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

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

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30 October, 2015

Lessons From Patricia

By Joe Bastardi

Failing to bring about the kind of devastation a 200 MPH hurricane does because (a) it did not have 200 MPH winds when it reached the coast and (b) it hit a sparsely populated area, Hurricane Patricia immediately became an example of how hurricanes have become a ping-pong ball between two different climate agendas, as I wrote about a few days ago. As Patricia grew to scary dimensions, the screams grew from what seems to be a cadre of climatic ambulance chasers who claim this, like Irene or Haiyan, is evidence of so-called climate change. (Again, no one denies that the climate changes, it’s just the cause that is up for debate.) Interestingly enough, Irene fell apart coming up the East Coast, something that may not happen in coming years. And in the late 1800s, a similar storm to Haiyan, instead of weakening, went into Haiphong and killed over 250,000 people.

My point is that every storm now is being blamed on climate change, but no one is accountable for their ideas when one falls apart.

This list should put some of the “it’s worse than ever” cries to rest. Example: A flood on the Yellow River in China killed 900,000 people. What is remarkable is, when you look at the top 16 at the end of the file, in spite of better detection methods and more people living in harm’s way, it seems like the spread is fairly even.

Amazingly, the very day I wrote the hurricane ping-pong ball article, we get the media playing right into the missive with agenda-driven statements on the storm.

Early Friday, I informed people through Twitter that Patricia would be off her peak when she hit: “Patricia should weaken a bit before landfall as monster storms need perfect conditions and drier air may get entrained. Still a beast tho.”

The point is the weakening was being seen, and I assume by more people than me. Monster storms like this need perfect conditions to be perfect. I use the analogy of the 9.1 second 100-yard dash sprinter. Just a tweaked hamstring and he is nothing out of the ordinary anymore. The stronger the system, the more perfect the conditions have to be. So if you “tweak” the perfect hurricane with less than perfect conditions, it will weaken. Patricia “filled” 30-50 millibars (rapid pressure rise) as it approached the coast in the last six hours — the exact opposite of what happened when it ramped up. The power and impact scale I have takes into account pressure rises and falls. A storm filling (intensifying) more than 2 mb/hour gets a category subtracted (added) to it. More than 4 mb/hr it’s two categories.

This is not my original idea. I learned this method from two National Hurricane Center forecasters in the 1980s, Gil Clark and Bob Case. The physical reason likely lies with the fact that in a rapidly weakening system the storm’s ability to bring strongest winds to the surface is impeded, since the very reason it is weakening means there are processes occurring to disrupt it! Naturally, the opposite is true. But my power impact scale said this was no more than a Category 3. It rivaled Lili in the Gulf as it approached Louisiana in 2002, falling from a 4 to a 1 in just 12 hours. In that case it was because of dry air and cool water left from Isadore a week or so earlier, but the same thing happens. With Patricia, there is a chance they will find an area that sustained Cat. 5 winds, but it would be a very tiny area. In the large scale, the rapid weakening means the power and impact scale I have, which is meant to give people an idea of the total power of the storm, says this was a major storm but not as extreme as the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, Camille, 1969, Janet in 1955 and several other storms in the  Atlantic basin!

Conversely, storms like Celia in 1971 at Corpus Christi, which went from a 1 to a 4 in 24 hours, or Humberto in 2007 can do the opposite.

But here is my argument as to why a hurricane like Patricia does not support the argument that storms are stronger. We just observed a beast over the water, the strongest ever observed in the Western Hemisphere, right? Well, a lot of Cat. 3s have hit the coast that did not have reconnaissance, so how do we know if they were not that strong over the water? We don’t. The only true metric is landall intensity, which we have known through the years because there have been observations on land all that time. So in reality, though powerful, Patricia was just another strong hurricane that hit the Mexican coast. If this were the 1950s, you may not have even known. Speaking of the 1950s, did you know the only Atlantic basin recon disaster occurred with Janet in 1955, which made landfall as a 914 mb hurricane? The recon went down in the storm, likely because the extremely low pressure of the storm caused its altimeter to malfunction. We had recons, but they were very infrequent, not constant like we see now. Patricia likely did not beat Janet at landfall (it hit from the Caribbean) as the pressure had already risen to 910 mb two hours before landfall and it was filling rapidly. It did not beat the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 with a verified land pressure of 892 mb.

Now think about that. Patricia was south of Mexico. The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 went through the Florida Keys!

Storms like 1935, Janet, Celia, etc., are a warning that the rapid weakening of Patricia is not something that occurs with every storm. Large, powerful storms such as Katrina and Rita will weaken as much as a day away because their circulations are such that they pull in drier air from off land. Both weakened to Cat. 3s from Cat. 5s. But storms like Camille (1969) and Charley (2004), both of which by the way occurred in El Nino years, were at their peaks when they hit. The smaller, more intense storms approaching our coasts, which don’t have mountains right on top of the beach, do not act the same way as what we saw with Patricia. Moral of the story: Each one is unique to the circumstance it’s in. And every example of “worst ever” can be countered with an example of the opposite.

One forecast is already verifying though: With the Atlantic coming to life in the coming years, look for that missive to grow even more distorted. That’s a forecast you can bet on!


Study shows climate change made Calif. drought LESS likely to occur

Written by Thomas Richard

A new peer-reviewed study refutes Gov. Jerry Brown's assertion that global warming is behind California's drought, indicating that climate change neither makes droughts more likely to occur nor exacerbates them. saving water

The study, published this week in the Journal of Climate, shows that the "net effect of climate change" has made California's agriculture drought "less likely" to happen and that the "current severe impacts of drought on California’s agriculture" has not been exacerbated by long-term climate changes. This is another stinging indictment that Gov. Brown's belief that global warming is causing California's drought is bordering on wish fulfillment.

As first reported here, two earlier studies also show that natural variability, and not global warming, are behind California's four-year-long drought. An untimely combination of natural events is occurring, but unfortunately for Brown, they have nothing to do with global warming.

This hasn't stopped Gov. Brown from blaming the drought, and wildfires, on climate change and making it one of his key talking points during press events and educational summits. More puzzling, Brown's drought statements have gotten more forceful and extreme, even as the science is telling a far different story. Even the NY Times jumped on the bandwagon,quoting one climate scientist who said global warming has made the drought even worse, but admitting that without climate change, it would be a "fairly bad drought no matter what."

This most recent study looked at how global radiative forcing (the difference between how much sunlight is absorbed by the Earth and radiated back to space.) influences long-term climate change in California, specifically on its drought. Using observations and computer models, the simulations show that increased "radiative forcing since the late 19th Century induces both increased annual precipitation and increased surface temperature over California." This, they write, is consistent with observed long-term changes (what is actually measured) and previous computer model studies (what is expected to happen).

What the authors found was "no material difference in the frequency of droughts" defined using various, multiple indicators of "precipitation and near-surface (10 cm) soil moisture." That's because shallow soil moisture is more responsive to "increased evaporation driven by warming," which makes up for the "increase in the precipitation." Conversely, when using deep soil (~1 meter), "droughts become less frequent" because deep soil moisture is more responsive to "increased precipitation."

Put simply, the study shows how different land surfaces and depths respond to climate changes, which is most pertinent for "near-surface moisture exchange and for root zone moisture availability." Moisture availability for roots is the most important as the deep layer determines "moisture availability for plants, trees, and many crops." In the end, it shows that "climate change has made agricultural drought less likely, and that the current severe impacts of drought on California’s agriculture has not been substantially caused by long-term climate changes."

This should come as good news to Gov. Brown, who fundamentally believes that climate change is causing the severe drought in his state, even though historical records indicate that long-running droughts have occurred in California for millennia. The last multi-year drought happened in 1976, except climatologists blamed that drought, and the subsequent wildfires, on global cooling, not global warming.

The current drought, though, has been made worse by one thing that nature has little control over: man-made interference in the state's poorly regulated water system that favors agriculture over availability. Another factor is the much-hyped delta smelt, a tiny fish that environmentalists claimed was endangered and successfully had it listed on the Endangered Species Act in 1993. Since that time, many scientists have concluded that listing the delta smelt was premature and not based on factual evidence.

According to's Lorraine Yapps Cohen, "Legislation that diverted water into San Francisco Bay was intended to protect the delta smelt mini fish from water pumps." Because environmentalists were able to get the smelt listed as an endangered species, millions of gallons of agricultural water are dumped into the ocean, in a misguided attempt to save a fish at the expense of people's livelihoods.


Tesla’s electric car ‘success,’ a great example of how government regulations manipulate markets

The American consumer is resistant to marketing aimed at selling them electric and hybrid vehicles. For the first quarter of 2015, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Chevrolet sold 1874 Volts — its electric car introduced in 2010 with “high expectations.” That number might not sound so bad, until you read on to discover that it is equivalent to the number of Silverado pick-up trucks sold in one day.

In another report, WSJ states: “Through June, the market share in the U.S. for hybrid electric cars such as the Toyota Prius and C-Max and for electric vehicles such as the Leaf accounted for 2.8 percent of industry sales. That is down from 3.6 percent through the same period in 2014. Volumes of those vehicles fell 22 percent while overall industry volumes rose, according to researcher”

“Recent sales data show that consumers don’t want electric cars,” proclaims Investor’s Business Daily. “And these pitiful electric-car sales,” it adds, “mind you, come despite the very generous $7,500 federal tax credit, along with various state incentives — Illinois offers rebates up to $4,000.”

Manufacturers are slashing prices, offering low-priced leases, and 0 percent financing. Despite the deals, dealers view selling the existing electric vehicle inventory as a “challenge.” But selling a used electric car, like Nissan’s Leaf, is even harder. WSJ reports: “used Leafs aren’t attracting much demand.” Though Nissan offers leaseholders $4,000 in incentives to buy the used model they are driving, drivers are not snapping up the opportunity. When the leases expire there is little market for the cars and dealers are returning them to the manufacturer.

While demand for electric vehicles has dropped, contrary to logic, investment in them hasn’t. Earlier this year, USA Today said: “Automakers have already invested billions to offer a wide spectrum of vehicle choices and improve fuel efficiency with turbocharged engines, batteries and electric motors, multi-gear transmissions, more aerodynamic designs and lighter materials. Companies have also spent heavily to market eco-friendly vehicles and have no plans to stop developing them.”

“Why,” you might ask, “don’t manufacturers focus on building the cars consumers want?” The answer: government regulations in the form of the CAFE Standard. The word CAFE, here, means Corporate Average Fuel Economy and is the measure manufacturers must meet to sell cars in the U.S.

First enacted by Congress in 1975, the idea was to reduce energy use, thus preventing an over-dependence on foreign oil and improving national security. In 2009, under the Obama administration, the program morphed to include a higher focus on tailpipe emissions with a two stage implementation process. Phase One demands a 23 percent improvement in pollution standards and a CAFE target of 34.1 miles per gallon (MPG) by model-year 2016. Phase two calls for a further increase of roughly 35 percent in pollution standards, equivalent to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

While the exact calculations are complicated, these standards are not meant to be met by each vehicle, but by the entire fleet produced by each manufacturer. So a company that makes small, fuel-efficient cars, such has Honda, easily meets the requirements. While a company like Chrysler, known for its Ram trucks and American muscle cars, faces an uphill climb. In fact, it is the CAFE Standards that made the Chrysler/Fiat marriage attractive, as the Fiat fleet includes a 40-MPG car. It is also what makes the Volt a good option for Chevy.

Manufacturers who don’t comply with the regulations face fines — or they can buy credits. Either way the costs ultimately get passed on to the consumer who dares to purchase a vehicle based on his or her personal preference rather than the fuel-efficient vehicles the government wants automakers to produce.

These government regulations manipulate the markets and make winners and losers that would not be the case if we had a true free market.

Interesting stories emerge.

One is Ferrari, which by the nature of the car, can’t meet the U.S. government regulations. As one report on the topic declared: “Ferraris are beautiful. They are fast. They are nimble. And they are thirsty.” The hybrid LaFerrari gets 14 MPG.

Most readers are not likely to buy one of the 499 LaFerrari cars built, but its story is illustrative of the market manipulation.

Since 1969 Ferrari has been part of the Fiat family, but that will soon change as Ferrari is being spun off to make it an independent automaker. While the sale is reportedly being done “to finance expansion plans,” it will remove the gas-guzzler from the Fiat Chrysler fleet — making meeting CAFE easier. Yet, earlier this year, CEO Sergio Marchionne said: “the U.S. auto industry should ask the U.S. government to push back fuel economy targets.”

While an independent Ferrari will have challenges meeting CAFE without Fiat to help create an acceptable average, another single focused manufacturer meets the requirements handily — so well, in fact, it has credits to sell. I am talking about Tesla, the car company that the Environmental Protection Agency smiles upon because it produces only electric cars.

Most U.S. car companies — like Fiat Chrysler — want the federal fuel economy mandates to be watered down. Tesla wants the targets to be tougher.

Companies — like Ferrari — that don’t meet the fleet standards can purchase compliance credits. CNN Money reported: “Since Tesla sells nothing but electric cars, it is rolling in the credits and is one of the few sellers.” The Los Angeles Times (LAT) says: “Since 2008, the company has earned more than $534 million from the sale of environmental credits.” It adds: “Tesla has created a brisk market in credits, selling to automakers that either don’t produce electric cars or have made a strategic decision to buy credits and cap their own sales of such vehicles.”

But it is not just Ferrari that will have trouble meeting the 2025 standard. According to LAT, Mitch Bainwol, chief executive of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers — which represents companies like General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, and others — said: “While consumers have more choices than ever in energy-efficient automobiles, if they don’t buy them in large volumes, we fall short.”

With the American car-buying public resistant to doing what the government wants them to do, making a car that few can afford and that many of those who can don’t like (On October 20 Consumer Reports pulled its “recommendation” of the Tesla Model S after owners complained about a “range of issues”), Tesla is receiving a huge windfall from its competitors while the standards drive up costs for consumers.

Addressing the 54.5-MPG for the 2025 model year, Marchionne said: “There is not a single carmaker that cannot make the 54 number. The question is, at what price?”


HEAVEN AND HELL: The Pope condemns the poor to eternal poverty

The Encylical Letter of Pope Francis Laudato Si "care for our common home" was influenced by atheists, communists and green activists, claims Professor Ian Plimer, a world-renowned climate critic.

In "Heaven and Hell" Professor Plimer, a successful geologist and long-time critic of climate alarmists, takes Pope Francis to task, looking purely at the science rather than the theology.  Plimer shows the failure of the current Pope in his understanding of the real issues causing poverty, especially in Third World countries.

Plimer's is a trusted voice in the heated climate debate and, as in his previous books, his new publication again shows that ‘anthropogenic global warming’ is a dangerous, ruinously expensive fiction, a ‘first-world luxury’ with no basis in scientific fact.

"The hypothesis that human activity can create global warming is extraordinary because it is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astronomy, history, archaeology and geology," says Plimer, and while his thesis is not new, you’re unlikely to have heard it expressed with quite such vigour, certitude or wide-ranging scientific authority.

 Professor Plimer tells Principia Scientific International that he "hops into Naomi Klein in this book." (Klein is a trumpeter for the alarmist movement and recently admitted that man-made climate change is not about the science). The book is on general release from October 23, 2015.

Plimer has previously warned that:

    "The Climate Change Authority and the Greens want more renewables because apparently, human emissions of CO2 drive global warming. I am a patient chap, was fabulously good looking in the long ago and have a dog that’s never bitten me but please, dear readers, can someone show me from basic science and mathematics that the human emissions (3% total) of plant food (CO2) drive climate change yet the 97% of natural emissions of CO2 do not.

This has never been done and I’m still waiting for the proof. It’s easy to show that human emissions of CO2 don’t drive climate change and there are many scientific arguments to show that the total atmospheric CO2 does not drive climate change"


Should We Celebrate Carbon Dioxide?

Written by Dr Patrick Moore

As I have stated publicly on many occasions, there is no definitive scientific proof, through real-world observation, that carbon dioxide is responsible for any of the slight warming of the global climate that has occurred during the past 300 years, since the peak of the Little Ice Age. Patrick Moore If there were such a proof through testing and replication it would have been written down for all to see.

The contention that human emissions are now the dominant influence on climate is simply a hypothesis, rather than a universally accepted scientific theory. It is therefore correct, indeed verging on compulsory in the scientific tradition, to be skeptical of those who express certainty that “the science is settled” and “the debate is over”.

But there is certainty beyond any doubt that CO2 is the building block for all life on Earth and that without its presence in the global atmosphere at a sufficient concentration this would be a dead planet. Yet today our children and our publics are taught that CO2 is a toxic pollutant that will destroy life and bring civilization to its knees. Tonight I hope to turn this dangerous human-caused propaganda on its head. Tonight I will demonstrate that human emissions of CO2 have already saved life on our planet from a very untimely end. That in the absence of our emitting some of the carbon back into the atmosphere from whence it came in the first place, most or perhaps all life on Earth would begin to die less than two million years from today.

But first a bit of background.

I was born and raised in the tiny floating village of Winter Harbour on the northwest tip of Vancouver Island, in the rainforest by the Pacific. There was no road to my village so for eight years myself and a few other children were taken by boat each day to a one-room schoolhouse in the nearby fishing village. I didn’t realize how lucky I was playing on the tide flats by the salmon-spawning streams in the rainforest, until I was sent off to boarding school in Vancouver where I excelled in science. I did my undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia, gravitating to the life sciences – biology, biochemistry, genetics, and forestry – the environment and the industry my family has been in for more than 100 years. Then, before the word was known to the general public, I discovered the science of ecology, the science of how all living things are inter-related, and how we are related to them.At the height of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the threat of all-out nuclear war and the newly emerging consciousness of the environment I was transformed into a radical environmental activist. While doing my PhD in ecology in 1971 I joined a group of activists who had begun to meet in the basement of the Unitarian Church, to plan a protest voyage against US hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska.

We proved that a somewhat rag-tag looking group of activists could sail an old fishing boat across the north Pacific ocean and help change the course of history. We created a focal point for the media to report on public opposition to the tests.When that H-bomb exploded in November 1971, it was the last hydrogen bomb the United States ever detonated. Even though there were four more tests planned in the series, President Nixon canceled them due to the public opposition we had helped to create. That was the birth of Greenpeace.

Flushed with victory, on our way home from Alaska we were made brothers of the Namgis Nation in their Big House at Alert Bay near my northern Vancouver Island home. For Greenpeace this began the tradition of the Warriors of the Rainbow, after a Cree Indian legend that predicted the coming together of all races and creeds to save the Earth from destruction. We named our ship the Rainbow Warrior and I spent the next fifteen years in the top committee of Greenpeace, on the front lines of the environmental movement as we evolved from that church basement into the world’s largest environmental activist organization.

Next we took on French atmospheric nuclear testing in the South Pacific. They proved a bit more difficult than the US nuclear tests. It took years to eventually drive these tests underground at Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia. In 1985, under direct orders from President Mitterrand, French commandos bombed and sank the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour, killing our photographer. Those protests continued until long after I left Greenpeace. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that nuclear testing finally ended in the South Pacific, and it most other parts of the world as well.

Going back to 1975, Greenpeace set out to save the whales from extinction at the hands of huge factory whaling fleets.  We confronted the Soviet factory whaling fleet in the North Pacific, putting ourselves in front of their harpoons in our little rubber boats to protect the fleeing whales. This was broadcast on television news around the world, bringing the Save the Whales movement into everyone’s living rooms for the first time. After four years of voyages, in 1979 factory whaling was finally banned in the North Pacific, and by 1981 in all the world’s oceans.In 1978 I sat on a baby seal off the East Coast of Canada to protect it from the hunter’s club. I was arrested and hauled off to jail, the seal was clubbed and skinned, but a photo of me being arrested while sitting on the baby seal appeared in more than 3000 newspapers around the world the next morning. We won the hearts and minds of millions of people who saw the baby seal slaughter as outdated, cruel, and unnecessary.

Why then did I leave Greenpeace after 15 years in the leadership? When Greenpeace began we had a strong humanitarian orientation, to save civilization from destruction by all-out nuclear war. Over the years the “peace” in Greenpeace was gradually lost and my organization, along with much of the environmental movement, drifted into a belief that humans are the enemies of the earth. I believe in a humanitarian environmentalism because we are part of nature, not separate from it. The first principle of ecology is that we are all part of the same ecosystem, as Barbara Ward put it, “One human family on spaceship Earth”, and to preach otherwise teaches that the world would be better off without us. As we shall see later in the presentation there is very good reason to see humans as essential to the survival of life on this planet.

In the mid 1980s I found myself the only director of Greenpeace International with a formal education in science. My fellow directors proposed a campaign to “ban chlorine worldwide”, naming it “The Devil’s Element”. I pointed out that chlorine is one of the elements in the Periodic Table, one of the building blocks of the Universe and the 11th most common element in the Earth’s crust. I argued the fact that chlorine is the most important element for public health and medicine. Adding chlorine to drinking water was the biggest advance in the history of public health and the majority of our synthetic medicines are based on chlorine chemistry. This fell on deaf ears, and for me this was the final straw. I had to leave.

When I left Greenpeace I vowed to develop an environmental policy that was based on science and logic rather than sensationalism, misinformation, anti-humanism and fear. In a classic example, a recent protest led by Greenpeace in the Philippines used the skull and crossbones to associate Golden Rice with death, when in fact Golden Rice has the potential to help save 2 million children from death due to vitamin A deficiency every year.

The Keeling curve of CO2 concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere since 1959 is the supposed smoking gun of catastrophic climate change. We presume CO2 was at 280 ppm at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, before human activity could have caused a significant impact. I accept that most of the rise from 280 to 400 ppm is caused by human CO2 emissions with the possibility that some of it is due to outgassing from warming of the oceans.

NASA tells us that “Carbon Dioxide Controls Earth’s Temperature” in child-like denial of the many other factors involved in climate change. This is reminiscent of NASA’s contention that there might be life on Mars. Decades after it was demonstrated that there was no life on Mars, NASA continues to use it as a hook to raise public funding for more expeditions to the Red Planet. The promulgation of fear of Climate Change now serves the same purpose. As Bob Dylan prophetically pointed out, “Money doesn’t talk, it swears”, even in one of the most admired science organizations in the world.


Australia: Malcolm Turnbull repels anti-mines push with coal hard facts

Prime Minister Turnbull has repudiated calls for a moratorium on new coal mines, in a fundamental break with environmental activists. The Prime Minister drew ­industry acclaim but sparked fury from green groups

The International Energy Agency also countered predictions of an end to the coal trade, declaring yesterday that other ­energy sources had little chance of beating the cost of coal-fired power stations in the rising economies of Asia. With global ­demand for coal rising 2.1 per cent a year for the next five years, the Turnbull government sees the ­nation’s $40 billion in annual coal exports as vital to the economy, despite a price slump that has hit the federal budget.

The coal trade has seen a ­doubling of capacity at Port ­Waratah in Newcastle, NSW, in the time that coal services worker Shaun Sears has made his living from the exports. “The port’s ­capacity has gone from 70 million tonnes to 145 million in the 12 years I’ve been here,” the 52-year-old said yesterday.

The Prime Minister yesterday issued a swift response to an open letter from 61 prominent Australians, including Nobel laureate Peter Doherty, rugby union ­player David Pocock, former ­Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser and ABC radio host Adam Spencer, in which they called for a global climate change agreement to stop new coal mines.

Mr Turnbull embraced the prospect of cheaper renewable ­energy from solar and wind power but debunked the idea of a rapid shift away from fossil fuels and warned against driving the world’s poor into “energy poverty” by clamping down on coal.

“If Australia were to stop all of its coal exports it would … not reduce global emissions one iota,” Mr Turnbull said when asked about the call. “In fact, arguably it would increase them because our coal, by and large, is cleaner than the coal in many other countries. So with great respect to the motivations and the big hearts and the idealism of the people that advocate that, that is actually not a sensible policy, either from an economic point of view, a jobs point of view or, frankly, from a global warming or global emissions point of view.”

Government ministers and backbenchers saw the remarks as a signal of Mr Turnbull’s approach to climate change policy after the bitter Coalition divisions of the past, with a pragmatic new message that rejects the extreme positions taken by some green groups or those who reject the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Trade Minister Andrew Robb stepped up the government’s message, declaring that Australia had a “moral obligation” to sell its coal to developing nations. Mr Robb, who is in India for the latest round of talks on a free-trade deal, said it would be wrong to deny electricity to millions of people. “No matter which way you look at it, over the next 50 to 70 years there is no alternative to coal as part of the mix,” he said.

Bill Shorten also rejected a moratorium yesterday.

The IEA, the world’s top energy authority, has issued robust forecasts for the use of coal. Its executive director, Fatih Birol, told a conference in Singapore yesterday that coal would not “disappear quickly” because it had a significant cost advantage over gas.

Dr Birol cautioned, however, that unless policies changed there would be “serious environmental impacts” from the widespread use of coal-fired power across Southeast Asia.

The IEA estimates that coal demand will rise 2.1 per cent a year to 2019, down from the 3.3 per cent rate in recent years but still growing. Chinese coal consumption will not peak during the five-year outlook.

The signatories to the moratorium turned on the Prime Minister yesterday, saying he should act on a warning from Kiribati President Anote Tong to halt new mines. “In essence, Malcolm Turnbull misses the whole point,” said La Trobe University emeritus professor Robert Manne. “The call is for an international moratorium on new coal mines and that reflects our understanding that the planet is not to be destroyed. Eighty per cent of known reserves of fossil fuels have to be left in the ground. The issue is as simple as that.”

The Australia Institute’s executive director, Ben Oquist, said Mr Tong had not called for an export ban but had made a “considered call” for a global moratorium on new mines.

Company director and former Business Council of Australia president Tony Shepherd said critics of coal needed to accept that wind and solar were not capable of providing reliable base-load power. Mr Turnbull had made “sensible, balanced comments” that Australians should welcome, he said.

Australian Mines and Metals Association chief Steve Knott said Mr Turnbull had highlighted that if Australia did not export coal then other countries would.



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

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29 October, 2015

Ya gotta laugh!  The NYT could teach Dr Goebbels a thing or two

The NYT has up at the moment a big article by a dear little lady named Coral Davenport (and friends) under the heading: "Greenland Is Melting Away". It's a long article decorated with huge and beautiful pictures so one might expect a lot of it.

Coral is a twit

But Coral presents zero proof that Greenland Is Melting Away.  Instead she salivates over a group of "scientists" travelling to Greenland to take "measurements".  The only actual statement she  makes about Greenland overall is "The full melting of Greenland’s ice sheet could increase sea levels by about 20 feet". 

Maybe it could, though she gives no calculations or proof, but the interesting thing about the claim is that she doesn't say when or how long that will take.  In fact she goes on to say that nobody knows that and that the scientists she adulates are there to take measurements that might answer the question.  The answer could be "1,000 years" for all we know -- and for all that the NYT tells us

So the whole thing is just a glossy bit of unusually brainless propaganda. But it's the sort of  propaganda that Leftists need to prop up their sagging hypothesis about global warming.

Steve Goddard takes on little Coral with some facts and figures

The facts and figures are deadly to Warmism so it's no wonder little Coral doesn't mention any

Even the most ridiculous estimates of ice loss in Greenland are less than 200 km³ per year. The volume of the ice sheet is 3,000,000 km³. Using the most aggressive claims, it would take 15,000 years for the ice sheet to melt. That accounts for a sea level rise of about one hundredth of an inch per year. Does Coral Davenport think that one inch of sea level rise over the next century is going to drown her?

But the reality is that the surface of Greenland gains about 300 billion tons of ice every year. Greenland is not melting.

Ninety percent of the ice sheet gained mass from September 1, 2014 to August 30, 2015.

Claims that the ice sheet is losing 200 km³ / year are based on unreliable gravity calculations made by people with an agenda.

Glacial flow to the ocean is controlled by the amount of excess ice building up in the interior. If for some reason the amount of ice building up in the interior decreased, flow would also decrease.

Climate is cyclical. There is no rational reason to believe that the Greenland ice sheet is going to disappear. More than half of it never gets above freezing most years.


It’s deep in the ocean, and it could stop Global Warming

Something else not accounted for in those wonderful "models"

A groundbreaking new study finds that a bacteria living far below the surface of the waters cold be a key to reversing climate change

A stunning new finding out of the University of Florida has revealed the existence of bacteria deep down on the ocean floor that could have a huge impact on climate change.

Carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas that is most responsible for global warming, and it is emitted largely by human activity, meaning that figuring out a way to eliminate these vast quantities of carbon dioxide is key to fighting climate change. Now, a research team has found a bacteria called Thiomicrospira crunogena that gobbles up carbon dioxide by producing an enzyme that converts it into a compound that is totally benign, and can even strip carbon dioxide from organisms, according to a Christian Science Monitor report.

The bacteria is found deep down in the ocean, living near hydrothermal vents in temperatures too extreme for most creatures to survive.

Robert McKenna, who is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the UF College of Medicine, said according to the report: “This little critter has evolved to deal with those extreme temperature and pressure problems. It has already adapted to some of the conditions it would face in an industrial setting.”

There’s just one problem: in order for this process to be feasible, a lot of carbonic anhydrase will be needed — the good news is that McKenna’s team has found a way to get this enzyme without diving deep down to the ocean floor to collect this bacteria.

And we can thank the deadly E. coli bacteria for that. By genetically engineering E. coli scientists can produce the enzyme in a lab setting, although so far they have been able to produce only very small quantities. Considering the massive problem we have on our hands when it comes to global warming and just how much carbon dioxide is out there that needs to be absorbed, we’re going to need a lot more than a few milligrams at a time.

Also, the enzyme can’t be produced all that quickly, and that presents another obstacle for researchers.

A news release on the finding was published on the University of Florida’s website, which can be found here.


War Between the States: Clean Power Plan Edition

The latest legal filing against the United States government, specifically the Environmental “Protection” Agency, is the case of 24 states fighting the astronomical emissions standards of the Clean Power Plan. That plan should serve as even more hard evidence that Barack Obama and his statist fellow travelers truly believe in the maxim, “rex non potest peccare” or “the king can do no wrong.”

Obama is simply making sure to fulfill his 2008 campaign promise that, “Under my plan, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” But he and his ecofascist militants have triggered another response from the real world — the states where energy production, especially coal, is key for families pursuing the American Dream and the greater economy.

Why are nearly half of the states united in their opposition against an overreaching leftist administration?

Via its Clean Power Plan, the EPA has declared war on coal and any other fossil fuel. They claim to be fighting a danger as great as terrorism — climate change — at least as declared by Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. In February 2014, Kerry bloviated, “Climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”

Obama’s plan to reduce carbon emissions 32% by 2030 is more a plan to bankrupt the coal industry, with petroleum next on the list. Since 2010, according to Politico’s “War on Coal,” the equivalent of a coal-burning power plant has been forced to close by the Obama administration’s extreme regulations every 10 days.

Incredibly, Janet McCabe, EPA acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, proclaimed last week, “The power plan is based on a sound legal and technical foundation” that “really puts states in the driver’s seat.

Ms. McCabe, why don’t you tell that to the newly unemployed in Erwin, Tennessee?

On Oct. 15 in Erwin, a city of just of 6,000 residents, the CSX rail terminal completely closed suddenly and without advanced notice, eliminating 300 jobs. Why would 5% of a small Appalachian town find itself unemployed in such a dramatic act?

CSX spokeswoman Melanie Cost cited "changing business environment” and, specifically, “significantly reduced coal traffic through the region.”

The Obama-led Left rails against so-called “trickle-down” economics — the Reagan Era economic expansion that included an increase of wages and prosperity. But leftists guarantees trickle-down misery and unemployment. You see, the Erwin CSX terminal was on the mainline through Unicoi County that feeds coal traffic out of western Virginia and eastern Kentucky to the ports of Charleston, Savannah and Wilmington. More misery is sure to trickle down.

The radical Left can’t handle the fact that our economy is built on energy.

Despite King Obama’s promise to bankrupt coal companies and close plants while, therefore, increasing the cost of electricity, the EPA vigorously denies that its edicts will have a negative economic impact to states. The illogic of the militant environmentalists is that, by a stroke of a wand, all energy should be supplied by wind or solar — “renewable” energy sources.

Never mind that the actual technology and infrastructure doesn’t exist on a scale to make this fantasy a reality, the political will and commitment to an ideology is the priority. Hence, the vast divide between the actions of the “Red” versus “Blue” states.

The 24 states suing to protect their workforce and citizens' budgets are predominantly center-right politically: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming and Wisconsin.

There are 15 states and the District of Columbia, led by leftists, who oppose the lawsuit and applaud government-run economies. These states generally have little dependency on jobs related to manufacturing. In essence, the states where the ivory-towered elites reside who frown upon manufacturing and blue-collar labor are assisting Obama and the Left with their de facto tax on the Red states where hard-working Americans produce rather than merely pontificate.

The most idiotic of all the facts produced in this lunacy of the Left was exposed last September in a hearing before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX). Through testimony and data, the unnecessary and unbelievable price that Americans are being asked to pay to reduce carbon emissions was laid bare. After 14 years of impact to the American economy, by 2030 the reduction in carbon emissions demanded of our companies would equate to “just over 13 DAYS of Chinese emissions.”

Remember China — one of our main competitors for manufacturing jobs?

Comedian George Carlin pretty much summed up the danger of the Left these days: “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”


Global warming despotism

Science works through status quo challenges, through checking and rechecking, through producing evidence to counter other evidence and constantly arriving at reconsidered conclusions. Societies, in similar fashion, work best by being open and free, getting it that, in a contest between discourse and dictate, it’s time and again discourse that provides the needed wisdom.

All of this and more is why it is so astonishing and dismaying — but also revealing — to see a group of 20 alarmed climatologists wanting to curtail debate on global warming by shutting up the opposition, and hardly by gentle means. They want to employ tactics fashioned to go after gangsters.

The tool would be the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, allowing trials of those only indirectly involved in crimes. It was meant to heap massive damage on such groups as the Mafia, and it did. The climatologists want to use it against those connected to fossil fuel corporations who are arguing that global warming is not the terror it is often portrayed as being.

These climatologists say there’s self-serving deception going on here and that the consequences could be inadequate action curtailing a wide variety of horrors. They have sent a letter asking President Barack Obama and others in his administration for an investigation, and what we will get if it comes is massive damage to free speech and something you would think an alarmist would fear: less discernment in coping with climate change.

Free speech, after all, has beneficial consequences. As the great English philosopher John Stuart Mill said in his 1859 book, “On Liberty,” silencing an opinion robs everybody. It just may be true or at least partially true, and, if we do not hear it, we may never profit from the multiple dividends this truth provides.

If it is false, he said, its collision with truth can lead to a “clearer perception” of what the true statement has going for it as defenders more closely examine their reasoning. “Both teachers and learners go to sleep at their post as soon as there is no enemy in the field,” Mill explains.

To argue that authority can squash opinion without fear of squashing truth is to assume human infallibility of a kind that Mill has never noticed, he says. He tells us, too, that discounting an argument because it’s intemperate can be risky, seeing as how all sides in a dispute may be intemperate.

Twenty years before the birth of Albert Einstein, who dramatically redid the theories of Isaac Newton, Mill said even Newton should be questioned. So should the views of warming alarmists. Throughout the history of science, consensus theories have evolved only to be sent to the shed, and the alarmist consensus is nowhere near what it is made out to be, as careful critics have shown. Most climatologists do believe in warming and human activity as a cause without always believing in certain catastrophe down the road or embracing political solutions that could do more harm than the warming itself.

Scientists and public officials will be holding a conference in Paris this December to fashion a global climate policy agreement, and the last thing we need is a quieting of those with important questions before it begins, while it’s going on or after it’s done. The more back-and-forth discussion there is on a topic, the better answers can get, as Mill also said, in contradiction to confused despotic urgings inspired by apocalyptic imaginings.

We’ve had as much from members of Congress instigating investi gations of the funding of supposed warming skeptics, from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D.-R.I., who also called for the RICO action, and from these 20 scientists. Their proposals would make Mill blush and ought to make the American citizenry outraged.


The latest scare: Global warming could threaten survival of European lizards

Just a laboratory experiment.  Not considered is that in a real-life environment, the lizards would move polewards, to a temperature that suited vthem

Global warming may threaten the survival of European lizards by forcing the reptiles to live fast and die young, new research has shown.

Scientists set up an experiment in which 18 populations of common lizards lived in semi-natural enclosures, one of which simulated an end-of-the-century climate 2C warmer than it is today.

After a year, lizards in the warmer conditions were found to be coping very badly and dying at a rate that would lead to rapid population extinctions in around 20 years.

Dr Elvire Bestion, from the University of Exeter - who co-led the study, said: "While a two-degrees warmer climate might seem beneficial at first, as it leads to faster growth of juvenile lizards and earlier access to reproduction, it also leads to lower survival in adult individuals, which should endanger population survival."

The common, or viviparous lizard, Zootoca vivipara, is widespread across Europe and one of only two indigenous lizards in the UK, not including the legless slow worm.

Co-author Dr Julien Cote, from the Laboratoire Evolution et Diversite Biologique in France, said the team did not predict the total extinction of the common lizard. But he added that some populations could be hit hard by climate change.

"We suggest that populations at the southern edge of their range of distribution might particularly suffer from warmer climates," he said. Across Europe as a whole, between 14% and 30% of lizard populations could be threatened.

Dr Bestion said: "Anecdotally, we .. showed that warmer climates led some adult females to engage into a second reproduction event during the summer, while these lizards normally reproduce only once a year during the spring.

"Combined with the earlier juvenile reproduction and the higher adult survival, these results suggest a shift of demographic strategy from a relatively long life and low reproductive output to a faster life, higher reproductive investment. We can wonder whether this strategy shift may help adaptation of populations to warmer climates over time."

The research is published in the journal Public Library of Science Biology.



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28 October, 2015

Elevated CO2 Levels Directly Affect Human Cognition, New Harvard Study Shows (?)

Just the first part of a new article from the professional Warmists at "Think Progress" below.  In my usual pesky way, I went straight back to the first journal article cited below.  I append that Abstract.  What the academic authors did was to take a 600ppm level of CO2 as the normal indoor level of CO2 and compare it with much higher levels, starting with 1,000 ppm.  On their measure of decision making, they found reduced performance at the 1,000 ppm level. 

So this finding is completely irrelevant either to the present or to the foreseeable future.  The present ambient atmospheric level is around 400 ppm.  Even using an improbable straight-line projection, it will be a very long time before we get to an ambient 1,000 ppm level of CO2.

I could look at other evidence on the question.  Greenhouse workers, for instance, seem to have no problems working amidst a concentration of around 1,000 ppm and levels of CO2 go up to 8,000ppm in U.S. submarines, but given the dishonest way the article below started out, I am not inclined to waste time looking further

And don't forget:  Around two thirds of all published medical and psychological research findings are not replicable -- i.e. wrong.  The findings below are good candidates for falling into that category

In an email, Craig Idso comments:  "Years ago we took CO2 measurements inside various buildings. I distinctly remember the values we recorded at the local high school, which were well over 1000 ppm from all the human exhalation inside the classrooms from the students. The concerns cited below are an absolute joke and the "scientists'" recitation of them is a disservice  to real science.

In a landmark public health finding, a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health finds that carbon dioxide (CO2) has a direct and negative impact on human cognition and decision-making. These impacts have been observed at CO2 levels that most Americans — and their children — are routinely exposed to today inside classrooms, offices, homes, planes, and cars.

Carbon dioxide levels are inevitably higher indoors than the baseline set by the outdoor air used for ventilation, a baseline that is rising at an accelerating rate thanks to human activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels. So this seminal research has equally great importance for climate policy, providing an entirely new public health impetus for keeping global CO2 levels as low as possible.

In a series of articles, I will examine the implications for public health both today (indoors) as well as in the future (indoors and out) due to rising CO2 levels. This series is the result of a year-long investigation for Climate Progress and my new Oxford University Press book coming out next week, “Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know.” This investigative report is built on dozens of studies and literature reviews as well as exclusive interviews with many of the world’s leading experts in public health and indoor air quality, including authors of both studies.

What scientists have discovered about the impact of elevated carbon dioxide levels on the brain

Significantly, the Harvard study confirms the findings of a little-publicized 2012 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) study, “Is CO2 an Indoor Pollutant? Direct Effects of Low-to-Moderate CO2 Concentrations on Human Decision-Making Performance.” That study found “statistically significant and meaningful reductions in decision-making performance” in test subjects as CO2 levels rose from a baseline of 600 parts per million (ppm) to 1000 ppm and 2500 ppm.

Both the Harvard and LBNL studies made use of a sophisticated multi-variable assessment of human cognition used by a State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University team, led by Dr. Usha Satish. Both teams raised indoor CO2 levels while leaving all other factors constant. The findings of each team were published in the peer-reviewed open-access journal Environmental Health Perspectives put out by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a part of NIH.


Is CO2 an Indoor Pollutant? Direct Effects of Low-to-Moderate CO2 Concentrations on Human Decision-Making Performance

Usha Satish et al.


    Background: Associations of higher indoor carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations with impaired work performance, increased health symptoms, and poorer perceived air quality have been attributed to correlation of indoor CO2 with concentrations of other indoor air pollutants that are also influenced by rates of outdoor-air ventilation.

    Objectives: We assessed direct effects of increased CO2, within the range of indoor concentrations, on decision making.

    Methods: Twenty-two participants were exposed to CO2 at 600, 1,000, and 2,500 ppm in an office-like chamber, in six groups. Each group was exposed to these conditions in three 2.5-hr sessions, all on 1 day, with exposure order balanced across groups. At 600 ppm, CO2 came from outdoor air and participants’ respiration. Higher concentrations were achieved by injecting ultrapure CO2. Ventilation rate and temperature were constant. Under each condition, participants completed a computer-based test of decision-making performance as well as questionnaires on health symptoms and perceived air quality. Participants and the person administering the decision-making test were blinded to CO2 level. Data were analyzed with analysis of variance models.

    Results: Relative to 600 ppm, at 1,000 ppm CO2, moderate and statistically significant decrements occurred in six of nine scales of decision-making performance. At 2,500 ppm, large and statistically significant reductions occurred in seven scales of decision-making performance (raw score ratios, 0.06–0.56), but performance on the focused activity scale increased.

    Conclusions: Direct adverse effects of CO2 on human performance may be economically important and may limit energy-saving reductions in outdoor air ventilation per person in buildings. Confirmation of these findings is needed.

Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1104789

U.S. Has Now Gone Record 120 Months Without a Major Hurricane Strike

So much for "extreme weather events"

Even as the remnants of historically powerful Hurricane Patricia dropped heavy rains on Texas on Saturday, the United States marked the completion of a record 120 straight months since the last major hurricane (Category 3 or above) made landfall in the continental United States.

The last major hurricane to make landfall on the continental United States was Hurricane Wilma, which hit Florida on October 24, 2005.

On Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center had reported that Patricia, at that point was “the strongest hurricane on record in the National Hurricane Center's area of responsibility (AOR) which includes the Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific basins.”

However, Patricia weakened and dropped below hurricane force after it made landfall on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

The decade-long major hurricane drought is the longest such hiatus dating back to 1851, according to records kept by NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division (HRC).

The 2005 hurricane season was particularly harsh one. That year, “nearly 4,000 people lost their lives and there was nearly $160 billion in damage,” NOAA said in a statement marking the 10-year anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the last major hurricanes to strike the U.S.

Wilma “is the last major hurricane to strike the U.S.--an unprecedented stretch that could unfortunately lead to ‘hurricane amnesia’ for the destruction such a hurricane can cause,” NOAA noted.

According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, major hurricanes classified as Category 3 or above have sustained wind speeds of more than 111 miles per hour and are capable of causing “devastating” or “catastrophic” damage.

Since 1851, three catastrophic Category 5 hurricanes – defined as having a maximum sustained wind speed of over 157 miles per hour – have made landfall in the U.S.: the 1935 Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys, Camille in 1969, and Andrew in 1992.



Hurricanes Become a Ping-Pong Ball in the Climate Debate

By Joe Bastardi

This caught my eye, from USA Today: “Study: Climate change adding billions to U.S. hurricane costs.”

Oh really?  The study quoted ended in 2005, not factoring in the last 10 years. During that time, by way of the Saffir-Simpson scale, there were no major hurricane hits on the U.S. (On my power and impact scale, there have been three borderline majors.) It’s been an amazingly quiet period, meaning the dire ideas that we heard about have been nothing but wrong.

Another USA Today headline from 2006:  “New study ties global warming to stronger hurricanes.”

There are numerous articles on how global warming (climate change is a redundant focus group-driven term that is now used since there has been no significant warming for nearly 19 years) is causing everything to be worse. Tropical cyclones, since they are awesome to look at and report on, are front and center as examples of how bad things are. But there is a big problem here: They aren’t as bad. This chart by National Hurricane Center researchers Eric Blake and Chris Landsea plainly shows the busiest decade for major hits in the last 30 years (2001-2010) is equaled or exceeded by six of the 15 decades in the chart.

I often go after Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse — who lately has been pushing the idea of RICO-like investigations on scientists that do not believe in human-induced global warming — for his pronouncements on hurricanes being worse now than before. It’s astounding given he is from a state that was devastated in 1938, 1944, 1954 and 1960 by major hurricanes. But look at the hits of majors. 1871-1880, 1891-1900, 1911-1920, 1931-1940, 1941-1950, 1951-1960 — all were decades equal to or greater than 2001-2010. In addition, the 30-year period from 1931-1960 had 61 hits, or two a year, 27 of which were major (almost one a year). By contrast, the most recent 30 years ending in 2010: 43 hits, 19 majors. Not even close!

The idea that costs are going up is not from increased frequency and intensity of storms. It can’t be since the frequency and intensity of landfalling storms has decreased. So we have one side of the debate that is pushing hurricanes as a reason to suspect there is, as they put it, climate change, even though the facts show there are less landfalling storms now than there have been in many years before.

Right off the bat, the immense buildup of coastal development means that storms are going to be much more costly. I will leave it to others to play with inflation figures, but an example could be Hazel in 1954. This is the latest Category 4 storm to hit the U.S., and that it hit on the coastal Carolinas in mid-October is extreme in itself. In 1954 dollars, the storm did $354 million dollars in damage. The government’s inflation calculator says it would be 10 times that now, but crucial is the fact that in 1954 there was not near the amount of buildup in the areas Hazel hit (it had hurricane force winds all the way to Toronto!) But that is not climate change or global warming. It’s a product of man believing he is in control of the Garden of Eden, as if this is paradise and nothing bad happens. The thumbing of the nose is not CO2 in the air, but buildings on the beach.

My side of the climate debate counters this with what seems to be an intuitive argument about the lack of storms being a sign that there is no global warming. This is a very dangerous tactic. It’s one thing to counter, as I did above, the argument that landfalling storms are stronger and more frequent, simply because they aren’t. But that is all that means. So what happens if seven majors hit in two years like in 1915 and 1916? And guess what? I am very concerned that we are about to see a major burst of hurricanes between 2016 and 2018. Why? because I have seen this before. If we look at sea surface temperatures for next hurricane season, by next July the El Niño is gone and is reversing to a La Niña! The main development region of the Atlantic is very warm.

Now look at the sea surface temperatures in July of 2005 in the tropical breeding areas.

Very similar to the mega year of 2005! Major bursts of landfalling storms occurred in ‘95 and '96 after the El Niño of 94,’ 98 and ‘99 after the El Niño of '97, and '03, '04 and '05 after the El Niño of '02. It’s natural, it’s happened before and it’s about to happen again. So I would not be tooting the lack of hurricanes as anything but what it is — a lack of hurricanes. But much more deceitful, in my opinion, is using hurricanes as a sign of global warming. It shows the gall of the people suggesting that. Even with facts staring them in the face, they simply ignore them and say it anyway.

Hurricanes are nature’s way of taking heat out of the tropics and redistributing it to the temperate regions. Weather and climate are nature’s way of seeking a balance it can never attain because of the very design of the system. Nothing more, nothing less. Attributing such things as hurricanes as a sign of so-called “climate change” is provably wrong. Hurricanes are much more than ping-pong balls for someone’s agenda. They are an awesome display of nature, sometimes resulting in terrible consequences, but all part of the natural up and down that is inherent in the system.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

Obama turns to climate deal

The Obama administration is ramping up its efforts to get the American public behind its goal for a strong global climate change deal in Paris in December.

With weeks to go until negotiators meet to hash out a final international agreement, President Obama worked in recent days to make sure the country knows the importance of United States leadership in getting worldwide buy-in for a strong deal.

Republicans also ratcheted up their efforts to undermine Obama’s participation in the climate talks, arguing that the deal will amount to a treaty that requires — and will not receive — Senate ratification to take effect.

The GOP also wants to show world leaders that the Obama administration’s pledge for the deal — a 26 percent to 28 percent cut in the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, compared with 2005 — is not possible, and Obama should not be trusted to live up to his promises.

Though the deal is still being negotiated, it’s shaping up to be a collection of individual pledges from countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, steps to increase clean energy production, financing for poor countries and other efforts. Chances are that the deal will not be legally binding, which allows Obama to argue that it is not a treaty that needs Senate ratification.

The stakes are high, both because of the expected effects of climate change and because Obama wants to avoid the mistakes of the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks, which ended with no deal.

The White House set the tone for the week Monday with the news that 81 companies, including some big names like Intel Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co., are on board with Obama’s goals for an ambitious, strong, long-lasting agreement in Paris.

“As we look at this major conference that we’re going to be having in Paris in just a few months, where we’ve already mobilized the international community, including China, to participate, I just want everybody to understand that American businesses want this to happen as well,” Obama said after meeting with five major CEOs, saying that they need a level playing field to thrive.

“If we’re able to establish those kinds of rules and that’s the goal that we’re setting forth in Paris, I have no doubt that these companies are going to excel,” he said. “And that’s going to mean jobs, businesses, and opportunity alongside cleaner air and a better environment.”

Getting big business buy-in on the Paris deal is an attempt by Obama to increase the legitimacy of his efforts and to show opponents who can benefit from the talks.

Later in the week, a senior administration official laid out the strategy and stakes for the talks.

The official also tried to set expectations for the deal, which is unlikely to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

“It’s been clear for some time that, given the history of this issue, and the fits and starts of international negotiations, that the most important thing about a Paris agreement was going to be achieving durable, credible and universal agreement that reflected bottom-up country-delivered agreements,” the official said.

Republicans are fighting back and asserting what they see as the Senate’s rightful place in international treaties.

“Just like the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations framework convention on climate change, any agreement that commits our nation to targets or timetables must go through the process established by the founders in our Constitution,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said at a hearing he chaired in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee subpanel about the deal. “It must be submitted to the United States Senate for its advice and consent.”

“The president has made clear that he doesn’t see it that way, as was the case with the Iranian nuclear deal,” he said.

Barrasso later said that it’s important to tell foreign countries that Obama’s promises will not stand.

“The president can make promises, but it doesn’t necessarily carry the full force of the United States,” he said. “There are still court rulings to come. They may find that a number of things this administration does are not legal.”

Elliot Diringer, executive vice president at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, said Republicans are only reinforcing Obama’s strategy to stick with non-binding targets that don’t require Senate ratification.

“What came across in the hearing is that binding targets and timetables would require advice and consent from the Senate — and that the administration won’t agree to binding targets,” Diringer said. “The U.S. isn’t alone in that view, and I think the likeliest outcome in Paris is that targets won’t be binding.

Republicans’ work on the climate deal is far from over. Lawmakers including Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and House Energy and Commerce Committee energy and power subpanel chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) are considering going to Paris or sending staff to try to influence the talks.

“I don’t know if I’ll repeat what I’ve done several times before, which is to go over and be the bad guy, the one-man truth squad, and tell the truth, that they’re going to be lied to by the Obama administration,” Inhofe said.

Inhofe, a vocal climate change skeptic, has bragged that he traveled to the Copenhagen talks in 2009 and served as a “one-man truth squad” to derail the deal.

Whitfield said he wants to show negotiators that much of Obama’s promised emissions goal relies on regulations that Congress could weaken or overturn.

“We may send a group over to Paris, just to let them know that there’s another branch of government, in addition to the executive branch, on these issues,” he said.

Diringer said that Obama’s best bet would be to push for a deal that doesn’t require Senate input and is based on United States law, which has been the administration’s goal.

Meanwhile, Republicans in both chambers are launching new efforts to overturn the carbon limits for power plants through the Congressional Review Act.

Obama has vowed to veto any efforts to overturn the rule, the centerpiece of his climate change initiative. But even with his veto, the GOP hopes a vote could send a strong signal to the Paris negotiators that Obama’s environmental agenda has significant opposition domestically.

Congressional leaders have yet to say when the disapproval resolutions might get votes. But Republicans hope that they would come before or during the Paris talks.


Paris Climate Conference Is Likely to Fail

By S. Fred Singer 

COP-21, the 21st Conference of the Parties (to the Global Climate Treaty) is convening in Paris (November 30 to December 11, 2015) to try to impose global restrictions on the emission of the greenhouse (GH) gas carbon dioxide. The usual cast of characters will show up—delegates from nearly 200 nations, who have made a lifetime career out of the climate business, plus some 15,000 hangers-on. We think they will fail to reach an effective international agreement—for a variety of reasons: Important developing countries have other priorities; scandals are brewing and may flare up; and the climate itself is not cooperating. But the media will portray Paris as a huge success, trying to burnish the environmental-climate legacy of President Barack Obama.

Paris will be a big “nothing-burger”

Do you remember Anne Gorsuch, who may have coined this pungent term? She was the first female administrator of EPA, and rather different from both Lisa Jackson and Gina McCarthy. Gorsuch served for a couple of years in the Reagan administration, during which time she managed to cut the EPA budget and slim down the agency. She proved that a determined administrator can do something to rein in the regulatory excesses of the EPA. [Actually, one of the most effective ways of achieving that goal might be to expand the EPA office in Alaska, and then transfer most of the Washington activists to that office.]

Outlook for global agreements

President Obama has been actively pushing nations to make commitments on cutting CO2 emissions, and most have obliged him by making meaningless commitments that will have very little effect on actual levels of carbon dioxide—and even less on the world climate.

China has agreed to peak its emissions in 2030, but do nothing to stem growth in the remaining 15 years. They calculate, apparently, that by then their population and demand for electric power will have stabilized. In other words, their “commitment” involves no real hardships.

Similarly, in a half-hearted commitment, India will also peak its emissions sometime around the middle of the century. However, India’s actual plan is to double its domestic coal production in the next 5 years and then continue to use fossil fuels to generate the electricity that is badly needed by its population.

Southeast Asia is another rapidly growing user of fossil fuels to generate electricity. In Europe, eastern nations will continue to build coal-fired power plants. Even Germany is turning to coal, having foolishly decided, after Fukushima, to phase out their well-operating nuclear reactors.

By mid-century, US emissions are likely to be less than 10% of world total and thus of little consequence.

Perversely, Obama has pledged to commit the US to reduce emissions by 28 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels, by trying to use EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” in his promised “war on coal.”

When challenged by Russia on his leadership in the Middle East, Obama replied (on Sixty Minutes, on Oct 11): “My definition of leadership would be leading on climate change, an international accord that potentially we’ll get in Paris.” Note that Congress has not been consulted on these matters; it is likely that a future White House will simply cancel his US commitments; and the world is aware of this.

Will ShuklaGate play a role in Paris?

Many people think that the leak of Climategate e-mails in Nov 2009 played an important role in scuttling any climate agreement at COP-15 in Copenhagen. The e-mails exposed the sleazy actions of a US-UK group of IPCC scientists and their attempts to suppress any contrary opinions: through misuse of the peer-review of independent research, by bullying editors of scientific journals (often with their connivance), and even by the manhandling of fundamental data (“hide the decline” [of temperature]).

Might history repeat itself? Could Shukla-gate play a role in derailing any Paris agreement? Prof. Jagadish Shukla has been accused of extracting $63 million of US government funds, much of it flowing into his and family members’ pockets. His downfall came when he organized a very public campaign against scientific skeptics, accusing them and their financial supporters of bad faith and profiteering. Some ask the question: How do you say ‘chutzpah’ in Hindi?

This dirty laundry will on full display in Congressional hearings being organized by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Committee on Science. They may help convince the public, here and abroad, that hyped worries about global warming are mostly driven by money. Other examples come to mind: the promised $100-billion/year subsidy (bribe?) to developing nations (that perversely include China!), Solyndra and a plethora of other ‘clean’ energy projects, Al Gore’s rise to become a centi-millionaire, and many more. Undoubtedly, envy plays a role here—in addition to concern about how tax money is wasted. Why have we spent some $25 billon on climate science just in the past decade if the “science is settled?”

Will the Verdier scandal affect COP-21?

Philippe Verdier, a household name for his nightly TV weather forecasts on France-2, has been taken off air after criticizing the UN-IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Mr Verdier claims in the book Climat Investigation (Climate Investigation) that leading climatologists and political leaders have “taken the world hostage” with misleading data. Top climate scientists, who often rely on state funding, have been “manipulated and politicized.”

He specifically challenges the work of the IPCC, saying they “blatantly erased” data that went against their overall conclusions; he also casts doubt on the accuracy of their climate models, which assert that temperatures could rise by up to 4.8°C if no action is taken to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.

Mr Verdier writes: “We are undoubtedly on a plateau in terms of warming; and the cyclical variability of the climate doesn’t allow us to envisage if its natural rhythm will tomorrow lead us towards a fall, a stagnation, or a rise [in temperature].” He added: “We are hostage to a planetary scandal over climate change—a war machine whose aim is to keep us in fear.”

His book was criticized as full of “errors” by newspaper Le Monde (the FrenchNY Times): “The models used to predict the average rise in temperatures on the surface of the globe have proved to be rather reliable, with the gap between observations and predictions quite small.” But this fanciful claim is quite untrue; while IPCC climate models calculate a steady rise in global average temperature (matching a corresponding rise in atmospheric CO2), the actual observations record no detectable warming trend for almost 20 years—in spite of a CO2 increase of nearly 10%.

Verdier said he decided to write the book in June 2014, when Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, summoned the country’s main weather presenters and urged them to mention “climate chaos” in their forecasts. “I was horrified by this discourse,” Mr Verdier told a magazine. “What’s shameful is this pressure placed on us to say that if we don’t hurry, it’ll be the apocalypse,” he added, saying that “climate diplomacy” means leaders are seeking to force changes to suit their own political timetables.

Meanwhile, similar ideas have been advanced in the US. Wikipedia reports: In “Climate Science Is Not Settled,” a 2014 essay published in the Wall Street Journal, three years after stepping down as Under-Secretary for Science of DOE, Prof Steven Koonin wrote: “We are very far from the knowledge needed to make good climate policy,” and “The impact today of human activity [on climate] appears to be comparable to the intrinsic, natural variability of the climate system itself.” Koonin criticized the use of results from climate modeling to support the “scientific consensus” [quotes in original] about climate change, noting that, among other problems, “The models differ in their descriptions of the past century’s global average surface temperature by more than three times the entire warming recorded during that time.”

Regarding climate sensitivity, Koonin wrote that “Today’s best estimate of the sensitivity (between 2.7 and 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit for a doubling of the CO2 level) is no different, and no more certain, than it was 30 years ago. And this is despite a heroic research effort costing billions of dollars.”

COP-21 is unlikely to produce results

Notwithstanding the conclusions of the UN-IPCC and the heavily advertized so-called “scientific consensus” about greenhouse warming, the climate itself is not cooperating with costly policies to cut CO2 emissions—though heavily promoted in the lead-up to the COP conference by UN-toadies and even by Pope Francis. But the opposition by developing nations is determined—and assorted scandals are brewing. After all the hype, Paris-2015 may turn out to be a big (and expensive) nothing-burger and mark the end of COP.


Climate change is more important than union corruption?

The Australian Labor Party thinks so -- in a desperate attempt to help their crooked friends

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese has accused Malcolm Turnbull of playing “wedge” politics over industrial relations reform and declared climate change, not union corruption, should be top of a new bipartisan agenda.

It comes after Bill Shorten yesterday hit back at the Prime Minister’s ultimatum that Labor pass laws to curb union ­corruption and power or face an election campaign waged on industrial relations, lashing out at Mr Turnbull for reheating “Tony Abbott’s union-bashing’’ exercise.

Mr Turnbull wants Labor to negotiate on industrial relations laws stalled in the Senate - the reintroduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, to monitor and promote standards of conduct in the building industry, and the Registered Organisations Bill to impose transparency on union officials.

But Mr Albanese also rejected Mr Turnbull’s pledge to put IR at the forefront of the next election unless Labor “comes to its senses”.

“That’s just a wedge in terms of the union movement,” Mr Albanese said on ABC radio.

“When we’ll take Malcolm Turnbull more seriously and what he should do, because he does believe in action on climate change, he is serious about that issue and he should be prepared to sit down with the Labor Party and talk about real action on climate change.

“Not the sort of action that (former employment minister) Eric Abetz and the sceptics approve of but doing something real in the interest of … I mean that’s the ultimate intergenerational issue.”

Mr Albanese, who is the opposition’s infrastructure and transport spokesman, said the government wanted the media to be talking about union corruption and the CFMEU rather than the “more important” issue of climate change.

“If Malcolm Turnbull is at all serious about long-term working in a bipartisan way, then that (climate change) has to be at the top of the agenda,” he said.

“The other issues that have worked quite well - and to give Tony Abbott credit he certainly tried to work with the opposition about – is reconciliation and advancing the recognition of the First Australians.”

The Opposition Leader, his deputy Tanya Plibersek and immigration spokesman Richard Marles will head to the Pacific islands for four days this week in a bid to put climate change back on the political agenda.

Opposition communications spokesman Jason Clare yesterday nominated changes to superannuation tax concessions as the next policy area the government and Labor work on together.



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

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


27 October, 2015

American Academy of Pediatrics links global warming to the health of children

Totally crooked and unbalanced Warmist boilerplate below.  No mention that winter is the big killer so a warm climate should be healthier overall.  So they ignore the elephant in the room

Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a policy statement that links climate change with the health of children, urging pediatricians and politicians to work together to solve this crisis and protect children from climate-related threats including natural disasters, heat stress, lower air quality, increased infections, and threats to food and water supplies.

