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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31 October, 2017

You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot—and Sooner Than You Think

Below is the latest Green/Left scare.  It is in fact hundreds of years old but it seems to have been reanimated by the advent of driverless cars. It goes back to Ned Ludd, in the 18th century, who wrecked weaving machines that threatened hand-weavers with losing their jobs.  Ever since, new forms of mechanization have been seen as casting hordes of people into unemployment.  But it has never happened.  After a couple of hundred years of more and more mechanization, unemployment never seems to vary much

Why is mechanization no problem?  What will those cast out of work do for a living?  The answer, broadly, is that there is an insatiable demand for personal services.  Only a tiny percentage of our population is growing all our food these days and even factory work has declined greatly. 

And a major replacement activity we all know about is eating out. Figures vary but most people will eat out for several meals a week.  We could perfectly easily feed ourselves but we choose to  go out and find someone who can do it better.  And with the cooks concerned come waitresses, managers, bus boys, food delivery men, cleaners etc. 

And another great arena for creating jobs is accommodation.  We want bigger and better houses and apartments.  And building them is a huge labor-intensive enterprise.

But those are just two obvious examples.  The point is that in a market economy jobs arise to meet the demand that people with money to spend create.  The work may be humble -- as with shoeshine "boys", bus-boys, janitors, roadwork signallers, cleaners, prostitutes etc but people will always find something more that they "need" done. Capitalism will come to the rescue!  Much to the ire of the useless Leftist "planners"

I want to tell you straight off what this story is about: Sometime in the next 40 years, robots are going to take your job.

I don’t care what your job is. If you dig ditches, a robot will dig them better. If you’re a magazine writer, a robot will write your articles better. If you’re a doctor, IBM’s Watson will no longer “assist” you in finding the right diagnosis from its database of millions of case studies and journal articles. It will just be a better doctor than you.

Until we figure out how to fairly distribute the fruits of robot labor, it will be an era of mass joblessness and mass poverty.
And CEOs? Sorry. Robots will run companies better than you do. Artistic types? Robots will paint and write and sculpt better than you. Think you have social skills that no robot can match? Yes, they can. Within 20 years, maybe half of you will be out of jobs. A couple of decades after that, most of the rest of you will be out of jobs.

In one sense, this all sounds great. Let the robots have the damn jobs! No more dragging yourself out of bed at 6 a.m. or spending long days on your feet. We’ll be free to read or write poetry or play video games or whatever we want to do. And a century from now, this is most likely how things will turn out. Humanity will enter a golden age.

But what about 20 years from now? Or 30? We won’t all be out of jobs by then, but a lot of us will—and it will be no golden age. Until we figure out how to fairly distribute the fruits of robot labor, it will be an era of mass joblessness and mass poverty. Working-class job losses played a big role in the 2016 election, and if we don’t want a long succession of demagogues blustering their way into office because machines are taking away people’s livelihoods, this needs to change, and fast. Along with global warming, the transition to a workless future is the biggest challenge by far that progressive politics—not to mention all of humanity—faces. And yet it’s barely on our radar.

That’s kind of a buzzkill, isn’t it? Luckily, it’s traditional that stories about difficult or technical subjects open with an entertaining or provocative anecdote. The idea is that this allows readers to ease slowly into daunting material. So here’s one for you: Last year at Christmas, I was over at my mother’s house and mentioned that I had recently read an article about Google Translate. It turns out that a few weeks previously, without telling anyone, Google had switched over to a new machine-learning algorithm. Almost overnight, the quality of its translations skyrocketed. I had noticed some improvement myself but had chalked it up to the usual incremental progress these kinds of things go through. I hadn’t realized it was due to a quantum leap in software.

But if Google’s translation algorithm was better, did that mean its voice recognition was better too? And its ability to answer queries? Hmm. How could we test that? We decided to open presents instead of cogitating over this.

But after that was over, the subject of erasers somehow came up. Which ones are best? Clear? Black? Traditional pink? Come to think of it, why are erasers traditionally pink? “I’ll ask Google!” I told everyone. So I pulled out my phone and said, “Why are erasers pink?” Half a second later, Google told me.

Not impressed? You should be. We all know that phones can recognize voices tolerably well these days. And we know they can find the nearest café or the trendiest recipe for coq au vin. But what about something entirely random? And not a simple who, where, or when question. This was a why question, and it wasn’t about why the singer Pink uses erasers or why erasers are jinxed. Google has to be smart enough to figure out in context that I said pink and that I’m asking about the historical reason for the color of erasers, not their health or the way they’re shaped. And it did. In less than a second. With nothing more than a cheap little microprocessor and a slow link to the internet.

(In case you’re curious, Google got the answer from Design*Sponge: “The eraser was originally produced by the Eberhard Faber Company…The erasers featured pumice, a volcanic ash from Italy that gave them their abrasive quality, along with their distinctive color and smell.”)

Still not impressed? When Watson famously won a round of Jeopardy! against the two best human players of all time, it needed a computer the size of a bedroom to answer questions like this. That was only seven years ago.

What do pink erasers have to do with the fact that we’re all going to be out of a job in a few decades? Consider: Last October, an Uber trucking subsidiary named Otto delivered 2,000 cases of Budweiser 120 miles from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Colorado Springs—without a driver at the wheel. Within a few years, this technology will go from prototype to full production, and that means millions of truck drivers will be out of a job.

Automated trucking doesn’t rely on newfangled machines, like the powered looms and steam shovels that drove the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. Instead, like Google’s ability to recognize spoken words and answer questions, self-driving trucks—and cars and buses and ships—rely primarily on software that mimics human intelligence. By now everyone’s heard the predictions that self-driving cars could lead to 5 million jobs being lost, but few people understand that once artificial-intelligence software is good enough to drive a car, it will be good enough to do a lot of other things too. It won’t be millions of people out of work; it will be tens of millions.


Rev heads won’t buy the end of car ownership

The flying-car crowd are at it again, extrapolating wildly about the future of motoring from a few skid marks on the highway. The latest is columnist Hugo Rifkind of The Times in these pages last week.

Apparently, car ownership is headed for the wreckers and “however much you currently love your own car, you will not be sorry”.

There’s a war on private cars, he says, citing the latest London levy, and once driverless vehicles are here “what could be madder than having your own car, which costs half your salary and spends its life sitting outside your house?”

He’s right about the last bit, of course. By some estimates, we use our cars only 5 per cent of the time. If a company employed ­assets like that, shareholders would rebel.

But we’re individuals and we all have stuff that makes no financial sense — our kitchens and garden sheds are full of it. In fact, our kitchens and gardens are part of it. Exhibit A is your house itself. It might be cheaper to rent by the hour, but who wants to live like that?

As an asset, a house has one clear advantage over a car: there’s a chance it will go up in value. No such luck for motorists, and depreciation is just part of the deal. Drivers are hit at every turn with taxes, tolls and fines. Canberra reaps more than $1 billion a year solely from import tariffs and the luxury car tax, and governments are always on the lookout for other ways to sting us. If there’s a hole in the budget, deploy more speed cameras.

So there’s a war on private cars, all right, but it’s nothing new. The motorist has been played for a mug since the dawn of the car.

So let’s look at the score. It’s governments nil, drivers 1.2 billion — the number of vehicles on the planet’s roads. Motorists keep coming back for more and that’s a measure of just how attached we are to cars, despite it all.

Ah, say the Jetsons, we’re at an inflection point.

Car-sharing and autonomy are about to change the game. Even car companies see it coming and they’re reinventing themselves as “mobility providers”.

In this imagined future, autonomous cars can be summoned with a snap of the fingers and take you where you wish. It’s not a car you own — you don’t need to — and so you avoid all the needless expense. The emotional bond ­between human and car is severed for good.

We already have a system that works like this; it’s called the taxi. The autonomous car changes the game when it comes to supply, but the service is effectively the same.

And the taxi is just one facet of public transport — if you’re lucky enough to have some. It gives you options — taxi, bus, train — that sometimes you’ll use, sometimes you won’t.

None of it stops you needing your own car when nothing else will do — for a weekend away, to ferry the football team, shop at Ikea or travel vast distances.

Its on-demand flexibility cannot be beaten.

If you live somewhere without public transport, you won’t be getting autonomous taxis, in any case. The hype is overheated. Full self-driving remains a long way off and, when it arrives, it will be geo-fenced to specific areas. Cars will still need steering wheels for when they stray from the zone. You’ll still need a car, full stop.

An idea has become fashionable that we’re approaching “peak car” because sharing and autonomy will take the wind out of the industry. If so, nobody has told the people of China, who already buy one in four vehicles.

It’s still going to take decades for China to reach the level of car ownership we have in the West, and the same goes for India and other developing ­nations.

Perhaps they will leapfrog ownership straight to sharing. More likely they will want what we have now. They might feel — as many of us do — that car ownership is a statement of achievement, as emblematic as what we wear. More fundamentally, nothing says freedom like having your own wheels. No matter how wide you roam on social media.

Moreover, the same innovations which will make autonomy efficient, such as congestion-­easing algorithms and clever parking systems, will make private cars more convenient too.

“The temptation is to assume that the future looks much like the past,” cautions Rifkind. ­Remember the horse and cart.

He’s missing crucial similarities here. Horse and carts also meant independence.

The visionaries themselves have something in common: an unwillingness to say “when”. Without a time frame, they can never be wrong. It’s a fraudulent exercise, wishful thinking masquerading as insight.

Give them an Uber ride, and they’ll take a transcontinental trip. Or rather, they won’t. ­Because to do that they’ll need their own cars.


Benny Peiser: What I Told Cambridge University’s Spoiled Green Students

‘This House would rather cool the planet than warm the economy’

Madame President, ladies and gentlemen

I am opposing today’s motion because I regard it as perhaps the most inhuman and amoral motion ever proposed at the Cambridge Union. Let me explain.

Let’s translate what the motion actually says and what it means.

What the motion proposes is that societies and governments should abandon the traditional goal of economic growth while prioritising policies to decarbonise.

In short, economic growth and development should be sacrificed in the name of climate protection.

Thankfully, not a single government in the world – and not even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – is advocating this kind of economic self-harm, nor is any country willing to adopt the motion proposed today.

Nevertheless, the fact that stopping economic development is even being advocated by some of the world’s most privileged students in Cambridge reveals how far removed this green bubble is from the harsh reality of billions of people who are desperately trying to escape poverty.

Let’s not beat about the bush: If today’s motion would ever be implemented by some radical green government, it would lead to the death of millions of poor people in the developing world, astronomical mass unemployment and economic collapse.

That’s because poor nations without economic growth have no future and are unable to raise living standards for impoverished populations.

But we don’t need to speculate what green subsidies and taxes have already done to people struggling with rising energy costs.

As climate taxes and subsidies have driven up energy prices all over Europe, a growing number of families are forced to decide whether to heat their homes or buy food.

For millions of people all over Europe, the EU’s green energy policy has proven to be an economic and social disaster.

Climate and green energy policies have lead to is the biggest wealth transfer in the history of modern Europe — from the poor to the rich.

Ordinary families and small and medium-sized businesses are essentially paying wealthy landowners and investors who can afford to install wind turbines or solar panels on their land and homes.

20-times as many people die each year from cold-related illnesses than from heat.

The Office of National Statistics in England and Wales shows that based on past numbers, one million Brits are expected to die from cold in their homes by 2050. Do people in this room really want to make the world colder?

Energy poverty is sweeping Europe. As many as nine million British families pay 10 per cent or more of their household income towards heat and electricity.

Even in relatively wealthy Germany, 15 per cent of its citizens face energy poverty. This year more than 300.000 German families had their electricity cut off because they cannot pay their bills. 6 million household have been threaten with the same fate if they don’t pay up. And that’s happening in one of the world’s richest countries.

While Europe is stagnating and losing its competitive edge, much of Asia is booming, running its growing industries and manufacturing on cheap coal and gas.

According to a new report published this week by the International Energy Agency, Southeast Asia’s energy demand is expected to climb nearly 60 percent by 2040 from now, led by fossil fuel power generation, as rising incomes in the region spur more people to buy electric appliances including air conditioners.

Let me remind you of the economic and energy challenges African nations face. Africa, with 1.2-billion people and 20% of global land mass, makes just 3% of the world’s electricity.

In Africa half the population — 600 million people are without access to energy.

China has 1.4-billion people, roughly the same as Africa, but it generates 12 times more electricity.

The reasons is simple: China has built hundreds of coal and gas-fired power plants around the country. Every week they add one or two to their fleet so that they can provide 1.4 billion people with affordable energy.

Globally more than 1 billion people are without access to electricity and 2.6 billion people are without hygienic cooking facilities.

Providing comprehensive access to cheap and reliable electricity is the single most pre-requisite for economic development.

The proponents of today’s motion argue that economic growth should be sacrificed or at least curtailed in order to cut global CO2 emissions.

Denying the world’s poor the very basis on which Britain and much of Europe became wealthy — largely due to cheap coal, oil and gas — amounts to an inhumane and atrocious attempt by green activists to sacrifice the needs of the world’s poor on the altar of climate alarmism.

In order to improve the plight of the poor in both the developed and the developing world we need both strong economic growth and cheap and reliable energy.

Expansive green toys for landowner and solar investor — who are reaping hundreds of billions in renewable subsidies paid by ordinary families and the poor – hurt the economy and forces the poor to pay for ineffective virtue signalling.

It is only right that a growing number of African leaders accuse wealthy do-gooders in the West of hypocrisy when well-off greens seek to deny them the very energy that made Britain and the Western world rich.

The growing anger of many Africans about Europe’s green obsession was summed up recently by Nigerian finance minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun. Listen carefully so that you know what African leaders really think about green hypocrites:

‘We in Nigeria have coal but we have a power problem. Yet we’ve been blocked because it is not green. There is some hypocrisy because we have the entire western industrialization built on coal energy, that is the competitive advantage that they have been using. Now Africa wants to use coal and suddenly they are saying oh! You have to use solar and wind which are the most expensive, after polluting the environment for hundreds of years and now that Africa wants to use coal they deny us.’

Is that really what you want to achieve – fighting African attempts to provide affordable energy to hundreds of millions of poor people? That would be the result if you took todays’ motion seriously.

No. The goal of humanists and humanitarians cannot be to deny the world’s poorest access to cheap and reliable energy. This is what today’s motion essentially demands — prioritise the green agenda and sacrifice economic growth and poverty reduction.

At its core, the motion is deeply wicked and should be rejected by everyone who takes the urgent needs of the world’s poor into consideration rather than prioritise an intolerant if well-meaning green agenda that is harming millions of people today.


The Global Warming Thought Police Want Skeptics In 'Jail'

Conform or else. That's the message of the global warming alarmists. Those who don't buy into the man-made climate change narrative should be prosecuted as criminals.

"Put officials who reject science in jail," someone named Brad Johnson who says he's executive director of something called Climate Hawks Vote tweeted last month.

At roughly the same time, Mark Hertsgaard typed a screed in The Nation which ran under the headline:

"Climate Denialism Is Literally Killing Us: The victims of Hurricane Harvey have a murderer — and it's not the storm.?"

"How long," Hertsgaard asked, "before we hold the ultimate authors of such climate catastrophes accountable for the miseries they inflict?"

And then there's Bill Nye, the Junk Science Guy, who hasn't been able to cover up his apparent desire to see "criminal investigations" against those ignoring his truth. It's not hard to see through him, though. He dissembles like a politician but his appetite is clear.

The urge to prosecute and imprison those who don't believe as they have been commanded to is not a new wrinkle among the alarmist tribe. Three years ago, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., sounding like, well, a Kennedy, said the Koch brothers "should be in jail, I think they should be enjoying three hots and a cot at The Hague with all the other war criminals."

"Do I think the Koch brothers should be tried for reckless endangerment? Absolutely, that is a criminal offence and they ought to be serving time for it."

The Kochs' crime? Selling energy resources to willing buyers and funding organizations that have reservations about the climate change story we're constantly being told.

Of course Kennedy's wild man rant isn't new either. The history of mankind is marked with incidents of one group forcing its beliefs on another at the point of the sword — and more lately at the strike of a U.S. passenger jet.

Kennedy, Johnson, Hertsgaard and others probably don't seem themselves as runaway zealots. But what zealot has ever recognized his or her own fanaticism?

Maybe the worst case of zealotry from one who refuses to see his own intolerance is British funnyman Eric Idle, who tweeted earlier this year that the skeptics who hold their position due to "stupidity and ignorance" should be punished "humanely. Put down gently." Idle, we can't forget, was part of Monty Python's Flying Circus, which was responsible the famous line: "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition."

Sadly, that line just isn't as funny anymore. All the air went out of it when one of the team members who co-wrote and acted in the skit decided to support a modern inquisition led by climate radicals. We should have seen it coming.


Elon Musk brought to tears by how much Australians pay for power

Billionaire energy mogul Elon Musk was almost brought to tears by Australia's deepening electricity crisis that has prices soaring out of control.

The Tesla boss was confronted with figures showing record numbers of people were disconnected because they couldn't pay their bills.

'Wow, really?' he said in disbelief when told by 60 Minutes that power was becoming a 'luxury item' for many families.

'I didn't realise it was that expensive. Australia has so many natural resources that even if you go the fossil fuel route, electricity should be very cheap.'

His shock turned to sadness when he was told many people were worried they wouldn't be able to turn on their lights or cook food.

'I did not expect that,' he said, his voice wavering, before pausing several seconds and promising: 'We'll work harder.'

Mr Musk in July promised to build the world's biggest lithium ion battery in South Australia after the state's disastrous blackout.

But he didn't realise he was walking into a political firestorm that saw his ambitious project mercilessly mocked by the Federal Government.

'By all means, have the world's biggest battery, have the world's biggest banana, have the world's biggest prawn like we have on the roadside around the country, but that is not solving the problem,' Treasurer Scott Morrison said at the time.

'Thirty thousand SA households could not get through watching one episode of Australia's Ninja Warrior with this big battery, so let's not pretend it is a solution.'

Mr Musk was confused as to what the Big Banana actually was, but admitted criticism from Australia's government go to him.

'I didn't realise there was this big battle going on, I just didn't know,' he said on Sunday night's program.

'We get that all the time. It can be a little disheartening, yeah.'

The government is sticking to its guns, with Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg saying it wasn't enough to stop another blackout.

'Elon Musk's battery was a fraction of the size of the Snowy Hydro Scheme,' he said. 'It was sold to the people of South Australia by Jay Weatherill as an answer to their woes, whereas in reality, it's just a fraction of what that state needs.'

Mr Frydenberg talked up the government's National Energy Guarantee, even though he himself said it would only cut bills by up to $115 a year.

Mr Musk said Australia was 'perfect' for solar power and not only could it get all its energy from solar, wind, and other renewables - it could even export it.

'Australia could export power to Asia, there's so much land there you could actually power a significant chunk of Asia,' he said.

He believed his 100 megawatt (129MWh) battery could be the first step to Australia becoming a renewable energy powerhouse. 'You have to do these things to get the world's attention, otherwise they just don't believe you, they don't think it's possible,' he said.

'People in Australia should be proud of the fact that Australia has the world's biggest battery. 'This is pretty great.'It is an inspiration and it will serve to say to the whole world that this is possible.'

Mr Musk said the world needed to quickly switch to renewable power or it would be sent back to the 'dark ages'. 'We will have the choice of the collapse of civilisation and into the dark ages we go or we find something renewable,' he said.

Batteries on a much smaller scale were already available and helping Australian families slash their power bills.

Michael and Melissa Powney installed a Tesla lithium battery and connected it to their solar panels, which can charge it up in a few hours of sunshine.

Instead of huge power bills, the family even made $32 in power sent back to the grid in the past month - and had the only house on the street with power during the blackout.

'We were seeing electricity bills of over $1,000 before we put the solar in, so I can only imagine what they would be like now if we didn't,' Mr Powney said.




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


30 October, 2017

Is this guy joking or is he just one of history's most incompetent philosophers?

Milan Bharadwaj writes below.  He is a Tamil, a historic  Indian race. He correctly says that climate science has become non-Popperian in that it concentrates on abusing its critics rather than making its own case.  He deplores that.  But he also appears to be a warming believer, in that he refers to an "irrefutable greenhouse effect". 

Yet it is a central point of Popper's teachings that something that is irrefutable or unfalsifiable is not an empirical statement.  So Bharadwaj is saying that the greenhouse effect is a faith statement, not an empirical one. So he is rejecting global warming claims as unscientific.  He is right about that but it makes him a very confused warmist!  Warmism really rots the brain. Perhaps it makes sense in Tamil

According to Karl Popper, one of the most influential philosophers of science in the past millennium, “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”

In the wake of the recent slew of hurricanes which have barraged the American Southeast, numerous scientists and reporters have wasted no time in attributing these disasters to climate change. In fact, it seems like nowadays just about every meteorological phenomenon is a result of global warming. Whether it be increased temperatures, decreased temperatures, tornadoes, earthquakes or even volcanic eruptions, climate change is always the answer, and the majority of these conclusions are drawn with sparing evidence, if any.

Meanwhile, any skepticism or dissenting opinion regarding these countless studies is dismissed as unscientific, when in reality, it is quite the opposite. What started as simply a relationship between carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere and the temperature of our planet, via the irrefutable greenhouse effect, has morphed into non-Popperian pseudoscience, primarily because it is no longer falsifiable. However, an examination of this fundamental flaw in climate research first requires an analysis of what exactly science is.

In its simplest sense, science is the formulation of hypotheses and the evaluation of said hypotheses through observation, experimentation or a mixture of both. What distinguishes science from pseudoscience, though, is whether or not these hypotheses can be disproven as well as proven, a trait known as falsifiability. According to Karl Popper, one of the most influential philosophers of science in the past millennium, “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”

In context, the field of astrology — the study of the divine effect of the positions of celestial bodies on our lives — is pseudoscience because it violates this rule. No matter what patterns the stars and planets might be exhibiting on any given day, those movements are interpreted to be influencing what is happening in our lives. There is no course of events that could transpire that would lead astrologists to believe that their horoscope predictions were incorrect. As a result, astrology, numerology and other pseudo-scientific fields are considered to be non-Popperian.

Similarly, it seems like any and all atmospheric occurrences are attributed to climate change — in part because its definition has become so broad. There is no combination of weather patterns that would cause climate change devotees to doubt their gospel. By contrast, even theories that are deeply ingrained in the fabric of our society, such as gravitation or evolution, are still capable of being disproven with counterexamples. It is for this reason that they are regarded as theories and not axioms. Climate change, on the other hand, has no counterexamples since every weather pattern is seen as a byproduct, therefore making it essentially pseudoscience.     

Returning to the topic of tropical hurricanes, the rate of these aquatic twisters has not significantly increased over time, and similar data can be found for other natural disasters supposedly caused by climate change. This raises the question — why are articles and scientific studies constantly being churned out that suggest correlations between climate change and these natural phenomena, even when none exist? I believe the reason lies in the politicization of global warming over the past decades, as climate change has become a focal point of certain political parties.

Climate change fear mongering and sensationalism following natural disasters has proven to be lucrative in terms of political capital, and is thus being done more and more by politicians. A concomitant of this politicization is the increased popularity of climate science in the public, which causes a surge in the monetary incentives for scientists to create these studies. As a result, modern day climate science has incredible amounts of data tampering, as referenced by a variety of recent examples. Naturally, when financial benefit or political gain becomes the goal of research, as opposed to the expansion of science, the field becomes bastardized, with the politicization of science in the Soviet Union serving as a historical precedent. 

That being said, there is still an irrefutable connection between the level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and the temperature of our planet, and I believe this should be made the focus of the environmentalist movement once again. Instead of deriding and silencing skeptics, we should all have a healthy bit of skepticism whenever we read an inane “scientific” justification for some natural phenomenon. Questioning widely-held beliefs is the very foundation of science as we know it, and the dismissal of skepticism is counter to this ideology. If we want the progression of actual climate science, we must learn to discern the distinction between the science and the politics, and reject non-Popperian fear mongering.


Many factors influence the extent of sea-ice in the Arctic

Any increase the extent of sea-ice in the Arctic seems to give Warmists orgasms.  But an increase may in fact not be due to temperature change at all

Responsiveness of Polar Sea Ice Extent to Air Temperature 1979-2016

Jamal Munshi


Detrended correlation analysis of mean monthly sea ice extent with air temperature at an annual time scale in both Polar Oceans shows the expected negative correlation in 14 out of 36 cases studied. The other 22 cases, including the high profile case of September sea ice extent in the Arctic, show no evidence that temperature alone explains sea ice extent. We conclude that other factors such as wind, clouds, solar irradiance, and ocean circulation may be relevant in the study of differences in mean monthly sea ice extent for the same calendar month from year to year.

Munshi, Jamal, Responsiveness of Polar Sea Ice Extent to Air Temperature 1979-2016 (SSRN. November 15, 2016)

Uncoupled: CO2 And Sea Ice

According to climate models, anthropogenic CO2 emissions drive trends in polar sea ice.   The sea ice extent in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres should therefore gradually decline (linearly) as human emissions rise.

However, neither the Arctic nor Antarctic sea ice trends appear to be cooperating with these modeled expectations.

In newly published papers, scientists have reported that Arctic sea ice extent grew during the decades from the 1940s to the 1980s before declining after the 1980s.   The Arctic sea ice trend has thus undergone an oscillation rather than a linear recession, contradicting the models.

Furthermore, the instrumental record indicates that  Arctic temperatures have stopped rising since about 2005.

On the other side of the planet, the sea ice surrounding Antarctica has been growing since the 1970s, or for nearly 40 years now.  This sea ice expansion coincides with an overall Southern Ocean cooling trend of about -0.3°C per decade since 1979.

Again, the climate models that stipulate changes in CO2 concentrations are what drive polar sea ice trends have been contradicted by observational evidence.

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

Agitators, regulators and predators on the prowl

They’re going for a knockout and jackpot on a farm chemical, a corporation – and science

Paul Driessen

Legal and scientific ethics seem to have become irrelevant, as anti-chemical agitators, regulators and trial lawyers team up on numerous lawsuits against Monsanto. They’re seeking tens of billions of dollars in jackpot justice, by claiming a chemical in the company’s popular weed killer RoundUp causes cancer.

A key basis for the legal actions is a March 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer ruling that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” A previously little known agency in the World Health Organization (WHO), IARC has gained infamy in recent years – as critics slammed it for manipulating data and altering or deleting scientific conclusions to advance extreme anti-chemical policy agendas.

Although it is funded by US and European taxpayers – and is at the forefront of controversial policy, legal and regulatory actions – IARC insists that its deliberations, emails, draft reports and all other materials are its private property. Therefore, the agency claims, they are exempt from FOIA requests and even US congressional inquiries. IARC stonewalls all inquiries and advises its staff to talk to no one.

Its 2015 ruling became the primary justification for California listing glyphosate as carcinogenic under Proposition 65, a European Parliament vote to ban the chemical, and a European Commission committee proposal to give it only a five-year extension for further use in the EU. These actions, in turn, have given trial lawyers the ammo they need for their lawsuits – and other legal actions they are already preparing.

Glyphosate is an herbicide. It kills weeds. Used in conjunction with genetically modified RoundUp-Ready crops, it enables farmers to practice no-till farming – wherein a couple of soil spray treatments eliminate the need to till cropland to control weeds. That preserves soil structure and organisms, moisture, organic matter and nutrients; improves drainage and soil biodiversity; reduces erosion; and permits the high-yield farming humanity must practice if we are to feed Earth’s growing populations without having to plow under millions more acres of wildlife habitat. It also reduces labor and tractor fuel consumption.

Banning it just in Britain would cost the UK $1.2 billion a year in reduced crop yields and farm incomes.

Moreover, as UK science writer Matt Ridley points out, coffee is more carcinogenic than glyphosate. So are numerous other foods and beverages that we consume every day, adds cancer expert Bruce Ames. Of all dietary pesticides that humans ingest, 99.99% are natural, Ames notes; they are chemicals that plants produce to defend themselves against fungi, viruses, insects and other predators.

Indeed, every other regulatory agency and reputable scientific body, going back some 40 years, have universally found that this RoundUp chemical does not cause cancer! The European Food Safety Authority, European Chemicals Agency, German Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), US Environmental Protection Agency and even other WHO experts have all studied glyphosate carefully. They have all said it is safe, non-carcinogenic or “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.”

And yet IARC villainizes glyphosate. In a way, that’s not surprising. Out of 900 chemicals the agency reviewed since it was formed, it found only one was not carcinogenic. Many other chemicals, and even GMO foods, may soon be branded the same way, especially now that America’s tort industry senses more jackpots from “cooperating closely” with IARC and putting more agency advisors on its payroll.

The latest tactic is to claim the chemical is being detected in some foods and in people’s urine. We can detect parts per trillion! (1 ppt is two teaspoons in 660 million gallons.) But where does actual risk begin?

And how did IARC reach conclusions so completely different from nearly every other expert worldwide, whose studies confirmed glyphosate poses no cancer risk? That’s where this story gets really interesting.

IARC is linked inextricably to Linda Birnbaum’s National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, which gets millions in US taxpayer money. The NIEHS funds and works with Italy’s junk-science factory, the Ramazzini Institute, and is allied with radical elements in US and EU government agencies. One of the most prominent and recurrent names on the list is Dr. Christopher Portier.

According to investigative journalists David Zaruk (Risk-Monger) and Kate Kelland (Reuters), Portier worked for years with Birnbaum at the NIEHS. He has also been a principal US government liaison to IARC, was paid as its only “consulting expert” on the working group that demonized glyphosate as carcinogenic, and did so while also being paid by the US National Institutes for Health – and while simultaneously being paid by the rabidly anti-pesticide group Environmental Defense. Portier has also received over $160,000 as a consultant to law firms that are suing Monsanto and other companies!

Equally outrageous, Portier admitted that, before he was hired as an “expert” on IARC’s glyphosate panel, he “had not looked at” any of the scientific evidence and had no experience with the chemical. He signed his lucrative deal with the lawyers within a week of finishing his work on the panel – but later admitted that he had been working with them for two months: while he was consulting for IARC!

Portier, IARC and the predatory lawyers all worked diligently to keep these arrangements – and major conflicts of interest – a secret. As Ms. Kelland explained in another article, IARC was equally diligent in securing a “guilty verdict” on glyphosate – by ignoring or altering multiple studies and conclusions that exonerated the chemical. That scientific and prosecutorial misconduct was revealed when Kelland compared IARC’s draft and final report, and found numerous indefensible changes and deletions.

In multiple instances, she  discovered, the IARC panel simply removed scientists’ conclusions that their studies had found no link between glyphosate and cancer in laboratory animals. In others, the panel inserted a brand new statistical analysis, “effectively reversing” a study’s original finding. Other times, it surreptitiously changed critical language after scientists had agreed to earlier language that made precisely the opposite point from what appeared in the final Monograph 112 report on glyphosate.

One animal pathology report relied on by the US EPA clearly and unequivocally stated that its authors “firmly” and “unanimously” agreed that glyphosate had not caused abnormal growths in mice they had studied. The published IARC monograph simply deleted the sentence.

Overall, Reuters found ten significant changes between the critical draft chapter on animal studies and IARC’s final published monograph. Every one of them either deleted key statements that the Monsanto chemical did not cause tumors, replaced them with assertions that it did cause tumors, or (six times) claimed IARC “was not able to evaluate” a study because of “limited experimental data” included in it.

In addition, IARC panelist Charles Jameson said another study was excluded because “the amount of data in the tables was overwhelming,” and possibly because it may have been submitted an hour late. Dr. Jameson also claimed he didn’t know when, why or by whom any of the changes had been made.

Zaruk’s meticulous and eye-opening analysis of IARC’s swampy, shoddy, deceptive practices, collusion with anti-chemical zealots, blatant conflicts of interest – and six reasons why agency director Christopher Wild should be fired – is must reading for anyone concerned about cancer research and scientific integrity. His discussion of “hazard” versus “risk” assessment is particularly enlightening and valuable.

Many would call this saga blatant corruption, manipulation and fraud. All funded by our tax dollars! It is uncomfortably similar to what we have seen over the years with IPCC and other work on climate change.

The lawyers hope that years of anti-chemical activism, carefully stoked public fears, doctored studies and silencing or marginalizing of contrary voices will bring them a huge jury jackpot – akin to what their brethren recently received in an absurd talcum-powder-causes-cancer case (which was also based on IARC pseudo-science), before the suspect evidence, verdict and award were tossed out on appeal.

It’s likely that the EU and WHO will do little or nothing about this cesspool. Thankfully, the US Congress, particularly Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Lamar Smith (R-TX), is digging into it. We can only hope that they and their committees will issue and, more importantly, enforce subpoenas. If Portier and other IARC staffers, panelists and hired guns refuse to comply, Chaffetz and Smith (and judges in the Monsanto cases) should arrest and jail them, until they open their mouths, books and deliberations.

Via email

Science is NOT on the side of global warming

Maybe the biggest of all the lies put out by the global warming scaremongers is that the science is on their side. No it isn’t. And if you’re in any doubt at all you should read this interview with the brilliant scientist István Markó. It tells you all you need to know about the science of global warming.

Dr. Markó, who sadly died earlier this year aged only 61, was a professor and researcher in organic chemistry at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium’s largest French-speaking university. More importantly for the purposes of this interview, he was one of the world’s most outspoken and well-informed climate skeptics, who contributed to several articles on the subject for Breitbart News.

Before he died, he gave an extensive interview to the French journalist Grégoire Canlorbe. Here are highlights of the English translation. As you’ll see, he doesn’t pull his punches.

CO2 is not – and has never been a poison

Each of our exhalations, each of our breaths, emits an astronomical quantity of CO2 proportionate to that in the atmosphere (some >40,000 ppm); and it is very clear that the air we expire does not kill anyone standing in front of us. What must be understood, besides, is that CO2 is the elementary food of plants. Without CO2 there would be no plants, and without plants there would be no oxygen and therefore no humans.

Plants love CO2. That’s why the planet is greening

Plants need CO2, water, and daylight. These are the mechanisms of photosynthesis, to generate the sugars that will provide them with staple food and building blocks. That fundamental fact of botany is one of the primary reasons why anyone who is sincerely committed to the preservation of the “natural world” should abstain from demonizing CO2. Over the last 30 years, there has been a gradual increase in the CO2 level. But what is also observed is that despite deforestation, the planet’s vegetation has grown by about 20 percent. This expansion of vegetation on the planet, nature lovers largely owe it to the increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

There have been periods where the CO2 concentration was many times higher than now. Life thrived.

During the Jurassic, Triassic, and so on, the CO2 level rose to values sometimes ??of the order of 7000, 8000, 9000 ppm, which considerably exceeds the paltry 400 ppm that we have today. Not only did life exist in those far-off times when CO2 was so present in large concentration in the atmosphere, but plants such as ferns commonly attained heights of 25 meters. Reciprocally, far from benefiting the current vegetation, the reduction of the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere would be likely to compromise the health, and even the survival, of numerous plants. To fall below the threshold of 280 or 240 ppm would plainly lead to the extinction of a large variety of our vegetal species.

Animals need CO2 too. And by the way – forests are not the ‘lungs of the earth’…

In addition, our relentless crusade to reduce CO2 could be more harmful to nature as plants are not the only organisms to base their nutrition on CO2. Phytoplankton species also feed on CO2, using carbon from CO2 as a building unit and releasing oxygen. By the way, it is worth remembering that ~70 percent of the oxygen present today in the atmosphere comes from phytoplankton, not trees. Contrary to common belief, it is not the forests, but the oceans, that constitute the “lungs” of the earth.

It is not true that CO2 has a major greenhouse effect. Reports of its influence have been exaggerated

It is worth remembering here too that CO2 is a minor gas. Today it represents only 0.04 percent of the composition of the air; and its greenhouse effect is attributed the value of 1. The major greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is water vapor which is ten times more potent than CO2 in its greenhouse effect. Water vapor is present in a proportion of 2 percent in the atmosphere. Those facts are, in principle, taught at school and at university, but one still manages to incriminate CO2 alongside this learning, in using a dirty trick that presents the warming effect of CO2 as minor but exacerbated, through feedback loops, by the other greenhouse effects.

Climate change is natural

Over the last 12,000 years, what we have witnessed is an oscillation between warm and cold periods, thus periods with rising and declining sea levels. Incontestably, sea and ocean levels have been on the rise since the end of the Little Ice Age that took place approximately from the beginning of the 14th century until the end of the 19th century. At the end of that period, global temperatures started to rise. That being said, the recorded rise is 0.8 degrees Celsius and is, therefore, nothing extraordinary. If the temperature goes up, ocean water obviously dilates and some glaciers recede. This is something glaciers have always done, and not a specificity of our time.

Don’t worry about shrinking glaciers. We’ve been here before…

In Ancient Roman times, glaciers were much smaller than the ones we know nowadays. I invite the reader to look at the documents dating back to the days of Hannibal, who managed to cross the Alps with his elephants because he did not encounter ice on his way to Rome (except during a snow storm just before arriving on the Italian plain). Today, you could no longer make Hannibal’s journey. He proved to be capable of such an exploit precisely because it was warmer in Roman times.

Sea level rise is normal

Sea levels are currently on the rise; but this is an overestimated phenomenon. The recorded rise is 1.5 millimeters per year, namely 1.5 cm every ten years, and is, therefore, not dramatic at all. Indeed, it does happen that entire islands do get engulfed; but in 99 percent of the cases, that is due to a classic erosion phenomenon[1] and not to rising sea levels. As far as the Italian city of Venice is concerned, the fact it has been faced with water challenges is not due to any rise of the lagoon level and is just the manifestation of the sad reality that “the City of the Doges” is sinking under its weight on the marshland. Once again, the global sea and ocean levels are rising; but the threat effectively represented by that phenomenon is far from being tangible. I note that the Tuvalu islands, whose engulfment was previously announced as imminent, not only have not been engulfed, but have seen their own land level rise with respect to that of waters around them.

[1] The island shores are eroded by the persistent pounding of the ocean waves. This is perceived as ‘sinking’ or as ‘sea level rise,’ but the upward creep of the waters is due to island soil being washed away.

The polar ice caps are fine too

Still another phenomenon we tend to exaggerate is the melting of the polar caps. The quantity of ice in the Arctic has not gone down for 10 years. One may well witness, from one year to the other, ice level fluctuations, but, on average, that level has remained constant. Right after the Little Ice Age, since the temperature went up, the Arctic started to melt; but the ice level in the Arctic finally settled down. Besides, ice has been expanding in Antarctica over the last 30 years and, similarly, we observe in Greenland that the quantity of ice increased by 112 million cubic kilometers last year. On a global scale, glaciers account for peanuts, with most of the ice being located in Antarctica and so on.

Extreme weather events are actually decreasing

From storms to tornados, extreme events are going down all around the world and, when they occur, their level is much lower, too. As explained by MIT physicist Richard Lindzen, the reduction of the temperature differential between the north hemisphere and the equatorial part of our planet makes cyclonic energy much smaller: the importance and frequency of extreme events thus tend to decrease.

Recent warming is modest – much smaller than the alarmists’ various computer models predicted

If you look at satellite data and weather balloon measurements, you then note that the temperature rise around the world is relatively modest, that it is much lower than the rise that is predicted for us by authorities, and that these predictions rely on calculations that are highly uncertain. This is because the simulation inputs cannot take into account past temperatures, for which there is no precision data[1], except by subjectively adjusting x, y, z data that are not always known. The recent temperature spikes measured by satellites and balloons are part of a classic natural phenomenon which is called El Niño. This short-term phenomenon consists of a return of the very warm waters at the surface of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The heat thus liberated in the atmosphere pushes up the global temperature and CO2 plays no role in that process.

Claims by alarmist ‘experts’ that 2016 was that ‘hottest year ever’ are pure balderdash

The World Meteorological Organization – another emanation of the United Nations and which is also, like the IPCC, an intergovernmental forum – declares 2016 the year the warmest of history. Knowing that 2016 is supposedly hotter by 0.02°C than 2015 and that the margin of error on this value is 0.1°C, we see the absurdity of this statement. For those who don’t understand, this means that the variation in temperature can be of + 0.12°C (global warming) or -0.08°C (global cooling). In short, we can’t say anything and WMO has simply lost its mind.

No, ‘climate change’ hasn’t led to an increase in tropical diseases

Climate-related diseases are relatively rare; and even malaria does not directly depend on the climate, but rather on the way we enable the parasite to reproduce and the mosquito to flourish in the place where we are located. If you find yourself in a swampy area, the odds you will get malaria are high; if you have drained the system and you no longer have that wetland, the odds you will catch the disease are very low. In the end, automatically blaming the resurgence of some disease on climate change comes down to removing the personal responsibility from the people involved: such as denying that their refusal of vaccinations, for instance, or their lack of hygiene, may be part of the problem.

Again, CO2 is greening the planet. And that’s a good thing. So stop demonizing it!

Present deserts, far from expanding, are receding; and they are receding due to the higher quantity of CO2 available in the air. It turns out that greenhouse operators voluntarily inject three times as much CO2 in the commercial greenhouse as it is present in the atmosphere. The result we can observe is that plants grow faster and are bigger, that they are more resistant to diseases and to destructive insects, and that their photosynthesis is way more efficient and that they, therefore, consume less water. Similarly, the rise of CO2 level in the atmosphere makes plants need less water so they can afford to colonize arid regions.




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


29 October, 2017

The downfall of the proxies

The article below is more significant than its authors appear to realize.  It casts all proxy measurements of temperature into doubt  -- and paleoclimate studies all rely on proxies. For most of the world, thermometer measurements of temperature go back only a couple of hundred years, if that.  So paleoclimatologists  DEDUCE temperatures from what they see in tree rings, sedimentary sea-life, ice-cores etc.  Such things are proxies for actual temperature measurements.

And it has just been revealed that a widely used and completely accepted proxy appears to be severely inaccurate.

There have long been protests at the uncritical acceptance of proxies. Perhaps the most vivid example of proxy inaccuracy was "Mike's Nature trick", where Michael Mann abandoned mention of 20th century tree-ring proxies when he found that they showed a 20th century temperature DECLINE.  Where it could be examined, there was a wide divergence between tree ring proxies and actual temperatures as measured by thermometers.  Tree rings have in other words been shown to be invalid as a measure of temperature.  Any work using them is built on sand.

And Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski's criticisms of the assumed reliability of ice core measurements of gases such as CO2 have often been mentioned.  And he studied ice cores for over 30 years.

And the measurements of actual CO2 levels collated by Ernst Beck from 1812 on diverge strongly from proxy measurements.

So doubts about proxies have been voiced before but have been ignored by Warmists.  The latest study, however should be harder to ignore, given its importance to paleoclimate work.  "Paleoclimatology is bunk" would seem to be a reasonable conclusion given what we now know. Its measurements require a large element of faith and that faith has now been shown to be misplaced

Climate change might be even worse than we think, according to a new study that is challenging the way we measure ocean temperatures.

Scientists suggest that the method used to understand sea temperatures in the past is based on a mistake, meaning our understanding of climate change may be flawed.

The findings indicate that oceans in the past were much colder than thought, meaning that temperatures may be increasing quicker now than realised.

For over 50 years, scientists based their estimates on what they learned from foraminifera - fossils of tiny marine organisms found in sediment cores taken from the ocean floor.

Foraminifera form shells called tests, in which the content of a form of oxygen, called oxygen-18, depends on the temperature of the water.

So changes in the ocean's temperature over time were calculated on the basis of the oxygen-18 content of the fossil foraminifera tests found in sediment.

According to these measurements, the ocean's temperature has fallen by 15°C over the past 100 million years.

But these estimates were based on the principle that the oxygen-18 content of the foraminifera tests remained constant while the fossils were in the sediment.

To test whether oxygen-18 levels changed, the researchers exposed foraminifera to high temperatures in artificial sea water that contained only oxygen-18.

An instrument called NanoSIMS was then used to analyse the chemical content of the fossils.

Results show that the level of oxygen-18 changed without leaving a visible trace.

According to the methodology widely used by the scientific community, the temperature of the polar oceans 100 million years ago were around 15°C higher than current readings.

But in a new study, researchers from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) are challenging this method.

Instead, they suggest that ocean temperatures may in fact have remained relatively stable throughout this period, which raises serious concerns about current levels of climate change.

Dr Anders Meibom, one of the researchers who worked on the study, said: 'If we are right, our study challenges decades of paleoclimate research.'

'Oceans cover 70 per cent of our planet. They play a key role in the earth's climate.

'Knowing the extent to which their temperatures have varied over geological time is crucial if we are to gain a fuller understanding of how they behave and to predict the consequences of current climate change more accurately.'

For over 50 years, scientists have based their estimates on what they learned from foraminifera - fossils of tiny marine organisms found in sediment cores taken from the ocean floor.

Foraminifera form shells called tests, in which the content of a form of oxygen, called oxygen-18, depends on the temperature of the water in which they live.

So changes in the ocean's temperature over time were calculated on the basis of the oxygen-18 content of the fossil foraminifera tests found in the sediment.

According to these measurements, the ocean's temperature has fallen by 15°C over the past 100 million years.

But these estimates were based on the principle that the oxygen-18 content of the foraminifera tests remained constant while the fossils were in the sediment.

To test whether oxygen-18 levels changed, the researchers exposed foraminifera to high temperatures in artificial sea water that contained only oxygen-18.

An instrument called NanoSIMS was then used to analyse the chemical content of the fossils.

Results show that the level of oxygen-18 present changed without leaving a visible trace.

Dr Sylvain Bernard, lead author of the study, said: 'What appeared to be perfectly preserved fossils are in fact not.

'This means that the paleotemperature estimates made up to now are incorrect.'

Rather than showing a gradual decline in temperature over the past 100 million years, the researchers suggest that the foraminifera had changed their oxygen-18 levels simply to equilibrate with the surrounding water.

The findings indicate that temperature in the oceans have been overestimated.

In terms of next steps, Dr Meibom added: 'To revisit the ocean's paleotemperatures now, we need to carefully quantify this re-equilibration, which has been overlooked for too long.

'For that, we have to work on other types of marine organisms so that we clearly understand what took place in the sediment over geological time.'


Clean Power Plan: Real Costs, Fake Benefits

By Steve Milloy

The Trump Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed repeal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan represents an amazing and long overdue breakthrough in the history of environmental regulation. Not only has no Republican administration ever before mustered the courage to rollback a major EPA regulation, but the Trump administration has done so by directly challenging the rule’s purported health benefits. That’s unheard of.

Although the Clean Power Plan was pitched as being about reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants, the benefits of averted climate change is not how the Obama EPA justified the rule on an economic basis. There certainly were no discernible climate change benefits to be claimed as House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) forced Obama EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to acknowledge in testimony. (Video below).

Instead, the EPA justified the net benefit of the rule on the basis of collateral reductions (so-called “co-benefits” in regulatory parlance) in fine particulate matter (soot or “PM2.5”) emissions from power plants. So while the compliance costs of the Clean Power Plan could be as high as $33 billion per year, the Obama EPA was able to overcome this immense number and coal industry complaints by proferring an even larger off-setting one. The Obama EPA claimed that the rule’s benefits from reducing PM2.5 amounted to as much as $55 billion per year.

What are the supposed $55 billion in economic benefits? That sum is intended to represent the monetized value of thousands of premature deaths allegedly prevented every year by the Clean Power Plan via the co-benefit of reduced PM2.5 emissions. Given that EPA values premature deaths avoided at around $9 million per life “saved”, thousands of lives “saved” times millions of dollars per life “saved” equals tens of billions of dollars in purported annual benefits.

EPA staff invented this calculus in 1996 to justify its first effort to regulate PM2.5. As I wrote on this page at the time (link goes to WSJ, copy of 1997 op-ed below this one), there was no science to support the notion that PM2.5 in outdoor air killed anyone. But EPA regulated anyway, stiff-arming not only the objections and demands rom the Republican controlled Congress for the scientific data underlying its claims, but also stiff-arming the objections of then-Vice President Al Gore who thought the PM2.5 rule too costly.

As it had historically always been difficult for EPA to tighten air quality standards because of costs, the EPA used its imaginary notion that PM2.5-kills as a way to game the cost-benefit analysis. As the Clean Power Plan amply demonstrates, no industry cost-benefit analysis could possibly trump EPA’s thousands-times-millions-equals-billions ruse – that is until, well, Trump.

The Trump EPA has now largely jettisoned the notion that PM2.5 kills. And it has done so in a clever way that not only justifies the repeal of the Clean Power Plan but simultaneously hoists the Obama EPA on its own petard.

The Trump EPA has reduced the Obama EPA-claimed benefits of PM2.5 emissions reductions by as much as a whopping $29 billion per year, which then nets out very favorably against the rule’s anticipated costs of as much as $33 billion per year. Here’s the clever part.

The Clean Air Act requires that air quality standards for pollutants such as PM2.5 be set at a safe level which includes an ample margin of safety for supposedly especially vulnerable populations. The Obama EPA reduced the national outdoor air standard for PM2.5 in 2012 from a level of 15 millionths of a gram per cubic meter of air to 12 — thereby making 12 standard the de facto safe level.

Despite the existence of the 12 standard, the EPA has long claimed that there is no safe level of exposure to PM2.5 and that any inhalation of PM2.5 can cause death within hours of inhalation. But EPA could never lower the PM2.5 standard to zero because such a standard could not be attained even if the economy was entirely shut down.

Neverthless, EPA’s benefit analysis for the Clean Power Plan assumes that PM2.5 does kills people below the 12 standard. But the devilishly clever Trump EPA has simply accepted the Obama-issued PM2.5 standard of 12 at its legal meaning and, so, there are no lives saved by reducing PM2.5 levels below that level. Thus vanished $29 billion in fake Clean Power Plan benefits.

There is a large, robust body of scientific literature that supports the Trump EPA decision — everything from large epidemiologic studies to clinical research to historical air quality episode data to other real-life experiences with PM2.5 to just plain old common sense. Standing against the Trump decision is nothing but dubious, pre-Trump EPA-funded epidemiology, the key data for which pre-Trump EPAs have kept secret from more than 20 years thereby preventing independent analyses. The Obama EPA even defied Congressional subpoena to keep its PM2.5 epidemiologic data hidden from view.

New York Attorney General Keith Schneiderman and green activist groups have already announced they will sue over the repeal. Good luck. When the Supreme Court voted to stay the rule in February 2016, the Court implicitly decided the coal industry and state plaintiffs would prevail on the legal merits alone. That the Clean Power Plan has no economic or climate benefits will just underscore its final demise.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt has hailed the repeal of the Clean Power Plan as the end of the Obama “war on coal.” It’s more like the beginning of the end. The end will be reached when scientific reality about PM2.5 is applied to all the Obama war-on-coal rules.


IMF Chief: We Will Be ‘Toasted, Roasted and Grilled’ by Global Warming

"There has not yet been a single documented case of a person being killed by CO2 related “global warming".  Lagarde is a lawyer by trade.  She has no scientific qualifications

Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has joined the ranks of the most ardent climate alarmists, prophesying that Armageddon is coming if the human race does not tackle climate change.

If we don’t address the issues of climate change and inequality, Ms. Lagarde said Tuesday before a major economic conference in Riyadh, “we will be moving to a dark future.”

Speaking directly to the question of global warming, Lagarde said that “we will be toasted, roasted and grilled” if humanity fails to make “critical decisions” regarding carbon emissions.

If the human race wants a future that “looks like utopia and not dystopia,” it needs to address such concerns, Lagarde said, predicting that in 50 years’ time, oil will be a secondary commodity since green energy will have moved into prominence.

Speaking before a major petroleum-producing nation, Lagarde hastened to add that these necessary measures are “well understood” in Saudi Arabia.

Ms. Lagarde is no stranger to exaggerated predictions, having proposed in 2016 that a Brexit victory would lead to 500,000 job losses, while suggesting that Brexit voters are narrow-minded and calling for a “united Europe.”

Ms. Lagarde said she had always admired Britain’s “openness to other nationalities and cultures” and added it was “hard to believe attitudes had changed in such a short space of time.”

In June, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, arguing that it was a deeply flawed document that put American workers at an economic disadvantage.

This announcement drew fierce criticism from world leaders and activists, with former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon accusing Trump of “standing on the wrong side of history.”

Recent reports, however, suggest that Trump’s move has drawn numerous countries in his wake, with a number of other nations quietly withdrawing from the Paris energy goals.

According to Lawrence Solomon of Energy Probe, a Toronto-based environmental organization, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is one of the only signers of the Paris agreement who is actually abiding by the exacting demands of the accord.

Most signatories, Solomon notes in an essay in last Friday’s Financial Post, “are ignoring, if not altogether abandoning Paris commitments, undoubtedly because voters in large part put no stock in scary global warming scenarios.”

Moreover, a devastating new study from the prestigious UK-based Lancet journal has revealed that pollution-related diseases—rather than “climate change”—were responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths in 2015, or some 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence combined.

Pollution is not only the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today, the study found, but diseases caused by pollution were responsible for roughly 16 percent of all deaths worldwide: “three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence.”

So while there has not yet been a single documented case of a person being killed by carbon dioxide related “global warming,” real pollution of air, water and land is killing an average of 25,000 people every day across the globe.

As environmental activists jet around the world complaining of “carbon footprints” and preaching “renewable energy,” they have been remarkably silent regarding the real and present menace that is wiping out millions of human beings around the world.

Whereas the Paris Climate Accord prates about greenhouse gas emissions, it never once mentions the word “pollution” in the entire 27-page document.

Yet not only is pollution control not getting better, in many parts of the world, “pollution is getting worse,” the Lancet study found.


Massive New Coal Boom To Fuel Southeast Asia’s Booming Economies

The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that about 100 GW of new coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to come online in Southeast Asia by 2040, more than doubling the region’s current coal power capacity. Global coal-fired generation capacity to grow by nearly 50% over today’s levels.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says the need for cheap electricity in Southeast Asia will drive global demand for coal for power generation through 2040, even as many countries continue to retire coal-fired plants and cancel projects for new coal facilities.

IEA, which is set to release its World Energy Outlook 2017 on November 14, this week said India and Southeast Asia will account for the majority of the use of coal in the coming years, as those areas’ economies continue to grow and demand for electricity rises.

“Coal maintains a strong foothold in [Southeast Asia’s] projected consumption, not only because it is markedly cheaper than natural gas, but also because coal projects are in many cases easier to pursue as they do not require the capital-intensive infrastructure associated with gas,” the IEA said in a report in advance of the release of the November outlook.

The agency said about 100 GW of new coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to come online in Southeast Asia by 2040, increasing the region’s installed capacity to about 160 GW. The IEA said 40% of the new capacity will be built in Indonesia. The group said Vietnam, the second-largest consumer of coal in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia, will become the region’s largest importer of coal by 2040.

A report this week by Wood Mackenzie, a UK-based research and consulting firm with offices worldwide, including five in the U.S., said thermal coal imports by Southeast Asia will more than double to 226 million metric tons by 2035, up from 85 million metric tons today. The group said imports into Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and other parts of South Asia will jump to 284 million metric tons during that period, a 72% increase from this year’s levels.

At the same time, Chinese imports of coal—China in 2016 again became the world’s top importer of coal, overtaking India—will drop about 40% over the next two decades as the country ramps up its use of other energy sources, including wind and particularly solar, where it dominates the world market in terms of installed solar capacity and the production of solar panels.

