on struggling businesses and consumers," the letter said.

That sentiment was shared by Mike O'Kelly, who owns Morning Glory Dairy in Susanville. O'Kelly said he's worried that the cap and trade program will inflate the cost of his electricity and fuel. "It's really crazy to think you can throw a tax on PG&E and think PG&E will go, 'Oh, I'll pay it and not pass it on to you and me,' " he said. "The consumers of that energy … will all have to pay the difference."

Lisa Bowman, an employee for ConocoPhillips, said she's worried the new regulations could force her employer to relocate or shut down its Southern California refinery. "There's not a lot of jobs out there," she said. "If this refinery disappears, where am I going to retire to?"


Australia: Backlash brews for plans for a massive expansion of wind farms in Queensland

THE war between farmers and energy companies has moved into a new phase with the emergence of plans for a massive expansion of wind farms in Queensland.

Some farmers in the South Burnett have already walked away from lucrative payouts from wind farm companies of $140,000 a year because of feared impacts on their health and their business.

While the struggle against coal seam gas, coal mines and underground coal gasification rages in other parts of the state, companies like AGL and Ratch (formerly Transfield) are pushing investment of about $3 billion in wind farm technology and getting support from farmers.

The Energy Users Association this week released a report showing Australia will need to spend about $30 billion on wind farms by 2020 to meet with the Government's renewable energy targets.

But there is also a backlash based on apparent impacts on the health of those living near similar facilities in South Australia and Victoria, as well as north Queensland.

Colin Walkden lives about 400m from the Windy Hill wind turbine, near Ravenshoe, in north Queensland, and is on medication for depression because of sleep loss allegedly caused by the constant noise from turbines.

"It's like no other noise you have ever heard," he said describing it as a strong whooshing sound that persists with a westerly wind. "That's about 90 per cent of the year."

South Australian farmer Andy Thomas lives near six turbines at Mt Bryan. In an affidavit in a case against the wind farm, Mr Thomas said the turbine noise was like a jet passing overhead.

"From my home, I can hear five or more turbines at the same time, so it is like having five or more jets overhead at once. At its worst it is like living next to a ball mill of the type used at mines to crush ore," he said.

AGL is now planning a $1 billion, 115 tower wind farm at Coopers Gap, in the South Burnett, while a second project at Kumbia at the base of the Bunya Mountains for about 50 towers has been stalled by farmer opposition. There is also a $1.5 billion plan for 300 turbines outside Mt Isa and other smaller proposals across the state.

Coopers Gap horse breeder Brian Lyons has rejected advances from AGL, despite a potentially big payout of $12,000 a year for each of the 20 turbines planned on his property.

"It's quite a good business for some of (the farmers), but I'm only going to live once," he said.

Despite his rejecting the approach, his neighbours are backing the scheme and it is possible Mr Lyons will still have turbines on his boundary only a short distance from his house.

He said there were at least four wind farm proposals in southern Queensland, with his own community faced with a large new industry that initially they knew very little about.

While the industry maintains the wind farms generate only a small amount of noise, several residents complain it is as loud as a jet engine and that the noise is directional, meaning some residents may not hear it while others will.

"I don't think a company with noise problems at its last operating wind farm should be treated any different to any other industry in Queensland," Mr Lyons said.

Local councillor Cheryl Dalton said low-frequency vibration was also an issue. "I don't understand why consideration hasn't been given to buying all the affected properties," she said.

As yet, there is no planning application before the South Burnett Council and there is confusion over whether it or the State Government will be the one who assesses the development.

Kumbia cattle farmer Paul Newman rallied local residents to a community meeting which overwhelmingly rejected a plan by Next Wind for a 53-turbine farm nearby. His compensation offer was worth about $140,000 a year, but he considered the project just as intrusive to his neighbours and the local community as that of a mine or an industrial development.

"Money is not the solution to everything," he said. He said that to live in a rural community you had to consider your neighbours and how a future project might hurt them.



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


22 October, 2011

The BBC's Richard Black can't see the wood for the trees

He has been doing his best to score points out of the preliminary findings of the Berkeley climate project but is having trouble. The Berkeley people have noted that changes in the Gulf Stream could be responsible for many of the temperature changes observed so he checks with an expert on the Gulf Stream and finds that he too says that changes in the Gulf Stream account for huge tracts of the temperature record. Pesky!

His expert tells him, rather predictably, that human induced CO2 steps in and does the warming when the Gulf stream is not doing much but how plausible is that? What is the switch that suddenly turns on human influences when the Gulf Stream takes a nap?

Black then attacks Anthony Watts and his well-known project of investigating the integrity of U.S. temperature measurements. Black has a bit of a crow -- as the Berkeley temperature graph is similar to the existing big three. The Berkeley people however come to their conclusions by relying on "good" temperature measuring stations. But that is an intrinsically difficult enterprise -- since Watts has found fault with about two thirds of all U.S. stations -- and the U.S. measurements are "good" compared to most of the rest of the world. So it seems possible that the Berkeley people come to the same conclusion only because they use the same crappy data.

Black then asserts quite wrongly that most skeptics have always denied that warming is going on. To the contrary, Warmists have repeatedly pointed out that the recorded warming over the last century or so is trivial and of a piece with previous natural fluctuations. Why do skeptics make such a big thing about the Medieval Warm Period if they deny that there is any warming? Black is just trying to revise history.

As Lubos Motl pointed out in his article that I excerpted yesterday, the issue is the CAUSE of the slight warming we have seen. Is it natural or man-made? And "THE SCIENCE" is very much on the side of the warming being natural. Al Gore always speaks of "THE SCIENCE" as something that supports his extravagant predictions but science does no such thing. Science is all about prediction. Making accurate predictions is the test of any theory. But THE WAY scientists make predictions is by saying that things in the future will work just as things have worked in the past. So a continuation of a tiny warming trend is what "THE SCIENCE" predicts. It is the Warmists who are departing from science by saying that nature will suddenly do something quite different from what it has so far been doing and start generating big temperature changes. Warmism in highly speculative prophecy, not science. An excerpt from the Green Mr Black:
The Berkeley project poses a scientific challenge with its contention that water temperature changes in the north Atlantic - perhaps related to the Gulf Stream, as it's commonly known - are driving year-to-year changes in global temperature.

Even more so, when the authors suggest that a greater part of the warming-cooling-warming history of the 20th Century could be down to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) than is recognised.

(Clarification for putative cherry-pickers; the scientific work behind the papers doesn't examine this idea or even back it, but the authors suggest it as an avenue for further research.)

I had a chat with Michael Schlesinger, the University of Illinois professor who discovered the AMO along with Navin Ramankutty in 1994.

Research he and others have done since shows clearly, he said, that "while the AMO was the dominant influence on global mean temperature during 1904-1944 and 1944-1976, it is not the dominant influence over the entire observational record, 1850 to 2010.

"Over this time period, it is the increase in the concentrations of greenhouse gases caused by humanity's burning of fossil fuels that is the dominant cause of the observed warming."

That, I think, is the conclusion that the majority of climate scientists is likely to make, although the whole issue is made more complex by the fact that greenhouse warming can perturb natural cycles such as the AMO.

Claims that US weather station quality affected diagnosis of global warming was rejected. So it's interesting to see what those who would shape opinion are making of the Berkeley results.

The sceptical blogosphere has been unusually quiet - disappointingly quiet, you might say. James Delingpole, Jo Nova, ClimateAudit... nothing.

One who has waded into the fray, inevitably, is Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That. I say "inevitably", because his criticisms of weather station quality were among the factors that persuaded Prof Muller to get his project off the ground.

The Berkeley group concluded that although a high proportion of weather stations in the US might not be high quality - for example, if they're situated in the middle of an expanding city - it doesn't matter.

High-quality stations show the same warming trend as low-quality ones; so this issue can be taken off the table.

Mr Watts, in his recent postings, isn't impressed. He argues that the Berkeley team used too long a time period for its analysis. He says it made a few other basic errors.

There's a fair bit of revisionism going on too, some of it visible in the comments on my news story. "Sceptics don't say the world isn't warming," this narrative goes - "we just debate how much of it is caused by greenhouse gases."

There are some "sceptics" who do take this line, it's true. But if the Earth's temperature record wasn't an issue, why has so much energy been expended in attempting to discredit it and the scientists behind it?


Global warming is real

By James Delingpole

"The planet has been warming," says a new study of temperature records, conducted by Berkeley professor Richard Muller. I wonder what he'll be telling us next: that night follows day? That water is wet? That great white sharks have nasty pointy teeth? That sheep go "baaaa"?

No, the only surprising part of the results of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project is the good professor's chutzpah in trying to present them as new or surprising – let alone any kind of blow to the people he calls "skeptics" (or, when speaking to his friends at the Guardian, "deniers").

Here's the money quote from a ramblingly disingenuous piece he wrote in The Wall Street Journal, (which frankly should have known better than to fall for this guff): "Without good answers to all these complaints, global-warming skepticism seems sensible. But now let me explain why you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer."

Let me explain what is going on here. And you can trust me: I'm not a climate scientist. What I am is someone eminently more qualified to deconstruct the semantic skullduggery going on here: a student of language, rhetoric and grade one bullsh*t.

In the first half of his piece, Professor Muller sets up his straw man. He does so by ascribing to "skeptics" views that they don't actually hold. Their case, he pretends for the sake of his wafer-thin argument, rests on the idea that the last century's land-based temperature data sets are so hopelessly corrupt that they have created the illusion of global warming where none actually exists.

No it doesn't. It has been a truth long acknowledged by climate sceptics, deniers and realists of every conceivable hue that since the mid-19th century, the planet has been on a warming trend – emerging, as it has been, from a widely known phenomenon known as the Little Ice Age. A period which in turn was preceded by the even better known Medieval Warming Period.

This is why the standard rebuttal to the term "climate change denier" is: "But I don't deny that climate changes. I recognise that it has done so since the dawn of time. What I question is not the process of climate change, but what causes is it, whether it represents a problem and whether there's anything we can do about it other than sensible mitigation."

But obviously, "Berkeley professor tells us nothing new under the sun" doesn't make such a good story. What's required in cases like this is a bit of judicious spin. So that's just what Professor Muller does: having first set up his straw man he then sets out to knock it down by revealing – ta da! – that whatever those pesky sceptics say the world definitely did get warmer in the Twentieth Century.

Except, duh! We know that. That's why sceptics are forever saying stuff like: "Yes, the planet did warm in the Twentieth Century. But only by about 0.7 degrees C, which is hardly a major threat". And: "Yes, the planet did warm in the Twentieth Century but what's your point? That there's some ideal, earlier colder average temperature that we should all strive to recreate by bombing our economy back to the dark ages?"

So why are notionally respectable journals like The Economist and New Scientist trying to make out that is a story is a seismic event which shatters forever the case of global warming sceptics?

Well, I suppose the polite possibility – perhaps my colleague Tom Chivers can help out here – is that they've simply never bothered to find out what climate change sceptics actually think. My personal suspicion, though, is that springs from desperation.

The case for AGW theory has been getting weaker by the minute, as Marc Morano notes in this characteristically feisty summary of the current state of play:
"The Antarctic sea ice extent has been at or near record extent in the past few summers, the Arctic has rebounded in recent years since the low point in 2007, polarbearsare thriving, sea level is not showing acceleration and is actuallydropping, Cholera and Malaria are failing to follow global warming predictions, Mount Kilimanjaro melt fears are being made a mockery by gains in snow cover, global temperatures have been holding steady for a decade or more, deaths due to extreme weather are radically declining, global tropical cyclone activity is near historic lows, the frequency of major U.S. hurricanes has declined, the oceans are missing their predicted heat content, big tornados have dramatically declined since the 1970s, droughts are not historically unusual nor caused by mankind, there is no evidence we are currently having unusual weather, scandals continue to rock the climate fear movement, the UN IPCC has been exposed as being a hotbed of environmental activists and scientists continue to dissent at a rapid pace."

Morano also, incidentally, has links to all those scientists – Pielke Snr, Lubos Motl, et al – pouring cold water on Muller's ludicrous claims. I don't think I've heard Morano sound quite so angry or contemptuous: "Muller's WSJ OPED is designed to confuse the public with perhaps some of the most banal and straw man arguments yet put forth by a global warming activist."

And I don't blame him. What is going on is exactly the kind of utterly reprehensible dishonesty and trickery I anatomise more thoroughly in Watermelons. The Warmists lost the battle over "the science" long ago; that's why the best they can do now is resort to the kind of risible semantic ruse like this deliberate conflation of "global warming" with "man made global warming".

The two concepts are entirely separate: all sceptics believe in "global warming" (depending on what time scale you use); what they doubt to various degrees is the "man made" element. Richard Muller has crassly fudged this distinction to make a point which has nothing to do with science and everything to do with gutter politics.


You can't be a sceptic anymore, sez Warmist

The blogosphere is abuzz with the results of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST), the stunning conclusion of which seems to be “the planet is warming”. Even more stunning is that this is somehow supposed to be the ultimate rebuttal to filthy sceptics and deniers the world over.

Er, sorry to disappoint, but no it isn’t. We all knew the world was warming, and has been since the end of the Little Ice Age. We accept that. So, what’s your point again?

BEST’s results, which are based on surface temperature records from thousands of land-based stations across the globe, also seem to magically “disappear” the Urban Heat Island effect, despite the fact that previous studies have shown it to be a substantial component of recent temperature rises. BEST also seems to be able to take the fat, hairy sow’s ear of shonky surface temperature stations (many of which are located close to man-made heat sources like airports and air conditioning units) and turn them into a dainty silk purse of accurate global temperature. Whether this is successful or not I will leave up to you to decide. A technical post at Watts Up With That? looks at the statistical methods employed.

Richard Muller’s article in the Wall Street Journal concludes thus:
When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn’t know what we’d find. Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been very careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that. They managed to avoid bias in their data selection, homogenization and other corrections.

Global warming is real. Perhaps our results will help cool this portion of the climate debate. How much of the warming is due to humans and what will be the likely effects? We made no independent assessment of that.

But let’s just look at that last sentence again:
How much of the warming is due to humans and what will be the likely effects? We made no independent assessment of that.

So the key issue that sceptics raise, the attribution of present day warming to human effects, is something not addressed by BEST. For Muller to claim that this puts the final nail in the sceptics’ coffin is ridiculous. We all agree the planet is warming, it’s a question of how much of that warming is due to man, and how much is due to nature.


Wind energy is NOT free

Quite aside from the large capital cost of building windmills, they need a lot of maintenance. It's actually a step back in time, rather like steam trains, where you have to go around oiling them all the time: "Wind is clean, but it's also very labor-intensive"

From a distance, say about three nautical miles, the future looks very simple. You stick a wind turbine up into the air, and it turns. Ralf Klooster can explain this to his five-year-old at home. The more difficult question is why Daddy has to drive to the jetty at Norddeich harbor every morning at six to make sure that those simple things out there in the water keep turning.

"It's not as easy as you think," says Klooster. He is a native of the East Frisia region of northwest Germany, has the physique of an Olympic rower and looks as if E.on has cast him for its advertising photos. Klooster is actually a custodian of sorts for the Alpha Ventus offshore wind farm, 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the North Sea island of Borkum. Even at high wind speeds, he is able to finish his sentences. As Klooster says, none of this is easy.

He awoke this morning at 4:45 a.m., boiled water for his tea (he uses "NaturWatt" green electricity, at 23.6 cents per kilowatt hour) and drove to the jetty to board the "Wind Force I."

It sounds like "Air Force One," but it's merely the service boat for the Alpha Ventus wind farm, which consists of 12 five-megawatt towers and produces electricity for 50,000 households. It's the largest offshore wind farm in the country. The morning greetings: "Moin!" - "Moin!"

A few men in overalls are standing by the boat, smoking. Others are hoisting boxes full of screws on board, "Big Bags" filled with tools, canisters of grease and lubricants, and duffel bags containing protective suits and provisions. The entire stern is filled with equipment and supplies.

Three Dutchmen, who are joining the crew for the first time, are told that if they have to vomit they should do it overboard ("the easy way") and not into the toilet. Then a safety film is shown, in which a woman puts on a life vest to a soundtrack of club music. The Dutchmen have already dozed off.

The Wind Force I plies between the mainland and the wind farm, as long as the weather is acceptable. It's a four-hour round trip. Helicopters are used during the winter and in bad weather. Batteries and transformers need constant maintenance, and all moveable parts on the crane and turbine have to be oiled and lubricated regularly. The switches have to be tested regularly, as do the fire protection systems, the lights, the life vests and, if there are control devices, those too. Wind is clean, but it's also very labor-intensive.

Joselito from Manila has tied his paint-spattered overalls around his hips. He is one of the four "coaters" whose job it is to constantly paint the towers to protect against rust. He works as a painter at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg during the winter, but now he is here. "Wind energy? Good, very good," he says. "Good work."

On this morning, three mechanics with turbine maker Areva Wind were driven to the pier in a black van. With their tattoos, ponytails and black overalls, they look like roadies on a heavy metal tour. But they're just here to service the crane on tower 11.

The roughly 20 men on board the Wind Force 1 aren't necessarily Green Party voters. In fact, they look more like people who might be working on plutonium plants, if they existed offshore. Or perhaps not? "The difference," says one man who is leaning against the deck crane, wearing glasses and a Hulk Hogan goatee, "is that if a wind tower falls over, it isn't likely to cause a lot of damage out here."

Klooster says that he wouldn't describe himself as the custodian of the wind farm, but rather as an "offshore service technician."

Pages of Conditions and Regulations

On Nov. 9, 2001, wind power pioneer Ingo de Buhr received permission from the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic agency to build and operate an offshore wind farm beyond the 12-mile zone marking Germany's territorial waters.

The license included 43 pages of requirements, conditions and regulations. Item 6.1.4, for example, describes the painting requirements: "The towers are to be painted yellow up to a height of 15 meters (49 feet) above the HAT (Highest Astronomical Tide) (RAL 1023 pursuant to DIN 6171, Part 1)."

The license also requires the operator to make allowances for military flight safety, to ensure that hazard lights are on at night and to monitor the facility's impact on marine mammals and bird migration. According to item 24, when the facility is no longer in use it must be "properly disposed of on land."

Four years later, De Buhr sold the license for €5 million ($6.85 million) to the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation, a deep-pocketed association of power producers, banks, manufacturers and operators.

The bow of the Wind Force I is now pressing up against tower AV 4, the rubber squeaking against the steel tower in the waves. One after the other, the men climb onto the tower. Wearing their survival suits, they climb the rungs of the ladder to the platform. They will spend the next six hours servicing the tower.

The massive guillotine-like rotor comes down from above every two seconds. The 61-meter rotor slicing through the air, seemingly without making any noise, is longer than the wing of an Airbus 380.

In strong winds, the tips of the rotors travel at racecar-like speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour (186 mph). The rotors wear out the fastest, and not, as one might expect, the transmission or the foundations in the water.


Electric Car Company Gets U.S. Loan, Builds Cars In Finland

No facility to build cars in the USA????

With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work.

Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department's $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.

"There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle," the car company's founder and namesake told ABC News. "They don't exist here."

Henrik Fisker said the U.S. money so far has been spent on engineering and design work that stayed in the U.S., not on the 500 manufacturing jobs that went to a rural Finnish firm, Valmet Automotive.

"We're not in the business of failing; we're in the business of winning. So we make the right decision for the business," Fisker said. "That's why we went to Finland."

The loan to Fisker is part of a $1 billion bet the Energy Department has made in two politically connected California-based electric carmakers producing sporty -- and pricey -- cutting-edge autos. Fisker Automotive, backed by a powerhouse venture capital firm whose partners include former Vice President Al Gore, predicts it will eventually be churning out tens of thousands of electric sports sedans at the shuttered GM factory it bought in Delaware. And Tesla Motors, whose prime backers include PayPal mogul Elon Musk and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, says it will do the same in a massive facility tooling up in Silicon Valley.


Your Cash for Their Clunkers

Another White House energy favorite hits financial trouble.

Here's some investment advice: When looking for tips on green technology plays, steer clear of the stock pickers located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. They've made a habit of investing your cash in their clunkers.

Following on Solyndra's great success comes Ener1 Inc., a lithium-ion battery maker also promoted by the White House. President Obama gave the company's subsidiary, EnerDel, a shout out in August 2009, in a speech in which he announced $2.4 billion in grants "to develop the next generation of fuel-efficient cars and trucks powered by the next generation of battery technologies."
Related Video

Brent Bozell on how the media is treating the GOP candidates, President Obama and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

EnerDel snagged a $118 million grant, and Vice President Joe Biden toured one of its two Indianapolis-area factories as recently as January, citing it as proof that government isn't "just creating new jobs—but sparking whole new industries."

He didn't say profitable industries. Ener1 was founded in 2002, went public in 2008 and has never turned a profit. In August, it restated its earnings for fiscal 2010 at a $165 million loss—nearly $100 million more than previously reported. On September 27 it ousted its CEO, and its share price yesterday was 27 cents—a 95% decline from its 52-week high of $5.95 in January. Nasdaq is threatening to delist the stock, and Ener1 disclosed in a mid-August filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it is "in the process of determining whether the company has sufficient liquidity to fund its operations."

Ener1 attributed its financial restatement to the bankruptcy earlier this year of Norwegian electric car maker Think, in which Ener1 had invested, and with which it had signed a contract to supply batteries. Think had a long history of financial troubles and was hardly a safe investment.

Then again, Ener1 had to rely almost exclusively on Think after it lost its bid to supply batteries to Fisker Automotive, a battery-powered car maker which received a $529 million U.S. taxpayer-backed federal loan guarantee in 2010. Fisker chose to buy its batteries from a company called A123 Systems, itself the recipient of a $249 million U.S. Department of Energy grant (announced at the same time as Ener1's grant).

It's hard to sell electric car batteries when the market for electric cars is so small. Electric cars are expected to make up less than 1% of car sales by 2018, but that hasn't stopped the feds from financing a glut of battery makers. Some 48 different battery technology and electric vehicle projects received federal money as part of the Administration's August 2009 announcement, including such corporate giants as Johnson Controls and General Motors.

Current estimates are that by 2015 there will be more than double the supply of lithium-ion batteries compared to the number of electric vehicles. This government-juiced industry is headed for a shakeout, taking taxpayer dollars with it.

That may include Indiana state tax dollars. In recent years the Indiana Economic Development Corporation has offered Ener1 up to $21.1 million in performance-based tax credits and $200,000 in training grants. A spokeswoman for the state agency said Ener1 hasn't used the training money and that the tax credits were conditioned upon jobs created. She said the agency isn't at liberty to divulge Ener1's use of the tax credits. The company had promised the combination of federal and state money would allow it to create 1,700 new jobs in Indiana by 2012, and 3,000 by 2015. At last count, Ener1 employed 380 in Indiana. The company didn't return a call seeking comment.

There's no pleasure in Ener1's troubles, but there is a lesson: Better to leave commercial financing decisions to private investors and bankers who are likely to take more care with their own money. Politicians write the press releases first and worry about the taxpayer losses later.



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


21 October, 2011

Berkeley Earth recalculates global mean temperature, gets misinterpreted

It's the CAUSE of the slight warming of the last century that matters (natural or man-made?)

Lubos Motl

It is not true that the Berkeley group has found relevant evidence for the core questions in the AGW debate

Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature led by Richard Muller - a top Berkeley physics teacher and the PhD adviser of the fresh physics Nobel prize winner Saul Perlmutter, among others - has recalculated the evolution of the global mean temperature in the most recent two centuries or so, qualitatively confirmed the previous graphs, and got dishonestly reported in the media.

Some people including Marc Morano of Climate Depot were predicting that this outcome was the very point of the project. They were worried about the positive treatment that Richard Muller received at various places including this blog and they were proved right. Today, it really does look like all the people in the "BEST" project were just puppets used in a bigger, pre-planned propaganda game.

In the video above, Andrew Revkin says that a "skeptic confirms substantial recent global warming". This is not a truly valid proposition because Richard Muller is no skeptic: realizing that Michael Mann has made things that can't be tolerated in science is nice and it may make you a heretic among some hardcore believers but it's not enough for you to be a genuine climate skeptic.

However, you find much worse responses in the media than Revkin's loaded headline. For example, the Guardian chose this title: "Global warming study finds no grounds for climate sceptics' concerns"

This is just a complete lie. Doubts about the validity of the surface temperature record constitute something like 1% of the issues that climate skeptics as a community have ever raised and not a very important one. Similarly, the Economist writes: "The heat is on: A new analysis of the temperature record leaves little room for the doubters. The world is warming"

I admire the immense and diverse work that Anthony Watts and others have been doing for years and I do realize that the verification of the surface temperature record has probably been Anthony Watts' greatest hobby or his loveliest pet project but I, for one, have never paid any significant attention to the one-by-one analyses of individual weather stations, doubts about the corrections that were applied (I have always considered the adjustments, the most accurate ones you can apply for any systematic change, to be legitimate and much better than no adjustments), and similar things. Anthony's network of volunteers has been cute and impressive but it couldn't guarantee that its implications would be far-reaching. I didn't believe in such far-reaching implications so I have almost never mentioned it on my blog. And you may say the very same thing about most climate skeptics; in this sense, Anthony Watts is an exception whether or not he is the key figure behind the world's most influential climate blog. Many years ago, I made calculations that led me to a strong enough belief that the imperfections of the weather stations either can't be large to matter, or they largely average out because the errors come with both signs.

So among the hundreds if not thousands of articles about the climate on this blog that were written between 2004 and 2011, you will probably not find a single article that seriously suggests that the global mean temperature didn't change (or cooled down) in the recent 100 years - although I wouldn't be quite 100% sure about the "overall warming figure" and I am not 100% sure now, either. (The overall global temperature change since 1900 could have been 0.7 ñ 0.2 øC where the error may be viewed as a "statistical one" if you compare different figures from different teams so the possibility that it was negative is simply nonzero, a 3.5-sigma effect, if you wish.)

But this is just not what the bulk of this controversial topic has been and is all about. The bulk of the topic is all about the analyses of the causes of the temperature change (there are lots of natural drivers that determine at least a significant portion of the temperature change and that are capable to beat any effect of CO2 and have done so many times in the past, even over 30-year periods), the evaluation of the importance of the temperature change (it is not important: as Ivar Giaever likes to say, the thermometer data show that the absolute temperature in the recent century was remarkably stable, within 0.25%, and such tiny changes of the averaged temperature are negligible relatively to noise and make no visible impact and surely not a dangerous one), and the search for rational responses to it (the most rational response is no mitigation at all and preparations for adaptation to any possible change of the weather, under business-as-usual).

More here

Thousands of Brits dying because they can't afford heating bills... and green taxes are adding to the burden

More than 2,700 people are dying each year in England and Wales because they cannot afford to keep their homes warm, according to an official study.

The spiralling cost of gas and electricity combined with the impact of green taxes is putting health and lives at risk, researchers found.

The study concluded that green taxes on household power bills are `regressive' and have a disproportionate impact on poorer households.

The warning of the dangers to health comes from social policy expert Professor John Hills, of the London School of Economics, in a study commissioned by Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne.

On the policy of adding green taxes to bills, Professor Hills said: `Those energy and climate policies that lead to higher prices will largely have a regressive impact.'

He highlighted a government study which found that the poorest one-fifth of households would see their income fall 0.8 per cent as a direct result of green taxes and the move to renewable energy, while the richest fifth would break even.

Professor Hills said: `Whether this regressive outcome, which would tend to increase fuel poverty, occurs depends on both more recent developments, such as the Warm Home Discount, and decisions yet to be taken.'

The Warm Home Discount of œ120 off electricity bills is currently being offered to around 600,000 of the poorest households.

Green taxes designed to meet a œ200billion bill to switch to wind, wave, solar and nuclear power currently add around œ100 to annual bills.

However, this figure is set to rise sharply in the next few years and will hit the poor, particularly pensioners on fixed incomes, harder than most.

Recent inflation-busting increases in energy tariffs have pushed average annual bills up by œ175 to a record high of œ1,345.

The figure for deaths is higher than the number killed on the roads and has brought demands for urgent government action.

Professor Hills's interim report found: `Most dramatically, the UK has a higher rate of ``excess winter deaths'' than other countries with colder climates.

`Even if, at a conservative estimate, only a tenth of ``excess winter deaths'' are due to fuel poverty, that means 2,700 people are dying each year in England and Wales, more than die on the roads.' However, his report conceded that the true number of premature deaths linked to the cold could be considerably higher at around 5,400. It said: `Health impacts caused by exposure to cold tend to relate to cardiovascular and respiratory problems.

`Low temperatures are also associated with diminished resistance to infections and the incidence of damp and mould in the home.

`These effects are most important for the youngest children and increase for the most elderly.' Professor Hills found that poor pensioners and families are having to spend an extra œ1.1billion a year in total on heat because they often live in poorly-insulated, cold and draughty homes.

He said they do not have the money to pay for home insulation, double-glazing and gas efficient boilers at the same time as covering other essentials.

`People with hard-to-heat properties may trade off other necessities to keep warm, at the most dramatic facing a choice of ``heat or eat'', with some evidence of reduced food spending at times of the very lowest temperatures by pensioners with the lowest incomes,' he said.

Derek Lickorish, chairman of the Government's Fuel Poverty Advisory Group, described the death figures as a disgrace and said they `should set an alarm bell ringing very loudly'.

He stressed it is important to find new ways to finance a move to green energy, other than what amounts to adding charges to everyone's bill.

`Urgent action must start today to mitigate the impact of high energy bills including reviewing the way in which costs are recovered through energy bills to decarbonise our energy,' he said.


Environmentalists are dab hands at Astroturfing (creating fake grassroots support)

Here's an interesting item from an environmentalist group opposing the Pebble Mine project in Alaska. They're running a road show, not in Alaska, but in mainland cities to try and stir up the masses. Here's a bit from their blog post about Monday's Seattle event.
Monday night marked the kick off of the Save Bristol Bay Road Show in Seattle at the classic Leif Erikson hall in Ballard. Nearly 300 Washington residents including fishermen, Alaska Natives, and sportsmen turned out to watch the award-winning film, Red Gold, and get engaged in the campaign to stop Pebble mine.

I met countless commercial fishermen last night who live in Washington but make their income from fishing in Bristol Bay - I think every one of them signed a thank you letter to Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray for their support of the fishing industry.

.On the up side, plenty of people won great prizes in our gear giveaway and maybe you were one of the lucky ones who got a gift card to The Fly Shop or a cedar plank for cooking salmon. Congratulations to Maren Chapman who won an Orvis fly rod and reel worth $500.

What they fail to mention that all those `Road Show' attendees were asked to sign letters to Sens. Murray and Cantwell in exchange for entry into the prize drawing. The Facebook pictures of the event spill the beans on that scam.

"Folks signed letters to Washington Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray,which entered them in the gear giveaway."

The caption reads: "Folks signed letters to Washington Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray,which entered them in the gear giveaway."

For the anti-Pebble crew this kind of faux populism is par for the course, as the entire operation (to the tune of tens of millions of dollars ([example 1, example 2]) is financed by Robert Gillam, CEO of McKinley Capital Management, the richest man in Alaska.

The Save Bristol Bay Road Show is heading to many of the #Occupy cites this month and will surely be attended by the #OWS types, who will be blissfully unaware that the whole campaign is being funded by one of the %1.


Laframboise on the IPCC

by Judith Curry (A recovering Warmist)

I've finished reading Donna Laframboise's book "The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World's Top Climate Expert: An Expose of the IPCC."

Reviews are pouring in at 38 out of 46 reviewers give it 5 stars. Peter Gleick gives it 1 star, stating "This book is a stunning compilation of lies, misrepresentations, and falsehoods about the fundamental science of climate change. " It is difficult to believe that Gleick has read the book from the statements in his reviews; the book is not about the science of climate change. Rather, it is about the IPCC as an institution: the use of graduate students, WWF and Greenpeace sympathizers as IPCC authors; the use of gray environmentalist literature in IPCC (especially WG2); lack of conflict of interest oversight; the review process and the process producing the executive summaries; etc.

The book is well written with ample documentation (numerous hyperlinks in the kindle version). The target audience is the broader public, and the "spoiled child" metaphor provides a readable narrative for her arguments about the IPCC. Most (not all) of this material I've seen before, but Laframboise's narrative makes a clear and compelling case regarding problems with the IPCC. Notably, she covers distinctly different ground from Montford's book "The Hockey Stick Illusion." Her final chapter is entitled "Disband the IPCC." She makes a good case for this.

As a student of the IPCC since December 2009 (yes I was defending the IPCC until that point), I've looked at many of these issues myself. I've made some of the same points raised in this book. Here are some comments on passages from the text that struck me in some way, and provide a flavor of the parts of the book that I think are most significant:
"In the grown-up world, whenever important decisions and large amounts of money are involved conflict-of-interest mechanisms are firmly in place. . . well into the 21st century [the IPCC] saw no need to even discuss conflict-of-interest.

A quote from Mark Twain: " . . . people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing."

"We all made the mistake of believing the IPCC was a gem of an organization simply because it is connected to protecting the environment."

"How can a young man without even a Masters degree become an IPCC lead author? Good question. . . Rather than recruiting real experts like Reiter the IPCC enlisted young, inexperienced, non-experts instead."

A quote from an IPCC lead author: "There are far too many politically correct appointments, so that developing country scientists are appointed who have insufficient competence to do anything useful."

A quote from a team member from a developing country: "The team members from the developing countires (including myself) were made to feel welcome and accepted as part of the team. In reality we were out of our intellectual depth as meaningful contributors to the process."

Laframboise attributes these appointments to UN diversity goals. I suspect that the UN's objective is to obtain "buy in" from the developing countries for the UNFCCC policies.

"Rather than keeping its distance from those whose careers have been associated with activism, the scientific establishment now honors, celebrates and promotes such people."

"The research bodies that fund climate modeling teams don't appear to have taken any precautions against groupthink. Nor has the IPCC subjected climate models to rigorous evaluation by neutral disinterested parties. "

"It turns out that few people understand how the IPCC makes some of its most important decisions."

A quote from an IPCC participant: "After being [either a lead author or a coordinating lead author] several times, I still have no idea how I was selected. This is unacceptable."

`[The IPCC] feels no need to look under the hood- and discourages its expert reviewers from doing so."

A quote from an IPCC insider: "As far as I can tell, there is no data quality assurance associated with what the IPCC is doing."

Statement from Pachauri: "everything that we look at and take into acount in our assessments has to carry the credibility of peer-reveiwed publications, we don't settle for anything less than that."

From Laframboise's Citizen Audit: "Of the 18531 references in the 2007 Climate Bible we found 5,587 - a full 30% - to be non peer-reviewed."

"It would appear that the relationship the IPCC has with its expert reviewers borders on the abusive. FIrst it asks these people to volunteer their time in good faith. Then it gives its authors the right to dismiss their input with nothing more than a single word: "rejected." While expert reviewers are expected to comply with the IPCC's deadlines, this organization feels no need to respect such deadlines itself. Instead, it nonchalantly adds in, after the fact, arguments and source materials these reviewers had no opportunity to asses."

"People who know people at the IPCC have their yet-to-be-published work taken into account, but researchers without these sorts of connections are out of luck."

"But a problem surely arises when journals are run by IPCC insiders themselves."

"This is a circular, incestuous process. Scientists make decisions as journal editors about what qualifies as peer-reviewed literature. They then cite the same papers they themselves played midwife to while serving as IPCC authors."

"What's happened here is that the cart was put before the horse. The UN didn't wait around for climate science to mature. They'd already decided that human-generated emissions were dangerous. Back in 1992, 154 nations endorsed this premature conclusion when they became signatories to the UNFCCC. . . The fourth edition of the Climate Bible, which contains the strongest yet still speculative and qualified language, appeared 15 years later."

"One day the IPCC may come to be seen as a textbook case of how badly things can go wrong when political amateurs are recruited and manipulated by UN-grade political operatives."

"Honestly. The IPCC was established by politicians, its experts are selected by politicians, and its conclusions are negotiated by politicians. A predetermined political agenda has been part of the landscape for the past 20 years. For [anyone] to whine that people who disagree with the IPCC are motivated by politics is the equivalent of someone who has lived by the sword complaining that they might die by it."

More here

US Senate confirms bright Green commerce secretary

He founded the Natural Resources Defense Council so a bigger enemy of commerce would be hard to find

The US Senate on Thursday confirmed businessman John Bryson as commerce secretary, replacing Gary Locke, who left the post to become the US ambassador to China.

Lawmakers voted 74-26 to approve Bryson one week after the US Congress approved long-stalled free trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

President Barack Obama had nominated Bryson on May 31 in a move seen as part of an effort to soothe his White House's testy ties with the US private sector and spark export-led jobs growth.

The White House has said Bryson, an environmental advocate who helped to form the Natural Resources Defense Council, has the ability to promote job creation, economic growth and sustainable development.

Bryson was chairman and chief executive of power company Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, from 1990 to 2008, and sits on the board of Boeing and the Walt Disney Company.

Obama has said Bryson's experience will be vital to his goal of seeking to double US exports in the next four years, part of his efforts to rescue the battered US economy.


Ya gotta laugh: Warmists now say warming will bring more floods to Australia

When Australia was in drought the Warmists warned of more drought. Maybe we will have wet droughts!

Australia can expect more frequent devastating floods like those in Queensland this year, and the world is facing decades of unprecedented hardship as a result of climate change, according to the chief scientific adviser to the British government.

"We are facing what I believe will be unprecedented difficult times over the next 20 to 40 years," Professor Sir John Beddington warned. He was speaking as chairman of a panel of scientists launching a major international report about the effects of climate change on people.

The report predicts that migration will increase markedly; that millions will move into, rather than away from, environmentally vulnerable areas; and millions more will be affected but not be able to move.

According to the head of the school of geography and the environment at Oxford University, Professor David Thomas, the cities most affected would include Singapore, Shanghai, Calcutta, Dhaka in Bangladesh, and the towns and villages of the Vietnamese delta.

Australia would experience rising sea levels too but "it will respond differently because of its different economy", he said.

The report says that by 2060, up to 179 million people will be trapped in low-lying coastal floodplains subject to extreme weather events such as floods, storm surges, landslides and rising sea levels, unable to migrate because they are too poor or ill-equipped, or because they are restricted by political or geographic boundaries.

Two-thirds of the world's cities with populations of more than 5 million are at least partially located in coastal zones, including rapidly growing urban centres in Asian and African "mega-deltas", the report said.

Other large cities would suffer water shortages, with 150 million people already living in cities where water is limited.

"Cities need to be more strategic about their location," said Neil Adger, a professor of environmental economics and program leader at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

Migration and Global Environmental Change is the result of a two-year peer-reviewed project by 350 specialists in 30 countries. It was released yesterday by Foresight, part of the British Government Office for Science, which sits within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Speaking after the launch, Sir John told the Herald that Australia should not expect the La Nina phenomenon that triggered the Queensland floods to be a once-in-a-generation event. The next one could not be predicted but it would return much more frequently than in the past.


Tax flaw: Australian power bills may rise 20% under carbon tax

ELECTRICITY generators have written to all senators warning that unless the carbon tax laws are amended consumers could face power price rises of 20 per cent in the first year rather than the 10 per cent increase on which the government has calculated its household compensation.

The Energy Supply Association is angry the government plans to force immediate payment for forward-dated emission permits, rather than the deferred payment allowed under the former Rudd government's emissions trading scheme.

The generators' association delivered its warning as the Treasury secretary, Martin Parkinson, said he and his colleagues might have to "make a choice with their feet" should the Coalition win office and direct them to dismantle the carbon trading scheme.
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Also, the Coalition warned yesterday that the government's $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which will help fund green investment, would "be a honeypot to every white shoe salesman imaginable".

The opposition finance spokesman, Andrew Robb, said the fund would be spent on "all sorts of wild and wacky proposals that the banks would not touch in a fit".

Mr Robb said he was referring to "those energy companies who have been critical but who have strong interests in renewables and could potentially be major beneficiaries of these subsidies." The opposition would scrap the fund.

The Energy Supply Association says the change from deferred payment means some cash-strapped generators will not be able to afford to nail down their carbon price liability by entering into forward contracts with retailers and big industrial companies and instead power prices will rise as they try to manage their financial risk.

"Our members need to begin purchasing forward permits . if they can't afford to they won't be able to lock in a future price for carbon . and that means prices will rise," said the association's interim chief executive, Clare Savage.

Modelling by the economic consultancy ACIL Tasman found that even a 5 per cent reduction in forward electricity contracts could lead to an additional 10 per cent price rise for households and 15 per cent for big electricity users.

"And that's in a single year," Ms Savage said. "You could have two years in a row of that, which would dwarf the carbon price impact.

"It is the Senate's job to fix obvious errors and in our view there is an obvious error in these bills. We have drafted an amendment and . just 20 words and they could fix this problem."

Dr Parkinson secretary has worked on three versions of the scheme for three prime ministers, heading the secretariat that drafted John Howard's emissions trading scheme, running Kevin Rudd's Climate Change Department and helping draw up the Gillard government's scheme as Treasury head.

Asked in a Senate hearing yesterday whether he would assist a government elected on a policy of rescinding the carbon tax he had helped build, the Treasury secretary said as a public servant he would serve the Australian people through the government of the day.

"Everybody has a choice in front of them," he said. "If they are not prepared to implement the policies the government chooses to pursue, and that government has been democratically elected, then they essentially have to make a choice with their feet."

On the issue of payment for permits, Ms Savage said the government had "its head in the sand" and the Coalition was not advocating the industry's proposed changes either.

The government is proposing to auction 15 million forward-dated pollution permits in 2012-13, and the electricity generators say they would like to buy 10 times more than that but do not have the working capital to pay for the impost immediately.

The Senate will vote on the carbon tax laws next month.

The government is offering loans to generators struggling to find the cash to buy future permits but the generators have criticised the measure because the loans are above commercial rates.

Businesses have also been warning about price rises due to the financial risks caused by the Coalition's promise to repeal the carbon tax. The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, said yesterday those claims were coming from companies who could profit from carbon pricing.

Dr Parkinson said the choice about staying in his job might not be his to make. "Whether I was secretary of the Treasury would be a matter for the prime minister of the day," he said.



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


20 October, 2011

Cities' role in global warming said to be minor

A neat and unsurprising demolition of a straw man. The original academic journal article is here. It's just another modelling exercise by the energetic Mark Z. Jacobson. I wonder how he will feel when he realizes that his hundreds of papers were all based on a false premise (AGW)? He is relatively young so he will most probably live to see that day.

Anyway, the conclusions of this paper are undoubtedly correct, if trivial. Less than 1% of the earth's surface is covered by cities so their overall heat contribution has to be minor. What Jacobson overlooks is the reality not captured by the models: The reality that the locations of temperature monitoring stations are far closer to urban heat sources than is allowed for in the official statistics. Hansen apparently makes some such allowances but he keeps secret the details so we can assume that the adjustments are poorly done if not fraudulent.

Urban expansion means that urban heat is captured much more in actual temperature measurements than it would be in a ideal world. Jacobson deals with the ideal rather than the real. Because of the peri-urban location of many temperature-measuring stations, urban heat is almost certainly much larger in its influence on the statistics than it should be and the tiny increment (measured in tenths of a degree) in global temperature over the last century or so could be entirely due to the steady encroachment of urban areas into what were once rural locations

Cities put more heat into the atmosphere than rural areas but U.S. researchers say it's modest compared with what greenhouse gases contribute to global warming.

"Between 2 percent and 4 percent of the gross global warming since the Industrial Revolution may be due to urban heat islands," Mark Z. Jacobson, Stanford University professor of civil and environmental engineering, said.

Greenhouse gas contributes about 79 percent to gross warming and black soot from burning fossil fuels accounts for about 18 percent of, a Stanford release said Wednesday.

Some global warming skeptics have argued the urban heat island effect is so strong it has been skewing temperature measurements that suggest global warming is happening.

Jacobson and his colleagues dispute this.

"This study shows that the urban heat island effect is a relatively minor contributor to warming, contrary to what climate skeptics have claimed," Jacobson said. "Greenhouse gases and particulate black carbon cause far more warming."


California is behind the trend this time

Spent some time on the phone today with one of my favorite New York Times reporters (that’s not a joke—there are a couple I actually do like and trust to play a story straight up, even when their own views might be otherwise—man bites dog!) about California’s plan to launch their long-promised cap and trade program to fight global warming starting tomorrow.

It is a sure sign that California has jumped the shark, or perhaps a better cliché is that California has certified that it is no longer the leader/innovator it once was thought to be, but is a positively reactionary force—a lagging indicator of where the world is really going. Because just when California decides to join the carbon reduction bandwagon, the wheels are coming off that bandwagon.

Tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal will include these two headlines that are up already online:

Japan Reconsiders Plan to Cut Carbon Emissions


EU Weighs Pullback on Cutting Emissions

Here’s the Europe lede first:

BRUSSELS—The European Union is for the first time clearly questioning whether it should press ahead with long-term plans to cut greenhouse-gas emissions if other countries don’t follow suit, in what could herald a significant policy shift for a region that has been at the forefront of advocating action to combat climate change.

In a document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the European Commission’s energy department says the EU should consider whether the region should seek to switch its domestic energy base away from carbon-emitting sources in the absence of a global climate-change deal.

Here’s the Japan lede:

TOKYO—Japan is reconsidering plans to cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 25% by 2020 due to a rethinking of its energy future, and the country is worried that it is spending too much on carbon-credit programs, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Japan’s doubts, prompted in part by its nuclear disaster in March, come at a time the European Union is questioning whether it should press ahead with plans to cut greenhouse-gas emissions if others don’t follow suit.

Meanwhile, one of the Obama administrations climate negotiators, Jonathan Pershing, tells the Journal, “We do not believe conditions are right for a mandate in Durban [site of the next UN climate treaty negotiations next month] for a legally binding agreement.” Sounds like game over for the climate campaign. Coming next from the Obamanauts: Approval of the Keystone Xl pipeline.

How many ways can you say that this whole charade is over, that people are seeing through the Emperor’s New Clothes?


Why I Deny Global Warming

by David Deming (Prof. Deming is a geophysicist)

I'm a denier for several reasons. There is no substantive evidence that the planet has warmed significantly or that any significant warming will occur in the future. If any warming does occur, it likely will be concentrated at higher latitudes and therefore be beneficial. Climate research has largely degenerated into pathological science, and the coverage of global warming in the media is tendentious to the point of being fraudulent. Anyone who is an honest and competent scientist must be a denier.

Have you ever considered how difficult it is to take the temperature of the planet Earth? What temperature will you measure? The air? The surface of the Earth absorbs more than twice as much incident heat from the Sun than the air. But if you measure the temperature of the surface, what surface are you going to measure? The solid Earth or the oceans? There is twice as much water as land on Earth. If you decide to measure water temperature, at what depth will you take the measurements? How will the time scale on which the deep ocean mixes with the shallow affect your measurements? And how, pray tell, will you determine what the average water temperature was for the South Pacific Ocean a hundred years ago? How will you combine air, land, and sea temperature measurements? Even if you use only meteorological measurements of air temperature, how will you compensate for changes in latitude, elevation, and land use?

Determining a mean planetary temperature is not straightforward, but an extremely complicated problem. Even the best data are suspect. Anthony Watts and his colleagues have surveyed 82.5 percent of stations in the U.S. Historical Climatology Network. They have found – shockingly – that over 70 percent of these stations are likely to be contaminated by errors greater than 2 deg C [3.6 deg F]. Of the remaining stations, 21.5 percent have inherent errors greater than 1 deg C. The alleged degree of global warming over the past 150 years is less than 1 deg C. Yet even in a technologically advanced country like the US, the inherent error in over 90 percent of the surveyed meteorological stations is greater than the putative signal. And these errors are not random, but systematically reflect a warming bias related to urbanization. Watts has documented countless instances of air temperature sensors located next to air conditioning vents or in the middle of asphalt parking lots. A typical scenario is that a temperature sensor that was in the middle of a pasture a hundred years ago is now surrounded by a concrete jungle. Urbanization has been a unidirectional process. It is entirely plausible – even likely – that all of the temperature rise that has been inferred from the data is an artifact that reflects the growth of urban heat islands.

The "denier" is portrayed as a person who refuses to accept the plain evidence of his senses. But in fact it is the alarmist who doesn't know what they are talking about. The temperature of the Earth and how it has varied over the past 150 years is poorly constrained. The person who thinks otherwise does so largely because they have no comprehension of the science. Most of these people have never done science or thought about the inherent difficulties and uncertainties involved.

And what is "global warming" anyway? As long ago as the fifth century BC, Socrates pointed out that intelligible definitions are a necessary precursor to meaningful discussions. The definition of the term "global warming" shifts with the context of the discussion. If you deny global warming, then you have denied the existence of the greenhouse effect, a reproducible phenomenon that can be studied analytically in the laboratory. But if you oppose political action, then global warming metamorphoses into a nightmarish and speculative planetary catastrophe. Coastal cities sink beneath a rising sea, species suffer from wholesale extinctions, and green pastures are turned into deserts of choking hot sand.

In fact, so-called "deniers" are not "deniers" but skeptics. Skeptics do not deny the existence of the greenhouse effect. Holding all other factors constant, the mean planetary air temperature ought to rise as the atmosphere accumulates more anthropogenic CO2. Christopher Monckton recently reviewed the pertinent science and concluded that a doubling of CO2 should result in a temperature increase of about 1 deg C. If this temperature increase mirrors those in the geologic past, most of it will occur at high latitudes. These areas will become more habitable for man, plants, and other animals. Biodiversity will increase. Growing seasons will lengthen. Why is this a bad thing?

Any temperature increase over 1 deg C for a doubling of CO2 must come from a positive feedback from water vapor. Water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas in Earth's atmosphere, and warm air holds more water than cold air. The theory is that an increased concentration of water vapor in the atmosphere will lead to a positive feedback that amplifies the warming from CO2 by as much as a factor of three to five. But this is nothing more that speculation. Water vapor also leads to cloud formation. Clouds have a cooling effect. At the current time, no one knows if the feedback from water vapor will be positive or negative.

Global warming predictions cannot be tested with mathematical models. It is impossible to validate computer models of complex natural systems. The only way to corroborate such models is to compare model predictions with what will happen in a hundred years. And one such result by itself won't be significant because of the possible compounding effects of other variables in the climate system. The experiment will have to repeated over several one-hundred year cycles. In other words, the theory of catastrophic global warming cannot be tested or empirically corroborated in a human time frame.

It is hardly conclusive to argue that models are correct because they have reproduced past temperatures. I'm sure they have. General circulation models have so many degrees of freedom that it is possible to endlessly tweak them until the desired result is obtained. Hindsight is always 20-20. This tells us exactly nothing about a model's ability to accurately predict what will happen in the future.

The entire field of climate science and its coverage in the media is tendentious to the point of being outright fraudulent. Why is it that every media report on CO2 – an invisible gas – is invariably accompanied by a photograph of a smokestack emitting particulate matter? Even the cover of Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, shows a smokestack. Could it be that its difficult to get people worked up about an invisible, odorless gas that is an integral component of the photosynthetic cycle? A gas that is essential to most animal and plant life on Earth? A gas that is emitted by their own bodies through respiration? So you have to deliberately mislead people by showing pictures of smoke to them. Showing one thing when you're talking about another is fraud. If the case for global warming alarmism is so settled, so conclusive, so irrefutable...why is it necessary to repeatedly resort to fraud?

A few years ago it was widely reported that the increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would cause poison ivy to grow faster. But of course carbon dioxide causes almost all plants to grow faster. And nearly all of these plants have beneficial human uses. Carbon dioxide fertilizes hundreds or thousands of human food sources. More CO2 means trees grow faster. So carbon dioxide promotes reforestation and biodiversity. Its good for the environment. But none of this was reported. Instead, the media only reported that global warming makes poison ivy grow faster. And this is but one example of hundreds or thousands of such misleading reports. If sea ice in the Arctic diminishes, it is cited as irrefutable proof of global warming. But if sea ice in the Antarctic increases, it is ignored. Even cold weather events are commonly invoked as evidence for global warming. People living in the future will look back and wonder how we could have been so delusional.