"Every child need a safe and healthy environment and climate change is a rising public health threat to all children in this country and around the world," said AAP President Sandra G. Hassink, MD, FAAP. "Pediatricians have a unique and powerful voice in this conversation due to their knowledge of child health and disease and their role in ensuring the health of current and future children."

The policy statement, "Global Climate Change and Children's Health," updates a 2007 policy, and is being published in the November 2015 issue of Pediatrics (published online Oct. 26). In the 2015 policy statement, the AAP states that:

    There is wide consensus among scientific organizations and climatologists that the broad effects known commonly as "climate change" are the result of contemporary human activities.

    According to the World Health Organization, more than 88 percent of the existing burden of disease attributable to climate change occurs in children younger than 5 years old.

    Climate change poses a threat to human health and safety, but children are uniquely vulnerable.

    Failure to take prompt, substantive action would be an act of injustice to all children.

"Children are uniquely at risk to the direct impacts of climate changes like climate-related disaster--including floods and storms--where they are exposed to increased risk of injury, death, loss of or separation from caregivers and mental health consequences," explained Samantha Ahdoot, MD, lead author of the policy statement. "They are also more vulnerable to the secondary impacts of global warming, like disease. For example, Lyme disease affects approximately 300,000 Americans each year, with boys, ages 5 to 9, at greatest risk. Climate warming has been linked to northern expansion of Lyme disease in North America, putting more American children at risk of this disease."

A technical report accompanies the AAP policy statement and offers a review of the latest scientific evidence linking climate change to child health, development, wellbeing and nutrition. Highlights include:

    Infants less than one year of age are uniquely vulnerable to heat-related mortality, with one study projecting an increase in infant heat-related deaths by 5.5 percent in females and 7.8 percent in males by the end of the 21st Century.

    Climate influences a number of infectious diseases that affect children across the world, including malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, Chikungunya, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, diarrheal illness, Amebic Meningoencephalitis and Coccidioidomycosis.

    The number of deaths in American high school and college football players from heat stroke has doubled from 15 to 29 from 2000-2010.

    There is an emerging concern that increased atmospheric CO2 impacts grain quality, lowering the protein content of the edible portions of wheat, rice and barley.

    High rates of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms have been found in children following climate-related disasters, including hurricanes and floods.

    Children in the world's poorest countries, where the disease burden is already disproportionately high, are most affected by climate change.

    In 2030, climate change is projected to cause an additional 48,000 deaths attributable to diarrheal disease in children younger than 15 years old, primarily in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The policy also advocates for the promotion of resource efficiency and renewable energy, research on climate-associated health effects, education and public awareness on this critical issue, and green development and transit. The AAP calls for a new public health movement to educate, advocate, and collaborate with local and national leaders regarding the risks climate change poses to human health. Pediatricians, as advocates for the population most vulnerable to climate change health effects, have a vital role to play in this movement.


UK Parliament To Debate Abolition Of Department of Energy and Climate Change

In Whitehall parlance it is known as “mogging” — slamming together or scrapping departments to save cash. Speculation about machinery of government changes is set to reach a fever pitch this week as MPs debate a private member’s bill on the abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The bill, introduced by the maverick Tory MP Peter Bone, is unlikely to pass — in its current form at least. Nevertheless, for the hundreds of civil servants at DECC, the debate will not be much fun because its dissolution remains a distinct possibility.

With George Osborne asking for departments to prepare for budget cuts of as much as 40 per cent, winding up one or two would help to ease the burden on those that are considered indispensable. Ministers are urgently running the rule over possible savings in advance of the chancellor’s autumn spending review on November 25.

DECC has always been an unwieldy beast, tossed together from bits of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the old DTI in a shake-up led by Gordon Brown in 2008.

It remains relatively small and could simply be broken up, with the energy policy parts rolled into the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the DTI’s successor, and climate policy folded back into Defra. After all, that is the structure that existed only seven years ago.

Best of all for Mr Osborne, unlike most other departments, DECC’s abolition would have no direct impact on public services. Outside Whitehall, few people would notice. Mr Osborne is not known for his sentimentality towards such changes, especially when the political risks are so low. His hunt for cost savings makes DECC a prime target.

However, there are risks here. Machinery of government changes can be blunt. The disruption can last for years, as experienced Whitehall mandarins get bogged down by the logistics and the need to forge relationships with new colleagues and permanent secretaries. [...]

The timing of the autumn spending review also poses a tricky challenge for Mr Osborne, coming only a week before the start of the UN climate policy conference in Paris.

Scrapping DECC then would hardly send an encouraging message on British leadership on the problem of climate change. Nor would it chime well with David Cameron’s dubious pledge to lead the “greenest government ever”.

It would also deal an extremely awkward hand to Amber Rudd, DECC’s well-respected secretary of state, who was appointed only six months ago. If Mr Osborne does choose to wind up DECC, he might wait until the new year to do so — but I certainly wouldn’t rule out his doing so before then.


Jim Webb Is Basically A Republican When It Comes To Global Warming

Not a lot of people had heard of former Sen. Jim Webb before the  Democratic presidential debate, but based on his response to a question on global warming voters can assume he’s much farther to the right than his fellow Democrats on the issue.

“You’re pro-coal, you’re pro-offshore drilling, you’re pro-Keystone pipeline. Are — again, are you — the question is, are you out of step with the Democratic party?” CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked the former Virginia senator during the debate.

Webb responded that he was an “all-of-the-above energy voter” while in the U.S. Senate, adding that he supported nuclear power. Most importantly, however, Webb stressed the point that global warming would not be solved by the U.S. alone — a point most Democrats seem to ignore in the climate debate.

“And really, we are not going to solve climate change simply with the laws here,” Webb said. “If you look at China and India, they’re the greatest polluters in the world. Fifteen out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in one of those two countries. We need to solve this in a global way.”

Webb also took a swipe at the “illusory” agreements between the U.S. and China that have been announced in the last year. Webb argued that the Chinese have been vague on what they would do right away to fight global warming.

“It’s a global problem and I have been very strong on — on doing that,” Webb said. “The — the agreements — the so-called agreements that we have had with China are illusory in terms of the immediate requirements of the — of the Chinese government itself. So let’s solve this problem in an international way, and then we really will have a — a way to address climate change.”

Webb’s answer during Tuesday night’s debate makes him a stand-out among his Democratic opponents on global warming. All of the other candidates have pushed for unilaterally reducing fossil fuel use while ramping up green energy — regardless of what China does.

In fact, Webb’s insistence that China and India need to cut emissions mirrors what Republican presidential candidates have said about their position on global warming.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said, “we have a moral responsibility to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy” to protect future generations. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley kept referring to his plan for a “100 percent clean electric grid by 2050.”

“We did not land a man on the moon with an all-of-the-above strategy,” O’Malley said.

Clinton agreed with Webb that China and India need to cut their emissions to truly fight global warming, but the former secretary put forward her own plan earlier this year to install half a billion solar panels across the country. Her plan would also have the U.S. get 33 percent of its electricity from green energy by 2027 and reduce fossil fuel use as well.

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee told CNN’s Cooper that he wanted to address global warming and that he’s proud he’s an enemy of the coal industry.

Chaffee’s website states he’s against the Keystone XL pipeline and Arctic drilling. Webb’s website, on the other hand, doesn’t even have a section for his views on the environment.

Webb’s stance on global warming — judging by his debate comments — is much closer to any Republican candidate than to what his Democratic counterparts espouse.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in April that U.S. must “[b]e cognizant of the fact that we have this climate change issue and we need to work with the rest of the world to negotiate a way to reduce carbon emissions.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said during the second Republican presidential debate that “America is not a planet.” Rubio argued that we “are not going to destroy our economy, make America a harder place to create jobs, in order to pursue a policy that will do nothing, nothing to change our climate, to change our weather.”

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina told Yahoo News anchor Katie Couric that regulating emissions here “will make not difference at all, yet we’re destroying people’s lives and livelihoods.”

“So I think the answer to this problem is innovation, not regulation,” Fiorina said. “China could care less. In fact, China is delighted that we are not spending any time or energy figuring out clean coal, because they’re going to go do it.”


The Pope's not Green enough for an old feminist shrew

No matter his recent encyclical on the environment. Pope Francis himself is the cause of global warming, according to feminist activist Gloria Steinem.

Cosmopolitan writer Prachi Gupta revealed that her editor-in-chief, Joanna Coles, interviewed Steinem, “arguably the most influential women’s rights activist in the world today” for an hour on Wednesday. From that interview, Gupta recalled Steinem’s “serious wisdom” and “best quotes.”

One of those quotes came from when Coles spoke with Steinem about “rethinking the patriarchy.”

Steinem started off with a focus on economics. She argued, “All of our courses in economics should start with reproduction, not production.”

What do economics and the patriarchy have to do with each other? Steinem’s logic went something like this: Pope Francis and “other patriarchal religions” support “forcing women to have children” instead of abortion. There’s then a “human load” on the Earth. Thus, the pope causes global warming.

Cosmo published Steinem’s quote:

    “I had this thought that we should have this massive education campaign pointing out that the Pope and all of the other patriarchal religions that dictate to women in this way, accusing them of global warming. Because the human load on this earth is the biggest cause of global warming, and that is because of forcing women to have children they would not on their own choose to have … I’m glad the Pope spoke out about global warming and it was very helpful, but does he know he’s causing it?“

At another point in the interview, Steinem addressed Roe v. Wade and abortion.

“?Reproductive rights are a fundamental human right,” she insisted, “like freedom of speech.”?


The EPA Spill In Colorado Was Completely Preventable

In August, the Environmental Protection Agency royally screwed up when they released 3 million gallons of toxic water from an abandoned mine in Colorado. The waste from the Gold King Mine, which had been abandoned for nearly ten years, was so great that it turned the Animas River orange. That river connects with the San Juan River, which leads into the greater Colorado River. The spill has impacted Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. Now, investigators have found the EPA could have avoided this environmental fiasco (via AP):

    "The Colorado spill would have been avoided had the EPA team checked on water levels inside the inactive Gold King Mine before digging into its collapsed and leaking entrance, a team of engineers from Interior's Bureau of Reclamation concluded in a 132-page report released Thursday.

    Abandoned hard-rock underground mines are not subject to the same federal and state safety requirements other mining operations must follow, and "experience indicates that they should be," the report concluded.

    "A collapsed flooded mine is in effect a dam, and failure must be prevented by routine monitoring, maintenance, and in some cases remediation," the engineers wrote. "However, there appears to be a general absence of knowledge of the risks associated with these facilities."

    The findings have implications across the United States: Similar disasters could lurk among the many abandoned mines that have yet to be cleaned up.

    The total cost of containing this mining industry mess could top $50 billion, according to government estimates."

The initial clean up cost estimate by American Action Forum had a wide range of $338 million to $27 billion. Moreover, the EPA knew about the blowout risks with the mine. The Navajo Nation,whose livelihoods were threatened by the spill, were furious over the government inaction as well.

Earlier this month, the EPA had a soft repeat of Gold King at Standard Mine near Crested Butte, Colorado, where 2,000 gallons of toxic water leeched into a creek that connects to the town’s water supply, according to the Denver Post.

    "The spill happened at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday [October 6], and the EPA said it immediately informed public works officials. Residents weren't notified. Crested Butte Mayor Aaron Huckstep said he wasn't notified until Thursday.

    EPA officials on Wednesday, responding to Denver Post queries about the mine, didn't reveal the spill. On Thursday afternoon, the agency issued a prepared statement saying that, based on neutral acidity and creek flow levels, Crested Butte didn't close its water intakes.

    "Subsequent investigation found no visible plume or signs of significant impacts in downstream locations," the EPA said.

    At the cleanup site, acidic wastewater laced with cancer-causing cadmium and other toxic heavy metals leaches out of the mine into Elk Creek, which flows into Coal Creek — a primary source of water for Crested Butte. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has determined that the levels of arsenic, cadmium and zinc in Coal Creek exceed state standards."


Disputes over financing hamper talks on global warming

Disputes over financing for poor nations hampered negotiations on Friday among almost 200 countries racing against the clock to seal an accord on combating global warming at a UN climate summit in Paris in December.

Some delegates said they feared a repeat of the 2009 summit in Copenhagen when governments last tried, and failed, to agree a deal, although many others said they remained confident of a breakthrough at the November 30th-December 11th meeting in Paris.

US climate envoy Todd Stern predicted a deal would be reached in Paris despite scant progress in Bonn, Germany, the final meeting before Paris, on issues including climate finance.

Many nations want a deal, he said, but “you still have to hack our way through specific language and it gets pretty sensitive and pretty contentious”.

Developing nations, which say their views are often ignored, said climate finance is the core issue, and all sides reported scant progress on the issue in Bonn.

“We are extremely worried about the pace,” said Amjad Abdulla, who speaks on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, which fears rising sea levels.

Poor nations want clear promises of rising contributions from industrialised nations beyond an existing goal of $100 billion by 2020, from public and private sources, to help them curb greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to changes such as floods and droughts.

Rich nations led by the US and the EU want to make vaguer pledges beyond 2020 and for Paris to include new donors such as China, now outside the $100 billion plan, which last month pledged $3 billion for developing nations.

The Christian Aid group said a Paris deal was close “but climate finance is the elephant in the room”.

“Developing countries need Paris to be a success. We have no other option. For developing countries, climate change is a matter of life and death,” said Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko, South Africa’s delegate, who speaks on behalf of more than 130 developing nations and China.

An updated draft text of an accord on Friday covers 55 pages and has 1,490 brackets, marking points of disagreement. That was up from 20 pages at the start of the talks and far longer than hoped.

Nations were also split over how far the Paris text should include a new mechanism for loss and damage, meant to help emerging nations cope with the impact of droughts, hurricanes and rising sea levels.



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

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


26 October, 2015

The Real ‘Consensus’: Global Warming Causes FEWER Hurricanes

Environmentalists are still trying to tie massive storms to global warming as Hurricane Patricia heads toward Mexico.

Oddly enough, the very science activists cite when claiming global warming will make hurricanes like Patricia more frequent and intense actually shows the opposite.

Scientists project fewer hurricanes in the future that may be slightly stronger. Research also suggests that even though hurricanes may become slightly stronger, wind patterns will drive them further out to sea, meaning fewer storms hitting Americans.

“I would characterize ‘mainstream’ science on global warming and hurricanes as thinking that there will be a slight decrease in frequency of storms but a slight increase in intensity on a global scale,” climate scientist Chip Knappenberger with the libertarian Cato Institute told The Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), considered the world’s top climate authority by environmentalists and scientists, found “it is likely that the global frequency of tropical cyclones will either decrease or remain essentially unchanged, concurrent with a likely increase in both global mean tropical cyclone maximum wind speed and rain rates.”

But IPCC notes the “future changes in storms are likely to be small compared to natural interannual variability,” meaning scientists won’t even be able to detect global warming’s influence on storms for some time.

“By and large, the projected changes will be pretty small compared to natural variability so may not be detectable for a long time,” Knappenberger said. “Recent trends, in whatever direction, are dominated by natural variability and thus very likely do not display a detectable global warming signal.”

Other scientists note just how small the projected changes in hurricanes and other storms will be. Dr. Christopher Landsea, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), argued global warming can make it harder for storms to intensify.

“All climate models predict that for every degree of warming at the ocean that the air temperature aloft will warm around twice as much,” Landsea wrote in 2011. “This is important because if global warming only affected the earth’s surface, then there would be much more energy available for hurricanes to tap into.”

“But, instead, warming the upper atmosphere more than the surface along with some additional moisture near the ocean means that the energy available for hurricanes to access increases by just a slight amount,” Landsea continued. “Moreover, the vertical wind shear is also supposed to increase, making it more difficult (not easier) for hurricanes to form and intensify.”

Studies also suggest changes in preferred Atlantic hurricane tracking will keep more storms out at sea instead of slamming in the U.S. East Coast. So even if storms were to become more intense than scientists predict, they would hit the U.S. less often.

In the last few years, nearly every major storm that forms has been tied to global warming by politicians, environmentalists and scientists. Newly-formed Patricia is no exception.

Patricia is the strongest hurricane ever measured by NOAA. The storm quickly gained strength and has scientists warning this is the size of storm we can expect to see more of in a warming world, though no scientist will come out and say Patricia is caused by global warming.

But even with all of the projections on how global warming will exacerbate extreme weather, there’s no evidence hurricanes are becoming more frequent or more intense as global temperatures rise.

University of Colorado climate researcher Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. told Congress in 2013 that “it’s misleading, and just plain incorrect, to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally.”

Pielke’s findings are backed by IPCC, which found “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century. … No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.”


This Child Doesn’t Need a Solar Panel

By Bjorn Lomborg

In the run-up to the 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, rich countries and development organizations are scrambling to join the fashionable ranks of “climate aid” donors. This effectively means telling the world’s worst-off people, suffering from tuberculosis, malaria or malnutrition, that what they really need isn’t medicine, mosquito nets or micronutrients, but a solar panel. It is terrible news.

On Oct. 9, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim pledged a one-third increase in the bank’s direct climate-related financing, bringing the bank’s annual total to an estimated $29 billion by 2020. In September, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to match President Obama’s promised $3 billion in aid to the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund. Meanwhile, the U.K is diverting $8.9 billion from its overseas aid budget to climate-related aid over the next five years, and France is promising $5.6 billion annually by 2020, up from $3.4 billion today. The African Development Bank is planning to triple its climate-related investments to more than $5 billion a year by 2020, representing 40% of its total portfolio.

All these pledges had their genesis in the chaos of the Copenhagen climate summit six years ago, when developed nations made a rash promise to spend $100 billion a year on “climate finance” for the world’s poor by 2020. Rachel Kyte, World Bank vice president and special envoy for climate change, recently told the Guardian (U.K.) newspaper that the $100 billion figure “was picked out of the air at Copenhagen” in an attempt to rescue a last-minute deal. Yet achieving that arbitrary goal is now seen as fundamental to the success of the Paris summit.

This is deeply troubling because aid is being diverted to climate-related matters at the expense of improved public health, education and economic development. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has analyzed about 70% of total global development aid and found that about one in four of those dollars goes to climate-related aid.

In a world in which malnourishment continues to claim at least 1.4 million children’s lives each year, 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty, and 2.6 billion lack clean drinking water and sanitation, this growing emphasis on climate aid is immoral.

Not surprisingly, in an online U.N. survey of more than eight million people from around the globe, respondents from the world’s poorest countries rank “action taken on climate change” dead last out of 16 categories when asked “What matters most to you?” Top priorities are “a good education,” “better health care, “better job opportunities,” “an honest and responsive government,” and “affordable, nutritious food.”

According to a recent paper by Neha Raykar and Ramanan Laxminarayan of the Public Health Foundation of India, just $570 million a year—or 0.57% of the $100 billion climate-finance goal—spent on direct malaria-prevention policies like mosquito nets would reduce malaria deaths by 50% by 2025, saving an estimated 300,000 lives a year.

Providing the world’s most deprived countries with solar panels instead of better health care or education is inexcusable self-indulgence. Green energy sources may be good to keep on a single light or to charge a cellphone. But they are largely useless for tackling the main power challenges for the world’s poor.

According to the World Health Organization, three billion people suffer from the effects of indoor air pollution because they burn wood, coal or dung to cook. These people need access to affordable, reliable electricity today. Yet too often clean alternatives, because they aren’t considered “renewable,” aren’t receiving the funding they deserve.

A 2014 study by the Center for Global Development found that “more than 60 million additional people in poor nations could gain access to electricity if the Overseas Private Investment Corporation”—the U.S. government’s development finance institution—“were allowed to invest in natural gas projects, not just renewables.”

Addressing global warming effectively will require long-term innovation that will make green energy affordable for everyone. Rich countries are in a rush to appear green and generous, and recipient countries are jostling to make sure they receive the funds. But the truth is that climate aid isn’t where rich countries can help the most, and it isn’t what the world’s poorest want or need.


Are dead fish worth more than struggling farmers?

The hellish drought in California has casualties. It tried to destroy farmers, and has in some cases, but guess what it really destroyed? The Delta Smelt. The much admired, or reviled, species depending on your perspective has declined beyond the point of organic regeneration. This would hardly be newsworthy, were it not for the fact that environmentalists and their supporters in government have redistributed the dwindling baitfish’s suffering to human beings within and beyond the borders of California.

Like it or not, California feeds the world with her produce and dairy. This task has been made considerably harder when a series of court decisions and overzealous regulators began restricting the water that is the lifeblood of agriculture. Consumers, and the jobs they support, have borne the brunt of the consequences. With that said of the wounded, what of the dead and dying?

According to the Sacramento Bee, “A key index measuring the “relative abundance” of the troubled Delta smelt registered zero in the latest survey by state scientists, the first time that’s happened since the survey began in 1959”. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported finding a sample of 9 Delta Smelt in 2014, compared to its peak of 1,673 in 1970. Whether it’s just the drought or the infrastructure that should be blamed, the current policy of restricting water usage has failed to halt the species’ decline.

Before you shed a tear for the death of the species, you should consider two things.

First, the fish is being preserved in various fisheries, including one at the University of California-Davis, though they could release them to their imminent demise.

Second, while environmentalists wring their hands about a species they did not create, and therefore, cannot save, an estimated 560,000 acres remain fallow for want of water. The only thing they have successfully engineered is scarcity itself.

Not only scarcity of the very species they yearned to protect, but of the produce that employs their neighbors and feeds the world. Instead of flushing 1.4 trillion gallons of water since 2008 to save what the ecosystem will not, why not flush the policy that is failing people? People who used to matter more than fish.

Congress has a duty to render justice where the federal courts failed; this can be done by restricting funds under the Clean Water Act from being used to continue in this failed experiment.

Cutting the federal chains undermines the state of California’s institutionalized apathy to the plight of farmers and consumers, and begins the process of restoring damage from such a misguided policy.

El Niño’s wet weather pattern will reportedly bring relief to California’s drought conditions in the coming winter, but it is uncertain to what extent; even when water was plentiful before the drought, the government only allowed 80 percent of the normal water allotment to be used. What is certain is that through inaction, Congress is complicit in neglecting tens of thousands of Californians dependent on the agricultural sector, of which 35,000 were unemployed at the height of the recession.

Consumers and farmers deserve justice; not failed policy from environmentalists that can no more control the destiny of a species than they can the weather. Regardless of what environmentalists think, our obligation is to put people first.


The battle against global warming: an absurd, costly and pointless crusade

Below is an excerpt from a very thorough report recently released by a French mathematical society

All public policies, in France, Europe and throughout the world, find their origin and inspiration in the battle against global warming. The initial credo is simple: temperatures at the surface of the planet have been rising constantly for the past thirty years, and human beings are to blame.

This is leading to all sorts of discussions, conferences and regulations, which are having an enormous impact on our economy. Every area of activity is affected: transport, housing, energy – to name just a few. Why do we need to save energy? It is quite simple: we have to reduce human impact on the planet. This is the fundamental credo.

The impact on the entire field of scientific research is particularly clear and especially pernicious. No project can be launched, on any subject whatsoever, unless it makes direct reference to global warming. You want to look at the geology of the Garonne Basin? It is, after all, an entirely normal and socially useful subject in every respect. Well, your research will be funded, approved and published only if it mentions the potential for geological storage of CO2.

 It is appalling. The crusade has invaded every area of activity and everyone‘s thinking: the battle against CO2 has become a national priority. How have we reached this point, in a country that claims to be rational?

At the root lie the declarations made by the IPPC, which have been repeated over the years and taken up by the European Commission and the Member States. France, which likes to see itself as the "good boy of Europe", adds an extra layer of virtue to every crusade. When others introduce reductions, we will on principle introduce bigger reductions, without ever questioning their appropriateness: a crusade is virtuous by its very nature. And you can never be too virtuous.

But mathematicians do not believe in crusades; they look at facts, figures, observations and arguments.

  Chapter 1: The crusade is absurd.

 There is not a single fact, figure or observation that leads us to conclude that the world‘s climate is in any way "disturbed". It is variable, as it has always been, but rather less so now than during certain periods or geological eras.

Modern methods are far from being able to accurately measure the planet‘s global temperature even today, so measurements made 50 or 100 years ago are even less reliable.

Concentrations of CO2 vary, as they always have done; the figures that are being released are biased and dishonest.

Rising sea levels are a normal phenomenon linked to upthrust buoyancy; they are nothing to do with so-called global warming.

As for extreme weather events – they are no more frequent now than they have been in the past. We ourselves have processed the raw data on hurricanes.

We are being told that "a temperature increase of more than 2ºC by comparison with the beginning of the industrial age would have dramatic consequences, and absolutely has to be prevented".

When they hear this, people worry: hasn‘t there already been an increase of 1.9ºC? Actually, no: the figures for the period 1995-2015 show an upward trend of about 1ºC every hundred years! Of course, these figures, which contradict public policies, are never brought to public attention.

Chapter 2: The crusade is costly.

Direct aid for industries that are completely unviable (such as photovoltaics and wind turbines) but presented as "virtuous"  runs into billions of euros, according to recent reports published by the Cour des Comptes (French Audit Office) in 2013.

But the highest cost lies in the principle of "energy saving", which is presented as especially virtuous. Since no civilization can develop when it is saving energy, ours has stopped developing: France now has more than three million people unemployed – it is the price we have to pay for our virtue. We want to cut our CO2 emissions at any cost: it is a way of displaying our virtue for all to see. To achieve these reductions, we have significantly cut industrial activity and lost jobs. But at least we have achieved our aim of cutting CO2 emissions, haven‘t we?

The answer is laughable: apparently not. Global emissions of CO2 have continued to rise, including those generated by France in designing and manufacturing its own products, as the Cour des Comptes clearly states. Quite simply, manufacturing that is held to be environmentally damaging has been relocated. So the same products are now being manufactured in countries that are far less respectful of the environment, and we have lost all the associated jobs. As Baudelaire says, "Nature‘s irony combines with our insanity"

Chapter 3: The crusade is pointless.

 Human beings cannot, in any event, change the climate. If we in France were to stop all industrial activity (let‘s not talk about our intellectual activity, which ceased long ago), if we were to eradicate all trace of animal life, the composition of the atmosphere would not alter in any measurable, perceptible way.

To explain this, let us make a comparison with the rotation of the planet: it is slowing down. To address that, we might be tempted to ask the entire population of China to run in an easterly direction. But, no matter how big China and its population are, this would have no measurable impact on the Earth‘s rotation.

French policy on CO2 emissions is particularly stupid, since we are one of the countries with the cleanest industrial sector. International agreements on the subject began with the Kyoto Protocol, but the number of countries signing up to this agreement and its descendants are becoming fewer and fewer, now representing just 15% of emissions of greenhouse gases.

This just goes to show the truth of the matter: we are fighting for a cause (reducing CO2 emissions) that serves absolutely no purpose, in which we alone believe, and which we can do nothing about. You would probably have to go quite a long way back in human history to find such a mad obsession.

Much more HERE

Inside the EPA: Military weapons, designer desks…and nukes?

A congressional committee will investigate reports that the Environmental Protection Agency wasted billions of dollars, including an effort to create its own militia with a prosecution arm to mirror the FBI’s.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, told that a House committee will dig into allegations the EPA bought designer furniture and sporting goods equipment, and handed out hefty employee bonuses and grants to foreign countries – including China.

The charges are outlined in a recent report by Open the Books, a non-profit dedicated to transparency and oversight of government spending. The group analyzed agency spending beginning in 2000.

Despite budget sequestration, which mandated cutbacks and no raises, the EPA has  thrived with its $8.13-billion budget, up $500 million from 2009. In fact, every president has increased the budget since Ronald Reagan in 1981.

“How can the EPA justify spending taxpayer dollars on questionable items like luxury furnishings and sports equipment?” asked Smith. “The agency also appears to have funneled millions of dollars to organizations outside the U.S. The EPA needs to remember they are accountable to the American taxpayer and should justify every dollar they spend.”

Smith, who heads the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, reviewed a copy of the Open the Books report provided by Watchdog, and said the committee “intends to investigate the possible misuse of public funds.”

The EPA is already on Smith’s bad side for withholding requested documents pertaining to the Animas River spill in Colorado as the committee prepared for a Sept. 9 hearing. During the hearing, an EPA official told the committee the Gold King Mine was walled off as a result of a cave-in. In fact,  the EPA created the barricade, which allowed water to collect behind it — bursting when a hole was drilled, mine owner Todd Hennis told Watchdog.

Lawmakers in that hearing and another committee from the Senate blasted the EPA for its heavy-handed military-style treatment of citizens and companies who inadvertently create spills by “running them out of business” and “forcing them to go bankrupt.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said the EPA should be contacting the FBI for heavy-duty law enforcement action if any is needed.

Regardless, some-200 EPA “special agents” have the “latest state-of-the-art ‘policing’ gear such as ‘guns and ammunition up to 300MM,’ ‘camouflage and other deceptive equipment,’ ‘night vision,’ ‘unmanned aircraft,’ ‘radar,’ ‘body armor,’ ‘surveillance equipment,’ ‘mobile GPS monitors,’ and (they) train and investigate frequently alongside joint projects with Homeland Security,” the report said.

The cost? Nearly $5 million. This doesn’t include the $45.6 million per year spent for agents’ salaries. More than 1,000 attorneys back them up, costing $1.3 billion since 2007.

“The EPA does not need this kind of military unless they think someone working on an oil barrel is going to turn around and shoot them,” said Gohmert, chairman of the House Natural Resources subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. “It’s been one of the most egregious developments in federal government that they feel like they need military-style squads.”

Gohmert said EPA SWAT teams have descended on hapless citizens accused of having a guitar made of wood from an endangered tree and another who owned a foreign orchid that didn’t go through customs.

Spending also included the startling categories of “military chemical agents” ($1,753), “chemical weapons and equipment” ($331,380), “fusing and firing devices nuclear ordinance” ($21,900) and “nuclear bombs” ($9,297).

Open the Books has tried unsuccessfully  to get the agency to explain the purchases, said the nonprofit’s CEO, Adam Andrzejewski. He said it’s possible that the categories involve cleanups of old nuclear sites, but there is no way to tell.

“We wanted clarity as to why these category headings existed in their checkbook,” Andrzejewski said. “There might be a good reason, but we want to know what it is. Why haven’t they responded? The fact that [they indicated] we have to wait another two months is very questionable behavior.”

The EPA told Watchdog that “Many purchases were mischaracterized or blown out of proportion in the report. This report cherry picks and falsely misrepresents the work of two administrations whose job it is to ensure people are informed about the critical work of EPA,” said EPA spokeswoman Melissa Harrison.

The nuclear bomb and chemical weapons were “inaccurately reported to the Federal Procurement Data System,” she said, adding that the expenditures were really haz mat equipment and electrical wiring. Many of the items predate the agency’s 2012 implementation of management controls and oversight, Harrison added.

Military equipment costs are actually $6.4 million, not the $5 million quoted in the report, according to Harrison.

Other unusual/questionable expenses

For those who can’t afford pricey spa memberships, consider a career at the EPA. The agency has you covered with nearly $4 million in recreational equipment.

And then there is this:

      $50 million in EPA grants to 61 International entities, including $1.229 million to China.
     $505 million to the North American Development Bank, which guarantees loans to companies 186 miles south of the border.

      $143.4 million in bonuses since 2007 to approximately 65 percent of the employees including nine that were more than $60,000 and 38 between $30,000 and $50,000.

      $48.4 million since 2005 on Herman Miller designer furniture.

      Nearly $5 million on Knoll furniture, a designer displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

      A total of $92.4 million in furniture since year 2005 – approximately $6,000 per employee.
    $813 for a special pencil drawer.
      $31,330 worth of musical instruments.

Gohmert said budget talks will be coming up soon and the EPA should be targeted as it is rife with waste. Given that the EPA is a favorite of Obama’s, Republicans could have an uphill battle. Last year, Congress attempted unsuccessfully to use Homeland Security appropriations for leverage to get the president to cut back on funding for illegal immigrants. This year, lawmakers would be better served to target the EPA, he said.

“Not only do we want to cut waste, we want to cut out a dictatorial agency,” he said. “We can force them to come in and prove the value of every asset of the EPA.”


Congressional skeptic on global warming demands records from U.S. climate scientists

The head of a congressional committee on science has issued subpoenas to the Obama administration over a recent scientific study refuting claims that global warming had “paused” or slowed over the last decade.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and a prominent congressional skeptic on climate change, issued the subpoenas two weeks ago demanding e-mails and records from U.S. scientists who participated in the study, which undercut a popular argument used by critics who reject the scientific consensus that man-made pollution is behind the planet’s recent warming.

Smith’s document request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ordered the agency to turn over scientific data as well as internal “communications between or among employees” involved in the study, according to a letter Friday by the House committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Tex.).  Johnson accused Smith of “furthering a fishing expedition” by looking for ways to discredit NOAA’s study, which was published in June in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

“It is a disturbing trend for the legitimacy of this committee,” Johnson said in the letter to Smith. She linked the subpoena to previous requests by the committee’s Republican staff seeking information about NOAA’s climate researchers, which Johnson called “a serious misuse of Congressional oversight powers.” Noting that NOAA routinely publishes supporting data for its studies, Johnson said Smith had “not articulated a legitimate need for anything beyond what NOAA has already provided.”

Smith, responding to Johnson’s letter, said the subpoena was not “harassment” but “appropriate constitutional oversight.”

“This scandal-ridden administration’s lack of openness is the real problem,” Smith said in a statement released by his office. “Congress cannot do its job when agencies openly defy Congress and refuse to turn over information. When an agency decides to alter the way it has analyzed historical temperature data for the past few decades, it’s crucial to understand on what basis those decisions were made.”

Smith, a lawyer who became chairman of the science committee in 2013, has repeatedly rejected mainstream scientific views about climate change, while accusing the Obama administration of undermining the U.S. economy with policies that seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In writings and speeches, Smith has frequently cited scientific studies that suggested a slowing or even a halt in the rise of global temperatures since 2000.

The existence of a warming “pause” came under question following several new scientific analyses early this year. The study that prompted the subpoenas was led by NOAA’s Thomas Karl, who heads its National Centers for Environmental Information, and was regarded by many experts as a bombshell in the climate change debate.

The NOAA study reported on a series of adjustments to the agency’s influential temperature data set, seeking to address “residual data biases” affecting some sources of measurement, such as ocean temperature measurements taken by ships.

The result was that the “newly corrected and updated global surface temperature data … do not support the notion of a global warming ‘hiatus,’” Karl and his fellow researchers reported.

“Our new analysis now shows the trend over the period 1950-1999, a time widely agreed as having significant anthropogenic global warming, is 0.113°C [per decade], which is virtually indistinguishable with the trend over the period 2000-2014 (0.116°C [per decade]),” they continued.



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25 October, 2015

Australian Greens panicking over nanoparticles in food

This is typical of the way Greenies seize on low probability events and magnify them.  There are some theoretical grounds for seeing nanoparticles as physically hazardous if breathed in but you don't breathe food in, you eat it. And the nano particles concerned are chemically the same as their equivalent larger particles so it is difficult to see different chemical effects from them

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand for many years claimed it was "not aware" and there was "little evidence" of manufactured nanoparticles in food because no company had applied for approval.

But in a Senate estimates hearing this week, FSANZ's chief executive Steve McCutcheon said it had known for years nanoparticles of approved food additives titanium dioxide and silica were in foods.

He said FSANZ commissioned a toxicology report a year ago, and is expecting to soon receive the results.

He said the regulator was talking about "new or novel" nanoparticles when it previously claimed it was not aware of its use in Australia's food stream.

"If [companies] start applying nanotechnology – including on approved food additives – and they start producing different effects, then they have an obligation under law to bring that forward to FSANZ for assessment," he said. "[Nano-titanium dioxide and nano-silica] are not novel compounds because they're [nanoparticles of] approved additives."

At the hearing, Greens Senator Rachel Siewert asked whether he was certain the two nanoparticles were not further manipulated to carry "new or novel" properties.

"We won't know until we've seen the (toxicology) report," he responded. "We can't guarantee anything, I mean, we're a food standards agency, we don't go testing, we haven't got those powers and so we rely on evidence gathered both here and around the world."

Fairfax Media exclusively reported last month that research commissioned by Friends of the Earth found potentially harmful nanoparticles in 14 popular products, including Mars' M&Ms, Woolworths white sauce and Praise salad dressing.

A human hair is about 100,000 nanometres wide. Nanoparticles are typically less than 100 nanometres. Nano-titanium dioxide boosts the whiteness in food and nano-silica is an anti-caking agent. Neither must be labelled on packaging as "nano".

Ms Siewert told Fairfax Media that FSANZ did not know whether the nanoparticles were being further modified to obtain "new or novel" properties, making them potentially unsafe to eat.

"The manufacturers are putting that in the product to have an effect. Otherwise, why bother? So FSANZ is finally saying, 'Oh, we should have a look at that... we should review those'," she said.

Under questioning, Mr McCutcheon said about 15 per cent of food-grade titanium dioxide and silica was made up of nanoparticles.

But 100 per cent of the silica in Nice 'N' Tasty Chicken Salt, Old El Paso Taco Mix, Moccona Cappuccino, Nestlé Coffee Mate Creamer, Maggi Roast Meat Gravy, and Woolworths Homebrand White Sauce were made up of nanoparticles, the Friends of the Earth research found.

"If we use their view that above 15 per cent nanoparticles is intentional, then only two out of 14 samples weren't intentionally using nanoparticles," said the group's emerging tech campaigner, Jeremy Tager.

"They also seem to be inferring that because titanium dioxide and silica have been approved as food additives, the nano forms are also safe. This directly contradicts the findings of regulators in Europe and FSANZ's sister agency the APVMA who have made it clear  the safety of nanomaterials can't be inferred from bulk particles of the same chemicals."

Mr Tager said if FSANZ had commissioned a toxicology report, the products should not be on the market until they are proven safe.

Leading risk expert Andrew Maynard, from Arizona State University, said there were a small number of studies indicating nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and fumed silica could be more active in the body than otherwise thought.

"This does not mean that there is a significant risk to consumers. It may be the safety assessment moves from extremely safe to very safe, but we won't know until a lot more research has been done. This research is important, as people are being exposed to these materials," he said.

FSANZ has previously told federal parliament it was not aware of nanomaterials being used in food. It said it had not conducted testing or surveyed food makers and importers to determine whether nanoparticles were in food.


UK: Friends Of The Earth Mocked After Claiming Sand Causes Cancer

Friends of the Earth has been ridiculed after suggesting sand cause cancer, in their latest attempt to demonise hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

The group distributed thousands of leaflets claiming fracking could lead to cancer because it involves “pumping millions of litres of water containing a toxic cocktail of chemicals deep underground… [that] could end up in your drinking water”.

When fracking company Cuadrilla complained it did not use toxic chemicals, Friends of the Earth responded: “We understand that Cuadrilla used a significant amount of sand to frack the well at Preese Hall [in Lancashire in 2011]. Frack sand tends to contain significant amounts of silica which is a known carcinogen.”

The group provided a link to a report by Clive Mitchell of the British Geological Survey to back up their assertion, but Mr Mitchell dismissed their claims, telling The Times: “It’s tantamount to scaremongering. It’s inaccurate and misleading.”

He said that industrial workers who breathe fine silica dust could develop the lung condition silicosis, but those particles were over 50 times smaller than sand grains.

Professor Paul Young of the University of Glasgow also rubbished their concerns about Silica, saying: “Sand is silica. It’s exactly the same stuff that’s on every sandy beach in the country.

“What are they proposing? That we treat all beaches as contaminated land and pave them over?

“The debate about fracking should be on the basis of reason, not wild, unsubstantiated allegations that reveal that they don’t have the first clue about mainstream chemistry, let alone environmental toxicology.”

Friends of the Earth also claimed that Cuadrilla used “polyacrylamide, which contains acrylamide, a probable carcinogen.”

However, Cuadrilla’s Chief Executive Francis Egan said that polyacrylamide was already widely used in the industry, including by water companies. It would not break down into acrylamide unless exposed to much higher temperatures than already experienced in fracking, he added.

Mr Egan said it was therefore “irresponsible and shameful” for a charity to make such an accusation.


2015 Will Be Record Hot. But There's More to the Story

The New York Times is ringing the alarm bells over the likelihood this year will top 2014 for the hottest year on record (it wasn’t, by the way). “2015 Likely to Be Hottest Year Ever Recorded,” read Wednesday’s headline trumpeting NOAA’s announcement that the first nine months of this year featured unparalleled warmth. That’s not entirely surprising — with a strong (historic?) El Niño taking shape, the odds were high anyway — so we’ll just go ahead and make it official: 2015 will be the warmest year on record.

But the veracity of that claim depends on who’s keeping score. There are two critical drawbacks. First, NOAA relies on land-based measurements, which can easily be manipulated, and there is a significant amount of geography that doesn’t contain any data — meaning the overall picture is very much incomplete.

Second, and most egregious, the agency continues to tinker with historical records to inflate today’s warming. So forgive us for being skeptical of an agency that reconfigures data for political purposes.

On the other hand, satellite measurements reveal that the Great Pause is still going strong, now at 18 years and eight months. Some believe this warming hiatus will eventually end because of El Niño, but so far it hasn’t. And that’s perhaps the most surprising thing of all — because all streaks eventually end. The Left, of course, can barely conceal its excitement over NOAA’s claims, because it fits their narrative perfectly. UN delegates will meet for a climate summit in Paris next month. And the sense is that they’ll finally have enough momentum to regulate carbon emissions.

Secretary of State John Kerry recently said, “[W]hen I hear a United States senator say, ‘I’m not a scientist so I can’t make a judgment,’ or a candidate for president for that matter, I’m absolutely astounded. … [W]hen more than 6,000-plus peer-reviewed studies of the world’s best scientists all lay out that [global warming] is happening and mankind is contributing to it, it seems to me that [climate skeptics] disqualify themselves fundamentally from high public office with those kinds of statements.”

Given the facts — 18 years, eight months and counting, John — why should skeptics be penalized for rejecting junk science?


New NOAA Record: 10 Years Since Major Hurricane Has Struck US

Even with the historically powerful Category 5 Hurricane Patricia headed toward Mexico's Pacific coast, Saturday will mark a record 120 straight months since the last major hurricane (Category 3 or above) has made landfall in the continental United States.

The last major hurricane to make landfall on the continental United States was Hurricane Wilma, which hit Florida on October 24, 2005.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated on its website Friday that it expects no hurricanes in the Atlantic in the next five days.

Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane on record, is too far south to threaten the U.S. mainland.

The decade-long major hurricane drought is the longest such hiatus dating back to 1851, according to records kept by NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division (HRC).

The 2005 hurricane season was particlarly harsh one. That year, “nearly 4,000 people lost their lives and there was nearly $160 billion in damage,” NOAA said in a statement marking the 10-year anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the last major hurricanes to strike the U.S.

Wilma “is the last major hurricane to strike the U.S.--an unprecedented stretch that could unfortunately lead to ‘hurricane amnesia’ for the destruction such a hurricane can cause,” NOAA noted.

According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, major hurricanes classified as Category 3 or above have sustained wind speeds of more than 111 miles per hour and are capable of causing “devastating” or “catastrophic” damage.

Since 1851, three catastrophic Category 5 hurricanes – defined as having a maximum sustained wind speed of over 157 miles per hour – have made landfall in the U.S.: the 1935 Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys, Camille in 1969, and Andrew in 1992.


Scottish Greens call for a boycott of Israel

Greens as extreme Leftists again

Scotland’s Green Party has called for a boycott of Israel, calling it an apartheid state and expressing support for Hamas.
In a motion passed at the Scottish Greens conference in Glasgow on Saturday, members called for Hamas to be removed from an European Union list of proscribed terror groups.

It also called from the non-profit Jewish National Fund to be removed from the charity register – accusing it of “excluding non-Jews from Israeli land”.

The party urged a full-scale boycott of Israeli businesses, academic and cultural institutions.

It went onto denounce eco-friendly groups in Israel, adding: “We oppose Green Zionism, the ideology of Green parties in Israel, which is an attempt to fuse Green values with Zionism”.

The controversial motion appeared to endorse Hamas, which is committed to the “obliteration” of Israel and talks of the “struggle against the Jews”.

The Greens confirmed they would not support Israel in its current form. The motion stated: "Israel's claim to be a Jewish and democratic state, the home of all Jews in which non-Jews have inferior rights constitutes apartheid and is unacceptable. It is not supported by the Scottish Green Party.”

The motion also demanded that Israel set free “political prisoners”; withdraw its territory to pre-1967 borders; to surrender territories captured in the Six Day War; and bring an end to West Bank settlements, which have been widely deemed a breach of international law.

It described the West Bank security barrier as constituting “a policy of apartheid”.

It also called from a Palestinian right of return to be passed, while calling for Israel’s law of return, extended to diaspora Jews, to be repealed.

Earlier this year, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett called for a boycott of Israeli cultural institutions.

She said: We need to get the message across to the Israeli state. It needs to comply with international law and human rights.
“The boycott of Israel is Green Party policy.”


Prominent black crook was a Greenie

A U.S. grand jury has indicted former U.N. General Assembly President John Ashe on suspicion of accepting more than $1 million in bribes in exchange for promoting the interests of a Chinese businessman.

John Ashe was Antigua and Barbuda's U.N. ambassador from 2004 until his election as president of the 68th General Assembly in 2013. His indictment Tuesday came two weeks after his arrest in suburban New York City.

The indictment also names billionaire Macau-based real estate developer Ng Lap Seng, also known as David Ng, and three others.

In a 37-page complaint released October 6 by U.S. prosecutors in New York, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara cited Ashe's alleged acceptance of at least $1.3 million in bribes from Ng in 2013 and 2014 and his failure to pay taxes on them.

Ng was arrested last month on separate charges and later placed under house arrest under a $50 million bond.

Prosecutors allege Ng was seeking Ashe's influence as far back as 2011 to promote the construction of a multibillion-dollar U.N. conference center in Macau. Investigators contend he helped draft and then circulated an official U.N. document to other member states in support of the conference center. Ashe's alleged co-author, Francis Lorenzo, was also indicted Tuesday.

Lorenzo was deputy ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

Investigators allege that Ng funneled the bribes to Ashe, 61, through at least two nongovernmental organizations. While not identified in the complaint, the two match the description of South-South News — a media platform covering global development from the United Nations, governments and the private sector — and the Global Sustainability Foundation.

Lorenzo is listed as president of South-South, while Ashe is listed as honorary chairman of the Global Sustainability Foundation.

Sheri Yan, CEO of Global Sustainability, was also named in Tuesday's indictment. 

The indictment did not include a sixth original suspect, Global Sustainability finance director Heidi Park.



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

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


23 October, 2015

Sen. Sanders Demands DOJ Go After Exxon For ‘Covering Up’ Global Warming

Just the usual attack on big companies that is a socialist's  bread and butter.  Exxon in fact were very responsible in what they did.  They refused to push speculation as fact. Had they any shred of scientific caution, the Green/Left would have done the same.  But to the hate-driven mind of Sanders, warming is fact.  One wonders if he has ever heard of the "pause" or the "hiatus" -- JR

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a letter to the Department of Justice urging it to investigate claims levied by liberal news outlets that the oil giant Exxon Mobil “covered up” evidence about man-made global warming.

“It appears that Exxon knew its product was causing harm to the public, and spent millions of dollars to obfuscate the facts in the public discourse,” Sanders wrote to DOJ Sec. Loretta Lynch. “The information that has come to light about Exxon’s past activities raises potentially serious concerns that should be investigated.”

Sander’s argues that reporting by journalists with liberal outlet Inside Climate News (ICN) shows Exxon “scientists both that climate change is real and that it was caused in part by carbon pollution” from the company’s oil and gas operations. Sanders has now joined the ranks of environmentalists and academics calling for federal investigations into fossil fuel companies funding studies and groups skeptical of man-made global warming.

ICN alleges that not only did Exxon’s own research find that global warming is caused by fossil fuels, it buried the research to protect its business interests. Exxon put “muscle behind efforts to manufacture doubt about the reality of global warming its own scientists had once confirmed,” ICN reported.

Since ICN’s report came out, there’s been a renewed effort to get the Obama administration to prosecute or investigate fossil fuel companies skeptical of global warming.

Environmentalist Bill McKibben argues that “as early as the late 1970s, Exxon scientists were briefing top executives that climate change was real, dangerous, and caused by their product” adding that in “the early 1980s, their own climate models were predicting—with great accuracy—the track the global temperature has taken ever since.”

“Should the DOJ muster its courage to go after this most profitable and connected of companies, the roadmap is already well laid out by the two investigations,” McKibben said in The Nation.

Before ICN’s reporting gained traction, Democratic lawmakers launched their own investigations into fossil fuel interests skeptical of global warming. Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse  even called for the government to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to prosecute skeptical groups.

“In 1999, the Justice Department filed a civil RICO lawsuit against the major tobacco companies… alleging that the companies ‘engaged in and executed — and continue to engage in and execute — a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes, in violation of RICO,’” Whitehouse wrote in the Washington Post in May.

Ironically, Exxon is not a group that’s skeptical of global warming. The company supports taxing carbon dioxide emissions and uses an internal carbon price as part of their economic and financial forecasting.

Exxon says market-based efforts are the best ways to address global warming, but the company “is taking action by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its operations, helping consumers reduce their emissions, supporting research, and participating in constructive dialogue on policy options.”


No, Greenies, Exxon Did Not Hide ‘The Truth’ About Global Warming

by James Delingpole

This column is sponsored by my kind friends at ExxonMobil: the Gaia-raping, children-of-the-future-murderers you can trust!

No, of course it isn’t really and that’s my only serious beef with ExxonMobil. It ought to support its media defenders but it doesn’t.

So what if it’s a big oil company? Big oil companies make the world go round.  So what if its annual revenues, if expressed in GDP, would make it one of the world’s 30 largest countries? That’s capitalism.

But there’s one thing about ExxonMobil I find hard to excuse. And that’s the way that instead of trying to defend the values of industrial civilization which have made it so rich and powerful, it has instead all too often squandered its PR, CSR and research budgets not rewarding its friends but giving succour to its enemies.

Sure for a period it supported the Competitive Enterprise Institute to the modest tune of around $300,000 a year. (Not a lot when your annual profits can be as much as $40 billion). But the money it has given to liberal causes vastly outweighs anything it has given to free market ones: for example the $100 million (yes that’s million, not thousand) it donated to Stanford in 2002 to help launch its Global Climate and Energy Project.

Some might call this ‘investment in the future’. I’d call it greenwashing. Or, worse than that, Danegeld.

It’s a form of protection money paid to the green Mafia to ensure they go easy on your main business. Except they don’t. Just like the Vikings, just like the mobsters, when you bribe them to stay away they only keep coming back for more.

This is the background context against we should judge the outrageous and iniquitous proposals by various green activists that ExxonMobil should face prosecution on RICO charges for having knowingly concealed “the truth” about climate change.

Their claims are based on two articles which appeared in the liberal media and which – at least in the authors’ perfervid imaginations – showed Exxon ignoring its scientists in the 70s, 80s and 90s and setting out deliberately to conceal “the truth” about global warming.

Well I’ve read the articles – one at the Inside Climate News website, the other at the LA Times – and both are a classic case of what you might call “tell not show.”

That is, it is clear from their accusatory tone (“What Exxon knew about Earth’s melting Arctic”; “top executives were warned of possible catastrophe from greenhouse effect, then led efforts to block solutions”) that the authors believe Exxon was guilty of something seriously amiss.

But in vain do you search the body of the text for any damning evidence that might justify all this righteous rage. In fact if anything, Exxon emerges from this non-scandal rather well: socially responsible; mindful of due diligence; properly concerned about the security and future of its core business and of the needs of its shareholders; keen to keep abreast of the latest science.

The story goes like this: from the late 70s to the mid 80s, Exxon dedicated a chunk of its then-annual $300 million research budget looking into the effects of CO2 and the possible risks of man-made global warming.

“Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical,” said one of its technical experts in 1978.

“There are some potentially catastrophic events that must be considered” an in house corporate primer said in 1982. “Once the effects are measurable, they might not be reversible.”

“Models are controversial,” as their head of theoretical sciences was honest enough to put it in a May 1980 status report on Exxon’s climate modelling programme. “Therefore, there are research opportunities for us.”

All this is no more than you would have expected scientists in that field to say in that particular era, as man-made-global-warming theory was becoming increasingly fashionable. By raising these issues, they were simply doing their job. Note, however, the caution of their phrasing. “Present thinking holds”; “might”; “potentially”; “might not be.” The science wasn’t certain and neither were the scientists: they were merely raising Exxon’s awareness of possible future scenarios.

What’s more, even though this fashionable new theory was detrimental to Exxon’s business model, Exxon still – to its enormous moral credit – chose to publish its research anyway in a series of papers and monographs.

Then in the mid-Eighties, Exxon began changing its tune. Its discretionary budget had been hit by the collapsing oil price and it had, perhaps, begun to recognise that the science on global warming was being manipulated by hucksters like NASA’s James Hansen and climate activist Senator Tim Wirth and that fossil fuel producers were now their public enemy number one – for reasons more to do with green ideology than science.

In 1997, Exxon’s chairman and CEO Lee Raymond was among business leaders who argued successfully against America’s adoption of the Kyoto Protocol.  He said:

    “Let’s agree there’s a lot we really don’t know about how climate will change in the 21st century and beyond. We need to understand the issue better and fortunately, we have time. It is highly unlikely that the temperature in the middle of the next century will be significantly affected whether policies are enacted now or 20 years from now.”

Does any of that statement strike you as crackpot or extreme or parti-pris?

Rather, I’d suggest, it accords much more closely with what we now know about climate change than anything Exxon’s scientists were saying in the early 80s. Indeed, if Exxon had chosen to act on some of the more extreme scenarios painted by the in-house experts, they would not only now be looking very silly but they’d also be out of business.

Exxon, let it be stressed, were quite right to be cautious on catastrophic man-made global warming theory. This was never a cover up. This was a company responding sensibly and proportionately to the evidence available at the time – and taking a stance which has subsequently been vindicated by observed reality.


We knew it!  September broke heat record

And in his credulous way our old faithful Seth Borenstein publicizes the claim.  No mention of the egregious data-fiddling that Warmists at NASA and elsewhere do.  And no mention of the much less fiddlable satellite data

This past September was the hottest ever worldwide -- the seventh monthly record set this year.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calculated a global temperature for September of 60.62 degrees (15.9 degrees Celsius), beating the record set in 2014.

Seven of the nine months this year have broken monthly global heat records, tying 1998 for the most monthly heat records broken. This year, only January and April did not surpass records going back to 1880.


The Only Global Warming Chart You Need from Now On

The Powerline guys have just caught up with something I have been pointing out for years.  Excerpt below

When I make charts and graphs, I generally make it a practice to scale the vertical axis of a chart from zero (0) to the upper bound of the range. Compressing a chart’s vertical axis can be grossly misleading.

But what if you display the same data with the axis starting not just from zero, but from the lower bound of the actual experienced temperature range of the earth? I had never thought of this until an acquaintance sent it along today:

A little hard to get worked up about this, isn’t it? In fact you can barely spot the warming. No wonder you need a college education to believe in the alarmist version of climate change. No wonder the data (click here for original NASA data if you want to replicate it yourself) is never displayed this way in any of the official climate reports.

If this chart were published on the front page of newspapers the climate change crusaders would be out of business instantly.


81 Major Corporations--Including Google, Facebook, Coca Cola, General Motors--Sign WH Pledge to Back Global Climate Change Deal

Just PR.  They know nothing much will happen

Eighty-one major corporations with operations in the U.S.--including Google, Facebook, Apple, Coca Cola and General Motors--have taken a White House pledge “to demonstrate their support for action on climate change and the conclusion of a climate change agreement in Paris that takes a strong step forward toward a low-carbon, sustainable future.”

Signing the White House’s American Business Act on Climate Change Pledge shows a continuing commitment to action preventing global warming and is intended to set an example for other companies to pursue similar policies, according to a statement released by the White House.

It also shows the signatories’ support for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will be held this November in Paris. “The Pledge...voices support for a strong outcome in the Paris climate negotiations.”

The 81 companies “have operations in all 50 states, employ over 9 million people, represent more than $3 trillion in annual revenue, and have a combined market capitalization of over $5 trillion,” the White House said.

“We recognize that delaying action on climate change will be costly in economic and human terms,” the pledge states.

The president announced last November that he wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by 26 to 28 percent by 2025.

To accomplish that goal, Obama held a roundtable with top CEOs this week to discuss ways in which they can help to fight climate change in the U.S. and around the world.

“Historically when you start talking about an issue like climate change the perception is that this is an environmental issue - it’s for tree-huggers - and that hard-headed business people either don’t care about it or see it as in conflict with their bottom lines,” the president said Monday at a press briefing after the meeting.

However, the president said that the 81 companies that signed the pledge view his long-term plan to reduce carbon emissions by almost 6 million tons through 2030 as a positive step.

“This conversation has confirmed what we’ve known for quite some time, which is that considerations of climate change, energy efficiency, renewable energies are not only not contradictory to their bottom lines, but for these companies they’re discovering that it can enhance their bottom lines,” Obama said.

The American Business Act on Climate Change promises new low-carbon company investments of at least $140 billion and the use of new renewable energy totaling more than 1,600 megawatts.

Individual companies have added their own goals, such as cutting carbon emissions up to 50 percent, increasing  the efficient use of water by up to 15 percent, using 100 percent renewable energy sources, and seeking zero net deforestation in their supply chains.

Some federal agencies and private-sector collaborators made previous commitments to fight climate change and support food resilience as part of the Climate Data Initiative introduced by the president in March, 2014, according to a July 29, 2014 statement from the White House.

Obama previously met with 13 major companies on July 27 to launch the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, according to a White House statement.

Three of them--Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and General Motors--received billions of taxpayer dollars in government bailouts under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).


Shaking out the lies surrounding earthquakes and hydraulic fracturing

The Great ShakeOut, the annual “PrepareAthon” that advocates earthquake readiness, took place across the globe on October 15, at 10:15 AM — 10/15 @10:15. Unless you have a child in a participating school, the “Ready Campaign” may have passed without your awareness. I grew up in Southern California, where earthquakes were so routine, we paid them no mind; we didn’t have earthquake drills.

But that was then. Now, the Great ShakeOut is a global campaign. Now, Oklahoma has more earthquakes than California — and students in Oklahoma participated on 10/15 at 10:15. As if choreographed, Oklahomans had a reminder 4.5 earthquake just days before the drill.

The anti-fossil crowd has declared the cause. Headlines claim: “Confirmed: Oklahoma Earthquakes Caused By Fracking” and “New study links Oklahoma earthquakes to fracking.”

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow gleefully teased the earthquakes in Oklahoma as “the story that might keep you up at night.” On her October 16 show, she stated that Oklahoma’s earthquakes are: “The terrible and unintended consequence of the way we get oil and gas out of the ground. …from fracking operations.” Yet, when her guest, Jeremy Boak, Oklahoma Geological Survey Director, corrected her, “it’s not actually frackwater,” she didn’t change her tune.

Despite the fact that the science doesn’t support the thesis, opponents of oil-and-gas extraction, like Maddow, have long claimed that the process of hydraulic fracturing is the cause of the earthquakes. Earthworks calls them “frackquakes” because the quakes, the organization says, are “fracking triggered earthquakes.”

The anti-crowd doesn’t want to hear otherwise. If you were to fully read the two previously mentioned news reports (linked above) that declare “fracking” as the culprit, you’d see that the actual text, and the study they reference, doesn’t say what the headlines insinuate. The 2014 study they cite, blames the earthquakes “on the injection of wastewater from oil and gas operations” — which as Boak told Maddow is not “actually frackwater.” Even the Washington Post announced: “Fracking is not the cause of quakes. The real problem is wastewater.”

But the ruse goes on. CNN meteorologist Chad Myers announced: “The fracturing fluid seems to be lubricating existing faults that have not moved in recent years. The fracturing process is not creating new faults, but are exposing faults that already exist.”

Earthworks believes that states like Oklahoma are not doing enough to solve the problem. Its website says: “Despite the increasingly apparent threat posed by fracking-related earthquakes, many states are ignoring the issue.”

In fact, many scientific studies have been, and are being, done — as once the cause is determined, a remedy can be found. These studies, as the Washington Post reported, have concluded that “wastewater” is the problem.

If you don’t know what it is or how it is being disposed of, “wastewater” sounds scary. It is often called “toxic” — although it is naturally occurring. This wastewater, according to a study from Stanford researchers, is “brackish water that naturally coexists with oil and gas within the Earth.” As a part of the drilling and extraction process, the “produced water” is extracted from the oil and/or gas and is typically reinjected into deeper disposal wells. In Oklahoma, these wells are in the Arbuckle formation, a 7,000-foot-deep sedimentary formation under Oklahoma.

“Industry has been disposing wastewater into the Arbuckle for 60 years without seismicity,” Kim Hatfield told me. He is the chairman of the Induced Seismicity Working Group — which includes members from a variety of entities including the Oklahoma Geological Survey, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Oklahoma Department of Energy and Environment, and Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. Hatfield continued: “So, we know some level of disposal is safe. We need to figure out the exact mechanism by which this wastewater injection is triggering these seismic events and modify our procedures to prevent them.”

Addressing water quality, Hatfield explained that in the area of the seismicity, ten barrels of produced water — which contains five times more salt than ocean water — is generated for each barrel of oil.

The Stanford study, done by Stanford Professor Mark Zoback and doctoral student Rall Walsh, found that “the primary source of the quake-triggering wastewater is not so-called ‘flowback water’ generated after hydraulic fracturing operations.” Zoback, the Benjamin M. Page Professor in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, states: “What we’ve learned in this study is that the fluid injection responsible for most of the recent quakes in Oklahoma is due to production and subsequent injection of massive amounts of wastewater, and is unrelated to hydraulic fracturing” — which is contradictory to the premise on which the study was launched.