China this year has canceled plans for more than 100 new coal plants, although Chinese companies are either building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants worldwide, according to Urgewald, a German environmental group. Urgewald in July said more than 1,600 coal-fired power plants were either under construction or being planned in 62 countries, a number that would increase global coal-fired generation capacity by 43% over today’s levels.

Kiah Wei Giam, a principal analyst for coal and gas markets at Wood Mackenzie, this week at the Singapore International Energy Week said: “Coal is still the most affordable technology in power generation,” despite “pushback in coal development” due to concerns about pollution. Giam said coal demand will remain high at least until renewable energy sources and energy storage solutions become more economically competitive.


It’s greens, not Lord Lawson, who are anti-science

Did you hear Radio 4’s Today programme back on the 10 August? Do you remember hearing Lord Lawson say that ‘during this past 10 years, if anything, mean global temperature, average world temperature, has slightly declined’?

You probably don’t. Lawson was invited to respond to Al Gore’s new film, An Inconvenient Sequel – an equally boring sequel to An Inconvenient Truth. Lawson’s short interview covered many subjects, and touched on temperature only briefly – almost in passing.

However, this week, the BBC has been forced to apologise for presenter Justin Webb’s failure to challenge Lawson’s claim. According to complaints, the audience was misled by the interview. BBC science presenter Jim Al-Khalili said that hosting Lawson was ‘ignorant and irresponsible’. Physics popstar-professor Brian Cox added that it was ‘highly misleading to give the impression that there is a meaningful debate about the science [of climate change]’. The Green Party co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, said that the interview was: ‘The modern day equivalent of giving the smoking lobby a platform to deny that lighting up has any link to cancer.’

But rather than shedding light on the facts of climate change, these complaints say much more about the strange, intolerant and censorious mindset of environmentalists.

If there is any logic to such livid demands for censure and censorship, it is based on a presupposition that the Today programme’s audience consists of feckless and impressionable morons. But even if this insult were true, the segment in question wasn’t biased. The interview with Lawson followed a discussion with Al Gore, later followed by an interview with Fisher Stevens. (Stevens’ campaigning documentary Before the Flood featured the private-jet-flying, yacht-cruising, carbon-guzzling Leonardo DiCaprio worrying about what everyone else’s CO2 emissions are doing to the planet.) The following morning, Today invited the Met Office’s Dr Peter Stott to respond to Lawson’s claim. The audience would have heard ample arguments from the orthodox side of the debate.
Related categories

Greens seem to think that debate itself lends credibility to unauthorised opinion. Rather than crediting individuals with the sense to judge comments made by interviewees, environmentalists seem to believe that news programmes must spoon-feed audiences the ‘correct’ answers. This reflects environmentalism’s political schema. Where, in a democracy, authority is given by assent from below, greens prefer the authority of scientific institutions. To permit debate would be to undermine the authority of institutional science – and leave the listener with the bizarre impression that he was free to make up his own mind. In other words, Al-Khalili, Cox and Bartley do not need to know what Lawson said, how it contradicts science, or what the science says. They only need to know that he contradicts The Science, and that he shouldn’t be allowed to speak. ‘Shame on you’, screeched Al-Khalili, to the Today team.

But there’s more. Consider the reaction to one of Lawson’s previous appearances on the Today programme. Following the record-wet January and storms of the 2013-14 winter, Lawson appeared on the show with climate scientist Professor Brian Hoskins to discuss the role of climate change in that winter’s weather. ‘There’s no simple link – we can’t say “yes or no, this is climate change”’, said Hoskins. Lawson emphasised Hoskins’ own equivocation, and pointed to analysis from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which claims that a link between global warming and extreme weather events has not emerged from the observational data. The Met Office, Lawson rightly pointed out, had predicted a continuation of the dry conditions for that winter, and got it badly wrong. The disagreement was mild, yet Lawson’s mere appearance alongside a climate scientist provoked outrage. By putting Lawson alongside a climate scientist, the BBC had, greens said, given the audience the impression that the two men were equally qualified to speak. Climate warriors do not even trust climate scientists to debate climate sceptics face-to-face.

Green hysteria about the expression of unauthorised opinion is a far more interesting – and dangerous – phenomenon than minute changes in atmospheric temperature. Patronising millions of listeners won’t lead to better understanding of the climate, nor will it help us figure out what to do about climate change if it ever does become a problem. The idea that certain scientific claims are beyond question is far more anti-science than anything a climate-change ‘denier’ might come up with.




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, 2017

BBC is accused of being a 'left-wing mouthpiece' over climate

After grovelling apology for failing to challenge Lord Lawson over interview claim that temperatures haven't risen in past decade

The BBC was accused of being a 'left-wing mouthpiece' today after it issued a grovelling apology for failing to challenge Lord Lawson over a claim temperatures have not risen over the last 10 years.

Furious MPs said the decision to single out the peer showed the corporation had given up any 'pretence' of impartiality.

Former chancellor Lord Lawson made the claim during an interview broadcast on Radio 4's Today programme in August.

The BBC had initially rejected complaints from viewers, claiming that it was important to give air time to 'dissenting voices' in the pursuit of fairness.

However it has now bowed to pressure and admitted that it breached its own editorial guidelines on accuracy and impartiality.

Tory MP Philip Davies told MailOnline: 'It is what you would expect from the BBC. It is typical BBC.

'They have given up any pretence of being impartial these days. They have become a mouthpiece for any left-wing, pro-EU Labour party cause.

'If they think they might have upset some of their left wing cheerleaders then of course they are going to apologise profusely.

'I look forward to them apologising profusely when a right wing politician is challenged. I think we would be waiting a long time.' 

Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North West Leicestershire told MailOnline: ‘If the BBC had to apologise for every inaccuracy a Labour politician made on air they would never be able to have a Labour politician on.

‘The position sounds rather extreme to me – the BBC very seldom allow climate sceptics on the programme.’ 

According to The Guardian, the BBC's executive complaints unit accepted that the assertions 'were, at the least, contestable and should have been challenged'.

During the interview with presenter Justin Webb, Lord Lawson said official figures showed that 'during this past 10 years, if anything, mean global temperature, average world temperature, has slightly declined'.

He added that the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 'has confirmed that there has been no increase in extreme weather events'.

In a letter seen by the Guardian, Colin Tregear, BBC complaints director, said: 'I hope you'll accept my apologies [...] for the breach of editorial standards you identified.'

The Today programme received similar complaints in 2014, when it was accused of giving 'undue weight to Lord Lawson's views'.

Ninety seven per cent of climate change scientists, climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities, according to Nasa.

The IPCC has also forecast a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century.

When asked for a comment, the BBC gave the following statement.

It said that during the programme, Al Gore appeared and spoke about his new film, the US Government's approach and the global effort to tackle climate change and spoke to filmmaker Fisher Stevens, who directed the 2016 film 'Before the Flood', prior to Lord Lawson's interview.

It added: 'In the interview our aim was to focus on the subsidy regime and Mr Gore's claim that there are policy makers who do not "join the dots", and Justin Webb challenged Lord Lawson in both these areas.

'The next morning we fact checked the claims around levels of subsidies for renewables and fossil fuels and we ran through the latest scientific evidence on extreme weather events and the links to climate change.

Temperature data from four international science institutions. All show rapid warming in the past few decades and that the last decade has been the warmest on record.  All show rapid warming in the past few decades and that the last decade has been the warmest on record.

'We appreciate that listeners may disagree with the position Lord Lawson takes on this issue, but his stance is reflected, for example, in the current US administration which has distanced itself from the Paris Agreement.

'As we pride ourselves on hearing opinions from all sides on Today, we are confident that we gave listeners the context and facts to make their own minds up about the views expressed.

'The BBC is absolutely committed to impartial and balanced coverage on this complex issue.

'Our position remains exactly as it was - we accept that there is broad scientific agreement on climate change and we reflect this accordingly.

'We do however on occasion offer space to dissenting voices where appropriate as part of the BBC’s overall commitment to impartiality.'


UK: 'Excessive' green taxes are forcing up fuel bills, official review finds

Consumers are paying too much for their energy because of “excessive” green taxes added to bills, a damning Government-commissioned report has found.

A series of “spectacularly bad” decisions by ministers have “unnecessarily burdened” households and businesses with higher green energy subsidies than necessary, according to Prof
Dieter Helm, of Oxford University.

The cost of renewable energy – as well as gas, coal and oil – has fallen but the benefits have not been passed on because ministers locked the taxpayer into long-term contracts that overestimated those costs, Prof Helm found.

Green taxes will cost the average household almost £150 from next year, according to energy firms.

Prof Helm said this was “significantly higher than it needs to be” to meet the Government’s objectives of cutting down on the use of fossil fuels and
promoting renewable energy.

He was asked to undertake the research after Theresa May, the Prime Minister, vowed to tackle “rip-off” bills. However, the industry expert placed the blame on the Government’s own policies.

“Significant institutional reform” should be brought in to reduce the Government’s role and allow the market to function efficiently, Prof Helm said.

His Cost of Energy Review said: “Each successive intervention layers on new costs and unintended consequences. It should be a central aim of Government to radically simplify the interventions, and to get Government back out of many of its current detailed roles.”

Green energy taxes, which were introduced as part of the 2008 Climate Change Act, have caused controversy ever since because some MPs regard them as “regressive”, penalising those who can least afford them.

There are also divisions over whether the levies are justified, particularly with respect to subsidies for wind farms, with opinion split over whether they are an unnecessary blight on the landscape.

In August the Office for Budget Responsibility warned that the cost of the subsidies would more than treble over the next five years, from £4.6? billion in 2015-16 to £13.5?billion in 2021-22.

The costs of “decarbonisation” account for around 20 per cent of typical electricity bills, according to the report. Consumers will have paid well over £100?billion by 2030, and Prof Helm says that “much more decarbonisation could have been achieved for less; costs should be lower, and they should be falling further”.

He said ministers’ forecasts of future energy costs had been far too high, but “many of these excessive costs are locked in for a decade or more, given the contractual and other legal commitments governments have made”.

In particular contracts had been given to “early stage” wind, solar and biomass companies whose costs had since been hugely undercut by other firms using much more advanced technology, Prof Helm said.

He said energy firms should be forced to declare their profit margins on bills and also called for the cost of existing contracts to be ring-fenced into a “legacy bank” and shown separately. The legacy charge should not be paid by heavy industry, he suggested.

Gareth Stace, director of UK Steel, said a “persistent and sizeable gap” existed between energy costs in Britain and competing markets.

The review is the second major report to criticise government energy policy in recent years after the Competition and Markets Authority dismissed many of the early claims of market abuse made against energy companies. Instead it warned that many policy
decisions had harmed competition.


"Deniers" are CRIMINALS

Mark Hertsgaard is off on another journey through his own head.  A false prophet and wild theorist from way back writes below.  It's all just assertion.  Not for him any doubt that hurricanes are caused by global warming

The horrors hurled at Houston and the Himalayan lowlands in late August were heartbreaking—but also infuriating. How many times must we see this disaster movie—titled Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, along with many lesser-known foreign releases—before we intervene and change the ending? And how long before we hold the ultimate authors of such climate catastrophes accountable for the miseries they inflict?

The tragedy of Harvey starts with the suffering of innocents like Jordyn Grace, the 3-year-old who survived the flood by clinging to the body of her drowned mother, who had prayed with her last breaths. At least 60 people died in Texas because of the storm, over 1 million people were displaced, and who knows how many survived but lost everything? Multiply the death and destruction in Texas a hundredfold to comprehend the scale of devastation in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, where—although the news coverage has been a fraction of Harvey’s—a staggering 16 million children “are in urgent need of life-saving support” after “torrential monsoon rains and catastrophic flooding,” UNICEF reports.

What makes this so infuriating is that it shouldn’t be happening. Experts have warned for decades that global warming would increase these sorts of weather extremes and that people would suffer and die if protective measures were not implemented. In 2008, John Podesta, soon to be Obama’s transition director, organized a war game to test the responses to projected climate disruptions. Eerily enough, the scenario chosen—and vetted as scientifically accurate by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory—envisioned a Category 4 hurricane striking Houston and extreme monsoons flooding India. This is not to say that global warming “caused” Harvey—a scientifically illiterate framing of the issue—but it did make the rains bigger, more intense, and more destructive. Harvey dumped 27 trillion gallons of water—“enough to cover all of Manhattan a mile deep,” noted Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press—and as much as 30 percent of it can be attributed to global warming, according to Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Many other experts have issued warnings, starting with NASA scientist James Hansen’s landmark 1988 Senate testimony that global warming had begun and, if left unchecked, would threaten the future of human civilization. Recent years have also brought abundant evidence that shifting to wind power, less meat-heavy diets, and other climate-friendly alternatives would result in lasting economic and health benefits: more jobs, less inequality, cleaner air, stronger communities.

Yet Donald Trump and other powerful know-nothings in Washington seem perversely determined to ignore the lessons of Harvey, while doubling down on making things worse. Trump has crammed his administration full of climate-change deniers while pushing full steam ahead on more oil, gas, and coal production. His EPA chief, incredibly, has urged governors to ignore the Clean Power Plan proposed by the Obama administration, aiding conservative efforts to gut the policy. Days before Harvey drenched Texas, Trump rescinded Obama’s requirement that federal agencies take climate impacts into account before approving major infrastructure. And in a stunning insult not only to climate preparedness but the legacy of US space exploration, Trump nominated a climate denier with no scientific training to run NASA.

When the president announced in June that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate accord, I wrote in The Nation: “To refuse to act against global warming is to condemn thousands of people to death and suffering today and millions more tomorrow. This is murder, even if Trump’s willful ignorance of climate science prevents him from seeing it.” That judgment grows more apt with each passing day we don’t reverse course. Knowing what we know in 2017, expanding fossil-fuel production is like Big Tobacco continuing to addict people to its cancer sticks: technically legal but, in effect, premeditated murder.

It is past time to call out Trump and all climate deniers for this crime against humanity. No more treating climate denial like an honest difference of opinion. When top tobacco executives swore to Congress that nicotine wasn’t addictive, their assertion, though laughable, did not make it true. Forty-six state attorneys general forced those smokers companies to pay at least $206 billion for their wickedness. Now, the individuals and institutions pushing climate denial must be called out with even greater vigor: in newspaper columns, on TV and radio talk shows, in town halls, at the ballot box, and by consumer boycotts, legal investigations, shareholder resolutions, street protests, and more.

Shedding tears for little Jordyn Grace in Houston and her counterparts in the Himalayan lowlands is only right, but it is far from sufficient. With Hurricane Irma churning toward Florida, the horrors and heartbreaks will only get worse until we change the game for their perpetrators. The first step toward justice is to call things by their true names. Murder is murder, whether the murderers admit it or not. Punish it as such, or we encourage more of the same.


Rising eco-terrorist threats to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will cost taxpayers $2 million per year

The Environmental Protection Agency is responding to a rise in death threats to its Administrator Scott Pruitt by bulking up its security detail to levels unparalleled by his predecessors.

According to a CNN report, the EPA is looking to add a dozen security personnel to protect Pruitt around the clock. The total salaries for the additional staff could cost at least $2 million per year. This does not include other expenses such as travel, training, or equipment.

The EPA's inspector general's office, which provides oversight and investigates complaints and threats, said that they've had to pull agents from other criminal investigations because of the rise in death threats against Pruitt compared to previous EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

"We have at least four times -- four to five times the number of threats against Mr. Pruitt than we had against Ms. McCarthy," Patrick Sullivan, EPA's assistant inspector general for investigations, told CNN. He would not get into specifics about how many threats Pruitt has received during his tenure. However, the agency said that it has launched over 70 investigations into the threats against Pruitt as well as others in the EPA.

The irony here, of course, is that the Trump administration has been looking to slash the agency's budget by 31 percent from its current spending level of $8.2 billion to $5.7 billion.

The EPA reportedly bought out 1,228 employees over the summer, costing at least $12 million.

Of course, the additional staffing is minimal, but the security presence is unprecedented. It's more of an indictment on left-wing extremists who wish to do harm to the EPA administrator.

Since Donald Trump announced that he was running for the Republican nomination for President in 2015, there has been a rise in left-wing extremism, particularly in the form of Antifa.

Terrorists murdered 3,342 people on American soil between 1992 and August 2017. Ninety-two percent of those deaths were committed by radical Islamic terrorists (89 percent of the victims died on 9/11), while nationalist and right-wing terror groups were responsible for 6.6 percent of the deaths. Left-wing terrorists have killed 23 people during that time span, and are therefore responsible for only 0.7 percent of the deaths. However, 13 of those 23 people were killed since the beginning of 2016.

Eco-terrorists have been around for decades, but extremists from the Left have been creeping into the mainstream, especially after the shooting of the Congressional baseball practice in June and the recent Antifa riots in Berkeley, Calif.

While Pruitt's views on climate change are discouraging to many liberal advocates, violence in this manner can never be justified and only undercuts their overall goals. Right now, it's costing taxpayers an extra $2 million and taking agents away from EPA enforcement.


California Governor Vows to Sue Trump Over Climate Change

California Gov. Jerry Brown plans to use what he calls a Republican tactic and sue the Trump administration over President Donald Trump’s climate change policies.

Brown, a virulent Trump opponent, told reporters Tuesday that he will sue the president for nixing the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era regulation Republicans believe hurt the coal industry. He claims the tactic is akin to Republican efforts to hold up climate policies during the Obama-era.

“First of all, we can go to court and block his efforts and we are doing that. Just like the Republicans tried to block [President Barack] Obama’s efforts,” Brown said. Republican attorneys general sued to hold up the Clean Power Plan, but the lawsuit was suspended after Trump rolled back the plan earlier this year.

Democratic attorneys general are now where Republicans were during the Obama administration: working to derail their political opponent’s agenda.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, for instance, is preparing a lawsuit to protect Obama’s environmental policies. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has also repeatedly sued the government over the environment, and told reporters earlier this year that he will do “everything in my power to defend the Clean Power Plan.”

Brown has made the rounds to generate support for a state coalition supporting the Paris climate deal, which obligated the U.S. to pledge to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions nearly 30 percent by 2025. He browbeat his state’s legislature in April to push for extending the state’s already massive cap-and-trade program.

Brown also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this year to discuss aspects of the non-binding climate deal. They both hashed out ways to push their respective entities away from fossil fuel production and closer to renewable energy to meet Paris’ ambitious aims.

BBC reporters asked Brown Tuesday whether he believed that Trump thought climate change was “an illusion.”

“No, I don’t believe that,” he said. “But he, like politicians, work their constituency. And I think he sees this as a galvanizing rhetoric for his base.”




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, 2017

400 Scientific Papers Published In 2017 Support A Skeptical Position On Climate Alarm

A Growing Volume Of Evidence Undercuts ‘Consensus’ Science

During the first 10 months of 2017, 400 scientific papers have been published that cast doubt on the position that anthropogenic CO2 emissions function as the climate’s fundamental control knob…or that otherwise question the efficacy of climate models or the related “consensus” positions commonly endorsed by policymakers and mainstream media.

These 400 new papers support the position that there are significant limitations and uncertainties inherent in our understanding of climate and climate changes.  Climate science is not settled.

Modern temperatures, sea levels, and extreme weather events are neither unusual nor unprecedented.  Many regions of the Earth are cooler now than they have been for most of the last 10,000 years.

Natural factors such as the Sun (106 papers), multi-decadal oceanic-atmospheric oscillations such as the NAO, AMO/PDO, ENSO (37 papers), decadal-scale cloud cover variations, and internal variability, in general, have exerted a significant influence on weather and climate changes during both the past and present.  Detecting a clear anthropogenic forcing signal amidst the noise of unforced natural variability may, therefore, be difficult.

And current emissions-mitigation policies, especially related to the advocacy for renewables, are often costly, ineffective, and perhaps even harmful to the environment.  On the other hand, elevated CO2 and a warmer climate provide unheralded benefits to the biosphere (i.e., a greener planet and enhanced crop yields).

In 2016, there were 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers published in scholarly journals (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) challenging “consensus” climate science. This amounts to more than 900 papers in less than two years.


The volcano scare

Ice sheets may melt rapidly in response to distant volcanoes

Ice sheets may melt rapidly in response to distant volcanoes
Study of ancient eruptions shows modern ice sheets could be vulnerable

Volcanic eruptions have been known to cool the global climate, but they can also exacerbate the melting of ice sheets, according to a paper published today in Nature Communications.

Researchers who analyzed ice cores and meltwater deposits found that ancient eruptions caused immediate and significant melting of the ice sheet that covered much of northern Europe at the end of the last ice age, some 12,000 to 13,000 years ago.

“Over a time span of 1,000 years, we found that volcanic eruptions generally correspond with enhanced ice sheet melting within a year or so,” says lead author Francesco Muschitiello, who completed the research as a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

These weren’t volcanoes erupting on or near the ice sheet, but located a thousand miles away in some cases. The eruptions heaved huge clouds of ash into the sky, and when the ash fell on the ice sheet, its darker color made the ice absorb more solar heat than usual.

“We know that if you have darker ice, you decrease the reflectance and it melts more quickly. It’s basic science,” says Muschitiello. “But no one so far has been able to demonstrate this direct link between volcanism and ice melting when it comes to ancient climates.”

The discovery comes from the cross-sections of deposits, called glacial varves, most of which had been collected in the 1980s and 1990s. Varves are the layered sediments that form when meltwater below an ice sheet routes large amounts of debris into lakes near the sheet’s edge. Like the rings of a tree, the layers of a glacial varve tell the story of each year’s conditions; a thicker layer indicates more melting, since there would have been a higher volume of water to carry the sediment.

The team also compared the varves to cores from the Greenland ice sheet, whose layers contain a record of ancient atmospheric conditions. Testing of those layers for sulfates revealed which years experienced explosive volcanic eruptions, which tend to release large amounts of ash. Matching up the ice layers with varve layers from the same time periods, the team found that years with explosive volcanic activity corresponded to thicker varve layers, indicating more melting of the northern European ice sheet.

Muschitiello and his colleagues studied a period ranging from 13,200 to 12,000 years ago, when the last ice age was transitioning into today’s warm climate. They focused specifically on volcanic eruptions in the northern high latitudes–events similar to the 2010 eruptions of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Although that eruption was relatively minor, its large ash cloud shut down air traffic across most of Europe for about a week.

How much melting could an eruption like that cause? “It’s difficult to put an exact number to it,” says glaciologist and coauthor James Lea from the University of Liverpool. “It depends on many factors.” Running thousands of model simulations, the team found that the amount of melting depends on the individual eruption, which season it occurs in, the snowpack conditions at the time, and the elevation of the ice sheet. “Change any one of these and you would get different amounts of melt,” says Lea. In the worst scenarios, the model predicted that ash deposition would remove between 20 centimeters and almost one meter of ice from the surface of the highest parts of the ice sheet.

The model results should be taken with a pinch of salt, Muschitiello cautions, due to uncertainties about past conditions. However, because the team simulated a very broad range of potential conditions, he’s confident that the ice sheet’s real response lies somewhere within their range.

Michael Sigl, a paleoclimatologist from the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland who wasn’t involved in the new study, says the hypothesis that ash particles might counteract the cooling effects of volcanic eruptions is intriguing. But, he said, “coincidences in the timing of rapid ice-sheet melting events and eruption dates do not automatically imply causation, and there may be other scenarios that could be consistent with the presented data.” Sigl’s own work has found a link between eruption-induced ozone depletion and deglaciation in the Southern Hemisphere. Nevertheless, he says, the new study shows that more work is needed to understand the effects of aerosol emissions from volcanic eruptions.

The preliminary results suggest that “present day ice sheets are potentially very vulnerable to volcanic eruptions,” says Muschitiello. They also point to a possible hole in the climate models that scientists use to make predictions about the future: Models currently don’t simulate the ice sheets’ response to changes in particulate deposition from the atmosphere in an interactive way.

Another intriguing implication is that previous research has suggested that melting ice sheets and glaciers could increase the frequency of volcanic eruptions in glaciated areas by lightening loads on earth’s crust, allowing underlying magma to rise. If the link between volcanism and ice sheet melting is confirmed, it could indicate the presence of a so-called “positive feedback loop” in which eruptions exacerbate melting, and more melting causes more eruptions, and so on.

Muschitiello says the study “can give us hints about the mechanisms at play when you’re expecting rapid climate change.”


Death of the polar bear as climate change icon validates Mitch Taylor’s skepticism

You could call it karma — the death of the polar bear icon after the shameful hubris of polar bear experts back in 2009.

That year, the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group booted 20-year member Mitch Taylor out of their organization, explaining that his skeptical views on human-caused global warming were “extremely unhelpful” to their polar bear conservation agenda.

Said chairman Andrew Derocher in his email to Taylor:  “Time will tell who is correct.”

It’s now clear that Mitch Taylor was right to be skeptical of sea ice models based on pessimistic climate change assumptions; he was also right to be more optimistic than his PBSG colleagues about the ability of polar bears to adapt to changing sea ice conditions (Taylor and Dowsley 2008), since the bears have turned out to be more resilient than even he expected.

Fat polar bears — not starving ones — dominate photos taken in recent years. The total failure of polar bear numbers to crash as predicted in response to the abrupt decline in summer sea ice in 2007 and persistent low summer sea ice levels since then (Crockford 2017), is vindication for Mitch Taylor. It’s time someone said so.


Regulatory scheme killed by EPA's Scott Pruitt cost taxpayers $68 billion

A practice known as "sue and settle" used by the Environmental Protection Agency to enact controversial regulations cost taxpayers $68 billion since 2005 and has an annual cost of $26 billion, according to a new report.

The American Action Forum found that "sue and settle," killed this month by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, also dumped millions of hours of red tape on industries.

Pruitt ended the practice last week. During the Bush and Obama years, it was used by government activists and outside influence groups to force through new and costly regulations without the normal transparency required when rules are properly developed.

"Here's how it works," said Dan Bosch, the director of regulatory policy at AAF. "An interest group sues a federal agency alleging that the agency has not fulfilled its responsibility under the law. Rather than contest the lawsuit, the agency settles and enters into an agreement to initiate and/or expedite a rulemaking, complete with a legally binding deadline to promulgate."

He looked at the most expensive 23 regulations that went through the backdoor process and put a price tag of $67.9 billion on them. They also have $26.5 billion in annual costs. And, he added, "16 of these rules imposed a paperwork burden of more than eight million hours."

Businesses have cheered Pruitt's decision. When he made it, Pruitt said, "The days of regulation through litigation are over." He added, "We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the agency by special interest groups where doing so would circumvent the regulatory process set forth by Congress. Additionally, gone are the days of routinely paying tens of thousands of dollars in attorney's fees to these groups with which we swiftly settle."

The move was just the latest by the administration to target rules and regulations imposed by the Obama administration. Pruitt has been quick to put the brakes on EPA regulations he was handed and other agencies, notably the Interior Department, are also scrutinizing old rules.

Bosch said Pruitt's move will improve transparency.

"The October 16th directive issued by Administrator Pruitt aims to address sue and settle abuses at EPA by establishing procedures designed to make the settlement agreement process more transparent. The procedures include publishing notices online when the EPA has received a lawsuit, directly notifying affected states and regulated industries of the complaint within 15 days of receiving it, preventing the EPA from committing to a specific outcome, and allowing a public comment period or public hearing on whether to enter into the proposed consent decree or draft settlement agreement," he wrote.

And, he said, Pruitt's decision could bolster legislation targeting the practice. "The EPA directive also provides a good test case that could bolster efforts to pass legislation that would limit sue and settle across the federal government. The Sunshine for Regulations and Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act, introduced in both houses of Congress in 2017, includes many of the provisions in the EPA directive, but goes further which gives these provisions more teeth, and codifies such policies that could otherwise be subject to reversal under a different administration. If the EPA's directive is effective at improving rules initiated through lawsuits, it would provide momentum to expand the practice beyond the EPA."


Australia:  Huge costs of "renewable" subsidies

Electricity customers face an extra burden of between $3.8 billion and $7.5bn in “windfall” subsidies for renewable power generators in the next decade ­because of the stroke of a pen in the last months of Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership.

Against advice from consultants, energy companies and the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Rudd government in 2010 extended the phasing out of the renewable subsidies for existing operators from 2020 to 2030.

The 10-year extension beyond the contracted 2020 phase-out under the Howard government is estimated to cost households and businesses up to an extra $7.5bn.

Based on a pre-2010 renewable generation estimate of about 9500 gigawatts an hour — and cost of certificates of about $80 — the highest estimated cost of the subsidy is $7.5bn. Under estimates based on the generation of 8300GW/h and a certificate price of $47, the total cost would be $3.8bn. The subsidy is coming into focus as the Turnbull government unveils its plans to stop subsidies for new renewable energy projects from 2020 because wind and solar power are becoming “cheaper than coal” and can survive without subsidies. Subsidies for existing projects will continue to be paid to 2030, in line with the Rudd government’s commitment.

The Turnbull government has estimated that not adopting a clean energy target suggested by the Finkel report will cut $11bn in potential renewable subsidies through renewable energy certificates.

Malcolm Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg are promoting the Coalition’s new energy plan as not adopting taxes or new subsidies.

“We call upon our political ­opponents to accept the National Energy Guarantee as recommended by the Energy Security Board,” Mr Frydenberg said. “It is a credible, workable, pro-market policy that delivers lower power prices and a more reliable system.”

After the election of the Rudd government in 2007, a series of changes was made to climate-change policy, including increasing the Howard government’s renewable energy target five times to 45,000 GW/h a year, splitting the then mandatory renewable energy target (MRET) into two, and trying to implement an emissions trading scheme by mid-2010.

In 2003, a Howard government review of the MRET, which recommended expanding renewable energy and emissions reduction targets, said the subsidies should not be extended beyond 2020.

Most of the political and parliamentary debate concentrated on ramifications of rapidly expanding rooftop solar systems and splitting the MRET into large and small sections.

Former Labor ministers cannot recall cabinet discussion or parliamentary debate over the extension of the subsidies for existing renewable generation to 2030, which was seen as a minor part of the massive changes to renewable energy policy.

But between 2008 and 2010, a Senate review, government advisers, the ACF, energy companies Origin and AGL as well as aluminium producer Rusal told the Labor government not to extend subsidies for existing renewable energy producers beyond 2020.

The Rudd government was told of the perception of “windfall profits” for existing renewable energy generators, was urged to keep the Howard government 2020 cut-off for subsidies and was reassured there was no sovereign risk because existing contracts and solar and wind farms had been built with the clear agreement that subsidies would end in2020.

Even Greenpeace and the ACF argued against windfall profits.

“Facilities built between 1997 and 2007 should only be eligible for incentives due under the existing MRET,” the ACF said in a submission to the Climate Change Authority.

The Australian Meat Processor Corporation said stations built before the introduction of MRET should not be allowed to access the scheme beyond 2020 because it “does not create a level playing field for these to be included”.

The Rudd government’s own discussion paper — Design Options for the Expanded national Renewable Energy Target Scheme — said the treatment of existing ­renewable energy generators could have large ramifications for climate change policy.

“Treatment of pre-existing power stations under the expanded national RET has implications for the supply of RECs in the market after 2020 and for the cost of the scheme,” the paper found.

“Treatment of pre-existing generators could also have implications for the credibility and effectiveness of the scheme in driving additional generation, if it is perceived that windfall gains after 2020 could accrue for business-as-usual generation by investments made in the expectation that a RECs revenue stream would be available only until 2020,” the paper said.

Despite the warnings the Labor government gave existing renewable energy generators access to the “windfall profits” beyond 2020 and locked in huge subsidies for a decade longer than contracted.




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


25 October, 2017

Designs for 'mini' nuclear power plants proposed by Rolls-Royce led group set to be given go-ahead

An important report assessing the viability of new “mini” nuclear power plants for the UK to be published this week is expected to give the green light to develop designs proposed by a British consortium led by Rolls-Royce.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is set to issue a study which formally ends a competition between different types of low-carbon power generation to assess which should be supported.

Industry sources say a concurrent Techno-Economic Assessment for the government by EY concludes that designs for small nuclear reactors (SMRs) from the Rolls consortium are the more likely to succeed.

It is understood that rival proposals using US designs for “integral reactors” have been assessed as being harder to manufacture and maintain and not commercially viable.

A different concept from the Rolls consortium - which helped invent the integrated design in the 1980s but abandoned it for similar reasons in favour of a different concept - is expected to get the nod for development from BEIS.

A fleet of these SMRs could be cheaply produced to guarantee Britain’s energy supply, with hopes that the technology could be exported worldwide.

SMRs are a fraction of the size and cost of conventional nuclear plants. They are likely to be funded from the £250m pledged by the Government in 2015 to develop “innovative nuclear technologies” which would help the country hit climate change targets.

Studies from the nuclear industry claim Britain could take the lead in an estimated £450bn global industry if the country establishes itself as a leader in SMR technology.

A study published by the Rolls consortium - which includes Laing O’Rourke, Arup and Amec Foster Wheeler and which was reviewed by the Royal Academy of Engineering - called SMRs the “best opportunity” for the next generation of UK reactors.

The research claimed that once mature, SMR technology will deliver power at £60 per megawatt hour. This compares with £92.50 per megawatt hour slated for the giant Hinkley Point power station, which uses a conventional large reactor design.

A Whitehall source said: “The report is not good for those companies who are committed to integral SMRs.

“Rolls has been involved with this technology in the past and realised it is not designed with the energy utility in mind because it simply isn’t commercially investible.

“It also looks as if the Government has come to this view and is pursuing detailed talks with the Rolls-led SMR consortium.”

A spokesman for BEIS said: “We are currently considering next steps for the SMR programme and we will communicate these in due course.”


EPA Chief Set to Bar Government-Funded Experts From Agency’s Science Panels

Try asking the nation’s top environmental protection official to “describe the shortcomings of the scientific evidence for climate change,” and what type of data he might find persuasive on the subject.

You might shake loose news of major policy changes designed to end what President Donald Trump’s team sees as potential conflicts of interest that undermine the value of scientific advice to the government agency.

That opportunity came Tuesday for an audience member during The Heritage Foundation’s annual President’s Club meeting in Washington, where Scott Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general who now heads up the Environmental Protection Agency, took on that question.

Pruitt revealed that he will issue a directive aimed at ensuring the “independence, transparency, and objectivity” of experts who serve on the agency’s scientific advisory boards. He suggested he may rule out science advisers with a history of taking EPA grants, sometimes “to the tune of literally tens of millions of dollars.”

“I think what’s most important at the agencies is to have scientific advisers who are objective, independent-minded, providing transparent recommendations to me as the administrator and to our office on the decisions that we’re making on the efficacy of rules that we’re passing to address environmental issues,” Pruitt said, adding:

If we have individuals that are on those [scientific advisory] boards that are receiving money from the agency, sometimes going back years and years to the tune of literally tens of millions of dollars over time, that to me causes questions on the independence and the veracity of the transparency of the recommendations that are coming our way.

Pruitt specified the Science Advisory Board, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, and the Board of Scientific Counselors as concerns during his interview at the Heritage event.

The EPA administrator did not spell out what would be in his directive, but he drew a parallel with the steps he already has taken to end the practice known as sue and settle.

Speaking at length on the topic, he said that sue and settle enabled federal agencies to “engage in rulemaking through the litigation process.” Critics have faulted the practice for permitting environmental advocacy groups to set regulatory policy without input from the public or Congress.

Pruitt’s expected directive could immediately affect the 47-member Science Advisory Board, which is charged with reviewing the quality of scientific information that underpins EPA regulations. The board also reviews EPA research programs and directly advises the administrator.

Terms for 15 members of the Science Advisory Board are set to expire, and the agency has published a list of 132 possible candidates for the open seats.

Some on the list have expressed skepticism in one form or another toward the idea that human activity is the primary driver of climate change, much to the consternation of certain environmental advocacy groups.

These candidates include Kevin Dayaratna, senior statistician at Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis; Craig Idso, senior fellow at Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank; and Paul Driessen, senior policy adviser at the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a libertarian environmental organization.

A report in The Washington Post on Pruitt’s interview at the Heritage event with Rob Bluey, editor-in-chief of The Daily Signal, quoted officials with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Union of Concerned Scientists who said the EPA administrator should apply the same standard concerning potential conflicts of interest to science advisers who receive funding from private corporate sources connected with the oil and gas industry.

But Steve Milloy, publisher of, told The Daily Signal in an email that Pruitt’s pending directive is right on target.

“For too long, EPA has been able to purchase the ‘science’ it wants from grants-hungry researchers and their universities,” Milloy said, adding:

The EPA would then employ these same scientists to review their own work under the guise of peer review. This system is entirely corrupt if not illegal, as the applicable laws require the boards to be independent and unbiased. Congress has tried to fix this problem, but has been unable. It’s terrific that Scott Pruitt has recognized the seriousness of this problem and is now taking steps to fix it.

Contrary to the howling of the left, this is not a purge of any viewpoints. This is a first step in restoring the purpose of the science review boards—to provide EPA with the various views of experts vs. the rubber-stamping of the agency agenda by cronies. There are many more steps that need to be taken to right the science advisory panel ship at EPA, but this is an important first one.

William Yeatman, a senior fellow with the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, said he credits Pruitt for compelling the EPA to live up to its own standards. Yeatman cites reports from the agency’s own Office of Inspector General and from Congress, including: 

—EPA has taken the position that receipt of government grants doesn’t constitute a financial conflict of interest. However, the agency’s own Peer Review Handbook states that grants can be a conflict of interest if the advisory board plans to address work performed under the research grant.

—Six of the seven members of the 2015 Clean Air Science Advisory Committee, appointed by President Barack Obama, received a total of  $119.2 million in EPA research grants, according to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The panel, the most important of the science advisory boards, recommends national ambient air quality standards.

—The Obama administration’s prior clean air panel cited its own work more than 700 times, according to the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

“The data suggest that these grants do indeed raise a conflict of interest as EPA defines it,” Yeatman said in an email to The Daily Signal. “So I welcome this reform effort to bring integrity to the advice EPA receives from outside advisers. For better or for worse, there are other federal sources of funding for science (e.g., NSF or NIH). It just makes sense to have EPA comport with its own rules.”

His references were to the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

During his interview with Bluey, Pruitt also offered up his own definition of environmentalism, in contrast to how he said it has been defined by contemporary advocacy groups:

True environmentalism from my perspective is using natural resources that God has blessed us with to feed the world, to power the world with the sensitivity that future generations cultivate, to harvest, to be respectful good stewards, good managers of our natural resources, to bequeath those natural resources for the next generation.


EPA says 3 scientists won’t discuss climate change in R.I.

The Environmental Protection Agency has canceled the speaking appearance of three agency scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference Monday in Rhode Island, according to the agency and several people involved.

John Konkus, a spokesman and former Trump campaign operative in Florida, confirmed that EPA scientists would not speak at the State of the Narragansett Bay and Watershed program in Providence. He provided no further explanation.

Scientists involved in the program said that much of the discussion at the event centers on climate change.

Many said they were surprised by the cancellation, particularly since the EPA helps to fund the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, which is hosting the conference. The scientists who have been barred from speaking contributed substantial material to a 400-page report to be issued Monday.

The move highlights widespread concern that the EPA will silence government scientists from speaking publicly or conducting work on climate change. Scott Pruitt, the agency’s administrator, has said he does not believe human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are primarily responsible for the warming of the planet.

“It’s definitely a blatant example of the scientific censorship we all suspected was going to start being enforced at EPA,” said John King, a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island who chairs the science advisory committee of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program.

“They don’t believe in climate change, so I think what they’re trying to do is stifle discussions of the impacts of climate change,” King said.

Monday’s conference is designed to draw attention to the health of Narragansett Bay, the largest estuary in New England and a key to the region’s tourism and fishing industries. Rhode Island’s entire congressional delegation, all Democrats, will attend a morning news conference. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, an outspoken critic of Pruitt, will be among the speakers.

Scientists there will unveil the report on the state of the bay, which EPA scientists helped research and write. Among the findings will be that climate change is affecting air and water temperatures, precipitation, sea levels, and fish in and around the estuary.

Autumn Oczkowski, a research ecologist at the EPA’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory Atlantic Ecology Division in Rhode Island, was scheduled to give the keynote address. Colleagues said she intended to address climate change and other factors affecting the health of the estuary.

Rose Martin, a postdoctoral fellow at the same EPA laboratory and Emily Shumchenia, an EPA consultant, were scheduled to speak on “The Present and Future Biological Implications of Climate Change.”

“The report is about trends. It’s kind of hard not to talk about climate change when you’re talking about the future of the Narragansett Bay,” King said.

The agenda and speaker lineup was e-mailed to attendees Oct. 4. Tom Borden, program director of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, said he received a call Friday from Wayne Munns, director of the Atlantic ecology division of the EPA’s Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, telling him the three scientists would not be allowed to speak.

“I was not really provided with a clear explanation,” Borden said. “He advised me that it was the decision of the EPA Office of Public Affairs.”

Several Rhode Island scientists who work closely with the regional lab said political officials from EPA headquarters in Washington spent two days last week in the Rhode Island office reviewing the lab’s work.

Munns confirmed that EPA officials would not be participating in the meeting but did not explain why. Konkus, the agency spokesman, did not respond to questions about whether the conference’s focus on climate change was a factor.

He said in an e-mail that EPA scientists may attend the program, but not the morning news conference. He later clarified, saying, “EPA staff will not be formally presenting at either.”

Since August, all EPA awards and grant solicitations have gone through Konkus’ office for review.

A longtime Republican operative, Konkus served on President Trump’s campaign before he was appointed deputy associate administrator in EPA’s Office of Public Affairs. At the time, agency officials said they were ensuring agency funding is in line with Pruitt’s priorities.

The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program is funded through the EPA’s approximately $26 million National Estuary Program. It funds 28 state-based estuary programs and delivers about $600,000 annually to the Narragansett Bay program. Pruitt’s proposed budget for 2018 would eliminate the national program.

Under Pruitt’s leadership, the EPA also has removed most mentions of the words “climate change” from its website.

He has declined to link carbon dioxide emissions to global warming, and in an interview with Time magazine last week said he intended to assemble a team of independent experts to challenge established climate science because, Pruitt asserted, it has not yet been subject to “a robust, meaningful debate.”

On an EPA website, scores of links to materials to help local officials prepare for a world of rising temperatures and more severe storms have been removed.

Among the now-missing pages are those detailing the risks of climate change and the different approaches states are taking to curb emissions. Also edited out were examples of statewide plans to adapt to weather extremes.



Bad news is always more newsworthy than good. The widely reported finding that insect abundance is down by 75 per cent in Germany over 27 years was big news, while, for example, the finding in May that ocean acidification is a lesser threat to corals than had been thought caused barely a ripple. The study, published in the leading journal Nature, found that corals’ ability to make skeletons is “largely independent of changes in seawater carbonate chemistry, and hence ocean acidification”. But good news is no news.

And bad news is big news. The German insect study, in a pay-to-publish journal, may indeed be a cause for concern, but its findings should be treated with caution, my professional biologist friends tell me. It did not actually compare the same sites over time. Indeed most locations were only sampled once, and the scientists used mathematical models to extract a tentative trend from the inconsistent sampling.

Greens were quick to use the insect study to argue for a ban on the widely used herbicide glyphosate, also known as Roundup, despite no evidence for a connection. Glyphosate is made by Monsanto and sometimes used in conjunction with genetically modified crops.

Their campaign comes to a head this Wednesday in Brussels, where an expert committee of the European Commission will decide whether to ban glyphosate. The European parliament has already voted to do so, though its vote carries no weight. The committee will probably defer a decision until December, amid signs that the commission is getting fed up with the way French politicians in particular demand a ban in public then argue against it in private.

The entire case against glyphosate is one “monograph” from an obscure World Health Organisation body called the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which concluded that glyphosate might cause cancer at very high doses. It admitted that by the same criteria, sausages and sawdust should also be classified as carcinogens.

Indeed, pound for pound coffee is more carcinogenic than the herbicide, with the big difference that people pour coffee down their throats every day, which they don’t glyphosate. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream was recently found to contain glyphosate at a concentration of up to 1.23 parts per billion. At that rate a child would have to eat more than three tonnes of ice cream every day to reach the level at which any health effect could be measured.

The IARC finding is contradicted by the European Food Safety Authority as well as the key state safety agencies in America, Australia and elsewhere. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment looked at more than 3,000 studies and found no evidence of any risk to human beings at realistic doses: carcinogenic, mutagenic, neurotoxic or reproductive. Since glyphosate is a molecule that interferes with a metabolic process found in all plants but no animals, this is hardly surprising.

Meanwhile, glyphosate has huge environmental benefits for gardeners and farmers. In particular, it is an alternative to the destructive practice of ploughing to control weeds. It allows no-till agriculture, a burgeoning practice that preserves soil structure, moisture and carbon content, enabling worms and insects to flourish, improving drainage and biodiversity while allowing the high-yield farming that is essential if we are to feed humanity without cultivating more land. Organic farmers rely on frequent tillage.

How did the IARC paper come to its alarmist conclusion? Well, we now know, thanks to Reuters, which reported that IARC prepared a draft which somebody altered in ten different places. “In each case, a negative conclusion about glyphosate leading to tumors was either deleted or replaced with a neutral or positive one.”

Last week, The Times reported how the scientist who advised the IARC to classify glyphosate as carcinogenic received $160,000 from law firms suing Monsanto on behalf of cancer victims. Christopher Portier began advising one of the firms about two months before IARC’s decision on glyphosate. He said that he had been hired to advise on an unrelated matter and his contract to advise on glyphosate was dated nine days after the IARC announcement in 2015.

Dr Portier has denied that his advice was influenced by financial interest. He told The Times that he “probably should have” declared his links with the law firms in an open letter sent to the European health commissioner urging him to disregard the European Food Safety Authority’s finding before he did so.

The Corporate European Observatory, which claims that it is in the business of “exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU”, nevertheless rushed to the defence of Dr Portier. It argued that reports about the scientist should be seen as “outright attempts at character assassination”.

As David Zaruk of the Université Saint-Louis, Brussels, replied: “You forgot to mention Portier's…belief that he had no conflict of interest working for the Environmental Defense Fund [an anti-pesticide lobby group].”

Here is Zaruk's version of events:

This blog is based on statements in Christopher Portier’s deposition in the liability litigation hearings related to the cases against Monsanto’s Roundup (commonly known as the “Monsanto Papers”). Portier was the external special adviser to the IARC working group that prepared their famous “glyphosate is probably carcinogenic” decision.  This exposé will highlight the following information:

During the same week that IARC had published its opinion on glyphosate’s carcinogenicity, Christopher Portier signed a lucrative contract to be a litigation consultant for two law firms preparing to sue Monsanto on behalf of glyphosate cancer victims.

This contract has remunerated Portier for at least 160,000 USD (until June, 2017) for initial preparatory work as a litigation consultant (plus travel).

This contract contained a confidentiality clause restricting Portier from transparently declaring this employment to others he comes in contact with. Further to that, Portier has even stated that he has not been paid a cent for work he’s done on glyphosate.

It became clear, in emails provided in the deposition, that Portier’s role in the ban-glyphosate movement was crucial. He promised in an email to IARC that he would protect their reputation, the monograph conclusion and handle the BfR and EFSA rejections of IARC’s findings.

Portier admitted in the deposition that prior to the IARC glyphosate meetings, where he served as the only external expert adviser, he had never worked and had no experience with glyphosate.

I am still too shocked to know where to start!

And here is Portier's response to my inquiries:

"All of the letters I wrote concerning the scientific quality of the reviews by EFSA, EChA and the US EPA have been done on my own time, using my own resources, and written by myself or in collaboration with my co-authors. Where appropriate, I have declared my conflict of interest and I can provide you with details of this as appropriate.

When I was asked to speak with the EC Health Commissioner, I notified his staff that I was working with the law firm, and the subject of that work, but that I was coming as an expert academic scientist to explain the differences between the IARC review and the EFSA review along with my colleagues.  They asked all of us to register on the EC Transparency Registry, so I did.  However, a few days later, they concluded that I did not need to register and informed me they would be removing my name from the registry.  The record of this is available here…

 As you can see, I am not in the registry currently, but I was on it on December 21, 2015. So, the first date I notified the EC Commissioners office about my working with a law firm on glyphosate would have been before December 21, 2015.  As of this date, I had spent less than 4 hours working for the law firm.

Both my recent letters to President Juncker (disclosure after my signature) and my testimony at the European Parliament (slide 2) disclose this arrangement.  I also made the disclosure in my 2016 paper in JECH (attached) And I disclosed it in advance to the EU Parliament staffer when I was asked to participant. I also disclosed it to the EPA staffer in advance of the comments I sent to them.

As to the contractual agreement I have with a U.S. law firm, in 2015 and 2016, I did approximately 30 hours of work in total for the firm.  That translates to less than 1.5 hours per month.  The remuneration I received that was asked about in Monsanto's deposition of me was almost entirely earned since March of this year when I was asked to be an expert witness in a U.S. court case on glyphosate. 

This expert work required me to do a thorough review of all of the available evidence, to read all of the epidemiology, toxicology and genotoxicity studies, and to reanalyze most of the studies I could re-analyze based on the availability of the data. Indeed, in this work I even identified tumors in the animal studies not identified in the EFSA, EChA or EPA evaluations.  This took more than 2 months of me working full time.  If you care to read the 250 page expert report, it is available below along with the full deposition:

It also required me to spend time and effort to respond to the Expert Reports by Monsanto’s experts (7 of them) which took a few weeks of my time.  So, to be clear, the comments I sent to EFSA, EChA, EPA were not done at the behest of the law firm, and in fact preceded the report I wrote as an expert witness in this one case.

It is important to realise that Europe banning glyphosate would open up a litigation bonanza in the US. Bounty-hunting law firms are in cahoots with environmental NGOs, to bring them business putting companies under pressure based on the theory that barely detectable doses of chemicals might do harm. Johnson & Johnson faces claims over the alleged carcinogenicity of talcum powder, for instance.

The technique, says David Zaruk, is to “manipulate public perception, create fear or outrage by co-operating with activists, gurus and NGOs, find a corporate scapegoat and litigate the hell out of them”. The glyphosate story is a scandal, of the kind that would be front-page news if it happened in industry, rather than a branch of WHO. But the BBC has not covered the Reuters story. Indeed, its presenter Chris Packham campaigns to get glyphosate banned. WHO itself shows no sign of investigating, although the US Congress, a major funder of IARC, is starting to take an interest.

The episode lifts the lid on a questionable network of activist scientists, NGOs, and financiers, not to mention useful-idiot politicians. Scientists raise a scare, lawyers sue on the back of it, bureaucrats give themselves work, all profit. Cancer victims are misled, consumers deceived, farmers’ livelihoods destroyed and environmental benefits undone. But who cares if there is money to be made?

Note: I have never been paid by Monsanto.


Podesta’s ‘Green Company’ Forced to Close Because Hillary Lost the Election

Gravy train fails to depart. Taxpayers win

Joule Unlimited, a secretive green energy company that appears to have placed a big bet hiring Democratic insider John Podesta to its board, appears to have been doomed when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election.

When the 2016 presidential election ended, senior company executives admitted the prospects for their renewable energy “biofuels” company evaporated. “We had a lot of prospects last year,” former Joule CEO Brian Baynes told BioFuels Digest in a rare interview in July. “But those new investor prospects walked away, particularly post-election.”

Dmitry Akhanov, the president and CEO of Rusnano USA Inc., a Kremlin-owned venture capital firm nicknamed “Putin’s child,” oversaw the Russian government’s investment in Joule and sat on its board along with two other Russians with ties to the Kremlin.  Akhavov agreed that Clinton’s loss doomed the company.

“We lined up investors who were willing to buy the bonds, but after the elections, with some statements from the new administration regarding potential uncertainty, the future support of biofuels was stopped,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview. “The company was not able to do the deal and it was one of the reasons why the company was closed.”

Akhanov confirmed to TheDCNF his company invested and lost 1 billion rubles, worth $35 million when Joule closed its doors.

The two other board members with ties to Moscow were Ruben Vardanyan, who Putin appointed to a Russian economic modernization council, and Anatoly Chubais, a close personal friend of former President Bill Clinton and economic advisor to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin.  Chubais allegedly made millions in the sell-off and “privatization” of Russia’s state-owned industries.

The FBI was concerned about Russian government investments in American high-technology firms, as previously reported by TheDCNF.

Lucia Ziobro, the special agent in charge at the FBI’s Boston field office, issued an “extraordinary warning” in 2014 about Russian investors to startups like Joule.

“The FBI believes the true motives of the Russian partners, who are often funded by their government, is to gain access to classified, sensitive and emerging technology from the companies,” she wrote in a Boston Globe op-ed.

Hillary’s loss of the 2016 presidential election meant Podesta would not serve in the White House and thus was not in a position to advance the company’s prospects.

The Obama administration became a big “hedge fund” trying to finance and promote renewable energy technologies at any cost, Thomas Pyle, president of the libertarian Institute for Energy Research, told TheDCNF.

“The whole entire eight years under Obama, the Department of Energy was basically a hedge fund — and a bad one — for renewable energy for wind, solar and biofuels,” he said.

Critics of former President Barack Obama’s renewable energy agenda believe it’s likely a President Hillary Clinton would have doubled down on Obama’s renewable energy initiatives.

“If Hillary Clinton had won, then we would have four to eight more years of the Obama trajectory, which means everything that calls itself ‘progressive energy policy’ would have just ramped up,” Marlo Lewis Jr., a senior fellow at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute, told TheDCNF.

“So the market would have been even more tilted in favor of so-called ‘green energy companies. And President Trump has basically changed the direction,” he said.

Since entering office, Trump reversed many of Obama’s regulatory mandates that hurt fossil fuels and assisted renewable energy in the marketplace. He also ended the U.S. participation in the Paris agreement on climate change, which was designed to cut carbon emissions.

Trump signed a sweeping executive order in late March at the Environmental Protection Agency that rescinded six of Obama’s climate change executive orders.

“The order represents a clear difference between how Trump and former President Barack Obama view the role the United States plays in combating climate change,” CNN reported at the time.

Podesta was one of Joule’s biggest political assets. He had served as President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff and co-founded Podesta Associates, a D.C. lobbying shop with his brother Tony. John Podesta also founded the Center for American Progress, a Washington liberal advocacy group.

Podesta served on Joule’s board from December 2010 to December 2013. In January 2014, he joined the Obama White House, where he served as “counselor” to President Obama. After leaving the White House, he joined Hillary Clinton to help run her presidential campaign as its national chairman.

From the very beginning, Joule executives knew Podesta’s value. Bill Sims, one of Joule’s CEOs, was excited about landing Podesta and talked about “leveraging his insights” when he announced the board appointment.

“We look forward to leveraging his insights as we progress toward international deployment,” he declared.

As one of the biggest power players in Washington, Podesta could open doors for Joule. Obama’s first secretary of energy, Steven Chu, visited the company in November 2011, according to WikiLeaks.

Podesta told Chu’s chief of staff, Brandon Hurlbut, he was delighted with the upcoming Chu visit. “The gang is excited. I think he’ll be impressed,” he wrote in a Nov. 28, 2011, email released by WikiLeaks.

