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

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

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

30 September, 2014

Obama anti-energy nominee thwarted

The Natural Resources Defense Council will gain a new president and the Obama administration will lose Rhea Sun Suh, controversial anti-oil and gas nominee for head of the huge bureaucracy that runs the national parks and fish and wildlife service in the Department of the Interior.

That announcement last week culminated a bruising confirmation process that Suh, an experienced and savvy lower-level Interior official, seemed to sail through. However, press revelations wounded her reputation because her history caught up with her: for four years, Suh was a program manager for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation ($7.4 billion assets), directing millions of dollars to green groups nationwide for projects to stop oil and gas production.

She told the Hewlett Foundation newsletter in 2007: “natural gas development is easily the single greatest threat to the ecological integrity of the West.”

A large placard with that quote was held up during Suh’s December 2013 confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso said to Suh, “I would like to read from an op-ed by the Washington Examiner on your nomination, by Ron Arnold, titled, ‘Another Big Green power player moved up in Obama’s Washington.’”

Deep research into foundation influence uncovered the details of Suh’s anti-energy career and her loyal membership in the Environmental Grantmakers Association – a group of more than 200 Big Green foundations dedicated to stopping development of America’s abundant natural resources.

“If confirmed,” Barrasso continued, “it will allow you to essentially stop natural gas production. And even after you joined the Interior Department, you stated to the Environmental Grantmakers Association’s 25th anniversary, ‘I look forward to working with you, my colleagues, mentors and friends, to utilize the skills and talents of the EGA community to advance a more resilient world and a resilient movement.’ So I question whether this is really the right position for you, given your deeply held views.”

Every Democrat on the committee voted for Suh’s confirmation, including Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, to the surprise of some. It was Landrieu’s first hearing as the new committee chairman. Coming from a strongly oil and gas-dependent state and facing a tough re-election battle, some guessed she would reflect her constituency. But party loyalty gave Suh her nod.

However, with mid-term elections challenging Democratic control of the Senate, powers that have not been explained arranged for Suh to slip safely out of contention for the big Interior job. She will replace the influential Frances Beinecke (2012 compensation $427,688), NRDC officer for over 30 years and president since 2006. Beinecke is heiress of the Sperry and Hutchinson Green Stamp fortune, a Yale graduate and daughter of Yale benefactor and S&H president, William Beinecke. She is a former regent of Yale University.

I asked Senator David Vitter (R-Louisiana), ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, for his take on Suh’s departure. He told me, “Ms. Suh’s transition into the political, private sector route to shut down energy development is unsurprising. However, I am sure that after so much rushing through the nomination process earlier this year, a handful of my colleagues on the Energy Committee must be deeply disappointed to lose Ms. Suh to the NRDC.”

I can just see Senator Vitter’s winning smile.


Flood Wall Street Climate Change Protest was a Washout

Imposing equality is the goal; climate change is the excuse

"Stop Capitalism. End the Climate Crisis." That's the motto for the Flood Wall Street demonstration that aimed to "take to the streets of New York's Financial District" and "carry out a massive sit-in to disrupt business as usual" in order to "highlight the role of Wall Street in fueling the climate crisis." The would-be Flooders rallied at the World War II Memorial in Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan. In contrast to the huge turnout for the People's Climate March on Sunday, Flood Wall Street attracted a hardcore group of about 1,000 protestors, many of whom were clearly nostalgic Occupy Wall Street veterans. Participants were asked to wear blue so that their sit-in would signify how rising ocean tides fueled by man-made global warming will eventually inundate the inner sanctum of global capitalism.

Since I had somehow missed Occupy Wall Street events, this was my first time enjoying the human "microphone" in which participants nearer the speakers repeat by shouting what they are saying so that others further back can benefit from their insights. I will say that the rhythmic call-and-response aspect of the "microphone" did make it easy to take notes. The first speaker at the Battery Park pre-Flood rally was Canadian activist Naomi Klein, author of the new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.

Klein began by reminiscing that the Occupy Wall Street movement had originated three years ago, almost to the same day as the Flood Wall Street protest. Occupy Wall Street "put corporate capitalism on trial," said Klein. "The entire world listened and the debate on inequality opened up." Klein continued, "We are oppressed by the knowledge that the system of short term profits and deregulated greed that deepens inequality and forecloses on our homes is the very same system that is foreclosing on our collective home." Klein ended, "We demand to Change Everything." Nice how she worked the title of her just released book into her exhortation. Listening to Klein it was pretty hard not to conclude that the real goal is imposing equality, and climate change is the excuse.

Next up followed a slate of speakers from around the globe representing "frontline communities" that are supposedly bearing the brunt of climate change caused by corporate greed. "A typical example of criminal acts caused by corporations is climate change that is already causing damages," declared socio-economist Mamadou Goita from the West African country of Mali. Specifically corporate climate change "is causing major losses in food production." Perhaps so. But World Bank data on cereal yields per hectare suggest a somewhat different story. While Malian grain yields do bounce around a bit, there is pretty clearly a long-term rising trend. In 2000, yields were 1,006 kilograms per hectare; by 2013 they had risen to 1,667 kilograms per hectare. "Corporations took power; devastated our nature; are destroying lives; and are dismantling all people's power," asserted Goita. He concluded, "Now it is the time to take back our power."

Brazilian anti-dam activist Elisa Estronioli is quite right that the rights of poor and indigenous people are all too often disregarded when it comes to constructing big hydroelectric dams in developing countries. She cogently asked at the Flood Wall Street rally how can electricity from such projects "be clean energy when it is produced inside a model that violates human rights?" Estronioli is an organizer against the giant Belo Monte dam largely being built and paid for by the Brazilian government in the Amazon region. "We are the victims of the same global model in which energy plays a central role," concluded Estronioli. "There is no clean energy in the capitalist system." Say what?

One other frontline community speaker was Miriam Miranda from Honduras. "The planet is collapsing and the time has come to act," said Miranda. Why is action necessary? Because we must fight "against the culture of death that we are being condemned to by the grand corporations of death and transnational capital," Miranda finished.

Once the featured speakers were done, it was time to configure the Flood. The protestors were instructed to arrange themselves into three cohorts depending on their willingness to be arrested: The most eager to be arrested in the front and the more hesitant at the back. However, one of the organizers whose name I didn't catch did knowingly assure participants, "We believe that if you've never been arrested before, this is the perfect action to join."

So off streamed the Flood festooned with a variety of anti-capitalist placards, buttons, posters, and so forth. One of the main attractions were a couple of giant mylar balloons symbolizing the fossil fuel industries' "carbon bubble" that activists argue is about to burst. The bubble supposedly exists because fossil fuel companies are overvalued because their worth is calculated using carbon energy reserves that they won't be able to sell in the future as the world turns toward renewables.

The Flood was firmly channeled by barricades up Broadway backed by police ornamented with garlands of white plastic flexi-cuffs. Expecting the Flood to eventually flow onto Wall Street itself, I took a back route and waited for the Flood to arrive in front of the New York Stock Exchange. While waiting, a single middle-aged demonstrator unmolested by the police waved around a poster reading "Global Warming Burns Me Up." A younger protestor climbed the steps of Federal Hall and yelled something like, "What are you going to do Wall Street when the oceans drown your kids?" He was quickly shooed off by two portly Park Service guards.

Some 30 to 40 minutes passed, so I went in search of the missing Flood and found that the police had halted the tide on Broadway. The protestors had ended up "flooding" just a couple of blocks of lower Broadway around Arturo Di Modica's Charging Bull sculpture. Some were sitting-in, others milling randomly, and an occasional chant rose from the stymied flow: "1-2-3-4, climate change is class war." Sometime around 2 p.m., a single demonstrator tried to run past the police line and was immediately caught and handcuffed in the view of several score cameras. After all that excitement, I left.

Later, when the police ordered the Flood to disperse, about a hundred refused and were arrested and booked. Wall Street was not Flooded.


Google Kills Birds

Our headline has the virtue of being true—as we will explain—unlike Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt's assertion this week that people who oppose government subsidies for green energy are liars. The real charlatans are businesses like Google that use climate change as a pretext for corporate welfare.

Google, whose motto is "Don't Be Evil," announced on Monday that it is quitting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) because of the conservative outfit's putative denial of climate change. "Everyone understands climate change is occurring," said Mr. Schmidt. "And the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people—they're just, they're just literally lying."

In fact, ALEC takes no position on the substance of climate change. ALEC provides a forum for sundry businesses to discuss free-market reforms with state lawmakers. Two of its policy targets are renewable-energy mandates and subsidies, which are being exploited by big businesses like Google at the expense of low- and middle-income taxpayers. Google's real problem with ALEC is a conflict of pecuniary interests.

Consider Google's pledge to fund over $1.5 billion in non fossil-fuel energy. Yet Google derives most of its energy from non-renewables on the grid because it says that "while our data centers operate 24/7, most renewable energy sources don't." Data centers consume a lot of power, and renewables can cost three times as much as fossil fuels. It's no coincidence that Google's server in Iowa is located near one of the cheapest sources of coal-fired power in the Midwest.

Also not a coincidence is that nearly all of Google's solar and wind farms are located in states with renewable-energy mandates, which create opportunities for politically mediated profit-making. For instance, California requires that renewables make up a third of electricity by 2020. Google has invested about $600 million in California's solar plants such as the Ivanpah system in California's Mojave Desert. Ivanpah is the world's largest solar-thermal project, which is the target of environmentalists.

Dozens of federally protected desert tortoises have been displaced or killed. The Center for Biological Diversity estimates that Ivanpah's "power towers"—which burn natural gas—incinerate about 28,000 birds annually. The death toll is disputed by others, but Google has made taxpayers complicit in its avian-cide. The $2.2 billion bird fryer was funded with a $1.6 billion federal loan, which Google and its business partners plan to repay by applying for a federal grant.

The do-no-evil company has invested $157 million in a wind farm in California's Tehachapi Mountains, which has killed thousands of birds including federally protected golden eagles. Google's renewable portfolio includes a $275 million investment in two wind farms in Texas that are partly responsible for the construction of $7 billion in new transmission lines. The Texas Public Utility Commission estimates the lines will cost ratepayers on average $72 per year. Google has about $60 billion in cash and short-term investments sitting on its balance sheet.

Most of Google's renewable investments qualify for a federal investment tax credit that covers 30% of the cost. Its $450 million investment in rooftop solar-systems also benefits from state incentives such as "net-metering" laws. This hidden subsidy compensates ratepayers for power they remit to the grid at the retail rate, which can be three times as much as the wholesale price of electricity. Net-metering allows solar companies to charge higher rates to homeowners who lease their panels, and thus for investors like Google to reap larger profits.

ALEC as well as the right-wing radicals at the Natural Resources Defense Council and National Black Caucus of State Legislators have encouraged states to ensure that all ratepayers under net metering pay their share for maintaining the grid.

The point is that Google behaves like all other self-interested businesses—which also means that it bends to the political winds. Unions and progressive groups have been bullying corporations for years to abandon ALEC so the left has less political and intellectual opposition in the 50 state capitals. Earlier this month they wrote to Google denouncing ALEC's "extreme views," which "include denying climate change."

Perhaps Google figured it could gain political benefit by joining the liberal smear campaign against ALEC. But Mr. Schmidt shouldn't disguise his company's mercenary motives behind false and trendy appeals to green political virtue.


Danish Wind Farm Company Sued for Spoiling View

Europe’s troubled wind turbine industry has a new predicament, with a householder in Denmark successfully suing Vestas, a Danish wind turbine manufacturer. Vestas was sued by the householder with the help of International Law Office and awarded 500,000 Danish kroner (£53,000) in compensation for the loss of property values due to visual interference, inconvenience caused by the noise of the blades and light reflection. Eight turbines are visible from the owner’s house.

The Danes passed the Promoting Renewable Energy Act in 2011, which established a compensation scheme for homes affected by wind farms. It seems the Danes suffer from the a similar condition to Brits, not in my back yard (nimbyism), where there is a consensus in favour of wind farms but not near their homes.

Calls to Vestas’ office for comment were not returned.

Danish wind farms have already come in for serious criticism. Breitbart London reported in June how a mink farm saw how a recently built turbine seemed to lead to still births, birth deformities and had begun attacking in each other, costing the farmer millions.

The Danish situation is mirrored in the UK. In November 2013, the London School of Economics amd the Spatial Economics Research Centre published a report with lead author Professor Stephen Gibbons finding that “A wind farm with 20+ turbines within 2km reduces prices by some 11 percent on average.” In all scenarios even of less density, “Wind farms reduce house prices where the turbines are visible.”

Professor Gibbons has further evidence from when in June 2008 Mr. and Mrs. Julian Davis in Lincoln applied to the Valuation Tribunal for a reduction in their Council Tax, due to a wind turbine.  Citing “Change in physical state. Noise pollution externally and internal low frequency. Noise pollution from new wind farm 930m (away),” they won and their house was downgraded to Band A status.

Meanwhile, a report into two wind turbines collapsing in Devon and Cornwall has just been released. The Western Mail reports the towers had basic defects and flaw in the construction process. These incidents were over a year ago and the report’s publication was aided by a Freedom of Information request. Also worryingly is that “ten units with existing defects” out of the company’s 70 or 80 turbines and the “makers of the E3120 turbine which fell in Devon, identified a further 29 turbines that might have been affected by a problem with the foundations.”

It seems that European governments' race to be green has had some expensive unexpected consequences. Not only is it substantially more expensive to industry and the public, the extra costs of erecting wind farms are growing too. One can only imagine the furore if a turbine comes down on a house, seriously injuring someone or even killing them. These are troubles timed for the government and the wind industry.


An unsettled climate

by Judith Curry

In a press conference last week, UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon stated: “Action on climate change is urgent.  The more we delay, the more we will pay in lives and in money.” The recently appointed UN Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio stated “The debate is over. Climate change is happening now.”

These statements reflect a misunderstanding of the state of climate science and the extent to which we can blame adverse consequences such as extreme weather events on human caused climate change. The climate has always changed and will continue to change. Humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have a warming effect on the climate. However, there is enduring uncertainty beyond these basic issues, and the most consequential aspects of climate science are the subject of vigorous scientific debate: whether the warming since 1950 has been dominated by human causes, and how the climate will evolve in the 21st century due to both natural and human causes. Societal uncertainties further cloud the issues as to whether warming is ‘dangerous’ and whether we can afford to radically reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

At the heart of the recent scientific debate on climate change is the ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ in global warming – the period since 1998 during which global average surface temperatures have not increased. This observed warming hiatus contrasts with the expectation from the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report that warming would proceed at a rate of 0.2oC/per decade in the early decades of the 21st century. The warming hiatus raises serious questions as to whether the climate model projections of 21st century have much utility for decision making, given uncertainties in climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide, future volcanic eruptions and solar activity, and the multidecadal and century scale oscillations in ocean circulation patterns.

A key argument in favor of emission reductions is concern over the accelerating cost of weather disasters. The accelerating cost is associated with increasing population and wealth in vulnerable regions, and not with any increase in extreme weather events, let alone any increase that can be attributed to human caused climate change. The IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation found little evidence that supports an increase in extreme weather events that can be attributed to humans. There seems to be a collective ‘weather amnesia’, where the more extreme weather of the 1930’s and 1950’s seems to have been forgotten.

Climate science is no more ‘settled’ than anthropogenic global warming is a ‘hoax’. I am concerned that the climate change problem and its solution have been vastly oversimplified. Deep uncertainty beyond the basics is endemic to the climate change problem, which is arguably characterized as a ‘wicked mess.’ A ‘wicked’ problem is complex with dimensions that are difficult to define and changing with time. A ‘mess’ is characterized by the complexity of interrelated issues, with suboptimal solutions that create additional problems.

Nevertheless, the premise of dangerous anthropogenic climate change is the foundation for a far-reaching plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Elements of this plan may be argued as important for associated energy policy reasons, economics, and/or public health and safety. However, claiming an overwhelming scientific justification for the plan based upon anthropogenic global warming does a disservice both to climate science and to the policy process. Science doesn’t dictate to society what choices to make, but science can assess which policies won’t work and can provide information about uncertainty that is critical for the decision making process.

Can we make good decisions under conditions of deep uncertainty about climate change? Uncertainty in itself is not a reason for inaction. Research to develop low-emission energy technologies and energy efficiency measures are examples of ‘robust’ policies that have little downside, while at the same time have ancillary benefits beyond reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, attempts to modify the climate through reducing CO2 emissions may turn out to be futile. The hiatus in warming observed over the past 16 years demonstrates that CO2 is not a control knob on climate variability on decadal time scales. Even if CO2 mitigation strategies are successful and climate model projections are correct, an impact on the climate would not be expected until the latter part of the 21st century. Solar variability, volcanic eruptions and long-term ocean oscillations will continue to be sources of unpredictable climate surprises.

Whether or not anthropogenic climate change is exacerbating extreme weather events, vulnerability to extreme weather events will continue owing to increasing population and wealth in vulnerable regions. Climate change (regardless of whether the primary cause is natural or anthropogenic) may be less important in driving vulnerability in most regions than increasing population, land use practices, and ecosystem degradation. Regions that find solutions to current problems of climate variability and extreme weather events and address challenges associated with an increasing population are likely to be well prepared to cope with any additional stresses from climate change.

Oversimplification, claiming ‘settled science’ and ignoring uncertainties not only undercuts the political process and dialogue necessary for real solutions in a highly complex world, but acts to retards scientific progress. It’s time to recognize the complexity and wicked nature of the climate problem, so that we can have a more meaningful dialogue on how to address the complex challenges of climate variability and change.


Climate alarmists are overlooking scientific facts

Some letters to the editor below that appeared in "The Australian" on 27th

ALARMISTS such as Fred Cehak and Chris Roylance (Letters, 26/9) criticise acclaimed scientists such as Dan Wood and Steven Koonin for their sceptical views, yet continue to peddle the fiction that the “science is settled” in the climate debate.

Those aboard the ship stuck in Antarctic ice early this year believed their own shoddy science that said the poles were melting. Today, the Antarctic ice sheet is at an all-time record high, and Arctic ice is now refreezing as normal.

The junk models used by the alarmists to frighten the world are in a state of disarray as more than 50 excuses are circulating trying to explain, unsuccessfully, the 17-year halt to global warming, even with rising carbon dioxide emissions.

Despite its shortcomings, even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has declared there is no relationship between emissions and hurricanes, Atlantic storms, drought and wildfires, and any other catastrophe served up as fact by the alarmists, whose arguments are always based on appeals to authority rather than the tenets of true science as embraced by sceptics.

G. M. Derrick, Sherwood, Qld

THE informative and balanced article by Steven Koonin (“A degree of uncertainty”, 23/9) brings me to the following conclusion. Much of the vast sums of taxpayers’ money being spent on researching and controlling man-made climate change should be directed to researching the magnitude and causes of natural climate change.

We would all then be in a better position to determine how significant is man-made climate change in comparison to natural climate change, and develop appropriate policy.

Charles Stanger, Manuka, ACT

FRED Cehak criticises those who doubt the accuracy of climate models and says the majority of scientists support the views of the IPCC. Yet doesn’t the IPCC’s fifth assessment report state that the rate of warming over the past 15 years, a 20th of a degree per decade, is smaller than the trend since 1951, an eighth of a degree per decade? This despite an unabated increase in the alleged driver, atmospheric carbon dioxide. Surely that’s justification for critical review of some of the more alarming predictions.

And we never see any criticism from Cehak or others of the failed predictions by Tim Flannery that Sydney and Brisbane’s dams would now be dry never to fill again, or of the equally ludicrous suggestion by Greens leader Christine Milne that repeal of the Renewable Energy Target would lead to only a billion people being left alive by 2100.

Peter Troy, Kingston, Tas



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

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


29 September, 2014

American Medical Association prostitutes itself to the climate change scare

And let's be clear that it is just a scare. No-one knows what the future holds.  Warmism enthusiasts thought that on the basis of the slight warming of the last part of the 20th century they could predict warming from that point on.  But their models and predictions were wrong.  There has been no climate change (no warming) in the 21st century and no-one knows if the next change will be towards cooling or warming.   So the scare is no better than religious prophecies of doom.

JAMA is of course not the first medical journal to turn political.  Britain's "Lancet" is notoriously Leftist.  They actually campaigned against George Bush and the Iraq war at one stage.  And there have been many claims that warming is bad for your health.

All such claims however founder on the fact that winter is the great season of dying.  Both warmth and cold can lead to health problems but cold is by far the big killer.  A warmer climate should therefore REDUCE mortality overall.  To give JAMA its due they did not totally ignore that possibility but they went close.  Hidden away in their Method section was a single paragraph of waffle which I reproduce following the abstract below.  Most notably however, they made no attempt to address that possibility in their research.  They looked only at warm weather problems, not cold weather problems.  The entire project was totally one-sided. Not science at all

Climate change: Challenges and Opportunities for Global Health

By Jonathan A. Patz et al.



Health is inextricably linked to climate change. It is important for clinicians to understand this relationship in order to discuss associated health risks with their patients and to inform public policy.


To provide new US-based temperature projections from downscaled climate modeling and to review recent studies on health risks related to climate change and the cobenefits of efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

Data Sources, Study Selection, and Data Synthesis

We searched PubMed from 2009 to 2014 for articles related to climate change and health, focused on governmental reports, predictive models, and empirical epidemiological studies. Of the more than 250 abstracts reviewed, 56 articles were selected. In addition, we analyzed climate data averaged over 13 climate models and based future projections on downscaled probability distributions of the daily maximum temperature for 2046-2065. We also compared maximum daily 8-hour average with air temperature data taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climate Data Center.


By 2050, many US cities may experience more frequent extreme heat days. For example, New York and Milwaukee may have 3 times their current average number of days hotter than 32øC (90øF). The adverse health aspects related to climate change may include heat-related disorders, such as heat stress and economic consequences of reduced work capacity; and respiratory disorders, including those exacerbated by fine particulate pollutants, such as asthma and allergic disorders; infectious diseases, including vectorborne diseases and water-borne diseases, such as childhood gastrointestinal diseases; food insecurity, including reduced crop yields and an increase in plant diseases; and mental health disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder and depression, that are associated with natural disasters. Substantial health and economic cobenefits could be associated with reductions in fossil fuel combustion. For example, the cost of greenhouse gas emission policies may yield net economic benefit, with health benefits from air quality improvements potentially offsetting the cost of US carbon policies.

Conclusions and Relevance

Evidence over the past 20 years indicates that climate change can be associated with adverse health outcomes. Health care professionals have an important role in understanding and communicating the related potential health concerns and the cobenefits from reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Might fewer cold-related deaths balance mortality from heat waves? This is a topic of active research and current uncertainty, with results likely differing for climate zone and infrastructure characteristics. Although relative increases in heat-related deaths may exceed relative decreases in cold-related deaths, this may not apply in absolute terms because the balance may depend on location, population structure (proportion of older residents), and amount of warming, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expressed low confidence that modest reductions in cold-related mortality would occur.  Reasons for this include the observation that many deaths related to cold temperatures do not occur during coldest times and that there is a lag between exposure to cold temperatures and increased risk of death typically much longer than 1 or 2 days.

JAMA. Published online September 22, 2014. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.13186.

Dreary climate summit was surely their saddest fiasco yet

The leaden speeches at this year's UN climate summit shows our leaders' gullibility

Apart from the Middle East, there can have been few more depressing places to be in the world last Tuesday than the UN General Assembly in New York, where an endless queue of world leaders, including Barack Obama and David Cameron, treated an increasingly soporific audience to leaden little appeals for humanity to take urgent action to halt global warming. The purpose of this special meeting, summoned by that dim little nonentity Ban Ki-moon, was to issue a desperate last-minute call for a legally binding treaty in Paris next year, whereby they would all agree to save the planet through an 80 per cent cut in those CO? emissions, which are inseparable from almost all the activities of modern civilisation.

For days the usual cheerleaders, such as the BBC and Channel 4 News, had been beating the drum for this “historic” and “important” gathering. Hundreds of thousands of activists from all over the world, joined by Mr Ban in a baseball cap, on Sunday brought the streets of New York to a halt.

When the great day came, The Guardian published a 43-page running blog, reporting all the speeches from the likes of some Bosnian telling us that his country has had more rain this year than in any for more than a century (did global warming really start that long ago?). The President of Kiribati said, “I’ve been talking about climate change so long I’ve lost my voice”, although he was still somehow able to explain that his tiny island nation in the middle of the Pacific is sinking beneath the waves, despite satellite studies showing that sea levels in the area have actually been falling.

As one speaker after another overran their allotted four minutes, even The Guardian could not hide the fact that no one had anything new or interesting to say. “The most powerful speech” apparently came from Leonardo DiCaprio, which recalled a claim made more than 20 years ago by that other Hollywood star, Robert Redford, when he said, on global warming, that it was “time to stop researching and to start acting”. This prompted Richard Lindzen, the physicist and climate-change sceptic, to observe wryly that it seemed “a reasonable suggestion for an actor to make”.

The biggest excitement of the day was the news flash from England that a gaggle of Greenpeace activists had hijacked a train carrying coal to a Nottinghamshire power station. Part of the meeting’s purpose was to demand that the world’s richer nations must honour their pledge at Cancún in 2010 to contribute $100?billion a year to help poorer countries combat climate change. When The Guardian’s blog totted up the cash promised – and despite $5?million pledged by Luxembourg – there was nothing from Obama or Cameron.

Most notably absent among the 120 “heads of government” present were those from China and India, two of the biggest CO? emitters in the world. And, of course, this conveyed precisely why Mr Ban’s shindig was as much an empty charade as that far greater fiasco in Copenhagen in 2009, when it became evident that there will never be a global treaty, because the world’s fastest-developing nations, such as China and India, have never had any intention of signing one.

As I showed in my history of the great climate scare, The Real Global Warming Disaster, published just before Copenhagen, the scientific basis for this scare was already falling apart, as temperatures were not rising as the computer models had predicted. The real disaster from all this, I argued, was not the imagined apocalypse of the world frying, as ice caps melted and sea levels soared (thanks to Antarctica, there is more polar sea ice today than at any time since records began). It was the response of all those deluded politicians who had fallen for the scare.

Cameron may last week have drawn The Guardian’s contempt for repeating that boast that his is “the greenest government ever”. But Britain is still stuck, not least thanks to Ed Miliband’s ludicrous Climate Change Act, with a skewed and make-believe energy policy far more dangerous than most people realise.

Until our politicians wake up from this mad dream to think for themselves and pull us back from this suicidal course, we are doomed.

As yet there is little sign of any such miracle bringing them back to the real world.


The United Nations accidentally gets something right

The opening words on the website introducing the United Nations Climate Summit read, “Climate change is not a far-off problem. It is happening now and is having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow.”

In the spirit of the left-wing newspaper fact checkers who labor under the pretext of objectivity while providing cover to their more honest liberal political advocates, this statement needs to be evaluated for its veracity.

Could the U.N. climate cronies have gotten it right?  Before people scoff at that notion, they need to read what the U.N. says closely.

The U.N. statement is correct that climate change is happening now.  Otherwise we would not need weathermen to tell us when it is likely to rain or not.  The weather is always changing, and the deliberately obfuscatory language of the environmental left is designed to make this natural phenomenon seem like something that needs action to solve.

It was so much cleaner when they claimed “global warming,” but as any honest, sentient person knows, the warming has been on pause for the past eighteen years, creating a semantic issue for those in search of a problem to be solved.  Hence the undeniably obtuse climate change description shift.

The U.N. goes on to claim that not only is the weather changing, but it is having very real consequences on people’s lives.  Once again, they are correct.  In the United States electricity costs are rising, and a significant portion of the electric generation plants are scheduled to go off-line due to EPA regulations promulgated under the guise of climate change.

So, yes, the attempt by the U.S. government to deal with climate change, at a time when temperatures have paused for a generation, “is having very real consequences on people’s lives.”  It is having a particularly nasty impact on those who are on fixed incomes and struggling economically, and cannot easily fit a few extra dollars to pay for increased costs regulated into existence by the climate jihadists.

And in this same vein, the U.N. conveniently continues on by claiming, “Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow.”

Once again the U.N. gets it right.

Those creating environmental policies have it as their mission statement to disrupt national economies, particularly developed one’s like those in Europe and the United States.  How else can you explain why the coal rich United Kingdom decided to stop burning coal in one of its largest electric generation plants replacing the local and available fuel for wood chips imported from the United States.  This disruption was not exactly good news for the coal workers or the national economy that their taxes used to support.

Similarly, the tens of thousands of workers who have not been hired due to President Barack Obama’s failure to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built has a disruptive effect on the U.S. economy as these uncreated jobs leave people without alternatives and the hope that a good job provides.

Any objective analysis would reveal that the United Nation’s statement is correct – just not in the way they meant to be.  For this reason, they get a completely accidental four smiley face rating for veracity.  However, the faces are red in the cheeks, because they really didn’t mean to be caught telling the truth


Merchants of Smear

Russell Cook

For about two decades we’ve been told the science behind human-caused global warming is settled, and to ignore skeptic scientists because they’ve been paid by industry to manufacture doubt about the issue.

The truth, however, has every appearance of being exactly the opposite: A clumsy effort to manufacture doubt about the credibility of skeptical climate scientists arose in 1991 with roots in Al Gore’s Senate office; it gained effectiveness and media traction after Ozone Action took over the effort and drew attention to the “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” memo phrase (which they never showed in its full context); and the effort achieved its highest success after being heavily promoted by the “Pulitzer-winning investigative reporter” Ross Gelbspan, who never won a Pulitzer, never displayed any investigative prowess in this matter, and never proved that any skeptic climate scientist had ever knowingly lied as a result of being paid illicit money.

These efforts to portray skeptic scientists as corrupt are swamped with additional credibility problems, far more than can be described in this Policy Brief. Plain presentations of science studies contradicting reports from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have no chance of vindicating skeptic scientists in the face of such viral anti-skeptic rhetoric, as long as the mainstream media and majority of Internet sites remain gatekeepers preventing the release of accurate science information.

This gatekeeping indicates a much larger problem concerning the issue: The evidence presented in this Policy Brief here is something any unqualified, disinterested bystander could find and ask about, and indeed, believers in the theory of human-caused global warming could have explored the problems presented here with each other in order to find out whether their accusation about industry corruption of skeptics survives serious scrutiny.

Instead, this accusation has been unquestioningly accepted since 1991 by the mainstream news media and by officials who want to implement greenhouse gas mitigation regulations. During this time, skeptic scientists and other well-informed experts have revealed devastating problems with IPCC climate assessments. It has been shown time and again that the corruption accusation was riddled with obvious holes from the start. No matter.

The main pillar of support for the notion that humans are causing a dangerous warming of the climate has been the notion of “settled science.” That notion has long been questioned by skeptic scientists. The secondary pillar of support for the alarmist global warming theory has been the notion that industry-corrupted skeptics are unworthy of public consideration. This accusation could easily have been investigated and refuted long ago. That never happened, because of the third pillar: Journalists should not give equal time to skeptic scientists.

We are overdue for the biggest ideology collapse in history, begging for an investigation into why the mainstream media and influential politicians apparently never checked the veracity of claims about “settled science” and “corrupt skeptics.”


Antarctica ice: Proof they are lying

The New Scientist has gone all in on global warming, the theory that the SINS of MAN are turning the world into HELL ON EARTH.




But just one little problem. It ain't happening. At least not at a pace that should cause us to change our behavior in any way, shape or form.

After 35 years of telling us carbon dioxide is melting ice in Antarctica, New Scientist is now saying carbon dioxide has caused the ice to grow for 35 years.

What they said before:

From January 2, 2001: "Ice in the heart of Antarctica is retreating and causing sea level rise, scientists have shown for the first time."

From June 23, 2007: "Rising sea levels could divide and conquer Antarctic ice."

From March 25, 2008: "Antarctic ice shelf 'hanging by a thread'."

From January 21, 2009: "Even Antarctica is now feeling the heat of climate change."

From March 10, 2009: "Sea level rise could bust IPCC estimate: Greenland and Antarctica are losing ice fast and could end up taking sea levels to nearly twice predicted levels by 2100."

From July 31, 2011: "Antarctica rising as ice caps melt."

Got that?

Year-in and year-out, the editors at the New Scientist have warned us that the ice in Antarctica is melting fast.

It's global warming!  As Dr. Zachary Smith used to say on "Lost In Space," we're doomed. Doomed!

All that changed this month. On September 17, New Scientist said the ice is growing.  From the article:

    "Since satellite records began in 1979, the winter maximum sea ice cover around Antarctica has been growing at 1.5 per cent per decade. This year has long been on track for a new annual record, with 150 daily records already set.

    The record was finally broken on 15 September and sea ice extent has increased since, according to data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center analysed by Australia's Bureau of Meteorology in Hobart."

Wait a second, for years New Scientist has said the ice is melting at the South Pole due to global warming.  Now it suddenly claims that it has been growing for 35 years?

The topper is they still blame global warming:

"Record sea ice around Antarctica due to global warming"

    "IT JUST gets bigger. The extent of the sea ice around Antarctica has hit a record high – for the third year running. Counter-intuitively, global warming is responsible.

    Since satellite records began in 1979, the winter maximum sea ice cover around Antarctica has been growing at 1.5 per cent per decade. This year has long been on track for a new annual record, with 150 daily records already set.

    The record was finally broken on 15 September and sea ice extent has increased since, according to data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center analyzed by Australia's Bureau of Meteorology in Hobart.

    More sea ice may seem odd in a warmer world, but new records are expected every few years, says Jan Lieser of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre in Hobart. That's because the southern hemisphere warms more slowly than the north, as it has less landmass, boosting the winds that circle Antarctica and pulling cold air onto the sea ice.

    The melting of ice on the Antarctic mainland may also be creating more sea ice, by dumping easily frozen fresh water into the ocean, says Nerilie Abram of the Australian National University in Canberra.

    The extra sea ice is a good thing, as it reflects sunlight and slows global warming. But the sea ice is expected to shrink eventually. "By 2100 we will see dramatic reductions," says Lieser. "Once it goes belly-up it's not good for the rest of the world."

As Congressman Joe Wilson might say, they lie.  The debate is indeed over. The side that lies loses.

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

Blathering Eco-Intellectuals

By Alan Caruba

I confess I have always been wary of intellectuals. They love arcane theories that often have little to do with real life and this is particularly true of eco-intellectuals who have embraced a panoply of lies and claims about the “environment”, “fossil fuels”, “sustainability”, and other notions that permit them to bloviate without once addressing reality.

This has been a week of eco-propaganda on a global scale. On Sunday there were “Climate Marches.” On Tuesday there will be a UN “Climate Summit”, and there will likely be an avalanche of nonsense in the media intended to make us believe we have control, influence, or impact on the climate when it is obvious to the rest of us that we—the human race—have none.

In the past nearly two decades we have all been experiencing not a warning, but a cooling of planet Earth. It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the Sun that has been in a low cycle of radiation—less heat!

A friend alerted me to an article in the August 22nd edition of the New Republic, a famously liberal magazine. “Global Warming Is Just One of Many Environmental Threats That Demand Our Attention” is the title of Amartya Sen’s article. He is a Nobel laureate in economics, a winner of the National Humanities Medal, an author, and teaches at Harvard University.