For the past few years I have remained silent concerning the Climategate emails. But what they revealed is what many of us already knew was going on: global warming research has largely degenerated into what is known as pathological science, a "process of wishful data interpretation." When I testified before the US Senate in 2006, I stated that a major climate researcher told me in 1995 that "we have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period." The existence and global nature of the Medieval Warm Period had been substantiated by literally hundreds of research articles published over decades. But it had to be erased from history for ideological reasons. A few years later the infamous "hockey stick" appeared. The "hockey stick" was a revisionist attempt to rewrite the temperature history of the last thousand years. It has been discredited as being deeply flawed.

In one Climategate email, a supposed climate scientist admitted to "hiding the decline." In other words, hiding data that tended to disprove his ideological agenda. Another email described how alarmists would try to keep critical manuscripts from being published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. One of them wrote, we'll "keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!" Gee. If the climate science that validates global warming is so unequivocal, why is it necessary to work behind the scenes to suppress dissent? You "doth protest too much."

As described in my book, Science and Technology in World History: The Ancient World and Classical Civilization, systematic science began with the invocation of naturalism by Greek philosophers and Hippocratic physicians c. 600-400 BC. But the critical attitude adopted by the Greeks was as important as naturalism. Students were not only allowed to criticize their teachers, but were encouraged to do so. From its beginnings in Greek natural philosophy, science has been an idealistic and dispassionate search for truth. As Plato explained, anyone who could point out a mistake "shall carry off the palm, not as an enemy, but as a friend." This is one reason that scientists enjoy so much respect. The public assumes that a scientist's pursuit of truth is unencumbered by political agendas.

But science does not come easy to men. "Science," George Sarton reminded us, "is a joykiller." The proper conduct of science requires a high degree of intellectual discipline and rigor. Scientists are supposed to use multiple working hypotheses and sort through these by the processes of corroboration and falsification. The most valuable evidence is that which tends to falsify or disprove a theory. A scientist, by the very definition of his activity, must be skeptical. A scientist engaged in a dispassionate search for truth elevates the critical – he does not suppress it. Knowledge begins with skepticism and ends with conceit.

Finally, I'm happy to be known as a "denier" because the label of "denier" says nothing about me, but everything about the person making the charge. Scientific theories are never denied or believed, they are only corroborated or falsified. Scientific knowledge, by its very nature, is provisional and subject to revision. The provisional nature of scientific knowledge is a necessary consequence of the epistemological basis of science. Science is based on observation. We never have all the data. As our body of data grows, our theories and ideas must necessarily evolve. Anyone who thinks scientific knowledge is final and complete must necessarily endorse as a corollary the absurd proposition that the process of history has stopped.

A scientific theory cannot be "denied." Only a belief can be denied. The person who uses the word "denier" thus reveals that they hold global warming as a belief, not a scientific theory. Beliefs are the basis of revealed religion. Revelations cannot be corroborated or studied in the laboratory, so religions are based on dogmatic beliefs conservatively held. Religions tend to be closed systems of belief that reject criticism. But the sciences are open systems of knowledge that welcome criticism. I'm a scientist, and therefore I must happily confess to being a denier.


Global warming is influential even when it is absent

Blaming bad weather on global warming is a kneejerk reflex for the U.N. and many others. They are so sure it is happening that they fail to notice the fact that there has been NO global warming for the last 12 years or so. So recent temperature changes CANNOT have caused recent weather changes -- because there have been NO recent temperatire changes

The UN is trying to exploit deaths caused by ongoing heavy Central American rains. Agence France Presse reports:
More than 90 people were counted dead Tuesday from heavy rains pounding Central America after Guatemala reported more people swept away by raging floodwaters and Costa Rica found four drowned.

An estimated 700,000 people were displaced by floods and landslides following as much as 120 centimeters (47 inches) of rain in the past week in some areas — three times the monthly average this season — officials said.

In Guatemala, five more deaths were reported, including four swept away, bringing the death toll to 34 over the past week in a nation that has been hit particularly hard in 2011 by flooding and heavy rains, officials said.

The mayor of the northern Guatemala community of Mixco, Amilcar Rivera, reported the four new deaths and warned the toll may rise further.

Naturally, the the rains are being blamed on global warming:
Officials have blamed the effects of global warming for the spate of deadly rains and flooding.

“Climate change is not something that is coming in the future, we are already suffering its effects,” said Raul Artiga with the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD).

But then the AFP reported:
The United Nations considers Central America one of the world regions most affected by climate change. Over the past 40 years, natural disasters have killed some 50,000 people and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, according to European and Latin American studies.

It must have been great before climate change started.


Obama admin caught revising history

Someone affiliated with the Department of Energy has been going back to make changes to press releases posted on the Internet weeks and months ago, CNBC has found.

The changes occurred in two press releases from the Department of Energy's loan guarantee program — the same program that has been the center of controversy surrounding the failed solar company Solyndra.

Both were changed to remove the name of a company that has received negative press attention in recent days, SunPower, and replace it with the name of another company, NRG Energy [NRG 20.89 -0.14 (-0.67%) ].

Generally, it is not considered correct procedure to revise old press releases retroactively on the Web. More commonly, government agencies will issue a new press release with a current date explaining any changes that have occurred.

In the April case, the Department of Energy loan programs office announced in a press release on April 12 "conditional commitment" to a $1.187 billion loan guarantee to support the California Valley Solar Ranch project, which it said was "sponsored by SunPower Corporation."

But that release was later changed on one website to say the project was "sponsored by NRG Energy." The date on the release remained "April 12, 2011."

The two companies are closely linked. Just before the announcement of the loan guarantee in September, NRG completed its long-in-process acquisition from SunPower of the same California Valley Solar Ranch project that had received federal support.

But in April, that project was still owned by SunPower, not NRG.

In a second instance of retroactive press release revision, someone changed a release from September 30 that announced the finalization of the California Solar Generation project. In an early version of the September 30 press release, the government said the project was "sponsored by SunPower." That was later changed to "sponsored by NRG Energy."

In a statement, a spokesman for the Department of Energy said that the changes were made by outside contractors for the department responsible for maintaining the Loan Programs Office website.

"The only website that changed was a separately maintained loan program webpage that is managed by support services contractors," the spokesman said. "While updating the project fact sheet to reflect the changes in the ownership of the California Valley Solar Ranch project, those contractors inadvertently changed the news bulletins posted on the LPO website."

Update: On Wednesday evening, a Department of Energy spokesman said that the press releases had been returned to their original content as a result of CNBC's inquiry about the changes.


Warmists Now Claim Global Warming 'Worse than Predicted'?!

Climate Depot Responds: 'The scientific case for man-made climate fears has collapsed'

'Recent scientific data and developments reveal that Mother Nature is playing a cruel joke on the promoters of man-made climate fears. The scientific reality is that on virtually every claim -- from A-Z -- the scientific case for man-made climate fears has collapsed'

The proponents of man-made global warming are now claiming that man-made climate change is worse than they predicted. In a October 18, 2011 Daily Climate article, global warming activists claim that the “evidence builds that scientists underplay climate impacts.”

The article by Daily Climate editor Douglas Fischer claims: “But as the impacts of climate change become apparent, many predictions are proving to underplay the actual impacts. Reality, in many instances, is proving to be far worse than most scientists expected..."We're seeing mounting evidence now that the scientific community, rather than overstating the claim or being alarmist, is the opposite," said Naomi Oreskes, a science historian with the University of California, San Diego. [...] And reporters.., "need to learn that, if they wish to discuss 'both sides' of the climate issue, the scientifically legitimate 'other side' is that, if anything, global climate disruption is likely to be significantly worse than has been suggested in scientific consensus estimates to date." [End Daily Climate article excerpt]

Climate Depot's A-Z Scientific Reality Check: The only thing “worse than we thought” was shoddy journalism like the Daily Climate which parrots warmist activist Naomi Oreskes' worn chatter. Recent scientific data and developments reveal that Mother Nature is playing a cruel joke on the promoters of man-made climate fears.

The scientific reality is that on virtually every claim -- from A-Z -- the scientific case for man-made climate fears has collapsed.

The Antarctic sea ice extent has been at or near record extent in the past few summers, the Arctic has rebounded in recent years since the low point in 2007, polar bears are thriving, sea level is not showing acceleration and is actually dropping, Cholera and Malaria are failing to follow global warming predictions, Mount Kilimanjaro melt fears are being made a mockery by gains in snow cover, global temperatures have been holding steady for a decade or more, deaths due to extreme weather are radically declining, global tropical cyclone activity is near historic lows, the frequency of major U.S. hurricanes has declined, the oceans are missing their predicted heat content, big tornados have dramatically declined since the 1970s, droughts are not historically unusual nor caused by mankind, there is no evidence we are currently having unusual weather, scandals continue to rock the climate fear movement, the UN IPCC has been exposed as being a hotbed of environmental activists and scientists continue to dissent at a rapid pace. [Note: Climate Depot will soon be publishing an exhaustive and exclusive A-Z report on the scientific reality of the failure of man-made global warming claims. Stay tuned...]

In addition, The Daily Climate article cited animal species as some sort of “proof” of the impact of man-made global warming. The article cited a “study showing that plants and animals are moving to higher elevations twice as fast as predicted in response to rising temperatures.” Climate Depot covered this flawed and downright silly study when it was released.

See: Species warming study ripped: 'It rather clear that they didn't investigate whole globe. It's very likely that they didn't investigate the whole N. Hemisphere, either' -- 'The figure of 200 or even 300 kilometers per 20 years has clearly nothing to do with observed global warming rate...if you're an animal and you move by 100 or 200 miles, it's 4 or 8 times more than the right distance justified by 'global warming'

The Backstory to the 'Fleeing Species' Claim: 'Study Author Thomas' track record is, shall we say, problematic. It would seem that many of his peers hold his work in less-than-high regard' --'Six months from now it may be Science's turn to publish three critiques of this new paper. But journalists won't even notice. So we won't hear a word about it'

AP's Seth Borenstein Goofs! Claims 'Animals across the world are fleeing global warming by heading north' -- S. Hemisphere animals flee warmth by heading North?!

Physicist Mocks AP article: 'Let me tell you, dear critter, that if you live in S. Hemisphere & you want to escape heat by heading North, it's a pretty stupid decision!'

More HERE (See the original for links)


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


19 October, 2011

“Obama’s Big Green Mess”

We wondered whether the mainstream media would start connecting the dots on Solyndra and Barack Obama’s failed “green jobs” stimulus. ABC News has done a great job reporting on the scandal itself, including its connection to an Obama campaign bundler and the remarkable manner in which taxpayer funds were subordinated to George Kaiser’s investment by the Department of Energy — in direct contravention of Congressional mandates protecting taxpayer-funded loan guarantees. The first major media outlet to view Solyndra in the larger context of stimulus failure turns out to be Newsweek — and Eleanor Clift, surprisingly (via Instapundit):

Washington's scandal du jour has been Solyndra. The California solar company received a rushed half-billion-dollar clean-energy stimulus loan from the Obama administration, only to go bankrupt and potentially leave taxpayers on the hook-despite warnings from career officials that both Solyndra and the larger solar industry were facing financial pressures.

But it is far from the only blemish on the administration's much-touted green agenda. In addition to weatherization problems, an internal Labor Department report disclosed this month that a multibillion-dollar program to retrain workers for green-energy jobs met only 10 percent of its goal of creating 80,000 jobs. A federal renewable-energy lab in Colorado that got nearly $300 million from another green-energy program began laying off 10 percent of its workforce last month.

Overall, as the $787 billion economic stimulus-the primary engine for the green-energy agenda-came to an end Sept. 30, it is clear that the program created far fewer jobs than promised. So-called green-collar jobs are notoriously hard to tally, but numerous estimates by gleeful Republicans put the taxpayer cost of each green-energy job created by the stimulus at more than $1 million.

The article is titled “Obama’s Big Green Mess,” but the URL indicates that it originally went by another title: “Obama’s Green Energy Agenda Flop.” That doesn’t mean that Newsweek allowed itself to focus on Obama’s role in the flop, however, or the role his crony capitalism played — at least not explicitly. Clift scolds Republicans and Democrats alike for turning both the solar and oil industries into pay-for-play arenas, but curiously doesn’t mention Kaiser or his role as both bundler for Obama and the highly favorable and questionable treatment he received from DoE.

Clift also tells an anecdote to push some of the blame off onto Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, but doesn’t realize that the report actually makes Obama look like a dilettante:

Internally, some have questioned Energy Secretary Steven Chu's role in overseeing the efforts, noting that the Nobel laureate with the keen grasp of physics at times seems to lack political skills. On one occasion, Chu prepared a dense PowerPoint presentation to brief Obama on the complexities of last summer's BP oil spill. After Chu narrated six slides, one senior adviser who attended the meeting recalled that Obama simply stood up and said, “Steve, I'm done.”

Really? We had a severe environmental disaster unfold in the Gulf, and Obama couldn’t bother to sit through more than six Power Point slides to cover the material? That actually provides a great insight into why Obama chose to push his “green jobs” stimulus, despite decades of failure of federal subsidies to produce a viable, mass-producing solar and wind industry in the US. Obama doesn’t bother to do his homework; he merely dusted off decades of liberal hobby horses and just figured they would work as advertised. When it comes to the hard work of analysis and creative thought, Obama’s limit is apparently six Power Point slides.

At least this moves the ball forward, if only incrementally.

Update: Count the Economist out of the subsidy-cheerleading business, too:

THE rush to subsidise solar power over the past decade has been massively wasteful and squalidly political. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the sorry saga of Solyndra, a Californian maker of novel tubular solar panels down the maw of which the Obama administration shovelled $535m in the hope of "green jobs" and photo ops. It got instead mismanagement, bankruptcy and scandal. The money wasted on Solyndra, though, is as nothing compared to the tens of billions of euros squandered on solar panels in Germany. So little electricity do these panels produce under its cloudy northern skies that the emissions from a single large coal-fired power station are enough to nullify all the benefits that their carbon-free contribution might bring. The green jobs they, too, were meant to bring are largely, though not entirely, in China. …

There is much that governments can do to encourage such progress in the future without repeating the mistakes of the past. They should limit the grounds on which people can object to neighbours' solar installations through the planning process. They should remove subsidies for technologies that compete with solar. In India, which has lots of sun and lots of back-up generators burning subsidised diesel, that could be a game changer in itself. Above all they must fix a price of carbon that gives innovators the confidence that competing with fossil fuels for the long term will be a rewarding, and perhaps hugely profitable, undertaking. If politics prevent them from setting a substantial carbon price, they might consider requiring utilities to have a carbon-free component to their generating portfolios, as happens in many American states. But that needs to be open to all carbon-free technologies, not just the ones that the politicians like, so that the most efficient can prosper.

You mean that having politicians pick winners and losers (really, just losers) doesn’t create efficiency and innovation? I’d be shocked … if I wasn’t paying attention to the decades of futility we have seen in green-tech subsidies in the US.


No Change in Storminess

As we enter the winter season, we all realize that if a large snow storm forms anywhere on the planet, someone will immediately appear and claim we are witnessing the effect of global warming. However, winter storms (aka extratropical cyclones) are tough to sell to the public given the images of cold, snow, wind, and misery at the low end of the temperature scale. So if winter storms are a hard sell, hurricanes (aka tropical cyclones) are nothing short of ideal - warm water, heavy rain, wind, and misery in already warm parts of the world.

But, it turns out that in either case, new research reported in the scientific literature finds little in the way of changes that are unusual in today's climate of "global warming."

The first article appeared in Tellus written by five scientists with Germany's Hamburg University who were investigating changes in the recent behavior of extratropical cyclones. Sienz et al. (who tend to get a bit technical) begin noting:
"Extratropical cyclones are the major source of intra-annual climate variability in mid-latitudes. Huge damage is caused by intense storms and heavy precipitation associated with extraordinary intense baroclinic vortices [i.e., extratropical storm systems -eds.]. The growth and intensity of these vortices are determined by sea surface temperatures, baroclinicity and large-scale teleconnections (for example the North Atlantic Oscillation, NAO) which might be altered in an anthropogenic climate change".

With respect to what we might expect to see with storm behavior, they note:
"For the northern hemispheric winter the majority of scenario simulations show a slight decrease of the total number of cyclones, while, on the other hand, there are hints that the number of intense cyclones increases. However, models do not agree with respect to these conclusions, in particular if individual regions are considered."

In other words, we have no clue what should be happening to cyclonic storms in the Northern Hemisphere as a whole and even less so for particular regions.

It help better understand what has been happening, the team gathered what are called "re-analysis" data from September, 1957 to August, 2002; these data are created by a model but the data are derived from a large collection of observations on a daily basis. Re-analysis data are quite popular now in climate change research, and despite some limitations, they are showing up everywhere in the literature. From the re-analysis data, the team computed four different measures of cyclone intensity including "geopotential height in the centre of a cyclone, mean horizontal gradient of the geopotential height in the neighbourhood, cyclone depth, all measured at 1000 hPa, and relative vorticity in the cyclone centre at 850 hPa." Let's not turn this into an advanced class in atmospheric science-so it will suffice to say that these are all very credible measures of the intensity of a storm event. Sienz et al. report "no significant trend could be found in [any] of the cyclones quantities". In their conclusions section, they note "The absence of a significant trend in the cyclone parameters for the whole North Atlantic is consistent with the findings of" other scientists who have explored the same issue.

You might argue that evaluating storm activity from 1957 to 2002 is hardly a long enough time period for conducting any meaningful, long-term climate analysis. Maybe you'd prefer something a bit longer? Well, then you are in luck. A recent article in Geology allows us to peer back over 5,000 years of storm activity-so let's have a look.

The research was conducted by a pair of earth scientists from Rice University who were funded by British Petroleum. We suspect that given this fact, their work was held to a higher standard of review compared to other submissions to Geology, and they apparently survived and the work is published in a highly respected outlet.

In some coastal areas, lagoons form and in a few special locations, the topography is just right for capturing overwash sediments from extreme storm events. Given the study area in southern Texas (near spring break paradise South Padre Island), the Wallace and Anderson team could reconstruct extreme hurricane (i.e., tropical cyclone) events going back 5,300 years. The area subsided at about that time producing the right conditions for recording intense storms of the past, but prior to 5,300 years ago, the lagoon was not in a position to record large hurricane events.

Wallace and Anderson collected 37 different cores within the lagoon (Laguna Madre), and they used radiocarbon dating and grain size analysis to detect large events in the past (big storms produce big sediments). When looking at the period 5,300 to 900 BP [before present], they conclude:
"Although high-frequency oscillations between warm and dry and cool and wet climate conditions have occurred in Texas through the late Holocene, there has been no notable variation in intense storm impacts across the northwestern Gulf of Mexico coast during this time interval, implying no direct link between these changing climate conditions and annual hurricane impact probability. In addition, there have been no significant differences in the landfall probabilities of storms between the eastern and western Gulf of Mexico during the late Holocene, suggesting that storm steering mechanisms have not varied during this time."

In discussing any link between sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic and hurricane activity, the authors are dismissive of the link and suggest that "[r]ather, intervals of frequent intense hurricane impacts (i.e., ca. 4400-3600 yr B.P., 2500-1000 yr B.P., 250 yr B.P. to present) can be correlated with periods of fewer El Ni¤o events and increased precipitation in tropical Africa." They conclude
"Current rates of intense hurricane impacts for Western Lake, Florida, Lake Shelby, Alabama, and Laguna Madre, Texas, do not seem unprecedented when compared to intense strikes over the past 5000 yr."

We continue to feature evidence from throughout the scientific literature showing that storm activity around the planet is not increasing in activity, whether we feature extra-tropical or tropical storm events. While the global warming alarmists contend we are impacting these storms, the facts suggest otherwise.


Perry slashed environmental enforcement in Texas

Gov. Rick Perry likes to say the best way to promote economic growth is to reduce regulation. When it comes to the environment, Perry has made Texas one of the most industry-friendly states in the nation.

Perry has cut funding for clean air programs and sued the Environmental Protection Agency to avoid enforcing laws to make the air cleaner. As part of his Republican presidential campaign, he routinely blasts the White House for tightening environmental standards.

"As president, I would roll back the radical agenda of President Obama's job-killing Environmental Protection Agency," Perry wrote recently in an op-ed for the New Hampshire Union-Leader. "Our nation does not need costly new federal restrictions, especially during our present economic crisis."

Those positions get big applause at Republican debates and fundraisers, and also provide insight into how he would govern if elected, particularly when it comes to the EPA.

In Texas, Perry signed a state budget that slashes funding for the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality from $833.3 million to $565.5 million over the next two years. In his budget proposal, Perry had provided even less: $552.5 million. Texas boasts the second largest environmental agency in the world, behind only the EPA; the state agency had requested $882.6 million just to maintain current programs.

The cuts were part of the governor's plan to slash $15 billion in state spending to cope with revenue shortfalls in the sagging economy. Environmentalists complained that the cuts will hurt the most effective clean air programs in the state, including ones that were helping to reduce auto emissions.

Perry used the EPA as his punching bag during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, and he is using the federal agency as a foil again in the presidential race

Executives in the state's oil and gas industry, the nation's largest, say they have enjoyed a cooperative relationship with the Texas' environmental agency, despite tougher federal rules.

"Texas always has been, and has continued to be under Governor Perry, one of the states where it's a more friendly regulatory environment," said David Blackmon, director of government relations for Houston-based El Paso Corp. The national natural gas company operates the nation's largest interstate pipeline system, which runs through 29 states.

Federal regulations have increased under Perry's tenure, but Texas has implemented fewer new rules than most other states. Blackmon said the real difference between states is the administrative costs of obtaining permits.

He said the Texas agency has "reached out to business and found solutions that not only cleaned up the air, but did it in a way that has a minimal impact on our ability to do business."

Until recently, emissions from Texas refineries were aggregated across an entire facility, rather than having each smokestack inspected and rated individually to see if it complied with federal law. The Obama administration determined that the aggregated calculation allowed refineries to violate the Clean Air Act and ordered an end to the practice. Perry condemned the decision and the state filed suit.

Businesses frequently complain about regulation, but there is little evidence that it is any worse now than in the past or that it is costing significant numbers of jobs. Most economists believe there is a simpler explanation: Companies aren't hiring because there isn't enough consumer demand.

Larry Soward, a Perry-appointed member of the Texas agency's three-member ruling commission from 2001 to 2007, said the environmental agency's stance reflects the state's political culture.

"The oil and gas industry is the biggest of those industries and has a stature that gives them a lot more respect and influence than the public or the environmentalists," said Soward, who is now a critic of the agency.

Soward said that even though air quality in Texas has improved during Perry's tenure, the credit goes to increasing federal regulations, not state initiatives.

With the budget cuts, the agency "simply won't have the resources, budgetary or staff-wise, to really provide a rigorous scrutiny over air quality permits or more rigorous inspections or enforcement," he said.

The final budget reduced the number of assessments and inspections from 146,534 to 130,140 authorized, or 11 percent less than the commission recommended.

Andrea Morrow, a spokeswoman for the Texas environmental agency, said the commission will try to meet its original goals on air pollution, but assessing waterways may be more difficult.

The commission will also have to cut back on programs that promote cleaner motor vehicles by reducing the emissions from diesel engines and older cars and trucks, she said.

The reduced funding, as well as other legislative changes made to the incentive programs will result in fewer grants and emissions reductions, Morrow wrote in an email.

Cyrus Reed, the Texas legislative director for the Sierra Club, said the state may lose the progress it's made toward cleaner air.

"We've had to come forward with citizen suits to get the law enforced," Reed said. "It's not our job to launch citizen suits, but we've had to do it in Texas."

Another new measure made tightening air quality permits on the oil and gas industry more difficult. That law, which Perry signed in June, requires the Texas environmental agency to analyze the effect of new regulation on the economy _ including how it might hurt a company _ before implementation. The economic impact could override the environmental benefit of the new regulation.

The new law reflects Perry's contention that global warming is a questionable theory and that regulation always creates an adverse business climate.

During an August campaign swing through New Hampshire, Perry said of climate change, "I don't think, from my perspective, that I want to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven, and from my perspective, is more and more being put into question."

Texas releases more heat-trapping carbon dioxide _ the chief gas in the greenhouse effect _ than any other state, according to government data.

In February 2010, Texas became the first state to sue the EPA for declaring that greenhouse gases are dangerous and subject to federal regulation.

A few months later, the EPA became so frustrated with how Texas was enforcing air quality laws that it took away the commission's authority to grant air pollution permits to some refineries. The state has filed suit to go back to the old rules.


Federally owned lands help no one

The federal government owns almost 650 million acres of land in the U.S. That's about 30 percent of all the land area in the nation and includes national parks, forests and wildlife refuges.

That's 1 out of every 3 acres in the U.S.-1 out of every 2 acres in the West, says Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), a member on the Natural Resources Committee and ranking member on the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.

Federal lands are managed differently based on their purpose. Some lands are managed by the National Parks Service, others lands are held as wildlife refuges and still others are labeled wilderness areas. How the federal government regulates these lands often impacts the economies of surrounding local communities.

About 109 million acres of these 650 million acres owned by the government are labeled wilderness areas. Richard Pombo, former Chairman on the House Committee on Natural Resources, explains that inside a wilderness area, no motorized activity is allowed. While some restricted federal lands might let you go four-wheeling or snowmobiling, wilderness areas do not.

The Wilderness Act of 1964 describes wilderness lands as: "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of . undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions."

With 109 million acres marked off as this kind of restricted land, local communities are bound to be affected economically. The question is, do local communities surrounding these wilderness areas suffer or prosper economically?

A study by Environmental Trends in June 2011 looked at the relationship between wilderness areas and local communities by comparing county total payroll, county tax receipts and county average household income. The findings concluded that when, "controlling for other types of federally held land and additional factors impacting economic conditions, federally designated Wilderness negatively impacts local economic conditions."

That isn't too surprising considering that wilderness areas don't just take away revenues from surrounding local communities due to the lack of infrastructure and construction allowed but also may turn away tourists with the land's long list of restrictions.

More specifically, the study, completed by students at Utah State University, found average household income within wilderness counties to be $1,446.06 less than non-wilderness counties. Likewise, total payroll in wilderness counties is about $37,500 less than in non-wilderness counties and county tax receipts in wilderness counties is about $92,910 dollars less than in non-wilderness counties.

Despite the cries from environmental communities that wilderness areas benefit local counties, the data simply isn't there to support those claims.

In fact, some states in the western part of the United States visibly prove the negative side of these federally owned lands, whether they are labeled wilderness, national parks, forests or wildlife refuges. Washington State, for example, used to have a thriving logging industry.

Now that industry is virtually gone. Because of protected forestry laws, small towns that survived off of the logging industry were choked out. Sawmills were shutdown, and timber men were left unemployed. Formerly thriving areas have essentially become ghost towns.

"The forest service holds life or death over the timber industry," says Don Todd, head of research at Americans for Limited Government Foundation (ALG). "They have leases that decide where to sell timber or whether or not a road can be built to get the timber out."

As America struggles economically, as well as its states and local counties, is it really in the best interest of these local communities for the government to continue to cordon off lands as wilderness or other forms of federally owned land?

Todd says the best answer to this question was given by former Senator Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming who he summarizes as saying:

"If government ownership of land is the answer than the Soviet Union should have been the Garden of Eden. But after the Wall came down we discovered it was hell."


Tax breaks for British firms being hit by 'absurd' green targets driving business abroad

George Osborne is preparing to offer tax breaks to firms hit by Britain's `absurd' climate change policies after being warned they threaten to drive business abroad. In a major U-turn, the Chancellor will try to help companies that use large amounts of energy.

His move comes amid growing concern that companies and households are being hit heavily by Britain's commitment to cut carbon emissions faster than other countries.

Yesterday one of the world's leading industrialists said manufacturing was being `ruinously penalised' by green taxes and said the levies could put his firm's £1.2billion investment programme in this country at risk.

Karl-Ulrich Kohler, head of Tata Steel Europe - which employs 20,000 staff in Britain - told the Daily Mail: `Why the UK government wants to go further and be the leader in Europe in this field is difficult for me to understand. It's a race for the leadership that is simply over the top.

`The UK is one of the weaker industrial players in Europe. Why are we trying to be a leader on the green front when the economy is in such a hard place?' He added: `If the UK becomes less attractive due to regulation and tax, then there are other places in the world to invest. The Government must see that.'

Mr Osborne's plans are sure to set him on collision course with his Liberal Democrat coalition colleagues.

Last night Whitehall sources told the Mail the Chancellor is working on radical proposals to mitigate the effects on companies that use large amounts of energy, such as cement, aluminium and steel makers.

Tax breaks and exemptions from new carbon levies are expected to be included in a mini-Budget due next month. A source close to Mr Osborne said: `We recognise that a decade of environmental laws and regulations have piled costs on the energy bills of energy intensive business.

`As well as increasing the climate change levy discount on electricity and reducing corporation tax, he will be announcing a package of measures to help energy intensive industries remain competitive in due course. `There's no point forcing energy intensive industries to relocate to other countries - that would only harm our economy without reducing global carbon emissions.'

Last year David Cameron said he wanted the Coalition to be known as the `greenest government ever'. And Mr Osborne alarmed industry when he announced a `carbon floor price' in his Budget last March - essentially a tax on emissions that will raise £3.2billion by 2016.

Former Conservative Chancellor Lord Lawson, a leading climate change sceptic, said tax breaks for the hardest-hit industries were a good `first step'. The current policies are endangering the economy at a particularly difficult time,' he said. `I hope the Chancellor will as soon as possible spell out exactly what he proposes to do to prevent this.

`The real need is not to have these absurd commitments and then have to run around bribing vulnerable businesses at taxpayers' expense so as to prevent them from closing down or leaving the country - it is to amend the [emissions] targets. `We must make it quite clear that we are not going there if the rest of the world isn't.'

Under Labour's Climate Change Act, the Government is legally bound to cut emissions 35 per cent by 2022 and 50 per cent by 2025. But the EU is committed only to cutting emissions 20 per cent by 2020. Several countries are rejecting calls for them to increase the target to 30 per cent.

Tory MP David Davis, a former leadership contender, said: `George Osborne must stand his ground against the Lib Dems on this issue. `There is absolutely no point in having such draconian environmental policies that heavy energy-using industries like steel and chemicals up sticks and go and create just as much pollution in India and China, but to our economic disadvantage. It is simply not a rational policy.'

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said it was vital for Britain to reduce its dependence on oil and gas imports from `volatile' parts of the world. He said volatility in fossil fuel prices was primarily responsible for pushing up household bills.

Ministers' obsession with green taxes is driving up energy bills, bringing financial pain to millions of families, it was claimed last night. But the Government energy summit yesterday offered no hope that struggling families and businesses will be offered lower energy bills this winter. Both Energy Secretary Chris Huhne and British Gas managing director Phil Bentley admitted that price rises were here to stay.

The `big six' energy giants have increased tariffs by 15 per cent-plus in recent weeks, raising the average annual dual fuel bill by around £175 to £1,345.

This figure is inflated by around £100 to cover a raft of green taxes and associated charges, which are set to soar in the next decade. Mr Huhne is the chief cheerleader for the charges, which are being used to fund a £200billion shift to wind, wave, solar and nuclear power.

Yesterday he insisted that prices in Britain were `relatively good' compared with elsewhere in the world but admitted: `If you are asking me to predict what is going to happen to world fossil fuel prices then the Government's prediction... is that in the medium-run those prices are going to go up. The companies are not the Salvation Army. We expect them to earn respectable returns for their shareholders.'

Mr Bentley added: `In the last two and a half years, gas prices on the international market are up by 70 per cent. I'm afraid it is an inconvenient truth that those costs have to be passed on to customers.'

Mr Huhne said customers should shop around as up to 85 per cent `don't bother' to look for a better deal. He said: `This is not small beer. If you look at the figures on an average dual fuel bill of about £1,300, by switching you can get £200 off.'

But yesterday Simon Walker, the new director general of the Institute of Directors, said it was `simply not credible' for the Government politely to ask energy firms to curb bills. He warned that the current push for green energy is driving up bills, saying: `Current policies risk locking us into cleaner and more expensive energy, when the goal should be cleaner and cheaper energy.

`What may have been tolerable in an age of affluence is far less realistic today. Undermining the UK's competitiveness through high energy costs would do no favours to either economic recovery or the environment.'

David Cameron is under pressure to reverse a cut in the Winter Fuel Payment for millions of pensioners who cannot afford to keep the heating on. This winter, over-80s will see the grant reduced to £300, a £100 drop from last year. Younger pensioners will receive £200, a £50 cut. In total, 9.2million households will be affected.


The true story of cosmetics

Exposing the Risks of the Smear Campaign

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and its partner, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), are on a crusade to scare consumers away from using cosmetics and hygiene products that contain preservatives and other useful chemicals. As part of their effort to ban the use of synthetic ingredients from skin products, these environmental extremist groups are working to incite fear among consumers, making outrageous and bogus claims that we are poisoning ourselves by using lipstick, makeup, deodorants, skin creams, and even baby products. Specifically, they claim that the additives can cause cancer, create neurological disorders, or cause hormone disruption-even though they are present in trace amounts.

In fact, these preservatives protect users from bacteria. Present in quantities so small-typically, less than 1 percent of a product's total weight-they are added to prevent contamination and to protect consumers from the buildup of dangerous bacteria that can cause eye infections, skin rashes, and even deadly infections such as E. coli and Salmonella.

Parabens, for example, are added to makeup, deodorants, moisturizers, and body creams to prevent bacteria, fungi, and mold. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, parabens are linked to breast cancer and can cause hormone dysfunction. Yet scientists have refuted the claims, arguing that concentrations of parabens in cosmetics are too small to have an adverse effect, and are at levels in our body thousands to millions of times lower than naturally produced estrogens.

Another example is the chemical oxybenzone, used in sunscreens to protect users from the ultraviolet rays that can cause skin cancer. The Environmental Working Group warns consumers to stay away from oxybenzone because it "contaminates the body" and can cause hormone disruption and cell damage. Yet cancer research organizations such as the Skin Cancer Foundation refute EWG's assertions, arguing that there is no evidence to back the claims of oxybenzone risks. These cancer foundations worry that such fear mongering will scare consumers away from using sun block products that protect consumers from the risks of skin cancer from the sun's rays.

In spite of the lack of scientific evidence of health risks from these ingredients, the anti-chemical groups have been successful in creating a climate of fear among many consumers-and lawmakers. The legislation they are promoting, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011, would ban any cosmetic and skin care ingredients that exceed a one in a million risk of an adverse health impact-which is to say it would ban most ingredients since almost everything carries risk greater than one in a million. While the risks from products not containing these additives would be much higher, those risks would not be considered. In effect, the bill would ban the very chemicals that protect consumers.

In reviewing the claims of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group, as well as the scientific literature on the use of these chemical additives, this report finds that these fringe groups are pushing their own anti-chemical agenda at the expense of human health. It shows that consumers are at far greater risk by avoiding these essential ingredients, as backed by sound and peer-reviewed science.



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


18 October, 2011

Climate change a ‘catastrophic’ threat to global health, say "experts"

More stupid miserable Leftist propaganda. I was born and bred in a place where a normal summer was what Brits and many others from Northern climes would call a "heat wave". And we enjoyed it! It gave us a good excuse to drink lots of cold beer -- and one of life's greatest pleasures is that first mouthful of cold beer on a hot day!

And the sort of sickly-looking people who abound in the streets of London were nowhere to be seen. Everybody seemed to be in good health, though the suntans may have helped with that impression. So if global warming made cooler climes become like my home town of Cairns they would be much better off.

Cairns is in fact a significant tourist destination. Japanese and Scandinavians come there to escape their winters. The planes flying in to Cairns International Airport never seem to stop

And speaking of food crops, you haven't lived until you have tasted tropical fruit grown right beside you in the tropics. Ever had Granadilla with icecream as a dessert? It is just about completely untransportable but if you take a short trip South of Cairns to Innisfail or Babinda you can get it straight off the vine. And it is well worth that effort

Life just leaps out at you in the wet tropics. It is cold that is anti-life -- But that seems to be what Greenies want

Climate change will be “catastrophic” to global health and could foster global instability and insecurity, a group of prominent scientists, environmental health experts and government officials warned Monday.

They urged governments around the world to tackle climate change, and asked that the EU immediately adopt a 30 percent CO2 greenhouse reduction target by 2020.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne asked governments around the world to focus on preventative climate change solutions to create a “cleaner, healthier and safer future for us all.”

A statement released by the group warns that dealing with climate change will further burden the world’s militaries and have “enormous” human and economic costs. These include more frequent extreme weather events, water and food shortages, the spread of diseases, potential ecosystem collapse and threats to livelihoods.

Such problems could trigger mass migration and conflict within and between countries.

“Climate knows no frontiers,” said Lord Michael Jay, chairman of Merlin, an international health charity. Even in difficult economic times, “we must not fail to take tough measures ... There is a real need for more commitment and more action at a national, international and industrial level,” he said.

In a phone interview, Anthony Costello, a global health expert at University College London, argued that the most pressing impact of climate change is crop shortages and resulting increases in food prices.

Costello used the example of the Russia’s heat wave in 2010 that not only led to the deaths of thousands of people, but also led to the collapse of Russia’s wheat crop. The wheat crop devastation had a direct effect on the past year’s spike in world food prices.

“There are clear linkages here,” Costello said. “Changes in food production - even small changes - can have huge effects on people.”

Rising food prices have an uneven effect on developing countries, because these countries rely heavily on agriculture and people in these countries already spend a larger percentage of their income on food.

“Any shifts in food prices can be catastrophic,” Costello said.

Hugh Montgomery, director of the University College London Institute for Human Health and Performance, warned that ignoring climate change will cost lives.

“It is not enough for politicians to deal with climate change as some abstract academic concept. The price of complacency will be paid in human lives and suffering, and all will be affected. Tackling climate change can avoid this,” he said.


The Sun, not Man, warms the Earth

A German climate researcher has discovered that the surge in solar radiation that began in 1700, peaked in 1960 and is still at historically high levels was far stronger and more significant than had previously been realized.

According to Dr. Horst-Joachim Ludecke, who spent months comparing the varying widths of annual tree-rings and stalagmite deposits with recent temperature and sunspot records, this remarkable increase in solar activity was the real reason why the weather got warmer from 1950-2000. There has been no warming since 2000.

Dr. Ludecke reports his major discovery in the latest issue of the acclaimed climate-science journal Energy and Environment.

His discovery is consistent with earlier results from Professor Sami Solanki in Finland, who reported in the journal Science six years ago that the Sun's activity in the second half of the 20th century had been greater than during almost any similar period since the end of the last Ice Age 11,400 years ago.

In contrast to Professor Solanki's conclusion that Man was nevertheless the main cause of global warming since 1950, Dr. Ldecke's research shows that the Sun is the real culprit.

The new analysis indicates that changes in the Sun's output of radiation, which depends upon anomalies in its magnetic field that show up as sunspots, are what really drives temperature changes here on Earth.

Dr. Ludecke said: "The Sun is still recovering from the Maunder Minimum, the 70-year period from 1645-1715 when there were hardly any sunspots. It was less active then than during any similar period over the past 11,400 years. It was then that the Hudson in New York and the Thames in London used to freeze over in the winter.

"It is the unprecedentedly rapid recovery of the Sun's activity over the past 300 years - far stronger than anyone had previously suspected - that has been the chief driver of global warming in recent decades. We have very little to do with it."

Dr. Ludecke's analysis of the 200-year record of monthly temperatures measured by thermometers at five northern-hemisphere stations shows the Earth cooled almost as much in the 19th century as it warmed in the 20th.

Also, two 2000-year temperature reconstructions - one from a stalagmite, one from tree-rings - indicated that 100-year ups and downs in global temperature far stronger than those of the past 200 years were commonplace, strongly contradicting the "official" hypothesis that 20th-century global warming is unusual.

Dr. Ludecke said, "The Sun gives its name and its warmth to the Solar System. One should look there, not here, for the true cause of recent global warming."


New academic paper provides context for 20th century warming

Dr Ludecke has expanded the paper referred to above. The key finding again is that a slight 20th century warming almost exactly balanced a slight 19th century cooling so we are in fact living in an era of great climate stability. The Abstract and Conclusion of the expanded paper are given below. the full paper is available from Dr Ludecke []

Long-Term Instrumental and Reconstructed Temperature Records Contradict Anthropogenic Global Warming

Horst-Joachim Ludecke
EIKE, European Institute for Climate and Energy

Supplemented version of an article published in Energy & Environment, Vol. 22, No. 6 (Sept. 2011)


Monthly instrumental temperature records from 5 stations in the northern hemisphere are analyzed, each of which is local and well over 200 years in length, as well as two reconstructed long-range yearly records - from a stalagmite and from tree rings that are about 2000 years long. In the instrumental records, the steepest 100-year temperature fall happened in the 19th century and the steepest rise in the 20th century, both events being of about the same magnitude.

Evaluation by the detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) yields Hurst exponents that are in good agreement with the literature. DFA, Monte Carlo simulations, and synthetic records reveal that both 100-year events have too small probabilities to be natural fluctuations and, therefore, were caused by external trends. In contrast to this, the reconstructed records show stronger 100- year rises and falls as quite common during the last 2000 years. Consequently, their DFA evaluation reveals far greater Hurst exponents.

These results contradict the hypothesis of an unusual (anthropogenic) global warming during the 20th century. The cause of the different Hurst exponents for the instrumental and the reconstructed temperature records is not known. As a hypothesis, the sun's magnetic field, which is correlated with sunspot numbers, is put forward as an explanation. The long-term low-frequency fluctuations in sunspot numbers are not detectable by the DFA in the monthly instrumental records, resulting in the common low Hurst exponents. The same does not hold true for the 2000-year-long reconstructed records, which explains both their higher Hurst exponents and the higher probabilities of strong 100-year temperature fluctuations. A long-term synthetic record that embodies the reconstructed sunspot number fluctuations includes the different Hurst exponents of both the instrumental and the reconstructed records and, therefore, corroborates the conjecture.


Instrumental records going back a maximum of up to about 250 years from present show the temperature declines in the 19th century and the rises in the 20th to be of similar magnitudes. If we assume anthropogenic CO2 to be the agent behind the 20th century rise, we face a problem when it comes to the 19th century. The detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA2) evaluated - for the five records selected here - very small natural probabilities for both centennial events. Therefore, the probability that they are the result of deterministic trends is high, but what actually caused the trends to be diametrically opposed remains unknown.

In contrast, two high-quality long-range records, SPA12 and MOB, show frequent centennial rises and falls of equal and greater magnitudes than their shorter instrumental counterparts during the last 2000 years. Smoothed SPA12 and MOB records are reported to be in accordance with other biological proxies, indicating that centennial fluctuations at least as strong as those of the past 250 years were indeed common events. This is further confirmed by the DFA Hurst exponents of 2 0:9 for SPA12 and MOB that are far higher than the 2 0:6 of the instrumental records.

As a consequence, the impact of anthropogenic greenhouse gases is most probably a minor effect and - in view of the 19th century temperature fall of similar magnitude - not appropriate as an authoritative explanation for any temperature rise in the northern hemisphere during the 20th century.

Because no reliable explanation can be given for the conict between the different Hurst exponents and probabilities in the instrumental and reconstructed records, a hypothesis of solar inuence (manifesting itself in long-term sunspot fluctuations) could be put forward to explain the contradiction. A monthly synthetic record covering about 1500 years and using a Hurst exponent of = 0.6, which corresponds to the instrumental records was therefore superimposed on the trend of the sunspot numbers. The DFA2 result for this combined record shows that it embodies both the short persistence of the instrumental data and the long persistence of the reconstructed data. The hypothesis expressed here suggests that the sun could be predominantly responsible for the 100-year-long rises and falls in temperature over the last 2000 years.

Some interesting admissions from a Warmist article

Predictably, they give NO evidence of human effects and just refer to that mythical "consensus". They even quote Al Gore as an authority! When they do talk scientific facts, however, they are more interesting. I excerpt that part:

The Sun's Energy

Scientists and astronomers have studied the impact of the Sun on the Earth's climate as far back as the early 1800s. Historians have traced the earliest such studies to the research of Sir William Herschel, who tried to link the frequency of sunspots to the price of wheat. His belief was that the number of sunspots would be indicative of the amount of the Sun's energy that is received by the Earth. That energy would affect the amount of wheat produced, which would affect the price.

Herschel’s study didn’t make a big impact at the time because he did not have access to historical temperature records to make any useful comparisons. However, there has been a significant amount of research conducted since then to show that variations in the Sun's energy output have an impact on changes in Earth’s climate.

One such study, published earlier this year in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, provides more evidence of this link between the Sun and the Earth. Through their analysis of historic temperature deviations, geomagnetic activity and the frequency of sunspots, the authors concluded that “the Sun has a significant role to play in the long-term and short-term climate change.”

“With more and more data available, it may provoke some thought to further explore the solar influence on Earth's climate with geomagnetic activity acting as a possible link,” said lead author Mufti Sabi ud din, scientist of the Astrophysical Sciences Division at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in India's Department of Atomic Energy. “It may evoke some response so as to bring to the fore the substantial role of the natural forcing at work on the observed climate variability.”

Mufti, however, noted that the evidence does not indicate the Sun and other natural forces are the main drivers behind current climate change.

“We do not rule out the natural forcings at work,” he said, “but there isn't enough quantitative evidence to say that natural forcings are the dominant cause of current climate change. We have made it amply clear that the anthropogenic origins cannot also be ruled out."

Orbital Change

Another natural occurrence that has caused major changes in the Earth's climate in the past is shifts in the Earth's orbit. Consider the Sahara desert, for example. There is a wide acceptance among scientists that the Sahara transformed from a fertile grassland to a desert because of a change to the Earth's orbit. This shift in how the Earth circled the Sun affected the amount of sunlight that region of Africa received.

The Earth's orbital tilt is said to vary between 22 and 25 degrees roughly every 41,000 years. While a natural event such as this could bring about major changes to the climate, some scientists are warning that there is a possibility for reverse feedback. In other words, instead of an orbital tilt causing climate change, such as the one that took place in the African continent, current changes in climate could end up causing changes in the Earth's axial tilt.

In an article published late last year, Astrobiology Magazine reported on such a prediction: “Scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory say that the current melting of ice in Greenland is already causing the tilt to change at a rate of approximately 2.6 centimeters each year. They predict that his change could increase in the years ahead.”

While fascinating, 2.6 centimeters is an infinitesimally small fraction of a single degree, and scientists say this is far too small of a change in Earth’s tilt to have a noticeable impact on climate.

The Brookings Institute released a report in April on the public opinion on climate change in the United States and Canada. In a survey of 2,130 people, the report found that there is a progressive decrease in the number of people who think there is “solid evidence of global warming” and an increase in the number who think there is no solid evidence. In the fall of 2008, 17 percent of people did not believe in global warming. In the fall of 2010, that number had increased to 26 percent. Even though the number of climate change believers has decreased, the majority of people still believed that the Earth is undergoing global warming and most of them (61 percent of Americans and 57 percent of Canadians) felt it was a “very serious” problem.

Moving On

Despite knowing the difference between weather and climate, both climate-change supporters and opponents in politics and in the media often can't refrain from using short-term weather patterns to bolster their respective arguments. Harsh winters are used as evidence of no global warming while scorching summers are used to support the viewpoint of human-caused warming of the Earth. Individual seasonal weather events such as a “snowmageddon” or heat waves cannot be directly attributed to either argument of the climate change debate because such events alone are temporary.


How the EPA is Ruining American Industry: Interview with Rich Trzupek, author of "Regulators Gone Wild"

Rael Jean Isaac interviews Rich Trzupek

This book could not have been published at a more propitious time. As the economy falters, it seems that every critic of this administration cites the role of regulation in strangling American business and industry--thereby preventing them from hiring new workers. Rich Trzupek, a chemist and environmental consultant for twenty five years, provides much needed chapter and verse, focusing on the devastation wrought by what has become the most abusive agency in the government alphabet soup--the EPA.

Interwoven with the discussion of the EPA's increasingly off-the-wall and often counterproductive regulations, Trzupek provides stories of the real people and companies who are its victims. For example, he tells the story of a retired gentleman who invested his savings in a six unit apartment building in Chicago. This gentleman hired a professional management company to look after the property.

Under the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, sellers and landlords of dwellings built before 1978 must provide a form disclosing the presence of lead-based paint on the premises. The management company goofed, failing to send tenants the required form. The Illinois EPA, discovering this omission, demanded over $140,000 in penalties from the owner.

This staggering punishment clearly did not fit the supposed crime --and in fact, in this case, there was no crime at all, for the buildings had no lead paint. All that was involved was an inadvertent paperwork mistake. The EPA was immovable. The owner eventually succeeded in having the fine significantly reduced, but only at the cost of huge legal bills from an environmental lawyer who took on the regulatory behemoth.

Trzupek shows that both the regulations themselves and the process of implementing them are badly flawed. As the above case illustrates, penalties are unrelated to damage done, merely to paperwork, and given the mountains of paperwork the EPA requires, especially of larger companies, with the best of intentions, it is hard to avoid some failure in that area. And the EPA goes for the jugular.

Moreover, companies have to deal with moving targets. No sooner is a goal achieved for a pollutant than the EPA lowers the standard--and the company finds itself suddenly out of compliance. Then there's CERCLA, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, under whose terms the EPA can pluck millions out of industry pockets. It doesn't matter if a given company made only the most miniscule contribution, say, to a hazardous waste site, if it's a big company, for the EPA it's like hitting the jackpot in Vegas, because the company can be held responsible for the entire cleanup costs.

As for the regulations themselves, as time has gone by and there has been a radical reduction in pollution, they have become ever more stringent to ever less purpose. Under a current EPA proposal, to quote Trzupek, "many potentially toxic pollutants will have to be controlled so tightly that no one will be able to find them. That is one step removed from setting emissions limits at zero, and just about as unrealistic and unachievable a goal."

Trzupek writes of the scare tactics used by what he calls the environmental industry, an apt term for the so-called environmental watch dog groups like the NRDC, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth etc., who have the media and to a large extent the EPA itself, in their pocket.

They are never satisfied, never praise the achievements that have been made in cleaner air and water, foment public fear and hysteria as a way of staying relevant--and rich in donations from a public convinced of dire environmental peril. Global warming is the most recent false scare promoted by the environmental industry and if you are not already a skeptic on that subject, Trzupek's cogent chapter "There's Nothing Cool About Global Warming" should make you one.

Read this book. It will make you mad, And a great many people will have to be mad--so they will organize to do something, if sanity is to be restored and American industry saved from its regulator-destroyers .


The crookedness never stops at the BBC

The BBC, in determining its policy towards the coverage of global warming, which is of course not simply a scientific issue but an economic and a political issue, too, ought to shred that section of the Jones review and revert to the impartiality laid down in its charter.

In the second half of July, when most of us were preparing to set off on our summer holidays, the BBC Trust published a lengthy review of the impartiality and accuracy of the corporation’s coverage of science, most of which was taken up with what was described as an “independent assessment” by the geneticist Professor Steve Jones.

A substantial section of Jones’s assessment was, understandably, devoted to the important issue of global warming. Regrettably, that section was characterised chiefly by ignorance and intolerance. I was saddened not only by these general defects but also by an unwarranted attack on me personally. So, to be completely fair, I should quote the section in full.