“I felt fortunate to be able to engage with a leading expert like John to get feedback, as I did with many other experts,” Hurlbut told McClatchy News for a 2016 article titled, “WikiLeaks emails show how Clinton’s campaign chief once opened doors for energy firm.”

And even as he worked at the White House, Podesta apparently continued to provide advice to Joule.

“As promised, I am providing to you a corporate slide presentation, a short summary of the company and videos of the Hobbs plant. Please let me know if I should change any of it, or feel free to edit as you see fit. I look forward to learning about next steps and to your guidance for the company about how best to forge partnerships globally,” Noubar Afeyan, the founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, the main venture capital firm that underwrote Joule Unlimited, told Podesta in an Aug. 31, 2015, email.

On Oct. 12, 2015, Afeyan followed up, emailing Podesta, “Dear John, I wanted to get this back on your radar screen hoping you can make some intros in the far east as we had previously discussed. Please let me know how I can follow up. Regards, Noubar.”

Podesta did not respond to a request for comment.

The company’s rise as well as its demise have been shrouded in secrecy. It claimed to have a patent for genetically engineered microbes that could harness the sun’s energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into ethanol, diesel fuel or jet fuel.

“Many people were very skeptical that they could pull off what they were trying to pull off,” Robert Rapier, who runs a website called R-Squared Energy, told The Boston Globe.

“There are other companies out there that have raised hundreds of millions of dollars and come up with the same results,” John Beneman, an expert on algae-based biofuels and CEO of MicroBio Engineering, told the Globe. “Either they are walking dead, or ghosts, or resting in peace.”

Jim Lane, a reporter for Biofuels Daily who favors renewable energy technologies, noted the company had a penchant for secrecy including when it closed its doors.

“The news from Joule closes out an extraordinary period of silence for a company that we once described as The Sultans of Stealth for their secretive approach to development,” he wrote.

The firm went through four CEOs in less than two years, according to Biofuels Digest.

Further adding to its mystery, the company raised 1 billion Rubles or $35 million from Rusano, the Kremlin-owned nanotechnology company that set up a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Two other Russians with Kremlin ties sat on Joule’s board along with Podesta.



24 October, 2017

Climate excuses add up as climate theory fails

Tony Abbott may have annoyed the climate change mob with his speech in London, but a far more serious problem for that industry is an admission that global temperatures have not been following climate models.

Besides the two papers making that admission, including one in Nature Geoscience, that massive industry also faces the problem of a possible La Niña this year, which will pull global temperatures down.

Selling disaster stories about rising temperatures, the main way the industry justifies itself, is harder if temperatures are falling rather than rising.

The June 19 paper, "Causes of differences in model and satellite tropospheric warming rates", states in part: ‘We conclude that model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early 21st century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in the post-2000 external forcings used in model simulations.’

Scientists have made this observation before and been bitterly attacked for their troubles, but this paper is notable for including, as authors, the global warming leading light Professor Michael Mann, of Pennsylvania State University and one of Australia’s most distinguished scientists in this area, Professor Matthew England of the University of NSW.

In other words, the climate establishment has finally conceded some ground by agreeing that climate models may not be right all the time.

The concession is still comparatively limited as the paper refers to the troposphere (the upper atmosphere) and, as the authors have subsequently made clear, they blame the difference on a combination of ‘internal variations’ and short-term natural cooling such as volcanic eruptions injecting material into the atmosphere.

They are not abandoning global warming as a theory, merely explaining why the models are falling short. The implication is that the models will still accurately forecast warming over the long term.

The second paper "Natural climate variability, part 2: Interpretation of the post-2000 temperature standstill" published on October 2 in the less prestigious International Journal of Heat and Technology, adjusts recorded temperatures by removing the massive El Niño that rolled through the climate system in 2015-2016.

Scientists have claimed that the obvious spike in temperatures in 2015 and 2016 were the end of the so-called ‘pause’ in global temperatures. The paper, by three Italian academics led by a Nicola Scafetta of the University of Naples Frederico II, states ‘by removing the ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) signature, the authors show that the temperature trend from 2000 to 2016 clearly diverges from the general circulation model (GCM) simulations.

Thus, the GCMs models used to support the AGWT (anthropogenic global warming theory) are very likely flawed.’

This is the sort of inconvenient paper that the climate establishment is adept at ignoring and discrediting, and Professor Scafetta, an astronomer and statistician rather than a climate scientist, has theories on the sun and the planets influencing climate that make his straight statistical work easy to unfairly deride.

However, as the climate establishment is making similar noises, albeit while insisting that global warming theory still rules, Scafetta’s paper has caused comparatively little fuss.

Any laymen/women with expertise in the Excel spreadsheets can also download the earth’s global temperature records from the Hadley Climate Unit site in the UK and examine the resulting graph for themselves, without the mixed benefit of highly trained scientists interpreting the results.

That graph clearly shows the spike in temperatures in 2015-16 is due to the previously mentioned El Niño, but it is equally clear that temperatures have fallen back to about where they were before El Niño, at least to judge by just looking at a 13-month rolling average.

Then there is the real possibility of La Niña, the opposite of El Niño, pulling temperatures down. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology takes a typically conservative line on the warning signs of cooler waters (as measured by satellite) in the Pacific by saying on its site, ‘The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral. The surface of the tropical Pacific has warmed over the past fortnight as a result of weaker trade winds.

‘International climate models surveyed by the Bureau suggest this recent surface warming may only be temporary, with further cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean likely. Five of the eight models suggest sea surface temperatures will reach La Niña thresholds by Dec. 2017, but only three maintain values for long enough to be classified as a La Niña event.”

The private US meteorological service Vencore Weather, however, said on its site in early October ‘there is now substantial agreement amongst numerous computer forecast models that La Niña conditions are likely to become established over the next couple of months and current observations back this notion’.

As the Vencore site also points out ‘if history is any guide, once La Niña becomes well-established in the tropical Pacific Ocean, global temperatures should drop noticeably relative-to-normal’. This will make life difficult for the many global warming proponents trying to push a bleak view of the world’s future.

These efforts are not helped by the many wild-eyed forecasts of the dreadful effects of higher temperatures, including sharp increases in the number of deaths that will result from problems such as heat stroke affecting the elderly.

In his speech to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Abbott pointed out that in developed countries more deaths result from winter cold than summer warmth, so that overall a slight increase in temperatures should result in fewer deaths due to changes in the weather. This difficult to refute point drew howls of outrage from the climate establishment, but Abbott did not take the next step.

As is now well established, death rates among those vulnerable to extreme weather, usually the elderly, depend on many factors including access to air conditioning or heating, or on whether they have been warned to drink more fluids (hot days) or wrap up warmly (cold days).

By concentrating on possible additional risk for this group in coming decades, climate policies are creating more risk now by pricing air conditioning and heating beyond the means of the elderly.

In the meantime, we are being handed reasons, which critical people might call excuses, as to why climate theory does not seem to be working.


Irish Government Proposes To Weaken EU Climate Targets

The Irish government circulated a fresh set of proposals aimed at weakening EU climate legislation last Monday. In a leaked paper dated October 16, which was circulated to other member states, Ireland argued against several proposals designed to ensure the EU meets its renewable energy and greenhouse gas goals for 2030.

The EU has set a collective aim of having 27% renewables in its energy mix by 2030, and is currently negotiating how it will meet this target, as member states have refused to take on any more binding national targets after 2020.

The proposed solution is that countries will “pledge” their own renewables targets for 2030 and the European Commission will assess whether they are sufficiently ambitious. The commission will then monitor member states’ progress, with a checkpoint scheduled for 2025. If it looks like member states will not meet their collective 27% goal, governments would have to pay into an EU renewables fund which would invest in additional projects across the union.

Ireland proposed several amendments last week. It believes countries which fail to meet their 2020 renewables targets should get a fresh start in 2021 rather than being expected to meet and exceed that level in 2021. A source with knowledge of the talks said Ireland was isolated on this issue.

Ireland is also opposed to payments to the new EU renewables fund being mandatory. It argues that such a requirement would “reduce the ability to invest in renewable energy” in countries that are currently behind target.

Ireland is also against being required to be 50% towards its 2030 target by 2025, arguing this is “not practical”….

As part of the new EU climate and energy rules, countries will be required to publish detailed strategies for the 2021-30 period. However, the Irish paper argues this is “not realistic”. At a meeting of environment ministers last week, a senior diplomat representing Ireland argued that 2021-30 climate and energy measures were not yet budgeted for and “perhaps society is not yet fully on board”.


Yes, I’m a global warming skeptic

By Rob Jenkins

So sue me. Throw me in jail. I know some blue-state attorneys general would like to.

What I don’t know is if any substantive warming is happening or not, and neither do you. How can we reach firm conclusions about long-term trends based on a few decades of data, when scientists say Earth is millions of years old?

This isn’t about climate change. Although warmists keep trying to conflate the two, mostly to cover up holes in their theories, global warming and climate change are not the same. No one disputes that the climate has been changing for as long as the planet has existed, generally from warmer to cooler but occasionally in the other direction.

I’m simply skeptical of claims that Earth has gotten significantly warmer in recent years; that humans are to blame; that it’s likely to get much worse; and that warming is necessarily a bad thing.

No, I’m not a scientist. But as a trained science writer, recruited by both the NSA and the U.S. Department of Energy, I can tell you that the prevailing theory of scientific communication is “consensualism,” which means that what is true is what the science establishment can convince people is true. In other words, contrary to popular perception, public science is less about “proof” than about persuasion, based on available evidence.

This can easily be seen in the way researchers change their minds, over time, about things like how much fat we should have in our diet. As more evidence comes to light, conclusions naturally change. Meanwhile, science journalists use researchers’ findings to influence public opinion and behavior.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But given such a system, doesn’t it make sense to be just a bit skeptical?

Of course, I’m always skeptical of any research that claims to find exactly what it set out to find. True science rarely works that way.

I’m skeptical of data sets that must be “adjusted” based on assumptions about what they ought to be.

I’m skeptical of researchers who talk openly, in emails, about manipulating the data.

I’m skeptical of computer models that claim to predict the temperature in 50 years when we can’t project the path of a hurricane with any certainty more than a few days out.

I’m skeptical of wolf-criers. It’s hard to take seriously dire warnings about melting polar ice caps when we were told, 10 years ago, that they’d be gone by now.

And finally, I’m skeptical anytime adherence to a theory becomes a badge of political correctness. If anyone should habitually defy the PC police, it’s scientists.

Fortunately, despite what you may have heard, thousands of scientists are just as skeptical as I am, for many of the same reasons. And while the warmists are busy cherry-picking data to advance their political agenda, the skeptics will continue actively searching for the truth.


President Trump Shouldn’t Give in to the Solar Industry’s Drama

President Trump is about to decide whether to raise the price of solar energy, based on an economic theory refuted in 1845.

In response to a formal complaint, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled this month that imported solar cells are putting too much competitive pressure on domestic cell producers. The commission will now examine what remedy would be appropriate, and then it will be up to the Trump administration to decide whether to take action. The likely remedy would be to impose tariffs on imported solar cells, thus protecting U.S. cell manufacturers and raising prices for consumers.

The solar industry is already receiving this sort of protection. In 2014, in response to a complaint by U.S. manufacturers, the Commerce Department imposed tariffs of up to 78.42 percent on imports of solar panels made in China, increasing the price for any U.S. consumer purchasing the panels. But that wasn’t enough for the U.S. companies filing this year’s complaint relating to the cells that make up the panels.

This attempt to raise the price of using sunlight for energy reminds me of one of the most famous documents in the history of free trade. In 1845, the French economist Frederic Bastiat wrote “The Candlemakers’ Petition,” in which he imagined the makers of candles and street lamps petitioning the French parliament for protection from a most dastardly foreign competitor:

Let’s hope that this time President Trump stands up for American consumers and workers and tells the uncompetitive solar panel manufacturers to go build a better mousetrap.
“We are suffering from the ruinous competition of a rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price [ …] This rival … is none other than the sun.”

After all, Bastiat’s imaginary petitioners noted, how can the makers of candles and lanterns compete with a light source that is totally free?

Thank goodness we wouldn’t fall for such nonsense today—or would we? Solar manufacturers are asking for pretty much the same thing: protection from a cheaper competitor.

Perhaps the comparison is unfair. After all, the solar manufacturers haven’t been asking for protection from the sun, only from foreign companies.

What’s the difference, though? Any source that supplies solar panels to American consumers and businesses is a competitor of the American industry. And any source that can deliver any product cheaper than American companies is a tough competitor. Domestic producers will no doubt gain by imposing a tariff on their Chinese competitors, but American companies that install solar power will lose, by having to pay higher prices for panels.

Indeed, as is often in the case in trade matters, not all the companies in the industry are in agreement. This case was brought by two companies, but the largest solar trade group in the nation, the Solar Energy Industries Association, opposes tariffs. The association says that if the two companies get what they are asking for, prices for solar power will rise, consumer demand will fall, and the industry will lose some 88,000 jobs, about one-third of the current American solar workforce.

Interestingly, the two companies that brought the complaint, Suniva and SolarWorldAmericasTwo, are based in the United States but are respectively owned by German and Chinese firms. It’s ironic that companies made possible by cross-border investment are now seeking protection from cross-border trade.

Businesses would always prefer a world without competitors. If they can’t outcompete their rivals in the marketplace, they may be tempted to ask the government for protection. And our trade laws actually invite such complaints. But economists agree that consumers, and the businesses that use imported products, lose more on net than producers gain. Protectionism is a bad deal for the American economy. And in this case, a bad deal for anyone who wants to see more solar energy in the United States.

Let’s hope that this time President Trump stands up for American consumers and workers and tells the uncompetitive solar panel manufacturers to go build a better mousetrap.


Electric hybrid car emits four times more CO? than advertised, Australian real-world testing shows

A purportedly eco-friendly hybrid electric car emits four times more greenhouse gas than manufacturers claim, according to a report backed by Australia's motoring heavyweights that opens up a new front in the nation's energy policy tussle.

The report by the Australian Automobile Association, members of which include the NRMA and RACV and RACQ, says real-world testing reveals some new cars are using up to 59 per cent more fuel than advertised. Almost six in 10 exceeded the regulated limit for one or more pollutant in cold-start tests.

The AAA says consumers are being "increasingly ripped off", forking out for vehicle technology that cuts emissions in the laboratory, but not on the road.

It says the findings cast doubt on whether more stringent vehicle emissions laws – a move being considered by the Turnbull government – would reduce pollution and lower fuel use.

But environment groups accused the association of spreading "misinformation" and seeking to derail attempts to make Australian cars less polluting.

The AAA report, conducted following the Volkswagen emissions testing scandal, tested 30 popular Australian passenger and light commercial vehicles on Melbourne roads. It did not name makes or models.

Emissions and fuel use were tested under real driving conditions, with Australian fuel types, and urban, rural and freeway settings.

The report found that, on average, real-world fuel consumption was 23 per cent higher than laboratory results, including one diesel vehicle that used 59 per cent more fuel than lab tests indicated.

One fully charged plug-in hybrid electric car consumed 166 per cent more fuel than official figures suggest – or 337 per cent more when tested from a low charge. It also emitted four times more carbon dioxide than advertised.

Of 12 diesel vehicles tested, 11 exceeded the laboratory limit for nitrogen oxides emissions. Overall, 18 vehicles, or almost 60 per cent, failed to achieve the regulated emissions limit for one or more pollutant in cold-start tests.

The report concluded that vehicles with the highest emission standards had the largest discrepancy between lab and on-road fuel use results, and urged regulators to be "cautious" when implementing new vehicle emissions laws.

AAA chief executive Michael Bradley said Australia's motoring clubs want appropriate pollution reduction but "real world testing is clearly required if either consumers or the environment are to benefit".

The government has proposed reducing new car emissions to 105 grams of CO? per kilometre by 2025 – a change Mr Bradley has previously said was "extreme" and would make vehicles more expensive.

ClimateWorks Australia project manager Claire Painter said the government must include light-vehicle CO? emissions in its upcoming climate policy review if Australia is to meet its obligations under the Paris climate deal. The proposed new standard could save the average motorist $519 a year in fuel costs, she said.

Ms Painter accused the AAA of seeking to delay the introduction of new standards while the emissions testing regime was improved – adding this was unnecessary because while discrepancies existed between lab and on-road test methods, "the absolute emissions saved is roughly the same for both tests".

Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy urged the government "not to be put off by misinformation and to adopt strong pollution standards".

A spokesman for consumer group Choice, Tom Godfrey, said the test results showed consumers could not trust the fuel efficiency claims made by car manufacturers and "real world testing is clearly needed to ensure consumers are getting what they're paying for".

Mr Godfrey rejected suggestions this should mean the delay of more stringent emissions standards, saying "the government can walk and chew gum".

A spokeswoman for Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher said a ministerial forum on vehicle emissions could assess the merits of real world testing.




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, 2017

Increased storminess is associated with global COOLING

Recent big storms hitting the USA have been seized on by Warmists with a gladsome heart.  There must now be hundreds of articles in the papers which assert that the recent wind events are PROOF of global warming.  We have frequently been told what blockheads we are to continue as skeptics in the face of such proof.

So of particular interest is a recent article here by some German climate skeptics which looked to history to see what climate conditions produced most storminess.  They found  five recent academic journal articles on storminess.  And they found that high levels of storminess were associated with unusually COLD conditions and low levels of solar activity.

So the recent big blows hitting the USA in fact prove global COOLING, if they prove anything.  I give below the conclusions of the article in both German and English:

Fazit: Die Sturmtätigkeit in Europa hat sich stets während Kältephasen verstärkt. Kälte und Stürme ereigneten sich im Zuge von solaren Schwächeperioden, die sich als Auslöser der Variabilität anbieten. Der übegeordnete Zyklus beträgt hier 1000 Jahre (Eddy-Zyklus), der wohl den Wechsel zwischen Römischer, Mittelalterlicher und Moderner Wärmeperiode und den dazwischengeschalteten Kältephasen gebracht hat. Ozeanzyklen modulieren das Geschehen im Jahrzehntmaßstab, mit einer Zyklendauer von 60 Jahren. Die Sturmrekonstruktionen aus Europe zeigen ein einheitliches Bild, das die Klimamodellierer und Attributions-Forscher nun aufgreifen, erklären und in ihre Simulationen aufnehmen müssen. Angesichts der starken und systematischen solaren Signatur wird es schwer werden, den verschwindend gering angenommenen Strahlungsantrieb für solare Schwankungen in der Klimagleichung aufrechtzuerhalten.

Conclusion: The storm activity in Europe has always intensified during cold phases. Cold and storms occurred in the course of solar weakness periods, which are the causes of variability. The overriding cycle is here 1000 years (Eddy cycle), which has probably brought the change between the Roman, Medieval and Modern periods of warmth and the intermediate cooling phases. Ocean cycles modulate events on a decade scale, with a cycle duration of 60 years. The storm reconstructions from Europe show a uniform picture, which the climate modelers and attribution researchers now take up, must explain and incorporate into their simulations. In view of the strong and systematic solar signature, it will be difficult to maintain the diminishingly small radiation forcing over solar fluctuations on the climatic conditions.

Climate change could spell disaster for coffee?

We seem to hear this scare at least once a year.  The truth is that coffee crops -- particularly the Arabica variety -- are quite sensitive to weather variations and do from time to time have "bad" years.  When that happens global warming is an easy culprit to blame. But there are problems with that:

All that global warming would do for ANY crop is to shift polewards the areas where it is grown.  There is no conceivable reason for a lasting shortage.  There are always new areas opening up for coffee growing anyway.

Secondly, coffee growers and regions would actually benefit from higher atmospheric CO2 levels. More CO2 stimulates plant growth and increases survival rates under drought and other adverse conditions.

Thirdly, if they understood any economics they would know that any lasting reduction in supply would cause price increases and sustained price increases would then draw out more supply.  Australia's "empty" North, for instance, could undoubtedly be opened up to coffee growing in some parts.  There is already a small operation on the Atherton Tableland.  They even grow Arabica there

Fourthly, you will note below that both drought and high rainfall are said to be bad for coffee growing.  Nice to have it both ways?

Centroamericano, a new variety of coffee plant, hasn’t sparked the buzz of, say, Starbucks’s latest novelty latte. But it may be the coolest thing in brewing: a tree that can withstand the effects of climate change.

Climate change could spell disaster for coffee, a crop that requires specific temperatures to flourish and that is highly sensitive to a range of pests. So scientists are racing to develop more tenacious strains of one of the world’s most beloved beverages.

In addition to Centroamericano, seven other new hybrid varieties are gradually trickling onto the market. And this summer, World Coffee Research – an industry-funded nonprofit group – kicked off field tests of 46 new varieties that it says will change coffee-growing as the world knows it.

“Coffee is not ready to adapt to climate change without help,” said Doug Welsh, the vice president and roastmaster of Peet’s Coffee, which has invested in WCR’s research.

Climate scientists say few coffee-growing regions will be spared the effects of climate change. Most of the world’s crop is cultivated around the equator, with the bulk coming from Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Rising temperatures are expected to shrink the available growing land in many of these countries, said Christian Bunn, a postdoctoral fellow at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture who has analyzed the shift in coffee regions. Warmer air essentially “chases” coffee up to cooler, higher altitudes – which are scarce in Brazil and Zimbabwe, among other coffee-growing countries.

Temperature is not climate change’s only projected impact in coffee-growing regions. Portions of Central America are expected to see greater rainfall and shorter dry seasons, which are needed to harvest and dry beans. In Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, rainfall is projected to decrease, potentially sparking dry periods.

These sorts of changes will pose problems for many crops. But coffee is particularly vulnerable, scientists say, because it has an unusually shallow gene pool. Only two species of coffee, arabica and robusta, are currently grown for human consumption. And farmers traditionally haven’t selected for diversity when breeding either plant – instead, essentially, they’ve been marrying generations of coffee with its close cousins.

As a result, there are precious few varieties of arabica that can grow in warmer or wetter conditions. In addition, diseases and pests that might be exacerbated under climate change could knock out entire fields of plants.


Climate Change: The Facts 2017

A new book is out under the above title by redoubtable skeptics such as Anthony Watts, Matt Ridley and Bjørn Lomborg.  Below is the very modest blurb

There are certain things best not discussed with neighbours over the fence, at barbeques and at gatherings of the extended family; these topics used to include sex and politics, but more recently climate change has become a sensitive issue and has, consequently, crept onto the best-to-avoid list. At the same time as climate change has assumed this status, it has become a topic more likely to be included in a church sermon. Indeed, while once considered the concern of scientific institutions, climate change is now increasingly incorporated into faith-based initiatives with even Pope Francis weighing in, issuing an encyclical on the subject as explained in chapter 16 by Paul Driessen.

There are those who believe Pope Francis, and admire another climate change exponent, Al Gore – who marketed An Inconvenient Truth with comment, ‘the fact of global warming is not in question’ and that ‘its consequences for the world we live in will be disastrous if left unchecked’. And then there are the die-hard sceptics who dare to doubt. Many claim that these climate sceptics and their support base have an undue political influence, successfully thwarting attempts to implement necessary public policy change.

This book is a collection of chapters by so-called climate sceptics. Each writer was asked to write on an aspect of the topic in which they are considered to have some expertise. None of them deny that climate change is real, but instead, they point out how extremely complex the topic of Earth’s climate is, with some of the contributors also querying the, often generally accepted, solutions.

As you will see, this is not a book with just one message, except perhaps that there is a need for more scrutiny of the data, and of our own prejudices. This book’s reason for being is to give pause for thought, and to throw some alternative ideas and considerations into the mix.


DC Swamp denizens strike back

Senators and crony corporatists deep-six proposed EPA reductions in biodiesel mandates

Paul Driessen

Despite what I thought were persuasive articles over the years (here, here and here, for example), corn ethanol and other biofuel mandates remain embedded in US law. As we have learned, once a government program is created, it becomes virtually impossible to eliminate, revise or even trim fat from it.

This year, it looked like this “rule of perpetuity” might finally change. The Trump-Pruitt Environmental Protection Agency proposed to use its “waiver authority” to reduce its 2018 biodiesel requirement by 15% (315 million gallons) and (possibly) lower the 2019 total down to the 1-billion-gallon minimum mandated by Congress. The proposed action would not affect corn or other ethanol production and blending requirements, despite growing problems with incorporating more ethanol into gasoline.

The biodiesel proposal reflects hard realities. Biodiesel costs over $1.30 more than regular diesel made from petroleum. Despite this far higher cost, it gets fewer miles per gallon than conventional diesel. Domestic US producers are unable to make enough biodiesel. In fact their output is at least 250 million gallons below the mandated amount; the rest is imported, keeping America reliant on foreign suppliers.

Some analyses conclude that domestic biodiesel output is actually one billion gallons below what the mandate explicitly and in reality requires. So the USA is truly reliant on imports to meet the quota.

Since biodiesel is made from soybean, palm, canola, flax, sunflower and other plant oils, those crops must be grown on millions of acres of land, using enormous amounts of water, fertilizer, pesticides and energy. (Biodiesel can also be made from waste vegetable oil and animal fat, but those are in minuscule supply.)

The demand for biodiesel is down. Volkswagen’s fraudulent emissions tampering reduced demand for diesel-powered cars, and more people are driving electric and hybrid vehicles. Fraud is also rampant over Renewable Identification Numbers that must be issued for every gallon of biodiesel produced and sold.

Moreover, the primary justifications for biodiesel (and all biofuels) are missing in action. Fracking and other technologies have ended worries about imminent depletion of petroleum supplies, and a growing body of evidence shows that climate chaos due to human emissions of (plant-fertilizing) carbon dioxide exists almost entirely in computer models and data manipulation – not in planetary reality.

Finally, foreign production often generates more social and environmental problems than biodiesel. Oil palm development in Indonesia, for example, causes deforestation, soil erosion, water and air pollution, habitat and wildlife losses, and social unrest. Plantation owners, investors and employees do well; some become very wealthy. Others, especially traditional landowners, suffer from reduced incomes and land use rights, takings of cropland they relied on for survival, rising land prices and other conflicts.

In addition, like any carbon-based fuel, biodiesel emits carbon dioxide when it is burned. In fact, over the entire life cycle of growing and harvesting crops, turning them into fuel, transporting and using them in vehicles, ethanol and biodiesel emit as much CO2 as petroleum – and require infinitely more acreage.

However, anyone who thinks reality, logic and common sense do or should play an essential role in public policy decisions has an abysmal understanding of how the Washington, DC Swamp operates. Programs, mandates and subsidies beget vocal beneficiaries, industries, lobbyists, and crony corporatist arrangements between them and elected representatives – who receive dinners, trips and campaign contributions in exchange for votes that perpetuate programs, mandates, subsidies and electoral success.

No sooner had EPA announced its intended biodiesel reductions, than the Swamp Denizens rose up in righteous wrath and united indignity. Several US Senators threatened to block confirmation of President Trump’s EPA nominees, unless the agency abandons its plans. Confronted with this reality, EPA caved. The biodiesel quotas remain, and will increase even further. The DC Swamp won – this round.

It’s pretty easy to understand why Illinois Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth would battle EPA over biodiesel. Hers is a farm state, with a lot of Big Biofuel farmers and distillers, and her party has become solidly anti-hydrocarbon and anti-Trump. These days, Democrats line up largely in lockstep in opposition to domestic drilling, pipelines and refineries – though hardly on any personal actions to reduce fossil fuel use in their homes, offices, vehicles or especially air travel.

However, biofuel advocacy and confirmation blocking has become bipartisan. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is leading the charge. The powerful Republican chairs the Judiciary Committee and serves on the Agriculture, Budget, Finance and Tax Committees.  He was once a self-proclaimed “pig farmer,” but these days he and his family are mostly involved in growing corn for ethanol and soybeans for biodiesel.

Indeed, the Grassley family together collected $1.4 million in farm subsidies between 1995 and 2014.

Even Senator Joni Ernst (also R-Iowa) is on the nominee blockade bandwagon. She may have been raised on a pig farm and learned how to drain swamps, kill pork and make special interests squeal. (Recall the famous campaign ad.) But she is also on the Ag Committee, and Iowa is the corn state. Indeed, corn grown on acreage equivalent to her entire state (36 million acres) is converted to ethanol every year.

These senators (and many House and Senate colleagues) are determined that ethanol, biodiesel and other biofuel mandates and “targets” will always and only go in one direction: upward.

They are all convinced that any change, no matter how small or how focused on foreign imports of biodiesel, is a potential threat to the entire biofuel program, including their beloved corn ethanol program. (Even worse, the EPA proposal could threaten their future campaign coffers and reelection prospects.)

They’ve promised to “oppose any effort” to reduce blending levels for ethanol in gasoline or “undermine the integrity” of biofuel programs. They threatened to “vote down” the President’s EPA nominees, unless the agency totally scrubbed its plan to reduce biodiesel mandates and imports. They claim these actions are necessary to protect energy innovation, fuel diversity and jobs. Some still talk about biofuel preventing petroleum depletion and dangerous manmade climate change.

Perhaps they are all smoking that special tobacco product they sell in Boulder, Colorado. But they have powerful positions and powerful friends, and they mean business. So the EPA and White House capitulated.

The Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) legislation began as an environmental program. But it has become a major farm subsidy program – and a vital campaign contributions program. It distorts markets by creating cash flows that people depend on for their livelihoods, lifestyles and lobbying fees.

In the case of ethanol, it involves growing corn that requires millions of acres of land, billions of gallons of water, and vast quantities of pesticides, fertilizers, tractor fuel and natural gas … to produce energy that drives up food prices, damages small engines, and gets one-third fewer miles per gallon than gasoline.

With biodiesel, we have congressionally mandated production levels that are unnecessary and unrealistic. They are far above what farmers have shown they can grow and produce here in the USA. The mandates are also well above the amounts of biodiesel we need. And yet the laws require that production from biodiesel, corn ethanol and advanced biofuels (from switchgrass, et cetera) climbs steadily year after year.

For once we have some people at EPA who might – and should – look into all of this, and implement practical, defensible reductions in these domestic and foreign biofuel levels. We should not saddle them with more politically driven mandates that hurt the environment and American consumers.

But we did. The Washington Swamp won. That’s how it operates. However, the battle is not over. It has merely been joined. Next time around, there may not be critical nominees to hold hostage.

Via email

Climate change is ‘the biggest scientific fraud ever perpetrated’: scientist

Social scientist and author Steven Mosher called the global warming movement an enemy of the sanctity of innocent human life at an international symposium that began online Tuesday to address the anti-Christian nature of population control.

Mosher, long recognized as an expert in China’s domestic policy, started his address by explaining that the earth’s temperature has always fluctuated, sometimes dramatically. 

“I did a historical study of climate change in China, which shows that the climate in China 2,000 years ago was several degrees warmer than it is today,” Mosher said, adding, “And of course that was a long time before we started hearing about climate change and global warming.”

The bestselling author, who went through a Ph.D program in Oceanography at the University of Washington, further noted that during the Jurassic period, the earth was 15 degrees warmer on average than it is today.

Criticizing global warming fearmongers, Mosher said not long ago the same “experts” were frantically making the exact opposite claims. “In the 1970s … the climate ‘experts’ were warning about a coming ‘ice age,’” he said. “Now it has flipped over 180 degrees to be global warming.”

“The truth is, nobody really knows what’s going to happen to the climate in the future,” Mosher explained. “We’ve seen extremes of temperatures on the cold side and on the warm side that make any projection of one or two degrees pale in comparison.”

Mosher spoke on “Environmentalism and Climate Change as an Avenue for Population Control.” The International Conference on Population Control is sponsored by the Lepanto Institute. Its theme is “How Radical Enemies of Life are Pushing Their Global Agenda to End Poverty by Eliminating the Poor.”

“We had global warming and ice ages a long time before human beings invented the internal combustion engine, and a long time before there were a million or us running around the planet giving birth to little ‘carbon dioxide emitters,’“ he quipped, quoting how climate change activists refer to children.

Turning to his compromised colleagues, Mosher said too many are swayed by the government dole. “I’m really appalled at how the scientific community has sold out for big research grants and to get their name highlighted in the faculty journal and get invited to U.N. conferences,” Mosher said. “This is the biggest scientific fraud ever perpetrated on the family of man.”

Mosher accused “experts” of jumping on the global warming bandwagon because “they are well paid to do so.” “When you spend billions of dollars subsidizing research, you generally get what you pay for,” he charged. “The climate scientist who gets the million dollar grant and says, ‘After study, there’s really no danger of global warming,’ doesn’t get his grant renewed.”

“But the guy who gets 10 million dollars for ‘finding’ global warming probably gets a hundred million after that,” Mosher illustrated.

Mosher, who received the Blessed Frederic Ozanam award from the Society of Catholic Social Scientists for “exemplifying the ideal of Catholic social action,” mentioned that meteorologist Anthony Watts has tallied government payouts related to global warming.  Watts estimates $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion are “tied up in the climate hoax.” ClimateDepot‘s Marc Morano described the racket as the “Great Climate Hustle.” 

But even if the earth’s temperature is rising, Mosher says that does not translate into the doomsday predictions of Al Gore — that the state of Florida sinks into the ocean in a decade. 

“In my view, a little bit of warming is not necessarily a bad thing,” Mosher claimed. “Even if the earth does warm in the next hundred years, I argue it will be a good thing for humanity.”

A warming planet will open up land for much needed farming. If temperatures rise, “we will see Canada be able to bring vast areas of land under cultivation.  We will see Siberia bloom. We will see food production go up,” Mosher said.

“More people die in the winter of cold than die of heat in the summer,” he explained.  “We’ll see mortality rates among the very young and the very old go down.  Lives will be saved,” Mosher said. “There will be less hunger in the world.”

Other speakers at the conference include Child Advocacy attorney Lis York, LifeSiteNews’ John-Henry Westen, Human Life International’s Dr. Brian Clowes, HLI president Fr. Shenan Boquet, La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana’s Riccardo Cascioli, Italian economist Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, Sacred Heart Institute’s Raymond De Souza, and Dr. Philip Chidi Njemanze.

Mosher calls the current politically correct environment a billion-dollar a year “giant propaganda effort” against science and common sense. “This is a myth of guilt,” he said. “This is a myth that drives population control. This is a myth that will decrease the use of energy that will literally kill poor people.”

“This is ultimately about radical environmentalists (engineering) their idea of paradise before man,” Mosher charged, saying radicals believe that people “ruined it.” “They have seized upon global warming as an excuse to justify their war on people to promote abortion, sterilization, and contraception around the world.” 

Mosher emphasized that the ultimate goal of global warmists is population control. “They cheered China’s one-child policy from the very beginning,” he mentioned.

The Q&A session then turned to Catholic leaders’ part in the anti-life global warming movement. 

“Catholic teaching promotes stewardship of the environment,” Mosher reminded listeners, “but some of the participants of recent Vatican conferences have a history of promoting population control (and) abortion. That’s in opposition to Catholic teaching. I’m surprised they were invited to these conferences (and) given a platform by the Vatican itself to propagate views to directly violate Catholic teaching.”

According to Michael Hichborn, president of conference sponsor the Lepanto Institute, pro-abortion population control activists have established a foothold inside the Catholic Church under the pretext of environmental protection. Now they are “actively working to undermine and subvert the Church and her teachings from within” in an “unprecedented attack.”

Mosher agreed. “The radical environmental movement is using the borrowed authority of the Vatican to propagate its false view of humanity (and) its false view of the relationship between man and the environment,” he charged. “Unfortunately, some in the Vatican are allowing themselves and the Catholic Church to be misused in this way.”

The pro-life researcher and social activist questioned the motivations of those in the Vatican who would give pro-abortionists a voice. “I’m afraid there are certain people in the Vatican who are more interested in winning applause from the world than … evangelizing and getting as many people home to heaven as possible,” he said.

Mosher quoted one Vatican guest speaker, former colleague Paul R. Ehrlich, who claims  “the biggest problem that we face is the continuing expansion of the human enterprise.”  Mosher quoted Ehrlich as saying, “Perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell.”

Mosher criticized Ehrlich for his extremist view of population growth and for “comparing it to a cancerous growth. I can hardly imagine a more derogatory description of the human family than comparing it to a cancer cell,” Mosher said. 

“When my wife and I had nine children, we didn’t think that they resembled cancer cells.  We thought that we were new souls into existence, cooperating with God in populating this world and hopefully in the next,” Mosher commented.

Mosher then took on worldwide abortion promoter Bill Gates. “Bill Gates tried to argue that he was only funding population control programs in countries where the population was increasing at three percent a year,” Mosher quoted, adding that he disagreed that high birth rates are a problem in the first place. “But I said, ‘Bill, there are only a few small islands in the Pacific where the birth rate is still that high.’”

Then Mosher got to his point with Gates. “If you’re worried about high birth rate, cure childhood diseases, reduce the infant mortality rate, and the birth rate will come down naturally,” he told the Microsoft billionaire. “The reason why families in Africa still have four and five children is because they expect to lose one or two children to disease before they reach adulthood.”

Mosher went on in his address to assert that climate changers have the solution all wrong. “This is all done under the false assumption that if you reduce the number of people on the planet you will somehow increase the number of seals and whales and trees and other things that the radical environmentalists seem to value more than human beings,” Mosher revealed. “What we need to have is continued economic growth, because once a country gets above $2,000 per capita, they have the resources to set aside natural parks and nature preserves and national forests and so forth.” 

“It’s poverty that’s the enemy of the environment, not people,” he summarized.

“It’s poverty that leads the poor to cut down the last tree, as they have in Haiti, to build a house or cook their food,” Mosher pointed out. “It’s poverty that leads them to pollute the water that they need to drink because they can’t afford to dig a well or build a sewage treatment plant. It’s poverty that leads them to plant the last square foot of land because they … can’t afford fertilizer or they can’t afford proper irrigation.”

“Poverty is the enemy of the environment,” the human rights advocate said. “And we know how to cure poverty: You have the rule of law, you have property rights, you have an open and free economic system. And once you cure poverty, people will take care of the environment.”

But the radical environmentalists’ have it backward, Mosher claimed. Their “more people equals less of everything else” narrative is not true, he said. “More people as good stewards of the environment means more of everything else: more whales, more trees, more land set aside.”

The author described the global warmist movement as “anti-people.” “Here we almost have a demonic hatred of our fellow human beings,” he said. “They cry copious tears over a mistreated dog or cat, but they ignore that 4,000 babies are being brutally killed -- torn limb from limb -- in wombs across the United States today.”

“The other side of the evangelization coin,” Mosher said, “is allowing the human beings to come into existence in the first place.”

Back on the subject of Catholic response to global warming threats, Mosher said the Christian response cannot be legislated. “The questions of how we should be good stewards of the environment are prudential questions that will never be settled dogmatically,” the Population Research Institute president concluded. 

Part of the Catholic solution is the Pontifical Academy of Science should invite as contributors “only people who were Catholic,” Mosher offered.

“If you do not have a Trinitarian worldview,” he explained, “then your position on many of these issues are going to be radically different than what the Catholic Church teaches.”

Global warmists “are people who have radically different views of what humanity is,” Mosher said. “It makes a real difference if I think that mankind is only a little lower than the angels, created in the image and likeness of God. Paul Ehrlich believes that we’re only a little higher than the apes, and it’s necessary now to thin the herd. He believes that we’re only animals, (so) there’s no moral question to be answered; it’s just a simple question of numbers and power.”

“Such a radical reductionist view of what human beings are should not be endorsed by the Vatican,” he opined.

Mosher commented that after listening to some of the non-Catholic Vatican conference speakers, Pope Francis himself has talked about climate change as the cause of world hunger. “That gets the facts exactly backwards,” he said. “I think we need to go to Rome … and talk and educate people.”

Hichborn noted the significance of the issue today. “Population Control is an agenda that ties together nearly every major cause of the anti-family left,” he said. “Homosexuality, environmentalism, poverty reduction, foreign aid, and even mass immigration are connected to the population control agenda.”

“For the sake of souls, lives, and the family, it is vitally important for everyone who calls themselves pro-life to stand up now,” Hichborn added. “If we don’t fight this now, it won’t be long before there won’t be a civilization left to defend.”




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, 2017

Scientific Establishment Rocked By New Science Scandal

The World Health Organization’s cancer agency dismissed and edited findings from a draft of its review of the weedkiller glyphosate that were at odds with its final conclusion that the chemical probably causes cancer.

Documents seen by Reuters show how a draft of a key section of the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) assessment of glyphosate – a report that has prompted international disputes and multi-million-dollar lawsuits – underwent significant changes and deletions before the report was finalised and made public.

IARC, based in Lyon, France, wields huge influence as a semi-autonomous unit of the WHO, the United Nations health agency. It issued a report on its assessment of glyphosate – a key ingredient in Monsanto Corp’s top-selling weedkiller RoundUp – in March 2015. It ranked glyphosate a Group 2a carcinogen, a substance that probably causes cancer in people.

That conclusion was based on its experts’ view that there was “sufficient evidence” glyphosate causes cancer in animals and “limited evidence” it can do so in humans. The Group 2a classification has prompted mass litigation in the United States against Monsanto and could lead to a ban on glyphosate sales across the European Union from the start of next year.

The edits identified by Reuters occurred in the chapter of IARC’s review focusing on animal studies. This chapter was important in IARC’s assessment of glyphosate, since it was in animal studies that IARC decided there was “sufficient” evidence of carcinogenicity.

One effect of the changes to the draft, reviewed by Reuters in a comparison with the published report, was the removal of multiple scientists’ conclusions that their studies had found no link between glyphosate and cancer in laboratory animals.

In one instance, a fresh statistical analysis was inserted – effectively reversing the original finding of a study being reviewed by IARC.

In another, a sentence in the draft referenced a pathology report ordered by experts at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It noted the report “firmly” and “unanimously” agreed that the “compound” – glyphosate – had not caused abnormal growths in the mice being studied. In the final published IARC monograph, this sentence had been deleted.

Reuters found 10 significant changes that were made between the draft chapter on animal studies and the published version of IARC’s glyphosate assessment. In each case, a negative conclusion about glyphosate leading to tumors was either deleted or replaced with a neutral or positive one. Reuters was unable to determine who made the changes.


Another good pick by Trump.  She has called belief in global warming a 'kind of paganism'

Trump last week nominated Kathleen Hartnett White, who previously led the Texas Commision on Environmental Quality, to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality, a post that requires Senate confirmation. Hartnett White, currently a senior fellow at the conservative think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation, has long expressed skepticism about established climate science and once dismissed the idea that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, calling it "the gas of life on this planet."
As head of the Council on Environmental Quality, Hartnett White would oversee environmental and energy policies across the government.

Hartnett White appeared on "The Right Perspective," an online conservative radio show, in September 2016 when she made the comments talking about a "dark side" to belief in global warming. "There's a real dark side of the kind of paganism -- the secular elites' religion now -- being evidently global warming," Hartnett White said.

To illustrate her point, Hartnett White pointed to comments made by the former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres.
Figueres told Bloomberg News that on combating climate change and reducing pollution, China was "doing it right," adding that the country was able to enact key tough climate policies because of its political system. In the same interview, Figueres said that the divided US Congress was "detrimental" to combating climate change.

Hartnett White also referenced comments made by Figueres in which she spoke about intentionally changing "the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution."

Hartnett White characterized these comments as admissions by believers in climate change of an intent to create a "one-world state ruled by planetary managers."

"Some of the leaders, totally open, like the just stepping down head of the United Nations climate change program, Christiana Figueres, from Costa Rica, openly says that communism is the best system and maybe our only last chance to use -- and she uses China as some good example as the way we can avert global warming," Hartnett said.

She continued, "On other occasions [Figueres] says, 'we have, the first time, a clear opportunity using climate policy, climate plans, to undermine the system of economic growth and industrialization that began a couple hundred centuries ago.'

I mean totally open. We're talking about, you know, one-world state ruled by planetary managers, you know to kind of allocate our little portion of grub and energy, but they're open and adamant about it."

Hartnett White did not respond to a request for comment. A representative for the White House also did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Hartnett White has drawn condemnation from environmentalists, who view her nomination as a threat to enacting policies that would combat climate change. If confirmed, Hartnett White would join several other Trump administration officials, including EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, who are skeptical of climate change and have opposed regulations that seek to stymie its effect.


Trying to perpetuate alarmist climate “science”

The Obama era “Climate Science Special Report” demands a “red team” analysis

By David Wojick. Dr. Wojick specializes in unpacking the structure of complex issues.

Several months ago a brief furor erupted when the New York Times leaked the final draft of the upcoming Climate Science Special Report (CSSR), an extremely alarmist rendition of what is supposedly happening with Earth’s climate. Dangerous climate change and weather events, the report says, are due to mankind’s use of fossil fuels to create and maintain modern living standards and to the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that result from that energy use.

The CSSR is being prepared by the federal Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and has been in the works for several years, mostly under Obama and still staffed by diehard alarmists.

The USGCRP consists of the 13 federal agencies that conduct and analyze climate science and supposedly “consensus” views on the topic. The Times and other news stories speculated that one of the agencies, especially the EPA under Administrator Scott Pruitt, might block the CSSR. This has not happened, and the Report is now scheduled for release next month.

The CSSR is far more alarmist than any IPCC report. Most other USGCRP reports have been, as well, thanks in particular to NOAA. The new CSSR will be an official Federal report, which will give it more credibility than it deserves.

Even worse, the Report is slated to be Volume I of the National Climate Assessment (NCA), which is due out late next year. The NCA is mandated by law, which gives the CSSR even more status as federal policy.

It would be ironic indeed if the skeptical Trump Administration were to simply issue this alarmist report as federal policy on climate change science. In fact it would be tragic, a major defeat for climate realism and sound science.

Thankfully, there is a simple way to turn this looming defeat into a major victory. The solution is to do an official Red Team critique of the CSSR.

The Red Team concept has been under discussion for some time now, including being endorsed by EPA Administrator Pruitt and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Some useful background and online discussion are available on Judith Curry’s manmade climate chaos skeptics blog here and here.

The unduly and unscientifically alarmist CSSR cannot be put back into its political bottle. But it is the perfect vehicle for critical analysis and robust criticism, precisely because of its radical alarmist nature. Most importantly, this criticism would be official, which will make climate skepticism official U.S. policy.

Mind you, the CSSR is over 600 pages long, so its rebuttal would not be a trivial exercise. On the other hand, only the most central claims need to be refuted. In particular there are a number of cases of so-called “high confidence” in important assertions that are actually nothing more than highly speculative alarmist dogma.

This is especially true of the groundless attribution of human activities causing bad weather. The Red Team critique must be comprehensive, clear and coherent if it is to be effective. Properly done, that should not be a problem, however.

Making a detailed critique and rebuttal of the CSSR official would go a long way toward putting federal policy on the right track, which is that the scientific debate is very real and far from being resolved. Costly, draconian actions like hefty carbon taxes and forced lifestyle changes are simply not justified. In particular there is no scientific basis for EPA's finding that CO2 emissions “endanger human health and welfare.” Indeed, the clear benefits of carbon-based fuels and plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide are tens or hundreds of times greater than any (highly speculative) costs that might be attributed to them.

There is no need for the Red Team to break new scientific ground. It is just a matter of clearly stating what is already known. In fact simply and visibly starting an official Red Team exercise will go a long way toward blunting the rampant CSSR alarmism.

However, this must be done very shortly after the CSSR is officially released. If not, then the CSSR is likely to become the official US standard bearer for the alarmist version of climate science. That would be a truly tragic outcome.

It is no accident that the CSSR is coming out now. This is a deliberate attempt by the climate alarmists entrenched in the federal research agencies to defy the skepticism of the Trump administration. It must not succeed.

Via email

Trump’s EPA Chief Charts a New Course: An Interview With Scott Pruitt

Rob Bluey

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt spoke to me earlier this week at The Heritage Foundation’s annual President’s Club meeting in Washington. We discussed his leadership of the EPA, the agency’s top priorities, and what Pruitt considers true environmentalism. An edited transcript of our interview, along with the full video, is below.

Bluey: You’ve had a busy week. On Monday, you took a decisive action and ended the sue and settle process that has been plaguing the EPA and our government for a number of years. Can you explain to this audience why that is so significant and what it actually means?

Pruitt: Yes, well, it’s good to be with you. In fact, I see [former Attorney] General [Edwin] Meese here in the front and it’s always good to see General Meese. He has served as a great inspiration to me over the years.

With respect to this particular question on sue and settle, it is actually something General Meese talked about back in the 1980s. We’ve seen agencies at the federal level for many years engage in rulemaking through the litigation process, where a third party will sue an agency and, in the course of that lawsuit, an agency will agree to certain obligations. Maybe take a discretionary duty under statute and make it nondiscretionary or there will be a timeline in a statute and they’ll change the timeline.

But suffice it to say, they engage in what we would call substantive rulemaking, and then the court blesses it without much inquiry. The agency will take that consent decree and go to the states and citizens all over the country and say, ‘Thou shalt,’ and sometimes that mandate is totally untethered to the statute—the obligations that Congress has passed for that agency to engage in.

My job is to enforce the laws as passed by whom? Congress. They give me my authority. That’s the jurisdictional responsibilities that I have, and when litigation is used to regulate … that’s abusive. That’s wrong.

It is fifth-grade civics. I don’t know if they teach civics in fifth grade anymore, but at least they used to. I hang out at the executive branch; we’re an executive branch agency. My job is to enforce the laws as passed by whom? Congress. They give me my authority. That’s the jurisdictional responsibilities that I have, and when litigation is used to regulate … that’s abusive. That’s wrong. We took the first step under the Trump administration [Monday] to end the sue and settle process entirely at the EPA.

It is not just an attitude shift, not just a commitment to not engage in sue and settle and regulation for litigation. We actually put directives in the memoranda, safeguards if you will.

For instance, if there is settlement that we are engaged in, settlement discussions with a third party that sued the agency, we will post that settlement for all the world to see, for at least 30 days, for people to comment on it across the country so that there is transparency with respect to those discussions.

If a state seeks to intervene in litigation with respect to issues that impact them, we’re going to have a very generous and accommodating attitude to our states participating in those settlement discussions. But here’s one of the more important ones: in the past the sue and settle process has been affected by third parties. They would go to the EPA and they would say, ‘Let’s work out a deal,’ and, as I indicated, go to the court, put it within a consent decree without any type of transparency.

But then here’s the kicker: They would pay attorneys fees to the group that sued them. So the group is effectively engaging in rulemaking and they get attorneys fees to get paid to do it.

In my directive to the agency, I said this: We’re not going to pay attorneys fees anymore in that regard. If we have a settlement and there’s no prevailing party, there shouldn’t be attorneys fees. We’ve directed no attorneys fees as part of the end of this sue and settle practice. It’s been a busy week already but every week is that way.

Bluey: The left, over the past generation, has defined environmentalism in a way that is counter to freedom, conservation, even science. I want to ask, what do you consider true environmentalism?

Pruitt: That’s a great question, and it’s one our society needs to ask and answer. The past administration told everyone in this room at some point, told the American citizens across the country, that we have to choose between jobs and growth and environmental stewardship.

We’ve never done that as a country. To give you an example, since 1980, there are certain pollutants that we regulate under the Clean Air Act, criteria pollutants, they are called. … We’ve reduced those pollutants over 65 percent since 1980, but we’ve also grown our [gross domestic product] substantially.

We, as a country, have always used innovative technology to advance environmental stewardship, reduction of those pollutants, but also grown our economy at the same time. It was the past administration that told everyone that you had to choose between the two. That just simply is a false narrative. It’s a false choice, so we need to ask ourselves, what is true environmentalism?

True environmentalism from my perspective is using natural resources that God has blessed us with.

True environmentalism from my perspective is using natural resources that God has blessed us with to feed the world, to power the world with the sensitivity that future generations cultivate, to harvest, to be respectful good stewards, good managers of our natural resources, to bequeath those natural resources for the next generation.


Great Barrier Reef recovering from coral bleaching

The Greenie panic was for nothing, as usual.  Julian Tomlinson didn't go to journalism school so he tells it like it is below -- supported by extensive video evidence

NEWS of the Great Barrier Reef’s demise have indeed appeared to be premature – as predicted. Cairns-based environmental science body, Tropical Water Quality Hub, released exciting news this month in an email titled: Signs of recovery on bleached coral reefs.

This is no surprise to reef operators, climate change sceptics and scientists who urged everyone not to believe the hype about the Reef’s certain doom.

The TWQH said researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science went back to 14 reefs between Townsville and Cairns they surveyed at the height of this year’s bleaching event and saw “significant” recovery. “The majority of coral colonies on the inshore reefs have regained their colour and some even appear to have developing eggs in their tissues,” said project lead Dr Line Bay.

This evidence is directly in line with the views of James Cook University’s Professor Peter Ridd who said this year that corals were experts at adapting to changing environments and that they would recover – as they had done in the past.

But still, Prof Ridd was dismissed by reef doom merchants and has even been threatened with disciplinary action by JCU because of his contrary views. One hopes the university will now apologise unreservedly to Prof Ridd for its treatment of him.  All he did was urge his colleagues to not take such an absolute and alarmist view of Reef health.

Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, believes Ridd’s treatment was so bad that he raised it in state parliament this month and suggested JCU’s administrative procedures should be reviewed. “I have been offered some explanations for the actions taken by JCU against Peter Ridd, but they were most unsatisfactory to the point of being feeble,” said Mr Cripps.

Marine biologist Walter Starck has spent a lifetime studying marine ecosystems and made the same observations as Ridd in a Quadrant magazine article he wrote last year.

Starck is considered by naysayers as a scientific fringe dweller but anyone who challenges the alarmists is always going to be ridiculed and have their credibility questioned.

While the TWQH researchers say it’s still early days, news of coral recovery is fantastic for our tourism operators.

Cairns reef dive company, Spirit of Freedom, has also given activists reason to stand down. Just last month, the company released a video of Ribbon Reefs, Lizard Island and Osprey Reef.  Shot by Stuart Ireland of Calypso Reef Imagery, it reveals a truly spectacular undersea paradise.

Tourists also appear on the video saying they can’t believe how beautiful the Reef is after what they’d been told about its imminent demise.

Check it out for yourself at

I can’t wait for Midnight Oil to come back to spread the good news and for my Facebook feed to be cluttered with ecstatic posts from The Greens and GetUp!

Somehow, I think I’ll be waiting a long time. They’ll still say we must stop human-caused carbon emissions to ensure the recovery continues.

But environmental scientist Bjorn Lomborg has backed opponents of attempts to force us all to toe the man-made global warming line.

In The Australian this week he wrote that if every country honoured its emissions promises, 60 gigatonnes of carbon would be stopped from entering the atmosphere… whereas 6000 gigatonnes needs to be stopped to keep temperature rises below 2C.

Again, all the pain of high power prices and being lectured to and attacked by fanatics is for nought.

Another recent study has backed critics of laboratory tests claiming ocean acidification caused by CO2 emissions is a coral killer. The critics say the lab tests expose corals to increased CO2 too quickly for the organisms to adapt, therefore exaggerating the results.

Now, in the Nature Communications journal, researchers say they have shown this is the case, and that coral in the wild is able to adapt to changes in ocean composition when they happen gradually.

With all this evidence, we should all – especially politicians and the media – be taking the reef alarmists with a grain of salt and reject claims that we’re all environmental vandals.