Explaining the study, Walsh said: “it began with an examination of microseismicity — intentionally caused small quakes like those resulting from hydraulic fracturing,” which he referred to as their “jumping off point.” When I asked Walsh if he was surprised to find that fracking wasn’t the cause of the earthquakes, he told me: “We were familiar with the few cases where hydraulic fracturing was known, or suspected to be associated with moderate sized earthquakes. In the areas of Oklahoma where the earthquakes first started (just outside of Oklahoma City) we knew that the extraction process was predominantly dewatering, not hydraulic fracturing, which led us to suspect that produced water would be the source of the issue, even before we did the volume calculations to show it.”

Science writer Ker Than reports: “Because the pair were also able to review data about the total amount of wastewater injected at wells, as well as the total amount of hydraulic fracturing happening in each study area, they were able to conclude that the bulk of the injected water was produced water generated using conventional oil extraction techniques, not during hydraulic fracturing.” Additionally, Boak told me: “Less than five percent is actually frackwater.”

“So what?” you might ask. The distinction is important as there is an aggressive effort from the anti-fossil-fuel movement to regulate and restrict—even ban—hydraulic fracturing. The more scare tactics they can use, the more successful their efforts. They are unimpeded by truth. Remember the disproven claims about fracking causing tap water to catch on fire and those about fracking contaminating drinking water?

Now, you can add “Oklahoma earthquakes caused by fracking” to the list of untruths propagated by the anti-fossil-fuel crowd. The true headline should read: “Oklahoma earthquakes not caused by fracking.” But, that conflicts with their goal of ending all fossil-fuel use. More than ninety percent of the new oil-and-gas wells drilled in America use hydraulic fracturing. Therefore, if they can ban fracking, they end America’s new era of energy abundance and the jobs and economic stimulus it provides. Groups like Earthworks seem to hate the modern world.

Here some advice from singer Taylor Swift might be warranted. Instead of “getting down and out about the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world,” after all, she says: “And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate,” her solution is: “I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake. Shake it off.”



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

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


22 October, 2015

Scientists confirm that Alaskan wildfires could make global warming worse

This is another Chris Mooney beatup.  But it is probably true that wildfires have increased in severity in recent decades.  Greenie interference with forest management has led to bigger fires.   One particularly pernicious type of interference is Greenie opposition to precautionary burnoffs in winter.  Such burnoffs are easy to keep within bounds and reduce fuel load for later fires.  So any fires that eventuate in warm seasons are much tamer and spread less.  So Greenies are creating the processes that allegedly worry them!

In not much more than a month, leaders from around the world will assemble in Paris in order to — hopefully — find a way to cap the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and bring them down to safe levels.

But there’s a problem. There are some greenhouse gas sources that these leaders can’t fully control — and in some cases, reasons to think that these sources may grow in the future. The point is being driven home this year by raging peat fires in Indonesia, which have already contributed over a billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions to the atmosphere — as much as Japan produces in a year from fossil fuels. And the blazes still appear to be on the rise, meaning that the net contribution this year could ultimately be considerably higher than that.

Indonesia isn’t the only part of the world where fires — which in many areas are expected to be worsened by climate change — could provide a new net source of emissions to the atmosphere. Another region of major worry is the world’s so-called “boreal” or northern forests, which store a gigantic amount of carbon in trees as well as soils and frozen permafrost layers beneath the surface. Permafrost in this region is in many ways analogous to peatlands in Indonesia — it’s a repository of carbon that has accumulated over many thousands of years, but could now be released back to the atmosphere on a much shorter time scale.

Alaska’s dramatic wildfire season this year — where over 5 million acres of largely black spruce forests burned — raised great concerns about how events like this could make global warming worse. The fear here is of a sort of triple whammy — forests release the carbon stored in trees back to the atmosphere when they burn; the forests contain a deep upper soil layer that also burns off, releasing more carbon; and finally, beneath all of that is the carbon rich permafrost, which becomes exposed after fires and can then thaw and start to emit.

And now, a new study in Nature Climate Change reaffirms these concerns about the emissions of northern fires. The study, led by Ryan Kelly of the University of Illinois at Urbana, looked at a particular Alaskan region that has seen intensive burning of late — the remote Yukon Flats. The researchers used an ecosystem model to examine changes in the amount of carbon stored in the Yukon Flats going all the way back to the year 850, and carrying forward through 2006 — a more than thousand year period. The data used in the model came from “paleo-climate” reconstructions of what burn conditions were like in this area over large periods of time, based on charcoal layers found in cores of sediments extracted from the region.

This approach allowed the researchers to confirm that the recent burning in this area is dramatic when compared with its past history — and thus, that recent fires have been releasing much of the carbon that has been stored up over hundreds of years. For the Yukon Flats, “this rapid increase in fire activity has led to pretty major losses of carbon from the ecosystem, on the order of 10 to 12 percent of total carbon stocks in a matter of 5 decades or so,” said Kelly.

In addition, the researchers also determined that over time, change in fires patterns were by far the largest factor in how much carbon the ecosystem stored. In fact, the study noted, “long-term C dynamics of the past millennium were almost entirely dictated by patterns of fire-regime variability.” In other words, in more fire-intense periods, the forests lost a great deal of carbon to the atmosphere, whereas in less fire friendly periods, they stored it instead.

This, in turn, leads to the inference that with more global warming, more forest burning could worsen a process that’s already underway. “Our study reveals that increased burning of boreal forests will probably cause massive losses of stored C, with the potential to amplify climate warming,” the researchers concluded.

“I would definitely guess, and we speculate this in the paper, that the direct role of warming and rising co2 will be more important in the future than they were over the 1,000 year time period we studied,” said Kelly.

Granted, there is one limitation — the research only concerns the Yukon Flats, and this area has seen quite dramatic burning, at levels that are not consistent with all burning across the forests of the global north. So it’s an outlier in some ways, but also suggestive of how things could be heading for northern forests.

To be sure, there is one possible mitigating factor — global warming could also even cause more plant growth in northern and Arctic regions, leading to an increase in how much carbon they’re pulling out of the atmosphere. More northern trees, bushes, and even shrubs as tundras warm up could mean more carbon storage, even as fires may also rage at more powerful and extreme rates.

Climate researchers are still trying to figure out how all of these factors will interrelate. But the new research — along with developments in Indonesia — reaffirms that fire is a powerful determinant of how much carbon resides in land, rather than in the air, across our globe. Thus, even as we keep burning fossil fuels, fires may continually combust additional planetary carbon reserves — pushing the globe that much closer to busting its carbon budget.


EPA Pays $1.2M to Prepare Poor Neighborhoods for Climate Change

 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the recipients of nearly $1.2 million in grants to non-profit and tribal organizations “to address environmental justice issues nationwide.”

“The grants enable these organizations to conduct research, provide education, and develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in minority and low-income communities overburdened by harmful pollution,” the Oct. 8 press release stated.

"EPA’s environmental justice grants help communities across the country understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks at the local level," Matthew Tejada, director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, said in the press release."

“Addressing the impacts of climate change is a priority for EPA and the projects supported by this year’s grants will help communities prepare for and build resilience to localized climate impacts,” Tejada said.

“Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies,” thedocument announcing the recipients of the grant funding stated.

“Fair treatment means that no group of people, including racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic groups, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal state, local, and tribal programs and policies,” the documents stated.

One of the recipients is the Green Jobs Corps in New Haven Connecticut for “Creating a New Generation of New Haven Environmental Justice Leaders.”

The Greater Northeast Development Corporation in Virginia will use a “community-based participatory approach for southeast community resilience and adaptation to address lung health impacts exacerbated by climate change.”

In certain neighborhoods in Baltimore, Md., the grant funding will “mitigate the impacts of climate change on these communities by increasing the area of ‘green’ spaces …”

The Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago will help make the Chatham neighborhood “rain ready” to prepare for an increase of “rain events” from climate change.

Some other projects being funded include:

 *  A program will install solar panels in the homes of low-income residents in Colorado.

 *  Teaching Washington state residents about producing “locally grown food with a low-carbon footprint.”

 *  Educate residents of the Chickaloon Native Village in Alaska about “the connection between coal surface strip mining, transporting, exporting, and consumption in relation to climate impacts, how climate impacts are being experienced locally, statewide, nationally, and globally. “

 *  Ground Water New Orleans will be “teaching students to design, build, and install solar powered charging benches on or near bus stops in underserved communities.”

This grant funding dates back to 1994, according to the recipient document.

“In 1994, the Office of Environmental Justice established the Environmental Justice (EJ) Small Grants Program whose purpose is to assist communitybased/grassroots organizations and tribal governments that are working on local solutions to local environmental problems. Funding specifically supports affected local communitybased efforts to examine issues related to a community's exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks.”

The document stated that the funds are divided equally between organizations in 10 regions across the country designated by EPA.


Yale Study Says Fracking Doesn't Contaminate Drinking Water

Okay; repeat after me: fracking does not pollute your drinking water. As Sean Hackbarth over at the Chamber of Commerce noted, a Yale study found no evidence that fracking, which is used in the process of extracting natural gas, causes drinking water to become undrinkable:

    "Organic compounds found in drinking water aquifers above the Marcellus Shale and other shale plays could reflect natural geologic transport processes or contamination from anthropogenic activities, including enhanced natural gas production. Using analyses of organic compounds coupled with inorganic geochemical fingerprinting, estimates of groundwater residence time, and geospatial analyses of shale gas wells and disclosed safety violations, we determined that the dominant source of organic compounds to shallow aquifers was consistent with surface spills of disclosed chemical additives. There was no evidence of association with deeper brines or long-range migration of these compounds to the shallow aquifers. Encouragingly, drinking water sources affected by disclosed surface spills could be targeted for treatment and monitoring to protect public health"

So, there you have it–deep drilling doesn’t poison drinking water. Yet, we knew this back in 2010, where the Environmental Protection Agency tested the drinking water in Dimock, PA and found that most of the harmful compounds in the water were “naturally occurring substances.” In all, the water was safe to drink:

    "Based on the outcome of that sampling, EPA has determined that there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency....

    EPA visited Dimock, Pa. in late 2011, surveyed residents regarding their private wells and reviewed hundreds of pages of drinking water data supplied to the agency by Dimock residents, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Cabot. Because data for some homes showed elevated contaminant levels and several residents expressed concern about their drinking water, EPA determined that well sampling was necessary to gather additional data and evaluate whether residents had access to safe drinking water.....

    Overall during the sampling in Dimock, EPA found hazardous substances, specifically arsenic, barium or manganese, all of which are also naturally occurring substances, in well water at five homes at levels that could present a health concern. In all cases the residents have now or will have their own treatment systems that can reduce concentrations of those hazardous substances to acceptable levels at the tap."

Oh, and water has been catching fire since the 17th century, just go visit Burning Springs, New York. Journalist Phelim McAleer, who works with his wife, Ann McElhinney, have produced another short film GasHoax, which debunks many of the claims made by anti-fracking activists, namely Josh Fox, who made the documentary Gasland in 2010.

Gasland prompted Phelim and Ann to make FrackNation, which was regarded as “methodically researched” by The New York Times. It also gave a nice counterpoint to many of the claims made by Fox.


Obama Administration: No Arctic Oil Exploration for You

Thanks to one bum exploratory well, the Obama administration said enough was enough. In April, the Obama administration allowed Royal Dutch Shell rights to exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea. After spending $7 billion and exploring one well, the company is calling it quits. The government was hounding Shell with regulations and the well did not spit out as much black gold as the company hoped.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said, “In light of Shell’s announcement, the amount of acreage already under lease and current market conditions, it does not make sense to prepare for lease sales in the Arctic in the next year and a half.”

It’s common sense that exploration involves a certain amount of failure. So it appears the Obama administration is using one company’s failure as an excuse to shutter offshore oil drilling across the region.

Obama’s agreement with Shell was unusual, as he indicated time and time again that he thinks the economic future of Alaska is in tourism, not oil production. If this simply stays the Obama administration’s policy, then little will change.

Domestic oil production is on a decline and exploration is not as profitable as it used to be. The problems will come if Obama tries to codify his theories on the nation’s energy needs into regulation.


Sec. Kerry Says Trump ‘Disqualified From Office’ Because He Denies Global Warming

Secretary of State John Kerry thinks Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and anyone else who doubts the existence of man-made global warming have disqualified themselves from ever holding public office.

Kerry’s remarks come after Trump took to Twitter to mock global warming alarmists. Trump made his remarks as a cold front hit the East Coast Monday, bringing frigid weather to millions of Americans.

    "It’s really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!" — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2015

As expected, Trump’s mocking got a harsh response from liberal media outlets. The liberal site Mother Jones ran with the headline “Donald Trump Still Does Not Understand How Seasons Work” and The Washington Post declared, “No, Donald Trump, the existence of fall does not disprove global warming.”

Kerry’s rebuke of Trump and everyone who questions global warming is not the first time the Obama administration has suggested skeptics should be disqualified from politics. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in May that skeptics should not have a say in ratifying a United Nations climate treaty.

“Well these are individuals whom, many of whom at least, deny the fact that climate change even exists,” Earnest said. “So I’m not sure they would be in the best position to decide whether or not a climate change agreement is one that is worth entering into.”


Hunting, not global warming, is to blame for mammoth extinctions

The most recent evidence that suggests hunting is to blame rather than warming weather, centers around the weaning age of mammoths. Researchers from the University of Michigan analyzed mammoth tusks and found that the animals had ramped up their weaning process.

Wondering why that matters? Evidence from modern-day elephants and other animals suggest that global warming often forces animals to prolonged weaning, while hunting pressures tend to lead to shorter weaning times.

If climate change was at the root of the reason why mammoths went extinct, assuming that the mammoths reacted in the same way as their modern peers, the weaning age should have increased.

Discovering the shortened weaning period

So how did researchers even figure out that woolly mammoths were being weaned earlier? Researchers looked at the isotopic signatures of 15 different juvenile tusks and examined the ratio of nitrogen-15 isotopes to nitrogen-14 isotopes.

This data was then compared with corresponding data from modern day elephant calfs. Researchers found that the ratio of nitrogen-15 to nitrogen-14 decreased in calfs as they were weaned off their mother’s milk and started to eat solid food.

Examining the tusks over a course of approximately 30,000 years, and using the above information on nitrogen isotopes, researchers discovered that weaning times sped up by about three years in the years before the mammoths went extinct.

If global warming were to blame for mammoth extinctions, scientists should have found evidence that mammoths were being weaned at a later stage in their life. Instead, the evidence uncovered pointed to early weaning, and thus hunting, with the weaning period shortening from eight years to five years.

Fifteen different tusks, with many of them coming from Russia, were used in the study. While the evidence is not conclusive, it offers perhaps the strongest proof to date that humans, not weathern patterns, drove the mammoths into extinction.

The research and resulting study was carried out by U-M doctoral student Michael Cherney, and his advisor Dan Fisher, who is the director of the Museum of Paleontology. If Fisher’s name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you heard of his recent efforts to dig up a mammoth skeleton at a local Michigan farm.



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

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


21 October, 2015

Is NASA actually unserious about global warming?

Considering their unwavering support of it, that would be a surprising conclusion.  But we find surprising carelessness about it in a place -- their home page -- where they should be very careful about it.  One gets the impression that they are just going through the motions without any real commitment to the claim or interest in it.  The following email was sent to the senior science editor for the NASA site about the matter -- with a copy to me and some others.  Whoever wrote the NASA piece concerned is either very dumb or very careless:

Re:   Scientific consensus: Earth's climate is warming

Hi Senior Science Editor: Laura Tenenbaum,

At the top of the above referenced web page, it is stated:

"Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources".

I question the use of the time frame, "trends over the past century."

Generally speaking, I believe you will find the consensus (IPCC summary included) to be that it is not until around the middle of the 20th Century - 1950 is often referenced (several, many decades later) - that AGW comes into play. It is not widely believed that until this time CO2 had not yet risen to a level where their might be any potentially observational evidence of a human foot (from anthropogenic greenhouse gases) to be present on global temperature.

In fact - among the various scientific orgs listed on your web site (several referenced in the footnotes), I find very consistent views on this issue:

" . . on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years."  [ 2013-50 ='s 1963]

" . .that human activities (mainly greenhouse?gas emissions) account for most of the warming since the middle 1900s."

" It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities ."

"The global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced . ."

"Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century . ."

"Human activities (mainly greenhouse-gas emissions) are the dominant cause of the rapid warming since the middle 1900s (IPCC, 2013)"  - GSA

"It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001)."  Joint Science Academies Statement.

"The global warming observed over the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases." From Executive Summary "Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States (2009) - U.S. Global Change Research Program.

"Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.[12] This is an advance since the TAR’s conclusion that “most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”  IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007

I'd suggest that at a minimum the summary regarding consensus on the "birth of AGW," be changed to match your own expert witnesses, i.e., 'somewhere between the middle of the 20th Century to the late 1970's.'

Lest us not forget the graphic on the top of your page shows a clear global cooling cycle from about the 1940's through the late 1970's.  It's a bit awkward to sell the view that man's footprint on GW occurred just as the Earth was getting serious - for several decades - about global cooling.

Silly little hyphenated lady has drunk the Kool-Aid

The nicely-spoken Alice Bows-Larkin is an astrophysicist so you can understand her talking about global warming (?)  The TED talks are supposed to be about new and exciting ideas but everything this dear lady said in her talk to the London TED in July was pure Warmist boilerplate, with not the slightest originality or any  suggestion of evidence for her assertions.  Nice graphs of what fellow-Warmists say had to be enough.  But her conclusions were stern.  See below.  She wants "austerity".  Since Leftists everywhere are vocally anti-austerity, I wonder how they will square that circle?

"The economist Nicholas Stern said that emission reductions of more than one percent per year had only ever been associated with economic recession or upheaval. So this poses huge challenges for the issue of economic growth, because if we have our high carbon infrastructure in place, it means that if our economies grow, then so do our emissions. So I'd just like to take a quote from a paper by myself and Kevin Anderson back in 2011 where we said that to avoid the two-degree framing of dangerous climate change, economic growth needs to be exchanged at least temporarily for a period of planned austerity in wealthy nations.

This is a really difficult message to take, because what it suggests is that we really need to do things differently. This is not about just incremental change. This is about doing things differently, about whole system change, and sometimes it's about doing less things".


Increased atmospheric CO2 is likely to have positive effects on balance

Richard Tol

Mr Robert E.T. Ward BSc, Policy and Communications Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, recently published a piece about my work under the title “Flawed analysis of the impacts of climate change”. Mr Ward raises two main objections, first, to the conclusion that “the overall impacts of unmitigated climate change this century could be positive, even if global average temperature rises by more than 2°C above its pre-industrial level” and, second, to the conclusion that “the welfare change caused by climate change is equivalent to the welfare change caused by an income change of a few percent”.

Let us consider Mr Ward’s objections in turn. Climate change will have many, diverse impacts and it will affect different people in different ways. Some of these impacts are negative, some may be negative or positive, and some are positive. The three key positive impacts are a reduction in the costs of winter heating – a particular boon to the poor in temperate and cold climates – a reduction in cold-related mortality and morbidity – a particular boon to the old and frail in temperate and cold climate change – and an increase of carbon dioxide fertilization – a particular boon to those dependent on water-stressed agriculture. The last effect is more immediate because it depends on the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide rather than the consequent climate change.

Twenty-two studies of the total impact of climate change on human welfare have been published and four of these – by the late Professor Ralph d’Arge, Professor Robert Mendelsohn, myself, and Professor David Maddison – show that the net impact of modest global warming may be beneficial. Mr Ward’s protestations notwithstanding, this finding is well accepted in the academic literature – and indeed Mr Ward fails to cite a single dissenting paper.

Mr Ward's focus on the total impact betrays his lack of formal education in economics. What matters is not whether the total impact is positive or negative, but rather when the incremental impacts turn negative. My latest estimate puts that at 1.1°C global warming relative to pre-industrial times, or some 0.3°C warming from today. That cannot be avoided – unless we believe that the climate sensitivity is much lower than commonly found, and we believe that governments are secretly plotting much more drastic emission cuts than those announced. The initial benefits are thus sunk. The corresponding policy intervention is a Pigou tax*, rather than a Pigou subsidy. Greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced.

Mr Ward’s second objection is equally unfounded, and again he does not cite any study that contradicts what I wrote. The twenty-two studies cited above all agree that the impact of climate change is small relative to economic growth. This was found in studies by Professor William Nordhaus and Professor Samuel Fankhauser. It was confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from its Second Assessment Report, in a chapter led by the late Professor David Pearce, to its Fifth Assessment Report, in a chapter led by me. Even the highest estimate, the 20% upper bound by Lord Professor Nicholas Stern of Brentford, has that a century of climate change is not worse than losing a decade of economic growth.

Over the years, many people have objected to these estimates. Tellingly, not a single one of these people have published an estimate that strongly deviates from existing estimates. On the contrary, a number of people have set out to prove Nordhaus and Fankhauser wrong, only to find estimates of a similar magnitude.

In sum, climate change is a problem but not the biggest problem in the world. It is good to keep perspective. At the heart of the current problems at Volkswagen lies a system of regulations that prioritizes one problem – carbon dioxide emissions – at the expense of another – particulate emissions. Environmentalists’ relentless focus on a single simple message may be an excellent strategy for fund-raising, but it makes for poor public policy. Incomplete and imperfect as our understanding of climate change and its impacts may be, Mr Ward’s dismissal of the evidence is not the best way forward. Academic inspiration, it gave me none.


A new climate expert

Some logic:  If the temperature of Tibet is rising 3 times faster than the rest of the world, it's not a global effect we are looking at

Tibet's exiled leaders, including the Dalai Lama, said on Tuesday two-thirds of the glaciers in their mountain homeland may disappear by 2050 because of climate change and demanded a stake in international climate talks later this year. The Tibetan plateau, which has the largest store of ice outside the North and South Pole, has experienced rising temperatures of 1.3 Celsius over the past five decades, three times the global average, the leadership said in a statement.Tibet, with an average altitude of over 4,000 metres (13,125 ft) is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Warming is already melting glaciers that are the source of water in rivers that help support about 1.3 billion people. "The Tibetan Plateau needs to be protected, not just for Tibetans but for the environmental health and sustainability of the entire world," the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, said.

"As vital as the Arctic and Antarctic, it is the Third Pole," he said in the statement issued from the Indian hill station of Dharamsala, where the Tibetan government-in-exile has been based since the Dalai Lama fled his homeland in 1959.Close to 200 countries will meet in Paris in December to try to hammer out a deal to slow man-made climate change by aiming to keep temperatures below a ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.World leaders are hoping for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol after 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen ended in disappointment due to differences between the United States and China.Tibet's leaders said they want an effective climate change agreement and also want to have a say in the talks.About 80 percent of the ice in Tibet has retreated in the past 50 years, according to the government-in-exile.With the rapidly melting permafrost, 12,300 million tons of carbon could be released into the air, further exacerbating the problems of global warming, they said.


A lie that never seems to die

"Global warming reopens Pacific-Atlantic passage in Arctic"

People have been transiting the NW passage since the '40s.  In 1969 the oil tanker SS Manhattan made the passage and the frequency has been rising ever since

ABOARD CCGS AMUNDSEN, Canada — Beneath the Aurora Borealis an oil tanker glides through the night past the Coast Guard ice breaker Amundsen and vanishes into the maze of shoals and straits of the Northwest Passage, navigating waters that for millennia were frozen over this time of year.

Warming has forced a retreat of the polar ice cap, opening up a sea route through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for several months of the year.

Commander Alain Lacerte is at the helm as the vessel navigates the Queen Maud Gulf, poring over charts that date from the 1950s and making course corrections with the help of GPS.

“Where it’s white (on the chart), it means the area hasn’t been surveyed,” he explains — leaning over a map that is mostly white. “Most of the far north hasn’t been surveyed, so our maps are unreliable.”

The crew constantly take radar and multi-beam sonar measurements and check their position.  “We don’t want any shoals named after us,” says the old sea dog from behind his spectacles.

Almost the size of the European Union, the Canadian Arctic seabed remains largely uncharted. The waters are also shallow and navigating unknown parts can be deadly — even when the north is ice-free.

Today, taking this route cuts 7,000 kilometers (4,350 miles) off a trip from London to Tokyo, saving time and fuel.

Since the 15th century there have been a dozen expeditions seeking a faster shipping route from Europe to Asia through the north.

The Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was the first to cross the Northwest Passage, on board the Gjøa, in an expedition that took three years, finishing in 1906.

Afterward interest in the waterway waned. An average of one ship per year attempted to make the crossing over the past century.

But thawing of the polar ice promises Arctic nations new opportunities to open ocean trade routes and offshore oil fields.

In the summer months the Amundsen is used by Canadian government scientists — among them Roger Provost, a Canadian Ice Service meteorologist — as well as a network of scientists led by the ArcticNet organization.

Provost looked with amazement from the wheelhouse at the lack of any ice cover around the coast guard ship. “Anyone who still denies climate change is real has their head in the ground, they’re blind,” he said.

In 37 years of Arctic exploration, he said he “never imagined ever seeing this,” pointing to satellite images showing a clear path through the Queen Maud Gulf and the M’Clintock Channel, where the Amundsen is headed.

Almost 112 years ago to the day, the explorer Amundsen got stuck in the pack ice here. And in 1979, Provost recalls, another Canadian Coast Guard ice-breaker had to cut short its inaugural journey, unable to push beyond this point through thick ice.

Over the past five years the number of cargo and cruise ships, tankers and others crossing the Passage climbed to 117.

In 2010, Canada imposed shipping regulations on seafarers going through the Passage, but the United States and the European Union do not recognize Canada’s ownership of the waterway, considering it international waters.


Climate Change's Great Legacy: International Wealth Redistribution

A $Trillion here, a $Trillion there — pretty soon you’re talking real money.

No, I’m not talking about the U.S. national debt, now at over $18 trillion. That’s a very bad thing that threatens to impoverish our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

I’m talking about the $Trillions being demanded by developing-world countries from rich countries (primarily the United States) as the price of their signing onto a global agreement to cut CO2 emissions at COP21 in Paris in December.

India says it needs $2.5 trillion to meet its energy-and-climate policy goals. Okay, some of that will come from within India itself, but a big portion, it’s clear, will have to come from the US and other rich countries — or it won’t happen.

The Philippines says that without major cash influx from rich countries, it won’t be able to make any CO2 emission cuts.

This is all good news for those of us who know that increased atmospheric CO2 won’t warm things much but will improve plant growth, and hence crop yields, and hence food supplies, around the world.

But for the bureaucrats eager for their share of the global wealth redistribution pie that is the real aim of UN climate negotiations, it’s bad news indeed. How will they fund their retirements after they get run out of their countries for embezzlement and other crimes?

That redistribution is the real goal is clear enough from UN leaders' own statements. E.g., Ottmar Edenhofer, a co-chair of the IPCC, said back in 2010:

    "The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War. … First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole".



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

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


20 October, 2015

The latest non-science from the non-science guy

Bill Nye is not a scientist.  He is an entertainer.  His degree was in mechanical engineering.  But we see here a claim from him that Miami is sinking due to global warming.  Che??  How does global warming do that?  It is true that Miami is going underwater to a degree but it is not due to global warming.

There are various parts of the world -- the S.E. coast of England notably -- where the land is sinking.  And Florida is one of those.  To the casual observer, the rise of the sea and the sinking of the land look the same but they are not.  And accounting for crustal movements is an important part of geology, with satellites and all sorts of other observations being used to differentiate sea level rise from land movement.  If he were a scientist, Nye would know that and make proper allowance for it.  He is however aiming at drama rather than informing people.

Prof. Tim Ball has written a short article on the subject and he has in addition emailed the following comments:

"Yes Miami is sinking and it is partly due to water extraction. It is also due to the porous limestone that compresses easily and also has extensive cave structures because it is essentially a Karst topography. This is why sink holes are common.

This sinking of major cities is occurring everywhere with some more pronounced than others. Mexico city is a good example.

However the major reason for Miami sinking is because the entire Gulf coast of the US is sinking as post glacial isostatic adjustment occurs.

During the last glaciation the weight of the ice pushed the entire northern half of the continent down relative to the geoid line and sea level.  Since the removal of the ice the north is rising and the south is sinking. Some think the New Madrid fault line across the centre of the US adn site of the largest earthquake in modern US history is a result of the continent 'cracking’.

This is another example, of people like Nye taking a normal event and exploiting it for his political agenda. I think a RICO charge is required for such deliberate deception or at least for blinding ignorance"

More Hansenism

Jim Hansen and some of his usual co-conspirators have put up on an open-access journal a paper titled:  "Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming is highly dangerous".  The basic idea of the paper is to marshall a large body of evidence from different sources in support of that conclusion.

This open-access journal, however, also prints challenges from other scientists and the challenges have not been kind.  Just one excerpt:

"given the way the paper is organized, it is difficult for a reader to connect assumptions made in the model forcing (sections 3.2 and 4.3) to their justification based on paleo-climate reconstructions (section 2.1) and modern observations (section 7.3). What is important is that the prescribed freshwater forcing scenarios have an exponentially increasing form with doubling times of 5, 10 and 20 years. The most extreme of these has sea level rising 5m by the year 2060. This assumes freshwater flux could rapidly reach values up to 8Sv. To put this in perspective, it is about 1800 times the currently observed melt rate for west Antarctica… Prolonged exponentially increasing ice-sheet loss is clearly unphysical and so the authors arbitrarily terminate freshwater input once the associated sea-level rise reaches 5m – it is zero thereafter… The authors provide no assessment of the likelihood of any of their scenarios, and do not cite most of the previous studies that have explored the response of the climate system to much less dramatic freshwater input… They also do not justify the manner in which this freshwater is introduced into the ocean (as liquid water with a temperature of -15?C, pg. 20079)… simulated global temperature drops to roughly 1.4?C below preindustrial levels… This is in striking contrast to essentially all published projections of 21st century climate change, and so places a very large burden on the authors to provide evidence in support of rapid global cooling in the face of rising greenhouse gas concentrations…"

See here for more.  The heading there is "Hansen et al.: RIP". Tom Nelson also has a mocking comment on the matter.

Britain's idiotic leaders, obsessed with being green, have sabotaged Britain's steel industry

R.I.P. the British steel industry, once the mighty engine of this country’s industrial base. Over the past week, the blast furnaces and coke ovens at Redcar have been closed, with a loss of more than 2,000 jobs.

Now Tata Steel is to cut almost half its workforce of 4,000 at its Scunthorpe plant, and there is similar bad news to come for its workforce in Scotland and Wales.

The fact that this coincides with the state visit this week of the Chinese President Xi Jinping will lead many to say we should use the opportunity to complain to the leader of the world’s most populous nation about its saturation of the global market with ever-increasing volumes of steel.

This would be futile. Worse, it would be missing the most important point. We have done this to ourselves: or, more precisely, it is British government policy which has been driving the final nail into the coffin of our own steel industry.

It is true that Chinese exports have pushed down the price of steel, blowing a hole in the business plans of all other steel producers. But the issue is not just about prices, it is also about costs. And successive British governments have quite deliberately driven up the single most significant cost for steel producers, with their giant blast furnaces: energy.

This stems in large part from one of the last decisions made by Tony Blair as prime minister, when in 2007 he signed up this country to obtaining 15 per cent of all its energy from ‘renewable sources’ — wind and solar — by 2020.

According to the then chief scientific adviser to the government, Sir David King, Blair was supposed to limit our pledge to ‘electricity’, not energy as a whole, but there were ‘very tired people in the meeting … people just took their eye of the ball’. What a shameful admission.

The result is not just that household bills must be at least 15 per cent supplied by expensive and inefficient wind and solar power (what do we do when it isn’t sunny or blowing a gale?), so must high-intensity users of energy such as steel producers.

Over and above that self-imposition, the UK has, uniquely, set a ‘carbon price floor’. This — a means of meeting the targets of the Climate Change Act implemented under Gordon Brown and supported with a three-line whip on Tory MPs by the then opposition leader David ‘Green’ Cameron — means that even if the cost of carbon-based energy falls, our big industrial users are not allowed to get full benefit.

I wrote about all this in 2009, and the consequences it would have for the steel industries of England and Wales: ‘It may well be that they will soon become unable to compete globally, even at current domestic energy prices; but deliberately to make them uncompetitive is industrial vandalism.’

I spoke back then to Jeremy Nicholson, the director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, which represents industries employing 200,000 people in the UK — and an estimated 800,000 indirectly through the supply chain.

He was especially exasperated by the fact that resulting closures of British industrial plants would not even have the effect of reducing global CO2 emissions: ‘A future administration will have to say in public what ministers and their officials already admit in private, that their renewables target is neither practical nor affordable.

‘Outsourcing our emissions is not a solution to a global problem. Politicians need to understand that unilateral action will come at a terrible cost in terms of UK manufacturing jobs, investment and export revenue, for no discernible environmental gain.’

Nicholson overestimated the wisdom of a ‘future administration’: neither the Coalition government, nor the new all-Conservative one, has taken a single step back from the precipice.

According to the official statistical body, Eurostat, far and away the highest energy costs in the EU among ‘extra-large users’ are paid by British firms. In 2014, ours were paying on average just over 9p per Kilowatt hour. This is more than twice as much as France (4.12p per KwH) and almost twice as much as Germany (4.81p per KwH). This is nothing less than negative state aid to British manufacturing industry.

What has the Department for Business been doing about this? During the Coalition years it commissioned a report which set out the problem. Chris Huhne, the then climate change secretary — before he was jailed — tried to stop it being published. This renewable energy fanatic needn’t have worried. Nothing was done.

Now the Department of Business says it is trying to get European Commission approval of a plan to compensate steel and other high-energy users for up to 85 per cent of the cost of being forced to use ‘renewables’.

Even if it is successful, that will come too late for thousands of steel-workers.

The MP whose constituency contains Tata’s Port Talbot steelworks, Stephen Kinnock, has now pleaded with the Government to get the industry ‘immediate respite from the crippling energy costs that it currently faces’.

Yet only last year, Kinnock wrote an article in the Guardian condemning those who questioned as quixotic policies designed to limit climate change, calling instead for ‘a green growth revolution’.

I’m sorry, Mr Kinnock, but your constituents working in the Port Talbot steelworks might soon be the collateral damage of your ‘green revolution’.

It is not just in respect of steel that China is the beneficiary of our governments’ self-harming climate change policies. This week, President Xi is to sign a deal to help finance the construction of a £24.5bn nuclear power station in Somerset, Hinkley Point.

It is a fabulous deal for the Chinese: the British Government has agreed a ‘strike price’ for Hinkley’s output which is roughly twice the current wholesale cost of electricity — and index-linked to inflation for the following 35 years. Hinkley will provide 3,200 Megawatts of capacity: yet it will cost as much to build as about 50,000 MW of new gas power station capacity — and the world is swimming in cheap gas.

So why aren’t we going for that, instead? Because in order to conform with the Climate Change Act, we have to abandon hydrocarbons such as gas — and nuclear is the only reliable alternative.

So, it’s not just that steelworkers are being driven into unemployment by policies behind which our political parties — including the SNP — are united in idiocy: all of us will be paying much more for our heating.


Now here’s the good news on global warming

Matt Ridley

Activists may want to shut down debate, but evidence is growing that high CO2 levels boost crops and nourish the oceans

France’s leading television weather forecaster, Philippe Verdier, was taken off air last week for writing that there are “positive consequences” of climate change. Freeman Dyson, professor emeritus of mathematical physics and astrophysics at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, declared last week that the non-climatic effects of carbon dioxide are “enormously beneficial”. Patrick Moore, a founder of Greenpeace, said in a lecture last week that we should “celebrate carbon dioxide”.

Are these three prominent but very different people right? Should we at least consider seriously, before we go into a massive international negotiation based on the assumption that carbon dioxide is bad, whether we might be mistaken? Most politicians today consider such a view to be so beyond the pale as to be mad or possibly criminal.

Yet the benefits of carbon dioxide emissions are not even controversial in scientific circles. As Richard Betts of the Met Office tweeted last week, the “CO2 fertilisation effect” — the fact that rising emissions are making plants grow better — is not news and is discussed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The satellite data show that there has been roughly a 14 per cent increase in the amount of green vegetation on the planet since 1982, that this has happened in all ecosystems, but especially in arid tropical areas, and that it is in large part due to man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

Last week also saw the publication of a comprehensive report on “Carbon Dioxide — the Good News” for the Global Warming Policy Foundation by the independent American scientist Indur Goklany, to which Freeman Dyson wrote the foreword. The report was thoroughly peer-reviewed, as was almost all of the voluminous literature it cited. (Full disclosure: I helped edit the report.)

Goklany points out that whereas the benefits of carbon dioxide are huge and here now, the harms are still speculative and almost all in the distant future. There has so far been — as the IPCC confirms — no measurable increase in droughts, floods or storms worldwide, no reversal in the continuing rapid decline in deaths due to insect-borne diseases, and no measurable impacts of the continuing very slow rise in global sea levels. In stark terms, Bangladesh is still gaining land from sedimentation in its rivers’ deltas, has suffered no increase in cyclones, but has benefited from reduced malnourishment to the tune of billions of dollars from higher crop yields as a result of carbon dioxide emissions.

It is worth remembering that commercial greenhouses buy carbon dioxide to enhance the growth of plants, so the growth responses are well known — and it’s not until carbon dioxide reaches five times current concentrations that the benefits level out. As Patrick Moore pointed out, those were normal levels for much of earth’s history.

In addition, hundreds of “free-air concentration experiments” have measured how much increased carbon dioxide levels enhance crop yields in open fields. So it is fairly easy to work out how much carbon dioxide emissions are helping world agriculture: by about $140 billion a year, or $3 trillion in total so far. If reparations are to be paid, perhaps farmers should pay coal producers (full disclosure: I’m both).

Actually, this may be an underestimate: experiments show that crops tend to benefit more than weeds (most crops have a more responsive kind of photosynthetic machinery called C3, while weeds mostly have a less responsive kind called C4). Increased carbon dioxide enhances drought resistance in plants, benefiting dry regions such as the Sahel, which has greened significantly in recent decades. And Goklany calculates that we need 11-17 per cent less land for feeding the world than we would if we had not increased carbon dioxide levels: so emissions have saved — and enhanced the growth of — a lot of rainforest.

Well, all right, but surely the climate harms will one day outweigh the growth benefits? Not necessarily. At the moment, impacts from the modest warming we saw in the 1980s and 1990s are also positive: slightly fewer premature deaths, which peak in cold weather more than in hot weather, slightly longer growing seasons and so on. A paper published last week concludes that if the world does warm significantly, China’s rain systems will shift north, increasing rainfall in the dry north and reducing flooding in the hot south.

Besides, human adaptation means we can capture the benefits and avoid the harms. The IPCC’s forecast warming range includes the possibility that we will still be enjoying net benefits by the end of the century, when the world will (it says) be three to 16 times richer per capita. The fastest way to cut deaths from bad weather today (such as the storm that just battered the Philippines) is to make people richer, not to make weather safer: we have already cut world death rates from droughts, floods and storms by 98 per cent in the past century.

As Goklany demonstrates, the assessments used by policy makers have overestimated warming so far, underestimated the direct benefits of carbon dioxide, overestimated the harms from climate change, and underestimated the human capacity to adapt.

Well, what about the ocean? Here too there’s good news. More carbon dioxide means faster growth rates of photosynthesisers in the sea as well as on land, an effect that is being observed in algae, eelgrasses, corals and especially plankton, such as the abundant creatures known as coccolithophores, whose biomass has increased by 40 per cent in the last two centuries.

That’s not to say coral reefs and fisheries are not in trouble — they are, but because of pollution, overfishing and run-off, not carbon dioxide. The tiny reduction in alkalinity (misleadingly termed “acidification”) caused by dissolved carbon dioxide is potentially negative in the distant future, but has been much exaggerated — as a big review of 372 studies has concluded. One recent experiment with a common Caribbean coral found that rising carbon dioxide levels would have no impact on its ability to build reefs for several centuries, while modest warming would actually help it slightly.

With tens of thousands of activists and bureaucrats heading for a UN conference in Paris next month, there is such vast vested interest now in demonising carbon dioxide that it will be hard to change the world’s mind. Freeman Dyson laments that “scientific colleagues who believe the prevailing dogma about carbon dioxide will not find Goklany’s evidence convincing”, but hopes that a few will try. Amen.


UN Climate Deal Stuck at `Low End of Ambition' as Talks Resume

Climate negotiators are meeting today in Bonn to take a last crack at a draft plan aimed at nudging the world into a post-carbon era.

The five-day gathering marks the final round of United Nations talks before envoys, ministers and leaders from around the world meet in Paris in six weeks to attempt what a 2009 summit in Copenhagen failed to do: reach a global agreement on how to cut fossil-fuel use.

UN officials this month issued the latest version of a negotiating text, but the draft document is probably “too stripped down” for many countries’ tastes, said Alden Meyer, a long-time observer of the climate talks for the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The text ultimately must be approved in Paris by the biggest greenhouse-gas emitters, including the U.S., China and India, the most vulnerable nations, such as Vanuatu and Bangladesh -- as well as oil-rich nations of the Persian Gulf.

Negotiators in Bonn this week are focusing on defining the long-term goals, and how to monitor and verify that promised reductions are actually occurring. In its current form, the negotiating document is about 20 pages, down from roughly 80.

While the proposed pact provides a solid foundation for the Paris negotiations, it is at the “low end of ambition” of what scientists say is necessary to ward off dangerous climate change, said Liz Gallagher, who leads the climate diplomacy project at E3G, a U.K.-based advocacy group. She said hopes envoys will come up with a refreshed document for heads of state and ministers to flesh out at the 12-day Paris summit starting Nov. 30.
Reassessing Emissions

Meyer said one gap in the latest text is that it excludes any call for countries to reexamine their goals before the 10-year mark. Reassessment is crucial because current national plans to fight climate change don’t go far enough to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Above that level scientists say the Earth could tip into the realm of dangerous climate changes.

“We can’t afford to wait until the mid-2020s,” Meyer said.
Christiana Figueres, who’s leading the UN effort to broker a climate deal in Paris in December, said the world has “progressed enormously” in battling climate change since the failed Copenhagen summit. Today, the risk is in the range of 3 degrees, “still dangerous but better than where we were before,” she said earlier this month.


Gov. Brown's link between climate change and wildfires is unsupported, fire experts say

The ash of the Rocky fire was still hot when Gov. Jerry Brown strode to a bank of television cameras beside a blackened ridge and, flanked by firefighters, delivered a battle cry against climate change.

The wilderness fire was "a real wake-up call" to reduce the carbon pollution "that is in many respects driving all of this," he said.

"The fires are changing.... The way this fire performed, it's not the way it usually has been. Going in lots of directions, moving fast, even without hot winds."

"It's a new normal," he said in August. "California is burning."

Brown had political reasons for his declaration. He had just challenged Republican presidential candidates to state their agendas on global warming. He was embroiled in a fight with the oil industry over legislation to slash gasoline use in California. And he is seeking to make a mark on international negotiations on climate change that culminate in Paris in December.

But scientists who study climate change and fire behavior say their work does not show a link between this year's wildfires and global warming, or support Brown's assertion that fires are now unpredictable and unprecedented. There is not enough evidence, they say.

University of Colorado climate change specialist Roger Pielke said Brown is engaging in "noble-cause corruption."

Pielke said it is easier to make a political case for change using immediate and local threats, rather than those on a global scale, especially given the subtleties of climate change research, which features probabilities subject to wide margins of error and contradiction by other findings.

"That is the nature of politics," Pielke said, "but sometimes the science really has to matter."

Other experts say there is, in fact, a more immediate threat: a landscape altered by a century of fire suppression, timber cutting and development.

Public attention should be focused on understanding fire risk, controlling development and making existing homes safer with fire-rated roofs and ember-resistant vents, said Richard Halsey, who founded the Chaparral Institute in San Diego.

Otherwise, he said, "the houses will keep burning down and people will keep dying."  "I don't believe the climate change discussion is helpful," Halsey said.

Brown does not contend that climate change alone is making California's fires worse, said Nancy Vogel, spokeswoman for the governor's Natural Resources Agency. But she said addressing fires in the same breath as global warming "broadens the discussion and encourages us to think about the future."

Today's forest fires are indeed larger than those of the past, said National Park Service climate change scientist Patrick Gonzalez. At a symposium sponsored by Brown's administration, Gonzalez presented research attributing that trend to policies of fighting the fires, which create thick underlayers of growth, rather than allowing them to burn.

"We are living right now with a legacy of unnatural fire suppression of approximately a century," Gonzalez told attendees.

The Rocky fire, which began in late July in Lake County, spread quickly through mature chaparral in the Cache Creek Wilderness, creating tall plumes that sucked in air from all directions.

California fire records analyzed by The Times show a dozen similar fires from 2000 to 2014 that each moved quickly, spreading at more than 1,000 acres an hour. A few were driven by the notorious Santa Ana winds, but most were similar to the Rocky fire and three other fast-moving Northern California fires that followed it.

Fire behavior specialist Jeff Shelton, who provided daily forecasts for the Rocky fire and, later, the Jerusalem fire, said he could not attribute their behavior to climate change. He cited the summer's dry weather, an abundance of fuel created by a lack of previous fires, and steep slopes that allowed the fires to spread quickly.

Ecologists said their behavior was typical of natural chaparral fires, which burn infrequently but intensely.

A regional staff member in Brown's emergency operations office called the fires "unprecedented," a description then used by the administration for other conflagrations.

But those burns were classic plume-dominated convection fires, fed largely by an abundance of combustible material, fire scientists said.



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19 October, 2015

Climate Change and Leftist Hypocrisy

Nothing exposes the cynical hypocrisy of the left more than its jihadist attitude toward the dubious theory of man-made global warming.  The phoniness and selfishness of the left show up in several different ways.

The left pronounces manmade global warming "settled science" but then insists that we continue to spend billions of dollars in climate change research.  If it is truly settled science, then we need to spend no more money at all on research, and if this supposed dire threat requires immediate action by governments, then even research on the best way to contain climate change is unnecessary.

Scientific research has value when there are "schools of thought" in science.  If some scientists doubt climate change and others believe that climate change is global cooling and others think that any climate change is natural and not man-made – and if there are others who believe in man-made global warming – then there is a purpose and a value to research.

What climate change research really means is the heavy-handed use of taxpayer-funded leftist totalitarianism in the institutional bureaucracies of academia, whose sole purpose is to propagandize the gullible with specious reasoning, with the heavy stamp of "Official Science."

The left professes to love progress, but climate change itself is progress.  Changing climate throughout history gradually reduces the value of land owned by those who live in the most desirable areas and gradually increases the value of land owned by those who live in less desirable areas.  Regardless of whether the world is getting warmer or getting colder, climate change redistributes wealth.

Keeping nature exactly as it is reflects the hidebound mindset of an ultra-reactionary, which is to say of a modern leftist.  These are the same dull, plump nabobs who despise free enterprise precisely because that process is constant and unmanaged revolution when the left wants nothing really ever to change at all.

That means, of course, that these privileged clerics of leftists never see smaller government or more freedom as the solution to environmental problems, and so even if next year new scientific evidence suggested that the planet is cooling, not warming, the same leftists who today lecture that free enterprise is heating the planet would then, undoubtedly, find that free enterprise was cooling the planet.

Leftist hypocrisy regarding climate change can also be seen in its attitude toward actual environmental changes.  Venice is sinking into the Adriatic, but no leftist is calling for lowering the Adriatic or raising Venice.  This is too real a crisis for the unserious left.

If the sinking of Venice seems too "trivial," then consider a dramatic and pending ecological apocalypse.  The West Coast of America will collapse into the Pacific Ocean, and the earthquakes that plague it today are a very real symptom of the grinding plate tectonics that will someday produce huge tsunamis and drastic climatic changes.

Shouldn't we be evacuating the West Coast and sending Californians to Quonset huts in Kansas and Arkansas until further resettlement can be done?  Shouldn't we stop all construction along the West Coast and begin, instead, the deconstruction of those cities with all their steel and concrete and people?  Sure, if the left actually cared about pending ecological catastrophes.

(As far as that goes, if leftists really believed that global warming is real and the low-level areas like Rhode Island and Delaware will be under water in a few decades, shouldn't the left be shipping those in the densely populated Northeast to parts of Flyover Country that face population losses as perfectly good homes in rural Oklahoma or Nebraska are left to decay?  If the Potomac River is going to rise, and sea levels rise, and put our nation's capital under water, should not the left be frantically trying to move our nation's federal district to Little Rock or Davenport?)

Don't wait for leftists to tell us that we need no more money for climate research (that is how they pay their pseudo-scientific toadies).  Don't wait for leftists to address real ecological issues like Venice or the San Andreas Fault (those are far too real problems).  Don't wait for leftists to depopulate their rich old centers of wealth and power on the coasts (that would actually cost the left power and wealth!).

Everything the left does is to hold forever its power, position, and wealth.  The only "science" allowed is science that helps that unsavory greed.  Leftist hypocrisy on climate change, like everything else, is utterly, absolutely corrupting.



Carbon dioxide is plant food, one of the basic necessities for almost all life on Earth. That enviros have tried to turn CO2 into a bogeyman verges on the bizarre. In fact, increasing levels of CO2 have already been of great benefit to plants and humans. This paper by Indur Goklany and the Global Warming Policy Foundation is an excellent corrective to warmist hysteria:

"Carbon dioxide fertilises plants, and emissions from fossil fuels have already had a hugely beneficial effect on crops, increasing yields by at least 10-15%. This has not only been good for humankind but for the natural world too, because an acre of land that is not used for crops is an acre of land that is left for nature."

This has been a huge boon to humanity, which has been undermined to some degree by environmentalists. In all of the quotes below, numerous footnotes have been deleted but can be seen at the link:

"Between 1990–92 and 2011–13, although global population increased by 31% to 7.1 billion, available food supplies increased by 44%. Consequently, the population suffering from chronic hunger declined by 173 million despite a population increase of 1.7 billion. This occurred despite the diversion of land and crops from production of food to the production of biofuels. According to one estimate, in 2008 such activities helped push 130–155 million people into absolute poverty, exacerbating hunger in this most marginal of populations. This may in turn have led to 190,000 premature deaths worldwide in 2010 alone. Thus, ironically, a policy purporting to reduce [global warming] in order to reduce future poverty and hunger only magnified these problems in the present day."

Environmentalism kills. On the other hand, the supposed perils of increased CO2 have failed to materialize. The alarmists’ claims relating to rising sea levels are a joke:

"Sea level has risen about 400 feet in the past 20,000 years, and continues to rise, albeit much more slowly than in many times past. That it continues to rise today is unremarkable. Its rise indeed signals a global warming, but not necessarily anthropogenic global warming. Anthropogenic global warming should cause an acceleration in sea-level rise, but several observational studies have failed to detect one. IPCC AR5 notes that, “it is likely that [global mean sea level] rose between 1920 and 1950 at a rate comparable to that observed since 1993.” Some studies actually indicate a recent deceleration. For example, Chen et al. find that the global sea level rose at a rate of 3.2±0.4 mm/yr during 1993–2003, but that rate has decelerated since 2004. By 2012, the rate of rise had slowed significantly to 1.8±0.9 mm/yr."

The alarmists’ models actually predict that there will be fewer extreme weather events, since the temperature differential between the poles and the equator will diminish. Global warming shills never mention this, however, preferring to blame every storm, flood or drought on global warming that hasn’t actually happened. Nor has weather taken a turn for the worse:

"Although there has been an increase in warm days, accompanied by a decline in cold days, there have been no general increases in the intensity or frequency of other weather extremes, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or droughts. Other recent studies confirm this for droughts and floods. Tropical cyclones, a category that includes hurricanes and typhoons, are neither more frequent nor more powerful. Data from 1970 onward indicate that global and Northern Hemisphere accumulated cyclone energy is currently below average. There has not been a major hurricane landfall in the US since 2005 (as of this writing). Moreover, the average number of strong-to-violent tornadoes over the past few years is lower today than it was in the 1950s, 1960s or early-to-mid-1970s.

More importantly, despite a four-fold rise in population and much more complete reporting of such events, since the 1920s deaths from all extreme weather events, including those caused by extreme heat, have declined by 93%, while death rates have declined by 98%.

There has been no increase in economic losses from extreme weather once one accounts for the growth in aggregate wealth, a factor which automatically increases the economic assets at risk."

That’s enough for now, but there is much, much more in the report, which we may revisit in future posts.


Canada: Forest Ethics’ cash pipeline

"The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines is a project to build a twin pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia. The eastbound pipeline would import natural gas condensate and the westbound pipeline would export diluted bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands to the marine terminal in Kitimat for transportation to the Asian markets by oil tankers" -- Wikipedia

New information contained in U.S. tax returns makes clear that a large percentage of the fuss over the Northern Gateway pipeline has been generated by a single, American organization: ForestEthics, based in San Francisco. In its 2012 tax return, filed with the I.R.S., ForestEthics claims credit for having generated fully 87 percent of the letters of comment sent to the National Energy Board regarding the Joint Review Panel for the Northern Gateway.

“Our campaign to halt the Enbridge Gateway pipeline has cemented itself in the Canadian media and citizenry. Grassroots organizing teams have mobilized an unprecedented amount of Canadian civic participation in the government’s environmental review and approval process. In the last six months of 2012, we amassed more than 25,000 new supporters for this campaign and helped organize the largest act of Canadian civil disobedience in the history of the pipeline fight. In August, we submitted to the National Energy Board 4,119 (out of 4,722 in total submitted) unique Letters of Comment on the Enbridge tankers/pipeline project, written by our supporters.” Those are ForestEthics’s own words in its tax return dated September 20, 2013.

ForestEthics has been working to stigmatize the Alberta oil industry since 2009. That year, ForestEthics reported to the I.R.S. “By stigmatizing ‘dirty’ sources of energy, we can make it difficult to finance and sell these products…”

Between 2009 and 2012, ForestEthics USA transferred $3.3 million to Canadian counter-parts, tax returns say. The recipients are not identified except in 2012 when ForestEthics USA reported that it paid $466,711 to sister organizations in British Columbia, ForestEthics Solutions Society and ForestEthics Advocacy Association which split off from Tides Canada in 2012.

ForestEthics also takes credit for organizing First Nations opposed to the pipeline.

In 2011, ForestEthics reported to the I.R.S. that the Tar Sands campaign had reached “a critical turning point.” “After securing the introduction of legislation calling for a tanker ban on BC coast, we amplified the opposition of First Nations and other communities, including by organizing a series of flights over the pipeline route for First Nations remembers that earned coverage in National Geographic, Outside and other outlets. We also focused on preparing for the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel (JRP), the body responsible for assessing the pipeline proposal,” reported ForestEthics to the I.R.S.

Since 2008, ForestEthics has been the workhorse of the Tar Sands campaign, co-funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Tides Foundation. Tides has dispersed more than $20 million for the Tar Sands campaign, including US$1.3 million to ForestEthics. The origin of these funds is not revealed by Tides.

ForestEthics has also received funds for its Tar Sands campaign from U.S. sources other than Tides. For example, in 2012 the Compton Foundation paid ForestEthics $40,000 for its “mindfulness program” which provides “meditation, coaching, retreats, and “inspired vacations,” (quotation marks as per the original) to increase staff tenure and morale and reduce conflict around “difficult decisions.”

Whether it was the intention or not, environmental activism has become a form of economic protectionism. In the name of protecting the environment, economic and trade interests are being protected. By blocking pipeline and port infrastructure projects, environmental organizations landlock Canadian oil within North American and continue the U.S. monopoly on Canadian oil exports.

The problem with the funding of the Tar Sands Campaign is the secret donors that may have an agenda that is contrary to Canadian interests. If ForestEthics and other environmental groups wish to have a credible voice in the pipeline debate, they must disclose the origin of their funding from Tides.


Greenie Desperation Breeds Contempt for Free Speech, Freedom Itself

There’s an old legal adage, “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on your side, pound the table.” Climate alarmists have reached the point where they are not just pounding the table, they are breaking the table and using its pieces to pound on anyone who would dare dissent from the climate orthodoxy humans are causing catastrophic global warming.

Throughout 2015, in Climate Change Weekly, Environment & Climate News, and other outlets, I have described instances where alarmists tried to use the force of law to suppress debate, threatening the jobs and very freedom of climate skeptics or climate realists like myself.

In the August issue of Environment & Climate News, David Legates discussed how he was removed from his position as Delaware state climatologist for his views on climate science. And earlier this year I described witch hunts launched by members of Congress against climate researchers who have disagreed with the Obama administration, and the institutions employing them, demanding they reveal any and all funding for their work and any emails, research, or exchanges possibly related to testimony they gave to Congress.

This suppression of legitimate dissent is not limited to the United States. The Telegraph recently reported France’s top television weatherman has been fired for criticizing the international climate change experts in a promotional video he produced to publicize his book, Climate Investigation. Author Philippe Verdier, weather chief at France Télévisions, the country’s state broadcaster, says leading climatologists and political leaders have “taken the world hostage” using misleading data.

Verdier wrote, “We are hostage to a planetary scandal over climate change – a war machine whose aim is to keep us in fear.” For his efforts to confront climate alarmism, Verdier was suspended. And this in France, the country where just months ago thousands took to the streets to defend free speech in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo assassinations by Islamic terrorists.

Just two weeks ago in Climate Change Weekly I noted alarmists are calling for the International Court of Criminal Justice to settle the science of climate change, while in the United States some researchers are calling for racketeering trials for climate skeptics.

Intimidation and persecution of climate skeptics is not new. More than a decade ago some alarmists started to call for Nuremberg-type trials for climate realists. But lately, the voices have become more shrill, and the use of intimidation and the threat of force become more immediate.

I attribute this ratcheting up of the pressure on climate realists to three factors. First, measurable facts on the ground are increasingly undermining the so-called scientific consensus humans are causing climate change. Temperature increases have stalled while atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have grown. In addition, polar ice has recovered and hurricane numbers and intensity continue to fall well below historic averages. All of these facts confound climate models: The gap between climate model predictions and actual temperature measurements grows larger.

Second, polls demonstrate climate realists are winning the battle for the public’s hearts and minds. Fear of climate change ranks at or near the bottom of people’s public policy concerns, and very few people consider a candidate’s views on climate change an important factor when they vote.

Third, the 21st United Nations climate conference (COP 21) is coming up, and like every conference since the 2007 one in Kyoto it seems doomed to fail to produce a binding treaty restricting fossil fuel use and expanding governments’ controls over the world economy.

I long for the days when liberals were liberal. It’s time for climate alarmists and the politicians who follow their diktats like lap-dogs to brush up on their John Stuart Mill:

"This, then, is the appropriate region of human liberty. It comprises, first, the inward domain of consciousness; demanding liberty of conscience, in the most comprehensive sense; liberty of thought and feeling; absolute freedom of opinion and sentiment on all subjects, practical or speculative, scientific, moral, or theological. The liberty of expressing and publishing opinions … [is] almost of as much importance as the liberty of thought itself, and resting in great part on the same reasons, is practically inseparable from it.

The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind"


Critics Call for Moratorium on ‘Unachievable’ G20 Renewables Plan

Mark Duchamp (World Council for Nature) and other campaign groups have released the following open letter plea:

Prime Minister of Turkey, Energy Ministers of the G20 countries,
Ladies and Gentlemen of the G20 Meeting,

You are preparing the Istanbul meeting of October 2nd, the objective being to coordinate the energy policies of G20 countries. This is an opportunity to relay to you some serious concerns held by the ordinary people of this planet regarding the “energy transition”.  

Wind farm and photovoltaic output depend on the weather. Thirty years have passed since the introduction of this intermittent, erratic electricity. Without means for its storage on a massive scale, it remains of little use. Using fossil fuel power plants to regulate this energy is prohibitive in cost and cancels out savings realized on C02 emissions.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Gates said that the cost of decarbonization using today’s technology is“beyond astronomical”. Having invested one billion dollars in finding new ways to harness the energy from the sun, he suggests governments likewise redirect wasteful green subsidies to research & development (1) . He also donated $28 billion to charity, nearly half his fortune (2).

Subsidies to ineffective wind "farms" have created a “1.8 trillion dollar global industry” (3), whose cost isstifling the economy everywhere while CO2 emissions fail to regress. Collateral damage, on the other hand, isconsiderable, no matter how many “experts” for hire dismiss the evidence, such as adverse health impacts revealed by conscientious professionals (4).  Likewise, the massacre of birds and bats by the million (5) is denied, as are deleterious effects on the price of electricity, employment, property values and tourism potential. Wildlife habitats and marine ecosystems are sacrificed, as well as marine mammals, forests, landscapes, amenity of the countryside and quality of life. Ground water is being contaminated (6), unrecyclable turbine blades accumulate in dumps, the extraction of rare earths for wind turbines kills miners, women and children in China (7), while everywhere populations are fed mendacious buzzwords like “green energy”, "wind is free",  and “renewables will save the planet”.

Vested interests and unscrupulous politicians have hijacked the "Green" Agenda, causing unprecedented devastation throughout the world, notably when wind turbines are erected in migration corridors or protected habitats, killing rare species - as in Ontario (8).

Press articles testify to growing suspicions of corruption, and a book describes how (money) “bundlers” are working within the US administration, distributing favors to private interests: “Throw Them All Out” (9).

Infrasound emissions increase as wind turbines become larger, causing more wind farm victims. These are neither attended nor compensated. Also, e.g. in Turkey, property rights are being breached by bulldozers illegally entering private properties, or valuable land being expropriated outright in violation of the Constitution (10). State Council (High Court) orders to stop construction are not always implemented by local authorities (10). In Bodrum, residents had to remain on guard 24/7 carrying sticks to prevent construction workers entering their properties. Yet many wind projects in Turkey are actively supported by the German or Danish governments, and financed by the EBRD and/or the World Bank.

Residents globally suffer the brutality of windpower development. Take Mexico, where entire communities of indigenous populations from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec are taking to the streets to demonstrate against the invasion of their tribal lands by hundreds of unwanted wind turbines. Violence pits wind farm personnel against protesters, causing loss of life (11). Wind development caused more deaths in Guatemala and Kenya (12), and in Dongzhou, China, 20 protesters were killed by police firing into the crowd (13).