Claiming that there is no longer any scope for serious debate over global warming, and that the media “face the danger of being trapped into a false balance, into giving equal coverage to the views of a determined but deluded minority and to those of a united but less insistent majority”, Jones complains:

“The impression of active debate is promoted by prominent individuals such as Lord Monckton and Lord Lawson. The BBC still gives space to them to make statements that are not supported by the facts: that (in a February 2011 The Daily Politics show) 95% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from natural sources, while in fact human activity has been responsible for a 40% rise in concentration, or (a November 2009 Today programme) that volcanoes produce more gases than do humans (the balance is a hundred times in the opposite direction). For at least three years, the climate change deniers have been marginal to the scientific debate but somehow they continued to find a place on the airwaves.”

The false accusation that I am in the habit of making statements about global warming “that are not supported by the facts” was highly damaging not only to me personally but also to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), which since its inception in November 2009 has become a respected and reliable source of information relevant to the global warming debate, and of which I am founding chairman.

And not only had I not made either of the statements complained of — leaving aside the question of their veracity; I had not appeared on either of the two programmes. (Nor, for that matter, had Christopher Monckton, whose position on this issue is, incidentally, not the same as mine.) I immediately emailed the chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, to complain. Receiving no reply, and after consulting the trustees of the GWPF, I instructed my lawyers to demand an apology and retraction.

This the BBC did on the BBC Trust’s website in the following somewhat grudging terms:

“On 8 August 2011, the trust published an updated version of Professor Steve Jones’s independent review of the accuracy and impartiality of the BBC’s science coverage due to an ambiguity [sic] in the section on climate change ... “The trust and Professor Jones now recognise that the passage as originally published could be interpreted as attributing statements made in those two programmes to Lord Lawson or to Lord Monckton. Neither programme specifically [sic] featured Lord Lawson or Lord Monckton and it was not Professor Jones’s intention to suggest that this was the case. Professor Jones has apologised for the lack of clarity in this section of his assessment, which has now been amended [by the removal of my name and that of Lord Monckton].”

But that does not dispose of the matter. The thrust of the Jones review is that in its coverage of global warming the BBC gives too much airtime to dissenters from the conventional wisdom such as me.

The very reverse is the case. Despite the authoritative role of the GWPF, invitations to either me or its excellent director, Dr Benny Peiser, to appear on air on this issue are almost as rare as hen’s teeth.

This is not because of any hostility to me personally. I am frequently invited to appear on BBC programmes about the economy, and from time to time I do so. But on global warming the BBC has a clear party line, and anyone who might provide an informed challenge to the party line is not wanted.

Jones’s mindset is revealed by his use of the term “climate change denier” to describe anyone, such as me, who is a dissenter about any aspect of the global warming orthodoxy. It is a term I find particularly disreputable and offensive, as it is clearly intended to group climate change dissenters with Holocaust deniers.

In its letter to my lawyers containing Jones’s grudging apology, the BBC litigation department wrote that “Professor Jones does not, however, resile from the statement ... that your client promotes the impression of active scientific debate on the issue of global warming when in fact there is clear consensus to the contrary”.

In fact, as the name of my think tank makes clear, our concern is primarily in the area of policy: in the light of the facts, to the extent that we know them and understand them, what policy is it rational and proportionate to pursue?

We are, of course, interested in the views of well-qualified scientists. It was for this reason that we recently published The Truth about Greenhouse Gases, a briefing paper by William Happer, an eminent professor of physics at Princeton University. The paper should be read in its entirety, but at one point Professor Happer provides his own summary of the main thrust, in these terms:

“Let me summarise how the key issues appear to me, a working scientist with a better knowledge than most in the physics of climate. CO2 really is a greenhouse gas, and, other things being equal, adding CO2 to the atmosphere by burning coal, oil and natural gas will modestly increase the surface temperature of the Earth ... The combination of a slightly warmer Earth and more CO2 will greatly increase the production of food, wood, fibre and other products by green plants, so the increased CO2 will be good for the planet, and will easily outweigh any negative effects. Supposed calamities like the accelerated rise of sea level, ocean acidification, more extreme climate, tropical diseases near the poles etc are greatly exaggerated.”

I do not know whether Jones regards Happer as “deluded”, still less what qualifications he has to do so; but it is interesting that he essentially torpedoes his own thesis, and implicitly agrees with Happer (although he wholly fails to grasp the significance of this), in one lone sentence of his review:

“Now, there is general agreement that warming is a fact even if there remain uncertainties about how fast, and how much, the temperature might rise [my italics].”

The difference between a slow and gentle warming (Happer puts it at something like 1C over the next 200 years) and a sharp, accelerated warming this century is massive and at the very heart of the lively scientific debate that Jones claims no longer exists. (Last week that debate was intensified by the publication of research suggesting that solar activity might lead to a cooling. Previously such a possibility was discounted by the scientific consensus.) The fact that there has been no recorded global warming at all so far this century adds credibility to the Happer view, but it is of course too soon to be sure. What is sure is that this has a profound bearing on what policies it is rational to pursue.

It is clear that the BBC, in determining its policy towards the coverage of global warming, which is of course not simply a scientific issue but an economic and a political issue, too, ought to shred that section of the Jones review and revert to the impartiality laid down in its charter.

No doubt it is influenced by the fact that all three political parties at present cleave to the conventional wisdom, and that there is thus no problem of achieving party political balance. However, some might reasonably contend that the unanimity of the three main parties makes it all the more important that, in the public interest, adequate airtime is given to informed dissent.


Economic realism raising its head in "Green" Britain?

On the issue of green energy policy and growth, there are some reasons to hope that the Government may be modifying its position, though I do not expect a major U-turn.

Last week’s economic news was mixed, biased towards the negative. Starting with the good news, exports picked up in August, whilst imports fell back, resulting in a modest improvement in the trade balance. But one swallow doesn’t make a summer and given the downturn in our major export markets we are far from the much-desired export led growth projected by the OBR in March. Manufacturing slipped back in the month and unemployment jumped to 2.57 million (June to August) to a 17-year high.

Economic growth, or the lack of it, is back in the news with Mr Balls ever quick to condemn the “draconian cuts”, which are really rather modest – and necessary. The credit ratings of Spain and Italy have been wilting recently and I’m convinced ours would be too if there was a significant retreat from fiscal prudence. But the pressures are undoubtedly on the Government to “do something” about growth and many eyes will be focussed on the growth measures announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 29 November.

It should, of course, be remembered that the March Budget was tagged as one “unashamedly about growth” but The Plan for Growth released at the time, jointly authored by the Treasury and BIS, was a tepid and unambitious affair. And even though I supported the Chancellor’s welcome announcement that an employee must work for two years rather than one in order to claim unfair dismissal, and pay a fee for taking a case to a tribunal, it should be noted that the volume of business regulations rises inexorably. Employers have faced yet another package of extra employment regulations since 1 October. In addition to the implementation of the EU’s Agency Workers Directive which may cost businesses £2bn a year, the default retirement age was finally abolished and the minimum wage increased. With apologies to Job, what the Government giveth the Government taketh away.

There is no serious tackling of the mountain of employment regulations which is such a burden for SMEs and a major disincentive to job creation. But I fear the coalition Government will be reluctant to challenge employee vested interests and little will be done – even though unemployment is now rising quickly.

Turning to energy policy and growth, there are some reasons to hope that the Government may be modifying its position, though I do not expect a major U-turn. In his conference speech the Chancellor hinted strongly that British companies would not be sacrificed in the race to build a greener economy. He said that Britain would move “no slower, no faster than our fellow countries in Europe” and “we are not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business”. And there have already been some hints that George Osborne may unveil some support for energy-intensive firms, badly affected by rising energy costs, in the Autumn Statement.

Osborne’s comments were, however, not wholly novel and unprecedented. In May 2011 Chris Huhne stated there would be a review of policy “in early 2014 to ensure our own carbon targets are in line with the EU’s” when he released the details of the Fourth Carbon Budget. This Budget, for the 5-year period from 2023 to 2027, includes a target of a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions compared with the 1990 level. This target is yet one more step along the road to the overall objective of cutting carbon emissions to 80% of the 1990 level by 2050 – the almost complete decarbonisation of the economy. The implications for electricity generation, indeed the whole economy, are staggering to say the least.

And when mulling over the Chancellor’s comments about not putting the country “out of business” we should remind ourselves of the extra costs that DECC expects business, in general, and energy-intensive industries, in particular, to bear. In July 2011 DECC estimated that electricity prices for industry could be anything up to 52% higher in 2020 because of “green polices” compared with prices in the absence of such policies. (In 2009 the estimates of the green “add-ons” were, if anything, higher.) For chemicals and steel, for example, these are competitiveness-shredding, viability-wrecking increases in energy costs. They are more than enough to drive these industries to migrate overseas, along with their CO2 emissions – thus having zero net impact on global emissions totals. I shall await the Autumn Statement’s proposals on this sensitive subject with interest.

The Government’s international comparisons are still framed, of course, in terms of the EU. As a member of the EU we are committed the Renewables Directive, behind our ruinous dash for wind, and the EU’s targets for cutting greenhouse gases - though it should be added that our targets are tougher than the EU’s reflecting some masochistic desire to lead the battle to save the planet from dangerous manmade global warming, insofar as it exists, even though others, even in the EU, may not follow.

But the EU is only part of the problem. A quick inspection of international data shows that we are but a bit player in the world of manmade carbon emissions. UN data show that China was by the far the largest emitter in 2008, responsible for over 23% of the total, followed by the USA (18%), India and Russia (nearly 6% each), Japan (4%) and Germany (nearly 3%). We rolled in in 9th position with 1.7% of total emissions. The EU27 in total was responsible for 14% of emissions. Moreover, given the rapid increase in China’s emissions their lead is probably significantly greater now. Indeed I would not be surprised if the increase in China’s emissions since 2008 exceeds our total annual emissions. The futility of our green posturing would be almost bearable if it were not damaging business and pushing people into fuel poverty. It is difficult to think of a more contrary policy, all the more insufferable given the sanctimonious and accusatory tone in which this topic is so frequently discussed.



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


17 October, 2011

HuffPo says (predictably) that the current hunger in Africa is due to global warming

And if you believed various do-gooder organizations, you might believe it. If however you note that even Warmist scientists now admit that there has been NO global warming for 12 years, current events CANNOT be due to warming. If Warming does not exist it cannot cause anything. But asking HuffPo to care about the facts is pissing into the wind, of course

Climate change skeptics would have you believe that global warming is an abstract theory, a dispute between scientists with differing interpretations of computer models, temperature data and ice measurements. So when the conversation turns to real people facing real hardship on the frontlines of climate change, it's no surprise that they redirect the conversation back to the abstract.

Take a look at the 171 arguments of climate skeptics compiled by Skeptical Science. You can count on the number of fingers it takes to make a peace sign the arguments about the immediate directly observable impacts of climate change (and one of these is about polar bears).

Today is World Food Day, a perfect moment to reflect on what the very real impacts of climate change mean for those who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. It comes at a time when millions of people are struggling to survive in East Africa where the worst drought in 60 years is devastating millions of lives and livelihoods.

Those on the frontlines are convinced that climate change is responsible.

As UN Humanitarian Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, says, "We have to take the impact of climate change more seriously... Everything I've heard has said that we used to have drought every 10 years, then it became every five years and now it's every two years."

A 2009 report by the World Food Programme, which describes itself as the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger, explains:

By 2050, the number of people at risk of hunger as a result of climate change is expected to increase by 10 to 20 percent more than would be expected without climate change; and the number of malnourished children is expected to increase by 24 million - 21 percent more than without climate change. Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to be the worst affected region.

Think about it. 24 million additional kids -- that's roughly equivalent to a third of US children.

But it's not just a question of changing climate and weather patterns; it's also about the resilience of communities to withstand such changes. As Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) explained to the Huffington Post in July, "There's no question that hotter and drier growing conditions in sub-Saharan Africa have reduced the resiliency of these communities. Absolutely the change in climate has contributed to this problem, without question."


Must not laugh!

A new report by the National Academy of Sciences has found that corn ethanol production increases greenhouse gas emissions and damages soil, air, water and wildlife habitat. As well it says advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol are unlikely to prove practical substitutes for either corn ethanol or fossil fuels.

“This report highlights the severe damage to the environment from corn-based ethanol,” said Sheila Karpf, EWG’s legislative and policy analyst. “It underscores just how misguided U.S. biofuels policy has become. It catalogs the environmentally damaging aspects of corn-based ethanol and also casts serious doubt on the future viability of so-called ‘advanced’ biofuels made from other sources.”

During the Congressional debate over the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, the Environmental Working Group argued for provisions to roll back biofuels mandates of production of these renewable fuels that were found to be harmful to the environment. But the Renewable Fuel Standard finally enacted did not include such language.

The report from the National Research Council, a branch of the National Academies of Sciences, concludes that achieving the renewable fuel standard mandate is likely to increase federal spending while further damaging the economy and environment, particularly soil and water.

The report, requested by Congress, concludes that ethanol increases greenhouse gas emissions, pollutes water and uses more water in its production than gasoline. It says that cellulosic ethanol is very unlikely to meet its Renewable Fuel Standard mandates by 2022. Indirect land use changes due to biofuels production will zero out any potential benefits of lower greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels and may actually increase them in both the short- and long-term.

To date taxpayers have spent $23 billion between 2005 and 2010, or $6 billion a year, subsidizing corn-based ethanol without significantly reducing reduction in America’s use of fossil fuels. The report is yet another reminder that significant reforms to the renewable fuel standard are critical, including the addition of strict and enforceable environmental safeguards.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard has always been about corn, corn and more corn,” Karpf said. “The fact is, it won’t bring energy independence, protect our air or combat global warming. As our country faces record national debt, it is time to put American taxpayers and our soil and water ahead of entrenched special interests.”

American farmers have diverted 40 percent of corn production from food and feed to fuel. Land once used for soybean production has been converted to corn to meet the demand for biofuels set out in the RFS. The new report provides more evidence that corn ethanol production continues to raise food prices around the world and harms the planet by releasing more greenhouse gases than regular gasoline.


The Average Decrease Of Global Warming

Market analyst Andrew McKillop reflects on the arbitrariness and meaninglesness of calculating an average temperature for the earth

Despite record high summer temperatures in several northern hemisphere countries, and the hottest September for over 70 years in some, political and mainstream media defenders of the one and only correct theory - Global Warming - have been slow off the mark. As yet, the "Told you so" reports and statements are low on the ground. Is Global Warming going down the tube, where it belongs?

The theory's scientific credentials have taken repeated hits, most recently the resignations from the American Physical Society of professor Harold Lewis and Nobel physics prizewinner Ivar Giaever, because they consider the APS is as climate correct, and scientifically incorrect as NASA or the Max Planck Institute, stoically claiming that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions almost certainly have caused global average temperatures to rise and this is dangerous, without adding we first need to know how the global average temperature was calculated (not measured), and what we mean by "average".

Other heavyweight science associations are less strident on the subject these days, and now adopt a carefully low profile, for example the German Gesellschaft Deutscher Naturforscher und Ärzte and its UK equivalent the British Science Association which, if you try all BSA sites and type "Global Warming" in the search box you get: "No results found. Please try again"!

Trying again is very important to GW boomers. Witness the more and more bombastic and petulant utterances of Al Gore on the subject - probably because he has had to cut the fees he can get for a GW Crisis talkshow from above $100 000 a hit, to not much more than a half of that - times are tough.

Lower down the pecking order things are similar. In a recent leading article in his own journal, the editor in chief of the International Journal of Global Warming, Dr. Ibrahim Dincer of the Ontario Institute of Technology held fast to politically correct. With the title "Is it Global Warming or Global Warning?" Dincer continues to claim, with Al Gore and everybody else who still rides the GW gravy train, despite its loss of steam heat, that beating the menace mainly consists of very urgently developing Low Carbon renewable energy sources and systems.

This energy supply side answer, to most politically correct GW boomers is better than "alien and other worldly" action for moving the economy and society to lower energy, less energy waste, more efficient economic activity and higher social equality - which will trim the forced pursuit of economic growth and consumption - and cut the forced need to always consume more energy.


Dincer started with this claim: "Global warming is an average increase in the earth’s temperature due to the greenhouse effect as a result of both natural cycles and human activities". He quickly went on to tell us all about the greenhouse gases and how they act, but throughout his article stayed away from the subject anybody ought to focus first: What is an average increase? He could or may or might have meant "an increase in average temperature", but he didnt write that.

To have an average increase (or decrease) of anything we need a series of variable entities with comparable, standardised and identifiable maxima and minima for some specific parameter or parameters through a certain period of time. We could for example be looking at temperatures over time and across selected regions of the world. If we believed there had been an "average increase", we have to find out if it was over all time, for a part of time, or just concerned one period. But first of all, we still have not answered the question: What does "average increase" mean ?

This is in no way a play on words. GW boomers, even if they are doctors and not plain Mister Al Gore, need to say what basis they used to detect an "average increase" of global temperatures - because before they can talk about an "average increase" they first needed the world's average temperatures, in the plural, through the longest possible periods of time, and we want to know how they got those numbers.

As the Nobel physicist Ivar Giaever said when quitting the APS on October 13, there is no such thing as the world's single one-figure precise and indisputable average temperature, the "global average temperature". There are average temperatures, for sure, in specific regions and over certain time periods, but trying to pretend there is an ultra precise and exact "global average temperature", from which "average increases" (or decreases) can happen is scientific-seeming charlatanism. Snakeoil selling - like turning food vegetable oils into biodiesel fuel and claiming this Saves The Planet, instead of only driving up food prices and making a fat buck for those who made a bet on the gimmick - at the right time which was a long time back, now.

We can calculate an average increase or decrease, if the parameter that interests us in Global Warming - temperature - really did vary in the upward sense. The period we chose is important and ideally, the series of observations should be closed. Previous or future series could be different and, in particular, how are we going to know if parameters behave differently in a different time series? As Ivar Giaever said, if we take the last 150 years during which we have relatively precise data, not absolutely precise data, the approximate long-period "average temperature" of the planet Earth was about +288 degrees Kelvin (zero Kelvin is absolute zero, about -273 degrees Centigrade). And current or recent analysis for the period since about 1980 shows it is now probably about +288.8 degrees Kelvin. To him, that shows amazing stability given the huge land use changes, and all other anthropogenic, volcanic, tectonic, geomorpholgical and other temperature-affecting changes that happened since 1860.


Another important point is that no predictive value is in any way sure or certain. We are in fact and reality looking at closed series of observations of average temperatures in certain areas, cities, regions, seas and parts of oceans, certain heights of the atmosphere in certain places - and so on - and then comparing these figures with an arbitrary or hypothetical "global longterm average" temperature: we have no right to imagine we can predict forward - witness the "Hockey Stick" scandal.

Basically we have relatively reliable temperature averages for certain regions, countries, or oceans, deserts, mountains etc, through the period of about 1850-2010 to play with. We cannot compare this special series with any other series, but GW business comes to the rescue with ice core samples, tree ring temperature interpretation, and so on - with typical variations of at least 1 degree and often plenty more, to each side of any hypothetical "average temperature".

If we tried the question: What were average temperatures in Europe, Africa, America or Asia through the period of for example 1450-1550?, we can and do have theories on that subject, for example using tree ring, ice carrot, glacier advance and retreat and crop data - but no scientifically rigorous and precise answer would be possible. So, not knowing what is the "global background average" for 1450-1550, how do we compare this imaginary value with our "scientific series" of 1850-2010 ? The honest answer is we cant do that.

Before about 1830, no scientific rigour and reliability is possible, even for temperatures in a specific small locality over any number of years, even two or three years. And beyond today, 2011, obviously, we can only make "range forecasts" based on theory - we cannot make predictions.

For climate and climate change there are obligatorily a large number of variables in play. We may have been sidetracked by CO2. We could say: why pick on CO2 ? We can note that CH4, SOx, NOx (meaning various sulphur and nitrogen oxides) and the fluorinated hydrocarbons, and other gases, and mechanical particles like dust or soot, salt and sand can or should also be added, and are sometimes added, but absolutely none of this answers the question: What is an average increase ?


As we noted above with the Giaevar resignation from the APS, he cited what we know about Earth temperatures. The "global average" has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years. So the "average temperature" would be about +15 degrees Centigrade, but even that subject is contentious, with plenty of calculation methods suggesting the "average" is about 14 - 15 degC. The question is: Can we measure the "average temperature of the Earth" ?

Wikipedia and Wikianswers and other sites will tell you this planet Earth has recorded temperatures of more than +70 degC and less than -89 degC (in Iran and Antarctica). If you take those two extremes and divide by two, you do not get +15 degC.

Exactly the same way, we have what seem like comfortingly exact and precise numbers for the so-called average temperatures of planets, outside the Earth. These, with no surprise tend to get hotter nearer the Sun, and cooler in the other direction. But Venus is the hottest planet, not Mercury, with so-called average temperatures of more than +400°C while Uranus and Neptune (and Pluto-Charon if it is considered a "twin planetoid") are the coldest planets, with temperatures often well below -225°C.

If we said that Mercury's "average temperature" was about +175 degC, which is an answer you will find on the Web, this hides a very complicated reality of a planet that takes nearly 60 Earth days to make 1 rotation, meaning its face exposed to the sun for the equivalent of 2 Earth months attains temperatures similar to Venus, but the dark side's temperature is close to absolute zero or -273 degC. Having almost no atmosphere, but so-called "solar tidal effects" the transfer of heat to the cold side is very complex and still disputed by astronomers: saying Mercury has an "average temperature" of +175 degC is therefore basically meaningless. Why should things be different on Earth ?

The term "average temperature" for these other planets hides what are huge variations (often more than 450 degC). These only concern planet atmosphere edge temperatures, and rare surface probe results where landings have been achieved, which are then compared with Earth-based analysis, notably interferometer observations of gas behaviour in the atmosphere of each planet. Gases emit different colored light depending on their temperature: their so-called Frauenhofer lines correlate with temperature (and gas composition), but this is almost nothing at all to do with a "planetary average temperature".

Firstly pretending there is a global average temperature, and from that basis pretending there are average increases, or decreases, is very bad science but as Al Gore and other GW boomers like James "Gaia" Lovelock or James Hansen will tell you - it was very nice business, for them, for a few years.


GW boomers are not alone. Their "scientific method" is no different from other business opportunity forecasting. We can take important current events and say we need to forecast the number of days or years between each major stock exchange crash and - why not? - say the date when the euro will be abandoned. First we need the definition of "average crash", which is normally "defined" as the percentage amount selected stock market indices fell and the time they took to do it, from certain peaks they attained before each crash, enabling us to judge the "average increase" in the panic level for each of the crashes. When or if we have enough of that average increase, and in Europe, the euro can disappear like the Arctic ice cap. The problem is we dont have another series - there was no euro, before the euro, and what comes after will be different, too.

Above all, we need to know why GW business suddenly bloomed and blossomed, then wilted, through about 1990-2010, if we date the end of the gravy train ride for GW business to the laughably failed December 2009 Copenhagen "climate summit". As a business opportunity, its "average increase" was compressed into the period of about 2005-2009, showing high or extreme, Black Swan-type "tail end" behavior. What also happened in that period? Oil prices showed real average annual increases at double-digit percent rates. Low Carbon meant something: saving oil and not much else.

Unfortunately for GW boomers, oil prices are almost perfectly correlated with economic growth, stock and finance market indices and other non-oil commodity prices, these days. If oil prices rise it shows there could or might be a bit of life left in the system, despite the sovereign debts. God willing. Low Carbon boomers, who rushed to create their own snakeoil party on the tail-end of the GW boom, are now confronted with The Inconvenient Truth that their snakeoil is at least as flaky as GW theory. What we find is that as "green energy" is ramped up at high or extreme cost, oil and other fossil energy consumption grows - what is called the Jevons Paradox, noting that the British 19th century scientist W S Jevons also believed stock market and business cycles were driven by 11-year sunspot cycles.

In the exact same way that Mercury doesnt have an "average temperature", saving oil on Earth is unlikely to be achieved through increasing "average total energy supply", that is oil + green. The answer is using less energy and changing the social economy - that is socializing the economy - ask anybody at the Occupy Wall Street be-in and its equivalents in over 900 cities of more than 40 countries.


Labor Department’s green folly

The Labor Department’s green jobs training debacle unearthed by the Department’s own Inspector General reveals that the program has failed miserably to achieve its goals. The Labor Department initially claimed that 79,854 would get jobs, while only 8,035 found employment. Even worse, only 1,336 of the trainees who found employment still had the job six months later.

All at a $170 million price tag to the taxpayer.

The program is such a grotesque failure that the Inspector General recommended in his report that the Labor Department return as much of the remaining unused $327 million in grant money as possible back into the U.S. Treasury, rather than continuing to waste the money.

Not surprisingly, the Labor Department is fighting back claiming that the program’s performance will “significantly increase over time.”

Here’s the underlying problem both from a training and human perspective.

The reason the job training program failed is not necessarily because the grant recipients were not doing their jobs. It failed because they were training people for jobs that did not exist.

This is the hard reality of why the Obama green jobs economy has fallen flat in the United States just as it has elsewhere around the world. The green jobs economy depends upon a strong demand for green “products” at a price that makes them a “value.”

This basic consumer decision that every one of us makes when purchasing anything from broccoli to an automobile is what is dooming the green economy. Am I willing to pay what it costs for that product? If the answer is no, then the price needs to be lowered. If the price cannot be lowered any further and it still is rejected, then the product dies on the shelf.

General Motors Chevy Volt is a prime example of this principle and how it affects the “green” job economy. The base model of the 2011 Volt has a Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price of $40,280 with a dealer invoice price of $38,669 according to

GM’s Chevy Cruse Eco, an all-gasoline powered vehicle that is built on the same frame as the Volt is priced at $18,425 for the base model. I’ve driven both the Cruze and the Volt, and from a roominess and comfort perspective, they are the same car.

The Volt can go 35 miles on its battery power before converting to its 9.3 gallon gas tank reaching a total range of 379 miles. The Cruze gets an EPA rating of 28 mpg city/42 mpg highway with a range between 352 and 529 miles on its 12.6 gallon gas tank.

Of course, the Volt is electric for 35 miles, but you have to pay to plug it into the wall in your garage with an estimated cost by the Chevy dealer of $1.95 per charge on my home electric bill.

This illustration shows the challenge of the so-called green economy in creating jobs. Will most consumers in the market for a fuel-efficient vehicle to save a few dollars on gas, choose to pay $40,000 or $19,000 for essentially the same car, because one gives marginally better gas savings? The answer is obviously no.

This is why the Chevy Volt has only sold a total of 3,895 cars in the first three quarters of 2011, but many of the customers who come in curious about the Volt end up buying the Chevy Cruze. In fact, 187,524 Cruzes were sold by GM in the first nine months of the year.

General Motor’s CEO Mark Reuss admits this phenomenon in the Flint Journal where he says, “The Volt is leading to a lot of Cruze sales.”

While GM can easily see that the Volt is nothing more than a curiosity to bring in buyers. The Department of Labor’s green job training program is left in the unenviable position of training workers to work on the Volts of the economy, where there is not a demand rather than being trained to work on the Cruzes where there is.

The human cost of this policy choice is devastating as potential workers sacrifice their time and other productive options to get trained for jobs that are merely an Obama Administration pipe dream.

While the Solyndra-type scandals get the headlines, the real tragedy is the people who have their lives delayed once again by receiving officially sanctioned Labor Department training for jobs that everyone knows don’t exist. How do they get their time back? Are they going to be willing to engage in another job training program for a real job when this one was a political ruse?

These real people who have been effectively defrauded by the Obama Administration through the green jobs promise have a right to feel cheated.

At the very least, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor should find a way to stop Obama’s Labor Department from wasting even more people’s time and money by rescinding all funding for the failed jobs training program.

After all, that is exactly what the Labor Department’s own Inspector General recommended.


"Green" home-heating boilers breaking down and costing Brits a packet

Millions of homeowners who were forced by John Prescott to buy expensive energy-saving boilers are now facing bills of £150 to stop them from breaking down in the cold this winter. The £4,000 water heaters – known as condensing boilers – were hailed by Mr Prescott, when deputy leader of the Labour Party, as a green alternative to traditional ‘dirty’ boilers.

A law was passed in 2005 stating that when an old boiler is replaced, it must be with a condensing boiler.

However, last year’s freezing weather caused hundreds of thousands to break down because a pipe that carries waste water from the boilers to the house drain froze up.

More than eight million have been installed, and British Gas – which has sold almost a million of them – is now urging its customers to fit a new cold-resistant pipe. In a letter to 46,000 customers who suffered boiler breakdowns last year, the energy giant is saying it will fit the new pipe for £149.

But their offer has been criticised by MPs and consumer groups as another instance of ‘profiteering’. They said British Gas should fit the pipes for free as the problem is a design fault and nothing to do with the customers.

Labour MP Barry Gardiner, who is a member of the Energy and Climate Committee, said: ‘This is outrageous. It is clear that British Gas has installed the product which is not working properly. ‘This is like a product recall – they must put right the defect with the product for free. You have to assume responsibility for the product.’

Charlie Mullins, managing director of Pimlico Plumbers, Britain’s largest independent plumbing company, said: ‘This is a total rip-off. It is a manufacturing fault and it should be fixed for free. British Gas have people over a barrel.’

Pensioner Ellen McGhie, 85, from Boughton, near Faversham, Kent, who received the letter from British Gas, said: ‘This is a cheek. I spent nearly £4,000 on a new boiler and it should work, even when it gets cold. It is obviously a design fault. ‘Why should I pay for a faulty product? This would not happen if I bought a new car. The last time it packed up they told me to pour boiling water over the pipes. But as they are in the loft, and I find it difficult to walk, that was impossible.’

The company is already being criticised for profiteering from its customers by hiking fuel tariffs. Last week, watchdog Ofgem said that the ‘big six’ energy suppliers – including British Gas – had increased their profit margin per customer per year from £15 in June to £125.

British Gas says it sells 130,000 condensing boilers a year, which means it would have installed almost 800,000 since the law was changed. Based on this, British Gas will charge £119 million if all its customers install the pipe, called a condensulate.

Around 1.2million Britons are fitting condensing boilers each year as they replace their old boilers. Mr Prescott made them compulsory as a way of getting Britain to reach its CO2 targets under the Kyoto Protocol. New Labour even introduced a ‘boiler scrappage’ scheme with homeowners offered £400 towards the cost of a new boiler.

In traditional boilers, a quarter of the heat generated vents out of the exhaust pipe in the form of hot steam and gas.

In the new boilers, a condenser claws back much of the heat, condensing the steam back into water. This increases heat efficiency to as much as 93 per cent.

One by-product of the process is waste condensed water, which escapes through a pipe into the house’s external drains. But in severe cold, the pipe freezes and blocks the flow of the waste water, which shuts down the boiler. Thousands of customers have complained about the problem.

Even despite the freezing pipe problem, it often does not make much economic sense to replace old boilers with the condensing type. It is estimated that replacing an old, inefficient model with the best condensing boiler will save about £200 a year in gas bills. But with condensing boilers costing £4,000 to buy and install, it will take 20 years to pay for itself. However condensing boilers do not last anywhere near as long as 20 years. Experts say they do not even last ten years.

A spokeswoman for British Gas said they had faced no problems with the boilers until the extreme cold of last winter. She said: ‘We carefully followed manufacturers’ instructions when we installed them. The problem was caused by the exceptional weather.’ She said British Gas had no plans to fix the problem for free. The Department of Energy and Climate Change declined to comment on the issue. A spokesman said: ‘Customers should take this up with British Gas.’

All British homes are expected to have condensing boilers by the end of the decade.


Carbonslide in Australia

Conservatives would win an election in a landslide if it were held as voters oppose carbon tax

TONY Abbott would be handed an overwhelming mandate to abolish the carbon tax if the coalition won the next election and he became the prime minister. A clear majority of voters, 60 per cent, believe the Opposition Leader would have the electoral and moral authority to repeal the tax.

With the government's asylum seeker policy also in disarray, the Coalition's primary vote has now soared to a crushing 51 per cent, according to a Galaxy poll commissioned by The Daily Telegraph.

It is the largest primary vote the coalition has enjoyed in any poll since 1996 - when John Howard defeated Paul Keating - with Labor now stuck at a morale-sapping 29 per cent.

The devastating figures suggest the government's jubilation over the passage of its carbon tax through the lower house last week has backfired. And that its bungled handling of its proposed changes to the Migration Act to stop boat arrivals has stalled any recovery that Julia Gillard may have hoped for.

On a two party-preferred basis the Coalition now leads Labor 58 per cent to 42 per cent, due to the flow of Greens preferences back to Labor. But even this would mean half of the current lower house Labor MPs would be wiped out.

The only silver lining for Julia Gillard was that with the carbon tax legislation passed, there appeared a slight bounce in support for the tax. The number of voters now in favour has increased to 34 per cent from a low of 29 per cent in July. But almost double were still opposed to it.

Ms Gillard has also managed to peg back marginally, the lead held by Kevin Rudd as the preferred Labor leader. But Mr Rudd is still the person most voters would like to see take back the leadership of the Labor Party and take the government to an election, with 53 per cent support for him compared to 29 per cent for Ms Gillard.

All the electoral damage from the carbon tax and bungled asylum seeker policy, both issues on which the Greens have claimed victory, has come at Labor's expense and not the Greens. They have maintained a steady primary vote of 12 per cent.

"If Tony Abbott wins the next election he would have a mandate to abolish the tax," Mr Briggs said. "This is more than double the figure - 28 per cent in a Galaxy Poll conducted in July - that believed Julia Gillard had a mandate to introduce the carbon tax."

The Galaxy Poll was conducted exclusively for The Daily Telegraph on the weekend of October 14-16 and was based on a large national sample of 1009 voters.



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


16 October, 2011

EPA's CO2 Endangerment Finding is Endangered

By S. Fred Singer

In a narrow 5-4 decision in 2007, the US Supreme Court authorized the EPA to consider the greenhouse gas CO2 as a 'pollutant' under the terms of the Clean Air Act -- provided EPA could demonstrate that CO2 posed a threat to human health and welfare. (CO2 is a colorless gas, non-toxic and non-irritating, and a natural constituent of the atmosphere. In the geological past, CO2 levels have undergone wide variations -- from as low as one half up to twenty times the present level.)

The EPA then issued an Endangerment Finding (EF) in 2009, which was promptly challenged in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. One of the challenges came from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP). We questioned both the procedure and the validity of the underlying science used by the EPA, as embodied in their TSD (Technical Support Document).

As my CEI colleague Marlo Lewis relates, the EPA's Inspector General (IG) released a report in September 2011, finding that EPA did not meet applicable federal Information (or Data) Quality Act (IQA) standards when developing the TSD. The IG argued that the TSD is a "highly influential scientific assessment," and therefore should have been subjected to the most rigorous form of peer review. EPA fell short of the mark by not publishing the comments of the agency's 12-member peer-review panel, and by placing an EPA employee on the panel, compromising its independence.

EPA claims it met all IQA standards because the TSD, far from being a "highly influential scientific assessment," is not a "scientific assessment" at all. According to EPA, the TSD did not involve any weighing of data, information, or studies. Rather, the TSD simply summarizes assessments of other authorities, principally the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the US National Academy's National Research Council (NRC), and the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). [Note that neither NRC and USGCRP are "independent;" both reports are based on the IPCC, whose own Assessment has been compromised by the revelations of the Climategate e-mails.]

But in so saying, EPA may have leapt from the frying pan into the fire, because in the ongoing litigation over EPA's greenhouse gas regulations, a key claim made by the petitioners Coalition for Responsible Regulation is that when EPA developed its TSD and associated EF, it unlawfully outsourced its "judgment" to the IPCC and other non-agency experts.

The Coalition then sent a "request for judicial notice" to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the Court to take cognizance of the IG report and consider its implications for the case. [Marlo Lewis has written an informative and extremely useful article about this new development at GlobalWarming.Org]

After all of the responses and briefs are filed, the Court may issue a decision around mid-2012.

Faulty EPA Science

The lack of an independent analysis of the science underlying the EF puts the burden right back on the soundness of the science used by the IPCC, which is the main source of the TSD. [The NRC and USGCRP reports draw on the same IPCC data and models, and are not independent.]

But the science is certainly inadequate to support the IPCC conclusion of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

1. The IPCC's own data contradict its own model results -- as a simple comparison shows. Although the issue had been contentious, with one group claiming a disparity (Douglass, Christy, Pearson, and Singer, published in Int'l Journal of Climatology 2007) and the other group claiming "consistency" (Santer and 16 co-authors, published in IJC 2008), all now concur that "agreement between models and non-existent" in the crucial location, the upper tropical troposphere, above 5 miles (Thorne et al, published in Journal of Geophysical Research 2011).

2. Further, (non-linear) climate models are subject to chaotic uncertainties; each model run shows a different temperature trend. Hence, the IPCC models cannot be validated against observations. Our NIPCC studies show that at least 10 runs have to be performed and averaged in order to obtain consistent temperature trends. (But about half of the 22 IPCC models had only one or two runs; none had more than five.)

3. Finally, the latest (2007) IPCC Assessment bases its conclusion about AGW on a reported global warming of the past 50 years. It says: "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [90 to 99% certain] due to the observed increase in greenhouse gas concentrations." [Ref: IPCC-AR4 2007, Summary for Policymakers, page 10.]

But the global surface warming reported since 1979 is fake; it does not exist -- as demonstrated by NIPCC in several other data sets: Atmospheric temperatures show no warming trend, as seen both by balloon-borne radiosondes and independent satellite observations.

The reported warming of the sea surface can be traced to instrumental problems. And the available proxy data show no post-1979 warming.

The reason for the reported surface warming, as reported by the IPCC, is still unclear. But it is likely due to a selection of weather stations that favors an increasing fraction of urban stations and airports, which show a local warming trend because of increasing air traffic.It will be interesting to see the reaction of IPCC scientists, once these data are fully published and accepted by the scientific community.

It is unlikely, therefore, that the EPA's TSD will stand. And without the TSD, the Endangerment Finding is toast - and so is regulation of carbon dioxide.


Global warming is the least of Tuvalu’s worries

For nearly a decade now, the tiny Pacific island-group nation of Tuvalu has made news for its government’s claim that the archipelago is being swallowed up by rising sea levels caused by global warming. The island government has even considered suing the world’s largest industrial powers for emitting the carbon dioxide that many scientists believe is trapping solar radiation in the atmosphere and leading to allegedly higher global temperatures.

When the highly vaunted UN climate summit in Copenhagen in Dec. 2009 failed to produce a successor agreement to the 1997 Kyoto accords, the Tuvalu delegation was not shy about expressing its disgust and outrage, claiming that world leaders had consigned them to a slow extermination. (So slow — over 100 years — that almost no current Tuvaluns will live long enough to be killed by the encroaching oceans and their descendents will have plenty of time to row to safety. But let’s not pick nits.)

Now comes word that a drought afflicting the four-island, five-atoll state has dried up nearly all the fresh water there. The United States, Australia and New Zealand have airlifted in potable supplies and desalination plants, but even so, Tuvalu has only about half the daily water supply its inhabitants need.

This, too, is being blamed on manmade climate change, although, it is known that the immediate cause of the low rainfall is a powerful La Nina, which (not to nitpick again), is a cooling of the Pacific’s surface over a broad area near the equator.

The trouble for all these Polynesian prophesies of impending doom is that there is no evidence of appreciable sea-level rise in the past 50 years, not at Tuvalu or anywhere. The more likely causes of the nation’s ecological threats are over-population, a reduction (deliberate or otherwise) of natural barrier reefs and government mismanagement of water resources.

Two American experts on coastal construction and sea-level — James Houston, director emeritus of engineering research and development for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Robert Dean, professor emeritus of civil and coastal engineering at the University of Florida — examined decades worth of data from all the tidal monitors around the U.S. and determined earlier this year that “worldwide-temperature increase has not produced acceleration of global sea level over the past 100 years.” indeed, the rate at which oceans have been rising has “possibly decelerated for at least the last 80 years.”

Houston and Dean are committed warmists. They started their study with the expectation that their results would show rapidly increasing sea levels. Instead, they found that the oceans around the U.S. had risen little in the 20th Century and that the far from rising faster due to global warming were actually rising more slowly. If the trend of the past 80 years continued, the pair estimated that at most worldwide oceans would rise by 15 cms (ankle depth) by 2100, rather than the one to two metres most recently projected by the UN, or the 10 metres estimated by Al Gore.

Swedish geologist and physicist Nils-Axel Mörner, formerly chairman of INQUA, the International Commission on Sea Level Change, has studied real-world sea levels for nearly 40 years. Rather than relying mostly on computer models, as most climate scientists do, Dr. Morner has concentrated on using satellites, photographs and detailed measurement records to determine whether the oceans are rising, falling or remaining pretty much the same.

“The sea is not rising,” he has told anyone who will listen. ”It hasn’t risen in 50 years.” What’s more, if it rises in the 21st Century, it will be by ”not more than 10cm (four inches), with an uncertainty of plus or minus 10cm.” That’s pretty much the same prediction as that derived by the other real-world measurers, Houston and Dean.

This past June, we learned, too, that even if the oceans are rising, Pacific islands such as Tuvalu may actually be expanding as a result, not sinking. Paul Kench, a geography professor from New Zealand’s Auckland University, and Arthur Webb of Fiji’s South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission, measured 27 South Pacific islands using satellite images and aerial photos and found that over the past 60 years only four had shrunk, while 23 had either remained unchanged or expanded. “It has been thought that as the sea level goes up, islands will sit there and drown,” Prof. Kench told the New Scientist. “But they won’t.”

Storms and rising waters bring in more debris from surrounding coral reefs and build up the islands, he explained. Some have grown by more than 30%, with an average increase of 3% since the 1950s.

Their findings were published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Global and Planetary Change.

So why has the government of Tuvalu kicked up such a fuss? For one, like most warming alarmists, they have almost certainly convinced themselves that the earth truly is going to hell in a hand basket — they believe their own bumph, even in the presence of contravening research. Then there is the fact that continuing to sound the climate-change alarm has brought the tiny nation a lot of attention and foreign aid. And, finally, many Tuvaluns would like to leave. To some extent, too, their government would like to see them go as a partial solution to over-population.

All the dire talk has convinced New Zealand to create an immigration fast-track for islanders and caused guilt-ridden governments in the developed world to send Tuvalu tens of millions of development dollars. So it’s not hard to figure out why Tuvalu has such a high stake in all the climate change hysteria.


Tapping natural resources to address Maryland’s economic problems

By Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr.

As co-chair of the Affordable Power Alliance, Bishop Jackson understands energy – and poverty. And he knows enough about “fracking” to respond knowledgeably about myths and falsehoods that anti-hydrocarbon environmental activists are using to generate opposition to drilling techniques that have quadrupled America’s natural gas supplies, and driven gas prices lower than they have in years. Families will now find heating their homes won't break their budget, electricity will also cost less, and companies will be able to hire and retain more workers in factories and petrochemical plants. It’s a win-win-win for everyone

Maryland’s 7.2% unemployment rate is below the national average, but still too high. Budget shortfalls next year could reach $700 million or more, the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute warns. Many of our cities and counties likewise face mounting debt.

Families need temporary assistance to address unemployment, poverty and homelessness. Aging roads, sewer systems and other infrastructure need repair. Revenue projections for 2012 and beyond will not cover these programs, education, healthcare, and public employee pensions, the institute cautions.

Faced with unpalatable reductions in programs and growing opposition to tax increases, the Free State clearly needs reliable new revenue sources.

One source could be natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation that extends beneath western Maryland and four neighboring states. Of the four, only Pennsylvania is tapping it so far, but the results are impressive.

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue reports that Marcellus gas production generated more than $1.4 billion in state tax revenues since 2006; by 2020 it could generate $20 billion more. Those activities created 72,000 Pennsylvania jobs between October 2009 and March 2011.

By 2020, gas production from the formation could support 256,000 jobs across the five states, at an average annual salary of $73,000 – well above the national average – energy experts say. Abundant new natural gas supplies from other US shale deposits have helped cut the price of natural gas in half, to below $4.00 a thousand cubic feet, making it more affordable for home heating, electricity generation, petrochemical feed stocks, and backing up unreliable wind and solar installations.

A recent analysis found that Pennsylvanians saved $633 million in utility bills since 2006, due to these expanded supplies.

Maryland too could be harnessing Marcellus gas to boost its economy, job growth, and state and county revenues. Thousands of able-bodied workers would prefer employment at good salaries over welfare, unemployment and food stamps.

Drilling and production could also help thousands of small businesses that would provide goods, equipment and services to drilling, pipeline and related companies. In Maryland, 19% of these businesses are owned by African Americans – still more by other minorities.

And yet there is strong opposition to harnessing these resources – primarily because doing so involves a new process called hydraulic fracturing (HF or “fracking”). Actually, fracking isn’t all that new.

It has been used in more than a million US wells during the past 60 years. It employs high pressure fluids to create tiny fissures in impermeable, hydrocarbon-rich rock formations, allowing companies to tap their energy. But over the past few years, HF has been combined with horizontal drilling and other techniques, so that many wells can be drilled from one site, reaching multiple formations up to several miles away and unlocking huge supplies of previously unavailable natural gas.

But certain groups are using fear tactics to delay or stop fracking. They claim it is not federally regulated. They say it “could” contaminate groundwater and drinking water. They suggest it is incompatible with efforts to improve the Chesapeake Bay’s health.

In reality, hydraulic fracturing is regulated under state and federal laws, as well as industry guidelines. A 2009 Ground Water Protection Council review concluded that enacting additional federal regulations “would be costly to the states, duplicative of state regulations, and ultimately ineffective because such regulations would be too far from the field of operations.” US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson has said there is no recorded incident in which fracking contaminated a drinking water well. This shouldn’t be surprising.

Shale gas formations are typically thousands of feet below groundwater supplies, with layers of shale, limestone and other impermeable rock in between. The first several hundred feet of each well has special steel “casing” cemented in place to protect water supplies; the actual drill hole and pipe goes through this casing. In addition, the fluids used in fracturing are 99.5% water and sand.

The other 0.5% is mostly weak salts and acids, vegetable or other oils, guar gum and other chemicals, many of which are found in foods and common household products. However, we still should know what is in specific fracking fluids, and must ensure that they are handled, recycled and disposed of properly.

Faced with environmentalist pressure and public concerns, Governor Martin O’Malley signed an executive order to study fracking. His decision is understandable.

However, he should ensure that the study is completed in a timely manner; is based on facts, not protests and unsubstantiated fears; and does not result in unnecessary over-regulation. A proper review would also take advantage of the studies, laws, regulatory frameworks and hands-on experience in Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Texas and other states that have used fracking for years.

It would also recognize that hydraulic fracturing is essential for producing most natural gas (and all these benefits), just as we need to mine the coal that generates over half of Maryland’s electricity. In fact, every energy option (including wind and solar) requires mining and fossil fuels – and affects wildlife habitats and environmental quality. We need to be wise stewards of the Earth God gave us, in everything we do.

Responsibly developing this vital God-given shale gas resource would put thousands of Marylanders back to work, improve people’s living standards, generate billions of dollars in government revenues, balance county and state budgets, and produce more American energy for all Americans.


Manure a hazardous waste?

Does EPA want to turn farms and ranches into Superfund sites? As reported by Environment and Energy Daily:
Missouri Rep. Billy Long (R) [has introduced a bill to] stop EPA from classifying livestock manure as a hazardous substance for its Superfund cleanup program. Long says such a move is an effort by environmental “extremists” to target and regulate modern livestock operations.

While the Obama EPA denies that it wants to turn farms into Superfund sites:
The legislation seeks to address controversy surrounding concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, and the manure they produce. President George W. Bush’s EPA crafted a rule in 2008 that exempted CAFOs from reporting requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) — which established the Superfund cleanup program.

Environmentalists challenged that exemption in court and have strongly encouraged President Obama’s EPA to scrap the exemption for CAFOs. EPA is currently drafting a replacement to the Bush-era policy and if the agency removes the exemption, farms would have to report emissions for several pollutants, including ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, if they exceed threshold limits.

Therein lies the rub. Long and Republicans say that could lead to limiting the use of manure as organic fertilizer — a practice that is becoming common on farms. They also say it could lead to a farmer who uses manure as fertilizer being held liable for millions of dollars in violations.

“It doesn’t make any sense to lump tens of thousands of farms and livestock producers under the same severe liability provisions that apply to the nearly 1,300 federal Superfund toxic waste sites,” Long said when he introduced the bill.

The EPA says,
If a facility stores large amounts of manure, the facility could emit significant amounts of ammonia. If that quantity exceeds a certain threshold under CERCLA, the farm would have to report it. EPA was careful to emphasize, though, that does not mean the farm would have to stop using the manure or reduce the emissions — only report them.

And we’re supposed to believe the EPA because it has a track record of truth-telling and regulatory restraint? [See here if you want the lowdown on that]


115-year-old electric car gets same 40 miles to the charge as Chevy Volt

Batteries just cannot match the energy density of hydrocarbons

Meet the Roberts electric car. Built in 1896, it gets a solid 40 miles to the charge — exactly the mileage Chevrolet advertises for the Volt, the highly touted $31,645 electric car General Motors CEO Dan Akerson called “not a step forward, but a leap forward.”

The executives at Chevrolet can rest easy for now. Since the Roberts was constructed in an age before Henry Ford’s mass production, the 115-year-old electric car is one of a kind.

But don’t let the car’s advanced age let you think it isn’t tough: Its present-day owner, who prefers not to be named, told The Daily Caller it still runs like a charm, and has even completed the roughly 60-mile London to Brighton Vintage Car Race.

If you didn’t know there are electric cars as old as the Roberts, you aren’t alone. Prior to today’s electric v. gas skirmishes, there was another battle: electric v. gas v. steam. This contest was fought in the market place, and history shows gas gave electric and steam an even more thorough whooping than Coca-Cola gave Moxie.

But while the Roberts electric car clearly lacked GPS, power steering and, yes, air bags, the distance it could achieve on a charge, when compared with its modern equivalent, provides a telling example of the slow pace of the electric car.

Driven by a tiller instead of a wheel, the Roberts car was built seven years before the Wright brothers’ first flight, 12 years before the Ford Model T, 16 years before Chevrolet was founded and 114 years before the first Chevy Volt was delivered to a customer.

As the New York Times reported September 5, “For General Motors and the Obama administration, the new Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid represents the automotive future, the culmination of decades of high-tech research financed partly with federal dollars.”

Like “green technology’s” most powerful proponent, President Barack Obama, the 1896 Roberts was made in Chicago. Obama, who supports the $7,500 tax credit for the Volt, is not fazed by its 40-mile electric limit — he only drove the car 10 feet.


More nonsense from "The Guardian"

They are really sounding desperate these days. The changes in climate and coffee availability that they say are taking place CANNOT be due to global warming because even Warmist scientists now admit that there has been NO global warming for the last 12 years

Forget about super-sizing into the trenta a few years from now: Starbucks is warning of a threat to world coffee supply because of climate change.

In a telephone interview with the Guardian, Jim Hanna, the company's sustainability director, said its farmers were already seeing the effects of a changing climate, with severe hurricanes and more resistant bugs reducing crop yields.

The company is now preparing for the possibility of a serious threat to global supplies. "What we are really seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road – if conditions continue as they are – is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain, which is the Arabica coffee bean," Hanna said.

It was the second warning in less than a month of a threat to a food item many people can't live without.

New research from the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture warned it would be too hot to grow chocolate in much of the Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world's main producers, by 2050.

Hanna is to travel to Washington on Friday to brief members of Congress on climate change and coffee at an event sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists. [At least one of whom's membership is a dog!]

The coffee giant is part of a business coalition that has been trying to push Congress and the Obama administration to act on climate change – without success, as Hanna acknowledged.

Hanna told the Guardian the company's suppliers, who are mainly in Central America, were already experiencing changing rainfall patterns and more severe pest infestations.