There were two immediate red flags that caught my attention. First was that he is an economist and the second was that he was writing about “global warming” as of it was happening.

In early September I had written about another economist who had an opinion published in The Wall Street Journal. It was ludicrous in terms of his complete lack of even the most basic science he was either addressing or ignoring as he too warned of horrid environmental portents to come.  Economists should stick to economics.

If you suffer from insomnia or have a fondness for reading sentences filled with words rarely used in common communication, you will find that Sen’s article will either put you to sleep or, more likely, give you a migraine headache. The article is an insufferable platform for him to demonstrate his Nobel certified intellectual brilliance, while possessing very little understanding of science or what we ordinary people call common sense.

“Our global environment has many problems. If the high volume of carbon emission is one, the low level of intellectual engagement with some of the major environmental challenges is surely another.” That’s how Sen began his article and, in the very first sentence, he reveals his ignorance by referring to “carbon emissions” instead of “carbon dioxide” (CO2) emissions.

The latter is a so-called “greenhouse” gas that the Greens keep telling us is trapping huge amounts of heat in the Earth’s atmosphere that will surely kill us all. CO2 is about 0.04% of the entire atmosphere, the least of the gases of which it is composed. It doesn’t trap heat, but it does provide the “food” that all vegetation requires to grow. We carbon-based humans exhale CO2 after we breathe in oxygen. It is part of the natural cycle of life between animals and the vegetation that releases oxygen; a perfect balance of nature.

Suffice to say that Sen’s very lengthy article is typical of the eco-intellectual disdain for virtually any form of energy to serve humanity except for the two least reliable, wind and solar energy. There’s a reason why mankind turned to coal, oil and natural gas. It was vastly abundant and released large amounts of energy for transportation and other benefits that include the production of electricity.

There was a time not that long ago when people used whale oil to light their homes. And wood was used to heat them. Walt Whitman, a famed poet who lived in Lincoln’s time, never turned on an electrical switch in his life. It didn’t exist 150 years ago. There were no autos, no telephones, et cetera. If you define a generation as 25 years, that’s only six generations ago. And Sen wants us to abandon “fossil fuels” because he fears “the dangers of global pollution from fossil fuels…”

He’s no fan of nuclear power either. (I guess we should all go back to whale oil, only we won’t because we love the whales.) “There are at least five different kinds of externalities that add significantly to the social costs of nuclear power” writes Sen, but who else refers to “externalities” of nuclear power? Okay, why not just say there have been two bad accidents, Chernobyl and Fukushima, and leave it at that. That still leaves a lot of safely performing nuclear plants here and worldwide.

We do not live in a world without risk or trade-offs. For lack of enough pipelines, a lot of oil is being transported by rail and there have been accidents. Around the world there are coal mining accidents. Even solar farms literally sizzle birds to death that fly over them and wind turbines chop them into little pieces.

Mother Nature does not care what happens to us when she conjures up a volcanic eruption, a flood, a wildfire, a hurricane or blizzard.

Humans have learned to either flee these things or wait them out in the safety of their homes. That’s what modern life is all about and it is a hundred times better than in the past when people were lucky to live to the age of sixty. Many died much younger from plagues of disease and we are watching that occur with Ebola in Africa. Even simple injuries caused death a scant time ago.

“There are empirical gaps in our knowledge as well as analytical difficulties in dealing with the evaluation of uncertainty.” Huh? What? This is intellectual gobbledygook, a substitute for saying that much of the time we don’t know what the future holds.

What we do know is that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and that we humans have developed what we call civilization over the past 5,000 years, a blink of time in eternity.

We should know by now to accept the Earth, the Sun and the galaxy in which we live for what it is and stop bothering to embrace idiotic notions that we have any control or that we are causing so much “pollution” the Earth cannot exist much longer.

You know what we do with the mess of stuff we produce and throw away? We burn it or we bury it. We even recycle some of it.

This keeps archeologists busy as they examine the garbage our not-too-distant ancestors left behind in their caves. Thankfully, none of them were economists.



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

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


28 September, 2014

Muslim anger and global warming

The inability of Muslims to see any wrongdoing by their fellow Muslims seems to be common worldwide.  And we have now seen a prime example of it in Australia. A report of it below.  After a young Afghan Muslim, Numan Haider, was shot by police, the sentiment among his community seems to be that he had done no wrong.  He had simply made a "mistake" and police should not have shot him.  That the police shot him while he was stabbing them with a knife and inflicting serious injuries doesn't matter, apparently. "Infidel" police should let themselves be stabbed by Muslims seems to be the idea.  Decent people would be embarrassed that one of their number had behaved so badly but brains rotted by Islam are apparently incapable of that.

The rage is so irrational that it reminds me of a couple of other things.  In 1980 or thereabouts in Australia a Yugoslav hoodlum named Kresimir Dragosevic died in a hail of police bullets.  Mrs Dragosevic, his mother, thought it was most unfair that the police shot her dear little Kresimir.  The fact that Kresimir was shooting at the police at the time did not seem to matter.

So, clearly, for many people, reason flies out the window when their own personal interests are threatened or damaged.  Which brings me to global warming.  Warmists have the wonderful feelgood belief that they are "saving the planet" and that is far too rewarding to let facts get in the way of such a belief.  They will even let themselves be lectured by an emptyheaded High School dropout like Leonardo di Caprio on the subject if it helps to bolster their feelings of righteousness and mission.  No wonder there is so much poverty and so much suffering in the world when rationality can so easily be overwhelmed by personal emotional needs.

ANGER boiled over outside a mosque as the body of the shot teen was prepared for burial.

A man threw rocks at media waiting at the Doveton mosque after earlier being seen at Numan Haider’s family home.

The teen terror suspect’s family spoke of their devastation.

Others grieving the loss of Haider lashed out at police for shooting him.

Religious leaders told the Herald Sun Haider was expected to be buried as soon as today, after a Muslim service.

A friend who visited the family’s Endeavour Hills home said they were overwhelmed by grief. “They are very, very upset and devastated,” the family friend said.

“No one knows what happened. It’s a big shock to their family, and they can’t believe what has happened.

“This family is bright. They are well educated and have good connection to the Afghan families.”

There were angry scenes when a member of the Afghan community, on leaving the house, blamed police.

“They should not have shot him — he was 18,” the woman screamed. “If you (the police) can’t protect yourself, how are you going to protect the nation? Did you make mistakes when you were 18?  “If someone makes a mistake, you can’t shoot him.”

Conservative sheik Mohammad Jamal Omran visited the home to offer his condolences, and said he was saddened by the tragedy.

“We spoke about their sadness and we spoke about their loss.  “They cried on my shoulder, but still they need a long time to recover,” he said.

“There (is) trouble around us in the world. We don’t have to bring the trouble home.

“When I look at my right, I see the sorrow of the two police families.

“And I look at my left, and see this family losing a young man of theirs, of ours, and of Australia altogether.”


Warmist rage directed at Australia

Good to see that Australia's abolition of the carbon tax (etc.) has been widely noted

The United Nations has an awkward habit of using celebrities to give voice to its key concerns, at once amplifying its messages and somehow diminishing their significance.

At this week's General Assembly the key concern was global warming and the celebrity mouthpiece was Leonardo DiCaprio.

As though aware of the awkwardness of his position, in his address to the General Assembly, DiCaprio sought to buttress his call for drastic and immediate action to reduce carbon emissions with a voice harder to challenge than his own.

"The Chief of the US Navy's Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, recently said that climate change is our single greatest security threat," said DiCaprio. "My friends, this body – perhaps more than any other gathering in human history – now faces that difficult task. You can make history, or be vilified by it."

The speech was well given and well received, but it turned out that his prediction was not entirely correct. Australia did not have to wait for history, it was vilified for its stance on climate change on the spot.

On Sunday the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, told members of the Major Economies Forum at a side meeting that Australia intended to stick with its low target of 5 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

This, she said, was an ambitious target, and she noted that Australia was responsible for producing only 1.5 per cent of the world's greenhouse gasses.

"I'm disappointed but not surprised with Australia," Pa Ousman Jarju, Gambia's Climate Change Minister who represents the 54 least developed nations at UN climate talks, told the Responding to Climate Change analysis website later. "What the Foreign Minister said was as good as not coming. It's nothing… as good as not attending."

Indeed Tony Abbott did not attend Tuesday's meeting, though many attendees detected a reference to Australia – among a handful of other notable recalcitrants – in Barack Obama's keynote speech.

"We can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every nation – developed and developing alike. Nobody gets a pass," he said.

"The emerging economies that have experienced some of the most dynamic growth in recent years have also emitted rising levels of carbon pollution.

"It is those emerging economies that are likely to produce more and more carbon emissions in the years to come.  So nobody can stand on the sidelines on this issue.  We have to set aside the old divides.  We have to raise our collective ambition, each of us doing what we can to confront this global challenge."

Obama appeared to be addressing not only Australia and Canada, the developed nations dependent on mineral exports, as well as China and India, the developing nations whose carbon footprint is expanding rapidly and which have asserted their right to economic expansion before carbon reduction.

As with Mr Abbott, China's Xi Jinping did not attend and Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, sent Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar. China now emits more greenhouse gases than the US and EU combined and India is the third-largest emitter.

But it was Australia and to an extent Canada that were subject to most of the opprobrium, in part because they have already enjoyed the economic benefits of carbon emissions, in part because China is perceived to be on the brink of significant action.

One of the successes of Tuesday's meeting was China's announcement for the first time ever that it would set an emissions target, aiming to reduce its emissions of carbon per unit of GDP by 45 per cent by 2020, compared with levels in 2005.

"As a responsible major country, a major developing country, China will make even greater effort to address climate change," Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said.

"All countries need to follow the path of green and low carbon development that suits their national conditions, [and] set forth post-2020 actions in light of actual circumstances."

An adviser who attended a meeting of small island states that excoriated Australia's inaction on climate said the group now viewed China's commitments optimistically.

The reaction to Australia's presence could not have been more different. Tony de Brum, the Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, told Fairfax that small islands states were frustrated and baffled by Australia's stance, especially as they had regarded the nation as a "big brother down south" and advocated for its seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Asked if "betrayal" was too strong a word, he paused and said, "Now it is, maybe not soon."

On Tuesday the Pulitzer Prize-winning climate change news website Inside Climate News published a story about the "Canada-Australia axis of carbon". It suggested that not only were the two nations not willing to pull their weight, but that they were seeking to derail the binding agreement on emissions reductions at next year's talks in Paris that many view as the world's last best hope to prevent catastrophic climate change.

"Neither the prime ministers of Canada nor Australia will speak at the summit, and the subordinates they have sent will not be offering the kind of "bold" new steps that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is seeking on the way to a treaty in Paris late next year," it reported.

"Instead, these two governments, with their energy-rich domains sprawling across opposite ends of the earth, will present strikingly similar defences against what much of the rest of the world is offering. And their stance is earning them opprobrium among advocates of strong and immediate action."

The online magazine Slate published a story headlined, "The Saudi Arabia of the Pacific, How Australia became the dirtiest polluter in the developed world."

It charted Australian climate politics since the last election – noting for an international audience Australia's history as a leader in solar technology, the creation and then scrapping of a carbon trading scheme, the promotion of climate change sceptics to key advisory roles, the attacks on the solar industry, the scrapping of the mining tax, the failed bid to expand logging in Tasmanian wilderness.

"Let's hope that the rapacious policies of the current government represent only a temporary bout of insanity," Slate concluded. "If the Australian people cannot recover some of their earlier regard for their environment they may find in time that their great land is no longer merely apathetic toward their residence there but openly hostile."

Whether or not the UN summit was a success is open to debate. Its organisers kept its goals vague enough so as to avoid failure, declaring its intention was to build momentum towards next year's critical talks in Paris, when it is hoped a binding international resolution will be hammered out.

China's announcement was welcomed, as was the declaration by pension funds, insurers and asset management firms controlling $2 trillion worth of funds that they wanted avenues for climate friendly investments. More than a 1000 business and investors backed a World Bank campaign for emissions taxes and trading schemes like the one Australia just abandoned. Leaders reaffirmed a goal to limit climate change to 2 degrees.

More than $US2.3 billion ($2.6 billion) of a called-for $US10 billion was pledged for a Green Climate Fund to help developing nations get access to clean technologies. Organisers of Sunday's march in support of action were thrilled at a turnout of between 300,000 and 400,000.

Whether it was enough to spur real action will not be known until December next year.


Another crooked scientist

Prof. Tyson is of course an energetic promoter of Warmism

Neil deGrasse Tyson may well be America’s most prominent scientist.  He is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and a research associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History, both in New York.  He was the host for Fox’s “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” and PBS’s “NOVA ScienceNow.”  He is a prominent lecturer and public intellectual, and may be more well known than Bill Nye, the Science Guy.  He is a noted authority on science and current affairs — and yet, according to at least one critic, he may have a habit of making up some of the tales he tells in his speeches.

In a series of articles for The Federalist, a right-leaning Web magazine, Sean Davis makes a strong case that Tyson has a habit of telling tall tales.  The details of one personal story – what happened when Tyson was called for jury duty — vary with each telling. Other tales, such as quotes attributed to members of Congress and unnamed journalists, seem too good to be true, and prove difficult to verify.

Most significantly, Tyson attributes a quote to a September 2001 speech by former President George W. Bush that no one can seem to find.  Here’s Davis:

According to Tyson, in the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bush uttered the phrase, “Our God is the God who named the stars.” According to Tyson, the president made that claim as a way of segregating radical Islam from religions like Christianity or Judaism.

TYSON: Here’s what happens. George Bush, within a week of [the 9/11 terrorist attacks] gave us a speech attempting to distinguish we from they. And who are they? These were sort of the Muslim fundamentalists. And he wants to distinguish we from they. And how does he do it?

He says, “Our God” — of course it’s actually the same God, but that’s a detail, let’s hold that minor fact aside for the moment. Allah of the Muslims is the same God as the God of the Old Testament. So, but let’s hold that aside. He says, “Our God is the God” — he’s loosely quoting Genesis, biblical Genesis — “Our God is the God who named the stars.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s story has three central claims: 1) Bush uttered that precise phrase, 2) in the days immediately after 9/11, 3) in order to distance American religion from that practiced by radical Muslims.

As you have probably already guessed, every single claim is false. Every one! Then there’s Tyson’s aside that Bush’s quote was a “loose quote” of the book of Genesis. Yep, that’s false, too.

Davis could not find any account of Bush having said anything remotely resembling the quote in the days following 9/11, and Bush’s speechwriters deny this is something the president said.  I checked the archive of Bush speeches, too, and it’s not there.  (There is, however, a short speech on Islam as a religion of peace, which takes a very different tack than that which Tyson suggests.)

The closest thing Davis could find to the quote Tyson attributes to Bush is from remarks the president gave in 2003.

The only similar quote came in February of 2003 after the crash of the space shuttle Columbia, when the president said, “The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today.”

However, contrary to what Tyson has repeatedly claimed, the Columbia space shuttle comment — which was wholly different in purpose, content, and timing than the alleged 9/11 quote cited by Tyson — was meant to unite the nation following a horrible tragedy, not divide it based on religion. And contrary to Tyson’s claim that the alleged quote was loosely taken from Genesis, the actual quote was taken from the book of Isaiah. A similar verse can also be found in Psalm 147.

Note that the claims Davis contests are not casual remarks in conversation or responses to questions, but planned and repeated accounts.  The various stories Davis challenges are regularly repeated in Tyson’s lectures, and the Bush anecdote is highlighted on the Hayden planetarium Web site.  They are the sorts of claims someone of Tyson’s stature should not be making in public lectures unless they are, in fact, true. Politicians are routinely flayed for less — and we know Tyson is much smarter than the average politician. He should not be held to a lower standard.

It is possible that all of the claims Tyson has made are accurate (save for all the variations of his jury duty tale).  The various quotes, including that by Bush, may well exist.  If so, I would think Tyson can provide citations.  If not, Tyson should acknowledge his errors.

If the quotes are verified, by Tyson or someone else, I will update this post accordingly. I will also post any response I receive from Tyson, and link to any response from him published elsewhere.  Tyson’s agent had no response to this Daily Beast story, though a representative of the Hayden Planetarium apparently verified the Tyson comment referenced here.


White-House fence jumper was a Greenie

“White House fence jumper had ammunition, machete in car, prosecutors said,” the Washington Post’s headline screams. As always during modern-day politically-related crime stories where weapons are involved, the ideology of the suspect is investigated by the MSM. If the suspect was a man of the right, those details would be in the lede of the article, or in the headline.

If he’s a man of the left? Well, it’s likely no coincidence that you have dig down eleven paragraphs into the Post’s story for this detail:

"According to an affidavit signed by Secret Service officer David Hochman, Gonzalez after his arrest told Agent Lee Smart that he was concerned that the “atmosphere was collapsing” and that he needed to inform the president to get the word out to the people."

However, neither prosecutors nor Gonzalez’s assigned defense attorneys invoked his mental competency as an issue for now. Assistant Federal Public Defender David Bos said Gonzalez understands the proceeding against him.

Yes, if the Post’s reporting is accurate concerning Gonzalez, anyone who believes “the atmosphere is collapsing” is some brand of nutter, and nutters can be found on both sides of the aisle.


Our previous post on Terry Gilliam noted that he called those who disagree with his far left environmentalist worldview “a fungus and if I was running the country I would take them out and shoot them.”

As I wrote, we live in a media world in which Sarah Palin was tied into the Gabrielle Giffords shooting over clip-art and ABC’s Brian Ross immediately smeared a Tea Party member with the the same name as the Aurora Colorado lunatic who shot up a Batman premiere, ideology trumps insanity in the eyes of the media.

Or as Ace of Spades wrote in December of 2012 after the New York Times began politicizing the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT from the left only a few hours after castigating the pro-Constitution side of the aisle for doing the same from their worldview:

Incidentally, the gun-rights people “politicizing” this are doing so pre-emptively, because they’ve seen this play six hundred times before and they know what happens in the Second Act.

I mean, it’s not like we’re as stupid as you claim. We are able to remember things that happened more than a week ago.

This is also why we now immediately search for a gunman’s political affiliation– because we know that’s the first thing you do.

This is the cynical world the media created, in service to their Democrat allies. Once again, the MSM should read Gabriel Malor’s “Tweetable Guide To Media Myths And Left-wing Violence.”


Chief Meteorologist At Weatherbell Analytics: Organizers Of People’s Climate March Were ‘Prostituting The Weather And Climate’

Dom Giordano talked to Joe Bastardi, from Weatherbell Analytics, on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT to discuss the People’s Climate March in New York City.

Bastardi said that people are not causing climate change and expects scientific data to eventually back that up.

“The debate on what is going on is over. It is over. Now we just have to see what happens when the Atlantic flips into its cold cycle and the cyclical nature of the sun, whether we return to the temperatures we were in the late seventies as measured by objective satellite readings.”

He commented that the protestors at the climate march were more concerned with their political agenda than climate science.

“If you really paid attention to what happened, the mask is off, and I appreciate that those people that organized this came out and let us know who they were. If you look at the list of people, Communist Party USA, Socialists. Fine, if you want to have that debate, that debate should be done at the polling place and should be done in the halls of Congress or try to change laws. It shouldn’t be prostituting the weather and climate for your own needs.”

Bastardi stated there are technical disagreements that can be addressed among scientists, but really doesn’t rise to any level of concern for the general public.

“This is ridiculous. This should be two weather geeks arguing over a chess game with a cup of tea or whatever you want to drink. The whole thing is blown out, it’s one of the weirdest arguments I’ve ever been involved with, because in the end, there is nothing new under the sun, and nature, not man, rules the climate system.”


West Coast warming blamed on natural causes, not human activity

A century-long warming of the West Coast of North America has occured mostly due to natural changes in winds and not human-induced activity such as greenhouse gas emissions, a new study suggests.

The average temperature along the West Coast increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit between 1900 and 2000. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that changing winds that affect ocean circulation were responsible for more than 80 percent of the warming trend along the Pacific Northwest coast between Washington and Northern California. In Southern California, wind patterns accounted for about 60 percent of the increased warming.

"Changing winds appear to explain a very large fraction of the warming from year to year, decade to decade and the long-term," study author James Johnstone, an independent climatologist who did most of the work for the study when he was at the University of Washington's Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, told the Los Angeles Times. The paper explains that a weakening of coastal winds slowed down evaporation and altered ocean currents, which boosted local temperatures.

The researchers determined that most of the temperature increase in the region happened before 1940, and that human activity such as greenhouse gas emissions was not a major factor.

"It's a simple story, but the results are very surprising: We do not see a human hand in the warming of the West Coast," study co-author Nate Mantua, now with NOAA Fisheries' Southwest Fisheries Science Center, told the Seattle Times. "That is taking people by surprise, and may generate some blowback."

But the results do not suggest there's no relationship between human activity and global climate change, the researchers stressed.

"This [study] doesn't say that global warming is not happening," Mantua told the paper. "It doesn't say human-caused climate change isn't happening globally. It's a regional story."

However, the new findings do raise questions about how well climate change models can predict information about changes in local temperatures.

Some experts who were not involved in the study expressed skepticism of the quality of the early 20th-century data the scientists used in the study.

"The principles they are putting forth in the paper I agree with, but as you go back further and further in time you start to increase the amount of error inherent in the data," John Abatzoglou, a climatologist at the University of Idaho, told the Seattle Times. Abatzoglu co-authored a study earlier this year that determined that human issues were a leading cause of temperature rise in the Northwest.

In addition, Amy Snover, the head of Climate Impacts Group at University of Washington, told the paper that the study doesn't contradict the long-term trend of global climate change.

"I think what it does show is that there are aspects of regional climate that these models could do better at," Snover said. "But we know we're in for a bumpy ride. We know that the influence of humans on climate is only growing over time. We expect over coming decades for that influence to get bigger and bigger."

The new study was published Monday in the journal PNAS.


UK: Power from wind turbines slumps - due to lack of wind

Power produced by wind farms slumped by a fifth in the second quarter of this year, despite hundreds of new turbines being built – because it wasn’t very windy.

Official Government statistics published on Thursday show that in the three months to the end of June, the amount of electricity produced by offshore wind farms fell by 22 per cent, to 2 terawatt-hours (TWh), compared with the same period the year before.

Yet the number of offshore wind turbines operating grew significantly – with 4.1 gigawatts (GW) of capacity installed in the seas around the UK by June this year, up from 3.5GW by June 2013.

Power output from onshore wind farms also fell, by 17 per cent to 3.22 TWh. The fall came despite dozens of new wind farms being built, increasing onshore wind capacity by 14 per cent over the same period.

There was 8GW of onshore capacity at the end of June, 1GW more than a year before.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said that the impact of increased capacity was “out-weighed by that of very low wind speeds”.

“Average wind speeds were 1.6 knots lower than a year earlier, and the lowest for quarter two for four years. Average wind speeds in June were the lowest for any month in the last 14 years,” it said.

About 900 turbines were constructed on and offshore over the course of 2013, according to Renewable UK.

Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, which publishes data on the sector and is critical of subsidy costs, said: “The latest DECC data is further confirmation that wind power output is highly variable over all timescales, minutes, hours, months, and even from year to year.

“These variabilities are physically manageable but they have highly significant negative economic impacts on the rest of the power generation fleet, whose market is made very uncertain, and these uncertainties ultimately mean much higher costs for consumers.”

While wind power output fell, the amount of electricity generated from solar farms soared by 67 per cent, to 1.2TWh.

The rise was in line with a near-identical increase in the amount of solar capacity installed.

Ministers have admitted that solar farms have been installed far more rapidly than they had expected, thanks to costs falling and developers taking advantage of generous subsidies.

In May they announced they were closing a subsidy scheme two years earlier than planned to stop the spread of the farms, which critics say are blighting the countryside.

Ministers originally anticipated between 2.4-4GW of large-scale solar being installed by 2020. Yet the latest DECC statistics show that the upper end of that range has now been exceeded, with 4.1GW installed by the end of June.

A spokesman for the wind industry trade association RenewableUK said: "Although it's no secret that there are some periods that are even windier than others, the wider statistics show that wind energy is generating increasing amounts of clean electricity for British homes and businesses year on year.

"When you look at the last twelve months as a whole, generation from renewable sources in the UK went up to just over 17 per cent - up from 13 per cent in the previous 12 months. The lion's share of that came from onshore and offshore wind - just over 50 per cent of it.

"In August, wind energy outstripped coal and nuclear for several days, and hit at all time 24-hour record high of 22 per cent of the UK's electricity needs.

"National Grid has no problem taking clean power generated by wind whenever it's available as often as it can, and it can predict exactly where the power will come from in advance with pinpoint accuracy. Every unit of electricity we generate from wind offsets a unit from polluting fossil fuels, so anyone who cares about climate change knows that we need to make the most of it whenever we can."

One green power company, Infinis Energy, reported last month that its onshore wind farms had exported a third less power in the three months to June, compared to the same period the year before, blaming “low wind speeds experienced across the UK throughout the period”.

However, it said it would be “well placed to benefit from recovering wind speeds when they occur”.



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

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


26 September, 2014

Obama Organizes World Community on Climate Change

The great community organizer stood before the United Nations and rallied the peoples of the world on global warming. “Nobody gets a pass,” Barack Obama said, not even developing nations. At this point, he might have shot the Chinese delegation a glance over his teleprompter.

He continued, “The alarm bells keep ringing, our citizens keep marching,” he said, alluding to the environmentalists rallying elsewhere in New York. Did he evoke a presidential mandate from his election? No, the country is too divided for that. Instead, he based his authority for executive action on the 350,000 or so hippies, tourists and students caught up in the People’s Climate March. “We can’t pretend we can’t hear them,” Obama said. “We need to answer the call. We need to cut carbon emission in our countries to prevent worse effects, adapt and work together as global community to tackle this global threat before it is too late.”

He might have worn out his welcome in the neighborhood of Capitol Hill, but this new neighborhood seems promising.


Robert Kennedy Jr., A nasty little tyrant and an American Fascist

He’d like to charge the Kochs with treason and send climate-change dissenters to jail

Blissfully unaware of how hot the irony burned, Robert Kennedy Jr. yesterday took to a public protest to rail avidly in favor of censorship. The United States government, Kennedy lamented in an interview with Climate Depot, is not permitted by law to “punish” or to imprison those who disagree with him — and this, he proposed, is a problem of existential proportions. Were he to have his way, Kennedy admitted, he would cheer the prosecution of a host of “treasonous” figures — among them a number of unspecified “politicians”; those bêtes noires of the global Left, Kansas’s own Koch Brothers; “the oil industry and the Republican echo chamber”; and, for good measure, anybody else whose estimation of the threat posed by fossil fuels has provoked them into “selling out the public trust.” Those who contend that global warming “does not exist,” Kennedy claimed, are guilty of “a criminal offense — and they ought to be serving time for it.”

Thus did a scion of one of America’s great political dynasties put himself on the same lowly moral, legal, and intellectual plane as the titillation website Gawker.

It is dull and dispiriting that it should need so often to be repeated, but, for the sake of tedious clarity, repeat it I shall: Freedom of speech is a wholly fruitless guarantee unless it is held steadfastly to protect even those utterances that most pugnaciously contravene the zeitgeist and most grievously offend the well-connected. Inherent to the safeguard, further, is the supposition that the state may not distinguish between speakers or make legal judgments as to whose words are valuable are whose should be frowned upon. Despite a concerted and increasingly unsustainable attempt to suggest otherwise, the question of climate change remains an open and rambunctious one, and the debate that surrounds the topic remains protected in practice by the First Amendment and in civil society by the dual forces of taste and liberality. Robert Kennedy, by agitating for the suppression of heterodoxy, is casting himself as an enemy of all three.

Kennedy’s insidious aspirations are the inevitable consequence of his conviction that he is in possession of the truth and that all who have the temerity to question him are, in consequence, wreckers. At the best of times, and on the least shaky of epistemological ground, this is a dangerous instinct. In this area in particular, it is downright frightening. Of late, it has become drearily standard to hear the Kennedys of the world pretend that if one acknowledges basic climate mechanics, one is forced to take notoriously unreliable computer models at face value and, further, to acquiesce in whatever political “solutions” are currently en vogue. Nothing could be further from the truth. Whatever “consensus” can be said to exist in the realm of climatology is largely limited to the presumption that industrial activity is bound by the same chemical, biological, and physical rules as is any other human pursuit, and to the acknowledgement that if one changes the makeup of the atmosphere, the atmosphere will change. Quite how it will change, to what extent, and to what degree any such transmutation represents a problem for life on earth, however, remain open questions. At present, there remain serious disagreements as to what has caused the current “pause” in global warming; as to what accounts for the embarrassing failure of so many of the forecasts on which we are expected to rely; as to how much of an effect modulations in the climate are having on extreme weather events; and as to how much we can possibly know about the future anyhow.

Wide open, too, are the political questions of what exactly can and should be done about any genuine changes in climate — and at what cost; of whether some climatological alterations are in fact a reasonable price to pay for the astonishing improvements in life expectancy and material wellbeing that the industrial revolution has yielded; of whether man is better off attempting to leverage his ingenuity and to outrun Gaia as he has outrun Malthus; and of at what cost to our liberty and our safety any amendments to our way of life might come. When the likes of Robert Kennedy reveal themselves to be the nasty little tyrants that we have always suspected them to be, this lattermost question comes screaming back into focus. If this affair has revealed any “treason” at all, the guilty party is not the skeptical population of the United States, but Robert Kennedy and his enablers. To fantasize about jailing one’s opponents is, I’m afraid, a sure sign of mental imbalance, and a gold-leafed invitation to be quietly excluded from polite society. Goodbye, Robert.

Scientific knowledge, by its nature, cannot ever be said to be so “settled” as to justify the silencing of critics. Still, even were the debate over climate change in some way to be resolved in perpetuity, the prospect of incarcerating those who dissented would be no less grotesque. In the small part of Planet Earth in which man can be said to be free, governments exist to secure the liberty of those that employ them, not to serve as arbiters of truth. When Robert Kennedy contends that there ought to be “a law” with which the state “could punish” nonconformists, he is in effect inviting Washington, D.C., to establish itself as an oracle, to ensconce in aspic a set of approved facts, and to cast those who refuse to accede as heretics who must be hunted down and burned in the interest of the greater good. In other words, he is advising that we dismantle that most precious of all liberties: the right to our own conscience. As the blood-spattered history of the human race shows us in appalling and graphic detail, the wise response to the man who insists that the Holocaust did not happen, or that 2 + 2 = 5, or that the United States is geographically smaller than Sweden is to gently correct him — and, if one must, to mock or ignore or berate him, too. It is never — under any circumstances — to push him through the criminal-justice system. The cry “but this is different” remains in the case of climate change precisely what it has always been: the cry of the ambitious and the despotic. Once the principle of free speech is subordinated to expedience, circumstances can always be found to justify its suppression.

It is alarming, perhaps, that the loudest condemnations of Kennedy and his ilk will come not from the scientific community, but from a small clique of classical liberals who remain uncommonly jealous of their rights and who are prepared to fight for them come what may. Where, though, is the outcry from the academy? A state that is sufficiently intrusive to jail anybody who dissents from the “consensus” of the “scientific community” is also sufficiently intrusive to jail those within it. By what mathematical standard might we determine who is to be saved? Worse, perhaps, the suggestion that the nation’s courts exist to arbitrate intellectual disputes serves to plant in the minds of the general public the false and counterproductive notion that it is government force and not the interplay of unfettered reason and objective reality that determines “truth.” Airplanes do not fly because the FAA grants them approval to do so, but because our engineers and physicists have correctly determined what they need to do in order that steel might conquer air. Insofar as it has one at all in this area, the role of the state is to facilitate debate and innovation and, at least as far as the exchange of ideas is concerned, then stay out of the way. That the actions of the government and the judgments of a particular subsection of society sometimes line up is an inevitable and, sometimes, a good thing. Nevertheless, taking advice from a group and punishing that group’s critics are different things altogether, for hypotheses cannot be either proven or disproven by jackboots alone.

In its purest form, the case against Robert Kennedy’s being permitted to subject the Koch brothers to “three hots and a cot at the Hague with all the other war criminals” is a relatively straightforward one: Namely, that the Kochs are not war criminals, and that nor, for that matter, are the politicians, pundits, entertainers, businessmen, and voters who have joined them in skepticism. And yet the importance of keeping Kennedy’s view at the fringes goes much, much deeper, relating as it does to core questions about liberty, scientific inquiry, and the manner in which the two feed and support one another. There are fair arguments to be had about surface temperatures, chlorofluorocarbons, and the troposphere, but not a single one of them can be productively indulged if the price of the game is the destruction of its less popular players.


What really drives anti-fracking zealots?


Recent news stories underscore the tremendous benefits brought by America's fracking revolution.

* The shale oil production boom could boost US crude production to 9.5 million barrels of oil per day (bopd) next year, reducing America's crude oil imports to 21% of domestic demand, the lowest level since 1968. Output from fracked wells represents 43% of all US oil production and 67% of natural gas production; "frack oil" could hit 10 million bopd by 2016, the Energy Information Administration says.

* The global economy saves $4.9 billion per day in oil spending because of the shale oil boom. Without it there would be a 3 million barrel per day shortfall and prices would likely be 55% higher: $150/barrel.

* Constantly improving hydraulic fracturing technologies continue to increase production. For example, Cabot Oil & Gas refracked a 2013 Pennsylvania well, increasing its output to 30.3 million cubic feet of gas per day; that's four times the output from the best well drilled in 2003. Fracking is even being used in decades-old onshore and offshore wells, to keep them producing for many more years.

* Rust Belt cities and industries - from manufacturing, real estate and law to hotels, restaurants and many others - are rebounding because of drilling, fracking and production in nearby shale areas. In Ohio unemployment fell to 5.7% in July from 10.6% four years ago; oil output increased 26% just from the previous quarter, while gas production rose 31% - generating billions in state and local revenues.

* The US oil and natural gas boom means jobs and business for almost 30,000 companies within the industry's vast and complex supply chain. Indeed, the petroleum industry accounts for nearly 10 million jobs and almost 8% of all domestic economic activity, including states far from actual drilling activities.

* The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers launched a new website to help veterans and other men and women find high-paying jobs in the booming oilfield, fuel and petrochemical industries.

There are numerous other benefits, while the alleged risks are exaggerated or even fabricated. So what drives anti-fracking zealots who seem to materialize en masse whenever a new project is announced?

Follow the money - and the ideology. Big Green is big business. The US environmental activist industry alone is a $13.4-billion-a-year operation. It pours that money into determined campaigns to eliminate fossil fuels, gain ever greater control over our lives, reduce our living standards, and end free-enterprise capitalism. It drives its agenda with clever but phony crises: catastrophic climate change, unsustainable development, imminent resource depletion, poisonous frack chemicals and dozens of others.