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, 2017

World’s First Offshore Wind Farm Retires: A Post-Mortem

It barely paid for its construction and maintenance

The first-ever offshore wind farm, Vindeby, in Danish waters, is being decommissioned after twenty-five years, DONG Energy has announced. By its nature it was an experiment, and we can now see whether or not is has been a successful alternative to fossil or nuclear-fuelled electricity.

It consisted of eleven turbines, each with a capacity of 0.45 MW, giving a total export capacity for the wind farm of 5 MW. The hub height of each turbine was 37.5 m and blade height 17 m, small by today’s standards. Because of its date of construction, it would have been all but totally reliant on conventional energy for its manufacture and installation. The original stated project cost was £7.16 million in 1991, which is equivalent to approximately £10 million today.

During its lifetime, it delivered 243 GWh to the Danish electricity grid. This means that the actual amount of electricity generated was 22% of that which would have been generated if it had delivered 5 MW all the time for 25 years. In technical terms, it had a load factor of 0.22.

From the same source we see the initial expectation was that 3506 houses would be powered annually, with a saving of 7085 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum. There was no clear indication of Vindeby’s expected lifetime. Since the average household’s annual use of energy in Denmark[4] is 5000 kWh, we can calculate that the windfarm’s anticipated energy output was 438 GWh over its 25-year lifetime. The actual total of 243 GWh was therefore only 55% of that expectation.

The (annual average) spot price for electricity from both the European Energy Exchange and Nordpool quoted over the period 2006–2014 dropped approximately linearly from €50–55/MWh in 2006 to €32–37/MWh in 2014.[5] If we assume that this trend was constant over 1991–2017, we can see that the average wholesale price paid for the Vindeby electricity was of order of €50/MWh. On this basis the revenue of the windfarm was approximately €12 million: perhaps €15 million at today’s prices.

This means that the windmill spent 75% of its life paying off the £10 million cost of its construction, and most of the rest paying for maintenance. In terms of effective energy revenue, the return on input cost was close to 1:1. The individual project may have been just profitable, but the project is insufficiently productive as will be seen below.

Other windfarms have performed even worse. Lely, an smaller farm sited off the Netherlands coast, was decommissioned last year.[6] It consisted of four turbines of 0.5 MW capacity, and cost £4.4 million in 1992. One nacelle and blades failed in 2014 because of metal fatigue.[7] It produced 3500 MWh per year, implying a load factor of 20%. At the same €50/MWh as above, it would have earned €4.2 million, less than the initial project cost, let alone the additional cost of any maintenance, by any way of reckoning.[8]

The reader should note that the analysis above assumes that the scrap value of the wind turbines will pay for the decommissioning process, and so does not degrade the ratio any further: presumably the bases will remain in the sea. This assumption has been made explicit for the Cowley Ridge wind farm in Alberta, Canada, for which the actual electricity energy delivered into the Canadian grid is not in the public domain, so this similar exercise cannot be repeated.

For a typical fossil-fuel plant, effective energy revenue return on input cost is of the order of 50:1 if one considers the plant alone and about 15:1 when one includes the cost of the fuel. For a nuclear plant the ratio is more like 70:1, and the fuel is a negligible part of the overall cost. The energy generation and distribution sector makes up approximately 9% of the whole world economy, suggesting that the global energy sector has an energy return ratio of 11:1.[10] It is this high average ratio, buoyed by much higher ratios in certain areas (e.g.15:1 in Europe), that allows our present world economy to function.

The lesson learned from the considerations discussed above is that wind farms like these early examples could not power a modern economy unless assisted by substantial fossil-fuelled energy.

Interestingly, DONG Energy, which built Vindeby, is proposing the much newer and bigger Hornsea Project One in the North Sea. This wind farm will have 174 turbines, each with a hub height of 113 m, 75 m blades and a nameplate capacity of 7 MW. It is due to be commissioned in 2020. The project capacity is 1218 MW, and it has a current cost estimate of €3.36 billion. No clear statement of expected lifetime has been provided, but DONG has stated that 862,655 homes will be powered annually. Assuming the average per-household electricity use in the UK[12] to be 4000 kWh, this implies a constant generation of 394 MW over the year, which is 32% of capacity, which is probably realistic.

The agreed wholesale price of the Hornsea energy over the next twenty-five years is £140/MWh. Even assuming a very generous load factor of 50%, Hornsea’s lifetime revenue would be about £20 billion, suggesting a ratio of revenue to cost of 6:1 (reduced further by any maintenance costs), still barely half the average value that prevails in the global economy, which is more than 85% fossil-fuel based.

The secret of the fossil fuel success in the world economy is the high calorific value of the fuel. A ton of coal costing £42.50 produces of the order of 2000 kWh of electricity in a new coal-fired power plants (up 30% from older plants). This sells for £400 wholesale, with an energy return on energy invested (EROEI) of 10:1. A therm of natural gas costs £0.40, and produces 30 kWh of electricity, which sells for £6, representing an EROEI of 15:1.  Fuel-less technologies do not have this advantage.

The disappointing results from Vindeby, and the likely results from Hornsea and similar projects must be seen in the context of the increasing wealth of a growing world population. If all the world’s 10.3 billion people alive in 2055 were to lead a European (as opposed to American) style of life, we would need 2.5 times the primary energy as used today. If, say, half of the energy is suddenly produced with an energy return on investment of 5.5:1 (i.e. half the present world average), then for the same investment we would get only 75% of the energy and we would need to cut energy consumption: the first 10% reduction could come by curtailing higher education, international air travel, the internet, advanced medicine and high culture. We could invest proportionately more of our economy in energy production than we do now, but that will still mean a step backward against the trend of the last 200 years of reducing the proportion of the total economy taken by the energy sector.[13] To avoid this undesirable scenario we would need new forms of energy to match the fossil/nuclear fuel performance.

In this context it is useful to remember that global economic growth is very sensitive to the cost of energy. The energy cost spikes in the mid-1970s and in 2010 form the boundaries between the 5% growth rate of the global economy from 1950–1975, the 3% from 1980–2008, and the 2.5% since 2012. There is a lot at stake in the choice between cheap fossil fuels and expensive renewables.


Will Tesla Be A Zero This Month?

The Tesla production line seems to be at a halt

Leading up to the end of September, we saw new-high Model 3 VIN numbers in the wild almost every other day, culminating in number 521.

But since the beginning of October, nothing. I can’t find a single one above 521 with VIN picture evidence on any forum.

It’s unlikely to end up this way, but the sole evidence we have to date is this: Tesla is on track to deliver zero Model 3 units in October.

Of course, I don’t believe it will be exactly zero.  However, it’s no longer an impossibility.  It’s looking like my previous estimate of 240 units may be way too high.

Talking about anywhere from zero to 240 is almost meaningless given that Chevrolet Bolt EV U.S. sales are rising rapidly and could hit 3,000 per month soon.

No, I don't mean the stock. I mean Model 3 customer deliveries.

People had a lot of fun about me pointing out that the Chevrolet (GM) Bolt EV outsold the Tesla (TSLA) Model 3 in August to the tune of 28:1 in the U.S.: August Sales Are In: Chevrolet Bolt EV Out Sold Tesla Model 3 To The Tune Of 28:1.

Just wait for September, they said, and this ratio would be closed or reversed. Then September came around, and the Bolt EV outsold the Model 3 to the tune of 23:1 in the U.S.: Will Tesla Manage To Sell 720 Model 3 Units In December? Maybe Less?

Just wait for October, they now said, and this ratio would once again be closed or reversed into Tesla's favor. Well, we are now in the second half of October, and I'm eager to hear if the bulls remain of the belief that the Model 3 will finally crush GM's electric juggernaut, the Bolt EV, in October.

At this stage, I'll continue to roll the dice one more time in favor of betting that for a third full month, the Chevrolet Bolt EV will out-sell the Tesla Model 3 in the U.S. - and probably by a very wide margin, along the lines or 10:1 or more. Maybe even 100:1 or an infinite margin.

Why does it seem a good idea to make such a prediction right now? If we assume that the Chevrolet Bolt EV will continue to sell at the current rate - let alone continue to grow, the bar is somewhere North of 2,500 units, perhaps closer to 3,000 or even higher. What makes me believe that the Tesla Model 3 will be somewhere below 240 units and with a potential for zero, in October?


Pruitt Holds the Line Against the Left at the EPA

"Green" groups will no longer get away with surreptitious changes to climate-related rules.

The EPA is getting a refreshing makeover after Gina McCarthy spent years directing the agency to enact unconstitutional power grabs and enforcing other forms of corruption. For example, the Clean Power Plan — a carbon-capture scheme that was developed under Barack Obama’s administration — was recently and mercifully flagged by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for elimination, saving the economy upwards of $73 billion annually.

Now it’s ecofascists’ turn to feel the direct influence of new management. Under McCarthy, “green” interest groups basically viewed the EPA as the go-to agency for changes to climate-related rules and regulations. Not anymore. As Reuters reports, Pruitt “issued a directive to his agency on Monday seeking to end the practice of settling lawsuits with environmental groups behind closed doors, saying the groups have had too much influence on regulation.”

The report goes on to note, “The EPA under former President Barack Obama quietly settled lawsuits from environmental groups with little input from regulated entities, such as power plants, and state governments.” How’s that for the most transparent administration in history? But according to Pruitt, “The days of regulation through litigation are over. We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the agency.”

Reuters adds, “Daren Bakst, a research fellow in agricultural policy at the Heritage Foundation think tank, said sue and settle has led to ‘egregious antics’ that have ‘effectively handed over the setting of agency priorities to environmental pressure groups,’ and has led to rushed rulemaking by the agency.” Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) regurgitated this view: “The Environmental Protection Agency should not make regulations by settling lawsuits behind closed doors. Under the last administration, the EPA advanced its political agenda by abusing its authority and leaving states and Congress in the dark. The public deserves to know how its government is operating.”

There’s really no reason to oppose these changes — unless you’re an activist who can no longer deploy covert tactics to circumvent the Rule of Law. And, to no one’s surprise, green groups aren’t happy with Pruitt’s move. What became customary at Obama’s EPA should never have become so. But it did, no doubt because McCarthy agreed with these lawsuits. Obama’s EPA was not impartial, nor was it transparent or legally minded. Pruitt is doing a masterful job ensuring this injustice ends.


Surprise: Defying Models, Antarctic Sea Ice Extent 100 Years Ago Similar To Today

Satellite measurements of Antarctic sea ice do not go back even 40 years. That’s not very much, especially when we consider that many natural climate cycles have periods of 60 years and more.

Luckily we have the field of climate reconstruction. Using historical documents and sediment cores, the development of ice cover can be estimated. In November, 2016, Tom Edinburg and Jonathan Day examined shipping log books from the time of Antarctic explorers and published on ice extent in The Cryosphere:

Estimating the extent of Antarctic summer sea ice during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration

In stark contrast to the sharp decline in Arctic sea ice, there has been a steady increase in ice extent around Antarctica during the last three decades, especially in the Weddell and Ross seas. In general, climate models do not to capture this trend and a lack of information about sea ice coverage in the pre-satellite period limits our ability to quantify the sensitivity of sea ice to climate change and robustly validate climate models.

However, evidence of the presence and nature of sea ice was often recorded during early Antarctic exploration, though these sources have not previously been explored or exploited until now. We have analysed observations of the summer sea ice edge from the ship logbooks of explorers such as Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton and their contemporaries during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration (1897–1917), and in this study we compare these to satellite observations from the period 1989–2014, offering insight into the ice conditions of this period, from direct observations, for the first time.

This comparison shows that the summer sea ice edge was between 1.0 and 1.7° further north in the Weddell Sea during this period but that ice conditions were surprisingly comparable to the present day in other sectors.”

The surprising result: with respect to sea ice extent 100 years ago things looked similar to what we have today, with the exception of the Weddell Sea. A study by Hobbs et al. 2016 also looked back at the last century, here using geoscientific sea ice reconstructions. Once again the strong discrepancies between the real ice development and model simulations were criticized:

Century-scale perspectives on observed and simulated Southern Ocean sea ice trends from proxy reconstructions

Since 1979 when continuous satellite observations began, Southern Ocean sea ice cover has increased, whilst global coupled climate models simulate a decrease over the same period. It is uncertain whether the observed trends are anthropogenically forced or due to internal variability, or whether the apparent discrepancy between models and observations can be explained by internal variability.

The shortness of the satellite record is one source of this uncertainty, and a possible solution is to use proxy reconstructions, which extend the analysis period but at the expense of higher observational uncertainty.

In this work, we evaluate the utility for change detection of 20th century Southern Ocean sea ice proxies. We find that there are reliable proxies for the East Antarctic, Amundsen, Bellingshausen and Weddell sectors in late winter, and for the Weddell Sea in late autumn. Models and reconstructions agree that sea ice extent in the East Antarctic, Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas has decreased since the early 1970s, consistent with an anthropogenic response.

However, the decrease is small compared to internal variability, and the change is not robustly detectable. We also find that optimal fingerprinting filters out much of the uncertainty in proxy reconstructions. The Ross Sea is a confounding factor, with a significant increase in sea ice since 1979 that is not captured by climate models; however, existing proxy reconstructions of this region are not yet sufficiently reliable for formal change detection.”

A paper published by Ellen & Abrams 2016 even looked back 300 years ago and showed that the increase in sea ice from 1979-2016 has been part of a long-term growth trend of the 20th century:

Ice core reconstruction of sea ice change in the Amundsen-Ross Seas since 1702 A.D.

Antarctic sea ice has been increasing in recent decades, but with strong regional differences in the expression of sea ice change. Declining sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea since 1979 (the satellite era) has been linked to the observed warming on the Antarctic Peninsula, while the Ross Sea sector has seen a marked increase in sea ice during this period.

Here we present a 308?year record of methansulphonic acid from coastal West Antarctica, representing sea ice conditions in the Amundsen-Ross Sea. We demonstrate that the recent increase in sea ice in this region is part of a longer trend, with an estimated ~1° northward expansion in winter sea ice extent (SIE) during the twentieth century and a total expansion of ~1.3° since 1702.

The greatest reconstructed SIE occurred during the mid-1990s, with five of the past 30 years considered exceptional in the context of the past three centuries.”


Greens have the mind of a flea

Comment from Australia on opposition to a planned big new coal mine (Adani)

The Coalition has begun to restore a modicum of rationality to the electricity market in Australia. There is more to do. They must assault the green mindset.

Greens are shallow, short-term and anti-democratic, precisely the opposite of the ideals they claim to champion: deep, long-term thinking with liberal democratic souls and pure of heart.

Instead, Greens are shallow because they spend their lives campaigning on the basis of crises that never eventuate. Overpopulation, mass starvation, ruination by agricultural chemicals, mass extinction of species, ecosystem collapse and resource depletion never happen. The world refuses to succumb to the calamity du jour.

But Greens need a calamity to thrive. When one calamity fails to materialise, they invent another. The latest is the alleged threat to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef from the Adani Carmichael coalmine. The reef is an icon, the mine its bete noire.

A Morgan Poll suggests that most Australians do not think the Adani (Carmichael) mine should proceed. I have my doubts about the veracity of the result, especially as another ­Morgan poll of “issues of concern” showed that climate change was mentioned by ­8 per cent of Australians, about the voting strength of the Greens.

Why, when climate change is such a low priority, should Adani be such a target? The Adani polling result is a shocking indictment of the wilful misrepresentation of evidence in the Adani case. Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale says he is prepared to stand in front of bulldozers and be arrested to stop it. Green activists allegedly are trying to recruit pro­fessional moles to infiltrate jobs in the construction of the mine.

Di Natale believes that “losing” the Great Barrier Reef would cost 70,000 jobs. How will the reef be lost? Greens conflate an alleged physical threat to the reef with a broader climate threat. Coal has been hauled across the reef for generations without harm. There is no physical threat to the reef from shipping Adani coal across it.

The Morgan poll on Adani reflects a deliberate conflation of direct and indirect harm. There is no direct physical threat and the indirect threat is a fast fading theory. Even “the brightest man in Australia”, Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, would know that if Australia were uninhabited there would be no change to the potential threat to the reef from burning coal.

Recall Bjorn Lomborg’s observation of the Paris Accord, achieving the 1.5C global warming target “would require nothing less than the entire planet abandoning the use of every single fossil fuel in less than four years”.

Adani, as with so many other proponents for resource extraction in Australia, has complied with environmental legislation. Green activists assisted both major political parties to write such legislation. From the 1970s environmental impact statements have grown into extraordinarily complex studies, in the Adani case costing tens of millions of dollars and years to compile. And, after all the hurdles have been cleared, still green activists are unhappy. Democracy is ignored.

Instead, greens threaten to trash the law. Di Natale boasts: “You will see a campaign every bit as big as the campaign that stopped the damming of the Franklin.” The Franklin is a lovely river, most of it would have survived a dam, and Tasmania could have been energy self-sufficient with it. Instead, when drought hits Tasmania, the state must rely on coal generation from Victoria for electricity. Green Tasmania is bludging off the mainland.

Hydro is a renewable source of energy. Or at least it was until greens discovered wild rivers. And greens stopped nuclear power, the cleanest source of power. The trouble with greens is their thinking is so short-term.

The time has come to slap a writ on campaigners who set out to destroy others’ livelihoods. The time has come to confront, disrupt and punish environmental campaigners who break the law, ignore parliament and harm legitimate business and workers.

Civil disobedience has an honourable place in the world. It has helped to change attitudes and laws that ended slavery, secured the rights of women, and blacks, and gays. But it is an abuse of the noble tradition to suggest that civil disobedience is justified to prevent a theoretical harm at a far-distant time. Stopping an unrelated activity, a coalmine in Australia, at significant immediate cost to Australians and Indians will not stop climate change.

Activists are damaging Australia. It is about time politicians grew a backbone and confronted these latter-day Luddites.




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


19 October, 2017

Environmentalist Policies Are Exacerbating Wildfires. It’s Time to Rethink Forest Management

Massive wildfires continue to rage out of control in Northern California, causing historic loss of life and billions of dollars in damage.

The images coming out of California towns, which look like bombed-out cities from World War II, are a sobering reminder of man’s occasional futility in the face of nature unleashed.

Stopping these huge blazes is, of course, a priority. The firefighters who have been battling these infernos have at times done a miraculous job under extremely difficult circumstances.

However, policymakers should also look at ways to curtail the long-term trend of growing numbers of major wildfires. While some argue that climate change is to blame for the uptick in fires, it’s also worth grappling with the drastic alterations in forest management that have occurred over the last four decades.

Many have argued that this is driving the surge in huge fires.

As a Reason Foundation study noted, the U.S. Forest Service, which is tasked with managing public wildland, once had success in minimizing widespread fires in the early 20th century.

But many of these successful methods were abandoned in large part because of efforts by environmental activists.

The Forest Service became more costly and less effective as it increasingly “rewarded forest managers for losing money on environmentally questionable practices,” wrote Randal O’Toole, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

Spending on the Forest Service has risen drastically, but these additional resources have been misused and haven’t solved the underlying issues.

“Fire expenditures have grown from less than 15 percent of the Forest Service budget in [the] early 1990s to about 50 percent today. Forest Service fire expenditures have increased from less than $1 billion in the late 1990s to $3.5 billion in 2016,” O’Toole wrote.

Perhaps now, Americans will begin to re-evaluate forest management policies.

In a May congressional hearing, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., said, “Forty-five years ago, we began imposing laws that have made the management of our forests all but impossible.”

He went on to say that federal authorities have done a poor job of implementing methods to reduce the number of deadly fires, and that this has been devastating for America’s wildlands.

“Time and again, we see vivid boundaries between the young, healthy, growing forests managed by state, local, and private landholders, and the choked, dying, or burned federal forests,” McClintock said. “The laws of the past 45 years have not only failed to protect the forest environment—they have done immeasurable harm to our forests.”

In a recent House address, McClintock pinned the blame of poor forest management on bad 1970s laws, like the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. He said these laws “have resulted in endlessly time-consuming and cost-prohibitive restrictions and requirements that have made the scientific management of our forests virtually impossible.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has promoted a change to forest management policies, calling for a more aggressive approach to reduce the excess vegetation that has made the fires worse.

Congress is also moving to address the problem.

Members of the Western Caucus have proposed legislation to dramatically change the way forests are managed. If passed, this bill would give power back to local authorities and allow for more aggressive forest thinning without subjecting them to the most onerous of environmental reviews.

While state and federal governments can take measures to enhance forest and wilderness management, private management can also get involved to improve conditions.

One idea is to adopt a policy popularized by the school choice movement: create charter forests that are publicly owned, but privately managed. This would allow forest management to move away from top-down, bureaucratic control to a decentralized and varied system that may better conform with local realities.

As professor Robert H. Nelson wrote for The Wall Street Journal, the charter forest “would be exempt from current requirements for public land-use planning and the writing of environmental impact statements. These requirements long ago ceased to perform their ostensible function of improving public land decision making.”

Similar privatizing efforts have succeeded in the past.

No measure can truly prevent all fires, but reasonable steps can be taken to reduce the incidence of huge blazes like the ones currently engulfing California.

It’s time for lawmakers to redouble their efforts to protect American lives and property from nature’s most devastating ravages.


Global Warming Hypocrites: Their Carbon Footprint Is OK, But Yours Must Be Eliminated

Scientists, identified as "conservation scientists" who presumably oppose human greenhouse gas emissions, have looked into their own lifestyles, as well as the lifestyles of other "conservation scientists," and found that they are preaching one thing while practicing another.

"Most" of these scientists, the British Telegraph reports, "have a carbon footprint which is virtually no different to anyone else." Those are the findings of a new study from Cambridge University published by researchers who were "were keen to find out whether being fully informed about global warming, plastic in the ocean or the environmental impact of eating meat, triggers more ethical behavior."

What they found was "conservation scientists," 300 of them, "still flew frequently — an average of nine flights a year — ate meat or fish approximately five times a week and rarely purchased carbon offsets for their own emissions."

"They were also less green in traveling to work than medics, and kept more dogs and cats. A recent study suggested pets are a hefty ecological burden. It takes more than two acres of grazing pasture to keep a medium-sized dog fed with meat, while the eco-footprint of a cat is similar to a Volkswagen Golf."

The study's lead author, Andrew Balmford, a professor of conservation science at Cambridge, said that "as conservationists we must do a great deal more to lead by example."

Do not be surprised by the duplicity. It's been noticed that the global warming alarmists who run their mouths the most are also running a lot of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We can start with Leonardo DiCaprio, who earns a fabulous living playing a child's game — that is, he pretends to be someone else, a behavior that most of us outgrow as adults.

But he doesn't have to fake being a hypocrite. That's his real life. Type "leonardo dicaprio climate hypocrite" into a web search engine. The results flow like the exhaust from one of the jets he flies all over the world — he reportedly even made a two-day turnaround trip from France to New York so he could receive a "green" award — to lecture his inferiors about their greenhouse gas emissions. He also lays about on luxury yachts that have neither oars nor solar panels but internal-combustion engines that spew carbon dioxide.

"It can be estimated that DiCaprio has potentially emitted up to 418.4 tons of CO2 this year because of his globe-trotting. The average American emits 19 tons a year," the Daily Mail reported last year.

And, as has been said here before, he once "celebrated New Year's Eve on a yacht in the Sydney Harbor, then flew with his pals to Las Vegas to ring in the New Year a second time."

Yet DiCaprio deigns, quite eagerly, we'd say, to preach to the masses, even using the pulpit of the United Nations to badger everyday people about their carbon footprint.

There's also ubernag Al Gore, who, like DiCaprio, jets around the world to instruct the peasants on the proper way to live while spreading a massive carbon footprint on his own. And never forget his Tennessee mansion, which devours electricity at a rate that is "more than 21.3 times that of the U.S. household average," says the Daily Signal.

Put another way, in a single month last year, "Gore's home consumed more electricity than the average family uses in 34 months."

The list of climate hypocrites is actually extensive and must include Prince Charles, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, United Nations nabobs, and, well, just about every Westerner who hectors others about their carbon footprint. Some are bigger hypocrites than others, of course. But hypocrisy smells of corruption no matter who is oozing it. It's even worse when the lesson the hypocrites are trying to teach is useless.


EPA head seeks to avoid settlements with green groups

The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a directive to his agency on Monday seeking to end the practice of settling lawsuits with environmental groups behind closed doors, saying the groups have had too much influence on regulation.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who sued the agency he now runs more than a dozen times in his former job as attorney general of oil producing Oklahoma, has long railed against the so-called practice of "sue and settle." The EPA under former President Barack Obama quietly settled lawsuits from environmental groups with little input from regulated entities, such as power plants, and state governments, he argues.

The directive seeks to make EPA more transparent about lawsuits by reaching out to states and industry that could be affected by settlements, forbidding the practice of entering into settlements that exceed the authority of courts, and excluding attorney's fees and litigation costs when settling with groups.

Most lawsuits by green groups on the agency seek to push the agency to speed up regulation on issues such as climate and air and water pollution, studies have shown.

"The days of regulation through litigation are over," Pruitt said. "We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the agency."

Pruitt's order was supported by conservative groups.

Daren Bakst, a research fellow in agricultural policy at the Heritage Foundation think tank, said sue and settle has led to "egregious antics" that have "effectively handed over the setting of agency priorities to environmental pressure groups," and has led to rushed rulemaking by the agency.

But Pat Parenteau, an environmental law professor at the Vermont Law School, said Pruitt's directive would be "counterproductive" and costly because in the end courts could fine the agency if it does not meet compliance dates for issuing regulations.

"He can fight it if he wants as long as he wants, and spend as much money as he wants," Parenteau said. "But in the end if you've missed a statutory deadline, you are going to be ordered (by a court) to comply and then you are going to be ordered to pay fees."


Norways goes cool on electric cars

Norway, a world leader of zero-emission vehicles, on Thursday proposed a “Tesla tax” aimed at cutting a tax advantage granted to large electric cars in a heavily criticised move.

Electric cars, which have hitherto been exempted from heavy taxes imposed on other vehicles, accounted for 20 percent of new registrations in the Nordic country since the beginning of this year, an unprecedented market share in the world.

In a 2018 finance bill presented to the parliament on Thursday, the right-wing minority government suggested removing a one-off tax exemption for new electric cars weighing more than two tonnes.

The proposal was immediately dubbed the “Tesla tax” because it primarily affects the high-end models made by the American manufacturer. Buying a new Tesla X would cost about 70,000 kroner (7,500 euros/$8,800) more.

Justifying the proposed tax measures, Finance Minister Siv Jensen argued that these heavy sedans exhaust the roads as much as gasoline and diesel cars, and that the owners should therefore contribute.

The proposal has sparked a heated debate.

“It’s a tax bomb,” Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association Secretary General Christina Bu told AFP.

“This was unexpected by both the drivers and by the car industry and it sends a bad signal to the Norwegians and the world” for which the nation is often a model in this matter, Bu added.

She underlined that Norway has set an ambitious target of ending the sales of new cars with combustion engines as early as 2025.

The largest oil producer in western Europe, Norway has introduced many incentives to purchase electric cars.

In addition to generous tax exemptions, which critics say allow the richest to buy Tesla vehicles at a good price, Norway’s electric car drivers benefit from free city tolls, free parking and the possibility of travelling in the bus corridors.


Scientist Roy Spencer: Climate Changes Naturally

On the surface, it would appear that Roy Spencer has a comfortable life. He is a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he directs climate research projects and has authored books and numerous articles for scientific journals.

Unfortunately for Spencer, he comes down on the wrong side – the politically incorrect side – of global warming and climate change, for which he has taken a lot of heat.

“Nothing we are seeing today is really out of the ordinary,” he said Saturday, sounding exasperated and battle weary as he discussed weather patterns.

Spencer spoke at the Tennessee Eagle Forum Conference at the Embassy Suites hotel, where he provided a summary of the climate debate and spoke of his book, “An Inconvenient Deception: How Al Gore Distorts Climate Science and Energy Policy.”

Spencer said he isn’t a climate denier, but rather a “lukewarmer.” He believes that carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere is causing some warming, but that it’s uncertain how much of it is the result of human activity. It’s also uncertain, he said, if we’re warmer now than during periods of warming in centuries past, such as during the medieval and Roman ages.

“Climate changes naturally,” he said. “That’s something that isn’t often stated.”

Yet it’s something the public instinctively understands, even as climate scientists over the past 30 years have been indoctrinated to believe that “climate can only change when we cause it to change,” Spencer said.

The media has been complicit in promoting spurious ideas about climate change because reporters won’t ask questions that might yield answers that don’t fit with the accepted narrative, he said.

While some people point to the two recent hurricanes in the U.S. as evidence of an unusual occurrence, Spencer said there is a historical pattern of going for some years without getting hit by a major hurricane and then one year getting pounded.

“There’s no good objective evidence that any kind of severe weather is getting worse,” he said. “In fact, major tornadoes in recent years have been down quite a bit.”

Spencer said he believes the modest warming trend we are experiencing may continue, but that it is not necessarily a bad thing. Plants depend on carbon dioxide, and the rest of the food chain depends on plants.

“Even if global warming was a huge problem and was entirely our fault, there is nothing substantial we can do about it without killing millions of people because humanity requires abundant, affordable energy,” he said. “Solar and wind do not yet meet that.”

Spencer said he has never gotten any money from oil companies, even though people think he does get funding from them.




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


18 October, 2017

Penguin chicks dying because of unusual and unpredicted cold in Antarctica

Grossly inconsistent with global warming

Almost the entire cohort of chicks from an Adelie penguin colony in the eastern Antarctic was wiped out by starvation last summer in what scientists say is only the second such incident in over 40 years.

Researchers said Sunday the mass die-off occurred because unusually large amounts of sea ice forced penguin parents to travel farther in search of food for their young. By the time they returned, only two out of thousands of chicks had survived.

"Not only did the chick starve but the partner (who stayed behind) also had to endure a long fast," said Yan Ropert-Coudert, a marine ecologist with the French science agency CNRS.

Ropert-Coudert, who leads the study of seabirds at the Dumont D'Urville Antarctic research station, said the Adelie colony there numbers about 18,000 pairs who have been monitored since the 1960s. A similar breeding loss was observed for the first time during a 2013-2014 research expedition.

"It is unusual because of the size of the population concerned," he said in an email to The Associated Press. "Zero breeding success years have been noted before elsewhere, but never for colonies of this size."

Sea ice extent in the polar regions varies each year, but climate change has made the fluctuation more extreme.

The environmental group WWF, which supported the research, urged governments meeting in Hobart, Australia, this week to approve a new marine protection area off East Antarctica. Rod Downie, head of polar programs for the group's British branch, said the impact of losing thousands of chicks was dramatic for an otherwise hardy species such as Adelie penguins.

"It's more like 'Tarantino does Happy Feet', with dead penguin chicks strewn across a beach in Adelie Land," he said.

Ropert-Coudert said creating a protection zone in the D'Urville Sea-Mertz region, where the colony is located, wouldn't prevent larger-than-usual sea ice, but it might ease the pressure on penguins from tourism and over-fishing.


SNP government accused of ignoring own research as it bans fracking

The Scottish National Party has been accused of ignoring its own scientific research yesterday after Scotland announced a ban on fracking, triggering a backlash from industry leaders.

Ministers justified the decision by pointing to a public consultation that found that 99 per cent opposed the gas extraction technique, and by saying that allowing fracking would make it harder to meet climate targets. The effective ban will be enforced through planning powers.

The move was warmly welcomed by environmentalists but the Scottish government faced claims that it prioritised populism over the evidence of its scientific advisers, who said that fracking could be carried out safely if properly regulated. The SNP was also accused of glossing over the fact that the country will continue to rely heavily on gas imports.

Companies in England are pressing ahead with developing sites after Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, approved plans last year for Cuadrilla to develop a site in Lancashire, overruling the county council’s decision to refuse permission.

Ineos, one of Scotland’s largest private companies, which has obtained fracking licences in the Central Belt, said that yesterday’s decision “beggared belief” and would send a damaging signal about how businesses were treated in Scotland.

An expert panel set up by the Scottish government said in a 2014 report that developing an unconventional oil and gas sector could be lucrative and that regulation could address any environmental risks. According to supporters of the industry, none of the conclusions was contradicted by subsequent research ordered by the government.

The Scottish government initially appeared open to fracking, before announcing a moratorium in January 2015 while new research and a public consultation was carried out.

Ineos accused the SNP of turning its back on a “potential manufacturing and jobs renaissance” that would now be enjoyed by England, with the UK government embracing fracking south of the border. The company said that supporting fracking would have meant an estimated 3,100 jobs for Scotland. Ineos will continue to ship large quantities of fracked gas from the United States to Grangemouth, where it is used to fuel its chemicals business.

“Not once has any issue of public health or monitoring been raised with us,” Tom Pickering, operations director for Ineos Shale, said. “The decision has certainly not rested on science, as they said it would. The argument about climate change doesn’t stack up. We know we will continue to use gas, importing it produces more emissions than if you produce it from beneath your feet.”

The decision is likely to lead to a deterioration in already tense relations between the Scottish government and Ineos, owner of the Grangemouth industrial complex, which contributes 4 per cent of the country’s GDP and 8 per cent of Scotland’s manufacturing base.

Fracking, in which large quantities of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground to fracture shale rock and release gas, has been responsible for a economic boom in parts of the US. However, critics say it harms the environment and puts public health at risk.

Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish energy minister, said: “We have undertaken one of the most far-reaching examinations of unconventional oil and gas ever carried out by any government, anywhere. It is clear that people across Scotland remain firmly opposed to fracking — this government has listened and taken decisive action.

“Regardless of our position on unconventional oil and gas, our support for Scotland’s industrial base and manufacturing is unwavering.” [Except when it wavers]


PBS Airs Anti-Pruitt Documentary Funded By Environmentalist Group Backer

Documentary paints Republicans as 'climate deniers,' 'extreme'

A new PBS Frontline documentary that paints Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt as a tool for the fossil fuel industry received major funding from a group that has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to environmentalist activists like the Sierra Club.

The documentary, "War on the EPA," received major support from the Kendeda Fund, an Atlanta-based nonprofit focused on the environment and sustainability.

The documentary features interviews with numerous Obama administration backers, including Gina McCarthy, the former EPA administrator, and Betsy Southerland, a former EPA director making $250,000 who claimed earlier this year she resigned in protest because of the Trump administration's budget. Southerland was eligible for early retirement and told coworkers she was retiring because of family issues.

Southerland tells PBS that Pruitt's EPA is a "clear and present danger to public health and safety in this country."

The documentary calls critics of the Obama administration's wide-ranging regulatory actions targeting the coal industry and nuclear power plants "climate deniers" and "extreme." The PBS narrator refers to Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.) as "the Senate's leading climate change denier" and features Jane Mayer, a journalist with the New Yorker, calling the Trump EPA "radical."

"What you see now in the Trump administration is the triumph of the anti-environmental movement," Mayer says. "They are now in control of the government and in control of the regulatory process in a kind of a brazen way we haven't seen before."

Obama administration alums are depicted as crusaders against pollution, as they appear in interviews dismayed by President Trump and Pruitt following through on campaign promises to roll back environmental regulations.

Gina McCarthy said the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, which was blocked by the Supreme Court and could have shrunk the coal industry by nearly half, was "disturbing."

Eric Schaeffer, a former EPA director of civil enforcement, called Pruitt's EPA a "hostile takeover" and a "political operation."

Jerry Taylor, a former fellow at the Cato Institute who now is in favor of a carbon tax, tells PBS the "conservative narrative" of a war on coal was "disconnected from reality."

PBS does not include clips in the documentary of Obama and Hillary Clinton discussing the coal industry. Obama said, "electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket" under his cap and trade plan, while Clinton boasted during a debate, "We are going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business."

PBS also interviews Eric Lipton of the New York Times, who was bothered by paintings in Pruitt's old attorney general office in Oklahoma that pictured sheriffs in the Old West and a Native American sheriff.

"When I first got to [Pruitt's] office, there were these large paintings on the wall," Lipton said. "It just struck me that this was the real Wild West, that we will dispense our own justice." The camera zoomed in on the painted gun in a holster, as ominous music played.

PBS also attempts to tie Pruitt to the Koch brothers and paints a picture of the administrator receiving dark money from oil and gas companies.

PBS says, "Much of the Koch's fortune came from oil and gas, and they would spend millions opposing Obama's initiatives."

The documentary received major funding from Kendeda, which in turn has donated to many liberal groups that lobby for climate change regulations. On its website, Kendeda encourages "activism that promotes solutions to the social and equity challenges caused by climate change."

Kendeda has donated to numerous environmentalist activist organizations, including: $70,000 to the Sierra Club, $50,000 to Earthjustice, $50,000 to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and $500,000 to the U.S. Climate Action Network in 2015.

A spokesperson for WGBH, which put on the documentary, told the Free Beacon that the Kendeda Fund did not directly fund the documentary.

"The Kendeda Fund provides support to many organizations and groups, including schools and military families, and they have provided funding to WGBH under their People, Place, and Planet program for use in a variety of WGBH programs," said Jeanne Hopkins, vice president for communications. "Some was used to support this FRONTLINE film, along with its many other funding sources. They did not directly fund this program."

"War on the EPA was a political story full of voices on both sides of a contentious issue," Hopkins continued. "The film spent considerable time illuminating the roots of conservative thinking and action towards the EPA and featured key figures from industry and the movement around Scott Pruitt, including Bob Murray, CEO of Murray Energy and Myron Ebell, the head of President Trump’s EPA transition team."

The group also donated $250,000 to the New Venture Fund, which also supports environmentalist organizations. The same year, New Venture Fund donated $515,000 to the Sierra Club Foundation and $95,000 to, which vows to "stop fossil fuels."

The documentary also features Andrew Miller, a lobbyist for Southern Company, who was asked by PBS if it was "unseemly" that oil and gas companies lobbied against Obama's environmental regulations and that Pruitt and other Republican attorneys general filed lawsuits to stop the rules.

"Not at all," Miller said. "And the reason I say that is you have the Sierra Club partnering with attorneys general on the other side."

"It's all part of the Democratic process," he said.


Will questioning climate change become illegal in Canada?

Ecojustice wants government “cops” to investigate, punish and silence dissent

Tom Harris


 This slogan appeared on posters of the Party leader in the dystopian society of George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. It was a constant reminder of omnipresent government surveillance for “thoughtcrime” – independent thinking.

In Orwell’s book, Ministry of Truth ‘history re-writer’ Winston Smith quietly rebelled against this oppression, starting a diary expressing forbidden thoughts. But government telescreens were everywhere. Watched constantly, Smith’s every move was monitored. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the consequences of being caught were dire; the stress on individuals enormous.

As head of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), I have been feeling a bit like Smith these days. That’s because ICSC has been under investigation by Canada's Competition Bureau, an independent law enforcement agency that “has a legislated mandate to ensure Canadian consumers and businesses prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.”

Here’s what happened.

In December 2015, while in Paris attending counter conferences to the United Nations’ climate meetings, I learned that the environmental organization Ecojustice had registered a complaint with the Competition Bureau on behalf of six prominent Canadians against the ICSC, Friends of Science, and the Heartland Institute.

Ecojustice claimed we presented “climate science misrepresentations” which “promote the denier groups’ own business interests,” and “promote the business interests of deep-pocketed individuals and corporations that appear to fund the denier groups.”

Our own core principles – which summarize our position on climate science and which we provide on our website – were actually presented as evidence against us.

Two of our allies assembled a 37-page response to the attack in which they presented peer-reviewed research in support of our positions. They suggested I counterattack with this impressive rebuttal.

Others cautioned me to keep my powder dry since the complaint made no sense. We were simply exercising our rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to express our opinions. That is what science is all about – opinions of experts based on their interpretations of observations. And, especially in climate science, different experts have different opinions.

Further, the complainants had no idea who helps the ICSC financially. With the exception of the late Dr. Gerry G. Hatch, an Order of Canada recipient who openly supported us, the identities of our donors have been confidential since 2008. Some of our scientists have been harassed and even had death threats for contesting climate alarmism. We do not want to risk exposing our donors to such abuse.

So I did nothing, hoping the Competition Bureau would dismiss the complaint as unfounded.

Yet, five months later, it did launch an investigation, referencing a complaint that we make “representations to the public in promotion of a business interest that are false or misleading in a material respect regarding climate change.”

The Bureau warned us, “If the results of an investigation disclose evidence that, in the opinion of the Commissioner, provides the basis for a criminal prosecution, the matter may be referred to the Attorney General of Canada, who determines whether a prosecution should be undertaken.”

Although I asked the Bureau where they suspected the ICSC may have made false or misleading statements, it refused to say, citing Competition Act Subsection 10(3), which requires that inquiries be conducted privately.

Aside from a letter in November 2016 informing me that the investigation was “ongoing,” I heard essentially nothing until the beginning of July 2017 when I received a letter from the Bureau informing me:

“While the Commissioner has discontinued the inquiry, and no further steps are contemplated at this time, be advised that no binding determination has been made respecting the conduct of International Climate Science Coalition. The Commissioner continues to have discretion to investigate and take enforcement action in respect of matters previously inquired into, including where additional information is discovered following the discontinuance of an inquiry.”

The National Observer reported that they received an e-mail from a bureau spokesperson concerning this investigation, stating, “We invite Canadians who believe they may have additional information to contact the Competition Bureau.”

So, after nearly 14 months, the investigation is “discontinued” but revivable at the “discretion” of the Commissioner. Ecojustice criticized the Bureau for “walking away without finishing the job, and asserted: “Now is the time we need our cops on the climate beat to be stepping up.”

In their September 19th press release concerning the affair, Friends of Science stated, “democracy is at stake as there are ever increasing calls to jail those who hold dissenting views on climate science.”

Is this the Canada my father and grandfathers defended against tyranny?

Via email.  Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition

Australian government to omit clean energy target from energy policy

They are just focusing on keeping the lights on

GOVERNMENT figures insist its new energy policy will meet Australia’s Paris agreement emissions target while saving households more than $90 a year.

Coalition MPs will be briefed on the scheme at a meeting in Canberra today following cabinet’s decision to reject a clean energy target as recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.

Instead, it has backed an idea from the new independent Energy Security Board. The head of the coalition’s backbench energy committee, Craig Kelly, was briefed on the new approach after Monday night’s meeting, welcoming the focus on dispatchable switch on/switch-off power.

“The problem with solar and wind, as wonderful technologies as they are, when there is no wind you get no electricity generation and as soon as the sun sets you also get zero electricity generation as well,” he told ABC radio this morning. “So as good as technologies as they are, you’ve got to have them backed up in some way and that’s either got to be a coal-fired power station, a gas generator or some form of battery.”

He defended the idea to ditch the clean energy target, as recommended by Dr Finkel. “The Finkel report contained 50 recommendations. If we’ve recommended 49 that’s a 98 per cent strike rate,” he said.

However supporters of the clean energy target — recommended by the country’s chief scientist as a way to reduce the future cost of energy — slammed the move to disregard the idea.

It is understood economic modelling of the alternative to the clean energy target — expected to be called the National Energy Guarantee — delivered price cuts deeper than under Dr Finkel’s mechanism.

The annual benefit from the CET came in at $90 a year for households, while large industrial users were expected to pay about 20 per cent less a year. At the same time, the modelling showed the new mechanism would enable Australia to achieve its commitment of a 26-28 per cent reduction in 2005 emissions by 2030.

Blackouts would be minimised with power generators and storage providers, such as hydro and batteries, covered by a new “generator reliability obligation”, as recommended by Dr Finkel.

Adequate dispatchable power would be required in all regions of Australia to ensure consumer demand is met, with the obligation being met using a variety of technologies.

Power prices have risen in real terms by 63 per cent during the past decade.

Labor leader Bill Shorten says Malcolm Turnbull was endorsing a clean energy target only four months ago. “Why on earth did we ask the chief scientist of Australia to give us a report,” he told reporters in Canberra.




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


17 October, 2017

House Dems Accuse Pruitt, Trump of Catering to Big Ag on Pesticide

The Greenie war on pesticides continues.  There is no pesticide that Greenies like -- even ones that have been in widespread use for 50 years without obvious health consequences.  There have been studies indicating problems with chlorpyrifos but only at high doses.  It is true of any chemical that the toxicity is in the dose and there has been no demonstration that normal use of chlorpyrifos leads to any harm

A pair of House Democrats on Wednesday accused EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration of catering to big-business agriculture at the cost of human safety by refusing to ban a widely used pesticide known to cause developmental disorders among children.

“The EPA is not supposed to be an agent of big business and industry,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said during a press conference on Capitol Hill. “They are supposed to be an agent of public good, and yet under Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration, they’re doing the bidding of companies and polluters to advance their interests and not the interests of the American people.”

Ellison joined Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) in introducing the Pesticide Protection Act of 2017 this past July. The legislation, which would cancel the registration of the pesticide in question – chlorpyrifos – has garnered 42 co-sponsors, including one Republican, Rep. Chris Smith (N.J.).

Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide that has been in use since 1965, when the Dow Chemical Co. began selling it. According to the EPA, the pesticide is used for agricultural uses and non-agricultural uses, with the largest market being the corn industry. About 6 million pounds of the pesticide is sprayed on American crops each year, including asparagus, peaches, strawberries, apples, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cranberries and walnuts. The pesticide is also used on golf courses, turf and greenhouses, and as a poison for mosquitoes, roaches and ants, according to the EPA.

Chlorpyrifos has had harmful impacts on children, as well as farm workers. According to the EPA, it can cause nausea, dizziness and confusion, as well as respiratory paralysis and even death in high doses.

The Obama administration in 2015 moved to eliminate use of chlorpyrifos after fielding a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network North America. In November 2016, EPA scientists concluded in a risk assessment memo that there is “a breadth of information available on the potential adverse neurodevelopmental effects in infants and children as a result of prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos.” According to an Associated Press report from June, Pruitt met with Dow Chemical leadership in March about 20 days before reversing course on Obama’s 2015 directive.

“Pruitt has ignored his own scientists’ recommendations to withdraw it as an acceptable chemical,” Pesticide Action Network executive director Kristin Schafer said on Wednesday.

According to Schafer, the EPA studied chlorpyrifos’ application in four key states -- Iowa, Minnesota, California and Hawaii – and determined that the pesticide was contaminating water supplies and that it can cause harm even in low-level doses.

“This administration’s agenda is radically anti-environment and willfully ignores science,” Velázquez said.

Ellison said that Pruitt’s refusal to restrict the use of chlorpyrifos and Trump’s repeal of Obama’s Clean Power Plan are just two instances in which the administration has set the country back decades in terms of environmental stewardship. The EPA’s core mission is to protect the environment and American communities, he added.

Dow Chemical Co. recorded about $48 billion in sales in 2016, according to Forbes. The Associated Press report noted that CEO Andrew Liveris’ leads a White House manufacturing working group, and the company pledged $1 million for Trump’s inauguration.

Ellison accused the administration of placing corporate profits ahead of the health and safety of American families, citing examples of the chemical infiltrating Minnesota homes following aerial sprays on nearby farms. He said that the administration has an obligation to determine the health impacts of the chemical, and if they are hazardous the pesticide needs to be controlled.


Misleading Costs for Wind and Solar

Recently the media has reported that wind and solar were competitive with coal and natural gas for generating electricity.

The Wall Street Journal, for example, published an article with a headline, Economic impact of wind farms is changing the political dynamics of renewable energy.

These media reports could lead people to believe that wind and solar were competitive with coal-fired and natural gas power plants, which is not the case. Electricity generated by coal-fired power and natural gas combined cycle power plants remain the lowest cost methods for generating electricity, especially when the unreliability of wind and solar are taken into consideration.

In trying to determine the source of the media claims, two sources became apparent.

Contract purchase agreements

Studies performed by financial firms such as Lazard

In the first instance, the lower contract prices were the result of subsidies. The lower prices did not accurately reflect the true costs for wind and solar: The subsidies resulted in low prices and low LCOEs.

In the second, some assumptions in the studies performed by financial groups  resulted in low LCOEs (Levelized Cost of Energy).

Furthermore, equating LCOEs of wind and solar with those of coal and natural gas power plants is fallacious. Beyond a certain point, it’s impossible to replace coal and natural gas with wind and solar on a one for one basis, interchanging them as though they were LEGO pieces.

A review of the Lazard study established why the study produced very low LCOEs for wind and solar: LCOEs that were atypical of previously determined LCOEs.

Lazard study is for New Construction

It’s important to point out that the LCOEs determined by Lazard were for new power plants, something not mentioned in their report.

Existing coal-fired and natural gas power plants have LCOEs of around three cents per kWh because their construction and financing costs have already been amortized.

It makes no economic sense to deliberately replace existing coal-fired and natural gas power plants with wind and solar units even if the LCOEs of new wind and solar power plants are below six cents per kWh.

Lazard Assumptions

Lazard held financial costs, such as the cost of debt and equity, constant when making calculations for each type of facility.

This was an effort to ensure that calculations between facility types were fair. However, there were at least two instances where this assumption was misleading.

Natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plants were assumed to have a life of twenty years, which is half the life that should have been used. Financial costs should have been amortized over 40, not 20 years.

The investment cost for a coal-fired power plant was assumed to be $3,000 per KW. This is higher than actual historical costs for supercritical plants and slightly higher than for ultra-supercritical plants. This imposed a financial penalty for coal-fired power plants.

There were two important assumptions in the Lazard study that were either questionable or that slanted conclusions unfairly to the benefit of wind and solar. These are addressed in a and b. A third factor was omitted from the study and is addressed in c.

a) Capacity Factor

Capacity factor (CF) is defined as the amount of electricity produced over a year by an installation, compared with the amount that could theoretically be produced based on the facility’s nameplate rating.

The Lazard study refers to “resource availability”, and it is unclear whether the CFs used in the study are true CFs or ersatz CFs based on some undefined resource availability calculation.

Because this is unclear, both possibilities are addressed for wind.

Alt 1: Traditionally Defined CFs

The capacity factor (CF) for wind used in the Lazard study was significantly higher than experience from existing installations. The study used 55% in one instance and 38% in another.

Actual CFs, as reported by DOE in its 2015 Wind Technology Report, averaged 32.8%, between 2011 and 2015; 31.8% between 2006 and 2010; and 30.3% between 2000 and 2005.

New, taller units with longer blades will probably have higher CFs, but not anywhere near 55%.

Wind installations in high wind areas, such as Montana where CFs could be higher, require long and expensive transmission lines, the costs of which are not included in the Lazard or many other studies.

The use of higher CFs and lower capital costs in the Lazard study, skewed the LCOEs for wind, making them unreasonably low.

Alt 2: Ersatz CFs

The Lazard study may have used a specially designed “capacity factor as a proxy for resource availability”.

Why this would be done is unclear since actual wind resources have been carefully mapped across the United States for heights of 30 meters, 80 meters and 100 meters above ground level.

The best winds for generating electricity are predominantly in the upper plains states such as Montana, and across the front range of the Rocky Mountains.

The regional factors used in the Lazard study do not appear to align with the wind maps available from NREL, though these regional factors were apparently used to represent wind availability across the country.

The Lazard study did not explain how these ersatz capacity factors were determined, so there is no way to determine their appropriateness or accuracy.

For this reason, the LCOEs developed by Lazard using ersatz CFs for wind are suspect, and not comparable to traditionally determined LCOEs.

b) Solar

The Lazard study seems to have used a specially designed “capacity factor as a proxy for resource availability” when determining LCOEs for solar.

Presumably “resource availability” refers, in some manner, to insolation levels.

“Resource availability” was apparently used to establish, what can best be described as ersatz capacity factors for solar installations.

Insolation levels are readily available for all areas of the world, so it begs the question of why Lazard chose to create a “resource availability” factor for solar.

Insolation levels for the Southwestern United States are twice those for the Midwestern United States, yet the LCOEs arrived at for solar by the Lazard study did not reflect these substantial differences.

For this reason, the solar LCOEs developed by Lazard are suspect, and not comparable to traditionally determined LCOEs.

Again, The Lazard study did not explain how these ersatz capacity factors were determined, so there is no way to determine their appropriateness or accuracy.

The report did confirm that rooftop PV solar is uncompetitive. As demonstrated in Nothing to Fear, PV rooftop solar is uneconomic in every state except possibly Hawaii.

c) Reliability

Both wind and solar are intermittent, and in some respects unreliable.

Beyond small amounts, it’s impossible to replace coal and natural gas power plants with wind and solar on a one for one basis. As mentioned earlier, these are not interchangeable LEGO pieces.

For example, wind and solar must also include expensive storage if the evening ramp-up is to be minimized. Coal and natural gas power plants must be retained to provide power at night and for when the sun stops shining or the wind stops blowing.

These limitations become increasingly worse as greater amounts of wind and solar are placed on the grid.

At the very least, LCOEs for wind and solar are misleading because wind and solar require the use of costly storage. More about the CAISO Duck curve is found in Nothing to Fear.


If an undefined “resource availability” is used to calculate LCOEs, the resulting LCOEs can’t be compared with a traditionally derived levelized cost of electricity (LCOE): It’s like comparing cashews with apples.

Pawning these LCOEs off as equivalent to traditionally calculated LCOEs is misleading at best, and at worst, could be considered deceptive.

In addition, wind and solar are unreliable, and LCOEs do not reflect the extra costs associated with having to compensate for their intermittency and unreliability.

The Lazard report and virtually all media articles attempting to compare LCOEs between wind and solar and coal and natural gas are fallacious and meaningless.

Wind and solar cannot replace coal and natural gas on a one for one basis … They are not interchangeable LEGO pieces.

Coal-fired and natural gas combined cycle power plants continue to be the least costly methods for generating electricity, notwithstanding the latest Lazard study.


Don’t Call Climate Skeptics ‘Deniers,’ Call Us ‘Correct’

Lord Monckton comments below on a rather silly article which essentially proclaims that the consensus is always right. It reminds me of a 1930s slogan:  "Mussolini ha sempre ragione" (Mussolini is always right).  I put up a brief comment on it on 5th but Monckton really goes to town on it below

If it’s totalitarian and unresearched, it’s not a consensus.

Arturo Casadevall and Ferric Fang, two academic microbiologists with no special knowledge of climate, recently used their article in the Hill to commit the repellent but now commonplace hate-crime of describing researchers skeptical of the sillier exaggerations of the climate-change establishment as “denialists.”

This disfiguring hate-word, calculated to invite an invidious comparison between climate skeptics and those who say the Nazis did not murder six million Jews, is not fit to be uttered by any serious academic. Here, as always, its misuse by intellectual pygmies indicated more than a little nervousness on the part of the establishment, for the world continues to warm at a rate well below what was originally predicted, and, as it turns out, there is a good explanation for the discrepancy.

The two hate-speakers tediously trundled through the history of challengers to the scientific establishment who were proven right (Hypatia, Giordano Bruno, Galileo, Benjamin Franklin, and John Scopes), but they did so without appreciating that it is we climate skeptics today who are the sciconoclasts, and it is the entrenched and generally totalitarian academic elite with which they pietistically identify themselves that is as wrong today as the mob that is said to have murdered Hypatia for her nonconformist astronomical notions and the cardinals who condemned Bruno to death.

The two microbiologists have missed the point entirely. They talk of “virtually unanimous consensus” that Earth is facing a period of anthropogenic climate change. Yet the largest sample of academic papers on climate ever studied — an impressive 11,944 papers over the 21 years 1991–2011 — showed only 0.3 percent “consensus” explicitly supporting the proposition recent global warming was mostly manmade. The question whether the small warming that is to be expected will prove dangerous was not even asked; the “consensus” on that question is even smaller.