Even well-established farms were seeing a drop in crop yield, and that could well discourage growers from cultivating coffee in the future, further constricting supply, he said. "Even in very well established coffee plantations and farms, we are hearing more and more stories of impacts." These include: more severe hurricanes, mudslides and erosion, variation in dry and rainy seasons.



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


15 October, 2011

Stupid dishonesty about Himalayan glaciers from the "Guardian"

They're not even clever liars. They attribute glacial melting in the Himalayas to global warming and then admit that the warming in the area is much faster than global warming -- which wouldn't be hard since even Warmist scientists now admit that there has been no global warming for 12 years now. So it all clearly means that local factors are at work in the Himalayas not global factors. Reinforcing that, we also read that one "problem" glacier is melting much faster than the others -- again indicating local variations rather anything global

In any case glacial growth is principally influenced by the amount of precipitation, not temperature. If the temperature of the glacial area remains below zero degrees Celsius, only more rain/snow can cause the glacier to grow. And many parts of the world HAVE been getting more rain and snow in recent years

It is strangely calming to watch the Imja glacier lake grow, as chunks of ice part from black cliffs and fall into the grey-green lake below.

But the lake is a high-altitude disaster in the making - one of dozens of danger zones emerging across the Himalayas as glaciers melt due to climate change. If the lake, at 5100 metres in Nepal's Everest region, breaks through its walls of glacial debris, known as moraine, it could release a deluge of water, mud and rock as far as 100 kilometres.

This would swamp homes and fields with a layer of rubble up to 15 metres thick, leading to the loss of the land for a generation. But the question is when, rather than if.

Mountain regions from the Andes to the Himalayas are warming faster than the global average under climate change. Ice turns to water; glaciers are slowly reduced to lakes.

When Sir Edmund Hillary made his successful expedition to the top of Everest in 1953, Lake Imja did not exist. But it is now the fastest-growing of some 1600 glacial lakes in Nepal, stretching down from the glacier for 2.5km and spawning three small ponds.

At its centre, the lake is about 600m wide and, according to government studies, up to 96.5m deep in some places. It is growing by 47m a year, nearly three times as fast as any other glacial lake in Nepal. "The expansion of Imja lake is not a casual one," said Pravin Raj Maskey, a hydrologist with Nepal's ministry of irrigation.

The extent of recent changes to Imja has taken glacier experts by surprise, including Teiji Watanabe, a geographer at Hokkaido University in Japan, who has done field research at the lake since the 1990s.

Watanabe returned to Imja in September, making the nine-day trek with 30 scientists and engineers on a US-funded expedition led by the Mountain Institute. He said he did not expect such rapid changes to the moraine holding back the lake. "We need action, and hopefully within five years," Watanabe said. "I feel our time is shorter than what I thought before. Ten years might be too late."

Unlike flash floods, a glacial lake outburst is a continuing catastrophe. "It's not just the one-time devastating effect," said Sharad Joshi, a glaciologist at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan University, who has worked on Imja. "Each year for the coming years it triggers landslides and reminds villagers that there could be a devastating impact that year, or every year. Some of the Tibetan lakes that have had outburst floods have flooded more than three times."

But mobilising engineering equipment and expertise to a lake 5100m up, and several days' hard walking from the nearest transport hub, is challenging in Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world. And scientists and engineers still cannot agree on whether to rate Imja as the most dangerous glacial lake in the Himalayas, or a more distant threat.

There are other contenders for immediate action, with some 20,000 glacial lakes across the Himalayas, although many are concentrated in the Everest region. Bhutan has nearly 2700.


The Navy’s elite fighting force is going green

This makes no sense at all. SEALs often work at night and to use solar power at night you need batteries (accumulators), and even the most modern of those will be HEAVY and bulky in order to store enough for all the applications mentioned and would therefore be very limiting to movement. And are they going to carry big solar panels on their backs? And what "flexible generators" are who knows? Steam-powered ones? I think this is just some Greenie's wet dream

A SEAL team deploying soon to Afghanistan will be net zero for energy and water, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced today at the service’s annual energy conference.

Not needing to operate noisy generators and not being reliant on water and fuel resupplies are battlefield benefits for the SEALS, who are known for under-the-radar, high-value missions like raiding Osama bin Laden’s compound this spring.

“We care a lot about our special operators,” Mabus said. “Allowing them to not have to be resupplied with fuel and water will make them even better at what they do.”

SEAL teams, which are often based in difficult-to-reach areas, need power for electronics, air conditioning and heating. For the green unit, those needs will be met with solar arrays, solar battery chargers and flexible generators, Mabus said. The unit will also deploy with portable water purification equipment.


Feel the hate

The Greenie below makes it clear that he hates practically everything about modern Western civilization and slavers over it being destroyed amid great suffering. His comment: "Yes, there is life after shopping" summarizes his contempt for us all. It would be nice if someone got a photograph of him in a shop

Paul Gilding (ex-Greenpeace thinker) anticipates that climate change and resource depletion will force us to cast away our old consumption based "American Dream" conception of the "good life" and embrace a more Berkeley lifestyle. Apparently, he believes that a silver lining of mass destruction caused by climate change is that a new culture will emerge that will drop "shopping" cold turkey. Here is a quote from his press people.
"It’s time to stop just worrying about climate change, says Paul Gilding. We need instead to brace for impact because global crisis is no longer avoidable. This Great Disruption started in 2008, with spiking food and oil prices and dramatic ecological changes, such as the melting ice caps. It is not simply about fossil fuels and carbon footprints.

We have come to the end of Economic Growth, Version 1.0, a world economy based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond the means of our planet’s ecosystems and resources.The Great Disruption offers a stark and unflinching look at the challenge humanity faces-yet also a deeply optimistic message.

The coming decades will see loss, suffering, and conflict as our planetary overdraft is paid; however, they will also bring out the best humanity can offer: compassion, innovation, resilience, and adaptability. Gilding tells us how to fight-and win-what he calls The One Degree War to prevent catastrophic warming of the earth, and how to start today.

The crisis represents a rare chance to replace our addiction to growth with an ethic of sustainability, and it’s already happening. It’s also an unmatched business opportunity: Old industries will collapse while new companies will literally reshape our economy. In the aftermath of the Great Disruption, we will measure “growth” in a new way. It will mean not quantity of stuff but quality and happiness of life. Yes, there is life after shopping."


Big British U-turn: Nuclear power is vital to our future, says Green/Leftist minister

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne yesterday completed a dramatic personal U-turn and declared: ‘We need nuclear.’ Mr Huhne said the technology was vital in ensuring Britain could keep the lights on while tackling climate change. But he pledged that energy firms would have to deal with contaminated waste themselves – the huge cost of which has previously landed on the taxpayer.

Despite widespread opposition from his Liberal Democrat colleagues, he confirmed plans to press ahead with eight new nuclear power stations as all but one of the UK’s current reactors will be decommissioned by 2023.

In the most pro-nuclear speech by a Cabinet minister for years, Mr Huhne, who campaigned against nuclear power before taking office, told the Royal Society: ‘Nuclear energy has risks, but we face the greater risk of accelerating climate change if we do not embark on another generation of nuclear power. Time is running out. ‘Nuclear can be a vital and affordable means of providing low-carbon electricity. I believe nuclear electricity can and should play a part in our energy future, provided that new nuclear is built without public subsidy.’

Mr Huhne’s new gung-ho approach leaves him open to charges of hypocrisy.

Before last year’s election the Lib Dems’ manifesto pledged to veto the proposals for a new generation of nuclear power. And just last month the Lib Dem conference voted to impose a windfall tax on companies that are operating the UK’s existing nuclear power stations.

Mr Huhne was previously one of the fiercest critics of the industry. In 2007 he wrote: ‘Nuclear is a tried, tested and failed technology, and the Government must stop putting time, effort and subsidies into reviving this out-dated industry.’

He has since claimed these comments were ‘misunderstood’ and that he was not opposed to nuclear power provided it did not involve large state subsidies.

In his speech, Mr Huhne insisted ministers had learned from ‘past mistakes’ on nuclear, and that energy companies would be required to set aside cash to pay for dealing with nuclear waste, which currently costs his department £2billion a year.

Paul Steedman, of Friends of the Earth, said Mr Huhne appeared to have been seduced by the ‘fantasy economics’ of the nuclear industry.


Polar bear fraud gradually becoming unglued

Federal officials continue to probe allegations of misconduct related to a famous report on dead polar bears that raised concerns about climate change. Later this month, officials plan to re-interview one of the two government scientists who wrote that report.

The new development suggests that scientific integrity remains a focus of the investigation, which recently detoured into allegations that the other researcher under scrutiny broke rules related to federal funding of research. Both scientists work for agencies of the Department of the Interior.

Critics of the investigation say it is a witch hunt into scientists who made observations of apparently drowned dead bears that became a potent public symbol of the danger of melting ice.

Agents from the department's Office of Inspector General, or OIG, will question biologist Jeffrey Gleason on Oct. 26, according to a new letter to Gleason. The letter states that the office is investigating the dead polar bear report, published by the journal Polar Biology in 2006, which Gleason authored with his colleague Charles Monnett.

During Gleason's previous interview, in January, investigators wanted to know how the researchers recorded their wildlife sightings into a data system. They asked why a photo taken of a dead bear floating in the water looked so unclear, and what the scientists had done to try to enhance the image. They also asked why the 2006 report did not put more focus on how a windstorm could have affected the bears.

The interview included comments and questions about how the influential paper has been linked to global warming in the media. For example, special agent Eric May asked Gleason what he thought of Al Gore's reference to the dead bear sightings in the movie An Inconvenient Truth and later noted that car commercials have used drowning polar bears to encourage the purchase of hybrid vehicles.

The tone and the depth of the questioning astounded Gleason, says attorney Jeff Ruch of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a group that has been representing Monnett and now also represents Gleason.

"He couldn't imagine what the investigation of the paper was about. He figured there would be a couple of questions and that would be it," says Ruch, who adds that Gleason "was really shaken by the whole thing and I think is still not over it."


Australian conservative leader tells firms: don't buy carbon permits

Thus destroying the "certainty" that the carbon tax legislation was claimed to offer

TONY Abbott has warned businesses not to buy future carbon emissions permits, in the light of his plan to scrap the carbon tax, while industry is lobbying every federal MP for changes to the government's scheme to protect companies' competitiveness.

In an address to the Menzies Research Centre taxation roundtable in Sydney yesterday, the Opposition Leader said the repeal of the carbon tax legislation, which passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday, would be the "first order" of parliamentary business under a Coalition government.

"We will repeal this legislation," Mr Abbott said, a day after his refusal to back Julia Gillard's Malaysia Solution legislation forced the government to effectively abandon offshore processing of asylum-seekers.

"We will dismantle the bureaucracies it has spawned. We would take the upward pressure off people's cost of living and the threat to workers' jobs. And we give businesses fair warning not to buy forward permits under a tax regime that will be closed down."

The electricity industry said Mr Abbott's hardline position presented a risk, and any policy that reduced the use of forward contracts would fuel higher prices.

The industry warning came as a leading financial analyst told The Weekend Australian that ongoing uncertainty over the future of carbon pricing policy could continue an investment strike that has prevented the addition of new baseload generating capacity. It would complicate writing new long-term electricity supply contracts, which would also push up prices.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet attacked Mr Abbott's comments as a continuation of a "hysterical, negative scare campaign". "Business needs certainty over carbon pricing to underpin investments in the clean energy sources of the future," he said.

The row over Mr Abbott's speech came as Australian Industry Group chief executive Heather Ridout and Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott, in a letter to all 226 federal MPs, said amendments to the Clean Energy Future Bill were essential to include safeguards to protect Australia's competitiveness. "It is not economically sensible for Australia to see industries that would be competitive in the context of a global price on greenhouse gas emissions go into premature decline," the letter says.

"Ahead of that eventuality, policies are required to maintain the relative competitiveness of Australian industries in the absence of global action."

Under the government's package, a fixed carbon price of $23 a tonne will be imposed from July 1 next year, rising at 2.5 per cent a year in real terms for three years. In 2015, the package will convert to an emissions trading scheme with a floating price.

When the floating price starts, a floor price of $15 will be imposed and a ceiling price, $20 above the expected international price, will also be imposed to prevent volatility.

The business groups' letter called for a lower starting price in the fixed-price period and improvements in arrangements for trade-exposed industries to ensure they did not face additional costs their competitors did not.

It also called for the replacement of the 80 per cent emissions reduction target by 2050 with a clause outlining the evaluation process to determine the target and a requirement that parliament agree to the target.

The business groups called for the Climate Change Authority's remit to be expanded to allow it to consider all Australian emissions reduction policies - such as solar feed-in tariffs - and for it to recommend whether these be wound back.

In the wake of Mr Abbott's call for business to stop buying future carbon emissions permits, National Generators Forum executive director Malcolm Roberts said forward contracts allowed generators and customers to manage the risk of volatile spot prices. "Policies which reduced the use of forward contracts would fuel higher prices," he said.

He was also concerned about the opposition's intention to abolish forward permits with the carbon price. "As generators write post-2014 contracts, they will have to protect themselves against the risk of losses on any forward permits they hold; this is another risk to manage," he said.

Electricity generators have already been critical of the policy to limit the number of forward permits on offer and the demand for upfront payments.

"This could raise prices by 10 to 15 per cent," Mr Roberts said. "Generators are urging changes to the Clean Energy Future Package to prevent this problem."

Deutsche Bank analyst Tim Jordan said ongoing carbon policy uncertainty had two effects on the electricity sector. "It prevents generators from hedging their costs, which means more risk, higher prices and more price volatility for consumers," he said.

He warned uncertainty also weakened the signal for investment in new capacity.

"If the carbon price isn't locked in to support investment in new lower carbon baseload generators, then investors will hold off, putting pressure on existing high-carbon plants to meet growing electricity demand. Both of those mean higher costs for electricity customers in the long term," he said.


How to scrap Australia's carbon tax

Here’s what Richard Denniss, head of the leftist Australia Institute, said on The Drum on Wednesday night. Declaring that Tony Abbott could not unwind the carbon tax if he becomes prime minister, Denniss declared:
Richard Denniss: …Even if there’s a 2013 election, the new Senate doesn’t take office until 2014. And you can’t use your double dissolution triggers until the new Senate arrives, you’re not going to have a double dissolution before 2015. The idea that we introduce a carbon price, scrap it in 2015 or 2016, even Greg Hunt says the direct action scheme is an interim measure and by 2020 the Liberals might support a carbon tax. It’s good politics, it’s good theatre. But we’re putting politics ahead of democracy and politics ahead of the economy here.

What a load of tripe. Richard Denniss reckons it is putting politics ahead of democracy to respond to the wishes of a majority of electors. Fancy that. And his political calculations are simply incorrect. If, say, a Coalition government won an election in August 2013 it could put legislation through both the House of Representatives and the Senate by the end of the year. If the legislation is defeated, it could be re-submitted after three months. A further defeat would set up a double dissolution trigger – which could be held by mid-2014.

And Richard Denniss reckons that double dissolution triggers do not apply until a new Senate is in place. Can you bear it?


Gerard Henderson is right above (though you need to understand the complexities of Australian Senate elections to get that) but he omits that Abbott also has other options. He could simply refuse to collect the tax, for instance, or remit to the payer as ex gratia payment any taxes paid


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


14 October, 2011

Ya gotta laugh!

There is in Physics Today an article by Steven Sherwood, a professor of climate change, no less, an article under the title "Science controversies past and present" which endeavours to deal with the sad fact (for him) that public belief in global warming is steadily receding.

His explanation is that the theories of Galileo, Copernicus and Einstein were not immediately accepted but eventually proved right (or more or less right). So he says that explains the present poor acceptance of global warming. We are just ignoramuses until a better understanding and vindication of science comes along.

But then, half way through the article we come across this amusing admission:
"The current theory of global climate change is hardly elegant or scientifically revolutionary, and in that respect it seems like no bedfellow to the others. Its prominence comes from its implications for the sustainability of current Western consumption patterns, not from reshaping physics; its many contributors would not claim to be Einsteins. What it shares with the others, however, is its origin in the worked-out consequences of evident physical principles rather than direct observation. That sort of bottom-up deduction is valued by physics perhaps more than by any other science."

In other words, gloibal warming is NOT like the theories of Galileo, Einsten et al. Its importance is only political and it's just a theory anyway!

I could say a lot more to disparage his article (e.g. Unlike Galileo and Einstein, global warming was first believed and then later disbelieved) but I think he himself has done a pretty good job of it so I will leave it at that.

I will however make one further observation: His article supporting global warming mentions not one scientific fact that supports global warming. If that is Physics Today, then physics is in a bad way.


Green Jobs Brown Out

How to spend $157,000 per job

The green jobs subsidy story gets more embarrassing by the day. Three years ago President Obama promised that by the end of the decade America would have five million green jobs, but so far some $90 billion in government spending has delivered very few.

A new report by the Labor Department's Office of Inspector General examined a $500 million grant under the stimulus program to the Employment and Training Administration to "train and prepare individuals for careers in 'green jobs.'" So far about $162.8 million has been spent. The program was supposed to train 125,000 workers, but only 53,000 have been "trained" so far, only 8,035 have found jobs, and only 1,033 were still in the job after six months.

Overall, "only 10% of participants entered employment." In the understatement of the year, the IG says the program failed to "assist those most impacted by the recession."

The jobs record is even more dismal when you consider that many of the jobs classified as green aren't even new jobs, much less green, according to a report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. They include positions that have been "relabeled as green jobs by the BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics]."

This means that bus drivers, Environmental Protection Agency regulators, university professors teaching ecology, and even the Washington lobbyists who secure energy loan guarantees count as green employees for the purposes of government counting. The Oversight Committee finds that even a charitable assessment of the Labor program puts the cost of each green job at $157,000.

The silver lining is that the IG found that as of "June 30, 2011, $327.3 million remained unexpended" from the Labor program's appropriation. The IG urges that all funds "determined not to be needed should be recouped as soon as practicable and to the extent permitted by law." That ought to be the deficit supercommittee's first $327 million in savings.


How Europe's Greens Will Be Taxing You

The gaga greenies of Europe are about to charge you for flying here in America.

In a stunning slap at the sovereignty of everyone on the other six continents, the European Court of Justice last week said it was just fine and dandy for the European Union to levy fees on planes flying elsewhere.

As the Europeans see it, global warming is so bad that they have to tax ... us.

Here's how it works: You take off from London for Los Angeles; your flight route runs north-northwest over Scotland and out of European air space pronto. You pay a tax for this, which, while annoying, isn't much different than a highway toll.

But as your flight continues on — clipping south of the North Pole, then swooping over the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and Alberta and into the United States and LAX — the EU will tax you for each one of those miles, too.

Starting next year, the EU will tote up all the miles a plane flies to or from any European city, factor in the fuel usage and charge a "carbon levy" for all emissions that are more than 85 percent of 2002 levels. No airline is going to eat that cost, so you'll get the bill, perhaps listed as an "environmental surcharge."

Like most taxes, it starts out small, maybe $20 or so (no one really knows yet) — and then the fine folks in Brussels will start jacking up the price. By 2020, it could be $60 — the sky's the limit.

And the EU's not just planning to hike the tax — it's already mandated it. By 2020, it will tax planes for using more than half their 2002 fuel, and while newer planes are more fuel efficient, they're not making gains close to that level.

According to Fitch, United, Continental, Delta and American are likely to get hit the most, because about 20 percent of their revenue comes from European travel.

Things could get pretty ugly. China is already making noise about pulling its order for 10 double-decker A-380s from Europe's Airbus (probably pretty good news for Boeing). Other countries may jack up landing fees or inflict similar taxes on foreign carriers.

Until now, Europe and the United Kingdom have been content to go it alone with their silly climate taxes, smugly thinking (along with Chevrolet Volt drivers) that they are somehow saving the world. No more.

All of this seems downright silly. Here in America, the last (overwhelmingly Democratic) Congress refused to pass an anti-warming bill that would've ordered the country to cut carbon-dioxide emissions an impossible 83 percent by 2050.

The bill actually passed the House, with President Obama's support. But Obama's public approval plummeted, while Republican poll ratings jumped, so the Senate punted the business of impoverishing us over to the president and his Environmental Protection Agency.

One reason that the bill was so unpopular was that it demonstrably did nothing about climate change — even if Europe, Australia, Canada and other industrialized nations adopted the same policy. That's because the massive emissions from China, India and other developing nations will dwarf ours.

In 2009, the last year for which we have good data, China emitted 142 percent of the US total of "greenhouse gases" — up from just 51 percent 10 years earlier.

But the Europeans aren't willing to let futility stop them from launching a perfectly disastrous crusade — or even from exporting it to America.


Climate Liars Hurting Real People
A SELF-FUNDED retiree has been told he cannot develop his land at Marks Point because rising sea levels will inundate his property by 2100.

Lake Macquarie City Council staff have recommended refusing Rob Antill’s plan for four two-level dwellings on a 1300-square-metre site.

A council staff report said the development site would have ‘‘a small area permanently inundated by 2050’’. ‘The entire site may be permanently inundated by 2100,’’ it said.

A number of prominent sea level groups pay their bills by making up absurd numbers about current sea level rise. Others make up even more absurd numbers about future sea level rise.

Sea level is not rising significantly in Newcastle. That man’s property will not be underwater in 2050 or 2100. It is time to make dishonest scientists accountable for their actions, just like every other profession.

The entire city of Los Angeles is doomed due to earthquakes. Do they build houses there anyway?

Graph of Newcastle sea levels from here


Those Darn Skeptics And Their Communications Professionals

“All right, boys,” began James Hansen, “Listen up. Climate contrarians are winning the argument with the public over global warming. “This is so even though climate science itself is becoming ever clearer in showing that the earth is in increasing danger from rising temperatures.

“Why? I’ll tell you: the skeptics have sneaked behind our back and have employed your actual communications professionals to put forward their vile message that we—even we!—are too sure of ourselves. “We’re losing because we genuine scientists are just barely competent at communicating with the public and don’t have the wherewithal to do it.

“So let’s summarize our media contacts and see where we stand. Then we can formulate a plan of attack. Agreed?

“We have the paper of record, the New York Times, especially Krugman who properly calls anybody who disagrees with the science a traitor that should be strung up.

“The Washington Post is on our side, of course. The LA Times and those Chicago papers can always be counted on for a pro-warming view. Plus, there lots of the medium-sized papers that take their lead from their betters.

“And don’t forget England, where we at least have The Guardian and The Independent and so on. Pro-consensus views are always found there.

“We have the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, as is only proper. And that’s just the English-speaking world. Le Monde is magnificent. Asahi Shimbum toes the line, as do The Times of India and Korea’s The Joongang Ilbo. Heck, even Bild follows us a lot of the time.

Let’s face it: we have fighting our cause the major papers in every capitol, English-speaking or not. Am I right?”

New York Post“Right boss,” said G., his ever-faithful sidekick. “We have them all except for the New York Post and The Daily Mail. What about the blogs?”

“Huffington, naturally. Daily KOS, Salon, and several other of the largest always do what’s expected of them. And I’d never forget your own valiant efforts, nor those of hundreds, even thousands of other blogs who preach the word of doom.

But, sadly, those vile skeptics have blogs, too. All are born out of ignorance or are the results of the pens of hired communications professionals—they get their funding from energy companies, you know.”

“Only fools read those blogs, boss,” ventured G. “Why not talk about what really counts—television.”

“TV? Why, we have NBC, CSB, NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, and all the government-funded PBS affiliates.”

“CNN?” asked G.? “Right: CNN is a solid. But we musn’t forget HBO and Bill Maher. And these are just the stations in the USA. Looking abroad we find all the channels of the BBC, ABC in Australia, Al Jazeera, France 5 (and maybe the other four, too), Germany’s EarthTV and the Deutsche Welle. Then there’s the All-Nippon News Network‎ and NHK in Japan, CBC in Canada, RAI in Italy, and so forth.

Once more, we can count as allies nearly every major television and cable outlet in every country except China.”

“Oh, how I hate Fox and Sky News!” G. shook his fist at his invisible enemies.

“True, G. Those backward networks are more evidence of the pernicious influence of communications professionals. The only explanation of the success of these media outlets is that these recalcitrant, wayward broadcasters is that they employ communications professionals whereas the other networks do not.”

“They must be stopped!” G. was trembling with rage.

“Before we get to that, let me remind us of the magazines on the side of the consensus.”

“No need, boss,” said G., anxious to show off his knowledge. “We all know about Time, Newsweek, The Nation, The New Republic, Scientific American, New York Review of Books, Mother Jones and the many others in the US, plus the several major publications in every civilized country. Plus, we own Hollywood. What I really want to know about are the politicians, the source of real power.”

“That’s easy. We have the Democrats and, believe it or not, even a few Republicans in the USA. We have Labour in the UK, the Greens, the Left, and Christians of various stripes in Germany, the Greens, Left, and Liberal in France, all of the EU hierarchy, the Greens and Liberals of Canada, Brazil is ours. Then there’s the Greens, Labor, and even the Liberal in Australia. That enlightened country even, thank the Powers, voted in a new carbon tax!

I could go on, but any fair counting shows at least half, and in many countries most, of the politicians support our cause, or at least say they do publicly.”

“What’s the bottom line, boss?”

“It’s obvious! We must address the glaring discrepancy in media access, which weighs so heavily in the favor of our enemies. We must pass a law banning the use of communications professionals!”


Kyoto Protocol set to end in Durban

Durban is set to be the deathbed of the Kyoto Protocol as climate change negotiators are unlikely to renew it when they descend on South Africa next month for a meeting on its future.

However, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said parties to the UN's 17th annual Convention on Climate Change will most likely keep the protocol in place while they seek a new legally binding climate change agreement.

The Kyoto Protocol, which expires in December next year, is an international agreement binding the world's most industrialised nations to reduce their greenhouse emissions by 5% of their 1990 levels.

Addressing the media in Pretoria yesterday, Molewa said a second commitment to the protocol was not likely because countries such as China and India were reluctant to sign without the US, which was not party to the original Kyoto Protocol.

Alf Wills, head of South Africa's climate change negotiating team, said the parties had three options:

* To keep the protocol as it is or develop a new one which will be acceptable to the US and other developed countries;
* Negotiate a new protocol acceptable to everyone, including the US; or

* Reach a deadlock, which will imply the immediate end of the Kyoto Protocol.

"All three options are on the table, but we are likely to keep the Kyoto Protocol for a transitional period while we negotiate a new agreement," Wills said. "We need to respect every country's interest.



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


13 October, 2011

An attempt to blind you with statistics

I used to teach statistics for a number of years at a major Australian university so this was a bit of a laugh to me but others might be a bit baffled so I thought I should point out in plain language what is going on.

What he is talking about is the probability of global warming. He admits that there is a very large range of possibilities -- from no warming to big warming. He then makes an assumption that the pattern of probablities is "fat-tailed" -- i.e. that a lot of the possibilities are bad.

But how can he know that? The only guide we have to future trends is the past -- and the past shows an overall trend of very gentle warming. His "fat-tail" is just guesswork. The real, known distribution of climate events should induce in us the utmost serenity

For better or worse, uncertainty pervades projections of global warming. Historically, this uncertainty has eroded support for implementing climate-change policies, but that may soon change – and dramatically so.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but only if you haven’t heard of climate-change’s “fat tail.” To put the significance of this fat tail in perspective, the “probability distribution representing the uncertainty in expected climate change implies that the risk of catastrophic outcome is more than forty thousand times more probable than that from an asteroid collision with the earth,” according to a recent report, “A Deeper Look at Climate Change and National Security,” by researchers at Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.

The climate system consists of several sub-systems, including the hydrosphere, the biosphere, the atmosphere, the geosphere and human systems. In turn, each of these sub-systems encompasses separate components, which include distinct elements and so on and so forth. The climate’s behavior reflects the collective interactions of these systems and sub-systems, but not always in a linear manner.

The so-called “butterfly effect” is a popular metaphor for explaining the chaotic behavior of complex systems like the Earth’s climate. A butterfly flapping its wings in Asia creates a tropical storm in the Atlantic Ocean a few weeks later. In complex systems, the slightest variation in initial conditions can create large deviations in future system conditions over time and not necessarily in predictable ways.

This non-linear tendency is why complex systems are more likely to follow a power-law probability distribution than the more familiar bell-curve distribution. In the former scenario, the tail of the distribution thins out more slowly in the power law scenario than it does in the normal distribution.

In a bell-curve distribution of probabilities, the range of possible events are clumped together around the average. Extreme outcomes fall on the margins and their likelihood of occurring fades away quickly. In a bell curve, the median and mean are the same. By contrast, in fat-tailed distributions, the median is extremely small compared to the mean, meaning that the probability of infrequent events is enormous.

Fat Tails and Bell Curves

This has vast implications for how we manage the potential risks posed by climate change. Simply put, “the planetary welfare effect of climate changes . . . implies a non-negligible probability of worldwide catastrophe,” according to Martin Weitzman, a professor of economics at Harvard University and a pioneer of the so-called “Dismal Theorem.”

Climate change’s fat tail makes the likelihood of rare events more so. The distinguishing feature of a power law distribution is “not only that there are many small events but that the numerous tiny events coexist with a few very large ones,” according to Albert-Lászlí Barabási, a physicist at the University of Notre Dame and author of Linked: The New Science Of Networks. Barabási explains: “If the heights of an imaginary planet’s inhabitants followed a power law distribution, most creatures would be really short . . . [but] nobody would be surprised to see occasionally a hundred-foot-tall monster walking down the street.”

So what are the policy implications of these non-negligible risks of catastrophic climate change? Reducing greenhouse-gas emissions not only makes eminently good sense, but may be the only realistic option for avoiding dangerous climate change. Carolyn Kousky, an economist at Resources for the Future, has explained that:

Traditional responses to the risk of extreme events are of limited value in mitigating risks of a mega-catastrophe. The underlying changes in the climatic system could not be reversed over any time scale relevant for decision-makers, limiting the efficacy of traditional recovery measures. Insurance markets will not function for these risks as they violate three key conditions of insurability: independent and identical losses, feasible premiums, and determinability of losses. Impacts could be difficult to smooth over time, even for governments.

Uncertainty is intrinsic to complex systems like Earth’s climate, but in the context of catastrophic climate change, this uncertainty is so severe that it is difficult to draw basic conclusions about how fat the fat tail is. According to Weitzman, it “is difficult to infer (or even to model accurately) the probabilities of events far outside the usual range of experience.”

Indeed, ”[r]ather than justifying a lack of response to climate change, the emphasis on uncertainty enlarges the risk and reinforces the responsibility for pursuing successful long-term mitigation policy,” according to a 2010 analysis by researchers at Sandia National Laboratory.

All things considered, alarmism seems like common sense to me.


Perry Officials Censored Climate Change Report

So Mother Jones tells us below. BUT: Galveston is an Island built on mud. Groundwater and oil pumping are causing the land to subside, like most other places on the Gulf Coast. It doesn't have much to do with the level of the water.

And since when is editing-out brain-dead speculation about now-halted global warming “censorship”?

Note also: Since sea level is declining and is now lowest in a decade, it surely is reasonable to lower future predictions of sea level!

Rick Perry takes Texas pride in being a climate change denier—and his administration acts accordingly.

Top environmental officials under Perry have gutted a recent report on sea level rise in Galveston Bay, removing all mentions of climate change. For the past decade, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), which is run by Perry political appointees, including famed global warming denier Bryan Shaw, has contracted with the Houston Advanced Research Center to produce regular reports on the state of the Bay.

But when HARC submitted its most recent State of the Bay publication to the commission earlier this year, officials decided they couldn't accept a report that said climate change is caused by human activity and is causing the sea level to rise. Top officials at the commission proceeded to edit the paper to censor its references to human-induced climate change or future projections on how much the bay will rise.

John Anderson, the oceanographer at Rice University who wrote the chapter, provided Mother Jones with a copy of the edited document, complete with tracked changes from top TCEQ officials. You can see the cuts—which include how much sea level rise has increased over the years, as well as the statement that this rise "is one of the main impacts of global climate change"—here and embedded at the end of this story. As the document shows, most of the tracked changes came from Katherine Nelson, the assistant director in the water quality planning division. Her boss, Kelly Holligan, is listed as a reviewer on the document as well.

Holligan and Nelson are top managers at Perry's commission; lower-ranking staff at the agency had already approved the document, according to the publication's editor. The changes came only after the two women reviewed the issue. TCEQ's commissioners, who are direct political appointees of the governor, select the top managers at TCEQ. Although the director and assistant director jobs aren't technically political appointments, those hires are usually vetted by the governor's office.

Anderson, whose complaints were first reported by the Houston Chronicle on Monday, says that the cuts to his paper were political and had nothing to do with science. The research underlying the study was peer-reviewed and is part of a decadelong study Anderson has conducted in partnership with other scientists. The Geological Society of America published the scientists' results in 2008. "I was a bit astonished," Anderson tells Mother Jones. "Really this paper is just a review of papers we published previously. There's no denying the fact that sea level rise has significantly accelerated. The scientific community is not at all divided on that issue."


You want Arctic warming? THIS was Arctic warming

Followed by a prolonged cool spell, of course

16 Degrees of warming from 1910 To 1939! Far greater than anything the Warmists agonize about now


Romney and Warmism

Not as bad as claimed?

“Since Mitt Romney’s environmentalist record as Massachusetts Governor is clearly going to be election issue, it seems worth taking a longer look at the Red State column on his Troubling Appointments now making the rounds. The three appointments, and putative Romney coffin nails, are these:

In 2003, Romney chose a hard core environmental activist to be Secretary of Commonwealth Development. In this position [Douglas Foy] was charged with developing a scheme to restrict “greenhouse gas” emissions…..

Gina McCarthy, the chief EPA clean air regulator, also worked as an environmental regulator for then-Governor Romney. Her role now is as point guard (nyuk) in the Obama Administrations fight to make coal fired electric generating plants extinct…..

Another Romney environmental adviser in the effort to regulate “greenhouse gases” is now Obama’s Director of Science and Technology Policy, John Holdren. Dr. Holdren has some exotic views…..

Nothing should send folks looking for actual source material faster than a candidate being taken to the woodshed over someone who “worked” in his administration, or as an even more loosey goosey “advisor,” neither of which sounded like “appointments” to me. After doing so, I ended up thinking there’s a cautionary tale about everybody’s talking points here.

The Red State author actually raised the first flag, drawing from what he, himself, characterizes as “oppo research” from the Perry camp. They in turn relied on an article in the National Journal which now starts out with a prominent apology for how it “incorrectly characterized the nature of Romney’s state climate action plan when he was governor of Massachusetts.”

Romney doesn’t exactly come up purist roses in that piece, but at least National Journal is a more reliable source than the additional Red State links to Salon and the New York Observer. Check out the Observer’s OWS slide show, if you want to know where they’re coming from.

You certainly won’t find me defending John Holdren, but what’s on offer at Red State qualifies as guilt-by-attenuated-association polemical material in my book.

It turns out, however, that Gina McCarthy was, indeed, appointed to high profile positions by Mitt Romney, although it’s worth noting that she was originally installed by Michael Dukakis, from whence she had already worked her way up the bureaucratic ladder during the Weld and Cellucci administrations.

She’s apparently a real EPA dragon lady now, but if I had more time (and, yes, I’m clearly trying to see if I can get comfortable with Romney), I’d try to suss out what she actually did in Romney’s administration before she moved on to Connecticut.

Douglas Foy initially looked like Romney’s most troubling appointment, given Red State’s excerpt from the Wall St. Journal. While Foy may actually have been Romney’s most significant appointment at the time, neither the Red State author, nor the Perry site he relied on, note that same Journal piece had this to say about Perry’s talking points:
"His record in Massachusetts is more complicated than the summary offered by Mr. Perry. Mr. Romney actually refused to join the regional cap-and-trade program his administration helped create. As governor, he angered business leaders and environmentalists alike. But that complexity may be part of his problem among voters seeking consistency or clarity.

From the start of his administration, Mr. Romney set out to reconcile a pro-business political bent with his state’s liberal environmentalism, said Eric Kriss, a close confidante of Mr. Romney’s from their days co-founding the private equity firm Bain Capital. During the Romney campaign for governor, Mr. Kriss consulted frequently with Mr. Foy.

“Doug was known as a pre-eminent conservationist,” he said. “He was broad-minded, articulate, and he believed in the vision we all had, to combine environmental concerns with the need for housing and transportation infrastructure."

There may be plenty not to like in the picture of Romney which emerges from closer inspection of the less agenda driven sources, but I do think the right has been developing a kneejerk tendency to throw any commitment to conservation and environmental protection out with the bath water of climate change and endangered species anti-business, distributionist politics.

Context and timing really are important here:

While “Mr. Romney made it clear he believed in human-caused global warming and wanted a policy response,” there are two salient caveats worth voicing. The first is pointed out by the WSJ, “At the time, many conservatives were open to a cap-and-trade system, seeing it as a market-driven solution to limiting emissions.”

The second is that all of this took place before global warming skepticism had even crossed the public radar. As a marker that folks who have been following the climate change controversy might appreciate, Watt’s Up With That only opened its doors — as a self-described “useful trivia” blog! — in November 2006, a mere 6 weeks before Romney left office.”


Global warming might bring back the Black Death

But so might global cooling! You can't win

by Steve Milloy

Nature reports that extant strains of Yersinia pestis are very similar to the Black Death bacterium that wiped out half of Europe in the 14th century — meaning that environment ought to be at the forefront of concern for the plague’s potential return.

The article specifically cites climate as a factor that could mediate a return of the Black Death. The citation for this claim is this paper, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The PNAS paper examined the plague breakouts in China from 1850 to 1964 and correlated them with climatic conditions (i.e., wetness/dryness) and concluded:
In northern China, plague intensity generally increased when wetness increased, for both the current and the previous year, except for low intensity during extremely wet conditions in the current year (reflecting a dome-shaped response to current-year dryness/ wetness).

In southern China, plague intensity generally decreased when wetness increased, except for high intensity during extremely wet conditions of the current year.

These opposite effects are likely related to the different climates and rodent communities in the two parts of China: In northern China (arid climate), rodents are expected to respond positively to high precipitation, whereas in southern China (humid climate), high precipitation is likely to have a negative effect.

Our results suggest that associations between human plague intensity and precipitation are nonlinear: positive in dry conditions, but negative in wet conditions.

We take this to mean that ANY change in precipitation levels could prompt a plague breakout.


Fanatical Climate change schoolbook recalled

Written by a poet!

A week after defending a self-published book on global warming included in their science kits marketed to Michigan school districts, the Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center is now recalling all copies of the book.

“This book makes sweeping statements” unfounded in science, BCAMSC Director Connie Duncan said today. “We want to be sure the information we send out is 100 percent correct to the best of our knowledge.”

The BCAMSC is contacting schools and teachers, via telephone, mail, and the center's secure Website, “any way we could get hold of them,” Duncan said regarding the supplemental texts it included in kits of materials to teach seventh graders the science of climate change.

Thirty-five school districts are using the seventh-grade science kits this year, including Vicksburg, Otsego and Schoolcraft in the Kalamazoo area.

As reported in the Kalamazoo Gazette Sunday, the Michigan Farm Bureau complained a few weeks ago that the 88-page book, "A Hot Planet needs Cool Kids," pushes an inaccurate take on modern agriculture, both by including erroneous information based on opinion rather than science and by failing to include information about ways that agricultural practices can help combat climate change.

The book was written by Julie Hall, a resident of Bainbridge, Wash., a poet and cofounder of ProgressiveKids, “a planet-friendly” online company. It is not a textbook, but rather a children's book offering a left-wing perspective on global warming, along with suggestions for environmental activism.

The book holds up Al Gore as an “eco-hero;” promotes organizations such as Greenpeace and Rainforest Alliance; urges children to persuade their parents to “Vote Green” and buy organic; cautions against new-home construction, the plastics industry and conventional agriculture, and notes “many people believe that it is best for the earth for families to have no more than one child.”

Although Farm Bureau's concerns prompted a second look at the book, Duncan stressed the book is not being recalled because of those complaints.

“We wouldn't have pulled the book” just because Farm Bureau objected, Duncan said in an interview today, “but we will review (a book) because someone disagrees with it.”

In this case, she said, the review revealed that, although “this book has some wonderful things in it, it also has some things in it that are not appropriate. There are some other pieces in there that are not based on fact."

The BCAMSC has been assembling and marketing science curriculums to Michigan elementary schools for almost 20 years. The science kits include lesson plans written in-house by BCAMSC consultants, based on Michigan's curriculum expectations for each grade. The kits also include children's books as supplemental reading. This is the first year that the center has offered seventh-grade science kits.

About a third of Michigan school districts use the BCAMSC kits for at least one grade, Duncan said.



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


12 October, 2011

Drought and flood are predictable from solar influences, not CO2 levels

Excerpt from a memorandum by South African hydrologist, Will Alexander

South Africa has a dry climate. In general, the drier the climate the greater the year-to-year variability. This in turn requires larger capacity storage dams to sustain the demand from them. The larger the capacity, the greater the evaporation losses from the stored water. There is another complication. As the demand from a storage dam increases, the greater the reliance on the isolated high inflows (floods) required to reinstate the volume of stored water.

An assessment of the numerical properties of the droughts that deplete water availability, and floods that restore storage became increasingly important over the years. This received growing international attention from 1950 onwards. South Africa was in the forefront of these studies. This was because of the seriousness of the problem in our drier climate and the availability of a large, comprehensive hydro-climatological database.

By the 1960s South Africa had already experienced recurrent droughts that adversely affected agricultural production as well as the need to impose water supply restrictions from major storage dams. A multidisciplinary Commission of Enquiry into Water Matters was appointed in 1966.

In 1970 the commission produced a comprehensive report. It recommended the establishment of a branch of scientific services in the Department of Water Affairs to expand the Department's research activities in the field of water resource development and management. The author of this presentation later occupied this post.

Another administrative recommendation was the establishment of the Water Research Commission that would coordinate and finance research in other water resource related fields. The Water Research Commission was established in 1971. By this time it was appreciated internationally that researchers in the field of applied hydrology were unable to develop satisfactory methods for practical applications, specifically the determination of the properties of concurrent, multi-year, multi-process sequences required for future advanced water resource development and management.

It was at this point that South Africa became a leader in this field. The reasons were twofold. They arose from further recommendations of the Commission of Enquiry. The report recommended that research be undertaken on the development of long-term river flow prediction methods as well as the possible causes of the observed multi-year anomalies being a consequence of extra-terrestrial influences.

Our subsequent research demonstrated that these two objectives were interlinked. It was shown that there was an undeniable, statistically significant (95%), predictable synchronous linkage between the double sunspot cycle, rainfall and river flow. These in turn were related to the behaviour of the Sun and the orbiting planets as the solar system moved along its trajectory through the galaxy.

Our successful, integrated approach was a world first. Our methodology and the database used in the analyses were made available in reports and publications issued during this period. We have achieved the two principal research priorities recommended by the Commission of Enquiry.

Other scientists demonstrated that the dense interior of the Sun is also affected by, and reacts to the Sun’s ‘wobble’ as it moves through the galaxy. This influences solar radiation. Other researchers postulated the presence of influences of activities beyond the solar system.

Climate change

It is not the purpose of this presentation to address climate change theory other than to point out that it is fundamentally different from the hydro-climatological studies described above. The major difference is that it is based on the theory that increasing emissions of carbon dioxide and other undesirable gases into the atmosphere from coal-fired power stations, transport, heavy industries and other sources will create a greenhouse effect.

This in turn will result in a warming of the global atmosphere. This will result in increases in the hydro-climatic extremes – floods and droughts, with consequent environmental damage and loss of unique plant and animal species. One would expect that scientists undertaking these studies would immediately search for evidence of these occurrences to support their theories. Equally, if they were unable to find this evidence they had a responsibility to include this in their presentations, particularly in the widely disseminated, authoritative assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This has not happened. Instead they have gone to the other extreme. The IPCC’s assessment reports completely ignore the wealth of material on the hydro-climatological extremes published during the past 50 years. They specifically reject the possibility that the Earth's climate is influenced by variations in the receipt of solar energy and its global redistribution via large scale atmospheric and oceanic systems. They offer no plausible alternative reasons for the well documented multiyear climate variability.

Full report obtainable from Will Alexander

Al Gore kicked out of the Global Warming Club

As the world turns away from the hysterics of the global warming crowd, the True Believers are looking for a scapegoat for their turn in fortunes. To blame Michael Mann or Phil Jones would be to admit that Climategate proved once and for all the fallacy of their “science” — that it was based on the manipulation of data and outright forgery.

Looking for dead weight in this sinking ship, Myles Allen of the Guardian has decided to toss Al Gore overboard: “Al Gore is doing a disservice to science by overplaying the link between climate change and weather. To claim that we are causing meteorological events that would not have occurred without human influence is just plain wrong.”

Now only to a true believer would there be no link between weather and climate. Myles Allen is not quite there, but he seems to recognize the problem 20 years of linking odd weather to global warming has turned into a farce. If everything proved global warming, then nothing really does.

His dump on Al Gore is refreshing: “When Al Gore said last week that scientists now have ‘clear proof that climate change is directly responsible for the extreme and devastating floods, storms and droughts that displaced millions of people this year,’ my heart sank. Having suggested the idea of “event attribution” back in 2003, and co-authored a study published earlier this year on the origins of the UK floods in autumn 2000, I suspect I may be one of the scientists being talked about.”

Yes, how dare Al Gore quote him.

The problem is not Al Gore. The problem is this ridiculous theory that mankind through its modern conveniences is creating too much carbon dioxide and this will eventually turn the world into a ball of fire. It’s rather Old Testament, conjuring up images of the demise of Sodom and Gomorrah. The problem is you cannot prove it. As Allen Myles lamented: “This illustrates an important point: human influence on climate is making some events more likely, and some less likely, and it is a challenging scientific question to work out which are which.”

So the science is not there yet. And without the science, we really have no logical reason to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which by the way is measured by whom? Is anyone double-checking the measurements? Measure twice, cut once.

And so Al Gore gets tossed overboard. Yesterday’s hero. More proof that like recycling, this is a fad — a fancy way for certain kids to feel superior to their parents.

Meanwhile, the London Daily Mail reported: “Britain is just weeks away from being in the grip of temperatures as low as -20C, forecasters have predicted. Parts of Britain already saw snow this week, with two inches falling in the Cairngorms in Scotland. The rest of Britain is being warned to brace itself for wintry conditions and falling snow from the beginning of November.”

So I can see why these “scientists” who have never spoken out for 20 years against using weather to burnish the global warming claims now wish to divorce themselves from that.


Energy Not Yet for All

The IEA has released a preview of its 2011 International Energy Outlook. In it is describes the challenge of providing energy access to people around the world and how current policies are falling well short.
Modern energy services are crucial to human well‐being and to a country’s economic development; and yet globally over 1.3 billion people are without access to electricity and 2.7 billion people are without clean cooking facilities. More than 95% of these people are either in sub‐Saharan Africa or developing Asia and 84% are in rural areas.

In 2009, we estimate that $9.1 billion was invested globally in extending access to modern energy services. In the absence of significant new policies, we project that the investment to this end between 2010 and 2030 will average $14 billion per year, mostly devoted to new on‐grid electricity connections in urban areas. This level of investment will still leave 1.0 billion people without electricity and, despite progress, population growth means that 2.7 billion people will remain without clean cooking facilities in 2030. To provide universal modern energy access by 2030 annual average investment needs to average $48 billion per year, more than five‐times the level of 2009. The majority of this investment is required in sub‐Saharan Africa.

Remarkably, the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations do not even include energy access among their priorities. Thus, it is no surprise that the IEA places making energy access a political prority at the top if its recommendations:
Adopt a clear and consistent statement that modern energy access is a political priority and that policies and funding will be reoriented accordingly. National governments need to adopt a specific energy access target, allocate funds to its achievement and define their strategy for delivering it.

In case you are curious, what does "energy access" actually mean? The IEA defines energy access contextually, and it starts here:
The initial threshold level of electricity consumption for rural households is assumed to be 250 kilowatt‐hours (kWh) per year and for urban households it is 500 kWh per year. In rural areas, this level of consumption could, for example, provide for the use of a floor fan, a mobile telephone and two compact fluorescent light bulbs for about five hours per day. In urban areas, consumption might also include an efficient refrigerator, a second mobile telephone per household and another appliance, such as a small television or a computer.

I am sure that readers of this blog would hesitate to call such a level of consumption "energy access." The average US household uses 20-40 times as much energy! Even if US households were to cut their consumption by half (unlikely) under aggressive assumptions about efficiency, it would still vastly exceed the initial threshold defined by the IEA.

The IEA observes that energy access is actually a process:
Once initial connection to electricity has been achieved, the level of consumption is assumed to rise gradually over time, attaining the average regional consumption level after five years. This definition of electricity access to include an initial period of growing consumption is a deliberate attempt to reflect the fact that eradication of energy poverty is a long‐term endeavour. In our analysis, the average level of electricity consumption per capita across all those households newly connected over the period is 800 kWh in 2030.

In anything, the IEA has underestimated future demand for energy, as 800 kWh per year is just the start. The world needs more energy -- much more energy.


IPCC Mischaracterizes Precipitation (rain and snow) Changes

It it’s 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) investigated the character of the changes in precipitation that have been observed across the world over the past half-century or so. In doing so, they concluded:
Observed changes in intense precipitation (with geographically varying thresholds between the 90th and 99.9th percentile of daily precipitation events) for more than one half of the global land area indicate an increasing probability of intense precipitation events beyond that expected from changes in the mean for many extratropical regions (Groisman et al., 2005; Figure 3.39, bottom panel). This finding supports the disproportionate changes in the precipitation extremes described in the majority of regional studies above, in particular for the mid-latitudes since about 1950.

The problem is, is that the methodology that the IPCC relied upon was insufficient to base such a conclusion.

Over those regions where a more appropriate methodology has been employed, contrary to IPCC proclamations, the changes in intense precipitation events have proven to be very much proportionate to the observed changes in total annual precipitation. And even though the IPCC knew that this was the case for at least one of these major land areas (the United States), they nevertheless chose to forward the mischaracterization.

Chalk up another addition to the list of IPCC errors.

Good and Bad Methodologies

In virtually all assessments of precipitation changes, the first thing that is done, is to determine the average amount (or number) of daily precipitation (events) that fall within a predefined set of “bins.” For instance, how much precipitation falls on average in daily events between one-half and one inch, or between one and two inches, or greater than two inches. The bin thresholds are often defined by percentiles. For instance the amount of rain that falls between the 90th and 95th percentile of all rain events, or between the 95th and 99th percentile, etc. These thresholds remain fixed throughout the analysis. Then, the amount of rain that falls within each of these bins during each year over the period of analysis is examined to determine if there have been any overall changes.

Based on the results of analyses using this fixed bin approach, it is often concluded that the amount of rain falling in “heavy,” or “intense,” or “extreme” events is increasing at a rate that is disproportionate to (increasing faster than) the increase in total annual precipitation. And such conclusions base the IPCC assessment of the situation.

However, the shape of the natural distribution of daily rainfall events means that a fixed bin methodology will find disproportionate changes even when the underlying changes are perfectly proportionate to each other and to the total annual change.

We explained all of this in a paper we published (Michaels et al., 2004) back in 2004 in the International Journal of Climatology (after a long and contentious review process at Geophysical Research Letters in which we were ultimately rejected), and cautioned that fixed bin methodologies “cannot differentiate between proportionate and disproportionate precipitation changes in all cases.” And that “[t]o assess the proportionality of observed changes accurately, a different analysis technique must be employed.”