Fracking obliterates its claim that we are about to run out of oil and gas - and so must slash our living standards, spend billions on crony-corporatist "renewable energy" schemes, and put radical green bureaucrats and activists in charge of our lives, livelihoods, living standards and remaining liberties. They are incensed that fracking guarantees a hydrocarbon renaissance and predominance for decades to come. They won't even acknowledge that "frack gas" helps reduce (plant-fertilizing) carbon dioxide emissions.

Even über wealthy celebrities get involved. Exaggerations and fabrications, confrontations and often callous disregard of other people's needs are their stock in trade. In torrents of angry outrage and demands for totally one-sided precaution, they denounce any suggestion that fracking is safe or beneficial.

Whatever alternative technologies they support comply with their "precautionary principle." Whatever they oppose violates it. They trumpet alleged risks of using fracking and hydrocarbon technologies, but ignore even the most obvious benefits of using them ... and most obvious risks of not using them.

Anti-fracking zealots tend to be well-off, and largely clueless about the true sources of modern living standards. They assume electricity comes from wall sockets, food from grocery stores, iPhones from Apple Stores. You can count on one hand the farm, utility or factory workers they know personally.

They are dismissive about people who are jobless because of their war on affordable energy - and about poor rural New York families that are barely hanging onto their farms, unable to tap the Marcellus Shale riches beneath their land, because of an Albany and Manhattan-instigated moratorium.

They are equally uncaring about the world's impoverished billions, whose hope for better lives depends on the reliable, affordable electricity that drilling and fracking can help bring. Worldwide, 1.4 billion people still do not have access to electricity including 300 million in India and 550 million in Africa. Millions die from lung and intestinal diseases that would largely disappear if they had electricity.

What the frack is wrong with this picture? This is not the same environmental movement that Ron Arnold, Patrick Moore and I belonged to decades ago. Big Green has become too rich, too powerful, too driven by perverse, inhumane notions of ethics, social responsibility and compassion. Their claims about ethanol and wind power being environment-friendly are just as out of touch with reality.

But what about their incessant claims that fracking contaminates groundwater and drinking water? Even EPA has not been able to cite a single "proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water." A September 2013 report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences further confirms this. After carefully examining water wells in heavily fracked areas of Pennsylvania and Texas, researchers concluded that rare cases of methane (natural gas) contamination were not due to fracking.

Instead they resulted from improper cement and pipe installation near the surface, thousands of feet above the frack zone. The problem is covered by existing regulations and is preventable and relatively easy to correct. Petroleum industry and state officials are already collaborating to further strengthen the regulations where necessary, enforce them more vigorously, and improve well completion practices.

Moreover, some of the contamination resulted from water wells being drilled through rock formations that hold naturally occurring methane. Indeed, there have been very few cases of any contamination, out of more than one million wells hydraulically fractured since the first "frack job" was done in 1947, and out of 20,000 wells fracked in Pennsylvania since the Keystone State's boom began in 2008.

Of course, none of this is likely to assuage anti-fracking factions or end their fictions. They are driven by motives that have nothing to do with protecting people's health or environmental quality. In fact, what they advocate would further impair human health and environmental quality.

The great Irish statesman Edmund Burke could have been talking about these "fracktivists" when he said: "Because half a dozen grasshoppers make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle ... chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that they are the only inhabitants of the field ... or that they are other than little, shriveled, meager, though loud and troublesome, insects of the hour."

Unfortunately, these definitely loud and troublesome insects have also grown powerful, meddlesome and effective. So fracking supporters must continue to battle the anti-energy ideologues - by becoming better community organizers and persuaders themselves, to counter the anti-fossil fuel lies and insanity, and the destructive policies, rules and moratoria imposed by ill-advised or ideological politicians and regulators.

We fracking supporters are clearly on the side of humanity, morality, true sustainability and real environmental progress. We also know that - no matter how hard eco-activists despise it and rail against it - they cannot put the fracking genie back in the bottle.

America and the world have awakened to its potential - and to the critical need for this technology. Let us applaud this incredible progress, and champion it throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and worldwide.


New Research Finds Earth Even Less Sensitive To CO2 Than Previously Thought

Research Used Data From This Year’s IPCC 5th Assessment Report

A new paper published in the prestigious journal Climate Dynamics find that the effect of carbon dioxide emissions on global temperatures is likely to be even smaller than previously thought.

Earlier this year, in a widely discussed report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, climate researcher Nic Lewis and science writer Marcel Crok put forward a new estimate of the Earth’s climate sensitivity based on observational data, finding that it was much less alarming than suggested by computer simulations of the Earth’s climate.

Now, Lewis and well known American climate science professor Judith Curry have updated the Lewis and Crok report estimates using the latest empirical data, a more sophisticated methodology and an approach to accounting for uncertainties that has been described by one independent reviewer as “state of the art”. Their findings fully support the modest estimates of climate sensitivity and future warming given in the Lewis and Crok report, and compared with that report make it look even less likely that the substantially higher estimates based on computer simulations are correct.

“Our results, which use data from this year’s IPCC fifth assessment report, are in line with those of several recent studies based on observed centennial warming and strongly suggest complex global climate models used for warming projections are oversensitive to carbon dioxide concentrations,” said Nic Lewis.

Best sensitivity estimates are medians (50% probability points). Ranges are to the nearest 0.05°C

Journal abstract follows:

Nicholas Lewis & Judith A. Curry (2014) "The implications for climate sensitivity of AR5 forcing and heat uptake estimates", Climate Dynamics 25 September 2014


Energy budget estimates of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) and transient climate response (TCR) are derived using the comprehensive 1750–2011 time series and the uncertainty ranges for forcing components provided in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Working Group I Report, along with its estimates of heat accumulation in the climate system. The resulting estimates are less dependent on global climate models and allow more realistically for forcing uncertainties than similar estimates based on forcings diagnosed from simulations by such models. Base and final periods are selected that have well matched volcanic activity and influence from internal variability. Using 1859–1882 for the base period and 1995–2011 for the final period, thus avoiding major volcanic activity, median estimates are derived for ECS of 1.64 K and for TCR of 1.33 K. ECS 17–83 and 5–95 % uncertainty ranges are 1.25–2.45 and 1.05–4.05 K; the corresponding TCR ranges are 1.05–1.80 and 0.90–2.50 K. Results using alternative well-matched base and final periods provide similar best estimates but give wider uncertainty ranges, principally reflecting smaller changes in average forcing. Uncertainty in aerosol forcing is the dominant contribution to the ECS and TCR uncertainty ranges.



Three current articles below

Climate-related disasters cost the world half a trillion dollars, warns Oxfam on eve of UN Climate Summit

A wild and completely unsubstantiated claim.  There has in any case been no global warming in the period concerned.  And there have also been fewer weather extremes in the period

On the eve of the UN Climate Summit, Oxfam has released research showing that since global leaders last met in Copenhagen to discuss climate change five years ago, climate-related disasters have cost the world almost half a trillion dollars.

Oxfam Australia climate change policy advisor Simon Bradshaw said that given tens of thousands of Australians took to the streets over the weekend, Oxfam was disappointed the Prime Minister was not attending the summit in New York, and urged the Australian Government to start living up to its international responsibilities on climate change.

“While others forge ahead with ambitious plans, Australia is continuing down a path of irresponsibility and recklessness,” Dr Bradshaw said.

“Oxfam’s research shows that over the five years since the Copenhagen summit, more than 650 million people have been affected by climate-related disasters and more than 112,000 lives have been lost.

“Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s expected no-show at the landmark summit is yet another affront to our neighbours in the Pacific who, despite their limited resources, are working determinedly to confront the climate challenge.”

The 120 or so world leaders expected in New York – the largest group that has ever come together to discuss climate change - include the heads of most of Australia’s major trading partners and the leaders of almost all Pacific island countries.

“As an international development agency working in countries throughout the region, we know that even the poorest countries – those with the least responsibility for the climate crisis - are no longer waiting for rich countries like Australia to get their houses in order,” Dr Bradshaw said.

“From Timor Leste to Vanuatu, communities are working with whatever means they have. They are leapfrogging the dirty technologies of the past and drawing on their strengths to build the sustainable, resilient economies of the future.”

He said Australia must have an ambitious long-term plan to cut its own emissions, increase support to developing countries, and play a constructive role towards a strong global climate agreement.

“A decision by a rich country like Australia to roll back its climate policies and flout its international obligations is a decision to place an even greater burden onto poor communities in developing countries, who are already being hit first and hardest by climate change,” he said.

Oxfam also said that in pushing to expand its fossil fuel sector, Australia was not only increasing its contribution to dangerous climate change but risked being left behind in the global transition to renewable energy.

“For now, Australia appears willing to ignore pleas from the international community, remain wilfully ignorant to the situation of its Pacific neighbours, and work against its own long-term national interest,” Dr Bradshaw said.  “Australians have sent the strongest possible signal this weekend that they expect better.”
For interviews, please contact Laurelle Keough on +61 425 701 801


ABC science guy denies the science that even the IPCC now accepts

Even the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted in its latest report that global warming had paused for some 15 years.

Read for yourself the section in the report with the headline that says it all: "Climate Models and the Hiatus in Global-Mean Surface Warming of the Past 15 Years"

So it says something about the ABC that its science presenters still deny what even the IPCC admits. Who are the true deniers of science now?

Well, here is Karl S. Kruszelnicki, who has form for denying what doesn’t suit his astonishing climate alarmism:

In the USA, the Wall Street Journal wrote, “temperatures have been flat for 15 years - nobody can properly explain it.”

Another newspaper from the same stable, the UK Daily Mail wrote “global warming ‘pause’ may last 20 more years, and Arctic sea ice has already started to recover”. Both of these statements are very reassuring, but unfortunately, very very wrong.

With regard to this ‘pause’, there are two major claims made by those who deny the science of climate change.

The first one is that the climate is actually cooling - not warming. This is incorrect.

The second claim is that after some previous warming, the global climate is now constant, and neither warming nor cooling. In other words, that the climate is in a kind of holding pattern, or haitus. This is also incorrect… The climate is still heating up.

You can read Dr Karl’s long and curious justification for refusing to believe in the warming pause, or you can simply check this graphic and decide for yourself whether Dr Karl should really be presenting science for the ABC:


Nationals MP George Christensen calls Green activists 'terrorists'

Nationals MP George Christensen is fighting activists whom he calls "gutless green grubs" opposed to the expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal in his electorate. In his speech to Parliament, the outspoken MP said "the greatest terrorism threat in North Queensland, I'm sad to say, comes from the extreme green movement".

Mr Christensen says groups oppose the expansion and associated jobs out of ideology and not to save the Great Barrier Reef, because they are still campaigning against the proposal, even though an onshore dumping proposal has been found.

"The eco-terrorists butchered the international tourism market for our greatest tourism attraction, not for the reef but for political ideology," he said.

Mr Christensen said the green groups had threatened to lie in front of trains in cardboard boxes and referred Fairfax Media to the radical Alpha Generation's "Over our Dead Bodies" campaign.

The Over Our Dead Bodies homepage vows to "trash the Aurizon brand, by telling the world Aurizon are actively enabling an environmental catastrophe". Aurizon is the freight company that transports coal. Ben Pennings from the group confirmed that activists had "talked about stopping trains" but said "we're not going to be putting people in harm's way".

In a statement issued after his speech, Mr Christensen referred to the "gutless green germ" activists as "terrorists" five times.

He did not retreat from his comments when contacted by Fairfax Media on Thursday and said the activists might not like coal mining, but had no right to try to shut down a legitimate business.  "It's not illegal to mine or export coal," he said.

 Mr Feeney slammed Mr Christensen's "infantile rhetoric", particularly in light of Tuesday's stabbing of two police officers during an encounter in which an 18-year-old "terror suspect" was shot dead.

"There are two police officers still in hospital and this government MP thinks it's OK to throw the word 'terrorism' around as part of a cheap political stunt," Mr Feeney told Fairfax Media. "This is an incredibly insensitive and stupid thing to say, especially given the horrific attack we saw less than 48 hours ago.


Climate change crowd moves goalposts — again

I have repeatedly pointed out on these pages an interesting pattern of the debating style of the loudest activists clamoring for massive government intervention to fight climate change. First, they beat their opponents to a pulp, chanting “the science is settled” and pointing everyone towards the “consensus” as epitomized in the “summary for policymakers” that accompanies the periodic reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (Here’s just one example of Joe Romm linking the IPCC reports to the supposed scientific certainty involved.) Then, when the recipients of this public lashing actually read the peer-reviewed science and realize the case for government action is very weak, the activists change their attack completely, and now all of a sudden the IPCC reports are woefully inadequate.

In the present post, I’ll walk through yet another example of this phenomenon, in this case a recent ThinkProgress article that complains that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) isn’t a good metric when it comes to the debate over climate change. As we’ll see, when confronted with very compelling arguments that the IPCC reports and leading computer models do not justify the aggressive government intervention that the people at ThinkProgress seek,[1] they don’t dispute the point. Instead, they rattle off all sorts of reasons that the IPCC is essentially wrong, because the computer models used in the IPCC reports leave out important details, and because the standard cost/benefit approach to judging policy recommendations doesn’t work when it comes to climate change.

All of this should make innocent onlookers very suspicious. For years, advocates of heavy restrictions on energy use and individual liberty have cited the IPCC reports in their proclamations that “the science is settled” and that only “deniers” could possibly dispute the need for immediate and strong government actions. Now all of a sudden, the leading advocates are changing their case mid-stream, implicitly admitting that the weight they originally put forth on the IPCC reports will no longer give them the conclusion they want.

The Strong Case Against Government Intervention

The opening paragraphs of the ThinkProgress article inadvertently showcase just how strong a case the critics of aggressive government intervention have made, ironically relying on the IPCC reports themselves:

    When it comes to obstacles to climate action, the climate change deniers in American government are pretty well known. But there’s also a subgroup of “reasonable” critics who concede the science of climate change, then deny that anything particularly dramatic needs to be done about it policy-wise.

    Their argument revolves around something economists call GDP, and they use to wriggle out of supporting major climate action by effectively saying, “Yeah, even if climate change is real, it’s not going to be a big deal.”

    For the uninitiated, “gross domestic product” (GDP) is the total value, in dollars, of all the goods and services produced by the American economy — or whatever economy is being measured — in a given year. It’s become the go-to metric of our society’s material standard of living and even its general well-being. The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) generally projects that losses to global GDP from climate change will be between one and five percent per year by century’s end…One to five percent is a seemingly small number. So the “reasonable” skeptics then argue an all-hands-on-deck effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions is unnecessary, and that it would likely reduce GDP even more than doing nothing.

    But to hear Kate Gordon [Vice President at Next Generation, the nonprofit founded by hedge fund manager turned environmental activist Tom Steyer] tell it, this is a terrible way to frame the debate.

The rest of the ThinkProgress article then goes on to enumerate the various reasons that policymakers should not try to evaluate climate change policies in conventional terms, to see if the aggregate benefits of the interventions outweigh the aggregate costs. (Note that the article relies on the analysis provided by Kate Gordon, a lawyer and city planner who worked at CAP with John Podesta before she went to work for billionaire Tom Steyer.) The ThinkProgress article does not circle back and say that the “reasonable skeptics” are wrong insofar as their arguments go, but merely that these “reasonable skeptics” are relying on IPCC computer models that are too simplistic.

Uh Oh, ThinkProgress Starting to Sound Like “Deniers”

Yes, you read that right: It turns out that all of the much-ballyhooed “consensus signed on by all major governments and scientific organizations around the world” actually rests on quicksand. (To repeat, here’s an example of Joe Romm using this type of rhetoric to enshrine the IPCC as the epitome of scientific “consensus.”) Here’s how the new ThinkProgress article describes the IPCC reports and computer models on which they base their assessments of the costs and benefits of climate change policies:

    [W]e’ve been tallying up GDP for most of this century, but projecting climate change’s impact on the economy is a whole other ballgame. On their own, the climate and the economy are enormously complex systems for computer models to even crudely replicate. Accounting for the effects of the first system on the second simply compounds the problem. So complexities, hidden factors, and feedback loops that could have profound ripple effects are all simplified away, because we just don’t have the information to know how to appropriately model those changes....

    Other models can also descend into ad absurdum results pretty quickly. For example, most scientists agree an 18°C rise in global temperatures would literally render the Earth uninhabitable. But the standard computer model used by the IPCC projects that rise would only cut global GDP by half....

    The point isn’t so much that one approach is better than the other. It’s that GDP projections are flung all over the map even by small changes to the input information or underlying assumptions of the models. It’s just an inherently bad metric for understanding the damage climate change will do.

Wait a second! The ThinkProgress writer is now telling us that it’s a really hard problem to model the global climate and economy? That the computer models used by the IPCC spit out nonsense results? That we can get results “all over the map” by tweaking the inputs? These guys are sure starting to sound like “deniers,” aren’t they? Is the above quote coming from a ThinkProgress post or an IER one?

So now we see their whole (original) case unraveling. We at IER have been making these points all along. For example, we reported that the computer climate/economic models were grossly simplistic and useless for policy analysis. Way back in 2009, we showed on these pages that using the analysis put out by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the costs of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill were far higher than the benefits that would accrue to Americans, and that they would plausibly be higher than the benefits accruing to the entire world—again, using the CBO’s own numbers.

The people at ThinkProgress apparently realized that they’re fighting a losing battle. Of the links to the “reasonable critics” they cite, the analysis by Jim Manzi is particularly insightful. He carefully walks through the analysis step by step, but here’s a good summary of Manzi’s thesis, written in 2008 (so the numbers may have slightly changed since then):

    The current IPCC consensus forecast is that, under fairly reasonable assumptions for world population and economic growth, global temperatures will rise by about 3°C by the year 2100. Also according to the IPCC, a 4°C increase in temperatures would cause total estimated economic losses of 1–5 percent of global GDP…

    This is the central problem for advocates of rapid, aggressive emissions reductions. Despite the rhetoric, the best available estimate of the damage we face from unconstrained global warming is not “global destruction,” but is instead costs on the order of 3 percent of global GDP in a much wealthier world well over a hundred years from now.

    It should not, therefore, be surprising that formal efforts to weigh the near-term costs of emissions abatement against the long-term benefits from avoided global warming show few net benefits, even in theory.

After demonstrating that the standard IPCC reports have never justified the alarmist rhetoric characterizing the climate change debate, Manzi then begins to list the various reasons that even the alleged theoretically possible yet small “net benefits” will be elusive in the real world; for example, the models assume a globally coordinated regime implemented by all major emitters. In light of these difficulties, Manzi concludes that there is no case for aggressive government intervention to reduce emissions.

The ThinkProgress folks seem to realize that they can’t beat someone like Manzi (or us at IER, for that matter) on the battlefield of standard policy analysis—again, using the physical science “consensus” as stipulated by the peer-reviewed climate scientists. That’s why ThinkProgress moves the goalposts. Now all of a sudden, we can’t trust those simplistic computer models showcased in the IPCC reports, and we can’t rely on macro estimates of costs and benefits. Instead the ThinkProgress writer points us to regional (not global) impacts and brings up an insurance analogy.

Go Ahead and Use Regional Analysis—But Be Consistent

To repeat, the ThinkProgress folks realize that they can’t justify their desired government policies using conventional tools of macro cost/benefit analysis. That’s why they switch to a regional analysis:

    Another problem with measuring climate change with one single GDP number is that it requires ignoring vast differences between states, regions, communities, and socio-economic strata. That can hide tremendous amounts of real human suffering that’s hard to put a price tag on. “You have to aggregate all of the impacts up to one number,” Gordon said. “Which is insane.”

    She offered agriculture as an example: “We have a gigantic country with extremely different climate zones. If you want to move little corn symbols around on a map from place to place, you can move them all up north and then they’re still there,” Gordon said. “So that’s not that big a hit to GDP overall. But it’s a huge hit to the Southern Midwest and the Southeast.”

But hold on a second. The point of aggregating the damages of climate change into a single number is to be able to compare it to the damages from government restrictions on the economy. That’s the standard way that policymakers decide, “Does this proposed policy—such as a carbon tax—actually help on net or does it make Americans worse off?” The costs and benefits of a policy may be different, region by region, but in order to decide whether in the aggregate it’s a wise or foolish policy, you need to somehow aggregate those regional impacts into a grand total figure.

The ThinkProgress writer is correct that such aggregation ignores many important details. But if we’re going to quibble about it on the side of climate change impacts, then we have to be consistent and do it with the harms from government intervention.

For example, progressive writers often pooh-pooh the obvious harm that a carbon tax would pose to the coal industry, and all the jobs it would destroy. The progressives are quick to point out that a carbon tax would “create jobs” in the renewable sector, hence offsetting the losses in coal. Notice that this is exactly the kind of “aggregation” and “ignoring of specific impacts” that the ThinkProgress writer was just lamenting.

Later in the article, the ThinkProgress piece explains all of the hard-to-quantify damage that unrestricted climate change would pose to poor foreigners. Okay, but again, if that’s the route we are going to take, we need to be consistent. For humans to have any appreciable impact on climate change, it will take more than U.S. action. If the “solution” involves a slowing of the electrification of Africa, it will mean deaths. For example, a Forbes article in June reported:

    Since 1990, 650 million Chinese have been lifted out of poverty, infant mortality has been reduced by 70%, and life expectancy has increased six years – a historic evolution powered by coal, and what the IEA has referred to as an “example” for other developing nations…There is only enough electricity generated in Sub-Sahara to power one light bulb per person for three hours a day. Over 65% of the population lives without any electricity at all.

Right now, fossil fuels (especially coal) are a very economical way to quickly bring electricity to hundreds of millions of desperately impoverished people around the globe. Part of the hard-to-quantify impact of restricting the growth in global CO2 emissions thus includes the lower standard of living, and shorter lifespans, of these desperately poor foreigners.

We do not deny that it is ultimately arbitrary to add up human lives and other important social goals on a scale of dollars and cents. But the ThinkProgress crowd is wrong to think that this consideration tilts the deck in their favor. If they can’t justify their policies using standard tools of analysis, it’s not enough to bring up all of the limitations of that original analysis—they still need to explain why their desired policies do more good than harm.

The Insurance Analogy

The ThinkProgress article then goes on to liken climate change policies to the purchase of insurance:

    To their credit, most actual economists realize GDP was never meant to measure something as sweeping as the well-being of a society. It’s politicians and the figures and writers encased in the macroeconomic debate in Washington, DC that have focused on it to the exclusion of all else. Gordon argues against using GDP at all, and concentrating instead on the risks of what climate change could actually do to people and communities.

    On the question of how much we should spend to ward off climate change, Gordon uses the common experience of buying insurance as an analogy. When buying a health care plan, everyone instinctively considers factors like their own risky behaviors (like smoking), their own family history (say, heart disease), their future economic prospects and their future lifestyle, among other things.

This rhetorical move to discount the value of GDP as a metric—which has been afoot for some time now—shows once again that the alarmist crowd realizes that they have a very weak case on conventional grounds. Rather than claiming that it’s a no-brainer that their recommended policies will deliver more benefits than costs, now they are merely claiming these policies make sense by eliminating threats that might occur if no action is taken. (That’s what they are ultimately arguing, by switching to an insurance analogy.) To repeat, this is a definite change in rhetoric; that wasn’t the standard case that was being made ten or even five years ago.

In any event, just by labeling something “insurance” doesn’t mean it’s automatically a good deal. You still have to make a case that the benefits (broadly construed) outweigh the costs of the insurance policy. After all, not everyone buys the most expensive insurance plan available.

When it comes to climate change, in a previous post I walked through the numbers and showed that no one in his right mind would buy an insurance policy that had the same characteristics as the climate change issue. After reviewing the data from the latest IPCC report to get a ballpark estimate of the numbers involved, I wrote:

    "Suppose someone from an insurance company came to you in the year 2050 and said, “We’ve run computer models many thousands of times using all kinds of different assumptions. In the worst-case scenario, a very small fraction of the computer runs—about 1 in 500—has you losing 20% of your income in the year 2100. In order to insure you against this extremely unlikely outcome that will occur in half a century, we want to charge you 3.4% of your income this year.”

    Would you want to take that deal? Of course not. The premium is way too high in light of the very low probability and the relative modesty of the “catastrophe.”"

Once again, we see that the ThinkProgress crowd doesn’t actually take their own analysis seriously. Sure, use an insurance analogy if you want. But when you plug in the actual numbers, you see that their recommended government interventions would be an outrageously expensive “insurance policy” relative to the benefits it delivers. To be sure, the ThinkProgress people can come back and complain that my analysis relies on the IPCC numbers and that they aren’t really accurate, but it’s not my fault the interventionists have been lecturing us for years that we need to trust the “consensus” as codified in the IPCC and other official documents.


For more than a decade the advocates of aggressive government intervention in the name of fighting first “global warming” and now “climate change” have had a field day labeling their critics as “deniers.” Yet as their critics began reading the actual analyses put out by the IPCC, Congressional Budget Office, and other allegedly neutral parties, a funny thing happened: The critics saw that the aggressive government policies could not be justified using standard metrics.

Realizing this, the proponents of aggressive government measures have begun shifting their rhetoric. Many of them now admit that if we make middle-of-the-road assumptions on emissions growth and the climate’s sensitivity, their recommended policies turn out to be as expensive as the alleged climate damages they seek to prevent. That’s why the alarmists now focus on possible (if unlikely) threats, regional impacts, and insurance analogies.

We can bring the argument to this new battleground; the case for intervention is still weak. But it’s worth noting that the aggressive interventionists have moved the goalposts. By doing so, they implicitly admit that analysts like Jim Manzi, and your humble IER team, have been right all along: Using the government’s own preferred data sources and computer models, it is very difficult to justify policies to restrict carbon dioxide emissions with the metrics that are used for all other government policy debates. The alarmists who have been yelling, “Case closed!” for years were simply bluffing; now they’re trying to reopen the case they realize they’ve lost on their initial terms.



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

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


25 September, 2014

The astounding ignorance of John Kerry

One of the disturbing aspects of the global warming debate is that so many of the leading public officials who espouse alarmism know so little about the basics of climate science.  I have seen many instances of ignorance over the years and have largely gotten used to it, but I recently happened on an example from Secretary of State John Kerry that astounded me.

Reporters and commentators noted that in his major speech on climate change given in Jakarta on 16th February, Secretary Kerry claimed that “climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”  But reporters and commentators (including me) overlooked an even more remarkable passage in that long speech in which Secretary Kerry explains some “simple” climate science.  According to the State Department’s web site, here is what Secretary Kerry said about the greenhouse effect in Jakarta on 16th February:

"In fact, this is not really a complicated equation. I know sometimes I can remember from when I was in high school and college, some aspects of science or physics can be tough – chemistry. But this is not tough. This is simple. Kids at the earliest age can understand this.

Try and picture a very thin layer of gases – a quarter-inch, half an inch, somewhere in that vicinity – that’s how thick it is. It’s in our atmosphere. It’s way up there at the edge of the atmosphere. And for millions of years – literally millions of years – we know that layer has acted like a thermal blanket for the planet – trapping the sun’s heat and warming the surface of the Earth to the ideal, life-sustaining temperature. Average temperature of the Earth has been about 57 degrees Fahrenheit, which keeps life going. Life itself on Earth exists because of the so-called greenhouse effect. But in modern times, as human beings have emitted gases into the air that come from all the things we do, that blanket has grown thicker and it traps more and more heat beneath it, raising the temperature of the planet. It’s called the greenhouse effect because it works exactly like a greenhouse in which you grow a lot of the fruit that you eat here.

This is what’s causing climate change. It’s a huge irony that the very same layer of gases that has made life possible on Earth from the beginning now makes possible the greatest threat that the planet has ever seen."

For those who followed former-Senator Kerry at committee hearings over the past three decades, his belief that greenhouse gases are “a very thin layer of gases – a quarter-inch, half an inch, somewhere in that vicinity –….way up there at the edge of the atmosphere” is perhaps not surprising.  Nonetheless, it is remarkable that Kerry’s explanation, which sets a new standard for utter imbecility, got by the highly-educated State Department officials in charge of vetting the Secretary’s prepared remarks.

Later in his speech, Secretary Kerry made the usual sneering remarks about people who don’t think that global warming is a crisis: “President… Obama and I believe very deeply that we do not have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”  I suspect that were Secretary Kerry to find the time to attend a meeting of the Flat Earth Society, his presence might lower the level of discourse.


Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: People Who Don't Believe in Global Warming Alarmism Should Be Thrown In Jail

This is becoming an applause line on the left.  And that's a weird and alarming thing, isn't it?

Mr. Kennedy, who has been kept out of one of New York’s Senate seats only by happy circumstance, says that he believes his opponents to be guilty of "treason" -- his word -- and wants them convicted of crimes -- "They ought to be serving time," he says.

It's a very alarming thing that an ostensible political leader should say this, and that thousands of people should cheer the sentiment.

There was quite a lot of passion for a strike on Afghanistan post-9/11 -- and quite a few dissenters. The Peace At Any Cost coalition.

Those in favor of beating the shit out of Al Qaeda formed an overwhelming consensus on that particular point.

Did any political leaders speak about locking up dissenters in prison?  I don't think they did. But I'd like a correction if my memory is faulty.

And meanwhile the masks keep a-tumbling off.

Oh and here are some "Greens" who argued that they left huge amounts of litter after their rally in order to provide recyclables for the homeless.

On a more substantive note, a scientist named Steven Koonin wrote in the WSJ this weekend that the "science" of global warming was almost entirely unsettled.

It's a good piece, and I recommend reading it in full.

But don't miss the ending, which I actually did the first time:

Dr. Koonin was undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama's first term and is currently director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University.

Should President Obama's former undersecretary for science be thrown in jail, I wonder?

We are in a strange and dark chapter in history. The left doesn't just want to demolish capitalism, they want to repeal the Enlightenment as well.

They want a second Dark Ages.


Phony UN global warming summit: China and India's leaders aren't there

If you believe that greenhouse gases emitted by human industry is warming up the planet and you are excited that the UN Climate Change Summit kicked off today, drop your enthusiasm.

While President Obama will be in attendance, neither the leader of nation that release the most greenhouse gases, China, and the third biggest emitter, India, won't be there.

The United States is the silver medal winner in the global warming gas games.

The Climate Change Summit is the quintessential United Nations event--there will be a lot of talking and nothing will be accomplished.


Google chairman Eric Schmidt calls climate skeptics liars

Google, one of the richest and most powerful companies in the world, is doubling down on the theory that atmospheric CO2 is causing global temperatures to rise (even though they haven’t for the last 17 years despite a large increase on CO2). Moreover, Google is withdrawing its financial support from a group, the American Legislative Council, which it supports on other grounds, because of that group’s questioning of the climate change dogma whose models have failed to predict the last 17 years of evidence. Ars Technica reports:

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt today said it was a “mistake” to support the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that has said human-created climate change could be “beneficial” and opposes environmental regulations. Schmidt said groups trying to cast doubt on climate change science are "just literally lying."

Nonprofit that Google is part of also supports Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger.

Google’s membership in ALEC has been criticized because of the group’s stance on climate change and its opposition to network neutrality rules and municipal broadband. Earlier this month, Google refused to comment after 50 advocacy groups called on the company to end its affiliation with ALEC.

That changed today when Schmidt appeared on The Diane Rehm Show and was asked by a listener whether Google is still supporting ALEC. The listener described ALEC as “lobbyists in DC that are funding climate change deniers.”

Schmidt responded, “we funded them as part of a political campaign for something unrelated. I think the consensus within the company was that was sort of a mistake, and so we’re trying to not do that in the future.”

I find it very odd indeed that a technology-based company would reject scientific skepticism and attention paid to evidence that questions a hypothesis.  That is not “lying.”  Google’s server farms consume an enormous (and growing) amount of electricity, too. Something here doesn’t make sense.


Survey: Democrats Fear Climate Change More Than Islamic Terrorists

A recent survey found that Democrats believe the threat posed by climate change is greater than the threat posed by either al Qaeda or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL).

The Pew Research Center/USA Today survey, conducted between Aug. 20 and 24, shows that 68 percent of Democrats said global climate change is a “major threat” to the U.S. while 67 percent chose al Qaida and 65 percent chose ISIS as a major threat to the country.

On the Republican side, 80 percent said al Qaida was the major threat and 78 percent chose ISIS,  while only 25 percent said global climate change was a major threat.

Among Independents, 69 percent chose al Qaeda as the major threat, 63 percent chose ISIS, and only 44 percent said climate change.

Among Democrats, global climate change topped the list of greatest threats to the U.S.  But among Republicans and Independents, it placed last on a list of nine "major threats."

The top major concerns for Democrats were global climate change (68%), followed by extremist groups like al Qaeda (67%), ISIS (65%), North Korea's nuclear program (58%), Iran's nuclear program (56%) the rapid spread of infectious diseases from country to country (55%), growing tensions between Russia and its neighbors (54%), the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (44%), and China's emergence as a world power (43%).

Among Republicans, the greatest percentage chose al Qaeda as the top threat (80%), followed by ISIS (78%), Iran's nuclear program (74%), North Korea's nuclear program (63%), China's emergence as a world power (60%) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (60%), Russian tensions (54%), rapid spread of infectious disease (49%) and climate change (25%).

And, in descending order, Independents (69%) chose al Qaeda as a "major threat to the U.S.," followed by ISIS (63%), Iran's nuclear program (54%) North Korea's nuclear program (54%), growing tensions between Russia and its neighbors (52%), spread of infectious disease (50%), China's emergence (46%), Israeli-Palestinian conflict (45%), and global climate change (44%).

The survey is based on telephone interviews conducted August 20-24, 2014 among a national sample of 1,501 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (600 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 901 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 487 who had no landline telephone).

Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly, with pollsters asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home. Interviews in the cell phone sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older. For detailed information about the survey methodology, go here.


Ex-Im’s Green Energy Corruption Goes Deeper than Solyndra

Abengoa's solar projects are being propped up by corruption and cronyism

By now, most people following the continuing saga of the U.S. Export-Import Bank have heard about how it guaranteed loans to now-bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra. Solyndra was a big news story when it went bust, because of the stimulus money it took and the preferential treatment it was given because green energy mandates took preference over sensible investment.

But if Solyndra was the poster child for government-sponsored green energy boondoggles, a Spanish company called Abengoa has taken things to the next level.

Abengoa is a green energy company based in Spain that took billions in stimulus funding and was heavily supported by loans guaranteed from the Ex-Im Bank. While the bank operates under the pretense of helping American companies generally, its loans are actually required to go disproportionately to politically popular industries, of which green energy is the largest. The fact that Abengoa is not even an American company doesn’t matter, as long as the partisan goal of solar power is pursued with taxpayer-backed dollars.

We already know that the Ex-Im Bank favors politically connected cronies, but the blatant corruption within the Bank’s management structure may still surprise some. At the time when Abengoa was receiving these loans from Ex-Im, former governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson was sitting comfortably on the advisory board. At the same time, he also sat on the board of another major institution where his influence could help out his friends at Abengoa. In case you haven’t guessed it already, it was the Ex-Im Bank itself.

That’s right, the program that we are assured is necessary to support American small business is playing favorites with foreign companies under the advice of board members with conflicts of interest. It’s cronyism at its worst, and it needs to end.

