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

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

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30 September, 2013

The IPCC's mountainous molehill

The article excerpted below was headed "Climatic Change: How Long Will Earth Remain?". Except to Warmists, the obvious answer would be: Another few billion years. The notable thing to a sceptic, however, is how the factual statements -- such as the one italicized below -- are perfectly true. But science is tightly tied to quantification and if we look at the quantities involved, the statements become laughably true. The quantities involved are so small that the only reasonable comment is "who cares?". In some cases Warmists are talking about temperature variations in terms of hundredths of one degree Celsius. And talk of tenths is routine. It's as irrelevant to everyday life as medieval debates about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has raised anew the question: how long will Earth remain before we ruin it completely?

According to Thomas Stocker, a co-chair of the IPCC assessment and climate scientist at the University of Bern, Switzerland, climatic change “challenges the two primary resources of humans and ecosystems, land and water.” He warned that, “In short, it threatens our planet, our only home.”

Qin Dahe, co-chair of those who produced the report from IPCC, said:

“Our assessment of the science finds that the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, the global mean sea level has risen and that concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.”

In their report, the group made it clear that the urgency of tackling the issue of climatic change is still present, more than ever. Without concrete and urgent drastic plans on emission reductions or controversial technical climate fixes, global warming will most likely continue to increase and this will affect the lives of billions of people inhabiting this earth, and our planet too, they warned.


Climate change: this is not science – it’s mumbo jumbo

Nigel Lawson

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which published on Friday the first instalment of its latest report, is a deeply discredited organisation. Presenting itself as the voice of science on this important issue, it is a politically motivated pressure group that brings the good name of science into disrepute.

Its previous report, in 2007, was so grotesquely flawed that the leading scientific body in the United States, the InterAcademy Council, decided that an investigation was warranted. The IAC duly reported in 2010, and concluded that there were “significant shortcomings in each major step of [the] IPCC’s assessment process”, and that “significant improvements” were needed. It also chastised the IPCC for claiming to have “high confidence in some statements for which there is little evidence”.

Since then, little seems to have changed, and the latest report is flawed like its predecessor.

Perhaps this is not so surprising. A detailed examination of the 2007 report found that two thirds of its chapters included among its authors people with links to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and there were many others with links to other 'green’ activist groups, such as Greenpeace.

In passing, it is worth observing that what these so-called green groups, and far too many of the commentators who follow them, wrongly describe as 'pollution’ is, in fact, the ultimate in green: namely, carbon dioxide – a colourless and odourless gas, which promotes plant life and vegetation of all kinds; indeed, they could not survive without it. It is an established scientific fact that, over the past 20 years, the earth has become greener, largely thanks to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Be that as it may, as long ago as 2009, the IPCC chairman, Dr Rajendra Pachauri – who is a railway engineer and economist by training, not a scientist, let alone a climate scientist – predicted that “when the IPCC’s fifth assessment comes out in 2013 or 2014, there will be a major revival of interest in action that has to be taken. People are going to say: 'My God, we are going to have to take action much faster than we had planned.’”

This was well before the scientific investigation on which the latest report is allegedly based had even begun. So much for the scientific method.

There is, however, one uncomfortable fact that the new report has been – very reluctantly – obliged to come to terms with. That is that global warming appears to have ceased: there has been no increase in officially recorded global mean temperature for the past 15 years. This is brushed aside as a temporary blip, and they suggest that the warming may still have happened, but instead of happening on the Earth’s surface it may have occurred for the time being in the (very cold) ocean depths – of which, incidentally, there is no serious empirical evidence.

A growing number of climate scientists are coming to the conclusion that at least part of the answer is that the so-called climate sensitivity of carbon – the amount of warming that might be expected from a given increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (caused by the use of fossil fuels: coal, oil, and gas) – is significantly less than was previously assumed to be the case.

It is no doubt a grudging acceptance of this that has led the new report to suggest that the global warming we can expect by the end of this century is probably rather less than the IPCC had previously predicted: perhaps some 35F (1.5C)

What they have not done, however, is to accept that the computer models on which they base all their prognostications have been found to be misleading. These models all predicted an acceleration in the warming trend throughout the 21st century, as global carbon dioxide emissions rose apace. In fact, there has been a standstill.

The true scientific method is founded on empirical observation. When a theory – whether embedded in a computer program or not – produces predictions that are falsified by subsequent observation, then the theory, and the computer models which enshrine it, have to be rethought.

Not for the IPCC, however, which has sought to obscure this fundamental issue by claiming that, whereas in 2007 it was 90 per cent sure that most of the (very slight) global warming recorded since the Fifties was due to man-made carbon emissions, it is now 95 per cent sure.

This is not science: it is mumbo-jumbo. Neither the 90 per cent nor the 95 per cent have any objective scientific basis: they are simply numbers plucked from the air for the benefit of credulous politicians and journalists.

They have thrown dust in the eyes of the media in other ways, too. Among them is the shift from talking about global warming, as a result of the generally accepted greenhouse effect, to 'climate change’ or 'climate disruption’. Gullible journalists (who are particularly prevalent within the BBC) have been impressed, for example, by being told now that much of Europe, and in particular the UK, is likely to become not warmer but colder, as a result of increasing carbon dioxide emissions interfering with the Gulf Stream.

There is nothing new about this canard, which has been touted for the past 10 years or so. Indeed, I refer to it explicitly in my book on global warming, An Appeal to Reason, which first came out five years ago. In fact, there has been no disruption whatever of the Gulf Stream, nor is it at all likely that there could be. As the eminent oceanographer Prof Karl Wunsch has observed, the Gulf Stream is largely a wind-driven phenomenon, and thus “as long as the sun heats the Earth and the Earth spins, so that we have winds, there will be a Gulf Stream”.

So what is the truth of the matter, and what do we need to do about it?

The truth is that the amount of carbon dioxide in the world’s atmosphere is indeed steadily increasing, as a result of the burning of fossil fuels, particularly in the faster-growing countries of the developing world, notably China. And it is also a scientific fact that, other things being equal, this will make the world a warmer place.

But there are two major unresolved scientific issues: first, are other things equal?, and second, even if they are, how much warmer will our planet become? There is no scientific basis whatever for talking about 'catastrophic climate change’ – and it is generally agreed that if the global temperature standstill soon comes to an end and the world is, as the IPCC is now suggesting might well be the case, 1.5ºC warmer by the end of the century, that would be a thoroughly good thing: beneficial to global food production and global health alike.

So what we should do about it – if indeed, there is anything at all we need to do – is to adapt to any changes that may, in the far future, occur. That means using all the technological resources open to mankind – which will ineluctably be far greater by the end of this century than those we possess today – to reduce any harms that might arise from warming, while taking advantage of all the great benefits that warming will bring.

What we should emphatically not do is what Dr Pachauri, Lord Stern and that gang are calling for and decarbonise the global economy by phasing out fossil fuels.

Before the industrial revolution mankind relied for its energy on beasts of burden and wind power. The industrial revolution, and the enormous increase in prosperity it brought with it, was possible only because the West abandoned wind power and embraced fossil fuels. We are now – unbelievably – being told that we must abandon relatively cheap and highly reliable fossil fuels, and move back to wind power, which is both unreliable and hugely costly.

This is clearly an economic nonsense, which would condemn us to a wholly unnecessary fall in living standards.

But what moves me most is what this would mean for the developing world. For them, abandoning the cheapest available form of energy and thus seriously abandoning the path of economic growth and rising prosperity on which, at long last, most of the developing world is now embarked, would mean condemning hundreds of millions of their people to unnecessary poverty, destitution, preventable disease, and premature death.

All in the name of seeking to ensure that distant generations, in future centuries, might be (there is no certainty) slightly better off than would otherwise be the case.

Not to beat about the bush, it is morally outrageous. It is just as well that the world is unlikely to take the slightest notice of the new IPCC report.


British energy giants close in on green taxes delay

Britain's biggest energy companies are in late-stage negotiations with the Government to delay the implementation of a multi-billion pound green scheme to help take the pressure off the price of bills.

The Coalition is considering agreeing to the demands to reform the controversial home insulation scheme, the Energy Companies Obligation, in a deal that could avert steep price rises in the run-up to the next general election.

Centrica, owner of British Gas, and SSE are pushing for an 18-month reprieve to meet targets under the ECO scheme, arguing that more time to implement the costly programme would ease the financial burden on customers.

Ministers are under added pressure to try to halt bill increases in the wake of Labour leader Ed Miliband's pledge to cap prices. They are believed to be "receptive" to the companies' suggestions.

The option of an extension is expected to be included in a consultation document on the future of the ECO, likely to be published early next year.

On Saturday, George Osborne opened the door to reducing the impact of green policies on bills. He said that the Government had to keep a "very close eye on affordability" and that Britain should not be "in front of the rest of the world" in tackling climate change.

The ECO scheme, which began this year, requires major suppliers to cut targeted volumes of carbon emissions by installing energy-efficiency measures for poor customers and insulating homes.

Companies face fines of up to 10pc of turnover if they do not hit the targets by March 2015. Ministers say the ECO should cost £1.3bn per year or the equivalent of £50 on a household bill.

But the industry says it could cost as much as £3.1bn per year or £125 per household. Companies complain it is hard to identify the right customers and homes and that the scheme is being hampered by the slow take-up of the Green Deal, a parallel, voluntary insulation scheme.

A spokesman for SSE said: "The most important consideration, as always, is affordability for customers. With the potential for costs to escalate as the scheme goes on and with the Green Deal still in its early days, it makes sense to extend the first phase for 18 months in order to protect customers."

Companies suggest costs are likely to rise toward the end of the programme as the "low-hanging fruit" of people interested in the scheme runs out. "An ECO extension may be attractive as it moves the deadline beyond election day," one industry source said. Many in the energy industry think the costs should be paid through the tax system.

Critics say that SSE, Centrica and ScottishPower, which has also criticised the scheme, are the three major suppliers that are already facing multi-million pound fines for failing to meet their targets under previous schemes. Ministers have also remained publicly adamant that they have seen nothing to make them question their cost assumptions.

Fears are also growing that Mr Miliband's price cap pledge will make it harder for energy companies to sign contracts for gas imports. Counter-parties to any deals could be concerned that the price cap could hamper payments on any of the contracts


The British Left can’t freeze those energy bills they themselves sent through the roof

It is thanks to the Labour leader that we are paying dearly for the Climate Change Act - easily the most expensive law ever put through Parliament

Arriving in London on Tuesday to see blazoned across a newspaper front page Ed Miliband’s promise of a 20?month freeze on energy bills, I clapped my hand to my head in disbelief. There is no one else in the country, I and many others must have thought, who has done more to drive Britain’s energy bills through the roof than Mr Miliband: the man who, in 2008, shortly after becoming our first secretary of state for energy and climate change, passed his Climate Change Act, easily the most expensive law ever put through Parliament, committing us to cut our “carbon emissions” by four fifths in 40 years.

In 2009 it was this column that revealed, thanks to the assiduous Peter Lilley MP, that Miliband’s own department had estimated that this Act would cost us all up to £18 billion every year until 2050. When, in 2010, he became Labour leader, I called him “the costliest politician in British history”. And the reason is that it is under this Act that successive governments have committed us not only to spending well over £100 billion on building tens of thousands of useless wind turbines, producing electricity at twice and three times the going rate, but also to introducing other measures, such as the “carbon tax”, which will also soon double the cost of the electricity from coal, gas and nuclear power stations that still supply more than 90 per cent of our needs. All this in the name of giving Britain a “low carbon economy”. Yet the man who sent us down this disastrous path now wants, by law, to stop electricity prices rising, just when our energy companies must spend billions of pounds to bring his mad dream to fruition.

One thing that marked out Miliband during his brief spell as energy and climate change secretary was that he was so naively obsessed with the “climate change” bit of his job description that he seemed completely to overlook the “energy” bit. Not once did he show any understanding of how electricity is made or how we are to keep our lights on. He could never have begun to explain in practical terms how we could hope to cut carbon emissions to their lowest level since the early 19th century without closing down virtually our entire economy – let alone how, in the short term, we can comply with his Climate Change Act without doubling and trebling Britain’s energy bills.

All Miliband demonstrated last week, as he made that mindless little bid for electoral popularity, which promptly knocked £3 billion off the energy companies’ shares, was that he is as little fitted to become prime minister as any other politician can have been in history.


British Tories May Lose Elections Over Rising Green Energy Costs

The cost of living is the key renewable of British politics. It will be the central battleground of the next election

Most of us remember when Lehman Brothers fell on September 15 2008. It was the moment when the hubris of the global banking system, of central banks and of governments was exposed. Five years on, we are still struggling with that inheritance.

We probably do not remember another date from that year, June 8. On that day, the House of Commons passed the Second Reading of the Climate Change Bill. We are still struggling with that inheritance, too. It is part of a comparable hubris.

Both were boom-time follies. In each case, powerful people in the Western world formed an arrogant consensus that they were right, and that there was therefore no need to pay attention to the queries of the sceptic or the needs of the citizen. Costs, prices, risk did not matter, because truth was on their side. Banking and environmentalism both became priesthoods, the first often subsidising the second, both persecuting heretics. The first collapsed five years ago. The second is crumbling only now.

The banking crisis and the Climate Change Act happened at the time of a Labour government, but they both make life extremely difficult for a Conservative-led government today. This week in Brighton, Ed Miliband, who served in that Labour administration (and was actually the energy and climate change secretary who completed the parliamentary progress of the Climate Change Act) nevertheless felt free to attack the Tories as the pal of rich bankers and prisoners of the energy companies. How could he, who was one of those who got everything wrong, dare to mount such an attack? Partly, no doubt, because he does not recognise his own role in the double catastrophe, but also because he knows how deeply implicated the Tories are.

On June 8 2008, only five Members of Parliament – Christopher Chope, Philip Davies, Peter Lilley, Andrew Tyrie and Ann Widdecombe (all Conservatives) – voted against the Climate Change Bill. They are worth naming, I think, because “the Five Members” who defied executive fiat in the 1640s have an honoured place in our history. The modern Five Members, four of whom are still MPs, should be honoured too. But all the other Tories – nearly 200 of them – voted for the Bill, led by an enthusiastically green David Cameron.

The key error of the Climate Change Act was not, of course, to worry about the pollution of the world and to seek to encourage sources of energy other than fossil fuels. Any sensible government would consider such things. It was to enforce alarmist timetables and to load the consequent cost on consumers. Mr Miliband is right that energy prices are shockingly high. One of the biggest reasons for this is that, thanks in good part to him, the price of renewables, instead of being a tax, is stuck on each bill. The wholesale price of the cheapest form of power (from coal-fired power stations) is a third of the “strike price” for offshore wind. The consumer pays the difference, by law.

What this means is that energy prices will go on rising for at least a generation. What that means is that the most unavoidable element in any household’s cost of living will make that household poorer each year for the foreseeable future. And what that means is that any incumbent government will find it extremely hard to get re-elected.

So, although Mr Miliband’s new promise that a Labour government would forcibly hold energy prices down is insane, it is – as insane ideas go – more immediately pleasing to the voter than the current, also insane, alternative, which is that government forcibly puts them up.

This weekend, then, Mr Cameron finds it hard to know how to respond. Obviously, he should not steal the mad Miliband policy. Obviously, he should spell out why it is mad. But he cannot easily do so, since he is complicit in the madness which has brought it about. They are all in it together. Even as he tries to work out his party conference speech for next Wednesday, his Government is pushing hard in the House of Lords for its own Energy Bill which, among other things, establishes a “merit order” for power-users. This insists on the use of renewables first, thus putting cheaper sources of power into compulsory second-place and discouraging new investment in them.

If Mr Cameron wants support for a change of policy, though, he can find it in yesterday’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). You would not know it from the way it has been covered – the BBC’s Today programme was of a green bias so comical that I wondered whether parodists had taken over the studio – but it has actually altered its dire expectations, and quietly made them rather un-dire. Climate-change theory is all “rock solid”, says the government chief scientist, Sir Mark Walport, but in fact the rock has been fracked, and is trembling a little.

The IPCC has now decided that what it calls the “transient climate response” to all the dreadful things that are supposedly going on will be a warming of 0.5 to 2 degrees centigrade from today’s level by about 2080, which is below its own calculation of probable net damage. So even when young Prince George is 70 years old, the end of the world won’t really be much nigher than it is now. Which, interpreted politically, is a way of saying that current governments can slow down. If Mr Cameron now announces that renewables targets will be suspended, or greatly postponed, “the science” (I put the phrase in inverted commas, because I don’t like its coercive tone) will not condemn him, although many of these moralising scientists will.

He probably won’t dare. He will probably go on about his policy of the customer being offered the lowest possible tariff, an arrangement which no one understands because the energy companies can always throw up enough chaff to confuse us. But what he could and should say is that shale gas is likely to be the greatest ever source of indigenous energy for Britain and invite Ed Miliband to join him in supporting the search for it.

Above all, he needs to see that the Miliband energy prices promise is part of a much wider Labour effort to “stand up for the consumer”. In a less-noticed part of his speech this week, Mr Miliband said that while he was growing up in the Eighties (ie under Margaret Thatcher), there was a strong sense that prosperity was available for everyone who sought it. Now “that vital link between the growing wealth of the country and your family finances” is, says the Labour leader, “broken”. He pointed out that in the 39 months in which Mr Cameron has held office, wages have risen more slowly than prices have in 38 of them. Again, this grim statistic is mainly Gordon Brown’s fault, but in the rough old game of politics it sounds convincingly like 38 reasons not to vote Conservative.

“The cost of living.” The phrase has an old-fashioned ring to it, an echo of the age of inflation. But hard times remind people of old-fashioned facts. The cost of living is the key renewable of British politics. It will be the central battleground of the next election, not least because inflation is creeping back. Being a market Conservative, Mr Cameron knows that governments cannot sensibly cut prices. They can sensibly cut taxes, and soon they really must. If capitalism is benefiting only the few and not the many, which is the point that Ed Miliband keeps making, almost any alternative starts to feel better. Socialism can come back from the dead


Australia's Greens 'marching to slow death'

On her way out of the party-room meeting that returned Christine Milne as Greens leader on Monday morning, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young walked past a table of journalists at Aussies Cafe at Parliament House.

To their bewilderment, Senator Hanson-Young matter-of-factly announced that her party had just returned a leader that would see the party "marching to a slow death".

After the election, at which the Greens bled a third of their vote, recriminations within the party have been swift. There is clear disquiet in the party's senior ranks about Senator Milne's leadership, but for the first time, it is out in the open. It was revealed last week six of the party's 18 most senior staffers, including Senator Milne's chief-of-staff Ben Oquist, had left.

One Greens senator told Fairfax Media: "I believe all this [leadership speculation] is because there are concerns about where [Senator Milne] takes us in the next three years. If we have the same result we had this election, we will be gone; we can't afford to do it again."

But who is driving the destabilisation in this post-Bob Brown era of the Greens?

Senator Hanson-Young, an outspoken and ambitious party room member, is often mentioned by her colleagues as one of the key destabilising forces. Four separate sources claim that she made a bid for the party's leadership team at Monday's party meeting, a charge she denies.

The story goes that Senator Hanson-Young tried to gauge support for her to run for deputy leader, a position now held by the member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, who would then be propelled into the leadership. (Senator Hanson-Young would not comment on Saturday, other than to say "that's just not true").

But others suspect the rumours are being put about to deflect attention from 41-year-old Mr Bandt, coming as they do on the back of reports that he had tried to gauge numbers for a challenge last Monday. Mr Bandt issued a statement saying he and his leader were "a strong, united leadership team", and that he had never sought the position of leader. But his office would not respond to questions about whether others had urged him to run for leader.

This sort of publicly fought internecine warfare is nothing new to Labor but it is a shock to many in the Greens, who have never experienced the sort of leadership challenges normal to most political parties. There is a sense within the party that even to publicly discuss a possible challenge is impolite. Behind the scenes, the Greens have been a consistently unified presence in Federal Parliament.

But in the aftermath of the Greens' election performance, in which the party's lower house vote dropped from 11.76 per cent in 2010 to 8.6 per cent, some within the party's senior ranks are concerned about Senator Milne's leadership, particularly her attempts to put a positive spin on a poor result.

Mr Oquist, an experienced political operator who had spent years fighting for the Green side of politics, quit early last week citing "fundamental differences of opinion in strategy".

A former staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, says Senator Milne is "in denial" about the election result. "She said this week she wanted to move to a 'campaigning phase'. Well, here's a tip, love. We've just had a federal election. What the f--k have you been doing all year?"

Senator Milne told Fairfax she took "some" responsibility for the party's election result - and losing about a third of its vote - and vowed to listen to supporters who abandoned the party.

"Of course, as the leader of any political party you take some responsibility for the outcome of that election, and certainly I have to take a share of that responsibility in terms of the outcome for the election both good and bad," she said. This included returning at least 10 senators to Parliament after the election, with new Victorian senator Janet Rice elected. (WA senator Scott Ludlam's position is still in doubt.) But Senator Milne dismissed reports there had been a foiled attempt by party insiders to install Mr Bandt as leader, saying there was no threat to her leadership. "It's wrong."

NSW senator Lee Rhiannon leapt to Senator Milne's defence, saying: "I figure if someone is going to mount a challenge, they're going to lobby for numbers. I wasn't lobbied. I just do not believe there was a challenge."

While she acknowledged the Greens had "a challenging election and a challenging election result", Senator Rhiannon said the party room shared responsibility for the low vote. "I think what we need to be looking at is how we project our message to voters."

The party's campaign committee will review the election result and report to the Greens' national conference in November.




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


29 September, 2013

MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen Rips UN IPCC Report

‘The latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence’ — ‘It is quite amazing to see the contortions the IPCC has to go through in order to keep the international climate agenda going’

I think that the latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence. They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase.

Their excuse for the absence of warming over the past 17 years is that the heat is hiding in the deep ocean. However, this is simply an admission that the models fail to simulate the exchanges of heat between the surface layers and the deeper oceans.

However, it is this heat transport that plays a major role in natural internal variability of climate, and the IPCC assertions that observed warming can be attributed to man depend crucially on their assertion that these models accurately simulate natural internal variability. Thus, they now, somewhat obscurely, admit that their crucial assumption was totally unjustified.

Finally, in attributing warming to man, they fail to point out that the warming has been small, and totally consistent with there being nothing to be alarmed about. It is quite amazing to see the contortions the IPCC has to go through in order to keep the international climate agenda going.


IPCC: “We don’t need no stinking climate sensitivity!”

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The newly-released Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC’s Working Group I for the AR5 report reveals a dogged attempt to salvage the IPCC’s credibility amidst mounting evidence that it has gone overboard in its attempts to scare the global public over the last quarter century.

The recent ~15 year lull in warming is hardly mentioned at all (nothing to see here, move along).

A best estimate for climate sensitivity — unarguably THE most important climate change variable — is no longer provided, due to mounting contradictory evidence on whether the climate system really cares very much about whether there are 2, or 3, or 4, parts of CO2 per 10,000 parts atmosphere.

YET…the IPCC claims their confidence has DOUBLED (uncertainty reduced from 10% that 5%) regarding their claim that humans are most of the cause behind the warming trend in the last 50 years or so:

“It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951-2010.”

Let’s examine that last claim for a minute. For the sake of argument, let’s say that 60% of the surface warming (and increase in ocean heat content, as revealed by supposed warming of hundredths of a degree) is indeed due to increased CO2. What would that say about the sensitivity of the climate system?

One would think that this question would be addressed by the IPCC, since it doesn’t require a full-blown 3D climate model to answer.

But I suspect that they know the answer is: “very low climate sensitivity” (we will reveal more on this issue in a few weeks). Even if humans are responsible for 60% of the ocean heating in the last 60 years, it suggests a level of future warming well below what this report implies will happen.

I say “implies” because the new report is worded in such a way that the IPCC can be technically correct, and still convey a maximum amount of alarm (which has been the IPCC’s modus operandi for the last 20+ years). They still leave the door open to a climate sensitivity below 1 deg. C, since they could claim “we didn’t say we were 100% certain…only 95%”.

And probably the biggest omission of the report continues to be the almost total neglect of natural forcing mechanisms of climate change. The climate system is likely at least a little chaotic, with natural variations due to inherent system nonlinearities and time lags (courtesy of the ocean). As I keep harping on, the observed increase in ocean heat content over the last 60 years (if we can believe hundredths of a degree warming is accurate) equates to a global energy imbalance of only 1 part in 1,000. To believe that Mother Nature is incapable of causing such small imbalances, as the IPCC implicitly believes, is not based upon observations but upon assumptions.

What this means is that, without knowing just how much of recent warming is natural, there is no way to know how much is anthropogenic *nor* how sensitive the climate system is. This is a glaring source of uncertainty that the IPCC continues to gloss over, sweep under the rug, …pick your metaphor.


IPCC’s political exercise in consensus building

The IPCC has never been about science. It has always been about building a gargantuan “consensus” by which to fashion the alarmist narrative and steamroller any attempt at genuine debate.

The organisation is stacked with scientists who are already convinced that global warming is man-made and dangerous and that something must be done. It is riddled with environmental activists from Friends of the Earth, WWF and other extreme-green organisations who are on a crusade to save the planet. Despite claims that the IPCC only considers “peer-reviewed” literature, previous reports have relied heavily on grey literature which, oddly enough, always supports the consensus. Funny that.

So it is of very little consequence that the latest Summary for Policymakers for Working Group 1 (Physical Science Basis) of the 5th Assessment Report, continues in the same way, building on the alarmism created in reports 1 – 4. As we have learned, this document is pored over by scientists and policy wonks for days, with every paragraph, sentence and word subjected to tough negotiation in order to ensure the message remains focussed, and isn’t diluted by, oh, I don’t know, er… facts?

It helpfully advances the narrative created over the past thirty years, so that compliant journalists can continue to print the same old rubbish (more ABC: same old rubbish) they’ve been printing for years. At the press conference, virtually every journalist was a subscriber to the cause, with only David Rose of the UK Daily Mail daring to ask something “off script”.

You only have to look at environmental journalists in Australia to realise that they are almost invariably eco-warriors. Why would anyone who isn’t want to be an environmental journalist in the first place?

It’s bizarre, but since temperatures have actually fallen slightly since the last report in 2007, the IPCC is now more certain that humans have been the dominant cause of observed warming since the 1950s. The IPCC claims that climate models have improved since AR4, but cannot give a best estimate for climate sensitivity, the only number that really matters in the end, because of, quote:

“a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.”

Feeling confident so far? The pause in warming is brushed aside as due to:

“reduced trend in radiative forcing and a cooling contribution from internal variability, which includes a possible redistribution of heat within the ocean (medium confidence). The reduced trend in radiative forcing is primarily due to volcanic eruptions and the timing of the downward phase of the 11-year solar cycle.”

In other words, the dog ate it. Where’s my heat, dude? It’s in the ocean, where we can’t measure it.

Whether the IPCC’s dire warnings will be proved correct is yet to be seen. But as an exercise in political spin, it will no doubt succeed. All we can remember is the old adage, if it’s about consensus, it isn’t science.


Warmists have hornets in their bonnets -- but only in China

The one thing we can be sure about is that the hornets are NOT the result of global warming -- because there hasn't been any lately. At most they are caused by local warming

Over the last few weeks, giant, deadly hornets have killed more than two dozen people in China, the result of bizarre weather patterns there that have allowed the bugs to proliferate.

This summer, China suffered through massive heat waves, breaking records in places like Shanghai, Changsha, and Hangzhou in July, and affecting 700 million people through August. This has lead to dozens of heatstroke deaths, and, now, increasingly aggressive giant insects.

Attacks by giant hornets, most likely the 5-centimeter (2-inch) Vespa mandarinia, have left hundreds injured and 28 people dead, mostly in the Shaanxi region of northwest China. Some victims reported being chased for hundreds of meters and stung — some up to 200 times — by swarms of the insects traveling 40 km/h (25 mph). A director of the Ankang Disease Control Centre said more 30 stings required “immediate emergency treatment.”

A sting from the hornet’s quarter-inch-long stinger feels like a “hot nail through my leg,” according to an entomologist who got too close for comfort. The venom contains an enzyme that can dissolve human tissue, and too much of it can also bring renal failure or death.

Authorities recommend local residents avoid fields and “be very vigilant while in the woods.” A local fire department has removed over 300 hornet nests since July. This year, fatalities from hornet attacks are twice the normal average. The hornets have attacked people in the region in previous years, but Zhou Yuanhong, a Shaanxi health official, said that this year was “unusually severe, possibly because of weather changes.” Experts say that the hornets breed more successfully in warmer temperatures.

Temperatures in China are 10 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit warmer that they were during the last ice age, which is two to four times as hot as scientists believed. As the globe warms, it turns out that China is even more sensitive to that change than previously thought.


Study: Everyone hates environmentalists and feminists

New research suggests people tend to hold negative views of political and social activists

Why don’t people behave in more environmentally friendly ways? New research presents one uncomfortable answer: They don’t want to be associated with environmentalists.

That’s the conclusion of troubling new research from Canada, which similarly finds support for feminist goals is hampered by a dislike of feminists.

Participants held strongly negative stereotypes about such activists, and those feelings reduced their willingness “to adopt the behaviors that these activities promoted,” reports a research team led by University of Toronto psychologist Nadia Bashir. This surprisingly cruel caricaturing, the researchers conclude, plays “a key role in creating resistance to social change.”

Writing in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Bashir and her colleagues describe a series of studies documenting this dynamic. They began with three pilot studies, which found people hold stereotyped views of environmentalists and feminists.

In one, the participants—228 Americans recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk—described both varieties of activists in “overwhelmingly negative” terms. The most frequently mentioned traits describing “typical feminists” included “man-hating” and “unhygienic;” for “typical environmentalists,” they included “tree-hugger” and “hippie.”

Another study, featuring 17 male and 45 female undergraduates, confirmed the pervasiveness of those stereotypes. It further found participants were less interested in befriending activists who participated in stereotypical behavior (such as staging protest rallies), but could easily envision hanging out with those who use “nonabrasive and mainstream methods” such as raising money or organizing social events.

The results of three additional studies suggested this aversion to perceived stereotypical behavior impacts people’s behavior. In one of them, 140 Americans (again recruited via Mechanical Turk) read an article about climate change and “the need for individuals to adopt sustainable lifestyles.”

For one-third of the participants, the writer was described as a stereotypical environmentalist (his “profile” stated, “I hold rallies outside chemical research labs”). Another third were told he was an atypical, less-abrasive environmentalist (“I’m involved in organizing social events … to raise money for grassroots-level environmental organizations”). For the final third, his profile did not mention environmental activism at all.

After reading the article, participants were asked whether it inspired them to do more recycling, or otherwise take more eco-friendly actions.

“Participants were less motivated to adopt pro-environmental behaviors when these behaviors were advocated by the ‘typical’ environmentalist, rather than by the ‘atypical’ environmentalist or the undefined target,” the researchers report.

This is, needless to say, frustrating news for activists, and not just the ones mentioned here. The researchers suggest this dynamic may very well apply across the board, such as to activities advocating gay rights or Wall Street reform.

“Unfortunately,” they write, “the very nature of activism leads to negative stereotyping. By aggressively promoting change and advocating unconventional practices, activists become associated with hostile militancy and unconventionality or eccentricity.”

“Furthermore, this tendency to associate activists with negative stereotypes and perceive them as people with whom it would be unpleasant to affiliate reduces individuals’ motivation to adopt the pro-change behaviors that activists advocate.”

So the message to advocates is clear: Avoid rhetoric or actions that reinforce the stereotype of the angry activist. Realize that if people find you off-putting, they’re not going to listen to your message. As Bashir and her colleagues note, potential converts to your cause “may be more receptive to advocates who defy stereotypes by coming across as pleasant and approachable.”


Australia: Coal seam gas opponents 'anarchists', says minister

The Federal Minister for Resources, Mr Ian Macfarlane, has slammed as "anarchists" some of the opponents to coal seam gas projects in NSW. "They are anarchists, they don't respect people's property, they don't respect people's rights. They don't respect the law of the land. "They go out deliberately to break the law."

The minister said he does not oppose people demonstrating but any opponents but they must respect the law, he said.

"If they try to spit on a state's MLA I think that is anarchy.

"If they go onto a farmer's property and trespass and won't remove themselves when asked I think that is anarchy.

"If they do not accept the science that (Professor) Mary (O'Kane, the NSW Chief Scientist) comes up with, if they don't accept the policy and they don't accept the law of the land, that's anarchy."

The newly installed resources minister is to visit the Northern Rivers district of NSW early next week, he said and he expects to encounter some of the opponents to the coal seam gas industry during that visit.

Mr Macfarlane was addressing an energy summit being held in Sydney in the wake of surging gas and electricity prices following restrictions to developing of the gas industry in NSW.




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


27 September, 2013

Climate change will 'make Britain cooler'

For the first time, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is due to give a clear prediction of how global warming will affect currents in the Atlantic Ocean.

It will say that the circulation of warm and cold water in the Atlantic, which includes the Gulf Stream, will weaken by 20 to 44 per cent by the end of the century.

Scientists claim that such a slow-down in the Gulf Stream will have a big impact on Britain, causing cooling of about 1.8F (1C) and disrupting weather patterns.

The Gulf Stream carries warm water from the equator to the west coast of Britain, making the country’s climate warmer than it otherwise would be.

Scientists warn that the resulting cooling would mask the impacts of global warming on the country, but play havoc with the weather.

The panel is due to publish the predictions in its fifth major assessment of global warming on Friday. Compiled by more than 2,000 scientists over three years, it is intended to be the most comprehensive analysis of climate change and its underlying causes.

The report will say that the warming of the oceans will interfere with the currents in the Atlantic, also known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). It will state: “It is very likely that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation will weaken over the 21st century. It is likely that there will be some decline in the AMOC by 2050, but there will be some decades when the AMOC increases.”

The report provides a basis for governments to draw up policies aimed at tackling climate change and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

But tense discussions this week between officials from several governments over the final wording of the report have fallen a long way behind schedule.

Prof Corinne Le Quéré, the director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia and one of the report’s authors, said: “The policymakers see the information from quite a different angle as they have to make a relationship with policy.

“They go through it line by line, paragraph by paragraph and suggest changes which the scientists then respond to.”

Delegates stayed up until 3am on Thursday morning as they deliberated over controversial points, such as the current “pause” in the global temperature rise.

Negotiations were expected to drag into the early hours of this morning as officials attempt to finalise the report.

Delegates have agreed the wording of the report’s summary on topics such as historic temperatures, sea level rise and the melting of glaciers. Debate on some sections including “attribution”, the extent to which humans are responsible for global warming, started on Thursday.

At one stage, officials from Britain, the USA, Brazil and other leading powers stepped in to alter the wording of a section addressing the comparatively slow rise in global temperatures over the past 15 years; the so-called warming “pause”.

They demanded that the wording be changed to explain the slowdown and wanted to insert clauses emphasising that global warming has not stopped.

A source at the meeting said the officials had “spent hours trying to make the language as clear as possible”.

Sceptics have pointed at the pause in global temperature increase as a sign that predictions of catastrophic global warming do not reflect the reality.

They have argued that the way the climate responds to increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere is not fully understood, so major decisions by governments should be delayed.

Dr Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, warned that no previous climate change models had “predicted the warming pause”. He said the “IPCC is a highly political process and it often fails to reflect that the models do not accurately reflect what is going on”.

Lord Stern, who conducted a review into the economics of climate change for the Labour government, said the “kind of temperatures we risk” would “probably involve a recasting of where many people could live”. He said those opposing action on climate change would have to “argue that they are confident that the risks are small, which would be an astonishing statement to make”.


Warming Plateau? Climatologists Face Inconvenient Truth

From Germany's "Spiegel"

Data shows global temperatures aren't rising the way climate scientists have predicted. Now the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change faces a problem: publicize these findings and encourage skeptics -- or hush up the figures.

For a quarter of a century now, environmental activists have been issuing predictions in the vein of the Catholic Church, warning people of the coming greenhouse effect armageddon. Environmentalists bleakly predict global warming will usher in plagues of biblical dimensions -- perpetual droughts, deluge-like floods and hurricanes of unprecedented force.

The number of people who believe in such a coming apocalypse, however, has considerably decreased. A survey conducted on behalf of SPIEGEL found a dramatic shift in public opinion -- Germans are losing their fear of climate change. While in 2006 a sizeable majority of 62 percent expressed a fear of global warning, that number has now become a minority of just 39 percent.
One cause of this shift, presumably, is the fact that global warming seems to be taking a break. The average global temperature hasn't risen in 15 years, a deviation from climatologists' computer-simulated predictions.

This is a difficult state of affairs for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which will release its next assessment report on global warming on Friday, Sept. 27.

None of the authors involved in the report are allowed to comment publicly on the report's contents before its official release. Only after days of closed-door negotiations -- which begin in Stockholm this Monday, Sept. 23 -- will the international forecasting body release its findings.

This much, though, is certain -- the new predictions will be essentially the same as the old ones, albeit a little more precise. The only adjustment the IPCC is expected to make is an increase in the predicted rise of sea levels. The new report is expected to forecast that coastal waters may rise by between 29 and 82 centimeters (11 and 32 inches) by the end of the century.

The crucial question, however, is: How will the IPCC address the pause in global warming? And how reliable are the computer models on which the predictions are based, if they failed to foresee the current temperature plateau?

In the lead-up to this week's conference, tensions have been high between the IPCC's climate researchers and the IPCC's government representatives, with Germany's governmental delegates playing a particularly questionable role.

The conference's participants will negotiate the creation of a 30-page summary for policymakers from the 1,000-page full report. Governments send representatives from their relevant ministries in order to have a hand in what message that summary will contain. In Germany's case, this means delegates from the Federal Ministries for the Environment and Research.

"If you are offering the choice between 'alarmist' and 'sceptic' then the German delegation is certainly more in the direction of 'alarmist'. But this is too simple a distinction," says British climatologist Mike Hulme from King's College London, who has many years of experience with IPCC bureaucracy.

German Green Party politician Hermann Ott, on the other hand, is satisfied with Germany's conduct in the negotiations. Since Helmut Kohl's government, Ott says, there has generally been consensus on the significance of climate protection, making it possible for "a great deal of continuity and a high level of expertise" to develop within Germany's Federal Ministry for the Environment.

Despite resistance from many researchers, the German ministries insist that it is important not to detract from the effectiveness of climate change warnings by discussing the past 15 years' lack of global warming. Doing so, they say, would result in a loss of the support necessary for pursuing rigorous climate policies. "Climate policy needs the element of fear," Ott openly admits. "Otherwise, no politician would take on this topic."

Science vs. Climate Politics

Germany's Federal Ministry of Research would prefer to leave any discussion of the global warming hiatus entirely out of the new IPCC report summary. "In climate research, changes don't count until they've been observed on a timescale of 30 years," claims one delegate participating in the negotiations on behalf of German Research Minister Johanna Wanka of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). The Ministry for the Environment's identical stance: "Climate fluctuations that don't last very long are not scientifically relevant."

At most, German delegates at the conference would be willing to include an admission that "the pace of temperature change has slowed" -- a reinterpretation that doesn't correspond to the latest research findings.

Germany's highest-ranking climate researcher, physicist Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, in Hamburg, is fighting back against this refusal to face facts. Marotzke, who is also president of the German Climate Consortium and Germany's top scientific representative in Stockholm, promises, "We will address this subject head-on." The IPCC, he says, must engage in discussion about the standstill in temperature rise.

Marotzke calls the claim that a temperature plateau isn't significant until it has lasted for over 30 years unscientific. "Thirty years is an arbitrarily selected number," he says. "Some climate phenomena occur on a shorter timescale, some on a longer one." Climate researchers, Marotzke adds, have an obligation not to environmental policy but to the truth. "That obligates us to clearly state the uncertainties in our predictions as well," he says.

The researchers' problem: Their climate models should have been able to predict the sudden flattening in the temperature curve. Offering explanations after the fact for why temperatures haven't increased in so long only serves to raise doubts as to how reliable the forecasts really are.

Despite this, most Germans have not yet lost their faith in climate research. According to the SPIEGEL survey, 67 percent of Germans still consider the predictions reliable.

Possible Explanations for the Pause

In any case, scientists have discovered some possible indications as to why temperatures are not currently rising. One explanation involves the Pacific Ocean, which, calculations indicate, has absorbed an unusually large amount of heat from the Earth's atmosphere in recent years. "If this proves to be true, then the warnings are still in effect," Marotzke says. He explains that it would mean the greenhouse effect is adding more and more energy into the climate system, exactly as the simulations predict, just with a larger portion of that energy than expected disappearing temporarily into the ocean.

Another possible explanation is that the large quantity of soot emitted into the atmosphere by cars and factory smokestacks in Asia has had a cooling effect on the atmosphere. What will happen when China installs modern filtering systems on a massive scale in its vehicles and at its coal power plants? In this case, global warming would also then continue unchecked.

In other words, says glaciologist Heinz Miller at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, "The stagnation in temperature does not negate the physical evidence of global warming." Still, he says, the IPCC needs to make clear to the public and politicians alike that "scientific study is not a guarantee for infallibility." Miller also believes, "There is still a considerable need for more research."
Environmental policymakers within the IPCC fear, though, that climate skeptics and industry lobbyists could exploit these scientific uncertainties for their own purposes. The IPCC's response has been to circle the wagons. To ensure it remains the sole authority on climate predictions, the panel plans not to publish the complete report for some time after the release of the summary and not even release transcripts from the negotiations in Stockholm.

This despite the IPCC's promise for more transparency after hair-raising mistakes in the last assessment report -- from 2007 -- emerged three years ago and tarnished the panel's credibility. One result of that scandal was a commitment to avoiding future conflicts of interest. Yet scientists who previously worked for environmental organizations still hold leading roles in the creation of the IPCC report. This includes at least two "coordinating lead authors" who are responsible for individual chapters of the report.


Model meltdown

This week, the United Nations‘ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is slated to release its fourth report since 1990. Leaked copies indicate an admission that there has been no global warming for the past 16 years, but the report will also increase its probability from 90 percent to 95 percent that global warming — if it does occur — is caused by man. Not one of the major climate models on which the panel bases its predictions forecast the lack of warming over the past 16 years, even though the models do vary widely as to how much warming they predicted.

Not to be outdone, President Obama again is warning us that if the Republicans do not vote for more government spending in the budget battles that are now upon us, we will go back into a recession. You may have not noticed we had left the recession, since employment levels are still below where they were five years ago. The president, of course, does not make such statements off the top of his head, but on the basis of his economic-forecast models. You might ask: “How accurate have these models been in forecasting?” Please note the accompanying table for the answer.

The Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget makes five-year economic forecasts each year, but to spare it some pain, I took only its two-year forecasts. As you can see, the administration’s average error was well over 100 percent — making its projections almost useless. However, many private-sector economic forecasters managed to get much closer to the mark. The relevant question is this: “Why are both the climate-forecast models and some of the government economic-forecast models prone to not only gross error, but also consistent overestimates?”

Many years ago, when I was chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of my jobs was to produce a quarterly forecast of the U.S. economy, so I do have some sympathy for those whose job it is to produce forecasts. When constructing a forecast model, it is necessary to identify the key variables that will likely determine the future and then to specify those variables correctly. Good forecasters are constantly modifying their models to correct for past mistakes and take in new data. A consistent overestimate or underestimate often indicates a mistaken specification of some key variable.

The major long-range climate-change models appear to have over-weighted the effect of increased carbon dioxide, and under-weighted some other key variables, which caused almost all of them to forecast far more warming than actually occurred. It is hard enough to build a reasonably accurate economic-forecast model, let alone a climate-change model, which is far more complex with even less reliable data. Too many climate-change scientists appear have been affected with an unwarranted hubris about what they knew. Many in the political and media classes accepted their doomsday predictions with insufficient skepticism, in part, because it sold newspapers and appeared to justify higher government spending. There is also the inconvenient truth that climate scientists who produce papers and models showing a coming catastrophe are much more likely to receive government grants than those who say there is no big problem.

The Obama administration’s economic forecasts have been consistently wide of the mark in grossly overstating what is likely to occur. Its models use a Keynesian framework, which leads to overstatement of the benefits of government spending and an understatement of the costs of that spending. The models also have consistently underestimated the disincentives of higher taxes on labor and capital and the amount of regulatory-cost drag. If the model-builders corrected these persistent mistakes, they would produce results at odds with the president’s economic ideology — of which they are keenly aware. The president has a political agenda that includes a belief that global warming is a much bigger problem than it is likely to be, and that full employment and more rapid economic growth can only occur with a larger, more activist government.

There is also a long history of mathematical model-builders — whether their field is financial models, economic models or climate models — having much more faith in the results than are objectively warranted. Note the unusual frequency of so-called “Black Swan” events, which keep surprising model-builders with unforeseen events. Defenders of the government-funded models are always quick to point out the potential bias of models funded by private companies with a vested interest, which is fair. However, private-sector forecasters, whether independent or special-interest, compete with each other for accuracy, and those who prove to be the least accurate are quickly disregarded. Both history and an understanding of economic incentives ought to raise many more flags when models funded by taxpayers produce results that are in the perceived self-interest of the political class responsible for their funding. The safe bet is that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Obama administration will continue to produce greatly overstated climate and economic forecasts, and then attack those who voice a healthy skepticism as know-nothings.


EPA’s McCarthy admits regs are for show, not results

The Obama administration and its dutiful EPA have an ambitious plan to end millions of years of natural “climate change.” Meanwhile, as they determinedly demonstrate heroic world leadership to avert a looming non-disaster, the UN’s IPCC faces a different epic damage control challenge. As their political operatives meet in Stockholm this week to finalize their latest Summary for Policymakers report, they’ve got to figure out how to spin unsettling evidence of a 17-year “pause” in global temperature rise despite what they love to trumpet as “record high” atmospheric CO2 concentrations,

There are some other inconveniently non-alarming circumstances that the President, his agencies, and the UN are conveniently overlooking as well. For example, there’s that perplexing rapidly expanding Arctic sea ice; the lack of increase in the strength or frequency of landfall hurricanes in the world’s five main hurricane basins during the past 50-70 years; the lack of increase in the strength or frequency in tropical Atlantic hurricane development during the past 370 years; the longest U.S. period ever recorded without intense Category 3-5 hurricane landfall; and no trend since 1950 evidencing any increased frequency of strong (F3-F-5) U.S. tornadoes.

To discuss such matters, 13 federal agencies were invited to provide testimony about the Administration’s climate policy before the House Energy Committee on September 18. Only two accepted, providing EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz as witnesses.

A notable exchange occurred about 2 hours and 16 minutes into the hearing between McCarthy and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.). My friend Marlo Lewis at the Competitive Enterprise Institute provided an unofficial transcribed version of this segment, which can also be viewed directly on Youtube.

Pompeo: Ms. McCarthy I want to ask a couple of questions of you. So one of the objectives today is to identify the greenhouse gas regulations that already existed and those in the future — how they actually impact the climate change, right? So you’d agree we want to have a successful climate policy as a result of those sets of rules and regulations that you promulgate? Fair base line statement?

McCarthy: In the context of a larger international effort, yes.

Pompeo: You bet. And on your website you have 26 indicators used for tracking climate change. They identify various impacts of climate change. So you would believe that the purpose of these rules is to impact those 26 indicators, right? So you put a good greenhouse gas regulation in place, you’ll get a good outcome on at least some or all of those 26 indicators.

McCarthy: I actually . . . I think that the better way to think about it, if I might, is that it is part of an overall strategy that is positioning the U.S. for leadership in an international discussion. Because climate change requires a global effort. So this is one piece and it’s one step. But I think it’s a significant one to show the commitment of the United States.

Pompeo: Do you think it would be reasonable to take the regulations you promulgated and link them to those 26 indicators that you have on your website? That this is how they impacted us?

McCarthy: It is unlikely that any specific one step is going to be seen as having a visible impact on any of those impacts — a visible change in any of those impacts. What I’m suggesting is that climate change [policy] has to be a broader array of actions that the U.S. and other folks in the international community take that make significant effort towards reducing greenhouse gases and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Pompeo: But these are your indicators, Ms. McCarthy. So . . .

McCarthy: They are indicators of climate change, they are not directly applicable to performance impacts of any one action.

Pompeo: How about the cumulative impact of your actions? Certainly you’re acting in a way . . . you say these are indicators of climate change. Certainly it can’t be the case that your testimony today is that your cumulative impact of the current set of regulations and those you’re proposing isn’t going to have any impact at all on any of those indicators?

McCarthy: I think the President was very clear. What we’re attempting to do is put together a comprehensive climate plan, across the Administration, that positions the U.S. for leadership on this issue and that will prompt and leverage international discussions and action.

Pompeo: So you’re putting regulations in place for the purpose of leadership but not to impact the indicators that you, the EPA, says are the indicators of climate change? I’m puzzled by that.

McCarthy: Congressman we work within the authority that Congress gave us to do what we can. But all I’m pointing out is that much more needs to be done and it needs to be looked at in that larger context.

Pompeo: In 2010 with NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration], in your opening statement you said you’ve gotten rid of about 6 billion metric tons [of greenhouse gases]. One of your indicators, for example, is heat-related deaths. How many heat-related deaths have been eliminated as a result of the 2010 NHTSA rules?

McCarthy: You can’t make those direct connections Congressman. Neither can I.

Pompeo: There’s literally no connection between the activities you’re undertaking and . . .

McCarthy: I didn’t say that.

Pompeo: Well, you said you can’t make the connections, so tell me what I’m not understanding. Can you draw a connection between the rules you’re providing, the regulations you’re promulgating, and your indicators? Or is it just . . .

McCarthy: I think what you’re asking is can EPA in and of itself solve the problems of climate change. No we cannot. But the authority you gave us was to use the Clean Air Act to regulate pollution, carbon pollution is one of those regulated pollutants, and we’re going to move forward with what we can do that’s reasonable and appropriate.

Pompeo: I’m actually not asking that question that you suppose that I’m asking. I’m not asking whether you have the power to solve greenhouse gases. What I asked was: Is anything you’re doing, doing any good? As measured by the indicators that you’ve provided. Is your testimony that you just have no capacity to identify whether the actions EPA has undertaken has any impact on those indicators? Literally, this is about science — cause and effect. Is there any causal relationship between the regulations you promulgated and the 26 indicators of climate change that you have on your website?

McCarthy: The indicators on the website are broad global indicators. . .

Pompeo: They’re not broad, they’re very specific.

McCarthy: . . .of impacts associated with climate change. They are not performance requirements or impacts related to any particular act.

Pompeo: I actually like the indicators — they’re quantifiable, right? Heat-related death, change in ocean heat, sea-level rises, snow cover — those are very quantifiable things. But now you’re telling me . . .

McCarthy: They indicate the public health associated with climate change.

Pompeo: Exactly, but you’re telling me you can’t link up your actions at EPA to any benefit associated with those quantifiable indicators that the EPA itself has proposed as indicative of climate change.

McCarthy: I think what we’re able to do is to show — and I hope we will show this in the package that we put out for comment — is what kind of reductions are going be associated with our rules, what we believe they will have in terms of an economic and a public health benefit. But it is again part of a very large strategy.

Pompeo: My time has expired.

So there you have it. Regardless of the countless billions of taxpayer and consumer dollars being spent to wage war on natural and inevitable climate change, the EPA head is unable to identify any discernible health and welfare benefits of her agency’s draconian regulatory policies. Instead, the apparent goal of the EPA’s current and proposed greenhouse gas regulations is to persuade the international community, particularly China, India, and other developing nations, to follow the Obama administration’s U.S. leadership over an economic precipice.

Let’s finally get it straight. Carbon dioxide isn’t a dangerous “pollutant”… it’s a natural and essential plant food. The real dangers to public health and welfare are the economic destruction, job elimination, and escalating costs of food, energy, and other essentials resulting from scientifically unwarranted policies. The greatest burdens of such sophistry fall upon those who can least afford them.


Gullible Green sailors trapped in the Arctic

The naïve advice of ardent activists can kill. Last spring, Paul Beckwith of Sierra Club Canada predicted that the Arctic seas would be ice-free ice this summer. (So did Britain’s BBC network.) This exciting adventure opportunity attracted a variety of yachts, sailboats, rowboats, and kayaks owners to try sailing the fabled Northwest Passage.

As a former sailboat owner I can understand their excitement, but my heart aches for the agonies they now face. The Arctic sea ice suddenly expanded 60 percent this fall, after the coldest summer in the modern Alaska temperature record. The passage is now impassable. More than a dozen of the boats are trapped, apparently even including a group of tiny American jet-ski “personal watercraft” that were attempting to cross from the east coast of Russia to the North Atlantic. Arctic observers are now warning that even Canadian icebreakers might not be able to rescue them.

The Northwest Passage blog reminds us that fall super storms are a potentially deadly fact in Alaska. “It is only a matter time. . . . Give Mother Nature her due time and she will move billions of tons of sea ice and push it up against the Alaska Arctic coast—effectively closing the door to exit the Arctic ice from western Canada. . . . No icebreakers are going to be able to offer any assistance. Mother Nature is mightier than all the icebreakers put together.” Note that the Atlantic exit is already problematic.

Helicopter rescues on Arctic ice are incredibly expensive, involving hundreds of miles of flying by copters and crews expensively maintained in that icy and sparsely populated region. Additionally, all the lovely boats become write-offs.

The boaters ignored major warning signs. The planet has not warmed appreciably in at least 15 years. NASA told us in 2007 that the Pacific Ocean had shifted into the cool phase of its 60-year cycle and that fact predicted cooler winters until 2030.

Most concerning of all is that the costs of an Arctic sailing mistake are horrendous. Wonderfully preserved hulks of sunken explorers’ ships litter the sea-bottom around the Northwest Passage. Some of the vessels that survived the ice were trapped for as long as three winters. At least one sailboat recently froze into the ice near Svalbard. The captain and his boat were buried under the heavy snow, 100 miles from human habitation. (He actually survived to write a book.)

The risks run by the Arctic boaters are obvious. Modern society is running less obvious risks based on the same sort of naïve advice coming from the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and a host of like-minded “saviors of the planet.” What about the poor and elderly Britons and Germans who have frozen to death in their homes because they couldn’t afford the higher costs of gas and electricity imposed by “renewable fuels”?

What about the millions of Third World mothers and children who die of lung diseases every year as it is politically incorrect to give them access to tiny amounts of kerosene for heating and cooking. The alternative is burning dung and charcoal in indoor, poorly ventilated fires.

Closer to home, what about the millions of young Americans who can’t get jobs in an economy stalled by overpriced “Green” energy and investor uncertainty over the War on Coal? Inevitably, being gullible carries a price tag. We are just beginning to realize how expensive the naïveté of the environmental movement has become.


David Suzuki Attacks Climate Science

David Suzuki, better known in Canada than in the U.S. and other parts of the world, is a former scientist and modern-day financier of the radical fringes of the environmental movement. In a widely circulated essay, he criticizes media outlets ranging from Canada’s Financial Post to the Washington Post in the U.S. for daring to cover the scientific debate over the causes and consequences of climate change.

He also singled out and attacked three scientists who led a team of nearly 50 scientists who wrote or contributed to a report, titled Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, released earlier this week by my organization, The Heartland Institute.

Why would a former scientist attack scientists for doing exactly what good scientists have always done, which is to question theories and predictions based on fear and ignorance rather than facts and reason? Why does Suzuki criticize the press for doing what good journalists ought to do, which is cover both sides of debates over issues with serious consequences for public policy?

Let me be clear: Suzuki is not speaking as a scientist. He spent so little time looking at the report he criticizes that he mis-identifies the organization that produced it: It is the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), not the International Climate Science Coalition. (The Heartland Institute published the report for NIPCC).

Suzuki mistakenly says the 1,000-page report was not peer-reviewed. In fact it was doubly peer-reviewed. Nearly all of the 4,000-plus sources it cites originally appeared in peer-reviewed journals, and the volume itself was put through peer review by the three lead authors. The reviewers are clearly identified in the report and in its Summary for Policymakers (SPM).

While Suzuki failed to read the report and SPM that are available for free online (at, he’s happy to endorse without qualification a report that hasn’t yet been written: the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report, which he says “is a review of all the available science on climate change.”

Of course he has not compared the sources cited in the yet-to-be-published IPCC report and those cited in the NIPCC report. So how does he know the IPCC report reviews “all of the available science”? He obviously does not.

David Suzuki epitomizes what is wrong with the environmental movement today. It embraces positions without critical thought and regardless of the actual scientific evidence, so long as those positions appear to advance its political agenda. It attacks and demonizes anyone, even scientists, who dare to point this out. Until environmentalists publicly rebuke and distance themselves from irresponsible demagogues like David Suzuki, the movement will continue to lose the public support it once had.




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


26 September, 2013

Climate models wildly overestimated global warming, study finds

Can you rely on the weather forecast? Maybe not, at least when it comes to global warming predictions over short time periods.

That’s the upshot of a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change that compared 117 climate predictions made in the 1990's to the actual amount of warming. Out of 117 predictions, the study’s author told, three were roughly accurate and 114 overestimated the amount of warming. On average, the predictions forecasted two times more global warming than actually occurred.

Some scientists say the study shows that climate modelers need to go back to the drawing board.

"It's a real problem ... it shows that there really is something that needs to be fixed in the climate models," climate scientist John Christy, a professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, told

But other scientists say that's making a mountain out of a molehill.

"This is neither surprising nor particularly troubling to me as a climate scientist," Melanie Fitzpatrick, a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told "The work of our community is constantly to refine our understanding of the climate system and improve models based on that," she added.

The climate models, Fitzpatrick said, will likely be correct over long periods of time. But there are too many variations in climate to expect models to be accurate over two decades.

But John Christy says that climate models have had this problem going back 35 years, to 1979, the first year for which reliable satellite temperature data exists to compare the predictions to.

"I looked at 73 climate models going back to 1979 and every single one predicted more warming than happened in the real world," Christy said.

Many of the overestimations also made their way into the popular press. In 1989, the Associate Press reported: "Using computer models, researchers concluded that global warming would raise average annual temperatures nationwide 2 degrees by 2010."

But according to NASA, global temperature has increased by less than half that -- about 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit -- from 1989 to 2010.

And in 1972, the Christian Science Monitor reported: "Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen says a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000." That also proved wrong.

But people should still be concerned about global warming, Fitzpatrick says.

"The paper in no way diminishes the extensive body of observations that global warming is happening and that it is largely due to human activity," she added.

"Global surface temperature is still rising ... 2012 was in the top ten warmest years on record. The period 2001-2010 was the warmest on record since instrumental measurements began," she added.

Christy agrees that there has been some warming over time, but says man-made greenhouse gasses are not as big of a driver of climate change as many think -- and that many scientists are in denial about their mistakes.

"I think in one sense the climate establishment is embarrassed by this, and so they're trying to minimize the problem," he said. "The fundamental thing a climate model is supposed to predict is temperature. And yet it gets that wrong."

The study authors did not answer questions from about the policy implications of their research.

Why were the predictions off? The study authors list many possible reasons, from solar irradiation and incorrect assumptions about the number of volcanic eruptions to bad estimates about how CO2 effects cloud patterns.

Christy said he believes the models overestimate warming because of the way they handle clouds.

“Most models assume that clouds shrink when there is CO2 warming, and that lets in more sun, and that's what heats up the planet – not so much the direct effect of CO2, but the ‘feedback effect’ of having fewer clouds. In the real world, though, the clouds aren't shrinking,” he said.

The study also says that an overestimate of the power of CO2 as a greenhouse gas could be why the models over-predict, but that they do not know why the models are wrong at this point.

Christy said he is not optimistic about the models being fixed.

"The Earth system is just too complex to be represented in current climate models. I don’t think they’ll get it right for a long time."



Temperatures have been declining since the start of the millennium. Until the Warmists can explain that, any future predictions are meaningless.

Remember All Those Predictions About A rapidly melting Arctic?

Remember all those claims last year about accelerating Arctic ice loss and an ice-free Arctic by 2015 or 2020? Well, actually you don’t, because nobody ever made those claims. In fact, you heard exactly the opposite. You may think you heard claims about accelerating Arctic ice loss and an imminent ice-free Arctic, but they were merely figments of your imagination. You were merely hallucinating. How do I know this? Global warming alarmists just told us so.

Writing in Monday’s UK Guardian, alarmists John Abraham and Dana Nuccitelli claim global warming alarmists predicted this year’s record growth in Arctic sea ice. And all those claims of doom-and-gloom predictions about Arctic sea ice in 2012? They were apparently just figments of our collective imagination.

So when you click on this article published by the very same UK Guardian last September 17, you really aren’t reading the article title that you think you are reading: “Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years.”

You really aren’t reading this gem of a quote from the story’s central “expert,” either: “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.”

When you click on this New York Times article, you also aren’t seeing what you think you see, because global warming alarmists apparently told us last year the 2012 Arctic ice season was unlikely to be repeated in 2013. According to our collective hallucination in the September 19, 2012 New York Times:

“‘The Arctic is the earth’s air-conditioner,’ said Walt Meier, a research scientist at the snow and ice center, an agency sponsored by the government. ‘We’re losing that. It’s not just that polar bears might go extinct, or that native communities might have to adapt, which we’re already seeing — there are larger climate effects.’”

“Now, some scientists think the Arctic Ocean could be largely free of summer ice as soon as 2020,” the Times continued, according to our collective hallucination.

“Scientists said Wednesday that the Arctic has become a prime example of the built-in conservatism of their climate forecasts. As dire as their warnings about the long-term consequences of heat-trapping emissions have been, many of them fear they may still be underestimating the speed and severity of the impending changes,” the Times apparently never reported.

Of course, the UK Guardian and the New York Times are just two of many publications that warned us about rapidly accelerating Arctic ice loss and an imminent loss of the entire polar ice cap. Er, I mean, the UK Guardian and the New York Times are just two of many publications that we falsely thinkwarned us about rapidly accelerating Arctic ice loss and an imminent loss of the entire polar ice cap.

These hallucinations are strikingly similar to when we erroneously believe alarmists warned us about less snowfall, more hurricanes, shrinking Antarctic sea ice, the Gulf Stream shutting down, etc. When the earth’s climate reacts exactly in the opposite manner as predicted by global warming alarmists, they pretend they never made such scary predictions in the first place.

No, alarmists never predicted Arctic sea ice would recede this year. They all predicted record Arctic sea ice growth, instead. Any such memories to the contrary are mere hallucinations. We know this because if the alarmists ever had made such doom-and-gloom predictions, it would prove to be yet another epic fail in the annals of silly and disproven global warming predictions


Schism in the church of Warmism!

Environmental activist Naomi Klein published an open letter this week eviscerating Center for American Progress front man Joe Romm for making ignorant statements and irresponsibly making hatchet-job attacks on people with differing points of view.

In an interview published last week by, Klein said Big Green environmental groups are engaging in “very deep denialism” that is causing more harm to the goal of limiting carbon dioxide emissions than the efforts of global warming skeptics. Klein said many Big Green groups are soliciting and accepting large amounts of cash from corporations who stand to profit from asserted global warming solutions and then are beholden to the corporations’ quest for corporate welfare, even when they are proposing ineffective or counterproductive programs to address global warming.

“I think it’s a really important question why the green groups have been so unwilling to follow science to its logical conclusions,” Klein added.