In our paper, we forward a more appropriate technique for assessing changes in precipitation—instead of using fixed bins, we proposed examining trends through ranked precipitation events (that is, the trend of the amount of precipitation that falls on the wettest day of each year, the second wettest day of each year, … the tenth wettest day of each year). We could then compare the changes in the amount of precipitation on each ranked days with the changes in a total annual precipitation.

What we found was that while the amount of precipitation falling on each of the top-10 wettest days of the year had increased in the U.S. from 1910-2001, the increase on those days was, by and large, in perfect proportion to the increase in the total annual rainfall amount.

Obviously, we concluded that labeling the observed change in heavy precipitation events in the U.S. “disproportionate” was extremely misleading.

Nevertheless (and despite our complaints; see comment 3-838 in the public comments submitted to the IPCC) the IPCC proceeded to do so anyway.

New Results

When we did our work back in 2004, we were only able to examine trends in U.S. precipitation from a fairly limited amount of available data. But in the intervening time, a much greater volume of data has become digitally available, not only for the U.S., but also internationally as well. And now, a team of scientists has performed an analysis similar to ours for China.

And they found for China precipitation the same thing we did for U.S. precipitation—that is, the change in extreme precipitation is generally in line with changes in total precipitation, despite being mischaracterized in other studies as being “disproportionate.”

Here is how Binhui Liu of the the Northeast Forestry University, in Harbin, China and colleagues summarize their work:
Previous studies have suggested that extreme precipitation events accounted for a disproportionate share of the nearly 2% increase in precipitation in China over the period of 1960–2000. Michaels et al. challenged a similar finding in the USA, arguing that fixed-bin methods for analysing extreme events obscure underlying precipitation patterns, and proposing a method that focusses on trends of the 10 wettest days of the year. Applying this method to China, we find that trends of precipitation on the 10 wettest days are generally proportional to changes in annual total precipitation.

Another strike for the IPCC as they have a big “plus” sign over China (see Figure 1) where one does not belong.

We can only wonder what would happen if the appropriate methodology were to be applied to the other regions of the world where the IPCC has deemed the changes in extreme precipitation “disproportionate” to changes in the mean. After all, in the two places that the appropriate methodology was applied, the IPCC’s assessment was found to be inaccurate in both instances.

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

Sea Level Lowest In Almost A Decade

Envisat was launched by the EU in 2002, and is the largest and most sophisticated Earth monitoring satellite. It shows that the four lowest sea level readings all occurred in 2011. The most recent reading was fourth lowest on record, out of 321 measurements.

2011.195646 0.482924
2011.219467 0.4834722
2011.171824 0.4836651
2011.624432 0.4839605

Full list here


Carbon tax vote clears Australian Lower House

AFTER more than a decade of political argument, the House of Representatives has this morning passed legislation to put a price on carbon, paving the way for Australia's most dramatic economic reform in more than a decade.

After claiming two prime ministers, two opposition leaders and severely wounding the authority of Julia Gillard, a carbon price is now on a clear path to being entrenched in law.

The government's carbon tax package was passed 74 votes to 72, with applause from the government benches as legislation was passed with the support of independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, and Greens MP Adam Bandt.

Labor frontbenchers embraced the Prime Minister following the vote, while Coalition MPs jeered and urged Kevin Rudd to congratulate her. Mr Rudd then kissed Ms Gillard on the cheek and offered his congratulations, to cheers from opposition benches.

Speaking before the final vote, Ms Gillard said future generations would enjoy the benefits of the historic reform.

But as the 18 carbon tax bills head for a vote in the Senate before the end of the year, Tony Abbott gave his “pledge in blood” to dismantle the tax in government.

Ms Gillard said 160 million tonnes of carbon would be cut from the atmosphere by 2020 under her carbon tax. “You'll be able to see the biggest polluters changing their conduct and behaviour,” Ms Gillard told ABC Radio.

Ms Gillard says Mr Abbott will be unable to dismantle the tax because it would involve taking associated compensation measures from pensioners and families.

But Mr Abbott said he was more determined than ever to axe the carbon price if he became prime minister. “We will repeal this tax, we will dismantle the bureaucracy associated with it,” Mr Abbott said. “I am giving you the most definite commitment any politician can give that this tax will go. This is a pledge in blood this tax will go.

“If the bills pass today this will be an act of betrayal on the Australian public. We will repeal the tax, we can repeal the tax, we must repeal the tax.”

The government's related $300 million steel transformation plan also passed the House, 75 votes to 71, with the additional support of Queensland independent Bob Katter.

Former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull - a carbon price supporter - voted with the Coalition as expected. But he sat stony-faced on the back bench for the votes, next to opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey.

Mr Rudd and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson sat chatting on the Labor back bench for the divisions. Greens deputy leader Christine Milne sat in the chamber's guest seats to witness the vote.

Under the government's package, a fixed carbon price of $23 a tonne will be imposed from July 1 next year, rising at 2.5 per cent a year in real terms for three years.

In 2015, the package will convert to an emissions trading scheme with a floating price.

When the floating price starts in 2015, a floor price of $15 will be imposed and a ceiling price, $20 above the expected international price, will also be imposed to prevent volatility.



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


11 October, 2011

Gestapo-like abuse of power by the EPA


(Vidrine v. United States)

The Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) filed a federal lawsuit today in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in Lafayette against the United States for maliciously prosecuting Hubert P. Vidrine, Jr. of Opelousas, LA, for allegedly storing a hazardous substance without a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

After four years of prosecution, felony charges were suddenly dropped on the eve of trial in September 2003 after Vidrine discovered that the only witness for the government was addicted to cocaine causing hallucinations.

Even after putting their witness under hypnosis in vain, the EPA could not produce the allegedly hazardous substance or any test results.

The suit, filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) seeks a total of $5 million in damages. Mr. Vidrine, a plant manager at Canal Refining Co. in Church Point, LA, was indicted in 1999 in federal court for allegedly violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for the improper storage of hazardous waste without a permit.

A few years before Vidrine was indicted, a "SWAT Team" consisting of almost two dozen armed Special EPA Agents from EPA's Criminal Investigation Division (CID), FBI, and other law enforcement officers raided Canal Refining with M-16 rifles and police dogs; falsely accused Mr. Vidrine of storing hazardous waste and lying about it; prevented employees from using the restrooms for several hours; prevented those same employees from calling their homes and daycare centers to make plans to have children picked up; falsely told the employees that Mr. Vidrine had been poisoning them and giving them cancer; and threatened them with imprisonment if they did not provide damaging evidence against Mr. Vidrine.

It appears that the EPA's chief witness in the case, Mike Franklin, claimed that he had taken samples of the alleged hazardous waste and had it tested. However, neither the EPA nor federal prosecutors could produce the test results allegedly proving RCRA violations.

Mr. Vidrine later discovered that Mr. Franklin was addicted to cocaine. Nevertheless, federal prosecutors and the EPA insisted on using Mr. Franklin as their key witness, even though subpoenas issued by the prosecutors to chemical testing laboratories in the area failed to turn up any lab results of the alleged hazardous waste in question.

To no avail, the government went so far as to place Mr. Franklin under hypnosis in a desperate attempt to obtain information about the alleged testing samples.

The trial judge ruled that Mr. Franklin could not be used as a witness. At the urging of EPA agents, federal prosecutors continued to insist that the government should be able to use Mr. Franklin as their key witness and appealed the judge's decision to exclude Mr. Franklin's testimony to the Fifth Circuit.

They reluctantly withdrew the appeal when the U.S. Solicitor General's Office decided not to approve it. On September 17, 2003, on the eve of trial, federal prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss the indictment against Mr. Vidrine and two other defendants, which was granted the next day.

Mr. Vidrine was forced to spend over $180,000, his entire retirement savings, to defend himself against the bogus charges. After the charges were dropped, Mr. Vidrine stated, "I didn't think that this could happen in America."

Mr. Vidrine contacted WLF for legal assistance because of WLF's work on behalf of another small business in Worcester, Massachusetts, which was raided by armed EPA agents and where EPA misconduct led to charges being dropped on the eve of trial against the company (Riverdale Mills Corp.) and its owner (James M. Knott, Sr.).

WLF filed complaints in November 2003 with EPA's Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility of the Department of Justice to investigate the misconduct.

In September 2005, Vidrine filed a claim for damages against the EPA and the Department of Justice under the FTCA for compensation for malicious prosecution and other misconduct. Both agencies have failed to respond to Vidrine's claim, thus necessitating the filing of today's lawsuit.

"This is an outrageous case of malicious prosecution and misconduct by the EPA and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Louisiana," said Paul Kamenar, WLF's Senior Executive Counsel. "The EPA and the Department of Justice has a sad history of using heavy-handed tactics and criminalizing business activities where administrative or civil remedies would be more appropriate," Kamenar added.


Update of October 7, 2011:

The legal might of the U.S. government is usually enough to roll right over someone like Opelousas, La. plant manager Hubert Vidrine Jr. But last week the underdog had his day: a federal court awarded Vidrine $1.7 million for having been maliciously prosecuted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Our friends at the Washington Legal Foundation, who helped represent Vidrine, give details:

"The just-resolved case started in 1996 when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered its SWAT-like special operations team (equipped with M-16 rifles and police dogs) to raid the Canal Refinery, Mr. Vidrine’s workplace. The raid led to a criminal investigation against Mr. Vidrine for allegedly unlawful storage and disposal of hazardous wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

When it discovered that evidence of the alleged offense was lacking, the feds refused to back off and in fact redoubled their zeal. In a scathing 142-page ruling, Judge Rebecca Doherty wrote that federal prosecutor Keith Phillips “set out with intent and reckless and callous disregard for anyone’s rights other than his own, and reckless disregard for the processes and power which had been bestowed on him, to effectively destroy another man’s life.”

A Greenwire dispatch published in the New York Times is at pains to present the Vidrine case (quoting a former enforcement official) an “isolated situation” arising from the actions of a “rogue” agent. As a local paper reported, “Phillips was accused of targeting Vidrine because of his outspokenness and choosing an investigation in Louisiana to be close to a woman with whom he was having a sexual affair.” The second of these motives, at least, presumably doesn’t figure very often in decisions to pursue federal criminal charges.

Cato readers have reason to be less than surprised when federal enforcers abuse their powers, especially at an agency as convinced of its own righteousness as the EPA. Nine years ago, Cato published James V. DeLong’s “Out of Bounds, Out of Control: Regulatory Enforcement at the EPA.” In 2009 congressional testimony, Cato’s Tim Lynch discussed troubling cases like that of Alaska railroad employee Edward Hanousek (“prosecuted under the Clean Water Act even though he was off duty and at home when the accident occurred”).

Yesterday, incidentally, brought another setback in court for the EPA: a federal judge slapped it down for flagrantly overstepping its legal charter by usurping the Army Corps of Engineers’s statutory role as part of its efforts to restrict coal mining in Appalachia. How many times do the agency and its enforcers have to overstep their authority before those incidents cease to be just ”isolated situation[s]“?



A key EPA agent in the case, Keith Phillips, has just been convicted of lying during the civil trial.

Warmists facing failure: No successor to Kyoto treaty likely

U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres lauded a climate change meeting in Panama as "good progress" this weekend, even as environmental activists warned that the world's only structure for curbing greenhouse gas emissions appears about to crumble. ...

"South Africa is the tipping point in terms of the future of the climate regime," said Tasneem Essop, international climate policy advocate for the World Wildlife Fund in South Africa. ...

Figueres on Friday lauded the European Union for helping to launch "constructive discussions" and said "governments are exploring those middle-ground solutions that would allow them to go forward with a second commitment period."

Yet the United States, which is not a party to Kyoto but as the world's largest historic carbon emitter is central to the future of the climate regime, appears to be putting the kibosh on such a compromise.

Speaking at a wrap-up press conference in Panama, U.S. Deputy Envoy Jonathan Pershing acknowledged that "the uncertainty over a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is a source of anxiety for many parties." But in describing the E.U. proposal, Pershing said, "We do not believe that conditions are ripe in Durban for a legally binding agreement."


Arctic Has Gained One Manhattan Of Ice Every Two Minutes For The Last 30 Days

This is due to cold weather, right at the 1958-2002 mean.


Britain faces a mini 'ice age'

Choose your scare!

BRITAIN is set to suffer a mini ice age that could last for decades and bring with it a series of bitterly cold winters. And it could all begin within weeks as experts said last night that the mercury may soon plunge below the record -20C endured last year.

Scientists say the anticipated cold blast will be due to the return of a disruptive weather pattern called La Nina. Latest evidence shows La Nina, linked to extreme winter weather in America and with a knock-on effect on Britain, is in force and will gradually strengthen as the year ends.

The climate phenomenon, characterised by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Pacific, was linked to our icy winter last year – one of the coldest on record.

And it coincides with research from the Met Office indicating the nation could be facing a repeat of the “little ice age” that gripped the country 300 years ago, causing decades of harsh winters.

The prediction, to be published in Nature magazine, is based on observations of a slight fall in the sun’s emissions of ultraviolet radiation, which may, over a long period, trigger Arctic conditions for many years.

Although a connection between La Nina and conditions in Europe is scientifically uncertain, ministers have warned transport organisations and emergency services not to take any chances. Forecasts suggest the country could be shivering in a big freeze as severe and sustained as last winter from as early as the end of this month.

La Nina, which occurs every three to five years, has a powerful effect on weather thousands of miles away by influencing an intense upper air current that helps create low pressure fronts.

Another factor that can affect Europe is the amount of ice in the Arctic and sea temperatures closer to home.

Ian Currie, of the Meterological Society, said: “All the world’s weather systems are connected. What is going on now in the Pacific can have repercussions later around the world.”

Parts of the country already saw the first snowfalls of the winter last week, dumping two inches on the Cairngorms in Scotland. And forecaster James Madden, from Exacta Weather, warned we are facing a “severely cold and snowy winter”.

Councils say they are fully prepared having stockpiled thousands of tons of extra grit. And the Local Government Association says it had more salt available at the beginning of this month than the total used last winter.

But the mountain of salt could be dug into very soon amid widespread heavy snow as early as the start of next month. Last winter, the Met Office was heavily criticised after predicting a mild winter, only to see the country grind to a halt amid hazardous driving conditions in temperatures as low as -20C.

Peter Box, the Local Government Association’s economy and transport spokesman, said: “Local authorities have been hard at work making preparations for this winter and keeping the roads open will be our number one priority.”

The National Grid will this week release its forecast for winter energy use based on long-range weather forecasts. Such forecasting is, however, notoriously difficult, especially for the UK, which is subject to a wide range of competing climatic forces.

A Met Office spokesman said that although La Nina was recurring, the temperatures in the equatorial Pacific were so far only 1C below normal, compared with a drop of 2C at the same time last year.

Research by America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that in 2010-11 La Nina contributed to record winter snowfalls, spring flooding and drought across the world.


Electricity in The Netherlands: Windmills increase fossil fuel consumption & CO2 emissions


First we describe the models presently used by others to calculate fuel saving and reduction of CO2 emission through windparks. These models are incomplete. Neglected factors deminish the calculated savings.

Using wind data of a normal windy day in the Netherlands it will be shown that windparks of various size cause extra fuel consumption instead of fuel saving, when compared to electricity production with modern gas turbines only. We demonstrate that such losses occur.

Factors taken into account are: low thermal efficiency at low power; cycling of back up generators; energy needed to build and to install wind turbines; energy needed for cabling and net adaptation; increase of fuel consumption through partial replacement of efficient generators by low-efficient, fast reacting OCGTs.

1. Introduction

Several countries invest heavily in the construction of windmills in order to save fossil fuel and to reduce CO2 emission. The wind comes free, the mills do not pollute and there is no need to burn fossil fuel. However, this simple notion defended by staunch supporters of windturbines, has been criticized by critical analysts, e.g. refs: 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12.

Wind does not blow according to demand of electricity users. Sometimes there is no wind or little wind and sometimes there is a lot. It would be no problem if there was an economic way to store electricity and to use it from that storage whenever needed. Unfortunately we do not have such a storage. Batteries have little capacity and they are much too expensive. There are other possibillities but none of them comes near to anything that is economically feasible. The only exception is hydro power, i.e. lakes in mountains, that can be pumped full if there is an electricity surplus and emptied when the power is needed. Unfortunately there are no mountains in the Netherlands. (Also many other countries that do have them, do not have sufficient place there for such storage lakes.) So the current practice is to have windparks operate in connection to conventional powerplants. These generators step in when the wind fails and they can be switched off, or their output is reduced, if the wind blows. Thus, when considering wind power, one must do that normally in connection with 'back up' conventional systems. That is why the wind influences from minute to minute the performance of the conventional generators.

A handicap prohibiting the settlement of the dispute is the absence in the public domain of factual data of the different producing units. So the the arguments are mostly about model computations. There are exceptions. In the USA a BENTEK study used real emission data of power plants in Texas and Colorado. They became available due to the freedom of information act. Its conclusion was: wind has no visible influence on fuel consumption for electricity production and the emission of CO2 in the atmosphere is not reduced13 .

This shocking result did not convince decision makers. At least not in Europe. The negative result was attributed to a difference in fuel mix. Coal-, oil-, gas- and nuclear heated generators behave differently. So what might be true there, does not mean that it holds true for us.

In August 2011 Fred Udo analysed the data put on the internet by EirGrid, the grid operator in Ireland. His web page article was termed by colleagues abroad 'The smoking gun of the windmill fraud'. He showed that the substantial wind contribution in the Irish republic caused such a small saving of fuel and a corresponding small reduction of CO2 emission, that it shatters the whole economy of the wind policy. He also was able to show that more wind penetration caused an increase of CO2 emission8.

The real situation, however, is even worse. The way EirGrid derives its data on CO2 emission does not correspond with what is actually happening in fossil fired power plants. More over, the Irish data do not enclose some serious other factors that deteriorate the fuel saving aimed at. An indication could be, that the overall CO2 emission in Ireland is 20% higher than the emission calculated in the EirGrid tables, as Udo showed. (His source: ref. 14. A difference of 3% might be due to import of electricity. Transport losses have been accounted for.)
In this present study we shall explain what is wrong. On the basis of existing data and new information on the behavior of conventional generators when they are cycling - i.e. ramping up and down in order to compensate for the variations in wind power - we shall show how much worse the influence of adding wind electricity to the grid really is.

Much more HERE

No local effects of rising CO2?

Gaseous diffusion is rapid but is it this rapid?

If greenhouse gases (GHG), and ozone depleting gases (ODG) are responsible for climate change, then the GHG's, and ODG's should raise the temperature, regardless if the polluted area is local, region, or global. If GHG's, and ODG's are responsible for climate change, then why in the early 20th century, during the industrial revolution in America, and Europe wasn't there high temperature variations in these industrialized regions? These heavily industrialized region, included chemical plants, steel mills, smelting plants, and refineries, etc. The rust belt was located in the north to northeastern region of United Sates. Unfortunately there are no local, or regional Co2 reading, but you can go to the weather almanac to check the local, and region temperature for any period. The temperature year round in these highly industrialized regions in America, and Europe were normal, or near normal,why? The Co2 readings were high in these region.

Why don't global Co2 readings, and the global temperature readings coincide with one another? If you look at both global readings on a linear graph, you will notice that the global Co2 readings show a steady increase over a millennium, but the global temperature readings fluctuates as it increase, during the same period. There were periods where the global temperature was far higher, than the global Co2 reading, why?

Like the industrialized regions of America, and Europe. Why after a volcanic eruption doesn't the temperature ever increases in the region of the eruption. All volcanoes release ton of green house gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, etc into the atmosphere. There has never been a recorded increase temperature variation in the region of the eruption, why? The presence of GHG's already exist in these regions, volcanoes add even more GHG's. I know some eruptions produce ash that blot out the sun to a degree, but when the ash settles there is no temperature increase, why?



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


10 October, 2011

Ultraviolet light shone on cold winter conundrum

As is to be expected, the BBC story below is larded with reassurances about global warming. The reassurances don't however flow from the raw data. What the data show is a big upset to the "consensus", a revelation of uncertainty and a concession that the SUN is a big factor in climate change. There are in fact below BIG admissions of solar influence. The raw (SIM) data are sufficiently threatening to the orthodoxy for doubt to be cast on their accuracy. All in all, rather a good haul of facts and admissions for skeptics.

Recent cold winters that brought chaos to the UK and other places in northern Europe may have their roots in the Sun's varying ultraviolet emissions.

The latest satellite data shows the UV output is far more changeable than scientists had previously thought.

A UK scientific team now shows [via "models"] in Nature Geoscience journal how these changes lead to warmer winters in some places and colder winters in others. The researchers emphasise there is no impact on global warming.

The Sun has recently been in a quiet phase of its regular 11-year cycle, which co-incided with three years in which the UK, along with other places in northern Europe and parts of the US, experienced cold conditions unusual in the recent record.

But unusually warm weather was felt both further south, around the Mediterranean Sea, and further north in Canada and Greenland.

"The key point is that this effect is a change in the circulation, moving air from one place to another, which is why some places get cold and others get warm," said Adam Scaife, one of the researchers on the paper, who heads the UK Met Office's Seasonal to Decadal Prediction team.

"It's a jigsaw puzzle, and when you average it up over the globe, there is no effect on global temperatures," he told BBC News.

The recent revelations on the Sun's ultraviolet variability come from a Nasa satellite called the SOlar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE), launched in 2003.

Among its instruments is the Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM), which analyses the Sun's output at frequencies in the infrared, visible and ultraviolet parts of the spectrum.

SIM is giving scientists a detailed picture of how the Sun's ultraviolet emissions vary over its regular 11-year cycle of waxing and waning energy; and it suggests the UV variation is about five times larger than had been inferred from previous observations.

Meanwhile, scientists including the Met Office team have been publishing papers demonstrating that winter temperatures over Europe and North America do vary with the solar cycle - but without being able to show the mechanism.

The new research involved plugging SIM's ultraviolet measurements into the Met Office Hadley Centre computer model of the world's climate. The results of the modelling re-inforce the idea that the UV variations affect winter weather across the region; and they indicate how it may happen.

Arctic roots of our 'upside-down' weather

UV is absorbed in the stratosphere, the upper atmosphere, by ozone. So in the quiet bit of the solar cycle, when there is less UV to absorb, the stratosphere is relatively cooler.

The Hadley Centre model shows that the effects of this percolate down through the atmosphere, changing wind speeds, including the jet stream that circles the globe above Europe, North America and Russia.

The net change is a reduced air flow from west to east, which brings colder air to the UK and northern Europe and re-distributes temperatures across the region.

Dr Scaife emphasises that ultraviolet emissions are not the sole reason why winter temperatures vary. But understanding the UV link may improve meteorologists' capacity to predict winter weather accurately.

"Assuming these new satellite data are correct... then as the 11-year solar cycle is predictable, it's going to contribute some predictability for European and indeed UK weather," he said.

"You'll never be able to predict the precise temperature of the third week in January or whatever, but you might be able to say 'this winter is more likely to be warm' or 'more likely to be cold' with more accuracy."

The one big caveat is whether SIM's data is accurate. Scientists in the field appear to believe it is - but as the UV changes it sees are so large compared with previous methods, they would prefer confirmation.

Commenting in Nature Geoscience, Katja Matthes from the Helmholtz Centre in Potsdam, Germany, describes the results as "intriguing, albeit somewhat provisional". "The trends seen in the SIM observations are still under discussion and remain to be confirmed," she writes.

She also points out that SIM measures only a proportion of the ultraviolet region of the spectrum.

If the ultraviolet theory is correct, the UK is less likely to see cold winters in the next few years as the 11-year solar cycle gains strength.

As well as the 11-year cycle, the Sun's output also varies on longer timescales.

Its intensity has increased since the 1600s when the period known as the Maunder Minimum began, with astronomers documenting a dearth of sunspots over many decades.

The Maunder Minimum co-incided with part of a period that has come to be known as the Little Ice Age, when winter weather overall grew colder in parts of Europe.

Mike Lockwood of the UK's Reading University, who also studies possible associations between solar changes and climate, suggested that if the Sun's ultraviolet output varies as much on long timescales as its does across the solar cycle, that could provide the connection between the Maunder Minimum and the temperature changes.

"The Little Ice Age wasn't really an ice age of any kind - the idea that Europe had a relentless sequence of cold winters is frankly barking, but there was a larger proportion of cold winters," he told BBC News.

"We now have a viable explanation of why that happened - nothing to do with global warming, but in terms of temperature re-distribution around the north Atlantic."


Recent 9 Months U.S. Temperature trend/decade – 7.8 F COOLER in 100 years

And the cooling continues. Sorry - I mean that Global Warming is an imminent treat to humankind.

As a complement to my previous post September U.S. Temperature trend/decade - It is getting cooler and cooler, I thought it also would be interesting to look at the recent 9 months (year to date, January-September) US temperature from a "historic" perspective. To see how the decade trends have evolved during the last 111 years.

Especially to see how the decade trends have evolved during the last 41 years. The period that according to the Global Warming Hysterics and computer models they worship should show a steady and accelerated increase in temperature.

I don't know about you, but I consider a 9 month consecutive month trend 111 years long to be a "quit good" indicator.

And as I always point out:

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

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

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

So here are the trends:

US temperature recent 9 months (Jan-Sep) 1900-2011

The trend for 1900 to 2011 is 0.13 F / Decade

US temperature recent 9 months (Jan- Sep) 1970-2011

The trend for 1970 to 2011 is 0.48 F / Decade

US temperature recent 9 months (Jan- Sep) 1980-2011

The trend for 1980 to 2011 is 0.36 F / Decade

US temperature recent 9 months (Jan- Sep) 1990-2011

The trend for 1990 to 2011 is 0.17 F / Decade

US temperature recent 9 months (Jan- Sep) 2000-2011

The trend for 2000 to 2011 is - 0.78 F / Decade

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

Do you notice the "accelerated warming" trend from 1970-2011 to 2000-2011??

So the "warming trend" 2000-2011 is exactly - 0.78 F degrees COOLER a decade. That is a whopping - 7.8 F COOLER in 100 years. The freezer next!

And this is also the decade that the Global Warming Hysterics have been screaming at the top of their lungs, trying to scare us to death, about the catastrophic treat that the "extreme increase" in temperature is to mankind and earth.

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

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

And all of this to "save" the Earth from a "catastrophic warming" when it is actually cooling.

And the most absurd thing is that all the things that the "intelligent" politicians and the so called "scientists", with the willing help of mainstream media, have forced through at EXTREME cost to us, are actually helping to accelerate the cooling.

Talking about an eminent treat to humankind!

According to the computer models that the Global Warming Hysterics love so much, worship and blindly follows (especially our intelligent politicians), it should be EXACTLY the opposite.

And we are supposed to be very worried about a predicted rise of 3-4 F?

But not this ACTUAL trend?

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

So to summarize this evidence of this "accelerated warming" trend:

The recent 9 months trend 1970-2011 is exactly 0.48 F degrees a decade.

The recent 9 months trend 1980-2011 is exactly 0.36 F degrees a decade.

The recent 9 months trend 1990-2011 is exactly 0.17 F degrees a decade.

The recent 9 months trend 2000-2011 is exactly - 0.78 F degrees a decade.

So the "warming" trend is really accelerating wouldn't you say.

Some more "rapid warming" like this and the freezer looks really warm.

Another brilliant and glorious example of RAPID WARMING and an eminent treat to humankind! Especially during the last 41 years.

That is truly "Global Warming" US style.

An interesting "science" wouldn't you say.

This is the "stuff" that "Global Warming" is made of.


Will Warmists Face Justice for their Deceptions?

By Alan Caruba

When you murder someone the case is never closed. The same holds when you murder the truth. No matter how long it takes, truth is defended despite all the calumnies heaped on those who stand firm against the lies and the propaganda intended to persuade those who have been deceived.

Ultimately, truth is its own defense. There never was a shred of truth in the claim that humans were causing the Earth's climate to heat up by using so-called "fossil fuels" and engaging in manufacturing and other activities. There was no dramatic "global warming" in the 1980s until the present.

The Earth's climate has warmed very slightly since the end of the Little Ice Age, dated to around 1850. Five hundred years of extremely cold weather had gripped the northern hemisphere starting around 1300. The much heralded "climate change" is, unlike the weather, measured in terms of centuries, not days, weeks or years. It is used by politicians that do not know what they are talking about. It is also used by charlatans, but I repeat myself.

Under the direction of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a massive fraud was engineered. The object was to turn carbon dioxide (CO2), a common though minor atmospheric gas, into a commodity that could be traded in exchanges around the world that would issue "carbon credits" to utilities, industrial facilities, and others who would be required to pay for permission to produce energy and products. It was an audacious scheme.

It began with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, otherwise known as the Kyoto Protocol. It set binding targets for the reduction of CO2 by 37 industrialized nations and the European community and was adopted on December 11, 1997 and entered into force on February 16, 2005. The U.S. never signed the Protocols. They were rejected by a unanimous vote in the Senate.

It was a complete lie without any basis in science. C02 plays no role in climate change and reducing whatever amount industry and other human activities might produce would be meaningless.

Surely the people behind the scheme knew this. The IPCC charged a small clique of climate scientists to come up with "proof" that global warming was happening. In England they were located at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit and, in America, they were led by Dr. Michael Mann working first at the University of Virginia and later at Penn State University.

Dr. Michael Mann's "Hockey Stick" Graph
Mann's research, assisted by co-authors Bradley and Hughes, was published in 1998. "Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitations" became famous for a graph dubbed the "hockey stick". Its sudden upward curve, intended to demonstrate a dramatic increase was based on tree ring reconstruction of climate over a thousand years.

To say it attracted attention is an understatement. It and other studies produced by the IPCC clique became the cornerstone of the "global warming" hoax. The problem for Dr. Mann was that Steve McIntyre, a Canadian mathematician in Toronto, along with Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph concluded it was bogus science and published a paper in 2004 criticizing it.

In science, when a theory or hypothesis is put forward, the data supporting it is as well. Years went by before McIntyre could get access to it. The tree ring data had been provided by Keith Briffa of the Hadley UK Climate Research Unit. Neither Dr. Mann, nor Briffa made it available, but McIntyre was able to secure it from another source. When he plotted all the tree ring data, not just the parts cherry-picked by Mann, the "hockey stick" disappeared.

In November 2009, thousands of leaked emails between Dr. Mann and other "warmists"---scientists responsible for the global warming hoax, revealed nothing less than a massive fraud.

Flash forward to a freedom of information (FOI) request by Chris Horner on behalf of American Tradition Institute's Environmental Law Center. Despite stonewalling for years, Dr. Mann's former employer, the University of Virginia complied in May 2011, agreeing to release Dr. Mann's computer files containing the data he had kept hidden for more than a decade.

Serendipitously, a similar FOI issued to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has revealed the level of financial gain received by another key player in the global warming hoax, Dr. James Hansen, a longtime NASA employee and the man credited with generating the hoax with testimony before a congressional committee in 1988. He has been the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies since 1981

It turns out that in 2010 alone he received "between 236,000 and $1,232.500 in outside income"! When you add in all the awards and speech fees Dr. Hansen has received over the years it is a tidy sum while he exploited his taxpayer-funded position. The agency had resisted disclosing this information for years, but as a federal employee Dr. Hansen waives privacy interests as a condition of employment.

A former government employee, Vice President Al Gore, became the face and voice of the hoax, earning millions in the process.

What has the global warming cost Americans? Joanne Nova of the Science and Public Policy Institute has estimated that the U.S. government spent more than $32.5 billion on climate studies between 1989 and 2009, nor does that include about $79 billion more spent for related climate change technology research, foreign aid, and tax breaks for "green energy" (solar and wind).

For deception on that scale, one might think they will be punished at some point, but it will likely be years more before those responsible for the global warming fraud will stand before the bar of justice, if ever.


Green jobs boondoggle

Green jobs, green jobs, green jobs

For almost three years, that has been the incessant mantra from the Obama administration - from the president to his Labor secretary to his minions around the nation, the hope of a green jobs recovery has been the lynchpin of this president's economic policy.

Toward promoting this agenda, the Labor Department is scheduled to spend $500 million of taxpayer money on training workers for this green economy.

Now the Department's Inspector General has pulled the green jobs training program from behind the poorly lit halls of the Frances Perkins Building and put it out in the open, revealing what had been whispered for almost a year around D.C. among those who follow the Labor Department - the program is a bust.

The scathing report by the Inspector General flatly states that "there is no evidence that grantees will effectively use the funds and deliver targeted employment outcomes by the end of the grant periods."

And in a rebuke of the program, the IG recommends "that the Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training evaluate the Green Jobs program; and in so doing, obtain an estimate of funds each grantee will realistically spend given the current demand for green job-related skills and the job market for green jobs. Any of the remaining $327.3 million of funds determined not to be needed should be recouped as soon as practicable and to the extent permitted by law so they can be available for other purposes."

Quite simply, the Labor Department's green jobs training program is just one more example of the Obama administration spending taxpayer money in pursuit of its green ideological agenda, rather than pursuing real, sustainable job growth.

Doubters are not surprised by the colossal failure of the entire Obama green agenda, and its disastrous impact on the 14 million unemployed. Unfortunately, after three years of selling economic quackery, there is no evidence that Team Obama is even considering a change in direction.

Now that the presidential election is in full swing, expect the Obama medicine show to bus into your town and try selling the same elixir. The only question is whether the American public will fall for the same con job twice.


Flagship UK carbon capture project 'close to collapse'

Scottish Power expected to pull out of government-promoted scheme to build a œ1bn prototype CCS plant at Longannet

A œ1bn flagship government project for fighting climate change - the construction of a prototype carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at Longannet in Scotland - is on the verge of collapse, it emerged on Thursday.

Talks between the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) and Scottish Power have run into deep trouble and the electricity supplier is expected to pull the plug on the government-promoted scheme, which hoped to bury carbon emissions from the coal power station in the North Sea.

The potential demise of the scheme comes amid growing fears among renewable power enthusiasts that David Cameron and George Osborne want to scale back the "green" agenda on the grounds that low-carbon energy schemes such as CCS and offshore wind cost too much at a time of austerity. Osborne told the Conservative party conference in Manchester that if he had his way the UK would cut "carbon emissions no slower but also no faster than our fellow countries in Europe".

Scottish Power, and its partners Shell and the National Grid, have just completed a detailed study of the CCS scheme and have deep concerns about its commercial viability without heavier public backing.

Decc had promised œ1bn of public money but the developers are understood to be arguing that they cannot proceed without more money to trial the scheme, close to the Firth of Forth.

Both sides insist "talks are ongoing" but well-placed industry and political sources say the process is "pretty much over" and a statement to that effect could be expected shortly.

Jeff Chapman, the chief executive of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, said the collapse of the Longannet scheme would be a "severe disappointment" for the wider hopes of the sector.

"Everybody knows the negotiations have been very difficult, so to that extent it's quite possible [the talks] don't come to a conclusion - although there are other projects coming through the system hopefully."

A senior Conservative backbencher with deep knowledge of the energy sector told the Guardian he expected the CCS deal to collapse within weeks. He said the underlying blame lay with the Labour government, which had dithered for so long in awarding the CCS demo contract that bidders dropped out until only one was left, leaving the government in an impossible negotiating position.

A Decc spokesman said Longannet was only one CCS project and the government still planned to choose by the end of the year another three that could be eligible for European Union funding.

In May, the department submitted seven UK CCS projects for European funding - including Longannet - but the Fife scheme was by far the most advanced and spearheaded the drive to develop this new technology in Britain.

Ministers have repeatedly stressed the importance of CCS as a way of keeping coal and potentially other fossil-fuel burning power stations in operation without undermining moves to cut CO2.

But they have already seen E.ON back out of plans to construct a new coal-fired power station with prototype CCS technology on the site of an existing plant at Kingsnorth in Kent.

Longannet is the third largest coal-fired power station in Europe at 2,400MW and was once highlighted as Scotland's biggest single polluter.

In 2009 at the launch of a small-scale pilot study, Ignacio Gal n, chairman of Scottish Power and its parent group Iberdrola of Spain, highlighted the importance of the Fife scheme.

"We believe that the UK can lead the world with CCS technology, creating new skills, jobs and opportunities for growth. There is the potential to create an industry on the same scale as North Sea Oil, and we will invest in Scotland and the UK to help realise this potential. Iberdrola will set up its global Centre of Excellence for CCS in the UK to help accelerate the deployment of full-scale CCS," he said.

No CCS projects have yet been successfully built at a large scale.

Charles Hendry, the energy minister said in May that Longannet and other CCS schemes in Britain showed the UK was "at the cutting edge of the low-carbon agenda."

But an industrialist embedded in his department told the Guardian that ministers were now internally questioning renewable power and other schemes that involved substantial public subsidies. Ministers have come under sustained lobbying from traditional power companies and energy-intensive manufacturers to concentrate on lower price but higher carbon alternatives such as gas.


How climate change zealots are wrecking every last industry Britain possesses

Rather overshadowed by events at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester last week was a line in George Osborne's speech which could mark the start of a long overdue political transformation in Britain.

The Chancellor acknowledged that a decade of environmental laws had been piling unnecessary costs on households and companies, adding that Britain was not going to save the planet by putting ourselves out of business.

He was referring in particular to the Climate Change Act, famously passed by the House of Commons in October 2008 by 463 votes to three, even as the snow was falling outside. By the Government's own estimate, it would cost œ404?billion to implement - œ760 per household every year for four decades.

The Act included a voluntary commitment to reduce Britain's carbon dioxide emissions to 80?per cent of their 1990 level by 2050 - a target generally acknowledged to be achievable only by shutting down most of the economy - in an effort to demonstrate 'global leadership'.

The lunacy of this commitment can be demonstrated by the fact that neither China nor the US - who together produce 40?per cent of global emissions compared with our two per cent - are committed to such draconian reductions.

Instead Mr Osborne suggested last week that we follow the EU, whose members agreed in March 2007 - as one of Tony Blair's final acts of hubris - to a 20 per cent emissions reduction by 2020. The European Commission is still discussing a 'road map' for its 2050 target, putting the UK at a huge competitive disadvantage.

But while Europe is taking a relaxed view of climate change, Britain seems to have excelled in devising more and more bizarre ways of bankrupting the nation.

In December 2008 the Government's Committee on Climate Change, chaired by Lord Turner of Ecchinswell, recommended that we should switch from eating beef and lamb to 'less carbon-intensive types of meat'.

Within 11 years, the committee said, it wanted to see 40?per cent of all the cars on Britain's roads powered by electricity. That very week it was reported that in the first ten months of 2008 just 156 were bought, fewer than half the 374 in the same period of 2007. That made a grand total of 1,100 on the road in Britain.

It also insisted no more coal-fired power stations should be built unless they could be fitted with 'carbon capture', funded by a levy on energy bills which would raise œ3?billion from hard-pressed consumers.

The overall effect of the unproven and probably unworkable technology to effectively bury carbon dioxide underground would be to double the price of electricity and make us even more dependent on Russian and other imported energy, which already supplies 70?per cent of our needs.

Nevertheless, a mad and ruinously expensive scheme was launched on the European stage. Industries should pay for using fossil fuels, through a 'tax' paid on each ton of carbon dioxide produced. Each company would have to buy certificates, known as 'European allowances' or 'carbon credits' - each representing a ton of carbon dioxide - with surpluses traded as a commodity.

Each year, the total would be reduced and commercial firms, hospitals and even Government offices would have to compete on the open market for enough certificates to enable them to operate.

The theory was that competition for a dwindling supply would force energy users to be more efficient. Instead, commercial users passed on the costs to their customers, with electricity prices rising for the average consumer by as much as œ300.

Tens of thousands have been pushed into fuel poverty. Firms that could not pass on their costs moved abroad. Huge tranches of the aluminium industry have disappeared, one major firm having moved to the Emirates in October 2009 - taking 300 workers from Anglesey who had to follow to keep their jobs.

The madness didn't stop there. In February 2010, Gordon Brown's cash-strapped Government spent œ60??million on 'carbon credits' for Whitehall and other Government offices in the UK, as well as British Nato bases in Europe.

Thus while troops were going short of kit in Afghanistan, the defence budget was being raided to buy carbon certificates.

When he became Prime Minister, David Cameron carried on the theme, promptly declaring that he wanted the Coalition to be 'the greenest Government ever'.

His new Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne added that he wanted to go 'further and faster than ever before'. Then it was announced that Britain, uniquely, should set a minimum price for carbon credits, instead of allowing the market to decide.

Known as the 'carbon floor price' the idea was that firms such as
electricity generators would pay œ16 per ton of carbon dioxide produced - compared to a market rate of œ9 - with the price rising to œ70 by 2030.

Announced by Mr Osborne in June's budget, the Institute for Public Policy Research immediately warned that the policy would cost British industry at least œ1?billion and drive manufacturers offshore, while pushing down the price of European permits, giving our EU competitors a generous gift.

And last week, even as Mr Osborne was standing up to deliver his speech in Manchester, Davin Bates, a management accountant at one of Stoke-on-Trent's remaining successful potteries, was preparing to tell the world how spiralling energy costs - artificially inflated by 'green' levies and taxes - were driving energy-intensive companies like his out of the UK.

Particularly affected is the chemical industry, which contributes œ30 million a day to the British economy. Major chemical multinationals are now looking to move production to places such as South Africa, India and China. There, under a global carbon credit scheme, we actually subsidise them by giving them credits - which they then sell back to our industries, making huge profits.

I haven't even mentioned the madness of the wind machines. Subsidies, paid for by consumers, make wind power three times more costly than the normal tariff electricity. But as the pull of the subsidies draws investment away from new conventional plants, the spectre of power cuts looms large.

Caught in this vice of increasing 'green' costs and subsidised competition, the manufacturing industries which Osborne hopes will lead the UK recovery simply cannot survive.

Small wonder, therefore, that he bowed to the inevitable and pulled back from the green abyss.

Many believe that Osborne's conversion is too little too late, but it is some small comfort at least, that we no longer have a Chancellor - or even a Prime Minister - keen to parade his 'green' credentials. Perhaps they are beginning to understand that, when the lights go out, all colours look the same: black.

If Britain is to pull itself out of economic crisis, Mr Osborne is going to have to go much further. At the very least, he has to lift this senseless raft of green taxes from industry and the electricity generators.



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


9 October, 2011

An ancient logical fallacy from whom else? A prominent Warmist, of course

From Logic 101: "The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". But the guy's not even trying to be honest anyway. He ignores Svensmark's now well-substantiated theory of cosmic ray effects on clouds and hence temperatures

A pre-eminent U.S. climate-change scientist is to speak tonight at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

While some climate change is normal, says Dr. Richard Alley, what's going on now is clearly man-made, since researchers have looked at all possible natural causes and found nothing.

"So, we can go down the list and say, 'Is there anything that could explain this other than us?' and we can't find it. Then we say, 'OK, but the physics of CO2 are really well known,' so we actually can see with high scientific confidence that our fingerprint is on the changing climate."


Al Gore's inconvenient untruths of the day

Gore's rant today on his unreality blog suggests some companies are helping to 'solve the climate [hoax] crisis' by preparing for alleged cotton shortages from global warming and lack of snow for the skiing industry. The inconvenient truth is that despite Gore's manufactured "climate crisis," world cotton production and yields are at record highs and winter North American snow extent has been on a rising trend over the past 50 years:

Gore says:
The Climate Reality blog points to companies that have discovered solving the climate crisis makes good business sense:

"Over the past several years, electric utilities, automobile manufacturers, investors and other businesses have started to recognize that climate change is real and that humans are contributing to it. These companies also realize that they can be part of the solution — and that it makes business sense to do so."

"To this end, a number of forward-thinking companies formed “Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy” or BICEP nearly three years ago. Members include Nike, Starbucks, Levi Strauss & Co., Timberland, Target, Best Buy and other major brands."

"These companies know that climate change threatens their supply chains, and therefore increases risk and uncertainty. For example, 95% of Levi products are made from cotton, which is sensitive to extreme heat and both too much and too little water. Aspen Skiing Co. will feel the impacts of climate change directly; a lack of snow affects the entire $66 billion-per-year industry that depends on skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts for financial survival."


Warmists are well-funded

UMASS Amherst was the home of Michael Mann and Caspar Amman of Climategate fame and Mark Serreze of NSIDC

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has been awarded a $7.5 million federal grant over five years to lead a consortium of seven universities and host the Northeast Climate Science Center.

The climate center is one of eight in the country established by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar since he founded the program in 2009, according to a press release.

The center at UMass includes New England and states west to Minnesota and south to Maryland.

The money will support federal, state and other agencies by studying the effects of climate change on ecosystems, wildlife, water and other resources in the region.

UMass will partner with institutions in Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York and Massachusetts. More money for specific projects would be available, according to the release.

“The nationwide network of Climate Science Centers will provide the scientific talent and commitment necessary for understanding how climate change and other landscape stressors will change the face of the United States, and how the Department of the Interior, as our nation’s chief steward of natural and cultural resources, can prepare and respond,” Salazar said in a statement.


No such thing as a happy Greenie

A planeload of British holidaymakers have made aviation history by flying to Lanzarote on a plane fuelled by used chip pan oil. The Thomson Airways flight from Birmingham airport was the first UK commercial biofuels flight ever from a UK airport.

One of the engines on the twin- engined Boeing 757 flight was operated on a 50 per cent blend of 'Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids', produced from used cooking oil, and 50 per cent Jet A1 fuel.

But environmental protesters stripped naked and covered themselves in red body paint in a bid to disrupt the launch. Calling themselves Plane Stupid they said that rainforests were being wrecked to make way for biofuel plantations.

The cooking oil used for the Thomson flights is collected from the kitchens of hotels and restaurants and then goes through a special processing treatment.

Carl Gissing, director of customer service at Thomson Airways, admitted that the biofuel cost around five to six times the price of aviation fuel, but said the airline was prepared to 'put its money where our mouth is' because it believed in sustainable biofuels.

After today's light, carrying 232 passengers, there will be a six-week gap before Thomson starts a full programme of biofuel flights in 2012 from Birmingham Airport.

Dirk Konemeijer, managing director of skyNRG, which supplies the biofuel, said it made sense to utilise used cooking oil because it was a waste product which couldn't be used for anything else.

It was not economically viable at present to supply the whole of the aviation industry with the fuel and that was why government support was needed.

Long-term other technology was necessary and in three to four years a totally new fuel could come along.

Joe Peacock, from Birmingham Friends of the Earth, however, said: 'We cannot ignore the massive environmental and social problems caused by trying to feed our addiction to fossil fuels with plant-based alternatives.'

Plane Stupid protester Chris Cooper said: 'Thomson seem to be acknowledging that we can't continue business as usual in the face of the current climate emergency. 'It's a shame their solution is to make matters worse.

'Vast tracts of rainforest, eco systems vital to halting climate change, are currently being trashed to make way for biofuel plantations. 'Land that grows food is being stolen from some of the world's poorest people so that it can start feeding planes. It's a disaster.'


A prominent British Greenie regrets

Credit to warming alarmist George Monbiot for walking the talk, but it turns out that living green costs plenty:
I have two investments:

A savings account with Smile, which currently contains £12,971.

A savings account with Alliance and Leicester (now Santander), which currently contains £1,200.

Until recently I had more savings, but I spent them eco-fitting my house. In view of what has now happened to the market, that might not have been the wisest of investments.


A Leftist who opposes a carbon tax

Comment from Australia

AMERICAN Michael Shellenberger may be a left-wing but he is anti-carbon tax and a nuclear power champion. He is in Adelaide for the 2011 Festival of Ideas to tell us to put our faith in the human race to develop new technologies to combat climate change.

Mr Shellenberger yesterday outlined his philosophy on how the world and Australia should tackle climate change. He said the Federal Government's controversial carbon tax bill - to be introduced to Parliament this week - was not the solution.

"Our basic view is the most important thing is to make clean energy cheaper through technological innovation," the 40-year-old said. "Our proposal is to put a small fee on coal production, that no one will notice, but will create enough money to fund those new technologies to reduce the cost of clean energy." Mr Shellenberger also believes nuclear power has a big future in this country.

"It is definitely an option for Australia in the future. "You have uranium mining, great universities (to train technicians and scientists) and can move to fourth generation nuclear plants which don't have the same (safety) challenges older plants have and can be as cheap a power source as coal," he said.

Mr Shellenberger, who was named one of Time magazine's 2008 Heroes of the Environment, is one of 80 international and local speakers challenging perceptions and sparking debate among audiences at this year's ideas fest.

Mr Shellenberger will host a talk titled A New Politics for a New Century with Ted Nordhaus, his co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute, at Elder Hall from 1.15pm.

The US experts will explore how to achieve a future where the world's population can live a secure, free, prosperous and fulfilling lives on an "ecologically vibrant planet".



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


8 October, 2011

Another Solyndra? “Green jobs” factory sheds jobs after receiving $536.5 million in 2010

President Barack Obama’s “green jobs” initiatives suffered another major blow late Monday, as the nonprofit National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado, announced a plan to lay off roughly 10 percent of its staff through a voluntary buy-out plan.

According to the Denver Post, the lab plans to eliminate between 100 and 150 of its 1,350 jobs. The Obama administration supported the NREL in 2009 with roughly $200 million in stimulus grants. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu visited Golden in May 2009 to promote the NREL as a beneficiary of those funds.

At the time, the Associated Press reported that the stimulus grants included $68 million to build a demonstration model of an energy-efficient office building; $19.2 million for solar, geothermal and fuel cell equipment; $10 million for testing and evaluation of wind technology; and $45 million to research and test drive-train systems for wind turbines.

The lab’s mission is to handle U.S. Department of Energy research and development programs.

NREL spokesman Bob Noun blames Congress for the organization’s failures. The Denver Post reports that he believes the gridlocked U.S. Congress forced the NREL to find $8 million in new budgetary savings. “We don’t see any budget scenario where the lab doesn’t face budget cuts,” Noun said. “We just want to be proactive in managing the budget so we continue our core mission.”

Amy Oliver of Colorado’s conservative Independence Institute said one way to look at these potential “green jobs” shortcomings is that the NREL is exaggerating its claims. Oliver told The Daily Caller that the government-funded lab has seen a surge in government funding in recent years. “Their funding for 2008 was $328 million,” Oliver said in a phone interview. “In 2010 it was $536.5 million. They’ve had a 64 percent increase in their funding during the Obama administration.”

Oliver acknowledges that the $8 million NREL projects in savings is a significant amount, and told TheDC she was impressed to learn that its leadership would even consider cutting their budget. But, she says, while the saved $8 million doesn’t represent a real budget cut, it’s a better outcome than more spending.

Oliver also suggested that the NREL layoffs may indicate another failure of the Obama administration’s “green jobs” agenda. Candidate Obama pledged in 2008 that he would add 5 million green jobs to the economy, but Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C. now say the White House has stretched what it defines as a “green job” in order to pad its numbers.


La Nina Throws Cold Water on Global Warming

El Nino could become a permanent feature of the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. The warm waters of this never ending hot bath in the world’s largest water body would not only warm the entire earth dramatically, it would pump vast amounts of moisture into the air. This additional humidity would act as a positive feedback mechanism that would enhance the warming already being triggered by human burning of fossil fuels and in turn cause global warming to spin out of control. The melting of glaciers would accelerate and sea levels would rise much faster than predicted. The challenges of runaway warming would not be decades away but would be here now.

In 1997 Dr Russ Schnell, a scientist doing atmospheric research at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii said "It appears that we have a very good case for suggesting that the El Ninos are going to become more frequent, and they're going to become more intense and in a few years, or a decade or so, we'll go into a permanent El Nino." He went on to say "So instead of having cool water periods for a year or two, we'll have El Nino upon El Nino, and that will become the norm. And you'll have an El Nino, that instead of lasting 18 months, lasts 18 years," The El Nino of 1997 was blamed for droughts in Australia and New Guinea, A delayed Monsoon in Southeast Asia leading to forest fires that brought choking smoke to human populations, Drought in South Africa and devastating storms on the west coast of South American from Chile to Mexico. Everything that went wrong with the weather was blamed on El Nino. The scary prospect of a permanent El Nino was going to greatly speed up global warming and we had better do something to stop it, now!

