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

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

The blogspot version of this blog is HERE. The Blogroll. My Home Page. Email John Ray here. Other mirror sites: Dissecting Leftism. For a list of backups viewable at times when the main blog is "down", see here. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing) See here or here for the archives of this site

31 October, 2013


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG thinks Greenies were deliberately invented to plague us

In classic Leftist style, failed Presidential candidate blocks out what he doesn't want to know

Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his frustration Tuesday with the fact that even in the United States, “a very educated country,” there are those who do not recognize the urgency of combating global warming.

Addressing the D.C. Greening Embassies Forum, which encourages the “greening” of foreign mission in Washington, Kerry took aim at those who challenge the notion that the science is settled when it comes to climate change.

“I am amazed after all these years that we’re still struggling here in a very educated country to get a lot of people to embrace and understand why this is not a matter of theory, a matter of mere policy, but a matter of urgency for life itself on the planet as we know it.”

Kerry said that 6,000 peer-reviewed reports say that “we [human beings] are responsible for what is happening, we are contributing to it very significantly through human choices.”

“Zero – zero peer-reviewed reports say no, or contribute to the theory of denial,” he added.

“And yet, we have people, even in the United States Senate, who stand up and deny. So we have work to do and we have to undertake to try to do whatever we can – without legislation, if that’s what it takes – through executive authority, through our own decisions, to try to make the choices that will make a difference in this.”

(Frustrated by “partisan gridlock” in Congress, President Obama took the executive authority route last June, announcing that he was instructing the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants.)

Kerry did not elaborate on the 6,000 reports, but he was likely referring to the studies used in the preparation of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments on climate change.

The latest report, released in September, concluded that global warming is “unequivocal,” and that it is “extremely likely” that human activity has been the main cause of the temperature rise since the 1950s.

Pointing to that report, Kerry said it documented that “everything that scientists predicted 20 and 30 years ago is now coming true at a faster rate and to a greater degree than was predicted.”

He gave several examples, including shifting migration patterns of species, melting of Arctic ice, and “the continuing diminution of glaciers” in the Himalayas.

The IPCC’s previous report, in 2007, referred to the strong chance of the Himalayan glaciers “disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner.”

As hundreds of millions of people depend on water from major rivers whose sources are in the Himalayas, including the Indus and Ganges, the issue is of major importance for India and Pakistan especially.

The U.N. panel was forced to retract the claim three years later, however, acknowledging “poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers.”

Kerry concluded his speech by looking ahead to future U.N. climate conferences, including one in Warsaw next month.

“I can assure you this department will be and I will be laser-focused on how we are going to step up our response to the reality of the threat that climate change poses to all of us,” he said.


Earlier this year the journal Organization Studies – which is peer-reviewed – published the results of a survey of 1,077 professional engineers’ and geoscientists’ views on climate change.

Based on a breakdown of their views, it placed the respondents into five category groups. Only one of the five, accounting for 36 percent of the total, “express[ed] the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.”

“They are the only group to see the scientific debate as mostly settled and the IPCC modeling to be accurate,” the survey found.

All four of the other groups, with slight variations, expressed varying degrees of skepticism about the asserted causes of climate change, the extent of public risk it poses, and the accuracy of IPCC modeling.

Recently, a team of scientists operating as the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) – an independent group which says it receives no government or corporate funding – released the second in a series of reports called Climate Change Reconsidered.

The authors of the 1,000-plus page report say it provides “the scientific balance that is missing from the overly alarmist reports” of the IPCC.

“Although the IPCC claims to be unbiased and to have based its assessment on the best available science, we have found this to not be the case,” the summary states. “In many instances conclusions have been seriously exaggerated, relevant facts have been distorted, and key scientific studies have been ignored.”

A key conclusion reached in the NIPCC report is that the IPCC “has exaggerated the amount of warming likely to occur if the concentration of atmospheric CO2 were to double, and such warming as occurs is likely to be modest and cause no net harm to the global environment or to human well-being.”

The NIPCC says its report was assembled by three lead authors, nearly 50 chapter lead authors as well as contributors and reviewers from 15 countries, and “was subjected to the common standards of peer-review.”


California's latest Green pipedream

By Alan Caruba

If you live in California, I have a bit of advice. Get out now while you can afford the gas to load up the van and head north or east. You won’t be alone.

According to “Crazifornia: How California is Destroying Itself and Why It Matters to America”, about 150,000 Californians have been fleeing the state each year of late. “In fact,” wrote Laer Pearce, “Los Angeles alone has lost more households than New York, Miami, and, incredibly, the economically decimated city of Detroit…combined.”

The tide of traffic leaving the state is likely to increase. According to a news release from Earthjustice, one of the innumerable environmental organizations bent on destroying every form of energy that has fueled the growth of the American economy, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has “finalized a groundbreaking decision to build innovative high-tech energy storage systems that will lead California toward a future of clean, renewable energy and away from dependence on fossil fuels.”

You remember fossil fuels, oil, natural gas, and coal. The “clean, renewable” energies are wind and solar because, of course, the sun shines all the time and the wind blows all the time. Or not.

By definition, energy “storage systems” can use mechanical, chemical, or thermal processes to store energy; these processes range from battery technologies to energy storage within compressed air or molten salt. If that sounds bizarre, it is.

According to Will Rostov, an Earthjustice attorney, “Clean, renewable energy sources will shape our future, whether the dirty antiquated fossil fuels industry likes it or not, so it’s excellent to see California getting there first. It took years by environmental advocates and state regulators to reach this point.”

Actually, Europe has been there for some time now. In England’s Yorkshire Dales, they’re tearing down four wind turbines that have been around for twenty years and “have not worked in years.” Indeed, across Europe there is a lot of buyer’s remorse for having embraced wind and solar. As Marc Morano, the editor of, noted in an October 17 article, “Wind and solar mandates are breaking Europe’s electric utilities.”

“Last week the CEOs of Europe’s ten largest utilities finally cried uncle and called for a halt to wind and solar subsidies. Short of that, they want subsidies of their own. They want to be paid, in essence, not to produce power.” Thanks to mandates to use electricity from wind and solar Europe’s energy costs increased 17% for consumers and 21% for industry in the last four years.

California, in addition to requiring comparable use of wind and solar power while pushing to close coal-fired plants and keep some nuclear plants shuttered, will require its utilities to purchase 1.3 megawatts of “energy storage” power by 2020.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that “The first-in-a-nation mandate is expected to spur innovation in emerging storage technologies, from batteries to flywheels. Once large quantities of energy can be stored, the electric grid can make better use of solar, wind and other technologies that generate sporadically rather than in a steady flow, and can better manage disruptions from unpredictable events such as storms and wildfires.”

This is another very expensive Green pipedream that, like other California initiatives, would prove impossible to achieve and will be abandoned or ignored.

Since neither wind nor solar produce electricity in a steady, predictable fashion that enables utilities to ensure a flow of electricity to consumers, “energy storage” is the new, idiotic, alternative way of providing electricity that has been in effect since Edison first invented the turbines to produce it.

There is, simply put, no reason to require “energy storage” if “dirty, antiquated fossil fuels” were used. Wind and solar provide just over 3% of the electricity used in the U.S.

According to the Western Region Deputy Director of the Sierra Club, Evan Gillespie, “Fossil fuels like natural gas are a dead end for the people of California, the power companies, and the entire planet.” If you listened to Strela Cervas, Coordinator at the California Environmental Justice Alliance, fossil fuel use is a conspiracy against “low income communities and communities of color overburdened by pollution, in particular from power plants. California does not need any new gas-fired power plants.”

Those low income communities might not agree, along with all the rest of the Californians, in the wake of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. While California strives to save the state from a warming that has not been occurring for more than 15 years, the new mandate that 33% of the state’s energy come from wind and solar is estimated to cost $114 billion, all of which will come out of the pockets of energy consumers.

According to Pearce, “Legislators, regulators, lawyers and environmentalists have driven up the cost of doing business in the Golden State until it has become 30% greater than in the neighboring states.” The result of 40 years of anti-business (and anti-energy) policy has caused a decline in the state’s standard of living. “California’s median household income plummeted by 9%--nearly twice the national average between 2006 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”

This is the kind of environmental insanity that has been at work at the federal level since Obama was elected in 2008. Billions have been lost in loans to wind and solar companies that went bankrupt within months and years. Think Solyndra. Now apply that same insanity to the whole of the nation as the administration continues its “war on coal” and actually laments the growing access to natural gas and oil due to hydraulic fracking technology.

The U.S. will produce more oil than Saudi Arabia this year. It has several centuries’ worth of affordable coal, scads of natural gas, and could expand its nuclear power generation if it wanted.

California is leading the way as it drives out its citizens and businesses, leaving behind only those too poor to leave; those dependent on a range of welfare programs that “redistribute” money from “the rich” and the middle class. They are turning the entire state into Detroit.

It is a war on the provision of electricity; the lifeblood of the nation’s capacity to function.


The Keystone Fight Is a Huge Environmentalist Mistake

By Leftist Jonathan Chait

“To an increasingly disillusioned environmental movement,” environmental activist Bill McKibben writes in the Huffington Post, “Keystone looks like a last chance.” It may be a last chance for the movement McKibben has helped lead — he has spent several years organizing activists to single-mindedly fight against approval of the Keystone pipeline — but Keystone is at best marginally relevant to the cause of stopping global warming. The whole crusade increasingly looks like a bizarre misallocation of political attention.

My view, which I laid out in a long feature story last spring, is that the central environmental issue of Obama’s presidency is not Keystone at all but using the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate existing power plants. That’s a tool Obama has that can bring American greenhouse gas emissions in line with international standards, and thus open the door to lead an international climate treaty in 2015. The amount of carbon emissions at stake in the EPA fight dwarf the stakes of the Keystone decision.

Estimates differ as to how much approval of the Keystone pipeline would increase carbon emissions, but a survey of studies by the Congressional Research Service found that the pipeline would add the equivalent of anywhere between 0.06 percent to 0.3 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions per year. By contrast, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s proposal for EPA regulations would reduce U.S. emissions by 10 percent per year – 30 times the most pessimistic estimate of Keystone’s impact.

Of course, it’s far from clear Obama will settle on a regulatory proposal as aggressive as the NRDC’s. But that’s just the point. Even slight gradations in the strength of possible EPA plans matter more than the whole fate of the Keystone pipeline. And yet McKibben and tens of thousands of his followers are obsessed with a program that amounts to a rounding error at the expense of a decision that really is the last chance to stop unrestrained global warming.

How did they arrive at such a strange choice? The answer can be found in my friend Ryan Lizza’s deeply reported account in The New Yorker last month. Lizza’s fascinating story does not explicitly support the anti-Keystone movement, but it structures the narrative in a way that generally accepts the movement’s assumptions and casts them in a heroic light. Nonetheless, the facts in his account show how environmental activists stumbled onto the Keystone issue, then clung to it even as the rationale for their decision collapsed.

In the spring of 2011, James Hansen wrote, in a brief blog post, that developing the Canadian tar sands would amount to “game over” in the fight to contain climate change. Hansen’s post came out in the wake of the collapse of cap-and-trade legislation, when environmentalists were searching for an issue around which they could build a grassroots movement. McKibben read and was deeply influenced by Hansen’s conclusion, which helped inspire him to build an environmental movement centered around blocking the Keystone pipeline.

Sprinkled throughout Lizza’s story are statements by various supporters of the anti-Keystone movement to the effect that they seized on Keystone because they needed something to rally environmentalists on. John Podesta, an adviser to Tom Steyer, who has helped finance and organize the movement, tells Lizza, “People were beginning to doubt the president’s commitment.” Keystone “became the test of the question: Are we going to do anything long term about climate change?” Kate Gordon, another Steyer adviser, tells him, “The goal is as much about organizing young people around a thing. But you have to have a thing.” Lizza himself writes, “For many activists, the opposition to Keystone isn’t really about the pipeline … they want Obama to use Keystone as a symbolic opportunity to move America away from fossil fuels.”

Lizza doesn’t frame these observations as a damning indictment, but they do amount to one. The logic of the decision was the opposite of what it appeared to be: Rather than build a movement as a means toward the end of stopping Keystone, Keystone was the means toward the end of building a movement. Cap and trade was dead, Keystone was the best thing they had, so they went with it.

Later in the piece, Lizza notes as an aside that the back-of-the-envelope calculation undergirding Hansen’s “game over” warning turns out to be wildly incorrect:

"Hansen’s dire warning about Canada’s unconventional oil deposits was based on the assumption that every ounce of oil in the sands would be burned. (Only a small fraction of the total estimated reserves is recoverable, and doing so will take decades.)"

Oh! So developing the Canadian tar sands isn’t Game Over, or anything close to Game Over? While framed in the story as a minor detail, this seems like an enormously damning fact. In much the same way that conservative Republicans initially decided to shut down the government on the mistaken belief that doing so would defund Obamacare, and had to stick with their strategy once they had rallied millions of followers to the cause, environmental activists appeared to have built a strategy upon what was at best a rickety factual premise.

The other accident at work here is one of timing. The Keystone movement developed in 2011, when environmentalists needed a cause to replace the failed cap-and-trade bill. It was only immediately following the 2012 election that the NRDC laid out a plan by which the EPA could effectively tackle existing power plants, the last big repository of unregulated emissions. The road map to solving climate change is far from certain: It involves writing a regulatory scheme to reign in existing power plants, surviving a legal challenge, and then, having credibly committed the U.S. to meeting Copenhagen standards, wrangling India, China, and others into a workable international treaty.

That plan is far from certain. But Keystone won’t affect the outcome much one way or the other. If Obama pulls off the EPA plan, then the U.S. can hit its emissions target even if it builds the pipeline. If he doesn’t, it won’t hit the target, even if it kills the pipeline.


Real risk of a Maunder minimum 'Little Ice Age' says leading scientist

It’s known by climatologists as the ‘Little Ice Age’, a period in the 1600s when harsh winters across the UK and Europe were often severe.

The severe cold went hand in hand with an exceptionally inactive sun, and was called the Maunder solar minimum.

Now a leading scientist from Reading University has told me that the current rate of decline in solar activity is such that there’s a real risk of seeing a return of such conditions.

I’ve been to see Professor Mike Lockwood to take a look at the work he has been conducting into the possible link between solar activity and climate patterns.

According to Professor Lockwood the late 20th century was a period when the sun was unusually active and a so called ‘grand maximum’ occurred around 1985.

Since then the sun has been getting quieter.

By looking back at certain isotopes in ice cores, he has been able to determine how active the sun has been over thousands of years.

Following analysis of the data, Professor Lockwood believes solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.

He found 24 different occasions in the last 10,000 years when the sun was in exactly the same state as it is now - and the present decline is faster than any of those 24.

Based on his findings he’s raised the risk of a new Maunder minimum from less than 10% just a few years ago to 25-30%.

And a repeat of the Dalton solar minimum which occurred in the early 1800s, which also had its fair share of cold winters and poor summers, is, according to him, ‘more likely than not’ to happen.

He believes that we are already beginning to see a change in our climate - witness the colder winters and poor summers of recent years - and that over the next few decades there could be a slide to a new Maunder minimum.

It’s worth stressing that not every winter would be severe; nor would every summer be poor. But harsh winters and unsettled summers would become more frequent.

Professor Lockwood doesn’t hold back in his description of the potential impacts such a scenario would have in the UK.

He says such a change to our climate could have profound implications for energy policy and our transport infrastructure.

Although the biggest impact of such solar driven change would be regional, like here in the UK and across Europe, there would be global implications too.

According to research conducted by Michael Mann in 2001, a vociferous advocate of man-made global warming, the Maunder minimum of the 1600s was estimated to have shaved 0.3C to 0.4C from global temperatures.

It is worth stressing that most scientists believe long term global warming hasn’t gone away. Any global cooling caused by this natural phenomenon would ultimately be temporary, and if projections are correct, the long term warming caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would eventually swamp this solar-driven cooling.

But should North Western Europe be heading for a new "little ice age", there could be far reaching political implications - not least because global temperatures may fall enough, albeit temporarily, to eliminate much of the warming which has occurred since the 1950s.


Atlantic hurricane season quietest in 45 years, experts say

The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season looks set to go down as a big washout, marking the first time in 45 years that the strongest storm to form was just a minor Category 1 hurricane.

There could still be a late surprise in the June 1-November 30 season, since the cyclone that mushroomed into Superstorm Sandy was just revving up at this time last year.

But so far, at least, it has been one of the weakest seasons since modern record-keeping began about half a century ago, U.S. weather experts say. Apart from Tropical Storm Andrea, which soaked Florida after moving ashore in the Panhandle in June, none of this year's cyclones has made a U.S. landfall.

That meant relief for tens of millions of people in U.S. hurricane danger zones. But 2013 has been a bust for long-range forecasters who had predicted a stronger-than-usual burst of activity in the tropical Atlantic.

It has been "a very strange sort of year" in the unpredictable world of cyclones, said Jeff Masters, a hurricane expert and director of meteorology at Weather Underground (

"We've been in this multi-decadal pattern of activity but it just didn't happen this year," Masters said, referring to the prolonged period of increased hurricane activity that began in 1995.

That period is still playing out, fed primarily by warm ocean temperatures in the tropical Atlantic that fuel hurricanes. But instead of increased activity, 2013 almost seems like a year when an enormous tranquilizer dart was fired into the heart of the main breeding ground for hurricanes.

A confluence of factors, including abundant sinking air and dry air, and possibly dust flowing out of North Africa's Sahara desert, kept a lid on hurricane formation in 2013, according to many cyclone experts.

That wreaked havoc with most leading seasonal forecasts like the one issued by Colorado State University on August 2. The errant forecast said 2013 would see above-average activity, with eight hurricanes and three that would develop into major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale.

An average season has six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. But an August 8 outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration called for six to nine hurricanes, three to five of which would become major hurricanes.

There were two short-lived Category 1 hurricanes this year, making it the first Atlantic season since 1968 when no storm made it beyond the first level of intensity, according to the National Hurricane Center.

It has also been a year marked by the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982 and the first since 1994 without the formation of a major hurricane.

In terms of so-called "Accumulated Cyclone Energy" (ACE), a common measure of the total destructive power of a season's storms, 2013 ranks among the 10 weakest since the dawn of the satellite era in the mid-1960s, said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the Miami-based National Hurricane Center.

"The ACE so far in 2013 is 33 percent of normal," he said.

Long-range hurricane forecasts are eagerly awaited in U.S. financial and energy markets, which quiver every time a storm bears down on the U.S. oil and gas-producing region of the Gulf of Mexico.

Phil Klotzbach, a Colorado State University climatologist, readily admits that the forecasts are based on statistical models that will "occasionally fail," since the atmosphere is chaotic and subject to fluctuations that cannot be predicted more than a week or two in advance.

But Klotzbach and other experts say the models, and seasonal forecasts, still provide useful insight into something as unpredictable as extreme weather even if they do not always pan out.

"Obviously, individuals should not plan differently for a specific season based upon a seasonal forecast," Klotzbach told Reuters by email. "They are purely there to satisfy the public's curiosity based on our best knowledge of how large-scale climate features impact tropical cyclone seasons."

Despite the season ending with a whimper, Masters said long-range forecasts are still worth betting on. "They have a point, as long as you understand their limitations," Masters told Reuters.

"You expect that they will have bust years, like this year. That's part of the game," he said. "But if you consistently bet the way they're going, then eventually over the long run they'll pay off."


Green/Left lies over British energy bills

The phoney 'ordinary folk' in Labour's TV broadcast: Millionaire restaurateur and Guardian journalist among interviewees saying they cannot afford fuel bills

They were supposed to be ordinary people appearing on a Labour political broadcast, venting their fury at energy price hikes.

But closer inspection reveals that, far from being average citizens, the participants actually included a millionaire restaurant owner and a Guardian journalist.

The party broadcast last night featured interviews with people struggling to pay fuel bills.

One of them was Beresford Casey, owner of a posh burger chain, who lives in the plush Primrose Hill area of north London – half a mile from Ed Miliband’s childhood home.

And another was Jack Monroe, a campaigner and journalist who has written for the Guardian and the Independent.

Last night a Tory MP slammed Labour for using left-wing activists to masquerade as ‘ordinary people’ for political attack campaigns.

Priti Patel said: ‘Labour’s party political broadcast would be a lot more effective if they used real people rather than their own coterie of left-wing campaigners and champagne socialists.

‘Under this Government, unemployment is down and the economy is growing – these are real measures to help with the cost of living, but Labour have opposed them.

‘This is same old Labour – instead of standing up for hardworking people, they’d rather scaremonger.’

Ed Miliband announced at the Labour conference last month that if he wins the next election he will freeze energy bills until 2017.

The Conservatives have derided this as a ‘con’.

Mr Casey met Mr Miliband earlier this month, when the Labour leader visited the Camden branch of his restaurant. The pair discussed the party’s policy on energy costs and business rates, according to local newspaper the Ham & High.

Miss Monroe is a food blogger and freelance journalist. She writes about her experience of living on benefits after giving up her job in 2011, saying the commuting and childcare costs were unsustainable on her Ł27,000 salary.

In the broadcast, she says: ‘Hot water and a comfortable living environment are things that you should be providing for your child. ‘You know in your head it’s not normal to put your child in a fleecy babygro and a jumper to go to bed, or to go to bed at 6 or 7 o’clock in the evening because you’ve got nothing else to do, nothing to entertain yourself with and the flat is cold and dark.

‘They’re making huge profits for their shareholders but people are turning off their heating and unscrewing their light bulbs.’

Beresford Casey is co-founder of the Hache Burger Connoisseurs, a chain of hip restaurants in trendy parts of London with prices at the upper end – Ł10.95 for a ‘Hache scotch beef steak burger topped with the celebrated Reblochon cheese’. The restaurants also sell champagne for Ł54.95 a bottle.

According to Companies House records, Mr Casey lives on Waterside Place in Primrose Hill, where the average property price is more than Ł1.5million. In the broadcast, he says: ‘You’ve got this industry which is very unprofessional?…?doing their very best to rip you off.

‘There are about six enormous companies and when ministers talk about competition it’s a bit of a joke really – because it looks very much like a monopoly.’

It also emerged that a mass email sent out by Labour from someone complaining about the impact of bills this week, was written by a council officer who has accused the Conservatives of being like the BNP.

Russ Tennant tweeted in August: ‘Be better if the Conservatives stopped using the BNP’s divisive tactics and language.’

Last night a Labour source defended the inclusion of Miss Monroe, who blogs about cheap meals, saying: ‘Like millions of people around the country struggling to make ends meet, she is showing how to make a little go further during these tough times.’

She insisted she was an ‘ordinary person’ but was also ‘proud to call myself an activist’. Mr Casey said he had ‘no affiliation’ to Labour, adding: I am just an independent business guy.’




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


30 October, 2013

Green taxes cut 'would lower British energy bills within weeks’

Energy bills will fall within weeks if ministers make good on the Prime Minister’s promise to “roll back” green taxes, Britain’s biggest suppliers have pledged.

Giving evidence to MPs, executives from the “Big Six” firms on Tuesday all vowed to pass on cost reductions to consumers if ministers cut the levies.

William Morris, SSE’s managing director, said the price cut could happen “in a matter of weeks” from taxes being taken off bills and suggested regulator Ofgem should oversee the process.

Most of the Big Six companies argue the levies, which include the costs of wind farm subsidies and home insulation schemes, should be paid for through general taxation rather than household bills.

“If the Government responds to requests to put this in general taxation then pound for pound, penny for penny, that should come straight off the customer’s bill,” Mr Morris said.

Tony Cocker, chief executive of E.On, said that some of the so-called green schemes to help vulnerable customers were the “right thing to do” but that the funding method of “smearing it across everybody’s bill” was tantamount to a “poll tax”.

Mr Cocker also disclosed he had written to the Prime Minister to call for a full Competition Commission inquiry into the energy market to "dispel many of the myths and misinformation" surrounding it. The call echoes that of EDF Energy, which has long argued an investigation would help restore trust in the market.

E.On and EDF are the only two of the Big Six energy suppliers yet to announce price rises this year, with the other four – nPower, SSE, British Gas and ScottishPower – all announcing increases of more than Ł100 to a typical dual fuel bill in recent weeks.

EDF yesterday pledged a short-term price freeze, with Martin Lawrence, managing director of energy sourcing and customer supply, telling MPs: “We certainly hope to keep prices constant for the entire calendar year at the very minimum”.

E.On declined to give such assurances, with Mr Cocker saying only that the company planned to hold prices for “as long as possible” and had not yet taken a decision on an increase.

The major suppliers on Tuesday insisted that their price increases had been forced by rising wholesale costs, green levies and network and distribution costs.

But Labour MP John Robertson called the increases an “outrage” and an “abuse”. The Big Six’s justifications for price increases were challenged by Stephen Fitzpatrick, managing director of small supplier Ovo Energy, who said he was “confused” by the reasons and insisted wholesale prices were lower now than in 2011.

Another small supplier, the Co-operative Energy, gave some respite to the Big Six, with Ramsay Dunning, its general manager, saying that, while the industry “looks like a cartel”, he did not believe anyone was acting improperly.

In a speech on Tuesday night, Michael Fallon, the energy minister, said the Government was “looking hard at all the costs that make up energy bills to make sure consumers get a fairer deal”.

He vowed the review would go beyond green taxes to also consider network costs, which “are more than double those of the green taxes but have so far escaped public scrutiny”.

He called on Ofgem to “bear down harder” on the electricity distribution monopolies’ costs, which it is preparing to set for the eight years from 2015. All the electricity distribution companies’ business plans submitted to Ofgem already show a reduction in bill impact for consumers from 2015.


The Environmental Enemies of Energy

By Alan Caruba

While Americans grapple with the Obamacare debacle and 90 million are officially unemployed according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is another threat to our future as environmental groups like the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth continue their assault on the provision of electrical energy, the lifeblood of the nation’s economy and our ability to function at home and on the job.

Recently, Sierra Club members were told that they, “supporters, partners, and allies have worked tirelessly to retire 150 coal-fired power plants since January 2010—a significant number in the campaign to move the country beyond dirty and outdated fossil fuels.”

Coal, oil and natural gas are labeled “dirty” for propaganda purposes, but what the Sierra Club and others do not tell you and will never tell you is that they account for most of the electricity generated in America, along with nuclear and hydropower. Wind and solar power provide approximately 3% of the electricity and require government subsidies and mandates to exist. Their required use drives up the cost of electricity to consumers.

Among the many ongoing lawsuits that the Sierra Club is pursuing is one against Navajo coal mining, the Keystone XL pipeline, one seeking penalties for “ongoing violations” at Montana’s Colstrip power plant. They filed a suit against the power rate increase for Mississippi’s Kemper County coal plant.

In early October, The Wall Street Journal published an article, “Mississippi Plant Shows the Cost of ‘Clean Coal’.” It is testimony to the nonsense about “clean coal.” The plant, the reporters note, was meant to demonstrate that Mississippi Power Company’s Kemper County plant was “meant to showcase technology for generating clean energy from low-quality coal” but it “ranks as one of the most expensive U.S. fossil fuel projects ever—at $4.7 billion and rising.”

“Mississippi Power’s 186,000 customers, who live in one of the poorest region of the country, are reeling from double-digit rate increases,” adding that “the plant hasn’t generated a single kilowatt for customers…”

Seven power plants in Pennsylvania are under attack by the Sierra Club and EarthJustice which have filed a federal lawsuit. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has exposed this common practice by environmental groups to “sue and settle.”

“It works like this. Environmental and consumer advocacy groups file a lawsuit claiming that the federal government has failed to meet a deadline or has not satisfied some regulatory requirement. The agency can then either choose to defend itself against the lawsuit or settle it. Often times, it settles by putting in place a ‘court-ordered’ regulation desired by the advocacy group, thus circumventing the proper rulemaking channels and basic transparency and accountability standards.”

High on the list of government agencies that engage in this is the Environmental Protection Agency, but others include Transportation, Agriculture, and Defense, along with the Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Army Corps of Engineers. One recent victory touted by Friends of the Earth is an EPA air pollution regulation is one that affects ships navigating along the coasts of the United States and Canada, out to 200 nautical miles, to “significantly reduce their emissions.”

Like the touted benefits of wind and solar power, “clean coal” is another environmental myth that is costing billions. Recently, the Global Warming Foundation reported that “The world invested almost a billion dollars a day in limiting global warming last year, but the total figure--$359 billion—was slightly down on last year, and barely half the $700 billion per year that the World Economic Forum has said is needed to tackle climate change.” The report cited was generated by the Climate Policy Initiative.

The problem with this is that there is NO global warming. The Earth is in a perfectly natural cooling cycle and has been for 15 to 16 years at this point. The notion of spending any money on “climate change” is insanity. The climate is largely determined by the Sun and other natural factors over which mankind has no control. The claim that carbon dioxide is a contributing factor to climate has been decisively debunked despite the years of lies emanating from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Indeed, during the current cooling cycle, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen!

For all their caterwauling about fossil fuels, environmental groups have resisted the expansion of the use of nuclear power that emits no so-called “greenhouse gas” emissions. The Friends of the Earth recently declared that “The quickest way to end our costly fossil fuel dependency is through energy efficiency and renewable power, not new (nuclear) reactors that will suck up precious investment and take years to complete.”

The Obama administration’s record of bad loans to companies providing renewable power—wind and solar—is testimony to the waste of billions of taxpayer dollars. In September, the Department of Energy made $66 million in green-energy subsidies to 33 companies, half of it to companies by a single venture capital firm with close ties to the White House.

The continued loss of coal-fired plants has reduced their provision of electricity from over 50% to around 47%. The resistance to the construction of nuclear facilities slows the replacement of their loss, but plants utilizing natural gas have benefitted greatly from the discovery of billions of cubic feet through the use of hydraulic fracking technology holds the promise of maintaining the nation’s needs. Need it be said that “fracking” has become a target of environmental organizations?

Environmental organizations are the enemies of energy in America and worldwide. Without its provision third world nations cannot develop and the ability to provide the energy America needs is put in jeopardy.


British Liberal leader starts to melt as Conservatives turn up the energy price heat

On Wednesday morning, David Cameron and his closest advisers met for their start-the-day meeting. With Sir John Major’s call for a windfall tax on the energy companies all over the front pages, they knew the issue would again be Ed Miliband’s weapon of choice at Prime Minister’s Questions.

They decided that they had to declare war on the green levies that are driving up bills. They were also acutely aware this would irritate Lib Dems. But Cameron had, in the words of a senior Tory, ‘decided to make public what was private’.

He was, in a dramatic break from his normal practice, quite deliberately displaying the Coalition’s dirty laundry.

Among those close to Nick Clegg (right) there has been irritation at David Cameron (left) and George Osborne’s keenness to cut green levies

Despite two meetings of decision-making body the Quad in the last few weeks to discuss energy prices, the Coalition had made little progress. Meanwhile, Miliband was still making headlines for his pledge to freeze prices for 20 months after the next Election.

Among those close to Nick Clegg there has been irritation at Cameron and George Osborne’s keenness to cut green levies. As one confidant complained: ‘It started the day after Miliband’s speech and we’re really fed up with it.’ None more so than Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Energy Secretary, who is hostile to any changes.

Cameron’s decision to go public with this disagreement appears to have broken the log jam. As a senior No?10 figure says: ‘There’s lots of shouting and public posturing, but 12 hours later Clegg is signalling that he’s prepared to do business.’

I understand from one of those involved in the negotiations that ‘quite a lot is going to go’. Some green charges will be scrapped while others will be taken off bills and instead funded by Government directly. If extra public money is needed to pay for this, that will be provided by additional spending cuts.

The Tories are particularly pleased they have managed to steer Clegg away from Davey’s inflexible position. One Cameron ally declares: ‘Davey is losing ground week by week.’

Davey’s other problem is that in Michael Fallon, he now has one of the most competent and cost-conscious Tories in his department. No?10 sources say that Cameron and Osborne have insisted that Fallon attends Quad meetings which discuss energy to ‘balance out’ Davey’s views. So where does this leave the Energy Secretary? ‘Going ape,’ according to those involved – and isolated. Tories say things are being decided ‘way beyond Davey now’.

Clegg's willingness to talk is driven, No?10 calculates, by a desire to win concessions in other areas.

One Tory Minister predicts: ‘Clegg is going to say, “I know what you want, now what are you going to give me?”?’ Tories will concede what they have to. Pleased as they are by another quarter of robust economic growth, they know they have to draw the sting from Miliband’s charge that this is a recovery for the few.

They have to demonstrate they are doing what they can to help people with the cost of living. One Minister says the upturn in the economy has ‘accentuated George’s desire to do everything possible to be able to say to people, “You’re getting better off”.

Inside Downing Street, they believe that if they can strip some green levies from energy bills, they can turn up the heat on Miliband and go on the offensive.

They point out his support for ‘decarbonising’ the energy market by 2030 would push up prices further. As one senior source declares bullishly: ‘We’re going to leave Miliband holding the increasing-green-costs baby.’


Britain’s Energy Market Needs Perestroika

Since UK opposition leader Ed Miliband promised to freeze energy bills for 20 months, the Conservatives have vacillated between calling him a conman and peddling snake oil of their own. If Britain is to keep the lights on without incurring crippling costs, the country’s energy policy debate needs more substantial fuel.

Two revolutions are unfolding in the electricity market. The first involves building expensive renewables and nuclear plants, paid for through higher bills. Environmental levies have so far been modest, accounting for less than 10 per cent of the cost of electricity. By 2030 this will rise to 41 per cent. Britain has pledged to supply 15 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, and to halve emissions from 1990 levels by 2025. Some experts say that, given more time, the same targets could be achieved at lower cost.

Bold undertakings to reduce emissions were popular when they were announced at the height of the boom. Yet that moment of Malthusian anxiety was also one of economic cheer, and little attention was paid to the sacrifices that expensive energy entails. This burden now falls on shoulders that are slenderer than once thought.

If Britain never adequately reckoned with the cost of its carbon commitments, it may also have been too optimistic about the benefits. The country accounts for less than 2 per cent of world emissions. The heroic reductions that are planned will have a negligible effect on global temperatures.

This would be true even if the UK’s moderation were not offset by intemperance elsewhere. In fact, investment in energy-intensive industries is already being drawn to countries such as the US where costs are lower. Britain may end up exporting emissions – and jobs – to countries that have shunned such onerous environmental commitments. The halting progress towards a global carbon pact provides scant vindication for those who thought that where Britain led, others would follow.

Politicians portray these policies as the inevitable consequence of legally binding commitments. Such wilful naivety gives an unintended meaning to Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to lead the greenest government ever. If the UK’s environmental policy is defensible, it should be defended. If not, the government should repeal or renegotiate the laws and treaties in which these commitments are enshrined. Mr Cameron has pledged action to prevent Brussels from throttling UK companies with red tape. He should not pretend that crucial parameters of energy policy are out of his hands.

Alongside this revolution in the means of production is one of economic planning. Since privatisation the electricity industry has been run on market principles. Price controls were abolished and politicians placed their faith in competition to keep prices low and the grid adequately supplied. Now, the government is becoming the industry’s Gosplan. It decides what plants are built, sets their prices and guarantees financing for their construction.

Mr Miliband’s price freeze is an extension of this approach, which presents him as the solution to a problem that he helped to create as energy secretary. Despite fingering power companies for rising energy prices, Mr Miliband produced no evidence of profiteering.

A fairer criticism is that energy companies have invested too little in replacing the country’s ageing power stations. One explanation is that generators are restricting supply in the hope of driving up prices. Another is that they lack incentives to build capacity needed to meet peak demand, because current rules pay little to plants that usually sit idle.

Either way, urgent reforms are needed if the UK is to avoid a capacity crunch. The best solution would be to rewrite the market rules to spur the needed investment in the most efficient way. Alternatively, the power industry could be nationalised and financed with cheap government debt – although efficiency would suffer.

But politicians have chosen neither course, preferring to make private generators bow to government plans. This is capitalism with British characteristics. It combines the inefficiency of state planning with the expense of private capital, exacerbated by the fear that politicians will retrospectively change their minds.

The losers from this shambolic policy are more numerous than the struggling households that are rightly at the centre of political concern. The prosperity of a generation is at risk. Britain cannot afford to hobble itself with overly high energy costs as it embarks on the road to recovery.


European Economic Stability Threatened By Renewable Energy Subsidies

The stability of Europe’s electricity generation is at risk from the warped market structure caused by skyrocketing renewable energy subsidies that have swarmed across the continent over the last decade.

This sentiment was echoed a week ago by the CEOs of Europe’s largest energy companies, who produce almost half of Europe’s electricity. This group joined voices calling for an end to subsidies for wind and solar power, saying the subsidies have led to unacceptably high utility bills for residences and businesses, and even risk causing continent-wide blackouts

The group includes Germany’s E.ON AG, France’s GDF Suez SA and Italy’s Eni SpA, and they unanimously pointed the finger at European governments’ poorly thought-out decision at the turn of the millennium to promote renewable energy by any means.

The plan seemed like a good one in the late 1990s as a way to reverse Europe’s reliance on imported fossil fuels, particularly from Russia and the Middle East. But it seems the execution hasn’t matched the good intentions, and the authors of the legislations didn’t understand the markets.

“The importance of renewables has become a threat to the continent’s supply safety,” warned senior global energy analyst, Colette Lewiner, referring to a recent report by a Europe energy firm, Capgemini.

“We’ve failed on all accounts: Europe is threatened by a blackout like in New York a few years ago, prices are shooting up higher, and our carbon emissions keep increasing,” said GDF Suez CEO Gérard Mestrallet ahead of the news conference.

Under these subsidy programs, wind and solar power producers get priority access to the grid and are guaranteed high prices. In France, nuclear power wholesales for about €40/MWhr ($54/MWhr), but electricity generated from wind turbines is guaranteed at €83/MWhr ($112/MWhr), regardless of demand. Customers have to pick up the difference.

The subsidies enticed enough investors into wind and solar that Germany now has almost 60,000 MWs of wind and solar capacity, or about 25% of that nation’s total capacity. Sounds good for the Planet.

The problems began when the global economic meltdown occurred in 2008. Demand for electricity fell throughout Europe, as it did in America, which deflated wholesale electricity prices. However, investors kept plowing money into new wind and solar power because of the guaranteed prices for renewable energy.

Meanwhile, electricity prices have been rising in Europe since 2008, just under 20% for households and just over 20% for businesses, according to Eurostat.

Since renewable capacity kept rising and was forced to be taken, utilities across Europe began closing fossil-fuel power plants that were now less profitable because of the subsidies, including over 50 GWs of gas-fired plants, Mr. Mestrallet said.

I’m a little confused, isn’t gas supposed to be the savior along with renewables? You can’t have a lot of renewables without back-up gas to buffer the intermittency of renewables since gas is the only one you can turn on and off like a light switch.

I understand that Germany is building new coal plants that can ramp up and down faster than ever before, but the replacement of so much gas with renewables means Europe may not be able to respond to dramatic weather effects, like an unusually cold winter when wind and solar can’t produce much.
Exhaust rises from cooling towers at the new N...

Exhaust plumes rise from the new Neurath lignit coal-fired power station at Grevenbroich near Aachen, southern Germany. RWE, one of Germany's major energy provider, invested in new coal conducted power plants that will buffer wind energy as well as replace reliable base-load nuclear. The wisdom of this decision remains to be seen. (Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)

In a warped parody of free market economics, some countries are building gas-fired plants along their borders to fill this void in rapid-ramping capacity, and that scares the markets even more, since gas is so expensive in Europe, that the price for electricity will climb even higher (EDEM/ESGM).

As the European Commission meets this week to discuss the issue, a parallel threat looms in America as a result of a similarly well-intentioned maze of mandates and subsidies over the last decade. It has been kept at bay only by our much larger energy production and our newly abundant cheap natural gas.

Americans may not be aware that natural gas is not cheap in Europe like it is in America. America’s gas boom has occurred in the absence of a natural gas liquefying infrastructure, which is needed for import/export of natural gas to the world markets. Thus, the more expensive global prices do not affect the price in the U.S.


But that will change. We’re building LNG infrastructure at an amazing pace to exploit the huge gas reserves laid bare by advances in fracking technologies. Within five years, the U.S. will be the major player in the world gas market. Of course, gas prices will double or triple in the U.S. because, like oil, the price will now be set by the global market, not by the U.S. market. And like oil, it doesn’t matter how much you produce in your own country, you pay the global price. Period. Just ask Norway.

So when natural gas prices double, what happens to the price of electricity since gas is so intimately married to renewables? State mandates and renewable production tax credits will still require us to buy renewable energy, even if it’s double the price. We’ve already seen this occur here in the Pacific Northwest in battle between expensive wind and inexpensive hydro (Hydro Takes A Dive For Wind). Hydro lost.

That’s fine when gas is cheap. It won’t be fine when gas is expensive.


Australia: Renewable energy target looking shaky

Festering just below the surface of the energy supply debate is the vexing question of the renewable energy target (RET).

While gas supply has grabbed headlines in recent weeks, the growing crisis around the RET cannot be ignored. Discussion around the problem got as least as much airplay as coal seam gas at energy conferences in Sydney this week.

The 2020 RET is almost unique in that it is a piece of energy legislation that has enjoyed bipartisan support for years. But the target is looking increasingly untenable in today’s climate of declining wholesale power demand, putting that broad political backing under strain.

The RET in its current form mandates 41,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy supply by 2020.

When the policy was designed that fixed target was to account for 20 per cent of total electricity supply. It assumed continued growth in wholesale electricity demand, in parallel with economic growth, as had been the case for ever.

Fast forward to today and the picture is very different. Power demand on the National Electricity Market (NEM) hit a peak in 2008-09 and has been on the way down since.

On the current trend, the same 41,000 gigawatt hours is likely to be closer to 28 per cent of total supply.

Consultancy ACIL Allen calculates the decline of 6.7 per cent in NEM demand since the peak is the equivalent of taking an 1800-megawatt power plant running at 85 per cent capacity out of the market.

But no such plant has been removed. No plants closed under the Labor government’s failed “contracts for closure” scheme and meanwhile more renewable energy is being forced into the market when no new capacity is needed. Several plants have been mothballed, but none permanently closed.

The result is what Origin Energy’s head of energy markets Frank Calabria says is probably the worst case of surplus capacity the market has ever seen.

The consequences are being felt throughout the energy supply space. Wholesale prices, excluding carbon, are as low as they were 10 years ago. Natural gas demand, which only a few years ago was expected to enjoy a boost from increased use in power generation, is stalling as far as domestic use goes.

In 2010, ACIL Tasman, as it was then, was forecasting demand for gas for power generation in the eastern states could reach as high as 1000 petajoules by 2030, depending on policy settings, out of total demand for the region of 1800 petajoules. Now the firm reckons 650 petajoules is more likely for the whole eastern states market in 2030, leaving aside liquefied natural gas exports.

The Abbott government is set to review the RET next year. For many it can’t come too soon.

Arguments by the previous Labor government that modifying the target to a “real” 20 per cent of electricity demand would destabilise the industry seem to carry increasingly less weight when virtually the whole energy supply sector is suffering.

But the stakes are high should the target be modified. Numerous foreign investors, such as Spain’s Acciona and New Zealand’s Meridian Energy, are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in wind power projects that will help meet the target.

Local players such as Infigen Energy and Pacific Hydro are similarly exposed.

Even discussion around potential changes to the legislation are damaging when the heads of Australian project developers seek sanctions for funding from their boards.

AGL Energy’s Tim Nelson pointed out on Thursday that the 9000 megawatts oversupply currently calculated in the National Electricity Market matches up pretty well with the amount of generation capacity that has been built, thanks to subsidies such as the RET scheme over the past few years.

Remove it and the market would be back in balance.

No one is suggesting that is the answer, but it highlights the distortions in the market that have been created by such policy interventions, however worthwhile.




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


29 October, 2013

Gimmicks are no answer to green dogma

Comment from Britain

Hard facts puncture soft opinions. As long as the ‘green’ dogma was just a theory, most people sympathised with it. Now it is costing them money, they are not so sure.

Nobody wants to destroy his own planet and the man-made global warming movement is skilful at getting its views heard.

Green propagandists have even reviled this newspaper for its repeated exposures of their dubious statistics and economy with the truth. But who was right?

In recent months, the public have learned that – as we warned – green ideology, while friendly at first sight, is arrogant and demanding on closer acquaintance.

First, there was the explosion of ugly windfarms, blighting lives for questionable benefits. Now the public discover that much of the increase in their fuel bills is a green Poll Tax that cannot be blamed on market forces or corporate greed.

This taxation was enthusiastically enacted by MPs of all three parties.

Events beyond our leaders’ control have accelerated the growth of these levies just when prices were rising anyway. And so it is no surprise that our Survation poll shows a growing reaction against green taxation, combined with a justifiable cynicism about both Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze power prices and David Cameron’s plan to repeal some green taxes.

The Miliband plan will at best postpone increases. Mr Cameron’s suggestion is likely to mean higher taxes elsewhere.

This newspaper’s warnings and doubts have been repeatedly borne out. Our politicians need to consider the whole climate change issue with a sceptical eye, instead of scrabbling for votes with cosmetic measures and temporary freezes.


Green Tea: Greenies masquerading as conservatives

Jobs. Enlarging the tax base. Market access. Energy choice. Fair compensation. Options. Make money. These words and phrases represent ideas or concepts that are attractive to Republicans, conservatives, limited-government and free-market supporters, and even fiscally minded Democrats—which is exactly why they are being used to get buy-in from these groups for something that is 180 degrees from their core values. This approach, I believe, is part of an organized plan by the left to hoodwink the right.

If supporters of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, said it was heavily subsidized on both the state and federal level, had an artificial market created by government mandates, would help mitigate global warming, was the recipient of taxpayer dollars through Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill that funded projects like Solyndra, and was marred by cronyism, the right would run. Instead the wily tactics have won over a few Republicans with strong conservative résumés. Those sell-outs are working hard to bring their peers into the fold.

Let this be a warning. While they may be hitting the right notes, they are singing the wrong song.

I first became aware of this scheme back in July—then, I thought it was just an anomaly. The Georgia Tea Party Patriots, cofounded by Debbie Dooley, partnered with the Sierra Club in support of increased solar in the state. When I talked to her for a column I wrote addressing it, she told me it was all about choice. With a sneer, she called the utility company “a monopoly” and explained that solar would give them competition while consumers would get options. Recently Dooley found her way on to Fox News, where she touted the Green Tea Coalition and claimed to be battling “big energy.”

In addition to Dooley, the Green Tea Coalition’s launch featured three other organizers:

* Shane Owl-Greason—Co-founder of Georgia Solar Utilities, a solar energy company that will benefit from activities of the Coalition.

* David Blackman—Environmental activist since graduation from college. He said he was connected to the Citizen’s Climate Lobby—an organization founded after assistance from former vice-president Al Gore.

* Seth Gunning—Beyond Coal organizer for the Georgia Sierra Club. Another environmental activist since graduation from college.

But, Dooley is the one getting the news coverage because she’s from the right. The media loves that they have a convert, and she loves the attention.

So, the Georgia story was when I first became aware of this type of discordance. But it is not as unique as I first thought.

In Texas, the poser is Jeff Clark, who served as a member of the advance staff for the campaign of George W. Bush and was later appointed by Bush to co-chair the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council. At an October 16 panel discussion on the future of wind power in Texas, hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and attended primarily by small government proponents, Clark touted his Republican bona fides, as he argued that wind energy promoted economic activity. According to a report from my friend and mentor Robert Bradley, who was also a panelist, Clark made a case for wind power by “providing all the statistics of how his industry had rescued poor rural areas in the state by providing income to struggling farmers and enlarging the tax base.”

While most true conservatives are opposed to government subsidies, Clark intoned the two-wrongs-make-a-right view by citing that since all forms of energy have received or do receive government subsidies, wind should, too. However, as Bradley points out: “this begs the question of how much, and whether subsidies for one energy source are gravy and for another are meat-and-potatoes.”

Clark’s most unique appeal to the conservatives in the room came when he implied that God is on the side of wind power: “The Bible tells us to wisely use our resources and to conserve.”

The biggest shill yet can be found in Arizona in the form of former Republican Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr. An article from the left-leaning Mother Jones magazine says: “His support for solar comes from conservative free-market principles rooted in ‘creating choice for the American consumer.’” Goldwater, son of five-term Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, whose name is synonymous with conservatism in America, is chairman of the advocacy group: TUSK (short for Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed). Tusk’s logo is a red, white, blue elephant. (Note: the elephant is the symbol of the Republican Party. Coincidence? I don’t think so.)

Arizona’s specific battle is over net-metering—which the Mother Jones story on Goldwater describes as “a policy that allows homes and businesses with their own solar power systems to send excess energy they generate back to the grid and make money off it.” This sounds like an appealing capitalistic venture that free-market conservatives would support. And they would, if the owners of those solar panels bought them with their own hard-earned money and when they “make money off it,” the rate the panel owners received was a reasonable wholesale rate—not the current retail.

In fact, as even the New York Times acknowledges: the economics of rooftop solar “depend on government incentives or mandates.” But you won’t find that in Goldwater’s support of solar. Instead he’s trying to appeal to his fellow Republicans by talking about choice, competition, and making money—despite the fact that those who can afford the upfront costs of rooftop solar installation are doing so because of the state and federal taxpayer dollars that subsidize the purchase and installation. The entire rate-paying base must pick the grid (and other maintenance) costs for the growing percentage of solar users—as I’ve previously covered.

One story is an anomaly; two, a coincidence; three, a trend.

Why the push to deceive and convert those whose small government and fiscally conservative principles are in opposition to subsidies and cronyism found in green energy? Because the production tax credit for the wind energy industry ends on December 31, and like solar, it is dependent on the government largess. With D.C. focused on debt and spending, those subsidies—which barely received a one-year-extension as a part of last December’s fiscal cliff deal—are a likely place to cut. After the Republican’s embarrassing fumble on the Continuing Resolution and Debt Ceiling deals—they should be looking at cutting or they should be looking at switching parties.

In Arizona, the all-Republican Corporation Commission is considering changes in the net-metering policy that would remove the favored treatment solar users receive—with a decision expected in November. For solar to survive, rank-and-file Republicans must be won over to the solar-subsidy side. If that happens, the Commissioners might fear an election upset and, therefore, not change the policy that allows those with solar power systems to “make money off it.”

In Georgia, the vote has already taken place. The Georgia Public Service Commission—with Republican support—voted to add solar to Georgia’s electricity generation. The Georgia victory makes the Arizona fight to persuade Republicans imperative.

These are just three stories of which I am aware. If my postulation that there is an organized effort to convince conservatives to support subsidies is correct, there are likely—or will be—similar stories in other states.

If you hear a free-market sounding pitch for green energy that includes the words or phrases listed in the opening—beware! It is probably part of the left's plan.

Borrowing from Bradley’s report on the future-of-wind-power panel, I’ve developed a series of simple questions Republicans, conservatives, limited-government and free-market supporters, and fiscally minded Democrats should ask themselves when considering appropriate energy policy:

1.Should energy policy be based on government intervention or voluntary transactions between buyer and seller?

2.Can an intellectual case be made—without climate alarmism—for renewables, such as solar and wind, knowing that we do not have the perceived 1970s' energy shortage and the pollution of the 1970s has been cleaned up?

3.In the worst economic crisis of most of our lifetimes, should we be subsidizing energy generation that is inefficient, ineffective, and uneconomical?

4.Should we be using more-economical energy or less-economical energy?

5.Should we support:

·a polluted tax code and government mandates favoring one energy resource over another?

·the use of taxpayer dollars subsidizing favored energy sources?

·the transfer of wealth from average citizens to supporters of President Obama, Harry Reid, and other high-ranking Democrats, through green-energy crony-corruption schemes such as Solyndra and the more than 50 other green-energy projects funded through the 2009 Obama stimulus bill that have already gone bankrupt or are circling the drain? and/or

·the limited-energy strategy of climate alarmists such as Al Gore and President Obama?

6.When countries with the best human health and the most material wealth are those with the highest energy consumption, why does the Obama administration continue to push for reduced energy consumption, increased energy costs, and intermittent energy availability?

When a so-called conservative Republican talks green energy and sounds like he or she is hitting the right notes, be careful. It’s probably the wrong song. Don’t get suckered into joining the choir.


The strange death of the bag-for-life

Comment from Britain

Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. And there is no greater descent into insanity than among the sirens of the elf’n’safety industry.

It would appear that not a single area of human endeavour is immune from their ministrations. These vigilant guardians of our well-being can detect mortal danger lurking in every microbe.

Over the years, this column has had fun documenting the wilder excesses of the public safety sentinels. They have become almost impossible to parody. From the epidemic of hi-viz clothing to patronising leaflets advising us how to wash our hands, they appear to believe that we are incapable of getting through the day without injury unless we follow their idiotic instructions.

Every week, readers send me fresh examples of elf’n’safety stupidity. For instance, Allen Hanley emailed enclosing a three-page safety manual published by the Univar chemicals company. This spells out precise details for the correct handling of one of its products, a liquid used widely in a number of manufacturing processes.

Under 18 separate sub-headings, the document lists the proper way to deal with everything from spillage to what action to take if the liquid comes into contact with bare skin.

Protective gloves are recommended and ‘splash-proof goggles’ should be worn at all times. ‘Self-contained breathing apparatus and full protective clothing must be worn’ in the event of it catching fire.

You really can’t be too careful, not when you are dealing with an unstable substance described as: ‘Appearance: Clear Liquid. Colour: Colourless. Odour: Almost odourless. Solubility: Soluble in water. Boiling point (C): 100.’

After use, the product must be disposed of ‘in accordance with local authority regulations’. So what is this highly flammable, toxic liquid which must be handled with such meticulous care?

Purified water.

But then, you’d probably worked out we weren’t talking sulphuric acid here.

Only yesterday, Martin Higgs wrote from Shaldon in Devon. Stopping at a service station on the M5, he spotted two employees pulling on hi-viz jackets to complete the hazardous task of transferring doughnuts from a trolley into a plastic display cabinet.

It’s as well as they weren’t handling bottled water, too, otherwise they would also have had to wear protective gloves and ‘splash-proof goggles’ and keep the breathing apparatus handy in case it caught fire.

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, up pops another ‘expert’ with a new dire warning of imminent disaster waiting to strike. Consider the latest threat to our health they have discovered: Bags-for-life.

For the past few years, the Daily Mail has been campaigning to rid the country of the scourge of disposable plastic shopping bags. Supermarkets have responded by selling customers reusable hessian bags for a modest fee.

This has helped reduce the number of discarded bags littering the streets and clogging our countryside and waterways.

Admittedly, there is still some way to go. For some unfathomable reason, the Government is dragging its feet over plans to make all shoppers pay 5p for plastic and paper carrier bags. Although the scheme has already started in Wales and Northern Ireland, it will not be introduced in England until 2015.

But, by and large, the switch to bags-for-life has been embraced enthusiastically. Until now.

Step forward Professor Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen. His department has been investigating the use of hessian bags and has concluded that they pose a serious threat to public health.

The boffins tested a number of reusable bags and pronounced them ‘highly contaminated’ with bacteria. Shoppers who use bags-for-life to carry raw meat and vegetables with dirt still on them are dicing with death. Bacteria from meat and veg can be transferred to other foods, such as fruit, and cause severe food poisoning.

Professor Pennington said that such bags should be ‘machine-washed’ after use. Washing them by hand, even using anti-bacterial spray, is not good enough to kill 100?per cent of all known germs.

He warned: ‘They are really rather difficult to clean. If they are looking a bit grotty, they should be thrown away.’ Doesn’t that rather defeat the object of bags-for-life?

The Aberdeen research follows a study by Pennsylvania University, that found a 25?per cent rise in hospital admissions from bacterial infections and a 46?per cent increase in deaths from ‘food-borne’ illnesses after San Francisco banned plastic bags.

Of course, there is a school of thought which holds that increases in bacterial infections are a direct result of excessive hygiene. We need to be exposed to dirt and a few bugs to build up our immune systems.

I wonder what our mums and grandmothers would make of this latest health scare. My grandmothers used the same shopping bags every day of their lives, without poisoning their families. How long before supermarkets are forced to sell hessian bags-for-life with haz-mat stickers and pages of safety instructions?

I suppose you could always try rinsing them out with purified water. Just don’t forget to wear your hi-viz jacket, protective gloves and splash-proof goggles.



by John O'Sullivan

As public concern over man-made global warming continues to fall independent scientists speak out against relentless pro-green censorship in the mainstream media. Sinking ever deeper into such unethical bias is The Los Angeles Times which will no longer publish letters from climate change deniers, Times letters editor Paul Thornton wrote earlier this month.

Among independent scientists enraged by such a blatant anti-science and undemocratic approach are respected analysts, Professor J. Scott Armstrong and Dr. Martin Hertzberg.Dr Martin Hertzberg

Prof. Armstrong, of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and an expert in the field of Long-Range Forecasting, says that such “Censorship of skeptic global warming views by the press has been going on for many years.”

While former U.S. Navy meteorologist, Dr Hertzberg, agrees with Armstrong that the climate alarmist case is now shown to be “so weak that even with widespread censorship, citizens are not persuaded.”

Like Armstrong, Hertzberg is delighted to see that more savvy citizens are turning to alternative sources of information and open debate on the Internet to better inform their decisions.

It is on the world wide web where readers can freely find Armstrong's study into the reliability of the alarmist claims of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Independently scientists found that the IPCC “violated 72 of 89 relevant scientific forecasting principles" despite claims by the LA Times and others that government-sponsored climatologists are reliable scientific authorities. Armstrong lamented that there is only one published peer-reviewed paper that claims to provide scientific forecasts of long-range global mean temperatures. That paper is a 2009 article in the International Journal of Forecasting by Kesten Green, Willie Soon and Professor Armstrong, himself.

Armstrong reveals that his study showed that “for forecasts 91 to 100 years ahead, the IPCC forecast errors were over 12 times larger than our forecast errors. Perhaps that qualifies as relevant evidence for citizens. And it would be “news” for 99% of them. Yet our forecasts received virtually no mass media coverage. Meanwhile, non-scientific climate-scare “forecasts” regularly get widespread attention from the mass media.“

The Denver Post was quick to react to the latest dishonesty by the LA Times, with editorial page editor Vincent Carroll pleading, “Surely readers should be free to debate such points.” Carroll argues that “properly credentialed experts who question whether humans are largely responsible for the warming” must be heard. Dr. Hertzberg, co-founder of Principia Scientific International (PSI) and a respected climate researcher agrees. Hertzberg points not only to his own and his colleague's impeccable scientific credentials, but he is also a Democrat and vociferously condemns any kind of politicization of science.

Hertzberg wrote to Carroll welcoming the Denver Post's plea for a fair hearing to experts from all sides saying, ”Your article was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dismal atmosphere. It is tragic that what should be an impartial evaluation of the data on the question of "global warming / climate change" by objective scientists, has instead degenerated into a partisan, political diatribe. It is not just the LA Times that displays a lack of journalistic integrity by refusing to publish letters from "deniers" but the NY Times, The Washington Post refuse to publish such letters, and virtually daily MSNBC hosts denounce those of us who deny human caused "climate change.””

Dr Hertzberg continues:

"I am one of those skeptics whose letter you did publish, and I thank you for that. Nevertheless, the opinions of qualified scientists rarely find their way into the Print or TV media. Most of the articles or opinions in the matter are from environmental activists or politicians, most of whom are lacking in scientific background. For the opinion of some 130 of the world's most distinguished scientists including a Nobel Laureate in Physics, go to Their letter to the Secretary General of the U. N. states: "The incidence or severity of extreme weather has not increased ..... the hypothesis that our emissions of CO2 have caused or will cause global warming is not supported by the evidence". Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant but an integral part of the Earth's ecosystem on which virtually all life depends.

In virtually every article about global warming, it is claimed that CO2 is a "greenhouse gas", yet rarely if ever is the term defined. It is usually taken as an undefined "given". In our book "Slaying the Sky Dragon - Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory", Stairway Press (2011), some 19 different definitions of the term from different sources are summarized. Yet none of the physical phenomena described in those definitions actually occur in reality.

Similarly, in all the articles written about climate change, you will not find a scientific definition of the term. Climate is changing all the time: from hour to hour, from day to night, from day to day, from week to week, from season to season, from year to year, from decade to decade, and from century to century. Which of those changes is climate change? We just transited from Summer to Fall. Now that's real climate change! Is that what they are talking about? And was that caused by our sinful combustion of fossil fuels? Look for yourself at the data in . There you will find several decades worth of data for temperatures, ice area coverage, snow cover, rate of sea level rise, etc."

There is nothing dramatic or remarkable in the recent data: just their normal variability that has been present for all earlier decades. The term climate change seems to mean whatever the writer wants it to mean: hardly an objective or scientific definition.

"Both situations remind me of the opinion of a Supreme Court Justice, who was deciding a case involving pornography. When asked for a definition of pornography, he replied: " I can't define it, but I know what it is when I see it." But clearly, one man's art is another man's pornography."



Like hermit crabs, climate alarmists scramble to find new ways to hide, when put in a box

As children playing on the beach, we discovered a fascinating behavioral pattern among hermit crabs. Place a dozen in a cardboard box, and within minutes the crabs exit their shells and try to occupy another. This mild stress-induced response probably reflects their life-long drive to continue growing by repeatedly commandeering larger shells, to protect their vulnerable soft bodies.hermit crab

Similarly, climate alarmists are now scrambling to find new shelter from the stress coming from a public that increasingly realizes their doom-and-gloom predictions of climate chaos are based on shoddy data, faulty computer models and perhaps outright deception. The alarmist scientists have put themselves in a climate cataclysm box, and are desperate to protect their reputations, predictions and funding.

Despite the absence of warming in actual measured temperature records over the last 16 years, and near-record lows in hurricane and tornado activity, they still cry “wolf” repeatedly and try to connect every unusual or “extreme” weather event to human emissions of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide. (Actually, people account for only 4% of all the CO2 that enters Earth’s atmosphere each year.)

Alarmists used their predictions of climate catastrophe to demand that the world transform its energy and economic systems, slash fossil fuel use, and accept lower living standards, in response to the politically manufactured science. Even as growing evidence conflicted with their dogma, the money, fame and power were too good to surrender for mere ethical reasons.

The impact on energy prices, national economies, jobs and people’s lives has been profound and negative. For example, in response to the unfounded alarmism, Germany moved aggressively toward wind and solar energy over the past 15 years – both politically and with taxpayer and investment spending. It also shied away from more nuclear power and saw its economy contract and energy-intensive companies shed jobs and threaten to move overseas. Now Germany is burning more coal and building new coal-fired power plants, in an attempt to reverse the economic disaster its “green” and “climate protection” policies unleashed, but its actions are still sending shock waves at investors around the world.

In Spain, every renewable energy job the government’s climate alarmist policies created was offset by two jobs lost in other sectors of the economy that were punished by soaring electricity prices. The demise of a Spanish economy so committed to wind and solar power finally caused reasonable people to reevaluate why these decisions had been made, and the renewable subsidies were slashed, just as they have been in Germany.

How does Brazil’s future look with biofuels? As reality finally overcomes media bias and political correctness, the naive excitement of a few years ago – when anything “green” was portrayed as lower cost, clean and superior in every technological sense – has given way to more rational thinking. Brazil is now going more for oil and gas, via conventional drilling and hydraulic fracturing, onshore and offshore.

Why are so many countries deciding to abandon or diminish the fools-golden eggs of green-tech? First, green technology power has been grossly oversold on reliability, cost, capacity, job creation and environmental impacts. A stable economy requires all of these power characteristics. Second, speculative alarmism about CO2 has been exposed by the hard data of the past couple decades.

The NIPCC Climate Change Reconsidered-II report presents the facts, so that even non-scientists can appreciate the relevant range of the climate components – and the ways people have been conned into believing we faced a manmade climate Armageddon that hasn’t materialized and was never a threat.

Nevertheless, insisting that “climate chaos” was real, former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson wailed that her agency would need at least 240,000 new EPA employees (each making some $100,000 per year, plus benefits) that she said would be needed just to administer new carbon dioxide regulations – and control nearly everything Americans make, drive, ship and do!

EPA currently employs some 20,000 people at an annual budget of over $8 billion. The new hires alone would cost taxpayers another $24 billion annually – plus hundreds of billions of dollars in economic pain, manufacturing shutdowns and new job losses that EPA’s CO2 regulations would inflict.

Year after year, alarmists have changed their protective shells for more absurd answers regarding where the Earth has mysteriously stashed all the energy that greenhouse gases supposedly trapped. For years, alarmists said ocean waters were storing the missing energy. But when the ARGO project demonstrated that the heat was not in the ocean, at least down two kilometers (1.2 miles) beneath the surface, one prominent alarmist responded, “We are puzzled at the results.” We are not puzzled.

When the data consistently conflict with their hypothesis, reputable scientists revise the hypothesis. Five-alarm climate scientists desperately seek new shells, and new excuses.

The “puzzling” facts triggered the predictable alarmist tactic of attacking the data and claiming the heat was hiding in the really deep ocean. Ignoring the physics of the problem – how the asserted heat was transferred from atmospheric carbon dioxide, through the sea surface, and beyond the first mile of ocean waters, without being detected – they expect us to believe that fluid thermodynamics is akin to magic.

The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) has released its 2013 report Climate Change Reconsidered II. The world finally has a chance to see the actual science – not the kind that’s hidden, massaged and filtered through alarmist shell games.

Unencumbered by political pressure and mega-lobbyists, this 1,018-page review by 50 serious and highly accomplished scientists has exposed the alarmists’ fraud. These real scientists have also exposed as illusory the alarmists’ mystical “tropical hot spot.” This sacred cow turns out to be as fanciful as planetary warming hidden in the deepest ocean, or the infamous hockey stick of Michael Mann’s hidden data and secret computer codes.

Have we forgotten that 1998 was to be the “tipping point,” after which Earth would warm uncontrollably? The 1988 hearing in Washington one hot summer afternoon was dominated by the always sly James Hansen, who wiped his brow furiously, in a room made stifling by Senator Tim Wirth’s cheap trick of turning off the air conditioning. Politics, theatrics and manipulation had replaced honest science.

Because Al Gore switched his CO2 and temperature curves to make it look like rising carbon dioxide levels caused planetary temperature increases – when in fact increasing temperatures always preceded higher CO2 – shouldn’t he have corrected his mistake, returned his ill-gotten millions, and shared his 2007 Nobel Prize and money with Irena Sendler, who should have gotten it for saving 2,500 Jewish children during World War II? Shouldn’t his accomplice, IPCC director and pseudo-Nobel Laureate Rajendra Pachauri, be held accountable for trumpeting made-up stories about melting Himalayan glaciers?

But when you’re an alarmist, being wrong, lying, cheating, misleading the public and killing jobs simply does not count against you – even when the alleged human-caused global warming stopped in 1996.

We literally laughed aloud at a so-called “documentary” that’s about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public. It’s called “Do the Math: Bill McKibben and the Fight over Climate Change.” For McKibben and his comrades, “doing the math” is really a matter of “counting the cash” the alarmists rake in.

The serious money has always flowed to alarmists, guilt-ridden environmentalists and control-seeking regulators, whom the world’s taxpayers are generously and unwittingly funding. That’s also the real meaning of the “green” movement and “green” energy.