The Center for American Progress, funded by renewable energy lobbyists seeking massive taxpayer subsidies and renewable power mandates, apparently felt threatened by Klein’s observations. Center for American Progress front man Joe Romm posted an article on the organization’s website blasting Klein.

“She is not just wrong, she is profoundly wrong. Her revisionist history is wrong, too, and contradicted by her policy prescriptions,” wrote Romm.

“Klein saves much of her wrath for cap-and-trade — the favorite whipping boy of the counterfactual crowd – but to understand why her analysis is so wrong we need to first look at her revisionist history,” wrote Romm, before adding, “There are so many misleading statements packed in there, it is hard to know where to begin.”

“Klein is the queen of conflation and revisionism,” Romm piled on.


Britain: The Green Party want to become Ed Miliband's worst nightmare: a Ukip of the Left

When my train arrived at Brighton Station yesterday, I did not expect the first politician I saw to be Caroline Lucas. This was the Labour Conference, so what the hell was the Green Party’s MP doing, eager to chat to anyone as they came out of the station?

Lucas was there precisely because it was the Labour Conference. Taking advantage of location – Lucas is the Honorable Member for Brighton Pavilion – she has used it to remind everyone that the Green Party still exists. And it needs disillusioned Lefty votes, pronto.

A reminder comes with the Green Party billboard you encounter on the way to the Labour conference. “Welcome to Brighton: Home of the true opposition in Parliament”, it declares. "PS – Labour is down the hill on the right." In case the message isn’t clear enough, the revolving billboard also has a checklist of all the things the Greens stand for and Labour, we can assume, do not. Saving the NHS. Tick. Fighting Austerity. Tick. Railways in public hands. Tick. Scrapping Trident. Tick.

Despite Ed Miliband’s reply when asked about bringing back socialism – “That’s what we are trying to do, sir” – there is a lot of grumbling on the Left of the party. In a fringe meeting yesterday the suggestion that Labour propose a Financial Transaction Tax received nods of approval. There weren't many when Chuka Umunna warned that, unless there was a concerted international effort, banking jobs would be lost.

Since the formation of the Coalition, Labour has monopolised the political Left. But this year the Greens have tried to fill the vacuum. Caroline Lucas and Natalie Bennett, the Green Party leader, were both founding members of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity in February. The more time they spend sharing a stage with Owen Jones, Ken Loach and company, the more the Greens can present themselves as an attractive Leftist alternative to Labour. Caroline Lucas says: "We know that a lot of the policies we're putting forward – against NHS privatisation for example – do strike a chord with disillusioned Labour voters. And I think a lot of Labour members want to see their leadership follow our lead and take a stronger line against austerity." She also stresses that "I've voted against the Government on a range of issues where Labour have supported them."

The Greens may dream of becoming the “Ukip of the Left”. That isn’t going to happen. Ukip's obsession with immigration captures the public imagination; CO2 emissions do not. But the Greens are still a force that could take crucial votes away from Labour in 2015. The party "has been good at concentrating its limited resources in areas where it has a toehold", says Joe Twyman, a YouGov director. The Greens have over 150 councillors (only 60 fewer than Ukip) and, of course, an MP.

Ed Miliband’s great advantage has always been that, while the Right is a house divided, the Left is not. Now the Greens are making an explicit pitch to disgruntled Labour voters. How successful they are could go a long way to determining whether Miliband gets to Number 10.


Regulatory Commissars: EPA Issues Rules

Two weeks ago we outlined what to expect when the Environmental Protection Agency was to present new climate regulation ordered by Barack Obama through executive power in June. The EPA's official report released Friday affirms our report: “[N]ew large natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, while new small natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. New coal-fired units would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour.”

The result will be intentionally disastrous for coal-powered plants that will now be forced to install costly carbon capture technology. “No coal-fired power plant has done that yet, in large part because of the cost,” observes The Wall Street Journal. “And those plants that the EPA points to as potential models … have received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants and tax credits.” Imagine that: An expensive (and likely subpar) technology in need of a government subsidy. We have a good idea how this will turn out.

Perhaps the most egregious comments come from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. While testifying last week before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, McCarthy was asked what effect any of the EPA's 26 climate regulations have had on curbing global warming. “It's unlikely that any specific one step is going to be seen as having … a visible change in any of those [indicators],” McCarthy admitted.

So let's get this straight: An administration working to “save the planet” from “climate change” admits it's likely none of the regulations have done anything to actually curb warming. And yet, the answer is to instate more carbon rules. This administration will do whatever it takes to destroy the coal industry in service to its leftist ideology.


Australia's public broadcaster hearts Greenies

The hysterical David Suzuki is treated as a VIP

Tonight provides further evidence of bias at the ABC. David Suzuki appears on Q&A without any other panelists. Normally Q&A consists of a panel of six people with Tony Jones. Occasionally there will be just two (and Tony Jones) – such as when Chris Bowen and Joe Hockey appeared on 19 August 2013.

Very rarely there will be just one panelist, like tonight’s show with David Suzuki. The previous examples are:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (2 September 2013 and 8 February 2010)

Prime Minister Julia Gillard (6 May 2013, 11 June 2012, 11 July 2011, 14 March 2011, 9 August 2010)

Former Prime Minister John Howard (25 October 2010)

Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott (16 August 2010)

Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull (13 October 2008)

Retiring Leader of the Greens Senator Bob Brown (23 April 2012)

With the exception of Bob Brown (who was at least leader of a minor party in the Parliament of Australia), all the others have been Prime Ministers or Opposition Leaders.

Now comes David Suzuki with no particular claim to fame except on the Q&A website as a: "Renowned Environmental Scientist and Campaigner"

How much did the ABC pay David Suzuki to appear? Have they provided young ladies to accompany him as is his wont?

It is time to privatise the ABC.




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


25 September, 2013

That 95% again

Much-published AP journalist Seth Borenstein knows on which side his bread is buttered. He is a major propagandist for global warming. He must however feel some insecurity about his views as he sometimes replies directly to critics of his articles. Marc Morano is his most persistent critic and that may be why he replies to Morano.

Morano pointed out that the 95% certainty just now claimed for global warming by the IPCC was decided on a show of hands, not by any scientific or mathematical process. And it was Borenstein's uncritical report of the 95% that Morano criticized. And Borenstein replied to that, defending his report by saying that he made some mention of uncertainty.

Morano, however copied in a number of other people to the correspondence concerned, one of whom was Viscount Monckton. Monckton sent the following "reply to the reply" to Borenstein:

Dear Mr. Borenstein, - It would be appropriate to assign a statistical confidence interval as part of a statistical analysis of data, and only then. As you will know, a confidence interval of .95 corresponds to two standard deviations from the mean, and .99 to three standard deviations. However, there was no statistical analysis of the question whether most of the global warming since 1950 was attributable to us: therefore, no statistical confidence interval was appropriate, and the IPCC's attempt to assign a quantified statistical confidence interval to a non-statistical process was inappropriate and, mathematically speaking, contemptible.

As you will also know, the IPCC was rightly criticized for having assigned a 90% confidence interval (not even a standard interval) to its "consensus" proposition in the Fourth Assessment Report. On that occasion, the political representatives of governments took the decision. Many nations wanted to plump for 95%, for purely political reasons (for there was and is no scientific basis for assigning any quantitative value to such a proposition), but China, for purely scientific reasons, wanted no confidence interval at all. In the end, 90% was settled upon as a compromise, and by no more scientific a process than a show of hands. And these people expect to be taken seriously when they demand the shutdown of the West in the name of Saving The Planet.

By the same token, Mr. Severinghaus' assertion of a 99% confidence interval to the proposition that CO2 contributes to the greenhouse effect is meaningless. It is demonstrable by simple experiment that adding CO2 or other greenhouse gases to an atmosphere such as ours will cause a radiative forcing that, ceteris paribus, can be expected to cause some warming.

However, temperature feedbacks, non-radiative transports, temperature homeostasis, and chaos in the climate object are among many complicating factors that make it near-impossible to determine with any reliability - even using probability density functions - how much warming will result from a given quantum of forcing, or when it will result, or how long-acting any temperature feedbacks will be. These and many other uncertainties - including the use of a feedback-amplification function at the heart of the climate-sensitivity equation that manifestly has no physical meaning in the real climate - render it impossible to determine whether most of the warming since 1950 was manmade. Accordingly, the IPCC's pretence that it is 95% confident that most of the warming since 1950 was manmade is transparently rent-seeking guesswork, to which no intelligent journalist should lend the slightest credence.

Frankly, this entire business of the fictitious confidence intervals has become a joke, particularly now that it transpires that just 0.3% of 11,944 papers on global climate change published since 1991 explicitly state support for the IPCC's version of "consensus".

In any event, only a Socialist who placed politics before science would believe or assert for an instant that scientific results are determined or reinforced by any form of mere head-counting among scientists. Aristotle demonstrated that argument by mere head-count was a fallacy 2350 years ago. The sheer dumbness of the IPCC's approach should at least be questioned by journalists, not merely paraded as though it were some sort of Gospel truth. The Holy Books of IPeCaC are no Bible.

There is a huge and fascinating story behind the loutish distortions of scientific, mathematical, physical, and statistical method that have led today's scientifically-illiterate classe politique to place their faith in propositions - such as the "95% confidence" proposition - that are obvious nonsense. Surely it would be better to start asking real questions than merely to parrot uncritically the innumerate absurdities of a politicized clique of profiteers of doom in the scientific establishment. Time to raise your game. This once-fashionable scare is going down and you don't want to be dragged down with it. Global warming is no longer cool. It is no longer a happening thing. Indeed, it is no longer happening. - Monckton of Brenchley

Via email

95 per cent of intelligent people know the new IPCC report is utter drivel

By James Delingpole

Experts 95 per cent certain 'humans are responsible for global warming'.

Well, of course they are. If there is one overriding prerequisite of every new IPCC Assessment report, it's to sound even more scary and urgent and certain than its predecessor.

Professor Bob Carter noted this progression in his excellent book Climate: the Counter Consensus:

"First Assessment Report (1990) – "The observed [twentieth century] temperature increase could be largely due…to natural variability."

Second Assessment Report (1996) – "The balance of the evidence suggests a discernible human influence on climate."

Third Assessment Report (2001) – "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last fifty years is attributable to human activities."

Fourth Assessment Report (2007) – "Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperature since the mid-twentieth century is very likely [= 90 per cent probable] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations."

The irony is, of course, that the third, fourth and fifth assessment reports were all produced in a period of rising CO2 levels in which there has been no "global warming" whatsoever. You'd imagine that, had the scientific method been more highly valued by the IPCC, this rather glaring flaw in AGW theory might have been afforded more prominence. But this is not the IPCC Assessment Reports' job.

As Christopher Booker and others have often noted, the IPCC's reports are essentially political artefacts rather than scientific ones. This is why some governments – including Germany's and Belgium's – have been manoeuvring behind the scenes to have the new IPCC report "sexed up". The scientific reality – that global warming has paused for 15 years; that climate sensitivity appears to be far smaller than the scaremongering computer models predicted – cannot be allowed to derail all the expensive and intrusive programmes (from wind farms to green investment banks to hideous, flickery, dull low energy light bulbs) which have been introduced in order to "combat climate change."

I don't think many of my colleagues in the Fourth Estate have exactly covered themselves in glory in exposing what looks, increasingly, like the biggest pseudo-scientific scam in history. (Lysenkoism, for all its faults, at least confined itself to the Communist bloc. This one has affected the whole world). On the contrary, they have acted as its cheerleaders, reporting each new report as uncritically as Pravda journalists diligently covering the dazzling brilliance, humanity and insight of Comrade Stalin's latest five hour speech on improved wheat yields and tractor production.

Andrew Bolt has been facing similar problems in Australia, especially with the irredeemably left-wing state broadcaster ABC.

"For years, most in the mainstream media didn't just refuse to question the great global warming scare, but howled down the few who dared to.

Journalists became propagandists, even witch-hunters. And the biggest cabal of them gathered in the ABC.

Four years ago,for instance, I was a panellist on the ABC's Insiders program and mentioned the warming pause.

Fellow panellist David Marr asked me not to refer to it again and then ostentatiously buried his head in a newspaper. La la la la, not listening.

Marr, of course, was a former host of the ABC's Media Watch, which for years, under various hosts, hounded warming sceptics and gave the Flannerys a free pass.

The other panellist was ­Annabel Crabb, now an ABC host. She, too, demanded we talk about something else, and on another Insiders show, mocked my quoting of scores of studies which showed the warming theory wasn't working out as the likes of Flannery claimed.

"You put a million posts on your blog about some new study from the University of East Bumcrack," she scoffed."

Then, of course, there is the Guardian/Observer, whose relentlessly hysterical, unfailingly uncritical coverage of the global warming scare is sharply analysed here by Ben Pile. Here's how it begins:

"In today’s Observer, Robin McKie channels scientists…

Climate change: IPCC issues stark warning over global warming

Call to ‘stop dithering about fossil fuel cuts’ as expert panel warns entire globe is affected

This is now part of the ritual established by the Guardian whenever the routine, scheduled, planned, expected, and timetabled publishing of IPCC assessment reports or UNFCCC COP meetings occur. These events are in every case presented as always new, more comprehensive, deeper, and more ‘stark’ than previous pronouncements on climate change, even when the reports say very little or nothing at all that is new, and even suggest that things aren’t as bad ‘as previously thought’."


Dialing Back the Alarm on Climate Change

This was written a few days ago

Later this month, a long-awaited event that last happened in 2007 will recur. Like a returning comet, it will be taken to portend ominous happenings. I refer to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) "fifth assessment report," part of which will be published on Sept. 27.

There have already been leaks from this 31-page document, which summarizes 1,914 pages of scientific discussion, but thanks to a senior climate scientist, I have had a glimpse of the key prediction at the heart of the document. The big news is that, for the first time since these reports started coming out in 1990, the new one dials back the alarm. It states that the temperature rise we can expect as a result of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide is lower than the IPCC thought in 2007.

Admittedly, the change is small, and because of changing definitions, it is not easy to compare the two reports, but retreat it is. It is significant because it points to the very real possibility that, over the next several generations, the overall effect of climate change will be positive for humankind and the planet.

Specifically, the draft report says that "equilibrium climate sensitivity" (ECS)—eventual warming induced by a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which takes hundreds of years to occur—is "extremely likely" to be above 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), "likely" to be above 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and "very likely" to be below 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 Fahrenheit). In 2007, the IPPC said it was "likely" to be above 2 degrees Celsius and "very likely" to be above 1.5 degrees, with no upper limit. Since "extremely" and "very" have specific and different statistical meanings here, comparison is difficult.

Still, the downward movement since 2007 is clear, especially at the bottom of the "likely" range. The most probable value (3 degrees Celsius last time) is for some reason not stated this time.

A more immediately relevant measure of likely warming has also come down: "transient climate response" (TCR)—the actual temperature change expected from a doubling of carbon dioxide about 70 years from now, without the delayed effects that come in the next century. The new report will say that this change is "likely" to be 1 to 2.5 degrees Celsius and "extremely unlikely" to be greater than 3 degrees. This again is lower than when last estimated in 2007 ("very likely" warming of 1 to 3 degrees Celsius, based on models, or 1 to 3.5 degrees, based on observational studies).

Most experts believe that warming of less than 2 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels will result in no net economic and ecological damage. Therefore, the new report is effectively saying (based on the middle of the range of the IPCC's emissions scenarios) that there is a better than 50-50 chance that by 2083, the benefits of climate change will still outweigh the harm.

Warming of up to 1.2 degrees Celsius over the next 70 years (0.8 degrees have already occurred), most of which is predicted to happen in cold areas in winter and at night, would extend the range of farming further north, improve crop yields, slightly increase rainfall (especially in arid areas), enhance forest growth and cut winter deaths (which far exceed summer deaths in most places). Increased carbon dioxide levels also have caused and will continue to cause an increase in the growth rates of crops and the greening of the Earth—because plants grow faster and need less water when carbon dioxide concentrations are higher.

Up to two degrees of warming, these benefits will generally outweigh the harmful effects, such as more extreme weather or rising sea levels, which even the IPCC concedes will be only about 1 to 3 feet during this period.

Yet these latest IPCC estimates of climate sensitivity may still be too high. They don't adequately reflect the latest rash of published papers estimating "equilibrium climate sensitivity" and "transient climate response" on the basis of observations, most of which are pointing to an even milder warming. This was already apparent last year with two papers—by scientists at the University of Illinois and Oslo University in Norway—finding a lower ECS than assumed by the models. Since then, three new papers conclude that ECS is well below the range assumed in the models. The most significant of these, published in Nature Geoscience by a team including 14 lead authors of the forthcoming IPCC scientific report, concluded that "the most likely value of equilibrium climate sensitivity based on the energy budget of the most recent decade is 2.0 degrees Celsius."

Two recent papers (one in the Journal of the American Meteorological Society, the other in the journal Earth System Dynamics) estimate that TCR is probably around 1.65 degrees Celsius. That's uncannily close to the estimate of 1.67 degrees reached in 1938 by Guy Callendar, a British engineer and pioneer student of the greenhouse effect. A Canadian mathematician and blogger named Steve McIntyre has pointed out that Callendar's model does a better job of forecasting the temperature of the world between 1938 and now than do modern models that "hindcast" the same data.

The significance of this is that Callendar assumed that carbon dioxide acts alone, whereas the modern models all assume that its effect is amplified by water vapor. There is not much doubt about the amount of warming that carbon dioxide can cause. There is much more doubt about whether net amplification by water vapor happens in practice or is offset by precipitation and a cooling effect of clouds.

Since the last IPCC report in 2007, much has changed. It is now more than 15 years since global average temperature rose significantly. Indeed, the IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri has conceded that the "pause" already may have lasted for 17 years, depending on which data set you look at. A recent study in Nature Climate Change by Francis Zwiers and colleagues of the University of Victoria, British Columbia, found that models have overestimated warming by 100% over the past 20 years.

Explaining this failure is now a cottage industry in climate science. At first, it was hoped that an underestimate of sulfate pollution from industry (which can cool the air by reflecting heat back into space) might explain the pause, but the science has gone the other way—reducing its estimate of sulfate cooling. Now a favorite explanation is that the heat is hiding in the deep ocean. Yet the data to support this thesis come from ocean buoys and deal in hundredths of a degree of temperature change, with a measurement error far larger than that. Moreover, ocean heat uptake has been slowing over the past eight years.

The most plausible explanation of the pause is simply that climate sensitivity was overestimated in the models because of faulty assumptions about net amplification through water-vapor feedback. This will be a topic of heated debate at the political session to rewrite the report in Stockholm, starting on Sept. 23, at which issues other than the actual science of climate change will be at stake.


The Political Science Of The IPCC

In this thing called Science, just as in other human affairs, one can act in good or bad taste. You wouldn’t go to a fancy dinner party, a political fund raiser with The One for instance, and eat your salad with a soup spoon. People would titter and think you a rube. (They would still cash your check.)

Likewise, in Science, if one proposes a theory and makes predictions with it, and those predictions turn out to be a bust, you should not continue touting the theory. Do so and as you walk down the hall your colleagues would whisper “Graduate student” and giggle like cheerleaders as you pass by.

You’d only be compound the error and make a spectacle of yourself if you went on the lecture circuit (trips funded by Government) and said things like, “Other people beside me believe in my theory!” People would think you thought mere agreement trumped observation! Nothing more anti-science than that. You’d have to go into hiding.

Matters are different in Politics. Whatever you say is not expected to accord with reality, but with desire. A politician must say what he guesses his audience wishes to hear and not what he himself believes to be true. Thus a man will not write a solicitation to Leviathan admitting he has doubts about the theory because Leviathan says it will only reward those who profess ardent agreement. So the scientist writes the grant saying he believes, figuring that if he gets the money he can do good things with it. The scientist becomes the politician: his words accord with desire and not reality.

Leviathan doesn’t particularly care if the theory is true but it knows that claiming it is allows Leviathan to do the only thing it has ever wanted to do: which is grow. Thus it will wag its thick finger at the populace and say the theory implies a “significant health threat”, even though the health of the populace has been improving. Point this out and Leviathan replies, “I didn’t say now. I meant health will deteriorate in the future. Unless I may grow.”

Few question how feeding the beast will kill the theory. It doesn’t matter, because many clever people see the opportunity for what it is and seek to join forces with the beast. They figure that once they gain the money and power which this alliance entails they will do real science with it. These folks underestimate the rapacity, the unlimited appetite of Leviathan.

They also don’t recognize what this compromise does to their souls. Whereas before they would have roundly and rightly and scientifically denounced the theory—and not the man holding it—as being false because it does not accord with observations, they now seek for any scrap of evidence no matter how thin or meager which implies the theory might be true. Alternate evidence which casts grave doubts on, or even damns, the theory is ignored. These politicians with scientific credentials will say, “It is not that the theory might be false, but that it might be true which is important,” a statement nearly empty of content.

This isn’t devious behavior; indeed, it comes from kindness. It is the natural result of one friend helping another. These supporters are friends with Leviathan, which has clothed and fed him and flown them to exotic locations to speak in front of flattering crowds who write down their words. Saying that the theory which Leviathan loves might be true is the least they can do. Besides, they reason, good science is still being done. No harm has been done.

But these folks have forgotten the True Believers, the ones who are so convinced in the truth and beauty of the theory that no amount of evidence will ever convince them to abandon it. The True Believers take the lukewarm statements of the politician-scientists as wholehearted support. There are never many True Believers, but their ardency, encouraged by lack of criticism, makes up for their lack of numbers.

They go after dissent and punish it. Take the typical case of Chris de Freitas who “dared to publish a peer-reviewed article” which suggested the theory might not be true. True Believers “mounted a determined campaign to have Dr. de Freitas…fired from his university position.”

In no possible way or interpretation is this the behavior of scientists acting for truth. It is pure politics. This tells us the only possible way to kill a false theory is to wound or distract Leviathan, the beast which feeds belief. Only nobody knows how to do this.


Global Warming and the Credentialist Fallacy

Here's one of the great stories of the past 25 years, entirely ignored by the dying legacy media: the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)-the bureaucratic authority that gave us global warming-is taking it all back. The new IPCC report concedes that its former prognostications were incorrect. Not only were their statistical models wrong, but IPCC scientists now "accept their forecast computers may have exaggerated the effect of increased carbon emissions on world temperatures-and not taken enough notice of natural variability."

Six years ago, Al "Internet" Gore-who has made millions on global warming hysteria-said the North Pole could be "ice-free by 2013." Well, it's 2013... and the Arctic has grown by 60 percent. That's more than half the size of Europe.

This is what happens when you let nefarious political bodies-replete with special-interest lobbyists, "former" communists, and kleptocratic power-hungry globalists-dominate the scientific method. Oxford climate scientist Myles Allen-a member of the IPCC panel himself-predicts this latest IPCC assessment will be the last of its kind because "the idea of producing a document of near-biblical infallibility is a misrepresentation of how science works." Which is, more or less, what the "global warming deniers" have been saying for more than a decade.

None of this is to say climate change is not happening. It is to say, however, that if climate change is in fact happening, it may be due to heretofore unmeasured-and, in retrospect, somewhat obvious-"natural variables," such as the behavior of the Sun. Nevertheless, President Obama is gearing up for a push of his anti-CO2 climate change agenda, this time by unconstitutionally using the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to bureaucratically enforce, through fiat regulation, what his administration cannot get passed democratically through Congress. And remember, this is the same EPA that spawned the outbreak of the once nearly-eradicated malaria by arbitrarily banning the insecticide DDT (to the silence of environmentalists, humanitarians, and journalists the world over).

This phenomenon-the trillions wasted by the IPCC; the millions dead because of the EPA-is the result of what can only be called "the credentialist fallacy." The credentialist fallacy is a dogmatic interpretation of reality, one where greater importance is placed on an authority's credentials than on its merits.

The credentialist fallacy is why we have "doctor worship" in this country; this sick psychological parlour game where patients acquiescence all personal autonomy to a guy in a white coat. He knows more about our anatomy than we do, and we know this, and he knows that we know this, and so he crudely plays god. Never mind that preventable medical malpractice kills between 210,000 and 400,000 Americans annually. That's a World War II's worth of fatalities every year. Still, the more arrogant and unprofessional the doctor, the more glory bestowed by the culture-as evident in those vapid TV shows.

Anywhere you look, the disastrous consequences of the credentialist fallacy are plain to see. Just last week, the Federal Reserve-comprised of the "smartest" economists in the world-announced a continuation of their historically unprecedented monetary policies. Any rational spectator could tell you that these policies have destroyed the value of the U.S. dollar and have led to the ruination of our currency. "But why," we ask, "would such credentialed economists and bankers come to such a wrong conclusion?"

The answer lies not in an authority's intelligence, but in the merit of their methodology. The statisticians and analyticists at the Fed are brilliant, let there be no doubt. But they are methodologically incorrect to equate economics with statistics, to put monetary economics on par with a hard science. Economics is not a hard science, for there are too many unknowns-"natural variables"-in human behavior. As such, economics is the study of human action; being far closer to anthropology than mathematics. The field of economics-like the fields of law, medicine, politics, and higher education-is poisoned by the contemporary societal valuation of credentials over merit.

It is true that a man or woman's credentials grants them the right to be heard on the topic of their expertise. An ignoramus has no business arguing the periodic table with a chemist. The problem, though, is we've seem to become a nation of highly-credentialized ignoramuses with advanced degrees. Whereas we used to champion polymaths and Renaissance types, we now espouse the inane creed of hyper-specialization. This invariably leads to a collective failure of individual deductive logic. Observational reason, the ability to assess what does and does not possess merit, is castigated as being a "know-it-all."

The truth is just the opposite. It is those who rest on their laurels-who take up false security in their credentials-that unjustifiably claim total omniscience. With the new global warming report, this has led to one of the great ironies in modern scientific history: the supposed "champions of science," due to their awe of the IPCC's credentials, were used as tools in a cynical game of global power-politics, whereas the so-called "science deniers," due to their preference for merit, were the only ones actually upholding the scientific method all the while.


More evidence that Greenies have ready access to rivers of cash


The axed Climate Commission is to be relaunched with private funds in a bid to keep information about global warming prominent in the public arena, former head Tim Flannery said.

The decision to create the Australian Climate Council, as the group will be known, was spurred by "a groundswell of support" from across the country, Dr Flannery said.

"We've developed a real reputation for independence and authority in this area, and we just want to continue with that job," he said, before a formal launch planned for Tuesday in Sydney.

"We haven't seen any plans from the government to provide an alternative" to the commission, he said.

The Abbott government made closing the Climate Commission one of its first acts last week. The Coalition also plans to repeal other climate change policies of the Rudd and Gillard governments, such as the carbon price, the Climate Change Authority and the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The Coalition instead plans a $2.55 billion Direct Action scheme to pay polluters to cut greenhouse gases to meet the bipartisan goal of reducing emissions by at least 5 per cent on 2000 levels by 2020.

Most, if not all, of the six commissioners, will sign up as directors of the new council, with climate scientist Will Steffen and ex-BP head for Australia Gerry Hueston among them. "We'll all be working pro bono at least initially," Dr Flannery said.

The commission's budget was about $5.4 million over four years, a figure that will be considerably smaller in the private revamp, he said. "We've already had some people step up and we've got every chance that this will work," Dr Flannery said, declining to say how much had been raised and from whom ahead of the launch of a drive for donations.

Among those supporting the reboot was retired admiral Chris Barrie. "Frankly, I think the work they have done is fantastic," he said.

"The commission's work was invaluable in taking very complex information and presenting it in ways easily digestible by the community."




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


24 September, 2013

Met Office global warming figures 'are fatally flawed and could result in millions being squandered'

The Met Office’s global warming predictions are flawed and could result in millions of pounds being squandered, it is claimed.

A report for a think tank led by former Tory chancellor Lord Lawson says a computer programme behind figures that shape climate change policy is biased in favour of higher temperatures.

Large sums of public and private sector money could be ‘malinvested’ in everything from wind farms to heat-proof road surfaces as a result, it claims.

Lord Lawson, chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said: ‘The Government’s policy of abandoning cheap conventional energy and moving to expensive (and unreliable) renewable energy has always been of dubious merit.

'The fact that it now emerges this policy has been based on projections by a computer model which has been found to be fatally flawed means that an independent expert review of the model and its projections is both essential and urgent.’

The claim, hotly disputed by the Met Office, comes as scientists and officials meet in Stockholm to finalise a major report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Experts claim the think tank timed its report to undermine the IPCC, which is expected to say the case for man-made global warming is stronger than ever.

The report attacks HadCM3, a programme used to predict the effect of carbon dioxide levels.

It says there is a glitch in the way it factors in the impact of low-lying cloud, with estimates of small temperature rises adjusted upwards. Report author Andrew Montford said: ‘The UK’s official climate predictions are therefore unreliable and excessively alarmist.

‘The problem is highly technical but its implications are that the model, as currently used, will always provide high estimates of future warming.’

However, the Met Office said it is confident in HadCM3. It said it uses data from many models, and the figures are independently reviewed.

Bob Ward, a climate change expert at the London School of Economics, said: ‘This is a political stunt by Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation to try to distract attention from the IPCC report. ‘The Met Office climate model is based on the best available scientific evidence and expert judgment.’

Drafts of the IPCC report – the first in six years – say it is at least 95 per cent certain human activity is the main cause of temperature rises since the 1950s. That is up from 90 per cent in 2007, and 66 per cent in 2001.

The assessment will be used by governments worldwide to set policy.


Ukip conference: anti-fracking 'eco-freaks' will kill Britain's great economic opportunity

UKIP is Britain's third largest and most conservative political party

Ukip's energy spokesman Roger Helmer has accused anti-fracking campaigners of being "eco-freaks" and of trying to kill off "the greatest new economic opportunity for our country in our lifetimes".

Tax revenues from shale gas exploration should be invested in a sovereign wealth fund to ensure long-term benefits for the UK, the UK Independence Party will propose.

Mr Helmer will use his party conference speech to tell local residents campaigning against the controversial extraction technique that they are being conned by "black propaganda" about non-existent dangers.

And he will warn against a repeat of the Treasury "blowing" the proceeds of North Sea oil and call for lessons to be learned from Norway's investment of theirs.

In a staunch defence of shale gas, Mr Helmer will say that it is "at least as great an opportunity for Britain" as the offshore oil boom of the 1970s and 1980s.

"We in Britain took the proceeds to North Sea oil, and used them for current expenditure," he will tell activists at the eurosceptic party's annual gathering in central London.

"They're smart people, those Norwegians. Remember they're the ones who decided not to join the EU - and I wish we'd made the same decision.

"They also decided not to blow all that North Sea wealth straight away. They chose to remain a sovereign nation - and to create a sovereign wealth fund.

"Currently that is worth around 750 billion dollars (£466bn), which is something like 150 per cent of Norway's GDP. That's a dramatic economic benefit for Norway today, and in decades to come."

Doing the same in the UK for shale gas "will ensure that the benefits of this economic windfall will serve the interests of all the people of this country, not only today but for generations to come".

"This is probably the greatest new economic opportunity for our country in our lifetimes. We owe it to ourselves, and to future generations, to make the most of it."

Mr Helmer will say that he has "great respect" for local people in Balcombe who campaigned vocally against a proposed test drilling site in the West Sussex village.

But he will insist there is no truth behind media "scare stories" promoted by green groups and Russian and Middle East oil and gas exporters about potential environmental effects.

Claims of serious earthquakes, water shortages and pollution by harmful chemicals had all been debunked, he will say, citing an essay by ex-Northern Rock boss and science author Viscount Ridley.

"I have absolutely no sympathy for the rent-a-mob protesters, the Swampies and the Occupy Movement and the anti-capitalists and eco-freaks who have sought to hijack the Balcombe protest," he will add.

"I have no time for Vivienne Westwood and Bianca Jagger and (Green Party MP) Caroline Lucas, who subvert residents' proper concerns for their own political ends."

In a comment that will add fuel to claims of sexism among senior Ukip figures, he will add that he has "no time even for the beautiful Ewa Jasiewicz" of the No Dash for Gas campaign.

His speech will include a number of jibes aimed at Ms Lucas - who was arrested while protesting at Balcombe - as Ukip seeks to cement its position as the dominant minor party player.

"I sometimes think that Caroline Lucas won't be happy until every household in the UK has to subsist on an acre and a cow. But then again, the Greens don't like cows, because they burp methane," he will joke.

The Government is strongly supporting shale gas exploration in the hope that it will create jobs, secure domestic supplies and bring down energy bills.

But Energy Secretary Ed Davey wants tax revenues to pay for moves to promote clean energy - part of what Mr Helmer will dismiss as an "obsessive reliance on renewables" driving up domestic bills.

While Ukip "don't agonise over lower CO2 emissions", shale gas "is actually achieving large-scale emissions reductions" in the US, he will suggest.

He will dismiss concerns within the party over its stance in favour of fracking and against wind farms - insisting turbines are "a non-solution to a non-problem".

"They produce an intermittent trickle of very expensive electricity. They are a sheer waste of money, pure gesture politics. Gas, on the other hand, is a vital part of our energy mix."

And he will mock the RSPB for supporting wind energy that kills birds "on an industrial scale" while appearing "wholly unaware" a fracking site is operating near one of its reserves without a problem.

Mr Helmer will concede that shale gas may not result in lower bills but the British people would still benefit as a whole from tax revenues and reduced spending on imported energy.

Wider economic benefits would include jobs and investment in the gas industry, enhanced competitiveness for British industry and jobs relocated back to the UK from abroad.

"We in Ukip have a vision for energy in our country. We want to keep the lights on. We want energy to be affordable, and in an uncertain world we want energy supplies to be secure. We want fuel poverty to be a thing of the past.

"We want British industry to be competitive, bringing employment and investment and growth and prosperity. We want economic regeneration. We want our children and our grandchildren to have jobs.

"Gas is essential if we're going to deliver that vision. We need to back it."


Greenie nonsense impoverishing Germans

It is an audacious undertaking with wide and deep support in Germany: shut down the nation’s nuclear power plants, wean the country from coal and promote a wholesale shift to renewable energy sources.

But the plan, backed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and opposition parties alike, is running into problems in execution that are forcing Germans to come face to face with the costs and complexities of sticking to their principles.

German families are being hit by rapidly increasing electricity rates, to the point where growing numbers of them can no longer afford to pay the bill. Businesses are more and more worried that their energy costs will put them at a disadvantage to competitors in nations with lower energy costs, and some energy-intensive industries have begun to shun the country because they fear steeper costs ahead.

Newly constructed offshore wind farms churn unconnected to an energy grid still in need of expansion. And despite all the costs, carbon emissions actually rose last year as reserve coal-burning plants were fired up to close gaps in energy supplies.

A new phrase, “energy poverty,” has entered the lexicon.

“Often, I don’t go into my living room in order to save electricity,” said Olaf Taeuber, 55, who manages a fleet of vehicles for a social services provider in Berlin. “You feel the pain in your pocketbook.”

Mr. Taeuber relies on just a single five-watt bulb that gives off what he calls a “cozy” glow to light his kitchen when he comes home at night. If in real need, he switches on a neon tube, which uses all of 25 watts.

Even so, with his bill growing rapidly, he found himself seeking help last week to fend off a threat from Berlin’s main power company to cut off his electricity. He is one of a growing number of Germans confronting the realities of trying to carry out Ms. Merkel’s most ambitious domestic project and one of the most sweeping energy transformation efforts undertaken by an industrialized country.

Because the program has the support of German political parties across the spectrum, there has been no highly visible backlash during the current election campaign. But continuing to put the program in place and maintaining public support for it will be among Ms. Merkel’s biggest challenges should she win a third term as chancellor in Sunday’s election.

Ms. Merkel, of the traditionally conservative and pro-business Christian Democrats, came up with her plan in 2011, in the emotional aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. It envisions shutting down all of Germany’s nuclear plants by 2022 and shifting almost entirely to wind and solar power by 2050.

The chancellor’s about-face not only seized the energy initiative from her center-left opponents, it also amounted to a gamble that could prove to be her most lasting domestic legacy — or a debacle whose consequences will be felt for generations.

The cost of the plan is expected to be about $735 billion, according to government estimates, and may eventually surpass even that of the euro zone bailouts that have received far more attention during Ms. Merkel’s tenure. Yet as the transition’s unknowns have grown, so have costs for the state, major companies and consumers.

Mr. Taeuber showed up last Friday, one of three “walk-ins” that day at one of two agencies in Berlin offering aid to people struggling to pay their energy bills. He arrived just as employees from the power company Vattenfall were on the way to his apartment.

Sven Gärtner, an agency employee, called Vattenfall with the promise of a payment plan, sparing Mr. Taeuber from being disconnected. “The boys were already in the basement, but they agreed to pull them back,” Mr. Gärtner said triumphantly.

Since January, Mr. Gärtner said, his group has intervened in more than 350 cases to prevent Vattenfall from leaving one family or another in the dark. In the first six months of this year, about 1,800 sought help, 200 more than in all of 2012


British school closed after pupils bitten by mites in eco-roof

A school was forced to close due to an infestation of harvest mites in the classroom block's recently installed £6m grass eco-roof.

Pupils were sent home last Friday after the mites began biting them after crawling through rood vents at Walney School, Cumbria.

Fumigation teams were called to deal with the pests, which the secondary school described as "still an ongoing problem".

Dennis Laird, chair of governors at Walney School, told the North West Evening Mail: “As a result of an insect infestation, the school’s management team took the decision to close the school today at lunchtime.

“We are now working closely with the county council to resolve this issue and it is anticipated that the school will re-open on Monday as normal.

“Clearly it is not acceptable and pupils and parents will rightly expect the problem to be solved quickly.”

Walney School said the pest control company fumigated the venting systems throughout the weekend and used smoke bombs to keep the mites at bay. Acting headteacher Helen Collis admitted the problem lies "with the type of roof that has been installed", and said a council representative would be meeting with the Department for Environment to resolve the issue.

The grass eco-roof has been in place for around 12 months.

A Cumbria County Council public health spokesperson said: "Although a bite can be itchy and uncomfortable, harvest mites in the UK do not carry any diseases that present a risk to humans.

“The best way to get rid of mites on the body is a hot bath or shower, and to make sure clothes are washed at a normal temperature."


British Energy minister rejects demands for higher offshore wind farm subsidies

Energy minister Greg Barker has rejected industry pleas for higher subsidies for offshore wind farms - despite warnings from the government’s official adviser that financial support is being cut too severely.

Greg Barker, the energy minister, told the Telegraph he was confident that proposed subsidy levels - which would be see support cut by 13pc over the next five years - were high enough.

“Investors will always want more,” he said. “We believe that what we have set will be sufficient to drive the necessary scale of investment and strikes the right balance between the interests of the consumer and the necessary return for investors to ensure we deliver the capacity.”

Earlier this month the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the government’s official adviser, wrote to energy secretary Ed Davey to warn that “required investment is at risk under current proposals”.

Offshore wind farms are expensive to build and are reliant on subsidies, which are paid for by levies charged to consumer energy bills.

Despite political infighting over onshore wind farms, ministers have insisted they want to see many more offshore wind farms built. However, they say the costs of the projects must fall dramatically this decade to ease the burden on consumers, and are consulting on proposed reductions in subsidies.

Under the plans, wind farms that start running in 2014-15 would be offered £155 for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated over a 15-year contract - about three times the market price.

This would fall to £135/MWh for projects starting up in 2018-19, which the CCC said was a steeper cut “than the evidence suggests is achievable”. It recommended a lesser reduction to a price nearer £145/MWh.

David Kennedy, chief executive of the CCC, said: “I have spoken to every major investor and they are all concerned.”

But Mr Barker dismissed Mr Kennedy’s claim, insisting: “That’s not my experience at all.” He said: “We are not in the business of overpaying.”

The CCC also warned that investors were spooked by government documents appearing to show ministers had significantly scaled back their ambitions for how much offshore wind was wanted in the long-term.

Ministers have previously suggested Britain could have between 11GW and 18GW of offshore wind capacity installed by 2020, up from 3.3GW now. Yet scenarios published recently by the government appear to suggest it now envisages only between 8GW and 10GW by 2020.

The CCC said wind farm developers were nervous about making the investments in research and the supply chain necessary to reduce costs. “Without a commitment to ongoing investment in the 2020s, incentives for supply chain investment and project development are weak, and commercialisation of offshore wind is at risk,” it said.

But Mr Barker also dismissed this argument, insisting: “We have greater visibility in terms of our renewables order-book and policy than any other country in Europe. Of course companies would like absolute certainty rolling into the never-ending future, but to be able to give that through to 2020 is unprecedented anywhere else in Europe.”

Mr Barker will today co-host a clean energy finance roundtable in New York, with Dr Sultan Al Jaber, chief executive of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy investment company.

Masdar, which has a stake in the London Array, Britain’s largest offshore wind farm, has signed a memorandum of understanding to invest up to £1bn in more UK power plants.


Woodland birds at greater risk from cold springs

"Increasingly cold and wet springs". Who knew Britain had those?

Increasingly cold and wet springs may be taking a greater toll on Britain's woodland birds than those living in towns and cities, according to an environmental survey.

Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University studied the breeding patterns of blue tits and great tits at three locations in Cambridgeshire over a ten-year period to 2012.

They found that those living in urban areas were better able to cope during spells of exceptionally cold and wet weather because they were less dependant on a single food source to feed their chicks.

Birds nesting at all three sites suffered during the harsh spring of 2012, which was particularly cold and the wettest year on record, raising fewer chicks than usual with a lighter body weight than average.

But those studied at the Brampton Wood nature reserve, a woodland site, were worse affected than those at the Cambridge University Botanical Gardens in Cambridge city centre and Cow Lane nature reserve, a riverside area of willows and reed beds.

Blue tits and great tits usually lay one egg per day until their clutch is complete and then start to incubate them, but the birds at Brampton Wood delayed their incubation in the cold weather, meaning their chicks hatched later.

Dr Nancy Harrison, one of the researchers, said the weather had made caterpillars more scarce but birds in urban areas were able to compensate by finding other sources of food.

Over the whole of the ten-year study woodland birds produced larger and healthier broods, but this may not always be the case, she added.

"If these extreme weather events become more commonplace due to the effects of climate change, then birds living in urban environments may have the advantage," she said.




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


23 September, 2013

Forthcoming IPCC report: preemptive indoctrination

Alarmist journalists already know how everyone will react and should react to an unknown report

The almost final draft of the IPCC AR5 WG1 [physical basis] report will be handed to politicians tomorrow in Stockholm. It's my understanding that minor details may still change in the text, under the political pressure. Their summary for policymakers will be out on Friday and the whole report will be out on the immediately following Monday.

These documents have leaked – I don't have the final copies! – so many journalists already know what's inside. Despite claims that the document will acknowledge that the climate models have failed miserably (using a more diplomatic language, however), the warming trends for the previous 20 years were overstated by more than a factor of two or three, sensitivity by more than 50%, and that natural variability was neglected and shouldn't have been neglected in previous reports, it seems that the main point – screaming that a dangerous climate change is underway or around the corner – will be preserved or even strengthened, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

So the left-wing media act as if the report were already released. For example, the Guardian wrote an article on Saturday,
Climate change: IPCC issues stark warning over global warming
which tells us that the hysteria should be stronger than ever before and we should do everything we can to quickly dismantle the industrial civilization, and so on. You may read kilobytes of this junk but you won't learn anything because you have already seen and heard thousands of similar dishonest, vacuous, ideological, hysterical articles.

But another British article from Saturday, Will Hutton's rant in the Observer:

"To fight climate change, we must trust scientific truth and collective action"

has a new, quite incredible twist so I decided to share a few more words with you about that.

"To fight climate change, we must trust the scientific truth and the collective action", the title says. Well, even if there were a "climate threat we should wrestle with", it would be far from clear whether a collective action would be the "right" solution (only an ideologically biased person could be sure from the beginning). But a more important question is whether we should "fight climate change" i.e. whether the assumption of that verbal construction is satisfied. It's not. We shouldn't "fight climate change" because climate change is a law of Nature and fighting laws of Nature is... well, unwise.

But what I find amazing about Hutton's tirade is that he isn't even trying to hide that what he writes is pure propaganda – things readers are obliged to believe even though it is spectacularly clear that there isn't and there can't be any evidence to support it. The very subtitle says"

"Sceptics will rubbish a new report on climate change, dismissing calls for governmental action. Don't be swayed."

Nice. I understand that the documents have leaked so he may already know what will be inside (although I do think that changes may still be made for a few days). But how can he know what skeptics will say about the report? I don't know what I will say because I haven't really seen the report. When I was asked to write a summary, I insisted that my text just can't be released before the IPCC report is officially released (or at least its summary, for a shorter article) simply because I don't have the final text and all the knowledge from the previous drafts may turn out to be inaccurate.

Mr Hutton clearly faces no such hurdles. He doesn't need to see the final report or the skeptics' reactions to that report if and when he wants to write a long newspaper article about these so-far-non-existent texts.

Many other skeptics don't possess the final document, either. And even the skeptics who have the (almost) final document haven't really reacted to everything that is inside. So others simply can't know whether they will find themselves partially agreeing with the document, view it as a confirmation of some of the conclusions they have made themselves, or another step for the IPCC in the direction away from the science. We just don't know.

For this simple reason, the subtitle isn't trying to "disprove" any particular claim. What the subtitle – and most of the article, in fact – is saying is simply:

"Dear reader-sheep, you just mustn't listen to anything that would reduce your belief in the climate alarmism, whatever it is."

Mr Hutton is saying that he doesn't want the people to listen to the opinions or evidence whose impact on the ideology has a "wrong sign". It doesn't matter to him at all whether the evidence is right or wrong. It can't possibly matter because he can't know in advance what the skeptics' observations are actually going to be.

So he wants the readers to be exactly as biased and prejudiced – to be stubborn about scientifically indefensible misconceptions about a dangerous climate change – as he is.


British consumers face bill for power stations to be mothballed amid blackout fears

Another cost of the Warmist scare

Energy companies are to be paid ten of millions of pounds to keep old power stations on standby amid mounting fears of blackouts.

They will be paid to mothball, rather than demolish, power stations taken out of service.

The plans come as oil and coal plants are being closed due to European Union directives, which have been introduced to cut emissions that scientists have said lead to climate change.

The move is being planned after Ofgem, the energy regulator, warned of electricity shortages within the next three years.

Ofgem said the measure was needed because new wind farms and nuclear plants have not been built in time to replace the oil and coal power stations being phased out.

Critics of wind power said turbines were flawed because they do not generate electricity when there is little wind, while plans for nuclear power stations have yet to reach the construction stage.

Documents submitted to Ofgem’s consultation on the plans reveal that energy firms are expecting to receive as much as £120 million under the scheme, which would ultimately be added to consumer bills.

It is one of a series of schemes that National Grid believes will help keep the electricity system stable as Britain adopts more forms of renewable energy.

Under another scheme, companies are building diesel power stations to provide a reserve of energy in case of short-term drops in electricity.

National Grid has also published plans to pay factories and large businesses to switch off their power if electricity demand comes close to outstripping supply.

Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, said the proposals to make use of mothballed plants were a “cost-effective” way to ensure Britain can “keep the lights on”.

National Grid, the body responsible for the electricity transmission network, said the plants would be used as a “last resort”. Energy firms would be paid annual rates to keep the plants on standby, in addition to any fees for generating electricity in the event that they are needed.

The proposals were set out by National Grid following talks with Ofgem and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), aimed at ensuring a sufficient supply of electricity in the middle of the decade.

Six oil and coal power stations have been closed in the past five years, with a further three plants due to shut down by the end of 2015.

In June, Ofgem warned that the risk of blackouts in 2015 had risen to one in four, if energy demand continued at its current level.

Uncertainty around the amount of available electricity in 2015 and 2016 meant that it was “prudent” to consider keeping mothballed plants in reserve, it said.

GDF Suez, the energy company that has mothballed its Teesside gas power station, has estimated that keeping plants on standby could cost between £90 million and £120 million per year.

Responding to Ofgem’s consultation, it criticised the proposal for encouraging existing gas-fired plants to remain in reserve instead of producing power. GDF Suez was also among the energy companies, including SSE, to express concerns about the potential cost of the scheme.

SSE said it had not been shown that the scheme would provide better value for money than bringing forward the “capacity market”; a more permanent mechanism by the Government to pay gas-fired plants to be available when needed. It is not expected to take effect until 2018.

A spokesman for National Grid indicated the costs of the scheme would be in the “low tens of millions a year” and possibly less.

“The competition to provide this service, and a large uptake of our demand side product, could mean the cost could be far less. Because we are still consulting on these products, it’s too early to say for sure,” he said.

“In terms of what this cost would be for consumers, we’re talking less than 50p on their annual bills.”

According to figures published by National Grid in July, there are four large, mothballed power stations.

All of these plants are gas-fired and have stopped operating as a result of low profits for gas generation.

The stations – Keadby in North Lincs; Teesside, near Middlesbrough; Roosecote in Cumbria; and Barking in east London – could generate more than three gigawatts of electricity, which is enough to power about 2.4 million homes on average.

However, GDF Suez has indicated that Teesside is unlikely to take part in the scheme.

A spokesman for the DECC said: “The measures consulted on by National Grid and Ofgem would – if used – enable the procurement of the amount of capacity needed to ensure security of supply, allowing them to respond accordingly.

"National Grid’s proposals will also be designed to allow existing mothballed generation which meets environmental requirements to provide capacity.

“Bids would be assessed to ensure this is done at a cost that represents value for money for consumers.”

Separately, it has been suggested that several companies are building diesel generator plants to provide a backup for National Grid because of the unreliability of wind turbines.

Some companies are receiving payments for power more than 10 times above the wholesale price of electricity, as they benefit from a £100 million pot to ensure that an adequate supply of energy is being maintained.

The payments for diesel generators are made under the National Grid’s short term operating reserve system (Stor).

The scheme was designed to provide a reserve of additional power available at short notice in case power plants cut out due to faults.

But it is being seen by energy companies as a way of providing a reserve for wind farms when the wind is not blowing.

Green Frog Power, based in Birmingham, is building a dozen diesel plants across the country to provide electricity.

Its website states: “Wind power is currently the UK’s only viable source of large-scale green energy.

“It doesn’t work when the wind is too gentle or too strong. Green Frog Power uses the best available technology to provide backup for wind energy.

“Every megawatt of power we install provides cover for 10MW of wind power failure risk.”

In June, Fulcrum Power applied for permission to build a power station comprising 52 diesel generators in Plymouth, Devon.


The ice is not melting, yet still the scaremongers blunder on

The real global warming disaster: green taxes, a suicidal energy policy and wasting billions on useless windmills

The news that hundreds of scientists and officials from all over the world are this weekend converging on Stockholm to discuss the next 2,000-page report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) again highlights what is the most terrifying political conundrum facing our country today. Emerging in instalments over the next seven months, this report will try to convince the world, without a shred of hard evidence, that the prospect of catastrophic man-made global warming is “extremely likely”.

The air is already thick with familiar claims and counterclaims, President Obama quotes yet another laughably silly paper trying to make out that “97 per cent of scientists” support the IPCC “consensus”. Sceptics point out yet again that the lack of global warming over the past 17 years makes a nonsense of all those computer-model projections on which the IPCC has been basing its case for 23 years. And we can only look on this endlessly sterile non-debate with a suffocating sense of déjà vu.

In essence, the argument has not moved on an iota since 2009, when I published what is still the fullest historical account of this greatest scare story the world has known, in a book called The Real Global Warming Disaster. Even then, it was abundantly clear that the IPCC’s computer-model projections were being disproved by what was actually happening to world temperatures. It was already clear that not one of those predictions being made by Al Gore and others in the days when the warming hysteria was at its height was coming true.

This very weekend of September 2013, we were being told back in 2007, would be the moment when the Arctic was “ice-free”. Yet this summer’s ice-melt has been the smallest for nine years, and the global extent of polar sea ice is currently equal to its average over the past 34 years. Tuvalu and the Maldives are not vanishing beneath the waves. Far from hurricanes and tornadoes becoming more frequent and intense, their incidence is lower than it has been for decades. The Himalayan glaciers are not on course to have melted by 2035, as the IPCC’s last report predicted in 2007. Nothing has changed except that the IPCC itself, as the main driver of the scare, has been more comprehensively discredited than ever as no more than a one-sided pressure group, essentially run by a clique of scientific activists committed to their belief that rising CO2 levels threaten the world with an overheating which is not taking place.

But if the scientific case for their belief has disintegrated, the problem this leaves us with is the reason why I subtitled that book four years ago: “Is the obsession with climate change turning out to be the most costly scientific blunder in history?” The political leaders of the Western world, from President Obama to our own in the EU, are still as firmly locked into the alarmist paradigm as ever, quite impervious to all the evidence. As the EU’s “climate commissioner”, Connie Hedegaard, recently put it: “Let’s say that scientists several decades from now said, 'We were wrong, it’s not about climate’, would it not in any case have been good to do many of the things you have to do to combat climate change?”

In other words, even if those scientists eventually have to admit that their scare was all nonsense, it is still right that we should pile up green taxes, make a suicidally mad shambles of our energy policy and continue to pour hundreds of billions of pounds and euros into subsidising useless windmills (while China and India continue to build hundreds of coal-fired power stations chucking out more CO2 than we can hope to save). This is the “real global-warming disaster” we are left with. And listening to the vacuous drivel still pouring out of the likes of President Obama and Connie Hedegaard, let alone our own “climate ministers” Ed Davey and Greg Barker, we realise that the lunatics are still firmly in charge of the asylum which the rest of us unfortunately have to live in. As I say, just how we are to escape from this madness back into the real world is as intractable a political puzzle as any that faces us.


German industry in revolt as green dream causes cost spiral

Germany’s top economic adviser has called for a radical rethink of the country’s energy policies, warning that the green dream is going badly wrong as costs spiral out of control.

“We need a drastic policy shift,” said Christoph Schmidt, chairman of Germany’s Council of Economic Experts. “They haven’t paid any attention to costs. These are now huge.”

The government has vowed to break dependence on fossil fuels and source 50pc of all electricity from wind, solar and other renewables by 2030, and 80pc by mid-century. But cost estimates have reached €1 trillion (£840bn) over the next 25 years.

“It is a worthwhile goal, and the whole world is looking to see whether Germany can do it, so we can’t fail. But there have been so many mistakes,” Professor Schmidt told the Daily Telegraph.

He said Germany has no margin for error since its own growth "speed limit" has dropped to 1pc, and the country will face an acute aging crisis over the next decade.

The concerns were echoed by Germany’s powerful industry federation, the BDI, which said it can longer remain silent as green romanticism plays havoc with German power supply.

The rising surcharge placed on German household and SME bills to pay for renewable energy projects

The group said in a new report that the costs of the so-called "Energiewende" have already gone beyond tolerable limits. “The international competitiveness of German industry is in danger,” it said.

The report said feed-in tariffs for new wind and solar installations should be abolished, and demanded a “strategic reserve” of fossil fuels to ensure a dependable base of power stations for the German grid. “The government’s policy is not joined up,” said BDI chief Markus Kerber.

The group demands action from the government to address “urgent concerns” within 100 days of this week’s elections, according to Handelsblatt.

The "Energiewende" has already led to chaos, with surges of subsidised wind and solar power overwhelming the grid. Utilities E.ON and RWE have threatened to shut down plants producing 23,000 megawatts.

German electricity costs are ratcheting up faster than elsewhere in Europe, and are now twice US levels. Households and the "Mittlestand" backbone of the economy are carrying the burden, paying cross-subsidies to exempted sectors of heavy industry. “Spiralling energy costs will soon drive us into the wall. It has become dangerous,” said the German Chemical Industry Association.

Fears that power bills could cripple German industry combine with growing angst over US shale output, which has slashed American gas costs to a quarter of German levels. German chemical companies are switching plant to the US.

Günther Oettinger, the EU’s energy commissioner, has called for a complete shake-up of Germany’s strategy. “We need industry; we cannot be the good guys for the whole world, if no one follows suit,” he said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to phase out Germany’s nuclear power after Japan’s Fukushima disaster has vastly complicated the picture. Utilities have turned to coal and lignite to plug the gap, causing Germany’s CO2 gases to rise while US emissions are falling. The green agenda risks becoming self-defeating if pushed too hard.


Just 12 British homes get Green Deal energy savers

It was designed to vastly improve energy efficiency but the Government's flagship project is making "painfully slow progress" after nine months.

The Government’s flagship Green Deal scheme is making “painfully slow” progress, with just 12 homes installing energy saving measures since its launch in January.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said 71,210 households had been assessed for Green Deal measures such as solar panels and insulation at the end of August, up from 58,124 in July.

But only 677 households have gone to the next stage and said they would like to proceed with the scheme. Of these, 12 houses have had measures installed, while 293 properties had quotes accepted on work and 372 properties had installations "pending".

The figures also showed the number of homes assessed for energy-saving measures fell in August. There were 13,086 properties assessed during the month, a 4pc fall from July.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “It is still early days for the new Green Deal market but encouragingly over 71,000 Green Deal assessments have now been completed.”

He said more than 80pc of households who had an assessment said they intended to install at least one energy saving measure.

A related programme called the energy company obligation, which provides free improvements for low-income families, has installed 194,751 energy saving measures in homes up to the end of July.

Loft insulation made up 40pc of the installed measures, followed by cavity wall insulation (34pc) and boiler upgrades (21pc).

Experts said more had to be done to encourage households to use the scheme.

“With the cold weather nearly upon us, it is hugely disappointing that these latest figures show painfully slow progress with the Green Deal, whilst the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) plods on with little to impress,” said Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK.

“With projections showing that fuel poverty rates are likely to rise, the government must seriously explore using new carbon tax revenues to insulate fuel poor homes against the spiralling cost of energy.”

The UK Green Building Council also called for additional measures.

“Green Deal numbers are edging in the right direction but the scheme still needs a shot in the arm,” said director of policy John Alker. “If ever there was a time for Treasury to bring forward tax incentives to encourage energy efficiency, it is now.”

Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: “High levels of interest in Green Deal is evident, but there’s no easy answer or quick fix in terms of turning interest in action.

“However complex the inner workings of Green Deal might be, we need to make the consumer engagement part as straightforward as signing up for a satellite or cable television package. That has to be our long-term aspiration.”



Three current reports below

Companies to get protection from activists' boycotts

CONSERVATION groups seeking boycotts of products linked to alleged poor environmental practices may soon be liable for prosecution under consumer law.

The move, which could severely hamper market-based campaigns by groups such as Markets for Change and GetUp!, is to be pursued by the Abbott government.

Parliamentary secretary for agriculture Richard Colbeck told The Australian the move would prevent green groups from holding companies to ransom in their markets.

"We'll be looking at the way some of the environmental groups work because we are very concerned about some of the activities they conduct in the markets," Senator Colbeck said. "They have exemptions for secondary boycott activities under the Consumer and Competition Act. We are going to have a complete review of the act.

"And one of the things I'd be looking at would be to bring a level playing field back so that environment groups are required to comply with the same requirements as business and industry."

The move has strong backing within the Liberal and Nationals parties, as well as among sections of the ALP, concerned about groups targeting the customers of timber and agricultural products in campaigns against old-growth logging and live-animal exports.

Section 45D of the act prevents action to hinder or prevent a third person supplying goods to, or buying them from, another person. The law restrains business from unfair dealings and trade unions from dragging third parties into industrial disputes via sympathy strikes or trade boycotts. However, section 45DA exempts people from the secondary boycott provisions if their actions are "substantially related to environmental or consumer protection".

The timber industry has long complained about green groups organising boycotts and campaigns to pressure their customers not to accept products sourced from so-called high-conservation-value forests. The tactic has been used successfully in Australia and in Japan to pressure timber companies such as Gunns and Ta Ann to shift out of contentious forest areas and to adopt top-flight green certification. Senator Colbeck also told The Australian the Coalition would push ahead with its policy to ask UNESCO's World Heritage Committee to rescind the recent Gillard government listing of an additional 100,000ha of Tasmania's forests. "That was our commitment to the Tasmanian people and we intend to carry through with our commitments," he said.

"So we will sit down with our departments and work through processes, as far as that is concerned, and look to see how we go about doing it."

He was not swayed by calls from the timber industry - including the CFMEU forest union, Ta Ann and the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania - for the policy to be scrapped because it would jeopardise environmentalists' support for the sector.

The Tasmanian Forest Agreement - a landmark peace deal three years in the making - has seen the peak green groups join industry on joint trade missions to win back markets lost during the so-called forest wars. However, signatories to the deal fear seeking to unwind the World Heritage listing at the heart of the agreement would destroy it.


Coalition bid to cut green tape and fix project paralysis

MASTER plans for future development of the Great Barrier Reef and the nation's major coal, iron ore and gas regions have been fast-tracked to help deliver a Coalition promise to cut green tape and break the decision-making "paralysis" of the Rudd and Gillard governments.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said 50 projects had been left stranded by the former government without a decision on whether they even needed to be assessed under bipartisan legislation to protect prime farmland and groundwater.

Mr Hunt has promised to act immediately on the projects and complete strategic plans for the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, the Pilbara in Western Australia and the Hunter Valley in NSW.

Renewed urgency will be given to joint planning with state governments to manage bushfires in South Australia and development of north Queensland's major urban growth project at Mount Peter, 15km south of Cairns.

Mr Hunt said a master plan of environmental values and commonwealth concerns would enable the creation of a "one-stop shop" for environmental approvals promised by the Coalition.

Future projects would be measured against the strategic assessment template and state governments would be given the power to make assessments.

Writing in The Australian today, the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, Josh Frydenberg, says an "avalanche of green and red tape stifles investment and innovation, seriously hurting the economy".

Mr Frydenberg, who has responsibility for driving the government's deregulation agenda, has pledged a "paradigm shift" in tackling bureaucracy.

"Ministers will be required to include regulatory impact statements on their submissions as well as establishing their own ministerial advisory committees from which they will seek recommendations on cutting red and green tape," the Liberal MP writes today.

He says the performance of senior members of the public service "will be assessed in part according to their proven record in reducing regulation, with their remuneration calculated accordingly", and the Productivity Commission ordered to determine a framework for auditing the performance of regulatory agencies.

Business groups have lobbied hard for a review of the environmental review process, claiming it is delaying projects and threatening billions of dollars worth of investments.

Labor and the Greens had argued that state governments could not be trusted to make final environmental decisions on behalf of the commonwealth.

Environment groups have warned a full delegation of decision making to the states poses a risk to business of lengthy and expensive delays in the courts.

Mr Hunt said the strategic assessments were a "vital framework that has largely been missing".

Strategic assessments to date had focused on planning for major urban growth corridors rather than industrial projects, he said.

"It is a model where you really begin to look at the deep, long-term cumulative impacts."

Completing the strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef and onshore development in co-operation with the Queensland government was the Coalition government's priority.

"I think it is very important for our international commitments as well as to the future wellbeing of the Great Barrier Reef," Mr Hunt said. "The Great Barrier Reef is the No 1 environmental asset in Australia and you need to look at the reef as a whole."

Mr Hunt said he believed it would be possible to complete the strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef within two months.

The federal Environment Department has been instructed to have the remaining priority areas assessed and open for public exhibition in the first half of next year.

"The big picture is about achieving two things: a deep strategic assessment of the environment allows proper consideration of cumulative impacts and the connectedness of the region and it allows for a much more streamlined process," Mr Hunt said.