At least that was what we were being told in 1997. As it turned out the 1997 El Nino was immediately followed by a La Nina. The cooling of the waters in the Tropical Pacific caused by La Nina dramatically dropped the earth’s temperature in the years following the 1997 El Nino which peaked in 1998. What those who were advocating the emergence of a permanent El Nino ignored was the phase shift of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The what? The 50 to 60 year cycle of warming and cooling that regulates the number of El Nino’s and La Nina’s. The Pacific Ocean had been in the warm phase of the cycle since the mid 1970s. During that time El Nino’s were twice as prevalent as La Nina’s and were much stronger and longer lasting. The result was warming global temperature from the mid 1970’s to the late 1990’s. It was during this warming spell that global warming hysteria blossomed. Many said the warming was due to increased carbon dioxide in the air but in reality the warming was caused by the warm phase of the PDO.

At this point one might ask how do you know the warming of the mid 1970s to the late 1990’s was caused by the warmer Pacific and not increasing amounts of carbon dioxide? Just look at what the global average temperature has done since the 1997/98 Super El Nino. There has been no warming of the earth average temperature since 1998. Atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased significantly in the last 14 years. In fact 25% of the increase of carbon dioxide since the birth of the industrial revolution has occurred since 1997. If carbon dioxide and its presumed strong water vapor feedback is such a powerful driver of the earth’s climate one would have expected the warming of the previous two and a half decades to have continued unabated after 1998 and into this year, but it has not. The prediction of the “permanent El Nino” has, as we say in the forecasting business, been a bust.

The shift to the cooler phase of the PDO has become more pronounced since 2007. The shift to cooler water in the Pacific is measured by the Southern Oscillation Index or the SOI. Since 2007 the SOI has been primarily in the positive mode indicating the existence of La Nina’s. This is in stark contrast to the predictions from the late 1990s and is indeed opposite of what was expected.

During the cool phase of the Pacific Ocean La Nina’s are twice as prevalent as El Nino’s and the El Nino’s that do occur are weak and short lived. The result is that the chilly waters of La Nina’s cause global cooling. Winters in the United States are becoming rapidly colder and more severe. The average temperature is falling at the rate of 3.0 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since 2000. Four of the snowiest months in New York City since 1869 have been since 2003. December of 2010 was the second coldest December in Central England since the temperature records began there in 1659. China had another bitter cold winter in 2011 and had the second coldest January in the last 50 years. Georgia and Florida had their coldest December in 2010 since the weather records began in 1895. The combined December and January period of 2010/11 in Florida was the coldest in 116 years of record keeping. Snowfall in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California was the 4th highest since 1879 and the greatest in some areas since the winter of 1951. With another La Nina this winter the western United States will have another near record amount of snow.

So what’s ahead for global warming? Not much if La Nina has anything to say about it. We are now in the 13th year without measured global warming. The La Nina of 2010/11 faded in the spring of this year. Many expected the return of an El Nino as happened in the years prior to 1997 after a La Nina. The difference now is that the Pacific is cooler and will be cooler for another 20 to 25 years or so. Another La Nina has developed and is forecast to be as cold or colder than the one just departed. This is just what is to be expected in this new era of colder and more frequent La Nina’s.

The consequences of this return engagement will be many and varied. One will be the continued cessation of global warming. La Nina’s typically last about a year but the effects on the atmosphere continue for another 6 to 8 months after the La Nina has departed. There will be no global warming for the remainder of 2011 and none through all of 2012. By then we will be into year 14 with no global warming and even the most ardent of “warmers” will have to start scratching their heads in wonder as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise but the temperature does not.

Historically we know that La Nina is associated with extremes of weather around the world. Some of this extreme weather can be beneficial and some can be destructive. Another winter of heavy snows in the mountains of the Western United States will ensure plentiful water supplies for years to come in a region that has been told to expect drought from global warming. Most La Nina’s are warm and dry in the Southeastern United States and this could be helpful to Florida tourism this Winter. On the other hand the drought in the South Central States will continue through 2012 and may go beyond. Hurricanes proliferate in La Nina conditions so the hurricane season of 2012 will likely be stormy although where the storms will strike, if at all is unknown. Heavy rains can occur in the Ohio Valley during La Nina and the threat of a re-occurrence of floods next spring is a concern. Unfortunately La Nina helps to spawn strong and numerous tornadoes in the American spring and next March, April, May and June will likely see more outbreaks of deadly twisters. Australia can have floods in some parts of the country during La Nina but in many areas the water will be welcome.

Predictions of a permanent El Nino have failed as has the relationship between increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the air and global temperature. The powerful interest groups behind man made global warming will ignore what nature is doing and continue to preach rapid warming. They will pound their fists on the table of public opinion, insisting this will cause melting ice, rising seas levels, drowning polar bears and blame every severe storm, cold wave, heat wave, snowstorm, drought, flood, hurricane and tornado on climate change and our use of fossil fuels. In the real world the new era of colder water in the Pacific Ocean will generate colder and longer lasting La Nina’s and continue to throw cold water on global warming. I wonder when reality will begin to sink in for those invested in man made climate change? The answer for many will be never.


Al Gore - Promoter of Doomsday Cult?

The Wall Street Journal had an article a few months back when Harold Camping predicted the end of the world would occur on May 21, 2011, called Camping the "Christian Al Gore." Why? Because the former Vice President is more and more being seen as part of a new doomsday cult that has grown out of the Green movement.

While there are environmental issues we should be concerned about, as Marc Morano of Climate Depot pointed out on my radio show this week ,some Green devotees are using the movement to promote a radical agenda that includes population control, and exploiting people of color in third world countries, insisting on putting solar panels on grass huts!

The most recent green doomsday scare has been Global Warming, which in former years was thought of as a scientific theory, but today promoters like Al Gore are taking it over the edge, resulting in some Green advocates publically stating that Gore's 'apocalyptic' claims are beyond even their belief. For example, as The UK Guardian's Leo Hickman, a prominent media activist for man-made global warming, said:

"I was a little nervous this morning logging into Climate Reality...And, I have to say, my heart immediately sank, is Gore now a help or hindrance to global warming cause? I have suffered this torture too many times over the years...[Gore's show had] slide after slide of extreme weather events...& linking everyone, it seemed, to rise in [man-made] emissions...that is a very contentious peg on which to hang your hat..."

And two German scientists, following Gore's recent 'climate reality show' called his latest claims 'apocalyptic' and his 'promise of salvation' disturbing.

Apocalyptic? Promise of salvation? Are they going too far with their criticisms? Perhaps a basic definition of what a cult is can help answer the question:

A Cult: controls its members' beliefs & behavior; dictating what they accept as 'the truth', and who they associate with (only those who with the same beliefs); and strongly promote their leaders as having superior knowledge, and if you disagree with them you are labeled.

There are those who take this talk of Al Gore promoting a cultist-type adherence to climate change as untrue, or merely 'tongue in cheek,' but there are those who take his beliefs more seriously, because they take him at his word, such as he writes in his book, "Earth in the Balance," promoting a religious duty to be green'...

"The challenge before the religious community in America is to make every congregation - every church, synagogue and mosque - truly "green" - a center of environmental study and action. That is their religious duty."

Chapter and verse please?

Isn't it funny how leaders in the environmental 'doomsday cult' don't practice their own 'preaching'? Let's not forget that Al Gore has become a bizillionaire doing what he's doing to promote his man-made global warming theory.

In May of 2010 Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters reported: "Nobel Laureate Al Gore purchased a $9 million mansion in the luxurious hills of Montecito, California, recently, and with the exception of the Los Angeles Times and Fox News, America's media couldn't care less. You think it might be because the Gore-loving press wouldn't want people to consider the possibility that all of his global warming hysteria was really about lining his wallet and not saving the planet."

And remember what Gore, the Nobel Laureate, told Congress in 2009 as the House was deliberating cap-and-trade legislation? See Video.

Al Gore is not alone in 'climate adherence hypocrisy' -- this movement is filled with elitists who expect everyone but themselves to follow their dictates. Who can forget the Climate Conference in Bali a few years back where environmental elitists all flew in on their private jets causing chaos?Here's the details just to refresh our memories.

Well, I could go on and on, and I'm sure you could, too, but we'll leave it here for now. I've got to hop in my SUV and buy some charcoal for tonight's bar-be-que steak dinner.


Why Your Electricity Bill Will Soon Go Up

Remember the promise of green energy? We'd use the power of Mother Nature herself to fuel our homes and our vehicles. Wind turbines, solar panels and electric cars would transform our lives -- and lighten our bills when it came to paying for energy. Kumbayah!

How I wish that was true! Here's the reality: At least 16 utilities - which cover more than 6 million customers - are trying to raise consumer rates by at least 5%. Almost half of them want increases of 10% or more - that's according to the Daily Beast.

American Electric Power serves millions of customers in eleven states - including Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. Those customers are getting walloped - over the last few years rates have skyrocketed by nearly 88% and will rise another 35% by 2014!

In Wyoming, thousands of customers of Rocky Mountain Power will see their bills go up not once, but twice this year! This spring they went up 2% - and last month customers saw an 8% rate hike.

Heading south, a 17% increase is in the works for Duke Energy customers. And Gulf Power in Florida is working on forcing a 10% increase on its customers. Alaska isn't exempt either - those residents are seeing a 24% hike! Again - these are just a few examples!

Those numbers are mind-boggling. Especially since in the ‘90s and early 2000s - electric bills only rose about a percent! So why the big hikes now?

The review sites two big reasons. For one - the power grid simply can't keep up with modern demand as more people use more stuff - appliances, computers, gadgets. American Electric Power predicts rolling brownouts as demand is expected to grow by 44% over the next few decades. But the biggest reason is what I mentioned at the beginning of this blogpost - more government regulations!

The environmental protection agency - the bane of existence for utility companies - is forcing these businesses to shut their coal plants and invest millions and millions of dollars into removing toxins from the air. Even states are getting in on the regulation party.

More than half of them are imposing new clean-energy standards requiring utilities to feed in renewable sources. Now to be sure - I'm not advocating for pollution. I like to breathe clean air as much as the next person. But what has me fired up are these unintended consequences of government regulation. They may be unintended - but not unknown!

First, the government wanted to regulate the health care industry - and we're getting higher costs, and fewer options when it comes to seeing the doctor or going to the hospital. Then they went after the banks... and we got increased fees. Now they're telling power companies how to do business - and we're getting higher bills.

Government is costing us - personally and as a nation. It's time we unwound this regulatory morass that is strangling business and stealing our future. You don't have to look far to see that government isn't the solution - right now it's the problem.


Chinese sceptics see global warming as US conspiracy

And they are not too far wrong about that

It's not only Western leaders like Julia Gillard and Barack Obama who face fierce resistance from climate sceptics as they try to lay out policies to tackle global warming. In China, where carbon emissions have surged despite tough government constraints and targets, President Hu Jintao is having to stare down claims that human-induced climate change is an elaborate American conspiracy.

"Global warming is a bogus proposition," says Zhang Musheng, one of China's most influential intellectuals and a close adviser to a powerful and hawkish general in the People's Liberation Army, Liu Yuan. Mr Zhang told the Herald that global warming was an American ruse to sell green energy technology and thereby claw its way out of its deep structural economic problems.

A year ago Mr Hu committed to lower the "carbon intensity" of economic output by 40-45 per cent by 2020 from 2005 levels. China appears on track to meet the target but that may still not be enough to save the world from destructive climate change, thanks to faster-than-expected Chinese economic growth.

A new study by the Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency shows China now emits far more greenhouse emissions than any other country, with emissions doubling between 2003 and 2010.

China's carbon emissions rose 10 per cent last year alone, to 9 billion tonnes, compared with 5.2 billion tonnes for the United States. The report showed India's emissions also rose rapidly, by 9 per cent, although its total emissions are still only one-fifth of China's.

The most startling finding, however, is that China's per capita emissions are now higher than several rich nations including France and Italy. China's per capita emissions could even overtake the US within six years, the study said.

But they may never catch up with Australia. Australia's total emissions plummeted by 8 per cent last year, according to the report, beginning to reverse a two-decade long rising trend. But Australia's per capita emissions are the highest of any substantial economy at 18 tonnes.

In London on Thursday, the former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull praised China's incentives for renewable energy, which has seen its installed wind and solar capacity double in each of the past six years.

These achievements have been lauded abroad but sullied at home by governance, efficiency and even environmental problems, leading to allegations that China has been duped.

Mr Zhang, whose father was secretary to China's former premier Zhou Enlai, blasted Chinese policy makers for encouraging Chinese companies to buy foreign intellectual property in order to manufacture vast quantities of renewable energy equipment.

The Chinese-made equipment helps the environment in other nations while leaving China with only financial and environmental costs, he said.

"Lots of solar panels are made in China and the pollution is left in China but they are used overseas," Mr Zhang said. "The low-carbon economy, carbon politics and carbon taxes are actually driven by the West as the foundation for a new cycle of the virtual economy."

Mr Zhang's comments provide a window into a contemporary internal Communist Party dynamic where no leader can afford to be accused of making "soft" compromises with American negotiators.

It helps explain how Mr Hu's carbon commitment last year was overshadowed at the Copenhagen climate summit by China's abrasive diplomacy and its refusal to submit to international monitoring.

Whether China can help avert a global climate disaster may hinge on whether its green policies can offset deep economic distortions and governance problems that tend to encourage resource-intensive investment.

"If the current trends in emissions by China and the industrialised countries including the US would continue for another seven years, China will overtake the US by 2017 as highest per capita emitter among the 25 largest emitting countries," said the Netherlands report, which was sponsored by the European Commission and is based partly on BP energy consumption statistics.


Climate sceptics are today's radical rebels

EXPERTS continue to hunt for the psycho-social underpinnings of that alleged mental disorder, climate-change denialism. Unwilling to accept that climate-change scepticism is simply an idea, informed by analysis and ideology, green know-it-alls are always sniffing around for a pseudo-scientific explanation for this apparently unhinged outlook.

So this week Scientific American informs us of a new academic study titled Cool Dudes: The Denial of Climate Change Among Conservative White Males in the United States. Having pored over polling data on climate-change denial collected in the US between 2001 and 2010, the study's authors deduce that 29.6 per cent of conservative white men believe global warming will never have much of an effect, compared with only 7.4 per cent of the general adult population.

When it comes to what the researchers call "confident conservative white males" - those who claim to have a high understanding of global warming - the findings are even more striking: 48.4 per cent of these cocky cons think global warming is a lot of hot air.

What explains this alleged sniffiness about climate-change orthodoxy among the white and well-off in the US? According to the report, it's down to a mix of evolution and the cult of identity.

Apparently, there's something called "the white male effect", where, because white men have faced fewer obstacles in life than other groups, they are "more accepting of risk than the rest of the public". In short, having lived cushy lives, they now laugh in the face of the End of Days.

There are so many problems with this report it's hard to know where to begin. First, the report patronisingly treats what it calls climate-change denial - itself a loaded term - as a kind of default behaviour, a group instinct.

In line with authoritarian regimes throughout history, many of which had a tendency to write off alternative views as the products of unstable minds, greens refuse to treat scepticism as a legitimate way of thinking.

Even worse is the report's suggestion that white male conservatives are likelier to be sceptical about climate change because they don't like "challenges to the status quo".

Wait: green thinking represents a challenge to the status quo? That's a laughable idea. From schools and universities to every corner of the Western political sphere, the climate-change outlook is the status quo. It's the new conservatism, its aim being to conserve nature at the expense of further developing and transforming society.

Greens like to fantasise that they are radicals whose ideas are continually shot down by what Scientific American calls the white male establishment. Yet at a time when everyone from Barack Obama to stuffy stick-in-the-muds such as Prince Charles sing from the climate-change hymn sheet, in what sense can it be described as a radical creed? These apparently dangerous white male deniers are straw men set up by greens who can't quite handle the fact it is they and their friends who are now the promoters and protectors of the political status quo. Perhaps this means green-baiting white male conservatives actually represent a new and weird band of rebels?



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


7 October, 2011

The Nazis were Greenie elitists too

The Nazi and Greenie ideals of a romanticized rural past and a "controlled" population are of course identical. And so is the elitism. Most active Greenies are well-off people. Gore's wealth is legendary and even a humble NASA scientist like James Hansen, pulled in $1.2 million last year. Greenie protesters in England tend to be graduates or students from private schools.

So the further parallel that the European elite in the Nazi era was heavily pro-Nazi should be no surprise. It all fits: The Nazis were socialists/Leftists and so are the Greens. Environmentalism is not the same as Nazism but it is also aggressive and is working towards the selfsame goal. While there is environmentalism, Nazism will not be dead. Excerpt from a book review below:

An important feature environmentalism shares with fascism is the centrality, within each movement, of the European aristocracy. However, while aristocrats flaunt their environmental credentials, they conceal their past involvement with fascism. This is why Jonathon Petropoulos’ Royals and the Reich (Oxford, 2006) is so useful. Highlights:

270 German princes and princesses were Nazi Party members. A sampling of 312 “old aristocratic” families found 3,592 Party members. Every noble family east of the Elbe River had at least one member in the Party. A third of Nazi-aristocrats joined the Party before Hitler became Chancellor; a majority supported the Nazis, or like groups, before this date. Nobles were the most fascistic of any demographically identifiable cohort.

Royal Hohenzollern princes were high-profile Nazi campaigners during the Nazis’ struggle for power. Aristocrats occupied thousands of top government posts during the Third Reich.

King Edward VIII was a Nazi. He was definitely guilty of treason and possibly guilty of attempted regicide. Edward did not abdicate in order to marry Wallis Simpson. He was forced from the throne by PM Baldwin because Edward was heading up a Nazi fifth column in the UK.

George V, George VI, the Duke of Kent and scores of British aristocrats promoted “appeasement.” This “peace movement” was an effort to steer Britain into the Axis.

Western Europe’s aristocracy, including most German princes, survived World War II. They retained, even supplemented, their land holdings. Over the past few decades they have engineered a remarkable renaissance.

Topping the list of individuals and institutions Petropoulos thanks for helping him write Royals and the Reich are: the House of Hesse, Queen Elizabeth II, and the Duke of Edinburgh. He also acknowledges support from: John and Kingsley Croul, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Cambridge University and Oxford University Press.


Did you know that Syria is located beside the North Atlantic?

When presented with massive evidence of a Medieval Warm Period that was at least as warm as today, the limp response of the Warmists is to say that it was just a "local" North Atlantic event. Never mind that New Zealand, China and Argentina must by that logic be North Atlantic countries. Now Syria (at the far end of the Mediterranean) has been added to the list of countries where the MWP has been found -- and it was warmer than today there too:


Kaniewski, D., Van Campo, E., Paulissen, E., Weiss, H., Bakker, J., Rossignol, I. and Van Lerberghe, K. 2011. "The medieval climate anomaly and the little Ice Age in coastal Syria inferred from pollen-derived palaeoclimatic patterns". Global and Planetary Change 78: 178-187.


Based on analyses of pollen found in a 315-cm-long sediment core retrieved from alluvial deposits within the floodplain of the River Rumailiah located at 35°22'13.16"N, 35°56'11.36"E in the coastal Syrian lowland, Kaniewski et al. were able to identify key plant functional types that allowed them to construct pollen-derived Biomes (PdBs) similar to those employed by Tarasov et al. (Journal of Quaternary Science 13: 335-344), after which they were able to relate "the ratio of PdB warm steppe (WAST) divided by PdB cool steppe (COST) to local temperature, as also was done by Tarasov et al. The end result of this endeavor was their identification of the timeframe of the MWP (AD 1000-1230) and their finding that at approximately AD 1130, the MWP exhibited "warmer temperatures compared to AD 2000," yielding MWP > CWP.


UN Envoy Urges Everyone To Be As Ignorant As She Is
U.N. special envoy on climate change Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland and her 22-person international commission started warning countries to avert global warming in 1987. Twenty-five years later, the former Norwegian prime minister said the ongoing lack of international cooperation to curb carbon emissions and invest in clean energy threatens us all.

Already, drought, hunger and disease connected to rising temperatures jeopardize “our common future,” she told a large audience at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Hunger and disease have declined dramatically. The average life expectancy used to be less than 30 years, and people typically live into their 70s now. As far as drought goes, there is no evidence that drought has increased. Why is a supposedly respectable university entertaining such foolishness?


"Renewables" can produce too much power as well as too little

When the sun is shining and the winds are blowing the solar panels and windmills can put out so much power that conventional generators have to be taken offline, leading to big revenue losses for their owners. So fewer if any conventional generators will be built -- leading to blackouts when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing

The 15 mile-per-hour winds that buffeted northern Germany on July 24 caused the nation’s 21,600 windmills to generate so much power that utilities such as EON AG and RWE AG (RWE) had to pay consumers to take it off the grid.

Rather than an anomaly, the event marked the 31st hour this year when power companies lost money on their electricity in the intraday market because of a torrent of supply from wind and solar parks. The phenomenon was unheard of five years ago.

With Europe’s wind and solar farms set to triple by 2020, utilities investing in new coal and gas-fired power stations no longer face stable returns. As more renewables come on line, a gas plant owned by RWE or EON that may cost $1 billion to build will be stopped more often from running at full capacity. It may only pay for itself on days like Jan. 31, when clouds and still weather pushed an hour of power on the same-day market above 162 ($220) euros a megawatt-hour after dusk, in peak demand time.

“You’re looking at a future where on a sunny day in Germany, you’ll have negative prices,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance chief solar analyst Jenny Chase said about power rates in wholesale trading. “And a lot of the other markets are heading the same way.”

Europe’s biggest power markets give preference to renewable energy including forcing some utilities to use their fossil-fuel plants less. That cuts into profit, complicating investment decisions as the companies try to meet emission targets and replace older plants and networks that Citigroup Inc. estimates will cost them more than 900 billion euros by 2020.
Profit Margins

Northern Europe’s renewable-energy goals call for about 200 gigawatts of solar and wind capacity by 2020, or almost a third of the current installed base, compared with about 70 gigawatts today, according to the Finnish energy consultant Poyry. Even by 2014, gross profit from burning coal in Germany may skid by as much as 41 percent, according to Barclays Plc.

The gross margin at a coal power plant after deducting fuel and emission permit costs, the so-called clean dark spread, may “collapse” to as low at 3.50 euros a megawatt-hour, Barclays analysts including Peter Bisztyga said in a Sept. 1 report. The spread was at 6.15 euros today, Bloomberg data show.

Narrower margins mean it will take longer for companies to pay off building new gas- and coal-fired facilities. Those plants are needed. They can run around the clock, preventing blackouts when the sun sets or the wind dies as European power demand grows 5 percent through 2015 compared with 2010, according to Paris-based bank Societe Generale SA’s forecast.

Based on weather patterns over the past 10 years, there’s a 72-hour period each year when a wind farm would produce less than 5 percent of its potential output, Hare said. “Some other plant has to be there, but the company has to make the return on its investment in just those 72 hours over 10 years.”

Power prices on the Epex Spot SE exchange in Paris that handles German and French supply vary hour-by-hour depending on how available capacity is. At times they can become negative when renewable energy peaks and there’s a surplus of power.

Grid operators in Germany, Europe’s biggest power market, are also required to take renewable output if it is available, just as in Spain and France.

U.K. energy regulator Ofgem is considering paying generators to keep plants open as back-up suppliers, compensating them for down time. The so-called capacity payments, which also are being studied in Germany, are likely to favor gas over coal, as gas plants can be turned on and off faster, according to Phillips.


More Greenie racism: Reminiscent of "Jewish physics" in Nazi Germany

Are climate alarmists following in the footsteps of 1905 Nobel laureate and chief Nazi physicist Philipp Lenard?

Readers will remember that in July climate alarmists tried to advance the notion that conservative, white guys are to blame for climate skepticism.

“Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States” was first published online, and now it’s in print — so it must be true and the trade publication Climatewire gave the whacky paper another run this morning:
When it comes to climate change denial, not all human beings are created equal. As a recent study shows, conservative white males are less likely to believe in climate change.

“It’s not surprising,” said Aaron McCright, sociology professor at Michigan State University, who is a white male himself. But anecdotal evidence is not scientific, he said. “You really don’t know what’s going on until you crunch the numbers and find out.”

Besides the trend amongst skeptics, the study also found that conservative white men who self-report a high understanding of global warming — dubbed “confident” conservative males — are even more likely to express climate change denial.

McCright’s study, “Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States,” was published online in July and printed in the October 2011 issue of Global Environmental Change, which ranks first out of 77 journals on environmental studies.

When researchers ‘crunch the numbers’ for climate change denial, people like him keep showing up.

The study has created somewhat of a buzz, said Riley Dunlap, co-author and professor of sociology at Oklahoma State University. The paper was well received in academic circles, but he admitted he was concerned about a backlash from the conservative movement. While there have not been any major outcries, the study appears to have raised a few temperatures in Chicago.

Here’s the Chicago blowback:
“This paper is a transparent effort to take the focus off the actual scientific debate and instead engage in race bating, class bating and other sociological devices to win a science argument,” said James Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at the Chicago-based Heartland Institute.

Back to Philipp Lenard. As explained at Wikipedia:
Lenard is remembered today as a strong German nationalist who despised English physics, which he considered as having stolen their ideas from Germany. He joined the National Socialist Party before it became politically necessary or popular to do so. During the Nazi regime, he was the outspoken proponent of the idea that Germany should rely on “Deutsche Physik” and ignore what he considered the fallacious and deliberately misleading ideas of “Jewish physics”, by which he meant chiefly the theories of Albert Einstein, including “the Jewish fraud” of relativity. An advisor to Adolf Hitler, Lenard became Chief of Aryan physics under the Nazis.

That there’s been no significant warming over the past 15 years despite an 8 percent increase in atmospheric CO2 levels, is not racism — it’s a fact.

That climate models fail to predict global climate change is not conservative political dogma — it’s a fact.

And “conservative-white-guy-climatology” is an attempt to disparage those facts.


Warmist says that skeptics know the science best and believers rarely think rationally

From a Warmist site, discussing a Warmist scientist

Why, given increasingly dire warnings from scientists and increasingly strong arguments for action, is the world (particularly the U.S.) doing so little to address climate change? And how can that be changed?

You'll be shocked to hear that Socolow, who spends his life in a world of ideas and explanations, concludes that the answer is better ideas and explanations. Do the ideas and explanations of climate hawks need to be more compelling, more urgent, more emotionally resonant? Oh no. Climate hawks need to dial down the emotional resonance and add more hedges and nuances to their explanations. Specifically, they need to more prominently acknowledge that: 1) climate change is unpleasant, unwelcome news, 2) climate science is unfinished and many of its projections are uncertain, and 3) many of the proposed solutions to climate change carry risks of their own.

What motivates Socolow's prescription becomes a little clearer in one of his subsequent responses:
Politicians follow publics, and the publics are dismayed. So, I think in terms of reaching the public. I think the climate change activists, myself included, have lost the American middle, and I’m trying to say that this loss can be explained and maybe even undone. Thinking in terms of an unwelcome message, a partially understood problem where very bad outcomes cannot be ruled out, and universally flawed solutions seems to me a grown-up way of engaging the electorate.

....People do not determine their opinions on political issues (and climate is a political issue) based on rational assessments of facts. They tend to adopt the views of their peer groups and use motivated reasoning to find support for those pre-existing positions. For the most part, those who strongly support climate action do not do so because they've been rationally persuaded; in fact, they tend to be quite ignorant of the scientific details. People who reject climate science tend to know the most about it, because they're motivated to learn about it in order to reject it.


A REAL hockeystick graph

Everyone who follows the climate change controversy even casually will know about the “hockey stick” controversy. Well, Nature magazine this week offers a new graph of interest: the rising trend of retractions of scientific research papers (see blow). Lo and behold, it looks like a hockey stick! (Heh.)

The Nature story notes:
[B]ehind at least half of them lies some shocking tale of scientific misconduct — plagiarism, altered images or faked data — and the other half are admissions of embarrassing mistakes. But retraction notices are increasing rapidly. In the early 2000s, only about 30 retraction notices appeared annually. This year, the Web of Science is on track to index more than 400 — even though the total number of papers published has risen by only 44% over the past decade.

There’s a lot more here to ponder, such as the essentially hollow and meaningless nature of modern peer review, and the increasingly tribal and ideological drift of much of the academic scientific establishment. Some other time perhaps I’ll get further into these matters.

Elsewhere in this week’s issue of Nature, Dan Sarewitz of Arizona State University, one of the truly honest brokers in the academic science and policy world, offers a terrific essay on what’s wrong with so-called “consensus” science reports. (Dan is a pal, but hat tip to RH for bringing Dan’s piece to my attention.) The article may be behind a subscriber firewall, so here’s a relevant excerpt:
When scientists wish to speak with one voice, they typically do so in a most unscientific way: the consensus report. The idea is to condense the knowledge of many experts into a single point of view that can settle disputes and aid policy-making. But the process of achieving such a consensus often acts against these goals, and can undermine the very authority it seeks to project. . .

The very idea that science best expresses its authority through consensus statements is at odds with a vibrant scientific enterprise. Consensus is for textbooks; real science depends for its progress on continual challenges to the current state of always-imperfect knowledge. Science would provide better value to politics if it articulated the broadest set of plausible interpretations, options and perspectives, imagined by the best experts, rather than forcing convergence to an allegedly unified voice.

Yet, as anyone who has served on a consensus committee knows, much of what is most interesting about a subject gets left out of the final report.



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


6 October, 2011

Another CO2 and "greenhouse" theory bites the dust

The "Greenhouse" theory is such a mania that many theorists think ALL temperature variations are traceable to it. So when the earth was very cold only a big leap in CO2 could have melted it. Problem: They now find that there was NO big leap in CO2 at that time. The idea that changes in the sun might be the key factor was not considered.

Because their CO2 findings don't fit their theory, they are now denying that the earth really was cold at the time -- denying the evidence of glacial moraines. This is a sort of robotic logic that must always come to the same conclusion. No data must be allowed to upset the theory. It's clear who the science deniers are

Although increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere these days are seen as a harbinger of doom, millions of years ago they may have rescued the planet from a deep freeze.

Some researchers believe that at points in our planet's history — at least two, possibly three times — ice blanketed its surface, down to the equator and across the oceans, forming a "Snowball Earth."

But new research raises questions about whether a surge in carbon dioxide — one of the greenhouse gases responsible for modern, human-caused global warming — could have been responsible for the big thaw that followed the most recent Snowball Earth, about 635 million years ago. And if there wasn't a greenhouse effect big enough to melt the thick veil of ice, perhaps, the researchers suggest, Earth may not have been a big, icy snowball at the time.

An international team of scientists analyzed the molecular composition of rocks laid down in what is believed to be the aftermath of this Snowball Earth.

Snowball Earth could have been self-sustaining, for at least a time, because the white, ice-covered surface of the planet would have reflected sunlight back into space, keeping the planet cool.

The primary evidence for these icy times, particularly the one about 635 million years ago, comes in the form of deposits of rocks ground up and carried by glaciers. These have been found around the world at locations which, about 635 million years ago, would have been located near the equator. These deposits have another layer of rock on top of them, called cap carbonates, which was believed to have formed as the glaciers melted or shortly afterward.

It is believed that Snowball Earths came to an end when the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere surged, creating a global greenhouse that melted away much of the ice. This could have begun because volcanoes spewed the gas into the atmosphere.

The normal processes that would pull the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere were blocked by ice, which prevented carbon dioxide exchange between the atmosphere and ocean. The cold would also have prevented natural rock weathering reactions from pulling carbon dioxide, in the form of carbonic acid, out of the atmosphere and turning into bicarbonate. This would have allowed for an intense buildup of the greenhouse gas.

To find out how much carbon dioxide was around at the time, researchers analyzed the chemical composition of rocks taken from one of these deposits in Brazil, and the organic matter fossilized within them. The researchers also looked at data from samples from elsewhere in the world. They looked at ratios of carbon isotopes, molecules of carbon that have different atomic weights, in both the rocks and the organic matter fossilized within them. [Big Freeze: Earth Could Plunge into Sudden Ice Age]

Both the rocks and the organic matter — mostly algae — form using carbon from carbon dioxide dissolved in the ocean. However, a lower concentration of carbon dioxide causes the algae to take up more of the heavy version of carbon. The ratio of carbon isotopes picked up by the carbonate rocks, however, doesn't change, regardless of the carbon dioxide concentration. So by comparing the ratios from the two sources, the scientists could get an idea of what the concentration of carbon dioxide was in the ocean, and hence the atmosphere, at the time.

They found it was much lower than expected. While previous estimates had put the carbon dioxide concentration at as much as 90,000 parts per million, this new analysis put it lower than 3,200 ppm, possibly as low as it is today, about 400 ppm.

"Since we record a very low carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere it seems to be there was never a high concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which means it cannot have been a Snowball Earth, otherwise it would still be frozen," said Magali Ader, a study researcher and assistant professor at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris,.


Can we please stick to the science?

Two articles published by The Daily Climate on Aug. 16 criticize and attempt to rebut statements made by the Galileo Movement. Galileo members are themselves concerned with combating the misleading arguments - many of which stem from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - that are being used to justify an environmentally ineffectual and expensive new tax on carbon dioxide emissions in Australia.

The first article, by Daily Climate editor Douglas Fischer, heaps scorn on Galileo supporters, to whit: "ideological group," "sceptical of the science" (as if that were a defect!), "draw from a deep history of denial and distortion," "straw man arguments," and part of "the global climate-denier movement." Fischer also accuses the Galileo Movement of using the same approach as "the tobacco industry," by making "pervasive, stubborn" arguments "independent of the facts of the situation" and by "abusing the science."

As an environmental journalist and editor, Fischer surely knows that science is about hypothesis testing, not name-calling. And as for badging people as "sceptics," all scientists are, or should be, professional sceptics, and especially so for any hypotheses that they personally favour. The primary expert quoted in the second article - NASA computer modeller Gavin Schmidt - clearly does not take such precautions in his speculations on the dangerous global warming hypothesis.
Important findings

The second story in Daily Climate sets out to assess the veracity of the arguments put by the Galileo Movement, building upon an initial lofty statement that many of the facts espoused by Galileo members are "perfectly true ... but also irrelevant in the climate debate."

Facts that Schmidt avers are irrelevant include:

* That carbon dioxide is not toxic, nor a pollutant, but rather a colorless, odourless and tasteless gas essential for life on earth;

* That, through the part that it plays in photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is a plant fertilizer that enhances crop yields, and therefore an environmental benefit that helps to feed humanity and green the planet;

* That changes in global temperature precede changes in carbon dioxide at both the short-term (annual) and long-term (100,000 year-long glacial-interglacial cycles) scale;

* That, granting the supposition that most of the increase in carbon dioxide seen since 1750 has resulted from the accrual of about half of all human emissions, these emissions have not yet been shown unequivocally to cause measurable warming

Contrary to Schmidt's discussion, these facts - and others, such as that Earth has now been cooling for 10 years despite an increase in carbon dioxide of about 5 percent - lie at the very heart of the debate.

No convincing support

In the real world (as opposed to the virtual reality of GCM computer modelling that a small coterie of IPCC advisors inhabit), tens of thousands of independent scientists, cognisant with the above facts, have cumulatively signed statements similar to this one currently posted by the International Climate Science Coalition, viz:

"We, the undersigned, having assessed the relevant scientific evidence, do not find convincing support for the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming."

Thereby, a strong consensus is exhibited amongst scientists worldwide that human-caused global warming is not a significant planetary threat. Importantly, these alternative views by independent scientists are expressed non-politically. They address the science of the issue, rather than providing the political advice that has become the perhaps unintended hallmark of the IPCC.

Thousands of research papers

Whilst dangerous warming was a sensible issue to have raised in the 1980s, we are now 25 years down the track and have expended more than $100 billion on related research. Despite the clamorous protestations of Schmidt and his IPCC colleagues, this research has failed to identify empirical evidence for dangerous warming caused by human emissions. Instead, recent research contributions have shown that:

* Climate sensitivity to a doubling of carbon dioxide is low and almost certainly less than 1 degree Centigrade.

* Both the ocean and the atmosphere are presently failing to warm, despite continuing increases in carbon dioxide; and the rate of sea-level rise is decelerating;

* Modern climate variation is adequately explained by natural causes that include solar variation, climatic oscillations and multi-decadal rhythms and phase locks.

These articles, and thousands of other recent research papers, contain abundant empirical evidence consistent with the null hypothesis that historic and modern climate variations are of natural origin, like the similar variations that occur throughout the geological record.

In contrast, very few papers present unequivocal empirical evidence for measurable human-caused warming, and a recent study that claims to have identified a human influence can only detect it since 1942 and at a maximum, unthreatening and expected-to-decrease rate of +0.66 degree per century.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Time magazine and Cultish Environmentalism

It's not as if one expects actual journalism from the left-wing propagandists at Time magazine anymore, but today's article entitled "Who's Bankrolling the Climate-Change Deniers?" is particularly egregious.

Almost everything that columnist Bryan Walsh writes in his cult-like piece is wrong, but a few areas stand out in particular.

First, while Walsh repeatedly refers to a climate change denial "machine", that description implies coordination and unity -- such as actually exists in the alarmist camp.

However, there is a much wider range of views on the side of those who are skeptical about man-made climate change than on the side of those who say the human race it at risk. Some skeptics say that the entire idea that humans strongly influence climate is a hoax. Some say that there is a human impact but it is too small to be a problem. And some even say that the impact is measurable but that the cost of "fixing" the so-called problem is simply too high. It is only on the skeptical side that there is any honest debate. It is only on the skeptical side that the true nature of science, namely that it is not determined by consensus and that it must revolve around testable and falsifiable hypotheses, is honored.

Furthermore, there has not been anything as machine-like in the history of climate science as what we learned in Climategate was going on among some alarmist scientists, but that fact conveniently escapes Mr. Walsh.

Second, Walsh demonizes a cabal of evil oil companies, business groups, and conservative think tanks whose enormous funding of "deniers" is used to cloud the minds of gullible Americans.

However, the amount of money spent by environmental groups and governments on climate alarmism dwarfs the spending by skeptics. One 2007 estimate by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, suggests that the money spent on and by alarmists is more than two thousand times as much as that spent on and by skeptics.

Time's article reminds me of more than anything are the ramblings of a cult leader, trying to herd some drifting followers back into the fold. Proclaim doomsday, demonize those who disagree, and pose your cult as the only way to salvation, facts be damned.


Cuccinelli says IG report on EPA supports his assertions -- blasts EPA denialism towards criticism

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II on Wednesday blasted the Environmental Protection Agency in the wake of a recent inspector general´s report that found it failed to follow federal rules in its process of using climate change data to conclude greenhouse gases are a threat to human health.

Mr. Cuccinelli, a global warming skeptic, first petitioned the EPA in February 2010 to convene and reconsider its conclusion and filed a lawsuit in federal court in the wake of the "Climategate" scandal, in which researchers from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia were accused of manipulating climate data based on a number of stolen emails. A handful of investigations have cleared scientists of wrongdoing.

The agency noted that the report did not address the science at hand, merely processes and procedures.

"I fully expected supporters of the greenhouse gas endangerment finding would argue and will continue to argue that the violations identified in the investigation are only technicalities," Mr. Cuccinelli said. "But these rules were put in place to guarantee that the regulatory process was not hijacked by a political agenda — by either party. Both scientists and government officials should operate in transparent ways, and the rules that the EPA failed to follow were designed to guarantee such transparency and to make certain that its conclusions were sound and based on the best available scientific data."

Among a number of shortcomings, the report concluded that rather than performing its own research, the EPA relied on work done by others and did not determine whether the data met its own quality guidelines before distributing it.

The peer review panel also did not meet independence requirements because one of the panelists was an EPA employee, and the EPA did not adequately identify the level of scientific information it was using to support its action, the report said.


GAO: 42% of USHCN Weather Stations Fail to Meet NOAA Standards

Confirmation of claims by skeptics that U.S. temperature records are unreliable and biased towards showing warming

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today welcomed a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) entitled “NOAA Can Improve Their Management of the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN).” This report quantifies lingering questions concerning proper siting of weather stations, finding about 42% of the active USHCN stations in 2010 did not meet one or more of NOAA’s siting standards. GAO says the two standards most commonly unmet are “distance to obstructions [such as buildings and trees] and distance to extensive concrete or paved surfaces.”

Additionally, the report notes, “NOAA does not centrally track whether USHCN stations adhere to siting standards…nor does it have an agency-wide policy regarding stations that don’t meet standards.” The report continues, “Many of the USHCN stations have incomplete temperature records; very few have complete records. 24 of the 1,218 stations (about 2 percent) have complete data from the time they were established.” GAO goes on to state that most stations with long temperature records are likely to have undergone multiple changes in measurement conditions.

“I want to thank GAO for conducting this report examining the proper siting of climate network weather stations in the United States,” Senator Inhofe stated. “The GAO has confirmed what many have long suspected: A substantial number of USHCN stations fail to meet many of NOAA’s own citing standards. Additionally, NOAA has no established policy to track adherence to standards system-wide. I will continue monitoring NOAA’s consideration of GAO’s recommendations.”

The USHCN was designated in 1987 as a subset of historical weather-monitoring stations in the Cooperative Observer Program. The purpose of these 1,218 stations is to monitor the nation’s climate and to analyze long-term surface temperature trends.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintains a network of weather-monitoring stations known as the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN), which monitors the nation's climate and analyzes long-term surface temperature trends. Recent reports have shown that some stations in the USHCN are not sited in accordance with NOAA's standards, which state that temperature instruments should be located away from extensive paved surfaces or obstructions such as buildings and trees. GAO was asked to examine

(1) how NOAA chose stations for the USHCN,

(2) the extent to which these stations meet siting standards and other requirements, and

(3) the extent to which NOAA tracks USHCN stations' adherence to siting standards and other requirements and has established a policy for addressing nonadherence to siting standards.

GAO reviewed data and documents, interviewed key NOAA officials, surveyed the 116 NOAA weather forecast offices responsible for managing stations in the USHCN, and visited 8 forecast offices.

In choosing USHCN stations from a larger set of existing weather-monitoring stations, NOAA placed a high priority on achieving a relatively uniform geographic distribution of stations across the contiguous 48 states. NOAA balanced geographic distribution with other factors, including <> a desire for a long history of temperature records, <> limited periods of missing data, and <> stability of a station's location and other measurement conditions, since changes in such conditions can cause temperature shifts unrelated to climate trends. NOAA had to make certain exceptions, such as including many stations that had incomplete temperature records.

In general, the extent to which the stations met NOAA's siting standards played a limited role in the designation process, in part because NOAA officials considered other factors, such as geographic distribution and a long history of records, to be more important. USHCN stations meet NOAA's siting standards and management requirements to varying degrees.

According to GAO's survey of weather forecast offices, about 42 percent of the active stations in 2010 did not meet one or more of the siting standards. With regard to management requirements, GAO found that the weather forecast offices had generally but not always met the requirements to conduct annual station inspections and to update station records. NOAA officials told GAO that it is important to annually visit stations and keep records up to date, including siting conditions, so that NOAA and other users of the data know the conditions under which they were recorded. NOAA officials identified a variety of challenges that contribute to some stations not adhering to siting standards and management requirements, including the use of temperature-measuring equipment that is connected by a cable to an indoor readout device--which can require installing equipment closer to buildings than specified in the siting standards.

NOAA does not centrally track whether USHCN stations adhere to siting standards and the requirement to update station records, and it does not have an agencywide policy regarding stations that do not meet its siting standards. Performance management guidelines call for using performance information to assess program results. NOAA's information systems, however, are not designed to centrally track whether stations in the USHCN meet its siting standards or the requirement to update station records. Without centrally available information, NOAA cannot easily measure the performance of the USHCN in meeting siting standards and management requirements.

Furthermore, federal internal control standards call for agencies to document their policies and procedures to help managers achieve desired results. NOAA has not developed an agencywide policy, however, that clarifies for agency staff whether stations that do not adhere to siting standards should remain open because the continuity of the data is important, or should be moved or closed. As a result, weather forecast offices do not have a basis for making consistent decisions to address stations that do not meet the siting standards. GAO recommends that NOAA enhance its information systems to centrally capture information useful in managing the USHCN and develop a policy on how to address stations that do not meet its siting standards. NOAA agreed with GAO's recommendations.


Wind turbine fail in Britain

An eco-friendly school has been left £55,000 out of pocket after its wind turbine broke - with governors admitting that it was based on "completely unproven technology". The company that installed the turbine has gone bust leaving the school with a pile of scrap.

The Gorran School in Cornwall revealed its 15 metre turbine in 2008 which was designed to provide it with free electricity - and sell any surplus power to the National Grid.

The system was seen as a green blueprint for clean, sustainable energy for schools nationwide and received grants from various bodies including the EDF power firm.

But soon after being installed the wind turbine became faulty and after a few months seized up - showering the school's playing field with debris.

Since then the school has been locked in a battle with suppliers Proven Energy which has now gone into administration leaving the school with little hope of any money being returned - and a pile of scrap in their field.

Sue Hawken, chair of the school governors, said:"It has been an absolute nightmare from start to finish. "We've put a claim in but realistically I don't expect to get a single penny from this company. "Unbeknown to us, the 15 kilowatt turbine that Proven Energy installed was completely unproven technology that never really worked.

"Proven Energy wrote to us to confirm the design fault. With that in mind we are advising owners to place their wind turbines on brake as soon as it is safe to do so. "It is an absolute disgrace and I feel the company has acted atrociously."

The school says it will look at solar panel as an alternative in the future. [Good luck with that too. All the sunshine Britain gets makes that a GREAT choice]



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


5 October, 2011

Whale Wars: How TV Turns Violent Green Activists into Popular Entertainment

Whale Wars is a popular Friday night television series on the Animal Planet cable channel. Having just completed its fourth season, the hour-long documentary program depicts the heroism of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as it tries to stop Japanese fishing vessels from killing whales in Antarctica. Too bad that Whale Wars omits important information about the extremist nature of Sea Shepherd and its operations.

Animal Planet and DCI obviously embrace Whale Wars for its entertainment value and audience share. The show’s producers want viewers to see a story of high seas adventure, one that portrays a struggle pitting dedicated activists against an outlaw nation engaged in barbaric practices. But that is not the reality of Sea Shepherd, the program’s heroes. The organization, which is recognized as a 501(c)(3) public charity by the IRS, is dedicated to destroying modern industrial society.

For example, in his book Earthforce! An Earth Warrior’s Guide To Strategy¸ Paul Watson, the head of Sea Shepherd, claims that humans must live in harmony with nature, and that the only people who do so are small tribes that live in Africa and Asia.

Peter Hammarstedt, a Sea Shepherd first mate, has described what the group wants to achieve:

“If regular Americans and people around the world realize it’s wrong to kill a whale, and right to go to all kinds of lengths short of hurting anybody to stop it, then we are one step closer to people questioning why they use animals for food, why they use animals for clothes, and why they use animals for medical research…We are winning…We will see the end of factory farming, we will see the end of fur farming in North America.”

Underlying such sentiment is an anti-human ideology. At an “Animal Rights 2002” conference Watson said, “There are 30-million plus species on this planet. They’re all earthlings. They’re all equal. Some are more ‘equal’ than others, I admit: earthworms are far more valuable than people.” And in Earthforce! Watson writes that while “humans may consider themselves to be divine legends in their own mind, the biological reality is that they are simply overly glorified, conceited apes.” Yet these particular views are never mentioned on Whale Wars.

Sea Shepherd’s History of Violent “Direct Action”

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson uses the euphemism “direct action” to describe his group’s reliance on violent tactics. At a 2002 animal rights conference, Watson explained, “The fact is that we live in an extremely violent culture, and we all justify violence if it’s for what we believe in.” He added: “There’s nothing wrong with being a terrorist, as long as you win. Then you write the history.”

Under Watson’s leadership, Sea Shepherd has a long history of violent “direct action.” Over more than three decades Sea Shepherd claims to have attacked whaling ships around the world and to have sunk ten of them. Sierra, Susan, Theresa, Isba 1, Isba 2, Hvalur 6, Hvalur 7, Senet, Nybrena, and Morild—their names are painted on the port side of the Steve Irwin.

In 1979 Watson and his crew rammed the Sierra with their vessel, the Sea Shepherd. The Sierra did not sink but managed to make it back to a port in Portugal. However, there was an anonymous follow-up. According to Earth Warrior, a 1995 book about Sea Shepherd by author David Morris, Watson received word that “three environmentalists in wetsuits, carrying magnetic explosive mines, had just slipped into Lisbon harbor and blown up the Sierra.” At the time Watson was about to go on trial in Quebec for assaulting a police officer during the course of a protest against a Canadian seal hunt.

Watson takes liberties with his criminal record, claiming that no Sea Shepherd mission has resulted “in a single criminal or civil conviction against myself.” His convictions for interfering with the seal hunt in Canada in 1980 and 1983 were overturned on appeal. In 1993, Watson was arrested in Canada for Sea Shepherd actions against Cuban and Spanish fishing boasts off the coast of Newfoundland. In 1997 he was convicted in absentia in Norway for the sinking of a Norwegian whaling ship, the Nybrena. Watson has claimed responsibility for disabling several ships in Iceland. And authorities in Costa Rica and Japan have also attempted to arrest Watson for sabotage activities there. None of these run-ins with the law are mentioned on Whale Wars.

Morris’s book Earth Warrior describes a frightening incident in which Watson told his crew member Peter Brown to shoot at a Japanese drift-netting ship, the Gen Ei Maru No. 79. “Peter runs below deck and returns holding an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle,” wrote Morris. “Shots from the armor piercing rifle blast through the engine noise…Peter is apparently shooting at the bow, aiming below the waterline, where it’s mostly storage space. But who knows for sure? Paul orders Peter to fire across the bow. Shots blast out again. Peter is now holding a shotgun. Where did that come from? Then back to the AK-47. He flatly refuses an order to shoot out the spotlight on the Gen Ei Maru No. 79. ‘It’s too close to the bridge,’ he protests.” Morris reports that Watson subsequently dropped the shotgun into the ocean and that Peter Brown would say the shotgun was loaded with harmless “crackers.” But then why was he ordered to shoot out a spotlight? This incident is never mentioned on Whale Wars.

Watson seems quite capable of lying to his crew and Sea Shepherd supporters when it serves his purposes. For instance, near the end of the first season there is a confrontation between the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin and the whaler Nishhin Maru. In the episode Watson opens his jacket to reveal a slug lodged in his bullet-proof vest. He later issues a press statement claiming he’s been shot at from the Nishin Maru, an allegation hotly denied by the Japanese crew. The claim seems unlikely and, given Watson’s own views on truth and deception, appears suspect. Indeed, the incident was too far-fetched for the producers of Whale Wars who added a response from the Japanese. They argued that Watson would have been thrown backward on impact and sustained bruises to his chest had someone from their ship shot at him. Whale Wars footage shows that neither occurred.

In another incident in season two, the Steve Irwin is shown refueling in port. As Watson speaks to a gaggle of reporters, a crew member hands him an envelope that Watson opens in full view of the cameras. A white powder is inside. Authorities are called and Watson and other crew members are quarantined on the Steve Irwin until it is determined that the powder is not a threat. This incident generated considerable sympathetic media coverage for Sea Shepherd.

But some aspects of the incident make it highly suspicious. First, why would a crew member hand Watson an envelope while he was talking to reporters? Presumably it would make more sense to wait until Watson was finished with his interviews. Next, presumably someone as busy as Watson would have an administrative assistant who opens his mail for him. The envelope with the white powder should have been opened long before it reached Watson. Nevertheless, none of these odd coincidences are examined in the show. Neither Sea Shepherd nor Animal Planet agreed to requests for an interview regarding this matter.