Australia: Labor Party (Leftist opposition) set to bury carbon tax

Labor is expected to support axing the carbon tax, with senior figures - including leader Bill Shorten - now convinced that its case for action on climate change will be more easily sold if the politically toxic tax is abolished.

The opposition has been wrestling with what to do on the repeal of the tax, with some saying it must hold the line to show voters and demoralised supporters that it still stands for something.

They argue that Labor proposed to "terminate" the tax at the last election and to simply block its repeal would allow the government to continue to punish it politically.

Mr Shorten is also worried that continual focus on the tax will distract from serious flaws in the government's $3.2 billion "direct action" policy, which Labor will oppose.

Under direct action, taxpayer dollars are used to pay polluters to reduce emissions and to fund other initiatives in forestry, carbon capture and recycling.

A survey of economists by Fairfax Media found only two of 35 supported direct action over an emissions trading scheme, which uses a floating carbon price driven by the global market.

Labor will continue to back some form of carbon pricing but reserves the right to deliver its policy closer to the election. Meanwhile, it will scrutinise direct action.

Independent analysis of direct action suggests it will not be able to reduce emissions by the bipartisan target of 5 per cent by 2020 without more funding - which has been ruled out by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

A senior Labor source said the party would not countenance weakening the target, amid concern that the legislation to repeal the carbon tax will change the status of the 5 per cent target from a legally enforceable cap to merely an aspiration.

"We are happy to get rid of the tax but we do think there should be a cap on pollution," said one Labor insider.

Mr Abbott has made the repeal of the tax his legislative priority when Parliament resumes in two weeks. He has urged Labor to "repent" and support the government.

A number of Labor sources acknowledge there has been a shift in sentiment since the election. Even so, the shadow cabinet is yet to finalise Labor's position and wants to see the final shape of the government's legislation before making any commitment.

Labor's climate change spokesman, Mark Butler, hinted strongly at the weekend that the option of backing the repeal bills was being considered, saying that the final policy "will be informed by the fact that we took to the last election a commitment ourselves to terminate the carbon tax".

John Scales of JWS Research said polling showed that the carbon tax had dominated the climate change debate in recent years and undermined support for action.

He said the tax was widely seen through the prism of former prime minister Julia Gillard's broken promise when she introduced the impost, and through its impact on electricity and other prices.

Mr Abbott has already begun to call Mr Shorten "Electricity Bill" as he goads him to support the repeal of the tax. With it gone, Mr Scales said Labor would have clear air to make direct action its target and to develop its alternative.




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


28 October, 2013

Kick That Donkey: Expand Jobs Footprint with Coal

Coal means cheap energy; coal means more jobs; coal means America's energy independence.

Every year I celebrate Earth Day with tips and ideas on how readers can expand their carbon footprint. Now, below, you’ll find the newest, top ten ways I recommend to expand your carbon footprint on October 29th, 2013 Anno Domini, to celebrate Count on Coal Day.

10) Take unnecessary trips in your electric car.

Run that battery down to nothing. Electric cars need fuel and that fuel comes from power plants that run mostly on coal. There’s no quicker way to expand your carbon footprint than using that “green” car and powering it up nightly.

9) Use a Metro Light Rail system instead of your car.

“When taken as a whole, then,” writes Cato’s Randal O’Toole, “most transit systems with light rail use more energy and emit more greenhouse gases per passenger kilometre than they did when they operated only buses. Most also use more energy and emit more carbon dioxide, per passenger kilometre, than typical automobiles.”

O’Toole says that light rail only appeals to: 1) downtown real estate interests; 2) Seimens, the light rail contractor; and 3) people who hate autos.

All aboard!

8) Move to Germany!

Yes, the model for renewable energy development in the industrial world has yielded impressive results. And they do it by subsidizing a new, technological breakthrough that’s coming to you very soon. Yes, very soon we’ll all be able to power our electric vehicles through coal-powered plants that supplement coal with the use of wood.

Mmmm. I don’t know about you, but I just love the smell of a wood fire wafting around the city. It makes it smell like Christmas- or Winter Holi-Day for of you who are only “spiritual.” For atheists, the smell can remind you of December 25th, 2012 C.E.

7) Build a wind farm.

You too can find out what rural, depression era residents knew: The widespread adoption of wind power eventually will lead to the creation of a large, nationalized effort to electrify the country with more reliable, fossil or hydro-based electrical generation, just as they did with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Since nuclear and hydro are impossible to permit, prepare for coal-fired and oil-fired plants to come out of mothballs.

There’s nothing like the smell of diesel wafting around a city to remind people that it’s Earth Day, C.E. Infinity or, for those of us who are heretics and apostates, May 22nd, 2013 A.D.

6) Move into Al Gore’s house.

No house in America uses more fossil fuel than Big Al’s. According to one source Gore buys coal left over from the age of Charles Dickens, extracted by Welsh miners, who on average were paid less than a penny per day. It’s transported to America an old diesel powered bulk freighter named I’ll Always Be the Real Number 43.

Gore then uses the black, Welsh, rock to boil water that heats his 23 swimming pools, 271 waterfalls and keep his mountain streams at a constant 77 degrees for the benefit of his pet koi.

There are other ways moving in with Al can help expand our carbon footprint. Can our readers identify them all?

5) Buy a Chevy Volt.

In addition to the massive amount of fossil-fuel generated electricity that Volt uses and the pollution from the manufacture and disposal of the $8,000 battery, there is one other ways that the Chevy Volt expands our earth’s environmental footprint.

While spontaneous engine fires so far have failed to consume an entire Volt, the winner of the 2012 European Journalist award for Car of the Year (C.E.), scientists estimate that a fully consumed GM green car would emit more carbon than another Al Gore run for the presidency.

There, I’ve done it: Gore 2016? I’m super serial. And super awesome. The end.

4) Blog about the vast right-wing conspiracy.

No new technology in the past 30 years has contributed to increasing fossil fuel emissions than the adoption of computer technology. From server farms, to high-speed networks, to computer chip enabled phones, tablets and PCs, the electronic age is consuming more and more electricity.

And since the U.S. has failed to adopt progressive, European renewable energy policies like burning wood in stoves, water heaters and furnaces, the leading sources of renewable hot air in the U.S. comes from blogging.

So plug in those IPhones, tablets and PCs. And write with indignation about Big Oil, while pretending to be green.

“Let’s Pretend,” as we know, is a very important keystone of many liberal policies.

3) Support 420!

Quick: Does anyone know how much carbon is in a gram of weed? Does anyone who cares about weed, care about the environment? If you had to pick between smoking weed and the environment, which would you pick?

That’s right, you’d be eating brownies or drinking tea made from ganja.

Bunch of Tea Baggers.

2) Live in a tiny house.

OK, living in a tiny house will do nothing to expand your carbon footprint. But it would be really funny to see you guys blow out the fuse box of a mini house when you overload the electrical system charging you car, your tablet, your PC, your phone and your E-420 stick, while washing your clothes in a mountain stream.

Actually, I think ALL environmentalists should be forced to register as high-capacity B.S. magazines and forced to live in houses measuring only 200 square feet.

Although I think the right of free speech shouldn’t be abridged, no one should be allowed to dish out as much bull as they do and cause as much damage without some control over how quickly they re-load.

1) Occupy Wall Street, again.

Who can forget the day the people who Occupied Wall Street in order to save the world left behind 26 loads of garbage?

“I pick up garbage [for a living], and these were some of the worst smells I’ve ever experienced,’’ one sanitation worker told the NY Post.

Gives a whole new meaning to carbon footprint.


Washington, D.C. – Several thousand people from America’s coal communities will rally on Capitol Hill October 29, 2013, to protest new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency that have put their jobs and livelihoods at risk. Company and union employees joined by coal-dependent families and local officials will voice their concerns with members of Congress. For more information, please contact Gill Stevens at or Michael Causey at


Virginia Gov. race brings out the eco-fascists

In Virginia, green groups homed in on the governor's race because the Republican candidate, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, had emerged as a leading national skeptic of the science of global warming, and of efforts to stop global warming policy.

Overall, Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe has vastly outraised Cuccinelli, hauling in $26 million in contributions to the Republican's $16 million. Energy companies and environmental groups emerged as the biggest spenders – with green groups once again outspending fossil fuels.

Although McAuliffe, a former Democratic fundaiser, is hardly known as a green champion, environmentalists are backing him in order to ensure that Cucccinelli, who came under particular fire from the environmental community after launching a two-year probe into the work of former University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann, would lose. After the Democratic Governors' Association, the largest single contributor to McAuliffe's campaign is the Virginia chapter of the League of Conservation Voters, which donated $1.6 million to the Democrat. NextGen gave $674,000. The Sierra Club kicked in $144,000.

"People who don't believe in climate change should lose their jobs," says Casey, the NextGen consultant.

McAuliffe was happy to ride the wave of the green groups' support. Although he's never been outspoken about the need for climate policy--and at times waffled on whether he backed Obama's climate regulations—his campaign did run TV ads bashing Cuccinelli for his probe of climate scientist Mann, and appeared with Mann on the campaign trail.

On the other side, the energy industry donated $922,619 -- more than any other industry group -- to Cuccinelli's campaign. More than half that money -- $509,714 – came from coal companies, in bundles of $50,000 or $60,000. Richard Baxter Gilliam, a major donor to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign, and the founder of the Virginia coal company Cumberland Resources, donated $100,000. But for once, coal's largesse was outmatched by environmentalists.

Murray Energy Corporation, an Ohio-based coal company that contends that coal has no link to climate change, donated $80,000 to Cuccinelli's campaign. "Mr. Cuccinelli has supported the jobs in the United States coal industry. His opponent has not," wrote Murray spokesman Gary Broadbent in an email to National Journal. Asked why the coal industry had not come close to matching the environmental groups in spending to defeat Cuccinelli, Broadbent wrote, "We have no comment on that."


Do the Math – and Count the Cash

Some years ago, a telegenic televangelist built quite an empire, before publicly falling from grace and adopting a less opulent life style. But back then he liked big homes and Lear jets with Rolls Royce engines and, even though Dennis’s lab primarily did environmental monitoring, his chief pilot came there because he needed demanding analyses on the methanol fuels he used for extra thrust.

The lab did the analyses uneventfully for several months, until it discovered an unpaid invoice. When Dennis inquired about it, the pilot said, “Sometimes he doesn’t pay certain bills, because the Lord told him people could contribute to the ministry in that fashion.” Dennis told him that was OK, but the next time one of those private jets is taking off and the pilot hits the injection fuel switch, the lab couldn’t guarantee that the analysis on that batch of fuel was accurate. The bill was paid in three days.

Do we hear an “AMEN”?

Speaking of televangelists, here’s an interesting experiment that folks can do at home. Find a video sermon with Jimmy Swaggart and, keeping the sound off, watch his body language for 10 or 15 minutes. Then, queue up your personal copy of An Inconvenient Truth and, also with the sound off, watch 10 to 15 minutes of Al Gore. As Mr. Spock liked to say, “Fascinating!”

Mr. Gore also enjoys big energy-hungry mansions and private jets. After all, why would he worry about the size of his carbon butt print, when he’s trying to save the world from other people’s carbon dioxide “pollution”? We’re supposed to listen to what he says, not observe or criticize what he does.

When the “climate cataclysm” televangelist sold his holdings in Current TV to Aljazeera America, another famous environmentalist and self-made victim, Bill McKibben, made some less than supportive comments. (McKibben successfully converted his white, straight, male, middle-class status into pitiable victimhood, by portraying himself and everyone else as “victims” of fossil fuels and climate change.)

The fossil fuel riches from the backers of this bold new “news” media outlet, the kingdom of Qatar, seemed to offend Mr. McKibben. Who else but obscenely wealthy oil-rich Arabs could afford to pay so much for such a questionable business venture? he wondered. Of course, we presume, profits were not a high priority for the Qataris in this particular deal, though we could be wrong.

All these thoughts and stories came back to us recently, because McKibben now has his own film: Do the Math, the movie version of his previous Rolling Stone article and nationwide tour, all intended to save the planet from the climate Armageddon that computer models and previous movies “prove” is coming.

Viewers don’t have to get very far into the film to spot a worn-out, but proven practice. News anchor Diane Sawyer plays her part perfectly, when she informs the world that 2012 was the hottest year ever in the United States. The claim itself is highly doubtful, since we’re talking about hundredths of a degree, scattered thermometers 80 years ago versus much more widespread and sophisticated measuring devices today, and recent measurements that are contaminated by all kinds of urban, AC and airport heat.

All that is irrelevant to Sawyer and McKibben, of course. Once they get the “hottest year ever” into the chatter, it becomes fact – and not just regional, or even national, but global. Regional temperatures are important, and even have national and international implications – but only if the temperatures have gone up. If they’ve decreased or remained unchanged, they are irrelevant in televangelist climate messages.

(Naturally, that reminds us of the Wall Street types who keep regulators amused and busy, by using similarly clever tactics to describe stock and bond markets, and attract unwary investors.)

That’s the “it’s really very simple” routine on which Do the Math is based.

Mr. McKibben had been in a cozy, if not profitable, journey with Mr. Gore – fighting the evil fossil fuel mountain of cash and its presumed hell-bent destruction of Planet Earth. However, it didn’t take Mr. Bill very long to conveniently see the light (he probably flipped a fossil-fuel-powered switch), revealing the oil-funded opportunity for riches. Now that he has moved far beyond his organization and become a film maker, Mr. McK salivates, can a Nobel Prize and million-dollar payoff be far behind?

Actually, it is mind-numbing to see him rehash his Rolling Stone piece, “Global warming’s terrifying new math” – and divine three magic numbers that he says are absolutely critical if we are to save the planet. Here they are, paraphrased as commandments.

Thou shalt not let planetary temperatures go above 2 degrees Celsius of warming.

Thou shalt not burn more than another 565 gigatons of carbon (or you will violate the first commandment).

Thou shalt not allow corporations to burn the 2,795 gigatons worth of CO2 that they now have in reserve.

The 2 degrees (3.5 deg F) presumes that anything higher risks catastrophe for life on earth. It comes from the civic-minded and unimpeachable folks at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They said so in their 2007 AR4 report. Therefore, it’s still climate chaos gospel, even though their 2013 AR5 report waffled on this point, IPCC bureaucrats massaged the “science” to make sure it corresponded to their politics and previous proclamations, and IPCC reports are replete with errors, stupidity and fraud.

Indeed, the IPCC’s analyses for biological impacts from any climate changes are purely speculative – but obviously quite profitable for Gore, McKibben and IPCC pseudo-scientists. Predictions of doom mean never having to say you’re sorry, even if you’re wrong every time. Just collect your next paycheck.

In reality, numerous scientists disagree with the IPCC on this (and a lot more), and say such moderate warming would probably be beneficial for humans, wildlife and planet. By contrast, 2 degrees C of cooling could be dangerous or even disastrous, especially by reducing growing seasons and arable cropland, and forcing us to plow a lot more temperate zone wildlife habitats to feed hungry people.

The 565 gigatons presumes that this much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will hit a “tipping point,” beyond which global temperatures would climb uncontrollably. There is no evidence whatsoever for this. Heck, the fact that average global temperatures have not budged in 16 years, despite steadily climbing CO2 levels, underscores how wrong and useless IPCC models, predictions and junk science have been.

Finally, according to McKibben, corporations now have enough oil, gas and coal in their reserves to spew 2,795 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. And they’re planning to burn it all! (This number does not reflect the enormous growth in petroleum reserves, due to recent discoveries and the ability of hydraulic fracturing to unlock another century of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids that supply over 80% of the energy that makes modern civilizations, living standards and life spans possible.)

All these numbers and statements are presented with such passion that you’re almost convinced they were written by ancient seers on scrolls discovered in a Middle Eastern cave, foretelling a future plot by Romanum Imperium Petroleum. Or perhaps the mystical numbers were handed down on stone tablets – presumably granite, not anything made from nasty carbon-based rocks like limestone or marble!

Mr. McKibben has had no qualms about jumping in bed with the Middle Eastern fossil fuel industry, to fight the evil Western fossil fuel industry. Aljazeera America seems to be the official home for his so-called “documentary,” to rally True Believers to the cause of fighting “carbon pollution.”

Just because his buddies Al Gore and Rajandra Pachauri made tens of millions of dollars off carbon trading schemes, before the EU carbon market collapsed, is no reason people should be suspicious of Mr. McK’s alliances, numbers or intentions. After all, numbers don’t lie, especially when “green” credentials promote “green” alternative energy schemes and bring in so many “greenback” dollars. Do the math.


Tobacco-industry supporter Al Gore

Asked by the ABC to comment on Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s view that climate change isn’t linked to the Australian bushfires, Big Oil millionaire Al Gore launches into a smearing speech about tobacco corruption:

"Well, it’s not my place to get involved in your politics, but it reminds me of politicians here in the United States who got a lot of support from the tobacco companies and who argued to the public that there was absolutely no connection between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer.

And for 40 years the tobacco companies were able to persuade pliant politicians within their grip to tell the public what they wanted them to tell them."

Gore is far better qualified to talk about politicians in the grip of tobacco companies than he is to discuss Australian fires. As the New York Times reported in 1996:

"Six years after Vice President Al Gore’s older sister died of lung cancer in 1984, he was still accepting campaign contributions from tobacco interests. Four years after she died, while campaigning for President in North Carolina, he boasted of his experiences in the tobacco fields and curing barns of his native Tennessee. And it took several years after Nancy Gore Hunger’s death for Mr. Gore and his parents to stop growing tobacco on their own farms in Carthage, Tenn."

Here’s Gore in 1988:

"Throughout most of my life, I raised tobacco. I want you to know that with my own hands, all of my life, I put it in the plant beds and transferred it. I’ve hoed it. I’ve dug in it. I’ve sprayed it, I’ve chopped it, I’ve shredded it, spiked it, put it in the barn and stripped it and sold it."

You know, it just might be that Al Gore is some kind of hypocrite.


Britain says 'no' to green levies: More than half of voters object to paying eco taxes

Nearly two-thirds of voters oppose planned hikes in green taxes – and back David Cameron in his battle with Nick Clegg to ‘roll back’ the levies.

A total of 60 per cent of voters object to the charges, which will hit households with an extra Ł270 per year on their energy bills by 2020. Just 18 per cent support the taxes.

The findings, in a Survation poll, come after a week in which double-digit hikes by the energy companies dominated debate at Westminster.

The row over heating bills was galvanised last month when Ed Miliband pledged to freeze bills for two years after the next Election if he becomes Prime Minister.

But our survey reveals Mr Cameron’s promise last week to cut the levies is backed by more people (40 per cent) than Mr Miliband’s freeze (33 per cent). And only seven per cent back Mr Clegg.

The public seem sceptical about whether Mr Miliband’s freeze is workable: a majority, 54 per cent, think the energy companies will just hike their prices before or after the freeze to compensate for lost revenues.

The Mail on Sunday poll shows 61 per cent support for Mr Cameron’s move, against just 11 per cent who want to keep the taxes in place.

The energy firms say the compulsory levies – such as the Ł33 which the typical family pays each year in subsidies for wind farms and solar parks – have contributed to their price rises.

Last week ex-Prime Minister Sir John Major warned surging bills meant that millions of people would face a choice between ‘heating and eating’ this winter.

A total of 38 per cent of those asked by Survation said they have already had to cut back on essential purchases such as food to afford their heating bills.

This rises to 56 per cent of those in the poorest social groups. If extrapolated to the nation at large, it would mean 19 million people have had to choose between ‘heating and eating’.

It is clear from the poll who voters blame for the hikes: 59 per cent cite the firms while just 15 per cent blame the Government.

The same proportion blames the last Labour Government. The poll has Labour on 35 per cent, the Tories 29, the Lib Dems on 12 and UKIP 17.

Electricity costs are still certain to rise massively over the next seven years to pay for the shift to renewable energy – even if David Cameron succeeds in his plan to trim green levies, writes David Rose.

The reason is the new Energy Bill which commits Britain to colossal increases in subsidies for renewables such as wind and solar power. A Department of Energy and Climate Change document says the subsidies will rise steadily from about Ł2.35 billion now to Ł7.6 billion in 2020-21.

Energy expert Peter Atherton, of Liberum Capital, says green levies are likely to cost households an average of Ł400 a year just for electricity – minus mall reductions Mr Cameron hopes to make by trimming the budget for items such as insulation.
Wind farms

These eye-watering sums are the consequence of Britain’s earlier pledge to cut overall carbon dioxide emissions by 15 per cent by 2020, enshrined in the 2008 Climate Change Act – piloted by then Energy Secretary Ed Miliband.

It is much harder to cut emissions from transport and heating, so almost the entire cut must be absorbed by the power industry. To meet the Act’s legally binding target, it must triple the proportion of electricity made by renewables to 33 per cent, requiring an investment of about Ł100 billion. A further subsidy is to be paid to fossil fuel power station operators whose plants would otherwise become uneconomic. It is expected this will cost another Ł15 per home.

But experts say if subsidies look expensive in 2020, they will cost far more ten years later. Under the official ‘Fourth Carbon Budget’, set by the Government’s Committee on Climate Change, the UK power sector is supposed to have cut its emissions from electricity generation by about 90 per cent in 2030. Mr Atherton says this is likely to require more than Ł300 billion investment in nuclear plants and renewables.


Shale energy 'could supply UK’s gas needs for four years and save jobs’

The chief executive of the shale gas explorer Dart Energy warns that opponents to fracking are putting British jobs at risk

Opponents of fracking are putting British jobs at risk and failing to take advantage of a fuel source that could power the country’s gas needs for four years, the chief executive of the shale gas explorer Dart Energy warned.

John McGoldrick, who last week secured the backing of French energy giant GDF Suez in a Ł24m deal, said he hoped to begin drilling for shale in early 2015.

The company believes there could be 110 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of shale gas within its licence areas, with 60 tcf in the 13 blocks in which GDF has taken a 25pc stake. These span an area of 500 square miles, from Wrexham to York.

If only 10pc could be recovered, it would be equivalent to almost four years’ worth of UK gas consumption. Mr McGoldrick said its impact could be “transformational”.

Shale gas has the potential not only to ease rising domestic fuel bills but also to help supply crucial chemical feedstocks to struggling industrial plants such as Ineos’s refinery and petrochemicals plant at Grangemouth, he argued.

Grangemouth was saved from closure this week after unions agreed to a survival plan.

Ineos now plans to invest Ł300m at the site, mainly in a new shipping terminal to bring in cheap US ethane as feedstock, replacing dwindling North Sea supplies.

Mr McGoldrick said that the US market had been transformed by the increasing amounts of feedstock for the chemical industry as a result of the shale gas boom.

He said: “That’s a pertinent thing when you look at Grangemouth and our manufacturing base. If you can’t get the baseload for your chemical factories or plants then you are in trouble.”

He said Britain “absolutely” risked losing more industry if it was not able to exploit domestic shale gas. “Ineos is one of the biggest private companies in the UK and they are terribly fearful of the future because of the feedstock situation,” he said.

“This isn’t just the UK, it’s all of Europe. So from their perspective they want to see shale developed as quickly as they can.”

Such factors were often overlooked when the debate about shale gas focused on its potential use in heating or power generation, Mr McGoldrick said. “A [wind] turbine doesn’t give you feedstock; natural gas does.”

He said there had been “a lot of misinformation and scare tactics” used by opponents of fracking and that, ultimately, these risked endangering jobs.

“The logic is very simple. Unless you have got a competitive energy market, a competitive feedstock market, then by definition you are going to be uncompetitive and you lose jobs.”

Fracking involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to fracture the rock and extract gas trapped within it. Opponents fear this could lead to environmental damage or water contamination.

But Mr McGoldrick said such fears were unfounded and he was confident much of the opposition would “disappear”.

He added: “We have tremendous government support and when people actually see what we do, they will become much more relaxed,” he said. “The thing that generally worries more people in the UK is the energy costs,” he said.

While Britain’s shale resources have “enormous” potential, only drilling will show how much of the gas can actually be extracted.

“That is why we have got to do it quickly,” Mr McGoldrick said.

He dismissed fears that exploration would mean that “the whole country is going to be covered in shale wells”, insisting: “You don’t need that many square miles under development to actually truly transform the energy landscape.

I think through technology and good science we will figure out where the 'sweet spots’ are and that’s how it will get developed.”

Dart’s initial drilling campaign is expected to begin early next year, targeting “coal bed methane”, another kind of unconventional gas, which does not require fracking to extract.

Mr McGoldrick said the company had most of the required regulatory approvals to drill at five CBM sites and were now working with GDF to identify potential “sweet spots” for drilling for shale.

The $36m three-year drilling programme, funded by GDF, will include three or four shale wells depending on cost.

“We have technical work to do, then environmental assessment work to do, then approvals, so it’s unlikely we will see a shale well drilled under this arrangement next year. But thereafter we will be trying to do it as fast as we possibly can, consistent with environmental best practice and the relevant authorisations,” he said.

He welcomed moves by the Government to streamline the authorisations process which he described as “quite tortuous”.

Mr McGoldrick also predicted there would be further deals in the sector. Interest in Dart’s own process to seek a partner had “heated up” after British Gas owner Centrica’s Ł160m deal to buy into Cuadrilla’s Bowland shale licence in June.

“People realised this was a relatively small playground and with the Centrica-Cuadrilla deal a chunk of it has disappeared.

“The playground has got a lot smaller through our deal but there are bits and pieces still available. I would imagine there is potential for one or two more deals.”




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


27 October, 2013

Arctic temperatures are at a 44,000-year high - and greenhouse gases are to blame, claim scientists

Anthony Watts has made some reasonable criticisms of the report below but seems to have missed a feat of illogic that stands out like dog's balls to me. As the article itself mentions, temperatures on Baffin Island have a life of their own. They do not even match temperature changes in adjoining Greenland. But if Baffin Island is so out of line with the rest of the world, how can we made deductions about the rest of the world from it? Only a Warmist would think you could.

The Arctic generally is a patchwork of quite widely varying temperatures to this day. There appear to be several culprits for that, including variations in wind currents, variations in ocean currents and subsea vulcanism

Average summer temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic during the last 100 years are higher now than during any century in the past 44,000 years, scientists warned.

The study said that temperatures in the region could even be hotter than as long as 120,000 years ago.

The U.S. researchers believe the 'unprecedented warming' of Arctic Canada is due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
A couple of walruses are pictured

Average summer temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic during the last 100 years are higher now than during any century in the past 44,000 years, scientists warned.

Gifford Miller, study leader and geological sciences professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, said: 'This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.'

Scientists at the university believe their study is the first direct evidence that the present warmth in the Eastern Canadian Arctic exceeds the peak warmth there in the Early Holocene, when the amount of the sun’s energy reaching the Northern Hemisphere in summer was roughly nine per cent greater than today.

The Holocene is a geological epoch that began after Earth’s last glacial period ended roughly 11,700 years ago and continues today.

Professor Miller and his colleagues used dead moss clumps emerging from receding ice caps on Baffin Island as tiny clocks.

According to their paper, published in journal Geophysical Research Letters, the scientists compared 145 radiocarbon-dated plants with gas bubbles trapped in ice cores from the region, which show layers of snow over time and enable researchers to reconstruct past temperatures.

The plants were collected in the highlands of Baffin Island, which is located east of Greenland is the fifth largest island in the world and lies mostly inside the Arctic Circle.

The results showed the plants had been trapped in the ice for at least 44,000 years but could have been entombed for up to 120,000 years - suggesting that the temperatures in the area have not been so high for as long as 120,000 years.

'The key piece [of information] here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,' said Professor Miller, who is also a fellow at the university's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.

The scientists examined 145 radiocarbon-dated plants in the highlands of Baffin Island, which is located east of Greenland is the fifth largest island in the world, lying predominately inside the Arctic Circle

'Although the Arctic has been warming since about 1900, the most significant warming in the Baffin Island region didn’t really start until the 1970s,' said Professor Miller.

'It is really in the past 20 years that the warming signal from that region has been just stunning. All of Baffin Island is melting, and we expect all of the ice caps to eventually disappear, even if there is no additional warming,' he added.

The scientists said temperatures across the Arctic have been rising substantially in recent decades as a result of the buildup of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere.

Studies in Greenland by other researchers at the university indicate temperatures on the ice sheet have climbed 7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1991.


USA Today Serves Fruits and Nuts on Global Warming

On October 10, USA Today did its readers a grave disservice by running an op-ed full of smears and false statements by two of the fruitier nutcakes of the environmental movement, Dan Becker and James Gerstenzang.

They disparage Dr. Fred Singer and Dr. Robert Carter, two of the three lead authors of Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, the latest report from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). They also quote me, as head of The Heartland Institute, the organization that published CCR II. And for that, we thank them.

But the rest of their article is pure propaganda sludge.

They quote Dr. Carter, a paelaeontologist and marine geologist and former head of the School of Earth Sciences at James Cook University (Australia), as saying “Currently the planet is cooling.” “Wrong,” they say. “The last decade (2000-2009) was the hottest on record; 2010 was the hottest year recorded.” Their claim is trivially true based on a heavily revised and controversial database that goes back only to about 1850. More reliable satellite data show no warming trend for nearly 17 years and a cooling trend in the last decade. Proxy data show the planet has been cooling since 2,000 years ago and 8,000 years ago.

Becker and Gerstenzang quote Dr. Fred Singer, saying “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.” “Nope,” they say. “Acting under U.S. Supreme Court direction, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that CO2 is a pollutant because of the harm it causes.” Gee, who should we believe here, lawyers and bureaucrats or one of the world’s most distinguished astrophysicists? It shouldn’t be a close call.

Some 97% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from natural sources and only about 3% from human activities. We exhale carbon dioxide. The Supreme Court and EPA can twist the meaning of “pollutant” to extend it to anything added to the air, including our breath, but that semantic trick has no scientific relevance. Dr. Singer is absolutely right: carbon dioxide is plant food, a net benefit to plant and animal life, and not a pollutant.

Becker and Gerstenzang then quote me: “Most scientists do not believe human activities threaten to disrupt the Earth’s climate.” “Misleading, to say the least,” they write. “97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming.” This is such a cheap parlor trick that one wonders if alarmists realize how foolish it makes them look whenever they use it.

Skeptics don’t say humans are not “causing global warming,” because we acknowledge that agriculture, building roads and airports and water treatment plants, and emissions of various kinds (including carbon dioxide) may indeed affect regional climates and may even be enough to have a discernable impact globally. But is it enough to “disrupt the Earth’s climate”? There is no evidence that it is.

Surveys that supposedly show a consensus in favor of they hypothesis of man-made dangerous global warming invariably ask meaningless questions, such as “is climate change real?” that any skeptic would answer “yes” to. A close look at the latest “study” used by alarmists to back their claim actually found that barely 1% of published scientific articles support the claim of dangerous man-made global warming. (See D. Legates et al., “Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation,’” Science & Education, DOI 10.1007/s11191-013-9647-9.)

When asked about climate models, the source of most of the alarmists’ claims and predictions, most scientists say they are too crude and unreliable to be useful for policymaking. And think about this: If there were really a “consensus” among scientists about climate change, why are there 78 different climate models that vary widely in their “parameters” (assumptions) and outcomes?

Becker and Gerstenzang make the familiar argument that the media shouldn’t allow global warming skeptics to air their views on their pages or as part of their broadcasts because doing so “equates serious climate science and evaluation of peer-reviewed reports with the declarations of individuals, most lacking academic degrees in climate research, who are often funded by those standing to profit if the United States fails to curb carbon dioxide emissions.”

I count four falsehoods in that one sentence, not counting the authors’ hubris in assuming that they are on the right side of this complex scientific debate. Can you find them?

The reports of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are not “serious climate science.” They are political documents produced to advance the political goals of the governments that created the IPCC, fund it, staff it, select the scientists who get to participate, and revise and rewrite the reports before their public release. Critics all around the world have pointed out how the IPCC’s reports are not reliable, not peer reviewed, and certainly not unbiased.

NIPCC, in contrast, is a group of some 50 skeptical scientists, all of them highly qualified to speak to the issues they address, with no financial stake in the outcome of the global warming debate. Many of them, such as Singer, are emeritus professors, meaning they are no longer competing for grant dollars. No corporate or government funding at all was used to support NIPCC or the publication of its Climate Change Reconsidered series of reports.

In the global warming debate there are two primary sources of reviews of the peer-reviewed science: the IPCC and NIPCC. The first is politicized, unreliable, and largely discredited. NIPCC is the new kid on the block, nonpolitical, and endorsed by many leading climate scientists. NIPCC now best represents the views of independent scientists.

It’s time to stop attacking the messenger and start listening to the message. It is very clear: The human impact on climate is small, future climate change attributable to human activities is likely to be too small to discern from natural variability, and efforts to reduce human carbon dioxide emissions are unnecessary.


Thank Global Warming for Fewer Hurricane Sandy Events

Next week marks the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, which will launch a plethora of alarmist media stories about global warming. We will be told global warming is responsible for creating Sandy. We will be told global warming is responsible for making Sandy stronger than would otherwise have been the case. We will be told global warming is responsible for Sandy striking so far north, in the U.S. Northeast. We will be told global warming is responsible for the extra storm surge when Sandy came ashore. All of these assertions are myths contradicted by objective science.

Global hurricane numbers have been declining for decades as our planet continues its modest warming. Common sense tells us if hurricanes are becoming rarer as the planet warms, a warming planet is not creating more hurricanes.

The decline in hurricanes is even more pronounced in the context of major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) striking the United States. If major hurricanes are undergoing the greatest decline, common sense [and logic] tells us global warming is not making hurricanes stronger.

The U.S. Northeast experienced only a single major hurricane strike during the past 50 years, versus six major hurricane strikes in the preceding 30 years. Hurricane Sandy (technically an extra-tropical storm with Category 1-equivalent winds when it came ashore) was quite minor compared with the major hurricanes that frequently struck the U.S. Northeast when our planet was cooler. As our planet warms, the U.S. Northeast is finding welcome relief from catastrophic hurricanes.

Finally, even if global sea level has risen by seven inches during the past century, Sandy’s 14-foot storm surge still would have been 13 feet, 5 inches without the sea-level rise. More importantly, without global warming there would likely be stronger, more frequent hurricane strikes along the U.S. Northeast bringing much higher storm surges than 14 feet. Also, without the increased atmospheric wind shear associated with global warming, Hurricane Sandy may have developed into a stronger hurricane with a deadlier storm surge.

The media will drum up all sorts of alarm about Hurricane Sandy and global warming next week, but sound science reveals we should thank global warming for fewer Hurricane Sandy events.


Ocean "acidification" is no threat to one lot of shell-dwelling creatures

Despite simplistic Greenie logic that says otherwise

Discussing: Ginger, K.W.K., Vera, C.B.S., Dineshram, R., Dennis, C.K.S., Adela, L.J., Yu, Z. and Thiyagarajan, V. 2013. "Larval and post-larval stages of Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) are resistant to elevated CO2." PLoS ONE 8: e64147.

In the words of Ginger et al. (2013), it is widely believed that" human-caused pH change is posing serious threats and challenges to the pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), especially to their larval states." However, they note that "our knowledge of the effect of reduced pH on C. gigas larvae presently relies presumptively on four short-term (< 4 days) survival and growth studies." And they clearly feel that this paucity of experimental data is insufficient to draw such strong conclusions.

Against this backdrop, and based on multiple physiological measurements made during various life stages of the oysters, Ginger et al. studied "the effects of long-term (40 days) exposure to pH 8.1, 7.7 and 7.4 on larval shell growth, metamorphosis, respiration and filtration rates at the time of metamorphosis, as well as the juvenile shell growth and structure of C. gigas.

In doing so the seven scientists discovered that (1) "mean survival and growth rates were not affected by pH," that (2) "the metabolic, feeding and metamorphosis rates of pediveliger larvae were similar, between pH 8.1 and 7.7," that (3) "the pediveligers at pH 7.4 showed reduced weight-specific metabolic and filtration rates, yet were able to sustain a more rapid post-settlement growth rate," and that (4) "no evidence suggested that low pH treatments resulted in alterations to the shell ultra-structures or elemental compositions (i.e., Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios)."

In light of these several positive findings, Ginger et al. concluded that "larval and post-larval forms of the C. gigas in the Yellow Sea are probably resistant to elevated CO2 and decreased near-future pH scenarios." In fact, they opine that "the pre-adapted ability to resist a wide range of decreased pH may provide C. gigas with the necessary tolerance to withstand rapid pH changes over the coming century."


Mann Attacks Fellow Warmist for Questioning Hockey Stick

Prominent global warming alarmist Michael Mann venomously attacked fellow warmist Rob Wilson after Wilson pointed out flaws in Mann’s “hockey stick” reconstruction of historic temperatures.

Wilson, a paleoclimatologist who is a post-doctoral research fellow at Scotland’s prestigious University of Edinburgh and an adjunct research fellow at Columbia University in the United States, delivered a two-hour lecture on climatology last week at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews. While discussing historical climate, Wilson documented several major procedural and substantive flaws in Mann’s hockey stick. Taking care to reassure people he is not part of the “skeptic” camp, Wilson nevertheless emphasized the importance of sound, unbiased science. Wilson concluded Mann’s hockey stick was “ultimately a flawed study.”

The thin-skinned and vitriolic Mann quickly took to his Twitter account to lash out at Wilson. When a Twitter follower asked Mann if he was really calling such a respected paleoclimate expert a “denier,” Mann replied, “Not for criticizing my work, but for apparently regurgitating #denialist drivel by the likes of McIntyre etc.”

Mann’s attack on a fellow warmist follows on the heels of Center for American Progress climate front man Joe Romm attacking fellow warmist Naomi Klein after Klein pointed out how the renewable energy industry is harming the warmist cause by gaming the system to its enhance its profits. The Center for American Progress is funded by the renewable fuel industry, and Romm pulled no punches attacking Klein for her point of view.

“Klein is the queen of conflation and revisionism,” Romm wrote about his fellow warmist on the Center for American Progress website.

Klein responded by saying Romm is motivated by prejudice and does not fact-check his assertions.


Texas Smart Meters become money meters

Monday electric customers received letters from Oncor telling them they're asking the Texas Public Utility Commission for the power to extract money from people for not installing Smart Meters.

It was Oncor's response to PUC's decision last December to develop a set of opt-out rules for people who wanted to keep their analog units.

The decision followed long-running battles between grassroots protestors and giant corporate power providers like Oncor in North Texas over installation of Smart Meters.

Dallas Libertarian Examiner has been reporting on this "power struggle" since 2010 through the eyes of "Mr. Smoot," an acronym for "Smart Meter Opt Out Texan," a Ft. Worth resident wishing to remain anonymous.

Here's a portion of the letter that Smoot sent via certified mail to the PUC:

"I just received my first official notice today (October 22, 2013) that Oncor filed with the PUC on September 30 that they want official state permission to rip off their customers who still have "non-standard" (meaning "standard analog") meters by looting them with a "one-time up-front fee" of up to $489.20 and an ongoing monthly charge maxing out at $28.45.

"And if the customer caves in and asks for the installation of the same Smart Meter that everyone else had installed at no cost they'll be robbed of a maximum of $769.20.

"This isn't an Opt Out plan; this is a severe punishment for not knuckling under and kissing Oncor's work boots from their first demand to impose their digital devices on everyone.

"It is outrageous for Oncor to charge me a fee for simply keeping a meter I already have and which therefore costs Oncor absolutely nothing.

"Charging me an extra monthly fee for sending a person to my home to read the meter is equally outrageous since Oncor has always done this as part of its service without charging an extra fee.

"Other places in the United States such as Vermont; Kaui, Hawaii; Ashland, Oregon among others, have FREE opt out programs while others have VERY low charges. Why is Oncor trying to gouge us?

"I am retired and living on a fixed income. This treatment is truly a grotesque outrage!

"I urge the Public Utilities Commission of Texas to disapprove all of these utterly unnecessary money-grabs and to do what the Commission is supposed to do: Protect the public!"




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


25 October, 2013

Bushfires and climate change

Australia is having some nasty forest fires (aka bushfires) at the moment -- as it does most years. In their usual form, Warmists want to claim that the fires are due to "climate change". Since most Australians are aware that we have ALWAYS had such fires, however, they struggle to make their case and the Prime Minister has been completely dismissive of their nonsense.

The article below is therefore both very cautious and very vague. There seems to be some claim that bushfire incidence has increased in recent years but there are no numbered graphs or other statistics to prove it. We have to wait almost to the end of the article to get some numbers and discover that we have been talking about relatively recent times. We read that fire-danger has increased substatially from 1973 to 2010 and also that the fire danger "is about a third higher since 1996-97"

It's no wonder that the author put that figure at the bottom of the article because it completely rips up his case. From 1997 on there has BEEN no global warming. So if there has been any temperature increase in Australia in that period, it is local, not global

Tony Abbott has not been afraid to use blunt language when asked about a link between climate change and this week's bushfires.

"Complete hogwash," is what the Prime Minister said in response to a question about the connection by News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt.

This came two days after an interview on Fairfax Radio, where he said United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres was "talking through her hat" for implying a link between climate change and the bushfires blazing across large regions of NSW.

"Climate change is real, as I've often said, and we should take strong action against it. But these fires are certainly not a function of climate change, they're a function of life in Australia," declared the Prime Minister.

But is that the advice Mr Abbott is getting from the experts at his disposal?

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has been briefed this week by the Bureau of Meteorology, and that wouldn't be its advice.

As the bureau told a Senate inquiry into extreme weather events earlier this year: "The Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI), which essentially 'sums' daily fire weather danger across the year, has increased significantly across many Australian locations since the 1970s.

"The number of locations with significant increases is greatest in the southeast, while the largest trends occurred inland rather than near the coast. The largest increases in seasonal FFDI have occurred during spring and autumn. This indicates a lengthened fire season."

Yet, despite this, why Mr Hunt found the need to consult Wikipedia is not so clear.

Mr Hunt did, though, point to a hotly debated link in the climate-bushfire chain. "Senior people at the Bureau of Meteorology” take a precautionary line, Mr Hunt said. “They always emphasise never trying to link any particular event to climate change."

Actually, Mr Hunt is slightly off the mark. To say that such a link can “never” be made is only true if you add the words “right now”.

In fact, climate scientists around the country and beyond will already have pointed their super-computers towards identifying a signal from the changing climate system.

Australia's famously variable climate makes it difficult to prove any major event is caused by climate change, only that the odds of it happening without a warming background would be less. It would be at least as hard to rule it out as "hogwash".

Temperature is one of the key factors influencing fire danger ratings - along with wind, humidity, and dryness of the fuel load.

The science is less certain about wind and humidity trends, but hotter temperatures are among Australia's clearest climate signals. It's not a huge leap to figure that hotter temperature would tend to dry out fuel loads more than cooler ones.

And you don't need to be a climate scientist to observe a clear warming trend - assuming, of course, you accept the integrity of the Bureau and the CSIRO.

Australia has warmed up by roughly 0.7 degrees nationally since 1960, the two organisations say.

But we're a big country and have seasons, so it's worth looking at spring maximums, since that's the current problem in NSW and also the season when the rate of warming happens to be fastest:

So Australia is getting hotter, especially NSW in spring.

Bushfire experts such as Hamish Clarke, Christopher Lucas and Peter Smith, have examined the data from weather stations across the country where the data is considered of sufficient quality and duration.

(Mr Smith was the head of climate science before leaving the NSW government in March, noting this week how the O'Farrell government has slashed in-house research into the issue; Dr Lucas remains a researcher with CSIRO and the bureau; and Mr Clarke continues to work for the NSW government, and is understood to have been busy defending his home in this week's blazes.)

Between 1973 and 2010, they found the Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI) – the measure used by fire authorities to determine whether the day will have a “low/moderate” to “catastrophic” fire danger – increased significantly at 16 of the 38 stations during the period. Not one registered a decrease.

The FFDI is complex, not least because it combines meteorological data and dryness of fuel. (For Sydney this year, July-October will smash records for average maximums, with each month the hottest or second hottest on record, while much of the eastern part of the state has been very dry since mid-June after a couple of wet years.)

That complexity is one reason why it's unwise to jump to a precise attribution of the NSW fires to global warming - but also why it's absurd to rule it out completely.

Sarah Perkins, an expert in heatwaves at the ARC Centre for Excellence in Climate System Science at the UNSW, can understand why some blanch at discussing climate change amid the past week's destructive fires, with hundreds of homes lost and thousands of lives disrupted.

But it's an issue that's unlikely to go away. “The eastern half of Australia is seeing an increase in the number of heatwave days,” Dr Perkins said, with heatwaves defined as three consecutive days when temperatures are in the top 10 per cent of warmth for that particular day.

“Those heatwaves outside summer are actually increasing faster than summertime events,” said Dr Perkins. “That is quite worrying for bushfire events and bushfire risk because it can induce this earlier drying of the fuel load.”

And, as fire authorities and many of their volunteers appear to accept, the science is pointing to 2013 being less extraordinary in the future. “It's more likely that these conditions will continue more often in spring, in the future,” Dr Perkins said.

NSW, of course, is hardly alone. Roger Jones, a researcher at Victoria University and former CSIRO scientist, says levels of fire dangers "have done the same thing as extreme temperatures".

For Victoria, that means the FFDI is about a third higher since 1996-97 than before. "That's generally not recognised," Dr Jones said, who is also a co-ordinating lead author for the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Dr Jones' work for the IPCC focused on decision making, aimed at resolving perhaps the most challenging link of them all - how to connect policymakers with the overwhelming findings of climate science.


Al Gore has no answers so resorts to ad hominem abuse

Junk Science: Al Gore, patron saint of climate fraud, argues with Australia's prime minister that its brushfires are not caused by warming and that the record shows the koala bear, like the polar bear, is quite safe.

They were the largest Australian bushfires in a populous region in recorded history, consuming half the state of Victoria, claiming 12 lives and destroying an estimated 1 million sheep and thousands of cattle. And they occurred in February 1851 during one of the coldest years on record.

Bushfires have been part of Australian life for centuries, long before the Industrial Revolution and the sale of the first SUV.

Since the 1851 fires, there've been the 1898 fires in Victoria, which consumed 2,000 buildings, fires in Victoria in 1938 that killed 71 and destroyed 3,700 buildings, and the Ash Wednesday fires in the early 1980s that left 71 dead in the state of South Australia.

Australia has been battling another round of massive bushfires west of Sydney for more than a week now, fires not unlike those that have occurred throughout its history. The difference is that this time we have Al Gore and his climate co-conspirators at the U.N., the corrupt and fraudulent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to blame the fires on climate change.

Gore is upset with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's insistence that the recent New South Wales wildfires are not linked to climate change and his statement on Australian radio that "these fires are certainly not a function of climate change, they are just a function of life in Australia."

Abbott has also dismissed U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres' assertion that there was "absolutely" a connection between wildfires and rising global temperatures.

In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Monday, Figueres, the head of the U.N.'s climate change negotiations, said there was a clear link between climate change and bushfires such as those raging in New South Wales.

That global temperatures have flat-lined for the past 15 years or so doesn't seem to bother Gore or Figueres. Ignoring the historical record and current satellite observations and measurements, Gore equated Abbott's comments to the insistence by tobacco companies for decades that there was no link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

"It reminds me of politicians here who got a lot of support from the tobacco companies and who argued to the public that there was absolutely no connection between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer," Gore said on ABC's Los Angeles affiliate Wednesday night.


$1Billion/Day To Prevent Global Warming As Antarctic Sea Ice Hits Record High

Governments and private entities throughout the world spent $359 billion last year – or nearly $1 billion per day – to prevent global warming even though the Earth’s temperature has remained virtually flat for the past 17 years.

But even $1 billion a day is apparently not enough, according to the Climate Policy Initiative’s (CPI) “Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2013” report released Tuesday, exactly one month after NASA researchers recorded a new record for sea ice in the Antarctic.

“An additional investment of USD 5 trillion is required by 2020 for the clean energy transition consistent with limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius,” CPI, which is partially funded y grants from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, stated. (See The-Global-Landscape-of-Climate-Finance-2013.pdf)

“Landscape 2013 finds that global climate finance flows have plateaued at USD 359 billion, or around USD 1 billion per day – far below even the most conservative estimates of investment needs,” the report concludes.

Of that $359 billion, 94 percent was spent to support “greenhouse gas mitigation,” including 2,016 large-scale renewable projects based in 19 countries” and various “sustainable transportation projects” worldwide.

In addition to spending vast sums on renewable energy projects, various government and quasi-government agencies are tightening the flow of capital to more traditional sources of energy. For example, the report noted that the World Bank Group and the European Investment Bank both “recently pledged to limit or cease funding for coal-fired power generation projects, while committing to reinforce support for renewables and energy efficiency investments.”

Bemoaning the fact that climate-related investment from “private investors, who can and should provide the lion’s share of global climate finance,” have remained flat in recent years because they “only invest their money when the returns on offer outweigh the costs,” CPI called for more public resources to “alter the balance between risk and return in ways that drive the supply and demand for finance.”

“Private capital flows into climate investments when public incentives and money make them commercially attractive by taking off risk and reducing incremental costs,” the report stated, identifying “five entry points for public money, ranging from direct investments in low-carbon, climate-resilient projects, active shareholding, and provision of financial incentives, to covering risks, or paying for incremental costs, viability gaps, knowledge and capacity.”

Public financing, which currently accounts for “38 percent of global climate finance,” can involve “low-cost loans, risk coverage mechanisms, direct project investment, and technical support,” the report suggested.



Guy Williams, sea ice specialist with Hobart’s Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre, explains the massive growth in Antarctic ice coverage:

“It’s a common myth and should be dispelled: that if sea ice disappears one season in the Arctic it magically reappears in the next season in the Antarctic. That couldn’t be further from the truth. They are two completely different (climate) systems, responding to (global) warming in different ways.”

So if the ice vanishes, it’s due to global warming. And if it increases, it’s also due to global warming. Interesting.


GM food controversy is over, British minister claims, and the public only care about the cost of food

Consumers no longer care about the issue of GM crops, the Environment Secretary claims. Owen Paterson insisted genetically modified products should be cultivated and manufactured in Britain and said they would cut costs for hard-pressed shoppers.

Mr Paterson, a Government cheerleader for the technology, which Britain has resisted, said consumers had accepted a move to allow shops to sell meat from animals raised on GM feed, suggesting public opposition had softened.

He added: ‘It is impossible to detect. If an animal, a chicken or a pig, has eaten GM material, you can’t tell. The fact that the public didn’t react to that was very interesting.’

His latest intervention prompted an angry response from anti-GM campaigners, who accused him of misrepresenting the evidence and taking voters’ views for granted.

Mr Paterson, in an interview for political magazine, The House, said consumers had happily accepted a move to allow meat from animals fed on GM animal feed, suggesting controversy had dimmed.

‘I thought it was very interesting when some of the main retailers [Tesco and others] felt that they could no longer tell their consumers that they were selling meat products which had not consumed GM material at some stage because nearly all our animal feed now has contained some GM.

‘Of course it is undetectable, it is impossible to detect. If an animal, a chicken or a pig has eaten GM material, you can’t tell. I thought the fact that the public didn’t react to that was very interesting.’ The minister insisted that GM had been grown across much of the rest of the world for many years and there were no reports of any adverse impact.

‘There are 17 million farmers cultivating 170m hectares which is 12 per cent of the world’s arable land, which is seven times the surface area of the UK and not a single person has come to me with a report of any health problem,’ he said.

‘The fact that every single member of the House of Commons has been on holiday to America and has come back happily, healthy and sane shows that this is a technology which can feed the world. It’s not the only solution but it is a very valuable technology.’

The Environment Secretary, who is thought to want GM products widely available on supermarket shelves by the end of the decade, added: ‘It would be good to grow some GM crops in this country because some of these products would be cheaper which helps our consumers, who are under a lot of pressure. We all know the cost of living and the cost of food has become an issue.’

He also claimed there were ‘massive environmental gains’. ‘There are huge reductions in spraying... there would be massive savings in pretty strong chemicals which we spray the whole time, huge savings in diesel, huge savings in compaction of soil, there’s no doubt about it. That’s a straight help to agriculture.’

Mr Paterson also saidn ‘agritechnology’, which covers GM crops and conventional crop manipulation, represents a major business opportunity for Britain and was an industry in which the country should become a world leader.

‘We have top class research institutions... when I was in Germany I was talking to other companies and I would love them to come here.

'This doesn’t have to be GM. We are looking at a conventional wheat development which could increase the yield of wheat by 25 per cent, I would love that to be done here.

‘I would like the UK to become the leading nation in Europe for agritechnology. I would really like to go a whole step further.’

Mr Paterson insisted that products were being cleared by watchdogs for human consumption, but then blocked across Europe because of political resistance.

‘Time and again, products pass through the very rigorous scientific process and then get stuck at the political level. So we are talking at member state level to other member states to see if we can get this moving. Because at the moment Europe is going to fall further and further behind,’ he said.

Mr Paterson caused controversy earlier this month when he said millions of children in the developing world are ‘dying or going blind’ because GM crops, some of which are desgined to boost vitamin content, have not been more widely adopted.

Dr Helen Wallace, of GeneWatch, which campaigns to ensure any use of GM is in the public interest, said: ‘There would be a massive disadvantage to Britain’s reputation for good farming if we grew GM crops in Britain.

‘The evidence shows that GM crops which are resistant to weedkillers actually increase the amount of spraying which harms wildlife. Polls show that the public wants meat, milk and dairy products fed on GM animal feed to be labelled. Then we would have a better gauge of whether people actually want to buy it.

‘I think Owen Paterson will be surprised by the reaction if he tries to have GM crops grown in this country. There are still very many people who are strongly opposed to this technology, and growing them here would cause a big backlash.’

Due to the controversy when GM technology was first adopted in the 1990s, there are only a handful of products containing GM crops currently available on British high streets.

Currently, there are no commercial GM crops in Britain, but livestock is commonly reared on imported GM feed.

But the Prime Minister, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Mark Walport, and Science Minister David Willetts have all voiced support for GM. The scientific community also overwhelmingly supports its wider use, with experts insisting each product must be judged on its merits rather than damning a whole technology.


UN Climate Fund Approves Business Class Travel--With Higher Carbon Footprint

The U.N.’s $100 billion Global Climate Fund, currently establishing itself but struggling to attract donor support, has adopted a travel policy that will allow eligible board members to fly business class on trips of more than nine hours’ duration.

“The Fund is committed to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions [carbon dioxide and other substances blamed for climate change] arising from its travel operations,” reads the policy, adopted at a GCF board meeting in Paris this month.

It mandates economy class for flights shorter than nine hours, and encourages train travel “wherever this is a viable option.”

A World Bank study this year concluded that, for purposes of calculating the amount of CO2 emitted during a flight, the “footprint per mile” for a premium (first or business) class seat is “substantially greater than for economy class.”

This is because premium class seats are heavier, premium class passengers have a bigger baggage allowance, and their seats take up aircraft floor space disproportionate to the number of passengers they accommodate.

The authors noted that although most major institutions now accept the principle of “offsetting” carbon emissions from staff travel, none “has to date any offset program based on calculations developed in this report.”

One popular online carbon calculator says a return flight from Paris, France to Seoul, South Korea – a direct flight of 11 hours – racks up 1.57 tons CO2-equivalent (CO2e) when flown on economy class, but it jumps to 4.56 tons when flown on business class.

The Green Climate Fund was launched in 2011 as a result of an agreement reached at a Dec. 2009 climate conference in Copenhagen. It aims to help developing countries curb greenhouse gas emissions and cope with phenomena blamed on climate change, such as droughts and rising sea levels.

The ambitious project is meant to raise $100 billion a year from public and private sources by 2020. As of June 30, 2013, it had received pledges and contributions amounting to just $9 million – just $1.7 more than it reported the previous October. Of that, $7.5 million had been actually received, from 10 donor countries (seven in Europe plus South Korea, Japan and Australia).

Undeterred by the apparent lack of early success, the board said in a statement that fundraising would begin “within three months of the adoption of a set of key policies and procedures that enable the fund to receive, manage and disburse funds.”

“We are getting ready for business,” said the fund’s Tunisian executive director Hela Cheikhrouhou after the meeting, which was described as having “marked the end of the interim phase.”

Meanwhile, for the 2014 calendar year the GCF has proposed a budget of $18.8 million, of which $11.8 million will cover consultancies and salaries for secretariat staff, comprising up to five directors, 31 mid- to senior-level posts, two entry-level posts, 10 support staff, and the executive director.

Travel for 2014 is budgeted at $904,500: $814,500 to get attendees to and from board meetings and $90,000 for secretariat travel.

The board comprises 12 members, plus 12 alternate members, from developing countries; and 12 members, plus 12 alternate members, from developed countries. Board members who will be eligible for funded travel are the 12 from developing countries, plus their 12 alternate members.

Also eligible for funded travel are 24 advisors (one for each of the funded board members) plus any civil society or non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives from developing countries whose participation as “active observers” has been approved by the board.

For the 24 funded board members, “the class of service will be business class for travel times exceeding nine hours,” the travel policy says. Advisors and observers” “will travel least costly (usually economy class), regardless of the travel time.”

The board meeting in France was the fifth since August 2012, with earlier ones held in Switzerland, Germany, and twice in South Korea which is set to become the GCF secretariat’s permanent headquarters. The next meeting is scheduled for February 2014 in Indonesia.

‘Climate neutral’

According to the U.N.’s 2007 “climate neutral strategy,” U.N. bodies are urged “to undertake efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the greatest extent possible.”

“Air travel is consistently reported to be the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions for UN agencies, representing slightly over 50 percent of total emissions on average,” says the latest edition of an annual report on “the U.N.’s footprint and how to reduce it.”

The report lists CO2-equivalent emissions for 49 U.N. entities for 2012. The average across the 49 is 7.3 tons per staff member.

In the breakdown, many U.N. bodies fall below that average – for example, the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) recorded just 2.5 tons CO2e per staff member and the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 4.0 tons.

But among those recording CO2 emissions higher than the average were three agencies responsible for the environment. They were the U.N. Environment Program (9.3 tons per staff member), the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (13.6 tons) and the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification (topping the list at 26 tons). The GCF is not listed.

For those three agencies, the proportion of the emissions recorded as having arisen from staff air travel was 88 percent, 98 percent and 97 percent respectively.




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


24 October, 2013

Extreme Heat Is Proving Deadly In Sweden

A small detail overlooked below: CRUTEM4 shows no warming in southern Sweden over the last 30 years. And if there HAS been any warming, it's not global anyway, as there has been no global warming for 17 years. Note also that global warming is an average. Some places will be hotter and some places will be colder than the average. Sweden could be one of the hotter on average places without it implying anything at all

Climate change has resulted in about 1,500 premature deaths in Sweden over the last 30 years, according to a new study.

The study, published in Nature Climate Change, found that temperature increases between 1980 and 2009 caused 300 premature deaths in Stockholm, which researchers say translates into about 1,500 deaths across Sweden. The researchers found that, compared to climate data for 1900 to 1929, instances of extremely hot weather signifigantly increased over the 30-year period, causing deaths due to extreme heat to double. They also found that, even though winters as a whole were milder over the 30-year span, there were more instances of extreme cold events, which contributed to a slight increase of deaths over the winter.

Daniel Oudin Ĺström of Sweden’s Umeĺ University, who conducted the study, said the results show that people in Sweden haven’t appropriately adapted to increasing temperatures in the country.

“The study findings do not suggest any adaptation of the Swedes when it comes to confronting the increasingly warmer climate, such as increased use of air conditioning in elderly housing,” he said. “It is probably because there is relatively little knowledge in regards to increased temperatures and heat waves on health.”

Sweden, with its usually temperate climate, is not the only region facing early deaths from heat waves. In China, temperatures surpassing 105 degrees Fahrenheit killed dozens of people this summer. In 2003, the hottest summer on record in Europe was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 70,000 people. The heat in Europe created unbearable conditions for the young and elderly especially, and it coupled with the lack of wind made pollutants like car exhaust hang in the air, creating dangerous environments for those with asthma.

In the U.S., heat is the leading cause of weather-related death, responsible for the deaths of 155 people in 2012 alone. In 2006, a brutal heat wave that spread throughout most of the U.S. was responsible for or contributed to the deaths of 140 people in New York City alone, most of whom were older and lacked air conditioning. In May, a study predicted that by the 2020s, heat-related deaths in New York City could increase by 20 percent — by the 2080s, under some extreme scenarios, they could jump by 90 percent.

As the climate warms, heat waves are becoming longer, more frequent and more intense — since the 1950s, the duration of heat waves has increased worldwide. Some cities and states have taken action: New York state has a program that distributes air conditioners to low-income New Yorkers with serious medical conditions. But other states are struggling to provide for their most vulnerable residents as temperatures rise: in Texas, a program that helps low-income Texans pay their electricity bills will run out of money in 2016, which could force those Texans to go without air conditioning for the summer. And though air conditioners can be a lifesaver in a heatwave, they ultimately are bad news for the climate: during the 2013 heat wave, New York City broke its record for energy use in a single day, as residents with access to A.C. cranked it up to stay cool.


Climate change alarmism caused our high energy prices

People will die this winter because of the environmentalist obsession with the end of the world, writes Jacob Rees-Mogg. Jacob is sometimes described as the biggest brain in Britain's House of Commons. He certainly knows a lot about history -- which is poison to the Green/Left

There is sometimes an almost vindictive streak in politics whereby governments follow policies which they know will harm the electorate but nonetheless they keep them, sometimes for years. The Corn Laws are a classic example. They were defended on the need to secure the prosperity of agriculture which provided so much employment, even if that increased the price of bread for those living in cities. It enriched the landowners who made up a good proportion of the political nation, so served self-interest as well as the poor farm labourer.

Eventually, in an act of great boldness, Sir Robert Peel split the Tory party and pushed through the abolition of the Corn Laws on the back of Whig votes in the House of Commons. This helped reduce the price of bread which was the mainstay of the average Briton’s diet. However, these laws had lasted for 31 years in peace time, often to the serious detriment of the people.

In the 2010s it is not the price of bread that is falsely and unnecessarily inflated by obstinate politicians but that of energy. There are cheap sources of energy either available or possible but there is a reluctance to use them. Coal is plentiful and provides the least expensive electricity per megawatt, while fracking may provide a boon of shale gas. Unfortunately, coal-fired power stations are being shut down because of European Union regulations and shale gas exploration is moving at a slow pace.

It is against this background that energy companies have announced price rises. The regulations imposed by the Government underlie them and additional green taxes exacerbate the situation. The expansion of relatively expensive nuclear power at Ł92.50 per megawatt, almost double the current market price, is justified by some because it is cheaper than the quite unnecessary wind schemes. But it is much more expensive than coal or gas and these high energy prices which punish the poor most particularly are a matter of choice not of necessity.

The reason this has been done is, of course, because of climate change fears. But is it a reasonable or proportionate response? It is widely accepted that carbon dioxide emissions have risen but the effect on the climate remains much debated while the computer modelling that has been done to date has not proved especially accurate. Sceptics remember that computer modelling was behind the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the global financial crisis; common sense dictates that if the Meteorological Office cannot forecast the next season’s weather with any success it is ambitious to predict what will happen decades ahead. However, even if all their fears are right the influence of the United Kingdom is limited. This country is responsible for under 2 per cent of global emissions so even if the British freeze and industry is made uncompetitive it will not save the world.

Eschatological fears are an ancient human concern. The Romans expected the world to end in 634 BC owing to a prophecy involving twelve eagles while the early Christians anticipated the Final Judgement in their own lifetimes. Pope Sylvester II thought AD 1000 would be the last year, a view updated for the modern age by the Millennium bug.

Clearly expectations of a final disaster are part of man’s psychology and the doomsayers of the quasi religious Green movement fit the bill. Perhaps one day the world will end, giving the last group to predict it the satisfaction of being right – but as many have been wrong so far it does not seem wise to make public policy on the back of these fears.

In the 1830s the average price of a quarter of corn was Ł2 16s 2d compared to the Prussian price (including the cost of freight to London) of Ł1 10s 5d. Even after the average tariff of 7s 2d was added imported corn ought still to have been cheaper but such was the acceptance of high prices and the reluctance to import that the market did not adjust. Something similar seems to be happening to the energy market. As the Government has made the price higher so the energy companies put a margin on top. High prices are almost expected.

The solution to this is to free the market, not to control prices which will simply reduce supply. Hence the time has come to copy Sir Robert Peel. He saw that the Corn Laws made the condition of the people worse. Modern politicians know that their constituents will suffer this winter and some may die because they cannot afford fuel. This can be stopped by ending the environmentalist obsession and delivering cheap energy.


Under-Fire Cameron Calls For Roll-Back Of Green Energy Taxes

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron appeared to signal a major shift in energy policy today as he told MPs that the Goverment should “roll back” costly environmental regulations and charges brought in by the last Labour government.

Mr Cameron suggested the plan as he came under pressure at Prime Minister’s Question from Ed Miliband, who taunted him over Sir John Major’s call yesterday for a windfall tax on energy companies.

The Prime Minister was further embarrassed when he was rebuked by the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, for twice calling Mr Miliband a “conman” for his promise to freeze energy bills if he wins the next election.

“Conman is, frankly, unparliamentary,” Mr Bercow said. “The Prime Minister is a man of great versatility in the use of language. It’s a bit below the level — we’ll leave it there.”

Mr Miliband’s promise to freeze prices for 20 months after the election has been dismissed by the Goverment as economically illiterate and impossible to implement, but appears to have struck a chord with voters.

A fresh round of price increases from the Big Six energy companies, which threatens to push average household energy bills past Ł1,500 a month, has added to the pressure on Mr Cameron to tackle the energy market.

In a lunch with political reporters yesterday, Sir John rejected the price freeze plan — although he said that Mr Miliband’s heart was “in the right place” — and called instead for a windfall tax on energy profits to help pay pensioners’ bills this winter.

A jubilant Labour leader reminded that Mr Cameron today of his comment that anyone who wanted to intervene in the energy markets was a “Marxist”.

“How does he feel now that the Red Peril has claimed Sir John Major,” he asked, pressing the Prime Minister to choose between either the windfall tax or an immediate price freeze.

In a move likely to put him at odds with the Liberal Democrats, Mr Cameron said that green regulations introduced by Mr Miliband as Energy Secretary, which add to household energy bills, would have to be ditched.

“We need to roll back some of the green regulations and charges that push up our bills. We all know who put them in place,” he said.


Controlling the Scientists

by Dr. Vincent Gray

The Environmental Movement is an anti-science pseudo religion which believes that humans are destroying “The Planet”, In order to promote this view they have set up organisations for their activists, such as Greenpeace, where every member and official had to propagate the official doctrine, imposed from above.

IPCC sinking

In the 1980s a group of rogue scientists, who supported this dogma, suggested that the public and governments would accept it more readily if it was a “settled” opinion of a sufficiently large group of scientists. They invented a new pseudo-scientific model of the climate which ignored the scientific understanding of the climate built up by generations of meteorologists, which was supposedly related to Fourier’s explanation of how a greenhouse worked. It claimed that climate is controlled by human–related emissions of carbon dioxide and other minor “greenhouse gases."