Ineffectiveness & cost caused the wind farm bubble to burst in Spain, Greece, Portugal & Italy. Richer countries like Denmark, Germany and the UK, are scaling back their support, as have China (14) and India. Others - Australia, Canada, France & Turkey, having entered the game belatedly, lurch ahead blindly, moved by a political agenda which may yet prove corrupt (15). Only the United States can maintain its misguided renewables’ policy after 30 years of wasteful subsidies - courtesy of its bonds and treasury bills remaining sought-after investments the world over, giving the U.S. the unique advantage of being able to print money at will. 

None of this bodes well for the future of mankind. In a bid to assist decision making based on current realities, we respectfully urge you to consider the information herein provided. It's merely the "tip of the iceberg", and we hold further evidence at your disposal. On behalf of those suffering now and in the future, we strongly recommend that G20 countries reassess their energy policies, starting with calling a moratorium.


Time To Stop The Insanity Of Wasting Time and Money On More Climate Models?

Written by Dr Tim Ball

Nearly every single climate model prediction, projection or whatever else they want to call them has been wrong. Weather forecasts beyond 72 hours typically deteriorate into their error bands. The UK Met Office summer forecast was wrong again. broken computer

I have lost track of the number of times they were wrong. Apparently, the British Broadcasting Corporation had enough as they stopped using their services. They are not just marginally wrong. Invariably, the weather is the inverse of their forecast.Short, medium, and long-term climate forecasts are wrong more than 50 percent of the time so that a correct one is a no better than a random event.

Global and or regional forecasts are often equally incorrect. If there were a climate model that made even 60 percent accurate forecasts, everybody would use it. Since there is no single accurate climate model forecast, the IPCC resorts to averaging out their model forecasts as if, somehow, the errors would cancel each other out and the average of forecasts would be representative.
Short term climate forecasts no better than the Old Farmers Almanac

Climate models and their forecasts have been unmitigated failures that would cause an automatic cessation in any other enterprise. Unless, of course, it was another government funded, fiasco. Daily weather forecasts are improved from when modern forecasting began in World War I. However, even short term climate forecasts appear no better than the Old Farmers Almanac, which appeared in 1792, using moon, sun, and other astronomical and terrestrial indicators.

I have written and often spoken about the key role of the models in creating and perpetuating the catastrophic AGW mythology. People were shocked by the leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), but most don’t know that the actual instructions to “hide the decline” in the tree ring portion of the hockey stick graph were in the computer code. It is one reason that people translate the Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO) acronym as Gospel in, Gospel Out when speaking of climate models.

I am tired of the continued pretense that climate models can produce accurate forecasts in a chaotic system. Sadly, the pretense occurs on both sides of the scientific debate. The reality is the models don’t work and can’t work for many reasons, including the most fundamental; lack of data, lack of knowledge of major mechanisms, lack of knowledge of basic physical processes, lack of ability to represent physical mechanisms like turbulence in mathematical form, and lack of computer capacity.

Bob Tisdale summarized the problems in his 2013 book Climate Models Fail. It is time to stop wasting time and money and put people and computers to more important uses.The only thing that keeps people working on the models is government funding, either at weather offices or in academia. Without this funding computer modelers would not dominate the study of climate.

Without the funding, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could not exist. Many of the people involved in climate modeling were not familiar with or had no training in climatology or climate science. They were graduates of computer modeling programs looking for a challenging opportunity with large amounts of funding available and access to large computers.

The atmosphere and later the oceans fit the bill. Now they put the two together to continue the fiasco. Unfortunately, it is all at massive expense to society. Those expenses include the computers and the modeling time but worse the cost of applying the failed results to global energy and environmental issues.

Let’s stop pretending and wasting money and time. Remove that funding and nobody would spend private money to work on climate forecast models.

I used to argue that there was some small value in playing with climate models in a laboratory, with only a scientific responsibility for the accuracy, feasibility, and applicability. It is clear they do not fulfill those responsibilities. Now I realize that position was wrong. When model results are used as the sole basis for government policy, there is no value.

It is a massive cost and detriment to society, which is what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was specifically designed to do.The IPCC has one small value. It illustrates all the problems identified in the previous comments. Laboratory-generated climate models are manipulated outside of even basic scientific rigor in government weather offices or academia, and then become the basis of public policy through the Summary for Policymakers (SPM).

Another value of the IPCC Physical Science Basis Reports is they provide a detailed listing of why models can’t and don’t work. Too bad few read or understand them. If they did, they would realize the limitations are such that they preclude any chance of success.

Much more HERE


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

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


18 October, 2015

Scientific crookedness among Warmists

It is very commonly regarded as a basic principle that scientists should make their raw data available to other scientists so that further information can be extracted from the data and so that the correctness of the original analysis can be checked.  Many journals and scientific bodies have strict policies about that.  Such policies are however often not followed. On the one occasion I requested someone else's data, I did not get it. I requested the data because I suspected a fault in the analysis so the refusal certainly strengthened that suspicion.  Even after I publicized the refusal, the data was not forthcoming. Prof. Dr. Theodor Hanf was obviously prepared to wear what damage I had done to his reputation. 

Sociologist Prof. Dr. Theodor Hanf of the Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institut in Freiburg, Germany

Warmists are shameless too.  They are utterly notorious for refusing access to the raw data underlying their research.  That is by itself some evidence that their conclusions are suspect and on the one notable occasion when their wall of secrecy was breached, the suspicion was amply confirmed.  I refer of course to the re-analysis of Michael Mann's "hockeystick" data.  Mann's findings were shown to be entirely artifactual.

But are all Warmist scientists as crooked as Mann? Are they all hiding something?  We will never know but a paper by the ultra-cautious Dutch psychologist Jelke Wicherts certainly supports suspicions.  He shows that unwillingness to make one's raw data available is indeed related to dubious conclusions.  I reproduce the Abstract below:

Willingness to Share Research Data Is Related to the Strength of the Evidence and the Quality of Reporting of Statistical Results

Jelte M. Wicherts et al.


The widespread reluctance to share published research data is often hypothesized to be due to the authors' fear that reanalysis may expose errors in their work or may produce conclusions that contradict their own. However, these hypotheses have not previously been studied systematically.

Methods and Findings

We related the reluctance to share research data for reanalysis to 1148 statistically significant results reported in 49 papers published in two major psychology journals. We found the reluctance to share data to be associated with weaker evidence (against the null hypothesis of no effect) and a higher prevalence of apparent errors in the reporting of statistical results. The unwillingness to share data was particularly clear when reporting errors had a bearing on statistical significance.


Our findings on the basis of psychological papers suggest that statistical results are particularly hard to verify when reanalysis is more likely to lead to contrasting conclusions. This highlights the importance of establishing mandatory data archiving policies.


So, in the light of both theory and practice, all conclusions from scientific work by Warmists should be seen as unreliable and probably false. 

Another example of work by the useful Prof. Wicherts is here -- where he debunks the effects of "poverty" -- JR

What happens when a Greenie is sincere enough to look at the facts?

One Greenie below tells what happened when he looked into the facts about global warming

More than thirty years ago, I became vegan because I believed it was healthier (it’s not), and I’ve stayed vegan because I believe it’s better for the environment (it is). I haven’t owned a car in ten years. I love animals; I’ll gladly fly halfway around the world to take photos of them in their natural habitats. I’m a Democrat: I think governments play a key role in helping preserve our environment for the future in the most cost-effective way possible. Over the years, I built a set of assumptions: that Al Gore was right about global warming, that he was the David going up against the industrial Goliath. In 1993, I even wrote a book about it.

Recently, a friend challenged those assumptions. At first, I was annoyed, because I thought the science really was settled. As I started to look at the data and read about climate science, I was surprised, then shocked. As I learned more, I changed my mind. I now think there probably is no climate crisis and that the focus on CO2 takes funding and attention from critical environmental problems. I’ll start by making ten short statements that should challenge your assumptions and then back them up with an essay.

1 Weather is not climate. There are no studies showing a conclusive link between global warming and increased frequency or intensity of storms, droughts, floods, cold or heat waves.

2 Natural variation in weather and climate is tremendous. Most of what people call “global warming” is natural. The earth is warming, but not quickly, not much, and not lately.

3 There is tremendous uncertainty as to how the climate really works. Climate models are not yet skillful; predictions are unresolved.

4 New research shows fluctuations in energy from the sun correlate very strongly with changes in earth’s temperature, better than CO2 levels.

5 CO2 has very little to do with it. All the decarbonization we can do isn’t going to change the climate much.

6 There is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” Carbon dioxide is coming out of your nose right now; it is not a poisonous gas. CO2 concentrations in previous eras have been many times higher than they are today.

7 Sea level will probably continue to rise, naturally and slowly. Researchers have found no link between CO2 and sea level.

8 The Arctic experiences natural variation as well, with some years warmer earlier than others. Polar bear numbers are up, not down. They have more to do with hunting permits than CO2*.

9 No one has shown any damage to reef or marine systems. Additional man-made CO2 will not likely harm oceans, reef systems, or marine life. Fish are mostly threatened by people, who eat them.

10 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others are pursuing a political agenda and a PR campaign, not scientific inquiry. There’s a tremendous amount of trickery going on under the surface


French Forecaster Punished by the Government Over Climate Views

France’s state-sanctioned media is trying to mend the ruckus created by the country’s chief forecaster, whose new book directly challenges the mainstream views held by the government. In a video promoting his writing, Philippe Verdier, the recalcitrant head meteorologist for television station France 2, daringly declared, “Every night I address five million French people to talk to you about the wind, the clouds and the sun. And yet there is something important, very important that I haven’t been able to tell you, because it’s neither the time nor the place to do so.” According to Verdier, “We are hostage to a planetary scandal over climate change — a war machine whose aim is to keep us in fear.”

That audacity landed him in hot water. Verdier, who The Telegraph says “decided to write the book in June 2014 when Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, summoned the country’s main weather presenters and urged them to mention ‘climate chaos’ in their forecasts,” is now being censored by his employer for ridiculing climate “research” institutions like the IPCC.  “I received a letter telling me not to come,” he revealed. “I’m in shock. This is a direct extension of what I say in my book, namely that any contrary views must be eliminated.”

It’s no wonder. Paris is hosting COP21, the alarmists' most promising UN climate summit yet, beginning next month, which explains the government’s swift and severe reaction. At least here in America climate dissenters still have a voice — for now. Some lawmakers, like Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, and climate academics have openly called for climate dissenters to be reprimanded (even imprisoned) under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act for publicly advocating viewpoints like Verdier’s. If nothing else, France elucidates the danger of government-funded media. A government that’s willing to silence whatever opposition necessary to ensure a successful summit.


Power shortages could leave Britain with blank TVs and computers

After billions spent on useless "renewables"

British households are facing the prospect of ‘brown-outs’ this autumn – a reduction in electricity supply that could lead to appliances not working.

The National Grid is warning that it may have to reduce the power supplied to homes to prevent total black-outs.

The first brown-out could come within ten days, leaving TV and computer screens blank and kettles struggling to boil water.

A report from the energy network operator yesterday warned that Britain faced the greatest danger of power shortages in almost a decade. It said there is an ‘increased likelihood’ there will be ‘insufficient supply available in the market to meet demand’.

This is because older power stations that were closed to meet EU emissions targets have not been replaced, leaving the country more dependent on unreliable wind farms and power imported from nations such as France and the Netherlands via undersea cables.

The National Grid may have to impose emergency measures to keep the lights on, including reducing the power to homes – known as voltage reduction – and paying factories to shut down mid-afternoon.

These could be used if a cold snap that drives up demand combines with a period of low wind, rendering wind turbines useless, and unexpected power losses among existing plants.

The brown-outs are likely to be short-lived and during peak periods of demand in the late afternoon and early evening. Lights will dim but remain on.

However, analysts say the voltage reduction will play havoc with domestic appliances. Household TVs and computers are designed to run at 240 volts, and will not be able to operate if the voltage falls below 230.

But under National Grid plans, the voltage running into homes could be turned down by 5 per cent – taking it to 228, or even lower. This would slow down electric clocks, make kettles boil more slowly and cause other electrical appliances to shut down, according to experts.

Peter Atherton, an energy analyst at investment bank Jefferies, said: ‘Modern electrical equipment has a relatively small tolerance. They have been designed and built to run on 240 volts.

‘If you reduce that they’re getting less juice, which makes them work with less energy. If it drops enough, then the equipment will just stop working – 5 per cent is a lot in the electricity world.’

Another measure involves paying factories to power down between 4pm and 8pm to reduce the strain on the electricity grid. Several factories have signed up to the scheme, where they are given advanced warning and offered compensation.

The measures were in place last winter, but were not used because the weather was relatively mild. But the report says there are ‘forecasts of a colder winter than the previous two years’.

The National Grid’s report says the week beginning October 26 could pose the first test of supplies because several power are plants due to be offline for maintenance – just when the clocks go back and herald longer, darker evenings.

It has previously said that the gap between supply and demand could fall as low as 1.2 per cent over winter if emergency measures are not deployed. Despite the warnings, Cordi O’Hara, a director at the National Grid, said: ‘Our analysis suggests that electricity margins will continue to be tight but manageable throughout the winter period.’

But critics slammed the proposals, with Brian Strutton from the GMB union, which represents energy workers, describing the scheme to pay factories to shut down as ‘bonkers’. He accused the Government and the National Grid of complacency over the risk of black-outs.


Where will the next catastrophic natural disaster take place? Scientists identify ‘climate tipping points’ that could predict abrupt changes

More fun with models.  But since the models have no known predictive skill, they should be ignored

Scientists have found a number of 'tipping points' where abrupt changes in climate could trigger a natural disaster.

These points describe scenarios in which global warming would change the environment of various parts of the world permanently.

While the study found it difficult to predict where and when this would happen, it did discover that it requires a relatively low level of climate change for tipping points to occur.

The new study looked at climate model simulations in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

It found evidence of 41 cases of regional abrupt changes in the ocean, sea ice, snow cover, permafrost and the Earth's biosphere.

Many of these events occur for global warming levels of less than two degrees, which has sometimes be thought to be a 'safe limit' by scientists.

But although most models predict one or more abrupt regional shifts, the scientists found a pattern is difficult to recognise.

'This illustrates the high uncertainty in predicting tipping points,' says lead author Professor Sybren Drijfhout from Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton.

'More precisely, our results show that the different state-of-the-art models agree that abrupt changes are likely, but that predicting when and where they will occur remains very difficult.

'Also, our results show that no safe limit exists and that many abrupt shifts already occur for global warming levels much lower than two degrees,' he adds.

Examples of detected climate tipping points include abrupt shifts in sea ice and ocean circulation patterns, as well as abrupt shifts in vegetation and marine productivity.

Sea ice abrupt changes were particularly common in the climate simulations.

But various models also predict abrupt changes in Earth system elements such as the Amazon forest, tundra permafrost and snow on the Tibetan plateau.

'Interestingly, abrupt events could come out as a cascade of different phenomena,' adds Victor Brovkin, a co-author from Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M).

'For example, a collapse of permafrost in Arctic is followed by a rapid increase in forest area there.

'This kind of domino effect should have implications not only for natural systems, but also for society.'

'The majority of the detected abrupt shifts are distant from the major population centres of the planet, but their occurrence could have implications over large distances.' says Martin Claussen, director of the MPI-M and one of the co-authors.

'Our work is only a starting point. Now we need to look deeper into mechanisms of tipping points and design an approach to diagnose them during the next round of climate model simulations for IPCC.'

Professor Sybren Drijfhout was also behind a recent study which found a collapse of the enormous ocean currents that circulate warm water around Atlantic could dramatically cool the planet.

The rate of cooling would be so extreme that it would obliterate global warming for up to 20 years.

He used climate to modelling to study the impact of the scenario featured in the 2004 disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow.

In the film global warming causes the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which includes the Gulf Stream, to abruptly collapse, leading to the onset of a new Ice Age.

Recently climate scientist warned the currents in the North Atlantic appear to be slowing down at a rate never seen before, possibly due to cold fresh water from the melting Greenland ice cap.

In the latest study, Professor Drijfhout calculated it would only result in a maximum of 0.7°C (1.3°F) of cooling after about 11 years before temperatures begin to rise again.

This is unlikely to be enough to bring the widespread freezing of the Northern Hemisphere as shown in the Hollywood film.


Energy Department Is Wreaking Its Own Economic Havoc

Besides the separation of powers issue, the most alarming thing about the EPA’s accruing regulations is the financial burden to middle class America. The Wall Street Journal reminds us, however, that it’s not the only entity wreaking economic havoc in the name of salvaging the environment. Over the last eight years, the Energy Department has enacted dozens of its own regulations, stripping billions and billions from the economy every year.

According to an American Action Forum study, “Since 2007 the Energy Department has finished more than 25 major rules — those costing more than $100 million — and imposed more than $8 billion in annual costs,” the Journal reports. Adding insult to injury, the agency is working on implementing 11 additional major rules before the end of Barack Obama’s second term.

For some perspective, “The Clinton Administration’s footprint totaled six major rules in eight years,” writes the Journal, adding, “Many of Energy’s edicts cover humdrum household items: stiff efficiency standards for refrigerators, furnace fans and more.” Together, that adds up to big-time bills. And as the Journal points out, “As with every green dream, the poor suffer most.

According to AAF, a family who bought a refrigerator, a furnace fan and a water heater could pay a hidden ‘regulatory tax’ of about $620 — more than a week’s pay for someone who earns $30,000 a year.” That’s not to mention the thousands of layoffs companies are being forced to make. Just one example: “The heating, ventilation and cooling industry — a perennial Energy Department target, with $4 billion in annual costs piled on since 2010 — has hemorrhaged 55,000 jobs since 2001.”

What good are efficiency standards when the EPA and DOE are making it harder for Americans to stay employed, much less foot the bills?



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

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


16 October, 2015

Do Warmists believe their own hokum? Not usually, it seems

Belief in climate change not linked to wildfire mitigation actions.  Do as I say, not as I do?

People who believe that climate change is increasing the risk of devastating wildfires in Colorado are no more likely to take mitigation actions to protect their property, a new study led by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and the U.S. Forest Service has found.

The study, which was recently published in the journal Environmental Hazards, examined the role that climate change beliefs play in a homeowner's choice to undertake risk mitigation activities such as installing a fire-resistant roof to reduce the ignitability of their home or thinning surrounding vegetation that could act as a potential fuel source.

Respondents in the study were placed on a continuum from 'believer' to 'skeptic' based on their attitudes about the degree to which climate change affects wildfire risk in Colorado.

Although over half of the study respondents agreed that climate change has increased wildfire risk in the state, those respondents were not necessarily more likely to take action on their private property to mitigate potential damage from future blazes.

The researchers did, however, find a correlation between climate change denial and risk mitigation actions.

"A small but distinct portion of respondents who reject climate science as a 'hoax' are also the ones who reported doing significantly more risk mitigation activities than other respondents," said Hannah Brenkert-Smith, a research associate in the Institute of Behavioral Sciences at CU-Boulder and lead author of the study. [The realists]

The findings suggest that attitudes and actions related to climate change and risk mitigation are more nuanced than they are often portrayed in the media, and that focusing on locally relevant hazards may be a more useful tool for educating and galvanizing residents in fire-prone areas of Colorado.

"The conventional wisdom that a belief about climate change is a pre-requisite for mitigating local climate change impacts was not found in this analysis," said study co-author Patricia Champ of the U.S. Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station. "This was a bit of a surprise."


New IPCC Chairman Has Ties to Big Oil

Earlier this year, Rajendra Pachauri resigned as chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change after allegedly pestering at least one female colleague with unsolicited sexual innuendo. The IPCC announced his replacement last week — Korean economist Hoesung Lee, who has represented the vice-chair since 2008.

According to his bio, Lee has “[r]eal world high level experiences in public policy development for energy, environment and climate change through responsibilities in government and business.”

The most interesting part of his résumé, however, concerns his first postgraduate job. Lee initially worked for — no joke — Exxon from 1975-1978. That would be the same evil oil company that Slate’s Eric Holthaus claimed just last Friday is “materially responsible for Earth’s declining capability to support life.”

Holthaus then linked to a petition demanding Exxon be criminally charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (the same strategy recently advocated by 20 professors and scientists in calling for climate dissenters to be imprisoned). The petition claims, “Newly revealed documents show that Exxon’s own scientists were aware of and studying the dangerous impacts of greenhouse gases in the 1970s and 1980s — until Exxon’s leadership decided to shut down the research and promote climate denial instead, in order to protect the company’s unfathomably large profits.”

The irony here is two-fold: That Lee was employed by Big Oil is hypocrisy we’ve come to expect from ecofascists. But working for Exxon when, it’s now being claimed, it allegedly hid its own environmental findings “in order to protect the company’s unfathomably large profits”? Now that’s rich.

That’s not to say there’s any truth to these claims — it’s difficult to argue that greenhouse gases are “dangerous” when our very existence would be impossible without them. But the timing is impeccable. How will the alarmist crowd spin the fact Lee’s tenure at Exxon coincides with their new “bombshell” revelation?

Meteorologist Anthony Watts offers this rebuttal:

    "So, he worked for Exxon and wants to push adaptation rather than shutting down whole economies to prevent any further CO2 emissions? I’m sure the usual suspects will be calling for his removal any minute now with impassioned scream of the “d-word” and “fossil fuel shill” and all the other hoary labels applied to climate skeptics (or as the AP call us, doubters) who might at one time gotten a job, research grant, or a free car wash at their local Exxon station."

    Meanwhile, my “big oil check” that I’m supposedly getting is still long overdue.


How Obama Is Planning to Bypass Congress on International Climate Change Regulations

It’s almost winter in Paris, and soon the City of Lights will be blanketed beneath a heavy layer of foreign bureaucrats and climate change negotiators. On November 30, hundreds of unelected representatives of international powers will descend under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

According to recent press reports, the mission of the U.S. delegation will be to bind the government to multi-billion-dollar climate regulations—regulations the administration has no intention of sending to Congress for approval.

This is no trifling issue of executive-legislative disagreement. Rather, it’s the latest salvo from an executive intent on centralizing power in the White House.

When Congress refuses to enact policies he desires, President Obama takes “executive action,” putting those policies in place unilaterally. This continued executive overreach—and Congress’ failure to respond to it—is a grave threat to the fundamental nature of the separation of powers that guides our government.

In Federalist No. 51, James Madison wrote on the necessity of separated powers: “The accumulation of powers legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands … may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” His solution was to endow the three branches of government with co-equal power, thus ensuring that “ambition counteracts ambition.” That is, each branch would jealously guard its power from being usurped by the others, thereby keeping the three branches distinct and America free from tyranny.

Under this president, the slow accumulation of power in the executive branch has gone unchecked by a bumbling and ineffective Congress. That once powerful body has raised nary a whisper over the steady dilution of its authorities.

When Congress refused to pass his amnesty legislation, Obama moved ahead with it on his own, effectively implementing the DREAM Act. When he decided he didn’t like the Defense of Marriage Act, he unilaterally decreed it unconstitutional and directed his Justice Department to simply stop enforcing it. More recently, he flat-out ignored Congress and struck a deal with the terrorist state of Iran, opting to seek approval from the United Nations rather than from the lawmakers of his own country.

The administration’s intention to bypass Congress yet again when it comes to the Paris Protocol demonstrates how bold this president has become in dismissing the checks ascribed to his office. When asked if the protocol constituted a document worthy of review by the Senate, the president’s spokesman flippantly dismissed Congress as a body “hard to take seriously” and suggested that, by holding a different opinion on climate change, Congress somehow forfeits its right to approve new climate regulations—costing Americans billions upon billions of dollars—that the administration is expected to try to impose.

This abject dismissal of the role of the people’s representatives in constitutional governance should deeply unsettle anyone with even a passing concern for the rule of law.

The Paris Protocol represents a crucial test for Congress, which has continuously responded ineffectually to Obama’s executive ambitions. How lawmakers use the powers of their branch—particularly the power of the purse—in response to this agreement will in many ways determine the relationship between the executive and the legislature for years to come.

In terms of constitutional governance, this is perhaps the most consequential circumstance to confront Congress in decades—one that gets to the nature of liberty and to what it means to be American. If Congress willingly cedes its power, it becomes habitual. Should future Congresses wish to reclaim their rightful role, they will have to go to extraordinary lengths to restore balance among the branches.

It is incumbent upon this Congress to use this opportunity to right what has become a very lopsided ship of state. If lawmakers once again abdicate the authorities granted to them by the Constitution, America could quickly find itself in a democracy that has begun to resemble, in the words of the Founders, “the very definition of tyranny.”


More on the coral bleaching scare

When NOAA announced today that a global bleaching event is occurring, scientists took notice. coralWhen they wrote that it was the third-worst global coral bleaching event, headlines started blaring "devastating" and "dramatic." But the facts about coral bleaching are usually set aside in the rush to make headlines, and when it comes to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), you really do have to pay attention to what they are declaring. Especially under this current administration.

As we first reported here, NOAA announced in early July that coral reefs are dying off at an unprecedented rate, even though a recently published paper showed that these statements are more alarmist than accurate. Coral reefs can turn white when the algae that surrounds them dies off from too warm (or too cold) water, and the satellites detect that thermal stress. But the paper published in Marine Biology showed that while even though some corals appear bleached, it doesn't mean they are dead or even dying. Why?

Conventional tracking methods (like NOAA's 5-km Coral Reef Watch Satellite Monitoring) can't distinguish between white and bleached (dead) colonies. The paper, by Cruz et al, showed that "although bleaching leaves the coral skeleton visible under its transparent tissue, not all white coral colonies display this feature," which "raises the question as to whether all 'white'-shaded colonies are indeed bleached." To determine whether bleached coral is actually dead, Cruz et al actually sampled coral off the east coast of Brazil, and found that white corals exhibited the same lifelike features as their multi-colored cousins.

Because the white (bleached) corals were physiologically healthy when compared to dark and light-browned colonies, the paper says this would lead to the "overestimation of coral bleaching" by nearly twice as much. This overestimation is caused because satellite monitoring of coral is unable to detect between white living colonies and bleached dead colonies. In fact, surveys off the coast of Brazil showed that the "proportion of bleached and white colonies is similar, thus suggesting that current coral reef surveys may be overestimating the bleaching" by nearly twofold.

So it's surprising to read that Mark Eakin, a NOAA Coral Reef Watch coordinator, told the Associated Press that, "We may be looking at losing somewhere in the range of 10 to 20 percent of the coral reefs this year. The bad news for the U.S. is we're getting hit disproportionately just because of the pattern of the warming." Eakin also called the bleaching a crisis, blaming it first on global warming, and then secondly on natural variability.

Any anomalous ocean warming in the Pacific can be directly linked to the enormous warm blob near Hawaii and a persistent El Niño first announced in June by NOAA. Neither of these two events have anything to do with climate change or atmospheric warming and have been studied extensively by scientists since first discovered.

"Hawaii is getting hit with the worst coral bleaching they have ever seen, right now," Eakinsaid. "It's severe. It's extensive. And it's on all the islands." That's according to satellite imagery as well as computer model forecasts. Eakin didn't actually travel to Hawaii and investigate all the reefs around all the islands, but instead relied on their Coral Reef Watch satellite monitoring system, which the aforementioned paper indicated does a disproportionate job of indicating dead coral reef that's still alive.

Another factor is that other bodies of water, such as the Atlantic Ocean, are showing anoverall cooling trend. Even NOAA's sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly map shows far less warming in the areas where the coral reefs are supposedly dying off. Keep in mind thatin 2010, "cold water temperatures in the Florida Keys caused a coral bleaching event that resulted in some coral death." During that event, water temperatures dropped 12.06 degrees Fahrenheit lower than what they normally are for that time of year.

While no one disputes that warmer water, a byproduct of an El Niño event, can cause some coral to die off, no one fully understands why El Niños form in the first place. Based on historical marine records, El Niños have been documented when people began sailing the world in earnest over 500 years ago. Plus the current Pacific warm blob has been determined to be completely unrelated to global warming and simply a consequence of natural variability. One study, by Washington's state climatologist Nick Bond, showed how the blob has been behind the nearly five-year-long drought in California.

Even as NOAA inarticulately proclaims this die-off as the third ever [sic] global coral bleaching event, they are basing that announcement on measuring instruments that have already been proven to overestimate so-called coral bleaching twofold. They are also making this statement in lieu of the fact that they have only been monitoring coral reef bleaching since 1989, when "a relatively new ocean phenomenon called 'coral bleaching' was increasingly observed in parts of the Caribbean Sea."

Under the supervision of former Vice President Al Gore, the Coral Reef Watch Program took shape and was formally established in 1998 when President Clinton "issued an Executive Order that created the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force." Using satellite data from 1985 to the present, the program created "historical" recreations of the past, allowing NOAA to declarethat this "may" be the third-largest global coral bleaching event "on record."

Put another way, coral bleaching events have been occurring for millions of years based on marine and fossil records. Unsurprisingly, the only thing new about this bleaching event is that agencies tasked with environmental initiatives are making a lot of noise just ahead of the Paris Climate Talks, where a climate change treaty is expected to emerge. A quick visit to the NOAA's climate reef watch website shows it devoted entirely to global warming. Unfortunately for U.S. citizens, all of this propaganda comes at taxpayer's expense.


Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story

Bjorn Lomborg

Six months have passed since plans for Australia Consensus were first announced. It has been intriguing and disturbing to see Australian media descriptions of me and my think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, that are ungrounded in reality.

Intriguing because, while Cop-enhagen Consensus has spent a decade working on development priorities, any Australian newspaper reader would be forgiven for believing our efforts are all in the trenches of global warming politics.

Disturbing because some in the Australian press seem to have difficulty distinguishing between journalism and campaigning, especially when they misinterpret data and make up quotes.

Copenhagen Consensus has existed for a decade. With more than 300 of the world's top economists and seven Nobel laureates, we have conducted nine major research projects highlighting the costs and benefits of different investments on topics from HIV-AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa to Latin American development priorities. Only one project - Copenhagen Consensus on Climate in 2009 - dealt exclusively with climate change. Top climate economists and three Nobel laureates asked where a dollar spent could do the most good for climate, for example with reforestation, carbon taxes or technology transfers.

Of 339 research papers published since 2004, just 51 tackle the economics of climate change. (Symptomatic of the state of debate in Australia, I feel compelled to add that all accept the reality of man-made global warming).

For the past 18 months, Copenhagen Consensus has focused on the UN Global Goal agenda, showing its 169 development targets to vary hugely in societal benefits. A Nobel laureate panel found the UN should focus on 19 phenomenal targets including efforts to eradicate tuberculosis, improve girls' schooling, increase family planning and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

As president, my role includes connecting with policymakers, international organisations and the public to ensure this research shapes real-world decisions.

During the past year, my articles and interviews about Copenhagen Consensus research have been published more than 1000 times in 89 countries, from The Age,Washington Post, Times of India to The East African and Venezuela's El Universal. Only a small portion focused on climate change; the vast majority talked about everything from malaria and domestic violence to air pollution and broadband access.

Yet in Australia my name is never published without "climate" by its side. Despite Australia Consensus plans focusing on development and prosperity, Australian reporters regularly have mislabelled it a "climate change think tank".

Recently, two media outlets went further than getting basic details wrong. In August, the Guardian Australia announced that "Lomborg's `consensus centre' was to spend up to $800,000 of its $4 million in government funding on promotion and marketing".

Yet the reporter hadn't stopped to properly fact-check and call us. She had a draft budget in which the University of Western Australia casually labelled some spending "Dissemination, promotion and mar-keting". This was a poor description because the entry covered academic publishing, book printing, multimedia production, websites for academic research, media monitoring, newsletters and mailing lists for research findings. Not the impression left by the Guardian Australia.

Of greater concern, the reporter wasn't actually reading the budget that showed how we would spend government funding but a different budget, mostly consisting of $8m extra from private funding sources. So she mischaracterised the proposed use of the funds and overstated the public component by more than 100 per cent.

We emailed the Guardian Australia to discuss these errors. The journalist did not respond. Her "scoop" has been extensively quoted elsewhere, including in The Conversation.

Despite its tagline "Academic rigour, journalistic flair", The Conversation has offered the most breathtaking example of Australian journalism. In a piece by Mon-ash University media studies lecturer David Holmes, the outlet published an incorrect quote.

Despite our record, Holmes believes that Copenhagen Consensus is climate-focused and we use development as a stalking horse to "attack" climate policies.

He rests this assertion on the claim that in 2013, writing for The Australian, I forgot the name of my own think tank and described it as the "Copenhangen (sic) Consensus Centre for Climate". In Holmes's mind, the veil slipped: my quote revealed that our work is really climate-focused.

Except it didn't. "Copenhagen Consensus Centre for Climate" never appeared in my text. I did refer to the project I mentioned earlier, "Copenhagen Consensus on Climate".

The word "Centre" was added to the quote in The Conversation. Given the article's argument wouldn't make sense without the fabrication, it is difficult to allow for a generous interpretation where this was just an error.

We have tried getting other factual errors acknowledged and fixed in the past. The Conversation told us these were a matter of "differing interpretations". I beg to differ. Campaigning reporters have every right to advance their own perspective, even if I question whether this should be called journalism.

What is dispiriting is when they do not engage with our research or record. Or the facts. Copenhagen Consensus has helped ensure billions of dollars is spent on highly effective measures such as malnutrition.

In any topic, I don't shy away from making unpopular arguments based on what cost-benefit analysis shows. Indeed, in the last months of this year, as global leaders prepare to strike a new climate treaty in Paris, Copenhagen Consensus will focus again on climate as we make the case for an effective treaty with more spent on research into green energy.

No doubt this will lead to further attacks and mischaracterisation of our work. I cannot help but think that this reflects more on the critics than it does on Copenhagen Consensus.


Australia's largest coal mine free to proceed after Feds give  approval.  Greenies horrified

The nation's largest coal mine is free to proceed after Environment Minister Greg Hunt MP approved it with "the strictest conditions in Australian history", in a decision declared "a disaster" by environment groups.

Mr Hunt on Thursday said the Carmichael coal mine proposed by Indian mining giant Adani has been given the green light "in accordance with national environment law" after the Federal Court in August set aside the previous approval.

The project, which will produce up to 60 million tonnes of coal for export a year, has faced staunch opposition because its Abbot Point terminals are located close to the Great Barrier Reef.

Opponents have already flagged an intention to launch a legal challenge to the latest approval.

The government decision clears a regulatory hurdle, yet there are still questions over how the $16 billion project will be financed. National Australia Bank has said it will not fund the mine and other banks are being pressured to follow suit.

The court previously said Mr Hunt had not properly considered advice about two threatened species – the yakka skink and the ornamental snake.

Mr Hunt on Thursday said his approval for the project, in the Galilee Basin in remote central Queensland, considered additional information provided by Adani and environmental groups.

The approval, which includes a rail line, would be "subject to 36 of the strictest conditions in Australian history".

These include implementing all advice from an independent expert scientific committee and protecting and improving 31,000 hectares of southern black throated finch habitat.

The approval will require $1 million funding for research programs to improve conservation of threatened species over 10 years, and strict groundwater monitoring and action triggers would protect Doongmabulla Springs, Mr Hunt said.

Mr Hunt has the power to suspend or revoke the approval and penalties will apply if conditions are breached.

The Department of Environment will monitor the mine and Adani must provide a groundwater management and monitoring plan.

The Mackay Conservation Group launched its Federal Court challenge in January, alleging greenhouse gas emissions from the mine, vulnerable species and Adani's environmental track record had not been taken into account.

Mr Hunt said the court set aside the mine's earlier approval at the request of the government.

Mackay Conservation Group coordinator Ellen Roberts said the approval "risks threatened species, precious ground water, the global climate and taxpayers' money".

"[Mr] Hunt is sacrificing threatened species ... and precious ground water resources for the sake of a mine that simply does not stack up economically," Ms Roberts said, adding the black throated finch would probably be pushed to extinction.

She said the conditions set by Mr Hunt did not adequately deal with the serious implications of the mine, which "can't be offset".

Greenpeace Australia Pacific campaigner Shani Tager said the mine would be "a complete disaster for the climate and the Great Barrier Reef".

"This project means more dredging in the Great Barrier Reef, more ships through its waters and more carbon emissions," she said.

Adani welcomed the decision, saying the initial legal hurdle was a "technicality" prompted by a mistake by the Department of the Environment.

In a statement, the company said it was always "confident in the soundness of the broader approvals, that the species involved had been protected by conditions, and that the technical error would be promptly rectified".

"Today's announcement ... makes clear that these concerns have been addressed, reflected in rigorous and painstaking conditions," it said.

The company intended to deliver mine, rail and port projects in Queensland creating 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, and $22 billion in taxes and royalties to be reinvested into community services, Adani said. The jobs figure has been disputed.

Lobby group GetUp! on Thursday said its members had already helped fund legal action against the mine, and the organisation was "exploring the legal opportunities available to us" in light of the latest decision.

"This coal mine is the dumbest, most dangerous and uneconomic development in Australia," senior campaigner Sam Regester said.

"We are calling on GetUp! members and the community to stand up and fight this mine again. We've beaten it before and we can beat it again."



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

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


15 October, 2015

The Warmist hate is really boiling at Salon

The "Salon" writer, Paul Rosenberg is a shrill critic of everything and everyone on the conservative side of American politics so his rant excerpted below is not unexpected.  The poor fellow is just full of hate. He never runs out of it.  So his denunciation of climate critics as worse than Hitler seems deranged but was to be expected. 

But he is not insane.  Given his assumptions, climate critics are indeed a bad lot.  Rosenberg has drunken every drop of the Warmist Kool-Aid so really seems to believe that a "Climate holocaust" will soon happen.  So his whole rant is an excellent  example of a basic precept in logic:  "If your premises are wrong, your conclusions from them will also be wrong".  Rosenberg shows not the slightest awareness of any of the scientific facts about CO2 and climate so has violated that basic rule of logic.

He has not bothered himself to find out what the climate facts are. He knows what his fellow Leftists say and that is good enough for him.  He lives in a little bubble of self-congratulatory Leftist  illusions.  What his fellow Leftists say is Fact to him.  He is a credulous ignoramus basically. He seems to have no power of independent or critical thought. One has to feel rather sorry that such an eloquent man is so cut off from reality.  He has talents but is using them futilely

And his credulity gets quite amusing at times: His reverence for  "a 128-page report" from the corrupt World Health Organization, for instance.  That credulity is behind his rage is also suggested by the fact that he is a mere journalist.  As a journalist he is presumably only modestly paid for his rants. The people who get the gravy from the warming scare are the academics who keep the whole hoax going.  In the form of research grants, they get showered with gold for their efforts.  Can do better, Herr Rosenberg.  Is being a cog in a fraud machine the best you can do?   -- JR

AP took a big step forward by deciding to stop using the term “climate change skeptic”, following concerted pressure from scientists and activists. But they also took a big step backward by deciding to not use the term “climate change denier” instead, and to actively nix it as well. “Climate change denier” sounded too much like “Holocaust denier,” AP explained, so it was out, too. They added the following to their style guide (which many journalists outside AP use as well):

Our guidance is to use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science and to avoid the use of skeptics or deniers. This is, quite simply, wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

You can tell it’s wrong because of just how pleased the deniers are with AP’s decision, as Science magazine reported:

Meanwhile, some traditionally associated with the “skeptic” or “denier” side are claiming victory. Marc Morano, who runs the contrarian site Climate Depot, told National Journal that he preferred the term “skeptic,” but that “doubter” still suggests there’s room for debate. By ditching “denier,” AP is “entering the realm of objectivity,” Morano said. Meanwhile, Anthony Watts, a former TV meteorologist who runs the popular contrarian blog Watts Up With That?,also praised AP’s decision as a “positive and long and overdue change” to ditch the “ugly climate term ‘denier.’”

This wasn’t just a one-time error in judgement. It’s an ongoing journalistic sin we’re talking about, a sin of commission, a continuing misrepresentation of reality, something that no journalistic entity worth its salt ought to be a party to.

AP’s new style guidance clearly resulted from a letter to the media last December asking journalists to “stop using the word ‘skeptic’ to describe deniers.” [letter/press release] It came from the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and was signed by 48 of its fellows, including Nobel laureate Sir Harold Kroto and philosopher Daniel Dennett. AP referred to them specifically (though a bit inaccurately) in its announcement:

Scientists who consider themselves real skeptics – who debunk mysticism, ESP and other pseudoscience, such as those who are part of the Center [sic] for Skeptical Inquiry – complain that non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science have usurped the phrase skeptic. They say they aren’t skeptics because “proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.” That group prefers the phrase “climate change deniers” for those who reject accepted global warming data and theory.

But it’s more than a preference. It’s a matter of accuracy, something that science and journalism are supposed to have in common. And it’s downright inaccurate for AP to pretend it’s simply a matter of preference. Having diminished CSI’s objection, AP then elevated the deniers:

But those who reject climate science say the phrase denier has the pejorative ring of Holocaust denier so The Associated Press prefers climate change doubter or someone who rejects mainstream science.

This is a classic example of false balance on AP’s part, with multiple problems on both sides of the scale and one big thing wrong at the middle: “doubt” is not mid-way between “skepticism” and “denial” . It far closer to the former than to the latter, which is why the deniers were so pleased with it.

Joe Romm cited three problems with AP’s reason: First, that AP had an easy alternative, pointed out by Justin Gillis in the NY Times in February: “others have started using the slightly softer word ‘denialist’ to make the same point without stirring complaints about evoking the Holocaust.” Second, that the most prominent deniers, like James Inhofe “knowingly use phony arguments to stop the world from acting in time…. Since when should anyone care about the phony concerns of such self-destructive anti-scientific people?” Third, Romm noted that many deniers actually like the term. If they don’t have a problem with it, why should we?

All that is true, but there’s a further point worth making: climate change denial is actually much worse than Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial deals with the deaths of millions in the past, which it did nothing to cause, however morally odious it surely is. Global warming denial deals with the deaths of millions in the future, which it helps to cause, by crippling efforts to prevent them. And that’s something much worse, as is reflected in law: It’s not a crime to lie about murders in the past, except to hinder a police investigation, or prosecution; but it is a crime to tell enabling lies about future murders—it’s called conspiracy to commit murder.

The most recent estimate (2014) from the World Health Organization (a 128-page report) projects that “Under a base case socioeconomic scenario, we estimate approximately 250,000 additional deaths due to climate change per year between 2030 and 2050.” That’s 5 million deaths over just that 20 year window. Major impacts will come via diarrhea, malaria, childhood undernutrition, and heat exposure in elderly people. But the total will undoubtedly be significantly higher:

AP says we shouldn’t use the term “denier”, because it has a “pejorative ring.” Which begs the question: isn’t a pejorative ring precisely what’s called for? Isn’t it both morally necessary and empirically accurate? The problem isn’t that “denier” has a “pejorative ring,” it’s that it’s not nearly pejorative enough. “Climate holocaust co-conspirator” would be more apt.

You either align yourself more or less with the climate deniers—consciously or unconsciously—or you align yourself against them. There is no “neutral” ground outside of or above the debate, however much one might wish for it.


New study: Sun not CO2 causes climate change

by Dr. Ed Berry (Ph.D., Atmospheric Physics)

A new, peer-reviewed professional paper shows our sun, not our carbon dioxide, causes climate change. It also shows atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations are an insignificant player, and possibly a non-player, in climate change.

The authors, Willie Soon, Ronan Connolly, and Michael Connolly received no government, corporate, or any outside funding for their work on their paper.

You can read their whole 49-page paper (like I did) if you want all the scientific details. The authors have provided their data files.

Here, I will make their conclusions very simple for you to understand.

They used northern hemisphere data from 1880 to 2014. They used data, not theories, to make their case.

First, they constructed the best possible temperature record from 1880 to 2014. Remarkably, no one had ever done this before. This required using only surface temperature data from stations not affected by a changing environment.

They show their temperature record is compatible with temperature trends derived from sea surface temperatures, glacier length records, and tree-ring widths.

Their corrected “composite” temperature record shows warming from the 1880’s to 1940’s, and from the 1980’s to 2000’s, with a cooling period from the 1950’s to 1970’s. The record shows the current warm period is similar to the previous warm period from the 1880’s to 1940’s.

They show climate models do not reproduce the correct temperature record when back tested. This means, of course, climate models are of no value in making climate predictions. The reason is obvious. Climate models do not properly simulate the physical effects of carbon dioxide, water vapor, clouds, aerosols, and solar irradiance.

Second, they constructed the best possible record for Total Solar Irradiance. Then they compared their data.

Here is their four-piece summary chart. The blue circles are the annual temperature data. The bold blue line is the smoothed temperature data. The blue lines are the same in all four charts.

The red dashed lines are what they call the “modelled” temperatures.

The top chart (a) compares the CO2 modelled temperature with actual temperature. The next chart (b) adds the solar correction to the CO2 model. This fails because the CO2 model already “muddied the water.”

The third chart (c) compares the Total Solar Irradiance modelled temperature with actual temperature. The next chart (d) adds the CO2 correction to the solar model. The difference between (c) and (d) is insignificant.
Figure 31. Comparison of the four different models to our Northern Hemisphere composite (land & ocean rescaled version).

Charts (c) and (d) show our sun causes most climate change. Ocean currents, volcanoes, and other natural forces cause the annual deviations from the solar prediction.

Finally, here’s how to determine your belief in climate change:

If you truly believe the red CO2 line in chart (a) fits the blue Temperature line better than the red Solar line in chart (c), then you are a true believer in Al Gore and Obama’s version of climate change.

But if you believe the red Solar line chart (c) fits the blue Temperature line better than the red CO2 line in chart (a), then welcome to the world of reality.

Clearly, climate model predictions as reproduced in chart (a) do not represent reality. Therefore, the global warming, climate change promoted by our government, our schools, and our media is a hoax.

In conclusion, our sun, not our carbon dioxide, drives climate. Even if we stopped all carbon dioxide emissions from all humans on our planet, we would not change the climate.

SOURCE. (See the original for graphics)

Clouding the debate over climate change

The new U.N. chairman knows economics, not science

Last week, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) held a news conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia, to introduce South Korean bureaucrat Hoesung Lee as its new chairman. Mr. Lee’s remarks to the press demonstrated that he is sadly out of touch with the actual status of today’s climate science.

This is not surprising. Although Mr. Lee said, “The hard science of climate change will remain the foundation of the IPCC’s work,” he has practically no hard science training or experience. Instead, he has a doctorate in economics and a career as an economist, IPCC insider and environment professor. Yet, when Jill Peters, weather broadcaster for Belgium Television, referred to Mr. Lee as a “climate scientist” in her question at the news conference, he did not correct the mistake.

Bob Carter, former head of the School of Earth Sciences at James Cook University in Australia, commented: “The idea that an economist can make a suitable chair for an IPCC-type organization is misguided. The basic issue is a scientific one. Yet we now have another chairman who will be generally unaware of the complexities inherent in climate science and, in particular, of the high degree to which scientific advice about global warming has been corrupted by those with an interest in perpetuating needless alarm.”

Lee C. Gerhard, senior scientist emeritus at the University of Kansas, and past director and state geologist of the Kansas Geological Survey, summed up the situation well: “The appointment by the U.N. of Lee as chair of the IPCC is yet another attack by the U.N. war on science. His green credentials are impeccable, but his scientific credentials are non-existent.”

Mr. Lee demonstrated this when he told reporters, “We know with 95 percent confidence that human activity is causing climate change.” While it is true that by replacing forests with farms, buildings and roads, we cause regional climate change, Mr. Lee should know that this is not the primary issue at hand. The most important question is this: Are our carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions likely to cause climate change dangerous enough to be worth changing the way we generate and use energy?

Contrary to Mr. Lee’s assertion that “We know that, to avoid the severe, pervasive and irreversible consequences that will come, we will need to act now,” no one actually knows this. Mr. Gerhard remarked, “Despite more than 20 years of effort and billions of dollars in expenditures, the IPCC has not addressed whether recent climate change exceeded [that] documented by the records of the past several thousand years. Similarly, they have not examined whether there is any credible data that substantiates the hypothesis that human-source CO2 has significant impact on global climate. Mr. Lee’s background does not inspire hope that these two fundamental questions will be addressed.”

Referencing the U.N.’s much ridiculed “King Canute” clause, which assumes humanity controls climate as if we had a global thermostat, the new IPCC chairman asserted, “Our global emissions [of mainly CO2] should not be above 50 gigatons per year at the latest 2030 to achieve a 2 degrees stabilization. We need to have at least a minus 3 percent emissions reduction every year for the rest of the century so that by the end of 2100, the net emissions will be zero.”

The reports of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) demonstrate that many climate scientists dispute the idea that carbon-dioxide emissions need to be reduced at all. Mr. Lee is clearly not qualified to imply that NIPCC scientists are wrong.

In addition, the lack of global warming over the past 18 years, a period during which carbon-dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has risen 10 percent, shows there is something seriously wrong with the human-caused warming theory the new IPCC chairman holds dear.

Regardless, as Mr. Carter explains, “No empirical evidence exists that a planetary warming of 2 degrees Celsius would have a net detrimental effect — either environmentally or economically.”

Referring to Mr. Lee’s remarks as “tired cliches,” University of Western Ontario applied mathematician Chris Essex, an expert in the mathematical models that are the basis of the IPCC’s concerns, called the chairman’s comments “the same old meaningless poli-speak patter that only makes sense to those without any sense.”

NIPCC report chapter lead author Timothy Ball, environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg, concluded: “There is one possible parallel between what Lee does and the IPCC. It is said of economists that they try to predict the tide by measuring one wave. The IPCC climate scientists try to predict the climate by measuring only one variable, CO2.”

Although Mr. Lee’s remarks do not mark an auspicious start to his chairmanship, he offered a glimmer of hope that the U.N. might start to consider alternative points of view on climate change. Saying that he wanted to “change what needs improvement across the IPCC,” Mr. Lee admitted, “there is always room to know more, to better understand how this complex and complicated thing we call the climate system works.”

Let’s hope Hoesung Lee leads the IPCC to finally open the door to a balanced consideration of the science driving the climate scare. There is too much at stake to do otherwise.


Obama’s Disastrous Clean Power Plan

by Deroy Murdock

Harry Alford is right. The president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce lately has taken heat from liberals for opposing Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The Left finds it inappropriate that a black man, who represents 2.4 million black-owned businesses, would dare to criticize Obama’s latest bid to foil so-called “global warming.”

This regulation spans 1,560 confounding pages and gargles 76 different acronyms. “The proposed Clean Power Plan would impose severe and disproportionate economic burdens on poor families, especially minorities,” Alford told the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Oversight Subcommittee on Tuesday. “The EPA’s regressive energy tax threatens to push minorities and low-income Americans even further into poverty.”

Alford cited a study that his group had commissioned. It found that by 2035, the CPP would have boosted energy costs for blacks by 16 percent and Hispanics by 19 percent. For further proof of the CPP’s enormous burden, Alford easily could have turned to Obama’s own Energy Information Administration. Its May report titled Analysis of the Impacts of the Clean Power Plan and data on its website echo Alford’s warnings and show, if anything, that he should slam this draconian scheme even harder.

Using EIA data, I calculate that — between 2015 and 2040 — the CPP will:

 *  Slash real GDP by $993 billion, or an average of $39.7 billion per year.

 *  Slice real disposable income by $382 billion, or $15.3 billion annually.

 *  Chop manufacturing shipments by $1.13 trillion, or $45.4 billion a year.

 *  Cut light-vehicle sales by 310,000 units, or 12,400 yearly.

 *  Hack non-farm employment by 900,000, or 35,000 per annum.

 *  Whack manufacturing employment by 1.7 million, or 68,000 each year. (For my detailed analysis of this pending fiasco, please click here.)

On the bright side, Obama estimates that the CPP will save American households $7 per month on their electricity bills, come 2030.  

A White House fact sheet says that the CPP sets a “goal of reducing emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.”

This sounds lovely. However, mandating that emissions be 27 percent below 2005’s 6 billion metric tons of energy-related carbon dioxide would slash such output to 4.4 billion metric tons — an amount last observed in 1983.

 It seems cruel to demand that the 335 million Americans who the Census forecasts will live here in a decade produce as little carbon dioxide as just 234 million Americans yielded 42 years before 2025.

Such lofty, fanciful central plans are a blueprint for economic stagnation. Because of the anticipated padlocking of coal-fired plants under the CPP, the Southwest Power Pool predicts that “the power grid would suffer extreme reactive deficiencies,” including “cascading outages and voltage collapse.”

 Despite its immense costs, the CPP is expected to deliver paltry ecological “benefits.” By 2050, carbon-dioxide concentrations would drop by less than 1 percent.

When he secured the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Obama crowed, “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow.” Now we know by how much. The CPP would limit sea-level rise by 1/100 of an inch — as high as three sheets of paper. Even if one embraces

Satellite data demonstrate that Earth’s average temperatures have been stable since 1998. Even if one embraces Obama’s breathless fantasies about a planet boiling in its own pressure cooker, the CPP does remarkably little about this. The EPA estimates that Obama’s contraption will cut Earth’s expected warming by 0.02 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050.

If such a temperature trim costs $382 billion in disposable income, a 1-degree Fahrenheit reduction would require $19.1 trillion — with a T — slightly higher than today’s $18.4 trillion national debt.

As the EPA and IRS Have Shown, with Big Government Comes Little Accountability “The value of this rule is not measured in that way,” EPA administrator Gina McCarthy told Representative Lamar Smith (R., Texas) at a July hearing of the House Committee on Science.

“It is measured in showing strong domestic action which can actually trigger global action to address what’s a necessary action to protect” the planet.

So, as the EPA’s chief admits, Obama has concocted a vastly expensive symbol. It kills jobs and, its authors hope, will inspire foreign governments to handcuff their economies and shackle their people.


The EPA: Armed and Dangerous

The troubled Environmental Protection Agency has a lot of problems, but according to Adam Andrzejewski of Open the Books, a lack of military-style weapons for the agency’s 200 environmental law enforcement agents isn’t among them. The Washington Times reports on Andrzejewski’s findings of how the agency has spent millions of dollars over the past decade in arming its special agents:

    Among the weapons purchased are guns, body armor, camouflage equipment, unmanned aircraft, amphibious assault ships, radar and night-vision gear and other military-style weaponry and surveillance activities, according to a new report by the watchdog group Open the Books.

    “Protecting the environment just got real. With millions of dollars spent on military style weaponry, the EPA is now literally ensconced with all institutional force,” said Adam Andrzejewski, founder of Open the Books and the author of the report.

    “Our report discovered that when the EPA comes knocking they are armed with a thousand lawyers, arrest/criminal data, credit, business and property histories, plus a ‘Special Agent’ with the latest in weaponry and technology,” Mr. Andrzejewski added.

Stephen Moore of Investor’s Business Daily provides a list of some of the Environmental Protection Agency’s more unusual expenditures for armaments, which includes the following:

    $1.4 million for “guns up to 300mm”

    $380,000 for “ammunition”

    $31,000 for “armament training devices”

    $42,000 for “special ammunition”

The “guns up to 300mm” specification caught our attention because the caliber of ammunition for such a weapon would be nearly 12 inches in diameter. To get a sense of what such a gun would look like, we searched and found a picture of a gun that size:

According to the accompanying specifications, the 300 mm Type 7 Short Howitzer captured by U.S. troops from Japanese forces in the Phillippines was capable of firing a 300 mm caliber projectile out to a range of nearly 7.4 miles.

Clearly, the use of such a weapon is not good for the environment....

Meanwhile, we should note that like the Environmental Protection Agency’s special agents, the FSA rebels have also been funded and trained by the U.S. government.

One wonders just how the EPA’s special agents would use that size weapon to enforce the nation’s environmental protection laws. Someone at the EPA really needs to explain why it would ever need that kind of firepower to justify using that particular specification on its gun purchase requisitions.


Carbon Dioxide: The Good News

In an important new report published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, former IPCC delegate Dr Indur Goklany calls for a reassessment of carbon dioxide, which he says has many benefits for the natural world and for humankind.

Dr Goklany said: “Carbon dioxide fertilises plants, and emissions from fossil fuels have already had a hugely beneficial effect on crops, increasing yields by at least 10-15%. This has not only been good for humankind but for the natural world too, because an acre of land that is not used for crops is an acre of land that is left for nature”.

Pointing to estimates that the current value of the carbon dioxide fertilisation effect on global crop production is about $140 billion a year, he notes that this additional production has helped reduce hunger and advance human well-being.

But the benefits go much further than this. It is not only crops that benefit from this “carbon dioxide fertilisation effect”: almost without exception, the wild places of the Earth have become greener in recent decades, .largely as a direct result of carbon dioxide increases. In fact, it has been shown that carbon dioxide can increase plants’ water-use efficiency too, making them more resilient to drought, so that there is a double benefit in arid parts of the world.

And as Dr Goklany points out: “Unlike the claims of future global warming disasters these benefits are firmly established and are being felt now. Yet despite this the media overlook the good news and the public remain in the dark. My report should begin to restore a little balance.”

In a powerful foreword to the report, the world-renowned physicist Professor Freeman Dyson FRS endorses Goklany’s conclusions and provides a devastating analysis of why “a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts”, arguing that “the thinking of politicians and scientists about controversial issues today is still tribal”.



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

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


14 October, 2015

The ghostly machine of the Warmist imagination

Because they don't listen to anybody else but themselves, Leftists have no clue why conservatives say and do what they do. They can only attribute conservative opposition to their febrile dreams as due to evil conspiracies.  So Shelly Whitehouse below invokes a "Vast right-wing conspiracy" to explain criticism of global warming theory. No Leftist has however produced evidence of such a conspiracy.  All they can do is to see evil in the occasional funding of climate skeptics, quite ignoring the huge funding of climate alarmists.  The money is clearly on the side of Warmism. 

Like most skeptics, I have never received a cent for my writings, nor am I "sponsored" by anyone.  Most active skeptics are in fact retired academics who can speak without fear or favour.  I am one. I would enjoy a RICO investigation.  It would show Whitehouse to be either a fool or delusional

In recent weeks the right-wing attack machine has been up in arms regarding a letter sent by a group of 20 climate scientists to President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, and White House science adviser John Holdren requesting that the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate fossil-fuel companies that appear to have lied about the effects of their products on our world's climate. This week, the Wall Street Journal joined the fray, writing that "[a]dvocates of climate regulation are urging the Obama Administration to investigate people who don't share their views... they want the feds to use a law created to prosecute the mafia against lawful businesses and scientists."

As the Wall Street Journal and others have noted, and as the scientists' letter acknowledges, I myself raised the possibility of an investigation along these lines in a Washington Post op-ed earlier this year. The connection prompted the Journal to quote Georgia Tech's Judith Curry - a prominent climate denier - attacking both me and the scientists. "The demand by Senator Whitehouse and the 20 climate scientists for legal persecution of people whose research on science and policy they disagree with represents a new low in the politicization of science," she said.

I'm sure the Wall Street Journal and their cohorts in the right-wing echo chamber are having fun twisting this whole concept around in service to their fossil-fuel friends, but let's take a step back. The genesis of this idea for DOJ to investigate fossil fuel companies lies in the comparison between the actions of the fossil fuel industry and the actions of other industries known to have intentionally misled the public about the nature of their products, including the tobacco and lead paint industries. Entire books have been written about the subject, including "Merchants of Doubt," "Doubt is Their Product," "Deceit and Denial," and "Lead Wars." In the case of the tobacco industry in particular, a federal judge found in 2006 that its efforts amounted to a racketeering enterprise after DOJ filed a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) lawsuit.

Here's how Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia described the actions of the industry in her decision: "Defendants coordinated significant aspects of their public relations, scientific, legal, and marketing activity in furtherance of a shared objective -- to . . . maximize industry profits by preserving and expanding the market for cigarettes through a scheme to deceive the public."

The bottom line is this: A private company and/or its industry allies should not knowingly lie to the American people about the harms that are caused by its product. No one went to jail in the tobacco case. No one was prosecuted criminally. This was a civil RICO case. All a civil lawsuit does is get people to have to actually tell the truth, under oath, in front of an actual impartial judge or jury, with the ability to cross-examine -- which the Supreme Court has described as "the greatest legal invention ever invented for the discovery of truth."

The Wall Street Journal piece also notes that my previous Washington Post op-ed "cited Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who has published politically inconvenient research on changes in solar radiation." Not noted by the Journal: Dr. Soon reportedly received more than half of his funding from big fossil fuel interests like Exxon-Mobile and the Charles G. Koch Foundation, to the tune of $1.2 million. Some of Dr. Soon's research contracts gave his industry backers a chance to see what he was doing "for comment and input" before he published it. The New York Times reported that in correspondence with his fossil fuel funders, Dr. Soon referred to the scientific papers he produced as "deliverables." And he apparently failed to note his funding sources -- which constitute a clear conflict of interest -- when publishing his research, prompting his employers at the Smithsonian to conduct an internal review of his conduct.

Of course, none of that seems to matter to the Wall Street Journal. They'd rather believe that Dr. Soon is being attacked for espousing "politically inconvenient" views. Please.

Sadly, Dr. Soon is just a small cog in a massive climate-denial machine, which rivals that of the tobacco industry in size, scope, and complexity. Its purpose is to cast doubt about the reality of climate change in order to forestall a move toward cleaner fuels and allow the Kochs and Exxons of the world to continue reaping profits at our expense. In fact, thanks to an investigative report by Inside Climate News, we now know that Exxon indeed knew about the effect of its carbon pollution as far back as the late 1970s, but ultimately chose to fund a massive misinformation campaign rather than tell the truth. As famed author and Harvard professor Naomi Oreskes wrote this weekend in a piece for the New York Times, "As one of the most profitable companies in the world, Exxon could have acted as a corporate leader, helping to explain to political leaders, to shareholders and institutional investors, and to the public what it knew about climate change... Instead -- like the tobacco industry -- Exxon chose the path of disinformation, denial and delay."

Now, the big question is: Why is the Wall Street Journal so eager to fill their editorial pages with articles defending such mischievous misdirection and attacking those who dare to fight back? Maybe that the tobacco case could in fact be successfully replicated against the climate denial scheme they so shamelessly and one-sidedly tout. And wouldn't that be embarrassing.

Whatever the motivation of the Wall Street Journal and other right-wing publications, it is clearly long past time for the climate denial scheme to come in from the talk shows and the blogosphere and have to face the kind of an audience that a civil RICO investigation could provide. No more spin and deception. It's time to let the facts shine through.