But wait, there’s more! In case all this wasn’t enough to convince you that the Ex-Im Bank acts in a manner that is corrupt and irresponsible, let’s look at some of the activity Abengoa has been engaged in.

* Abengoa has violated U.S. law in multiple instances, including infractions related to immigration, environmental regulations, and worker safety.

* Abengoa has been busted for health insurance fraud, for putting people on their plans who were not on the payroll.

* Abengoa has been charged with intentionally delaying payment on American contracts in order to collect more interest on its investments in Spain - investments funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Abengoa is just one of any number of examples of Ex-Im corruption. The deeper one digs into the Ex-Im Bank, the more obvious it becomes that the program is as Barack Obama said in 2008 before incumbency changed his tune, “little more than a fund for corporate welfare.” And a hopelessly corrupt one at that.



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

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


24 September, 2014

Capitalism in crosshairs as Socialism promoted at opening event of People’s Climate March

The Communist sympathizers are getting bolder.  That they called it a "people's" march alone tells you that.  It is classic  Communist jargon

New York City – Socialism was praised and promoted to raucous applause by the hundreds in attendance at the People’s Climate March event on September 20, featuring organizer Bill McKibben, author Naomi Klein, socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant and socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The event, held at the Unitarian Church of All Souls, was titled “THE CLIMATE CRISIS: WHICH WAY OUT.” The event was permeated with socialist literature with the Socialist Alternative newspaper prominently on display.

When Kshama Sawant, a socialist who won a seat on the Seattle City Council, noted she was the first socialist elected in decades, the church erupted in applause. “A socialist world that will deliver a high standard of living for all,” Sawant said to applause.

Sawant ripped the current economic system: “The market is God, everything is being sacrificed on the altar of profits,” Sawant declared.  “We must bring giant corporations into public ownership. You cannot control what you don’t own,” she added.

Senator Bernie Sanders ripped Fox News Channel: “We all know what Fox TV does not know. Climate change is real,” he said to laughter. Sanders declared the “debate is over.” “This is the planetary crisis of our time.”  “Unless we address global warming this planet will be even more unstable than it is today.” founder and march organizer McKibben called global warming the ‘greatest crisis.’ “This is the biggest problem that humans have ever been up against,” he declared.

McKibben warned of an apocalyptic future of human caused global warming. “The science of climate change is dark and hard,” he said and warned of 8 or 9 degree F [temperature rise] before the century is out.”

Also featured on the panel with McKibben was author Naomi Klein, author of the new book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate”.

During the panel discussion, Klein was asked: “Even if climate change issue did not exist, you would be calling for same structural changes. Klein responded:  ‘Yeah.’

Following the panel, Climate Depot asked Klein if she would support all the same climate “solutions” even if the science was wrong.

“Yes, I would still be for social justice even if there was not climate change. Yes, you caught me Marc,” Klein answered sarcastically as she abruptly ended the interview.

Klein told the activists she recommended “weaving this [climate] movement into all of our movements.”

Klein also singled out Climate Depot’s Marc Morano during her panel presentation, noting that “climate deniers and Heartland Institute people like Marc Morano, who I am told is here tonight, they understand that if the science is true, if the science is right, then of course we have to break every rule in their idiotic playbook because it is at war with life on Earth. ” The audience roared with approval.

Klein noted that the “ecological clock is ticking.” “We are dealing with an existential terror,” she added.


Some questions must not be asked

 Actor Mark Ruffalo [Hulk Actor] declared certain questions off limits to the media today at the People’s Climate March in New York City.

During the media availability press event, Ruffalo was asked in a one-on-one interview with Climate Depot if celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, who boasts that he will fly around the world to fight global warming and former VP Al Gore,  are the best spokesmen for global warming given their huge carbon footprints.

“Oh brother. That is a question you shouldn’t be asking here today because that defies the spirit of what this is about,” Ruffalo told Climate Depot.

The interview was conducted for the upcoming climate documentary Climate Hustle.

Ruffalo starred in the Hulk film series and has been a climate activist.

“That is a kind of a mental Jujutsu — that question. The fact of the matter is why — if they did not have any power, why are they attacking people like Leonardo DiCaprio?”

An agitated Ruffalo continued: “The fact of the matter is Leonardo DiCaprio’s voice carries farther than anyone one of those politicians,  even the President. And that is significant and he knows he has a responsibility to the people in the world to get this message out because he feels in his heart it is right.”

“Anyone who attacks Leonardo DiCaprio is either a coward or an ideologue,” he added.

DiCaprio has been criticizied for his oversized lifestlye.


'You can either make history or be vilified by it': Leo DiCaprio lectures UN on climate change

But no mention of his four homes, private jets and renting the FIFTH biggest yacht in the world from an OIL billionaire

With his speech in front of the United Nations today, Leonardo DiCaprio cemented his reputation as one of the world's highest-profile activists on climate change. 'You can make history ...or be vilified by it,' he dramatically told world leaders.

After marching with 400,000 others on the streets of New York this weekend to demand tough regulations to cut the amount of CO2 being pumped into the air, DiCaprio opened a UN climate change summit by urging the world to crack down on polluters and 'put a price tag on carbon emissions.'

But the 39-year-old Hollywood star's own jetset lifestyle reveals a double-standard on the issue of climate change.

In his speech to the UN, he said: 'This disaster has grown beyond the choices that individuals make.'

MailOnline can report that DiCaprio took at least 20 trips across the nation and around the world this year alone - including numerous flights from New York to Los Angeles and back, a ski vacation to the French Alps, another vacation to the French Riviera, flights to London and Tokoyo to promote his film Wolf of Wall Street, two trips to Miami and trip to Brazil to watch the World Cup.  And those were just the trips where he was spotted in public. 

Additionally, DiCaprio owns at least four homes: two apartments in New York and mansions in Hollywood and Palm Springs.  He also recently sold an estate in Malibu for $17million.

And this summer, he spent his World Cup vacation on the fifth largest yacht in the world, a 482-foot behemoth owned by Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan - a billionaire oil tycoon from the UAE.

A rep for DiCaprio declined to comment for this story.

DiCaprio has tried to stay green in other parts of his life. He owns a $4million apartment in an eco-friendly apartment building in Battery Park City.   He drives a Toyota Prius and a $100,000 Fisker electric sports car.  He's been spotted riding a bike around New York.

In 2007, he produced and narrated the 11th Hour, a documentary about climate change and other threats to the planet.

He also represents several environmental charities and has thrown his star power behind Formula E, a new racing circuit that uses electric cars, instead of roaring gasoline-powered vehicles.

However, his jetsetting - both for business and pleasure - means that he he's producing a lot more CO2 than most people.

Even if he flew on a commercial jet for all of flights, his carbon footprint so far in 2014 would be a minimum of 40million metric tons of CO2 spewed into the atmosphere, more than twice the average American output for an entire year.

That figure only takes into account his flights and assumes that he flew exclusively on commercial airlines - even though the $220million A-lister is known to charter private jets.

He told a reporter from conservative PJTV media: 'We want to create 100percent clean energy, we need to make a transition in this country and we need to show leadership. 'And that's what we're doing.'

However, when the reporter asked him about how his jetset lifestyle impacts the environment, she was quickly shunted away from the Wolf of Wall Street star by a minder.


Six reasons why light rail is a terrible idea

Somewhere along the way, hipsters and train travel forged an unholy union.

I hear it all the time in Austin, Texas. Every time I’m at a party and someone is complaining about traffic or having to get a cab, someone says “If only we had a train!” And everyone nods sympathetically, because of course trains will solve all of our problems. It doesn’t occur to anyone that wanting an easy way to get home when drunk is not a sufficient reason to build an entire light rail system. And since there is a $1.4 billion bond on the Austin ballot for November, these conversations are becoming even more common.

Most people haven’t really examined light rail; they just accept that, because it seems to fit with other cherished liberal ideas, like improving health, reducing car emissions, creating denser cities, etc.,  it is also good idea. The truth is that light rail is not the panacea that planners think it is. For the most part, it’s an extremely expensive “solution” that solves nothing: it doesn’t help the environment, reduce congestion, or improve mobility for those who need it most. Here’s the truth about light rail:

Light Rail Is Not Environmentally Friendly

The most important point is that, once you factor in the energy costs of construction and feeder buses, light rail is not environmentally friendly. In this example from the Southwest light Rail Transit project in Minnesota, it would take more than 100 years to offset the energy costs of constructing the rail line, as compared to the bus transit system.  For that same rail line, the use and maintenance of light rail would use more energy per year than bus transit. And finally, claims that light rail decreases carbon dioxide emissions fail to take into account the transit system as a whole; light rail transit requires an extensive system of feeder buses, which have low ridership. So each passenger mile, including both rail and bus, ends up consuming more energy than just using bus transit. Even without looking at the transit system as a whole, light rail would cut emissions by one-tenth of one percent – we’ll see better energy savings than that as old, energy-inefficient cars are retired from the roads.

Light Rail Does Not Make a City More Affordable

Austin’s proposed light rail bond for $1.4 billion is only the first step in a proposed $32.4 billion project, 80% of which will be financed by local taxpayers. Just the first installment for $1.4 billion will be one of the largest tax raises in Austin’s history. Rents in Austin have already risen 49% since 2003, which has resulted in the flight of families with children and low-income renters to the suburbs, which face a growing problem of poverty and crime. Light rail would only add to this problem.

Light Rail is Not Cost Effective

Light rail is 9 times more expensive than bus transit and 27 times more expensive than van service on a per-passenger, per-mile basis, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Every dollar that is spent on construction of a light rail project is money that isn’t spent on schools, police force, or benefits and salaries for city employees.

Light Rail Does Not Fix Congestion

Light rail does not create new transit users. The majority of light rail riders were previously bus riders, not car drivers. Light rail simply does not serve enough people to reduce congestion. At most, the Austin light rail will serve one-third of one percent of riders. And since light rail is often given signal priority, it often makes congestion worse — not to mention the increased congestion during construction.

Light Rail Does not Necessarily Make People Healthier

There is some evidence linking use of light rail with walking an additional 4.5 minutes on top of the six minutes walked by bus users. However, in-depth assessments of the health impact of light rail has not been conducted anywhere in the U.S.

So what’s the alternative?

So what’s the alternative, at least for Austin? Build more roads, particularly a loop connecting the main arteries. Austin is the only large city in Texas that doesn’t have a loop. In fact, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas each have more than one. Traffic light synchronization can help reduce congestion, as it has in Houston. Self-driving cars, which are already on the road in Nevada, would drastically reduce congestion and increase safety. Self-driving cars, furthermore, can be used by anyone, including those without driver’s licenses, and the money not spent on rail bonds could easily be used for transportation vouchers for the low-income and disabled.

There are alternatives available. Let’s not choose rail just because it sounds good.


This One Policy Switch Could Make Gas Way Cheaper

For nearly 40 years, there’s a been a ban on exporting crude oil from the United States to other nations in the world.

Now, a just-released study from a liberal think tank says lifting the ban could boost the U.S. economy between $600 billion to $1.8 trillion and save motorists up to 12 cents a gallon at the pump.

Researchers for the Energy Security Initiative of the Brookings Institution called the ban “an anachronism that has long outlived its utility and now threatens to impair, rather than protect, U.S. energy, economic, and national security” and cites modeling that predicts broad-based economic benefits that include more jobs, better wages and higher gross domestic product if the ban was ended.

The study from Brookings, which is considered a left-of-center think tank, claims the sooner the ban is lifted, the greater the economic impact.

“What is most important is our finding that in all these modeling scenarios, there are positive gains for U.S. households,” the analysis said.

For example, the Brookings study says lifting the ban would increase domestic oil production, which would increase gasoline supply. This, in turn, would lead to a drop of at least nine cents and perhaps as much as 12 cents per gallon over the next five years.

Furthermore, according to the Brookings modeling done by National Economic Research Associates, lifting the export ban reduces unemployment by 200,000 each year between 2015 and 2020.

“Allowing crude oil exports is in the national interest,” wrote the study’s authors. “Our analysis shows a direct correlation between increased U.S. oil production, net benefits to society, and lower gasoline prices.”

But more production means more use of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking,” and that’s something environmental groups are dead-set against.

“I think the last thing we need to be talking about is exporting fossil fuels,” said Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director for WildEarth Guardians. “We’re struggling to try to rein in carbon pollution as a nation … The American people want to see action and are concerned about the costs in increased pollution or a failure to reduce carbon pollution effectively. If we’re talking about exporting oil, we’re just talking about burning it somewhere else.”


John D.'s descendants aren't as bright as he was

Maybe they just want to be loved

The Rockefeller family, which made one of the world’s largest fortunes through its vast oil business, is to slash its investments in fossil fuels to less than 1pc and reinvest in clean energy.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which oversees $860m of investments, will divest its coal and tar sands assets “as quickly as possible”, it said in a statement.

Stephen Heintz, an heir of John D Rockefeller, who built a multi-billion-dollar fortune after founding Standard Oil in the late 19th century, said the move away from fossil fuels would be in line with his ancestor’s wishes.

“We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,” Mr Heintz said.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is a supporter of the global Divest-Invest coalition, a group made up of 650 individuals and 180 institutions that aim to divest more than $50bn of fossil fuel assets.

“We’re making a moral case, but also, increasingly, an economic case,” Mr Heintz said.

Valerie Rockefeller Wayne, a great-great-granddaughter of John D Rockefeller, added: “There is a moral imperative to preserve a healthy planet.”

The fund's statement said: "Given the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s deep commitment to combating climate change, the fund is now committing to a two-step process to address its desire to divest from investments in fossil fuels.

"Our immediate focus will be on coal and tar sands, two of the most intensive sources of carbon emissions. We are working to eliminate the fund’s exposure to these energy sources as quickly as possible.

"Given the structure of some commingled investment funds and investments in highly diversified energy companies, we recognise there may continue to be minimal investments in our portfolio in those energy sectors, but we are committed to reducing our exposure to coal and tar sands to less than one percent of the total portfolio by the end of 2014.

"As we take the steps to divest from coal and tar sands investments, we are also undertaking a comprehensive analysis of our exposure to any remaining fossil fuel investments and will work with the Investment Committee and board of trustees to determine an appropriate strategy for further divestment over the next few years."

The fund’s announcement comes as 120 heads of state address the United Nations Climate Summit in New York on Tuesday.



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

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


23 September, 2014

So much for clearing up the planet! Climate change protesters who marched through Manhattan are branded hypocrites for leaving litter strewn across the city

Typical Leftist egotists with no respect for other people

Climate change skeptics have branded protesters who marched through Manhattan on Sunday as hypocrites for leaving litter strewn across the city.

New Yorkers uploaded images to social media sites showing piles of trash - included ditched paper and cardboard signs - left behind after thousands took part in the People's Climate March.

'Their love for the Earth is so real, they couldn't even use a trash can,' one critic, known as @chelsea_elisa on Twitter, wrote beneath an image of an overflowing trash can.

'Somehow this doesn't seem too green 2me,' David Kreutzer, a research fellow at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, wrote alongside another photo of litter on the ground.

Speaking to the New York Post, Kreutzer slammed the marchers for wasting paper to create the signs, as well as burning fossil fuels to take buses or planes to the event.

'The hypocrisy varies from person to person,' he said. 'The ones that fly in on private jets are the most hypocritical.'

Celebrities, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo, were seen parading through the streets of New York City - presumably after catching flights to be there.

They joined as many as 300,000 others - including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. senators - to march through the streets.
Climate change protesters stage Wall Street sit-in

 The protest came ahead of Tuesday's UN-hosted summit to discuss reducing carbon emissions that threaten the environment.

Organizers said some 550 busloads had arrived for the rally, which followed similar events in 166 countries including Britain, France, Afghanistan and Bulgaria.

The march snaked through Midtown from Columbus Circle to Times Square and the Far West Side. So many people attended the route that, at one point, the march came to a halt because the entire 2.2-mile route was full.

Protesters in London, pictured, also bizarrely chose to make hundreds of signs from paper and cardboard

They billed the event as the largest gathering focused on climate change since 2009, when tens of thousands gathered in Copenhagen in a sometime raucous demonstration that resulted in the detention of 2,000 protesters.

In this year's march, protesters carried pictures of sunflowers and, at the rally's head, a banner reading: 'Front lines of crisis, forefront of climate change'.


Budget Chief: Denying Climate Change ‘Makes You a Member of the Flat Earth Society’

The usual recourse to abuse instead of facts.  It's the evidence for global warming that is as dodgy as the evidence for a flat earth

Shawn Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said on Friday that if you don’t believe in climate change and support federal spending to fight it, you believe the earth is flat.

“The failure to invest in climate solutions and climate preparedness doesn’t get you membership in a fiscal conservatives caucus,” Donovan said at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. “It makes you a member of the Flat Earth Society.”

Donovan, who formerly ran the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, is now in charge of the arm of the executive branch that oversees the federal budget and a range of other executive branch functions, including oversight of federal regulations and congressional legislation.

At CAP, Donovan spoke about what he claimed is the cost of not spending federal dollars – or taxpayer dollars – and local and state funds on “climate solutions and climate preparedness.”

“Climate action is a must do,” Donovan said. “Climate inaction is a can’t do.  “And climate denial scores,” Donovan said. “ And I don’t mean scores like the average person would think – scoring points on a board.  “I mean that it scores in the budget,” Donovan said.

“Climate denial will cost us billions and billions of dollars,” Donovan said. “The failure to invest in climate solutions and climate preparedness doesn’t get you membership in a fiscal conservatives caucus.

“It makes you a member of the Flat Earth Society,” said Donovan, citing a controversial organization that dates back to ancient times founded on the belief that the earth is a disc not a sphere. The society still exists online today and on Twitter.


Kerry on climate change

If there are water shortages, Greenie opposition to dam building and economic development generally is the most probable cause.  Israel is a good example of what happens when modernity prevails.  Israel is located in an arid region yet it has plenty of water.  How come?  They desalinate water from the sea

Climate change means the heatwaves we’re already seeing, the extraordinary level of fires because of drought that is beyond the hundred-year mark. It’s the 500-year mark. Water shortages also way beyond hundred-year marks. All of this means conflicts over resources and serious implications for feeding the world’s growing population. Development is the only possible way, and it’s only possible if we grow more sustainably, if we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, if we transition to a low-carbon economy.

One of the privileges of traveling as I do or Mary Robinson does or Raj does is we see this. We see it now happening. There are people killing each other over water in certain parts of the world. There are people who are refugees because of the lack of food and the changes and the absence of adequate agricultural policies in parts of the world. So this is a critical moment. This is not conjecture. This is not pie in the sky. This is not some time down the road; it’s now, and we are compelled to respond.

Can we arrive at a new set of development goals in September 2015 that are focused, strategic, ambitious goals that can mobilize governments, business, and citizens to work in common cause? Can we bring partners together in support of a strong financing for development agreement in Ethiopia in July next year? Will a climate agreement, which is possible next year in Paris in December, move us far beyond business as usual in reducing carbon emissions?

These are the questions; these are our challenges.


10 Ways To Tell Tuesday’s UN Climate Summit Isn’t About Climate

Next Tuesday’s UN climate conference in NYC (called Climate Summit 2014) is for politicians, celebrities, and rent seekers. It’s not about climate science, nor Saving the Earth from “carbon emissions” of fossil fuels.

Here are ten ways to tell the United Nations really isn’t interested in climate per se. Some of us suspected over 20 years ago this would happen, back when the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was being formed to help combat “global warming”.

1. There is no way with current technology to get beyond 15%-20% renewable energy in the next 20 years or so….and even that will be exceedingly expensive. No matter how much you care about where your energy originates, physics and economics trump emotions.

2. The UN doesn’t care that global warming stopped 17 years ago. It doesn’t matter. Full steam ahead.

3. The UN’s own climate models have grossly over-forecast warming. Doesn’t matter. Full steam ahead.

4. Scientists and politicians have had to resort to blaming severe weather events on climate change. Like, we never had severe weather before? Really? (Oh, BTW, severe weather hasn’t gotten worse.)

5. The UN Climate Summit participants’ “carbon footprints” far exceed those of normal people…and they don’t care. Flying jets all over the world, traveling and dining in style, and telling a billion poor they can’t have inexpensive electricity? That’s the moral high ground?

6. Leonardo DiCaprio, UN’s Messenger of Peace. Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize and crony capitalist. ‘Nuff said.

7. The leaders of Australia, China, India, Canada, and Germany are opting out of Tuesday’s meeting. They have real problems to attend to, not manufactured ones.

8. A UN official admitted the climate goal was wealth redistribution. Naomi Klein has admitted what Obama, Kerry, and Clinton won’t admit: it’s about stopping Capitalism. Unless you are a crony capitalist friend getting green energy subsidies.

9. What they can’t admit is that global greening and increasing global crop productivity is the result of us putting some of that CO2 back where it was in the first place – in the atmosphere. I’m still predicting some day we will realize more CO2 is a good thing.

10. The UN’s climate reports exaggerate and misrepresent the science. For example, the warming of the deep oceans over the last 50 years is described in terms of gazillions of joules (which sounds impressive) rather than what was actually measured…hundredths of a degree (not so impressive). The resulting average planetary energy imbalance, if it really exists, is only 1 part in 1,000.

As I’ve said before, I really don’t care where our energy comes from, as long as it is abundant and inexpensive. But telling the poor they can only have concierge energy – if they can pony up enough money — will end up killing people. Lots of people.

And that’s what the U.N. should be concerned about…not having meetings in Bali and Cancun.


WMO Crooks Omit Temperature Trends

Quote of the Week: "The right to search for truth implies also a duty; one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true" —Albert Einstein

In recent years, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has issued the “WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.” Generally, these are issued in November of the year. On September 9, the WMO issued a “Climate Summit edition” referring to the UN Climate Summit scheduled to be held in New York City, September 23, 2014.

Some UN officials have declared the Climate Summit to be a “tipping point” meeting. If it is to be a “tipping point” meeting, it will be the abandonment of a key principle of science as expressed by Einstein in the Quote of the Week – Do not omit critical data.

The WMO report omits any discussion of temperature trends. There has been no significant warming trend in the atmosphere for over a decade, and no warming trend on the surface for about 17 years (Based on his statistical analysis, Ross McKitrck puts the periods of no atmospheric warming from 16 to 22 years.)

The WMO is one of the parent organizations of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (The UN Environmental Programme is the other parent organization of the IPCC).

Fred Singer argues that there has been no significant multi-year warming trend since 1940. The surface data shows a jump in 1976-77, before satellites. Both the satellite and surface data show a warming spike during the super-El Niño year of 1998. And, the satellite data shows another jump in 2001. These are not the types of warming trends one would expect from greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide.

The IPCC has projected significant future global warming. It is the fear of future global warming that has driven countries to spend enormous sums of money on science and on measures to address it. [From Fiscal Year 1993 to FY 2013, for the US government alone, such expenditures exceeded $165 billion.]

Now, the WMO does not consider it important to discuss the failure of nature to obey the UN IPCC pronouncements? Instead of discussing actual temperature trends, the WMO bulletin features a detailed discussion on the increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases and their calculated impact on radiative forcing, rather than what actually occurred.


Smarter Forest Management Could Yield Water for California’s Population Growth

There is mounting evidence that poor policies are creating California’s water troubles. California has a policy problem disguised as a water problem. The poor policies create massive misallocation of water and water waste throughout the state.

More evidence of this comes from Roger Bales, a hydrologist with the University of California, Merced, and Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Bales argues that the Sierra Nevada, which is the source of 60 percent of California’s water in a typical year, has twice the number of trees than 100 years ago. Deliberate government policies to limit timber harvesting and suppress naturally caused forest fires have produced overgrowth.

All of these additional trees over millions of acres consume snowpack runoff that in the past would have emptied into California’s streams, rivers, reservoirs, and canals for use throughout California.

The solutions are to allow more naturally caused low-intensity fires to burn and allow timber companies to harvest small trees, especially thirsty pines, to thin the forest. But government policy has generally prevented either solution, often because of opposition by environmental groups. Once again, good intentions have resulted in harmful unintended consequences, this time less water for people and more high-severity forest fires when fires occur.

Thinning the Sierra could provide up to one million acre-feet of water annually, according to Professor Bales—enough water for the yearly needs of two million California households. Incidentally, the San Francisco Bay Area is expected to add two million people by 2040.



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

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


22 September, 2014

Tree-huggers note: Trees are bad for the planet!

The NYT says so (below)

AS international leaders gather in New York next week for a United Nations climate summit, they will be preoccupied with how to tackle the rising rate of carbon emissions. To mitigate the crisis, one measure they are likely to promote is reducing deforestation and planting trees.

A landmark deal to support sustainable forestry was a heralded success story of the last international climate talks, in Warsaw last year. Western nations, including the United States, Britain and Norway, handed over millions of dollars to developing countries to kick-start programs to reduce tropical deforestation. More funds are promised.

Deforestation accounts for about 20 percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide. The assumption is that planting trees and avoiding further deforestation provides a convenient carbon capture and storage facility on the land.

That is the conventional wisdom. But the conventional wisdom is wrong.

In reality, the cycling of carbon, energy and water between the land and the atmosphere is much more complex. Considering all the interactions, large-scale increases in forest cover can actually make global warming worse.

Of course, this is counterintuitive. We all learn in school how trees effortlessly perform the marvel of photosynthesis: They take up carbon dioxide from the air and make oxygen. This process provides us with life, food, water, shelter, fiber and soil. The earth’s forests generously mop up about a quarter of the world’s fossil-fuel carbon emissions every year.

So it’s understandable that we’d expect trees to save us from rising temperatures, but climate science tells a different story. Besides the amount of greenhouse gases in the air, another important switch on the planetary thermostat is how much of the sun’s energy is taken up by the earth’s surface, compared to how much is reflected back to space. The dark color of trees means that they absorb more of the sun’s energy and raise the planet’s surface temperature.

Climate scientists have calculated the effect of increasing forest cover on surface temperature. Their conclusion is that planting trees in the tropics would lead to cooling, but in colder regions, it would cause warming.

In order to grow food, humans have changed about 50 percent of the earth’s surface area from native forests and grasslands to crops, pasture and wood harvest. Unfortunately, there is no scientific consensus on whether this land use has caused overall global warming or cooling. Since we don’t know that, we can’t reliably predict whether large-scale forestation would help to control the earth’s rising temperatures.

Worse, trees emit reactive volatile gases that contribute to air pollution and are hazardous to human health. These emissions are crucial to trees — to protect themselves from environmental stresses like sweltering heat and bug infestations. In summer, the eastern United States is the world’s major hot spot for volatile organic compounds (V.O.C.s) from trees.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
As these compounds mix with fossil-fuel pollution from cars and industry, an even more harmful cocktail of airborne toxic chemicals is created. President Ronald Reagan was widely ridiculed in 1981 when he said, “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.” He was wrong on the science — but less wrong than many assumed.

Chemical reactions involving tree V.O.C.s produce methane and ozone, two powerful greenhouse gases, and form particles that can affect the condensation of clouds. Research by my group at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and by other laboratories, suggests that changes in tree V.O.C.s affect the climate on a scale similar to changes in the earth’s surface color and carbon storage capacity.

While trees provide carbon storage, forestry is not a permanent solution because trees and soil also “breathe” — that is, burn oxygen and release carbon dioxide back into the air. Eventually, all of the carbon finds its way back into the atmosphere when trees die or burn.

Moreover, it is a myth that photosynthesis controls the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. Even if all photosynthesis on the planet were shut down, the atmosphere’s oxygen content would change by less than 1 percent.

The Amazon rain forest is often perceived as the lungs of the planet. In fact, almost all the oxygen the Amazon produces during the day remains there and is reabsorbed by the forest at night. In other words, the Amazon rain forest is a closed system that uses all its own oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Planting trees and avoiding deforestation do offer unambiguous benefits to biodiversity and many forms of life. But relying on forestry to slow or reverse global warming is another matter entirely.

The science says that spending precious dollars for climate change mitigation on forestry is high-risk: We don’t know that it would cool the planet, and we have good reason to fear it might have precisely the opposite effect. More funding for forestry might seem like a tempting easy win for the world leaders at the United Nations, but it’s a bad bet.


Royal Society crooks hoist by their own petard

It was presented as shocking evidence of the damage being done by climate change: a species driven to extinction because of a decline in rainfall in its only habitat. Now the “rediscovery” of a species of snail is prompting questions about the role played by the Royal Society, Britain’s most prestigious scientific institution, in raising false alarm over an impact of climate change.

Rhachistia aldabrae was found alive last month on Aldabra, a coral island in the Seychelles, seven years after a scientific paper in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters had declared it extinct and said climate change was to blame. The claim was cited in 2013 in a paper in another Royal Society journal, which suggested that this was the clearest example of man-made climate change causing an extinction.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN science advisory body, used the second paper as evidence in its major report this year on the impacts of rising emissions. It stated: “Future species extinctions are a high risk because the consequences of climate change are potentially severe, widespread and irreversible.”

However, the claim that the snail was extinct had been rebutted in 2007 by four senior scientists, including Clive Hambler, a lecturer in biology at the University of Oxford and a leading authority on Aldabra. They wrote to the editor of Biology Letters in 2007, saying the paper’s author, Justin Gerlach, had wrongly claimed that “exhaustive” searches had been made for the snail. They also said he had used the wrong method to assess its decline and had made an error that resulted in the reduction in rainfall being exaggerated.

In a rebuttal paper, they wrote: “The vast majority of the habitat is virtually inaccessible and has never been visited. It is unwise to declare this species extinct after a gap in known records of ten years. We predict ‘rediscovery’ when resources permit.”

The journal refused to publish the rebuttal, saying it had been “rejected following full peer review”. The journal sent Mr Hambler the reviews of the rebuttal by two anonymous academic referees, who had rejected the criticisms made of Mr Gerlach’s paper.

However, the Royal Society admitted this week, after questions from The Times, that the referees who had rejected the rebuttal were the same referees who had approved Mr Gerlach’s paper for publication. The society said it had since changed its policy on reviewing rebuttals.

After hearing that the snail had been found, Mr Hambler wrote to the journal this month asking it to retract Mr Gerlach’s paper and publish his rebuttal. “Your original (Gerlach) paper on a climate-induced extinction had errors… Yet it has come to be cited as one of the clearest examples of possible climate-induced global extinction,” he wrote.

Speaking to The Times, he said: “Crying wolf over climate change in this way diverts attention from more pressing causes of extinction, such as the destruction of habitat and invasive species.”

The society has refused to publish the rebuttal because it is seven years old. It has asked Mr Hambler to revise his comments “to include new or additional information”. However, Mr Hambler said that he did not want to revise the rebuttal because it was accurate.

Mr Gerlach said that his error in declaring the snail extinct “does not detract from the fact that the population collapsed catastrophically”.


Obama’s Former Science Official: ‘Climate Science Is Not Settled’

We are very far from the knowledge needed to make good climate policy, writes leading scientist Steven E. Koonin, Under Secretary for science in the US Energy Department during President Barack Obama’s first term

The idea that “Climate science is settled” runs through today’s popular and policy discussions. Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment. But it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future.

My training as a computational physicist—together with a 40-year career of scientific research, advising and management in academia, government and the private sector—has afforded me an extended, up-close perspective on climate science. Detailed technical discussions during the past year with leading climate scientists have given me an even better sense of what we know, and don’t know, about climate. I have come to appreciate the daunting scientific challenge of answering the questions that policy makers and the public are asking.

The crucial scientific question for policy isn’t whether the climate is changing. That is a settled matter: The climate has always changed and always will. Geological and historical records show the occurrence of major climate shifts, sometimes over only a few decades. We know, for instance, that during the 20th century the Earth’s global average surface temperature rose 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nor is the crucial question whether humans are influencing the climate. That is no hoax: There is little doubt in the scientific community that continually growing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, due largely to carbon-dioxide emissions from the conventional use of fossil fuels, are influencing the climate. There is also little doubt that the carbon dioxide will persist in the atmosphere for several centuries. The impact today of human activity appears to be comparable to the intrinsic, natural variability of the climate system itself.

Rather, the crucial, unsettled scientific question for policy is, “How will the climate change over the next century under both natural and human influences?” Answers to that question at the global and regional levels, as well as to equally complex questions of how ecosystems and human activities will be affected, should inform our choices about energy and infrastructure.

But—here’s the catch—those questions are the hardest ones to answer. They challenge, in a fundamental way, what science can tell us about future climates.
Even though human influences could have serious consequences for the climate, they are physically small in relation to the climate system as a whole. For example, human additions to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by the middle of the 21st century are expected to directly shift the atmosphere’s natural greenhouse effect by only 1% to 2%. Since the climate system is highly variable on its own, that smallness sets a very high bar for confidently projecting the consequences of human influences.

A second challenge to “knowing” future climate is today’s poor understanding of the oceans. The oceans, which change over decades and centuries, hold most of the climate’s heat and strongly influence the atmosphere. Unfortunately, precise, comprehensive observations of the oceans are available only for the past few decades; the reliable record is still far too short to adequately understand how the oceans will change and how that will affect climate.

A third fundamental challenge arises from feedbacks that can dramatically amplify or mute the climate’s response to human and natural influences. One important feedback, which is thought to approximately double the direct heating effect of carbon dioxide, involves water vapor, clouds and temperature.

But feedbacks are uncertain. They depend on the details of processes such as evaporation and the flow of radiation through clouds. They cannot be determined confidently from the basic laws of physics and chemistry, so they must be verified by precise, detailed observations that are, in many cases, not yet available.

Beyond these observational challenges are those posed by the complex computer models used to project future climate. These massive programs attempt to describe the dynamics and interactions of the various components of the Earth system—the atmosphere, the oceans, the land, the ice and the biosphere of living things. While some parts of the models rely on well-tested physical laws, other parts involve technically informed estimation. Computer modeling of complex systems is as much an art as a science.

For instance, global climate models describe the Earth on a grid that is currently limited by computer capabilities to a resolution of no finer than 60 miles. (The distance from New York City to Washington, D.C., is thus covered by only four grid cells.) But processes such as cloud formation, turbulence and rain all happen on much smaller scales. These critical processes then appear in the model only through adjustable assumptions that specify, for example, how the average cloud cover depends on a grid box’s average temperature and humidity. In a given model, dozens of such assumptions must be adjusted (“tuned,” in the jargon of modelers) to reproduce both current observations and imperfectly known historical records.

We often hear that there is a “scientific consensus” about climate change. But as far as the computer models go, there isn’t a useful consensus at the level of detail relevant to assessing human influences. Since 1990, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, has periodically surveyed the state of climate science. Each successive report from that endeavor, with contributions from thousands of scientists around the world, has come to be seen as the definitive assessment of climate science at the time of its issue.

For the latest IPCC report (September 2013), its Working Group I, which focuses on physical science, uses an ensemble of some 55 different models. Although most of these models are tuned to reproduce the gross features of the Earth’s climate, the marked differences in their details and projections reflect all of the limitations that I have described. For example:

* The models differ in their descriptions of the past century’s global average surface temperature by more than three times the entire warming recorded during that time. Such mismatches are also present in many other basic climate factors, including rainfall, which is fundamental to the atmosphere’s energy balance. As a result, the models give widely varying descriptions of the climate’s inner workings. Since they disagree so markedly, no more than one of them can be right.