They persuaded the World Meteorological Association and their own United Nations Environment Programme to set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to gather together scientific material to support this project in preparation for the Rio Earth Summit in 1991 which launched the deception.

At the time, employment of scientists had fallen, Generous salaries, promotion and foreign travel was offered to those who would support this programme, combined with a campaign of elimination of critics by influence on Journal Editors, the Universities, Official Scientific Bodies and the international media.

The IPCC has now issued five major Reports. These have been amazingly successful in persuading governments all over the world that they can prevent what is alleged to control “global warming” by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other minor 'greenhouse gases.'

The IPCC ran into a problem that does not affect an organisation such as Greenpeace, Scientists are usually trained to think for themselves, and some of those who have been recruited to support the “climate change” programme find if difficult not to insert their reservations into the opinions that are proscribed for them.

The main mechanism for ensuring uniformity of thought is applied by the presence in all of the IPCC Reports of a “Summary for Policymakers” at the beginning. This is really a Summary BY Policymakers, because it is dictated, line by line by the government representatives who control the IPCC to a group of reliable “Drafting Authors” It is published before the main Report, to emphasize the need for conformity. In addition they try to exert pressure in the choice of “Lead Authors”, and in the treatment of comments made by the “reviewers” who receive drafts of the Reports.

Despite all this pressure, complete uniformity of thought has, so far, never been achieved. The First IPCC Report “Climate Change´(1990) stated plainly:

“The persons named below all contributed to the peer review of the IPCC Working Group I Report. Whilst every attempt was made by the Lead Authors to incorporate their comments, in some cases these formed a minority opinion which could not be reconciled with the larger consensus. Therefore, there may be persons below who still have points of disagreement with areas of the Report.”

But it still stated, even in the “Summary for Policymakers” of the 1990 Report and in its 1992 Supplement:

“The size of this warming (which they claimed) is broadly consistent with predictions of climate models but it is also of the same magnitude as natural climate variability.”

Climate observations, which appear only in the last chapter of the 1990 report, are not “broadly consistent with the predictions of climate models.” Also all subsequent Reports had to admit that they are actually incapable of making “predictions” but only “projections” dependent on whether you believe the assumptions of the models.

The Second IPCC Report “Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change” had to confront a series of opinions in the Draft of the Final Report which disagreed with the greenhouse theory. It included the following statements:

"None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases."

"Finally we come to the most difficult question of all: 'When will the detection and unambiguous attribution of human-induced climate change occur?' In the light of the very large signal and noise uncertainties discussed in this Chapter, it is not surprising that the best answer to this question is 'We do not know’. Few if any would be willing to argue that unambiguous attribution of this change to anthropogenic effects has already occurred, or was likely to happen in the next several years."

One of their scientists (Ben Santer) was given the job of eliminating all the offending passages, or changing them to give a more favoured opinion. But after all that they ended up with this equivocal conclusion:

“The balance of the evidence suggests a discernible human influence on the climate.”

This is something everybody can agree on. Humans spend all of their efforts in trying to influence the climate. The statement says nothing about 'greenhouse gases' or of carbon dioxide. It supports the offending passages that were deleted.

The Third Report “Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis” was the one for which I did a detailed analysis called “The Greenhouse Delusion.”

The following statement appeared in Chapter 1:

“The fact that the global mean temperature has increased since the late 19th century and that other trends have been observed does not necessarily mean that an anthropogenic effect on the climate has been identified. Climate has always varied on all time-scales, so the observed change may be natural”.

In the Policymakers Summary we get another equivocal opinion:

“in the light of the new evidence and taking into account the remaining uncertainties, most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”.

Here they change tack. Once again they do not claim that there is evidence that this is so, merely that it is the opinion of their paid “experts": They seem to think that if they assign to the opinion “likely” as meaning greater than 60% probability that this makes it any other than merely an opinion.

.And so we come to IPCC Science Report No 4 “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis”

Now we get a slight amendment to the previous equivocal statement:

“Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperature since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

Again it is not evidence but opinions of their paid experts who are now 95% certain they are right, but it only applies to "most” of the evidence and it only applies to their highly inaccurate temperature series, but not to the more accurate satellite and radiosonde series which began in 1978 and 1958 respectively.

Despite all this they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with Al Gore.

The Fifth IPCC WGI AR5 Report “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis” has now been made available from their recent meeting in Stockholm.

They have now “Approved” the Summary for Policymakers once more via the line by line dictation of supposedly “consensus” agreement by the 119 anonymous Government representatives to the “Drafting Authors.”

We get yet another set of equivocal opinions: “Human influence on the climate system is clear”

Is this an advance on “discernible” ?

“It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid 20th century.”

Again no mention of greenhouse gases and how much is “dominant?"

“Since the mid 20th Century”, is pretty short in geological or even in human lifetime terms and it is again arranged so as to eliminate the more reliable satellite and radiosonde measurements. They ignore completely the “hiatus” that has taken place. Their technique of “observing” this “unequivocal” and “unprecedented” warming has failed to do so for the past 17 years.

The Summary for Policymakers may have been approved, and it is issued freely to the public, but it is obviously unfinished, has a large number of necessary editing, and it carries the request “Do not Cite do not Quote, do not Distribute.”

For the first time they have failed to approve the Final version of the Report. They merely “accept” it and issue a list of 134 “Corrections” which are intended to make the main Report compatible with the “Summary for Policymakers”.

So we have once more the same game they played on the Second Report, except this time it is applied officially by all of them and not by one individual. I have had a good look through all of them and have not found evidence of drastic alteration. They seem merely to be trying to improve the cover up of the so-called temperature “hiatus” which has made them feel even more confident than before that it does not matter and will soon go away.

I have managed to make my way through much of the main Report and l have a few preliminary comments.

They have laboured hard to deal with the “hiatus” by such devices as using “decadal” averages and different starting and ending dates but not very successfully.

They still avoid the mismatch between “emissions” which are only from the land and “concentrations” which are mainly measured over the sea, and the fact that there is no established relationship between them.

They have deliberately confused “sea level” of the ocean, usually calculated from models and “relative sea level” between sea and land which is the only one that matters.

It is now obvious that the uncertainties which they have attached to estimates of the earth’s energy on their revised diagram are so much larger than the claimed “projections” of the model calculations are meaningless.

As a final conclusion, attempts of the IPCC to impose rigid discipline on a large group of scientists to persuade them to claim that human emissions of so-called greenhouse gases harm the climate, without being able to supply convincing evidence, has been a failure.

Even their opinions on the supposed reliability of their “projections” always leave an increasingly small escape route for the day when their approach is proved wrong.


Physicist: There was no Fukushima nuclear disaster

by Kelvin Kemm, nuclear physicist

The terrible toll from Japan's tsunami came from the wave, not radiation

I have watched a TV programme called ‘Fear Factor.’ In the series there are contestants who have to confront their worst fears to see who bales out and who can fight the fear and get through.

People who are afraid of heights are made to Bungee-jump off a high bridge, and people who are scared of spiders or insects are made to get in a bath full of spiders.

In virtually all cases the contestants later say that the fearful experience was not actually as bad as they feared. So the fear of the fear was greater than the fear itself ‘when the chips were down.’

This is often the case in life, that the fear of some factor turns out to be worse than the experience itself. The human mind builds a very scary image in the imagination. The imagination then feeds the fear.

If the picture in the imagination is not very specific or clear it is worse, because the fear factor feeds on the unknown.Fukushima nuclear plant

This is what has happened in the public mind concerning nuclear power over the last half century. Concepts concerning nuclear reactions and nuclear radiation are in themselves complicated and mysterious.

Over the last couple of decades physics advances in fields such as quantum mechanics, which is linked to nuclear processes has compounded matters for the public. The image of strong and mysterious forces and effects is now well entrenched. There are Hollywood movies and TV programmes about space travellers or alien invaders who use time travel and quantum forces, and then battle to evade the dangerous intergalactic nuclear zones.

A consequence of all this is that internationally the public is now really ‘spooked’ when it comes to the topic of nuclear power. A real ‘fear factor’ looms over the mere word ‘nuclear.’ Newspapers love this, and really push imagery like; ‘nuclear leak’ or ‘radiation exposure.’

To a nuclear physicist like me, I look upon such public reaction half with amusement and half with dismay. The amusement comes from the fact that so many people can be scared so easily by so little. It is like shouting: “Ghost in the bedroom,” and everyone runs and hides in the hills.

The dismay reaction is that there is a body of anti-nuclear activists who do not want the public to know the truth, and the anti-nukes enjoy stoking the fear factor and maintaining public ignorance.

Let us now ponder the Fukushima nuclear incident which has been in the news again lately.

Firstly let us get something clear. There was no Fukushima nuclear disaster. Total number of people killed by nuclear radiation at Fukushima was zero. Total injured by radiation was zero. Total private property damaged by radiation….zero. There was no nuclear disaster. What there was, was a major media feeding frenzy fuelled by the rather remote possibility that there may have been a major radiation leak.

At the time, there was media frenzy that “reactors at Fukushima may suffer a core meltdown.” Dire warnings were issued. Well the reactors did suffer a core meltdown. What happened? Nothing.

Certainly from the ‘disaster’ perspective there was a financial disaster for the owners of the Fukushima plant. The plant overheated, suffered a core meltdown, and is now out of commission for ever. A financial disaster, but no nuclear disaster.

Amazingly the thousands of people killed by the tsunami in the neighbouring areas who were in shops, offices, schools, at the airport, in the harbour and elsewhere are essentially ignored while there is this strange continuing phobia about warning people of ‘the dangers of Fukushima.’ We need to ask the more general question: did anybody die because of Fukushima? Yes they did. Why?

The Japanese government introduced a forced evacuation of thousands of people living up to a couple of dozen kilometres from the power station. The stress of moving to collection areas induced heart attacks and other medical problems in many people. So people died because of Fukushima hysteria not because of Fukushima radiation.

Recently some water leaked out of the Fukushima plant. It contained a very small amount of radioactive dust. The news media quoted the radiation activity in the physics measure of miliSieverts. The public don’t know what a Sievert or a milliSievert is. As it happens a milliSievert is a very small measure.

Doubling a very small amount is still inconsequential. It is like saying: “Yesterday there was a matchstick on the football field; today there are two matchsticks on the football field. Matchstick pollution has increased by a massive 100% in only 24 hours.”

The statement is mathematically correct but silly and misleading.

At Fukushima a couple of weeks ago, some mildly radioactive water leaked into the sea. The volume of water was about equal to a dozen home swimming pools. In the ocean this really is a ‘drop in the ocean.’

The radiation content was so little that people could swim in the ocean without the slightest cause for concern. Any ocean naturally contains some radioactivity all of the time anyway. There is natural radiation around us all of the time and has always been there since the birth of the earth.

Understandably the general public do not understand nuclear radiation so the strangest comments occur. On an internet blog some person stated that people on the north coast of Australia must be warned about the radiation in the sea coming from Fukushima. Good grief!

Meantime the Fukushima site now looks like an oil refinery. A lot of storage tanks have been built there to hold water that has been flushed through the damaged reactors to aid in cooling. Quite frankly, scientifically speaking, the best thing to do with the mildly radioactive waste water would be to intentionally pour it into the sea. The water which is currently in the new Fukushima storage tanks has already been filtered to remove radioactive Caesium.

All that is left is a bit of radioactive Tritium. Tritium is actually part of the water molecule anyway…so what we really have is…well, water in water. The Tritium atom is a hydrogen atom, which has two neutrons in its nucleus which is a normal but rare variation in the hydrogen atom.radioactive tritium

Most hydrogen atoms have only a single proton in the nucleus and no neutrons. A rare hydrogen variation is called Deuterium and such atoms have one proton plus one neutron. Even rarer than Deuterium is the Tritium form of hydrogen which has one proton plus two neutrons. These variants are known as isotopes. Water is H2O and water molecules in which the Tritium isotope of the hydrogen atom is found are molecules referred to as ‘Heavy Water.’ It really is just water, so you can’t filter it out of the normal ‘light water.’

The Tritium heavy water is very mildly radioactive and is found normally in the sea all over the world all of the time. This Tritium concentration in the one thousand storage tanks at Fukushima is higher than that found naturally in the sea, but is still so low as to pose no real danger at all.

No doubt the Japanese government is too scared to release this water into the sea because of the howl of criticism which would no doubt follow.

A further complication is that in the last couple of weeks the press has reported further spillage of water. These reports are such that it looks like a continuous failure of the Fukushima engineers to contain the situation.

The latest spillage was about 400 litres of water, which is about as much liquid as would fill four motor car fuel tanks. Reportedly, one of the one thousand storage tanks was not totally horizontal when it was built so when it was filled to the top some water overflowed on one side.

As soon as the spillage occurred they fixed the problem. But the rules require the incident to be reported, even though the spillage was not of any biological consequence to anyone, or to any fauna or flora.

The Fukushima incident will continue to attract media attention for some time to come, I imagine. It has become such a good story to roll with that it will not just go away. However, in sober reflection and retrospection one has to come to the conclusion that far from being a nuclear disaster the Fukushima incident was actually a wonderful illustration of the safety of nuclear power.

The largest earthquake and consequent tsunami on record struck an ageing nuclear power plant which was built to a now obsolete boiling water reactor technology, and no nuclear damage resulted to people and property in the neighbourhood.

Poor management systems compounded matters and were implicated in the failure of the cooling circuit. The reactor cores suffered a meltdown. Due to the magnitude of the tsunami disaster there were no emergency services able to help, they were deployed elsewhere or paralysed because there were no roads or infrastructure available.

Hydrogen gas leaked out of a reactor, collected under the building root and then exploded, blowing the roof off in front of the world’s TV cameras. Fukushima had devices called ‘recombiners’ designed to prevent the hydrogen build-up but they were not working because they needed an external electricity supply.

Financially speaking and operationally speaking the reactors were wrecked, but nobody was killed or injured by any nuclear radiation.

Fukushima showed that a nuclear power plant can take the maximum punch of nature’s brutality, and yet the surrounding population does not fry and die as so often dramatically predicted by the fear factor enthusiasts


“Most Severe Winter Start In 200 Years!” + Euro Municipalities Now Ignoring Foolish Predictions Of Warm Winters

Last Thursday evening and yesterday winter made its debut in Southern Germany and Austria – and how! Read more here.

German RTL television last night here (starting at 4:30) called it the “most severe start of winter in 200 years!“, saying many meteorologists were caught by surprise. Up to half a meter of snow fell at some locations.

Gone are the mild winters of the sort Europe seen in the 1990s and early 2000s. Indeed for central Europe the last 5 consecutive winters have all been colder than normal – a record!

Municipalities ignoring forecasts of warm winters

These days are blockbuster times for German road salt manufacturers. In Europe municipalities have learned their lesson: ignore foolish predictions of warm winters, order huge quantities of salt, and do it early!

Municipalities and road commissioners were once led astray by climatologists’ predictions of increasingly warmer winters and led to thinking that these had become a thing of the past due to global warming (recall famous words of David Viner and Mojib Latif). One major daily even proclaimed that spring would arrive in January!

As a consequence of these false global warming predictions, municipalities unwisely kept much smaller stocks of road salt for expected shorter and milder winters. Road commissioners saw little reason to keep thousands of tons of road salt in stock.

Then beginning in 2009 came one harsh winter after another. Road maintenance crews and commissioners were caught red-faced. Suddenly municipalities were running out of salt by January and were even no longer able to keep the most vital traffic arteries cleared. Traffic chaos ensued and motorists were left to fend for themselves. Municipalities were stunned and left scratching their heads. Weather-wise the exact opposite of what climatologists had predicted had taken place. They learned the hard way. Now they are no longer heeding the foolish forecasts of warm winters.

Not surprisingly, many of the very same climatologists have since changed their tune and are now suddenly predicting cold, bitter winters for Europe….because of global warming!

German public radio SWR here reports that this year municipalities and road commissioners are stocking up on road salt:

The Salzwerke AG in Heilbronn said that municipalities had ordered large quantities of road salt. [...] Over the past years road salt had often been in short supply in some municipalities because the cold periods lasted longer and longer than expected.”

The online daily Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung here reports that the city is now building up its stock of road salt, writing:

In the last season 2012/2013 about 90,000 tonnes of road salt were used. Because of the long and harsh winter considerably more than normal was used, said Mitschka. road salt had to be continuously re-ordered.

In 2010/2011 there were delivery bottlenecks. Even the autobahns in Brandenburg could not be adequately salted at the time.”




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


23 October, 2013

Antarctic Ice Sets New All Time Record High In October

NSIDC are now back up and running again, after the Federal shutdown.

Quite astonishingly, Antarctic sea ice has set another record for maximum extent, beating the previous record of 19.513 million sq km, set on 21st September this year.

Note that current levels are more than 2SDs above average, which is huge --JR

What makes the new record so astonishing is that it was set in October, on the 1st. Climatologically, the maximum extent is reached on 22nd September, so it is most unusual for the ice still to be growing 10 days later.

As at the 18th October, extent is still running at 998,000 sq km above normal.

With the Arctic ice running at 728,000sq km below normal, this means that global sea ice is 270,000 sq km above the 1981-2010 norm.


2013 – a year with MINIMAL extreme weather events in the US

There have been many forecasts in the news in recent years predicting more and more extreme weather-related events in the US, but for 2013 that prediction has been way off the mark. Whether you’re talking about tornadoes, wildfires, extreme heat or hurricanes, the good news is that weather-related disasters in the US are all way down this year compared to recent years and, in some cases, down to historically low levels.


To begin with, the number of tornadoes in the US this year is on pace to be the lowest total since 2000 and it may turn out to be the lowest total in several decades. The table below lists the number of tornadoes in the US for this year (through 10/17) and also for each year going back to 2000.

Year # of Tornadoes
2013 771
2012 1119
2011 1894
2010 1543
2009 1305
2008 1685
2007 1102
2006 1117
2005 1262
2004 1820
2003 1374
2002 938
2001 1219
2000 1072


Second, the number of wildfires across the US so far this year is on pace to be the lowest it has been in the past ten years and the acreage involved is at the second lowest level in that same time period (table below).

2013 Fires: 40,306 Acres: 4,152,390
2012 Fires: 67,774 Acres: 9,326,238
2011 Fires: 74,126 Acres: 8,711,367
2010 Fires: 62,471 Acres: 3,233,461
2009 Fires: 78,792 Acres: 5,921,786
2008 Fires: 80,094 Acres: 5,254,109
2007 Fires: 85,822 Acres: 9,321,326
2006 Fires: 96,358 Acres: 9,871,939
2005 Fires: 66,552 Acres: 8,686,753
2004 Fires: 63,608 Acres: 8,097,880
*2013 data through 10/16

Extreme Heat

In addition to wildfires, extreme heat is also way down across the US this year. In fact, the number of 100 degree days across the country during 2013 is not only down for this year, but it is perhaps going to turn out to be the lowest in about 100 years of records (chart below).

The five summers with the highest number of 100 degree days across the US are as follows: 1936, 1934, 1954, 1980 and 1930. In addition to the vast reduction in 100 degree days across the US this year, the number of high temperature records (ie hi max and hi min records) is way down compared to a year ago with 22,965 records this year as compared with 56,885 at this same time last year.


Finally, as far as hurricanes are concerned and keeping in mind that the season isn't over yet, there have been only two hurricanes so far this year in the Atlantic Basin (Humberto and Ingrid) and they were both short-lived and weak category 1 storms. Also, the first forming hurricane this year occurred at the second latest date going back to the mid 1940’s when hurricane hunters began to fly. Overall, the tropical season in the Atlantic Basin has been generally characterized by short-lived and weak systems.

In addition, this suppressed tropical activity has not been confined to just the Atlantic Ocean. The eastern Pacific Ocean has had no major hurricanes this season meaning there has been no major hurricane in either the Atlantic or eastern Pacific which only occurred one other year in recorded history – 1968. This is actually quite extraordinary since the two basins are generally out of phase with each other i.e. when one is inactive the other is active.

One of the best ways to measure “total seasonal activity” in the tropics is through an index called the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) which is a metric that accounts for both intensity and duration of named tropical storms. Indeed, the ACE for this tropical season so far in the Atlantic Basin is only 29% percent of normal (through 10/17) when compared to the climatological average from 1981-2010 and it is the 7th lowest since 1950. Elsewhere, the ACE across the northern hemisphere is only 58% of normal and global ACE is 62% of normal.

Finally, another interesting stat with respect to hurricanes has to do with the fact that we are currently in the longest period since the Civil War Era without a major hurricane strike in the US (i.e., category 3, 4 or 5). The last major hurricane to strike the US was Hurricane Wilma during late October of that record-breaking year of 2005 - let’s hope this historic stretch continues. By the way, just as a point of comparison, in 1954 the US was hit by 3 major hurricanes in less than 10 weeks.

SOURCE (See the original for links and references)

Feds Will Spend $18M to Develop ‘Reliable’ Climate Change Predictions

LOL! Good luck with that!

–The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have plans to spend up to $18 million over the next five years to develop “reliable” climate change predictions for the next few decades.
The “funding opportunity enables interagency cooperation on one of the most pressing problems of the millennium: climate change and how it is likely to affect our world,” according to NSF’s official request for bids. (See NSF Decadal & Regional Climate Prediction.pdf)

“This solicitation is intended to support development of reliable regional and decadal climate predictions that take into account the influences of living systems and are essential for projecting how living systems might adapt to climate change and its consequences for their physical environment,” the program solicitation explains.

Current methods of predicting future climate change have proved to be wildly inaccurate. For example, none of the 73 computer models used by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that there would be no statistically significant global warming for the past 17 years as determined by actual temperature records stored in five different databases worldwide.

And despite claims that climate change caused by global warming is causing "extreme weather," a new study by the SI Organization, Inc., a systems engineering firm, ranks 2013 as “one of the least extreme U.S. weather years ever,” noting that “there has been no major hurricane in either the Atlantic or eastern Pacific, which only occurred one other year in recorded history – 1968.”

“Whether you’re talking about tornadoes, wildfires, extreme heat or hurricanes, the good news is that weather-related disasters in the US are all way down this year compared to recent years and, in some cases, down to historically low levels,” SI points out.

But when asked Eric C. Itsweire, program director at NSF’s Directorate for Geosciences, how the lack of global warming over the past 17 years impacts the project's primary assumption that climate change is "one of the most pressing problems of the millennium," he replied that "there is more than one aspect in assessing whether there is climate change, so there is not a simple answer to your question. That’s more a policy question."

“There’s no political agenda on our end," Itsweire added. "We’re just a research agency trying to get the best ideas to understand the complicated system we live in.”

However, merely increasing scientific knowledge about the Earth’s complex climate system is not the only goal of the $18 million federally funded study, according to NSF’s own request for bids, which are due December 23. The results will be used to “effectively translate climate predictions and associated uncertainties into the scientific basis for policy and management decisions related to human interventions and adaptation to the projected impacts of climate change.”

NSF, which has a $6.8 billion budget, is an independent, federally funded agency dedicated to the promotion of scientific progress.


Global warming or not: What can you believe?

The battle over whether our nation should take aggressive actions to deal with climate change continues unabated. One would think that it would be easy to determine the nation’s policy based upon what the science on the ground shows.

However, that is where it gets tricky, because the science and indeed, even the headlines are anything but settled.

This summer, sailors who believed those who predicted that the Arctic would be ice free this summer, became trapped with predictably disastrous consequences.

Yet, the Nordic Orion, a heavy ice graded bulk cargo freighter, became the first ship to traverse the Northwest Passage giving credence to those who claim that the Arctic ice is melting.

Independent scientists report that Arctic ice has increased by 29 percent this past summer with 533,000 square miles more ice recorded than the previous year.

Yet, NASA reports that this summer’s minimum was the sixth lowest Arctic ice extent of the satellite record and is 432,000 square miles (1.12 million square kilometers) lower than the 1981-2010 average.

The Washington Post reports that South Pole sea ice has reached a 35 year high, confounding scientists to explain why Antarctic sea ice is actually growing rapidly on a year to year basis.

Yet, Environmental Times expresses concerns about the stability of the western Antarctic ice shelf due to alleged warmer temperatures.

There is universal agreement that global temperatures have not risen over the past sixteen years, which has proven to be an inconvenient truth to those who are pushing the global warming mantel. In fact, the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report was delayed as governments demanded an explanation for this pause to be included in the document.

Yet, this latest report from the IPCC projects that the next seventeen years will see a .5-1.0 degree average increase in temperature than the period from 1986 to 2005. This projection directly ignores the broken hockey stick that underlay their previous erroneous projections.

The contradictions go on and on, as the former claimed scientific consensus collapses around data that just doesn’t conform to computer models used as the basis of directing policies that have harsh economic impacts on the economies of developed countries.

In fact, while the argument rages over whether the earth is warming, there is an even more intense debate over what is causing the “warming” with some NASA scientists pointing to solar cycles, others looking at normal ocean warming and cooling cycles and still others pointing to increases of CO2 in the atmosphere.

At a time when the United States Environmental Protection Agency is engaged in an aggressive anti-carbon campaign that will significantly diminish the supply of electricity in our nation over the next three years, one would hope that they would look up from their computers and ask the question, “What if we’re wrong?”

Somehow, I suspect that is a question that never crosses the minds of the green zealots who are determined to save the world, even when Mother Earth herself seems to be telling them that she doesn’t need their help.


The UN IPCC's Climate Modeling Procedures Need Serious Remodeling

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate modeling produces terrifying scenarios of global warming and apocalyptic consequences including polar melting, coastal flooding, extreme weather, and species extinctions. Such forecasts assume that human emissions of greenhouse gases—principally carbon dioxide from burning coal and oil—will cause unprecedented warming.

Although the IPCC claims that they provide “scenarios” rather than forecasts, they conflate the terms in practice to suggest that their scenarios describe what will actually happen to climate over the 21st Century.

Are they right? Can they predict the future?

Two leading experts on forecasting and one on the physics of climate joined forces to investigate IPCC modeling procedures and conclusions. They are Dr. Kesten Green, Professor J. Scott Armstrong, and Dr. Willie Soon. What they found was truly shocking: the modeling procedures that the IPCC relies upon to produce their scary climate change scenarios ignore most principles of scientific forecasting.

Kesten Green, based at the University of South Australia in Adelaide, has published pioneering articles on forecasting methods and is co-director of a major website on forecasting methods, Scott Armstrong teaches at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and is a founder of the two major journals on forecasting methods, editor of the Principles of Forecasting handbook, and the world’s most highly cited author on forecasting methods. Willie Soon is a solar physicist who has published many important empirical papers on the causes of climate changes.

I have asked Kesten to discuss their findings.

Kesten, through your joint investigations into this matter I understand that you found that the modeling procedures the IPCC uses to create their of climate change projections violated 72 of 89 relevant forecasting principles. Should we be concerned that an extraordinarily well-funded international agency reporting to governments has followed less than 20 percent of what could be thought of as scientific procedures?

Larry, there really is no excuse for the negligence IPCC has shown in overlooking the findings of nearly a century of research on forecasting methods in addressing matters so vital to the public interest. They can hardly claim they have lacked necessary resources to discover and apply the best that scientific forecasting has to offer.

Here I’ll briefly provide a little background on the discipline of forecasting. Thirty-nine experts from many disciplines and from around the world developed forecasting principles from published experimental research. A further 123 forecasting experts reviewed their work. The principles were published in 2001, and are freely available on the Internet as a public service to help forecasters produce and validate their work. The 140 principles constitute the only published set of evidence-based standards for forecasting.

The media ascribe great importance to the IPCC scenarios, and they have considerable influence on government policies – energy policies in particular. To put the IPCC methodological failures into a familiar context, please consider this. Would you go ahead with an international flight operated by an obscure airline if you overheard two of the ground crew discussing how the pilot had skipped 80 percent of the pre-flight safety checklist?

Kesten, with all this knowledge available about how to forecast properly, has anyone taken the trouble to actually produce scientific climate forecasts?

Larry, astonishingly, given the extremely costly policies that have been proposed and implemented in the name of preventing dangerous “man-made global warming”, there is only one published peer-reviewed paper that claims to provide scientific forecasts of long-range global mean temperatures. The paper is our own, a 2009 article published in the International Journal of Forecasting.

So how do the long-range forecasts you obtained compare with the scenarios that the IPCC promotes to policymakers and the media?

First we followed forecasting principles to choose the most appropriate forecasting method. We then applied it to predict global mean temperatures since 1850 (roughly the start of the Industrial Revolution), as measured by the same data that the IPCC used. To choose a method, we examined the state of knowledge and available empirical data.

In this application we concluded that the “no-trend” model is the proper method to use. Our conclusion is based upon a substantial body of research that found complex models do not work well compared to simple models in complex and uncertain situations. This is the case here where the climate is so complex and insufficiently understood that any net effect of human emissions on global temperatures cannot be identified.

By contrast, the IPCC relies upon complicated computer models to represent their assumption that the relatively small human contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere will cause dangerous global warming. And because the models are so complex, the modelers need to include numerous assumptions. Many mainstream scientists question those assumptions.

Not surprisingly, given that they were the product of scientific forecasting principles, our no-trend forecasts were much more accurate than the IPCC’s warming scenario temperatures over the period of exponentially increasing CO2 emissions from 1850.


Climate censorship

By forecasting expert Professor J. Scott Armstrong

Censorship of skeptic global warming views by the press has been going on for many years. This week, Paul Thornton, letters editor for the Los Angeles Times announced the paper will “no longer publish letters from climate change deniers,” as reported by

Thornton says, “Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. … Saying ‘there’s no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.”

Really? Is this kind of censorship good public-service policy for the Los Angeles Times?

It is a good policy for the global warming alarmist movement because those who are more knowledgeable about climate change are more likely to dismiss the alarm as unfounded.

Aristotle suggested that persuasiveness is higher when both sides of an issue are presented.

It is not so good for citizens who would otherwise benefit from the freedom to make up their own minds after being exposed to different arguments and diverse evidence.

Is such censorship good business for newspapers and other mass media? Given that most people in the U.S. do not believe that there is a global warming problem, this seems doubtful.

One-sided coverage loses readers who do not share the editorial viewpoint.

Aristotle suggested that persuasiveness is higher when both sides of an issue are presented.

Later research found that Aristotle’s suggestion only works when one can rebut the other side.

Failing that, it is best to try to prevent the other side from being heard.

If persuasion is the goal, and not science, then it is sensible for the warming alarmists to avoid two-sided discussions.

In our study of situations that are analogous to the current alarmover global warming, Kesten Green and I identified 26 earlier movements based on scenarios of manmade disaster (including the global cooling alarm in the 1960s). None of them were based on scientific forecasts. And yet, governments imposed costly policies in response to 23 of them.

In no case did the forecast of major harm come true.

Will it be different this time?

Isn’t it important for the public to be informed about scientific evidence on the issue? And because the alarm is based on the fear of future harm, shouldn’t the public insist on scientific forecasts?

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) uses models that provide computer scenarios, not forecasts, of dangerous manmade global warming.

When we assessed the scenarios as if they were forecasts of what would actually happen, Kesten Green and I found that they violated 72 of 89 relevant scientific forecasting principles.

Would you go ahead with your flight, if you overheard two of the ground crew discussing how the pilot had skipped 80 percent of the pre-flight safety checklist?

For rational policy-making and regulating, scientific forecasts are necessary.

We are astonished that there is only one published peer-reviewed paper that claims to provide scientific forecasts of long-range global mean temperatures. The paper is a 2009 article in the International Journal of Forecasting by Kesten Green, Willie Soon, and me.

When we tested our forecasts against the IPCC scenarios using data from 1850 to the present, our forecasts, based on a model that adhered to scientific principles, were more accurate over all forecast horizons from 1 to 100 years.

They were especially more accurate for long-term forecasts.

For example for forecasts 91 to 100 years ahead, the IPCC forecast errors were over 12 times larger than our forecast errors. Perhaps that qualifies as relevant evidence for citizens. And it would be “news” for 99% of them. Yet our forecasts received virtually no mass media coverage. Meanwhile, non-scientific climate-scare “forecasts” regularly get widespread attention from the mass media.

Want to bet which forecast of global mean temperatures is going to be correct? Mr. Gore did not want to bet against me in 2007 when he was warning that the world was at a climate “tipping point.” That was wise decision on his part. Scientific forecasting methods tend to be more accurate than political forecasting methods.

Fortunately, with many mass media outlets attempting to influence people by using censorship, citizens are able turn to alternative sources of information and argument on the Internet to inform their decisions. And many have. The polls provide evidence that the alarmist case is so weak that even with widespread censorship, citizens are not persuaded.




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


22 October, 2013

The “Backfire Effect” and why Global Warmists ignore facts which contradict their opinions

This is about a study on how facts – especially corrective facts – are ignored when some opinion or perception is deeply held. The study is about political perceptions and it strikes me that it is very relevant to the IPCC and the alarmists for whom the Global Warming hypothesis (that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of Global warming) is a deeply held political belief.

Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler, When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions


We conducted four experiments in which subjects read mock news articles that included either a misleading claim from a politician, or a misleading claim and a correction. Results indicate that corrections frequently fail to reduce misperceptions among the targeted ideological group. We also document several instances of a “backfire effect” in which corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question.

The behaviour of the IPCC and the Global Warming coterie in ignoring or explaining away real observations in favour of their computer models has always smacked of religious fanaticism rather than scientific objectivity. They have shown a preference for coming up with ever more fanciful explanations about why their predictions are not panning out rather than accept that the basis of their predictions may be mistaken. The heat lurking in the deep oceans or Chinese pollution blocking out the sun or “old ice” declining invisibly while “new ice” increases have all been suggested as explanations for

* the recent lack of warming,
* the broken link between global temperature and carbon dioxide concentration, and
* increasing global ice extent.

It would seem that the global warming brigade are an “ideological sub-group” suffering from the “backfire effect”.

In this paper, we report the results of two rounds of experiments investigating the extent to which corrective information embedded in realistic news reports succeeds in reducing prominent misperceptions about contemporary politics. In each of the four experiments, which were conducted in fall 2005 and spring 2006, ideological subgroups failed to update their beliefs when presented with corrective information that runs counter to their predispositions. Indeed, in several cases, we find that corrections actually strengthened misperceptions among the most strongly committed subjects.

…. Political beliefs about controversial factual questions in politics are often closely linked with one’s ideological preferences or partisan beliefs. As such, we expect that the reactions we observe to corrective information will be influenced by those preferences. ……… Specifically, people tend to display bias in evaluating political arguments and evidence, favoring those that reinforce their existing views and disparaging those that contradict their views.

However, individuals who receive unwelcome information may not simply resist challenges to their views. Instead, they may come to support their original opinion even more strongly – what we call a “backfire effect.” ...

The backfire effects that we found seem to provide further support for the growing literature showing that citizens engage in “motivated reasoning.” While our experiments focused on assessing the effectiveness of corrections, the results show that direct factual contradictions can actually strengthen ideologically grounded factual beliefs – an empirical finding with important theoretical implications.

It is a little depressing that just using facts (science) may not be of much use in getting people to correct their misperceptions when these take the form of religious belief.

Many citizens seem unwilling to revise their beliefs in the face of corrective information, and attempts to correct those mistaken beliefs may only make matters worse.

It is the sobering – and depressing – reality that facts (read science) are always subservient to even completely irrational religious beliefs.


The Great American Wind Power Fraud

By Alan Caruba

In July the Fairhaven, Massachusetts Board of Health voted to shut down the town’s two wind turbines at night between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. after dozens of residents had filed more than 400 complaints. Testing had demonstrated that the turbines exceeded state noise regulations and those specified in their operating permits.

In July the Heartland Institute’s Environmental & Climate News reported on the announcement by Nordex USA, a manufacturer of wind turbines that had accepted millions of dollars in subsidies while promising to create 750 jobs that it had shut down its Jonesboro facility. In 2008, Gov. Mike Beebe (D) had given Nordex $8 million from the Governor’s Quick-Action Closing Fund and the Arkansas Development Finance Authority had given Nordex another $11 million. The decision, said the company, was its uncertainty about receiving federal subsidies. At the time, only fifty people were employed there.

In early October, the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Healthcare, and Entitlements held a hearing on the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC). The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) was there to argue for an extension of the subsidy. According to lobbying disclosures, in 2012 the AWEA had spent more than $2.4 million to protect the subsidy which was set to expire, but which received a one-year extension as part of the deal struck to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”

Arguing that wind energy is an important element of the mix of energy provided by coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric facilities, the facts are that in 2012 coal accounted for 37 percent of total generation, natural gas represented 30 percent, and nuclear contributed 19 percent. Wind power accounted for just 1.4 percent of U.S. energy consumption in 2012 and only 3.5 percent of the nation’s electricity generation.

Since the PTC was first enacted two decades ago, it has cost taxpayers $20 billion dollars.

One of the primary arguments for wind energy is that it is “renewable” and does not contribute to the so-called "greenhouse gas emissions" that are the cause of a “global warming.” However, the latest warming cycle ended some fifteen years ago. Not one student in our nation’s schools has ever experienced “global warming.”

Wind energy is “green” say its supporters, but it is hardly “green” to kill an estimated 573,000 birds every year, including 83,000 birds of prey according to a study published in the March edition of the Wildlife Society Bulletin. It also kills countless bats, a species that reduces the vast number of insect pests that prey on crops and transmit diseases.

A permit is being sought by the Shiloh IV Wind Project in Solano County, California, that would grant it the right to kill up to five golden eagles over a five-year period despite their protected status under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

So wind energy is justified as reducing greenhouse gases that are not causing global warming which does not exist, is receiving millions in subsidies, and wants to kill protected species, an environmental objective. This is hypocrisy on a galactic scale.

Testifying before the congressional committee, Dr. Robert Michaels, a senior fellow of the Institute for Energy Research, noted that the subsidy which was supposed to end by now has been renewed five times. The wind industry is essentially non-competitive when it comes to energy generation from traditional sources and has also been around long enough to amply demonstrate that. In a market economy, such industries are allowed to fail.

The wind industry, however, doesn’t even need to be competitive because utilities in some thirty states are required by law to include it in their “renewable portfolio standards” that set quotes for its use. This mandate is expected to see the installation of more than 100,000 renewable megawatts over the next twenty years and wind, said Dr. Michaels, and “seems certain to get the lion’s share.”

Adding to the idiocy of wind energy is the need for such production facilities to have a back-up from traditional coal, natural gas, and nuclear facilities because wind is not available with any predictability. The consumer not only pays for the electricity these facilities provide to ensure that they will always have electricity, but pays in the form of the subsidies the wind industry continues to receive.

There is no need for renewable energy mandates. Both wind and solar are unreliable sources of energy and produce so little as to lack any justification for their existence.

The wind industry exists because it spends millions annually to convince legislators that it should not only be subsidized and because many states require its use. Take away the interference of government entities and the industry would have no real basis to exist. It is a fraud.


Picking cherries in the snow

Here is figure SPM3(a) from the IPCC AR5 SPM, captioned “Northern Hemisphere March-April average snow cover extent”.

Here is the corresponding paragraph, in which the IPCC excels in misleading cherrypicking:

There is very high confidence that the extent of Northern Hemisphere snow cover has decreased since the mid-20th century (see Figure SPM.3). Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent decreased 1.6 [0.8 to 2.4] % per decade for March and April, and 11.7 [8.8 to 14.6] % per decade for June, over the 1967–2012 period. During this period, snow cover extent in the Northern Hemisphere did not show a statistically significant increase in any month.

There is so much misleading spin here that it takes some time to unpack it all.

The first thing to note is that the graph does not show much of a decrease, certainly no decrease in the last couple of decades – another indicator of the pause in warming.

The first cherry-pick is that it refers only to the Northern Hemisphere; but this is reasonable since there is so much less land area in the Southern Hemisphere. Now look at the months selected. Why are ‘March and April’ chosen, and why are they lumped together? (The same thing was done in the AR4 SPM.) And why mention June – a month not generally associated with snow?

Graphs of snow cover for different months can be found at the Rutgers site. (click on ‘Monthly Anomalies’ on the left).

Here is the graph for March. You can see that there has been a decrease, a rather abrupt one in the late 1980s, but since then there has been no decrease. The numbers are all over the place, so to talk of a linear trend per decade is misleading.

What about the winter months, that the SPM doesn’t mention? Well they show either no change, or an increase, for example in this graph for December. The IPCC wording carefully avoids admitting this by saying there is no ‘statistically significant’ increase in any month.

I wonder if the decrease for March or April, considered separately, would count as statistically significant?

If you look at the ‘Seasonal extent’ graphs at the Rutgers site, you can see that although spring snow cover shows a decline, both the fall and winter graphs show a slight increase. So the IPCC statement claiming very high confidence in decreasing snow cover is not true.

In response to the similar but slightly differently worded claim in the draft SPM, one reviewer wrote “Misleading claim. Rutgers GSL data shows winter snow cover has not decreased.”


The Hydrosphere and Oceans

People concerned that manmade greenhouse gas emissions, in particular carbon dioxide (CO2), may be causing dangerous climate change worry such a change may disrupt the hydrosphere, which comprises all of the water on Earth and in its atmosphere. This disruption, they argue, would lead to increased rainfall and erratic weather patterns that would greatly increase sea level and produce potentially devastating consequences.

A report from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), an independent group of some 50 scientists from 15 countries, titled Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, summarizes a large body of research disputing these claims and finds the hydrosphere has exhibited only mild volatility over the past century in concert with natural climate cycles and with no correlation to human CO2 emissions.

The data show short-term precipitation volatility is not correlated with either CO2 emissions or general climate warming. For example, monsoon intensity displayed no increase later in the century despite increased CO2 emissions, but instead was correlated with solar activity.

In addition, monsoons were generally more intensive during the Little Ice Age (LIA) than the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), which runs directly contrary to the alarmist claims. On the other end of the volatility spectrum, CCR-II disputes the strength of the commonly cited connection between global warming and droughts, as evidenced by the similar rates of drought occurrence in the LIA and MWP.

As with precipitation, CCR-II finds no significant connection between sea level or ocean temperature and human CO2 emissions. Sea level is determined by a multitude of factors, and CO2-induced global warming is a minor one. Ocean temperatures have remained virtually unchanged for nine years, according to data of the Argo buoy network.

CCR-II found numerous problems with the consensus view of sea-level change. The global sea level has increased by an average of only 1–2 mm annually over the century, with a wide range of intra-year volatility between +5mm and -5mm away from the mean. Supposed instances of environmental harm caused by sea-level rises, such as coral reef destruction, are often the result of unaccounted alternative factors.

Concern over manmade greenhouse gas emissions has been the impetus for many destructive public policies, including renewable portfolio standards, alternative energy subsidies, and high gasoline taxes. Yet, despite ever-increasing levels of CO2 emissions, scientists have been unable to demonstrate a connection to its alleged effects, such as hydrosphere alteration, over the previous century. CCR-II’s findings demonstrate precipitation and ocean activity have little to no connection to human CO2 emissions. Therefore, energy production, the lifeblood of the global economy, should not be hindered by state intervention to reduce CO2 emissions.


Cold spell near? Geologist digs deeper on climate change

On the climate-change front the forecast would seem to be increasing cloudiness.

At least that’s the impression a rational observer would get from the latest report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. True, the report does declare that “there is very high confidence that models reproduce the general features of the global and annual mean surface temperature changes over the historical period, including the warming in the second half of the 20th century.”

But that would appear to be the only thing the panel remains confident about.

Chapter 2 of the report expresses “low confidence regarding the sign of trends in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale,” as well as “in observed trends in small-scale severe weather phenomena such as hail and thunderstorms.” Conceding that “conclusions regarding increasing global trends in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated,” the report says that “in summary, confidence in large-scale changes in the intensity of extreme extra-tropical cyclones since 1900 is low.”

That’s not all. According to figures last year from Britain’s Met Office, based on data from 3,000 measuring points around the world, on land and sea, there has been no discernible rise in global temperatures since 1992. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the Arctic ice sheet increased by 533,000 square miles over the summer, to a size roughly half that of Europe.

What to make of this? Well, we laypersons can’t make much of it at all, because we lack the knowledge to place the data in context. Luckily, for those really interested, a solution is available. It is a book called “The Whole Story of Climate: What Science Reveals About the Nature of Endless Change” (Prometheus Books). The author, E. Kirsten Peters, is a geologist who says that what people are likely to have gleaned from media reports on climate change is “only one isolated part of a much longer and richer climate story.”

Climate science, with its computer models, is a Johnny-come-lately to the narrative. Not so geology. “For almost 200 years,” Peters writes, “geologists have studied the basic evidence of how climate has changed on our planet.” They work not with computer models but with “direct physical evidence left in the muck and rocks.”

Space constraints preclude any detailed summary of Peters’s accessible but jam-packed little book. But some take-aways can be noted.

The first thing to note, though, is that we could be long overdue for a cold spell. In recent geologic history, which stretches back a couple of million years — geologists have an expansive view of time — Earth’s climate has been characterized by long periods of bitter cold punctuated by brief episodes of warmth. “The cycle,” Peters notes, “is always a long period of cold followed by a much shorter period of warmth.” Specifically, the cold intervals last about 100,000 years, and the warm ones about 10,000. The period we are living in, called the Holocene, began 11,700 years ago, which makes it “no different at all from other brief, warm intervals in the Pleistocene,” the previous epoch that lasted those couple of million years.

Peters uses the analogy of a football field to help readers visualize all this. We in the Holocene are positioned at the edge of one of the end zones. The cold periods average about 5.5 yards, the warm ones about half a yard.

Another point Peters is at pains to emphasize is that climate change can be quite abrupt. Toward the end of the Pleistocene Epoch, northern Europe experienced a period of warming called the Allerod Oscillation that lasted about 1,000 years. The pollen record indicates that the “shift to renewed bitter cold took place very rapidly, certainly within a single human lifetime.”

Most of the publicity on climate change has focused on temperature, but precipitation patterns can be deeply worrisome, as well. The prelude to the so-called Little Ice Age came in the form of torrential rains that swept Europe in 1316. By the 1340s “really cold temperatures” had arrived, as well. And, in our own Southwest, the entire Chacoan Pueblo civilization had disappeared long before the end of a 50-year period of drought that began in 1134.

Peters is by no means sanguine on human-generated carbon emissions. She’s quite specific: “[W]hat non-geologists don’t generally know is that we have a major problem on our planet with coal fires that are unwanted and burning out of control,” and she points out that “the technical knowledge is in place to put many of them out; the main thing lacking is commitment.”


Go-ahead for new nuclear power plant in Britain

At a crazy price -- all because nukes are "carbon free"

The Government has given the go-ahead for Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation today after agreeing a “cut-price” deal with the French power giant behind the project.

Ed Davey, Energy Secretary, claimed the deal with EDF Energy - and its two Chinese partners - to build the new Hinkley Point plant in Somerset is “good for Britain” and will help to bring down energy bills. But it can be disclosed that the twin-reactor plant could now cost Ł2bn more than the Ł14bn first planned.

Ministers have agreed with EDF, after more than two years of negotiations, that the French company will be guaranteed a “strike price” of Ł92.50 for every megawatt hour of power produced by the Somerset plant for 35 years.

But a flexible price has been established that could see a lower strike price for energy from Hinkley of Ł89.50 if the EDF consortium pushes ahead with plans to build another nuclear plant at Sizewell in Suffolk.

EDF wanted a considerably higher price, in the region of Ł100 for the Hinkley strike price, but has accepted what is being seen as a compromise. It is understood the cost of the Sizewell development could be much lower than Hinkley, benefiting from the time and spending involved in developing the Somerset plant, and bringing the overall energy cost down for the taxpayer.

The revised price is still almost 50pc above current wholesale market energy price levels – and will be “topped up” through levies. But consumers will not start helping to meet nuclear bills until power starts flowing in 10 years’ time.

Mr Davey had set his sights on getting the strike price below Ł90. “We’ve got an extraordinarily good deal for the consumer,” he said. “Our figures show the cost is considerably less than had been suggested so far.”

He claimed consumer bills will be Ł77 lower when the full nuclear programme is completed by 2030 but he is expected to face hurdles in getting EU clearance over substantial subsidies being paid to the EDF group.

The price incentive is one of the surprise elements in a nuclear power package the Government believes represents a better than expected outcome to extensive negotiations leading to the construction of the first UK nuclear plant since 1995.

Hinkley’s cost is now being pitched at Ł16bn rather than the original Ł14bn cited by the developers, with the revised figure including Ł2bn of pre-construction stage costs. The project will also carry loan guarantees from the British Government.

But EDF and its Chinese partners – confirmed as China National Nuclear Corporation, and China General Nuclear Power Corporation - will have to meet the cost of any delays or overruns at Hinkley Point. They have, however, agreed to share any savings with the taxpayer if the project comes in below budget.

The partners have apparently responded to Government pressure to “buy British” and have agreed to spend 57pc of the Hinkley investment with UK firms.

The issue has become even more controversial with the Big Six power firms unveiling hikes of more than 9pc in electricity and gas prices.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg both raised concerns about the increases over the weekend.




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


21 October, 2013

Increasing Clouds and Thunderstorms For Climate Alarmists

What a month it’s been. Rejecting claims of looming cataclysm, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change issued Climate Change Reconsidered-II on September 17. This report by 50 experts documents actual planetary temperature, climate and weather in recent decades – and the ways alarmist scientists have manipulated data, graphs, computer models and weather events to make it appear that human influences are much greater than they actually are.

On September 20, the US Environmental Protection Agency proposed tough new standards for carbon dioxide emissions (EPA calls it “carbon pollution”) from future power plants – ignoring the fact that this plant-fertilizing gas is essential for virtually all life on Earth. The standards would effectively prevent construction of new coal-fired plants, which could not possibly comply. Older plants would gradually be closed down and, as the limits are ratcheted downward, even gas-fired power plants would be affected.

The September 26 release of the fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report marked sea changes for this politicized organization. Though it tried to obfuscate the fact, the panel finally admitted that its models don’t work very well and there has been no global warming for 16 years. IPCC chairman Pachauri nevertheless still insisted that there is “definitely an increase in our belief” that humans are “responsible for climate change,” and the group is now 95% confident it’s been right all along.

On October 15, the US Supreme Court agreed to review a lower court decision that said EPA could use its regulation of automobile emissions as a springboard to issue power plant and other stationary source emission standards. The court said it would not reconsider its 2007 decision that allowed EPA to treat carbon dioxide as a “pollutant” and “threat to human health and welfare.” However, litigants are certain to raise that central issue in their coming arguments before the court.

Meanwhile, Australia’s new Prime Minister says he intends to scrap his country’s carbon dioxide cap-tax-and-trade law. European families are reeling from energy price shocks, elderly people are dying because they cannot afford proper heating and nutrition, and EU industry leaders are warning that and “green” energy and other climate change policies threaten “a systemic industrial massacre,” as soaring electricity, transportation and natural gas prices make companies less and less competitive in international markets.

All in all, for purveyors of climate alarmism, the forecast calls for increasing cloudiness, severe thunderstorms and even hurricanes for months and years to come. That is hardly surprising.

The alarmists have systematically corrupted and assaulted genuine science. They have injected subjective values and ideological tests, while eliminating the most vital components of the scientific method: comprehensive, independent, empirical and transparent processes that, above all, require that hypotheses and models be confirmed by actual observations, or be rejected and replaced by new ones.

What began as an honest inquiry into the possible roles of humans and human industrial activities on Earth’s climate evolved into an assertion that modern society’s carbon dioxide or “greenhouse gas” emissions have somehow replaced the multitude of complex, interrelated natural factors that have driven global warming, cooling and other climatic changes throughout geologic history.

Claims of “manmade climate disaster” are now zealously defended by politicians, eco-activists, alarmist scientists, government agencies, and executives running many scientific societies in the United States, Canada and Europe – at all costs, to the exclusion of all possible alternative explanations, with the rejection of debate, and through vicious vilification of all challengers to alarmist orthodoxy. The ultimate goals today are keeping climate chaos money flowing in – and justifying demands that fossil fuels be eliminated, even for developing nations that desperately need those fuels to lift their citizens out of poverty.

Brazil, China and India alone are emitting 180 times more carbon dioxide – the “gas of life” – than can be attributed to energy from Alberta’s oil sands: 9 billion tons versus 50 million tons per year! Moreover, oil sands fuels simply replace other oil that would be used instead. However, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels reach 400 ppm (0.04% of all the gases in Earth’s atmosphere), average planetary temperatures have remained stable for 16 years. That’s not surprising.

The models assume all warming since the industrial revolution began is due to human carbon dioxide; exaggerate climate sensitivity to CO2 levels; program in temperature data that is contaminated by urban heat sources; and simplify or ignore vital climate influences like solar energy variations, cosmic ray fluxes, clouds, precipitation, ocean currents, and recurrent phenomena like El Nińo and La Nińa. It’s garbage in – garbage out. No wonder every IPCC climate model predicted that average global temperatures would be as much as 1.6 degrees F higher than they actually were over the past 22 years.

Actually, a modest temperature rise like that, especially coupled with more carbon dioxide, would be good for greening the Earth, spurring plant growth, boosting crop yields, and feeding more people more nutritiously. However, many solar scientists now believe the sun has entered a low activity or cooling phase that could continue for decades. If that is the case, instead of average global temperatures increasing, they could well decrease a few degrees, which would adversely affect forests, grasslands, growing seasons and the extent of arable acreage. Thankfully, that has not happened so far.

However, several “cold weather extremes” have occurred in recent years over Europe, northern India, and parts of North and South America. Four of the five snowiest northern hemisphere winters in the last half century have occurred since 2008, closing down villages and killing wildlife, farm animals and people. Antarctic ice is at a record high. Arctic sea ice is back to normal, after the coldest summer in decades.

However, these heavy snows – along with the highly publicized 2010 Russian summer heat wave, severe floods in Pakistan that same summer, and the Midwestern United States 2012 summer heat wave – were all part of natural climate variability, as various books and research papers have documented.

Other alarmist predictions have proven equally far-fetched. Whereas climate chaos false prophets like Rajendra Pachauri, Al Gore and David Suzuki predicted steadily worsening “extreme weather” events, it has been eight years since a Category 3 hurricane hit the United States: Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, in 2005. That is the most years since the 1860s with no major hurricane making landfall. Tornado frequency is the lowest on record. Droughts are shorter and less extreme than during the Dust Bowl and 1950s.

Sea levels continue to rise at a meager half-foot per century – which translates into a maximum possible increase just 25 mm or one inch by 2025. Such a modest rise in sea level poses no threat whatsoever to humanity or coastal communities. It’s also a far cry from the 1-2 feet by 2100 that the IPCC predicted in 2007; the nearly 1-3 feet that its 2013 “scientific report” predicts just for 2081-2100; or the ridiculous 20 feet of sea level rise by 2100 that media-hungry climate charlatan James Hansen has forecast.

2013 has brought the fewest US forest fires in a decade, and ranks second in the fewest acres burned – although such conflagrations are actually due to poor forest management and fire suppression policies.

In short, our Earth’s climate may well changing, as it has repeatedly throughout history. But the changes are natural, and they are thus far hardly catastrophic – nothing like the wooly mammoth ice ages or Little Ice Age, and little different from any of the 20th century. Moreover, the changes are natural in origin. They are not due to humans, and they are not occurring in ways the alarmists and their models predicted

We truly need hydrocarbon energy: to lift more people out of poverty, maintain our living standards, and ensure the wealth and technology to adapt to any climate changes that nature may visit upon us (with or without some contribution from human carbon dioxide). Climate alarmism undermines all of this.


The Outlook for Modeling Clouds (Adequately) ... is Still Cloudy

Getting clouds right is an absolute linchpin of global warming theory. Unless clouds warm us up, the whole theory falls flat

Discussing: Lauer, A. and Hamilton, K. 2013. "Simulating clouds with global climate models: A comparison of CMIP5 results with CMIP3 and satellite data". Journal of Climate 26: 3823-3845.

In a revealing paper published in the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, Lauer and Hamilton (2013) report that numerous previous studies from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) showed quite large biases in the simulated cloud climatology affecting all GCMs (Global Climate Models), as well as "a remarkable degree of variation among the models that represented the state of the art circa 2005." So what's the case today? The two researchers provide an update by describing the progress that has been made in recent years by comparing mean cloud properties, interannual variability, and the climatological seasonal cycle from the CMIP5 models with results from comparable CMIP3 experiments, as well as with actual satellite observations.

After conducting their several analyses, Lauer and Hamilton concluded that "the simulated cloud climate feedbacks activated in global warming projections differ enormously among state-of-the-art models," informing us that "this large degree of disagreement has been a constant feature documented for successive generations of GCMs from the time of the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment through the CMIP3 generation models used in the fourth IPCC assessment." And they add that "even the model-simulated cloud climatologies for present-day conditions are known to depart significantly from observations and, once again, the variation among models is quite remarkable (e.g., Weare, 2004; Zhang et al., 2005; Waliser et al., 2007, 2009; Lauer et al., 2010; Chen et al., 2011)."

As for some other specifics, the two researchers determined that (1) "long-term mean vertically integrated cloud fields have quite significant deficiencies in all the CMIP5 model simulations," that (2) "both the CMIP5 and CMIP3 models display a clear bias in simulating too high LWP [liquid water path] in mid-latitudes," that (3) "this bias is not reduced in the CMIP5 models," that (4) there have been "little to no changes in the skill of reproducing the observed LWP and CA [cloud amount]," that (5) "inter-model differences are still large in the CMIP5 simulations," and that (6) "there is very little to no improvement apparent in the tropical and subtropical regions in CMIP5."

In closing, Lauer and Hamilton indicate there is "only very modest improvement in the simulated cloud climatology in CMIP5 compared with CMIP3," and they sadly state that even this slightest of improvements "is mainly a result of careful model tuning rather than an accurate fundamental representation of cloud processes in the models."

So, the outlook for adequately modeling clouds and cloud processes, after all these years of trying, must still be characterized as cloudy.


IPCC exaggerates risks

Joseph L. Bast

Environmentalists hoped the latest study from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) would finally end the increasingly acrimonious debate over the causes and consequences of climate change. It has had the opposite effect.

MIT physicist Richard Lindzen called the IPCC report "hilarious incoherence." British historian Rupert Darwall labeled it "nonsense" and "the manipulation of science for political ends." Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology says the IPCC suffers from "paradigm paralysis" and should be "put down."

The most precise criticism of the IPCC's report came from the editors of Nature, one of the world's most distinguished science journals: "Scientists cannot say with any certainty what rate of warming might be expected, or what effects humanity might want to prepare for, hedge against or avoid at all costs."

Despite decades of research funded by taxpayers to the tune of billions of dollars, we are no more certain about the impact of man-made greenhouse gases than we were in 1990, or even in 1979 when the National Academy of Sciences estimated the effect of a doubling of carbon dioxide to be "near 3 degrees C with a probable error of plus or minus 1.5 degrees C."

The lower end of that range, which is where the best research on the likely sensitivity of climate to carbon dioxide lands, is well within the bounds of natural variability.

Significantly, the IPCC has backed down from its previous forecasts of increases in droughts and hurricanes. And it admits, but does not explain, why no warming has occurred for the past 15 years.

Due to its charter and sheer bureaucratic momentum, the IPCC is compelled to claim it is more confident than ever in its alarmist predictions, even as real-world evidence falsifies them at every turn. Policymakers and the public have no reason to believe this discredited oracle.

It's time to start listening to other voices in the debate, such as the 50-some scientists who make up the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

According to its latest report, "the IPCC has exaggerated the amount of warming likely to occur if the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide were to double, and such warming as occurs is likely to be modest and cause no net harm to the global environment or to human well-being."


Reindeer Reproduction in a Warming World: Will it be Helped or Hindered by the Changing Climate?

This study appears to be a response to another study that I debunked on 2nd.

Tveraa, T., Stien, A., Bardsen, B.-J. and Fauchald, P. 2013. "Population densities, vegetation green-up, and plant productivity: Impacts on reproductive success and juvenile body mass in reindeer". PLoS ONE 8: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056450.

Introducing their work, Tveraa et al. (2013) write that "for caribou in Greenland earlier springs have been suggested to result in a lower reproductive success," based on the assumption that "Rangifer (caribou/reindeer) might be unable to adjust their timing of reproduction to the earlier surge of high quality food," which potential failure could "cause a mismatch between optimal forage conditions and the timing of reproduction." And, therefore, they state that "concerns have been raised regarding the future viability of Rangifer in Arctic and sub-Arctic tundra ecosystems."

In a study designed to further explore this unsettled situation, Tveraa et al. "analyzed a 10-year dataset of satellite derived measures of vegetation green-up, population densities, calf body masses and female reproductive success in 19 reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) populations in Northern Norway." Based on their analysis, the four Norwegian researchers report that "an early onset of spring and high peak plant productivity had positive effects on calf autumn body masses and female reproductive success," and that "the quantity of food available, as determined by the onset of vegetation green-up and plant productivity over the summer, were the main drivers of body mass growth and reproductive success."

Hence, they found no evidence for a negative effect of the speed of spring green-up, nor did they detect "a negative mismatch between early springs and subsequent recruitment." As such, Tveraa et al. very simply concluded that the "effects of global warming on plant productivity and onset of spring are likely to positively affect sub-Arctic reindeer."


Mini-nukes’ better for Britain than monster wind farms

Foreign-owned firms are building expensive turbines offshore but there is a far more efficient alternative

As the shambles of Britain’s energy policy and soaring bills continues to make shock headlines, many in the south-west of England are staring in angry amazement at plans by foreign-owned firms to build two of the largest offshore wind farms in the world just off their coastlines. The German power company RWE hopes to spend Ł4 billion on its “Atlantic Array”, covering 125 square miles of sea between Devon and South Wales with 240 vast 5MW turbines, more than 600ft high. Owing to the wind’s intermittency, these will generate, on average, just 400MW of electricity – but will earn RWE Ł525 million a year, of which Ł350 million will be from subsidies we all pay through our electricity bills.

Meanwhile, dominating the views from Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, the Ł3.6 billion “Navitus Bay” scheme, proposed by the French state-owned firm EDF and a Dutch partner, will cover 76 square miles of sea with 218 5MW turbines generating an average of 350MW. It will be worth Ł450 million a year to its owners, Ł270 million of it in subsidies. In addition, locals are horrified to learn that to connect these turbines to the grid will involve 22 miles of cabling, in a trench up to 140ft wide across the New Forest and Dorset.

The combined contribution of these two gigantic wind farms, at a capital cost of Ł7.6 billion and earning subsidies of Ł620 million a year, will average 750MW – less than that of the single unsubsidised gas-fired power station recently built in Plymouth at a capital cost of Ł1 billion.

At the same time, George Osborne, the Chancellor, boasts of his hope that China will join EDF in financing a giant Ł14 billion nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, to generate 3,200MW of much more reliable CO2-free electricity –but at such colossal cost that its owners will be allowed to charge users almost double the Ł50 per megawatt-hour paid for power from gas or coal.

As we look on in mounting horror at the incredible crisis being created by our government’s insanely skewed “green” energy policies, it is time for a new ingredient to be inserted into the debate: the possibility of producing almost unlimited quantities of reliable, CO2-free electricity very much cheaper than that from those absurdly inefficient wind farms.

Two American firms, backed by the US Department of Energy, are now well advanced in developing factory-built “mini-nuclear power plants”, wholly safe and offering a mouthwatering range of advantages over their competitors. The mPower company in North Carolina is developing a two-reactor nuclear power station covering just 40 acres, but capable of generating 360MW round the clock: more than would be produced by the Navitus Bay wind farm at less than two-thirds of the price, and occupying only one 1,200th of the same area. These could be installed on old power station sites next to the grid, and the company tells me that they should be commercially available within nine or 10 years, much sooner than that monster at Hinkley Point.

A Colorado-based firm, Gen4 Energy (formerly Hyperion), is using Los Alamos technology to develop an even smaller nuclear generator, to produce 70MW of heat, to include 25MW of electricity. If we want efficient CO2-free electricity at competitive prices, this is where we should be looking. And anyone worried about the safety of siting these mini-reactors conveniently near to cities should remember that for 50 years, Rolls-Royce has been running a small nuclear reactor right next to Derby County football ground. As yet, not a single death has been reported.


Heartland Institute Experts Respond to Supreme Court Acceptance of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Case

The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to scrutinize a narrow aspect of the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources of pollution, including power plants and factories. The Court declined to hear an appeal that challenged EPA’s endangerment finding on carbon dioxide, which treats the gas as a harmful pollutant.

The Heartland Institute has submitted several comments and briefs in response to rulings by the Environmental Protection Agency, including: “Comments in response to EPA’s ANPR entitled Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under the Clean Air Act” in 2008; an amicus brief in support of the Deseret Power Electric Cooperative in 2008; “Comments in Response to Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases” in 2009; and “Comments to EPA (MACT): Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions for New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units” in 2012.

The following statements from experts in environment policy and legal affairs, and policy advisors at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

The Heartland Institute in September published Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, an examination of peer-reviewed science by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). Digital copies of the 1,000-page report and 20-page Summary for Policy Makers is available at

The statements:

* “The Supreme Court’s decision to reject an appeal of its 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA is seriously bad news. For energy consumers – and that is all of us – it means the court will stand by and do nothing while the Obama Administration wages war on fossil fuels. That war already has raised energy costs unnecessarily and threatens to cause electrical rates to ‘skyrocket’ (in then-candidate Barack Obama’s own words). For citizens concerned about the integrity of the Constitution – and that should be all of us – the court gave a free pass to a rogue agency of government that threatens our most basic economic liberties. And for those aware of the collapse of support in the science community for the theory of man-made global warming, the court let stand a decision that accepted without question some of the worst junk science ever to be allowed to be introduced in a courtroom.

“The court missed an opportunity to examine the underlying science of the man-made global warming hypothesis. As the recent release of the report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) makes clear, there is no scientific basis for EPA’s ruling because there is no likely threat to human health and well-being. The court could have ‘looked under the hood’ at the science behind the global warming movement and made its own informed decision. Now it is up to Congress to use its ‘power of the purse’ to rein in the EPA.”

Joseph Bast
The Heartland Institute

* “The justices did an injustice to the American people by not hearing challenges to the seriously flawed endangerment finding. The EPA’s own Office of Inspector General (OIG), an independent auditing office within the agency, concluded that EPA did not follow all the peer review procedures it was supposed to follow in developing the scientific document supporting its endangerment finding.

“In its report, ‘Procedural Review of EPA’s Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding Data Quality Processes,’ the Inspector General concluded that the process of developing EPA’s endangerment finding did not comply fully with applicable peer review requirements. The Inspector General determined the 2009 finding needed to follow the procedures for peer review of a ‘highly influential scientific assessment’ as defined by the Information Quality Act. The Inspector General’s office found the agency failed to release publicly the results of its peer review process and the office drew issue with the fact that one of the peer reviewers was an EPA staff member.”

Joseph D’Aleo
Executive Director,
Policy Advisor, Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute

* “The U.S. Supreme Court has made a colossal mistake by concluding that they won’t review the EPA’s misguided decision that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions endanger public health and the planet. Since CO2 is not a pollutant, the only conceivable reason to regulate emissions would be if they were causing dangerous climate change or ocean ‘acidification.’ But the empirical evidence collected across the world and assessed by thousands of scientists whose research is cited by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate change shows clearly that neither of these fears are even remotely likely.”