Even if there were a “virtually unanimous consensus,” science is not advanced by consensus but by informed dissent. The instances the microbiologists themselves cite make it quite clear that where there is a “consensus,” it is nearly always wrong, at least at the margins.

Newton’s celestial mechanics was universally regarded as correct for three centuries, but relativity has replaced it — thanks to the work of a skeptical patent clerk from Switzerland.

And what was the response of the scientific “consensus” then? In Germany, 100 scientists wrote a book against Albert Einstein and his “Jewish science.” Where are they now?

The microbiologists indulge in the rebarbative mantra of the hard left to the effect that “the Trump administration has repeatedly belittled the value of scientific expertise and eliminated scientists from panels that advise the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice.”

No, but the Trump administration has eliminated political activists posing as scientists, replacing them with scientists who are willing to put science first and totalitarian politics nowhere.

The microbiologists ignorantly assert “no one is denying … the standard model of particle physics.” Actually, there is a lively debate among speculative cosmogonists as to the origin of the universe and, therefore, as to the emergence and influence of various particles, whose number and properties seem to change with bewildering rapidity as new theories are advanced.

The microbiologists do not seem to appreciate the reason why climate skeptics are skeptical is that, in numerous respects, climate science and mitigation economics are simply wrong. It is now clear to all but an irredentist minority the climate models, in their predictions, have exaggerated the rate of global warming, perhaps by as much as threefold.

And, since the two microbiologists adore “consensus,” there is near-unanimity in the journals of mitigation economics to the effect that it is two to three orders of magnitude costlier to attempt to mitigate largely non-existent global warming than to let it happen and adapt to its consequences.

Without any evidence, the microbiologists indolently assert “the denial of climate science is centered on resistance to economic and lifestyle changes that would bring about major disruption to certain ways of life, as we switch away from carbon-based fuels.”

First, the world is not “switching away” from coal, oil, and gas — very far from it, in fact. Secondly, the academic resistance to the party line on climate is based on a number of downright errors of official climatology.

One example: Only one-third of the global warming predicted by the usual suspects arises directly from greenhouse gases. The remaining two-thirds, they say, comes from consequential amplifications of the direct warming, known as “temperature feedbacks.” Official climatology’s mid-range estimate of the “feedback fraction” — that is, the fraction of the global temperature after the direct warming that is fed back to the input of the global-warming calculation — is 0.65. Yet, given a pre-industrial surface temperature of 287.5 Kelvin, the maximum theoretically possible value of the feedback fraction — obtained by assuming, impossibly, that the entire 32 K natural greenhouse effect is feedback-driven — is 32/287.5, or 0.11. Absurdly, the official best estimate is about six times this absolute maximum.

What that means is that there will not be more than 1.5 K global warming for each doubling of CO2 concentration, not the 3.3 K that is the models’ current mid-range estimate. And 1.5 K of warming, not much more than 2.5 Fahrenheit, is just not enough to worry about.

Tellingly, the two microbiologists do not include even a single scientific quantity in their purely partisan political shriek against those who do not share their drearily dismal, cloyingly totalitarian outlook on science. So little science do the two scientists know that they say, “Science… always considers its knowledge to be provisional.”

A single counter-example will demonstrate the unwisdom of their use of the universal quantifier (not that they would know it if they bumped into it). On a hyperbolic as well as on a Euclidean surface, the square on the hypotenuse of a right triangle is always equal to the sum of the squares on the two catheti. Perhaps they were not paying attention when they were taught this as schoolboys. Some scientific hypotheses, though by no means all, are indeed definitively demonstrable. We have, for instance, definitively demonstrated above, with indefeasible simplicity, that the global warming to be expected in response to doubled CO2 cannot exceed 1.5 K.

To turn the prissy-preachy language of the two microbiologists upon them, it would “behove” totalitarian scientists such as they to consider the maxim of all scientists: “I may be wrong.”

They were wrong to blame the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean on global warming, for the good and sufficient reason that worse and more frequent hurricanes have occurred before — as they would have discovered if they had remembered that scientific opinion is valueless unless it is based on at least a little elementary research.

Don’t call us skeptics “deniers,” call us “correct.” It is official climatology’s party line that is more and more obviously false, as well as self-serving.

Nobody pays me to ask scientific questions where so many others, bullied and hectored by a handful of bossy conformists, fear to tread. I and those like me ask questions because, unlike the faithful who bang their heads on the floor and say “I believe!” when informed of the party line, our approach to the natural world is a holy marriage of the curiosity and awe that are embodied in the two words, followed by a question mark, that are the fons et origo of all true science: “I wonder?”


Energy Policy in Minnesota: The High Cost of Failure


In recent years, the state of Minnesota has pursued a series of increasingly aggressive renewable energy and “clean energy” policies that cost electricity consumers billions of dollars, without achieving its ambitious environmental protection goals.

Minnesota law sets out ambitious state energy policy goals. The primary goal would have the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2015, 30 percent by 2025, and 80 percent by 2050.  State law incorporates a number of additional energy policy goals aimed largely at supporting these greenhouse gas reduction targets. In particular, the state’s renewable energy standard requires utilities to generate a substantial portion (25 to 30 percent) of electricity from renewable sources, mostly wind.

Historically, Minnesota enjoyed the advantage of relatively cheap electricity, with rates typically 18 percent less than the national average. However, since spending an estimated $10 billion on building wind farms and billions more on new and upgraded transmission lines, Minnesota has lost this competitive advantage with little to show for it, except higher electric bills.

As electricity generation from carbon free wind approaches 20 percent of total generation, Minnesota has not experienced any appreciable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to the U.S. average.

This report evaluates Minnesota’s energy policy and reaches five main findings that buttress one conclusion: Minnesota’s aspirational energy policy is a grand exercise in virtue signaling that does little to reduce either conventional pollution or greenhouse gas emissions.

* Minnesota has lost its advantage on electricity pricing.

Between 1990 and 2009, the retail price of electricity in Minnesota was, on average, 18.2 percent lower than the national average. However, in just seven years, this price advantage has completely disappeared. February 2017 marked the first month the average retail price of electricity in Minnesota rose above the U.S. price. (Data are available dating back to 1990.) If in the past seven years Minnesota would have maintained its historic price advantage versus the rest of the country, the state’s consumers would have paid nearly $4.4 billion less than what the actual cost of electricity turned out to be.

* Minnesota’s energy policy primarily promotes wind power.

Minnesota’s energy policy emphasizing renewable energy is mostly an electricity policy, which represents only about 40 percent of the state’s total energy consumption. Because Minnesota’s geography is not suitable for large-scale solar power, it aims, to date, for only modest increases in solar. As such, Minnesota’s energy policy is primarily a wind-energy policy.

* Minnesota’s energy policy is failing on its own terms, as it has not achieved a significant reduction in CO2 emissions.

 While Minnesota was losing its advantage on electricity pricing, it did not see any significant decreases in CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions in Minnesota declined by 6.6 percent from 2005 (the peak year for CO2 emissions in both the U.S. and Minnesota) to 2014 (before starting to rise again).

This decline is one-third less than the decline experienced by the nation as a whole, which saw greenhouse gas emissions drop 9.3 percent during the same time period.

Looking at just emissions from the electric power sector, emissions in Minnesota dropped by slightly more than the U.S. However, since 2009, the state has made little to no progress on emissions even as electricity generation by wind increased by 92 percent.

* To satisfy Minnesota’s renewable energy standard, an estimated $10 billion dollars has been spent on building wind farms and billions more on transmission.

In the past five years, Minnesota utilities have reported using wind power from wind farms totaling 5,000 megawatts of nameplate capacity to meet the requirements of the state’s renewable energy standard.

Based on industry cost estimates for building new generating capacity, ratepayers are committed to covering an estimated $10 billion for constructing these wind farms and billions more for the transmission needed to move this new power to market. On top of these upfront costs, ratepayers are on the hook for ongoing wind energy maintenance costs, property taxes, and replacement power needed when the wind doesn’t blow.


Head of Australia's anti-immigration party says 'Climate change isn't because of humans'

Pauline Hanson has clashed with a Greens senator after rubbishing climate change and claiming everyday Australians can't afford clean energy.

The One Nation leader told South Australian MP Sarah Hanson-Young she was very 'skeptical' about the link between pollution and climate change. 'I'm very skeptical of this (climate change) because the science isn't there, and that's been proven,' Ms Hanson said on Sunrise.

'Climate is changing, but it's not from humans Sarah – get this through your head.'

Ms Hanson-Young hit back in disbelief, accusing Ms Hanson of living in 'La La Land.' 'Thank goodness most Australian's disagree with you. Are you really lining up with the tin-foil hat brigade Pauline?,' she asked.

Interrupting the heated discussion, host David Koch pointed out the government's Chief Scientist Alan Finkel believed in climate change.

But Ms Hanson said everyday Australians were sick of paying enormous power bills, stressing her party would not support the Coalition's proposed clean energy target.

'People can't afford it, it's putting so much pressure on families and businesses,' she said. 'How can a fish and chip shop afford $14,000 a quarter in electricity? How can these pubs in outback Longreach afford $20,000 electricity a quarter? Wake up.

'We can't do it at the moment, I won't see any more people lose their jobs and I won't see any more businesses shut down because of this.'

Taking to social media after the interview, Ms Hanson-Young posted a link to the debate and wrote: 'On Sunrise this morning Pauline Hanson tells me get it through your head Sarah climate change 'isn't because of humans' #OneNationFail.'

Cabinet on Monday is expected to discuss the government's new energy policy, including whether to adopt a version of the clean energy target recommended by Mr Finkel. The coalition party room could examine the proposal on Tuesday.

It follows a new report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which highlights huge increases in power bills over the past decade. The report says power is putting unacceptable pressure on Australian households and businesses.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims cautioned the clean energy target was designed to cut emissions, but it was hard to say whether it would also bring down prices.

It was important to understand the trade-offs between the various objectives if the nation was to have an effective energy policy.




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, 2017

Trump to Nominate Climate Doubter as Environmental Adviser

President Donald Trump will nominate a climate change skeptic with ties to the fossil fuel industry to serve as a top environmental adviser.

The White House on Thursday announced the selection of Kathleen Hartnett White of Texas to serve as chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. White served under former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, now Trump's energy secretary, for six years on a commission overseeing the state environmental agency.

White was fiercely critical of what she called the Obama administration's "imperial EPA" and pushed back against stricter limits on air and water pollution. She is a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank that has received funding from fossil-fuel companies that include Koch Industries, ExxonMobil and Chevron.

In a 2014 policy paper titled "Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case," White praised the burning of coal and petroleum for "vastly improved living conditions across the world" and credited fossil fuels with ending slavery.

She also likened the work of mainstream climate scientists to "the dogmatic claims of ideologues and clerics." White is a member of the CO2 Coalition, a group that seeks to educate "thought leaders, policy makers, and the public about the important contribution made by carbon dioxide to our lives and the economy."

In an op-ed published in The Hill newspaper last year, White took aim at Obama-era policies that sought to slow global warming by limiting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Climate scientists point to the rising concentrations of carbon emitted into the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels with a corresponding increase in global average temperatures.

"The truth is that our bodies, blood and bones are built of carbon!" White wrote. "Carbon dioxide is a necessary nutrient for plant life, acting as the catalyst for the most essential energy conversion process on planet earth: photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is an odorless, invisible, harmless and completely natural gas lacking any characteristic of a pollutant."

A native of Kansas, White holds degrees from Stanford University in East Asian studies and comparative literature.


Carbon capture in doubt after Norway buries 90pc of budget

The latest bid to develop technology which traps and stores carbon emissions is already in doubt after a key European partner scaled back its plans, days after UK ambitions were reignited.

Norwegian ministers slashed the expected state investment in a trailblazing industrial carbon capture project by 90pc in response to growing political doubts over its costs. The swingeing cut emerged the same day UK ministers pledged to work with international partners in a second bid to develop a carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry, after the failure of its £1bn scheme two years ago.

The Norwegian move spells trouble for Britain’s fresh plans because its ambitious linchpin project is considered a key template for the burgeoning industry, in which international collaboration is vital to bring down costs.

“Norway has always been seen as a leader on CCS so it is concerning that there is a proposal to cut the budget,” said Luke Warren, the chief executive of the UK’s CCS Association. “The timing is also unfortunate in a week which has seen both the Netherlands and UK governments set out ambitious new CCS programmes.”

The UK’s clean growth strategy promised the £100m funding to ­develop CCS as part of a raft of 50 low-carbon policies and plans – but government is clear that full-scale CCS will not go ahead unless costs come down. At stake are the carbon-cutting plans of industrial clusters in Teesside, Merseyside, South Wales and Grangemouth which all hope to safeguard their future in the UK’s future low-carbon economy by fitting the new technology.

UK tech developers are understood to have approached Norway about collaborating on its plans to learn more about the technology. The International Energy Agency estimates that the global CCS market could be worth over £100bn.

Capturing even a modest share of this sector could provide a boom of between £5bn to £9bn a year for the UK by 2031. The UK was also expected to consider shipping carbon dioxide across the North Sea to store the gas permanently in Norway’s subsea salt caverns.

But a prominent Norwegian NGO, Bellona, said the “incomprehensible” budget cut signals that Norway “is no longer serious about CCS”. Earlier this year a study of a full-scale Norwegian CCS system was estimated to cost NOK360m (£34m) but the government has proposed just under £2m for the capture phase of the project which was expected to take place at three of Norway’s most polluting factories.

Gassnova, the state enterprise spearheading Norway’s CCS drive, believes that within the next five years the country could develop a system to rid the whole of Europe of its unwanted carbon emissions. Under the scheme, CO2 from factories all across Europe could be piped on to ships and brought to Norway before the gas is injected into carbon storage sites under the seabed.

Ola Elvestuen, the chairman of Norway’s parliamentary committee on energy, told The Sunday Telegraph that overturning the cut “will definitely be part of the forthcoming budget negotiations with the government” before a final decision is reached in May.


The Obama EPA’s crooked prosecutors

The agency’s carbon dioxide climate “endangerment finding” was a kangaroo court process

Paul Driessen

Suppose a crooked prosecutor framed someone and was determined to get a conviction. So he built an entire case on tainted, circumstantial evidence, and testimony from witnesses who had their reasons for wanting the guy in jail. Suppose the prosecutor ignored or hid exculpatory evidence and colluded with the judge to prevent the defendant from presenting a robust defense or cross-examining adverse witnesses.

You know what would happen – at least in a fair and just society. The victim would be exonerated and compensated. The prosecutor and judge would be disbarred, fined and jailed.

What you may not know is that the Obama EPA engaged in similar prosecutorial misconduct to convict fossil fuels of causing climate chaos and endangering the health and wellbeing of Americans.

EPA then used its carbon dioxide “Endangerment Finding” to justify anti-fossil fuel regulations, close down coal-fired power plants, block pipeline construction, and exempt wind and solar installations from endangered species rules. It put the agency in control of America’s energy, economy, job creation and living standards. It drove up energy prices, killed numerous jobs, and sent families into energy poverty.

EPA’s egregious misconduct inflicted significant harm on our nation. Having acted to repeal the Obama Clean Power Plan, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt must reverse carbon dioxide’s conviction and scuttle the Endangerment Finding that serves as the foundation and justification for the agency’s war on coal, oil and natural gas. Any harm from fossil fuels or carbon dioxide is minuscule, compared to the extensive damages inflicted by the decision and subsequent regulations.

President Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson took office determined to blame carbon dioxide for “dangerous” and “unprecedented” manmade global warming and climate change. They then used that preordained decision to justify closing coal-fired power plants and dramatically restricting fossil fuel use. Mr. Obama had promised to “bankrupt” coal companies. Ms. Jackson  wasted no time in decreeing that CO2 from oil, natural gas coal burning “endanger” human health and welfare. It was a kangaroo court.

Their Environmental Protection Agency did no research of its own. It simply cherry-picked UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and wrote a Technical Support Document to make its case. The TSD ignored studies that contradicted its predetermined Endangerment Finding – and relied on circumstantial evidence of climate and extreme weather disasters generated by computer models.

The models were programmed on the assumption that rising atmospheric CO2 levels are the primary or sole factor determining climate and weather. They assumed more carbon dioxide meant more planetary warming and worsening climate chaos. The role of the sun, cosmic rays, changing ocean currents and numerous other powerful, interconnected natural forces throughout Earth’s history was simply ignored.

The models predicted steadily increasing global temperatures and more frequent and intense storms. Instead, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continued to rise, except for a noticeable temperature spike during the 2015-2016 super El Niño, there has been no planetary warming since 1998. Harvey finally ended a record 12-year drought in Category 3-5 hurricanes making landfall in the USA.

Tornado deaths are far less frequent than in the 1950s. Floods and droughts differ little from historic trends and cycles. Antarctic land ice is at record highs, and Arctic sea ice is again within its “normal” levels for the past 50 years. Seas are rising at just seven inches per century, the same as 100 years ago.

The models also assumed more warming meant more clouds that trapped more heat. They ignored the fact that low-lying clouds trap heat but also reflect solar heat back into the atmosphere. Humans might be “contributing” to temperature, climate and weather events, at least locally. But there is no real-world evidence that “greenhouse gases” have replaced natural forces to cause climate chaos or extreme weather – and no evidence that humans can control Earth’s fickle climate by controlling emissions.

In fact, with every passing year, climate model temperature forecasts have been increasingly higher than those actually observed over most of the lower atmosphere.

The EPA approach amounted to saying, if reality conflicts with the models, reality must be wrong – or to deciding that real world evidence should be homogenized, adjusted and manipulated to fit model results.

Indeed, that’s exactly what EPA, the IPCC and other alarmist researchers have done. Older historic records were adjusted downward, modern records got bumped upward a bit, and government-paid scientists ignored satellite data and relied increasingly on measurements recorded near (and contaminated by) airport jet exhaust, blacktop parking lots, and urban areas warmed by cars, heating and AC vents.

The IPCC also claimed its referenced studies were all peer-reviewed by experts. In reality, at least 30% were not; many were prepared by graduate students or activist groups; and some of its most attention-getting claims (of rapidly melting Himalayan glaciers, for example) were nothing more than brief email messages noting that these were “possible” outcomes. Moreover, most IPCC peer reviewers were scientists who fervently promote catastrophic manmade climate change perspectives, receive government and other grants for writing reports confirming this thesis, and take turns reviewing one another’s papers.

Despite these inconvenient facts, a steady barrage of Obama EPA press releases and statements from alarmist regulators and “experts” insisted that fossil fuels were causing planetary cataclysms. Anyone who tried to present alternative, realistic data or views was ridiculed, vilified and silenced.

Even one of EPA’s most senior experts was summarily removed from the review team.  “Your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision,” Alan Carlin’s supervisor told him.

Two additional facts dramatically underscore the kangaroo court nature of EPA’s 2009 proceedings.

First, oil, natural gas and coal still provide over 80% of America’s and the world’s energy. The International Energy Agency says they will be at least this important 25 years from now. Indeed, fossil fuels are the foundation for modern industries, transportation, communication, jobs, health and living standards. Emerging economic powerhouses like China and India, developing countries the world over, and even industrialized nations like Germany and Poland are using more of these fuels every year.

The Obama EPA studiously ignored these facts – and the tremendous benefits that fossil fuels bring to every aspect of our lives. Those benefits outweigh any asserted dangers – by orders of magnitude.

Second, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, as defined by the Clean Air Act – and was never listed in any legislation as a pollutant. It was turned into an alleged pollutant by dishonest, ideological EPA prosecutors, who needed to justify their anti-fossil fuel regulatory agenda.

In reality, carbon dioxide is the miracle molecule without which most life on Earth would cease to exist. It enables plants of all kinds to convert soil nutrients and water into the fibers, fruits and seeds that are essential to humans and animals. The more CO2 in the air, the faster and better plants grow, and the more they are able to withstand droughts, disease, and damage from insects and viruses. In the process, crop, forest and grassland plants, and ocean and freshwater phytoplankton, exhale the oxygen we breathe.

In rendering its endangerment decision, EPA ignored these incalculable CO2 benefits. It ignored experts and studies that would have provided vital information about the tremendous value to our planet and people from fossil fuels and carbon dioxide.

Finally, having a slightly warmer planet with more atmospheric CO2 would be hugely beneficial for plants, wildlife and humanity. By contrast, having a colder planet, with less carbon dioxide, would be seriously harmful for arable land extent, growing seasons, crops, people and wildlife habitats.

The EPA Endangerment Finding is the foundation for the Obama era Clean Power Plan and other rules. Reversing it is essential to moving forward with science-based energy and climate policies.

Via email


PennEast Pipeline Backers Tout Lower Energy Prices in Fighting Well-Funded Green Groups

Anyone traveling along the roadways that run parallel to that part of the Delaware River where George Washington staged his famous Christmas night crossing in 1776 is sure to encounter signs that take aim at an energy project known as the PennEast Pipeline.

Some of those signs invoke revolutionary language with statements that claim “We the People Say No to PennEast.”

Other signs say: “Don’t Let them Poison Our Water! Stop PennEast,” “Pipeline Blast Zone, Stop PennEast,” “Just Say No! Stop PennEast,” and “Stop the Fracking Pipelines.”

The messages opposing the natural gas pipeline can be spotted along roadways on both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides of the river.

Any day now, the six energy companies that are part of the PennEast Pipeline project expect to get a green light to proceed from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and electricity. That approval would come in the form of a certificate allowing construction and operation of the pipeline.

The anti-pipeline signs and mailings mention ReThink Energy NJ, a coalition of environmentalists who have received substantial funding from the Philadelphia-based William Penn Foundation.

Under current plans, the proposed 120-mile-long, 36-inch-diameter, underground pipeline would originate just north of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in an area that interconnects with other major interstate pipelines that serve markets on the East Coast, including New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Wilkes-Barre, the county seat of Luzerne County, sits on the outskirts of the Pocono Mountains in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania.

If the federal commission OKs it, a year from now a new pipeline will be poised to transport natural gas across Eastern Pennsylvania and the Delaware River into Mercer County, New Jersey, where it will interconnect with the Transco Pipeline in the borough of Pennington.

The PennEast Pipeline would draw from natural gas produced in the Marcellus shale formation that cuts across Pennsylvania, New York, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia.

Tony Cox, project manager for PennEast, told The Daily Signal in an interview that he expects energy consumers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to begin to see the benefits of the pipeline beginning in the winter of 2018-2019.

With approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission expected this fall, the seven-month construction phase would begin next spring, and the pipeline would become operational in the second half of next year, according to PennEast’s projected timeline.

“September is what we call a ‘shoulder month’ in the gas industry, because you are past the summer months, but you are not yet in the winter. This means you are in a period of low energy consumption,” Cox said, adding:

But we still see a vast disparity between the price of gas in the Marcellus region and in New Jersey. These price differences around the country are one of the drivers for natural gas infrastructure, and one of the obligations that gas utilities have is to procure the least cost of gas available.

Right now, as it relates to New Jersey, that gas is located 100 miles away in Pennsylvania. But as we can see from the price difference, there is not ample infrastructure to get the gas to where it needs to go.

As of late September, Cox noted, the price for natural gas delivery in the Marcellus Shale region was $1.79 per dekatherm (a unit of energy measurement), compared with $3.16 per dekatherm in New Jersey, according to Gas Daily, a publication that provides the oil and gas industry with analytical reports on prices in the energy markets. That’s a difference of $1.37, or 76.5 percent higher, in New Jersey.

“Right now, there’s not enough capacity to meet the energy demands of New Jersey residents during peak periods, as evidenced by the large price differentials between these two areas,” Cox said. “With PennEast, we will have the ability to dampen the impact of high-demand periods and provide cost savings.”

When the $1.37 price difference for natural gas between the Marcellus area of Pennsylvania and New Jersey is “amplified by the capacity PennEast will have to transport natural gas,” Cox said, he anticipates “more than a half of a billion dollars in savings” to New Jersey consumers.

Despite the intense opposition of environmental activists, who view the pipeline as a danger to the region, PennEast appears set to secure the necessary regulatory approval to move forward.

In April, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a favorable final environmental impact statement for PennEast that said any potential impact would be “adequately minimized” through mitigation efforts.

In August, the U.S. Senate confirmed the Trump administration’s nominees to the commission, providing the agency with the quorum needed to approve projects such as PennEast.

But Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, disputes the figures PennEast has circulated that show energy consumers stand to benefit financially from the new infrastructure. Instead, he anticipates the pipeline actually would raise costs.

“Individually, these companies [that are part of PennEast] have been seeking rate hikes to pay for the pipelines, because they cost money,” Tittel said. “They have to pay back investors. How does this save people money?”

Tittel also cited a report from Stephanie Brand, director of the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel, who has expressed reservations about the pipeline’s cost and utility. The division’s mission is to advocate for energy consumers.

“PennEast is dangerous and unnecessary, and the PennEast companies are just trying to make money for themselves. This has nothing to do with consumers and their energy needs,” the Sierra Club leader said. “Natural gas is a commodity, and the price is set by commodity markets, and it’s just not true to say that the pipeline will lower prices.”

“The other problem is that the pipeline will pass through environmentally sensitive and scenic areas, and pass through quaint, bucolic little towns that depend on ecotourism. This is also a historic area, where [George] Washington crossed the Delaware.

“Now you’re going to have this big, ugly pipeline cutting through, and it’s going to hurt the economy,” Tittel said.

In the “Frequently Asked Questions” section of its website, PennEast provides readers with detailed answers to questions about the project’s size and scope, potential economic benefits to consumers, environmental safeguards, and restoration efforts that will take place once the pipeline is completed. A separate report from PennEast describes how natural gas development will bring both economic and environmental benefits.

Pat Kornick, a spokeswoman for PennEast, said “well-funded” anti-pipeline activists who have maintained a constant presence in the public eye and in the media are not looking out for the best interests of the people they claim to represent.

“When people question the need for a new pipeline, they are not seeing the big price discrepancies that exist between the New Jersey marketplace and the Pennsylvania portions of the Marcellus, where natural gas is produced,” she said. “Pipelines are the cheapest, most effective way to bring natural gas to market. The alternatives to pipelines, which involve the trucking and transportation of liquefied natural gas, are much more expensive.”

The funding that stands behind the environmental activism directed against natural gas development is evident from the signs littering the roadways in New Jersey, and from mailings delivered to area residents.

Every member of the coalition called ReThink Energy, cited on the opposition materials, has received substantial funding from the William Penn Foundation, a private, nonprofit charity.

Grants the foundation distributed to ReThink Energy members in recent years include $395,000 in 2017 and $582,000 in 2015 to the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, $82,500 in 2016 to the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, and $227,400 in 2016 to the Pinelands Preservation Alliance.

Tom Shepstone, who operates the Natural Gas Now blog, a product of his research firm based in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, told The Daily Signal that the William Penn Foundation is not permitted to do any lobbying as a private charity. But, he argued,  the organization is making an end run around the prohibition by distributing grants to environmental activists and compliant media outlets that do its bidding.

“As a private foundation, they shouldn’t be doing any lobbying, but when you think about it that’s all they do at the foundation,” Shepstone said. “When they pass out money year after year to certain groups, they are doing this to influence public policy.”


High energy costs slash small business investment in Australia
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has expressed dismay that politicians continue to argue over energy policy while small businesses suffer.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the latest East & Partners SME survey* of 1280 businesses showed 70 per cent would reduce investment in capital expenditure because of higher energy prices.

The survey shows that:

39.5 per cent of SMEs would scale back in the short term (long-term capex unchanged);

20.8 per cent would scale back in the long term (short-term capex unchanged); and

9.9 per cent would scale back capital expenditure in the short and long term.

Ms Carnell said that despite evidence of spiralling energy costs and reduced business confidence, politicians had not provided investment certainty.

In particular, she criticised State Governments for failing to agree with a national approach.

“The ACCC has revealed the impact of gas exploration bans on supply and distribution in Victoria and New South Wales, but these governments continue to shift the blame elsewhere,” she said.

“The Labor states talk about going alone on a clean energy target, which is putting politics ahead of the national interest.

“Meanwhile, businesses in South Australia may have to use dirty diesel generators to keep the lights on over summer.

“The Finkel Report provided a roadmap to repair the long-term damage of failed policies.

“All parties and all governments should endorse the report, remove bans on gas exploration and adopt a bipartisan approach to provide investment certainty.

“The danger with continued political bickering is that businesses will go to the wall, jobs will move offshore and be lost and consumers will feel even greater pain.”

* The energy question was asked as part of the East & Partners SME Transaction Banking survey, which examines and forecasts demand for transaction banking product lines and service offerings within Australia’s Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) segment (A$1-20 million turnover per annum).

Media release from Michael Gorey



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, 2017

Australia: Surf Life Saving Queensland boss says swimmers not safe from crocodile attack

A warning now amplified by the apparent death of an elderly lady at Port Douglas -- apparently the result of a croc attack.

Since crocodiles were made protected under Greenie influence, their numbers have spiralled, with at least 100,000 of them in Australian waters now.  So there is no sense in continuing protection across the board.  I would argue that they be de-protected South of Daintree.  That would still leave them a large safe habitat.  Once an area had been cleared, some crocs would move South into it but that would simply make good targets for sporting shooters.  The core population would continue to thrive and human users of the waters would be safe from them

And what is this nonsense about relocating them?  Relocating them to zoos does stop them but relocating them to other areas and releasing them is a crock (Pun admitted).  They just swim back to their old stamping ground.  One croc that was relocated to the Western side of Cape York penininsula swam back all the way around Cape York to his old habitat well South on the East coast -- a journey of perhaps 1,000 km

A SURF Life Saving boss is warning swimmers they should no longer feel safe in some of our most popular waterways — as crocodile numbers keep rising.

A SURF Life Saving Queensland boss says swimmers can no longer feel safe in the state’s waterways due to the increased threat of crocodile attack.

SLSQ chief operating officer George Hill yesterday told a public hearing into Katter’s Australia Party’s proposed Safer Waterways Bill there was a growing risk to both Surf Life Saving staff and the general public at Queensland beaches.

“We have seen a growing trend and a higher risk to our community,” he said.  “The reality is that there’s tourists sunbaking and there’s crocodiles (basking) less than 30m apart.  “It’s a risk that has the potential to have a catastrophic result for the community.”

The revelation comes after The Courier-Mail this week revealed crocodile sightings in the state have increased by more than 38 per cent in the past two years.

Mr Hill said while the service did not support killing crocodiles, it did want to see them removed from popular swimming areas.

“Both those levels (life guards and life savers) have identified a trend of seeing larger crocodiles in what we call public space, waterways where people can frequent. And when I say larger crocodiles, over the past five years the trend has certainly grown to see 3m to 4m crocodiles.

“(This) is in public spaces such as Port Douglas Beach, Four Mile Beach, there was one there last week that we closed the beach for, Palm Cove, Trinity Beach, Forest Beach in Ingham, Townsville’s Strand.”

Mr Hill said members were becoming hesitant to patrol waterways north of Townsville and that he was particularly concerned for the safety of SLSQ staff manning stinger nets in north Queensland.

“Unfortunately crocodiles can enter those (nets) and ... we have situations where every morning in summer our lifesavers and lifeguards will drag those nets for stingers.

“But they’re going in knowing there may or may not be a crocodile in there.”

Mr Hill said he supported changes to the state’s crocodile management plan if it meant safer waterways for swimmers.

“We need to protect our environment but certainly we need to protect the public and our users and future surf life savers and people that frequent our waters,” he said.

“While we don’t want to see the crocs harmed in any way, we certainly do support the removal of any crocodile that’s in a public space that could be a risk to anyone in the community whether it’s a bite or a fatal attack.”

The proposed KAP Bill would introduce a number of new measures including controlled crocodile culls and egg harvesting.

A spokesman for Australia Zoo also spoke at the hearing and slammed the Bill saying it was poorly researched and would not make waterways any safer.

“This legislation will be disastrous for humans and for crocodiles,” he said. “The environmental research has been basic and sketchy.”


NASA Satellite Reveals Source of El Niño-Fueled Carbon Dioxide Spike

Some interesting admissions below.  Nobody knows what portion of CO2 emissions will remain in the atmosphere, for instance.  That being so, their climate models are pure guesswork

For every ton of carbon dioxide emitted by a power plant's smokestack or a car's exhaust pipe, some portion will stay in the Earth's atmosphere, raising global temperatures, while the rest is absorbed by the oceans or ecosystems on land.

But which parts of the ocean or biosphere act as net sources of carbon dioxide (CO2) and which take up more than they emit into the atmosphere, has been an open question. Figuring that out, as well as understanding what mechanisms govern that interplay and how they might change along with the climate, has been an open question and one that is key to understanding how global warming will progress.

The 2014 launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite was aimed at beginning to piece together some answers by monitoring the comings and goings of CO2 from the atmosphere with unprecedented precision and over large regions. [The Reality of Climate Change: 10 Myths Busted]

So far, the mission has done that and has turned up some surprises along the way. The mission serendipitously coincided with one of the strongest El Niños (an ocean and atmosphere cycle that impacts global weather) on record, allowing scientists to see how the carbon cycle responded and pinpoint exactly where the resulting record pulse of CO2 that entered the atmosphere came from. The satellite's instruments also unexpectedly proved capable of distinguishing the relatively small CO2 signatures of cities and even volcano plumes.

"We're very, very happy with these results," deputy project scientist Annmarie Eldering, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told Live Science.

But the findings, described in series of five papers in the Oct. 13 issue of the journal Science, are just the first steps at getting a better handle on the carbon cycle (how carbon flows through land and sea ecosystems and the atmosphere), as OCO-2 heads into an expected extended mission and other space-based projects are scheduled to follow in its wake.

Luck and surprises

Carbon dioxide is added to and removed from the atmosphere by a range of competing processes. On land, for example, the photosynthesis of plants takes up CO2, while the decay of plant matter and wildfires release it back into the atmosphere. [Here's How Carbon Dioxide Warms the Planet]

Scientists knew that El Niños were another factor that caused more CO2 to build up in the Earth's atmosphere, and from the 1997-1998 major El Niño, they had some suspicions on why that was. For one thing, El Niño tends to lead to drying in parts of the tropics, resulting in less photosynthesis and less uptake of carbon dioxide.

What project scientists couldn't know when the satellite rocketed into space on July 2, 2014, was that it would be perfectly poised to observe how one of the strongest El Niños in the books affected the carbon cycle.

"Sometimes you get really lucky," said Galen McKinley, a carbon cycle scientist at Columbia University's Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory.

These effects were in evidence during the 2015-2016 event, which caused the biggest year-over-year jump in global CO2 concentrations on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But OCO-2 revealed, as is so often the case in science, that the picture was more complicated than previously thought.

The satellite's observations let project scientists piece together the sequence of events of the carbon cycle's response as the El Niño geared up and then reached its peak. They saw that at first there was a tiny dip in carbon dioxide levels over the tropical Pacific because of changes in the structure of the underlying ocean that meant waters gave off less CO2. But that slight decrease was quickly overtaken by the much larger response from terrestrial biomass as drought, heat and wildfires took a toll and caused less CO2 to be absorbed and more to be released.

The ocean signal "was really a big surprise to us," said Abhishek Chatterjee, a scientist with University Space Research Association working at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center. The response had been inferred before, "but it was never observed to the degree that we could" with OCO-2, he said.

The team was able to take the analysis a step further by using OCO-2's capability to detect a signature of photosynthesis, which is a marker of the productivity of land plants. Together, the data showed that while the tropical areas of Southeast Asia, South America and Africa all added about the same amount of CO2 into the atmosphere, they did so for different reasons. In Southeast Asia, the hot, dry conditions brought on by El Niño made the region more vulnerable to fire, which releases CO2 into the atmosphere. In South America, dry conditions tamped down plant productivity, meaning the biosphere took up less carbon dioxide, so that the region became a net source of CO2. And in Africa, while rainfall was about normal, exceptional heat increased plant respiration, which caused more CO2 emissions.


Germany Temperatures Baffle: September Mean Shows Hardly Any Warming In 70 Years

Temperatures are rising and rising and rising. That’s what we read in any case in the daily newspaper, and that’s what some television professors, activists and climate scientists are telling us. Strangely rarely are temperature curves ever shown. Why is this so? One example is the September mean temperature for Germany, which we use to illustrate this peculiar media documentation gap.

Here we use the official DWD German Weather Service data. When we look at the past 100 years we see a very modest warming of just a few tenths of a degree (Fig. 1). This is no surprise as we find ourselves in the warming phase since the Little Ice Age, the coldest phase of the last 10,000 years. It would have been terrible had the climate stayed at this non-representative low level.

Figure 1: Chart depicting Germany September mean temperature over the past 100 years. Data source: DWD.

It is easy to see the long cycles in the temperature curve. Above we a cold phase between 1920 and 1930, followed by a warm period during the Nazi time, and then followed by a long-term cold dip.

Beginning in 1985, September began to warm up again before reaching a plateau that took hold just before the year 2000 and at which we currently find ourselves. Based on the past development one could speculate that we are headed towards a slight cooling.

Now let’s look at the period from the end of WWII until today, more than 70 years, the time of the last temperature plateau until today. Immediately we see that we are far from worrisome climate warming (Fig. 2):

Figure 2: Chart depicting Germany September mean temperature over the past 70 years. Data source: DWD.

Finally we take a look at the past 13 years (Fig. 3), i.e. the development since 2004. Again there has not been any significant warming. In fact there’s been some cooling. Everything other than a climate catastrophe.

Figure 3: Chart of September mean temperatures in Germany over the past 13 years. Data source: DWD.

Getting back to the primary question of why isn’t the German media showing the real German temperature curve, obviously the real facts are just too inconvenient. A pert of the public could even lose its faith in the much-preached climate catastrophe and end up sharply criticizing the harsh sacrifices now being made because of the climate fear that has been instilled by policymakers.

It’s high time for the issue to be made transparent and to push back against the activism. What’s needed is a new environmental protection ethic, one which addresses all the problems.

The excessive focus on the climate question is no longer sustainable and is even counterproductive. Other more important problems that can be solved over the short term require greater attention — clean water, clean air and clean food being evenly distributed — would be a common ethical goal for mankind to strive for. The fear-mongering climate protection issue is a repeat of the earlier business model of sin and the sale of indulgences.


No Impact of Ocean Acidification on the Behavior of Juvenile Damselfish
Paper Reviewed: Kwan, G., Hamilton, T.J. and Tresguerres, M. 2017. CO2-induced ocean acidification does not affect individual or group behavior in a temperate damselfish. Royal Society Open Science 4: 170283,

Introducing their study, Kwan et al. (2017) write that most ocean acidification (OA) studies tend to be conducted in laboratory settings under constant pH values that are projected to occur by the end of this century. However, they note that "this situation does not adequately represent the large, natural variability of coastal environments caused by near shore processes such as upwelling, water advection and primary production," which often produce coastal CO2/pH changes that exceed the predicted pH changes over seasonal and even daily timescales. As an example of this variability, they point to the La Jolla kelp forest, off the coast of San Diego, USA, where seawater pH "can range from 8.07 (pCO2 ~ 246 µatm) to 7.87 (pCO2 ~ 820 µatm) and from 7.80 (pCO2 ~ 353 µatm) to 7.67 (pCO2 ~ 1016 µatm)" at depths of 7 and 17 m, respectively. Sadly, however, they report that "to date there are no reports of fish behavioral or physiological responses to current environmentally relevant CO2/pH variability." And thus they set out to conduct the first such experiment.

The fish chosen for their analysis was blacksmith (Chromis punctipinnis), a damselfish that inhabits southern California waters year-round among the rocky reefs and kelp forests. Juveniles of this species were subjected to three experimental conditions in two separate months of the year: control (January: pCO2 = 549 ?atm, 7.91 pH units; September: pCO2 = 530 ?atm, 7.93 pH units), constant acidification (January: pCO2 = 983 µatm, 7.68 pH units; September: pCO2 = 859 µatm, 7.74 pH units) and oscillating acidification (January: day: pCO2 = 587 µatm, 7.89 pH units; night: pCO2 = 1066 µatm, 7.65 pH units; September: day: pCO2 = 532 µatm, 7.93 pH units; night: pCO2 = 845 µatm, 7.75 pH units). Testing included an evaluation of both individual and group behaviors after CO2/pH treatment exposure of 7 and 11 days, respectively. And what did their study reveal?

In the words of the authors, and as illustrated in the figure below, "neither constant nor oscillating CO2-induced acidification affected blacksmith individual light/dark preference, inter-individual distance in a shoal or the shoal's response to a novel object, suggesting that blacksmiths are tolerant to projected future OA conditions." As for why there was no impact, Kwan et al. opine that it "could be due to a variety of not mutually exclusive reasons," including (1) "blacksmiths may be able to regulate the acid/base status of their internal fluids, so OA relevant elevations in CO2 levels do not affect neuronal function," or (2) "they may be able to regulate neuronal membrane potential to offset potential effects of OA on the chemistry of their internal fluids." Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain, ocean acidification will not be a problem for juvenile blacksmith in the future.


Green Activists Face Up To 21 Years In Prison As Judge Rejects Climate Change Excuse

A lawyer for an environmental activist convicted of targeting an oil pipeline in North Dakota said he doesn’t think a judge’s decision disallowing the threat of global warming as a defense to justify the crime would be grounds for an appeal.

Defendant Michael Foster, of Seattle, said he has not decided whether to appeal his jury conviction to the North Dakota Supreme Court, and part of him wants “to honor the judge and the jury and their verdict.”

Foster took part in effort on Oct. 11, 2016, to draw attention to climate change by turning off valves on five pipelines that bring Canadian oil south. Foster targeted the Keystone Pipeline in North Dakota. Other activists targeted pipelines in Minnesota, Montana and Washington state.

A jury in North Dakota’s Pembina County on Friday convicted Foster after a weeklong trial of criminal mischief, criminal trespass and conspiracy. He faces up to 21 years in prison when he’s sentenced Jan. 18. The man who filmed his protest action, Samuel Jessup of Winooski, Vermont, was convicted of conspiracy and faces up to 11 years.

Foster had hoped to use a legal tactic known as the climate necessity defense — justifying a crime by arguing that it prevented a greater harm from happening. Prosecutors objected, saying they didn’t want a trial on global warming.




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, 2017

Ya gotta laugh! Plastic rubbish in oceans due to "large rivers"

That almost all of the plastic rubbish in oceans comes from Third World countries they could not bear to say.  Western countries dispose of their garbage properly.  Banning plastic bags from Western supermarkets will achieve nothing as they were not the problem in the first place

Up to 95 per cent of plastic polluting the world's oceans pours in from just ten rivers, according to new research. The top 10 rivers - eight of which are in Asia - accounted for so much plastic because of the mismanagement of waste.

About five trillion pounds is floating in the sea, and targeting the major sources - such as the Yangtze and the Ganges - could almost halve it, scientists claim.

Massive amounts of plastic bits that imperil aquatic life are washing into the oceans and even the most pristine waters.

But how it all gets there from inland cities has not been fully understood.

Now a study shows the top 10 rivers - eight of which are in Asia - accounted for 88 to 95 per cent of the total global load because of the mismanagement of waste.

The team calculated halving plastic pollution in these waterways could potentially reduce the total contribution by all rivers by 45 per cent.

Dr Christian Schmidt, a hydrogeologist at Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig, Germany, said: 'A substantial fraction of marine plastic debris originates from land-based sources and rivers potentially act as a major transport pathway for all sizes of plastic debris.'

His team analysed data on debris from 79 sampling sites along 57 rivers - both microplastic particles measuring less than 5 mm and macroplastic above this size.

Rivers which flow from inland areas to the seas are major transporters of plastic debris but the concentration patterns aren't well known. The findings could help fill in this knowledge gap.

Dr Schmidt pooled data from dozens of research articles and calculated the amount in rivers was linked to the 'mismanagement of plastic waste in their watersheds.' He said: 'The 10 top-ranked rivers transport 88-95 per cent of the global load into the sea.'

The study follows a recent report that pointed the finger at China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam for spewing out most of the plastic waste that enters the seas.

The Yangtze has been estimated in previous research to dump some 727 million pounds of plastic into the sea each year. The Ganges River in India is responsible for even more - about 1.2 billion pounds.

A combination of the Xi, Dong and Zhujiang Rivers (233 million lbs per year) in China as well as four Indonesian rivers: the Brantas (85 million lbs annually), Solo (71 million pounds per year), Serayu (37 million lbs per year) and Progo (28 million lbs per year), are all large contributors.

Previous research has also suggested two-thirds of plastic comes from the 20 most contaminated rivers. But Dr Schmidt reckons this can be narrowed down even further.

He said: 'The rivers with the highest estimated plastic loads are characterised by high population - for instance the Yangtze with over half a billion people.

'These rivers are also in countries with a high rate of mismanaged plastic waste (MMPW) production per capita as a result of a not fully implemented municipal waste management including waste collection, dumping and recycling.

'The data shows large rivers are particular efficient in transporting plastic debris. Large rivers like the Yangtze transport a higher fraction of the MMPW that is generated in their catchments than smaller rivers.

'These three factors lead to the estimated concentration of most of the plastic load to large rivers with a large population living in their catchment.

'Countries with high MMPW generation such as China or India could greatly reduce the plastic pollution of rivers by implementing proper waste management.

'In industrial countries, although they have a well developed waste management infrastrcuture, one way for plastic waste entering the environment is littering.'

More than half of the plastic waste that flows into the oceans comes from just five countries: China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

The only industrialized western country on the list of top 20 plastic polluters is the United States at No. 20.

The U.S. and Europe are not mismanaging their collected waste, so the plastic trash coming from those countries is due to litter, researchers said.

While China is responsible for 2.4 million tons of plastic that makes its way into the ocean, nearly 28 percent of the world total, the United States contributes just 77,000 tons, which is less than one percent, according to the study published in the journal Science.


Obama’s Climate Plan Was a Failure on All Ways

The Trump administration is dismantling President Barack Obama’s climate legacy piece by piece, and this week it’s taking an axe to arguably the biggest piece.

In an expected move, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt officially began the process of rolling back the incorrectly named Clean Power Plan.

If the Trump administration is intent on achieving 3 percent economic growth and rescinding costly regulations that carry negligible climate benefits—and if it is concerned about preserving our energy grid—the Clean Power Plan is a must-go.

Under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, the Obama EPA formalized regulations to reduce carbon dioxide from existing power plants.

Using a name that surely message-tested well, the Clean Power Plan had nothing to do with eradicating hazardous pollutants from power generation. The U.S. already has laws on the books to protect Americans’ health from emissions that have adverse environmental impacts.

Instead, the Clean Power Plan regulated carbon dioxide, a colorless, odorless, nontoxic gas, because of its alleged contribution to climate change.

From Day One, Obama’s Clean Power Plan was fraught with problems—economically, environmentally, and legally.

For starters, families and businesses would have been hit with more expensive energy bills.

How so? The plan set specific limits on greenhouse gas emissions for each state based on the states’ electricity mix and offered “flexible” options for how states could meet the targets.

But no matter how states would have developed their plans, the economic damages would have been felt through higher energy costs, fewer job opportunities, and fewer energy choices for consumers.

The EPA’s idea of flexibility would not have softened the economic blow. It merely meant that Americans would have incurred higher costs through different mechanisms.

Environmentally, the climate impact of the Clean Power Plan would have been pointless. According to climatologist Paul Knappenberger:

Even if we implement the Clean Power Plan to perfection, the amount of climate change averted over the course of this century amounts to about 0.02 C. This is so small as to be scientifically undetectable and environmentally insignificant.

Legally, the Clean Power Plan was on shaky ground, to say the least. The regulation grossly exceeded the statutory authority of the EPA, violated the principles of cooperative federalism, and double-regulated existing power plants, which the Clean Air Act prohibits.

Take it from Laurence Tribe, Harvard University professor of constitutional law and a “liberal legal icon” who served in Obama’s Justice Department.

Tribe stated in testimony before Congress that the “EPA is attempting an unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the states, Congress, and the federal courts—all at once. Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy.”

It’s no surprise that more than half the states in the country petitioned the Supreme Court to pause implementation of the regulation, and judges obliged, issuing a stay in 2016.

Pruitt, who led the charge against a rogue EPA as attorney general in Oklahoma, will respect the limits of the EPA as head of the agency. The EPA will now go through the formal rule-making and public comment period in order to repeal the Clean Power Plan.

What comes after that remains to be seen. State attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts, as well as environmental activist groups, are lining up to sue. The EPA could offer a far less stringent replacement regulation, which some industry groups are pushing for to buttress against lawsuits.

If members of Congress are fed up that policy continues to be made through the executive branch with a phone and a pen, they should step to the plate and legislate.

In this case, the solution is clear. The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Congress should pass legislation prohibiting the EPA and other agencies from implementing harmful regulations that stunt economic growth and produce futile climate benefits.


Rolling Back Obama EPA Rule Could Save $33 Billion

Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, answers a question during the Concordia Summit on Sept. 19 in New York. (Photo: Jeenah Moon/Reuters/Newscom)
Reversing an Obama administration energy regulation will save energy companies $33 billion in compliance costs through 2030—costs that would have otherwise been borne by consumers, senior Trump administration officials said in providing details about scrapping the plan.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed to repeal the Clean Power Plan, placing the proposed repeal in the Federal Register and giving stakeholders 60 days to submit public comment.

The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan aimed to reduce carbon emissions by one-third by 2030. However, it ran into multiple lawsuits from more than 150 entities, including 27 states, 24 trade associations, 37 rural electric cooperatives, and three labor unions, according to the EPA. On top of that, 34 senators and 171 House members filed an amicus briefing arguing the Clean Power Plan was illegal. On Feb. 9, 2016, the Supreme Court halted the implementation of the program.

The Trump administration argues the Obama policy intruded on “cooperative federalism.” Previously, the EPA would set the process for regulating carbon emissions and states would decide on standards and implementation. Under the Obama rule, the EPA decided on state standards and implementation, the Trump EPA contends.

The EPA will review what the next step after the repeal of the rule is and if any further regulation is warranted, according to a summary from the agency. The agency states that the Clean Air Act is a source for authority but is also carefully crafted to limit what the agency does.

On March 28, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to establish a national policy on energy independence. The executive order was to promote the developing U.S. energy sources and reduce regulation. That day, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed four Federal Register notices in response to the executive order that included a review of the Clean Power Plan.

On Monday, Pruitt was in coal country in Hazard, Kentucky to announce the plan to roll back the regulation, where he reportedly said, “The war on coal is over. … I’ll be signing a proposed rule to withdraw the so-called Clean Power Plan of the past administration and thus begin the effort to withdraw that rule.”

The environmental lobby reacted angrily, as Greenpeace Climate Director Kelly Mitchell called Pruitt “a dangerously corrupt fossil fuel errand boy” in a prepared statement.

“Pruitt is trying to gut the EPA’s Supreme Court-confirmed power to regulate dangerous climate pollution so these same companies can avoid accountability for fueling climate chaos,” Mitchell said. “Fortunately, utilities, cities, Fortune 500 companies, and people around the world are all moving towards renewable energy despite Scott Pruitt’s cynical attempt to delay the inevitable.”


Environmentalist Lobby Goes After Another Trump Nominee For Being A Christian

It looks like it’s open season for anti-Christian bigots to hunt down and destroy any Christian nominated to public office—especially environmental free thinkers.

Remember when Bernie Sanders passionately attacked budget office nominee Russell Vought because Vought believes salvation comes only by faith in Jesus Christ—something Christianity has taught for two millennia?

It looks like it’s open season for anti-Christian bigots to hunt down and destroy any Christian nominated to public office—especially if that Christian doesn’t toe the line of environmental political correctness. Forget Article 6 of the Constitution insisting “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

Michael Dourson, whom Trump has nominated to head the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) chemical safety office, is taking the same kind of fire. Dourson is an environmental health professor in the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine. He’s a “board-certified toxicologist with an international reputation for excellence in environmental risk assessment.” He’s co-published more than 150 papers on risk assessment methods and chemical-specific analyses.

But he’s also a Christian who, like any serious Christian, tries to integrate his faith with all his life. That just doesn’t sit well with some folks.

Cue the Outrageous Outrage

Raymond Barfield, a professor of pediatrics and Christian philosophy at Duke University, is upset. It seems Dourson wrote that chemical analysis provides some evidence that the Shroud of Turin—which allegedly wrapped Jesus in his burial—might be authentic. Dourson’s not sure. Sounds like the attitude of a good scientist to me.

But there’s more. Dourson isn’t convinced that the chemical risks from flame-retardant fabrics outweigh the fire-prevention benefits. He points out that “exposures from consumer products were much lower” than those involved in a study claiming significant risk. That’s a fairly typical weakness of many environmental risk studies. They expose laboratory animals to extremely high levels of a suspect chemical, discover ill effects, then try to extrapolate to human risk at much lower exposure levels.

Barfield disagrees, and seeks to discredit Dourson because he made $10,000 consulting for a flame retardant industry group. Dourson had questioned a study warning of potential harm from flame retardant chemicals because it hadn’t been replicated yet. That’s confusing, because replication is the hallmark of good science.

As a professor of philosophy, which usually requires some knowledge of logic, Barfield should know that attacking Dourson’s motives because of money commits the fallacy of argumentum ad hominem circumstantial. He further labeled Dourson’s argument that the risks from fires are higher than the risks from fire-retardant chemicals as “pure utilitarianism.” That label’s red meat for Christians.

At the root of the philosophy of utilitarianism is a denial of moral absolutes, which makes it incompatible with Christian faith. But Christian ethics doesn’t forbid all consideration of consequences.

Yes, Christianity teaches that some acts are wrong in principle because they transgress the moral law (1 John 3:4) and therefore cannot be justified by any appeal to consequences. But it also teaches that attention to consequences is part of wisdom: “For which of you,” Jesus said, “intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28, New Revised Standard Version). “The prudent see danger and hide; but the simple go on, and suffer for it” (Proverbs 22:3).


Weather-company CEO is Trump's pick to lead climate agency

Barry Myers would bring private weather-forecasting experience to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Barry Myers, the chief executive of weather-forecasting firm AccuWeather, is US President Donald Trump's pick to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the White House said on 11 October.

Myers, an attorney by training, has led AccuWeather — based in State College, Pennsylvania — since 2007. This experience could prove useful if the US Senate confirms Myers as NOAA's chief, given that the agency includes the US National Weather Service. But some scientists worry that Myers' ties to AccuWeather could present conflicts of interest, and note that Myers has no direct experience with the agency’s broader research portfolio, which includes the climate, oceans and fisheries.

“I think the science community has real cause for concern,” says Andrew Rosenberg, head of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Rosenberg notes that Myers was an early proponent of carving out a larger role for the private sector in providing weather services. And in 2005, while Myers served as executive vice president and general counsel, AccuWeather lobbied for legislation to prevent the National Weather Service from competing with private firms in providing products including basic weather forecasting. “Is he going to recuse himself from decisions which might potentially be of interest to his company down the road?” asks Rosenberg.