* Although the Earth’s average surface temperature rose sharply by 0.9 degree Fahrenheit during the last quarter of the 20th century, it has increased much more slowly for the past 16 years, even as the human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen by some 25%. This surprising fact demonstrates directly that natural influences and variability are powerful enough to counteract the present warming influence exerted by human activity.

Yet the models famously fail to capture this slowing in the temperature rise. Several dozen different explanations for this failure have been offered, with ocean variability most likely playing a major role. But the whole episode continues to highlight the limits of our modeling.

* The models roughly describe the shrinking extent of Arctic sea ice observed over the past two decades, but they fail to describe the comparable growth of Antarctic sea ice, which is now at a record high.

* The models predict that the lower atmosphere in the tropics will absorb much of the heat of the warming atmosphere. But that “hot spot” has not been confidently observed, casting doubt on our understanding of the crucial feedback of water vapor on temperature.

* Even though the human influence on climate was much smaller in the past, the models do not account for the fact that the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today—about one foot per century.

* A crucial measure of our knowledge of feedbacks is climate sensitivity—that is, the warming induced by a hypothetical doubling of carbon-dioxide concentration. Today’s best estimate of the sensitivity (between 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit and 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) is no different, and no more certain, than it was 30 years ago. And this is despite an heroic research effort costing billions of dollars.

These and many other open questions are in fact described in the IPCC research reports, although a detailed and knowledgeable reading is sometimes required to discern them. They are not “minor” issues to be “cleaned up” by further research. Rather, they are deficiencies that erode confidence in the computer projections. Work to resolve these shortcomings in climate models should be among the top priorities for climate research.

Yet a public official reading only the IPCC’s “Summary for Policy Makers” would gain little sense of the extent or implications of these deficiencies. These are fundamental challenges to our understanding of human impacts on the climate, and they should not be dismissed with the mantra that “climate science is settled.”

While the past two decades have seen progress in climate science, the field is not yet mature enough to usefully answer the difficult and important questions being asked of it. This decidedly unsettled state highlights what should be obvious: Understanding climate, at the level of detail relevant to human influences, is a very, very difficult problem.


Bobby Jindal: How the ‘Radical Left’ Uses Energy Costs to Control Americans

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal yesterday accused the Obama administration of making energy more expensive with the goal of making Americans more dependent on government.

“The Left, they like to tell us they are the ones [who] are following science and we’re the science deniers,” Jindal said to a small group of reporters after delivering a speech at The Heritage Foundation to debut his energy jobs plan. “But I think overall, their approach to energy is telling.”

The Republican governor said the “radical” Left wants energy to be scarce and expensive because it empowers the federal government to be more involved in Americans’ lives.

Doing so, the potential 2016 presidential candidate said, essentially allows the Obama administration to decide what kind of car you drive, what kind of home you live in, what kind of education your children receive, what kind of health care insurance is adequate for you, and what size soda you can drink.

Right now, Jindal said,  America “is on the road to failure.” He said:

    "It’s war on coal today; it’s going to be a war on natural gas tomorrow—it’s a war on any natural energy source. [The Left] wants it to be scarce; they want it to be expensive. You can see it in their actions, you can see it in their policies."

He cited what he called the Left’s “startling” views on natural gas.  “When [natural gas] was 13 dollars, boy they loved it. As soon as it became affordable, all of the sudden they decided they didn’t like it so much,”  Jindal said.

Nicolas Loris, a Heritage economist who specializes in energy policy, agreed that some liberals initially supported natural gas “as a bridge fuel to take us to renewables.” But because the revolution in shale gas provided an abundance of cheap natural gas, he said, “that bridge became a lot longer than they anticipated.”

“While it may be bad news for other sources of energy,” Loris added, “the low-cost energy is great news for American families and businesses.”

Jindal also cited regulations on carbon dioxide as proof of an “ideologically extreme” agenda by President Obama and other liberals. He said:

“For much of the Left, the whole debate about [carbon dioxide]  is really a Trojan horse because these are folks that never did want a free market. This was a group that was always looking for an excuse to impose more government regulation, more government oversight. … This is just their latest vehicle to do it.”

Jindal’s energy plan, co-authored by Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, is called “Organizing Around Abundance: Making America an Energy Superpower” and promises to usher in an “unprecedented” era of energy development and job growth.  Here are the main points:

1. Promote responsible development of domestic energy resources and construct infrastructure to transport it.

2. Encourage technological innovation of renewables and emerging energy without picking winners and losers. In other words:Stop giving taxpayer-funded handouts to politically preferred energy sources and technologies. Let the market work.

3. Unlock the economic potential of the manufacturing renaissance by putting America’s energy resources to work.

4. Eliminate burdensome regulations such as the Obama administration’s increased carbon dioxide restrictions on power plants.

5. Bolster national security by ending policies that ban the exporting of natural resources.

6. Pursue “no regrets” policies that reduce carbon dioxide emissions without punishing the U.S. economy by putting it at a disadvantage to those of other nations.

Loris gave points to the Jindal-Flores plan for building on “what we see and know to be successful” when it comes to American energy production.

“Free market policies that open access, remove handouts and peel back burdensome regulations will reward risk-taking, stimulate economic growth and provide Americans with affordable energy,” he said.

What the nation shouldn’t pursue, Loris added, is a policy of reducing carbon dioxide.

“That assumes carbon emissions are a problem,” he said.  Instead, “we can recognize that free markets that reward technological innovation can fuel the economy and reduce emissions.”


Comment by conservative Australian cartoonist  ZEG on Australia's recent abolition of the previous government's carbon tax

Power grid groans, blackouts roll through L.A. area as heat wave nears peak

And the billions spent on windmills and solar cells didn't help?

Power outages have been reported during an all-time high demand for electricity during the Southern California heat wave.

Heat wave peaks Tuesday, @LADWP predicts highest power demand ever
Power outages linked to L.A.'s intense heat wave rolled across the city Tuesday. As temperatures approached dangerous highs, harried crews restored service to one area only to be sent to another blackout.

The scorching heat wave has pushed demand for electricity to an all-time high, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power dispatched extra crews to respond to damaged equipment that had left thousands of customers without service.

As of 10 a.m., there were 3,300 customers without power, most of them in Los Feliz and Hollywood.

On Monday, LADWP reported that customers broke a record set in 2010, when they used 6,177 megawatts. On Monday, that figure hit 6,196 megawatts.

The utility said it expected even greater demand from its 1.4 million customers as the stifling heat wave was set to peak on Tuesday.

“Under these extreme conditions, our system is holding up quite well, but we urge our customers to continue to conserve to reduce strain on the grid,” LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards said in a statement.

Blackouts were reported in some of the area’s hardest hit by the five-day heat wave, including Sun Valley, Burbank and Sherman Oaks, where temperatures have hit as high as 105 degrees. Other areas that were affected Tuesday included Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, the Valley and West L.A.

Despite the unprecedented demand for power, LADWP said it had enough equipment to handle the various transformer burnouts and power line failures.

"We’re prepared for emergencies," said spokeswoman Jane Galbraith.

Officials recommended customers set thermostats to 78 degrees or warmer between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., when it requires the most energy to cool a room, and not to use major appliances until evenings or early morning. Closing blinds and curtains to limit direct sunlight also helps.

Temperatures across Southern California have remained in the triple digits as a weak off-shore flow holds cooler sea breezes at bay.

Several more temperature records could fall, including one set in 1909 when downtown L.A. hit 103 degrees. Woodland Hills, meanwhile, is expected to match its 14-year-old record of 109 degrees, and Burbank could top out at 105 degrees, a record set in 1984.



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

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


21 September, 2014

Brainless braying bimbo changes nothing with her latest book

BOOK REVIEW of "This Changes Everything" by Naomi Klein.

The laws of nature do not mandate a progressive paradise

Naomi Klein keeps coming up with fresh new ideas about how to spark an elusive mass social movement against capitalism and corporations. In her 2000 bestseller No Logo, the progressive journalist attempted to harness the nascent anti-globalization movement to unleash "a vast wave of opposition squarely targeting transnational corporations." In 2007, her book The Shock Doctrine bogusly asserted that free market institutions spread only by taking advantage of coups, wars, and natural calamities. The book debuted at the beginning of a massive recession and featured economist Milton Friedman as its chief villain. But still no dice.

Now comes Klein's newest screed, This Changes Everything. "Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war," she asserts. Climate science, Klein claims, has given progressives "the most powerful argument against unfettered capitalism" ever. If the stresses of globalization and a massive financial crisis cannot mobilize the masses, then the prospect of catastrophic climate change must.

Canonical Marxism predicted that capitalism would collapse under the weight of its class "contradictions," in which the bourgeoisie profit from the proletariat's labor until we reach a social breaking point. In Klein's progressive update, capitalism will collapse because the pollution produced by its heedless overconsumption will build to an ecological breaking point. "Only mass social movements can save us now," she declares.

Is she onto something? Man-made climate change, if unaddressed, may well become a significant problem for humanity as the 21st century advances. But is Klein right that progressive values and policies are "currently being vindicated, rather than refuted, by the laws of nature"?

First, a quick review of the state of the climate. The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is indeed increasing because humanity is cutting down forests and burning coal, oil, and natural gas. As a result, the world has warmed, glaciers are melting, and the seas are rising. Since 1951, average global temperature has been increasing at a rate of 0.12°C (0.22°F) per decade. "It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th Century," states the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2013 Physical Sciences report. The vast majority of climate researchers agree that man-made global warming is now underway. It bears mentioning, however, that the global average atmospheric temperature has not significantly increased for the past 17 years, a "pause" not predicted by the computer climate models.

Klein acknowledges that not all weather disasters can be attributed to climate change. But she doesn't let that stop her from trotting out tragic stories of hurricanes, typhoons, and droughts to shore up her thesis. She quotes the Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael Mann: "There's no question that climate change has increased the frequency of certain types of extreme weather events, including drought, intense hurricanes, and super typhoons, the frequency and intensity and duration of heat waves, and potentially other types of extreme weather though the details are still being debated within the scientific community."

Yes, those details are still being debated among climate scientists. The United Nations' Special Report for Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (2012) projects that global warming will generate more heat waves, coastal floods, and droughts as the century unfolds. The researchers, however, could not draw firm conclusions about its effects on current trends in hurricanes, typhoons, hailstorms, or tornadoes. Given projected carbon dioxide emissions, the report notes that weather extremes will likely remain within the normal range of nature's own inherent variation during the next several decades.

What's more, while the world has experienced greater economic losses as a result of extreme weather, that's due primarily to the fact that the world has gotten richer and more populous: There are more people with more stuff of more value to destroy. A 2011 review of 22 weather damage studies in The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society reported, "The studies show no trends in the losses, corrected for change (increases) in population and capital at risk that could be attributed to anthropogenic climate change. Therefore, it can be concluded that anthropogenic climate change so far has not had a significant impact on losses from natural disasters."

Even more happily, a 2011 Reason Foundation report found that deaths from all "extreme weather events globally has declined by more than 90 percent since the 1920s, in spite of a four-fold rise in population and much more complete reporting of such events." This is mostly good news, despite This Changes Everything's scaremongering.

Klein's list of remedies is more alarming than her exaggerations of climate change's present-day effects. She wants to ban fracking, nuclear power, genetically modified crops, geoengineering, carbon sequestration, and carbon markets, thus turning her back on some of the climate-friendliest solutions currently on offer. She wants to block the Keystone pipeline, which would transport petroleum from Canadian oil sands to U.S. refineries; she would pressure pension funds and endowments to divest from fossil fuel companies; and she thinks we should transfer trillions of dollars to poor countries to pay off the rich countries' debt for dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

"We need a Marshall Plan for the Earth," Klein declares, updating one of the most tired historical metaphors for her purposes. "It is entirely possible to rapidly switch our energy systems to 100 percent renewables," she asserts. As an example of "one of several credible studies" showing how such a vast energy transformation could be achieved, she breezily cites a 2009 Energy Policy paper by two researchers, Mark Jacobson of Stanford and Mark Delucchi of the University of California, Davis. Jacobson and Delucchi think we can replace all coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power by 2030 with wind, solar, and hydropower while fueling a fleet of electric cars. How? By deploying 3.8 million 5-megawatt wind turbines, 5,350 100-megawatt geothermal plants, 500,000 1-megawatt tidal turbines, 720,000 0.75-megawatt wave power generators, 1.7 billion 3-kilowatt rooftop solar panels, 40,000 300-megawatt solar panel farms, and 49,000 300-megawatt concentrated solar power plants.

Sound easy? Well, if the world were to begin deploying these renewable energy technologies next year that would mean erecting approximately 250,000 wind turbines each year for the next 15 years. As of the end of 2012, there were a total of 225,000 wind turbines operating around the world.

Similarly, the world would have to install 113 million rooftop solar panel systems per year in order to meet the 2030 goal of 1.7 billion. In 2013, the U.S. installed a record 4,751 megawatts of solar panels, which would be roughly equivalent to 1.6 million 3-kilowatt rooftop solar panels. As of 2013, the entire world had installed 100 gigawatts (100 million kilowatts) of solar photovoltaic panels. Combining the rooftop and solar panel proposals, this hyper-solarization would mean deploying more than 10 times the current installed capacity of photovoltaic panels, not just once but every year for the next 15 years. And never mind that there are virtually no commercial wave or tidal energy production systems currently operating.

Klein never ever discusses how much her solutions to the climate crisis will cost. But Delucchi and Jacobson estimate a price tag of about $100 trillion for their program. That entails spending about $6.6 trillion per year from now until 2030, more than 11 percent of the entire world's 2013 output of $75 trillion. Such a crash plan for global energy transformation might be possible, but it would be a massive shift from our current course. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projected in July 2014 that $7.7 trillion total will be invested in building new power plants between now and 2030, of which renewables will get around two-thirds. And Klein accuses the proponents of free markets of "magical thinking"?

Klein is giddy over the renewable energy schemes in Germany and Denmark, which she lionizes as "two of the countries with the largest commitment to decentralized, community-controlled renewable power." Specifically, she adores Germany's national program of feed-in-tariffs (FITs), which have subsidized huge numbers of solar panels and wind turbines. Klein rhapsodizes that "roughly half of Germany's renewable energy facilities are in the hands of farmers, citizens groups, and almost nine hundred energy cooperatives." She adds that they are "offered a guaranteed price so the risk of losing money is low."

In fact, owners of new renewable energy plants are paid a guaranteed fixed rate for every kilowatt-hour they generate, at administratively set prices far higher than conventional generation. Utilities must take the energy generated and consumers must pay the fixed fee for the energy. Somehow, Klein concludes that these government-set prices "make renewable energy affordable."

But a July 2014 report by the Swiss economics consultancy Finadvice, commissioned by the U.S.–based Electric Power Research Institute, found that the cost of Germany's FIT program has been more than $412 billion so far and will rise to a total of $884 billion by 2022. As a result, German household electricity rates have more than doubled, increasing from $0.18 per kilowatt-hour in 2000 to $0.38 per kilowatt-hour today. Households in Denmark pay even more: $0.39 per kilowatt-hour. Meanwhile U.S. electricity prices have remained stable, at an average of around $0.13 per kilowatt-hour.

The installation of solar and wind energy systems has contributed to reducing Germany's carbon dioxide emissions, but at an estimated cost of more than $1,000 per ton avoided by solar power and $80 per ton avoided by wind power. The average price for carbon dioxide emissions permits in Europe hover at about $20 per ton. Electricity rates this high might well be the price for protecting the climate, but Klein is keeping her readers in the dark about what her proposals would cost them.

Even as Klein claims that it's a delusion to think we can rely on market forces and technological progress to solve our climate problems, a consensus to the contrary is emerging. Groups such as Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Breakthrough Institute, and the Brookings Institution favor a policy platform that rejects energy puritanism and embraces technology.

This new coalition spurns schemes to restrict energy use, such as the International Energy Agency's anemic recommendation that annual access to 100 kilowatt hours of electricity per person will be enough. (That's the amount of electricity that the average American burns in three days.) Instead, proponents of the new consensus tend to support more government spending on research and development aiming to make clean energy sources cheaper than fossil fuels.

Given pervasive and massive government meddling in energy markets, subsidizing low-carbon energy R&D is arguably the least bad feasible policy option for addressing climate change. The new consensus also embraces fracking. In fact, the U.N.'s Physical Sciences report identifies power generation using natural gas as a "bridge technology" that can be deployed now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; burning natural gas releases about half the carbon dioxide that burning coal does. Coal-fired electric power plants are largely being shut down in the United States because they are being outcompeted by natural gas–powered plants that emit far less carbon dioxide.

And nuclear power is back on the table, after a long decline. In 2013, climate researchers James Hansen, Kerry Emanuel, Ken Caldeira, and Tom Wigley—people not known for soft-pedaling the threat of global warming—issued an open letter challenging the broad environmental movement to stop fighting nuclear power and embrace it as a crucial technology for averting the possibility of a climate catastrophe through its supply of zero-carbon energy. The letter states that "continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity's ability to avoid dangerous climate change." They add, "While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize the climate without nuclear power, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power."

Klein acidly dismisses reliance on science, technology, and markets to address the problems of climate change as embodying the attitude that "We will triumph in the end because triumphing is what we do." Well, yes. And that's a much better bet than imagining the laws of nature mandate a post-capitalist utopia.


"Fossil Free UK": divesting from reality

Fossil Free UK, a campaign group that encourages organisations to divest of financial products tied to the fossil-fuel industry, announced victory this week following the promise of Oxford City Council to follow an ‘ethical investment’ policy.

The council decided that it will ‘not knowingly invest directly in businesses whose activities and practices pose a risk of serious harm to individuals or groups’. These restrictions apply to companies which engage in ‘human-rights abuse’, ‘socially harmful activities’ and ‘environmentally harmful activities’.

Campaigning for a divestment in fossil fuels is ridiculous, considering how interrelated the modern industrial economy is with energy production. There is no economic activity or money in existence that doesn’t bare the supposed stain of fossil fuels. Not only is every social and economic activity in modern society powered by burning fossil fuels - these things rely on one another for their existence.

The great gains in productivity and the goods and services surpluses society has enjoyed since the Industrial Revolution have been generated by burning fossil fuels to power economic life. Food is much cheaper today due to technologies that are powered by fossil fuels; the electricity that powers the Fossil Free UK website exists because burning fossil-fuel-generated energy is so abundant that it can be used for non-essential social and economic activities. Theatres, art galleries and even ‘ethical businesses’ live off the energy surplus and profit made from an economy powered by the highly effective burning of fossil fuels. Renewable energy, on the other hand, is not yet feasible on a mass scale, and may never be.

Fossil fuels are central to our economies not because they hold shadowy sway in the corridors of power, but because we, the people (pejoratively known as the market), want and need the energy they produce. Shifting millions from an oil company into an ‘ethical’ business does not remove that money’s use or reliance on fossil-fuel energy. In the end, the only thing Oxford City Council is divesting from is reality.


Weather Channel Founder Explains the History of the Global Warming Hoax

John Coleman, an award-winning meteorologist and weatherman with sixty years of experience and founder of the Weather Channel, produced a video explaining the history of the man-made global warming hoax.

Coleman, a former broadcast meteorologist of the year of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), explains that after being a member for several years, he quit the AMS after it became very clear to him that “the politics had gotten in the way of the science.” Coleman explains that there is no man-made global warming, and he’s sure of it.

Coleman says that if there were evidence of man-made global warming, he would have been dedicated his life to stopping it: “I love our wonderful planet Earth. If I thought it was threatened by global warming, I would devote my life to stopping the warming!”

Now they call it “climate change” instead of global warming, because the warming has stopped, says Coleman, and that $4.7 billion in taxpayer money is funding “bogus reports” and “bogus research.”

Coleman explains that any warming or “climate change” is extremely negligible from a long-term perspective and certainly nothing unusual or alarming, and points out that Antarctic sea ice is close to an all-time high, and the polar bear population is as high as it’s been in recorded history.

In regards to rising sea levels, Coleman says that:
“It’s rising at about the rate of about six inches per hundred years, as part of this inter-glacial period. When North America was covered in a 400 foot thick ice core at the end of the last ice age, the oceans were low, and then as that ice melted, of course the oceans have risen. That rise has been gentle and is not important.”

More HERE  (See the original for video)

Is the Shale Revolution a 'Ponzi Scheme' or the End of Peak Oil?

A lot of folks are fervently forecasting that shale gas and oil production is a bubble about to pop, possibly producing an economic collapse similar to the one in 2008. Earlier this week, the left-leaning Center for Research on Globalization in Montreal dismissed the shale revolution as a "Ponzi scheme" and "this decade's version of the Dotcom bubble." In a column last year for The Guardian, Nafeez Ahmed of the Institute for Policy Research and Development cited studies predicting that U.S. shale gas production will likely peak in 2015 and oil production in 2017. In a July 2013 report for the Club of Rome—the same folks who brought us 1972's doom-mongering classic, The Limits to Growth—the University of Florence chemist Ugo Bardi declared that the "idea that a 'gas revolution' that will bring for us an age of abundance is rapidly fading" because "the data show that the gas bubble may be already bursting." A month later, Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute said, "It turns out there are only a few 'plays' or geological formations in the US from which shale gas is being produced; in virtually all of them, except the Marcellus (in Pennsylvania and West Virginia), production rates are already either in plateau or decline."

So was President Barack Obama wrong in 2012, when he claimed, "We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years"? Perhaps not.

The renaissance of oil and gas production in the United States has largely been the result of applying the technique of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), which releases vast quantities of hydrocarbons trapped in tight shale formations. The bubble theorists make much of the fact that production tends to drop more rapidly in fracked wells than in conventional ones, forcing the frackers to drill more holes just to keep up. They overlook the fact that drillers are working ever faster and cheaper and that newer wells tend to be more productive than earlier wells. How do we know this? Because the number of drill rigs has not increased in most shale fields, yet production continues to go up.

So what about Heinberg's claim that "production rates are already either in plateau or decline"? He's just wrong. The September drilling productivity report from the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) notes that since 2013, that gas production is up in every one of the "plays" cited by Heinberg. Production in the Bakken region of North Dakota grew 8 percent; the Eagle Ford, Permian, and Haynesville regions in Texas increased 15, 7, and 97 percent, respectively; the Niobrara region in Wyoming and Colorado rose by 29 percent; and the Utica and Marcellus regions in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia surged 142 and 47 percent. "We've been tracking this for 10 years, and recovery rates have gone up dramatically," says EIA forecaster Philip Budzik.

Meanwhile, the EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2014 shows the potential U.S. oil and gas resource bases are increasing, not decreasing. Bubble forecasters insist those estimates are way off-base. They point to the EIA's recent big flub when it came to estimating how much petroleum might be pumped from the Monterey shale formations in California. The agency initially prognosticated that as much as 13.7 billion barrels of oil might be produced, but it cut its estimate by 96 percent, to 600 million barrels, once it recognized the extraction challenges posed by the complicated geology of southern California. Whoops!

That's bad, but in the scope of estimates it's a blip, not a fatal error.

Back in 2000, the EIA Outlook report estimated that the U.S.'s technically recoverable petroleum resources were 124 billion barrels; it put natural gas resources at 1,111 trillion cubic feet (tcf). ("Technically recoverable" basically means that the resource can be extracted using current technology if the price is right.) Proved oil and natural gas reserves amounted to 22 billion barrels and 176 tcf, respectively. ("Proved" generally means the amount of resources that can be recovered from the deposit with a reasonable level of certainty.) When it came to shale and other tight rock formations, the 2000 report estimated that only 2 billion barrels of oil and 50 tcf of natural gas were technically recoverable. "Basically, in 2000 no one was even thinking that you could produce this stuff," says Budzik.

How time and technological progress make fools of all prognosticators! The 2014 EIA Outlook estimates that the U.S.'s technically recoverable oil resources are 238 billion barrels and natural gas resources are 2,266 tcf. Proved U.S. petroleum reserves have increased from their 2009 nadir of 19 billion barrels to over 30 billion barrels, and proved natural gas reserves are at 334 tcf now. In other words, estimates of technically recoverable U.S. resources of both oil and gas have nearly doubled in the past 15 years. Proved oil reserves have increased 50 percent, while proved gas reserves have also nearly doubled. Technically recoverable resources from shale and other tight rocks is now estimated to be 59 billion barrels of crude and 903 tcf of gas—a 30-fold and 18-fold increase, respectively, over the 2000 assessments.

Take the figure of 2,266 tcf of natural gas. Last year, Americans burned through 26 tcf of natural gas. At that rate, the estimated resource would last 87 years. Not the 100 years claimed by the president, but close enough for government work.

While EIA reserve and resource estimates have been trending steeply upward over the past decade and half, the agency tries to take into account uncertainties by sketching out scenarios to 2040 in which domestic oil and gas supplies are either 50 percent higher or lower than its reference case. Production of shale gas and oil is the key difference in the scenarios. In the high supply case, technically recoverable crude and gas plus proved reserves amount to 431 billion barrels and 3,683 tcf. Consequently, domestic oil production rises to 13 million barrels per day before 2035 and imports decline to near zero. Tight oil production peaks at 8.5 million barrels per day in 2035 compared to the reference case peak of 4.8 million barrels in 2021. Cumulative tight oil production reaches 75 billion barrels, up from 44 billion in the reference case.

In the low supply scenario, crude oil totals 210 barrels and gas totals 1,814 tcf; oil production reaches 9.1 million barrels per day in 2017 and then slowly falls to 6.6 million barrels per day in 2040. Tight oil production peaks in 2016 at 4.3 million barrels per day with a cumulative production of 34 billion barrels. Interestingly, the difference in price in the high and low supply scenarios is only $20 per barrel—$125 versus $145 (using 2012 dollars) in 2040.

The shale bubble proponents essentially are betting on the EIA low production scenario. They will be proven right if shale oil production does peak in the next year or two. We shall soon see. "The history of the industry is that we are always running out," says Budzik. "So long as we have a well functioning economic system that allows the price mechanism to adjust and encourages innovation we will see the resource base grow rather than diminish." Rising prices at the beginning of the 21st century did, in fact, promote more exploration and faster technological progress, resulting in the shale revolution the U.S. is currently enjoying. If this dynamic is not unduly hampered, it's a good bet that the prophets of bubble-bursting doom are wrong yet again.


Onshore gas find tipped as Western Australia's biggest in decades

"Peak gas" not in sight

Local oil and gas player AWE has claimed what may be Western Australia's largest onshore gas discovery since the 1960s, sending its shares up as much as 16 per cent.

Gas from the field, 50:50 owned by AWE and Origin Energy, is targeted for users in WA.

The news comes after the Senecio-3 well drilled by AWE and partner Origin Energy found gas deeper down in its Senecio gas field in the Perth Basin.

Together, the Senecio and deeper Waitsia fields could hold 360 billion cubic feet of gas, and potentially as much as 1.17 trillion cubic feet of gas, AWE said on Thursday.

AWE said that could make it the biggest onshore find in the state since the Dongara field.

The resources, which were foreshadowed by AWE when initial results from the Senecio-3 well came in early this month, lie close to existing gas processing plants and pipelines.

That meant the resources could be brought into production relatively quickly, AWE managing director Bruce Clement said.

The gas is classified as "tight", meaning it would require artificial stimulation to flow to the surface.

Even so, BBY analyst Scott Ashton noted the "big" size of the field and Mr Clement's positive comments about potential commercial prospects.

Mr Clement also said there was "substantial upside" to potential resources in the reservoir from unconventional gas in some levels of shale and coal at the site.

"We are now focusing on flow testing of Senecio-3 to establish commercial viability and the potential early, low-cost development of the Senecio and Waitsia fields," he said.


Obama Executive Actions: Fight Climate Change With Vets, Regulate Building and Energy Sector

In executive actions issued on Thursday, President Barack Obama announced that millions of federal dollars are being distributed by multiple government agencies to fund “renewable energy and energy efficiency” projects, including solar energy jobs for military veterans and solar energy installation in government buildings.

The lengthy announcement detailed the Department of Energy’s proposed new standard on building codes, limiting the use of  “electric or fossil fuel to humidify or dehumidify,” and roofing insulation requirements.

“The Obama Administration is committed to taking action to combat climate change,” the announcement states. “As part of that effort, today, the White House is announcing a series of public and private sector commitments and executive actions to advance solar deployment and promote energy efficiency.

“The executive announcements today altogether will cut carbon pollution by nearly 300 million metric tons through 2030 – equivalent to taking more than 60 million cars off the road for one year – and will save homes and businesses more than $10 billion on their energy bills,” the announcement states.

The announcement included a list of those executive actions as follows:

*    Partnering with up to three military bases to create a veterans solar job training pilot;

*    Investing $68 million (in grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture) in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in rural areas across the country, including 240 solar projects;

*   Proposing an energy conservation standard for commercial unit air conditioners that has the potential to save more energy than any previously issued standard;

*   Supporting funding for clean energy and energy efficiency for affordable housing;

*   Strengthening commercial and residential buildings codes; and

*   Harmonizing the power of national service and volunteerism to tackle climate change and its effects.

The announcement also states: “50 companies, states, communities and multifamily housing leaders from across the country are announcing commitments to deploy onsite solar energy and improve energy efficiency.”

It also says that to “build a skilled solar workforce, DOE’s Solar Instructor Training Network is launching a veterans’ job training pilot project” that will “assist at least 50,000 highly-qualified new solar installers to enter the industry by 2020.”

The “commercial sector leaders, low-income housing authorities and communities” taking part in the “president’s call to action” to increase the use of renewable sources and solar power include Cisco Systems, Becton, Dickinson and Company, Public Housing Authorities in Massachusetts, the District of Columbia Housing Authority, the City of Beaverton, Ore., Montgomery County, Md., the city of Charlottesville, Va., and the Jackson Family Wines in California.

Another contingency of states, cities, multifamily housing developments, retailers, commercial properties and manufacturers are pledging to increase energy efficiency, according to the announcement.

Obama’s executive actions “will create jobs, reduce carbon pollution, and improve energy efficiency,” the announcement states.



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

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


19 September, 2014

Temp. rise 1910-1940 same as 1970-2000, IPCC does not claim former is from CO2

Tweet from Patrick Moore

A Closer Look At Record August Fraud From NASA

August was cool in the US, western Europe, southern Asia, parts of Siberia, Australia, Africa, South America, Antarctica and the Arctic. It was the first or second coldest summer on record north of 80N.

And NASA says it was the hottest August ever.

Compare vs. August 1998, when almost the whole world was hot.

We have passed a tipping point of full out fraud at government agencies.


What Can Conservatives Do About Climate Change?

Climate change is clearly a prime issue for Democrats who want to increase government power and reach. “The science is settled,” they insist, even as it’s apparent to those willing to look that the science is not settled at all. Undeterred, Democrats slander “deniers” and demand we all submit to the latest whims of the Environmental Protection Agency. But assuming for the sake of argument the climate is changing, is there a conservative response that would account for it without giving in to leftist demands?

To ask the question is almost to answer it. Yes, conservatives can address the environment without selling out to the other side of the political aisle.

Few deny that climate change is a real feature of the planet we inhabit. What we do deny is that man-made greenhouse gases are the sole cause, or that top-down government control is the only way to address it. Control is the true creed of ecofascists, and it’s why they bang on their highchairs so vociferously about the science as justification.

Climate alarmists make some assumptions that belie the anti-capitalist roots of their environmentalism. Writing in The Atlantic, historian Jeremy Caradonna elucidates: “The stock narrative of the Industrial Revolution is one of moral and economic progress. Indeed, economic progress is cast as moral progress.” He continues scornfully, “This narrative remains today an ingrained operating principle that propels us in a seemingly unstoppable way toward more growth and more technology, because the assumption is that these things are ultimately beneficial for humanity.”

Well, let’s see. Among other things, the Industrial Revolution and accompanying advances eased poverty by making goods and services more affordable (just think of all the comforts and conveniences the poor in the U.S. have today) and dramatically increased life expectancy (which leftists see as a problem). Those things are by no means utopian, nor did they come without cost, but they seem to us “ultimately beneficial.” Certainly beneficial enough to oppose self-interested bureaucrats and politicos who would degrade these advances in the name of questionable science.

So, what is a conservative approach? More specifically, how do we continue supporting an ever-burgeoning human population with growing energy needs while stewarding the planet?

James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute asserts, “[H]umans have a poor record of understanding risk in complex systems, full of interdependencies, feedback loops, and nonlinear responses. Perhaps humility and caution and consideration are warranted. Doing nothing about climate change, I would argue, is a one-way, all-or-nothing bet with huge potential downside.”

In a later post, Pethokoukis added, “[T]he choice doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing bet between (a) doing nothing about carbon emissions and (b) embracing a low-energy future of scarcity and stagnation. Rather, the challenge is creating a high-growth, high-abundance, high-energy future for mankind that minimizes the risk of a dangerous climatic shock.”

We would put it this way: The free market should put forth the best ideas for energy production with the goal of getting the most out of both conservation and wealth generation. Government policy should foster innovation rather than picking winners and losers through political favoritism and cronyism. The current system of heavily regulating some industries while lavishly subsidizing others is antithetical to a market-driven economy, and it’s no way to move forward.

Columnist David Harsanyi writes, “I suppose it makes me a technoutopian to trust that we can adapt and create ways to deal with whatever consequences – and obviously there are consequences – a thriving modern world drops on us. Historically speaking, though, would it have been better for humanity to avoid an ‘Age of Pollution’ and wallow in a miserable pre-Industrial Age, where poverty, death, disease and violence, were far more prevalent in our short miserable lives? Or would we have chosen global warming? I think the latter. And I think we’d do it again.” Think about that the next time Al Gore touches down in his private jet to tell you to quit driving your SUV.

Many people making many little decisions leads to much better and far faster results than one or a few making big decisions. And the risk of many “bad” little decisions is far less severe and far more recoverable than one or a few big bad decisions.


Scientists turn to Pope Francis to "save the planet"

It has been one of the most fraught relationships of recent centuries, at least in the popular imagination.

But a group of scientists are pinning their hopes for the salvation of the planet, in the face of climate change and habitat destruction - on religion.

Their case, set out in an essay in the journal Science, is being described a “watershed moment” for scientists and faith leaders alike.

It argues that engaging religious leaders, rather than relying on politicians, could hold the key to mobilising billions of people around the world to change aspects of their lifestyles to help prevent catastrophic climate change.

The article singles out Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church, with its 1.2 billion-strong network of followers, as the key but calls for religious leaders of every stripe to be recruited.

It argues that religion can provide a unique combination of “moral leadership” and global organisational structures required to bring about practical changes which could have an immediate effect, such as providing millions of the world’s poorest people with cleaner forms of fuel.

It comes as Pope Francis finalises a widely anticipated papal encyclical on the environment, throwing the full weight of the Catholic Church behind efforts to limit climate change.

The article is co-authored by Prof Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate scientist at the University of California, San Diego, and Prof Sir Partha Dasgupta, an economist based at St John’s College, Cambridge.