How global warming could cause an ice age

Global warming causes EVERYTHING, even truly paradoxical things -- if you plug unlikely assumptions into models with no known predictive skill -- as below

The oceans crash against skyscrapers, making aquatic tunnels of Manhattan streets. Heavy layers of snow pile on endlessly, burying entire civilizations in canopies of white. Eventually, liquid turns to ice, and life as we know it is threatened by an eternal freeze.

This is the harrowing disaster scenario of “The Day After Tomorrow,” a 2004 science fiction film directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Based on an imagined future of accelerated global warming, the movie was a major box office hit — it grossed over $500 million worldwide — but climatologists quickly took aim at its scientific value.

Patrick J. Michaels, a noted climate change skeptic, wrote in USA Today after the film’s release, “As a scientist, I bristle when lies dressed up as ‘science’ are used to influence political discourse. … Each one of these phenomena is physically impossible.”

He joined a chorus of critics who deemed the film wildly counterfactual. Yahoo featured “The Day After Tomorrow” in a top 10 list of scientifically inaccurate movies, while Duke University paleoclimatologist William Hyde declared, “This movie is to climate science as Frankenstein is to heart transplant surgery.”

The extreme cooling trends depicted are caused by a collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, a North Atlantic ocean water circulation system that moderates temperatures north of the equator. When the movie was released, however, there had yet to be research examining such an event’s potential aftermath.

Now, a University of Southampton climate study published in Nature Scientific Reports indicates that we were naive to feel safe from “The Day After Tomorrow”-esque realities.

“The basic scenario of the AMOC as a result of global warming is not completely out of the blue or unthinkable,” the study’s author, Sybren Drijfhout, told The Washington Post.

According to the oceanography and climate physics professor, current warming patterns not only indicate that a collapse of the AMOC is possible, but also that resulting consequences would resemble “The Day After Tomorrow,” though not to the same extremes.

In a properly functioning circulatory system, the AMOC produces a milder climate downstream of the North Atlantic by bringing warm, salty surface water from the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic to the northern hemisphere.

But this system depends on the connection of surface waters flowing to the north and deeper waters flowing to the south — imagine a “global conveyor belt” — that can occur within just a few sinking ranges in the North Atlantic. These ranges exist only where water on the surface sufficiently nears the freezing point such that it becomes dense and heavy enough to sink to the bottom.

With the Greenland ice sheet melting as a result of climate change, the AMOC’s essential process is slowing down. If we’re not careful, Drijfhout said, it may produce an effect comparable to “The Day After Tomorrow.”

While the climate sequence in the movie is certainly sped up and exaggerated, scientist noted, the real-life consequences of an AMOC collapse would be no less cause for worry.

The cold would hit Western Europe the hardest, while Americans would have to contend with floods. The United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Denmark would likely to experience 5-degree temperature drops; sea levels on the U.S. East Coast could could rise more than three feet.

“This would affect hundreds of millions of people,” Drijfhout said, “At least temporarily, Europe would suffer conditions that would look like the Little Ice Age of the Middle Ages.”

The collapse of the AMOC would be accompanied by a continuation of global warming conditions. These would ultimately offset and overtake the cooling trends in about 40 years, though in some places near the eastern boundary of the North Atlantic, the reversal could take more than a century.


Climate Change, Radiation, Logic and Mathematics

Written by Hans Schreuder, one of the "Slayers", who reject ANY influence of CO2 on climate

“The essence of mathematics lies in its freedom.” – Georg Cantor

That "freedom" apparently allows mathematicians to calculate whatever they like in an energy budget, so long as they maintain input = output; hence they see no issue with giving the atmosphere the "power" to radiate more energy into the system than the Sun does, so long as they can "prove" that the earth's surface is kept warmer by this illusionary "greenhouse effect" in order to balance the books and maintain input = output.

Let's analyse this view for example: "One instance is attributing the high surface temperature of Venus to a "runaway greenhouse effect" - when that temperature is perfectly well explained by basic adiabatic processes - as the outcome of the pressure exerted by the huge Venusian atmosphere.  And just basic logic seems often to be overlooked."

Let's look at Venus' adiabatic process then, as that is the secondary reason for its atmosphere being as hot as it is at the base of the atmospheric column.

Most important question to ask at all times is this: "Where does the heat come from in the first place?"

Pressure alone does not create heat; pump a tyre up all you want, it will have cooled to ambient temperature if left alone.

So, whilst the adiabatic process will help maintain a temperature within an atmosphere, there is still the need to add "new" heat to the system to prevent the gas column from cooling down. If Venus' surface was not as volcanic as it has been proven to be, the entire atmosphere would by now have cooled down and with it the surface.

If there is no "new" heat added at the bottom of the adiabatic process then the entire gas column has no option but to cool, considering that the gas column radiates heat into space at all times, so heat is lost all the time and without a source of heat at the base of the column, the whole column will have to cool, by definition.

Adding radiative heat to the top of the gas column has no effect on the bottom of the column, unless the column is so thin as to not have a noticeable adiabatic and external heat from above the column directly reaches the bottom of the column, thus warming the surface directly via radiative transfer of energy; there is no way at all that a more buoyant gas molecule can sink down into a more dense collection of gas molecules. Radiatively transferring energy downwards presents the problem of an equilibrium temperature being reached long before the bottom of the column is reached, especially so if the column is the size of Venus or even in a column of radiatively reactive water as in our own earthly oceans.

The surface temperature with a transparent atmosphere would end up as direct consequence of the solar energy reaching that surface; in Venus' case, where no solar energy reaches the surface due to its dense atmosphere, the surface would continue cooling until somewhere along the gas column an equilibrium was reached between solar radiative energy input and gas column's radiative energy output.

Thus, on Venus, as on Earth, it is the surface that warms the gas column whilst the adiabatic process recycles this heat, losing at the top of the gas column and gaining at the surface not just by being compressed but by taking energy off the surface, provided of course that the surface is warmer than the gas! It's gravity versus specific gravity that drives the adiabatic process, which in itself does not create heat, it merely recycles it by expanding and contracting the same gas mass.

The surface of Venus has been shown to be mostly smooth, caused by recent and active volcanism; that activity means that the surface is constantly renewed and is thus close to the temperature of molten rock, yet well below the measured surface temperature. This process is in turn driven by the gravitational forces which in turn are driven by its proximity to the Sun; same as on Earth but to a lesser degree, thankfully.

The surface of Venus will be hot due to the underlying active volcanism at the surface of the planet and not due to its hot atmosphere. The cart does not pull the horse, not in the case of Venus and not in the case of Earth.

Additionally, the formula for adiabatic "heating" on a rocky planet with a gaseous atmosphere is looking at the phenomenon in a mirror. The atmosphere cools with increasing altitude, it does not warm with decreasing altitude. Same result, different way of looking at the reality. Where is the source of the gas column's energy - top or bottom?

On earth, as on Venus, it all starts and finishes with the presence of our Sun, the main driver of our climate, either directly as on Earth or indirectly through the volcanic activity as on Venus. All other influences are secondary and a consequence of the solar influence in the first place, including the amount of gamma rays reaching Earth.

Carbon dioxide or any other gas has no function in making Earth or Venus "warmer than it should be", these gases in fact help to remove heat off the surface and take it to higher altitudes, i.e. they cool the surface. Comparisons with our Moon are plenty, but a 14-day lunar day or night do not bear comparison with terrestrial day or night! See below for an essay on the Moon; Earth without an atmosphere would be substantially warmer than it is now, not cooler!

If you follow-through any kind of "greenhouse effect" version, it all comes down to counting the same energy twice over.

Given the convective cycling in the air column, then the column will have a temperature gradient as per the adiabat.  If this air column is then to be characterized with an average temperature, that average temperature will therefore physically be found near the middle altitudes of the column, and the bottom will be necessarily warmer than that average.  Very simple mathematics and incontestable logic here: the bottom has to be warmer than the average - no GHE required.

In short, ANY mention of ANY kind of GHE in ANY kind of open-to-space atmosphere is not valid.

Why is there so much resistance to abandoning the notion that there is a "greenhouse effect" in our atmosphere that "makes earth warmer than it would otherwise be?" Such an effect has never ever been proven to exist, yet the lack of it has been proven over and over again.


Global Cooling Discovery May Scupper Paris Climate Talks

Written by James Delingpole

Scientists have discovered a hitherto unknown cooling process which may pose a serious threat to man-made global warming theory. 350 org

According to a study by the Institute of Catalysis and Environment in Lyon (IRCELYON, CNRS / University Lyon 1) and the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), the oceans are producing unexpectedly large quantities of isoprene – a volatile organic compound (VOC) – which is known to have a cooling effect on climate.

    "Isoprene is a gas that is formed by both the vegetation and the oceans. It is very important for the climate because this gas can form particles that can become clouds and then later affect temperature and precipitation. Previously it was assumed that isoprene is primarily caused by biological processes from plankton in the sea water. The atmospheric chemists from France and Germany, however, could now show that isoprene could also be formed without biological sources in surface film of the oceans by sunlight and so explain the large discrepancy between field measurements and models. The new identified photochemical reaction is therefore important to improve the climate models.

    The oceans not only take up heat and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, they are also sources of various gaseous compounds, thereby affecting the global climate. A key role is played by the so-called surface microlayer (SML),  especially at low wind speed. In these few micrometers thin layer different organic substances such as dissolved organic matter, fat and amino acids, proteins, lipids are accumulating as well as trace metals, dust and microorganisms."

Though the cooling effects of isoprene are well known, what is new is the discovery that the oceans are producing much more of it than has been accounted for in the alarmists’ climate models.

The computer models assume that the total quantity of isoprene produced by trees, plants and plankton amounts to 1.9 megatons per year. But what researchers have discovered is a process whereby isoprene is also produced in far greater quantities abiotically (ie not from plant or animal life) from the action of sunlight on chemicals in the ocean, possibly as much as 3.5 megatons more per year.

    “We were able for the first time trace back the production of this important aerosol precursor  to abiotic sources, so far  global calculations consider only biological sources,” explains Dr. Christian George from IRCELYON.

    Thus, it is now possible to estimate more closely the total amounts of isoprene, which are  emitted. So far, however, local measurements indicated levels of about 0.3 megatonnes per year, global simulations of around 1.9 megatons per year. But the team of Lyon and Leipzig estimates that the newly discovered photochemical pathway alone contribute 0.2 to 3.5 megatons per year additionally and could explain the recent disagreements. “The existence of the organic films at the ocean surface due to biological activities therefore influences the exchange processes between air and sea in a unexpected strong way. The photochemical processes at this interface could be a very significant source of isoprene”, summarizes Prof. Hartmut Herrmann from TROPOS."

Climate skeptics have, of course, long argued that the models used by alarmists to predict future climate change are fatally flawed because they exaggerate the influence of man-made carbon dioxide and fail to take into account other unknown or ill-understood factors.

This discovery presents further proof that the skeptics are right: the reason that all that predicted “global warming” has failed to materialize is that it has been countered by the planet’s natural cooling effects.

“Here is more evidence of what we have known for some time: that climate models simply do not mirror the reality of a chaotic system – and that they should never have been trusted in the first place,” says Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

The news could scarcely have come at a worse time for the global climate alarmist community which has been ramping up the scaremongering message in the run up to the latest round of UN climate talks in Paris this December.

Everyone from the Pope to the Prince of Wales to the Governor of the Bank of England has been roped into pushing the UN’s alarmist agenda.

What this new study shows is that in the unlikely event of any agreement being reached on “climate change” by world leaders in Paris, it will do so in defiance of “the Science” and not because of it.


Global Cooling? Satellite Data Confirms 10 Years of Arctic Ice Increase

Written by Dr Klaus L.E. Kaiser

Arctic sea ice extent has increased over the last decade.  Satellite data confirms opposite of what global warming alarmists claim.

Listening to the latest “climate doom” you’d think that the Arctic must just about be squeaky clean, not a drink-sized ice cube in sight anymore.  Well, I’ve some news that must be disconcerting to the warmists: The sea-ice extent is actually quite stable, perhaps even growing and the polar bears are just fine as well.

Sea-Ice in the Arctic

The sea-ice in the Arctic waxes and wanes in a regular fashion, sort of like the phases of the Moon.

At the height of the seasonal minimum (around mid-September) the Arctic sea-ice extent is in the order of 4-5 million square kilometers (SKM). That’s quite different from the maximum extent in the Arctic winter that is typically in the 14-15 million SKM range; in other words, its common seasonal range is approximately threefold or more.

For example, the number of days with air temperature above freezing (0 C) at latitude 80 N and higher have been recorded for 55 years now.  These data are readily available from theDanish Meteorological Institute (DMI). On the basis of such observations, they have also calculated a 50-year mean of temperatures above freezing. It has not changed in that time and you can follow it daily as well as all daily records over the past, year by year. What’s important in these data is the number of days above freezing each year. Except for 2013, where that number was one half of the long-term mean of 90 days, it hardly changed from year to year.

These data not only show a very stable climate up north, they also indicate that the claims of a “thinning” ice-cover must be false. You cannot possibly have the ice thinning and the air warming and the ice-cover being unaffected decade after decade. If the ice were getting thinner, it would melt earlier, the number of days above freezing would increase and the re-freezing would happen later in the season; none of which is happening. Now let’s look at the ice cover itself.

Minimum Sea-Ice Extent

What everyone is watching with beady eyes is the seasonal MINIMUM sea-ice extent. That occurs around mid-September and, obviously, varies more strongly as it’s influenced by a variety of natural and man-made effects than at the time of maximum extent when there isn’t much activity. For example, the brief Arctic summer is the time when submarines tend to surface near the Pole, when research vessels try to explore the Arctic, when commercial vessels may attempt to cross the Northwest or Northeast Passages, when companies are exploring for natural resources, whenbuccaneers try to reach the North Pole by foot, when cruise ships go on Arctic voyages, when you can go hot-air-ballooning there, and more.

Much of that brief seasonal activity still requires the accompaniment (and, frequently, rescue) by ice-breakers from the Arctic riparian countries. For example, Russia alone has about 50 of such vessels, including nuclear-powered Class-4 or higher ice-breakers. The U.S. Coast Guard Icebreaker Healy made it to the North Pole just earlier this month (see photo from Sep. 7, 2015).

Although that photo shows the North Pole covered with solid ice, there have been other times when open water was seen right there. For example, the USS Skate surfaced there in 1958 and had repeatedly observed open water in the high Arctic.
Maximum Sea-Ice Extent

To begin with, hardly a soul ever mentions the MAXIMUM seasonal sea-ice extent in the Arctic. In truth, it hasn’t changed much for many decades. The reasons are easy to understand. With most of the year (see Air Temperatures, above) being well below freezing, the annual ice build-up is affected more by wind and currents than anything else. Therefore, it reaches a maximum at around mid-March that barely varies between years. In that context, it should also be noted that, by most accounts, the “Arctic” sea-ice count extends south to latitude 45 N, or even further towards the equator. Still, the maximum ice extent barely changes, so, no need to mention it further.

Also, there are few visitors to the high Arctic in winter. Not only is it dark for many days then, the temperatures aren’t exactly suited for frolicking either. At MINUS 40 C, even the (male) polar bears that are not hibernating are beginning to shiver.  In my humble opinion, it’s a pity that the many famous climate modellers from PIK and other institutions don’t want to visit then. The local government may even provide free accommodation then (with a minimum stay of four-weeks) in tents or igloos, visitors’ choice. What could be more relaxing than a few weeks in an igloo when a blizzard rages on the outside? If need be, they can bring along a portable windmill to charge their i-thing or laptop.

As you can imagine, any daily measurement of that is only possible with sophisticated instrumentation and associated software from a long distance away. Satellite recognisance is what is deployed for that purpose.

There are the widely used daily satellite surveys of Arctic sea-ice published by the Nansen Environmental & Remote Sensing Center at Bergen, Norway. These satellite observations have changed repeatedly in terms of instrumentation and computer algorithms used. Therefore earlier measurement series (i.e. before 2000 or so) are not fully compatible with later ones.

Another widely used series of measurements is that of sea-ice in the northern hemisphere by theNational Snow & Ice Data Center at Boulder, CO.  In addition, the DMI also provides daily graphs on the Arctic sea-ice extent.

As the graphs produced by each institute have their own spatial resolution and/or definition of what constitutes “sea-ice” versus water, they give different absolute numbers; by and large though the graphs show similar trends.

There is one ice measurement that has yet to see widespread use, namely the annual sea-ice average as computed from all daily data (from one source). Such an analysis is available from theScience Matters website. It has just published that for the last ten years. That graph actually shows a slightly increasing trend of the Arctic ice extent in that period

In short, no matter what measurement you use to look at ice in the North, it shows no sign of going the way of the dodo bird, rather the opposite. The doomsayers’ claims about the ice disappearing are false—and you’ll still need your winter woollies!


Russian swans don't expect global warming!

Swooping in with the brisk Arctic winds, the Bewick’s swan traditionally heralds the beginning of winter.  And now the Russian bird has made its earliest-ever arrival in Britain – bearing an icy omen for a long, cold winter ahead.

Migrating 2,500 miles from the depths of Siberia, the first swan touched down on Sunday at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire.

But while the magnificent bird was probably relieved to reach the warmer climes of the UK, its arrival – the earliest in 50 years – may well usher in a particularly harsh and unforgiving winter.

The swan – which has been named Record Breaker – has flown in a week earlier than the first arrivals in 2010, a year which saw swathes of Britain numbed by heavy snowfall. Before then, the earliest migration was in 2003 – another winter which saw a particularly frosty December and snow in January and February.

According to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, the climate phenomenon known as ‘El Nino’ is responsible for pushing the colder than usual weather towards Britain. Migration patterns of the birds are also determined by such weather patterns, with wind direction a crucial factor.

This year, abnormally cold weather in the west of Russia and the east of Europe has seen temperatures plunge to between 5C and 10C below average.

Experts believe the cold is encouraging the birds to press on with westward migration – and so their early presence suggests an early, bitter winter is also on its way. Julia Newth, of the trust, said: ‘Apparently there’s a Russian saying, “The swan brings snow on its bill,” because they tend to move just ahead of the cold weather. ‘Of course, we can’t infer much from the arrival of a single swan but it’s certainly exciting this bird has arrived so early.

‘It’s only a year old and because it has made it all the way here on its own, we assume that it must have come to Slimbridge last year with its parents.’ The trust began studying Bewick’s swans at the nature reserve in 1963, recording each bird by its striking black and yellow beak pattern – unique to each swan – and giving it a name.

The birds normally arrive at Slimbridge in a steady stream between October and January, before departing in March as the climate in their native Siberia warms up.

They have migrated here every winter for at least 60 years and adult birds teach their cygnets the route. Before the arrival of this year’s first swan, the record holders for the earliest arrivals were a couple called Tomato and Ketchup who arrived on October 12 in 1980.

As well as Slimbridge, the birds can be spotted around the Severn estuary and in Lancashire. The Ouse and Nene Washes, Cambridgeshire, and Martin Mere, Lancashire, are also good places to see them.



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

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


13 October, 2015

Now global warming threatens pumpkin pie!

Since I had never heard of canned pumpkin, I was not much energized by this story.  Where I grew up in the tropics, people rarely bought pumpkin in any form.  It arrived free.  Pumpkin vines are very prolific so anyone with a fruiting vine would have lots to give away to friends and neighbours. They would just be handed over the fence.  Our tropical species of pumpkin -- which we call "bugelhorn" --  is so vigorous that it's like a triffid. It will cover your backyard in no time if you let it. So if we ever do get global warming, there are some delicious tropical pumpkins awaiting -- and they will probably be free!

"Bugelhorn" pumpkins seem to be unknown to the internet but I have eaten lots of them. They are a long fruit rather than a spherical one -- a bit like a huge cucumber.  Take a trip to Cairns and buy one in Rusty's bazaar.  You won't be disappointed. Cairns is a popular tropical resort anyway.

Not that the report below is about global warming.  It's about rain. And no attempt at linking variable rain to global warming is even attempted. Variable rain is of course, and always has been,  the bane of farmers the world over.  A farmer is a rural gambler and rain is a big part of the gamble

The potential consequences of climate change are pretty well known: rising sea levels, global food insecurity, more frequent and extreme wildfires, stronger storms. But what you might not know is that climate change could also threaten your holiday slice of pumpkin pie.

This year, Libby’s Pumpkin — which supplies more than 85 percent of the world’s canned pumpkin — is anticipating that their annual pumpkin yields will be reduced by half due to an unusually rainy late spring and early summer.

The company, which is owned by Nestle, is headquartered in Morton, Illinois — the self-proclaimed pumpkin capital of the world. Ninety percent of the United States’ pumpkins are grown within a 90-mile radius of Peoria, Illinois, which is just 10 miles from Morton. When we ship the last of the 2015 crop — in early November — we will be left with no reserves.

Illinois experienced record-setting precipitation in June, with more than nine inches falling over most of the state throughout the month — 5.33 inches above average. From May through July, prime growing months for the kinds of processing pumpkins found throughout Illinois, the state received almost two feet of rain — 10.4 inches above average, according to Jim Angel, Illinois’ state climatologist. “This year’s harvest was reduced because rains came early in the season during a critical growth period,” Roz O’Hearn, corporate and brand affairs director for Nestle USA, told ThinkProgress. “The result: not as many pumpkins formed from the flowers.”

Normally, Libby’s harvests pumpkins from late August through the end of October or early November, but this year, the harvest ended on October 5, almost a month early, due to poor yields. “We originally reported our yield could be off by as much as a third, but updated crop reports indicate yields will be reduced by half this year,” O’Hearn said.

O’Hearn told ThinkProgress that Libby’s anticipates having enough product to get customers through the Thanksgiving holiday, but expects that holiday demand will completely deplete their stock, leaving nothing in reserve. That means that once Libby’s makes its final shipment of canned pumpkin — probably around the beginning of November — there will be no extra canned pumpkin to stock shelves.

At a Senate roundtable last week on climate change and food production, Nestle’s president of corporate affairs Paul Bakus spoke of declines in Libby’s pumpkin harvests. The last time Libby’s was hit with a shortage of similar magnitude was 2009, when two times the normal amount of precipitation fell during the harvest, causing tractors to become trapped in the mud and unable to reach the pumpkins before their quality degraded beyond Libby’s standards for harvest. When pumpkins sit on saturated soil for too long, O’Hearn explained, it negatively affects their quality, creating an environment conducive to blight and mildew.

Over the past century, Angel points out on his blog that Illinois’ average precipitation has increased by between 10 and 15 inches, depending on location. In central Illinois, where Libby’s pumpkin growing operation is located, May through June precipitation has increased by an average of two inches (though Angel points out notable exceptions, like drought years in 1988, 2005, and 2012). For the entire state of Illinois, four of the 10 rainiest Junes on record have occurred since 2010.


No Record Year According To both satellite records

With September numbers now out, satellite data shows that global temperatures this year are going to finish well below both 1998 and 2010, despite very strong El Nino conditions for most of this year.

Since April, according to NOAA’s MEI , this year’s El Nino has been much stronger than anything seen in 2010. Normally we can expect a lag of between 3 and 6 months for changes in the MEI to be reflected in atmospheric temperatures, so it is probable that the latter will continue to increase through the NH winter.

It would be remarkable then if temperatures did not at least match those of 2010, but currently that is just what we are looking at.

For this year to finish above 2010, temperatures for the last three months would have to go off the page.


Freeman Dyson on climate change, interstellar travel, fusion, and more ...

Interview: The life of physicist Freeman Dyson spans advising bomber command in World War Two, working at Princeton as a contemporary of Einstein, and providing advice to the US government on a wide range of scientific and technical issues. He is a rare public intellectual writing prolifically for a wide audience, and also campaigned against nuclear weapons proliferation.

At Oak Ridge, Dyson was looking at the climate system before it became a hot political issue, over 25 years ago. Today he provides a robust foreword to a publication by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) co-founder Indur Goklany on CO2 by the Global Water System Project (GWPF), which re-emphasises out his views.

An Obama supporter who describes himself as "100 per cent Democrat," Dyson is disappointed that the President "chose the wrong side." Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere does more good than harm, he argues, and humanity doesn't face an existential crisis. Climate change, "... is not a scientific mystery but a human mystery.

How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts?" We invited Dyson to talk about climate change, and other matters too: such as, whether physics can still be considered a science, and (a question from my kids) how will we do interstellar travel?

Q. You were being invited to help solve problems in an era when things looked pretty grim, and those problems looked insoluble, in the Cold War, and before Borlaug's Green Revolution. Now we've conquered a lot of these, but there seems to be an unquenchable thirst for apocalypse?


A. Yes. I don't know why, it's a mood of the times. I don't understand that better than anyone else. It is true that there's a large community of people who make their money by scaring the public, so money is certainly involved to some extent, but I don't think that's the full explanation.

It's like a hundred years ago, before World War 1, there was this insane craving for doom, which in a way, helped cause World War 1. People like the poet Rupert Brooke were glorifying war as an escape from the dullness of modern life. The feeling we'd gone soft and degenerate, and war would be good for us all. That was in the air leading up to WW1 and in some ways it's in the air today.

The years before 1914 were a tremendously promising time. Russia was getting richer, and the whole thing fell apart. It's comparable today – we've done a much better job with feeding the world and if you look at the number of desperately poor people it has been decreasing quite steadily.

The most important thing at the moment is China getting richer. What the rest of the world is doing doesn't really matter.

Q. If you could give your own scientific recommendations for carbon dioxide policy at COP21 in Paris, what would they be?

A. Certainly land management would be one. Particularly building up topsoil, which you can do in lots of ways. Not just growing trees, there are many things you can do which are just as good. Inducing snowfall is something you can do which hasn't been discussed very much, to keep the oceans from rising. The rise of the oceans is a real problem and while it's not rising as fast as people say, they're still rising. That could be stopped if you could arrange that it snows a bit more in Antarctica. That's something that could be quite feasible, but it's not been looked at very much.

Q. Are climate models getting better? You wrote how they have the most awful fudge factors, and they only really impress people who don't know about them.

A. I would say the opposite. What has happened in the past 10 years is that the discrepancies between what's observed and what's predicted have become much stronger. It's clear now the models are wrong, but it wasn't so clear 10 years ago. I can't say if they'll always be wrong, but the observations are improving and so the models are becoming more verifiable.

Q. It seems almost medieval to suppose that nature is punishing us, rather than the Enlightenment view, that we can tame nature, and still be good stewards of it.

A. That's all true.

Q. It's now difficult for scientists to have frank and honest input into public debates. Brian Cox, who is the public face of physics in the UK thanks to the BBC, has said he has no obligation to listen to "deniers," or to any other views other than the orthodoxy ...

A. That's a problem, but still I find that I have things to say and people do listen to me, and people have no particular complaints.

It's very sad that in this country political opinion parted. I'm 100 per cent Democrat myself, and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on this issue, and the Republicans took the right side.

Because the big, growing countries need fossil fuels, the political goal of mitigation, by reducing or redirecting industrial activity and consumer behavior, now seems quite futile in the West ...

China and India rely on coal to keep growing, so they'll clearly be burning coal in huge amounts. They need that to get rich. Whatever the rest of the world agrees to, China and India will continue to burn coal, so the discussion is quite pointless.

At the same time coal is very unpleasant stuff, and there are problems with coal quite apart from climate. I remember in England when we burned coal everything was filthy. It was really bad, and that's the way it is now in China, but you can clean that up as we did in England. It takes a certain amount of pol willpower, and that takes time. Pollution is quite separate to the climate problem: one can be solved, and the other cannot, and the public doesn't understand that.

Q. Have you heard of the phrase "virtue signalling"? The UK bureaucracy made climate change its foreign policy priority, and we heard a lot of the phrase "leading the world in the fight ...", and by doing so, it seemed to be making a public declaration of its goodness and virtue ...

A. No [laughs] Well India and China aren't buying that. When you go beyond 50 years everything will change. As far as the next 50 years are concerned, there are two main forces of energy, which are coal and shale gas. Emissions have been going down in the US while they've going up in Europe, and that's because of shale gas. It's only half the carbon dioxide emissions of coal. China may in fact be able to develop shale gas on a big scale and that means they burn a lot less coal.

Q. It seems complete madness to prohibit shale gas. You wondered if climate change is an Anglophone preoccupation. Well, France is even more dogmatic than Britain about shale gas!

It seems almost medieval to suppose that nature is punishing us, rather than the Enlightenment view, that we can tame nature, and still be good stewards of nature.

A. That's all true.


EPA unleashes health-hammering ozone rules

It may be incompetence overseas, but in USA Obama intends to reduce jobs and living standards

Paul Driessen

A federal worker named Bob recently called our local talk-radio station, outraged that a failed budget deal could cause a government shutdown that leaves him unable to pay his bills. He blamed Republicans, failed to mention that compromise also involves Obama and Democrats – and left out another important detail: if there is a shutdown, when it ends he will get paid retroactively.

But when he and his fellow bureaucrats impose mountains of regulations, they cost businesses billions of dollars a year, kill millions of jobs, and leave thousands of families and hundreds of communities worse off, struggling to make ends meet. Those folks never get retroactive pay.

The Obama/EPA war on coal has shuttered power plants and mines across dozens of states, leaving thousands unemployed. That’s left truck and equipment makers, tool shops, steel mills and other suppliers – from Kentucky to Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin and beyond – struggling to find customers. That impacts restaurants, grocery and clothing stores, schools, hospitals and other businesses: every lost mining or power plant job affects four jobs in other sectors of our far-flung economy.

Reduced drilling, due to low oil and gas prices and the emerging EPA and Big Green war on natural gas, compound these problems. So does the Pandora’s Box of other federal regulations: ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and FATCA financial rules, and seemingly endless EPA dictates on soot and dust, puddles and creeks, carbon dioxide and other alleged problems, often for minuscule or imaginary benefits.

Complying just with federal regulations already costs American businesses and families over $1.9 trillion a year, and EPA alone is tacking on an additional $100 billion in new costs this year.

EPA refuses to calculate how many private sector jobs all this has killed or kept from being created, or how many people’s financial, physical and psychological health has been bludgeoned when they are rendered unemployed and unable to pay their bills. Nor have any bureaucrats been held accountable for regulations that are based on ideological agendas, junk science or even outright fraud, or for abusing their powers to go after conservative groups (the IRS) or even members of Congress (the Secret Service).

And now, EPA has slapped us with yet another hugely expensive final rule – on ozone.

Just 18 years ago, the agency reduced allowable ambient ozone levels to 84 parts per billion (equivalent to 84 cents out of $10,000,000). In 2008, the Bush EPA lowered the standard again, to 75 ppb. But the Obama EPA wasn’t satisfied. In 2009, it said it would slash the standard to 70 or even 60 ppb.

However, this action would have been a political atomic bomb, so the White House postponed the decision until after the 2012 elections. Then, under yet another collusive sue-and-settle lawsuit between EPA and rabid environmentalists, EPA promised to finalize a new rule by October 1, 2015.

Now the agency has “compromised” at 70 ppb. A Business Roundtable study found that almost every US county met the 84 ppb ozone standard, and 90% met the 75 ppb standard. A 60 ppb rule would have put 96% of those counties out of compliance, but even the 70 ppb rule will send many into noncompliance. It will hammer power generation, manufacturing and shale gas production, and raise electricity prices.

To understand how draconian it is, Grand Canyon National Park is now out-of-attainment, at 72 ppb. So are Mammoth Cave National Park at 75 ppb, Rocky Mountain National Park at 77, and Great Smokey Mountain National Park at 79. Yellowstone NP barely slips under the new EPA limbo bar at 66 ppb.

That’s because volatile organic compounds that are ozone precursors don’t come just from refineries, power plants, factories, automobiles and other hydrocarbon use. They come from volcanoes, hot springs and trees: deciduous trees emit VOCs on hot, sunny days; conifers emit them day and night. They also come from “clean, green” ethanol. A new NOAA study found that ethanol refineries emit up to 30 times more VOCs than originally assumed – and 170 times more than when ethanol is burned in cars.

EPA doesn’t mention those inconvenient truths. It says its new standard will cost “only” $3.9 billion a year. That deliberately low-balled, out-of-thin-air number doesn’t even pass the laugh test. It is leagues removed from National Association of Manufacturers and other analyses that calculated a 65 ppb ozone standard would reduce America’s economic output by $140 billion annually and cost 1.4 million jobs lost or not created per year, for 25 years. Reality for 70 ppb is far closer to NAM than to EPA.

The simple fact is, the 70 ppb ozone rule is yet another rock shoved in the pocket of a drowning man. A measly 142,000 new jobs were created last month. Over 40 million Americans are unemployed, under-employed or have given up on finding a job. Over 47 million are on food stamps. The labor participation rate plunged to 62.4% in September, its lowest since October 1977, on a mere 34.5-hour work week.

So now EPA trumpets alleged health benefits. The new rule will reduce result in fewer asthma attacks among children and save lives, the agency insists. Hogwash. As physician Charles Battig explains, the new standard will only save theoretical lives. The supposedly fewer ozone-related deaths will occur “in a computer-generated fantasy world, where epidemiological data-torturing takes place by bits and bytes, not in the hospital admission records for real-life patients.”

In that EPA world, lives theoretically saved are concocted using higher pollution levels from decades ago, when ozone and other air contaminants really did affect human health. The faulty data are fed into a series of computer models, to generate garbage in-garbage out calculations used to justify regulatory edicts.

But in the real world, aggregate emissions of ozone, particulate matter (soot), carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and lead plummeted 63% since 1980. Refinery emissions of volatile organic compounds were slashed 69% between 1990 and 2013, ozone-forming emissions are projected to decline another 36% over the next decade, and ground-level ozone levels have already fallen by a national average of 18% since 2000. Meanwhile, reported asthma rates have risen – but not because of pollution.

Today’s kids likely have more asthma attacks because they spend more time indoors, enjoy less time outside in the dirt, and don’t get exposed to enough allergens during childhood to reduce their immune hyperactivity and allergic hypersensitivity. They respond more readily to allergen exposures that would have caused few reactions in previous generations. Cold air can also trigger asthma attacks, as can higher pollen and fungi spore levels, and perhaps low-fat diets that reduce surfactant layers on lung tissues.

In short, national-park-level ozone is not the bogeyman that EPA claims. However, the new rules will affect numerous states, counties, cities, industries – and highway safety projects that lose federal funding because natural sources, local emissions or even VOCs from China raise ozone levels above 70 ppb.

EPA claims “only” 358 counties around the US will be pushed into nonattainment status by the arbitrary new standard. But even that is too many, and another 1,500 counties could be at risk if EPA begins monitoring their ozone levels. That will affect job creation and preservation, especially in metro areas.

The National Association of Manufacturers, National Black Chamber of Commerce, American Association of Blacks in Energy, business owners and leaders, mayors, governors, state legislators, members of Congress, and health and traffic experts asked EPA to retain the 2008 standard.

As Small Business and Entrepreneurship president Karen Kerrigan has noted, they pointed out that areas like Chicago, Gary and Denver, with large poor and minority populations, would lose tens of thousands of jobs, see average household incomes decline by hundreds of dollars a year, and be forced to spend billions of dollars to comply with the new standard. People’s health and well-being would decline, they emphasized, instead of improve. Kerrigan’s Center for Regulatory Solutions provided many more facts.

EPA ignored them all, reiterated its false health benefit claims, and imposed the costly new standards.

Affected parties should file lawsuits to prevent EPA from enforcing the new rule, courts should block the regulation, and Congress should delete EPA funding to implement this health-impairing program.

Via email

Justiciable climate?

Attempts by environmentalists to gain an advantage in the climate wars through the courts continue to attract the interest of commentators, particularly those on the sceptic side. Judith Curry has a review of some recent developments and Booker was discussing similar questions behind the Sunday Telegraph's paywall over the weekend.

I'm unsure about just how far the legal system is going to accept the kinds of cases that the greens are hoping for. It may well be that it depends on the particular jurisdiction. Philippe Sands reckons that because international courts involved themselves in the question of whether the Japanese whaling programme was scientific, they can (and should) involve themselves in questions of climate change. This seems an almost preposterously weak argument for a senior lawyer to make. Whether some activity is scientific or not is a question of categorisation - quite different to questions such as "What is the value of climate sensitivity?"

Interestingly, while a professor of international law can make such a lame case, a more mature understanding is demonstrated by Laura Hardcastle, an undergraduate law student at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. Her dissertation was cited in the Sharman paper I discussed the other day, and I note it has also been cited by a former Prime Minister of New Zealand. I'm therefore reasonably comfortable in presenting it as a credible source.

Hardcastle makes the point that the courts are inherently unsuitable for deciding scientific matters, which should therefore remain non-justiciable. This seems eminently sensible to me. She goes on to explain that an exception should be made for cases of scientific fraud. I think she is right here as well, because of course the question of whether a scientist has behaved fraudulently is not really a scientific question, it's a question about the permissibility of their behaviour.

If we accept Hardcastle's case, then Sands' hopes for help for his cause from the courts will come to nothing. That still leaves greens' agitation for a RICO case in the USA. Here, you might argue the question is one that might - in principle at least - be justiciable. However, whether any court would give more than a moment's consideration to what is little more than a conspiracy theory is another question altogether.


FreedomWorks Supports Lifting the Oil Export Ban - Without Handouts

The longstanding ban on the exportation of American crude oil is a misguided policy founded on protectionism and a misunderstanding of global economics. Lifting the ban would produce the economic benefits of free trade at home and abroad, promoting desperately needed economic growth and job creation.

For this reason, FreedomWorks is pleased that Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) has introduced H.R. 702 “To adapt to changing crude oil market conditions.” The bill recognizes that the United States is now a leader in energy production, and that it would be folly to squander the gains from such productivity with protectionist measures.

Unfortunately, when the Congressional Budget Office revealed that the bill would save taxpayers an estimated $500 million, the House Rules Committee tacked on a rider to give that money away to the Maritime Security Program. This giveaway is an earmark in everything but name, blatantly intended to benefit selected unions and thus allure some Democrats into voting for the bill.

This kind of log-rolling is emblematic of the dysfunction of Washington. The out of control national debt is perhaps the greatest threat to American security and prosperity over the next several decades, yet as soon as a cost savings is found, Congress reflexively spends it on something new. The fact that this was done in committee without the opportunity for a floor vote adds insult to injury.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) has introduced an amendment to the bill to remove the special interest rider. If the Amash amendment passes, FreedomWorks will count votes on Rep. Barton’s bill as a Key Vote when calculating our Congressional Scorecard for 2015. If it does not, FreedomWorks will only score votes on the amendment. Our scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of Congress who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.

Please contact your representative and ask that they support lifting the ban on crude oil exports, while demanding that the cost savings not be passed on to special interest lobbies and Big Labor.



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12 October, 2015

Global warming behind mysterious kidney disease, says research

Utter bulldust again. That it is caused by warming is just speculation which in fact goes against the evidence.  My father was one of many cane-cutters in tropical Australia in the old days and there was no notable kidney failure among those men. The  illness specific to canecutting was Leptospirosis (Weil’s disease), which is a well-understood and preventible bacterial infection. And temperatures in the fields there often reached 100 degrees F.  It was once thought that white men could not do manual work in those temperatures.  But they did. So the problem is NOT caused by doing manual labour in hot climates. Use of illegal chemicals in South America would be the most probable cause.  Respect for law in those parts is notoriously weak.  Note that Wikipedia says the cause of the disease is unknown

A mysterious kidney disease that has killed over 20,000 people in Central America since 2002, and now spreading to other countries including India, may be caused by chronic, severe dehydration linked to global climate change, says a new study.

"This could be the first epidemic directly caused by global warming," said one of the researchers Richard Johnson, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in the US.

So far, the manual labourers on sugar cane plantations in the hotter, lower altitudes of Central America's Pacific coast have been hit hardest by the disease. It has also been reported among farmworkers, miners, fishermen and construction and transportation workers in the region.

"Some districts of Nicaragua have been called the `land of widows' due to the high mortality rates occurring among the male workers from chronic kidney disease," Johnson pointed out.

The epidemic was first described in 2002 and has been dubbed Mesoamerican Nephropathy.

Theories abound about what may be causing it, including exposure to heavy metals, pesticides and other toxic chemicals. But Johnson believes the actual culprit is chronic recurrent dehydration.

His research team studied sugar cane workers in Nicaragua and El Salvador. They found that the labourers routinely worked in conditions exceeding the recommended heat standards of the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

And even though some of them drank up to one to two litres per hour, the researchers found they still suffered serious dehydration on a daily basis.

One of the major side-effects of this dehydration was hyperuricemia or excess uric acid levels in the blood.

In one study, sugar cane workers in El Salvador had uric acid levels of 6.6 mg per decilitre in the morning which increased to 7.2 mg in the afternoon.

And 21 of 23 people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) had hyperuricemia.

Dehydration also activates a pathway in the kidney which generates fructose that, when metabolised, produces uric acid.

Johnson's team also found that these dehydrated workers had high concentrations of uric acid crystals in their urine.

The uric acid crystals are thought to trigger tubular damage and fibrosis in the kidneys.

The study suggests that this epidemic may be gaining momentum now because global warming is increasing the risk of dehydration.

Johnson said that this kind of CKD is now being observed in Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and Egypt.

He recommends improving work conditions and hydration practices among those most at risk for developing the disease.

The study was published in the the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.


India Declines UN Climate Agreement Unless They Get $2.5 Trillion

The third biggest carbon emitter in the world has shown displeasure in the draft text of the United Nations Climate Change Conference which is slated to unfurl in December.

Prakash Javadekar, climate change minister of India stated he was “not at all happy” with the draft for reasons of “equity” and signified that India will clash with it during the upcoming round of negotiations. Under proposed commitment of India, the country will increase its CO2 emissions tree-fold.

In the negotiations, India is possibly the most vital developing country as it has spearheaded the effort made by poorer countries to compel wealthier nations to augment financial support in return for cooperation on climate change. India has made it clear that it will only start lowering its carbon emissions if it obtains considerable assistance from Western countries, amounting to $2.5 trillion in the next 15 years in grants, direct aid, and cheap financing.

The Obama administration has previously devoted $4 billion to fund the development of solar power in India.

India and slew of other developing nations are hesitant to reduce emissions since their economies are deeply reliant on inexpensive, carbon emitting, forms of energy. In 2014, India obtained 59% of its electricity from coal, while the US only produced 39% of its electricity from coal in the same year, although the US produces more coal than India. India is reducing its dependent on coal two-fold, by coming up with 87,122 megawatts of capacity.

With that amount of coal usage it is approximated that 400 million Indians, 31% of the nation’s population, still have to access to electricity.


Judges plan to outlaw climate change 'denial’

A semi-secret, international conference of top judges proposed to make illegal any opinion that contradicted climate change.  Quite loony in its self-importance

We might think that a semi-secret, international conference of top judges, held in the highest courtroom in Britain, to propose that it should be made illegal for anyone to question the scientific evidence for man-made global warming, was odd enough to be worthy of front-page coverage.

Last week I mentioned that the Prince of Wales had sent a message to this conference calling for the UN’s forthcoming climate meeting in Paris to agree on “a Magna Carta for the Earth”. But only a series of startling posts by a sharp-eyed Canadian blogger, Donna Laframboise (on Nofrakkingconsensus), have alerted us to what a bizarre event this judicial gathering turned out to be (the organisers even refused to give her the names of those who attended).

It could be made illegal for any government, corporation (or presumably individual scientist) ever to question the agreed “science” again

Including senior judges and lawyers from across the world, the three-day conference on “Climate Change and the Law” was staged in London’s Supreme Court. It was funded, inter alia, by the Supreme Court itself, the UK government and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

As one of the two UN sponsors of its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, UNEP has been one of the main drivers of alarm over global warming for 40 years. The organiser and chairman of the conference was the Supreme Court judge Lord Carnwath, a fervent believer in man-made climate change, who has worked with the Prince of Wales for more than 20 years, and with UNEP since 2002.

The purpose of this strange get-together was outlined in a keynote speech (visible on YouTube) by Philippe Sands, a QC from Cherie Blair’s Matrix Chambers and professor of law at University College, London. Since it is now unlikely that the world will agree in Paris to a legally binding treaty to limit the rise in global temperatures to no more than 2 degrees C from pre-industrial levels, his theme was that it is now time for the courts to step in, to enforce this as worldwide law.

Although his audience, Sands said, would agree that the scientific evidence for man-made climate change was “overwhelming”, there were still “scientifically qualified, knowledgeable and influential individuals” continuing to deny “the warming of the atmosphere, the melting of the ice and the rising of the seas”, and that this is all due to our emissions of CO2. The world’s courts, led by the International Court of Justice, said Sands, could play a vital role “in finally scotching these claims”.

“The most important thing the courts could do,” he said, was to hold a top-level “finding of fact”, to settle these “scientific disputes” once and for all: so that it could then be made illegal for any government, corporation (or presumably individual scientist) ever to question the agreed “science” again.

Furthermore, he went on, once “the scientific evidence” thus has the force of binding international law, it could be used to compel all governments to make “the emissions reductions that are needed”, including the phasing out of fossil fuels, to halt global warming in its tracks.

The fact that it could be seriously proposed in the highest courtroom in the land that the law should now be used to suppress any further debate on what has become one of the most contentious issues in the history of science (greeted with applause from the distinguished legal audience) speaks volumes about the curious psychological state to which the great global warming scare has reduced so many of the prominent figures who today exercise power and influence over the life of our Western societies.

For perspective, we need only think of the likely responses to all this claptrap by China and India (which has just announced that it intends to triple its CO2 emissions by 2030). Not only have they already kicked into touch any chance of a “binding climate treaty” in December. At the thought of these self-important lawyers trying to force them to comply by international law, they will merely respond with inscrutable smiles, as they continue to rely on fossil fuels to power what will soon be the two largest economies in the world.


Global Warming: Making the Ruling Class into the Crackpot Class

What links global warming and the ruling class?  A fervent belief in the former seems to have a powerful inverse correlation with the impressiveness of the latter.

The ruling class is made up of people from privileged backgrounds.  They are usually wealthy.  They go the elite colleges and often hold important jobs.  They are the class from which many of our important leaders are drawn.

The Italian sociologist Pareto theorized that ruling classes, after time, lose their vigor and sense of purpose.  They go soft.  When that happens, they are replaced by tougher upward strivers.

Compare two secretaries of state.  John Foster Dulles was born in 1888 and was Eisenhower's during the 1950s.  John Kerry was born in 1943 and is the current one for Obama.  Both of these men were born into the ruling class.

Dulles had both an uncle and a grandfather who were Secretary of State.  Dulles entered Princeton at 16 and graduated as valedictorian.  Dulles distinguished himself in a long career, both in government service and as an international lawyer.  He organized the countries of the world to resist communist expansionism during his term as secretary.

John Kerry's maternal relatives were members of wealthy old-money families.  He is the beneficiary of various trusts from these relatives.  He went to elite New England prep schools and to college at Yale, where he was a mediocre student.  He has been married twice, both wives coming from wealthy circumstances.

Kerry is tall and impressive-looking.  He is a talented politician but lacks intellectual depth.  According to Kerry, climate change is the most serious problem we face.  Apparently, Kerry isn't much worried about international relations.  If it is any comfort, the Obama administration runs foreign policy out of the White House, granting little discretion to the secretary of state.

A vociferous belief in the danger of climate change may be a marker for a shallow thinker.  It doesn't take a lot of research to realize that the "we are doomed by climate change" story is full of holes.  Frustrated climate change promoters often demand that those who are skeptical be prosecuted and jailed.  That should be enough to convince any sensible person that something is rotten in the climate change establishment.  A lot is rotten.  Predictions of climate doom come from computer models that are absurdly inadequate and heavily manipulated.  Junk science rules, because junk science has vastly improved the career prospects of the scientist-promoters of climate doom.  For environmental organizations, climate change is the latest scare story, useful for fund raising.

I recently attended a presentation on climate change and the economy put on by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The most prominent participant was Adele Simmons.  Simmons is the bluest of Chicago old-money bluebloods.  Her ancestors were accomplished and wealthy.  She was the president of Hampshire College in Massachusetts.  She left Hampshire to become president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of the richest foundations in the country.  That foundation gives out "genius" awards, often to far-left recipients.  An acquaintance who attended Hampshire and works with foundations said: "She destroyed both Hampshire and MacArthur by taking them to the far, far left," and "I think her a cultural quisling of the first degree."  Simmons has since left the MacArthur Foundation.

Simmons is a cheerleader for the gimmicks beloved by the climate doom crowd: plenty of studies, pronouncements, windmills, solar power, etc.  According to Simmons, when a couple of minor coal-fired plants were closed in Chicago, it was a big victory, the more so because one plant was located in a Hispanic neighborhood.  Even if you were to take seriously the predictions from the computer climate models, closing a coal plant in Chicago is of no importance when a new and bigger plant is being built in China every week.  The climate change promoters are engaged in feel-good symbolic activities – nothing more.  But they take themselves very seriously.

Tom Steyer is a wealthy climate activist based in San Francisco.  His father was a partner in the law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, John Foster Dulles's old firm.  His wife, Kathryn (Kat) Taylor, is the granddaughter of the former president of the Crocker National Bank.  Steyer went to Yale, and his wife went to Harvard.  They both have professional degrees from Stanford.  Tom Steyer made more than a billion dollars as chairman of the investment firm Farallon Capital.  Ironically, his firm invested heavily in coal.  He may not have had the global warming religion back then.

Steyer is like a slightly daffy English nobleman who discovers socialism and pesters his servants, trying to understand their lives.  Steyer even has the modern equivalent of a noble estate – the 1,800-acre TomKat Ranch on the California coast.  There he raises Leftcoast Grassfed beef.

Tom and Kat (regular folks) started a bank the stated purpose of which is to help homeowners in financial trouble.  That's called noblesse oblige.

Steyer spent more than $50 million to get global warming believers elected in 2014.  Unfortunately for him, there was a Republican sweep.  Steyer has been mentioned as a candidate to take retiring Barbara Boxer's California Senate seat.  Boxer, often considered the dumbest senator, is a fanatical supporter of global warming alarmism.  Steyer would clearly be a senator very similar to Boxer.

The ruling class had connections and positions.  They were rooted.  They had a sense of belonging and a sense of responsibility.  By the '60s, they started to lose confidence in their class worthiness.  Rather than ignoring crackpots, they became crackpots.  John Kerry, Adele Simmons, and Tom Steyer were born into the ruling class.  Rather than becoming serious members of that class, they took up outré political activism – in their case, global warming.

Crackpots and eccentrics have always been part of the privileged classes.  But no one took them seriously, least of all the members of their same class.  Now the crackpots are in high positions and are taken seriously by the elite media.  In some regions, like California, it's gotten to the point that common sense has been turned upside-down, and unless you believe in fashionable crackpot causes like global warming, you are the crackpot.


Vermont’s green energy plan to have no impact on global warming

 At the first public hearing for Vermont’s updated energy plan, audience members criticized the siting of wind and solar projects, and the plan’s policy expert told Vermont Watchdog going completely green will have no impact on global warming.

The Vermont Public Service Department on Wednesday held the first of five public hearings on the state’s 2015 Comprehensive Energy Plan. The 380-page draft lays out a path to reaching Vermont’s goal of operating on 90 percent renewable energy by 2050.

The plan’s targets include reaching 25 percent renewable power by 2025, up from 16 percent in 2015. Targets also include a 15 percent reduction in Vermonters’ energy use by 2025, and a one-third reduction by mid-century.

Also by 2025, planners expect to attain 10 percent renewable transportation and 30 percent renewable buildings. A full 67 percent of electric power will be generated by renewable sources.
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“We’re after energy security and after bringing energy sources local and under our own control. We want to meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals,” Asa Hopkins, the department’s energy policy director, told the audience at Lyndon State College.

NO IMPACT: Asa Hopkins, the director of energy policy and planning at the Public Service Department, says global climate change is so large an issue that no single state or nation can do anything about it.

“We want to keep more of our energy dollars local and be buying energy from each other rather than sending billions of dollars out of state every year to buy energy that’s imported.”

While the objectives look good on paper, prominent environmentalists around the state say the goals could require siting wind turbines on one-third of Vermont’s mountain ridgelines, or solar panels across 90,000 acres. One well-known developer, David Blittersdorf, predicts Vermonters may have to abandon cars in favor of electric mass transit.

Noticeably absent from the plan are state targets for alleviating global warming.

Hopkins told Vermont Watchdog global warming targets aren’t in the plan because Vermont’s efforts won’t affect climate change.

“Climate change is a classic tragedy-of-the-commons problem where no one person’s actions, no one state, or even one country’s actions is attributable to even more than maybe a few percent of the global challenge. So, I haven’t calculated out what Vermont’s impacts would be,” Hopkins said.

Some environmentalists argue Vermont’s role is not to affect climate change, but to offer green-energy leadership that other states will follow. Asked if the draft had targets for states or nations following Vermont’s lead, Hopkins replied, “No.”

“We are focused on trying to take a path forward that works for Vermont. We’re not taking action … in hopes of inspiring action elsewhere.”

Hopkins said the goals are consistent with 2030 goals set forth by the regional New England governors and Eastern Canadian premieres and also Under 2 MOU, which Vermont and other sub-national jurisdictions have signed on to. Those agreements call for an 80 percent reduction of CO2 by 2050.

The hearing’s public comment period drew stern warnings about coercive siting of solar and wind projects, which has caused a backlash in towns across the state.

“Anybody who has ever been involved in an energy proceeding before the Vermont Public Service Board knows that communities have no authority to influence the siting of electrical power plants. The Public Service Department has opposed every attempt to grant a more meaningful role to our cities and towns in electricity siting,” Mark Whitworth, a resident of Newark, said.

He added the Board’s rubber-stamping of renewable projects has produced a sort of Wild West in which developers are set loose to cut down Vermont’s forests, compromise wetlands, ignore zoning regulations, encroach on neighboring properties and “bully neighbors.”

Along with his comments, Whitworth submitted an “energy rebellion” map in which 67 Vermont towns are shown mounting resistance to coercive siting, whether by resolutions or town votes against projects. Last week in Irasburg, voters delivered a stunning 274-9 rejection of developer David Blittersdorf’s 500-foot wind turbines on Kidder Hill.


Green Reverse: Denmark Abandons Climate Change Targets, Scraps Electric Car Subsidies

Denmark is slowly retreating from some of its most ambitious, self-regarding climate initiatives. In an unforeseen attack of common sense, the government is readying to end its generous tax breaks for citizens who buy low-carbon vehicles because of the expense imposed on the public purse.

This will triple the retail price of electric cars like the popular Tesla and remove their competitive price advantage against standard fossil fuel-powered models.

A draft budget proposed last week would extend an existing 180 per cent automobile tax to electric vehicles and place their pricing alongside all other standard competitors.

Bloomberg reports the country will also make diesel vehicles more attractive by cancelling a pollution levy, according to provisions in the 2016 budget draft. The government is defending the measures by saying they will help businesses save money and create more jobs.

“Things have to be done with reason,” Finance Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen told reporters after the draft was unveiled in Copenhagen on Tuesday.

Denmark’s move marks its latest retreat from measures that had once put the Scandinavian country at the forefront of policies designed to promote renewable energy. The three-month-old centre-right Liberal government led by Lars Løkke Rasmussen has already said it is abandoning ambitious CO2 emissions targets and dropping plans to become fossil-fuel free by 2050.

Denmark’s government has also flagged a pull back from decommissioning coal-fired power stations. That policy shift was revealed on Sept. 2, the same day U.S. President Barack Obama made a global appeal for urgent action to fight climate change.

Mr. Frederiksen argues that tough decisions need to be made against the backdrop of a widening budget deficit and subsidising green power projects is no longer financially viable.

“The former government may have promised to keep electric cars exempt from car taxes, but they just forgot one thing: finding the money to do so,” Mr. Frederiksen said.

Norway accounted for a third of all European battery-powered car sales last year, official data shows, and 19 per cent of all cars sold so far in Norway in 2015 were electric, against 13 per cent in 2014.

A total of 1,240 electric cars were sold in Denmark during the first half of 2015, up 97 per cent from a year earlier, according to the latest figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. Tesla’s Model S consolidated its role as a Danish best-seller during the period.

Those numbers are only made by possible by heavy government subsidy and ignores the fact that Norway is also Western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer with about 3.7 million barrels of oil equivalents per day and its offshore energy sector accounts for a fifth of the economy.

Denmark plans to raise just short of 30 billion kroner on car taxes in 2016, while the Tax Ministry estimates that treating electric cars like their fossil-fuel equivalents will add 450 million kroner a year in revenue.



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

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


11 October, 2015

Introduction to a Warmist mind

I have long pointed out that the Green/Left are hate driven.  They just hate the people around them.  The Left want to pull down the rich, not lift up the poor and the Greenies care, not about the environment, but disrupting the lives of as many people as possible.  The following comment appeared on Marc Morano's site on Oct 9th. It must be just about as good an example of a hate-driven message as one could imagine. The Green/Left are very troubled souls

From: Anonymous
Message: Do you know that you're going to hell? Do you also still believe the world is flat?  How about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny?  Sasquatch?  Sir, you are nothing but a lying pig.  A very privileged pig.  A horribly disgusting pig.  Selling out the children of the world for your greed and for the sake of the wealthiest 1% of the population who line your pocket makes you a pig.  It also makes you corrupt.  It also makes you, yes, evil.  Ever heard of Satan?  Don't believe, huh? That don't matter, cuz you still gonna burn, man.  BUUURRRRRNNNN.  If there was ever a FUCK who deserved being rammed in the ass by him, it's you.  Enjoy your afterlife, and don't forget the sunscreen.  Wouldn't want you to get burned, would we?

Major coral bleaching crisis spreads worldwide (?)

This utter bulldust is typical of SETH BORENSTEIN  -- though he appears to have been suckered by NOAA operatives.  Warm water is NOT bad for corals.  They are in fact at their most vigorous and diverse in very warm seas like the Torres strait -- which is not far from the equator (at 10.5 degrees South;  Hawaii is 21 degrees North). The warmer the water, the happier the coral. A warmer world would have MORE coral. Periodic bleaching does occur but it is not well understood.  All we know is that corals always bounce back from it fairly rapidly.  You can drop a hydrogen bomb on coral and it will recover. It did at Bikini Atoll

The bleaching of colorful coral is spreading into a worldwide, devastating crisis, scientists say, and they predict it will likely get worse.

Triggered by global warming and the El Nino, record hot ocean water is causing fragile coral to go white and often die, threatening picturesque reefs that are hotspots of marine life, experts say.

The spread of sickly white started more than a year ago in Guam, then devastated Hawaii, infected the rest of the tropical Pacific and the Indian oceans and has now infested Florida and the Caribbean. On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and international reef scientists pronounced it a global coral bleaching event, only the third in recorded history.

No place with coral has been spared, though some regions — such as Hawaii — have been hit harder than others, experts said. Excessive heat stresses the living coral, which turns white and then becomes vulnerable to disease.

"We may be looking at losing somewhere in the range of 10 to 20 percent of the coral reefs this year," NOAA coral reef watch coordinator Mark Eakin said. "The bad news for the U.S. is we're getting hit disproportionately just because of the pattern of the warming."

He called bleaching a crisis, especially with worsening global warming forecast for the rest of the century: "If that's not a crisis, what is?"

Eakin said he's especially concerned about Hawaii, which already suffered through bad bleaching in 2014.

"Hawaii is getting hit with the worst coral bleaching they have ever seen, right now," Eakin said. "It's severe. It's extensive. And it's on all the islands."

In one part of northwestern Hawaii, "the reef just completely bleached and all of the coral is dead and covered with scuzzy algae."

Florida started getting hit in August. The middle Florida Keys aren't too bad, but in southeast Florida, bleaching has combined with disease to kill corals, Eakin said. It has also hit Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic and is about to hit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, he said.

Warm water causes bleaching and ocean temperatures are at record high levels, partly because of steady manmade global warming and partly because of the El Nino, which is an occasional warming of the central Pacific that changes weather worldwide, Eakin said. Add to that Hawaii's "blob," a pool of warm water that has stagnated in the northeast Pacific.

The last super El Nino, in 1997-1998, was the first global bleaching event. A smaller El Nino in 2009-2010 was the second.

So far the 1998 bleaching was worse, but that was the second year of an El Nino and we're in the first of two years now, Eakin said.


The Sierra Club Responded To Getting Schooled By Ted Cruz On Global Warming, And They’re Still Wrong

The Sierra Club’s president got schooled on global warming science by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz during a Tuesday congressional hearing, and after being left dumbstruck on live television the environmental activist finally issued a response to Cruz’s questions.

The Sierra Club’s response, however, still doesn’t answer Cruz’s questions about the 18-year “pause” in global warming. In fact, the Club does need to issue a retraction because Cruz was correct that satellites show there’s been no significant warming for nearly two decades.

“There’s an old lawyerly adage that ‘if you don’t have the law on your side, argue the facts. If you don’t have the facts on your side, pound the table,’” Sierra Club President Aaron Mair said in a video response to Cruz. “You did a very good job pounding the table this week.”

At a Tuesday hearing on how government regulations harm minorities, Cruz asked Mair if he would issue a retraction “if the data are contrary to your testimony.” Cruz then pressed Mair on satellite data which shows there’s been no statistically significant warming for the last 18 years.

Mair did not know how to answer Cruz’s question on the “pause,” instead saying “[w]e concur with 97 percent of the scientists that believe the anthropogenic impact of mankind with regards to global warming are true.” When Cruz pressed in, Mair just went silent, and there was no “table-pounding” by the senator.

Two days later, the Sierra Club issued a video response to Cruz’s questions. In the video, Mair said Cruz’s “pause” argument was debunked by (despite Mair not even knowing what Cruz was talking about two days before) and the eco-activists listed off other points he thought rebutted the senator.

“0: The number of accurate data points you shared when attempting to claim that the climate wasn’t changing,” Mair said, citing data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that “average global temperatures have been steadily rising for the last three decades.”

“97%: The percentage of scientists who agree that the climate is changing and that human activity is the cause,” Mair added. “2015: expected to be the hottest ever recorded.”