Sea Shepherd Origins and Funding

A longtime environmental activist, Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson’s public persona belies his group’s history of violence. He does not act like a belligerent radical, but is soft-spoken and seems reasonable and likeable. But in his book Earthforce!, Watson explains that to persuade the public (and manipulate the media) activists should not “alienate…by dressing and behaving in a manner which threaten the moral majority….When preaching to the Romans, it pays to look and behave like a Roman. People distrust, dislike, and often detest those who appear different.”

A look at Watson’s personal history provides evidence of his belligerent character. Watson has claimed to be a founder of Greenpeace, but was expelled from its board of directors in 1977 (by a vote of 11 to one) because his fellow directors considered him divisive and irresponsible. In 2003 he was elected to the Sierra Club board as leader of a faction that favored strict controls on immigration to prevent U.S. population increases. He quit the following year to protest the Club’s support for hunting.

After leaving Greenpeace, Watson went on to start the Earth Force Society, convincing writer Cleveland Amory, then president of the British Fund for Animals, to support Earth Force’s first ship, which Watson named Sea Shepherd. In 1981 Watson changed his group’s name to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

With its propensity for violence, Sea Shepherd was a low-budget operation—until Whale Wars. Tax documents show its revenue jumped from $1.5 million in 2005 to $3.4 million in 2007 to $4.0 million in 2008. IRS data for 2009, the most recent available, show Sea Shepherd revenue of $9.8 million, which includes the $5 million gift from game show host Bob Barker that was used to buy a second ship named in gratitude after him.

Other public records show that in 2010 Bob Barker’s DJ and T Foundation (assets: $13.3 million), a grant-maker dedicated to spaying and neutering animals, made seven gifts to Sea Shepherd totaling $3.7 million. There are also contributions from the Tides Foundation ($30,500 since 2002), the Foundation for Deep Ecology ($281,000 since 2000), and the Park Foundation, Inc. ($159,000 since 1999). Sea Shepherd’s latest tax return shows that Watson is paid just over $100,000 in salary and benefits. Most activists in the organization, including the crews sailing to the Antarctic, are volunteers.


By mainstreaming radicalism, Whale Wars has made the violent tactics of Sea Shepherd widely acceptable. As Sea Shepherd goes mainstream, it’s likely that more advocacy groups and their leaders will be tempted to do likewise knowing that they will not endanger their tax-exempt status or their capacity to raise money. Their targets will become less objectionable than Japanese whalers. It may be only a matter of time before activists use Sea Shepherd’s “non-violent” violence against the producers of beef and pork, chicken and turkey—all staples of the Western diet.

Thus far violence in the environmental movement has for the most part been limited to fringe groups like Sea Shepherd. Discovery Communications’ Whale Wars runs the risk of spreading that violence far and wide.


Approaching the end of the Kyoto Treaty

Economic historian Martin Hutchinson looks at the issues facing a successor to the treaty

We are now within three months of the climacteric year of 2012 around which the 1997 Kyoto Protocol was built, and therefore within fifteen months of a period in which the Kyoto restrictions will no longer have effect. No fewer than sixteen conferences have been held in an attempt to find a successor to Kyoto, the largest in Copenhagen in 2009. A seventeenth such conference will be held in South Africa at the end of November.

Start with the science of global warming. There’s clearly something there, but it might be infinitesimal. The warming effect of additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere makes sense even to my vague memories of high school chemistry. It is also certainly clear that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been increasing steadily in the last half century, at least. What’s not at all clear is the size of the effect the additional carbon dioxide is having on temperature – will we warm by 5 degrees Celsius in 2100, or only by 0.05 degrees Celsius?

In addition, there is both theory (again according with my vaguely remembered high school chemistry) and evidence to suggest that the effect of additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is asymptotic, not exponential, in other words that each additional tonne deposited has less effect than the previous one. If you read the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a report deliberately written to maximize the resources devoted to climate change initiatives, you will find that the probability of a temperature rise beyond 2 degrees Celsius in 2100 is quite low.

The work of climate change scientists, much of which has been based on construction of elaborate computer models rather than direct observation, has however been suspect. Data used in the IPCC reports has been discovered to have been tampered with, and the integrity of climate change science called into question. It’s not surprising that corners have been cut and inconvenient data suppressed. These scientists’ livelihoods and funding depend entirely on there being something real to worry about and we should not realistically expect higher standards of integrity in today’s scientific profession than in the remainder of our sadly degraded intellectual and political life. A further question has arisen, casting no further doubts on the integrity of existing scientific work but making its results highly questionable, from recent research at CERN in Geneva, which suggests that cosmic rays have a substantial effect on climate, a factor not taken into account in existing climate change models.

The claim by the left that climate change represents “settled science” is thus laughable. The magnitude of the effect is not settled and much of the work in the field, constructing computer models based on dubious and incomplete assumptions, should not be dignified with the name of science.

The prestige of “settled science” has in any case received an additional blow in the past week with the apparent discovery at CERN of neutrinos travelling modestly but significantly faster than the speed of light. If these results are confirmed, they contradict Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, formulated in 1905 and apparently verified by observations of the transit of Venus in 1919. On the Special Theory has depended a large part of the edifice of twentieth century sub-atomic physics, from quantum mechanics, an invention of the late 1920s that poses several unpleasant philosophical problems, through to the “string theory” that includes ten dimensions, most of them infinitesimal, on the basis of which we spent untold billions constructing CERN in an attempt to find the mysterious and so far untraceable Higgs Boson.

If an important theory in the hard sciences, more than 100 years seasoned, that was apparently confirmed by observation 92 years ago, and on which untold billions have been spent and Nobel Prizes won, can turn out to have been materially in error, then it can only be concluded that we know less than we think we do. Distorting the world economy beyond recognition, lowering global wealth by a substantial fraction for decades to come, would have been unwise even if climate change theory had been as firmly established as Special Relativity. As it is, while there is reason to pay attention to the climate change question and invest significantly in improving our knowledge in the area, the uncertainties of measurement, causality and data integrity are far too great to reorganize the world around it.

The Kyoto process and the climate change hysteria that followed it have however been useful in giving us a number of demonstrations of what won’t work, as well as a few things that have worked.

The Solyndra debacle, the collapse of a solar power company with a $535 million U.S. government loan, has shown us not only that government funding of individual companies doesn’t work, but why it doesn’t work. Government not only lacks the expertise to choose between competing technologies, but is subject to all kinds of unpleasant political and donor-related pressures to do the wrong thing. Direct funding of new technologies by government, other than in the pure research phase, is a corrupt waste of taxpayer money.

A second failure of the Kyoto years has been government-mandated “cap-and-trade” schemes. Like direct government investment in companies, they have proved to be appalling nests of corruption. The unpleasantness of the phony subsidies to Chinese energy-savings scams is only exceeded by the Enron-like shenanigans in the emissions permit trading markets. The cap-and-trade structure was devised in part by Enron itself before its demise, and it shows all the hallmarks of other constructs of the unfortunate Jeff Skilling – on paper an elegant market-based solution, in reality an invitation to cronyism, corruption and rip-offs. The central fallacy of these schemes is that central planning bureaucrats can magically be expected to decide a target for carbon emissions each year – the schemes thus abdicate the market’s most important function. They need to be closed down forthwith.

A third failure of the Kyoto years has been government’s attempt to select preferred technologies for subsidy. Like direct investment, such an attempt inevitably descends into a mass of corruption and ineptitude. One such example was geothermal power, where environmentalists were blinded by its lack of carbon emissions and failed to take account of the possibility that drilling deep into geologically unstable rock formations was likely to cause earthquakes. Another was corn-based ethanol, where the George W. Bush administration, egged on by its financial and electoral paymasters in the farm lobby, installed an economically outrageous subsidy system that increases rather than diminishes carbon emissions.

Finally, as was suspected even in 1997, direct regulation does not work and imposes intolerable costs on the economy. The EPA’s current attempt to use a dodgy Supreme Court decision to override the political process altogether and through regulation of carbon emissions meddle in all sectors of the U.S. economy is potentially a major addition to the blizzard of regulations currently holding back economic recovery.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon warns of rising 'Sea Levels'

Some mischievous person added the graph below to the report. The graph shows clearly that sea level has in fact plateaued

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is warning about rising sea levels that will put coastal cities from Miami to Kolkata at risk and climate change in urban areas is to blame.

"Major coastal cities, such as Cairo, New York, Karachi, Calcutta, Belem, New Orleans, Shanghai, Tokyo, Lagos, Miami and Amsterdam, could face serious threats from storm surges" and are at risk of being inundated by rising waters, was told.

"The nexus between urbanisation and climate change is real and potentially deadly," he said.

"More and more municipalities are harnessing wind, solar and geothermal energy, contributing to green growth and improving environmental protection," he said, urging further international support for local and municipal efforts.

Experts are saying that by 2050 we will have a major problem with rising sea levels.


The latest lulu

"It rained so hard the oceans fell". They seem to overlook the fact that water sucked up to fall as rain mostly goes back to the sea via rivers -- etc.

“The year 2010 was one the worst years in world history for high-impact floods. But just three weeks into the new year, 2011 has already had an entire year's worth of mega-floods. “ -- Meteorologist Jeff Masters

I spend hours a day researching what New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman calls “global weirding”: the destabilization of our weather system fueled by the three million tonnes of fossil fuel pollution we inject into it each hour. So it is a rare day when something shocks me as much as a recent U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) report on last year’s extreme rainfall.

As most locals know from soggy personal experience, our corner of planet Earth since last spring has been a bit wetter and greyer than normal. And next door, our Washington neighbours donned their gum boots and slogged through their fourth wettest year since 1895.

Still, we got off lucky. Very lucky it turns out. According to this jaw-dropping NASA report, worldwide rainfall and snowfall were so extreme, in so many places last year, that sea levels fell dramatically.

Sea levels have been rising steadily for over a century as the ever warmer ocean water expands and the world’s remaining glaciers and ice sheets melt. In fact sea levels are rising twice as fast now as they were a few decades ago. As the NASA chart above shows there have been some ups and downs but nothing in the modern satellite record comes close to the 6 mm drop worldwide last year.

While 6 mm might not sound like a lot, when collected from the surface of all our planet’s oceans it adds up to 26,000 gallons of water per human.

So just where did all this missing water go? The ringleader of the great water heist was one of the strongest La Nina cycles of recent times. La Nina shifted and altered weather patterns causing extreme precipitation to funnel into places like India, Pakistan, Australia, and northern tiers of both South and North America.

In the map below, produced from NASA’s GRACE satellite data, blue indicates areas that gained water last year. The darkest blue areas gained as much as 50 mm in one year.

These dark blue spots are also the sources of the world’s epic floods of the last couple years which not only left tens of millions homeless and destroyed agriculture and infrastructure, but also left behind so much water that global oceans were depleted by 6 mm.


Solar energy School Propaganda 101

The Obama administration's crony green subsidy scandal is erupting like a solar flare in Washington. But do you know what your kids are learning in their environmental education classes about this red-hot taxpayer eco-scam? Chances are: not much. Instead, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Democratic apparatchiks at the National Education Association are disseminating solar power propaganda masquerading as math and science curricula.

Titled "Solar Power and Me: The Inherent Advantages," the lesson plan for middle-school and high-school students directs them to "take note of how solar energy is incorporated into the infrastructure of various cities nationwide and write a short essay about how they would encourage solar energy use in their own town."

A worksheet labeled "All About Solar!" makes the blanket assertion that solar technologies are "a sound economical choice as they can reduce or eliminate exposure to rising electricity rates, or even eliminate one's need to pay an electrical bill! In addition, solar panels can be a smart long-term investment, with many solar vendors offering 20-30 year warranties on their products."

The only warranties worth anything from bankrupt, half-billion-dollar solar company Solyndra Inc. are the warranties on the Disney whistling robots and saunas that adorned its Taj Mahal headquarters. But I digress.

Another worksheet cheerleads the "financial savings" of "solar power and me" and coaches students to "imagine you live in amazing and sunny Anaheim, CA, where the combination of local and federal rebates covers 74 percent of your total cost of a solar panel system!" The exercise then entices the student to take out a 20-year loan on a new solar panel system to produce even greater illusory savings.

Yet another question-and-answer key reads: "How would switching to solar energy affect energy use at your home and school?" Answer: "In general, switching to solar energy would lower your home's electrical costs and reduce your emissions, thus saving money and improving the environment."

But as Brian McGraw of the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute points out: "There might be a small niche market, but solar energy is still largely incapable of producing reliable electricity at rates that are even in the ballpark of cost competitiveness compared to coal or natural gas." Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the force behind billions of dollars' worth of rushed green energy loans overseen by deep-pocketed Obama bundlers, himself acknowledged that solar tech will need to improve five-fold before it even begins to have a cost-competitive shot.

After examining decades' worth of failed subsidized solar efforts at home and around the world, the Institute for Energy Research concludes: "Although stand-alone solar power has a certain free-market niche and does not need government favor, using solar power for grid electricity has been and will be an economic loser for ratepayers and a burden to taxpayers."

The DOE/NEA curriculum encourages students to pressure politicians to pour more money into supposedly underfunded green energy schemes. But the House Budget Committee reported last week: "The president's stimulus law alone included tens of billions in new government subsidies for politically favored renewable-energy interests: $6 billion in loan guarantees for renewable energy investments; $17 billion for the Department of Energy's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs; $2 billion for energy-efficient battery manufacturing; and billions more on other 'clean-energy' programs for a total of $80 billion. Two years later, the president's promise of millions of jobs stands in stark contrast with reality."

A more useful homework assignment would be to have these future taxpayers calculate how much their moms and dads are spending to prop up Obama's green jobs industry and its elite Democratic campaign finance donors/investors. The White House projected 65,000 new jobs from nearly $40 billion in green job stimulus spending. Instead, fewer than 3,600 jobs were created. Get out your calculators, kids: That's $4.85 million per job. Investor's Business Daily crunches the numbers further on the taxpayers' return on its DOE green loan guarantee "investments" and finds that the program will cost a whopping $23 million per job.

A separate NEA solar energy lesson plan marketed with Dow Corning teaches 5th- through 8th-graders "how solar panels work." A more apt, real-world lesson would teach them how they don't work. The myth that this alternative energy source "pays for itself" is busted with just a cursory glance at the Denver Museum of Science and Nature.

President Obama staged a photo-op on the facility's solar panel roof in 2009 when he signed the green jobs goodie-stuffed stimulus law. The museum refused to disclose electric bills before and after installation of the solar array. But after digging into the lavishly taxpayer-funded project, the Colorado-based Independence Institute discovered that the panels -- which only last 25 years -- wouldn't "pay for themselves" until the year 2118, more than a century from now.

It's elementary. The government shouldn't be in the business of picking any eco-winners or losers. "Too Green To Fail" redistributes wealth from viable private projects to pipe dreams, forces higher taxes and energy costs on everyone, and rewards partisan funders at public expense. Teach your children well. They're inheriting the bill.


More Greenie lies

A friend recently alerted me to a protest which is scheduled to take place in Pierre, South Dakota, to reverse a decision by the State Legislature to issue permits allowing a pipeline to be constructed across South Dakota to transport crude oil from the Alberta (Canadian) oil sand deposits to refineries in Texas, at a rate of a million barrels a day.

The e-mail contained a very fine collection of lies, innuendo, twisted “facts” and appeals to prevent South Dakota and Nebraska from being destroyed by this pipeline project, and to “tell the truth.” In this article, I’m responding to these points. Beware: my response is very sarcastic and somewhat bitter. As a citizen of South Dakota, I cannot but be sick that once again our state is infected with this kind of nonsense. Please accept my apologies for length, harshness, and downright anger. I have been fighting this sort of thing for my entire adult life, it seems, in at least a half-dozen states and overseas. Their malice just grows stronger.

As my readers might imagine, I've been watching this issue for a long time. The US and Canada have billions of barrels of oil, perhaps more than all the Arabs put together. The construction and the operation will be expensive but will pay for itself quickly, according to all unbiased analysis I’ve read.

By contrast, at first glance, most of this e-mail is propaganda. I noticed that there are almost NO citations at all - just claims. And a LOT of bald-faced lies....

Much more HERE


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


4 October, 2011

"Time" magazine has a logic all of its own

Ya gotta laugh! They point out how bad global cooling has been and conclude that therefore global warming will be bad too. The obvious conclusion that the effect of warming might be the opposite of cooling doesn't penetrate their robot brain

According to a new study, climate change has played a significant role in several of the crises of pre-industrial Europe and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere over the course of the 300 years.

A team led by David Zhang of the University of Hong Kong collected as much data as they could find about climate, demography, agro-ecology, and the economy from the years 1500 to 1800 in Europe and found that these variables yo-yoed up and down along with the weather. The investigators used a number of criteria to confirm that the relationship was causative and not merely associative: there had to be a strong and, importantly, consistent relationship between variable and effect; the cause had to precede the outcome; and the researchers had to be able to predict the effect based on the cause. To make all these connections, Zhang's team used robust correlation and regression models as well as simulations of alternating periods of harmony and crisis in the areas for the earlier periods in which data wasn't as easily available.

While numerous civilizations did experience the same ups and downs as global temperature over the centuries, the immediacy of the cause and effect varied. Sometimes the response to temperature change was almost instantaneous, while others time it took five to 30 years before the impact was fully felt. And as is the case with everything in the environment, a change in one area often triggered a cascade of changes in others. Take for example the cooling that occurred from 1560 to 1660—a century within the 300-year era known as the Little Ice Age: plants couldn't grow as much or for as long, so grain prices soared, famine broke out, and nutrition sank. Poor diet means poor growth even for survivors, and the late 16th century saw a decline in average human body height by 0.8 inches. As temperatures rose again after 1650, human height crawled back up too. Before it did, however, sky-high grain prices and accompanying real wage declines brought social problems more pressing than height.

“Peaks of social disturbance such as rebellions, revolutions, and political reforms followed every decline of temperature, with a one- to 15-year time lag,” the scientists wrote, adding that many such disturbances escalated into armed conflicts. “The number of wars increased by 41% in the Cold Phase.”

There were more peaceable responses too. Poorly fed or otherwise deprived people tend to decamp from where they're living and move somewhere else, and migration rates increased in this era along with social disturbance. The problem was, in these cases the relocation wasn't the hearty westward-ho kind of 19th century America, when well-fed settlers could live off the land (and the buffalo) while they sought new homesteads on the frontiers. Rather, migration among the hungry or unwell often leads to epidemics. It may be too much to lay the great European plagues of 1550 to 1670 entirely at the door of global cooling, but dramatic climate shift and resultant poor health surely played a role. It was around 1650 as well that European population collapsed, bottoming out at just 105 million people across the entire continent. Wetter countries with more fertile land or those with stable trading economies tended to do better in this eras of hardship, but no one was spared.

The idea that climate change is a foundational instigator of human catastrophe is not a new one, though it remains one of the most contentious ones out there . Scientists sometimes trip over themselves with hurried reassurances that no single event can be attributed entirely to global warming – and that's true. But it's also true, as Zhang and his team have shown, that the health of the climate is at least one of the biggest players on the field. That's a fact we'd do well to remember, as our own era continues to confront some of the same natural pressures as cultures of long ago.


Some more of that peculiar Warmist logic

Warmists blame recent Arctic Ice Loss on global warming. Big catch: It isn't warming!

“Two ice shelves that existed before Canada was settled by Europeans diminished significantly this summer, one nearly disappearing altogether, Canadian scientists say in new research,” reports an Associated Press (AP) article in the San Francisco Chronicle. “The impact is significant and yet only a piece of the ongoing and accelerating response to warming of the Arctic,” Dr. Robert Bindschadler, emeritus scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Center, told the AP.

The Canadian team’s research confirms MIT scientists‘ recent finding that the Arctic is shedding ice much faster than forecast by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), published just four years ago (2007). Which of course is taken to mean that global warming ‘is even worse than scientists previously believed.’

Not so fast, say climatologists Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger, editors of World Climate Report (WCR). Paradoxically, more-rapid-than-projected Arctic ice loss is additional evidence that IPCC climate models are too “hot” — that is, overestimate climate sensitivity and forecast too much warming.

In IPCC climate models, decline of Arctic sea ice is treated as both a consequence of rising greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations and as an important “positive feedback” that amplifies the direct GHG warming effect. Al Gore popularized this explanation in An Inconvenient Truth, noting that as Arctic ice melts, less solar energy is reflected back to space and more absorbed by the oceans.

But, as WCR points out, if the IPCC models’ climate sensitivity estimates were correct, then the greater-than-expected positive feedback from greater-than-expected Arctic ice loss should be producing greater-than-expected global warming. Yet, despite the extra unanticipated warming influence from accelerating ice loss, the world is warming more slowly than IPCC models project.

Far from being a portent of doom, greater-than-projected ice loss, coinciding as it does with smaller-than-projected warming, indicates that actual climate sensitivity is less than model-estimated sensitivity.

Similarly, argues WCR in a related post, had IPCC models properly accounted for the planet’s recovery from the cooling effect of aerosols blown into the atmosphere by the Mount Pinatubo volcano eruption, they would be projecting even more warming than they do now. Yet model current projections already exceed the observed warming of the past 10-15 years.

The relevance to the survival of civilization and the habitability of the Earth? WCR explains:
The reason that all of this is important is that climate models which produce too much warming quite possibility are doing so because they are missing important processes which act to counteract the warming pressure exerted by increasing greenhouse gas concentrations—in other words, the climate sensitivity produced by the climate models is quite possibly too high.

If this proves to be the case, it means that there will be less future warming (and consequently less “climate disruption”) as greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase as a result of our use of fossil fuels.

Evidence continues to mount that this is indeed the case.


That pesky medieval warming confirmed yet again -- and it was warmer than now at times

Ever wonder how climate change in the past could ever have been posible without CO2 changes? Some people, like Prof. Michael E. Mann, think it wasn’t possible and that climate was always steady back then. Mann even fabricated a hockey stick chart to precisely show that – until 1850 that is. Then man got smart, industrialized, and everything went to hell.

Well, there’s yet another temperature reconstruction out there showing once again Michael Mann was wrong, and that the climate often went to hell in the past too.

The latest proxy reconstruction comes from a German peat bog and goes back 2000 years. And in case you haven’t guessed it by now, temperatures were all over the place. So much so, that the researchers themselves even express they can’t believe their own results.

A new paper by Moschen et al appearing ain the journal Climate of the Past presents a high resolution reconstruction of local growing season temperature (GST) anomalies at Dürres Maar, Germany over the last two thousand years.

In 2007, a 5.5 m long core was recovered from the centre of Dürres Maar peat bog in the mountainous West Eifel Volcanic Field in southwestern Germany.

According to the paper’s abstract
The temperature reconstruction is based on the Sphagnum ?13Ccellulose /temperature dependency observed in calibration studies. Reconstructed GST anomalies show considerable centennial and decadal scale variability. A cold and presumably also wet phase with below-average temperature is reconstructed between the 4th and 7th century AD which is in accordance with the so called European Migration Period marking the transition from the Late Roman Period to the Early Middle Ages. At High Medieval Times above-average temperatures are obvious followed by a temperature decrease.

I got a copy of the paper from a source, who wrote: “The ex-hockey team will hate it”. The paper’s Figure 6 tells quite the story. Indeed there was a lot of climate change in the past when CO2 was more or less stagnant. Look at the huge variations 1000 years ago! Obviously natural factors truly do exist. The Medieval Warm Period is shown again to be just as warm, if not warmer than today.

As reader DirkH points out in a comment, even the researchers have great difficulty coming to terms with their own results.


Bursting the Big Green Bubble

Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter boasted that Colorado is at the “epicenter of America’s New Energy Economy” and that it would be a “lasting legacy” to our children and all future generations.

This past spring, Ritter, now paid $300,000 to direct Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy, took to the stage in a national debate to defend the motion, “Clean energy can drive America’s economic recovery.” He bragged about the 57 pieces of legislation he signed to create the “New Energy Economy,” but that wasn’t enough to convince the audience.

Another green zealot State Representative Max Tyler also claimed clean energy to be an economic panacea. In a March 2010 Denver Post guest editorial Tyler wrote that his bill (HB10-1001) to increase Colorado’s renewable energy standard (RES) for investor owned utilities such as Xcel Energy from 20 to 30 percent within the next decade would “create thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of jobs in the New Energy Economy” without “increasing energy costs.”

He also wrote that the higher RES would “stabilize or even lower” energy costs and “help us continue to balance our state budget”

Both men are wrong.

Energy rates continue to climb. Xcel customers have endured a 21 percent rate increase over the last six years with another 20 predicted over the next six, thus reducing consumers’ purchasing power. Continuing the trend of budget shortfall, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities projects Colorado’s 2012 budget shortfall to be $450 million, 6.2 percent of the state’s general fund.

And the jobs? They never materialized. Colorado’s unemployment rate has hovered between 8.3 and 9.3 percent sometimes above and sometimes below the national average. Of course, if we spend millions of dollars on any one sector of the economy, some jobs will be created, but at a cost that diverts capital resources away from other possibly more productive sectors.

According to a 2009 study from Stanford University Energy Modeling Forum, “analysis…concludes that the advantages of increased jobs from renewable energy are vastly over-stated at costs prevailing today. It will require dramatic break-through in costs if renewable energy is to become a job generator.”

The study concludes with this resounding rebuke of “green job” creation policies:

“Green power, however, does not appear to be a game changer on the job front. When job creation is compared to the cost of each power source option, green jobs are sometimes more and sometimes less than conventional energy jobs. More importantly, strategies that subsidize these investments will be shifting the country’s scarce resources from sectors that would create more jobs (as well as economic value). This conclusion applies even for an economy in a deep recession and where policy wants to stimulate employment.”

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) recently discovered this to be true as well despite Tyler’s and Ritter’s best efforts.

An interim report from July 2011 details CDLE’s attempt to quantify “green” jobs. Their estimates—based on methods they freely admit are “highly dependent” on subjective measures, prone to self-selection bias, and a “broad definition of what constitutes a green job”—yielded just 61,239 results, or just 2.8 percent of the workforce.

A similar July study by Brookings Institution put Colorado at 2.2 percent, or roughly 51,000 jobs, 20th in the country.

Of those green jobs identified in the survey results, “most,” according to CDLE, actually “pre-date the green economy.” The survey provides no relevant data for this claim, but introduces doubt as to the nature of any perceived growth (relative to other survey results). Why? Preexisting jobs repurposed for the green economy are not job “creations.” A single job in the utility industry having been transformed into a green job—say coal to wind—is still a single job, as no net job increase has occurred in the overall job market.

Brookings’ national estimate of 2.7 “clean economy” jobs, for example, counts more than 350,000 public mass transit and 380,000 waste management jobs, most pre-existing the advent of a “green economy.”

These differing methodologies and definitions of green jobs in the surveys studied have not yielded a clear picture of when the green economy began, what the number of existing green jobs are, how much growth has occurred over time, and, most importantly, any unintended externalities of the green job growth.

A 2007 Pew study stretching all the way back to 1998 concluded that there were 17,000 clean energy jobs in the state at the time, an increase of approximately 2,700 jobs in nine years. Brookings, measuring from 2003-2010, estimated 16,250 jobs were added over seven years, an annual average of 5.6 percent.

The CDLE survey isn’t helpful here either. As a point-in-time survey, the results “cannot be interpreted to determine any relative growth or decline in the number or quality of jobs in Colorado over a period of time.”

But compared to a 2007 American Solar Energy Society estimate commissioned by the Governor's Energy Office (along with Xcel Energy and Red Rocks Community College) that claimed more than 91,000 green jobs, the CDLE report actually would indicate a loss of 30,000 jobs, for a four-year decline of 30 percent, or an annual job loss of 9.2 percent.

That’s not good news for Ritter, who came into office in 2007 and exited earlier this year.

Colorado isn’t the only state suffering a green industry malaise. The jobs haven’t materialized anywhere on the scale promised in recent years. Already three years into his 10-year plan for 5 million new “green collar” jobs, Obama would need to add hundreds of thousands of jobs per year in this sector alone to reach his goal.

The CDLE reported statistics consistent with other states that had completed green jobs reports in 2009. Oregon and Michigan both showed 3 percent each, Washington clocked in at 3.3 percent, and Kansas bottomed out with 1.5 percent of the total workforce classified as “green.” Missouri fared slightly better, boasting a green jobs total of 4.8 percent.

For comparison, the survey cited a Pew research study, also conducted in 2009, whose findings showed approximately 770,000 green jobs (clean energy and green economy) nationwide.

Even the more generous “green goods and services” definition provided by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics could only muster 2.15 million green jobs. With the total number of jobs in the U.S. economy standing at roughly 139 million, that’s a paltry 1.5 percent. Brookings’ pegged the total slightly higher, at 2 percent.

Even small, state-subsidized growth in the green jobs sector has been tempered by expensive taxpayer-footed failure elsewhere. One of the president’s most highly touted projects, California-based Solyndra, a solar-panel manufacturer, terminated 1,100 employees despite a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. The company is now the center of a political firestorm focusing on “sweetheart” financing for political cronies, an FBI raid, Congressional hearings, the examination of the entire solar industry’s economic viability, and the nature of the DOE loan program itself.

Another high-profile failure—Evergreen Solar—received $58 million in state subsidies from the state of Massachusetts in 2007, but laid-off 800 workers in March 2011 and filed for bankruptcy just last month.

These aren’t merely companies that went out of business as part of a competitive marketplace. Their government-issued subsidies were not enough to prop up potentially questionable “investments” of taxpayers’ money in firms that might not fit the definition of a going concern. As Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey said, “government doesn’t pick winners and losers. They pick losers in order to create the perception that they are competitive with the winners.”

It’s one thing for venture capitalists to risk their own treasure, it’s another for governments to dole out millions in subsidies on risky ventures simply to artificially raise employment growth in ideologically desirable sectors.

Other solar technology manufacturers that received tens of millions in taxpayer subsidies have closed up shop or moved to China. Most recently, Colorado-based Advanced Energy laid off 5 percent of its work force and moved part of its production to China in order to be more profitable.

Congress, which has been doling out taxpayer money for job creation in the green industry, can’t define what constitutes a green job. In testimony in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) recently questioned Dr. Keith Hall, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, on what counts as a “green job.” One example was a bus driver (see that Brookings report mentioned earlier). Hall acknowledged that any job in mass transit is considered a “green job.” So a bus driver in 2008 was just a bus driver. In 2011, that same bus driver is now a green job even though no new net job was actually created.

Actual green job creation—not just job transformation—has cost the taxpayers plenty. In Seattle, a $20 million “Weatherize Every Building” program promised 2,000 jobs, delivering just 14. That’s $1.4 million per job.

Ironically, in a piece by Investor’s Business Daily, the very federal regulations supported by labor unions and green activists (such as the Davis-Bacon and National Environmental Policy acts), have stalled any green jobs surge, according to the DOE.

As The New York Times concluded on August 18, 2011, “Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show.”

It appears we can add one more government record—the CDLE green jobs report—to that pile. If Colorado is the “epicenter” then the rest of America should run away fast from anyone trumpeting the New Energy Economy.


Commerce Secretary Defends 'Green' Investments Using Gambler's Logic

Discussing the risks of the government’s new $12 million bet on “green” technologies, the acting Commerce Dept. secretary sounds like she’s quoting from the Big Book Of Gambling Clichés. Problem is, she’s playing with our money.

Last week, acting Commerce Sec. Rebecca Black announced six new government grants totaling $12 million for six new green technology centers that the administration is betting will turn out to be “winners.”

Asked about one of the losers - a $535-million federal loan guarantee to the Solyndra company that makes solar panels, but which recently filed for bankruptcy – Sec. Black defended future green gambles using variations of gambling clichés.

“You Gotta’ Play To Win”:

“The U.S. can’t afford to not be a major winner in this race,” Blank said Thursday on a conference call with reporters. “That necessarily means that there’s going to be some capital investment by the U.S. government.

“You Gotta’ Bet Big To Win Big” and “You Win Some, You Lose Some”:

“Make no mistake, that when you’re in a new innovation race of the sort that we are with every other advanced country in the world you are always out there on the cutting edge,” she said, “and that involves both big returns but sometimes involves some risks [of failure] as well.”

“These are winners that we think are going to produce what they promise,” she said.

“There’s No Such Thing As A Sure Thing”:

“But it is new technology and that means that there is sometimes risks.”

It reminds me of one of those corporate-sponsored “Casino Night” events. They hand you chips when you walk in the door, and if you’ve got any left over at the end of the night, you can trade them in for prizes. If you don’t, you’re no worse off than when you came in.

Same here. The government places bets on “green” technologies with our taxes dollars, and if they don’t’ win, you and I are stuck with the tab.

Notice that there’s one important gambling adage that didn’t seem to make it into Sec. Black’s comments: you don’t play with money you can’t afford to lose.


A very smoggy blog -- and a resolute enemy of free speech

At first glance, sounds impressive. Its "About" page tells us it:

* produces articles that get routinely mentioned in "the world's most popular news blogs"

* has won a "Leadership in Communication" award

* was voted Canada's "Best Group Blog"

* is well-regarded by prominent international news outlets that quote it favorably and seek its assistance in developing news stories

James Hoggan, its founder, is chairman of the David Suzuki Foundation. Its operations manager, Kevin Grandia, has "been trained by Al Gore."

DeSmogBlog describes itself as "the world’s number one source for accurate, fact based information regarding Global Warming misinformation campaigns." It takes the position that "An overwhelming majority of the world’s climate scientists agree that the globe is warming...and that the indiscriminate burning of fossil fuels is to blame." (Einstein didn't think majority opinion decided scientific disputes, but that's another discussion.)

DeSmogBlog alleges that those who doubt global warming theory are part of a "a well-funded and highly organized public relations campaign" that is "trying to confuse the public, to forestall individual and political actions that might cut into exorbitant coal, oil and gas industry profits."

In this comic-book view of the world, environmental issues aren't complex matters involving imperfect tradeoffs, limited resources, and inadequate technologies. Nor is it necessary to consider ideas from multiple perspectives in order to understand them thoroughly.

In the DeSmogBlog universe, good guys and bad guys are readily identifiable and the way forward is clear. Although DeSmogBlog implies that its concern is with industry lobbying efforts, in reality anyone who disagrees with its perspective gets slimed. Satirist Rex Murphy, for example, is called "resolutely stupid" because his bracing commentaries on global warming contrast with the DeSmogBlog point-of-view.

Insults are one thing. Asserting that others have no right to speak is quite another. As demonstrated below, DeSmogBlog trashes free speech on every page of its website.

Rather than being hard to find, this black-and-gold sidebar is ever-present on the DeSmogBlog site:


Paragraph 1: Just prior to accusing others of undermining democracy, DeSmogBlog arbitrarily redefines it. The need for free and open debate gets supplanted. Rather, accuracy of the information available to the electorate is held up as the principle upon which democracy "is utterly dependent."

Tyrants in Iran and elsewhere demand that media coverage be truthful and accurate. What they really mean is: it must not offend the authorities. Any society that says accuracy is more important than free speech, is a society in which democracy has left the building.

Paragraph 2: Strike 2 against freedom of expression is this breathtaking statement: "Free speech does not include the right to deceive." DeSmogBlog contends that people who express alternative points-of-view are deliberate liars. (In an especially Orwellian turn of phrase, it adds that they also "subvert the public awareness.")

As John Stuart Mill observed 150 years ago, "We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still."

Mill points out that people who want to suppress the views of others "are not infallible. They have no authority to decide the question for all mankind...To refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty."

Paragraphs 3 & 4: Folks with whom DeSmogBlog disagrees are accused of "creating confusion" in the minds of the public - which it considers too gullible to sort wheat from chaff. In Strike 3 against free speech, DeSmogBlog accuses the media, government officials, and business leaders of permitting these "fringe players" to mislead the masses. The implication is clear: DeSmogBlog advocates the silencing of non-mainstream points-of-view by elite members of society.



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


3 October, 2011

A naughty skeptic and a nervous editor in Colorado

Anthony Watts has a very amusing story about a Colorado newspaper editor who published a letter from a skeptic and then next day took it down in response to an angry complaint from prominent climate fraud Michael Mann. But when Watts and others began querying the nervous etitor he put the letter up again in an edited form. Below is what Dr Hertzberg originally wrote (received from the author):
Vail Daily, Vail, CO - Friday, 30 September, 2011 - Commentary

VALLEY VOICES - Martin Hertzberg

More hot air than science in global-warming theory

"Cherish Your Doubts, for Doubt is the Handmaiden of Truth"
--- Robert Weston

Since I am a long-time denier of human-caused global warming, and have been described as an "inaccurate" and "irresponsible" "fool" by Scott Glasser's 9/26/11 commentary in the Vail Daily, I feel compelled to respond. I am a research scientist who also served as a meteorologist for the U. S. Navy. I am also a life-long, progressive Democrat. For the 25 years that I have been studying the theory that human emission of CO2 is causing global warming/climate change, it has never ceased to amaze me at how many otherwise intelligent people, including our President, have been taken in by that scam. There is a simple way to tell the difference between scientists and propagandists. If scientists have a theory, they search diligently for data that might actually contradict their theory so that they test it rigorously or refine it. If propagandists have a theory, they carefully select only the data that might agree with their theory, and dutifully ignore any data that might contradict it.

The anecdotal drivel cited in the Glasser article regarding atmospheric CO2, average global temperatures, ice area coverage, and rate of sea-level rise, was carefully "cherry picked", or is totally false. For the totality of the available data for the last several decades, go to . The data show nothing remarkable: just the normal variability in all those weather-related parameters.

Knowledgeable scientist, including the more than 30,000 like myself who have signed the "Oregon Petition", know that changes in atmospheric CO2 do not correlate with human emission of CO2; that human emission is a trivial fraction of sources and sinks of CO2; that the oceans contain about 50 times more dissolved CO2 than is present in the atmosphere; that recycling of CO2 from the tropical oceans where it is emitted to the arctic oceans where it is absorbed, is orders of magnitude more significant than human emissions; and that the carbonate-bicarbonate buffer in the oceans makes their acidity (actually their alkaline pH) virtually insensitive to changes in atmospheric CO2. The data for the glacial coolings and interglacial warmings for the last 500,000 years always show that temperature changes precede atmospheric CO2 changes by about 1000 years. That indicates that temperature changes are driving CO2 changes and not the reverse as the Gore-Hansen-IPCC clique claim. As oceans warm for whatever reason, they emit CO2, and as they cool they absorb CO2.

The CO2 "greenhouse effect" argument on which the fear-mongering hysteria is based is actually devoid of physical reality. The notion that the colder atmosphere above can re-radiate its absorbed infra-red energy to heat the warmer earth below violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. For details see "Slaying the Sky Dragon - Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory" co-authored by myself and several other scientists, which was published earlier this year by Stairway Press. In any case, if one compares the effect of water in all of its forms (polar ice, snow cover, oceans, clouds, water vapor in the atmosphere) with that of human emission of CO2, the CO2 emission is about as significant as a few farts in a hurricane.

Glasser, who calls me a fool, really tips his hand by defending the notoriously fraudulent "hockey-stick" curve of Prof. Mann. That curve has the shape of a hockey stick, flat for the last 1000 years with a sharp rise during the past few decades. It was fabricated from carefully selected tree-ring measurements with a phony computer program. Every knowledgeable climatologist knows that tree rings are unreliable proxies for temperature because they are also sensitive to moisture, sunlight, pests, competition from adjacent trees, etc. Furthermore, when those same tree ring data actually showed a decline in temperature for the past several decades, Mann and his co-authors simply "hid the decline" by grafting direct measurements (inadequately corrected for the urban heat-island and other effects) to his flat tree ring line. Knowledgeable climatologists knew that the Medieval Warm Period when the Vikings settled Greenland and grapes grew in northern England, was much warmer than today and that its presence in all regions of the world was overwhelming. Similarly, for the Roman Warm Period that preceded it, and for a whole series of natural warmings and coolings until one gets back to the big one: the interglacial cooling of about 20,000 years ago.

And that all happened without any significant human emission of CO2.

The conclusions being promulgated by the scientifically illiterate diplomats who control the U. N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are fraudulent concoctions that have already been denounced by many of its scientific members. Those diplomats, like the bureaucrats at the EPA, have huge egos and a lust for power. That is far more important to them than the triviality of scientific truth. Once committed to one side of such an issue, they will rarely admit that they have made a mistake. Once having invested their political capital and our economic resources to start the huge, massive inertia wheel turning, it takes too much courage, energy, and loss of face to stop it. That was the case with the war in Vietnam, and currently with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The conclusions of the IPCC need to be repudiated lest they continue to discredit the United Nation's legitimate functions: its programs to improve the standard of living of the underdeveloped nations; its programs to combat hunger and poverty; its support of the Conventions against genocide and torture; and its support of the World Court prosecution of war criminals.

Ozone "hole" in the Arctic now too

So a fat lot of good the Greenie bans on freon etc. have done. We now have at least double the "hole" we used to have. And even more amusing is that they are blaming it all on COOLING. I sometimes suspect that Greenies can't see the nose in front of their face.

Tom Nelson read the "New Scientist" account of the matter and noted this amazing admission: "The hole was similar in size to those seen in Antarctica in the 1980s. The Antarctic hole has continued to grow since then, and is far larger today."

A great Greenie triumph has turned to dust

SCIENTISTS have discovered another hole in the ozone layer - this time it's in the Arctic. "Unprecedented depletion" of ozone was recorded above the Arctic, comparable to the size of the ozone hole above the Antarctic for the first time on record.

The hole in the ozone in the Antarctic was caused by human produced chemicals and unusually long winters. The extremely cold conditions trigger a chemical reaction that converts atmospheric chlorine from human-produced chemicals into ozone destroying forms.

The Arctic is usually less affected by ozone loss because it is considerably warmer than the Antarctic. But researchers found that this year the Arctic cold snap lasted more than 30 days longer than any previously studied winter [Global cooling?], causing the rare ozone depletion.

"Day-to-day temperatures in the 2010-11 Arctic winter did not reach lower values than in previous cold Arctic winters," said lead author Gloria Manney of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

"The difference from previous winters is that temperatures were low enough to produce ozone-destroying forms of chlorine for a much longer time. This implies that if winter Arctic stratospheric temperatures drop just slightly in the future, for example as a result of climate change, then severe Arctic ozone loss may occur more frequently."

Further studies are needed to determine what factors caused the cold period to last so long.

However Ms Manney said that without the 1989 Montreal Protocol - an international treaty limiting production of ozone-depleting substances - chlorine levels already would be so high that an Arctic ozone hole would form every spring. [A statement of pure faith]

The long atmospheric lifetimes of ozone-depleting chemicals already in the atmosphere mean that Antarctic ozone holes, and the possibility of future severe Arctic ozone loss, will continue for decades.

"Our ability to quantify polar ozone loss and associated processes will be reduced in the future when NASA's Aura and CALIPSO spacecraft, whose trace gas and cloud measurements were central to this study, reach the end of their operational lifetimes," said Ms Manney. "It is imperative that this capability be maintained if we are to reliably predict future ozone loss in a changing climate."


That gol-durned hotspot is still missing too

One of the assemptions of the Warmist models is that there will be an upper atmosphere "hotspot" in the tropics. Radiosonde (balloon) observations have for many years been unable to find it. So a recent paper in the generally Warmist GRL is of interest. The authors looked for the hotspot using satellite data. The Abstract:
On the warming in the tropical upper troposphere: Models versus observations

By Qiang Fu, Syukuro Manabe and Celeste M. Johanson

IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) AR4 (Fourth Assessment Report) GCMs (General Circulation Models) predict a tropical tropospheric warming that increases with height, reaches its maximum at ~200 hPa, and decreases to zero near the tropical tropopause. This study examines the GCM-predicted maximum warming in the tropical upper troposphere using satellite MSU (microwave sounding unit)-derived deep?layer temperatures in the tropical upper- and lower-middle troposphere for 1979-2010. While satellite MSU/AMSU observations generally support GCM results with tropical deep-layer tropospheric warming faster than surface, it is evident that the AR4 GCMs exaggerate the increase in static stability between tropical middle and upper troposphere during the last three decades.

That sounds a bit bad for the models but Jo Nova has gone on to read the rest of the paper and finds this remarkable paragraph:
The trends of T24-T2LT from both observations and models are all positive (Figure 2, below), indicating that the tropical upper-middle troposphere is warming faster than lower middle troposphere [Fu and Johanson, 2005]. But the positive trends are only about 0.014 ñ 0.017 K/decade from RSS and 0.005 ñ 0.016 K/decade from UAH, which are not significantly different from zero. In contrast, the T24-T2LT trend from multi?model ensemble mean is 0.051 ñ 0.007 K/decade, which is significantly larger than zero. The trends from observations and multi-model ensemble mean do not fall within each other's 95% confidence intervals.

In plain man's language, there is virtually no overlap between what the models predict and what is actually up there. The whole idea of heat being "trapped" in the upper atmosphere and "reflected" back to earth is not found in the data.

Jo Nova has all the details.

Clean-energy credits tarnished

WikiLeaks reveals that most Indian claims are ineligible

As the world gears up for the next round of United Nations climate-change negotiations in Durban, South Africa, in November, evidence has emerged that a cornerstone of the existing global climate agreement, the international greenhouse-gas emissions-trading system, is seriously flawed.

Critics have long questioned the usefulness of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which was established under the Kyoto Protocol. It allows rich countries to offset some of their carbon emissions by investing in climate-friendly projects, such as hydroelectric power and wind farms, in developing countries. Verified projects earn certified emission reductions (CERs) - carbon credits that can be bought and sold, and count towards meeting rich nations' carbon-reduction targets.

But a diplomatic cable published last month by the WikiLeaks website reveals that most of the CDM projects in India should not have been certified because they did not reduce emissions beyond those that would have been achieved without foreign investment. Indian officials have apparently known about the problem for at least two years.

"What has leaked just confirms our view that in its present form the CDM is basically a farce," says Eva Filzmoser, programme director of CDM Watch, a Brussels-based watchdog organization. The revelations imply that millions of tonnes of claimed reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions are mere phantoms, she says, and potentially cast doubt over the principle of carbon trading. "In the face of these comments it is no wonder that the United States has backed away from emission trading," Filzmoser says.

The cable, written on 16 July 2008, was sent by the US consulate in Mumbai, India, to the US secretary of state, and summarizes a discussion of the CDM involving representatives of the consulate and the US Government Accountability Office, along with Indian officials and executives of large Indian companies. At the time, 346 Indian projects had been registered with the CDM's executive board. Today, more than 720 Indian projects have been approved and have gained some 120 million tonnes' worth of carbon credits, a large fraction of the 750 million tonnes issued since 2005 (see 'Cleaning up').

Yet on the evidence of discussions at the meeting, most of the carbon-offset projects in India fail to meet the CDM requirements set by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The cable also describes the UN's validation and registration process as "arbitrary".

Indian authorities were also criticized in the cable. All CDM projects must be validated nationally, then verified independently by an accredited firm. But the cable quotes R. K. Sethi, then chairman of the CDM's executive board and member-secretary of the Indian CDM authority in New Delhi, as admitting that the authority simply "takes the project developer at his word for clearing the additionality barrier".

"This will not invalidate carbon trading, but it does go to show that the CDM has serious flaws," says Mark Maslin, a climatologist at University College London. "In India and China, the multiple levels of governance which you need to have in place to make carbon trading work are simply not there."


A Bird-Brained Prosecution

Indicting oil and gas companies but giving wind turbines a pass for birdkills

The Obama Administration's hostility to oil and gas exploration is well known, but last week it took an especially fowl turn. The U.S. Attorney for North Dakota hauled seven oil and natural gas companies into federal court for killing 28 migratory birds that were found dead near oil waste lagoons. You may not be surprised to learn that the Administration isn't prosecuting wind companies for similar offenses.

Continental Resources is accused of violating the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act because "on or about May 6, 2011 in the District of North Dakota" the company "did take [kill] one Say's Phoebe," of the tyrant flycatcher bird family. Brigham Oil & Gas is accused of killing two Mallard ducks. The Class B misdemeanors carry fines of up to $15,000 for each dead bird and up to six months in prison.

The companies have pleaded not guilty, though they are not unamazed. They say they're not responsible for the bird deaths and that, even if they were, the deaths were "incidental" to lawful commercial activity in full compliance with all environmental laws.

Law enforcement officials we talked to in North Dakota say they can't remember such a case ever going to court. One local commentator calls it "the most absurd legal action taken by the government in the history of North Dakota." One of the charged oil companies "even went to U.S. Fish and Wildlife and self-reported a number of birds, asking what else they could do soon after they had found the dead birds," reports the Plains Daily, North Dakota's statewide newspaper.

U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon is nonetheless undaunted as he pursues the cause of ornithological justice.

Absurdity aside, this prosecution is all the more remarkable because the wind industry each year kills not 28 birds, or even a few hundred, but some 440,000, according to estimates by the American Bird Conservancy based on Fish and Wildlife Service data. Guess how many legal actions the Obama Administration has brought against wind turbine operators under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act? As far as we can tell, it's zero.

At the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area Northern California, some 5,000 wind turbines each year kill scores of golden and bald eagles, which are highly protected under federal law. There have been no federal prosecutions, though NextEra Energy Resources has agreed to purchase new turbines that are less likely to harm birds.

The wind industry is even seeking a formal legal waiver to shield it from the type of criminal or civil action that the oil companies now face. According to the September 13 draft of its new "Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines," the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would give the wind industry "assurances" of law enforcement discretion if it adheres to certain safeguards and then inadvertently kills birds.

A few preservation groups have raised the issue of bird deaths from wind turbines, but the big green lobbying machines like the Sierra Club have largely been silent about their feathered former friends and the wind waiver. These groups deplore the externalities of producing carbon and nuclear power, but not the bird-death externalities associated with wind power.

It's hard to believe anyone deserves prosecution for incidental bird deaths, but it is a blatant injustice to indict companies whose oil operations may kill a few birds while giving a pass to wind operators that kill them by the thousands. The Administration can loathe carbon fuels all it wants, but that loathing doesn't justify selective and foolish prosecution.


Science, Lies, and Videotape

Clarice Feldman

It is the elite perception that conservatives are beetle-browed, anti-science nutters wedded to faith-based, unverifiable beliefs eschewed by the more sophisticated, scientific-thinking left. I call this the Garofolo Theory to memorialize this darling of the left's observation this week:

Herman Cain is probably well liked by some of the Republicans because it hides the racist elements of the Republican Party. Conservative movement and tea party movement, one in the same.

So there you have it: the classic damned if you do (in this case, support black candidates), damned if you don't (support them).  Conveniently for Garofalo, the charge is utterly unfalsifiable as made, since the lack of evidence to her way of thinking is itself evidence.

But beyond the self-congratulatory nonsense exemplified by Janeane Garofolo, the history of who believes in science and who opposes scientific thinking and methods is far more muddled.  There's plenty of evidence that the clown shoes belong on the other (political) foot, and this week, because of the work of Watts Up With That and videotape analysis, we can establish that not only is the left unscientific, but it also relies on demonstrably false "evidence" to make its arguments.

Blogger Judith Curry is the inspiration for my decision to strike at the "conservatives are anti-science" meme.  She pulled together posts where writers and readers debated the issue.