A different perspective

Myers will probably advance efforts to bring commercial weather data into the national weather-forecasting system, says Bill Gail, chief technology officer for the Global Weather Corporation in Boulder, Colorado. Still, Gail says, Myers respects the importance of the public sector in such activities. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him, and I think he could do a pretty good job,” adds Gail, the co-chair of a decadal survey of US Earth-science satellites being conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

If Myers ascends to NOAA's top job, he will lead an agency facing an uncertain financial future. Trump has proposed slashing NOAA's budget by 17% in fiscal year 2018, compared to the 2017 level of $5.7 billion. While Congress has so far rebuffed Trump's attempts to cut funding for several key science agencies, funding for the 2018 budget year — which began on 1 October — is still up the air. The government is currently running on a stopgap spending bill that will expire on 8 December, prompting another round of budget negotiations.

Ultimately, Myers will need to build a solid team to handle the full NOAA portfolio, says Antonio Busalacchi, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. “He’s going to face a lot of challenges, but the bottom line is that Barry does bring a lot of relevant experience to the table.”




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


12 October, 2017

An extraordinary admission:  Temperature baseline unknown

If you can't say what pre-industrial temperature was, you can't say what rise is "dangerous"

Estimating Changes in Global Temperature since the Preindustrial Period

Ed Hawkins et al.


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process agreed in Paris to limit global surface temperature rise to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.” But what period is preindustrial? Somewhat remarkably, this is not defined within the UNFCCC’s many agreements and protocols. Nor is it defined in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) in the evaluation of when particular temperature levels might be reached because no robust definition of the period exists. Here we discuss the important factors to consider when defining a preindustrial period, based on estimates of historical radiative forcings and the availability of climate observations. There is no perfect period, but we suggest that 1720–1800 is the most suitable choice when discussing global temperature limits. We then estimate the change in global average temperature since preindustrial using a range of approaches based on observations, radiative forcings, global climate model simulations, and proxy evidence. Our assessment is that this preindustrial period was likely 0.55°–0.80°C cooler than 1986–2005 and that 2015 was likely the first year in which global average temperature was more than 1°C above preindustrial levels. We provide some recommendations for how this assessment might be improved in the future and suggest that reframing temperature limits with a modern baseline would be inherently less uncertain and more policy relevant.


CEI Submits Comments Calling on EPA to Reconsider More-Stringent Fuel Economy Standards

On Thursday, October 5, the Competitive Enterprise Institute submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding its Final Mid-Term Evaluation (MTE) of greenhouse gas emission standards for model year 2022-2025 light duty vehicles Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2015–0827). 

In the comments, we address four topics on which the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have requested public comment:

The impact of the greenhouse gas emission standards on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and a national harmonized program.

The impact of the standards on reduction of emissions, oil conservation, energy security, and fuel savings by consumers.

The extent to which consumers value fuel savings from greater efficiency of vehicles.

The impacts of the standards on automobile safety.

They note that the Obama EPA’s final Mid-Term Evaluation is arbitrary and, capricious, and an overreach of agency discretion. Therefore, the agency should reconsider the MTE to repair the damage to what should be a harmonized, national program.

However, a more fundamental fix is required for the underlying problem. U.S. automakers are subject to three sets of fuel economy standards by three agencies operating under three statutes. The solution is to return to the statutory scheme.

Congress provided no authority for the EPA to regulate fuel economy and specifically preempted states, such as California, from adopting laws or regulations “related to” fuel economy.

Moreover, fuel economy standards are a costly and inefficient means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Worst of all, CAFE impairs vehicle safety due to its downsizing effect on cars. Before the agencies impose any new standards, they should first do a full accounting of the adverse impacts of existing standards on the number of traffic deaths.

Finally, the claim that fuel economy standards are necessary because consumers fail to pursue their own best interests is the height of bureaucratic arrogance. Washington regulators should step out of the way and not hinder consumer choice.


Despite EPA Actions, Obama’s Climate Agenda ‘Has Not Been Fully Dismantled Yet’

While Republicans and industry groups cheer the Trump administration’s repealing of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), conservative policy experts say there’s still more to do.

The federal government is full of programs and offices dedicated to pushing global warming policies, according to Myron Ebell, the director of energy and global warming policy at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for example, is still deciding what to do with Obama-era fuel efficiency standards and a rule on methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

The EPA also has to address carbon dioxide regulations on new power plants. This rule effectively bans new coal-fired power plants from being built.

“Unraveling the CPP is big but just as important is reversing the climate regulations on new power plants,” Nick Loris, an energy economist at the Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) still operates more than two dozen science centers dubbed the “cornerstone” of the agency’s “climate change response strategy” during the Obama administration.

The DOI is also struggling to repeal its own methane rule, and the Energy Department has to deal with energy efficiency regulations for appliances and the numerous other programs to promote solar and wind energy.

The Energy Department still operates the green energy loan program that was so derided during the Obama years. Officials recently gave $3.7 billion in loan guarantees to a Georgia nuclear plant.

The Trump administration has made progress on repealing Obama administration environmental policies, with The New York Times reporting that 25 policies have been overturned while another 19 are being undone.

Trump also intends to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. President Barack Obama saw the CPP as the main tool to meet the Paris accord’s goal.

“His climate agenda has not been fully dismantled yet. Climate programs and offices still exist in many departments and agencies,” Ebell, who headed the EPA transition team last fall, told TheDCNF.

And even with the CPP repealed, the EPA is legally bound to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. That is, unless the agency to review the 2009 endangerment finding is undone.

“While it’s not necessarily a policy or regulation, the elephant in the room is the endangerment finding,” Loris said.

The EPA found in 2009 that greenhouse gas emissions are a threat to human health because they cause global warming. That finding gave the EPA the legal pretext for its global warming regulatory spree.

“The legal challenges and the endangerment finding looming around make it all the more important for Congress to act and prohibit the federal government from regulating GHGs,” Loris said.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt could also review the endangerment finding, opening it up to new scrutiny. Two conservative groups have filed petitions with the EPA to reconsider the endangerment finding. CEI is one of those groups.


5 big things Trump is doing to reverse Obama's climate policies

Tuesday's move to repeal a landmark power plant rule is just one of many steps the administration is taking to help fossil fuels maintain their dominance

The Trump administration is gutting President Barack Obama’s climate legacy with a series of moves designed to favor the fossil fuel industry while punishing solar and wind energy producers — and Tuesday’s proposal to repeal an Environmental Protection Agency rule on power plants is just the most visible.

President Donald Trump’s agencies have also taken steps toward buttressing coal’s historically dominant role in the electricity markets, protecting it from rising competition from cleaner sources like natural gas and wind. The administration has opened the door to rolling back the stricter fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks that are due to take effect in 2022. And Trump’s Interior Department is loosening Obama’s limits on fossil fuel production on federal lands, while potentially clamping down on leases for wind and solar projects.

Also waiting in the wings is an upcoming trade decision that would allow Trump to sharply increase the cost of solar installations in the U.S. — eroding sun-powered electricity’s ability to compete just as it weans itself off federal subsidies.

Trump's supporters say the steps are needed to protect jobs and American energy dominance. But clean-energy advocates say the actions imperil the planet's future.

"In the midst of flood and fire, our federal government is resolutely deciding to cover its eyes," said climate activist Bill McKibben, referring to the intense hurricanes and Western wildfires that have ravaged the U.S. "History will judge few things more harshly."

Here are five of the biggest U.S. energy policy shifts taking place under Trump:

1) Killing the power plant rule

The Clean Power Plan that the EPA is moving to revoke was the crown jewel of Obama’s climate change legacy — representing the first time the U.S. had gone after the climate-warming pollution that's belched out of coal-fired power plants’ smokestacks. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt — a former Oklahoma attorney general who had sued to block the regulation — signed the paperwork Tuesday to begin the long process of withdrawing the rule, fulfilling a Trump campaign promise.

The power plant rule sought to capitalize on the U.S. electric industry's shift away from coal and toward natural gas and renewables. The Obama EPA had estimated the rule would cut the power sector's carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. (The U.S. is already more than halfway to that goal even without the rule.)

"This is a policy that the world wants and that makes sense because of market forces and a policy the world needs because, hello, we're seeing climate change effects on people every day," said Janet McCabe, Obama's former EPA air chief.

EPA’s new repeal proposal echoes the coal industry's arguments — and Pruitt's previous legal filings — in contending that the Obama administration overstepped its authority.

Pruitt's agency is considering a potential replacement rule, but one that would yield much smaller emissions cuts. If that effort succeeds, a future Democratic administration could find itself barred from imposing significant regulations on greenhouse gases from other major polluting industries.

2) Securing coal's place in the markets

Energy Secretary Rick Perry issued a surprise directive last month aimed at altering the nation's electricity markets by giving an economic advantage to power plants that keep large fuel supplies on site — a move clearly aimed at helping the coal industry ward off increasingly stiff competition. (It would also benefit nuclear power, another economically struggling sector.)

Coal is the nation's most abundant power-plant fuel, but a combination of environmental regulations, huge surges in natural gas and wind-energy production and slumping demand for electricity have prompted power companies to shutter many coal-burning plants in the past decade. As recently as 2007, coal fueled more than half the electric power sector's net electricity generation — but as of this summer, that had fallen to less than a third.

Green-energy supporters say simple economics are spelling coal's demise — but Perry has argued that the trend puts the "resiliency" of the nation's power grid at risk, endangering national and economic security. His plan, if enacted by the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, would insulate coal and nuclear power plants from the low power prices that have put dozens of older plants into retirement.

DOE’s proposal, according to one Montana utility regulator, would be “the largest change to electricity regulation in decades.”

Critics say the rule could heap billions of dollars in additional energy costs on homes and businesses without a guarantee that they wouldn’t lose power when the next hurricane rips out their power lines or a polar vortex freezes the pile of coal at a power plant.

But that decision will ultimately fall to the five commissioners of FERC, an agency made up largely of technocrats that has long sought to safeguard the energy markets. The markets aren’t perfect, but Perry’s rule is “a draconian way of fixing it,” said Pat Wood, a former FERC chief who was appointed by President George W. Bush.

3) Launching a solar trade war?

A vote by a federal trade panel last month will allow Trump to impose tariffs or a quota on imported solar panels that make up the vast majority of the fast-growing U.S. renewables market — if he chooses to.

The decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission agreed with bankrupt solar manufacturers Suniva and SolarWorld that the low-cost imports had harmed U.S.-based producers. Now, people following the case expect that Trump will slap trade barriers on the imported solar equipment, which is largely produced by Chinese-based companies at factories across Asia.

Those barriers would help the small number of U.S.-based solar manufacturers that remain in existence but could send costs skyrocketing and hurt the much larger solar installation industry. It would also threaten to end the U.S. solar boom, which saw the technology become the country's biggest source of new power generation last year for the first time ever.

With the help of federal subsidies, which will be fully phased out by 2020, the solar industry has slashed costs far faster than predicted and grown more rapidly than expected. But the production of cells and panels has shifted to countries like Malaysia, Vietnam and South Korea.

The ITC will send its recommendations for trade remedies to Trump by Nov. 13 — though the White House can ultimately implement any barrier it chooses. That has solar installers and project developers in a panic, and many are stockpiling panels ahead of possible tariffs. The Solar Energy Industries Association is predicting up to 88,000 job losses, or nearly a third of the U.S. sector. And if domestic manufacturing ramps over the next year, 2018 is likely to see supply shortfalls and price spikes as production fails to catch even reduced demand.

4) Hitting the brakes on fuel economy

Trump announced in March that EPA would reconsider the tightened mileage standards that Obama had imposed for cars sold from 2022 to 2025, a move the former president's agencies had said would lift the average to about 50 miles per gallon. Trump's agency is expected to roll back the requirements.

In a review hastened to completion just before Obama left office, then-EPA chief Gina McCarthy affirmed that the aggressive mileage standard was feasible.

Trump's decision to review the target came amid pressure from U.S. automakers to cut back the standards, but it could backfire. The Clean Air Act includes an exception for California to set its own mileage standards, and if EPA changes the requirements, it won't affect California or the 11 other states that follow the Golden State's lead. For automakers, it opens up the nightmare scenario of producing cars for two different U.S. standards.

5) Opening federal lands to fossil fuels

Trump’s Interior Department is seeking to boost oil, gas and coal production by taking a hatchet to Obama-era regulations that govern fossil fuel production on public land. One of the biggest moves so far would reverse Obama's tightened restrictions on leaks of planet-warming methane from drilling wells, pipelines and other infrastructure.

Interior also said it would postpone and rewrite a controversial Obama administration rule that requires drillers to publicly disclose the chemicals they used to frack wells on federal land, among other things.

Interior also has scuttled a review that probably would likely have increased the royalties that coal companies must pay to mine on federal land. And in August, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended that Trump shrink the size of several national monuments in Utah, Oregon and Nevada, a move that would potentially open them up for drilling or mining. Zinke is aiming to lift restrictions on grazing, mining, fishing and timber harvesting at those and a handful of other monuments.

Besides fighting against previous rules, Interior is trying to take steps it says will increase oil production off the Alaskan coasts and in the long-protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


Economists tell Australian government to scale back Paris emissions commitment

Two of Australia’s most respected economic reformers have urged the government to scale back its commitment to the Paris emissions-reduction agreement and revive a market-based mechanism to curb greenhouse gases, suggesting the renewable energy target is damaging the country’s competitiveness.

Lamenting at least a decade of reform paralysis, Keating government adviser Fred Hilmer and Gary Banks, the inaugural Productivity Commission chairman, said they had all but given up on rational reform in the energy market. They were now left to hope that blackouts in Sydney and Melbourne this summer inject sense into what they saw as an increasingly dishonest policy debate.

Professor Banks sympathised with Australians who were “bemused” about rising power bills amid claims of a low-cost, renewable-energy future

“The notion that there’s a trade-off, that we can’t have it all, that there’s no free lunch, that’s not been made clear to the public,” Professor Banks said. “In fact when you look at it, we’ve ruled out all the least-cost ways of transitioning to a low-emission economy … we’ve ruled out nuclear and essentially ruled out gas too.

“I had a feeling under the last Labor government that there were tentative moves in the nuclear ­direction but then we had Fukushima, and that was it.”

Australia is the only G20 country with a legislative prohibition on nuclear energy.

Professor Hilmer, whose report for the Keating government unleashed a wave of pro-competition reforms in the 1990s, including helping to form the national electricity market, said blackouts this summer “would be great” to refocus the energy debate.

He and Professor Banks are both frustrated with state bans on gas ­exploration. “I can’t believe the problems (with fracking) are all that real; otherwise the US would be committing suicide,” Professor Hilmer said.

He suggested claims about the capacity of new batteries to store renewable energy had been exaggerated. “We need a blackout in South Australia when the new battery is going,” he said. “You can look at the sun shining and say renewable energy is cheap but it doesn’t solve storage. These huge batteries — half an hour’s power for Adelaide, or not even.”

In an allusion to South African billionaire Elon Musk’s plan to build the world’s largest battery in South Australia, Professor Hilmer said: “To say you have cheap power ‘most of the time’ is a ­disaster.”

Professor Banks, now a professorial fellow at the Melbourne Institute after 15 years leading the Productivity Commission, said Australia was getting ahead of other countries, notably the US, in pursuing low-emissions targets, to its economic detriment.

“We have to go back to start to look at whether we’ve signed up to something that for our economy is too tough,” Professor Banks said. “Not only are we choosing to transition to low emissions at a high cost, which is the RET or RET Mark II, we’re doing it over a compressed timeframe.”

In June the Turnbull government reaffirmed Australia’s commitment along with more than 100 countries to reduce emissions by at least 26 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

Brendan Lyon, head of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, which hosted the discussion with The Australian this week, said: “Paris is the hair shirt and we’ve popped on a straitjacket too.”

The comments will increase pressure on the Turnbull government, which has appeared divided on energy policy since the wake of blackouts in South Australia last year, to reject chief scientist Alan Finkel’s recommendation in June to introduce a clean energy target that would mandate a rising share of low-emissions energy provision after 2020.

Professor Hilmer and Professor Banks said the quality of analysis and modelling of energy policy, including in the Finkel review, had not been transparent, rigorous or comprehensive enough. “We’ve been cursed with multiple objectives,” Professor Hilmer said.

Professor Banks suggested the Productivity Commission should and could have made “a much bigger contribution” to the development of energy policy.

On Monday Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg hinted the government might not replace the Renewable Energy Target, which will require 33 terawatts of renewable energy generation by 2020, arguing wind and solar power were increasingly viable without support. The prospect of further blackouts when AGL’s Liddell coal-fired power station in NSW closes in 2020 has increased attention on national energy policy.

Professor Banks said Australia had ­ignored a 1991 report — the first of its kind for a developed country — by the Productivity Commission’s forerunner, the Industry Commission, which had laid out the best way to wean the economy off fossil fuels. “It was clear: it had to be an economy-wide (approach), not fixated on particular greenhouse gases, and use market instruments to ensure least cost abatement occurs,” he said. “Here we are 25 or 26 year later and we haven’t done any of those things.”

Professor Hilmer, who was a vice-chancellor of the University of NSW and Fairfax chief executive, questioned whether a government would be “brave enough to (tell voters): actually let’s stop and start again because we’re hurting this country by making it high cost”. Reform was easier in the 1990s, he said.

“We had a ‘burning platform’, now there’s complacency,” he said. “Second, we had bipartisanship; now we don’t even use the word. Third, we had strong leadership by prime ministers.”

The Turnbull government has struggled to implement the successor to Professor Hilmer’s 1993 ­National Competition Policy: Ian Harper’s competition review, released in 2015 under Tony Abbott.




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, 2017

New Paper: Temperature Increase From Doubling CO2 Is ‘Insignificant Compared to Natural Variability’

In his paper below, Engineer Pontius covers both global and local climate causes and effects.  Abstract followed by selected excerpts from the paper

Sustainable Infrastructure: Climate Changes and Carbon Dioxide

Frederick W. Pontius,  California Baptist University


Civil infrastructure provides the physical backbone of all societies. Water supply, wastewater treatment, transportation systems, and civil structures must be sustainable over multiple decades (e.g. 20, 30, 50 years) for human populations to survive and flourish. Over such a long time-period, climate changes are inevitable. The global atmospheric system is dynamic. Weather and climates are constantly adjusting. To date the effects of carbon dioxide have been evaluated almost exclusively using a global reference frame. However, civil infrastructure is stationary and local in nature. A locational reference frame is introduced here as an alternative framework for evaluating the effect of carbon dioxide on civil infrastructure. Temperature data from the City of Riverside, California from 1901 to 2017 are analyzed to illustrate application of a local reference frame. No evidence of significant climate change beyond natural variability was observed in this temperature record. Using a Climate Sensitivity best estimate of 2°C, the increase in temperature resulting from a doubling of atmospheric CO 2 is estimated at approximately 0.009°C/yr which is insignificant compared to natural variability

4.1. Surface Temperature Data Quality

There are three primary global temperature data bases; the combined Climate Research Unit (CRU)-Hadley record (HADCRU), the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)-GISS (GISTEMP) record, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) record. All global surface temperature data bases rely on the same underlying archive of weather station data known as the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) [23]. GHCN version 2 (GHCN v 2) compiles 31 different data archives each with differing amounts of coverage over time [24, 25]. GHCN v 2 has some data from most places in the world, but continuous coverage for the whole of the 20thcentury is limited to the United States, southern Canada, Europe and a few other locations. Global coverage is non-existent for maximum-minimum temperature data back to 1900.

The HADCRU, GISTEMP, and NOAA surface temperature archives rely on the same underlying input data and therefore are not independent data sets. Limitations of the GHCN affect all data sets. Sampling discontinuities, urbanization and land use changes have decreased the quality of GHCN data over time. Differences in data processing methods between research teams do not compensate for poor underlying data quality inherent in the GHCN data. A similar situation exists with historical Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data sets which are derived primarily from the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICODADS) [23].

4.3. Computer Model Simulations The climate system is a highly non-linear complex system with many feedbacks both positive and negative. In the global reference frame, natural processes show variations at spatial and temporal scales. Indeed, the global climate system is continually changing and does not reach an equilibrium state. The global average TOA solar irradiance is 340 ± 0.1 Wm-2 and based on the best available information the resultant net energy flux to the earth is 0.6 ± 0.4 Wm-2 [35]. The energy difference between incoming solar irradiance and net energy flux to the earth drives global climate changes.Figure 7. Global Average, Global Land, and Global Ocean Monthly Temperature Departure from 1981-2010 Mean.

Computer simulations involve mathematical models implemented on a computer imitating one or more natural processes. Models are based on general theories and fundamental principles, idealizations, approximations, mathematical concepts, metaphors, analogies, facts, and empirical data [36, 37]. Judgments and arbitrary choices must be made in model construction to apply fundamental laws to describe turbulent fluid flow. The large size and complexity of the atmosphere prohibit the direct application of general theory. Applying Navier-Stokes equations of fluid dynamics to the global atmosphere is not feasible even with the fastest computers.

Models of the atmosphere rely on parameterizations of physical processes that cannot be directly simulated. A parameterization is a separate mathematical model calculating the net effects of unresolved processes on the processes that can be directly simulated

Sophisticated climate models (coupled ocean-atmosphere GCMs) are very complex and apply a large number of input and feedback parameters. Such atmospheric models are useful but limited in their representation of underlying physical processes. Uncertainties in climate change attribution include internal climate variability, natural forcing, anthropogenic forcing, response patterns to natural and anthropogenic forcing, and discrepancies between observed and modeled temperature variations [38, 39, 40].Simulation-based climate predictions use the method of ensemble prediction, producing multiple simulations for predictive periods of interest with differing initial conditions, parameter values and/or model structures. The predictions of GCMs and ensembles are highly uncertain [39]. In general, ensemble model forecasts have been found unreliable for long-term climate prediction

American Journal of Civil Engineering 2017; 5(5): 254-267

Hydraulic fracturing has done more to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in the last decade than all renewable energy sources and nuclear power combined, according to data from the Energy Department’s statistical arm

The shift from coal to natural gas alone cut CO2 emissions more than 2 billion metric tons in the last decade, which is about 72 percent more than emissions reduced through increased “non-fossil generation.”

“Between 2005 and 2016, CO2 emissions declined by a cumulative 3,176 [million metric tons] as a result of these two factors,” the Energy Information Administration notes in a new report on U.S. emissions.

Utilities have been investing more in power plants, and converting many coal-fired plants, to burn natural gas in recent years, spurred by the massive increase in shale gas production.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling has allowed drillers to unlock once out of reach shale gas reserves. The fracking boom collapses the price of natural gas since 2008, giving utilities a low-cost alternative fuel as environmental regulations forced coal plants to install expensive equipment or retire.

“It is now clearer than ever that if we are interested in addressing climate change, natural gas must play a significant role,” Steve Everley, spokesman for the industry-backed Texans for Natural Gas, said in a statement.

Environmentalists have given natural gas a mixed reception. Many groups see the shift from coal to lower-emitting natural gas as a positive step, but at the same time oppose fracking into shale.

Activists argue fracking can contaminate groundwater — of which there’s little evidence — and releases methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Environmentalists backed Obama administration regulations on fracking on federal lands and rules to limit methane emissions.

The Trump administration is working to repeal Obama-era rules restricting oil and gas drilling, but environmentalists are using the courts and working through state governments to put areas off-limits to fracking.

The Interior Department entered into a legal settlement in May with the Center For Biological Diversity (CBD). The Bureau of Labor Management had effectively banned fracking on 1 million acres of federal land in California. That area of California will continue to be off-limits to drilling.

Nearly 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide has been reduced through the “growth in non-carbon electricity generation, especially wind and solar,” but that figure also included hydropower and nuclear energy, estimated the Energy Information Admistration (EIA).

“Although total electricity generation use grew by about 1% from 2005 to 2016, related CO2 emissions fell by 24% over that period,” EIA found, attributing most of this decline to natural gas.

“The EIA’s report may be an inconvenient truth for the ‘Keep It In the Ground’ campaign, but it’s further confirmation that affordable energy is linked to a cleaner environment,” Everley said.


Arctic Sea Ice Remarkably Stable Since 2007

Arctic ice extent has been fairly stable since 2007 and is now 500.000 square kilometres (193,000 sq miles)  higher than 10 years ago.

September daily extents are now fully reported and the 2017 September monthly results can be compared with years of the previous decade.  MASIE showed 2017 exceeded 4.8M km2  and SII was close behind, also reaching 4.8M for the month.  The 11 year linear trend is more upward for MASIE, mainly due to 2008 and 2009 reported higher in SII.  In either case, one can easily see the Arctic ice extents since 2007 have not declined and are now 500k km2 higher.

In August, 4.5M km2 was the median estimate of the September monthly average extent from the SIPN (Sea Ice Prediction Network) who use the reports from SII (Sea Ice Index), the NASA team satellite product from passive microwave sensors.

The graph below shows September comparisons through day 273 (Sept. 30).Note that starting day 26 2016 had begun its remarkable recovery, and is now well above the 10 year average, nearly matching 2017. Meanwhile 2007 is 1.1M km2 behind and the Great Arctic Cyclone year of 2012 is 1.4M km2 less than 2017.  Note also that SII is currently matching MASIE.

The narrative from activist ice watchers is along these lines:  2017 minimum is not especially low, but it is very thin.  “The Arctic is on thin ice.”  They are basing that notion on PIOMAS, a model-based estimate of ice volumes, combining extents with estimated thickness.  That technology is not mature, and in any case refers to the satellite era baseline, which began in 1979.

The formation of ice this year does not appear thin, since it is concentrated in the central Arctic.  For example, Consider how Laptev and East Siberian seas together added 180k km2 in the just the last ten days:


Erratic hurricane history
Hurricane incidence does not in any way mirror the fairly smooth and incremental rise in CO2 levels

What a hurricane season! It started very early with Arlene in April but the real action held off until the last week of August, when Hurricane Harvey flooded Texas and Louisiana. Harvey was the first hurricane to make landfall in Texas since Ike in 2008 and the first Category 4 hurricane in Texas since Carla in 1961.

Irma, the 11th strongest Atlantic storm on record (using central pressure, the most reliable measure), had major impacts on islands like Barbuda and St. Martin, the Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos and southern Bahamas. Then crossing northern Cuba it curled back into Florida. It was the first landfalling hurricane and major hurricane in Florida since Wilma in 2005.

Jose too became a major hurricane but never made landfall, though it created large swells along the eastern seaboard and pounded southeastern New England, Cape Cod and the islands with tropical storm winds and coastal flooding as it stalled for days.

Maria, the third major hurricane of the season and 10th strongest Atlantic storm on record, crossed the northern Leeward Islands and plowed through Puerto Rico, doing catastrophic damage to the island. It then moved north into the Atlantic, close enough to pound the Atlantic Coast with large swells from Florida to New Jersey.

And then Hurricane Nate avoided another “Katrina moment” for New Orleans but produced storm surge damage to southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

Before the landfall of two major storms on the U.S. we had gone just short of 12 years without a major hurricane landfall, the longest such lull since the 1860s.

The quiet period came after three big years. Isabel made landfall on the Mid Atlantic in 2003. Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne in 2004 and Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005 all made landfall on the mainland. Emily in 2005 was another major hurricane but turned west into Mexico. 2005 holds the record for five Category 4 or greater and four Category 5 impact storms. Some speculated this was the new norm for the Atlantic before nature gave us that 12-year break.

Nothing is new in weather. Great Colonial hurricanes in the Northeast with storm surges up to 20 feet occurred in 1635 and 1675. A Katrina-like storm made landfall in Louisiana in 1722 with major flooding and damage in Louisiana. The Great Chesapeake storm in 1769, like Isabel in 2003, brought major flooding to North Carolina and Virginia. In the Caribbean, the Great Hurricane of 1780 killed an estimated 27,500 people while ravaging the islands of the eastern Caribbean with winds estimated to top 200 m.p.h. It was one of three hurricanes that year with death tolls greater than 1,000.

1893 had at least 10 hurricanes. Of those, five became major hurricanes. Two of the hurricanes caused over two thousand (2,000) deaths in the United States. At the time, that season was the deadliest in U.S. history.

1886 came close with at least 10 hurricanes, seven making landfall. Four of the hurricanes were major hurricanes.

The Galveston Hurricane in 1900 killed at least 8,000 people with some estimates as high as 12,000, making it the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

So major hurricanes have occurred even during cold periods


Tony Abbott tells climate sceptics forum global warming may be good and climate science is ‘crap’

TONY Abbott has told a climate sceptics’ forum in London that global warming may actually be a good thing, while doubling down on his view that climate science is “absolute crap”.

The former prime minister likened climate scientists to the “thought police” in his address to the Global Warming Policy Foundation on Monday night and said that a “gradual lift in global temperatures” may be beneficial.

Meanwhile, it became clear yesterday that Malcolm Turnbull would likely cave to internal backbench pressure on energy reform and reject a recommendation from the Chief Scientist to introduce a Clean Energy Target.

In his speech, Mr Abbott said there was growing evidence data sets had been slanted to fit the theory of “dangerous” man-made global warming. And while that did not make the warnings about global warming false, “it should produce much caution about basing drastic action upon it”, he said.

He then raised the possibility that global warming might be beneficial if higher concentrations of carbon dioxide were “greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields”.

“In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heatwaves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it’s accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial.”

Mr Abbott doubled down on his 2009 pronouncement that climate science was “absolute crap” and likened the current policy position to primitive people killing goats to “appease the volcano gods”.

Australia’s stance on limiting greenhouse gas emissions through supporting renewable technology was only hurting its industry and would have little impact unless other major emitters followed suit, Mr Abbott claimed.

“We’re more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the ­climate gods to little more effect,” he said.

“So far, climate change policy has generated new taxes, new subsidies and new restrictions in rich countries, and new demands for more aid from poor countries.

“But for the really big emitters, China and India, it’s a First World problem. “Between them, they’re building or planning more than 800 new coal-fired power stations — often using Australian coal.

“Should Australia close down its steel industry; watch passively while its aluminium industry moves offshore; export coal but not use it?  “Of course not, but these are the inevitable consequences of continuing current policies.

“That’s the reality no one has wanted to face for a long time: that we couldn’t reduce emissions without also hurting the economy; that’s the inconvenient truth that can now no longer be avoided.

“The only rational choice is to put Australian jobs and Australia’s standard of living first; to get emissions down but only as far as we can without putting prices up.

“After two decades’ experience of the very modest reality of climate change but the increasingly dire consequences of the policy to deal with it, anything else would be a dereliction of duty and a political death wish.”

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen accused Mr Abbott of stopping any sensible policy progress on climate change.

“It’s 2017 and we have a former prime minister overseas denying the science of climate change,” he told ABC radio.

“He can say what he likes, he’s calling the shots on the policy of Australia. He is an effective handbrake on the elected prime minister.”

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told an energy summit on Monday the government was considering its new policy against a backdrop of the rapidly falling cost of renewables and storage, greater efficiencies being found in thermal generation and the need for sufficient dispatchable power.

In 2013, former prime minister John Howard told the annual lecture an international agreement on emissions would never be reached and Mr Abbott’s own election victory was in part a backlash to “overzealous action” on global warming.




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


10 October, 2017
Earth May Be Close to 'Threshold of Catastrophe'

And it may be close to turning into a second garden of Eden.  About 2 degrees of global warming would move us towards that.  Much of the earth is too cold at the moment.

More stupid speculation below.  But it's a speculation about what will happen thousands of years in the future so it is safe from falsification

The amount of carbon dioxide that humans will have released into the atmosphere by 2100 may be enough to trigger a sixth mass extinction, a new study suggests.

The huge spike in CO2 levels over the past century may put the world dangerously close to a "threshold of catastrophe," after which environmental instability and mass die-offs become inevitable, the new mathematical analysis finds.

Even if a mass extinction is in the cards, however, it likely wouldn't be evident immediately. Rather, the process could take 10,000 years to play out, said study co-author Daniel Rothman, a geophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

However, slashing carbon emissions dramatically in the coming years may also be enough to prevent such global catastrophe, said Lee Kump, a geoscientist at Pennsylvania State University who was not involved in the study.

Carbon and death

Over Earth's 4.5-billion-year history, life has seen a lot of boom and bust times. In the past half-billion years alone, five major extinctions have wiped out huge swaths of life: the Ordovician-Silurian mass extinction, the Late Devonian mass extinction, the Permian mass extinction, the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction and the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. The most severe was the Permian extinction, or "The Great Dying," when over 95 percent of marine life and 70 percent of land-based life died off.

All these major extinctions have one similarity.

"Every time there's been a major mass extinction — one of the big five — there's been a serious disruption of the global carbon cycle," Rothman said. It could be a direct link between CO2 and death due ocean acidification or an indirect link, as carbon dioxide emissions can warm a planet to unlivable temperatures and have even been linked with volcanic eruptions and the related cooling of the atmosphere.

For instance, at the end of the Permian period, about 252 million years ago, ocean carbon dioxide levels skyrocketed, marine rocks reveal. (Carbon dioxide that is in the air gradually dissolves into the ocean's surface and eventually enters the deep ocean.)  However, carbon doesn't always equal assured doom for the planet. It's possible that a change in carbon levels in the atmosphere and oceans are markers for rapid environmental change, which could be the underlying cause of extinctions. In addition, rocks from the past reveal many other "carbon excursions" — or rises in atmospheric or ocean levels of carbon — that did not result in mass extinctions, Rothman said.

Fast time and slow time

So what distinguishes the deadly carbon excursions from the ones that don't cause mass dying?

In the new study, which was published Sept. 20 in the journal Science Advances, the scientists assumed that two factors may play a role: the rate at which carbon levels increase, and the total amount of time that change is sustained, Rothman said.

To calculate those values, Rothman looked at data on carbon isotopes, or versions of the element with differing numbers of neutrons, from rock samples from 31 geologic periods over the past 540 million years. Determining the length and magnitude of rises in atmospheric carbon can be tricky because some periods have thorough rock samples while others are sparsely represented, Rothman said.

From that data, Rothman and his colleagues identified the rates of carbon change and total carbon input that seemed to be correlated to extinctions in the geologic record. Then, they extrapolated to the present day, in which humans are adding carbon to the atmosphere at a furious rate.

Rothman calculated that adding about 310 gigatons of carbon to the oceans was enough to trigger mass extinctions in the past, although there is huge uncertainty in that number, Rothman said.

"Most every scenario that's been studied for how things will play out, as far as emissions are concerned, suggest on the order of 300 gigatons or more of carbon will be added to the oceans before the end of the century," Rothman said.

What happens the day after that threshold is reached?

"We run the risk of a series of positive feedbacks in which mass extinction could conceivably be the result," Rothman said.

Of course, those effects wouldn't be felt immediately; it could take 10,000 years for the die-off to result. And there's a lot of uncertainty in the estimates, Rothman added.

"I think it's a really useful approach, but there are always limitations when we're working in deep time," Kump told Live Science. "One of the limitations is that Rothman had to accept the state of our understanding of the timing and duration of these disturbances."

But even with that uncertainty, "clearly the rate of fossil fuel burning today rivals, if not exceeds, the rate of carbon cycle perturbation in the past" associated with mass extinctions, Kump said.

Because the rate of carbon rise is so steep currently, the best option for preventing eventual catastrophe is to ensure the duration of the carbon increase is short, he said.

"If we can rein ourselves in, we can avoid the Permian catastrophe," Kump said.


U.S. Government Says Walrus Not Endangered As Mammals Adapt To Climate Change

ANCHORAGE, Alaska  – The Trump administration announced Wednesday it will not list the Pacific walrus as a threatened species based on diminished Arctic Ocean sea ice, concluding that the marine mammals have adapted to the loss.

“Walrus demonstrated much more ability to change their behaviors than previously thought.”

Walrus cows and yearlings rest on ice in Alaska in 2014. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Associated Press

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said they cannot determine with certainty that walruses are likely to become endangered “in the foreseeable future,” which the agency defines as the year 2060.

The decision could be challenged in court by environmental groups, who say a decline in Arctic Ocean sea ice due to climate change is a threat to the walruses’ future.

The agency said in 2011 that walruses deserve the additional protection of being declared threatened, but delayed a listing because other species were a higher priority. The agency revised the decision based on new information, said Patrick Lemons, the agency’s marine mammals management chief.

“Walrus demonstrated much more ability to change their behaviors than previously thought,” Lemons said. Their ability to rest on shorelines before swimming to foraging areas makes the threat of less sea ice uncertain, he added.

Older male walruses spend summers in the Bering Sea. Females with calves, however, ride sea ice north as it melts in spring and summer all the way through the Bering Strait into the Chukchi Sea. The ice provides a moving platform, giving walruses a place to rest and nurse, and protection from predators.

In the last decade, however, ice in the Arctic Ocean has melted far beyond the shallow continental shelf over water too deep for walruses to reach the ocean floor. Walruses instead have gathered by the thousands on beaches in northwestern Alaska and Russia, where smaller animals are vulnerable to being trampled in stampedes if the herd is spooked by a polar bear, hunter or airplane.

In the last six years, Lemons said, protections put in place in Alaska and Russia have greatly reduced trampling deaths. Walruses also have shown a willingness to swim great distances of 130 miles (210 kilometers) or more from coastal haulouts to prime foraging areas.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list walruses in 2008 because of diminished sea ice tied to global warming. Arctic sea ice this summer dropped to 1.79 million square miles (4.64 million square kilometers), about 610,000 square miles (1.58 million square kilometers) below the 30-year average.

Lemons said the Fish and Wildlife Service used climate models showing the Chukchi Sea between northwest Alaska and Russia could be ice-free in the summer by 2060. But he said information collected in the last six years makes predicting the walruses’ fate uncertain beyond then, so the decision was made not to list the species.


New York Times Spreads Fake News on Trump EPA

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump's EPA secretary, Scott Pruitt, had "almost no meetings with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates." This in the same report that acknowledged Pruitt personally met with representatives from quite a few such organizations.

"The truth is: EPA has met with over 25 consumer protection, public health and environmental groups," EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox told PJ Media in a statement Tuesday. "Additionally, Administrator Pruitt has been praised by the Galveston Bay Foundation and Texas Health and Environment Alliance for his work on cleaning up toxic Superfund sites."

Indeed, community activists praised Pruitt for coming in person and pledging to clean up the Dioxin dump known as the San Jacinto River Waste Pits in the area of Houston affected by Hurricane Harvey. "He said he would expedite the decision," Scott Jones of the Galveston Bay Foundation told Fox 26. "We think that's great. EPA staff has already said removal is the right course."

"As long as the waste pits stay in the river, our residents won't feel safe," Jackie Young, leader of the Texas Health and Environment Alliance, told Fox 26. "Administrator Pruitt made it clear, he understands that."

In addition to his statement, Wilcox also provided a list of all the environmental, consumer protection, and public health groups the EPA has met with. Here is the list:

The Nature Conservancy. Audubon Society. American Lung Association. American Public Health Association. American Academy of Pediatrics. March of Dimes. Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. Physicians for Social Responsibility. Trust for America’s Health. National Medical Association. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. National Environmental Health Association. NYU School of Medicine. National Association of Environmental Medicine. National Association of County and City Health Officials. Health Care Without Harm. Healthy Air Campaign. Indiana NAACP. East Chicago Community Action Group. Twin City Ministerial Alliance. First Baptist Church East Chicago. Interfaith Federation. Association of Clean Water Administrators. Texas Health and Environment Coalition. Galveston Bay Foundation. Environmental Council of the States. Western Governors Association, including Democratic Governors Steve Bullock (Mont.), Kate Brown (Ore.), David Ige (Hawaii), and John Hickenlooper (Colo.).

The Times report attacked Pruitt for meeting with rural voters, conservative nonprofit organizations, and energy and other companies. The report insinuated that the EPA head barely ever met with environmental or public health organizations, but it explicitly stated that he had "almost no meetings" with them.

"Since taking office in February, Mr. Trump's E.P.A. chief has held back-to-back meetings, briefing sessions and speaking engagements almost daily with top corporate executives and lobbyists from all the major economic sectors that he regulates — and almost no meetings with environmental groups or consumer protection or public health advocates, according to a 320-page accounting of his daily schedule from February through May," Times reporters Eric Lipton and Lisa Friedman reported.

Lipton and Friedman wrote this, despite the fact that the very list they linked to explicitly mentioned many such groups, including the Association of Clean Water Administrators, the American Lung Association, Dr. Alan Woolf of the Boston Children's Hospital Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, and others. These are meetings Pruitt personally attended, included on the very list the Times cited to say he had "almost no meetings."

Indeed, the Times report even mentioned meetings with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the conservation group Trout Unlimited, and other groups.

These admissions were craftily buried in the story, with Lipton and Friedman spending more time attacking Pruitt for meeting with businesses, flying home to Oklahoma, meeting with the Family Research Council, and attending a Heritage Foundation summit at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Perhaps Pruitt has spent more money than necessary on travel, but Obama's former EPA director, Gina McCarthy, said one of her greatest regrets was her inability to connect with rural Americans on Obama's environmental policy.

"We tried to change the outreach and messaging in rural America in a number of ways, but ... has it changed the rhetoric that people hear?" McCarthy asked in a January interview with Reuters. "It hasn't," she admitted.

"We couldn't get it, but I wish we had," McCarthy said.

Pruitt's aggressive travel schedule and meetings with a wide variety of businesses seems a plausible response to the former Obama EPA head's regrets. Donald Trump came to the presidency by promising to help rural Americans and to jumpstart the economy after companies had struggled to meet Obama's stringent EPA rules.

Indeed, an EPA statement to the Times said as much. "As E.P.A. has been the poster child for regulatory overreach, the agency is now meeting with those ignored by the Obama administration," the agency said in a statement. This more than anything explains any slant in Pruitt's schedule toward companies that felt unfairly targeted by Obama's policies.

Also buried in the Times story was another crucial admission: a year's worth of McCarthy's calendar records showed a similar "partisan bent" and quite a few meetings with businesses. "She also met with industry players, like the American Gas Association, the National Pork Producers Council and Edison Electric Institute, the utility lobby," Lipton and Friedman reported.

McCarthy also "held a disproportionate number of meetings with Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups."

The Times did emphasize one crucial difference between Pruitt and McCarthy, however. "The documents show Ms. McCarthy apparently spent much more time meeting with E.P.A. professional staff and other federal government officials than Mr. Pruitt," the report noted.


Trump EPA plan will roll back Obama standards on power plant emissions

The Trump administration is moving to roll back the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s attempt to slow global warming, seeking to ease restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

In a plan expected to be made public in coming days, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declares the Obama-era rule exceeded federal law by setting emissions standards that power plants could not reasonably meet. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the 43-page document, which underscores President Donald Trump’s bid to revive the struggling coal industry.

The new EPA proposal would make good on Trump’s campaign pledge to unravel Obama’s efforts to curb global warming and follows the president’s promise to pull the US out of the landmark Paris climate agreement, under which nearly 200 countries have committed to combat global warming by reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

The EPA will not prescribe an immediate replacement to the plan, but will seek public comment on whether to curb climate-warming emissions from coal and natural gas power plants.

A spokeswoman for EPA administrator Scott Pruitt declined to comment on Friday on the authenticity of the leaked document but said the Obama administration “pushed the bounds of their authority so far” that the US supreme court issued a stay to prevent the Clean Power Plan from taking effect.

“Any replacement rule that the Trump administration proposes will be done carefully and properly within the confines of the law,” Liz Bowman said.

The Obama administration’s cost-benefits analysis of the Clean Power Plan was “highly uncertain” in multiple areas, the EPA spokeswoman said, adding that the Trump administration would present a range of scenarios to the public “in a robust, open and transparent way”.

Obama’s plan was designed to cut US carbon dioxide emissions to 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. The rule dictated specific emission targets for states based on power-plant emissions and gave officials broad latitude to decide how to achieve reductions. The supreme court put the plan on hold last year, following a legal challenge by industry and coal-friendly states.

Even so, the plan has been a factor in a wave of retirements of coal-fired plants, which also are being squeezed by lower costs for natural gas and renewable power and state mandates promoting energy conservation.

Repealing the Clean Power Plan without a timeline or a commitment to propose a rule to reduce carbon pollution “isn’t a step forward, it’s a wholesale retreat from EPA’s legal, scientific and moral obligation to address the threats of climate change”, said former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy.

While the supreme court has concluded that EPA is obligated to regulate greenhouse gases, “this administration has no intention of following the law” said McCarthy, who led the EPA when the Clean Power Plan was completed.

“They are denying it just as they are denying the science. They’re using stall tactics to defer action, ignoring the courts and the demands of the American people.”

Industry groups cheered the planned repeal, saying it would reverse regulatory overreach by Obama and McCarthy.

“The Clean Power Plan represented an unlawful attempt to transform the nation’s power grid … and raise costs on American consumers,” said Hal Quinn, president and chief executive of the National Mining Association.

The Obama plan would have sharply reduced the number of coal-fired plants, making the grid more vulnerable to reliability concerns and increasing costs with “trivial environmental benefits”, Quinn said.

The new plan will save an estimated 240 million tons of annual coal production and safeguard more than 27,000 mining jobs and almost 100,000 additional jobs throughout the supply chain, Quinn said.

In the leaked document, the Trump administration argues that repealing the Clean Power Plan could spare an estimated $33bn in compliance costs in 2030, arguing that the Obama administration overstated the rule’s potential health benefits. Previously, the EPA had estimated that by 2030 the Clean Power Plan would prevent 90,000 asthma attacks and up to 3,600 premature deaths a year.

The leaked document casts doubts on those numbers and says the EPA plans to perform updated modeling and analysis of health benefits and other impacts of the rule.

Liz Perera, climate policy director for the Sierra Club, said repealing the Clean Power Plan “is about one thing and one thing only: helping corporate polluters profit”.


Politicized sustainability threatens planet and people

It drives anti-fossil fuel agendas and threatens wildlife, jobs, and human health and welfare

Paul Driessen

Sustainability (sustainable development) is one of the hottest trends on college campuses, in the news media, in corporate boardrooms and with regulators. There are three different versions.

Real Sustainability involves thoughtful, caring, responsible, economical stewardship and conservation of land, water, energy, metallic, forest, wildlife and other natural resources. Responsible businesses, families and communities practice this kind of sustainability every day: polluting less, recycling where it makes sense, and using less energy, water and raw materials to manufacture the products we need.

Public Relations Sustainability mostly involves meaningless, superficial, unverifiable, image-enhancing assertions that a company is devoted to renewable fuels, corporate responsibility, environmental justice, reducing its carbon footprint – or sustainability. Its primary goal is garnering favorable press or appeasing radical environmental groups.

Politicized Sustainability is the untenable, even dangerous variety. It relies on ideological assertions and theoretical models as an alternative to actual outside-our-windows reality and evidence. Like “dangerous manmade climate change,” its real purpose is gaining greater agitator and government control over people’s energy use, lives, livelihoods, liberties and living standards. It reflects an abysmal understanding of basic energy, economic, resource extraction, manufacturing and human rights realities.

The most common definition is that “we may meet the needs of current generations” only to the extent that doing so “will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

Among other alleged human wrongdoing doing, Political Sustainability thus reflects the assertion that we are rapidly depleting finite resources. Therefore, we must reduce our current needs and wants in order to save those resources for future generations. At first blush, it sounds logical, and even ethical.

However, under sustainability precepts, we are supposed to predict future technologies – and ensure that today’s resource demands will not compromise the completely unpredictable energy and raw material requirements that those completely unpredictable future technologies will introduce. We are supposed to safeguard the assumed needs of future generations, even if it means ignoring or compromising the undeniable needs of current generations – including the needs, aspirations, health and welfare of the most impoverished, malnourished, disease-ravaged, energy-deprived, politically powerless people on Earth.

For thousands of years, mankind advanced at a snail’s pace. Then, as the modern fossil-fuel industrial era found its footing, progress picked up rapidly, until the speed of change became almost exponential. How today is anyone supposed to predict what might be in store ten, fifty or a hundred years from now?

Moreover, as we moved from flint to copper, to bronze, iron, steel and beyond, we didn’t do so because mankind had exhausted Earth’s supplies of flint, copper, tin and so forth. We did it because we innovated. We invented something better, more efficient, more practical. Each advance required different materials.

Who today can foresee what future technologies we will have … and what raw materials those future technologies will require? How we are supposed to ensure that future families can meet their needs, if we cannot possibly know what those needs will be?

Why then would we even think of empowering activists and governments to regulate today’s activities – based on wholly unpredictable future technologies, lifestyles, needs and resource demands? Why would we ignore or compromise the pressing needs of current generations, to meet those totally unpredictable future needs?

“Resource depletion” claims also fail to account for new technologies that increase energy and mineral reserves, reduce their costs – or decrease the need for certain raw materials: copper, for instance, because lightweight fiber optic cables made from silica (one of Earth’s most abundant minerals) can carry thousands of times more information than a huge bundle of copper wires that weigh 800 times more.

In 1887, when Wisconsin’s Hearthstone House became the world’s first home lit by hydroelectric power, no one could foresee how electricity would come to dominate, enhance and safeguard our lives in the myriad ways it does today. No one could envision the many ways we generate electricity today.

120 years later, no one predicted tiny cellular phones with superb digital cameras and more computing and networking power than a big 1990 desktop computer. No one expected that we would need so much cadmium, lithium, rare earth metals and other raw materials to manufacture thousands of wind turbines.

No one anticipated that new 4-D seismic, deepwater drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies would find and produce so much oil and natural gas that today we still have at least a century’s worth of these vital energy resources – which “experts” had just told us we would run out of in only a few more years.

And yet, we are still supposed to predict the future 50 or 100 years from now, safeguard the assumed needs of future generations, and ignore the clear needs of current generations. We are also supposed to presume that today’s essential natural resources have to last forever. In reality, they only have to last long enough for our creative intellects to discover real, actually workable replacements: new deposits, production techniques, raw material substitutes or technologies.

Of course, all of this is irrelevant to Politicized Sustainability dogma. That doctrine focuses on ridding the world of fossil fuels, regardless of any social, economic, environmental or human costs of doing so. And regardless of whether supposed alternatives really are eco-friendly and sustainable.

For example, mandated U.S. ethanol quotas eat up 40% of this nation’s corn, grown on over 36 million acres of cropland, to replace 10% of America’s gasoline. Corn ethanol also requires billions of gallons of water, and vast quantities of pesticides, fertilizers, tractor fuel and natural gas … to produce energy that drives up food prices, damages small engines, gets one-third fewer miles per gallon than gasoline – and during its entire production and use cycle emits just as much carbon dioxide as gasoline.

Imagine replacing 100% of US gasoline with corn ethanol. How would that in any way be sustainable?

Mandated, subsidized wind energy requires millions of acres for turbines and ultra-long transmission lines … and billions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, rare earth metals and fiberglass. The turbines’ subsonic noise and light flicker create chronic health problems for susceptible people living near them, and kill millions of birds and bats annually – to produce expensive, intermittent, unreliable electricity that must be backed up by dozens of fossil fuel generators or billions of (nonexistent) land- and resource-intensive battery arrays.

Meanwhile, American and Canadian companies are cutting down thousands of acres of forests and turning millions of trees into wood pellets that they truck to coastal ports and transport on oil-fueled cargo ships to England. There the pellets are hauled by truck and burned in place of coal, to generate electricity … so that England can meet its renewable fuel targets. How is this sustainable – or “climate friendly”?

Why not just build the fossil fuel power plants … mine for coal and frack for natural gas to fuel them – or build more nuclear power plants – and forget about the ethanol, wind turbines, wood pellets and other pseudo-renewable, pseudo-sustainable false alternatives … until something truly better comes along?

Meanwhile, more than 1.2 billion people still do not have electricity. Another 2 billion have electrical power only sporadically and unpredictably. Hundreds of millions get horribly sick, and five million die every year from lung and intestinal diseases that are due to breathing smoke from open fires … and not having refrigeration, clean water and safe, bacteria-free food.

As Steven Lyazi has noted, these people simply want to take their rightful, God-given places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people. Instead, they’re being told “that wouldn’t be sustainable.” They’re being told they must be content with a few wind turbines near their villages and little solar panels on their huts – to charge cell phones, pump a little water, power a few light bulbs and operate tiny refrigerators.

Politicized Sustainability is irrational, unjust, inhumane, eco-imperialistic and environmentally destructive. It is especially harmful to the world’s poor. It’s time to rethink and overhaul this insanity.

Via email



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, 2017

Why fuel efficient cars might do less for the environment than you'd think

Most people who buy a Prius also have a SUV

Opinion polls tell us Australians are worried about climate change and they think cars are part of the problem.

A recent Ipsos survey found voters rate motor vehicle emissions among the top four "specific activities" that cause climate change.

But that hasn't prompted us to cut back on the number of cars we own, even though light vehicles contribute about 10 per cent of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions.

The Bureau of Statistics' annual count of registered vehicles shows the number of passenger cars for every 1000 Australians has risen from 567 to 581 over the past five years.

The 2016 national census, released in July, tells a similar story. The number of vehicles per household had crept up from 1.7 to 1.8 since the previous census five years earlier. It showed the share of households with no car shrank in that period (from 8.6 per cent to 7.5 per cent) while the proportion with three vehicles or more increased (from 16.5 per cent to 18.1 per cent). The overall share of two-car families also edged higher.

The good news, of course, is that cars are becoming more fuel efficient making their greenhouse gas emissions lower. A recent federal government report said all classes of light vehicles in Australia have become more efficient over the last 10 years. Plus there's a growing range of low emission hybrid and electric car models to choose from.

But a new investigation into the choices households make about car purchases raises questions about how much difference the trend for better fuel efficiency will make in reducing emissions.

A team of economists used car registration records in California to track the types of vehicles motorists purchased over time. They discovered that a typical two car household that buys a fuel-efficient vehicle is very likely to buy a bigger, more powerful second car to compensate.

Practical considerations are likely to underpin this pattern. For example, a family might use a small, highly efficient car for most day-to-day tasks, but use the bigger petrol guzzler more for weekend activities, road trips, camping and other purposes where more space and power may be useful.

This type of consumer behaviour – called "attribute substitution" by economists –happens with many purchases. A cafe goer, for instance, might opt for a skim latte rather than full cream to compensate for eating a donut. Or a household with a large television in the lounge room might choose smaller screens elsewhere in the home.

The tendency for motorists with a fuel-efficient car to buy a bigger second car has a significant impact on household fuel consumption.

The economists estimate this attribute substitution in vehicle purchases, combined with the changes in driving behaviour that result, may reduce up to 60 per cent of the expected future savings from increased fuel economy in two-car households.

It's a reminder that relatively straightforward climate change policies to improve efficiency, such as tougher fuel economy standards, could have unintended consequences.

"These results highlight the challenges in design or evaluation of any policy intending to alter consumer choices over a portfolio of goods," concludes the paper called "Attribute Substitution in Household Vehicle Portfolios" published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.


Pollaganda: ABC, WaPo Pushed Hurricane/Climate Change Link, Now Find Americans Believe It

The number of Americans who see a connection between manmade climate change and hurricanes grew dramatically in the past 12 years.

Given Al Gore, climate alarmists and the liberal media’s persistent climate alarmism throughout that time, it’s no wonder.

“More than half of Americans now see climate change as responsible for the severity of recent hurricanes – an about-face from 12 years ago,” a Sept. 28, ABC News/Washington Post poll found. Of course, ABC News and The Post didn’t point out how they helped move the needle.