Tom Harris
Executive Director
International Climate Science Coalition
Policy Advisor, Energy and Environment
The Heartland Institute

* “Today’s Supreme Court decision to decline hearing the appeal that challenged EPA’s endangerment finding on carbon dioxide, which treats the gas as a harmful pollutant, is further confirmation of the inability of the majority of justices to see either the forest or the trees.”

David Littmann
Senior Economist
Mackinac Center for Public Policy

* “This is yet another example of why the evolved government fails to represent the best interests of the country. A nine-member oligarchy was never meant to rule us. Who gave the Supreme Court the right to make decisions reversible only unto itself? CO2 as a Supreme-Court-defined ‘evil’ leads to far-ranging detrimental EPA results. CO2 needs to be removed from the reeducation list and returned to its rightful status as a basic good of nature. We should not have to beg the Imperial Nine to do what logic and necessity require.”

Christopher Garbacz
Director of Economics and Planning Division
Mississippi Public Utilities Staff

* “However encouraging it may superficially appear from the standpoint of constitutional government and separation of powers, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to determine whether the EPA is acting lawfully in setting up permit requirements for stationary sources of pollution is too little, too late.

“Although wisely not injecting itself into whether carbon emissions threaten public health and contribute to climate change, the court’s refusal to revisit its 2007 decision ordering the EPA to consider regulating greenhouse-gas emissions reflects a court that remains in too many ways political and not jurisprudential. If the Affordable Care Act case is any indication, then look for a further extension come June of what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has labeled in its briefs ‘the costliest, farthest-reaching and most intrusive regulatory apparatus in the history of the American administrative state.’ “

David L. Applegate
Policy Advisor, Legal Affairs
The Heartland Institute

* “We thought this case appropriately presented to the Supreme Court the broad and crucial question of EPA’s power to make an endangerment finding on carbon dioxide, which treats a harmless natural byproduct of human respiration as a dangerous pollutant. Obviously, the court did not agree. We appreciate the court taking up the narrower question of EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources of pollution, including power plants and factories, and we look forward to its judgment on that issue. Meanwhile, we will search for a case that appropriately presents the bigger question for court consideration in its time.”

Chris Robling
Policy Advisor, Legal Affairs
The Heartland Institute

* “The decision not to review the endangerment finding is particularly disappointing in light of the overwhelming body of observational evidence that computer climate models that are the sole basis of fears of dangerous global warming vastly exaggerate the warming effect of added carbon dioxide. This action by the court could mean that Congress will have to legislate to strip EPA of the authority it arrogated to itself when it presumed to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act.”

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D.
Founder and National Spokesman
Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation

* “In 30 years, EPA hasn’t issued a rule with supporting evidence that it did not pay for, or with evidence that was not contradicted by evidence EPA did not pay for. No objective evidence for a rule-making, no more EPA rule-makings. It is that simple.”

Brian G Valentine, D Engr
General Engineer
Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
U.S. Dept of Energy

* “There is simply no hiding the devastation this decision causes. The simple refutation of the EPA is there for any sane person to see. Yet the Supreme Court, much like with Obamacare, chose to sit on the side and allow the destruction of the American Dream to proceed – even though its based on lies.

“Given what we see across the board today, this is par for the course. There is a force that hides truth – and by doing so, allows the light of America to dim each day. This decision only affirms that.”

Joe Bastardi
Chief Forecaster

* “This case reminds me of the asbestos scandal, as well as the chlorofluorocarbon vs. the ozone layer misery. Now we are fighting this new hype: the asserted ‘climate change’ by heat-trapping ‘greenhouse gases,’ especially carbon dioxide. I started opposing this hype publicly in 1989.

“CO2 is the ‘gas of life.’ Without CO2 life on this planet would have big problems. Carbon isotopes show that just some 4 percent of the atmospheric CO2 comes from man’s burning of fossil fuel. Hence the asserted rise in atmospheric CO2 is not mainly due to man, but caused by nature. This is enough information to stop this hype – if anyone cares to listen.”

Tom Segalstad
Resource and Environmental Geology
University of Oslo, Norway

* “I am not much encouraged by the fact that the Supreme Court is going to revisit the question of whether carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must be reduced to save the Earth from global warming. The issue before the court will be whether the Environmental Protection Agency was justified in setting new permit requirements for stationary sources such as power plants and factories.

“The court has already ruled that CO2 – whose importance to all life on Earth is comparable to oxygen – is a ‘pollutant,’ a conclusion that defies logic and the known science that CO2 plays no role whatever regarding the Earth’s climate. It ignores the fact that, while levels of CO2 have risen, the Earth has not warmed for the past fifteen years or more. There is no global warming. And it ignores the fact that a single volcano eruption puts more CO2 into the atmosphere than all the power plants in the USA could in a year’s time.

“It ignores, finally, that every single human being on Earth exhales approximately six pounds of CO2 every day and that imposing emissions limits on the USA ignores all the CO2 emissions from other nations worldwide. The Court has already demonstrated its ignorance regarding the simple science involved, but it does have a chance again to reverse seriously damaging the economy. Let’s hope they take it!”

Alan Caruba
Founder, The National Anxiety Center
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute




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


20 October, 2013

Climatology Sees One Of The Greatest Scientific Reversals Of All Time – The Rise And Fall Of The Hockey Stick Charts

An examination of the five IPCC reports published thus far reveals a remarkable scientific reversal. What follows is the evolution of the 1000-year temperature curve: from double hump (1990) - to hockey stick 2001) – and back again to double hump (2013).

1st Assessment Report, 1990, Fig. 1

In Figure 1 we see that the period of the 11th to 13th century, the Medieval Warm Period, was considerably warmer than today. The above graphic appears to be based on the publication from LAMB from 1965, H. H. LAMB, 1965, THE EARLY MEDIEVAL WARM EPOCH AND ITS SEQUEL Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. The climate data were taken from Central England and extend up to 1970.

Figure 3: Hockey Stick chart from the IPCC Third Assessment Report.

In a single stroke the Medieval Warm Period gets deleted altogether. The chart shows a relatively stable climate all the way up to 1900 with an overall slight cooling tendency. This then gets followed by a dramatic temperature increase. It became known worldwide as the “Hockey Stick chart”. It was cited endlessly, often times without the gray zone of uncertainty - for example in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth movie.

However, the chart became highly criticized because of the methodology employed by lead author Michael Mann. The methodology produced a hockey stick no matter what data were input. Even today Mann refuses to fully disclose the method he employed. Moreover, it was determined that the tree-ring data methodology suppressed the climate jumps of the past. Furthermore the reconstructed data was simply truncated at 1980 and replaced by the instrumental data. This was done because the data derived from the tree-rings did not deliver the desired temperature rise at the end of the data series.

5th Assessment Report, 2013

The Fifth Assessment Report has been just released. In it the IPCC now shows the following Figure 5.7 climate curve, a new spaghetti chart:

Figure 5: IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Figure 5.7.

Here we now clearly see that Michael Mann’s hockey stick curve of 1999 has disappeared altogether. The new temperature reconstructions once again show a very pronounced Medieval Warm Period, thus rehabilitating the MWP of the First Assessment Report from 23 years ago. Today’s warming, it turns out, is nowhere near as dramatic as it was claimed for a long time.

The IPCC has gone from a double hump curve – to hockey stick – and again back to double hump curve. This is a remarkable scientific reversal over the course of 23 years.

Hide the decline

Michael Mann’s hockey stick curve of 1999 is not the only climate curve that has disappeared from the 5th Assessment Report. Also Keith Briffa’s curve from 2000 and 2001 have disappeared. The following may be the reason they have disappeared.

Without the work of the “climate skeptics”, one of the greatest scientific reversals of the last century very likely would have never taken place.


The IPCC projections of CO2 increase are derived from economic, not climatological models/b>

Use of circular arguments is standard operating procedures for the IPCC. For example, they assume a CO2 increase causes a temperature increase. They then create a model with that assumption and when the model output shows a temperature increase with a CO2 increase they claim it proves their assumption.

They double down on this by combining an economic model that projects a CO2 increase with their climate model projection. To make it look more accurate and reasonable they create scenarios based on their estimates of future developments. It creates what they want, namely that CO2 will increase and temperature will increase catastrophically unless we shut down fossil fuel based economies very quickly.

All their projections failed, even the lowest as, according to them, atmospheric CO2 continued to rise and global temperatures declined. As usual, instead of admitting their work and assumptions were wrong, they scramble to blur, obfuscate and counterattack.

One part of the obfuscation is to keep the focus on climate science. Most think the IPCC is purely about climate science, they don’t know about the economics connection. They don’t know that the IPCC projects CO2 increase on economic models that presume to know the future. Chances of knowing that are virtually zero as history shows.

The IPCC claim 95 percent certainty about their climate science and presumably about their predictions. The problem is all were wrong from the start. As early as the 1995 Report they had switched to projections. They gave a range of projections or scenarios from low to high, but even the lowest was incorrect. Roger Pielke Jr et al explained the assumptions for the scenarios were unrealistic, especially about technological progress in energy use and supply.

Most people assume the projections are solely a function of the climate science and climate models, but that is not the case. The climate science is wrong and that contributes to the failed projections because it is the basic assumption of the AGW hypothesis that an increase in CO2 causes a temperature increase. However, the three projections also vary from high to low because of different assumptions about the future society and economy. These estimates of the future primarily determine the amount of CO2 increase that will occur under different economic scenarios. As Richard Lindzen, MIT professor of meteorology said in an interview with James Glassman that the 2001 IPCC Report “was very much a children’s exercise of what might possibly happen” prepared by a “peculiar group” with “no technical competence.” Maybe, but it achieved their political objective of isolating and demonizing CO2.

After release of the 2001 Third Assessment Report (TAR) two papers by Ian Castles and David Henderson (C&H) were published drawing attention to the problems with the emission scenarios used to produce the three projections.1 Castles explained the concerns as follows;

“During the past three years I and a co-author (David Henderson, former Head of the Department of Economics and Statistics at OECD) have criticised the IPCC’s treatment of economic issues.

Our main single criticism has been the Panel’s use of exchange rate converters to put the GDPs of different countries onto a common basis for purposes of estimating and projecting output, income, energy intensity, etc. This is not permissible under the internationally-agreed System of National Accounts which was unanimously approved by the UN Statistical Commission in 1993, and published later that year by the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF, the OECD and the Commission of the European Communities, under cover of a Foreword which was personally signed by the Heads of the five organisations.”

As one commentator noted,

“These two economists have shown that the calculations carried out by the IPCC concerning per capita income, economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions in different regions are fundamentally flawed, and substantially overstate the likely growth in developing countries. The results are therefore unsuitable as a starting point for the next IPCC assessment report, which is due to be published in 2007. Unfortunately, this is precisely how the IPCC now intends to use it submissions projections.”


Censorship of letters to the editor

The Sydney Morning Herald comments

Letters editors rarely make the news. This month the Los Angeles Times letters editor, Paul Thornton, did just that with a story on letters from climate-change deniers. He said he would not print letters that asserted "there is no sign humans have caused climate change" because "it was not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy". This attracted headlines declaring "Los Angeles Times riles climate-change sceptics by banning letters". Unsurprisingly, we've been asked how we treat letters from climate change deniers.

Herald editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir recently reiterated the paper's stance on global warming. "The Herald believes unequivocally in human-induced climate change," he told an audience at David Suzuki's City Talk. "It is an established fact. What we are much more interested in is not the sideshow over whether this phenomenon exists or not, but on how it should be tackled."

We do not ban writers whose views suggest they are climate change deniers or sceptics. We consider their letters and arguments. But we believe the argument over whether climate change is happening and whether it is man-made has been thrashed out extensively by leading scientists and on our pages and that the main debate now is about its effects, severity, and what society does about it.

Climate change deniers or sceptics are free to express opinions and political views on our page but not to misrepresent facts. This applies to all our contributors on any subject. On that basis, a letter that says, "there is no sign humans have caused climate change" would not make the grade for our page.


Fuel hikes to push British families over edge

CRIPPLING energy price hikes could see nearly two thirds of households struggle to adequately heat their homes this winter, experts say.

If the five other big energy suppliers follow the lead of SSE and raise their gas and electricity prices by a similar amount, it is predicted that the average dual fuel bill would rocket to just under Ł1,500 a year from Ł1,353.

Last week, SSE said that annual dual fuel bills would go up by an average of 8.2 per cent from mid-November.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, said: "This is dangerously close to the tipping point of Ł1,500, beyond which 59 per cent of households will be going without adequate heating and 36 per cent will be forced to turn their heating off entirely."

The SSE price increase announcement came as the warm weather gave way last week to colder temperatures.

It sparked fears that consumers suffering from static wages and rising prices will have to choose between heating their homes and paying other bills.

The energy supplier blamed the hike on higher prices in the wholesale market, tax rises and higher costs involved in transporting power to homes. Energy Helpline estimates that the average dual fuel bill this winter will rise to Ł593, if SSE's competitors introduce similar price hikes.

Clare Francis, editor-in-chief at price comparison website, believes people must take action quickly and switch to fixed tariffs before the price hikes come into effect or the best deals are withdrawn.

She said: "The bill hike from SSE will affect a massive proportion of households. We need to see a change in consumer behaviour when it comes to energy prices.

"The news could make the colder months even more miserable unless consumers take action right away and move to a fixed tariff."

The prospect of higher winter energy bills follows the hit that millions of consumers took earlier this year when water tariffs were raised.


British Tories plan to cut green taxes

Senior Tories are drawing up a secret plan to cut green taxes as part of a radical overhaul of the energy industry designed to reduce customers’ bills.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers are locked in a battle over whether to reduce the green levies which energy firms say are contributing to the sharp rises in gas and electricity bills this winter.

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Energy Secretary, is said to be “furious” that the Conservatives want to renegotiate the Coalition’s fragile truce on energy policy, which saw last year's Energy Bill delayed by Coalition infighting.

However, David Cameron and George Osborne are understood to have resolved to act in response to the public outcry at soaring energy costs, after British Gas and SSE announced sharp increases in household gas and electricity bills.

British Gas disclosed last week that it is to increase the average household gas and electricity bill by 9.2 per cent next month. The rise followed the announcement from Scottish & Southern Energy of an 8.2 per cent rise this winter.

On Saturday night the Archbishop of Canterbury warned that the latest wave of rises appeared "inexplicable".

The Most Rev Justin Weby, a former oil executive, told the Mail on Sunday that firms to be "conscious of their social obligations", saying they had to to "behave with generosity and not merely to maximise opportunity".

Energy firms blame the environmental and social obligations placed on them by ministers for the increase in bills.

The industry claims that these green levies add Ł110 to a typical household bill, money which is then used to pay for loft insulation schemes and subsidies for renewable energy projects, under the Coalition’s rules.

The two governing parties know that they are running out of time to offer a rival policy to Ed Miliband’s populist pledge to freeze energy bills for 20 months if Labour wins the next election.

A senior Tory said the Conservatives were now “on the back foot” as a result of Mr Miliband’s gambit and must act soon.

The Telegraph can disclose that a three-point plan has already been drawn up by Tories inside the government. Under the plan:

* The completion of the Energy Companies Obligation, which involves fitting insulation and energy saving measures into the homes of vulnerable customers, such as pensioners on low incomes, would be delayed by two years to 2017.

Energy companies would be given more time to meet their targets for cutting carbon emissions under the ECO scheme, under the plan. The energy companies would be required to promise to pass on the cut to their customers in the form of lower bills.

The framework for the ECO programme would also be re-written to encourage smaller energy companies to take part, increasing competition in the market beyond the “big six” firms, which include British Gas and SSE.

* Ministers would review the Carbon Price Floor, a tax on fossil fuels used to generate electricity, which the power companies say will add Ł26 to household bills.

* Cutting the cost of distribution of gas and electricity, which is organised through smaller regional monopolies. Government sources say Ofgem, the energy regulator, has failed to be tough enough on bringing down the costs of distribution on the gas and electricity networks, which represent about 20 per cent of household bills.

Michael Fallon, the Conservative Energy Minister, told The Telegraph that all of the green taxes would be assessed to identify cases where the costs they imposed on customers were too high.

“We have to look at the seven green taxes and see where the burden is too high,” he said. “And when network costs account for a fifth of bills then Ofgem must bear down harder on distribution monopolies.”

The green schemes which Mr Fallon has identified for examination are the ECO, the Carbon Price Floor, the Renewables Obligation, Feed in Tariffs, the EU Emissions Trading System, the Warm Homes Discount, and smart metering initiatives.

Ministers are now looking in detail at the reforms. However, some senior figures inside the government want to go further and “get rid of” green taxes entirely, sources said, despite likely resistance from Mr Davey and the Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg.

A senior Liberal Democrat source denied that there was any government “review” of green energy policies under way.

“There isn’t a government review into green subsidies,” the source said. “There isn’t a government review into ECO. It’s not happening.”

A source at the Department for Energy and Climate Change played down the impression of a split in the Coalition over the impact of green levies on power bills.

“As you would expect, you look at energy bills regularly and think, 'is there anything we can do?'” the source said. “That’s the day job.”

However, these discussions, which are now taking place across government departments, do not mean that green subsidies are in line for the axe, the Lib Dem figure said. Green subsidies represent “the smallest bit of the bill” for customers, the source added.

The Coalition tensions over energy policy came as:

* Mr Miliband prepared to step up his campaign against the energy giants by attacking the profits they have made in recent years while bills have risen.

Labour will publicise figures this week showing that SSE and Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, have increased their dividend payments to shareholders by 20 per cent since 2010. At the same time, bills have risen on average by Ł300. Labour’s shadow energy secretary, Caroline Flint, said the figures were evidence that the energy market was “broken”.

“Bills are going up year on year, investment is shrinking and these energy bosses are prioritising payments to shareholder,” she said. “David Cameron needs to get a grip of this. His failure to reform Britain’s broken energy market is leaving hard-pressed bill-payers massively out of pocket.”

* Ministers prepare to announce that billions of pounds in Treasury “guarantees” have been earmarked for major new energy infrastructure projects including power plants, gas projects and fuelling stations.

A total of 40 energy, road and rail schemes worth Ł17 billion have been given “pre-approval” for the infrastructure guarantees, ministers will say.

Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said the government guarantees would help companies that want to borrow money in order to invest in new projects. The government will effectively under-write the loans that banks provide to companies using the scheme.

* Ministers close in on a deal for the future of Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset. An announcement is expected within days on the minimum price for electricity from the plant which the government will guarantee the French energy giant EDF.

The market price of power — currently about Ł50 — will be “topped up” with subsidies, paid for by levies on all UK energy consumers’ bills. This potentially commits bill-payers to tens of billions of pounds in subsidies over the lifetime of the plant.


Australian conservatives pretty right about household savings from axing the carbon tax

Below is an excerpt from some "fact checking" by Australia's main public broadcaster

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced he will introduce legislation next month to scrap the carbon tax from July 2014. "When this bill is passed, Australian households will be better off to the tune of $550 a year," he promised in a press conference on October 15.

Minutes later, Environment Minister Greg Hunt echoed that figure, but was more precise about when it applied. "The legislation will also bring in to being, as the Prime Minister said, a saving of $550 on average next financial year, as opposed to the current situation," he said. "On average, it's a saving of $3,000 per family over the next six years."

The verdict:

Based on Treasury modelling, households will be better off by around $550 in 2014-15 if the current legislation is scrapped. However the following year, when the legislation moves to a floating price, the estimated impact on households drops to $280.

Mr Abbott was overstating the case to say households would be better off to the tune of $550 a year, but Mr Hunt reasonably said the legislation would mean "a saving of $550 on average next financial year, as opposed to the current situation".

Mr Hunt's claim of a $3,000 benefit to households stretches to 2020. But it is impossible to make a reliable estimate of the impact of a carbon tax on households that far beyond the forward estimates.

Mr Abbott and Mr Hunt are in the ballpark.




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


18 October, 2013

Britain set to build more nukes

George Osborne, the Chancellor, has announced that the UK will allow Chinese companies to take a stake in British nuclear power plants. The decision could lead to China taking a future majority stake - and even be allowed to own up to 100 pc - in the development of the next generation of British nuclear power.

Mr Osborne made the announcement on Thursday the last day of a week-long trade visit to China after a visit to Taishan nuclear power station on the coast near Hong Kong. Taishan is a collaboration between French energy company EDF and the China General Nuclear Power Company.

EDF is at the heart of UK Government hopes for developing new British nuclear capacity. Negotiations on a deal to build a new plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset have reached the critical stage, though it does not come under this new majority-stake arrangement.

Mr Osborne said the nuclear deal with China demonstrated both the openness of the British market and would act as a boon to the taxpayer. He said: "Today is another demonstration of the next big step in the relationship between Britain and China – the world's oldest civil nuclear power and the world's fastest growing civil nuclear power.

"It is an important potential part of the government's plan for developing the next generation of nuclear power in Britain. It means the potential of more investment and jobs in Britain, and lower long-term energy costs for consumers."

The deal is anchored on the memorandum of understanding signed by the Chancellor in Beijing this week by which the two governments agree to help each other with their civil nuclear programmes (and pursue joint ventures in third countries by the way). It will see British companies allowed to sell their expertise in China.

Mr Osborne claims tight regulation of the nuclear industry and the oversight of the intelligence services means Britain can still pocket the economic benefits without national security fears.

It is thought, however, Mr Osborne's announcement is likely to stoke tensions with energy secretary Ed Davey who has let it be known that he does not like the way the Chancellor has claimed credit for the Chinese deal.

Despite Mr Osborne's announcement the future of the next big nuclear power plant in Britain remains - officially, at least - undecided.

Mr Davey said last weekend that the Government is “extremely close” to finalising terms for the Ł14bn programme to build twin nuclear plants at Hinkley Point, Somerset. The Government was thought to be on the verge of completing a heavily-subsidised agreement to revive nuclear power development in Britain via a deal with state-owned French and Chinese companies.

He insisted there was no direct state aid in the package being negotiated with EDF and China General Nuclear.

But an announcement on the Ł14bn EDF plant at Hinkley Point has still yet to be made - although it is thought it could now be made next Monday in the wake of today's agreements in China.

Consumer groups have been concerned that customers will end up paying for indirect price subsidies, potentially costing billions of pounds through levies on bills over the 35-year life of the new plants.

EDF is said to have given ground on a guaranteed price of between Ł90 and Ł93 for each megawatt hour of electricity generated by the new plants – having initially demanded around Ł150. But the looming deal is still 50pc above the current wholesale cost of power.

The drawn-out negotiations with EDF, now in their second year, have survived a series of crises, but the French nuclear group has now brought in China General Nuclear as a partner to share rising costs.

Treasury negotiators are said to have made concessions on power prices, profit sharing and construction guarantees to achieve a breakthrough in talks that have teetered on the brink of collapse.

The Government could, however, face difficulties on the subsidy issue when it seeks clearance from Brussels for the Hinkley deal.
EU regulations bar direct state aid. Moves to relax the rules by introducing guidelines have been blocked by France, Germany and other states. The Government hopes the Hinkley deal will provide the framework for other nuclear power projects under discussion.


Tropics extremely quiet in Atlantic; record pause in major U.S. hurricane landfalls

The tropical Atlantic continues its spell of remarkable inactivity. There have been just two short-lived Category 1 hurricanes so far, and there is nothing in the long-range model guidance to suggest anything but the status quo.

And this suppressed activity isn’t limited to just the Atlantic either. The East Pacific has now had 14 tropical storms, but like the Atlantic, no major hurricanes. This is extraordinary, since the two basins are typically out of phase; that is, one is active while the other is inactive. The only other year in recorded history in which no major hurricanes occurred in the Atlantic or the East Pacific is 1968.

“Best track” data extend back to 1949 in the East Pacific and to 1851 in the Atlantic, so only the past 64 years are shared in common. However, reliable intensity data in the East Pacific begins in 1971, so in that era, the absence of major hurricanes in both basins is unprecedented.

Expanding the search even further, it turns out that the West Pacific is also abnormally quiet this year, even accounting for last week’s flurry of storms. In terms of ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy), the entire northern hemisphere is running behind climatology.

Ryan Maue at WeatherBell keeps track of ACE, basin-by-basin. The northern hemisphere as a whole is at about 59% of average for this date. The East Pacific is at 45% and the Atlantic is at 30%. Only the typically-quiet Indian Ocean is now above normal due almost entirely to last week’s Cyclone Phailin.

Going back to 1950, Atlantic ACE is the 7th lowest for this date, so while it’s low, it’s definitely not a record. Not that it is a race, but, to just “catch up” to climatology for this date, we’d need to toss in a little more than three Hurricane Katrinas! And, to reach 2004?s record ACE for this date, we’d need to add about ten Hurricane Katrinas!

As a result of having no major hurricanes yet this year, the U.S. “major hurricane drought” necessarily continues. It has now been 2,913 days since the last major hurricane made landfall on the U.S. … the longest such span going back to 1900. A major hurricane is defined to be a hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph or greater… Category 3, 4, and 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

The last one was Wilma, which made landfall on southwest Florida on October 24, 2005 with peak winds of about 120 mph. We’ve had several weaker hurricanes make U.S. landfall since then (Humberto ’07, Dolly ’08, Gustav ’08, Ike ’08, Irene ’11, Isaac ’12, and Sandy ’12), but nothing with the violent fury of a major hurricane.

Also, there have been quite a few major hurricane landfalls on other countries since 2005; we’ve just been lucky here in the States. Of course, as we know from experience, even weaker storms are capable of generating destructive storm surges and flash floods.

No one’s complaining about this, but there is one downside: complacency. Anywhere you live, there are verbal accounts of past major storms that live on in people’s memories. But the longer you go without a significant event, the harder it becomes to convince people to take action when one finally threatens. It is a 100% certainty that it will happen again, but there will be lots of people who won’t know what they’re in for if they choose to ride it out.

There is already research underway by several universities to figure out what is suppressing tropical cyclone activity not just in the Atlantic, but across the northern hemisphere this year. It’s nothing routinely obvious, because expert forecasters were all expecting a very active season (see “What happened to hurricane season? And why we should keep forecasting it…“), but it must be some fundamental large-scale phenomenon that has been overlooked.

I often get asked what role global warming is playing in a given hurricane season… whether it’s an abnormally quiet one or an abnormally active one. It is never accurate to correlate a hurricane season –and certainly not a specific hurricane– with global warming. Regardless of where you stand in the debate, natural inter-seasonal variability is so large that subtle signals due to climate change are overwhelmed. That is not to say that trends might not show up in long-term averages and climatology, but one should not cherry-pick individual seasons and storms to make a case in the debate.

Finally, keep in mind that hurricane season is not over yet, and even a single hurricane making landfall in a vulnerable location can make it a very expensive and destructive season… but it won’t be enough to make it an active season.


Global warming is already causing animals to evolve and migrate, claims scientist

Since there has been no warming for 17 years any recent changes CANNOT be due to global warming. And since the total temperature increase over the last 150 years was less than one degree Celsius, any longer-term changes are also most unlikely to be warming-related -- JR

From chipmunks to Mediterranean spiders, animals are evolving to cope with the effects of hotter temperatures, a scientist has claimed.

DNA evidence suggests the European wasp spider is evolving into a new form and is moving to cooler regions to set up home in parts of northern Europe, while chipmunks living in Yosemite park in California are moving to higher, cooler altitudes, a biologist claims.

The scientist believes that the changes are due to the effects of global warming and as habitats move, populations of animals that have previously not crossed paths, are mixing and have the potential to spread and adapt in new ways.
Scientists studied alpine chipmunks living in Yosemite National Park

Scientists studied alpine chipmunks living in Yosemite National Park and found that over 100 years, the animals have moved to higher altitudes as the average temperature of the park has risen by three degrees Celsius

Systems biologist Michael White, of the Department of Genetics and the Centre for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said animals are already feeling the heat from global warming and are having to adapt.

Writing for Pacific Standard, he said scientists tracking the movements of animals have repeatedly found that plants and animals have altered their behaviour in response to earlier springs and milder temperatures by moving to higher latitudes and altitudes.

Dr White said global warming is in effect a large evolutionary experiment that is causing huge genetic changes as creatures rapidly adapt or become extinct.

With lots of land and marine creatures moving into new territories, scientists are concerned about what will happen when they meet, as it could dramatically change ecosystems and food chains.

They are turning to genetics to try and predict the present and future impact of global warming, by studying DNA in a scientific field called landscape genetics.

Dr White cited the work of a team of scientists at the University of California-Berkeley as an example of how creatures are adapting to warmer temperatures.

Dr White said scientists tracking the movements of animals have repeatedly found that plants and animals have altered their behaviour in response to earlier springs and milder temperatures by moving to higher latitudes and altitudes

The scientists studied alpine chipmunks living in Yosemite National Park and found that over 100 years the animals have moved to higher altitudes as the average temperature of the park has risen by three degrees Celsius.

While there is an argument that the creatures are adapting to global warming, their numbers in the area have declined, causing some experts to question if they are simply on a fast-track to extinction in the region.

The researchers compared DNA from historical specimens of the species collected in 1915 with contemporary chipmunks and discovered evidence of genetic erosion.

In effect, the alpine chipmunk population is breaking up into isolated, genetically-limited groups and losing diversity in their DNA, which makes them more vulnerable to disease and natural disasters such as drought. 'The chipmunks' poor prospects are evident in their genes,' wrote Dr White.

The spiders primarily lived in Mediterranean regions until the 1930s but have gradually crept northwards to colonise Scandinavia, Poland and the Baltic region

DNA evidence also suggests the European wasp spider is evolving and have colonised new areas as they seek cooler climates.

The spiders primarily lived in Mediterranean regions until the 1930s but have gradually crept northwards to colonise Scandinavia, Poland and the Baltic region.

Interestingly while scientists thought they were trying to find new places to live that were the same temperature as the Mediterranean before temperatures have risen, the spiders have actually moved into regions that are cooler than their original homes.

The reason for their behaviour is they have been mating with spiders that like the cold, to create an invading species that can survive freezing temperatures that would kill its Mediterranean relatives, researchers from Germany's Max Plank Institute told Dr White.

They believe this cross-breeding is taking place as populations of spiders are mixing in regions where they would never have met before.


The New Dark Continent

Wind and solar mandates are breaking Europe's electric utilities

Before the Obama Administration marches America to renewable-energy nirvana, it may want to inspect what success looks like in Europe. The Continent is much closer than the U.S. to realizing its dream of replacing carbon energy sources with wind and solar, and the dream is starting to look like a nightmare.

Last week the CEOs of Europe's 10 largest utilities finally cried uncle and called for a halt to wind and solar subsidies. Short of that, they want subsidies of their own. They want to be paid, in essence, not to produce power.

The root cause of all this is the Continent's so-called feed-in tariffs for renewable energy, which began in Germany in 1990. A feed-in tariff is a form of mandate that gives solar and wind installations a guaranteed price, usually well above the market price, and ensures that any energy they produce gets priority on the electrical grid. When solar and wind plants are producing, their energy must be taken first, ahead of other kinds of power.

By requiring utilities to take this power—and requiring consumers to pay for it—Germany has increased renewables to 25% of its overall capacity. Berlin wants to push that to 35% in 2020 and 80% by 2050. Not every country in Europe has been as ambitious as Germany, but the European Union's renewables target across the entire Continent is also 20% by 2020.

These wind and solar subsidies have increased Europe's energy costs by 17% for consumers and 21% for industry in the last four years. But more ominous is the havoc the mandates are creating for utilities. Old-fashioned power plants, especially coal and nuclear, have traditionally provided what is called "base load" power. These plants produce the power to run refrigerators and street lights and the rest of the 24/7 needs of a modern economy. This was the power that consumers used first—until Europe went mad for renewables.

The trouble is, no one knows how much power renewables can provide at any particular moment. Imagine having a car that runs on gasoline, with a solar array on the roof. But instead of using the solar power when you needed it, the car was required to add this solar power to the engine's output whenever it was available.

So you're driving down the highway at 60 miles per hour, but then the sun comes out and suddenly you're doing 80 unless you take your foot off the gas. Now imagine trying to run a whole economy on that sort of power, except it takes hours or days to adjust the throttle every time the weather changes.

The utilities have seen their once-predictable power needs replaced with demand that is every bit as unpredictable as the weather. When conditions are poor, they need to step up generation to keep the lights on. But because of the priority given to renewables, they have to be mindful of the possibility of being pre-empted. They still have high fixed costs and capital needs, but thanks to the renewables' privileged position, demand for what they produce waxes and wanes with the wind.

All of this is a drag on growth and has taken 55% off the market capitalization of utilities in the Europe in the past five years, according to The Economist. The utility executives who issued their demarche last week may be content to stay in business as wards of the state, standing by—at taxpayer expense—to pick up the slack when wind and solar fall short.

But consumers and taxpayers deserve better. Ending the feed-in tariffs and the forced purchase of renewable power would reduce energy prices and might even help European industry get back on its feet. It would be a pro-growth reform that wouldn't cost national treasuries a cent.


Realism in Japan: On gas, coal power building spree to fill nuclear void

Japan plans to start up 14 new gas and coal-fired power plants by the end of 2014, allowing a switch away from pricey oil, as Tokyo struggles with a shutdown of nuclear reactors and energy imports drive a record trade deficit.

Regional power monopolies will construct 12 gas-fired units next year, while two new coal power plants will be completed by December 2013, according to a Reuters survey of utilities.

The new power plants will buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal to scale back on the use of expensive crude and fuel oil plants. They will also give Japan a bigger buffer to prevent future power outages when generation plants go offline.

"What this will do is introduce an additional reserve margin into the power network, particularly in areas where some nuclear is coming back," said Nicholas Browne, a senior analyst with Wood Mackenzie in Singapore.

Expanding gas-fired generation is the only viable large-scale option in a nuclear-free Japan to power its industrial and commercial sector and keep electricity prices low enough for businesses to stay competitive globally.

A massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 hit the Fukushima nuclear power station, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co, also known as Tepco, causing three reactor meltdowns and hydrogen explosions.

The disaster undermined public confidence in the safety of nuclear power, leading to the shutdown of all plants for maintenance and safety checks, which pushed the world's third-largest economy and biggest importer of LNG to post its first trade deficit since the second oil shock 31 years ago.

Prior to Fukushima, nuclear power accounted for about 30 percent of electricity and at this stage Japan may have only four nuclear reactors back operating by March 2015, the Institute of Energy Economics Japan says.

The new gas and coal power plants, which based on International Energy Agency (IEA) data will cost an estimated $7 billion to build, will add 6.4 percent more fossil fuel capacity by the end of 2014.

Mitsubishi Heavy, General Electric, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric are among the firms that will benefit from construction.

Gas-fired units next year will add 5.2 gigawatts of capacity, or 7.8 percent, to the 66.3 gigawatts the power firms now operate, according to industry data. The IEA estimates plants with such power output would cost about $4.5 billion.

The two coal-fired units due to start commercial operations in December will add 1.6 gigawatts online from the current 39 gigawatts. Building two plants that produce 1.6 gigawatts would cost about $2.4 billion, according to the IEA.

Lower coal and gas prices relative to crude and fuel oil will clip a skyrocketing energy import bill, but fuel costs will grow and still account for a big chunk of the trade deficit.


Australia: Greens MP Adam Bandt tries to make political mileage out of forest fires

Bandt is a Trotskyite -- an acolyte of Leon Trotsky, leader of the Red Army in the Russian revolution and a mass murderer. Trotsky never took prisoners of war. He shot the lot. So Bandt has exactly the low level of fellow-feeling you would expect of that

AN unrepentant and defiant Adam Bandt has stood behind the ill-timed bushfire comments he made on social media at the peak of yesterday's NSW firestorm.

The Greens MP infuriated many when he tweeted that "Tony Abbott's plan means more bushfires for Australia & more pics like this of Sydney".

That comment came at the very moment that every TV network in Australia showed graphic images of people's houses burning.

Mr Bandt tried to hose down his comments on ABC News 24 on Friday morning, arguing:

"Well, in the last 12 months we've had the hottest year on record, the hottest month and the hottest day. Tony Abbott has picked this time to say he's going to rip up action on global warming, which is going to to mean these are the kind of fires we will see more often."

The point many have already made as a counterpoint to this statement is that Mr Abbott didn't pick the exact moment that people's houses were burning down.

Mr Bandt attempted to add further context in his comments today, carefully adding words like "tragic" and phrases like "the amazing work of emergency services". But he continued to harness the moment to say things like:

"This is what global warming in Australia looks like and it's going to mean more fires happening more often and some of them more severe when they happen."

Mr Bandt also displayed a rather troubling ignorance of Australian geography today with his repeated statement that October is very early for bushfires.

October would indeed be super-early for Victoria, where Mr Bandt lives, but hot weather always arrives earlier in NSW, and fires have long occurred in the east of NSW in October and even earlier in September and August, which are the state's driest months of the year.


PEOPLE'S lives are at risk. Houses have been lost. At latest count there are at least 40 homes burned to the ground. That number will almost certainly rise.

It is a shocking, distressing time right now in eastern New South Wales. The sky above Sydney is thick with smoke. Ash is falling from the sky in many suburbs. A dry southerly change due any minute may only make things worse as the fires change course.

So what does Greens MP Adam Bandt do?

He ignores the unfolding human tragedy and pushes his political barrow on Twitter.

"Why Tony Abbott's plan means more bushfires for Australia & more pics like this of Sydney," Mr Bandt tweeted this afternoon, along with a link to the blood red sky over Sydney

Talk about too soon.

You'd imagine that even the strongest believer in climate change caused by human activity would concede there is a more appropriate time to argue the issue of carbon pricing than when people are fleeing their homes and brave fireys do their best to protect them.

Many people on Twitter are certainly expressing that sentiment.

If the great democracy of social media is any guide, people feel that by attacking the PM's plans to abolish the carbon tax on this particular afternoon, Adam Bandt comes across as a man more interested in political points-scoring than that basic human emotion called compassion.

And politicians wonder why people don't much care for them.




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


17 October, 2013

The Wannabe Oppressed

What do America’s college students want? They want to be oppressed. More precisely, a surprising number of students at America’s finest colleges and universities wish to appear as victims — to themselves, as well as to others — without the discomfort of actually experiencing victimization. Here is where global warming comes in. The secret appeal of campus climate activism lies in its ability to turn otherwise happy, healthy, and prosperous young people into an oppressed class, at least in their own imaginings. Climate activists say to the world, “I’ll save you.” Yet deep down they’re thinking, “Oppress me.”

In his important new book, The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse: Save the Earth, Punish Human Beings, French intellectual gadfly Pascal Bruckner does the most thorough job yet of explaining the climate movement as a secular religion, an odd combination of deformed Christianity and reconstructed Marxism. (You can find Bruckner’s excellent article based on the book here.) Bruckner describes a historical process wherein “the long list of emblematic victims — Jews, blacks, slaves, proletarians, colonized peoples — was replaced, little by little, with the Planet.” The planet, says Bruckner, “has become the new proletariat that must be saved from exploitation.”

But why? Bruckner finds it odd that a “mood of catastrophe” should prevail in the West, the most well-off part of the world. The reason, I think, is that the only way to turn the prosperous into victims is to threaten the very existence of a world they otherwise command.

And why should the privileged wish to become victims? To alleviate guilt and to appropriate the victim’s superior prestige. In the neo-Marxist dispensation now regnant on our college campuses, after all, the advantaged are ignorant and guilty while the oppressed are innocent and wise. The initial solution to this problem was for the privileged to identify with “struggling groups” by wearing, say, a Palestinian keffiyeh. Yet better than merely empathizing with the oppressed is to be oppressed. This is the climate movement’s signal innovation.

We can make sense of Bruckner’s progression of victimhood from successive minorities to the globe itself by considering the lives of modern-day climate activists. Let’s begin with Bill McKibben, the most influential environmental activist in the country, and leader of the campus fossil-fuel divestment movement.

In a 1996 piece titled “Job and Matthew,” McKibben describes his arrival at college in 1978 as a liberal-leaning student with a suburban Protestant background. “My leftism grew more righteous in college,” he says, “but still there was something pro forma about it.” The problem? “Being white, male, straight, and of impeccably middle-class background, I could not realistically claim to be a victim of anything.” At one point, in what he calls a “loony” attempt to claim the mantle of victimhood, McKibben nearly convinced himself that he was part Irish so he could don a black armband as Bobby Sands and fellow members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army died in a hunger strike. Yet even as he failed to persuade himself he was Irish, McKibben continued to enthusiastically support every leftist-approved victim group he could find. Nonetheless, something was missing. None of these causes seemed truly his own. When McKibben almost singlehandedly turned global warming into a public issue in 1989, his problem was solved. Now everyone could be a victim.

Wen Stephenson, a contributing writer at The Nation and an enthusiastic supporter of McKibben’s anti-fossil-fuel crusade, is one of the sharpest observers of the climate movement. In March, Stephenson published a profile of some of the student climate protesters he’d gotten to know best. Their stories look very much like McKibben’s description of his own past.

Stephenson’s thesis is that, despite vast differences between the upper-middle-class college students who make up much of today’s climate movement and southern blacks living under segregation in the 1950s, climate activists think of themselves on the model of the early civil-rights protesters. When climate activists court arrest through civil disobedience, they imagine themselves to be reliving the struggles of persecuted African Americans staging lunch-counter sit-ins at risk of their lives. Today’s climate protesters, Stephenson writes,“feel themselves oppressed by powerful, corrupt forces beyond their control.” And they fight “not only for people in faraway places but, increasingly, for themselves.”

One young activist, a sophomore at Harvard, told Stephenson that she grew up “privileged in a poor rural town.” Inspired by the civil-rights movement, her early climate activism was undertaken “in solidarity” with Third World peoples: “I saw climate change as this huge human rights abuse against people who are already disadvantaged in our global society. . . . I knew theoretically there could be impacts on the U.S. But I thought, I’m from a rich, developed country, my parents are well-off, I know I’m going to college, and it’s not going to make a difference to my life. But especially over this past year, I’ve learned that climate change is a threat to me.” When one of her fellow protesters said: “You know, I think I could die of climate change. That could be the way I go,” the thought stuck with her. “You always learn about marginalized groups in society, and think about how their voices don’t have as much power, and then suddenly you’re like, ‘Wait, that’s exactly what I am, with climate change.’”

The remaining biographical accounts in Stephenson’s piece repeat these themes. Climate activists see themselves as privileged, are deeply influenced by courses on climate change and on “marginalized” groups they’ve been exposed to in high school and college, and treat the climate apocalypse as their personal admissions pass to the sacred circle of the oppressed.

It may be that these activists, eyes opened by fortuitous education, are merely recognizing the reality of our impending doom. Or might this particular apocalypse offer unacknowledged psychic rewards? These students could easily be laid low by an economic crisis brought on by demographic decline and the strains of baby-boomer retirement on our entitlement system. Yet marriage and children aren’t a priority, although they could help solve the problem. Why? Many dooms beckon. How has climate change won out?

Last academic year, the National Association of Scholars released a widely discussed report called “What Does Bowdoin Teach? How a Contemporary Liberal Arts College Shapes Students.” The report chronicles what I’ve called a “reverse island” effect. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the classic liberal-arts curriculum first came under challenge, courses in ethnic and gender studies were like tiny islands in a sea of traditionalism. Politicized in ways that were incompatible with liberal education, these ideologically based “studies” programs were generally dismissed as necessary concessions to the nascent multicultural zeitgeist.

Today the situation is reversed. Not only have the ideologically driven “studies” programs taken over a large share of the college curriculum, but many courses in conventional departments reflect the underlying assumptions of the various minority-studies concentrations. Today, classic liberal-arts courses have themselves been turned into tiny besieged islands, while the study of alleged oppression represents the leading approach at America’s colleges and universities.

In this atmosphere, students cannot help wishing to see themselves as members of a persecuted group. Climate activism answers their existential challenges and gives them a sense of crusading purpose in a lonely secular world. The planet, as Bruckner would have it, is the new proletariat. Yet substitute “upper-middle-class” for “planet,” and the progression of victimhood is explained. Global warming allows the upper-middle-class to join the proletariat, cloaking erstwhile oppressors in the mantle of righteous victimhood.

Insight into the quasi-religious motivations that stand behind climate activism cannot finally resolve the empirical controversies at stake in our debate over global warming. Yet understanding climate activism as a cultural phenomenon does yield insight into that debate. The religious character of the climate-change crusade chokes off serious discussion. It stigmatizes reasonable skepticism about climate catastrophism (which is different from questioning the fundamental physics of carbon dioxide’s effect on the atmosphere). Climate apocalypticism drags what ought to be careful consideration of the costs and benefits of various policy options into the fraught world of identity politics. The wish to be oppressed turns into the wish to be morally superior, which turns into the pleasure of silencing alleged oppressors, which turns into its own sort of hatred and oppression.

What do American college students want? I would like to think they are looking for an education in the spirit of classic liberalism, an education that offers them, not a ready-made ideology, but the tools to make an informed choice among the fundamental alternatives in life. The people who run our universities, unfortunately, have taught their students to want something different, and this is what truly oppresses them.


Supreme Court to Consider EPA Regulations

The Obama administration has been zealously waging its “war on coal” through EPA regulations on carbon emissions that will both endanger plans for new coal plants and effectively shutter existing ones because the plants can't meet emissions standards. In June 2012, a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court in Washington, DC, upheld every contention the administration made to defend its regulations – from the assumption that greenhouse gases are causing global warming to the authority of the EPA to basically do whatever it wants to combat it. Now the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in.

Unfortunately, the High Court is only considering the part of the appeals court ruling dealing with permitting requirements; they are leaving in tact the lower court's finding on emissions and climate change, which, as we often recount in this space, is dubious at best. But SCOTUS found in 2007 that the Clean Air Act, which doesn't define CO2 as a pollutant, nevertheless gives the EPA broad authority to regulate carbon emissions, so it's not surprising that the Court is leaving that issue alone. That earlier ruling focused on vehicles and mileage standards, while this latest case deals with the question of power plants and other stationary facilities.

Though the administration urged the Court to reject the case, EPA chief Gina McCarthy applauded the justices' decision on a narrow hearing, which she said “confirms that EPA has the authority to protect public health by reducing carbon pollution.” Such Orwellian spin is hard to take from an agency that shackles the U.S. economy with incredibly burdensome regulations. Expect a decision in the case by June 2014.


Study: Wind Power Costs Taxpayers Billions of Dollars

According to a new study conducted by Texas Tech University Professor Dr. Michael Giberson for the Institute for Energy Research, the government and wind lobby aren't telling taxpayers the whole truth about how much wind energy really costs. The study comes as the wind lobby is set to receive another extension on massive subsidies with little results to show for it.

"As Big Wind's lobbyists fight tooth and nail to extend the wind Production Tax Credit, it is important that we look at the true costs of wind power to taxpayers and ratepayers," IER President Thomas Pyle said about the study. "Despite being propped up by government mandates and billion dollar subsidies for decades, wind power continues to be an expensive and boutique energy source that the American people cannot rely on for power when they need it. Although lobbyists for the wind industry prefer to downplay the real costs of wind power, Dr. Giberson has produced a fact-based study that demonstrates just how expensive it really is."

According to the study, wind energy costs taxpayers $12 billion per year and shows wind power costs $109 per megawatt hour, nearly double government estimates of just $72 per megawatt hour. The study also shows wind power doesn't decrease the cost of electricity as environmental groups and government advocates claim, but instead shifts costs onto taxpayers. In addition, wind energy subsidies allow those who start wind projects to easily game the system.

"Wind power projects often obtain additional production subsidies, and these subsidies allow the wind project owner to profit even when power prices go negative," the study states.


Regulatory Commissars: EPA to Scale Back Ethanol Mandate?

Last Friday, we reported that two senators are seeking to more strictly enforce the ethanol mandate, part of the Renewable Fuel Standard. But that doesn't mean all is going according to plan. In fact, Reuters reports, “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering a proposal that would set next year's target for use of renewable fuels at 15.21 billion gallons, less than the 18.15-billion gallon 2014 target established in the law.” Scaling back on a federal regulation? Paint us gold and call us Oscar.

Indeed, the EPA has gone so far as to punish oil companies for failing to use biofuels that weren't even available. But as Hot Air's Erika Johnsen writes, “The EPA has been heretofore undeterred in continually raising the requirements, but I suppose it must be getting harder to ignore that nobody but nobody except agribusiness and their associated Big Ethanol lobbyists are fans of ethanol – not oil companies, not environmentalists (and how often do those two groups unite?!), and certainly not American consumers paying higher food and gasoline prices as a consequence.”

About those Big Ethanol lobbyists: They're not going to go quietly. The EPA reassured them that nothing is final and it's only a “draft proposal.” But Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, called for “an immediate investigation by the Justice Department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to determine if this was an attempt to manipulate markets such as corn futures, ethanol futures and/or RINS markets.” In other words, despite all the damage ethanol does to engines and food markets, the ethanol lobby isn't about to let their sweet deal run out of gas.


Avid environmentalist challenges climate change alarmists

About 10 years ago, while working to restore watershed and wildlife habitat, Steele said it became clear that landscape changes and natural cycles had a much greater impact on wildlife than climate change. The initial plan was to write on the subject for various magazines and websites, but he realized only a book could tell the whole story. This Sunday, Steele will be at Florey's to sign and discuss the book which developed from these earlier musings — "Landscapes & Cycles" (An Environmentalist's Journey to Climate Skepticism).

"The more I researched the causes of change in wildlife populations and local climates, the more I became appalled by the amount of bad science that was too easily published simply because it agreed with the prevailing bias of climate catastrophes," Steele said. "Every other chapter of the book highlights different species whose decline was mistakenly blamed on rising CO2."

In the first chapter, Steele was asked by the U.S. Forest Service to study the bird communities in high mountain meadows in the Tahoe National Forest. What caused a sudden collapse in those populations?" Steele's research revealed the decline was due to the placement of a railroad track 100 years earlier. The track had disrupted the meadow's stream flow and caused the meadow to start to "desert-ify." Landscape change not climate change was the key. (A partnership was formed to restore the watershed and most of the species have rebounded.)

In another chapter, he discusses the colony of emperor penguins featured in the film, "March of the Penguins."

"Despite that global warming models suggesting they will go extinct, the local temperature trend has never shown any warming," Steele explained. "The faulty model was based on a drop in numbers in the '70s when researchers were disturbing the colony and three islands were dynamited to make an airstrip. Likewise a chapter on Adélie penguins shows except for one small region, the Adélie penguins have been steadily increasing. The penguins that are genuinely endangered are not in Antarctica but on islands like the Galapagos where introduced cats and rats decimate the populations."

Two of his chapters are dedicated to polar bears. Steele presents evidence that the Arctic food web has benefitted from less ice. He also challenges a number of the claims of Camille Parmesan, currently a professor in the Section of Integrative Biology at The University of Texas at Austin. Parmesan's research focuses on the current impacts of climate change on wildlife, both terrestrial and aquatic. In 1996, she published findings regarding the geographical, northward and upward range shift of butterflies which she explained as a response to climate change.

"Her results were a statistical illusion caused by the growing urban sprawl in southern California that eradicated more prime habitat in the south," Steele said. "Preserving butterfly habitat and natural weather cycles have now sparked population recovery and Parmesan admits many populations she had claimed were 'extirpated' have now repopulated.:

"One bad study may seem inconsequential," Steele went on to say, "but then our top climate scientists asked Parmesan to coauthor another paper and used that faulty conclusion to argue that a trivial 0.7 C degree rise in global temperatures, was causing deadly extremes and disrupting the local ecological balance. That paper went viral and over 1000 scientists cited their paper as 'proof' of climate catastrophe."

Steele said that while he believes humans have undeniably caused an increase in concentrations of carbon dioxide, he thinks its effect on climate is trivial compared to other factors — naming a few here.

"I have found landscape changes such as urban heat islands, lost vegetation and lost wetlands are more influential," the author said. "Satellite data show grasslands surface temperatures reach 10 to 20 degrees higher than forested areas, and barren ground exceeds grasslands by another 10 to 20 degrees. The loss of wetlands raises temperatures, and California has lost half of its wetlands and has altered 99% of its streams."

Steele said a big part of his book's message is to get people to look into their own backyard and make changes there, in order to make changes for the entire world.

"For example, what gets lost in the politics of climate change is that east coast communities that had restored protective tidal marshes and sand dunes did not suffer the same consequences from Superstorm Sandy as communities that didn't," Steele noted. "To think we can stop floods by controlling our carbon footprint is a delusion."


The great climate fiction

Comment from Australia

IT is natural that when Tony Abbott [Australian PM] told Asia-Pacific leaders he was going to repeal Australia's carbon tax he found no opposition, and a good deal of support instead. He mentioned it in plenary sessions and bilateral meetings with all the leaders.

In taking this action, Abbott is bringing us into line with Asia-Pacific practice. There is not one significant national carbon tax or emissions trading scheme operating anywhere in the Asia-Pacific.

One of the most disagreeable defects of the Rudd and Gillard governments was the way they so often misrepresented reality, especially international reality. They tried to do this on such a scale that ultimately the public could see through it on many issues, especially boats and climate change.

The politics of climate change the world over is full of rhetoric and devoid of action. If Australians are being asked to pay a tax, even if it's called an emissions trading scheme, they should compare what other countries are actually doing, not what some politician might once have said.

The ABC in particular runs a constant propaganda campaign in favour of the idea that the world is moving to put a price on carbon. But the information is never specific. Any ABC interviewer with a speck of competence or professional standards should always ask the following: Name the specific scheme? Is it actually in operation? How much of the economy does it cover? What is the price of carbon? How much revenue does it raise?

You can impose no real cost on your economy, but still have a scheme to brag about if you have economy-wide coverage but a tiny price, or a big price but a tiny coverage. Either way you have a good headline scheme to fool the ABC with.

But here are some actual facts. The UN Framework Convention on Climate has 195 members. Only 34 of those use anything resembling an emissions trading scheme. Of those, 27 are in the EU scheme. No one in the Asia-Pacific has an effective scheme.

What about these Chinese schemes we hear so much about on the ABC? There are seven designated pilot projects in China. One - that's right, one - has begun operation. That is in Shenzhen. So far all the permits are given away for free. It has had no impact at all on carbon emissions.

The Chinese government has indicated it may look at a national scheme for the five-year plan from 2016. This is at most speculative, and there are a million ways it could be completely ineffective, which is almost certainly the result. China is by far the world's biggest polluter. Its per capita emissions are now comparable with Europe's. It has some plans to reduce carbon intensity, that is, the amount of carbon per unit of production, but no plans to reduce the absolute size of its emissions.

Japan has effectively abandoned plans for an ETS. No economy-wide carbon tax or ETS is operating today. South Korea has a plan, but it will issue all permits for free in the first period and is looking to redesign its scheme partly to avoid the impact on electricity prices, which Australia's scheme had. New Zealand has a notional scheme, but the price is a meaningless $1 per tonne.

The US has no carbon tax or ETS and is unlikely ever to have one. The separate Californian scheme is frequently adduced by pro-tax Australian partisans. But this scheme covers only 37 per cent of emissions, compared with the Australian tax that covered 60 per cent of our emissions. More importantly, in California, 90 per cent of permits for electricity are given for free.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative covers several northern states in the US. But the price is $2.55 per tonne and it covers only electricity.

Canada does not have an ETS or a carbon tax. The Quebec scheme covers a minority of emissions and because the province is so reliant on hydro-electricity the scheme has little impact.

Some of the biggest carbon emitters in Asia - like Indonesia and India - not only do not have national carbon taxes or ETS schemes, they have massive fuel subsidies to make carbon-based fuels accessible to all their people. A fuel subsidy is the opposite of a carbon tax, it is a carbon subsidy.

The European scheme has a price of about $7. Famously, it covers a substantially smaller proportion of its emissions than our carbon tax did. Equally famously, in its first five years it tended to raise about $500 million a year whereas our carbon tax raised $9 billion a year. So all of Europe combined imposed a cost on itself of one-18th of the cost Australia imposed on itself.

Europe also allows, within its scheme, a certain amount of imports of Certified Emission Reduction Units, basically UN-approved carbon credits created in Third World countries. The price for these shonky bits of paper has now fallen below $1 per tonne.

Labor's Mark Butler was yesterday repeating the ALP mantra, much recited, too, by the Greens and the ABC, that not a single reputable climate scientist or economist endorses direct action of the kind Abbott and his minister, Greg Hunt, propose. This is untrue. The vast majority of the governments of the world, certainly the US and Canada, are using direct action mechanisms to address greenhouse gas emissions.

The rise of gas as an energy source has been the key driver of reductions in the US, but tighter automobile emissions standards and many other direct action measures have also been important. Australia would be extremely foolish to move substantially faster or further than most of the world. That is what we did in the biggest way with our hugely destructive carbon tax.

To compare ourselves with the world we must be absolutely accurate about what the world is actually, really doing in its physical manifestation today, not what some EU bureaucrat or NGO activist is willing to say in an always unchallenging ABC interview. Even within Europe's compromised scheme there is a great deal of re-thinking as economic logic trumps climate change piety.

The carbon tax and the ETS are based on a complete misrepresentation of what other countries are doing. Australians have never voted for either an ETS or a carbon tax and, unless the world changes radically, are unlikely to do so in the future.




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


16 October, 2013

‘Insolent’ Czechs look to coal for energy

What has happened in the real Czech Republic and Poland is strange and goes against the grain. It is a rare case of small countries confronting a big bully — the biggest of them all, the European Union (EU).

The EU’s proposals on climate change involve a series of targets: under Connie Hedegaard, the commissioner for climate action, it committed to reducing carbon-dioxide levels to 20% below 1990 levels. At the same time, legislation has been adopted to raise the involvement of hydroelectric, solar, wind and biomass energy to 20% of market participation.

No doubt arranging these targets and associations was one of the most bureaucratic exercises ever undertaken, so it must have been infuriating for the unelected commissioners with their calculators and spectacles and ill-fitting suits to tolerate Spain’s abolition of solar photovoltaic subsidies in July, or the UK’s decision in August to freeze solar subsidies for the rest of this year.

But the Czech Republic didn’t just denounce renewables. Like Poland, it declared that it would double its reliance upon the most vulgar, explicit word in energy — coal.

It’s a funny situation, but Brussels isn’t laughing. Behind the dour expressions of its middle-management equivalents, the European Commission is livid because of the well-documented fact that it doesn’t like its members — whom it treats like petulant children — to think for themselves, exercise any form of sovereignty in its energy policies or even consider what might be best for their own citizens.

Against a set of one-size-fits-all policies and projections, Poland and the Czech Republic have been brave enough to say the costs associated with renewable programmes are not conducive to their own economic growth. But this position will inevitably pit them against the environmental lobby groups that the EU has inexplicably accommodated in policy formation units. It remains to be seen whether these two countries will be censured for their insolence.

In 2011, the former president of Czech Republic addressed an audience in Sydney, Australia, where he drew parallels between communism and the global warming doctrine. Those who declare Poland and the Czech Republic’s respective decisions to revert to coal as sacrilege should remember two important points: first, no economy wins any prizes for poverty; second, these countries happen to know a totalitarian movement when they see one.


Unsettling some science

Research by Murdoch University, James Cook University and the University of Waterloo in Canada has revealed flaws in the way that the widely-used ŹAngstrom-Prescott equation links solar radiation to sunshine

Angstrom-Prescott equation is used extensively in providing radiation readings for agricultural, ecological, meteorological and hydrological models.

The new research is contained in a publication voted a Best Paper 2012-2013 by Solar Energy, regarded as the premiere solar and renewable journal in the world, and will be recognised at the Solar World Congress 2013 in Cancun, Mexico in November.

Murdoch co-author Mr Ross Bowden said the research showed that the Angstrom-Prescott equation overestimates during overcast and clear periods, but underestimates during partly cloudy intervals.

"The ŹAngstrom-Prescott equation assumes that the received on the earth's surface rises in direct proportion to the sunshine duration. However, we have found this is not the case." Mr Bowden said.

"Radiation is well below predicted levels during overcast periods due to clouds being thicker than at other times. The ŹAgstrom-Prescott equation assumes a constant cloud thickness.

"Scientists and engineers have noted inconsistencies in the past, but have attributed these to local variations. By putting a wealth of global data together, we've been able to show that this isn't the case." The group analysed data from 670 sites all over the world as diverse as Nairobi, Vladivostok, Osaka and Miami.


Harvard geniuses goof

New Report Reveals Harvard University's Timber Plantations in Argentina Degrade World's Second Largest Wetlands, Endanger Surrounding Communities

A report released today reveals that industrial timber plantations owned by Harvard University in the Corrientes province of Argentina have degraded the Iberá Wetlands ecosystem and endangered thousands of small-holder farmers in the region. The report is a joint publication of the Oakland Institute and the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition.

The report’s findings contradict recent statements by Harvard University President Drew Faust about the university’s investment practices. Two weeks ago, she wrote of Harvard’s “commitment to sustainable investment” and its “distinctive responsibilities to society.”

“When I saw how the plantations have invaded the wetlands, I felt sick to my stomach,” said Sam Wohns, the report’s author. “As a Harvard student, I shouldn’t be benefiting from environmental destruction halfway across the world.”

Together, Harvard’s timber companies in Corrientes, Argentina--EVASA and Las Misiones--are worth $55.2 million and encompass 217,166 acres of land. Since it purchased the companies in 2007, the university has rapidly expanded the timber plantations into protected wetland areas and surrounding communities.

According to residents in nearby communities, the plantations reduce the productivity of their farms, create public health problems, and cause damage to public roads.

“Harvard’s plantations are destroying our way of life,” said Adrían Obregón, a member of the San Miguel Association of Small Producers, an organization of smallholder farmers who live near Harvard’s plantations. “We want Harvard to stop expanding its plantations within our communities.”

Despite their negative impacts, most of the plantations are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for sustainable management practices. According to FSC audits, however, Harvard has failed to fully implement sustainable management practices. Harvard has also rolled back environmentally friendly practices implemented by a previous owner.

"Harvard has repeatedly tried to hide its reckless behavior in the Iberá Wetlands under the guise of responsible investment," said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute. "This report by Harvard students is a call to maintain the integrity of the university’s investments.”

The Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition is calling on Harvard University President Drew Faust to implement the report’s proposals, which are based on interviews conducted with community members, plantation workers, and other stakeholders.

"This student-written report is a milestone for responsible investment in higher education,” said Dan Apfel, an expert on university endowments and the executive director of the Responsible Endowments Coalition. “Harvard should put a stop to the dangerous expansion of its plantations in the Iberá Wetlands and start investing its entire $32.7 billion endowment responsibly.”


Patrick Moore comments on the above:

Invasion of the Killer Trees!!! What about the swamp cypress, should they be cleared from the wetlands?

If a tree is capable of growing somewhere it should not be perceived as an unnatural menace. They don't even name the species, I would guess they are eucalypts, but they could be teak or pine.

What exactly are these social activists alleging has been damaged? I can't see that the presence of a tree constitutes damage. How do the trees "endanger surrounding communities"? How do they reduce productivity on the farms? Shading out the crops?

Who is Heather Zichal?

By Alan Caruba

The news on Monday, October 7th, included a notice that Heather Zichal would be leaving her White House job as Obama’s “top adviser on environmental and climate issues.” And I asked myself who is Heather Zichal?

In fact, Ms. Zichal had served in an advisory position for five years. In her current position, she replaced the “climate and energy czar”, Carol Browner, who left in March 2011. Browner had formerly been the Director of the Environmental Protection Agency where she did her best to impose some of the most draconian environmental policies; a task taken up by Lisa Jackson until she recently stepped down and was replaced by Gina McCarthy. It says a lot about this agency that during the government shutdown, it furloughed 93% of its employees as “non-essential.”

In July Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) penned a Wall Street Journal’s commentary, “The EPA’s Game of Secret Science”, noting “As the Environmental Protection Agency moves forward with some of the most costly regulations in history, there needs to be greater transparency about the claimed benefits from these actions. Unfortunately, President Obama and the EPA have been unwilling to reveal to the American people the data they use to justify their multibillion-dollar regulatory agenda.” Rep. Smith is chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Ms. Zichal has managed to maintain a very low profile during her White House career. Trying to find articles that profile or quote her turned out to be a real task. Part of the reason for this may be her political instincts and experience. She has been active since her days in college following a duel track of politics and environmental issues. She quickly came to the notice of Democrat Rush D. Holt, Jr. (NJ) when she was an intern at the state chapter of the Sierra Club and he was running for office. Holt hired her as a legislative director.

Ms. Zichal would later hold the same position for Rep. Frank Pallone from 2001-2002 before serving Senator John Kerry from 2002-2008. She would be an advisor to Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign and the 2008 Obama campaign. Throughout her career she has been devoted to the global warming/climate change hoax. After Browner’s departure, she served on the White House Domestic Policy Council because Congress abolished the funding for Browner’s position in an agreement that averted a government shutdown in 2011

In what appears to be a rare interview, prior to the 2008 election Ms. Zichal was profiled in Grist magazine, an environmental publication. She spouted all the usual nonsense about greenhouse gas emissions, “clean coal”, and “how a President Obama would craft a bipartisan plan to address climate change.” At the time she said that Obama’s “climate and energy policy go hand-in-hand. His goal would be to try and move climate legislation in tandem with energy legislation.”

She was correct in that prediction and the result has been an all-out war on coal with the EPA relying on hidden, bogus “scientific” data to justify it. In the Grist article, Ms. Zichal said that Obama would call for “an aggressive 80 percent emissions reduction.” Since there has been no warming trend since 1998 and no connection between carbon dioxide and the non-existent warming, the need for such a reduction is zero.

Despite the administration’s best efforts, the energy sector, other than coal, has been growing as the result of the fracking technology that has made recovery of the nation’s vast oil and natural gas reserves possible. Along the way the administration wasted billions on loans to so-called “renewable” wind and solar energy companies, most of whom quickly went bankrupt.

Energy industry expert, Robert Bradley, Jr., writing on the Master Resource website in June 2012 took note of a Greenwire—Energy & Environmental News—profile of Ms. Zichal noting that, for all her talk about “outreach” to sectors of the energy industry, “we have the irony of Ms. Zichal trying to square the circle of real consumer-driven energy vs. politically correct energy.”

In point of fact, Ms. Zichal has been a behind-the-scenes player in the Obama administration’s advancement of the global warming/climate change hoax, in efforts to shut down coal-fired plants, and thwarting access to the estimated ten billion barrels of oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, along with other ways to limit the production of energy the nation requires.

The recent report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finally admitted the fact that the planet has been in a cooling cycle for nearly seventeen years. The report has been thoroughly discredited as regards the “science” it has been citing; based almost entirely on rigged computer models.

The White House cited Ms. Zichal for the work she has performed there, “most recently developing our bold climate action plan”, saying she will be missed. The notion that the White House or any other entity on Earth could do anything about the climate is absurd.

“Heather will be missed here at the White House, but our work on this important issue will go on”, said the announcement of her departure. I’m guessing that she will find a new job with the Sierra Club or some similar environmental organization devoted to harming the best interests of the nation.