"If you know the environmental concerns of a region you don't have to reinvent them in every case. Everything is then seen against the grand strategic framework of the environment and the economy."

Mr Hunt said environmental decision making had become paralysed in the final months of the Gillard/Rudd government.

He said 50 projects had been left "in complete limbo" because the Labor government had been unable to make a decision on whether they should even be assessed under the new water trigger legislation.

"They didn't make a single decision after the legislation was passed," Mr Hunt said.

"It was not even whether projects should proceed but whether they should even be considered. From my perspective it is a legacy of complete chaos that 50 decisions are left in limbo. It is not right that the law is changed and there is then complete indecision about what you do about it.

"The dying months (of Labor) were a complete paralysis."


False prophet Tim Flannery sacked, Climate Commission dismantled by Coalition

PROFESSOR Tim Flannery has been sacked by the Abbott Government from his $180,000-a-year part-time Chief Climate Commissioner position, with the agency he runs to be dismantled immediately.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt called Prof Flannery this morning to tell him a letter formally ending his employment was in the mail.

Public service shake-up as heads go

In the letter, Mr Hunt tells Prof Flannery: "The Climate Commission does not have an ongoing role, and consequently I am writing to advise you that the Climate Commission has been dissolved, with effect from the date of this letter."

He thanked him for his personal contribution and then said "The Department of the Environment will soon write to you concerning administrative arrangements for finalising your engagement as Chief Climate Commissioner."

All other climate commissioners will also be sacked with the move to save more than $500,000 this financial year and $1.2 million next financial year. The Coalition will now take advice on climate change from the Department of the Environment.

Five other commissioners were also told they were no longer needed. Letters from Mr Hunt have been sent to each of the six Commissioners telling them their position has been terminated.

"The Coalition believes it is the role of the Department of Environment to provide independent advice and analysis on climate change and that the role of the Climate Commission was duplicating the work of the Department," a spokeswoman for Mr Hunt said.

Prof Flannery had travelled the country holding climate forums and produced academic work on climate change after being appointed in 2011.

Among his most alarmist forecasts was a warning in 2007 that "Even the rain that falls isn't actually going to fill our dams and river systems. "In Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane, water supplies are so low they need desalinated water urgently, possibly in as little as 18 months".

Brisbane later grappled with flooding and Warragamba Dam in Sydney spilt over.

Prof Flannery expressed disappointment yesterday after his Commission, which produced 27 reports and held more than 20 public forums, had been axed.

"The commission represents the idea that Australians deserve to be informed about climate change and the implications for our health, our economy, and our future," he said.

"I believe that Australians have a right to know. A right to authoritative, independent, accurate information on climate change."

"We've just seen one of the earliest ever start to bushfire season in Sydney following the hottest 12 months on record."

Greens Leader Christine Milne called it "a black day in the struggle against global warming."

"Future generations will look back on this day and remember it as the day Tony Abbott condemned them and their peers to climate chaos," she claimed.




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


22 September, 2013

The climate consensus is political, not scientific

By cautious Warmist, Judith Curry, professor and chair of the school of earth and atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology

IN February 2007, publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) was received with international acclaim.

The vaunted IPCC process -- multitudes of experts from more than 100 countries examining thousands of refereed journal publications, with hundreds of expert reviewers, across a period of four years -- elevated the authority of the IPCC report to near biblical heights. Journalists jumped on board and even the oil and energy companies neared capitulation.

The veneration culminated with the Nobel Peace Prize, which the IPCC was awarded jointly with former US vice-president Al Gore. At the time, I joined the consensus in supporting this document as authoritative; I was convinced by the rigours of the process. Although I didn't agree with some statements in the document and had nagging concerns about the treatment of uncertainty, I bought into the meme of: "Don't trust what one scientist says; trust the consensus-building process of the IPCC experts."

Six-and-a-half years later, nominally a week before the release of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), substantial criticisms are being made of leaked versions of the report as well as of the IPCC process. IPCC insiders are bemoaning their loss of scientific and political influence. What happened to precipitate this change?

The IPCC was seriously tarnished by the unauthorised release of emails from the University of East Anglia in November 2009 that became known as the Climategate affair. These emails revealed the "sausage-making" involved in the IPCC's consensus-building process, including denial of data access to individuals who wanted to audit its data processing and scientific results, interference in the peer-review process to minimise the influence of sceptical criticisms and manipulation of the media.

Climategate was soon followed by the identification of an egregious error involving the melting of Himalayan glaciers. These revelations were made much worse by the response of the IPCC to these issues. Then came concerns about the behaviour of the IPCC's chairman Rajendra Pachauri and investigations of the infiltration of green advocacy groups into the IPCC. All of this was occurring against a background of explicit advocacy and activism by IPCC leaders related to carbon dioxide mitigation policies.

Although the scientists and institutions involved in Climategate were cleared of charges of scientific misconduct, the scientists and the IPCC did not seem to understand the cumulative impact of these events on the loss of trust in climate scientists and the IPCC process.

The IPCC's consensus-building process relies heavily on expert judgment; if the public and the policymakers no longer trust these particular experts, then we can expect a very different dynamic to be in play with regards to the reception of the AR5 relative to the release of the AR4 in 2007.

THERE is another, more vexing dilemma facing the IPCC, however. Since the publication of the AR4, nature has thrown the IPCC a curveball: there has been no significant increase in global average surface temperature for the past 15-plus years. This has been referred to as a pause or hiatus in global warming.

Almost all climate scientists agree on the physics of the infrared emission of the CO2 molecule and understand that if all other things remain equal, more CO2 in the atmosphere will have a warming effect on the planet. Further, almost all agree that the planet has warmed across the past century and that humans have had some impact on the climate.

But understanding the causes of recent climate change and predicting future change is far from a straightforward endeavour.

The heart of the debate surrounding the IPCC's AR5 is summarised by the graphic on this page that compares climate model projections of global average surface temperature anomalies against observations.

This diagram is Figure 1.4 from the first chapter of an AR5 draft. FAR denotes the First Assessment Report (1990), SAR the second (1995) and TAR the third (2001), which was followed by the AR4 (2007). It is seen that climate models have significantly over-predicted the warming effect of CO2 since 1990, a period during which CO2 concentrations increased from 335 parts per million to more than 400ppm.

The most recent climate model simulations used in the AR5 indicate that the warming stagnation since 1998 is no longer consistent with model projections even at the 2 per cent confidence level. Based on early drafts of the AR5, the IPCC seemed prepared to dismiss the pause as irrelevant noise associated with natural variability. Apparently the IPCC has been under pressure from reviewers and its policymaker constituency to address the pause specifically.

Here is the relevant text from the leaked final draft of the AR5 summary for policymakers: "Models do not generally reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10-15 years.

"The observed reduction in warming trend over the period 1998-2012 as compared to the period 1951-2012 is due in roughly equal measure to a cooling contribution from internal variability and a reduced trend in radiative forcing (medium confidence).

"The reduced trend in radiative forcing is primarily due to volcanic eruptions and the downward phase of the current solar cycle. However, there is low confidence in quantifying the role of changes in radiative forcing in causing this reduced warming trend. There is medium confidence that this difference between models and observations is to a substantial degree caused by unpredictable climate variability, with possible contributions from inadequacies in the solar, volcanic and aerosol forcings used by the models and, in some models, from too strong a response to increasing greenhouse-gas forcing."

The IPCC acknowledges the pause and admits climate models do not reproduce the pause. I infer from these statements that the IPCC has failed to convincingly explain the pause in terms of external radiative forcing from greenhouse gases, aerosols, solar or volcanic forcing; this leaves natural internal variability as the predominant candidate to explain the pause.

Natural internal variability is associated with chaotic interactions between the atmosphere and ocean. The most familiar mode of natural internal variability is El Nino/La Nina. On longer multi-decadal time scales, there is a network of atmospheric and oceanic circulation regimes, including the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

The IPCC refers to this as "unpredictable climate variability" in its statement above.

My chain of reasoning leads me to conclude that the IPCC's estimates of the sensitivity of climate to greenhouse gas forcing are too high, raising serious questions about the confidence we can place in the IPCC's attribution of warming in the last quarter of the 20th century primarily to greenhouse gases, and also its projections of future warming. If the IPCC attributes the pause to natural internal variability, then this prompts the question as to what extent the warming between 1975 and 2000 can also be explained by natural internal variability.

Nevertheless, the IPCC concludes in the final AR5 draft of the summary for policymakers: "There is very high confidence that climate models reproduce the observed large-scale patterns and multi-decadal trends in surface temperature, especially since the mid-20th century.

"It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951-2010.

"Continued emissions of greenhouse gases would cause further warming. Emissions at or above current rates would induce changes in all components in the climate system, some of which would very likely be unprecedented in hundreds to thousands of years."

WHY is my reasoning about the implications of the pause, in terms of attribution of the late 20th-century warming and implications for future warming, so different from the conclusions drawn by the IPCC? The disagreement arises from different assessments of the value and importance of particular classes of evidence as well as disagreement about the appropriate logical framework for linking and assessing the evidence. My reasoning is weighted heavily in favour of observational evidence and understanding of natural internal variability of the climate system, whereas the IPCC's reasoning is weighted heavily in favour of climate model simulations and external forcing of climate change.

I do not expect my interpretation and analysis to be given credence above the IPCC consensus. Rather, I am arguing that the complexity of the problem, acknowledged uncertainties and suspected areas of ignorance indicate several different plausible interpretations of the evidence. Hence ascribing a high confidence level to either of these interpretations is not justified by the available evidence and our present understanding.

How to reason about uncertainties in the complex climate system and its computer simulations is neither simple nor obvious. Biases can abound when reasoning and making judgments about such a complex system, through excessive reliance on a particular piece of evidence, the presence of cognitive biases in heuristics, failure to account for indeterminacy and ignorance, and logical fallacies and errors including circular reasoning.

The politicisation of climate science is another source of bias, including explicit policy advocacy by some IPCC scientists. Further, the consensus-building process can be a source of bias. A strongly held prior belief can skew the total evidence that is available subsequently in a direction that is favourable to itself. The consensus-building process has been found to act generally in the direction of understating the uncertainty associated with a given outcome. Group decisions can be dominated by a single confident member.

Once the IPCC's consensus claim was made, scientists involved in the IPCC process had reasons to consider the possible effect of their subsequent statements on their ability to defend the consensus claim, and the impact of their statements on policymaking.

The climate community has worked for more than 20 years to establish a scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. The IPCC consensus-building process played a useful role in the early synthesis of the scientific knowledge. However, the ongoing scientific consensus-seeking process has had the unintended consequence of oversimplifying the problem and its solution and hyper-politicising both, introducing biases into the science and related decision-making processes.

SCIENTISTS do not need to be consensual to be authoritative. Authority rests in the credibility of the arguments, which must include explicit reflection on uncertainties, ambiguities and areas of ignorance, and more openness for dissent. The role of scientists should not be to develop political will to act by hiding or simplifying the uncertainties, explicitly or implicitly, behind a negotiated consensus. I have recommended that the scientific consensus-seeking process be abandoned in favour of a more traditional review that presents arguments for and against, discusses the uncertainties, and speculates on the known and unknown unknowns. I think such a process would support scientific progress far better and be more useful for policymakers.

The growing implications of the messy wickedness of the climate-change problem are becoming increasingly apparent, highlighting the inadequacies of the "consensus to power" approach for decision-making on such complex issues.

Let's abandon the scientific consensus-seeking approach in favour of open debate and discussion of a broad range of policy options that stimulate local and regional solutions to the multifaceted and interrelated issues surrounding climate change.


"Climate Change Reconsidered" Presents Mountains of Peer-Reviewed Evidence

The Heartland Institute Tuesday released Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, which hits global warming alarmists with objective data and peer-reviewed studies the way Mike Tyson hit Michael Spinks with uppercut lefts and overhand rights.

The new report, known as CCR-2, includes more than 1,000 pages documenting the evidence that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are not causing a global warming crisis. The report contains literally thousands of citations to the peer-reviewed literature.

Global warming alarmists often misrepresent the peer-reviewed literature, claiming virtually no peer-reviewed studies call the alarmist narrative into question. However, the alarmists can make such a claim only if they use a deceptive straw-man argument that their “narrative” is merely that global temperatures have warmed during the past century, such that the Earth is no longer in the depths of the extraordinary Little Ice Age. Well heck, everybody knows that.

“The key question concerns the magnitude of warming caused by the rather small 7 billion tons of industrial carbon dioxide that enter the atmosphere each year, compared with the natural flows from land and sea of over 200 billion tons,” CCR-2 lead author Bob Carter noted in the Daily Telegraph.

“The scientific evidence now overwhelmingly indicates that any human warming effect is deeply submerged within planet Earth's natural variations of temperature,” Carter observed.

“Until recently the public have been relentlessly misinformed that human-caused global warming was causing polar bears to die out, more and more intense storms, droughts and floods to occur, the monsoons to fail, sea-level rise to accelerate, ice to melt at unnatural rates, that late 20th century temperature was warmer than ever before and that speculative computer models could predict the temperature accurately one hundred years into the future. It now turns out that not one of these assertions is true,” Carter explained.

More than three dozen scientists wrote and contributed to CCR-2. The scientists themselves came up with the idea for successive issues of Climate Change Reconsidered and asked the Heartland Institute to publish their findings.


DOE Claims More 'Success' With Another Clean Energy Bankruptcy

Ecotality declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday

Compared to other Recovery Act beneficiaries that have failed – like battery maker A123 Systems and electric auto company Fisker Automotive – the deathwatch was short. A July 25th report issued by the Department of Energy’s Inspector General declared Ecotality’s EV Project largely a waste of time and misallocated money.

Then in mid-August Ecotality informed the Securities and Exchange Commission it was in deep financial trouble, with bankruptcy a possibility. A filing showed that the company was unable to obtain additional financing and the DOE had ceased payments to it for the EV Project until the agency could investigate further. DOE also warned Ecotality to not incur any new costs or obligations under the EV Project.

NLPC first raised questions about Ecotality's viability and origins in October 2011.

Monday’s development is another black eye to President Obama’s green energy agenda, but we’ve come to learn that each flop is just another reason for his Energy Department to look on the bright side. DOE spokesman Bill Gibbons told the Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay in a statement yesterday that stimulus support for Ecotality was “meant to establish the seeds of infrastructure needed to support a growing market for advanced vehicles, [and] the company installed more than 12,500 charging stations in 18 US cities—or approximately 95 percent of their goal.”

The attitude echoes comments made by others from DOE after similar collapses. When Colorado-based Abound Solar declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in June 2012, DOE deputy director of Public Affairs Damien LaVera wrote a lengthy article defending the agency’s “investments” in solar energy with the attitude of “Hey, they can’t all be winners!”

“Of the $400 million that Abound was originally approved for, the Department only lent the company less than $70 million,” LaVera wrote at the time. “Because of the strong protections we put in place for taxpayers, the Department has already protected more than 80 percent of the original loan amount. Once the bankruptcy liquidation is complete, the Department expects the total loss to the taxpayer to be between 10 and 15 percent of the original loan amount.”

Yes, great job DOE!

Then there was last week’s testimony by former Loan Programs Office director Jonathan Silver, in a hearing about secret email exchanges on private accounts held before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. When challenged by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio about millions of dollars in squandered “investments” thanks to his agency’s poor judgments, Silver said the losses only represented three percent of the portfolio and one percent of the loan loss reserve set aside by Congress for the stimulus, which Silver said made the program a “success.”

While DOE grant evaluators may be slapping each other on their backs for their great accomplishments, and the superior judgment they think they’ve exercised on behalf of the taxpayers, those of us in the real world wonder if this interminable nightmare will ever end. Nissan North America also appears to be concerned. The all-electric Leaf – which is supposed to be manufactured in much greater quantities now outside Nashville thanks to its $1.4 billion taxpayer guaranteed loan – is somewhat dependent on the chargers produced and deployed by Ecotality. The bankruptcy notice said Nissan loaned the company $1.25 million to continue operations until the process is completed.

Nissan has an interest in not seeing Ecotality’s thousands of “Blink” chargers become glorified lampposts. According to, at least 5,700 Leaf owners received free chargers through the EV Project, and many more own chargers that were heavily subsidized. In addition Ecotality’s chargers were deployed throughout ten major metro areas in which they were supposed to replicate a system where EV owners could conveniently find spots in their daily routines to repower while they shopped or worked. A large-scale uprooting of the chargers, much like retail chain Costco did a couple of years ago, would be an even greater disaster for DOE and EV manufacturers like Nissan.

Bloomberg reported yesterday that Ecotality said it had installed more than 8,000 home chargers and 4,000 commercial chargers. The DOE Inspector General noted in his July report that the intent of the EV Project was to create a system of chargers that would alleviate owners’ “range anxiety,” meaning that they could drive and not worry whether or not they could make it to their next stop before running out of power. The report reasoned that the purpose of the EV Project was to “develop, implement, and study techniques for optimizing the effectiveness of infrastructure supporting widespread electric vehicle deployment,” an agenda established by President Obama as part of his plan to have one million electric cars on the road by 2015.

So the heavier deployment to homeowners, rather than businesses and public locations, undermined that goal. Worse, the Inspector General criticized how DOE approved reimbursement to Ecotality that allowed the company to use as a “match” the full monthly costs of the electric cars, chargers and Internet service for EV owners who participated in the program – over $550 per month, according to the IG. Because of that generous accounting, Ecotality received taxpayer funds to offset costs it incurred.

“…the vehicles and Internet connections were purchased to satisfy personal needs of consumers, not solely for the project,” the IG reported.

Ecotality’s rollout of the chargers in this fashion were in part the result of weaker than projected (but not unexpected by those who truly understand the laws of economics) adoption of EVs. Now the next unintended consequence is that Nissan and other electric automakers such as General Motors (with the Chevy Volt) and Ford (with a $5.9 billion taxpayer loan for alternative vehicles production) are somewhat dependent on a system of chargers whose maintenance, software updates and repair are now in doubt. Hence the $1.25 million Nissan loan while the car companies and the government figure out what to do next.

The scrutiny will come quickly about Ecotality’s crony capitalism and spending practices, as well as DOE’s foolish decision to award such a huge grant to an obviously incapable and inexperienced company. One example: the company paid steep rent costs (vendors listed at – sometimes five figures monthly – for nearly every city in which they had the EV Project. With such poor adoption of EVs, it’s hard to imagine Ecotality representatives or contractors couldn’t work out of less expensive locales – like their homes. And why did Ecotality need to relocate its headquarters from Arizona to some ritzy office digs near the banks of San Francisco bay?

Such answers may be confirmed by a Washington Free Beacon source. Reporter Lachlan Markay quoted an Ecotality executive who blamed the company’s plight on previous CEO Jonathan Read, who “offered no leadership and either directly or indirectly […] squandered or pocketed all the government money.” Read had previously been quoted in a shareholder conference call a few years ago saying he was a “political beast” who would play the political card very hard. His background was in executive management for the Park Plaza hotel chain and Shakey’s International. As Markay reported, “Read boasted about his political connections, and received bonus payments contingent on ECOtality winning DOE support.

DOE has paid $96 million so far to Ecotality in reimbursed costs related to the EV Project. It’s hard to see how much, if any, of that will be recovered for taxpayers in the planned bankruptcy auction. They may be stuck with a bunch of dead-weight chargers that need to be removed as well. But remember, that is all just part of the success story that is the DOE clean energy portfolio


Obama’s closing of America: Keystone’s fifth birthday

More than five years ago, the application to build the Keystone XL pipeline to transfer oil from a fertile Canadian field to American refineries was filed with the U.S. State Department.

The application still languishes in the Obama Administration

Obama supporters in Big Labor have spoken out, testified, begged and cajoled the Administration to act, but nothing.

Even with a State Department estimated ten thousand jobs at stake, Obama remains paralyzed, unable to say yes to a safe old technology project. An oil delivery project that should have already have been completed rather than sitting on a politician’s desk, contributing greatly toward eliminating our national dependence upon insecure Middle East oil sources.

Instead, Obama cowers in his D.C. public housing afraid of offending the grown up 1960 hippies and their progeny by signing off on one of the most common sense projects in history.

Obama and the green purveyors of economic doom and environmental cataclysm are in league together in their determination to transform America by destroying our nation’s industrial base through driving energy costs higher to create viable markets for less efficient and more costly technologies like solar, bio-mass and even unreliable wind.

On the same day that the Keystone XL pipeline’s five year anniversary was marked, the Obama Administration rolled out the first of four upcoming regulations designed to cripple domestic energy production and reliable electricity generation.

The anti-coal fired utility plants plan will stop the building of any new coal fired utilities and impose billions of dollars of costs on existing plants in an attempt to end electricity generation using coal.

Gina McCarthy, the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator who John McCain and a band of renegade Republican Senators shamefully allowed to take office, revealed her determination to use the vast powers of the EPA to destroy the U.S. economy saying, “If our changing climate goes unchecked, it will have devastating impacts on the United States and the planet. Reducing carbon pollution is critically important to the protection of Americans’ health and the environment upon which our economy depends,” she said. However, she added, “we have to be sensitive to economic consequences of our action.”

Her “sensitivity” will be appreciated by coal miners in Kentucky, Illinois, Wyoming, Colorado and West Virginia whose jobs she is trying to kill along with the towns that they support.

Her “sensitivity” will be felt by those who suffer from brownouts and blackouts due to the closure of 32 coal fired electricity generating utilities in the wake of the new regulations. Not to mention the manufacturers and other job creators who choose to do business elsewhere around the world due to the U.S. reverting to a country that has unreliable electricity generating capacity.

However, the Obama Administration is not content to just regulate existing and future coal production out of existence, as it was announced that a major international mining company is going to drop out of efforts to extract almost a trillion dollars of copper and other metals out of a desolate area of Alaska due to the high cost of attempting to mine in America.

The land where the deposit was found was originally federally owned. Traded to the state of Alaska, in exchange for more environmentally valuable land that became Lake Clark National Park, it was designated for mining by the state. That all changed, when what was formerly vast wasteland became valuable due to the copper discovery.

After investing half a billion dollars in quantifying the find and developing the most environmentally sensitive mining process in history, the miners were not even allowed to go through the extremely onerous mine permitting process, as the EPA preemptively declared the mine not viable.

Obama has put a giant, “Not Open” sign to anyone who wants to develop resources in America. Obama believes in shovel ready jobs, as long as you don’t turn dirt. He wants the lights to go on when you flip the switch so long as it doesn’t require the U.S. to use our more than 200 year supply of coal to make it happen. He would rather have western landscapes blighted by seas of 500 year old technology windmills that barely produce more energy than they consume than to allow a simple pipeline, like hundreds of others, to cross the U.S./Canadian border that brings a secure oil supply to America.

Five years ago, the company attempting to transport oil from Alberta, Canada to U.S. oil refineries foolishly relied upon the U.S. government to follow the law and act rationally. You can bet they won’t be fooled again, and the next pipeline will be built to western ports allowing the same oil to be exported to China.

Obama’s America has become a bad business partner, and that will have negative ramifications for decades after he has taken his place next to Jimmy Carter as the worse president since the turn of the 20th Century.

Five years for a simple pipeline approval, it would not have been believable before Obama transformed America, now no one would be foolish enough to even apply.


State Dept. to Spend $450K for Green Jobs--in Morocco

The State Department through its Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs plans to spend $450,000 to create green jobs in Morocco.

“Morocco has set the goal to become one of the world’s largest sustainable economies by 2020, with an emphasis on creating green jobs in: renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, environmental and natural resource management, and improvement in environmental technologies,” the grant announcement said.

“Morocco’s green growth strategy focuses on three major areas that include: energy security, food security, and environmental security. This includes solar and wind power, energy efficiency, intensive and communal sustainable agriculture, and solid waste and greenhouse gas emissions reduction,” the grant said.

The U.S. and Morocco signed a Joint Statement on Environmental Cooperation in 2006, the grant said. “The 2010-2012 Plan of Action reflects the current priorities for trade-related environmental cooperation activities.”

The grant recipient will help increase green job growth through collaboration partnerships, education and training, innovation and/or green technology transfers.

“The successful applicant will work with local partners to build on existing activities in Morocco, design projects to increase green job growth, and build local capacity for continuing implementation of sustainable practices in the future,” the grant added.

The State Department expects to see green job growth especially among youth and women in industrial centers. It also hopes to energy and water use savings, a drop in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and increased natural resource conservation.

In addition, it is expects to see an increase in the technical capacity for renewable energy, energy efficiency, water management, sustainable agriculture, pollution prevention, and/or greenhouse gas emissions reduction.


What climate change? Fewer Britons than EVER believe the world is really warming up

CLIMATE change scepticism is rapidly increasing in the UK with a FIFTH of people now unconvinced the world's temperature is changing.

The number of people who do not believe climate change is real has increased by 400% since 2005

The Government funded report shows 19 per cent of people are climate change disbelievers - up from just four per cent in 2005 - while nine per cent did not know.

The report comes as climate change scientists working on a landmark UN report on climate change are struggling to explain why global warming appears to have slowed down in the past 15 years even though greenhouse gas emissions keep rising.

Dr. Roy Spencer, a former NASA scientist and author of Climate Confusion, argues in his influential blog the UN report shows scientists are being forced to "recognise reality".

He said: "We are now at the point in the age of global warming hysteria where the IPCC global warming theory has crashed into the hard reality of observations."

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett blamed the Government for the increase in climate change doubters.

She said: "When the government is so clearly failing to act on climate change, or take seriously its obligations under the Climate Change Act, it's not surprising that the level of doubt about climate change has risen.

"Of course, however, the 72 per cent of the public who acknowledge the climate is changing are backed overwhelmingly by the scientific evidence.

"The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded that half of last year's extreme weather events around the world were in part caused by climate change.

"With massive floods in Colorado and Mexico in the grip of flood disaster, we're reminded that the forces of nature have huge force that we must not continue to magnify."

The report comes as climate change scientists working on a landmark U.N. report on climate change are struggling to explain why global warming appears to have slowed down in the past 15 years even though greenhouse gas emissions keep rising.

Leaked documents obtained by The Associated Press show there are deep concerns among governments over how to address the issue ahead of next week's meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Climate skeptics have used the lull in surface warming since 1998 to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that humans are warming the planet by burning fossil fuels and cutting down CO2-absorbing forests.

The IPCC report is expected to affirm the human link with greater certainty than ever, but the panel is under pressure to also address the recent lower rate of warming, which scientists say is likely due to heat going deep into the ocean and natural climate fluctuations.

"I think to not address it would be a problem because then you basically have the denialists saying, 'Look the IPCC is silent on this issue,"' said Alden Meyer, of the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists.

In a leaked June draft of the report's summary from policy-makers, the IPCC said the rate of warming in 1998-2012 was about half the average rate since 1951. It cited natural variability in the climate system, as well as cooling effects from volcanic eruptions and a downward phase in solar activity.

But several governments that reviewed the draft objected to how the issue was tackled, in comments to the IPCC.

Germany called for the reference to the slowdown to be deleted, saying a time span of 10-15 years was misleading in the context of climate change, which is measured over decades and centuries.




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


20 September, 2013

World's top climate scientists told to 'cover up' the fact that the Earth's temperature hasn't risen for the last 15 years

Scientists working on the most authoritative study on climate change were urged to cover up the fact that the world’s temperature hasn’t risen for the last 15 years, it is claimed.

A leaked copy of a United Nations report, compiled by hundreds of scientists, shows politicians in Belgium, Germany, Hungary and the United States raised concerns about the final draft.

Published next week, it is expected to address the fact that 1998 was the hottest year on record and world temperatures have not yet exceeded it, which scientists have so far struggled to explain.

The report is the result of six years’ work by UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is seen as the world authority on the extent of climate change and what is causing it – on which governments including Britain’s base their green policies.

But leaked documents seen by the Associated Press, yesterday revealed deep concerns among politicians about a lack of global warming over the past few years.

Germany called for the references to the slowdown in warming to be deleted, saying looking at a time span of just 10 or 15 years was ‘misleading’ and they should focus on decades or centuries.

Hungary worried the report would provide ammunition for deniers of man-made climate change.

Belgium objected to using 1998 as a starting year for statistics, as it was exceptionally warm and makes the graph look flat - and suggested using 1999 or 2000 instead to give a more upward-pointing curve.

The United States delegation even weighed in, urging the authors of the report to explain away the lack of warming using the ‘leading hypothesis’ among scientists that the lower warming is down to more heat being absorbed by the ocean – which has got hotter.

The last IPCC ‘assessment report’ was published in 2007 and has been the subject of huge controversy after it had to correct the embarrassing claim that the Himalayas would melt by 2035.

It was then engulfed in the ‘Climategate’ scandal surrounding leaked emails allegedly showing scientists involved in it trying to manipulate their data to make it look more convincing – although several inquiries found no wrongdoing.

The latest report, which runs to 2,000 pages, will be shown to representatives from all 195 governments next week at a meeting in Stockholm, who can discuss alterations they want to make.

But since it was issued to governments in June, they have raised hundreds of objections about the 20-page summary for policymakers, which sums up the findings of the scientists.

What it says will inform renewable energy policies and how much consumers and businesses will pay for them.

The report is expected to say the rate of warming between 1998 and 2012 was about half of the average rate since 1951 – and put this down to natural variations such as the El Nino and La Nina ocean cycles and the cooling effects of volcanoes.

A German climate scientist - Stefan Rahmstorf, who reviewed the chapter on sea levels - yesterday admitted it was possible the report’s authors were feeling under pressure to address the slowdown in warming due to the ‘public debate’ around the issue.

The draft report, which is not new research but a synthesis of all the work being done by scientists around the world, is likely to be highly disputed at the three-day meeting.

It will make the case that humans are causing global warming with carbon emissions even more strongly upgrading it from ‘very likely’ in 2007 to ‘extremely likely’ it is manmade.

But scientists are under pressure to explain why the warming has not exceeded 1998 levels although the decade 2000-2010 was the hottest on record.

Alden Meyer, of the Union of Concerned Scientists based in Washington, said yesterday: ‘I think to not address it would be a problem because then you basically have the denialists saying: ‘Look the IPCC is silent on this issue.’

Jonathan Lynn, a spokesman for the IPCC said yesterday: ‘This is the culmination of four years’ work by hundreds of scientists, where governments get a chance to ensure the summary for policymakers is clear and concise in a dialogue with the scientists who wrote it, and have the opportunity to raise any topics they think should be highlighted.’


Climate Change Ice-Capped

There is a tradition in politics that is similar to one in the legal profession: When evidence supports your position, make your argument based on the evidence, but when it argues against your position, ignore the evidence and appeal to emotion.

The evidence is piling up that "climate change," formerly known as "global warming," is losing evidentiary support, despite recent "preliminary findings" by a group of "experts" from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that a Washington Post editorial suggests may prove, "warming has boosted the chances, in some cases significantly, that certain unwelcome weather or weather-related disasters will occur." The Post and other "true believers" ignore or ridicule a growing body of evidence rebutting their beliefs.

Most bad weather -- from hurricanes, which have been few this season, to tornadoes -- are unwelcome by those in their paths, but these weather phenomena have existed for centuries. Both sides seem to agree that CO2 levels are elevated, but they don't agree on whether that will cause dangerous climate change, including rising temperatures and turbulent weather. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) argues, "The human effect is likely to be small relative to natural variability, and whatever small warming is likely to occur will produce benefits as well as costs."

Yet the climate change cultists continue to focus on melting polar ice caps and "displaced" polar bears as part of their emotional appeal for government to "fix" the problem. Now comes a report in the UK Daily Mail that "eminent scientists" have observed a record return of the Arctic ice cap as it grows by 60 percent in a year, covering with ice almost 1 million more square miles of ocean than in 2012.

In 2007, the BBC reported that by 2013, global warming would leave the Arctic "ice free." Oops!

Just how silly this is getting is an assertion by some activists that the current tensions in Syria might be linked to climate change. That's not as harebrained as a newspaper report in January 1933, which said, "Yo-Yo Banned in Syria, Blamed for Drought by Moslems." The Syrians of 1933 actually believed the up and down of a toy yo-yo affected the weather. If it went down and sprang right back up, rain. If it went down and didn't spring up, drought. Police reportedly patrolled the streets, confiscating the toy. Ridiculous? Not as ridiculous as some of the junk science coming out of climate research circles today.

Last March, the Daily Mail reported that global temperatures are about to drop "below the level that the (computer) models forecast with '90 percent certainty.'"

Marc Morano, a former staff member of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (whose web page offers numerous scientific articles debunking climate change), emails me: "As a long observer of the global weather movement, I can say that the events of 2013 (have) been one of the most devastating to the movement. Both poles have record expanding ice. Global temperatures have failed to rise for 15 plus years, sea level rise is failing to accelerate, tornadoes are at record lows, hurricanes are near record low activity ... 2013 may be the year in which man-made global warming fears enter the dustbin of history."

I doubt it. Too many people have too much invested in perpetuating this fiction. Billions of dollars and other currencies have been diverted into "green" projects in a Chicken Little attempt to stop the sky from falling. The BBC reports it as fact in virtually every story it does on the environment. Ditto the American media. Most media ignore evidence that counters climate change proponents.

Former Vice President Al Gore has made a personal fortune promoting the cult of global warming, a cult being partially defined as a belief system that ignores proof contrary to its beliefs.

Perhaps the climate change counter-revolutionaries should adopt the yo-yo as their symbol and send Gore and his apostles a box of them.


Gore sued by 30,000 scientists for global warming fraud

This report is from Ghana. Not sure how accurate it all is

30,000 scientists, including the founder of The Weather Channel, have come forward to sue former US Vice President Al Gore for fraud, alleging that he made massive profits in the promotion of the global warming mythology.

They scientists are hoping the lawsuit will finally give the thousands of 'dissenting' scientists a voice again.

Environmentalism has been politically linked to alternative medicine for many years, due to the unfortunate pervasive presence of the paganistic religions. It is truly a tragic situation that has impeded alternative medicine in the U.S. perhaps as much as any other factor.

At The Health Wyze Report, scientists believe that reducing human harm to the planet is a reasonable goal, so long as it is not given precedence over the rights and livelihoods of people.

Increasingly, environmentalists and politicians have exploited the shoddy global warming hypothesis as a method to take away the rights of the people in a draconian manner, and to tax all of us exorbitantly.

In the past few years, there has been massive growth in the amount of people who believe that man is the primary cause of global warming, and that ironically, an ice age is somehow coming. It really is incredible when one steps back to examine the ridiculousness of it all.

The theory of man-made global warming has actually been widely accepted by society. The power elites have told us that the world will come to an end if we do not reduce our consumption of fossil fuels, and lower our output of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Dissenting scientists have been silenced, even as they explained that most CO2 is emitted from the oceans, and that CO2 does not lead to any increases in temperatures. In fact, the reverse is true. The warming of the earth (due to solar cycles) leads to increases in CO2.


Study Shows Few Methane Leaks From Fracking

If you were worried that fracking would ever take the place of cow flatulence as a source of methane in the atmosphere, worry no more. A study released earlier this week and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimated that total leakage of methane was less than one-half of 1% of all produced natural gas, or roughly 100 billion cubic feet based on 2012 U.S. production of 24.1 trillion cubic feet.

Yet Radical Green remains unfazed by the facts, claiming that the wells selected were not “real operations” but carefully chosen as low-emitting sites. “Their study was not designed to look at the combination of normal and abnormal operations,” sneered Ira Leifer, a University of California-Santa Barbara scientist who measures methane leaks around the country. Other skeptics claimed bias because industry interests mainly financed the $2.3 million study – not that environmental groups have ever financed a study where the conclusions somehow coincided with their desired result.

NAS president Ralph Cicerone, however, called the study participants “some of the very best experts” in the field, who are “going to give you the straight scoop.” Unlike other broad airborne estimates of methane leakage that have varied widely and may not have accounted for natural sources, these measurements were taken at 489 participating wells around the country.

Unfortunately for the radical environmental community, the hyperbole of massive environmental damage and flaming water faucets blamed on fracking isn't borne out in reality. The truth is that our nation could be among the world's top producers of natural gas and an energy exporter in the very near future – if the federal government and Radical Green stand aside.


Sermonizing at the church of the burning planet

By Larry Bell

Bummer! Now, just before members of the UN’s Church of the Burning Planet are scheduled to finalize their latest hellfire and brimstone sermon, a chilling development has occurred. A flood of blasphemous reports circulated among ranks of former faithful parishioners are challenging human-caused climate crisis theology.

On September 23 through 26, representatives of the world’s Environment Ministries will meet in Stockholm to agree on the final draft of a key portion of the gospel of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Summary for Policymakers — which is expected, once again, to keep the political climate cauldron steaming. This Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is intended to be used by international ministers working to devise a new global treaty by 2015 to curb “climate change”.

That goal is certainly no trifle, given that dramatic climate changes have been occurring over many millions of years, although lately…not so much. Therein lays the big rub. How can ministers conjure up a newsworthy sequel to previous knuckle-biting prognostications when all evidence suggests that the prophesies, and the scriptures they were based upon, were proven wrong?

Remember that really scary “hockey stick” graph IPCC used to show that rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations would send global temperatures soaring? And recall all the ballyhoo about CO2 levels reaching a 400 ppm record high? Yet last February even IPCC’s chairman Rajenda Pachuri has admitted that world temperature data has been flat for the past 17 years. And that was after the British media reported that the UK Met Office was projecting a 20-year standstill in global warming by 2017.

You certainly know the jig is up when the New York Times finally recognizes that the feverish climate fervor is overheated. They reported on June 6 that, “The rise in the surface temperature of Earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace.” Reporter Justin Gillis went on to admit that the break in temperature increases “highlights important gaps in our knowledge of the climate system”, whereby the lack of warming “is a bit of a mystery to climate scientists.”

D’ya think?

Where, Oh Where, Has that Global Warming Gone?

One highly plausible answer to this mystery is that the climate models upon which IPCC’s failed projections are based exaggerate climate sensitivity to CO2, underestimate known natural forcings, and simply don’t understand how to factor in and calibrate other influences such as ocean cycles and solar activity. Numerous recent scientific papers suggest that overestimation of sensitivity by at least 30 percent may account for much of the problem. If so, a reduction of 30percent would leave lots of missing heat which must have been offset by natural cooling.

After all, the importance of those natural influences shouldn’t be that surprising given that history shows that temperatures have been higher when CO2 levels were lower, and vise versa. In fact, the past century has witnessed two generally accepted periods of warming The first occurred between 1900 and 1945. Since CO2 levels were relatively low then compared with now, and didn’t change much, they couldn’t have been the cause before 1950.

The second possible very small warming, following a slight cool-down, may have begun in the late 1970s lasting until 1998, a strong Pacific Ocean El Niño year. Yet even if global temperatures actually did rise very slightly during that second period, the U.K. Hadley Center and U.S. NOAA balloon instrument analyses fail to show any evidence, whatsoever, of a human CO2 emission-influenced warming telltale “signature” in the upper troposphere over the equator as predicted by all IPCC global circulation models. In fact, about half of all estimated warming since 1900 occurred before the mid-1940s despite continuously rising CO2 levels since that time.

So Maybe the Models Are Broke…Not the Climate After All!

According to a recent Opinion & Comment piece titled “Overestimating global warming over the past 20 years” that appeared in Nature Climate Change, the model-based fear and loathing attached to global warming may be substantially overheated. Notably, Francis W. Zwiers, one of the three authors, is a vice-chair of this relevant section for AR5. The writers observe that whereas the global mean temperature over the past 20 years (1993-2012) rose at a rate of between about 0.14o°–0.06o° C per decade, average temperatures computed by 117 simulations of 37 climate models predicted a surface temperature rise of 0.30o°-0.02o° C per decade. The observed rate of warming was less than half of the simulated rate.

The inconsistency between observed and simulated warming was even greater over the past 15 years (between 1998 and 2012). Here the observed trend was 0.05o°-0.08o° C per decade, vs. the average simulated trend of 0.21o°-0.03o° C. The observed trend was four times smaller. The divergence began in the early 1990s. Accordingly, evidence indicates that the group of model simulations do not reproduce observed global warming over the past 20 years, or the slowdown over the past 15 years.

Since 2003 when the trend reached close to a predicted 0.2o° C /decade peak, the trends have been waning strongly. The measured trend was lower in 2013 than 2008, which was, in turn, lower than in 2003.

As well-known climate scientist Judith Curry points out, the selection of 20 years was prudent because it gets away from the “cherry-picking” criticism of starting with 1997 or 1998, a big El Niño period. It also includes a big jump that occurred from 1993-1998.

“The Ocean Ate My Global Temperatures”

Kevin Trenberth theorizes that missing heat takes a dive into deep oceans. “The oceans can at times soak up a lot of heat. Some goes into the deep oceans where it can stay for centuries [and where lamentably, there are no reliable temperature measurements]. But heat absorbed closer to the surface can easily flow back into the air.” Yet sea surface temperatures and the upper heat content didn’t increase over the last decade by enough to account for the “missing heat” that those greenhouse gas emissions should have trapped in the Earth’s climate system but couldn’t be found.

And how have they arrived at this hypothesis? Well, perhaps you already guessed the answer. Of course! They developed some hypothetical, unproven guess-work models.

Climate as Religion…Imposing Penance for Prosperity

Atmospheric physicist and Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT, Richard Lindzen, posted an article in the fall 2013 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons characterizing global warming as an alarmist religion. Furthermore, he accuses alarmist orthodoxy of adjusting both data and theory to accommodate politically correct positions that are costly to society.

Scientists who give in to this temptation make meaningless claims; activists for certain causes supported by those claims pull political strings; and the scientists, in turn, are rewarded with more research funding. The result is an “Iron Triangle” of destructively twisted science incentives. Lindzen remarks that, “A surprisingly large number of people seem to have concluded that all that gives meaning to their lives is the belief that they are saving the planet by paying attention to their carbon footprint.”

Global warming (aka “climate change”) has thus become a religious mantra, a call for action in a crusade against larger evils we have perpetrated against nature and punishment for our sins. Author Michael Crichton articulated the essence of this creed in a 2003 speech whereby: “There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with Nature; there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result from eating from the tree of knowledge; and as a result of our actions, there is a judgment day coming for all of us. We are energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability.

Sustainability is salvation in the Church of the Environment, just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs imbibe.”

What Will IPCC’s High Priests Ordain Next?

Daunting pressure befalls those scores of IPCC representatives in Stockholm who must wordsmith and dumb down a final summary of climate conclusions that will once again garner world-shaking attention. Their previous reports will provide tough acts to follow in the alarm department. For example:

The IPCC’s 2001 Summary for Policymakers Report (TAR) stated: “Most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.”

The IPCC’s 2007 report (4AR) said: “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

And now, a leaked draft of the new 2013 (5AR) is expected to conclude: “It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”

And there you have it! Whereas they were previously only very likely sure that we humans contributed to global warming 6 years ago, now that there hasn’t been any warming for nearly three times that long they are expected to be extremely sure. Also, never mind that the latest 10-year period (2003-12) is the coolest decade since satellite records began in 1979.

Assuming that they’re likely to be extremely sure that despite flat temperatures we’re still at fault, what do you plan to do about it? If continued guilt about your carbon footprint is prompting you to consider trading in your CO2-belching SUV for a bicycle, remember that you’ll still exhale between 0.7 and 0.9 kg of carbon dioxide daily just being alive. So if you’re waiting for IPCC to cut you any slack…don’t hold your breath.


James Hansen’s Venusian fantasy

Dr James Hansen of NASA, a climate alarmist, has claimed that if we continue to burn fossil fuel we will end up like Venus. I gather he is recently retired. Maybe just as well.

Four billion years ago this planet did indeed have an atmosphere like Venus: >95% CO2 at 100 atmospheres pressure and no oxygen. But since then the trend for CO2 has been rapidly downward as CO2 was sequestered into limestones, organic life where the carbon was extracted and laid down to make fossil fuels: coal, oil, gas).

2.4 billion years ago the atmosphere was still very high in CO2. We know that because of very ancient barytes (Barium Sulphate) deposits contain additional CO2 which must have been forced in by pressures in excess of 60 atmospheres.

Around one billion years ago atmospheric CO2 was at 35% yet the earth plunged into ‘snowball earth’ where ice extended to the equator. This incidentally makes the claim that CO2 causes warming look rather absurd. After the Cambrian Explosion, life flourished drawing more and more CO2 down into the biosphere, sequestering much of it in the coal deposits. The removal of CO2 caused the atmospheric pressure to also drop, so that by the time of the dinosaurs atmospheric pressure was nearer three modern atmospheres: this enabled the pterosaurs to fly – something they could not do today. Now CO2 levels stand at 0.04%. This is nearly the lowest it has ever been and is potentially dangerously low – plants are beginning to ‘struggle for breath’. If plants die off – we die. The more CO2 that goes into the atmosphere the better for the planet’s ecology, including ourselves.

The current tiny rise over the last couple of centuries is trivial (humans being responsible for perhaps 4% of it) and probably caused by deep ocean warming during the Medieval Warm Period – it takes oceans several hundred years to respond by outgasing CO2.

So just how could the earth become like Venus again and bring on the fate Dr Hansen so fears?

First, all the limestone and other carbonates and all the fossil fuels on and in the crust and mantle must be burnt, turning limestone into lime and CO2 and fossil fuels into water and CO2. This would take many millions of years working round the clock and doing nothing else!

Second, all the water on the planet must be removed, and I mean all of it, including that currently sequestered in minerals as water of crystallization.

Third, having achieved all this (and somehow survived), we must move the planet from its current orbit of some 90 million miles from the sun to a mere 66 million miles. Oh, and stop the earth rotating as it does and put it into reverse to rotate very slowly backwards.

Then, and only then, could we conceivably end up like Venus.




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


19 September, 2013

No, Sir David Attenborough, Adolf was wrong

It is amusing to see how consistent Leftists are in their follies. Greenies following Fascists is a regular phenomenon. Does anybody remember why Hitler sought "Lebensraum" for Germany in the East? It was because he was just as ignorant as David Attenborough. Hitler looked at the population increase in Germany and the prospects for increases in German farm production and concluded that Germany would soon be unable to feed itself. So it needed to grab land off its neighbours in the East if it was not to starve. Hitler knew as little about agricultural science and economics as Sir David did but was nonethless certain that he was right. Socialists such as him are like that. And just as Hitler didn't care about starving Russians, Sir David doesn't care about starving Africans. Sir David should learn from history -- but since when did any Leftist do that? They are too arrogant to learn. They "just know" -- JR

Malthus is shaking his hoary locks. The old seer does it every so often, and no amount of being proved wrong will keep him in his coffin. His latest manifestation takes the unlikely form of Sir David Attenborough, one of television’s otherwise warmest personalities. Sir David thinks that the population of the planet has reached capacity, and that we had better tell the world to stop making babies. For good measure, in his interview with The Daily Telegraph yesterday, he added that getting the UN to send sacks of flour to famine regions was “barmy” and that famine in Ethiopia is about “too many people for too little piece of land”.

He is not alone. Jonathan Porritt, the environmentalist – and like Sir David, a patron of the lobby group Population Matters, which argues for “living within the constraints of renewable resources” – has written about famine in the Horn of Africa and put the blame squarely on the failure of women to control their breeding habits: “It’s no good blaming climate change or food shortages or political corruption. Sorry to be neo-Malthusian about it, but continuing population growth in this region makes periodic famine unavoidable – as many have been pointing out since the last famine.”

At the end of the Second World War, many farmers in Britain still ploughed with horses and recoiled from using “artificial”, as they called fertiliser at the time. Fields are now harvested by machines as big as houses and inputs such as fertiliser are applied using computer and satellite technology. Simply applying these techniques across India, Africa and South America would fill the bread baskets of the world to overflowing. That is without even mentioning the miracles that could be wrought by GM, by enabling drought-resistant crops and blight-free potatoes to flourish.

If this revolution doesn’t take place, an accusing finger will point at those people who stopped it. Robert Mugabe has destroyed the agriculture of Zimbabwe for political ends. The European Union sucks in food from the rest of the world because it doesn’t want its inefficient peasant farmers to go bust. Oxfam now recognises that “The romanticisation of 'the peasant’ and rejection of new technologies and trade have the potential to lock farmers into poverty.” Aid charities haven’t always.

Sir David is a master communicator: he knows how to make a point and is not averse to shock tactics. No doubt that is why he disparages sending sacks of flour to the starving. But the phrase contained an undoubted truth. It isn’t sacks of flour that are needed. Until recently, the United States undermined the agriculture of the developing world by dumping its subsidised food surpluses at below market prices. This prevented local farmers from making money, discouraged enterprise and entrenched food dependency.

Far better is to export improved techniques and new ideas. This is recognised by innovative charities such as Excellent Development, a beneficiary of the Telegraph charity appeal in 2009, which encourages communities to build sand dams that provide clean water. Innocent Smoothies supports a charity that teaches farmers to build little rings of mud around the shoots they plant; this simple technique means that water is maximised rather than lost.


European Climate Czar: Doesn’t Matter if Climate Science Wrong

Two things have happened with the climate debate recently that reveals that climate change apologists—better known as Europeans-- owe the rest of us an apology.

OK, make that three things have happened. Or to put it more correctly: two things have happened and one thing has not.

What hasn’t happened, as most of us know by now, is that temperatures have not risen in the last two decades. This pause in “global warming” has confounded the models that climate change evangelists cite when they propose to tax the rest of us, ration our energy and herd us into urban areas where we all get to ride bikes, buses and electric train cars “for our own good.”

This non-event has led to a bit of nervous laughter from the Left.

In a pre-release of the upcoming IPCC climate change report, UN scientists reportedly concede that their models have failed to account for this almost two decade long pause of global warming.

“One of the central issues [dealt with in the new report] is believed to be why the IPCC failed to account for the ‘pause’ in global warming,” writes the UK’s Telegraph, “which they admit that they did not predict in their computer models. Since 1997, world average temperatures have not shown any statistically significant increase.

The summary also shows that scientist have now discovered that between 950 and 1250 AD, before the Industrial Revolution, parts of the world were as warm for decades at a time as they are now.”

But still a group of scientists, who have more time on their hands than is wise, and also more money than common sense, happened to put out a new “world” map that will help us with spending more money on things scientists now admit that they don’t know about. This map is based on the climate change model we know to be flawed.

The map purports to show the world areas most susceptible to climate change; areas that will be vulnerable, of course, in some distant future when the flawed climate model suddenly, miraculously, imitates reality, likely by Divine intervention or just plain old coincidence.

“Scientists said that the new world map,” writes IBTimes, “which is created using data from the world’s ecosystems and predictions of how climate change will impact them, is expected to help governments, environmental agencies and donors identify regions that would be best served by investments in programs such as the creation of protected areas, restoration efforts and other conservation activities.”

Yup, um, scientists are always saying stuff like that with other people’s money: proposing tax credits and restoration work and off-limit areas where really, really important stuff is happening in nature. Or perhaps not.

See, I used to think that the point of science was to actually figure out how the world really works, not how we would like it to work. But I can see now that it’s more important to have scientific models of how the world should work.

Because just this week, the European Commissioner of Climate Change Action—a sort of European Power Ranger on climate—happened to say: so what if we got the science regarding the earth’s temperature wrong? Can’t we just be grateful to the climate model without being nitpicky on actual temperature or consequences?

"Let's say that science,” said EU weather czar Connie Hedegaard, “some decades from now, said 'we were wrong, it was not about climate', would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?"

What? Like riding bikes more? Drinking one glass of red wine a day? Shipping more Powder River Basin coal to China so that the Chinese can enjoy the benefits of the cheap, domestic U.S. coal reserves while Americans pay more for energy?

In fairness to science, Hedegaard, isn’t really a scientist. She’s more of a literary historian. Her Wikipedia entry describes her as a “public intellectual,” whatever that is.

And her defective thinking exemplifies why I’ve always been troubled by liberals’ obsession with Europe.

Talk about making bad, bad decisions as a continent. Here’s a region of supposedly educated and superior people-- Europe that is-- who have made very few correct decisions over the last 200 years.

And after hearing from Hedegaard, I don’t think those bad decisions are chance. It’s ingrained poor processing, it’s public intellectualism.

There was that whole Hitler thing; before that the World War I thing; Napoleon, Stalin, monarchies, socialism, communism, green parties, not shaving your underarms. Horsemeat is considered a delicacy in Europe!

And another thing: Europe controlled North America for longer than there has been the United States. In all that time they couldn’t make it profitable. Why?

The taxes were too high. Everyone besides Obama and the Europeans know this.

So on behalf of the rest of the country, even the rest of the world, I accept your apology Europe for getting so much of history wrong.

Now let’s talk about that science thing…


Beware Watching A Critical Film – It May Turn You Into A Climate Sceptic, Psychologist Warns

Eminent scientists have condemned films that are sceptical about climate change. After airing of the Great Global Warming Swindle in 2007, for example, Sir Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society at the time, said "those who promote fringe scientific views but ignore the weight of evidence are playing a dangerous game."

Of course there are also films that affirm the idea that human activity has contributed to the rise in global temperatures - Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth is probably the most well known. Unfortunately for environmentalists and people who believe global warming is a threat, a new study claims that sceptical films have a more powerful influence on viewers' attitudes than climate change advocacy films.

Tobias Greitemeyer recruited 97 students at the University of Innsbruck. Thirty-three of them watched the climate change affirming film Children of The Flood - a futuristic tale depicting the life-threatening impact of melted ice-caps. Thirty-six watched The Great Global Warming Swindle, which challenges the idea that global warming is affected by human activity. The remainder acted as controls and watched a neutral film Forgotten Country in The Mekong Region, about life in Laos. The participants watched the first 15 minutes of each film.

Although the students were allocated randomly to the different conditions, those who watched the sceptic film subsequently reported more negative attitudes toward the environment than those who watched the neutral film or the affirming film. By contrast, there was no difference in attitudes to the environment between students who watched the neutral film and those who watched the affirming film.

A second study was similar but this time 92 students watched either Six Degrees Could Change the World (climate change affirming); The Climate Swindle: How Eco-mafia Betrays Us; or Planet Earth: Caves (a neutral film). Also, Greitemeyer added in a questionnaire about participants' concern for the future.

This time participants who watched the sceptical film ended up with greater apathy towards the environment as compared with participants who watched the neutral or affirming films, an outcome that was mediated by their having reduced concern for the future in general. This was the pattern both for participants who tended to engage in pro-environment behaviours in their everyday lives and those who didn't so much. As in the first study, there were no differences in post-viewing environment attitudes between those who'd watched the affirmative or neutral films.

When it comes to a lack of belief in the human causes of global warming, Greitemeyer said his results suggest "the media are part of the problem, but may not easily be used to be part of the solution." He thinks sceptical films have a negative influence on people's attitudes, but that films advocating for the human impact on climate change are ineffectual.

Unfortunately his claims are undermined by the limitations of the study. Above all it's unfortunate that he didn't measure his participants' baseline attitudes. This means we can't get any idea of the size of the influence of the films and we have to trust on faith that the randomisation to conditions was effective (i.e. that students in the different film conditions didn't differ in their attitudes before watching the films). There is also a question mark over how much the results would generalise to a non-student sample.

Indeed, in a subsequent survey of different students at the same uni, Greitemeyer found that they had an overwhelming bias towards believing in the reality of human effects on global warming. Therefore, perhaps the sceptical films appeared to be more influential because they contradicted students' pre-existing beliefs whereas the affirmative films told the students only what they already knew. A final limitation is the lack of analysis of the content of the films - we don't know what the active ingredients might be nor whether these were found equally in sceptical and affirmative films.


The New York State wind wars

Production tax credit lets Invenergy hide the facts and desecrate rural America

Mary Kay Barton

Congress’s last minute extension of the PTC or Production Tax Credit (aka: “Pork To Cronies”) within the December 31, 2012 fiscal cliff deal was good news for Big Wind corporate welfare profiteers, like Michael Polsky’s Invenergy. It was very bad news for rural/residential towns that are being targeted by industrial wind developers here in New York State, and across the nation.

Even though the Wyoming County, NY Town of Orangeville’s conflicted Town Board approved Invenergy’s “Stony Creek” project in the Fall of 2012, Invenergy admitted it would not go ahead with the project unless the PTC was extended. This again highlights the fact that the only thing Invenergy is interested in “harvesting” via its “wind farms” is taxpayers’ money. Even worse, once Crony-Corruptocrats in DC extended the PTC in that midnight fiscal cliff deal, the once-beautiful rolling hills of the Town of Orangeville were doomed.

While Mr. Polsky enjoys his new mansion, many Orangeville residents are now helplessly looking on in disgust as Invenergy turns their town into a sprawling industrial wind factory – rendering their homes virtually worthless – thanks to the legalized thievery of their own tax dollars for The Wind Farm Scam.

As Big Wind CEO, Patrick Jenevein candidly pointed out in his Wall Street Journal op-ed, “Wind power subsidies? No Thanks” and follow-up TV interview, “Wind farms are increasingly being built in less-windy locations,” because the wind industry is focused on reaping the lucrative taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies, rather than providing efficient, affordable, reliable electricity.

Nowhere is this proving to be more true than right here in New York State. Orangeville borders the Town of Attica here in the western part of the state. It’s a town that “First Wind LLC” pulled out of a number of years ago, after admitting that the Attica area “was not a good wind area.” It seems Jenevein knew exactly what he was talking about.

According to NYISO’s Goldbook, New York State’s installed wind factories averaged a pathetic 23.5% actual capacity factor in 2012. New York State wind factories are not generating enough electricity even to pay for themselves over their short life spans. It’s Economics 101, but it’s being ignored by politicians.

Renowned energy analyst Glenn Schleede examined the data on New York State’s wind factories and found that one 450-MW combined cycle generating unit near New York City (where the juice is actually needed) would provide more power than all of New York State’s wind farms combined, at one-fourth the capital costs – and would significantly reduce CO2 emissions, while creating far more jobs than all those wind farms … without the added costs and impacts of all the transmission lines to New York City.

It’s no wonder New York has earned the dubious distinction of having the highest electricity rates in the continental United States: 17.7 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) – a whopping 53% above the national average! New York residents using 6,500 kWh of electricity annually will pay about $400 more per year for their electricity than if the state’s electricity prices were at the national average.

Despite making absolutely no economic sense, and despite the utter civil discord embroiling Towns across New York State for more than a decade, New York State continues to aggressively pursue further industrial wind development – with no effort whatsoever to protect the health, well-being or pocketbooks of New York State citizens, especially those living next to or under the wind turbines.

During his tenure as Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo did nothing to protect New York State citizens from the predatory practices and collusion evident among Big Wind developers. Once he became Governor of New York, Cuomo actively began aiding and abetting Big Wind’s efforts to trample rural communities’ Constitutional private property rights in his pursuit of all things “green” (aka: Agenda 21), by signing into law the new “Article X (10)” contained within his 2011 “Power NY Act.”

Cuomo's new Article X put in place an ”Energy Siting Board” comprised of five Albany bureaucrats who now have the final say regarding the siting of “power-generating facilities” in NY – redefined to mean anything generating 25 MW or more. Cuomo’s intention to clear the way for Big Wind developers could not have been any more obvious had he rolled out a red carpet.

Article X proceedings are already being pursued by British Petroleum (BP) in Cape Vincent, NY, and by Iberdrola in Clayton, NY. BP intends to turn our beautiful Thousands Islands, St. Lawrence Seaway area into sprawling industrial wind factories. Devastating some of the most scenic, historic areas in the nation in pursuit of the “green” energy boondoggle should have all Americans incensed – especially since they are paying for it! For our communities, scenery and wildlife, Cuomo’s article is Triple X rated!

In Lichtfield, NY, another Big Wind LLC tried to override the town’s restrictive zoning laws, by using Cuomo’s “Article X,” so that they could install 490-foot-tall turbines. Luckily for Litchfield residents, the FAA struck down Big Wind’s plans there.

Robert Bryce, Senior fellow at The Manhattan Institute, reported on the lawsuit going on in Herkimer County, NY due to the intolerable noise problems associated with industrial wind factories. His article title sums it up: “Backlash against Big Wind continues.” Other wind factories are in the works in New York, with unsuspecting towns yet to recognize the fate that awaits them.

Considering the growing list of problems associated with industrial wind factories in New York State (and worldwide), Governor Cuomo’s actions reflect criminal negligence by a duly-elected “public servant,” as he has not demanded health studies to safeguard those he was elected to serve and protect.

Adding insult to injury, Ben Hoen and his pals at the NRLB just came out with yet another bogus “report,” claiming industrial wind factories do not hurt property values. They can't really be serious, can they? It’s Real Estate 101: “Location, location, location!” Any realtor who is not in bed with the wind industry will tell you, Location is the most important factor when considering a home’s worth and value.

If you industrialize a neighborhood with monstrous, noisy, flickering, bird-killing turbines (and in the case of industrial wind energy, entire towns, and those neighboring them), you are going to devalue it. Pretty much a no-brainer, right? Not according to Hoen and his pals in the ideologically-driven media.

After nearly a decade of researching and writing about industrial wind power, I’ve lost count of how many times my comments responding to wind-promoting articles have been rejected, and how many news publications refuse to report all relevant information regarding industrial wind power.

A number of local newspapers serving our area here in Western New York State – which has been targeted by industrial wind developers – have literally cut off all letters to the editor from local citizens regarding the industrial wind issue. These same newspapers continue to publish “Press Releases” on behalf of wind developers, and yet refuse to do any responsible, investigative journalism on the efficacy, effects and economics of wind power. The pro-wind media obviously control the message.

If “news”papers wonder why their circulation continues to drop, as people choose to get honest news elsewhere, they need look no further than their own refusal to adhere to “The Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics,” which says “Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.”

If wind enthusiasts actually believe all they claim to about the supposed “wonders of wind,” then why do they need to seize power and control the message the way they do? The answer is evident.

Either they are so ideologically driven that facts are not “relevant” to them – or they are getting so rich via the wind scam that they must squelch factual information as much as possible, so that the “Emperor with No Clothes” doesn’t end up being exposed for what he is – a charlatan who is swindling taxpayers and ratepayers out of billions of dollars in the name of being “green.”


New conservative Australian federal government axes climate change ministry

The new Australian Cabinet will be the first in six years to not have a ministerial role for climate change issues, merging instead global warming with the wider environment portfolio.

Announcing his Cabinet on Monday, incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott appointed Greg Hunt, the Liberal-National Coalition’s spokesman on climate change issues since 2009, as the new Minister for the Environment.

“(Hunt) will have responsibility for the abolition of the carbon tax, implementation of the Coalition’s Direct Action plan, the establishment of the Green Army and the creation of a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals,” Abbott said in a statement.

Hunt, 47 and a member of parliament since 2001, has had the main responsibility of developing and promoting the Direct Action Plan, the Coalition policy to reach the national target of reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions 5 percent below 2000 levels by 2020.

Under the plan, the new government will set up a fund to buy emission cuts from those companies that pledge to achieve them at the lowest cost.

"The change signals that as expected, the Abbott government will not give climate change the same weight as the previous government," said Frank Jotzo, deputy director of Australia National University's Climate Change Institute.

"The environment ministry traditionally holds less sway in cabinet than many others, and the integration of the climate policy bureaucracy into the Environment department will also tend to diminish its role," he said by email.

Meanwhile, Abbott appointed Ian Macfarlane the new Minister for Industry.