Mair went on to cite other numbers about how air pollution affects minority communities across the country — numbers which had nothing to do with Cruz’s question about the prolonged “pause” in warming.

While the Sierra Club presents a lot of data (some of which has been previously debunked), the group still did not answer Cruz’s question about the “pause” in warming. Indeed, the group may still have no idea what the Republican presidential candidate is talking about.

So, what was Cruz talking about?

He’s talking about how satellite temperature data shows there’s been nearly 19 years without any statistically significant global warming. Remote Sensing Systems satellite data shows there has been no warming for 224 months straight, equaling some 18 years and eight months.

Cruz has routinely used satellite data to counter critics of his opposition to regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions from man-made sources, like power plants.

Satellites measure the lowest few miles of the atmosphere as opposed to weather stations, ships and buoys which measure surface temperatures over the land and sea. It’s the latter that most climate scientists and environmentalists rely on to sound the alarm on man-made global warming as it shows the most drastic warming trend of the two types of data.

But there’s a lot of disagreement between the surface temperature data sets, differences which were amplified earlier this year by a NOAA study attempting to erase the “pause” from the surface temperature record.

Satellite data from the University of Alabama, Huntsville shows the warming”pause” is actually in its 22nd year — several year longer than Cruz asserted.


"1,000 year" flood was no such thing

Dr. Robert Holmes, USGS National Flood Hazard Coordinator, takes some time to discuss and answer some hot issues related to the flooding in South Carolina

Is this flooding in South Carolina truly a 1000-year flood?

While this certainly was a catastrophic flood with lots of damage and tragic loss of life, USGS provisional data and preliminary analysis show NO indication that a 1000-year flood discharge occurred at any USGS streamgages. However, based on that analysis, it does appear that the USGS streamgage on the Black River at Kingstree, SC and the one on the Smith Branch at Columbia, SC both measured peak floods in the neighborhood of a 500-year flood.

Currently, there appear to be a few more streamgages experiencing a 25-year to 50-year flood, but the majority of USGS streamgages had flood peaks that were less than 10-year floods. USGS will have more accurate estimates of the flood probabilities out in the coming months, as the engineers and scientists in South Carolina take time to do more careful analysis of the statistics.

The provisional peak flood flow that USGS measured for the Congaree River in Columbia was 185,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Sunday, October 4, 2015. The maximum recorded in history was 364,000 cfs in 1908, which is almost double what was experienced in this current flood.

In the 1930s, though, reservoirs were built in certain parts of the Congaree watershed upstream of Columbia, which makes a flood of 364,000 cfs unlikely. However, even in the 75 years since the construction of those reservoirs, there have been floods that approach the 2015 flood. For example, in 1964 the peak discharge was 142,000 cfs, and in 1977 the peak discharge was 155,000 cfs.

So, if only the data from last 75 years are considered, this flood is the largest in that period, but not four times the historic maximum.

When USGS uses terminology like “1000-year flood,” it means that, statistically speaking, a flood of that magnitude (or greater) has a 1 in 1000 chance in any given year. In terms of probability, the 1000-year flood has a 0.1% chance of happening in any given year. One must keep in mind a 1000-year flood value is a statistical value based on observed data.

Although the USGS streamgage data in South Carolina does not seem to indicate a 1000 year flood, the amount of rainfall that fell over a 2 to 3 day period (greater than 16 to 20 inches in some locations) had, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a statistical probability of occurrence of 0.1% or 1 in 1000 chance.

So, rather than someone saying this was a 1000-year flood, it is more accurate to say that “statistically speaking”, the rainfall that fell was a 1000-year rain storm, although it did not result in a 1000-year flood.

It comes down to a number of factors, including the pattern of movement of the rain storm in each particular watershed, the conditions of the soil and plant matter on the ground in the watershed, and the timing of rain storm in one watershed versus other watersheds, among other things. An example would be that ground that is saturated before 1 inch of rain fell would result in more water going into the stream that if the ground was dry and could soak up more of the rain. Also, less water will runoff into streams from 1 inch of rain falling in the summer with the trees full of leaves versus the winter when there are no leaves to intercept the rain. This is all the science of hydrology, which is the study of the movement and distribution of water on the earth. Of course, in South Carolina, many of the watersheds have streams that are regulated by dams.

Is this flood due to climate change?

USGS research has shown no linkage between flooding (either increases or decreases) and the increase in greenhouse gases. Essentially, from USGS long-term streamgage data for sites across the country with no regulation or other changes to the watershed that could influence the streamflow, the data shows no systematic increases in flooding through time.

A much bigger impact on flooding, though, is land use change. Without proper mitigation, urbanization of watersheds increases flooding. Moreover, encroachment into the floodplain by homes and businesses leads to greater economic losses and potential loss of life, with more encroachment leading to greater losses.


THE WORLD is not heating up, some areas are actually getting colder and the volume of polar ice caps is INCREASING in some places, a leading geologist has claimed

Warmists are just cherrypicking bits from a widely varying system

A geogologist has made claims that goes against the typical global warming thinking. James Kamis suggests "conflicting temperature trends" between oceans and the Earth's atmosphere could dispel the "myth" of man-made global warming.

Put simply, he says our atmospheric temperature has remained static for more than 18 years, the Atlantic has got colder, and it is only the Pacific Ocean where things have heated up.

Mr Kamis said: "Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and many universities are at a loss to explain recent conflicting temperature trends from Earth’s oceans and atmosphere."

"It can be boiled down to this: temperatures of the Earth’s three big fluid systems are each trending in different directions. The temperature of the Pacific Ocean is rising, the temperature of the atmosphere has remained constant, and the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean is cooling."

He said the temperature variances do not fit previous climate model predictions.

He added: "Climate scientists favoring the theory of man-made global warming are flooding the media with new, and this time supposedly very reliable, explanations that are generated from their latest super-computer climate models."
Related articles

Opposing scientists claim global warming has melted the Greenland ice cap at an alarming rate to the point that freshly melted ice flowing into the Atlantic is lowering the seawater temperature there.

However, Mr Kamistol said that with no significant atmospheric temperature change in 18.7 years, global warming is not likely to be the cause of the melting.

He added: "The entire Atlantic Ocean is cooling, and not just in the northern portion of the Atlantic that is adjacent to Greenland. "This strongly suggests that outflow of summertime Greenland ice cap melt water into the northern portion of the Atlantic Ocean is not the primary driving force behind cooling the entire Atlantic Ocean.

"Recent research from NASA’s Operation Ice Bridge clearly shows that Greenland's ice mass loss is only occurring in areas immediately adjacent to the ocean. "This perimeter-based ice loss is greatest in areas where the ice cap overlays known deep geological fault zones that are emitting geothermal heat onto the base of the ice cap. "The interior portions of the Greenland Ice Cap are in ice mass balance.

"The extent of Arctic Ocean sea ice has increased the last three years, and not decreased as predicted.  "The Antarctic Ice Cap extent has increased steadily for thirty five years, and not decreased as predicted."

He believes melting of the Greenland Ice cap to be caused by heat from ancient volcanic eruptions and geothermal heat flow from below the surface.

He told Climate Change Dispatch: "Many noted and well-intentioned climate scientists and universities are now starting to publicly admit that overwhelming amounts of new research indicates that the theory of man-made global warming does not properly explain many observed climate trends. "Reason dictates that a more balanced approach to studying climate trends is needed."


Just What We Need: A Climate Alarmist Czar

With Barack Obama’s remaining months in office dwindling, his focus is squarely on Paris, where representatives from around the globe will meet in late November and early December to negotiate a climate accord at COP21, the UN’s much-heralded climate summit.

Last year was erroneously declared the world’s warmest yet, and 2015 is expected to follow suit thanks to an evolving El Nino. The result is a perfect culmination of rhetorical ammo heading into the summit, and it represents the UN’s best shot yet of finalizing a deal.

But regardless of what happens in Paris, Democrats face obstacles in Congress and at the state level, where Republicans will do their best to derail any agreement. Obama is hoping to change that with a little swindle from his friends. The New York Times reports, “[T]he White House has appointed Thomas Reynolds, a top communications strategist at the Environmental Protection Agency and a seasoned political operative, to a new position dedicated solely to messaging Mr. Obama’s global warming agenda.”

The two aren’t strangers, either. In fact, Reynolds helped Obama get re-elected, so the move is probably a “thank you” reward, much like appointing a major donor to an ambassadorship.

But there’s another peculiar aspect to the Times report: “While Mr. Reynolds’s public relations campaigns elevated the issue of climate change, they sometimes got him into hot water. In trying to build public support for a new clean water regulation, Mr. Reynolds created a Twitter campaign urging people to speak out in favor of the rule.

But some legal experts have contended that campaign might have tested the limits of federal lobbying laws, which prohibit a government agency from engaging in grass-roots lobbying for proposed policies or legislation.”

So he’s been hired by Obama instead, where he’s shielded from possible ethics violations. It’s shrewd, cynical politics at its worst, and it helps explain why our government is so corrupt.



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

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


9 October, 2015

The latest "threat" from global warming: low birth weight

These "threats" seem to emerge almost daily.  There must be thousands by now.  There seems to be no bad thing that is not caused by global warming.

And the study below is typical.  The authors had in fact NO information on global warming at all. What they found   was that babies born in the hotter parts of Africa had lower birth weights than babies born in cooler parts of Africa. That's it! That's all they found. They tried to make it more complicated than that but that's what the report below boils down to.

So, boring though it is, I once again have to mention the first thing you learn in Statistics 101:  Correlation is not causation.

What else do we know about the hotter parts of Africa?  One thing could be greater parasite load.  It could be the greater parasite load rather than the temperature that produced the effect.  But it could be many things.  That's the point of the "Correlation is causation" fallacy.  Correlation can produce NO knowledge about causes.  The cause could always be somewhere outside the variables considered

In a first-of-a-kind study, scientists from the University of Utah spent two years examining the relationships between fetal development and pregnant women’s exposure to low precipitation and very hot days. The research, which looked at data from 19 African countries, found that reduced rainfall and high heat resulted in newborns who weighed less than 2,500 grams, or about 5.5 pounds.

“In the very early stages of intra-uterine development, climate change has the potential to significantly impact birth outcomes,” said Kathryn Grace, assistant professor of geography at the university and lead author of the study, which appeared in Global Environmental Change. “While the severity of that impact depends on where the pregnant woman lives, in this case the developing world, we can see the potential for similar outcomes everywhere,” including in the United States.

“Women who are pregnant are more sensitive to heat stress, dehydration, etc.,” although access to air conditioners in this country “would likely reduce the exposure and the stress,” she said.

Low birth weight already is a major global public health problem, associated with a number of both short- and long-term consequences, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO estimates that up to 20 percent of all births worldwide are low birth weight, representing more than 20 million births annually.

Low birth weight infants face the potential of multiple health issues, including infections, respiratory distress, heart problems, jaundice, anemia, and chronic lung conditions. Later in life, they are at increased risk for developmental and learning disorders, such as hyperactivity and cognitive deficits.
Because of this reliance on rainfall, this makes these communities particularly sensitive to climate change

As a result, the cost of caring for these infants can be considerable — newborn intensive care unit stays, for example — posing a significant financial burden in developing countries where such services are not always available, and where societies often stigmatize physical disabilities.

“For so long, scientists and researchers have not studied the uterine environment and the quality of life of pregnant women in detail, so thinking about these things in the developing world is a fairly new facet of maternal/child health studies,” Grace said.

The developing world, and many communities throughout Africa, are dependent on rainfall for agriculture, making them especially susceptible to the impacts of climate change, she said.

“People have to grow their own food a lot of the time, to sell or to eat, and they are often reliant on rainfall with only very limited access to irrigation technologies,” Grace said. “This dependence and vulnerability is especially important for poor people because they don’t have the food stores or financial savings to cope with a failed rainy season. Because of this reliance on rainfall, this makes these communities particularly sensitive to climate change.”

This also may have an influence on water quality.

“If there’s less precipitation and more dryness, are women reliant on less clean water sources?” Grace said. “Are they drinking enough if water is scarce? We don’t know the answer to these questions but staying hydrated during pregnancy is extremely important for the placenta and the developing neonate.”

The research team included Heidi Hanson, from the university’s family and preventative medicine department; Frank Davenport and Shraddhanand Shukla, of the University of California at Santa Barbara’s climate hazards group; and Christopher Funk of the U.S. Geological Survey and the climate hazards group.

In 2013, they merged health data from Demographic and Health Surveys, part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with growing season data, and with temperature and rainfall data from a variety of sources.

Also, they collected information on growing and livelihood from USAID’s Famine Early Warning System, and precipitation data from the climate hazards group, the first time scientists have used fine-resolution precipitation and temperature data with birth statistics to determine whether and how climate affects birth weight.

The researchers examined nearly 70,000 births between 1986 and 2010, and coordinated them with seasonal rainfall and air temperatures, factoring in information about the mother and her household, such as education and whether the dwelling had electricity.

The team then calculated the average rainfall for a given month within 10 kilometers of the infant’s birth location, gathering data for each month up to one year before the baby was born, summing the values over each trimester. They did the same with temperature records, including the number of days in each birth month when the temperature exceeded 105F and 100F as the maximum daily temperature, again summing up the values over trimesters.

The researchers found that an increase of hot days higher than 100F during any trimester corresponded to a decrease in birth weight; just one such extra day during the second trimester matched a 0.9g weight drop. This same result held with an even larger effect when the temperature rose to 105 F.

Conversely, higher rainfall during any trimester was associated with larger birth weights. On average, a 10 mm rise in rain during a particular trimester corresponded to an increase of about 0.3 to 0.5 grams.

The scientists did not specifically look at the effects of high precipitation. “Mostly we looked at average precipitation,” Grace said. “Future work could be to look at high precipitation after we identified a causal link — maybe water borne illnesses are spread or food production fails as a result of flooding?

“Another thing to consider is that our sickest and or most stressed women may not survive their pregnancies or their pregnancies may end in still birth or in miscarriage,” she added. “Unfortunately, given the type of data that we have here and the stigma associated with infant and pregnancy loss, we do not have great information on these outcomes. This is definitely an area of study that I plan to pursue in the future.”


Total ignorance from the Sierra club

Sierra Club President Aaron Mair has a deep voice but a remarkably empty head.  All he could do is deny the accepted evidence when Senator Ted Cruz tested his global warming certainties. It is astonishing how little he knows and how much help he needs from staff. Warmists really are not comfortable in debates, as we have often noticed.  Clearly, however, Mair is an affirmative action appointee.  I wonder if the Sierra Club are still happy about that in the light of the debacle below.  Do they stand behind his totally uninformed and wrong comments?  They invite ridicule if they do

Texas senator and Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz questioned Sierra Club President Aaron Mair in a contentious testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday.

But on one question in particular, Mair would not deviate from his rehearsed answer.

When asked about the 18 year pause in global warming, as documented by satellite data, Mr. Mair denied it exists. “So if the data are contrary to your testimony, would the Sierra Club issue a retraction?” Cruz asked.

“Sir, we concur with the 97 percent scientific consensus with regards to global warming,” Mair responded.

When Senator Cruz pressed the environmentalist on whether he would change his testimony should the Sierra Club obtain the publicly available data showing the “pause,” Mair would only respond, “We concur with 97 percent of the scientists that believe the anthropogenic impact of mankind with regards to global warming are true.”

Cruz then asked again if Mair was unwilling to answer the question. The Sierra Club chief replied, “We concur with the preponderance of the evidence — you’re asking me if we’ll take 3 percent over the 97 percent? Of course not.”

After a repeated back-and-forth, an exasperated Cruz concluded, “You know, Mr. Mair, I find it striking that for a policy organization that purports to focus exclusively on environmental issues, that you are not willing to tell this committee that you would issue a retraction if your testimony is objectively false under scientific data. That undermines the credibility of any organization.”


The IPCC’s Legion of Hacks and Dunces

As climateers turn their gaze toward Paris, what the warmist media won't be reporting is just how poorly qualified and error-prone many of them are. That's no mere sceptic's complaint, by the way, but the honest verdict of their fellow scientists

The basis for the Paris climate talks in December is “the science” produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The science must be good because it’s coming from the world’s top climate-type scientists,[1]  or so the story goes.

Well, the story is guff.

The IPCC scientists aren’t the best available, far from it. They’re a motley crew assembled via a typical United Nations boondoggle that stacks the scientific ranks with heavy quotas for Third Worlders, along with special consideration for females. The IPCC rules explain that the IPCC hierarchy “shall reflect balanced geographical representation with due consideration for scientific and technical requirements.”

The senior scientists draft the all-important Summaries for Policymakers (SPMs), as distinct from their thousands of back-up pages of science studies. Then politicians and bureaucrats, not the scientists, sculpt the wording on the final drafts, including the Synthesis Report.

In IPCC-Orwell speak: “The endorsement process is based on a dialogue between those who will use the report – the governments — and those who write it – the scientists.” The stenographers of the mainstream media ignore this, receiving the summary kits and chorusing, “The Science has spoken.”[2] The best example of  Summaries’ propaganda   is that, while their 2013 forecasting of CO2 doom is climate-model based, no Summary includes the all-important admission from Working Group 1’s body text: that 111 of 114 model runs had over-forecasted actual temperature rises from 1998-2012.

It’s a good time for some forensic work on the  IPCC processes. This very week (Oct 5-8) in Dubrovnik, IPCC members from 195 countries will vote for a new leadership cadre. The top man right now is Ismail El Gizouli, who has been serving in an acting capacity since the chair, Rajendra Pachauri, quit abruptly last February after police laid a fistful of sex-harassment charges against him. Gizouli hails from benighted Sudan, no exemplar of scientific advances but a classic outcome of the above-mentioned UN boondoggle intended to give Third Worlders a share of the climate spoils.

The five contenders[4] for Pachauri’s job have now been joined by a sixth, Ogunlade Davidson, from that citadel of climate-science expertise, Sierra Leone.[5]

My interest particularly is in the elections for the vice-chairs of Working Group 11 (WG2) — Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability. There’s now a retiring Australian vice-chair, Dr Neville Smith, and a  new Australian candidate, Dr Mark Howden.[6]

WG2, sadly,  does not have a good pedigree. The InterAcademy Council’s audit of the IPCC in 2010 singled out the WG2’s 2007  Summary  as containing

"many vague statements of ‘high confidence’ that are not supported sufficiently in the literature, not put into perspective, or are difficult to refute. The Committee believes that it is not appropriate to assign probabilities to such statements".

It also said many of 71 WG2 conclusions about “Future Impacts” of climate change were imprecise and unworthy of WG2’s purported “high confidence”.[7]

Looking closely at this WG2 election brings the guff elements of the IPCC into clearer focus.

Dr Smith is Deputy Director (Research and Systems) at the audit-free Bureau of Meteorology. Like all the other IPCC bigwigs, he is yet to get his head around the 18 years and 8 months halt to global warming measured by the satellites. He  also has   illusions about   the primacy of scientists within the IPCC, relative to politicians and apparatchiks. He told a warm-up meeting about the 5th report in 2012:

"In the IPCC  it is the science and the scientists that rule. I knew that before I got into it but it is certainly evident now, having been inside the bureau for four years."

The sheltered Dr Smith apparently has never heard of the protracted cleansing process that sees government delegates of the UN member states, in secret sessions,[8] go over the scientists’ draft Summaries for Policymakers line by line and word by word. A reasonable analogy would be a cloud of seagulls descending on the scientists’ packet of chips.   The cleansing, massaging and deleting continues   until every bureaucrat, diplomat  and politician is in agreement about things like the required apocalyptic tone.

Pachauri, IPCC chair for the 4th and 5th reports, even admitted that “we necessarily have to ensure that the underlying report conforms to the refinements.” In other words, they make the “science” fit the political summary, not the other way around.

Who better than Harvard’s Professor Robert Stavins, a coordinating lead author in Working Group 111’s 2013 Report, and by no stretch a sceptic, to debate Dr Smith’s claim is about “the rule of science” in the IPCC?

Stavins wrote that several coordinating lead authors told him the 33-page summary approved line by line by governments should be called “the Summary BY Policymakers” not “FOR Policymakers”. He complained formally to WG 111 co-chair Ottmar Edenhofer[9] (and he copied-in chair Pachauri), that governments had “fundamentally revised or rejected” parts of the Summary over a grueling five-day-and-night session:

"As the week progressed, I was surprised by the degree to which governments felt free to recommend and sometimes insist on detailed changes to the   [Summary]  text on purely political, as opposed to scientific bases…(G)overnment representatives worked to suppress text that might jeopardize their negotiating stances in international negotiations…

I fully understand that the government representatives were seeking to meet their own responsibilities toward their respective governments by upholding their countries’ interests, but in some cases this turned out to be problematic for the scientific integrity of the IPCC Summary for Policymakers. 

To ask these experienced UNFCCC negotiators to approve text that critically assessed the scholarly literature on which they themselves are the interested parties, created an irreconcilable conflict of interest…"

Over the course of the two hours of the contact group deliberations, it became clear that the only way the assembled government representatives would approve text for SPM.5.2 was essentially to remove all ‘controversial’ text (that is, text that was uncomfortable for any one individual government), which meant deleting almost 75% of the text.

In more than one instance, specific examples or sentences were removed at the will of only one or two countries, because under IPCC rules, the dissent of one country is sufficient to grind the entire approval process to a halt unless and until that country can be appeased…

 The process the IPCC followed resulted in a process that built political credibility by sacrificing scientific integrity."

The IPCC fourth report (2007) was no different.   As one participant described it[10],

"This [approval process of the Summary] was an agonizing, frustrating process, as every sentence had to be wordsmithed on a screen in front of representatives of more than 100 governments, falling farther and farther beyond a realistic schedule by the hour."

Thus Dr Smith’s dictum about the “rule of science” at the IPCC is on a par with Pachauri’s past claims  that all IPCC material was peer-reviewed (In the 4th Report, DONNA Laframboise found 5,587  citations were to non-peer-reviewed items, ranging from government reports to Greenpeace tracts and even press releases). Dr Smith’s would-be replacement on WG11 is Dr Mark Howden, sponsored a month ago by Greg Hunt’s Ministry for the Environment. Howden’s day job is Interim Director at the ANU Climate Change Institute, run by climate hard man Will Steffen.

This sponsoring letter was signed by Environment assistant secretary Rob Sturgiss, who’s on the IPCC “inventories” task force and is himself standing for re-election. Sturgiss tells the 195-country voting community that he’s “passionate about promoting the role of the IPCC in the development of national greenhouse gas emissions inventory reporting frameworks.” This passion-creating   counting exercise  is a bit tricky – only last month,  a Yale study discovered there are 3 trillion CO2-sucking trees on the planet, eight times more than previously estimated. That’s some margin of error!

Getting back to Dr Howden, what are his chances in the election? As it happens, he’s designated as part of the SW Pacific region, comprising 22 countries (half of them hopelessly aid-dependent island states). Six of the eight vice-chairs[11] have to be from a different region — Africa, South America, Europe etc. The SW Pacific slot (including Australia) is being contested by only one other candidate, Professor Joy Jacqueline Pereira from Malaysia. The loser would struggle against global  competition to get one of the spare two slots.

Howden’s CV is stronger by a mile (about 400 publications vs Pereira’s 120), and he’s been milling around the IPCC circuit since 1992 (Pereira contributed only to 2014?s 5th report).  But Pereira is female and the IPCC likes a bit of affirmative action: “Consideration should also be given to promoting gender balance.”


New EPA Regulation Causes Concern Even Among Democrats

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced last week it was toughening the country’s rules for ground-level ozone—what’s commonly known as smog, which comes from sources such as tailpipes and smokestacks—it caught flak from environmental groups and business officials.

But when all is said and done, the people most affected financially figure to be everyday Americans, who will almost certainly pay higher prices in their utility bills and the products they buy.

“They’re going to pay more for everything that’s made in the United States, if those things continue to be made in the United States,” said Dan Kish, senior energy and regulatory policy expert at Institute for Energy Research.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy made the long awaited ozone announcement early Thursday afternoon, deciding to lower the amount of ozone in the air from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion.

“If someone tells you your life will change because of this, I will say it will only change for the better,” McCarthy said in a conference call with energy and environmental reporters.

Even though many came into Thursday’s announcement expecting the EPA to set a standard of 65 ppb, business groups still said the regulation will result in more burdensome and expensive changes.

On the opposite spectrum, environmental and health groups complained that the EPA should have strengthened the standard to 60 ppb.

“We know that this regulation could have been worse, but it still feels like a punch in the gut,” said Tom Riordan, CEO and president of a metals-manufacturing company based in Wisconsin that has about 2,100 employees. “Manufacturers are tough and resilient but when Washington puts politics above job creation, we still pay a price.”

“This weak-kneed action leaves children, seniors and asthmatics without the protection doctors say they need from this dangerous pollutant,” said David Baron, managing attorney for the environmental group Earthjustice.

How much will the new rule cost the average American? Business groups insist that the new regulation will be remarkably expensive.

The National Association of Manufacturers released a study in February claiming updated rules will cost the U.S. economy $1.7 trillion between 2017 and 2040. Another study compiled by NERA Economic Consulting at the request of the manufacturing group estimated that reducing ozone regulations to 65 ppb would cost the average household $830 a year.

McCarthy has dismissed those numbers as exaggerated and on Thursday said, “The National Association of Manufacturers has said a lot of things in the last 30 years … I am not looking at what other people are saying.”

The EPA has emphasized its own studies, which reported that ground-level ozone regulations at 70 ppb translate into numerous public health benefits—reducing the number of sick days and emergency room visits, for example—that would save $6.4 billion-$13 billion per year by 2025. But at the same time, when the rules were first proposed late last year, the EPA acknowledged a compliance cost of close to $3.9 billion a year by 2025.

“Obviously, this is going to cost a lot,” said Kish of IER, a group that looks to address energy and environmental issues with free-market solutions and opposed toughening the ozone standards. “If communities fail to be in compliance with this, EPA is in position to begin not allowing permits. If a factory wants to be built, they can say, ‘Sorry, we can’t give you any permits because you happen to be out of compliance.’”

A big reason for the expense? Stricter ozone regulations means factories and power plants have to install scrubbers and other technologies on smokestacks to reduce the chemicals put into the air. Scrubbers can cost tens of millions of dollars, and each degree that the ozone standard is lowered, the costs pile up.

But McCarthy said she’s confident the new rule will not be overly burdensome, and the agency “is giving states plenty of time” to meet the standard by 2025.

“The science clearly tells us that 75 ppb is not adequately protecting public health,” McCarthy said.

As for predictions that large numbers of counties across the country won’t be able to meet the goals, McCarthy said, “We can’t tell you the number exactly, but we’ve looked at modeling this issue.”

She added that EPA projections say just 14 counties outside of California will be out of attainment by 2025.

“Ultimately, the existing level of 75 [ppb] was adequate,” Kish said. “Some communities haven’t even met the 75 limit. One of the things elected officials around the country have said is, why not wait until we meet the existing limit, which we’ve been working hard on?”

George Heartwell, the mayor of Grand Rapids, Michigan, appeared on the conference call with McCarthy in support of lowering the ozone level to 70 ppb.

“I’m confident in the time allowed in this new rule we’ll be able to meet the new standard,” Heartwell said. “I strongly believe the crisis of global warming and its effects on the environment provide us with moral imperatives. We must be good stewards.”

But other elected officials have pushed back at the EPA—even those who are usually supportive of the Obama administration.

Last month, Colorado’s top two Democrats—Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet—said they were “deeply concerned” whether the Rocky Mountain State could afford to make the changes needed and echoed complaints from other high-altitude states such as New Mexico that stricter ozone standards hurt them more than states closer to sea level.

“Because of pollution that’s coming in from other Western states, from across the globe, from across wildfires in the West, we have significant parts of our state that would be non-attainment zones from the very beginning of the law,” Bennet said. “That doesn’t make any sense, it’s not going to work.”

“These are always difficult decisions,” McCarthy said. “What the Clean Air Act tells me to do is to make my best judgment based on the science … It should be no less than what I need to do and no more. In the end it’s a judgment call by the (EPA) administrator … I realized how serious this decision is. I did not base it on a popularity contest.”

When will the new rule go into effect? The EPA will designate areas in 2017. Those that don’t attain 70 ppb will have from 2020 to 2037 to meet the standard, with the deadlines varying based on the severity of their ozone pollution.

“For me, what does this mean for foregone investment?” Kish said. “People who might invest in something or want to expand something. It’s going to limit opportunities that would have otherwise been there. The hidden costs of this is often what’s hardest to determine but … they’re real, they’re palpable. People make business decisions based on this.”


Rolling back the tide of environmental overreach

By Marita Noon

The reason most often cited for the success of the nonpolitical candidates is the frustration with Washington; the sense that the system is broken. Voters feel that we have no control and that government has gone wild. Even people who don’t watch the news or closely follow politics are aware of the “overreach.” It seems that, perhaps, the messages the outsiders have been heralding on the trail has caught on.

Washington’s overreach has been rolled back — by courts and commissioners and, even, in response, the government itself. In little more than 30 days, there have been five distinct cases that you may have missed — each, a victory for responsible land use.

* Waters of the U.S. rule

First was WOTUS, or the Waters of the U.S. rule — which was scheduled for full implementation on, Friday, August 28. WOTUS attempted to greatly expand the federal government’s authority over water and land and could apply to ditches, streams, wetlands and small isolated bodies of water. Late on Thursday, August 27, U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson issued a temporary injunction sought by North Dakota and 12 other states. In his decision, Erickson wrote: “Once the rule takes effect, the states will lose their sovereignty over interstate waters that will then be subject to the scope of the Clean Water Act.” Calling the rule “arbitrary and capricious,” he declared that the EPA “violated its congressional grant of authority in its promulgation of the rule.”

Undaunted, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pushed back, stating that the rule only applied to the thirteen states that requested the injunction. For the remaining 37 states, the EPA is enforcing the regulation as planned. At least 10 lawsuits — including 29 states and 14 agricultural and industry organizations — have been filed in federal district court challenging the rule.

Constitutional and environmental law professor, Jonathan H. Adler, addressed WOTUS in the Washington Post, saying: “As a general matter (and as the Supreme Court has recognized) land-use control is generally beyond the scope of federal power. In this case, the district court concluded that the states were likely to succeed on the merits as the EPA had adopted an ‘exceptionally expansive’ view of its own jurisdiction under the CWA.”

Perhaps, as you’ll see, if the WOTUS deadline was a month later, the EPA may not have been so bold in its assertion that it would continue to enforce the rule. But, then again, this is the Obama EPA.

* Lesser Prairie Chicken

Once again, a federal agency has been acting “arbitrarily and capriciously.” This time, it is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). On September 2, U.S. District Judge Robert A. Junell overturned the Obama administration’s 2014 listing of the lesser prairie chicken (LPC) as a threatened species, which gave the bird protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and limited land use in five states.

Citing the “more than 180 oil and gas, pipeline, electric transmission and wind energy companies” that had enrolled in voluntary conservation plans, The Permian Basin Petroleum Association challenged the listing, as soon as it was finalized.

The FWS is required to consider the conservation plans. The court determined that FWS “did not properly consider active conservation efforts for the bird when listing it.” Junell wrote: “The Court finds FWS did conduct an analysis, however this analysis was neither ‘rigorous’ nor valid as FWS failed to consider important questions and material information necessary to make a proper evaluation.”

Addressing the LPC decision, The National Law Review, states: the “ruling raises important questions about the upcoming Service decision whether to list the greater sage-grouse under the ESA. A sage-grouse decision was due on September 30.

Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, sees that the FWS “has been illegally steam rolling states by their own secret rules.” He added: “The Obama administration has been merciless in its quest to list species — even when the science says otherwise.”

* Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

On September 30, another federal district court judge smacked down another federal agency — this time the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which, in March, issued federal fracking rules designed to spur states to follow suit (most energy-producing states already regulate fracking). BloombergBusiness states: “There are more than 100,000 wells on federal land making up 11 percent of the nation’s natural gas production and five percent of its oil.” The rule, if implemented and adopted by states, as hoped for by the administration, would magnify the impact, “potentially slowing development of oil and natural gas resources”     — which is likely the goal. As a result, BloombergBusiness adds, producers “would have faced higher costs at a time when profits already are strangled by low crude prices.”

In his 54-page decision, Wyoming’s U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl wrote: “Congress has not authorized or delegated the BLM authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing and, under our constitutional structure, it is only through congressional action that the BLM can acquire this authority.” He issued a preliminary injunction barring implementation of the rules, “finding that those suing had a good chance of winning their case and getting a permanent order barring enforcement.”

Different from the EPA’s arrogant decision to move forward with implementing WOTUS, a BLM spokeswoman, according to the Wall Street Journal, said: “While the matter is being resolved, the BLM will follow the Court’s order and will continue to process applications for permit to drill and inspect wells sites under its pre-existing regulations.”

Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs at Western Energy Alliance, a party to the lawsuit against the government, is overjoyed to finally be “getting relief from the courts regarding the regulatory overreach of the Obama administration.” She added: “We hope the BLM, EPA and other agencies that are rushing to implement even more regulations on the very businesses that create jobs will pause and actually follow the law and regulatory procedure.”

“The case will proceed to a final resolution,” BloombergBusiness reports, “probably early next year.”

* Wolf Reintroduction

Ranchers in and around New Mexico’s Gila Forest have been fighting the federal government’s plan to release “another dozen or so Mexican grey wolves.” Already, in the region, wolves since their introduction in 1998 have killed livestock, and children waiting for the school bus often do so in cages for protection. I’ve written on the sad tale several times.

On September 29, in a 7-0 vote, concerned about the impact to ranchers and elk hunters, the New Mexico Game Commission upheld an earlier decision denying the FWS permits to release Mexican wolves into federal land in southwestern New Mexico.

“Federal policy requires FWS to consult state agencies and comply with their permitting processes when releasing endangered animals from captivity,” Science Magazine reports, “even when releases are made on federal land.”

In June, according the Santa Fe New Mexican, “New Mexico Game and Fish Department Director Alexandra Sandoval rejected a federal permit for the Mexican wolf program because she said the FWS lacked a detailed plan to release up to ten captive wolves in the Gila National Forest, leaving her without enough information on what effects the predators would have on deer and elk populations.”

In response to the decision, Game Commissioner Elizabeth Ryan of Roswell, NM, said she and her colleagues could only overturn the director’s decision on the wolf permit if they found it “arbitrary and capricious.”

* Sage Grouse

This string of recent decisions may have been noticed by the Obama administration. On September 22, after years of debate, and after the LPC listing was overturned, Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the sage grouse would not be listed under ESA. The Washington Post reports that “the chicken-like grouse does not meet the required standard because a collaboration of federal agencies, states, ranchers, industry and environmental groups has already begun to restore areas where it breeds.” “According to state fish and game agencies,” Kent Holsinger, a Colorado attorney specializing in lands, wildlife and water law, told me: “sage grouse populations have risen 63 percent over the past two springs.”

An ESA listing would “significantly limit future development.”

The ESA, Brian Seasholes, director of the endangered species program at the Reason Foundation, states: “has a well-deserved reputation for putting severe restrictions on otherwise normal and legal forms of land and resource use, such as farming and energy development.” In an op-ed in The Hill, he adds: “When a species is listed under ESA, landowners can face steep fines, penalties and land use controls that can devalue their property.”

While environmental groups see the decision as a victory for “industry and its supporters,” others, such as Utah Governor Gary Herbert — who estimated Utah would lose more than $40 billion in economic production from oil and gas if the sage grouse were listed — are still not happy.

Rather than listing the sage grouse — which would likely be overturned in court — the DOI’s BLM has released a plan to implement more than 90 land use strategies. Herbert sees that the federal government rejected the successful sage-grouse conservation plan and says the land use plans that govern use of over 60 million acres of federal land “constitute the equivalent of a listing decision outside the normal process.” He calls the plans “a significant overreach by the federal government.” Bishop agrees: “Do not be fooled. The announcement not to list the sage-grouse is a cynical ploy… With the stroke of a pen, the Obama Administration’s oppressive land management plan is the same as a listing.” The land-use restrictions have been decried as “every bit as rigid as could be expected under ESA.”

While “the West’s sage-grouse worries are far from over,” I see that, when combined with the aforementioned stories, the unwarranted decision is still welcome news. Land-use plans will be easier to revise under a new administration than removing an ESA listing. But, more importantly, I view it as a recognition that big government overreach has reached its limits.

The good news about having so many reform-minded outsiders running for president is that they are like a band of crusaders spreading the message of big government overreach far and wide. That message is, apparently, being heard. Voters are, hopefully, ready for responsible land use. The tide is being rolled back.


Science-free regulation

Montgomery County became the country’s first major locality Tuesday to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides on private lawns, concluding that the time-honored right of suburbanites to maintain pristine green, weed-free yards was superseded by a body of scientific evidence linking the widely-used products to cancer.

After three hours of sometimes emotional debate, which included members recounting their own personal and family experiences with cancer, the County Council voted 6-to-3 to impose the ban on the chemicals--all deemed safe by the EPA when used appropriately--effective at the beginning of 2018. The measure excludes agricultural land, gardens and golf courses and does not prohibit the sale of lawn pesticides within the county.

Nor is there a specific enforcement provision in the law that empowers county inspectors to scrutinize homeowners’ lawns for pesticide content. Like many county regulations, it will depend on citizen complaints. But advocates discounted the lack of regulatory teeth and said the bill will serve as a valuable tool to educate residents on organic alternatives.

The council’s action puts the county on a very short list of jurisdictions that have passed similar bills: Takoma Park, Md. and Ogunquit, Maine, an oceanside community with a year-round population of about 1,300.

“I believe we are acting in the interests of public health today,” said Council President George Leventhal (D-At-Large), the bill’s chief sponsor, who introduced the measure nearly a year ago.

Opponents of the bill, including homeowners and the lawn care and chemical industries, protested what they called an unwarranted government intrusion into a traditional homeowner right.

“I think this is a case of politics trumping science and fact,” said Karen Reardon, vice president of public affairs for RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) a national trade association for pesticide manufacturers and distributors.

Leventhal had to make a major concession to achieve a winning margin, agreeing to exempt the county’s nearly 300 athletic playing fields after opposition from the soccer community and other sports enthusiasts. The bill does, however, establish a five-field pilot program using organic products. It tasks the county’s parks department to develop a plan to make all playing fields pesticide free by 2020.

The council’s two-thirds majority vote shields the measure from veto by County Executive Isiah Leggett. He voiced concerns Tuesday about several aspects of the bill, including language that appears to mandate pesticide-free playing fields by 2020 no matter what the pilot program shows.  “To me that’s troubling,” Leggett said.

The bill is a vivid example of the geographic divide in county politics, pitting a progressive, left-leaning south against more moderate areas in the center and north. Not coincidentally, three of the six votes in support of the bill came from council members who reside in Takoma Park: Marc Elrich (D-At-Large), Hans Riemer (D-At Large) and Leventhal. The southeastern Montgomery community was the center of a grassroots campaign to pass a countywide version of the bill.

Two of the bill’s three “no” votes come from the central and northern parts of the county, where many homeowners oppose the bill: Craig Rice (D-Germantown) and Sidney Katz (D-Gaithersburg).

Pesticide regulation is usually a federal and state responsibility. Earlier this year the council heard testimony from the Maryland and the federal EPA officials, who said pesticides are rigorously tested and safe when used appropriately.

But proponents argued that the government can’t be relied upon to protect citizens from toxins in the environment. They cited, among studies, a 2013 report by the Government Accountability Office and the Natural Resources Defense Council, that said thousands of pesticides were approved for use without being fully tested for hazards to human health.

Advocates said it was irresponsible to wait for scientists to establish a complete causal link between pesticides and cancer, contending that the record was clear enough. They pointed to a 2012 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics that said the data “demonstrates associations” between childhood pesticide exposure and cancer, along with decreased cognitive skills and other disorders. Yet the study stopped short of favoring a sweeping ban, saying that more research is needed.

That was the principal argument of Council member Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda) who unsuccessfully offered a substitute bill that exempted private land from the ban.

Berliner’s version of the legislation banned pesticides on county property, near daycare centers, playgrounds and waterways. But he contended that most county residents were unprepared for a sweeping ban.

“It would be like going from zero to sixty in a nanosecond,” said Berliner, a legislator with a strong environmental record who added that he “hated” voting against the bill.



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

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8 October, 2015

Global warming can alter shape of the planet, as melting glaciers erode the land (?)

Howzat for a big and dramatic heading? The article is however almost entirely speculation.  It is allegedly based on a recent research report about glacier-caused erosion but what did the research report actually find?  I quote: 

"We find that basin-averaged erosion rates vary by three orders of magnitude over this latitudinal transect"

That's it! All the rest is speculation.  Jo Nova also had some laughs at these drama queens.  See her comments at the link below

Climate change is causing more than just warmer oceans and erratic weather. According to scientists, it also has the capacity to alter the shape of the planet.

In a five-year study published today in Nature, lead author Michele Koppes, assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia, compared glaciers in Patagonia and in the Antarctic Peninsula. She and her team found that glaciers in warmer Patagonia moved faster and caused more erosion than those in Antarctica, as warmer temperatures and melting ice helped lubricate the bed of the glaciers.

“We found that glaciers erode 100 to 1,000 times faster in Patagonia than they do in Antarctica,” said Koppes. “Antarctica is warming up, and as it moves to temperatures above 0 degrees Celsius, the glaciers are all going to start moving faster. We are already seeing that the ice sheets are starting to move faster and should become more erosive, digging deeper valleys and shedding more sediment into the oceans.”

The repercussions of this erosion add to the already complex effects of climate change in the polar regions. Faster moving glaciers deposit more sediment in downstream basins and on the continental shelves, potentially impacting fisheries, dams and access to clean freshwater in mountain communities. “The polar continental margins in particular are hotspots of biodiversity,” notes Koppes. “If you’re pumping out that much more sediment into the water, you’re changing the aquatic habitat.”

The Canadian Arctic, one of the most rapidly warming regions of the world, will feel these effects acutely. With more than four degrees Celsius of warming over the last 50 years, the glaciers are on the brink of a major shift that will see them flowing up to 100 times faster if the climate shifts above zero degrees Celsius.

The findings by Koppes and coauthors also settle a scientific debate about when glaciers have the greatest impact on shaping landscapes and creating relief, suggesting that they do the most erosive work near the end of each cycle of glaciation, rather than at the peak of ice cover. The last major glacial cycles in the Vancouver region ended approximately 12,500 years ago.


BBC apologises for letting the truth slip out

The BBC has apologised for airing a half-hour radio show earlier this year in which a series of high-profile climate sceptics lined up to disparage the science behind global warming.

What’s the point of the Met Office, aired in August, did not make clear sceptics are a “minority voice, out of step with scientific consensus,” the corporation said in an email to climate scientist Andy Smedley.

“This was an unfortunate lapse for which we apologise and we would like to assure you we remain committed to covering all aspects of the subject in the most accurate and responsible way possible.”

Presented by Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts, the show featured Peter Lilley MP, Graham Stringer MP, forecaster Piers Corbyn and Andy Silvester from the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

All had previously questioned the veracity of climate science. They took the opportunity to mock the Met Office over its weather forecasting and climate modelling work.

In reply, the show featured a brief clip of Met Office head of communications Helen Chivers, which did not address the show’s critique of recent climate research.

The BBC said it had carried out an internal review and emphasised that the programme emerged from “an unusual combination of circumstances which we have now rectified”.


Joaquin Veers Offshore, Leaving Major Hurricane Drought Record Intact at 3,633 Days

Hurricane Joaquin, which reached Category 4 over the Bahamas on Thursday with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour, was downgraded to Category 1 on Monday after failing to make landfall in the U.S., leaving intact an historic record of 3,633 days without a major hurricane striking the U.S. mainland.

Hundreds of people had to be rescued after torrential rains lashed the Carolinas and caused major flooding over the weekend, but a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Columbia, S.C. told that “a nearly stationary low” pressure system was mostly responsible for funneling up to 20 inches of precipitation generated by Joaquin into the area as the hurricane veered offshore.

Joaquin’s failure to make landfall means that President Obama is still the longest-serving president to have no major hurricanes strike the U.S. during his term of office. The previous record was an eight-year hurricane drought in the 1860s, when Benjamin Harrison was president.

The last major hurricane to make landfall on the U.S. mainland was Hurricane Wilma, which came ashore on October 24, 2005 during one of the most active hurricane seasons in recorded history, according to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center.

According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which categorizes cyclones on a scale of 1 to 5, Category 1 and 2 hurricanes have wind speeds between 74 and 110 miles per hour.

Major storms are classified as Category 3 or above if they have sustained wind speeds of more than 111 mph and are capable of causing “devastating” or “catastrophic” damage.

Four hurricanes have made landfall in the U.S. since Obama assumed the presidency in 2009, none of them classified as a Category 3 or above: Irene in 2011 (Category 1); Isaac and Sandy in 2012 (both Category 1); and Arthur in 2014 (Category 2).

However, meteorologists at NOAA point out that even Category 1 and 2 hurricanes are capable of causing death and widespread destruction.

Although Hurricane Sandy was downgraded to a Category 1 before it hit heavily populated coastal areas in New York and New Jersey on Oct. 29, 2012, it generated widespread flooding, causing the second highest property damage ($68 billion) in U.S. history after Katrina, according to AccuWeather.

Sandy was also responsible for 117 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). “Drowning was the most common cause of death, and 45% of drowning deaths occurred in flooded homes in Evacuation Zone A,” a CDC report stated.

Katrina, which reached Category 5 strength with peak sustained winds of 175 mph, weakened to a Category 3 storm before making its second landfall in southeast Louisiana on Aug. 29, 2005.

“Hurricane Katrina was responsible for 1,833 fatalities and approximately $108 billion in damage,” making it the costliest and one of the five deadliest hurricanes to ever hit the United States, according to NOAA.


For Sustainable Energy, Choose Nuclear

By S. Fred Singer

Many believe that wind and solar energy are essential, when the world “runs out” of non-renewable fossil fuels. They also believe that wind and solar are unique in providing energy that’s carbon-free, inexhaustible, and essentially without cost. However, a closer look shows that all three special features are based on illusions and wishful thinking. Nuclear may be the preferred energy source for the long-range future, but it is being downgraded politically.

Fossil fuels, coal, oil, and natural gas, are really solar energy stored up over millions of years of geologic history. Discovery and exploitation of these fuels has made possible the Industrial Revolution of the past three centuries, with huge advances in the living standard of an exploding global population, and advances in science that have led to the development of sustainable, non-fossil-based sources of energy—assuring availability of vital energy supplies far into the future.

Energy based on nuclear fission has many of the same advantages and none of the disadvantages of solar and wind: it emits no carbon dioxide (CO2) and is practically inexhaustible. Nuclear does have special problems; but these are mostly based on irrational fears.

A major problem for solar/wind is intermittency—while nuclear reactors operate best supplying reliable, steady base-load power. Intermittency can be partially overcome by providing costly “stand-by” power, at least partly from fossil fuels. But nuclear also has special problems (like the care and disposal of spent fuel) that raise its cost—and inevitably lead to more emission of CO2. Such special problems make any cost comparison with solar/wind rather difficult and also somewhat arbitrary.

At first glance, neither solar/wind or nuclear generate electric power without emitting the greenhouse (GH) gas carbon dioxide. But this simple argument is misleading. All three sources of energy require the manufacture of equipment, and that usually involves some CO2 emission; a rough measure is given by comparing the relative capital costs of site preparation and construction, as well as of operation and maintenance (O&M). Caution must be exercised here: a nuclear plant has a much longer useful life (up to 60 years, and beyond). We don’t have much experience yet with corresponding lifetimes and O&M costs for solar and wind, but they are likely to be higher than for nuclear reactors—excepting for the preparation cost of nuclear reactor fuel.

There is general agreement that both solar and wind energy are truly inexhaustible and satisfy the principle of sustainability. However, both are very dilute and require large land areas—as well as special favorable locations—and subsequent transmission of electric power. On the other hand, nuclear power plants have only a tiny footprint and can be placed at many more locations, provided there is cooling water nearby.

Nuclear Energy is Sustainable

Surprisingly, nuclear energy is also inexhaustible—for all practical purposes. Uranium is not in short supply, as many assume; this is true only for high-grade ores, the only ones considered worth mining these days. Beyond lower–grade ores, there is uranium in granites—and an essentially infinite but currently uneconomic amount in the world’s oceans.

Only 0.7% of natural uranium is in the form of the fissionable U-235 isotope; the remainder is inert U-238. For use in power reactors, the uranium fuel must be enriched in U-235 to at least to the 2%-level; for weapons, the required level rises to about 80%.

Currently, uranium is cheap enough to justify “once-through” use in light-water power reactors; the fuel rods are replaced after a fraction of the U-235 is “burnt up;” actually, some fissionable plutonium (Pu) is also created (from U-238) and generates heat—and electric power. The spent fuel is mostly U-238, plus radioactive fission products with lifetimes measured in centuries, and small amounts of long-lived radio-active Pu isotopes and other nasty heavy elements.

But as every nuclear engineer knows, the spent fuel is not “waste” but constitutes an important potential resource. The inert U-238 can be transformed into valuable fissionable reactor fuel in “breeder” reactors—enlarging the useful uranium resource by a factor of about 100. And beyond uranium ores, there are vast quantities of thorium ores that can also yield fissionable material for reactor fuel. It is mainly a matter of reactor design—not wasting any neutrons used for “breeding.”

And we haven’t even mentioned nuclear fusion, the energy source that powers our Sun. Fusion has been the holy grail of plasma physicists, who after decades of research have not yet been successful in building a stable fusion reactor; the hydrogen bomb is a version of unstable fusion. I hate to admit this: We may not need fusion reactors at all; uranium fission works just fine. However, a hybrid fusion-fission design might make sense; it would use pulsed fusion as a source of neutrons for breeding inert uranium or thorium into fissionable material for reactor fuel.

So why are we not moving full speed ahead with all forms of nuclear, destined to become our ultimate source of energy for generating heat and electricity? Are we wasting precious time and dollars on marginal improvements to solar photovoltaic and wind technology? What seems to be holding back nuclear is public concern about safety, proliferation, and disposal of spent fuel.

Safety: It should be noted that there have never been lives lost in commercial nuclear accidents; Chernobyl was a reactor type not commercially used in the West. Proper design is constantly improving safety by reducing the number of valves and pipes, by relying on gravity in inherently safe designs, and by properly training human operators.

Nuclear proliferation: Over past decades, many things have changed. There is no longer a nuclear duopoly of US and USSR. The horses have left the stable: If terrorist North Korea and Iran can build weapons—and delivery systems—it may be time to rethink international proliferation policy.

Disposal of spent reactor fuel: I am assured there are no real technical problems; there are even reactor designs (like IFR –Integral Fast Reactor) that can eliminate all waste. Reprocessing of spent reactor fuel works just fine, but has been discouraged because of historic concerns with proliferation based on plutonium; but power reactors don’t produce plutonium suitable for weapons.

Relative Costs

It is doubtful that future generations will ever enjoy the truly low cost of fossil fuels. In a rational world, low-cost deposits are exploited first and costs rise gradually; this has not been the case for petroleum, mainly for geopolitical reasons, but it is more or less happening with coal, where many low-cost deposits around the world compete with each other.

For wind and solar, technical limits may soon be reached for conversion devices (wind turbines and photovoltaic cells), and a lower cost limit may then be set by O&M costs, by the opportunity cost of the land occupied, and/or by transmission costs of electric power.

For nuclear, there are still many ways to lower cost, widely discussed in technical journals: construction of modular, low-power (~100 megawatt) reactors in factory mass production rather than costly on-site construction of gigawatt reactors. The biggest savings would come from more rapid construction and less delay, involving pre-approval of reactor sites and blanket approval of standardized, mass-produced reactor designs.

Energy Policy

In spite of its obvious advantages, why then is nuclear being downgraded compared to wind and solar? Call me a cynic if you want; but I think the main reason is money. Another reason is the ingrained hatred by Green groups of all things nuclear.

A classic example by now is Solyndra, which managed to waste more than half-a-billion dollars of federal money. In addition to innumerable small projects (that add up to an impressive total), one can cite some major boondoggles: How about the government’s third (!) attempt to build a solar power tower? [The first one failed during the Nixon-Carter administration’s Project Independence some 40 years ago.]

None of these projects can survive without generous subsidies, “feed-in tariffs,” and tax breaks. The costs are borne by ordinary ratepayers; for example, electric energy costs in Denmark and Germany, leaders in wind power, are 3-4 times US costs. In the US, the policy disaster has been strictly bi­partisan. While George W. Bush disavowed the Kyoto Protocol, he missed the opportunity to phase out and kill subsidies for solar and wind. We are currently witnessing the consequences of this failure.


Kerry: 'We Have Climate Refugees Today'


 Speaking Monday in Valparaiso, Chile, Secretary of State John Kerry was asked why the term "climate refugees" does not exist in international law.

Kerry said the question was "right on point," and although the term is a new one, he expects it's "just a matter of time" before it is incorporated into international policy.

"We have climate refugees today," Kerry told a town hall meeting on the sidelines of an Oceans conference.

"There are people who have to leave where they were living because the drought is so significant they can't grow food, or they've lost their water, or there are fights over wells in certain places and so they have to move in order to find a place. There are climate refugees in the world today -- people who've had to move because of the rise of sea level or the changes in the thawing of the permafrost and so forth.

"Now, it hasn't reached a crescendo. It's not at a level where the international community has yet codified, put it into law," he explained.

"But the day could come, if we don't respond rapidly, you could have millions of climate refugees. You could have people moving from whole areas where today you can grow things and tomorrow you can't.

"So I'd just say to you very quickly I think there is an increasing awareness -- I hear this in all our international meetings now -- people are talking about climate refugees. So I think it's just a matter of time before it fits in under a category and countries have -- and the refugee process has legitimately incorporated it into our policy."

Kerry -- from the former fishing state of Massachusetts -- was in Chile to discuss illegal fishing, ocean pollution, and climate change, which he blames for acidification and the warming of the ocean.

On the same day Kerry spoke about climate refugees, António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said there are now more than 60 million political refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people in the world -- and he said that number is rising.

Ten years ago, Guterres noted, the number was 38 million and falling.

"The number of people globally displaced by conflict every single day has nearly quadrupled in that time – from almost 11,000 in 2010 to 42,500 last year," he told the U.N. refugee agency in Geneva.

Guterres said that 15 new conflicts have broken out or flared up again in the last five years, without any of the old ones getting resolved.


Warmist attack on Free Speech

By Walter E. Williams

I receive loads of mail in response to my weekly nationally syndicated column. Some recent mail has been quite disturbing. Here's a sample: "Given your support of freedom on a great many issues, I wish to bring to your attention the following George Mason University staff who have formally called on the President to use RICO statutes to punish organizations and individuals who dispute the 'consensus' of the" Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The writer goes on to say, "I am appalled that anyone associated with George Mason would so misuse the power of the Federal government." The writer names 20 signatories, six of whom are GMU faculty members (

This letter writer's problem, like that of many others, is a misperception of George Mason University, where I am an economics professor. We have a distinguished economics department that can boast of having had two homegrown Nobel Prize winners on our faculty. Plus, we have a worldwide reputation as a free market economics department. The university can also boast of a distinguished law school with professors who, in contrast with many other law schools, have respect for the United States Constitution and the rule of law. We can boast of the excellent Law & Economics Center, too.

With this kind of intellectual firepower at George Mason University, most people assume that it is like its namesake, a libertarian or free market university. Little could be further from the truth. My university, at which I've toiled for 35 years, has a political makeup like that of most other universities — middle of the road to liberal/progressive. What distinguishes my liberal/progressive colleagues is that they are courteous and civilized, unlike many of those at universities such as the University of Massachusetts and the University of California, Berkeley.

So I investigated this call for the use of RICO, or the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It turns out that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., has called for the criminal investigation of people and organizations who are seen as global warming deniers.

This would include lawsuits against the coal and oil industries, certain think tanks, and other organizations that question the global warming religion. By the way, so that Whitehouse and his gang don't appear silly, they've changed their concern from global warming to climate change. That's stupid in and of itself, for when has the climate not been changing, even before mankind arrived?

It turns out that George Mason University meteorologist Jagadish Shukla is the lead signatory of the letter sent to the president and attorney general asking them to use RICO laws to prosecute "corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change." This GMU professor calling for the prosecution of climate skeptics has been recently revealed as "climate profiteer." From 2012 to 2014, this leader of the RICO 20 climate scientists paid himself and his wife $1.5 million from government climate grants for part-time work (

The effort to suppress global warming dissidents is not new. Grist Magazine writer David Roberts said, "When we've finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we're in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg." Professor Richard Parncutt has called for the execution of prominent "GW deniers." Climate Progress Editor Joe Romm called for deniers to be strangled in their beds. James Hansen, who has headed NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has likewise called for trials of global warming deniers.

The global warming agenda is a desperate effort to gain greater control over our lives. Political commentator Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956) explained that "the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." That's the political goal of the global warmers.



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

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7 October, 2015

That evil radiation again

To the Green/Left any level of ionizing radiation is reason for panic.  A level of radiation that is perfectly normal and untroublesome in some places on earth (e.g. Aberdeen, Scotland) will evoke shrieks if human activity can somehow be invoked as causing it.

The huge body of evidence about hormesis shows that low to medium levels of radiation are in fact beneficial rather than harmful but that is totally ignored by the panic merchants.  The findings below are therefore just more evidence that ionizing radiation has to reach much higher levels than is conventionally understood before it becomes harmful.  Zero tolerance of radiation is absurd.

Not mentioned below is that some older people have returned to their original homes in the area.  They remembered how well their gardens fed them in the Soviet era (yummy potatoes and onions!) and they have found that their gardens can still do that.  And they too remain alive and kicking

Wildlife including wolves, elk and wild boar are thriving around Chernobyl since the area was deserted by humans after the world's worst nuclear accident, a study shows.

Populations of large mammals show no evidence of being affected by the continuing radiation in the exclusion zone around the nuclear power plant in Ukraine, close to the Belarus border, which was hit by an explosion and fire in 1986.

Around 116,000 people were permanently evacuated from the 1,600 square miles (4,200 sq km) exclusion zone around the power plant, with villages and towns left to go to ruin.

Three decades on, a scientific study published in the journal Current Biology has found abundant populations of mammals - the most sensitive creatures to the impacts of radiation - in the area.

Using helicopter surveys, researchers in Belarus found that elk, roe deer, red deer and wild boar populations within the exclusion zone are similar to those in four uncontaminated nature reserves in the region, while wolf numbers are seven times higher.

And studies involving assessing tracks in new-fallen snow of roe deer, fox, wild boar and other animals including lynx, pine marten and European hare, found numbers were not reduced in areas with higher radiation.

The study found said while the extremely high dose rates of radiation in the immediate aftermath of the accident significantly hit animal health and reproduction, they recovered quickly and there was no evidence of long term effects on mammal populations.

While individual animals may be affected by radiation, overall populations have benefitted from the absence of people and hunting, forestry and farming which are likely to have kept wildlife numbers low before the accident, the researchers said.

Lynx have returned to the area, having previously been absent, while wild boar are taking advantage of abandoned farm buildings and orchards for shelter and food.

One of the study's authors, Professor Jim Smith of Portsmouth University, said that the nuclear accident had very severe social, psychological and economic consequences for the local communities which had to be evacuated.

But he said: 'In purely environmental terms, if you take the terrible things that happened to the human population out of the equation, as far as we can see at this stage, the accident hasn't done serious environmental damage.

'Indeed by accident it's created this kind of nature reserve.'


Saving the Environment from Environmentalism

When Jonathan Franzen wrote a provocative piece in The New Yorker earlier this year, “Climate Capture”, Chris Clarke, an influential environmental blogger in California, described it as having “walked up to a hornet’s nest and hit it with a baseball bat.”[1] Franzen had asked the question no one has wanted to face: “Has climate change made it harder for people to care about the environment?” After identifying what he called a few “winces” Clarke concluded, “Finally. Finally, someone prominent is saying this.” By “this” Clark was referring to the growing concern that today’s environmental policies are causing unanticipated impacts that are being ignored in the name of a supposed higher good – reducing carbon emissions. As one speaks to grassroots environmentalists across the country, there is a growing sense that perhaps we are getting it wrong, perhaps we are living with an inherited environmental dogma that reflects old thinking and flawed premises.

Most would agree on the major goals of environmentalism: first, reduce carbon emissions, and second, minimize our environmental footprint as we pursue growing human needs. Current thinking on how to achieve these goals is informed by two basic premises: first, environmental solutions must “harmonize with nature”, hence the emphasis on so-called “green” renewable resources; and second, nuclear power must be opposed at all costs. Fossil fuels are to be displaced over the long term, but they take a back seat to nuclear power, like way back. There is now good reason to believe those premises are fundamentally flawed.

During the past decade, a number of leading environmentalists have already challenged the historical opposition to nuclear power, five of them being featured in a 2013 documentary by Robert Stone called “Pandora’s Promise”. Their issue was carbon and the belief we won’t achieve the kinds of reductions we need without nuclear power. We can get a sense of that challenge from The International Energy Agency, a Paris-based affiliation of 29 countries founded in 1973 to coordinated global energy policies. They have developed what they call a 450 scenario, aimed at keeping atmospheric concentrations of CO2 below 450 ppm, a level viewed by many as a tipping point for climate change.[2]

Their rather startling conclusion, evident in the above figure, is just how radically current policies need to be changed. To turn the curve over we must both cut coal and hold natural gas emissions constant at present levels. Current policies are harsh on coal but they encourage more gas generation. The simple reality is that nuclear power will need to be part of the mix if we are to achieve these reductions.