British climate change ministry spends Ł300,000 on DOMESTIC aircraft flights in the UK as coalition row erupts over green energy policies

Trains are too humble for grand Green bureaucrats

Minsters in charge of tackling climate spent Ł300,000 last year flying around the UK, shocking new figures reveal.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change and its quangos charged the taxpayer for more than 1,600 internal flights while lecturing the public about the need to cut carbon emissions.

The ministry, run by Lib Dem Ed Davey, spent Ł148,000 on 668 internal flights last year. And the agencies and quangos it runs cost the taxpayer another Ł163,000 on more than 1,000 domestic flights.

A breakdown of the flights showed that most covered trips of more than 400 miles between London and Scotland. But there were other shorter journeys, including flights between Aberdeen and Wick Airport in the far north of Scotland, which are only 200 miles apart by road.

Green MP Caroline Lucas said she thought trains could have been easily used by officials and ministers instead to reduce the impact on the environment. She said: ‘I find it hard to believe that trains weren’t an option on at least some of these routes. ‘Given the impact of carbon emissions from aviation, it’s disappointing that the department isn’t showing more leadership.’

By comparison the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - run by climate-change sceptic Owen Paterson - spent far less on domestic flights. The Conservative Environment Secretary and his officials took only 219 domestic flights last year at a cost of Ł37,445.

The figures, which were revealed in answers to written parliamentary questions, showed the Government spent more than Ł1.7 million on almost 15,000 domestic flights in 2012-13.

The Home Office spent the most money. The department itself spent Ł700,012 on 7,200 flights, while the College of Policing cost the taxpayer Ł56,636 on 571 trips by air.

Labour MP Michael Dugher, shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, who tabled the written parliamentary questions, said: ‘Over the last year, as people across the country have been facing a cost of living crisis, ministers and staff at Government departments have spent an astonishing Ł1.7 million jet-setting around the UK.

‘With modern communications, how can all these flights be necessary?

‘It’s also ironic that the Department for Climate Change is one of the worst offenders, with ministers and staff taking more than 1,500 domestic flights at a cost of over Ł300,000 in the last year alone. ‘So much for setting a good example on keeping the Government’s carbon footprint down.’

A DECC spokesperson said: The Department’s work means that sometimes air travel is unavoidable.

'This Government has never said people who care about climate change must not fly. It is not surprising that for some journeys, especially over very long distances when time is a factor, flying is the common sense option and most cost effective to the taxpayer.'


Anything Can Happen and Probably Will

And CO2 will be blamed

By Joe Bastardi

I am going to do something a bit different here for Patriot Post readers. With the upcoming winter looming and the climatic ambulance chasers laying in wait for anything that happens anywhere as evidence to prove their point, I thought it would be nice to give an example of how no matter what happens, it will be repackaged as proof humans are wrecking the climate. It seems like a new strategy has evolved – using people that really don't know the weather and climate, repackaging knowns and then claiming it is some big discovery that backs their idea. I used an example last week: The “hidden heat” in the ocean which Dr. Bill Gray explained over 30 years ago with his ideas, forecasting the current overall weather pattern that lead to the increase in hurricane activity.

Look at this example: a tweet from the head of, Dr. Bill Mckibben:

(In case you want to go to their site, here it is. I want to be as fair as possible here, and nothing can be more fair than you looking at exactly what they are about and the people that make up their team.)

Dr. McKibben apparently ignored, or did not know, about the forecast I made a week before when I asserted that what I was most sure of is that climatic ambulance chasers would use the tropical storm and snowstorm occurring simultaneously as an example of … whatever it is they are pushing. More predictable than the weather is the prostitution of weather events by these people – events those of us that have loved and studied weather and climate all our lives know about.

Lets look at Dr. McKibben's idea.

1.) The snowstorm was a record breaking early season event associated with cold air. For it to snow that much this early, we have to have well below normal temperatures. It occurred in an area of the nation where late season cold was delivering snow into May. So let me get this straight: Late season, followed by early season cold, are somehow indicative of the whole global warming disaster?

2) And what about Tropical Storm Karen? Apparently Dr. McKibben was not aware of the reason Karen was unusual. It is very rare for a tropical cyclone in the Gulf of Mexico to not make landfall as a tropical cyclone. In other words, what happened with Karen is evidence against what he is trying to push. The storm died in the Gulf, though its ghost is delivering more wind and rain to the Mid-Atlantic states now than it ever did in areas of the Gulf Coast under a hurricane watch. But facts mean little to these people. Grab the headline and never mind the truth.

(Side note: The propaganda about the latest F5 ever in May so far south, which was downgraded to an F3, failed to mention the cause of it – the result of a major cold trough abnormally far south. What was remarkable about it, had it been an F5, is the fact that it was so late and so far south because it was so cold.)

3.) We had a tornado outbreak in the Plains last week. I guess Dr. McKibben is unaware of the second season that occurs with tornadoes. As the upper jet starts to intensify in the Fall, and the upper air temperatures fall, warm humid air masses can come in off the Gulf of Mexico. The result is a spike in the number of tornadoes in October and November. In fact, the second season is particularly dangerous because often times these tornadoes occur at night. Houston, Texas was hit on November 16, 1993, in front of the nasty winter of 93-94 across the US; Huntsville, Alabama, by an F4 on November 15, 1989 (the following December was one of the coldest on record, by the way); Shreveport, Louisiana, December 3rd, 1978, again in front of a major cold winter. Interestingly, if I were him, given the lack of tornadoes this year, I would be worried the occurrence of twisters late in the season would be a harbinger of a cold winter. But then again, I am sure a cold winter would simply be twisted into more evidence that we are heading for a CO2-fueled climatic disaster.

4.) And then there's the wildfires. We have a near record low year, yet the wildfires that are showing up are used as evidence of the weather going wild? Again, never mind we are so far below normal that the opposite is more of an option to a rational person.

But is there anything truly rational about a group that thinks no matter what happens, it shows they were right, even if it's the opposite? You make the call on that.




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


15 October, 2013

Coal will surpass oil as the key fuel for the global economy by 2020 despite government efforts to reduce carbon emissions

Coal will become more in demand than oil by 2020 driven by growth in China and India, despite campaigns to reduce carbon emissions across the globe, a new report reveals.

Marking a return to an era reminiscent of Britain's industrial revolution, the rapidly expanding economies in the East are turning to coal since it is cheaper and more reliable than oil or renewable energy sources, energy consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie said on Monday.

Rising demand in China and India will push coal past oil as the two Asian powerhouses will need to rely on the comparatively cheaper fuel to power their economies. Coal demand in the United States, Europe and the rest of Asia will hold steady.

Global coal consumption is expected to rise by 25 per cent by the end of the decade to 4,500 million tonnes of oil equivalent, overtaking oil at 4,400 million tonnes, according to Woodmac in a presentation on Monday at the World Energy Congress.

'China's demand for coal will almost single-handedly propel the growth of coal as the dominant global fuel,' said William Durbin, president of global markets at Woodmac. 'Unlike alternatives, it is plentiful and affordable.'

China - already the top consumer - will drive two-thirds of the growth in global coal use this decade. Half of China's power generation capacity to be built between 2012 and 2020 will be coal-fired, said Woodmac. China has no alternative to coal, with its domestic gas output limited, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports more costly than coal, Durbin said. 'Renewables cannot provide base load power. This leaves coal as the primary energy source,' he said.

Power infrastructure provider Alstom estimated that across Asia close to half of the 600 gigawatt of new power generators to be built over the next five years will be coal-fired, Giles Dickson, a vice president at the company said.

'Coal prices are low,' he said, adding that coal is about one-third of the price of LNG in Asia and about half of the gas price in Europe.

Abundant supply is also supporting demand for coal. The traded volumes of coal will increase by a further 20 per cent by 2020, Dickson said, including supply of lower grade coal from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa.

'As the lower grade coal comes into the market, further downward pressure on prices will further drive demand,' he said.

Excess supply and faltering demand growth have depressed global coal prices this year. European coal futures have tumbled more than 20 per cent, while Australian coal prices have plummeted from the record $130 per tonne hit in 2011 to around $80 per tonne as China's demand grew slower than expected.

'If you take China and India out of the equation, what is more surprising is that under current regulations, coal demand in the rest of the world will remain at current levels,' Durbin said.

High fuel import costs and nuclear issues will support coal use throughout Northeast Asia, while in North America coal is still competitive in many locations despite abundant low-cost shale gas.

'The struggling economy and low coal prices has rendered the European Union (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) ineffective,' Durbin said. 'The carbon price will need to reach 40 euros per tonne to encourage fuel switching, which is unlikely before 2020.'

In Southeast Asia, coal will be the biggest winner in the region's energy mix. Coal will generate nearly half of Southeast Asia's electricity by 2035, up from less than a third now, the International Energy Agency said in early October.

This will contribute to a doubling of the region's energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to 2.3 gigatonnes by 2035, according to the IEA.


Get Rid of Ethanol Exchanges Too

Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans have an unfavorable view of Obamacare. If it were front and center of the newscycle, as Obamacare is, most would also have the same repeal-or-revise attitude regarding ethanol mandates as the two are marching hand-in-hand. In addition to the odd collection of opponents—conservatives and unions in opposition to Obamacare; and environmentalists and big oil, auto manufacturers and anti-hunger groups oppose ethanol—there are numerous other similarities.

Sounds good at the start

Healthcare for all sounds like a good idea, after all who wants to tell a mother holding a sick child that she can’t get care? Likewise, homegrown fuel that will increase America’s energy independence, sounds good—especially when the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was passed by Congress as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The RFS mandates a minimum volume of biofuels (generally corn-based ethanol) is to be used in the national transportation fuel supply each year. Two years later, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 greatly expanded the biofuel mandate volumes and extended the date through 2022. The expanded RFS required the annual use of 9 billion gallons of biofuels in 2008, rising to 36 billion gallons in 2022, with at least 16 billion gallons from cellulosic biofuels, and a cap of 15 billion gallons for corn-starch ethanol.

At the time, US oil imports were growing, fears of shortages due to so-called peak oil were rampant, and the combined technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing weren’t yet widely used and had not unleashed the current abundance of US resource. Growing our gasoline—converting corn from the heartland into ethanol—sounded good. Today, the Renewable Fuels Association claims that the RFS has reduced America’s foreign oil dependence. Perhaps that is true, but unlocking federal lands, expediting permitting for drilling, and approving the Keystone pipeline could totally remove our reliance on Middle Eastern oil in as few as three years.

Have had their day on court

Virginia Attorney General, and gubernatorial candidate, Ken Cuccinelli was the first to file a lawsuit against Obamacare—which the Supreme Court ultimately declared a tax. On October 8, the American Petroleum Institute (API), once again, filed a lawsuit in the DC Circuit Court against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the RFS volume requirements for 2013. A similar suit was filed in 2012. On January 25, 2013, the US Court of Appeals rejected EPA’s 2012 mandate for refiners to use cellulosic biofuel, which was not commercially available. In response to the court’s decision, Bob Greco, API Group Downstream Director, said: “This absurd mandate acts as a stealth tax on gasoline with no environmental benefit that could have ultimately burdened consumers.”

Non-elected bureaucrats setting policy

While both Obamacare and the RFS were passed by Congress, the particulars are left to government agencies to regulate. With the RFS, the EPA has missed statutory deadlines for issuing RFS volume requirements and then released rules mandating that refiners use 4 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel in 2013. Yet, according to the EPA, only 142,000 gallons have been available for refiners to blend so far. Reports indicate that for 2014, the target for cellulosic biofuel would be 23 million gallons—despite the fact that the fuel is virtually nonexistent. The EPA has ignored the 2012 Court of Appeals smack down in which Judge Stephen Williams said the law was not intended to allow the EPA to “let its aspirations for a self-fulfilling prophecy divert it from a neutral methodology” and has again set advanced biofuel targets that are out of touch with reality.

Fines for noncompliance

While the Obamacare exchanges have not been working as expected—with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina reporting only one person enrolled after 24 hours, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius admitted to Jon Stewart that if someone doesn’t participate “they pay a fine.” Guess what? Even though there isn’t enough cellulosic ethanol to meet the EPA mandates, refiners are required to blend it into gasoline—and, if they don’t, they pay a fine.

Creates new problems

Obamacare has created a whole new set of problems such as doctor shortages, reduced work hours, and sticker shock. The RFS, also, brings a host of unintended consequences:

* Ethanol reduces miles per gallon—At a time when the White House has upped the MPG a vehicle gets (known as the CAFE standards) it is also mandating the use of ethanol, which lowers MPG. Edmunds did an apples-to-apples comparison of gasoline vs. ethanol (using a flex-fuel vehicle and E85). They conclude: “The fuel economy of our Tahoe on E85, under these conditions, was 26.5 percent worse than it was when running on gas”—and cost about $30 more. Plus, Edmunds found that the carbon emissions savings was negligible. (Note: less than 7 percent of the US vehicular fleet is flex-fuel.)

* Ethanol mandates have devastated the dairy industry (and turkey growers are none too happy, either)—In rural California, dairy farmers have been deeply affected by the rising cost of feed (which has jumped as much as 240 percent since 2005) brought on by mandated ethanol blending by the RFS. John Taylor, who owns and operates Bivalve Dairy with his family, says: “If there’s a requirement to have ‘X’ amount of tons of corn go into renewable energy, that’s just going to reduce the supply…that’s only going to make the price go up for [dairy farmers]…I’m not sure we should be taking our food and putting it into energy.”

California Assemblywoman, Kristin Olsen, reports: “The competition between the corn market and the government corn ethanol mandate is creating grave challenges for our California farmers, and their ability to feed their livestock and, ultimately, the nation.”

About the turkeys, Damon Wells, vice president of government affairs, National Turkey Federation, adds to the discussion. “Too often they’ve tried to say that this was a petroleum vs. ethanol fight. I take great exception to that. I think those in the animal agriculture industry take great exception to that because all of the benefits that have come from this Renewable Fuel Standard have transferred off the backs of small farmers all across this country that are feeding livestock and poultry and ultimately it’s a transfer of cost from one agricultural sector to another.”

* Ethanol damages small engines and outdoor power equipment—In my book Energy Freedom, I have an entire chapter on ethanol. For it, I interviewed Abe at K & S Services Center in Albuquerque, NM—which specializes in small engine service and repair. He told me that 85 percent of the repairs they do are caused by fuel problems. Because of the increased ethanol in the fuel available at gas stations, Abe’s had to change his warranty policy and the center no longer warranties fuel-related damages. For his customers, many of whom are in the lawn-care business, the ten-percent ethanol in gasoline doubled their repair costs until they learned about its hazards and quit using it—converting to more expensive (but cheaper in the long run) pure gasoline.

Kris Kiser, president and CEO, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, affirms Abe’s observations: “Our small-engine industry and products … is sort of where the RFS meets reality. … you’re introducing fuel to the marketplace for which all of this stuff is not designed or warranted to run on. … You have product failure. Failure can mean economic failure or it can mean safety failure. … There’s a half-billion in engine products in the marketplace today not built or warranted to run on E15.”

Hard to remove once policy is on place

Whether or not you agree with Ted Cruz’s tactics regarding stopping Obamacare, you likely agree with this statement he made about it: “In modern times no major entitlement, once it was implemented, has ever been unwound.” Surprise! The same can be said about the RFS. My friend and colleague, Paul Driessen has penned an excellent column on ethanol in which he addresses “how hard it is to alter policies and programs once they have been launched by Washington politicians, creating armies of special interests, lobbyists and campaign contributors.”

We surely see what Driessen is talking about in an October 11, letter from Governor Terry Branstad (R-IA), published in the Wall Street Journal. In Ethanol Promotes Consumer Choice, Branstad defended the benefits of his state’s leading crop: “It is the ethanol industry, which makes a cheaper, cleaner and higher-octane product, that is ready, willing and able to face free-market competition.” To which a reader, Charles Pierce, responds: “I do not know what planet the Governor is living on but when the Federal Government forces the adding of ethanol to motor fuels there is no choice. It is just like the PPACA [Obamacare] it is a tax that is paid by each consumer being forced to buy a product that the government set up or likes. Want free choice; want cheaper motor fuels? Make it an option, not a mandate.”

When Republicans who generally oppose mandates and subsidies, like Gov. Branstad, Sen. Grassely, and Rep. King, support continuing the RFS, we can surely see the influence of “special interests, lobbyists and campaign contributors,” as a result of federal involvement in what should be a market-based solution.

“Despite over 7 years of effort and the expenditure of about $603 million, the Department had not yet achieved its biorefinery development and production goals,” a report released in September revealed.

It is time to repeal—or at least revise—the costly RPS boondoggle. Fortunately such a plan is on the table. The RFS Reform Act, co-sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans, proposes to eliminate the conventional biofuels mandate and cap the amount of ethanol that can be blended into the fuel supply. Call your Senators and Representatives and tell them to end this eight-year-old policy failure.

We may not be able to repeal Obamacare, but with your help, reforming the RFS can be a reality.


GM food opponents are 'wicked' and leave small children in poorest parts of the world to die, British government minister claims

Opponents of genetically modified crops have been condemned as ‘wicked’ by the Cabinet minister in charge of what the country eats. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson stepped up his attack on green groups who campaign against GM, warning they are scuppering crucial nutrition programmes in the developing world.

He said it was ‘disgusting’ that small children in poor countries were left to die because a small group of people opposed the development of GM crops.

In particular Mr Paterson said the sabotage of a crop of ‘golden rice’ - which is fortified with vitamin A to combat blindness and has the potential to save lives – was risking lives.

The Environment Secretary, a longstanding advocate of GM technology, has previously claimed its adoption in the UK could be as significant as the agricultural revolution.

He argues that 'golden rice' which could be grown in the world's poorest countries was first created in 1999 but has not been used to help solve global hunger.

‘It's just disgusting that little children are allowed to go blind and die because of a hang-up by a small number of people about this technology,’ he told The Independent.

‘I feel really strongly about it. I think what they do is absolutely wicked.’

Speaking of the potential benefits of GM farming, he said: ‘There are 17 million farmers, farming 170 million hectares which is 12 per cent of the world's arable area, seven times the surface area of the UK (with GM) and no one has ever brought me a single case of a health problem.’

Mr Paterson was echoing comments he made earlier in the summer when he said GM crops have the potential to improve the environment and save lives.

He claimed the intense scrutiny placed on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) would actually mean they are safer foods than those produced using conventional means.

The Environment Secretary said an area seven times the size of the UK was already being used for the cultivation of GM crops worldwide and there was ‘no substantiated case’ of an adverse impact on health.

But opponents of GM methods say it contributes to intensive farming practices and pesticide use that are environmentally damaging and that it will not tackle problems facing agriculture or deliver secure food supplies for the world's growing population.

The only benefits are for the large agricultural businesses that develop and sell the technology, they claim.

Speaking in The Independent today, Mr Paterson also defended the Government's badger cull to prevent bovine TB, and criticised animal welfare groups such as the RSPCA that have opposed it.

‘I cannot understand anyone wanting to tolerate this disgusting disease,’ he said.

His comments clash with anti-cull protesters and activists, such as Queen guitarist Brian May, who doubt the science behind the Government's plans.


It’s showdown time for Britain's insane 'green’ energy policy

Politicians are complaining about rises in fuel bills that are largely the result of their own actions

Three events last week brought nearer the showdown that will have to come over the multiple green insanities that in recent years have hijacked Britain’s energy policy. Although two left our excitable media and politicians largely at sea, few even noticed the insidious implications of the third event, which threatens to slam the door on the possibility that we could all be enjoying much cheaper gas and electricity for decades to come,

One event was the hysteria that erupted over that further 8 per cent price hike by SSE, one of our six major energy companies, which tried to explain that two-thirds of the 13 per cent increase in its costs, making that price rise inevitable, were due to “green” taxes and the soaring cost of connecting new wind farms to the grid. While SSE called for a curb on these green levies – such as the crazy “carbon tax”, designed eventually to double the cost of electricity from fossil fuels, which still supply 70 per cent of our needs – the only official response was a fatuous call from our energy minister, Michael Fallon, for consumers to boycott SSE. Mr Fallon was oblivious to the fact that his Government’s policies will soon force all other energy companies to follow suit.

Before that we also had those hysterical predictions that this winter we could face serious power cuts (as one paper’s front page had it, “the winter of blackouts”). This followed a warning from National Grid that, thanks to the closure of several large power stations under EU anti-pollution laws, the safety reserve of our power supplies has shrunk to two gigawatts, its lowest margin for years,

What the BBC and everyone else seemed to miss was the small print in which National Grid insisted that the lights wouldn’t be going out, because it now has “the tools” to cover any shortfall. One reason for its confidence was the story reported here before, of how National Grid has been quietly signing up thousands of diesel generators, linked by computers to the grid, which can be automatically switched on at a moment’s notice to cover for any power shortage. And their main purpose, although National Grid tries to deny it, is to make up for the unreliability of that ever-increasing number of heavily subsidised wind farms the Government wants to see built, in its efforts to “de-carbonise” our electricity supply.

Although National Grid may try to keep quiet about it, the companies piling in to sign up for this scheme – attracted by the colossal sums it is offering to build up its “Short Term Operating Reserve” – make no secret on their websites and planning applications of the fact that it is designed to cover for the disastrous intermittencies of wind power. Even National Grid admits that, within six years, it hopes to have expanded its emergency reserve from 3.5GW to 8GW, equivalent to the output of four large conventional power plants. This is why firms such as Green Frog, Fulcrum Power and Power Balancing Services are pouring millions into building “mini-power stations” – container parks full of diesel generators – to qualify for “availability payments” so lavish that, in proportion, that they make the subsidy bonanza enjoyed by wind-farm operators look like chicken feed.

Mad though it might seem to cover for the deficiencies of wind turbines by pouring a fortune into diesel generators creating the very CO2 the wind farms are meant to save, even this pales into insignificance compared with the implications of an amendment narrowly passed last week by the European Parliament, designed to prevent the EU sharing in the cheap energy revolution made possible by fracking for shale gas.

The powerful “green” movement was exultant at the passing of this amendment, which – if it gets through the EU’s tortuous legislative process – will force energy companies to pay for cripplingly expensive “environmental impact assessments” – even for test drilling to ascertain whether there is gas in the shale.

Furthermore, the MEPs voted to bring even the smallest test-drilling site under the control of a system that makes green lobby groups a key part of the regulatory process, enabling them to put every kind of obstacle in its way. Their openly declared aim is that Europe must not be allowed to join the energy revolution which, in the US, has halved gas prices in just five years.

Instead of this, the only effect of our Government’s policy will be, before long, to double our energy costs, just when the average household energy bill already equates to a fifth of a pensioner’s income. Yet all our brainless politicians can do is complain about rises in those bills, which are largely being made inevitable by their own actions.

Truly, we are looking here at the maddest and most self-deceiving web of idiocies any generation of politicians can ever have put their hands to.


Wind farms are 'green vandalism driven by greed'

Villagers fight plans for four wind farm developments as firms rush to take up lucrative subsidies

The village of Orston used to be the sort of place where nothing ever happened. People liked it that way.

The most notable thing about this quiet, leafy settlement in Nottinghamshire was that the parish church had a drum from the Battle of Waterloo.

But suddenly the 450 villagers have been pitched into a battle of their own, against green energy developers.

Four industrial-scale projects including a pair of huge wind turbines are proposed for fields on the edge of Orston, just outside the village conservation area.

“This is green vandalism driven by greed,” says one local, unfolding a map in the pub, The Durham Ox.

Another says of the feeling in Orston: “This is a sleepy village that just woke up.”

The applications came at a rate of roughly one a month over the summer. The first was for a wind turbine five times higher than the tower of the local church, which would loom over the cricket pitch. It was taller than Nelson’s Column at 242ft.

The next was for another turbine of the same height, in a field just across from the first in Spa Lane. Then in August came a plan for a solar farm with more than 50,000 panels.

And last month there was an application to build a large anaerobic digester plant with gas towers, bringing thousands more tractor journeys to the country lanes.

“We are faced with four major developments within a third of a mile of each other, on the edge of a village which is protected,” says Nick Hammond, who lives here and works as a project consultant for the United Nations, among others. “That is crazy. It is way out of kilter.”

The people of Orston now have a week to register their objections to the anaerobic digester plant. The consultation periods for the wind turbines and the solar farm are over. But even if Rushcliffe borough council turns down these applications, the developers are more than likely to win on appeal.

The battle is being fought not just in this village but across the whole of Britain. There has been a surge in such projects in recent times as companies rush to take advantage of lucrative consumer subsidies, as the Government strives to ensure that 15 per cent of Britain’s energy needs are met from renewable sources by 2020.

Last year, wind turbine owners received help amounting to Ł1.2 billion. That was effectively Ł100,000 per job in the wind farm industry, paid for by a supplement on electricity bills. The total subsidy is expected to rise to Ł6 billion by 2020.

Over the last few days, energy companies have warned the Prime Minister that bills will continue to rise if they have to keep paying for green subsidies and environmental taxes.

Mr Morris, 64, the former renewable energy consultant, says: “The wind turbine situation is absolutely diabolical. Anybody with a business background can look at the economics of it and see that without the subsidies it would be an absolute no-goer.”

Outside, the leaves have not yet fallen from the horse chestnut trees and the centre of Orston looks like a film-maker’s notion of a classic English village. Next to the pub is the 12th century Church of St Mary, which has a handsome square tower and contains the historic battle drum.

The village school is close by and it has an excellent reputation. The charm of the place and the school are the reasons people come to live here.

“There is a premium for living in Orston,” says one villager, whose three-bedroom former council house is now worth Ł250,000. The bigger homes sell for more than half a million.

Orston is surrounded by open fields and farmland. It sits on a ridge on the edge of the Vale of Belvoir and you can see Belvoir Castle in the distance, from the field where the first turbine will be. If the plans go ahead, this view will be interrupted by a giant, whirring structure and the grass will be replaced with concrete.

“Lincolnshire is full of wind farms, there is no room for any more, so they are coming west,” says David Sims, a former company director who has a map showing the sites for 26 proposed wind farms across the Vale of Belvoir. He understands why the sudden surge in applications is happening.

“The subsidies make all this so lucrative that people are falling over themselves to get involved. You can’t blame the farmers.”

Ann Crockett-McLean, who describes herself as a mother and a personality profiler, lives close to where the projects will be built. “It feels huge. It feels really scary. You don’t know what’s coming next,” she says. “You want to fight, because the moment one of these developments gets through, the whole landscape will start to change.”

She is worried that once the first turbine has been approved the villagers will no longer be able to object on visual grounds. “The Fens have been taken over by wind turbines. That all started with one application that seemed neither here nor there.”

So the people of Orston can only wait and see if developers will be allowed to build turbines on the edge of their village, the heart of which is a conservation area.

“It is perverse that I can’t prune a tree in my back garden without planning permission and yet somebody can build a 74 metre [242ft] tower that we can all see,” says Jeff Dickinson, 61.

“It is also perverse that we are building these monstrosities in these lovely locations, all in the name of the environment. The solution is destroying what we are trying to preserve.”


Merchants of advocacy

Reiner Grundmann has written a fairly damning review of Oreskes and Conway's "Merchants of Doubt". I guess it's fair to say that he is not desperately impressed

It is disappointing to see professional historians reduce the complexity to a black and white affair where it goes without saying what the preferred colour is. The social science literature relevant to the understanding of policymaking in the face of uncertainty is largely absent. The authors mention just one study, about rational decision theory, which is probably cited because it supports the authors’ claim that scientific uncertainty helps to prevent or delay political action.

They missed the opportunity to confront their historical material with approaches that have examined the same case studies but did not come to the same conclusions. Reading Merchants of Doubt gives the impression that no such work exists.

This raises the question of what epistemological status it can claim. Its authors have been critical of the scientific credentials of the contrarians, quoting the lack of peer review or selective use of information. This book has all the hallmarks of science (there are many footnotes) and perhaps it was even peer-reviewed.

But it is what the title and subtitle suggest: less a scholarly work than a passionate attack on a group of scientists turned lobbyists and thus itself a partial account. I wonder if it does not do a disservice to the cause it is advocating.

I haven't troubled to read Merchants of Doubt before. I can't really see that changing in the near future.




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


14 October, 2013

The science fiction of IPCC climate models

Climate policies need scientific forecasts, not alarmist scenarios

By Kesten C. Green, J. Scott Armstrong and Willie Soon

The human race has prospered by relying on forecasts that the seasons will follow their usual course, while knowing they will sometimes be better or worse. Are things different now?

For the fifth time now, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claims they are. The difference, the IPCC asserts, is increased human emissions of carbon dioxide: a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas that is a byproduct of growing prosperity. It is also a product of all animal respiration and is also essential for most life on Earth, yet in total it makes up only 0.0004 of the atmosphere.

The IPCC assumes that the relatively small human contribution of this gas to the atmosphere will cause global warming, and insists that the warming will be dangerous.

Other scientists contest the IPCC assumptions, on the grounds that the climatological effect of increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide is trivial – and that the climate is so complex and insufficiently understood that the net effect of human emissions on global temperatures cannot be forecasted.

The computer models that the authors of the IPCC reports rely on are complicated representations of the assumption that human carbon dioxide emissions are now the primary factor driving climate change and will substantially overheat the Earth. The models include many assumptions that mainstream scientists question.

The modelers have correctly stated that they produce scenarios, not forecasts. Scenarios are stories constructed from a collection of assumptions. Well-constructed scenarios can be very convincing, in the same way that a well-crafted fictional book or film can be.

The IPCC and its supporters promote these scary scenarios as if they were forecasts. However, scenarios are neither forecasts nor the product of a validated forecasting method.

The IPCC modelers were apparently unaware of decades of forecasting research. Our audit of the procedures used to create their apocalyptic scenarios found that they violated 72 of 89 relevant scientific forecasting principles. Would you go ahead with your flight, if you overheard two of the ground crew discussing how the pilot had skipped 80 percent of the pre-flight safety checklist?

Thirty-nine forecasting experts from many disciplines from around the world developed the forecasting principles from published experimental research. A further 123 forecasting experts reviewed the work. The principles were published in 2001. They are freely available on the Internet, to help forecasters produce the best forecasts they can, and help forecast users determine the validity of forecasts. These principles are the only published set of evidence-based standards for forecasting.

Global warming alarmists nevertheless claim that the “nearly all” climate scientists believe dangerous global warming will occur. This is a strange claim, in view of the fact more than 30,000 American scientists signed the Oregon Petition, stating that there is no basis for dangerous manmade global warming forecasts, and “no convincing evidence” that carbon dioxide is dangerously warming the planet or disrupting its climate.

Most importantly, computer models and scenarios are not evidence – and validation does not consist of adding up votes. Such an approach can only be detrimental to the advancement of scientific knowledge. Validation requires comparing predictions to actual observations, and the IPCC models have failed in that regard.

Given the expensive policies proposed and implemented in the name of preventing dangerous manmade global warming, we are astonished that there is only one published peer-reviewed paper that claims to provide scientific forecasts of long-range global mean temperatures. The paper is our own 2009 article in the International Journal of Forecasting.

Our paper examined the state of knowledge and available empirical (that is, actually measured) data, in order to select appropriate evidence-based procedures for long-range forecasting of global mean temperatures. Given the complexity and uncertainty of the situation, we concluded that the “no-trend” model is the proper method to use. The conclusion is based on a substantial body of research that found complex models do not work well in complex and uncertain situations.

This finding might be puzzling to people who are unfamiliar with the research on forecasting. So we tested the no-trend model, using the same data that the IPCC uses, since forecasting principles require that models be validated by comparing them to actual observations.

To do this, we produced annual forecasts from one to 100 years ahead, starting from 1851 and stepping forward year-by-year until 1975, the year before the current warming alarm was raised. (This is also the year when Newsweek and other magazines reported that scientists were “almost unanimous” that Earth faced a new period of global cooling.) We conducted the same analysis for the IPCC scenario of temperatures increasing at a rate of 0.03 degrees Celsius (0.05 degrees Fahrenheit) per year in response to increasing human carbon dioxide emissions.

This procedure yielded 7,550 forecasts for each method. The findings?

Overall, the no-trend forecast error was one-seventh the error of the IPCC scenario’s projection. They were as accurate as or more accurate than the IPCC temperatures for all forecast horizons. Most important, the relative accuracy of the no-trend forecasts increased for longer horizons. For example, the no-trend forecast error was one-twelfth that of the IPCC temperature scenarios for forecasts 91 to 100 years ahead.

Our research in progress scrutinizes more forecasting methods, uses more and better data, and extends our validation tests. The findings strengthen the conclusion that there are no scientific forecasts that predict dangerous global warming.

Is it surprising that the government would support an alarm lacking scientific support? Not really. In our study of situations that are analogous to the current alarm over scenarios of global warming, we identified 26 earlier movements based on scenarios of manmade disaster, including the global cooling alarm in the 1960s to 1970s. None of them were based on scientific forecasts. And yet, governments imposed costly policies in response to 23 of them. In no case did the forecast of major harm come true.

There is no support from scientific forecasting for an upward trend in temperatures, or a downward trend. Without support from scientific forecasts, the global warming alarm is baseless and should be ignored.

Government programs, subsidies, taxes and regulations proposed as responses to the global warming alarm result in misallocations of valuable resources. They lead to inflated energy prices, declining international competitiveness, disappearing industries and jobs, and threats to health and welfare.

Humanity can do better with the old, simple, tried-and-true no-trend climate forecasting model. This traditional method is also consistent with scientific forecasting principles.

Via email

David Suzuki insults, but won’t debate

By David R. Legates

As the climate scare fizzles, Canada’s celebrity environmentalist resorts to ad hominem attacks

David Suzuki has never met, debated or even spoken with my colleague, scientist Willie Soon. But as more people dismiss Mr. Suzuki’s scare stories about global warming cataclysms, the more he has resorted to personal attacks against Mr. Soon and others who disagree with him.

Mr. Soon’s brilliant research into the sun’s role in climate change has helped make millions aware that carbon dioxide’s influence is far less than Mr. Suzuki wants them to think. In a recent column picked up by media outlets around North America, including Huffington Post, Mr. Suzuki attacked Mr. Soon, my fellow scientist, mostly by recycling a Greenpeace “investigation” that is itself nothing more than a rehash of tiresome (and libelous) misstatements, red herrings and outright lies. It’s time to set the record straight.

First, there’s the alleged corporate cash misrepresentation. Mr. Suzuki claims Mr. Soon received “more than $1 million over the past decade” from U.S energy companies – and implies that Mr. Soon lied to a U.S. Senate committee about the funding. In fact, the research grants were received in the years following the Senate hearing. Moreover, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics took nearly half of the money (for “administration”), and what was left covered Mr. Soon’s salary, research, and other expenses including even toner for his printer.

Since Mr. Suzuki raised the subject of corporate cash, by comparison the Suzuki Foundation spends some $7 million every year on its “educational” and pressure campaigns – many of them in conjunction with various PR agencies, renewable energy companies, other foundations and environmental activist groups.

Many stand to profit handsomely from Mr. Suzuki’s causes, especially “catastrophic climate change” and campaigns to replace “harmful” fossil fuels with subsidized, land-intensive, low-energy-output wind and solar facilities.

Mr. Suzuki has appeared in advertisements for alternative energy sources in Ontario.

Mr. Suzuki is criticizing Mr. Soon and the Harvard-Smithsonian Institute for having done funded research– while alarmist climate catastrophe researchers share some $6 billion annually in U.S, and Canadian taxpayer money, and millions more in corporate funds, to link every natural phenomenon to global warming and promote renewable “alternatives” to fossil fuels.

If it is wrong to receive grants from organizations that have taken “advocacy” positions, then virtually every scientist with whom Mr. Suzuki has associated would be guilty. In his column Mr. Suzuki recognizes this point. “Some rightly point out that we should look at the science and now at who is paying for the research.” If he believes that the science, and not who is paying for research, is most important, then why does he continue to attack Willie Soon and others on the basis of their funding?

Second, Mr. Suzuki repeats an absurd Greenpeace claim that Mr. Soon tried to “undermine” the “peer-reviewed” work of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In reality, scientists are required to examine, review and even criticize other scientists’ research – especially when it is used to justify slashing the hydrocarbon energy on which employment, living standards and civilization depend.

Indeed, the IPCC solicits reviews of its publications but is under no obligation to address any criticisms that scientists raise – in contrast to the normal peer-review process.

Unfortunately, the IPCC has refused to conduct its own quality control – and has repeatedly promoted scare stories about rising seas, melting Himalayan glaciers, disappearing Amazon rainforests, more severe storms and droughts, and other disasters. By now anyone familiar with the Climategate and IPCC scandals knows these headline-grabbing claims are based on nothing more than exaggerated computer model outputs, deliberate exclusion of contrary findings, questionable air temperature station locations, and even “research” by environmental activists such as the World Wildlife Fund.

The Climategate emails made it clear that the truth was even worse. The emails paint a vivid picture of advocacy scientists strong-arming the publisher of a science journal, Climate Research, against publishing the work of Willie Soon and his associate, Sallie Baliunas. Pro-IPCC scientists threatened to boycott the journal, and intimidated or colluded with editors and grant program officers to channel funding, published only the work of advocacy scientists and rejected funding requests and publications from any scientists who disagreed with them on global warming. Mr. Suzuki’s efforts mirror their campaign – and no wonder.

The global warming scare has fizzled. The sun has entered a new “quiet” phase, and average global temperatures have been stable for 15 years. Climate conferences in Copenhagen and elsewhere have gone nowhere. Kyoto has become little more than a footnote in history. Countries that agreed to “climate stabilization” policies are retreating from that untenable position. The public realizes that climate science is far from “settled.” The climate-chaos religion is about to go the way of Baal-worship.

Most important, Canadians, Americans and Europeans alike are beginning to realize that the real dangers are not from global warming. They are from potentially cooler global temperatures that could hamstring agriculture – and from government (and Suzuki-advocated) policies that are driving energy prices so high that companies are sending jobs to Asia, and millions of families can no longer afford to heat and cool their homes, drive their cars or pay for the electricity that powers all the wondrous technologies that make our lives infinitely better, safer and healthier than even kings and queens enjoyed just a century ago.


British PM orders review into green taxes -- against Liberal opposition

The Coalition was riven by bitter infighting over green taxes last night after David Cameron ordered a review to stem the rise in energy bills. Green taxes have been blamed for pushing energy prices to record levels, but the Prime Minister’s intervention met fierce opposition from the Lib Dems. They insist the Government’s green energy targets are sacred.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said it would be ‘short-sighted and foolish’ to try to cut energy bills in the short term by tearing up the Government’s environmental policies.

But Downing Street said it was right to include green energy subsidies in a wider review of measures designed to ease the financial squeeze on families.

Asked if the government was going to review green taxes, Mr Cameron’s official spokesman said: ‘You would expect us, when families’ budgets are under pressure, to look at whether or not more can be done to help them. That’s what the Government will be doing.’

The review is expected to focus on the Ł1.3billion-a-year Energy Companies Obligation (Eco) scheme, which the energy firms claim will add Ł100 a year to bills.

But other green taxes, including subsidies for windfarms and the so-called carbon price floor, which is expected to raise Ł1billion a year for the Government, could also come under the spotlight.

The Prime Minister said this week he did not want costly subsidies for windfarms and other renewable energy to last ‘a minute longer than is necessary’.

Chancellor George Osborne is also pushing for changes to green subsidies and taxes to ease energy prices.

The pressure has mounted since Labour leader Ed Miliband announced he would freeze energy bills for 20 months if Labour won power in 2015 – despite having admitted in 2009 that the green taxes he brought in as Energy Minister in the Labour government were bound to push energy prices up.

Mr Cameron has dismissed the pledge as a ‘con’, but ministers fear the simple message could prove popular with hard-pressed voters struggling to cope with soaring bills.

Some Tory ministers are pushing for the party to enter the next election pledging to scrap, water down or delay a string of green measures to bring down energy bills.

Mr Osborne is keen to see some progress before his autumn statement on the economy in December.

But major change is likely to be frustrated by deep-seated opposition from the Lib Dems.

‘The Tories can say what they want, but we will not back down on this,’ a Lib Dem source said last night.

The Eco scheme is a levy on energy companies used to insulate the homes of people living in fuel poverty, who are defined as those spending more than 10 per cent of their income on heating. Much of the cost of the scheme is passed on to consumers in the form of higher bills. But the Lib Dems will fight any attempt to dilute or scrap the schemes.

One Lib Dem source said: ‘The Tories keep talking about energy prices but we are talking about bills. Insulating homes will get bills down in the long run.’

Mr Cable yesterday acknowledged there was a ‘continuing argument’ within Government about the balance between green targets and affordable energy. He insisted the Lib Dems would not back down, adding: ‘If you are taking a long-term view about shifting the British economy on to a less polluting, a less carbon-based system we have to provide those incentives. ‘What will happen in the long term is that the cost of renewable energy will fall.’

The row follows the controversial announcement by energy giant SSE that it will hike prices by 8.2 per cent this winter.

On average, dual-fuel bills for millions of SSE customers will rise by Ł111 to Ł1,465 a year, the highest price ever seen in the country. Other major power firms are expected to follow suit.

Energy minister Michael Fallon urged the firm’s customers to shop around for a better deal.

But SSE boss Alistair Phillips-Davies said the Government could help by scaling back green taxes and slowing the replacement of cheap fossil fuels with dearer renewable power.

He said: ‘If we carry on firmly behind the green agenda we will continue to have price increases like this.’


Tata: UK manufacturing revival threatened by green levies

Britain's manufacturing revival is being hampered by a raft of UK-specific green taxes, steel giant Tata has said, as it called for the Government to do more to create a "level playing field" with the rest of Europe.

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said on Friday that while abandoning green policies would be "short-sighted and foolish", protecting energy-intensive industries was a priority. "My particular concern is to make sure that the chemical and steel industries for example are not disadvantaged by very high energy prices, and we introduce schemes to make sure they're compensated and properly offset," he told BBC Radio 4.

But Tata, which employs 18,500 people in the UK, warned that an array of green levies, including the so-called carbon price floor - charged on fossil fuels used in power generation - was putting the company at a competitive disadvantage.

The second part of a Ł250m Government compensation package to protect companies from the unilateral tax, introduced last April, is currently awaiting approval from Brussels.

"While we welcome the Government's compensation package ... there are still tens of millions of pounds of other UK only green taxes hitting us today," a spokesman said.

With energy costs for industry already up to 50pc higher than in France or Germany, we need government to provide a level playing so that we can compete in the global race."

Energy minister Michael Fallon has said that failure to mitigate the cost of green levies for UK-based companies would be the equivalent of "assisted suicide". Before becoming energy minister, Mr Fallon also called the carbon tax "a fairly absurd waste of your money".


David Attenborough wrong to worry about global population increase, says Professor Robert Winston

Sir David Attenborough is wrong to worry about global population increase, Professor Robert Winston has said, as he claims those who fear IVF will exacerbate the problem are "a bit ignorant".

Prof Winston, a member of the House of Lords and pioneering researcher in the field of fertility, said those who believed bringing more children into an "over-burgeoning population" were simply "not thinking".

Instead, he argued, the number of IVF babies - around five million so far - is statistically insignificant, with technological developments more likely to actually lead to a decrease in population.

Sir David Attenborough has commented extensively on the problems of population growth on the natural world, previously saying human beings were a "plague on Earth".

Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival yesterday (Sun), Prof Winston said scare-mongering reports about IVF have led to some people believing "we're in a new world that has gone sickeningly wrong".

Instead, he argued, they should celebrate the new life that makes up only a "trivial percentage" of the global population.

Speaking of fears over population growth, told an audience: "Many of my friends like David Attenborough, who I respect as a most intelligent man, have probably got this wrong,

"Because again and again where we see technology implemented to get clean water, where you have stable government, where you have education of women, where you actually have a decent infrastructure across society, the problem is not rising population but actually falling population, as it is in most of Western Europe."

Prof Winston, who appeared at the festival to publicise the new book Science Year by Year, added those who opposed IVF over fears of a rising population were "a bit ignorant".

He added: ""What we should in fact be doing is celebration gone fact that this new technology has given birth to around five million lives worldwide that wouldn't have existed.

"Now of course, what often happens with people who are a bit ignorant or not thinking, they say 'we've got an over-burgeoning population in the world, why create more children?'

"Well actually five million against five or six billion or even nine billion is such a trivial percentage that its really quite irrelevant.

"One of the aspects of this is that we know technology as done a fantastically important thing in preventing expanding populations.

"It's very probable that we will see a decrease in population."

Speaking earlier this year, Sir David Attenborough told the Radio Times: "We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so.

"It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now."


Yes, Putin's a brute, but it's Greenpeace who are the biggest menace to our future

Greenpeace, the world’s biggest and most battle-hardened environmental campaigning organisation, is in a state of shock.

Last week, Russian investigators said that they had found ‘narcotic substances’ on board Arctic Sunrise, the Greenpeace vessel they seized after its crew had used it in an attempt to storm an oil rig of the state-controlled firm Gazprom. They added that the drugs included poppy straw, an ingredient for opiates.

You would think that Greenpeace might be proud to have been identified as scrupulously organic in its drug use; but its spokesman denounced the Russians’ claim as a ‘smear, pure and simple’.

Of course, Greenpeace would never stoop to blackening the name of its opponents, would it? Or exaggerating? Or even making things up — all in the noble cause of ‘saving the planet’?

The oil business has long been the organisation’s top target. Back in 1995, Greenpeace mounted a ferocious campaign to block Shell from dismantling out at sea an offshore oil storage depot known as Brent Spar. Greenpeace claimed that it contained more than 5,500 tonnes of remaining crude oil that Shell had not managed to extract — and that its dispersal in the North Sea would amount to some sort of ecological holocaust. Shell insisted that only around 50 tonnes of the black stuff were left.

Greenpeace duly occupied Brent Spar. The force of their accompanying rhetoric — widely believed at the time — caused havoc for the Anglo-Dutch business. After two months, it backed down, pointing out that it could no longer put up with ‘violence against Shell service stations, accompanied by threats to Shell staff’.

At great cost, Brent Spar was brought back onshore, where its contents were disposed of — for no net environmental gain: even Nature magazine described this outcome as ‘a needless dereliction of rationality’.

And it turned out that Shell had been right all along: there really were only about 50 tonnes of oil in it.

Greenpeace’s then UK ‘head of science’ sniffed that its 100-fold exaggeration of the threat was just ‘a minor mistake’.

Pictures of even a single seabird covered with crude oil are, of course, guaranteed to keep Greenpeace in fundraising good health.

The wider truth, however, is that the oceans can and do safely absorb vast quantities of crude oil. No permanent damage has been done to the marine environment of the Gulf of Mexico by the biggest oil-spillage in history, from BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig.

Its total leakage of seven million tonnes has either evaporated or been devoured by oil-eating microbes. The stuff is 100 per cent organic, after all.

That episode has been a disaster on several levels, but none environmental. There were the horrible deaths of the 11 workers in the rig’s original blow-out; there were the billions of dollars siphoned out of BP’s shareholders (including every large British pension fund) by avaricious U.S. lawyers and their clients; and there was the dreadful waste of seven million tonnes of oil — which should, once refined, have been put to good use in the fuel tanks of motorists.

But Greenpeace regards bringing down the cost of motoring as a crime against the planet, rather than as the way in which countless millions can have an easier life.

In truth, this multinational organisation, which employs 2,200, with annual global revenues of Ł196?million, has a decidedly chilly attitude towards suffering humanity.

It has led a campaign to harass and frustrate ‘the Golden Rice Project’, a not-for-profit scheme backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This would modify conventional rice with the genes for beta-carotene so that it would provide much more vitamin A per mouthful.

Vitamin A deficiency kills more than a million children every year and is the most significant cause of early years’ blindness in the developing world. Boosting vitamin A in the staple diet is the obvious and cheapest solution — one that, for example, the medical authorities in the Philippines have been pleading for.

Greenpeace, however, purports to regard any form of crop genetic modification as too risky to be contemplated, let alone tested: whenever it can, it destroys such tests physically, thus showing its fundamental contempt for the scientific method.

But then its gospel is Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, which predicted that man-made pesticides would cause ‘practically 100 per cent of the human population to be wiped out from a cancer epidemic in one generation’.

That was more than 50 years ago; we’re still here — and with a much longer life expectancy.

Unfortunately for Greenpeace’s characteristically piratical attempt to mobilise opinion against the Russians’ exploration for oil in the Arctic, the government of President Putin is less easily swayed by adverse public relations than our own politicians are.

While many newspapers in this country seem horrified by the seizure on charges of piracy of 28 Greenpeace activists — and I would endorse the call to release the two working journalists who were on board the Arctic Sunrise — there is not much of a Russian eco-chattering class for President Putin to worry about. Nor will he be troubled by the fact that the singer Damon Albarn and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood (the woman without whom no green vigil can be called complete) have joined the demonstrations for the ‘Greenpeace 28’.

While it must be frightening and unpleasant for the Greenpeace activists to be refused bail, awaiting the possibility of a trial for piracy in Murmansk, I wonder what they had imagined would be the reaction of the Russian coastguard, defending the security of what in any waters would be a highly sensitive installation.

They had been warned to back off in the most explicit terms and told that any attempt to scale the exploration rig would be regarded as a hostile act.

They were very brave to attempt it; that I would not deny. But they cannot as of right expect our support of an attempt to sabotage the lawful activities of a Russian state-owned company — and in breach of the UN’s Convention on the Law of the Sea, too.

It is possible that the Russian investigators have ‘smeared’ Greenpeace with their allegation of illegal drugs on board the Arctic Sunrise. Yet faced with the unenviable imaginary choice of a government run by Vladimir Putin and one by Greenpeace, I would vote for the former every time.

Putin might be a vengeful and autocratic ruler in the Russian tradition; but he is not part of a gang of well-meaning fools seeking to drive mankind back into pre-industrial poverty.




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


13 October, 2013

Science not so "settled" after all?

New study "could fundamentally change our understanding of climate change"

British research has discovered that our agricultural practices help form clouds: the news could change the way we calculate global warming...

A team of scientists led by a British academic has solved a long-standing enigma to explain how up to half the clouds in the sky are formed. And in finally cracking the problem of how planet-cooling clouds are conjured from what might seem to be thin air, the researchers found that humans play a significant role. It is a discovery that could fundamentally change our understanding of climate change, and may even mean experts have underestimated just how warm the planet will get over the next century. ....

The lack of knowledge about aerosols – particles suspended in the atmosphere – and their effect on clouds is widely recognised as the major source of uncertainty in predictions about global warming. "We have to understand how clouds have been changed by human activity or natural activity if we are to understand climate change in the 20th century and therefore have reliable projections in the 21st century," Professor Kirkby said. ....

Gerald North, professor of atmospheric sciences and oceanography at Texas A&M University in the US, welcomed the research, saying that aerosols had been "really very poorly understood".


'Obamaclimate' Rules For Global Warming Would Be Just As Disastrous As Obamacare

Adam Hartung argued here at earlier this week that the United States needs to implement an Obamacare-style program to address global warming. Hartung’s column inadvertently illustrates that Obamaclimate would be just as disastrous as Obamacare.

The most memorable and illuminative statement made in the Obamacare debate was Nancy Pelosi smiling and saying “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” In other words, “We don’t know what the heck we are passing here, but it is big government, and therefore we like it.”

The American people are now finding out what is in it, and they don’t like it. In the words of Democratic U.S. Senator Max Baucus, Obamacare is fast becoming a “train wreck.”

Adam Hartung now wants a federal Obamaclimate plan. Apparently, one train wreck per presidential term isn’t enough for some people.

While Nancy Pelosi acknowledged Congress had no idea what kind of a law it was passing, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just acknowledged in its most recent report that it has no idea why global temperatures haven’t risen during the past 17 years. IPCC also acknowledged its models have consistently predicted more warming than has occurred in the real world. IPCC admitted its previous predictions about Himalayan glacier melt were wrong. IPCC contradicted alarmist assertions that global warming was shutting down oceanic conveyor belts. IPCC political appointees were embarrassingly caught telling contributing scientists that they would have to change their scientific assessments to conform with political agendas. And the list of IPCC flubs and embarrassments goes on and on….

“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

“We have to restrict energy use, reduce living standards and shut down economic growth even though we don’t have a strong scientific case for doing so.”

Cue the trains barreling toward each other on a single track.

To be fair, Hartung did cite IPCC’s relatively undisputed finding that global temperatures were rising somewhat about 20 years ago. And, extending the trend back a little farther, we emerged from the Little Ice Age a little more than a century ago.

Okay, but so what?

Escaping the Little Ice Age, which entailed the coldest temperatures of the past 10,000 years, was – and is – beneficial to human health and welfare.

Hurricane activity is becoming less frequent and severe.

Tornado activity is becoming less frequent and severe.

Global crop production sets new records on a near-yearly basis.

Deserts are shrinking and plant life is expanding in some of the earth’s most arid regions.

Global soil moisture is improving at almost all sites in the Global Soil Moisture Databank.

And Hartung argues that we should implement an Obamaclimate train wreck to fight against these benefits?

The only plausible negative impact mentioned by Hartung is global sea level rise. Even here, however, he cannot help but strain credulity with his assertions. Hartung claims, “we can now predict the oceans will rise between 1 and 6 feet in the next 50 years.” Really?! Global sea level rose merely 7 inches during the entire previous century, and there has been little or no acceleration in sea level rise this century. How does that translate to between 1 and 6 feet of sea level rise in merely 50 years? Adam, I will wager whatever sum of money you wish that global sea level will not rise by either (take your pick) 7 inches in the next 10 years, 14 inches in the next 20 years, 21 inches in the next 30 years, 28 inches in the next 40 years, or 3 feet in the next 50 years. This gives you the benefit of a slower pace of sea level rise than the midpoint pace of your prediction and whatever pace or time period you wish. Of course, you will not accept the wager because you and I both know your prediction lacks credibility.

Throughout his column, Hartung laments such things as, “I never hear any business leaders talk about how they are planning for global warming. No comments about how they are making changes to keep their business successful.” There is a reason for this. When government predictions and programs fail, Nancy Pelosi and her political allies don’t personally go broke. When entrepreneurs prescribe or follow bad advice, however, they go broke. American entrepreneurs are too smart to foolishly lose their personal finances on yet another round of ridiculous global warming assertions.


Global Climate Models and Their Limitations

Many scientists, policymakers, and engaged citizens have become concerned over the possibility that manmade greenhouse gas emissions, in particular carbon dioxide (CO2), may be causing dangerous climate change. A primary reason for this public alarm is a series of reports issued by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The IPCC places great confidence in the ability of global climate models (GCMs) to simulate future climate and attributes observed climate change to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. In a Summary for Policymakers describing its latest assessment report, the IPCC claims the “development of climate models has resulted in more realism in the representation of many quantities and aspects of the climate system,” adding, “it is extremely likely that human activities have caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature since the 1950s.”

Climate models are important tools that can be used to advance our understanding of current and past climate. They also provide qualitative and quantitative information about potential future climate conditions. But in spite of their sophistication, they remain merely models. They represent simulations of the real world, constrained by their ability to correctly capture and portray each of the important processes that affect climate. Notwithstanding their complexities, the models remain deficient in many aspects of their portrayal of the climate, which reduces their ability to provide reliable simulations of future climate.

In general, GCMs perform poorly when their projections are assessed against empirical data. Several IPCC forecasts made by GCMs have been falsified by real-world data, as documented in Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.

To have any validity for future projections, GCMs must incorporate not only the many physical processes involved in determining climate, but also all important chemical and biological processes that influence climate over long time periods. Several of these important processes are missing or inadequately represented in today’s state-of-the-art climate models.

The current generation of GCMs cannot make accurate projections of climate even 10 years ahead, let alone the 100-year period that has been adopted by policy planners. The output of such models should therefore not be used to guide public policy formulation until they have been validated and shown to have predictive value.


The hidden subsidies each British household pays every year thanks to "Green" laws passed by the previous Labour Party government

The Mail on Sunday today reveals the real cause of soaring energy costs – a bewildering web of green taxes and subsidies which add Ł132 to the average household’s bill.

The taxes range from levies to help fund domestic solar panels and windmills to subsidies for strict European greenhouse gas limitations.

The shock figures are based on official information from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) about average annual bills, showing what they cost now, and how much they will have risen by 2020.

It is predicted that by then, some 33 per cent of household electricity bills will be going towards green taxes – up from 17 per cent now.

Put another way, in 2020 consumers will be paying Ł270 a year to fund green initiatives, some imposed by ambitious targets set by the 2008 Climate Change Act, which was piloted through the Commons by Ed Miliband when he was Energy Secretary.

Last week a political storm was triggered by energy firm SSE’s announcement of an 8.2 per cent price rise. Other companies are expected to follow suit shortly.

Yesterday Energy Minister Greg Barker said: ‘The higher energy bills falling on to people’s doormats have Ed Miliband’s smudgy fingerprints all over them.’

The DECC says that although green levies will increase the price of energy, overall bills will fall because of increased efficiency and the introduction of appliances which consume less power.

Many believe those efficiencies have been overestimated while the real cost of some green taxes remains underestimated.

Last night Dr Lee Moroney, chief analyst for the Renewable Energy Foundation, said: ‘DECC relies on implausibly optimistic assumptions that energy efficiency measures will offset the increasing costs to consumers who are having to finance the Government’s drive to meet climate-change targets.

‘As the energy bills rise and the savings are not materialising, consumer anger at the mismanagement of energy policy is justifiable.’


Britain And Germany In Secret Pact To Defy EU Climate Laws

Britain is negotiating a secret deal to help to shield Germany’s luxury car industry from new European climate rules in return for support for UK bankers.

Downing Street officials and their counterparts in Berlin held discussions after Germany sought help to delay the introduction of caps on carbon dioxide emissions that could harm BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) greets Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) during the official arrrivals for the start of the G8 Summit

In return, Britain is seeking help to protect the banking sector, which is lobbying to reduce the impact of regulations from Brussels. Suggested measures include the disclosure of the tax that banks pay in every country and forthcoming regulations proposed by the European Commission for the hedge fund industry.

Britain is also seeking German assistance to protect taxpayers from having to contribute to a fund to help ailing eurozone banks. Senior Liberal Democrat sources claimed that the proposed deal also included a request for help with Britain’s attempt to overturn an EU cap on bank bonuses, which would limit them to 200 per cent of salary.


Australia: The future is not bright for deeply divided Green Party

ARE the Greens finished? Christine Milne, explaining the poor election result, says minor parties build up their political capital in opposition and spend it in alliance with governments.

But an alternative explanation is that the Greens are in terminal decline, suffering voter capital punishment rather than cycles of political capital. Which is it?

One thing is certain: events in the past few weeks demonstrate that the Greens are no different from any other political party. All parties contain internal divisions which they struggle to overcome. Some have Left and Right, some have "Rudd and Gillard", some have Victoria and NSW, but the Greens have all of these and more. So extensive are the divisions inside the Greens parliamentary party that the party's future must be bleak.

One rift of significance is a generational one, between Sarah Hanson-Young and Milne.

Milne is a hard warrior learning her craft in the heat of activist battle. She adopts what is called a strong ecological modernisation stance. This approach says that dirty industries are ruining the planet and must be fundamentally transformed.

Milne has no time for fossil-fuel industries such as the electricity industry. For her, these industries must be transformed root and branch. They are beyond saving. Get rid of them.

By contrast, the younger generation, supporters of Bob Brown, are weak ecological modernisers, parliamentarians, negotiators, conciliators. Like Brown, they are deal brokers who consider dirty industries to be salvageable with the right incentives for renewables. They are also interested in issues beyond the environment, such as asylum-seekers and cancer victims among firefighters.

The question of what to do about industries becomes critical now that there is a new Coalition government committed to an approach to climate change that it calls Direct Action.

Direct Action, unlike carbon pricing, discriminates against industries, quarantining some, such as the electricity industry, from emissions reduction. The rationale is to protect consumers from electricity price rises. Direct Action will open up these divisions within the Greens.

Old versus young, weak ecological modernisers versus strong ecological modernisers, as well as Tasmania versus the mainland - not to mention the NSW watermelons (Green on the outside, red on the inside) versus the rest. The rifts that lay hidden within the Greens are revealed.

Milne can say the party is united but the leadership challenges ahead are acute. Not only does she have to manage the divisions within her own party but she has to retain the support of the broader environmental movement. The Greens' decision to join Julia Gillard's multi-party climate change committee opened up divisions between the Greens and the broader environmental movement, contributing to a fall in support for the party at this year's election.

The Greens leadership has to decide which way to go: co-operate with Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt on Direct Action or continue the carbon-price fight? Either way, it will be difficult to contain the divisions within the parliamentary party and with the broader environmental movement.

In politics, context is everything. The context has changed. The Greens must lead the environmental movement to accept that there is more than one way to reduce emissions. The obsession with a carbon price does not fit the times. Direct Action is an acceptable alternative to a carbon price aiming to reduce emissions by capping the amount spent on greenhouse gas reduction rather than capping the emissions themselves.

The Greens will be able to contribute to a reduction in emissions, and save themselves from destructive divisions internally, if they are able to adjust to the changed political and policy context in Australia. However, this will take formidable leadership skills inside the party.

Nikita Khrushchev said to John F. Kennedy that the two of them should not pull tightly on each end of a rope, for that would tighten a knot that would then have to be cut. Last week, Hanson-Young and Milne each pulled on the rope and tightened the knot of division. This knot will have to be cut. Either she goes, or she goes? That is the question for the Greens as they work out how to deal with the weak ecological modernisation of Hunt and Direct Action.




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


11 October, 2013

Serial Demolition of Some Eco-Nuttery - an 18 minute video by Ivo Vegter?

Watch the 18-minute video below for a serial demolition of one piece of eco-nuttery after another by Ivo Vegter in South Africa:

The 'environmental exaggerations' of which he speaks are so mainstream now, and such a distortion of reality, that it would be wonderful if every high school teacher in the world decided to show this, or a subbed /dubbed version, to their senior pupils.

Maybe as an antidote to all the eco-guff they will have been exposed to in their schooldays. Maybe as a last chance to steer them towards helping humanity rather than harming it with facile 'environmentalism', and the curse of 'sustainable development' - both examples of what Vegter would call 'excessive risk aversion'. They harm the poor. They harm the planet. They diminish our humanity.


Armageddon hits in 2047!

Some Warmists have apparently invented a new "Green" version of the SimCity game -- and they're having a lot of fun with it. When do we all get to play? -- JR

With egg all over the faces of global warming alarmists given the halt in temperature increases the past fifteen years, you would think media outlets would be a little gun-shy concerning "studies" predicting environmental doom with the help of climate models.

Not the Associated Press's Seth Borenstein who actually published a piece Wednesday about a study having the gall to predict the exact year when "temperatures go off the charts" for cities around the world:

"Starting in about a decade, Kingston, Jamaica, will probably be off-the-charts hot — permanently. Other places will soon follow. Singapore in 2028. Mexico City in 2031. Cairo in 2036. Phoenix and Honolulu in 2043." And eventually the whole world in 2047.

"A new study on global warming pinpoints the probable dates for when cities and ecosystems around the world will regularly experience hotter environments the likes of which they have never seen before. And for dozens of cities, mostly in the tropics, those dates are a generation or less away.

"This paper is both innovative and sobering," said Oregon State University professor Jane Lubchenco, former head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who was not involved in the study."

And here's the money paragraph:

"To arrive at their projections, the researchers used weather observations, computer models and other data to calculate the point at which every year from then on will be warmer than the hottest year ever recorded over the last 150 years."

Now wouldn't it be prudent of the AP given the failure of climate models to accurately predict the halt in rising temperatures the past fifteen years to be skeptical of new studies reliant upon them?

Quite the contrary, Borenstein didn't even mention this recent lull in advancing temperatures, nor did he advise readers that as a result, one should look upon such studies with at least the tiniest grain of salt. Instead, he actually presented doomsday dates for American cities:

"By 2043, 147 cities — more than half of those studied — will have shifted to a hotter temperature regime that is beyond historical records. The first U.S. cities to feel that would be Honolulu and Phoenix, followed by San Diego and Orlando, Fla., in 2046. New York and Washington will get new climates around 2047, with Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Austin and Dallas a bit later."

And here's the second money paragraph:

"The 2047 date for the whole world is based on continually increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from the burning of coal, oil and natural gases. If the world manages to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases, that would be pushed to as late as 2069, according to Mora."

So, if the world manages to reduce carbon emissions, we'd only gain 22 years before the world ends.

You know what that means, don't you? Drill, baby, drill!

As readers might imagine, this piece has elicited some of the loudest online laughs I've experienced in years.

Climate Depot's Marc Morano said, "Global warming activists have finally committed to a Mayan calendar like deadline for the planet's doom. Kudos to the warmists for finally shaming Nostradamus. He never allowed his prognostications to get this specific."

Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That asked, "Has Harold Camping approved the date yet?"

Real Science's Steve Goddard answered, "Ehrlich will be angry. He finished off Earth 30 years ago, and this study just isn't taking his past work seriously."

Dr. Tim Ball added, "If the accuracy equals Phil Jones estimate of global temperature in the 2001 IPCC Report the accuracy will be ±33 percent."

But the best line in my view came from University of Alabama-Huntsville's Roy Spencer who offered this gem: "I'm gonna plan for 2046, just in case they are off by a year."

I think that's wise, Roy.


Sanity where you least expect it: Obama Energy Secretary says Fracking is ‘climate friendly, environmentally safe, and economically stimulating’

On the very same day that the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) announces: “U.S. Rises to No. 1 Energy Producer” — thanks to the shale boom made possible through a technology known as hydraulic fracturing — an environmental group released a report calling for a complete ban of the practice, which would effectively shut down the oil-and-gas industry (and all of the jobs and revenues it creates) and increase dependence on foreign oil. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

You probably haven’t heard about either, as most news coverage, on October 3, centered on the government shutdown—eclipsing all else.

Why would Environment America (and its executive director, Margie Alt) choose to release a report, that they call “the first to measure the damaging footprint of fracking,” on a day when it would likely receive little attention? The answer is found in the WSJ: “the shale boom’s longevity could hinge on commodity prices, government regulations, and public support.” (italics added)

Americans support the concept of energy independence. We don’t like the fact that we’ve been funding terrorists because we buy oil from people who hate us and who happily slaughter our citizens.

The Obama Administration is the most anti-fossil-fuel in history, yet within the past month, three Obama cabinet members — two former, one current — have declared fracking a safe technology for extracting oil and natural gas:

At a speech in Columbus, Ohio, former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said that fracking “is something you can do in a safe way” and dismissed a study critical of fracking by saying: “we didn’t think it was credible.”

At the Domenici Public Policy conference in Las Cruces, New Mexico, former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar stated: “I would say to everybody that hydraulic fracking is safe.”
In a meeting with the New York Daily News editorial board, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz asserted: “Fracking for natural gas is climate-friendly, environmentally safe, and economically stimulating” and added: “Which is just what America and New York need.”

Then, in the same month, in the greenest state of the Union, against strong opposition, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a hotly contested bill that reflects the fact that he favors some level of fracking.

These pro-fracking news items, along with several recent reports pointing to the safety of hydraulic fracturing, have the anti-fracking crowd resorting to desperation. And, then the WSJ announces America’s energy dominance on its front page. I suspect that Environment America had its little report ready to go and was just waiting for the right time to release it — probably after the shutdown, when the news cycle had some space. But, when the WSJ heralded the U.S. energy comeback, they just had to spring it — hoping to shift public opinion.