Macfarlane was Hunt’s predecessor as climate change spokesman, but lost his position after negotiating a compromise emissions trading scheme with the Labor party in 2009, a process that ended with then-Coalition leader Malcolm Turnbull losing his position to Tony Abbott.

The appointment of Macfarlane was welcomed by the Australian Coal Association, which said on Twitter that it was “delighted on the appointment of Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane; an excellent advocate for mining industry”.


New coal mines in Tasmania!

Pretty amazing for "Green" Tasmania -- and the ironically named Mr Green is a Labor Party man, a Leftist. Will a new dam be next? Tasmania used to make a good dollar out of hydropower before the Greenies got involved

THE State Government has given approval for a major new coal mine in the Fingal Valley, which it expects will create more than 100 jobs.

Energy and Resources Minister Bryan Green has formally approved the mining lease for the project.

"It's great to see this project is ready to start," Mr Green said.

The mine, proposed by HardRock Coal Mining Pty Ltd, is touted to produce more than a million tonnes of coal a year, worth an estimated $100 million.

Mr Green said he expected the $50 million development of the mine would create more than 80 construction jobs and begin before the end of this year.

He said the mine was expected to be fully operational within three years.

"This is a very significant investment and clearly demonstrates that Tasmania is open for business," he said.

"The project will not only bring valuable investment and jobs to the Fingal Valley, it will also have enormous flow-on benefits for the North East region and the broader Tasmanian economy.

"When fully operational the new mine will provide economic benefits worth almost $180 million a year to the Tasmanian economy."

He said other jobs in services, transport and maintenance would follow.

"For example, when fully operational the new mine will see a 40 per cent increase in rail traffic and exports through the Bell Bay port grow by almost 30 per cent," he said.

"The project is also expected to generate mining royalties of $6 million a year.

"This will be a new export industry for Tasmania serving the needs of the rapidly growing Asian region."

Mr Green said the Fingal Valley project was further evidence of the industry's growing confidence in Tasmania.

It follows recent mine approvals near Smithton and at Tullah and strong growth in mineral exploration.

"Work is under way on Shree Minerals' new mine near Smithton and Venture Minerals' Riley iron ore mine west of Tullah is ready to go," he said.

The Riley mine is one of three major projects Venture is developing in the far North-West and will triple bulk mineral exports through the Burnie port.

"I have also granted a mining lease for Venture's Livingstone project, also near Tullah, and the company is finalising its Mt Lindsay tin and tungsten mine," he said.

"The Mount Lindsay project will create up to 1000 jobs during construction."




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


18 September, 2013

Is this a hoax?

I think this article below is a joke designed to make skeptics look foolish by believing it. To my knowledge, NOBODY has been talking about carbon monoxide in relation to climate, though I suppose it's possible

A first-ever study of air trapped in the deep snowpack of Greenland shows that atmospheric levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in the 1950s were actually slightly higher than what we have today. This sets back global warming theories because their "computer models" predict much higher CO concentrations over Greenland in 2013 than in 1950. The opposite is in fact true.

You're going to love this: "It seems that no one thought to study carbon monoxide in the Greenland snowpack before our work," said Vasilii Petrenko, an assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences. "Also, the difficulty of taking the samples and making measurements may have discouraged some researchers." Perhaps "discouraged" as in not producing the right outcome.

In a paper recently published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Petrenko and his colleagues concluded that CO levels rose slightly from 1950 until the 1970s, and then declined strongly to present-day values. This finding contradicts computer models that had calculated a 40 percent overall increase in CO levels over the same period.

"The CO decline coincides with improvements in combustion technology, in particular the introduction of catalytic converters in automobiles," said Petrenko. "CO emissions were declining even as fossil fuel use was increasing. In order for computer models to get things right, it's important to have accurate historical records," said Petrenko. "Until now, we haven't had enough reliable data on carbon monoxide concentrations. This work helps to fill that gap."


IPCC In Crisis As Climate Predictions Fail

Ross McKitrick

There has been a lot of talk lately about the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, and whether it will take into account the lack of warming since the 1990s. Everything you need to know about the dilemma the IPCC faces is summed up in one remarkable graph.

The above graphic is Figure 1.4 from Chapter 1 of a draft of the Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The initials at the top represent the First Assessment Report (FAR) in 1990, the Second (SAR) in 1995. Shaded banks show range of predictions from each of the four climate models used for all four reports since 1990. That last report, AR4, was issued in 2007. Model runs after 1992 were tuned to track temporary cooling due to the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption in The Philippines. The black squares, show with uncertainty bars, measure the observed average surface temperatures over the same interval. The range of model runs is syndicated by the vertical bars. The light grey area above and below is not part of the model prediction range. The final version of the new IPCC report, AR5, will be issued later this month

The figure nearby is from the draft version that underwent expert review last winter. It compares climate model simulations of the global average temperature to observations over the post-1990 interval. During this time atmospheric carbon dioxide rose by 12%, from 355 parts per million (ppm) to 396 ppm. The IPCC graph shows that climate models predicted temperatures should have responded by rising somewhere between about 0.2 and 0.9 degrees C over the same period. But the actual temperature change was only about 0.1 degrees, and was within the margin of error around zero. In other words, models significantly over-predicted the warming effect of CO2 emissions for the past 22 years.

Chapter 9 of the IPCC draft also shows that overestimation of warming was observed on even longer time scales in data collected by weather satellites and weather balloons over the tropics. Because of its dominant role in planetary energy and precipitation patterns, models have to get the tropical region right if they are credibly to simulate the global climate system. Based on all climate models used by the IPCC, this region of the atmosphere (specifically the tropical mid-troposphere) should exhibit the most rapid greenhouse warming anywhere. Yet most data sets show virtually no temperature change for over 30 years.

The IPCC’s view of the science, consistently held since the 1990s, is that CO2 is the key driver of modern climate change, and that natural variability is too small to count in comparison. This is the “mainstream” view of climate science, and it is what is programmed into all modern climate models. Outputs from the models, in turn, have driven the extraordinarily costly global climate agenda of recent decades. But it is now becoming clear that the models have sharply over predicted warming, and therein lies a problem.

As the gap between models and reality has grown wider, so has the number of mainstream scientists gingerly raising the possibility that climate models may soon need a bit of a re-think. A recent study by some well-known German climate modelers put the probability that models can currently be reconciled with observations at less than 2%, and they said that if we see another five years without a large warming, the probability will drop to zero.

What’s more, the U.K.’s main climate modeling lab just this summer revised its long-term weather forecasts to show it now expects there to be no warming for at least another five years. Ironically, if its model is right, it will have proven itself and all others like it to be fundamentally wrong.

To those of us who have been following the climate debate for decades, the next few years will be electrifying. There is a high probability we will witness the crackup of one of the most influential scientific paradigms of the 20th century, and the implications for policy and global politics could be staggering.

It is the job of the giant UN IPCC panel to inform world leaders of up-to-the-minute developments in the field. With its report due out within days, you would think it would be jumping at the chance to report on these amazing developments, wouldn’t you? Well, guess again.

Judging by the drafts circulated this year, it is in full denial mode. Its own figure reveals a discrepancy between models and observations, yet its discussion says something entirely different. On page 9 of Chapter 1 it explains where the numbers come from, it talks about the various challenges faced by models, and then it sums up the graph as follows: “In summary, the globally-averaged surface temperatures are well within the uncertainty range of all previous IPCC projections, and generally are in the middle of the scenario ranges.” Later, in Chapter 9, it states with “very high confidence” that models can correctly simulate global surface temperature trends.

The IPCC must take everybody for fools. Its own graph shows that observed temperatures are not within the uncertainty range of projections; they have fallen below the bottom of the entire span. Nor do models simulate surface warming trends accurately; instead they grossly exaggerate them. (Nor do they match them on regional scales, where the fit is typically no better than random numbers.)

In the section of the report where it discusses the model-observation mismatch in the tropics, it admits (with “high confidence”) that models overestimate warming in the tropics. Then it says with a shrug that the cause of this bias is “elusive” and promptly drops the subject. What about the implications of this bias? The IPCC not only falls conspicuously silent on that point, it goes on to conclude, despite all evidence to the contrary, that it has “very high confidence” that climate models correctly represent the atmospheric effects of changing CO2 levels.

There are five key points to take away from this situation.

First, something big is about to happen. Models predict one thing and the data show another. The various attempts in recent years to patch over the difference are disintegrating. Over the next few years, either there is going to be a sudden, rapid warming that shoots temperatures up to where the models say they should be, or the mainstream climate modeling paradigm is going to fall apart.

Second, since we are on the verge of seeing the emergence of data that could rock the foundations of mainstream climatology, this is obviously no time for entering into costly and permanent climate policy commitments based on failed model forecasts. The real message of the science is: Hold on a bit longer, information is coming soon that could radically change our understanding of this issue.

Third, what is commonly called the “mainstream” view of climate science is contained in the spread of results from computer models. What is commonly dismissed as the “skeptical” or “denier” view coincides with the real-world observations. Now you know how to interpret those terms when you hear them.

Fourth, we often hear (from no less an authority than Obama himself, among many others) slogans to the effect that 97% of climate experts, 97% of published climate science papers, and all the world’s leading scientific societies agree with the mainstream science as encoded in climate models. But the models don’t match reality. The climate science community has picked a terrible time to brag about the uniformity of groupthink in its ranks.

Finally, the IPCC has proven, yet again, that it is incapable of being objective. Canadian journalist Donna LaFramboise has meticulously documented the extent to which the IPCC has been colonized by environmental activists over the years, and we now see the result. As the model-versus-reality discrepancy plays out, the last place you will learn about it will be in IPCC reports.


New science report debunks climate scare

"As the science promoted by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) falls into disrepute, reporters face a difficult decision," said Tom Harris, executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC). "Should they cover IPCC reports, the next of which will be issued on September 27th, as if there were no other reputable points of view? Or should they also seek out climate experts who disagree with the UN's view that we will soon face a human-induced climate crisis?

"With today's release of Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science (CCR-II - see, a 1,200 page report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), it is now much easier for media to adopt the second more balanced approached," continued Harris. "Co-authored and co-edited by Dr. Craig Idso, Professor Robert Carter, and Professor S. Fred Singer who worked with a team of 44 other climate experts, this document cites more than 1,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers to show that the IPCC has ignored or misinterpreted much of the research that challenges the need for carbon dioxide (CO2) controls. In other words, the NIPCC report demonstrates that the science being relied upon by governments to create multi-billion dollar policies is almost certainly wrong."

Professor Carter, former head of the School of Earth Sciences at James Cook University, Australia, explained, "NIPCC's CCR-II report uses layman's language to present solid evidence that today's climate changes are well within the bounds of natural variability. Real world observations tell us that the IPCC's speculative computer models do not work, ice is not melting at an enhanced rate, sea-level rise is not accelerating, the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is not increasing, and dangerous global warming is not occurring."

CCR-II Lead Author for the extreme weather chapter, Dr. Madhav Khandekar, agrees, "When the earth was generally cooling between 1945 and 1977, there were as many extreme weather events as there are now, but climate scientists did not attribute this to human activity. The perceived link between global warming and extreme weather is primarily due to greater media attention on violent weather today than in past decades. Earth's climate is robust and is not being destabilized by human-added CO2."

Associate Professor of Resource and Environmental Geology and Geochemistry at the University of Oslo, Norway, Dr. Tom V. Segalstad, added, "CO2 is 'the gas of life'. The more CO2, the more life. More CO2 means we can feed more people on Earth. CO2 is contributing very little to the 'greenhouse effect'. Clouds have much more influence on temperature."

Segalstad, a CCR-II Contributing Author, also pointed out, "The ocean has a very large buffer capacity. Hence the pH of the ocean will not be significantly changed from the relatively small contribution of anthropogenic CO2."

NIPCC Chapter Lead Author, Dr. Anthony Lupo, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Missouri, describes the new report as "the most comprehensive report yet on all the issues surrounding climate and climate change." Lupo worked on the climate models chapter about which he said, "It represents the problems and benefits of working with computer models as well as highlighting the current techniques, strategies, and shortcomings."

"There is a climate problem," Carter admits. "It is the natural climate-related events that exact very real human and environmental costs. Therefore, we must prepare for, and adapt to, all climate hazards when they happen. Spending billions of dollars on CO2 controls in a vain attempt to stop these events from occurring reduces the wealth of societies, and so our capacity to address these and other real world problems."

ICSC Energy Issues advisor, New Zealand-based consulting engineer Bryan Leyland, concludes, "Governments should welcome the NIPCC CCR-II report. It provides them with the scientific evidence they need to justify ending the expansion of ineffective alternative energy sources and other expensive and futile strategies to control climate. Then they can focus on supporting our most powerful energy sources—coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, and hydro-power—in order to end the scourge of energy poverty that afflicts over one billion people across the world."


Pessimism at the UN

International leaders are failing in their fight against global warming, one of the United Nations' top climate officials said Tuesday, appealing directly to the world's voters to pressure their politicians into taking tougher action against the buildup of greenhouse gases.

Halldor Thorgeirsson told journalists gathered at London's Imperial College that world's leaders weren't working hard enough to prevent potentially catastrophic climate change. "We are failing as an international community," he said. "We are not on track."

Thorgeirsson, a senior director with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was speaking with two years left to go before the world powers gather in Paris for another round of negotiations over the future of the world's climate, which scientists warn will warm dramatically unless action is taken to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

He seemed to strike a pessimistic note, talking down the idea that Paris — or any other conference — would produce a grand bargain that would ensure the reductions needed to prevent a dangerous warming of the Earth's atmosphere. He even seemed to suggest that a global solution to the [non] issue wasn't likely until the effects of climate change came barreling down on peoples' heads or flooding into their homes.

"I don't think that an international treaty will ever be the primary driver for the difficult decisions to be made," he warned. "It's the problem itself that will be the primary driver — and the consequences of that problem."

Quizzed on the repeated failure of the international community to organize a global deal on greenhouse gases, he said that the politicians involved had to be held to account.

"This is a question that needs to be asked at the ballot box," he said. "This is a question that needs to be asked of leaders at all levels."


Going Green: EPA Puts Brakes on Chevy Volt's Battery Manufacturer

After getting scolded by the Department of Energy for paying employees (with taxpayer dollars) to play cards and volunteer at local charities, the manufacturer of the Lithium-ion batteries for Chevy Volts finally got their assembly lines moving. . . Only to shut them down again because of “environmental concerns.” It’s kinda cute to watch liberals stumble through their own web of regulatory obstacles.

The LG Chem battery plant in Holland, Michigan was finally scheduled to manufacture a battery or two after years of endless delays. After receiving over $150 million in federal funds, and roughly $175 million in green-energy tax credits, the company decided that it should actually produce a product.

According to the original press reports, the company was supposed to hire over 400 workers, and start producing Lithium-ion batteries for the combustible Chevy Volt as early as 2012 – two years after they scrapped together some environmental fools willing to invest taxpayer dollars in their project. Serving as living proof that Liberals misunderstand the concept of business, the company then paid their workers. . . .well, to do nothing.

Earlier this year, the Department of Energy released an audit in which it reported that the company had only filled about half of its promised positions. Furthermore, the company had run into delays in actually conducting business. But, in an effort to avert giving any hard earned taxpayer dollars back to the Treasury, the company paid its workforce of 200 people to play cards, volunteer in their community, and generally slack off. Of course, this explains our current jobless recovery: Liberals clearly misunderstand the fundamental purpose of a job.

After the DOE audit, the company decided it should get around to doing what they received government funds, and crony capitalist tax credits, to do: Build highly toxic batteries for use in GM’s low quality inefficient hybrid, the Chevy Volt. But, c’mon. . . Let’s not rush into anything.

After being open for business (really this time) for barely a month, the company declared they would have to halt production because of a chemical that has yet to be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. After reading about EPA agents storming a small community in Alaska with fully automatic weapons and Swat gear, one would have to think the company got off easy with a simple delay in manufacturing abilities.

The LG spokesman, Jeremy Hagemeyer, said “we are currently reviewing the registration status [for the chemical] and will work with the EPA to resolve the issue quickly. In the meanwhile, we are delaying production activities for approximately 6 weeks until we have confirmed the registration status or otherwise obtain approval from EPA.”

It is unlikely that employees will be paid for playing cards this time. According to Hagemeyer, the employees will be involved in continuous factory improvement projects, training, and in “maintaining readiness”. One can only assume this means employees will be prepping the factory for that fateful day that the government’s $300 million investment gets put to use. Apparently “shovel ready” doesn’t mean what most of us were lead to believe.

The unfolding of events for LG Chem epitomizes everything that has been wrong with the spontaneously combustible Chevy Volt experiment. The factory’s initial wasteful nature and disregard for the capital raised by the American taxpayer is indicative of the abuse that comes with government’s meddling in free markets. Would this factory have spent two years paying workers to play cards if the proprietors had fronted their own money? It is nearly a guarantee that private capital would never tolerate such inefficiencies. . . But, then again, that’s why private capital has been largely absent in the green energy sector – unless accompanied by government loans, tax credits, or guarantees.

The most recent delay in manufacturing is also irony-flavored icing on the cake. The environmentalists who hungrily gobbled up money from Big Government to fund their altruistic quest for efficient battery power, are now being stopped by environmentalist-driven Big Government regulations.

It is almost poetic justice. Except poetry shouldn’t cost taxpayers $300 million.


The EPA's War on America?

By Alan Caruba

Among the targets to disable an enemy’s ability to wage war is their energy infrastructure. The destruction of the utilities that provide electricity or its ability to refine oil is critical to crippling a nation’s ability to function, based on the universal use of hydrocarbons such as coal, natural gas, and oil.

If an enemy was doing this to America we would go to war against it, but this is being done and the enemy is the government on which we depend to ensure the nation has the energy it needs to function and grow. Leading the war on America has been the Environmental Protection Agency, but it is joined by the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and other agencies.

The Institute for Energy Research has estimated that the much of the government’s oil and gas that is technically recoverable is worth $128 trillion, about eight times our national debt. Our coal resources in the lower 48 states are estimated to be worth $22.5 trillion.

On September 10, The Wall Street Journal reported that “The Obama administration plans to block the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they are built with novel and expensive technology to capture greenhouse-gas emissions, according to people familiar with a draft proposal.” The U.S. has more than 27% of the world’s known coal reserves.

Greenhouse gas emissions are primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), a gas vital to all life on Earth, the “food” that vegetation depends upon. It plays no role whatever in a “global warming” that is not occurring. It is emitted by the Earth’s many active volcanoes and hot springs. It is exhaled by humans and land animals. It is the product of the combustion of hydrocarbons. As it increased in the atmosphere, the Earth has entered a cooling—not a warming—spell since the late 1990s. Its atmospheric concentration is a very tiny 0.039 percent by volume.

It is, however, the justification on which much of the EPA’s enforcement activities are based. “The only way coal plants could comply is to capture carbon dioxide emissions and stick them underground—a costly process that hasn’t been demonstrated at commercial scale before.”

The idea of “capturing” CO2 and holding it underground is about as idiotic as it gets. More CO2 means more abundant crops to feed humans, livestock, and wildlife. It means healthier forests and jungles. Yet this is what would be required if the EPA gets its way. And even if it were possible, it would drive up the cost of electricity to consumers.

If implemented the proposal would guarantee one thing; fewer coal-fired plants and, as a result, less production of electricity. In 2012, the American Energy Institute warned that “coal’s share of U.S. electricity is expected to fall to below 40 percent this year from 42 percent last year and produce the lowest share since data was collected in 1949. Just five or six years ago, its share of electricity generation was 50 percent.”

The EPA isn’t content stopping the construction of coal-fired plants. In April 2013 a decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the EPA’s veto of the Arch Coal Spruce Mine in West Virginia. The decision pushed aside the Army Corps that normally conducts the environmental reviews and which granted approval to the mine in 2007.

The EPA ordered the Corps to withdraw the permit. This transfer of power to the EPA imperils all future coal mining projects. A Wall Street Journal article about the EPA’s project veto noted that “A recent study by Berkeley Professor David Sunding estimates that some $220 billion of annual investment depends on these permits; the fact of an EPA veto will deter new investment." EPA warnings have caused a British mining giant, Anglo-American, to walk away from a proposed Alaskan “Pebble” mine—potentially the largest coal and copper project in North America.

It is not just coal whose use is targeted by the EPA, fracking technology has unleashed a boom in natural gas, but the Obama administration has nominated an enemy of natural gas to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Ron Binz regards it as a “dead end” because he too is a believer in carbon capture and storage. His answer to a non-existent global warming is “renewable” energy sources such as solar and wind. Solar currently provides 0.01% of the electricity fed to the grid and wind provides just 2%. FERC oversees much of the gas business and could effectively deter the growth of this industry with all of its attendant benefits from jobs to the reduction in the cost of electricity.

A recent report by the Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee exposes the way the EPA has “pursued a path of obfuscation, operating in the shadows, and out of the sunlight.” The report noted how the former administration established an alias identify in order to discuss agency business without having to report on it. The report provides a lengthy description of violations of the Freedom of Information Act and other federal laws and regulations intended to encourage transparency in government.

All of this is going on while the nation languishes in the long recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, while creating jobs is vital to that recovery, and while it continues its long history of resisting the provision of energy in any form to Americans.

It is a war being waged on Americans, most of whom are unaware of it, but are being victimized by it.




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


17 September, 2013

That pesky Arctic again

Image source

In recent years, Warmists have had a love-affair with the Arctic. Overall terrestrial temperatures have been depressingly stable for them but there are lots of changes in the Arctic from year to year. So just a few years of Arctic ice shrinkage are enough to put lead back in their pencils and enable them to say that there is warming going on SOMEWHERE.

So the massive rebound in ice cover this year has sparked much hilarity among skeptics and a notable lack of press-releases from Warmists.

The best that Warmists can do to preserve their addled theory is to say that the ice this year is just temporary and that the long term trend in the Arctic is towards warming.

So the graph above is interesting. It shows that, far from this year being anomalous, it is in fact closely tracking the long term average. Over the period covered, there has been NO CHANGE in Arctic temperatures to date.

The graph is from the Danish Meteorological Institute’s daily mean temperatures for the Arctic area north of the 80th northern parallel. They have been measuring that for over 50 years, notably longer than the time period customarily used by Warmists (from 1979 on).

But the whole focus on the Arctic is a silly distraction anyway. If overall temperatures are stable, what does it mean if just one part of the globe (the Arctic) is warming? It means that there are local effects going on, not global ones. Which would surprise only a Warmist.

Beware Of The Foolish Politics Of Climate Change

Last week, while America dithered over whether or not to depose Syria’s president, an ocean away, a different leader was decisively dumped. The election of Australia’s new prime minister has international implications.

On September 5, in a landslide election, Tony Abbot became Australia’s new Prime Minister—restoring the center-right Liberal-National coalition after six years of leftward economic polices. Conservatives the world over are looking to learn from Abbott. In the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Tom Switzer, sums up the “resounding victory” this way: “Abbott did the very thing so many US Republicans and British Tories have shied away from in recent years: He had the courage to broaden the appeal of a conservative agenda rather than copy the policies of his opponents. As a result, Australians enjoyed a real choice at the polls.”

Conservatives have a right to be rejoicing. As Jerry Bowyer points out in Forbes: “the Anglosphere is now post progressive. The English speaking nations of the world: England, New Zealand, Canada and now Australia are governed by conservatives. America stands apart from them as the sole remaining major leftist-governed power in the Anglo world.” He then points out how the English-speaking peoples “tend to move in a sort of partial political sync with one another.”

While this should sound alarms for liberals, the real panic is with the global warming alarmists.

Abbott is said to have run a “tight campaign”—though he was “remarkably vague over his economic plans.” The Financial Times reports: “Abbott was much clearer on his intention to scrap a carbon tax and a levy on miners’ profits.”

Abbott ran an almost single-issue campaign saying: “More than anything, this election is a referendum on the carbon tax.” While there are debates as to whether or not he will have the votes needed in the Senate to overturn the Labor Party’s policies (though it looks like he can do it), the will of the people couldn’t be clearer. As Switzer observes: “what changed the political climate was climate change.” In, James West calls the election “the culmination of a long and heated national debate about climate change.” Abbot has previously stated: “Climate change is crap.”

Add to the Abbot story, the news about the soon-to-be-published Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's “fifth assessment report,” which “dials back on the alarm,” and you’ve got bad news for alarmists. Addressing Abbott’s win, West writes: “Politicians enthusiastic about putting a price on carbon in other countries must be looking on in horror.”

It is not just the politicians who are “looking on in horror.” It is everyone who has bought into, as the WSJ calls them, “the faddish politics of climate change”—those who believe we can power the world on rainbows, butterflies, and fairy dust are panicked. Their entire world view is being threatened.

This was clearly evident at last week’s hearing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, regarding the proposed change in compensation for electricity generated by rooftop solar installation. The hearing was scheduled in a room typically used for Public Regulatory Commission meetings. Well before the scheduled start time, it became clear that a bigger auditorium was needed—and it was filled to capacity. The majority was, obviously, there in support of solar—they were carrying signs. Thirty-nine of them gave public comment in opposition to the proposed rule changes. After each comment, they hooted, cheered and waved their signs—until the Chairman prohibited the sign waving. Two of the women went by only one name “Lasita” and “Athena,” with no last name—linking themselves to some goddess. Several referenced Germany’s success with renewable energy.

They were organized, rabid in their support, and intimidating to anyone who dared disagree. At one point, the Sierra Club representative, took control of the hearing and, completely ignoring the Chairman’s instructions, stood in the front of the room and, with hand-waving gestures, got everyone who was there in opposition to the proposed change to stand up and wave their signs. A smattering of individuals remained seated. Three of us spoke in favor of the proposed change. I brought up those who’d held up Germany as a model to follow and posited that they didn’t know the full story.

At the conclusion of the meeting, a petite woman marched up to me and demanded: “What do you do?” I calmly told her that I advocate on behalf of energy and the energy industry. “Oil?” she sneered. “Yes.” “Coal?” “Yes.” “Gas?” “Yes.” “Nuclear?” “Yes.” “It figures,” she hissed as she went off in a huff. When I approached my vehicle in the parking lot, I feared my tires might have been slashed. They weren’t.

Australia’s election was early this month. Germany’s is later—September 22. As climate change played a central role in Australia’s outcome, green policies are expected to be front and center in Germany’s election.

In an article titled: “Ballooning costs threaten Merkel’s bold energy overhaul,” Reuters points out that Merkel’s priority, assuming she wins a third term, “will be finding a way to cap the rising cost of energy.” “In the current election campaign,” Der Spiegel reports, “the federal government would prefer to avoid discussing its energy policies entirely.” Later, addressing Germany’s renewable energy policy it states: “all of Germany’s political parties are pushing for change. … If the government sticks to its plans, the price of electricity will literally explode in the coming years.”

German consumers pay the highest electricity prices in Europe. “Surveys show people are concerned that the costs of the energy transformation will drive down living standards.” Spiegel claims: “Today, more than 300,000 households a year are seeing their power shut off because of unpaid bills.” Stefan Becker, with the Catholic charity Caritas, wants to prevent his clients from having their electricity cut off. He says: “After sending out a few warning notices, the power company typically sends someone to the apartment to shut off the power –leaving the customers with no functioning refrigerator, stove or bathroom fan. Unless they happen to have a camping stove, they can't even boil water for a cup of tea. It's like living in the Stone Age.” This is known as Germany’s “energy poverty.”

Because of “aggressive and reckless expansion of wind and solar power,” as Der Spiegel calls it, “Government advisors are calling for a completely new start.” Gunther Oettinger, European Energy Commissioner, advised caution when he said Germany should not “unilaterally overexpose itself to climate protection efforts.”

While the solar supporters in Santa Fe touted the German success story—“more and more wind turbines are turning in Germany, and solar panels are baking in the sun”—“Germany's energy producers in 2012 actually released more climate-damaging carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than in 2011.” Surprisingly, according to Der Spiegel, Germany’s largest energy producer, E.on, is being told not to shut down older and inefficient coal-fired units. Many of the “old and irrelevant brown coal power stations” are now “running at full capacity.”

Interestingly, one of the proposed solutions for Germany’s chaotic energy system is much like what has been proposed in New Mexico and Arizona. Reuters writes: “instead of benefiting from a rise in green energy, they are straining under the subsidies’ cost and from surcharges.” The experts propose a system more like Sweden’s, in which “the government defines the objective but not the method.” Der Spiegel explains: “The municipal utilities would seek the lowest possible price for their clean electricity. This would encourage competition between offshore and terrestrial wind power, as well as between solar and biomass, and prices would fall, benefiting customers.” If implemented, the Swedish model “would eliminate the more than 4,000 different subsidies currently in place.”

The Financial Times reports: “Nine of Europe’s biggest utilities have joined forces to warn that the EU’s energy policies are putting the continent’s power supplies at risk.” It states: “One of the biggest problems was overgenerous renewable energy subsidies that had pushed up costs for energy consumers and now needed to be cut.”

“It is only gradually becoming apparent,” writes Der Spiegel, “how the renewable energy subsidies redistribute money from the poor to the more affluent, like when someone living in small rental apartment subsidizes a homeowner's roof-mounted solar panels through his electricity bill.” Sounds just like what I said in my public comment at the PRC hearing in Santa Fe.

Australia’s election changed leaders. Germany’s election will likely keep the same leader, but Merkel “has promised to change but not abolish the incentive system right after the election.”

While other countries are changing course and shedding the unsustainable policies, America stands apart from them by continuing to push, as the Washington Post editorial board encourages, building “the cost of pollution into the price of energy through a simple carbon tax or other market-based mechanism.” President Obama’s nominee to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Ron Binz, believes in regulation and incentives to force more renewables and calls natural gas a “dead end.”

In a September 5 press release with the headline: “Administration Should Learn From Australia’s Carbon Tax Failure Before Committing US to Same,” Senator David Vitter (R-LA) says: “We can add Australia as an example to the growing list of failed carbon policies that are becoming so abundant in Europe.”

It is said: “The wise man learns from the mistakes of others, the fool has to learn from his own.” Sadly, it appears that the US has not learned to beware of the foolish politics of climate change.


Social Cost of Carbon Dioxide

The Obama administration recently increased the federal government’s estimated social costs for carbon emissions. The federal government’s asserted social costs for carbon emissions are important because they are a major factor in federal government decisions regarding land development, business permits, energy production, carbon dioxide restrictions, and a host of other applications. A review of the Obama administration’s asserted costs show they are flawed in many particulars.

The White House Interagency Working Group technical document for how to calculate a “Social Cost of Carbon” (SCC) will be used to “allow agencies to incorporate the social benefits of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in cost-benefit analyses of regulatory actions that impact cumulative global emissions.”

The White House document makes many scientifically dubious assumptions that allow the federal government to assign unrealistic social costs to carbon dioxide emissions. For example, the technical document dubiously assumes higher atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations harm agricultural production, even though carbon dioxide serves as aerial plant fertilizer. U.S. crop production continuously sets new records for gross yields and yields per acre as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise. The same holds true on a global scale, with global production of food staples doubling and tripling during the past 40 years as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise.

Similarly, the White House’s technical document dubiously assumes rising sea levels will inundate coastal regions, resulting is substantial land loss. There was no such occurrence during the twentieth century, as sea level rose approximately seven inches, and there has been no acceleration of sea level rise during the twenty-first century.

Strikingly, the technical document totally ignores the many benefits of carbon dioxide emissions and their assumed climate impacts. Hurricane frequency and severity have substantially lessened as carbon dioxide emissions have risen. Tornado frequency and severity have substantially lessened as carbon dioxide emissions have risen. Global and U.S. soil moisture have substantially improved, and foliage density, particularly in the U.S. West and arid regions throughout the world, has dramatically increased.

In another glaring shortcoming, the technical document does not provide relative comparisons for the social costs of the environmental impacts of non-carbon energy sources. For example, U.S. wind turbines, while providing less than 3 percent of the nation’s electricity, kill at least 1.4 million birds and bats—including many endangered species—every year. Also, according to the wind industry’s own numbers, it requires 300 to 600 square miles of wind turbines to replace a single conventional, carbon-emitting power plant (and the plant must remain open and running anyway, because of the unreliable, intermittent nature of the wind). Measuring and placing a price on the asserted social costs of carbon emissions, while failing to do the same for negative environmental impacts and social costs associated with other energy sources, is not an honest, apples-to-apples assessment.

Dr. Robert Murphy of the Institute for Energy Research told the U.S. Senate the SCC estimates could have “profound impacts on both industry and consumers.” SCC estimates are extremely malleable, Murphy testified, because they depend on very subjective modeling assumptions which can allow government agencies to produce studies justifying whatever policy they desire. Policymakers and regulators should be aware of the SCC’s unreliability as a scientific measure and not use it to justify regulations.


What about wind effects?

The 'Hockey Schtick' (HS) reports (September 10, 2013) on more problems for official climate models. Newly-published research shows that climate models do not realistically simulate the role of wind (convection) on earth's climate.

The HS-highlighted paper is published the very same day as a damning new analysis exposing similar flaws in the upcoming UN climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). HS explains:

“A paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters finds climate models do not realistically simulate convection, "a key element of the weather and climate system for transporting mass, momentum, and thermal energy," because of a large gap in the scale or resolution required to simulate convection [1-2 km] compared to global atmospheric motions [on the order of 10,000 km].”

Meanwhile, Dr. Vincent Gray (Expert Reviewer of every IPCC report since 1990) publishes his own damning study in which wind, among other forces, is not factored into the official models, thereby causing climatologists to overestimate the effects of so-called “greenhouse gases.”

Taken together, both the GRL paper and the study by Dr. Gray form persuasive evidence that undue emphasise has long been placed on the roles of radiation and carbon dioxide (CO2) in climate change.

As the impacts of wind and the water cycle (via latent heat) are increasingly recognized this may persuade ever more scientists to question the greenhouse gas “theory” itself.


Bob Carter says the real environmental crisis is one of public perception

At last week’s Melbourne launch of Taxing Air, his new book co-authored with John Spooner (and with contributions from Bill Kininmonth, Martin Feil, Stewart Franks and Bryan Leyland), Professor Bob Carter explained how the perception of a supposed environmental crisis has been manufactured and maintained. This is an edited version of Professor Carter’s address:

Western countries have an environmental crisis on their hands. In Australia, you think, oh well, that’s the Great Barrier Reef. No, it’s not the Great Barrier Reef.

Oh, you think, well it must be the Murray-Darling Basin. No, it’s not the Murray-Darling Basin. We do have a political problem, a big political problem with the Murray-Darling Basin, to do with the over-allocation of water licences. We also do have some significant environmental impacts, but nothing on the level that the hyperbole in the press would lead us to believe.

Well, then, it must be the global warming crisis. Well, of course, it isn’t. The global warming crisis is, quite simply, the biggest scientific scam in history.

So the environmental crisis is not one of actual environmental crises, it’s one of the perception amongst the average citizenry, both of Australia and other western nations, that there is this environmental crisis. And that is leading to all sorts of degradations.

Those creating this crisis do four things.

Capture the language

The first thing they do is they capture the language.

And instead of talking about the issues that they have raised, which was a good issue to raise in the late 1970s, which is: isn’t carbon dioxide greenhouse? Well, yes it is. Aren’t we putting extra into the atmosphere? Yes, yes we are. So mightn’t that cause dangerous global [warming]? Yes, yes, it might. Those were very good questions to ask in the late 1970s.

We’ve now spent $100 billion and 30 years almost, and thousands of scientists looking for the answer. And we know the answer. The answer is: no, it’s not dangerous warming.

But the people who raised the question are not listening to the answer.

So, the first thing that the alarmists do is they control the language and instead of talking about carbon dioxide, which was the basis to the original question, they talk about carbon.

And, quite astonishingly, we have people up to the Prime Minister, not just one prime minister, but several prime ministers, getting up on the bully pulpit and talking about carbon pollution. Now, that’s not only inaccurate, it’s grotesque.

Firstly, because it is deliberately ambiguous. Anybody that uses the word “carbon” in public to describe this is either scientifically ignorant or they have an agenda. Or both. So, the control of the language—you don’t talk about Melbourne’s water supply in terms of hydrogen. Or do you? And to talk about the carbon dioxide and possible problem in terms of carbon is simply an abuse of logic, an abuse of language and an abuse of science. So that’s the first tactic. It’s capture the language, because if we talk incessantly about carbon pollution the public will envisage little particles of soot dancing around in the air.

Control education

A second thing they do, having controlled the language, is they control education. And, starting in the late seventies, motoring into the eighties and accelerating into the nineties, no Australian child now receives an education in environmental matters. They receive an indoctrination and a propagandisation. That is of a severe concern.

Refuse to debate

The third thing they do is they refuse to debate. And I think it was Nick [Minchin] that referred to the attitude of the government scientists and CSIRO scientists. They, as a point of principle, not just in Australia but worldwide, scientists associated with the United Nations group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will not appear on a public platform to discuss climate change with scientists of equal stature who are independent scientists. And you may think, well, that’s not a big deal. It is. For 15 years they have been maintaining this ban. So I’m frequently invited. Will I participate in the debate? Of course, I will. Be there tomorrow. So, it might sound trivial. It’s not trivial. It’s a very destructive worldwide ban. You cannot get a balanced discussion on this in public because one side simply will not turn up. They won’t turn up because they know if they do they will lose.

Ad hominem attacks

The fourth point that they use is relentless ad hominem criticism. And the level of language is such that you and I would blanche at it, but if you’re involved in this game, and all my co-authors know this and many of the rest of you know it, you just have to shrug your shoulders and put up with this tirade of public abuse.

So there’s the control of language, the control of education, the refusal to debate and the relentless ad hom. criticism.

The net result, policy result, is not just undesirable. It’s not just expensive and it’s not just socially regressive—acting on the poorest people in our society by increasing the fundamental costs of energy and everything else—it is actually evil. The definition of “insane” is “out of the rational mind”. It is also insane. There is no scientific substantive evidence that dangerous global warming is happening or will happen.

We wrote our book to combat this evil. We hope it will prove useful to people as a field guide and a reference manual.

More information, including how to order, is available at


Bag the Bag Ban

Both sides of the political debate think the other is way off in their thought patterns. The Left loves to repeat their mantra that the Right is ignorant of science. Unfortunately, it proves out that the left frequently blindly adheres to a policy developed to forward their agenda and then shames everyone else into myopically following their policies or asserts they are Neanderthals. This is the exact pattern they have followed in attempting to spread a ban of plastic bags at retailers.

I first became interested in this when I saw the burgeoning flock of do-gooders coming to the grocery store with their “reusable bags.” I would ask the store personnel how they allowed these bags to be placed on counters where my food would travel. How could the store allow a bag – which they had no idea of its prior whereabouts (i.e., the car trunk) or about when it had been last washed -- on the counter where food was being conveyed?

The bags my family took home were being used to line our trash cans or for other purposes, but almost always reused. So playing the do-gooder, I would speak to the ladies walking into the store and commend them for their environmental sensitivity for using “reusable bags.” Now that I had raised their self-esteem because someone had noticed their civic mindedness, I would then ask the ladies what they used to line their trash cans in the house. The response was always an impish “plastic trash can liners.”

When the City of West Hollywood in California enacted their own law against plastic bags, we decided to take a closer look at their decision making process. The elements of the policy, which is modeled after laws passed in other communities throughout California and other “forward looking locales,” are as follows:

1. Retail establishments are banned from using plastic bags except where specifically exempted. Restaurants and “Farmers’ markets” are exempted.

2. Retailers are encouraged to make “reusable bags” available for purchase.

3. Retailers must charge 10 cents for each paper bag supplied to the customer. Customers receiving various forms of welfare including food stamps are exempted from this charge. All funds are to be retained by the retailer to help “offset the cost” of stocking bags.

I contacted the person who sent out the letter to my business. John Berndt, Senior Code Compliance Officer, seemed to not be very knowledgeable about the issue. When I asked him about what procedures were in place regarding the cleanliness of the “reusable bags,” he stated his job was to enforce the ordinance and nothing was in the ordinance to address that. When I spoke to Jeffrey Aubel, Manager of the Code Compliance Division, he laughed at my question about “reusable bags.” He passed me on to Melissa Antol, Long Range and Mobility Planning Manager. Before I had a discussion with Ms. Antol, I received 267 pages of documents regarding the passing of the ordinance and the environmental impact report (EIR).

The EIR had no mention of the environmental impact of “reusable bags.” That appeared to be odd. They had a couple hundred pages on environmental impact of plastic bags, but not one word about their replacement. After all one would think they might consider the usage of water to clean the bags or the impact of disinfectants to cleanse the bags draining into the sewer system. There was not a word except some references to the main authority on “reusable bags,” which is an operation named Green Seal (you can tell where this is heading.)

I contacted the operation through their website. I spoke to Dr. Arthur Weissman, President and CEO of Green Seal. When I asked him about what information he had about the environmental impact of “reusable bags” he spoke of the construction of the bags. I asked since his operation recommended the construction of the bags produce at least 300 uses did he not consider the effects of the water and disinfectants used to wash the bags. He reacted as if I asked him if he was having sex with Britney Spears. He stated “I am not concerned at all about the health concerns of reusable bags.”

I then contacted Sarah Sheehy, Director Local Government Relations for the California Groceries Association. I was stupefied that she had submitted a letter on behalf of the Association supporting the ban – stupid me. I asked her if she had ever surveyed her customers regarding the reuse of the paper bags and plastic bags they handed out to carry out groceries. She said no. When I stated I had done an informal survey of over one hundred people and all of them reused the bags, she stated she had no further comment. When I asked if she had ever seen a study of the viruses in “reusable bags,” she stated she had “a while ago.” I then asked if she had any comment on the studies. She said “I am sure there are studies that debunk those studies.’” To which I replied “Wow! Are you sure you want to say that? How do you know there are other studies?” She replied “I have no further comment on that.” She then stated we encourage our customers to wash their “reusable bags.” When asked where that was because I have never seen it in any stores I shop at, she replied “I have no further comment, this interview is over.”

Here are the facts folks:

1. Scientists from the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University collected “reusable bags” from people entering grocery stores in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Tucson. Though the sample was not huge, they found bacteria in 99% of the “reusable bags.” They found no bacteria in new bags or plastic bags. Hand or machine washing reduced bacteria in 99.9% of “reusable bags.” They found through their tests and interviews that consumers almost never washed their “reusable bags.” They cite that 76,000,000 cases of foodborne illness occur in the U.S. annually. Since almost all occur in the home, the pinpointing to a “reusable bag” would be limited.

2. A study done by APCO which surveyed 502 people found that 92% reused the bags they brought home from the store for such things as trash disposal, lunch bags and cleaning up after pets.

The people who moan about bags being washed to sea and choking fish are doing this without consideration of the impact of their change. They are blindly following a formula without scientifically analyzing the ramifications of their actions. They are lying about the frequency that the banned bags were reused. There will still be millions of bags issued at grocery stores, restaurants and other exempt entities to carry out product, and stupid insensitive people will continue to throw those bags into improper places.

The groceries stores are totally in cahoots with these do-gooders. They no longer have to supply plastic bags. The pager bags -- which cost them about 8.5 cents -- will now be sold for 10 cents. They will be selling “reusable bags” and their sales of trash can liners will soar as people will have a new need for them and those bags will truly be single-use bags. When their customers complain, the grocers will point their fingers at the government who created these bans and blame the politicians while the groceries pocket all these new-found dollars.

The governmental wonks will continue their lies about the great harms of plastic bags. They will blame all the landfills on those bags, refer to them as “single-use bags,” falsely cite how few are reused, and contrive some number of bags (500) that each American can save annually by the use of “reusable bags.”

My suggestion is the next time you go grocery shopping and someone slaps down their bags which were washed in some former lifetime that they dragged out of their trunk, you ask your grocer to clean the belt before your food starts moving down. Rather be safe than sorry.




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


16 September, 2013

Another national newspaper pisses on global warming

The report from Australia's national newspaper below follows on from yesterday's "Daily Mail" report and is partly based on it

THE Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest assessment reportedly admits its computer drastically overestimated rising temperatures, and over the past 60 years the world has in fact been warming at half the rate claimed in the previous IPCC report in 2007.

More importantly, according to reports in British and US media, the draft report appears to suggest global temperatures were less sensitive to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide than was previously thought.

The 2007 assessment report said the planet was warming at a rate of 0.2C every decade, but according to Britain's The Daily Mail the draft update report says the true figure since 1951 has been 0.12C.

Last week, the IPCC was forced to deny it was locked in crisis talks as reports intensified that scientists were preparing to revise down the speed at which climate change is happening and its likely impact.

It is believed the IPCC draft report will still conclude there is now greater confidence that climate change is real, humans are having a major impact and that the world will continue to warm catastrophically unless drastic action is taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The impacts would include big rises in the sea level, floods, droughts and the disappearance of the Arctic icecap.

But claimed contradictions in the report have led to calls for the IPCC report process to be scrapped.

Professor Judith Curry, head of climate science at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, told The Daily Mail the leaked summary showed "the science is clearly not settled, and is in a state of flux".

The Wall Street Journal said the updated report, due out on September 27, would show "the temperature rise we can expect as a result of manmade emissions of carbon dioxide is lower than the IPCC thought in 2007".

The WSJ report said the change was small but "it is significant because it points to the very real possibility that, over the next several generations, the overall effect of climate change will be positive for humankind and the planet".

After several leaks and reports on how climate scientists would deal with a slowdown in the rate of average global surface temperatures over the past decade, the IPCC was last week forced to deny it had called for crisis talks.

"Contrary to the articles the IPCC is not holding any crisis meeting," it said in a statement.

The IPCC said more than 1800 comments had been received on the final draft of the "summary for policymakers" to be considered at a meeting in Stockholm before the release of the final report. It did not comment on the latest report, which said scientists accepted their forecast computers may have exaggerated the effect of increased carbon emissions on world temperatures and not taken enough notice of natural variability.

According to The Daily Mail, the draft report recognised the global warming "pause", with average temperatures not showing any statistically significant increase since 1997.

Scientists admitted large parts of the world had been as warm as they were now for decades at a time between 950 and 1250, centuries before the Industrial Revolution.

And, The Daily Mail said, a forecast in the 2007 report that hurricanes would become more intense had been dropped.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Matt Ridley said the draft report had revised downwards the "equilibrium climate sensitivity", a measure of eventual warming induced by a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It had also revised down the Transient Climate Response, the actual climate change expected from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide about 70 years from now.

Ridley said most experts believed that warming of less than 2C from pre-industrial levels would result in no net economic and ecological damage. "Therefore, the new report is effectively saying (based on the middle of the range of the IPCC's emissions scenarios) that there is a better than 50-50 chance that by 2083 the benefits of climate change will still outweigh the harm," he said.


Weapon of Economic Destruction: The EPA

Are YOU living your life the way King Obama wants you to? He famously said in 2011, "We can't drive our SUVs and, you know, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on, you know, 72 degrees at all times…and then just expect every other country is going to say OK.”

Then a couple of months later, when a man asked about high gas prices at a town hall meeting Obama replied, LAUGHING, “If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting 8 miles a gallon, you know, you might want to think about a trade-in.”

Fax Congress and tell them to stop the EPA from imposing taxes, fines, rules and regulations on the American people with no input from our legislators! End the tyranny and control the Liberal agenda!

In 2008 Obama’s Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to levels in Europe.” At that time, the price in Europe he was aspiring to was around $8/gallon.

If Obama’s rogue Environmental Protection Agency is allowed to continue unchecked, gas prices are going to rise significantly, but they will be the least of our worries when it comes to wrecking our economy and our way of life!

Obama’s EPA has generated 1,920 new regulations and you better believe you will feel their impact in your everyday life and in your bank account!

The EPA, of course, is as corrupt as they come. Former head Lisa Jackson used a fake email address so she could conduct business on the sly, without the public being able to request information under the FOIA (not that the administration is complying with these requests, anyway…it is the LEAST transparent administration in history).

Now, new chief McCarthy is acting in a similar manner and is actually facing a lawsuit by the Competitive Enterprise Institute over text messages she sent as an “alternative” to work-related communications.

A Senate report this week determined that Obama’s EPA has "pursued a path of obfuscation, operating in the shadows, and out of the sunlight.”

The Senate report concluded:

-"EPA’s leadership [has] abandoned the historic model of a specialized public servant who seeks to fairly administer the law and has instead embraced a number of controversial tactics to advance a secretive agenda.”

-"As Congress has raised questions about EPA’s lack of transparency, the agency has steadfastly ignored its constitutional obligation to subject itself to congressional oversight, apparently in an effort to prevent the public from knowing what is going on behind closed doors."

-"In one instance, it appears that EPA deliberately altered the date on a FOIA response to avoid the legal consequences of missing a deadline and then excluded this document from a FOIA production to avoid scrutiny and embarrassment.

-"[O]ur investigation has revealed that multiple high ranking officials have used non-EPA email accounts to conduct official agency business.

Obama’s appointees at the EPA are dodging the truth, furiously working to overhaul our entire culture based on sketchy climate change lies. This rogue political agency is bringing us a new world order. Congress needs to get on top of this situation, or what do we even need them for? Fax them now!

They are operating in the shadows so American citizens will not know they are handing down draconian regulations, taxes and fines and destroying the economy in the name of junk global warming science. They are a purely political arm of the Obama administration carrying out his agenda with absolutely no oversight or Congressional direction.

Why are we allowing a government agency to have this much power?

An assault on drilling. Businesses drowning in paperwork. Citizens crushed by taxes. Lost jobs. Yes, Obama believes his “green” energy policy is just what America needs!

Rep. John Barrasso (R-WY) wrote a Wall Street Journal opinion piece noting that “During President Obama’s first term, EPA policies discouraged energy exploration, buried job creators under red tape, and deliberately hid information from the public.”

And, could they be engaging in environmental terrorism? Barrasso noted that the EPA “has gathered personal information about tens of thousands of livestock farmers and the locations of their operations” which it then shared with environmental groups.

How ridiculous can it get? The EPA mandates that petroleum companies add 14 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol to gasoline—however, THIS BLEND DOES NOT EXIST outside of a lab. So the rogue EPA has mandated that unless companies use this NONEXISTENT MATERIAL, they will be fined. A court upheld a lawsuit on behalf of companies who argued that the reasoning was ridiculous—yet the EPA is ignoring that decision and going ahead and levying fines anyway.

The EPA’s dangerous Renewable Fuel Standards are also coming your way unless Congress gets busy repealing them. The RFS mandate requires that certain amounts of ethanol be blended with gasoline every year—but our fuel demand is decreasing as ethanol requirements are increasing.

That leaves us with biofuel blends known as E15 that will be so excessive they will damage our engines and void our warranties. The EPA knows this…but just as they know the cellulosic fuel blends they require are unavailable, they still don’t care. They are not an agency that lets science and reason get in the way of good politics.

The E15 blend can cause serious injury or DEATH! The automobile industry is warning us that our warranties will be voided because our vehicles can’t handle the new blend.

The initial reason for the RFS was to provide an environmentally better alternative to gasoline. However, the Natural Resources Defense Council said three years ago that “What the ethanol industry is actually producing today is causing more climate pollution than gasoline.” Only between 5 and 26 percent of the energy content of ethanol is renewable!

Even ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS are opposing the RFS, arguing that greenhouse gas emissions from ethanol production outweigh any benefits we could get from burning less gasoline! The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development concluded that, “The overall environmental impacts of ethanol and biodiesel can very easily exceed those of petrol and mineral diesel.”

The price at the pump has gone up dramatically, and high corn prices have hurt wheat and soy prices, and also farmers—all while we divert more than HALF of our corn supply into products OTHER THAN FOOD. The New York Times points out that we are producing more and more food for fuel and more people are going hungry.

Where is the Liberal outrage that the world is starving and we need to save humanity? The truth is, the Left doesn’t care about compassion if it doesn’t get them votes! Farming huge amounts of corn to put in our engines instead of into hungry bellies doesn’t warrant a story on the evening news if it doesn’t suit the GREEN, SUSTAINABLE, ENVIRONMENTAL AGENDA.

The EPA hands down decrees based on the climate change lie, harming our economy and innovation. On top of that, it is unbalanced by any other branch of government. We just have to take what they give us, unlegislated and without recourse.

Nevermind that Obama has made us a laughingstock around the world, nevermind that four brave Americans died in Benghazi on his watch, nevermind that the IRS is STILL going after conservative groups and veteran organizations, nevermind that the entire country is slowly being dragged into turmoil because of his healthcare overhaul. Nevermind all that. CLIMATE CHANGE is the big idea for this year and the EPA is going to play a huge part in implementing his agenda.

And finally, if you want to help the EPA do its job, DON’T BREATHE. The agency has, after all, declared the dangers of carbon dioxide. At some point, they will tax every breath you take.

Stop the climate change lie. Tell Congress to do their job of legislating and end the EPA’s roundabout reign over the American people!


Another attack on coal

The war on coal continues: The Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing plans that would slap a carbon emissions rule on developing power plants. If this sounds familiar, that's because, fearing a legal backlash, the EPA earlier this year nixed a similar plan. You didn't expect that to stop them, did you?

Evidently going to bat for the Obama administration, The Washington Post began its report, "This month, the Environmental Protection Agency will propose standards that will establish stricter pollution limits for gas-fired power plants than coal-fired power plants (emphasis added)." Sounds like the EPA is making concessions to better accommodate the coal industry, right? Not exactly.

The Post continues: "The average U.S. natural gas plant emits 800 to 850 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt, and coal plants emit an average of 1,768 pounds. According to those familiar with the new EPA proposal, the agency will keep the carbon limit for large natural gas plants at 1,000 pounds but relax it slightly for smaller gas plants. The standard for coal plants will be as high as 1,300 or 1,400 pounds per megawatt hour ... but that still means the utilities will have to capture some of the carbon dioxide they emit."

In other words, the EPA is offering a higher ceiling for natural gas plants that on average already produce emissions under the EPA's target of 1,000 pounds. For coal plants, however, the ceiling is significantly lower -- meaning the (intended) pressure is on the coal industry.

"As a practical matter, this means that the new proposal will still stop any new coal-fired power plants for the foreseeable future," observes former EPA employee Jeffrey R. Holmstead. "Given the cost of carbon capture and all the other problems associated with it, any rule that requires [it] will effectively prohibit the construction of new coal-fired plants." But that is Obama's goal, isn't it? Forever destroy the coal industry, the effect on America's economy be damned.


British taxpayer pays for £100,000 showers for sweaty ministers and staff to freshen up after cycling to work at the Department of Energy and Climate Change

The taxpayer has spent more than £100,000 on smart new showers for sweaty ministers and officials to freshen up after cycling to work.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change splashed out on a suite of smart ‘shower rooms’ for staff as part of a £300,000 makeover of its Whitehall building. It also included almost £70,000 on new kitchens, causing Labour to ask: ‘How many kettles does a minister need?’

As one of the newest departments, created by Gordon Brown in 2008, it already has some of the smartest government offices.

But climate change minister Greg Barker has admitted the department has spent £321,000 in the last two years on ‘smaller refurbishments’.

Almost a third of the bill was for ‘various shower installations to improve facilities for cyclists’, ministers have admitted.

The £104,127 shower rooms were ordered after eco-friendly officials were encouraged to cycle to work last summer to avoid rush hour queues during the London Olympics.

It is thought staff were unhappy at the sight of sweaty cyclists arriving for work at 3 Whitehall Place without having had a shower.

But Labour vice-chairman Michael Dugher, who obtained the figures, told MailOnline: ‘On average people are £1,500 worse off since David Cameron came to power and yet ministers in one department have blown nearly a third of a million pounds on tarting up their facilities.

‘Over £100,000 on new showers for ministers seems shockingly steep,’ the MP for Barnsley East said. ‘What were they, gold-plated taps? Perhaps I can recommend a plumber from Barnsley who could do the job cheaper than that next time.’

Climate change minister said the refurbishment was needed to address 'wear and tear'

Tory climate change minister Greg Barker said: 'DECC have not undertaken any large scale building refurbishment work in the last 24 months but has carried out smaller refurbishment projects, primarily to redecorate after wear and tear or to increase the capacity and efficiency of the estate.'

A DECC spokesperson said: ‘A number of shower rooms have been created in the Department to respond to the increased number of staff cycling to work. ‘The costs of creating the shower rooms include flooring, tiling and plumbing of the shower cubicles and each of their adjoining changing areas.’


Britain's 25-year 'green deal' loans that could prevent you selling your house

A flagship policy to help families cut their energy bills is struggling due to fears it could hamper houseowners selling their homes, it was claimed yesterday.

Ministers want millions of people to take out ‘Green Deal’ loans in order to pay for loft insulation, double glazing, boilers and other measures with the aim of cutting a typical family’s energy costs by as much as £50 a month.

The loans would be repaid over a period of up to 25 years, but the debt is attached to the home rather than the family who take it out, which means it is supposed to be passed on to any new buyer.

Experts fear that many people will refuse to buy a property saddled with a long-term loan. As a result, sellers could face demands to clear any outstanding debt, which could also land them with an early repayment penalty charge of up to £6,000.

The Green Deal was launched in January with ministers predicting that 10,000 homes would have energy-saving improvements carried out by the end of the year.

In fact, while 58,124 households have had assessments to see what energy-efficiency measures could be installed, only 132 have signed up.

Steve Playle, who has led consultation on the Green Deal for the nation’s trading standards officers, said: ‘The take-up has been appalling low. I don’t think consumers are prepared to sign a contract for ten or 15 years to pay for a bit of central heating or insulation work.

‘The difficulty that people will have in selling their home is one of my main concerns. If a buyer goes along to someone’s house and there is an eight-year Green Deal plan on it, which means you have to pay £50 a month on it for the next eight years, he is going to want that paid off before he considers going ahead.

‘The idea that this loan is going to be transportable between buyer and seller is perhaps a bit naive. ‘Would I buy a Green Deal plan? I don’t think I would, no.’

Mr Playle said there are also problems with the initial home assessments, with concerns over charges and the expertise of the assessors.

Some firms have set themselves up as Green Deal brokers, where they take a fee of up to £300 to arrange a home assessment. They then pass the job on to a reputable firm which would normally charge £120 to £150 and then pocket the difference.

Mr Playle said: ‘I have also have a worry about the calibre of the people doing the assessments. I have seen a case in Surrey where four assessors have come up with different results on the same property.’

The Government has allowed firms who want to offer Green Deal assessments and home improvements to ‘cold call’ people at home in order to try and boost take-up.

This has triggered a surge in unwanted nuisance calls. Complaints about these related to energy efficiency now rank only second to PPI, according to the Information Commissioners Office.

Two companies have been fined a total of £170,000 in relation to cold calls about energy efficiency.

These include one run by ‘Big Nev’ Wilshire, who features in the BBC reality programme, the Call Centre.

Energy minister Greg Barker said: ‘This is a 20-year programme we are rolling out here. It is not one of these flash-in-the-pan schemes.’ The Government is putting in more than £200million to fund cash-back incentives to the first families who sign up to the scheme.


Green market pressure takes toll on consumer choice

When environmentalists don’t have the political power to regulate away consumer choice, they sometimes can get industry to do the job for them. Most recently, Proctor and Gamble (P&G) has decided to phase out the chemical triclosan, which has been used in a wide range of soap products to reduce risks from bacteria. P&G’s announcement follows other dumb triclosan phase outs that Colgate Palmolive (2011) and Johnson and Johnson (2012) have already begun.

Interestingly, Colgate is removing triclosan from some products, such as face washes, but keeps it in toothpaste because of its valuable public health properties! They claim to be eliminating other uses because they are not as proven effective.

It may be true that tricolsan isn’t perfect for every product in every application, but the irrational fears generated by the hype lead industry to go overboard and fail to defend their products. They don’t understand that you can’t appease environmentalists, who take an “all-or-nothing” approach, with heavy emphasis on the nothing. The activists will push for complete elimination, without much consideration of the consequences.

There is no good scientific justification for the complete elimination of this valuable product other than hype about risks and alleged impact on antibacterial resistance advanced by environmental activists. As it phases out the product, P&G admits that the chemical isn’t a safety problem. Rather the company’s website notes: “Triclosan slows or stops the growth of bacteria that can cause harm, such as salmonella or E.coli.” But it then continues:

"Although triclosan is known to be safe, there are ongoing discussions about how effective it is for reducing bacteria compared to regular soap. Due to our limited use of the ingredient, we have decided to eliminate triclosan from our products by 2014."

First they say triclosan is effective, and then “there is a discussion” about its effectiveness, so they will eliminate it in the name of “feeling safe.” Where does the stupidity end?

Triclosan is just one of many products that greens have dubbed “chemicals of concern” with the help of their friends at the Environmental Protection Agency and various state-government bureaucracies. Relying on questionable science and promoting chemophobia, these activists are also attacking bisphenol A, phthalates, flame retardants, formaldehyde, various pesticides, and more. In reality, it is unlikely that such trace chemical exposures cause cancer or disrupt our hormonal systems as the anti-chemical groups suggest.

If consumers have anything to fear, it’s the agenda behind these activist campaigns, which basically promotes a regressive economic philosophy. At risk is consumer choice and freedom, health and safety, and our economic well being as our society dispenses with the life-enhancing fruits of technological innovation.




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


15 September, 2013

Global warming is just HALF what we said: World's top climate scientists admit computers got the effects of greenhouse gases wrong

Article below from the Mass-market: "Daily Mail"

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has changed its story after issuing stern warnings about climate change for years

A leaked copy of the world’s most authoritative climate study reveals scientific forecasts of imminent doom were drastically wrong.

The Mail on Sunday has obtained the final draft of a report to be published later this month by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the ultimate watchdog whose massive, six-yearly ‘assessments’ are accepted by environmentalists, politicians and experts as the gospel of climate science.

They are cited worldwide to justify swingeing fossil fuel taxes and subsidies for ‘renewable’ energy.

Yet the leaked report makes the extraordinary concession that the world has been warming at only just over half the rate claimed by the IPCC in its last assessment, published in 2007.

Back then, it said that the planet was warming at a rate of 0.2C every decade – a figure it claimed was in line with the forecasts made by computer climate models.

But the new report says the true figure since 1951 has been only 0.12C per decade – a rate far below even the lowest computer prediction.

The 31-page ‘summary for policymakers’ is based on a more technical 2,000-page analysis which will be issued at the same time. It also surprisingly reveals: IPCC scientists accept their forecast computers may have exaggerated the effect of increased carbon emissions on world temperatures – and not taken enough notice of natural variability.

* They recognise the global warming ‘pause’ first reported by The Mail on Sunday last year is real – and concede that their computer models did not predict it. But they cannot explain why world average temperatures have not shown any statistically significant increase since 1997.

* They admit large parts of the world were as warm as they are now for decades at a time between 950 and 1250 AD – centuries before the Industrial Revolution, and when the population and CO2 levels were both much lower.

* The IPCC admits that while computer models forecast a decline in Antarctic sea ice, it has actually grown to a new record high. Again, the IPCC cannot say why.

* A forecast in the 2007 report that hurricanes would become more intense has simply been dropped, without mention.

This year has been one of the quietest hurricane seasons in history and the US is currently enjoying its longest-ever period – almost eight years – without a single hurricane of Category 3 or above making landfall.

One of the report’s own authors, Professor Myles Allen, the director of Oxford University’s Climate Research Network, last night said this should be the last IPCC assessment – accusing its cumbersome production process of ‘misrepresenting how science works’.