Among the positions progressives have taken which are false and unsupported by science are the following examples I culled there from posts by Mike Hanson of Purdue University and Ken Green.  Collectively these men observe these fallacies supported by those who call themselves progressives:

  • DDT causes cancer;
  • Alar causes cancer;
  • Polar bears are drowning as the icebergs melt;
  • Video displays or cell phones cause cancer;
  • There are grave risks to hydraulic fracturing;
  • Misuse of toxology -- hexavalent chromium contamination in Hinkley, California; amaranth, saccharin;
  • nuclear winter;
  • Claims that there's a giant plastic cocoon in the middle of the ocean;
  • BPA and Phthalates are carcinogens and endocrine disruptors;
  • Claims that organic food is safer and healthier than conventionally grown foods;
  • Claims that eating locally grown foods is better for the environment than foods grown further away;
  • Cloth grocery bags are better for the environment than paper or plastic ones;
  • Claims of species' endangerment based on faked or flawed evidence;
  • Claims that climate models have predictive power and that individual weather events represent climate change;
  • Claims that frogs died because of climate change;
  • Claims that there were alligator penis malformations from endocrine disruptors;
  • Claims that bees were dying as a result of climate change;
  • Claims that butterflies were dying from Bt crops;
  • Unsubstantiated claims about low dose radiation hazards.

I'm sure you could add to their list. Generally, the "dangers" the left invents or exaggerates involve modern technology, existing energy sources, and large-scale production.  They represent a strange amalgam of Rousseau and Luddite notions and hark back to an ideal, never-existing "state of nature."

Mike Hanson continues in his post at Curry's blog:

The National Academy of Science states that "no dose of radiation is safe" but they have no data to back this statement up, only a hypothesis they cannot test. The linear threshold model is a liberal (no pun intended) application of the precautionary principal as you cannot conduct an epidemiological study of radiation exposure at low levels of exposure and get any meaningful data. This being the case, the linear threshold model for radiation exposure is not science, it's a philosophical argument.

Manipulation of "science" is VERY mainstream among liberals. You can hardly pick up a lefty magazine or newspaper and not see it. The left "science deniers" are similar in pathology to Christian millenarianists who await the Apocalypse. They pinpoint a date for wholesale destruction, and they're always wrong. But unlike Christian fundamentalists, liberals have the advantageous distinction of never needing to say sorry. In fact, the worst of them, people like John Holdren and Paul Erlich go onto serve in very high places in the scientific community.

The debate at Curry's site is lengthy and thorough.  At best, it seems, one might argue that both sides of the political spectrum have exhibited the desire to use science for sociopolitical ends, but it seems to me undeniable that the claim that the left is scientific and the right is not must fall.

This week we have more ammunition for this point of view.  On the one hand, we have President Obama ignoring his own scientists and attacking Texas Governor Perry for being a climate skeptic:

On Sunday, President Obama gave Gov. Rick Perry heat for being a climate skeptic, calling him "a governor whose state is on fire, denying climate change." But, Obama seems to be denying the conclusions of his own government scientists when it comes to the cause of the Texas droughts. But, earlier this month, Dr. Robert Hoerling, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research meteorologist, who served as the lead author of the U.S. Climate Change Science Plan Synthesis and Assessment, clearly and emphatically dispelled the notion that climate change has anything to do with droughts in Texas.

Then there's Congressman Henry Waxman justifying the waste of a half billion dollars on the Solyndra solar panel factory scam: "Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., railed at Friday's hearing, "We need to face reality and stop denying science."

And the editors of the New York Times, grossly exaggerating the potential contribution of solar energy:

Are New York Times editorial writers complete innumerate nincompoops?  Okay, silly question.  The answer is a self-evident truth.  This sentence finally made me spit my coffee: "Recent studies suggest that, globally, renewable energy will grow faster than any other energy source in the coming decades."

This is simple-minded drivel that wouldn't make a sub-moron's mouth twitch if he'd sat through the first day of a statistics class.  All of these studies are based on pure percentage growth rates -- not absolute amounts of energy produced by source.  It is the same kind of logic as someone who wonders how a swimmer can drown in a Minnesota lake that averages only two feet deep.  Example: if you go from one unit of something to two, look!  Wow!  A 100 percent growth rate!  While if you go from 100 to 105 units of something, we'll that's only a five percent growth rate, even though it five times the amount of end product as the source with the 100 percent growth rate.

All of the renewable energy studies and forecasts play that game because the renewable output is starting from such a low base, and never compare the actual amount of energy growth with other sources. ... According to the BP data, guess which energy source over the last 10 years produced the largest total amount of new energy in the world?  Coal.  A somewhat inconvenient truth.  A student who tried to pass off the Times claim in Statistics 101 would get an F on the exam.  (And this leaves aside the point John makes, namely, that nearly all "renewable" energy sources require huge government subsidies.  Isn't the social welfare state unsustainable enough?  How does the Times think that scaling up renewable energy won't also end in bankruptcy?

All this takes place in a week when a key scientist resigned from the American Physical Society in protest of the Society's stance on global warming (italics in the original):

You don't have to look far to see that impeccable scientific standards can go hand-in-hand with skepticism about global warming. Ivar Giaever, a 1973 Nobel laureate in physics , resigned this month as a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) to protest the organization's official position that evidence of manmade climate change is "incontrovertible'' and cause for alarm. In an e-mail explaining his resignation , Giaever challenged the view that any scientific assertion is so sacred that it cannot be contested.

"In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves,'' Giaever wrote, incredulous, "but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?''

Nor does Giaever share the society's view that carbon emissions threaten "significant disruptions in the Earth's physical and ecological systems, social systems, security, and human health.'' In fact, the very concept of a "global'' temperature is one he questions. . . [sic]

And all this in the same week when the EPA's own inspector general called the greenhouse gas science used by the agency seriously flawed.  The endangerment finding in question will cost American consumers $300-$400 billion a year, boost energy prices considerably, and destroy "hundreds of jobs," says Oklahoma Senator Inhofe, who this week released the IG Report.

[T]he scientific basis, on which the administration's endangerment finding for greenhouse gases hinged, violated the EPA's own peer review procedure.  In a report released Wednesday (at the request of Inhofe, dating back to April) the inspector general found that the EPA failed to follow the Data Quality Act and its own peer review process when it issued the determination that greenhouse gases cause harm to "public health and welfare."

"I appreciate the inspector general conducting a thorough investigation into the Obama-EPA's handling of the endangerment finding for greenhouse gases," Inhofe said. "This report confirms that the endangerment finding, the very foundation of President Obama's job-destroying regulatory agenda, was rushed, biased, and flawed. It calls the scientific integrity of EPA's decision-making process into question and undermines the credibility of the endangerment finding."

Much of the folderol of calling witchcraft science takes place behind the scenes -- as in the EPA endangerment finding -- but sometimes the fraud takes place before our very eyes.  In his latest big presentation to the world on global warming, "The Climate Reality Project" -- i.e., the latest iteration of the hoax that made him a billionaire -- Al Gore presented a falsified experiment by Bill Nye ("the science guy"), which Gore called "high school physics," to make his point.

The video was not labeled a dramatization, and Anthony Watts of the renowned climate blog Watts Up With That?, taking enormous pains to duplicate the materials used and the techniques followed by careful examination of the video, establishes that this is a "staged production from start to finish."  You can see Gore's and Nye's hocus-pocus unveiled before your eyes, with frame-by-frame analysis.  Of course, the pair consider you stupid anyway, for, as Watts notes:

Of course the whole Climate 101 CO2 experiment is questionable to begin with, because it doesn't properly emulate the physical mechanisms involved in heating our planet. Note the heat lamps used, likely one of these based on the red color we see in the lamp fixture:

Heat lamps like this produce visible red light and short wave infrared (SWIR is 1.4-3 æm wavelength). As we know from the classic greenhouse effect, glass blocks infrared so none of the SWIR was making it into the cookie jar. All that would do is heat the glass. John Tyndall's 1850?s experiments used rock salt windows, which transmit infrared, for exactly that reason. Adding insult to injury, CO2 has no SWIR absorption bands. What CO2 does have though is higher density than air. The gas in the cookie jars was primarily heated by conduction in contact with the SWIR-heated glass.

Moreover, the CO2 injection in one cookie jar would raise it from 0.04% CO2 to very near 100% CO2 which is hardly comparable to the atmosphere going from 0.03% to 0.04% CO2 during the industrial age. Gore's team provides no indication of the concentration of CO2 in the jar, that's hardly scientific.

James Delingpole of The Telegraph credits the internet for blowing Gore's and Nye's cover and exposing the establishment's fake science generally:

The point that can't be made often enough about the internet is that it represents our best and perhaps only hope of outmanoeuvring the lies, bullying and control of the political establishment. Nowhere is this truer than with the Man Made Global Warming scam. Had it not been for the internet, Climategate would not have been broken, nor the earlier work of McIntyre and McKitrick disseminated, nor a community created in which scientific experts (and interested laymen) all over the world were able to discuss climate science freely without the risk of being defunded, or having their journal closed down or being ostracised by their colleagues. But though the internet was a necessary condition for this to happen, it was not a sufficient one. The other vitally important ingredient was the trainspotterish diligence of men and women like Anthony Watts, and Richard North and Donna Laframboise and Joanna Nova.

Why is this trainspotterish diligence so essential? Because one of the main planks of the defence used by the climate alarmist establishment against sceptics is that they have all the expertise on their side, all the PhDs, all the notable scientific institutions, and that therefore their "authority" trumps the feeble witterings of all those nonentities, crazed Oxford English graduates, and other such verminous specimens who dare to speak out against the mighty, unimpeachable wisdom.

What the internet has proved in these debates, time and again - from Glaciergate to Amazongate to Polarbeargate - is that when the rebellious amateurs of the sceptical blogosphere go head to head with the climate establishment, the bloggers always win. Not as a result of invective or snarkiness or any of the other things that bloggers also do quite well: but on the actual hard science and raw evidence. Look at almost any tussle between, say, WUWT on the one side, RealClimate on the other, and you'll notice that when it finally boils down to the irreducible truth, the side that emerges triumphant is the sceptical one, not the alarmist one. It's partly because the facts are on our side (so we jolly well ought to win if we're doing our job even remotely properly), but also because, being the underfunded underdogs, we've been forced to raise our game to a higher standard than that of our rather complacent, smug opposition.

Well, as the world economy weakens and it turns out that we are sitting on enormous quantities of natural gas and oil, it grows more likely that this childish nonsense -- which, probably not coincidentally, has proven a financial boon for Democrat-backers,  too -- shall pass.  But faster, please, so we can get back to being the world's powerhouse.



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


2 October, 2011

Ungrammatical homosexual activist says the science of global warming is incontrovertible

What more authority do you need? And it's a strange claim when even Albert Einstein has just been proven wrong. Al Gore & Co. are smarter than Einstein, apparently. The claim appears on Americablog, a generally hysterical blog run by homosexual activist John Aravosis. His entire argument (if you can call it that) depends on that incontrovertibilty.

And a grammatical howler (switch versus switched) at the begining of the article does not speak well for his erudition...

Excerpt only below

Global warming "denialism" is becoming a tribal marker for Republicanism

You read that right. And tribal markers are always signs that the mind is being switch off, all over the right so to speak.

[Economist-ethicist Clive Hamilton] and others who track what they call "denialism" find that its nature is changing in America, last redoubt of climate naysayers. It has taken on a more partisan, ideological tone. Polls find a widening Republican-Democratic gap on climate. Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry even accuses climate scientists of lying for money. Global warming looms as a debatable question in yet another U.S. election campaign. ... Broecker has observed this deepening of the desire to disbelieve.

Did you catch that? America is Eco-Stupid's last fortress.

The author correctly identifies the cause of this change, and it's not just psychological:

[W]hen [NASA climatologist James] Hansen was called back to testify [before a U.S. Senate committee] in 1989, the White House of President George H.W. Bush edited this government scientist's remarks to water down his conclusions, and Hansen declined to appear.

That was the year U.S. oil and coal interests formed the Global Climate Coalition to combat efforts to shift economies away from their products. Britain's Royal Society and other researchers later determined that oil giant Exxon disbursed millions of dollars annually to think tanks and a handful of supposed experts to sow doubt about the facts.

The writer makes it clear the physics is incontrovertible. (Space and the U.S. Congress do not allow me to quote that section, but please do read for yourself.)


Investors expected to avoid solar energy stocks from now on

Unfortunately — and despite a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy — Solyndra filed for bankruptcy this month, terminating all 1,100 workers. To make matters worse, the FBI recently raided offices, and now Congressional hearings are revealing very sloppy spending in the wake of Uncle Sam’s endorsement.

We can debate the Solyndra failure as a talking point for the 2012 election another time. What investors really should be concerned with is the dark clouds gathering over the entire solar sector. Just take a look at the performance at some of the biggest names in the solar sector:

Evergreen Solar (PINK:ESLRQ) plummeted to about a dollar in late 2010 as it tried to restructure its debt. Now it trades for about a nickel — after a 1-for-6 split in January — and has been relegated to the pink sheets. That recent flop would be bad enough, but when you consider that shares traded for an adjusted price of $12 or so at this time in 2009, the losses look even uglier. Evergreen filed for bankruptcy in August to try and scrape together the $485 million it owes creditors and soon will disappear forever.

First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) is the “leader” among pure-play solar stocks in the U.S., with a market capitalization of almost $6 billion. FSLR stock is down 48% since Jan. 1, 2011. The leader by most measures in the industry, First Solar saw its profits slashed by more than half — from $159 million to $61 million – as Europe’s debt woes resulted in subsidies being slashed. Adding insult to injury, Axiom Capital’s Gordon Johnson slashed his price target for the stock from $75 to $35. That’s another 50% decline from here, and barely a tenth of First Solar’s peak share price of $317 in 2008.

Sunpower (NASDAQ:SPWRA) is next in line among the larger domestic solar players. Its stock has performed “better” than First Solar in 2011, down about 30% in 2011. However, since its peak valuation in 2007 over $130, the stock has flopped almost 95% to under $9 a share as of this writing. Why? Volatile revenue and profit performance makes for a risky bet — and the fact that SPWRA is cruising towards a third-straight quarterly loss has investors leery. What’s more, long-term debt of more than $500 million and total liabilities pushing $1 billion mean there’s not a lot of room for error considering the company’s $900 million market cap. There are serious hurdles to growth, considering the very expensive nature of solar panel manufacturing facilities on top of current debt loads.

Those are three specific stories of three well-known U.S. solar companies — proving Solyndra’s implosion didn’t take place in a vacuum.


Delay to green subsidies puts Britain's renewable energy investment in doubt

Britain's Tory-led government claims to be as Green as grass but we may be seeing a bit of passive resistance to Greenie demands now. Big whine from the "Guardian" below

Investment in the UK's renewable energy infrastructure has been thrown into doubt as an urgent review into the subsidy regime has been delayed.

Renewable energy companies are concerned that the delay of Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) reforms – promised this year by the government – will prompt a rethink of the investment plans. The review is crucial for investors as they are currently unable to make long-term business plans without knowing how much support they are likely to receive in future.

Chris Moore, director at biomass plant developer MGT Power, said the delay meant investors were not moving ahead with potential projects. He said: "This is a problem for renewable businesses, and it's very damaging for UK plc. All of renewable energy investment is effectively on hold until the government sorts out the review and its plans."

Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, said the trade body had been "inundated" with inquiries over when the review might take place.

Key to the review is how the subsidies will be "banded", whereby some forms of energy will receive greater support – which comes ultimately from consumer energy bills, rather than government coffers – than others. A new regime would also be expected to provide more targeted support for new technologies.

Last December, the government recognised the need for an urgent review when it brought forward the consultation by a year. Charles Hendry, energy minister, said then that a consultation on ROCs would be carried out over the summer, and that by autumn this year, new plans for the subsidies would be confirmed.

At the time, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) acknowledged: "Under the previous timetable, investors would not have known for certain what support they could have expected to receive until autumn 2012 at the earliest. The government was concerned this might delay early investment in certain technologies and hinder the UK's ability to meet our European Union energy target for 15% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2020."

In accelerating the review, the government said it would "give investors and developers greater certainty, and the confidence to help bring forward the scale of renewable development needed to deliver the EU target, and other important energy and climate change objectives".

This timetable is now impossible to stick to. The consultation will take 12 weeks, as is standard. However, even if the review were to begin immediately, it could not be completed before the end of this parliamentary term. Investors are concerned that this could be the start of a longer delay.

Most at risk are biomass projects, generating electricity from wood and waste byproducts. Several of these are on hold because at current rates of subsidy, they would be uneconomic, and companies are calling on the government to correct this problem. This summer Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of Drax, which was planning to burn more biomass than coal in its massive power station, told the Guardian these plans were in jeopardy because of the government's failure to clarify the subsidies.

DECC said an announcement would be made "shortly" but could provide no further details.

Ministers are thought to be wary of attracting attention to the level of subsidies for green electricity, after a spate of reports in sections of the media and on the right of the Tory party criticising renewable subsidies as a component in energy prices.


Vast overreach by the EPA

By Alan Caruba

The notion that the Environmental Protection Agency uses “science” to justify their regulations is false, just like most of the claims they issue on various aspects of the nation’s environment. Their favorite scam is to estimate the number of deaths they will prevent with some new draconian regulation.

The EPA is the American equivalent of the Gestapo, a ruthless enforcement agency with a very Green agenda that is opposed to the use of many beneficial chemicals, every form of energy, and the right of people to be left alone.

At the top of its list of priorities is the destruction of the nation’s economy with special attention to all forms of energy production. Manufacturing anything comes next, followed by afflicting the nation’s vast agricultural sector. The EPA insists that dust is a pollutant. You can’t farm without generating DUST.

To understand the threat the EPA poses it is necessary to understand that proposed Clean Air regulations are based on the claim that “global warming” is real, is happening, and is caused primarily by carbon dioxide (CO2). The claim is utterly without any scientific merit..

There is NO global warming. At least not the kind Al Gore lies about.

The North and South Poles are not melting; they gain and lose ice in a perfectly natural cycle that has been going on for billions of years. The polar bears are not disappearing. Drilling for oil in ANWR will have zero effect on the caribou. Et cetera!

With our vast reserves of coal and natural gas, the U.S. does not lack for the ability to generate electricity or to refine oil for transportation.

If you want to stay warm this winter, you better hope that utilities keep producing the electricity for your home or apartment’s heating system. Fifty percent of that electricity is produced by cheap, abundant coal and the EPA is hell bent to shut down as many coal mines as possible, leading in turn to the shutdown of utilities that burn coal. Natural gas accounts for just over twenty-four percent of electricity generation and it need hardly be said that the EPA is wary of fracking, the technology to access it.

Blowing the Whistle on the EPA

The big news—the kind even the mainstream media was unable to ignore—was that the EPA’s own inspector general has released a report accusing the agency of cutting corners regarding the “science” cited to justify its effort to declare CO2 a “pollutant.”

Simply stated, without CO2 all life on Earth dies. It is a gas that plants use for their growth. From a blade of grass to a giant redwood, all depend on CO2, as do all the crops grown coast to coast. Enormous quantities of corn and wheat are grown that contribute to the U.S. economy, feeding both livestock and humans in wondrous ways. Take away vegetation and the animals die. Take away the animals that grace our dinner plates and we die.

Absurdly, the EPA says it is a “pollutant”, a dangerous hazard to our health. No, the most dangerous hazard to our health is the EPA.

The EPA insists on ignoring all the other natural sources of CO2 as well as the fact that it constitutes less than one percent, 0.038 percent of the atmosphere. The oceans of the world gather it, store it, and release it. The EPA, though, says that when man is involved, it is pure evil.

Mind you, every human exhales about six pounds of CO2 every day. The fact is that the air Americans inhale daily is clean is due to the agency’s early efforts to mitigate some abuses. Those were the days before the EPA abandoned a rational, fact-based approach to its stated objectives. One of its legacies is the idiotic required inclusion of ethanol in every gallon of gasoline. Made from corn, it actually produces more CO2 to produce and use.

The EPA effort to regulate CO2 came along with the invention of the global warming hoax that claimed CO2 was “trapping” the Earth’s heat. That is why CO2 and others are deceptively called “greenhouse” gases (GHGs). Manufacturing everything from a donut to megawatts of electricity emits GHGs.

Finally, even the EPA’s inspector general blew the whistle on the utterly deceitful way the EPA arrives at its justification for a vast matrix of regulations that has been stifling the economy for years. The IG has charged that the EPA did not meet its own guidelines for peer review to ensure the integrity of the science stated.

Anyone who has been following the rise and fall of the global warming hoax knows that “peer review” has become a highly corrupted practice. Real peer review is critical to the integrity of any scientific study. When major science journals abandoned the peer review process to publish gibberish about global warming, they put all other new scientific studies at risk.

As Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, noted, the EPA’s regulation of CO2 emissions would require “230,000 full-time employees to produce 1.4 billion work hours to address the actual increase in permitting functions” that would result if the EPA is allowed to get away with this scandalous hoax. It would cost an estimated $21 billion per year. By contrast, the EPA’s budget request for fiscal year 2012 is $8.973 billion.

The EPA claims that the Clean Air Act gives it the power to regulate CO2, but it does not. It was never intended to, but the Supreme Court in one of its more idiotic rulings opened the door for the EPA claim. In his dissent from Massachusetts v EPA, Justice Antonin Scalia quipped that, as defined by the Court, “everything airborne, from Frisbees to flatulence, qualifies as an ‘air pollutant’”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) pointed out that “The EPA’s determination has led to a mountain of Clean Air Act regulations that could cost over a million jobs.” It is noteworthy that Sen. Barrasso said, “EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has regularly assured Congress and the American public that its finding is based on sound scientific practices.” It isn’t. Jackson “should testify immediately,” said Sen. Barrasso, “the American people deserve the truth.”

The EPA has been short on the truth about all of its claims for four decades and needs to be shut down in order to let a truly science-based agency replace it with strict congressional oversight and limitations.

The time is long overdue to pull the plug on the Environmental Protection Agency.


What the Frack is Going on Here?

Paul Driessen

Hydraulic fracturing sends “huge volumes of toxic fluids” deep underground at high pressure, to fracture shale rock and release natural gas, Food & Water Watch claims. “Billions of gallons of toxic fluids” will “contaminate” groundwater and drinking water “for generations.” We need to “Ban Fracking Now.”

Environmentalists used to support “clean natural gas.” Whence the intolerant new attitude?

Oil companies have been using hydraulic fracturing for 60 years to get the most petroleum possible from grudging rock formations deep beneath the Earth. A few years ago, Mitchell Energy and others combined HF with horizontal drilling to tap into hydrocarbon-rich shale deposits that previously refused to surrender their energy riches. Countless fracking operations later, the results have been spectacular.

Tapping the Marcellus, Bakken, Barnett, Haynesville and other formations has created jobs, generated revenues and rejuvenated moribund industries in many states that have shale deposits or manufacture the fluids, pipes and other equipment used in these operations. US natural gas production and estimated reserves have soared, and wellhead prices have dropped from $11 per thousand cubic feet in 2008 to $4 today. Canada is actively drilling, while Poland and Britain are evaluating early exploration results.

The Fort Worth Chamber says fracking supports 110,000 direct and secondary jobs in the region and added billions in property and sales tax revenues. Loren C. Scott & Associates calculates that shale drilling has added $11 billion to Louisiana’s economy. Pennsylvania’s Labor and Industry Department reports that HF has already generated 72,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in state tax revenues, and could bring another $20 billion by 2020. West Virginia and North Dakota report similar success.

Soaring supplies and plummeting prices have persuaded Dow, Shell, Sasol, Ormet and other companies to open, reopen or expand plants to produce ethylene, petrochemicals, aluminum – and more jobs.

That’s excellent energy and economic news, at a time when we sure could use a little good news.

Certainly, with all this activity going on – much of it in states that haven’t seen much drilling in decades, if ever – there is a clear need for regulations and oversight. We need to ensure that drilling and fracking are done properly, and chemicals are handled, disposed of and recycled correctly, to prevent harm to human health, wildlife habitats and environmental quality. While most shale gas deposits are thousands of feet below groundwater aquifers and drinking water supplies, we need to ensure that well casings are properly installed and cemented, so that there is no danger of contamination.

But to ban hydraulic fracturing – and abandon these revenues and jobs? What the frack is going on here?

Think about it. This is free enterprise in action. It pays its own way. It doesn’t need subsidies, mandates, tariffs, or bureaucrats and politicians deciding which companies and industries win or lose. HF generates real, sustainable jobs, plus significant tax and royalty revenue, right here in America. It provides energy that works 24/7/365 … and is far cheaper than land-hungry wind turbine and solar panel installations. In fact, the shale gas revolution is making it even harder to justify these “renewable energy alternatives.”

Natural gas, specifically shale gas, is essential for powering backup generators for unreliable wind and solar installations. However, low gas prices make wind and solar even less competitive. The better solution is just to go with gas, coal and nuclear for electricity generation, and forget about expensive, eco-unfriendly, subsidy-dependent, crony capitalist wind and solar.

HF also demolishes the “peak oil and gas” mantra that we are rapidly running out of hydrocarbon energy, which further demonstrates that geologist Wallace Pratt was right when he said “Oil is first found in the minds of men.” Once companies devised new ways to extract shale gas bounties, vast new reserves became available.

Today, in reality, the only reason we might run out of energy is that government won’t let us drill.

People want and need reliable, affordable power. Many environmentalists support Paul Ehrlich’s opposite sentiment, that “giving society cheap energy is like giving an idiot child a machine gun.”

No wonder unrepentant fossil fuel haters are going ballistic over fracking.

The rest of us just want honest answers, carefully conducted drilling, fracking and production operations – and the benefits that come with them. Thankfully, the facts are relatively easy to find.

The Wall Street Journal laid many out clearly and forcefully in a June 2011 editorial, “The facts about fracking: The real risks of the shale gas revolution and how to manage them.” Whether it’s cancer, drinking water contamination, toxic or radioactive chemicals, earthquakes or regulations – the truth is miles from the misrepresentations, hysteria and fear-mongering propagated by Food & Water Watch and similar groups.

People who want to know how hydraulic fracturing is actually done – and what chemicals are actually used, even in specific states – can find a wealth of information at well-designed industry websites provided by Chesapeake Energy, the Ground Water Protection Council and Halliburton.

As the Halliburton site notes, 99.5% of fracking fluids is water and sand (the sand is carried into fractures, to keep them open and release the gas). However, forcing that fluid mix down wellbores and into solid rock formations thousands of feet underground requires advanced engineering and special chemicals to:

* Keep the sand suspended in the liquid, so that it is carried deep into the fractures;

* Fight the growth of bacteria in the fluid and wellbore, so that gas flows and pipes don’t corrode; and

* Reduce the surface tension of water that comes in contact with the reservoir, to improve gas production.

Different subsurface rock formations and conditions require different formulations for the 0.5% of the HF fluids that involves special chemicals. In the past, diesel oil and various industrial chemicals were used. Today, to an ever-increasing degree, the chemicals are borrowed from the food and cosmetics industry. The technical names sound daunting or even scary (inorganic acids, polysaccharide polymers and sulfonated alcohol, for instance), but these CleanStream chemicals (Halliburton’s terminology) are found in cheese and beer, canned fish and dairy desserts, and marshmallows and shampoo, respectively.

Even these three chemical groups (and other food and cosmetic chemicals) are classified as “hazardous” by the EPA and FDA, because in high doses some can cause cancer and other problems in animals. So you could say Food & Water Watch is technically correct when it tries to scare people by saying fracking fluids contain “toxic chemicals.” But the same point would apply to alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, lip liners, food starch, hand soap and countless other everyday products. Should we ban them too, along with coffee, broccoli and other foods that naturally contain even more potent carcinogens?

In other advanced techniques, instead of chemical biocides to kill bacteria, some systems now employ ultraviolet light, and mobile units now allow crews to treat and reuse water, reducing the amount of freshwater required in fracking. Other improvements are being made on a regular basis, as explained in simple lay terms on websites like those mentioned above. You can even find psychedelic 3-D maps of hydraulic fracturing operations and explanations of other fascinating technologies.

New York and other states, the Delaware River Basin Commission, Canadian provinces, Britain, Poland, the European Commission, and many Asian and Latin American countries are pondering HF as part of the solution to their energy, unemployment, economic and revenue problems. Getting the facts is essential.

Shale gas is an energy policy game-changer. The last thing we need is more laws, regulations and policies based on misrepresentations and fabrications from outfits like Food & Water Watch.


Carbon tax proposal really hurting Australia's Green/Left in the polls

ONE third of voters say they would be more likely to support Labor if the Government dumped its plans for a carbon tax.

In a warning to Prime Minister Julia Gillard only weeks before she plans to push the tax through Parliament, an exclusive Galaxy poll for The Courier-Mail suggests Labor could turn around its collapse in support if it backs down on its plans.

Only 14 per cent of voters said they would be less inclined to vote for Labor if it scrapped the scheme.

The national poll - which surveyed 500 people last Tuesday and Wednesday nights - also found almost 70 per cent of voters thought that Labor would have a better chance of winning the next election if former prime minister Kevin Rudd was restored as leader.

It also recorded widespread opposition to Ms Gillard's border protection plans, with only 14 per cent of voters backing her strategy of trying to press ahead with the doomed asylum-seeker deal with Malaysia.

The findings cast new doubt on key items on Ms Gillard's agenda, but also suggest that Labor could rebuild support by back-tracking on its unpopular climate change and asylum-seeker policies.

But any move to shelve the carbon tax could risk Labor losing the backing of the Greens as well as key independents who helped design the scheme and who prop up Ms Gillard's minority Government.

And a change could also risk a voter backlash similar to the one experienced by Mr Rudd after he deferred his original plans for an emissions trading scheme.

But the poll suggests 32 per cent of voters would accept a backdown and would be more likely to support Labor.

This latest survey is another blow to the Prime Minister, who is already facing damaging speculation that her leadership is under threat. Labor's primary vote has plummeted to record lows under Ms Gillard. The poll found 28 per cent of voters were more likely to vote Labor if Mr Rudd made a comeback as prime minister and only 10 per cent said they would be less likely to back the party if it returned to its former leader.

Mr Rudd - who yesterday gave a foreign policy speech about Australia's role in the G20 at the University of Queensland - declined to buy into the leadership speculation. "People are very kind but I am very happy being foreign minister," he said. "I support the Prime Minister and I believe the Prime Minister will lead us to the election."

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he did not fear Mr Rudd, despite 75 per cent of Coalition supporters polled saying the former leader had a better chance than Ms Gillard of winning the next election.


Australia: Gas-fired generators to power Sydney homes?

This sop to the Greenies seems quite mad. The capital cost per unit of electricity produced has to be much greater than the cost of reticulated power -- particularly where the transmission lines are already in place

What is needed of course is a big new coal-fired power station on one of the big coalfields that surround Sydney -- but the Greenies would put up such a storm about that that it would take a brave government to do it. So they flail about with expensive follies instead

SUBURBAN homes will be fitted with government-funded mini power generators as part of a series of multimillion dollar trials to reign-in electricity prices and reduce demand.

Up to 30,000 homes in Sydney and Newcastle will participate in one of seven trials to take place in NSW. The Federal Government is providing $100 million towards the cost of them. The trials, to be undertaken by Ausgrid, will look at whether household bills can be lowered while also making the grid more efficient. About 25 households have agreed to have a fuel cell fitted to their home as part of a two-year trial to begin this month.

The cell, in a box the size of a dishwasher, will convert gas to electricity which will be fed back into the grid as part of the first phase of the trial.

Heat produced during the conversion process will be used to provide free hot water to participating families. The second phase will involve the cell powering the family home to determine if it can reduce electricity usage. The cells cost about $50,000 each but Ausgrid believes they would become more affordable in commercial production.

Demand for electricity during peak hours is at a critical level and energy companies are seeking ways to reduce the load on the network.

Ausgrid energy efficiency expert Paul Myors said peak demand was rising two per cent a year across the network. He said a fuel cell could power two homes.

"We're testing whether this type of technology can make the power supply more reliable, reduce peaks in electricity demand and lower household electricity bills," Mr Myors said.

The trial is one of several taking place in coming months. Smart meters will be installed in about 15,000 homes in the coming weeks, allowing homeowners to remotely turn off appliances and monitor their electricity use in real-time on the web.



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


1 October, 2011

At town hall, Perry doubles down on climate skepticism

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry may have backed down on tuition breaks for illegal immigrants, but he’s doubling down on his skepticism of climate-change science.

At a New Hampshire town-hall style meeting, his first of the campaign, the Texas governor sparred Friday evening with a questioner who tried to pin him down on the issue. The man, whom Perry addressed as “Mike,” began by noting a 2011 report from a panel of experts chosen by the National Academy of Sciences, which concluded that climate change is occurring and “is very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities.” The man noted that Perry had ducked—twice--when asked at the Reagan Library debate this month to name the scientists he found most credible on the subject.

“Great,” replied Perry, strolling with a hand-held microphone in front of a crowd at the Adams Memorial Opera House in Derry, N.H. “I’m ready for you this time.”

Perry said that “just within the last couple of weeks, a renowned Nobel laureate” had said that it was “not correct” to say that there was “incontrovertible” evidence that global warming is man’s fault. “There are scientists all across this country who are saying that,” Perry said, adding to that his own conclusion that climate change science “frankly is not proven.”

The scientist, whom Perry never named, is Norwegian physicist Ivar Giaever, a 1973 Nobel laureate for work involving superconductors. A longtime skeptic of global warming, which he has described as “a new religion,” Giaever resigned recently from the American Physical Society after it issued a policy statement that “evidence is incontrovertible: global warming is occurring."

Giaever told the London Sunday Telegraph, "Incontrovertible is not a scientific word. Nothing is incontrovertible in science."

Echoing those words, Perry told the town-hall questioner: “He said there is not incontrovertible evidence, and here’s my point. The climate has been changing … for thousands of years, and for us to take a snapshot in time and say…‘The climate change that is going on is man’s fault, and we need to jeopardize America’s economy [to fix it.]’ I’m a skeptic about that.”

When the questioner followed up, in that vein, by suggesting that the link between smoking and cancer is not incontrovertible, the governor shot back, “I would suggest to you that [it] is pretty settled.”

As for greenhouse emissions, Perry said that Texas had done a much better job than other states in cleaning up its air, lowering ozone and nitrous oxide pollution. But the governor disagreed strongly when the questioner said those gains had come in response to air-quality standards imposed by the federal government, the very "centralized, all-knowing, one-size-fits-all" environmental regulations emanating from Washington that Perry condemns and is promising to halt if he’s elected president.

“No, it wasn’t the EPA regulations,” responded Perry.

During the event, Perry repeated his claim that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and hinted at ways he would consider changing the federal program to make it solvent. Those include raising the retirement age, providing “private options” for younger workers “to decide how [their contribution] is going to be invested, and allowing states to “opt out of Social Security and create their own programs” for government workers and retirees.

Perry indicated that those 55 and older would not be affected by future changes and warned voters not to let anyone “try to scare you” by claiming “this guy,” meaning himself, “is taking your Social Security away.”

Perry, who encouraged the moderator to “turn ‘em loose” at the start of the question-and-answer session, was asked what he would do to help seniors who are on food stamps and welfare and are still finding a hard time making ends meet.

The solution, he responded, was to reduce the cost of energy, including home heating oil that many New Englanders rely upon, by “freeing up” domestic energy production and “removing those onerous regulations” from the EPA “that are job killers.”

When a questioner asked Perry if he has “the stones to take it to” Obama in the 2012 election, the Texan repeated a line from his stump speech, quoting Ronald Reagan, that this is “the time for bright colors, not pale pastels.”

“Let me tell you,” said Perry, “I am that bright color.”


Every Day In 2011 Has Been Cooler Than 2010

There must be less CO2 in the air this year.


Major UN Climate Program “Basically a Farce”

Today’s climate campaign embarrassment comes to us courtesy of Nature magazine once again, which has a story in the current issue about how the UN’s “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM), which was essentially a fig leaf for wealth transfers from industrialized nations to poor developing nations, isn’t working according to plan. The CDM is a prototype for a global cap and trade system, whereby industrial sources of greenhouse gas emissions would pay to “offset” their emissions by paying for projects that would reduce the growth of emissions in developing nations like China and India.

There has been rampant fraud in this program since the beginning, which is a feature rather than a bug for the UN of course. Naturally the UN wants to expand this program and increase the amount of money rich nations send to poor nations, since, as one leading German climate diplomat, Ottmar Edenhoffer, put it indelicately last fall: “But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.”

The most fun aspect of this story is that the damaging information comes courtesy of the Wikileaks folks. Obviously they didn’t get the memo that they’re only supposed to serve leftist causes. The Nature article may be behind a subscriber firewall, so here are the relevant passages:
[The CDM] allows rich countries to offset some of their carbon emissions by investing in climate-friendly projects, such as hydroelectric power and wind farms, in developing countries. Verified projects earn certified emission reductions (CERs) — carbon credits that can be bought and sold, and count towards meeting rich nations’ carbon-reduction targets.

But a diplomatic cable published last month by the WikiLeaks website reveals that most of the CDM projects in India should not have been certified because they did not reduce emissions beyond those that would have been achieved without foreign investment. Indian officials have apparently known about the problem for at least two years.

“What has leaked just confirms our view that in its present form the CDM is basically a farce,” says Eva Filzmoser, programme director of CDM Watch, a Brussels-based watchdog organization. The revelations imply that millions of tonnes of claimed reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions are mere phantoms, she says, and potentially cast doubt over the principle of carbon trading. “In the face of these comments it is no wonder that the United States has backed away from emission trading,” Filzmoser says.


Solar Energy School Propaganda 101

The Obama administration's crony green subsidy scandal is erupting like a solar flare in Washington. But do you know what your kids are learning in their environmental education classes about this red-hot taxpayer eco-scam? Chances are: not much.

Instead, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Democratic apparatchiks at the National Education Association are disseminating solar power propaganda masquerading as math and science curricula.

Titled "Solar Power and Me: The Inherent Advantages," the lesson plan for middle-school and high-school students directs them to "take note of how solar energy is incorporated into the infrastructure of various cities nationwide and write a short essay about how they would encourage solar energy use in their own town."

A worksheet labeled "All About Solar!" makes the blanket assertion that solar technologies are "a sound economical choice as they can reduce or eliminate exposure to rising electricity rates, or even eliminate one's need to pay an electrical bill! In addition, solar panels can be a smart long-term investment, with many solar vendors offering 20-30 year warranties on their products."

The only warranties worth anything from bankrupt, half-billion-dollar solar company Solyndra Inc. are the warranties on the Disney whistling robots and saunas that adorned its Taj Mahal headquarters. But I digress.

Another worksheet cheerleads the "financial savings" of "solar power and me" and coaches students to "imagine you live in amazing and sunny Anaheim, CA, where the combination of local and federal rebates covers 74 percent of your total cost of a solar panel system!" The exercise then entices the student to take out a 20-year loan on a new solar panel system to produce even greater illusory savings.

Yet another question-and-answer key reads: "How would switching to solar energy affect energy use at your home and school?" Answer: "In general, switching to solar energy would lower your home's electrical costs and reduce your emissions, thus saving money and improving the environment."

But as Brian McGraw of the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute points out: "There might be a small niche market, but solar energy is still largely incapable of producing reliable electricity at rates that are even in the ballpark of cost competitiveness compared to coal or natural gas." Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the force behind billions of dollars' worth of rushed green energy loans overseen by deep-pocketed Obama bundlers, himself acknowledged that solar tech will need to improve five-fold before it even begins to have a cost-competitive shot.

After examining decades' worth of failed subsidized solar efforts at home and around the world, the Institute for Energy Research concludes: "Although stand-alone solar power has a certain free-market niche and does not need government favor, using solar power for grid electricity has been and will be an economic loser for ratepayers and a burden to taxpayers."

The DOE/NEA curriculum encourages students to pressure politicians to pour more money into supposedly underfunded green energy schemes. But the House Budget Committee reported last week: "The president's stimulus law alone included tens of billions in new government subsidies for politically favored renewable-energy interests: $6 billion in loan guarantees for renewable energy investments; $17 billion for the Department of Energy's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs; $2 billion for energy-efficient battery manufacturing; and billions more on other 'clean-energy' programs for a total of $80 billion. Two years later, the president's promise of millions of jobs stands in stark contrast with reality."

A more useful homework assignment would be to have these future taxpayers calculate how much their moms and dads are spending to prop up Obama's green jobs industry and its elite Democratic campaign finance donors/investors. The White House projected 65,000 new jobs from nearly $40 billion in green job stimulus spending. Instead, fewer than 3,600 jobs were created. Get out your calculators, kids: That's $4.85 million per job. Investor's Business Daily crunches the numbers further on the taxpayers' return on its DOE green loan guarantee "investments" and finds that the program will cost a whopping $23 million per job.

A separate NEA solar energy lesson plan marketed with Dow Corning teaches 5th- through 8th-graders "how solar panels work." A more apt, real-world lesson would teach them how they don't work. The myth that this alternative energy source "pays for itself" is busted with just a cursory glance at the Denver Museum of Science and Nature.

President Obama staged a photo-op on the facility's solar panel roof in 2009 when he signed the green jobs goodie-stuffed stimulus law. The museum refused to disclose electric bills before and after installation of the solar array. But after digging into the lavishly taxpayer-funded project, the Colorado-based Independence Institute discovered that the panels -- which only last 25 years -- wouldn't "pay for themselves" until the year 2118, more than a century from now.

It's elementary. The government shouldn't be in the business of picking any eco-winners or losers. "Too Green To Fail" redistributes wealth from viable private projects to pipe dreams, forces higher taxes and energy costs on everyone, and rewards partisan funders at public expense. Teach your children well. They're inheriting the bill.


If Albert Einstein was wrong, what about Albert Gore?

Recently, scientists at the CERN labratory stumbled upon something so simply remarkable that they had to test, double check, and retest themselves. When they realized it was happening, they opened up their findings to the world:

You can go faster than the speed of light.

Researchers were sending Neutrinos - sub-atomic particles - on a 730+km ride from Geneva to the Gran Sasso underground laboratory in Italy. They noticed that the neutrinos were arriving ahead of schedule. It was only fractions of a second, but this is the world of physics! Every nano-second counts. This is Einstein's world - Albert Einstein - who theorized over 100 years ago that nothing could travely faster than light in a vacuum: a speed of 186,282 miles per hour....

If one Albert can be wrong, why not two? For years now, former US Vice President Al Gore has been pushing the thesis of anthroprogenic (man-made) global warning. He has made movies about his thesis - An Inconvenient Truth. It won an Oscar. His thoughts on global warming have won him a Nobel Prize (for Peace, not science.)

Gore's thesis has not been a part of American thought for a's existed for about 10 years (figuring he wasn't aggressive about his ideas until after he was out of elected office.) Yet many scientists took to it as if it was oxygen. It was a must-have. It was conclusive. At a 2009 conference presented by the Wall Street Journal, when confronted by environmental skeptic Bjorn Lomberg about the validity of global warming, Gore stated clearly:

The scientific community has gone through this chapter and verse. We have long since passed the time when we should pretend this is a ‘on the one hand, on the other hand’ issue...It’s not a matter of theory or conjecture, for goodness sake.

Neither was the Theory of Relativity, until a mid September day when a neutrino did what was supposed to be - quite literally - impossible. The science of global warming is already in huge dispute. The emails discovered from East Anglia University were so damning that the controversy was renamed Climategate. Those emails, according to the article's author James Delingpole "...suggest Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more."

Yet, those who argue the existing science, or even argue that the scientific community hasn't gone through this "chapter and verse," are vilified in the press, by the United Nations, by the ever-violent environmental movement. The Discovery Building in Silver Spring, MD was taken hostage by a man who wanted more content covering global warming (he also referred to human babies as "parasitic!") Green organization, in a slickly produced video on YouTube asked school kids to lower their carbon footprint by 10 percent. Those that chose not to were blown up in the video!

I'm not a scientist, yet I understand that scientists pride themselves on pushing the envelope. Science doesn't have politics, it has an answer. And that answer is only good until someone comes along with a better answer. Einstein has reigned supreme for over 100 years, and only now is there the possibility of a more complete understanding of the universe. Gore is no Einstein, and no one will ever proudly proclaim that their child is a "little Gore." The discovery in CERN and Gran Sasso only continues to prove that Gore, and his fundamentalist cronies in the Church of Environmentalism, don't care about science, its methods or its realities.


Climate change consensus? Only if you ask the believers

Richard Moore

On the one hand, if you read the mainstream press, there is certainly general agreement in most published stories that the scientific issue is settled. What's more, the formal scientific establishment doesn't dispute it and, indeed, asserts the claim in even more incontestable terms.

To be sure, according to a study published by the National Academy of Sciences, at least 97 percent of published climate scientists believe in anthropogenically induced climate change.

That's consensus, right?

Again, it depends on what a consensus is. To wit, critics of manmade global warming say the scientific establishment is biased toward the theory, and, as a closed community, that establishment mostly publishes those scientists who agree with it.

They are a consensus in their own minds, in this view.

Then, too, when talking absolute numbers rather than percentages of published authors, critics point to thousands of reputable scientists who reject the significance of manmade global warming, and who point to findings by NASA and CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) that open the door to other causes, in addition to fossil fuel emissions, and to some experiments that - gasp - actually suggest the Earth is barreling toward a period of global cooling.

If that's a consensus, it's a consensus built on quicksand. Virtually everyone believes fossil fuel emissions play a role in warming the Earth, but there is considerable dissension about how significant that role is compared to other factors, and about whether manmade warming even compensates for natural cooling factors.

Cracks in the consensus

In fact, more than 1,000 reputable scientists have dissented from the prevailing theory since 2007. About 400 originally did so in a U.S. Senate report that year, and the list has been growing steadily.

The Senate report, produced by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's office of GOP ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.), offered the detailed viewpoints of the scientists. The report challenged the 2007 findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which heaped the blame on carbon emissions.

By December 2010, when the website Climate Depot updated the Senate report, more than 1,000 scientists had joined in the thrashing, if anything revealing a mounting consensus in the other direction.

Only 52 scientists in fact participated in the IPCC Summary, the 2007 Senate report observed.

"The notion of 'hundreds' or 'thousands' of UN scientists agreeing to a scientific statement does not hold up to scrutiny," the report stated. "Recent research by Australian climate data analyst John McLean revealed that the IPCC's peer-review process for the Summary for Policymakers leaves much to be desired."

Indeed, in a paper critical of the IPCC, "Prejudiced Authors, Prejudiced Findings," McLean subscribed to the closed-community establishment argument, saying the IPCC's selection of its chapter authors appeared so biased toward a predetermined outcome that it rendered its scientific assessment of the climate suspect and its conclusions inappropriate for policy making.

"The IPCC is a single-interest organisation, whose charter presumes a widespread human influence on climate, rather than consideration of whether such influence may be negligible or missing altogether," he wrote. "Though the IPCC's principles also state that a wide range of views is to be sought when selecting lead authors and contributing authors, this rule has been honored more in the breach than in the observance."

Many of the IPCC authors were climate modelers, or associated with laboratories committed to modeling, he pointed out.

"More than two-thirds of all authors of the (critical climate change assessment chapter) were part of a clique whose members have co-authored papers with each other and, we can surmise, very possibly at times acted as peer-reviewers for each other's work," McLean wrote. "Of the 44 contributing authors, more than half have co-authored papers with the lead authors or coordinating lead authors of (the chapter on understanding climate change)."

Of course, the IPCC had its defenders in the global warming community, too, and they had a ready defense: Taken in the context of a massive 3,000-page document, the exposed mistakes and wayward conclusions were minor overall and did not affect the findings. The conclusions still represented sound evidence-based science and not dogma, they retorted.

All of which would have made for a scientific standoff - and a moral public relations victory for global warming supporters - but for the intervention of the InterAcademy Council (IAC), a high-level group of the world's leading scientists whose board is composed of the presidents of 15 academies of science and equivalent organizations representing Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus the African Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World.

The United Nations did not consider the errors minor overall, apparently, and asked the IAC to undertake a review of the assessment in the wake of the revelations. It all reached its zenith in August 2010 when the IAC released its review of the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment.

Put simply, the IAC rendered a blunt if not scathing conclusion that validated the critics' charges.

For one thing, the review found, there was little evidence-based science to support many of IPCC's conclusions about climate change.

"The Working Group II Summary for Policy Makers has been criticized for various errors and for emphasizing the negative impacts of climate change," the review stated. " . . . Authors were urged to consider the amount of evidence and level of agreement about all conclusions and to apply subjective probabilities of confidence to conclusions when there was high agreement and much evidence."

But they didn't do that, the IAC reported.

"However, authors reported high confidence in some statements for which there is little evidence," the review continued. "Furthermore, by making vague statements that were difficult to refute, authors were able to attach 'high confidence' to the statements. The Working Group II Summary for Policy Makers contains many such statements that are not supported sufficiently in the literature, not put into perspective, or not expressed clearly."

The African crop predictions served as a quintessential illustration, the review authors wrote.

"For example, authors reported high confidence in statements for which there is little evidence, such as the widely-quoted statement that agricultural yields in Africa might decline by up to 50 percent by 2020," the review stated. "Moreover, the guidance was often applied to statements that are so vague they cannot be falsified."

What's more, the IAC concluded, the IPCC fumbled the ball once the factual errors were uncovered.

"IPCC's slow and inadequate response to revelations of errors in the last assessment, as well as complaints that its leaders have gone beyond IPCC's mandate to be 'policy relevant, not policy prescriptive' in their public comments, have made communications a critical issue," the IAC concluded.

In addition, the IAC echoed McLean about the authorial selection process and savaged the documentation the body used as evidence for many of its scientific conclusions.

"From extensive oral and written input gathered by the Committee, it is clear that several stages of the assessment process are poorly understood, even to many scientists and government representatives who participate in the process," the report stated. "Most important are the absence of criteria for selecting key participants in the assessment process and the lack of documentation for selecting what scientific and technical information is assessed."

If all this wasn't enough for the reeling global-warming community, on the heels of the IPCC debacle came Climategate. In November 2009, hackers gained access to thousands of emails from climate scientists in the global warming camp, and climate skeptics immediately seized on language they said revealed the manipulation of climate data.

In the end, Climategate was more politically embarrassing than anything else, but the IPCC belly flop along with the scientifically sensational emails emboldened some to defect the camp altogether and others, like Judith Curry, the chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, to aggressively challenge aspects of the IPCC consensus and to confront what she called the vilification of dissenters such as herself. She had opened her mind, she said, and was surprised at what she found.

"It is my sad conclusion that opening your mind on this subject sends you down the slippery slope of challenging many aspects of the IPCC consensus," she wrote on her blog.

The fiascos also emboldened others to come out into the open - many had been skeptical but had feared professional retribution - but, the truth is, many scientists had become skeptical of the global warming consensus before Climategate and even before the Fourth Assessment.

One former global warming advocate, geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre, an author of more than 100 scientific articles and 11 books, became a skeptic in 2006. According to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works minority report, Allegre, one of the first scientists to sound the global warming alarm a score of years ago, said the cause of climate change was "unknown" and accused proponents of manmade global warming of being motivated by money, saying "the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people."

Allegre pointed out that snowfall in the Antarctic had been stable for 30 years and the continent was actually gaining ice, the Senate Committee minority reported. While much of the Antarctic Peninsula and western coast have been melting - that's what the mainstream media puts in its headlines - eastern Antarctica, which is four times as large, has been cooling and gaining sea ice, especially over the past five years.

Then there's mathematician and engineer Dr. David Evans, who conducted carbon accounting for the Australian government. The Senate Committee minority report also recounted his conversion to a skeptic.

"I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian government to estimate carbon emissions from land use change and forestry," Evans wrote in an April 30, 2007, blog. "When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty conclusive, but since then new evidence has weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause. I am now skeptical."

In a 2008 article, Evans was more adamant. "There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming," he wrote.

Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv, one of Israel's top scientists, recanted his belief that manmade emissions were driving climate change as well, the Senate minority report stated.

"Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming," the report quoted Shaviv as saying in February 2007. "But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media. In fact, there is much more than meets the eye."

And so the consensus is coming apart, if it ever existed



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


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

Climate is the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds pass overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize.

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!

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)