The environmentalists’ advertising efforts have had an impact—even though, as Secretary Chu noted, the anti-fracking argument isn’t “credible.” A September Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that opposition to increased use of fracking rose to 49 percent from 38 percent in the previous 6 months.

Why, when hydraulic fracturing has brought America to the brink of energy independence, been the biggest driver of job growth, lowered utility bills, and positively impacted the trade deficit, are people opposed to it? Because they don’t really know what it is, and, therefore, are gullible to the old adage: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

A University of Michigan report on hydraulic fracturing found: “The public tends to view the word ‘fracking’ as the entirety of the natural gas development process, from leasing and permitting, to drilling and well completion, to transporting and storing wastewater and chemicals.” In fact, fracking is limited to the process of injecting fluids into a well — just a few days of a multi-month operation (not counting leasing and permitting).

This widespread misunderstanding explains why the repeated lies have taken hold.

One of the most rampant lies about fracking made by the environmentalists is about water. The press release about the “fracking by the numbers” report, claims: “Of particular concern are the billions of gallons of toxic waste created from fracking, which threaten the environment, public health and drinking water.”

On page 5, “Fracking by the Numbers” states: “Fracking operations have used at least 250 billion gallons of water since 2005.” Which sounds ominous until you get some perspective. For example, over that same period, car washes have used more than twice as much water: 600+ billion gallons. In the state of Colorado, where water supplies can be constrained and oil-and-gas development is high, water used for fracking amounts to less than one-tenth of one percent of the state’s total water demand.

Also on page 5: “While most industrial uses of water return it to the water cycle for further use, fracking converts clean water into toxic wastewater, much of which must then be permanently disposed of, taking billions of gallons out of the water supply annually.” And: “Farmers are particularly impacted by fracking water use as they compete with the deep-pocketed oil and gas industry for water, especially in drought-stricken regions of the country.” These statements are just plain false. The oil-and-gas industry is now often using water that is not suitable for farming or drinking and then reusing the water over and over.

Mike Hightower, a hydrologist at Sandia National Labs, adds: “Five years ago fresh water was used for each frac job; now they are using frac fluids that are 5 times saltier than sea water. That allows more reuse of waters and is putting less strain on water resources in many western states.”

Dexter Harmon, Exploration Manager at Fasken Oil & Ranch, says his company is using 88 percent produced water and Santa Rosa water that has been treated to remove harmful components and 12 percent fresh water to frac its Wolfberry wells near Midland, Texas. It cost about $1.75 to $2.00 per barrel to treat the produced water to get it ready to re-use on a frac job.

Plus, the industry is continually being revolutionized by technological advances. For example, GE has a new energy-efficient process that could cut the cost of water treatment in half, eliminate the need to transport the water for treatment, and decrease the chances of spills. MIT Technology Review, September 24, 2013, reported: “Based on pilot-scale tests of a machine that can process about 2,500 gallons of water per day, GE researchers say they are on track to cut the costs of treating salty fracking wastewater in half. The system needs to be scaled up for commercial use, but a full-sized system could treat about 40,000 gallons per day.”

Another lie repeated in the report (page 9): “There are ‘more than 1,000 cases’ of groundwater contamination.” Yet, the three major investigations of water contamination that were conducted by the EPA—Pavillion, Wyoming, the Range Resources case in Texas, and Dimock, Pennsylvania (made famous by the Gasland movie)—have all been cleared.

Additionally, three different environmentally aligned Obama Administration members have made statements regarding an absence of evidence of fracking contaminating groundwater:

At an August 1 breakfast, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, stated: “To my knowledge, I still have not seen any evidence of fracking per se contaminating groundwater.”

Ken Kopocis, President Obama’s nominee to be Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Water, was asked recently in testimony before Congress if he was aware of any cases of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing. His answer? “No I am not.”

Lisa Jackson, President Obama’s former EPA chief, said: “In no case have we made a definitive determination that the [fracturing] process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater.” This comment follows her previous testimony before Congress, when she explained that she is “not aware of any proven case where [hydraulic fracturing] itself has affected water.”

We could go on picking apart the 47-page report, but these lies, untruths, and deceptions on water give you the idea. Energy In Depth has a more thorough review of Environment America’s “Fracking by the Numbers,” in which it says the anti-fracking group consists of “professional activists bent on preventing responsible energy development from taking place.”

The budget these activists have to produce propaganda and advertising campaigns to change public opinion seems unlimited. Environment America’s IRS Form 990 for fiscal year ending 06-30-2011, shows it has 210 employees with revenues of $3.7 million. In the acknowledgements, Environment America thanks the “Park Foundation for making this report possible” — The Park Foundation funded the anti-fracking movie Gasland and other anti-fracking activities. And they call the oil-and-gas industry “deep-pocketed.”

Thanks to hydraulic fracturing America is on the brink of energy independence, it has provided the biggest driver of job growth, lowered utility bills, and positively impacted the trade deficit. Yet one small, well-funded, and vocal segment of the population is opposed to it — using false scare tactics to sway pubic opinion. When you think about why they would want to ban this single, effective economic stimulus, it should make you shudder and cause you to commit — with me — to spreading the truth.


Axe green tax or energy bills will go up every year for a decade, says British energy chief

Ministers are urged to initiate an immediate review of Britain’s entire green energy strategy or risk forcing household gas and electricity bills up every year for the rest of the decade

The chief executive of the energy giant Scottish & Southern Energy said on Thursday night it was time for a national debate about the country’s green agenda after unveiling an 8.2 per cent price rise for customers.

The company said annual gas and electricity prices would fall by Ł110 per household overnight if the Government opted to pay for green energy subsidies and other environmental costs, such as free loft insulation, through the tax system. Alistair Phillips-Davies on Thursday told The Telegraph that green levies imposed by the Government were responsible for a third of the increase being imposed by SSE.

On average, dual-fuel bills for millions of its customers will rise by Ł111 to Ł1,465 a year, the highest price ever seen in the country.

British Gas and Npower are both poised to increase bills in the next few days.

Mr Phillips-Davies said: “A price rise is never a good thing to do, but if it focuses everyone on to a debate about what we as a nation should be spending money on, then in one way it will be helpful.

“We need to think about what people really want to pay for; maybe it’s time to retreat from decarbonisation and focus more on the cost of living. I think we have to have a debate about it. “Do we want to be replacing one bit of [energy] generation that we can keep going for a bit longer with a new bit of generation that’s going to cost more? He added: “I doubt the public like price increases of this magnitude, but if we carry on firmly behind the green agenda we will continue to have price increases like this.”

He added that SSE, which made a Ł1.4 billion profit last year, would be stopping all investment in offshore wind and new power plants until the 2015 election because of the acute political uncertainty around energy since Ed Miliband promised a price freeze if Labour wins power.

The row threatens to intensify tensions in the Coalition, with speculation growing that the Tories want to react to the Labour leader’s pledge by funding some green levies through tax rather than passing the cost on to households through bills.

On Thursday, David Cameron said green levies to subsidise renewables would not be on bills “for a moment longer than is necessary”.

But Michael Fallon, the energy minister, went further by insisting that the Government was “looking hard” at what could be done to reduce green costs to both industry and households. He said: “I’m as green as the next man, but I’m a cheap green.

“We still have to deal with a legacy of underinvestment and we still have legal obligations under climate change regulations, we need to build new power stations, but within that, we are looking.”

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Energy Secretary, said that wholesale energy costs were the real reason SSE was putting up prices and that customers should react by switching to a rival supplier.

National Grid earlier this week warned that the huge push to “go green” and take ageing coal-based power plants out of commission meant Britain was at a greater risk of winter blackouts this year than at any point since 2007. Britain is signed up to producing 30 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of 2020.

Experts believe more than Ł100 billion will have to be spent for the country to have any chance of reaching the target, and all of this would have to be recouped from household bills.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance said at the weekend that it had calculated that Ł22 billion of subsidies would be handed to “green” energy generators over the coming six years to pay for new wind farms and hydro power plants, with the entire cost passed on to consumers through bills.

The UK Independence Party joined the debate on Thursday by blaming Mr Miliband for bringing in the Climate Change Bill in the last Labour government.

Responding to SSE’s price rise on Thursday, Mr Miliband said it was proof the Government was letting energy companies “get away with it”. Caroline Flint, Labour’s shadow energy secretary, added: “When times are tough, energy companies should be helping their customers not hitting them with more price rises to boost their profits.”

Watchdogs said it was inevitable SSE’s rivals would follow suit with price rises of their own. As well as British Gas, industry sources said npower was to announce a price increase as early as Monday.

Ann Robinson, the head of the price comparison website uSwitch, said there were now real concerns that millions of vulnerable customers would be forced to turn down the thermostat or turn off the heating altogether over the winter.

She said: “It’s a crippling blow. We all knew increases were coming, but when you actually see them, well, it’s devastating.
“Last year, 70 per cent of households were rationing fuel at some point, 35 per cent turned their heating down at some point. How many more people are going to freeze to death this winter?”

SSE said it had held off from announcing an increase as long as it could. The new higher prices will take effect on Nov 15. The company said government-imposed levies on energy bills to pay for everything from free loft insulation and new wind farms, had gone up by 13 per cent in the past year, three times more than wholesale energy costs.

Will Morris, the SSE group managing director for retail, said: “We’re sorry to have to do this. We’ve done as much as we could to keep prices down, but the reality is that buying wholesale energy in global markets, delivering it to customers’ homes, and government-imposed levies collected through bills — endorsed by all the major parties — all cost more than they did last year.”
The SSE increase will affect seven million homes in the UK. Customers in the South East, former Seeboard customers, will have an 9.7 per cent increase, compared with a rise of 7 per cent in the North.

The company blamed the different transmission costs charged by regional power networks.

In addition, about 150,000 SSE customers will be hit with a new standing charge that could increase costs if they are low-users of energy. The company is also scrapping prompt payment discounts and loyalty discounts. Off-peak rates on the Economy 7 tariff will rise by 18 per cent in Scotland as SSE restructures its unit charges.

Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice, added: “This price rise will be a blow for stretched budgets. The hike comes at a time when some working households are turning to food banks to feed their families as they struggle to cope with the rising cost of living.

“I hope other energy firms show an understanding of their customers’ financial situation by not raising their prices.”


Cold War Escalates Over Europe's Energy Fiasco

EU Parliament Votes To Block Shale Development In Europe

The European Union has been accused of killing off the prospect of cheap energy from shale gas by trying to impose with expensive and “reckless” regulation of fracking.

The European Parliament on Wednesday voted for new EU laws requiring that exploration for potential deposits of shale gas to face the same environmental regulation as a full-scale oil drilling.

Struan Stevenson, a Conservative MEP who sits on the European Parliament's environment committee, warned that the plan could strangle the nascent fracking industry in Britain.

Fracking, which involves fracturing rocks deep underground with water, sand and chemicals to extract natural gas, has dramatically cut energy bills in the US, and Conservatives ministers hope that it could do the same in the UK.

With as many as 40 permits for fracking expected to be granted in the next two years, ministers are also anticipating significant tax revenues from operators.

Mr Stevenson warned that all those hopes could be dashed if the European Parliament’s demand for full Environmental Impact Assessments for fracking projects is met.

“This would be a huge burden and will prevent the exploitation of Britain's massive shale reserves,” he said. “Targeting exploration in this unnecessary way amounts to stifling the potential benefits at source. We must stop this over-zealous attempt to place a dead hand on the process of exploration before it even gets going.”

The MEPs’ plan to regulate fracking will be discussed by Europe’s environment ministers next week.

The use of fracking technology means that the United States is paying half the European price for wholesale gas, driven up by expensive imports at a time when state subsidies for renewable energies are pushing up energy costs across Europe.

The average household energy bill in Britain is now Ł1,300 a year, twice what it was 10 years ago and shale gas exploitation is regarded as crucial to pushing prices down.

Alessandro Torello, of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, said the MEPs’ rules would create a costly and cumbersome regulatory process that would make industry think twice about exploration.

“The text adopted today would require undertaking long and complex environmental studies at a very early stage in the exploration phase, undermining - without bringing additional environmental benefits - the efforts to develop domestic oil and gas opportunities, such as gas from shale," he said.

“This would erode EU attempts to encourage future economic growth and create new jobs while simultaneously depriving policy makers of one key tool they could use to reduce Europe’s dependence on energy imports.”

François Hollande, France’s Socialist president, has banned fracking his country. The MEPs’ vote was welcomed by Greens and Socialists.

Jos Delbeke, the director-general of the commission’s “climate action” department, hinted that the EU would use the regulations to defend renewable energy against cheaper shale gas.

“A minus scenario is that shale gas then drives out renewables,” he said, last week. “If ever shale would become as cheap as in the US, we really would have a problem. We are strong defenders of renewables. It is very important we keep investing in renewable technologies.”


Is the world getting better or worse?

by Bjřrn Lomborg

We can settle the debate on global challenges such as climate change with an objective scorecard, says a sceptical environmentalist

FOR the past half century, a fundamental debate has raged between optimists and pessimists over the state of the world. Pessimists build their case on overpopulation, starvation and depletion of resources. Optimists stand for the infallibility of the market economy.

In 1970, arch pessimist Paul Ehrlich, a population biologist at Stanford University in California, predicted that by 1999 the US population would be decimated to 22 million people living on 2400 calories a day – less than the 2560 calories the average African gets today. Economist Julian Simon, his opposite number from the optimist camp, cheerfully claimed that everything was getting better.

The debate still runs deep in our collective consciousness. We all have an immediate instinct of whether we align with the pessimists or the optimists, and with an almost infinite selection of statistics available, anyone can cherry-pick evidence to confirm their position.

Wouldn't it be nice to remove the darkened or rose-tinted spectacles for once, and try to quantify how the world really has done and will do in future? I asked some of the world's leading economists to do just that. The result is a groundbreaking book, How Much Have Global Problems Cost The World? A scorecard from 1900 to 2050.

The basic idea was to measure the damage inflicted by various problems on a comparable scale, without the opportunity to focus on particular areas or statistics that reinforce one point of view or the other.

For each problem, contributors quantified the damage done to humanity and the planet from 1900 until today, and also that projected to happen by 2050. Take air pollution. How much death and destruction did it cause in 1900 or in 2013? And what do we project its damage to be in 2050?

We then translated this into dollars, using standard estimates for the value of a human life. While this concept can seem alien, it is regularly used as a way to guide policy – for example, does the value of human lives saved outweigh the cost of installing safety barriers on a highway? To get the relative size of a problem, we compared it with the total resources available to tackle it, to arrive at a percentage of GDP per capita for each.

Of course, GDP is by no means a perfect measure. Yet it is a widely used and robust indicator. It is strongly correlated with most desirable measures, including education, health, democracy, lack of corruption, lack of poverty and the United Nations Human Development Index.

We were not able to evaluate all the challenges facing humanity, but I think most would agree that our list includes 10 of the most important: air pollution, climate change, conflicts, education, gender inequality, health, loss of biodiversity, malnutrition, trade barriers, and water and sanitation.

For many of these, ours is the first economic evaluation of the entirety of the problem. I hope this will inspire others to cover other areas such as resources, infrastructure and corruption.

So what does this research show? Neither the pessimists nor the optimists are entirely right. But the optimists win on points – the majority of indicators are going in the right direction.

Some of these are obvious, such as health and education – we live much longer and are much better educated. The cost of poor health in 1900 was a phenomenal 32 per cent of global GDP. Today, it is about 11 per cent and by 2050 will have halved again.

Some are not so obvious. Take air pollution. Outdoor air pollution has got worse in the developing world but better in the developed world, not least because of environmental legislation. A bigger problem, however, is indoor air pollution from using dirty fuels to cook and keep warm, mostly in the developing world. This has been decreasing rapidly, meaning that, overall, damage from air pollution has been falling. In 1900 air pollution cost 23 per cent of GDP; today it is at about 6 per cent, and will probably be reduced to 4 per cent by 2050.

Global warming is mixed. Right now it is a net benefit, largely because increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has boosted agriculture. This contributes a positive impact of 0.8 per cent of GDP. Moderate warming prevents more deaths from the cold than it causes deaths related to the heat. It also reduces the demand for heating more than it increases the cost of cooling. Together these add another 0.4 per cent.

On the other hand, warming increases water stress at about 0.2 per cent of GDP and negatively impacts ecosystems like wetlands at about 0.1 per cent. As warming increases further, the benefits are decreasing and the costs increasing. As agricultural benefits decline, cooling costs rise and ecosystem impacts increase, the total effect will turn negative, though outside of the 2050 time frame.

Biodiversity is tricky. From 1900 to 2000 there was a definite loss because of increasing human encroachment on nature. This was partly offset by the increase in agricultural production, but not nearly enough. The total loss is about 1 per cent of GDP.

However, our prediction is that for the next 50 years, humans will damage and encroach less while agriculture becomes more productive. Many richer parts of the world will reforest. In total, it is likely that there will be a very small, net benefit.

Of course, the grand debate between optimists and pessimists won't be settled by a single book. But getting comparable numbers for the first time across some of the most important issues might make it a bit easier for realists to focus the conversation on what really matters.




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


10 October, 2013


Lord Monckton challenges secretary Kerry to debate on climate change (And has a lot of fun doing it)

Like profiteers of doom worldwide, John Kerry, described as a secretary of state, believes in the “global warming” bugaboo with every fiber of his bank account.

One of the strangest phenomena in politics is the uncritical alacrity and Damascene fervor with which the hive mind of the international left, believing the unbelievable, will find any pretext to argue passionately for the greatest transfer of wealth and power in human history from the poor to the rich, from the workers to the “workers” – to themselves.

Some years ago, John Kerry said he was prepared to debate anyone on climate change. Challenged on my behalf, he ran and ran. His favorite song: “Keep on runnin’.” For belief in the New Religion differs from belief in the True Religion in three respects.

First, the New Religion is not true. Secondly, its believers know it is not true – or, which is just as false, are reckless as to whether it is true or not. Thirdly, the Borg are almost always, almost everywhere, terrified to defend the New Religion against doubters like me.

Kerry has issued a whining press release to coincide with publication of the fifth and latest novel in the “Apocalypse” series by the U.N. Intergummintal Panel on Climate Change. He wails: “This is yet another wake-up call. Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire.”

The only noble work of literature that ever came out of a committee was the King James Version of the Bible. For proof that committees write lousy fiction, just try to read the climate panel’s five-volume “Apocalypse” trilogy: “The Sky Is Falling” (1990), “Apocalypse Soon” (1995), “Apocalypse Very Soon” (2001), “Apocalypse Any Day Now, We Mean It” (2007) and now “Apocalypse With Added 95 Percent Certainty, But We’re 0 Percent Certain Why It Hasn’t Gotten Around To Happening Just Yet” (2013).

Kerry moans, “Once again, the science grows clearer, the case grows more compelling, and the costs of inaction grow beyond anything that anyone with conscience or common sense should be willing to even contemplate.”

Nay, unverily. And try not to inelegantly split infinitives, John.

I mean, come off it: If the science of Catastrophology were that clear, why would it need 10,000 pages of turgid, inspissate, self-contradictory, self-serving waffle to justify it?

Einstein’s paper on relativity, “Zur Elektrodynamik Bewegter Körper,” was just 30 pages long, and that changed the world.
Remember what the men of ancient Athens said. Mega biblion, mega kakon: “The bigger the book, the badder.”

Besides, a reviewed paper by a talented researcher, Monckton of Brenchley, published just last month by the World Federation of Scientists, demonstrated that it was 10-100 times costlier to try to make global warming go away today than to let it happen at the predicted rate and pay the predicted cost of adapting to its predicted consequences the day after tomorrow.

Even if the predictions are right – and every major prediction of the climate panel and its useless models has been relentlessly wrong so far – it would still be orders of magnitude cheaper to do nothing.

Kerry says: “Boil down the latest report and here’s what you find: Climate change is real, it’s happening now, human beings are the cause of this transformation, and only action by human beings can save the world from its worst impacts.”

Well, of course “climate change is real.” It’s been happening for 4,567 million years (or 6,000 years if you follow the late Bishop Ussher’s delightfully dopey calculations based on counting the generations since Adam and multiplying by the number of days in the lunar month minus the number of days in the week and calling it years).

And we can no more stop sea level rising than King Canute could. He reminded his courtiers that if even the divinely anointed king could not rule the waves, not even a host of scientists could waive the rules of physics. “He that made the oceans,” said Canute, “alone hath the power to command them to rise and to fall. To Him, then, be all praise.”

Kerry whiffles on: “This isn’t a political document produced by politicians. It’s science.” No, it isn’t a scientific document produced by scientists. It’s politics.

The scientists, in the pre-final draft report, had admitted their bug-ridden computer programs that exaggerate global warming aren’t up to the job.

The politicians who decide the final wording took out that telling admission. They don’t care what the science says. Crisis is profitable. Just ask Al Gore’s bankers.

Kerry burbles: “Scientists … by profession are conservative because they must deal in what is observable, provable and reviewable by their peers.” No, they’re not. They’re alarmist because they deal in what is grantable, fundable and reviewable by their pals. Bigger crises mean fatter grants.

Kerry opines: “If ever there were an issue that demanded greater cooperation, partnership, and committed diplomacy, this is it.” OK, then, John. Let’s suppose you mean it.

If you really want cooperation from the fast-growing body of scientists and researchers who have seen no global warming or sea level rise to speak of for at least a decade and see no reason to expect much of either in future, then step up to the plate like a jock, not a wimp, and debate me on international TV.

Like you, I’m a layman, so the debate will be fair. Unlike me, you command all the resources of the U.S. government. You can even have an earpiece if you want, so your fellow racketeers in the organized-crime syndicate that is the U.N.’s climate panel can feed you the answers.

I’ll still win. And you know it. For you have the money, the power and the glory, but I have the truth. Which is why – like Al Gore, James Hansen and the host of other Capones of climatology who have profiteered so cruelly by stealing the pennies of the poor – you just won’t dare debate me.

If you were to try to pick up the gauntlet I’ve thrown down, you’d collapse in a heap. For you have no backbone. Sir, you are an inveterate invertebrate.


NOTE: The title of Einstein's paper above was slightly misspelled. I have corrected it -- JR

Nir Shaviv: the IPCC AR5, first impressions

The author is an Israeli astrophysicist and cosmoclimatologist

The IPCC summary for policy makers is out, and as I started writing these lines so was the last draft of the main report. Of course, it will take a while to digest the 2200 pages of the full report (it has a lot of starch!). Until I do, here are my first impressions from having read the summary and having skimmed the full scientific report.

My main conclusion is that this report is to a large extent a rehash of the AR4 report. However, given the lack of any new evidence pointing to humans and the increasing discrepancy between the alarmist models and predictions, the IPCC authors are bluntly making more ridiculous claims as they attempt to fill in the gap between their models and reality.

One of the statements which wonderfully exemplifies the absurdity of the new report is this paragraph discussing the climate sensitivity in the summary for policy makers. They write:

“The equilibrium climate sensitivity quantifies the response of the climate system to constant radiative forcing on multi-century time scales. It is defined as the change in global mean surface temperature at equilibrium that is caused by a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C to 4.5°C (high confidence), extremely unlikely less than 1°C (high confidence), and very unlikely greater than 6°C (medium confidence) 16. The lower temperature limit of the assessed likely range is thus less than the 2°C in the AR4, but the upper limit is the same. This assessment reflects improved understanding, the extended temperature record in the atmosphere and ocean, and new estimates of radiative forcing.”

Now, have you noticed something strange? According to the AR4 report, the "likely equilibrium range of sensitivity" was 2.0 to 4.5°C per CO2 doubling. According to the newer AR5 report, it is 1.5 to 4.5°C, i.e., the likely equilibrium sensitivity is now known less accurately. But they write: “This assessment reflects improved understanding”. How ridiculous can you be?

More seriously, let me put this in perspective with the most boring graph I have ever plotted in my life. Below is the likely range of climate sensitivity as a function of time. As you can see, with the exception of AR4 with its slightly smaller range mentioned above, the likely range of climate sensitivity did not change since the Charney report in 1979. In other words, after perhaps billions of dollars invested in climate research over more than three decades, our ability to answer the most important question in climate has not improved a single bit!

One reason for the lack of improved understanding could be incompetence of the people in the field. That is, all the billions of dollars invested in climate research were not or could not be used to answer the most important question in climate, one which will allow predicting the 21st century climate change. I doubt however that this is the real reason. Among the thousands working in climate research, surely there are at least a few who are competent, if not more.

I think the real reason why there is no improvement in the understanding of climate sensitivity is the following. If you have a theory which is correct, then as progressively more data comes in, the agreement becomes better. Sure, occasionally some tweaks have to be made, but overall there is an improved agreement.

However, if the basic premises of a theory are wrong, then there is no improved agreement as more data is collected. In fact, it is usually the opposite that takes place, the disagreement increases. In other words, the above behavior reflects the fact that the IPCC and alike are captives of a wrong conception.

This divergence between theory and data exactly describes the the situation over the past several years with the lack of temperature increase (e.g., as I described here some time ago). It is also the reason why the IPCC had to lower the lower bound. The discrepancy is large enough now that a climate sensitivity of 2°C is inconsistent with the observations.

However, under legitimate scientific behavior, the upper bound would have been decreased in parallel, but not in this case. This is because it would require abandoning the basic premise of a large sensitivity. Since the data requires a low climate sensitivity and since alarmism requires a large climate sensitivity, the "likely range" of climate sensitivity will remain large until the global warming scare will abate.

Incidentally, if one is not a captive of the high sensitivity idea, then things do converge, but they converge towards a climate sensitivity of about 1 to 1.5°C per CO2 doubling.

A second important aspect of the present report is that the IPCC is still doing its best to avoid the evidence that the sun has a large effect on climate. They of course will never admit this quantifiable effect because it would completely tear down the line of argumentation for a mostly manmade global warming of a very sensitive climate. More about it in a few days.


Some excellent realism from Switzerland

Swiss News Magazine calls IPCC: “Fortune Tellers, Not Scientists”

Swiss news magazine Weltwoche (World Week) print edition just published a stinging article about the now disgraced IPCC’s fifth assessment report Summary for Policymakers where it describes the refusal by scientists to acknowledge observations and their obstinate clinging to faulty models and doomsday scenarios.

The introductory heading of the Weltwoche reports reads:

"For a quarter of a century leading climate scientists have been warning of a dangerous global warming due to CO2 emissions. Now under Swiss leadership [Thomas Stocker] they publish a new report. It shows: The scientists were wrong. By Markus Schär.”

Weltwoche writes how IPCC lead scientist Thomas Stocker may have experienced an historic moment when he introduced the IPCC’s AR5 Summary for policymakers, but one he may not wish.

Crumbling consensus

Weltwoche writes that in the days leading up to the report’s release, a dispute prevailed among the delegates who were busy hammering out the final text. The Germans wanted no mention of the 15 years of no warming, the Belgians wanted to keep the year 1998 out of the statistics, the Hungarians advised to hold back facts in order “not to provide climate skeptics with ammunition“.

Weltwoche writes that Dutch delegates, however, insisted on including the natural impacts on climate change which refuted the claims of galloping global warming. One thing is sure, writes Weltwoche, the IPCC must come to terms with: “The consensus among the climate scientists that had been cemented over the last decades, is cracking – or is even crumbling completely.”

“Pitiful” model performance

To explain what is driving this crumbling consensus, Weltwoche looks at the history of global warming, reminding readers of the doomsday prognoses made in the past by experts like NASA’s James Hansen and by the IPCC years ago. For example in 1988 James Hansen “predicted that with an annual increase in CO2 emissions of 1.5%, the temperature would rise by 1.5°C by 2011. But in fact CO2 emissions rose 2.5% annually and the temperature ended only 0.3°C higher – even below the value that scientists had calculated if no CO2 had stopped being added beginning in the year 2000“.

Worse for the IPCC, British meteorologists recently forecasted a cooling ahead for the next few years, Weltwoche writes.

Weltwoche comments as follows on this miserable performance: "Anyone that far off is not a scientist, rather he’s a fortune teller – and one with a pitiful performance.”

IPCC devastated by observed data

Today, the IPCC’s latest report ends up contradicting all the earlier forecasts and warnings it made earlier. Weltwoche writes:

"In its new report, the IPCC refutes itself. … They [scientists] tried time and again to defend their theory using tweaked models and honed studies. It gladly made itself vulnerable to attack by making forecasts that it could not live to see. After 25 years many of the forecasts can indeed now be evaluated – the result for the IPCC is devastasting.“

IPCC abandons Mann’s flawed hockey stick

Weltwoche then explains the sorrowful story of Michael Mann’s hockey stick in depth and how it was shown to be flawed by a Canadian statistics expert and how the IPCC eventually abandoned it altogether in that they conceded that the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were real after all. Weltwoche writes:

"The draft of the new IPCC report also admits that the same warm temperatures we have today also prevailed at the peak of the Medieval Warm Period and that people suffered later on during the ‘Little Ice Age’ – the climate Bible of 2001 with its hockey stick chart was obviously wrong.”

Lomborg: 20 trillion euros for 0.05°C

Weltwoche writes that the IPCC has (quietly) reduced CO2 climate sensitivity values, yet continues to insist that the world embark on a crash-course energy supply transformation. Too expensive, says Danish scientist Bjorn Lomborg. Weltwoche quotes Lomborg:

"But we also need to recognize that our current climate policy is too expensive. Every year the EU wants to spend 250 billion euros until the year 2100. With this 20 trillion euros, the temperature will drop by 0.05°C by 2100.”

But none of this impresses Stocker and the IPCC, who continue sounding the alarms louder than ever. Weltwoche concludes:

"The important thing is alarm, as Stocker continues to maintain what he told Weltwoche in April: ‘The problem is there, and it is one of the biggest ever for mankind, and we have the choice of how big it is going to be.’”

In the models, or in reality?


Politicians dictating the "facts"

Political manipulation of a scientific document – or pages upon pages of newly-discovered scientific errors? You decide

Last week, during a four-day-long, behind-closed-doors meeting, political operatives (diplomats, bureaucrats, and politicians from more than 100 UN countries) rewrote an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) document.

The re-written Summary for Policymakers is 36 pages long and purports to highlight the really important bits embedded within the first 14 chapters of the IPCC’s new report.

In my view, the fact that the summary was drafted by IPCC personnel and then re-written in secret by politically motivated third parties tells us everything we need to know. The IPCC isn’t an organization in which scientists are in the driver’s seat.

Five days ago, the IPCC released its new, improved summary. Two days ago, it made draft versions of the 14 chapters public.

One of the reasons these chapters are still in draft form is that changes now need to be made to them. Evidently, it wasn’t just the summary that was being messed with during that four-day meeting. In many cases the alterations were so substantial that the IPCC now says the text of nine of its 14 chapters needs to be re-visited.

It’s as though an English teacher started off by presenting a short story to her classroom. She makes a fuss about how famous the author is, and how many awards the story has won. She then invites her students to write a summary of the short story.

But this is a Communist country and the teacher mustn’t offend the leading Communist official. So when the son of that official produces a summary that diverges from the short story, the teacher announces that the short story will be changed “to ensure consistency.”

How many alterations will the IPCC be making? Ten pages worth – all carefully listed in a document you may examine for yourself. Entire paragraphs will be inserted, dates and numbers will be altered, italics will be added, and some material will simply disappear.

How can this level of political manipulation be taking place, right out in the open, in what we’re told is a scientific body?

Over at the BishopHill blog I shared some of these thoughts a few days ago. Richard Betts, who leads a division of the UK’s Met Office (the national, publicly-funded weather service), dismissed my concerns as “cynicism.” In his words:

"the list of corrections to the chapters is here, and it seems pretty clear that they do not constitute some sort of political re-writing of the chapters as you seem to be implying. For example, see the very first one, which is also repeated several times:

"Replace “0.89°C (0.69°C–1.08°C) over the period 1901- 2012? with “0.85 [0.65 to 1.06] °C over 1880–2012?

You can see that this is slightly decreasing the estimated warming (from 0.89°C to 0.85°C) whilst at the same time increasing the time period over which it occurred (from 1901-2012 to 1880-2012) – so a smaller and less rapid warming.

Clearly a scientific correction, and one in the opposite direction to what you would expect under Donna’s narrative of science taking a backseat to politicians and bureaucrats."

For a moment, let’s accept Betts’ explanation. Let’s also admit that, as he points out, a number of the changes in the 10-page list are, indeed, duplicates or repeats. Where does his logic lead us?

It says that IPCC personnel – whom we’re told are the world’s top scientists – spent years writing their section of the IPCC’s new climate assessment (the Working Group 2 and Working Group 3 sections won’t be released until next year). Their work was, along the way, reviewed by third parties. It is supposed to be finished now. And yet, last week, 10 pages worth of new scientific errors were suddenly discovered.

In Chapter 2 alone, the 52 authors are collectively responsible for 18 instances of scientific mistakes that now need fixing. Their combined brainpower, plus the efforts of that chapter’s four review editors, were apparently insufficient to the task.

The authors of Chapter 5 similarly made 11 scientific mistakes. And the authors of Chapter 11 made 21 scientific errors.

You, dear reader, must decide for yourself whose point-of-view is more persuasive – mine or Betts’. He is an IPCC insider keen to defend that organization. I am an outsider who can’t believe that smart people can be so blind to the implications of some of their own actions.

But here’s the bottom line: my argument (that a scientific document is being crassly manipulated) and Betts argument (that IPCC authors made 10 pages worth of scientific mistakes), are equally damning. The IPCC doesn’t look good in either case


More Climate Junk Launched into the Biosphere: a concerned citizen spots it, but not in time to prevent widespread dispersal

The headline is bad enough, since it is not true, but the first words of the article are even worse: 'The oceans are more acidic now than they have been for at least 300m years, due to carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, and a mass extinction of key species may be almost inevitable as a result ...'

These are words to delight the activist. What campaigner for hearts, minds, and wallets on the climate bandwagon could fail to be moved by them. Another scare! Yippee!! Let's get it out there!!!

But, but, ... said a concerned citizen, noting the nonsense, it is just not true. Ruth Dixon wrote it up on her blog, contacted the journalist and newspaper involved, and a few days later both the headline and the first sentence were changed to make them less misleading.

So that's good. That was relatively quick. Similar nonsense over ice disappearing on Kilimanjoro, glaciers disappearing in the Himalayas, polar bears disappearing in the Arctic, snow being a thing of the past in the UK, New York City streets soon to be under sea level, and such like all attributed to 'burning fossil fuels' took months or years to get corrected. Even now, who would bet against finding some or all of them being found in materials intended for use in schools?

So the question is, how long before we see this latest one there as well? It is well-suited for scaremongering after all: acid is scary, the entire ocean is dramatic, the threat of 'mass extinctions' ideal for getting the attention of the young. Ruth Dixon has noted that the original spin by the journalist has been twittered round the world, as well as being studied by Guardian readers. It is interesting to note some of the gushing tweets she has captured were from scientists, including this one who describes himself as 'a deepsea biologist, passionate about the oceans'.

As noted by Dixon, the Guardian did eventually edit both the headline and the offending first sentence to reflect the reality that the source of all this was referring to the rate of acidification. Or, more accurately, to the rate at which the oceans are becoming slightly less alkaline. Whether that rate is really remarkable is another matter, but one thing seems agreed at the source linked to by Dixon (loc cit): the oceans have been appreciably less alkaline for much of the past 300 million years:

And, as illustrated in a well-known graphic reproduced here, CO2 levels were typically over 1,000ppm for much of that time:

Whatever, we now have another piece of climate junk in circulation. Keep an eye out for it coming your way. If you see it being aimed at children or teachers, please let me know and I'll add the details here.


Father of chaos theory explains why it is impossible to predict weather & climate beyond 3 weeks

An article published today in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society may be the last interview with the father of chaos theory, MIT professor Dr. Edward Lorenz, and has essential implications for climate modelling.

In the 2007 interview, Dr. Lorenz confirms that chaos theory proves that weather and climate cannot be predicted beyond the very short term [about 3 weeks], and that even with today's state-of-the-art observing systems and models, weather [or climate] still cannot be predicted even 2 weeks in advance.

Dr. Lorenz notes that although other fields that deal with complex, non-linear systems have accepted the implications of chaos theory, some meteorologists and climatologists remain reluctant to accept the implications of chaos theory, namely that long-term climate forecasting is impossible.

According to chaos theory, all the current "initial' conditions throughout the atmosphere must be known precisely to predict what the atmosphere will be doing in the distant future. In addition, one must know all the current conditions throughout the oceans as well, since the oceans control the atmosphere. “In view of the inevitable inaccuracy and incompleteness of weather observations, precise very-long-range forecasting would seem to be nonexistent,” Lorenz concluded. So even if the molecules in the air all interacted nonrandomly, in a totally cause-and-effect (deterministic) manner, you still couldn’t predict with certainty what they would do or what the weather would be."

Chaos theory also debunks the claim of some climatologists that although models cannot predict short-term climate variations such as the current 20 year "pause," they can still be used for long-term projections. Chaos theory instead proves that uncertainty of projections increases exponentially with time, and therefore, long-term climate model projections such as throughout the IPCC AR5 report are in fact impossible to rely upon.




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


9 October, 2013

Richard Lindzen: Understanding The IPCC Climate Assessment

Each IPCC report seems to be required to conclude that the case for an international agreement to curb carbon dioxide has grown stronger. That is to say the IPCC report (and especially the press release accompanying the summary) is a political document, and as George Orwell noted, political language “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

With respect to climate, we have had 17 years without warming; all models show greater tropical warming than has been observed since 1978; and arctic sea ice is suddenly showing surprising growth. And yet, as the discrepancies between models and observations increase, the IPCC insists that its confidence in the model predictions is greater than ever.

Referring to the 17 year ‘pause,’ the IPCC allows for two possibilities: that the sensitivity of the climate to increasing greenhouse gases is less than models project and that the heat added by increasing CO2 is ‘hiding’ in the deep ocean. Both possibilities contradict alarming claims.

With low sensitivity, economic analyses suggest that warming under 2C would likely be beneficial to the earth. Heat ‘hiding’ in the deep ocean would mean that current IPCC models fail to describe heat exchange between surface waters and the deep ocean. Such exchanges are essential features of natural climate variability, and all IPCC claims of attribution of warming to mans activities depend on the assumption that the models accurately portray this natural variability.

In attempting to convince the public to accept the need to for the environmental movement’s agenda, continual reference is made to consensus. This is dishonest not because of the absence of a consensus, but because the consensus concerning such things as the existence of irregular (and small compared to normal regional variability) net warming since about 1850, the existence of climate change (which has occurred over the earths entire existence), the fact that added greenhouse gases should have some impact (though small unless the climate system acts so as to greatly amplify this effect)over the past 60 years with little impact before then, and the fact that greenhouse gases have increased over the past 200 years or so, and that their greenhouse impact is already about 80% of what one expects from a doubling of CO2 are all perfectly consistent with there being no serious problem. Even the text of the IPCC Scientific Assessment agrees that catastrophic consequences are highly unlikely, and that connections of warming to extreme weather have not been found. The IPCC iconic statement that there is a high degree of certainty that most of the warming of the past 50 years is due to man’s emissions is, whether true or not, completely consistent with there being no problem. To say that most of a small change is due to man is hardly an argument for the likelihood of large changes.

Carbon restriction policies, to have any effect on climate, would require that the most extreme projections of dangerous climate actually be correct, and would require massive reductions in the use of energy to be universally adopted. There is little question that such reductions would have negative impacts on income, development, the environment, and food availability and cost – especially for the poor. This would clearly be immoral.

By contrast, the reasonable and moral policy would be to foster economic growth, poverty reduction and well being in order that societies be better able to deal with climate change regardless of its origin. Mitigation policies appear to have the opposite effect without significantly reducing the hypothetical risk of any changes in climate. While reducing vulnerability to climate change is a worthy goal, blind support for mitigation measures – regardless of the invalidity of the claims – constitutes what might be called bankrupt morality.

It is not sufficient for actions to artificially fulfill people’s need for transcendent aspirations in order for the actions to be considered moral. Needless to add, support of global warming alarm hardly constitutes intelligent respect for science.


Britain's energy crisis is self-inflicted

Forget about the government’s reshuffle, which will have barely registered outside of the political world. The news that should have been preoccupying Westminster yesterday was the latest worries about the possibility of a partial blackout this winter, with the system expected to be at 95 per cent capacity. The safety margin will thus be just five per cent under the central forecast, the lowest for years and far too small for comfort, though thankfully the National Grid remains confident that the system will cope.

Yet the narrowness of the cushion is almost incredible: we are one of the richest countries in the world, and yet first the Labour party and now the Tories and Lib Dems have deliberately adopted or reinforced a set of deranged energy policies that are pushing us ever closer to the brink of catastrophe.

Coal plants have been shut, even though they should have become a more competitive energy source as market prices have fallen; and the UK is struggling to increase its output of renewables, which are costly and often unreliable (wind power obviously fluctuates). As the National Grid put it yesterday, the contraction in electricity margins has been driven by the Large Combustion Plant Directive, issued by the European authorities in October 2001 (during Labour’s time in office) and economic pressure on older gas fired power stations (which has caused them to close or mothball).

The EU Directive’s full effects have been felt over the past year or so, with massive generating stations being shut last December and in March and August this year. This counter-productive and ill-timed process is described in typical Euro-jargon as combustion plants “opting-out”, an Orwellian turn of phrase if ever there were one.

This contraction in supply has been partially offset by the fall in peak demands as a result of greater efficiency and the recession, increasing wind generation and the construction of gas fired power stations. There are lots of other things wrong with our energy supply and infrastructure, and there is a genuine risk of some sort of collapse at some point this decade, a prospect which is making many industrial users of energy very nervous.

The worst thing about all of this is that the UK would be toast had its industrial and manufacturing output not collapsed so disastrously during the recession. It is hard to see how electricity production would have coped had demand been significantly higher, as it would have been had the downturn not been as bad.

It is true, of course, that many Tories within the coalition are becoming increasingly restive about all of this, and now realise that the onslaught of environmental restrictions on energy production has had hugely costly side-effects, pushing up prices and reducing supply. Many now also realise that the government made a big mistake cracking down on shale gas exploration: the industry was dealt a devastating blow when the coalition over-reacted to a very minor tremor caused by fracking two years ago and has yet to recover, despite George Osborne’s best efforts.


Ministers face attack over growing blackout risk

Energy policy questioned as National Grid warns threat of cuts is highest for five years

Business groups have attacked the Government’s energy strategy after National Grid revealed that the risk of winter blackouts was the highest for more than five years.

The Grid said the demand for electricity could reach 95pc of available supply if the country was hit by a cold snap. The safety cushion or “margin” of just 5pc is the lowest predicted by the Grid since 2007.

They may be forced to issue demands – or NISMs – for emergency power to come on stream on certain days over the winter to cope. Experts blamed the wafer-thin margin on a near-20pc fall in coal-fired generating capacity over the past year.

Business leaders said the energy crunch meant spot prices for electricity were likely to go even higher, placing severe pressure on “intensive” users, such as steel producers and paper manufacturers.

John Longworth, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said that unless ministers took some “long term” decisions British manufacturers might be forced to relocate overseas.

He told The Daily Telegraph: “We have short-term planning at a micro level coming out of our ears. We have an absence of long-term planning on infrastructure and that includes energy. There is a real risk this could start hitting the economy and growth over the next 10 years.”

Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, said British companies were already at risk of losing business on the international stage because of spiralling energy costs. He said: “The problems are only going to get worse over the next two years.

In its “Winter Outlook”, National Grid insisted there would be enough gas to cope with demand this winter, but Chris Train, market operations director, said that in the event of a 1 in 20 winter, there would be a mere three gigawatts (GW) of spare electricity capacity.

He explained that coal-fired generating capacity has fallen by one fifth in the past year – nearly 6GW – just as coal prices plunge on world markets and admitted coal prices would have to almost double for gas to become more attractive as a fuel.

The electricity margin of 5pc in a cold spell was “tighter than we have seen historically,” said Mr Train, but he was confident there would not be a blackout. He declined to say whether manufacturers with interruptible contracts would be told to down tools to help the Grid during times of peak demand.

Mr Train told a packed industry conference in London: “There is no room for complacency. It’s a plea for the market to be vigilant as we go into this winter.”

Last June, Ofgem revealed that the risks of blackouts in the middle of the decade had tripled because the UK had failed to build enough wind farms and nuclear power stations to replace old fossil fuel plants taken out of commission. Some experts believe the electricity margin will fall to just 2pc in 2015-16.

Mr Nicholson said: “This is entirely as a result of political decisions. If you go back to the last Labour government, they were dithering over nuclear energy for years. And we’re still waiting.”
He added: “The target is for 30pc of our power to come from renewables by 2020, but no one believes we could do that, even if we can afford it.”

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change insisted there would be "enough energy to meet our needs" this winter. He added: "Our infrastructure can deliver more than we need and has coped well during recent very cold winter spells.
"But that's not enough - we also need energy security for the future which is why we're driving through bold reforms of the electricity market to attract new, home grown energy generation that build on the record levels of investment we've seen since 2010. This will be achieved in a way that’s affordable for both consumers and businesses."


Four threats more serious than global warming

By Martin Hutchinson

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its new report on global warming on September 30, which was duly played up by the world's media. Actually, if you read it carefully, it represented a considerable backing off from the previous report, released in 2007. It has now become clear that, not only has global warming receded as a significant threat in the next century, but there are also several other threats which are well within the bounds of possibility and would have far more serious consequences. Needless to say, the resources we are devoting to combating them are modest in comparison to those devoted to the warming boondoggle.

The backing off by the IPCC can be quantified: the mean forecast warming by 2100, 3.1 degrees Celsius in the 2007 report (with a worst case of 6.2 degrees) was reduced to 2.2 degrees with a worst case of 4.8 degrees in this version. That sounds mildly dangerous, until you consider the differences in incentives between Wall Street traders and global warming scientists.

Wall Street's traders and risk managers are paid to shove risks under the rug and allow manic trading to go on, thus producing disasters like the 2007-08 crash and the "London Whale" blow-up. Conversely, global warming scientists are out of a job if they don't rattle the chains of the worst case scenarios, making it appear that the globe is imminently about to share the fate of a meatball in a wok over an open flame. Thus you can round the estimates down rather than up as in the case of financial risk, and assume that 2.2 degrees by 2100, together with a rise of 0.5 meters – slightly under 2 feet – in the world's oceans is the worst we can expect.

If you look at past trends the world has heated up by about 0.85 degrees since 1880 (which is well within the range of natural variation, although humans could be responsible for part of it.) Extrapolating that to 2100 gives you a temperature rise of 0.7 degrees, which isn't worth spending money on, although I grant you we should probably keep a few global warming scientists around (far fewer than the 800 who collaborated on the IPCC report) to keep an eye on the ecosystem in case it surprises us.

The huge amount of money we save by firing most of the global warming scientists and – much more important – shutting down the various half-baked subsidy schemes that have been instituted in the area cannot however be put back in taxpayers' pockets, alas, for there are several other problems that before 2100 may well cause a great deal more damage than global warming.

The best known of these problems, with considerable discussion but no solutions in recent years, is that of a cyber meltdown. This could be caused by an electromagnetic pulse attack, by a cyber war probe from hostile states or other entities, or even by a solar flare, such as the Carrington Event of 1859, which knocked out telegraph systems all over Europe and North America, setting several telegraph stations on fire.

Needless to say, we are a lot more dependent on electronics than our ancestors were in 1859; it is also a pretty good bet that our systems are considerably more sensitive to solar flare activity than the early telegraph systems, which were remarkably robust, with quite large currents and chunky receiving equipment. A joint venture of Lloyds of London and U.S. atmospheric experts in June 2013 estimated damage from a repetition of the Carrington Event today at $2.6 trillion. That's not total destruction, but it beats global warming, at any rate this side of 2100. And given that the last one happened only in 1859, the probability of a similar event between now and 2100 must be reckoned at least one in three.

There are two levels at which such an event could paralyze our systems. At one level, it would simply take down the power system. That would have an effect similar to an ordinary power cut, except that restoring the grid would be a matter of considerable difficulty. In such an event, there might well be casualties, for example on aircraft whose guidance and control systems cut out, but the damage would be finite and short-lived.

The other possibility, however, is that such an attack could wipe out all the information stored in the world's server farms. That would be much more serious, and far more damaging than an equivalent event 30 or 40 years ago, before we were all interconnected and dependent on electronic media for all our information. Without stored data both we and our banks, brokers and credit card companies would be completely ignorant as to our balances (except for a few old fogies like me who still insist on getting written statements.) All packages in transit during the outage would be lost. Those of us who rely on IT to earn our living would be unable to communicate, or to locate past files (though IT specialists as such would be hugely in demand.) And so on.

I'm not sure whether that would bring our civilization crashing down currently, but by 2030, with fogies reliant on paper records having died out, it undoubtedly would. And the solution that would have been proposed in 1859, of replacing the Internet with a gigantic steam-powered system with mechanical relays and pneumatic tubes, is probably not practicable!

The second destructive possibility, which in recent years has received much less attention, is that of a democratic disaster. By this I mean a malfunctioning of one of the major democracies, a country powerful enough to represent a significant proportion of the world's economy and military capability. This happened in 1933, when Adolf Hitler was democratically elected in Germany at a time of unparalleled depression, but we have rather lost sight of the possibility in the years of prosperity since World War II.

With the West's economies no longer reliably producing rising living standards, the chance of malfunction has once again risen. By malfunction, I mean something more than simple election of an inept government within the normal democratic traditions of the society; we have had plenty of those – think the Edward Heath, John Major and Gordon Brown ministries in Britain or the Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush or Barack Obama administrations in the United States. Those episodes are damaging but transitory, except to the extent that they may disrupt the economy sufficiently to produce a pathological election result to follow them.

The probability of a pathological election result has increased everywhere in the last decade, and especially since the 2008 downturn. In Italy, for example, a clown got 25% of the vote last February, and missed by less than 5% being asked to form a government. In relatively prosperous Austria last Sunday, the Grand Coalition of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats got a mere 50.8% of the vote, a pretty un-Grand result, with the socially unacceptable Freedom party and other fringe parties getting the rest. In Greece, the government has arrested the leaders of the Golden Dawn party with the clear approval of the European Union, an event more disturbing than the modest electoral success of Golden Dawn itself.

At some point, in some major rich and/or powerful country, a government will be elected that is as far outside the comfortable consensus as Hugo Chavez in Venezuela or Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. That government may be hard-left or xenophobic nationalist right; it doesn't really matter. The economic and political damage that it does to the country concerned will be incalculable, and if the pathological government takes to military expansionism it may bring about a regional or general Armageddon.

A third potential disaster has arisen since the 2008 crisis, and the foolish measures taken by governments worldwide to combat it: that of universal bankruptcy. Japan's government debt is now approaching 250% of the country's GDP, which would be the highest level ever successfully brought down without default (by Britain in 1815 without inflation and in 1945 with it.) Prime minister Shinzo Abe has now announced that he is accompanying the increase in VAT due next year (which might be recessionary but would go some way to solving Japan's budget problem) by a $50 billion package of yet more wasteful spending, all while the central bank buys Japan government bonds at a rate of $130 billion a month, more than the U.S. on an economy one third the size.

This can't end well, it really can't. Abe's monetary stimulus was worth trying, and has got Japan's economy off dead center. However the country's real problem is that, year after year, government spending is more than 50% higher than revenues. With Japan's population beginning to decline (a very healthy development overall) further boosts to spending are utterly counterproductive. Abe's policies will almost certainly succeed in causing inflation, but at the cost of debt default.

As is well known, several European countries are also close to default, with bets being taken by traders on which one goes over the edge first (Greece, of course, has already partially defaulted.) The U.S. budget position has improved this year, but the budget deficit remains over $600 billion and demographic factors, President Obama's enthusiasm for all kinds of spending, the poisonous atmosphere in today's Washington and the next recession could easily combine to push the country into debt default or at least rescheduling. The real risk is in a general loss of confidence in government debt. This would immediately endanger the balance sheets of every bank in the world since those institutions have for the last decade being playing the yield curve and loading up on assets which their regulators told them were risk free.

Governments being unable to borrow would be a substantial economic improvement over the current position, in which they borrow like madmen without regard for the morrow. However, we can't afford to lose the banks, and we can't afford to lose that large proportion of people's savings that are invested in either government or bank paper. A general default is by no means impossible, and if it happened it would cause more economic damage than a cyber collapse or all but the most serious war-causing democratic failure.

Finally, within either the next 1,000 years or the next 20,000 years, according to whose theories you believe, we are due to enter another Ice Age, with temperatures some 6 degrees Celsius below the current level. Given that plant growth is heavily dependent on temperature, this would have a far more devastating effect on agriculture than an equivalent warming, apart from the land lost under glaciers – it would almost certainly wipe out a substantial fraction of our current world population. You can guess the probability of this occurring before 2100 as between 1 in 10 and 1 in 200, but either way it's not zero.

All these threats, except the renewed ice age, should be easier to combat than global warming and would be much more devastating if they occurred. Resources should be concentrated where they are most useful.


Rapid increase in ocean heat…?

What does this graph show? A catastrophically rapid increase in ocean heat content?

When global surface temperatures started levelling off, and then continued to plateau, it was a real blow to the alarmist cause. How could they claim that global warming was an urgent problem that needed trillions of taxpayer dollars to fix when the temperatures showed otherwise?

How could they retain their cushy roles on UN- and government-funded climate organisations, jetting round the world staying in five-star hotels at the taxpayers’ expense, whilst all the while imploring the rest of us to scale back our unsustainable and polluting lifestyles?

Here’s the alarmists’ thought process: Where’s the missing heat? Our models must be right (no doubt there), so it must be hiding somewhere. Somewhere we can’t measure it. Deep in the oceans!

And because of the much larger heat capacity of water compared to air, the differences in temperature would be of the order of hundredths of a degree. Which is conveniently impossible to measure accurately.

Which is why ocean heat content is the buzzword du jour.

The graph above actually shows the number of times “ocean heat” appears in a Google search of Skeptical Science for each year since 2006. From six mentions in 2007, we have reached a projected 166 for the whole of 2013 (125 as of today).



See here for a debunking of the ludicrous ocean heat theory. Once again Warmists are making mountains out of changes measured only in hundredths of one degree

Dr Karl’s klimatekrap

(Karl Kruszelnicki is an Australian-based Jewish funnyman who frequently broadcasts on scientific matters. He sometimes broadcasts for the ABC, Australia's major public broadcaster)

Every science presenter on the ABC is a fully paid-up climate alarmist.

But because of the 16-year temperature stasis that nobody wants to acknowledge, Dr (for a doctor he is*) Karl resorts to spouting krap:

Even before this report was released, some of the news media (such as the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom) recklessly claimed that this latest IPCC report revealed that global warming was over — and that in fact, the world was now cooling. This was very wrong.

Krap. The four major temperature series, GISS, HadCRUT, UAH and RSS (take note, Dr Suzuki) all show either stasis, imperceptible warming or cooling (see image below). And whether global warming is “over” or not is irrelevant – that’s just a tabloid newpaper making a story.

The real issue is why there has been such a divergence between models and real-world temperature. Despite fudging the graph in the IPCC Summary for Policymakers to give the impression that the models are still on track, the truth is that the models have spectacularly failed to predict the current stasis in global temperatures. Climate sensitivity to CO2 has been overestimated and natural forces ignored.

For one thing, nine of the 10 hottest years on record have happened in the last decade.

True, but irrelevant. Yes, the planet is warming, and has been for a couple of centuries, so it’s no great surprise that each decade is, generally, warmer than the last. The old “on record” chestnut is wheeled out, despite the fact that records barely cover 150 years. Dispassionate? Krap!

The trouble is, the surface of our planet has many many square metres. So that extra heat reflected back down to the ground is roughly equivalent to exploding a few hundred thousand Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons in our atmosphere — every day.

This is recycled krap. Recycled by Dr Karl, from John Cook of Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science, who in turn recycled it from James Hansen. Despite sounding terrifying, because the Sun is so powerful and the Earth so huge, this amount of energy approximates to half a watt per square metre (your average light globe is 60 watts), which would be lost in the downwelling radiation of approximately half a kilowatt. Cheap alarmist krap.

The overwhelming majority of the heat trapped by the extra carbon dioxide in our atmosphere enters the oceans.

Since 2007, we have been monitoring the oceans with small drifting oceanic probes — ARGO probes. Today, there are some 3,600 of these robotic probes in the oceans of the world. They continuously float up and down, rising to the surface and then diving down to a depth of 2 kilometres on a roughly 10-day cycle.

These ARGO probes have measured the heating of the oceans caused by that 93.5 per cent of the heat energy reflected back down by the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It turns out that about two thirds remains in the upper ocean between the surface and a depth of 700 metres, while the remaining one third of that heat energy goes deeper into the ocean — between 700 and 2000 metres.

Dr Karl trots out the buzzword du jour (see yesterday), ocean heat. The dog ate my warming. They seek it here, they seek it here, they seek it everywhere. Everywhere it can’t be measured, that is.

The ARGO probes have been around less than a decade, and the changes in temperature are of the order of a few hundredths of a degree. But here’s a thought – perhaps the warming over the last twenty years was caused by the oceans releasing heat (that couldn’t be measured) into the atmosphere, and was nothing to do with CO2?




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


8 October, 2013

The climate alarmists have lost the debate: it's time we stopped indulging their poisonous fantasy

By James Delingpole

The story so far: with the release of its Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has proved beyond reasonable doubt that it cannot be taken seriously.

Here are a few reasons why: IPCC lead author Dr Richard Lindzen has accused it of having "sunk to a level of hilarious incoherence." Nigel Lawson has called it "not science but mumbo jumbo". The Global Warming Policy Foundation's Dr David Whitehouse has described the IPCC's panel as "evasive and inaccurate" in the way it tried dodge the key issue of the 15-year (at least) pause in global warming; Donna Laframboise notes that is either riddled with errors or horribly politically manipulated – or both; Paul Matthews has found a very silly graph; Steve McIntyre has exposed how the IPCC appears deliberately to have tried to obfuscate the unhelpful discrepancy between its models and the real world data; and at Bishop Hill the excellent Katabasis has unearthed another gem: that, in jarring contrast to the alarmist message being put out at IPCC press conferences and in the Summary For Policymakers, the body of the report tells a different story – that almost all the scary scenarios we've been warned about this last two decades (from permafrost melt to ice sheet collapse) are now been graded by scientists somewhere between "low confidence" to "exceptionally unlikely;" and this latest from the Mighty Booker.

And there's plenty more where that came from.

Now, of course, I fully appreciate how the climate alarmists are going to respond to these criticisms: same way they always do – with a barrage of lies, ad homs, cover-ups, rank-closings, blustering threats, straw men, and delusion-bubble conferences like the one they've just staged at the Royal Society in which one warmist pseudo-scientist after another mounts the podium to reassure his amen corner that everything's going just fine and that those evil denialists couldn't be more wrong.

Well, if that's how they want to play it – fighting to the bitter end for their lost cause like Werewolves in Northern Europe in '45 or those fanatical Japanese hold outs on remote Pacific islands – I guess that's their problem.

But what I really don't think we should be doing at this stage in the game is allowing it to be our problem too. As I argued here the other week, there is more than enough solid evidence now to demonstrate to any neutral party prepared to cast half an eye over it that the doomsday prognostications the warmist establishment has been trying to frighten us with these last two decades are a nonsense. The man-made global warming scare story has not a shred of scientific credibility. It's over. And while I don't expect the alarmists to admit this any time soon, I do think the rest of us should stop indulging them in their poisonous fantasy.

I'm thinking, for example, of this line from the Spectator's otherwise superb, accurate and fair editorial summarising the state of play on climate:

"Global warming is still a monumental challenge…."

Is it? More of a "monumental" challenge than global cooling? And the evidence for that statement can be found where exactly? Please – I'd love to see it. Where's the data that proves the modest 0.8 degrees C warming in the last 150 years has done more harm than good?

It may seem unduly picky to quibble over just seven errant words from an otherwise immaculate 800 word editorial. But it's precisely intellectually lazy concessions like this that are serving only to prolong a propaganda war that really should have ended long ago.

I feel the same way when I read one of those on-the-one-hand-and-on-the-other think pieces from someone on the "sceptical" side of the argument or an editorial in a newspaper trying to position itself as the voice of reasonable authority on the climate issue. You know the sort I mean: where, in order to make his case seem more balanced and sympathetic the author concedes at the beginning that there are faults and extremists on both sides of the argument and that it's time we all met in the middle and found a sensible solution. (I call this the Dog Poo Yoghurt Fallacy)

This is absurd, dishonest, inaccurate and counterproductive. It's as if, after a long, long game of cat and mouse between a few maverick, out-on-a-limb private investigators and an enormous Mafia cartel, an outside arbitrator steps in and says: "Well there's fault on both sides. You Mafia people have been really quite naughty with your multi-billion dollar crime spree. But you private investigators, you deserve a rap on the knuckles too because some of that language you've been using to describe the Mafia cartel is really quite offensive and hurtful. Why, you've actually been calling them "thieving criminals."

"But they are thieving criminals," the investigators protest. "And do you have any idea what it has cost us pursuing this case? Do you realise how hard the cartel worked to vilify us, marginalise us, make us seem like crazed extremists? These people have stolen billions, they've lied, they've cheated, they're responsible for numerous deaths, and you're, what, you're going to buy into the specious argument of their bullshitting consigliere Roberto "Mad Dog" Ward that they deserve special favours because their tender feelings have been hurt with unkind language?"

It's time we took the gloves off in this fight – not to escalate it but to stop it being prolonged with this ludicrous diplomatic game where we have to pretend that there's fault on both sides – not because it's in any way true, but because the climate scam is so vast and all-encompassing that there are just too many people in positions of power or authority who need to be indulged by being allowed to save face.

Why? To give you but one example, last week two warmists were given space to have a go at DEFRA Secretary of State Owen Paterson.

Professor Kevin Anderson, of Manchester University, told the Independent: “His view that we can muddle through climate change is a colonial, arrogant, rich person’s view.”

And Professor Myles Allen of Oxford University, one of the authors of the report, said: “I find it very worrying that this person is charged with adapting [Britain] to climate change. I do think it is a good idea for whoever is planning for adaptation to have a realistic understanding of what the science is saying.”

This rightly taxed the patience of even the scrupulously non-combative Bishop Hill:

"One can't help but think that politicians' understanding of the science might be helped if scientists, including Professor Allen, had tried to write a clear explanation of it rather than trying to obfuscate any difficulty that might distract from the message of doom."

Quite. What Paterson said about the current state of climate change is both demonstrably true and wholly unexceptionable:

“People get very emotional about this subject and I think we should just accept that the climate has been changing for centuries”, he said.

“Remember that for humans, the biggest cause of death is cold in winter, far bigger than heat in summer. It would also lead to longer growing seasons and you could extend growing a little further north into some of the colder areas.”

If shyster professors with cushy sinecures in state-funded seats of academe wish to counter such reasonable statements of the glaringly obvious – statements, furthermore, which are actually supported by the body of the new IPCC report (see above) – then the onus is on them to do so using verifiable facts rather than vague, emotive smears.

To return to my favourite field of analogy – World War II – the situation we're in now is analogous to the dog days of 1945 when the allied advance was held up by small pockets of fanatical resistance. The Allies had a choice: either painstakingly take each village at the cost of numerous infantry or simply stand back and give those villages an ultimatum – you have an hour to surrender and if you don't we're going to obliterate you with our artillery.

We have to take a stand on this issue. One side is right; one side is quite simply wrong and deserves to be humiliated and crushingly defeated. And the sooner – for all those of us who believe in truth, decency and liberty – the better.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Fracking taxes may be used to pay for cut in British energy bills

Household energy bills are to be cut using a “tax bonanza” from fracking to strip out green levies, under Conservative plans.

With 40 new fracking sites due to be set up in the next two years, ministers want to use the tax revenue from operators to reduce bills for hard-pressed households.

Green taxes, which help pay for onshore wind farms, currently account for about 10 per cent of the average energy bill, and the proportion is expected to rise to a third by 2020.

However, George Osborne has indicated that he is looking for ways to reduce the burden on households of environmental levies, and ministers believe that fracking may provide a solution.

Any savings for consumers would be designed to counter Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy prices for 20 months if he wins the next election. The average household energy bill is now more than Ł1,300, almost twice what it was a decade ago.

One Cabinet minister said: “Fracking should deliver major tax revenues, so one idea is to rely on that money to fill the gap left by reductions in the environmental levies.”

The Conservatives are currently working on energy policies for their 2015 general election manifesto, and are considering including the pledge to use fracking tax returns to lower bills.

Fracking, which involves fracturing rocks deep underground with water, sand and chemicals to extract natural gas, has dramatically cut energy bills in America. Ministers are hoping that it could do the same in Britain. However, the process has led
to protests in Balcombe, West Sussex, a Tory heartland.

Some Tories hope that cuts in green levies could be announced in the Autumn Statement, but the Liberal Democrats are unlikely to agree to any such change. Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, has repeatedly voiced scepticism about fracking. At last month’s Lib Dem conference he attacked the “hyperbole” of those in Government who believe that the process “answers all Britain’s energy problems”.

A national map of good sites for shale- gas exploration is due to be published by the Government next month. More than 170 onshore oil and gas licences have been granted by the energy department.

Michael Fallon, the energy minister, said last week that he expected as many as 40 fracking wells to be drilled, and that it would be “irresponsible” not to allow companies to find out whether the reserves can be extracted, despite protests by environmental campaigners.

He also warned Conservative MPs they cannot be “picky” and oppose hydraulic fracturing in their constituencies.

David Cameron is expected to face rising opposition from MPs in constituencies with big reserves of shale gas.

“When talking about shale gas, it doesn’t have to involve fracking, some of it will just be core drilling,” said Mr Fallon.


Chukchi Polar Bears Thriving As Arctic Ice Recedes

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports polar bears in the Chukchi Sea are growing larger in size and becoming healthier as Arctic sea recedes. The bears are thriving even though the Chukchi Sea is one of the areas where Arctic sea ice has receded the most in recent years.

The Chukchi Sea separates Alaska and Russia. The USFWS reports Chukchi polar bears are gaining size and appearing healthier in recent years as Chukchi sea ice recedes.

Real-World Testing Ground

The Chukchi Sea provides an important real-world illustration of the impacts of receding sea ice on polar bear populations. Chukchi Sea ice receded twice as much during the past 20 years as the neighboring Southern Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean along Alaska’s northeastern coast.

Outperforming Their Neighbors

According to the USFWS study, Chukchi Sea polar bears of both genders are heavier than polar bears in the neighboring Southern Beaufort Sea, where there is more sea ice. The weight difference is especially pronounced among male polar bears, USFWS reports.

Chukchi Sea polar bears’ body weight and overall health either remained stable or improved, according to the study.

The USFWS reports Chukchi Sea polar bears have more access to prey as sea ice recedes. This contradicts assertions by global warming activists that receding sea ice is forcing polar bears to starve or subsist on less food.

Science Trumps Alarmism

Marc Morano, publisher of the Climate Depot website and author the 2008 U.S. Senate Polar Bear Report, says reality is trumping unsupportable alarmism about global warming and polar bears.