Despite the many scientific uncertainties disclosed by the leaked report, it nonetheless draws familiar, apocalyptic conclusions – insisting that the IPCC is more confident than ever that global warming is mainly humans’ fault.

It says the world will continue to warm catastrophically unless there is drastic action to curb greenhouse gases – with big rises in sea level, floods, droughts and the disappearance of the Arctic icecap.

Last night Professor Judith Curry, head of climate science at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said the leaked summary showed that ‘the science is clearly not settled, and is in a state of flux’.

She said it therefore made no sense that the IPCC was claiming that its confidence in its forecasts and conclusions has increased.

For example, in the new report, the IPCC says it is ‘extremely likely’ – 95 per cent certain – that human influence caused more than half the temperature rises from 1951 to 2010, up from ‘very confident’ – 90 per cent certain – in 2007.

Prof Curry said: ‘This is incomprehensible to me’ – adding that the IPCC projections are ‘overconfident’, especially given the report’s admitted areas of doubt.

Starting a week tomorrow, about 40 of the 250 authors who contributed to the report – and supposedly produced a definitive scientific consensus – will hold a four-day meeting in Stockholm, together with representatives of most of the 195 governments that fund the IPCC, established in 1998 by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The governments have tabled 1,800 questions and are demanding major revisions, starting with the failure to account for the pause.

Prof Curry said she hoped that the ‘inconsistencies will be pointed out’ at the meeting, adding: ‘The consensus-seeking process used by the IPCC creates and amplifies biases in the science. It should be abandoned in favour of a more traditional review that presents arguments for and against – which would better support scientific progress, and be more useful for policy makers.’ Others agree that the unwieldy and expensive IPCC assessment process has now run its course.

Prof Allen said: ‘The idea of producing a document of near-biblical infallibility is a misrepresentation of how science works, and we need to look very carefully about what the IPCC does in future.’

Climate change sceptics are more outspoken. Dr Benny Peiser, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, described the leaked report as a ‘staggering concoction of confusion, speculation and sheer ignorance’.

As for the pause, he said ‘it would appear that the IPCC is running out of answers .... to explain why there is a widening gap between predictions and reality’.

The Mail on Sunday has also seen an earlier draft of the report, dated October last year. There are many striking differences between it and the current, ‘final’ version.

The 2012 draft makes no mention of the pause and, far from admitting that the Middle Ages were unusually warm, it states that today’s temperatures are the highest for at least 1,300 years, as it did in 2007. Prof Allen said the change ‘reflects greater uncertainty about what was happening around the last millennium but one’.

A further change in the new version is the first-ever scaling down of a crucial yardstick, the ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’ – the extent to which the world is meant to warm each time CO2 levels double.

As things stand, the atmosphere is expected to have twice as much CO2 as in pre-industrial times by about 2050. In 2007, the IPCC said the ‘likeliest’ figure was 3C, with up to 4.5C still ‘likely’.

Now it does not give a ‘likeliest’ value and admits it is ‘likely’ it may be as little as 1.5C – so giving the world many more decades to work out how to reduce carbon emissions before temperatures rise to dangerous levels.

As a result of the warming pause, several recent peer-reviewed scientific studies have suggested that the true figure for the sensitivity is much lower than anyone – the IPCC included – previously thought: probably less than 2C.

Last night IPCC communications chief Jonathan Lynn refused to comment, saying the leaked report was ‘still a work in progress’.

The Met Office said it would examine the paper and respond in due course.

Q and A on the changed IPCC pronouncements

What they say: ‘The rate of warming since 1951 [has been] 0.12C per decade.’

What this means: In their last hugely influential report in 2007, the IPCC claimed the world was warming at 0.2C per decade. Here they admit there has been a massive cut in the speed of global warming – although it’s buried in a section on the recent warming ‘pause’. The true figure, it now turns out, is not only just over half what they thought – it’s below their lowest previous estimate.

What they say: ‘Surface temperature reconstructions show multi-decadal intervals during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (950-1250) that were in some regions as warm as in the late 20th Century.’

What this means: As recently as October 2012, in an earlier draft of this report, the IPCC was adamant that the world is warmer than at any time for at least 1,300 years. Their new inclusion of the ‘Medieval Warm Period’ – long before the Industrial Revolution and its associated fossil fuel burning – is a concession that its earlier statement is highly questionable.

What they say: ‘Models do not generally reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10 - 15 years.’

What this means: The ‘models’ are computer forecasts, which the IPCC admits failed to ‘see... a reduction in the warming trend’. In fact, there has been no statistically significant warming at all for almost 17 years – as first reported by this newspaper last October, when the Met Office tried to deny this ‘pause’ existed.In its 2012 draft, the IPCC didn’t mention it either. Now it not only accepts it is real, it admits that its climate models totally failed to predict it.

What they say: ‘There is medium confidence that this difference between models and observations is to a substantial degree caused by unpredictable climate variability, with possible contributions from inadequacies in the solar, volcanic, and aerosol forcings used by the models and, in some models, from too strong a response to increasing greenhouse-gas forcing.’

What this means: The IPCC knows the pause is real, but has no idea what is causing it. It could be natural climate variability, the sun, volcanoes – and crucially, that the computers have been allowed to give too much weight to the effect carbon dioxide emissions (greenhouse gases) have on temperature change.

What they say: ‘Climate models now include more cloud and aerosol processes, but there remains low confidence in the representation and quantification of these processes in models.’

What this means: Its models don’t accurately forecast the impact of fundamental aspects of the atmosphere – clouds, smoke and dust.

What they say: ‘Most models simulate a small decreasing trend in Antarctic sea ice extent, in contrast to the small increasing trend in observations... There is low confidence in the scientific understanding of the small observed increase in Antarctic sea ice extent.’

What this means: The models said Antarctic ice would decrease. It’s actually increased, and the IPCC doesn’t know why.

What they say: ‘ECS is likely in the range 1.5C to 4.5C... The lower limit of the assessed likely range is thus less than the 2C in the [2007 report], reflecting the evidence from new studies.’

What this means: ECS – ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’ – is an estimate of how much the world will warm every time carbon dioxide levels double. A high value means we’re heading for disaster. Many recent studies say that previous IPCC claims, derived from the computer models, have been way too high. It looks as if they’re starting to take notice, and so are scaling down their estimate for the first time.


‘Children of skeptical reporter should murder him’: vile abuse on Guardian site

The Mail on Sunday’s report last week that Arctic ice has had a massive rebound this year from its 2012 record low was followed up around the world – and recorded 174,200 Facebook ‘shares’, by some distance a record for an article on the MailOnline website.

But the article and its author also became the object of extraordinarily vitriolic attacks from climate commentators who refuse to accept any evidence that may unsettle their view of the science.

A Guardian website article claimed our report was ‘delusional’ because it ignored what it called an ‘Arctic death spiral’ caused by global warming.

Beneath this, some readers who made comments had their posts removed by the site moderator, because they ‘didn’t abide by our community standards’.

But among those that still remain on the site is one which likens the work of David Rose – who is Jewish – to Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic rant Mein Kampf.

Another suggests it would be reasonable if he were to be murdered by his own children. A comment under the name DavidFTA read: ‘In a few years, self-defence is going to be made a valid defence for parricide [killing one’s own father], so Rose’s children will have this article to present in their defence at the trial.’

Critics of the article entirely ignored its equally accurate statement that there is mounting evidence the Arctic sea ice retreat has in the past been cyclical: there were huge melts in the 1920s, followed by later advances.

Some scientists believe that this may happen again, and may already be under way – delaying the date when the ice cap might vanish by decades or even centuries.

Another assault was mounted by Bob Ward, spokesman for the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at the London School of Economics. Mr Ward tweeted that the article was ‘error-strewn’.

The eminent US expert Professor Judith Curry, who unlike Mr Ward is a climate scientist with a long list of peer-reviewed publications to her name, disagreed.

On her blog Climate Etc she defended The Mail on Sunday, saying the article contained ‘good material’, and issued a tweet which challenged Mr Ward to say what these ‘errors’ were.

He has yet to reply.


British Met office calculations way off

The British Met Office has issued ‘erroneous statements and misrepresentations’ about the pause in global warming – and its climate computer model is fundamentally flawed, says a new analysis by a leading independent researcher.

Nic Lewis, a climate scientist and accredited ‘expert reviewer’ for the IPCC, also points out that Met Office’s flagship climate model suggests the world will warm by twice as much in response to CO2 as some other leading institutes, such as Nasa’s climate centre in America.

The Met Office model’s current value for the ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’ (ECS) – how much hotter the world will get each time CO2 doubles – is 4.6C. This is above the IPCC’s own ‘likely’ range and the 95 per cent certainty’ level established by recent peer-reviewed research.

Lewis’s paper is scathing about the ‘future warming’ document issued by the Met Office in July, which purported to explain why the current 16-year global warming ‘pause’ is unimportant, and does not mean the ECS is lower than previously thought.

Lewis says the document made misleading claims about other scientists’ work – for example, misrepresenting important details of a study by a team that included Lewis and 14 other IPCC experts. The team’s paper, published in the prestigious journal Nature Geoscience in May, said the best estimate of the ECS was 2C or less – well under half the Met Office estimate.

He also gives evidence that another key Met Office model is inherently skewed. The result is that it will always produce high values for CO2-induced warming, no matter how its control knobs are tweaked, because its computation of the cooling effect of smoke and dust pollution – what scientists call ‘aerosol forcing’ – is simply incompatible with the real world.

This has serious implications, because the Met Office’s HadCM3 model is used to determine the Government’s climate projections, which influence policy.

Mr Lewis concludes that the Met Office modelling is ‘fundamentally unsatisfactory, because it effectively rules out from the start the possibility that both aerosol forcing and climate sensitivity are modest’. Yet this, he writes, ‘is the combination that recent observations support’.


Monckton dynamites the "97% consensus"

The Viscount Monckton has written to the editor of Environmental Research Letters and asked that the 97% consensus paper by Cook et al. be withdrawn due to its sheer mendacity. I have received a copy of Monckton's very thorough letter and offer some excerpts from it below:

The paper claimed a 97.1% “scientific consensus” among the abstracts of 11,944 climate change papers published from 1991-2012. The true “consensus” was not 97.1%. It was 0.3%.

The defective paper’s introduction said: “We examined a large sample of the scientific literature on global CC [the abstracts of 11,944 papers on climate change], published over a 21 year period [1991-2012], in order to determine the level of scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW)”.

Computerized and manual examination by Legates et al. (2013) of the authors’ data-file, made available only some weeks after the paper had appeared, showed that on that file the authors had marked as few as 64 abstracts out of 11,944 (0.5% of the entire sample) as explicitly endorsing that “scientific consensus” as defined in the introduction to their paper. Legates et al., on further examining the 64 abstracts, found that only 41 of them, or 0.3% of the entire sample, had in fact explicitly endorsed that “scientific consensus”.

However, the defective paper you published concluded with these words: “Among papers expressing a position on AGW, an overwhelming percentage (97.2% based on self-ratings, 97.1% based on abstract ratings) endorses the scientific consensus on AGW.”

The authors had stated at the outset their intention to determine the level of “scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW)”. They had listed this standard, quantified definition of “scientific consensus” in their paper as

“(1) Explicit endorsement with quantification (explicitly states that humans are the primary cause of recent global warming)”, the first of seven “levels of endorsement” to which they assigned the abstracts.

Yet they did not disclose in their paper how few abstracts – just 64 – they had marked as having stated support for that standard, quantified “scientific consensus”.

To conceal how very small this number was, they added together all of the abstracts they had assigned to the first three of their seven categories, treating all three categories as one, and did not state the three values separately. An impartial peer reviewer would have spotted this.

The seven categories or “levels of endorsement” listed in the paper, with the abstracts marked on the data file or disclosed in the paper as falling within each category, were – Level of endorsement of “scientific consensus” in 11,944 abstracts


1 Explicitly states that humans are the primary cause of global warming 64
2 Explicit endorsement without quantification [We cause some warming] 922
3 Implicit endorsement 2910
4a No opinion 7930
4b Uncertain 40
5 Implicit rejection 54
6 Explicit rejection without quantification 15
7 Explicit rejection with quantification 9
Total 11,944

So Cook et al. totally misrepresented their own data

More than 170 missing in Colorado floods

Extensive drought last year was an indicator of global warming, so these "Biblical" floods must signify global cooling

BY AIR and by land, the rescue of hundreds of people stranded by epic US mountain flooding has accelerated as debris-filled rivers became muddy seas that extended into towns and farms miles from the Rockies.

Helicopters and hundreds of National Guard troops on Saturday searched mountainous terrain for people as food and water supplies ran low in remote communities cut off since Thursday.

Thousands were being driven from their homes in convoys.

For the first time since the harrowing floods began on Wednesday, Colorado got its first broad view of the devastation.

Four people have been confirmed dead since flooding began on Wednesday.

More than 170 people remained unaccounted for in Boulder County, but that number could include people who are still stranded or who escaped but have not made contact yet, said Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle.

Still more rain was expected on Saturday. And the outlook for anyone who preferred to stay behind was bleak: weeks without power, mobile phone service or running water.


Cockney Rebels against British solar farm

When developers started planning a solar farm in a picturesque village, perhaps they should have found out who lived there first.

Because then they’d have realised one of its residents fronts a band with ‘Rebel’ in the name ... so there was always going to be trouble.

Steve Harley, of 1970s rock group Cockney Rebel, has joined his fellow villagers to protest against plans to cover 40 acres of land in the Stour Valley with solar panels.

The unspoiled area was the subject of paintings by Constable and Gainsborough.

Under the plan, 25,000 panels surrounded by a security fence will be built in a field on the edge of Belchamp Otten in Essex.

Harley, 62, who made his name with hits including Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me), has lived in the village for 25 years. He said: ‘It is a shockingly ugly plan that will ruin a beautiful part of our heritage.

‘It won’t create any jobs, it won’t benefit the village in any way at all and we fear that this will be the first of many similar applications for solar farms here.

‘We live among green fields of grass, yellow fields of corn and blue fields of flax. These massive and monstrous fields of glass and alloy are unthinkable to those of us who love the countryside.

‘Solar panels belong on brownfield sites and roof-tops – not on the fields of the Stour Valley, an area painted by Constable and Gainsborough.’

The developers claim the solar panels, which would provide power for up to 1,700 homes, will be mostly hidden from view. But residents who object to the scheme say the panels will be clearly visible for miles around.

Terry McGuire, chairman of Belchamp St Paul and Belchamp Otten parish council, said: ‘We fear these things might escalate – there is already talk of plans for even larger solar farms next door to this site.

'They will have a massive impact on this community and could open the floodgates, and we will strongly resist all such schemes.’

Local resident Andrew Clarke said: ‘We have one of the best unspoilt medieval landscapes in Britain which has been documented and to compromise it would set a depressing and irreversible precedent.’

Sovereign Energy Partners has applied for planning permission for the development, which is under consideration. Charles Houston, a chartered surveyor at the firm, said: ‘Following a generally positive response from the community we submitted our application to the council once we had ticked all the boxes.

'We understand residents’ concerns about cumulative impact but they are unfounded. ‘We spent a lot of money preparing our landscape and visual impact assessment survey which covers all angles on that impact but if we have missed anything then the planning officer will ask us to carry out more.’



Three current articles below

Carbon tax to blame for loss, says senior Leftist

FORMER ACTU secretary Bill Kelty has accused Labor of underestimating Tony Abbott for years, declaring the party's breach of trust with voters over the carbon tax was a bigger cause of its defeat than the disunity cited by senior ALP figures.

Mr Kelty, who is backing Bill Shorten in the mould of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating to become the next ALP leader, said the seeds for last Saturday's loss could be traced back to the failure of Labor to explain to voters why Kevin Rudd was dumped in favour of Julia Gillard in 2010.

"To be honest, I think they lost the election in two points of history," Mr Kelty said.

"They didn't ever explain the change of leadership from Rudd to Gillard. Therefore they didn't lose the next election, but they didn't win it either. So there goes that first downward trend. People couldn't understand why it wasn't explained to them.

"Second, when Julia Gillard actually announced the Greens policy (of introducing a carbon tax), people saw it as a breach of faith, a breach of trust. When people have come to a view that they don't trust you, when you have broken a commitment to them, when enough people believe that, it gives them a great opportunity therefore not to be interested in politics, they just wait until the next election."

Mr Kelty's frank assessment contrasts with a raft of senior Labor MPs, including Tony Burke, Tanya Plibersek and Greg Combet, who have primarily blamed Labor's defeat on the leadership instability and party division.

Mr Kelty said when trust was lost between a government and voters over broken policy commitments, "You can see it".

"With Paul Keating, it was after the budget in 1993. People said: 'I think you have broken our commitment of trust, it's very hard for us to vote for you,' " he said. "When Anna Bligh decided to sell assets and she didn't explain it to the electorate beforehand, then it broke that covenant of trust.

"All the other things don't matter. When that essential covenant of trust between the electorate and those who are elected is broken, it's very, very hard to rebuild."

Asked about senior Labor MPs citing disunity for the defeat, he said: "You just think when that essential covenant of trust is broken, don't blame the media, don't blame all these petty divisions, always look for the fundamental cause. I think you learn in politics that the last thing you break is the covenant of trust."

Mr Kelty said Labor had underestimated Mr Abbott "for some years (and) you should never underestimate your opposition".

"Abbott has a lot of ability and works very hard," he said. "I think the best way to deal with Abbott is to deal with him honestly, combatively and fairly, and recognise his talent and work hard at it - the same way Abbott did against Rudd.

"If you want a lesson, then some of the lessons you get in life is that Howard stood up to Bob (Hawke), and to Paul Keating. He never beat them, in a sense, but he was a campaigner against them, was honorable, and he just worked assiduously at it."

He did not want to be critical of Anthony Albanese but believed Mr Shorten was better-placed to be the next leader.

"If the party wants to look to the next generation, look to the next generation, and I think Shorten is more of the next generation," he said.

Mr Shorten was an "old-fashioned leader, in the sense, that he is more Hawke, and more Keating, and more traditional Labor". "I think he's got to that point in his life where I think he has the maturity and the responsibility to lead the Labor Party," Mr Kelty said.

The process of opening up the leadership to party members had its advantages and disadvantages but "there's no point complaining about it".

'It gives the party an opportunity to give a legitimacy to a new leader," he said.


Coalition takes axe to climate programs

PUBLIC servants are drawing up plans to collapse 33 climate change schemes run by seven departments and eight agencies into just three bodies run by two departments under a substantial rewrite of the administration of carbon abatement schemes under the Coalition.

Coalition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt briefed public servants on the dramatic restructure of the federal climate change bureaucracy before the election was called and yesterday confirmed the Coalition was committed to proceeding with the plan.

Under the simplification, the Department of the Environment and the Department of Resources and Energy will run all of the climate change programs under the Coalition's direct-action program.

The move is forecast to save the government tens of millions of dollars. The Coalition budgeted for savings of $7 million this financial year rising to $13m in each of the next three years for a saving of $45m across the budget period.

The changes will see all carbon abatement schemes run by three bodies: the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which will be overseen by the Department of Resources and Energy; and the Clean Energy Regulator and Low Carbon Australia, which will be run by the Department of the Environment.

The Climate Change Authority, which sets emissions caps, the Climate Commission, which has conducted research into climate change, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which funds renewable technologies, are all slated to be abolished under the plans.

Treasury has responsibility for Low Carbon Australia and the CEFC, while the Industry Department has control over a range of clean technology programs. The Department of Agriculture runs a series of carbon farming programs, while the Department of Families runs household assistance packages, home energy savings programs and the remote indigenous energy program.

Under the Coalition, Low Carbon Australia will be responsible for purchasing emissions reductions under the Coalition's direct action program.

"What we've said is we will commence the merger as soon as the process of appointing the ministry and swearing in the ministry has been complete," Mr Hunt told the 2GB radio station in Sydney yesterday. "To be frank, during the course of the pre-election period, when we were allowed to consult with departments, we laid out the fact that there would be a merger. "We were express and clear and absolute about that, and we indicated we would like it to begin right from the outset. I imagine that the public servants are preparing to do that. Our agenda was clear and open and that is an official process we'll go through as soon as possible."

The moves came as Tony Abbott continued briefings with senior public servants, including the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Ian Watt, as he continued his transition-to-government plans.

The CEFC confirmed yesterday it had stopped making loans for energy efficiency and clean energy programs. Staff at the $10 billion green bank are seeking a meeting with the incoming Abbott government as a top priority.

"The CEFC congratulates the new government upon its election and will welcome the opportunity to consult with the incoming responsible ministers," the bank's chief executive Oliver Yates said. "The CEFC has approached the Coalition to engage in consultations about the transition and looks forward to engaging with the new government concerning how its activities can best be supportive of their policy priorities under Direct Action."

The Coalition will need to legislate to abolish the CEFC, which has amassed a $560m investment portfolio and leveraged $1.6bn in private sector investment. But the bank is understood to be lobbying a Coalition government to utilise its staff and assets as part of its Direct Action scheme, and change its investment mandate so it could work within the framework of the Coalition's policy.

An Abbott government will need to legislate if it seeks to abolish the Climate Change Authority, which is proceeding with work on a draft report about emissions reductions targets that is due to be completed next month. In the wake of Labor and Greens declarations that they would oppose the abolition of carbon pricing, Mr Abbott said he expected the parliament to "respect the mandate that the new government has".

"It will obviously be an issue (for the Labor Party) . . . whether it learns from its mistakes and whether it's prepared to accept that it simply got it wrong when it came to these toxic new taxes," Mr Abbott said.


Climate sceptic MP Dennis Jensen wants to be science minister

Coalition MP Dennis Jensen, who is a vocal climate science sceptic, has called on Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott to appoint him as science minister.

"At the moment to be honest I'm feeling under-utilised," said Dr Jensen, the member for Tangney in Western Australia, who has a master's degree in physics and a PhD in material science.

"I think that I've got a lot to offer," he added. "I've got some unique attributes."

Mr Abbott was expected to give the science portfolio to Victorian MP Sophie Mirabella, but she may lose her seat of Indi to the popular independent Cathy McGowan.

Dr Jensen suggests he would be better qualified than anyone to take charge of science.

"I'm not aware of any other scientist [in the Parliament]," he said.

Dr Jensen has made headlines by questioning the scientific consensus that humans are contributing to global warming.

Dr Jensen believes carbon dioxide is contributing somewhat to global temperatures, but not as much as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is suggesting.

Moreover, Dr Jensen does not think governments should be taking urgent action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

"In the climate area there is appeal to authority and appeal to consensus, neither of which is scientific at all," Dr Jensen told Fairfax Media on Thursday.

"Scientific reality doesn't give a damn who said it and it doesn't give a damn how many say it."

It was wrong to accept the view of the 97 per cent of climate scientists who agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely caused by human activities, because "the argument of consensus . . . is a flawed argument," Dr Jensen said.

The colourful Englishman, Lord Christopher Monckton, who toured Australia to debunk the "bogus science" of global warming, was closer to the mark, Dr Jensen suggested.

"Most of the stuff [Lord Monckton] says is entirely reasonable," Dr Jensen said.

"Some of it I don't agree with but on the whole a lot of what he says is in my view correct."

Dr Jensen also commended the work of Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Lindzen is known as one of the most qualified global-warming sceptics in international science.

Dr Jensen said if he were appointed science minister, his vision for science in Australia would centre on encouraging more young people to study science and fixing up the funding model of the Australian Research Council to encourage more innovation.




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


13 September, 2013

British hospital managers worry hospitals will fail under pressure this winter

Hey! What's this? Warmists always tell us that warming will bring more illness. So how come it is winter when illness ramps up? Reality shoots down theory, I think

More than half of senior NHS managers believe hospitals will be unable to cope with pressures this winter, with many “at breaking point” amid a deepening crisis.

The report by the NHS Confederation forecasts a likely increase in cancelled operations, longer waiting times for patients, and serious safety issues, including increased death rates, as the service buckles under the strain.

It says that senior figures expect hospitals to struggle at least as much as they did last winter, when waiting times were the worst for nine years.

Figures show that between January and March 2013 more than 300,000 patients waiting more than four hours for treatment.

Senior managers polled for the report were pessimistic about the ability of the NHS to cope this winter, despite a £500m rescue fund which is being given to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments which struggled the most last year.

The survey of 125 chief executives, nursing and medical directors found that 54 per cent did not expect the NHS to meet the target to treat A&E patients within four hours this winter.

The report says it would take little for departments to collapse under the weight of winter pressures this year.

“A prolonged period of cold, a rapid increase in the acuity of patients presenting in A&E or a lengthy norovirus would be all it would take to bring many departments to breaking point,” it concludes.


Energy Department Blows More Money

Barack Obama's Department of Energy will again lose tens of millions on a loan extended to a speculative vehicle company with ties to a top fundraiser for the president. The blandly named Vehicle Production Group, “loaned” $50 million in 2011 by the Energy Department thanks to the Democrats' ridiculous stimulus act, revealed in May that it ceased operations last February and laid-off 100 people after the DOE froze its assets. As is the Obama administration's usual practice with squandered taxpayer “investments” (we use the term pejoratively) the administration tried to bury it with a Friday afternoon news dump that $42 million won't be paid back. Obviously there were few remaining assets to freeze.

Recall that the DOE's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing also financed politically connected green vehicle loser Fisker Automotive, which likewise ceased production and may declare bankruptcy.

Not content with poorly picking winners and losers, DOE recently announced it will restart the program (just in time for the 2014 election cycle) because there is $15 billion remaining in the funding authority even though the DOE hasn't dished out any more gifts since 2011. The scheme was best summed up by Sen. John Thune (R-SD): “From Solyndra to Fisker, taxpayers have already paid too much for President Obama's risky green energy bets,” he said in a statement. “Now is not the time to revive defunct Department of Energy loan programs that have already wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.” We couldn't agree more.


Climate Change This Week: AGW = More AND Less Hurricanes

Climate blogger Steven Goddard observed, "Over the last five hurricane seasons, the US has had a total of three hurricane strikes -- Irene, Issac and Sandy. This few hurricanes has happened only twice before -- in 1984 and 1866."

The conclusion here is obvious: We were told that anthropogenic global warming -- now conveniently referred to as "climate change" -- would result in a significant increase in the number and intensity of hurricanes. But what the Goracle and his minions really meant was that global warming would result in an increase and decrease in the number of hurricanes.

Got it?

Meanwhile, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that over the next 50 years, the planet will actually cool, not warm. The IPCC, of course, is the organization whose 2007 report on the devastating effects of man-made global warming earned it and Al Gore a Nobel Peace Price. Six years later, it's "never mind."


Eagle slaughter: Wind farms kill 67 eagles in 5 years

Wind energy facilities have killed at least 67 golden and bald eagles in the last five years, but the figure could be much higher, according to a new scientific study by government biologists.

The research represents one of the first tallies of eagle deaths attributed to the nation’s growing wind energy industry, which has been a pillar of President Barack Obama’s plans to reduce the pollution blamed for global warming. Wind power releases no air pollution.

But at a minimum, the scientists wrote, wind farms in 10 states have killed at least 85 eagles since 1997, with most deaths occurring between 2008 and 2012, as the industry was greatly expanding. Most deaths — 79 — were golden eagles that struck wind turbines. One of the eagles counted in the study was electrocuted by a power line.

The president of the American Bird Conservancy, Mike Parr, said the tally was “an alarming and concerning finding.”

A trade group, the American Wind Energy Association, said in a statement that the figure was much lower than other causes of eagle deaths. The group said it was working with the government and conservation groups to find ways to reduce eagle casualties.

Still, the scientists said their figure is likely to be “substantially” underestimated, since companies report eagledeaths voluntarily and only a fraction of those included in their total were discovered during searches for dead birds by wind-energy companies. The study also excluded the deadliest place in the country for eagles, a cluster of wind farms in a northern California area known as Altamont Pass. Wind farms built there decades ago kill more than 60 per year.

The research affirms an AP investigation in May, which revealed dozens of eagle deaths from wind energy facilities and described how the Obama administration was failing to fine or prosecute wind energy companies, even though each death is a violation of federal law.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has said it is investigating 18 bird-death cases involving wind-power facilities, and seven have been referred to the Justice Department.

Wind farms are clusters of turbines as tall as 30-story buildings, with spinning rotors as wide as a passenger jet’s wingspan. Though the blades appear to move slowly, they can reach speeds up to 170 mph at the tips, creating tornado-like vortexes.

Wind farms in two states, California and Wyoming, were responsible for 58 deaths, followed by facilities in Oregon, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Utah, Texas, Maryland and Iowa.

In all, 32 facilities were implicated. One in Wyoming was responsible for a dozen golden eagle deaths, the most at a single facility.

The research was published in the Journal of Raptor Research.


Your money: Alabama Alpaca Farm Gets $40,648 Fed Grant, $142,500 Fed Loan to Go Solar

But alpaca farmers provide superfine wool to clothe rich ladies -- so it's worth it!

To fund a solar power system for his alpaca farm, an Alabama farmer combined a $40,648 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant, federal tax credits, and a $142,500 federally funded loan with a 1-percent interest rate.
Cozy Cove Alpaca and Llama Farm in Gurley, Alabama is now generating its own power and is selling the excess electricity at above-market prices to a corporation owned by the U.S. government.

Alpaca farm owner Tony O’Neil received a USDA “Rural Energy for America Program” grant of $40,648 as part of his effort to install a solar power system to generate electricity for his farm. Cozy Cove is now generating its own power and selling the excess power to the Tennessee Valley Authority, (TVA) which is owned by the federal government.

“The TVA had a program going,” O’Neil tells “There’s an incentive if you put solar panels on your farm or on your house, they would buy all the power from you for 12 cents (per kilowatt hour) above the normal rate that you pay.”

“In our case, that equates to about 22 cents a kilowatt hour, as we would pay about roughly 10 cents a kilowatt hour for power. So, they would agree to purchase the power for 10 years at 22 cents,” O’Neil says, “Then it was explained to me that you get a 30 percent federal income tax rebate as part of the incentive to go solar.”

O’Neil also received a 1-percent interest rate loan of $142,500 using funds from the AlabamaSAVES program for his solar project.

The AlabamaSAVES website says, “The program, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provides extraordinary financing solutions for commercial and industrial energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects in Alabama and is administered by Abundant Power Solutions, LLC.”

O’Neil expects to earn about $15,000 per year by selling his electricity to the TVA.

“It’s roughly going to be $15,000. So far, since it’s been in operation about six months now, it’s generated about $8,000. Of course, it’s been the longest days of the year. As it's towards the winter time, it’s going to get less and less, hopefully it will all turn out to be close to $15,000 per year.”


Rooftop solar: Welfare for the wealthy?

Syria isn’t the only battle into which President Obama is injecting himself where he doesn’t belong. True, on a global scale, Arizona’s fight over net metering seems insignificant. However, on a personal scale, what is taking place in Arizona’s sunny desert has the potential to directly impact far more Americans than the shots being fired in Syria’s desert.

Syria’s conflict is often called a proxy war in that it is an indirect confrontation between superpowers via substitute actors. According to the definition of a proxy war found on the Intro to global security blog, “Modern non-state actors do not necessarily want to take over territory or a government; most use the expanding global communication network to levy resources (human or otherwise) and generate wealth and political/ideological power.” By that definition, Arizona’s net metering debate is Obama’s proxy war in the desert.

To understand Obama’s proxy war in the desert, you have to understand the intentionally confusing term: net metering.

Simply, net metering is the process through which homeowners with rooftop solar panels are paid by the local utility company for the excess power they produce. In its report on net metering, the Institute for Energy Research defines it this way: Net metering “allows people who generate electricity on their homes and businesses to sell electricity back to the grid when their generation exceeds their usage.” Sales pitches for rooftop solar often explain net metering as the electric meter running backwards.

Net metering has been around since the early 1980s when solar panels were expensive and few people had them. But the dynamics changed drastically when states began passing renewable portfolio standards (RPS) that required predetermined percentages of electricity be generated from renewable sources—some even specified which sources are part the mix and how much of the resource was required. For example, in my home state of New Mexico, the Diversification Rule requires that 1.5% of the RPS must be met by “distributed generation” (read: rooftop solar). Arizona requires 30% of the RPS be derived from “distributed energy technologies” (once again, rooftop solar).

To meet the mandates, utility companies agreed to pay what essentially amounts to full retail rates for the excess electricity being generated by the solar panels. Often the combination of the electricity the homeowner buys from the utility (at night) and what they sell back (during the day) gives them a utility bill of nearly zero. Yet they are still using power from the electric company; they are still plugged into the grid. Grid maintenance, transmission lines and transformers, customer service, and other costs that are part of providing consistent, steady electricity to homes and businesses have historically been borne by everyone using it. Most people don’t think about it; it is just part of the bill.

Anyone who has ever owned a business, however, knows that you won’t survive for long when you are buying your product at retail and selling it for retail, as there are many additional costs between wholesale and retail. Yet, this is what utility companies are being forced to do through the net metering agreements that were made back when solar was in its infancy and customers needed to be incentivized to install solar panels so that the utility could purchase the power to meet the mandates. When there were only a few solar installations, the loss to the utility had a very small impact. But now, with the numbers increasing, the loss is larger. That loss is being carried by the entire rate base and taking money from family budgets.

The Institute for Energy Research explains:

“The option to utilize solar is principally available for those people who own their own homes, rental properties, or businesses. This means that most solar energy installations and all of the government benefits flow to Americans of some means. Despite the steep drop in solar panel prices over the last few years, PV is still a pricey option that is unattainable for most. Therefore, more affluent Americans tend to be the beneficiaries of federal, state, and local subsidies, mandates, and utility reimbursement for excess power generation that solar systems may provide. The unintended outcome of the wealthier utility customers enjoying the benefits of net metering subsidies at the expense of their lower income neighbors has been labeled the ‘reverse Robin Hood effect.’”

Even the New York Times acknowledges that the economics of rooftop solar “depend on government incentives and mandates.” All Arizonans are paying for the few who can afford the up-front costs of solar panel installation—not just through the taxpayer-funded state and federal subsidies, but through their increasing utility rates that are unfairly punishing those who can least afford them.

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) is currently considering revising the generous credits offered to customers with rooftop solar. The ACC has two plans before it aimed at making up for the lost revenues without the majority of the rate base having to subsidize their wealthier neighbors. One has residential solar customers selling electricity to the grid paying a monthly “convenience fee” for the use and maintenance of the grid and the related expenses. The second would reduce the credit which customers with new solar installations would receive, making it comparable to market rates the utility pays other power generators. Those who currently (installed up through mid-October) have rooftop systems would be “grandfathered” in.

“In a lot of ways, Arizona represents ground zero in the debate about how to create a sustainable system for compensating solar rooftop customers,” explains Lance Brown, Executive Director of the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy (PACE). “We’re talking about a state that is rich in solar resources and that has a mature community of customers who have invested in residential solar. The problem is that the model for paying solar customers for their power generation is utterly unsustainable.

“States that are contemplating how to treat residential solar customers face the fundamental question of how to fairly compensate customers for generation without unfairly shifting the burden of fixed costs to non-solar customers,” adds Brown. “Paying solar customers three and four times the cost of retail generation clearly isn’t the answer. Rather, regulators are going to have to scale back net metering rates and ensure that everyone who is hooked to the grid pays for the fixed costs of maintaining it.”

Many states, including Arizona, are looking at policy adjustments as well. (The New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission has a public hearing regarding its revisions on September 10 in Santa Fe.)

Subsidy-loving President Obama has launched an Arizona-specific campaign lauding those who have made “the switch” to solar and demanding that the ACC protects “full credit for clean energy.” If solar users paid for the panels on their own and cut the cord to the utility, then they truly have made the switch—as the rules stand now, they are just milking the system.

Obama’s involvement shows how important Arizona is to his desired national energy policy—supporting the inefficient, ineffective, and uneconomical models that line the pockets of his friends, while punishing the energy that makes America great. He is using the “global communication network to levy resources (human or otherwise) and generate wealth and political/ideological power.”

If the “reverse Robin Hood” policies are modified, the surging purchase and installation of solar panels will slow and more solar companies, funded through the nearly 100 billion of taxpayer dollars allotted to green energy through the 2009 stimulus bill, will go bankrupt. It is in Obama’s best interest to keep these policies that only exist because they “depend on government incentives and mandates” in place—but it is not in Arizona’s best interest, nor America’s. These policies “generate wealth” for Obama’s friends and “political/ideological power” for him.

It is not about whether or not you like rooftop-generated solar electricity, it is about whether or not the subsidized industry continues to make solar executives rich on the back of the average American. It is about continuing, or ending, the crony corruption that fills the solar industry. If you agree that it is time to end the solar subsidies and generous residential credits and that solar customers need to pay their share of grid maintenance and other non-generation costs, please sign the petition to tell the ACC that you support the proposed revisions.

Edward Fenster, chief executive of SunRun (which has received stimulus funds and is under a federal probe), believes “the next 6 to 12 months are the watershed moment for distributed energy.” He, of course, supports continuing the subsidies for solar power and understands that if his side succeeds, it will “dissuade utilities with net metering programs elsewhere from undoing them.”

The saying is usually “as California goes, so goes the nation.” In the case of generous solar credits, as Arizona goes, so goes the nation—which is why Obama’s proxy war in the desert has the potential to directly impact far more Americans than the shots being fired in Syria’s desert.




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


12 September, 2013

Romantic Germany risks economic decline as green dream spoils

Germany is committing slow economic suicide. It has staked its future on heavy industry and manufacturing, yet has no energy policy to back this up.

Instead, the country has a ruinously expensive green dream, priced at €700bn (£590bn) from now until the late 2030s by environment minister Peter Altmaier if costs are slashed - and €1 trillion if they are not. The Germans are surely the most romantic nation on earth.

The full implications of this may become clear over the next decade, just as Germany’s ageing crisis hits with maximum force and its engineers retire; and just as German voters discover - what they suspect already - that it costs real money to hold a half-baked euro together.

The likelihood is that Germany will start to lose its economic halo soon, “de-rated” like others before it.

America was over-rated in 2000. Russia and Britain were over-rated in 2007. Brazil, India and a string of mini-BRICS were over-rated in 2011. Today the country most obviously trading at its cyclical peak is Germany, a geostrategic “short” candidate that is drawing down its credit from past efforts. However, the slippage may be slow, since Germany has locked in a lasting edge over southern Europe through a fixed exchange rate.

Chancellor Angela Merkel tied a deadweight around the ankles of her country when she suddenly - and flippantly - abandoned her nuclear policy after Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011. “This has forever changed the way we define risk,” she said at the time. “It’s over.”

She was talking about politics, of course, not science. It was an earthquake and tsunami that caused the Fukushima tragedy. Germany’s nuclear plants are not at risk from such flooding, nor are they built on tectonic faultlines. As a scientist with a PhD in subatomic reactions, Dr Merkel knows that the post-Fukushima panic in Germany was hysterical.

Eight nuclear reactors were shut immediately, the rest to be wound down by 2022. This will cut off a fifth of Germany’s total power. To global astonishment - and the Left’s chagrin - she then unveiled her Faustian “Energiewende”, the grand plan to derive half of all German electricity from wind, solar, biomass and other renewables by 2035, and 80pc by the middle of the century.

The assumption was that Germany would gain a “first-mover” lead in renewables, reaping the reward later. They overlooked the Chinese, who copied the technology. Chinese firms gouged the German home market with the aid of cheap labour, a cheap yuan, cheap state credit and a global trade system that let them get away with it.

The German solar industry has been smashed. QCells, Conergy, Solon and Solarworld have all gone bust or faced debt restructuring. The subsidies for feed-in tariffs have been leaked abroad. Eight of the world’s 10 biggest solar firms are now Chinese.

As a solar enthusiast, I am grateful to the Germans for their altruism. Roughly €100bn of their money has gone up in smoke - one way or another - developing solar technologies that have helped drive down costs to near “grid parity” in low latitudes. The great prize of market-based solar is within grasp. Sadly for German citizens, they will see no special benefit.

In the end, it is wind from thousands of turbines in the Baltic - generating 25,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030 - that is supposed to power Europe’s industrial heart. This is an astounding gamble. As of today, barely 300 megawatts of offshore wind capacity is in place. The cables across the country do not exist.

Utilities are turning to coal - and cheap lignite, emitting 30pc more CO2 - to plug the gap. Germany’s greenhouse emissions rose 1.6pc last year. In the US they fell to a 20-year low thanks to the switch from coal to shale gas. Sudden surges of power - the intermittency effect - are overloading the grid and crippling utilities E.ON and RWE. The pair have threatened to shut down 21,000MW of power plants.

The Chemical Industry Federation has called for an immediate freeze in costs before its members are priced out of the global market. “Spiralling energy costs will soon drive us to the wall. It has become dangerous, and any further rise will break the back of small and medium firms,” it said.

Electricity prices are twice as high as in America. Natural gas costs are four times as high, forcing the chemical giants of the Ruhr and the Rhine to decamp across the Atlantic. BASF is building its new site for emulsion polymers in Texas, the latest of a €4.2bn investment blitz in the US.

Günther Oettinger, Germany’s EU commissioner, has called for a top-to-bottom review of the policy and a dash for shale. “We need industry; we cannot be the good guys for the whole world if no one is follows suit,” he said.

This should be the galvanizing issue in Germany’s election campaign. It was hardly mentioned in Dr Merkel’s recent soporific debate with Social Democrat leader Peer Steinbruck, eclipsed by a clash on Autobahn speed limits.

Mr Steinbruck called the Energiewende a “disaster”, but only because it has been mismanaged. “I have nothing against the idea,” he said.

It is certainly a dog’s dinner, even if the origins go back to a 20-year guarantee for subsidies issued by the SPD-Green coalition in 2000. This is paid for though a fund levied on all electricity users.

At the time, Green leader Jurgen Trittin said it would cost consumers no more than a “scoop of ice cream”. As a false prospectus, that surely rivals the line by Bavaria’s leader in the early 1990s: that the risk of Germany ever having to bail out a future eurozone partner was less than the risk of “famine in Bavaria”.

The levy has been rising exponentially, up 47pc this year alone. This is added to the bills of consumers. Households are paying ever more because a growing army of “energy-intensive” industries and firms competing in the global market are exempt.

The assumption long ago was that global energy costs would ratchet up, making the levy unneccesary. The Merkel government was caught off-guard by the US shale gas revolution, though the writing has been on the wall since 2009.

The levy policy is turning into a nexus of distortions - “Madness”, as the Handlesblatt screamed on its front page - since firms that have slashed energy use the most are penalised. One has taken a case to the top court. The burden on households is politically toxic. Property owners enjoy a solar income. Renters suffer the extra levy. The poor subsidise the rich. Besides, experts say it is only a matter time before the vice tightens on industry as well.

Stephan Kohler, from the state-funded German Energy Agency, says the system is out of control. He has called for the offending energy law to be “abolished”. Is anybody listening?

Angela Merkel says she is “more convinced than ever” that her green gamble will pay off. “If anyone can manage it, it’ll be the Germans. It’s not easy, but we can do it.”

Famous last words.


Why Republicans (And Others) Place A Low Priority On Global Warming

Global warming typically ranks dead last when the Pew Research Center asks voters to list the “top priorities for the president and Congress” each year. Yet the New York Times and other major media strain to keep the global warming movement alive by carefully ignoring global warming “skeptics,” and giving undeserved coverage to a small minority of liberal Republicans who call for carbon dioxide restrictions.

An April 2013 Gallup poll found only 34 percent of Americans believe global warming will pose a serious threat in their lifetimes. An April 2013 Rasmussen poll found Americans by a two-to-one margin believe finding new energy sources is more important than fighting global warming. Earlier this month, a Rasmussen poll found Americans by a nearly three-to-one margin say creating jobs is more important than addressing global warming.

Nevertheless, the New York Times on August 1 found space on its op-ed page for an essay written by four former Republican EPA administrators calling for even more stringent – and costly – carbon dioxide restrictions than those proposed by President Barack Obama earlier this summer. These elderly statesmen (average age 72.5) were out of step with their party when they served in office, and are definitely out in the cold today.

There are many good reasons why most Americans and nearly all Republicans reject costly new restrictions on carbon dioxide.

First, the pace of global warming has been very moderate. The Little Ice Age, which ended a little over 100 years ago, brought the coldest temperatures of the past 10,000 years. The warming of the late 20th century has yet to return us to the temperature norms that predominated during most of the past 10,000 years. There has been no warming at all in the past 15 years.

Second, the climate models that predict substantial future warming are failing miserably to replicate real-world temperatures. Even top scientists with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), such as lead author Hans von Storch in a recent interview with der Spiegel, concede IPCC’s climate models cannot explain the 15-year pause in global warming and will likely require adjustments to reduce their sensitivity to carbon dioxide. In short, real-world temperatures are proving IPCC climate models to be too alarmist.

Third, global warming is benefiting human welfare, just as warmer temperatures have benefited human welfare in the past. Hurricane activity is declining, tornadoes are less frequent and severe, deserts are shrinking, forests are expanding and crop production is setting new records on a near-yearly basis. Federal mortality statistics show more people die during cold spells and winter months than during heat spells and summer months. The evidence is clear, warmer is better for humans and other animals and for plant life.

Fourth, new restrictions on U.S. carbon dioxide emissions would have no practical impact on global temperatures. U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are already declining thanks to the natural gas revolution caused by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and horizontal drilling, rendering top-down government restrictions of dubious value and necessity. China alone emits more carbon dioxide than the entire Western Hemisphere, and China’s emissions continue to rapidly rise even as U.S. emissions decline. Even if the United States eliminated all of its carbon dioxide emissions within 10 years (which, of course, is impossible), China would add a greater amount of new emissions within the same decade to render the U.S. action moot. The only change would be that U.S. businesses and consumers would pay rapidly rising energy costs.

Imposing draconian restrictions on the use of conventional energy and pouring billions more taxpayer dollars into renewable energy would put us at a tremendous economic disadvantage compared to China and the rest of the world. Jobs, along with their carbon dioxide emissions, would simply move to where they are welcome. We would impose tremendous economic punishment on ourselves while achieving no significant impact on real-world temperatures.

So while a small number of liberal and out-of-touch Republicans may call for pointless, counterproductive and economically punitive steps to address global warming, Americans as a whole rightfully say, “No thank you!”


British 'Eco-school' goes REALLY green -- with mould

When it opened its timber doors three years ago, this £7million ‘eco primary school’ was applauded for its environmentally friendly credentials.

It was heated by solar power and its plumbing system relied on rain collected from the roof, which was made of locally grown sweet chestnut.

Sadly, the zero-carbon building is not quite as sustainable as the designers had hoped.
'One of the greenest schools in Britain': Dartington Primary School's eco-building needs 'significant' repairs just three years after opening because it has been leaking water

'One of the greenest schools in Britain': Dartington Primary School's eco-building, near Totnes in Devon, needs 'significant' repairs just three years after opening because it has been leaking water

In fact, thanks to a series of water leaks and mouldy walls, pupils are now being taught in tents erected in the school grounds.

The local authority in Devon has already spent £250,000 to investigate the problem, and plans to sue the architects. Without urgent repairs, it says teaching pupils inside the building could seriously damage their health.

Dartington Primary School, near Totnes, used to house students in a Victorian building but it reopened in 2010 as one of the first zero-carbon schools in the country.

The new site was praised for being ‘stunning’ and ‘extremely environmentally friendly’. Its design featured four buildings made from ‘sustainable’ timber, with solar panels providing electricity and heat.

The roof was supposedly weather-proofed with strips of sweet chestnut grown nearby and angled so rainwater could be collected and used to flush the toilets.

But apparent faults in the structure mean the roof and walls have become sodden, buckling over time and leaving gaping holes for rain to leak inside.

Tania Mountney, whose son attends the school, said: ‘There’s been leaking there ever since it opened. Last year we could see the roof was starting to warp.’

She added: I went to a parents’ lunch and you could see these large patches of mould. My ex-partner is a builder and he couldn’t understand how it could get that bad.’

Children are now being taught in five large marquees in the grounds, with repairs to the main buildings predicted to take up to two years.

Miss Mountney, a childminder, said she only found out about the tents when she took her son to school for the beginning of term this week.

‘I drove past on Sunday and saw several marquees. I thought there must have been some sort of event on. The next morning I arrived to find classes had moved, some of them into marquees and some of them into the library and the art room.

'The children are too young to know what’s happening. They think it’s all very exciting.’

When the eco school opened three years ago, headteacher Jill Mahon said: ‘It is a stunning design. I believe it will be a flagship school which will be extremely environmentally friendly.’ She declined to comment yesterday.

A report for Devon County Council found it has already paid £250,000 merely to investigate the cause of the leaks and start initial repairs.

A spokesman said: ‘Temporary accommodation has been installed and all classes went ahead when children returned to school. We are currently taking legal advice.’

Architects White Design, of Bristol, said they were working with the council to solve the problems


Obama administration stacked with global warming devotees

President Obama may not be getting the sweeping global warming legislation (cap-and-trade failed), but he is finding ways to target his pet issue through backdoor techniques such as Environmental Protection Agency regulations and by stacking his administration with environmental activists. The National Journal reports:

“It's not surprising to see a president name a top nominee—for Cabinet secretary, say—who has led the way on an issue the White House cares about. In his first term, for example, Obama named as his Energy secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel physicist who had devoted his career to fighting climate change. With the executive branch the only avenue for the president to make an impact on climate policy, the Obama administration is filling out the second and third tiers of agencies—influential workhorse positions such as chiefs of staff, assistant secretaries, and heads of regulatory commissions—with appointees just as devoted to the cause, with the expectation that they'll muscle through a climate and clean-energy agenda wherever they can.” (emphasis added.)

So not only is the administration fighting a “war on coal” behind the scenes through EPA regulations, it is also deliberately hiring environmental activists who will push through Obama’s global warming regulatory agenda.

This stacking might be acceptable if the administration thought it had a mandate from the American people. But nearly every step of the way it has found opposition – even from members of the Democratic party and staunch supporters like unions.


Quiet, not stormy, weather for US this year so far

After a couple of years of wild, deadly and costly weather, the United States is mostly getting a lucky break this year. So far.

Summer is almost over, and as of Tuesday morning, not a single hurricane had formed this year. Tornado activity in 2013 is also down around record low levels, while heat waves are fewer and milder than last year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Meteorologists credit luck, shifts in the high-altitude jet stream, and African winds and dust.

"It's been great," said Deke Arndt, climate monitoring chief for NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. "I hope that we ride this pattern out through this year and following years."

There have been eight tropical storms in the Atlantic. Not one has reached the 74 mph wind threshold to become a hurricane, though Tropical Storm Humberto off the coast of Africa is likely to become one soon.

If Humberto stays a tropical storm through 8 a.m. EDT Wednesday, it will be the latest date for the first hurricane of the season since satellites started watching the seas in 1967, according to the National Hurricane Center.

This year, overall storm activity in the Atlantic — an index that combines number and strength — is about one-fifth the average. That's despite warmer-than-normal seas, which usually fuel storms.

It has also been a record of nearly eight years since a major hurricane — one with winds of 110 mph — blew ashore in the United States. That was Hurricane Wilma, which hit Florida in October 2005.

Meteorologists say dry, stable and at times dusty air blowing from Africa is choking storms instead of allowing them to grow. On top of that, shifts in the jet stream — the same river of air some blame for wild weather in 2011 and 2012 — have caused dry air and wind shear, which interfere with storm formation, said Gerry Bell of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

Plain old random chance is also a big factor, said MIT meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel.

"Nobody's complaining," said former National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield.

Bell and NOAA last month forecast a 70 percent chance of a busier-than-normal hurricane season, with six to nine hurricanes and 13 to 19 named storms. Bell said he is sticking with that forecast because it was just an unusually slow August, adding: "There's going to be more hurricanes; that's just a fact."

People shouldn't let their guard down because several past seasons have started off slow and ended quite busy and deadly — 1967, 1984, 1988, 1994 and 2002, said Ryan Maue, a meteorologist with the private firm Weather Bell. Hurricane season starts in June and runs through the end of November

"All it takes is one bad hurricane to ruin an otherwise quiet hurricane season," said Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters, a former hurricane hunter. "Recall that last year's worst storm — Hurricane Sandy — didn't occur until the third week of October."

In the nation's heartland this year, tornadoes are flirting with a record for the fewest, with just a bit more than half the normal number of nearly 1,300 twisters reported by mid-September. A shift in the jet stream is credited.

While the West has seen heat waves and major wildfires, the summer heat overall hasn't been nearly as oppressive and extensive as last year's record-setter. Last year, weather stations around the U.S. set more than 59,000 heat-related records through Sept. 9. This year they have set 21,254.

In 2011, the U.S. had 14 weather disasters that cost at least $1 billion. Last year it was 11. While NOAA hasn't counted them yet this year, the number is far lower, but includes two terrible Oklahoma tornadoes, meteorologists said.

National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini said climate change tends to push the world toward more extreme weather, but sometimes natural variability pulls the weather more back to normal, and this is one of those years for much of the U.S. However, China, Japan and Korea have had many extremes, especially heat waves, Masters said.


American energy booming DESPITE Obama's policies

A question of importance for all Americans was directed to President Obama by upstate New York voter Philip Tricolla during the second presidential debate on Oct. 16, 2012: “Your energy secretary, Steven Chu, has now been on record three times stating it’s not the policy of his department to help lower gas prices. Do you agree with Secretary Chu that this is not the job of the energy department?”

Obama responded: “The most important thing we can do is to make sure we control our own energy. So here's what I've done since I've been president. We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years. Natural gas production is the highest it's been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment.”

That was true when Obama said it and, according to an Aug. 12, 2013, report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, it remains true. Oil, natural gas and coal production in this country are at record levels. But this is despite Obama’s policies, not, as he implied, because of them. Oil, natural gas and coal production are zooming upwards on private land, but plummeting on government lands.

Fossil fuel production on private lands has increased by 27 percent since 2003, according to the EIA. But on government lands, fossil fuel production is down 15 percent since 2003, including a 4 percent drop in 2011 alone. It is Obama’s policies that are directly causing these drops in public land energy production. Immediately after taking office in 2009, Obama canceled 77 leases for oil and gas drilling in Utah. Then in January 2010, Obama issued new regulations further restricting energy development on all federal lands.

After the BP oil spill in April 2010, Obama instituted not one but two comprehensive drilling bans in the Gulf of Mexico, the first of which was declared illegal by a federal judge. After lifting his second ban, Obama refused to issue permits for any new drilling in the Gulf, which EIA estimated cut domestic offshore oil production by 13 percent that year alone.

Obama has leased less than half as many offshore acres as President Clinton did at the same point in his tenure. And Obama is blocking access to 19 billion barrels of oil in the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and the eastern Gulf of Mexico, another 10 billion barrels estimated in the Chukchi Sea off the Alaskan coast, and another 10 billion barrels of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.

Even so, the United States is undergoing an energy revolution, making the U.S. dramatically less dependent on oil from hostile foreign nations. Increased natural gas production is making manufacturing here competitive again due to lower production costs, which in turn fuels a manufacturing employment expansion the country has not seen in decades. It’s the fruit of Americans working together voluntarily in the private sector. Think what they could do if Obama and the bureaucrats would get out of the way.




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


11 September, 2013

Warmists now taking skeptics seriously

The prominent British Warmist organization, The Grantham Institute, has deigned to notice the skeptical blogosphere. They treat us as if we were bacilli under a microscope but their conclusions are surprisingly fair:

Mapping the climate sceptical blogosphere

By Amelia Sharman et al.


While mainstream scientific knowledge production has been extensively examined in the academic literature, comparatively little is known about alternative networks of scientific knowledge production. Online sources such as blogs are an especially under-investigated site of knowledge contestation. Using degree centrality and node betweenness tests from social network analysis, and thematic content analysis of individual posts, this research identifies and critically examines the climate sceptical blogosphere and investigates whether a focus on particular themes contributes to the positioning of the most central blogs.

A network of 171 individual blogs is identified, with three blogs in particular found to be the most central: Climate Audit, JoNova and Watts Up With That. These blogs predominantly focus on the scientific element of the climate debate, providing either a direct scientifically-based challenge to mainstream climate science, or a critique of the conduct of the climate science system, and appear to be less preoccupied with other types of scepticism that are prevalent in the wider public debate such as ideologically or values-motivated scepticism.

It is possible that these central blogs in particular are not only acting as translators between scientific research and lay audiences, but, in their reinterpretation of existing climate science knowledge claims, are filling a void by opening up climate science to those who may have been previously unengaged by the mainstream knowledge process and, importantly, acting themselves as public sites of alternative expertise for a climate sceptical audience.


Utter lies: Warming climate begins to taint Europe's blood supplies

Since there has been no warming for over 15 years, it cannot be tainting anything. Non-existent things don't have effects. If there is something going on it is more likely to be a result of the heavy illegal immigration of recent years

A whole new set of ungovernable pathogens are being loosed on the world's blood supplies. A warming climate has allowed blood-borne tropical diseases to flourish where once they were unheard of, and they're getting around.

The state of blood supplies became worrisome after tennis star Arthur Ashe's death from AIDS 20 years ago in 1993 -- the result of an HIV-tainted transfusion administered during a routine heart bypass operation in the late 1980s.

Hospitals and blood banks now routinely screen potential donors for HIV and hepatitis in order to keep these diseases from accidentally finding their way into patients. But recent outbreaks of diseases such as West Nile fever, dengue fever and malaria -- all carried by mosquitoes -- have posed new problems for the health of European blood banks.

During the summer heat wave of 2010, when global average temperatures reached a 30-year high, an outbreak of West Nile fever erupted in southeastern Europe. The first cases were in Greece, where 261 cases and 32 deaths were reported. Although West Nile virus had been seen in animals, these were the first reported cases in humans.

Additional cases were reported in Romania, Hungary and parts of Russia. In total, there were 900 confirmed cases.

Europe also saw its first case of nonimported dengue fever in 2010, when a local case was reported in southern France. More than 1,000 cases of the disease are brought into Europe every year from areas where it's endemic, usually by migrants or visitors predominantly from urban areas in Asia and South America.

But until 2010 there were no locally originating cases. The patient in question had not been traveling outside Europe and could have contracted the disease only by being bitten in France by a member of the vector species, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus).

Since then, the Asian tiger mosquito has been found over a substantial area in Europe. In 2012, colonies were found in 20 European countries, as far north as Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, as far south as Sicily and as far east as Croatia.

Jan Semenza, researcher at the Unit of Scientific Advice at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm, said: "Climate change has introduced several public health issues. For one thing, now there are new pathogens in Europe which have never been seen here before."

Tropical and sub-Saharan vector-borne diseases are seeing an upsurge in Europe, largely because climate conditions have become favorable to carriers, which include mosquitoes, ticks, triatomine bugs, sand flies and black flies.

Many of the diseases carried by these insects, including West Nile fever, have latency periods sometimes lasting months, when an infected person has no symptoms and is unlikely to be a suspected carrier. For this reason, potential blood donors may unwittingly donate tainted blood.

Although transfusion-transmitted cases of diseases such as West Nile and dengue fever, both carried by mosquitoes, have not been documented in Europe, there have been several cases of transfusion-transmitted leishmaniasis. Leishmaniasis is normally transmitted to humans through the bite of infected female sand flies.

Endemic to South America, parts of Africa and Asia, the disease doesn't have any symptoms for a large proportion of the carriers. Several cases have been documented resulting from intravenous drug users in Spain sharing infected needles.


Ice, Ice, Baby

By meteorologist Joe Bastardi

Over the years, I have wondered if many of the folks on the other side of the AGW debate actually believed what they were saying. In the warmth of your home it's pretty easy to make bold pronouncements about impending disasters 70 years down the road. But to actually believe it enough to take action? Well, that's admirable in a way—I admire people that take a stand. But believing this enough to try it? I can't go that far.

So here we are, the summer of 2013.

Remember this quote from Senator John Kerry in 2009? “[T]he Arctic will be ice-free in the summer of 2013.”

In defense of the former senator, he was simply reciting what some in the scientific community told him. But I have a question for him and our policy makers who claim that climate change is the biggest threat to civilization today: Have you taken a look at what is actually going on? Let's see how things turned out. Here's a look at the Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area:

Is ice coverage below normal? Yes, but it's much higher than last year and at the highest level in several years. Certainly not gone.

Lost in all this is the Southern Hemisphere ice cap which grew to record levels in July. It's closer to the top of the heap now than the Arctic ice cap is to the bottom.

I am still stumped trying to figure out how many of the AGW proponents actually believe this nonsense. I wonder if anyone will ask John Kerry why the ice cap is still there. Not only is it still there, but it's still behaving the way nature dictates. It's darn cold, and you have to be pretty naïve to believe it's going to melt away.

If the agenda was based on man-caused global cooling, then you can be sure the Antarctic ice cap would be in the news every day.


Why we really do want to abolish solar power subsidies

Tim Worstall

Long time readers will recognise the skeleton of this argument: that solar power is becoming ever cheaper really very quickly. Whichis exactly why we should immediately abolish all and any subsidies for it.

That solar power is becoming cheaper very quickly is obviously true: but it's also true that the general engineering opinion is that it's goint to continue to do so and that it will soon be cheaper than coal produced 'leccie from the grid:

"He says the key to making solar panels competitive — whether in the United States, China, or elsewhere — is to bring the cost of installed panels to a level competitive with the current cost of electricity from the grid, without subsidies or tax benefits. Once that goal is achieved — which the researchers estimate will likely occur by the end of the decade — then much larger PV factories will become economically viable worldwide. “This common goal, which can benefit all nations, is an opportunity for international cooperation that harnesses our complementary strengths,” Buonassisi says. Improvements under way in every step of the PV manufacturing process — from thinner silicon wafers to greater cell efficiency to better ways of mounting the cells in a panel — could end up making them highly competitive with other sources of power, Buonassisi says. “Today’s technology is not quite there yet,” he says, but adds, “We could be hitting grid-competitive costs … within the next few years,” which could lead to a surge in installations."

That's just excellent, of course. Cheaper power for all is something to be desired not rejected simply because the current supporters of the technology are ageing hippies. Admittedly, it's a close run thing but that cheaper power does outweigh the hippies thing.

At which point the hippies leap up and shout that it's the subsidies that make solar cheaper so we must continue them. Something which fails on two grounds. The first being that I'm afraid industry doesn't work like that, it doesn't turn on a thruppeny bit. The solar industry has built up a sufficient head of steam that it's going to get there whatever the current level of subsidy: thus we don't need to pay it any more to get to the desired goal.

But the much more important point is that the existence of price efficient solar cells is rather like a public good. Assume that it does become gloriously cheap: no one is not going to sell it to us here in England just because we're English or anything. Quite the contrary, they'll be falling over themselves in order to take our money. Which means that we, the English, can simply stop subsidising solar power in England. We'll wait thanks, wait for that decade or less, then we'll buy the cheap and efficient cells and install them.

Normally we think of the public goods problem as being one of preventing free riders. My suggestion here is the opposite of course: that given the similarity to a public good we should position ourselves to be those free riders. Abolish the subsidies now, wait until the prices comes down some more then install them when they are cost effective without subsidy.

What's not to like about this plan?


The 44th Pacific Island Forum, Majuro, September 3-5. 2013

Commentary by Nils-Axel Mörner, Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, Stockholm, Sweden,

The 44th Pacific Island Forum was held in Majuro, the Marshall Islands, on September 3-5. Before the meeting, the European Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard declared that the Pacific region could count on Europe’s help (obviously with money), if the Pacific helped EU in their efforts to bring about “an ambitious future climate regime to be finalized in 2015”. In other words: we pay if you deliver what we need.

And, indeed, not even in Europe is easy to convince people that temperature is rising when it has been stable for 15 years, and that sea level is rapidly rising when it has been stable or only moderately rising. Hence, the Europe Commission need support and they are willing to pay for it.

The Forum Communiqué describes the outcome of the meeting on 9 pages. Very little, if anything is said about climate change, temperature and sea level. Subject like fishery, trading, education, gender, regional assistance, security and radioactive contaminations are discussed. These non-climatic issues were probably important in the regional context.

Added to the notes of the meeting is a “Declaration for Climate Leadership” (2 pages) written in a very different style and devoted to the well-known IPCC dialectics. The declaration is said to be “a platform for an upward spiral of action to urgently reduce and phase down greenhouse gas pollution”. Obviously, we here have what the commissioner needed in order to continue the European economical assistance (as stated before the meeting).

In conclusion, the meeting contributed absolutely nothing (zero) to the scientific discussion on climate, sea level and global changes. All the talk in the Resolution about “consensus”, “escalating greenhouse gas”, “carbon dioxide threshold and new danger”, “4oC or more” temperature rise and the necessity of “urgent actions” to be taken, is nothing but a repetition of old disinformation that doesn’t become better just because it is repeated. We can happily turn our backs to it; the same old politicised stuff.

Later (PINA, PACNEWS, Sept. 10) at a “Post-Forum Dialogue”, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, stated that the Obama administration will sign onto the Majuro declaration. The reason she gave for this is quite remarkable, however.

“Climate change is going to have wide ranging impacts all over our globe and that’s something that we are already seeing, particularly here as I flew into the airport and saw the sandbags from the last time the water inundated the runway (in Majuro).”

The fact is that the Majuro tide gauge has recorded stable sea level conditions over the last 20 years. The inundation the secretary talked about was just an extreme storm event, which all coastal sites occasionally may experience. It has absolutely nothing to do with any sea level rise or climate change.

The Majuro tide gauge record indicating no rising trend in sea level over the last 20 years

Via email

Lack of hurricanes helps climate change skeptics

"Rick Perry leaves a trail of death." So reads the headline in a fake weather report, part of a new campaign to name hurricanes after noted climate change skeptics. The group,, hopes that associating politicians with destructive storms will make them more willing to enact restrictions on carbon emissions as a means of fighting global warming.

The campaign is tasteless, but it helps to highlight an otherwise largely overlooked fact: Hurricanes have been largely absent this year.

For the first time in 11 years, August came and went without a single hurricane forming in the Atlantic. The last intense hurricane (Category 3 or above) to hit the United States was Hurricane Wilma, in 2005. According to Phil Klotzbach, head of Colorado State University's seasonal hurricane forecast, accumulated cyclone energy is 70 percent below normal this year.

Hurricanes have become a major part of the public relations campaign for radical action on climate change. After Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern Seaboard last fall, the left quickly dubbed it a "Frankenstorm," and nearly fell over itself attempting to claim that the intensity of the storm was a result of greenhouse gas emissions.

That's not so surprising. Despite decades of effort, the environmental movement has largely failed to persuade the American public to accept the draconian restrictions that stopping climate change would entail, and linking hurricanes to climate change may be their best chance to change all that.

A look at the science, however, tells a somewhat different story. While the overall number of recorded hurricanes has increased since 1878 (when existing records begin), this is at least partly due to an improved ability to observe storms rather than an increase in the number of storms.

As Thomas Knutson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration noted recently, "the rising trend in Atlantic tropical storm counts is almost entirely due to increases in short-duration (less than 2-day) storms alone [which were] particularly likely to have been overlooked in the earlier parts of the record, as they would have had less opportunity for chance encounters with ship traffic." As such, "the historical Atlantic hurricane record does not provide compelling evidence for a substantial greenhouse warming induced long-term increase."

Similarly, the increase in damages from storms over time has less to do with their increased frequency or intensity than with the fact that we have gotten richer. Had Hurricane Sandy swept through New Jersey 100 years ago, it would have done far less damage simply because, back then, there was less of value to destroy. These days Americans are not only wealthier, but we are more inclined to build closer to the water, due to subsidized flood insurance. When University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke looked at the numbers, he found that correcting for these factors completely eliminated the supposed increase in hurricane damage.

Unsurprisingly, then, a leaked draft of the Fifth Assessment Report of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (due to be released later this month) downgraded the likelihood of a connection between past temperature rises and extreme weather events. According to the report, there is "low confidence" in any association between climate change and hurricane frequency or intensity.

The U.N. panel could, of course, be wrong. Congress recently held hearings examining the science behind climate change claims, and should continue to do so. In this case, however, the attempts to slander climate change skeptics by linking them to today's storms is scientifically flawed to say the least.

Whenever a climate change conference is greeted by a record snowfall or cold snap, environmentalists are quick to point out that weather is not the same as climate. Yet when it comes to storms, many have been willing to fall into exactly the same trap.




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


10 September, 2013

The Triumph of Tony Abbott

According to the conventional wisdom of just a few years ago, Tony Abbott should never have become prime minister of Australia. The doyens of the press gallery had marked him as a right-wing throwback to a bygone era.

After all, Mr. Abbott is skeptical about alarmist claims of man-made global warming. He is a former Catholic seminarian who opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. His gaffes—he recently said a female parliamentary candidate had "sex appeal"—have provided fodder for left-leaning satirists. He is an Anglophile, a former Oxford boxing blue, and an unashamed constitutional monarchist who sides with America in the world.

Yet for all his evident shortcomings, Mr. Abbott led his center-right Liberal-National coalition to a resounding victory at the weekend, handing the Australian Labor Party one of its biggest defeats. How did this political outcast win power down under? And is he a role model for conservatives around the world?

To understand the momentousness of this weekend's election outcome, let's recall how the Liberals wandered in the political wilderness after Kevin Rudd took power in 2007. The consensus then was that he would consign conservatives to opposition for a generation, much as American pundits predicted Barack Obama's victory in 2008 would mark a liberal realignment of the U.S. political landscape.

In response, the Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull and other so-called moderates within the party jettisoned policies of the conservative era of Prime Minister John Howard from 1996 to 2007, believing the way forward was to ape the Rudd agenda. So they agreed to reverse pro-market labor laws that made it easier for business to hire and fire. Apologies and feel-good pronouncements were offered to indigenous Australians for past Western sins. They grew more relaxed about illegal immigration and people-smuggling rackets that had virtually ended under Mr. Howard.

And crucially, the opposition's leaders embraced the global warming agenda. As if to demonstrate the liberal Liberals' fitness for government, they endorsed Mr. Rudd's signature legislation, a cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme. The result was that the governing Labor party held commanding double-digit leads over its conservative opponents.

But Labor's Indian summer came to an end, and what changed the political climate was climate change.

For two years, the global warming debate had been conducted in a heretic-hunting and illiberal environment. It was deemed blasphemy for anyone to dare question not only the climate science but the policy consensus to decarbonize the economy. Mr. Rudd even claimed that climate change was the "great moral challenge" of our time and even denounced critics of cap and trade as "deniers" and "conspiracy theorists." The hapless Liberals led by Mr. Turnbull—an Oz version of Mitt Romney—were in the deepest political valley.

Mr. Abbott, then widely written off as a remnant of the Howard era, decided to challenge the media-political zeitgeist. Cap and trade, he argued, merely amounted to economic pain for no environmental gain, especially for a nation that accounted for only 1.4% of greenhouse gas emissions. He contested the Liberal party leadership, winning by a single vote.

Like Margaret Thatcher's victory in the U.K. Conservative party leadership ballot and Ronald Reagan's nomination as the Republican presidential candidate in 1980, this delighted the left. They considered him too divisive and—gasp!—conservative to be electable. According to one distinguished intellectual, under Mr. Abbott's leadership the Liberals would become "a down-market protest party of angry old men and the outer suburbs."

Then along came the failed 2009 Copenhagen summit, which exposed the Rudd agenda as a sham. When the rest of the world refused to endorse the climate enthusiasts' fanciful notions for slashing carbon emissions, Mr. Rudd imploded. Mr. Abbott seized the moment and highlighted the higher energy costs created by Labor's emissions trading scheme.

Almost overnight, Mr. Rudd's stratospheric poll figures cratered. Facing a changing (political) climate, he ditched the emissions trading scheme, his government's keynote legislation.

Labor factional warlords panicked, knifed Mr. Rudd in an internal party coup and installed Julia Gillard as prime minister. Undeterred, Mr. Abbott continued his relentless attacks on other key issues of principle and policy.

He opposed Canberra's big-spending and interventionist agenda, which had turned a $20 billion surplus under the previous conservative government to skyrocketing debt and deficits; while he supported tough border protection, which had traditionally helped boost public confidence in large-scale and legal immigration. By refusing to buckle in his opposition to Labor's increasingly antibusiness agenda, he set the scene for his electoral success at the weekend.

To be sure, despite his vaunted commitment to reducing the size and scope of government, Mr. Abbott is hardly the second coming of Milton Friedman. His plan for an expensive paid paternal leave program, for instance, suggests a social-engineering streak. But the point here is that he is cut from an entirely different cloth than his opponents both inside and outside his own party.

One reason Mr. Abbott scored an emphatic victory is that he convinced voters that conservatives would not be profligate with tax dollars. It remains to be seen what Mr. Abbott does in office, but the formula worked at a time when the conventional wisdom said he was unelectable.

The upshot here is that Mr. Abbott did the very thing so many U.S. Republicans and British Tories have shied away from in recent years: He had the courage to broaden the appeal of a conservative agenda rather than copy the policies of his opponents. As a result, Australians enjoyed a real choice at the polls this weekend. Mr. Abbott's resounding victory shows that they relished this opportunity to chart a more free-market course.


Tony Abbott instructs bureaucrats to prepare to axe carbon tax

PRIME Minister-elect Tony Abbott has personally instructed his new departmental secretary to make preparations to axe the carbon tax and activate Operation Sovereign Borders to stop asylum boats.

Mr Abbott got down to business this morning after his landslide election victory, with a briefing with Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary Ian Watt.

Meetings were scheduled with Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson and Finance Department head David Tune, while Mr Abbott was also due to hold talks with senior Coalition colleagues later in the day.

He told Dr Watt to prepare the ground for the Coalition to implement its agenda swiftly, and he was confident the public's "reasonable expectations" could be met.

"Obviously, a very early item of business is scrapping the carbon tax," he told Dr Watt at the commencement of their meeting.

"There's border security, there's economic security and the people expect, quite rightly, that the incoming government will build a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia.

"I deeply respect the professionalism in the Australian Public Service. You are experts at policy implementation and I'm confident that we will be able to successfully implement our agenda because that's what people expect of us."

As Labor enters a period of deep introspection over its future, Mr Abbott has also begun to field calls from world leaders, receiving a congratulatory call from UK Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this morning.

Voters last night delivered an emphatic verdict on six turbulent years of Labor rule, sending the party packing on the back of strong results in NSW, Tasmania and Victoria.

Mr Abbott has a packed agenda for his first 100 days in office. On the top of his agenda is rescinding the carbon tax.

But senior Labor figures have warned they are unlikely to recognise his claimed mandate to axe the measure, and are likely to frustrate the measure if the Senate numbers allow it.

Coalition finance spokesman Andrew Robb said the economy was in for a confidence jolt, declaring an Abbott government would "reboot" the mining boom and "massively" boost jobs.

"We can do so much," he said.

"We can get Australia open for business, we will restore an appetite for risk and investment."

With more than ten million ballots counted, the Coalition has received more than 53 per cent of the primary vote, and looks like ending up with about 90 seats to Labor's 57.

Labor suffered its worst primary vote in 100 years, but Mr Rudd managed to hang on in Griffith and former treasurer Wayne Swan appears to have retained his seat of Lilley.

Greens MP Adam Bandt retained his seat of Melbourne, while the party also looks like gaining a Victorian senate seat, despite a slump in the party's national vote.


Green policies increase forest fire damage

Forest fires are raging throughout the western United States as they often do this time of year, and just as thunder follows lightning, we can expect to hear environmentalists and their political shills blame global warming for the tempest.

In fact, a quick Internet search of the terms “forest fires” and “climate change” provides a cascade of responses ranging from attacking California Representative Dana Rohrabacher for dismissing the concept that forest fires and global warming are related to detailed explanations of how the purportedly warming atmosphere is creating drought-like conditions.

An article on the National Wildlife Federation blog complains that the media is missing the big story on the Rim Fire in California which has burned a portion of Yosemite National Park writing, “Yet almost universally missing from the media coverage, as usual: That climate change is making wildfires more frequent and intense. As they have in past years, reporters won’t connect the dots in their main stories, treating the science that’s staring us in the face as a side story.”

The once respectable National Wildlife Federation’s reporting never once mentions that the climate has been stable for the past fifteen years and the so-called scientific consensus that the earth’s atmosphere is warming has collapsed.

But what is more irresponsible in this and hundreds of other reports is that the very environmental fundraisers who are sending out emails demanding money from the gullible based upon the need to stop global warming to save a cute feathery creature from horrific demise by fire are likely partially responsible for the fire damage being done.

By using the Endangered Species Act and through an anti-logging Forest Management doctrine, dead and dying timber has been left uncut and wilderness areas have been left road-free.

The effect is devastating.

The dried out dead and dying trees act as kindling that accelerates a fire’s growth and intensity, while the non-existent roads, eliminate both fire breaks and the ability to get equipment and personnel into areas to allow fires to be more easily contained.

There is no doubt that fires burn in both managed and unmanaged forests, the difference is that in managed areas the timbering itself creates natural fire breaks, creates man-made access to the outbreak making it easier to fight, and the forestry practice itself is designed to protect the maximum number of trees from fire.

The disaster of a fire ravaging a forest becomes doubly acute for a company that owns the rights to cut timber. For a timber company, a devastating forest fire is not only an environmental disaster, but also an economic one that destroys the product that they plan to harvest to provide the wood the world needs to build homes, furniture and other structures.

It is in the financial interest of these firms to take care and manage this renewable resource responsibly to ensure that when the inevitable fire occurs, the chances of it consuming hundreds of thousands of acres of forest lands are minimized.

The next time you hear or read of an “activist” bemoaning the critical habitat lost through a forest fire and urging action on global warming it would be wise to ask what role did anti-timber policies play in exacerbating the devastation?

When the next fundraising appeal arrives in your mail box with a furry critter surrounded by the charred remains of what used to be its home, question whether that organization has supported responsible timber management practices or has pursued a zero use policy that is directly responsible for the kind of high intensity fires we are now seeing out west.

Environmental fundraisers frequently depend upon people who respond emotionally to a heartbreaking picture without engaging in the critical thinking to discover whether the proposed solutions are viable or even helpful.

Remember that the environmental fundraiser makes money in the aftermath of a disaster, while those who make a living from the resource make money by preventing and limiting the disaster.

For me, I will trust someone who loses millions of dollars if a forest burns to engage in responsible practices to save that investment over someone who sees a forest fire as a means to raise money to lobby against global warming.

It is time to start listening to the timber companies when it comes to forestry management rather than the shrill voices of those whose no-cut ideas have had disastrous consequences.


Time to shed some light on phony federal ‘science’

Who owns taxpayer-funded science? From the way many scientists behave, it’s not the taxpayers.

Many scientific studies funded by federal agencies — through grants, contracts or cooperative agreements — hide the guts of the science. What the scientists keep secret is the raw data they obtain and the methods they use to interpret it, as if those were personal possessions. It’s an especially outrageous attitude when their work is used to justify the horrendous, burdensome regulations.

Independent scientist Rob Roy Ramey recounted an extreme example: “A researcher tracked endangered desert bighorn sheep with government GPS radio collars to record precise animal locations for wildlife rangers. He then reset the access codes so only he could download the data remotely, and refused to surrender the codes. California Fish and Game had to track down and net-gun the bighorns from a helicopter, to manually download the data, costing a fortune and endangering both animals and people.”

Agency “science” frequently isn’t about data collection at all. Instead, it’s a “literature search,” with researchers in a library selecting papers and reports written by others, merely summarizing results and giving opinions of the actual scientists. These agency researchers never even see the underlying data, much less collect it in the field. The agency then holds up those second-hand opinions as if they had rigorously tested them against the data. Using this unscrupulous tactic, they can cherry-pick the literature to make any case they want, for any regulation they want to impose.

With so many federal reports containing no data — only conclusions put forth by another scientist — there is no way to debate, debunk, or disprove the underlying facts. It’s almost impossible even to get court orders to track down and disclose the data, if Freedom of Information Act requests are denied, which they frequently are (legally or otherwise).

If there is no way to test a statement, hypothesis or theory, it is not science. It’s opinion or politics. If you hide the raw data, no one can test it, and it’s easy for agenda-driven “researchers” and regulators to implement laws that are based on junk science or even fraud.

Indeed, the only reason a scientist would want to hide his or her data and methods is to prevent others from discovering or demonstrating that they are false — or to surreptitiously seek personal profit from taxpayer-funded discoveries, which likewise are not the property of the discovering tax-paid scientist.

We shouldn’t base our regulations on untested and unscientific “science.” And yet American science is riddled with data secrecy. How can we know the nation isn’t paying for mathematical errors, unreliable methods, deliberate bias, peer-review collusion, outright fakery, or even criminal activity and fraud?

All these allegations against federal agencies have emerged repeatedly. They surfaced once again at an August 2, 2013, congressional hearing. House Natural Resources Committee under Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) has been investigating secretive and corrupted science. At his hearing — “Transparency and Sound Science Gone Extinct?” a panel of four witnesses honed in on the impacts of the Obama Administration’s closed-door mega-settlements on endangered species and people.

These secretive Big Green lawsuit settlements use the Endangered Species Act to force agencies to list hundreds of species and make related habitat decisions, not because the science supports the need, but because Big Green settlement deadlines require it. They underscore the nasty reality that the Endangered Species Act is not about protecting species; it’s about land-use control. Everything in the ESA hinges on “critical habitat,” land that a bureaucrat can declare is off limits for public and private users, supposedly to serve a species’ needs, but with devastating impacts on people, jobs and private property.

Panel witness Damien Schiff, principal attorney of the Pacific Legal Foundation, testified that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service itself “estimated that the annual economic impact of critical habitat designation for the California gnatcatcher [a bird] is over $100 million.” It’s undoubtedly much higher than that.

One of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s first publications was “Land Use Controls in the United States,” a 1977 handbook that taught activists how to separate land from use (and users and owners). The power to impose land-use controls anywhere is the real motive behind all current sue-and-settle back-room species-listing deadline deals between Big Green and President Obama’s bureaucrats.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe naturally defended his sue and settle deals. “Settlement agreements are often in the public’s best interest, because we have no effective legal defense to most deadline cases,” he claimed. That’s a flat-out lie.

Ashe has a powerful legal defense that he refuses to use: Demand that the science underlying the species listing be tested to determine whether it is flawed, corrupt, or fraudulent. He won’t use it for a good reason: recent revelations of false science by agency contractors — California’s Mad River Biologists. Failure to pass “truth” tests could totally invalidate the original listing and everything to do with it.

Why won’t he use that moral, ethical, and legal defense as an impartial arbiter? First, his agency authorized funding for most of the science. Second, most of the scientists are on his agency’s payroll. Third, politically, he can’t try to win because that would make the Obama Administration appear to oppose endangered species protection — or that it is stealing people’s property and supporting fraud.

Operating under this mindset, the FWS becomes a political tool that uses science as its sword and shield. It cannot be an impartial arbiter. In fact, far from being honest and impartial, the FWS is rife with malicious officials, as witness Kent McMullen, chairman of Washington state’s Franklin County Natural Resources Advisory Committee, testified. His written testimony filled nine pages with outrageous FWS dirty tricks and skullduggery in his county — and in this supposedly free, honest, accountable country.

For example, announcements of critical habitat designations for the White Bluffs Bladderpod plant were deliberately kept “under the radar” in Franklin County, so that they could become law, before anyone could object. Only after Hastings asked county officials about it did the impending decision come to light.

McMullen said, “An FWS employee that apologized in private to a farm family told them that they had been told to keep the issue quiet and to not inform landowners or locals.”

The star witness was independent scientist Ramey, a Ph.D. with 33 years of worldwide experience with threatened and endangered wildlife. Ramey hit key points hard: “The American people pay for data collection and research on threatened and endangered species through grants, contracts cooperative agreements, and administration of research permits. They pay the salaries of agency staff who collect data, and author, edit, and publish papers based upon those data.” For the most part, regulations are based on those data, and these officials willingly go along with the crooked system.

“It is essential that the American people have the right to full access to those data in a timely manner,” Ramey continued. “A requirement that data and methods be provided in sufficient detail to allow third party reproduction would raise the bar on the quality and reproducibility of the science used in ESA decisions and benefit species recovery. Failure to ensure this level of transparency will undermine the effectiveness of the very programs that the data were gathered for in the first place.”

Then Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), who chaired the hearing after Hastings had to leave, told the witnesses: “For all of you, this is a yes or no answer. I’m going to go down the line. ‘Would you agree that in this day and age of the Internet, it is both possible and preferable that actual data be used for ESA decisions that affect both species and people, and that the data should be available for everyone to see online on the Internet?’” Mr. Shiff? “Yes.” Mr. Ashe? “Yes.” Mr. McCollum? “Yes.” Dr. Ramey? “Yes.”

They were all on the record, including Director Ashe, whose feet are now available for holding to the fire. Federal decision-making must be based on the best data, not just the best data “available.” That is in the public interest. It’s time we stopped tolerating fraud, abuse and property theft by federal regulators.


Global Warming Tour Cut Off By--Wait for It-- Too Much Ice!

In an effort to highlight the impacts of global warming, four fun loving environmentalists decided to row the Northwest Passage in Canada, which used to be cut off by ice accumulation. Unfortunately, their trek was cut short by seasonally cold temperatures and – you guessed it – ice.

“After learning that ice choked much of the route ahead, the group decided to end their trip at Cambridge Bay, about halfway to Pond Inlet,” reported CBC.

Apparently there is just not enough global warming happening right now. (Maybe the group should have driven around town in a Hummer a few times before attempting their publicity stunt.)

According to a report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there has been a 60 percent increase in the amount of ocean covered with ice compared to this time last year. The finding indicates that there is clearly a shortage of global warming in this down economy. To put the figure into context, that’s roughly a million square miles of new ice in one year. In fact, the ice has even forced ships to reroute cargo as the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year long.

World scientists meeting at the IPCC, seem confounded by the fact that the world is set to see a 15 year downtrend in world temperatures. Some are calling this a “pause” of the anthropogenic global warming trend we’ve seen for the last decade. Other experts are saying temps could fall as low as they did in the 1960’s and 1970’s – when other experts were warning that the world was headed toward an Ice Age. The change in climate trends seems to be making the IPCC’s ability to sell global warming initiatives a bit more difficult.

Despite the fact that light trucks such as the F-150 and Toyota Tacoma continue to lead automotive sales, our climb on the global temperature gauge seems to be slowing. In the last 100 years we, as mankind, have only managed to increase the world temperature by .8 degrees Celsius. Try as we might, the Amazon rainforest is still around, and we have yet to see California erode into the Pacific Ocean. C’mon people. . . This is America. We can do better. I suggest we launch a full fledged campaign to help push California into the Pacific.

Of course, part of the problem could be that the idea of anthropogenic global warming is a flawed concept. My apologies to Al Gore for writing such sacrilege; but excuse me for not having a terrible amount of faith in a scientific community that has been astoundingly wrong over the past 50 years. Aside from the fact that alarmists such as Gore have yet to make a correct prediction on global climate trends, they have also numbed me to their cause through their propagandistic use of cute fuzzy animals like the Arctic’s dominant killing machine: The polar bear.

Nothing epitomizes the environmentalist cause like the picture of the polar bear stranded on a melting iceberg. However, the phrase “It’s to save the polar bears!” loses a little luster when you read that Polar Bears can swim up to 200 miles. . . If a polar bear gets stranded on a piece of ice (that floats around 1mph) further than 200 miles from land – well – that’s not climate change. That’s Darwinism.

The bad news is that despite the obvious confusion among the scientific community regarding the cause and effect of climate change, political believers of anthropogenic global warming will not relent their war on industrialization and affluence. The good news, however, is that despite the propaganda, egotism, and outright lies (AHEM* East Anglia*AHEM) among political believers in global warming, much of America seems to be growing skeptical. After all, what is Al Gore going to say: Global Warming is leading to more sea ice?

Another piece of good news: Because of this year’s record amount of arctic ice, those fuzzy little polar bears will have plenty more solid ice upon which they can slaughter baby seals. That should warm the hearts of those four Canadian environmentalists.


"Greenhouse" gases COOL the earth

While we have been told that 'greenhouse gases' are a cause of dangerous surface global warming, climate scientists have failed to tell us that they also absorbs radiation from the Sun in the upper atmosphere thereby protecting the Earth in a similar fashion to the protection given by ozone.For the case of absorption by CO2, the most prominent spectral line is at a wavelength of 4.3 microns.

Applying Planck's Law this gives us a spectral radiance of no more than 0.73 Watts per (steradian metre squared) per micron. This is for an Earth emitting at a temperature of 288 degrees Kelvin, dependent on the emissivity at the time. For the incoming Sun's spectral radiance at the Earth's orbit, the figure is 2.24 W/(sr m^2)/micron for a Sun temperature of 5780 degrees Kelvin.

These numbers mean that at least THREE TIMES as much heat is radiated back into space by CO2 in the upper atmosphere as is 'back-radiated' to the Earth's surface at this wavelength.

Clearly, absorption and re-radiation of the sunshine in the upper atmosphere at this wavelength cools the Earth and is going to cause additional cooling as the concentration of CO2 increases.

Recent alarm about the release of methane gas from areas of permafrost failed to recognise that the main absorption peak for methane is at a wavelength of about 3.3 microns.

At this wavelength the radiant flux from the Sun is of the order of 85 times greater than that from an Earth at 15 degrees Celsius. This must result in about 85 times as much infrared radiation from the Sun, at 3.3 microns wavelength, being sent back into space by the absorption and re-radiation from methane molecules in the upper atmosphere as could be re-radiated into the lower atmosphere for infrared radiation sourced from the warmed Earth.

Furthermore as the Sun's radiation is re-emitted into space before reaching the Earth's surface, that surface will be colder than the assumed 15 degrees Celsius and thus will release even less radiation at all wavelengths.Next in order of importance, with regard to global warming potential, is nitrous oxide. The absorption peak for this gas is at 4.5 microns at which point the incoming radiant flux from the Sun is about three times the emission from the Earth's surface.

Once again, an increase in the concentration of this gas may cause cooling of the Earth, not warming. While the IPCC claims confidence at levels of 95% or 98% in their attribution of global warming to 'greenhouse gases' in the atmosphere it appears as though they are only dealing with half of the story. There does not seem to be any recognition of the 'back-radiation' of the incoming Sun's radiant flux out into space by the so-called greenhouse gases.

It is little wonder that the forecasts from the climatologists' General Circulation Models have always been incorrect if they do not take account of this effect.

Add to that a lack of consideration of the variation in the emission from the Sun and the claimed confidence levels become unsustainable.An attempt to use the HITRAN site to determine the effect of doubling the concentration of CO2 for the IAO model for a tropical atmosphere from 333 ppm to 666 ppm, balancing the inward sunshine with the outgoing Earth radiation, gave a result that was insignificant relative to the possible errors in the assumptions involved. It certainly did not accord with the extravagant claims of warming made by the IPCC and their cohort. This approach may warrant a far more detailed investigation.

The origin of a failure to comprehend the problem may go back to the mantra of the Green movement of “shortwave in, long wave out”. This completely misrepresents the actual situation whereby the Sun’s spectrum is a continuum covering a large range of wavelengths and includes within it the range of emissions from the Earth.To conclude, the correlation of increasing Earth temperature with increasing CO2 concentration (between circa 1975-1998) was not a causal but a chance statistic.

Physical science would seem to indicate that a negative correlation should exist. Either 'back-radiation' of sunshine keeps the Earth cooler than it might otherwise be without greenhouse gases or there is no such back-radiation in which case there is no greenhouse heating effect.




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


9 September, 2013

Record return of Arctic ice cap as it grows by 60% in a year with top scientists warning of global COOLING

The Warmists have repeatedly hung their hats on changes in Arctic ice -- but that selfsame ice is now biting them on the butt

A chilly Arctic summer has left nearly a million more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 60 per cent.

The rebound from 2012’s record low comes six years after the BBC reported that global warming would leave the Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013.

Instead, days before the annual autumn re-freeze is due to begin, an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores.

The Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year. More than 20 yachts that had planned to sail it have been left ice-bound and a cruise ship attempting the route was forced to turn back.

Some eminent scientists now believe the world is heading for a period of cooling that will not end until the middle of this century – a process that would expose computer forecasts of imminent catastrophic warming as dangerously misleading.

The disclosure comes 11 months after The Mail on Sunday triggered intense political and scientific debate by revealing that global warming has ‘paused’ since the beginning of 1997 – an event that the computer models used by climate experts failed to predict.

In March, this newspaper further revealed that temperatures are about to drop below the level that the models forecast with ‘90 per cent certainty’.

The pause – which has now been accepted as real by every major climate research centre – is important, because the models’ predictions of ever-increasing global temperatures have made many of the world’s economies divert billions of pounds into ‘green’ measures to counter climate change.

Those predictions now appear gravely flawed.


Only six years ago, the BBC reported that the Arctic would be ice-free in summer by 2013, citing a scientist in the US who claimed this was a ‘conservative’ forecast. Perhaps it was their confidence that led more than 20 yachts to try to sail the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific this summer. As of last week, all these vessels were stuck in the ice, some at the eastern end of the passage in Prince Regent Inlet, others further west at Cape Bathurst.

Shipping experts said the only way these vessels were likely to be freed was by the icebreakers of the Canadian coastguard. According to the official Canadian government website, the Northwest Passage has remained ice-bound and impassable all summer.

The BBC’s 2007 report quoted scientist Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, who based his views on super-computer models and the fact that ‘we use a high-resolution regional model for the Arctic Ocean and sea ice’.

He was confident his results were ‘much more realistic’ than other projections, which ‘underestimate the amount of heat delivered to the sea ice’. Also quoted was Cambridge University expert Professor Peter Wadhams. He backed Professor Maslowski, saying his model was ‘more efficient’ than others because it ‘takes account of processes that happen internally in the ice’.

He added: ‘This is not a cycle; not just a fluctuation. In the end, it will all just melt away quite suddenly.’

The continuing furore caused by The Mail on Sunday’s revelations – which will now be amplified by the return of the Arctic ice sheet – has forced the UN’s climate change body to hold a crisis meeting.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was due in October to start publishing its Fifth Assessment Report – a huge three-volume study issued every six or seven years. It will now hold a pre-summit in Stockholm later this month.

Leaked documents show that governments which support and finance the IPCC are demanding more than 1,500 changes to the report’s ‘summary for policymakers’. They say its current draft does not properly explain the pause.

At the heart of the row lie two questions: the extent to which temperatures will rise with carbon dioxide levels, as well as how much of the warming over the past 150 years – so far, just 0.8C – is down to human greenhouse gas emissions and how much is due to natural variability.

In its draft report, the IPCC says it is ‘95 per cent confident’ that global warming has been caused by humans – up from 90 per cent in 2007.

This claim is already hotly disputed. US climate expert Professor Judith Curry said last night: ‘In fact, the uncertainty is getting bigger. It’s now clear the models are way too sensitive to carbon dioxide. I cannot see any basis for the IPCC increasing its confidence level.’

She pointed to long-term cycles in ocean temperature, which have a huge influence on climate and suggest the world may be approaching a period similar to that from 1965 to 1975, when there was a clear cooling trend. This led some scientists at the time to forecast an imminent ice age.

Professor Anastasios Tsonis, of the University of Wisconsin, was one of the first to investigate the ocean cycles. He said: ‘We are already in a cooling trend, which I think will continue for the next 15 years at least. There is no doubt the warming of the 1980s and 1990s has stopped.

‘The IPCC claims its models show a pause of 15 years can be expected. But that means that after only a very few years more, they will have to admit they are wrong.’

Others are more cautious. Dr Ed Hawkins, of Reading University, drew the graph published by The Mail on Sunday in March showing how far world temperatures have diverged from computer predictions. He admitted the cycles may have caused some of the recorded warming, but insisted that natural variability alone could not explain all of the temperature rise over the past 150 years.

Nonetheless, the belief that summer Arctic ice is about to disappear remains an IPCC tenet, frequently flung in the face of critics who point to the pause.

Yet there is mounting evidence that Arctic ice levels are cyclical. Data uncovered by climate historians show that there was a massive melt in the 1920s and 1930s, followed by intense re-freezes that ended only in 1979 – the year the IPCC says that shrinking began.

Professor Curry said the ice’s behaviour over the next five years would be crucial, both for understanding the climate and for future policy. ‘Arctic sea ice is the indicator to watch,’ she said.


Brussels fears European 'industrial massacre' sparked by energy costs

"We face a systemic industrial massacre," said Antonio Tajani, the European industry commissioner.

Mr Tajani warned that Europe's quixotic dash for renewables was pushing electricity costs to untenable levels, leaving Europe struggling to compete as America's shale revolution cuts US natural gas prices by 80pc.

"I am in favour of a green agenda, but we can't be religious about this. We need a new energy policy. We have to stop pretending, because we can't sacrifice Europe's industry for climate goals that are not realistic, and are not being enforced worldwide," he told The Daily Telegraph during the Ambrosetti forum of global policy-makers at Lake Como.

"The loss of competitiveness is frightening," said Paulo Savona, head of Italy's Fondo Interbancario. "When people choose whether to invest in Europe or the US, what they think about most is the cost of energy."

A report by the American Chemistry Council said shale gas has given the US a "profound and sustained competitive advantage" in chemicals, plastics, and related industries. Consultants IHS also expect US chemical output to double by 2020, while Europe's output will have fallen by a third. IHS said $250bn (£160bn) in extra US manufacturing will be added by shale in the next six years.

European president Herman Van Rompuy echoed the growing sense of alarm, calling it a top EU priority to slash energy costs. "Compared to US competitors, European industry pays today twice as much for electricity, and four times as much for gas. Our companies don't get the rewards for being more efficient," he said.

Europe's deepening energy crisis has for now replaced debt troubles as the region's top worry, with major implications for the Commission's draft paper on shale expected in October. The EU's industry and environment directorates are pitted against each other. The new legislation could in theory stop Britain, Poland, and others going ahead with fracking.

"Personally, I am in favour of shale gas in Europe because we have to do more for industry," said Mr Tajani.

Mr Tajani said the crisis is compounded by the tight monetary policy of the European Central Bank, which has failed to alleviate a serious credit crunch for small firms in Italy, Spain, and the eurozone periphery.

"The euro is far too strong and it is making it very hard for our companies to compete with the Chinese. We need a real central bank, like the US Federal Reserve or the Bank of England, willing to promote growth," he said, in an unusually blunt criticism of a fellow EU institution.

"The ECB should be lending to small firms, just as the Bank of England is doing. It is impossible for us to bring down unemployment or cut our public debt without a strong industrial policy that revives small business," he said.

Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the European liberals, said it is time to broaden the ECB mandate to include growth, warning that the eurozone is at risk of chronic stagnation and a "Japanese winter" unless the central bank goes beyond short-term measures.

Jean-Claude Trichet, the ECB's former chairman, said the bank has already done everything it can, insisting that EU governments deliver on pledges for a banking union and economic reforms.


Solar: Obama’s proxy war in the desert

Syria isn’t the only battle into which President Obama is injecting himself where he doesn’t belong. True, on a global scale, Arizona’s fight over net metering seems insignificant. However, on a personal scale, what is taking place in Arizona’s sunny desert has the potential to directly impact far more Americans than the shots being fired in Syria’s desert.

Syria’s conflict is often called a proxy war in that it is an indirect confrontation between superpowers via substitute actors. According to the definition of a proxy war found on the Intro to global security blog, “Modern non-state actors do not necessarily want to take over territory or a government; most use the expanding global communication network to levy resources (human or otherwise) and generate wealth and political/ideological power.” By that definition, Arizona’s net metering debate is Obama’s proxy war in the desert.

To understand Obama’s proxy war in the desert, you have to understand the intentionally confusing term: net metering.

Simply, net metering is the process through which homeowners with rooftop solar panels are paid by the local utility company for the excess power they produce. In its report on net metering, the Institute for Energy Research defines it this way: Net metering “allows people who generate electricity on their homes and businesses to sell electricity back to the grid when their generation exceeds their usage.” Sales pitches for rooftop solar often explain net metering as the electric meter running backwards.

Net metering has been around since the early 80s when solar panels were expensive and few people had them. But the dynamics changed drastically when states began passing renewable portfolio standards (RPS) that required predetermined percentages of electricity be generated from renewable sources—some even specified which sources are part the mix and how much of the resource was required. For example, in my home state of New Mexico, the Diversification Rule requires that 1.5 percent of the RPS must be met by “distributed generation” (read: rooftop solar). Arizona requires 30 percent of the RPS be derived from “distributed energy technologies” (once again, rooftop solar).

To meet the mandates, utility companies agreed to pay, what essentially amounts to, full retail rates for the excess electricity being generated by the solar panels. Often the combination of the electricity the homeowner buys from the utility (at night) and what they sell back (during the day) gives them a utility bill of nearly zero. Yet they are still using power from the electric company; they are still plugged into the grid. Grid maintenance, transmission lines and transformers, customer service, and other costs that are part of providing consistent, steady electricity to homes and businesses have historically been borne by everyone using it. Most people don’t think about it; it is just part of the bill.

Anyone who has ever owned a business, knows that you won’t survive for long when you are buying your product at retail and selling it for retail, as there are many additional costs between wholesale and retail. Yet, this is what utility companies are being forced to do through the net metering agreements that were made back when solar was in its infancy and customers needed to be incentivized to install solar panels so that the utility could purchase the power to meet the mandates. When there were only a few solar installations, the loss to the utility had a very small impact. But now, with the numbers increasing, the loss is larger. That loss is being carried by the entire rate base and taking money from family budgets.

The Institute for Energy Research explains:

The option to utilize solar is principally available for those people who own their own homes, rental properties or businesses. This means that most solar energy installations and all of the government benefits flow to Americans of some means. Despite the steep drop in solar panel prices over the last few years, PV is still a pricey option that is unattainable for most. Therefore, more affluent Americans tend to be the beneficiaries of federal, state and local subsidies, mandates, and utility reimbursement for excess power generation that solar systems may provide. The unintended outcome of the wealthier utility customers enjoying the benefits of net metering subsidies at the expense of their lower-income neighbors has been labeled the “reverse Robin Hood effect.”

Even the New York Times acknowledges that the economics of rooftop solar “depend on government incentives and mandates.” All Arizonians are paying for the few who can afford the up-front costs of solar panel installation—not just through the taxpayer-funded state and federal subsidies, but through their increasing utility rates that are unfairly punishing those who can least afford them.

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) is currently considering revising the generous credits offered to customers with rooftop solar. The ACC has two plans before it aimed at making up for the lost revenues without the majority of the rate base having to subsidize their wealthier neighbors. One has residential solar customers selling electricity to the grid paying a monthly “convenience fee” for the use and maintenance of the grid and the related expenses. The second, would reduce the credit, which customers with new solar installations would receive, making it comparable to market rates the utility pays other power generators. Those who currently (installed up through mid-October) have rooftop systems would be “grandfathered” in.

“In a lot of ways, Arizona represents ground zero in the debate about how to create a sustainable system for compensating solar rooftop customers,” explains Lance Brown, Executive Director of the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy (PACE). “We're talking about a state that is rich in solar resources and that has a mature community of customers who have invested in residential solar. The problem is that the model for paying solar customers for their power generation is utterly unsustainable.

“States that are contemplating how to treat residential solar customers face the fundamental question of how to fairly compensate customers for generation without unfairly shifting the burden of fixed costs to non-solar customers,” adds Brown. “Paying solar customers three and four times the cost of retail generation clearly isn't the answer. Rather, regulators are going to have to scale back net metering rates and ensure that everyone who is hooked to the grid pays for the fixed costs of maintaining it.”

Many states, including Arizona, are looking at policy adjustments as well. (The New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission has a public hearing regarding its revisions on September 10 in Santa Fe.)

Subsidy-loving President Obama has launched an Arizona-specific campaign lauding those who have made “the switch” to solar and demanding that the ACC protects “full credit for clean energy.” If solar users paid for the panels on their own and cut the cord to the utility, then they truly have made the switch—as the rules stand now, they are just milking the system.

Obama’s involvement shows how important Arizona is to his desired national energy policy—supporting the inefficient, ineffective, and uneconomical models that line the pockets of his friends, while punishing the energy that makes America great. He is using the “global communication network to levy resources (human or otherwise) and generate wealth and political/ideological power.” If the “reverse Robin Hood” policies are modified, the surging purchase and installation of solar panels will slow and more solar companies, funded through the nearly 100 billion of taxpayer dollars allotted to green energy through the 2009 stimulus bill, will go bankrupt. It is in Obama’s best interest to keep these policies that only exist because they “depend on government incentives and mandates” in place—but it is not in Arizona’s best interest, nor America’s. These policies “generate wealth” for Obama’s friends and “political/ideological power” for him.

It is not about whether or not you like rooftop-generated solar electricity, it is about whether or not the subsidized industry continues to make solar executives rich on the back of the average American. It is about continuing, or ending, the crony corruption that fills the solar industry. If you agree that it is time to end the solar subsidies and generous residential credits and that solar customers need to pay their share of grid maintenance and other non-generation costs, please sign the petition to tell the ACC that you support the proposed revisions.

Edward Fenster, chief executive of SunRun (which has received stimulus funds and is under a federal probe), believes “the next six-12 months are the watershed moment for distributed energy.” He, of course, supports continuing the subsidies for solar power and understands that if his side succeeds, it will “dissuade utilities with net metering programs elsewhere from undoing them.”

The saying is usually “as California goes, so goes the nation.” In the case of generous solar credits, as Arizona goes, so goes the nation—which is why Obama’s proxy war in the desert has the potential to directly impact far more Americans than the shots being fired in Syria’s desert.


Research & Commentary: Smart Growth Update

“Smart growth” refers to a city planning philosophy intended to reduce administrative costs, increase population density, decrease urban sprawl, reduce pollution, and similar goals. The theory was developed in the early 1990s and quickly became popular in municipal development circles. Since then, smart growth has been implemented partially by private developers but mostly via municipal, state, and federal regulation of existing cities.

Today, smart growth advocates are pushing for it to be implemented throughout the country, and they are blaming current urban problems on pre-smart growth planning philosophies. Maryland’s governor issued an order for PlanMaryland in 2011, which will broadly apply smart growth policies to the entire state. The National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) claims many of Chicago’s problems stem from the city’s lack of adherence to smart growth principles. They advocate tearing down and reconstructing specific areas along smart growth principles.

Proponents of smart growth argue traditional city design creates inefficiencies that harm the environment, increase transportation time, and raise costs of living. Instead of allowing cities to sprawl into suburbs, smart growth municipalities concentrate populations along public transportation nodes with a mixture of development types (commercial, residential, etc.). Proponents claim this encourages residents to walk rather than drive, thus reducing pollution and creating a more close-knit urban community while cutting government administration costs.

Opponents of government smart growth policies note that they have consistently failed to live up to expectations: the cities tend to have higher per-capita administration costs and increases in crime, and they fail to reach their environmental goals as higher population density increases traffic congestion and thus causes more pollution. In addition, population concentration and discouragement of automobile traffic in favor of public transportation frustrate consumer preferences for open space and transportation freedom.

Free market advocates recognize smart growth as a euphemism for central planning. Instead of allowing market forces and consumer preferences to determine cities’ layout, smart growth advocates assume that the government can run people’s lives better. Smart growth concepts have some merit, but they should be implemented by private developers at their own expense, not by government regulators at taxpayer expense.

The following documents provide additional information about smart growth policies and their effects.

The Smart Growth Scam
Paul Cleveland and Nathan Hart challenge smart growth from a free market perspective. They attack the theoretical basis of smart growth principles, arguing that they completely disconnect planning principles from consumer preference. The authors also examine empirical data points that demonstrate the failure of smart growth municipalities across the country. Smart growth cities tend to create more pollution, more traffic, and higher costs than other cities.

Portland: Smart Growth’s Bad Example
Writing for the National Center for Policy Analysis, Randal O’Toole offers Portland as a case study of a failed smart growth project, especially in terms of reducing pollution and traffic congestion. The Portland city government spent tens of millions of dollars implementing smart growth changes, including building speed bumps and reducing traffic lanes. These changes caused more traffic and more pollution instead of more walking. Worse yet, smart-growth-based housing developments produced extremely expensive and chronically vacant houses in the middle of the city, despite their supposedly optimal positioning beside public transit nodes.

A Critique of Smart Growth
Urban developer Doug Bolter critiques smart growth from the perspective of one who has some sympathies with the philosophy. He argues smart growth policies can be effective in encouraging middle-class residents to move into blighted neighborhoods. However, when applied to already-functioning environments, smart growth frustrates consumer preferences and drives away residents through higher prices, especially for real estate.

Research and Commentary: The Failures of Smart Growth
Heartland Institute Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines the effect of smart growth on American cities. He relates critiques of smart growth made by Heartland Senior Fellow Wendell Cox, such as that suburban growth does not generally come from declining city centers as smart growth advocates suggest, smart growth reduces homeownership, and urban population density doesn’t increase the amount of walking. The Research & Commentary document includes links to several documents about smart growth.

Median House Size in the U.S. Hits Record High
Wendell Cox of The Heartland Institute documents the declining size of houses in the United States. Cox argues that the trend is not a result of natural market forces but of smart growth strategies which squeeze more homes into smaller spaces. Smart growth advocates claim such policies make urban living easier and more efficient, but in reality it destroys diversity of home size, thereby causing an increase in housing prices and, by extension, a demand for smaller, cheaper homes. “Smart growthers” fail to see the unintended consequences of their central planning, Cox observes.

Maryland’s “Smart Growth” Order Meets Strong Local Dissent
Journalist Cheryl K. Chumley reports on the 2011 PlanMaryland initiative, which broadly reorganizes the entire state according to smart growth principles. Advocates claim the plan will save the state money, preserve land, and simplify administration. However, it is encountering much resistance from residents and lawmakers who see it as a central planning initiative which gives the state too much control. Local lawmakers are especially upset because the plan removes authority from localities and gives it to the state government.


Is Hydropower a Renewable Energy or Not?

If not, why not?

As states set ambitious goals to increase their use of renewable energies, hydropower could help them meet their goals. But environmental concerns have kept investment in hydropower to a trickle

On Christmas Eve 1968, the astronauts of Apollo 8 took a photo from space that changed the way the world saw itself. It was the first-ever photo of Earth, revealing “a glowing marble of blue oceans, and green forests, and brown mountains brushed with white clouds.”

President Obama recently invoked that event in a June speech announcing his new Climate Action Plan, which calls for the U.S. to dramatically increase its use of renewable energies. “Over the past four years, we’ve doubled the electricity that we generate from zero-carbon wind and solar power,” the president said. “So the plan I’m announcing today will help us double again our energy from wind and sun.”

What the president didn’t mention in his speech was America’s—and the world’s, for that matter—largest renewable energy source: water. That marble of blue that dominates the view of Earth from space and accounts for more than 60 percent of all renewable power in the U.S. rarely, it seems, gets the same billing as wind and solar.

For a power source that is clean and renewable—it doesn’t pollute the air because no fuels are burned and it’s renewable because it uses the Earth’s water cycle to generate electricity—one would think hydropower would get as much attention and investment as other noncarbon sources of energy. But in general, hydropower is not even considered a renewable energy in most states or, for the most part, by the federal government. So it begs the question, is hydropower a renewable energy or not? The answer to that is key since it underlies policies states develop in fulfilling ambitious renewable energy goals.

Hydropower is more than 100 years old in the U.S. The first dam to use hydraulic reaction turbines to generate electricity here was in 1882 on the Fox River in Appleton, Wis. It was revolutionary at the time and the results were so impressive that it kicked off a dam-building spree: From 1905 through the 1930s, several large, iconic dams, including the famous Hoover and Roosevelt dams in the West, were constructed. During that time, nearly 40 percent of the nation’s electricity came from hydropower.

By mid-century, the growth of hydroelectric power through dams was on the wane as other forms of power generation—nuclear, natural gas, coal—gained momentum. Today, hydropower makes up only about 6 percent of the U.S. electric supply, with the largest hydropower producers in the West: Washington, California and Oregon. Outside the U.S., hydropower accounts for 16 percent of global electricity production.

There are several types of hydroelectric facilities, but all are powered by the kinetic energy of flowing water as it moves downstream. Turbines and generators capture and convert that energy into electricity, which is then fed into the electrical grid. The water itself is not reduced or used up in the process, and because it is an endless, constantly recharging system, hydropower is defined as a renewable energy by the Environmental Protection Agency.

But it’s not considered renewable by everyone. It comes with some “pretty significant environmental baggage,” says John Seebach, senior director of federal river management with the conservation group American Rivers. “The reluctance to call hydropower a renewable energy is based on the impact of dams on fisheries and water flows.”

Several large dams block migrating fish from reaching their spawning grounds. Dam reservoirs impact flows, temperatures and silt loads of rivers and streams. Over the years, these factors have drastically reduced fish populations. At one time, the Klamath River in Oregon and California had salmon runs in the millions. The construction of four dams along the river reduced the fish runs to a fraction of that.

That’s why hydropower doesn’t count toward utilities’ renewable energy mandates in most states—that, and the fact that there is already so much hydro out there. More than 30 states have renewable portfolio standards (RPS) that require utilities to generate a percentage of their power from renewable sources. Counting all hydropower would significantly lessen the impact of these standards, particularly in states where hydropower already provides a substantial amount of electricity. In those states, experts say, counting it would discourage the development of new renewable sources. Similarly, if hydropower were classified as renewable, some states would have to reset their targets and those might end up unrealistically high.

California, the second-largest U.S. hydroelectric producer, set goals for renewable energy sources in 2002 and 2011. Utilities in that state will be required to generate a third of their power from such sources by 2020. But the state set a limit on the inclusion of hydropower. It allows utilities to count only the hydropower produced by smaller hydropower projects—those capable of producing 30 megawatts or less—toward the renewable mandate. Last year, a bill in the California State Assembly proposed allowing utilities to count large hydropower facilities as well.

The Sierra Club and a nonprofit watchdog called The Utility Reform Network (TURN) opposed the bill. TURN wrote that the reversal “would effectively reduce the RPS targets for utilities with existing large hydroelectric generation in their portfolios and significantly undermine the impact of the RPS program on the development of new renewable energy projects in California and the West.” The group estimated that changing the rules would lower California’s renewable energy goal from 33 percent to 30 percent—and possibly even more if utilities were allowed to increase imports of hydro from neighboring states. Ultimately, the bill failed to make it out of committee.

California’s current distinction on size reflects similar policies in other states. Throughout the country, large hydropower facilities are not generally counted toward renewable energy goals. Yet every state counts some hydropower in their RPS. How it’s tallied, however, varies state to state. Michigan and Missouri, for example, don’t count hydro if it requires the construction of new dams or significant expansion of existing ones. California and Iowa only figure in energy produced by small hydropower facilities. And Ohio lets utilities count it as long as facilities are not harmful to fish, wildlife or water quality.

But some groups, like the National Hydropower Association and the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank, argue that if states want to meet their renewable energy goals, all hydropower should count. “If lawmakers want to lower energy costs, encourage innovation, and reduce emissions, they should repeal all mandates and subsidies and create a level playing field for all energy sources,” Taylor Smith, a policy analyst at the institute, recently wrote. “Government should not pick winners and losers, especially in the energy arena.” If states included all renewable sources in RPS mandates, these groups say, they would essentially create competitive pressure on wind and solar to reduce costs and scale up.

Besides, proponents argue, hydropower has a lot of virtues. Not only is it clean and renewable, it is essential to new “intermittent” renewables such as wind and solar. Hydro output can be quickly and easily turned up or down to keep the electrical grid in balance as daily doses of sunshine and wind wax and wane. Furthermore, water from rivers is a purely domestic resource, which means almost no conflicts with foreign suppliers and no interruptions as a result of labor strikes or transportation issues abroad. According to the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, hydropower turbines are capable of converting 90 percent of available energy into electricity. That’s more efficient than any other form of generation, including even the best fossil fuel power plant, which is only about 50 percent efficient.

While President Obama might not have mentioned hydropower in his speech in June, it is mentioned in his Climate Action Plan. The administration agrees with proponents that hydropower is essential to meeting renewable energy targets, which are set to double by 2020. To that end, Obama wants to encourage the development of hydroelectric power at existing dams. Across the country, there are more than 80,000 dams, and only about 3 percent of them are used to generate electricity. The administration sees this as an opportunity to expand renewable energy by adding generators or retrofitting existing nonpowered dams.

All sides generally agree on one point: There is no need to build new dams to harvest power. As environmentalists see it, it makes more sense to incentivize dam operators to maximize efficiency. “In our view, that is the best bang for the buck,” says Seebach of American Rivers. “The dams are already there.”

What’s more, he adds, “technology to mitigate damages of dams is worlds better than it was 20 or 30 years ago.” Take fish ladders. For years, several federal agencies have overseen the construction of fish ladders at dams along the Columbia and Snake rivers in Washington state, the largest producer of U.S. hydroelectric power. In July, the Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released a draft evaluation of their progress regarding the salmon population. To date, it says, they are on track to meet individual dam survival goals of 96 percent in spring and 93 percent in summer.

New technology is helping produce other hydropower sites. The Bureau of Reclamation released a report last April detailing how more than 500 of its canals could be tapped to produce new supplies of electricity. In Yakima, Wash., the bureau is experimenting with a hydrokinetic turbine, described by some as a 15-foot roll of yellow Scotch tape. Last year, it was dropped onto the Roza Canal’s concrete floor. As water streams down the canal, the turbine spins, which in turn generates electricity. The bureau is testing it to make sure it doesn’t obstruct water operations or affect water quality, but the idea is that these devices could be placed in spillways and water treatment plants. These small-scale turbines are seen as the biggest and most important growing component within hydropower.

But a project’s size is a poor measure of its environmental impact, critics claim. “It depends on how you operate it,” says Seebach. He points to a project on the Penobscot River in Maine as a good example of balancing size and operation. Through an agreement between industry representatives, the Penobscot Indian Nation and government officials, three dams are being taken out of service and better fish passage is being installed at another. In 2012, the Great Works Dam was removed, and in July 2013, destruction of the Veazie Dam began. A third dam is being decommissioned. At the same time, the electricity generating capacity of the dams that remain was increased, to assure no overall loss in power. The removal of the Veazie Dam will allow free passage for Atlantic salmon and 11 other species to 1,000 miles of inland waters ideal for spawning and rearing.

But the Penobscot solution may be one of a handful of exceptions that prove the rule. As it stands, hydropower is still stuck behind wind and solar, sitting in purgatory between being accepted as a renewable energy and not being considered as such. That’s the crux of the hydropower dilemma. It’s clean and renewable. At the same time, it is not without environmental impacts. But as states set ever more ambitious clean energy goals, can hydropower continue to be neglected?

It is not an either/or, say advocates from conservation groups such as American Rivers and Trout Unlimited. They aren’t opposed to hydropower; they just want to see it done right. “Not all hydro is considered equal,” says Kate Miller, western energy and water counsel at Trout Unlimited. “There are good projects and a lot of bad projects in terms of environmental impact. Ultimately, the goal of renewable development is to minimize the ecological footprint.”


Retired U.S. Air Force Meteorologist Smacks Down Washington Post for Editorial full of ‘mis-statements, half-truths, and omissions’

By Robert W. Endlich

The recent editorial by the Washington Post “Humans’ complicity in climate change can’t be ignored,” begins describing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, as, “arbiter of the scientific consensus.” Scientific Consensus is an oxymoron. Science is not done by consensus, it is done using the scientific method: Propose a hypothesis, carefully observe the results, and determine whether the observations match the results. If the results don’t confirm the hypothesis, the hypothesis is wrong.

The claim, increasing greenhouse gases humans have emitted into the atmosphere as chief driver of the warming of the planet over the past half-century, a finding to which they ascribe 95 percent confidence, is without merit or foundation. There is no technical basis for such a claim, if there were, the IPCC would trumpet it loudly; it is simply bloviation.

Since the Post mentions greenhouse gases, we have a considerable number of observations of the temperature, made by NASA satellites since 1979, to validate or falsify the IPCC claims. Measured temperatures from the lower troposphere are determined by the microwave emission from O2 molecules, and are published by two world class organizations, the University of Alabama at Huntsville, UAH, and Remote Sensing Systems, Inc, or RSS, from California.

Observations of greenhouse temperatures by UAH are available monthly on the Internet at These data show that the latest temperature a mere 0.17C above the 30 year mean 1981-2010. Look at the data; there is no CO2 signal.

There is a nice display of the time series of temperature data determined by RSS available at RSS’ determination of temperatures in the lower troposphere shows no warming for the past 200 months, well over sixteen years.

The IPCC models which predict significant greenhouse gas warming in the troposphere are falsified by the measurements. The 0.17C warming observed by UAH for the past 30 years is very modest and the net zero warming over the past 16-2/3ds years observed by RSS are not mentioned by the Post’s reporting of the upcoming IPCC publication.

Sometimes the British Press can observe that which can’t be said in the American Press:–chart-prove-it.html

The Post says, “The past three decades were probably the hottest in 800 years.” That means 1000 years ago the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today. Think about that, with record amounts of CO2 in the air and the greenhouse gas methane about which so much is written nowadays, it was warmer during the MWP than today. The GISP2 ice core data is instructive, and an annotated temperature time series of the data, first published by Richard Alley of Penn State, is available at

Note the nearly regular warm periods: Minoan, 3500 years ago, Roman, 2000 years ago, Medieval, 1000 years ago, and the present warm period. These warm periods were first noted by Gerhard Bond of Columbia in the 1990s and the more or less regular appearance of naturally-occurring warm periods of ~1000-1470-year intervals are now know as Bond Cycles.

Since the depths of the Little Ice Age, about 1690AD, we might expect that natural warming would continue until 2190 or perhaps 2430.

The Post’s mention that present is increasing well above the amounts in the air 22,000 years ago is worth exploring. 22,000 years ago the earth was in the Wisconsin Ice age; during the depths of the Wisconsin, decreased so much that deciduous trees in North America collapsed because of CO2 starvation, as reported by Gelbart. Even pines from La Brea’s Tar Pits experienced collapse from CO2 starvation as reported by Joy Ward.

If the present atmosphere were not enriched with CO2, there would not be enough plant materials for food for the animals with which we share this earth. Atmospheric CO2 is the source for all of the carbohydrates we consume; 22,000 years ago plant and animal life in North America was struggling because of CO2 starvation.

The post mentions a 2-7F increase in temperatures postulated by the IPCC, but does not mention the source of these forecasts, computer models. This forecast is not off to a good start because there has been no warming for over sixteen years and the century is 1/8th gone.

What the Post does not mention is that computer models can not make forecasts decades or 100 years in advance, because there are no solutions for the equations of motion, which are non linear partial differential equations. Because we can not solve these equations, we can not make weather forecasts many days or weeks into the future.

NOAA predicted an “above-average to potentially hyperactive season” when it made its forecast in May. As I write this on 28 August, there has not been a single hurricane this year and the season will be half over on 10 September.

The Post says, “The sea is rising faster in recent years than before,” a claim clearly not true. NOAA operates a series of tide gauges which determine sea level over time directly using a float device; this is called an in-situ measurement, a gold standard from which other measurements are compared. From San Francisco, perhaps the longest in years tide gage in operation, the data are at

There is plainly no acceleration of sea level rate of rise.
Look at the East Coast data from The Battery, at the lower tip of Manhattan: Again, plainly there is no acceleration in sea level rise.

Doesn’t the Post have fact-checkers?

Consider this from History. On 28 September 1066 William the Conqueror landed on the south coast of what is now England at an old Roman fort, Pevensey Castle, on his way to the Battle of Hastings,14 October 1066.

Pevensey is famous, (infamous?) because castle occupants threw prisoners out the Sea Gate into the ocean, where the tide carried bodies of the unfortunate off to sea. This is historical fact.

There is another problem with the Post’s claim, “sea level rising faster in recent years than before.” Pevensey Castle is now well inland, which means that sea level was higher in 1066, the Medieval Warm Period, than today.

This means that sea level actually fell during the Little Ice Age and the present rate of rise of sea level is quite modest, as the tide gauges show. The history lesson not yet learned by the Post is at

Perhaps the Post could better report on science issues if they had scientists as writers or at least science-qualified editors in their employ.




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


8 September, 2013

A paler shade of Green in Australia now

Conservatives won a huge victory in the Australian Federal election yesterday. The new government is pledged to abolish the carbon tax and pays only lip service to Warmism -- JR.

The new gold rush that proves the anti-fracking fanatics have got it all wrong

As he takes me on a tour of his buzzing little town, mayor Brent Sanford points out the acres of development that have already happened — the giant grocery store, the smart restaurant, the school extension and the endless housing developments.

And he tells me what’s still to come — a smart new recreation centre, a state-of-the-art hospital, public housing, a day-care centre and even an 18-hole golf course.

There’s a new bank, which is essential, as so many local businesses are flourishing and so many more are clamouring to move in.

But it’s not always easy to hear what he’s saying.

His voice is drowned out by the rumble and roar of oil tankers, drilling trucks and the vast articulated lorries carrying waste water, clattering around his roads like an invading army on a never-ending victory parade.

The traffic noise and congestion are a pain, he admits, as are rocketing property prices — and the occasional punch-up as oil men hit town for a hard-earned drink or two.

North Dakotans are a conservative bunch who appreciate the solitude, the wide-open spaces and a simple way of life.

But they are sure of one thing — Watford City and the rest of western North Dakota is the land that was saved by fracking.

Only ten years ago, this region was dying on its feet — its farming industry finished, and businesses refusing to move somewhere so remote and empty.

Young people moved away to find jobs and only the elderly remained.

Geographers were even suggesting getting rid of the humans, and turning over the land to the buffalo that once roamed here.

‘Their reasoning was pretty good,’ says 41-year-old Mr Sanford, a fourth-generation North Dakotan.

‘The town has been shrinking since the Depression — but now we can get back to work.’

Two miles beneath our feet is the discovery that has changed everything here — the Bakken Shale formation, 360 million years old and the richest oil find in North America for 40 years. The figures are mind-boggling.

Geologists estimate the 15,000 square mile region of oil that has been dubbed ‘Kuwait on the Prairie’ could be worked for 25 years, using the controversial process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to produce some 14 billion barrels of high-quality crude oil.

At current rates, that’s enough to meet Britain’s total energy usage for 24 years.

The process involves injecting a pressurised mixture of sand, water and chemicals into shale rock formations, fracturing the rock and releasing gas and oil trapped inside.

There are already 8,000 wells here, producing more than 820,000 barrels a day, but it’s forecast that will increase to as many as 50,000 wells.

Comparisons with the 1847 Gold Rush are often made of the Bakken boom, and they’re no exaggeration.

Thousands of men (and a few women) have poured into the region, drawn by unemployment below one per cent and talk of £65,000 jobs for school-leavers with no experience.

And the Bakken is only one of several major fracking areas that have helped pull the U.S. out of recession, creating tens of thousands of jobs, cutting energy bills and freeing America from having to rely on unpleasant foreign regimes for oil and gas.

Not surprisingly, it’s a side to the fracking phenomenon about which you won’t hear much from the eco-warriors, who are hogging the airwaves about the issue in Britain.

Surrounded by gently rolling hills of cornfields and grass land where cattle graze and hay bales wait to be taken in, Watford City reminds me of nowhere so much as the South Downs of England, close to the West Sussex village of Balcombe, where noisy green protesters including fashion designer Vivienne Westwood have declared war on Britain’s attempt to exploit the fracking boom.

Many of those who descended on Balcombe to take on the police trying to keep order have been exposed as knowing next to nothing about fracking.

If they want to learn more about the economic arguments in its favour, they would do well to study the lessons of North Dakota.

No one here can remember environmental campaigners pitching up when the Bakken boom erupted around 2007.

They would have had a disappointing time of it, notes Mr Sanford, not only because there’s no media around here to listen to them but also because fracking hasn’t caused any of the environmental problems they allege.

No methane in the drinking water, no earthquakes and no air pollution. The one blot on the landscape is what’s known as ‘flaring’, the wasteful burning off of natural gas that comes up with the oil, which many companies haven’t got round to collecting via pipelines.

At night, it looks like there are giant candles dotted around the prairie — but they are estimated to produce large amounts of carbon dioxide.

As for the other big complaint about fracking — the disruption from traffic, noise and people — that’s another matter.

Watford City is the epicentre of the Bakken boom and, like everyone round here, Mr Sanford admits that it’s not the best time to see the benefits of fracking while the actual drilling is still happening.

In two years, the town’s population has exploded — from 1,700 to 25,000. Inevitably, the infrastructure, especially housing, is struggling.

But come back in five years, local bigwigs assured me, and it will have calmed down. The building work and road widening will have eased, and pipelines will have been installed so there won’t be the endless procession of tankers.

Then there’s the prickly issue of who gets the tax revenues from the oil and gas.

In Britain, pro-fracking advocates predict there would be much less opposition to it if local people benefit more, rather than all the proceeds being split between the mining companies and the Treasury.

Mr Sanford says he is fighting for his town to get a bigger share, too — it gets eight per cent of the 11.5 per cent tax on the value of the oil that comes out at the well head. The state government keeps the rest.

The other key difference with the UK is that American landowners can sell the rights to the minerals under their land, while in Britain they are owned by the Crown.

In the U.S., companies that want to extract oil from the land — and most of it lies under farmland — must give the owner a lump sum to drill a well, then pay them a royalty for every barrel extracted.

Some North Dakotans have become very, very rich out of the Bakken boom, and state taxation records show around 12 new millionaires are created every week.

Not that you would notice — the plain-living, God-fearing locals don’t go in for flashy displays of wealth.

The mayor’s assistant recounted how a local farmer recently came into his second-hand car dealership to get his old car repaired, and confided that he gets a cheque for almost £200,000 every five or six weeks just for the mining rights under his land.

When I managed to track down one of these newly minted multi-millionaires, Ed Shelke, the 74-year-old said he has never totted up how much he made from the 1,700 acres he sold to the oilmen. I suspect he is simply too modest to say.

Some of the land is now being fracked for oil, some of it has been built on, some is being used to store the highly salty water that is a fracking waste product.

Given that he says he sold each acre for anything from £13,000 to £22,400, he could have made almost £38 million. And then he gets a five-figure sum every month in royalties.

But he and his wife Charlotte still live in the same modest house, and drive an eight-year-old Chrysler.

‘It was a peaceful little town before,’ he says. ‘But now we’ve got a nice foodstore, a hospital, new work on the churches and a golf course — a lot of things we’ve always wanted.’

The Gold Rush feel is even more obvious when I drive 46 miles north to the town of Williston.

There, Tom Rolfstad, the economic development chief, gave me the good news: Williston has been America’s fastest-growing metropolitan community for the past two years, adding 10,000 new jobs every 12 months.

The average income has soared from £19,000 to £55,000 in just five years.

The oil companies are spending £1.3 billion a month in the region and he has private investors coming to see him every week looking to sink money into his town.

Here, there is a new public playground with a gym designed to look like an oil derrick, and a seesaw that resembles an oil pump: a gift, naturally, from an oil company.

No wonder Rolfstad has no time for the way environmentalists around the world — and especially in Britain — have seized on fracking to further their anti-carbon agenda.

‘In the next two or three years, you’ll see this place blossom even more,’ he says bluntly.

There’s a Wild West feel to the place at the moment, though.

As Williston, hotel receptionist Brice Walters told me, he found the town ‘totally surreal’ — but he earns three times what he would have made for the same job back home in California.

Businesses are so short of workers that everyone earns over the odds here — workers at the fast-food store Subway take home £500 a week, and even box-stackers in Walmart get £15 an hour.

Oil workers here talk of retiring at 45.

Tucking into a large plate of prime ribs over lunch at R Rooster Barbecue, father and son Ken and Daniel Stinnett took me through the economics that have kept them in Williston for the past two years.

Rig hands — who do heavy labouring and general maintenance — can earn more than £20 an hour, while drillers get £30 or more.

Oil companies work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, here and if you factor in overtime (it’s not unusual to work a 98-hour week), and the fact that there’s nothing to spend your money on but food and drink, people are taking their annual dollar earnings well into six figures.

‘I came from California where the economy was so bad you couldn’t find a job,’ said Daniel. ‘I got here to find ‘Help Wanted’ signs on every business.’

Fracking sceptics will say that you can’t possibly compare Sussex or even the Pennines — site of Britain’s potentially vast Bowland Shale deposit — with the vast, underpopulated expanse of the American prairies.

They have a point. But if the environmental risks have been overplayed, can Britain afford to turn down fracking just because of the disruption and the ugliness?

Chris Wright, an American engineer and fracking pioneer who has addressed the House of Lords on the issue and recently visited the north of England, told me: ‘There’s nothing northern England could do more to spur employment than drill for shale gas.’

But what about the environmental concerns? Just this week, new research said fracking caused nearly a dozen mysterious small earthquakes in Ohio in 2011.

Wright says claims of water contamination don’t stack up because you drill oil and gas far below any water table.

Occasional slip-ups occur, he says, where companies have cut corners, such as not properly encasing their drilling pipes in concrete or — in the case of the earthquakes —injecting too much waste water into too few wells.

As for the environmental impact of a new well, ‘it’s not that much different to building a Starbucks’, he says.

Actually, there isn’t a Starbucks for hundreds of miles out across the Bakken field, but no doubt there soon will be — just another piece of the social jigsaw as a region that was once pretty much left for dead transforms before our eyes.

‘I see a light at the end of this tunnel,’ says Williston’s long-serving mayor Ward Kroeser. ‘And it’s a pretty nice light.’

Whether Britain has the will and the political vision to create a fracking boom even half as lucrative remains to be seen.

But with every new well that’s sunk in North Dakota, the arguments for doing so grow ever stronger.


Germany’s Green-Energy Disaster

I’ve written before that Obama’s Solyndra-style handouts have been a grotesque waste of tax dollars.

I’ve argued that they destroy jobs rather than create jobs.

I’ve gone on TV to explain why government intervention in energy creates a cesspool of cronyism.

I’ve even shared a column from Obama’s hometown newspaper that criticizes the rank corruption in green-energy programs.

And it goes without saying that I’ve disseminated some good cartoons on the issue.

But even though green-energy programs are a disgusting boondoggle, American taxpayers and consumers should be thankful they’re not in Germany.

Our programs may be wasteful and corrupt, but we’re amateurs compared to what’s happening on the other side of the Atlantic.

Here are some passages from a must-read story in Der Spiegel.

"The government predicts that the renewable energy surcharge added to every consumer’s electricity bill will increase from 5.3 cents today to between 6.2 and 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour — a 20-percent price hike. German consumers already pay the highest electricity prices in Europe. But because the government is failing to get the costs of its new energy policy under control, rising prices are already on the horizon. Electricity is becoming a luxury good in Germany."

As is so often the case with government intervention, the promises from politicians about low costs were a mirage.

"Even well-informed citizens can no longer keep track of all the additional costs being imposed on them. According to government sources, the surcharge to finance the power grids will increase by 0.2 to 0.4 cents per kilowatt hour next year. On top of that, consumers pay a host of taxes, surcharges and fees that would make any consumer’s head spin. Former Environment Minister Jürgen Tritten of the Green Party once claimed that switching Germany to renewable energy wasn’t going to cost citizens more than one scoop of ice cream. Today his successor Altmaier admits consumers are paying enough to “eat everything on the ice cream menu.”

Perhaps the most shocking part of the story is that Germans are being forced to pay $26 billion in subsidies to get less than $4 billion of green energy.

"For society as a whole, the costs have reached levels comparable only to the euro-zone bailouts. This year, German consumers will be forced to pay €20 billion ($26 billion) for electricity from solar, wind and biogas plants — electricity with a market price of just over €3 billion. Even the figure of €20 billion is disputable if you include all the unintended costs and collateral damage associated with the project. …On Thursday, a government-sanctioned commission plans to submit a special report called “Competition in Times of the Energy Transition.” The report is sharply critical, arguing that Germany’s current system actually rewards the most inefficient plants, doesn’t contribute to protecting the climate, jeopardizes the energy supply and puts the poor at a disadvantage."

Here’s what it means for ordinary people.

"In the near future, an average three-person household will spend about €90 a month for electricity. That’s about twice as much as in 2000. Two-thirds of the price increase is due to new government fees, surcharges and taxes. …Today, more than 300,000 households a year are seeing their power shut off because of unpaid bills. Caritas and other charity groups call it “energy poverty.”

Not surprisingly, politically well-connected interest groups are the ones reaping the benefits.

"…the renewable energy subsidies redistribute money from the poor to the more affluent, like when someone living in small rental apartment subsidizes a homeowner’s roof-mounted solar panels through his electricity bill. The SPD, which sees itself as the party of the working class, long ignored this regressive aspect of the system. The Greens, the party of higher earners, continue to do so. Germany’s renewable energy policy is particularly unfair with respect to the economy. About 2,300 businesses have managed to largely exempt themselves from the green energy surcharge by claiming, often with little justification, that they face tough international competition. Companies with less lobbying power, however, are required to pay the surcharge."

Let’s conclude with an ominous excerpt from the article. Even though prices already are very high, energy will get even more expensive in the future.

"If the government sticks to its plans, the price of electricity will literally explode in the coming years. According to a current study for the federal government, electricity will cost up to 40 cents a kilowatt-hour by 2020, a 40-percent increase over today’s prices."

And isn’t it nice to know that Obama is doing everything he can to impose these policies in the United States?


To Bee or Not to Bee

Activist groups continue to promote scary stories that honeybees are rapidly disappearing, dying off at “mysteriously high rates,” potentially affecting one-third of our food crops and causing global food shortages. Time magazine says readers need to contemplate “a world without bees,” while other “mainstream media” articles have sported similar headlines.

The Pesticide Action Network and NRDC are leading campaigns that claim insecticides, especially neonicotinoids, are at least “one of the key factors,” if not the principle or sole reason for bee die-offs.

Thankfully, the facts tell a different story – two stories, actually. First, most bee populations and most managed hives are doing fine, despite periodic mass mortalities that date back over a thousand years. Second, where significant depopulations have occurred, many suspects have been identified, but none has yet been proven guilty, although researchers are closing in on several of them.

Major bee die-offs have been reported as far back as 950, 992 and 1443 AD in Ireland. 1869 brought the first recorded case of what we now call “colony collapse disorder,” in which hives full of honey are suddenly abandoned by their bees. More cases of CCD or “disappearing disease” have been reported in recent decades, and a study by bee researchers Robyn Underwood and Dennis vanEngelsdorp chronicles more than 25 significant bee die-offs between 1868 and 2003. However, contrary to activist campaigns and various news stories, both wild and managed bee populations are stable or growing worldwide.

Beekeeper-managed honeybees, of course, merit the most attention, since they pollinate many important food crops, including almonds, fruits and vegetables. (Wheat, rice and corn, on the other hand, do not depend at all on animal pollination.) The number of managed honeybee hives has increased some 45% globally since 1961, Marcelo Aizen and Lawrence Harder reported in Current Biology – even though pesticide overuse has decimated China’s bee populations.

Even in Western Europe, bee populations are gradually but steadily increasing. The trends are similar in other regions around the world, and much of the decline in overall European bee populations is due to a massive drop in managed honeybee hives in Eastern Europe, after subsidies ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union. In fact, since neonicotinoid pesticides began enjoying widespread use in the 1990s, overall bee declines appear to be leveling off or have even diminished.

Nevertheless, in response to pressure campaigns, the EU banned neonics – an action that could well make matters worse, as farmers will be forced to use older, less effective, more bee-lethal insecticides like pyrethroids. Now environmentalists want a similar ban imposed by the EPA in the United States.

That’s a terrible idea. The fact is, bee populations tend to fluctuate, especially by region, and “it’s normal for a beekeeper to lose part of his hive over the winter months,” notes University of Montana bee scientist Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk. Of course, beekeepers want to minimize such losses, to avoid having to replace too many bees or hives before the next pollination season begins. It’s also true that the United States did experience a 31% loss in managed bee colonies during the 2012-2013 winter season, according to the US Agriculture Department.

Major losses in beehives year after year make it hard for beekeepers to turn a profit, and many have left the industry. “We can replace the bees, but we can’t replace beekeepers with 40 years of experience,” says Tim Tucker, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation. But all these are different issues from whether bees are dying off in unprecedented numbers, and what is causing the losses.

Moreover, even 30% losses do not mean bees are on the verge of extinction. In fact, “the number of managed honeybee colonies in the United States has remained stable over the past 15 years, at about 1.5 million” – with 20,000 to 30,000 bees per hive – says Bryan Walsh, author of the Time article.

That’s far fewer than the 5.8 million managed US hives in 1946. But this largely reflects competition from cheap imported honey from China and South America and “the general rural depopulation of the US over the past half-century,” Walsh notes. Extensive truck transport of managed hives, across many states and regions, to increasingly larger orchards and farms, also played a role in reducing managed hive numbers over these decades.

CCD cases began spiking in the USA in 2006, and beekeepers reported losing 30-90% of the bees in many hives. Thankfully, incidents of CCD are declining, and the mysterious phenomenon was apparently not a major factor over the past winter. But researchers are anxious to figure out what has been going on.

Both Australia and Canada rely heavily on neonicotinoid pesticides. However, Australia’s honeybees are doing so well that farmers are exporting queen bees to start new colonies around the world; Canadian hives are also thriving. Those facts suggest that these chemicals are not a likely cause. Bees are also booming in Africa, Asia and South America.

However, there definitely are areas where mass mortalities have been or remain a problem. Scientists and beekeepers are trying hard to figure out why that happens, and how future die-offs can be prevented.

Walsh’s article suggests several probable culprits. Topping his list is the parasitic Varroa destructor mite that has ravaged U.S. bee colonies for three decades. Another is American foulbrood bacteria that kill developing bees. Other suspects include small hive beetles, viral diseases, fungal infections, overuse of miticides, failure of beekeepers to stay on top of colony health, or even the stress of colonies constantly being moved from state to state. Yet another might be the fact that millions of acres are planted in monocultures – like corn, with 40% of the crop used for ethanol, and soybeans, with 12% used for biodiesel – creating what Walsh calls “deserts” that are devoid of pollen and nectar for bees.

A final suspect is the parasitic phorid fly, which lays eggs in bee abdomens. As larvae grow inside the bees, literally eating them alive, they affect the bees’ ability to function and cause them to walk around in circles, disoriented and with no apparent sense of direction. Biology professor John Hafernik’s San Francisco University research team said the “zombie-like” bees leave their hives at night, fly blindly toward light sources, and eventually die. The fly larvae then emerge from the dead bees.

The team found evidence of the parasitic fly in 77% of the hives they sampled in the San Francisco Bay area, and in some South Dakota and Central Valley, California hives. In addition, many of the bees, phorid flies and larvae contained genetic traces from another parasite, as well as a virus that causes deformed wings. All these observations have been linked to colony collapse disorder.

But because this evidence doesn’t fit their anti-insecticide fund-raising appeals, radical environmentalists have largely ignored it. They have likewise ignored strong evidence that innovative neonicotinoid pest control products do not harm bees when they are used properly. Sadly, activist noise has deflected public and regulator attention away from Varroa mites, phorid flies and other serious global threats to bees.

The good news is that the decline in CCD occurrence has some researchers thinking it’s a cyclical malady that is entering a downswing – or that colonies are developing resistance. The bottom line is that worldwide trends show bees are flourishing. “A world without bees” is not likely.

So now, as I said in a previous article on this topic, we need to let science do its job, and not jump to conclusions or short-circuit the process. We need answers, not scapegoats – or the recurring bee mortality problem is likely to spread, go untreated or even get worse.


Keystone XL might surprise you

The biggest mystery about the Keystone XL pipeline is why its final stage hasn't already been approved by the Obama administration.

There are six things most people don't know that make the mystery deeper:

* From following the contentious Keystone pipeline debate, you can be forgiven if you think that the fight is over whether to build it. That's not quite right. The Keystone system has already been transporting oil sands from Canada to U.S. refineries in the Midwest for three years — with no major leaks. The Keystone XL project that has received so much attention is the last phase of a larger project. Phase 1 has been operating since 2010, carrying oil from Alberta across three Canadian provinces and six states to refineries in Illinois. Phase 2 expanded the system from Steele City, Neb., to Cushing, Okla., a major U.S. oil refining and storing hub. It went operational two years ago, again with no major problems. Phase 3, under construction, extends the pipeline from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast refineries in Texas. President Obama even gave a speech in Cushing in March 2012 — during his re-election bid — praising the pipeline extension as good for the economy. Phase 4, the Keystone XL, would build another extension to the pipeline system from Alberta, crossing only three states (Montana, South Dakota then Nebraska).

* The new pipeline will disturb less land than the pipeline that has already been built. While the Keystone XL will have the capacity to deliver more oil — 830,000 barrels a day vs. 590,000 for Phase 1 — its U.S. footprint is more than 200 miles shorter than Phase 1.

* Pipeline builders have already addressed the major environmental objection. Environmentalists argued that Phase 4 would transport oil across environmentally sensitive areas of Nebraska. Gov. Dave Heineman expressed similar concerns. So the builder, TransCanada Corp., rerouted the pipeline, which satisfied the governor and the Nebraska Legislature.

* The expanded pipeline doesn't move just Canadian oil; TransCanada routed the expansion to transport up to 100,000 barrels a day of U.S. crude oil from the Bakken reserves in North Dakota and Montana.

* Keystone XL isn't just another way to import oil to the USA, it could actually lower the U.S. trade deficit. The U.S. trade deficit has been at a four-year low, primarily due to declining oil imports. Approving the Keystone XL will improve that trend, allowing the U.S. to export more refined petroleum products that build jobs at U.S. refineries while lowering the trade deficit.

* Many say that by not building the Keystone XL, the U.S. would be taking a stand against importing the Canadian tar sands oil that environmentalists claim is particularly damaging. Such a stand would only be symbolic. According to The Wall Street Journal, the number of train cars carrying Canadian oil is up 20%, and U.S. refineries are expanding their ability to take delivery by rail. Rival pipelines are expanding their existing capacity because they don't require new approvals. The oil is coming, the only question is how much new investment there will be in U.S. energy infrastructure.

The fact is that the Keystone XL pipeline is simply an extension of an already existing program that is working well, creating jobs and expanding U.S. manufacturing. It should be an easy decision for anyone concerned about the economy.


Irish Lilliputs square up to fight British wind giants

Plans are far advanced to erect a forest of giant wind turbines in the flat countryside of the Irish Midlands to generate electricity for the UK - but the protests are growing

To get to Lilliput you travel along a narrow, flat road with a surface so uneven that it feels like the undulations of a sea, then turn right at a pine tree to end up on the shores of the Lough Ennell, in the dead centre of Ireland.

Indeed, the spot where the holidaying Jonathan Swift used to take to the lake – and, once, looking back from his boat, was struck by how small the people on the shore appeared to be – does seem moribund these days, with a disused boathouse, a sad sandpit, a single picnic table and litter bin, part of a nearby “adventure centre”. But it lies at the heart of a growing conflict that promises to be every bit as epic as the contest between the ''Big-endians’’ and ''Little-endians’’ in Gulliver’s Travels.

For, virtually unknown in Britain – and little publicised in Ireland – plans are far advanced to erect a forest of giant wind turbines over three times the height of Nelson’s column in the flat countryside of the Irish Midlands, to generate electricity for the UK. Over the next few years, some 1,100 turbines – more than have been erected in the whole of England – are due to be crammed into the counties of Meath, Westmeath, Offaly, Laois and Kildare and parts of Tipperary and Kilkenny.

Earlier this year the British and Irish governments signed a memorandum of understanding for electricity to be exported along highly efficient undersea cables, and a formal agreement is due to be finalised in 2014.

The agreement – much the most advanced element in a scheme to link the electricity grids of 10 Northern European countries – is strongly backed by both prime ministers. Britain is falling behind in its efforts to provide 30 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, amid ever-increasing hostility to onshore wind. Ireland, by contrast, is expected easily to meet an even more stringent goal, and have capacity to spare; indeed its total wind resources are 19 times greater than it needs.

Britain hopes to save a total of £7 billion by importing the power rather than building the same capacity offshore, while exporting it is predicted to earn the hard-strapped Irish economy over £2 billion a year – about the same as exports from the dairy industry.

Indeed, proponents like Eamon Ryan – the Green Irish energy minister who paved the way for the scheme – see exploiting the country’s wind as producing a similar economic revolution as did capitalising on its grass half a century ago.

But there is also an unspoken element to the deal. By effectively moving most of its turbine construction to Ireland – and thus increasing Britain’s wind energy capacity by 80 per cent – ministers have hoped to bypass objections, since opposition to windpower has so far been almost negligible there. For a while they got away with it, as companies have quietly signed up hundreds of farmers to open up their land, typically promising to pay some £15,000 a year per turbine.

That changed when Andrew Duncan, a Westmeath auctioneer, was approached, by accident, a year ago, and decided to find out what was going on. At the time, he says, he “saw no problem in wind” but he was horrified to find that his home was to be enveloped by turbines “front, side, and back”. Discovering the overwhelming scale of the proposals, he decided not just to fight for his own area but to alert the whole Midlands.

He and others formed the first protest group last October. Now there are 30, with another two starting up last week. Three thousand people marched against the plans in the town of Mullingar, almost every house in villages near Lilliput sports a poster denouncing the development, and a poll in one affected area recorded opposition running at over 90 per cent. Other parts of Ireland are now beginning to follow their lead.

“We are normal people who have never objected to anything in our lives,” he says. “But we have been compelled to resist something that is being imposed on us as Britain tries to export its environmental problems to us.” So strong has the opposition become in less than a year that proponents and opponents of the scheme increasingly believe it will not go ahead as planned.

Both sides now increasingly suggest that the turbines – which protesters fear may increase to over 2,000 – should be sited far from housing on the area’s tens of thousands of acres of worked-out peat bogs. But, unless such a compromise is reached, the people of the Midlands look like restraining the wind giants as effectively as the Lilliputians tied down Gulliver.


James Lovelock On Why Global Warming Has Stalled

The scientist known for his Gaia theory and warnings about climate change is 94 but feels he still has work to do

In 2007 the influential scientist, inventor and environmentalist spoke of dire and imminent climate change. Warning of a lethal rise in temperatures over the next two decades, he noted that since 1970 sea levels had risen 1.6 times faster than predicted, and stated that worse was to come.

Since then, Lovelock has revised some of his assertions – and aged 94, he has little to worry about personally – but is he concerned about the fate of his pretty 1820s coastguard’s cottage?

“Not one bit. We’re 70 yards from the sea but we’re also more than 50 feet above it, and by 2100, when I’ll be long gone, it won’t have risen – at most, I should think – more than a metre,” he says, though he can’t resist a bit of doom-mongering. “I think we’re more likely to be done by a tsunami caused by a bit dropping off one of the volcanoes on the Canaries.” [...]

Despite the influence his work has had on “green” politics, he has an ambivalent relationship with the environmental movement, and little time for eco-posturing. A quick glance around confirms the house has all the usual electrical appliances; a bottle of Fairy Liquid, rather than any all-natural cleaner, stands at the kitchen sink; and having experimented with a biofuel boiler in the 1970s with disastrous consequences, Lovelock now uses oil to heat his home.

Over the years, he has infuriated many environmentalists with his criticism of renewable energy sources, including wind turbines – a stance that many have interpreted as mischievous provocation – and with his promotion of nuclear power as the cleanest, safest and most efficient alternative to fossil fuels. More recently, he has even voiced his support of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as a short-term option.

“People don’t decide on logic or sense, or even on economics, they decide on fear,” he says. “When you look at the actual records you find that wind turbines have killed far more people than nuclear energy.”

For years, Lovelock has devoted a great deal of energy to highlighting the risks of global warming, or “global heating” as he prefers it. The next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, due to be published in part next month, will have to address the fact that, despite an increase in the use of fossil fuels, and carbon dioxide emissions, temperatures have not risen as rapidly over the past 15 years as in previous decades. So what does Lovelock make of this anomaly?

“I remember back to the IPCC in the 1990s, the ice-core data were coming in very well,” he says. “At that time you could look at the temperatures in Antarctica and the atmospheric concentrations together over about 500,000 years, now you can look at about a million, and it’s extraordinary, there’s a complete one-to-one correlation between temperature and CO2. So they said, ‘Right, well we know the sensitivity now, so we can predict the climate’. The problem is that there’s now all that junk going into the atmosphere from burning fuels so the sensitivity’s no longer what it was.”

Some have suggested an increase in aerosols – particles of smoke, and mist in the earth’s atmosphere that reflect some of the sun’s heat – has affected temperatures. Lovelock agrees and he points to the smoke produced as a result of large-scale coal and forest burning in China and Indonesia, suggesting that the growth of emerging economies could, in fact, be contributing to a short-term cooling effect.

As for the cold winters experienced in the UK in recent years, he sees this as a more local effect. “I think – and a lot of others do too – it’s attributable to the melting of the floating ice up in the north,” he says. “Ice is pure water so when it melts it becomes fresh water not salt water, which is lighter, so it floats on the surface of the sea and drifts downwards [south]. That does two things, it makes the water off western Europe a lot cooler but, much more seriously, it stops the sinkholes that drive the Gulf Stream.”




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


6 September, 2013

Britain to scrap taxpayer-funded £5,000 grants to electric car buyers after experts find incentive did little to help the environment

Taxpayer-funded subsidies of £5,000 aimed at boosting sales of electric vehicles are to be phased out, ministers said last night.

The grant was introduced to fuel a consumer boom in emission-free cars but it ‘cannot be maintained indefinitely’, they warn.

It comes after experts found the incentive was doing little to help the environment and instead allowing rich families to buy a second car on the cheap.

The £5,000-per-car subsidies, which have been in place for two years, will now be reduced before being phased out.

Details emerged in a new blueprint for green vehicles by the Government, which wants almost every car and van to have ultra-low emissions by 2050.

The Government has spent £11million on the subsidies, while a network of more than 1,600 public charging points has been installed across the country to encourage drivers to switch from fuel.

It was hailed as a way to boost the economy and help encourage motorists to embrace green technology.

But demand for electric cars has remained low because most families still find them too expensive – and only £11million of the total available pot of £30million has been spent.

Research commissioned from the respected Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) suggests that axing the subsidy will come as a major blow to electric car manufacturers.

The grant is said to play an ‘important role’ in electric vehicle purchase’ in nine out of ten sales.

However, ministers said tax subsidies for company car drivers who choose an electric car will continue ‘until at least 2020’.

Most people were found to have little if any knowledge about electric cars and suffer ‘range anxiety’, fearing they will run out of juice before they can recharge.

‘The distance a pure electric vehicle can travel one charge is a consistent concern,’ said the report.

Drivers are also unsure where public charge points are available.

A scathing report, published by the Commons Transport Select Committee last September, found the £5,000 subsidies were doing little more than ‘subsidising second cars for affluent households’, adding: ‘The Government appears to have spent £11million on providing infrastructure that currently benefits only a handful of vehicle owners.’

Ministers have committed £500million between 2015 and 2020 to support the development of electric and other ‘green’ vehicles and are consulting with industry and consumers on how best to spend it.

Transport Minister Norman Baker yesterday insisted the new strategy ‘moves us up a gear’ in its ‘ambitious but realistic’ vision for zero-emissions cars.


How 40mph winds wrecked this turbine: Photo shows two blades torn off and a third buckled under force of gale

And much stronger winds than that are on the widely-used Beaufort scale

A single crooked blade dangling precariously from its rotor is all that remains of this wind turbine, which was left badly damaged as gusts reached 40mph.

Two blades of the turbine were torn off altogether following storms last week, with one piece of debris estimated to have been thrown about 60 yards, after a suspected technical fault was 'magnified' by the wind.

The incident has prompted calls for similar structures to be removed from nearby schools.

The 60 kilowatt micro-turbine at Dunhobby, on Scrabster Hill, near Thurso, in the Highlands, was wrecked in storms on Friday evening.

The Highland Council has insisted it was 'satisfied' with the procedures in place to ensure 'their safe operation' in schools.

But Stuart Young, chairman of Caithness Wind Information Forum (CWIF), said the incident illustrated the need for turbines to be removed from schools.

He said: 'Highland Council steadfastly refuses to acknowledge any risk from siting small wind turbines in school playgrounds and considers that only at 80mph - twice the wind speed which destroyed the Scrabster Hill turbine - is there any need to consider action.'

Mr Young said the council’s trigger level of 80mph to shut down turbines is 6mph above hurricane force, the highest level on the Beaufort Scale.

'There is abundant evidence these machines can and do fail under conditions far less severe than warranted by manufacturers.'

Mr Young said the incident at Dunhobby was most likely to be 'due to a technical fault but the wind magnified the problem'.

He said: 'Surely now Highland Council will take notice and remove wind turbines from school playgrounds. This is not an anti-wind farm issue but a safety one.'

Following concerns expressed over the safety of wind turbines in school playgrounds, the council closed them down for a time last year while risk assessments were undertaken.

'They were subsequently restarted earlier this year in the belief that any risk would be eliminated by having the turbines serviced twice a year rather than the standard once a year,' added Mr Young.

A Scrabster farmer was granted permission in 2011 for the 25.9 metre turbine at Dunhobby. He was not available for comment yesterday.

A Highland Council spokesman said: 'We are satisfied we have put in place the required risk assessments of wind turbines in schools to ensure their safe operation.'

It is not the first time turbines have suffered at the hands of strong winds.

In January this year a 115ft wind turbine crashed to the ground after apparently struggling to stand up to 50mph gusts at East Ash Farm in Bradworthy, Devon.

Endurance, which manufactures the turbine, said in a statement: 'Immediately upon report of the tower collapse, our technical teams from the UK and Canada were deployed and arrived on site within hours to start an investigation.

'While there was no malfunction or abnormality with the turbine or tower contrary to early inaccurate media reports of a fire and and missing fasteners, there was a problem with the structural grout and the manner in which the tower was fixed to the foundation that affected the durability of the anchor rods resulting in the tower collapse.

'The customer in this case has been assured that his turbine will be replaced and the foundation will be corrected.'

Renewable energy company Dulas installed the Endurance Wind Power E-3120 50kW turbine at the site despite protests from villagers who said it would be noisy and spoil the view.

In January 2012 three turbines were wrecked in rough weather, while a 300ft turbine in Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, erupted in flames the previous month during gales of 165mph.

It was said to have been switched off, but had a ‘brake system failure’.

The accidents swept away any remaining illusions that strong winds simply mean more electricity being generated.

The turbines damaged in January 2012 stood within a mile of one another in the countryside around Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

One in the village of Upper Cumberworth lost one of its three blades, and another in the same village lost two. A third, in nearby Hepworth, lost all three, with debris blown across a road into a neighbouring property.

Wind farms in Scotland were paid nearly £300,000 in the first five days of 2012 to close down because it was too windy.

The ‘constraint payments’ were made after they produced more energy than the National Grid could handle.


Electric Losers, Round Two

The Energy Department hopes to revive an Obama clunker

A leading candidate for the biggest government failure in recent years is the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM), which stopped doling out loans in 2011 after funding such debacles as Fisker Automotive. But this is the Obama Administration, where nothing in government fails, so naturally new Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz wants to revive it.

The Energy Department said last week that it "plans to conduct an active outreach campaign to educate industry associations and potential applicants about the substantial remaining funds" in ATVM. The PR campaign appears to be the first step in what Mr. Moniz tells the Detroit News may be a "new solicitation" for loans. Hold on to your wallets.

Congress created this market-distorting program in 2008 to spur a green-car revolution, and President Bush went along for the ride in his unlamented late period. The Obama Administration made the program a highlight of its stimulus, committing some $9 billion to electric-vehicle and other projects. Two of the largest taxpayer loans went to global titans Ford and Nissan—not exactly needy but at least going concerns.

The biggest bust was the $529 million loan promise to Fisker, which planned to make luxury cars for the masses from a defunct GM GM +4.77% plant in Joe Biden territory in Delaware. Despite this federal loan, state subsidies and more than $1 billion in private financing from Kleiner Perkins and other Silicon Valley investors, Fisker ceased production last year. It had already drawn some $193 million of its federal loan, which looks to be a taxpayer loss.

Energy is also trying to recoup its $50 million to the Vehicle Production Group, a maker of natural-gas powered wheelchair-accessible vans. VPG shut down in May, and the Energy Department recently announced it would auction off its promissory note on August 15. But the federal auction website ( doesn't show that the event took place.

Secretary Moniz will no doubt tout the case of Tesla, another luxury-car company that earlier this year repaid its $465 million loan ahead of schedule. Tesla's stock price is soaring, and this is supposed to be the success story of government venture capital. But Tesla still benefits from other government subsidies—such as the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric-car buyers and the emissions credits Tesla has cashed in on at the expense of traditional car makers. Let's see how Tesla does when it takes off the taxpayer training wheels.

The $16 billion or so left in the auto-loan program seems to be burning a hole in Mr. Moniz's pocket, so taxpayers should be on the lookout for political favoritism. Congress's investigations into Fisker, Solyndra and other losers showed that the Energy Department passed out funds on the basis of political calculations and then was incapable of exercising due diligence over its portfolio.

Rather than let Mr. Moniz throw money at more companies that will go bust or become government dependencies, Congress ought to kill this monument to crony capitalism.


The Spanish Government has laid the ground for ‘fracking’

The Spanish Government, led by the Industry Minister, José Manuel Soria, is decided to help the companies interested in exploring the underground gas resources which could be hidden under the Iberian peninsular.

However, despite the early days of the technique there is already a fierce anti-fracking movement in Spain. They say that water tables could be damaged for ever and already the technique has been seen to cause earthquakes.

The Government approved in Cabinet on Friday to remit to Congress the project for the Law of Environmental Evaluation, which among other things, would oblige all the projects which use fracking to submit to a ‘evaluation of impact’ report. This is the first time such a move has been contemplated.

It means that the Government has advanced fracking and given legal protection to the controversial technique. Spain therefore joins countries such as Poland and the U.K. which have also set a course to reduce their dependence on outside energy.

The Superior College of Mining Engineering presented a report some months ago. It said that the was enough gas for fracking for 39 years in Spain, interesting for a country which imports 99% of its hydrocarbons, but nevertheless ecologist groups and dozens of Town Halls and provincial governments, and the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces, (FEMP) have present 103 motions against fracking.

The protestors will have a battle on their hands. The fracking companies have formed a lobby, Shale Gas España, which says there is no need for any environmental impact evaluation to be carried out.

With diverse opinions across Europe, the European Commission remains cautious. They cannot say whether fracking is fine or not so, but they will be drawing up a regulation which will set out how to avoid any impact on the environment.


The Netherlands Inches Toward Shale

The Dutch government just released a report finding that the environmental risks of fracking shale can be managed. It’s a small but important step for the country, but also for the future of shale energy in Europe. American companies are already balancing the risks of drilling—including the fines, loss of resources, and bad press that accidents bring—against the benefits of the new energy source, and the industry appears to be getting safer. The report found that Dutch shale could entail even less environmental risk, thanks to the country’s geology. The FT reports:

"The report by the consultancies Witteveen and Bos, Arcadis, and Fugro acknowledges the risks but says the possibility of groundwater pollution is “very small”, partly because Dutch shale gas reserves lie much deeper than those in the US, at three to four kilometres rather than 1.5."

Local government will still have a say in whether or not exploratory wells will be drilled in the Netherlands, and the permits—if they come—likely won’t be issued until next year. Regardless, this is a positive sign for a continent that to this point has remained firm in its rejection of the new source of oil and gas:

"France and Bulgaria have banned fracking altogether, and there has also been strong resistance in some German states. Yet America’s Energy Information Administration puts Europe’s recoverable reserves on a par with America’s."

Governments should be basing their decision on whether or not to frack on reports like this one, not the knee-jerk reaction and emotional appeals of greens ideologically opposed to the process.


Will Australians Vote to End the Carbon Tax?

By Alan Caruba

There’s an election in Australia on Saturday, September 7, and while the economy is of the greatest concern, it is a carbon tax that has driven up costs and put businesses into closure that is the issue that will determine the outcome. Meanwhile, in the U.S., imposing a carbon tax remains a top priority of the Obama administration.

A carbon tax is really a tax on the use of energy. Diehard environmentalists oppose any form of energy use. The code words are “greenhouse gas emissions”, meaning carbon dioxide (CO2) that the Greens constantly tell us will cause the Earth’s temperature to rise, but the Earth is not cooperating, having been in a natural cooling cycle going on 17 years now. Nor are the apocalyptic predictions about CO2 anything more than lies given the fact that it is a minimal element of the Earth’s atmosphere. That said, without it, all life on Earth would die because all vegetation depends on it.

In “Taxing Air: Facts and Fallacies About Climate Change”, Bob Carter and colleagues dismember green claims and, addressing Australia’s carbon tax, note that “price increases will cascade through the economy, and for most of them no compensation will be proposed. At the bottom of the pile, to whom the accrued costs will be passed, lies the squashed citizen and consumer.” Those citizens will be voting on Saturday.

As an article in The Guardian, a British daily, noted, a conservative coalition led by Tony Abbott is likely to win, ending six years of Labor (socialist) rule that included a battle within the Labor party for its leadership, the result of its having passed a carbon tax after the then-Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, had promised not to impose it. Kevin Rudd challenged and replaced her. Now he and the Labor party are expected to be defeated.

“Having built his standing as opposition leader on the contention that Labor’s carbon tax would destroy jobs and hurt households,” the Guardian article noted, “Abbott has promised his first legislative act as prime minister will be to repeal it.”

What has occurred in Australia is a case history example of what happens when greens get their way. They always manage to destroy the economy. A recent study of Australia’s carbon tax by the Institute for Energy Research yielded the following findings:

# In the year after Australia’s carbon tax was introduced, household electricity prices rose 15%, including the biggest quarterly increase on record.

# Currently 19% of the typical household’s electricity bill is due to Australia’s carbon tax and other "green" programs such as a renewable energy mandate.

# The job market had previously been stable, but after Australia’s carbon tax, the number of unemployed workers has risen by more than 10%.

# Because Australia's exports are relatively emissions intensive, the practical result of the Australian carbon tax serves as a tax on exports and import-competing industries.

# Australia’s carbon tax was accompanied by income tax increases for 2.2 million taxpayers.

# Due to fiscal gaps that exist between carbon tax revenues and increased government spending that accompanied the scheme, Australia's budget bottom line will worsen as higher deficits and greater public debt increase.

# Carbon dioxide emissions have actually increased, and will not fall below current levels until 2043, according to the Australian government.

Viv Forbes, chairman of the Carbon Sense coalition in Australia, an opponent of the carbon tax and other green proposals, says “The growing failure of green energy in Europe should warn Australia to abandon bi-partisan policies dictating targets, mandates and subsidies for ‘green’ energy.”

This mirrors the same problems here in America where billions in loans to so-called green energy companies can be added to the list of Obama administration scandals as one after another went out of business. Solar and wind power is proving to be as great a hoax as “global warming” and a very costly one at that. How long has it being going on? Jimmy Carter had solar panels placed on the roof of the White House. Ronald Reagan had them removed. Barack Obama has had them installed.

Fifteen million registered voters in Australia will go to the polls and render their judgment on September 7. It is a vote that should be reported upon in the United States, but it more likely to be ignored or buried.




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


5 September, 2013

New Zealand answers Al Gore

NIWA, the New Zealand weather service, is notoriously corrupt and dishonest in the global warming cause and not at all averse to a good ol' NZ "orchestrated litany of lies". But Al Gore recently hung his hat on their claim that NZ has just had a record warm winter. Attaching much weight to what was happening on the tiny percentage of the earth's surface that is NZ is amusing enough but more amusing is some much less ambiguous data -- "freak" late winter snowfalls in NZ. We read:

"HUNDREDS of skiers are stuck on New Zealand's Mt Hutt after freak weather forced its closure.

A combination of drifting snow and poor visibility has been blamed. While ski area management were aware of an approaching front and poor forecast, the situation deteriorated quickly, Mt Hutt ski area manager James McKenzie said.

There are 316 people trapped on the mountain.

"We made a decision to close the mountain at 11.30 this morning and a number of people made it safely down the road," he said.

"However at midday a combination of new snow blowing around everywhere and wind gusts of up to 45km/h, especially around the Saddles, meant visibility along the upper section of the access road deteriorated to the extent we closed the road completely."


That must pull the NZ winter average temperature down a bit. Poor old Al Gore. Cold weather just seems to follow him about

We paid for it. We have a right to see it

Publicly-funded scientists who keep their work secret should be censured and cut off from future funding

Ron Arnold

Who owns taxpayer-funded science? From the way many scientists behave, it’s not the taxpayers.

Many scientific studies funded by federal agencies – through grants, contracts or cooperative agreements – hide the guts of the science. What the scientists keep secret is the raw data they obtain and the methods they use to interpret it, as if those were personal possessions. It’s an especially outrageous attitude when their work is used to justify the horrendous, burdensome regulations.

Independent scientist Rob Roy Ramey recounted an extreme example: “A researcher tracked endangered desert bighorn sheep with government GPS radio collars to record precise animal locations for wildlife rangers. He then reset the access codes so only he could download the data remotely, and refused to surrender the codes. California Fish and Game had to track down and net-gun the bighorns from a helicopter, to manually download the data, costing a fortune and endangering both animals and people.”

Agency “science” frequently isn’t about data collection at all. Instead, it’s a “literature search,” with researchers in a library selecting papers and reports written by others, merely summarizing results and giving opinions of the actual scientists. These agency researchers never even see the underlying data, much less collect it in the field. The agency then holds up those second-hand opinions as if they had rigorously tested them against the data. Using this unscrupulous tactic, they can cherry-pick the literature to make any case they want, for any regulation they want to impose.

With so many federal reports containing no data – only conclusions put forth by another scientist – there is no way to debate, debunk or disprove the underlying facts. It’s almost impossible even to get court orders to track down and disclose the data, if Freedom of Information Act requests are denied, which they frequently are (legally or otherwise).

If there is no way to test a statement, hypothesis or theory, it is not science. It’s opinion or politics. If you hide the raw data, no one can test it, and it’s easy for agenda-driven “researchers” and regulators to implement laws that are based on junk science or even fraud.

Indeed, the only reason a scientist would want to hide his or her data and methods is to prevent others from discovering or demonstrating that they are false – or to surreptitiously seek personal profit from taxpayer-funded discoveries, which likewise are not the property of the discovering tax-paid scientist.

We shouldn’t base our regulations on untested and unscientific “science.” And yet American science is riddled with data secrecy. How can we know the nation isn’t paying for mathematical errors, unreliable methods, deliberate bias, peer-review collusion, outright fakery, or even criminal activity and fraud?

All these allegations against federal agencies have emerged repeatedly. They surfaced once again at an August 2, 2013 congressional hearing. House Natural Resources Committee under Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) has been investigating secretive and corrupted science. At his hearing, “Transparency and Sound Science Gone Extinct?” a panel of four witnesses honed in on the impacts of the Obama administration’s closed-door mega-settlements on endangered species and people.

These secretive Big Green lawsuit settlements use the Endangered Species Act to force agencies to list hundreds of species and make related habitat decisions, not because the science supports the need, but because Big Green settlement deadlines require it. They underscore the nasty reality that the Endangered Species Act is not about protecting species; it’s about land-use control. Everything in the ESA hinges on “critical habitat,” land that a bureaucrat can declare is off limits for public and private users, supposedly to serve a species’ needs, but with devastating impacts on people, jobs and private property.

Panel witness Damien Schiff, principal attorney of the Pacific Legal Foundation, testified that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service itself “estimated that the annual economic impact of critical habitat designation for the California gnatcatcher [a bird] is over $100 million.” It’s undoubtedly much higher than that.

One of the Natural Resources Defense Council's first publications was “Land Use Controls in the United States,” a 1977 handbook that taught activists how to separate land from use (and users and owners). The power to impose land-use controls anywhere is the real motive behind all current sue-and-settle back-room species-listing deadline deals between Big Green and President Obama’s bureaucrats.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe naturally defended his sue and settle deals. “Settlement agreements are often in the public's best interest, because we have no effective legal defense to most deadline cases,” he claimed. That’s a flat-out lie.

Ashe has a powerful legal defense that he refuses to use: Demand that the science underlying the species listing be tested to determine whether it is flawed, corrupt or fraudulent. He won’t use it for a good reason: recent revelations of false science by agency contractors – California’s Mad River Biologists. Failure to pass “truth” tests could totally invalidate the original listing and everything to do with it.

Why won't he use that moral, ethical and legal defense as an impartial arbiter? First, his agency authorized funding for most of the science. Second, most of the scientists are on his agency’s payroll. Third, politically, he can’t try to win because that would make the Obama administration look like it opposes endangered species protection – or is stealing people’s property and supporting fraud.

Operating under this mindset, the FWS becomes a political tool that uses science as its sword and shield. It cannot be an impartial arbiter. In fact, far from being honest and impartial, the FWS is rife with malicious officials, as witness Kent McMullen, chairman of Washington state’s Franklin County Natural Resources Advisory Committee, testified. His written testimony filled nine pages with outrageous FWS dirty tricks and skullduggery in his county – and in this supposedly free, honest, accountable country.

For example, announcements of critical habitat designations for the White Bluffs Bladderpod plant were deliberately kept “under the radar” in Franklin County, so that they could become law, before anyone could object. Only after Hastings asked county officials about it did the impending decision come to light.

McMullen said, “An FWS employee that apologized in private to a farm family told them that they had been told to keep the issue quiet and to not inform landowners or locals.”

The star witness was independent scientist Ramey, a PhD with 33 years of worldwide experience with threatened and endangered wildlife. Ramey hit key points hard: “The American people pay for data collection and research on threatened and endangered species through grants, contracts cooperative agreements, and administration of research permits. They pay the salaries of agency staff who collect data, and author, edit and publish papers based upon those data.” For the most part, regulations are based on those data, and these officials willingly go along with the crooked system.

“It is essential that the American people have the right to full access to those data in a timely manner,” Ramey continued. “A requirement that data and methods be provided in sufficient detail to allow third party reproduction would raise the bar on the quality and reproducibility of the science used in ESA decisions and benefit species recovery. Failure to ensure this level of transparency will undermine the effectiveness of the very programs that the data were gathered for in the first place.”

Then Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), who chaired the hearing after Hastings had to leave, told the witnesses: “For all of you, this is a yes or no answer. I’m going to go down the line. ‘Would you agree that in this day and age of the Internet, it is both possible and preferable that actual data be used for ESA decisions that affect both species and people, and should the data be available for everyone to see online on the Internet?’” Mr. Shiff? “Yes.” Mr. Ashe? “Yes.” Mr. McCollum? “Yes.” Dr. Ramey? “Yes.”

They were all on the record, including Director Ashe, whose feet are now available for holding to the fire. Federal decision-making must be based on the best data, not just the best data “available.” That is in the public interest. It’s time we stopped tolerating fraud, abuse and property theft by federal regulators.


Europe Should Abandon Unilateral Climate Policy And Develop Shale, Says EU Energy Commissioner

Germany should not dismiss gas fracking technology that has boosted US industry, nor unilaterally overexpose itself to climate protection efforts, European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said on Tuesday (3 September).

Germany, the bloc's biggest economy and energy market, goes to the polls later this month and afterwards must reform its energy laws reflecting a costly low-carbon approach coupled with scepticism about fossil fuel production, including fracking.

"I advise you to keep all [gas fracking] options open ... that make [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin nervous," he said.

Oettinger, a German national, was alluding to unresolved differences in European fracking laws which leave shale gas output dormant despite its potential, while gas imports are rising, with Russia remaining the biggest single supplier.

Due to environmental concerns, Berlin has suspended plans to regulate hydraulic fracking until after September's election, prolonging the uncertainty that curbs its development.

Fracking, which involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure thousands of metres below the ground to release gas, has helped lower energy prices in the United States, fuelling an industrial revival.

Oettinger said German industry could afford to pay 50% or 100% more for energy than rivals in the United States, "but not more than that".

Oettinger defended exemptions that Germany grants its industry from energy-related costs. They have come into the focus of an EU probe as neighbours and private German consumer groups complained about alleged distortions to competition.

"If industry wants to survive, it needs [energy cost] exemptions," Oettinger said. He called German Green Party ideas for further industry regulation "adventurous" and warned that industrial players could leave Europe to relocate elsewhere.

Turning to current EU climate policies, Oettinger warned that the bloc risked investing in too many ideas and research while it only accounts for a small part of global emissions.

The European Commission is due to propose 2030 climate protection goals later this year. Oettinger advised caution.

"It is becoming increasingly questionable whether our pioneering activities can be financed when the rest of the world does not follow suit," he said.


Is stopping Keystone a San Francisco hedge-fund billionaire's shrewd investment?

Tom Steyer, San Francisco hedge-fund billionaire and million-dollar donor to Democratic candidates -- including President Obama -- is something of a one-man Big Green with greater wealth and deeper contacts than many activist non-profit foundations.

He's waging a dogged end-of-the-world money war against fossil fuels and is currently cramming mega-bucks into a costly fight against the Keystone XL pipeline as a "game-over" environmental doomsday. Winning his fierce battle, however, won't do a thing about global warming, say climate researchers.

Ken Caldeira, climate researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, Calif., told Nature Magazine in August: "I don't believe that whether the pipeline is built or not will have any detectable climate effect."

David Victor, a climate-policy expert at the University of California, San Diego, also told Nature, "As a serious strategy for dealing with climate, blocking Keystone is a waste of time. But as a strategy for arousing passion, it is dynamite."

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Keystone XL arouses the rage of Steyer and less affluent Big Green activists because it would move unconventional thick bitumen, processed to flow easily, from Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to U.S. refineries near the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil sands are dug out of the ground with big excavators, like a mine, and then processed on site for transfer to a refinery in a pipeline or by rail tank cars, like conventional oil.

The multi-step operation is seen as a carbon dioxide "monster" by former government scientist James Hansen. To the contrary, public polls show a majority of Americans favor construction.

But last Friday, the U.S. State Department's recommendation to proceed with the project was delayed until at least January by the agency's inspector general for an investigation.

Big Green activists claimed that ERM Group, which is writing the pipeline's supplemental environmental impact statement, has financial ties with TransCanada Corp., the pipeline's owner.

Tom Steyer founded Farallon Capital nearly three decades ago, and built much of its wealth on fossil-fuel investments. Steyer departed his firm last year to fight the "tar sands" -- as greenies snidely call them -- with a net worth estimated by Forbes at $1.4 billion.

Farallon has large holdings in Houston-based pipeline company Kinder Morgan, owner of the 60-year-old TransMountain Pipeline System, which transports processed oil sands with condensates from Edmonton, Alberta, to the seaport of Vancouver, British Columbia, for export to Asia.

Its $5.4 billion expansion program calls for an application late this year for government permits to carry more oil sands oil than Keystone.

Nobody is investigating Steyer for his financial ties to TransMountain and his pressuring Democratic contribution buddies -- including Obama in personal meetings -- to kill the competitor to Farallon's investment.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., told Fox News, "who knows when he's going to divest of these investments. ... Maybe in a few months when his helping kill Keystone will boost them up to top value."

The leading pro-Keystone congressman, Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., introduced a bill to speed approval of the project that made it through the House on a 241-to-175 vote. Steyer's money in Democratic senators' pockets could influence votes. Obama has threatened a veto.

With a U.S. attack on Syria possibly in the offing, we may shortly see the OPEC countries retaliate with their oil weapon.

Terry spokesman Larry Farnsworth told me, "Americans are tired of being held hostage by this administration and OPEC. Energy independence is in reach, and now is the time to make it happen."


Three More Pieces Of Evidence that Global Warming Is A Fraud:

Conventional wisdom, which is hardly conventional and rarely wise, says things happen in threes. What to make, then, of the three hits the global warming alarmist industry has suffered recently?

We've been told until Al Gore was green in the face that increased emissions of carbon dioxide were going to cause an increase in "dirty weather," that we were going to get stronger and more frequent storms.

Nearly a year ago, Gore called Hurricane Sandy a "disturbing sign of things to come" and wrote on his website that "we must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis.

"Dirty energy makes dirty weather," he said, also claiming that "scientists tell us that if we do not reduce our emissions, these problems will only grow worse."

Of course, none of his dire predictions has come to pass, even as atmospheric CO2 has hit 400 parts per million, a threshold that's considered to be the gateway to a danger zone.

Two related news items, though, shine a disinfecting light on Gore's toxic rhetoric:

One, the U.S., according to USA Today, "is seeing its quietest year for tornadoes in more than a decade." USA Today also reports that "meteorologist Greg Forbes of the Weather Channel says 2013 is the third-quietest year, in records dating back to 1950."

Two, Bloomberg News is reporting that there have been no Atlantic hurricanes through August for the first time in 11 years, though "predictions were for an above-normal season."

The Northern Atlantic hurricane season ends Nov. 30, so there's time for a grand finale of storms. But that's unlikely. Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group, told Bloomberg that "if you don't get your first hurricane by or before August, it's extremely difficult to get those high storm counts, especially for hurricanes and major hurricanes."

The third event that completes our triad is the story of an international team of activists that set out to raise awareness of global warming but ended up bumbling into a truth it can't overcome.

"Climate change is transforming the Arctic and the world," Kevin Vallely, lead rower of Mainstream Last First, told the Climate News Network in explaining his team's effort.

"By traversing the Northwest Passage completely under human power in a rowboat, without sail or motor, the Mainstream Last First team will be able to demonstrate firsthand the dramatic effects climate change is having on our planet."

Mainstream, of course, didn't make it.

"Severe weather conditions hindered our early progress and now ice chokes the passage ahead," Vallely wrote in the team's final log. "Our ice router Victor has been very clear in what lies ahead.

"At many Eastern places of NWP, locals have not seen this type ice conditions. Residents of Resolute say 20 years have not seen anything like. It's ice, ice and more ice. Larsen, Peel, Bellot, Regent and Barrow Strait are all choked. That is the only route to East. Already West Lancaster received -2C temperature expecting -7C on Tuesday with the snow."

Vallely said the team was "disappointed" that it was "unable to reach" its intended destination, but failed to concede that his team was on a crackpot's mission.

He assured all who cared to listen that "our message" — bringing "awareness to the pressing issues of climate change in the Arctic" — "remains unaffected."

We predict there will soon be a fourth incident that contradicts the alarmists' warnings. Then a fifth, then a sixth, then a seventh, then ...


Australia: Tony Abbott turns climate sword back on Kevin Rudd

Tony Abbott is the federal conservative leader. Rud is the Leftist leader

IN the last week of the campaign, Tony Abbott has deliberately returned to where he began five weeks ago - the carbon tax.

It is also where he started his first destruction of Kevin Rudd and where he achieved his final defeat of Julia Gillard.

And Labor is doing everything it can to assist the Opposition Leader make it dominate the final campaign days and sear into the national psyche that the election is a referendum on the carbon tax, which guarantees his mandate to repeal it in government.

What's more, Labor is shaping, in Abbott's words, to "commit political suicide twice" by pledging to use the Labor-Greens control of the Senate to keep the carbon tax and force voters back to the polls next year for a double-dissolution election on the tax.

After using a five-year campaign against "a great big new tax" to weaken two prime ministers and bring himself to the cusp of prime ministership, Abbott isn't missing the final opportunity to stick with his most successful strategy and present Labor in opposition with an insoluble dilemma.

Abbott's last pitch on the carbon tax is that it costs jobs, has cost Labor support and probably cost it government. For Labor in opposition, the carbon tax threatens to split its support and further antagonise workers who felt betrayed by Gillard's deal with the Greens and remain concerned for their jobs and living costs.

Yesterday Abbott was again telling blue-collar workers in a Labor stronghold not that he expected them "to break the habits of a lifetime and suddenly love the Coalition" but that repealing the tax was "one thing we will do which is real, which is concrete, which is easy to understand and which is going to make it easier for the manufacturing workers of our country". "A Labor Party which persists in support of the carbon tax is just setting itself up to lose not one election but two," he said.

"If we win the election which is a referendum on the carbon tax, the last thing that the Labor Party will do is set itself up to lose a second election by continuing to support a tax which has become electoral poison."

While refusing to entertain "hypothetical" questions about Labor's attitude in opposition to the carbon tax Rudd made it clear he thought Labor was on the "right side of history" and would remain so into the future.

Deputy Labor leader and potential opposition leader Anthony Albanese was even blunter about not changing, and Environment Minister Mark Butler entrenched Labor's refusal to repeal the carbon tax.

Rudd's claims he "terminated the tax" by bringing forward the move to a market system a year earlier are long gone as Labor digs in behind the carbon tax in government - and in opposition.




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


4 September, 2013

Peer-Reviewed Study Indicates Recent Warming Is Natural

Nature is responsible for most of the planet’s warming in recent decades, a newly published peer-reviewed study indicates.

Writing in the journal Nature, scientists studied sea surface temperature variations in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, which is the region generating El Nino and La Nina events. The scientists found a close correlation between natural variations in the region’s surface water temperatures and ensuing global cooling and warming events. Importantly, a global climate model developed to reflect the regional sea surface temperatures replicated the lack of recent global warming despite continued increases in anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions.

The scientists reported “the current [warming] hiatus is part of natural climate variability, tied specifically to a La-Nina-like decadal cooling.”

Even more importantly, the scientists’ climate model indicated these same natural forces account for most of the global warming during recent decades.

Climate scientist Judith Curry, who has generally been supportive of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change narrative, explained the importance of the newly published study.

“My mind has been blown,” Curry wrote on her website. “No matter what, I am coming up with natural internal variability associated accounting for significantly MORE than half of the observed warming,” Curry wrote after studying the model results. (Emphasis in the original).

“Like I said, my mind is blown,” Curry continued. “I have long argued that the pause was associated with the climate shift in the Pacific Ocean circulation, characterized by the change to the cool phase of the PDO. I have further argued that if this is the case, then the warming since 1976 was heavily juiced by the warm phase of the PDO. I didn’t know how to quantify this, but I thought that it might account for at least half of the observed warming, and hence my questioning of the IPCC’s highly confident attribution of ‘most’ to AGW."

“Although this was not a specific conclusion of the paper (they focused on the period 2002-2012), the conclusion jumps out from their Fig 1 (and my eyeball analysis),” Curry noted.

Curry further explained her conclusion:

"If you accept the following two premises:

• climate models are useful for untangling natural from anthropogenic climate variability/change
• the missing heat is being sequestered in the deep ocean for the past decade or so

then an inescapable corollary seems to be:

• the same natural internal variability (primarily PDO) that is responsible for the pause is a major and likely dominant cause (at least at the 50% level) of the warming in the last quarter of the 20th century.

Does this explanation rule out contributions to the pause from stratospheric aerosols, solar cooling, etc.? No, but I am not seeing the potential from these forcing mechanisms to dominate over the PDO given the ‘fingerprint’ evidence."


Green Prince of Darkness

Today we have a new Green Prince poised to plunge the western world into a self imposed darkness. This Prince first creates the fiction that Carbon causes climate change, then adds the fable that green energy exists which can dispel this nonexistent problem. The entire range of 'green solutions' are all nonsensical. We'll limit this discussion to just solar cells and batteries, saving bio-fuels and windmills for another time.

The Sun Gives Us Nothing for Free

As alluring as the premise may be, the promise of solar energy is not free. The first solar cell was created in 1883 by Charles Fritts using a sheet of Selenium with thin Gold facings. The Sun radiates approximately 1000 watts per square meter at maximum. The Fritts cell produced 10 watts per square meter or 1% efficiency. The Russell Ohl patent of 1946 is considered the first modern solar cell. Today's solar panels are high purity Silicon with a light doping of Phosphorus and Boron to provide breaks in the Silicone for electron movement. The Universe is a radiation chamber with EMR and particle emissions from all concentrated mass, and decay particles from individual atoms. Solar radiation strips protons from Nitrogen atoms, creating Carbon-14. Stripping exposed electrons is even easier. Silicon has four rather stable outer shell electrons in an orbit that can hold eight electrons. Boron has five outer-shell electrons, and Phosphorus has only three. Silicon forms a cubic crystal grid, and slightly impure Silicone matrix sheets can then be embedded with Boron and Phosphorus atoms. When exposed to sunlight, the Boron atom losses it's easily excited fifth electron, which travels the Silicon matrix using the Phosphorus "hole" to the conducting collection grids on both sides of the photovoltaic cell and permanently exits the cell.

Only segments of the solar spectrum activate this flow and it must be captured on both sides of the panel to create a circuit. The required capture grid blocks some of the incoming energy and the net result is 10% efficiency, or approximately 100 watts per square meter, and only within limited ambient temperature ranges which prohibit lenses or mirrors for simple amplification. Efficiencies as high as 40% are available with exotic materials, but then one must address the 'high cost of free', which applies to every 'green' technology. Silicon, Phosphorus and Boron are common elements, but to mine, refine and bring on line has a cost. That cost is reflected in 'cost payback' of 5 to 7 years depending on the system and level of government forced subsidy. But these costs are based on low cost carbon based energy systems providing these materials. Regardless, this is a ONE-TIME, ONE-WAY EROSION PROCESS with a total system life of less than 20 years.

Solar cells produce only Direct Current, which is electric power by the migration of electrons, and in typical PV cells is only 1.5 volts. Alternating Current creates a voltage, but transfers power as a wave, rapidly cycled between positive and negative, with little actual electron migration. The first municipal Edison power systems were DC, but transmission loss and multiple voltage issues prevented success, and the Tesla-Westinghouse developed three-phase AC system became the driving force for modernization. Converting DC to AC involves a conversion loss in an inverter, boosting to higher voltage and converting to more efficient three phase causes additional losses due to the Carnot Cycle. If you connect a hydro-turbine to a pump, you can only pump a portion of the water flowing from a dam into water pumped back to the dam. If you use the hydro-turbine to generate electricity, then use an electric pump to pump water back ablve the dam, then the losses are even greater. The combined losses converting 1.5 volt DC to usable 50 kV, three phase transmissible AC power is forever technically impossible.

Ignoring just these physical limitations, supposed science leading publications like Popular Science, Popular Mechanics and Discover, regularly show fanciful space based systems where vast arrays of solar panels, positioned around the planet, beam "sustainable" microwave energy back to Earth based antennas to provide 24 hour service. Never mind all the limitations above, now add the Carnot loss converting to microwaves on both ends of this system. Limitations to the field density of this transmission would require massive antennas, or large, "no fly zones" for humans, and instant on the fly cook zones for any stray birds. To overcome solar wind and lunar gravity changes, these microwave transmitters would require constant realignment, or the transmissions would wander off the receiving antenna. The fact that this science fiction is presented as anything other than TOTAL FICTION, is proof that these publications are all "pop" and no science.

Much like paying your Visa bill with your Master Card, this parasitic 'clean' energy cannot provide the 'spare' energy to avoid 'dirty' energy. There is a constant loss of electrons in this system and power production erodes over time until, at twenty years, they are useless. The Silicon sheets are protected with glass covers which require periodic cleaning and are subject to damage from hail and wind debris. Solar cells efficiency is also a function of azimuth angle and reduces with higher latitudes, and seasonal tilt angle. Systems with tracking ability have higher efficiency, but not recoverable installation costs. You get progressively less energy at the poles, precisely at the time when you need the MOST energy. To have usable power over extended periods requires a storage system. The most common of these is the battery, which is the heart of that 'other' planet saver.

Dream Green Machine

Soon Electric Vehicles, aka EVs, will replace the nasty internal combustion engine and humanity will be in harmony with the Universe. The transition technology in this race is the hybrid auto and the front runner is the Toyota Prius. This undeniable marvel has a 120 pound Nichol-Metal Hydride battery that costs $3500 to replace or approximately $20 per pound. There again, a cost based on carbon energy providing the material production.

The 'Metal Hydride' portion of these batteries includes the rare Earth elements of Lanthanum, Cerium and Neodymium. These required green components do not willingly join the green cult movement. To have your treasured EV, this planet must be mined and those elements must be extracted and refined.

Due to chemical erosion thru use, these batteries have an eight year or 100,000 mile warranty period. You can save $450 per year on gasoline if you spend $450 per year on a battery. You can walk forever up the down escalator and still get nowhere. There is no way to improve or even 'sustain' our carbon-based life forms without expending some geologically stored carbon energy.

To the blue-green Hollywood Eco-Smurfs and Na'vi wannabe's, we are NOT living on a green Pandora that needs rescue from the evil RDA mining company. Humanity will not be saved by mythical noble savages or a forced return to a primitive life style. It took most of the nineteenth century to formulate the Laws of Thermodynamics. It took most of the twentieth century to apply those laws to the benefit of society. There will be no solutions to problems in the twenty first century that do not comply with these laws.

Curiously missing from the Climatology degree plan is any mention of Thermodynamics. Avoidance of these Laws must give license to break these Laws. Thus clouds can have a negative factor during the day, with their pesky 'albedo' effect reflecting sunlight back into space and then just hours later have a positive effect by blanketing the warmth at night..a reflector or greenhouse at the whim of a Climatologist.

Climatologist can ignore the specific heat and thermal mass of the entire planet and provide a computer model PROVING that the trace human portion, of a trace gas, in the trace portion of the Earth mass that is the atmosphere, is the single greatest climate forcing factor. They can then empower this three atom molecule the unique ability to radiate in a reverse flow in opposition to all proven Thermodynamic Laws. This is lawless behavior, which is by definition, criminal behavior.

Lady Gaga's Underwear

If you don't know what color underwear this pop icon is displaying for us today, it is only due to your willful avoidance of the main stream media message. If you recognize the need to open our 'Pandora' and mine some 'Unobtainium' to improve life for all humanity, then we need your support. Awaken your friends and family to the futility of the Green Utopia.

This manufactured crisis and faux consensus has been brought to you with your tax dollars by your government officials. This has been a bi-partisan effort. Think of the RNC-DNC Crime Syndicate as the ultimate Costa Nostra upgrade. The IPCC, EPA, DOE, NSF and NAS are all guilt of lying, suborning scientific perjury and attempted tax collection fraud.

There have been five high profile whitewash attempts since Climate-Gate, the blessed Hadley hacking event of Nov 19, 2009 by Penn State University and the British government. But now the cherry picked science and the cherry picked whitewash inquires face a serious challenge.

If the 'Hockey Stick Maker Mann' did indeed knowingly delete conflicting data to force a curve match of proxy CO2 to match his proxy temperature, then he has no protection under academic freedom. Virginia Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, filed a Civil Investigation Demand and was rejected by Mann's former employer, the University of Virginia. In a hearing, July 13, 2010 the judge ruled that UVA must provide this material within one week and prepare for oral arguments in a month.

Now a jury of peers, who are NOT government paid academics, will hear evidence denied to skeptics by countless Freedom of Information Act requests. A legitimate inquiry will for the first time review the 'science' of this faux hypothesis. The evidence that will pour forth in this court will be the final death knell for the warmists and their elite handlers. Humanity does not need to be plunged back into the darkness of their green hell.

As America struggled to avoid the world conflict of the 1940's, then Prime Minister Winston Churchill made this observation, "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else." We do not need try everything else. We know science, we know what works and we know when our leaders are systematically lying to us. If you reject the green group think and feel true science, true debate and true democracy are humanity's best hope, then come join us. We are the anti-barbarians.


If warmists would only tell the truth...

by Barry Brill

Thousands of research papers are summarised by the IPCC’s WG1 into 14 chapters of about 100 pages each, which are further summarised into a 70-page technical report that is finally condensed into a Summary for Policymakers (SPM).

Recognising that even a 20-page SPM exceeds the attention span of most journalists, governments distil the politically-relevant essence down to a single soundbite – a meme which becomes the cultural motif of the entire report.

Here are the last three IPCC memes:

2001 TAR: “Most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”.

2007 4AR: “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

2013 5AR (leaked draft): “It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”

The elephant in the room is that this metronomic ramping-up of asserted certainty takes no account of the global temperature standstill which has dominated the data since the mid-1990s. The IPCC has relied on its CIMP5 array of models, without a hint of curiosity as to why they have been so wrong for so long.

Hans von Storch[1] offers five possible explanations for the delinquency of the models:

(1) an underestimation of the natural climate variability;
(2) the climate sensitivity of models may be too large;
(3) there is a missing component in the CMIP5 simulations (eg solar activity)
(4) The last 15 years may have been an outlier.
(5) GHGs play a minor or no noteworthy role in ongoing and expected future climate change.

Warmist von Storch dismisses (5) as being contrary to basic physics. His recent paper[2] finds that the likelihood of (4) is vanishingly small Poimnt (3) refers to natural forcings, which for our purposes can combine with natural variance in (1) as a ‘natural cause’.


Overestimation of climate sensitivity is almost certainly part of the explanation, with numerous recent papers[3] showing that it needs to be reduced by at least 30%. But sensitivity would need to be close to zero, as in (5) above, to account for the entire standstill.

If that low sensitivity were established, the meme would be: “It is very unlikely that the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations had any material effect on the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2013.”

This would not apply if sensitivity is close to 2°C. In round figures, assuming sensitivity of 3°C, the IPCC estimates that each 1ppm of CO2 will add about 1°C (at current saturation levels). As CO2 has accumulated at 2ppm/decade, temperatures should have risen by about 3°C during the last 15 years. So a reduction of 30% would still leave 2°C of “missing heat”.

Natural causes

If the IPCC hypothesis is right and 2°C of heat really was created by CO2 radiation, it must have been offset by 2°C of natural cooling.

This produces a different meme: “Most of the observed plateau in global average temperatures since the mid-1990s is very likely due to natural cooling being offset by the presumed heat from the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

Offsetting a natural global cooling trend is the very antithesis of climate change. It is climate stabilization. Far from leading to eventual danger through warming, it rescues the globe from the much greater dangers of cooling – perhaps another Little Ice Age.


Obama Administration Researching the Ocean As An Energy Source

No harm in research, I suppose -- JR

The U.S. Energy Department is spending $16 million in an attempt to harness energy from ocean waves and tides.

But just as wind turbines kill birds, wave- and tide-generated energy may harm fish. So more than half of the projects announced on Thursday -- nine out of 17 -- will examine environmental concerns, including how wave and tidal devices may affect fish and other marine life.

The Obama administration believes that wave and tidal energy is a "large, untapped resource for the United States" and that "responsible development of this clean, renewable energy source is an important part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson.

Of the $16 million total, $13.5 million is going to eight projects that aim to develop new and efficient drive-train, generator and structural components as well as software that predicts ocean conditions and adjusts device settings to capture the most energy possible.

The taxpayer money is supposed to help companies find "affordable" ways to tap into the movement of large volumes of water and convert mechanical energy into electricity.

Another $2.4 million is going to "responsible and sustainable energy development." This means fish and other marine life.

For example, the University of Maine at Orono will study the interaction of fish with turbines "to predict the probability of fish encountering marine and hydrokinetic devices."

A company in Palo Alto, Calif., will measure how electromagnetic fields generated by undersea electricity transmission may affect marine species.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, will "quantify the distribution, behavioral response, and general patterns of fish movement around an operating tidal energy turbine."

And the University of Washington in Seattle will study the "behavioral responses" of killer whales, harbor porpoises, and other marine mammals to the sounds produced by tidal turbines.

A 2011 report by the Electrical Power Research Institute found that the total potential electric generation from ocean waves is approximately 1,170 terawatt-hours a year, which is almost one third of the 4,000 TWh of electricity used in the United States each year.

"Developing just a small fraction of the available wave energy resource could allow for millions of American homes to be powered with this clean, reliable form of energy," the DOE says on its website.


The merits of ocean fertilisation

I've written here and elsewhere before about the potential merits of ocean fertilisation. Assume that climate change is a true problem (as I do) and that we'd like to do something about it (as I do). The question then becomes what should we do? And we know that there are certain areas of the ocean (quite a lot of them actually) where there is insufficient iron in the water to allow algae to grow. Add iron to these areas (as winds blowing Saharan dust sometimes do, as volcanoes sometimes do) and we get an algal bloom. This increases the supply of fish, which is nice, and some portion of those algae, when they die, fall to the ocean floor and end up as the next layer of chalk. We're thus extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and incorporating it into rock, this is true carbon sequestration.

We know all of this, we know all of this is true. The bit we don't know is quite how effective or efficient it is. Just not sure how much of that CO2 ends up in rock and how much just gets recycled around through the circle of life. Here's one claim from someone who has tried to perform the experiment: "estimates that its experiment absorbed 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide."

That experiment costs $2.5 million to perform. We've thus the claim that sequestration of a tonne of CO2 costs 50 cents. Which is a pretty reasonable price when you think about it. Lord Stern told us that the social costs of one tonne of CO2 is $80. We're thus $79.50 better off for each tonne we turn into chalk in this manner.

Now it is true that others dispute these costs. But we've only had a couple of tests. This particular, not very well monitored, one and one other recently in the Southern Ocean. Given the claims being made here this would seem to be an obvious no brainer to test further. It's possibly extraordinarily cheap to do and it's certainly extraordinarily cheap to test it to see whether it is cheap. Compared to spending $100 billion on the bloody windmills at least.

So governments and scientists are rushing to perform those tests aren't they? We've matelots hurling iron powder over the bulwarks all over the place?

No, no we don't:

"They wanted to see if the iron would cause a bloom of algae that could promote fish numbers and absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Instead, in March, they were raided by Canadian officials for illegal dumping at sea."


"Environment Canada, the nation's environment ministry, said the experiment was illegal under Canadian law and violated the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the London Convention, which governs dumping at sea. World leaders at a U.N. Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro last year urged "utmost caution" in ocean fertilization due to worries that it could disrupt marine life. Many scientists remain skeptical about whether any form of geoengineering will solve climate change. Allowing research, they argue, may detract from efforts to reduce emissions from cars, power plants and factories."

You what?

"The ETC Group, a Canada-based non-governmental organization opposed to geoengineering, said even research is risky. "The moment you accept that geoengineering is a Plan B it will become Plan A for some governments," executive director Pat Mooney said."

Shouldn't we try to find out whether Plan B is going to be better and cheaper than Plan A?

"Criticism of HSRC included a statement of "grave concern" last November by the 87 nations in the London Convention, which regulates dumping at sea. "Ocean fertilization has the potential to have widespread, long-lasting and severe impacts on the marine environment, with implications for human health," it said."

Err, yes, that's what we're trying to find out. If it doesn't have large effects then it won't be worth doing. If it does then we've solved our largest environmental problem.

"The draft report by the U.N. panel of scientists says ocean fertilization can have unknown effects. Added iron might create algae locally but rob nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, from other areas. Extra iron could also produce greenhouse gases such as methane in the sea and increase acid levels in the deep oceans as the waste decays."

So, err, shouldn't we do the experiments and find out?

But as you can see, that's not the way that many, including officialdom, are working. It's not just that it might not work out the way we'd like it to. It's that if it does work out as a cheap way to sequester CO2 then that in itself would be a bad thing. As would lots of cheap fish presumably.

I've long said that there is indeed a climate change conspiracy. But it isn't about its existence, not about the science at all. It's about what is the correct response to that science. There's a definite blocking off of the various technologies and policies that could in theory deal with the problem for us: we're not even allowed to do the research to find out whether it's actually necessary to stop using fossil fuels or not. Because it seems that it's already been decided that that is the only possible manner of dealing with the problem, the elimination of the use of fossil fuels. Even if that's not the best way to deal with the basic underlying problem.

And if I'm honest about it that makes me extremely angry. I don't know whether ocean fertilisation will work or not. I've had emails from researchers arguing both sides of it. But I'm incandescent with rage at the argument that we shouldn't go and find out the truth because said truth might be that it does indeed work.


Despite Cooling, Warmists Haven’t Cooled on Global Warming

Perhaps we could say that old mistaken theories never die — they just keep pace with government funding. A case in point is the vaunted scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They cannot explain why the Earth, defying their climate models, hasn’t warmed now in 15 years, but they’re still “‘95% sure’ humans are to blame for climate change,” writes the Daily Mail.

Theorizing about why they (the IPCC scientists) were all wrong, the Mail quotes environment reporter Alister Doyle, who said, “‘Scientists believe causes [of the lower temperatures] could include: greater-than-expected quantities of ash from volcanoes, which dims sunlight; a decline in heat from the sun during a current 11-year solar cycle; more heat being absorbed by the deep oceans; or the possibility that the climate may be less sensitive than expected to a build-up of carbon dioxide.’”

The scientists didn’t say how sure they were of these explanations. But word has it that when the confidence level drops below 82 percent, the government checks stop coming.

Now, there’s much we could say here about Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory. There’s the fact that atmospheric CO2 in the age of the dinosaurs was five to 10 times current levels and that the gas is basically steroids for plants, which is why T. rex’s world was so lush and why botanists today pump carbon dioxide into greenhouses. It has been said that CO2-level changes don’t precede temperature changes, but follow them. It’s also true that global temperatures dropped between 1940 and 1975 even as man continued industrializing and creating “greenhouse gases”; thus were my elementary school classmates and I warned of an impending ice age (which scared the heck out of us). And then there was the U.K.’s Climategate Scandal, in which it was revealed that the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit had advanced AGW theory via scientific fraud. But all that has been done to death. Besides, there’s still scientific “consensus” that AGW theory is valid, right?

Of course, we could ask if it really is consensus or just agreement among cherry-picked, government-grant-drunk researchers. But there’s a larger question here: What does “consensus” really mean, anyway? Author Michael Crichton tackled this very topic in a 2003 Caltech speech curiously entitled “Aliens Cause Global Warming” — and it’s a must-read.

Crichton likens AGW’s climate models to the Drake equation, which purports to be able to predict all sorts of probabilities with respect to extraterrestrial life; and a “TTAPS report” equation which supposedly could predict the severity of a nuclear winter. Crichton points out a similarity between climate models and these two equations: None of the variables they depend on can be determined. None.

Yet they all were lent credibility via the imprimatur of scientific “consensus.”

And here’s what Crichton had to say about that:

"I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world.

In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is [sic] reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus."

“Science … requires only one investigator who happens to be right.” And how often throughout history did consensus damn such an individual as a fool? Crichton provides many such examples, such as how even though a few “skeptics” proved that puerperal fever (the post-partum fever once the greatest killer of women) was an infectious process, it took the scientific community 125 years to cede the point. And what — aside from allowing the unnecessary death of women — did the vaunted consensus builders do in the meantime? They took Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, who had “virtually eliminated puerperal fever in hospitals under his management […,] said he was a Jew, ignored him, and dismissed him from his post,” writes Crichton.

And I’d like to expand on one point. Pick whatever field you like — physics, biology, philosophy, music, etc. — and you’ll find most within it quite mediocre. Just along for the ride, these people never become the great innovators and inventors. It’s that rare exceptional person who shakes the world. Yet the also-rans can do one thing the genius cannot: give you consensus.

And how many exceptional people are within the IPCC? One? Two?


The IPCC’s consensus is quite simply this: the averaged out opinions of average minds — in at best an average organization. And the kicker is that they’re greased with an above average amount of taxpayer money.

Getting back to Crichton, the four most important lines in his speech just may be the following:

"Finally, I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked.… Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.

… Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough."

Digest that for a moment. It is undeniable: If the warmists really had evidence for their AGW theory, they wouldn’t be talking about consensus. They’d present the evidence.

Consensus is simply the power of the mob. But environmentalists do have good reason to activate their Greenshirts.

The mob is all they’ve got.




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


3 September, 2013

Consensus? What Consensus?

Global Warming Survey Virtually Meaningless. Even very skeptical writers were alleged to be part of the "consensus"

In recent weeks US President Obama and the UK’s Energy and Climate Secretary Ed Davey have both cited a survey of climate science abstracts that alleges an overwhelming consensus on the subject of global warming.

In a new briefing note published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation today, Andrew Montford reviews the methodology used in the survey and concludes that the consensus revealed by the paper by Cook et al. is so broad that it incorporates the views of most prominent climate sceptics.

“The consensus as described by the survey is virtually meaningless and tells us nothing about the current state of scientific opinion beyond the trivial observation that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that human activities have warmed the planet to some unspecified extent,” Andrew Montford says.

“The survey methodology therefore fails to address the key points that are in dispute in the global warming debate,” Montford adds.

Full paper here

IPCC Lead Author Reports Flaws in Asserted 97-Percent Consensus

A recently published paper claiming 97 percent of peer-reviewed studies on climate change agree “humans are causing global warming” is riddled with errors and ends-driven measuring sticks, according to United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author Richard Tol. Tol reported his findings in an August 27 letter to University of Queensland (Australia) professor Peter Hoj.

Tol said the paper first caught his attention when he noticed several procedural errors.

“My attention was drawn to the fact that the headline conclusion had no confidence interval, that the main validity test was informal, and that the sample contained a very large number of irrelevant papers while simultaneously omitting many relevant papers,” Tol explained.

Tol then wrote to the main author of the paper, John Cook, seeking the underlying data forming the basis of the study. Cook, a blogger and global warming activist who works under Hoj at the University of Queensland, declined to send Cook all or even most of the data. Instead, Cook sent merely 13 percent of the requested data.

Even in the small percentage of data Cook submitted, Tol found many new problems.

“I found that that the consensus rate in the data differs from that reported in the paper,” Tol noted in his letter to Hoj. “Further research showed that, contrary to what is said in the paper, the main validity test in fact invalidates the data. And the sample of papers does not represent the literature. That is, the main finding of the paper is incorrect, invalid and unrepresentative.”

“Furthermore, the data showed patterns that cannot be explained by either the data gathering process as described in the paper or by chance,” Tol observed.

Tol noted the small number of people who rated the peer-reviewed studies and the lack of any identified means of assessing and correcting for reviewers’ bias.

Tol concluded his letter by asking Hoj to provide the requested data Cook declined to send to Tol.

“His foot-dragging, condoned by senior university officials, does not reflect well on the University of Queensland’s attitude towards replication and openness. His refusal to release all data may indicate that more could be wrong with the paper.”


2013 Hurricane Season Continues Record Inactivity

This week marks the halfway point of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season – and not a single hurricane has formed anywhere in the Atlantic. This year’s lack of hurricanes continues an ongoing, beneficial trend of fewer hurricanes coinciding with moderately warming temperatures as the planet continues its recovery from the Little Ice Age. The decline in hurricanes also coincides with global warming alarmists ramping up a deceptive public relations campaign designed to convince the public that global warming skeptics are causing more hurricanes.

The lack of hurricanes so far in 2013 is remarkable in several particulars.

First, hurricanes have posted a giant goose egg so far on the 2013 hurricane scoreboard. This isn’t just hurricane strikes in the United States; this is hurricane formation anywhere in the Atlantic.

Second, this year’s hurricane inactivity continues what was already a record lack of recent hurricanes. Although President Barack Obama is well into his fifth year in office, the Obama administration is tied for the fewest number of U.S. hurricane strikes for any one- or two-term presidency in history.

Third, the silent 2013 hurricane season extends an amazing record regarding major hurricane strikes of Category 3 or higher. The United States is currently undergoing its longest period in history without a major hurricane strike.

Fourth, the record lack of major hurricane strikes continues a longer-term decline. During the past five decades, an average of 5.6 major hurricanes struck the United States per decade. During the preceding five decades, an average of 8.4 major hurricanes struck the United States.

Fifth, a fairly typical number of small tropical storms continue to form in 2013, but the tropical storms are not growing into hurricanes. This runs counter to alarmist claims that global warming puts tropical storms on steroids.

Sixth, the silent 2013 Atlantic hurricane season continues a longer-term decline in global hurricane activity. The global number of tropical storms and hurricanes has been in slow but steady decline since at least 1970, bringing 40-plus years of relief from the planet’s most devastating storms.

Nevertheless, alarmists are doubling down on false hurricane claims, all the while engaging in name-calling and personal attacks against the “deniers” who defer to objective facts and real-world hurricane data.

The 350 Action group garnered substantial media attention this week by engaging in just such misleading and personal attacks. The global warming activist group released a video proposing to name hurricanes after prominent legislators who “deny” that global warming causes more hurricanes.

There is an important lesson to learn from the alarmists’ attempt to smear people who defer to objective evidence and factual data rather than misguided speculation and alarmism: The “denier” label applies most fittingly to global warming activists rather than skeptics.


Population Bomb-er Paul Ehrlich claims vindication b/c 2 billion are ‘undernourished’

The “undernourished” may as well never have been born, right Paul? The San Francisco Chronicle spotlights the eternally-wrong Paul Ehrlich:

"…People have been predicting disaster for centuries, including 18th century scholar Thomas Malthus and Stanford University ecologist Paul Ehrlich, who in 1968 with his wife Anne predicted famines from runaway population growth in “The Population Bomb.”

Ehrlich said he was right because at least 2 billion people are malnourished.

“You’ll find plenty of people who will tell you not to worry, technology will take care of it,” Ehrlich said. “We’ll feed, house, clothe and so on 9.5 billion people, give them happy lives with no problem at all. That’s exactly the line that Anne and I got when there were 3.5 billion people on the planet. … The answer is, they haven’t done it.”

Reducing population growth was central to the U.S. environmental movement at its birth in 1970, spurred in part by Ehrlich’s book. Most environmental groups now steer clear of the subject…"


Climate Change Reconsidered II to be Released on September 17

2013 NIPCC CoverThe Heartland Institute and the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) have been hard at work since 2011 on a new edition of Climate Change Reconsidered. The first volume of the new report, titled Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, will be released in digital form in September to coincide with the release of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report. A second volume on “Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities” is slated for release in March or April 2014.

Heartland is planning to hold a press conference in Chicago on Sept. 17 at which it will announce the findings of the 1,200-plus-page report and release an executive summary. The organization will also host a “book launch luncheon” on Sept. 18 in the Heartland Institute library featuring three of the report’s lead authors. More details of the unveiling of Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, will be released in the coming weeks.

The research effort has been led by Craig Idso, Ph.D., chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change; Robert Carter, Ph.D., Former Head of the School of Earth Sciences, James Cook University (Australia), and S. Fred Singer, Ph.D., president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project and professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. An international team of lead authors, section authors, contributors, and reviewers is participating in the effort.

The first two volumes published in the Climate Change Reconsidered series, in 2009 and 2011, were widely recognized as the most comprehensive and authoritative critiques of the alarmist reports of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Reviews and the complete texts of both volumes are available here and here. In June, a division of the Chinese Academy of Sciences published a Chinese translation and condensed edition of the two volumes.




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


2 September, 2013

Two Decades Of "Unprecedented Global Warming" Has Left Arctic Ice extent Almost The Same As It Was 20 Years Ago

One might be inclined to believe that Arctic experts have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.


New paper finds climate models have greatly exaggerated warming & finds no statistically-significant warming for past 20 years

A paper published today in Nature Climate Change finds climate models have greatly exaggerated global warming over the past 20 years, noting the observed warming is "less than half" of the modeled warming. The authors falsify the models at a confidence level of 90%, and also find that there has been no statistically significant global warming for the past 20 years. According to the authors, "The evidence, therefore, indicates that the current generation of climate models not reproduce the observed global warming over the past 20 years, or the slowdown in global warming over the past fifteen years." The paper follows another recent paper falsifying climate models at a confidence level of greater than 98% for the past 15 years.

Overestimated global warming over the past 20 years

By John C. Fyfe et al.

Recent observed global warming is significantly less than that simulated by climate models. This difference might be explained by some combination of errors in external forcing, model response and internal [natural] climate variability.

At a glance

Global mean surface temperature over the past 20 years (1993–2012) rose at a rate of 0.14 ± 0.06 °C per decade (95% confidence interval)1. This rate of warming is significantly slower than that simulated by the climate models participating in Phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). To illustrate this, we considered trends in global mean surface temperature computed from 117 simulations of the climate by 37 CMIP5 models (see Supplementary Information). These models generally simulate natural variability — including that associated with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and explosive volcanic eruptions — as well as estimate the combined response of climate to changes in greenhouse gas concentrations, aerosol abundance (of sulphate, black carbon and organic carbon, for example), ozone concentrations (tropospheric and stratospheric), land use (for example, deforestation) and solar variability. By averaging simulated temperatures only at locations where corresponding observations exist, we find an average simulated rise in global mean surface temperature of 0.30 ± 0.02 °C per decade (using 95% confidence intervals on the model average). The observed rate of warming given above is less than half of this simulated rate, and only a few simulations provide warming trends within the range of observational uncertainty

The inconsistency between observed and simulated global warming is even more striking for temperature trends computed over the past fifteen years (1998–2012). For this period, the observed trend of 0.05 ± 0.08 °C per decade is more than four times smaller than the average simulated trend of 0.21 ± 0.03 °C per decade (Fig. 1b). It is worth noting that the observed trend over this period — not significantly different from zero — suggests a temporary 'hiatus' in global warming2, 3, 4. The divergence between observed and CMIP5-simulated global warming begins in the early 1990s, as can be seen when comparing observed and simulated running trends from 1970–2012 (Fig. 2a and 2b for 20-year and 15-year running trends, respectively).

The evidence, therefore, indicates that the current generation of climate models (when run as a group, with the CMIP5 prescribed forcings) do not reproduce the observed global warming over the past 20 years, or the slowdown in global warming over the past fifteen years. This interpretation is supported by statistical tests of the null hypothesis that the observed and model mean trends are equal, assuming that either: (1) the models are exchangeable with each other (that is, the 'truth plus error' view); or (2) the models are exchangeable with each other and with the observations (seeSupplementary Information). Differences between observed and simulated 20-year trends have p values (Supplementary Information) that drop to close to zero by 1993–2012 under assumption (1) and to 0.04 under assumption (2) (Fig. 2c). Here we note that the smaller the p value is, the stronger the evidence against the null hypothesis. On this basis, the rarity of the 1993–2012 trend difference under assumption (1) is obvious. Under assumption (2), this implies that such an inconsistency is only expected to occur by chance once in 500 years"


Stop Denying Climate Science and ACT! (Before People Realize it’s a Scam)

The full-court press is on. Alarmist scientists, politicians, pressure groups, newspapers, ministers, rabbis and bureaucrats want Americans to “stop stalling” on climate change. They demand that we embrace “revenue-neutral” carbon taxes and carbon dioxide regulations, before it’s “too late” to prevent “catastrophic” global warming, “monster” storms and rising seas that will “inundate our coastal cities.”

Anyone dissenting from this “call to action” is a climate change “denier” – a pejorative devised to vilify and silence anyone who rejects this agenda, by linking our views to Holocaust denial. What nonsense.

All of us “deniers” know climate change is real and has been throughout Earth’s many cycles of warming and cooling, storms and droughts, ice ages and little ice ages. Striations (scratches) on a chunk of Niagara Escarpment limestone that I dug out a mile from my boyhood home memorialize stones dragged by the last glacier that buried Wisconsin under a mile of ice. Countless climate changes have buffeted our Earth.

What we deny are assertions that human carbon dioxide emissions have replaced the myriad of complex, interrelated planetary, solar and cosmic forces that caused previous climate reverberations, and that what we are experiencing now is unprecedented and likely to be catastrophic.

Not one of the alarmist claims is supported by actual observations or scientific evidence. Even worse, the claims are getting more ridiculous with every passing day: “children aren’t going to know what snow is,” crime is rising, oceans won’t smell the same, and storms are getting worse – because of global warming.

Contrary to the hype and hysteria, our planet stopped warming 16 years ago, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continued to climb. That prompted climate catastrophists to start talking about “climate change” and blame every “extreme weather” event on CO2 emissions.

As I have pointed out before, far from being a “dangerous pollutant” (as President Obama and EPA keep saying), carbon dioxide makes all life on Earth possible. It makes food crops and other plants grow faster and better, loads them with more nutrients, helps them survive droughts, and makes our planet greener.

This trace gas has almost nothing to do with planetary warming or climate change. But it’s worth noting that the United States has slashed its CO2 emissions more than almost any other country – sending them back to where they were 30 years ago, thanks to the environmentalists’ latest target: fracking! And the daily human contribution of CO2 to our atmosphere is equivalent to a penny out of $1 million!

CO2 levels have “soared” to 400 ppm (0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere) not because of the USA or other developed countries – but because China, India and dozens of other countries are working desperately to lift billions of people out of abject poverty. To do that, they need fossil fuels, which provide 80% of the energy that makes modern civilization and living standards possible – and these countries are not going to slash their hydrocarbon use. To suggest otherwise reflects callous contempt for the needs of families that want to take their rightful places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people.

No one would suggest that the absence of extreme weather events over a particular time period is due to humans. However, recent history certainly contradicts incessant claims that our weather is getting worse. In fact, no category 3 or higher hurricane has struck the United States in eight years, the longest such stretch since the Civil War. With only a couple of exceptions earlier this summer, the US is enjoying its longest respite from major tornadoes in decades. We are also witnessing the highest August Arctic sea ice extent since 2006, amid the coldest summer on record at the North Pole; record August lows for Alert and Eureka, in Nunavut, BC; and record highs for the extent of August sea ice in Antarctica.

Equally fascinating, most of the record high temperatures that the alarmists are trumpeting beat the previous records, mostly set in the 1930s, by mere hundredths of a degree. Yet, somehow that’s news.

As to oceans inundating coastal communities, Topex Poseidon satellites show virtually no rise in sea levels between 1993 and 2001, and the EU’s Envisat satellites show no rise from 2003 through 2011. The steady 2-3 mm per year rise in sea level, it turns out, is because scientists “adjust” the raw data (always upward, never down, for some reason). But even 200-300 mm (8-12 inches) per century, or by the year 2100, is a far cry from the 3-20 feet that President Obama and former VP Al Gore have warned us about. Even Mr. Obama was off a few years when he said June 2008 was “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow.” But it’s one more climate cataclysm that we can erase from our worry list – especially compared to the 400 feet that the world’s oceans have risen since the end of the last ice age.

(Mr. Gore is also famous for misinforming his 2009 “Tonight Show” audience that the Earth’s interior is “really hot, several million degrees” – the core is actually 9,000 degrees F – and for refusing to debate anyone on climate change or even take audience questions that he has not preapproved. Perhaps in his defense, Nobel Laureate Gore managed only a C+ and a D in the only science courses he ever took.)

If it’s “weird weather” you seek, just peruse Richard Keene’s fascinating weather guides, Skywatch East and Skywatch West, for numerous examples of wild and wacky weather in the USA. For more examples, check out the Tri-State Twister and Children’s Blizzard, or consult the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change 2011 interim report, Climate Change Reconsidered. You will be amazed at how different the facts are from the fallacies, fibs and fear mongering you find in the “mainstream media.”

One final point. No tax that penalizes people and businesses for using fossil fuels is “revenue neutral.” Any such tax or regulation kills profits and jobs, turns full-time jobs into part-timers, and adversely affects people’s health and well-being. Millions of families cannot heat and cool their homes properly, pay their rent, mortgage or other bills, take vacations, or save for retirement. The increasing stress results in sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, more commuting, higher incidences of depression and alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse, lower life expectancies and higher suicide rates. Climate taxes and regulations also force us to spend billions subsidizing environment unfriendly biofuel, wind and solar energy.

That’s an intolerably high price to pay, for “protection” from illusory and exaggerated climate dangers.

Climate alarmists are trying to sucker, snooker and stampede us into taking “immediate action” on job and economy-strangling taxes and restrictions, before more people catch on to what’s really happening. This protection racket is one more example of passing a law, so that we can find out what’s in it. We simply cannot afford to let science get coopted to serve anti-hydrocarbon political agendas.

Demands that we “stop stalling” on “catastrophic manmade climate change” have nothing to do with preventing warming and cooling, storms and droughts that have been “real” since time immemorial. They have everything to do with regulating and restricting the use of hydrocarbons that provide 80% of the energy that makes modern civilization and living standards possible. They have everything to do with giving politicians, bureaucrats and pressure groups more money and more control over our lives and economy – but with no accountability for the lies, mistakes, job losses, ill health and deaths that are inevitable as US living standards deteriorate, and Third World lives remain destitute and desperate.

Computer models and scary predictions are not evidence. Basing energy and economic decisions on climate models is akin to betting your life’s savings on a computer model that focuses on middle linebackers and ignores quarterbacks and offensive lines, in predicting the Buffalo Bills will win the 2014 and 2015 Super Bowls – and when the prediction falls flat insisting that the Bills really did win, and reality must be “adjusted” to make it conform with the predictions.

Climate “deniers” and rationalists should support Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and other politicians and scientists who are under constant attack by climate alarmists, for daring to dissent from approved orthodoxy. Their vigilance and determination are all that stand between energy and economic sanity – and America heading down the same destructive path that Europe has trod for the past two decades.


IPCC on the spot: Global Warming Slowdown Data Sought in UN Climate Report

U.S. and European Union envoys are seeking more clarity from the United Nations on a slowdown in global warming that climate skeptics have cited as a reason not to “panic” about environmental changes, leaked documents show.

They’re requesting that more details on the so-called “hiatus” be included in a key document set to be debated at a UN conference next month that will summarize the latest scientific conclusions on climate change.
Enlarge image Global Warming Slowdown Data Sought in Leaked UN Climate Report

Calved icebergs from the nearby Twin Glaciers are seen floating on the water on July 30, 2013 in Qaqortoq, Greenland. Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Including more information on the hiatus will help officials counter arguments that the slowing pace of global warming in recent years is a sign that the long-term trend may be discounted, according to Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics.

“In the public debate, there are people who are using the slowdown to say global warming is less of a problem than thought,” Ward said in an interview yesterday. “It has to be fully explained in the summary.”

A draft of the summary and the underlying 2,200-page report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were obtained by Bloomberg from a person with official access to the documents who declined to be further identified because it hasn’t been published.

Government envoys from around the world will debate the final wording of the summary at an IPCC meeting that starts in Stockholm on Sept. 23. That document, formally the Summary for Policymakers, is designed to be used by ministers working to devise by 2015 a global treaty to curb climate change.
‘Key Issue’

The current version of the summary needs more information about the hiatus, according to the EU and the U.S.

“The recent slowing of the temperature trend is currently a key issue, yet it has not been adequately addressed in the SPM,” the EU said, according to an official paper that includes all governmental comments on the draft report. The U.S. comment suggested “adding information on recent hiatus in global mean air temperature trend.”

Isaac Valero-Ladron, a spokesman for EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement with the IPCC and the lack of a finalized text.

Jonathan Lynn, a spokesman for the UN panel, and Nayyera Haq, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman, both declined to comment.

Addressing the hiatus is important because skeptics of man’s influence on warming the planet have seized on the slowing pace temperature increase as evidence that scientists have exaggerated the impact of manmade greenhouse gases. That supports their assertion that there’s less need for expensive policies to curb carbon emissions from factories, vehicles and deforestation.
Climate Sensitivity

“Some people have suggested that the slowdown means that climate sensitivity is lower,” said Ward from the Grantham Institute.

Climate sensitivity is the increase in temperatures resulting from a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In the latest draft, sensitivity is estimated at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) to 4.5 degrees Celsius. That compares with the estimate of 2 degrees to 4.5 degrees from the UN’s last major climate assessment in 2007.

The summary document notes that the rate of warming over the past 15 years “is smaller than the trend since 1951,” citing a rate of about 0.05 degrees Celsius per decade in the years 1998 through 2012. The rate was about 0.12 degrees per decade from 1951 through 2012.
Carbon Emissions

The slowdown came as emissions grew, with the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere this year exceeding 400 parts per million for the first time on record.

The draft report includes possible reasons for the slowing rate, including natural variability, volcanic eruptions and a drop in solar energy reaching the Earth.

“Much of the information is present but it requires a lot of effort on the part of the reader to piece it all together,” the 28-nation EU said in the comments document.

The U.S. requested clarity on the implications of the data, commenting “this is an example of providing a bunch of numbers, then leave them up in the air without a concrete conclusion.”

Norway, Denmark and China requested information on the role oceans have played in the slowdown. China cited three scientific papers, including a study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters in May that found deep ocean waters below 700 meters (2,300 feet) have absorbed more heat since 1999.
Ocean Temperatures

A separate study in the journal Nature Aug. 28 linked the hiatus to a cooling of surface waters in the eastern Pacific. The cut-off date for papers to be considered in the UN report was March 15.

The UN World Meteorological Organization defines climate as the average weather over a 30-year period, and scientists say the 15-year slowdown isn’t long enough to mark a trend. Hungary and Germany, both EU members, cited this as a reason to delete any reference to the hiatus in the summary, while Japan questioned the purpose of using a 15-year average.

“A 15-years period of observation is not sufficient to give a qualified analysis of the global mean surface temperature trend in an assessment of climate change,” Germany said. It also said the use of the word “hiatus” is “strongly misleading” because “there is not a pause or interruption, but a decrease in the warming trend.”

“We never comment on the internal procedures of the IPCC,” Nikolai Fichtner, a spokesman for the German environment ministry, said in an e-mail.
Slowdown Acknowledged

The slowdown in warming has been acknowledged by the U.K. Met Office, which produces one of the world’s three main series of global temperature data, and James Hansen, the former NASA scientist who first brought climate change to the attention of Congress in the 1980s. They say the data is still compatible with humans being the main cause of warming.

Even with the slowdown, the decade of 2001 to 2010 was the warmest for both hemispheres and for land and sea, the WMO said July 3 in a report. The World Bank says the planet is on course to warm by 4 degrees Celsius by 2100 because of rising emissions.

That hasn’t stopped skeptics, from scientists to lawmakers and bloggers from seizing on the issue.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation, a U.K.-based research group that describes itself as “deeply concerned about the costs” of climate change policies, said in a report in March that “we are on the threshold of global observations becoming incompatible with the consensus theory of climate change.”
Don’t ‘Panic’

The Wall Street Journal published in January 2012 an opinion piece signed by 16 scientists that cited “the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now” as a reason not to “panic” about climate change. They included professors at Princeton and Cambridge universities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and former U.S. Senator and Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt.

The comments on the slowdown are among 1,855 from governments around the world detailed in the document. The comments range from requests to spell out what acronyms stand for and eliminate scientific jargon to clarifying the likelihood of predictions and shuffling bits of text about.


British businesses protest over cost of green energy reforms

Businesses have voiced their concern over the costs of the £110bn “green” overhaul of Britain’s energy sector and believe it risks making the country uncompetitive.

Three quarters of major energy users said they were worried about the impact of the reforms on their businesses, according to research by supplier npower.

Ministers are pushing an Energy Bill through Parliament that will introduce billions of pounds of long-term subsidies for low-carbon power sources such as wind farms and nuclear reactors.

The plants are intended to replace older, dirtier coal plants that are being switched off so Britain can meet legally binding carbon emission and renewable energy targets.

But the green technologies are not commercially viable to build without the subsidies, which will be paid for through levies on energy consumers’ bills.

Intermittent new sources of power such as wind will also make the economics of building gas plants more difficult, as they will no longer be able to operate the entire time. There will be incentives for new gas plants to operate when needed, such as when the wind does not blow, in a policy described as “an insurance premium against the risk of blackouts”.

Official figures suggest the unit price of electricity has already risen by 30pc as a result of the policies and that prices will have risen by 50pc by 2020. However, ministers insist the policies will be cheaper than doing nothing because they say gas plants will only become more expensive to run.

An npower survey of 66 senior energy managers from major UK industrial and commercial businesses and energy consultants showed that less than half understood exactly how their businesses would be affected.

Three out of four said they were concerned over the reforms. Most cited costs as their leading concern.

Wayne Mitchell, npower’s industrial and commercial sales and marketing director, said: “It is revealing that businesses are worried about the impact on UK competitiveness, as the last thing Government will want is businesses moving abroad as a way around EMR [energy reforms].”

The warning echoes those by manufacturers’ organisation, the EEF, which has said that “unless we get a grip on spiralling policy costs, steeply rising electricity prices for the rest of the sector risk making the UK an increasingly unattractive location for industrial investment and undermining efforts to rebalance the economy”.

Ministers have already proposed schemes to exempt major energy users from some of the costs of the reforms. But critics say they do not go far enough to help offset the costs.




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


1 September, 2013

Hey, Ho! It's Hayhoe!

"Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University"

Katharine Says We Can Control The Climate. According to Katharine Hayhoe:-

But, there again, Katharine thought that she saw climate change in an increase in Texas winter temperatures. Interviewed by Yale 360, she was asked:-

“have you seen sizeable increases in average temperatures that could be defined as climate change?”

Her reply, from Lubbock, Texas:- “What we’ve actually seen, at least in West Texas, is an increase primarily in winter temperatures. Our very cold days are getting less frequent and our winter temperatures are increasing in nearly every station we look at across Texas ”.

And the reality?

A trend of 0.0C per decade. Nice one Katharine! And they call themselves scientists!


Skepticism at the BBC!

Transcript of BBC Radio 4: More or Less

Tim Harford: Now, what are we to do with Labour's immigration spokesman Chris Bryant? It seems that every time he makes a statement, at the moment, there'll be a correction along in a minute. Earlier in the summer, he released extracts from a speech taking aim at Tesco and Next, for recruiting too many immigrants. By the time the speech was delivered, many of his claims had been withdrawn, and Mr. Bryant was "taking full responsibility". So, who's going to take full responsibility for this?

Chris Bryant: So if we get climate change wrong, there is a very real danger we shall see levels of mass migration as yet unparalleled.

Tim Harford: That's Chris Bryant in the process of being afraid that millions of people around the world will be forced to flee their homes, and in their droves move to countries less affected by environmental problems. Some of this, he says, has already happened.

Chris Bryant: The United Nations estimates that in 2008, 20 million people were displaced by climate change, compared to 4.6 million by virtue of internal conflict or violence.

Tim Harford: But much more is to come.

Chris Bryant: You can imagine that the UN estimates of 200 million such refugees, more than the total number of worldwide migrants today, may be about right.

Tim Harford: Now in fairness to Mr. Bryant, he didn't just make that claim up - it did indeed come from the United Nations. But we still suspect that some kind of retraction may be necessary, alas. Here at More or Less, we have a climate migration correspondent, Hananh Barnes. Hannah, you've done this before - you specialise in taking the heat out of these kinds of statistics.

Hannah Barnes: That's right. But it's not just me - various experts in the field, and even concerned charities have to spend a lot of their time correcting overblown statements like these.

Tim Harford: Let's start with the claim that 20 million people were displaced by climate change in 2008.

Hannah Barnes: And a surprising critic of that number - Alex Randall works for the Climate Outreach and Information Network, a charity which aims to raise awareness of climate refugees and their needs. So you might think he'd be shouting the same alarming numbers from the rooftops. But he's not.

Alex Randall: What Chris Bryant was quoting in his speech was a kind of adding up all of the people who've been displaced by any kind of natural disaster, and labelling them "climate refugees". And that's problematic for a number of reasons. Firstly, because the relationship between natural disasters and climate change is complicated - it's certainly true that climate change might be making some of those particular disasters more likely, but it's certainly not the case that we can attribute all of those individual displacements to climate change alone.

Hannah Barnes: And, even if all 20 million people had been displaced by climate change, they're unlikely to be looking to set up home in a new country.

Alex Randall: The idea that, in the event of a natural disaster, people will immediately move long distances and permanently, is mistaken - people tend to move short distances for a short period of time and then move back.

Tim Harford: So let's take a look at this claim from the United Nations, quoted by Chris Bryant, that 200 million people will become climate refugees in future.

Hannah Barnes: Yeah, and what we're really talking about here is people who have to leave their homes because their lives and livelihoods are being adversely affected by climate change - so not just because of sudden natural disasters, but because of a slow creep, changing weather systems, say, or rising sea levels. But many experts don't expect this to cause mass migration. Alex Randall explains why.

Alex Randall: If it becomes increasingly difficult for a farming community to sustain their livelihood by growing the crops that they have been, what's likely to happen is that in response to that, rather than all of them at once upping sticks and moving to another country, the likely response is that one or two household members will move, probably within their own country and probably to a big urban centre, to a city nearby. They'll then work and send money back to their family.

Tim Harford: So migration tends to be relatively local and small-scale. Now, I was fascinated by the way the UN justifies its claim that 200 million people will become climate refugees.

Hannah Barnes: It doesn't. The UN told me it "cannot comment in any way on the accuracy of a figure we did not produce".

Tim Harford: So they're happy to use the figure, just not to defend it.

Hannah Barnes: Quite. Now the figure is the work of a scientist called Norman Myers, who's based in Oxford, in the UK.

Tim Harford: Hannah, we've heard about his work in the past.

Hannah Barnes: Yeah. Back in 2011, we looked at his claim that 50 million people would become climate refugees by 2010. It had been quoted by some influential institutions. But one year on, there was scant evidence that these people existed. The UN had a map showing this prediction on the website, but hastily took it down, we discovered, when it started to get attention. Initially, there was no explanation as to why it had disappeared. just a totally bizarre message came up. when you went to click on the link.

Man's voice: Dear visitor, it seems like the map you are navigating by is maybe not fully up-to-date, or that it might have an error in it, or is it that your GPS is not loaded with the correct data? We are just taking the scenic route, darling! See Honey, We're not lost. I know where we are: This way I think... mmm! [Verbatim from screen grab of UNEP website.]

Tim Harford: I love it when our investigations take a surreal turn.

Hannah Barnes: Well, eventually the fog lifted and a spokesman for the United Nations Environment Programme told me the map had been removed because it was wrong.

Tim Harford: They had funded the research it was based on, though.

Hannah Barnes: They had, and this work had been unquestioningly adopted by all sorts of eminent bodies, like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But some academics had doubted his numbers from the start. Stephen Castles, from the International Migration Institute at Oxford University, outlined some of his concerns to me at the time.

Stephen Castles: Norman Myers, who I know and we've discussed together, is an environmentalist. And I think his objective, in putting forward these dramatic projections, was to really scare public opinion and politicians into taking action on climate change, which of course is a very laudable motive. But the problem was that he really used a method to make projections that is really not permissible at all - he simply took a map of the world, worked out what areas would be inundated if the sea rose, say, by 50 centimetres, and then simply assumed that all the people affected by this sea level rise would have to migrate, and a lot of them would migrate to developed countries. And really there was no basis for it.

Tim Harford: And the 200 million figure was calculated in the same way.

Hannah Barnes: Yes. It's his projection for the number of climate refugees there'll be by 2050.

Tim Harford: So he said: 50 million by 2010 and 200 million by the time climate change takes hold.

Hannah Barnes: Yes, and he defended his methods to us at the time.

Norman Myers: It's very difficult to say how many there are, and where are they, and to point out a crowd over there, on the rise, and say "There's environmental refugees". It is difficult. I would not like to be the person who tries to come up with an exact, precise figure. But, in the long run, I do believe very strongly that it will be better for us to find we have been roughly right than precisely wrong. I would be very suspicious of somebody who said "Where are they?" I think it would be much harder to demonstrate that there aren't any of these environmental refugees than to demonstrate that there are environmental refugees.

Hannah Barnes: But if you can't prove that there are, then we shouldn't be making the statement, should we? We can't prove it.

Norman Myers: Well, you can't prove that smoking causes cancer. Science is never, never ever completely final. It's always a bit iffy.

Tim Harford: "Iffy". Good choice of word.

Hannah Barnes: Well, to be fair to Norman Myers, he did make it clear in his research that not everyone he classes as an environmental refugee will flee their country. He just said that there'll be forced to move. And that could well be internally.

Tim Harford: And equally, Stephen Castles didn't deny that some people have been, and will be, forced to move country.

Stephen Castles: We do have some cases where places have become, or are likely to become uninhabitable. There are these very small Pacific islands, like Tuvalu and Kiribati. But, of course, the populations there are very small - we're talking about a few thousand people, ten thousand at the very most. There one would say migration to New Zealand or Australia might be the long-term solution for at least some of those people.

Hannah Barnes: That's tens of thousands, not tens of millions.

Stephen Castles: Absolutely, yes.

Tim Harford: Stephen Castles, from Oxford University's International Migration Institute, who, back in 2011, was talking to Hannah Barnes.


NOTE: Even if there were any climate refugees, it would hardly be unique to the present. Around this time in 1936, half of Oklahoma was on the road to California in order to escape the heat and drought. And many of the population movements in Europe of the last 2,000 years appear to have been driven by climatic deterioration. As harvests failed, the populations moved on in search of better land. And we know how the Little Ice age wiped out the Viking population in Greenland -- JR

The anti-human organization that is Greenpeace

Did you hear that a group of 400 angry farmers attacked and destroyed a field trial of genetically modified rice in the Philippines this month? That, it turns out, was a lie. The crop was actually destroyed by a small number of activists while farmers who had been bussed in to attend the event looked on in dismay.

The nature of the attack was widely misreported, from the New York Times to New Scientist to BBC News, based on false claims by the activists. But then anti-GMO activists often lie. In support of the vandals, Greenpeace has claimed that there are health concerns about the genetically modified rice. In fact there is no evidence of risk, and the destruction of this field trial could lead to needless deaths.

The rice is genetically enhanced to produce the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene, giving it a golden color. This vital nutrient is missing from the diets of millions of rice-dependent people in poor countries, where vitamin A deficiency leads to preventable blindness and death on a massive scale.

The golden rice trial was being conducted by the government’s Philippine Rice Research Institute, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and other public sector partners—contrary to the activists’ accusations, there is no private corporate involvement.

In an exclusive interview at IRRI in Los Baños, I spoke to the golden rice project senior manager Raul Boncodin, who personally witnessed the attack on the morning of Aug. 8.* IRRI also provided photos of the attack; this is the first time they have been seen outside of the Philippines.

Boncodin had traveled to the field site because the researchers had been expecting a rally and a dialogue with activists, he told me. A band of more than 50 split away from the main group of 300 to 400 protestors and broke down the fence around the golden rice plot. They trampled and uprooted the young rice plants across the entire plot. "You could see they were angry—it was a mob," Boncodin said. The local police were outnumbered and did not intervene.

So who were these attackers? Did they look like farmers? "No," replied Boncodin. "Maybe two or three of them were farmers, but the rest of them were not real farmers. I could see that this was the first time they had stepped in mud or been to a farm. They were city boys, city girls. Two of them were even sporting dyed hair. ... Would you consider a farmer having dyed hair?"

There is additional evidence beyond the physical appearance of the activists. "Real farmers will not trash a living rice plant," said Boncodin, who is a native of the region where the vandalism took place. "They have this culture that it is unlucky to kill a living rice plant," even if plants are diseased and threaten to infect the rest of the crop.

This taboo on destroying green rice plants is widespread and even has a name: Bosung. Boncodin insists that the real farmers "stayed by the side, and didn't directly participate in the trashing of the trial site." When local people were informed, their reaction, he said, was that "no sane farmer would do that to a living rice plant."

When the news of the attack was related to local farmer leaders, they were aghast. According to Boncodin, one of them, a 50-year-old man, burst into tears at the thought that so many young rice plants had been destroyed.

The local office of the Department of Agriculture backs up this version of events. Their press statement also names names: "The surprise attack was staged by the group led by Wilfredo Marbella, deputy secretary of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Bert Auter, secretary general of KMP Bicol. Also identified were members of Anakpawis Partylist and MASIPAG."

So who are these groups? MASIPAG describes itself as a "farmer-led network of people's organizations." It has long been a mainstay of the anti-GMO scene in the Philippines and recently joined with Greenpeace in securing a court injunction against a genetically modified eggplant designed to reduce insecticide use.

KMP is an extreme-left organization that promotes a conspiracy theory that golden rice is being produced to facilitate a multinational takeover of the Filipino rice market. In reality, golden rice is being produced by public sector organizations and would be handed out free to farmers, who would be encouraged to save and replant seeds year after year with no technology fees or royalties. Such widespread, free distribution is central to the project’s plans for achieving its humanitarian goals.

The attack was rapidly condemned worldwide. A petition on the website, written by a team of internationally renowned scientists, quickly gathered thousands of signatures. (You can add your name here.) Most of the signatories expressed moral outrage that the ideologues of the anti-GMO movement, including behemoths like Greenpeace, demonize golden rice despite its potential to prevent millions of premature deaths from vitamin A deficiency in the developing world.

Although some anti-GMO activists dismiss the public health problem of vitamin A deficiency to bolster their case, the medical community agrees that it is a major killer, comparable in scale to malaria, HIV/AIDS, or tuberculosis. The World Health Organization estimates that 250,000 to 500,000 children become blind each year because of a lack of vitamin A in their diets, and half of them die within 12 months.

Vitamin A deficiency also depresses the immune system, raising overall mortality from other causes such as diarrhea, measles, and pneumonia. For these diseases the additional toll is estimated at 1 million preventable deaths a year, or around 2,700 per day, mostly among children younger than 5.

Greenpeace, with its $335 million annual revenue, has nearly four times more funding than the entire International Rice Research Institute (most of whose work involves conventional plant breeding). Greenpeace has waged a decade-long campaign against golden rice because it involves transgenic technology. The scientists at IRRI insist that there was no other way to get genes for beta-carotene into rice.

Greenpeace's scaremongering includes the regular production of glossy reports spreading unscientific myths about golden rice. In China last year it successfully created a fake media scandal which landed some of the key Chinese project scientists in jail. Greenpeace Southeast Asia spokespeople took to the media to speak in support of the destruction of the golden rice trial in the Philippines.


UN ruling puts future of UK wind farms in jeopardy

Tribunal warns that the Government acted illegally by denying public participation

Plans for future wind farms in Britain could be in jeopardy after a United Nations legal tribunal ruled that the UK Government acted illegally by denying the public decision-making powers over their approval and the “necessary information” over their benefits or adverse effects.

The new ruling, agreed by a United Nations committee in Geneva, calls into question the legal validity of any further planning consent for all future wind-farm developments based on current policy, both onshore and offshore.

The United Nations Economic Commission Europe has declared that the UK flouted Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention, which requires full and effective public participation on all environmental issues and demands that citizens are given the right to participate in the process.

The UNECE committee has also recommended that the UK must in the future submit all plans and programmes similar in nature to the National Renewable Energy Action Plan to public participation, as required by Article 7.

The controversial decision will come as a blow for the Coalition’s wind-power policy, which is already coming under attack from campaigners who want developments stopped because of medical evidence showing that the noise from turbines is having a serious impact on public health as well as damaging the environment.

Legal experts confirm the UNECE decision is a “game-changer” for future wind-turbine developments in the UK. David Hart, QC, an environmental lawyer, said: “This ruling means that consents and permissions for further wind-farm developments in Scotland and the UK are liable to challenge on the grounds that the necessary policy preliminaries have not been complied with, and that, in effect, the public has been denied the chance to consider and contribute to the NREAP.”

The UN’s finding is a landmark victory for Christine Metcalfe, 69, a community councillor from Argyll, who lodged a complaint with the UN on the grounds that the UK and EU had breached citizens’ rights under the UN’s Aarhus Convention.

She claimed the UK’s renewables policies have been designed in such a way that they have denied the public the right to be informed about, or to ascertain, the alleged benefits in reducing CO2 and harmful emissions from wind power, or the negative effects of wind power on health, the environment and the economy.

Ms Metcalfe made the legal challenge on behalf of the Avich and Kilchrenan Community Council at the Committee Hearing in Geneva last December. She and the AKCC decided to take action after their experience of dealing with the building of the local Carraig Gheal wind farm and problems surrounding the access route, an area of great natural beauty.

The retired councillor said she was “relieved” by the UN decision. “We were criticised by some for making this challenge but this result absolves us of any possible accusations of wrong-doing... The Government needs to do more than just give ordinary people the right to comment on planning applications; they deserve to be given all the facts.”

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesperson said: “We are aware of this decision and we are considering our response. Wind is an important part of our energy mix providing clean home-grown power to millions of homes. Developers of both offshore and onshore wind farms do consult with communities and provide generous benefits packages.”

The Aarhus Convention: What is it?

The Aarhus Convention, or the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, is named after the Danish city where it was first established by a UN summit.

It sets up a number of rights for individuals and associations in regard to the environment. People can request to know the health risks linked to the state of the environment and applicants should be informed within one month of the request.

It also ensures the public get a say in any environmental project such as a wind farm. Public authorities must provide information about environmental projects, and those affected by such schemes must be told if they are going ahead and why.


Behind Alaska's Pebble Mine controversy is a hidden-influence whodunit

Six federally recognized Native Alaskan tribes and commercial fishing interests started what may well prove to be Big Green's biggest ballyhoo ever with a May 2010 letter to the Environmental Protection Agency against the proposed Pebble Mine -- a huge prospect of copper, gold, and molybdenum near the vast salmon runs of Bristol Bay.

Pebble Limited Partnership, the mining company, saw the letter as a call for EPA to use Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act -- the rarely used "preemptive veto" hammer -- that could block mine development before its plans were submitted.
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Robert Dillon, spokesman for Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told me, "the Senate's concern as I see it is the question of due process. That is a very serious problem."

EPA responded to the tribes' letter with an unprecedented and controversial "assessment" of an imaginary mine at the Pebble site, unfairly stuffed with every disaster imaginable to blemish the project. Then the agency held a spate of shamelessly rigged hearings on the fairy-tale report, followed by a mixed peer review of the nonexistent mine's assessment.

Kill Pebble was the most lavishly funded Big Green campaign I know of, with activists on a paid junket to a Pebble investor meeting in London; a snooty Washington reception with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor; chefs in upscale restaurants preparing Kill Pebble Alaska salmon dinners; EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson chumming around Alaska with mine haters; and Mike Kowalski, CEO of Tiffany Inc., with a $250,000 grant from Tiffany Foundation to Trout Unlimited to stop Pebble.

Now, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wants to know who made this mess and who stirred up all that hoopla. Issa invited recently retired EPA biologist Phil North to a transcribed interview -- North told a local reporter he pushed the preemptive veto idea inside EPA. North is a sixth-rank employee of EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds in the remote Kenai facility.

I noticed that the tribes' 2010 letter said they wrote "with assistance of counsel." Who was that counsel? One signature reads, Geoffrey Y. Parker, attorney in Anchorage. So I spoke to him by phone. He said I was the first media to call him since Issa started asking about the tribes' letter. After an hour of talk, I was fairly certain that Parker was at the forefront of the 404(c) strategy.

Parker doesn't like to say he was the spark. "Everybody who works with water issues knows about 404(c) and always has," he told me, "so it's unseemly to say one person started the 404(c) effort."

Parker has been a Trout Unlimited member, as well as counsel. His client list is a Who's Who of Alaska conservation. In 2007, he and other attorneys looked at 404(c) with clients, but pursued other efforts at that time. In 2008 he coauthored a law review article on Pebble that mentioned 404(c).

He worked from September 2009 to May 2010 to perfect the tribes' letter, asking North about technical points on 404(b)(1) Guidelines, which are the convoluted instructions for using 404(c) -- they'd known each other for 20 years, and North had worked on regulating mines for much of that.

I'm convinced that the extraordinary letter Parker wrote for the tribes is what got EPA's Washington leadership moving with 404(C) against Pebble Mine. North worked on the assessment, but my bet is that Issa won't find anything more from any transcribed interview.

I have good reason to believe that the real people who stirred up all that hoopla are far above Parker and North's pay grade. Chairman Issa, now is the time to, as the maxim goes, follow the money.

In 2008, two years before Parker and the tribes' electrifying letter, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation gave nearly $3 million to Alaska groups for purposes they described as, "Pebble mine campaign coordination," and $766,000 more in 2010, according to their Form 990 reports. Moore gave activists two years to pressure EPA in preparation for Parker's and the tribes' letter.

Chairman Issa, you should be interviewing the program officers of the Moore Foundation. Ask them what the blazes they think they're doing to our strategic mineral reserves.


Warmist Arctic rowers fail: "20 years have not seen anything like. Its, ice, ice and more ice"

But failure shall not weary them nor change their religion

Severe weather conditions hindered our early progress and now ice chokes the passage ahead.

Our ice router Victor has been very clear in what lies ahead. He writes, “Just to give you the danger of ice situation at the eastern Arctic, Eef Willems of “Tooluka” (NED) pulled out of the game and returning to Greenland. At many Eastern places of NWP locals have not seen this type ice conditions.

Residents of Resolute say 20 years have not seen anything like. Its, ice, ice and more ice. Larsen, Peel, Bellot, Regent and Barrow Strait are all choked. That is the only route to East. Already West Lancaster received -2C temperature expecting -7C on Tuesday with the snow.”

Richard Weber, my teammate to the South Pole in 2009 and without doubt the most accomplished polar skier alive today, is owner and operator of Arctic Watch on Cunningham Inlet at the northern end of Somerset Island. Arctic Watch faces out onto our proposed eastern route. Richard dropped me a note the other day advising: “This has been the coldest season with the most ice since we started Arctic Watch in 2000. Almost no whales.

The NWPassage is still blocked with ice. Some of the bays still have not melted!”

...we’d require at least another 50-60 days to make it to Pond Inlet. Throw in the issues of less light, colder temperatures, harsher fall storms and lots of ice blocking the route and our decision is easy.

...Our message remains unaffected though, bringing awareness to the pressing issues of climate change in the arctic.




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


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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