“Natural and social scientists have done their part in documenting the irreversible environmental damages (albeit with large uncertainties) that we have inflicted and in spelling out specific mitigation actions,” they write.

“The transformational step may very well be a massive mobilisation of public opinion by the Vatican and other religions for collective action to safeguard the well-being of both humanity and the environment.”

They argue that the “invisible hand” of the market, the term coined by the philosopher and economist Adam Smith to describe how economies can regulate themselves, can never achieve the kind of change needed to protect the planet.

“The rise of market fundamentalism and the drive for growth in profits and gross domestic product (GDP) have encouraged behaviour that is at odds with pursuit of the common good,” they write.

“Finding ways to develop a sustainable relationship with nature requires not only engagement of scientists and political leaders, but also moral leadership that religious institutions are in a position to offer.”

Professor Naomi Oreskes, a leading Harvard historian of science, said: “This is a watershed moment.

“For 20 years, scientists have been reluctant to speak out on the need to change business as usual for fear of being labelled ‘political,’ and reluctant to address the moral dimensions of climate change for fear of being labelled ‘unscientific.’

"Professors Dasgupta and Ramanathan remind us that we are all responsible for the common good.”


The EPA is more concerned with what sounds good than what actually works

In this hyper-partisan environment, it is good to know that a majority of Senators can still agree on an issue. When such a rare moment happens, the rest of us should pay attention, as it is probably something very important.

On September 11, 53 Senators (43 Republicans and 10 Democrats) signed a letter to Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), begging for a 60-day extension of the comment period for the “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Generating Units” — also known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The original 120-day comment period — which is already longer than the traditional 60-day comment period — is coming to a close within the next 30 days (October 16).

Regarding the EPA’s new plan, the letter calls the coordination needed between multiple state agencies, public utility commissions, regional transmission organizations, and transmission and reliability experts: “Unprecedented, extraordinary, and extremely time consuming.” The Senators ask for more time so that states and stakeholders can “fully analyze and assess the sweeping impacts that the proposal will have on our nation’s energy system.” It also points out: “The EPA proposal provides no mechanism for adjusting the state emission rate targets once they are adopted”—which makes it imperative that the states can fully “digest” the rule, review the 600 supporting documents, and collect the data and justification for the states’ responses.

It is not just the majority of Senators who have concerns about the EPA’s proposed rule, a diverse and growing coalition, including the Exotic Wildlife Association, the Foundry Association of Michigan, California Cotton Growers Association, Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association, The Fertilizer Institute, Georgia Railroad Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, electric utilities and co-ops, and city and state Chambers of Commerce from coast-to-coast, has sprung up in opposition to the plan. Yet most people are unaware of the potential impacts or of the pending deadline for public comment.

I have written on the CPP twice in the past few months — originally when it was first announced on June 2 and then after I gave testimony in Atlanta at one of the EPA’s four scheduled “listening sessions.” Upon release, we didn’t really know much — after all, it is, as the Senators’ letter explains, complex and sweeping. But as more and more information is coming out, we see that the impact to the economy and U.S. energy security will be devastating.

Despite my efforts to spread the word — with my second column on the topic being one of my most popular ever, I find that the CPP isn’t even on the radar of the politically engaged (let alone the average person). Because this is an issue of utmost importance, I am, once again, bringing it to the attention of my readers with the hope that you will share it with everyone you know. At this point, we don’t know if the EPA will extend the comment period, so please take time now to get your comments in. The Hill reports: “Adding 60 days to the comment period could make it harder for the EPA to finalize the rule by June 2015, as President Obama has ordered.”

I’ve written this week’s column with the specific intent of giving you verbiage that you can simply cut and paste into the comment form.

The CPP will radically alter the way electricity is generated, transmitted, distributed and used in America—all with dramatic cost impacts to the consumer. It is based on the discredited theory that climate change is a crisis caused by the use of fossil fuels emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It aims to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The combination of the CPP and previous regulation will shut down more than 40 percent of coal-fueled generation — representing 10 percent of all electricity-generation capacity — within the next 6 years.

What will this forced, premature elimination of America’s electric capacity do?

The proposed EPA plan will seriously threaten America’s electric reliability

Unless the EPA backs down on its harsh regulations and coal-fueled power plants get a reprieve, blackouts are almost guaranteed — especially in light of the projected cold winter. About the 2014 “polar vortex” that crippled the U.S., Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, at an April Senate hearing on grid reliability, stated: “Eighty-nine percent of the coal electricity capacity that is due to go offline was utilized as that backup to meet the demand this winter.” Murkowski’s comments were referencing coal-fueled power plants that are already due to be shut down based on regulations from five years ago, before the proposed CPP additionally reduces supply.

Affirming Murkowski’s comments, Nicholas Akins, president and CEO of Ohio-based American Electric Power Company Inc., sees the 2014 near crisis as a warning sign. At that same hearing he said: “The weather events experienced this winter provided an early warning about serious issues with electric supply and reliability. This country did not just dodge a bullet — we dodged a cannonball.” And, Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Philip Moeller said: “the country is undergoing an unprecedented energy shift in a very short time frame.” And added: “grid operators in the Midwest are struggling to gauge whether they will have sufficient capacity to handle peak weather during the next five years.”

While these comments are about the 2014 severe cold, Texas experienced a similar scare in 2011, when a protracted heat wave resulted in razor-thin reserve electric capacity margins. A Reuters report titled: “Heat waves pushes Texas power grid into red zone,” stated: “Texas has the most wind power in the country, but the wind does not blow during the summer.” Just a few months earlier, Texas ice storms forced rolling blackouts for hours because electric supplies dropped below demand.” All of these reports are before the projected closure of an additional 75 megawatts of coal-fueled electricity generation due to the new regulations. If McCarthy was serious when, prior to the release of the proposed regulations, she stated: “Nothing we do can threaten reliability,” she’d withdraw this plan, as it will do just that.

The proposed EPA plan will chase away more American industry

While the CPP appears to be about forcing the power sector into reducing carbon-dioxide emissions, there are spillover impacts of higher electricity rates on overall economic activity — especially energy-intensive industries such as steel, manufacturing, and chemicals. America’s abundance of affordable, reliable energy provides businesses with a critical operating advantage in today’s intensely competitive global economy. The EPA’s proposal will reduce America’s advantage, as it’s acknowledged that the proposed regulations will raise electricity rates in the contiguous U.S. by 5.9 percent to 6.5 percent in 2020. Europe, and especially Germany, is threatened by an industry exodus due to its higher energy costs that have been created by its move to increase green energy. Germany’s pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer is already making significant investment in its Chinese manufacturing operations, with expansion also taking place in Brazil and India. If industry continues to leave the U.S., the CPP will have the opposite effect. Emissions will increase as companies move to countries with lower labor costs, cheaper energy, and lax environmental policies. An additional unintended consequence will be more jobs lost in manufacturing.

The proposed EPA plan will kill hundreds of thousands of jobs

In late July, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) International President Edwin D. Hill said: “If these rules are implemented as written, dozens of coal plants will shut down and with no plans to replace them, tens of thousands of jobs will be lost and global carbon emissions will rise anyway.”

Investor’s Business Daily reports: “The IBEW has now joined the United Mine Workers of America, the Boilermakers and several other unions opposed to the new anti-carbon rules.” The United Mine Workers of America has estimated that the rule will result in 187,000 direct and indirect job losses in the utility, rail, and coal industries in 2020 and cumulative wage and benefit losses from these sectors of $208 billion between 2015 and 2035.

The EPA rules hitting industry in rapid succession create uncertainty — and, as we’ve seen with Obamacare — uncertainty thwarts investment and hiring. The same industries that will be taking the regulatory hit from the CPP, are expecting additional impacts from the follow-on rules that are yet to be promulgated. No wonder the economy is sluggish and the jobs picture is bleak.

The proposed EPA plan will cause harsh economic consequences while having virtually no impact on the reported goal of stopping global climate change

From increased energy costs to job losses, the CPP will damage the economy. A statement from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on the EPA proposal, points out: “estimates regarding the damage to jobs and the economy created by poorly planned climate regulations have consistently been shown to be true in comparison to the overly optimistic predictions made by the EPA.”

Perhaps these economic consequences would be worth it, if they actually did anything to really reduce carbon-dioxide emissions — assuming what humans breathe out and plants breathe in is actually the cause of global warming. But even the EPA acknowledges that the CPP is less about reductions and more about being a global leader to “prompt and leverage international decisions and action.” In Hillary Clinton’s September 4 speech at Senator Harry Reid’s National Clean Energy Summit, she stated that the U.S. needs to lead other countries in green energy and that we need to show the world we are committed.

Yet, the U.S., which did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, is the first country to actually reduce carbon dioxide emissions and meet the Kyoto requirements. We are already a leader, but the other countries aren’t following — instead they are abandoning the sinking green ship and Germany, which claims to still be committed to the green ideology, is actually increasing its number of coal-fueled power plants and CO2 emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions from non-Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries — such as China and India—are projected to grow by nine billion tons per year. The Partnership for a Better Energy Future reports: “for every ton of CO2 reduced in 2030 as a result of EPA’s rule, the rest of the world will have increased emissions by more than 16 tons.” Our reduction in 2030 would offset the equivalent of just 13.5 days of carbon-dioxide emissions from China. The CPP will become the definition of “all pain and no gain.” Or, as economist Thomas Sowell calls it: “replacing what worked with what sounded good.”

The EPA’s October 16 deadline will be upon us before you know it. Take a few minutes now to send them your comments. Pick any of the above suggestions, customize them as you please, and send them on to the EPA. For America to grow, we need energy that is effective, efficient, and economical, rather than that which is threatened by the EPA’s flood of excessive and burdensome regulations.


Australia: NSW faces gas shortages due to onerous environmental requirements

The New South Wales government says "nothing is off the table" in its desperate bid to stave off potential shortages in gas supplies that could drive manufacturers from the state and push up household energy bills if coal seam gas projects by AGL Energy and Santos don't start up on time.

NSW deputy secretary for resources and energy Kylie Hargreaves said on Thursday that gas savings schemes were under study, as well as ways to help gas users switch to electricity, so additional gas could be made available instead to heavy users that rely on it.

But she said that the government was assuming that potential gas shortages would not arrive as early as some observers were warning, and that by the time it was assuming - 2018-19 - both AGL's Gloucester CSG project in the northern Hunter region and Santos's Pilliga CSG project should have come into production as long as they meet regulatory requirements for approval.

"We're looking at everything, nothing is off the table in all honesty because we just want to make sure we try and do whatever is reasonable to try and address the pressures in the industry," Ms Hargreaves told a conference in Sydney.

"The last thing we want is manufacturing going out the door."

NSW, which produces only 5 per cent of its own gas, has been slow to develop its plentiful CSG resources and projects such as Gloucester and Pilliga are running behind schedule.

Santos had been targeting mid-2014 to lodge an environmental impact statement for its controversial $2 billion Pilliga project but has yet to submit the document, putting its tentative schedule for production in 2017 in doubt. AGL has flagged a final investment decision for its Gloucester project in the December quarter this year. Those two projects could together supply 70 per cent of NSW's gas requirements by 2020, although production initiallly would be lower.

But industrial gas users at the conference, including petrochemicals producer Qenos, queried the NSW government's appreciation of the problems the lack of certainty on future gas supplies are having on their businesses, and signalled they were having difficulty sourcing gas from 2017 onwards.

Ms Hargreaves said the government was dealing with individual projects to try to facilitate gas supplies to customers that rely on them.

Western Power non-executive director Paul Underwood questioned whether the NSW government had considered the possibility of building an LNG import terminal to tackle the problem.

"We're open to be looking at any and all options," Ms Hargreaves said. "Our fundamental driver is security of supply, affordability of supply, and I'm happy to look at almost anything in that space."

The idea of a gas pipeline from the Northern Territory that could bring gas to NSW via South AUstralia or Queensland is also being supported by the NSW government, she added.

Ms Hargreaves said that the government also had a working group into how to help gas users to switch to electricity if necessary and possible, and making that gas available to heavy users that depend on it for their business. It is also studying the potential for a scheme that would create financial incentives for organisations to invest in projects to save gas, similar to the Energy Savings Scheme in electricity.



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

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


18 September, 2014

Are spiders getting bigger? Warm summer has caused arachnids to grow larger, say experts

Amusing.  On several occasions Warmists have claimed that warming will make people and animals SHRINK in size

Enjoyed the summer? You’re not alone: Experts have warned that homes may be set for an invasion of larger than normal spiders who have feasted on an abundance of prey in the last few months.

That’s because this year the warm summer has allowed certain spiders to eat more than usual and grow to their upper limits.

And it could mean we’ll see more and more large spiders in our homes in the coming months.

The mild summer has meant the eight-legged creatures have had plenty to eat and very few have perished.

With temperatures set to fall, experts from Sydney University have said the larger-than-usual house spiders will be heading indoors in the coming weeks to find a mate.

Professor Adam Hart of the University of Gloucestershire agreed with their predication and said: ‘This year has been seemingly a good one for the invertebrates which spiders feed on, and it’s quite mild out there.’

Spiders are growing far larger in the city than in rural environments, researchers have said.

They found that rather than thriving in areas with lots of vegetation, golden orb weaver spiders living in urban areas of Sydney, Australia, were larger and had more babies.

The say cities have an abundance of food and city lights could be to blame.

'City-dwelling orb-weaving spiders grow larger and could produce more offspring than their country cousins our research shows,' said Elizabeth Lowe of the University of Sydney, who led the research.

This study shows invertebrates are sensitive to urbanisation but that not all species are negatively affected by living in cities.

Both sexes stay in their webs until the autumn when the males become nomadic and search for females.

Mr Lawrence Bee of the British Arachnological Society tells MailOnline that people often notice larger spiders this year as the cold weather drives them inside, with males hunting for females.

But he agrees that the particularly mild summer we’ve had, not too hot and not too cold, will have given spiders access to more prey.

But Professor Hart said people have nothing to fear from big creepy crawlies because spiders are the a free pest control service.


Report: Green Lobbyists Kept ‘Revolving Door’ Spinning at EPA

Green lobbyists kept the “revolving door” at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spinning despite President Obama’s assurances to the nation that he slammed it shut on his first day in office, according to an interim report released Monday by the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute (E&E Legal).

“On my first day in office, we closed the revolving door between lobbying firms and the government so that no one in my administration would make decisions based on the interests of former or future employers,” Obama said in his weekly address on Jan. 23, 2010.

But based on EPA emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by E&E Legal and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), “the truth, as this report documents, is quite different,” author Christopher Horner wrote.

“EPA’s connection with green pressure groups is a classic case of a ‘revolving door’,” Horner stated.  “It is noteworthy that every member of the EPA’s senior leadership who has not made his or her career in the EPA or state level environmental agencies has a history of employment with green pressure groups,” the report noted. Likewise, “outgoing officials frequently find themselves working for these same green pressure groups when they leave the EPA.”

Calling EPA “among the most closed, ideological and politicized organizations in government,” the report found that instead of keeping environmental lobbyists at arms’ length, as Obama had promised, EPA officials fostered a climate of “improper influence and collusion in pursuit of a shared and admittedly ideological agenda.”

“The EPA and various green groups do research for one another, coordinate messages with one another, support one another’s efforts and coordinate their efforts toward a shared goal, as if the EPA and outside green groups were one and the same,” Horner noted in the report.

Such “unprecedented” collaboration between green lobbyists and EPA officials runs “contrary to Executive Order 12674,” which states that “employees shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual.”

“Contrary to candidate Obama’s promise to run the ‘most transparent administration in history,’ free of conflicts of interest, documents reveal that various environmentalist pressure groups with extreme agendas have unprecedented access to and influence upon their former colleagues and other ideological allies who are now EPA officials. EPA serves as an extension of these groups and neither EPA nor the groups recognize any distinction between them,” the report added.

The alleged collusion ranged from “working together to orchestrate public hearings” to “jointly target[ing] individual power plants to block under any new EPA standards to the Obama administration's internally declared "war on coal.”

EPA officials also “repeatedly gave green groups a leg up in submitting comments for the administrative record… before the record was open for comments to the general public,” the report stated.

And while green lobbyists were welcomed at the EPA to help write new regulations, private parties who would be most affected by the rules were told to wait until they were finished.

E&E Legal found that political appointees at EPA are “almost exclusively…environmental activists from anti-energy ‘green’ pressure groups” such as the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) who “want coal eliminated entirely, and like-minded career bureaucrats."

Emails between Sierra Club lobbyist John Coequyt and Michael Goo, former head of EPA’s Office of Policy and former staff member at NRDC, showed they arranged to meet at a Marriott Hotel near EPA headquarters in Washington, presumably to avoid Coequyt having to sign the agency’s visitor log, the report noted.

Georgetown Law Professor Lisa Heinzerling -  the lead counsel in Massachusetts v. EPA, a 2007 landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court allowed, but did not require, EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant – was “brought to the Obama EPA immediately, clearly for the purpose of orchestrating mandatory regulation of CO2, which she just as quickly set about to do,” Horner pointed out.

Heinzerling served as the EPA’s senior climate policy counsel and associate administrator of the Office of Policy from January 2009 to December 2010. She “was given the lead role in formally obtaining the outcome that defined her career – reversing EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act and Massachusetts v. EPA, and otherwise crafting the ‘global warming’ agenda.”

“A more obvious appearance of conflict is hardly imaginable,” Horner pointed out.

The emails also showed that “EPA officials, and particularly senior Obama appointees driving the regulatory agenda, have minds that are unalterably made up on important regulatory issues… they had worked on as activists much of their lives…with a predetermined goal that would not be shaken by facts, economics, the effect on the American public, or any other concern,” he added.

“Under the law, this makes them unfit to participate in regulations on these topics.”


DA's abuse of discretion should be condemned, not cheered

PROSECUTORS ROUTINELY reduce criminal charges or waive them altogether. They agree to plea bargains. They settle misdemeanor cases in exchange for compensation to the victim. Under our legal system, the government's prosecuting attorneys have extraordinary leeway in deciding whom to prosecute, and for which offenses, and what punishment to seek.

Before a crowd outside the courthouse, District Attorney Sam Sutter waves a manifesto published in Rolling Stone by a well-known climate alarmist, Bill McKibben. "You know where my heart is," the DA declared.

So when Sam Sutter, the district attorney for Bristol County, announced last week that he would drop the criminal charges pending against two global-warming activists for illegally blocking a shipment of coal to a power plant in Somerset, Mass., he was exercising prosecutorial discretion — something DAs do every day.

Clearly, that's not why it made news. Nor is it why Sutter is being hailed — wrongly — as a hero on the environmental left.

Sutter made his announcement moments before Jay O'Hara and Ken Ward were to go on trial for their stunt in Somerset, for which they faced charges that included conspiracy to commit a crime, disorderly conduct, and negligent operation of a motor vessel. Conviction could have meant up to nine months' imprisonment. The defendants didn't deny their actions; they said they were willing to go to jail in order to protest the burning of coal and what they regard as the government's "terrible" climate policies.

"If I was convicted by a jury of my peers," O'Hara said in a radio interview, "I was ready and prepared to face the consequences of my action, knowing that that … is the sort of commitment that changes hearts when people see other people put their lives on the line for something that really matters." The defendants had planned to invoke a so-called "necessity" defense, arguing that though they broke the law when they blocked the shipping channel, they did so to prevent a greater harm — i.e., climate change.

But instead of proceeding to a jury trial, Sutter dropped the charges at the last minute. O'Hara and Ward were merely required to pay $4,000 as civil restitution to the town of Somerset for its costs.

Reasonable people can debate whether the protesters' blockade was a noble gesture of civil disobedience or merely obnoxious grandstanding, and whether their "coal is stupid" campaign reflects scientific thinking or crackpot hysteria. Did it make more sense to let them off with a monetary payment, rather than indulging them in what they hoped to turn into a high-profile trial of government policy and the morality of using fossil fuels? On that too there could be room for debate.

But Sutter went way beyond the ethical bounds of prosecutorial discretion. He announced, in a manner calculated to attract maximum publicity, that he was letting O'Hara and Ward off the hook because he agrees with their political views.

"Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced," Sutter declaimed to a cheering crowd outside Fall River District Court. "In my humble opinion, the political leadership on this issue has been sorely lacking…. This symbolizes our commitment, at the Bristol County district attorney's office, to take a leadership role on this issue."

And to be sure no one missed the nakedly ideological character of his action, Sutter said he would "certainly" take part in a global-warming protest march planned for Sept. 21 in New York City. He held aloft a manifesto published in Rolling Stone by a well-known climate alarmist, Bill McKibben. "How do you like that?" Sutter called to the crowd. "So you know where my heart is."

The DA's behavior was worse than disgraceful, it was dangerous. It was an egregious abuse of his authority as a prosecutor: not that he dropped the charges against two lawbreaking protesters, but that he did so because he wants to promote their controversial cause — and to promote his own "leadership" on the issue.

Climate activists Jay O'Hara and Ken Ward aboard the vessel they used to block the delivery of 40,000 tons of coal to a power plant in Somerset, Mass.

Sutter isn't the first DA to misuse his prosecutorial discretion because he sympathizes with a criminal's outlook. "During the civil rights era," notes the Southern Poverty Law Center, "white prosecutors in Southern towns notoriously refused to bring charges against whites for racially based hate crimes against African Americans — even when the evidence in favor of prosecution was overwhelming."

It may be tempting for those who see climate change as a crisis to applaud Sutter's overtly political decision. Would they feel the same way about an anti-abortion DA who refused to prosecute demonstrators for blockading a Planned Parenthood clinic? Would they cheer a prosecutor whose antipathy to Islam led him to drop the charges against trespassers preventing construction of a mosque, and then to trumpet his "leadership" in doing so?

Prosecutors aren't elected to make public policy — not on fossil fuels, or civil rights, or abortion, or anything else. Their job is to enforce the law, not to enact it. What Sutter did was contemptible, not commendable, and no one should have been cheering.


Attack of the NGOs

Who are these None governmental Organizations (NGOs) shock troops and how do they operate? It's a vast matrix composed of both the private NGO groups and representatives of the UN and representatives of a large number of US federal agencies - all working together behind the scenes, quietly making policy for the rest of us. And when I attempt to expose them, they vehemently deny there is any collusion - "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." Sorry, the truth is - this is how it works. No vote. No public input. Just the enforcement of an agenda through the willing participation of private groups and government officials who forgot their purpose was to represent, not dictate to us. The NGOs are the storm troopers necessary to make it all happen.

One rarely hears of it. Few elected officials raise an eyebrow. The media makes no mention of it. But power is slowly slipping away from our elected representatives. In much the same way Mao Tse tung had his Red Guards, so the UN has its NGOs. They may well be your masters of tomorrow, and you don't even know who or what they are.

There are, in fact, two parallel, complimentary forces at work in the world, working together to advance the global Sustainable Development agenda, ultimately leading toward UN global governance. Those two forces are the UN itself and non-governmental organizations (NGOs.)

Beginning with the United Nations, the infrastructure pushing the Sustainable Development agenda is a vast, international matrix. At the top of the heap is the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).

Created in 1973 by the UN General Assembly, the UNEP is the catalyst through which the global environmental agenda is implemented. Virtually all of the international environmental programs and policy changes that have occurred globally in the past three decades are the result of UNEP efforts.
But the UNEP doesn't operate on its own. Influencing it and helping to write policy are thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These are private groups which seek to implement a specific political agenda. Through the UN infrastructure, particularly through the UNEP, they have great power.

The phrase "non-governmental organization" came into use with the establishment of the United Nations Organization in 1945 with provisions in Article 71 of Chapter 10 of the United Nations Charter. The term describes a consultative role for organizations that are neither government nor member states of the UN.

NGOs are not just any private group hoping to influence policy. True NGOs are officially sanctioned by the United Nations. Such status was created by UN Resolution 1296 in 1948, giving NGOs official "Consultative" status to the UN. That means they can not only sit in on international meetings, but can actively participate in creating policy, right along side government representatives.

There are numerous classifications of NGO's. The two most common are "Operational" and "Advocacy." Operational NGOs are involved with designing and implementing specific projects such as feeding the hungry or organizing relief projects. These groups can be religious or secular. They can be community-based, national or international. The International Red Cross falls under the category of an operational NGO.

Advocacy NGOs are promoting a specific political agenda. They lobby government bodies, use the news media and organize activist-oriented events, all designed to raise awareness and apply pressure to promote their causes which include environmental issues, human rights, poverty, education, children, drinking water, and population control - to name a few. Amnesty International is the largest human rights advocacy NGO in the world. Organized globally, it has more than 1.8 million members, supporters and subscribers in over 150 countries.

Today these NGOs have power nearly equal to member nations when it comes to writing U.N. policy. Just as civil service bureaucrats provide the infrastructure for government operation, so to do NGOs provide such infrastructure for the U.N. In fact, most U.N. policy is first debated and then written by the NGOs and presented to national government officials at international meetings for approval and ratification. It is through this process that the individual political agendas of the NGO groups enter the international political arena.

The policies sometimes come in the form of international treaties or simply as policy guidelines. Once the documents are presented to and accepted by representatives of member states and world leaders, obscure political agendas of private organizations suddenly become international policy, and are then adopted as national and local laws by U.N. member states. Through this very system, Sustainable Development has grown from a collection of ideas and wish lists of a wide variety of private organizations to become the most widely implemented tool in the U.N.'s quest for global governance.

The three most powerful organizations influencing UNEP policy are three international NGOs. They are the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN). These three groups provide the philosophy, objectives and methodology for the international environmental agenda through a series of official reports and studies such as: World Conservation Strategy, published in 1980 by all three groups; Global Biodiversity Strategy, published in 1992; and Global Biodiversity Assessment, published in 1996.

These groups not only influence UNEP's agenda, they also influence a staggering array of international and national NGOs around the world. Jay Hair, former head of the National Wildlife Federation, one of the U.S.'s largest environmental organizations, was also the president of the IUCN. Hair later turned up as co-chairman of the Presidents Council on Sustainable Development.

The WWF maintains a network of national chapters around the world, which influence, if not dominate, NGO activities at the national level. It is at the national level where NGOs agitate and lobby national governments to implement the policies that the IUCN, WWF and WRI get written into the documents that are advanced by the UNEP. In this manner, the world grows ever closer to global governance.

Other than treaties, how does UNEP policy become U.S. policy? Specifically, the IUCN has an incredible mix of U.S. government agencies along with major U.S. NGOs as members. Federal agencies include the Department of State, Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Park Service (NPS) the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Fish and Wildlife service. These agencies send representatives to all meetings of the UNEP.

Also attending those meetings as active members are NGO representatives. These include activist groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, Zero Population growth, Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, the National Education Association, and hundreds more. These groups all have specific political agendas they desire to become law. Through their official contact with government agencies working side-by-side with the UNEP, their political wish lists become official government policy.

How can this be, you ask? How can private organizations control policy and share equal power to elected officials? Here's how it works.

When the dust settled over the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, five major documents were forced into international policy that will change forever how national policy is made. More importantly, the Rio Summit produced the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). UNCED outlined a new procedure for shaping policy. The procedure has no name, nor is it dictatorial. It is perhaps best described as "controlled consensus" or "affirmative acquiescence."

Put in simple street language, the procedure really amounts to a collection of NGOs, bureaucrats and government officials, all working together toward a predetermined outcome. They have met together in meetings, written policy statements based on international agreements, which they helped to create and now they are about to impose laws and regulations that will have dire effects on people's lives and national economies. Yet, with barely a twinge of conscience they move forward with the policy, saying nothing. No one objects. It's understood. Everyone goes along. For this is a barbaric procedure that insures their desired outcome without the ugliness of bloodshed, or even debate. It is the procedure used to advance the radical, global environmental agenda.

The UNCED procedure utilizes four elements of power: international government (UN); national governments; non-governmental organizations, and philanthropic institutions.

The NGOs are the key to the process. They create policy ideas from their own private agendas. The policy idea is then adopted by one or more U.N. organizations for consideration at a regional conference. Each conference is preceded by an NGO forum designed specifically to bring NGO activists into the debate. There they are fully briefed on the policy and then trained to prepare papers and lobby and influence the official delegates of the conference. In this way, the NGOs control the debate and assure the policy is adopted.

The ultimate goal of the conference is to produce a "Convention," which is a legally- drawn policy statement on specific issues. Once the "Convention" is adopted by the delegates, it is sent to the national governments for official ratification. Once that is done, the new policy becomes international law.

Then the real work begins. Compliance must be assured. Again, the NGOs come into the picture. They are responsible for pressuring Congress to write national laws in order to comply with the treaty. One trick used to assure compliance is to write into the laws the concept of third-party lawsuits.

NGOs now regularly sue the government and private citizens to force policy. They have their legal fees and even damage awards paid to them out of the government treasury. Through a coordinated process, hundreds of NGOs are at work in Congress, in every state government and in every local community, advancing some component of the global environmental agenda.

However, the United States Constitution's Tenth Amendment bars the Federal Government from writing laws that dictate local policy. To by pass this roadblock, NGOs encourage Congress to include special grants to help states and communities to fund the new policy, should they want to "voluntarily" comply.

Should a community or state refuse to participate "voluntarily," local chapters of the NGOs are trained to go into action. They begin to pressure city councils or county commissioners to accept the grants and implement the policy. Should they meet resistance, they begin to issue news releases telling the community their elected officials are losing millions of dollars for the community. The pressure continues until the grant is finally taken and the policy becomes local law. This practice has resulted in the NGOs gaining incredible power on the local level. Today, a great number of communities are actually run by NGO members as city and county governments are staffed by NGO members. They serve on local unelected boards and regional councils that the NGOs helped to create. Local representative government is slowly relinquishing its power to the NGOs.

Americans must begin to understand that the debate over environmental issues have very little to do with clean water and air and much more to do with the establishment of power. NGOs are gaining it, locally elected officials are losing it as the structure of American government changes to accommodate the private agendas of NGOs.


New EPA killer coolant regs a crony boon to DuPont

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced plans to speed up the process of phasing out and banning the cooling agent used in most cars and refrigerators (HFC-134a).

This isn’t the first of such moves from the EPA. In 1978, the federal environmental agency began banning the use of Freon in the U.S. because the coolant allegedly caused damage to the ozone layer of the atmosphere, in favor of the HFC-134a coolant now facing universal bans from the EPA because of its “greenhouse” impact on the atmosphere.

The new chemical which is already replacing HFC-134a in Cadillacs and other vehicles is a compound known as HFO-1234yf.

There is, however, a peculiar connection between this series of federal bans, the timing of the bans, and the company holding the patents to the substances.

The EPA began banning Freon in 1978 — and DuPont’s patent for Freon expired in 1979. When DuPont invented Freon’s EPA-approved replacement (HFC-134a), they applauded the move to ban Freon. The catch was that, in addition to banning Freon from new development, refrigeration units would need to replace Freon with DuPont’s new HFC-134a.

A generation later, the same environmental alarmists have adopted new environmental scare tactics to create regulations that will profit the same corporate giants. The ozone layer has dropped out of national headlines in favor of global warming-causing “greenhouse gasses” (such as what you’re presently exhaling as you read this). Conveniently, HFC-134a has now been characterized as a very potent “greenhouse gas,” and therefore finds itself in the crosshairs of the EPA and environmental fear mongers everywhere.

But not to the detriment of HFC-creator DuPont. HFC’s proposed replacement (HFO-1234yf) was created by DuPont who now, along with Honeywell, holds a patent on the cooling chemical.

Therefore, EPA and DuPont again find themselves with mutually beneficial goals that are not necessarily better for the American people. Just as the replacement for Freon had detrimental effects on cooling technology, HFO-1234yf faces serious public safety questions, as noted by the Daily Mail in 2013.

Among the concerns, research has pointed out that the new product is toxic, combustible, and extremely dangerous when exposed to a heated engine (say, after a crash).

Auto manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes Benz, who have been dealing with this issue in Europe, flatly refuse to use the new chemicals in their vehicles.

But none of that is stopping the EPA from moving forward to rewarding DuPont another major payday and putting people at risk for the sake of “environmental protection.”


At least 150 companies prep for carbon prices

At least 150 major companies worldwide — including ExxonMobil, Google, Microsoft and 26 others in the United States — are already making business plans that assume they will be taxed on their carbon pollution, a report out today says.

The U.S. has yet to impose a price on heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, but other nations are starting to do so as a way to address global warming, so U.S.-based companies are factoring an eventual one into their plans, says the international non-profit CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project. The report is the group's first one to look at corporate carbon pricing on a global scale.

"We're seeing companies taking steps they're not required to, and they're doing this to be competitive in a carbon-constrained world," says Zoe Antitch, spokeswoman of CDP North America, noting many do business in multiple countries. "They're looking ahead. ... They're climate ready."

The report comes one week before leaders of 100-plus countries convene Sept. 23 in New York City for the United Nations' Climate Summit, at which leaders of many nations and corporations are expected to announce their plans to reduce carbon emissions.The World Bank is calling for carbon pricing as a key strategy.

"A price on carbon creates incentives," Rachel Kyte, the World Bank Group's special envoy for climate change, told reporters last week. By hiking the price of fossil fuels such as oil and coal, which emit the most carbon dioxide when burned, she said it spurs investments in energy efficiency and non-polluting renewable power such as solar and wind. She said Canada's British Columbia has had a "revenue-neutral" carbon tax since 2008, and its CO2 emissions have fallen while its economy has grown.

Yet in the U.S., some business leaders and GOP members of Congress remain opposed to taxing carbon emissions, saying it could raise consumer prices for energy. They helped defeat President Obama's legislative push for a national cap-and-trade system in which overall emissions are capped but companies that exceed the limits can buy emission credits from those that emitted less.

So Obama's Environmental Protection Agency, acting without Congress, proposed in June to cut carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants 30% by 2030. The EPA rule would allow states to meet varying reduction targets by closing coal-fired power plants, saving energy, using more renewable power or forming regional cap-and-trade programs.

California has its own such program, as do nine Northeastern U.S. states, which have created the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI.

Other countries have adopted them as well. China, which has several regional programs, has announced it will implement a national cap-and-trade by 2020. The European Union began its Emissions Trading Scheme in 2005. It covers power plants and factories. The United Kingdom has its own program to include additional emitters.

London-based CDP, which surveys thousands of companies every year on their climate policies on behalf of institutional investors, found that 496 companies worldwide say they already participate in a carbon-pricing scheme, including 96 U.S.-based corporations. Of these U.S. companies, 69 say they're regulated by the EU's program.

The CDP's first report on corporate carbon pricing, released in December, looked only at U.S. companies. Like this year, 29 companies said they had placed an internal price on carbon, 18 of which appear in today's report. Those 18: Delphi Automotive, Walt Disney, Apache, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, ExxonMobil, Hess, Cummins, Delta Air, Google, Ameren, American Electric Power, CMS Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy, Integrys Energy and Xcel Energy.

Eleven fell off last year's list, including Wal-Mart, General Electric and BP, but others joined this year's disclosure, including Microsoft, Bank of America, Dow Chemical and Goldman Sachs.