“This new study adds further evidence that far from being endangered, polar bears are thriving in the Arctic. Indigenous people recognize that polar bear numbers are going up, and now even official estimates are reflecting that," said Morano.

“It now seems that the greatest threat polar bears may face from global warming is from the failed climate model predictions claiming they are doomed,” he added.

More Access to Prey

Evolutionary biologist and polar bear expert Susan J. Crockford, an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, confirmed polar bears are doing quite well with less Arctic sea ice.

“A longer ice-free period in summer has increased the number of ringed seals because summer is the primary feeding period for seals. This means more seal pups in the spring, which is the primary feeding period for polar bears,” Crockford explained. “Chukchi bears are not feeding longer in the spring; they are just eating more. Apparently, this was not what the researchers expected.

“Before climate change became the cause du jour, it was pretty clear that polar bears in the Canadian portion of the Beaufort suffer because of the thick ice that occasionally develops there in the spring,” Crockford noted. “It’s a phenomenon unique to the Eastern Beaufort. In other words, there is ample evidence that too much ice in the spring is much worse for polar bears than less ice in the summer.”

Crockford says this study casts doubt on gloom-and-doom predictions about the demise of polar bears by proponents of alarm over manmade global warming.

“It might—it should definitely change them,” said Crockford. “The study certainly does not support the claim that polar bears are already being harmed by the loss of summer ice. It certainly invalidates the declaration made by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Polar Bear Specialist Group that the Chukchi subpopulation is a ‘declining’ one, and it calls into question their assumption that reduced summer ice can be expected to cause harm to polar bears within 10 years.”

Climate Conditions Not Unusual

H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, says climate data did not indicate a polar bear crisis even before the USFWS study. Arctic sea ice expanded and contracted many times in recent history, and polar bears weathered the changing conditions.

“Russian coastal-station records of both the extent of sea ice and the thickness of fast ice—ice fixed to the shoreline or seafloor—extending back 125 years show significant variability over 60- to 80-year periods. Moreover, the maximum air temperature they report for the twentieth century was in 1938, when it was nearly 0.4°F warmer than the air temperature in 2000. The Russian study concludes that observations do not support amplified warming in Polar Regions predicted by general circulation models,” said Burnett.

“What this means is that not only does sea ice vary considerably from year to year but polar bear responses do as well,” Burnett explained. “Though polar bears are uniquely adapted to the Arctic region, they are not wedded solely to its coldest parts, nor are they restricted to a specific Arctic diet—they are omnivores just like other bears. Aside from a variety of seals, they eat fish, kelp, caribou, ducks, sea birds, and scavenged whale and walrus carcasses.

“Indeed, polar bears have historically thrived in warmer temperatures than today’s—during the medieval warm period 1,000 years ago and during the Holocene Climate Optimum 5,000 to 9,000 years ago,” he added. “Thus, a modest warming may be beneficial to bears. It creates better habitat for seals and would dramatically increase the growth of blueberries on which the bears like to gorge.”


GOP questions need for wind farm tax credit

Republican lawmakers signaled opposition Wednesday to renewing a tax credit for wind farms, arguing it's time for the industry to stand on its own two feet.

Democrats and the wind industry say the renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) is critical to developing diverse sources of energy, but Republicans expressed skepticism that the break is still needed.

“We keep hearing that ‘we’re almost there’ or ‘just a little bit longer.’ But the facts state that wind power has been steadily increasing over the last 10 years, and there’s this point of saying, when does wind take off on its own?” said Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on Energy Policy.

An analysis from the Joint Committee on Taxation found that a one-year extension of the tax credit would cost about $6.1 billion over 10 years. A five-year extension would cost about $18.5 billion.

Democrats on the panel said that, that number paled in comparison to the billions in tax breaks and subsidies granted to the oil and gas industry each year.

"Big oil still gets subsidies even though just the biggest five oil companies ... made a combined $118 billion in profits in 2012,” Rep. Jackie Speier (Calif.), the top Democrat on the subcommittee, said. “Oil and gas have received over $4.8 billion each year in government subsidies over 90 years.”

She added, “If you want to get rid of the PTC, then let’s get rid of all the subsidies for all the various forms of energy. We need to give as much support to clean renewable energy sources as we have provided and continue to provide for the fossil fuel industry.”

Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) said that “the detractors of the wind industry are asking the government to pick winners and losers by removing federal subsidies for only one particular sector of the energy capacity, which is wind energy, but leaving all the other subsidies intact.”

Republicans responded that comparing tax breaks for wind energy to those received by the oil and gas industry was like looking at apples and oranges, since the provisions for fossil fuel facilities support normal business expenses.

“We probably should compare apples and apples and oranges and oranges,” Lankford said.

At the beginning of this year, Congress extended the tax credit until the start of 2014 as part of a larger deal to avert the “fiscal cliff.”

Proponents of wind energy say that extending the tax credit for a few more years would provide some certainty for the industry, which has been growing steadily in recent years and now accounts for about 3 percent of the electricity produced in the U.S.

They say that the uncertainty surrounding the tax credit's extension is preventing the industry from growing as quickly as it could.

“This is not the way to build an industry. It sends such poor signals for investors,” said Dan Reicher, head of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University.


Renewables religion is dangerous

It could destroy our nation's best opportunity to get strong and create more jobs.

thestreet logoOil drums (© Kevin Phillips/Digital Vision/age fotostock)I am giving up on any hope that Congress will understand the carbon/fossil fuel renaissance in this country.

On Monday, we interviewed Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., an energy and mineral-rich state. He was holding a conference on the economy, including a presentation involving the Bakken, which will soon be producing 1 million barrels a day, up from about 300,000 a couple of years ago.

I thought: Here we go, commonsense senator from a reasonable state where mining jobs had always been a mainstay of the economy. So I asked a benign question about whether they would be discussing the positive prospects of all the newfound energy in this country and what it means for the U.S. economy, given the Bakken segment of his conference.

The senator wasted no time getting right to the heart of the matter: the importance of renewable energy. I almost fell out of my chair. I figured this was the one senator who might actually admit that we are close to energy independence on the continent, provided we can get the oil and gas where it is needed, something that would create a huge number of jobs. Nope, it's all about renewables, all about subsidized power. It's all about the government helping an industry that can't solve the big issue, which is how to stop the importation of oil from countries that aren't friendly with the United States while hiring many more people in this country. I figured he would at least give me some love on natural gas, which is cleaner than so many other fuels, certainly dirty diesel, which is responsible for 25% of our imported fuel.

Nah, renewables.

I pressed. How about all of the jobs that could be created if we just had a program that could get the unemployed where the jobs are in the Bakken and the Eagle Ford and the other shales that are oil and gas rich but people poor.

Nope, he wanted to talk about training people. Darn it, the companies will train them. They are willing to pay well above the nation's average if they can just find a way to get the people to these godforsaken places. The government doesn't need to train a soul.

I was going to follow up with a question about Keystone, but I knew it was just hopeless.

This squandered opportunity is painful, even as objection after objection has been met. Two years ago The New York Times took after the natural gas industry, saying there wasn't enough of it to justify the possibility of using it for a surface fuel. I was so disgusted because already the glut was so evident that we would have to burn off more natural gas -- a natural byproduct of oil drilling -- that I contacted the ombudsman and got a critical word in about the coverage.

Then the objection was drinking water and "Gasland." Encana (ECA -0.47%) had a couple of wells that environmentalists charged were leaking gas. The EPA was all over it but upon proper investigation found that there was no issue and no leak from Encana.

Then it was methane pollution and how drilling for natural gas caused more particulate damage than people thought, which meant it was no cleaner than oil. This came despite a dramatic decline in our own carbon footprint because of our aggressive switch to burning natural gas, not coal, as a power-plant fuel. A University of Texas study showed that the government was dramatically overstating the methane leakage and that it wasn't even a real issue.

It's all coming together to use natural gas as a surface fuel, except Congress wants to talk only about renewables and the importance of the government's getting behind them, not unlike the Spanish thrust to do so, which almost bankrupted that state. The U.K. went that way, too, and it cost them mightily.

I think that we are on some sort of ridiculous path that simply won't acknowledge the potential here for self-sufficiency. We are exporting 2 million barrels of gasoline a day because of rules that don't let us ship it to where it is needed unless the tankers fly under U.S. flags, which almost none do. That jacks up our gasoline prices in the Northeast, which I now believe is by design to use less fuel. The military seems not to care about the leverage our nation has over the Middle East if we didn't need its oil, which we wouldn't if we embraced natural gas as a surface fuel. We know the skies would be cleaner. We know pipelines punch above their weight when it comes to job creation.

But they only want to talk renewables. It is a religion, one that can't be touched. And it could destroy our nation's best opportunity to get strong and create more jobs instantly.

We have such a surfeit of natural gas right now that we have virtually stopped drilling. We are permitting export plants all over the place that won't be built. It is almost as if we are suicidal.

Mark my words: We are going to crucify our nation on a cross of renewables. It's insanity.


A view from Ontario, Canada: Kathleen Wynne’s green energy policies are setting the stage for a ‘massacre’ of our economy

(Kathleen Wynne became the Liberal party Premier of Ontario in February of this year)

If you want to see the future of the Ontario economy under Premier Kathleen Wynne’s green energy plan, you don’t have to look far.

Look at Europe, because we’re starting to experience what’s happening there, as rising electricity prices driven by the high cost of renewable energy gut its manufacturing sector.

“We face a systemic industrial massacre,” Antonio Tajani, European Commissioner for Industry, recently told the Daily Telegraph, “I am in favour of a green agenda, but we can’t be religious about this. We need a new energy policy. We have to stop pretending, because we can’t sacrifice Europe’s industry for climate goals that are not realistic and are not being enforced worldwide.”

“The loss of competitiveness is frightening,” Italian economist Paulo Savona told the Telegraph. “When people choose whether to invest in Europe or the U.S., what they think about most is the cost of energy.”

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said reducing energy prices has become a top priority for the European Union, surpassing even the debt crisis.

But rising electricity prices aren’t just sending European industries fleeing to places like the U.S., where the shale gas revolution is lowering energy costs.

They’re also driving millions of Europeans into fuel poverty, meaning households where people spend at least 10% of their income just to heat, light and power their homes.

Ontario’s ill-advised green energy policies are having the same effect here.

In his December, 2011 review of the Liberals’ renewable energy program, then auditor general Jim McCarter noted that in 2009, they assured the public their initiatives would add a modest 1% annually to their electricity bills.

But just a year later, they predicted “a typical residential electricity bill would rise about 7.9% annually over the next five years, with 56% of the increase due to investments in renewable energy.” Also in 2010, the Ontario Energy Board, predicted “a typical household’s annual electricity bill will increase by about $570, or 46%, from about $1,250 in 2009 to more than $1,820 by 2014. More than half of this increase would be because of renewable energy contracts.”

These are exactly the kinds of steep increases that have spread fuel poverty in Europe.

Alarmingly, McCarter found the Liberals embarked on their mad dash into green energy with no preparation.

He had to start his investigation from scratch because the government “had not recently conducted any audit work on renewable energy initiatives.” McCarter reported the Liberals failed to carry out a “comprehensive business-case evaluation ... to objectively evaluate the impacts” of their green energy program.

“No independent, objective expert investigation had been done to examine the potential effects of renewable energy policies on prices, job creation and greenhouse gas emissions,” McCarter concluded. “No thorough and professional cost/benefit analysis had been conducted to identify potentially cleaner, more economically productive and cost-effective alternatives to renewable energy, such as energy imports and increased conservation.”

Regarding what the Liberals called the crown jewel of their green energy program, their multi-billion-dollar deal with Korea’s Samsung corporation to produce wind and solar power, McCarter found, “no economic analysis or business case was done to determine whether the agreement ... was economically prudent and cost-effective.” The Liberals also ignored the advice of their own experts in deciding what to pay wind and solar developers through their “Feed-in Tariff” (FIT) program.

Energy we don’t need

As a result, McCarter said, Ontarians will be paying billions of dollars in extra electricity costs for wind and solar power over the next two decades, at rates two to 10 times higher than what we would pay for conventional energy sources, some of which don’t emit greenhouse gases, or are low emitters.

Because this is happening while Ontario has an energy surplus, McCarter noted, consumers will also be paying hundreds of millions of dollars annually for renewable energy we don’t need.

McCarter examined the Liberals’ claim their renewable energy program would create 50,000 jobs by 2012 and found it was a myth. In fact, there would likely be a net job loss, he said, because in Europe, higher electricity prices resulted in substantial job losses in the manufacturing sector.

Despite McCarter’s findings and the European experience, Wynne and the Liberals aren’t listening.

They’ve gone too far to admit they were wrong.

Instead, they keep trying to “fine tune” the disaster they’ve created, which is like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

The only way to stop them is to vote them out of office, before they do even more damage.




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


7 October, 2013

Only 6.6% of EPA Employees Considered 'Essential'

As if we didn’t already know how useless and unnecessary the EPA is, following the government shutdown we saw just how little we really need them. When various government agencies were releasing many of their workers on furlough with lack of funding, the EPA went through its employees and decided which were “essential” and which were “non-essential”.

According to an EPA guidance, which Reuters obtained, the agency said it only had 1,069 of its 16,205 employees listed as “essential”. That is only 6.6 percent of their workforce! This guidance, which is used in the event of a government shutdown, also said that “most workers in the Office of Air and Radiation, which is in charge of writing and implementing most of the EPA’s major air pollution rules,” would be furloughed.

Why is it that we have an agency that could run on less than 7 percent of current staff? To be clear that means more than 9 out of every 10 employees at the EPA are non-essential.

Although this government shutdown may not be considered as the greatest way to get through funding differences, perhaps there is a silver lining here. When agencies are forced to go through their list of employees and whether they are integral to the organization’s work it seems we get quite a sneak peek into how we could gut and cut the government bureaucracy. Is it just me, or should all employees be essential in order to remain at their jobs? This could be a good way to go forward with finding places to cut money in the budget.


Fallacious Claims Prop Up Ethanol

Arguments put forward to support ethanol and other biofuels hold water like sieves – leaking billions of gallons of precious fresh water that are required to produce this expensive, unsustainable energy.

These and other renewable energy programs may have originated for the best of intentions. However, the assumptions underlying those intentions are questionable, at best. Many are rooted in anti-hydrocarbon worldviews and Club of Rome strategies that raised the specter of “looming disasters” like resource depletion and catastrophic manmade global warming, in which the “real enemy” is “humanity itself.” They also underscore how hard it is to alter policies and programs once they have been launched by Washington politicians, creating armies of special interests, lobbyists and campaign contributors.

A review of biofuel justifications shows why these programs must be revised – or (preferably) scrapped.

* Renewable fuels will prevent oil depletion and reduce imports. Baloney. US oil and natural gas were declining and imports rising for decades, because environmentalists and politicians blocked leasing and drilling. The very people decrying the situation were causing it. They wanted to justify a non-hydrocarbon future that would give them greater control over our economy and lives – and build a political power base that tied them and votes to farmers and companies that benefitted from this Washington-mandated industry and vast wealth transfers from taxpayers and consumers to the new energy cartel.

In reality, the United States has vast storehouses of petroleum. Hydraulic fracturing alone has unlocked billions of barrels of oil equivalent energy, created 1.7 million jobs, generated hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity and government revenues, and made America the world’s number one energy producing nation. Opening up areas that are now closed to leasing would build on this record.

This renewed production also reduced oil imports – even as increasing ethanol mandates and a persistent drought have forced the USA to import ethanol from Brazil. So now we’re importing oil and ethanol!

* Renewable fuels reduce carbon dioxide emissions and dangers of catastrophic climate change. Bunk. Many studies have found that ethanol in car and truck fuels actually increases airborne ozone levels.

As I point out here, here and here, there is no evidence that rising CO2 levels are about to cause climate chaos. Global average temperatures have not increased in 17 years. The new NIPCC report demonstrates that human influences on our climate are small and localized, and their effects on temperature, climate and weather are almost impossible to separate from frequent, cyclical, completely natural variability.

The latest UN IPCC report deleted all references to this temperature standstill from the Summary for Policy Makers, and eliminated an IPCC graph that revealed how every single climate model predicted that average global temperatures would be up to 1.6 degrees F higher than they actually were over the past 22 years. IPCC bureaucrats politicized the science to the point of making their report fraudulent.

* Biofuels are better for the environment. Nonsense. We are already plowing an area bigger than Iowa to grow corn for ethanol – millions of acres that could be food crops or wildlife habitat. The energy per acre is minuscule compared to what we get from oil and gas drilling, with or without fracking. To meet the latest biodiesel mandate of 1.3 billion gallons, producers will have to extract oil from 430 million bushels of soybeans – converting countless more acres from food or habitat to energy.

To produce that biofuel, we’re also using massive quantities of pesticides, fertilizers, fossil fuels – and water. The US Department of Energy calculates that fracking requires 0.6 to 6.0 gallons of fresh or brackish water per million Btu of energy produced. By comparison, corn-based ethanol requires 2,500 to 29,000 gallons of fresh water per million Btu of energy – and biodiesel from soybeans consumes an astounding and unsustainable 14,000 to 75,000 gallons of water per million Btu!

* Farmers benefit from ethanol. Yes, some get rich. But beef, pork, chicken, egg and fish producers must pay more for feed, which means family food bills go up. Biofuel mandates also mean international aid agencies must pay more for corn and wheat, so more starving people remain malnourished longer.

* Ethanol brings cheaper gas and better mileage. Nonsense. Ethanol gets 30% less mileage than gasoline, so motorists pay the same price per tank but can drive fewer miles. It collects water, gunks up fuel lines, corrodes engine parts, and wreaks havoc on lawn mowers and other small engines. E15 fuel blends (15% ethanol) exacerbate these problems. Biodiesel and ultra-expensive biofuel for military ships and aircraft make even less sense, especially when we have at least a century of petroleum right under our feet, right here in the United States, that many “renewable” energy advocates flat out don’t want us to touch.

* Ethanol creates jobs. Yeah, spending billions in taxes that could otherwise pay for other government programs … and billions in extra consumer costs for energy and food … does prop up biofuel programs, until companies go bankrupt anyway. As to “green” jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics defines “green jobs” as any that make a company “more environmentally friendly” – and elsewhere includes bus drivers piloting natural gas, biofuel or hybrid vehicles. The Solar Energy Society includes accountants, lawyers and landscapers involved even part time with making or installing solar panels. They could even include burger flippers, if they sell a meal to a truck driver who’s hauling corn to an ethanol plant.

Those capacious definitions should certainly include prosecuting attorneys and staffs going after the growing number of shady dealers who got “renewable energy tax credits” for selling fuels that were not 100% biodiesel – and others who sold fraudulent RINs (Renewable Identification Numbers) to refineries that face stiff penalties if they fail to buy mandated amounts of ethanol and blend it into gasoline.

Because gasoline consumption is down, many refineries have hit a “blend wall” – meaning the gasoline they are producing already contains as much ethanol as vehicle engines and related equipment can safely handle. However, the government still requires them to buy more corn pone fuel – or purchase RINs or pay hefty fines.

If Congress would simply let real free markets work, instead of creating Renewable Fuel Standards, much of this crime and corruption would end. Instead, it perpetuates perverse incentives, perks and money trains – which promote what seems to be the Environmentalist-Industrialist-Governmentalist Complex’s motto: “We don’t tolerate corruption. We insist on it.” Outright criminal activity is the tip of the iceberg.

“Green slime” doesn’t just describe algae-based biofuels. It also describes the entire DC-mandated biofuel system. About the only thing really green about it is the billions of dollars taken from taxpayers and consumers, and funneled to politicians, who dole the cash out to friendly constituents, who then return some of it as campaign contributions, to get the pols reelected, to perpetuate the gravy train.

Even some Democrats are finally questioning their party’s “steadfast support” for policies that promote “renewable” energy over oil and gas: Ben Cardin (MD), Robert Casey (PA), Kay Hagan (NC) and several colleagues have openly expressed concern about renewable mandates. One has to wonder why so many Republicans still can’t say no to ethanol.


Thanks to Fracking USA Rises to Number One in Energy; Thanks to Obama, We Won't Stay There

On the very same day that the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) announces: “US Rises to No. 1 Energy Producer”—thanks to the shale boom made possible through a technology known as hydraulic fracturing—an environmental group released a report calling for a complete ban of the practice, which would effectively shut down the oil-and-gas industry (and all of the jobs and revenues it creates) and increase dependence on foreign oil. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

You probably haven’t heard about either, as most news coverage, on October 3, centered on the government shutdown—eclipsing all else.

Why would Environment America choose to release a report, that they call “the first to measure the damaging footprint of fracking,” on a day when it would likely receive little attention? The answer is found in the WSJ: “the shale boom’s longevity could hinge on commodity prices, government regulations and public support.” (italics added)

Americans support the concept of energy independence. We don’t like the fact that we’ve been funding terrorists because we buy oil from people who hate us and who happily slaughter our citizens.

The Obama Administration is the most anti-fossil-fuel in history, yet within the past month, three Obama cabinet members—two former, one current—have declared fracking a safe technology for extracting oil and natural gas:

·At a speech in Columbus, Ohio, former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said that fracking “is something you can do in a safe way” and dismissed a study critical of fracking by saying: “we didn’t think it was credible.”

·At the Domenici Public Policy conference in Las Cruces, New Mexico, former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar stated: “I would say to everybody that hydraulic fracking is safe.”

·In a meeting with the NY Daily News editorial board, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz asserted: “Fracking for natural gas is climate-friendly, environmentally safe and economically stimulating” and added: “Which is just what America and New York need.”

Then, in the same month, in the greenest state of the Union, against strong opposition, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a hotly-contested bill that reflects the fact that he favors some level of fracking.

These pro-fracking news items, along with several recent reports pointing to the safety of hydraulic fracturing, have the anti-fracking crowd resorting to desperation. And, then the WSJ announces America’s energy dominance on its front page. I suspect that Environment America had their little report ready to go and were just waiting for the right time to release it—probably after the shutdown, when the news cycle had some space. But, when the WSJ heralded the US energy comeback, they just had to spring it—hoping to shift public opinion.

The environmentalists’ advertising efforts have had an impact—even though, as Secretary Chu noted, the anti-fracking argument isn’t “credible.” A September Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that opposition to increased use of fracking rose to 49% from 38% in the previous six months.

Why, when hydraulic fracturing has brought America to the brink of energy independence, been the biggest driver of job growth, lowered utility bills, and positively impacted the trade deficit, are people opposed to it? Because they don’t really know what it is, and, therefore, are gullible to the old adage: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

A University of Michigan report on hydraulic fracturing found: “The public tends to view the word ‘fracking’ as the entirety of the natural gas development process, from leasing and permitting, to drilling and well completion, to transporting and storing wastewater and chemicals.” In fact, fracking is limited to the process of injecting fluids into a well—just a few days of a multi-month operation (not counting leasing and permitting).

This widespread misunderstanding explains why the repeated lies have taken hold.

One of the most rampant lies about fracking made by the environmentalists is about water. The press release about the “fracking by the numbers” report, claims: “Of particular concern are the billions of gallons of toxic waste created from fracking, which threaten the environment, public health and drinking water.”

On page 5, Fracking by the Numbers states: “Fracking operations have used at least 250 billion gallons of water since 2005.” Which sounds ominous until you get some perspective. For example, over that same period, car washes have used more than twice as much water: 600+ billion gallons. In the state of Colorado, where water supplies can be constrained and oil-and-gas development is high, water used for fracking amounts to less than one-tenth of one percent of the state’s total water demand.

Also on page 5: “While most industrial uses of water return it to the water cycle for further use, fracking converts clean water into toxic wastewater, much of which must then be permanently disposed of, taking billions of gallons out of the water supply annually.” And: “Farmers are particularly impacted by fracking water use as they compete with the deep-pocketed oil and gas industry for water, especially in drought-stricken regions of the country.” These statements are just plain false. The oil-and-gas industry is now often using water that is not suitable for farming or drinking and then reusing the water over and over.

Mike Hightower, a hydrologist at Sandia National Labs adds: “Five years ago fresh water was used for each frac job, now they are using frac fluids that are 5 times saltier than sea water. That allows more reuse of waters, and is putting less strain on water resources in many western states.”

Dexter Harmon, Exploration Manager at Fasken Oil & Ranch, says they are using 88 percent produced water and Santa Rosa water that has been treated to remove harmful components and 12 percent fresh water to frac their Wolfberry wells near Midland, Texas. It cost about $1.75-$2.00/barrel to treat the produced water to get it ready to re-use on a frac job.

Plus, the industry is continually being revolutionized by technological advances. For example, GE has a new energy-efficient process that could cut the cost of water treatment in half, eliminate the need to transport the water for treatment, and decrease the chances of spills. MIT Technology Review, September 24, 2013, reported: “Based on pilot-scale tests of a machine that can process about 2,500 gallons of water per day, GE researchers say they are on track to cut the costs of treating salty fracking wastewater in half. The system needs to be scaled up for commercial use, but a full-sized system could treat about 40,000 gallons per day.”

Another lie repeated in the report (page 9): “There are ‘more than 1,000 cases’ of groundwater contamination.” Yet, the three major investigations of water contamination that were conducted by the EPA—Pavillion, Wyoming, the Range Resources case in Texas, and Dimock, Pennsylvania (made famous by the Gasland movie)—have all been cleared.

Additionally, three different environmentally aligned Obama administration members have made statements regarding an absence of evidence of fracking contaminating groundwater:

·At an August 1 breakfast, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, stated: “To my knowledge, I still have not seen any evidence of fracking per se contaminating groundwater.”

·Ken Kopocis, President Obama’s nominee to be Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Water, was asked recently in testimony before Congress if he was aware of any cases of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing. His answer? “No I am not.”

·Lisa Jackson, President Obama’s former EPA chief, said: “In no case have we made a definitive determination that the [fracturing] process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater.” This comment follows her previous testimony before Congress, when she explained that she is “not aware of any proven case where [hydraulic fracturing] itself has affected water.”

We could go on picking apart the 47-page report, but these lies, untruths, and deceptions on water give you the idea. Energy In Depth has a more thorough review of Environment America’s “Fracking by the Numbers,” in which they call the anti-fracking group “professional activists bent on preventing responsible energy development from taking place.”

The budget they have to produce propaganda and advertising campaigns to change public opinion seems unlimited. Environment America’s IRS Form 990 for fiscal year ending 06-30-2011, shows it has 210 employees with revenues of $3.7 million. In the acknowledgements, Environment America thanks the “Park Foundation for making this report possible”—The Park Foundation funded the anti-fracking movie Gasland and other anti-fracking activities. And they call the oil-and-gas industry “deep-pocketed.”

Thanks to hydraulic fracturing America is on the brink of energy independence, it has provided the biggest driver of job growth, lowered utility bills, and positively impacted the trade deficit, yet one small, well-funded, and vocal segment of the population is opposed to it—using false scare tactics to sway pubic opinion. When you think about why they would want to ban this single, effective economic stimulus, it should make you shudder and cause you to commit—with me—to spreading the truth.


‘Lukewarmist’ Scientist Judith Curry Calls for End of IPCC

Climate scientist Judith Curry, who has gained a reputation as a “lukewarmist” for agreeing with many climate assertions made by global warming activists but calling for more scientific scrutiny of alarmist claims, called for an end to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Curry, a climate science professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, called IPCC an ends-driven process that impedes scientific progress.

Curry explained IPCC suffers from paradigm paralysis, which she defined as “caused by motivated reasoning, oversimplification, and consensus seeking; worsened and made permanent by a vicious positive feedback effect at the climate science–policy interface.”

Among the problems facing IPCC, Curry noted:

“as temperatures have declined and climate models have failed to predict this decline, the IPCC has [very curiously] gained confidence in catastrophic warming and dismisses the pause as unpredictable climate variability ...

“Growing realization that you can’t control climate by emissions reductions ...

“increasing levels of shrillness on both sides of the political debate, with the ‘warm side’ steeped in moral panic and hyperbole ...

“after several decades and expenditures in the bazillions, the IPCC still has not provided a convincing argument for how much warming in the 20th century has been caused by humans ...

“the politically charged rhetoric has contaminated academic climate research and the institutions that support climate research, so that individuals and institutions have become advocates; scientists with a perspective that is not consistent with the consensus are at best marginalized (difficult to obtain funding and get papers published by ‘gatekeeping’ journal editors) or at worst ostracized by labels of ‘denier’ or ‘heretic.’ ...

“decision makers needing regionally specific climate change information are being provided by the climate community with either nothing or potentially misleading predictions from climate models.”

“The diagnosis of paradigm paralysis seems fatal in the case of the IPCC, given the widespread nature of the infection and intrinsic motivated reasoning,” Curry observed. “We need to put down the IPCC as soon as possible – not to protect the patient who seems to be thriving in its own little cocoon, but for the sake of the rest of us whom it is trying to infect with its disease. Fortunately much of the population seems to be immune, but some governments seem highly susceptible to the disease. However, the precautionary principle demands that we not take any risks here, and hence the IPCC should be put down.”


Green energy to cost British consumers Ł400 over next five years

Every British household will pay an average of more than Ł400 in higher bills over the next six years to pay for subsidies under controversial Government plans to hit green power targets.

The money will go solely to paying for otherwise uneconomic offshore wind turbines, onshore wind farms, biomass plants, landfill gas sites and hydro power plants, new figures show.

The first analysis of newly agreed prices paid to “green” generators, carried out by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, shows that the total subsidy will be nearly Ł22 billion by 2020.

The subsidies are paid for by consumers and businesses through their annual bills and passed to the green energy generators.

Half of energy bills are paid by business, with the other half by domestic consumers, and the total subsidy divided among British households equals Ł425 per household.

Many, however, will pay more because they have bigger bills.

As well as recouping the cost of renewable subsidies through domestic bills, households will also foot the bill for the carbon floor price tax and the Energy Company Obligation efficiency scheme, where suppliers are supposed to fit out homes with roof insulation and better boilers.

The other schemes suggest the possibility of further increases to the cost of electricity.

The calculation comes amid mounting political pressure over the cost of “green” subsidies, with George Osborne, the Chancellor, and Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, said to be at loggerheads over other aspects of attempts to reduce the amount of carbon produced to generate electricity.

The Taxpayers Alliance said the huge bill showed both the failure of the Government’s energy strategy and the folly of Labour leader, and former energy secretary, Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze domestic gas and electricity bills at the same time as sticking to the “green” targets.

Its analysis shows that almost Ł2 billion was spent in renewable subsidies in the 2012-2013 financial year.

This will rise to an estimated Ł5.3 billion by 2018-2019, adding another Ł60 to every annual domestic electricity bill in the country and increasing business costs dramatically.

Over the six years the total subsidy will be Ł21.9 billion, the Taxpayers Alliance said, with wind farms accounting for the majority.

Matthew Sinclair, Taxpayers Alliance chief executive, said it was clear the Energy Bill had failed and that the vast amounts of money earmarked for renewable generation should instead be used to support research aimed at bringing down the cost of green power.

He said: “Targets that require massive investment in the energy sector, to install expensive technologies like offshore wind turbines on an enormous scale, will always mean profits for energy companies and much higher prices for consumers.

“If the Government are serious about easing the pressure on people’s living standards, they need to take action and scrap lavish renewable energy subsidies.

“And it is a joke for Ed Miliband to pretend he is taking on the Big Six on behalf of consumers when he is proposing to keep the targets in place. If politicians are serious bout helping families with struggling bills, then they need to do something about dysfunctional and painfully expensive energy policies.”

The Taxpayers’ Alliance calculated the figures by analysing for the first time the planned increase in renewable capacity over the coming years and the official strike price agreed by the Government for the power that will be produced.

The strike prices guarantee renewable power generators a far higher power price than the prevailing cost on the wholesale energy market.

In 2014-2015, the strike prices for onshore wind will be Ł100 per megawatt hour (mW/hr), the standard unit of power production.

Offshore wind producers will be paid Ł155 per mW/hr. Electricity is sold “wholesale” by producers to firms which supply homes and businesses, including the so-called “Big Six”, which includes the largest domestic power firms, but the predicted wholesale price is Ł50 per mW/hr, far less than the “strike price”. The difference has to be made up by the supply firms, who will pass it direct to bills.

Dr Lee Moroney of the Renewable Energy Foundation, which is critical of the “green” energy plans, said: “Government subsidies which are added to electricity bills in order to meet over ambitious EU climate change targets are complex, opaque, and very expensive for the consumer.

“The subsidy costs are set to increase significantly and will last 15 to 25 years. The scale of the consumer costs is shocking and senseless in view of the fact that UK greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced faster and more economically by less extravagant measures.”

Britain’s ’Big Six’ energy suppliers have lined up this year to claim that environmental and other Government levies are the main reason why domestic gas and electricity bills are set to rise yet again this winter.

In July, the head of npower, Paul Massara, said households would be paying Ł240 more a year for their power by 2020 to cover the cost of Government green policies.

Experts believe a price hike from one of the Big Six is imminent with estimates that bills will rise by as much as 10 per cent.

British Gas was last month rumoured to be preparing a price rise of 8 per cent, which would push its average dual fuel bills up by around Ł100 to record levels of almost Ł1,450.

The Taxpayers Alliance report comes just five months after the Sunday Telegraph revealed wind turbine owners were paid Ł1.2 billion in the form of consumer subsidies last year, the equivalent of Ł100,000 for every job in the wind farm industry.

However turbines have proved to be deeply controversial, with people living in areas where they are being built or planned often opposed to them. Complaints about appearance and noise have dominated local concerns, but critics also say that they will not solve a looming energy crisis caused by switching off older power stations and decommissioning nuclear generators, because they cannot generate power when it is not windy.

Other “green” methods have attracted other criticisms, with solar farms also proving unpopular in areas where there are large-scale projects planned, while others are expensive to build.

The report, seen by The Telegraph, comes just days after Business Minister Michael Fallon said it would be “unfair” to add further costs and green levies onto consumer bills.

His comments, at a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference, were taken as the strongest indication yet that the Tories may pledge to scale back existing green policy costs. Mr Fallon said: “We shouldn’t put industry at a disadvantage against Europe and the US: for our manufacturers this would be assisted suicide.”

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "The Government is transparent about the impact of energy and climate policies on bills.

“It’s the global gas price, not green subsidies, that has primarily been pushing up energy bills. 60 per cent of the increase in household energy bills between 2010 and 2012 was caused by this. Investing in home grown alternatives is the only sure fire way of insulating our economy and bill payers from this volatility.

“In any case, our household energy efficiency policies are on average more than offsetting the costs of clean energy investment. By 2020 the average household bill will be Ł166 lower than it would be if we were doing nothing.”


Carbon tax too expensive’, says British industry

Ministers are under renewed pressure to scrap their controversial green “carbon tax” after delays in European Union state aid left British heavy industry without promised protection from the costs of the levy.

Tata Steel and BASF have warned that the so-called carbon price floor — levied on fossil fuels used in power generation — is putting them at a competitive disadvantage.

The Government promised that energy-intensive industries would be offered a Ł100m compensation package to protect them from the unilateral tax, which was introduced last April.

But the compensation has been held up for several months awaiting EU state aid approval, with businesses already facing millions of pounds in costs. Ministers said last October that they expected EU approval “by the summer of 2013”, but last night disclosed the earliest a resolution would come would be the end of this year.

If approval were rejected, it could call the whole tax into question. Industry hopes that the Government may be prompted to review the tax, especially after the Conservatives indicated that they were looking to mitigate rising energy costs in the wake of Ed Miliband’s price freeze pledge.

“We shouldn’t put British industry at a disadvantage against Europe and the US: for our manufacturers this would be assisted suicide,” Michael Fallon, the energy minister, said last week.

Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel, which employs 18,500 people in the UK, said: “Unilateral taxes like the carbon price floor hurt competitiveness. I welcomed the Government’s energy tax mitigation package, but the delay in its implementation caused by the EU state aid process harms UK manufacturers.”

Andrew Mayer, head of UK public affairs for BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, which employs about 2,000 people in Britain, said: “Without clarity on state aid approval for energy intensive rebates from the CPS [carbon tax] we are facing a 5pc rise in our energy costs today and 20pc from April 2015.

“Even with that clarity, many of our customers and smaller sites are still facing that increase. It is an unsustainable policy that is damaging UK competitiveness. It should be scrapped,” he continued.

The carbon tax was originally intended to encourage new low-carbon power plants such as wind farms and nuclear sites by making it increasingly expensive to run coal and gas works that emit carbon.

But it has failed to secure the low-carbon investment — with ministers now offering developers additional subsidy packages — and critics say it simply serves to push up the price of electricity. Official estimates say that the tax, which is expected to raise billions of pounds for the Treasury over the next decade, will add Ł5 to household energy bills this year, rising to about Ł50 by 2020, even before the costs of compensating industries have been implemented.

Tony Cocker, chief executive of energy supplier E.On, has described it as a “stealth poll tax” that would hand windfall gains to existing nuclear plants. In a meeting with business leaders in February, before becoming energy minister, Mr Fallon called the carbon tax “a fairly absurd waste of your money”, mistakenly saying that the policy had been inherited from Labour.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said it had notified the European Commission of the carbon price floor compensation scheme in September 2012.

He said: “The formal consideration and approval of the case has so far been delayed due to the novelty of the case and internal resourcing issues within the Commission. We will continue to work with them to ensure that the CPF state aid case is approved as soon as possible.”

He added that it will explore whether businesses might be able to claim back part of the compensation to last April. “The Commission has advised that the earliest that they can come to a decision on this case is the end of the year,” the spokesman said.




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


6 October, 2013

Are skeptics "amateurish"?

A "New Yorker" writer below says so but it would be hard to get mnore amateurish than her. She quotes not one single solitary scientific fact to support her faith. Her complete faith in authority would be amusing if it were not so childish. She'll probably make someone an obedient wife, though


Last week, in Stockholm, a group of scientists from around the world issued what should be, but of course will not be, the last word on climate change. Officially known as Working Group I’s contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the document offered a veritable flood of information—two thousand two hundred and sixteen pages’ worth. Many groups posted good summaries of the report’s central points, including Climate Central and RealClimate. But perhaps the best one I read came in an e-mail from a biologist who studies the effects of climate change in the Andes. “Spoiler alert,” he wrote. “Earth is getting warmer.”

For weeks leading up to the release of the report—several more will be issued in the next few months by other working groups of the I.P.C.C.—the denialosphere was working overtime. A group that calls itself, wittily enough, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, published its own report, twelve hundred pages long, explicitly modelled on the I.P.C.C.’s but reaching entirely opposite conclusions. The N.I.P.C.C., as it happens, is sponsored by the Heartland Institute, which, in turn, is funded by a coven of tobacco companies, fossil-fuel producers, and right-wing foundations.

The goal of organizations like the N.I.P.C.C., it seems, is not to convince anyone that the science of global warming is faulty—their tactics are way too amateurish for that—but, rather, to provide cover for those already predisposed to prefer fairy tales over facts. This group turns out to be not only numerous but, as recent events have demonstrated, also quite powerful...

Tuesday, just as the “Closed” signs were being posted on the steps of the National Gallery, Ron Binz, President Obama’s nominee to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, announced that he was withdrawing his name from consideration. Binz, who served on Colorado’s public-utilities commission for several years, is a strong advocate of replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, which, as any schoolchild can tell you, is a critical part of any plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. As far as Senate Republicans and also some Democrats were concerned, holding such rational and forward-thinking views disqualified Binz from service. “Mr. Binz’s record shows he strongly favors renewable over other energy sources,” Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, said, and, remarkably enough, he meant this as an insult.



David Whitehouse

The press conference associated with the release of the AR5 Summary for Policymakers was notable by the elephant in the room – the lack of warming the surface of the world has experienced over the past 16 years. Many observers have called this fact ‘the greatest problem in climate science,’ and it certainly is its most discussed aspect these days. However, nobody on the IPCC panel wanted to say anything about it. When they did, reluctantly, they were evasive, and inaccurate.

Although the panel, aided by the moderator, dealt with other things, the press conference was really all about the ‘pause,’ and trying not to say anything about it or take any questions on it. When it was unavoidable Prof Thomas Stocker put down the hiatus as a statistical illusion related to cherry picking a particular start date which he said was 1998. Different start dates tell a very different picture he added. Those who have taken any interest in the growing discussion of the standstill in global surface temperatures are well aware of the 1998 problem. This was the date of a very powerful El Nino, and subsequent temperatures have not exceeded it. That is why almost nobody, except uninformed critics, ever use this as a start date.

Prof Stocker seemed to think that the ‘pause’ depended upon what dates were chosen for it’s start and end. Actually it doesn’t. It’s more statistically sophisticated than that. All one needs to do is to start at the most recent annual datapoint – 2012 – and work backwards to find the earliest date when there is no statistically significant warming. Let the data make the choice, not humans. This way one arrives at January 1997.

The key point is that the strong 1998 El Nino is statistically counteracted by two La Nina years in 1999 and 2000. Taking data from 2001 gets over this problem, even though there are several El Nino’s and La Nina’s since then, and it is also flat.

This is why no one with any knowledge of the data would ever start looking for a trend starting with the La Nina years of 1999 and 2000. But on the IPCC’s press panel the WMO’s Secretary General Michel Jarraud told reporters that if you start the data in 1999 you get a positive trend! This really is rather poor knowledge of the global surface temperature data or a deliberate misrepresentation of it to what, with some strong exceptions, was a rather scientifically unsophisticated audience.

At the start of the press conference Prof Stocker showed average decadal temperatures showing that the 2000s was warmer than the 1990s which was warmer than the 1980s. As we have said before decadal binning the data is only one way to look at the data and just looking at the data like this is an example of cherry picking. Looked at another way, with say 5-year data bins reveals a very different story. Indeed one that highlights the importance of the past 15-years unchanging surface temperature.

The Ocean Hypothesis

Prof Stocker and Rajendra Pachauri mentioned that one of the reasons for the ‘pause’ could be the heat going into the oceans. Prof Stocker initially admitted that the data for this was not very good. Curious that later on in the press conference such qualifications as to the quality of the ocean heat data was glossed over.

One of the most interesting stories of the week which will undoubtedly be told is how the ‘pause’ was all over the draft summary but almost completely excised from the final summary. For some this automatically relegated the importance of the ‘pause’ allowing it to be dismissed as irrelevant. Actually, it was treated this way for exactly the opposite conclusion.

David Rose of the Mail on Sunday newspaper, who has written much about the ‘pause,’ must have had a frustrating start to the press conference. Clearly wanting to ask a question he was obviously ignored by the moderator until the moderator pointed to another journalist sitting next to him. At this point David grabbed the microphone much to the moderator’s dismay.

David asked a simple question. How many more years will the ‘pause’ have to go on for until the climate models are questioned? Prof Stocker evaded the question, saying that no warming in 30 years time was not an IPCC predicted outcome!

Finally Prof Stocker said that the ‘pause’ in global surface temperatures was relatively new science. He clearly hasn’t been reading the substantial discussion of this hot topic in the peer-reviewed scientific literature over the past 5 years.

The real story of the IPCC’s summary for policy makers is not the upgrading of scientific confidence from 90% to 95% – whatever that really means – but the attempt at burying the ‘pause.’ It won’t matter in the long run because the IPCC hierarchy, just like many climate scientists, know that if the ‘pause’ continues for a few more years then everything will change.

As scientists Profs Stocker and Jarraud should have had a better grasp of the global temperature data. It is surely at the heart of the climate change debate and should not be treated in such a hand waving manner. Despite what the IPCC said at the end of a week-long process to distil the science and communicate it simply, the ‘pause’ is still the biggest problem in climate science. Overall, for a press conference about the science of climate change, those scientists answering the questions behaved like politicians, and slippery ones at that.


Green dreams that have been blown away in Britain

A Warmist mourns

The Government's volte-face over the Planning and Energy Act shows how times have changed

Let’s scroll back six years or so to what now seems a looking-glass world, for that was the time that the Conservative Party was making itself (almost) electable by championing green policies to shed its “nasty” image. David Cameron had been to the Arctic to hug huskies and had briefly put a windmill on his roof (a “sweet little thing”, he called it, which had to come down when somebody complained). And we were being urged to “Vote blue. Go green”.

A Tory MP, Michael Fallon, had the once-in-a lifetime luck to come top in the ballot for private members’ bills – and introduced an environmental one. My colleague Philip Johnston rightly hailed this as “a sign of the political times”, since Mr Fallon – “very much a member of the Thatcherite free-market, No Turning Back wing of the Conservative Party” – was far from being “someone you would automatically consider a tree-hugger”. More remarkably still, he got it through unopposed.

The then party chairman, Eric Pickles, backed the measure, which let councils force developers to meet higher standards of energy efficiency than required under national building regulations, and ensure the resulting homes got some energy from solar panels or other renewable sources.

Indeed the Planning and Energy Act, as it became, fitted the party’s priorities, being a voluntary measure for councils which enshrined localism as well as protecting the environment. And it addressed a need, for Britain’s standard of energy efficiency in homes (less than half are properly insulated), like its use of renewables, is among the lowest in the developed world.

“We are all in this together,” said Mr Fallon of the battle against global warming, adding: “I want to see councils leading the fight against climate change.” And a Tory policy document on the “low carbon economy”, which Mr Cameron launched in a webcast interview with me, promised to ensure it was “implemented in full”.

Back to 2013, and the world as it now is. The Act is a success: most of England’s 324 planning authorities use it to tighten efficiency standards on new houses and install renewables, and it has become the principle driver of such improvements. Yet the same Mr Pickles who espoused the measure is now considering abolishing it, while Mr Fallon, now the energy minister, seems to want to ditch the Government’s climate-change undertakings.

Mr Pickles, now Communities Secretary, proposes to “amend or remove” the Act as part of a review of housing standards out for consultation. The review, aimed at simplifying the “large and complex range of local and national standards, rules and codes that any developer has to wade through”, is long overdue: there are, for example, 12 different wheelchair standards for housing in London alone. But its plans for Mr Fallon’s initiative have caused widespread alarm.

It justifies the volte-face on the grounds that national building standards are being “progressively strengthened” to make the measure unnecessary. But their latest “strengthening”, in July, was more than a year overdue and fell far short of what had been expected. As a result, says the Renewable Energy Association, scrapping the Act would “essentially stop the incorporation of renewables in new building for up to 10 years”.

The review also plans to “wind down” the Government’s Code for Sustainable Homes, which sets out a roadmap for future improvements, including abandoning a reduction in water wastage that would cost a three-bedroom house only Ł68.

All this would only seem to benefit developers – some of whom have lobbied against the green rules – though Mr Fallon took care, when introducing the measure, to ensure that it did not “inhibit housing”. Housebuyers would recoup any extra costs: expert assessments have worked out that their energy bills would be reduced by a third if the higher standards were applied.

I’ve not yet seen a reaction from the energy minister himself, but it seems his views have turned right round too. This week he hinted that the Government would scale back on renewable energy and seemed to indicate, in an aside at the Conservative Party conference, that he would like to “scrap” Britain’s “strong environmental and climate change commitments”.

Both he and George Osborne, the Chancellor, stressed that Britain should not get ahead of the rest of Europe – though in fact we’re close to the bottom of the EU league on both energy efficiency and renewables.

Strangely, the Prime Minister sings a different tune. Earlier this year, he pledged to make Britain “the most energy-efficient nation in Europe” and still occasionally repeats his promise to lead the “greenest government ever”. But, as in Alice’s looking-glass world, that particular jam always seems to be due tomorrow.


The great tax-exemption rip-off

How your tax dollars help radicals attack America's industries, jobs and living standards

Nick Nichols

If you believe future IRS abuses will be prevented by putting Lois Learner and her merry band of political hacks in the hoosegow, stop drinking Potomac River Kool-Aid and start partaking in a dose of reality.

The most effective way to eliminate political hackery at the IRS would be to abolish the so-called progressive income tax and completely dismantle the tax agency. Too draconian? Only if you believe the Tea Party purge is the solitary scandal rolling around the halls at the IRS. It’s not.

Fact is the system is corrupt to the core. To illustrate, consider Lois Learner’s old haunt at the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division. When the IRS bureaucrats determine that an organization is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt group, that group is excused from paying federal taxes and contributors to the group are allowed to deduct contributions from their taxable income.

Those Americans who actually pay federal taxes must make up what the US Treasury loses as a result of the tax exemptions. Moreover, once the IRS determines that a group is tax-exempt, that group is excused from paying taxes (including property taxes) in at least thirty-nine states.

Consider these facts from the National Center For Charitable Statistics about 501 (c)(3) Public Charities. In 1988, 10,215 organizations filed with the IRS as 501(c)(3) Public Charities. They reported combined revenues of $29.8-billion. By July, 2013, organizations filing as 501(c)(3) Public Charities amounted to 357,167! These tax-exempt groups reported combined revenues of $1.6-trillion and assets of $2.9-trillion.

Calculating the amount of federal and state tax revenue lost as a result of tax exemptions is way above my pay grade. I would guess the federal and state revenue loss exceeds one-trillion dollars annually. Who gets stuck paying for this loss? The American taxpayer. Talk about redistribution of wealth. Need I remind you that in 2011 only 53% of American households actually paid federal income taxes?

Allow me to add insult to injury. The uncivil servants at the IRS and their progressive allies on Capitol Hill have corrupted the definition of “public charities” to allow activist groups to feed at the trough of the American taxpayer. For example, 13,716 US-based environmental groups filed as tax-exempt 501(c)(3)s in 2010. Their combined revenue was $7.4-billion. Their total assets equaled $20.6-billion.

In 2012, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) reported $112-million in revenue and $173.1-million in assets. EDF has been tax-exempt since 1969. In 2011, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (NRDC) reported $97-million in revenue and $248.9-million in assets. NRDC has been tax-exempt since 1970. Three tax-exempt Greenpeace organizations in the U.S. reported $39.2-million in revenue and $20.6-million in assets in 2011.

I wonder whether the tax-paying coal miners of West Virginia realize that they are subsidizing progressives intent on destroying their jobs? Do they consider Greenpeace charitable? I can’t speak for the coal miners, but I can confirm that both New Zealand and Canada have stripped Greenpeace of its charity status.

What about unemployed union workers who have been denied jobs on the Keystone pipeline? Is it fair and just that they have to pay taxes while the progressive activist groups lobbying against pipeline construction avoid state and federal tax collectors?

Progressive environmental organizations aren’t the only radicals feeding off the beleaguered taxpayer. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been tax-exempt since 1981. Last year PETA reported $31-million in revenue and $16-million in assets. For those who have been victimized by the radical animal rights group, how does it feel to be forced to subsidize your adversary?

The Ruckus Society trains protesters to disrupt public events and engage in civil disobedience. Yes, Ruckus has been tax-exempt since 1996. Three years later it helped train radicals to rain havoc and rampant property destruction on Seattle during a World Trade Organization conference. Very charitable, wouldn’t you agree?

One final example: The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) which is alleged to have links to Hamas, a State Department designated terrorist group, has at least thirteen 501(c)(3) tax-exempt groups in the USA. During 2011, CAIR reported $8.7-million in revenues and $6.4-million in assets. It also boasts a multi-million dollar lobbying organization. Isn’t it ironic that the IRS saw fit to declare CAIR a Public Charity worthy of tax-exempt status, while putting the Tea Party through the wringer?

Once the Congress finishes its investigation of the IRS Tea Party scandal, it would do well to take a comprehensive look at how “charity” is defined for the purpose of granting tax exemptions. Failure to do so will amount to taxation without representation for millions of real American taxpayers.

Via email

BOOK REVIEW of Vahrenholt and Luning's "The Neglected Sun". Review by by Thomas Cussans

In June 1997, addressing the United Nations, Bill Clinton made a dramatic assertion. ‘The science is clear and compelling,’ he said. ‘We humans are changing the global climate.’

In fact, Clinton was behind the curve. Well before his claim, the belief in a ‘settled science’ that human CO2 emissions would produce an unprecedented and catastrophic rise in the Earth’s temperatures had become an unchallenged truth. Governments across the world, most obviously in the West, embraced it with a kind of masochistic delight. Green activists were similarly frantic in their assertions of impending disaster. Scenting cheap profits courtesy of immense government grants to produce ‘renewable’ energy, a series of multi-nationals made clear their determination to climb on board the global warming express. No less important, the West’s media took as read that this ‘consensus’ represented an obvious truth.

Towering over this improbable coming-together of vested interests was the United Nations in the shape of its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC, established in 1988 as a supposedly disinterested body that would assemble the world’s leading climate experts to pronounce authoritatively on the impending, self-imposed crisis.

The message was unambiguous. The world was moving towards disaster.

At least until Climategate in 2009, those who dared to question the orthodoxy could be dismissed as cranks. If they were not in the pay of Big Oil, they were ‘anti-science’, even ‘anti-climate’. No less tellingly, they were derided as climate ‘deniers’, a term whose deliberate offensiveness made plain the political motives of those labelling them.

Yet at heart, however politicised it has become, the question of global warming is – and can only be – scientific. Is the world warming? And if so, why? More to the point, does it matter?

For at least the last five years, the orthodox view of global warming as a direct product of CO2 emissions has come under increasing challenge. Intially content to swat away its critics with a kind of high-handed snootiness as the work of precisely those deluded fossil-fuel funded ‘deniers’ we could all safely ignore, the response of the orthodox camp has become increasibly jittery. They have good reasons to be worried.

The authors of The Neglected Sun, Fritz Vahrenholt and Sebastian Lüning, present a compelling series of reasons to say that not only is the belief in human-induced CO2 warming over-stated but that it ignores by far the most obvious influence of the Earth’s climate: the Sun.

The core argument is simple. The Sun may be a minor star in an insignificant part of our galaxy but in human terms it generates a staggering quantity of energy. Every second, it produces 620 million metric tons of hydrogen. It has been doing this for something like four billion years. It is estimated that it will continue to do so for a further 5.4 billion years.

That said, it is subject to a series of cycles: short, medium and longer term. These have clearly played the key role in the Earth’s climate. In the mid term, the most obvious are a series of ice ages, played out over thousands of years, briefly interrupted by warmer periods. The last five of these ice ages each lasted 100,000 years, the intervening warm periods about 10,000 years. Over the last 8,000 years or so, there has a period of unusually benign solar activity. Perhaps co-incidentally, this has precisely coordinated with what, historically, has been called the birth of human civilisation: settled communities, writing, agriculture, the domestication of animals.

In the shorter term still, every subsequent advance in human society has coincided with warmer periods, every reverse with cooler periods. Fast forward again and we find that since about 1850 a further period of modest warming has occurred. The IPCC contends that this warming, in stark contrast to all earlier periods of warming, can only be the consequence of increased CO2 emissions.

Never less than politely, Vahrenholt and Lüning tear this simplistic argument into minute shreds. They reserve their major criticisms for the debasement of the science. The West can clearly cite the scientific method as among its most obvious triumphs. Yet this painstakingly-won advantage is now being sacrificed, they contend, in the interests of activists, egos, political necessity and headlines. In short, the science has been corrupted in the interests of political expediency.

We can take some comfort from this. Truth has a way of winning, however painfully. Patently, Vahrenholt and Lüning have laid out what at the very minimum must be a serious case for calling into question the IPPC orthodoxy. To ignore their arguments can only be an act of deliberate obfuscation or deliberate ignorance.


Nederland hearts Greenpeace

The likelihood that the Russian bear will even notice the Dutch chihuahua is remote

The Dutch foreign minister said Friday he will file suit to recover the Greenpeace ship "Arctic Sunrise," which was seized by the Russian government last month after activists for the environmental group protested at an oil platform in the Arctic Sea.

Frans Timmermans said he would also try to obtain the release of the ship's 30 occupants charged with piracy by Russia via diplomatic channels.

"I feel responsible for the ship and its crew because it's a ship that sails under the Dutch flag," he told reporters in The Hague, Netherlands.

Timmermans said he would file an arbitration suit at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, based in Hamburg, Germany, because it wasn't clear to him whether the ship's seizure was legal. Greenpeace International, which is based in Amsterdam, denies any wrongdoing and describes the charges as absurd.

The Russian Coast Guard seized the ship and crew after a Sept. 18 protest at the platform, which is owned by the Russian state-controlled oil company Gazprom. The activists are being held in the northern Russian city of Murmansk.

"I really want to consult with my Russian get these people freed as soon as possible," Timmermans said. "I don't understand why this could be thought to have anything to do with piracy; I don't see how you could think of any legal grounds for that."

He added he was open to hear the Russian point of view. Russian investigators filed the piracy charges, which can result in a 15-year prison term upon conviction, this week.

"Our ship was illegally detained in international waters following a peaceful protest against Arctic oil drilling and we hope that other states, especially the countries whose nationals are among the detained, will support the Netherlands in this commendable initiative," said Greenpeace lawyer Jasper Teulings.

In addition to Russia the activists hail from 17 other countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Britain, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States.

The platform, which belongs to Gazprom's oil subsidiary, is the first offshore rig in the Arctic. It was deployed to the vast Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Pechora Sea in 2011, but its launch has been delayed by technological challenges. Gazprom said in September that it was going to start pumping oil this year but did not provide the exact date.




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


4 October, 2013

Is Australia unusually warm this year?

There have been reports to that effect -- excerpt below -- but in the absence of global warming they are of only passing interest. Some parts of the globe will always be warmer than others while yet other parts are cooler. It is the average that is of interest, not cherry-picked components of the whole dataset.

And note that all Australian reports derive from BoM, Australia's official meteorologists. And how they work is a marvel indeed. After their "adjustments", a falling temperature in the raw data can become a rising one! They "adjust" their conclusions to say whatever they want. They have no credibility at all as a source of scientifically accurate data. See here and here and here

They also have a quite poor climate record at their disposal anyway. The lack of good history alone at the BoM makes their pronouncements of "hottest" etc. of dubious worth. It should be remembered that Watkin Tench recorded Sydney temperatures very similar to this year's unusually high Sydney maximum in 1790. BoM records are a long way short of 1790 (Yes. 1790. Not 1970)

Winter may just be ending in Australia, but temperatures are already summerlike. September was one for the record books, with hot temperatures that baked the country from the outback to the coasts and made this the hottest September in the country’s 104 years of record-keeping. The warm start to Australia’s spring keeps the country on a path to having its warmest year on record. Following a wet winter, warmer-than-average conditions have also put parts of the country on watch for yet another intense wildfire season.

Nationally, September temperatures averaged nearly 5°F above normal. That beat the previous hottest September, set in 1983, by a full 2°F. This September also happened to be the most anomalously warm month of record, narrowly edging April 2005 by 0.2°F. In other words, Australia has never had a month so freakishly above average.

Parts of Australia experienced temperatures that were nearly 10°F above average this September, which was Australia's hottest on September record.

The unusually warm weather wasn’t isolated to a specific part of the country. Of the seven states in Australia, five experienced record-high average temperatures. However, the two regions where records weren’t set, Tasmania and Western Australia, weren’t far behind. This was Tasmania’s third warmest September and Western Australia’s fourth warmest.

Though September was record-setting, August also had a notable ending. On August 31, the last day of winter, average temperatures reached 85.9°F. That’s the warmest last day of winter recorded in Australia.

The warm weather is part of longer-term hot streak for the "Land Down Under." Temperatures soared so high in January, during the continent's summer season, that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology famously had to add a new color to its temperature map to account for the unrelenting heat.

The summer of 2013 ended up being Australia's hottest on record, and since January, monthly temperatures have stayed above normal. The average temperature for the year-to-date is 2.8°F above normal. If the year ended today, this would be Australia's hottest year-to-date, putting it ahead of 2005 by a full half a degree Fahrenheit.


DOE chief: Solyndra loan program “terrific success”

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz dismissed the "controversy" surrounding the loan program that gave taxpayer funding to a now-bankrupt solar energy company, calling the program "a terrific success" despite the high-profile bankruptcies.

"The loan guarantee program has had some controversy. Let me say flatly: It's been a terrific success, and a $35 billion loan portfolio has had two percent of defaults, 10 percent of the reserve fund that the Congress itself put aside for what is advancement of risky technologies," Moniz told reporters on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers."

"Utility-scale solar energy, for example, has been an enormous beneficiary of that, where the department's initial loan guarantees got the first projects going. Since then, 10 large projects have gone forward with completely private financing," he said.

Solyndra was the flagship of the DOE loan program. “Solyndra expects to hire a thousand workers to manufacture solar panels and sell them across America and around the world,” President Obama said during a 2010 visit to the company.


Remembering the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo

This fall marks the fortieth anniversary of the Arab oil embargo, a painful episode in American history that had a profound effect on both the economy and psyche of the United States. It began in mid-October 1973, following the US decision to resupply Israel with weaponry after Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.

In response to President Nixon’s decision, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Arab members of OPEC, declared an embargo and cut off oil supplies to the United States and its allies.

In the three months after the embargo was announced, oil prices quadrupled, from $3 to $12 per barrel. Yes, twelve bucks would be a monumental bargain in these days of $100-a-barrel crude, but back then it sent shock waves through developed country economies.

Meanwhile, the supply disruptions forced American motorists to wait for hours in long lines to get gasoline. The US government response was largely limited to attempts to reduce consumption, by lowering the national speed limit to 55 mph and asking people to refrain from decorating with holiday lights, to reduce the use of oil that then powered many generating plants.

During the 1970s, Washington also launched efforts that still continue today. Those efforts would purportedly increase the nation’s energy independence by promoting conservation and energy-efficient appliances, nuclear power, and “alternative” energy development via tax breaks, mandates and subsidies for ethanol, wind and solar energy. Our three branches of state and federal government did very little to expand leasing and drilling, onshore or offshore, in the Lower 48 States or in Alaska; much to block such development; and little to encourage these activities.

In August 1973, just before the embargo, even enacting a law to end incessant lawsuits over the Trans-Alaska Pipeline passed Congress by a single vote (by Vice President Spiro Agnew, following a 49-49 Senate vote). After the embargo hit, Congress finally authorized building the pipeline.

Of course, policies aimed at addressing the nation’s long-term energy needs did nothing to alleviate the crisis of late 1973. The United States and most of the developed world desperately needed liquid fuels – to power cars, trucks and tractors, generate power, produce electricity, and safeguard jobs and living standards. Nuclear power could do nothing to feed their transportation network, and wind and solar installations provided barely measurable amounts of electricity. Lack of preparation hurt us badly.

Environmentalist opposition to all things nuclear and hydrocarbon continues. So does their refusal to acknowledge the land, raw material and wildlife impacts of wind and solar power, or even require an honest accounting of how many birds and bats wind turbines slaughter each year. Even as (or because) fracking proves the United States still has vast untapped riches of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids, they do all they can to delay, block or ban this safe, proven technology.

Now, four decades later, America is still vulnerable to a major and prolonged oil supply disruption. While the Strategic Petroleum Reserve stands ready to cushion an oil shock, it contains barely enough oil to replace imported crude for 93 days. Furthermore, since oil prices are determined globally and affected by political instability, the US economy could still suffer severe repercussions from an oil price spike.

Why does the threat of oil disruptions still plague us? Because of political bickering, regulatory overkill, anti-hydrocarbon ideologies, courts putting almost any ecological argument (no matter how minor or far-fetched) above our need for hydrocarbons – and our government’s systemic inability to focus on the most important issues facing our nation: economic growth, job creation and preservation, and protecting people’s overall health and welfare. Even though petroleum still supplies 63% of the energy that powers our economy, our politicians and policy makers remember the embargo, but ignore its lessons.

Despite the fact that the United States owns some of the world’s largest collective oil resources, about 51% of our oil still comes from other countries. Canada is our largest supplier, but Persian Gulf oil still accounts for almost one-third of total imports. The risk of supply disruptions remains very real.

However, that is just a small part of the problem. Over fourteen million working age Americans are still unemployed, are involuntarily working part-time below their potential and preference, for less pay than with their old jobs – or have simply given up looking for a job. Washington is spending some $3.6 trillion a year, while bringing in only $2.6 trillion in annual revenues. The deficits keep skyrocketing.

The USA could be producing much more of its own oil and natural gas – creating millions of jobs and generating hundreds of billions of dollars in royalty and tax revenues. But it has lacked the political will to open the vast majority of the Outer Continental Shelf. Even the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and the entire East and West Coasts are off limits to leasing and drilling.

The vast majority of US onshore lands owned or controlled by the federal government are likewise off limits, including ANWR and even the Alaskan National Petroleum Reserve. The Obama administration has even increased the regulatory burdens and delays on the few areas it has technically left open, onshore and offshore – while expediting permits and waiving endangered species laws for wind and solar projects. Oil and gas projects have been delayed or scrapped, and virtually all have seen their costs skyrocket.

As a result, our economy has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs and hundreds of billions in salaries. The US Treasury has lost hundreds of billions in bonus, royalty and tax payments. Meanwhile, we continue to subsidize “green” energy, amass debt, and convert millions of jobs from full-time to part-time or no-time. The adverse impacts on people’s lives, livelihoods, living standards and life spans continue to increase.

Were it not for drilling and fracking on state and private lands – in spite of the federal government and constant environmentalist attacks – US oil and gas production would have continued the decline that began in 1970. Instead, due to advanced drilling and production technologies, dedicated entrepreneurs have safely extracted billions of dollars worth of oil and natural gas from shale formations, created 1.7 million jobs, ramped petroleum production back up, and sent almost $100 billion to state treasuries.

Rather than meet our country’s needs for oil and gas, President Obama’s Interior and Energy Departments, EPA and other agencies have strangled our economy in red tape and poured billions of taxpayer dollars down the toilet of ill-conceived, crony-corporatist wind, solar, battery, “green” car and “renewable” fuel projects. Many went belly-up without ever producing any jobs, products or revenues. Worse, the “green” jobs (ie, subsidized by greenbacks) kill 2-4 jobs for every “renewable” job created.

But they ensure that millions of tax dollars return to “green” politicians via campaign contributions, to keep the schemes alive. Tens of millions more are funneled annually through government agencies to eco-activists who work full time to promote renewable energy, oil depletion and climate change myths.

To top it off, five years after the first permit application was submitted, Mr. Obama still refuses to make a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline. That one project would create tens of thousands of high-paying jobs and transport over 800,000 barrels of US and Canadian crude to Texas refineries, which are currently paying $100 for every barrel they refine into gasoline and myriad other products.

In 1973, America was rocked by a shocking truth. Our nation was not prepared to control its own energy, economic, employment, trade and revenue destiny. In 2013, even amid deepening crises in the Middle East, Africa and other regions, we could be poised to repeat mistakes and painful lessons of the past.

Our energy and economic problems continue today, but not because America lacks the resources. They continue because our “leaders” have put their anti-hydrocarbon attitudes and political alliances ahead of the best interests of the American nation and people.


The hard sell of global warming explained

The cargo cult is a system of belief based around the expected arrival of ancestral spirits in ships bringing cargoes of food and other goods, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Sophisticated people also fall prey to such confusion.

Consider global warming, which connects the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide to any and all hot days.

On Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its fifth report finally admitted the climate is not working the way their computer models predicted.

There has been no hockey stick spike in world temperatures since 1998. Instead we are experiencing global samening, even as carbon dioxide has risen to a whopping 0.04 percent of the atmosphere.