With the broadcast networks, other liberal media and people including Apocalypse Al Gore, aggressively pushed claims of a link between climate change and “extreme” weather during those years.

The poll showed that 55 percent of Americans attribute the severity of recent hurricanes to “climate change,” compared to just 25 percent on Sept. 7, 2005, nine days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall.

Additionally, 83 percent of respondents who identified as “liberal” attributed hurricane intensity to climate change. In contrast, only 30 percent of conservatives currently credit climate change.

Those opinions changed over a time span which included two fearmongering films from former Vice President Gore. An Inconvenient Truth in 2006 and An Inconvenient Sequel in 2017. Both films contained multiple inaccuracies, including the suggestion that global warming caused Hurricane Katrina.

“Brand new evidence is causing some scientists to assert that global warming is even leading to an increased frequency of hurricanes,” Gore also claimed in his 2006 book, also titled An Inconvenient Truth.

Those claims are contrary to a statement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that “[i]t premature to conclude that human activities–and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming–have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity.” NOAA issues hurricane forecasts and monitors the storms.

Also, in spite of Gore’s warnings the United States experienced a 12 year hurricane drought from October 2005 to August 2017, in which no hurricanes larger than a Category 2 made landfall.

Broadcast network coverage of “extreme weather” in morning and evening news stories also increased by nearly 1,000 percent in the years following Gore’s film: An Inconvenient Truth — showing his influence upon the liberal media.

ABC News, one of the outlets behind the recent poll, played a significant role in pushing an “extreme weather” narrative on climate change. It even had its own “Extreme Weather Team” (which the George Soros-funded Columbia Journalism Review dubbed “Extreme weather porn”) and compiled at least one alarming report on “Extreme Weather in America.”

Following 2017 Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, both ABC’s Good Morning America and the Post linked the hurricanes to climate change.

“A lot look at these two back-to-back hurricanes, two powerful hurricanes back-to-back and think there must be some connection to climate change,” ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos said on Good Morning America Sept. 11.

Also on Sept. 11, the Post published a story highlighting “... four underappreciated ways that climate change could make hurricanes even worse.”Four days later, the Post claimed recovery in the everglades after Hurricane Irma “could be a different matter” than in the past, “[t]hanks to climate change.”


Power grid reliability and resilience are matters of national security

Earlier this week, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry sent a proposed rule change to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding U.S. power grid reliability and resilience. When people discuss the electric grid they often interchange the terms reliability and resilience. What do these terms mean and how do they affect the lives of Americans? They may not realize it, but electric grid resilience and reliability ensure Americans can live the life they have today.

The U.S. power grid is part of the Energy Sector, which is one of Homeland Security’s sixteen critical infrastructure sectors. The grid is comprised of three smaller grids. One grid spans the East Coast to the Rocky Mountains while another serves people from the Rockies to the Pacific. The last grid is the state of Texas.  Each of these individual grids is comprised of a network of power producing facilities, tens of thousands of miles of transmission lines, and hundreds of substations, bringing power to your home and business.

What is grid reliability? Grid reliability is the ability of a power grid to deliver electricity in sufficient quantities when needed. When someone turns a light switch on, the lights come on. The assembly line in Tennessee manufacturing trucks needs a reliable supply of electricity to run operations.

What is grid resilience? Grid resilience is the ability of a power grid to bounce back from a major incident. The incident can be a man-made incident, such as a terrorist attack, or a natural disaster such as a major hurricane. A resilient grid may suffer a disruption at the height of the event, but it will be back up quickly, sending electricity to customers.

Why is grid reliability important?

Growing children need good nutrition to grow up healthy and strong, and the same can be said for an economy. As the U.S. economy and population grow, an increased load is put on the power grid. U.S. energy consumption has grown so much, it has more than doubled since 1975. The increased load must be met with increased power generation.

A reliable grid allows an economy to grow. Commerce happens twenty-four hour a day, seven days a week. An unreliable supply of electricity slows down commerce thereby slowing down or even contracting the economy. An unreliable grid puts people out of work, reduces tax revenue, and increases dependency on government.

Why is grid resilience important?

Power grid resilience is important because your life literally depends on it. The southern states are only tolerable in the summer because of air conditioning. How horrendous would Atlanta, Ga. or Houston, Texas be in August if there was no way to cool them off? Houston regularly reaches a heat index of well over 100 degrees in the summer. Without electricity, deaths from heat exhaustion would skyrocket. Food that needs refrigeration will spoil in days, if not hours. Lifesaving medications that require refrigeration would spoil and become useless.

Public transportation is dependent on the power grid. All public metro trains move thanks to electricity. Public buses may run on diesel and compressed natural gas, but the pumps that fill those vehicles are electric. How would cities like New York and Washington D.C. be able to function without public transportation?

How would an economy work without electricity? It is a problem playing out before our very eyes in Puerto Rico. After an event, people need supplies. The supplies are bought with money. If there is no electricity, the physical cash is stuck in ATMs and bank vaults. Debit cards and credit cards will not work. Anarchy and violence will soon follow if people do not have the access to their money supply.

Trump Administration acts

Two of the more reliable forms of electricity generation are coal and nuclear. After eight years of the Obama administration using regulations to destroy the coal and nuclear power industries, the Trump administration has sought to turn that around with the new rule recommendation.

In a statement, Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning praised the move, saying, ““In 2016, Coal and nuclear provided a combined 51 percent of electricity, in spite of Obama policies that are taking 374 coal power plants offline, and accelerating the decommissioning of 5 nuclear reactors. The rule announced by Department of Energy will help take the regulatory boot off the throats of these two vital pieces of our electric power grid puzzle.”

Perry has taken a bold step forward to ensure power grid reliability and resilience. Some will scoff, but in a natural disaster scenario that severely damages part of the grid, coal and nuclear will be the most reliable sources of power.

Coal power plants keep weeks worth of coal on site, and nuclear plants have power as long as they have nuclear fuel rods. Both types of plants can produce power in the most dire of situations. Natural gas plants cannot keep weeks worth of gas on site. Natural gas plants need pipelines to deliver the gas. Solar and wind only work when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. It makes no sense put national security and the economy at risk by excluding the two most reliable sources of electricity generation. Yet, regulatorily that is the path we are on.

If this hurricane season has taught us anything, it is just how fragile the U.S. power grid is. From the NASA image, you can see what an unreliable un-resilient power grid looks like. The Trump administration is taking the threat seriously and has moved to diversify power generation capabilities. President Trump is to be commended for taking this first step and he must continue to undo the burdensome regulations intended to drive coal and nuclear out of business.


More on the Larsen C iceberg

Finally, see below an admission that the breaking away of the iceberg was  NOT a result of global warming

As the iceberg, known as A-68, moves away from the Larsen C ice shelf and into the Weddell Sea, it will eventually expose 2,240 square miles (5,800 square kilometers) of seafloor that has been buried under the ice for up to 120,000 years, without light and linked to the open ocean only by minimal currents, according to scientists with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

Now, scientists are keen to begin exploring the newly exposed area as soon as possible, to conduct research on the hidden ecosystem that can be used to make comparisons with any changes that occur over the years to come.

Grant is one of two BAS scientists who led a successful proposal for international protection of areas on the Antarctic Peninsula that are exposed when floating icebergs break away from the coast-bound ice shelves.

The Larsen C area will be the first to benefit from a 2016 agreement by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), an international conservation agency, following the proposal by Grant and her colleague Phil Trathan, head of conservation ecology for the BAS.

"There's this vast area which has been covered for thousands of years," Grant told Live Science. "We know the physical changes are likely to be huge when the ice moves away, and the ecosystem is likely to change along with that."

Grant added that there is no evidence that this event is a direct result of climate change, but "we do expect that these sorts of things may happen more frequently in the future, so understanding how things respond to this kind of change is really important"  


Tesla delays: Model 3 car parts ‘being made by hand’

Tesla founder Elon Musk has said the company will produce 500,000 cars a year, but only a fraction of the promised 1500 Model 3 vehicles have been made.

Tesla Inc blamed “production bottlenecks” for having made only a fraction of the promised 1,500 Model 3s, the $US35,000 sedan designed to propel the luxury electric-car maker into the mainstream.

Unknown to analysts, investors and the hundreds of thousands of customers who signed up to buy it, as recently as early September major portions of the Model 3 were still being banged out by hand, away from the automated production line, according to people familiar with the matter.

While the car’s production began in early July, the advanced assembly line Tesla has boasted of building still wasn’t fully ready as of a few weeks ago, the people said. Tesla’s factory workers had been piecing together parts of the cars in a special area while the company feverishly worked to finish the machinery designed to produce Model 3’s at a rate of thousands a week, the people said.

Automotive experts say it is unusual to be building large parts of a car by hand during production. “That’s not how mass production vehicles are made,” said Dennis Virag, a manufacturing consultant who has worked in the automotive industry for 40 years. “That’s horse-and-carriage type manufacturing. That’s not today’s automotive world.”

In a statement, a Tesla spokeswoman declined to answer questions for this article and said, “For over a decade, the WSJ has relentlessly attacked Tesla with misleading articles that, with few exceptions, push or exceed the boundaries of journalistic integrity. While it is possible that this article could be an exception, that is extremely unlikely.” The Journal disagrees with the company’s categorisation of its journalism.

Tesla introduced the Model 3 at an event outside the company’s factory in July, when Chief Executive Elon Musk drove a shiny red Model 3 onstage as hundreds of his employees cheered the first sedans rolling off the production line.

Within minutes of stepping out of the new vehicle, Tesla’s leader warned his engineers and designers the coming months would be challenging. “Frankly, we’re going to be in production hell. Welcome, welcome!” he said to laughter.

Behind the scenes, Tesla had fallen weeks behind in finishing the manufacturing systems to build the vehicle, the people said.

The extent of the problem came to light on Monday when Tesla said it made only 260 Model 3s during the third quarter—averaging three cars a day. The company cited production bottlenecks but didn’t explain much further.

“Although the vast majority of manufacturing subsystems at...our California car plant...are able to operate at high rate, a handful have taken longer to activate than expected,” the company said at the time.

In Mr Musk’s pursuit to rid the world of combustion engines, Tesla is trying to apply Silicon Valley’s ethos of rapid change to the type of complex manufacturing process that traditional auto makers have spent decades perfecting. Unusual in the U.S. tech industry, where even companies that do make hardware generally outsource their manufacturing, Tesla’s challenge requires integrating an army of factory workers and some 10,000 parts from suppliers around the world.

Tesla’s rollout of the Model X sport-utility vehicle in 2015 also was plagued by quality and design issues that left suppliers scrambling and hourly workers having to rush to meet lofty goals. But the plans for the Model 3 are far larger, meaning the lack of a fully working assembling line so late in production could deal a bigger blow to the company.

Mr. Musk has said Tesla learned from the Model X mistakes. And he has proven doubters wrong before, creating a luxury brand that competes against BMW and Mercedes-Benz for buyers and has demonstrated that fully electric cars can find an enthusiastic following beyond a niche of environmentalists.

Calling his cars a “computer on wheels,” Mr. Musk caught conservative Detroit off guard with Tesla’s ability to quickly change features, such as a semiautonomous drive system, with software updates over the air. The company’s stock has soared about 69% in the past 12 months, at times pushing its market value past General Motors Co.’s .

But building 500,000 vehicles a year—as Mr Musk had projected Tesla would start doing next year—is a sizable leap for a company that only made 84,000 Model S sedans and Model X SUVs last year. By comparison, General Motors Co., the largest US. auto maker by sales, delivered about 10 million vehicles globally last year, or more than 27,000 a day.

To approach what a typical factory in North America churns out, 14-year-old Tesla must build the muscles to roll out a car every minute of the workday and do it so well that the vehicles don’t cause headaches for customers down the road.

Most auto makers celebrate the start of production of a new vehicle to sell—so-called Job 1—after six months or so of running the assembly line to build a few hundred vehicles to work out the bugs, said Doug Betts, senior vice president of global automotive operations at consultancy J.D. Power and a former manufacturing executive for Toyota Motor Corp. , Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Apple Inc.

“You’re not really improving the final process if you’re not running on it,” Mr. Betts said. “Problems can only be solved once they are found.”

It isn’t uncommon for much larger auto makers to handbuild pre-production versions of a car prior to the sales launch, but those are typically reserved for employees and others willing to test the cars and return them to the company. By the time a car goes on sale, the body shop is typically fully automated.

Inside the Fremont factory, workers said equipment for the so-called body-in-white line for the Model 3, where the car body’s sheet metal is welded together, wasn’t installed until by around September. They guessed at least another month of work remained to calibrate the tools.

One worker who spent time in the Model 3 shop—dubbed by some as Area 51 because of the limited access and secretive nature—described watching young workers in September struggling to move large pieces of steel to weld together instead of using robots as is traditionally the case.

“In place of the robots…you’ve got two associates lining up with a big, old spot welder hanging from the ceiling by a chain, and you’ve got one associate kind of like balancing it and trying to get the welder in position, and you’ve got another welder with his arm guiding it,” this worker recalled seeing. “Sparks go flying.”

In August, Mr. Musk told analysts that the Model 3s coming out of the factory were “not engineering validation units.”

“They’re fully certified, fully DOT-approved, EPA-approved production cars,” Mr. Musk said, referring to the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. “These are not prototypes in any way. They’re not validation anything. They are full production cars.”

But he also said early versions coming out of Fremont would have issues, which is why the first cars were going to employees and investors who paid for them.

Tesla has said it expects to begin delivering the first cars to nonemployees this quarter. It will have to seriously boost production to meet Mr. Musk’s 5,000-a-week projection.




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


8 October, 2017

There’s a Climate Bomb Under Your Feet

Difficult to know what to make of this but it seems that warming soils give off CO2.  So the slight warming of the last century or so must be partly responsible for present elevated CO2 levels.  So warming elevates CO2 levels.  But Warmists normally tell us that elevated CO2 levels cause warming.  So which way around is it?  I think the Greenies below have rather shot themselves in the foot.  Anyway, we clearly must  keep our soils cool. Not sure how.

Long before most people ever heard of climate change, scientists divided a patch of Harvard University-owned forest in central Massachusetts into 18 identical 6-meter by 6-meter squares. A canopy of red maple and black oak trees hangs there, looming above the same stony soil tilled by colonial farmers. Rich in organic material, it was exactly what the researchers were looking for.

They broke the land up into six blocks of three squares each. In every block, one square was left alone, one was threaded with heating cables that elevated its temperature 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) above the surrounding area. The third square was threaded with cables but never turned on, as a control.

That was 26 years ago. The purpose was to measure how carbon dioxide may escape from the earth as the atmosphere warms. What they found, published yesterday in the journal Science, may mean the accelerating catastrophe of global warming has been fueled in part by warm dirt. As the Earth heats up, microbes in the soil accelerate the breakdown of organic materials and move on to others that may have once been ignored, each time releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Extrapolating from their forest study, the researchers estimate that over this century the warming induced from global soil loss, at the rate they monitored, will be “equivalent to the past two decades of carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning and is comparable in magnitude to the cumulative carbon losses to the atmosphere due to human-driven land use change during the past two centuries.”

The atmosphere gets all the attention in climate change, mostly because that’s where the warming happens.

The soil, meanwhile, has been mostly ignored until lately. It’s both hugely influential on global warming and something humanity has a good deal of control over. The top 3 meters or so of earth store more carbon than the entire atmosphere and all plants combined. Taking care of the planet’s soil is “critical for stabilizing atmospheric CO2 concentrations,” according to a synthesis by Stanford University’s Robert Jackson and five colleagues, published Thursday in Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution & Systematics.

Scientists aren’t going to resolve the global carbon cycle down to the last atom soon. What the Annual Review authors do point out, though, is that land use and agricultural practices can simultaneously trap carbon in soil—helping the fight against warming—and improving yields for all the things humanity’s swelling population will need in coming decades. Reducing tillage and fallow time, managing grazing better, planting more legumes, and other practices all help keep more carbon in the ground.

Warming soil may set off a chain reaction of carbon emissions that “could be very difficult, if not impossible, to halt”
The hopeful calls for collaboration laid out in the Annual Review and Global Change Biology must nevertheless be tempered by the steady drumbeat of off-putting news from other parts of the Earth science research community.

Scientists have long been concerned that once humans kicked off warming of the atmosphere and seas, other parts of nature will take what we've begun and run with it. Some things are in our control—land use, pollution from fossil-fuel combustion. A global pulse in microbial carbon-munching, however, they write, “could be very difficult, if not impossible, to halt.”


Wind power corruption

A decade or so from now, when thousands of wind turbines are quietly rusting in some dimwit’s back paddock, the next generation will rightly ask why states and whole nations squandered $billions on a wholly weather dependent power source, abandoned centuries ago for pretty obvious reasons?

Eventually, the spotlight will turn on the political enablers who made it happen.

In Scotland, characters like Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond have exhibited a maniacal obsession with wind power, which can only be explained through political ambition and financial gain (these days, the latter being essential to guarantee the former).
Sturgeon and Salmond (indeed politicians of all shades) have benefited handsomely through donations thrown their way from foreign wind turbine manufacturers and foreign-owned wind power outfits.

In Australia, the Labor Party is fueled by money channelled from Union super funds which are heavily invested in wind power outfits, such as Pacific Hydro.

Our Liberal PM protects the wind industry because his son, Alex is heavily invested in it.

As former Labor Premier of NSW, Jack Lang pithily put it: ‘Always back the horse named self-interest, son. It’ll be the only one trying’.

Over the table ‘donations’ and under the table, ‘unauthorised facilitation’ payments have helped the wind industry obtain its ‘license’ to operate with impunity. And, true to its ‘green’ credentials, that money is effectively ‘recycled’ by wind power outfits, having been drawn from power consumers and/or taxpayers through government mandated subsidies, guaranteed feed-in-tariffs and the like, it seems only proper that some of it is returned to those who helped make it happen.

From the beginning of the greatest rort in history, the wind industry begged for massive and endless subsidies and the political class happily obliged, on the condition that a fair proportion of that cash be siphoned back into their party’s electioneering war chest: from their perspective, a win-win situation.

Not so for the businesses and households forced to pay for it, nor for those communities forced to live with it.


A Federal Court Just Threw A Wrench In Trump’s Energy Plans

A federal court ruled the Trump administration “unlawfully” delayed a regulation limiting methane emissions from oil and gas operations on federal lands.

The U.S. District Court of Northern California ruled against the Trump administration hours after officials published a proposal to delay the methane rule in the Federal Register.

Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte said the Interior Department violated the Administrative Procedures Act by indefinitely delaying parts of the methane rule from being implemented. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke delayed the rule in June.

Laporte’s ruling means the methane rule will go into effect. The rule requires oil and gas producers operating on federal land to install equipment to stop leaks and capture methane that would otherwise be vented or flared.

The Obama administration finalized the $1.8 billion rule in late 2016. It was one of many “midnight” regulations finalized in the weeks before President Donald Trump took office.

Laporte’s ruling comes one week after the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit brought by environmentalists who want the rule put in place.

The appeals court said it was a waste of judicial resources to adjudicate given the Trump administration planned on rescinding the rule anyways.

The Interior Department put the rule under review in June, setting it up for repeal. That came after Congress failed to pass a bill repealing the methane rule in May. Three Republican senators voted against repealing the methane rule.

Some oil and gas drillers have already complied with the rule, though others will now have to scramble to catch up. It could take months before the Trump administration can legally delay the rule.

“As we strengthen America’s energy independence, we intend to evaluate regulations to determine if they unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, or prevent job creation,” acting Bureau of Land Management Director Michael Nedd said in a statement.

“Our proposal would give the BLM sufficient time to review the 2016 final rule and consider revising or rescinding its requirements,” Nedd said.


Will La Nina Bring Down Global Temperatures To Pre-El Nino Levels?

If history is any guide, once La Nina becomes well-established in the tropical Pacific Ocean, global temperatures should drop noticeably relative-to-normal. 

Earlier this year, there were signs that a weak El Nino in the tropical Pacific Ocean could continue through the fall and even into the upcoming winter season, but there is now substantial agreement amongst numerous computer forecast models that La Nina conditions are likely to become established over the next couple of months and current observations back this notion.

La Nina is a naturally occurring oceanic cycle that produces colder-than-normal sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the equatorial Pacific Ocean whereas El Nino is associated with warmer-than-normal SSTs.  The formation of La Nina in the tropical Pacific Ocean will likely have important ramifications around the world including significant impacts on the upcoming winter season, next summer’s tropical season, and global temperatures.

Compilation of statistical and dynamical computer forecast models of ENSO in coming months.  Most of these models predict La Nina conditions will form over the next couple of months in the tropical Pacific Ocean

Numerous independently-made computer forecast models depict a change from the current near-neutral conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean to La Nina conditions by the winter of 2017-2018.  The plume of model El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) model forecasts from mid-September indicate a transition to La Nina conditions are quite likely to take hold by later this fall.  Indeed, some models are predicting a fairly strong La Nina by the middle of the upcoming winter season with sea surface temperatures as much as 1.5°C below-normal in the “Nino 3.4” region (central tropical Pacific).

Sea surface temperatures have indeed changed dramatically in the tropical Pacific Ocean between the spring and today with a “wavy” pattern of colder-than-normal

Global temperatures spiked across the world during the last strong El Nino event which reached a peak during the latter part of 2015 and early part of 2016 and they have trended slightly lower this year from that high point.  According to Weather Bell Analytics, NOAA’s CFSv2 global temperature anomalies spiked in 2016 to +0.457°C above the 1981-2010 average and those anomalies – while still above normal – have dropped slightly this year to +0.382°C (through October 2nd).  If history is any guide, once La Nina becomes well-established in the tropical Pacific Ocean, global temperatures should drop noticeably relative-to-normal.


Thousands turn out across Australia to protest against Carmichael coal mine after controversial $16 billion project was given the green light

This is a long-planned Greenie activity.  The problems they are protesting about are imaginary.  It is just a way of getting publicity for themselves.  There is nothing spontaneous or grass-roots about it

Thousands of people gathered across Australia to protest a coal mine in North Queensland on Saturday.

Protesters in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and the Gold Coast rallied against Indian company Adani's plans for the mine in the Galilee Basin.

The protests were part of Stop Adani group's 'big day of protest', with 45 rallies across the nation.

The $16 billion coal mine was given the green light earlier this year, with pre-planning construction set to begin next month.

Organisers believe around 1500 people attended a protest on Bondi Beach, using their bodies to spell out '#StopAdani' on the sand.

Protesters in Melbourne's Princes Park followed suit, with many also running through 'Stop Adani' flags wearing 'Team Reef' shirts.

A further 2,000 protesters packed the Melbourne park carrying placards which read 'Protect our Future'.

The rallies also featured protesters wearing over-sized masks of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Adani founder Gautam Adani.

Nine hundred people are believed to have taken part in a Newtown rally, while protesters took to the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra with large banners against the coal mine.

CEO of, a group that opposes new coal, oil and gas projects, Blair Palese, said both governments were not listening to the public.

'While the Queensland and Federal governments remain staunch supporters of this dirty mine, new polling shows the Australian community is angry that $1 billion of public money could be handed to Adani for a mine which will wreck the climate and the Reef,' he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

'Voters are clear. They believe the Queensland government should stick to its promise and block the $1 billion loan to billionaire Adani for his private rail line.'

A ReachTEL poll, released on Saturday by the Stop Adani movement, shows 56 per cent of Australians oppose the coal project.

The construction of the mine, if it is given a green light, will be the largest in Australia.

Opponents to the mine believe it will damage the already ravaged Great Barrier Reef and bring environmental harm to the area.

Both State and Federal governments have defended the proposed mine, which promises to bring much-needed jobs back to far North Queensland.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said while the mine will help many families seeking employment, Adani will be held to 'the toughest environmental conditions'.

'You only have to travel to regional Queensland to understand what this project means to thousands of families out there that will be employed through this project,' she said.

'At the end of the day we have the toughest environmental conditions attached to that mine.' 




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, 2017

Snowfall disaster in Russia – Crops buried under more than a foot of snow

Emergency declared in three regions of Khakassia. Harvesting of feed and grain crops temporarily suspended.

At first came the heavy rains so harvesting couldn’t begin. Then came the frosts and snow, from 10 to 40 cm (4 to 16 inches) deep. Under the snow is the harvest of 2017 … A real disaster.

“Barley is completely laid down, the snow is wet, heavy, I do not know whether the ear will rise after melting snow or not. Here 120 hectares, there is a wedge of 150 hectares, and more oats. Only 480 hectares went under the snow,” complains Vasily Aprelkov, a farmer from the Bograd region.

“We have in some territories 5-10 cm, in others up to 40 cm fell. But the total area of grain and fodder crops remaining under snow is enormous, “says Valery Sulekov, deputy head of the Ordzhonikidzevsky district.

According to preliminary data, 3,000 hectares were affected in the Bogradsky region, 18,000 in Shirinsky and 22,000 in Ordzhonikidzevsky. Only 43,000 hectares of grain and forage crops. At first glance, the damage amounts to 120 to 150 million rubles.

“For agrarians falling snow on unharvested fields is a real disaster,” said Alexander Bashkov, the head of the Ministry of Agriculture.


George Monbiot is a Warmist but has had a few shocks on that account so now thinks we should all be vegetarians

He's got nothing new to say but he has to say something to get paid

What will future generations, looking back on our age, see as its monstrosities? We think of slavery, the subjugation of women, judicial torture, the murder of heretics, imperial conquest and genocide, the first world war and the rise of fascism, and ask ourselves how people could have failed to see the horror of what they did. What madness of our times will revolt our descendants?

There are plenty to choose from. But one of them, I believe, will be the mass incarceration of animals, to enable us to eat their flesh or eggs or drink their milk. While we call ourselves animal lovers, and lavish kindness on our dogs and cats, we inflict brutal deprivations on billions of animals that are just as capable of suffering. The hypocrisy is so rank that future generations will marvel at how we could have failed to see it.

The shift will occur with the advent of cheap artificial meat. Technological change has often helped to catalyse ethical change. The $300m deal China signed last month to buy lab-grown meat marks the beginning of the end of livestock farming. But it won’t happen quickly: the great suffering is likely to continue for many years.

The answer, we are told by celebrity chefs and food writers, is to keep livestock outdoors: eat free-range beef or lamb, not battery pork. But all this does is to swap one disaster – mass cruelty – for another: mass destruction. Almost all forms of animal farming cause environmental damage, but none more so than keeping them outdoors. The reason is inefficiency. Grazing is not just slightly inefficient, it is stupendously wasteful. Roughly twice as much of the world’s surface is used for grazing as for growing crops, yet animals fed entirely on pasture produce just one gram out of the 81g of protein consumed per person per day.

A paper in Science of the Total Environment reports that “livestock production is the single largest driver of habitat loss”. Grazing livestock are a fully automated system for ecological destruction: you need only release them on to the land and they do the rest, browsing out tree seedlings, simplifying complex ecosystems. Their keepers augment this assault by slaughtering large predators.


A big-money Catholic group just said it’s yanking all of its cash out of fossil fuels

Good for them!  It makes oil shares cheaper for the rest of us

A coalition of 40 Catholic institutions on Tuesday announced a decision to pull their money from — or block future investment in — fossil fuels. The Global Catholic Climate Movement called it the biggest collective announcement of divestment by Catholic organizations ever.

The group comes from all over the world — they include financial institutions such as Germany's Bank für Kirche und Caritas eG, and the Episcopal Conference of Belgium, which is the policy arm of the Catholic church in that country. Groups from the U.K., the United States, Australia and Italy were also among those divesting.

The Movement said that the Bank für Kirche und Caritas eG — which translates as Bank for the Church and Caritas — was one of the first Catholic banks to turn its back on fossil fuels. That entity, which has a balance sheet of 4.5 billion euros ($5.3 billion), was severing links with coal, tar sands crude, and oil shale.

"As a Catholic Church bank, we feel strongly responsible to participate in tackling the issue of climate change," Tommy Piemonte, the bank's sustainability research officer, said in a statement.

Piemonte added that the "integrity of creation and climate protection" is an issue the bank has been committed to since long before Pope Francis' 2015 encyclical Laudato Si. In that encyclical, the Pope described climate change as a "global problem with grave implications."

The announcement was welcomed by Christiana Figueres, the former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. "I hope we'll see more leaders like these 40 Catholic institutions commit, because while this decision makes smart financial sense, acting collectively to deliver a better future for everybody is also our moral imperative," she said.


Rick Perry just proposed sweeping new steps to help struggling coal and nuclear plants

Energy Secretary Rick Perry took sweeping steps on Friday to buttress a pair of financially-strapped nuclear plants under construction and redefine how coal and nuclear plants are compensated for the electricity they provide — a move that, if agreed to by independent federal energy regulators, could tilt some of the nation’s complex power markets away from renewables and natural gas.

Perry announced the Energy Department would provide $3.7 billion in loan guarantees to three Georgia utilities struggling to complete a pair of nuclear reactors at the Alvin W. Vogtle generating plant. These loan guarantees come on top of $8.3 billion in loans the department has already given to the project, but they still might fall short of what will be required to complete the costly reactors.

The nuclear project has been running far over-budget and behind schedule, and the utilities have been scrambling to come up with financing after the main engineering company, Westinghouse, declared bankruptcy earlier this year.

The nuclear industry has urged the federal government to help, saying the AP1000 reactors are part of a new generation of nuclear plants. “I believe the future of nuclear energy in the United States is bright and look forward to expanding American leadership in innovative nuclear technologies,” Perry said. He noted the project had created approximately 6,000 construction jobs and, if completed, would create about 800 permanent jobs.

The aid for Vogtle partners would be issued by the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program, which President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal would abolish.

“They certainly have courage to contradict their convictions,” said Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Non-Proliferation Policy Education Center and a longtime critic of federal energy loan guarantees.

Many Republicans have criticized the Energy Department’s loan guarantees, often citing a loan given to Solyndra, a photovoltaic panel manufacturer that went bankrupt. Defenders of the program say the loan guarantee program’s failure rate is well below the level Congress anticipated when it created the program.

“First it’s losing solar programs. Now it’s losing nuclear programs. When are we going to stop subsidizing losers?” Sokolski said.

The new loan guarantees would provide $1.67 billion to Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co.; $1.6 billion to Oglethorpe Power Corp.; and $415 million to three subsidiaries of the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia.

Critics of the loan guarantees say the construction of the Vogtle reactors is risky and there is a strong possibility the loans will not be repaid. The Georgia Public Service Commission must review the utilities’ financial plans and construction progress regularly because the utilities have already been passing along costs to consumers.

“Department of Energy officials should be exercising more caution now, with billions of taxpayer dollars already on the line for the ill-fated nuclear reactor project. Instead, they’ve doubled down on a bad decision,” said Ryan Alexander, the president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, in a statement.

Perry also moved Friday to help nuclear and coal plants competing in regional electricity markets. Citing his department’s recent, contested study about the workings of the electric grid, Perry asked the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, to adopt new regulations that would ensure coal and nuclear plants that add to the grid’s reliability can “[recover] fully allocated costs and thereby continue to provide the energy security on which our nation relies.”

Perry’s letter to FERC, and the proposed regulation, argue these so-called “baseload” plants provide critical stability and reliability to the electric grid and should be compensated accordingly. They cite not only the department’s recent grid study, but also the recent hurricane disasters afflicting the United States and power outages during the 2014 Polar Vortex event.

“What’s most significant about this is that we’ve been working on these issues for the better part of the last 3-plus years, even longer — and what the Secretary has done is said, enough talk, we need to actually act,” said Matt Crozat, the senior director for policy development at the Nuclear Energy Institute, which hailed both of Perry’s moves Friday. “And so what this is going to do is drive to some conclusion what a policy action is going to be.”

FERC has 60 days to decide what action to take, and there is no guarantee the independent agency will go along with Perry’s request. Trump has recently appointed people to key posts at the agency — and the commission’s new chairman, Neil Chatterjee, has already signaled he could be receptive to the move.

“I believe baseload power should be recognized as an essential part of the fuel mix,” Chatterjee said in an August FERC podcast. “I believe that generation, including our existing coal and nuclear fleet, need to be properly compensated to recognize the value they provide to the system.”

“For years, FERC has been relatively fuel-neutral, instead focusing on broader and successful approaches to reliability,” said Dan Reicher, executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford, and former chief of staff and an assistant secretary in the Department of Energy. “The question is whether that era has ended and we’ll now see different commissioners representing different fuel camps.”

If FERC agrees with Perry, and if it decides coal and nuclear are more reliable, the result could potentially mean reducing the use of solar, wind and natural gas by key grid operators in favor of coal and nuclear — which would be compensated in a way that would help prevent more plant closures. Half a dozen reactors have shut down since 2007 and half a dozen more are scheduled to close in the next nine years, according to the Energy Information Administration. The number of operating reactors has dropped from 104 to 99.

Some environmental groups and defenders of renewable energy quickly attacked the proposed regulation as a way of imposing government mandates on the working of energy markets and reducing competition.

“I think this is the most significant electricity policy action in 20 years,” said Rob Gramlich, who works for renewable energy clients through his consulting firm Grid Strategies LLC, and previously served as an adviser to FERC commissioner Pat Wood.

Gramlich argued if FERC goes in this direction, then grid operators are “going to pay for resources they don’t necessarily need. So they’re going to charge homes and businesses more than they otherwise would. And they’re going to use relatively more coal and nuclear relative to gas, wind and solar.”

Mark Kresowik, a deputy regional director for the northeast with the Sierra Club, said he thought that if FERC actually adopted the proposed policy, it would lead to lawsuits or even states dropping out of certain regional electricity markets that would be affected, which primarily lie in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.

“Instead of coal and nuclear plants having to compete against cheaper, cleaner sources, customers would be forced to pay for unnecessary plants,” Kresowik said. “Frankly, I think that states that currently compete and use the markets would leave. I certainly would expect states to walk away from organized markets. It would be the end of competitive markets in the United States of America. That’s not even an exaggeration.”

However, Richard Powell, who runs the conservative ClearPath Foundation and praised Perry’s request, said “if you do allow a lot of these generators to go down, rates are also going to go up, because we’re going to take a lot of capacity offline, which is going to mean power supply is scarcer.” ClearPath is backed by wealthy North Carolina businessman Jay Faison.

Other groups, such as those representing the nuclear and coal industries, also hailed the move Friday.

“We commend Secretary Perry for initiating a rulemaking by FERC that will finally value the on-site fuel security provided by the coal fleet,” said Paul Bailey, the president and chief executive of the American Council for Clean Coal Electricity, whose members include the nation’s largest coal mining companies, coal-intensive utilities and coal-carrying railroads. “The coal fleet has large stockpiles of coal that help to ensure grid resilience and reliability.  We look forward to working with FERC and grid operators to quickly adopt long overdue market reforms that value the coal fleet.”


Australia: Baby crocs face climate change crunch

As far as I can see, Craig Franklin is an attention-seeking crook.  A study by him is reported below.  No reference is given to the underlying research report so it would appear to be unpublished.  It should  be unpublishable in the light of his previous work, which contradicts his conclusions below.

In his 2015 article "Diving in a warming world: the thermal sensitivity and plasticity of diving performance in juvenile estuarine crocodiles", we read:  "Maximal dive performances, however, were found to be thermally insensitive across the temperature range of 28–35°C".  Come again?  28–35°C is the temperature range he studied below  and the central claim of the article is that crocs can't stay underwater for long if the water is hot

And in his 2013 article we need only to note the heading:  "Hatchling crocodiles maintain a plateau of thermal independence for activity, but at what cost?"

He certainly owes the public an explanation if not a retraction.  Why did it need a psychologist to call this Warmist galoot out?

And, anyway, there must be at least 100,000 crocs in Australian  waters. No-one would miss them if there were fewer of them

More baby crocs could be gobbled up by predators as climate change warms the waters they live in, Queensland scientists warn.
Australian Associated PressOctober 5, 201710:00am

Climate change could make a meal of baby crocs, with warmer water slashing the amount of time they can hide underwater to avoid being eaten.

Juvenile crocs rely on so-called fright-dives to escape their natural predators including birds of prey, large fish, freshwater turtles, and larger crocs.

But a new study shows that in warmer water - an inevitable result of climate change - their defensive dives are shortened by half.

University of Queensland researcher Craig Franklin says that could threaten survival rates as the climate continues to warm.

His study exposed baby crocs to current river temperatures of about 28 degrees, and also to temperatures of about 34 degrees, expected by the end of the century.

He worked out that as crocs get warmer, they consume oxygen faster as their metabolism increases.

That halves the length of time they can spend hiding underwater, forcing them to surface more quickly to take another breath.

Crocs conditioned to existing temperatures could stay submerged for 18.5 minutes, and over an hour if they felt particularly harassed.

But those used to the warmer water could only stay under for nine minutes, and a maximum of 28 minutes if they felt very threatened.

Crocs conditioned to the warmer water were unable to lower their metabolism, burning through oxygen faster and forcing them to the surface.

"(We) are concerned that crocodile youngsters will become more vulnerable to predators as they are likely to have to surface more frequently if the temperature continues rising," Prof Franklin and his research associate Essie Rodgers warn.

The study involved saltwater crocs, a species that already has a very high juvenile mortality rate.

Young hatchlings are often eaten, even with their longer defensive dives, and very few make it to adulthood.

Saltwater crocs were widely hunted across northern Australia until the 1960s. Since the 1970s they've been protected, and numbers have recovered but the species is still listed as vulnerable in Queensland.




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, 2017

The maxim of all scientists — "I might be wrong."

An article below by a couple of biologists (Arturo Casadevall and Ferric C. Fang) is amusingly lacking in self-insight. They present themselves as defenders of science but are themselves unscientific.  They  proclaim that the maxim of all scientists is "I might be wrong." But climate scientists are apparently exempt from that rule. When did any Warmist say he might be wrong about Warmism?  The few who have done so -- e.g. James Lovelock -- immediately get cast out into the outer darkness of denialdom.

The authors say that because most climate scientists appear to believe in global warming it must be right.  Most scientists once believed in phlogiston and that the position of the continents was fixed but that wasn't right.  Consensus proves nothing.  Science relies on scrutiny of the evidience, not majority votes.

If only climate scientists DID say "I might be wrong"!  They don't.  On the criterion suggested for science by Arturo Casadevall and Ferric C. Fang below, Warmist dogmatism in fact shows that they are not scientists

Attacks on science are nothing new.

In the fifth century, an angry mob murdered Hypatia, one of the most gifted female astronomers of antiquity, allegedly because her calculation of the vernal equinox raised questions about the accuracy of the Alexandrian calendar. A millennium later, the Inquisition burned Giordano Bruno at the stake over his claim that the universe is infinite and contains other worlds. A few years later, Galileo was tried by the Inquisition over his support of heliocentric theory. Benjamin Franklin, influenced by his older brother James, initially opposed vaccination against smallpox. In 1925 John Scopes was convicted of violating Tennessee law by teaching evolution.

Despite these attacks, the results are always the same.

The mob may have silenced Hypatia, but few rely on the Alexandrian calendar anymore. Searching for other worlds is now a full-time occupation for many astronomers. Although Galileo was forced to recant that the earth revolves around the sun, popular legend has it that he muttered "Eppur si muove" (and yet it moves) under his breath. Franklin came to regret his earlier views and became a staunch smallpox vaccine advocate after his young son died of the disease in 1736. And the subject for which Scopes was convicted became the foundation of modern biology.

Today there are many active fronts in the war on science. Climatologists are attacked for their virtually unanimous consensus that earth is facing a period of anthropogenic climate change. A vocal movement claims that vaccines are responsible for autism despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The theory of evolution remains under attack by creationists. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including pest-resistant crops that promise greater bounties, are banned in many countries despite overwhelming evidence that they are safe for people and the environment. In keeping with this mood, the Trump administration has repeatedly belittled the value of scientific expertise and eliminated scientists from panels that advise the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice.

Those who deny specific scientific findings and theories are neither idiots or Luddites. Such individuals have no problem using the fruits of science and technology such as cell phones, medicines and computers. Science deniers are selective in their rejection of science when it focuses on a specific finding that they do not like.

Despite the widespread evidence of science denialism, there is no organized opposition to broad swaths of scientific theory. For instance, no one is denying major theories such as the standard model of particle physics, the germ theory of disease, general relativity, lunar origins, continental drift or Mendelian genetics. Those who make war on science are opposed to some particular scientific finding rather than the scientific method or the entirety of science.

Why do certain aspects of science trigger opposition? Current and historical controversies suggest that opponents of science typically fall into two broad camps: philosophical and economic.

Hypatia, Bruno, Galileo and Darwin proposed ideas that ran afoul of religious teachings. Resistance to vaccines and GMOs is also centered on belief systems that fear the consequences of modern technology.

On the other hand, the denial of climate science is centered on resistance to economic and lifestyle changes that would bring about major disruption to certain ways of life, as we switch away from carbon-based fuels. A sweeping and unreferenced assertion bordering on the libellous. Where is the scientific proof for that claim?  There is none. As a "denier", my objection is based on the poor fit between temperature and CO2 levels.  The authors here seem to think abuse substitutes for argument: Very Leftist and thoroughly discreditable.  They are just parroting hate-filled Leftist talking points

Similarly, resistance to forensic science reform is based on a reluctance to change prosecutorial practice.

A common denominator of science denial is the rejection of information that is obtained experimentally and rationally in favor of alternative facts. Where is the evidence of anthropogenic global warming?  It is just a theory that has so far proven unable to generate accurate predictions -- So it has failed the acid test of any scientific theory

Unfortunately, science denialism has consequences. Today we are seeing the reemergence of preventable and life-threatening infections like pertussis and measles because parents fear the vaccines more than the diseases. Denial of climate change is delaying the development of alternative energy sources to reduce carbon emissions and preserve the planet for future generations. The failure to reform forensic science can allow innocent individuals to be punished for crimes they did not commit while actual perpetrators remain free to commit other crimes.

Science is different than most other human endeavors in that it always considers its knowledge to be provisional. As Einstein remarked, "I sometimes feel that I am right — I do not know that I am." This can seemingly place scientists at a disadvantage, as scientists are reluctant to respond with the same level of certainty as denialists.

However, it would behoove denialists to consider the maxim of all scientists — "I might be wrong."

History has repeatedly taught us that nature is indifferent to whether humans choose to believe in right or wrong ideas. Denial of the truth has always ultimately proven to be futile. The earth still revolves around the sun, life evolves and infectious epidemics continue to threaten humankind.

Devastating hurricanes, floods and droughts do not care whether or not we believe in anthropogenic climate change. They will come anyway.

But denialism can place society at greater risk by failing to prepare for worst-case scenarios and to adopt strategies to mitigate our effects on the environment. It is time for those in denial to ask themselves, "But what if I'm wrong?" The time will be when Warmists say: "But what if I'm wrong?"


New Study: Global Warming Standstill Confirmed, Climate Models Wrong

Natural climate variability: Interpretation of the post 2000 temperature standstill

Nicola Scafetta et al.


The period from 2000 to 2016 shows a modest warming trend that the advocates of the anthropogenic global warming theory have labeled as the “pause” or “hiatus.” These labels were chosen to indicate that the observed temperature standstill period results from an unforced internal fluctuation of the climate (e.g. by heat uptake of the deep ocean) that the computer climate models are claimed to occasionally reproduce without contradicting the anthropogenic global warming theory (AGWT) paradigm.

In part 1 of this work, it was shown that the statistical analysis rejects such labels with a 95% confidence because the standstill period has lasted more than the 15 year period limit provided by the AGWT advocates themselves.

Anyhow, the strong warming peak observed in 2015-2016, the “hottest year on record,” gave the impression that the temperature standstill stopped in 2014. Herein, the authors show that such a temperature peak is unrelated to anthropogenic forcing: it simply emerged from the natural fast fluctuations of the climate associated to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon.

By removing the ENSO signature, the authors show that the temperature trend from 2000 to 2016 clearly diverges from the general circulation model (GCM) simulations. Thus, the GCMs models used to support the AGWT are very likely flawed.

By contrast, the semi-empirical climate models proposed in 2011 and 2013 by Scafetta, which are based on a specific set of natural climatic oscillations believed to be astronomically induced plus a significantly reduced anthropogenic contribution, agree far better with the latest observations.


Latest global warming panic is topical, but it isn't science

John Robson:

No sooner had a series of storms devastated the Caribbean basin than the climate change vultures pounced, calling it definitive proof of man’s disruptive effect on the weather. Which you might call fair enough since they’ve been predicting this result for decades. Except they haven’t.

At least not successfully or consistently. They have been predicting extreme weather ever since their prediction of skyrocketing temperature went flat, with a two-decade “hiatus” since 1997, despite ever-increasing CO2 levels. But before 2017, the U.S. had gone almost 12 years without a single Category 3 or stronger storm making landfall.

During that time media outlets were explaining why man-made climate change actually meant less severe storms. In 2008, the Ottawa Citizen said, “the extra heat will indeed pump more energy into the storms, but will also build up a phenomenon known to limit the storms: wind shear.” In 2010, MSNBC wrote soberly, “Top researchers now agree that the world is likely to get stronger but fewer hurricanes in the future because of global warming…”

Then Harvey hit and they pivoted on a dime, saying things like, “Global warming to make powerful hurricanes more likely” (Boston Globe), and, “Increased rainfall and higher storm surges — which caused severe damage this month — are two of the clearer effects of climate change” (David Leonhardt in the New York Times.)

It’s not a theory if it only predicts things after the fact. Like the Times blaming man-made global warming for the California drought and also its soggy end. And there’s a far deeper problem here.

Even if you believe the Earth has been warming since the Little Ice Age ended in Victorian times, and somehow blame humans even though the Little Ice Age itself is part of well-established cyclical trends of often dramatic natural fluctuations going back hundreds, thousands and indeed millions of years, there is no coherent reason to think increasing temperatures means worse weather.

It is possible to construct elaborate theoretical models for such a result or to shout about it, from Al Gore’s claim that warming causes simultaneous flooding and droughts, to Thomas Friedman in the New York Times this Sept. 13: “The climate has always changed by itself through its own natural variability. But that doesn’t mean that humans can’t exacerbate or disrupt this natural variability by warming the planet even more and, by doing so, making the hots hotter, the wets wetter, the storms harsher, the colds colder and the droughts drier.”

The problem is, there’s no result to explain. There’s no historical evidence that warming is generally associated with worse weather. We have no reason to think droughts are worse today than in the “Dust Bowl” of the 1930s, let alone the 17th century or the 13th. Or that flooding is. Or that hurricanes are. Our fairly good storm records for the past century show a mild decrease in tornadoes, cyclones and such like.

When they do happen they can do enormous damage. Like 1780’s “Great Hurricane” that killed 22,000 people, the deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record. Or 1900’s “Galveston,” the worst natural disaster in American history.

All these theoretical models are an attempt to dispense with evidence, not explain it. Three of the 10 deadliest Atlantic hurricanes on record were in the 18th century and four others before the Second World War. And while we lack detailed storm records from 800 or 8,000 years ago we do know Der Grote Mandrenk in January 1362 wiped entire islands and towns off the map of northern Europe during the disastrous cooling that brought the Medieval Warm Period to a grim end, complete with failed harvests and Black Death.

We also have a rough idea what the climate was like on Earth going back 500 million years. Normally it was warmer than today, often by around 10 degrees Centigrade. And this warmer Earth was extremely hospitable to life, from Eocene mammals to Mesozoic dinosaurs to the Cambrian Explosion.

To say that warm is generally good is not to deny that sudden temperature changes spell trouble for those plants, animals and people who live through them or don’t. But if you’re going to have a sudden temperature change, up is better than down; the Medieval Warm Period, Roman Warm Period and Holocene Climatic Optimum were all far better than the glaciers coming back. And there’s nothing to suggest they were stormier than the Dark Ages or Little Ice Age.

The assertion that storms are worse on a warmer planet is sheer, cheeky invention quite independent of facts. If it turns out that 2017 is cooler than 2014-16 will Friedman or Gore attribute recent storms to the cooling? Not a chance. And that’s not science.


If the 'end of oil' is upon us, why's demand for crude rising at near-record pace?

Peter Tertzakian

Oil and gas plus conventional vehicle sales adds up to more than US$5 trillion per year of business. That’s a big tree to shake

Change in the world of wheels is accelerating! Momentum is building and some days it’s hard to keep up.

Every week, the assumptions about the future of transportation, and the energy systems that turn our wheels, are becoming more Jetson-esque.

The excitement is palpable and as a technology junkie I love it. Auto shows are rolling out new electric vehicle (EV) models; China says it’s planning on banning internal combustion engines (ICE); and Daimler is jockeying with Tesla in the budding electric truck segment. In the battery world, lithium prices have reached an all-time high on anticipated demand growth. In tow with all the EV news, there is a trailer full of autonomous vehicle talk that makes me think that 1950s Popular Science articles were real after all.

But it’s time to take our foot of the accelerator and make sense of it all.

For the next several columns I’ll be looking at what the pundits are saying, characterizing and examining all assumptions, and putting things into pragmatic context.

I know one thing for sure: this is a very complicated and contentious subject. There are no easy parallels. An electric car is not like a smartphone or a Netflix subscription. For one thing, neither had much competitive resistance.

Parrying against the sunny alt-transport news, there is a cloudy, competitive reality. Global oil demand is ratcheting up at near-record pace. A couple of weeks ago, the International Energy Agency put our oil-addicted world on track for a 1.6 million barrels per day of growth this year over last (the 20-year average is 1.2 million bpd per year).

For 2018, analysts are already starting to escalate their oil growth forecasts. The lesson shouldn’t be lost on any of us: Never underestimate the consumer’s ability to overindulge in cheap energy commodities.

“Death of the Combustion Engine” and the “End of Oil” headlines are increasing in frequency on the promise of better, cheaper EVs with greater selection. Yet the actual data trends for ICE car sales and oil consumption are like pistons firing in the other direction, revving harder and racing away from any speculative eulogies.

What to believe?

There is little debate in my mind that big changes are forthcoming to our energy systems and transportation paradigms. For context, let’s think about how big is big?

Just the scale of what’s in play will challenge many assumptions and forecasts. As the baseball philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

When it comes to oil and autos, big is a word that is not big enough. Transitioning not one, but two of the largest industries in the world simultaneously is unprecedented. Both have multi-trillion-dollar roots as tough as oak trees.

Our daily dose of oil momentarily touched 100 million-barrels-a-day in June. I estimate we’ll sustain past that incomprehensible century marker by the middle of 2018. That’s the equivalent rate of burning an ultra-large supertanker of oil every half hour.

From a sales perspective, the top 10 integrated oil and gas companies recorded annual revenue in excess of US$3.1 trillion per year in 2015. For comparison, the top 10 technology companies add up to US$1.3 trillion in sales and they sell a lot more than just smartphones.

There are over 1.2 billion ICE-powered vehicles on the road today. If the average vehicle is modestly worth US$20,000, that represents a potential fleet turnover of US$20 trillion. Electrifying this fleet on a fast track won’t be limited by technology (it never is). Aggressive adoption scenarios will be a function of many other considerations; for example, who will compensate car owners for trillions of dollars of devalued capital stock?

And the capital stock of a billion-plus vehicles isn’t static. After scrapping 40 million clunkers every year, the overall vehicle fleet is still expanding at a rate of 50 million vehicles annually, 99 percent of which are still ICE-powered. Like oil, autos are big business too: Off the assembly lines, the top 10 conventional automakers generate US$1.6 trillion in sales worldwide.

Oil and gas plus conventional vehicle sales adds up to more than US$5 trillion per year of business. That’s a big tree to shake. The multi-trillion-dollar scale of what’s in play is unlike any other we’ve seen. So, even modest shifts in the way we turn our wheels will be hugely impactful.

Many unknowns are in play. Will the world be driving 1.5 or over 2.0 billion vehicles by 2040? How many kilometers will each person be traveling, on average? At what rate will people switch from ICE to EV? Will EVs be full or partial substitutes for each of the various wheeled transportation segments? What will the value of a used car be?

Change one small assumption in the decades to follow—for example, how long people hold onto cars before trading them in—and the forecasts are out by a couple hundred million electric vehicles, several million barrels of oil per day, and hundreds of millions of tons of carbon per year.


'Really awful': 50-degree days possible for Sydney, Melbourne, as warming worsens

Possible?  So is Armageddon and the conversion of the Jews.  Below are just prophecies based on models that have never got a prophecy right yet.  One wonders why they continue to bother

Sydney and Melbourne can expect summer days when the mercury climbs to 50 degrees within a couple of decades if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, new research has found.

The study, led by Sophie Lewis at the Australian National University, analysed new models being prepared for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to examine the difference between a 1.5- and 2-degree warming limit compared with pre-industrial times.

At the upper end of the range – which would amount to a 1.1-degree rise from current global warming levels – NSW's record extremes would increase 3.8 degrees compared with existing records. Those in Victoria would rise by 2.3 degrees, the simulations showed.

For Sydney and Melbourne, populations could swelter in 50-degree weather even if the 2-degree global warming limit agreed in the 2015 Paris accord were achieved, according to the research co-authored by Andrew King from Melbourne University and published Wednesday in Geophysical Research Letters.

"If we warm average temperatures, we shift the whole distribution of temperatures, and we see a really large percentage increase in the extremes," Dr Lewis told Fairfax Media.

"What seems like a small increase in average temperatures, say 1 degree, can lead to a two- or three-fold acceleration in the severity of the extremes."

Under a high carbon emissions scenario, 50-degree days could arrive "as early as the 2040s", Dr Lewis said, adding that even with a concerted reduction in pollution, those temperatures could be reached by about 2060.




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, 2017

EPA endangerment finding endangers USA

Trump must reverse EPA’s climate change “Endangerment Finding”

Dennis T. Avery

Nine years ago, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency issued an “Endangerment Finding.” It claimed that methane leaks from natural gas production and pipelines, and manmade carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, cause dangerous global warming that poses an imminent danger to the health and wellbeing of Americans. However, the Finding was based on computerized climate models that couldn’t even successfully hind-cast the weather we’d had over the past century – much less forecast Earth’s climate 100 years into the future. In fact, Earth’s climate has changed frequently, often abruptly.

EPA essentially asserted that the 80% of our energy that comes from coal, oil and natural gas caused all our planet’s recent warming and any more warming is a long-term threat. Obama’s team thus bet in 2009 that Earth’s warming from 1976–98 would continue. But it didn’t. Never mind all those recent NOAA and NASA claims that 2016 was our “hottest year” ever. Satellites are our most honest indicator, and they say our planet’s temperature has risen an insignificant 0.02 degrees C (0.04 degrees F) since 1998.

That 20-year non-warming clearly shows that the models are worthless for prediction. But the Federal Appeals Court in Washington nevertheless recently cited methane emissions to block regulatory approval for a new natural gas pipeline. The ruling will encourage radical greens to keep thinking they can regulate gas and oil production and transport into oblivion. Alarmists across the country are already citing the new precedent in other cases, in effect demanding re-hearings on Trump’s entire energy plan.

If the courts decree that pipelines cause dangerous methane emissions, the U.S. will be forced to generate electricity increasingly via the infamous whimsies of wind and sunshine. But the models’ prediction of dangerously rising temperatures have proven wrong. The disparity between the models’ predictions and the thermometer readings is growing wider by the day. We should not base regulations on them.

In science, if your theory doesn’t take account of all the relevant data, you need a new theory.

Meanwhile, thousands of new coal-fired power plants are being built around the world – even in Europe. (Many Third World power plants are being built with Chinese financing.) The CO2 from this new coal-fired power will dwarf whatever emissions the judges hope to prevent in America.

The President now risks losing the economic growth and millions of new jobs that abundant, affordable energy could and should create. Without new pipelines, our “miraculous” fracked gas will be trapped in the semideserts and mountains where the gas is found.

What danger can today’s EPA find in earth’s current 20-year non-warming? What ice-melt will that trigger? What sea level rise? World food production has just set a new record, in large part because higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere act like fertilizer for crop plants (as well as for forests and grasslands).

Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court should strongly encourage a Trump Endangerment reversal. Gorsuch stated in a 2016 opinion that the so-called Chevron Precedent is “difficult to square with the Constitution.” Chevron says courts should defer to federal judges on laws that are ambiguous. He believes it shifts too much power from Congress to unelected bureaucrats.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will need to build a strong case for the reversal, however, because the Supreme Court still does not have a reliable 5–4 conservative majority. Pruitt’s current approach of setting up competing red-teams vs. blue teams must help convince Justice Kennedy that the world today looks much different from when the EPA rubberstamped the IPCC and its failed climate models.

The science was not settled in 2009; and, fortunately, the weight of evidence has since shifted importantly toward the skeptics. It starts with the still-continuing 20-year non-warming. The best “answer” the alarmists can find is that “extra” CO2 heat is hiding in the deep ocean depths. But cold water is heavier than warm water, so the warm water would have warmed the depths on its way down. NASA’s newer and more-accurate data comes from ARGO floats that periodically dive to sample water temperatures 2100 feet below the surface. They find no hidden heat.

Moreover, Earth has been warming, erratically but persistently, since 1715. How much of this warming was due to natural cycles, and how much was man-made? Of any manmade portion, how much was due to CO2, and how much to expanding Urban Heat Islands and cutting down forests? Climate realists say CO2 added barely one degree C; alarmists claim it will increase temperatures by up to 12 degrees C!

How did hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria destroy so much property with only 0.02 degrees C of warming? Britain’s wooden-ship logbooks from 1700 to1850 confirm that there were twice as many major landfalling Caribbean hurricanes per decade during the cold Little Ice Age as during the far warmer years from 1950 to 2000. Nor has the post-1998 weather produced more frequent to intensive storms, longer droughts, or any of the other climate impacts that Obama’s EPA insisted would happen.

The simple truth is that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation has given the world a climate scare every 25 to 30 years since we got thermometers around 1850 (even though the PDO wasn’t even recognized until 1996). In 1845, the ships of Sir John Franklin’s Arctic expedition were crushed by ice. Just 64 years later, in 1909, Roald Amundsen sailed through a relatively warm, ice-free Northwest Passage. In the 1970s, we were warned urgently of a new Ice Age. And then came the “overheated” Al Gore years, 1976–1998.

The huge Pacific Ocean’s 60-year oscillation raises ocean temperatures – and thus the world’s – by 1 to 2 degrees C (1.8 to 3.6 degrees F) for about 30 years, then shifts back again for another 30 years. Every time it shifted in the past, alarmists extended the latest reading in a straight line for five or 20 years and screamed: “ Global Disaster!”  This time, the alarmists claim the non-warming isn’t real!

Today, there’s no doubt the models have predicted more than twice as much warming as we’ve observed. Given the high number of official thermometers that are located in urban areas and near airport tarmac, the models may be overpredicting by three-fold!

Another major new scientific finding also goes against the alarmists. Last year CERN (the multi-billion-dollar Institute for European Nuclear Research) told CERN Courier subscribers that all the climate models must be re-done. CERN reported that its CLOUD experiment had used its huge particle accelerator and a giant cloud chamber to demonstrate that the sun and cosmic rays are the real “mystery factors” in earth’s climate. The research supports the contention that CO2 is only a bit player.

CERN says the sun was weak during the Little Ice Age (indeed, during all the “little ice ages”). This allowed far more cosmic rays to hit our atmosphere. Those extra hits shattered millions more molecules into zillions of tiny “cloud seeds.” Each cloud seed carried an electric charge that attracted other molecules to form clumps – and gave us up to ten times as many low clouds. Earth cooled for centuries under overcast skies, as if under a giant awning. Then the sun became more active, there were fewer cosmic rays, the skies got sunnier, and Earth warmed – for centuries.

History says the Modern Warming is likely to last at least another two centuries. The Medieval Warming (350 years long) was the shortest past warming we can find. But first, CERN says, we will have to go through a 60-year Solar Sunspot Minimum that will drop Earth’s temperatures even lower than today for the next 60 years. The Minimums are another recently-recognized cycle: up to 200 years long.

How will a century of non-warming possibly endanger Americans? Trump should be eager to take on Obama’s outdated and ill-informed Endangerment Finding.

Via email

Fat healthy polar bear update: hundreds of not-starving bears attracted to dead whale

Are the hundreds of polar bears spending the summer on Wrangel Island in the Chukchi Sea starving and desperate for any scrap of food? Hardly! Photos taken by Russian tourists on a cruise ship (19 September 2017) show a huge number of already-fat, healthy bears converging on a dead bowhead whale washed up on a beach.

The extraordinary sight was witnessed by tourists on an Arctic cruise aboard the Finnish-built MV Akademik Shokalskiy.

A source at Wrangel Island Nature Reserve said: “There were at least 230 polar bears, including single males, single females, mothers with cubs and even two mothers with four cubs each.”

Experts called the sight of so many polar bears together “unique”. The huge number could in fact amount to as much one per cent of the entire world’s population of the creatures.

Tourists initially thought the bears were a flock of sheep after viewing them from a distance, The Siberian Times reports.

But as the boat drew closer, the lucky holidaymakers realised what they were witnessing.

A self-proclaimed science-based news site (LiveScience, 29 September) that picked up the story of this unique event had the temerity to suggest the bears might have been “hungrier than usual” due to global warming.

It deliberately conflates predictions of future starving bears due to low sea ice levels with this observation of many obviously not-starving bears checking out an attractive food source

“It’s unclear, however, whether climate change had made these particular bears hungrier than usual. The frequency of starving polar bears is expected to increase as the climate warms and sea ice declines — not just because of climate change directly, but because ice loss is taking away seals, their main food source, Steven Amstrup, chief scientist at Polar Bears International, a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying polar bears, told Live Science in 2015.”

Except that there is no evidence that ice loss is “taking seals away” — certainly not in the Chukchi Sea. Chukchi Sea seals have been found to be doing better with less ice than they were when there was more ice in the 1980s.


Hurricanes, Global Warming, and the Straitjacketing of Science

It was the most intense tropical cyclone ever to hit the mainland of the United States. Having a pressure of 892 millibars at landfall in the Florida Keys, it packed winds of an estimated 185 miles per hour and carried a storm surge of 20 feet. More than 400 people lost their lives from the storm.

Another hurricane slammed into the Gulf Coast, carrying winds close to 180 miles an hour, and even after it had weakened into a tropical depression, it deposited 40 or more inches of rain, causing massive flooding and killing more than 100 people.

The first storm, the Labor Day Hurricane, happened in 1935, while the second is the infamous Hurricane Camille, which came ashore in 1969. While they still remain the two most intense hurricanes ever to strike the USA, no one ever has suggested that either had anything to do with climate change.

No one doubts, however, that if either of those two Category 5 hurricanes were to occur today, a chorus of scientists, politicians, and journalists would claim that their intensity was due unequivocally to global warming. Global warming activists Michael E. Mann, Susan J. Hassol, and Thomas C. Peterson recently wrote in the Washington Post:

"Hurricanes get their energy from warm ocean waters, and the oceans are warming because of the human-caused buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, primarily from the burning of coal, oil, and gas. The strongest hurricanes have gotten stronger because of global warming. Over the past two years, we have witnessed the most intense hurricanes on record for the globe, both hemispheres, the Pacific and now, with Irma, the Atlantic."

As Roy Spencer and other scientists have noted, however, there is no scientific proof that storms are becoming stronger than they were before. Simple observation tells us that if storm intensity were due simply to global warming – with earth becoming increasingly warmer each year and a steady upward pattern – then the Atlantic Ocean that produced a Category 5 hurricane nearly a century ago should be producing out-of-category storms on a regular basis today.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, climate change advocates intoned that similar storms would become a “new normal,” but neither their climate models nor their own logic could have predicted a 12-year hiatus in major hurricanes striking the USA. That the hiatus would violate their own predictive models simply was ignored, as activists have turned to a new strategy: criminalizing so-called climate denial.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, The Nation declared that people who deny that climate change is responsible for bad weather are guilty of murder and should be criminally punished:

"It is past time to call out Trump and all climate deniers for this crime against humanity. No more treating climate denial like an honest difference of opinion."

One might recall that following World War II, Nazi officials and collaborators were tried on charges of “crimes against humanity.” Many were executed, and thousands more were imprisoned. While The Nation has not yet called for mass executions and imprisonment of those who do not share the beliefs of the publication, one might recall that The Nation has supported communist revolutions for the past century in which mass executions, torture, and imprisonment were the norm.

It is not only The Nation that is calling for harsh sanctions against so-called climate deniers. In 2016, then-U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told Congress her office not only was looking into civil action against the “deniers,” but also had “referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action.”Likewise, when she was California attorney general, Kamala Harris, now a U.S. Senator and a reported candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2020, ordered a criminal investigation of Exxon-Mobil Corporation to see if the company had deliberately lied to the public about the so-called dangers of climate change.

As more and more politicians and journalists call for criminal prosecutions of scientists and their associates for simply disagreeing with people like Michael Mann, the dangers of an American version of Lysenkoism increase. (Trofim Lysenko was a Soviet scientist whose dangerously wrong views on agriculture gained Stalin’s support. Dissenting scientists were fired, imprisoned, and even executed for their alleged apostasy.)

Unfortunately, we seem to beyond a point where even honest discussions about the weather are possible. Not that long ago, a politician that ran on a platform of giving us better weather would have been relegated to the Pantheon of Losers. Today, at least one major political party requires such promises as a condition of nomination, and they are fast moving to a place of no return. Any scientific discussion that questions “orthodoxy” at all is considered heresy.


Can we really limit global warming to “well below” two degrees centigrade?

Some Greenie pessimism below

Yes, but only in a model. We have essentially emitted too much carbon dioxide already, and the most feasible pathways to stay “well below” two degrees all require removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at an unprecedented scale.

Will we retire existing fossil fuel infrastructure at the required rates to limit global temperature rise to well below two degrees? (Photo: Shutterstock)
It is a question that I am asked a lot: Is the “well below” two degree target set out in the Paris Climate Agreement feasible?

Most recently, a study published in Nature Geoscience suggests that it could indeed still be feasible.

My answer is, yes, I think it is. But only in a theoretical sense, in a model. Not in practice. Here is why.

Defining “well below” two degrees

The ambition of the Paris Agreement has become well-known:

“Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.”

But the text is suitably ambiguous that many different interpretations are possible. Rather convenient for policy makers who need some wiggle room if they don’t deliver on their promises.

If we are to stand any chance of meeting the ambitions of the Paris Agreement, we first need to define exactly what “well below” two degrees centigrade means in practice.

The scientific community often expresses temperature targets with a given probability, to encompass uncertainties in the climate system. An important uncertainty is how much the climate may warm for a given amount of carbon dioxide emissions.


Despite Greenie prophecies of doom, the Great Barrier Reef is bouncing back from its recent stresses

Researchers have observed signs of new life in some of the worst affected areas of coral bleaching of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

The corals of the Great Barrier Reef have undergone two successive bleaching events, in 2016 and earlier this year, raising experts' concerns about the capacity for reefs to survive under global-warming induced events.

But after a coral reef survey in September, researchers found tiny sacs of white eggs in bleached coral reefs, raising new hope for the reefs after the recent bleaching events, which affected close to two thirds of the Great Barrier Reef.

The tiny coral eggs were found in coral reefs between Townsville and Cairns, by researchers with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).

Dr Neal Cantin and project leader Dr Line Bay, who are part of the coral bleaching response team, were surprised to discover early signs of new life.

Dr Cantin says they'd returned to assess the mortality and survivorship from the central sector of the Great Barrier Reef.

'We travelled to 14 reefs between Townsville and Cairns, including Fitzroy Island where we saw surviving coral producing eggs, which was not expected at all,' Dr Cantin said.

'Previous studies have shown a two to three year delay in reproduction after severe bleaching but at most of the reefs we are finding colonies of Acropora (branching hard coral) colonies with early signs of egg development in shallow waters, 3m to 6m deep.'

Dr Bay said that the researchers took samples from six different coral species across inshore and offshore environments to help them understand how water quality may also affect bleaching susceptibility and recovery.

While the researchers still have to analyze the data, the reaf bserved significant recovery, particularly on the inshore reefs.

'The majority of coral colonies on the inshore reefs have regained their color and the growth of some colonies was so good they had overgrown our original research tags,' Dr Bay said.

However, the news was not all good. 'Some of the more sensitive corals are now rare even in areas where they had been abundant in March,' Dr Bay said.

Dr Cantin says that fertilization of the tiny eggs happens during the annual spawning event, which is due on the full moon of December 5, and the AIMS research team will test whether the eggs are able to be fertilized. "There is concern the eggs may not be able to successfully fertilize and develop into coral larvae,' Dr Cantin said. 'The eggs are now white, and just before the spawning event they should turn pink when they are preparing for the spawning.'

Dr Cantin says each coral could produce eight to 12 eggs per polyp in colonies of thousands of connected polyps.




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


3 October, 2017

Experts Mock California Enviro Push To Ban Fossil Fuel Vehicles In The State

Analysts and conservatives believe a Democrat-led plan to propose a ban on gas-powered cars in California later this year is a pie-in-the-sky scheme that ignores important factors about the state’s auto industry.

Assemblyman Phil Ting plans to introduce a bill in January that would ban the sale of gas-powered cars produced after 2040. The Democratic lawmaker said California drivers must adopt electric vehicles if the state is going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – but some are scoffing at the push.

“The market is moving this way. The entire world is moving this way. At some point you need to set a goal and put a line in the sand,” Ting told reporters Friday. Environmental groups such as the Sierra Club have joined his push to wipe out the state’s fossil fuel industry.

“It’s an important conversation to have and we’re glad it’s starting to get some traction,” said Gina Coplon-Newfield, an official with the Sierra Club who works on promoting green energy technology. Ting and Sierra Club are meeting some stiff resistance from people who suggest the idea probably not doable.

Kerry Jackson, a fellow at the Pacific Research Institute, a California-based free market non-profit group, for instance, told reporters that the push to force citizens to abandon their gas-powered cars is another example of the state’s overzealous environmentalism.

“The reaction is like, ‘Gee, somebody has been reading The Onion and they got taken in by the parody,” he said, responding to lawmakers’ desire to delete the fossil fuel industry. “But then it fades a little bit and you go, ‘Yeah, this is California.'”

Electric vehicle sales in California amount to less than five percent of the state’s overall car sales, despite the Golden State’s title as a champion for the electric vehicle market. Analysts, meanwhile, believe the market for these types of vehicles is not anywhere near large enough to overcome gas-powered cars.

“I think really the lag here is consumers,” Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with Edmunds, told reporters Friday. “For the automakers, they have to balance the lawmakers’ desires versus what they can actually sell.”

Ting is one several California Democrats pushing to increase incentives for drivers to adopt electric vehicles. His overall push could hit stiff resistance from an unlikely foe: Democrats who are still tied in with the state’s strong manufacturing unions.

Democrats passed an amendment to a California program earlier this month requiring manufacturers verify that they are “fair and responsible in their treatment of workers” before they can take advantage of a $2,500 rebate encouraging citizens buy Tesla vehicles.

The legislation was a shot across the bow of Tesla, a company that relied on a $82.5 million subsidy from the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, which gives extra incentive to 32,842 Tesla buyers in seven years.

California’s legislature defeated a pair of bills that would have required all electricity in the state to come from non-carbon sources by 2045. Unions vehemently opposed the bill, primarily because they feared the bill didn’t do enough to help protect union workers.

The bill was derailed despite California’s huge Democratic margins in both houses and the Gov. Jerry Brown, who consistently promotes himself as a climate change warrior. Activists were disappointed that unions stymied the effort.


"Clean" diesel was an expensive fraud

Heavily pushed by European governments

A backlash against diesel?sparked mostly by the Volkswagen AG emissions scandal has upended Europe’s big oil refiners, which invested roughly $10 billion?in recent years to equip plants to churn out more of the fuel and now are bracing for plummeting demand.

? Total SA of France, Repsol SA and CEPSA of Spain, and Saras SpA of Italy are planning to use facilities built to produce diesel mostly for passenger cars to instead provide chemically similar products like container-shipping fuel and jet fuel. They hope to at least minimize the latest blow to an industry that was already being squeezed by competition from Asian and Middle Eastern refiners.

Friday, reverberations continued from the 2015 scandal, as Volkswagen said it would take a fresh charge of €2.5 billion ($2.94 billion) due to higher-than-expected costs of fixing cars in the U.S. The charge brings to nearly $30 billion the total fines, penalties and compensation Volkswagen has paid since it admitted that as many as 11 million of its diesel vehicles world-wide contained software that helped the cars appear to meet standards for toxic emissions. In late 2016, Volkswagen pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government over the scandal.

Oil refiners had pinned their hopes on European diesel as the Continent’s fleet of personal diesel-powered vehicles grew to 45% by 2015, compared with 2% in the U.S., according to the International Energy Agency.

The Volkswagen scandal sent sales of diesel vehicles plummeting, particularly in the company’s home country of Germany, where politicians threatened to restrict diesel cars in some cities. Diesel, which emits nitrogen oxide, is now considered a much more serious pollutant than it was just a few years ago, when European governments were promoting the fuel as a cleaner alternative to gasoline, partly through lower taxes.

“Diesel was the darling and has become the devil,” said Dario Scaffardi, executive vice president at Saras.

Total had poured more than $2.4 billion into diesel-friendly upgrades at its two largest European refineries. Repsol and CEPSA invested $4.76 billion and $2.4 billion, respectively, on similar upgrades and modernization projects. Even independent refiners like Saras that aren’t tied to big oil-exploration companies shelled out hundreds of millions of dollars.

Between 2005 and 2017, European refiners invested a total of around $10 billion equipping their plants to churn out diesel, a capacity increase of nearly 60%, according to IHS Markit.


Nature, German Politics and Science

Last week I received links to three Nature editorials that were published on 6 September. The first strongly endorsed Angela Merkel in the German election to be held on 24 September, extolling the virtues of German science while accusing the USA and the UK of being anti-science. Merkel deserves another term as German chancellor is a must read. The second extols the virtues of Germany’s failing Energiewende. Germany must go back to its low-carbon future. Pro-Germany, pro-Merkel, pro-Energiewende, pro-renewables and anti-USA, anti-UK and anti-fossil fuels. So much for political neutrality and objectivity in science publishing!

The leader from “Merkel deserves another term as German chancellor”:

The former physicist shows a welcome immunity to the mood of anti-science resentment that has infected some democracies.

It is critical here to have a clear understanding of what the term science means. Some democracies have not abandoned science but they are abandoning Greenthinking as it is applied in climate and energy research. Greenthinking is not science as I will explain in an forthcoming post and briefly describe in the Appendix. The democracies abandoning Greenthinking are walking towards the enlightenment of true science.

Let’s take a look at some of the passages from this Nature editorial:

"Like most modern nations, Germany owes its affluence to a powerful composite of liberal democracy, education and curiosity-driven advances in knowledge and technology. But unlike some democracies — the United Kingdom and the United States among them — Germany has wisely chosen not to weaken its scientific base through neglect, isolation or arrogance on the part of the powers that be"

I am not aware of any evidence that supports the contention that the USA or the UK have chosen a path that has deliberately weakened their respective scientific bases. There would be no advantage for either country to do so.

Substitute the word science with Greenthinking in the climate and energy disciplines and you find the whole Nature editorial is duplicitous.

Here is one definition of duplicitous:

"deceitfulness in speech or conduct, as by speaking or acting in two different ways to different people concerning the same matter; double-dealing".

Duplicity, deceit, guile, hypocrisy, fraud, trickery refer either to practices designed to mislead or to the qualities that produce those practices. Duplicity is the form of deceitfulness that leads one to give two impressions, either or both of which may be false.

The move away from Greenthinking (non-science) in the USA and the UK, if this is indeed happening, is cast by Nature as a wholesale abandonment of true science in those countries. The exact opposite is true which Nature conveniently and ironically confirms in a third editorial in the same issue: The secret to Germany’s scientific excellence. This editorial goes deeply into the history of German science and its funding. One can only admire the many German achievements in science and technology.

However this alleged lamentable performance is not borne out by other data:

The useless Brits and Yankees are still ahead of Germany when it comes to journal citations (this admittedly will include non-science disciplines). However, publishing in mother tongue offers English speaking nations a clear advantage. But another statistic conveys US and UK academic excellence against a very poor German performance. Below is a list of the top 10 universities in the World.

University of Oxford
University of Cambridge
California Institute of Technology
Stanford University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Princeton University
Imperial College London
University of Chicago
ETH Zurich

The UK has 3 in the top 10 and the first German entry comes in at 34. The UK is punching way above its weight.

The third editorial, published on the same day, leaves us in no doubt what the Nature editorial team are thinking. Germany must go back to its low-carbon future.

This article bemoans the fact that Germany is one of the dirty Men of Europe and will miss all of its 2020 targets.

"Unfortunately, progress has stalled. The Energiewende milestones for 2020 are already out of reach. Poor policy choices and lobbying by the fossil-fuels industry mean that Germany will not reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions by 40% by 2020, and so will fail to meet its goals under the Paris agreement to keep global temperature increases well below 2 °C."

The author of the article and/or the editorial board at Nature appear not to know that Germany is closing nuclear power stations at the same time as trying to cut CO2 emissions which is a futile exercise. Nuclear power is barely mentioned in the piece.


Concern about windmills in Ireland

Roscommon County Councillors have agreed for an independent noise monitoring survey to be carried out on Sliabh Bán following concerns raised by residents.

The monthly meeting of the local authority also heard calls for CE Eugene Cummins to withdraw comments he made after an unveiling of an amenity on Sliabh Ban earlier this month.

A number of wind farm protestors from Sliabh Bán packed into the gallery in Roscommon County Council on Monday to hear an almost hour-long debate about the controversial wind turbine project.

Chief executive Eugene Cummins came in for strong criticism from a number of councillors following comments he made in the days after unveiling an amenity on the mountain earlier this month in which he allegedly criticised local protestors.

At Monday’s meeting, the CE was called on to withdraw his remarks but the chief executive said his comments at the time were in the context of the opening of the amenity on the mountain and claimed that he is employed to bring investment into the county and to encourage green energy projects.

Councillors did agree a proposal that an independent noise monitoring survey be carried out, while a minimum set-back distance of 1500m from all turbines should also be enacted.

Speaking to Shannonside FM – Frank Kearns, a member of the Sliabh ban residents group said he was pleased that the council were finally listening to residents:


South Australian dairy farmers are exploring becoming independent of state's high-cost "green" power grid

SURGING power prices are pushing South Australian dairy farmers such as James and Robyn Mann to go off-grid. The Manns’ electricity costs have more than doubled in five years, from about $200,000 per annum to $500,000. “It is a pain in the backside,” Mr Mann said.

Due to the high prices, the family will this summer switch to diesel power to run their 116-stand rotary dairy and 14 irrigation centre pivots at Wye in the lower south east of South Australia.

And, as a longer-term measure, they are investigating the economics of installing an on-farm energy solar-diesel-­battery energy generator entirely independent of the mains power grid.

The Manns are among Australia’s top 10 dairy producers, in terms of volume, milking up to 2300 cows and producing 19-21 million litres annually.

Their move comes as South Australia’s dairy lobby has calculated the state’s dairy farmers paid about 40 per cent more for power than their Victorian neighbours last season. And it was the peak times that hurt the most.

Mr Mann said during the past summer’s irrigation times, electricity costs “suddenly became 20 per cent of your milk cheque for some months and that just doesn’t work”. “We have to be mindful about when power becomes expensive, so we’re investigating options to become less reliant on the grid,” he said.

“Its embryonic, but information we have is saying we could get a payback within five years of (setting up a system on-farm) not connected to the grid, a combination of solar, diesel and batteries. “We’ll work out which way we want to go in the next few months; I don’t know yet if we’ll do it.”

Regardless of the outcome of these investigations, Mr Mann said he was planning on switching to diesel to run his dairy and irrigation pivots this summer.

His dairy has had a diesel back-up system, which has been used intermittently as the reliability of the mains power has fallen in the past five years.

The cost of running diesel-powered irrigation pivots, compared with mains electricity powered pivots, were “line ball” last year, Mr Mann said. “Power has just gone up again so I suspect this year diesel will be cheaper,” he said.

“It doesn’t look like there will be much relief on power prices coming and that is likely to get worse.”

South Australian Dairyfarmers Association chief executive Andrew Curtis said comparing SA dairy farmers’ electricity prices to those in Victoria’s Dairy Farm Monitor report last season showed SA dairy farmers paid about 40 per cent more per kilogram of milk solids.

He suspected this could rise to 45 per cent more this season, as all power prices were increasing and SA has the “highest prices in the world”.

Mr Curtis said irrigation had traditionally been the largest user of power on SA dairy farms with more farmers now turning to diesel generators as the cost was comparable for modern efficient generators and they could rely on them.

In the past year he said there had been up to 40 dairy farmers who had lost power four-to-six times, with the power out long enough to affect at least one milking, he said.

The cost of power to a dairy farm business is creeping up, with many farmers reporting a doubling in costs in the past year, Mr Curtis said.

He said SA did not have the base-load power generation of other states and this was predominantly due to a mix of power sources, with more than half of its power coming from renewable sources.




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, 2017

UK: Now wood burning stoves could be banned by radical new laws aiming to reduce air pollution in urban areas

And yet the national government has just converted one of the generators at the Drax power station to run on woodchips rather than coal

Wood burning stoves could be banned under radical new laws aimed to reduce pollution across urban areas, it emerged last night.

Sadiq Khan is seeking powers to prohibit all wood burning in parts of the capital where air quality is poor.

The mayor of London has written to environment secretary Michael Gove seeking new powers to tackle sources of air pollution, according to the Times.

It would mean tighter restrictions on the wood-burning stoves, with only low-emission versions allowed to stay on sale.

The stoves have become popular in middle-class homes and hotels, with 1.5 million across Britain and 200,000 sold annually.

Wood burning is most popular in the southeast, where 16 per cent of households use the stoves compared with less than five per cent in northern England and Scotland.

But recent research suggested that that the fumes emitted are highly toxic.

In January, King's College London found that during a period of very high air pollution, domestic wood burning contributed half the toxic emissions in some areas of the city.

Yesterday he mayor said he wished to 'protect those people that have bought wood burning stoves in good faith' but wanted powers to ban burning of any wood or coal in 'zero-emission zones'.

These zones could be created in 187 areas across London where pollution exceeds European limits.

Mr Khan's letter stated that councils should have powers to enforce the ban, including the ability to carry out inspections and issue fines.

In recent years many people have switched to wood burning because they believe it is greener than using gas boilers – but a wood stove can emit billions of tiny toxic particles that pollute the surrounding area.

Earlier this year it was revealed that the smoke from wood burning stoves contains the toxic pollutant formaldehyde, which has been linked to cancer.


What natural disasters should teach us

Hurricanes, landslides and other disasters show Africans why we need fossil fuels

Steven Lyazi, writing from Africa

I express my deepest sympathies to the people in the Caribbean and United States who have been impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The loss of life was tragic but has thankfully been much lower than in many previous storms. Buildings are stronger, people get warned in time to get out, and they have vehicles to get to safer places until the storms pass.

I also send my sincere sympathies to my fellow Ugandans who have been affected by terrible landslides in eastern Uganda, near Kenya. Natural disasters often strike us hard. Sometimes it is long droughts that dry up our crops and kill many cattle. This year it is torrential rains and landslides.

This time we were lucky. The collapsing hillsides destroyed three villages, but thankfully it was daytime and people were outside. They lost their homes, cattle and ripened crops, but not their families. A horrendous mudslide in the same mountainous area in 2010 buried 350 parents and children under 40 feet of mud and rock.

People there have been cutting down trees for decades – for fuel, lumber and to grow crops. Now no roots hold the hills together when it rains. More cracks have appeared in the hills, so more slides are likely. But people don’t want to leave their lands, and they’re not planting new trees either.

Some people are ignoring all this history and the human roles in causing these “natural” disasters. They are blaming the rains and mudslides on global warming, climate change and the fossil fuels that modern industrialized countries burn to provide modern homes, travels and living standards.

These false claims are intended to divert us from real problems. They are intended to justify demands and campaigns that Ugandans and other Africans should rely on a few wind turbines and solar panels and should never use oil, natural gas or coal to provide cheap, reliable and plentiful energy so that we can live more like Americans or Europeans.

These people want to become our Jesus, and save us from “global warming disasters,” by keeping us poor and at the mercy of Mother Nature. Former vice president Mr. Al Gore said manmade global warming has increased the number and strength of tornadoes and hurricanes, Mount Kilimanjaro’s glacier would disappear by 2016, and Arctic summers would be ice-free as soon as 2014.

None of this happened. So he just changed the year when the disasters will hit. Mr. Gore declares in his film that “it is right to save humanity.” Yes, it is and I support that with no argument.

But I would suggest that he and his friends begin by injecting their own billions of dollars into fossil fuels and nuclear energy to create jobs around the world, help us build modern homes, uplift economies so that people can live a self-sustainable life, and get rid of the diseases that are killing us.

He needs to stop trying to scare us by spreading false gospels about mankind and fossil fuels. He needs to stop trying to save humanity from movie disasters, when we face real disasters. He needs to stop making us rely on renewable energy, while he continues to have many big homes, drive around in big cars and fly in private jets all over the world.

Just in the last 25 years, fossil fuels have helped over 1.5 billion people in developing nations get electricity and escape deprivation, starvation, and lung and intestinal diseases that used to kill them and their children. But Africa, India and Asia still have vast regions that need to be electrified. More than a billion people in those regions still do not enjoy the wonderful blessings that electricity brings.

These places need more coal, gas and nuclear power plants. Thankfully they are building them, no matter what Mr. Gore and his radical friends say. Mr. Gore and his friends have fancy homes with every modern technology that electricity can bring. They have cars and modern hospitals.

My family in Kampala has a few of these things – a few lights and a radio, small stove and not even a little refrigerator. I just got a used computer that a friend sent me from the United States. Someday we would like a television and a normal sized refrigerator, like what we see in Europe and the States. Can we dream that someday we will have air conditioning?

Can the people in eastern Uganda dream of a time when they can rebuild their homes with more than mud and sticks? And actually have electricity, lights, refrigerators and stoves?

Radical Al Gore, renewable energy cheerleaders and climate activists have sweet homes and nice cars, jets and trains to take them anywhere they want to go 24/7. They cannot even come close to understanding how it feels to live in darkness, drink dirty water, and have no medicine except herbs and the grace of God when they get sick from malaria and other diseases they have never even heard of. They cannot imagine not being able to have a cold drink or hot coffee when they want one.

But they tell us we should be happy to enjoy the tiny improvements we might get from wind and solar power, as an “acceptable” and “preferred” and “sustainable” alternative to really better lives.

I have said this in my past articles, and I will still say it again. In Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 700 million people still cook with wood, charcoal and animal dung, Hundreds of millions get horribly sick every year – and thousands die every year from lung and intestinal diseases, because we have to breathe smoke from open fires and don’t have refrigeration, clean water and safe food. Hundreds of millions are starving and malnourished, and try to survive on a few dollars a day.

Mr. Al Gore, how many dollars do you “survive” on per day? How many homes and refrigerators do you have? Can your refrigerators hold more than a few vegetables and a few bottles of milk or water?

To use the words of Rabbi Daniel Lapin, our impoverished masses simply want to take their rightful, God-given places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people. Instead, we are being told “that wouldn’t be sustainable.” We are being told that improving our health, living standards and life spans is less important than avoiding the forthcoming climate cataclysm that Mr. Gore and his movies and computer models say will happen if we Africans modernize with fossil fuels.

These claims – and the false solutions to make-believe problems sometime in our future – ignore the real disasters and deaths that face us right now, every day of the year. They are intended to divert us from the better lives and sweet homes we dream of. They are intended to make Mr. Gore and his friends and the radical cheerleaders feel like they are saving Africans and our planet, while in reality they are killing millions of us every year.

Right this very minute, climate alarmists are blaming hurricanes and landside on fossil fuels. While they enjoy fancy homes, cozy beds and sofas, heating and air conditioning that keep them comfortable all year round, televisions and Alexa music, air travel whenever they want to go somewhere – they tell us Africans we should be happy and content with our “simple lives.” They tell us we should keep our oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy underground and untouched.

This is disgraceful. It is unacceptable. We will no longer tolerate it.

Alexander King was the co-founder of the Club of Rome, which wrote The Limits to Growth book.  During World War II, he organized production of a new insecticide and gave it the name DDT. The chemical saved the lives of thousands of Allied troops in the Far East. It was also used to stop typhus epidemics in Europe after the war.

But later on he said: “My own doubts came when DDT was introduced for civilian use. In Guyana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria, but at the same time the birth rate had doubled. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem. Of course, I can’t play God on that one.”

But King and his followers did play God. They got DDT banned and even blocked its use in preventing malaria for decades. Millions of African parents and children died. Now his descendants want to keep us from using fossil fuels. Where is the justice and humanity in any of this?

Via email

Alaska Will Be The Centerpiece Of Trump’s Plan For US ‘Energy Dominance’

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made it very clear that boosting energy production in Alaska would be a major part of the Trump administration’s plan for U.S. “energy dominance.”

“The road to energy dominance goes through the great state of Alaska,” Zinke said in a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

Zinke touted Interior’s first successful sale of leases in Alaska’s Cook Inlet since 2008. That lease sale attracted more than $3 million in high bids for offshore drilling rights across 76,000 acres.

Zinke ordered officials in May to open the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), and the department more recently allowed seismic studies in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

NPR-A was set aside by Congress for oil and gas production, but the Obama administration put roughly half the 22.8 million acre region off-limits to drilling. Experts estimate that the region holds 895 million barrels of oil and 52.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Alaska natives living near the NPR-A support efforts to open the region up to drilling, Zinke said. Alaska lawmakers have also pushed the Trump administration to do more to encourage energy production.

“The last administration turned their back on these patriotic and enormously proud people,” Zinke said, adding that “They have the right to make their own decisions.”

Alaska will once again, Zine’s remarks suggest, play a major role in energy policy. The Obama administration prioritized conservation over oil and gas production, closing off onshore and offshore areas to drilling.

However, Alaska’s energy woes began long before Obama took office.

Oil production peaked in 1988 at 2 million barrels per day, and natural gas production peaked in 1994 at 524,000 million cubic feet. Both oil and gas production have significantly declined from their peaks, according to federal data.

Alaska’s oil industry says higher taxes have hurt production, but the region has also faced competition from easier to produce foreign oil. In recent years, the U.S. oil and gas industry has shifted to focusing on fracking into shale formations.

But the major threat to the viability of Alaska’s oil industry is the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (TAP).

The 800-mile pipeline transports North Slope oil to the coast where it can be shipped to west coast refineries. Pipeline capacity has fallen 39 percent in the last decade.

If pipeline capacity falls further, the system could be shut down to prevent any problems. The Energy Information Administration said the pipeline could shut down as soon as 2026 if production keeps declining.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Caelus Energy found a massive oil patch on Alaska’s northern coast in 2016, which was estimated to hold as much as 6 billion barrels of oil.

TAP did see an uptick in the amount of oil it transported in 2016 due to a new, high-performing oilfield coming online.

“We have a great opportunity to fuel the world,” Zinke said.


Shadows over Greentopia

Blackouts Stalk Green Energy Utopia

It is 7pm on a cold still night in the city which boasts “100% Green Energy”.

Thousands of electric cars are in their garages plugged into chargers; electric lights, heaters and TVs are running; electric stoves are cooking dinner, electric trains and lifts are moving late commuters and early revellers, and the pubs and clubs are busy.

The hills bristle with turbines, but there is no wind and not one is turning. Every roof is covered with solar panels, but there is no sunshine and the panels are fast asleep. The green city is facing peak electricity demand . . . on batteries.

But for several days, clouds have shaded the solar panels and there has been no wind to turn the turbines - the battalions of batteries are running out of juice. One by one they drop out. The street lights fade and the city goes dark.

In this green energy utopia all the wicked coal-powered generators have been closed or demolished, exploration for gas is forbidden, no one dares to mention nuclear, hydro schemes have gone (replaced by “Wild Rivers”), new hydro developments are stalled by green lawyers, and diesel generators and petrol cars are banned.

There is only one problem with this green perfection.

When the city wakes to another cloudy windless day, where will its electricity come from?

And when all the stoves and fridges, computers and TV’s, lifts and trains, traffic lights and water pumps, checkouts and ATM’s, heaters and coolers - - - all stop working, there will soon be an angry mob seeking the nearest politician to punish.


Australia: Victoria, NSW to be penalised for outlawing fracking under Grants Commission plan

States that fail to permit coal seam gas mining would be penalised under a fresh proposal from the Grants Commission to change the method of distributing goods and services tax revenue.

The adjustment would hurt Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, each of whom has complete or partial bans on coal seam gas exploration or development or has a moratorium on fracking.

The gas crisis has been averted, but state governments in NSW and Victoria are to blame for forcing their residents to pay more, says Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The proposal, in a position paper prepared for the commission's review of the principles behind the GST distribution, is to treat royalties from coal seam gas in the same way as taxes on gambling. It would apply from 2020.

States that choose not to allow poker machines and collect poker machine revenue are regarded as having voluntarily forgone income and not compensated for earning less than the states that do.

The commission wants to consider whether "similar considerations arise in certain potential mineral and energy developments".

"In these circumstances, the commission could take the view that all states that have coal seam gas have the opportunity to exploit it and whether they do or not solely reflects policy choice," the position paper says.

The change would also apply to uranium. The commission says until now it hasn't needed to consider the question because neither coal seam gas nor uranium royalties have been big enough "to result in a material assessment".

Victoria imposed a moratorium on coal seam gas exploration in 2012. NSW banned all activity within 2 kilometres of residential areas in 2013. The Victorian decision was taken by the Coalition government of Ted Baillieu. The NSW decision was taken by the Coalition government of Barry O'Farrell.

The Baird government in NSW temporarily froze new exploration in 2015 while implementing a report designed to ensure the safety of coal seam gas mining by the NSW chief scientist Mary O'Kane.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attacked Victoria's position on Thursday, saying the only obstacle to getting Victorian gas out of the ground was the Labor government.

"The idea that Victorians are going to have to pay the cost of shipping gas from the Middle East or from Louisiana or from north-west Australia because they have a government that is not prepared to access the gas resources in Victoria is extraordinary," he said.  "It is a shocking indictment of Daniel Andrews and his government. There is plenty of gas in Victoria, onshore gas in Victoria."

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas ridiculed the Grants Commission position paper on Friday, saying Victoria would not be "held to ransom or bullied by an inept government that blames everyone else but itself for its own incompetence". "If Scott Morrison wants to know how to grow an economy and manage debt he should follow Victoria's lead."

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet? said unlike other states, NSW did not have a ban on coal seam gas. "We believe states should make the most of what they have. When it comes to GST distribution, NSW is sick of subsidising inefficient and non-reforming states," he said.

A proposal by Santos to mine coal seam gas in the Pilliga Forest on the North West Plains is before the NSW Planning Assessment Commission.

The Andrews government said this week that it is "proud" of its permanent ban on fracking in Victoria, which became law in March.

The ban is supported by the Coalition, but the political agreement does not extend to the Andrews government's moratorium on conventional onshore exploration. The moratorium is due to expire in June 2020. In the lead-up, the government has asked scientist Amanda Caples to inquire into the "risks, benefits and impacts of onshore conventional gas".



1 October, 2017

Climate Change and Nepalling food insecurity

Nepal's food scarcity is undoubted but attributing it to climate change is tendentious.  Might not the fact that they have been (and still are) run by Communists for the last 11 years have something to do with it? Food shortages are characteristic of Communist regimes.

And note that the effect of global warming is said to be a reduced monsoon, which meant that less rain fell.  But global warming should INCREASE rainfall so that is also a false attribution

Food insecurity and malnutrition is one of the major health issues caused by climate change. It is irrefutably the most important consequences to the poor and least developed countries like Nepal where about quarter of the population are living in poverty. When the underlying population is starving and the fact that food security directly impacts human health is evident, all other problems besides being food secure becomes secondary. To aggravate the situation further, the constantly changing climatic pattern is constantly threatening the major basis of livelihood of the country i.e. agriculture.

According to Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) of Nepal, “over the last decade, around 30,845 hectares of land owned by almost five percent of households became uncultivable due to the climate-related hazards”. Majority of the land under cultivation (76%) is rain-fed which has been affected by the erratic patterns of rainfall, drought, flash floods, landslide et cetera over the years. The reduced winter crop production due to lower post-monsoon precipitation directs a concern of food security amongst those residing in Hill and Mountain areas that are economically and environmentally highly vulnerable to climate changes.

Ranked 4th under Climate Vulnerability Index, it is not easier for Nepal to jump out of the vulnerable condition mainly due to the tough topographic barrier and low infrastructural sufficiency. The most relevant example of how unprepared we are to the climate-related risks is the occurrence of flash flood in 2017 which caused 80% of the southern agricultural belt to submerge in water causing a loss of about 57 million USD of agricultural crops and also claimed hundreds of lives.

Rice, which is a staple crop of the nation is also the crop which is most affected by water hazards. The food security of the country depends more on the production of rice than other crops which contribute 45% to the edible food grain production on a domestic scale. Looking at the extent of damage the current flash flood has done to the Terai “The Breadbasket of the nation” which occupies largest share of rice producing area, it is not too difficult to imagine a food insecure future that our unpreparedness to disasters is certain to follow.


Climate Warming Improves the Breeding Productivity of a European Bird
Paper Reviewed: Vengerov, P.D. 2017. "Effect of rise in spring air temperature on the arrival dates and reproductive success of the Song Thrush, Turdus philomelos (C.L. Brehm, 1831) in the forest-steppe of the Russian plain". Russian Journal of Ecology 48: 134-140.

One of the major concerns about model projections of CO2-induced global warming is that temperatures might rise to such a degree that the number of birds and their habitat areas will decline. Some climate alarmists go so far as to contend that global warming will result in the extinction of a number of bird species. However, this contention has been challenged by several studies published in the scientific literature (see, for example, the many reviews we have posted on this topic here, here and here, the latest of which refutations come from the work of Vengerov (2017).

Publishing in the Russian Journal of Ecology, Vengerov set out to "evaluate changes in the phenology of breeding and reproductive output of the Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) under conditions of increase in spring air temperature in the zone of typical forest-steppe of the Russian Plain." To accomplish this objective, the author examined reproductive data collected on the species at the Voronezh Nature Reserve over an area of approximately four square kilometers every 4 or 5 days over the period 1987-1990 and 2008-2012. Altogether, 459 nests were observed over the nine years of study, during which time there was a statistically significant increase in spring temperatures.

Results of this analysis are depicted in the figure below, where it was determined that higher temperatures lead to (1) an "earlier arrival of the birds from wintering grounds," (2) "earlier and more synchronous breeding of the majority of nesting pairs," (3) "an increase in clutch size," (4) a higher proportion of pairs producing two broods per season, and (5) a reduction in "predation pressure on bird nests … which markedly improves reproductive success."

Such findings, in the words of Vengerov, indicate that "climate warming is conducive to increasing breeding productivity of the Song Thrush population as a whole." We couldn't agree more!


Mark Caserta: Our planet in peril from progressives, not global warming

The myth of "man-made" global warming may be the largest progressive hoax ever perpetrated on mankind. The climate may be changing, but it's not because of your SUV.

John Coleman, a former television weather forecaster who worked in the meteorological field for over six decades and pioneered the use of TV weather forecasting elements such as onscreen satellite technology and computer graphics, agrees.

"Global Warming is a SCAM." Coleman wrote in a 2007, widely-reproduced essay on global warming.

"It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long-term scientific data back in the late 1990s to create an illusion of rapid global warming.

Coleman asserts in his essay that like-minded scientists "jumped into the environmental circle" manufacturing a false consensus designed to support and broaden "research" propagating the "totally slanted, bogus global warming claims" to steer huge research grants their way.

Mr. Coleman isn't alone. Reputable scientists, as well as hundreds of meteorologists, openly refute the idea of manmade global warming or "anthropogenic global warming," with some very solid research available online.

One such well-known scientist is founder of the Creation Museum and The Ark Encounter, creationist Ken Ham. A 2014 column in Salon, by Lindsay Abrams, shares Ham's views.

"Yes, the climate is changing, but it's not a result of human activity."

"Starting from the Bible, we know that there was a global flood a few thousand years ago that completely changed Earth's surface and climate, and that the earth is still settling down from this catastrophe," Ham said in a blog post. "So, we should expect there to be some variations in climate change, but this is not alarming and is not the direct result of modern human activity."

Yet, environmentalists seem less concerned with facts than they do perpetuating a myth that lines their pockets with grant money, compliments of your tax dollars.

But recently, in a refreshing show of leadership, President Trump saved Americans millions of dollars by reaffirming his intention with the United Nations to fulfill his campaign pledge to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.

Given the fraudulent nature of man-made climate change, The Heritage Foundation correctly assesses the top reasons for U.S. withdrawal.

The Paris Agreement is highly costly and would do nil to address climate change. If carried out, the energy regulations agreed upon by the Obama administration would destroy thousands of American jobs.

Withdrawal is good for American energy competitiveness. "We're seeing jobs coming back," according to a spokesman for the National Mining Association. "We're seeing mines open in states from West Virginia, Kentucky, all the way to Pennsylvania. We've seen coal production coming back about 20 percent year over year " since President Trump was elected.

Yes, earth's climate is changing - it always has. But mankind's activities haven't overwhelmed or significantly impacted nature's order.

Our planet isn't in peril from mankind, only from progressives who would seize control of your money under the guise of environmental austerity.


Trump Admin Proposes The Biggest Change To Electric Grid In Decades

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is asking the federal agency that oversees the U.S. grid to issue a new rule to restructure electricity markets to fully compensate power plants for the reliability they provide.

Perry sent his policy proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Friday. The letter asks FERC to create an electricity pricing regime that allows power plants to recover the costs of providing baseload power. It will likely be seen as a lifeline to coal and nuclear power plants.

“A diverse mix of power generation resources, including those with on-site reserves, is essential to the reliable delivery of electricity—particularly in times of supply stress such as recent natural disasters,” Perry said in a statement.

“My proposal will strengthen American energy security by ensuring adequate reserve resource supply and I look forward to the Commission acting swiftly on it,” Perry said.

Hundreds of coal-fired generators have shut down in the past few years, and many more are slated to close in the near future. Energy analysts say cheap natural gas prices, coupled with environmental regulations, have encouraged utilities to move away from coal and nuclear energy.

The rapid pace of coal plant closures have sparked some concerns over grid reliability, especially in light of the growing reliance on wind and solar power — both of which are variable energy sources.

Perry’s rule asks FERC to allow power plants that improve grid reliability to recoup costs for things like, “reliable capacity, resilient generation, frequency and voltage support” and “on-site fuel inventory,” according to the policy proposal.

Wholesale electricity prices vary from day to day and reflect a power plant’s marginal cost of generating energy. That means wind and solar power have a distinct advantage over fossil fuels, since it costs them virtually nothing to produce an extra unit of power.

In this environment, it doesn’t pay to provide baseload power or keep enough fuel on-site in case of emergencies of natural disasters.

Environmentalists have criticized such policy proposals in the past. Eco-groups and green energy supporters argue baseload power is an antiquated idea that ignores the rapidly changing character of the grid.

The Energy Department’s recently-released assessment of the electric grid found green sources, like wind and solar, weren’t harming grid reliability — though the report did urge regulators to look at how they price energy.

FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee has already promised to look into ways to “properly compensate” power plants for factors they can’t recuperate in electricity markets.

“I believe that generation, including our existing coal and nuclear fleet, need to be properly compensated to recognize the value they provide to the system,” Chatterjee said in an August video interview.

If FERC adopts Perry’s proposal it could be one of the biggest reforms to electricity markets in decades, said Travis Kavulla, vice chairman of the Montana Public Service Commission.


Macron’s 'Make Climate Great Again' campaign hires US scientists

French President Emmanuel Macron's 30-million-euro "Make Climate Great Again" campaign has narrowed a list of candidate scientists from abroad from thousands to 90, nearly half from the US, a French official said Friday.

Macron made the offer to fund and host foreign climate experts in early June after US President Donald Trump announced the United States would pull out of the 196-nation Paris Agreement, which pledges to cap global warming.

Trump also asked Congress to slash climate-research budgets across multiple federal agencies, including the Departments of Energy, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

If enacted, the cuts would total billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

"As a climate scientist, I am extremely preoccupied by all the news I'm hearing about the White House budget, which clearly targets environmental and climate science," said Valerie Masson Delmotte, research director at France's Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission.

Tens of thousands of scientists took to the streets of Washington D.C. in April to protest.

"The decision by the president of the United States is disappointing," Macron said at the time.  "You will find in France a second homeland," he added in launching his appeal, clearly directed to US scientists.

Just over 250 applicants -- 45 percent US citizens -- made the first cut, based on academic qualifications and detailed research proposals, according to Anne Peyroche, chief research office at France's National Centre for Scientific Research.

"We have some very high-level candidates," said told AFP.

"It's a real opportunity for France, but at the same time it says something about the situation of climate scientists in the United States."

French institutes and universities have matched Macron's largesse, which means a total of 60 million euros ($70 million) set aside for 50 junior and senior five-year postings.

"It is a kind offer, and it makes a very important statement," Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, told AFP.

"The contrast between Macron -- who supports science and listens to its warnings -- and Trump, who expresses disdain for science, could not be more striking."

Macron is scheduled to unveil some of the marquee scientists selected on December 12th, the second anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement.

Junior researchers will be allotted up to one million euros over four years, covering salary, two doctoral students and working expenses.

Senior researchers will each have a 1.5-million-euro budget that includes two assistants and two students. Spouses will also be given work permits while they are in France.




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



Home (Index page)

There are no forbidden questions in science, no matters too sensitive or delicate to be challenged, no sacred truths.

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

"Thinking" molecules?? Terrestrial temperatures have gone up by less than one degree over the last 150 years and CO2 has gone up long term too. But that proves nothing. It is not a proven causal relationship. One of the first things you learn in statistics is that correlation is not causation. And there is none of the smooth relationship that you would expect of a causal relationship. Both temperatures and CO2 went up in fits and starts but they were not the same fits and starts. The precise effects on temperature that CO2 levels are supposed to produce were not produced. CO2 molecules don't have a little brain in them that says "I will stop reflecting heat down for a few years and then start up again". Their action (if any) is entirely passive. Yet temperature can stay plateaued for many years (e.g. 1945 to 1975) while CO2 levels climb. So there is clearly no causal link between the two. One could argue that there are one or two things -- mainly volcanoes and the Ninos -- that upset the relationship but there are not exceptions ALL the time. Most of the time a precise 1 to 1 connection should be visible. It isn't, far from it. You should be able to read one from the other. You can't.

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

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

And when it comes to "climate change", I know where the skeletons are buried

Antarctica is GAINING mass

Warmists depend heavily on ice cores for their figures about the atmosphere of the past. But measuring the deep past through ice cores is a very shaky enterprise, which almost certainly takes insufficient account of compression effects. The apparently stable CO2 level of 280ppm during the Holocene could in fact be entirely an artifact of compression at the deeper levels of the ice cores. . Perhaps the gas content of an ice layer approaches a low asymptote under pressure. Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski's criticisms of the assumed reliability of ice core measurements are of course well known. And he studied them for over 30 years.

The world's first "Green" party was the Nazi party -- and Greenies are just as Fascist today in their endeavours to dictate to us all and in their attempts to suppress dissent from their claims.

Was Pope Urban VIII the first Warmist? Below we see him refusing to look through Galileo's telescope. People tend to refuse to consider evidence— if what they might discover contradicts what they believe.

Warmism is a powerful religion that aims to control most of our lives. It is nearly as powerful as the Catholic Church once was

Believing in global warming has become a sign of virtue. Strange in a skeptical era. There is clearly a need for faith

Climate change is the religion of people who think they're too smart for religion

Some advice from the Buddha that the Green/Left would do well to think about: "Three things cannot be long hidden: The Sun, The Moon and The Truth"

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

Global warming is the predominant Leftist lie of the 21st century. No other lie is so influential. The runner up lie is: "Islam is a religion of peace". Both are rankly absurd.

"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

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."

Warmists claim that the "hiatus" in global warming that began around 1998 was caused by the oceans suddenly gobbling up all the heat coming from above. Changes in the heat content of the oceans are barely measurable but the ARGO bathythermographs seem to show the oceans warming not from above but from below


"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." --- Richard P. Feynman.

Consensus: As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: 'A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.'

Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

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.”

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"I always think it's a sign of victory when they move on to the ad hominem -- Christopher Hitchens

"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

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

“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.“ – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Leftists generally and Warmists in particular very commonly ascribe disagreement with their ideas to their opponent being "in the pay" of someone else, usually "Big Oil", without troubling themselves to provide any proof of that assertion. They are so certain that they are right that that seems to be the only reasonable explanation for opposition to them. They thus reveal themselves as the ultimate bigots -- people with fixed and rigid ideas.


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.


Today’s environmental movement is the current manifestation of the totalitarian impulse. It is ironic that the same people who condemn the black or brown shirts of the pre WW2 period are blind to the current manifestation simply because the shirts are green.

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

The frequency of hurricanes has markedly DECLINED in recent years

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Another 97%: Following the death of an older brother in a car crash in 1994, Bashar Al Assad became heir apparent; and after his father died in June 2000, he took office as President of Syria with a startling 97 per cent of the vote.

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

David Brower, founder Sierra Club: “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license"

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"

Medieval Warm Period: Recent climatological data assembled from around the world using different proxies attest to the presence of both the MWP and the LIA in the following locations: the Sargasso Sea, West Africa, Kenya, Peru, Japan, Tasmania, South Africa, Idaho, Argentina, and California. These events were clearly world-wide and in most locations the peak temperatures during the MWP were higher than current temperatures.

Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%.

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

How 'GREEN' is the FOOTPRINT of a WIND TURBINE? 45 tons of rebar and 630 cubic yards of concrete

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)

Many newspaper articles are reproduced in full on this blog despite copyright claims attached to them. I believe that such reproductions here are protected by the "fair use" provisions of copyright law. Fair use is a legal doctrine that recognises that the monopoly rights protected by copyright laws are not absolute. The doctrine holds that, when someone uses a creative work in way that does not hurt the market for the original work and advances a public purpose - such as education or scholarship - it might be considered "fair" and not infringing.


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