"We expect the number will be a lot higher next year," says Nigel Topping, CDP's executive director, noting his group will specifically ask companies whether they've placed an internal price on carbon. He says the 2013 and 2014 surveys did not do that, so companies had to volunteer the information. He says some that fell off this year's list may not have stopped pricing carbon but simply did not report it.

New Orleans-based Entergy, which runs power plants and provides electricity to customers in four southern states, uses a carbon price to help determine the "best mix" of future energy sources, says Chuck Barlow, its vice president of environmental strategy and policy.

U.S. companies report setting a range of carbon prices, from Microsoft's low of $6 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted to ExxonMobil's $80 per ton — up from $60 per ton last year.

"The risk of climate change is clear, and the risk warrants action," William Colton, ExxonMobil's vice president of corporate strategic planning, said in March in disclosing how the world's largest oil and gas producer assesses the risks of its fossil fuel assets. He said the company, which has shifted some of its production from oil to less-polluting natural gas, is trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its operations and is supporting research that could lead to technology breakthroughs in energy.



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

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


17 September, 2014

DiCaprio film magnifies the real climate change 'monster'

Real problem is monstrous government programs that perpetuate poverty, disease and death

By Tom Harris and Bob Carter

In Carbon, Leonardo DiCaprio’s new film about the “climate crisis,” we are told the world is threatened by a “carbon monster.” Coal, oil, natural gas and other carbon-based forms of energy are causing dangerous climate change and must be turned off as soon as possible, DiCaprio insists.

But he has identified the wrong monster. The real one is the climate scare – something DiCaprio promotes with his sensationalist, error-riddled movie. That is the real threat to civilization.

Carbon is the first of four films that DiCaprio planned to release in the weeks prior to the United Nations’ Climate Summit 2014, to be held in New York City September 23. If Carbon is any indication of what the rest of the series will be like, the public needs to brace itself against still more mind-numbing global warming propaganda.

DiCaprio repeatedly uses the “carbon pollution” and “carbon poison” misnomers – when he’s really talking about carbon dioxide (CO2), the plant-fertilizing gas that is essential for all life on Earth. But in addition to that deception, DiCaprio’s film is based on a myth: that CO2 from human activities is causing catastrophic climate change.

The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) lists thousands of scientific papers that either debunk or cast serious doubt on this popular though misguided notion.

Oregon-based physicist Dr. Gordon Fulks explains that the climate scare has “become a sort of societal pathogen that virulently spreads misinformation in tiny packages like a virus. CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea ice melt that is not occurring, for ocean acidification that is not occurring, and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.”

Fulks is right. DiCaprio’s film is just another vector for spreading the virus.

According to NASA satellites and ground-based temperature measurements, global warming ceased in the late 1990s, some 18 years ago. And yet, CO2 levels have risen almost 10% since 1997, a figure that represents an astonishing 30% of all human-related emissions since the industrial revolution began. These facts contradict all CO2-based climate models, upon which nearly all global warming concerns are founded. Similarly:

* Rates of sea-level rise remain small and are even decelerating; over recent decades they have averaged about 1 mm/year as measured by tide gauges and 2-3 mm/year as inferred from “adjusted” satellite data. That works out to a mere 4 to 12 inches per century, which is hardly a cause for alarm.

* Satellites also show a greater expanse of Antarctic sea ice now than at any time since space-based measurements began in 1979. During this period, Arctic sea ice has remained well within historic bounds and fluctuations, dating back centuries.

* The NIPCC’s March 2014 Biological Impacts report explains that the minute decline in alkalinity of the oceans projected by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s speculative computer models is small compared with the daily and seasonal changes that marine organisms already experience. Neither the IPCC nor the NIPCC forecasts that human CO2 emissions will cause oceans to become acidic in the coming centuries. They have become ever so slightly less alkaline over recent decades, but they are still very far from becoming acidic.

* A 2012 IPCC report concluded that there has been no significant increase in either the frequency or the intensity of extreme weather events in the modern era. The NIPCC 2013 report concluded the same. For the United States, the eight and one-half years since a category 3-5 hurricane made landfall is the longest such period since at least 1900.

The costs of feeding the climate change monster are staggering. According to the Congressional Research Service, between 2001 and 2014 the US Government spent $131 billion on human-caused climate change projects. They also allowed tax breaks for anti-CO2 energy initiatives totaling $176 billion.

Federal government spending on climate change and renewable energy is now running at $11 billion a year, and tax breaks at about $20 billion a year – for a total of more than double the total value of all wheat produced in the United States in 2013 ($14.4 billion).

Dr. Bjørn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, calculates that the European Union’s goal of a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions below 1990 levels by 2020 will cost almost $100 billion annually by 2020 – or more than $7 trillion over the course of this century.

That is currently the most severe target in the world. It has caused EU energy prices to rise ominously, costing numerous jobs, sending millions of families into “fuel poverty,” and resulting in thousands of mostly elderly people dying from hypothermia, because they could not afford to heat their homes properly during cold winter months.

Lomborg, a supporter of the UN’s climate science, asserts, “After spending all that money, we would not even be able to tell the difference” between global temperatures a century from now with a 20% reduction in EU carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, or without it.

So, Al Gore was right in one respect. Climate change is indeed a moral issue.

There is nothing quite so immoral as wealthy, well-fed, well-housed Westerners like Messrs. Gore and DiCaprio promoting the waste of huge amounts of money on futile anti-global warming policies – money that could instead be spent improving living standards and saving lives in developing countries.

Billions of people in those poor nations lack adequate lights, refrigeration, sanitation, schooling, clean water and proper health services. Tens of millions of them suffer needlessly from malnutrition and horrible diseases of poverty, and millions of them die prematurely every year.

Denying them the finances to build inexpensive hydrocarbon-fired power stations has been aptly described as technological genocide. That is where the moral outrage should lie.

Perhaps Mr DiCaprio would like to make a film about this – the real climate monster.

Via email

Solar storm has lessons

Dr Charles R. Anderson

Recent observations of the effects of a massive solar storm on the Earth’s atmosphere made by NASA using the SABER instrument on the TIMED satellite have very important implications for the two main classes of hypotheses backing the idea of catastrophic man-made global warming.  burning earth

During this solar storm, gigantic quantities of energy were dumped into the Earth’s upper atmosphere by highly energetic particles.  The SABER instrument measures the infrared emissions from the Earth’s upper atmosphere.  The NASA measurements of those infrared emissions during the solar storm showed that 95% of the energy dumped into upper atmosphere was quickly re-emitted into space.  There was no significant warming of the Earth’s surface.

The significance with respect to the various man-made global warming hypotheses of this observation has often not been well-explained by critics of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (AGW).  The fact that the energy arrives in the atmosphere as energetic particles has often been glossed over in such commentaries, yet this is very important.

The energy of the solar storm is not of the same nature as the mix of ultraviolet (UV), visible light, and near and mid infrared radiation which provides the Earth with heat energy on a daily basis.  Though this important difference exists, the results of the solar storm energy measurements by NASA are still crucially significant for one of the principal global warming hypotheses and somewhat significant for the other main AGW hypothesis.

There are two standard hypotheses for the global warming mechanism that CO2 is supposed to provide at a catastrophic level:

1)  A large back-radiation effect near the Earth surface caused by water vapor and CO2, which warms the surface.

2)  A delay or decrease in radiation in the upper troposphere or stratosphere caused by increased CO2 and NO.

As I have discussed many times on my blog, most recently in Simple Explanation of Why Greenhouse Gases Do Not Warm the Earth’s Surface, back-radiation at the Earth’s surface is insignificant because the mean free path for the infrared radiation absorptions of water vapor and carbon dioxide are very short and the corresponding temperature differences between the surface and the lower few meters of the atmosphere are therefore very small.

The smaller than claimed infrared radiation from the surface is very quickly absorbed and distributed to nitrogen, oxygen, and argon in the air due to the very high collision rate in the lower atmosphere.  These primary air molecules do not radiate this energy and it is then mostly transported by convection upward or toward the poles.  Water vapor and CO2 actually slightly increase the rate of energy transport upward following the downward temperature and density gradients.

Thus Hypothesis 1 fails to make physical sense.  As more and more proponents of catastrophic AGW have realized this failure, they have turned to the second hypothesis as the justification for AGW.

Hypothesis 2 also fails.  See: Does Increased CO2 Cause a Decrease in Infrared Emission to Space?  Once again the lack of a significant temperature gradient in the upper troposphere for radiation purposes and no temperature gradient in the tropopause is one significant  problem for this hypothesis.  It is hard to change the temperature much of the CO2 emitters.  Another problem is that more and slightly warmer infrared emitters causes any warming in the upper atmosphere to be reduced because more emitters are sending individually increased radiation into space.  For the same reasons that Hypothesis 1 fails, it is also not possible for the warming CO2 absorbers to transmit energy back to the Earth's surface by radiation, so any effect of warming remains in the upper atmosphere.

The major significance of the NASA SABER measurements on how effectively CO2 and NO eliminated the energy of the solar storm is that this is confirmation of my argument that Hypothesis 2 fails.

A local warming high in the atmosphere does not result in a warming of the surface of the Earth.  Indeed, the infrared gases are highly effective in cooling the atmosphere, especially in the upper atmosphere where the mean free path for infrared absorption by CO2 and NO is longer than near sea level.

As I initially pointed out in Slaying the Sky Dragon, the back-radiation effects claimed for infrared active gases were so small that the role of such gases in absorbing solar radiation before it could arrive at the surface of the Earth was a very significant cooling effect of these wrongly designated greenhouse gases.

A warming of the atmosphere thousands of meters above the surface is not an equivalent warming of the surface where we live.  Very little such atmospheric energy is transported to the surface.  This remains true as I have more thoroughly explained more recently here:  Infrared-Absorbing Gases and the Earth’s Surface Temperature: A Relatively Simple Baseline Evaluation of the Physics.

The fact that I have pointed to my own explanations for the failures in the physics of Hypothesis 1 and Hypothesis 2 is not a claim that I am the only scientist who has understood the bad physics of these crucial catastrophic man-made global warming arguments.

Fortunately, more and more scientists have come to understand the physics either wholly or in good part.  More and more scientists have come to understand that the two hypotheses used to explain catastrophic AGW are either wrong or at least dubious.


America’s accessible cities

In a triumph for the automobile, allegedly "dumb" growth beats "smart" growth

Cities have been pivotal to improved living standards, because of the opportunities they facilitate. This is particularly evident over the past two centuries, as world urbanization has risen from 3 percent to over 50 percent, and to more than 80 percent in the United States.

The prosperity of urban residents depends in large measure on their ability to reach the best available jobs in the city in a reasonable period of time. This requires access. University of Paris economists Remy Prud’homme and Chang Woon Lee and othershave shown that cities tend to perform better economically if the transport system permits more jobs to be reached in a fixed time, such as 30 minutes. Cities are defined as metropolitan areas, which include core municipalities and suburbs. As former World Bank planner Alain Bertaud has indicated, “large labor markets are the raison d’être of large cities.”

With frequent press attention on traffic congestion and “gridlock,” it may be surprising that work trip travel times in US cities are better than those of high income competitors in other nations. Indeed, the University of Minnesota’s David Levinson, found that the typical employee can reach two-thirds of jobs in major US metropolitan areas within 30 minutes.

Census Bureau data indicates that the average work trip travel time in US cities of more than 5 million population was approximately 29 minutes each way. Western European cities of more than 5 million population have an average travel time of 32 minutes. Toronto, Canada’s only city of this size, has a travel time of 33 minutes. East Asian cities with more than 5 million residents (Tokyo, Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto, Nagoya, Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore) have far longer average travel times — at 42 minutes. Australia’s two largest cities (Sydney and Melbourne), which are yet to reach 5 million, have an average travel times of 35 minutes.

A number of examples can be cited. For all its well known traffic congestion, Los Angeles has the shortest travel time of any high income world megacity (cities over 10 million population), at just 27 minutes. Paris and New York are the strongest competitors, at 34 minutes, while Tokyo’s 50 minutes is nearly double that of Los Angeles (estimated from travel time distributions reported by the Japan Statistics Bureau).

Dallas-Fort Worth is the best performing US city between 5 million and 10 million population, at 26 minutes. Travel time in Houston, Miami and Philadelphia is almost as short, at 27 minutes. Only the Germany’s Ruhr Valley (Essen-Duisburg-Dortmund) does better than these cities, at 24 minutes. Hong Kong’s travel time is the longest in this population category, at 46 minutes. This may be surprising, since in many ways Hong Kong conforms to current urban planning ideals. It is the densest urban area in the high income world and the largest transit work trip market share.

The US travel time advantage extends to metropolitan areas with more than 1,000,000 population. The average work trip travel time was 25 minutes in the US, compared to 27 minutes in Western Europe and 28 minutes in Canada. No data was found for the smaller metropolitan areas of East Asia or Australia.

Why are US cities so accessible? Despite the hostility of planners toward the automobile, the secret lies in automobile access. Generally, automobiles are faster than other modes, such as transit, walking and cycling for trips of the lengths required in modern metropolitan areas. The US also has more dispersed (decentralized) employment, which increases access and shortens travel times. Only 8 percent of major metropolitan area employment is in the downtown areas (central business districts) in US cities. Similar factors account for the Ruhr Valley’s quick travel times in Germany, with unusual employment dispersion and comprehensive freeway coverage (for Europe).

By contrast, nearly half the population and half of the jobs are in pre-1980 suburban areas (not the urban core), according to my analysis of zip code data. This makes more employment closer to people throughout the metropolitan area, on generally less congested roads.

Meanwhile, cars are getting cleaner. The Department of Energy forecasts the new US (and Canadian) fuel economy standards will reduce gross greenhouse gas emissions a quarter by 2040, despite a strong increase in driving and a conservative assumption of no progress in new car emissions after 2025. Yet things are likely to get much better, with groundbreaking advances by manufacturers, automated vehicle developers and government agencies. The California Air Resources Board is aiming for a statewide fleet that emits zero emissions by 2050, on the way to 100 percent.

Superior access is one reason that US cities dominate international income rankings. Access to greater employment choices is good for metropolitan economies. The result is a higher standard of living and less poverty than would otherwise be the case.


The much feared talk by climatologist Judith Curry (excerpts)

Just the news that she was GOING TO give a public talk has had Warmists frothing

Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry, who was until recently the Chair of School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, detailed her conversion from a scientist who accepted the global warming “consensus” on man-made global warming to one who now openly challenges it. Curry spoke at the National Press Club in Washington DC on September 16 at an event sponsored by the George C. Marshall Institute.

Curry warned of possible global cooling. “We also see a cooling period starting around the turn of the (21st) century.” She also suggested that the “current cool phase will continue until the 2030s.”

“Even on the timescale of decade or two, we could end up be very surprised on how the climate plays out and it might not be getting warmer like the UN IPCC says,” Curry noted.  “We don’t know what’s going to happen. All other things being equal – yes — more carbon dioxide means warmer, but all other things are never equal,” she emphasized.

“We just don’t know. I think we are fooling ourselves to think that CO2 control knob really influences climate on these decadal or even century time scales,” she added.

“I view the [climate change] problem as a ‘big wicked mess,” Curry told the crowd at luncheon assembled. “The main problem is we are putting the policy cart before the scientific horse,” Curry said.

Curry believes the United Nations has distorted the research of global warming and shifted too much on carbon dioxide as the “control knob” of the climate system. “Climate scientists have focused primarily on greenhouse gases,” Curry noted, linking that focus on the IPCC’s focus and the funding streams available to scientists who focus on CO2.  “Other factors relatively neglected,” Curry declared.

“The early articulation of a preferred policy option by the UN framework marginalized research on broader issues surrounding climate change and resulted in an overconfident assessment of the importance of greenhouse gases in future climate change and stifled development of a broad range of policy options.”

Curry also dismissed the UN global climate treaty process. “Relying on global international treaty to solve the problem — which I do not think would really solve the problem even if it was implemented – is politically unviable and economically unviable

Curry told of her conversion and how she ended up disillusioned with the so-called “consensus.”

“Prior to 2005, I was comfortably ensconced in academia,” Curry noted and discussed how she grew increasingly “uneasy about how the UN IPCC dealt with uncertainty.”

Curry’s turning point was the Climategate email controversy in 2009. She said she was disappointed at the “lack of transparency” and the ‘silence” of many of her colleagues about the behavior of the upper echelon of the UN scientists revealed in the emails.

Curry showed the headline from Scientific American termed her a “heretic” and the headline blared: ‘Climate Heretic’: ‘Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues’

Crushing of Scientific Dissent

Curry spoke of the “intolerance of dissent” and attempts to silence skeptic in the global warming discussion today. “President Obama said in his State of the Union address, ‘we don’t have time for a meeting of the flat earth society.’”

She called claims of a 97% consensus “deeply flawed.”

“You cannot even talk about these kinds of issues in the mainstream climate debate. We get called ‘deniers’. This is a very sad state of affairs,” she noted.

“Careerism is a big problem. It much more beneficial to join the dominant paradigm, rather than to fight against it,” Curry explained.

“If I were nontenured scientist, I would fear for my job! But I am a senior scientist with retirement in my sight, so I can afford to do what I want, say what I think.”

“I no longer write government grant proposals. I have lot more independence. I truly feel liberated by not having to chase dollars,” she added.

Curry lamented the current state of academia. “There is a system in place with an emphasis on paper counts, an emphasis on dollars, and it is very difficult to dig in and work on hard problem. You have got to keep cranking it out. I really despair. I really despair,” she said.

“I see more of our graduates going into private sector rather than academia,” she added.

Curry was optimistic about how the internet is changing things for the better. “Social media is changing things like crazy. The whole emphasis on peer review being challenged by social media and open access journals. The whole dynamic of research and higher academia is changing for the better,” she explained.

“I was on that treadmill, I am mostly off it now and it is very liberating to be off that treadmill,” she added.

Severe Weather

Curry also challenged the notion that there was more “extreme weather” today. “Much of the severe weather we think we are seeing right now — you look back to the 1930 and 1950s and this is what we were seeing also. This is weather amnesia,” she noted.

“Sandy was a category one, when it struck. There is nothing exceptional about a category one hurricane striking New York City. What was exceptional was the damage and this was associated with extreme wealth and development in that region,” she said.

“We have seen that the hurricane landfalls have become fewer in last few decades overall. So you cannot blame it on global warming,” she said.

Sea Level Rise

Curry downplayed sea level rise fears. “If you look back to the 1930 and 1940s, the rate of sea level rise was at least as large as recent values when there was little contribution of human caused warming.”

“Bangladesh, this is the poster child for sea level rise – has an estimated only 10-15% of their sea level rise associated with warming, the rest of it is associated with land use issues and geological issues. So trying to cure the sea level problem by reducing warming — even if that were possible — is only going to address a fraction of the sea level rise issue,” Curry said.

She also laughed about the growing number of excuses (currently at 52) for the global warming ‘pause‘, approaching 18 years according to satellite data.


Windmill blues in Germany

Dr Klaus L.E. Kaiser

The first large scale wind-power installation, some 100 km (65 miles) offshore the northwest coast of Germany has finally been connected to the grid. The Offshore-Windpark Deutsche Bucht is a wind farm with a total of 80 wind turbine towers, each with a hub height of 100 m (300 ft.) above the sea and a combined design output of some 400 Megawatts in electric power.

Connection to the Grid

Because of delays in getting the underwater cabling and connection to the power grid on land, the whole power park was standing idle for the last two years. In order to prevent potential damage to gear boxes and turbines, each tower was supplied with energy from small gasoline-powered electricity generators for that time.

Several years behind schedule, the Bard 1 wind farm finally came together in March 2014. The wind farm was connected to the electrical grid and started to deliver energy. Alas, it did not last very long.  In March, the separate AC-to-DC converter station at the facility suffered a “meltdown.” A new converter installed a few days ago was shut down not much later without explanation.

HVDC Converters

The alternating current (AC) coming from the turbines cannot be directly transmitted to the grid. Instead, it needs to be converted to high voltage direct current (HVDC) first. In principle, that is a straight forward task and has been solved for a long time. All the high-tension electrical power transmission lines around the world use such HVDC converters. So what’s the problem with the wind farm converter?

In contrast to a steady one-source input, like from a nuclear or coal-fired power plant, a wind farm has many smaller sources with the output of each constantly varying with conditions like wind direction, wind speed and blade angle. Such variations lead to destabilizing energy-oscillations in the whole system that cannot be handled by the current converters. To make matters worse, the engineers have yet to fully understand the nature of the problem and to come up with any solution for it.

Investor Worries

In short, the power that may be in the offshore wind (if and when it blows) cannot easily be controlled and converted into anything useful at this time. With Germany’s plans for another 10,000 offshore turbines some investors are getting a bit worried about the possibility of unsolvable systemic problems with such far-offshore wind power systems.

Of course, one has to ask why wind power installations have enjoyed the attention of investors to begin with. It was all based on the tax write-offs and guaranteed energy feed-in tariffs some governments in Europe and elsewhere bestowed upon them. Both in the U.S. and Canada such government schemes for “alternative energy” are still in full bloom.

In contrast, other countries have seen the light and are going in the opposite direction, building new coal-fired and nuclear power plants as fast as they can.

New Power Plants

While in the U.S. coal mines are closing down and the miners being laid off, the opposite is happening elsewhere on the globe. China, India, France and Hungary, to name a few, are building new power plants based on coal and/or nuclear fuel. Even Japan, which closed down its nuclear power plants after the Fukushima sea quake, is set to restart several reactors next month. On a global scale, however, coal is still the king in terms of stationary electric power generation.

Despite a consumption of 90 million barrels of oil per day, the world needs more coal than ever, about 8,000 million tons per year. Most of that is used for electric power, the rest mainly for heating. Obviously, with estimated reserves many multiples of that annual consumption, the world is not going to run out of coal tomorrow.

Real “Alternatives”

The world has enough uranium resources to satisfy the demand for several hundred years alone. Then there is the potential for thorium-based reactors, with a potential fuel supply in the U.S. for another 1,000 years. The holy grail of energy independence, however, would be controlled nuclear fusion. If that can be achieved, the earth would have an unlimited power supply. Now that would really be “alternative power.”

The highly touted, government-subsidized, unreliable, intermittent and expensive “alternative power” schemes currently in vogue are nothing but a phenomenal waste of money. As evident from the described wind farm in Germany, the required technology is not in place at this time, perhaps may never be.


New book promotes MORE CO2

As ever-more scientists denounce misguided attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the evidence grows that more CO2 in the atmosphere, not less, is best.

 A new book ‘About Face!’ by two respected scientists and an economist makes the case for adding more CO2 to earth’s atmosphere.

The scientists are Madhav Khandekar in Canada and Cliff Ollier in Australia, plus economist Arthur Middleton Hughes in the USA. They show us why CO2 is essential to all life on earth. It is plant food.

The authors say, “We believe that the more CO2 there is in the atmosphere the bigger and better plants will grow all over the world. Three million people die each year because the prices of food are too high for them. We want to increase CO2 in the atmosphere and reduce world malnutrition.”

The Authors' Synopsis

This book is highly controversial as billions of dollars are involved in ethanol and climate control. The Obama Administration is planning to shut down all coal fired electric plants because they emit CO2 in amounts more than the EPA permits. This will cost more than $300 billion dollars and result in more than 100,000 unemployed. We say that such actions are unnecessary and wrong.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issues periodic reports that predict the warming of the earth and that the warming will raise the level of the oceans, and bring on wild weather such as hurricanes, droughts, floods, tornadoes, etc. None of this is true. It has no scientific basis.

Today, more than one million people die from malaria in Africa and other less developed areas. None die from malaria in the US, Europe, Australia or other developed countries where the mosquitos that spread malaria have been wiped out using DDT.

The US and UN have forbidden these less developed areas to use DDT. This must be changed. More than three million people die from malnutrition because of the high price of food partly due to 14% of the world corn crop being converted to ethanol.  We cite studies that show that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere by 300 ppm will increase food production by 36% in every country in the world on all continents.

This increase can result from abandoning the thousands of laws and regulations that inhibit emission of CO2. Carbon dioxide is a harmless, odorless, tasteless gas that is essential to photosynthesis – the basis of plant growth – without which life on earth would end.

Copies of 'About Face!' are available to buy securely online now at



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

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


16 September, 2014

Plans to Turn ‘Politically Binding’ UN Climate Change Accord Into Federal Law

Obama administration officials who say they intend to sign a “politically binding” agreement to drastically reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at the United Nations’ (UN) climate change conference in Paris next year already have a legal strategy to turn any non-binding accord into federal law, warns Christopher Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

Horner told that the “name and shame” effort is an alternative to a new climate change treaty already being drafted by the UN that would have to be ratified by the U.S. Senate.

“Obama’s statement acknowledges that he cannot get a new climate treaty past China or U.S. voters,” Horner told

But he added that environmental activists are already planning to employ the same collusive sue-and-settle strategy they have used in the past to impose draconian energy restrictions on all Americans even though there’s been no global warming for nearly 18 years.

’It’s quite clear under Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution that after the president signs it, any binding international law agreement has to be ratified by the Senate,” Horner explained.

But he noted that “activist green groups, in conjunction with the New York attorney general’s office, have already developed plans to use the federal courts to force Americans to drastically reduce their energy consumption whether or not Obama signs a new climate change treaty in Paris next year” to replace the expired Kyoto Protocol.

Horner predicted the White House strategy in a 2009 paper published by the Federalist Society, in which he wrote: “It appears that Kyoto will be the subject of a controversial effort to sharply revise U.S. environmental treaty practice…. waiving the Constitution’s requirement of Senate ratification by reclassifying the product of talks as a congressional-Executive agreement, not a treaty.” (See Kyoto II ...Emerging Strategy.pdf)

”You can’t just dismiss this if you know what they’re trying to do,” Horner said, pointing to a copy of a court pleading drafted by environmental activists that he received from the New York attorney general’s office under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request two years ago .

The draft lawsuit argues that the federal government should be required to honor its international commitments even if they are not ratified by the Senate.

The strategy was confirmed in June by Yvo De Boer, the UN’s former climate chief. “If the U.S. feels that ‘internationally legally binding’ has little value, and that the real value lies in legally-binding national commitments, then these regulations can be the way for the U.S. to show leadership,” De Boer said.

“We know where this is going,” Horner told “As they intend, it will end up in the courts, not the Senate. The issue would come down to 'How do you implement it?' and that is where stunts like the NY AG's come in. You get a court to turn these gestures into law and/or a friendly administration to roll over and get a court's blessing by settling a ‘sue-and-settle’ case.”

“You can’t trust the courts not to do that, and it will be as good as ratifying” a climate treaty as far as Americans are concerned, added Horner, author of Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud and Deception to Keep You Misinformed.

The Paris accord will primarily target Western developed nations such as the United States, Horner pointed out. ”The argument is: ‘The atmosphere is a pie, and you’ve already had your slice’.”

“We need another Byrd-Hagel Resolution,” he added, referring to a July 1997 resolution that passed the Senate unanimously. It stated that the United States would not be a signatory to any climate change agreement that did not include developing countries and that would “result in serious harm to the economy of the United States.”

Marlo Lewis, Horner’s colleague at CEI, believes that the strategy will also prevent future presidents and Congresses from rolling back burdensome Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

“Obama will use the climate action plan initiatives as a basis for demanding similar ‘pledges’ from other nations – but also use the hoped-for agreement to lock in his domestic climate agenda. If he pulls it off, future Congresses and the next president won’t be able to overturn EPA regulations, for example, without violating our Framework Convention ‘pledges’ to the ‘international community’,” Lewis predicts.

The UK’s Lord Christopher Monckton, who has attended all the UN climate change conferences, including the one held in Durban, South Africa in 2011, previously told that “the next big moment of danger will be in Paris in December of next year.”

That’s because one of the publicly stated outcomes of the Durban conference was “a decision by Parties to adopt a universal legal agreement on climate change as soon as possible, and no later than 2015.”


Fracking doesn't contaminate water supplies, faulty shale gas wells do

Leaks from faulty shale gas and oil wells have contaminated water supplies, but fracking itself is not to blame, according to new research.

Fracking involves drilling a well deep underground and then pumping water, sand and chemicals down it at high pressure to fracture the rocks, enabling shale gas or oil trapped within them to flow out.

Critics of the controversial process have often claimed that it pollutes water supplies, citing examples of contamination at shale gas sites in the US.

The 2010 film Gaslands showed residents near fracking sites who were able to set alight to the water from their taps, apparently due to methane contamination.

In a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists analysed the origins of the gas in contaminated water by shale wells in Pennsylvania and Texas, two of the biggest drilling regions in the US.

They found that the fracturing of the rocks was not to blame for the leaks. Instead, botched construction of the wells led to gas or oil escaping through cracks in metal casing or through faulty cement seals.

Thomas H Darrah, assistant professor of earth science at Ohio State, who led the study, said: "Our data clearly show that the contamination in these clusters stems from well-integrity problems such as poor casing and cementing.

"The good news is that most of the issues we have identified can potentially be avoided by future improvements in well integrity."

Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke, said: "These results appear to rule out the possibility that methane has migrated up into drinking water aquifers because of horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing, as some people feared."

The distinction is important because it suggests fracking is not intrinsically polluting and should be able to take place safely if wells are constructed properly.

Problems of faulty well construction can also lead to leaks from conventional oil and gas wells.

However, extracting gas from shale requires a far greater intensity of wells than conventional drilling.

Ministers in the UK insist that the regulatory regime is far stricter in the US and should prevent such leaks.

But critics say there are insufficient safeguards to ensure the process is conducted safely and are likely to seize on the study as further evidence that shale gas exploration can be damaging.

Robert B. Jackson professor of environmental and earth sciences at Stanford and Duke, one of the report's authors, said: "People's water has been harmed by drilling. In Texas, we even saw two homes go from clean to contaminated after our sampling began."

The findings echo those of a study by Researching Fracking in Europe (ReFINE), backed by the British Geological Survey and published earlier this year, which also found that although shale gas wells can leak, fracking itself was not to blame. Problems with the structure of the wells – such as inadequate cement seals - were responsible.

ReFINE found that more than six per cent of wells in a major shale exploration region in Pennsylvania had reported some kind of leak.

Professor Richard Davies of Durham University, one of the report’s authors, told the Telegraph at the time: "We have not found any evidence that fracking is the problem. It’s the boreholes that could cause water contamination, and emissions into the atmosphere.

“Shale gas requires a lot of wells to be drilled; more wells to produce the same volume of gas from shale as from a conventional reservoir. That’s why well integrity is critical.”

The study found that of 143 wells that were in use in the UK in 2000, one had leaked. But it found this was “likely to be an underestimate of the actual number of wells that have experienced integrity failure” because of lack of data.


Don’t give up America’s economic and competitive advantage

War is upon us, ISIS is brazenly beheading American journalists—with a promise of more to come; Christian congregations have been bombed during worship, churches have been destroyed, monasteries attacked, entire cities purged, hundreds of thousands have fled, while others have been slaughtered; and cities, weapons, banks, and key infrastructures are being captured.

Surely, with all of these horrors playing out before our eyes, the crisis in Syria and Iraq is the “most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face.” No, the quote above was made about climate change by Hillary Clinton—the heavy favorite for the Democratic 2016 presidential nomination—before a standing-room-only crowd at Senator Harry Reid’s seventh National Clean Energy Summit (NCES 7.0) held in Las Vegas on Thursday, September 4.

We could almost forgive Secretary of State John Kerry for his similar statement made in Jakarta, Indonesia, on February 16, when he referred to climate change as: “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” ISIS hadn’t yet erupted onto the international stage. But now we know better. We know that the world isn’t less violent than it has ever been. We know that it isn’t more tolerant than it has ever been.

Apparently, Clinton hasn’t been following the news. Or, as Senator Rand Paul pointed out: she’s “battling climate change instead of terrorism.”

Clinton’s speech on Thursday was presented to a “friendly crowd,” who cheered her on. In his introduction, Reid declared that Clinton is: “able to explain things in a way we all understand” and said that she was: “the first to identify the fact that there is something called climate change.” Her spot on the program has been referenced as: “her first energy and climate speech of a publicity tour that many believe is the springboard to a presidential campaign.”

While no one in the Mandalay Bay ballroom questioned the validity of her statements—and the Q & A session led by White House Senior Advisor John Podesta resembled a lovefest—there was more than her misperception about “the challenges we face as a nation and a world” to question.

For example, when addressing “unpredictable” subsidies for green energy projects, she claimed that $500 billion is spent every year subsidizing fossil fuels. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2012, global fossil fuel subsidies did, in fact, total $544 billion, however, citing that figure in the same breath as U.S. tax incentives for renewable energy is deceptive at best.

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) did a study on global energy subsidies that revealed: “Fossil fuel consumption subsidies are most prevalent in the Middle East and in North Africa.” The IER report states: “On a per-person basis, fossil fuel consumption subsidies are highest for the United Arab Emirates at $4,172 per person, Kuwait at $3,729 per person and Saudi Arabia at $2,291 per person.” It concludes: “Many Americans are confused by the large amount of global fossil fuel consumption subsidies that the IEA calculates, not realizing that these subsidies have nothing to do with tax policy, research and development or loan guarantees, where most U.S. programs are directed.”

A white paper from the Independent Petroleum Association of America offered the following insights culled from a Congressional Research Service Memo titled Energy Production by Source and Energy Tax Incentives. “While fossil fuels (including oil, natural gas, and coal) accounted for 78 percent of domestic energy production, they received just 13 percent of energy related ‘tax incentives’ in 2009. Meanwhile, renewables accounted for more than 77 percent of the roughly $20 billion in ‘tax incentives’ that went to energy, but generated less than 11 percent of domestic energy production. Renewables have received additional boosts as part of Federal spending packages enacted under the banner of economic recovery.”

Let’s look at those “incentives” for renewables and why they are “unpredictable.” Germany and Spain led the world in green energy subsidies but have since considerably dialed back on them.

In Germany, after more than a decade of green-energy subsidies, its electricity rates and carbon-dioxide emissions have gone up. According to a September 4 Reuter’s report, Germany’s reliance on coal has gone up each of the past four years. Germany is looking at levies for residential photo-voltaic system owners—something also being considered (and, in some cases, implemented) in the U.S.

After nearly100 billion of U.S. taxpayer dollars have gone to green-energy projects, the stimulus-funded program has been plagued with failure, corruption, and illegal activity—though the Department of Energy recently announced a new round of loan guarantees for green-energy projects. Meanwhile—as has happened in Germany—utility bills have gone up and public support for subsidies has declined. After more than twenty years, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy finally expired on December 31, 2013—though forces that benefit from it are still hoping to extend it retroactively. (Clinton did point out that wind energy is a very big part of farmers’ income in New York.) The PTC is “unpredictable” at best.

In her Q & A session, Clinton said: “One day last summer, Germany got 74 percent of its energy from renewables.” Like the comment about $500 billion in global subsidies for fossil fuels, her speech writers did their homework—but they plucked data without looking deeper and as a result made her look foolish. The 74 percent figure is fact. But it represents a fraction of only one day, not recent history, or even a pattern. One month later, Germany got 50 percent of its electricity demand from solar—but six months earlier, in the January cold, it got only 0.1 percent. In his post in the Energy Collective, Robert Wilson, a PhD Student in Mathematical Ecology at the University of Strathclyde, calls Germany’s situation: “more of a coal lock-in than a solar revolution,” as the need for electricity, especially in the cold, grey days of January, requires the steady supply of coal-fueled electricity.