And yet carbon is only one piece of the picture. In late 2014 an “Open Letter to Environmentalists”, signed by fifty-six environmental and conservation scientists from throughout the world argued the exclusive commitment to renewable resources is threatening biodiversity. They too agreed “the full gamut of electricity generation resources – including nuclear power – must be deployed if we are to have any chance of mitigating severe climate change.” But it wasn’t just carbon that disturbed them. Based upon a study by two Australian scientists at The Environmental Institute and School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, they concluded the exclusive reliance on renewable resources is doing unnecessary damage to habitat. “As conservation scientists concerned with global depletion of biodiversity,” they wrote, “proponents of (non-nuclear alternatives) typically to not admit to the difficulties of large scale use of these technologies.” In effect, the ideological impulse to “harmonize with nature” is propelling us toward resources that are unduly threatening biodiversity. Here too nuclear power, a resource they described as “by far the most compact and energy dense of sources,” needs to be part of the mix. [3]

For many grass-roots environmentalists, it is the biodiversity issue that rankles most. Yet the emotional, financial and political investment in the current dogma is so strong there is a collective beat down for anyone who tries to raise it. Witness the reaction to Franzen’s article. The opening salvo came from Mark Jannot, writing for the Audubon Society. Franzen had opened with an inference that, facing the global threat of climate change, we were trivializing a few thousand bird deaths in the present, with an oblique reference to the Audubon Society. It was one of Clark’s “winces”. After understandably defending the Audubon Society, Jannot charges that Franzen’s analysis is “half-baked”, “intellectually dishonest” and “based on intellectual sleight of hand,” eventually claiming the underlying concern – that climate change has raised some difficult questions — is not supported by a “shred of evidence.” Standing by with pom poms, Joanna Rothkopf, writing at, elegantly cheered him on: “Audubon doesn’t take that kind of shit-talking from anyone”. The Guardian weighing in as well, calls Franzen’s charges “absurd”, charging that “Franzen’s claim about a conflict between conservation and climate activism” is a form a lunacy – “psychologically-driven, a product of his private prejudices, irritations and resentments.”

Ok, so let’s take a deep breath and chill. This sort of stridency misses the point, though it highlights the hair-trigger sensitivity of the issue. No one is questioning the authenticity of the Audubon Society or anyone else who has devoted themselves to environmental causes, their genuine concern for the environment, or for birds or for habitat – I don’t, and I certainly did not read Franzen that way. But they are trying to engage a reasoned dialogue about a growing angst among grassroots environmentalists over impacts they are seeing and the reluctance of major environmental groups to take them seriously, all in the name of “saving the planet”. It’s a simple question: are we really saving the planet? Are these the right steps to reduce carbon? And have we allowed ideology to blind us to a most basic environmental issue – minimizing our footprint on the ecology?
Environmentalists versus environmentalism

Laura Jackson, raised on a wooded 300-acre farm in southwestern Pennsylvania, gained a respect and appreciation for nature at a very early age. She eventually served as a high school teacher in environmental science for 38 years, joined the Audubon Society in the 1970’s, the Sierra Club a little later, and other environmentally focused groups such as the Nature Conservancy. “I’ve developed an environmental ethic, a concern for habitat and species,” she says, “which I’ve tried to instill in my students, especially in the environmental science classes I’ve taught.”

Her curriculum included an emphasis on renewable energy, the importance of wind and solar and “how great they are”, as she puts in now in a moment of reflection. Today she has become a skeptic. Her earlier teachings on wind and solar, she says, were “basically just superficial reading that I had done and not gone into much depth.” She was doing what every good environmentalist was supposed to do, what every major national environmental group had insisted we must do to assure sustainable, environmentally friendly sources of energy for the future while combating climate change. She was, she thought, embracing a “clean” and “green” future.

All of that began to change when she learned in 2005 that major wind projects were being planned for a local mountain range “about 20 miles north of where I live – not in my backyard but in the county where I live. I got his sick feeling in my stomach because I knew that was not an appropriate site for any type of energy development – very steep slopes, very rocky soil, and there would have to be a lot of damage to the habitat.” It prompted her to dig deeper and as she did, she describes herself as “blown away … I had never seen pictures of wind projects built on mountains and what had to be done to move the earth, to remove the natural vegetation and to change the whole topography to put in a project.” Eventually she mobilized local opposition, including local chapters of the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club and was able to limit the damage, blocking some of the worst of them.

But the stress here is on the word “local”. The National Audubon Society and the National Sierra Club are both strong supporters of industrial wind development. While both claim they only support projects on “proper sites,” as Jackson would say, “when I ask where is it properly sited, nobody answers that question – it is very frustrating. We have these huge powerful conservation organizations that are pro-wind, and they are not being helpful at the local level.”

In the national push to pursue wind generation, ridgetop areas in the mountainous Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions have been caught in crossfire.[4] The names are familiar – the Appalachians, Green Mountains, Catskills, Adirondacks, Blue Ridges, and Great Smokies, all evoking images of scenic areas environmentalists have historically sought to protect. Unfortunately they also have ideal wind speeds making them attractive sites for wind generators.

While the rhetoric claims this growth is being carefully managed to protect wildlife and habitat, the facts on the ground say otherwise. In Maryland, where wind projects were planned for major bird corridors along the Appalachian Mountains, legislation was passed in 2007 exempting wind projects under 70 MW from environmental reviews, hoping to nullify “a vocal minority of anti-wind extremists” and giving developers an environmental free pass. [5],[6] A few years later, Governor O’Malley overrode legislation blocking a project to build 24 windmills across Chesapeake Bay, stating: “I am committed to protecting (the) Pax River because I know how critically important it is to Maryland”, but, he continued, “the real threat to the Pax River is not an array of wind turbines on the lower Eastern Shore, but rising sea levels caused by climate change.”[7]

Farther to the north in Vermont wind turbines may ultimately be installed on as many as 200 miles of mountain ridgetops.[8] It is all part of Vermont’s vision “to lead the nation to an energy future that relies on renewable resources.” As spelled out in their 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP), Vermont is committed to producing 90% of their energy from renewable resources by 2050.[9]

Why this push for renewables? When the plan was produced in 2011, Vermont had the lowest carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation in the 50 states, relying primarily on hydro power from Canada and electricity from Vermont Yankee, a 620 MW nuclear plant. Therein lies the answer.

Facing a flawed wholesale market, a hostile political climate, and with the encouragement of state political leaders, the owners of Vermont Yankee made a decision in 2013 to permanently close the plant, even though its operating license had recently been extended through 2032.[10] While the ostensible reason was economics, writing of the decision at the time Amy Goodman stated, “it was years of people’s protests and state legislative action that forced its closure.”[11] Yet while the political leadership cheered, the regional administrator of the wholesale electric market, ISO-New England, was not so sanguine: “The retirement of this large nuclear station will result in less fuel diversity and greater dependence on natural gas”, he said, observing that the growing dependence on natural gas had been identified as a key strategic risk for the region.[12] As Vermont’s plan unapologetically states, natural gas is now embraced as a preferred resource with plans to increase its use.[13]

High-minded rhetoric aside, Vermont’s energy ambitions are driven by the need to fill the hole left by the closure of Vermont Yankee, even if it means a massive development of wind generation along mountain ridgetops and greater dependence on natural gas to provide electricity when intermittent wind is not operating.

For the “Green Mountain State”, a state that has banned billboards and prides itself on its natural beauty, this aggressive shift to renewables is a non-trivial undertaking. Annette Smith, founder and current head of Vermonters for a Clean Environment (VCE) puts it this way: “That’s what we’re doing here in Vermont. Let’s carpet everything with solar and every ridge line with wind turbines and it’s a moral imperative in order to save the planet.” She too has become a skeptic. Having been completely off-grid since 1988 and relying almost totally on solar, her initial instincts were favorable. It was only after locals raised concerns and she visited the Cohocton Wind project in nearby New York that, alarmed by the size, noise and visual impacts – VCE became active in efforts to challenge the unconstrained wind development in Vermont.

Others have stepped in as well. Nationally respected wildlife ecologist Susan Morse puts it this way: ”… it’s not so much that my aesthetic life would be ruined,” she says, but it’s the “whole manner of damage to wildlife habitat.” From the effects of erosion, to the clearing of mountain tops areas for construction, to the roads required both for initial construction and on-going maintenance, the result is “irreparable damage to core habitat and healthy ecological functions.” She continues, “This is being presented as a green alternative but it’s not green if it’s not done well, and that’s where, as a scientist, I really beg to differ with the proponents of wind energy on our ridge lines. It’s not well researched, (and) we don’t have all the answers.”[14]


The Big Sunshiny Lie

As Florida enviros push for their solar amendment, solar’s undesirability goes unmentioned

The important thing to know about solar and wind power, and other so-called “renewable” sources of energy, is that they aren’t necessary. Au contraire, their dominance of the energy mix would be a disaster for the republic. Solar and wind create trifling amounts of power at a multiple of the cost of power made available by fossil fuels.

Increased reliance on pricy power from wind and solar would drive up the overall cost of energy, which in turn would drive up the cost of everything. EVERYTHING! Not just individual power bills, which would be bad enough. It takes energy to produce, transport, and market all the goods Americans take for granted. Even our service economy is a heavy user of energy.

Wind and solar power are also unreliable. The sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. This isn’t going to change.

In a dystopian wind and solar economy, say goodbye to the supermarket, to pain-free dentistry, to air-conditioning, to the modern hospital, to night baseball. While you’re up, take the hood off your car and make it into a planter because you’ll no longer afford to drive it. A fossil-fuel-free America would become, in short order, a third-world country. Life would once again become nasty, brutish, and short. Or at least a damn sight more straitened than the prosperity contemporary Americans are used to and take as a given.

There is enough oil and gas underground in America to supply energy needs for centuries, if the Sierra Club and other Lexus Luddites would allow us to use it. The problems associated with the burning of fossil fuels have been grossly exaggerated by the political Left for ideological reasons. Those who identify themselves as environmentalists slander fossil fuels — about which most enviros I’ve encountered know bugger all — in order to make themselves feel morally superior to others. To demonstrate how much more they LUV the planet than you do.

Most leftist politicians are another matter, less ignorant, more cynical and conniving. They cater to enviros and whoop us such frauds as global warming in order to increase their political power. The solution to global warming, and other environmental “problems,” is to tax and regulate, i.e. turn more political power over to government. Turn the decisions individuals and businesses have been making for centuries in the land of the free over to politicians and bureaucrats. Just what the Left has always wanted. Obama and his EPA are pushing this agenda at every level now, with very little resistance from Republicans, who, as usual, find themselves confused and cowed. In this instance by junk science that has proved popular with voters.

Right now, against all the available evidence and the urgings of good sense, the lefty alarmists hold the upper hand. A frightening number of Americans have been convinced that fossil fuels — the single thing most responsible for their long, healthy, prosperous, and easeful lives — are dirty, downright evil, and a danger to their very existence. (Review the theory of The Big Lie here.)

Which brings us to a superfluous campaign going on in Florida just now, in which solar boosters are attempting to make the state government a solar crusader. (Similar crack-pot campaigns are going on in other states — I write about this one because it’s in my front yard.) An outfit called Floridians for Solar Choice, largely funded by the usual left-enviro outfits, is pushing a state constitutional amendment that would make Florida a shill for solar with the following meat-axe language: “It shall be the policy of the state to encourage and promote local small-scale solar-generated electricity production and to enhance the availability of solar power to customers.”

Wow. This is clearer than a sunshiny day. This kind of mandate in the state’s governing document would doubtless lead to more solar-mandates and more subsidies, of which there are too many already. I can see solar industry grant-writers salivating now. With this language in the Florida constitution, the Florida Legislature might consider changing the legend on Florida’s automobile license plates from “The Sunshine State” to “The Solyndra State.”

This group’s published rationalization for this additional carve-out for the solar industry is that they wish to put solar on the free market with other power sources and allow power consumers to choose. They say this would drive down the cost of electric power, though they never get around to saying how. They say this would create a level-playing field for solar, when in fact it would oblige the state to discriminate against all other forms of power in favor of solar. Out-of-state solar companies would profit from this solar favoritism. Floridians would be handed the bill.

It’s hard to imagine anyone paying the slightest attention falling for this laughable line. Solar wouldn’t last an hour on the open market. It’s only the massive subsidies and tax breaks that solar receives that disguise the fact that electricity generated by solar costs three times that of power generated with fossil fuels. No amount of new math will make it anything but a disaster to force more of this costly power on an already weak economy.

It would take industrial strength naïveté to believe that Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and Tom Steyer really wish to promote free markets. Still, many columnists and editorial writers among Florida’s mainstream media have been charmed. This is not difficult to do, and only those with an agenda would stoop to it.

The agenda is pretty clear. In addition to obliging Florida to whoop up and facilitate solar, the amendment would allow solar companies to install solar panels free of charge on homes and businesses and sell the power these panels generate to the property owners. And there is meat-axe language in the amendment that would prohibit the state from regulating solar companies. No one would benefit from this amendment other than the already politically charmed solar industry.

As it stands now, only utilities can sell electric power in Florida. One doesn’t have to be a fan of everything utilities do to see the reason for utility monopolies. If the corner drugstore goes belly-up, this can be inconvenient. If the power company goes belly up…

Floridians For Solar treats all opposition to its proposed amendment as nothing more than propaganda from rich utilities trying to protect their privileges and their ability to gouge the little guy on power. Floridians For spokesmen used this argument and more last Tuesday when arguing before the Florida Supreme Court that their amendment is both clear and only treats of one subject, requirements for constitutional amendments in Florida. Attorneys for utility companies and the Florida Attorney General’s office argued that the language does deal with more than one subject and is misleading in that it does not inform voters that the Florida Public Service Commission would not regulate solar companies as to service, territory, or rates.

The court will rule on the wording in due course, and should that be a legal thumbs up, Floridians For Solar will have to get 683,149 valid signatures of Florida voters on their petition before next summer in order for the amendment to appear on the November, 2016 ballot. If the language is turned down, it will likely be 2020 before another attempt is made, according to Steve Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the biggest financial backer of Floridians for Solar.

“I always think you want to run one of these things in a presidential year because you have a larger turnout and a whole different demographic,” Smith told the Jacksonville Business Journal.

A second constitutional amendment, called Consumers for Smart Solar, backed mostly by utilities and which largely maintains the status quo on solar, has recently begun to circulate. Press attention and public discussion on both amendments has been minimal. There’s no predicting what 2016 will bring. But for now solar power and these two amendments don’t seem to be on the radar of many voters, which is just as well because both of them are unnecessary. Floridians may need sun block when they go outside, especially in summer (11 months of the year hereabouts). But they don’t need solar power


Appeals court blasts Obama admin's view of key bird law

A decision last week by a federal appeals court to overturn an oil company's convictions under a century-old bird law could hinder the Obama administration's ability to prosecute companies that kill migratory birds and calls into question a potentially sweeping rulemaking.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling cleared Citgo Petroleum Corp. of violations under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It's the latest appeals court to weigh in on what some argue is the government's expansive interpretation of the 1918 law.

Energy company attorneys say the ruling confirms that Congress only intended the law to apply to the intentional killing of migratory birds through activities like unpermitted hunting.

But an attorney for the American Bird Conservancy disagreed, calling the 5th Circuit's ruling a "minority view" among federal courts that severely undermines the law's purpose to conserve migratory birds.

One thing's for sure: This is likely not the last time courts and the federal government will wrestle over the scope of MBTA. The 5th Circuit's opinion is a break from other circuit courts, which increases the chances the issue could find its way to the Supreme Court.

Moreover, the 5th Circuit's ruling could boost efforts among some Republicans in Congress to shield wind farms, oil companies and chemical manufacturers from MBTA's reach (E&E Daily, June 12).

The 1918 migratory bird law makes it illegal to "pursue, hunt, take, capture [or] kill" any of more than 1,000 covered bird species, but courts have disagreed over whether such actions need to be intentional.

Over the past few years, the Obama administration has taken a more expansive view by prosecuting two energy companies whose Wyoming wind farms had unintentionally killed migratory birds and several oil and gas firms in North Dakota whose wastewater pits became deathtraps for ducks.

But in the 5th Circuit case, a three-judge panel unanimously ruled that a district court was wrong to convict Citgo of violating MBTA when it unintentionally killed 10 ducks that ingested or were coated with oil at a Texas refinery.

The company argued that MBTA does not cover unintentional bird kills, and the court agreed.

"Taking" under MBTA, the court found, "is limited to deliberate acts done directly and intentionally to migratory birds."

The government's expansive interpretation of MBTA would make a host of other bird-killing businesses and individuals liable for violations, including the owners of telecommunications towers, power lines, wind farms, skyscrapers and even domestic cats, the court ruled.

"This scope of strict criminal liability would enable the government to prosecute at will and even capriciously," the court said, yielding "absurd results."

The Justice Department has asked the court for additional time to decide whether to ask for a rehearing.

"All we can say at this point is that we are reviewing the court's decision," said Laury Parramore, a spokeswoman for the Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees MBTA and works with DOJ to prosecute violators.

The 5th Circuit aligned itself with similar rulings by the 8th and 9th circuits that also found "taking" under MBTA to be limited to deliberate kills.

But the 10th Circuit has taken an opposing view, ruling in 2010 to uphold the misdemeanor MBTA convictions of two Kansas oil rig operators after dead birds were found trapped in heater treaters. That court concluded that MBTA is a "strict liability" statute that covers all deaths of migratory birds.

Svend Brandt-Erichsen, an attorney at Marten Law who represents energy firms, said the 5th Circuit's ruling was among the least ambiguous of the circuit courts. If it stands, it would force FWS to think twice before prosecuting wind farms or other energy facilities for incidental bird kills within the court's Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi territory, he said.

The court drew a sharp distinction between the limited meaning of "take" under MBTA and a more expansive definition under the Endangered Species Act, he said.

Andrew Bell, another attorney at Marten Law, said the court was right to point out larger sources of incidental bird kills that could be liable under the government's view of MBTA. It noted that Fish and Wildlife estimates between 97 million and 976 million birds are killed annually by running into windows and that communication towers kill an additional 4 million to 5 million each year.

Energy producers, who have recently borne the brunt of MBTA enforcements, are estimated to kill far fewer.

"This has been the refrain of the wind industry for over a decade, and it's nice to see that someone has heard it," Bell said.

For its part, FWS has so far exercised prosecutorial discretion in enforcing the law, going after only the companies it feels are the most negligent.

Eric Glitzenstein, of Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP, which represents the American Bird Conservancy, said the 5th Circuit adopted "an extraordinarily narrow and, in ABC's view, legally bankrupt view of the MBTA's scope that severely undercuts the act's -- and the underlying treaties' -- broad bird protection purposes."

He argued that it was also a minority view.

"Most courts have correctly concluded that the MBTA's prohibition on taking birds without an MBTA permit encompasses bird deaths resulting from inherently hazardous activities -- such as maintaining uncovered oil tanks and operating wind turbines in the habitat of migratory birds," he said.

Glitzenstein said the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has also held that MBTA applies to "inherently hazardous activities," as have district courts, including the one in Washington, D.C.

The 5th Circuit decision could also affect Fish and Wildlife Service plans to establish a permitting regime to more tightly regulate incidental take of birds under MBTA.

The agency in May said it will study the potential issuance of take permits for owners of drilling pits, gas flares, power lines and communications towers. The aim is to give companies legal cover under MBTA while securing commitments from them to offset their take with habitat restoration and protection (Greenwire, May 22).

But that rulemaking, if FWS were to pursue it, assumes MBTA applies to incidental take, which the 5th Circuit explicitly denied.

The American Bird Conservancy supports a permitting regime, arguing that the government must take better stock of impacts to ecologically important migratory bird species, many of which are in decline.

Glitzenstein helped ABC petition FWS to develop MBTA incidental take regulations.

"This ruling makes it all the more important that the FWS continue with its rulemaking establishing a system for regulating incidental take from industrial activities that are inherently harmful to migratory bird populations," he said.


New book: Doubt and Certainty in Climate Science

The Preface provides some interesting history, here are some excerpts:

"But more recently, I became troubled by what seemed to be a preference to view the climate as a global stable state, unless perturbed by anthropogenic effects, rather than as a highly complex system having several dominant states, each having a characteristic return period imposed on gradual change at millennial scale. The research of H.H. Lamb and others on the natural changes of regional and global climate of the Holocene appeared to be no longer of interest, and the evidence for anthropogenic climate change was being discussed as if it was reducible to change in a single value that represented global surface temperature.

The complex relationship between solar cycles and regional climate states on Earth that was central to classical climatology (and is still being discussed in the peer-­?reviewed literature) had been replaced with a reductionist assumption concerning radiative balance, and the effective dismissal of any significant solar influence. I found this rejection of an entire body of scientific literature troubling, and looked for a disinterested discussion of the balance between natural and anthropogenic effects, but could not find what I wanted -­? a book that covered the whole field in an accessible and unprejudiced manner, and that was based solely on the scientific literature: I found text-­?books on individual topics aplenty, together with a flood of others, either supporting or attacking the standard climate change model, but none that was based wholly on studies certified by peer-­?review -­? and whose author was inquisitive rather than opinionated.

One thing led to another and this text is the result. My intention has been to examine the scientific literature that both supports – and also contradicts -­? the standard description of anthropogenic climate change, and its effects on Earth systems: I undertook the task with an open mind concerning the interpretation of the evidence presented in individual research reports, and collectively by those who have been tasked to report to governments on the progress of climate change and to predict future states.

Because of my experience, this review leans very heavily on discussion of the role of the oceans in controlling climate states, but I make no apology for this: their role is central and critical and too often ignored.

Anthropogenic modification of climate, especially of micro-­?climates, is undoubtedly occurring but I have been unable to convince myself that the radiative contribution of carbon dioxide can be observed in the data, although modellers have no trouble in demonstrating the effect.

Because there will certainly be some who will question my motive in undertaking this task, I assure them that I have been impelled by nothing other than curiosity and have neither sought nor received financial support from any person or organisation in the preparation and distribution of this eBook."

The conclusions from Longhurst’s analysis are presented in section 11.2:

"While I am aware that the general opinion of the relevent scientific community is that no further debate is necessary after five successive assessments by the IPCC, I suggest that this is premature because these conclusions concern topics that have not yet been properly addressed by that body, and so should be accorded status in a continuing debate concerning the influence of anthropogenic effects on regional climates.

If the peer-­?reviewed scientific literature, with all the levels of uncertainty associated with individual contributions, has anything to say collectively in assessing the standard climate model, then a small number of conclusions may be drawn from the 600 peer-­?reviewed papers that I have consulted:

 *  the global archives of surface air temperature measurements are unreliable estimators of the consequences of atmospheric CO2 contamination, because they are already themselves contaminated by the effects of deforestation, land use change, urbanisation and the release of industrial particulates into the lower atmosphere (Sections 6.3, 6.4, 6.5).

 *  users of these data are not able to judge the consequences of the adjustments that have been made to the original observations of surface air temperature ashore, although the limited investigations now possible show that the adjustments have changed the long-­?term trends that had been recorded by some reputable national meteorological services (Sections 4.1, 4.2).

 *  sea surface temperature is not a substitute for air temperature over the oceans because it responds to changes in vertical motion in the ocean associated with coastal and open-­?ocean upwelling; the resultant change in surface temperature is independent of any changes in atmospheric temperature caused by CO2, yet these changes are integrated into the GMST record which is used to estimate the effects of CO2 (Section 4.3)

 *  surface air temperatures respond to cyclical changes within the Sun, and to the effect of changing orbital configurations in the solar system: the changes in the resultant strength of received irradiance (and of tidal stress in the oceans, which also has consequences for SAT) are both predictable and observable (Sections 3.2, 3.3, and 3.4),

 *  our description of the evolution of the global heat budget and its distribution in multiple sinks is inadequate for an understanding of the present state of the Earth’s surface temperature, or to serve as the initial state for complex modelling of climate dynamics. Future states are therefore unpredictable, cannot be modelled, and will certainly surprise people living through the next century (Sections 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5),

 *  the planetary heat budget is poorly constrained, perhaps principally by our inability to quantify the mechanisms that control the accumulation and loss of heat in the ocean, where most solar heat accumulates; the quantification of changes in cloud cover is so insecure that we cannot confidently describe its variability -­? yet clouds are the most important control on the rate of heat input at the sea surface (Sections 5.1-­? 5.4),

 *  the evidence for an intensification of extreme weather events and, in particular, tropical cyclones is very weak and is largely due to the progressively-­? increasing reliability and coverage of weather monitoring: todays frequency of cyclones and other phenomena does not appear to be anomalous when longer data sets can be examined (Sections 9.1, 9.2),

 *  global climate in the present configuration of the continents falls naturally into a limited number of patterns that are forced externally and patterned by internal dynamics. Some of these climate patterns will tend to conserve global heat, some will tend to permit its dissipation to space, while all move heat from one region to another. Two dominate the whole: the North Atlantic Oscillation that describes the flux of tropical heat through the North Atlantic Current into Arctic regions, and the Southern Oscillation that describes the strength of trade winds, especially in the Pacific, and thus the relative area of cold, upwelled water that is exposed to the atmosphere (Sections 7.1, 7.2),

 *  the recent melting of arctic ice cover over larger areas than 20 years ago in summer is not a unique event, but is a recurrence of past episodes and is the result of cyclically-­?variable transport of heat in warm North Atlantic water into the Arctic basin through the Norwegian Sea; the present episode will likely evolve in the same way as earlier episodes (Sections 8.1-­?8.3),

 *  sea level is indeed rising as described by the IPCC and others, but the causes -­? especially at regional scale -­? are more complex than suggested by that agency and involve many processes other than expansion due to warming. Had the human population of some very small islands remained within carrying capacity, their occupation could have been permanent, but this is not the case (Sections 10.1, 10.2),

 *  the consequences of acidification of seawater is one of the most enigmatic questions, and may bring serious biological problems, although it seems now that (i) marine organisms are more resilient to changing pH than was originally feared, because of the genetic diversity of their populations and (ii) the history of pH of seawater during geological time suggests that resilience through selection of genomes has emerged when appropriate in the past (Sections 10.3, 10.4).

Unfortunately, the essential debate on these issues will not take place, at least not openly and without prejudice, because so many voices are today saying – nay, shouting -­? ‘enough, the science is settled, it is time for remediation’. In fact, many have been saying this for almost 20 years, even as fewer voices have been heard in the opposite sense. As discussed in Chapter 1, the science of climate change -­? like many other complex fields in the earth sciences -­? does not function so that at some point in time one can say “now, the science is settled”: there are always uncertainties and alternative explanations for observations."


Reproducibility will not cure what ails science

Leaders of the scientific community, nudged by the media (including Nature ), are acknowledging that a culture of science focused on rewarding eye-catching and positive findings may have resulted in major bodies of knowledge that cannot be reproduced.

Private-sector, academic and non-profit groups are leading multiple efforts to replicate selected published findings, and so far the results do not make happy reading. Several high-profile endeavours have been unable to reproduce the large majority of peer-reviewed studies that they examined.

Meanwhile, the US National Academies is preparing to publish a high-profile report on scientific integrity that will flag irreproducibility as a key concern for the research enterprise. As the spotlight shines on reproducibility, uncomfortable issues will emerge at the interface of research and ‘evidence-based’ policy.

Consider, for example, the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015, a US bill that would “prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible”.

Passed in March by the House of Representatives essentially along party lines (Republicans in favour, Democrats opposed) and now awaiting action by the Senate, the bill has been vigorously opposed by many scientific and environmental organizations. They argue, probably correctly, that the bill’s intent is to block and even roll back environmental regulations by requiring that all data on which the rules are based be made publicly available for independent replication.

One of the main objections is that a lot of the scientific research that informs regulatory decisions is not of the sort that can be replicated. For example, a statement of opposition from numerous scientific societies and universities explains that:

“With respect to reproducibility of research, some scientific research, especially in areas of public health, involves longitudinal studies that are so large and of great duration that they could not realistically be reproduced. Rather, these studies are replicated utilizing statistical modeling.”

Precisely. Replication of the sort that can be done with tightly controlled laboratory experiments is indeed often impossible when you are studying the behaviour of dynamic, complex systems, for example at the intersection of human health, the natural environment and technological risks.

But it is hard to see how this amounts to an argument against mandating open access to the data from these studies.

Growing concerns about the quality of published scientific results have often singled out bad statistical practices and modelling assumptions, and have typically focused on the very types of science that often underlie regulations, such as efforts to quantify the population-wide health effects of a single chemical.

Although concerns about the bill’s consequences are reasonable, the idea that it would be bad to make public the data underlying environmental regulations seems to contradict science’s fundamental claims to objectivity and legitimacy.

In June, a commentary in Science by an array of leading voices, including the current and future heads of the National Academies, flagged “increased transparency” and “increased data disclosure” as crucial elements of science’s “self-correcting norm” that can help to address “the disconcerting rise in irreproducible find - ings” (B. Alberts et al . Science 348, 1420–1422; 2015).

This is more or less the position taken by the Secret Science bill’s sponsor, Representative Lamar Smith (Republican, Texas):

“The bill requires the EPA to use data that is available to the public when the Agency writes its regulations. This allows independent researchers to evaluate the studies that the EPA uses to justify its regulations. This is the scientific method.”

This battle for the soul of science is almost surreal in its avoidance of the true issue, which is ideological. One side believes that the government should introduce stricter environmental regulations; the other wants fewer restrictions on the marketplace.

Science is the battleground, but it cannot adjudicate this dispute. At its core, the disagreement is about values, not facts.

But just as importantly, the facts themselves are inevitably incomplete, uncertain, contested and, as we have been learning, often unreliable. Like a divorced couple bitterly fighting over the custody of their child, both sides in the Secret Science debate insist that they have only the interests of science at heart. Republicans are using a narrow, idealized portrayal of science — that it produces clear and reproducible findings — as a weapon to undercut environmental and public-health regulation of the private sector.

But many scientists, environmentalists and Democrats have long used similar portrayals to justify the same regulations, and to bash Republicans as anti-scientific when they did not agree.

More and more, science is tackling questions that are relevant to society and politics. The reliability of such science is often not testable with textbook methods of replication. This means that quality assurance will increasingly become a matter of political interpretation.

It also means that the ‘self-correcting norm’ that has served science well for the past 500 years is no longer enough to protect science’s special place in society. Scientists must have the self-awareness to recognize and openly acknowledge the relationship between their political convictions and how they assess scientific evidence.



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

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


6 October, 2015

Wildfires: Another wild-eyed prophecy

Caution: Evangelists at work.  These prophecies come and go.  Just about everything either causes or is caused by global warming -- if we take such pronouncements seriously

It may however be worth noting what HAS made wildfires worse in recent years:  Greenie interference in forest management.  One particularly pernicious type of interference is Greenie opposition to precautionary burnoffs in winter.  Such burnoffs are easy to keep within bounds and reduce fuel load for later fires.  So any fires that eventuate in warm seasons are much tamer and spread less. 

Why Greenies oppose such burnoffs I am not sure -- some feeling that it "unnatural" would be my guess. They say it is to protect forest critters but the big burns are actually the ones that kill most forest critters.  Many of the critters can escape a small controlled burn and a controlled burn can in fact make some provision for that

A spate of wildfires in Alaska has since quieted down after an active summer, but the environmental impact of the blazes may stretch for years.

Roughly 9 million acres of forest burned in the US so far this year, up from a 6,250,000 acre average over the last ten years.

The increase in acreage, however, is coming from a smaller number of fires, with each incident engulfing more and more trees before being put out.

A team of scientists says that the land left in the wake of the flames could carry scars long after trees grow back, with the intensity of the fires permanently changing the Arctic, and global, climate.

This year marks the seventh time that more than 8million acres have burned, in the years after 2000. Almost 10million acres, 9,873,745, burned in 2006, the most destructive year.

Alaska's particularly active wildfire season has helped make this year's outsized total, with more than 5million acres burning this summer.

Scott Goetz, a scientist at Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, told PRI that the increase in fire activity has come from climate change and warmer, drier air that leads to more intense fires.

The Woods Hole website says that 'if trends continue as predicted, [warming and drying] are likely to induce feedbacks that may further influence the global climate'. 

The fires may have the more acute effect of speeding up changes in the Arctic climate as well, with the scientist saying that fires may unleash large amounts of carbon contained in permafrost areas.

Wildfires burn away layers of soil and peat that insulate the permafrost.

Goetz said that degrading the permafrost and severe wildfires could unleash 'enough emissions to the atmosphere that it's equivalent to another United States in terms of total emissions from fossil fuels'.

Woods Holes' Max Holmes said that the greenhouse gas release could have 'catastrophic global consequences'.

Beyond increasing the intensity of fires, the warmer conditions in the Far North may be leading to decreased 'productivity' in the forests that don't grow as well in the heat.

Satellite images show 'browning' over belts of the interior Alaskan and Canadian boreal forests, or taiga, meaning few trees are growing there.

While browning is seen in some southern parts of the North American taiga, there has been an increase in trees in more northern regions that usually see less vegetation.

Goetz told PRI that while more trees in tropical areas are probably a good thing, increased presence in the Arctic will not take a large amount of carbon out of the air and change the 'energy balance' of the northern climates.

He said that the new trees are 'much darker than the other vegetation there, and they absorb a lot more solar energy, and they retain that energy, so it warms the surface'. 'It sets the system on a whole new course,' Goetz previously told CBS.


The Great Battle Looming in Paris

By Viv "Farmer" Forbes

Our way of life faces a huge threat in the next couple of months. Totalitarians of all complexions are hoping to seize an opportunity in Paris to sneakily create the legal and political chains to turn the free democracies into a little soviet cogs in a suffocating UN-controlled world. They are using the climate scare as a cover story to justify rations and taxes on energy production and consumption. Naturally these burdens will fall heaviest on richer western democracies.

The Leaders of this Unholy Alliance are:

 *          The Pope with his socialist agenda and his dreams of rejuvenating Catholic leadership in world matters by embracing trendy causes.

 *          The UN/IPCC whose sustainability rules, heritage no-go areas and green barriers are already affecting every industry and every law book in the world (but mainly in the compliant western nations).

 *          Obama who seeks a last-minute legacy for his disruptive era of non-achievements.

 *          Crusading Royals such as Prince Charles; frustrated politicians such as Mikhail Gorbachev; power-seeking magnates such as George Soros; tinsel-town idols seeking more purpose in their make-believe lives; would-be messiahs and prophets-of-doom like Tim Flannery; guilt-stricken millionaires and the rich foundations and NGO’s whose control has been captured by the extreme green/left.

 *          China and its ruthless central controllers, who will manufacture most of the useless green energy machines and hardware.

 *          The un-elected EU bureaucracy with its growing power over most of Europe.

 *          The Turnbull/Bishop/Hunt/ALP/Greens carbon-tax-coalition now ruling Australia.

 *          Most western bureaucracies who hope to be local enforcers and tax collectors for the new world order.

 *          The old Marxists who suddenly see new hope for their jaded dreams.

And there are Circling Jackals looking to Share in the Spoils.  They include all of those looking for benefits and loot from what is so far mainly a War on Coal:

 *          Oil and gas interests everywhere – including BP/Shell, OPEC, Russia, Venezuela etc.

 *          The world-wide wind-solar industry – speculators, investors, manufacturers and subsidy recipients.

 *          Pacific Island and failed state mendicants who seek climate change manna from heaven (more accurately from the atmosphere).

 *          India whose massive bureaucracy hopes to extract benefits in exchange for support.

 *          The nuclear and hydro-power industries which will expand as coal is taxed to death.

 *          The legal/banking fraternity who are already briefing, advising and financing both sides.

 *          The climate academics and bureaucracies who see never-ending research grants and recurring travel jaunts to exotic locations.

 *          State-owned media everywhere who tend to be anti-industry and pro bigger government.

 *          Now we even have barristers and lawyers advising green groups to use green-tinged courts and judges to enforce the global climate agenda.

The White Knights of the Rag-Tag Opposition:

Opposing this powerful coalition of ambitious totalitarians and greedy rent-seekers is a rag-tag bunch of largely self-funded climate scientists, freedom-lovers, consumer representatives, small businesses and those concerned to preserve the western heritage of constitutional democracy, individual freedom and private property rights.

It is a sad indictment of our scientific and educational leaders that carbon, the key essential element in all living compounds, and carbon dioxide, the natural gas-of-life absolutely essential to feed all life on earth, have been so vilified by alarmists, opportunists and charlatans seeking power, votes or profits, that innocent children and clueless adults now fear and detest these innocent beneficial natural substances.

And it is a sad indictment of our energy engineers and industrial historians that the essential role of hydrocarbon fuels in human well-being is not recognised

Hydrocarbon fuels (oil, gas and coal) have made an enormous contribution to welfare of the biosphere and the human race. They provide cheap reliable energy for heat, light, transport, industry and agriculture, and coal is essential to make steel and other metals for all our building and infrastructure needs.

Their environmental benefits are considerable – kerosene lamps saved the whales being hunted for whale oil; coal gas reduced city pollution by replacing pollution-prone open fires using wood or coal. Urban air quality benefitted even more strongly with the replacement of more combustion-in-the-cities with clean-coal-by-wire (electricity). Electricity has cleared the smog from cities such as London and Pittsburgh and could even power the trains, light rail, trams and electric cars that could remove diesel and petrol pollutants from the skies of modern cities. Coal saved the forests being logged to produce charcoal, or being burnt in smelters, boilers, stoves and heaters. Steam engines saved many rivers which would have been harnessed for hydro-power. Gas is now propping up the intermittent green energy producers, wind and solar. Finally combustion of any hydro-carbon recycles valuable plant nutrients into the biosphere assisting to return Earth to the verdant green land it was when the great forests which formed the coal seams grew profusely. Surely recycling this stored solar energy of the sun is the most sensible energy option we have? Those who deny these facts need to prove their case.

Finally we have the widespread pollution of land, air and waters. Observations will show that the most polluted countries, cities and suburbs are always the poorest ones where people are too busy surviving, scavenging or poaching to worry about endangered species, hazardous waste or polluted waterways.

Access to affordable reliable energy is the quickest way to enrich poverty stricken people.

Unfortunately the producers of hydrocarbon energy seem too cowardly, too ill-informed or too infected by climate hysteria to defend themselves or the products which contribute so much to our prosperity, industry, environment and government income.

For almost 20 years now, global average temperature has trended steady – it is NOT rising.  Over the same period the atmospheric content of carbon dioxide has continued rising.  Therefore, carbon dioxide is NOT the main driver of global temperature.

There has been no real global warming – just models that are programmed to run hot.

It therefore follows that man’s tiny contribution to the small content of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can have no perceptible effect on global climate.


But there is Danger in the Growing Public Apathy.  The public is becoming bored with incessant climate crisis propaganda. In public opinion polls it now hardly rates a mention. THIS PUBLIC APATHY POSES A HUGE DANGER.

Those with experience in battling the red-green-left in student or other politics know that one strategy is often used successfully by radicals. Keep talking endlessly, repetitively and boringly until the conservative opposition (which usually has better things to do with their time) becomes bored, or goes home, or stays away. This leaves radicals in control of the agenda. Then, at the exhausted end of what appears to be a pointless and boring debate, they make their greatest unopposed gains, because opposition has evaporated. Deadly things get signed.

This battle is approaching its desperate stage. It is like another time involving France when, just before sunset, Napoleon’s Old Guard (“The Invincibles”) was advancing in a tight column towards Wellington’s exhausted thin red line on the crest of a hill at Waterloo. Every redcoat was needed, and none must falter, or the day and the continent were lost.

We have outlined a profoundly pessimistic picture. Most of the world’s money, power, and vested interests are lining up behind this New World Order, and we can only attack them with words, facts, ideas, and votes at the next election.

What we do have is the power of ideas whose time is coming. Public opinion sometimes changes quickly and dramatically. They were listening all the time, but no one wants to be seen to be the first to break ranks. They are waiting for someone to give a lead in a different direction. It may be triggered by the refugee invasion in Europe, a freezing winter in America, another huge green fraud or a severe blackout in UK.

Suddenly all the one-world fellow travellers will be rejected.

Our job is to keep sowing the seeds of carbon sense.


Why that climate deal is already a dead duck

Christopher Booker is less alarmed than Viv Forbes:

Last week a steady drone rising all year finally swelled to a crescendo. Talking up what Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, described to the City’s leading insurers as the “catastrophic impacts of climate change”, the world’s great and good were piling in on all sides. The Pope was supposed to be at it in his addresses to the UN and the US Congress. Presidents Obama and Hollande were at it, as was David Cameron with his offer of £5.8 million of UK aid money to support the cause. And the Prince of Wales wrote a letter to Britain’s top judges pleading with them to do all they can to bring about what he called “a Magna Carta for the Earth”.

The binding treaty they all want simply isn’t going to happen

What they are all after, of course, is that global treaty they hope to see signed at the UN’s mammoth climate conference in Paris in December, legally committing the world’s 193 nations to phasing out fossil fuels, to prevent the Earth’s temperature rising by any more than 2 degrees C

This was why Mr Carney was warning insurers that they stand to lose billions as fossil fuels are banned and shares in coal and gas become worthless. This was why Mr Cameron upped the UK’s contribution to the UN’s “Green Climate Fund” to just under £6 million, to help countries such as India and China to build solar farms and “roll out mobile banking”.

And this was what the Pope was widely billed to be calling for in America, except that, when he got there, he didn’t once mention “climate change” in his speech to Congress, and at the UN included only one sentence on the Paris treaty.

What they are all shutting their eyes to is that the binding treaty they all want simply isn’t going to happen. This is not just because all the horrors the BBC and the Met Office keep warning us about are failing to appear.

Global temperatures and sea levels are not rising as their computer models predicted. There is no increase in droughts, floods, hurricanes or killer heat waves. As for that “vanishing” Arctic ice, its refreezing in September was the largest and fastest for more than a decade.

The crucial reason why there will be no treaty (other than a meaningless fudge) is that those developing countries, led by India and China, are not going to have it. They may be happy to accept the Western world’s promise of a $100 billion (£66 billion) a year Green Climate Fund by 2020, except that, despite Mr Cameron chipping in a one-off payment of £6 million, the richer countries are just not coming up with the money.

But India, already the world’s third largest CO2 emitter, is now planning to double its coal production by 2020. China, easily the world’s largest CO2 emitter, is planning to build 363 new coal-fired power stations, adding 50 per cent to the world’s coal-powered electricity. The International Energy Agency tells us that these two countries alone plan to build more than 1,000 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired capacity, compared with the mere 11GW which is all we shall soon have left in the UK.

In India last month, these two countries and 11 others declared that, while they will be pleased to share in that (non-existent) $100 billion from the West to help them build windmills and solar farms, there is no way they will hold back on their CO2 emissions.

Even the EU, which has long boasted that it is leading the drive to secure that new treaty, has lately dramatically changed its stance. As pointed out by Dr Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the EU is now prepared to pledge a 40 per cent cut in emissions by 2030, but only on condition that any Paris agreement is legally binding on all countries.

So their failure to get that hoped-for treaty will mark a further very significant shift in the balance of global power between West and East (including Russia). But the good news is that this will not have the slightest effect on the world’s climate, which changes for reasons none of the world’s great and good begin to understand.


Revolt: Vermont town votes 274-9 against giant wind turbines

Hundreds of residents of small town Irasburg, Vt., showed up at Town Hall Thursday night to say no to putting wind turbines on their local ridgeline on Kidder Hill

In a stinging rebuke of Vermont’s most prominent wind developer, Irasburg residents packed Town Hall Thursday night and voted 274-9 against hosting giant wind turbines on a ridgeline in sight of local neighborhoods.

At a special meeting called by the Irasburg Selecboard, hundreds of people met to vote on Kidder Hill Community Wind, a controversial renewable-energy project that seeks to put two 500-foot turbines on Kidder Hill, west of the village center.

As the hall exceeded maximum capacity and voters flowed out into the street, Selectboard members delayed the start to discuss how to accommodate the large crowd.

Additional time was taken in hopes of locating the project’s developer, David Blittersdorf, who was widely expected to make a presentation defending his project. When it became apparent the green-energy mogul was a no-show for a meeting in which his wind turbines were the sole item on the ballot, the Selectboard proceeded with a vote.

Residents formed a line and cast paper ballots in a single large ballot box. One question appeared on the ballot: “Shall Kidder Hill, or any other ridgelines of the town of Irasburg, Vermont, be used for development by industrial wind turbine projects?”

Voters didn’t say no — they said hell no. The count was 274 against and 9 in favor. Two spoiled ballots weren’t counted.

Following the vote, roughly a dozen residents stood up to voice their opinions.  “We are here tonight to make our voices heard. We the people of Irasburg say, ‘No ridgeline wind in Irasburg,’” said Ron Holland, a local physician.

Holland was the organizer of a petition drive that helped raised awareness of the project.

Choking back emotion as he spoke, Holland presented the petitions to the Selectboard and urged members to oppose the Kidder Hill Community Wind project “by all means possible,” and to develop a town plan that “protects all of our ridgelines from industrial wind development.”

One resident spoke about the impact of unregulated development in the area.

“There are big companies that are right now buying up some very large plots of land, and they’re targeting areas like this. … If we do not stop this, in 20 years you will not recognize this area. It will look very different,” said Paul Drayman.

Another attendee protested that towns have have no authority over siting of projects.

“Our vote doesn’t actually count. That’s why I think this is about people getting together and galvanizing to say, ‘We want a voice against corporate America,’ said John Clark.

After the event, Susan and William Wahl, who purchased a home half a mile from Kidder Hill in June, said Blittersdorf invited them — along with about 25 other residents —  to his cabin in August to break the news.

“The way he acted, I think it was a done deal. We had just found out about it. Nobody in Irasburg had a clue,” Susan Wahl told Vermont Watchdog. “We wouldn’t have bought the home if somebody said there’s going to be wind turbines.”

The vote in Irasburg is the latest news in a growing revolt against renewable energy projects. Siting controversies have arisen in Swanton, Barton, Poultney, Dummerston, and Pownal, among other towns. Towns that have lawyered up to fight developers include New Haven, Bennington and Rutland Town.

Under state law, approval of energy projects rests solely with the Public Service Board. The regulatory body has come under fire for rubber-stamping green energy proposals. The process stands in stark contrast to Act 250, Vermont’s land use law that places strict constraints on commercial development.

While not binding, the vote in Irasburg has force, according to Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment.

“If a town opposes something and changes their town plan, and if they vote to oppose it, that is the strongest thing a town can do,” she said. “They certainly have the ability to send a message. The town of Swanton just did it, too, for the Swanton Wind project, which is actually further along.”

According to Smith, the vote could cause Blittersdorf to switch towns.

“There’s a possibility that Blittersdorf will just choose to move it across the border into Lowell, affecting the same people in Irasburg,” she said. “If he moves to Lowell, which has supported wind turbines, he’s likely to get a vote of support there.”

Although Blittersdorf was a no-show at Thursday’s meeting, Leslie Cadwell of Kidder Hill Community Wind issued a statement to media following the vote.

“Regrettably, the outcome of this vote comes as no surprise. It represents a rush to judgment at odds with basic notions of fairness and fact-driven dialogue. From the start, the Irasburg Selectboard has stacked the deck against informed and thoughtful conversation about this project.”

She added, “We look forward to finalizing our proposal. … Residents and elected leaders in Lowell, Milton, Georgia and other wind-hosting towns, have proven that Vermonters are willing to do their part for a cleaner, more energy-independent future. We hope Irasburg residents will eventually follow their lead.”


A conversation … or a lecture?

Pope Francis and all of us could learn a lot from an actual conversation on energy and climate

Paul Driessen

We must “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home,” Pope Francis recently told the US Congress, frequently quoting from his Laudato Si encyclical. “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge … and its human roots concern and affect us all.”

I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, the pontiff seems more interested in a lecture than a conversation on climate change, energy and economic development, and improving the lives of Earth’s poorest families.

The pope’s advisors believe humans are destroying our planet and dangerously changing its climate. Instead of seeking dialogue with those who disagree with them, they denounce and try to silence contrarian voices. They dominated the Vatican’s April 2015 summit, while experts who question claims that climate change is manmade or dangerous were not invited or permitted to speak, or even ask questions during the summit; nor was their input considered during the encyclical’s preparation.

Many of those advisors (Jeffrey Sachs, Hans Schellnhuber, Peter Wadhams, Naomi Oreskes and others) hold views that can best be described as extreme: on energy use, climate change, population control, and how much poor nations should be “permitted” to develop. They are deeply involved in and profit greatly from a $1.5-trillion government-funded climate crisis industry that owes its continued existence to perpetuating the manmade global warming narrative and silencing those they vilify as “climate deniers.” 

They have little knowledge of the enormous complexities of Earth’s climate system – and little concern about the impacts their policy prescriptions have on US or EU working classes, or Third World poor. Those people may be protected against climate risks created by computer models; but their livelihoods, living standards, upward mobility, health and welfare are gravely impaired by policies imposed in the name of preventing climate and weather events that are no different, more frequent or more extreme than those which have affected and afflicted humans throughout our presence on this miraculous planet.

Yet, an official document issued by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences after the climate summit declared that “human-induced climate change is a scientific reality,” its “decisive mitigation is a moral and religious imperative for humanity,” and we now have the knowledge, technological ability and financial means to prevent manmade climate change. The document’s title demands “transformative solutions.”

The Laudato Si (“Praise Be to You”) encyclical continues in a similar vein. The Earth “is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” it declares. “Thousands of species are being lost” every year. “If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us.”

Right after calling for a conversation, Pope Francis told Congress, “Now is the time for courageous actions,” to “avert the most serious effect of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity.”

None of these statements – nor proclamations and decrees from the White House and EPA – suggests that any of these church leaders, climate activists or government officials want anything remotely resembling a conversation. Furthermore, history and reality flatly contradict their assertions about climate disasters.

Coal, oil and natural gas began replacing wood, whale oil, water wheels, horses and human labor less than two centuries ago. Since then, billions of people have been lifted out of abject poverty, terminal disease, borderline starvation and early death. Average global life expectancy has soared from barely 30 (48 in the richest nations) in 1900 – to 71 today. American welfare families now live better than kings did in 1900.

Over just the last 25 years, again thanks mostly to carbon-based fuels, almost 1.5 billion people finally received the incredible blessings of electricity. And yet, 1.3 billion (equal to the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe) still rely entirely on wood, charcoal and animal dung for heating and cooking. Every year, 4-6 million of them (mostly women and young children) die from lung and intestinal diseases, due to breathing smoke from open fires and not having clean water, refrigeration and unspoiled food.

Climate activists nevertheless continue to campaign against coal and gas-fueled power plants in energy-deprived Africa and Asia – while other environmentalists rail against hydroelectric and nuclear power, against GMO crops that would survive droughts and feed millions, and against pesticides and the spatial mosquito repellant DDT that could eradicate malaria, slash poverty rates and save millions of lives.

Radio host Thom Hartmann told me 1.5 million Syrian refugees were heading to Europe because of a drought resulting from fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions. He went into high decibel mode when I said his claim was absurd – that they were fleeing genocidal ISIS butchers who are cutting off children’s heads.

In Britain, 1,700 workers are about to lose their jobs at the Redcar steel plant, along with 4,000 supply chain workers and contractors and many more people in communities that relied on those jobs – because climate concerns force factories to pay a £8 ($12) surcharge on their electricity bills for every ton of steel produced. In the USA, EPA’s climate, ozone, water and other regulations are already costing thousands of jobs, and impairing the welfare of numerous families, for marginal or delusional health and climate benefits.

This is not “preferential treatment for the poor.” It is war on women, children, workers and the poor. It protects people against dangers that exist only in climate change computer models and press releases – while eliminating jobs, sending families to welfare lines, and perpetuating energy deprivation, disease and malnutrition that kill millions of people every year.

Coal-fired power plants certainly pollute Chinese and Indian cities. But they produce critically needed electricity and greatly improve living standards. Readily available emission control technologies will be added when their citizens demand it and growing economies make the systems more affordable.

These hard realities make climate change a critical moral and social justice issue. So it seems fair to ask why Pope Francis appears unwilling to have a real conversation about these human rights issues – and about the most fundamental issue of all: whether humans are actually causing a climate crisis.

Weather experts cannot provide accurate forecasts seven weeks or even seven days in advance. Predicting the number of hurricanes before the season begins, or even in the midst of a season, is a hugely daunting task. Even as its intensity began to build, and even as the storm began pounding the Bahamas, specialists could not project Hurricane Joaquin’s ultimate force, trajectory or possible US landfall. Why would we trust models that assume carbon dioxide causes of climate change and ignore numerous natural forces?

And why do we believe assertions that hurricanes and other storms will increase in number, intensity and duration because of CO2? Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, and yet this year marks the first time since 1914 that no hurricanes formed anywhere in the Western Atlantic, Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico through September 22. And as of October 4, it has been 517 weeks since a Category 3-5 hurricane hit the continental United States. That’s a record dating back at least to 1900.

There is likewise no evidence that a single species has disappeared because of manmade climate change.

Finally, Pope Francis also decries “material greed” and worries about our “naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power,” under the “prevailing [capitalist] economic system.” In so doing, he fails to address the political greed that drives many politicians, bureaucrats and environmental activists. He seems to trust in the goodness of those who wield immense political power over what we think, say and do … and over the livelihoods, living standards and very lives of millions and billions of people – too often with little or no accountability for the consequences of their decisions.

So absolutely, let us have a real, open, robust conversation about these issues. And let us include everyone in it, because the energy, environmental and human rights challenges concern and affect us all.

Via email

The Simon-Ehrlich wager 25 years on

As the famous environmentalist bet showed, Malthusians are always wrong.  Shortages come and go but there is no systematic trend towards shortage of any important resource:  Rather a trend towards glut, particularly in agricultural products

In 1980, economist Julian L Simon challenged Paul R Ehrlich, the biologist and author of the best-selling "Population Bomb", to put his money where his catastrophist mouth was by staking $10,000 on his belief that ‘the cost of non-government-controlled raw materials… will not rise in the long run’, with the minimum period of time over which the bet could take place being one year (1). If, as Ehrlich believed, the store of valuable resources was absolutely finite and subject to ever-increasing demand, the resources’ price would rise.

Simon, however, argued that in a market economy characterised by freely determined prices and secured property rights, a rise in the price of a valuable resource could only be temporary as it would provide incentives for people to look for more of it, to produce and use it more efficiently, and to develop substitutes. In the long run, even non-renewable resources would become ever-less scarce as they are ultimately created by the always renewable and ever-expanding human intellect.

Ehrlich, along with his regular collaborators John P Holdren and John Harte, accepted ‘Simon’s astonishing offer before other greedy people’ jumped in and offered ‘to pay him on September 29, 1990, the 1990 equivalent of 10,000 1980 dollars (corrected by the consumer price index) for the quantity that $2,000 would buy of each of the following five metals on September 29, 1980: chromium, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten’ (2).

Between Ehrlich’s chosen dates, the world’s population grew by more than 800 million individuals while standards of living rose. In spite of this, the prices of all these commodities fell – from a 3.5 per cent fall for copper to a 72 per cent fall for tin – as, just as Simon had predicted, new deposits were brought into production and new substitutes created. Ehrlich honoured his financial engagement by mailing Simon a check to the amount of $576.07, but never acknowledged the superiority of his intellectual opponent’s outlook.

Since the conclusion of the bet, several analysts have observed that Simon got lucky as the initial date coincided with historically high commodity prices (although he obviously didn’t know this at the time) and that different timeframes, say a different decade, would have put Ehrlich on the winning side on more than one occasion. While this is true, these comments detract from Simon’s larger point and more sophisticated arguments, for he was well aware of the volatility of the commodity markets and ultimately betted on the knowledge that the odds were in his favour, though by no means absolutely certain.

Looking back, his ‘astonishing offer’ was arguably the clever ploy of a serious poker player with a background in marketing and statistical analysis who sought to draw attention to a perspective then shunned by most environmentally minded academics, activists and public intellectuals.

Indeed, prominent critics of overpopulation rhetoric were then mostly limited to old-fashioned Marxists who, following (mostly) Engels’ writings, believed that scientific advances would overcome natural limits (3); the Vatican, whose doctrine opposed population control on (mostly) theological grounds; and a few free-market economists and think-tank analysts who also believed in scientific advances, but believed that these would be guided by the price system rather than central planning.

Although much less prominent these days, the old population-control and resource-depletion rhetoric is still alive and well in some of its traditional strongholds, be they some institutions dominated by the British upper classes (see, among others, recent remarks by, Jane Goodall, David Attenborough and John Sulston) or international-development bureaucracies.

For instance, when asked why Indians shouldn’t aspire to the same standard of living as the Westerners, the former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra K Pachauri, answered, ‘Gandhi was asked if he wanted India to reach the same level of prosperity as the United Kingdom. He replied: “It took Britain half the resources of the planet to reach its level of prosperity. How many planets would India require?”’

Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Christiana Figueres once said, ‘We should make every effort to reduce the world’s population in an effort to fight climate change’, that ‘obviously fewer people would exert less pressure on the natural resources’, and that humanity is ‘already exceeding the planet’s planetary carrying capacity, today’. She added that population control wasn’t enough and that fundamental changes needed to be made to our current economic system.

Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and an influential contributor to the recent encyclical letter Laudato si, is similarly on record estimating the carrying capacity of the planet at ‘below one billion people’.

Of course, the fear that a growing population is rapidly depleting its finite store of natural resources while mercilessly wrecking its environment is probably as old as civilisation. Some scholars thus interpret the oldest surviving written story, The Epic of Gilgamesh, as a warning against the rapid deforestation of Mesopotamia nearly 5,000 years ago. Two millennia later, Confucius (551 – 479 BC) and some of his followers reportedly argued that excessive population growth may reduce output per worker, lower standards of living and create strife.

After having determined that the ideal number of citizens per city-state was 5,040, Plato suggested fiscal and other incentives to increase the number if need be, or else birth control and emigration if warranted. He further warned that ‘exceed[ing] the limit of necessity’ and the ‘unlimited accumulation of wealth’ would result in expansionary wars. One problem was the populace’s fondness for meat, which would result in struggles over pastureland. Plato’s solution was a vegetarian diet consisting mainly of cereals (wheat and barley), fruits (grapes in the form of wine, olives, figs and myrtle berries), pulses (peas and beans), dairy products (mostly cheese), flavouring ingredients (relish-salt, roots and herbs) and a few other wild foods (mostly acorn).

Echoing his Mesopotamian predecessors, he further lamented that Athens’ back country, whose hills had once been ‘covered with soil’, the plains ‘full of rich earth’, and the mountains displaying an ‘abundance of wood’, had been turned after years of abuse into a landscape that could ‘only afford sustenance to bees’ because all the ‘richer and softer parts of the soil [had] fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land [was] being left’.

Shortly afterward, Aristotle cautioned that populations could outstrip their resource base and end up mired in poverty and social unrest. These risks justified drastic population-control measures such as abortion and exposing children to the elements. Writing half a millennia later, the Carthaginian Christian theologian Tertullian observed matter-of-factly that:

"[What] most frequently meets our view (and occasions complaint), is our teeming population: our numbers are burdensome to the world, which can hardly supply us from its natural elements; our wants grow more and more keen, and our complaints more bitter in all mouths, while Nature fails in affording us her usual sustenance. In very deed, pestilence, and famine, and wars, and earthquakes have to be regarded as a remedy for nations, as the means of pruning the luxuriance of the human race…"

The first full-fledged population catastrophist among modern writers is generally acknowledged to be the Italian Jesuit Giovanni Botero (1544-1617) who, more than two centuries before the better known Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834), argued that human population would increase to the maximum extent permitted by human fertility, that the means of subsistence wouldn’t keep up, and that the unavoidable result would be poverty, starvation, war, diseases and population crashes.

In time, the ‘Malthusian trap’ came to describe the belief that population growth is absolutely limited by finite resources; that because there is only so much to share, a smaller population will be inherently better off; that technological or social innovations can at best delay the unsustainable character of population growth; and that because of projected future ills a range of – sometimes drastic – preventive policy interventions are justified in the present.

This Jeremiad was repeatedly brought to the fore over the past two centuries under the feather, pen, typewriter or keyboard of some (often highly credentialed) concerned individuals. And almost invariably, each time scores of public intellectuals, activists, bureaucrats, politicians, academic journal editors, private foundation and granting agency officials echoed, promoted, funded or implemented restrictive policies in the name of preventing the children of careless lemmings from jumping over the societal cliff.

Along the way, however, dissenting voices questioned the severity of the ‘population problem’ and made the case that free individuals were not only mouths to feed, but also arms to work and brains to develop new and better ways of doing things. The more people around, they argued, the more likely something good was going to happen. As the physicist Robert Zubrin asks, who, between Louis Pasteur or Thomas Edison, should not have been born in order to improve the lot of mankind? (4) Besides, because new ideas are born out of the combination of existing ideas, processes and things, the supply of new beneficial technologies will not only never run out, but will expand exponentially.

Of course, optimistic analysts conceded, humanity is always confronted by various challenges, but in the long run technological progress has a pretty good record of creating lesser problems than those that existed before. As a result, we now live in a world where every indicator of human wellbeing, from life expectancy, income per capita, hunger, and infant mortality to child labour and education, has improved dramatically over the past two centuries. And, even more amazingly, despite the fact that there now over seven times more (and much wealthier) people than two centuries ago, we live on a planet that is increasingly green and clean; where in many if not most places, wildlife is much more abundant than in the recent and even more distant past (5).

Population catastrophists, however, constantly remind us of Hegel’s alleged observation that ‘If theory and facts disagree, so much the worse for the facts’. This is especially true in current discussions of humanity’s increased consumption of coal, petroleum and natural gas over the past two centuries, where alleged problems always trump real benefits. After all, nobody would argue that this consumption made possible the development of large-scale, reliable and affordable long-distance transportation, which in turn paved the way to better and more affordable nutrition by concentrating food production in the most suitable locations. Or that kerosene, heavy oil and natural gas displaced poor quality biomass fuels such as firewood and dung, which filled houses with soot, particles, carbon monoxide and toxic chemicals. Or that cars, trucks and tractors removed the need for work animals (and their attending food consumption), while helping address the diseases associated with their excrement and carcasses. Or that refined petroleum products further reduced harvesting pressures on wild resources such as whales (whale oil, perfume base), trees (lumber and firewood), birds (feathers) and other wildlife (ivory, furs, skin), thus helping preserve biodiversity.

One overall result of these developments – plus the fact that plants benefit from increased carbon-dioxide emissions – is that nature, in the form of growing forests and increased wildlife, has made a significant comeback in advanced economies (6). And yet, pretty much the only thing one hears today from activists who take these beneficial advances for granted is something along the lines of: ‘ever-increasing production and use of fossil fuels will, over time, kill billions of us and irreversibly change all life on the planet’. Of course, the fact that there were barely one billion human beings around when fossil-fuel use took off and the very notion that ‘billions’ of us might die is entirely contingent on their widespread use is completely lost on eco-warriors.