"Many governments are demanding a clearer explanation of the slowdown in temperature increases since 1998," reported the BBC ahead of the official release of this report.

Skeptics laughed, most notably Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "I think that the latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence," Lindzen wrote.

"They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase."

Physicist Richard Feynman predicted this nonsense nearly 40 years ago in a commencement speech at Cal Tech. "We've learned from experience that the truth will come out," Feynman said.

"Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Nature's phenomena will agree or they'll disagree with your theory.

"And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven't tried to be very careful in this kind of work.

"And it's this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in Cargo Cult Science."

However, global warming has never been about science but always about politics, which is why an economist and not a scientist heads the IPCC.

The tactics of proponents of this junk science are straight from the Rules for Radicals outlined by Saul Alinsky more than 40 years ago.

Alinsky inspired fellow Chicagoan, Bill Ayers, the terrorist who later became a tenured professor who launched the political career of a community organizer named Barack Obama.

All 12 rules apply, but most applicable are Rules No. 3 ("Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy") and No. 5 ("Ridicule is man's most potent weapon").

Rule No. 3 is why radicals selected global warming as the vehicle to bully the world into adopting their changes.

Schools have eased on their requirements for science decades ago, obviously dropping instruction on photosynthesis, which is how plants convert water and carbon dioxide into the carbohydrates that are the basis of all but a fraction of a percent of life on this planet.

Under Rule No. 5, proponents label skeptics as deniers, and heap scorn upon any skeptic who dares go public with his doubts.

But as Feynman said, the truth will come out; one after another, the predictions of the Al Gore crowd have fallen.

Three record snowstorms in Washington alone have undermined the prediction that snow will disappear.

Also, hurricanes are becoming less frequent and less powerful.

Polar bears are growing in number and now show the classic signs of overpopulation, including smaller bodies and moving outside of their usual habitat as the competition for food intensifies.

Which explains why the IPCC released its fifth assessment report late Friday, when officials dump cargoes of bad news.


Lessons from Australia for the USA?

Realists in the great land down under have finally emerged on top in rebuking epic scams that have wrought disastrous economic consequences. On September 7, the national Liberal Party (not to be confused with the American liberal brand) ousted the climate alarm-promoting Labor Party which had imposed a deeply unpopular and costly carbon tax, or so-called “carbon pricing mechanism”.

A June 2011 poll revealed that almost 60 percent of Australians opposed the tax, while just 28 percent favored the scheme (the rest undecided). As David Briggs of Galaxy polls observed: “The problem for the government is that most voters believe the personal cost outweighs the environmental benefits.” Many opponents also believed that man-made global warming theories are a “hoax”.

The resounding defeat of the Green Party-backed Labor Party following 6 years in power comes at a time when it is abundantly clear that the UN IPCC’s alarming computer model-based predictions of global warming got it wonderfully wrong in light of the past 15-17 years of flat temperatures despite increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. To top off that inconvenient good news, the Arctic ice sheet which was supposed to have disappeared has been rapidly expanding....

A Teachable Lesson for America

As American Energy Alliance spokesman Benjamin Cole notes: “The results of the election should be an instructive lesson for U.S. lawmakers who have yet to understand the economic consequences of a carbon tax.” He warns that “Given the results of Aussies’ election, U.S. policymakers who want to replicate the failed Australian experiment on the U.S. economy will do so at their own peril.” Some lawmakers who support it are already feeling a political sting.

AEA has recently targeted Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich and North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan with anti-campaign ads for their favorable March votes on measures attached to a non-binding Senate Democratic budget which amounted to support for a carbon tax. Begich and Hagan both also voted against an amendment by Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt that would have blocked a carbon tax. In addition, Begich voted in favor of an amendment by Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse that called for a “fee on carbon pollution.” Begich and Hagan, who both face reelection in 2014, have called the ads misleading.

Remarkably, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and economist Nobel laureate Gary Becker, two senior fellows at Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution, co-authored an April 8 Wall Street Journal article advocating a “revenue neutral” tax on carbon. They began by saying, “Americans like to compete on a level playing field to win on competitive merits.” They then go on to argue that the way to level that playing field is to introduce that tax on what they described as a “major pollutant” to “encourage producers and consumers to shift towards energy sources that emit less carbon – such as toward gas-fired power plants and away from coal-fired plants – and generate greater demand for electric and flex-fuel cars and lesser demand for conventional gasoline-powered cars.”

The op-ed piece proposed that this can be accomplished in two possible ways. It might be imposed upon the population-at-large at the point of consumption (gasoline stations and electricity bills), or alternatively, could be collected as a tax at the production level to “greatly reduce the number of collection points” through the IRS or Social Security Administration. In the case of using IRS, “an annual distribution could be made to every taxpayer and recipient of the Earned Tax Credit. In the case of SSA, the distribution could be made in terms proportionate to the dollars involved, to everyone either paying into the system or receiving benefits from it.”

And you thought income redistribution was just a liberal Democrat thing?

Sadly, they aren’t the only prominent and usually brilliant conservatives who seem to have sampled the carbon tax Kool-Aid. Reagan economist Arthur Laffer has said he would support such a tax in exchange for a payroll or income tax reduction; Bush 43 economist Greg Mankiw supports a global tax; and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a senior advisor to John McCain in 2008, wants a tax to provide the energy industry with regulatory “certainty.”

President Clinton attempted a similar gambit nearly 20 years ago with a proposed tax on energy use. His so-called “BTU tax”, which would have been imposed upon every segment of the economy, provoked a brutal backlash that should have been no big surprise. He and congressional Dems soon caved in to demands of a vocal anti-BTU coalition which included small businesses, the agriculture sector, the building trades, the transportation industry, manufacturers, and even social-service organizations representing poor and homeless clients who rely upon affordable gasoline and heating fuel.

As with Australia, this experience constituted another teachable moment. (The great English writer Samuel Johnson observed, “There is nothing like a hanging to concentrate the mind.”) One year later , in November 1994, Republicans took over control of the House for the first time in decades.

Raise your hand if you truly believe that a “revenue neutral” carbon tax has any chance of being enacted, or if so, staying that way for very long.

For the rest of you, expect that a newly imposed carbon tax would be revenue neutral only briefly, at best, and then become but one more cookie jar to raid in futile attempts to keep up with escalating demands of government’s spending addiction. And if you harbor any illusions that those tax rates won’t increase over time, consider a lesson taken from European VAT experience. Since the time it was implemented, the initial VAT rate of 10 percent in Germany has climbed to 19 percent, in France it is up from 13.6 percent to 19.6 percent, and in several other countries VAT rates now exceed 20 percent.

Also remember that from a social cost perspective, carbon taxes are, by nature, regressive, meaning that they inflict largest pain burdens upon low-income households. This is something that liberals, who claim to care more about such matters than heartless conservatives do, should begin to think about.

Such policies, driven by unfounded climate alarmism, motivated by Green crony capitalism, and embracing the vision of transforming America into a European-style socialist welfare state, will impose unacceptable social and economic costs. And as the Australian experience demonstrates, the damage will come at a high political price for those responsible as well.


Verbatim "Climate" Journalism

By Alan Caruba

On September 27 I was reading my Wall Street Journal as usual when I turned the page to read the following headline: “U.N. Affirms Human Role in Global Warming.” There is no human role in global warming and there is no global warming. The Earth has been in a cooling cycle for the past seventeen years.

The Journal article began “Stockholm—A landmark United Nations report issued Friday reaffirmed the growing believe that human activity is the dominant cause because a rise in global temperatures and reiterated that a long-term planetary warming trend is expended to continue.”

I concluded that the Journal had fallen into the common error of “verbatim reporting”, another way of saying that the two reporters bylined on the article had done nothing more than take the UN news release regarding the “summary report” of this week’s fifth “Assessment Report” (AR5) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and then embellished it with a few calls to people identified as experts or spokespersons.

This isn’t journalism. It’s public relations. I know because I practiced both of these magical arts for many years. All governments, all institutions, all organizations, and all enterprises of every description practice public relations. The job of journalists, however, is to lend some balance to the claims or to expose outright lies.

Much to its credit, a September 30 Journal editorial eviscerates the article, noting that the IPCC’s latest report is a “flimsy intellectual scaffolding…to justify killing the U.S. coal industry and the Keystone XL pipeline, banning natural gas drilling, imposing costly efficiency requirements for automobiles, light bulbs, washing machines, and refrigerators, and using scare resources to subsidize technologies that even after decades can’t compete on their own in the marketplace.”

Every few years, in order to maintain the fiction of global warming, the IPCC has put out a report that it claims represents the combined wisdom of several hundred scientists and others—in this case 800 of them. I suspect that are far smaller group, a cabal, a coterie, and conspiracy of skilled propagandists actually write the IPCC reports.

Most certainly, in 2009 with the online exposure of hundreds of emails between the so-called climate scientists at the University of East Anglia and others here in the U.S., dubbed “climategate”, we learned that they had been deliberately falsifying the outcomes of their computer models and, at the time, were growing increasingly worried over the obvious cooling occurring.

What was striking about the totally uncritical Journal article was that even The New York Times—long an advocate of the global warming hoax—actually took note of the many scientists who have long since repudiated and debunked it. It reported that “The Heartland Institute, a Chicago organization, issued a document last week saying that any additional global warming would likely be limited to a few tenths of a degree and that this ‘would not represent a climate crisis.’” The Institute has created a website of useful information at

As usual, one often has to read a British newspaper such as the Telegraph to get the other side of the story. It, too, took note of the Heartland Institute that, since 2008, has sponsored eight international conferences that brought together leading scientists to rebut the IPCC lies. In addition, it has released “Climate Change Reconsidered II”, a report that disembowels the IPCC’s report. The Telegraph quoted Prof. Bob Carter, a contributor to the Heartland report, who criticized the IPCC for its “profoundly distorted” view of climate science, calling it a “political body” that was “destroying the essence of the scientific method.”

In a commentary posted on the widely-visited website, Watts Up With That, by Anthony Watts, two leading skeptics of global warming, Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger described the IPCC’s AR5 as a “Humpty Dumpty-esque report once claiming to represent the ‘consensus of scientists’ (that) has fallen from its exalted wall and cracked to pieces under the burdensome weight of its own cumbersome and self-serving processes, which is why all the government’s scientists and all the government’s men cannot put the IPCC report together again.”

The IPCC report, said Michaels and Knappenberger, was rendered “not only obsolete on its release, but completely useless as a basis to form opinions (or policy) related to human energy choices and the influence on the climate.” They concluded by recommending that “The IPCC report should be torn up and tossed out, and with it, the entire IPCC process which produced such a misleading (and potentially dangerous) document.”

For the layman who has little or no knowledge of climate science or meteorology, it is sufficient to know that none of the claims put forth about global warming have come true. None of the claims being made again will come true. Indeed, given the cycles of ice ages, the present cooling could turn into a new one.




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


3 October, 2013

Warmist Prof. in NYTimes: Failure of climate models vs. reality not important since we use them to predict the future

Reality does not seem to matter much to Leftists either.

If your models have no demonstrated predictive skill, relying on them is faith, not science. Predictive skill is the first test of a model and a demonstration of no skill means back to the drawing board.

But Warmism is not science but a religion -- one in a centuries-old succession of apocalyptic religions (calamity predictions). Check just William Miller and Charles Taze Russell for the 19th century but you can easily go all the way back to the tenth century for "end of the world" predictions. And two of the earliest such predictions are to be found in Matthew Chap. 24 (note the urgency of verse 34) and Genesis chapters 6 & 7

Mankind is a religious creature and any system of thought that satisfies the religious craving will be powerful. People have often died for their religion. Warmists just lie for it

There will certainly be a lot of obfuscation around the new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the body charged by the United Nations to monitor information on climate change — and especially involving the results demonstrating a leveling-off of global temperature in the last 15 years.

But the complete candor and transparency of the panel’s findings should be recognized and applauded. This is science sticking with the facts. It does not mean that global warming is not a problem; indeed it is a really big problem.

Does the leveling-off of temperatures mean that the climate models used to track them are seriously flawed? Not really. It is important to remember that models are used so that we can understand where the Earth system is headed.


Sea-level shenanigans in NC

Panic over sea-levels rising seems to have generated an unusual amount of momentum in North Carolina. All sorts of political follies in response to it were on the political drawing boards. Amazingly, John Droz was almost singlehandedly able to prick the balloon by emphasizing the facts of the matter in any forum he could find.

You can imagine how popular he is with Warmists. So what can only be described as a "hit piece" on him appeared recently in The Daily Climate. In the joke of the day, that publication says of itself "all of our reporting, editing and publishing adheres to the highest standards of journalism, including honesty, accuracy, balance and objectivity." In fact, like all hit pieces, its article about Droz consists of half truths, inaccuracies, innuendos, lies and omissions. Droz has sent them a reply pointing that out, as follows:

Some Errors of Commission

At your request I'll give you a few examples of the errors and misrepresentations in your Daily Climate piece...

1 - The title is more than "catchy" (your description) as it is really absurd, and only fuels the BS that SLR is a political issue. It is not!

2 - Under the intro pix it says "State planners cannot take future sea-level rise projections into account," That is totally false. They can not take SLR acceleration into their regulations, which is a completely different situation. They can use future linear SLR into account.

3 - The next paragraph says "John Droz has notched a remarkable record fighting sea-rise science". That also is totally false. The only SLR "science" I have been fighting is political science. I gave you the two studies (almost 50 pages) that refuted the CRC's report, and they unequivocally show that their paper is NOT based on science, but rather the opinion of a single (controversial) researcher. Dozens of much more qualified PhDs were cited in my papers showing the fatal flaws of his models.

4 - "John Droz has notched a remarkable record fighting... coastal development limits". I have no idea what that is about, as I have had no involvement with coastal development limits. So, another false statement.

5 - "John Droz Jr. is not the stereotypical back-room political player". I am not a "back-room" player in any regard, as I have been VERY public about every position I take, and why. For example, each of the presentations I gave the NC legislators is online for EVERY citizen to see. My name and email is listed there for EVERY citizen to respond to. The innuendo that I am working behind the scenes is misleading to say the least.

6 - "He's ... a political heavyweight" I am not a political heavyweight in any regards. I am simply a citizen who has the temerity to speak out — and saying things that many people find to be sensible. Just because almost all the other noise is from lobbyists hardly makes me a heavyweight.

7 - "Yet this ... self-described environmental advocate" My exceptional environmental track record is public and available for anyone to see. To categorize it that it is "self-described" is an offensive and false innuendo.

8 - "He ...spends much of his time quietly and effectively plying the halls of power in Raleigh, N.C" Again a false impression. I go to Raleigh maybe twice a year, and I hardly "ply the halls" as some paid lobbyists would, as this sentence implies. Again, there is little I do that is "quiet" either, as I have been very open about the Science behind the issues.

This is just the problems in the first two paragraphs. Most of the rest is similarly inaccurate.

Part 2: Errors of Omission

Below are the key highlight points of what actually happened regarding the NC SLR situation, and my involvement. I explained all of these to you in our extended interview, in emails, in phone calls, in documents I provided you, and in links I referenced you to (e.g. here).

Fact #1: I was asked (as an independent scientist), by my county (Carteret) commissioners to provide them scientific help.
[Contrast this with the article's impression that I am some political busy-body, stalking the halls of Raleigh in the dead of night. Note that my SLR involvement had nothing to do with politics or Raleigh.]

Fact #2: The scientific help I was asked for, was to critique a specific 2010 SLR report issued by a CRC's Science Panel.
[I wasn't asked for — and did not provide — a SLR assessment for NC. Again, in this context, note the absurdity of the article's title. The only thing that was "stopped" was the implementation of this unscientific report.]

Fact #3: My response to the Commissioner's request was publicly published as: Report #1a, Report #1b, and Report #2.
[Where was any of this explained in the article, or the links provided so that readers could see this key information for themselves? I asked you whether you had carefully read these reports and you said yes. I asked you whether you had any questions on these reports and you said no.]

Fact #4: These reports were not from me, but were a compilation of comments about the CRC documents, by over thirty SLR experts (several with PhDs in oceanography). Most of those experts were identified in the reports.
[Was all of this explained in the article?]

Fact #5: The combined SLR expertise of the 30+ contributors to the reports I issued, far exceeds the combined SLR expertise of the NC CRC Science Panel.
[Was this significant fact spelled out in the article?]

Fact #6: The NC CRC Science Panel was given numerous opportunities to professionally respond to our critiques (e.g. a personal meeting with their CRC boss, Bob Emory). At no time did they acknowledge any of the numerous errors and deficiencies of their report. Instead they launched a character assassination campaign on the messenger, me.
[Is this the way real scientists behave? No.]

Fact #7: Because of this intransigence (not because I'm a political back-room operative), I was asked to give a presentation of this important state matter to NC legislators. I did do that in late 2011. Note that this is still online today, i.e. open for anyone to examine.
[Does the article put this in an accurate perspective? Compare the article to this more objective reporting.]

Fact #8: H819 was written by one of the attendees at my Raleigh SLR talk. H819 was also in direct response to the intransigence of the CRC Science Panel.
[So the CRC and their Science Panel brought this on themselves. If they had corrected the errors in their report, none of this would have happened.]

Fact #9: H819 was written Dr. Jeff Warren. His PhD happens to be in an oceanography related field.
[Dr. Warren's SLR qualifications meet or exceed those of any of the CRC Science Panel members. Were these significant matters conveyed in the article?]

Fact #10: H819 is not an attack on SLR (NC or otherwise), but is strictly a response to the CRC Science Panel's 2010 report.
[Those that write that this bill is about anything else are either purposefully ignorant of the facts (as they are all out there), or they have chosen to distort this story to suit their own political agenda.]

If you dispute any of the above basic facts, please provide me the documentation that shows I am in error, and I will correct what I have written here.

Otherwise, the question is: does this article present these facts, sequentially, explained in proper perspective? Not even remotely.

As such it is a grossly inadequate and misleading recounting of a significant scientific matter. For shame.

Via email

IPCC Reaches A Tipping Point

“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia." -- AFP: UN climate report: Key points

The IPCC has now abandoned any attempt to base their claims on facts. Historical data shows that the climate has gotten better since the 1950s.

US droughts were the worst in the 1950s

Violent tornadoes are down

Major hurricane landfalls peaked in the 1950s, and are down to historic lows in the current decade.

Record daily temperatures have declined in the US since the 1950s.

More HERE (See the original for links

A coup de grâce to coal

A funny thing happened on the way to the coal plant the other day. But it wasn’t ha-ha funny. In fact, it was tragic – and on multiple levels. Tragic in that the federal government is overreaching yet again. Tragic in that it is making a major policy change based on questionable assumptions – again. And most tragic of all in that it is openly destroying an industry for no other reason than some people in Washington do not like it.

On Sept. 20, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a new carbon dioxide emission standard that analysts say will preclude the construction of new coal-fired power plants. This is a bold move, even from the administration that brought us Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. Coal power has long been Americans’ most affordable source of electricity, mainly because we have so much of it here at home.

As much of the nation continues to struggle with significant unemployment, higher electricity bills are the last Christmas present anyone needs. Yet, President Obama seems more concerned about the demands of his environmentalist supporters, who will implement their anti-carbon agenda at any cost.

I have to give the man credit for finally acknowledging something that my organization, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has been saying for years: Yes, Virginia, there is a war on coal. And just like other governmental regulatory wars – on tobacco, genetically modified crops, even lawn darts – it is nothing more than the use of power to force individuals and businesses to change behaviors that some in government find offensive.

The EPA’s proposed emissions standard would, for the first time, place uniform national limits on the amount of carbon dioxide coal and natural gas power plants will be allowed to emit in the future. It would mandate use of carbon capture and sequestration technology that is not even commercially available – and no doubt will be extremely expensive even if it does become available in future decades. Think about that for a second. The federal government has told an industry that to continue operating it must start using technology that essentially does not exist.

You might say, “Well, we do want clean air, right?” Sure, everyone wants clean air, just like everyone wants cleaner sidewalks, safer streets and cheaper medicine. But when the government institutes sweeping regulation purportedly to advance any one of these goals, we must ask: Does this regulation actually do what it’s supposed to do, and at what cost? Not even the wiliest Washington bureaucrat can mandate a free lunch into existence.

There is much about this new emissions standard that is upsetting.

First, its very foundation is questionable. The EPA’s proposed performance standards, which require carbon capture and storage, are largely modeled on a facility in Mississippi that is still under construction and not expected to begin operation until next spring and could not have been built without government money to begin with. In other words, the heavily subsidized facility that is supposed to theoretically demonstrate a plant’s appropriate performance level does not even exist yet!

Second, the EPA’s justification for the rule depends on a concept called the “social cost” of carbon – a highly subjective estimate of carbon dioxide emissions’ effect on humans and the environment.

Measuring it relies on assumptions about climate sensitivity and other complex issues – for example, how much an incremental increase in carbon will affect warming, how warming will affect sea levels, how much sea level changes will affect agriculture and how people may adapt to any changes. These issues are in no way settled. Yet, by feeding certain assumptions into a model and tweaking the parameters, government officials claim to be able to “measure” a social cost of carbon well into the future that justifies significant emissions regulation. Essentially, this would involve bureaucrats putting models in place that effectively give them the results they want.

Here’s the bottom line. Industries come and go all the time. Companies go bankrupt and the towns where they are located go quiet when market demand shifts to make a once-valued product obsolete. It’s a tough thing when people lose their livelihoods after an industry falls out of favor with consumers. But when industries die naturally through the ever-regenerating processes of creative destruction and competition, that’s a consequence of living in a free society – and essential for innovation and progress.

Yet, when the federal government decides to use the law to kill an industry, that’s an entirely different animal. It’s not just the thousands of people who work in the coal industry who will suffer – it’s all of us. Politicians and bureaucrats have an atrocious record in their efforts to pick industrial winners and losers. Giving them more power to decide which industries live or die is the surest way of bringing innovation and progress to a screeching halt.


Russia Busts Greenpeace?

By Alan Caruba

I must confess I had a moment of schadenfreud—taking pleasure in another’s misfortune—when I read that, in late September, the Russians had seized the Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise, and towed it to the port of Murmansk after Greenpeace personnel had boarded a Russian oil platform, “Priraslomnaya”, in the Pechora Sea.

Russia called the thirty people arrested “pirates” and, if found guilty, they face sentences from ten to fifteen years in prison. Five of them were Russians while the others came from some seventeen nations, including the United States.

Greenpeace is best known for its propaganda tactics, the latest being the trespass of the oil platform, but in 2009, while Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior was docked in Copenhagen, the tables were turned when members of CFACT, a U.S. think tank devoted to debunking environmental claims, boarded it and, while distracting the crew with donuts, hung a banner that obscured the word “Rainbow” with “Propaganda” turning it into the Propaganda Warrior.

A CFACT spokesman said that the piracy charged seemed too severe, but thought lesser charges should apply. Even Russian President Putin said that piracy did not apply, but their actions were reckless. “We can’t help but appreciate the irony. Greenpeace conducts ongoing campaigns for greater government control over individuals. In Russia, they may get a taste of where that leads.”

Greenpeace has incurred the wrath of many with its aggressive, attention-grabbing tactics and, in 1985 French Special Forces sunk the original Rainbow Warrior when it was docked in New Zealand. Ultimately, an international court ruled that France had to pay Greenpeace $8 million. More recently, Greenpeace campaigners who scaled the chimney of the UK’s Kingsnorth coal power plant were acquitted.

While the incidents Greenpeace stages are intended to draw attention to it, most people are unaware of how large the organization is. It has offices in more than forty nations as it pursues its campaigns devoted to global warming, deforestration, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering, and anti-nuclear issues.

One of its founders, Patrick Moore, became a critic of what he deemed the organization’s scare tactics and disinformation campaigns. In 2005 he said that the environmental movement had “abandoned science and logic in favor of emotion and sensationalism” and was devoted to inventing “doom and gloom scenarios” to advance an agenda that is essentially opposed to many scientific and technological advances that enhance the lives of billions around the world.

Greenpeace says it depends on 2.9 million individual supporters and on foundation grants, but a recent article by Nick Nichols, a retired crisis management expert and author of “Rules for Corporate Warriors”, examined the cost of tax exemptions noting that “three tax-exempt Greenpeace organizations in the U.S. reported $39.2 million in revenue and $20.6 million in assets in 2011.” Other environmental groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council also were worth millions and were exempted from taxes.

Consider the furor of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of Tea Party movement groups seeking a similar tax exemption, it tells you just how agenda-driven the IRS is when it comes to groups that claim they are charitable or educational. Nichols notes that both New Zealand and Canada have stripped Greenpeace of its charity status.

While Greenpeace and comparable Green organizations enjoy tax exemptions that would otherwise generate millions, they are also engaged in a wide range of activities intended to undermine its economic welfare. From opposing coal mining to nuclear energy, these groups do everything they can to deny Americans the benefits of affordable and vital sources of energy. They continue to claim that global warming is going to destroy the planet despite the growing body of information that demonstrates it is a hoax.

Patrick Moore recently lead a demonstration outside the Greenpeace office in Toronto, Canada, regarding the Greenpeace opposition to genetically modified rice, known as Golden Rice for its vitamin A content.

His banner read “Greenpeace’s Crime Against Humanity—Eight million Children Dead.” For lack of sufficient vitamin A, the World Health Organization estimates that up to 500,000 become blind every year and half of them die within a year of becoming blind as the result of this nutritional deficiency that affects an estimated 250 million pre-school children worldwide.

Russia has provided an object lesson in how to deal with these Green “warriors” on oil, coal, and nuclear energy, and other issues that harm people. Having saved Obama from complete humiliation when he proposed bombing Syria, Russia now demonstrates how to deal with propagandists whose love for the Earth excludes the humanity that calls it home.


Australia: How animal extremists and officious bureaucrats devastated a family business

Animal activists, with the help of gullible reporters, help to destroy a family business - and those depending on it - with dodgy allegations. The ABC’s Landline explains:

PIP COURTNEY, PRESENTER: In November 2011, allegations of animal cruelty were levelled at an abattoir in regional Victoria…

Authorities quickly shut down the abattoir, sending a ripple effect through the local community, leading to job losses and business closures. But the most serious charges were dropped before the matter ever went to court, raising questions about the tactics of the animal right groups, Animals Australia, and the behaviour of the Victorian Government body responsible for the prosecution, PrimeSafe…

COLIN GILES, ABATTOIR OWNER:… We’ve been through two years of hell.

Monday November 21, 2011, dawned like most at LE Giles & Sons Abattoir.

The abattoir, small by modern standards, processed cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. On that day, it was killing pigs and 60 of them quietly awaited slaughter in the holding pen. Mid-morning a visitor arrived. She gave her name as Kate and was led up to the killing floor.

JAMES RODEWELL, FORMER ABATTOIR SUPERVISOR: On the way up I had a discussion with her and asked her what she was doing and she said, ‘I’m just taking a few photos for a university project I’m doing.’…

COLIN GILES: She came in under the guise of being a photography student.

BRUCE GILES, FORMER ABBATTOIR WORKER: She lied who her proper name and everything. And we had let schools in before.... So we’ve never, ever been shy of showing the place off…

TIM LEE: This time the Giles family’s open approach to the public proved disastrous. Kate was in fact Sarah Lynch, a well-known animal rights activist… [As] the last few pens of 60 pigs were stunned electronically prior to slaughter, she got the footage she was seeking… Sarah Lynch raced the footage back to Melbourne to Animals Australia, which contacted PrimeSafe… Animals Australia claimed to have evidence of widespread cruelty at Giles Abattoir.

PrimeSafe then contacted LE Giles & Sons and ordered an immediate halt to all work…

TIM LEE: Colin Giles alleges they were told by PrimeSafe that unless they complied they faced the possibility of jail… For Terry and Sandra McPhee the closure spelt catastrophe. At Neerim South in the Eastern Ranges they’d built a fledgling, but thriving, enterprise raising prime quality meat goats. ..

SANDRA MCPHEE: Devastating.... It was coming up to Christmas and we had a lot of Christmas orders ready to go, but we had no abattoir to slaughter the animals for us…

TIM LEE: The abattoir’s closure had an immediate impact on stock markets the length of Gippsland and beyond… It took a terrible toll on Ray Giles.

MORRIS GILES: He withdrew into himself. We had trouble getting him out of the house. He just was… just was traumatic, absolutely traumatic to see what it’s done to him. You know he’s, at the moment he’s at the Warringal Hospital undergoing therapy. We don’t know whether he will ever be the man he was.

Dad had a stroke Christmas Eve, Christmas Day…

TIM LEE: By now Colin Giles, quality assurance manager James Rodwell and three of the abattoir slaughtermen had been charged with a number of offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act…

In September 2012 the three slaughtermen pleaded guilty to charges that they failed to ensure pigs did not endure: ‘unreasonable pain and suffering’, during slaughter. The judge found that any cruelty was not deliberate and noted the: ‘significant penalties’, the trio had already endured, including the loss of their jobs.

All three escaped conviction and were each given a twelve-month good behaviour bond.

NEVILLE GILPIN, FORMER SLAUGHTERMAN: It come down to a financial thing, where my solicitor said it could cost me a fair bit of money to fight this charge and not having a job and a daughter to put through uni I just took the easy way out, yes.

TIM LEE: However, Colin Giles and James Rodwell were determined to have their day in court.

But that day never came. The case was due to be heard here at the Morwell Magistrates’ Court on Monday, April 15. But on the Friday the Giles family was told all charges against them had been dropped because the DPI’s lawyers believed there was little chance of a successful prosecution…

TIM LEE: Funding their legal defence had cost the Giles family more than $150,000 ... and it was pitted against the bottomless resources of the State Solicitor’s Office acting for the Department of Primary Industries.The cost of justice appeared prohibitive, so the family reluctantly accepted the legal truce. But the sudden abandonment of such a high-profile case has only fuelled speculation of gross injustice…

Sarah Lynch took footage of one pig which escaped from the killing pen and got onto the abattoir floor.

COLIN GILES: There was four or five blokes along here with knives and pouches and things on, and they’d left a sledgehammer up against the hide puller because they were doing a job and it had jammed or something, and the blokes just grabbed it and - which it says in the regs that, you know, in those sort of circumstances, as a safety thing, blunt trauma can be used… There was no cruelty in it. And that was the first charge that the DPI dropped, was the blunt trauma one…

TIM LEE: Neville Gilpin alleges that Sarah Lynch caused that pig to escape. He claimed she’d stressed them by being far too close… Animals Australia is unwilling to discuss the case.




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


2 October, 2013

Junk science: More food is bad for caribou?

An earlier melt in Arctic regions means that plants emerge earlier and are bigger than they would otherwise be at any one point in time. So grazing animals have more food. But the galoots below argue that caribou have LESS food after an early melt. To reach that amazing conclusion, the galoots below have to assert that only "young, tender" greenery can be eaten by caribou -- which is utter hogwash. Caribou are ruminants, with powerful four-chambered digestive systems designed to break down almost any vegetable matter. And they eat everything from lichens to tree leaves. Which shows again that there's no such thing as an honest Warmist

The melting of arctic sea ice is indirectly leading to higher mortality among caribou calves, new research suggests.

Penn State University biologists Eric Post and Jeffrey Kerby have unravelled the links between sea ice loss, the timing of plant growth on land and caribou breeding in Greenland over the past two decades.

'The animals show up expecting a food bonanza, but they find that the cafeteria already has closed.'- Jeffrey Kerby, biologist

They have discovered that as the Arctic climate warms, plants are emerging earlier. That means they have become older and less nutritious by the time the caribou arrive at their breeding grounds looking for tender young shoots to nourish them in preparation for giving birth.

"The animals show up expecting a food bonanza, but they find that the cafeteria already has closed," said Kerby in a statement.

Arctic sea ice has been melting in recent decades, and the area of the Arctic that is covered by ice during the summer has been declining.

The researchers found that less sea ice was closely linked to higher average temperatures inland during late May and early June, when caribou arrive at the breeding site they have used for 3,000 years. The warmer the temperatures, the earlier plants emerged.

However, the caribou tended to give birth at the same time every year, regardless of when the plants emerged.

The researchers found that when a greater majority of plants had already emerged at the average date that the caribou gave birth, the mortality rate of the calves increased and fewer survived.

The researchers published their results Tuesday online in Nature Communications.

Post and his colleagues had previously found a link between the earlier timing of plants emerging after the winter and higher mortality among caribou calves. However, the new study makes a link between that mismatch and climate-related environmental factors such as temperature and sea ice loss.

Post was also the lead author of a study published in April that suggested warming related to the loss of sea ice might have a range of impacts on land animals, including disrupting the food sources of animals such as caribou. That study also warned that in the Canadian Arctic, the later freeze-up of the ice and increased ship traffic could affect the annual migration of the Dolphin and Union caribou herds.

Climate change-linked mismatches in the timing between the arrival of animals to an area and the peak availability of their food have already been linked to the decline of populations of other species, such as bees and songbirds.


Allow Golden Rice Now!

At 10 AM on October 2 the global campaign Allow Golden Rice Now! will be launched in front of the Greenpeace offices at 33 Cecil Street, in Toronto, Ontario. Dr. Patrick Moore will lead the demonstration with a banner that reads:

'Greenpeace's Crime Against Humanity
* Eight Million Children Dead

Details of the campaign and the demonstration will be released at an information session to be held tonight, October 1, at 7 PM at the Pauper's Pub at 539 Bloor Street West, Toronto.

The aim of the campaign is to convince Greenpeace that it should make an exception to its immoral and lethal zero-tolerance position on genetic modification – and allow and support the distribution of Golden Rice, on humanitarian grounds. The World Health Organization estimates that up to 500,000 children become blind each year due to vitamin A deficiency. Half of them die within a year of becoming blind. About 250 million preschool children worldwide suffer from vitamin A deficiency, among the nearly 3 billion people who depend on rice as their staple food.

Conventional rice has no beta-carotene, the nutrient that humans need to produce vitamin A. In 1999 Dr. Ingo Potrykus and Dr. Peter Beyer, both science professors who were aware of this humanitarian crisis, invented Golden Rice after a nine-year effort. By inserting genes from corn, they were able to cause rice plants to produce beta-carotene in the rice kernel. It is beta-carotene that makes corn golden and carrots orange. Golden Rice can end the blindness, suffering and death caused by vitamin A deficiency. It would be distributed at no cost to poor farmers around the world, to help end this needless humanitarian crisis. Up to now, however, Greenpeace has blocked these efforts, perpetuating the blindness and death.

Field trials in Louisiana, the Philippines and Bangladesh have proven that Golden Rice can be grown successfully. Clinical nutritional trials with animals, adult humans, and vitamin A deficient children have proven that Golden Rice will deliver sufficient vitamin A to cure this affliction. Yet Greenpeace continues to support the violent destruction of the field trials. It also trashes the peer-reviewed science that proves Golden Rice is effective and safe.

We demand that Greenpeace end these immoral, child-killing activities, stop fundraising on this issue, and declare that they are not opposed to Golden Rice. We believe that its continued actions to block Golden Rice constitute a crime against humanity as defined by the United Nations.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines is coordinating the research and development of Golden Rice. The IRRI is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Helen Keller International, USAID, and many agricultural research organizations. Golden Rice is controlled by non-profit organizations, and it produces viable Golden Rice seeds, so farmers are not dependent on any particular supplier.

"The Allow Golden Rice Now! campaign will carry this protest to Greenpeace offices around the world,"ťstated Dr. Moore, a cofounder and former leader of Greenpeace, an organization that many say has become increasingly anti-science and anti-people in recent decades.

"Eight million children have died unnecessarily since Golden Rice was invented. How many more million can Greenpeace carry on its conscience?" Dr. Moore asked.

Via email

More Greenie secrecy

Green group hides environmental ratings of buildings it certifies

U.S. Green Business Council officials have taken the unusual step of concealing the identities of more than 3,000 buildings the group has certified as “green,” the Washington Examiner has learned.

As part of the “green building movement,” each year the USGBC issues “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” certifications for buildings that are supposed to be environmentally healthy, safe and efficient.

The LEED certification is described as a “mark of excellence” that helps the public compare “measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions” with non-LEED properties, according to USGBC.

USGBC officials also claim LEED buildings enjoy lower operational costs, conserve energy and are healthier and safer for building occupants than conventional buildings.

Such claims are hard to verify with USGBC’s online database, which categorizes one in four of the properties as “confidential,” thus preventing their identification or comparison.

USGBC spokesman Marisa Long said the council does not make such properties public if the owners “wish to keep the information private. As a result, USGBC can neither officially confirm nor deny the existence of projects denoted as confidential other than to identify city and state and total square footage within this online resource.”

The secret properties are 3,132 buildings representing 427 million square feet of building stock or 19 percent of all LEED-certified buildings in the country.

Still, the USGBC is a vigorous advocate of what it calls the “green building movement.” Since 2008, the nonprofit received more than $230 million in tax-free revenue in return for its certifications, according to its IRS 990 tax forms.

Data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics show USGBC spent more than $3 million on federal lobbying during the same period.

Governments at the city, state and federal levels offer lucrative tax credits for environmental upgrades and new construction, much of which are the product of USGBC’s advocacy.

A major mystery is why USBGC lists nearly four out of 10 government buildings as secret. The data show that 114 government buildings are confidential, even though the LEED certification process is funded by taxpayer money.

Environmental secrecy for government buildings doesn’t sit well with Brian Swett, Boston’s chief of energy and environment.

He regularly reports the energy and water use for all Boston’s government buildings. “In terms of keeping that secret? Yeah, I don’t understand that,” he said.

The USGBC also reports 56 percent of LEED public safety buildings are secret. Swett said Boston’s police department data is public on the city’s website, including energy and water consumption.

“Yes, we report on energy and water use for both police department headquarters as well as the district branches,” he said.

Some say cherry-picking the data might undermine the USGBC's case. “Given they are using the data to advocate public policy, they should release the data,” said Todd Myers, environmental director of the nonprofit, Seattle-based Washington Policy Center.

The USGBC’s secret classification policy also conflicts with efforts by many cities and states to require full disclosure of building water and energy use.

At least nine cities and two states mandate large commercial building owners must make public environmental information about their properties. Failure to do so can result in substantial fines.

In fact, many of the buildings on USGBC’s list with concealed environmental performance data appear to be exactly the types of properties owners might wish to publicize.

Nearly half of the LEED-certified retail stores located in malls are classified. A third of the LEED restaurants, medical offices and lodging establishments that have won accreditation are secret.

“I don’t understand why you go through the process of getting certified and not tout it as success,” said Boston’s Swett.

LEED certification can be expensive, taking years to document with architects and engineers. Certification and special consultant costs can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Steven Lacey, a senior editor of Greentechmedia, a business-to-business publication focused on the clean energy industry, said he has never heard of a property owner concealing LEED certification.

“I’ve yet to see building owners in my experience that haven’t disclosed that information. That’s a surprise to me,” he said.

“The only thing that comes off the top of my head is performance,” says Lacey. “If a LEED building is performing worse than other buildings around it, then that is a potential problem,” Lacey said.

“I personally have never been part of a project where we kept it confidential,” said Michele Good, director of sustainability of Akridge Properties, which operates LEED-certified properties in the Washington, D.C. region.

Cliff Majersik, executive director of the nonprofit Institute for Market Transformation, which focuses on building energy efficiency, said full disclosure is critical for markets to function.

“Disclosure is important,” Majersik said. “You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Markets need information to function properly. It’s important having the information so that tenants, buyers, appraisers and everyone else can fully value energy efficiency into their decision.”

USGBC’s Long acknowledged the council’s data isn’t transparent, saying, “As part of the ongoing evolution of LEED, we are working to create more transparent and comprehensive approach to information sharing.”


Report Gives The Truth About Climate At Last

The issue under public discussion is that human-related carbon dioxide emissions are causing, or will cause, dangerous global warming.

The issue is not "is climate change happening", for it always is and always has. Nor is it about whether carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas or not, because all scientists agree that it is.

Rather, the key question concerns the magnitude of warming caused by the rather small 7 billion tonnes of industrial carbon dioxide that enter the atmosphere each year, compared with the natural flows from land and sea of over 200 billion tonnes.

Despite well over twenty years of study by thousands of scientists, and the expenditure of more than $100 billion in research money, an accurate quantitative answer to this question remains unknown.

Scientists who advise the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) worry that a doubling of carbon dioxide over pre-industrial levels will cause warming of between 3 and 6 deg. Celsius, whereas independent scientists calculate that the warming for a doubling will be much less - somewhere between about 0.3 and 1.2 deg. Celsius.

Meanwhile, the scientific evidence now overwhelmingly indicates that any human warming effect is deeply submerged within planet Earth's natural variations of temperature.

Importantly, no global warming has now occurred since 1997, despite an increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide of 8%, which in turn represents 34% of all the extra human-related carbon dioxide contributed since the industrial revolution.

Few of these facts are new, yet until recently the public have been relentlessly misinformed that human-caused global warming was causing polar bears to die out, more and more intense storms, droughts and floods to occur, the monsoons to fail, sea-level rise to accelerate, ice to melt at unnatural rates, that late 20th century temperature was warmer than ever before and that speculative computer models could predict the temperature accurately one hundred years into the future.

It now turns out that not one of these assertions is true. So who has been telling us these scientific whoppers?

The United Nations, that's who; which is not surprising given that global warming long ago gained a life of its own as a mainstream political issue, quite divorced from empirical science - politics, of course, being what the UN is all about.

Meanwhile, and starting in 2003, a new independent team of scientists has been on the climate job, drawn from universities and institutes around the world and called the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

In classic Green Team: Red Team tactical management style, the NIPCC has the role of providing an alternative Red Team view of the science of global warming, acting as a sort of "defense counsel" to verify and counter the arguments mounted for climate alarm by the IPCC's Green Team prosecution.

The report summarises many of the thousands of scientific papers that contain evidence conflicting with the idea of dangerous human-caused warming. Considered collectively, the research literature summarised by the NIPCC shows that modern climate is jogging along well within the bounds of previous natural variation.


Lujan aims a poison arrow at Keystone XL

Capitol Hill supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline are hitting the panic button over a seemingly harmless amendment to a non-controversial federal land-swap bill to facilitate a new Arizona copper mine.

The amendment, filed Sept. 26 by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D.-N.M.) to H.R. 687, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act, a bill that authorizes the transfer of federal land in Arizona to the Resolution Copper mine partnership, in exchange for land owned Resolution, gives the Secretary of Interior the power to designate a site as sacred or culturally significant to Indians.

Remember, there are already protections for sacred sites in current law, one of bills innovations is to mingle in the “cultural,” which really means anything or nothing.

There are no concrete requirements for this designation, and because there is no process for the private land owner to appeal, the only recourse would be that harsh wilderness called the federal court system.

In his public statements, Lujan presents this amendment as a protection for sacred Indian sites threatened by the operation of the mine. But in reality, it is a poison-tipped arrow aimed at the Keystone pipeline.

With this authority the Interior Secretary could simply slap the sacred-and-or-cultural label on the private land in front of the pipelines extension, and it probably spells game over. If TransCanada, the company building the pipeline, has to wait until a Republican wins the White House and puts in a new Interior Secretary, it might be better off focusing on other projects.

The economic truth about Keystone is that railroads, some owned by Warren Buffett, are already carrying the shale and crude oil that the pipeline is supposed to move. Stopping Keystone is about stopping the flow of oil—it is about the federal government picking railroads over the pipeline, or letting the market decide.

Lujan is one of the most consistent opponents of the Keystone extension. He has voted against every effort to streamline its approval and supported every effort to stop or delay the project.

One of the reasons Keystone supporters are concerned is specter of Republican support for the amendment by GOP members of Congress looking for a chance for a “turquoise,” or pro-Indian vote.

The Republican rustling up GOP support for the amendment is Rep. Tom Cole (R.-Okla.), a man who proudly wears his turquoise ties as he carries water for new Indian casinos and increased subsidies for tribal regimes.

Opposing the Lujan-Cole team is the lead sponsor of the land-swap bill, Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R.-Ariz.). Gosar, in a strong “Dear Colleague” letter decimated the arguments for the Lujan amendment, when he pointed out the nearest Indian reservation is 20 miles away from the site of the new mine.

Gosar wrote to his colleagues that in 2008, the Forest Service conducted a survey of the mine site for areas that could be associated with native religious practices and after its investigation issued a Finding of No Significant Impact report.

Politicians are sometimes compared to actors, but the more helpful comparison is to magicians, who perform their tricks with one hand as the audience is watching the other.

As everyone is focused on the fights to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, raise the debt ceiling and figure out the budget for fiscal year 2014, environmentalists lobbying against extension of the Keystone XL pipeline slipped a simple amendment on a simple bill.

Make no mistake, H.R.687 is supported by Democrats and Republicans in the Arizona delegation, as well as local officials and media in the state. Not only would it create jobs and economic growth in Arizona, the new mine will help America’s “copper gap,” which has the country importing 600,000 metric tons of copper annually.

The Lujan amendment was designed to piggyback on a bill that will easily pass Congress, and when it is only after it became law that its true purpose would be revealed. Fortunately, alert conservatives took a hard look at an amendment to protect sacred sites, where there were none, and connected the dots before it was too late.


Obama’s war on energy is not ‘unbelievably small’ at all

Look closely at the energy-related news stories of the past dozen or so days, and, between the lines, you’ll see a theme: government makes predictions and assertions that cannot be backed up by data to protect or project preferred messaging.

Fracking News

The unusual collaboration of the University of Texas (UT) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) conducted a first-ever detailed examination—more than 500 wells were analyzed—of individual drilling sites to determine the total amount of escaped methane from shale gas operations. The study was released on September 16 by the National Academy of Sciences. The New York Times story on the study opens with: “Drilling for shale gas through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, appears to cause smaller leaks of the greenhouse gas methane than the federal government had estimated.” It reports: “Previous E.P.A. estimates relied on engineering calculations, and other studies gathered data via aircraft flights over drilling sites.”

Why does this matter? Because environmental groups have used previous methane-leak estimates to claim that leaks offset the environmental benefits of the clean-burning natural gas the wells produce. Such claims are used to bolster fracking opposition. A September 17 press release from the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works states: “methane leakage from shale gas development is not releasing nearly as much methane as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had predicted. EPA’s grossly exaggerated estimates have been widely used by critics and far-left environmentalists to discredit the benefits of hydraulic fracturing.”

The exaggerated estimates of methane leaks came from a study released two years ago when two Cornell University scientists, Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea, reported catastrophic levels of methane were being leaked by fracking operations. According to Forbes, “a slew of experts” discredited the research, which just reviewed EPA data and relied on estimates and hypotheticals.

Jon Entine cites the Park Foundation as the source of funding for much of Cornell’s anti-fracking research. Park also funded the anti-fracking Gasland movies. Entine states: “Two years ago in an interview for an investigative story on Park and Howarth for Ethical Corporation, the Cornell professor blurted out to me that he was recruited by a Park Foundation family member who thought a university study criticizing fracking and challenging the ‘Green credentials’ of shale gas would advance the cause.”

The Associated Press “Big Story” titled: “Study: Methane leaks from gas drilling not huge,” concludes: “While methane concentrations in the atmosphere have been rising since 2007, federal scientists say they’ve found no sign that gas or oil drilling is contributing because the methane emissions come from a different part of the globe.”

Opposition to fracking also uses threats to the water supply and earthquake fears to scare people.

Back in 2011, the EPA blamed fracking for groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming. Reports declared: “For the first time, federal environmental regulators have made a direct link between the controversial drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing and groundwater contamination.” Then, after the report was found to be flawed, in June, the EPA announced: that “it does not plan to finalize or seek peer review of its draft Pavillion groundwater report.”

Now, as of September 11, the EPA has “officially washed its hands of the investigation.” Marcellus Drilling News explains: “Now, with hardly a peep, the EPA published an official notice in yesterday’s Federal Register that they’ve turned the lights out on their Pavillion investigation.” Referencing the EPA Pavillion study, on May 16, 2012, Investors Business Daily states: “if eventually upheld, [it] would be the first time that drilling for natural gas itself contaminated water from underground aquifers.” Apparently, by admission that it will not “finalize or seek peer review of the final draft report,” the EPA couldn’t uphold its findings.

Reporter Mark Green posted an overview of a September 12 briefing he attended, regarding a peer-reviewed study done on hydraulic fracturing’s impacts. The study, Green says, is “hailed by the author as the first comprehensive look at the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing.” The study was conducted at the 1,000-acre Inglewood oil field in the heart of Los Angeles and concludes: “energy development using fracking and horizontal drilling technologies is safe, doesn’t threaten water supplies or cause earthquakes.” The study specifically examined groundwater, seismic activity, well integrity, and air emissions.

At the briefing, the study’s lead author, Dan Tormey, a hydrologist, geochemist, and civil engineer, talked about how the public receives its information. Tormey told of addressing the public with the facts, when an audience member said: “Gasland is our facts, and you’re trying to present these as your facts.” Tomey told the crowd at the September 12 briefing: “I found that really interesting because the first-generation studies were really a data-free zone, and the purpose of this study was to be very data-rich.” He added: “Facts have a longer row to hoe than fear.”

Some of the study results Green cited include: “Fracking had no detectable effect on vibration and did not induce earthquakes,” and “emissions associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing were within standards set by the regional air quality authority.”




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


1 October, 2013

Why gamble with America's Economy?

Below is an article dated September 26, 2013 by congressman David McKinley, representing the 1st district of W. Virginia for the GOP. He has an engineering background and recognizes that the coal industry is the backbone of West Virginia's economy and that the attacks on coal from Washington must be stopped.

Gambling has consequences - whether it is a card game or making energy policy. Engineers, scientists, and physicists around the world continue their efforts to define the role of CO2 in climate change and wrestle with whether the condition is man-made or occurring naturally.

But first a quick reminder from our science classes: CO2 emissions come from bodies of water, the exhausts of cars and trucks, heating, power generation, volcanic activity, respiration, and deforestation, among other sources. These emissions have been typically absorbed by land masses and oceans or transformed into oxygen by plants through a process known as photosynthesis. Since the industrial revolution there are more emissions entering the atmosphere than can be absorbed or transformed; therefore, the level of CO2 has been on the rise.

Some will argue that recent levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, measuring 400 parts per million are a prelude to an environmental catastrophe. Their climate models predict that rising CO2 levels will cause higher global temperatures which they assert will result in hurricanes, rising ocean levels, droughts, and other disasters.

On the other side of the argument, researchers contend that plant life hungers for CO2 concentration higher than at the present and that humans are able to accommodate greater levels. These scientists also demonstrate graphically the flaws in their opponents' climate models.

Both sides agree however that 96% of all CO2 emissions occur naturally and man-made sources make up the rest.

The United Nations has been at the forefront of this debate and recently released an updated, fifth edition of their IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) findings. Portions of the assessment have sent shock waves through this debate. For example, the IPCC and other experts have noted either collectively or independently that despite the increased level of atmospheric CO2:

1. both the Arctic and Antarctica sea ice are expanding not contracting,

2. for the next 70 years, i.e. until 2083, the benefits of climate change will likely outweigh the harm, and;

3. since the mid-1970s, global temperatures have increased merely 0.25 degrees Centigrade despite the climate models used by environmental alarmists that forecast temperatures 4 and 7 times higher.

To its credit the United Nations is walking back some of its previous environmental warnings embodied in earlier IPCC reports, lowering its alarm level, and suggesting more research is necessary. In essence a "time out" may be warranted.

But this has not deterred the Obama Administration in their relentless pursuit of an ideologically motivated energy policy. Just this month the EPA announced yet another controversial regulation that would prevent America from constructing any new coal-fired power plants. This rule was proudly announced even though EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy acknowledged that enforcing its compliance would result in "negligible" reductions in CO2 levels.

So let's put all of this into some form of perspective. If the regulators in Washington were to shut down every coal-fired power plant in America, the global CO2 emissions levels would be reduced by a mere two tenths of one percent. The deforestation of our tropical rainforest is five times worse for carbon emissions. And the Science and Public Policy Institute has projected that by similarly halting all coal-fired power generation in America, the global temperature reduction would be just 0.08 degrees Centigrade by the year 2050.

So in achieving virtually no environmental benefits, this Administration is using regulatory authorities, not Congress, to pursue an energy policy that will cause the loss of hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs, markedly increase utility bills for families and businesses, and watch more companies go off shore.

President Obama has acknowledged that all the nations of the world need to be engaged for his global climate initiatives to be successful. But key nations are not following his lead. China, India, Germany and Russia are among the vast number of countries that are embarking on energy programs based on using low cost, dependable coal for their power generation. And their plans for using coal dwarf America's current consumption of coal. Our nation produces approximately 320 gigawatts of power from coal; but these four nations alone have plans to expand their power base by nearly 1,200 gigawatts over and above their current capacity in the next 20 years.

To summarize:

1. The United Nations panel on climate change has downgraded its concerns for environmental threats.

2. If America were to stop its dependency on coal, it would result in only a miniscule reduction in global CO2 emissions.

3. If America were to totally halt the use of coal, the change in temperature would be insignificant.

4. The EPA acknowledges that their latest attack on use of coal-fired generation plants will have a "negligible" impact on CO2 levels.

5. Our economic competitors are ignoring America's de-carbonization policies and expanding their use of coal.

Therefore, more questions need to be asked: Why is President Obama gambling America's economic stability in order to pursue an unproven agenda that the rest of the world and the many within the science community are still questioning? And why would this Administration choose a policy that will cost jobs and cause families, manufacturers and businesses to endure higher utility bills?

Proponents of the President's climate change agenda often say they are trying to leave a better earth for the next generation. My question is what type of economy will they leave with it? All of us on both sides of this debate need to continue asking that question.

Via email

Hunger Seen Worsening by Oxfam as Climate Change Heats Up World

Odd that Britain has just had a bumper crop of oats, then -- 50% up on 2012. The crop is so big that it has knocked oat prices for six. Other countries (e.g. Finland & Sweden) are very oaty this year too. Whether you eat porridge or Muesli, our breakfasts certainly seem secure.

Specifics do tend to upset vague generalities about some future never-never land. Certainly, the need for "urgent and aggressive action" seems hard to discern

British oat harvest

World hunger is expected to worsen as climate change hurts crop production and disrupts incomes, with food-price spikes due to extreme weather set to increase, charity Oxfam said.

The number of people at risk of hunger may climb by 10 percent to 20 percent by 2050 as a result of climate change, with daily per-capita calorie availability falling across the world, Oxfam wrote in an e-mailed report today.

The world risks "cataclysmic changes" caused by extreme heat waves, rising sea levels and depleted food stocks, as average temperatures are headed for a 4 degree Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) jump by 2100, the World Bank reported in November.
"The changing climate is already jeopardizing gains in the fight against hunger, and it looks set to worsen," Oxfam said. "A hot world is a hungry world."

More extreme and unpredictable weather due to global warming may result in crop losses as well as damage or destroy distribution and transport systems, with severe consequences for food supply and availability, according to the report.

"If the remainder of the 21st century unfolds like its first decade, we will soon experience climate extremes well outside the boundaries of human experience, ever since agriculture was first developed," Oxfam said.

Avoiding dangerous climate change requires a "dramatic shift" in political ambition, the charity said. Ensuring the long-term prospect of hunger eradication means lowering emissions fast, with "deep cuts" needed by 2020, Oxfam said.

The world food system can't cope with unmitigated climate change, which could lead to a permanent increase in yield variability, "excessive" food-price fluctuations and a permanent disruption to livelihoods, Oxfam said.

Low-income countries in tropical and subtropical regions will probably face "sharp" changes in annual rainfall and climate conditions that will put them at risk of greater food insecurity, particularly in Africa and Southeast Asia, the report said. Crop yields there may fall by 10 percent to 20 percent by 2050 due to climate change, Oxfam wrote.

"These creeping, insidious changes in the seasons, such as longer, hotter dry periods, shorter growing periods and unpredictable rainfall patterns are bewildering farmers," the group wrote.

An increase of 4 degrees Celsius in world temperatures would reduce the length of the growing period in some parts of Africa by as much as 20 percent by 2090, the charity said.

Lacking "urgent and aggressive action" on climate change, the average price of staple foods may double in the next 20 years compared with 2010 levels, Oxfam said.


Global warming can have a positive side, says British food boss

And it's reported in "The Guardian"!

Secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, says global warming could allow food to be grown further north

The cabinet minister responsible for fighting the effects of climate change claimed there would be advantages to an increase in temperature predicted by the United Nations including fewer people dying of cold in winter and the growth of certain crops further north.

Owen Paterson told a fringe meeting at the Conservative party conference on Sunday night that predictions by scientists - that there could be major increases in temperature resulting in melting ice caps and worldwide flooding - should not be seen as entirely negative.

His comments came after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found last week that within two or three decades the world will face nearly inevitable warming of more than 2 degrees, resulting in rising sea levels, heatwaves, droughts and extreme weather.

Asked at a fringe meeting organised by the RSPB if the report proved that the climate is "broken", Paterson said:

"People get very emotional about this subject and I think we should just accept that the climate has been changing for centuries.

"I think the relief of this latest report is that it shows a really quite modest increase, half of which has already happened. They are talking one to two and a half degrees.

"Remember that for humans, the biggest cause of death is cold in winter, far bigger than heat in summer. It would also lead to longer growing seasons and you could extend growing a little further north into some of the colder areas.

"I actually see this report as something we need to take seriously but I am rather relieved that it is not as catastrophic in its forecast as we had been led to believe early on and what it is saying is something we can adapt to over time and we are very good as a race at adapting," he said.

Paterson's views were taken to task by Guy Newey, head of environment and energy at the Policy Exchange thinktank.

"The point that the climate has been changing for centuries understates the size of the problem that we are facing and the size of the action we need to overcome it. We really have no idea of knowing what is going to happen in terms of temperature. The risk is really very scary . I worry that some of the language that Owen uses - that we can actually wait and see what happens - is a big risk," he replied, to applause from the audience.

Paterson has long been suspected of being a climate change sceptic. He has previously called for a reduction in the subsidies given to wind farms and other green energy initiatives.

He also defended the government's plans for a badger cull, revealing that he had two pet badgers when he was a child.


Climate Scientist: 73 UN Climate Models Wrong, No Global Warming in 17 Years

Global temperatures collected in five official databases confirm that there has been no statistically significant global warming for the past 17 years, according to Dr. John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH).

Christy's findings are contrary to predictions made by 73 computer models cited in the United Nation's latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (5AR).

Christy told CNSNews that he analyzed all 73 models used in the 5AR and not one accurately predicted that the Earth's temperature would remain flat since Oct. 1, 1996. (See Temperatures v Predictions 1976-2013.pdf)

"I compared the models with observations in the key area - the tropics - where the climate models showed a real impact of greenhouse gases," Christy explained. "I wanted to compare the real world temperatures with the models in a place where the impact would be very clear." (See Tropical Mid-Troposphere Graph.pdf)

Using datasets of actual temperatures recorded by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA GISS), the United Kingdom's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research at the University of East Anglia (Hadley-CRU), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), satellites measuring atmospheric and deep oceanic temperatures, and a remote sensor system in California, Christy found that "all show a lack of warming over the past 17 years."

"All 73 models' predictions were on average three to four times what occurred in the real world," Christy pointed out. "The closest was a Russian model that predicted a one-degree increase."

"October 1st marks the 17th year of no global warming significantly different than zero," agreed Dr. Patrick Michaels, director of the Cato Institute's Center for the Study of Science. "And those 17 years correspond to the largest period of CO2 emissions by far over any other 17-year period in history."

The 5AR's "Summary for Policymakers," released last week, acknowledged that "the rate of warming over the past 15 smaller than the rate calculated since 1951," before concluding that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal." (See IPCC 5th Assessment Report.pdf)

"It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid 20th century," the IPCC report noted, adding that "continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system."

However, the same report also acknowledged that there are "differences between simulated and observed trends over periods as short as 10 to 15 years."

"It's a very embarrassing result for the climate models used in the IPCC report," Christy told CNSNews. "Our own UAH measurement of a 0.1 degree Celsius increase per decade in the upper atmosphere was actually the warmest of all the datasets."

Reaching the 17-year mark with no significant warming is a milestone because a climate change research team at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory defined it as the minimum length of time necessary to "separate human-caused global warming from the `noise' of purely natural climate fluctuations," according to a 2011 press release.

Michaels pointed out that 18 separate experiments published since Jan. 1, 2011 show that the IPCC's climate models are off by 46 percent when it comes to temperature CO2 sensitivity. "The pressure to warm the atmosphere by CO2 has somehow been cancelled out completely by natural forces," he said. "Surface temperature is simply not as sensitive to changes in CO2 as was assumed by the climate modeling community."

"Nature bats last," Michaels added. "And Nature came up in the 9th inning 17 years ago."

Seventeen years without a temperature increase is also at odds with a report by the United Kingdom's Met Office that said "global mean surface temperatures rose rapidly from the 1970s, but have been relatively flat over the most recent 15 years to 2013." (See Met Office July 2013.PDF)

"The Met Office simply didn't go back 17 years," Christy said to explain the two-year discrepancy.

When CNSNews asked Christy how the IPCC could claim "95 percent certainty" that human activity is causing global warming when it failed to predict that global temperatures would remain flat over the past 17 years, he replied: "I am baffled that the confidence increases when the performance of your models is conclusively failing. I cannot understand that methodology."

When asked how useful the just-released IPCC report will be in predicting future global temperatures, he said: "Not very. When 73 out of 73 [climate models] miss the point and predict temperatures that are significantly above the real world, they cannot be used as scientific tools, and definitely not for public policy decision-making."

In 2012, Christy testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, telling senators that "the recent anomalous weather can't be blamed on carbon dioxide."

"We've had 17 years of no global warming, yet we have an energy policy right now that continues to harm American communities and will lead to much higher electricity prices all based on the 'fact' that the world is warming," Daniel Kish, vice-president of the Institute for Energy Research, told

"Yet they cannot explain why all their projections are wrong. They're putting coal miners out of work all based on a 17-year history that doesn't exist."


Green levies on energy bills 'unfair', says British minister

Michael Fallon, the energy minister, has said it would be "unfair" to add further costs and green levies onto consumer bills.

The comments are the strongest indication yet that the Conservatives may pledge to scale back existing green policy costs, as the party scrambles to counter Ed Miliband's energy price freeze plan.

"Piling further costs and green levies on to energy bills is unfair to consumers," said Mr Fallon at a reception by industry body EnergyUK at the Conservative Party Conference.

"We shouldn't put British industry at a disadvantage against Europe and the US: for our manufacturers this would be assisted suicide."

The Conservatives are understood to be reviewing all policies that are currently paid for through energy bills and looking at further exemptions from policy costs for SMEs and industry.

Energy suppliers say that policies initiated by the Coalition - such as the "energy company obligation" (ECO) efficiency scheme, and the carbon price floor tax - are already adding to their costs.

The "Big Six" suppliers are expected to raise their household energy tariffs by up to 10pc in coming weeks and are likely to blame the costs of ECO, which they say ministers have grossly underestimated, as well as rising network charges.

The Telegraph revealed ministers are already in talks over potentially extending the deadline for completing the ECO scheme, to try to stem further price rises. An extension is expected to be included in a consultation on the future of the scheme next year.

A new system of subsidies for nuclear power plants and wind farms, devised by the Coalition, will also be paid for by levies on energy bills. Households and businesses will have to pay ś7.6bn a year toward building greener power plants by 2020 - about ś95 per household - up from ś2.35bn now.

Mr Fallon argued on Monday night that Labour's pledge of a 2030 target for decarbonising the power sector - which would require an even greater deployment of green technologies such as wind farms - would "threaten our recovery".

The minister, who recently ruled out subsidies for gas storage plants, despite fears over Britain running out of gas, said: "It's time to move energy policy back to the market."

Mr Fallon's comments echo those of Chancellor George Osborne, who pledged last weekend to "keep a very, very close eye on the affordability of energy prices going forward" and "constantly assess the value for money of your energy policies and obligations".

Energy giants SSE and E.On have called for ministers to go further and remove environmental and social levies from energy bills altogether, paying for them through general taxation instead.

SSE revealed on Monday that its retail business had been loss-making in the first half of the year and that it expected first-half profits for the group to be down as a result.

The business had been hurt by "higher wholesale gas costs and the heightened impact of fixed distribution and other costs, which themselves were rising, during the spring and summer period of lower energy consumption".


The Major Alpine Glaciers Are Growing Again

Once again, it is precipitation, not temperature that has been the key to variations

For the Swiss Alps 2013 was a good summer. Not since ten years ago have the glaciers lost as little mass as this year. And some seem to be gaining a little weight.

The Findel glacier high above Zermatt presents itself proudly these days. The nearly eight-kilometre long white tongue shines brightly in the autumn sun. "It has been a long time since so little ice has melted. It even looks as if the glacier had gained a little weight, "says glaciologist Matthias Huss of the University of Freiburg. He attributes this positive development to the long and snowy winter. "And although July and August were very hot, the thick layer of snow protected the ice."

In recent summers, the glaciers in Switzerland lost a meter in thickness on average. Particularly disastrous were the years 2011, 2006 and 2003, in which the loss was two to three meters for some glaciers. At that time there was little snow in winter and in spring, and it got warm very early.

The consequences were also felt by the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC). Lakes came into existence where glaciers paths used to be, and rock appeared where ice had been. "We had to adapt the approach routes to our huts," says Ulrich Delang, head of the SAC huts. About 30 ascents to huts have been affected by glacier retreat.

To measure the volume changes of glaciers, researchers drilled rods into the ice. In spring and autumn they then measure how much of the rods are sticking out of the ice. In this way they can calculate the volume of the increase or the melting.

This week glaciologist Matthias Huss and his team completed the measurements on these glaciers: Findelgletscher, Pizolgletscher, St. Annafirn, Vadret dal Corvatsch, the Glacier du Tsanfleuron and the Glacier de la Plaine Morte. The data have not been fully evaluated yet, but it turns out that the melting has slowed compared to in previous years. For example, the Pizolgletscher has only lost about 50 centimetres in thickness. "In general the glaciers have lost less mass than in any of the last ten years," says Huss.

This is also the result of measurements by the glacier researcher Andreas Bauder of the ETH Zurich. "There are signs of a positive balance, especially in the north of the canton Ticino and in the southern Valais," says Bauder. He has studied the following glaciers: Silvrettagletscher, Rhone glacier, Gitro, Glacier de Corbassire, Allalingletscher and the Basodino.

But it is too early to speak of a relaxation of the situation, says Bauder. "There have always been years in which individual glaciers developed positively. It takes several favourable years in a row to stop the general trend of shrinkage."

In addition: Over the last hundred years, the annual mean temperature in most areas of the Alps has warmed by about one degree. And even if this week the IPPCC reported that global temperatures have not risen for 15 years, this has no direct effect on the Swiss glaciers. "The reactions of large glaciers are delayed by up to 50 years," says Bauder. And in Switzerland the last 20 years were the warmest since measurements began.

Nevertheless, the latest research shows: Glaciers can still grow back. "We have been doubting whether this is even possible at all. Now we know: It is possible," says the glaciologist Bauder.




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


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

Index page for this site


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International" blog.


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
Of Interest


"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
Western Heart
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
The Kogarah Madhouse (St George Bank)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page (Backup here).
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following: