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

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30 September, 2012

You can still see the Warmist in Judith Curry

Judy gal (chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology) has come a long way since she started listening to climate skeptics but there is still a supercilious "know-it-all" attitude about her.  Note this quote from her:

"Propaganda is pretty much the mission for ClimateDepot, but stealth propaganda is becoming increasingly apparent on the ‘science’ blogs, as revealed by the recent SkS hack of their Forum"

The most chaitable thing I can say about that is that she does not know what she is talking about.  She is academic enough to quote her definition of propaganda but that very definition gives the lie to what she says.  The definition says that propaganda is one-sided.  If she thinks Climate Depot is one-sided she needs to get on its mailing list.  I receive mailouts from Climate Depot daily and they send me roughly as many bits of Warmist reporting as they do skeptical reporting.

The idea of sending me Warmist articles is of course the expectation that I will rubbish them  -- which I do.  Rubbishing Warmism is as easy as stealing candy off a baby -- and grown up  babies is what many Warmists sound like.  They want authority (Daddy) to give them the truth.

Judith is just plain wrong, almost wrong enough to be defamatory.  But her failure to attend to the facts is of course very Warmist.

She also seems broadly sympathetic to this comment:

 “Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis and that in order to advance the discourse, there needs to be a change in how science as an ideology is communicated and enacted.“

Too much science in the Warming debate?  Science should be communicated as an ideology?  In my 40 years in science I have never heard anything so blatantly anti-intellectual  -- aside of course from Nazism and Communism.  Dr Goebbels would agree  -- JR

Dash for gas in Switzerland

No-one has died as a result of radiation from Fukushima but it would appear that nuclear phobia still trumps dislike of carbon emissions.  Both are deeply irrational so we are looking at a dialogue of the insane here.  Germany's dash towards brown coal is similar

Switzerland would have to charge higher end-user power prices and resort to new gas-fired plants to fill the supply gap created by its planned nuclear phase-out prompted by Japan's Fukushima accident, the Swiss energy ministry said on Friday.

The country, which voted last May to phase out nuclear by 2034, on Friday unveiled an ambitious energy strategy intended as a road map for coping with the transition.

"It will be necessary to temporarily develop electricity from fossil fuels... until the energy needs can be completely covered by renewable energy," the energy ministry said in a statement on Switzerland's new strategy through to 2050.

It said that such plants would probably include combined heat and power units as well as Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGTs). Some analysts expect global gas prices to tumble due to the ready availability of new sources from shale, increasing the fuel's appeal.

The statement also said the average household electricity bill, estimated at 890 Swiss Francs ($950) a year, was due to rise in line with higher costs for renewable energy and to cover the costs of investment in the grid.

The Alpine country, which sources about 40 percent of its energy from five nuclear power plants, joined Germany in voting to phase out nuclear energy after the Japan Fukushima crisis shook confidence in the sector.

Now doubts are emerging about the ability of these countries to expand their renewable capacity in time for when nuclear station shutdowns will squeeze supply margins.

The West's energy watchdog, the International Energy Agency, has already warned that Switzerland may struggle to meet its future power demand and that end users may face higher prices as part of the transition.

Belgium's cabinet postponed the planned closure of one of its oldest nuclear reactors by a decade in July over concerns about finding alternative power sources. Germany may have to slow down its planned transformation to green energy amid cost concerns, its Environment Minister said in August.

The Swiss strategy, part of a public consultation, envisages a greater role for hydropower and renewables as part of its new strategy. It includes targets for hydropower production of 37,400 GWH and renewable energy production of 11,940 GWH by 2035.

The strategy also includes several measures designed to accelerate the process of obtaining permits for renewable energy projects.

Switzerland's strong tradition of direct democracy can slow the development of controversial projects such as wind farms, denounced by some as eyesores. A new version of the strategy will be released in 2014 after the public consultation.


NASA's Orwellian revision of the past

It turns out that there is no way to reliably compare current global temperatures to historical data using NASA's database.  It is a scientific scandal.

I wrote recently about NASA changing its entire temperature record database, just from July to September. That is, in 2012, NASA changed temperatures going back to 1880. And it did that without telling anyone or explaining it. The net effect was to make the 130-year warming trend steeper, by lowering older (pre-1963) temperatures and slightly raising recent ones.

I must confess, I was slightly apprehensive about writing that. It was just possible that I had grabbed the wrong data set in July and was comparing apples and oranges. I'm now happy to report that I was not the only one to catch this change. It was real.

I don't know exactly who does this, or how, but someone compares every month of NASA's temperature data to the previous month. If you want to see exactly what changed between August and September 2012, select the top month on that page. Here is a summary of how much changed in recent months.

    August to September: 60%.
    July to August: 27%.
    June to July: 17%.
    May to June: 39%.
    April to May: 17%.

NASA's temperature record is, indeed, a living document.

My piece was also picked up by "Watts Up With That?" WUWT argues that NASA is in violation of the Data Quality Act.

This is the data that the American public pays for. It is one of only two or three such records of global temperatures going back more than a century. It is what all claims of global warming are based on. And about one third of that data changes every month! Without warning, notice or explanation.

In my opinion, this is a scandal. There is no way for the public to inform itself reliably on an issue that could cost us trillions of dollars. We have no way of knowing how much of global warming is real and how much is simply due to unexplained adjustments to the data - data that is under the control of zealots like James Hansen.


Greece can't afford "renewables" any more

Greece, aiming to stave off a fresh energy crisis, plans to support its main electricity market operator through a temporary tax on renewable power producers and by extending an emergency loan, a senior official said on Friday.

Deputy energy minister Asimakis Papageorgiou told Reuters that Greece's international lenders had dropped their opposition to the loan plan in view of the country's critical energy situation.

The electricity system came close to collapse in June when market operator LAGHE was overwhelmed by subsidies it pays to green power producers as part of efforts to bolster solar energy.

LAGHE was already suffering in Greece's debt crisis as bills were left unpaid by consumers protesting against the collection of an unpopular property tax via the bills of PPC, the country's sole electricity retailer.

Earlier this year the fund extended 100 million euros to state-owned natural gas supplier DEPA and another 110 million to dominant state-controlled utility PPC (DEHr.AT).

The temporary charge on renewable energy producers was a further measure to plug LAGHE's deficit of more than 300 million euros.

"I'd call it a solidarity levy," Papageorgiou said. "It will be in force over a very specific period... and set at such a level that will allow them to operate normally with satisfactory returns."

Greece has slashed the guaranteed feed-in prices it pays to some solar operators and is no longer approving permits for their installation.


Greens Shocked: Britain Plans To Build 20 New Gas Power Plants

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has given the clearest indication yet that he expects gas to continue to play a major role in the UK's energy mix for at least the next two decades, revealing 20 new gas-fired power plants are likely to built over the next few years.

Speaking to the Guardian, Davey said the government was planning 20GW of new gas capacity by 2030, but insisted that the surge in new gas capacity would not crowd out investment in renewables, nor lead to the UK breaking its legally-binding carbon budgets.

"I strongly support more gas, just as I strongly support more renewable energy," he told the paper. "We need a big expansion of renewable energy and of gas if we are to tackle our climate change challenges."

The comments come ahead of the expected release of a new national gas strategy this autumn and what is likely to be a tense debate between the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Treasury over whether or not the upcoming Energy Bill includes a decarbonisation target for the electricity sector for 2030.

Chancellor George Osborne has signalled that he is fiercely opposed to the target, arguing that it would discourage investment in new gas capacity. However, the Lib Dem conference this week passed motions supporting the inclusion of the target on the grounds it is deemed necessary to ensure the UK meets its long term carbon targets.

The latest comments will further anger green groups, particularly after the Lib Dem conference signalled that the party was preparing to step up its support for the low carbon economy.

"Green-lighting a whole fleet of new fossil fuel power stations would cause a huge jump in emissions and blow this autumn's once-in-a-generation opportunity to replace dirty power stations with clean ones," said Joss Garman, political director of Greenpeace. "Only days ago Ed Davey and Danny Alexander said they were fully committed to achieving completely carbon-free power in the UK by 2030. Nick Clegg can't afford to make this another 'sorry'."


Norm Kalmanovitch on global warming and the Alberta deficit

Re: "Alberta deficit could hit $3B," Aug. 31.

With $2-billion spent on carbon capture and storage, and millions subsidizing other ludicrous initiatives to stop global warming (which officially ended by 1998), Alberta is well over the $4-billion mark in spending on climate change foolishness, so without this wasted expenditure addressing a clearly fabricated problem, Alberta would not be in a deficit position.

Premier Alison Redford had the chance to extricate Alberta from what is essentially climate change fraud by referencing the documents Paul Hinman tabled in the legislature on my behalf on Oct. 25, 2011.

In tabling these documents, Hinman stated: "I'd urge all members of the legislative assembly to read these reports, that we might make better-informed decisions," but apparently the political necessity of perpetuating the global warming scam was more important to Redford than doing what is right, especially with the government's position on climate change being a key issue in the election.

Graphs in my report all showed no global warming since 2002 and, using the International Panel on Climate Change's own HadCRUT3 data set, I demonstrated global cooling since 2002, followed by this comment: "The red trend lines on this data set clearly shows that the world has actually been cooling since 2002 in spite of the continued accelerated increase in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, and therefore every penny spent by our government since 2002 to combat global warming has been entirely wasted."

Removal of $4 billion in wasted spending from a $3-billion deficit, according to my math, gives a billion-dollar surplus.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


29 September, 2012


28 September, 2012

The End of International Environmentalism

Green ideology crashes and burns at the Rio +20 Earth Summit

Twenty years ago, the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro marked the arrival of environmentalism as a potent force in international affairs. That 1992 conference produced the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which aims to set limits on global emissions of greenhouse gases, and the Convention on Biological Diversity, which promotes ecosystem conservation. At the time, Chris Flavin of the Worldwatch Institute crowed, "You cannot go to any corner of the globe and not find some degree of environmental awareness and some amount of environmental politics." With socialism in disrepute, Flavin said, environmentalism had become the "most powerful political ideal today."

Two decades later, that ideal is in disarray. A 20th anniversary conference in Brazil last June, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development-nicknamed Rio +20-was an undisguised flop. Greenpeace spokesperson Kumi Naidoo judged Rio +20 a "failure," while Oxfam Chief Executive Barbara Stocking called it a "hoax." More than 1,000 environmentalist and leftist groups signed a post-conference petition entitled "The Future We Don't Want," a play on The Future We Want, the platitudinous document that diplomats from 188 nations agreed on there. Naidoo lamely vowed that disappointed environmentalists would engage in acts of civil disobedience.

Should the people of the world share the greens' despair over the "failure" of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development? No. First of all, "sustainable development" is a Rorschach blot. The United Nations defines it this way: "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." That fuzzy concept can be used by anyone to mean anything he likes. So it is not at all surprising that the representatives from rich and poor nations meeting in Rio could not agree on anything substantive under this heading.

Since that first Earth Summit, the world has experienced a lot of beneficial development. In 1992, 46 percent of the planet's population lived in absolute poverty (defined as income equivalent to less than $1.25 per day). Today that number is down to 27 percent, in inflation-adjusted terms. During the same period, average life expectancy has increased by three and a half years.

At Rio +20 environmentalists and the leaders of poor countries were hoping to shake down the rich countries for hundreds of billions of dollars in annual development assistance. But most of the development achieved during the last two decades was not the result of official assistance (a.k.a. taxpayer dollars) from the rich to the poor. In fact, a study published in the February 2012 issue of the Canadian Journal of Economics by a team of German development economists found that aid often retards economic growth, having "an insignificant or minute negative significant impact on per-capita income." Most of the aid is stolen by the kleptocrats who run many poor countries, while the rest is "invested" in projects that are not profitable.

So what has produced so much improvement in the lives of poor people in developing countries since the first Earth Summit?

"Remember in the 1960s, official development assistance accounted for 70 percent of the capital flows to developing nations, but today it amounts to only 13 percent, while at the same time, development budgets have actually increased," explained U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Rio +20. "Why is that? Well, you know very well. Because while continuing to provide assistance, the private-sector investments, using targeted resources and smart policies, have catalyzed more balanced, inclusive, sustainable growth."

Summary: The way to development is trade, not aid.

Activists, frustrated at their inability to effect wealth transfers, are now fixated on a particularly puzzling and disturbing goal: to maintain and expand open-access commons, which are unowned properties available to be exploited by anyone. Many participants at the People's Summit for Social and Environmental Justice, a parallel Rio gathering of 200 environmentalist groups, advocated a green twist on an old red ideology, even postulating that property is theft.

Canonical Marxism predicted that capitalism would collapse under the weight of its class "contradictions," in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer until reaching a social breaking point. In the environmentalist update, capitalism will collapse because the pollution produced by its heedless overconsumption builds to an ecological breaking point. For the hard core, the solution to environmental problems is a kind of eco-socialism in which nature is prevented from being "privatized" or "commodified." This trend in environmentalist thinking might be called commonism.

Looking across the globe, it is true that various aggregate environmental measures have deteriorated. Since 1992, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) claims, biodiversity has declined by 12 percent, and 740 million acres of primary forests have been cut down. Today 53 percent of fish stocks are fully exploited and the share that is overexploited, depleted, or recovering has risen from 10 percent to 32 percent since 1974. But are these calamities the result of rapacious capitalism? Not really.

The same UNEP report notes that 80 percent of the world's forests, which harbor the bulk of the world's biodiversity, are government-owned. Also, in nearly every place where some kind of environmental calamity is under way, it is taking place in an open-access commons. Polluted river? No one owns it. Forest getting cut down? Same problem. Overfishing? Likewise. A water shortage? Ditto. Empirically, calling for the enlargement or reimposition of a commons with respect to an environmental resource or amenity is tantamount to calling for its eventual destruction.

Countries with strong property rights generally see environmental improvement such as reductions in air and water pollution, stable fishery stocks, and expanding forests. That's because owners protect their resources, since they directly suffer the consequences of not doing so. Furthermore, countries with strong property rights are more prosperous and can thus afford the costs of environmental regulations, even inefficient ones, applied to those commons that still remain.

Two decades on, what was once the "most powerful political ideal" on the international scene crashed and burned at Rio +20. The failure of environmentalism as an ideology was inevitable, since it has so badly misconstrued the causes of many of the problems it claims to address. It will be interesting to see in which direction those cherishing a permanent animus against democratic capitalism will now go.


Have I got a deal for you!

If you got an email offering you the chance to invest in a business that would create new profitable industries, employ millions of people, reduce energy consumption without reducing quality of life, and improve environmental quality, would you be skeptical? And if the email went on to claim that the technologies to do all this exist now and could save existing businesses billions of dollars in just a few years by reducing waste and energy use, would you wonder why no one was already implementing all these "common sense" ideas? If the email went on to promise that you could do this all at no risk by investing borrowed money, you'd likely be reaching for the delete key.

If we substitute "the federal government" or "the United Nations Environment Programme" or "the European Union" for "you" and change the email to a proposed law, however, we discover that politicians from Washington to Brussels are embracing measures to "green" the economy and create "green jobs" with an almost religious fervor, despite weak empirical support for these proposals. The Obama administration included billions of spending and tax incentives for green initiatives in its budget, and last spring's "stimulus" bill poured $62 billion in transfers plus $20 billion in tax cuts into "green initiatives."

Unfortunately, the rhetoric about "greening the economy" or creating "green jobs" is just political window-dressing for some of the same central-planning measures proposed by the left for years. Behind that rhetoric are proposals built around government subsidies for favored technologies, measures to limit trade, and a great deal of wishful thinking about alternative energy measures not quite ready for prime time.

What Counts as Green?

The first problem in untangling the claims made by green-economy proponents is determining what counts as a "green" job or technology. Many times no definition at all is provided; even when the term is defined, different groups pick quite different definitions. For example, the U.S. Conference of Mayors' report Current and Potential Green Jobs in the U.S. Economy defines a green job as

    "any activity that generates electricity using renewable or nuclear fuels, agriculture jobs supplying corn or soy for transportation fuels, manufacturing jobs producing goods used in renewable power generation, equipment dealers and wholesalers specializing in renewable energy or energy-efficiency products, construction and installation of energy and pollution management systems, government administration of environmental programs, and supporting jobs in the engineering, legal, research and consulting fields."

Interestingly, the mayors count jobs in existing nuclear power plants but not in new ones.

In contrast the United Nations Environment Programme's Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World excludes all nuclear jobs, but includes all jobs said to "contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality."

If we take politics into account we can explain these definitions. The Conference of Mayors is concerned with building a coalition for spending to benefit its members. Those mayors with nuclear power plants in their cities want to claim credit for greening their economy through nuclear plants (which also pay lots of local taxes). The U.N. report, on the other hand, was aimed at gaining support from an international environmental movement that detests nuclear power, which explains why it didn't count any nuclear jobs.

Neither applies any objective criteria to the problem of defining which industries will gain and which will lose. For example, both define as "green" any jobs related to nonfossil-fuel technology, even if these energy sources (such as wood) release as much carbon dioxide per BTU of energy generated as fossil-fuel sources-or more. (Wood is much less efficient in terms of carbon emissions than either natural gas or gasoline on a per-BTU basis.) Moreover, burning many renewable fuels produces considerable particulate pollution, both inside homes and outside-a serious problem particularly for women and children in developing countries.

Green-economy proponents also disagree about how green hydroelectric plants are. Many who advocate government spending on alternative energy also want to dismantle existing hydro projects to restore rivers and improve fish habitats. (And many of those dams were built with subsidies by the Bureau of Reclamation and Army Corps of Engineers and would have flunked any serious cost-benefit analysis.) But small hydro, their preferred alternative, is by definition "small." As a result, it would take quite a few small hydro plants to produce sufficient energy to replace even a single large dam or coal-fired power plant. Not surprisingly, there is no evidence of a large-scale building boom in small hydro projects or even a serious effort to identify where such projects might be located.

Even more interestingly, both definitions are expansive enough to include "supporting jobs in the engineering, legal, research, and consulting fields." Indeed, the Conference of Mayors found that the top two U.S. jurisdictions for current green jobs are New York City and Washington, D.C., suggesting that the investment in green technology so far is producing a lot of consultants, lawyers, and lobbyists rather than engineers or factory workers. Another estimate found more secretaries, management analysts, bookkeepers, and janitors among "green jobs" than environmental scientists.

Defining terms is essential to a rational policy debate; without clarity we end up with a division between favored and disfavored technologies driven by interest groups rather than by either market forces or logical thinking. Unfortunately, so far the green-economy literature has mostly produced lists of "technologies we like" and "technologies we don't like" based on politics. We certainly shouldn't be spending billions of dollars promoting what we can't define.

Where Do Estimates Come From?

Even if we don't quite know what a green economy looks like, its advocates assure us there will be lots of jobs and other benefits from converting to it. Not surprisingly, most green-economy proposals predict huge benefits at low cost, making them politically appealing. Jobs will appear in economically depressed areas, and energy efficiency will soar, saving firms, consumers, and governments billions. Unfortunately these benefits are largely due to inappropriate economic forecasting methods. In particular, most estimates are produced via "input-output analysis," the same technique used to produce outlandish claims for the benefits of municipal stadium projects.

In an input-output analysis a vast matrix is calculated from economic data as they exist today, tracing connections between firms in different industries. For example, an automobile plant uses steel, aluminum, plastic, batteries, paint, tires, and other materials to produce cars with a particular amount of labor per car under current technology. If we thought that the plant would begin producing more cars, the input-output matrix could be used to calculate how much more steel, aluminum, and other inputs would be demanded by the car industry and how many more workers would be hired to work in it.

There is a role for such calculations in industry forecasts (predicting steel demand from auto production helps steel plants decide about investing in new capacity, for example). But using them to predict the impact of government programs to green the economy is problematic because the method rests on two assumptions that green proposals violate: constant prices and constant technology.

By definition, efforts to change energy technology are going to change technology and prices. The relationships in an input-output matrix based on using coal to generate electricity and gasoline to fuel cars simply aren't applicable to an economy where substantial amounts of energy come from high-cost sources like wind and solar and the cars are hybrids or run on ethanol.

Worse, the green-economy predictions rest on extremely optimistic estimates of the impact of spending on new technologies. Almost no advocates of these policies deduct the jobs lost from replacing existing technologies with the new, green ones. Refinery workers, coal miners, fossil-fuel power plant workers, and many others will all lose their jobs if the proposed shift to nonfossil fuels takes place. Some of those workers may find jobs insulating public buildings or bolting together windmills, but many will not. Because all that public spending to produce these new technologies comes from taxes (whether today or in the future), it reduces private spending and so eliminates the jobs that would have been created by the higher private spending displaced by the taxes.

Any estimates of major changes are likely to be imprecise even if all these factors are taken into account because of the considerable uncertainty surrounding these relationships. Ignoring all the downsides, as green-economy proponents do, suggests that they are less interested in accurate predictions than in creating political pressure for policies regardless of their impact.

Labor Productivity

Even if we set aside these technical issues, however, there are still some serious problems with green-economy plans. Perhaps most important, the literature mistakenly glorifies low-productivity jobs on grounds that more employment is better. For example, the UN Environment Programme criticizes modern agriculture because "labor is extruded from all points in the system," argues wind and solar are better technologies because producing each BTU of energy requires more labor than in fossil-fuel industries, and argues that the steel industry has evolved to use too little labor.

To see why this is a problem, let's consider ethanol. Although even many environmentalists now recognize ethanol's problems, it was the darling of alternative-energy proponents for many years, and hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies have produced a substantial corn-based ethanol industry in the United States. (Despite these subsidies, the fuel remains uncompetitive with gasoline at current gas prices.) Corn-based ethanol requires more labor to produce than gasoline does, largely because growing and processing corn is more labor-intensive than pumping and refining oil. As a result, green-economy advocates score ethanol higher than gasoline since each BTU of energy in ethanol takes more labor to make than a BTU of gasoline.

But lower labor productivity is a bad thing not a benefit. Not only does more labor mean higher costs, but higher-productivity jobs (generally those that involve working with greater amounts of capital) can pay higher wages precisely because they are more productive. Low-productivity jobs are low-paying jobs because employers cannot afford to pay their employees more than the employees generate. If more labor were the metric, we'd all be better off using quills and parchment in place of computers.


Military's new mission-bailing out GM (again)

 The Department of Defense has a new mission - to purchase and integrate 1,500 new Chevy Volts into its fleet.  Who gave this order to begin "Operation Inefficient"?   That's what ALG would like to find out.

Why exactly?  The military line is that this past summer, the Department of Defense's began purchasing Chevy Volts and other electric cars as part of an initiative to "green up" the military.  And the prettier version - they are just doing their part to reduce the country's dependence on foreign energy.  I'm not buying it!  Again I ask, why?!   Why, when our defense budget is in the targets of a fiscally irresponsible, do-nothing-Congress, are we wasting money on the most unimpressive inefficient vehicle on the market?!  Do you really think the military is taking its own initiative to spend money on the most unintimidating vehicle on the market?  Somewhere up the line an order was given.

According to Air Force spokeswoman Tonya Racasner, over the next few years it will add 1,500 "non-tactical" (thank goodness!) road-capable, plug-in electric vehicles.  To date, the military has purchased 168.

As the leading branch in overseeing this initiative, the Air Force is preparing for the arrival 41 new electric vehicles reporting to Los Angeles Air Force Base.  In addition, the Army alone plans to place green-cars at more than 40 of its installations.  The other military branches are also following suit, with purchases and adding more charging stations on and off military bases.

This Administration has championed the Chevy Volt as a symbol of the government bailout of General Motors.  It couldn't have picked a better candidate to represent itself!  The Chevy Volt has been a series of problems.

 *   It has a battery problem that has led spontaneous fires, something the Department of Defense itself has been involved in helping solve.

*   It could electrocute first responders to an accident, causing the Department of Energy to spend $4.4 million on a program to teach firefighters how to protect themselves when responding to a Volt accident.

*   GM has already had to suspend production twice this year alone (so far.).

Despite having spent over $1.2 billion on developing this car, GM still hasn't got it right - and is reportedly losing $50,000 per vehicle.  And all that with the government's help!   The Obama Administration has made this company and the Chevy Volt its poster child of the big government auto bailout.  It has hailing the Volt as the "car of the future".  It has tried to create incentive with green-pushing tax-breaks.  President Obama has even given a personal pledge to drive one himself after a second term.   Despite all this "help", GM is finding little consumer demand for the Volt.  While Chevy may boast record high sales for August 2012, moving 2,500 cars, the experts attribute some of this to "the best incentives it's ever had on the model to move cars" - a $169 monthly lease, down from $269 a month.   And they're surprised GM didn't sell more.

So this begs the question, why is the Defense Department, whose budget always seems to be in Congress' sights, spending valuable taxpayers' money on this poorly built machine?  Is this Administration orchestrating another pseudo bailout for GM.  Or is this Administration simply trying to protect itself and its bad investment - a self-bailout?

Americans for Limited Government has filed a FOIA with the Secretary of Defense's office to see who has authorized these purchases and any government discussions behind them, including communications with the White House.

After the Chevy Volt has posted a very poor track record, why is the federal government continuing to spend money on a project going up in smoke?


Wind turbine noise being studied to death?

This is in response to the September 1, 2012 article published by regarding the Fairhaven industrial wind turbines (IWT). It is apparent that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is way past due for making their decision about the Falmouth IWT noise levels. The DEP has witnessed the nighttime operation of Wind 1 and has sufficient noise level measurements to determine that Wind 1 is out of compliance. Under state law, wind turbines cannot increase the quietest nighttime dBA noise levels (L90) by more than 10 dB when compared to the maximum (Lmax) produced.

Ariel Wittenberg, reporter for southcoasttoday, witnessed nighttime noise measurements for the Fairhaven Wind Turbine project. Noise levels were measured by the DEP's Laurel Carlson accompanied by Sumul Shah, Project Developer. Carlson wrote down a long series of noise levels measured in 5-second increments; 47.8, 46.6, 47.7 and so on. This measurement methodology dates back to the 1970s, when sound levels were manually taken by viewing an analog meter needle movement. Statistical measurements require at least 100 readings with IWT ON and then OFF. Each hand-written measurement includes an identifier relating to the noise source heard. The 10th lowest value would represent the L90 or residual background; the noise level exceeded 90% of the time when turbines are OFF. The Lmax would be the highest value measured when the turbines are ON. A drawback for DEP methodology is that most of the noise levels are excluded by reading only once every five seconds.

The DEP is correct to require an observer to listen and note every noise source so that non-IWT noise can be excluded. Sound meters are poor listeners, unable to identify a noise source, whereas the human has excellent identification capability. However, meters can compute statistical sound levels and record time histories for dBA, dBC, dBL and fractional octave bands. Instrument data is downloaded to computer spreadsheet programs for post analysis.

Compliance can easily be determined using a time-history graph showing the IWT operating, and then shutdown, leaving only ambient background sound. Measuring this ON to OFF transition directly shows the difference between IWT-ON sound levels to background-only sound levels.

Falmouth's Wind 1 was measured ON and OFF by the DEP during the night of March 7, 2012. At the same time and locations, independent sound level measurements were made with a calibrated Type 1 precision sound level meter and the results are shown below.

This graph includes sufficient information for the DEP to show that Falmouth Wind 1 does not meet state law; IWT-ON Lmax of 46 dBA in red and IWT-OFF L90 of 27 dBA background in green. The difference is 19 dB; 9 dB louder than the maximum allowed under state law. There is no doubt that this increase would provoke a very vocal negative reaction by neighbors.

It should be noted that similar IWT-ON noise levels were recorded in Fairhaven (47.8, 46.6, 47.7) at similar hub-height wind speeds of 6.5 m/s (14.5 mph). These same noise levels have been measured at other wind turbine sites at similar distances in Maine and Massachusetts.

Neighbors at Falmouth and Fairhaven have voiced their concerns about excessive audible noise and exposure to the adverse public health effects from infrasound and low frequency noise. The Falmouth Board of Health (FBOH) has acknowledged that there needs to an action to protect the public health, having received dozens of valid health complaints and testimonies. On June 11, 2012 the FBOH submitted results of their epidemiological study taken in the vicinity of the three Falmouth IWTs to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (BPH) requesting immediate assistance. The FBOH wrote, "Due to the increasing intensity of the reported health impacts, the Board is considering emergency actions" and concludes with "We look to your Department, as that which holds the highest duty to protect health of citizens of the Commonwealth, to assist us in this matter." After three months, there has still been no public response from the DPH.

Neighbors are very concerned about the DEP and DPH studying IWT noise to death. They already have all the evidence they need. Now the Massachusetts DEP and DPH need to act to protect the public health, or just declare: IWT neighbors live in Public Health Sacrifice Zones.


Even War and Rumors of War Can't Save Chevy Volt

A new Congressional Budget Office report tells Obama what the rest of us have known for some time: Your bet on electric cars wasn’t an investment, but a gamble; a dumb gamble.  And now you’ve just come up snake eyes.

“Despite the federal government pumping $7.5 billion into the electric vehicle industry in the United States through 2019,” writes the, “overall national gasoline consumption is unlikely to be significantly affected, according to a report released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).”

The CBO says that even if Obama increased the amount of the subsidy, it would make little difference to the gasoline usage or emissions output because automakers would still be required to hit fuel efficiency targets. Instead, the CBO says that either a tax on gasoline or carbon is the only way to increase the attractiveness of electric cars to consumers.

Duh.  That’s because electric cars don’t save gas, they don’t save money and they don’t save the “planet.”  They are only a vanity-plumping, amenity purchase for the metro-testicled.

“Assuming that everything else is equal” says the CBO, “the larger an electric vehicle’s battery capacity, the greater its cost disadvantage relative to conventional vehicles—and thus the larger the tax credit needed to make it cost-competitive.”

It’s not like none of us pointed this out at the time Obama unveiled his plan to put a million electric vehicles on the road before he destabilized the Middle East.

Ok, so he didn’t tell us that last part.  Dr. Strange-Chu told us about that one.  “Somehow,” Strange-Chu said, “we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

Hey? How about a regional civil war? We could lob a few missiles at Libya?

But even with Middle East and North African disorders keeping oil prices high, electric vehicles are still not cost competitive- nor does the consumer seem to want them at any cost.        

General Motors essentially confirmed Obama’s bad bet when they admitted over the weekend that the recent rash of “viral” Chevy Volt sales have been stoked by discounts of as much as $10,000 off the MSRP of $40,000.

Two weeks ago industry insiders revealed that General Motors was taking a loss of around $50,000 per Chevy Volt sold. That was assuming a sales price without the new and improved $10k discount. If you add in the $7,500 government subsidy, the Volt’s cost to the consumer is around $22,500.

Cost to the taxpayers is much, much higher.

Before the discount, the Volt cost General Motors- a joint venture between Obama, Inc., and the United Auto Workers that was subsidized by your tax dollars- around $650 million just this year according to estimates by industry insiders. In August alone the discount bumped up the price to GM by another $28 million.

So far this year the company has sold around 13,000 Volts, compared to the 60,000 unit goal that they set at the beginning of the year.

"Let's face it, over $40,000 is asking a lot for a compact car," says Bob Lutz, who helped develop the Volt- and was present when GM was hurling toward bankruptcy.

"Its prime purpose was to introduce a new generation of technology," says the now-retired Lutz, according to CBSNews. "And at the same time ... demonstrate to the world that GM is way more technologically capable than the people give it credit for."

Show- offs.

I never knew technology was capable of losing this much money so quickly.  I’m impressed.  And now so is the Congressional Budget Office.


Manufactured Fear Drives Needless Regulations

As sure as the sun rises in the morning, Americans can count on their televisions and newspapers to brim with daily reports of all the dangerous products lurking in their homes. Women in particular are told commonplace items like shampoo, deodorant, plastic food containers, household disinfectants, children’s toys, baby bottles, and garden hoses threaten them and their families. Even living room furniture is now cast as a household killer.

Silicone is the latest item to come under scrutiny. Discovered in the mid-19th century by a Swedish chemist, nowadays the term silicone is most often associated with breast augmentation, but its uses go far beyond giving women the perfect décolletage. In fact, silicone is used in everything from car engines to cosmetics, prosthetic limbs and medical equipment. In other words, silicone has made life easier for modern man, so naturally the hyper-regulatory Environmental Protection Agency is on alert.

In 2011, the EPA announced it was interested in collecting environmental monitoring data for two materials in silicone—D4 and D5— to assess the chemicals’ potential impact on the environment. The EPA notified the silicone industry that it wanted to establish an environmental monitoring program at silicone manufacturing, processing and formulating facilities and select municipal waste water treatment plants that treat the chemical.

The silicone industry was quick to accommodate EPA’s request, voluntarily agreeing to monitor five municipal wastewater treatment sites. The sites would be selected in a way that allowed an assessment of the worst case scenario in terms of the potential harm that might be caused by the release of the chemicals to the environment.

The EPA wasn’t satisfied with industry’s plan, suggesting instead that the industry monitor a whopping 42 sites. Of course, the EPA never justified why so many sites needed monitoring for this risk assessment process, or what benefit would accrue from duplicative data from sites using the same treatment techniques.

But then high-powered regulatory agencies don’t really need to explain their motives or logic, do they? And they probably don’t care that this additional monitoring will come at a high price—to the tune of $50 million in redundant data collection.

While the EPA and the silicone industry hashed out the details of this monitoringarrangement, Canada began its own monitoring program. In 2012, the Canadiangovernment (well-known to be environmental sympathizers and heavy-handed regulators of the chemical industry) completed an assessment of the safety of silicone that was conducted by a panel of independent scientific experts. The scientists found that D5 does not pose a risk to the environment or to humans. On D4, the Canadian government only required pollution prevention plans—a pretty standard requirement for the chemical industry.

Reassuring, right? Not to the EPA. Despite being provided the results from the Canadian study, the EPA remained undeterred though they ultimately revised their proposal to include 16 sites. That may be less onerous, but still creates a needless burden for industry and the EPA again offers no justification for why 16 sites are needed. It’s almost like EPA just pulls these numbers out of thin air.

Such stubbornness betrays the EPA’s real intentions—to regulate certain industries, chemicals, and products that environmentalists and public health officials (their real constituency) view as hazardous despite their being no evidence of real danger. This is part of a larger trend, building a culture of alarmism in America. The tactic is simple: based on the idiom “better safe than sorry,” ubiquitous pseudo-scientific activist organizations promote the idea that a chemical poses a “potential risk.” They say there is a “chance of danger,” or that a “correlation” between a certain product and a dreadful disease exists.

This clever rhetorical trick is designed to plant the seeds of fear without the nuisance of producing proof. It’s understandable what happens next; people are simply more willing to accept regulations once they believe they and their children are at risk.

American women should be aware that these overzealous government agencies have little regard and no responsibility for economic growth in this country. The money used to satisfy the EPA would be better directed to job creation, the construction of new and better manufacturing sites, or research into products that would truly make life easier and safer for women and their families.

Instead, industry will waste time and money collecting data to satisfy a Washington bureaucrat who can’t speak Canadian.

This is the real reason for concern.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


27 September, 2012

Awash with B.S.

The net is awash with BS today so I will have to give each shovelful just a brief comment.  I will start out with a sensible article and then get on with the shovelling:

Silent Spring's 50-Year History of Selective Data

Rachel Carson, more than any other person, created the politicized science that afflicts today's public policy debates.

Rachel Carson's jeremiad against pesticides is credited by many as launching the modern environmentalist movement, and the author, who died in 1964, is being widely lauded for her efforts. "She was the very first person to knock some of the shine off of modernity," says environmentalist Bill McKibben in a New York Times Magazine article from this past Sunday.

"The hostile reaction to Silent Spring contained the seeds of a partisan divide over environmental matters that has since hardened into a permanent wall of bitterness and mistrust," writes William Souder, author of a new biography of Carson, On A Farther Shore. He adds, "There is no objective reason why environmentalism should be the exclusive province of any one political party or ideology." That conclusion is flatly wrong.

In Silent Spring, Carson crafted a passionate denunciation of modern technology that drives environmentalist ideology today. At its heart is this belief: Nature is beneficent, stable, and even a source of moral good; humanity is arrogant, heedless, and often the source of moral evil. Rachel Carson, more than any other person, is responsible for the politicized science that afflicts our public policy debates today.

First, let's acknowledge that Carson was right about some of the harms that extensive modern pesticide use could and did cause. Carson was correct that the popular pesticide DDT did disrupt reproduction in some raptor species. It is also the case that insect pests over time do develop resistance to pesticides, making them eventually less useful in preventing the spread of insect-borne diseases and protecting crops. In fact, the first cases of evolving insect resistance were identified in California orchards in at the beginning of the 20th century, when species of scale insects became resistant to the primitive insecticides lime sulfur and hydrogen cyanide. By 1960, 137 species of insects had developed resistance to DDT. To preserve their usefulness, pesticides clearly needed to be more judiciously deployed.  

Carson, however, realized that tales of empty birds' nests and bug and weed-infested crops were not enough to spur most people to fear the chemicals she opposed. The threat had to be made more immediate and intimate. Carson biographer Souder notes, "In 1960, at the halfway point in writing Silent Spring, just as she was exploring the connection between pesticide exposure and human cancer, Carson was herself stricken with breast cancer." Given the sorry state of medicine in the 1950s, few diseases were scarier than cancer. And deaths from cancer had been rising steeply. Carson cited government statistics showing that cancer deaths had dramatically increased from 4 percent of all deaths in 1900 to 15 percent in 1958.

"The problem that concerns us here is whether any of the chemicals we are using in our attempts to control nature play a direct or indirect role as causes of cancer," wrote Carson. Her conclusion was that "the evidence is circumstantial" but "nonetheless impressive." She added the claim that in contrast with disease germs, "man has put the vast majority of carcinogens into the environment." She noted that the first human exposures to DDT and other pesticides were barely more than a decade in the past. It takes time for cancer to fester, so she ominously warned, "The full maturing of whatever seeds of malignancy have been sown by these chemicals is yet to come."

But hinting at cancer doom decades away was not enough. Carson was convinced that pesticides could wreak their carcinogenic havoc much sooner rather than later. As evidence she cited various anecdotes, including one about a woman "who abhorred spiders" and who sprayed her basement with DDT in mid-August. She died of acute leukemia a couple of months later. In another passage, Carson cites a man embarrassed by his roach-infested office who again sprayed DDT and who "within a short time . began to bruise and bleed." He was within a month of spraying diagnosed with aplastic anemia.

To bolster these frightening anecdotes, Carson cited data that deaths from leukemia had increased from 11.1 per 100,000 in 1950 to 14.1 in 1960. Leukemia mortality rose with pesticide use; suspicious, no? "What does it mean? To what lethal agent or agents, new to our environment, are people now exposed with increasing frequency?," asked Carson. Fifty years later the death rate from leukemia is 7.1 per 100,000. Half of what Carson cited in Silent Spring. In fact, the incidence rate is now 12.5 per 100,000.

Carson surely knew that cancer is a disease in which the risk goes up as people age. And thanks to vaccines and new antibiotics Americans were luckily living much longer; long enough to get and die of cancer. Average life expectancy was 46 in 1900 and the annual death rate was 17 out of 1,000 Americans. By 1960, life expectancy had risen to nearly 70 years and the annual death rate had fallen to 9.5 per 1,000 people. Today, life expectancy is 78 years and the annual death rate is 7.9 per 1,000 people. Today, although only about 12 percent of Americans are over age 65, they account for 56 percent of new cancer diagnoses and 69 percent of cancer deaths.

Did cancer doom ever arrive? No. In Silent Spring Carson cites data showing that American farmers were then applying about 637 million pounds of pesticides to their crops. The most recent Environmental Protection Agency estimate is that farmers used 1.1 billion pounds in 2007.  (The amount of insecticide applied to crops has been falling recently, as farmers adopt genetically enhanced insect-resistant crop varieties.)

What happened to cancer incidence rates? According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, age-adjusted incidence rates have been dropping for nearly two decades. Why? Largely because fewer Americans are smoking and lots of women stopped using hormone replacement therapy, which researchers have now concluded significantly increased the risk of breast cancer.

Back in the early 1990s, based on sketchy research, environmentalists began pushing the hypothesis that past exposure to organochlorine pesticides, such as DDT, was fueling a breast cancer epidemic. However, after years of research a major review article in 2008 in the journal Cancer found that exposure of organochlorine compounds like DDT "is not believed to be causally related to breast cancer."

With regard to overall cancer risks posed by synthetic chemicals, the American Cancer Society in its most recent report on cancer trends concludes, "Exposure to carcinogenic agents in occupational, community, and other settings is thought to account for a relatively small percentage of cancer deaths - about 4 percent from occupational exposures and 2 percent from environmental pollutants (man-made and naturally occurring)." What factors really do increase cancer risk? Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and eating too much food. In fact, while overall cancer incidence has been falling, cancers related to obesity - e.g., pancreatic, liver, and kidney - have risen slightly.

The first notable triumph of environmentalism occurred in 1972. Ten years after Silent Spring, William Ruckelshaus, Administrator of the barely two year-old Environmental Protection Agency, banned DDT, overruling an administrative law judge's fact finding after months of scientific testimony that "DDT is not a safety hazard to man when used as directed" and that its benefits outweighed its costs. As part of the justification, Ruckelshaus noted in his decision, "Public concern over the widespread use of pesticides was stirred by Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring."

Carson biographer Souder oddly concludes that the fierce opposition from chemical companies, agricultural interests, and their allies in government "put Rachel Carson and everything she believed about the environment firmly on the left end of the political spectrum. And so two things - environmentalism and its adherents - were defined once and forever." He gets it backwards.

Carson described the choice humanity faced as a fork in the road to the future. "The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress at great speed, but at its end lies disaster," she declared. "The other fork of the road - the one 'less traveled by' - offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of our earth." This kind of apocalyptic rhetoric is now standard in today's policy debates. In any case, the opposition to Silent Spring arose not just because Carson was attacking the self-interests of certain corporations (which she certainly was), but also because it was clear that her larger concern was to rein in technological progress and the economic growth it fuels.

Through Silent Spring, Carson provided those who are alienated by modern technological progress with a model of how to wield ostensibly scientific arguments on behalf of policies and results that they prefer for other reasons. It is this legacy of public policy confirmation bias that Yale law professor Dan Kahan and his research colleagues are probing at the Yale Cultural Cognition Project.

In a recent study on how Americans perceive climate change risk published in Nature Climate Change, Kahan and his colleagues find that people listen to information that reinforces their values and ignore that which does not. They observe that people who are broadly identified as being on the political left "tend to be morally suspicious of commerce and industry, to which they attribute social inequity. They therefore find it congenial to believe those forms of behavior are dangerous and worthy of restriction." On the other hand, those broadly considered as being on the political right are proponents of technological progress who worry about "collective interference with the decisions of individuals" and "tend to be skeptical of environmental risks. Such people intuitively perceive that widespread acceptance of such risks would license restrictions on commerce and industry."

As trust in other sources of authority - politicians, preachers, business leaders - has withered over the past 50 years, policy partisans are increasingly seeking to cloak their arguments in the mantle of objective science. However, the Yale researchers find that greater scientific literacy actually produces greater political polarization. As Kahan and his fellow researchers report, "For ordinary citizens, the reward for acquiring greater scientific knowledge and more reliable technical-reasoning capacities is a greater facility to discover and use-or explain away-evidence relating to their groups' positions." In other words, in policy debates scientific claims are used to vindicate partisan values, not to reach to an agreement about what is actually the case. This sort of motivated reasoning applies to partisans of the political left and right, who both learned it from Rachel Carson.


NBC, Your Warmist channel

Ideal for the simple-minded,  particularly those who haven't noticed that the weather changes from year to year and those with short  memories who don't remember previous episodes of bad weather

At the end of an interview with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer turned to the subject of climate change and fretted: "We've had a crazy week in this – year in this country of extreme weather. Are you seeing around the world the kind of motivation and will that's necessary to, A, admit there's a problem, and then address the problem?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Blair replied in part: "This climate issue is real, and we are very irresponsible for future generations if we don't deal with it and we should recover, I think, a sense of urgency about it." Tossing all objectivity aside, Lauer joined in the advocacy: "I hope we will."

Here is a transcript of the September 24 exchange:

7:15AM EDT ....

MATT LAUER: I want to just end on a question, I know it's near and dear to your heart. You're here for climate week as well. We've had a crazy week in this – year in this country of extreme weather. Are you seeing around the world the kind of motivation and will that's necessary to, A, admit there's a problem, and then address the problem?

TONY BLAIR: Well, not enough, frankly. I mean, I think we've got to be very clear about this. I know we've got all these economic problems to deal with, but this climate issue is real, and we are very irresponsible for future generations if we don't deal with it and we should recover, I think, a sense of urgency about it.

LAUER: I hope we will.


100 mln will die by 2030 if world fails to act on climate - report

It's just prophecy and about as likely to come true as all the past failed Greenie prophecies.  See Paul Ehrlich, for instance.  But isn't 100 million deaths  a GOOD thing by Greenie standards?  Many Greenies want BILLIONS more than that  eliminated -- for "sustainability's" sake, of course.....  There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

More than 100 million people will die and global economic growth will be cut by 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change, a report commissioned by 20 governments said on Wednesday.

As global average temperatures rise due to greenhouse gas emissions, the effects on the planet, such as melting ice caps, extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels, will threaten populations and livelihoods, said the report conducted by humanitarian organisation DARA.

It calculated that five million deaths occur each year from air pollution, hunger and disease as a result of climate change and carbon-intensive economies, and that toll would likely rise to six million a year by 2030 if current patterns of fossil fuel use continue.

More than 90 percent of those deaths will occur in developing countries, said the report that calculated the human and economic impact of climate change on 184 countries in 2010 and 2030. It was commissioned by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a partnership of 20 developing countries threatened by climate change.

"A combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade," the report said.

It said the effects of climate change had lowered global output by 1.6 percent of world GDP, or by about $1.2 trillion a year, and losses could double to 3.2 percent of global GDP by 2030 if global temperatures are allowed to rise, surpassing 10 percent before 2100.

It estimated the cost of moving the world to a low-carbon economy at about 0.5 percent of GDP this decade.


British economist Nicholas Stern told Reuters earlier this year investment equivalent to 2 percent of global GDP was needed to limit, prevent and adapt to climate change. His report on the economics of climate change in 2006 said an average global temperature rise of 2-3 degrees Celsius in the next 50 years could reduce global consumption per head by up to 20 percent.

Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Almost 200 nations agreed in 2010 to limit the global average temperature rise to below 2C (3.6 Fahrenheit) to avoid dangerous impacts from climate change.

But climate scientists have warned that the chance of limiting the rise to below 2C is getting smaller as global greenhouse gas emissions rise due to burning fossil fuels.

The world's poorest nations are the most vulnerable as they face increased risk of drought, water shortages, crop failure, poverty and disease. On average, they could see an 11 percent loss in GDP by 2030 due to climate change, DARA said.

"One degree Celsius rise in temperature is associated with 10 percent productivity loss in farming. For us, it means losing about 4 million metric tonnes of food grain, amounting to about $2.5 billion. That is about 2 percent of our GDP," Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in response to the report.

"Adding up the damages to property and other losses, we are faced with a total loss of about 3-4 percent of GDP."

Even the biggest and most rapidly developing economies will not escape unscathed. The United States and China could see a 2.1 percent reduction in their respective GDPs by 2030, while India could experience a more than 5 percent loss.


One Million New Plankton Species Found

Name them!  Name even 10 of them!

A team of marine scientists have discovered up to a million new species of plankton during a 70,000-mile voyage around the world's oceans.

The microscopic sea life was found during Tara Oceans expedition lasting more than two years and aimed at learning more about the effects of climate change.

The sailing ship's journey took more than two years as it sailed from home in France through the Mediterranean, the Gulf and Indian Ocean to Cape Town.

After crossing the South Atlantic, the ship headed into the Antarctic, and then into the South Pacific, reaching Hawaii in September last year and then moving off to its home leg across the North Pacific, through the Panama Canal and across the North Atlantic.

"It's the first time that anyone's done this expedition looking specifically for plankton life, and that's why we found so many," expedition leader Dr Chris Bowler said.

"These planktonic organisms are the life support system of the planet.

"They are the base of the food chain ... if there's no plankton, there's no fish in the oceans. They also, through photosynthesis, generate oxygen - in fact they generate the oxygen in every second breath that we breathe so they're incredibly important on a planetary scale.

"And they take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by taking it into the interior of the ocean where it can be stored for thousands of millions of years so they're an essential buffer against climate change due to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."

The team also said it found evidence of another of mankind's detrimental effects on the planet - hundreds of thousands of bits of plastic floating in the Antarctic.


Ashamnu: Our Souls Have Transgressed With Climate Silence

Cripes!  I can't find my soul.  I wonder where it is?

Arev Yom Kippur . The eve of the Day of Atonement. After the period of reflection and engagement with others between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, this is a moment to turn to internal considerations and the relationship between the individual and G-d.

As part of the prayers for the Day of Atonement, the Vidui, the Al Cheyt or recital of sins, is perhaps the most important. (Modern Judaism being what it is, there are a myriad of translations and modern variations on the Vidui/Al Chet.) A key word: Ashamnu . "we have sinned" is a recognition of individual and communal failures. The Al Cheyt is a recognition and statement about sins by ourselves (and our community) against others, against oneself, against G-d through action . and inaction.

It is clear: one can do wrong through action and words . and one can do wrong through inaction and silence.

And, there is a silence that bears heavily on the heart at this time: the silence in our political leadership and among too many of us on the damage we are doing to the planetary system, the risks of climate change, and the urgent necessity for meaningful change to change our path toward something that enables sustainable prosperity for humanity.

From a Yom Kippur sermon leading into a Viddui recitation,

    This is Yom Kippur. This is a night for confession. So let us be honest. If ever there was a time for candor, this is it. We humans are not good with limits. We are pushing the planet and its animal resources to the limit. We want what we want when we want it. We pretty much take, hunt, fish, and consume until someone or something stops us or until there is no more to be taken.

    Do you remember the Viddui we will be reciting in a few minutes? It's the Confession prayer that lists our sins alphabetically. 

    a.b.c.  We abuse. We besmirch. We consume. We destroy. We excuse ourselves. We forget the consequences of our actions. We are greedy.

    I could continue through the alphabet, and I should go on because, as the saying goes, although religion ought to comfort the afflicted, religion also needs to afflict the comfortable. And we truly do need to be uncomfortable tonight. Remember an alternate name for Yom Kippur is Yom Ha-Din.the Day of Judgment. This night is meant to be a time for severity.

"a time of severity". We are living in a time of consequences, a time where humanity's future (and our own, unless you are on your deathbed, futures) require confronting Inconvenient Truth, and acting in this regard.

The individual matters and we need, for Yom Kippur, to judge ourselves with "severity" - to push our own comfortable ways as to whether we 'sin' and damage and harm unknowingly or knowingly.

We, however, live within a society. And, while each of us has a voice and role in that society, there are leaders. And, we expect leaders to show leadership. Truthfully, there is no such thing as that perfect person (take a look and reflect on the Al Cheyt) nor is there such a thing as a perfect leader. But, we should recognize our own faults and seek to change our patterns. And, we should look to our leaders' faults and seek to help them change for the better.

    Most of all, we cannot afford more of the same timid politics when the future of our planet is at stake. Global warming is not a someday problem, it is now.

Who said this? Senator Barack Obama in 2007.

Where, however, is President Barack Obama and Presidential-candidate Barack Obama in 2012?

There is no question that President Barack Obama is better on environmental and climate issues than a tea-party ruled Mitt Romney conceivably could be. However, this is an incredibly low bar of judgment.

Even though climate change is an arena of incredibly stark differentiation between the parties (and candidates); even though President Obama's one-liner about climate change was one of the best received lines during his DNC speech; even though "the future of our planet is at stake", the silence about climate change from Presidential candidate Barack Obama and Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden is simply deafening.

We sin . we do wrong through action and words. We sin, we do wrong through inaction and silence.  It is past time to end the climate silence.


Climate change is already damaging global economy, report finds

Since there has been no warming for 15 years or so, the damage must be from wasteful Greenie policies

Climate change is already contributing to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people a year and costing the world more than $1.2 trillion, wiping 1.6% annually from global GDP, according to a new study.

The impacts are being felt most keenly in developing countries, according to the research, where damage to agricultural production from extreme weather linked to climate change is contributing to deaths from malnutrition, poverty and their associated diseases.

Air pollution caused by the use of fossil fuels is also separately contributing to the deaths of at least 4.5m people a year, the report found.

The 331-page study, entitled Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of A Hot Planet and published on Wednesday, was carried out by the DARA group, a non-governmental organisation based in Europe, and the Climate Vulnerable Forum. It was written by more than 50 scientists, economists and policy experts, and commissioned by 20 governments.

By 2030, the researchers estimate, the cost of climate change and air pollution combined will rise to 3.2% of global GDP, with the world's least developed countries forecast to bear the brunt, suffering losses of up to 11% of their GDP.

Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of Bangladesh, said: "A 1C rise in temperature [temperatures have already risen by 0.7C globally since the end of the 19th century] is associated with 10% productivity loss in farming. For us, it means losing about 4m tonnes of food grain, amounting to about $2.5bn. That is about 2% of our GDP. Adding up the damages to property and other losses, we are faced with a total loss of about 3-4% of GDP. Without these losses, we could have easily secured much higher growth."

But major economies will also take a hit, as extremes of weather and the associated damage - droughts, floods and more severe storms - could wipe 2% of the GDP of the US by 2030, while similar effects could cost China $1.2tr by the same date.

While many governments have taken the view that climate change is a long-term problem, there is a growing body of opinion that the effects are already being felt. Scientists have been alarmed by the increasingly rapid melting of Arctic sea ice, which reached a new record minimum this year and, if melting continues at similar rates, could be ice free in summer by the end of the decade. Some research suggests that this melting could be linked to cold, dull and rainy summers in parts of Europe - such as has been the predominant summer weather in the UK for the last six years. In the US, this year's severe drought has raised food prices and in India the disruption to the monsoon has caused widespread damage to farmers.

Connie Hedegaard, the European Union's climate chief, warned that extreme weather was becoming more common, as the effects of climate change take hold. "Climate change and weather extremes are not about a distant future," she wrote in a comment for the Guardian last week. "Formerly one-off extreme weather episodes seem to be becoming the new normal."

Michael Zammit Cutajar, former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said: "Climate change is not just a distant threat but a present danger - its economic impact is already with us."




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


26 September, 2012

Electric cars lose their spark

Thomas Edison built an electric car exactly 100 years ago (above) but it hit the same rock that bedevils electic cars to this day:  The low power-to-weight ratio of storage batteries. An excellent example of the adage:  "Those who will not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it"

Is the Electric Car Revolution Running Out of Juice?  It depends on whom you ask:

*    Year-to-date sales of the electric Nissan (NSANY) Leaf are down over 30%.

*   Ford (F) had sold just 177 of its electric Focus through August.

*   At the same time, production of Tesla Motors' (TSLA) hot-looking -- and expensive -- Model S sedan is sold out for months to come.

*    Meanwhile, the Chevy Volt is selling a bit better lately -- but that's a mixed blessing for General Motors (GM).

How to Lose Money on a $39,995 Sale

Why are improving sales for the Volt a mixed blessing? It turns out that those sales are expensive ones: Reuters recently reported that GM is losing a bundle on each Volt it sells -- despite the little plug-in hybrid's steep $39,995 base price.

While GM took issue with Reuters' math, it's clear that the innovative car isn't a moneymaker for General Motors. With sales of just a few thousand in the best of months, it'll be many years before the car manages to repay its development costs, estimated at over $1 billion.

Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing, at least in GM's view. Like other automakers, GM is looking ahead toward the next decade, when fuel-economy rules will be much stricter. From the General's perspective, the Volt represents an early investment in the kind of technology that GM -- and other automakers around the world -- will need to perfect before those rules go into effect.

There's some validity to that argument. But that hasn't stopped GM's critics from complaining that electric-car technology is turning into an expensive boondoggle.

Will Electric Cars Ever Take Off?

A Washington Post editorial this week took the Volt to task, as part of a larger argument against the U.S. government's subsidies of electric car technology. The Department of Energy said in 2011 that there could be 1 million electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015, but as the Post points out, that's looking pretty unlikely right now.

The Department of Energy's conclusion was based on a study that made some assumptions that look kind of silly now. It expected Nissan to sell 25,000 Leafs this year. But through August, the automaker had sold fewer than 5,000 here in 2012. It also predicted that GM would sell 120,000 Volts this year. The reality: Fewer than 14,000 Volts had been sold through August in the U.S. in 2012.

Both of these cars, like much of the still-emerging U.S. electric-car business, were heavily dependent on government aid. GM's massive bailout is no secret, but some of the other Department of Energy aid programs are less well-known: Among other grants and loans, Nissan received $1.5 billion in low-cost loans to refurbish the Leaf's Tennessee factory, and Tesla got a $465 million line of credit to help get the Model S into production.

And what are taxpayers getting for all that? Not a whole lot.


How the IPCC fools everyone that CO2 drives climate instead of the Sun

The IPCC claims that only an increase in man-made greenhouse gases can explain most of the global warming observed during the 20th century. To justify this position, the IPCC programs computer models with multiple dubious assumptions, such as in the graph below showing assumed values in the models:

1. Greatly exaggerated, alleged radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere from increased greenhouse gases [mostly CO2]  of 2 W/m2 from 1959-2000, even though the "IPCC formula" found in the fine print of AR4 predicts a much smaller change of 0.837 W/m2 [58% less] during the same period [5.35*ln(369.52/315.97) = 0.837 W/m2].

2. No change in forcing due to changes in cloud cover, even though multiple papers show a decrease in cloudiness observed in the late 20th century could alone account for all observed global warming.

3. The false assumption that the effect of solar radiation on the Earth's surface can be modeled by tiny changes in Total Solar Irradiance [TSI] at the top of the atmosphere, shown in the graph below as the blue line. The models falsely assume there has been no change in solar radiation at the Earth surface from the 1930's to the end of the 20th century. In reality, multiple papers have shown the effects of solar radiation at the Earth surface are greatly modified and amplified by changes in clouds, ozone, large changes in solar UV and the solar magnetic field, aerosols, and other factors. Observations have shown swings of solar radiation at the Earth surface of 5 W/m2 over the past 18 years alone [1987-2005], far more than the ~0.25 W/m2 ripples and zero net change of TSI assumed in the blue line below.

4. That the effects of volcanic eruptions are accurately modeled, even though this has been shown to be false, and which also has large effects upon solar radiation at the Earth surface.

5. That long-term trends in ocean oscillations can be ignored in the models, and which also have been shown to correlate with solar activity.

6. That chaotic systems [the ultimate example of which is the climate] can be modeled by linear assumptions.

7. That increased CO2 will cause an increase in atmospheric water vapor, even though observations show a decline in atmospheric water vapor.

The IPCC climate models are little more than computer games built upon multiple absurd assumptions and circular reasoning. They do, however, serve the purpose of fooling most of the people, all the time.

Radiative forcing assumptions in IPCC computer models.

Another source of assumptions programmed in the models

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

New paper shows how natural changes in ozone may drive climate

A important paper published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research finds that large quantities of ozone [O3], a "major greenhouse gas," are being produced naturally by an increase in lightning activity "caused by the influx of aerosols from a volcano."

According to the authors, "Our findings thus suggest a stronger O3 historical radiative forcing because this link implies lower lightning-generated [nitrous oxide] and lower O3, especially in the upper troposphere, in preindustrial time. Aerosol forcing therefore has a warming component via its effect on O3 production and this component has mostly been ignored in previous studies of climate forcing related to O3 and aerosols."

Prior research has shown that large variations in solar UV activity also control ozone production and that ozone levels could be the main driver of recent climate. Once again, natural variability including changes in ozone, solar and volcanic activity have been shown to be important drivers of climate.

Aerosol indirect effect on tropospheric ozone via lightning

By Tianle Yuan et al.

Tropospheric ozone (O3) is a pollutant and major greenhouse gas and its radiative forcing is still uncertain. Inadequate understanding of processes related to O3 production, in particular those natural ones such as lightning, contributes to this uncertainty. Here we demonstrate a new effect of aerosol particles on O3 production by affecting lightning activity and lightning-generated NOx.

We find that lightning flash rate increases at a remarkable rate of 30 times or more per unit of aerosol optical depth. We provide observational evidence that indicates the observed increase in lightning activity is caused by the influx of aerosols from a volcano. Satellite data analyses show O3 is increased as a result of aerosol-induced increase in lightning and lightning produced NOx. Model simulations with prescribed lightning change support the satellite data analysis.

O3 production increase from this aerosol-lightning-ozone link is concentrated in the upper troposphere, where O3 is most efficient as a greenhouse gas. Our findings thus suggest a stronger O3 historical radiative forcing because this link implies lower lightning-generated NOx and lower O3, especially in the upper troposphere, in preindustrial time.

Aerosol forcing therefore has a warming component via its effect on O3 production and this component has mostly been ignored in previous studies of climate forcing related to O3 and aerosols.

Sensitivity simulations suggest that 4-8% increase of column tropospheric ozone, mainly in the tropics, is expected if aerosol-lighting-ozone link is parameterized, depending on the background emission scenario.

We note, however, substantial uncertainties remain on the exact magnitude of aerosol effect on tropospheric O3 via lightning. The challenges for obtaining a quantitative global estimate of this effect are also discussed. Our results have significant implications for understanding past and projecting future tropospheric O3 forcing as well as wildfire changes and call for integrated investigations of the coupled aerosol-cloud-chemistry system.

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

Fewest Forest Fires On Record

There have been 47,437 forest fires this year. That is the smallest YTD total since the National Interagency Fire Center started tracking it in 2003. It is almost 25% below the mean and about one fourth of the 1938 total.

I live three miles from what was mindlessly described in June as Colorado’s largest fire on record. The usual crew of idiots declared that the fire would burn until the winter snows, but the fire was completely extinguished by summer rains by mid-July.

In late September 1898, a forest fire burned the entire northwest quadrant of the state. This year’s fire was about 1% that size, and it is cool and wet here in late September, 2012.

More HERE (See the original for links)

Paper finds 'brightening' of sunshine hours since 1980

A paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research examined sunshine hours over the Iberian Peninsula from 1961-2004. The authors find a dimming of sunshine occurred from 1961 to the early 1980's, corresponding to the ice age scare of the time.

Conversely, the authors find, "Since the early 1980s, the [sunshine duration] series exhibit an upward trend or “brightening,” which corresponds to the subsequent warming period.

The authors also find a relationship between sunshine and atmospheric circulation patterns, stating, "Finally and perhaps surprisingly, the [total cloud cover] residual [sunshine duration] series exhibits a statistically significant relationship with a regional atmospheric circulation pattern during spring, summer, and autumn."

The IPCC, however, dismisses the role of the Sun in climate change by only examining small changes in Total Solar Irradiance [TSI], while ignoring sunshine hours at Earth's surface, the effect of cloud variations on sunshine, and amplifying factors on sunshine such as clouds/cosmic rays, ozone, large changes in solar UV and the solar magnetic field within and between solar cycles, solar effects on ocean oscillations and atmospheric patterns, etc., etc.

Dimming/brightening over the Iberian Peninsula: Trends in sunshine duration and cloud cover and their relations with atmospheric circulation

By Arturo Sanchez-Lorenzo et al.


This study analyzes the spatial and temporal changes in sunshine duration (SunDu) and total cloud cover (TCC) over the Iberian Peninsula (IP) and four subregions during 1961–2004 using high-quality, homogenized data sets. The analyses confirm that over most of the IP and in most seasons, SunDu and TCC variations are strongly negatively correlated, with absolute values ∼0.8–0.9. Somewhat weaker correlations (0.5–0.6) are found in the southern portion of the IP in summer. A large discrepancy between the SunDu and TCC records occurs from the 1960s until the early 1980s when the SunDu series shows a decrease that it is not associated with an increase in TCC. This negative trend or “dimming” is even more pronounced after removing the effects of TCC via linear regression. Since the early 1980s, the SunDu and TCC residual SunDu series exhibit an upward trend or “brightening.” In addition to the long-term dimming and brightening, the volcanic eruptions of El Chichon and Mount Pinatubo are clearly evident in the TCC residual SunDu record. The TCC and SunDu records over the IP are well correlated with sea level pressure (SLP), with above normal TCC and below normal SunDu corresponding to below normal SLP locally in all seasons. The TCC and SunDu related SLP changes over the IP in winter and spring are part of a larger‐scale north‐south dipole pattern that extends over the entire Euro‐Atlantic sector. Other more regional atmospheric circulation patterns, identified from rotated principal component analysis, are also linked to TCC and SunDu variations over the IP. Finally and perhaps surprisingly, the TCC residual SunDu series exhibits a statistically significant relationship with a regional atmospheric circulation pattern during spring, summer, and autumn.


EU carbon prices drop as US Senate bars airlines from curbs

European Union carbon-dioxide permits dropped to a five-day low as oil prices declined and the U.S. Senate passed a measure that would effectively shield the country’s airlines from the EU emissions limits.

EU permits for delivery in December fell as much as 2 percent, the biggest decline since Sept. 19, and traded at 7.34 euros ($9.51) a metric ton, down 1.6 percent, on the ICE Futures Europe exchange as of 8:40 a.m. in London.

The Senate bill, which passed on Sept. 22 and must be reconciled with similar legislation passed by the House last year, would bar U.S. airlines from participating in the EU emissions trading system, or the ETS. While Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the Obama administration has not taken a position on the bill, in June he said the government “strongly opposes” the EU plan.

The 27-nation EU decided in 2008 to include flights to and from European airports in the ETS from 2012. International airlines have to surrender EU or United Nations emission permits against this year’s emissions by April 2013. Banning U.S. airlines from complying with the ETS may mean that fewer airlines buy permits, creating an excess of supply.

Brent crude for November delivery lost 0.8 percent to $110.55 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe as concern that European debt-crisis talks will falter and threaten the economic recovery outweighed speculation tension in the Middle East will disrupt crude supplies.

Oil can affect carbon prices because it’s linked to economic output and to cleaner-burning natural gas costs in Europe.

United Nations credits for December fell 1.6 percent to 1.85 euros. The contract sank to a record low of 1.43 euros on Sept. 18.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


25 September, 2012

NOW we find out why the Arctic melt was so extensive

In a September 18 video posted by NASA on its website, they admit that the Arctic cyclone, which began on August 5, "wreaked havoc on the Arctic sea ice cover" by "breaking up sea ice."

Global warming activists have been giddy in their hyping of the satellite era record low Arctic sea ice extent while ignoring the satellite era record sea ice expansion in the Antarctic.

Many climate activists have sought to downplay the significance that the Arctic cyclone played on this year's summer sea ice in the Arctic. But this new inconvenient video report from NASA now makes the warmists' attempt to deny the cyclones role in 2012's Arctic sea ice conditions -- impossible.

The September 18 NASA video notes: "A powerful storm wreaked havoc on the Arctic sea ice cover in August 2012. This visualization shows the strength and direction of the winds and their impact on the ice: the red vectors represent the fastest winds, while blue vectors stand for slower winds."

Reuters news service filed a September 21 report based on NASA's video admission titled: "NASA says Arctic cyclone played 'key role' in record ice melt." The news segment details how the Arctic sea ice was reduced due to "a powerful cyclone that scientists say 'wreaked havoc' on ice cover during the month of August."

"NASA says a powerful cyclone formed off the coast of Alaska in early August and moved toward the center of the Arctic ocean, weakening the already thin sea ice as it went.

A large section North of the Chukchi Sea was cut off by the churning storm and pushed south to warmer waters where it melted.
The cyclone remained stalled over the arctic for several days...Scientists say a similar storm decades ago would have had much less impact on the sea ice because they say the ice was not as vulnerable then as it is now."

Arctic storms such as this one can have a large impact on the sea ice, causing it to melt rapidly through many mechanisms, such as tearing off large swaths of ice and pushing them to warmer sites, churning the ice and making it slushier, or lifting warmer waters from the depths of the Arctic Ocean.

"It seems that this storm has detached a large chunk of ice from the main sea ice pack. This could lead to a more serious decay of the summertime ice cover than would have been the case otherwise, even perhaps leading to a new Arctic sea ice minimum," said Claire Parkinson, a climate scientist with NASA Goddard.

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

Coal Era Beckons for Europe as Carbon Giveaway Finishes

Europe is well ahead of Obama.  He is still attacking coal

European utilities are poised to add more coal-fired power capacity than natural gas in the next four years, boosting emissions just as the era of free carbon permits ends.

Power producers from EON AG to RWE AG (RWE) will open six times more coal-burning plants than gas-fed units by 2015, UBS AG said in a Sept. 5 research note. Profits at coal-fired power stations may more than double by then, according to a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. report published on Sept. 13.

The new stations, replacing atomic and aging fossil fuel- based plants, will boost demand for emission permits because coal-fired generators need twice as many credits as gas users under climate protection rules. The price of UN credits may rebound 73 percent by the end of next year from an all-time low on Sept. 18, according to the Euro Carbon Macro Fund in Luxembourg, which manages about $32 million.

"The economics for coal are near the best we've seen in five years," Laurent Segalen, a director at ECMF, said yesterday in an interview from London. Buying UN credits for 2013, after they plunged almost 80 percent in the past year, is "an amazing bargain," he said.

UN offsets, known as Certified Emission Reductions, for next year had their biggest weekly decline through Sept. 14, losing 29 percent of their value. Credits for delivery in 2013 gained 1.9 percent today to 2.10 euros ($2.73) a metric ton, on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. European Union permits for next year fell 2.9 percent to 7.46 euros.

World's Biggest

Carbon is falling as the European Commission seeks to fix a glut of permits through 2020 in the world's biggest greenhouse- gas market by traded volume. This year's supplies have been inflated by credits that the European regulator has banned and need to be handed in by emitters before May.

"The outlook for CERs will improve in the second half of next year," Matthew Gray, an analyst and trader at Jefferies Group Inc. in London, said by phone Sept. 19. Prices may rise to 2.25 euros by December 2013, he said.

CERs will probably climb to 3 euros in the same period, said Segalen, whose fund has gained 18 percent since its inception in January last year. They may struggle to rise above that, Trevor Sikorski, a director of European energy markets research at Barclays Plc in London, said yesterday by phone.

Utilities will add as much as 10,600 megawatts of new coal plants in seven central European countries in the next four years, compared with 1,600 megawatts of new natural-gas capacity, Patrick Hummel, a UBS analyst in Zurich, said in the report. Generators will retire 3,400 megawatts of stations burning coal in the same period, he said. A thousand megawatts can supply power to about 2 million European homes.


Germany's wind power chaos should be a warning to the UK

Germany has gone further down the 'renewables' path than any country in the world, and now it's paying the price

On Friday, September 14, just before 10am, Britain's 3,500 wind turbines broke all records by briefly supplying just over four gigawatts (GW) of electricity to the national grid. Three hours later, in Germany, that country's 23,000 wind turbines and millions of solar panels similarly achieved an unprecedented output of 31GW. But the responses to these events in the two countries could not have been in starker contrast.

In Britain, the wind industry proclaimed a triumph. Maria McCaffery, the CEO of RenewableUK, crowed that "this record high shows that wind energy is providing a reliable, secure supply of electricity to an ever-growing number of British homes and businesses" and that "this bountiful free resource will help drive down energy bills". But in Germany, the news was greeted with dismay, for reasons which merit serious attention here in Britain.

Germany is way ahead of us on the very path our politicians want us to follow - and the problems it has encountered as a result are big news there. In fact, Germany is being horribly caught out by precisely the same delusion about renewable energy that our own politicians have fallen for. Like all enthusiasts for "free, clean, renewable electricity", they overlook the fatal implications of the fact that wind speeds and sunlight constantly vary. They are taken in by the wind industry's trick of vastly exaggerating the usefulness of wind farms by talking in terms of their "capacity", hiding the fact that their actual output will waver between 100 per cent of capacity and zero. In Britain it averages around 25 per cent; in Germany it is lower, just 17 per cent.

The more a country depends on such sources of energy, the more there will arise - as Germany is discovering - two massive technical problems. One is that it becomes incredibly difficult to maintain a consistent supply of power to the grid, when that wildly fluctuating renewable output has to be balanced by input from conventional power stations. The other is that, to keep that back-up constantly available can require fossil-fuel power plants to run much of the time very inefficiently and expensively (incidentally chucking out so much more "carbon" than normal that it negates any supposed CO2 savings from the wind).

Both these problems have come home to roost in Germany in a big way, because it has gone more aggressively down the renewables route than any other country in the world. Having poured hundreds of billions of euros in subsidies into wind and solar power, making its electricity bills almost the highest in Europe, the picture that Germany presents is, on paper, almost everything the most rabid greenie could want. Last year, its wind turbines already had 29GW of capacity, equivalent to a quarter of Germany's average electricity demand. But because these turbines are even less efficient than our own, their actual output averaged only 5GW, and most of the rest had to come from grown-up power stations, ready to supply up to 29GW at any time and then switch off as the wind picked up again.

Now the problem for the German grid has become even worse. Thanks to a flood of subsidies unleashed by Angela Merkel's government, renewable capacity has risen still further (solar, for instance, by 43 per cent). This makes it so difficult to keep the grid balanced that it is permanently at risk of power failures. (When the power to one Hamburg aluminium factory failed recently, for only a fraction of a second, it shut down the plant, causing serious damage.) Energy-intensive industries are having to install their own generators, or are looking to leave Germany altogether.

In fact, a mighty battle is now developing in Germany between green fantasists and practical realists. Because renewable energy must by law have priority in supplying the grid, the owners of conventional power stations, finding they have to run plants unprofitably, are so angry that they are threatening to close many of them down. The government response, astonishingly, has been to propose a new law forcing them to continue running their plants at a loss.

Meanwhile, firms such as RWE and E.on are going flat out to build 16 new coal-fired and 15 new gas-fired power stations by 2020, with a combined output equivalent to some 38 per cent of Germany's electricity needs. None of these will be required to have "carbon capture and storage" (CCS), which is just an empty pipedream. This makes nonsense of any pretence that Germany will meet its EU target for reducing CO2 emissions (and Mrs Merkel's equally fanciful goal of producing 35 per cent of electricity from renewables).

In brief, Germany's renewables drive is turning out to be a disaster. This should particularly concern us because our Government, with its plan to build 30,000 turbines, to meet our EU target of sourcing 32 per cent of our electricity from renewables by 2020, is hell-bent on the same path. But our own "big six" electricity companies, including RWE and E.on, are told that they cannot build any replacements for our coal-fired stations (many soon to be closed under EU rules) which last week were supplying more than 40 per cent of our power - unless they are fitted with that make-believe CCS. A similar threat hangs over plans to build new gas-fired plants of the type that will be essential to provide up to 100 per cent back-up for those useless windmills.

Everything about the battle now raging in Germany applies equally to us here in Britain - except that we have only fantasists such as Ed Davey in charge of our energy policy. Unless the realists stage a counter-coup very fast, we are in deep trouble.


Only Warmists could pass this British High School Exam

While Michael Gove tries valiantly to remedy our dysfunctional exam system he might take a look at some recent papers, such as that set last June for A-level General Studies students by our leading exam body, AQA. Candidates were asked to discuss 11 pages of "source material" on the subject of climate change. Sources ranged from a report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to The Guardian, all shamelessly promoting global warming alarmism. One document from the Met Office solemnly predicted that "even if global temperatures only rise by 2 degrees C, 30-40 per cent of species could face extinction". A graph from the US Environmental Protection Agency showed temperatures having soared in the past 100 years by 1.4 degrees - exactly twice the generally accepted figure.

The only hint that anyone might question such beliefs was an article by Louise Gray from The Daily Telegraph, which quoted that tireless campaigner for the warmist cause, Bob Ward of the Grantham Institute, dismissing all sceptics as "a remnant group of dinosaurs" who "misunderstood the point of science".

If it were still a purpose of education to teach people to examine evidence and think rationally, any bright A-level candidate might have had a field day, showing how all this "source material" was no more than vacuous, one-sided propaganda. But today one fears they would have been marked down so severely for not coming up with the desired answers that they would have been among the tiny handful of candidates given an unequivocal "fail".


U.S.  Wind Power Industry Is Withering

Last month, Gamesa, a major maker of wind turbines, completed the first significant order of its latest innovation: a camper-size box that can capture the energy of slow winds, potentially opening new parts of the country to wind power.

But by the time the last of the devices, worth more than $1.25 million, was hitched to a rail car, Gamesa had furloughed 92 of the 115 workers who made them.

"We are all really sad," said Miguel Orobiyi, 34, who worked as a mechanical assembler at the Gamesa plant for nearly five years. "I hope they call us back because they are really, really good jobs."

Similar cuts are happening throughout the American wind sector, which includes hundreds of manufacturers, from multinationals that make giant windmills to smaller local manufacturers that supply specialty steel or bolts. In recent months, companies have announced almost 1,700 layoffs.

At its peak in 2008 and 2009, the industry employed about 85,000 people, according to the American Wind Energy Association, the industry's principal trade group.

About 10,000 of those jobs have disappeared since, according to the association, as wind companies have been buffeted by weak demand for electricity, stiff competition from cheap natural gas and cheaper options from Asian competitors. Chinese manufacturers, who can often underprice goods because of generous state subsidies, have moved into the American market and have become an issue in the larger trade tensions between the countries. In July, the United States Commerce Department imposed tariffs on steel turbine towers from China after finding that manufacturers had been selling them for less than the cost of production.

And now, on top of the business challenges, the industry is facing a big political problem in Washington: the Dec. 31 expiration of a federal tax credit that makes wind power more competitive with other sources of electricity.

The tax break, which costs about $1 billion a year, has been periodically renewed by Congress with support from both parties. This year, however, it has become a wedge issue in the presidential contest. President Obama has traveled to wind-heavy swing states like Iowa to tout his support for the subsidy. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, has said he opposes the wind credit, and that has galvanized Republicans in Congress against it, perhaps dooming any extension or at least delaying it until after the election despite a last-ditch lobbying effort from proponents this week.

Opponents argue that the industry has had long enough to wean itself from the subsidy and, with wind representing a small percentage of total electricity generation, the taxpayers' investment has yielded an insufficient return.

"Big Wind has had extension after extension after extension," said Benjamin Cole, a spokesman for the American Energy Alliance, a group partly financed by oil interests that has been lobbying against the credit in Washington. "The government shouldn't be continuing to prop up industries that never seem to be able to get off their training wheels."

But without the tax credit in place, the wind business "falls off a cliff," said Ryan Wiser, a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who studies the market potential of renewable electricity sources.

The industry's precariousness was apparent a few weeks ago at the Gamesa factory, as a crew loaded the guts of the company's newest model of the component, a device known as a nacelle, into its fiberglass shell. Only 50 completed nacelles awaited pickup in a yard once filled with three times as many, most of the production line stood idle, and shelves rated to hold 7,270 pounds of parts and equipment lay bare.

"We've done a lot to get really efficient here," said Tom Bell, the manager of the plant, which was built on the grounds of a shuttered U.S. Steel factory that was once a bedrock of the local economy. "Now we just need a few more orders."

Industry executives and analysts say that the looming end of the production tax credit, which subsidizes wind power by 2.2 cents a kilowatt-hour, has made project developers skittish about investing or going forward. That reluctance has rippled through the supply chain.


Doom for food-based biofuels

European Union plans to cap the use of food-based biofuels are a major setback for an industry once seen playing a central role in the fight against climate change, but now more often cast as the villain following a series of global food price spikes.
Industry sources and analysts predict the plan could trigger a wave of plant closures across Europe while questioning whether so-called advanced biofuels, often made from waste products, can play the greater role now envisioned by the European Commission.

The European Commission announced a major shift in biofuel policy on Monday, saying it plans to limit crop-based biofuels to 5 percent of transport fuel, after campaigners said existing rules take food out of people's mouths.

Biofuels made from food crops such as grains, sugar and vegetable oils, often called first generation biofuels, had been expected to provide the bulk of a target that 10 percent of all transport fuel should come from renewable sources by 2020.

The balance is now seen provided with a new generation of biofuels derived from waste products, grasses, the inedible parts of plants or a range of other non-food feedstocks including algae.

"It's a big U-turn in EU policy," said Jean-Philippe Puig, Chief, chief executive of French oilseed group Sofiproteol which owns the EU's largest biodiesel producer.

"We have made lots of investment in order to meet the 10 percent target in 2020, including more than 1 billion euros in biodiesel plants in France," he added.


Record high global grain prices have intensified calls for changes in EU and U.S. biofuel policies which have encouraged the use of food crops to make transport fuel.

"They (the changes) will reduce the price pressure on food and at the same time increase the pressure on car manufacturers to offer more fuel-efficient vehicles," said Hubert Weiger, chairman of German environmental protection lobby group BUND.

EU data for 2011 showed that biofuels made from food crops provide about 4.5 percent of EU transport fuel. Most of this is produced within the EU but there are also imports from South and North America as well as South-East Asia.

"I think the problem is we have huge overcapacity in the EU. The bulk of this capacity has been set up in view of this larger (previous) target," said F.O. Licht analyst Claus Keller.

"The lower target also hits biofuel producers in South America and South-East Asia," he added.

The Commission plan will have to be jointly approved by governments and the European Parliament before becoming law, which could see up to two years of lobbying by industry and campaign groups to influence the final outcome.

"The proposals will push an entire industry towards ruin," said a spokesman for German oilseeds industry association UFOP.

The industry was dealt a further setback when Austria suspended the launch of a higher blend of bioethanol in petrol on Monday, just weeks before it was set to take effect on October 1.

"The focus for investors is increasingly shifting to next generation (advanced) biofuels," said Rabobank analyst Justin Sherrard.

"That was happening anyway but this is going to send a clearer message to investors that the opportunity for first generation biofuels is increasingly limited."

Whether they can make a significant contribution to meeting EU renewable transport fuel targets is not yet clear.


"We are not seeing anywhere in the world the commercialization of next generation at the rate which governments and industry supporters had hoped we would see," Rabobank analyst Sherrard said.

"Any move to provide further incentive for those producers has to be a good thing. Whether it is enough, we will watch closely in coming years."

Advanced biofuels plants are mostly small-scale and still in their development stage.

"Maybe we have a couple of large facilities by the end of the decade but definitely not the capacities we have in the conventional biofuel sector," Licht analyst Keller said.

The struggles of the first generation of biofuels producers could also damage prospects for their descendants.

"Who is investing in second and third generation biofuels? Us - we are paying for that. But how can we invest in developing second generation fuels if we are forced to close down first generation production? We need to be realistic," Puig said.

"I am not convinced that the second generation will be ready in time for 2020, it will take a bit more time and will require more investment than for the first generation. Probably it will only be ready between 2020 and 2025."


The Courts and the EPA

By Alan Caruba

A bit of news that slipped beneath the radar on September 11th was the announcement by the Competitive Enterprise Institute that it had filed a legal suit in the federal district court for the District of Columbia challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to shield a senior official's practice of hiding public service communications on private email accounts that only he controls and can access.

The EPA official is EPA Regional Director 8 Administrator James Martin, a former senior attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund. This and many other Freedom of Information requests have been ignored by the EPA and other branches of government. On Monday, the CEI also filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department that has been stonewalling inquiries regarding internal documents related to a "possible effort" to enact a carbon tax during Congress' forthcoming lame-duck session.

The last thing America needs is an utterly bogus tax on so-called greenhouse gas emissions. A similar law is wreaking havoc on Australia's economy. And, since there is no "global warming" and carbon dioxide does not cause warming, such a tax is just one more way to grab more revenue.

Because of the hundreds of thousands of regulations the EPA has promulgated, the agency is constantly in court responding the law suits brought by states, by trade associations, and by corporations, but mostly by environmental organizations.

The EPA actually encourages environmental groups to sue in order to enter into consent decrees to "settle" the case in a manner they prefer. For decades, environmental groups have reaped millions in taxpayer dollars by accommodating the agency in this fashion. A case in point is the Environmental Defense Fund that received $2.76 million in grants over the last decade while at the same time suing the EPA over various issues.

The Wyoming-based Budd-Falen law office has documented more than 3,000 law suits against the EPA by a dozen environmental organizations over the past decade! During the same time period, the Environmental Law Institute that created a citizen's guide to suing the EPA has received $9.9 million in grants!

It is especially ironic that the courts have often become the only protection Americans have against the Environmental Protection Agency. Despite the EPA's inflated bogus claims that it is saving lives, the reality is that-particularly during both the Clinton and Obama administrations-it has existed to destroy many elements of the nation's economy, with a special emphasis on the provision of the energy upon which everything depends.

In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, "EPA Smack-Down Number Six", we learned that a decision by the D.C. Circuit court "marks the 15th time that a federal court has struck down an Obama regulation and the sixth smack-down for the Obama EPA. This tally counts legally flawed rules as well as misguided EPA disapprovals of actions by particular states."

The court ruling "saved Texas from an arbitrary and capricious EPA rejection of its permitting process for utilities and industrial plants" and asked "Why do federal judges constantly have to remind EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson" of the basic principle that even regulators must follow the laws of the United States?

Ms. Jackson is an acolyte of Carol Browner who served as EPA Administrator during the Clinton years. These days Ms. Browner is one of the many shadowy, behind the scenes, "czars" of the Obama administration, accountable to no one except the President. Many were surprised to learn that she was also a member of the Commission for a Sustainable World Society for the Socialist International. When that was revealed her biography was taken off its website.

In war you target a nation's energy facilities. This explains why the Obama administration has targeted coal-fired plants that generate nearly half of the nation's electricity.

Courts, however, are composed of judges trained in the law, but often ignorant of science. In an egregiously bad judicial decision the Supreme Court in 2007 ruled that carbon dioxide (CO2) and other "greenhouse gases" were deemed "pollutants" under the Clean Air Act.

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is vital to all life on Earth because no vegetation can exist without it. Moreover, there is no need to limit so-called greenhouse gases to fend off global warming-now called climate change-because there is no global warming. It was a huge hoax, but that doesn't deter the EPA from basing its regulations on it.

In a recent case, a D.C. Circuit Court decision was based on a Clean Air Act that empowers the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in "upwind" states "without regard to the limits imposed by the statutory text" thus vacating the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that forces reductions from plants in 28 states in the eastern half of the nation. It was challenged by several states including Texas, Alabama, and Georgia.

An illustration of how the EPA justifies its insane attack on the generation of electricity can be seen in its estimates that the rule would have prevented up to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, and 19,000 cases of acute bronchitis annually. Such figures are simply plucked from thin air, having no relationship to reality than a ruling that a child story's fairy dust can kill you.

Indeed, in 2011, the House of Representatives approved legislation aimed at ensuring that the EPA cannot regulate "farm dust." H.R. 1633 would prevent the EPA from issuing any new rule in 2012 that regulates coarse particulate matter. It passed on a vote of 268-150. Thirty-three Democrats joined with Republicans.

The EPA has become a major threat to property rights nationwide in addition to its relentless attacks on the energy sector. It is a very costly agency in terms of what Congress calls "major rules" that are defined as costing the private economy more than $100 million annually. In August 2010 Speaker of the House, John Boehner, sent President Obama a letter pointing out that the administration had been creating regulations that cost ten times more.

Of the seven rules that broke the $1 billion barrier, four of them were from the EPA. The total cost of EPA regulations hit $104.5 billion versus $5 billion for the entire rest of the government!

If the Romney/Ryan ticket is elected, the nation's energy sector will be permitted to help turn around the nation's lagging economy, avoiding the needless shut-downs of plants that generate the electricity that is the lifeblood of the economy, ending the attacks on coal and opening up exploration and drilling for oil and natural gas that will contribute billions in addition to the jobs that will be created.

With the departure of Ms. Browner and Ms. Jackson, the EPA can then be administered by someone less crazed with the intent to destroy the nation.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


24 September, 2012

"Scientist" claims Earth may run out of plants

Publicity-hungry scientists find a goldmine in global warming.  Just think up some extreme implication of it and the media will be all over you. It is a temptation to which many respond.  "Running out of plants" is however a more extreme extrapolation than usual.

It is so ignorant that it is difficult to know where to start when critiquing it -- so I will mention just two main points.  The biggest fallacy is in regarding the total biomass  on earth as fixed.  It is not.  It is responsive to two major factors:  Water availability and carbon availability.  Plants are almost entirely made up of water and carbon.  And guess what the global warming theory implies:  More water (through evaporation of the seas) and more carbon in the form of CO2.  Plants like warmer temperatures too.  So the clear implication of global warming is that we should have A LOT MORE plantlife in future.  So bring on that CO2!

The other main point is China.  China shows vividly how responsive to politics plants are.  China under Mao was a major food importer.  Australian wheat farmers blessed him regularly.  Under a more capitalistic system, however, China is a major food exporter -- being in fact the world's biggest exporter of fruit and vegetables.  You have probably seen Chinese offerings in the Produce  section of your local supermarket.  So if we really are running low on food plants, bring on more capitalism!  Capitalism is good for plants too!  -- JR

Humans may be very close to extracting all of the Earth's available plant resources, says a University of Montana researcher.

In fact, said Steven Running, a professor in the university's College of Forestry and Conservation, humanity may realistically have only 10 percent or so of our planet's annual plant resources in reserve, with little ability to boost yearly growth. The calculations don't suggest that humanity is on the verge of starvation, Running said, but they do indicate there are limits to our species' growth.

"Economic logic just seems to be about endless growth with no limits," Running told LiveScience. "And this is my attempt to say that on the planet we at least have some biophysical limits, and here's one."

Boundaries to growth

The concept of resource-imposed limits to growth, or "planetary boundaries" first came up in the 1970s with the book "Limits to Growth" (Club of Rome, 1972). The authors of that book modeled the planet's productivity and predicted that population and economic growth would run up against basic resource scarcity sometime around 2030. The calculations were somewhat primitive, Running said. The methodology and findings of the modeling were criticized, though researchers have recently revisited the predictions and found them to be relatively accurate. One 2011 analysis, published in book form by SpringerBriefs in Energy found that "reality seems to be closely following the curves that the [Limits to Growth] scenarios had generated."

Climate change and other environmental concerns have prompted scientists to revisit the idea of planetary boundaries, Running said. Likewise, he said, environmental policy-makers have become more interested in whether those boundaries can be defined. Researchers have suggested that important boundaries might include climate change, ocean acidification, land-use change and loss of species. [Top 10 Ways to Destroy Earth]

A new line

In an editorial in the journal Science to be published Friday (Sept. 21), Running suggests a new measure: terrestrial net primary plant production. This mouthful merely refers to the globe's land plant growth in a year. Humans depend on plant life for food, building materials, firewood and bioenergy and grazing land for livestock.

Thanks to satellite measurements, researchers can now calculate how much vegetation the Earth produces each year. Over 30 years of observation, Running said, the number has stayed remarkably stable at 53.6 petagrams (one petagram is one trillion kilograms, or about 2.2 trillion pounds).

That's a lot of greenery. But humans use about 40 percent of it annually, Running said. The number would seem to offer plenty of wiggle room for humanity, but in fact, only about 10 percent of the remaining vegetation is up for grabs, he said.

"What we've found is that the vast majority of that other 60 percent isn't available at all," he said. It's either locked up in root systems and unharvestable, conserved in national parks or wilderness areas crucial for biodiversity, or simply in far Siberia or the middle of the Amazon, where there are no roads and no way to harvest it.

"If humans are appropriating about 40 percent of annual production, if another 50 percent we can't harvest and appropriate, then that only leaves about 10 percent," Running said. "Well, that starts to sound a lot closer to a planetary boundary."


The dishonesty goes on

Note that "recorded history" means "since 1979".  A subtle word, that "recorded"!  1979 is when satellite measurements began.  And again no mention of the ice buildup at the other pole.  These people are members of a religious cult

A new video produced by independent videographer Peter Sinclair for The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media explains what expert scientists now find to be the lowest extent of Arctic sea ice in recorded history.

The shrinking of the Polar ice cap — providing protection much like a “giant parasol” — presents us “a big problem, a real problem, and it’s happening now, it’s not happening generations from now,” Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis cautions.

“There’s really nothing like what we’ve seen happen this year,” according to Francis. She calls the loss of sea ice in 2012 “just such a stunning example of how the climate system is changing right before our very eyes … something anybody can see, you don’t have to be a scientist.”

Other experts featured in the six-minute video are scientists Julienne Stroeve of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Michael MacCracken of the Climate Institute, and Admiral David Titley, retired chief oceanographer of the U.S. Navy and now with NOAA. They advise that along with being mindful of the decreasing area of Arctic ice coverage, it’s important to keep in mind also the thinning of that ice.

“I would almost argue that we might be entering a new climate state,” says Stroeve.


Relative to the past we are in only one of many high  temperature periods


Kara J. Pitman, Dan J. Smith


Most glaciers in the British Columbia Coast Mountains reached their maximum Holocene extent during the Little Ice Age. Early- and late-Little Ice Age intervals of expansion and retreat fluctuations describe a mass-balance response to changing climates. Although existing dendroclimatic records provide insights into these climatic fluctuations over the last 400yr, their short durations prohibit evaluation of early-Little Ice Age climate variability. To extend the duration of these records, submerged coarse woody debris salvaged from a high-elevation lake was cross-dated to living chronologies. The resulting chronology provides the opportunity to reconstruct a regional June–July air-temperature anomaly record extending from AD1225 to 2010. The reconstruction shows that the intervals AD1350–1420, 1475–1550, 1625–1700 and 1830–1940 characterized distinct periods of below-average June–July temperature followed by periods of above-average temperature. Our reconstruction provides the first annually resolved insights into high-elevation climates spanning the Little Ice Age in this region and indicates that Little Ice Age moraine stabilization corresponds to persistent intervals of warmer-than-average temperatures. We conclude that coarse woody debris submerged in high-elevation lakes has considerable potential for developing lengthy proxy climate records, and we recommend that researchers focus attention on this largely ignored paleoclimatic archive.

Quaternary Research, 2012

Courts Not Scientists Sneaked Greenhouse Gas Sham into Law

Even though neither U.S. presidential candidate is talking up man-made global warming behind the scenes courts are hard at work making laws based on controversial greenhouse gas science.

An undemocratic, largely unseen shift in American law is now taking place. You would never know it from the media facade but 2012 has witnessed an inexorable Big Green legal juggernaut driving across America. Judges not voters are at the wheel and by stealthy maneuvering we are being steamrollered by secret government diktat rather than electoral preference. It is happening away from the public political barometer because the mainstream media focuses voter minds on believing the race for the Whitehouse is all about the grassroots economy. With $3 billion per year in government climate funding up for grabs neither Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney nor Democrat President Barack Obama appear willing to debate the American courts’ back door imposition of new draconian climate laws. Left unchecked more democracies are headed for the abyss of unreasoned totalitarianism.

Voters don’t know it yet but our courts shifted gear to drive us all to accept – by imposition of law – the cornerstone of man-made global warming science: the greenhouse gas hypothesis. All this despite repeated concerns expressed by conscientious climatologists. For example, only last week another top climate scientist unswerved by government bribes (Dr. John Christy) gave evidence to the U.S. House Energy and Power Subcommittee declaring: “I’ve often stated that climate science is a ‘murky’ science. We do not have laboratory methods of testing our hypotheses as many other sciences do.”

Despite Christy’s candor about the uncertainties two western governments this year rendered crucial legal judgments unequivocally enshrining the GHE – the cornerstone of all mainstream climatology – as incontestable legal and scientific fact.

In this new topsy-turvy world last June the US Supreme Court ruled that “we give an extreme degree of deference to the [EPA] agency when it is evaluating scientific data within its technical expertise.” Right there judges, as with policymakers, turned a blind eye to the truth about this“theory” which has no less than 63 competing variants taught at leading universities – many in fatal contradiction with each other as revealed in the best-selling climate science book ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon.‘ The law has gone ahead and made an ass of itself over an issue even the scientific community explicitly accepts it has never resolved by experimental tests in our atmosphere. Today green-friendly courts are applying the slipshod ruling of Massachusetts el a.-v-Environment Protection Agency in which Justice Stevens declared:

“A well-documented rise in global temperatures has coincided with a significant increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Respected scientists believe the two trends are related. For when carbon dioxide [CO2] is released into the atmosphere, it acts like the ceiling of a greenhouse, trapping solar energy and retarding the escape of reflected heat. It is therefore a species—the most important species—of a ‘greenhouse gas.’“

Judges Go Where Scientists Fear to Tread

But with billions in subsidies and research grants still  very much up for grabs despite the recession the sham appearance of scientific certainty still drives this scam forward. Much of the foundation claims for GHE global warming are premised on scientific research carried out behind closed doors deliberately hidden from the public. Without shame government agencies such as NASA defy freedom of information requests to disclose the root of their clandestine work. Yet despite the subterfuge the bold claims are that America’s 2012 Budget “sustains the President’s commitment to global-change research as part of a government-wide effort to understand, predict, mitigate, and adapt to climate change and transition the United States to a clean-energy economy.”

So precisely how much are American taxpayers doling out to “save the planet”? No less than a cool $2.6 billion this year via the multi-agency U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), an increase of 20.3 percent or $446 million over the 2010 enacted level. No wonder the political elite, in these times of extreme austerity, aren’t letting voters in on the secret of this monumentally unjustified and wasteful redistribution of wealth. When we look closer we may determine that it is by the connivance of government-appointed court judges working in tandem with fellow government scientists that our money is being stolen by the deft use of two powerful legal precedents from the United States Supreme Court.

In 2007 the Supreme Court made its first big play to dodge the scientific arguments and decide that Earth’s atmosphere does indeed act “like a greenhouse.” In 2012 America’s top judges then went a step further and validated into law the term “greenhouse gas” where before it lacked any valid scientific or legal definition. In our court system CO2 (the gas of most interest to tax grabbers)  is now officially a dangerous and taxable “greenhouse gas” where before it was innocuous and widely used in greenhouses to augment plant growth.

Incredibly, the country’s top judges fail to note that the rise in temperatures and levels of carbon dioxide only “coincided” for the period 1975-1998, a blink of an eye in geologic time. Of no apparent concern to the courts, Romney or Obama is that for the past 400,000 years the universally accepted Vostok ice core data shows that rises in CO2 always FOLLOW rises in temperature. This compelling evidence proves this benign trace gas cannot possibly drive global temperatures and its atmospheric level is merely a byproduct of any planet-wide warming.


Sustainable Farming  -     the Impossible Dream

Viv Forbes

"To be truly 'sustainable', a farm must recycle everything - otherwise it is depleting its soil minerals. Therefore it cannot sell any of its produce. This means it cannot buy items from the outside world, such as machinery, to make labour less arduous, and to produce more food. It is thus an impossible dream."  -- Bob  Long

The man-made global warming crisis has gone cold, the "man-made extreme weather" scares are wearing thin, and people are waking up to the "tax war on carbon", so a new theme is needed for handing control of our lives, businesses and property to the world bureaucracy. The theme for the next green alarm is "sustainability" and a favourite target is "sustainable farming".

We need to recognise some realities. Modern cities are not sustainable without farms, and modern farms are not sustainable without modern machinery, mineral fertilisers and affordable energy.

Are Cities Sustainable?   City people should thank the lord for the machinery, fertiliser and cheap energy that produce the surplus food and all the trucks, road trains, refrigerated vans and milk tankers that bring it to their supermarkets every day. The last thing they should advocate is "sustainable farming".
Unlike most armchair experts on sustainable farming, my early life was spent on an almost-sustainable farm.   Cows were milked by hand, ploughing and planting was done with a team of draft horses. Here is how green power works (except we should have used a wooden plough):

Lucerne was cut using a horse-drawn mower and rake. Haymaking on our “almost sustainable” farm was a family affair when everyone got a job with a pitchfork – mine had a special short handle. I still have it.

Much more HERE  (See the original for links &  graphics)

Australia:  Smart meter data shared far and wide

No wonder Texans are chasing smart meter installers way with firearms

DETAILED information about electricity customers' power usage, which gives insights into when a house is occupied, is being shared with third parties including mail houses, debt collectors, data processing analysts and government agencies.

Customers with smart meters who sign up for Origin Energy's online portal must consent to their data being shared with a string of third parties. The data is stored in Australia but shared with US company Tendril, which is described by Origin as a smart energy technology provider.

Australia's privacy watchdog said the technology could threaten people's privacy. "We are starting to see people voicing concern about the level of data that these meters can collect," federal Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said.

Smart meters were a common concern among Age readers who responded to our series on privacy.

Mr Pilgrim said electricity companies had a legal responsibility to delete or "de-identify" personal information that was no longer needed. However, an Origin spokesman said the company kept former customers' data for retrospective queries and "tax and compliance purposes".

The state government aims to install smart meters - which log electricity use every half-hour - in all Victorian homes by the end of next year.

At the beginning of the year Electricity distributors Jemena and United Energy released trial web portals that connect to smart meters and more retailers are expected to follow suit.

Origin's online portal was released last month and lets people monitor their electricity costs using smart meter data collected from energy distributors. Customers can provide information about the size of their home, whether they rent or own, the number of adults and children in their family, if anyone stays in during the day and what appliances they own. The portal then calculates how much energy is used in the kitchen, laundry and for heating.

An Origin spokesman said the portal was fully compliant with Australian privacy legislation. He said the additional information requested about each household "adds to the richness of the Origin Smart experience".

Customer information can only be accessed by staff involved in billing. He said the electricity retailer only shared information with third parties when they had a "legitimate business need to do so in order to meet our service obligations to our customers".

Changes to the Privacy Act being debated in Parliament would restrict companies from sending customer data overseas unless the receiver was founded or controlled in Australia.

'More than 1000 people have signed up to United Energy's portal. UE spokeswoman Lisa Drought said the distributor only provided smart meter data to customers and energy retailers, and would not sell the information to third parties. She said the portal also had "internet bank-like security" to prevent privacy breaches.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


23 September, 2012

An elastic definition of "half"?

Isn't it lovely to have official science on your side?  The National Academy of Science and the National Research Council have released a short pro-Warmist video which purports to show that changes in the sun could not have caused the slight global warming of the late 20th century

The video is clearly designed to impress people who know nothing about the subject.  It is meant to represent "The Science" that Warmists are always talking about.  The video is however crooked from the start.  A correlation between solar activity and terrestrial temperature has been known for around 200 years.  So that is discussed?  Not on your nellie!  It is ignored.  And of course Svensmark's explanation for that correlation (recently confirmed at CERN) is not mentioned either.  So both the facts and the  theory  most relevant to the question they address are ignored!  A virtuoso performance of fraud!

But what of the things they do mention?  If you watch the video, starting at  mark 0:57 to 1:16 minutes you hear them say:

"Before satellites, solar energy had to be estimated by more indirect methods such as records of the number of sunspots observed each year, which is an indicator of solar activity. These indirect methods suggest that there was a slight increase in solar energy during the first half of the 20th century and a decrease in the latter half."

So let us look at the numbers in the sunpot record  Here.   Note that the biggest cycle is solar cycle 19 which started in April 1954.  That's the SECOND half of the century, not the First like they say.  But more important than that, is if you add up the sunspot numbers (found in column 5 of the chart) you will see that there were many more sunspots in the SECOND half of the 20th century than the first.

It's true that sunspot numbers in cycles (such as cycle 19) aren’t the same as solar energy received by the earth but it is sunspot numbers that the video hangs its hat on so there is no doubt about the deception.

So how come official bodies can  perpetrate such a careless fraud?  The only way I can make the numbers come out anywhere near what they say is to put the big leap of 1954 into the first half of the century.  Strange arithmetic!  It certainly gives the impression that they themselves do not believe what they say.  They are just going through the motions in a very careless way:  Just putting out pretty but worthless beads to wave in the faces of  the despised "masses".

TWO polar records this year?

The world's media is extremely excited at the thirty-year record low extent of sea ice at the North Pole which occurred just days ago: but almost nobody is reporting on the fact that something almost equally unusual is going on down around the coasts of Antarctica.

Whoa, that's a lot of ice

Even as the Arctic sea ice starts to grow again from its summery shrunken condition, the austral ice at the planet's other pole may have yet to reach its wintery peak extent. As the graph shows, at the moment it is much larger than normal for the time of year, and depending on what happens in the next week or so it might hit a record high. There has already been a point at which a record for that date occurred, and only a handful of higher daily satellite readings have ever been taken.

The sea ice around the coasts of Antarctica on average covers roughly the same amount of sea as the north-polar sea ice does: it's just as important, though you wouldn't know it by looking at the world's press right now. Another thing not everyone knows is that even as Arctic ice has been on a long decline since satellite measurements began, the Antarctic ice has been growing steadily (this despite well-publicised ice shelf losses around the Western Antarctic peninsula, bucking the overall continental trend).

Taking all the world's sea ice together, then - as opposed to focusing exclusively on the Arctic - the picture is far less gloomy than most media outlets would have you believe. Generally the world has between 15 and 23 million square km of the stuff: at the moment it has a bit more than 18m, which is approximately 1.5m below average for this time of year. Earlier this year, though, it was nearly 1m up on the seasonal average.

There are some other things to bear in mind, too: melting sea ice, of course, doesn't mean rising sea levels the way melting glaciers or ice sheets on land might. Then there's the fact that the satellite record is so short and the polar regions so little known: longer term variations like the one we're seeing may be entirely normal. Famously the president of the Royal Society (Blighty's premier scientific institution) wrote to the Admiralty in 1817:
    It will without doubt have come to your Lordship's knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated.

    (This) affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past ...

Even so, though, many are warning of an "ice free" arctic - perhaps in only a few years from now. Then, of course, without ice to reflect heat back into space, runaway global warming would surely be a certainty?

One should note first of all that "ice free" in a satellite observation sense doesn't mean "free of ice" - there would still be a lot of ice floating about in that scenario. Then, however, it's also worth considering what Steffen Tietsche, a polar ice expert at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, has to say. Tietsche and his colleagues wrote last year in a leading peer-reviewed geophysics journal:
    We examine the recovery of Arctic sea ice from prescribed ice-free summer conditions in simulations of 21st century climate in an atmosphere–ocean general circulation model. We find that ice extent recovers typically within two years.

    The excess oceanic heat that had built up during the ice-free summer is rapidly returned to the atmosphere during the following autumn and winter, and then leaves the Arctic partly through increased longwave emission at the top of the atmosphere and partly through reduced atmospheric heat advection from lower latitudes. Oceanic heat transport does not contribute significantly to the loss of the excess heat.

    Our results suggest that anomalous loss of Arctic sea ice during a single summer is reversible, as the ice–albedo feedback is alleviated by large-scale recovery mechanisms. Hence, hysteretic threshold behavior (or a “tipping point”) is unlikely to occur during the decline of Arctic summer sea-ice cover in the 21st century.

So, all in all, probably not time to panic yet.


Another Spectacular Green Failure

What would you do with $7.5 billion? There are probably as many answers as there are people, but we’re guessing nobody opted to waste it all on a policy that accomplishes exactly zilch. Unfortunately, it looks like the federal government has done just that. Reuters has the details:
    U.S. federal policies to promote electric vehicles will cost $7.5 billion through 2019 and have “little to no impact” on overall national gasoline consumption over the next several years, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report issued on Thursday.

Greens have an odd knack for developing useless and expensive government policies. Ethanol, ballyhooed as a way to reduce greenhouse gasses, raises food prices for the poor and, in the U.S., actually increases greenhouse gas emissions at great cost. Costly programs to create “green jobs” seem to produce more scandals than jobs. And now we have a subsidy program for electric cars that costs money but otherwise gets nothing done.

Greens need to get better at policy; as it is, greens seem too policy challenged for public opinion to support the sweeping changes they recommend. That’s a shame; the world’s environmental problems are real, and good solutions are urgently needed.


EPA delays FOIA response; what is it hiding?

By Mark A. Wohlschlegel II — In May of 2012, Americans for Limited Government filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with the EPA regarding their regulation and corresponding law suit on the topic of coal-ash.

This stemmed from our suspicion of the green groups taking advantage of the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA).  By this act, parties that prevail in cases against federal agencies are now allowed to seek reimbursement from the federal government for attorney fees.   Its intent was to ensure that decisions to contest administrative actions are based on the merits and not the cost of litigation, thereby encouraging agencies to base such actions on informed deliberation.  EPA knows this.  Green groups know this.  Neither have anything to lose.   Based on this, ALG is looking for evidence of collusion between the groups to exploit the EAJA.

Our request simply asked for all communications between the EPA’s Office and 11 environmental groups that were also involved in the suit, including the Sierra Club, Chesapeake Climate Change Network and Physicians for Social Responsibility.  ALG voluntarily amended the request on June 11 to narrow the search.  Following this the EPA used our request for a fee waiver as a member of the “news media” as their tool to both delay and stonewall a response to our request. Despite providing what was specifically asked for on two occasions, we were summarily denied three times. Among other objections, in the EPA’s last denial, dated August 6th, it again ignored our reasoned analysis and claimed we did not “turn raw data materials into distinct works,” but rather labeled us as an “information vendor” or “middleman.”

After filing well over 100 FOIA requests, and successfully receiving a “news media” member designation by more than a dozen other federal government departments and agencies, we at ALG are not exactly “green” when it comes to FOIA requests. Not deterred by the EPA’s belligerence, we at ALG re-filed a 55-page request on Aug. 22, detailing our right to a fee waiver as a member of the “news media” for FOIA purposes, and attaching 15 unique editorial pieces done by us. This included an original Aug. 15 article “What is the EPA hiding?” on this very FOIA battle we were having with the EPA. We also brought to the EPA’s attention a 2008 district court case they lost on this very issue. About a week later (and almost four months since our original filing), the EPA gave us our fee waiver.

Now was that really that hard EPA?


The EPA’s Latest Victims: 8 Coal Mines

The EPA added 8 new victims to it’s death toll today when Alpha Natural Resources announced that it would be closing 3 Virginia coal mines and 5 other mines in West Virginia and Pennsylvania resulting in the destruction of 1,200 more coal mining jobs. This is just the latest in a long and steady string of coal mining jobs lost due to the EPA’s War on Coal.

These shutdowns are the result of radical environmentalist policy that has been supported by former Virginia Governor and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine and Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Bob Casey.

As recently as July, Kaine bemoaned suggestions to weaken job-destroying EPA regulations saying  in the New York Times, “My advice is, don’t try to weaken regulations. Sell your story. Say we can meet these standards.”

In January of 2008, Obama said “If somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them” when referring to his Cap-and-Trade proposals supported by both Kaine and Casey.

Today’s news is proof that job creation and regulations aimed at destroying the coal industry cannot coexist and the loss of jobs is the direct responsibility of Tim Kaine and Bob Casey who have supported the policies that caused these mine closures.

The closings came as no surprise to Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson who predicted last March that the coal mining industry would fall prey to the out-of-control EPA. “All these EPA guidelines, rules and regulations are nothing more than an attempt to end coal production in the U.S.,” said Wilson.

Unfortunately today’s announcement proves Wilson correct. And it shows that the EPA run by the radical-enviros is completely run amok.


Tragedy of Rising Energy Prices

There is pain associated with $4.00 a gallon gasoline. It’s not the kind you see on the news every night but it is just as tragic. Every day, families across our country struggle to put enough gas in their cars to get to work. Elderly couples choose between going to the doctor today or to church on Sunday. The people who live pay check to pay check, the people barely getting by, are bleeding a slow economic death with no end in sight.

This administration’s energy policy doesn’t even consider Americans who are just surviving on the edge, almost too poor to pay for the necessities of life like groceries or their prescriptions. Instead the President panders to a small group of environmentalists, while the rest of America suffers. The Presidents’ energy policy is clear; energy prices must “necessarily skyrocket”. Similar sentiments have been said by Energy Secretary Chu who suggested that Americans should be paying European prices for gasoline, roughly $8.00 a gallon. This President singled out industries like coal, gasoline and even hydroelectric power as somehow undesirable and therefore deserving of increased regulation and prohibitions on growth.

Earlier this week, Alpha Natural Resources announced that excessive regulations forced the layoff of 1,200 employees, former coal miners who would lose their jobs as they shut down eight coal plants. These people won’t be able to pay their mortgages, pay for their kids to be on the football team and may not be able to afford presents under the tree come December. These are our neighbors in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania and they are hurting. These eight shuttered plants are only the most recent of the 119 coal mines that have closed since President Obama took office. Think of all of the jobs lost. This President has yet to create one net job since he took office.

These workers had the misfortune of working for the coal industry instead of politically connected industries that the President has propped up with bailouts and subsidies. No greater example of this exists than Solyndra, the failed solar energy plant that was given a $535 million loan from taxpayers.

The President refuses to allow job creation in any portion of the energy section that doesn’t fit his green-energy ideology, putting politics over American jobs. This is exemplified by the President’s decision this year to delay and deny the now infamous Keystone pipeline. That project alone would have created thousands of jobs. During the Obama Presidency oil production on federal lands has declined by over 250,000 barrels a day. That lost production means fewer high paying jobs and more Americans receiving food stamps, because the jobs they would take just don’t exist.

While the nation suffers from 43 straight months of unemployment over 8%, North Dakota’s job market is booming with only 3% unemployed primarily because the state has allowed oil and natural gas drilling on their lands. The people in North Dakota are producing the energy our country needs while being able to put food on the table and pay their mortgages. Yet if the President had his way and those lands were federally owned, the state would have less production, less energy, and fewer jobs.

The personal ideology of President Obama is dictating the nation’s policies without regard to individual suffering. There are tens of thousands of jobs which could be created if the President would change his energy policies. And every American would benefit from lower energy prices, from electricity to heat their homes to gasoline to power their cars.

Winter is coming and many Americans are going to choose not to turn on the furnace and instead wear three more layers, because between paying for gasoline to get us to work, to school, to church, and the grocery store, there just isn’t enough to pay for rising heating prices, too.

Mr. President, when will you see that your energy policies are causing pain?




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


22 September, 2012


21 September, 2012

At last!  A Warmist notices Antarctica

The jeers of skeptics have finally got to them. 

It is perfectly true that there is a great physical difference between the Arctic and the Antarctic.  The Antarctic is mostly land and the Arctic is mostly sea.  So is it because the Antarctic is land  ice that it is not melting?  The Warmists say that is "largely" so (because that's in their models) but are up against something:    There's lots of sea ice in the  Antarctic too and it's not melting either.  So they resort to different models and theories.  Warmists are never short of theories.  But being wise after the event anyone can do

In a column about the record high Antarctic sea ice, skeptic James Taylor writes, "Please, nobody tell the mainstream media or they might have to retract some stories and admit they are misrepresenting scientific data."

But if anyone had asked an actual scientist, they would have learned that a good year for sea ice in the Antarctic in no way nullifies the precipitous drop in Arctic sea-ice levels year after year — or the mounds of other evidence indicating global warming is really happening.

"Antarctic sea ice hasn't seen these big reductions we've seen in the Arctic. This is not a surprise to us," said climate scientist Mark Serreze, director of the NSIDC. "Some of the skeptics say 'Well, everything is OK because the big changes in the Arctic are essentially balanced by what's happening in the Antarctic.' This is simply not true."

Projections made from climate models all predict that global warming should impact Arctic sea ice first and most intensely, Serreze said. "We have known for many years that as the Earth started to warm up, the effects would be seen first in the Arctic and not the Antarctic. The physical geography of the two hemispheres is very different. Largely as a result of that, they behave very differently."

The Arctic, an ocean surrounded by land, responds much more directly to changes in air and sea-surface temperatures than Antarctica, Serreze explained. The climate of Antarctica, land surrounded by ocean, is governed much more by wind and ocean currents. Some studies indicate climate change has strengthened westerly winds in the Southern Hemisphere, and because wind has a cooling effect, scientists say this partly accounts for the marginal increase in sea ice levels that have been observed in the Antarctic in recent decades.

"Another reason why the sea-ice extent in the Antarctic is remaining fairly high is, interestingly, the ozone hole," Serreze told Life's Little Mysteries. This hole was carved out over time by chlorofluorocarbons, toxic chemicals formerly that were used in air conditioners and solvents before being banned. "The ozone hole affects the circulation of the atmosphere down there. Because of the ozone hole, the stratosphere above Antarctica is quite cold. Ozone in the stratosphere absorbs UV light, and less absorption [by] ozone makes the stratosphere really cold. This cold air propagates down to the surface by influencing the atmospheric circulation in the Antarctic, and that keeps the sea ice extensive."

But these effects are very small, and Antarctic sea-ice levels have increased only marginally. In the coming decades, climate models suggest rising global temperatures will overwhelm the other influences and cause Antarctic sea ice to scale back, too.

The extent of Arctic sea ice at its summertime low point has dropped 40 percent in the past three decades. The idea that a tiny Antarctic ice expansion makes up for this — that heat is merely shifting from the the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern and therefore global warming must not be happening — is "just nonsense," Serreze said.


Antarctic sea ice reaches record high while IPCC models predicted the opposite

A recent paper in the Journal of Climate finds that most climate models erroneously predicted that Antarctic sea ice extent decreased over the past 30 years, which "differs markedly from that observed." 

As noted in the abstract, Antarctic sea ice has confounded the models by instead increasing over the satellite era. In fact, it is currently at a record extent that is more than 2 standard deviations above the 1979-2000 average.

The authors lament, "The negative [Antarctic sea ice] trends in most of the model runs over 1979 - 2005 are a continuation of an earlier decline, suggesting that the processes responsible for the observed increase over the last 30 years are not being simulated correctly."
Journal of Climate 2012

An Initial Assessment of Antarctic Sea Ice Extent in the CMIP5 Models

By John Turner et al.


We examine the annual cycle and trends in Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) for 18 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 models that were run with historical forcing for the 1850s to 2005. Many of the models have an annual SIE [sea ice extent] cycle that differs markedly from that observed over the last 30 years. The majority of models have too small a SIE at the minimum in February, while several of the models have less than two thirds of the observed SIE at the September maximum. In contrast to the satellite data, which exhibits a slight increase in SIE, the mean SIE of the models over 1979 - 2005 shows a decrease in each month, with the greatest multi-model mean percentage monthly decline of 13.6% dec-1 in February and the greatest absolute loss of ice of -0.40 × 106 km2 dec-1 in September. The models have very large differences in SIE over 1860 – 2005. Most of the control runs have statistically significant trends in SIE over their full time span and all the models have a negative trend in SIE since the mid-Nineteenth Century. The negative SIE trends in most of the model runs over 1979 - 2005 are a continuation of an earlier decline, suggesting that the processes responsible for the observed increase over the last 30 years are not being simulated correctly.


Lewandowsky in meltdown?

After all the hilarity about psychologist Lewandowsky's totally unscientific research methods when he tried to prove that climate skeptics are moon-landing deniers, a strange silence has fallen. His paper was publicized as  “in press”.  But when will it actually appear?  Has the journal been embarrassed by the junk they accepted for publication and postponed it into the never never?

Lewandowsky’s paper was in press as of July 27th, when the Guardian announced its results. But it doesn’t seem to have been published in the September edition of Psychological Science. Nor is it mentioned in the “early releases”.  Stan points out most of the September stories were first published in late July.   It may mean nothing (a delay of a month), or it may mean the paper is being rewritten, or possibly presages a silent “withdrawal”?  Certainly skiphil found a comment by Lewandowsky that suggests the moonlanding paper was being “extended” and was not quite the complete and settled science it was presented as being at  The Guardian by Adam Corner, and The Telegraph too. h/t to Stan, Barry, Wayne and Skilhil in comments at CA.
64. Stephan Lewandowsky at 22:04 PM on 14 September, 2012

Questions continue to be raised for further information relating to this paper. My response is threefold:
1. I see little merit in treading over ground that is already clearly stated in the paper (e.g., the elimination of duplicate IP numbers).

2. Several questions concern material that is presently subject to an FOI request. I will let that process run to completion rather than pre-empt it.

3. The supplementary online material for the article is being extended to contain additional information (e.g., the outlier analysis from the preceding post). The online supplement will be released when the typesetting of the article is complete.
Time permitting, I may also write another post or two on topics relating to this paper that are of general interest.

This Friday it will be eight weeks since The Guardian article. In this modern era where anyone can self-publish a book in a day on their home computer, it does seem odd that Psychological Science needs nearly 2 months to typeset an article.

Note point 2 also: No Stephan, no one cares if you “preempt the FOI” — there is no penalty for releasing information that is public property. As a public servant and a scientist(?) the emails, the data and the methods belong to all Australians. Sure, redact the private details, but no one should have to FOI those answers in the first place. That you use the FOI as an excuse to delay providing the answers you owe the public sends a message about your dedication to the honest process of discovery and your conscientious duty as a man who is supposed to serve the public. If you had a clear conscience, and were proud of your work, you’d be only too happy to help people understand your careful responsible impartial dependable work, right?


Additional note:  In the bad old days of paper-only publication, a journal article could take two years to appear.  Some of mine did.  But these days, journals have an online  list of articles accepted but not published in paper -- and that listing should have a negligible lag.  Lewandowski is missing from the relevant list -- JR.

The EPA’s 4 Gallon Minimum Fuel Requirement

Drive an older car or own a moped, motorcycle or lawnmower? Depending on which fuel pump you use, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requiring that you buy at least four gallons of fuel—although some vehicles that require the minimum four gallon requirement don’t even have a four gallon fuel tank.

According to a recent letter by the EPA to the American Motorcyclist Association, motorists buying E10 fuel (a mixture that contains 10 percent ethanol) from a hose that also supplies E15 fuel (a mixture that contains 15 percent ethanol) must buy at least four gallons to protect customers following behind. Ethanol is hard on engines and less efficient than regular gasoline. E15 can even cause engine failure in smaller or older engines. So if you’re using a blender pump to buy E10 that sells both E15 and E10, the residual amount of E15 left in the hose from the previous customer could cause significant damage to those smaller and older engines—unless you purchase at least 4 gallons.

In 2010, the EPA began allowing up to 15 percent of ethanol to be blended into gasoline for cars and light-duty trucks model years 2007 or newer. A year later, the agency included model years 2001 to 2006. Automotive equipment manufacturers warn that the EPA’s acceptance of E15 is premature and conducted tests that show out of eight engines tested, “two popular gasoline engines used in light-duty automotive applications of vehicles from model years 2001 through 2009 failed with mechanical damage when operated on intermediate-level ethanol blends (E15 and E20).”

The controversy over E15 and the 4 gallon minimum fuel requirement are part of a larger problem: the ethanol mandate. The ethanol mandate, also known as the renewable fuels standard, was created in 2005, increased in 2007, and requires the production of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by the year 2022.

Slower demand for gasoline, however, has made the ethanol targets for each year difficult to meet. So now producers are over-supplying a government-created market. Instead of working to develop a product that consumers want to purchase, ethanol interests want the government to create an even larger artificial market for ethanol. One way was to encourage the EPA to allow for a higher percentage of ethanol to be blended into gasoline.

Allowing more ethanol to be blended into our fuel mixture isn’t necessarily the problem. We should encourage a competitive fuel market by removing regulatory barriers that prevent alternative fuels from reaching the market. Fuel choice and a more diverse fuel market can be beneficial when it’s driven by producers and consumers in a free market. The problem occurs when the federal government creates artificial markets through mandates. Inevitably, such policies lead to unintended consequences. In the case of the ethanol mandate, these consequences include potential engine damage and minimum fuel requirements.

Congress established and President Bush signed into law the ethanol mandate to address high fuel prices, dependence on foreign oil, and environmental concerns with the hope that renewable technologies could stimulate the economy. Sound familiar?

Thanks to Congress’ efforts to solve perceived problems that could have and should have been left to the market and American ingenuity to tackle, Americans have one more real problem to add to the heap of real problems the ethanol mandate has created.

On top of the E15 debacle, the ethanol mandate is driving up food prices, has caused more environmental harm than good, and is driving up fuel prices. Although fuel that is 85 percent ethanol appears cheaper at the gas station, it is less energy dense, so you’re actually paying more. In essence, for every problem the ethanol mandate was supposed to address, the opposite effect is occurring. This is why politicians are calling for waiving the ethanol mandate and the European Union is scaling back the amount of biofuels developed from food crops.

A lot of questions remain as to what fuel is safe for a motorist to use, but one thing is certain: Congress needs to repeal the ethanol mandate.


House readies for battle against Obama’s war on coal ahead of elections

 In a final act before voters make their way to the polls, the U.S. House of Representatives is readying itself for battle against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Obama Administration’s apparent war on coal.

The Republican-led House is hoping the Stop the War on Coal Act, H.R. 3409, will leave a lasting impression on voters by highlighting the onslaught of regulations and rules against America’s prime electricity source that threatens countless jobs and higher energy prices across the nation.

This act includes various provisions prohibiting the EPA and the Obama administration from pursuing and implementing an attack on coal production and use.  The House Energy and Commerce Committee claims bipartisan support of the Energy Tax Prevention Act, the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act and the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act will save jobs and keep energy prices down for American families and businesses.

“Just looking at the EPA’s mercury emission regulations alone — which require power plants to be retrofitted with new technologies — costs billions of dollars to implement,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG).  “However due to the prohibitively high cost of this new technology, many older coal-fired plants are being shut down, ending countless Americans jobs for those who depend on coal for their livelihoods.”

A vote on this legislation is expected Friday, Sept. 21; it is a welcome start to reining in the prevailing and overbearing EPA.

The EPA’s vendetta against coal has led to a complete break in their lawful powers as it weasels its way into the states through a process called “sue and settle.”  Through this process the EPA is able to create new laws without any consent from Congress or the president.

This political game consists of radical environmental groups, which typically ally with the EPA, but on a specific rule or regulation don’t think the EPA is doing a good enough job.  These groups then sue the EPA and the Agency settles with them agreeing to fix the problem. Therefore a court-imposed deadline on the EPA leaves it with no other option but to override the state’s regulations and enforce its own controls.

In one such EPA rule, the Regional Haze Rule, such lawsuits have enabled the Agency to act far beyond its constitutional authority.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a report titled, “EPA’s New Regulatory Front: Regional Haze and the Takeover of State Programs,” highlights how the EPA, along with court-mandated deadlines, has bullied its way into state territory by delaying state plans for emission control.

“By combining this tactic of delaying approval of the state plans with Sue and Settle and a court-imposed deadline to act, EPA has manufactured a loophole to provide itself with the ability to reach into the state haze decision-making process and supplant the state as decision maker. EPA has, effectively, engineered a way to get around the protections of state primacy built into the Regional Haze statute by Congress.”

This rule alone is threatening to devastate communities and industries throughout the U.S.

There is no industry immune to the EPA’s overreach.  For now, the EPA and this administration have coal on their radar, but that’s not to say others won’t come into their crosshairs.

The Stop the War on Coal Act is a starting point allowing Congress to take back some of the EPA’s new-found power and protect America’s vast energy supply.

“If our hope is to bring America out of this recession in one piece then affordable energy is a must,” ALG’s Wilson concluded.  “The House must pass this legislation and begin the arduous task of reining in the out-of-control EPA.”


Is the EPA superagency bigger than the President and Congress?

So much for the separation of powers.  Thanks to federal court rulings, even if Mitt Romney prevails in Nov., he will be hard-pressed to unilaterally rein in regulatory overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The problems at the agency are fixable, but they will require decisive action by Congress and the president — and even then courts may remain a likely avenue for radical environmentalists to enact sweeping restrictions on the energy industry, the wider economy, and everyone’s standards of living.

Under the Obama Administration, the agency has taken the habit of entering into “sue-and-settle” arrangements with radical fringe groups. This is where an organization sues the EPA demanding that they enforce the law in a new, expanded way.

The EPA then enters into a consent decree with the party, which is signed by a judge without review, since the two disputing parties are in “agreement.” Suddenly, the EPA’s power under, say, the Clean Air Act or the Clean Water Act has been expanded dramatically.

Does that sound like the normal process for a bill becoming law? This process completely takes Congress and the Presidency out of the equation.

It is that easy. And it is becoming more widespread.

In June, holding a hearing on the matter, Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Technology Rep. James Lankford noted, “In the past 3 years, the Administration has concluded approximately 60 settlements with special interest — 29 of these agreements bound EPA to make major policy changes.  The plaintiffs in these cases are often the very same reoccurring players — the Sierra Club, [the Natural Resources Defense Council] NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife, Wild Earth Guardians, and Center for Biological Diversity.”

Besides the EPA, radical groups have also used the tactic on the Departments of the Interior, Transportation, Agriculture, and Defense, the Fish & Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Lankford called attention to two notable rules changes that have resulted from sue-and-settle. The first was the implementation of regional haze regulations by the EPA even though the Clean Air Act gave that power to the states, which is being used to threaten the closure of the Navajo Generating Station that provides supplies electricity for the 14 pumping stations required to move water to southern Arizona for some 80 percent of the state’s population.

Another example Lankford cited was the implementation of regulations affecting new coal-fired power plants being applied to existing ones — so-called New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Electric Utilities.

Both efforts are designed to force existing coal power plants to be retrofitted with costly technologies that will make delivering coal electricity — currently at $30 to $35 per megawatt hour to produce — much more expensive than it is today. By 2017, the Department of Energy estimates that the Obama Administration’s policies will have tripled the cost of coal to anywhere from $97 to $139 per megawatt hour.

That is one of the reasons why Americans for Limited Government has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in May to get to the bottom of what could be another sue-and-settle regulation in the making related to coal-ash. We have requested — and are still awaiting — all communications between the EPA’s Offices and the eleven groups which sued the Agency on April 5 including the Sierra Club, Chesapeake Climate Change Network and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

More broadly, thirteen state attorneys general including Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt have similarly filed a FOIA request to obtain communications on all of the previous sue-and-settle regulations, alleging that some of these consent orders may be prearranged. Pruitt noted to the Edmond Sun that the EPA has in some instances entered into a consent decree the same day the lawsuit was filed.

But even if Romney managed to rein in the EPA and other agencies’ sue-and-settle tactic by fighting the cases in court, that is no guarantee of victory. Massachusetts v. EPA was one such case where the Commonwealth of Massachusetts sued the Bush Administration to regulate carbon dioxide, a biological gas necessary for the very existence of life, as a “harmful pollutant” under the terms of the Clean Air Act.

Despite the fact that the law was never designed to regulate CO2, and the Agency itself argued against such an interpretation, the Supreme Court arbitrarily changed what the law meant, leading to the EPA’s carbon endangerment finding and subsequent rulemakings in the Obama Administration’s war on coal.

Merely fighting in court — and leaving the nation’s energy independence up to judicial whims — is no longer a strategy the American people can count on.

That is why Romney should focus on legislation that will explicitly make clear that neither the Clean Air Act nor any other federal statute can regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Further, Congress must work to repeal or reform any statute that the EPA’s expansive, judicial-created powers have been based on.

In addition, as president, Romney would need to go at agencies administratively and clean house at the EPA, the Departments of the Interior and Energy, the Fish & Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that are seeking to control all land use across the nation.

The envirocrats are relentless and must be fought at every turn. They have used the courts to unilaterally expand their own powers, all in defiance of the separation of powers to create a superagency. This issue is not only about reclaiming American energy independence, it is about restoring the rule of law to Washington, D.C. and the consent of the governed more broadly.

Reining in the EPA and other agencies is going to be very difficult. However, no agency of government should be bigger than the President of the United States and the members of Congress who are elected by the people.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


20 September, 2012

The Warmist fear of debate goes back a long way

Warmists have only a Humpty Dumpty shell  of science on their side so when skeptics point them to actual climate facts, the only reply possible for them is some sort of snarl.  The snarl is of course "ad hominem" and is at least abusive of not defamatory.  It can also simply be a pack of lies.  So rather than debate the climate facts, Warmists wage a rhetorical war in which they try to defame  skeptics personally -- and block anyone from hearing them.  The Warmist response to skeptics is of course not even a simulacrum of science  -- but nor is Warmism itself.  They huff and they puff and they blow their own house down.

Below is a reproduction of an early Warmist attempt to shut skeptics up  -- JR:

(Larger version here)

Excerpt:  "It is journalistically irresponsible to present both sides as if it were a question of balance. Given the distribution of views, with groups like the National Academy of Science expressing strong scientific concern, it is irresponsible to give equal time to a few people standing out in left field.

The overall weight of evidence” of global warming “is so clear that one begins to feel angry toward those who exaggerate the uncertainty."  --  Ross Gelbspan quoting Al Gore in 1992

Russell Cook comments on the clipping:

That is a scan I originally linked to in my JunkScience guest article "In Case of Heart[land] Attack, Break Glass"  (7th paragraph there), and in my comment here, which is within the comments section of my own guest post at WUWT about 'the other major problem' with the Lewandowsky paper. I also showed it in the comment I placed at the PBS NewsHour to predict the AGW backlash Watts was going to get: 

My heartfelt hat tip goes to Australia's Brenton Groves for supplying me with that scan and the larger "Racing to an environmental precipice: Fear of future on deteriorating planet sets agenda for Rio de Janeiro summit" May 31, 1992 Boston Globe article containing it.

I believe there was a Gore / Schneider / Gelbspan connection at the beginning of it all. Consider that in September of 1992, Schneider said the following in a Discover magazine article "Can We Repair the Air?"  (8th paragraph):  "The White House, some business groups, and a few contrary-minded scientists had always argued that the possibility of a nasty greenhouse effect was too uncertain to justify spending billions of dollars to fix it. They (as the tobacco industry has done for decades with smoking) called instead for further studies. ..."  

My thanks to you for spreading the word of how this is a 20 year boilerplate smear. It is 3 simple talking points:  "settled science" / "corrupt skeptics operating in a parallel manner to old tobacco industry shills" / "the media is not obligated to give skeptics equal balance because of the first two points". Ross Gelbspan consolidated this 3-point mantra into the successful smear it became after late 1995.


The Case of the Alternating Ice Sheets

It is giving Warmists erections all over the place that the Arctic sea ice has shrunk in recent years. They really cling to that.  And when people point out that the planet's BIG ice aggregation --Antarctica -- is not shinking at all and appears to be growing in places, they figuratively stick their fingers in their ears and say, "Can't hear you".  They are that childish.

Skeptics however suffer from no such pathology (psychologists call it "denial") so simply find the contrast interesting.  Now one asks:  Is there are long-term inverse link between the two poles?  An excerpt from an answer below:

During the Holocene Climate Optimum, around 6,000 years ago, temperatures in the Arctic were 4°C higher than today and the Arctic Ocean may have been totally ice free during the summer. That this happened before makes the melting of the Arctic sea ice not a particularly bothersome thing; even the “endangered” polar bears managed to live through this balmy period in the high Arctic.

Even if we ignore the fact that there have been warmer periods in the Holocene climate record, there is a reason to not get upset by the apparent retreat of the Arctic ice sheet. That reason is explained in a paper by Stephen Barker and colleagues, entitled “800,000 Years of Abrupt Climate Variability,” that appeared in Science in 2011. Here is the abstract:

"We constructed an 800,000-year synthetic record of Greenland climate variability based on the thermal bipolar seesaw model. Our Greenland analog reproduces much of the variability seen in the Greenland ice cores over the past 100,000 years. The synthetic record shows strong similarity with the absolutely dated speleothem record from China, allowing us to place ice core records within an absolute timeframe for the past 400,000 years. Hence, it provides both a stratigraphic reference and a conceptual basis for assessing the long-term evolution of millennial-scale variability and its potential role in climate change at longer time scales. Indeed, we provide evidence for a ubiquitous association between bipolar seesaw oscillations and glacial terminations throughout the Middle to Late Pleistocene."

According to the authors, ice core records from Greenland document the existence of repeated, large, abrupt shifts in Northern Hemisphere climate in the past. The last glacial cycle was characterized by rapid alternations between cold (stadial) and warmer (interstadial) conditions, cycles known as Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) oscillations. These oscillations led several scientists to propose a theory of inter-hemisphere climate linkage known as the seesaw model (see “Paleocean circulation during the Last Deglaciation: A bipolar seesaw?”).

The thermal bipolar seesaw model, first proposed by Wally Broecker, attempts to explain the observed relationship between millennial-scale temperature variability observed in Greenland and Antarctica. The speculative mechanism responsible for these oscillations is variation in the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). In trying to document the model Barker et al. encorporate orbital cycles, insolation, a number of different proxies and several mathematical techniques, yielding results shown in the figure below.

Ice core records from Greenland (GISP2) and Antarctica (EDC).

According to the seesaw model, a transition from weak to strong AMOC would cause an abrupt warming across the North Atlantic region (a D-O warming event) while temperatures across Antarctica would (in general) shift from warming to cooling. In other words, the thermal bipolar seesaw model states that there is an inverse relationship between temperatures in Greenland and the rate of change of Antarctic temperature.

“The northward heat transport associated with this circulation implies that changes in the strength of overturning should lead to opposing temperature responses in either hemisphere,” Barker et al. state. While this report is specifically about millennial cycles there are others who have proposed shorter term oscillations on the order of centuries or decades. Taking this relationship another logical step, shrinking ice in one hemisphere should imply growing ice mass in the other—the ice sheets alternate.

Is the ice mass growing in Antarctica? According to a study done by NASA scientists back in 2005 and published in Science, that is exactly what is happening down at the bottom of the world. Accumulation of snow in the interior of the continent is resulting in growth in the Antarctic glacial ice. The plot below shows the change in elevation between 1992 and 2003.

The important part of this plot is the long-term linear trend (black line), from which a steady increase in elevation since about 1995 is apparent (the red curve is an 11 year, least squares polynomial fit of questionable usefulness). The average rate of change from 1995 to 2003 is 2.2 cm/year after adjustment for isostatic uplift. This growth is even more dramatic when viewed on the map below.

Satellite radar altimetry measurements indicate that the East Antarctic ice-sheet interior north of 81.6°-S increased in mass by 45±7 billion metric tons per year from 1992 to 2003. Comparisons with meteorological model snowfall estimates suggest that the gain in mass is associated with increased precipitation. A gain of this magnitude is enough to slow sea-level rise by 0.12±0.02 millimeters per year. But it is not just the ice on the Antarctic continent that is showing signs of growth.

According to NASA's Earth Observatory, total Antarctic sea ice has increased by about 1% per decade since the start of the satellite record. “Whether the small overall increase in sea ice extent is a sign of meaningful change in the Antarctic is uncertain because ice extents in the Southern Hemisphere vary considerably from year to year and from place to place around the continent,” they report. “Considered individually, only the Ross Sea sector had a significant positive trend, while sea ice extent has actually decreased in the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas. In short, Antarctic sea ice shows a small positive trend, but large scale variations make the trend very noisy.”

Antarctic sea ice in winter and summer, 2011-2012

The Arctic is an ocean basin surrounded by land. The Antarctic, on the other hand, is a large continent surrounded by ocean. Because of this geography, sea ice has more room to expand in the winter. But the ice also extends to warmer latitudes, leading to more melting in summer. The Antarctic sea ice peaks in September and retreats to a minimum in February, as can be seen from the seasonal maps above.

Earth's climate engine contains cycles within cycles, operating on timescales that often exceed a human lifetime. Really long cycles leave traces in sediment and glacial ice, short-term change can be witnessed first hand, but the intermediate cycles are difficult for even scientists to appreciate. Imagine if a year took a century to unfold and you were born in the dead of winter; the coming of summer would seem a frightening change, with temperatures rising dramatically and seemingly without limit.

It is easy to understand people getting frantic over shrinking ice sheets and melting glaciers, but such events are all natural and operate on timescales we are ill-equipped to comprehend. Nature will keep its own counsel without regard for overly excitable climate scientists.

More HERE 

Another failed climate prophecy

Arctic To Be Ice Free In Winter By The Year 2000

Fourteen degrees of Arctic warming from 1910 to 1960, when CO2 was at super-safe levels.

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

Greenies in the service of the tobacco industry

Despite many accusations that skeptics act or have acted in the service of the tobacco industry there is no evidence of it.  The evidence the other way however ....

Matt Ridley says:  I have an article in the Spectator drawing attention to the curious fact that Rachel Carson's Silent Spring owed much to a passionate tobacco denier. It's behind a paywall, but here it is with the sources as links

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, published 50 years ago this month, effectively marked the birth of the modern environmental movement. "Silent Spring came as a cry in the wilderness, a deeply felt, thoroughly researched, and brilliantly written argument that changed the course of history," wrote Al Gore in his introduction to the 1994 edition.

Mr Gore reprised this theme on his website earlier this year, proudly comparing Carson's call to arms over pesticides to his own campaigning on the issue of climate change. He frequently compares the resistance he meets, and Carson met, to that which impeded the battle to establish the link between cancer and cigarette smoking. He accuses industry of "sowing doubt [about global warming] even more effectively than the tobacco companies before them."

The tobacco companies, said Mr Gore last year, "succeeded in delaying the implementation of the surgeon general's report for 40 years - 40 years! In every one of those 40 years the average number of Americans killed by cigarettes each year exceeded the total number of Americans killed in all of World War II: 450,000 per year. My sister was one of them. … It was evil, evil, evil."

Mr Gore may not be aware of a startling irony here. Carson's mentor and the source for much of her case that synthetic pesticides, and DDT in particular, were devastating bird life and causing widespread cancer in people, was himself a fervent denier of the link between tobacco smoking and lung cancer.

His name was Wilhelm Hueper. An immigrant to the United States from Germany (who shook off an embarrassing but brief enthusiasm for Nazism that led him to seek a job back in Hitler's Germany) he became the first director of the environmental cancer section of the US National Cancer Institute. There he single-mindedly pursued the idea that cancer was on the increase and that the cause was largely synthetic chemicals in the environment.

He encountered resistance, however, and not just from the chemical industry. Medical scientists were growing convinced that the rise of lung cancer was being caused by a rise in smoking. Hueper would have none of it. Here he is writing a paper called "Lung Cancers and their Causes" in 1955 in CA, a cancer journal for clinicians: "Industrial or industry-related atmospheric pollutants are to a great part responsible for the causation of lung cancer…cigarette smoking is not a major factor in the causation of lung cancer."

In her book, Carson refers to the work of Hueper throughout and made it clear he was her most important source. Describing a disease in trout, she wrote: "Dr. Hueper has described this epidemic as a serious warning that greatly increased attention must be given to controlling the number and variety of environmental carcinogens. 'If such preventive measures are not taken,' says Dr. Hueper, 'the stage will be set at a progressive rate for the future occurrence of a similar disaster to the human population.' "

The Hueper-Carson warning - that an epidemic of cancer caused by chemicals in the environment was on the way - caused one of the first eco-scares to go mainstream. The ecologist Paul Ehrlich, writing in Ramparts magazine in 1970, said that as a result of chemical pesticides, life expectancy in the United States would drop to 42 years by 1980 due to cancer epidemics. This was a widespread view. To this day many people think that pesticides causes much cancer.

Yet cancer death rates, corrected for average age of the population, are falling steadily. In the 1980s, a definitive study by Sir Richard Doll and Sir Richard Peto concluded that whereas 30% of Americans' cancer was caused by smoking, pollution caused at most a mere 5%. In 1996, the National Academy of Sciences concluded that levels of both synthetic and natural carcinogens are "so low that they are unlikely to pose an appreciable cancer risk".

Rachel Carson herself had a mastectomy and radiation therapy for breast cancer while writing Silent Spring and she died within two years of its publication at the age of 56. In his 1994 foreword, Al Gore hints that she might have been a victim of the chemicals she criticized: "Ironically, new research points strongly to a link between this disease and exposure to toxic chemicals. So in a sense, Carson was literally writing for her life."

Yet the evidence that DDT, the chemical that Carson's book is all about, can cause breast cancer doe not exist. After several studies, experts concluded that "weakly estrogenic organochlorine compounds such as PCBs, DDT, and DDE are not a cause of breast cancer."

When environmentalists attack a climate sceptic these days, they often accuse him or her of being the kind of person who would have denied the role of smoking in cancer. Tobacco denial "was transported whole cloth into the climate debate," said Al Gore in Aspen last year, citing the book Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. Oreskes herself, apparently unaware of Carson's reliance on a tobacco denier for much of her argument, told a Yale seminar she was "stunned to discover myself how much the scientific evidence confirmed Rachel Carson's precautionary approach".

In any case, the charge that climate scepticism goes with tobacco denial is false. The best example that Oreskes has produced is a 1994 paper written by the climate sceptic Fred Singer challenging some statistics about passive smoking. Yet Singer does not deny that smoking causes cancer, has served on the advisory board of an anti-smoking organization and dislikes passive smoking.

To conclude from this history that climate alarmists have more in common with tobacco deniers than climate sceptics do would be simply to repeat Mr Gore's and Ms Oreskes's egregious mistake. The true lesson is that arguments should be discussed on their merits, not tarred by tenuous association.

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

Are We Destroying the Earth?

Transforming aesthetic disputes into value-creating transactions

People often complain that mankind is destroying the earth: that insatiable consumption and relentless production have laid waste to irreplaceable swaths of our planet, and that these activities have to stop or someday it will all be gone.

Which raises the question: What does it means to “destroy” something?

When you burn a log, the log is destroyed but heat, light, smoke, and ashes remain.  It’s in that sense that physics tells us that matter is neither created nor destroyed.  Similarly, cutting down a forest destroys the forest but in its place are houses and furniture and suburbs. The real question is: Is it worth it?

Value Can Be Both Created and Destroyed

What people usually mean when they say mankind is destroying the earth is that human action causes a change they don’t like.  It sounds odd to say that my wife, by eating a piece of toast for breakfast, is “destroying” the toast.  But if I wanted that toast for myself, I might well regard her action as destructive.  Same action, but the interpretation depends on purpose and context.

When a missile obliterates a building and kills the people in it, it may serve a political purpose even though the friends and family of those killed and the owners of the building are harmed.  The perpetrator’s gain is the victim’s loss.  In the political realm, one person’s gain is necessarily another person’s loss.  You rob Peter to pay Paul; you kill Jack to appease Jill.  It’s a “zero-sum game.”

In the economic realm, however, a thing is destroyed to the extent that it loses its usefulness to somebody for doing something.  Someone may want to bulldoze my lovely home just for fun.  If she pays me enough I may let her do it and be glad she did.  When not physically coerced, a trade won’t happen unless each side expects to gain.  If it does happen, and if the people who traded are right, then all do in fact gain.  Each is better off than before. The trade has created something–value.  If they are wrong they destroy value and suffer a loss, which gives them an incentive to avoid making mistakes.

Profits and Losses Help to Minimize the Destruction of Value

In free markets gains manifest themselves in profit, either monetary or psychic.  (In the short run, of course, you can sustain a monetary loss if you think there’s a worthwhile nonmonetary aspect to the trade that will preserve the profit.)  Now, the free market is not perfect, despite what some economics professors say about the benefits of so-called “perfect competition.”  People don’t have complete or perfect knowledge and so they make mistakes.  They trade when they shouldn’t, or they don’t trade when they should.  Fortunately, profits and losses serve as feedback to guide their decisions.

There’s another source of market imperfection.  People may be capable of making good decisions but they don’t trade, or trade too much, because the property rights to the things they would like to trade aren’t well-defined or aren’t effectively enforced.  In such cases their actions or inactions create costs they don’t bear or benefits they don’t receive.  The result is that their decisions end up destroying value.

If I free-ride off the oceans, if for example I don’t pay for dumping garbage into it, then the oceans will become more polluted than they should be.  If there is a cleaner, more efficient source of energy than fossil fuels, but no one can profitably use it because the state prevents anyone from doing so (for example by prohibitions or excessive taxation), then again the value that would have been created will never appear.

Aesthetics or Economics?

Our esthetic sense of beauty is part of what makes us human.  If we wish to protect a lake or a valley from development because we think it beautiful, how do we do that?

To some extent it’s possible to do what the Nature Conservancy does, and purchase the land that we want to protect.  But that’s not always possible, especially when the land is controlled not by private persons but by the state, which makes special deals with crony capitalists in so-called public-private developments.  In any case, even the free market is not perfect.  Economic development and material well-being mean that some beautiful landscapes and irreplaceable resources will be changed in ways not everyone will approve.

Remember, though, that economics teaches us that an action is always taken by someone for something.  There are no disembodied costs, benefits, and values.  In a world of scarcity, John believes saving rain forests is more important than saving the whales.  Mary believes the opposite.  If we are to get past disagreements on esthetics–essentially differences of opinion–that can turn into violent conflict, we need to find some way to settle our differences peacefully, some way to transform them into value-creating interactions.

Imperfect though it may be, the free market has so far been the most effective method we know of for doing that.

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

Extreme weather:  Better models are needed before exceptional events can be reliably linked to global warming

We see below that "Nature" magazine has had a long overdue fit of scientific caution  -- JR

As climate change proceeds — which the record summer melt of Arctic sea-ice suggests it is doing at a worrying pace — nations, communities and individual citizens may begin to seek compensation for losses and damage arising from global warming. Climate scientists should be prepared for their skills one day to be probed in court. Whether there is a legal basis for such claims, such as that brought against the energy company ExxonMobil by the remote Alaskan community of Kivalina, which is facing coastal erosion and flooding as the sea ice retreats, is far from certain, however. So lawyers, insurers and climate negotiators are watching with interest the emerging ability, arising from improvements in climate models, to calculate how anthropogenic global warming will change, or has changed, the probability and magnitude of extreme weather and other climate-related events. But to make this emerging science of ‘climate attribution’ fit to inform legal and societal decisions will require enormous research effort.

Attribution is the attempt to deconstruct the causes of observable weather and to understand the physics of why extremes such as floods and heatwaves occur. This is important basic research. Extreme weather and changing weather patterns — the obvious manifestations of global climate change — do not simply reflect easily identifiable changes in Earth’s energy balance such as a rise in atmospheric temperature. They usually have complex causes, involving anomalies in atmospheric circulation, levels of soil moisture and the like. Solid understanding of these factors is crucial if researchers are to improve the performance of, and confidence in, the climate models on which event attribution and longer-term climate projections depend.

Event attribution is one of the proposed ‘climate services’ — seasonal climate prediction is another — that are intended to provide society with the information needed to manage the risks and costs associated with climate change. Advocates of climate services see them as a counterpart to the daily weather forecast. But without the computing capacity of a well-equipped national meteorological office, heavily model-dependent services such as event attribution and seasonal prediction are unlikely to be as reliable.

At a workshop last week in Oxford, UK, convened by the Attribution of Climate-related Events group — a loose coalition of scientists from both sides of the Atlantic — some speakers questioned whether event attribution was possible at all. It currently rests on a comparison of the probability of an observed weather event in the real world with that of the ‘same’ event in a hypothetical world without global warming. One critic argued that, given the insufficient observational data and the coarse and mathematically far-from-perfect climate models used to generate attribution claims, they are unjustifiably speculative, basically unverifiable and better not made at all. And even if event attribution were reliable, another speaker added, the notion that it is useful for any section of society is unproven.

Both critics have a point, but their pessimistic conclusion — that climate attribution is a non-starter — is too harsh. It is true that many climate models are currently not fit for that purpose, but they can be improved. Evaluation of how often a climate model produces a good representation of the type of event in question, and whether it does so for the right reasons, must become integral to any attribution exercise. And when communicating their results, scientists must be open about shortcomings in the models used.

It is more difficult to make the case for ‘usefulness’. None of the industry and government experts at the workshop could think of any concrete example in which an attribution might inform business or political decision-making. Especially in poor countries, the losses arising from extreme weather have often as much to do with poverty, poor health and government corruption as with a change in climate. The United Nations is planning to set up a fund with the aim of reducing loss and damage due to climate change, but the complexity of such issues is making negotations difficult.

These caveats do not mean that event attribution is a lost cause. But they are a reminder that designers of climate services must think very clearly about how others might want to use the knowledge that climate scientists produce. That could be a task for social scientists, who have good methods for analysing decision-making and social transactions. They need to be more involved in shaping the production and dissemination of climate knowledge.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


19 September, 2012

Warmist blogger Joe Romm's head explodes

Messy!  But not before time, one would think  -- if the extremely moderate statements from Watts below are so disturbing.  Romm writes:

If you happened to be watching the PBS News Hour tonight, you probably thought the show had been hijacked by Fox News. At first, their climate segment seemed to be about Koch-funded former “skeptic” Richard Muller and his conversion to scientific reality.

But then PBS decided that the way to “balance” a former skeptic who merely confirmed what climate scientists have demonstrated repeatedly for decades was by quoting nonsense from Sen. James Inhofe and then giving an extended interview to former TV weatherman and current A-list disinformer Anthony Watts.

The video of the show itself isn’t online yet, but I’ll post it when it is. It should forever kill the absurd notion that false balance is dead — or that the News Hour has some sort of liberal bias. Not that this is news — see the CP post from May, “False Balance On Climate Change at PBS NewsHour.”

But you shouldn’t wait until then to strap on your head vise, since PBS has thoughtfully posted online an extended interview with the long-debunked Watts, headlined “Climate Change Skeptic Says Global Warming Crowd Oversells Its Message.”

Again, the actual “news” in the on-air segment was about how a Koch-funded skeptic, Muller, had in fact demonstrated that the global warming crowd has been underselling its message.

Given the staggering laziness of PBS’s “journalism” in this segment, it’s worth quoting what Muller actually wrote in the NY Times:
    Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.

    These findings are stronger than those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group that defines the scientific and diplomatic consensus on global warming.

In short, a Koch-funded study has found that the IPCC “consensus” underestimated both the rate of surface warming and how much could be attributed to human emissions!

Now this underselling could have been the basis of an interesting story, but PBS decided to turn this into a pure he-said/she-said between “skeptics” and “believers,” as they label the two “sides” —  destroying any possible chance of delivering actual scientific information to its audience.

Here is the video of the truly head-exploding interview with Watts:

Books could be written debunking Watts, but you’ll have to settle for – Wattergate: Tamino debunks “just plain wrong” Anthony Watts and Anthony Watts urges WattsUpWithThat readers to disrupt Forbes blog: “shout them down in the comments section.”

My inbox has already overflowed with emails from climate scientists and others stunned by PBS’s lack of judgment.

The News Hour should look hard at what it is doing here and remember the golden rule of climate science journalism: If you want to write a golden story on climate science, spend your time talking to actual climate scientists.

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

(The mark of a real scientist is to have research reports  published in the academic journals.  Wikipedia lists none by  Dr Romm.  He is just a prolific popularizer of a political cause.  So by his own criteria we should not be heeding him

So it is no surprise that he quotes not one scientific fact above.  Things like funding are what preoccupy him. He is no scientist.

Joe Bastardi suggests that we should mail copies of the graphs below to Romm.  He bets that they will send Romm nuts -- JR)

Biologist knows all about psychology

Minda Berbeco

Cripes!  Why did I bother getting  Ph.D. in psychology when I could just have had magic knowledge like the Warmist apparatchik  below?  In good Leftist projective style, what she says of others is true of herself:  She  "requires no research, no intuition, no special degrees" to back her assertions.  

It's sadly typical of the level of "science" that one finds among Warmists.  Appeals to authority is the modus operandi of most of them.  And is their choice of authority pathetic!  Weaselly figures like the ones revealed in Climategate.  Miss Muffett writes:

One of the overlooked effects of climate change on people, though, is disillusionment. The reality is that climate change is here and man, that is depressing.

Now in my new job working for the National Center for Science Education, I get to hear all about climate change denial all day long. I like to believe I went through the 5 stages of denial when it came to my introduction the climate deniers’ literature: shock, annoyance, bargaining, disappointment, and eventually acceptance that they are insane.

In my job though we talk about “pillars of denial” (Why pillars? Because they hold up the denial argument – get it? It’s a metaphor!!!) These include things such as challenging the science, or the motives of the scientists, or accusing people of being ideologues. But these attempts at denial are becoming less relevant, as the public is becoming wise to this style of diverting the conversation. It’s just not hip anymore to be a climate denier.

But as a child of the 90’s, I know that there is nothing more hip then disillusionment. Disillusionment is the muse of every alternative rock song, it is why you had a crush on that super-lame barista for like 6 years , and why you now sometimes stare out of an airplane window and rethink all of your life choices.

Disillusionment is deep, it’s thoughtful, it’s all through literature and it is a clever new way to deny climate change. “Yeah, it’s here, man, but we are sooooo screwed” (long drag of cigarette, swig of whiskey) “Pass the steak.”

So, the question is, when there is every reason in the world to be disillusioned, how can you possibly find hope? And this is where your adult self needs to fight your 15-year-old self. Yeah, 15-year-old disillusioned you may have ditched school or dyed your hair purple or told off your folks – and when confronted you may have been like many other 15-year-olds who scoffed and said, “like, whatever man” (or your generation’s equivalent).

But you don’t get to do that anymore. Disillusionment is just another form of climate denial. It’s more insidious than other forms though, because it presents itself as more thoughtful and deep (people idealize the abusive alcoholic Bukowski for a reason). But I argue this is the laziest form of climate denial – it requires no research, no intuition, no special degrees or corporate sponsors and no attacks on researchers — it’s so boring. All you have to do is lay back and let the world turn.

And sure, you could live your life this way, but if I could call back my own disillusioned 15-year-old self to comment, she would roll her eyes at you, slouch down in her chair, take a long drag off of a Black Death Cigarette and scoff, “that is like, so lame.”


Little Miss Muffett above might like to reflect that this blog features GRAPHS presenting actual climate facts. Shock!  Notable that she presents none such.  Maybe one day she will learn how to be a real scientist

Antarctic sea ice trends at record highs. Fears for shrinking southern ocean, right?

While stories of the Arctic record fall in sea-ice have been all over the news, all over the world, it’s almost as if the Southern Hemisphere didn’t exist. Right now, this week apparently, the sea ice is at or near record highs (bearing in mind that we’re still only talking 30 years of satellite records, but then, these are the same satellites lapping over the arctic, and if the records are longer there, I expect it’s only by an hour and a half).

Steve Goddard  asks when the National Snow & Ice Data Centre ( NSIDC) will send out the press releases. They appear to be more concerned about the effects of the Antarctic “thinning” trend on penguins this week. Sunshine hours has graphed it in detail.

Cryosphere compares the relentless fall and rise of Antarctic ice here. Millions of square kilometers in staggering, dramatic melts every spring manage to return in staggering dramatic ice formations each and every year.

I expect that our non-hemispherist unbiased and diligent newspapers will be running with matching ones very soon. Based on news stories like this:

* Arctic ice may completely collapse within 4 years: scientist

* ‘Staggering’ Arctic ice loss smashes melt records

* Record Loss Of Arctic Ice May Trigger Extreme Weather

* Vanishing Arctic Ice Is the Planet’s White Flag of Surrender

I can see ones like this:

* Shock Antarctic sea ice growth shrinks Southern Ocean by 1 m Sq kilometers

* Staggering explosion of sea ice scares penguin

* The next ice-age approaches? Ominous warnings from Antarctica

* Sea ice strangles ice-bound continent

* Record Antarctic Sea Ice threatens whales: Mammals need to breathe says scientist.

* Antarctic current survives 25m years of climate change. Wiped out by man in 20 years.

* Antarctic ice will reach Argentina. Round-the-world Yacht Race “abandoned by 2050″


Warmists are good at prophecy

Pity they are always wrong.  They are the Jehovah's Witnesses of science

One of the world’s leading ice experts has predicted the final collapse of Arctic sea ice in summer months within four years.

In what he calls a “global disaster” now unfolding in northern latitudes as the sea area that freezes and melts each year shrinks to its lowest extent ever recorded, Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University calls for “urgent” consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures.

In an email to the Guardian he says: “Climate change is no longer something we can aim to do something about in a few decades’ time, and that we must not only urgently reduce CO2 emissions but must urgently examine other ways of slowing global warming, such as the various geo-engineering ideas that have been put forward.”

These include reflecting the sun’s rays back into space, making clouds whiter and seeding the ocean with minerals to absorb more CO2.

Wadhams has spent many years collecting ice thickness data from submarines passing below the arctic ocean. He predicted the imminent break-up of sea ice in summer months in 2007, when the previous lowest extent of 4.17 million square kilometres was set. This year, it has unexpectedly plunged a further 500,000 sq km to less than 3.5m sq km. “I have been predicting [the collapse of sea ice in summer months] for many years. The main cause is simply global warming: as the climate has warmed there has been less ice growth during the winter and more ice melt during the summer.

“At first this didn’t [get] noticed; the summer ice limits slowly shrank back, at a rate which suggested that the ice would last another 50 years or so. But in the end the summer melt overtook the winter growth such that the entire ice sheet melts or breaks up during the summer months.

“This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free. The final collapse towards that state is now happening and will probably be complete by those dates”.

Wadhams says the implications are “terrible”. “The positives are increased possibility of Arctic transport, increased access to Arctic offshore oil and gas resources. The main negative is an acceleration of global warming.”

“As the sea ice retreats in summer the ocean warms up (to 7C in 2011) and this warms the seabed too. The continental shelves of the Arctic are composed of offshore permafrost, frozen sediment left over from the last ice age. As the water warms the permafrost melts and releases huge quantities of trapped methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas so this will give a big boost to global warming.”


Another U.S. Solar Manufacturer Shuts Down

After raising more than $100 million over the past seven years, GreenVolts, a California startup that makes concentrating photovoltaic systems, has closed its doors after a major investor abruptly withdrew financial support for the company.

“A sudden, and unexpected, change in direction from a major strategic investor has affected GreenVolts’ access to funding,” the company said Wednesday in a statement, referring to ABB, the Swiss power and automation giant. “The impact was at the last minute and so severe that GreenVolts cannot continue normal operation and has reduced its workforce to a small team to provide customer support and engage other options, including working with potential buyers of the system, technology and IP.”

News of GreenVolt’s closure was first reported by Greentech Media.

GreenVolts, based in Fremont, Calif., is the latest maker of advanced solar technology to fall on hard times as an industry shakeout continues. The startup’s concentrating photovoltaic systems use lens to focus sunlight on arrays of high efficiency solar cells. Such systems, which are designed to be deployed as ground-mounted solar power plants, can generate much as much as 40% more electricity than conventional solar panels like those found on residential rooftops.

But concentrating photovoltaic, or CPV, technology is expensive and as the cost of solar panels plunged 75% over the past three years companies like GreenVolts have found it increasingly difficult to compete. For instance, CPV competitor Amonix earlier this year shuttered its Nevada factory.


Corruption among Australian Warmists

CSIRO is a major Australian research organization but it is always money-hungry so it has fervently embraced Warmism.  They know where the money is.  Sometimes, however, their ethical deficit shows:

TWO of three CSIRO employees who blew the whistle on alleged "criminal or civil breaches of the law" by the scientific organisation were later made redundant, it has been revealed.

But those officials who were the subject of the complaints remain employed, the CSIRO has confirmed.

The details have emerged after a group of former CSIRO employees began a campaign for a change in culture at the science agency, alleging mismanagement and bullying are rife.

Last Thursday, a parliamentary inquiry examining workplace bullying in Commonwealth agencies published the group's submission. It claims the group is aware of 60 cases involving top-flight scientists and other officials who were bullied or otherwise forced out of the organisation.

This list has names on it such as Maarten Stapper, a soil scientist allegedly pushed out because of his criticism of genetically modified crops, globally recognised oceanographer Trevor McDougall, and award-winning entomologist Sylwester Chyb, who has begun litigation against the CSIRO for misleading conduct and unlawful termination.

The CSIRO has declined to respond to the allegations, but the group says some of those forced out had tried to report misconduct or maladministration. Among the group's recommendations is improved protection for whistleblowers.

"Current whistleblower legislation does not adequately protect from persecution those making public interest declarations," the document says. "This is particularly true in circumstances in which it is hard to identify a direct link between a whistleblower complaint and subsequent, seemingly unrelated adverse action against the employee in his or her workplace."

The organisation is also grappling with a spike in the damages it has had to pay as a result of occupational health and safety claims made to the Commonwealth OH&S regulator and insurer, Comcare. The increased costs of the claims has meant that the premiums Comcare charges the CSIRO have nearly tripled from $1.9 million in 2011-12 to $4.9 million this financial year.

"The CSIRO has consistently achieved lower than average claim frequency and claim cost but has had an upward trend in the average cost of its claims," a Comcare spokesman, Russ Street, said.

At a budget estimates hearing in May, the Tasmanian senator David Bushby asked the CSIRO about its handling of whistleblower complaints and those who made them. In answers provided last month, the organisation confirmed two complaints were lodged in 2010 and one in 2008, all of which made serious allegations about unlawful activity.

But while the CSIRO did not retrench any of those against whom allegations were made, it did retrench the complainants.

"One CSIRO employee, who had lodged a whistleblower complaint on March 10, 2008, was made redundant on August 23, 2010, as there was an insufficient volume of current and projected work to sustain the position," the CSIRO said.

"A second employee, who lodged a whistleblower complaint on February 23, 2010, was made redundant on September 4, 2011 as CSIRO no longer required the job be performed by anyone because of changes in the operational requirements of CSIRO's enterprise."

A CSIRO spokesman, Huw Morgan, declined to describe the nature of the allegations made by the whistleblowers, saying it could help reveal their identities.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


18 September, 2012

US East Coast Winter Storms: Are They Becoming More Extreme?

Discussing:  Bernhardt, J.E. and DeGaetano, A.T. 2012. "Meteorological factors affecting the speed of movement and related impacts of extratropical cyclones along the U.S. east coast". Natural Hazards 61: 1463-1472.

In the words of Bernhardt and DeGaetano (2012), "East Coast Winter Storms (ECWS), commonly known as nor'easters, are among the most severe weather phenomena to impact the Northeastern United States," noting that "these storms may bring heavy precipitation (Frankoski and DeGaetano, 2011), strong winds, and flooding to coastal and interior areas of the eastern seaboard (Davis et al., 1993)."

And with respect to their degree of "extremeness," they say that stronger storms generally move faster than weaker storms. However, they also write that "slow-moving storms can be especially problematic, as their extreme impacts may last longer, particularly in terms of storm surge and coastal flooding occurring over multiple tidal cycles."

Therefore, it could validly be argued that either an increase or a decrease in the rate of a nor'easter's movement could be a sign of their becoming more extreme, which makes them the ideal type of storm for climate alarmists to use as an example of storms becoming more extreme in response to global warming; for the only way their claim could be refuted would be for the mean rate of movement of each year's set of nor'easters to be maintained - in the mean - over the long term.

In an earlier study, as Bernhardt and DeGaetano describe it, "Hirsch et al. (2001) defined an ECWS as an area of low pressure with a closed circulation, moving in a general south-southwest to north-northeast direction and containing winds greater than 10.3 m/sec during at least one 6-hour period," which wind criterion was selected because "it represented a threshold for wave damage given by Thurman (1983)."

In addition, they state that the system had to be located along the East Coast, in a box bounded at 30°N by 75 and 85°W and at 45°N by 65 and 70°W. And based on this definition, Bernhardt and DeGaetano calculated the speeds of all ECWS over the 55-year period 1951-2006. And what did their calculations show?

The two US researchers report that "the speed of ECWS during their passage over or near the east coast of the United states varied substantially from storm to storm, month to month, and season to season." However, as can be seen from the figure below, over the entire time period of their study, Bernhardt and DeGaetano rightly declare "there was no clear trend in ECWS speed."

Average seasonal nor'easter storm speed. Adapted from Bernhardt and DeGaetano (2012)

Against all odds, as one could rightly claim in this particular instance, the global warming that occurred between 1951 and 2006 did not lead to an increasing trend in the extremeness of East Coast Winter Storms.

SOURCE  (See the original for references)

German Public Television Airing “Der Super-Frost” – Asks If Warming Will Cause An Ice Age

Climate science is hopelessly confused. A few years ago we were told to expect more hurricanes, but have since gotten almost none. We were told we would get winters without snow, instead we’re now getting hit by bitter cold, snowy winters. We were told to expect an Arctic melt down, and now they are telling us to expext a new ice age.

Is it any wonder that nobody believes climate scientists anymore?

This week German NTV public television is broadcasting a show titled “Der Super Frost” – scheduled to air Wednesday evening at 11 p.m. CET. Hat-tip to Die kalte Sonne website. “Der Super Frost” just happens to be the Mega Freeze episode of the US Mega Disasters series from 2006 (see trailer below).

In the trailer, they ask if global warming will lead to a tipping to global freezing, in which case we would have to call it global cooling – which in reality climate scientists say is now global warming.

This show isn’t just some outdated theory from 2006. Once again today the notion that warming will lead to an ice age is coming back. For example last week German daily Bild here (and a host of other German media outlets) carried the story from scientist Jennifer Francis of Rutgers-University. Bild opened with:
In the Arctic it is getting warmer and warmer, the ice sheet covering the sea has reached a record minimum. Scientists fear that the winter in North America and Europe will therefore become extremely icy! Meaning: The Arctic sea is releasing more and more heat into the air – and this delivers frigid cold!

Wow! warming produces extreme cold. It really does, the scientists say. So should we be preparing for a bitter cold winter? Well, not really. You see Bild reports that these Francis added an opt-out provision to cover her tush:
However, many factors play a role, like snow cover in Siberia or also tropical influences. Thus despite less sea ice coverage, sometimes also mild and wet winters may remain – like last year. Climate scientist Francis: ‘I can only say that it will probably be a very interesting winter.’“

If that’s all you can say, then why did you tell us the rest? Is it because now, no matter what happens, you and the rest of the charlatans will be able to say your models predicted it?

If their idiotic hypothesis that a warm Arctic produces a cold northern hemisphere were true, then the opposite would have to be true. That is, when there’s lots of sea ice, as was the case 35 years ago, then North American and European winters would have to be very mild. That was not the case.


Climate and National Security: Exploring the Connection

In "Climate and National Security: Exploring the Connection", Marshall Institute President Jeff Kueter considers the evidence for the assertion that changing environmental conditions brought on by human emissions of greenhouse gases will negatively impact U.S. national security.

"In my view, an objective review of the evidence shows little support for this argument," Kueter concludes.  "Studies of the sources of conflict show plainly that environmental factors rarely incite conflict between states or within states.  In fact, experience shows the more probable outcome is cooperation."

In summary, efforts to link climate change to the deterioration of U.S. national security rely on improbable scenarios, imprecise and speculative methods, and scant empirical support.  Accepting the connection can lead to the dangerous expansion of U.S. security concerns, inappropriately applied resources, and diversion of attention from more effective responses to known environmental challenges.  The danger of this approach is that it offers a sense of urgency which may not be warranted, given the gaps in the current state of knowledge about climate, the known flaws in the methods used to construct the scenarios on which these security scenarios are based, and confusion over the underlying causes of those security concerns.


British Greens  routed as shale gas wins new enthusiasts

Last week saw a truly momentous defeat for the green lobby groups which, in the past decade, have exercised almost complete control over Britain’s future energy policy. The fact that this took the form of a mighty slapdown for Lord Deben (formerly John Gummer), newly confirmed chairman of the Climate Change Committee, makes it all the more telling.

As his first act on being appointed to head this committee, set up to advise the Government under the 2008 Climate Change Act, Lord Deben wrote an extraordinary open letter to Ed Davey, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. This expressed his committee’s “great concern” over a statement by Mr Davey in July that indicated that Britain must continue to rely heavily on gas to produce electricity. Although Mr Davey is still proposing to build 30,000 inefficient and unreliable wind turbines, he was implicitly recognising that these could only help to keep Britain’s lights on if they are supplemented by a massive new “dash for gas”.

As I wrote at the time, this drives a coach and horses through Britain’s legal commitment under the Climate Change Act to reduce CO2 emissions by four fifths in less than 40 years. Lord Deben’s letter made exactly the same point. In the letter, signed by seven members of his committee, all unquestioning believers in the need for renewables to combat global warming, he and his colleagues went even further. Astoundingly, they called on Mr Davey to issue a statutory instrument banning the use of fossil fuels to provide electricity. Of course, they did not put it like that. They urged him to impose a maximum emissions limit on power generation of 50 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour (kWh). But since only nuclear and renewables are below that threshold, while gas emits 400 grams per kWh and coal 700, what in effect they were calling for was an end to any further use of the fuels that currently supply some 75 per cent of our electricity.

Furthermore, they were pressing for this act of economic suicide not just to meet our legal “low carbon” requirements but also because any “dash for gas” would divert investment away from the “renewables” industry they so passionately favour. As we know, Lord Deben himself has long been heavily involved in various “green” companies that stand to benefit from the subsidised renewables bonanza. Before he could be confirmed in his new post, he had hurriedly to resign as chairman of a firm planning the world’s largest offshore wind farm and as director of another planning a Severn tidal barrage. Only thus could his nomination by David Cameron be approved by the Commons committee on energy and climate change, chaired by Tim Yeo, who is himself heavily involved with various green energy firms, which last year paid him £200,000 on top of his parliamentary salary of £80,000. As Lord Deben’s letter to Mr Davey pointed out, Yeo’s committee has also backed the demand for a ban on electricity from fossil fuels.

What they could not have expected was Mr Davey’s response. He trenchantly dismissed their calls, restating his view that we urgently need a massive new investment in gas generation. Only after 2030 would this require the “carbon capture and storage” that, as Mr Davey has already admitted, is still an “unproven technology” (and is likely to remain so). So the first message of last week was that the once hugely influential Climate Change Committee in effect has been kicked into touch. In the name of keeping Britain’s economy running, the Government seems now determined to break its own law.

What makes all this even more significant, however, is that it is taking place against the background of a truly astonishing worldwide energy revolution. As can be seen from the website of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, country after country is now rushing to exploit the shale gas that, in the past four years, has more than halved gas prices in the US. China, Germany, France, Russia, South Africa and others all have immense reserves that promise to provide the world with cheap energy for centuries to come. And, here in Britain, determined moves are at last being made to reverse the Government’s grudging negativity towards our own vast shale gas reserves, led by our new Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, who seems to be winning surprising support for his enthusiasm for shale gas from key officials in his own department and the Environment Agency, which has regulatory responsibility for this new industry.

After years when our energy policy was being dictated by green wishful thinking, by the likes of Lord Deben and by state-subsidised pressure groups such as Friends of the Earth (which first invented, then helped to draft, the Climate Change Act), reality is at long last breaking in. The green make-believe that has cast such a malign spell over our country for far too long is finally on the run. Truly, last week was history being made.


China is no example of Green wisdom

On Aug. 3, the owner of Chengxing Solar Company leapt from the sixth floor of his office building in Jinhua, China. Li Fei killed himself after his company was unable to repay a $3 million bank loan it had guaranteed for another Chinese solar company that defaulted. One local financial newspaper called Li’s suicide “a sign of the imminent collapse facing the Chinese photovoltaic industry” due to overcapacity and mounting debts.

President Barack Obama has held up China’s investments in green energy and high-speed rail as examples of the kind of state-led industrial policy that America should be emulating. The real lesson is precisely the opposite. State subsidies have spawned dozens of Chinese Solyndras that are now on the verge of collapse.

Unveiled in 2010, Beijing’s 12th Five-Year Plan identified solar and wind power and electric automobiles as “strategic emerging industries” that would receive substantial state support. Investors piled into the favored sectors, confident the government’s backing would guarantee success. Barely two years later, all three industries are in dire straits.

This summer, the NYSE-listed LDK Solar, the world’s second largest polysilicon solar wafer producer, defaulted on $95 million owed to over 20 suppliers. The company lost $589 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 and another $185 million in the first quarter of 2012, and has shed nearly 10,000 jobs. The government in LDK’s home province of Jiangxi scrambled to pledge $315 million in public bailout funds, terrified that any further defaults could pull down hundreds of local companies.

Meanwhile another NYSE-listed Chinese solar company, Suntech, revealed on July 30 that the German government bonds an affiliate pledged as security for a $689 million bank loan it guaranteed never existed. Suntech, the world’s largest producer of solar panels, claims it was the victim of fraud. Considering Suntech already owed $3.6 billion (for a debt-asset ratio of 82%), and lost $149 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 and $133 million in the first quarter of 2012, many analysts believe the company could go bankrupt without a sizable government bailout.

Chinese solar companies blame many of their woes on the antidumping tariffs recently imposed by the U.S. and Europe. The real problem, however, is rampant overinvestment driven largely by subsidies. Since 2010, the price of polysilicon wafers used to make solar cells has dropped 73%, according to Maxim Group, while the price of solar cells has fallen 68% and the price of solar modules 57%. At these prices, even low-cost Chinese producers are finding it impossible to break even.

Wind power is seeing similar overcapacity. China’s top wind turbine manufacturers, Goldwind and Sinovel, saw their earnings plummet by 83% and 96% respectively in the first half of 2012, year-on-year. Domestic wind farm operators Huaneng and Datang saw profits plunge 63% and 76%, respectively, due to low capacity utilization. China’s national electricity regulator, SERC, reported that 53% of the wind power generated in Inner Mongolia province in the first half of this year was wasted. One analyst told China Securities Journal that “40-50% of wind power projects are left idle,” with many not even connected to the grid.

A few years ago, Shenzhen-based BYD (short for “Build Your Dreams”) was a media darling that brought in Warren Buffett as an investor. It was going to make China the dominant player in electric automobiles. Despite gorging on green energy subsidies, BYD sold barely 8,000 hybrids and 400 fully electric cars last year, while hemorrhaging cash on an ill-fated solar venture. Company profits for the first half of 2012 plunged 94% year-on-year.

China’s high-speed rail ambitions put the Ministry of Railways so deeply in debt that by the end of last year it was forced to halt all construction and ask Beijing for a $126 billion bailout. Central authorities agreed to give it $31.5 billion to pay its state-owned suppliers and avoid an outright default, and had to issue a blanket guarantee on its bonds to help it raise more. While a handful of high-traffic lines, such as the Shanghai-Beijing route, have some prospect of breaking even, Prof. Zhao Jian of Beijing Jiaotong University compared the rest of the network to “a 160-story luxury hotel where only 11 stories are used and the occupancy rate of those floors is below 50%.”

China’s Railway Ministry racked up $1.4 billion in losses for the first six months of this year, and an internal audit has uncovered dangerous defects due to lax construction on 12 new lines, which will have to be repaired at the cost of billions more. Minister Liu Zhijun, the architect of China’s high-speed rail system, was fired in February 2011 and will soon be prosecuted on corruption charges that reportedly include embezzling some $120 million. One of his lieutenants, the deputy chief engineer, is alleged to have funneled $2.8 billion into an offshore bank account.

Many in Washington have developed a serious case of China-envy, seeing it as an exemplar of how to run an economy. In fact, Beijing’s mandarins are no better at picking winners, and just as prone to blow money on boondoggles, as their Beltway counterparts.

In his State of the Union address earlier this year, President Obama declared, “I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China . . . because we refuse to make the same commitment here.” Given what’s really happening in China, he may want to think again.


Rage and Ruin in the Reign of the EPA

The riots, rage, and ruin that have spread throughout the Middle East over the past few days emphasize the urgency of opening up and bringing online America’s vast resources—yet, as Congressman Pete Olson (R-TX) states: “The EPA is the biggest obstacle to energy independence.”

Olson’s comment specifically addressed the Hydraulic Fracturing Study requested by Congress as a part of the FY 2010 appropriations bill, which states:

“The conferees urge the Agency to carry out a study on the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water, using a credible approach that relies on the best available science, as well as independent sources of information. The conferees expect the study to be conducted through a transparent, peer-reviewed process that will ensure the validity and accuracy of the data. The Agency shall consult with other Federal agencies as well as appropriate State and interstate regulatory agencies in carrying out the study, which should be prepared in accordance with the Agency's quality assurance principles.”

A study “on the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water” sounds like a great idea. No one wants their drinking water filled with toxic elements, and, if the EPA followed the mandate, a work of global importance could result. American private enterprise and initiative has lead the world in developing and implementing horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques that are safe and are uniquely responsible for totally transforming the energy landscape—making previously unrecoverable resources, recoverable. Therefore, the final study from the EPA has worldwide implications for oil and natural gas supplies. It must be done right.

Instead of moving forward with a “Hydraulic Fracturing Study” as requested by Congress, the EPA has done what is characteristic of this administration; they’ve blown it out of proportion—making it something bigger, requiring additional personnel, and creating more management, at greater expense. Final results are not due until 2014—four years after Congress requested a simple study. Lisa Jackson’s EPA has expanded the study’s scope to encompass numerous peripheral elements related to oil and gas exploration and production activities; a full lifecycle analysis of everything remotely associated with unconventional recovery.

Congress requested a report based on “best available science,” not opinion, yet the EPA has included items such as “environmental justice”—which has nothing to do with science, and “discharges to publicly owned water treatment plants”—which are no longer a part of the hydraulic fracturing process.

The additional elements exponentially exacerbate the study’s potential complications.

Meanwhile, America could be undergoing a robust development of our resources. Instead, as Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX) explained, “Industry is holding back because it is not sure what the regulatory future holds.” He called the study’s evolution beyond the scope of what was requested: “mission creep.” Until a definitive answer on “the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water” is produced, a constant cloud of legal threat hangs over possible development, and potential jobs, such as in New York’s Marcellus Shale, are deferred.

These concerns, plus many others, prompted industry to independently engage, at their own expense, Battelle Memorial Institute to conduct a collaborative, side-by-side study with the EPA. Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD), Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, says that Battelle is “a highly respected independent science and technology organization.” (It is important to note that Battelle’s business is heavily dependent on government contracts, so accepting the responsibility of doing a collaborative study held risks for the company—coming out with a different result from that of the EPA could mean the loss of future contracts. Additionally, they do a lot of work with the EPA, so their opinions should be trusted by the EPA.) Despite the EPA’s rejection of industry’s offer, Battelle moved forward with a scientific review of the EPA’s study plan to ensure that the EPA is taking a rigorous and adequate approach, as quality cannot be built into the back end of a science-based project.

Battelle’s report is complete. On Thursday, Battelle’s team provided a briefing on Capitol Hill that was attended by more than 30 Representatives and/or staffers from the Natural Gas and Marcellus Shale Caucuses. Numerous concerns were presented. The EPA’s study plan reflects a deadly combination of arrogance and incompetence.


Hydraulic Fracturing is a highly technical process that has evolved since its initial use more than 60 years ago—continuously undergoing improvements. Hundreds of thousands of wells have been drilled. The expertise and experience lies within the industry, yet the EPA has specially rejected industry’s attempts to collaborate—despite the fact that the original mandate requires: “a transparent, peer-reviewed process that will ensure the validity and accuracy of the data.” In a letter to the EPA, Marty Durbin, Executive Vice President, American Petroleum Institute (API), says: “We have repeatedly offered the expertise of our members to both the agency and the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) peer review process and, unfortunately, have been disappointed by the lack of follow through and acceptance.” Battelle’s report states: “Industry collaboration is not envisioned.”

Additionally, the requirements, published in the Federal Register calling for nominations, for the SAB, are set so that they specifically exclude experts from industry. “Selection criteria” includes “absence of financial conflicts of interest.” The call for SAB nominations continues: “government officials” will “determine whether there is a statutory conflict between a person’s public responsibilities and private interests and activities, or the appearance of a lack of impartiality.” Presumably those from academia and NGO’s would be acceptable. However, as the API letter points out, the “EPA should recognize that most individuals nominating themselves for potential SAB membership have some financial stake in the business—academics seek grants, NGOs seek donations, regulators seek programmatic funding, consultants seek contracts from government, as well as industry.”

Industry representatives with direct history of working in the modern oil and gas industry have a long record of valuable, unbiased participation in many other SAB committees and panels, yet for this watershed study, they have been excluded.

Additionally, the Congressional study request calls for consultation “with other Federal agencies as well as appropriate State and interstate regulatory agencies.” To date, there is no evidence of working with Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado—or any other state with extensive hydraulic fracturing experience. Numerous studies have been done, but the EPA doesn’t appear to be incorporating their discoveries. For example, in August 2011, the Groundwater Protection Council published its own study of “state determinations regarding causes of groundwater contamination resulting from oil and gas industry E&P activities,” examining nearly 400 contamination incidents over 25 years in Ohio and Texas, and concluding that “[n]either state has documented a single occurrence of groundwater pollution during site preparation or well stimulation.”

Obviously, the arrogance of the EPA believes they know best and they don’t want input from anyone who might disagree with their preconceived bias.


According to Battelle’s report, the EPA has a rigorous Data Quality Assessment process established for internal studies, but is not using it when setting up this study—which can impact the data quality and scientific rigor. If strict standards are not met, the entire report can be brought into question, as was the case with the Pavillion, Wyoming, study released a year ago. The results must be defensible to achieve the study’s goals.

The sites selected for study show a bias with the potential to skew the data and therefore the study. Instead of using a representative sampling of well sites from the hundreds of thousands of wells that have been drilled, the EPA has chosen to focus on only seven sites—a statistically insignificant number. Of the seven, five have known contamination problems, but no baseline data. Therefore, there is no way to tell whether the complaints are in any way related to hydraulic fracturing or to any specific thing. There are known examples of naturally occurring drinking water contamination—as was found with the widely publicized Dimock, Pennsylvania, case. The five retrospective sites are the subject of complaints by individuals who may now be stakeholders in potentially lucrative litigation against operators. The concern is that the “it has problems, so let’s study it to see if it has problems” approach will limit the scientific validity and usefulness of case study findings. At Thursday’s briefing, the limited sampling was likened to using five traffic accidents in some parts of America to draw conclusions about how to construct and regulate traffic and road safety in all of the country to avoid future accidents.

Instead, the study should focus more heavily on prospective sites where baseline data is gathered before drilling and before the use of hydraulic fracturing. The Battelle report states: “Two prospective sites cannot deliver the range of data required for scientifically rigorous treatment of all the research questions asked.”

Focusing primarily on sites with known issues also ignores the current state of the technology. Chemicals used now are very different from what was used five years ago. Analysis from these sites will be virtually useless in making a meaningful recommendation regarding current or future hydraulic fracturing activities. Battelle’s report points out that “the site data collected from the companies are from 2006-2010, and the final report will be in 2014. The changes occurring at these sites in the intervening years will likely render the data obsolete for purposes of the study.”

All of this may seem of little relevance to the person struggling to fill up their tank at today’s high gasoline prices. However, it is of utmost importance.

All sides benefit from a study that can withstand intense scrutiny. If there are foundational problems and the overall study results prove that hydraulic fracturing is safe and doesn’t contaminate drinking water, as the industry believes they will, the environmentalists, who oppose hydraulic fracturing, will appeal it. If the reverse is proven, industry will seek an appeal. In either case, appeals will delay the much-needed robust development of American resources—not to mention the waste of time and taxpayer dollars spent on the study.

If the events that have erupted in the Middle East over the past few days show us anything, it is that the US dependence on Middle Eastern oil must come to an expeditious end. With America’s new-found oil and gas reserves, recovered through hydraulic fracturing, we now know that energy independence is possible, if, as Congressman Olson told me, “We rein in the EPA.”




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


17 September, 2012

Deplorable ignorance from a skeptic

In a completely unreferenced guest post by a Lloyd Robertson on Bishop Hill we read:

"Of course I am a skeptic, and I am giving the impression that the egregious faults are all on the other side. I suppose the skydragons, whoever they are, are plain ignorant, not trying to learn, but probably honest. I don't read them, I had never even heard of them until Judy Curry sharpened her lance against them."

The idea of judging someone whom you know nothing about is very adolescent and as ignorant and unscientific as any of those he criticizes.  If he has any self-respect and intellectual integrity the ecclesiastical one should take this bit of foolishness down.

The article claims to be a taxonomy but the first step for a taxonomy is to be very familiar with the subject matter.

For reference I am not myself one of the "skydragons". Background on the "skydragons" here

Another laugh at Lewandowski

NASA Faked Moon Landing—Academic Psychologists Swoon, Tie It To Climate Change

By statistician W.M. Briggs

One day a terrific psychological study is going to be written on the madness and mass lunacy which arose after climate change swan into the public’s ken. I don’t mean of the actions and thoughts of the man-in-the-street, which were and are no different in this area than they were and are in any matter of politics. No: the real curiosity is what happened to academia, inside departments which haven’t anything to do with climatology.

There, surrounded by people eager to agree with each other and fueled by infinite estimates of their own intelligence, great hoards of degreed non-experts, people who couldn’t derive the Omega equation if you threatened to remove their tenure and who think Vorticity is a town in Spain, lectured all of mankind on why The End Was Near, Unless…

Unless they, the non-experts, were hearkened to, esteemed, feted, moneyed, and just plain listened to, dammit.

The cornerstone of this future pathological report may well be the peer-reviewed Psychological Science paper “NASA faked the moon landing—Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science” by Stephan Lewandowsky, Klaus Oberauer, and Gilles Gignac, perhaps the completest, most representative work of its odd era.

Everything that could have been done wrong, was done wrong. Every bias that could have been manifested, was manifested. Every fallacy pertinent to the matter at hand was made. The conclusions, regurgitated from unnecessarily complicated statistical procedures, did not follow from the evidence gathered, which itself was suspect. In its way, then, the paper is a jewel, a gift to the future, a fundamental text to how easy it is to fool oneself.

Consider that its errors are not far to seek1. Take the opening sentence: “Although nearly all domain experts agree that human CO2 emissions are altering the world’s climate, segments of the public remain unconvinced by the scientific evidence.” Isn’t that gorgeous? I count at least seven mistakes, and we are only at the very beginning!

Mistake 1: Lewandowsky is not a domain expert, and by his argument is not qualified to speak on matters climatic, yet speak he does.

Mistake 2: His opinion about how to consider the science of climate change is therefore no more valuable than any other non-domain expert’s (about the physics), but he considers by this act of publishing that it is.

Mistake 3: He conflates voting with truth. His fallacy is to suppose that because the majority of domain experts say X, X is therefore true.

Mistake 4: He conflates numbers with weight of evidence. His fallacy is to suppose the minority of domain experts who do not agree with the majority are not to be listened to because they are only a minority.

Mistake 5: He confuses physics with economics, a vulgar but common error. It may be true that, say, temperatures will rise by 0.5o C in the next five decades, but it does not follow that any theory of what will happen because of this temperature rise is true, nor is it true that anybody’s suggestion to combat the adverse consequences of what will happen is therefore worthy of consideration.

Mistake 6: Since Lewandowsky committed this howler, and is obviously unaware of it, he cannot see it in the people he interviews, who often make a similar error. That is, when a civilian is asked, “Do you believe in climate change?” he often answers “No,” but the mistake is to assume he is answering the question as stated, when in reality he has answered the modified question, “Do you believe in climate change and should the government regulate, rule, tax, control, mandate, penalize, etc., etc. to combat this change?” Such an elementary mistake by a psychologist shows us just how far the madness has progressed.

Mistake 7: Lewandowsky, because he is not a domain expert, misunderstood the basic physics. There are no domain experts who do not agree that mankind changes the climate. The only matters in question are: how much? where? when? with what certainty can we know? Notice the absence of “What can be done?” because this requires expertise in human behavior, and that expertise is what is suspiciously missing in this paper.

My dears, I emphasize that this was merely the opening sentence, and that much worse was to come. But before that, there was one more error, more grievous than any other, embedded in his starting sentence. This is Lewandowsky’s befuddlement that any non-domain expert could deign to question “the scientific evidence” (when much of what is “science” is instead politics). He assumes that any who do so, even in the admitted presence of disagreement over what “the” science is, is suffering from a psychological flaw.

 Science has spoken, thinks he, and therefore nothing remains to be said. An actual instance of doublethink, and really quite marvelous when you consider the economy of words used to express it.

Now, the rest of Lewdandowsky’s work is more mundane. He commits the freshman mistake of only seeking evidence for his beliefs, and for none that would contradict him (and of which there is plenty); he says things like “Another common attribute of the contemporary rejection of science is its reliance on the internet” and then uses the internet himself in his “science”; he questions the influence of Steven McIntyre of Climateaudit forgetting that McIntyre is a domain expert and he, Lewandowsky is not.

He admits confirmation bias by calling dividing his sample into “pro-science” and “skeptic”, when the point in question is what the science says. He builds “latent variable” models to “prove” what he already believed, and biased himself to confirm; latent variable analysis being a lovely technique to give desirable results. He amusingly assures his audience of his “theoretical results”: not theories of climate, but psychological (academics do love a theory). He can’t help himself but use the ugly term denial, an appalling word one would have thought a psychologist would have understood was inappropriate.


Some wisdom at the Stanford Alumni Magazine‏

The letter below from  meteorologist Martin Hertzberg appeared in only  the on-line edition of the magazine.  You can probably guess why it was not published in the print edition

Ted Arbuckle’s letter (“Research Flaws,” July/August) correctly points out that “climate science,” which promotes the fear of anthropogenic global warming, has ignored the scientific method because of the money to be made in perpetuating the theory, in the same way that drug and biomedical research is often biased to produce the desired outcomes given the large sums of money involved. As a result, he points out that those of us who disagree with that fabricated “consensus” have our scientific credentials challenged and are denigrated as “deniers.” Their claim that the science is settled provides them with an excuse for refusing to discuss the science involved.

Arbuckle calls for someone to investigate climate change science because “something doesn’t add up.” So let me try.

I became a graduate student at Stanford after serving as a forecasting and research meteorologist in the U.S. Navy. I had learned what climatologists and meteorologists had known for about a century and what most who call themselves climate scientists apparently never learned. Weather and climate are controlled by natural laws on an enormous scale that dwarfs human activity. Those laws engender forces and motions in our atmosphere and oceans that are beyond human control. Those forces and motions are driven by the following.

* First, the motions of the Earth relative to the Sun: the periodic changes in its elliptical orbit, its rotation about its polar axis; the changes in the tilt of that axis; and its precession.

* Second, the variation in solar activity that influences the radiant energy reaching the Earth and modulates cosmic ray activity, which influences cloudiness.

* Third, the distribution of land and water on the Earth’s surface, which controls the atmosphere’s temperature distribution, moisture availability, monsoon effects, hurricanes, and other storm tracks and intensities.

* Fourth, the topography of the Earth’s surface, which causes copious precipitation on the windward side of mountains and aridity on the leeward side.

* Fifth, the fluid motions within the oceans that determine moisture availability and ocean surface temperatures (El Niño and La Niña cycles).

Water in all of its forms is the main agent through which those forces operate. It provides moisture to the atmosphere, heat transport by evaporation and condensation, and the enormous circulating mass of the ocean whose heat capacity dominates. And finally, water provides the cloud, snow and ice cover that control the radiative equilibrium between the sun, Earth and free space.

While the presence of 0.04 percent of CO2 in our atmosphere is essential for life in the biosphere, the notion that such a minor constituent of the atmosphere can influence or control the forces and motions enumerated earlier is absurd. All the “climate scientists” seem to see something unprecedented in recent changes in the Earth’s average temperature.

They are inevitably cherry-picking factoids such as the recent heat wave in the United States, as they purposefully ignore the totality of the data. The Earth’s average temperature last month showed nothing remarkable. Recent changes have been matched or exceeded many times in the past: the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period, The Holocene, and the periodic interglacial warming of the last million or so years that preceded them—all long before any significant human production of CO2.

More details are available in several books that have recently been published. The one I recommend is Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory, because I am one of its co-authors.

It would be disingenuous not to point out that, for whatever their motives, some of the major supporters of the human-caused global warming/climate change theory were faculty members at Stanford who should have realized a long time ago that something doesn’t add up. The catastrophe that they were fear-mongering about may indeed be realized, but only if we are stupid enough to continue to implement draconian measures and policies of “carbon control” based on the erroneous theory they espouse.

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Families facing £2,000 bills for green heating 'that does not work in Britain'

Millions of pounds of public money have been spent installing a ‘green’ central heating system that residents claim doesn’t work properly – and that has made their heating bills four times higher than expected.

Annual running costs had been estimated at £500, but instead some housing association tenants have been saddled with bills of up to £2,000 a year – nearly twice the UK average.

Some families in ‘affordable homes’ said their electricity bills last winter were so high that they had to choose between heating and eating.

The so-called exhaust air system works by sucking heat from waste air leaving the house and pumping it back in to provide heating and hot water.  But if it does not raise the boiler water temperature enough, an electric immersion heater kicks in, sending bills rocketing.

Government grants were spent on the all-electric Swedish NIBE systems but experts say they are wrong for most British homes, which are not as well insulated as those in Sweden.

Heating expert Geoff Morgan, of Rodney Environmental Consultants, has inspected homes in the UK with NIBE heating and said: ‘In Sweden, very little heat escapes through walls, doors and windows, so more is available to be pumped back in.  ‘These systems are just not very suitable for your average British home when mains gas is available – it’s just not going to be economical.’

One housing association in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, is considering legal action after claiming that it was ‘mis-sold’ the systems, which cost about £6,000 each.   Another in Runcorn, Cheshire, recently spent £145,000 ripping out 69 NIBE sets and replacing them with gas boilers.

To be eligible for public money for new housing from the Government’s Homes and Community Agency, housebuilders have to follow its Code for Sustainable Homes, which urges low-carbon solutions. But residents have reported problems on at least 15 estates from East Anglia to Orkney, and various Facebook sites have been set up by disgruntled householders.

Mother-of-four Sam Claussen said she and her partner Jeff were excited in May 2010 when they moved into a three-bedroom house in St Neots, on an estate owned by the Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association (BPHA).

‘I loved the idea of having this modern and green heating system which we were told was going to give us really low bills,’ said Ms Claussen, 40. Indeed, Energy Performance Certificates issued on the new properties estimated annual electricity costs for heating and water at between £400 and £500.

But after living in the property for two months, Ms Claussen was shocked to receive an electricity bill for £252. Costs continued to mount for Ms Claussen and her neighbours on the Loves Farm Estate, and eventually the BPHA stepped in to help meet tenants’ bills – to the tune of £45,000.

By last Christmas, the Claussen family had unpaid bills of £1,500 and were on a key meter.

They found that during a cold snap they were having to spend £10 a day. ‘With such a high electricity bill, we had to choose between eating or keeping the house warm,’ Ms Claussen said. ‘The children were fed, but I hardly ate at all. It was an awful Christmas.’

A spokesman for the BPHA said the NIBE system was recommended by the contractor, Kier Homes, to comply with the Government’s green code.  ‘We had representations from NIBE and as a result we were convinced that it was a very good solution. Unfortunately that has not been our experience. Some residents have reported excessive bills, and also there wasn’t enough hot water for their needs.

‘We are currently replacing 43 of the systems with gas boilers. We are also taking legal advice on the next step forward.’

Kier admitted that some NIBE systems were found to be undersized and that some houses had two wall vents rather than one, which meant more heat was escaping.

The company has agreed to underwrite the cost of replacing undersized units with gas boilers, replacing all vents and contributing towards a hardship fund for residents.

A statement added: ‘Since the issues with the NIBE system came to  light, we have stopped specifying  the boilers.’

NIBE managing director Phil Hurley said: ‘These systems are working brilliantly in thousands of homes across the UK without increased energy costs and, according to independent research, have dramatically reduced costs in many cases.  ‘Where costs are high, the issue isn’t with the system, it’s with the way it has been installed or is being used.’


The Taxing Power of the EPA

When is a tax not a tax?  When it is a fine, penalty or a “project.” Not everything in the government is paid for by deficit spending. Submitted for your consideration are just of few of the instances of ways in which the Environmental Protection Agency fuels the Big Government Machine. Below is a partial list of fines and penalties levied by the EPA against corporations and individuals starting with this calendar year. And remember, this is a partial list.

January 4th: The City of Scranton was given $12,619 penalty and made to undertake a $300,000 tree planting project because it failed to comply with a risk management plan.

January 9th: The owners and managers of  11 housing units in the Boston area agreed to pay $16,000 for not handing out the EPA’s lead paint brochures.

January 10th:  The Heath Oil Company in Pennsylvania was hit with a $25,347 penalty. The company did not have a spill prevention plan that met the EPA’s specs.

January 10th: Northeast Housing, LLC, and Balfour Beatty Military Housing Management, LLC were faced with a potential $153,070 fine for allegedly not informing tenants at two New England housing developments about the dangers of lead-based paint.

February 28th: The Western Digital Corporation was fined $62,500 for failure to properly label and seal containers, failure to control tank emissions, failure to adequately train personnel, failure to monitor equipment, failure to provide an adequate contingency plan, and failure to provide a leak detection system.

February 28th: Sanders Wood Products in Liberal, Oregon (No really, that is the name of the town) was fined over $108,000 in penalties for leaks in three PCB-containing transformers.

March 6th: The Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing in Kansas  agreed to a civil penalty of more than $970,000 along with more than $4.25 million on new pollution controls and $6.5 million in operating costs for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.

March 16th: CRM Rental Management of Rome, New York found itself facing $143,000 in fines for failure to provide lead disclosure statements.

March 26th: Crespo Realty of Flushing, New York was cited for failure to provide lead disclosure statements. It was not clear how many violations the company was facing, but each count has a maximum fine of $11,000.

March 28th: Coltec Industries and National Steel and Shipbuilding Company agreed to pay a civil penalty of $280,000 and spend approximately $500,000 on an environmental project  The companies build ship engines and did not attach the proper EPA label to their product and did not have a certificate of conformity with them.

April 3rd: The Duvall Development Co., Inc., Duvall & Son Livestock, Inc. and the president of both companies, Jeffrey H. Duvall, were hit with a  $30,000 penalty and have purchased five acres of forested land that was donated to the Chattahoochee National Forest. The EPA alleges that Between 2004 and 2005, the defendants illegally discharged fill material into waters of the United States by encasing or “piping” portions of four tributaries of Stekoa Creek that run across the Duvall Development Company’s property in Clayton, Georgia.

April 3rd: The Cosmoflex Company which makes rubber hoses in Hannibal, Missouri agreed to pay $800,000 in penalties for reporting and documentation violations.

April 5th: The Polidori Company a Utah developer was hit with $30,000 for allegations that it put fill material into a lake in Panguitch, Utah and its adjacent wetlands.

April 5th: The EPA announced the Colin Wentworth fined $10,000 for improperly using power equipment to remove lead-based paint from an 1850’s apartment building in Rockland, Maine, and that he had improperly trained his workers. The same day, the agency announced that the Johnson Sash and Door Company in Omaha did not provide owners and occupants of pre 1978 housing with EPA-approved lead paint pamphlets.

April 10th: In a rare case of “government-bites-government” the EPA fined the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Health $68,000 for improperly labeling and storing pesticides.

May 3rd: The Kanto Company in Portland, Oregon which manufactures chemicals was penalized $58,200 for reporting violations

May 16: QEP Field Services was given a $3.65 million civil penalty and agreed to pay $350,000 into a Clean Air Trust Fund for alleged Clean Air Act Violations in northeast Utah. The company must also reduce its emissions. The alleged violations occurred at natural gas compression stations.

May 17th: The El Paso Midstream Group settled with the EPA to the tune of $20,000 in civil penalties and $235,000 to fund and maintain two air quality monitors, again in northeast Utah. The EPA claims that prior to 2009 the company did not control hazardous emissions and did not implement a leak detection and repair program.

July 25th: Talisman Energy USA Inc. was told to pay a $62,457 penalty to settle alleged violations of hazardous chemical reporting requirements at 52 hydraulic fracturing facilities throughout Pennsylvania that include natural gas well sites and compressor stations. Talisman discovered the violations and self-disclosed them to the EPA. So much for honesty.

August 24th: The Stone Energy Corporation of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, was fined $7,055 because the company did not conduct  inspections in accordance with federal SPCC regulations. The inspection also found the facility’s Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plan did not discuss flowline high pressure devices and well shut-in valves as well as adequate protection of sub-marine piping against environmental stresses.

August 28th:  College Pro house painters in Massachusetts  agreed to pay a $7,200 penalty and to spend $65,000 on an environmental project at a school in Cambridge to settle claims by the US Environmental Protection Agency that it failed to provide required lead hazard information to home owners in four New England states on 41 occasions. College Pro will spend $65,000 to replace or restore 79 windows that likely contain lead paint at Congregation Eitz Chayim or the  Harvard Hillel Children’s School on Magazine Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I tried adding up all of the fines, fees and settlements, but my calculator rebelled at having to work that hard.

I didn’t do in-depth research on all of these and some of them may be true ne’er-do-wells who were carelessly fouling the environment. But I know in the cases of lead paint, most people do not know they are in violation and know nothing about the EPA pamphlet unless they happen to be visit agency’s website. How often do you surf over to in a given month?
What is noteworthy and in the case of the lead paint violations, egregious is the amount of fines that were imposed. No warnings, no fix-it tickets, no chances to replace the divot that did not involve scratching out a hefty check to Uncle Sam. And it begs the questions: With this number of fines in 9 months from one agency, what is the government doing with this money , and why does it feels the need has to hike our taxes? And, how much of this is going to Obamacare?


Green crony capitalism in Maine

The Obama administration is famous for its crony capitalism. It’s famous for wasting money on disastrous investments like Solyndra to pay off its political allies. It now appears, however, that they go a step further: they put public funds in bad investment loans, then double down on their bad loans with free cash grants.

Here’s the short story: Angus King, former governor of Maine, Obama supporter, and front-running independent Senate candidate, owned a wind company. Obama’s Department of Energy handed over a deeply questionable $102 million loan to that company. It appears that as that company was coming under investigation, King quickly divested himself of his interests, hoping he was doing so just in time to escape scrutiny, and as he was preparing to announce his candidacy for Senate.

But that's not where the story ends. It seems that before he left the company, King helped apply for a Department of Energy grant worth some $33 million. Which means one of two things: either the company was thriving, in which case King was helping bilk taxpayers for an additional $33 million; or the company was having financial difficulties, in which case the $33 million grant was designed to help cover the cost of the loans, $23 million of which was coming due with a maturity date of April 27, 2012.

Either way, the situation doesn’t look good for King, or the Obama Administration. Either the two were working to ensure that King’s company got paid millions so that King could reap the benefits, or they were working to cover up a troubled company and highly questionable investment subsidized with federal tax money.

Here’s the more complete story.

In 1997, Governor King signed into law a bill that would require utilities to generate at least 30 percent of their energy from “green” sources like wind.  In 2007, King decided to take advantage of his mandate and founded a wind energy company, Independence Wind. The first major project of Independence Wind was to build the Record Hill wind farm, near Roxbury, Maine.

Ironically, King once said, “In the process of rebuilding Maine, we must never compromise the integrity of our environment. It’s not only immoral, it’s bad economics.” Yet his wind project has blasted the tops of mountain ridges along many of bucolic Maine’s well-known and beloved mountaintops to make way for a new and much less attractive landscape consisting of hundreds of windmills.

In 2011, King’s company received a $102 million for development of Record Hill. The loan came through the same stimulus program that funded Solyndra. The original federally-guaranteed loan was as questionable as the Solyndra loan. As it turned out, there was no need for a federally-guaranteed loan on the surface; the company supposedly had $127 million in liquid assets available, assets it had to have under Maine state law in order to commence construction. The loan program was specifically designed to help companies that couldn’t get private loans otherwise.

Furthermore, the company may not have been eligible for the loan, since its technology wasn’t innovative under the applicable regulation. But the company got the loan anyway, from an Obama administration eager to help out its cronies. Angus King was, of course, an Obama supporter, endorsing him and having contributed at least $10,000 to Obama’s reelection campaign.

Record Hill promptly used the money on foreign companies. Just a quarter of the cash was reinvested in the State of Maine; 58 percent of the cash went to Siemens to pay for building 22 windmills. The turbines themselves were manufactured in Europe “because that’s where the biggest turbine market is, and the tower sections are made in Asia, because that’s where the new efficient steel mills are,” said King’s partner in Record Hill, Rob Gardiner. About 467 people worked on the site, reportedly, but “at least some of these jobs could measure their duration in days rather than weeks or months.” Today, nobody is employed by the wind farm itself.

In March, King declared his Senate candidacy. He would run as an independent, but he would likely caucus with the Democrats. He was a solid lock to replace Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

But the loan was coming under scrutiny. As steam picked up on the curiosity about Record Hill, King spoke out. “The project is operating and actually is ahead of its production schedule,” he claimed. “The risk now basically is that the wind won’t ever blow again, and that is a pretty low risk.”

Despite King’s assessment of the situation, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, led by Darrell Issa, released a report bashing the Department of Energy and singling out Record Hill as a loan that shouldn’t have happened. Two days before the report was released, King dropped his association with Record Hill, dumping all of his stock. He told a Maine news outlet the timing was an “amazing coincidence.” Actually, Record Hill was notified that they’d be mentioned, and King almost certainly wanted to avoid blowback. Gardiner admitted that he’d received a letter of notification from the Committee two days before King sold his stock.

But wait, there's more! From August 2011 to January 2012, the federal financing bank signed checks worth $101.5 million to Record Hill. In March 2011, King and Gardiner said they’d expect another $70 million in stimulus funds; as of July 2012, they’d received another $33.7 million in Section 1603 cash grants. A grant, not a loan.

Was the grant designed to help Record Hill cover loan repayments that the company couldn’t pay? Or was it just double-dipping by a highly-connected company?

If it’s the former, this is fraud. For the federal government to guarantee a loan, know the loan is going bad, and then give a “grant” to a company to pay off that loan is cooking the books.

If it’s the latter, King and company were all too happy to grab more and more taxpayer money.

King, for his part, continues to maintain that the company is in solid financial shape. But if it is, why should the Department of Energy give it a $33 million grant? What need would the company have for such a grant? Angus King and his former partner are wealthy magnates; the company supposedly had $127 million in liquidity when it began. If these 1 percenters are so flush, why do they insist on taking money from the 99 percent to pay for their already-flourishing company?

This isn’t Solyndra. This is far worse than Solyndra. It wasn’t just a Solyndra-like loan to a wind energy company designed to make a Senate candidate rich – although it appears that the Department of Energy loan was Solyndra-lite. It’s the follow-up grant that’s even more troubling. The cash grants arrived just two months after King cut ties with the company – and it takes several months for such grant applications to be filed. If the company was doing well, it wouldn’t need a grant; if it was doing poorly, it didn’t deserve a grant. But it got a grant nonetheless.

This is not the first time that Angus King has been involved in a Solyndra-like situation. King’s son, Angus III, is vice president of First Wind, another wind boondoggle that received federal stimulus dollars and almost went bankrupt.

King’s wind fixation certainly enhanced his wealth. It hasn’t enhanced the wealth of Maine or American taxpayers, though. It’s cronyism at its finest. And it’s a double-down Solyndra story that should make any taxpayer cringe.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


16 September, 2012


According to a paper just out in the prestigious GRL.  See below


Increased ice loading in the Antarctic Peninsula since the 1850s and its effect on Glacial Isostatic Adjustment

Grace A. Alexandra Nield et al.

Antarctic Peninsula (AP) ice core records indicate significant accumulation increase since 1855, and any resultant ice mass increase has the potential to contribute substantially to present-day Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA). We derive empirical orthogonal functions from climate model output to infer typical spatial patterns of accumulation over the AP and, by combining with ice core records, estimate annual accumulation for the period 1855-2010. In response to this accumulation history, high resolution ice-sheet modeling predicts ice thickness increases of up to 45 m, with the greatest thickening in the northern and western AP. Whilst this thickening is predicted to affect GRACE estimates by no more than 6.2 Gt/yr, it may contribute up to -7 mm/yr to the present-day GIA uplift rate, depending on the chosen Earth model, with a strong east-west gradient across the AP. Its consideration is therefore critical to the interpretation of observed GPS velocities in the AP.


Warmist sends himself up

He admits that he can't see the nose in front of his face and then projects similar myopia onto climate skeptics.  He says that skeptics must ignore  science articles "all of them".  I am betting that he is the one who will ignore the paper immediately above. 

The paper above is in fact one of many I put up either in Abstract or summary form on this blog so this blog alone falsifies the assertions of the klutz below.  His high level of false generalization ("all of them") reveals that HE is certainly no scientist

I have to admit I can be lazy. I never eat breakfast, mostly because I don't want to take the time to prepare it. And if it weren't for the sandwiches my wife makes each day, I wouldn't eat any lunch either. Even then, half the time, I don't get around to eating them. My body used to complain about this but gave up long ago.

And it is easier to ask my wife where something is than look for it myself. She always seems to know. I can stand looking in the fridge and not see what I'm looking for and so I ask her and she finds it easily. Pure laziness, I admit.

In that way, I am a lot like the deniers who regularly post on this blog. I recognize lazy when I see it. I go to a lot of trouble to provide the links to every single one of my scientific sources but the deniers act as if they don't know how to click on the links. In their replies, they often angrily demand to know where I get my information. And then Randy or Renewable Guy will kindly and patiently do the deniers' work for them. Kind of like a sweet kindergarten teacher tying a child's shoelaces as they stand there crying, even though they could do it themselves.

Still, denying anthropogenic climate change is not an easy task. You have to work at it to maintain your denial. For one thing, you have to avoid all science magazines and science journals. All of them. And all those sources that Randy regularly lists? If you want to remain in denial, you must not read any of them. Ever. Refuse to look. Refuse to see. You might learn something. You might become educated, finally. What a loss that would be for the denier community if that happened.

Like me in front of the fridge. "Hon, where is the Parmesan cheese?" "Right here, dear. Right in front of your face." "On thanks sweetie, I didn't see it." "I know, you can't help your disability."


Global Warming Alarmists Seek More Power, Not Emissions Reductions

As U.S. carbon dioxide emissions continue to decline, one would think global warming alarmists would celebrate the ongoing achievement. Instead, alarm
ists are ramping up their vitriol. The alarmists’ increasing vitriol reveals that for many alarmists, the true goal is not a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, but instead a transfer of wealth and power from individuals to government.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions during the first quarter of 2012 were the lowest since 1992. With more and more U.S. power plants switching from coal to natural gas, the decline is likely to continue and the reductions are likely to be permanent.

The decline in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions is striking when we compare U.S. emission trends to global emission trends.

In 2000, U.S. emissions totaled 5.9 billion metric tons, while global emissions totaled 23.7 billion metric tons. Accordingly, in 2000 the United States accounted for 25 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

By 2010, however, U.S. emissions fell to 5.6 billion metric tons, while global emissions rose to 31.8 billion metric tons. Accordingly, in 2010 the United States accounted for merely 18 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

If the U.S. emissions reductions in early 2012 hold throughout the year, they’ll likely fall to merely 15 percent of the global total.

By the end of the decade, U.S. emissions will most likely decline to approximately 12 percent of global emissions, or less than half the U.S. share in 2000.

Keeping in mind that the United States produces 23 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product , reducing U.S. emissions to 12-to-15 percent of the global total is quite impressive.

These reductions in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are taking place without all-intrusive, economy-wide, government-imposed restrictions. Yes, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations that economically punish coal power plants are somewhat responsible for the shift to natural gas power, but so too are technological advances and new natural gas discoveries that have dramatically reduced the price of natural gas.

If the alarmists’ true goal is significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions, they would acknowledge and celebrate these ongoing reductions. Instead, however, alarmists are doubling down on vitriol and hateful rhetoric.

Consider, for example, Bill Blakemore’s most recent column on the ABC News Nature and Environment webpage. Among other things, Blakemore writes that “a number of climate scientists have told this reporter they agree with those, including NASA scientist James Hansen, who charge fossil fuel CEOs are thus guilty of a ‘crime against humanity.’” The traditional punishment for “crimes against humanity” is execution.

Why is it that so many alarmists are ratcheting up their vitriol and hateful rhetoric precisely when U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are rapidly declining? The answer is the alarmists are motivated more by a desire to reshape society into a government-centered model than they are interested in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Emissions are rapidly declining, yet money and power remains largely with the people rather than the government. Accordingly, activists ratchet up their hateful rhetoric.

For those who truly care about reducing carbon dioxide emissions, now is a time for celebration. For those who truly care about transferring money and power to government, now is a time to intensify their attacks.


Obama’s Drought of Facts

Following up on his 2008 promise that “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal,” President Obama has promised to do something about droughts, which are caused — in his opinion — by the dreaded global warming.

Obama gets a lot of his climate information from NASA’s Jim Hansen, an astrophysicist who heads the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. A federal employee, Hansen endorsed John Kerry for president in hotly contested Iowa ten days before the 2004 election. This year, he has been all over the media blaming the summer’s major drought on “global warming.”

Global-warming ideologues often make statements of “fact” that are actually testable hypotheses. Good! Let’s subject Hansen’s statement to some normal scientific scrutiny. Warning: Graphs to follow.

Hansen is saying, simply, that global warming is affecting U.S. temperatures in a way that makes us more prone to drought. Given that the equations that calculate likelihood of drought indeed include a temperature variable (warmer temperature = more evaporation), it would seem he’s home free, no?

The standard measurement of drought is known as the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI); it is based upon the pioneering calculations made by Wayne Palmer, a federal hydrologist, back in 1948. When the index is below –2, that’s the threshold for drought. If it’s above +2, we are anomalously wet. The index is calculated every week for hundreds of locations around the country.

Here’s the history of the PDSI back to 1895:

Some possible trouble for Obama’s hypothesis: It appears the PDSI is going up, meaning the country is getting wetter.

So if, as Obama and Hansen would like us to believe, global warming is causing our droughts, a substantial portion of our national temperature increase should be related to planetary heating. That’s easy to calculate with simple regression. The plot below shows both the U.S. temperature history and the portion of it that is related to global temperature changes:

Green: U.S (lower 48) temperatures; Red: Portion of the U.S. history related to global temperatures

If Hansen is right, the portion of the U.S. temperature history associated with global warming should be correlated with increasing drought.

Here are the sad facts for Hansen and the president: There is no relationship whatsoever between global-warming-related U.S. temperature and drought. To wit:

Note the equation “p = .48” at the bottom of the graph. This is the confidence level in support of Hansen’s hypothesis. For the hypothesis not to be rejected, this level should be at .05 or lower. In fact, on the basis of the Supreme Court’s 1993 decision Daubert v. Merrell Dow, we can say that the Court would probably label Hansen’s contention as “junk science.”

To make matters worse, Hansen and Obama have it exactly wrong. Suppose we look at the U.S. temperature variation that is not related to global warming and plot it against the PDSI. Voilà! The relationship is highly significant, at the .0001 level. In other words, anything but global warming is what drives U.S. drought.

When it comes to dreaded droughts, President Obama could do a lot for his climate credibility by listening to what Jim Hansen says — and proclaiming exactly the opposite.


Sea Level Acceleration: Not so Fast

Sea level rise is a topic that we frequently focus on because of all the gross environmental alterations which may result from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, it is perhaps the only one which could lead to conditions unexperienced by modern societies. A swift (or accelerating) sea level rise sustained for multiple decades and/or centuries would pose challenges for many coastal locations, including major cities around the world—challenges that would have to be met in some manner to avoid inundation of valuable assets. However, as we often point out, observational evidence on the rate of sea level rise is reassuring, because the current rate of sea level rise from global warming lies far beneath the rates associated with catastrophe. While some alarmists project sea level rise of between 1 to 6 meters (3 to 20 feet) by the end of this century, currently sea level is only inching up at a rate of about 20 to 30 centimeters per hundred years (or about 7 to 11 inches of additional rise by the year 2100)—a rate some 3-4 times below the low end of the alarmist spectrum, and a whopping 20 to 30 times beneath the high end.

To get from here to catastrophe surely requires a significant acceleration in sea level. And, because disasters pay scientists handsomely, a lot of people have been looking. Here is how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Fourth Assessment Report summed up its investigation:
Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 [1.3 to 2.3] mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003: about 3.1 [2.4 to 3.8] mm per year. Whether the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer-term trend is unclear. There is high confidence that the rate of observed sea level rise increased from th3 19th to the 20th century, the total 20th-century rise is estimated to be 0.17 [0.12 to 0.22] m.

Since 2003—the last data assessed by the IPCC—the rate of sea level rise has slowed (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Decadal (overlapping) rates for sea level rise as determined from the satellite sea level rise observations, 1993-2011 (data available from

This observation seems to tip the scale to “decadal variability” rather than an “increase in the longer-term trend” in explaining the 1993 to 2003 behavior.

But there is much more evidence that no anthropogenic global warming-related acceleration of sea level rise is taking place.

A couple of months ago, an important paper was published that examined the changing historical contribution of ground water removal (for human water needs, primarily irrigation) to global sea level. A primary finding was that this non-climate component of sea level rise was both significant and rapidly increasing, currently making up between 15 and 25 percent of the current observed rate of sea level rise. Further, the rate of ground water extraction has been increasing over time, which imparts a slight acceleration to the rate of sea level rise over the past half-century or so. Once this non-climate signal is removed, there remains no evidence for a climate-related acceleration. We covered that finding here.

Another paper has just been accepted in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that identified multidecadal cycles in the historical mean sea level observations from many ocean basins. A research team led by Don Chambers from the University of South Florida examined tide gauge records from across the globe and found oscillations with a period of about 60 years in all ocean basins except the Central/Eastern North Pacific. Chambers et al., note that a 60-yr quasi oscillation has previously been identified in other earth/climate systems including ocean circulation, global mean surface temperatures, large-scale precipitation patterns, and atmospheric pressure, among other things. Many of these cycles can be traced back hundreds of years—an indication of a natural (rather than manmade) origin.

Chambers and colleagues note that given the strong possibility for such cycles in the global sea level data, that care must be taken when attempting to identify accelerations, as they, in fact, simply be upswings in the natural oscillatory behavior. For instance, in most ocean basins, the bottom of the cycle was reached in the 1980s and an upswing has been occurring since then—precisely when the IPCC notes that the rate of sea level rise has been increasing. For this reason, Chambers et al. note:
The 60-year oscillation will, however, change our interpretation of the trends when estimated over periods less than 1-cycle of the oscillation. Although several studies have suggested the recent change in trends of global [e.g., Merrifield et al., 2009] or regional [e.g., Sallenger et al., 2012] sea level rise reflects an acceleration, this must be re-examined in light of a possible 60-year fluctuation.

While technically correct that the sea level is accelerating in the sense that recent rates are higher than the long-term rate, there have been previous periods were the rate was decelerating, and the rates along the Northeast U.S. coast have what appears to be a 60-year period [Figure 4 of Sallenger et al., 2012], which is consistent with our observations of sea level variability at New York City and Baltimore. Until we understand whether the multi decadal variations in sea level reflect distinct inflexion points or a 60-year oscillation and whether there is a [Global Mean Sea Level, GMSL] signature, one should be cautious about computations of acceleration in sea level records unless they are longer than two cycles of the oscillation or at least account for the possibility of a 60-year oscillation in their model. This especially applies to interpretation of acceleration in GMSL using only the 20-year record of from satellite altimetry and to evaluations of short records of mean sea level from individual gauges.

The bottom line is this: the more people look for the anticipated acceleration in the rate of sea level rise, the less evidence they seem to find in support of it. All the while, we eat into the 21st century with a rate of sea level rise not much different from that experienced during the 20th century—and one which was hardly catastrophic, readily proven by a simple look around.

SOURCE  (See the original for references)



The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


14 September, 2012

A psychologist who appears to know nothing about science

I spent 20 years getting 200+ papers published in the academic journals which pointed out how unscientific existing psychological research was so I am not too surprised by Stephan Lewandowsky  -- who as well as being an academic psychologist is also a frantic Warmist. 

He has a track record of "psychologizing" climate skeptics.  That you have to be psychologically defective to reject warming is his theme.  Leftist psychologists have been doing much the same for at least 6 decades to my knowledge but their only real success would appear to have been in convincing one-another.    It makes their little bubble-world more comfortable to believe such things.  My comment on the earlier efforts is here.

I pointed out last month how scientifically ludicrous was Lewandowsky's latest paper in alleged proof of his contentions  but his conclusions are nonetheless popular.  So a couple of skeptics have recently had a few more comments on the paper.

One of Lewandowsky's claims is that climate skeptics also think the landings on the moon were faked.  In reponse Marc Morano points out that, far from thinking the moon landing to be faked,  some skeptics were actually among those who walked on the moon!  They sure don't think that what they did never happened!
The Lewandowsky conspiracy paper reveals how the promoters of man-made global warming are desperate. This latest study fails just by a reading of the title: 'NASA faked the moon landing - Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax'

But if the moonwalkers themselves are global warming skeptics, how can Lewandowsky claim that skeptics believe the moon landing was staged?!

Sorry Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, but have you heard about the moonwalkers themselves? They are some of the most outspoken climate skeptics. How does Lewandowsky explain the fact that the NASA moonwalkers themselves are climate skeptics!? What a silly paper.

See Climate Depot's 2009 special report: Climate Skeptic Moonwalkers Defy Gore's Claim That Climate Skeptics Are Akin To Those Who Believe Moon Landing was 'Staged': Moonwalker and Award-Winning NASA Astronaut/Geologist Jack Schmitt – who recently declared he was a global warming skeptic and now, Award-Winning NASA Astronaut and Moonwalker Dr. Buzz Aldrin. [End excerpt]

The views of the NASA moonwalkers themselves have made a mockery of Lewandowsky's "study.” It appears climate skeptics and moonwalkers share the same views on man-made global warming.

There is also ample evidence that the promoters of man-made climate doom who are the true conspiracy aficionados. Prominent global warming promoters appear to believe in 9/11 conspiracies.
See: Report: Pieter Tans, keeper of the CO2 records for Mauna Loa, is a declared '911 Truther' -- Tans co-signed letter claiming 'a few people in our government allowed or caused the 9/11 attacks'

Much more HERE (See the original for links)

A classic case of Leftist "projecting" (Seeing in others what is really true of themselves).

Jo Nova has also pointed out (as I did) that Lewandowski's strange "sampling" entirely vitiates his generalizations  -- JR

Greenies frantic over Britain's  “dash for gas”

And the government is "fudging" in the best British style

The independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) has today warned unequivocally that the government would breach the Climate Change Act if it pursues Chancellor George Osborne's plans for a surge in new gas investment.

In what will be seen as an explosive intervention in the simmering row between the Liberal Democrats and the Chancellor over whether to include a target to decarbonise the electricity sector by 2030 in the upcoming Energy Bill, the CCC today stated categorically that "extensive use of unabated gas-fired capacity (i.e. without carbon capture and storage technology (CCS)) in 2030 and beyond would be incompatible with meeting legislated carbon budgets".

In an open letter to Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey, signed by the CCC board including new chair Conservative Peer Lord Deben, the group criticises the "apparently ambivalent position of the government about whether it is trying to build a low-carbon or a gas-based power system", warning that after extensive discussions with investors and energy companies it has become clear current policy uncertainty has created a "very poor" investment climate.

The letter also criticises recent statements from the DECC in support of increased gas investment, which were wrung out of the department by Osborne during long-running negotiations over the future of renewable energy subsidies.

"We are writing to express the great concern of the Committee on Climate Change about the recent government statement "that it sees gas as continuing to play an important role in the energy mix well into and beyond 2030...[not] restricted to providing back up to renewables"," the letter states, adding that while there is an important medium-term role for gas that has already been factored into the UK's carbon budgets, "unabated gas-fired generation could therefore not form the basis for government policy, given the need under the Climate Change Act to set policies to meet carbon budgets and the 2050 target".

The letter represents a major blow to Osborne, who has been campaigning for the Energy Bill to increase support for gas investment. A leaked letter from Osborne to Davey in July revealed the Chancellor wants to ignore CCC recommendations for the Energy Bill to include a target requiring the electricity sector to decarbonise by 2030 as part of wider efforts to turn the UK into a "gas hub".

The CCC argues this approach would be in breach of the Climate Change Act, and reiterates its recommendation that the Energy Bill use secondary legislation to include a carbon target for the electricity sector of 50gCO2/kWh, which would come into place from 2030 and effectively ban the use of both coal and gas-fired power plants without CCS technology.

It argued such a target would provide investor certainty while also allowing "flexibility for periodic review (e.g. prior to drafting a Delivery Plan) and possible modification based on new information about technology costs, gas prices, carbon prices and feasible build rates".

Responding to the CCC's letter, Davey stressed that the government was still considering the CCC's proposed 2030 electricity decarbonisation target, but added that "our existing plans are consistent with significant decarbonisation of the power sector".

"We are absolutely committed to meeting our statutory carbon budgets," he said. "That is why we are pushing through ambitious reforms to overhaul existing old fossil fuel power plants, replacing them with new low-carbon forms of power generation.

"A fifth of our power stations are closing over the next decade, and we need to build a diverse mix of all the technologies to keep the lights on and lower our emissions."

However, he again reiterated that new gas capacity would have a role in the UK's energy mix. "After 2030 we expect that gas will only be used as back up, or fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage technology," he said. "But, alongside upscaling of renewables, nuclear new build, and eventually with carbon capture and storage, gas has an important role to play in the transition to a low-carbon grid.‪

"Our gas generation strategy work is about providing certainty to investors to ensure sufficient investment comes forward, while also living within our legally binding carbon budgets."


Both the Greenies and Russia are trying to block shale gas in Europe

The bottom line is that the same natural gas revolution in the US, which was enabled by hydraulic fracturing (fracking), is now threatening to loosen Gazprom’s noose on the EU, and Gazprom simply won’t have it.   

To head off a potential natural gas revolution in the EU, Gazprom is pulling out all the stops, and EU officials say that the company has been illegally throwing obstacles in the way of European gas diversification. 

Poland’s situation is a case in point. Last year, a US Department of Energy report estimated Poland’s shale gas reserves at 171 trillion cubic feet. Gazprom got nervous. In March this year, the Polish Geological Institute suddenly felt compelled to contradict that report, saying reserves were only around 24.8 trillion cubic feet. In June, Exxon announced it would pull out of its shale gas projects in Poland. Investors started getting cold feet and shares began to drop. Chevron and ConocoPhillips are plodding along with their shale gas operations, for now. 

Still, 24.8 trillion cubic feet is no paltry volume and enough to ensure that Gazprom remains nervous. And then there is Ukraine, which also has sizable shale gas reserves and where the Russian noose is even tighter.

Right now, the only thing keeping the shale gas revolution from hitting Europe as it has in the US is technology: the shale reserves in Europe are on land that is more inaccessible, there is a lack of necessary infrastructure and fracking equipment, and protests against the environmental impact of fracking are more serious. But the biggest problem is Gazprom.

EU governments are both desperate to break the Russian stranglehold by developing shale gas reserves and wary of going up against a gas giant on whom they depend for supplies. It’s a tough position and the outcome will depend on how the EU hedges its bets: Can it develop enough shale gas reserves quickly enough to take on Gazprom?

Poland is still a long way off from being able to fully develop its shale gas reserves. It will take time to conduct the necessary environmental impact studies and infrastructure would require a major overhaul.

The EU publics are divided between those who fear fracking and those who fear Gazprom and so far, the former fear is trumping the latter. France and Bulgaria have both banned fracking under pressure from the public, but Poland is marching on, its officials relentlessly insisting that fracking is safe.

Earlier this week, Germany’s Environmental Ministry urged a ban on fracking near drinking water reservoirs and mineral springs and called for environmental impact studies from developers, prompting concerns that Germany will tighten fracking regulations. Germany has massive natural gas potential, but environmental concerns are keeping a tight rein on development for now.

The end victory for Gazprom would come in the form of a European Commission ruling banning fracking—a ruling which would be applied to all EU countries, including Poland which has shown more political will to stand up to the Gazprom boogey man than others.

In the meantime, the EU is investigating Gazprom’s actions in eight countries—Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. In Bulgaria, where fracking has been banned, Gazprom is the only supplier of gas. It is also the sole supplier to the Baltic states and Slovenia. It supplies over 80% of gas needs to Poland and Hungary, and nearly 70% of the Czech Republic’s.

It has strengthened its grip on Europe further due to the fact that it owns the one-way gas pipelines into the region and forces buyers into long-term contracts in which prices are tied to oil.

The EU has tried numerous tactics to loosen the Gazprom grip, including the implementation of new energy policies designed to separate supply from delivery and by seeking new pipelines that could deliver gas from elsewhere. While the EU’s alternative pipeline dreams have largely failed so far, it is eyeing developments now in Northern Iraq, where Turkey is courting the Kurds to build a new pipeline that could eventually deliver gas to EU markets. But this is a long way, and possibly a war, off.

Having failed so far in the area of alternative suppliers, the EU is now moving the front lines of the battle to the legal field, targeting unfair competition, which it stands a better, but still only minimal, chance of changing the rules of the game. The probe into Gazprom is looking at three things: Gazprom’s attempts to hinder the free flow of gas across the EU; its purposeful blocking of diversification efforts; unfair pricing and contractual arrangements.

Specifically, the EU says Gazprom has implemented a strategy to segment national markets by preventing gas exports and limiting delivery options, as well as by obligating buyers to use Gazprom infrastructure. Most significantly to the consumer, Gazprom’s pricing policies, which fix gas prices to oil prices, mean that European consumers see no benefit from the natural gas revolution in the US, which has increased global supplies and reduced prices on the open market.

Will the EU be able to actually levy fines for unfair competition and unravel the monopoly? Not unless it plays as dirty as Gazprom, which will simply cut off supplies and the circulation of those European countries that used to be in its back yard. Eastern and Central Europe will be the ones to pay the price for the European Union’s battle.


German Academy Of Sciences And Engineering Calls Off Climate Catastrophe – Coping Will Not Be A Problem

The print edition of Der Spiegel this week has a short article that tells us what every sober person in Germany already knows: coping with climate change here will not pose any difficult challenges.

In fact we know this to be the case for the rest of the world, unless of course the climate veers into another ice age like situation. The above conclusion was reached by the German Academy of Sciences and Engineering (Acatech) in a study commissioned by the German Federal government. According to Acatech President Reinhard Hüttl:

"No climate conditions are going to occur here that already do not exist on the globe elsewhere and that we cannot cope with.”

Worse for the climate alarmists, the report goes on to say that warming will even bring benefits along with it, such as longer growing seasons and reduced wintertime heating costs. Readers should note that typical Germans heat their homes about 8 months per year.

Now we know that for some people bedwetting is a tough habit to break, and so we hope this latest news will help put some of the less chronic among us on the path to recovery.

Concerning rising sea levels, the scientists say that this ought to be an important concern, but “the scientists reject horror scenarios”. The scientists add:

"A climate-related mass migration to Germany appears improbable.”

People of normal psychological balance would of course be relieved to hear this good news. But in catastrophe-obsessed Germany, this is unfortunately not the norm, rather it’s the exception. A number of scientists, bent on spreading fear, are angered by this good-news conclusion. Spiegel writes:

"There was a dispute about the reliability of climate prognoses. Because of the involvement of RWE Innogy supervisory board chairman Fritz Vahrenholt (Social Democrat Party), four scientists resigned from the Committee. The former Senator of Environment of Hamburg accused established climate science of exaggerating man’s share in causing climate change.”

Fritz Vahrenholt is a professor of chemistry and co-author of the controversial skeptic book Die kalte Sonne.  It’s tough when people no longer want to play along with the alarmist hoax.


Global carbon trading system has 'essentially collapsed'

A cry of woe from the Leftist "Guardian" below

The world's only global system of carbon trading, designed to give poor countries access to new green technologies, has "essentially collapsed", jeopardising future flows of finance to the developing world.

Billions of dollars have been raised in the past seven years through the United Nations' system to set up greenhouse gas-cutting projects, such as windfarms and solar panels, in poor nations. But the failure of governments to provide firm guarantees to continue with the system beyond this year has raised serious concerns over whether it can survive.

A panel convened by the UN reported on Monday at a meeting in Bangkok that the system, known as the clean development mechanism (CDM), was in dire need of rescue. The panel warned that allowing the CDM to collapse would make it harder in future to raise finance to help developing countries cut carbon.

Joan MacNaughton, a former top UK civil servant and vice chair of the high level panel, told the Guardian: "The carbon market is profoundly weak, and the CDM has essentially collapsed. It's extremely worrying that governments are not taking this seriously."

The panel said that governments needed to reassure investors, who have poured tens of billions into the market, by pledging a continuation of the system, and propping up the market by toughening their targets on cutting emissions, and perhaps buying carbon credits themselves.

Governments have a last chance to restore confidence in the system when they meet in Qatar this December to discuss climate change. But few participants hold out any hope that they will agree to toughen their 2020 emissions targets, which are scarcely even on the agenda. Instead, governments are focusing on drawing up a new climate change treaty by the end of 2015, which would stipulate emissions cuts for the period after 2020.

Under the CDM, developers of projects to cut carbon emissions in developing countries receive a UN-issued carbon credit for every tonne of carbon dioxide the project avoids. This applies to a wide range of activities, from building new windfarms and solar panels, and distributing more efficient cook stoves and lights, to the installation of technology on factories to prevent the release of certain industrial gases.

The system was set up under the 1997 Kyoto protocol, after years of debate, but no credits could be issued until that treaty finally came into force in 2005. Since then, just over 1bn CDM credits have been issued.

These carbon credits can in theory be bought by the governments which are obliged by the Kyoto protocol to cut their emissions, to count against their targets. In practice, however, with the US refusing to ratify Kyoto and big emerging economies such as China, India and Mexico carrying no emissions-cutting obligations under the treaty, Europe is the only market of any size. The EU has its own cap-and-trade emissions scheme, under which heavy industries are awarded a quota of carbon they can emit, which they can top up by buying the UN credits.

But the recession and Eurozone crisis have whipped the rug from under this market. As industrial activity has declined, and the after effects of too-generous carbon quotas early on work themselves through, few EU companies now need to top up their carbon quotas. To make matters worse, the current phase of the Kyoto protocol ends this year, and of the world's major economies only the EU has pledged to continue it.


Why do we burn our food?

      Out of curiosity I ran some numbers related to ethanol production, which turns food into fuel.  To produce one gallon of ethanol about 22 pounds of corn (1) needs to be sacrificed.  22 lbs of corn contains about 10,560 calories, (2) which is enough calories to feed one person for about four days. (3) Therefore the calories sacrificed to make 90 gallons of ethanol could sustain one person for an entire year.  Since the US currently produces 10.6 billion gallons (4) of ethanol yearly, enough corn is being sacrificed each year for ethanol production in the United States to feed 117 million people.  This is occurring at the same time that the United States Department of Agriculture is reporting that over 50,000,000 people living in the United States are in "food-insecure households" (5) because their families do not have sufficient funds to purchase adequate amounts of food.

      The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandates that by 2022 36 billion gallons of biofuels will be produced in the United States.  15 billion gallons of this biofuel is expected to come from corn. (6) This will require the sacrifice of enough food to feed 166,000,000 people--over half the current population of the United States.  This doesn't even take into consideration that it takes at least 2/3 gallon of fossil fuel, by the US Department of Energy's own figures, to produce one gallon of ethanol. (7)  (Ethanol producers do not use ethanol to produce ethanol because it is too expensive.)

      Why do we do this?  Because our policy makers have come to believe that the air-born plant food carbon dioxide is a “pollutant” (8) that must be reduced or severe damage will be done to the biosphere. Acting on this belief the US government is planning on turning enough food into fuel by 2022 that could feed half the population of the United States!  Even if carbon dioxide were a “pollutant” the use of biofuels produces little or no net reduction in carbon emissions since by some estimates it takes more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than what one gets back from it when it is burned.  "Adding up the energy costs of corn production and its conversion to ethanol, 131,000 BTUs are needed to make 1 gallon of ethanol. One gallon of ethanol has an energy value of only 77,000 BTU." (9) 

      One might protest these figures saying that not all ethanol is made from corn, because there is also "cellulosic ethanol," which is made from the non-edible parts of plants. The problem is that there is "currently, no large-scale cellulosic ethanol production facilities . . . operating or under construction." (10)  This is because "cellulosic ethanol" is much more expensive to produce than corn ethanol.  For example, it is estimated that a large-scale "cellulosic ethanol" production facility would cost in the neighborhood of $300 million dollars to build (11) vs. $67 million for a corn-based plant of similar size and a number of "cellulosic ethanol" production hurdles have yet to be overcome. (12)

      So, why has carbon dioxide become a “pollutant” when throughout the known geological history of our planet it has been nothing more than air-born plant food?  Three words—“the greenhouse effect.”  In spite of what one might hear, “the greenhouse effect” is a highly controversial, scientific hypothesis that asserts that carbon dioxide, along with other “greenhouse gases,” is the Earth’s thermostat.  That is, humanity can control the temperature of the Earth by controlling the amount of carbon dioxide that it puts into the air mostly through the burning of “fossil” fuels, i.e., coal, natural gas, and oil.  Here are some scientists who contest that hypothesis (13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18,19).  Read what they have to say and make up your own mind.

      Apart from the highly controversial notion that carbon dioxide has the power to regulate the Earth’s temperature, what is it?  In one word “food”—food for plants, which becomes food for animals, including human beings.  Carbon dioxide is food because carbon is one of the essential building blocks of organic life (Organic - “Belonging to a family of compounds characterized by chains or rings of carbon atoms.”[20]) and most life on earth is organic life.  Also, plants thrive in a carbon dioxide rich environment and along with water, nitrogen from the air and minerals from the soil, powered by sunlight, through the process of photosynthesis make food for animals to eat and oxygen for animals to breathe. 

Did you know that gardeners actually pump up to four times the current atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide into greenhouses to promote plant growth?  So, even at current emission levels from the use of fossil fuels the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will not reach a level for optimal plant growth for at least 200 years and CO2 levels will not become toxic until well into the next ice age >10,000 years from now.  That is, of course, if the Earth’s natural processes of limiting atmospheric carbon dioxide levels cease to operate. 

You see, since carbon dioxide is constantly being cycled through the natural “carbon cycle” much of the carbon dioxide that humanity has produced since the beginning of the industrial revolution has already been removed from the atmosphere.  In fact only 4% of the carbon dioxide currently in the atmosphere is from the burning of fossil fuels. (21) So, if carbon dioxide is, indeed, a pollutant than the Earth is polluting itself since 96% of the air's carbon dioxide content has come from natural sources.

      Beyond these points, global warming is a good thing that promotes life, e.g., human civilizations have always faired better during warm periods in history than during cold periods; more people die from cold every year than from heat; many plants die or go dormant in the winter and come to life in the spring and summer; the warm equator is teaming with life while the cold poles have sparse life.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


13 September, 2012

Rudy Baum is still out of his tree

("Baum" is German/Yiddish for "tree").

In 2009 the rude one was editor-in-chief for the American Chemical Society (ACS).  He wrote an editorial which asserted a consensus in favor of global warming.  This caused a derisive uproar from ACS members which actually seemed to shake him a little.   It didn't shake him enough, however, as he is now, three years later, pushing the same old barrow in a new editorial.  He now prophesies that the year 2012 will be the hottest year on record but offers no estimate of how much hotter it will be.  But his reasoning is so woeful one has to wonder if he is now just going through the motions of supporting Warmism  --JR

The year 2005 surpassed 1998 as the hottest on record; it’s now clear that 2012 will surpass 2005. Each of the past 11 years (2001–11) is one of the 12 hottest years since instrumental temperature records began in the 19th century. The 20 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1987. These are facts—not speculation, not the result of a climate model—recorded from several thousand meteorological stations around the world.

Even if we concede that the tree-man is perfectly right about all the facts asserted above, it proves nothing.  What matters is the trend and there is none.  Temperatures are just going up and down from year to year by tiny amounts.  All the results he points to are explicable as temperatures having reached a plateau wherein they differ only in hundredths of a degree from year to year.  A plateau will produce lots of warm years too.  It doesn't need a warming trend -- JR

On Aug. 27, scientists at the University of Colorado’s National Snow & Ice Data Center reported that Arctic sea ice extent fell to 1.58 million sq miles, 27,000 sq miles below the record low daily sea ice extent set on Sept. 18, 2007 (C&EN, Sept. 3, page 11). According to a University of Colorado press release, “Since the summer Arctic sea ice minimum normally does not occur until the melt season ends in mid- to late September, the CU-Boulder research team expects the sea ice extent to continue to dwindle for the next two or three weeks.” Again, this is a fact, not speculation or the result of a climate model.

But the Antarctic is not shrinking at all, so clearly there is no GLOBAL warming going on  -- JR


It may seem strange that I, as a psychologist, am correcting an eminent chemist in these matters but I DID teach statistics at a major Australian university for a number of years --JR

Whoops  Warmists get rainfall wrong

They also seem to overlook that most of the earth's surface is water (oceans and seas) so the NET effect of warming under ANY  scenario will be INCREASED rainfall. I have no idea why I have to state such basic truths but:  Heated water gives of water vapour and water vapour given off by oceans falls as rain

SOME computer models for global warming may be over-estimating the risk of drought, according to a study published on Wednesday by the journal Nature.

Several key models used in climate research that factor in warming trends suggest that droughts will intensify as world temperatures rise.

This is on the basis that dry soils have less moisture to suck up into the atmosphere, which reduces rainfall and thus causes even greater aridity.

But scientists are worried that these models are too large in scale and lack observational data, especially about what happens locally.

Seeking to plug the knowledge gap, a four-nation team led by Chris Taylor from Britain's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology looked at images from weather satellites which track the development of storm clouds across the globe.

The scientists say they were surprised when they matched where new storms appear alongside images of how wet the ground was.

They found that afternoon storms were likely to occur when soils were parched - not over soils that were moist.

The apparent reason: drier soils create stronger warm winds called thermals, which boost the chance of rain.

"Both heat and moisture are critical ingredients for rain clouds to build up during the afternoon," Taylor explained.

"On sunny days the land heats the air, creating thermals which reach several kilometres (miles) up into the atmosphere. If the soil is dry, the thermals are stronger, and our new research shows that this makes rain more likely."

The data trawl covered six continents, looking at surface soil moisture and rainfall patterns on daily and three-hourly time steps, with a resolution of 50 to 100 kilometres, over a decade.

"It's tempting to assume that moist soils lead to higher evaporation, which in turn stimulates more precipitation," said Wouter Dorigo of the Vienna University of Technology, a co-author.

"This would imply that there is a positive feedback loop: moist soils lead to even more rain, whereas dry regions tend to remain dry... (But) these data show that convective precipitation is more likely over drier soils."


More Warmist "science"

Carbon-free sugar?

The chemical structure of sugar below

So take away the carbon from sugar and you would have just water.


More evidence that we are dealing with cultists, not scientists

Key global warming report was fudged

Peter Lilley, MP in the British Parliament and a former cabinet minister under both Baroness Thatcher and Sir John Major, is an economist by training. He is not a climate skeptic — indeed, he has accepted the fourth assessment of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as "founded on science" and sound.

He is also an advocate of sound, evidence-based, public policy (as opposed to policy-based public policy) — something one might expect from a former chairman of the right-wing think-tank the Bow Group.

Why then is he so upset?   He is upset and highly critical of the way in which a certain kind of "voodoo economics" has been worked to develop public policy on climate change and is especially irked by the work of Baron Stern of Brentford, the IG Patel professor of economics and government, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, and 2010 professor of Collège de France.

Lilley is not easily irked. What has caught his full ire is his analytic look-back at the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change — a 700-page report released for the British government in October 2006. You can see why in his report What is Wrong with Stern? The Failings of the Stern Review, available from the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

His basic concern is that Stern was, at the time, a government-employed economist who was asked by his government to answer a question which was formulated by government. He gave them the answer they were hoping for.

Put simply, Stern suggested that the benefits of radical action on reducing emissions would be around five times the costs. This is not what most economists were saying at the time and even fewer would say this now. Stern used some voodoo to bend the available data to fit the policy. In other words, policy-based evidence.

Lilley identifies six major failings in the Stern review.

 *   Comparing a part with the whole. Looking at policies adopted to reduce man-made emissions rather than looking at total CO2 emissions coming from all sources. Stern also just looks at accumulated emissions since the industrial revolution, but ignores known evidence of the ability of the earth to absorb emissions. Lilley suggests that this has a major impact on Stern’s conclusions — he is not dealing with the true state of emissions.

*    Describing future centuries as "now." Stern suggests that global warming will cut GDP by five per cent "now and forever." Yet his own analysis shows that the economic losses due to responding to emissions with the kind of measures he envisaged were below the costs of mitigation, at least in this century.

*   Inconsistent cost of discounting of costs and benefits. Stern doesn’t reveal the rates of discount he uses for his calculations in the report itself, but several studies have done so since. He effectively uses the normal market rates to discount the costs of decarbonizing the economy. Lilley suggests that doing so understates the costs of the policies for emissions management by around 2.5 to five times. It is a sleight of hand.

*   Cherry Picking Unreliable Studies. Throughout, Stern cites just those studies that suit his argument (policy-based evidence) rather than the range of studies which should inform this case. To give just one example, his evidence on damage to property due to increased storms "caused" by climate change is around 100 times too large if you accept the premise that climate change causes such storms, something the IPCC itself is not convinced of.

*    Ignoring adaptation. Industry and communities are very adaptable. Stern ignores this unless it suits his argument. Lilley gives a specific example — Stern cites the case of a crop that, at 4C will produce significantly lower yields (around 70 per cent lower). Yet farmers have the option of switching to a similar crop (different varietal) where yields would rise dramatically under these conditions, a fact Stern chooses not to share in his report.

*    Strange ethics. Several studies have shown that, even if we do nothing, people will be richer by 2020 than they are today. Yet Stern is of the view that "global warming threats humanity with extinction or immiseration" - something highly implausible by all analysis of the impact of the current small amount of warming, according to Lilley. Stern suggests anyone who opposes his view of the needed course of action is being "unethical" and threatening future generations. Lilley suggests that this is, basically, bullshit.

Stern was very influential throughout the world, but most especially in Europe. He suggested a crash program of action to curb emissions in the name of saving humanity. But humanity, at least according to science, is not under threat and we are dealing with natural variations and some modest but marginal human impacts, according to Lilley.

But using voodoo economics and policy-based evidence, the economies of the world that adopted the Stern approach have lowered their growth and made energy costs so high that many jobs have been exported to other jurisdictions, thereby increasing climate change risk rather than lowering it. The policies suggested by Stern are unaffordable and are not producing the benefits that Stern said they would.

Lilley is upset with Stern and with the governments who blindly followed his advice. What he now suggests is a more moderate approach to emissions reduction, placing greater emphasis on innovation activities which may speed adaptation and a recognition that developing nations need to increase their energy supplies in the most efficient and effective ways possible.

Lilley’s analysis is thorough and comprehensive as well as well researched and informed. He is not a climate change skeptic, but a realist and a devotee of evidence-based policies. His critique is worth a read.


Court challenge to EPA secrecy

A potential landmark government transparency court case took shape today as a conservative think tank filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking copies of all emails concerning official policies sent by one of its regional administrators using his private email address.

The suit was filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which bills itself as "dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty."

‘EPA has also stonewalled CEI's administrative appeal, refusing to provide a response and make its arguments on the record for CEI to challenge. --- Competitive Enterprise Institute’

In its suit, CEI said EPA had denied the think tank's request for all emails sent to or by region eight administrator James Martin and the Environmental Defense Fund, including those using his official and any private emails. Prior to joining EPA, Martin was an attorney for the EDF.

In a statement describing its suit, CEI said its FOIA request "was aimed at determining the extent to which policymaking in the Obama Administration is being coordinated with outside environmental pressure groups. CEI expressly extended its request to cover information from Mr. Martin's non-official e-mail accounts, based on his clear history of using such accounts to perform official business."

The think tank accused EPA of stonewalling because it "has refused to produce these e-mails, claiming that records 'sent to a personal email address' are not agency records. EPA has also stonewalled CEI's administrative appeal, refusing to provide a response and make its arguments on the record for CEI to challenge. As such, CEI's suit seeks to compel the release of these records."

Christopher Horner, a CEI senior fellow, argues in a forthcoming book entitled "The Liberal War on Transparency" that EPA officials have often used what he describes as "secret email accounts" to conduct official discussions with outside special interests in the environmental community, as well as "cut-outs" - individuals outside of government who serve as conduits between officials and special interest groups, as a method of circumventing transparency laws like the FOIA.

If the federal court agrees with CEI and orders EPA officials to produce emails to and from Martin's private email acccount, it could pave the way for suits against all federal departments and agencies in which there is evidence or suspicion outside of government that officials have used private email accounts, or government email accounts known to exist by only by a few individuals.


Australia: Trawler ban just Greenie hysteria

A TOP fisheries scientist has slammed the government's 11th-hour move to stop the controversial Abel Tasman super trawler as unscientific and driven by political expediency.

Colin Buxton, the director of the fisheries, aquaculture and coasts centre at the University of Tasmania's institute for marine and antarctic studies, said that the size of the 142-metre Dutch-owned trawler did not mean that it posed any greater environmental risk than several smaller vessels.

"It's just staggering [that] popularism and political expediency is now managing our fisheries," he said. "I think it's incredibly dangerous. It's really sad that the decision has been handed down in this way."

Professor Buxton said the 18,000-tonne fish quota given to Seafish Tasmania was sustainable according to solid science.

He said that an ecosystem model developed by the CSIRO - regarded as the "best ecological model available" - had been used to calculate the total population of fish and any potential impact on the food chain.

Professor Buxton, who stressed he had no connection with any company, industry body or regulator, said that "localised depletion" - the danger of emptying out a part of the ocean if a large ship fished too long in one place - was probably less of a risk with the super trawler.

The advantage of the super trawler, which has its own processing facilities and freezers, was that it could fish over a large area without being tied to ports.

"If you had 10 small trawlers tied to a place like Triabunna [in Tasmania], there would be a much, much higher chance of localised depletion," he said. "These same people who are concerned about the … trawler and [are saying] you could take 10 small boats out there and that's a better idea. Based on what?"

He also rejected claims that not enough scientific research existed.

Professor Buxton said that the net size and catching capacity of the Abel Tasman were "not dissimilar" to net sizes already being used in waters off the west coast of Tasmania.


CSIRO goes off the rails over climate

The CSIRO is supposed to be Australia's premier scientific research organization but hysteria seems to have taken over.  The “Planet under Pressure” conference (PUP) in London in March, 2012, is now just a historical curiosity. It was meant to turbocharge the Rio + 20 eco-summit last June but that summit never quite took us to its poverty-ending, green global economy.  However, the London warm-up is worth a second look, if only because:

 *   More than 40 CSIRO people attended.[1] Assuming $6000 per head on fares, hotels etc, that’s a quarter-million dollars
*  Another 40 Australian scientists and academics also went along – make that a half-million dollars total.[2] [3] Did any attend the conference session on “Reinforcing sustainable travel behaviour”?

 *  “Nut-jobs on the internet” claimed the London show pushed for Dr-Evil-style global climate government.  I found coded remarks in the conference verbiage but then turned up a press interview by the conference’ co-chair, our CSIRO’s top climateer Mark Stafford-Smith. He called for a “sustainable development council within the United Nations that has the same level of authority as the Security Council.”[4] Not bad from a non-elected CSIRO politician. Pause to reflect that 55% of the 193 UN countries are dictatorships.[5]

 *   More than 1200 “scientific” papers were showcased, of which  only three or four expressed even a tiny doubt about dangerous human-caused warming (AGW). Yet even the IPCC is only 90% sure. Those papers of interest included “solving the cloud problem in climate models” and “solar forcing of winter climate variability”. The other 1197-plus papers went into third-order issues such as “Solving the problem of how to solve problems: planning in a climate of change”.[6] One I particularly liked went:
“To unite scientists and global publics in a climate change Quest, communicators need to attend rigorously to the narrative-dramatic dynamics of stakeholder sensemaking. The depth of fear and despair when fully engaged with the tragic Downfall plot should not be underestimated…We urgently need to develop the skills of reading and leading climate change plots. In so doing, we can build understanding of the social drama of data.”[7]

 *   Since the purported AGW would change everything in the world, the 1200 papers at London could be multiplied ten-fold or thousand-fold as long as grant-money continues. An example from the conference of the proliferation: “Care and justice: the contribution of feminist and environmental justice approaches to counteract power in environmental governance.”[8]

The CSIRO claims that “almost all” of its 40+ attendees gave papers.[9] Since the conference was four days of 8.30am-5pm, plus a smidgen of slack or “unconference” time before cocktails and dinners, I thought I’d check.

A search elicits 11 CSIRO papers discussed at the conference.  The conference also allowed 13 CSIRO people to put up on the wall, literally, a poster about their research, along with the other 1160 contributors’ posters, thus burnishing everyone’s CVs. Worthwhile? Taxpayers, you be the judge.

One CSIRO scientist scored an own goal in his paper on adaptation of Australian agriculture to climate change. Farmers were managing OK, “given that the climate change signal has not yet exceeded the ‘variability noise’ “.[10] Yet a CSIRO colleague had a paper: “Climate change impacts on farmer mental health: emerging connections”.[11] How can our farmers be going mad from AGW if it’s not yet detectable?

But I’m rambling. What about that world-governing conspiracy? Dr Stafford-Smith gave an interview from the conference to AAP on March 29:
Mark Stafford Smith, scientific director of CSIRO's climate adaption flagship, says it's no longer enough for individual nations to try to be sustainable.

Rather a new "planetary stewardship" is needed, he says.

"Something like a sustainable development council ... in the UN system which has the same level of authority as the security council and which can drive a much more integrated approach," Dr Stafford Smith told reporters via a phone hook-up from London...”

There was now a need for a "constitutional moment", like that in the 1940s which saw the establishment of the World Bank and other institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, to drive the new UN council, he said.[12]

When the conference ended, Dr Stafford-Smith co-drafted with a Dr Lidia Brito the conference’s “Declaration”. As one breathless environment reporter from the New York Times introduced it, humanity’s anti-green obtuseness could hurt the earth as badly as “meteoric collisions”.[13]  The key tract from the Smith/Brito manifesto is:
“Fundamental reorientation and restructuring of national and international institutions is required to overcome barriers to progress and to move to effective Earth-system governance…Current understanding supports the creation of a Sustainable Development Council within the UN system to integrate social, economic and environmental policy at the global level.” [14]

Who is Dr Stafford-Smith, this Napoleon-scale environmentalist? He spent 30 years studying desert bushes and bugs, as a good CSIRO scientist should.[15]

But one of the bugs may have infected him with apocalypse fever. In 2009 he published, with CSIRO colleague Julian Cribb, the paperback “Dry Times: Blueprint for a Red Land”, priced at an alarming $49.95.[16] The book concludes,
“Australians use of the country’s resources, their demand for increasing material standard of living and now their contribution to global climate change [what? 1.5% of global emissions?]  have wrought profound changes to this once isolated continent. The great cities of Australia are already experiencing water shortages. … In fact, the dry part of Australia is expanding. The entire continent is now subject to some disturbing trends, which are starting to resemble the desert drivers. The climate is moving into realms hitherto unexperienced: unpredictable and out of local control…” (p145)

Hardly had the CSIRO book hit the counter, than a vast sheet of floodwater travelled the length of the Eastern States. The rivers turned Lake Eyre into a bonanza for operators of inland sea scenic flights, which continue to this day. The rains replenished the dams of Brisbane and Sydney and even the parched Melbourne dams are now 77% full.

His co-author Julian Cribb, unabashed, put out another CSIRO paperback ($29.95) in 2010,  “The Coming Famine”.[17] As CSIRO’s blurb puts it, “Julian Cribb lays out a vivid picture of an impending planetary crisis – a global food shortage that threatens to hit by mid-century – which, he argues, would dwarf any in our previous experience.”  Deserts, floods, famine, whatever. CSIRO loves the dismal.

Dr Stafford-Smith also claims the scientific community is “thinly-stretched”, which seems a bit whiney after $US68 billion in US federal spending alone on climate research and development from 1989-2009.[18] [19]

The patrons for the London conference were the usual UN apparatchiks, activist and industry reps, academics, and a couple of standouts: our own Climate Comedian – sorry, Climate Commissioner - Tim Flannery and Phil Bloomer, director of campaigns and policy for Oxfam, a charity celebrated for its “75-million-climate-refugees” howler concerning Pacific islanders, whose population is only 7 million in the first place.[22]

A Professor Iain Gordon of the UK’s Hutton Institute told the conference that humans had upped the natural extinction rate by 1000 times, “based on reliable data”, and 10%-30% of mammal, bird and amphibian species are at risk of extinction. The “1000 times” factoid was a statistical raving from a tract by the activist International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and the “10%-30% extinction” factoid from the 2007 IPCC report was exposed several years ago as a complete crock.[23] [24] How could Professor Williams be so credulous? Well, his previous career was with CSIRO, which is is too inward-focused even to take this clanger off its website:
“Australia has experienced the worst drought in recorded history, and as one consequence many cities and regions have faced severe water supply constraints. These issues have highlighted the reality of global climate change, the massive impacts that it is likely to have on our continent...”[25]

If the drought “highlights the reality of global climate change”, what do our recent floods highlight?

Still, climate conferences wouldn’t be the same without the CSIRO’s helpful inputs.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


12 September, 2012

Al Gore nails his colors to the mast

"If you thought 2012 was hot, just wait until 2013"

“It has been another "normal" global-warming summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The United States sweltered in the hottest July on record, following the hottest spring on record. More than 60 percent of the contiguous United States is suffering from drought, as are parts of eastern Europe and India. In the Arctic, sea ice cover is at a record low, and the Greenland ice sheet shows what the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center calls "extraordinary high melting." Global land temperatures for May and June were the hottest since records began in the 19th century.”
“Meanwhile, El Niño conditions are forecast to develop in the tropical Pacific Ocean, warming up ocean surface temperatures. Some observers have predicted that this will lead to record-breaking global temperatures next year.”

“If El Niño does arrive and temperature records are broken, there will inevitably be much discussion of the causes of the warming.”


Actually, Big Al is on pretty safe grounds.  The official meteorologists  will "adjust" the temperature record upward, come what may.  Below  is a record of their past adjustments

British PM Fells Green Politics

Has a political era so recent ever seemed so far away? Britain just before the crash was, at least to judge from the way its ruling elites talked, evolving into a post-material society. A decade and a half of uninterrupted growth and low inflation had slowly put economic discourse to sleep. All major parties tacitly accepted a mixed economy – more egalitarian than the US, more free-market than Europe – and ever higher public spending too. They differed at the margins, of course, and played up footling quarrels like ham actors, but their real focus was migrating to other, softer issues: culture, lifestyle and, above all, the environment.

The face and voice of this holiday from history is now the prime minister. With huskies in train, David Cameron began his leadership of the Conservative party with a visit to a Norwegian glacier threatened by global warming in 2006. The gesture helped to soften his party’s image at the time but, as a statement of priorities, it has not aged well. Neither has his ethical finger-wagging at business, or his insistence that “GWB” (general wellbeing) was as important as gross domestic product, or, as he now knows painfully well, his environmentalist objections to a third runway at Heathrow. Far from asking how to preserve and hasten economic growth, he seemed animated by the question of how society could remain sane and healthy despite economic growth.

Recession put paid to this strain of Tory modernisation, which was always more modish than truly modern. After rebranding themselves as guardians of Mother Earth, the party had to scurry to re-rebrand as flinty custodians of the ruined public finances. The undulations of internal Tory politics have played a part too. Mr Cameron’s mania for greenery and wellbeing was ignited by Steve Hilton, then his closest adviser. But Mr Hilton grew more Thatcherite after the crash and in any case George Osborne, the hawkish chancellor of the exchequer, gradually became the prevailing counsel in Mr Cameron’s ear. Then came the election of an unashamedly pro-business generation of MPs two years ago.

It has not eluded the chancellor’s notice that the percentage of voters who rank the environment as an important issue has fallen to low single figures. In the face of resistance from his governing partners, the Liberal Democrats, he is trying to prune the coalition’s green policies, especially those likely to impose costs on ordinary people. His efforts to keep fuel duty down betray his determination to avoid his party being painted as high-minded rich kids indifferent to the living standards of ordinary people. Mr Cameron himself has not given a major speech on the environment since becoming prime minister in 2010. Given Britain’s economic and fiscal plight, it is hard to blame him.

His cabinet reshuffle last Tuesday fanned this bonfire of the inanities. A change of transport secretary has made it easier for the government to contemplate a U-turn on its silly promise to abjure that third runway. Owen Paterson, perhaps the most conservative member of the cabinet, has moved to environment. Michael Fallon and Matthew Hancock – men never much taken with the more esoteric excesses of Tory modernisation – will champion deregulation in a Department for Business that has done too little of it. And there is more to come. The autumn should see a new round of policies to make the UK leaner and more competitive: looser labour laws, for example, and progress in the government’s mission to quicken the lugubrious planning process

However, businesses would be wise to view this continuing shift from pre-crash absent-mindedness to a more economically hard-headed era without great excitement. Nothing is being proposed that will make their lives radically easier anytime soon. The only thing that can – a soothing of economic tumult abroad, and especially in the eurozone – is not in the gift of any government to deliver. And although Mr Cameron can tinker with his personnel, policies still have to be signed off by the Lib Dems. They are girding themselves to resist any watering down of the government’s environmental programme.


 Kyoto Protocol May End With the Year

As government negotiators from the world’s poorest countries ended a round of United Nations climate change talks in the Thai capital, they sounded a grave note about what appears imminent when they assemble in November in Doha – the reading of the last rites of the Kyoto Protocol.

“We are concerned that the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol, which is the only international treaty that binds developed nations to lower (greenhouse gas) emissions, and thus our lone assurance that action will be taken, is eroding before our eyes,” declared a statement released by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the Africa Group, which represent over a billion people vulnerable to the ravages of extreme weather.

Such concern about the fate of the Kyoto Protocol in the capital of Qatar, where negotiators from over 190 countries will gather for a U.N. climate summit, is with reason. The upcoming 18th conference of the parties (CoP 18) will be the last meeting before the clock runs out on Dec. 31for the world’s industrialised countries to meet their initial, legally-binding greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and to announce new legally binding cuts for the second period as 2013 dawns.

But as analysts who followed the week-long talks in Bangkok noted, the world’s richer nations appear determined to walk away from the leadership they have been expected to demonstrate under the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 treaty, which entered into force in 2005 after nearly a decade of negotiations.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, a cornerstone of the U.N.’s international climate change architecture – the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFFC) – the world’s 37 industrialised nations and the European Union (EU) pledged to reduce their greenhouse gases by five percent, measured against 1990 levels by the end of 2012, when the first phase of the protocol ends.

During the climate talks here, which ran from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5, the “Annex 1 countries” as the bloc of industrialised countries are dubbed under the Kyoto Protocol, offered little hope to the developing world that the talks will produce new, legally binding emission cuts that are higher than the prevailing five percent to cover a period from 2013-2020.

“The negotiations for the Kyoto Protocol need to be concluded successfully, and that means having the second commitment period in place by the Doha CoP,” says Martin Khor, executive director of the South Centre, a Geneva-based intergovernmental policy think tank of developing countries. “It was meant to be revealed at the last Cop in Durban, but it was postponed by a year.

“That is why the Doha talks will have to be about the Kyoto Protocol; if not what is the point in all these negotiations,” he tells IPS. “The disappointment of developing country negotiators was evident during the final session at the Bangkok talks. They realised that the developed countries are not showing any leadership to meet their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.”

Even the EU’s offer to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent over an eight-year period from 2013 onwards was dismissed by environmental activists. “The Kyoto Protocol that the European Union wants here is one that is not legal, but merely a ‘political decision’,” says Asad Rehman, head of international climate at Friends of the Earth, a global green campaigner. “The 20 percent target the EU is offering is ‘business as usual,’ and business as usual is killing the climate – it is criminal.”


Global Warming as theatre

What a neat idea:  Stage a dramatic monologue in a theatre with tickets sold to true believers and you have no critics to answer!  But as the commentator below says:  "There is nothing explicitly new in this analysis". And where have we heard this before? "We face a future in which billions will starve" Paul Ehrlich, give a bow!  Same old, same old

Stephen Emmott is an unlikely candidate for a star of a sell-out London theatre hit. He currently uses crutches after recently losing a disc in his spine and until last month he had never trod the boards. Yet the 52-year-old academic has just completed a majestic run at the Royal Court. For the past three weeks, he has filled the seats of the company's Jerwood Theatre Upstairs with audiences, mostly young, flocking to see his solo performances of Ten Billion, a brutal but careful dissection of the likely impact of humanity's swelling numbers on our planet.

Forget the hunt for the Higgs boson, Emmott tells audiences. Scientists may think that this was the greatest experiment ever performed, but it is nothing compared to the one humanity is now carrying out on our own planet as we pump more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, melt icecaps, destroy precious ecosystems and eradicate species in their thousands. The end result is "one of the most disturbing evenings I have ever spent in a theatre," wrote the Guardian's Michael Billington.

We face a future in which billions will starve, he states. Britain, which could come off relatively lightly when 6C rises in global temperature take effect, will be turned into a military outpost dedicated to preventing waves of immigrants reaching our shores.

So can we do anything to halt the devastation that lies ahead? Emmott asks as he reaches the end of his show. "In truth, I think we are already f*cked," is his answer. Then he quotes the response he got when he asked one of his younger colleagues what measures he planned to take to ward off the worst effects of the mayhem that lies ahead. "Teach my son how to use a gun," he was told. Cormac McCarthy would be proud.

Emmott merely stands in front of a desk within a set that is a recreation of his own office, right down to the slowly ageing tangerine that he has left in one corner. "I am a scientist, not an actor – as will quickly become clear," he announces. Then he proceeds with his analysis with the help of some neat video graphics. The result is more lecture than play, though I would argue that this is a perfectly reasonable theatrical mechanism, one that has been deployed recently in London by the Tricycle theatre in its staging of the public inquiry into the Stephen Lawrence case and by the Finborough theatre in its depiction of recent events in Syria.

In Emmott's case, his main concern is the ecological costs that underlie our daily lives: the billions of barrels of oil drilled each year, the billions of passenger miles flown and billions of tonnes of carbon pumped into the atmosphere. Two years ago, Russia halted its grain exports after its harvest failed. As a result, there were food riots in many countries, including several in the Middle East. The Arab Spring erupted in their wake. Today, an even greater harvest failure is threatened in the United States, where scorching temperatures have devastated crops. The implications for civil unrest across the planet are profound. Add to this the prospect of even greater temperature rises, triggered by increasing emissions of greenhouse gases that are in turn fed by our undiminished urge to burn fossil fuels and you begin to get a feel for the troubles we face. Populations are soaring but our capacity to feed ourselves is dwindling as the heat is turned up on our planet.

There is nothing explicitly new in this analysis. What is fresh is its measured, uninterrupted exposition. Emmott remains remarkably calm throughout his performance although you can still sense his concealed fury at our failure to take action. There are no Paxmans to quibble over details and no climate gainsayers to make arcane or inaccurate objections. And that is the real lesson of Ten Billion. Without the clamorous voices of climate change deniers who constantly question the minutiae of scientists' research or cherry-pick data, Emmott has shown that it is possible to make a straightforward, telling demonstration of the dreadful problems we face. We need a lot more sober, pithy work like this.

Emmott believes it is too late now to prevent our planet burning. Others, myself included, believe there is still time to take action. Making sure that the message of Ten Billion is not lost would be a very good starting point.


New Courtroom Strategy for Kiwigate Climate Data Skeptics

The life-and-death struggle by Warmists to keep their data secret tells its own story, of course

Government climatologists in New Zealand (NZ) last week won a major courtroom victory against skeptic plaintiffs when a high court judge declined to order scientists to release their data. But fresh legal analysis points to a new courtroom strategy to circumvent the kiwi government’s failure to honor a promise to release hotly contested global warming evidence.

Last Friday the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust (NZCSET) was defeated in their legal challenge to compel government scientists to reveal anomalies in their nation’s unofficial “official” climate record. Because a court permitted the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research of New Zealand (NIWA) to break a promise to reveal key evidence the judge was able to rule that NZCSET had failed to prove their case.

The man-made global warming skeptics of NZCSET had initiated this judicial review after they saw that their nation’s climatologists had inexplicably grafted a warming trend onto the country’s raw temperatures using  dubious statistical techniques. For over three years the controversy grew and NZ’s National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) resorted to hiding/destroying data. In 2010 – to ameliorate the controversy – NIWA was compelled to approach the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to undertake an independent  and open external peer review. Thereby, under ministerial order the government anticipated that the methodology and documentation of the disputed Seven Station Temperature Series (7SS) data file would be vindicated and the full Aussie review would be put on show. But last Friday, because NIWA (and the National Party government) had belatedly renegade on their promise, the judicial review found their was insufficient evidence to sustain the skeptics’ courtroom claims.

As the dust settles at the Auckland High Court and the climate alarmists gloat the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust (NZCSET) has yet to announce how it will respond. But legal analysts have seen a way forward to resolve the stalemate after NIWA’s refusal to come clean about their disputed ‘Seven-station Temperature Series’ (SS7). Readers can contrast and compare the SS7 (adjusted) temperatures with the actual (raw) temperatures in the graphs below. Skeptics remain insistent that NIWA used a discredited, non-standard method in SS7 to create an unjustified warming trend that fitted a political agenda.

Despite Justice Venning’s adverse decision NZCSET still achieved something of a moral victory. In this three-year dispute NIWA has been forced to disavow it’s own National Temperature Records. NIWA chose to lose the “official” tag for its temperature series rather than come clean about its methods. On September 10, 2012, the Monday after their defeat  NZCSET’s lawyer, Barry Brill issued a public statement:

“NIWA asserts that it is not required to justify its methods. It claims the exclusive and untrammelled right to select any statistical technique it thinks appropriate. However, it publicly undertook to have its methods tested by both a BoM review and the independent peer-review of a scientific journal. It has now elected to neither disclose nor rely upon BoM’s work and it has not submitted to a journal review.”

NIWA had altered its position at the eleventh hour, as signaled by a hasty revision of NIWA chief climatologist, Dr David Wratt’s affidavit. Astonishingly, at paragraph 306 Wratt now claimed, “NIWA and BOM regard the process of peer review and the interchanges between them as confidential, privileged, and subject to public interest immunity.”

The fresh claim for public interest immunity is baffling and disingenuous in light of the fact that the minister responsible for NIWA, Hon. Dr Wayne Mapp, promised that the BoM review would be independent and more transparent. NIWA’s last-minute U-turn is a betrayal of the trust petitioners and NZ taxpayers placed in Mapp’s mealy-mouthed assurances; it gives the clearest signal yet that the Australian climatologists’ review probably pinpointed shenanigans that Mapp’s ministerial colleagues felt compelled to suppress despite his high-sounding promises. In effect, NIWA – the accused in this “crime” – had manipulated behind the scenes to ensure that the “prosecutors” (NZCSET) of the case were barred from examining critical evidence provided by NIWA’s own “expert witness” (BoM).


Australia:  CSG miners get to drill everywhere in NSW

FARMERS have lost their fight for greater protection from coal seam gas (CSG) miners, with the state government refusing to fence off any land from exploration.  The miners were was given the OK yesterday to start drilling on farm land, albeit under the "strongest restrictions in the world".

The government released its strategic regional land use policy, outlining the extra hurdles companies will have to jump to start work.

Mining companies will have to prove any extraction will not destroy water quality, or prime farming and grazing land.

And in a bid to appease farmers, the government has removed the clause that gave it power to override the restrictions in exceptional circumstances. All CSG companies will have to meet the strict guidelines.

Farmers Association president Fiona Simson said farmers were not protected by the policy.  "We got an incomplete package with watered down water protections and a virtual green light for exploration and mining right across most of the state," Ms Simson said.

Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham accused the Premier of "declaring war" on farmers.

But Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said the increased regulation would make NSW less attractive for mining companies.   "The area of land classified strategic has increased threefold since the draft mapping was first released in March, so much more land will be covered by the new gateway assessment process," he said.

"This new layer of project assessment comes at a time when commodity prices are falling and production and other input costs in Australia are rising."


Australia: Suspect wheat variety not used in GM trial

CALLS to abandon a genetically modified wheat trial in Western Australia amid reports certain varieties could cause liver failure have been dismissed by the state government as scaremongering.

New Zealand-based genetics lecturer Jack Heinemann has warned that if humans eat one of the CSIRO's genetically modified wheat varieties, it could suppress glycogen production, leading to liver failure.

CSIRO said the claims had not been published in a peer-reviewed journal but would be considered by the organisation and regulatory bodies along with all other relevant research.

It was trialling both GM and non-GM versions of high amylose wheat, which had increased levels of resistant starch that could have positive benefits for bowel health and people with diabetes, CSIRO said.

Resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate that is not digested in the small intestine and travels into the large intestine, where it plays a key role in digestive function.

In the wake of the report, WA opposition agriculture spokesman Paul Papalia called on the Barnett government to abandon a trial of GM wheat in Merredin, which was announced in 2010.

However, a spokesman for the state's agriculture minister Terry Redman said the variety in question was not being trialled in WA.

Mr Redman said a trial of the variety in the ACT was not complete, so it was too early to say whether it was safe.

"To claim halfway through a trial, speculating in fact, that something's unsafe now is quite frankly too early to do so, and I think scaremongering," he told ABC.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


11 September, 2012

Court says official Warmists are good guys so their figures must be right

A very New Zealand judgment.  The Kiwi establishment stick together  -- to the point of presenting an "orchestrated litany of lies" if need be.  And David Bain could tell you a thing or two.  He had to go to the Privy Council in London to get his case properly looked at.  New Zealand abolished appeals to the Privy Council after that, funnily enough!

One assumes scientific analysis is objective, so it may come as a surprise that this was challenged in a New Zealand High Court case, the results of which were released last week.

The New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust (NZCSET) contested the claim by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) that New Zealand air temperatures had climbed by 0.9C over the past century. The trust maintains that objective analysis of the data shows a trend closer to 0.3C per 100 years.

Recent temperature trends were not in dispute. The court case centred on the fact that the temperature record before about 1965 had been adjusted downwards, a fact not denied by either party. The dispute was over the size of the downward adjustment.

There is little doubt the average annual temperature in New Zealand has been generally trending upwards in line with the expectations of many climate scientists. The question is whether all or part of the warming can be linked to artificial influences.

Long air temperature time series are more often than not beset with artificial, usually human-caused, discontinuities that contaminate what would otherwise be a near-natural record; for example, those sudden discontinuities caused by the relocation of weather stations, changes in instrumentation and observing practices, or gradual changes around the weather station that affect thermal conditions such as the growth or removal of vegetation and, in particular, urban growth and development leading to what is known as the urban heat island (UHI) effect.

Whether sudden or gradual, these changes can introduce inhomogeneities into the long-term temperature time series that distort or even hide the true climatic signal. Uneven spatial sampling because of irregular geographical distribution of weather stations also contaminates the temperature record.

The best-documented example of data contamination is the UHI effect in which data from urban stations are influenced by localised warming because of asphalt and concrete replacing grass and trees. There is a proven close correlation of city population size with urban heating influence on air temperature, which can account for an urban area being as much as 12C warmer than its rural surroundings. Many studies by climatologists have demonstrated that very small changes in population are enough to induce a statistically significant local warming.

The science of climate change depends entirely on reliable data, quality controlled and homogenised rigorously. Adjusting the data to achieve the reliability required is difficult and controversial. There are other problems.

Temperature trends detected are small, usually just a few tenths of one degree Celsius over 100 years, a rate that is exceeded by the data's standard error. Statistically this means the trend is indistinguishable from zero. Moreover, trends and temperature differences justified to one or two decimal places and significant figures are unreliable since the amounts are greater than the accuracy of the data allows, and multiple averaging of measurements does not make it more reliable.

Climate services of various countries provide clients with statistical information on climatic variables that is based on long-term observations at a collection of different weather stations. The importance of this statistical material stems from their widespread use as a major input for a large number of societal design and planning purposes, including setting greenhouse gas emissions policy and the economic consequences that follow. For these reasons it is important that climate services deliver the best estimates possible.

The NZCSET's lawyer summed it up when he told the court the trust was not asserting climate warming did not exist, "we're saying let's at least make sure that evidence of this for New Zealanders is accurate".

Despite the research work undertaken so far, there have been few attempts globally to reassess quantitatively the nature and reliability of homogeneity adjustments to complete national data sets. The High Court case highlights the situation in New Zealand where there have been no peer-reviewed science-based efforts to do this. A court ruling is no substitute.

Argument from authority has no place in science. This was the basis of NZCSET's case. Argument on the scientific facts and methods used in analyses must now take place. The question is: will it?


Greenpeace's Crime Against Humanity

Patrick Moore, PhD

"If you plan to destroy test fields to prevent responsible testing and development of Golden Rice for humanitarian purposes, you will be accused of contributing to a crime against humanity. Your actions will be carefully registered and you will, hopefully, have the opportunity to defend your illegal and immoral actions in front of an international court."  --  Dr. Ingo Potrykus to Greenpeace, February 2001

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines "crimes against humanity" as acts that are "committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack - intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health."

According to the World Health Organization between 250,000 to 500,000 children become blind every year due to vitamin A deficiency, half of whom die within a year of becoming blind. Millions of other people suffer from various debilitating conditions due to the lack of this essential nutrient.

Golden Rice is a genetically modified form of rice that, unlike conventional rice, contains beta-Carotene in the rice kernel. Beta-Carotene is converted to vitamin A in humans and is important for eyesight, the immune system, and general good health. Swiss scientist and humanitarian Dr. Ingo Potrykus and his colleagues developed Golden Rice in 1998. It has been demonstrated in numerous studies that golden rice can eliminate vitamin A deficiency.

Greenpeace and its allies have successfully blocked the introduction of golden rice for over a decade, claiming it may have "environmental and health risks" without ever elaborating on what those risks might be. After years of effort the Golden Rice Humanitarian Project, led by Dr. Potrykus, The Rockefeller Foundation and others were unable to break through the political opposition to golden rice that was generated directly by Greenpeace and its followers.

Recently the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has taken a lead role, in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, in breaking through these barriers and bringing Golden Rice to market. Field trials are now underway in the Philippines and Bangladesh with the hope of introducing it to the market by 2015. Since the invention of Golden Rice in 1998 between four million and 8 million additional children have become blind, nearly half of whom have already died. Surely this constitutes "great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health." Greenpeace continues to oppose these field trials.

Greenpeace has openly and aggressively spread misinformation about Golden Rice since it was first invented and has continued to do so at every opportunity.   They claim that there are better ways to alleviate vitamin A deficiency, such as vitamin pills and "home gardening". Yet Greenpeace is doing nothing to implement alternative programs for the millions of victims, claiming the cause of vitamin A deficiency is "poverty". One might ask if purposefully condemning millions of children to blindness and early death perpetuates poverty rather than alleviating it. Academies of Science around the world endorse the use of biotechnology, including genetic modification, to improve the nutrition and productivity of our food crops. There is zero evidence of any possible harm from these improvements.

It is clear by the facts that Greenpeace is guilty of crimes against humanity as defined by the International Criminal Court. They claim that "Golden Rice is a failure" while they are the ones responsible for preventing the cure that is so desperately needed by millions of civilians. The fact that Greenpeace perpetuate lies about Golden Rice while at the same time doing nothing to solve the problem themselves constitutes gross negligence on top of the crime against humanity. Will someone please bring them to justice?

Received via email

Alleged  Top Ten Reasons for Republicans to Accept Warmism

Paul Douglas (real name  Doug Kruhoffer) offers  Ten Reasons to Accept Warmism below. His reasons are  an ethnocentric and intellectual disgrace.  He mostly seems to equate America with the globe.  If he looked at the globe, most of his scares would fall apart.  Parts of America might be in drought but Britain has just had the wettest summer for 100 years.  I make a few obvious rejoinders below but if you want referenced facts on the matters at issue Joe Bastardi has them all

10). Shifting Weather Patterns - The jet stream is shifting north over time. I'm seeing things on the weather maps every other day that can't be explained away as "normal extremes".

Weather is always changing

9). Rising Sea Levels - whatever your skeptical uncle Joe says, seas are warming, and as they warm, they expand and sea level goes up. Most scientists predict 3-4 feet in the next 80 years or so. Think twice about buying that retirement condo right on the beach. Find something 4 blocks inland, and be patient.

There has long been a slight trend upwards but recent figures seem to show a stasis

8). Warmer, More Acidic Oceans - if you scuba dive, you've probably noticed that corals reefs aren't what they used to be. That's ocean acidification from absorbing carbon dioxide. It's radically changing the ocean ecosystems and fisheries right now.

If the ocean IS becoming more acidic, that proves global cooling  -- as a warmer ocean  would outgas CO2 and thus reduce the incidence of carbonic acid

7). Straining Water Resources - water for drinking, "fracking", farming, ethanol production, soda pop, or energy generation - whatever your flavor, it's getting scarcer. That affects all of the above.

Then why are many parts of the world having problems with  floods?

6). Dying Forests - not just by massive, historic wildfires, but by pests like the pine beetle that no longer gets killed off in the warmer winters, turning entire rocky mountains brown with dead pine trees.

Recent research suggests that pine beetle increase seems mainly due to Greenie restrictions

5). Extreme Rains and More Severe Local Storms. 4-5% increase in atmospheric moisture - warmer air holds more moisture. That means it gets drier on the ground because more is absorbed by the atmosphere. But it also means when it rains, it rains harder as that higher water content rains out. But dry soil and heavy rains equal floods, and that means more damage and more water lost to runoff.

But big storms have been LESS frequent in recent years

4). Spike in Wildfires - less water plus pine beetles and other crawly critters that kill trees plus drier soil means more wildfires.

Wildfires are worse because of Greenie efforts to block preventive burnoffs

3). More Drought -- more water in the atmosphere means less on earth and thus more drought.

Funny that all the dams are full in Australia.  But Australia is not on his globe, obviously.  Australia is however about the same size as the contiguous United States so weighs just as heavily in global climate effects

2). Superheated summers -- the above combine to create hot, hot, hot summers. Drier air is hotter without water to moderate it. Hotter air absorbs even more, even quicker. And hotter air means more air conditioners, means more carbon going back into the atmosphere.

And what about recent very cold winters?  Yes.  I know.  Warming causes cold

And the number one reason:

Arctic Sea Ice Monitor. The latest value: 3,593,750 square kilometers on September 9, 2012. A new record minimum of Arctic sea ice extent was set on August 24, 2012. The four lowest values of Arctic sea ice have been observed since 2007. Source: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Earth Observation Research Center.

1). Record Arctic Ice Loss. As I said, less ice reflecting means more water absorbing. We used to say the Arctic might be ice free by the middle of the century. Now scientists are saying it may happen as early as 2015. That's in three years, people. The ice is melting this year at an unprecedented rate, and if we have another warm winter, it won't be replenished. This could tip the scales for a lot of larger climate changes to come. A comprehensive article in the Wall Street Journal on September 7 summarized "...the six lowest Arctic sea ice levels on record all occurred in the past six years."

The Earth has TWO poles and the Antarctic ice is as large or larger than ever!  So there is no GLOBAL effect involved.  And 91% of the earth's glacial ice is in the Antarctic, so it is the Antarctic  that matters.  Arctic ice is mostly sea ice so melting that would have NO effect on sea levels


Burt Rutan was not fooled

An interview:

Burt Rutan designed Voyager, the first aircraft to fly around the globe without stopping or refueling. He also designed SpaceShipOne, financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, which won the $10 million Ansari X-Prize in 2004 for becoming the first privately funded manned craft to enter the realm of space twice within a two-week period.  Both, along with three other of his aircraft, are on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The following are excerpts from a recent interview:

Q. Burt, as someone with such intense involvement in aerospace design and development, what got you interested in climate issues?

A. ...  The first thing that got my attention, a lot of people's attention, was statements that the entire planet is heading towards a future climate catastrophe that is attributable to human carbon dioxide emissions. So I decided to take a look at that and just see if this conclusion was arrived at ethically. It's obviously an extremely important issue which has gotten a huge amount of media attention.  I was particularly concerned because the proposed solutions will have enormous impacts upon costs of energy, which of course, will increase costs of everything.

... [W]hen I decided to look closely at the anthropogenic [man-made] global warming crisis claims, I avoided focusing on media reports, and instead, went directly to available raw climate data. The intent was to see if that data might just as reasonably be interpreted differently.

Then, what really drew me into the subject, was when I found that I couldn't obtain the raw data that I was looking for. I was shocked to find that there were actually climate scientists who wouldn't share the raw data, but would only share their conclusions in summary graphs that were used to prove their various theories about planet warming. In fact I began to smell something really bad, and the worse that smell got, the deeper I looked.

I even read Al Gore's book, which was very enlightening . but not in a good way. When you look for data to back up his claims, you immediately discover that they are totally unsubstantiated. This was frankly astonishing because analyzing data is something I'm very good at. All my professional life I have been analyzing complex flight test data, interpreting it and presenting it.

Something that I always did in flight test is to make a chart that shows every bit of the data, and only then, decide later on the basis of real observed results which parts of the data were valid.

Tragically, policymakers have thrown horrendous amounts of taxpayer money needed for other purposes at solving an unsubstantiated emergency.

It is scandalous that so many climate scientists who fully knew that Al Gore had no basis for his irresponsible claims stood mute. Meanwhile, that alarmism has generated billions of dollars more to finance a rapidly growing climate science industry with budgets that have risen by a factor of 40 since the early 1990s. I consider this failure to speak up just as unethical as the behavior of those who put out the false catastrophic claims.

Q. Burt, what was most astonishing to you in the disconnect between what you were seeing in the raw data you were able to obtain and what you're seeing in various report conclusions and in the media?

A. Well, one of the first things I did was to get out the [U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] IPCC summary for policymaker's reports. Inexplicably, the Medieval Warm Period appearing in the first report which was warmer than today's temperatures, disappeared from the second. The last Little Ice Age disappeared as well. They were replaced by the infamous "hockey stick" graph, which appeared multiple times. That was a big disconnect.

Actually, looking back over the past 11,000 or so years since Earth began to recover from the last big Ice Age, we're experiencing a very moderate and stable climate stage. And going back nearly half of the past million years, a long Ice Age occurred about every 90,000 years or so with a large percentage of the planet uninhabitable. We're talking about ice as much as a mile or more thick covering large portions of North America and Europe. Any local warming that alarmists talk about is only a brief and tiny blip.

There's certainly nothing alarming about the stable period we currently enjoy. I was struck by claims that we are experiencing unprecedented warming caused by Man, where data clearly shows that our recent warming isn't unprecedented.  I think that's the main thing that drove me into an obsession to look at this climate subject very closely during my early investigations. I don't do so much nowadays, and hardly did anything last year, but in those early years I spent an enormous amount of time researching data and comparing it with what I was seeing in the IPCC summary reports as products from the alarmists.

Another important thing that caught my attention was that the increased atmospheric CO2 that all this alarmism centers on is of huge benefit for agriculture. Greenhouses actually supplement CO2 to make plants grow better. It has been shown that crop yields actually go up some 30% or more with doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere. So I'm a very confused as to what's wrong with CO2. It's the food plants need to grow and feed all animals, including us....

A. What happened when you began to speak publicly about this and let your conclusions be known?

A. Good question Larry. I first decided to present the results of my study and my data at the Oshkosh Air Show, an event that I have been continuously going to ever since 1971.  Of course I have had an enormous following there, and I had always previously spoken on the subject of aircraft development.  But on this occasion I thought that the global warming subject was too important not to mention because it was indeed fraudulent. Its effect on America's competitiveness and economy would be enormous compared to anything else that I have ever seen in my lifetime.

The interesting thing is that I decided to preview this talk for a totally unusual audience, in fact one that would be considered to be opposite of any I normally address. This was on the occasion of receiving a lifetime design achievement award at the Pasadena Art College in July 2009.  That was to be a very liberal crowd, mostly college students.

The event was about design as it related to what they design in an art college. things like automobiles and motorcycles primarily involving styling rather than dealing with engineering. They had some phenomenal talents for showing beautiful shapes applied to transportation. My designs, which many consider beautiful, are determined by complex flight dynamics and laws of physics.

The transportation design theme attracted Jay Leno to bring one of his very rare cars to the event, a steam-powered vehicle that was absolutely beautiful. Jay sat right in the front row for my presentation. I had previously been on his show twice, appearances related to our SpaceShipOne program.

The audience had obviously expected me to present my designs and my philosophy . discuss how I approached creative design.  So I did that for maybe five minutes, and then I launched into showing what I have found with my climate hobby.  I included chart after chart of data that clearly showed there was fraud and cherry picking bias used by alarmists presenting climate data in order to try to make their point.namely that the Earth faces a catastrophe because of emissions into the atmosphere by Man.

I didn't really know what to expect, because this was the first time I had ever made a public presentation of any of my hobbies.  And when I looked out into the audience, what I saw might best be described as stunned silence. I clearly knew that audience was generally liberal, and had assumed that Jay Leno was also. But as soon as I was done, he rushed to the stage, took me off to the side, and told me that he didn't know anything about this, or that the subject was even debatable.

It really surprised me that someone who reaches millions of people every evening could be so totally insulated from any skeptical views on what the alarmists were trying to sell as a future catastrophe.  What shocked me most is that I had originally been thinking that the average viewer was at least aware that there are two sides to the issue, rather than almost universally accepting alarmist positions as absolute truth.



A very frank video

About how the carbon dioxide tax land scam works in Australia.  It is truly extraordinary to see how much money is involved and where it goes

If the video does not come up, go here.

Two questions.

1. Why does it take a TV group based in the Philippines to provide this insightful view into what is happening in Australia - just WHERE are the so-called mainstream Australian media on issues like this (that's a rhetorical question: no need to answer); and

2. When will Koozzoo make similar programs explaining the shonky science of climate change, the irrationality of MRET schemes and the futility of alternative energy as a source for the grid?

NSW Councils can jettison UN sea-rise rules

THE O'Farrell government will ditch UN sea-level rise predictions as the basis for coastal management, after local council decisions based on what climate change might do by the end of the century shattered waterfront property values.

The move, foreshadowed by The Australian in March, is likely to lead to renewed national debate on the application of long-term greenhouse effect forecasts to actual planning policy.

In an announcement today, the state government will say that climate change science is "continually evolving", producing uncertainty surrounding sea level rise predictions.  The change follows an extensive review by a cabinet committee that re-examined the science of coastal processes.

It comes after revelations in The Weekend Australian owners of 62 beach-front properties at Lake Cathie on the NSW mid-north coast had suffered huge drops in the value of their homes after the Port Macquarie-Hastings council placed notations on their planning certificates saying they were at risk of coastal erosion. Another 17 home-owners at Lake Cathie had faced eviction, when a Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation study recommended "planned retreat" in the face of erosion, a proposal later rejected by the council.

Lake Cathie was one of 15 coastal erosion "hot spots" on the NSW seaboard identified by the former Labor government.  Local councils covering those areas are in varying stages of developing coastal zone management plans, and have been required by laws introduced by Labor to take into account sea-level rise predictions of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

These laws compelled coastal councils to prepare for a forecast sea-level rise of 40cm by 2050 and 90cm by the turn of the century.  Planners apply a formula known as the Bruun Rule, which estimates that every centimetre of sea-level rise will bring the tide a metre inland based on a standard beach, leading to coastal erosion.

Special Minister of State Chris Hartcher will announce a new coastal management policy that would free councils from having to rely on the IPCC predictions.  In a statement, Mr Hartcher says "the heavy-handed application of Labor's sea-level rise planning benchmarks for 2050 and 2100 would go".

"The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer has identified uncertainty in the projected rate of future sea-level rise given that the scientific knowledge in the field is continually evolving."

Based on the long-term IPCC predictions, the Port Macquarie-Hastings council in 2008 placed "Section 149" notations on houses at Lake Cathie warning they could be subject to coastal erosion, although they are separated from the beach by a 60m-70m strip of bushland and are nine metres above sea level.  The notations had caused property values to fall by an average of 44 per cent based on sample valuations of four houses.

"There has been concern about the negative impacts on property values from these unclear Section 149 certificate notations," Mr Hartcher says in the statement.

The NSW government would issue advice to all councils to guide the preparation and use of section 149 certificates.  "This will provide much-needed certainty for local communities on how these certificates refer to future coastal erosion hazard," the statement says.

The government will announce further changes to coastal management policy. Councils preparing coastal zone management plans will be given an extra 12 months to complete them.


Green Party losing votes big-time -- as their radicalism becomes known

AFTER a dramatic lift in electoral support over the past decade, rising from 2.1 per cent of the House of Representatives vote in 1998 to 11.8 per cent at the 2010 election and doubling their parliamentary representation from five to 10, the Greens may have hit a ceiling as their supporters appear to desert them in droves.

Saturday's NSW local government elections saw the Greens lose votes across a range of disparate groups and in almost every area of the state, from the coastal enclave of Byron Bay to the western suburbs of Sydney and the Blue Mountains beyond, and to the inner-city areas of Sydney that were fast emerging as a political base. While it may only be a series of municipal elections in one state, the problem for the Greens is that it comes after so many other recent lacklustre electoral performances and a discernible slide in opinion polls.

The Greens failed to perform strongly, let alone win, the recent by-elections for the state seats of Melbourne in Victoria and Heffron in NSW. In the Queensland and Northern Territory state elections, the Greens vote declined. The Greens argue their emergence as a third political force is only a transitory step towards being a mainstream alternative to the major parties. But, as the vast majority of voters seem to be content opting for Labor or the coalition parties for now, it must be time for the Greens to assess why it is that the voters are no longer going Green.

For too long the party has been content to operate in a political world devoid of reality and responsibility. The Greens make the incessant yet audacious claim that they encapsulate a holier-than-though approach to politics. But, as we have reported, the party is riddled with factions and is racked with internal divisions just like the major parties. The Greens evade scrutiny. They do not allow journalists to report the full proceedings of their conferences. They decry the influence of money in politics, yet accepted the largest individual political donation in Australian history -- $1.68 million from Wotif website pioneer Graeme Wood. When the Greens' party room witnessed a tussle for the deputy leadership between Christine Milne and Sarah Hanson-Young after the last election, it was not revealed until weeks later.

Although taking over from Bob Brown as leader would be a tough ask for anyone, Senator Milne has not taken the Greens forward by explaining how the party would fund its policies, showing it understands the vital art of compromise in politics -- especially over asylum-seeker policy -- or by developing an alternative mainstream policy agenda to interest voters. Instead, the costly list of Greens promises continues to lengthen, from implementing the Gonski Report on school funding to a National Dental Scheme and a National Disability Insurance Scheme. Criticising the Catholic Church, as Senator Milne did in The Weekend Australian, will also not help to win over mainstream voters. Meanwhile, the Greens want to shut down the mining sector, which has laid the basis for much of our economic prosperity and boosts the retirement incomes of many of its voters. It is no wonder that in the Greens heartland, stretching from Balmain to Byron Bay, the voters are turning against the party for taking them for granted.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


10 September, 2012

Peer review does much less than what Warmists seem to believe

In his comments below, Brendan O'Neill rightly notes the way in which peer review has been inflated into something it is not.  Along the way, however, he tends to throw out the baby with the bathwater. 

Many of the papers that have been sent to me for peer review have shown a pig-ignorant unawareness of the prior literature on the subject or an extraordinarily insoucinant attitude to matters of  definition and taxnomomy.  When I have pointed that out, the papers concerned have usually not been published, which seems to me to be a useful filtering process. 

Nonetheless many  crappy papers DO get published, perhaps because the reviewers too had a a pig-ignorant unawareness of the prior literature on the subject or an extraordinarily insoucinant attitude to matters of definition and taxnomomy. 

And when politics gets into the process,  all bets are off.  Papers may be rejected or accepted on purely political grounds.  The publication of some truly awful papers in my own field can only be explained by the political desirability of their conclusions.

In recent years, the words "peer review" have taken on an extraordinary meaning.

Once upon a time, being peer-reviewed simply meant you had written something, usually a journal article, and some other people in your profession had read it and considered it fit for publication.

Not any more. Now, being peer-reviewed apparently means being wise. It means you have access to some greater truth which the rest of us, the mere mortals who make up the mass of society, are unaware of and probably incapable of understanding.

The stamp "peer-reviewed" is being turned into a mark of approval, almost into a licence to speak, a licence to hold forth before the world and have your views taken seriously.

And if you haven't been peer-reviewed? If your arguments haven't gone through that rather stale academic process of getting a nod of approval from a tiny circle of bespectacled professors? Then apparently you don't know what you're talking about and should shut up.

The makeover of peer review has been remarkable.  Not long ago, the only people who knew or cared what peer review involved were academic researchers, men of medicine and white-coat wearers in the sphere of science, who were understandably keen to have their papers OK'd by a handful of their peers so that they might be published and discussed by others. Outside of the ivory towers, peer review meant little, if anything, to Joe Public.

Now, thanks largely to climate-change activists who treat peer-reviewed documents about the environment in the same way early Christians treated the gospels, peer review is all the rage.

Radical greens march behind banners declaring, "We are armed only with peer-reviewed science". At the big left-wing demo, the Rally to Restore Sanity in the US in 2010, one of the placards read: "What do we want? Evidence-based change. When do we want it? After peer review."

That's nowhere near as catchy as the chants of earlier youthful agitators, who demanded change "NOW", but it does capture how bizarrely important the process of peer review has become outside of academe.

More and more campaigners and commentators now insist that only ideas that have been peer-reviewed should be taken seriously. Everything else is bunkum, or possibly charlatanism.

Last week in The Guardian newspaper, a green campaigner described peer review as a "kitemark of quality assurance", implying that any claims about the climate or mankind's future that haven't been peer-reviewed have no quality.

She suggested that even newspapers articles written by everyday journalists should be subjected to something akin to peer review.

There should be a "system of certification", she said, where "teams of academics" would award an approving kitemark to articles that are "accurate (and that) use reliable sources and peer-reviewed studies".

Funnily enough, a few hundred years ago we had just that kind of system in the British media. It was called the licensing of the press, where only those writers whose ideas met with the approval of the king or queen and their tyrannical court would be permitted to publish, while all the rest would be branded heretics.

Fittingly, The Guardian article calling for peer review to be used in a similar way today, as a way of branding certain published ideas Good and others Bad, was headlined "Don't give climate change heretics an easy ride".

In Australia, public intellectual Robert Manne says that when it comes to climate change, only "leading peer-reviewed scientific journals" should be treated seriously. A "rational citizen has little alternative but to accept the consensual core position of climate scientists", he says.  "Discussion of this point should long ago have ended."

Here we can clearly see the cultural snobbery and intellectual protectionism of the cheerleaders of peer review. Manne is effectively telling the little people to shut up and accept the Truth as revealed by their betters in academe.

What these modern-day licensers of acceptable thought refuse to recognise is that climate change, in terms of how it is framed by the green lobby, is not simply a scientific issue. It is a profoundly political one, touching on everything from economic growth to development in the Third World, from how we travel to what kind of expectations we have for our children.

Under the guise of promoting "correct science" and slamming "bad science", the priestly peer-review lobby is actually enforcing an ideological world view, using the tags "peer reviewed" and "non peer-reviewed" to distinguish between those who are politically on side and those who remain stubbornly heretical.

To see how much the process of peer review has become about raising the drawbridge on political troublemakers, consider how the British writers Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson responded to criticisms of their book The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone.

That book has become a massive talking point in Britain in recent years and has attracted some fierce criticism. Somewhat stung by this, Pickett and Wilkinson said in 2010 that from now on they would discuss their ideas only with those who had been peer-reviewed. "All future debate should take place in peer-reviewed publications", they decreed.

In one fell swoop they shut out vast numbers of people - journalists, students, the man at the bus stop who has a lot of thoughts about the equality issue - from any serious discussion of their book. Here, "peer-reviewed" is clearly code for "respectable", for those well-educated folk who can be trusted to think in an intelligent and nuanced way.

The extraordinary thing about the liberal intelligentsia's wide-eyed faith in peer review is that this academic process is actually massively open to corruption.

Much peer review involves little more than well-connected academics getting people they know or mates who owe them a favour to sign off on their latest bit of work. That is why the peer-reviewed reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have included so many factual inaccuracies and so much eco-claptrap.

In essence, huge swaths of the cultural elite are using peer review as a kind of intellectual licence, with those lucky enough to receive this stamp being treated seriously and everyone else being branded a dangerous outsider. For all the scientific pretensions of this process, it is most reminiscent of those old Vatican Councils that would get together every few years to determine what the Truth is and how it might be communicated to the pig-ignorant public.


Shriek from a panic-stricken journalist:  Insufficient reporting of Warmism is ‘A Crime Against Humanity’

Bill Blakemore is a "Nature & Environment" reporter for ABC News but swallows the gospel of Hansen & Co whole.  No sign of critical thought, interest in the evidence or scientific knowledge.  He is a disgrace to science journalism

A number of the world’s professional climate scientists are perplexed by — and in some cases furious with — American news directors.

“Malpractice!” is typical of the charges this reporter has heard highly respected climate experts level — privately, off the record — at my professional colleagues over the past few years.

Complaints include what seems to the scientists a willful omission of overwhelming evidence the new droughts and floods are worsened by man made global warming, and unquestioning repetition, gullible at best, of transparent anti-science propaganda credibly reported to be funded by fossil fuel interests and anti-regulation allies.

As scientific reports about the speedy advance and devastating impacts of man made global warming have grown steadily more alarming, surveys have shown most mainstream American news organizations covering it less and less over the past two years.

Even during this hot summer, when inescapable bad news about the warming climate from around the United States and the world has forced its way into main stream media coverage, it has usually been reported only in a reactive and literal event-coverage sort of way.

There’s been little of the persistent probing analysis and regular coverage scientists say is urgently needed for a grave planet-wide crisis — reporting of the kind surveys show there was much more of in mainstream coverage up until two years ago.

Why this decline in persistent coverage?

It seems unlikely to last; all responsibly sourced reports from around the world — “as solid as science ever gets,” say eminent climate scientists — suggest the increasing impacts will soon force news directors to offer more coverage and explanatory reporting to a public that will appreciate getting it.

It may be that many of our mainstream news directors are, in effect, in the final stages of getting their act together as they get ready to cover this unprecedented story.

Elements that have stalled American coverage appear to include a cynical disinformation and intimidation campaign — as reported in detail by a handful of professional journalists and academics including Steve Coll, Naomi Oreskes, Erik Conway, and Ross Gelbspan (as we’ve reported before on Nature’s Edge) paid for, so the reporting says, by multinational fossil fuel companies, often based in the United States, that are fighting a rear-guard action to prevent inevitable regulation on carbon emissions as long as possible.

‘A Crime Against Humanity’

A number of climate scientists have told this reporter they agree with those, including NASA scientist James Hansen, who charge fossil fuel CEOs are thus guilty of a “crime against humanity,” given the calamity that unregulated greenhouse emissions are quickly bringing on.

But there’s another aspect of the global warming story that is challenging and upsetting everyone — fossil fuel CEOs, environmental activists, presidents, high school teachers, their students, bus drivers, economists, cartoonists, chefs, Kansas wheat farmers and Chinese rice farmers, MIT philosophers,  amateur chess players… and political strategists in every party.

That aspect is its scale.

At this point in reporting this story, this reporter feels it may be helpful to simply stop for a moment and focus briefly on this one, most obvious and unprecedented aspect of this story.

It may be psychologically helpful simply to name it — to recognize the full size and complexity of this problem.

One reason — though not an excuse — for journalistic hesitation on this story may well have been that, in its unprecedented immensity, it is simply so psychologically daunting.

This reporter would respectfully suggest that any reporter who hasn’t felt this hasn’t been paying attention.

And there is still hardly a day, after eight years covering it, that I don’t find myself being pulled once again back out of natural, even healthy, denial about it.

Psychologists Charles B. Strozier and Robert J. Lifton report finding what they call a sort of pragmatic “professional numbing” in several professions that deal with traumatic or frightening events or information.

The Elephant We’re All Inside Of… and a New 4th Category of News

One metaphor I came up with when first grappling with this story eight years ago (journalists love to find a good new metaphor) was that “This isn’t the elephant in the room, it’s the elephant we’re all inside of.”

Global warming, we’re barely beginning to realize, is actually… global.  [Evidence?]


The New Zealand Climate and Health Council says global warming is the no.1 threat to health

That it is COLD weather in which people are most likely to become ill seems to be overlooked.  And the "no.1" threat to health?  I would have thought that a doctor engrossed in his profession would name drug-resistant bacteria.  But he is obviously a politician before he is a doctor

He also mentions crop failure but heat and more CO2 are good for crops.  Ask any Greenhouse owner.  And ocean acidification CANNOT occur if temperatures rise:  A warmer ocean would outgas CO2.  He sounds more like a shaman than a doctor

Spokesperson Dr George Laking says the medical profession recognises human-induced climate change as the number one threat to health this century. Health risks of climate change start with injury from heatwaves and storms, more tropical illnesses, and ultimately threaten collapse of food supplies and political insecurity from crop failure, coastal inundation and ocean acidification. Global food prices are already rising with the extreme drought affecting half of the United States.

"Yet it has been incredibly frustrating for us as medical scientists to see political action on climate change repeatedly obstructed by groups such as the NZ Climate Science Coalition and their wealthy backers, apologists for the tobacco industry and the fossil fuel and mining industry."

"It is our responsibility to decarbonise the economy right now" ends Dr Laking. "The technologies already exist. We owe it to the health of current and future generations. New Zealanders should see Justice Venning's ruling as a wake-up call, and not be lulled into complacency by the fossil fuel industry and its helpers".

More antiscience HERE

Little Ice Age: Started In The Southern Hemisphere?

Included below is an amusing example of Warmist dishonesty. Similar magniitudes of temperature change can be either "modest" and of no account or cause for great alarm -- depending on what suits the Warmist at the time

That the Little Ice Age (LIA) – a cooling centred on the 17th Century – took place is beyond doubt. What is questioned however is its spatial extent and its cause. Reading the last document produced by the IPCC on the subject of the LIA one is left in no doubt that it thinks it was a mainly European event.

It states: "Evidence from mountain glaciers does suggest increased glaciation in a number of widely spread regions outside Europe prior to the 20th century, including Alaska, New Zealand and Patagonia. However, the timing of maximum glacial advances in these regions differs considerably, suggesting that they may represent largely independent regional climate changes, not a globally-synchronous increased glaciation … hemispherically, the “Little Ice Age” can only be considered as a modest cooling of the Northern Hemisphere during this period of less than 1deg C relative to late 20th century levels."

I note that 1 deg C is a “modest cooling” in this context and that such a description is seldom used to describe the smaller amount of recent warming seen in the instrumental global temperature record. Also note that the most used reference of the strong regional variations in the timing, magnitude and character of the LIA is Jones and Mann 2004. So it is that the LIA is typically considered to be a Northern Hemisphere climate phenomenon characterised by alpine glacial advances and relatively cool temperatures observed between 15th to mid-19th centuries. There are signs however that the IPCC will have to reevaluate its stance on the extent of the LIA.

The cause of the LIA has been the subject of much debate, with explanations ranging from increased volcanism, reduced solar irradiance and ocean circulation changes. Paleoclimate records suggest that the LIA is the most recent cooling event of a series that punctuated the Holocene. Such apparent oscillatory behavior in Holocene climate has led to speculation about what role the thermohaline circulation of the world’s oceans may have played in instigating or amplifying these climate changes. No consensus has been reached on this issue and a key concern is the spatial bias toward Northern Hemisphere proxy and meteorological records. An important tool to understand the LIA must therefore be the acquisition and interpretation of Southern Hemisphere paleoclimate records, but few are currently available.

Some years ago scientists compared studies of West Antarctic ice cores to the Greenland Ice Sheet Project suggesting a synchronous global Little Ice Age. An ocean sediment core from the Bransfield Basin in the Antarctic Peninsula displays centennial events that the researchers attributed to the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period (MWP) noting “other unexplained climatic events comparable in duration and amplitude to the LIA and MWP events also appear.” The Siple Dome in Antarctica also shows a climate episode whose start is coincident with that of the LIA in the North Atlantic. The Siple Dome ice core also contains its highest rate of melt layers between 1550 and 1700, due to it has been suggested to warm summers during the LIA.

An impressive new paper and Ph.D thesis by Rachael Rhodes formerly of the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand looks at the Little Ice Age climate and oceanic conditions of the Ross Sea, Antarctica from a coastal ice core record.

Antarctic ice cores are valuable archives of past climate and only recently have been obtained with adequate temporal resolution to investigate any traces of the LIA in Antarctica. They are beginning to suggest that Antarctica did experience the LIA. If this is the case then the LIA cannot be due to fluctuations in the thermohaline circulation of the world’s oceans.

Rhodes at al 2012 obtained subannual glaciochemical records from a coastal ice core at a place called the Mount Erebus Saddle (MES) in the south-western Ross Sea. The portion of the LIA captured in the MES ice core (1446-1850 AD) shows enhanced lithophile (microorganisms that can live in tiny cracks and pores in rocks) element concentrations and a rapid decrease in lithophile element concentrations between 1848 and 1850 AD – the end of the LIA. The MES stable isotope record suggests that the Ross Sea region experienced 1.6 ± 1.4 deg C cooler average temperatures during the LIA in comparison to the last 150 yr.

The ice core record currently dates back to 1446 AD but curiously there is no sign that the onset of the LIA is captured. Rhodes points out that a frequently cited date for the onset of the LIA in the Northern Hemisphere is 1450 AD but estimates vary.

In addition recent research from the Antarctic Dry Valleys suggest that the onset of the LIA was actually earlier in the Southern Hemisphere. If verified such findings could stand our ideas about the LIA on its head.


CO2 emissions reduced by 1/770th.  Yes.  Not 1/7th, 1/770th

More evidence of the puniness of human endeavour compared to natural  forces

"The one billionth certified emission reduction credit under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) will be issued today, according to the UN climate secretariat (UNFCCC)...This effectively means that it has now prevented the emission of a billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere....

“This exciting milestone is a testament to the expanding use of the CDM,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres."

But according to a NASA science site, 770 Gigatons of CO2 are  emitted into the atmosphere each year by natural processes in the ocean and on land. Some people are easily excited

More HERE  (See the original for links)

Are wind farms saving or killing us? A provocative investigation claims thousands of people are falling sick because they live near them

It was Uplawmoor’s tranquillity and wild beauty that drew civil servant Aileen Jackson to settle there 28 years ago.  She’d had enough of life in the big city. Now she wanted somewhere quiet and rural to start a family, keep her horses, and enjoy the magnificent views down the valley and out to sea to the western Scottish isles of Arran and Ailsa Craig.

Then, two years ago, she says, it all turned sour.  A neighbour with whom she and her family had been friends decided to take advantage of the massive public subsidies for ‘renewable’ energy.

He put up a 64ft-high wind turbine which, though on his own land, stood just 300 yards from the Jackson family’s home.

The sleepless nights caused by its humming were only the start of their problems. Far worse was the impact on their health.

Aileen, a diabetic since the age of 19, found her blood glucose levels rocketing – forcing her to take more insulin and causing her to develop a cataract, she says.

Her younger son, Brian, an outgoing, happy, academically enthusiastic young man, suddenly became a depressive, stopped seeing his friends and dropped out of his studies at college.

Aileen’s husband William, who had always had low blood pressure, now found his blood pressure levels going ‘sky high’ – and has been on medication ever since.

So far so coincidental, you might say. And if you did, you would have the full and enthusiastic support of the wind industry.

Here is what the official trade body RenewableUK has to say on its website: ‘In over 25 years and with more than 68,000 machines installed around the world, no member of the public has ever been harmed by the normal operation of wind farms.’

But in order to believe that, you would have to discount the testimony of the thousands of people just like Aileen around the world who claim their health has been damaged by wind farms.

You would have to ignore the reports of doctors such as Australia’s Sarah Laurie, Canada’s Nina Pierpont and Britain’s Amanda Harry who have collated hundreds of such cases of Wind Turbine Syndrome.

And you’d have to reject the expertise of the acoustic engineers, sleep specialists, epidemiologists and physiologists who all testify that the noise generated by wind farms represents a major threat to public health.

‘If this were the nuclear industry, this is a scandal which would be on the front pages of every newspaper every day for months on end,’ says Chris Heaton-Harris, the Conservative MP for Daventry who has been leading the parliamentary revolt against wind farms, demanding that their subsidies be cut.  ‘But because it’s wind it has been let off the hook. It shouldn’t be.’

Wind Turbine Syndrome. Until you’ve seen for yourself what it can do to a community, you might be tempted to dismiss it as a hypochondriac’s charter or an urban myth.

In December 2011, in a peer-reviewed report in the Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, Dr Carl Phillips – one of the U.S.’s most distinguished epidemiologists – concluded that there is ‘overwhelming evidence that wind turbines cause serious health problems in nearby residents, usually stress-disorder type diseases, at a nontrivial rate’.

According to a study by U.S. noise control engineer Rick James, wind farms generate the same symptoms as Sick Building Syndrome – the condition that plagued office workers in the Eighties and Nineties as a result of what was eventually discovered to be the Low Frequency Noise (LFN), caused by misaligned air conditioning systems.

The combination of LFN and ‘amplitude modulation’ (loudness that goes up and down) leads to fatigue, poor concentration and dizziness.

And sleep specialist Dr Chris Hanning believes it stimulates an alert response, leading to arousal episodes throug the night that make restful sleep impossible.  ‘I’ve spoken with many sufferers and sadly the only treatment is for them to move away from the wind farm.’

But if the problem is really so widespread, why isn’t it better known?  The short answer is money: the wind industry is a hugely lucrative business with millions to spend on lobbying.

What’s more, until recently, it benefited from the general public mood that ‘something ought to be done about climate change’ and wind power – supposedly ‘free’, ‘renewable’ and ‘carbon-friendly’ – was the obvious solution.  ‘For years among the metropolitan elite it has been considered heretical to criticise wind power,’ says Heaton-Harris.

In Britain, onshore wind farms are subsidised by a levy on consumer bills at 100 per cent; offshore wind is subsidised at 200 per cent

In the last decade, however, a host of evidence has emerged to indicate it is not the panacea it was thought to be.

From economists such as Edinburgh University’s Dr Gordon Hughes we are told that wind energy is unreliable and intermittent, with no real market value because it requires near 100 per cent back-up by conventional fossil-fuel power.

From research institute Verso Economics we are told that that for every ‘green job’ created by taxpayer subsidy, 3.7 jobs are killed in the real economy.

It is said that thanks to the artificial rise in energy prices caused by renewable subsidies, expected to reach £13 billion per annum by 2020, at least 50,000 people a year in Britain are driven into fuel poverty.

And newly released Spanish government research claims that each turbine kills an average 300 birds a year (often rare ones such as eagles and bustards) and at least as many bats.

Yet still, despite collapsing share prices and increasing public scepticism, the industry continues to grow.  As Matt Ridley noted recently in The Spectator, there are ‘too many people with snouts in the trough.’

Aristocratic landowners have done especially well, such as the Earl of Moray (£2 million a year from his Doune estate) and the Duke of Roxburghe (£1.5 million a year from his estate in Lammermuir Hills).

South of the border, the Prime Minister’s father-in-law Sir Reginald Sheffield makes more than £1,000 a day from the eight turbines on his Lincolnshire estates. Even smaller landholdings can generate a tidy profit: around £40,000 per year, per large (3MW) turbine, for no effort whatsoever.

The biggest winners, though, are the mostly foreign-owned (Mitsubishi, Gamesa, Siemens) firms for whom wind was until recently a virtually risk-free investment.

Much more HERE



The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


9 September, 2012

When is a consensus credible?

The paper below argues that for a consensus to be credible it has to be the result of fierce and open debate among opposing sides, an open availability of the data, and scientists who are perceived to be of good character.  The slimy little cabal  revealed by the Climategate emails shows that none of these tests are met by the  consensus among Warmists  -- and there is no general consensus on climate anyway.  Judith Curry gives the paper a thorough review


What makes a consensus among scientists credible and convincing? This paper introduces the notion of a “hard-won” consensus and uses examples from recent debates over climate change science to show that this heuristic standard for evaluating the quality of a consensus is widely shared. The extent to  which a consensus is “hard won” can be understood to depend on the personal qualities of the participating experts; the article demonstrates the continuing utility of the norms of modern science introduced by Robert K. Merton by showing that individuals on both sides of the climate science debate rely intuitively on Mertonian ideas—interpreted in terms of character—to frame their arguments.

Citation:  Ranalli, B. Climate Science, Character, and the “Hard-Won” Consensus, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal Vol. 22, No. 2, 183–210.  (behind paywall)



Sunspots do impact climate

It's DAYTIME temperatures that matter.  The sun isn't shining at night, funnily enough

By Willie Soon and William M. Briggs

Scientists have been studying solar influences on the climate for more than 5,000 years.

Chinese imperial astronomers kept detailed sunspot records. They noticed that more sunspots meant warmer weather. In 1801, the celebrated astronomer William Herschel (discoverer of the planet Uranus) observed that when there were fewer spots, the price of wheat soared. He surmised that less light and heat from the sun resulted in reduced harvests.

Earlier last month, professor Richard Muller of the University of California-Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project announced that in the project’s newly constructed global land temperature record, “no component that matches solar activity” was related to temperature. Instead, Mr. Muller said carbon dioxide controlled temperature.

Could it really be true that solar radiation — which supplies Earth with the energy that drives our climate and which, when it has varied, has caused the climate to shift over the ages — is no longer the principal influence on climate change?

Consider the accompanying chart. It shows some rather surprising relationships between solar radiation and daytime high temperatures taken directly from Berkeley’s BEST project. The remarkable nature of these series is that these tight relationships can be shown to hold from areas as large as the United States.

This new sun-climate relationship picture may be telling us that the way our sun cools and warms the Earth is largely through the penetration of incoming solar radiation in regions with cloudless skies. Recent work by National Center for Atmospheric Research senior scientists Harry van Loon and Gerald Meehl place strong emphasis on this physical point and argue that the use of daytime high temperatures is the most appropriate test of the solar-radiation-surface-temperature connection hypothesis. All previous sun-climate studies have included the complicated nighttime temperature records while the sun is not shining.

Even small changes in solar radiation may have a strong effect on Earth’s temperature and climate. In 2005, one of us demonstrated a surprisingly strong correlation between solar radiation and temperatures in the Arctic over the past 130 years. Since then, we have demonstrated similar correlations in all the regions surrounding the Arctic, including the U.S. mainland and China. The confirmation of a sun-temperature relation using only the daytime-high-temperature records from the United States certainly adds scientific weight to the soundness of this connection.

The close relationships between the abrupt ups and downs of solar activity and of temperature that we have identified occur locally in coastal Greenland, regionally in the Arctic Pacific and North Atlantic; and hemispherically for the whole circum-Arctic, suggesting that changes in solar radiation drive temperature variations in at least many areas.

Pictures like these cannot be drawn for temperature and CO2 concentration. There just is no such close match between the steady rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration and the often dramatic ups and downs of surface temperatures in and around the Arctic, China and the United States.

Even more recently, in collaboration with professor David Legates of the University of Delaware, we were able to provide a self-consistent explanation for these observed apparent sun-climate correlations, which involves the exchange of heat and moisture between the equator and the Arctic region. In addition, we recently discovered direct evidence that changes in solar activity have influenced what has been called the “conveyor belt” circulation of the great Atlantic Ocean currents over the past 240 years. For instance, solar-driven changes in temperature and in the volume of freshwater output from the Arctic cause variations in sea surface temperature in the tropical Atlantic five to 20 years later.

These peer-reviewed results, appearing in several science journals, make it difficult to maintain that changes in solar activity play no or an insignificant role in climate change.

The hallmark of good science is the testing of plausible hypotheses that are either supported or rejected by the evidence. The evidence in BEST’s own data and in other data we have analyzed is consistent with the hypothesis that the sun causes climate change, especially in the Arctic, China and the United States. BEST’s data also clearly invalidate the hypothesis that CO2 is the most important cause of observed temperature changes across the United States.

Given the wide, and perhaps at times excessive, interest in tying carbon dioxide to climate, there has been relatively little work investigating the solar-climate connection. The scientific community has proved the wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, “The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so.”


Soot not so bad after all

Radically less warming than the climate models assume.  An example of an alarmist article here.  Another failed scare

Viewed as a potential target in the global effort to reduce climate change, atmospheric black carbon particles absorb significantly less sunlight than scientists predicted, raising new questions about the impact of black carbon on atmospheric warming, an international team of researchers, including climate chemists from Boston College, report today in the latest edition of the journal Science.

Mathematical models and laboratory experiments used to study airborne soot particles led to projections that the absorption-boosting chemicals that coat black carbon could yield an increase in absorption by as much as a factor of two. But field studies in smoggy California cities found black carbon absorption enhancements of just 6 percent, suggesting that climate models may be overestimating warming by black carbon, the researchers report.

The surprising results highlight the early challenges in a nascent sector of climate science and could have implications for regulatory efforts to reduce the production of black carbon, or soot, by curbing the burning of fossil fuels. Still, scientists agree that black carbon in the atmosphere has a significant effect on global and regional climate, with earlier studies ranking the warming effects of black carbon particles second only to carbon dioxide gas.

"The team's field measurements in California showed the enhancement of absorption was very small – approximately six percent instead of by a factor of two," said Boston College Professor of Chemistry Paul Davidovits, an authority on airborne particles, known as aerosols. "In one respect, it shows that nature is much more complicated than our initial laboratory experiments and modeling indicated. Now we will try to unravel and understand that complexity."

The historic role of black carbon soot in climate change has been well documented by scientists, most notably in the study of ice samples taken from deep within glaciers. For the past several years, Davidovits has collaborated with Aerodyne Research Inc., and colleagues from universities and government labs in the U.S., Canada and Finland. Their research has focused on the chemical and optical properties of sub-micron airborne particles of black carbon produced by commercial and industrial activity.

Unlike carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses, which can survive in the atmosphere for decades and centuries, black carbon has a relatively short life span of approximately one to two weeks. Black carbon is part of a group of pollution sources known as Short-Lived Climate Forcers (SLCFs), including methane gas and ozone, which are produced on earth.

During their lifetime, black carbon particles are coated with airborne chemicals, which sophisticated laboratory tests have shown can act like lenses capable of increasing the ability of the particles to absorb sunlight and heat the atmosphere. That has raised a critical question as to whether targeting black carbon emissions in an effort to reduce climate change could yield relatively quick results on a regional or global level.

Led by principal investigators Christopher D. Cappa, a professor of engineering at the University of California, Davis, and Timothy B. Onasch, principal scientist at Aerodyne and an associate research professor of chemistry at Boston College, the team analyzed air samples near the California cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento.

Researchers tested air samples using a combination of real-time techniques, including aerosol mass spectrometry and photoacoustic spectroscopy. These techniques are capable of making measurements to determine the chemical, physical and optical properties of the black carbon particles, said Onasch, whose Billerica, MA-based company has developed the aerosol mass spectrometer instruments.

Onasch said the recent findings set the stage for further studies around the world under different atmospheric conditions in order to better understand how chemical coatings from a range of emission sources affect the absorptive properties of black carbon.

"When you put a soot particle into the atmosphere, we known it contains an elemental carbon component and we know what it's absorption will be based on mass and size," said Onasch. "But black carbon particles in the air are constantly changing. They collect inorganic and organic materials, they grow, change shapes, and change composition. These changes affect the absorption or warming capability of the black carbon. So the question remains: to what extent exactly?"

The recent findings only add to the challenge of understanding complex chemical activity in the atmosphere, said Davidovits, whose research is supported by the National Science Foundation's Atmospheric Chemistry division and the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric System Research program.

"These findings do require us to reduce our projections about the amount of heating soot produces, at least under some experimental conditions. But the findings don't point to soot as being a harmless climate forcer," said Davidovits. "Soot remains an important climate heating agent, as well as a health problem that has been well documented."


Government of, by and for the EPA

Seven score and nine years ago, President Lincoln resolved to take increased devotion to ensuring that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the Earth.

Yet, today, our lives are determined not so much by We the People, as by a distant central government, particularly increasingly powerful, unelected and unaccountable Executive Branch agencies. Foremost among them, by almost any standard, is the Environmental Protection Agency.

Under Administrator Lisa Jackson, the Gettysburg vision has mutated into government of, by and for the EPA. Indeed, Ms. Jackson seeks not merely to regulate, but to legislate; not merely to protect our health and environment against every conceivable risk, but to control every facet of our economy, livelihoods and lives. Under her direction, EPA increasingly flaunts the naked power of regulators gone wild.

Instead of following laws and policies set by our elected representatives, EPA is now controlled by environmental ideologues, determined to impose their utopian ideas, via a massive and arrogant power grab. President Obama set the tone, with his promises to “bankrupt” coal and utility companies and “radically transform” our economy and society, and serves as the rogue agency’s cheerleader-in-chief. With few exceptions, our courts have refused to intervene, and the Senate has obstructed any meaningful efforts to constrain agency overreach or reexamine the laws under which it claims jurisdiction.

EPA’s power grab picks the pockets of every American business and citizen, making it increasingly expensive to fill gas tanks, heat and cool homes and offices, run hospitals and factories, or buy food and consumer goods. The Employment Prevention Agency’s $100-billion diktats are killing countless jobs, making America more dependent on foreign sources of energy and raw materials that we have in abundance right here at home, and endangering our economic health and national security.

Under Lisa Jackson’s agenda, fossil fuels are to be relegated to the dustbin of history. America is to get its energy from “renewable” sources, whenever they are available. Regulations on carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases,” mercury, soot and other substances are to make non-hydrocarbon energy appear cheaper by comparison, and pave the way for crony-corporatist “alternatives” like wind,solar, ethanol, wave and tidal action, and even biofuel for the Navy and Air Force.

In a mere six instances, our courts have delayed or blocked some of EPA’s worst excesses. Ruling that the agency had exceeded its authority, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down EPA’s “cross-state” air pollution rule, which would have controlled power plant emissions on the ground that computer models predicted the pollutants might harm neighborhoods hundreds of miles away.

In far too many other cases, however, EPA has been given carte blanche to regulate as it sees fit. A key pretext is the 1970 Clean Air Act, as amended by Congress in 1977 and 1990. The act deals primarily with six common pollutants: sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, particulates (soot), ozone, lead and carbon monoxide. It never mentions carbon dioxide, the plant-fertilizing gas that is essential for all life.

As EPA itself acknowledges, between 1970 and 2010, those six “criteria” air pollutants declined by an average of 63% and will continue to do so under existing regulations and technologies. Moreover, those dramatic reductions occured even as coal-based electricity generation increased 180% … overall US energy consumption rose 40% … miles traveled soared 168% … and the nation’s population increased by 110 million. However, EPA intends to go much further, to advance its radical agenda.

It ruled that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant,” ignoring solar influences and citing claims by alarmists like James Hansen and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that this essential gas (0.0395% of Earth’s atmosphere) “contributes” to “dangerous” global warming. Since hydrocarbons provide 85% of the energy used to power America, this single ruling gives EPA effective control over our transportation, manufacturing, heating, cooling and other activities – virtually our entire economy – while making it all but impossible to operate existing coal-fired power plants or build new ones.

To ensure that coal really is excised from our energy mix, EPA also issued oppressive new rules on other emissions. Its new mercury rule is based on computer-generated risks to hypothetical American women who eat 296 pounds of fish a year that they catch themselves, its determination to prevent a theoretical reduction in IQ test scores by “0.00209 points,” and its refusal to recognize that coal-fired power plants contribute just 3% of the total mercury deposited in American watersheds, and thus in fish tissue.

EPA’s new PM2.5 soot standard is equivalent to having one ounce of super-fine dust spread equally in a volume of air one-half mile long, one-half mile wide and one story tall – while other rules demand that water from coal mines be cleaner than Perrier bottled water!

The agency repeatedly denied Shell Oil permits to drill in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska, because emissions from drilling rig and icebreaker engines might contribute to global warming. It opposes the Keystone XL Pipeline on the ground that burning Canadian oil sands fuel might likewise “contribute” to catastrophic climate change – whereas that would presumably not be the case if China burned that same fuel.

When Congress failed to act, it imposed new 54.5 mpg automobile standards that will make cars less affordable, but also smaller, more lightweight and less safe, causing thousands of additional injuries, disabilities and deaths every year. The agency bragged about fuel savings, and ignored the human toll.

EPA also added industrial pollution, habitat destruction and fertilizer runoff as more reasons why irrigation water should not be turned on again in California’s San Joaquin Valley, to “protect” the delta smelt at the expense of farm jobs and families, after a judge ordered water to be turned back on.

To further justify its despotic decisions, EPA grossly overstates the economic benefits of its rules – insisting that each “premature death” theoretically avoided creates $9 million in hypothetical societal economic gains, whether the assumed “person” was a newborn or an 85-year-old in hospice care.

If even that isn’t enough, it uses human subjects in laboratory tests, exposing them to what Ms. Jackson has testified are dangerous, even toxic levels of fine soot. The agency also pays activist groups millions of taxpayer dollars a year to promote and applaud its farfetched claims and rogue actions.

Finally, EPA ignores the clearly harmful impacts its regulations have on human health and welfare. The rules cost jobs, thereby increasing the risk of depression, alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse, cardiovascular disease and suicide. They just as obviously raise the cost of food, electricity, heating, air conditioning, commuting, healthcare and other necessities, thereby reducing health, welfare, living standards, civil rights progress and environmental justice – especially for poor, elderly and minority families.

EPA is out of control, and thus far unaccountable for its abuses of power, its disinformation and fraud, and the harm it is inflicting – for little or no health or environmental benefit.

Our founding fathers provided for elections, so that the American people could choose leaders who make the major decisions affecting their lives – and not be subjected to involuntary servitude at the hands of unelected, unaccountable kings or bureaucrats.

Rarely in history has one election meant so much, or one agency asserted so much control over our lives, livelihoods and freedoms. The 2012 elections will determine whether America once again enjoys a new birth of freedom, or continues suffering under an EPA that enslaves and impoverishes us, rather than protects us.


The latest example of Greenie misanthropy

They just hate people and anything normal to them

In 1929, long before man made climate change had been detected, a Russian journalist by the name of Ilya Ehrenburg once said; “The automobile cannot be blamed for anything. Its conscience is as clear as Monsieur Citroen’s conscience.  It only fulfills its destiny; it is destined to wipe out the world”.

He had seen something which the rest of the world is begging to comprehend. This article will not talk about how bad oil companies, rich governments and manufacturing industry are to our beloved environment, but will talk about how dangerous our transport system is to our environment.

Perhaps the most intractable cause of global warming is ‘love miles’: the distance you have to travel when visiting friends, partners and relatives on the other side of the planet. The world could be destroyed by love.

However, it is important to note that different transport system emit different amounts of carbon dioxide. For example; railway system is considered a low emitter of carbon dioxide, while flight system is the highest major emitter as a return transatlantic flight will make you responsible for the same amount of emissions as running a car for a whole year.

Unless something is done to stop the ever increasing number of people using airports, aviation will overwhelm all the cuts we manage to make elsewhere. I know that this would not be popular or go well with a lot of people, maybe because that is where their interests are. Reducing the number of people using flights is the only option that can bail us out of the predicament we have put ourselves to.


And children in poor countries are expendable to Greenies

Airy generalizations and obstruction of realistic assistance are all that they have to offer

Greenpeace is demanding a halt to field trials of genetically modified “golden rice” in Nueva Ecija, Ilocos Norte and Camarines Sur, out of fear the crop was carrying environmental and health risks.

The nongovernmental organization said field trials of the artificially enriched rice, which was proposed as a solution to vitamin A deficiency among children, were ongoing in the three provinces at the behest of the International Rice Research Institute, and the Philippine Rice Research Institute.

“Open field trials of golden rice are now currently ongoing in Nueva Ecija, Ilocos Norte and Camarines Sur, exposing conventional rice crops—the country’s staple—to GMO [genetically modified organism] contamination,” the group said in a statement.

“The next ‘golden rice’ guinea pigs might be Filipino children,” said Daniel Ocampo, Sustainable Agriculture campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

He was alluding to a recent scientific publication that suggested researchers, backed by the US Department of Agriculture, fed experimental genetically-engineered golden rice to 24 children in China aged between 6 and 8 years old.

“Should we allow ourselves to be subjects in a human experiment? There are already safe and proven solutions to vitamin A deficiency which do not rely on the genetic modification of food,” Ocampo said.

He said golden rice was “a myth.”

Greenpeace said it believed that golden rice was an irresponsible and dangerous way to address Vitamin A deficiency because it did not address the underlying causes of the deficiency, which were mainly poverty and lack of access to a more diverse diet.

“Because it encourages a diet based on one staple rather than an increase in access to the many vitamin-rich vegetables, ‘golden rice’ could, if introduced on a large scale, exacerbate malnutrition and ultimately undermine food security,” it said.

Ocampo said golden rice could be carrying “all the environmental and health risks associated with GMO crops,” although he did not elaborate.

“Spending even more time and money on ‘golden rice’ development is not only environmentally irresponsible, but also a disservice to humanity,” he added.

Greenpeace said organizations funding the development of golden rice should divert their resources to address vitamin A deficiency directly, such as empowering and diversifying the diets of those afflicted.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


8 September, 2012


7 September, 2012

King Canute thinks he can control the weather


"And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet – because climate change is not a hoax.  More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke.  They’re a threat to our children’s future.  And in this election, you can do something about it"


"President Obama -- who once declared his presidency would result in 'the rise of the oceans beginning to slow' -- now wants us to believe voters can help regulate the weather by supporting his re-election. Obama's declaration that “you can do something about” droughts and floods and wildfires is akin to medieval witchcraft.

For any confused voters out there, Climate Depot reminds them that acts of the United Nations and the U.S. Congress or EPA, cannot control the weather. The president of the United States may be able to command great armies, but he cannot control the climate or command better weather.

Even Nancy Pelosi recognizes Obama cannot control the weather. 'The Democratic leader said the weather is 'a higher power' that the president can't control. 'There are some decisions that are made from a different place and whether it rains or not is not in the president's control.'

Amen! Pelosi clearly has more scientific acumen than President Obama.

Despite President Obama's claims, Co2 is not controlling temperatures and current global temperatures are well within natural variability. In addition, the latest scientific studies and data reveal that droughts, floods and wildfires and extreme weather are not currently unusual or unprecedented."

More HERE  (See the original for links)

Some more psychologizing about climate skepticism

The writer is a psycholopgist, which makes it no surprise that he is a paid up member of the Green/Left.  So it is also no surprise that he himself does exactly what he says not to do. 

For starters, I was amused by this at the head of his article:  "John Cook does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations."  We also read:  "John Cook,   Climate Communication Fellow at University of Queensland".  So he is paid to promote Warmism but that does not bias him?  Let me guess that if he were to become a skeptic he would be out on his ear in no time flat.

The essence of his article however is that skeptics cherry pick the evidence whereas noble souls like him do not. Let me mention a couple of cherries that he seems to miss. 

He regurgitates the totally hokey "97%" claim.  See the sidebar here for a dismantling of that.  Just by repeating such a flawed claim he reveals himself as unconcerned with the facts.

He quotes all sorts of climate processes that are allegedly going on but fails to look at the bottom line as given in the header of this blog.  And note that the header is a copy of a mainstream Warmist graph.  It shows a totally trivial warming.  If the warming has been so slight over the last century or more what are we worried about?  A temperature change of less than one degree Celsius contrasts vividly with the (say) 10 degrees warming we all experience during the course of a single  day, to say nothing of seasonal variations.  In the context of normal human experience, the warming observed so far  over the last 100 years or is so slight as to be  almost undetectable.

And the cook-up man fails to mention that to go from the negligible warming actually observed to something alarming, Warmists have to invent all sorts of unproven and dubious   "tipping point" processes  that are going to befall us in the vaguely specified future. So he misses the biggest "cherry" of all.  He ignores the most crucial point in the whole story.  Warmism is prophecy, not fact.

It would be great if he would take his own advice and consider ALL the data and leave the prophecies for those with a paranoid spark

In a previous article on The Conversation, Stephan Lewandowsky asked, why do people reject science? I’m going to take a slightly different angle and consider how people are able to reject climate science in the face of strong evidence.

A growing body of research has found that when a person’s worldview is threatened by scientific evidence, they interpret the science in a biased manner. One issue where this influence is strongest is climate change.

For supporters of an unregulated free market, regulating polluting industries to reduce global warming is so unpalatable that they are far more likely to reject that climate change is happening.

The mechanism by which ideology such as this influences our scientific views is confirmation bias. We place greater weight on evidence that confirms our beliefs, while ignoring or resisting conflicting evidence. This can be a challenge when confronted with a convergence of evidence and a scientific consensus, but confirmation bias is up to the task. Let’s look at some examples.

The most common manifestation of confirmation bias is cherry picking, where one carefully selects a small piece of data that paints a friendly picture and overlooks any inconvenient evidence.

How do we spot cherry picking? It’s important to remember that there is no “their evidence” versus “our evidence”. There is only the full body of evidence.

If someone arrives at a conclusion from carefully selected evidence that contradicts the conclusion drawn from the full body of evidence, that’s cherry picking.

Cherry pickers ignore the fact that our planet is currently building up heat at the stunning rate of around 3 Hiroshima bombs per second. Instead, they focus on short periods of the surface temperature record. This record bounces up and down from year to year as the ocean exchanges heat with the atmosphere, meaning that it’s possible to find any short period during a long-term warming trend where temperatures fall briefly. Meanwhile the planet continues to build up heat – around 250 Hiroshima bombs worth since you started reading this article.

Confirmation bias also influences which sources of information we put our trust in. People tend to attribute greater expertise to people who share their values and beliefs. We’re drawn to those who tell us what we want to hear.

So what happens when 97 out of 100 of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming?

Those who reject the scientific consensus lavish their attention on the 3% minority, magnifying their significance and turning a blind eye to the 97% of scientific experts.

More HERE 

Peak water:  The new scare

Peak oil has been dynamited by new energy discoveries so what else could run out?  Water! Just a few excerpts from a huge and tendentious article below

We start off with some wisdom from the well-known crook, Peter Gleick and move on to note that Britain has had some rare dry weather in recent years.  That Britain's most recent water problems have been extensive flooding is not mentioned.  Nor is it mentioned that there is plenty of water in the North.  It just needs a big pipe to bring it to London.  But with drought being rare in Britain, who would bother?

We then move to Australia where there is only one water problem:  Greenies.  There have been many plans to build new dams but Greenies screech their heads off about dams so politicians are scared away from authorizing any.  Again, however, in the last couple of years flooding has been the  problem,  rather to the relief of politicians.  Many dams overflowed in the last 12 months and more.  Even Brisbane's big flood-mitigation dam overflowed, with disastrous results.  But you would never guess that from the article below.

So the article below is nothing but a one-sided beat-up that tells a totally distorted story.  It is totally dishonest beneath its sober-seeming facade.  It's about as scientific as my big toe, with apologies to my big toe

Peter Gleick is president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, California, a leading think tank on water issues. He isn't surprised that Intel and Chandler are optimistic about the future. Their cheerful attitude, he believes, reflects their confidence that social and economic priorities are on their side. "It shows to what lengths we'll go to ensure water for high-value uses," Gleick says. "Truth is, Intel will always be able to pay more than anybody else for water. They can act as though it's not scarce, because for them it's a relatively small cost."

Looking out at Kensington Gardens in London, where ornate fountains shimmer in the sunshine, it's difficult to imagine that this famously damp city has less water per person at its disposal than Dallas, Rome, or Istanbul. But it's true, and the problem is getting worse. I'm sitting in a restaurant next to the gardens with John Rodda, a hydrologist with Britain's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. White-haired and buttoned-down, Rodda presents his doom-and-gloom outlook with quintessential British stoicism. He pulls out a map of Britain and points to the country's southeast, printed an angry shade of red to indicate water scarcity. "We fall well below the World Bank standard, per capita, of a water-stressed region," he says.

In the summer of 2006, London was hit by the worst drought in three decades. After two consecutive dry winters (the time of year when rainfall usually replenishes the water supply), the city imposed restrictions on watering lawns, filling swimming pools, and other nonessential uses. Newspaper columnists raised the specter of Londoners lining up at fire hydrants to collect water rations. Desperate to maintain supplies, water companies considered extreme measures: cloud seeding, bulk transportation by tanker, even towing icebergs down from the Arctic.

Australia has always been dry. It's the most arid continent after Antarctica. Covering an area roughly the size of the lower 48 states, it supports less than one-tenth the US population, and even that is an enormous strain on water supplies. The country was founded during the second-worst drought in its history, but the worst dry spell is unfolding right now. Rainfall, which has declined to 25 percent of the long-term average, is projected to plummet another 40 percent by 2050.

Three factors are working to desiccate the landscape. One is simple overexploitation of existing resources. More water is withdrawn to support agriculture, industry, and cities than the system can handle. Another is El Niño, a weather pattern that periodically alters rainfall, further drying the continent. The third is climate change. Australia is growing hotter, which compounds the other two problems by boosting both consumption and evaporation.

The convergence of these factors could have catastrophic results. Every major city in Australia is hobbled by mandatory restrictions on water consumption, but most of the country's water — two-thirds — goes to agriculture. The economics of food production have always been based on ready access to cheap water. The price of beer has been rising since a jump in barley prices, a development that many joke could lead to large-scale civil unrest. But it's no joke: The global price of wheat hit its highest level in decades in December, partly due to Australia's water shortage. The most fundamental impact of scarcity will be on Australia's ability to feed itself.


And peak food is approaching, according to Justin Gillis of the NYT

The article below is a laugh a minute.  If global warming DID exist, it would be INCREASING food-crop yields.  Plants gobble up CO2.  It is their basic food.  And a warmer world would be a wetter one  -- again giving plants a boost.

And the corn shortage is simply because 40% of the huge U.S. crop now goes into automobile gas tanks.  The EPA could remedy that nonsense with the stroke of a pen

Aside from Greenie folly and  basic biology, however, there is China.  China was a food-importer under Mao and any Greenie wisehead would see that as inevitable given that an area about the same as the contiguous United States has to feed 1.3 billion people with primitive technology.  Poop is their main fertilizer.

But under capitalism China feeds the world.  It is a huge exporter of food and exports to most countries on the globe.  For instance:  "By value, China is the world's No.1 exporter of fruits and vegetables, and a major exporter of other food products ranging from apple juice to garlic and sausage casings. Its agricultural exports to the US surged to $US2.26 billion last year".  And that quote was from 2007!

Politics and economics are the main constraints on the food supply, nothing else.  Capitalism is its friend.  Greenies are its enemy

Perhaps the biggest single question about climate change is whether people will have enough to eat in coming decades.

We have had two huge spikes in global food prices in five years that were driven largely by chaotic weather. And this year we may be in the early stages of a third big jump. Droughts and heat waves have damaged crops in many producing countries this year, including the United States and India.

As my colleague Annie Lowrey reported this week, United Nations agencies are hitting the alarm button.

Now come two reports that help to frame the problem of the future food supply — one of them offering a stark warning about what could be in store, the other offering a possible way out.

As readers of an article I wrote last year may recall, growing scientific evidence suggests that climate change is already functioning as a drag on global food production.

Rising temperatures during the growing season in many large producing countries are cutting yields below their potential, the research suggests. On top of that background factor, extreme events like droughts or torrential rains can destroy crops altogether. Extremes have always been part of the agricultural picture, of course, but they are expected to increase on a warming planet.

One of the new reports comes from Oxfam, the global antipoverty charity. It commissioned researchers at the Institute of Development Studies, at the University of Sussex in Britain, to use computer modeling to study the possible impacts of climate change on global food prices by 2030, compared with prices in 2010. (The Oxfam report is summarized here and can be downloaded here, and detailed methods and results can be found here.)

The researchers recognized that global food demand is rising as many millions of people in developing countries acquire the means to eat richer diets. That alone would be expected to drive food prices higher, but their calculations suggest that climate change will greatly compound the problem.

For instance, the report said that corn prices could jump by 177 percent, adjusted for inflation, by 2030, with stress from climate change accounting for something like half the increase. The price increases could be 120 percent for wheat and 107 percent for rice, with climate change accounting for perhaps a third of the increases for those crops.

And those are just the baseline price increases. Severe weather shocks could cause further spikes, induce panic buying, prompt countries to close their borders to food exports and even lead to riots and revolutions.

If any of that sounds alarmist, recall that every bit of it has already happened because of the price spikes of recent years. In 2008, food riots broke out in more than 20 countries, and the government of Haiti fell as a result of the unrest. The second price spike, in 2011, apparently played a role in the social discontent that led to the revolutions in the Arab world.

In the West, raw ingredients make up only a small fraction of the cost of the food most people eat, and price spikes tend to be felt only moderately for that reason. But in parts of the world where people subsist on staple grains, Oxfam warns, a doubling or more of grain prices from 2010’s already high levels would probably be devastating. The price spikes occurring over the last decade have already led to some of the biggest increases in global hunger in generations.

“Food price spikes are a matter of life and death to many people in developing countries, who spend as much as 75 percent of their income on food,” Oxfam said in its report. “Increased hunger is likely to be one of climate change’s most savage impacts on humanity.”

As many Green readers know, agriculture is not just a potential victim of climate change — it is also a major cause. It helps to drive extensive deforestation in the tropics, consumes fossil fuels and puts a powerful greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, into the air.


Experts Fear Climate Change Will Slow Global Fight Against HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Well, it's a good thing global warming stopped 16 years ago, then.  No hint that the writer below is aware of any actual climate statistics, though.  He just invokes his Warmist religion.  Amusing that he admits to having seen no effect on AIDS so far, though

According to the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), 34.2 million people around the world were infected with the disease in 2011, the most recent data available. Last year, the virus led to 1.7 million deaths.

Though the number of afflicted people is rising, the rate of new infections is slowing down and infected people are living longer, in part due to better education and more affordable treatments reaching those who need it. While HIV still has no cure or vaccine, certain drugs can help manage the disease so that infected people can live more productive lives, and can help reduce transmission.

However, some of this progress may be lost as the planet changes, with extreme weather events and higher average temperatures cutting food security, creating refugee crises as people flee stricken regions and spread the disease.

"I think mainly the interaction between climate change and AIDS is in the future," said Colin Butler, an associate professor at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at Australian National University. Like climate change itself, the HIV epidemic took decades to develop and could be even more disastrous in the coming century if there is no intervention. And some climate change impacts are already becoming apparent, so their influence on the current HIV problem could be a harbinger of things to come, according to Butler.


Al Gore skipping DNC because  Obama is not Green enouigh

I guess that they'll have to make do with Bill Clinton, then

Al Gore is boycotting the Democratic National Convention because he doesn’t get along with President Obama and is disappointed that Obama hasn’t pushed harder for a cap-and-trade law that would force Americans to use less fossil fuels, sources tell Flash.

While tens of thousands of Democrats from across the country are gathered in Charlotte, N.C., Gore stayed in New York to cover the convention for his struggling Current TV channel. “Gore was not treated respectfully by the Obama team. He’s snubbing them, because they snubbed him,” said one Democratic fundraiser.

Former President Bill Clinton has been given an active role in Obama’s re-election effort, and was given a prime-time slot to speak just before Obama accepted his nomination last night. But Clinton’s running mate, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has been an invisible man.

“He’s been missing in action. It’s not just the convention. Gore hasn’t made any speeches for for Obama, or campaign appearances, or fundraising solicitations ... nothing,” said our source.


A chance to stop the gusher of useless wind subsidies

On May 24, President Barack Obama visited wind turbine blade manufacturer TPI Composites in Newton, Iowa. While there, he announced that his “to do list” for Congress included extending the wind energy’s Production Tax Credit.

 The credit, which expires at the end of 2012, gives 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour to wind energy producers. For all of 2012, U.S. wind farms are expected to provide about 3.5 percent of U.S. electric power, or 145 billion kwh, making wind producers eligible for $3 billion in tax credit subsidies.

 On May 30, Republican candidate Mitt Romney took up the Iowa challenge to his energy policies. His campaign told the Des Moines Register that Romney “will allow the wind credit to expire in 2012, end the stimulus boondoggles and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits.”

 Through 2011, the wind industry had the option of a 30 percent investment tax credit that could be received as up-front cash grants, instead of having to wait until power was generated for the tax credit. Of the most recent $1 billion in wind energy grants handed out by the government, 85 percent — $849 million — has gone to foreign wind turbine companies, such as Germany’s Siemens, Spain’s Gamesa, India’s Suzlon and Denmark’s Vestas. Spanish utility company Iberdrola S.A. alone has collected $545 million in recent years through its U.S. subsidiary. Subsidy data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that on a per-unit-of-energy-produced basis, oil and gas producers receive 28 cents; nuclear receives $1.79; biofuels got $20.37 and wind got $32.59.

 The head of Vestas, the world’s biggest wind turbine maker, has said the U.S. wind turbine market is likely to fall by 80 percent next year if the tax credit expires. Vestas also warned that failure to extend the credit could force it to cut 1,600 U.S. jobs. By contrast, a study by energy, mining and metals consultant Wood MacKenzie reports that new U.S. oil and gas production could create an additional one million U.S. jobs by 2018.

 Spain has aggressively subsidized wind and solar energy as a job creator. But a study by King Carlos University shows that for each new wind energy job, Spain loses 2.2 jobs in energy-consuming industries because of higher power costs.

During 2012 to date, our nation’s 50,000 MW of wind capacity is producing an intermittent and unpredictable 29 percent of that capacity. Wind blows just part of the time, needing backup from natural gas plants. This is a reason wind energy needs subsidies.

 Britain is a world leader in wind, with a subsidized program to take advantage of the windiest conditions in Europe. But its program continues to fail. Figures released in early January showed that as temperatures plunged to well below freezing and electric power demand soared, electricity production at Britain’s 3,100 wind turbines fell from an average of 8.6 percent of Britain’s electricity mix to just 1.8 percent.

 As Jeremy Nicholson, director of the U.K. Energy Intensive Users Group, said, “What is worrying is that these sorts of figures are not a one-off.

It was exactly the same last January and February when high pressure brought freezing cold temperatures, snow and no wind.”

 Nicholson added, “We can cope at the moment because there is still not that much power generated by wind. What happens when we are dependent on wind turbines for more of our power, and there is suddenly a period when the wind does not blow and there is high demand?”

 A better approach is to continue research such as the consortium of wind energy researchers led by the University of Minnesota which will receive $7.9 million from the U.S. Department of Energy for fostering wind energy development in the U.S.

 Queen Elizabeth’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, summed up the issues with Britain’s wind program, describing wind supporters as people who “believe in fairy tales.”

Romney has this one right. It’s time for “all sources of energy to compete on their own merits.”




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


6 September, 2012

UK Government Signals End Of Green Obsession

Britain sent a clear signal of support to its oil and gas industry when it named an advocate of shale gas fracking as environment minister and a wind farm sceptic as energy minister.

The appointments in Prime Minister David Cameron's ministerial reshuffle on Tuesday mark a departure from his pledge to run Britain's greenest government, in favour of the fossil fuel sector that generates billions of pounds in tax revenue.

The government last year put a brake on the development of shale gas extraction due to environmental concerns after it triggered two small earthquakes near Blackpool.

But Owen Paterson, a member of Cameron's Conservative Party who was appointed Environment Secretary in the reshuffle, has hailed the potential economic benefits of shale gas, a message likely to sway the country's decision in favour of the drilling method.

"If developed safely and responsibly, shale gas could generate massive economic activity and a wealth of new jobs," Paterson said in May, when he was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

He said huge shale gas deposits in Northern Ireland could be exploitable, adding that discoveries in the United States had shrunk its gas price to a quarter of British levels.

"(Shale gas) has also ended America's dependence on unreliable and dictatorial regimes," he said.

The decision on whether Britain will resume shale gas fracking, a method of drilling through shale deposits to retrieve gas by injecting liquids and chemical, is in the hands of the energy ministry, but support from the Department for Environment could speed up a decision.

In his final media interview as Energy Minister, Hendry said a decision on shale gas was not imminent, but that Britain could not ignore its impact on the U.S. energy market.

Hayes has been a vocal opponent of wind farms, a technology the government regards as key to meeting climate change goals.

"Such tall structures will have a detrimental impact on the quality of life for local residents, the attractiveness of the area and its potential for tourism," Hayes said at a local council meeting, reflecting the views of his constituents campaigning against the construction of a wind farm.

He said wind farms would always be backed up by conventional power plants because of their unreliability and that they had a detrimental impact on wildlife.

"Wind power (considerably) increases the average household energy bills as the profit-hungry energy companies continue to chase the taxpayer funded subsidies and credits," the new Energy Minister said.


Greens Against Green Energy

Big Solar gets the Big Oil treatment

A couple of weeks ago we wondered if green lobbying groups would object to new Department of Interior rules to streamline environmental approval for solar energy projects on hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land. ("The Solar-Painted Desert," Aug. 13, 2012.) Well, here we go. Three environmental groups—Western Lands Project, Basin and Range Watch, and Solar Done Right—have filed a formal complaint of the kind that often presages a lawsuit.

The letter of protest to the Bureau of Land Management alleges that the agency "failed to analyze numerous impacts of solar energy plant development within several Solar Energy Zones" and that allowing "industrial-scale solar generation" could result in the "virtual privatization of public lands."

But here's the real shocker: The letter complains that "no scientific evidence has been presented to support the claim that these projects reduce greenhouse emissions." And "the opposite may be true. Recent work at the Center for Conservation Biology University of California, Riverside, suggests that soil disturbance from large-scale solar development may disrupt Pleistocene-era caliche deposits that release carbon to the atmosphere when exposed to the elements, thus 'negat[ing] the solar development C [carbon] gains.'"

So solar energy, like corn ethanol, really doesn't reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Now they tell us.

And there's more, says the letter: The environmental impact from these solar panels "are long-term (decades to centuries)" and they threaten the habitat of "endangered species, including the desert tortoise, Mojave fringe-toed lizard, flat-tailed horned lizard, golden eagle and desert bighorn."

Who knows if these objections have any factual basis. They're similar to the exaggerated complaints that greens have used for decades to kill or delay natural gas drilling, coal mining, road building, and the construction of dams for hydropower. But it's certainly news that some greens are even turning against green energy. Welcome to the club, Big Solar


Don't Believe The Global Warmists, Major Hurricanes Are Less Frequent

When Hurricane Isaac made landfall in southern Louisiana last week, the storm provided a rare break in one of the longest periods of hurricane inactivity in U.S. history. Seeking to deflect attention away from this comforting trend, global warming alarmists attempted a high-profile head fake, making public statements that the decline in recent hurricane activity masked an increase in strong, damaging hurricanes.

“The hurricanes that really matter, that cause damage, are increasing,” John Abraham, a mechanical engineer on the staff of little-known University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, told Discovery News.

Normally, of course, the subjective global climate opinions of a mechanical engineer at an obscure Minnesota university wouldn’t be national news. However, global warming alarmists put Abraham forward as the point man for their self-proclaimed Climate Science Rapid Response Team. But hey, if Abraham is the best they can do, so be it.

Abraham says major hurricanes are the only ones that really matter, and that major hurricanes are increasing. If that is indeed so, then we might have a cause for concern. Let’s go straight to the data to find out if major hurricanes are indeed increasing.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) provides information on major U.S. hurricanes during the past 100-plus years.According to the NHC, 70 major hurricanes struck the United States in the 100 years between 1911 and 2010. That is an average of 7 major hurricane strikes per decade. What are the trends within this 100-year span? Let’s take a look.

Let’s split the 100-year hurricane record in half, starting with major hurricane strikes during the most recent 50 years.

During the most recent decade, 2001-2010, 7 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is exactly the 100-year average.

During the preceding decade, 1991-2000, 6 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is below the 100-year average.

During the decade 1981-1990, 4 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is substantially below the 100-year average, and ties the least number of major hurricanes on record.

During the decade 1971-1980, 4 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is substantially below the 100-year average, and ties 1981-1990 as the two decades with the least number of major hurricanes.

During the decade 1961-1970, 7 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is exactly the 100-year average.

Incredibly, not a single decade during the past 50 years saw an above-average number of major hurricanes – not a single decade!

Now let’s look at the preceding 50 years in the hurricane record, before the alleged human-induced global warming crisis.

During the decade 1951-1960, 9 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is above the 100-year average.

During the decade 1941-1950, 11 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is substantially above the 100-year average.

During the decade 1931-1940, 8 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is above the 100-year average.

During the decade 1921-1930, 6 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is slightly below the 100-year average.

During the decade 1911-1920, 8 major hurricanes struck the United States. That is above the 100-year average.

Global warming alarmists and mechanical engineers at obscure Minnesota universities may lie, but the objective data do not lie. During the past 5 decades, an average of 5.6 major hurricanes struck the United States. During the preceding 5 decades, and average of 8.4 major hurricanes struck the United States.

“The hurricanes that really matter, that cause damage” are not increasing. Hard, objective data show exactly the opposite. Indeed, during the past 4 decades, the time period during which global warming alarmists claim human-induced global warming accelerated rapidly and became incontrovertible, the fewest number of major hurricanes struck during any 40-year period since at least the 1800s.

Oh, and during the first two years of this current decade exactly zero major hurricanes struck the United States.

Global warming alarmists better hope we start seeing a rash of major hurricanes pretty soon if this is not going to be the quietest decade on record. Until and unless that happens, the objective data show the Climate Science Rapid Response Team is actually the Climate Science Rapid Propaganda Team.

But hey, if that’s the best they can do, so be it.


Dutch analysis finds wind power is a 'money pit with virtually no merit in CO2 emission reduction or fossil fuel saving'

A Dutch analysis finds that wind energy reduces emissions and fossil fuel use by a maximum of only 1.6% compared to directly generating energy from fossil fuels. Furthermore, the study finds that with large wind installations, power is often wasted since the electricity grid cannot always absorb the intermittent supply, resulting in more fossil fuel consumption than directly generating power from fossil fuels. Thus,  the study concludes, "wind developments are a money pit with virtually no merit in terms of the intended goal of CO2 emission reduction or fossil fuel saving."

    Conclusion and outlook

    Adding it all up, one must conclude that under the present conditions in the Netherlands a 100 MW (Megawatt) 'name plate' capacity wind development produces on average 23 MW because of the capacity factor. 4,6 MW (20%) of this has to be subtracted from the final net result because of initial energy investments. From the actual Statline production figures we know that 27% of this 23 MW = 6,17 MW represents the actual fossil fuel and CO2 savings. But from this figure we need to subtract the amount of energy invested in the construction works: 4,6 MW. The net total of fuel saving electricity provided by our windturbines therefore is 6,17 - 4,6 = 1,57 MW on average over the year. That is ~ 1,6% of the installed capacity. It makes wind developments a Mega money pit with virtually no merit in terms of the intended goal of CO2 emission reduction or fossil fuel saving. 

    What is going to happen next? The current plan is to extend wind capacity to 8 GW onshore and 4 GW offshore. Presently wind name plate capacity is about 15% of the average domestic electric power need, which is roughly 14 GW. If the capacity exceeds 20% we enter into a new phase in which frequent curtailment sets in: there wil be periods in which the grid simply cannot absorb the supply. This situation already exists in Denmark and Ireland. Then we shall see a further dramatic decrease of the fuel-replacing effectiveness. In a previous study (6), we used a model in which the most conservative scenario had a thus defined windpenetration of 20%. We found that in that case savings were already negative, which means that wind developments actually caused an increase in fossil fuel consumption. The present study based on actual data shows that we are well on the way to reach that stage.


Eco-nomics: Was Stern 'wrong for the right reasons' ... or just wrong?

Perhaps greens just aren't the good guys

Analysis "Why should we sacrifice 10 per cent of our income today to make Bill Gates better off?" asked an MP. "As the world's [second] richest man, he doesn't need our sacrifice."

The second richest man in the world, Bill Gates, is a proxy in this rhetorical question. The MP, a former Cabinet minister, is raising a fascinating and rarely asked moral question. Should we make ourselves poorer to save the rich of the future some insignificant amount of money: an amount so small, it will be a rounding error? The argument he builds is that government spending on climate policies is in fact a form of regressive wealth distribution. And the question the minister poses is far from rhetorical; it's at the heart of the climate policy debate.

For an issue that is discussed in stark moral terms – good guys favour cutting carbon emissions, and bad guys don't – things are not what they seem, suggests former Cabinet Minister Peter Lilley. Poverty is the greatest killer on the planet, robbing societies of the ability to protect themselves, and look after their most vulnerable. A legacy of our obsession to cut carbon dioxide emissions aggressively may be to trap billions in poverty, and the avoidable suffering that goes with it.

Stern warning

It's all about economics. Six years ago the Stern Review landed with a thud that could be felt on the Richter Scale. The 700-page blockbuster – The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, to give it its full title – was commissioned by the UK government, written by UK bureaucrats led by a former economist to the World Bank, Nicholas Stern. It made the case for urgent climate mitigation policy: we'd be better off making sacrifices now to alleviate damage – both social and economic – in the future, Stern argued.

The MP, former Cabinet Minister Peter Lilley, has called foul. Lilley and economist Richard Tol have written a 100-page analysis of the Stern Review, published today by policy think-tank the Global Warming Foundation (PDF). The study asserts that Stern's economic arguments can no longer form the basis for policy. Government should focus on a series of more practical measures instead, the study argues. These range from practical carbon emission reduction policy, to greater energy efficiency programmes, to the distribution of aid.

Stern's summary was simple. Climate change would cost 5 per cent of GDP "now and forever", he advised, yet we could avert disaster with policy that would set us back just 1 per cent of GDP. So the benefits outweighed the costs.

It's astonishing to re-read Stern's government-commissioned report today and be reminded that the 'bedrock' of climate economics itself rests such a flimsy base. But at the time, the watchdogs didn't bark. Only a few of Stern's economic peers, when they finally got the chance to examine his logic and mathematics, were critical, and their voices were confined to academia, argues Lilley, referring to a Yale Center for the Study of Globalization seminar held the year after the review's publication. Lilley writes that the report received a "comprehensive battering" from attending environmental economists. Lilley also contended that British media had "amplified uncritically" the report's "most stark and dramatic conclusions".


Here's an example of Stern-logic. The Review assumes that those most affected by increasing temperatures would not adapt to them. As support for this, Stern cited a study in which yields of a particular a strain of peanut vulnerable to higher temperatures fell by 70 per cent. He omitted the rest of the study, showing that alternative peanut strains would give farmers increased yields if temperatures increased.

"Surely it is reasonable to suppose that Indian farmers would switch to the variety that would actually increase their yields, rather than passively letting their yields decline by up to 70 per cent?" writes Lilley. "Stern’s approach has been called ‘the dumb farmer hypothesis’. His selective quotation of the results might be called ‘the gullible reader assumption’."

But the 'Bill Gates argument' is where Stern's calculations, and UK climate policy are at their weakest, claims the rebuttal. Lilley argues that the concepts outlined in the Stern Review were founded on Robin Hood economics: robbing today's poor to benefit tomorrow's rich. By 2200, by figures the IPCC itself uses, we'll be seven times as wealthy as today. Even on using the most pessimistic estimates, Africa will be as wealthy as the West today - although why it need take so long, when Asian economies have transformed living standards in the space of a few decades, is worth questioning. Africa has shown strong GDP growth in recent years.

Discounting the truth

The conventional economic approach to climate change is to regard the damage as an externality, which means the 'polluter pays', the payment being priced at the market discount rate. This is how most economists tackle the issue. But not Stern. Instead of a market rate, Stern chose an improbably low 'discount rate' to reach his conclusion that mitigation policy costs were lower than the benefits. This was a new kind of economics.

So what, then, is a discount rate?

"It's the cost of doing something now, versus the benefit accrued in the future," says Lilley. "Everyone does it; it's a calculation we do instinctively, even if we don't realise we're doing it."

Stern's 'trick' was really twofold. Firstly, he used an improbably low discount rate - the exact figure, over 700 pages, he omitted to disclose. The second was the use of the word 'forever'. Stern made a projection of the losses to infinity. The result was that the costs were underestimated by a factor of between 2.5x and 5x.

Fundamentally Stern was asking the current generation to accept a 5 per cent hit in income, so that a future generation seven times richer would not suffer 5 per cent loss of income.

"He is entitled to use a low discount rate, but only if he accepts that, logically, he should advocate investing in a Norwegian-style ‘fund for the future’, not just in mitigating climate change but in any projects with returns above his discount rate until the market rate and his discount rate converge," notes Lilley's study.

Stern made some other curious assumptions, Lilley points out. The World Bank has estimated that Bangladesh needs to devote 1 per cent of its GDP today to stop flooding.

"Bangladesh today is far wealthier than Holland was when it built its dikes," says Lilley. "The idea that they can't build irrigation, that they can't adapt, is a racist view."

According to the new study's authors, other parts of Stern's landmark study continue to defy explanation.

"The more innovative parts of the Stern Review – the non-Newtonian calculus in Chapter 13, for instance – have yet to be submitted to learned journals," notes Tol acidly in his foreword.

Even supporters of the manmade global warming hypothesis conceded that the economics didn't add up, argues Lilley. Economist Martin Weitzman conceded that the discount rate Stern assumed was 'unlikely' and rejected Stern’s "ultra-low discount rate", preferring to use a market rate of 6 per cent per year. However, Weitzman argued, Stern was "wrong for the right reasons", since in Weitzman's view global warming may "destroy planet Earth as we know it". The economist reasons that since the response of the climate to a doubling of CO2 cannot be accurately be made, the worst case must be assumed.

But far more dramatic changes in the climate have been experienced within the past 20,000 years, Lilley contends, with humans able to draw on far more primitive technological resources, and yet survive. Much depends on the belief that the climate will 'run away'.


The cult twists and turns -- with money as a major reinforcement

This article was originally published a little while ago but it is a very good  coverage of global warming as a cult

The typical doomsday cult believes that an apocalyptic disaster is imminent.  When the disaster fails to arrive, the cult faces a psychological disaster from which it may or may not recover by announcing a new and later date for doom to arrive.  The advocates of apocalyptic global warming have a lot in common with doomsday cults1.  Compared to the typical doomsday cult, the global warming cultists are better-educated and use the jargon of science to make their beliefs sound reasonable.  The global warmers have the special advantage of generous government financing.  Billions of dollars of government money is spent on climate research and low-carbon energy schemes.  The money buys impressive political support.

An iron triangle, in political usage, describes a strong lobbying interest with three mutually supporting components.  The iron triangle of interests that promotes government support for global warming consists of big science, environmental organizations, and alternative energy industries.

The advocates of global warming are beginning to have the classic doomsday cult problem.  The Earth hasn't been warming for 16 years, and that's starting to get very embarrassing.  The first adjustment to the dogma was to stop talking about global warming and start talking about climate change.  The latest version of the party line is that we are going to have more extreme weather.  The reality is that the weather is not any more variable or extreme than in the past.  But with suitable fishing in the data, it is easy to make a case that this or that weather phenomenon has become more extreme.

The scientist Richard Lindzen has pointed out that the extreme weather theme is inconsistent with the global warmers' own theories.  The global warmers have long claimed that the poles will warm faster than the tropics.  One of their key scary claims is that vast amounts of ice at the poles will melt and raise sea level.  So, according to warmer theory, the temperature difference between the poles and the equator will lessen.  But it is that very temperature difference that drives weather, particularly extreme weather, when cold fronts from the poles collide with warm fronts emerging from the tropics.  So the warmers' claims are fundamentally contradictory.  How can weather become more extreme when the driver of extreme weather, the pole-to-equator temperature difference, is supposed to weaken?

The scientific case for disastrous human-caused global warming is very weak.  But the case is cloaked in hard-to-understand scientific jargon and thus receives credibility that it doesn't deserve.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, is the Vatican of the global warming cult.  Other subsidiary authorities, such as the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), generally take the pronouncements of the IPCC as infallible truths.

The IPCC predictions of global warming are supposedly the carefully considered product of the world's best climate scientists, using strict guidelines to assure quality control.  Author Donna Laframboise undertook the major project of examining how the IPCC actually operates.  The result was the book The delinquent teenager who was mistaken for the world's top climate expert.  The IPCC was revealed as a sloppy organization, breaking its supposed rules constantly2.  Yet Laframboise's revelation has had little effect on those who are committed believers in global warming dogma or who benefit financially from global warming.

The scientific theory of global warming is that the accumulation of greenhouse gases, meaning gases that are strong absorbers of infrared radiation, will inhibit cooling of the Earth.  The Earth gets rid of heat via infrared radiation.  If infrared radiation is slowed by greenhouse gases, the Earth must warm a bit to in order to increase the infrared radiation enough to overcome the inhibition of the greenhouse gases.  Carbon dioxide, emitted from burning coal, oil, and natural gas, is the main greenhouse gas villain.

The greenhouse theory is potentially plausible, although the details are quite complicated, and other actors, especially clouds, are involved.  Usually the question is framed as what will be the effect of a CO2 doubling.  There are two questions: how much warming will there be, and how bad will the effect of the warming be?

It is generally agreed that CO2 by itself cannot create a lot of warming.  In order to get a lot of warming, there has to be an amplification of the effect of CO2.  The advocates of extreme global warming theorize that a slight increase in temperature will be amplified because more water vapor will evaporate into the atmosphere, and water vapor, being a greenhouse gas, will amplify the initial effect from CO2.

Figuring out what will really happen is difficult.  For example, the amplification of warming by water vapor depends on water vapor being added to the stratosphere, kilometers above our heads.  How water vapor gets there is not simple.  The effect of clouds is strong and difficult to pin down.  It is possible that the initial warming from CO2 will be resisted because more clouds will form and reflect sunlight.

The scientific approach to solving this problem has been to create computer models of the Earth's atmosphere.  These computer models don't work very well.  The twenty or so laboratories around the world that do climate models are not eager to be candid about the shortcomings of their models.  If you have been receiving large government grants for ten or twenty years to create climate models, you would surely be inclined to paint a pretty picture of your work.  If your computer model is still lousy after ten years, the government might terminate your grant.  Once in a while, though, one hears candid statements.  The important scientist Kevin Trenberth said this about the climate models: "... none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate."

The climate models are how the IPCC answers the question about how much warming doubling CO2 would bring.  This number is known as climate sensitivity.  Unfortunately, the climate models around the world and recognized by the IPCC can't come to an agreement about how big the number is.  The range of climate sensitivity in the twenty or so models used by the IPCC to make predictions3 is from 2.1 degrees to 4.4 degrees Celsius for CO2 doubling.  There is absolutely no reason to suppose that the real number is constrained within this range.  All the climate models use similar methodologies and even share computer code with other models.  It is perfectly plausible that they are all wrong and that the real value is much smaller.  An important school of thought thinks that the value is around one half of a degree.

If the IPCC were the prudent scientific organization it pretends to be, it would surely say that nobody really knows how much global warming we are likely to get.  It would point out that the computer models are seriously deficient and cannot be relied on to answer the important questions.  Instead of taking this prudent, but politically unpalatable course, the IPCC pretends that the disagreeing models disagree because of random errors, and therefore, excepting these random errors, the models are getting at the true climate sensitivity.  Thus, according to the IPCC, the average climate sensitivity of the collection of models is to be trusted as a good estimate of the true climate sensitivity of the Earth.

It is common in science to have data that is noisy due to the presence of random errors.  In such a situation, it makes sense to average together many data points to reduce the random noise.  This is a procedure that is taught in freshman physics classes, but the IPCC seems to be following the same procedure when is it not remotely appropriate.  The IPCC takes the approximate average climate sensitivity from the models -- about 3 degrees -- as the most likely value.  The IPCC further pursues this fiction by estimating probabilities of deviations from 3-degree climate sensitivity based on the spread of the various model results.  A simple thought experiment reveals the absurdity of this approach.  If we had eighty different models instead of twenty models, then according to basic statistics, the error in the estimate would be halved.  So all we have to do is have the world governments establish more climate modeling labs, and we can get a better estimate of the Earth's climate sensitivity.  Of course, this is ridiculous, but it is a logical inference from the IPCC methods.

The IPCC has created a highly misleading graph4.  The graph makes it appear that climate models are extremely proficient at simulating the Earth's climate.

The black line follows the observed average global temperature.  The yellow lines are the simulations by various models, and the red line is the average of the various model simulations.  This is called a back fit to the 20th century.  The agreement between the model average and the observations is remarkable, except for the period from 1910 to 1940 (more about that later).

Several scientists have pointed out that this graph does not make much sense because the different models should be showing widely divergent behavior in the late 20th century, when CO2 is rapidly increasing.  That is because the models have widely divergent sensitivity to CO2.  The puzzle is solved when we learn that each modeling group was allowed to use different inputs to its models.  For example, aerosols, or finely divided particles floating in the atmosphere that come from various sources, are known to have a strong effect on climate, but there is not a good understanding of the magnitude of this effect during the 20th century.  So each modeling group was free to use a different aerosol history to make its model fit the 20th-century temperature record better.  Of course, whatever the history of aerosols was during the 20th century, there was only one history, not a different history for each climate model.  It gets even worse, because a common method of creating an aerosol history is called the inverse method.  The history is manufactured to make the model fit the 20th century.

Aerosols are not the only free variables.  Heat uptake by the oceans will slow or accelerate warming depending on the assumptions of how it works, and this can be adjusted by tuning the model.  To make a long story short, this graph is simply fake, a mathematical creation, and a demonstration of curve-fitting by computer.

The organizations that promote global warming are highly political.  The American Geophysical Union, a scientific organization, aggressively promotes the global warming dogma.  Workshops on communication have become a staple in recent years.  These workshops attempt to teach scientists how to present the global warming gospel to legislators and media.  Usually it is recommended that they simplify the message and avoid any qualifications.  Of course, a vast amount of money for scientific research is dependent on continuing global warming alarmism.

Entire industries are dependent on the global warming scare stories.  Without global warming alarmism, there would be little or no need for wind turbines, solar power stations, or ethanol factories.  Without global warming alarmism, many environmental organizations would lose most of their reason for existing.  Armies of academics find work writing about the economics and effects of the supposed great warming.

There is massive scientific opposition5 to the global warming story.  But not surprisingly, the opposition is far less noticeable among mainstream climate scientists who are basically funded by global warming alarmism.  Mainstream climate scientists who go against the crowd and are open skeptics find themselves having difficulty getting published and become alienated from the profession.

Roy Spencer is a mainstream climate scientist who has developed a convincing method of computing climate sensitivity from satellite data.  He comes up with a climate sensitivity of around one half of a degree.  Not only has he been forced to water down his papers to get published, but in a case where a paper of his was published in an obscure European journal, the editor of the journal was forced to resign (nominally his resignation was voluntary) and humbly apologize for publishing Spencer's paper.  There was nothing wrong with the paper or the procedures and peer review leading to its publication.  What was wrong with the paper is that it was critical of global warming dogma.  Another example is that the MIT scientist Richard Lindzen was the victim of an orchestrated attack when he published a paper suggesting that climate sensitivity is much lower than indicated by the climate models.

A major contradiction in the global warming story is the early 20th-century warming from 1910 to 1940.  This strong warming trend is very similar to the warming trend in the late 20th century from 1970 to 1997.  The early-century warming cannot be attributed to greenhouse gases because world use of fossil fuels was small during that period.  The fact is that nobody knows what caused the early-century warming.  The late-century warming is always attributed exclusively to fossil fuels.  The obvious question is, how do we know that the late-century warming was not caused in major part by the same forces that caused the early-century warming, whatever they may be?  Some scientists think that the cause of both early- and late-century warming may be well-known, multi-decade temperature cycles of unknown cause in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

It's difficult to find an analogy with the global warming mania.  There have been plenty of false or exaggerated environmental scares, but none of them made a claim on the resources of the world economy near what the global warmers are demanding.  The warmers want to scrap most of the world's energy infrastructure in favor of a fantasy involving windmills and solar panels.  The climate science community is kept submissive by domineering leaders in positions of power.  The president's science adviser, John Holdren, is a longtime environmental extremist and promoter of global warming hysteria.  Thomas Karl, another strong advocate of the dogma, holds important positions.  He is head of the National Climatic Data Center and chairman of the National Academy of Sciences Climate Research Committee.  The levers of bureaucratic power are firmly under the control of warmers.

There are, however, incidents of rebellion.  For example, a group of 49 former NASA employees, including astronauts, recently wrote a protest letter requesting that the agency stop blatant promotion of unscientific claims revolving around climate change and global warming.  The key word, of course, is "former" -- any current employees doing the same risk becoming former employees.  NASA, after all, is the home of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies headed by a true fanatic, James Hansen.  Hansen considers coal trains to be death trains and wants to put the heads of energy companies on trial for crimes against humanity.  He has been arrested for protesting in front of the White House.  This from a high civil servant heading an important laboratory for climate research.

The problem that the warmers have is that the mania is rapidly losing steam.  The science has been discredited in one way or another by scientists as well as by amateur bloggers.  The politician allies of the movement are now mostly afraid to utter the words "global warming" because the term has become unpopular with the public.  The failure of subsidized green companies, such as the solar panel company Solyndra, has made the public ever more skeptical.  In order to keep the train on the tracks, the warmers will have to resort to more traditional paths to political influence.  The iron triangle of scientists, environmental organizations, and subsidized industries will have to buy politicians to keep the subsidies flowing.  The global warming movement will have to transform itself from an ideological movement into a special interest seeking government patronage.

There are signs that this is already taking place.  The ethanol industry has been discredited as a low-carbon energy source, and it is clearly an uneconomic waste of the Midwestern corn crop.  Ethanol is propped up by government mandates, and the Obama administration recently decided to increase the percentage of ethanol that refiners are forced to put in gasoline.  Probably this is an attempt to curry favor with corn farmers in electorally important Midwestern states.

Although the global warming mania is losing steam, this is a slow process that could take years.  Totalitarian regimes that hold on to power through fear and reward seem impregnable until they aren't.  They are subject to sudden collapse when the mass of people stop being afraid.  Climate science is such a regime.  But the climate science regime can't arrest people, nor can it fire people who have tenure, and the positions of the high mucky mucks won't last for long if they are subjected to withering criticism from rank-and-file scientists.  We may be near a tipping point -- and I don't mean a climate tipping point.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


5 September, 2012

New paper finds solar activity has a strong influence on Arctic winter severity

A paper published today in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics finds the ice winter severity index over the past 600 years in the Baltic region of the Arctic is "strongly modulated" by solar activity over periods as short as one decade. The authors also found that the 180 year cycle of the Barycenter modulates solar activity and the ice winter severity index.
Solar forcing on the ice winter severity index in the western Baltic region

By  M.C. Leal-Silva &  V.M. Velasco Herrera


The Sun is the fundamental energy sources of the Earth's climate and therefore its variations can contribute to natural climate variations. In the present work we study the variability of ice winter severity index in the Baltic Sea since the 15th century and its possible connection with solar activity, based in a new method for finding and measuring amplitude-phase cross-frequency coupling in time series with a low signal/noise ratio, we suggests that the ice winter severity index in the Baltic Sea is modulated by solar activity and solar motion in several frequency bands during the last 500 yrs. According to our model a strong coupling between the decadal periodicity in the ice winter severity index time series and the secular periodicity of solar activity is present. We found that the ice winter severity index is strongly modulated by solar activity at the decadal periodicity. We also found that the 180 year periodicity of the Barycentre motion modulates the amplitudes of the decadal periodicity of solar activity and the Ice winter severity index. This method represents a useful tool for study the solar-terrestrial relationships.


Obama the legislator again

Between conservatives focusing all their attention on the successes/failures of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and the left having a meltdown over the supposed “racism” and unprecedented disrespect of Clint Eastwood’s “Empty Chair” routine, little attention has been given to an executive order issued last Thursday by President Barack Obama that targets industrial “efficiency” and carbon emissions.

“Today, we are taking another step to strengthen American manufacturing by boosting energy efficiency for businesses across the nation,” said President Obama.

“This action will cut costs, increase efficiency, and help our businesses create strong, middle class jobs.  We’ll continue to do everything we can to put more people back to work and build an economy that lasts,” he added.

The order, which aims to increase the number of cogeneration plants in the U.S. by 50 percent by 2020 and slash carbon emissions by 150 million tons per year, is the administration’s latest effort to “deploy cleaner and more efficient energy production in the country by working around political resistance to climate change and ‘green’ energy legislation on Capitol Hill,” Reuters reports.

“The Federal Government has limited but important authorities to overcome … barriers, and our efforts to support investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP [Combined heat and power] should involve coordinated engagement with a broad set of stakeholders,” the order says.

Translation: If duly elected representatives of the people get in the way of “climate change” (formerly known as “global warming,“ formerly known as ”global cooling”) legislation, work around them.
Support WFP

“The man is legislating by presidential fiat!” conservative author and radio show host Mark Levin said Friday. “This is unconstitutional.”

The order dictates that the Departments of Energy, Commerce, and Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency coordinate their actions to provide “policy and technical assistance” to states in order to ensure energy efficiency targets are being met.

What could possibly go wrong?

The order also “establishes a new national goal of 40 gigawatts of new combined heat and power capacity by 2020, a 50% increase from today,” according to a statement from the White House.

“Meeting this goal would save energy users $10 billion per year, result in $40 to $80 billion in new capital investment in manufacturing and other facilities that would create American jobs, and would reduce emissions equivalent to 25 million cars,” the statement adds.

Sure, it sounds nice and (like most things in this administration) it promises a great return on investment, but are there any possible downsides to this executive order?

“This is a fiat from on high for these utilities to change the way they process energy — an enormous capital expense and many of them are going to close down,” Levin argued. “And they only have eight years to do it as part of this ‘cap-and-trade,‘ ’green’ energy, ‘climate change’ bull crap.”

“You’re going to see your bills go up, up, and up some more. And you’re going to see brownouts and one day blackouts,” he added.

But more than the possible economic burden the order may cause, Levin takes umbrage with the fact that the president keeps issuing these types of orders.

“The fact of the matter is he doesn’t have the power to mandate this. We don’t have a king who decides, ‘you know what? You utilities, this is how you’re going to process energy.’ Imperial president! … [T]he very nature of our government, our very constitution is under attack,” Levin said Friday.


Do as I Say, Not as I …

Even as the Energy Department preaches energy conservation and efficiency, it is failing to take advantage of readily available, low-cost opportunities to reduce its energy consumption, the department’s inspector general said in a report released on Tuesday.
Some electricity meters went unmonitored at the Y-12 national security complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.Department of EnergySome electricity meters went unmonitored at the Y-12 national security complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

At the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, for example, a 2009 audit found that the site could save $53,000 a year by taking a single low-tech step that would cost $7,000: installing variable speed drives on air-moving equipment. That would have allowed air to be delivered or removed at the appropriate volumes rather than having systems start up and shut down over and over, which consumes far more energy. Installing fans to move air around in buildings and even out the temperature would save $15,000 a year and cost just $1,400.

Oak Ridge and a nearby site, Y-12, have also failed to determine whether heating and lighting systems for buildings are operating as  intended, the audit said. Some meters were not functioning at Y-12 , but managers did not notice, the report added.

At the moment, managers at Y-12 are trying to fix security problems that allowed three pacifists led by an 82-year-old nun to creep up to what was supposed to be a heavily defended building where nuclear bomb fuel is stored.. The building’s electric meters are apparently well protected, however; workers recorded the same reading for one of them for nearly five years because it was behind a locked door and inaccessible, the auditors found. Another meter was removed during a construction project and was not reinstalled, but plant personnel recorded the same estimated reading for it month after month for almost five years.

In addition to energy-related activities, the department is involved in nuclear weapons maintenance and cleanups of waste from nuclear weapons manufacturing. The department has 47 major sites, and the annual energy cost of its buildings is around $277 million, according to the inspector general. The department does produce a stream of scholarly reports on how to save energy, however.

In some places, the department has achieved substantial savings. But as with most of the rest of America, energy conservation sometimes seems like goal No. 11 on the Top 10 list of things to get done, judging from the report. The department’s excuses sounded a lot like everybody else’s. One was that because its energy users were not billed directly for usage, “there is little financial incentive to conserve energy.’’ This is a familiar problem in the private sector, where tenants who do not pay a separate electric bill often do not try to reduce their consumption.

Energy Department managers told the auditors it was often difficult to balance their chief mission goals with energy conservation measures, the report said. The rationale calls to mind the homeowners and commercial office managers who say their daily lives are too busy for them to make energy fixes.

Like an overweight person admitting that he or she might benefit from a diet, the Energy Department mostly agreed with the auditors’ findings.


Florida sea turtle numbers UP, but that's bad too

You would think that a rise in numbers accompanying a rise in temperature would be reassuring but there's no such thing as a happy Greenie

Canaveral National Seashore and neighboring beaches in central Florida are reporting record numbers of loggerhead sea turtle nests, a promising change from a decade-long drop.

But now a new threat is looming: rising temperatures. Summers are gradually getting warmer at Canaveral. And with climate change scenarios projecting the trend to continue, there's increasing concern it might get so hot that the eggs literally fry.

This could mean trouble especially for the male of the species, which is already at a disadvantage in Florida. Sea turtle biologists have long used the adage "hot mamas, cool dads" as a reminder that loggerhead sea turtles become male or female based on the temperature when their eggs incubate — higher temperatures make them females.

With the prospect of even hotter weather as a backdrop, the interplay between temperatures and sea turtle eggs is the basis for a study by University of Central Florida graduate student Monette Auman, who is tracking nest temperatures and hatching success of some loggerhead sea turtle nests at Canaveral National Seashore.

"It's an interesting subject to discuss because there are questions like, what does an overabundance of females mean to the population?" Auman said. "And what happens if rising temperatures put sea turtles in a more precarious situation?"

From 2001 to 2011, average temperatures at Canaveral were 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit higher than they were from 1961 to 1990, according to a new study released by two environmental groups, the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and the National Resources Defense Council.

Climate change scenarios suggest that average temperatures could continue to increase an additional 1.8 to 4 degrees by 2060, the report said.

Loggerhead sea turtles are protected under federal law as a threatened species, and Florida beaches are home to 90% of the nation's loggerhead nests, making the state's shoreline crucial to the species' survival. The marine turtle nests are closely tracked, and regulations protect them from human interference.


Romney finds a good  middle ground

Mitt Romney:

I am not a scientist myself, but my best assessment of the data is that the world is getting warmer, that human activity contributes to that warming, and that policymakers should therefore consider the risk of negative consequences. However, there remains a lack of scientific consensus on the issue — on the extent of the warming, the extent of the human contribution, and the severity of the risk — and I believe we must support continued debate and investigation within the scientific community.

Ultimately, the science is an input to the public policy decision; it does not dictate a particular policy response. President Obama has taken the view that if global warming is occurring, the American response must be to slash carbon dioxide emissions by imposing enormous costs on the U.S. economy. First he tried a massive cap-and-trade bill that would have devastated U.S. industry. When that approach was rejected by Congress, he declared his intention to pursue the same course on his own and proceeded through his EPA to impose rules that will bankrupt the coal industry.

Nowhere along the way has the President indicated what actual results his approach would achieve — and with good reason. The reality is that the problem is called Global Warming, not America Warming. China long ago passed America as the leading emitter of greenhouse gases. Developed world emissions have leveled off while developing world emissions continue to grow rapidly, and developing nations have no interest in accepting economic constraints to change that dynamic. In this context, the primary effect of unilateral action by the U.S. to impose costs on its own emissions will be to shift industrial activity overseas to nations whose industrial processes are more emissions-intensive and less environmentally friendly. That result may make environmentalists feel better, but it will not better the environment.

So I oppose steps like a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system that would handicap the American economy and drive manufacturing jobs away, all without actually addressing the underlying problem. Economic growth and technological innovation, not economy-suppressing regulation, is the key to environmental protection in the long run. So I believe we should pursue what I call a “No Regrets” policy — steps that will lead to lower emissions, but that will benefit America regardless of whether the risks of global warming materialize and regardless of whether other nations take effective action.

For instance, I support robust government funding for research on efficient, low-emissions technologies that will maintain American leadership in emerging industries. And I believe the federal government must significantly streamline the regulatory framework for the deployment of new energy technologies, including a new wave of investment in nuclear power. These steps will strengthen American industry, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and produce the economically-attractive technologies that developing nations must have access to if they are to achieve the reductions in their own emissions that will be necessary to address what is a global issue.


Australia: A win for brown coal (lignite) power stations

Heh!  The Feds have realized that they cannot afford to close Australia's cheapest electricity generators. It must put noses out of joint that super-correct Germany is actually building more of them  -- even though lignite puts out about 8% more CO2 than black coal.  One of the Victorian generators has the world's highest emissions of CO2! Very good for plantlife

THE federal government has abandoned plans to pay some of Australia's dirtiest coal-fired power generators to shut down under its co-called contract for closure program.

Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said the government could not be satisfied that entering into such arrangements would achieve value for money against the program's objectives.

"The contract for closure negotiations have taken place constructively and in good faith but there remains a material gap between the level of compensation generators have sought and what the government is prepared to pay," Mr Ferguson said in a statement on Wednesday.

The program had sought to support the closure of around 2000 megawatts of highly emissions-intensive generation capacity by 2020.  But a June 30 deadline for locking in a deal has already been and gone.

Mr Ferguson said forecasts for lower energy demand in Australia "presented serious questions around the value-for-money evaluation of proposals".

He insisted last week's decision to scrap a proposed $15-per-tonne floor price for Labor's emissions trading scheme - which starts in mid-2015 - and instead link the ETS with Europe's scheme was not a factor.

The government had been negotiating possible closures with Hazelwood, Yallourn and Energy Brix power stations in Victoria as well as Playford in South Australia and Collinsville in Queensland.

The federal energy minister said the $200 million regional structural adjustment assistance program would still be available to support communities significantly affected by the government's carbon price regime.

A $23-a-tonne carbon tax was introduced on July 1 this year.

Environment groups on Wednesday said if the dirtiest coal-fired power stations didn't accept payments to close down generation they shouldn't receive any other carbon tax compensation.

"If these facilities now claim they have a profitable future and their asset values remain high, then there is no public policy justification for the compensation payments that are coming at great cost to Australian taxpayers," Environment Victoria campaign director Mark Wakeham said in a statement.

Four stations in Victoria's Latrobe Valley received the lion's share of $1 billion delivered mid-year to help coal-fired generators cope with the carbon tax.

Hazelwood received $266 million, Yallourn pocketed $257 million, Loy Yang Power got $240 million and Loy Yang B received $117 million.

The cash was the first tranche of assistance from the federal government's $5.5 billion energy security fund.

It will be followed by annual allocations of 42 million free carbon permits from 2013/14 to 2016/17 to assist highly emissions-intensive power stations.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


4 September, 2012

"Global Green USA" flunks math

If they were real scientists, they would be able to convert millimeters into feet and inches.  They use both measurement methods but are obviously unaware that 200mm converts to about 8"

Among other challenges, climate change is causing our sea levels to rise and putting our coastal cities -- and billions of people -- at risk across the globe.


Below, some alarming facts about the increasingly rapid rate of ice shelf melting.

 *  Sea level has risen four to 10 inches this past century and is projected to rise up to three feet by 2100.

 *  For every foot of sea level rise, we can expect about 100 feet of coastal flooding.

 *  As much as 33% of coastal land and wetland habitats are likely to be lost in the next hundred years if the level of the ocean continues to rise at its present rate. (Source)

 *  Sea level has risen by more than two millimeters per year on average since the late 19th century, the steepest rate for more than 2,100 years. (Source)

 *  The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass at an accelerating pace. The findings of a NASA-funded satellite study indicate that these ice sheets are overtaking ice loss from Earth's mountain glaciers and ice caps to become the dominant contributor to global sea level rise -- much sooner than model forecasts have predicted. (Source)


A reply from James Macdonald [], a retired meteorologist

Your article on sea level rise contains ridiculous predictions.   Based on the present rate of sea level rise, which even your article pegs at about 2 millimeters per year, the rise for the next century would only be about 8 inches, not three feet!    Statements that it is accelerating are pure nonsense.   Worldwide, there has been no warming in the last 14 years.  Only in the United States have we had a warm year so far after a very cold winter two years ago.   At the same time the Arctic regions have been colder than normal for the past 12 months. The Southern hemisphere has also had no warming.  The major icecaps are not melting and the South Pole ice is getting thicker..

This all adds up to no acceleration of sea level rise.  No one knows whether our climate will get warmer or colder in the next century.  This will be governed by the sun and the ocean oscillations.

Inconvenient Truth: CO2 Disconnect With Global Temperature Continues!

By Joe Bastardi

With climate change a huge issue this election season, we should review the latest facts on the matter. In this chart, CO2 continues its rise. The global temperatures, however, have not only leveled off, they have begun to fall. This result is in line with natural climate cycle theory.

If the admission to the school of your choice, be it Cornell, or lets say Columbia or Harvard, depended on you answering this question -- "Given the facts presented in the chart above, is CO2 driving the Earth’s temperature?" -- how would you answer it?


Southern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperatures Declining For 16 Years

As shown even in a major Warmist dataset.  Note that this  covers  half of the globe so there is clearly no GLOBAL warming going on

HadSST has updated through July, and now shows 16 years of temperature decline.


EU wimps out on 30% emissions target

The European Union appears unlikely to adopt tougher targets for carbon emissions this year after an official at the UN climate talks in Bangkok was quoted as saying further cuts were ‘wishful thinking’.

The EU’s current ambitions for 2020 involve reducing emissions by 20% on 1990 levels, improving energy efficiency by 20% and increasing the share of renewables in the bloc’s energy mix by 20%.

In recent months there have been moves for the EU to increase those 2020 targets to 25% or 30%, but a report from the PushEurope campaign group reveals that at an informal session of the UN talks currently taking place in Bangkok an EU official said: “25% is not reality, it is wishful thinking.”

PushEurope also claims the EU official confirmed discussions on the 2020 targets had been closed, so they could focus on emissions reductions for 2030 – meaning that it will not consider further progress on emissions reductions for another decade.

The UN talks were “unlikely to see changes in pledges this year or in other parts of the world”, the official was reported as saying.

If this is now an official EU policy it will come as a blow to climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard, who has been a vocal supporter of adopting a more ambitious goal.

The 30% emissions reductions target is a proposal supported by a number of leading EU states, notably the UK.

EU member states are responsible for approximately 11% of global emissions, so in one sense an argument over 20% or 25% could be seen as splitting hairs.

But where the EU leads others follow, particularly on key issues such as the Kyoto Protocol, emissions trading and efficiency standards, which is why the bloc’s policy pronouncements are so important.


Germany -- Insane Or Just Plain Stupid?

Beware sarcasm below

After the tsunami destroyed the Fukushima plants, Germany moved quickly to shut eight nuclear power plants, and made plans do away completely with their nuclear capability. Despite the best safety record of any industry in the country, and the critical role nuclear plays in fueling German industry, Germany’s past experience with large tsunamis [Germany does have a small West-facing coastline but an Atlantic tsunami would not reach it because there are some large islands in the way  -- the British Isles] was just too horrific to ignore. And Germany’s strong economy and commitment to protect the environment were small prices to pay for Chancellor Merkel to shore up her weak coalition with the Free Democrats. Maybe she can ask Greece for help later.

But don’t worry. Germany is building about 25 clean coal-fired power plants to offset the loss of nuclear and address Germany’s admittedly “unaffordably expensive and unreliable” renewable portfolio (Der Spiegel). The German Green Party can now celebrate the opening of a 2,200 MW coal-fired power plant near Cologne. It started spewing out its annual, relatively clean, 13 million tons of CO2, and other nasties, so much lower than those older dirty coal plants that would have put out 15 million tons of CO2 for the same power output.

We usually give the Germans credit for being rational, but this coal plant will emit over one million times more carbon this year than all of their nuclear plants would have over the next 20 years, and cost over twice as much to run as any one of the them. Germany’s present strategy will absolutely not allow them to reduce their carbon emissions anywhere near their goal of 40% by 2020.

Unless the German people give up the nice parts of their lifestyle and become insanely efficient, they most likely will not reduce their emissions at all by 2020.

But the new Federal Environment Minister, Peter Altmaier, was quite excited during his discussion of the new coal plant, “The new power plant is an impressive example of how the high levels of efficiency of modern coal- and gas-fired power plants not only help to reduce carbon emissions but can also make an outstanding contribution to the success of energy industry transformation”

Wow, this coal plant is flexible indeed. It has a purported efficiency of 43%, up 10% from old plants. It can ramp up and down within minutes to meet renewable’s intermittency. It burns lignite coal, the cleanest of all coal [it puts out most CO2 of all  -- JR], of which Germany has plenty. And at $3.4 billion, it’s a steal.

And it comes in the nick of time for German industry. Thanks to their Renewable Energy Act (EEG) and the shutting of their nuclear plants, the country’s energy costs are skyrocketing and driving German manufacturing out of business or off-shore

The EEG is simple: renewables get a guaranteed high price for their electricity for almost a decade, the utilities have to take it onto the grid in front of all other energy sources, they have to buy it at rates way-above market value, and the difference is paid for by the average citizen at the end of each month.

What could go wrong?

Electricity costs are going up more rapidly than expected because Germany failed to integrate this EEG plan into the larger infrastructure development needed to implement it. The grid can’t handle it, the transmission system is not there, and the power disruptions and brownouts are wreaking havoc on the country’s energy reliability. And the consumer is expected to pay even more to fix these problems in the short-term.

No one thought Germany would be insane enough to shut down their nuclear plants, without a reason and without backup, when it was producing the cheapest energy in Europe. In fact, Germany’s nuclear production was the only economic way to implement the EEG, even if nuclear was to be phased out early as the new mix matured. And they could still be restarted relatively quickly and cheaply.

But it better be quick, because all German industrial and manufacturing sectors – steel, aluminum, paper, cement, plastics, chemical – are migrating to countries with cheaper electricity as energy and carbon-costs are eating up to 50% of their expenses. Almost one in five German industrial companies plans to, or already has, shifted capacities abroad

ThyssenKrupp, Germany’s largest steelmaker, expects 5,000 job losses because of high electricity prices, and recently sold its Krefeld stainless steel mill to a Finnish competitor, devastating a little town on the Rhine. The Düsseldorf-based conglomerate GEA closed its zinc plant in nearby Datteln. Europe’s largest copper producer, Aurubis of Hamburg, announced plans to move some operations abroad, especially to Asia and South America, where energy is cheaper. Aluminum manufacturer Norsk Hydro substantially cut back production in its Neuss plant, having shut down two production lines completely, and forcing the plant’s 450 workers to reduced hours.

Even legislation pending in the European Union to remove the carbon-costs may not keep these companies in Germany.

Seemingly unwitting, the green energy sector forgets that they also need steel, cement, and plastic, a fact noted, ironically, by the left-leaning Social Democratic Party Chairman Sigmar Gabriel.

As expected in the vicious circle started by all this, social unrest is just beginning. The average household in Germany will be paying almost double for energy next year compared to last year. Many of Germany’s poor and unemployed are on fixed energy credits, and can’t afford either the increased electricity costs or the cost of energy-efficient appliances that could counter their rising monthly bills. Wealthy citizens can install solar panels and actually make money on them.

Unfortunately, the middle-class is bearing the brunt of the tax burden for both the industry and the poor, as well as paying the bulk of the increasing monthly costs. Soon Germany may not have the economic engine to carry the rest of Europe through its financial crisis. Merkel will have to find another coalition or her government may fall.

So it’s a perfect storm for coal to come to the rescue. I mean, it’s clean, right?


Warmists bribe bloggers with paid junket

Are you a budding blogger with an interest in the environment? Or maybe a video journalist with a passion for social issues? Well, if you are and also happen to be between 18-30 years old, then the ‘Adopt a Negotiator’ project is for you. They are on the look out for talented people to join their delegation to the UN COP18 conference in the hope of securing a better deal for the climate and the world’s citizens at the next climate summit.

Sébastien Duyck from AaN explains more about the project: “We bring young (18-30) people and bloggers to the main meetings of the UN climate talks to push for stronger climate action, mainly through the use of social media. So as we are now seeking new candidates to join our delegation to the UN COP18 conference, we would like to invite several regional representatives to join us.

“Hopefully we can contribute to raising awareness at the regional level and build the capacity of local young people for the benefit of their networks after the conference.” AaN, which is a project of the Global Campaign for Climate Action, have a number of fellowships available so if you’re interested then do get in touch. Applications received before 22nd August will be given priority, so no time like the present!

Fellows will be provided with:

 *   The opportunity to play a specific role to promote progressive climate policies in your country;

*   The chance to be part of a team with many other amazing young activists/bloggers;

* All support needed from our team and partner during the coming months (networking, capacity building);

*    Transportation to Doha, accommodation and a generous per diem [payment] during the Doha Climate Change Conference




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  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 and here


3 September, 2012

Yummy CO2 being gobbled up by plant life

The subject of human carbon dioxide emissions and their build up in Earth's atmosphere is at the center of the anthropogenic global warming controversy. It cannot be denied that humans produce CO2 in large amounts, both from burning fossil fuels and from land use changes. This has led to much gnashing of teeth and renting [rending?  JR] of garments by excitable ecological doomsayers, but there is something they do not mention: at the same time humanity is spewing forth carbon, nature is busily sucking up that carbon and storing it away. A new analysis of the carbon cycle has produced an unexpected result—not only is the absorption of carbon continuing unabated it has actually expanded. The latest scientific tally indicates that since 1959, approximately 350 billion tons of carbon have been emitted by humans to the atmosphere, of which about 55% has been reabsorbed by the land and oceans.

That Earth's ecology absorbs CO2 has long been known; it is, after all, plant food. Living organisms in ocean waters and on the land absorb carbon from carbon dioxide and sequester it for periods of time ranging from decades to millions of years. The various pathways of this absorption are called sinks. If all the sources of carbon into the environment are matched by the carbon sinks removing carbon then the carbon cycle would be perfectly balanced. But contrary to statements by unscientific simpletons, nature is never in a static balance—it is always in a constant state of tension, of flux, as various processes contend.

Knowing that the sinks are not static has caused many climate change alarmists to issue dire warnings that the sinks would somehow fill up and stop absorbing mankind's carbon effluent. This prediction is interesting, since science does not even know all the mechanisms behind carbon absorption. In fact, for years researchers have been working to identify what has been labeled the “missing sink.” Quoting from chapter 7 of The Resilient Earth:
    "For more than three decades, the attention of biologists and ecologists studying the global carbon cycle has focused on an apparent imbalance in the carbon budget. The so-called “missing sink” is a result of the following equation:

    Atmospheric CO2 Increase = Human Emissions + Land Use – Ocean Uptake

    This equation is simple enough: the amount of carbon produced by humans plus the carbon produced by other living things, less the amount absorbed by the oceans, must end up as atmospheric CO2. But, if actual numbers are used, the equation does not balance.

    The average annual emissions of 8.5 Gt during the 1990s, 6.3 Gt from fossil fuels and 2.2 Gt from land use, are greater than the sum of the annual buildup of carbon in the atmosphere (3.2 Gt) and the annual uptake by the oceans (2.4 Gt). Here, land use includes carbon from decaying dead vegetation, soil organic matter, and wood products less the uptake by regrowing ecosystems. An additional sink of 2.9 Gt is required to balance the carbon budget. Though this is a small amount, over time, it adds up, 115 Gt of missing carbon over the period 1850-2000."

As we reported in TRE, despite the best efforts of scientists to account for the “missing” carbon, no good answer has been found. There has been a lot of work in this area yet no one knowledgeable in the field would say that every sink has been identified.

This, of course, has not stopped the argument over continued absorption, with most of the climate catastrophists arguing that the rate must decline or, at best, struggle to remain steady. A recent study in Nature by A. P. Ballantyne and colleagues has shed new light on the short term carbon cycle with a painstaking survey of carbon sources and atmospheric CO2 levels over the past 50 years. The main result of the study can be gleaned from the letter's title, “Increase in observed net carbon dioxide uptake by land and oceans during the past 50 years.” More detail is available from the paper abstract:
    One of the greatest sources of uncertainty for future climate predictions is the response of the global carbon cycle to climate change. Although approximately one-half of total CO2 emissions is at present taken up by combined land and ocean carbon reservoirs, models predict a decline in future carbon uptake by these reservoirs, resulting in a positive carbon–climate feedback. Several recent studies suggest that rates of carbon uptake by the land and ocean have remained constant or declined in recent decades. Other work, however, has called into question the reported decline. Here we use global-scale atmospheric CO2 measurements, CO2 emission inventories and their full range of uncertainties to calculate changes in global CO2 sources and sinks during the past 50 years. Our mass balance analysis shows that net global carbon uptake has increased significantly by about 0.05 billion tonnes of carbon per year and that global carbon uptake doubled, from 2.4 ± 0.8 to 5.0 ± 0.9 billion tonnes per year, between 1960 and 2010. Therefore, it is very unlikely that both land and ocean carbon sinks have decreased on a global scale. Since 1959, approximately 350 billion tonnes of carbon have been emitted by humans to the atmosphere, of which about 55 per cent has moved into the land and oceans. Thus, identifying the mechanisms and locations responsible for increasing global carbon uptake remains a critical challenge in constraining the modern global carbon budget and predicting future carbon–climate interactions.

Bottom line—carbon uptake is not diminishing; in fact, it has actually doubled over the last five decades. Without that doubling humanity would have added more than twice the amount of CO2 to the atmosphere as we did. While the abstract nicely captures the overall message of the paper, there are more interesting details contained in the report's body.

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

2012 Arctic Ice Melt Claims Distorted And Inaccurate. It’s the Wind Stupid

by Dr. Tim Ball

Recently I identified a counterattack trying to defend the failed anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis. Claims about Arctic ice melt this summer (2012) are another example. Data and analysis are wrong, but they need to scare a disinterested public.

I know about arctic sea ice from flying ice and anti-submarine patrols on Canada’s east coat for four years then five years search and rescue in the Arctic. I later worked with members of the Canadian Polar Shelf Project and researchers producing Hudson Bay ice reconstructions.

Claims of declining ice conditions use satellite records that produced results after 1980. Mark Serreze, Director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) publicly attacked “anti-science misinformers” and used this data to claim sea ice is at a record low of 4.1 million sq. km. Anthony Watts shows this was belied by another NSIDC “new and improved” measure of 4.7 million sq. km.

Apparently to deflect criticisms of conclusions from a short 32 year record, Kinnard (2008), and Walsh and Chapman produced reconstruction of past conditions. They say,

    “In order to extend diagnoses of recent sea-ice variations beyond the past few decades, a century-scale digital dataset of Arctic sea-ice coverage has been compiled. For recent decades, the compilation utilizes satellite-derived hemispheric datasets. Regional datasets based primarily on ship reports and aerial reconnaissance are the primary inputs for the earlier part of the 20th century.”

These reconstructions have no value. As the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) said,

    “The observational database for the Arctic is quite limited, with few long-term stations and a paucity of observations in general.”

If you can’t measure accurately with satellites, it’s impossible from the historic record.

NSIDC’s different results between models illustrate the problem. Other agencies get different estimates again. NOAA says the ice level is 5.1 million while NATICE interactive maps show over 6.1 million (diagram).

The NATICE map illustrates the problem of determining ice extent. Notice there are no 100% ice areas. Prevailing Polar Easterlies drive the pack ice in a constant movement around the Pole creating wind driven open areas. Other large open areas include polynas. Satellites are fooled by meltwater on top of the ice and vast areas of broken and slush ice (yellow). How would you define ice and its limits in this Bering Straits satellite image?

For Arctic information the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 used the ACIA report. It said,

    “Over the course of millions of years, the Arctic has experienced climatic conditions that have ranged from one extreme to another.”

Within the last 10,000 years several periods were warmer than today. Longest was the Holocene Optimum between 8000 and 5000 years ago (ya); the Minoan Warm Period 3400 ya; the Roman Warm Period 2400 ya; the Medieval Warm Period 1000 ya and most recently the 1930s warm period.

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

Science or PR?

Why do ‘official’ climate scientists need spin doctors? Because they practice politics not science. Climategate like Watergate was completely undone by the cover up of disgraceful behavior disclosed in emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in November 2009.

The first 1000 emails included some selected to expose behavior unacceptable even without knowledge of climatology. Others show how the anthropogneic global warming (AGW) science was conjured. Exposure of CRU members was important because they dominated and controlled the major portions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports. The leaks achieved their objective of derailing the political program of the Conference of the Parties (COP) 15 in Copenhagen. The COP was in a bind because they’re starting point is IPCC science.

The University of East Anglia (UEA) hired Neil Wallis of Outside Organization to handle the fall out. Wallis, a former News of The World editor was later arrested in connection with the egregious phone hacking scandals. The emails exposed politicized climate science so political spin-doctors were required. University spokesperson Trevor Davies said it was a “reputation management” problem, which he said they don’t handle well. Apparently telling the truth was rejected.

George Monbiot of the Guardian who championed IPCC work and attacked ‘skeptics’, asked, “why was CRU’s response to this issue such a total car crash.” Simple, because they were deceiving you, the politicians and the public.

Spin-doctors organized two investigation panels that separated out the science and limited their investigation. The cover-up was transparent. Clive Crook, The Atlantic Senior editor wrote:

“I had hoped, not very confidently, that the various Climategate inquiries would be severe. This would have been a first step towards restoring confidence in the scientific consensus. But no, the reports make things worse. At best they are mealy-mouthed apologies; at worst they are patently incompetent and even wilfully wrong. The climate-science establishment, of which these inquiries have chosen to make themselves a part, seems entirely incapable of understanding, let alone repairing, the harm it has done to its own cause.”

Investigations concluded behavior was within normal interchanges and activities among scientists. It’s difficult to reach that conclusion reading the emails.

Emboldened by the apparent success of these defensive strategies those involved in the corrupted science believe, if you’ll pardon the pun, they’ve weathered the storm. As a result they’ve launched a PR orchestrated counterattack, evidenced by uniform phrases used by many people. One of these was return of the consensus argument. A recent survey by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) said, “98% of all scientists believe in global warming”. It was a contrived result that wasn’t a consensus in the real meaning of the term.

They can’t make new scientific claims because the hypothesis that human CO2 is causing global warming was destroyed when temperatures declined starting in 2000 and CO2 levels continued to rise. So they’re claiming the evidence they produced was correct.

Major evidence produced in the 2001 IPCC Report was the “hockey stick”. It rewrote history by eliminating the warmer than today Medieval Warm Period (MWP). Two problems, the MWP did occur and the data selection and statistical analysis used was shown to be seriously flawed. Michael Mann, one of the authors of the hockey stick and lead author of the IPCC chapter in which it was used, produced a book in February 2012 titled The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars. Two other independent committees reached the same conclusion that

“the original hockey stick was created by a biased methodology.”

Mann claims the findings are still valid and he and his colleagues are victims of orchestrated personal attacks. Unfortunately, the findings and methods are still invalid. More important the MWP does exist as hundreds of papers affirm

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

Tweet shows journalist as an unquestioning mental midget

The Tweet:
Garrett Haake @GarrettNBCNews

    Romney has dismissed man-made climate change & joked about rising oceans. Today he'll see effects of both in flooded south Louisiana

Who are these people? Who are these so-called reporters and journalists who not only believe this utter nonsense (remember when there were no hurricanes pre-industrialization?) but who are so arrogant and bubbled they just tweet this propaganda as though it doesn’t matter

Garrett Haake obviously think it's okay to tweet this unthinking, unscientific, historically ignorant nonsense because he sees it -- as OBJECTIVE TRUTH. You know, like water is wet and up is higher than down.

And this is what happens when you live in a bubble -- you actually start to believe that if we increase fuel standards hurricanes will go away.

Moreover, now we have yet another look at how impossible it is for Romney to get anything close to objective coverage from those covering the campaign. Look at what Romney's up against in just the few words of that tweet -- a roaring moron who believes that if we cut carbon emissions… hurricanes will go away.

Haake epitomizes the anti-scientific, theocratic thinking of the Our Gaia Of the Global Warming Church.

Biased, arrogant, and hopelessly ignorant -- the corrupt media in a nutshell.


Australia: Hopes of slashing greenhouse emissions just blowing in the wind

The early signs are that a $23 carbon tax has displaced some marginal high-cost generation in South Australia and Queensland, but it is too soon to say whether this is a trend or coincidence.

But any gains are swamped by the findings of a two-year analysis of Victoria's wind-farm developments by mechanical engineer Hamish Cumming.

His analysis shows that despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from green energy schemes driven by the renewable energy target, Victoria's wind-farm developments have saved virtually zero carbon dioxide emissions in the state.

A forensic examination of publicly available power-supply data shows Victoria's carbon-intensive brown-coal power stations do not reduce the amount of coal they burn when wind power is available to the grid.

independent energy analysts who say it is more efficient to keep a brown-coal power-station running than turn it down and then back up.

Without gas or some other form of peaking power supply the Victorian electricity system is not equipped for the vagaries of wind power.

Even in SA, which uses gas, not coal, for base-load power and makes much greater use of wind, Cumming estimates the cost of greenhouse gas abatement at $1484 a tonne.

Cumming used data published by the Australian Energy Market Operator, which tracks power sector generation every five minutes.

The results showed fossil fuel generators, in the same periods when wind turbines had been operating, fluctuated their output to match demand but did not reduce their rate of coal consumption.

In an email to Cumming, electricity generator IPR-GDF SUEZ Australia confirmed his findings.

"Given that the power stations mentioned are all 'baseload', their generation output is relatively constant 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, other than due to minor fluctuations depending on market demand and/or shutdown of generation units for maintenance or repairs," a company spokesman said.

Cumming says his investigation demonstrates how green energy theories do not always match the facts.

A two-year email exchange between Cumming and energy companies and government regulators shows how the industry would prefer to rely on models than real-world data.

In response to questions from Inquirer, the AEMO admits that wind power presents some "challenges" but says it does displace greenhouse gas emissions from coal and gas.

"When wind is blowing and generating electricity it displaces coal and gas-fire plant in the dispatch merit order," AEMO principal media adviser Melissa Baldwin says. "As a result, fossil fuel fired plant burns less coal (or gas)."

In theory, maybe.

Cumming references an AEMO presentation to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission where the AEMO showed that for the wind farms in SA in 2009 the greenhouse gas abatement was only 3 per cent of the total capacity of the wind farms installed.

This equated to a 0.6 per cent reduction of greenhouse gases for the entire state's electrical generation from fossil fuels.

Since then Cumming says he has established that even with the continued expansion of wind farms in South Australia, the AEMO figures show the abatement has risen to only about 4 per cent of the installed capacity, or just more than 1 per cent greenhouse gas abatement.

This is the same figure that was established in the past three months in The Netherlands and presented to the Dutch parliament. The Netherlands report suggests the greenhouse gas used to build and maintain a wind farm will not be abated even across the total life of the wind farm.

Cumming says this is exactly what he has been telling the state and federal government for the past three years.

He says the greenhouse gas savings in Victoria are even less.

In a letter to Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark, Cumming said the owners of Yallourn, Hazelwood and Loy Yang power stations had confirmed in writing that the power stations combined consume about 7762 tonnes of coal an hour.

"They have confirmed that the power stations do not change the coal feed intake 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The coal consumed by these three power stations alone makes base-load power available at a rate of 6650 megawatts," Cumming wrote. "Victoria also burns coal powering an additional emergency standby of 630 megawatts, according to Sustainable Victoria documents that were presented in your Mortlake Planning Panel. Victoria's demand only exceeds 6650MW generally for less than 10 hours every 72, and rarely exceeds 7200MW.

"AEMO five-minute data shows that peaks are picked up (ones that exceed base load) by Hydro or fossil fuel generators."

Cumming has called for Victoria's wind developments to be stripped of public subsidies.

"I have now confirmed that Acciona is not abating any GHG at all, nor has it ever nor will it during the life of the project," Cumming wrote to Clark. "Can you please arrange for a full forensic carbon audit to be performed on Acciona Waubra, and when you also conclude that it is not abating GHG, make it repay the RECs (renewable energy certificates) and other subsidies it is claiming, and ensure Acciona is charged a carbon tax of approximately $15m that it owes."

Hugh Saddler, managing director of Sustainability Advice Team Pty Ltd, says brown-coal power stations in particular are designed and built to operate on a continuous load basis. "You can see that in the longer term, in term of emissions policy, you would get a better outcome from closing down one of the brown-coal power stations altogether and using some more gas for the load following," he says.

In response to Cumming's findings, David Clarke, senior manager, community relations for Acciona Energy, which operates the Waubra wind farm, said a SKM report commissioned by the Clean Energy Council found "a 100MW wind farm operating at 35 per cent capacity factor would each year on average reduce emissions by 26,700 tonnes in the National Electricity Market." And a Sustainability Victoria commissioned report in 2006 found "abatement of between 0.25 and 0.31 million tonnes per annum for the 100MW".

However, Cumming said the reports on greenhouse gas abatement did not take into account the continuation of burning coal during the time the wind farms were operational.

"The reports you refer to are theoretical abatements, not real facts. Coal was still burnt and therefore little if any GHG was really abated," he told Clarke.

"Rather than trying to convince me with reports done by or for the wind industry, or the government departments promoting the industry, I challenge you to give me actual coal consumption data in comparison to wind generation times data that supports your argument.

"The AEMO data for this clearly shows Waubra is not abating any GHG, nor has it since the first day it began operation."  


When Figures Lie: Chevy Volt Puts the Government in Government Motors

If there was any doubt from skeptics about the complicity of the Obama administration in creating and directing the “new” General Motors –a.k.a Government Motors- the latest ballyhoo regarding sales figures and the Chevy Volt should convince even the doubters.
GM: Aug. Volt sales best yet says the Detroit News.

GM Expects Volt Sales to Set Monthly Record says the normally sane Wall Street Journal.

Chevy Volt broke monthly sales record in August reports the Associated Press.

But like a lot of claims coming from Obama or one his corporate surrogates, the Volt sales numbers surely aren’t signs of success, but rather just the opposite. And if the doublespeak doesn’t point to government involvement in the development, sale and ultimate failure of the Volt, it certainly betrays a government mentality that believes that perception matters more than results.

And the difference between Obama’s perception and the actual results in our economy is the chasm where all of our jobs have gone.

Because General Motors has sold only half the number of Volts that they said they would this year, and the company is idling the Volt production line to retool it for a car that’s actually selling: the Chevy Impala.

Investors aren’t fooled, even if some journalists and a few metroed, urban hipsters are.

From MarketWatch:
GM has suspended production of the all-electric car for a month so they can retool the plant to make more Chevy Impalas. Read more about the Volt’s production issues.

But not many are buying the company’s explanation or the car, for that matter. So far this year, GM has sold about 11,000 Volts — far less than hoped and planned for by the auto maker. The market has spoken: Most Americans simply are not ready for an electric car from Detroit.

They’re not ready, because unlike the president and his one percent crowd, Americans make decision on car purchases based on economics.

The website ExtremeTech calculates that the car costs about 6.3 cents per mile when running on electricity at 13 cents per kilowatt hour. But that rate ignores depreciating the cost of a replacement battery ($8,000) over the life of the battery warranty.

When you add in the cost of the battery depreciation, you get a calculation of about 14.3 cents per mile for the Volt. As the tech site notes: “A compact car getting 35 mpg would cost 10 cents per mile using $3.50-a-gallon gasoline.”  So in other words, the Volt, in addition to the high cost to purchase, costs 43% more to operate than a conventional car.

That’s why the Volt is the perfect car for the Occupy Wall Street crowd: It makes no economic sense no matter how convoluted its supporters make the economic argument or how much taxpayer support it’s given.

The Volt initially relied heavily on $7,500 federal government subsidies- and even then couldn’t make a go of it.

This marks the second time that GM has idled Volt production, while claiming “All is well.”

More HERE  (See the original for links)


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


2 September, 2012

Very thorough new paper using well-known datasets finds that temperature rises come BEFORE CO2 rises, not after

It uses major Warmist datasets but looks at an aspect of the data that Warmists dare not:  Which came first, the CO2 rise or the temperature rise?
The phase relation between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature

By Ole Humluma et al.


Using data series on atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperatures we investigate the phase relation (leads/lags) between these for the period January 1980 to December 2011. Ice cores show atmospheric CO2 variations to lag behind atmospheric temperature changes on a century to millennium scale, but modern temperature is expected to lag changes in atmospheric CO2, as the atmospheric temperature increase since about 1975 generally is assumed to be caused by the modern increase in CO2.

In our analysis we use eight well-known datasets; 1) globally averaged well-mixed marine boundary layer CO2 data, 2) HadCRUT3 surface air temperature data, 3) GISS surface air temperature data, 4) NCDC surface air temperature data, 5) HadSST2 sea surface data, 6) UAH lower troposphere temperature data series, 7) CDIAC data on release of anthropogene CO2, and 8) GWP data on volcanic eruptions.

Annual cycles are present in all datasets except 7) and 8), and to remove the influence of these we analyze 12-month averaged data. We find a high degree of co-variation between all data series except 7) and 8), but with changes in CO2 always lagging changes in temperature. The maximum positive correlation between CO2 and temperature is found for CO2 lagging 11–12 months in relation to global sea surface temperature, 9.5-10 months to global surface air temperature, and about 9 months to global lower troposphere temperature.

The correlation between changes in ocean temperatures and atmospheric CO2 is high, but do not explain all observed changes.


Whoops!  The models get something else wrong

Atmospheric black carbon has much less  influence than assumed
Science 31 August 2012: Vol. 337 no. 6098 pp. 1078-1081

Radiative Absorption Enhancements Due to the Mixing State of Atmospheric Black Carbon

By Christopher D. Cappa et al.


Atmospheric black carbon (BC) warms Earth’s climate, and its reduction has been targeted for near-term climate change mitigation. Models that include forcing by BC assume internal mixing with non-BC aerosol components that enhance BC absorption, often by a factor of ~2; such model estimates have yet to be clearly validated through atmospheric observations. Here, direct in situ measurements of BC absorption enhancements (Eabs) and mixing state are reported for two California regions. The observed Eabs is small—6% on average at 532 nm—and increases weakly with photochemical aging. The Eabs is less than predicted from observationally constrained theoretical calculations, suggesting that many climate models may overestimate warming by BC. These ambient observations stand in contrast to laboratory measurements that show substantial Eabs for BC are possible.


Romney ridicules Obama's Canute-like ambitions

Mitt Romney took a shot at President Barack Obama's climate change position during his acceptance speech Thursday.

"President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet," Romney said after accepting the GOP's presidential nomination in Tampa, drawing laughter from the crowd. "My promise is to help you and your family."

The line received a standing ovation.

Romney was referring to now-famous remarks Obama made in 2008 after securing the Democratic nomination. “I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children ... this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

A needless slam on science? That's how it appeared to Penn State climate researcher Michael Mann.

“How sad it is to witness such fallacious logic from a major party candidate for president,” Mann, one of the nation's best-known climate researchers, told POLITICO. “If we do not take the necessary actions to combat climate change now, we will of course be leaving our children and grandchildren the legacy of a degraded planet.” ....

Romney's speech also included a reiteration of his promise to achieve North American energy independence by 2020 “by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables."


“How sad it is to witness such fallacious logic from a major party candidate for president”

Fallacious logic??  Romney was only quoting Obama, who was obviously suffering from delusions of grandeur

Hidden boogeymen out to grab you!: Antarctica’s hidden carbon stores pose warming risk

  Well, it's a good thing that there is no global warming happening, then. And it's another good thing that even the most dire Warmist prediction of temperature rise would go nowhere near melting the Antarctic

Antarctic researchers found as much as 400 billion metric tons of carbon hidden under the ice sheets, with the potential to seep out as methane and accelerate global warming.

The carbon stored under Antarctic ice is on par with the amount held in the northern hemisphere’s frozen permafrost soils and the lower end of estimates for methane trapped under the Arctic Ocean, according to Jemma Wadham, professor of Glaciology at the U.K.’s University of Bristol and lead author of a study in the journal Nature yesterday.

Release of methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, from under melting ice has the potential to create a feedback loop where higher temperatures result in changes that add to global warming.

“There’s a potentially large pool of methane hydrate in part of the Earth where we haven’t previously considered it,” Wadham said in a telephone interview. “Depending on where that hydrate is, and how much there is, if the ice thins in those regions, some of that hydrate could come out with a possible feedback on climate.”

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 estimated the smaller West Antarctica ice sheet is shrinking and larger East sheet growing or stable, concluding that the continental balance ranged from an annual gain of 50 gigatons to a loss of 200 gigatons in the decade through 2003. Its next major assessment of the effects of climate change is due in four volumes from September 2013 to October 2014.
Methane Release

While complete melting of the ice sheets isn’t likely for thousands of years, according to the UN, Wadham said smaller changes may release some of the methane trapped in hydrates.

“That hydrate is stable as long as you don’t change the temperature or pressure,” she said. “In Antarctica, though you might not have a big temperature change at the bed of the ice sheet, if the ice thins, the pressure drops and some of that hydrate could be converted into gas bubbles and then lost.”

The concentration of methane in the atmosphere rose 0.28 percent to 1,808 parts per billion in 2010, the highest since records began, the UN said in November. Scientists including James Hansen have said the decline of Arctic sea ice, which this year has shrunk to the lowest extent on record, may be a harbinger of greater changes, including the release of methane compounds from the permafrost -- or frozen soils.

Study Countered

The International Energy Agency last year said with current energy policies worldwide, the global average temperature may climb by more than 3.5 degrees, which may translate to an increase of 7 degrees in the faster-warming Arctic. In its 2007 report, the UN observed “a cooling over most of interior Antarctica,” a finding countered by a study in Nature in 2009.

Wadham’s team used computer models to predict how much methane might be trapped under the ice. They also tested sub- glacial soils from Antarctica and the Arctic in laboratory conditions to confirm organisms in the earth below the ice can produce methane. It isn’t yet possible to say over what period it may escape because of the “many uncertainties,” she said.

“All these things throw up more questions than answers initially,” Wadham said. “That provides you with a reason to go to look to perhaps drill into sediments underneath the ice sheet to see if hydrates are there.”


Underground coal gas a huge potential resource

And it's getting cheaper.  Greenies should love it but there's no such thing as a happy Greenie, of course

The world's most abundant fossil fuel could be tapped without moving mountains, delivered without trucks or trains and burned without greenhouse-gas emissions.

The technology to make this possible has been around for decades. Underground coal gasification was pioneered by Sir William Siemens in the 1860s to light London's streets. Vladimir Lenin hailed the method in a 1913 article in Pravda for its potential to rescue Russians from hazards of underground mines.

Despite its early boosters, the technology never caught on in the U.S., mostly for cost reasons. Now the improvements in seismic mapping and drilling that lit a fire under the U.S. fracking boom may also spur development of a domestic coal gas industry, proponents said.

"The shale gas revolution is opening doors for the coal gas revolution," said Richard Morse, director of coal and carbon research at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. "We knew it was there but couldn't get it out in a cost-effective way."

The technology works like this: beds, or seams, of underground coal are ignited, and the resulting combustible gas is piped out for use in electricity generation or as a raw material in chemical production.

The burn can be controlled by regulating the flow of oxygen, so there's slim chance of giving rise to another Centralia, the abandoned Pennsylvania town where a coal seam near the surface has been burning since 1962.

The method also leaves underground the worst parts of coal -- the mercury, arsenic and lead. And it allows for a much simpler capture of greenhouse gases, which can be piped back into the seam and stored there or sold to oil producers who inject it into wells to boost recovery rates.

Development of coal gas is proceeding faster in places where natural gas is expensive and coal seams are deep, including Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, China and Uzbekistan. Both of those preconditions are lacking in the U.S., at least right now.


Hydraulic fracturing depressed gas prices to a 10-year low of less than $2 a million British thermal units. That's well below the $6 that can be attained through a typical gasification project, according to estimates from Julio Friedmann, chief energy technologist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

Gas futures in New York are trading at about $2.60 a million Btus, down 13 percent this year.  "Cheap gas is the mortal enemy," Friedmann said.

And while researchers at Stanford University and Lawrence Livermore estimate that underground coal gasification would boost the levels of exploitable coal reserves in the U.S fivefold, the country isn't suffering from a shortage of the mineral.

Tom Welch, a spokesman for the U.S. Energy Department said underground gasification "has limited applicability across the U.S. because we have ample supplies of high quality, readily available coal."

That hasn't stopped mining companies in the U.S. from picking up reserves that would otherwise be worthless. Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU), the largest U.S. coal producer, last year paid $6.5 million for 29 coal leases in Wyoming containing what it said are "billions of tons" of the fuel. The seams are too deep to mine conventionally but may be ideal for underground gasification.

Outside of the U.S., coal gas is seeing a wave of new investment thanks to advances in drilling and computer modeling that are bringing down costs, said Stanford's Morse.


Some wisdom from 1974:   “Temperatures Over Last 20 Years Have Dropped Faster Than At Anytime In The Last 1000 Years”

So said major German newsmagazine "Der Spiegel"

Looking back at the Spiegel archives, here’s another report warning of global cooling and that man was the cause: The desert is growing.  There are some very familiar sounding excerpts: 
"Undisputed is that the desert is growing…the Sahara in some places has expanded southwards by 48 km… 24 million people in Mauritius, Senegal, Mali, Niger and Chad are threatened with starving to death.

Meteorologists and climate scientists have another reason for the catastrophe: the changing world climate.

…Not only in the Sahel region, but also in Northwest India and over Hokkaido…the summertime monsoons have been almost completely absent since 1970.

…The climate in the northern hemisphere, explained Dr. Reid Bryson, Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, is cooling slowly but steadily. After the the mean temperature made a step upwards since the turn of the century, there’s been a comparably rash temperature drop over the last 20 years: On average temperature dropped from 16 to 15,7°C (see graphic).

For Iceland, which is considered to be a sensitive climate indicator, Bryson and Icelandic meteorologist Berg Torssen calculated the climate changes back to 900 A.D. … Since the middle of this century, average temperatures dropped faster than at any time over the last 1000 years, by around 1°C.

At the same time the climate in the huge cold zones of the North, Canada and Siberia are getting frostier…for Central Russia, where the year before last the ‘coldest temperature in several hundred years’ was registered.

The cold blocking in the north, the skeptics of the climate change theory argue, has caused the west wind zone, which supplies Europe’s middle latitudes with Atlantic lows, to drift southwards.”

In the report, Spiegel blames the monsoons on the breakdown of atmospheric circulation, adding:  "Indeed the start of the dry periods coincides timewise with about with the northern hemispheric cooling. Monsoon precipitation in the Sahel Zone has dropped by more than 50% since 1857.”

So many weather extremes back then, too? Today the Sahel Region is greening. Spiegel saves the best for last: "The cold trend, calamitous forthe monsoon countries, is likely because of the industrial countries, according to US meteorologist Gene Wooldridge — through pollution of the atmosphere with soot and aerosols.  The veil of pollution allows less sunlight to shine through, which leads to fewer and fewer rain clouds forming over the oil-contaminated Atlantic.”

Climate changed naturally throughout history. But since about 1900, it’s all man’s fault. We live in an age of technical charlatans.



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


1 September, 2012


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

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

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds pass overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

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.


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

The great and fraudulent scare about lead


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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