Yet, even granting the seemingly more reasonable premise that hydrocarbons are incorrectly priced because of all the negative (or unaccounted for) climate externalities they generate is problematic. After all, reducing our consumption of fossil fuels will not make bad weather and extreme natural events go away. In the end, the greater wealth generated by fossil fuels (eg, better infrastructure, advanced-warning systems, long-distance transportation) remains our best insurance policy against whatever nature may throw our way.

The fact that past natural climatic events or trends were once blamed on anthropogenic causes such as insufficient offerings to the gods, witchcraft, deforestation, the invention of the lightning rod and wireless telegraphy, cannon shots in the First World War, atomic tests, supersonic flights, nuclear testing and air pollution should also perhaps temper some of the most extreme rhetoric (7).

Or else consider that, not too long ago, countless writers suggested, as the geographer William Dando did in his 1980 book The Geography of Famine, that most climatologists and even a ‘declassified Central Intelligence Agency’ report agreed that because of air pollution, the Earth was ‘entering a period of climatic change’ that had already resulted in ‘North African droughts, the lack of penetration of monsoonal rains in India and seasonal delay in the onset of spring rains in the Soviet Virgin Lands wheat area’. Global cooling, Dando told his readers, was ‘the greatest single challenge humans will face in coming years’ because it would soon trigger ‘mass migration and all-encompassing international famines’ (8).

That the perspective put forward by the likes of Julian Simon or the social and environmental benefits of fossil fuels remain mind-boggling to a general audience is to be expected. That so many well-meaning academics and public intellectuals remain enthralled by scenarios of doom after two centuries of debates in which the depletionists’ projections were repeatedly crushed by human creativity is more puzzling. In the end, though, one suspects that Paul Ehrlich, David Attenborough, Jane Goodall and other prominent messengers of gloom who have lived long and productive lives must, deep down, be grateful for living in Julian Simon’s world.



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

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


5 October, 2015

Now it's hamburgers that cause global warming

For the first time in history, every major country except for India has announced new plans to curb carbon emissions, in an effort to fight climate change. This includes China and the United States, the world's two filthiest polluters.

With the pledges offered so far — what amounts to the biggest world reduction of carbon emissions ever — we're still on track for the world to heat up by more than 6 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, according to a new analysis released this week by Climate Interactive, a Washington-based research group.

We have not yet begun to face reality on this. Two months from now, at the United Nations' Paris conference on climate change, a final deal will be struck. We need strong assurances that countries including ours will do more, or at least ramp up their efforts over time.

Consider this: Producing one half-pound meat patty for your lunch releases as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as driving a 3,000-pound car nearly 10 miles. The meat in our diets actually causes more greenhouse gas pollution than either transportation or industry.

In fact, it is a moral imperative, as Pope Francis told the United Nations. We can't have people forced out of their homes by flooding, drought and famine because we want to eat burgers and drive fleets of SUVs. We've taken the first step. The question is, now what?


Long-term climate history shows that changes in CO2 levels do not significantly affect earth's temperature

The academic journal article below goes much further into the past than Warmists usually do, so it has a better chance of sorting out how events in climate history are associated.  And they find that past fluctuations in CO2 did essentially nothing to temperature.  It was changes in the sun that led temperature change on earth.  They sourced both their temperature and CO2 data from readings of Antarctic ice cores -- as is common in paleoclimate studies

Correlation between solar activity and the local temperature of Antarctica during the past 11,000 years

By X.H. Zhao,  X.S. Feng


*  SSN [sunspots] and Vostok temperature (T) had common periodicities in past 11,000 years.

*  The millennial variations of SSN and T had a strong and stable correlation.

*  The millennial variation of SSN led that of T by 30–40 years.

*  Correlations between CO2 and T were neither strong nor stable.


The solar impact on the Earth's climate change is a long topic with intense debates. Based on the reconstructed data of solar sunspot number (SSN), the local temperature in Vostok (T), and the atmospheric CO2 concentration data of Dome Concordia, we investigate the periodicities of solar activity, the atmospheric CO2 and local temperature in the inland Antarctica as well as their correlations during the past 11,000 years before AD 1895. We find that the variations of SSN and T have some common periodicities, such as the 208 year (yr), 521 yr, and ~1000 yr cycles. The correlations between SSN and T are strong for some intermittent periodicities. However, the wavelet analysis demonstrates that the relative phase relations between them usually do not hold stable except for the millennium-cycle component. The millennial variation of SSN leads that of T by 30–40 years, and the anti-phase relation between them keeps stable nearly over the whole 11,000 years of the past. As a contrast, the correlations between CO2 and T are neither strong nor stable. These results indicate that solar activity might have potential influences on the long-term change of Vostok's local climate during the past 11,000 years before modern industry.

Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Volume 122, January 2015, Pages 26–33

Top US scientist resigned after admitting that global warming was a big scam

Explaining his shocking resignation from the American Physical Society, Professor Emeritus of physics Hal Lewis of the University of California at Santa Barbara wrote:

“It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.”

The renowned physicist further wrote:

“Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club.”

Dr. Lewis, who was also a former department chairman at the University of California, had been a member of the American Physical Society for 67 years.

See entire resignation letter: here.


House Probing Group That Wants Climate Dissenters Imprisoned

Exactly one month ago, 20 scientific researchers with the Institute of Global Environment and Society penned an open letter calling on the White House to prosecute global warming skeptics under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

That letter, which appeared on the institution’s website, went strangely missing this week — likely in response to severe criticism, and not just from the Right. The authors are now probably wishing they hadn’t written anything at all.

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology launched a probe into IGES after it was revealed the institution is heavily taxpayer-subsidized. And Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the committee, wants to get to the bottom of it. In his own letter to IGES President Jagadish Shukla, Smith writes, “IGES appears to be almost fully funded by taxpayer money while simultaneously participating in partisan political activity by requesting a RICO investigation of companies and organizations that disagree with the Obama Administration on climate change. In fact, IGES has reportedly received $63 million from taxpayers since 2001, comprising over 98% of its total revenue during that time.”

And since “IGES’s recent decision to remove documents from its website raises concerns that additional information vital to the Committee’s investigation may not be preserved,” Smith outlined steps Shukla should follow “so that a full and complete record of relevant communications can be produced.” Talk about a backfire.


California’s Drought: Not an Environmental Problem. An Environmentalist Problem

I was walking through downtown Sacramento recently when raindrops started falling. People on the street stopped dead in their tracks, looked up at the sky, and began acting giddy. “What’s that?” I asked a man. “I think it’s something called rain,” he responded. Such is the gallows humor in a state that hasn’t seen substantial rainfall in years.

The obvious lack of rain is the seemingly obvious reason for the state’s lack of sufficient water. Water levels in state reservoirs are falling, officials are cracking down on “excess” water use (lawn-watering, etc.), and voters passed a water bond on the 2014 ballot to help fund more storage. The Capitol crowd is obsessed with the water issue, while local planners use the crisis to clamp down on building permits.

State officials say California’s drought is “one of the most severe droughts on record,” and they warn that even an El Niño rainy season is unlikely to fix the situation. In fact, nothing seems to fix the situation. Californians have slashed their water use by 31 percent during July—well above the 25-percent reduction targeted by the governor. And there’s still not enough water.

But as this series will show, California’s drought is largely a man-made crisis. It is caused by a series of policies—some from the past, many ongoing—which has prioritized environmental demands above the basic provision of water resources to the public. More than half of the state’s water resources simply flow out the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean.

Even now, in the Sierra foothills, state officials empty reservoirs to protect “unimpeded” river flows to benefit small numbers of non-endangered hatchery fish. The California Coastal Commission, the powerful agency with control of development along the shoreline, is holding up a privately planned desalination plant over concerns about its impact on plankton. The environment-friendly commission want to force the developers to build a pumping system that destroys the economics of the plant.

Meanwhile, slow-growth activists see opportunity in the drought. Their goal is to stop new developments despite California’s growing population, so a lack of water is a useful tool in their arsenal. A state law forces developers to prove sufficient water resources for decades into the future—before being able to get a permit to build developments. This slow-growth lobby sees no reason to come up with water-storage solutions.

Even the federal government is in on the action. In the far northern part of the state, along the Klamath River, federal environment officials want to remove four dams that provide water storage near the Oregon border. Their goal is to help preserve the habitat of non-native salmon. The “destroy the dams” movement had gained so much steam in recent years that San Franciscans were asked in a 2012 advisory vote to destroy the O’Shaughnessy dam in Yosemite National Park and drain the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir—the main source of water for the state’s third-largest city. Even that city’s notoriously lefty voters said “no” to shutting their main water spigot.

If one takes a map of the state of California and turns it on its side, with the Pacific boundary at the bottom, it’s easy to better understand the state’s water geology. Water flows from the Sierra Nevada Mountains through rivers that head toward San Francisco Bay. It all ends up in a place called the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the West Coast’s largest estuary. That’s near the lowest point in your sideways map. Then it heads to the bay and, then, the ocean.

When you hear Californians argue about the Delta, that’s what they are talking about. It’s a 1,100-square-mile area with 1,000 miles of rivers filled with historic towns, orchards, swamps, islands, and marinas. That estuary serves as a giant water filter. Primarily, the mighty Sacramento River meanders through the delta, kept within its banks by a series of aged dirt levees. A pumping station at the south end near Tracy sends water along a system of canals to farmers in the San Joaquin Valley—and also to the Southern metropolises.

During wet years, the estuary is filled with fresh water. During droughts, the salinity levels are high as water from the Pacific migrates eastward. That region remains Ground Zero for the state’s water fights. The fate of a tiny baitfish called the Delta Smelt is central here. Occasionally, a few dead smelt are found at the fish screens in Tracy, which causes administrators to shut down water supplies from the Delta toward the south. Water supplies are also stopped during drought years.

In 1982, our past and current governor, Jerry Brown, wanted to build a peripheral canal that would bypass the crumbling levees and take Sacramento River water around the Delta—before heading to the farm and urban water users. The state’s voters rejected that measure. Southern Californians were mostly indifferent to the idea, but Northern Californians resented having more of “their” water sent away.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest plan is to build twin tunnels under the Delta to provide a more consistent water supply southward. The planned cost: $25 billion for the total project, with a separate portion geared toward environmental restoration. Northern Californians are still mostly against it, as they claim it’s a water grab by Los Angeles-based users. (To understand the emotions, watch “Chinatown,” the 1974 movie about the deceptive way Owens Valley water was diverted to the Southland to spur the growth of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley).

Looking deeply into the plan, this much is clear: The newly renamed “California Water Fix” doesn’t even promise more water to southern cities. It simply promises a more consistent water supply. The twin tunnels are designed to change the flow of the rivers and protect the Delta Smelt. With the smelt protected, there will be fewer reasons to shut the pumps. In other words, this is a costly engineering solution to a political problem.

And therein lies California’s main water problem. No one here denies the importance of the environment or that some portion of the state’s scarce water resources needs to be used to protect wetlands and river habitats. But the balance of power has shifted from those who believe that people come first to those who seem to view the population as a scourge.

In April, I reported on a contentious meeting at the Oakdale Irrigation District east of Modesto. Farmers and local residents were aghast. The state and federal officials insisted on releasing massive amounts of water from the large New Melones Reservoir and Lake Tulloch, a small lake downstream from New Melones surrounded by homes. As the governor was threatening fines for people who take long showers, his State Water Resources Control Board was going to empty reservoirs to save about a dozen fish.

The local farmers and residents were asking for a temporary reprieve. I remember the words of one of the district officials, who was calling for “off ramps” during times of severe drought. That’s jargon for temporarily putting aside some of the more aggressive environmental demands at a time when farms and people are out of water. Bad publicity delayed the “pulse flows,” but by September water officials began insisting on new releases.

Recent reports showed that farmers use 80 percent of California’s water resources. It’s true that farmers are an important interest group. And because of the state’s old and quirky system of water rights, we see infuriating misuses of resources—e.g., farmers growing water-intensive hay in one of the driest regions on Earth, the southern Imperial Valley.

But that 80 percent number was deceptive because it completely omitted environmental uses of water, which constitute more than 50 percent of the state’s flows. Farmers, businesses, and residents fight over what remains. What we’re seeing—water releases to benefit a small number of common fish, removing dams along major rivers, delays of desalination plants, failure to build adequate water storage—is not an anomaly. It is the cumulative effect of water policies dominated by environmental interests.

It wasn’t always this way. In earlier days, California’s water policies had more in common (and with some admittedly ill environmental effect) with the ideas of capitalist defender Ayn Rand than John Muir, the famed naturalist whose environmental legacy dominates California discussions. California leaders were proud of taming the wilderness and building massive infrastructure projects—especially water projects—that allowed the state’s phenomenal growth.

In 1961, when Jerry Brown’s dad, Pat Brown, was governor, the State Water Project was begun. “The project includes 34 storage facilities, reservoirs and lakes; 20 pumping plants; four pumping-generating plants; five hydroelectric power plants; and about 701 miles of open canals and pipelines,” according to a state description. “The project provides supplemental water to approximately 25 million Californians and about 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland.”

I’ve toured a lot of the facilities and even was on an official tour of the Colorado River project, following the water as it flowed from reservoirs behind New Deal-era dams at the Arizona border down to the treatment facility in the Los Angeles. It was quite a feat to build these projects. As I argued in my Orange County Register column at the time, it could never be replicated today in a world of Environmental Impact Statements, greenmail lawsuits filed under the California Environmental Quality Act, and a political system dominated by officials more interested in quashing human development than providing the means for humans to thrive in this arid climate.

Sure, it would help if it rained—but the lack of rain is the least of California’s drought problems.


New Report: Putting People First

This is the abstract from a new report “Putting People First: An Alternative Perspective with an Evaluation of the NCE Cities ‘Trillion Dollar’ Report,” authored by Wendell Cox and published by the Center for Opportunity Urbanism

A fundamental function of domestic policy is to facilitate better standards of living and minimize poverty. Yet favored urban planning policies, called “urban containment” or “smart growth,” have been shown to drive the price of housing up, significantly reducing discretionary incomes, which necessarily reduces the standard of living and increases poverty.

This makes the alleviation of poverty, the opportunity for better living standards and aspirations for upward mobility secondary to contemporary urban planning prescriptions. Despite this, calls to intensify land use regulations are becoming stronger and more insistent.

A New Climate Economy report (NCE Cities report), by Todd Litman, “Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Urban Sprawl,” contends that the failure to implement urban containment policy (smart growth) costs more than $1.1 trillion annually in the United States. The urban containment policies favored by the NCE Cities report seek substantially increase urban population densities and transfer urban travel from cars to transit, walking and cycling.

There are serious consequences to such policies, which lead to lower standards of living and greater poverty. This report evaluates the NCE Cities report which places urban containment policy as its most important priority. This Evaluation report offers an alternate vision, focused on improving living standards for all, while seeking to eradicate poverty.

The NCE Cities report relies heavily on social costing and externality analysis of lower density development. While these are useful tools, they are ultimately subjective and should be used with great caution.

This Evaluation identifies a number of issues with respect to the NCE Cities report cost analysis.

1. Nearly 90% of the cost is attributable to personal vehicle use, and is based on a fixed cost per mile differential between the Most Compact (densest) quintile of US urban areas and the four quintiles that are less dense. This Evaluation finds a range of differences in per capita mileage among the quintiles that is far smaller than the NCE Cities report estimates. Adjustment for this and other issues would reduce the NCE Cities report cost estimate by nearly 85 percent, to a maximum that is under $200 billion. Other, unquantified issues are identified that could reduce the reduced estimate even further.

2. The NCE Cities report largely dismisses the housing affordability consequences of urban containment policy. By rationing land, urban containment policy drives up the price of housing and has been associated with an unprecedented loss of housing affordability in a number of metropolitan areas in the United States and elsewhere. Urban containment policy has also been associated with greater housing market volatility. This is a particular concern given the role of the 2000s US housing bubble and bust in precipitating the Great Financial Crisis that resulted in a reduction of international economic output.

3. Urban containment policy has significant negative externalities. A recent economic analysis associates an annual loss of nearly $2 trillion in gross domestic product in the United States with more stringent housing regulation. This estimate would nullify the NCE Cities report cost of dispersion estimate by more than 1.5 times. More significantly, it would dwarf the NCES Report cost estimate as adjusted in this Evaluation.

The purpose of public policy in cities is not to focus a particular urban form, planning philosophy, type of housing, population density, or mode of transport. The purpose is rather to seek better lives for people. The most appropriate form of urban planning policy is that which facilitates better living standards and less poverty. There is increasing evidence that urban containment policy is not only irreconcilable with housing affordability and price stability but also with better standards of living and reduced poverty.



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

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


4 October, 2015

Stored solar power in Spain -- at huge expense

Part of the reason Spain's Greenie schemes sent their government broke -- and caused it to renege on many of their subsidy promises. Just the first stage (there have been 3 stages) of the plant cost around €300 million (US$380 million) to build and it has big maintenance costs as well. Even after the big initial cost it still requires a subsidy to keep it going.  And it uses up vast amounts of water for cooling  -- which is not good in a desert region, where most such plants are located -- JR

On a barren, sun-baked plateau in southern Spain, row upon row of gleaming mirrors form one of the world's biggest solar power plants and harness the sun's power - even after dark.

The Andasol plant near Granada, provides electricity for up to about 500,000 people using about 620,000 curved mirrors.

While it’s not the world’s largest solar farm, it is incredibly powerful, with the mirrors tracking the sun as the Earth turns, to harness as much solar power as possible.

It gets round the main drawback for solar power – that the sun does not always shine – by storing energy to drive turbines after sundown, making it very different to rooftop solar panels, which sunlight directly into electricity.

The main sound at the site, near the town of Guadix, is a whirring of motors to swivel the huge mirrors mounted on giant steel frames, Reuters reported.

The glass alone would cover 0.6 square miles (1.5 square km) which is the size of about 210 football pitches.

The plant, named after the local region of Andalucía and ‘sol’, meaning sun, can generate around 150 megawatts of electricity, making it among the world's largest.

But in comparison, Ivanpah Solar Power Facility in San Bernadino County, Caifornia, is over twice as large as Andasol in terms of capacity and is able to generate 392 megawatts of electricity.

Like Ivanpah, the Andasol plant uses parabolic troughs, which are a type of solar thermal collector that is straight in one dimension and curved as a parabola in the other two, lined with a polished metal mirror.

Sunlight bounces off the mirrors to heat a synthetic oil in a tube to a blazing 400°C (752°F).

That energy is in turn used to drive a turbine, generating electricity.

At Andasol, some energy also goes into two heat reservoirs, which are tanks containing thousands of tonnes of molten salt that can drive the turbines after sundown, or when it is overcast, for about seven-and-a-half hours.

This process almost doubles the number of operational hours at the solar thermal power plant per year.

There is little sign of life at the semi-desert site of Andasol, which lies at an altitude of 3,600 feet (1,100 metres) near the snow-capped Sierra Nevada range.

Some hardy red and yellow flowers grow around the fringes, a few pigeons flap past and workers say that the odd fox lopes by at night.

The environmental benefits of clean energy are judged to outweigh the scar to the landscape from the mirrors, which are visible from space.

The land is infertile, there is little wildlife and few people live nearby. The biggest regional city, Granada, with about 240,000 people, is 70 km (45 miles) away.


The European wind industry is rattled

 The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has joined renewable energy industry groups calling on the European Commission to protect against sudden subsidy cuts. They are asking for a legal instrument to provide investment protection against sudden subsidy cuts.

The commission’s financial department is currently considering setting up an arbitration mechanism for resolving investment disputes at EU-level. This would replace bilateral investment protection treaties struck mainly between EU members and then candidate countries in central and eastern Europe in the 1990s.

An EU arbitration mechanism could be used by the renewables sector to seek compensation for the effects of retroactive subsidy changes. Such changes in several member states have undermined investor confidence and projects’ viability, the industry said in a letter sent to the commission.

According to the letter, renewable energy investment in Europe has almost halved in the past four years, from $120 billion in 2011 to $65 billion in 2014.

In the absence of EU safeguards, renewables investors have to date taken legal action against subsidy changes at national level or through international arbitration, industry associations representing the main renewable energy sources said in a letter to the commission on Tuesday.

There are currently 15 cases pending against Spain’s subsidy cuts under the international Energy Charter Treaty.

The commission is currently in talks with member states about a new climate governance framework to guarantee the achievement of the EU’s 27% renewable energy target by 2030. EU leaders in October agreed that the target should be binding at EU level but not divided into national targets as is the case currently.


Boozy Welsh entertainer blames Syria's brutal four-year civil war on CLIMATE CHANGE

She has uncritically latched on to an old Warmist story.  Her audience thought she was nuts

Singer and left-wing activist Charlotte Church sparked ridicule after blaming the Syrian civil war – on climate change.

The millionaire former child prodigy, appearing on the BBC's Question Time last night, said global warming was 'a big factor' in the brutal conflict between rebel groups, ISIS and Bashar Assad.

Ms Church, who has become a high-profile campaigner against the Government's austerity programme, later took to Twitter to complain about the programme's audience after they responded to her complaint about climate change with silence.

Last night's Question Time was filmed in Ms Church's home town on Cardiff and featured Labour's new MP Stephen Kinnock, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb and Margaret Thatcher's biographer Charles Moore.

The panel was asked if British airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria should be ruled out.

Ms Church said we should ask the Syrian people who their real enemy is.

But she then added: 'Another interesting thing with Syria actually, lots of people don't seem to know about it, is there is evidence to suggest that climate change was a big factor in how the Syrian conflict came about.'

'Another interesting thing with Syria, actually, which a lot of people don't seem to know about this – there is evidence to suggest that climate change was a big factor in how the Syrian conflict came about.

'From 2006 to 2011 they experienced one of the worst droughts in its history, which of course meant there were water shortages and crops weren't growing.

'There was a mass migration from rural areas of Syria into the urban centres, which put more strain and resources were scarce et cetera, which apparently did contribute to the conflict their today.

'No issue is an island you know and we are trying to look at all the different factors in this. We also need to look at what we are doing to the planet and how that might actually cause more conflict in the world.'

She said between 2006 and 2011 the country experienced one of the worst droughts in its history.

Ms Church added: 'This of course meant that there were water shortages and crops weren't growing so there was a mass migration from rural areas of Syria in the urban centres which put more strain and resources were scarce et cetera.'

She said this 'did contribute to the conflict there today'.

The singer added: 'No issue is an island, so I also think we need to look at what we're doing to the planet and how that might actually cause more conflict in the world.'

Her comments were met with complete silence from the audience.

After the show Ms Church admitted her appearance on the long-running programme had been tough.

She said the hostile crowd did not feel like any Welsh crowd she would recognise.


What the EPA Isn’t Telling You About Its New Ozone Standards

Today, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) tightened up its ozone standard, from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion. Ozone refers to ground-level ozone, a primary component of smog.

The EPA will certainly claim that the final standard will help human health, but here’s what they won’t be telling you:

1. Costs exceed the benefits of reducing ozone.

Reducing ozone actually creates more costs than benefits, even from the EPA’s own analysis. The only way the EPA can show that benefits exceed costs is by taking into account reductions in particulate matter (PM 2.5).

2. EPA’s touted health benefits have little or nothing to do with ozone.

Some of the claimed health benefits have nothing to do with ozone reductions, such as reductions in the number of acute bronchitis cases among children. Other benefits are only partially connected to the reductions in ozone.

3. Making the standards more stringent is premature.

States are just now starting to meet the current 75-parts-per-billion standard. According to the Congressional Research Service, 123 million people live in areas that have not attained the current standard. In fact, 105 million people live in areas that are still considered non-attainment for the less stringent 1997 ozone standard. When nearly 40 percent of the nation’s population lives in areas that have not met the current standard, it is premature to adopt even more stringent standards.

4. The new standards are unnecessary.

This is a classic case of a solution in search of a problem. Since 1980, ozone levels have declined by 33 percent and have continued to get better. Nothing magical would have happened if the standard had been kept at the already stringent 75 ppb. States wouldn’t have had free rein (or the desire) to increase air pollution. States would have been required to meet the current standard and continued to reduce ozone levels.

5. Child asthma rates have gone up as ozone has declined.

While ozone has declined by 33 percent since 1980, child asthma rates have gone up by 131 percent during that same time. While this doesn’t necessarily establish that ozone doesn’t have an impact on asthma, it does raise serious questions that the EPA has failed to address.

6. Impact on wealth will negatively impact health outcomes.

The standard is going to be extremely costly, including lost jobs and income. These wealth effects can themselves hurt the public health. There are many reasons why health outcomes could be far worse when there’s less wealth, from people choosing not to get necessary medical care to the elderly being unable to use air conditioning in hot summer months. The EPA didn’t address this critical issue and how it likely will have a disproportionate impact on the poor

Instead of simply allowing the current standard to get off the ground in terms of implementation, the Obama administration decided to add to the already extensive regulatory burden imposed on the public.

The potential costs of a 70-ppb standard (as opposed to the feared 65-ppb standard) need to be better evaluated, but the costs will be major (and far more than EPA’s estimated $3.9-billion annual cost). Congress needs to intervene and kill this new standard.


EPA Keeps Steamrolling Economy

Two regulatory commissars updates this week courtesy of the Economic Punishment Agency (EPA). First, The Hill reports, “The [EPA] has issued a new rule designed to slash toxic air pollution generated by petroleum refineries. The rule, which will be implemented in 2018, requires refiners to reduce toxic air pollutants by 5,200 tons and cut 50,000 tons of volatile organic compounds from the air every year.” The EPA estimates the rules will cost $63 million annually and insists it “will have a negligible impact on the cost of petroleum products,” but the American Petroleum Institute says the price tag will be closer to $1 billion, and, clearly, the rules will have enormous product-cost implications.

Second, the EPA is set to release new rules for the Clean Air Act’s standard for ozone, a.k.a. smog. “The national standard for ozone was last set in 2008 by the Bush administration at a level of 75 parts per billion,” reports The New York Times. Naturally, ecofascists wanted more stringent regulation. So, the Times notes, “In November, the Obama administration released a draft proposal of an updated ozone regulation, which would lower the current threshold for ozone pollution to 65 to 70 parts per billion. That range is less stringent than the standard of 60 parts per billion sought by environmental groups, but the environmental agency’s proposal also sought public comment on a 60 parts-per-billion plan, keeping open the possibility that the final rule could be stricter.” Such low thresholds require, in some cases, technology that doesn’t exist yet, and it immediately pushes many more areas of the country into violation.

Contrary to the class warfare rhetoric of the Left, it is always the poor who bear a disproportionate share of the burden for such regulations. Energy consumption is a far larger part of the budget for low-income Americans, and these rules continue to force prices upward. But Barack Obama did promise his policies would make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”


The great global warming wealth transfer

Cass Sunstein applies his good legal brain to a dissection of redistribution claims from poor countries.  His conclusion is not encouraging to them

There is unprecedented momentum for a real international agreement at the Paris climate talks in December: the U.S. is on track to make significant cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions, China has announced a cap-and-trade program and many others have made commitments of their own.

The biggest obstacle? Justice — or at least two ideas about justice.

The first involves redistribution. As part of any agreement, poor nations, such as Brazil and India, want wealthier countries to pay them a lot of money, both for scaling back their emissions and for adapting to a warming climate.

Their argument has traction. Wealthy nations have agreed, in principle, to provide $100 billion by 2020 to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund. Last year, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to give $3 billion. (Disclosure: my wife, Samantha Power, is the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.) Recently China announced that it would give another $3.1 billion, and Prime Minister David Cameron said that the U.K. would give $8.8 billion. But both Obama and Cameron face significant opposition from their national legislatures — and in Paris, poor nations seem poised to demand far more, perhaps even trillions.

Are those demands justified? Rich countries have a lot of poor people too, and they face multiple demands on their budgets. Though developed nations can be spectacularly generous, they are likely to resist giving many billions of additional dollars in foreign aid. And if the real goal is to help poor nations, the argument for specific funds to combat climate change seems weaker than the argument for a general cash grant, which poor countries could use however they like (for example, to combat malaria).

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But poor countries have a second and perhaps more compelling idea: corrective justice. In particular, they call for “reparations,” a term used over the weekend by Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.

Their contention is that rich nations, which created the problem of climate change, have an obligation to fix it, not least by providing compensation for the high costs that, in their view, global warming has already imposed. Their argument adds that rich countries have gotten rich as a result of cheap energy (mostly coal); poor countries should be paid if they are to be deprived of the same opportunity.

That isn’t entirely crazy, but like other arguments for reparations, it runs into serious objections. For one thing, it depends on notions of collective responsibility. Most people in wealthy nations — whether rich or poor, or whether American or British or German — did not intend, and are not personally responsible for, the harms faced by citizens of India. Are they nonetheless obliged to pay reparations?

How, exactly, does he or she owe reparations to people now suffering from warmer climates in India, Vietnam or Bangladesh?
The corrective justice argument also conflates current generations with past generations. Much of the current “stock” of greenhouse gas emissions was produced by the actions of people who are now dead. The median American was born in 1979. How, exactly, does he or she owe reparations to people now suffering from warmer climates in India, Vietnam or Bangladesh?

There is a subtler problem. Through industrial activity, trade and technology, rich countries have conferred big benefits on poor ones, not least in the form of improved health and opportunity. Consider the recent response to the Ebola crisis, life-saving medical innovations or the dissemination of cellphones throughout the world.

A full accounting might require poor countries to pay the rich ones back for those benefits. No one in rich nations is asking for any form of restitution. (And they shouldn’t.) But if we are really interested in measuring who has helping and hurt whom, a claim for reparations puts the issue on the table.

Which acts of which nations are responsible for what kind of harm, exactly?
Some poor countries might respond that they are facing a catastrophic threat against which they cannot easily protect themselves and for which they are not responsible. They might add that even if people in wealthy nations didn’t intend to harm anyone, their own standard of living is a direct product of the coal and oil used to build national economies.

That’s not the worst response. But the causal chains here are difficult to untangle; which acts of which nations are responsible for what kind of harm, exactly? At the very least, the ordinary framework for corrective justice (one person injures another, and so must pay) doesn’t quite apply.

It is possible, of course, to combine arguments from redistribution and corrective justice in support of the conclusion that as part of a climate change agreement, wealthy nations should be prepared to meet their $100 billion pledge, or even to add to it. Because emissions from poor nations (including India) are rapidly growing, and because a worldwide agreement requires broad participation, wealthy nations have their own incentive to sweeten the pot.

Whether or not the moral arguments of poor nations are convincing, there is a cruel irony. If the economic demands of those nations are exorbitant, they will present serious obstacles to an effective agreement — and if such an agreement cannot be reached, the world’s poorest nations will be the world’s biggest losers.



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

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


2 October, 2015

Giant king crabs the latest threat from  global warming

Could be tasty!

King crabs may be poised to conquer the Antarctic as a result of global warming, scientists have warned.

The creatures could soon be disturbing delicately balanced Antarctic marine ecosystems, where they have not played a role in tens of millions of years, according to a new study.

Rising temperatures of the ocean west of the Antarctic peninsula should make an invasion of king crabs possible within the next several decades, say the researchers.

Lead author Professor Richard Aronson, from Florida Institute of Technology in the US, said: "Because other creatures on the continental shelf have evolved without shell-crushing predators, if the crabs moved in they could radically restructure the ecosystem."

The scientists used an underwater camera sled to film a reproductive population of the crabs for the first time on the continental slope off Marguerite Bay, on the western Antarctic peninsular. That location is only a few hundred metres deeper than the continental shelf where the delicate ecosystem flourishes.

US co-author Dr James McClintock, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said: "The only way to test the hypothesis that the crabs are expanding their depth-range is to track their movements through long-term monitoring."

The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Al Gore spreads environmental gospel before climate talks

6 foot sea rise this century? Eric Rignot is the authority quoted but Rignot is actually an engineer who knows very little about glacier dynamics. Prof. Don J. Easterbrook, a geologist, DOES know about glaciers, however, and he has already given a comprehensive rebuttal of Rignot's claims, remarking, "inter alia":

"These assertions are not new—36 years ago, Mercer (1978) suggested that the West Antarctic ice sheet was potentially unstable and others have commented on it before and since then. Here is what some have said: Calving of large icebergs is a natural process unrelated to warming–this ice shelf and others spawn huge icebergs every 6-10 years. Releasing a huge iceberg, by itself, is a normal process. Collapse of Pine Island glacier, if it did occur, would take 1000-2000 years, but it is unlikely to contribute to more than 2.7 cm of sea level rise over the next 100 years. Every 10 years or so ice shelves calve large icebergs, which are not worrisome. This ice stream is unlikely to collapse in our lifetime. "

Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore is busily training an army of organizers to go out and spread his environmental gospel ahead of key climate talks in Paris later this year.

The modern world is collapsing around us and we must change our ways, according to the former US vice president, who has led the training of more than 5,000 people in the last 18 months.

At each session, he delivers an updated version of his Academy Award-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," using the latest news footage and startling videos to show how the very fossil fuels that have powered so much innovation are leading to the demise of society.

Air so hot it melts airport runways, floodwaters that crumble roads and bridges, methane that blows terrifying holes in Siberia and air pollution so thick it has shortened life expectancy in China by several years featured prominently during his three-hour presentation in Miami this week.

"The world that we have built was built for different conditions," Gore told about 1,000 people who came from 80 countries to attend the three-day climate training session.

At times, he lamented killer heat waves, parching drought, a media that doesn't connect the dots between extreme weather and global warming, and what he called "crazy short-term thinking" among politicians who deny that climate change is occurring.

"Don't let anybody tell you that we are going to get on rocket ships and go to Mars and live in hermetically sealed buildings. We couldn't even evacuate the city of New Orleans when a hurricane hit there," he said.

In Florida, where sea level rise threatens the drinking water, the tourist-friendly beaches and billions of dollars in infrastructure, Gore arrived just as Monday's super moon coincided with high tide, flooding some streets in Miami.

The Climate Leadership Reality Corps Training aims to teach people to give similar but shorter presentations in their own communities, each lasting around 20 minutes, so that they can educate others and encourage conservation and renewable energies.

Attendees in Miami were charged no fee to participate, but once their applications were approved, they were required to pay for their own food, lodging and travel.

On the second day, Gore led a panel discussion with leading scientists, including NASA expert Eric Rignot, who warned that 20 to 30 feet (six to nine meters) of sea level rise is considered inevitable, although it's unclear when this will eventually happen.

Pressed by Gore for a more precise timeline, he said to expect at least 6.5 feet before century's end.

Such a scenario would devour many coastal cities worldwide, but Gore counseled his followers to maintain a positive focus, citing progress in the wind and solar industries.

"Despair is paralyzing," said Gore. "We can't deliver that message."


"Hockeystick" Mann says NYC flood risk rising with global warming

He would.  But the dubious data analyses behind his now discredited "Hockeystick" graph give no confidence in his latest calculations

New York City faces an increased risk of flooding, similar to that which occurred during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, as global warming causes more frequent storms and sea levels rise, scientists say.

Researchers in a study out on Tuesday reported that mega-storms on America's northeast coast could begin occurring every 25 years or so, compared to every 500 years before industrialisation.

And the scientists pegged the blame on global warming from greenhouse gas emissions, caused by human activity.

The research was carried out by studying marine sediment and computer models that allowed the researchers to observe the frequency and power of hurricanes in the North Atlantic from the year 850 to 1800.

The researchers were then able to compare those results with data from 1970-2005, according to the study in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences.

The researchers concluded that the storm surge, or rise of water caused by a storm, was on average 1.24 metres higher during the recent 30-year period, compared with the nearly 1,000-year period.

This, they said, was primarily the result of rising sea level.

'Sea level is rising because of climate change,' said Michael Mann, a co-author of the study and professor of meteorology at Penn State University.

'But climate change also appears to be leading to larger and more intense tropical storms,' he added.

The flooding caused by Sandy was the result of several factors: rising ocean levels, high tide and especially the storm's overall size, the researchers said.

'We wanted to look at the impact of climate change on sea level and storm characteristics to see how that has affected the storm surge on the Atlantic coast, specifically in New York City,' said Andra Reed, a graduate student in meteorology at Penn State and the study's lead author.


Global Warming Fever Drove This Professor Completely Mad

I should perhaps note that the actual trend in stature worldwide is for people to become taller -- with the admonitory exception of North Korea -- JR

The alarms constantly ringing in our ears about the dangers of man-made global warming have produced more than just of bit of odd behavior among the believing community. Some members have grown depressed because they're bummed they can't find enough naive people to buy into their story. Others have developed anxiety orders, thinking that if they engage in normal behavior, such as drinking water, they're contributing to climate disaster.

Evidently, being scared, sad, numb, helpless, hopeless, frustrated and angry are also among the responses to the frenzy who want to wrap Greenland in a blanket to slow glacier melting or build a space shield.

But the looniest tune played in recent years came from the mind of Matthew Liao, a professor at New York University. This fellow is suggesting we think about genetically engineering humans to cut our carbon dioxide emissions.

Liao wrote a paper in 2012 outlining his ideas — or maybe he was dabbling in science fiction. Hard to tell.

Anyway, the paper has come back around with the help of Gizmodo and a boost from social media. We missed it the first time. Maybe that was our good fortune. But we've seen it now and we have a duty to share what we saw.

We'd like to start with the screwiest idea that Liao and a couple of Oxford researchers came up with, but they are all so awful that it's hard to rank them. So we'll just jump right in with this one:

They want us to consider the benefits of engineering humans to make us smaller.

"Human ecological footprints are partly correlated with our size. We need a certain amount of food and nutrients to maintain each kilogram of body mass. This means that, other things being equal, the larger one is, the more food and energy one requires."

They suggest breeding smaller humans through "preimplantation genetic diagnosis" — a subject all good families talk about at the dinner table — or using "hormone treatment either to affect somatotropin levels or to trigger the closing of the epiphyseal plate earlier than normal."

If these don't work or are unpalatable to some, there are always "drugs or nutrients" that can be used to "to reduce birth weight."

Other proposals that would delight Dr. Mengele include: inducing allergies to meat so we can cut our livestock herds and their methane emissions; genetically engineer better night vision to cut electricity use; giving people drugs that increase their cognitive abilities, which, they say means they'll have fewer babies; and increasing our altruism and empathy through drugs so we'll be more cooperative with agendas that seek the common good.

Gizmodo said that initially some wondered if the paper was just an attempt to troll the academic community. We can see their point. One might think the paper was written by climate change skeptics who went underground to discredit those who are constantly yapping about warming.

But it seems they are on the level. Which means they are really on the edge.


Seattle's ‘Slop Sleuths’ Tag Residents For Throwing Away Too Much Food

As many as 14,000 residents of Seattle have been “tagged” by garbage collectors and full-time city waste inspectors for throwing too many “compostables” in the trash – including uneaten food and organic waste such as apple cores, egg shells and coffee grounds.

According to a city ordinance that went into effect Jan. 1 under the city’s “zero waste” policy, putting “significant amounts” of compostable material in the garbage is prohibited.

Throwing away recyclable paper, glass and cans has been banned since 2005.

The City of Seattle defines “significant amounts” as “more than 10% by volume of container, dumpster or self-haul vehicle’s load based on visual inspection by a Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) inspector, contractor or transfer station worker.”

Trash workers are currently attaching brightly colored “educational notices or tags” on non-compliant garbage cans.

After Jan. 1, 2016, Seattle residents will be subject to fines of $1 per violation for individuals and $50 for commercial establishments if the content of their trash bins exceeds the approved limit.

However, according to a lawsuit filed in July in King County Superior Court by the non-profit Pacific Legal Foundation, the ordinance violates the Washington State Constitution, “which prohibits government searches of garbage cans without first obtaining a warrant.”

It also violates Seattle residents’ right of due process by providing “no avenue for residents to contest a supposed infraction,” the lawsuit charged.

The ordinance “fully complies with the law, including the enhanced privacy protections afforded by the Washington Constitution,” SPU and the city attorney responded in a joint statement, adding that “containers are only tagged if the contamination is clearly visible.”

But Blevins told that Seattle’s “slop sleuths” rely on their “arbitrary judgment” to determine whether a violation has occurred. And since the offending trash is hauled away, there is no appeal.

“This law makes trash collectors the judges and juries,” Blevins said in a YouTube video.

“You’re at the mercy of their off-the-cuff estimates about how much food you’ve thrown away in the garbage. And if their hunch goes against you, you get a colorful shaming tag to embarrass you in front of your neighbors.”


House Passes Bill Banning ‘Social Cost of Carbon’ From Environmental Reviews

 The House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday that forbids federal agencies from including the "social cost of carbon" in their environmental reviews.

"A lead agency may not use the social cost of carbon in the environmental review or environmental decision making process,” according to a summary of the bill, which passed the House on a 233-170 vote.

The bill,known as the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2015 (RAPID Act) was introduced in January by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law.

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill in March.

The bill also seeks to streamline the regulatory permit process by limiting federally-funded projects to just one environmental impact statement.

“No more than one environmental impact statement and one environmental assessment for a project must be prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) for a project, except for supplemental environmental documents prepared under NEPA or environmental documents prepared pursuant to a court order,” according to the summary.

The bill also limits the time period in which NEPA-based lawsuits can be filed and requires regulatory agencies to “identify the potential effects of the alternative on employment, including potential short-term and long-term employment increases and reductions and shifts in employment.”

During the floor debate on Thursday, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) pointed out that the bill “gives lead Federal agencies more responsibility to conduct and conclude efficient interagency reviews of permit requests, demands that any entity challenging a final permitting decision in court first have presented the substance of its claims during the agency review process, and requires that lawsuits challenging permitting decisions be filed within six months of the decisions, not six years, as the law currently allows.
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. (AP photo)

“These are simple, but powerful, reforms that will allow good projects to move forward more quickly, delivering high-quality jobs and improvements to Americans' daily lives,” Goodlatte noted.

But Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the committee's ranking member, criticized the bill during that same debate, saying: “This measure would jeopardize public safety and health by prioritizing project approval over meaningful analysis that is currently required under the National Environmental Policy Act.”



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

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


1 October, 2015

The latest: Catching sharks causes global warming!

Sharks are the unlikely heroes protecting humans from the perils of climate change, Deakin University researchers argue in today’s publication of esteemed science journal Nature Climate Change.

According to the Deakin University scientists, when humans kill sharks they cause instability in the ocean’s natural food chain, which can ultimately lead to the release of carbon from the seafloor into the earth’s atmosphere.

With fewer sharks in the food chain, populations of the predator’s food sources, such as sea turtles, flourish.

One of the sea turtles’ main food sources is seagrass, which store vast reservoirs of carbon within sediments. With more sea turtles consuming more seagrass, the carbon is unlocked and can be released into the earth’s atmosphere, thereby accelerating climate change.

After examining available data from across the world, the team from Deakin’s Centre for Integrative Ecology within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences is now calling for urgent research to further investigate the consequences of shark-culling practises throughout the earth’s oceans.

The Deakin project’s lead researcher, Dr Peter Macreadie, said that sharks and other predators were being over-harvested by humans.

“For a long time we’ve known that changes to the structure of food webs - particularly due to loss of top predators such as sharks – can alter ecosystem function,” Dr Macreadie said.

“In science, the consequence is what is known as a trophic meltdown. With the loss of around 90 per cent of the ocean’s top predators from around the globe, the occurrences of trophic meltdowns are now widespread.

“In our article, we report the trickle down effects on the capacity of the oceans to trap and store carbon.

“There are multiple ecosystems by which this can occur, but the most profound examples occur in the coastal zone, within seagrass, saltmarsh, and mangrove ecosystems – commonly known as ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems.

“In the case of sharks and turtles, sharks eat turtles, which in turn eat seagrasses. But when sharks disappear, the turtles have a tendency to run wild and the seagrass ecosystems cannot sustain the turtle populations.

“The turtles overgraze, and, as a consequence, we’re seeing large reductions in seagrass carbon stocks.”

Dr Macreadie said this had played out in Shark Bay, Western Australia, where fewer sharks as a result of hunting had led to carbon storage rates less than half the amount in areas which were abundant with sharks.

“At the extreme level, we see turtles without predation pressure eating themselves out of house and home and destabilising carbon stocks that have been locked away for millennia,” he said.

Dr Macreadie said losing sharks and other top predators from the ocean interfered with the ocean’s carbon cycle and can accelerate global warming.

“Stronger conservation efforts and stricter fishing regulations are needed to reinstate the important role that predators play in the ocean’s carbon cycle,” he said.

“It’s about restoring balance so that we have, for example, healthy and natural numbers of both sea turtles and sharks.”

The researchers say while there is limited data on the topic, they believe further studies will reiterate their findings. This research is the first to explicitly link the loss of major ocean predators, including sharks and other top sea animals, to the loss of stored blue carbon.


Another Top Dog in the control business hearts global warming

The Global warming scare is all about getting more control over people

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has warned that climate change will lead to financial crises and falling living standards unless the world’s leading countries do more to ensure that their companies come clean about their current and future carbon emissions.

In a speech to the insurance market Lloyd’s of London on Tuesday, Carney said insurers were heavily exposed to climate change risks and that time was running out to deal with global warming.

The governor said that proposals would probably be put to the G20 meeting in Turkey in November urging the world’s leading developed and developing countries to bring in tougher corporate disclosure standards so that investors could better judge climate change risks.

“The challenges currently posed by climate change pale in significance compared with what might come,” Carney said. “The far-sighted amongst you are anticipating broader global impacts on property, migration and political stability, as well as food and water security. So why isn’t more being done to address it?”

Carney added that there was a growing evidence of humans’ role in climate change, noting that since the 1980s the number of registered weather-related loss events had tripled. Inflation-adjusted losses for the insurance industry had increased five fold to $50bn (£33bn) a year.

“Climate change is the tragedy of the horizon. We don’t need an army of actuaries to tell us that the catastrophic impacts of climate change will be felt beyond the traditional horizons of most actors – imposing a cost on future generations that the current generation has no direct incentive to fix.


Republican presidential hopeful Bush sets domestic energy as priority

Bush on Tuesday is scheduled to lay out his energy policy during a visit to the Cecil offices of Rice Energy, which produces natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica shales.

“The energy sector is extraordinarily important for high growth and high income, for all Americans,” Bush said, citing studies showing that 40 percent of economic growth in the country since 2008 can be attributed to that sector.

He told the Trib that he long has advocated less government intervention in exporting oil and gas. Bush would enable more gas exports to non-Free Trade Agreement allies, particularly in Eastern Europe, which sometimes exclusively depend on Russia to meet their energy demands.

That would help reduce the nation’s trade deficit, he said, and would not lead to a significant price increase domestically, according to a Department of Energy-commissioned study.

His energy plan is geared toward helping American families, Bush said. Building the pipeline, reducing regulation and giving more deference to states that want to drill will assist “domestic energy production and create jobs, increase wages, make gas and electricity cheaper, and help us achieve and sustain 4-percent economic growth,” he said.

The energy industry has a multiplier effect because most equipment used to extract and deliver gas and oil in the United Statesis American-made, he said. “So it is a hugely important sector and in spite of the (production) revolution that we are seeing, the Obama administration has done everything that it can to make it harder,” he said.

Approval of the pipeline is essential, Bush said, as is systematic reduction of regulations, “whether it is the Bureau of Land Management, standards for hydraulic fracturing, methane rules that the ( Environmental Protection Agency) creates that create real uncertainty,” he said. He cited the slow process of leasing federal land and waters, and the EPA’s carbon rule that “will create significantly higher costs.”

“Even though we have had a decline in oil production in the last few months because of price, if we are serious about a national energy policy, we could be energy secure in relatively short order with North American resources,” he said.

States that want to develop or expand energy production, such as Alaska and Virginia, “should be given much more deference than they are today,” Bush said.

President Obama and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton don’t see the industry as an economic driver, Bush said, but “as some sort of environmental socialist agenda.”

His energy plan goes hand in hand with a proposal to reduce taxes by $3.4 trillion during the next decade and his pledge for 4 percent economic growth, Bush said.

“There is great frustration and anger that the system is not working for anybody,” he said.

Voters ultimately look for “which candidate has their heart, cares and understands their plight, and who has the ideas to lift them up,” he said. “… Every presidential race is different, but as you get closer to decision day, that is what is going to matter.”


Obama's Green Plan With the Red Chinese

In tandem with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the U.S., China announced details of its plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions. That’s all well and good considering China is the world’s largest emitter, accounting for nearly a third of all emissions. But does anyone trust that China’s plan will actually slow “global warming”? Or that China will even abide by its promises? But never mind that. The important thing is the agreement gives Barack Obama a feather in his cap going into the climate summit in Paris this December.

Indeed, Obama’s climate agenda is paramount, and it is what Mark Alexander called an “end run on Liberty.” And what better partner than Red China? Besides, he’s got to hammer out the details of last November’s agreement that Obama unilaterally made in the wake of his staggering midterm election defeat. Getting China on board is critical, not just to show “leadership” at the Paris climate summit, but to (Obama thinks) pull the rug out from under opponents of his agenda.

Carol Browner, former climate adviser to Obama and Environmental Protection Agency chief under Bill Clinton, said, “[W]ith China’s commitment, opponents of climate action here in the U.S. are running out of excuses, unfortunately not as quickly as the earth is running out of time.”

Obama needs to show the world that its two largest economies are willing to handcuff themselves to allegedly save the planet. As he said at Friday’s joint press conference, “When the world’s two biggest economies, energy consumers and carbon emitters come together like this, then there’s no reason for other countries, either developed or developing, to not do so as well.”

The White House boasted in a “fact sheet”: “China confirmed [Friday] that it plans to launch in 2017 a national emission trading system covering power generation, steel, cement, and other key industrial sectors, as well as implement a ‘green dispatch’ system to favor low-carbon sources in the electric grid. These announcements complement the recent finalization of the U.S. Clean Power Plan, which will reduce emissions in the U.S. power sector by 32% by 2030.”

Translation: China will implement cap and trade, the policy Obama failed to push through Congress because it’s so economically damaging. And as Investor’s Business Daily observes, “Cap-and-trade has failed everywhere it’s been tried.”

A Washington Post headline astutely observes, “With cap and trade plan, China adopts emissions policy that couldn’t get through U.S. Congress.” No kidding. That’s because China is a one-party Communist dictatorship. It seems the Post shares Obama’s disdain for the constitutional separation of powers.

It matters little in terms of accountability to China’s central planners if its economy suffers from this emissions scheme. The American stock market has suffered volatility in recent weeks on fears of a slowdown in China. Clearly, China’s economy isn’t too hot. Neither is ours. Yet leaders of both countries are willing to enact economically crushing regulations anyway “for the greater good.” Brilliant.

As for the effect this agreement will have on global temperatures, even proponents admit its likely to be negligible. According to The New York Times, “An analysis by researchers at Climate Interactive … shows that the [world’s] collective pledges would reduce the warming of the planet at century’s end to about 6.3 degrees, if the national commitments are fully honored, from an expected 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit, if emissions continue on their present course.”

First, those temperature claims are fantastical — much of the hype over rising temperatures is based on falsified climate data. Second, the supposed temperature reduction achieved isn’t anywhere near what climate alarmists say we need. But the idea that we’re going to cripple the world economy, hitting the poor hardest, to barely make a dent in such a supposedly inevitable temperature increase is practically maniacal.

On a final note, 2015 is the Chinese Year of the Goat, which is apparently the role Xi has in mind for Obama.


Obama’s Global Warming, Syria Push at United Nations Skips Congress

At the United Nations Monday, President Barack Obama touted what are probably the two biggest items left on his to-do list before leaving office — a global warming agreement later this year in Paris and a settlement to the Syria conflict. Congress barely got a mention.

The Paris accord, like the Iran deal before it, will be strictly an executive agreement, given that Obama wouldn’t have the votes to pass anything in either chamber. Prospects seem to have improved for getting a deal after last week’s agreement with China, which has announced plans to implement a cap-and-trade scheme and push for a global accord in France. Congress, if it gets a chance to weigh in at all, will be via an effort to disapprove Obama’s carbon regulations.

Obama’s hopes for resolving the Syria conflict, meanwhile, rests on Russia and Iran, given that the White House has not been able to articulate a strategy that would both destroy the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS, and force Syria President Bashar Assad from power. Congress, of course, hasn’t even been able to hash out a use-of-force resolution targeting ISIS, let alone agree on a broader Syria policy, and Obama’s left to jawbone Russia and Iran to do the right thing.

Both countries have more influence on the ground in Syria than the United States — and arguably more at stake for Russia given its naval base in Syria that is its only one in the Mediterranean.

Obama has the bully pulpit and the Air Force to deploy, but effectively no ground troops in the fight after the failure of the mission to train and equip moderates.

Ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Obama talked of working with both Russia and Iran to resolve the conflict, but spent much of his speech appearing to tweak the Russian president on democracy, Ukraine and assorted other issues.

He blamed the Syria conflict and chaos squarely on Assad’s attacks on peaceful citizens years ago.

“The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict. We must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the prewar status quo,” he said.

But Putin blames the conflict on a failure to support the existing government.

The White House is left hoping Putin will realize at some point that it’s best for Russia if Assad eventually finds greener pastures somewhere else and a new leader more amenable to the broader Syrian population shows up. In the meantime, the White House wouldn’t mind Russian help taking on ISIS.

Congress did get one mention from Obama, with the president believing that Congress will inevitably roll back the embargo on Cuba.

“For 50 years, the United States pursued a Cuban policy that failed to improve the lives of the Cuban people. We changed that. We continue to have differences with the Cuban government, we will continue to stand up for human rights, but we address these issues through diplomatic relations and increased commerce. And people-to-people ties.

“As these contacts yield progress, I am confident that our Congress will inevitably lift an embargo that should not be in place anymore.”

That doesn’t appear in the cards anytime soon, however.


Australia: Leftist nukes?

Story below from the far-Left New Matilda, which is a bit surprising.  The Left normally hate nukes.  Rob Parker, president of the Australian Nuclear Association  is however invoking global warming and anti-capitalism so I guess that's how you sell nukes to the Left.  Reason is pointless.  You've just got to push their buttons -- JR

My concern about climate change was ignited in 2005 when climate change awareness was growing and people were angry. We had a general revulsion against consumerism and rampant consumption. Corporate greed and ineffectual politicians were the enemies of the people and the environment and renewable energy solutions were thought to restore some level of control over our lives and return us to living in harmony with nature.

A wave of behavioural doctrines and solutions spread through the climate change movement. I researched alternative energy solutions and found that rarely was any analysis done to justify their adoption. At times perverse outcomes have resulted.

A notable example is that of biofuels, where markets have determined that more money can be made by displacing food production or by destroying tropical habitats, especially of the Orangutan.

But regardless of the evident failure of “renewables” to make any real dent in our greenhouse gas emissions, the ‘back to nature’ movement would brook no opposition. For some, science and technology were seen as a part of this attack on our environment, and so, conceptually straightforward technologies harvesting nature’s free energy became the vogue.

Typically we saw the large scale adoption of de-centralised power systems, such as roof top solar. The intermittency of these systems - which entrench the use of emissions intensive gas turbines - was and remains an inconvenient truth.

We will only get one chance to refashion our economy around low carbon technologies, and people need to be held accountable for their opposition especially when it has no analytical basis.

Typically terms such as "sustainability" are frequently used without any reference to careful life cycle analysis that really should be carried out to justify their validity.

As James Hansen has recently observed:

“People who entreat the government to solve global warming but only offer support for renewable energies will be rewarded with the certainty that the US and most of the world will be fracked-over, coal mining will continue, the Arctic, Amazon and other pristine public lands will be violated, and the deepest oceans will be ploughed for fossil fuels.

Politicians are not going to let the lights go out or stop economic growth. Don’t blame Obama or other politicians. If we give them no viable option, we will be fracked and mined to death, and have no one to blame but ourselves.”

I detect similarities in science denial between the anti-nuclear power brigade and the climate change sceptics.

Again as James Hansen points out “There is no reciprocity from the supporters of renewable energy” with their preferred option being fossil fuel backup of renewable energy. “In other words replace carbon free nuclear power with a dual system, renewables plus gas. With this approach CO2 emissions will increase and it is certain that fracking will continue and expand into larger regions.”

The case I am making is for a clean, low carbon industrial future being in harmony with and nurturing nature. And I recommend reading the "Ecomodernism" thoughts of the Breakthrough Institute at for it is nature in the wondrous cosmic events such as the implosion of giant stars that gave our planet those elements essential to life, such as iron, chromium, molybdenum or cadmium.

These were created when stars in their final death throes fashioned and expelled these elements, along with uranium and thorium, into the cosmos. By a massive fluke, these then aggregate into structures such as the Earth to enable life to flourish.

Mankind’s creativity can harness these elements from the magic furnace of the cosmos and use them to protect rather than assault our environment.

My desire is to stop the industrialisation of our landscapes and to never entertain the massive and "unsustainable" network of towers and transmission lines that typify wind farms and solar plants.

In an increasingly stressed landscape I wish to see nuclear-powered desalinated seawater pumped inland so that we can remove many of the dams currently choking our increasingly climate stressed rivers.

As an engineer, I became concerned that harvesting wind and solar power could not provide the amount of energy required to refashion our industrial economy around low carbon technologies. Nor could they do it in the time frame or within the carbon budgets that are required.

We know the targets. We’ve been told often enough that a stabilisation target of 450ppm carbon dioxide equivalent gives about a 50 per cent chance of limiting global mean temperature increases to 2 degrees. This means Australia would need to reduce its annual emissions by 90 per cent by 2050, which means that our electricity must be generated with emissions less than 90 grams per kilowatt hour.

Importantly, we need to drive carbon out of our electricity generation. It’s no good claiming that we need to de-industrialise or have large cut backs on consumption. The scale of the industrial transition required to achieve a low carbon economy will dwarf our current production.

Meaningful reductions will, for example, result in the use of hydrogen or molten electrolysis to replace coal in the smelting of steel with the result that carbon dioxide emissions are eliminated.

Likewise aluminium, known as “canned electricity” has to be smelted using massive amounts of reliable, clean, low carbon electricity. Our heavy road transport needs to move to electrified rail and our light car fleet converted to electricity.

It’s obvious that we have not even started the process of real carbon reductions and all this needs to be done with speed and with massive energy density.

We will only get one go at transforming our energy base and any system that is unproven or has massive redundancy and does not stand up to analytical rigor must be excluded. No nation has yet made any significant greenhouse gas reductions using wind or solar power, and certainly not with expensive storage systems.

France and Sweden are two standout examples whose nuclear powered electricity generation meets the levels required by 2050. This has resulted in electricity being generated with carbon emissions of 71 and 22 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour versus our 992.

France achieved their transition in 22 years with almost double Australia’s generating capacity. The contrasts of two neighbours in Germany and France could not be more stark - refer to Figure 3 and Figure 4 with France producing electricity with about one tenth of Germany's emissions.

Germany has gone down a failed intermittent renewables route, and the risks to Australia if we follow this route as shown in Figure 5 are obvious.

We have on this planet enough uranium to power the globe for tens of thousands of years. Nuclear power stations utilise materials some 20 times more efficiently than wind or solar power and in nations that embrace the technology. 1200 megawatt reactors are now built in around 4 years.



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

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


This Blog by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

I am the most complete atheist you can imagine. I don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat. How skeptical can you get? If sugar is bad we are all dead

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. Greenie policies can in fact be actively bad for the environment -- as with biofuels, for instance

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. Scientists are Warmists for the money it brings in, not because of the facts

"When it comes to alarmism, we’re all deniers; when it comes to climate change, none of us are" -- Dick Lindzen

The EPA does everything it can get away with to shaft America and Americans

Cromwell's famous plea: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken" was ignored by those to whom it was addressed -- to their great woe. Warmists too will not consider that they may be wrong ..... "Bowels" was a metaphor for compassion in those days

Warmism is a powerful religion that aims to control most of our lives. It is nearly as powerful as the Catholic Church once was

Leftists have faith that warming will come back some day. And they mock Christians for believing in the second coming of Christ! They obviously need religion

Global warming has in fact been a religious doctrine for over a century. Even Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, believed in it

A rosary for the church of global warming (Formerly the Catholic church): "Hail warming, full of grace, blessed art thou among climates and blessed is the fruit of thy womb panic"

Pope Francis is to the Catholic church what Obama is to America -- a mistake, a fool and a wrecker

The plight of the bumblebee -- an egregious example of crooked "science"

Inorganic Origin of Petroleum: "The theory of Inorganic Origin of Petroleum (synonyms: abiogenic, abiotic, abyssal, endogenous, juvenile, mineral, primordial) states that petroleum and natural gas was formed by non-biological processes deep in the Earth, crust and mantle. This contradicts the traditional view that the oil would be a "fossil fuel" produced by remnants of ancient organisms. Oil is a hydrocarbon mixture in which a major constituent is methane CH4 (a molecule composed of one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). Occurrence of methane is common in Earth's interior and in space. The inorganic theory contrasts with the ideas that posit exhaustion of oil (Peak Oil), which assumes that the oil would be formed from biological processes and thus would occur only in small quantities and sets, tending to exhaust. Some oil drilling now goes 7 miles down, miles below any fossil layers

As the Italian chemist Primo Levi reflected in Auschwitz, carbon is ‘the only element that can bind itself in long stable chains without a great expense of energy, and for life on Earth (the only one we know so far) precisely long chains are required. Therefore carbon is the key element of living substance.’ The chemistry of carbon (2) gives it a unique versatility, not just in the artificial world, but also, and above all, in the animal, vegetable and – speak it loud! – human kingdoms.

David Archibald: "The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better life on Earth will be for human beings and all other living things."


Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

A Warmist backs down: "No one knows exactly how far rising carbon concentrations affect temperatures" -- Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Jimmy Carter Classic Quote from 1977: "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.


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

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Hearing a Government Funded Scientist say let me tell you the truth, is like hearing a Used Car Salesman saying let me tell you the truth.

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.

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.

After fighting a 70 year war to destroy red communism we face another life-or-death struggle in the 21st century against green communism.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)


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