One other item to question: Clinton clearly collaborates with her former boss on his Clean Power Plan, which has a growing coalition of opponents as diverse as the Exotic Wildlife Association, the Foundry Association of Michigan, California Cotton Growers Association, Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association, The Fertilizer Institute, Georgia Railroad Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, electric utilities and co-ops, and city and state Chambers of Commerce from coast-to-coast.

The Clean Power Plan is about reducing carbon-dioxide emission from existing power plants. In her speech, Clinton repeated a falsehood Obama likes to reference: reducing CO2 emissions will improve children’s’ respiratory health.

“Hillary apparently doesn’t know the difference between soot and CO2,” quipped Jane Orient, MD, and president of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. She continued: “And the American Lung Association pretends it doesn’t. No one can claim that the tiny increase in CO2 from coal-fueled generating stations increases asthma—just being indoors with other breathing humans increases CO2 much more and doesn’t cause asthma.”

Orient went on to explain: “Some very bad studies of associations between high air pollution days and ‘premature’ deaths are used to extrapolate as with the liner no-threshold radiation hypothesis—lots of diesel exhaust may provoke an asthma attack, therefore a vanishingly small increase in soot affecting many people will cause some asthma. Some dust is soot, which is carbon, quod erat demonstratum.” She added: “Unemployment, poverty, high electricity bills don’t figure into the calculation.”

Dr. Charles Battig, a board certified anesthesiologist, told me: “asthma sufferers, just like individuals without any respiratory disease, have 4 to 5 percent CO2 in their lungs as a normal component of their exhaled air. The CO2 levels will vary during an asthma attack. The presence of CO2 in expired air is normal for all humans, and ambient CO2 is not a trigger for an asthmatic attack.  CO2 is not a pathological pollutant per se at levels 100 times that of ambient (inspired air); 400ppm ambient vs. 40,000 ppm in expired air.”

As Reid announced, Clinton may be able to “able to explain things in a way we all understand,” but she is creative with the data—using it to make the points she needed to curry favor with the NCES 7.0 audience.

In its review of her speech, the National Journal pointed out: “As expected, Clinton’s keynote address at the National Clean Energy Summit didn’t wade into much controversial territory.” She never touched on the Keystone pipeline that the State Department positively reviewed under her watch and which, in 2010, she stated that she was “inclined to approve.”

Clinton did, however, take a couple risks for which she deserves some credit. She strayed from the safe turf, when she admitted that Obama’s trajectory on climate change policy hit “a brick wall of opposition” at the 2009 United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen.

She also acknowledged: “Energy is a major part of our foreign policy.” As such, she supports development of American natural gas and oil, calling it an example “of American innovation changing the game.”

Addressing the benefits of producing and exporting natural gas and oil, she said: “Assuming that our production stays at the levels, or even as some predict, goes higher, I do think there’s a play there.” Noting it could help Europe and Asia, she added: “This is a great economic advantage, a competitive advantage, for us. …We don’t want to give that up.”

America does have an energy advantage—and Clinton is correct: “We don’t want to give that up.” Why then, does she (and President Obama) support policies that would take that away—or at least, not encourage our energy growth?

That fact that Clinton chose to start her publicity tour, the perceived springboard to her presidential campaign, with a speech on energy should signal to all of America how important the topic truly is. Energy makes America great!


The Ozone Hole Isn’t Fixed. But That’s No Worry

Matt Ridley

The risk from extra UV light is just one of the dangers that have been overplayed by the eco-exaggerators

The ozone layer is healing. Or so said the news last week. Thanks to a treaty signed in Montreal in 1989 to get rid of refrigerant chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the planet’s stratospheric sunscreen has at last begun thickening again. Planetary disaster has been averted by politics.

For reasons I will explain, this news deserves to be taken with a large pinch of salt. You do not have to dig far to find evidence that the ozone hole was never nearly as dangerous as some people said, that it is not necessarily healing yet and that it might not have been caused mainly by CFCs anyway.

The timing of the announcement was plainly political: it came on the 25th anniversary of the treaty, and just before a big United Nations climate conference in New York, the aim of which is to push for a climate treaty modelled on the ozone one.

Here’s what was actually announced last week, in the words of a Nasa scientist, Paul Newman: “From 2000 to 2013, ozone levels climbed 4 per cent in the key mid-northern latitudes.” That’s a pretty small change and it is in the wrong place. The ozone thinning that worried everybody in the 1980s was over Antarctica.

Over northern latitudes, ozone concentration has been falling by about 4 per cent each March before recovering. Over Antarctica, since 1980, the ozone concentration has fallen by 40 or 50 per cent each September before the sun rebuilds it.

So what’s happening to the Antarctic ozone hole? Thanks to a diligent blogger named Anthony Watts, I came across a press release also from Nasa about nine months ago, which said: “Two new studies show that signs of recovery are not yet present, and that temperature and winds are still driving any annual changes in ozone hole size.”

As recently as 2006, Nasa announced, quoting Paul Newman again, that the Antarctic ozone hole that year was “the largest ever recorded”. The following year a paper in Nature magazine from Markus Rex, a German scientist, presented new evidence that suggested CFCs may be responsible for less than 40 per cent of ozone destruction anyway. Besides, nobody knows for sure how big the ozone hole was each spring before CFCs were invented. All we know is that it varies from year to year.

How much damage did the ozone hole ever threaten to do anyway? It is fascinating to go back and read what the usual hyperventilating eco-exaggerators said about ozone thinning in the 1980s. As a result of the extra ultraviolet light coming through the Antarctic ozone hole, southernmost parts of Patagonia and New Zealand see about 12 per cent more UV light than expected. This means that the weak September sunshine, though it feels much the same, has the power to cause sunburn more like that of latitudes a few hundred miles north. Hardly Armageddon.

The New York Times reported “an increase in Twilight Zone-type reports of sheep and rabbits with cataracts” in southern Chile. Not to be outdone, Al Gore wrote that “hunters now report finding blind rabbits; fisherman catch blind salmon”. Zoologists briefly blamed the near extinction of many amphibian species on thin ozone. Melanoma in people was also said to be on the rise as a result.

This was nonsense. Frogs were dying out because of a fungal disease spread from Africa — nothing to do with ozone. Rabbits and fish blinded by a little extra sunlight proved to be as mythical as unicorns. An eye disease in Chilean sheep was happening outside the ozone-depleted zone and was caused by an infection called pinkeye — nothing to do with UV light. And melanoma incidence in people actually levelled out during the period when the ozone got thinner.

Then remember that the ozone hole appears when the sky is dark all day, and over an uninhabited continent. Even if it persists into the Antarctic spring and spills north briefly, the hole allows 50 times less ultraviolet light through than would hit your skin at the equator at sea level (let alone at a high altitude) in the tropics. So it would be bonkers to worry about UV as you sailed round Cape Horn in spring, say, but not when you stopped at the Galapagos: the skin cancer risk is 50 times higher in the latter place.

This kind of eco-exaggeration has been going on for 50 years. In the 1960s Rachel Carson said there was an epidemic of childhood cancer caused by DDT; it was not true — DDT had environmental effects but did not cause human cancers.

In the 1970s the Sahara desert was said be advancing a mile a year; it was not true — the region south of the Sahara has grown markedly greener and more thickly vegetated in recent decades.

In the 1980s acid rain was said to be devastating European forests; not true — any local declines in woodland were caused by pests or local pollution, not by the sulphates and nitrates in rain, which may have contributed to an actual increase in the overall growth rate of European forests during the decade.

In the 1990s sperm counts were said to be plummeting thanks to pollution with man-made “endocrine disruptor” chemicals; not true — there was no fall in sperm counts.

In the 2000s the Gulf Stream was said to be failing and hurricanes were said to be getting more numerous and worse, thanks to global warming; neither was true, except in a Hollywood studio.

The motive for last week’s announcement was to nudge world leaders towards a treaty on climate change by reminding them of how well the ozone treaty worked. But getting the world to agree to cease production of one rare class of chemical, for which substitutes existed, and which only a few companies mainly in rich countries manufactured, was a very different proposition from setting out to decarbonise the whole economy, when each of us depends on burning carbon (and hydrogen) for almost every product, service, meal, comfort and journey in our lives.

The true lesson of the ozone story is that taking precautionary action on the basis of dubious evidence and exaggerated claims might be all right if the action does relatively little economic harm.

However, loading the entire world economy with costly energy, and new environmental risks based on exaggerated claims about what might in future happen to the climate makes less sense.


Cross-Party Alliance in N.E. England: Punishing ‘Green’ Taxes Threaten UK’s Energy Intensive Industries

TEESSIDE’S “proud industrial heritage” faces further decline because of punishing ‘green’ taxes, the Government was warned yesterday (Thursday, September 11).

A cross-party alliance of the region’s MPs used a Commons debate to urge ministers to ease the pain for energy intensive industries, including steel and chemicals.

The plea follows the introduction of a ‘carbon tax’ – a minimum price for the energy produced, to cover the cost of pollution and to stimulate new, renewable forms of energy.

Earlier this year, the Chancellor capped that price floor at £18 per tonne of CO2 from 2016, instead of allowing a rise to £30 by 2020 – saving industries around £4bn over three years.

But Alex Cunningham (Lab; Stockton North) argued the move did not go far enough, saying: “The Tees Valley has long been synonymous with heavy industry and the thirst for energy that it necessarily entails.

“The cooling towers and chimney stacks that still adorn, if not dominate, parts of the region’s skyline are testimony to Teesside’s proud industrial heritage.

“But the decline of those industries will be hastened if actions are not taken to lessen the burdens imposed by carbon taxes and levies.”

The Labour MP raised the “struggles” of GrowHow, a fertiliser company in his constituency, which had to pay three times as much for gas as its Russian competitors.

And he added: “Similarly, German electricity prices on a delivered basis for very large users in 2013 equated to €38 per MW, against £70 per MW in the UK.

“The situation is set to get much worse over the next decade. UK energy and climate change policies will add around £30 to every megawatt of electricity by 2020, substantially more than for any other country.”

The plea was echoed by Ian Swales (Lib Dem; Redcar), who pointed out how the Tata beam mill in his constituency made beams for the new World Trade Centre.

He said: “Their beams are in nine of the ten tallest buildings in the world. Steel beams cannot be made without using a great deal of energy - there are physical and chemical limits.

“When I see the UK’s attitude to these sorts of policies, I often feel like we are playing cricket, while other countries are playing rugby, boules or other sports that we do not recognise.”

In reply, Treasury minister Priti Patel insisted the Government was committed to ensuring that manufacturing was able to remain competitive during the shift to low carbon production.

And she stressed that ministers were pressing the European Commission for a review of the sectors of industry eligible for compensation.

That followed Labour criticism that, of the £250m promised by the Chancellor in 2011, only £31m has been paid out – with no companies compensated for domestic carbon taxes.


Welcome To Green Britain: Poor Face ‘Heat-Or Eat’ Problem


Do households cut back on food spending to finance the additional cost of keeping warm during spells of unseasonably cold weather? For households which cannot smooth consumption over time, we describe how cold weather shocks are equivalent to income shocks. We merge detailed household level expenditure data from older households with historical regional weather information. We find evidence that the poorest of older households cannot smooth fuel spending over the worst temperature shocks. Statistically significant reductions in food spending occur in response to winter temperatures 2 or more standard deviations colder than expected, which occur about 1 winter month in 40; reductions in food expenditure are considerably larger in poorer households.

More at Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) Volume 177, Issue 1, pages 281–294, January 2014


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

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


15 September, 2014

Since when is speaking AT the same as speaking FOR?

The post below is from the far-Left "Daily Kos". They do not as yet know what Curry will say. But you must not even speak at some places. Just being in the company of conservatives discredits a person, apparently.  In Communist and Fascist regimes you could be executed for the company you keep, so it is nice to see what company the American Left keeps

Curry is actually a Warmist.  She just doubts that we know how severe the warming will be.  She allows that it could be trivial.  That is enough to get her cast into outer darkness however.  No debate permitted!  Science, data and facts no longer matter, only your politics.

Judith Curry is their biggest threat right now, so the viciousness of their response is childishly predictable. So far, she has stood up really well to their bullying and they really hate that.  If they expect her to go away and whimper in a corner, I’m guessing they’re in for a nasty shock.

Judith Curry, former Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology was, until now, one of the few skeptics with a veneer of credibility.

But that is slated to change, as she will be featured in a George C. Marshall Institute event at The National Press Club. For those who are unaware, the Marshall Institute is a conservative "think tank" that began lobbying to support Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative. Over time the Institute shifted from Cold War hype to the downplaying of environmental threats, including the dangers of secondhand smoke, CFCs' effect on the ozone, and now climate change.

The Institute's event is titled "State of the Climate Debate" and will focus on the (supposedly) weakening case for human caused climate change as well as the link between extreme weather events and climate change, and the challenges of "deep climate uncertainty" for policymakers.

Perhaps the bigger story, however, is this event may be the last straw for Curry's dwindling credibility in academia. It's one thing to question the consensus or otherwise indirectly assist anti-climate science arguments. But to speak on behalf of a group heavily funded by fossil fuel companies and conservative donors—a group with a well-known 30 year history of distorting science for political aims—well that may just be career suicide. At least, academic career suicide. Unfortunately, if Curry has given up on respectability, this may just be the first of many such events.


Tim Ball comments on the hostility to Judith Curry

It appears to me, reading mostly between the electronic lines, that a turning point for Judith Curry was the reaction of her colleagues to the very legitimate appeal for discourse, debate and openness of the invitation to Steve McIntyre to speak at her university. I got the impression that professor Curry was initially taken aback and reluctant to accept the reaction. Part of this is likely due to the fact you have to work with people, but also because it takes time to adjust to finding yourself on the outside.

It is my experience that unless you have experienced the kind of vitriolic response you get from daring to question the prevailing wisdom, you have no idea how nasty and personal it can be. What is remarkable is the degree of nastiness, even hatred, about a subject as innocuous as weather and climate. For me, this is a measure of the degree to which climate has become purely political. In science, people hope to disagree, yet not be disagreeable.

As Voltaire said, it is never wise to disagree with the people in authority. I would add, that this is especially true when their funding, careers, and groupthink positions are all threatened. It is extremely difficult to have and maintain an open mind, even if you are on the so-called skeptical side. It is very easy to reach a point where you say, if the world wants to be fooled, let it be fooled. I agree that professor Curry has demonstrated the resolve to pursue the truth by listening to all sides, as happened when she first chose to invite Steve McIntyre.

Via email

Fear of skeptics

There is going to be a People's  Cimate March - 11:30 am, Sunday, September 21st in NYC.  We all know what "People's Republics" are  (as in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, led by the charming Kim Jong Un) So the organizers are flaunting their far-Left identity.

That is not the only amusing thing about the march, however.  The organizers have emailed their supporters with a warning to avoid the dreaded skeptics.  It has got to the point where they are afraid of us!  The email reads:

Hello all,

I wanted to share a warning with everyone on these lists, that representatives from climate denier group CFACT will be at the march, and possibly other direct actions, doing "gotcha" video interviews to attempt to make participants look ignorant. Marc Morano will probably attend in person.

My advice to everyone would be to be careful who you talk to - if anyone asks to interview you, try and find out who they're with first. If you do run into CFACT, you might be tempted to try and debate them, but for what it's worth I would advise people not to engage them.

Even if you win the debate in real life, they will edit the video to make it seem otherwise, so it's just not worth it. Watch a few of their existing videos and you'll see what I mean!

Good luck out there!


The scandal of UK's death-trap wind turbines: A turbine built for 115mph winds felled in 50mph gusts. Dozens more affected by cost-cutting

It was just before midnight on a winter’s night last  year. Outside in the gusting January wind it was freezing, but Bill Jarvis was sitting by the fire with his  wife Annie and a few relatives in their cottage on the North Devon moors.

And that’s when they heard it: a  tremendous ‘crack’, louder than  a thunderclap.

‘We rushed outside wondering what on earth had happened,’ recalls Bill. ‘We thought perhaps a plane had crashed it was such a loud  noise. ‘We couldn’t see flames or anything burning, even though we peered out in the direction it had come from. There was nothing  else though, no more noise or aftershocks.’

Deafeningly loud it might have been, but what the Jarvis family had heard – as they were to discover the following morning –  had taken place at Bradworthy, a mile away. It was the noise of  a 115ft-high wind turbine crashing  to the ground.

‘It’s pretty terrifying stuff,’ says Mr Jarvis. ‘I’m no fan of the things and this has just added to my worries. Just think what could have happened. It sends a shiver down your spine.’

He is not the only one feeling  nervous about the march of the  giant metal windmills across the British landscape.

This week, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) produced two reports – one into the catastrophic failure of the Bradworthy turbine and another into the collapse of a turbine in the next county, Cornwall, just three nights later.

And its conclusions are not  merely unsettling, but have frightening implications for wind turbines and their safety right across the country.

The turbines in Devon and Cornwall came down when the wind  was blowing at barely 50mph,  despite the fact that they are supposed to withstand blasts of just over 115mph.

And, as the HSE concluded, the causes were manufacturing faults and basic mistakes in the way  they were installed. The errors  have already been replicated elsewhere in the country, as the two reports make clear, and could affect dozens – if not hundreds – more of the giant towers.

It is hardly encouraging to learn that the HSE reports were not published in a normal sense, but were available only on request and in redacted form.

They have come to light now only through Freedom of Information (FoI) requests lodged by a number of concerned residents.

Dr Philip Bratby, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, believes the risk of collapse will continue to grow as long as the  wind industry is allowed to operate behind a wall of secrecy.

A retired physicist, who formerly worked in nuclear energy, he says: ‘Safety standards in my line of work were paramount. We constantly monitored, tested and maintained equipment but this does not seem the case with turbines.

‘These two failures were catastrophic. The towers came crashing down with great force from a  great height.  ‘It was only down to luck it happened in the night and no people  or animals were injured or killed.

‘The wind industry is very secretive about everything it does.  It won’t publicise any definitive information about accidents so it is impossible to make an independent assessment of the risks.’

Dr Bratby lives at Rackenford, high on the edge of Exmoor, where  there has also been a proliferation  of turbines.

‘I am not convinced that we are learning from the bad experiences and feeding those lessons back  into the education of designers and constructors because the industry is growing so rapidly,’ he says.  ‘The size of these turbines seems to keep on increasing and I believe the dangers will increase accordingly. The bigger the turbine that fails, the bigger the potential for disaster and death.’

Turbine towers are supposedly secured by lowering them on  to a series of foundation rods  that emerge vertically from a concrete foundation.

These are levelled by the adjustment of bottom nuts below a flange at the base and then fixed with another set of nuts above the base.

All the exposed metal, including the rods and the nuts, is then encased in grout which protects it and spreads the stresses from any movement in the turbine.

Yet as these groundbreaking HSE reports show, not only were some of the parts faulty, two different sets of sub-contractors made the same basic – possibly cost-cutting – errors. And the result was that the metal monsters were not secure at all.

In the incident at East Ash Farm, Bradworthy, on January 27, 2013 – the one heard by Mr Jarvis – an E3120 model, made by Canadian-based Endurance, was found to have been installed with the wrong configuration of nuts at its base.

This upset the ‘loadings’, or balance, of the tower. The implication is that it wasn’t level. To compound the problem, the contractors who installed it had failed to use structural-grade grout to seal the rods and bolts from the worst of the weather and had used a ‘cosmetic’ compound instead.

The HSE reports reveal that  the same faulty configuration of  nuts had been to blame at Wattlesborough, near Shrewsbury in Shropshire, the previous year when another E3120 collapsed.

To date, Endurance has erected 300 of the E3120s throughout the United Kingdom.  The UK arm of the company says it has inspected all of them and carried out urgent repairs on 29 of the towers.

A different type of turbine fell at Winsdon Farm, North Petherwin, Cornwall, on January 30. This was a G133, manufactured by Gaia-Wind, originally a Danish firm.

This time there was a fault with the components, resulting in a failure in the foundation rods concreted into its base. But again, it had been badly installed with a lack of grout. As the HSE inspector concluded, there was ‘a lack of resilience to the fatigue loading within the securing arrangement… and poor fatigue strength in the securing components’.

The collapse of another G133 turbine at Otley, near Leeds, in April 2013 occurred in identical circumstances. Again, the securing rods were substandard. Once again, they had not been properly grouted in place.

As Dr Bratby points out, the footings and securings, which are difficult to inspect when encased in concrete and grout, are critical because they are subject to such huge and varying forces.

‘Over time they clearly degrade  to the point of failure,’ he says. ‘We should be asking ourselves whether we are at a tipping point as the  first-generation technology is exposed and compromised.’

Dr Bratby is frustrated at the  lack of risk assessments undertaken when looking at sites.  He says: ‘I accept that the dangers from wind turbines located on farms without public access and remote from public rights of way are probably acceptable.

‘That is not always the case.  They have been located close  to roads and railways, at workplaces, in schools, hospitals and parks without any formal assessment of the dangers. I think that  is unacceptable.’

His views are shared by fellow campaigner Alan Dransfield, from Exeter, who helped to mastermind  the FoI application.

‘These reports took the best part of a year and several thousand pounds to compile, and the HSE decided to investigate because of the extensive media coverage and widespread public concern,’ Mr Dransfield says.  ‘I’m delighted they did because look what they’ve found. Without doubt there is an urgent need for a more proactive stance with regard  to the wind-turbine industry. It clearly can’t police itself.’

Taken together, there are 380  E3120 and GI33 towers. Of these, four are known to have collapsed, while repairs were necessary in  39 others to prevent potential further collapses.

Meanwhile, an as yet undisclosed number have further problems  with the way they are bolted down, according to the HSE, and need repairing as soon as possible.

Revealing as they are, however,  the two new reports deal with only  a small minority of British  turbines: there are 6,500 of differing design and manufacture across  the country, and when it comes to problems with collapse or faulty installation, the public is wholly in the dark.

Figures from Caithness Windfarm Information Forum, a wind-turbine monitoring website, show that structural failure is the third most common major fault, behind blade failure and fire.

It has recorded an average of 149 accidents worldwide every year between 2009 and 2013 but believes this to be the ‘tip of the iceberg’ as  it relies on scanning the internet  for reports of such incidents.

‘The trend is as expected – as more turbines are built, more accidents occur,’ says a spokesman. ‘The numbers will continue upwards  until the HSE helps force significant change.

‘In particular, the public should be protected by declaring a minimum safe distance between new turbine developments and occupied houses and buildings.’

However, Chris Streatfeild, director of health and safety with Renewable UK, the industry trade association, believes that any fears of wind power are unfounded and the risks minimal  and acceptable.

‘Manufacturers, installers and  owners work hard to ensure that they meet extremely stringent health and safety standards,’ he says.  ‘There’s a rigorous process, verified by independent bodies, to ensure strict installation standards and safe siting. That’s why problems are  so rare.’

He adds: ‘When incidents do occur, it’s important to learn from them  and implement any lessons fully and promptly. Any serious incident has to be reported to the HSE and we work closely with them to ensure high standards are maintained.

‘To put this into its proper context, no member of the public has ever been injured by a wind turbine. It’s unfortunate a handful of anti-wind campaigners are choosing to indulge in scaremongering.

‘Climate change is a real and pressing issue. When it comes to generating clean electricity, onshore wind is the most cost-effective way so we should be making the most of it.’

Meanwhile, at North Petherwin,  the fallen wind turbine has now  been resurrected. Indeed, landowner and Liberal Democrat councillor Adam Paynter has installed a second one alongside it. Mr Paynter declined to comment when contacted by The Mail on Sunday.

At Bradworthy, farmers Des  and Vera Ludwell were also staying quiet about their windmill. A  new turbine stands in the position  of its collapsed predecessor, about  50 yards from the road. A second  one is even closer, leaving little  safety margin.

Councillor David Tomlin revealed there are 50 turbines within a six-mile radius of Bradworthy, a quiet market town, and a further 20 have been approved.

‘We are not anti-wind power as such,’ he says. ‘But there is a visual intrusion and residents who live  close to turbines report a constant whooshing noise from blades. Most importantly, can we still be certain they are safe?

‘What happened here and in Cornwall and analysed in detail in these two reports should be a wake- up call. Perhaps we should halt  the erection of further turbines pending an investigation of the industry  as a whole.’


Brussels Anti-Green Purge: New EU Leaders Neuter Green Lobby

Jean-Claude Juncker’s decision to group commissioners into teams serving under a vice-president has been welcomed by some interest groups, and derided by others.

Environmental campaigners are unhappy about the new organisational structure, while industry groups say it will avoid disjointed or conflicting policies and will reduce red tape.

Juncker has grouped energy, climate and environment portfolios together serving under Alenka Bratušek, the vice-president for energy union. Within this subject area, he has merged four existing commissioner posts into two. Energy and climate, which are currently two separate portfolios, have been combined into one post, to be held by Miguel Arias Cañete from Spain. Environment and fisheries, previously two separate posts, have been merged into one, to be held by Karmenu Vella from Malta.

The remaining commissioners on the team will be Ireland’s Phil Hogan as agriculture commissioner, Romania’s Corina Cre?u as regional policy commissioner, and Portugal’s Carlos Moedas as research, science and innovation commissioner.

Rumours of the intention to combine the climate and energy portfolios have been sparking alarm among environmentalists for weeks. But the elimination of a dedicated environment portfolio came as a genuine shock to green groups.

Today (11 September) the ‘Green 10’ – an alliance of European environmental NGOs – sent a letter to Juncker saying that his restructuring decisions suggest a “de-facto shutdown of EU environmental policymaking”.

The campaign groups say that placing these commissioners under a vice-president for energy union “could imply that climate action is considered subordinate to energy market considerations”. Only vice-presidents will be able to put policy proposals on to the Commission’s agenda, according to Juncker’s new system. The campaigners say there is a “virtual lack of any reference to environment in the responsibilities of the vice-presidents”.

“The biggest change is the structural blocks put on any new legislative activity,” said Tony Long, director of campaign group WWF. “Every avenue is blocked because it all has to go through a vice-president and then a first vice-president.”

The campaigners say the mandate letter sent by Juncker to Vella indicates that the commissioner’s role will be one of environmental deregulation.

The mandate letter includes orders to consider changing EU nature protection and biodiversity legislation. It asks Vella to “overhaul the existing environmental legislative framework to make it fit for purpose”.

National media reaction to Juncker's allocation of portfolios
While the division of some of the posts came as a surprise, the reaction from media in the member states has been largely positive.

Markus Beyrer, director-general of BusinessEurope, described Juncker’s reorganisation as a “courageous approach for a streamlined structure of the new Commission”.

“This underlines the clear aim to focus on the crucial priorities necessary to make Europe more competitive in order to deliver more growth and more jobs,” he said.

Mark Fodor, executive director of campaign group Central and Eastern Europe Bankwatch, said the letter suggests that Juncker is back-tracking from previous commitments. “By missing out the crucial role of EU funding for addressing the climate challenge, the president-elect is showing complete disregard for the future of our planet,” he said.


Global Warming ‘Skeptics’ Hold Political Sway From The UK To India

Skepticism of global warming may be more widespread than it is portrayed in the media, with nearly half of British lawmakers being labelled as climate “skeptics” and India’s prime minister casting doubt on claims of man-made global warming.

A special report by PR Week shows that a vast majority of conservative members of UK Parliament are that mankind is the main driver behind global temperature rises. While a slight majority (51 percent) of members of parliament (MPs) say that global warming “is largely man made” and an established fact, nearly three quarters of conservative MPs disagree.

PR Week reports that 53 percent of conservative MPs agree with the statement that it “has not yet been conclusively proved that climate change is man made.” Another 18 percent of conservative MPs say “man-made climate change is environmentalist propaganda”.

A public poll also taken by PR Week shows that only about one-third of British voters believe global warming claims have been exaggerated. The poll also showed that 80 percent of British voters believes that global warming is happening and 60 percent believe it’s mainly caused by humans.

An Ipsos Mori poll from July shows that the U.S., UK and Australia still have large numbers of people who remain skeptical of global warming, despite the huge media and political blitz from environmentalists and politicians. About a third of Americans remain skeptical of global warming, according to Ipsos Mori. They are joined by about a quarter of Brits and Aussies.

India’s Prime Minister Says Global Warming ‘Has Not Occurred’

On the other side of the globe, India’s newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently made some comments that have the media outing him as a global warming skeptic.

Answering questions about global warming on Teachers’ Day, Modi told people that “[c]limate change has not occurred,” adding that “[p]eople have changed.” Modi then gave an example of how elderly Indians are complaining of harsher winters every year.

“It’s just people losing tolerance for cold as they age,” Modi said, according to a report by the Business Standard. “Modi said the real problem is people have lost old values, picked up bad habits and therefore harmed environment. He said people are acting against nature and that has upset the balance. We must love nature again, he concluded.”

Modi’s comments baffled Indian political pundits. How could the man who wrote a book on responding to global warming in 2011 and made speeches about tackling the issue while eradicating poverty say global warming hasn’t occurred?

“Well, the book is just as befuddling,” writes Indian columnist Netin Sethi for the Business Standard. “It’s an illustrated thick pamphlet of what all the government of Gujarat has done to combat and adapt to climate change. But, it mixes up concepts just as the PM mixed up civic duty of citizens, scientific facts and metaphors in his speech on Teacher’s Day.”

“Narendra Modi, in his earlier scripted speeches as prime minister, however, sounded anything but a climate skeptic,” Sethi writes, adding that Modi has prioritized reducing poverty over environmental goals.

“His team of negotiators are acting in a consistent manner with the laid down brief on international climate change policies,” writes Sethi. “One, poverty eradication is a national priority. Two, there are climate co-benefits to be derived from taking actions that also provide energy security. Three, India is extremely vulnerable to climate change. Four, the route to an ambitious global agreement can be built only on a substratum of equity among nations.”

But since Modi has become prime minister, he has made efforts to jump start India’s coal sector and target environmental groups with an anti-development agenda. The UK Guardian reports that Modi “has dismantled a number of environmental protections, clearing the way for new coal mines and other industrial projects,” and “blocked funds to Greenpeace and other environmental groups.”

Modi will also not be attending the upcoming United Nations climate summit this month, joining China’s leader and others in opting not to attend the conference.

The conference will feature a major march by environmental groups and more pleas from the U.N. for countries to agree on an international, binding climate treaty. While any real progress is doubtful this year, countries are gearing up for a major climate summit in 2015 that is supposed to craft an agreement to replace the defunct Kyoto Protocol.



New ebook exposes so-called “greenhouse gases” as not the cause of global warming. Author, Anthony Bright-Paul demonstrates how science and the observable facts prove precisely the opposite - such gases encourage our planet to cool

Guided by years of private correspondence gleaned from eminent scientists not invested in the cause of human-caused climate change, Bright-Paul demonstrates for lay readers that such “greenhouse gases” scatter, deflect and reflect the incoming solar radiation. “This is not only obvious to scientists but also to any normal sentient observant being,” insists the author.

The book ‘Climate for the Layman’ thereby builds a seemingly irrefutable case that the Sun warms the Earth and Oceans, and they in turn warm the atmosphere from the bottom upwards.

The book argues that far from cutting down on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions, this gas, which every human being and member of the animal kingdom exhales night and day, could (and should) naturally increase from the current supposedly “dangerous” 350 parts per million (ppm) to 1,000 ppm in order to make Earth a truly green planet.

A veritable thumb in the eye to alarmist propaganda, this books demonstrates that plants love Carbon Dioxide and produce Oxygen as a by-product; an inescapable and well-known Biological fact.

As Bright-Paul and other informed skeptics (Natural News) are telling us:

“Practically everything you have been told by the mainstream scientific community and the media about the alleged detriments of greenhouse gases, and particularly carbon dioxide, appears to be false, according to new data compiled by NASA's Langley Research Center. As it turns out, all those atmospheric greenhouse gases that Al Gore and all the other global warming hoaxers have long claimed are overheating and destroying our planet are actually cooling it, based on the latest evidence.”

This has long been the assessment of independent climate analyst, Hans Schreuder and his associates. Schreuder, a key figure in Principia Scientific International (PSI) has his essay, Greenhouse Gases cool the atmosphere made a central feature in this book.

Bright-Paul espouses a core theme of Schreuder and PSI scientists - that the atmosphere is warmed from the bottom upwards and the principal heat exchange mechanism is conduction and convection (not radiation, as per current climate science orthodoxy). This heat exchange is taking place simultaneously over the whole surface of the Planet. It warms and cools the atmosphere - everywhere and all at once.

As respected Canadian Geophysicist, Norm Kalmanovitch, explains:

“Virtually all the heat uptake of the atmosphere is from conduction and latent heat transfer from water vapour condensing into clouds with the majority of this coming from latent heat transfer. By comparison gases like water vapour with a permanent dipole moment or gases like CO2 which can have a dipole moment induced at wavelengths resonant with particular internal molecular vibrations have the capability of absorbing and re-emitting photons in random directions but since this process only redirects energy without permanent absorption there is no net transfer of energy to these molecules and therefore no net heat uptake.”

(Kalmanovitvch, by Email, December 8, 2013)

'Climate for the Layman' is written and compiled from many sources, essays and articles that had a particular bearing on since he first viewed ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ the ground-breaking documentary by film producer, Martin Durkin on UK television's Channel 4 in 2007. As a non-scientist the author sought out explanations, from the film's featured scientists, Professor Tim Ball and Professor Bob Carter, as well as from the Rev Philip Foster and Hans Schreuder.

Bright-Paul's own essays have evoked invaluable feedback directly by emails from scientists from all over the world. As such, this books is a product of such unique insight and a record of the author's own voyage of discovery into one of the most hotly contested disputes in modern science.

Airing their considered views to the author via email and graciously giving their permission to share such insights in this book, what 'Climate for the Layman' offers readers is a series of essays and articles all in date order; thus reflecting one man's growing understanding of the use (and abuse) scientific data. The author's own innate skepticism is manifest, which eventually leads him to question the very cornerstone of climate alarmist science – the so-called “greenhouse gas effect.”

“It is an absolute scandal that young people have been persuaded by endless repetition that Carbon Dioxide is a pollutant and not an important part of the life cycle,” says Bright-Paul.

What we see is that for many the idea of man made ‘climatechange’ has too long been unquestioned Holy Writ; totally bypassing the fact that despite a few decades of moderate warming earth's Biosphere has been evolving for millions of years with long, barren Ice Ages and wonderfully fecund and all-too-short Warm Periods.

Lamenting the cherry-picking of data and wilfully alarmist calls to scale back human industrial progress to “stop” climate change the author concludes:

“…. global warming is both vile and repugnant when this is forced on impressionable minds of children through indoctrination by our schools still teaching fraudulent IPCC dogma about catastrophic anthropogenic global warming using Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” as the only reference."

That the only reasonable conclusion about this doctrine of man-made Global is both ‘vile and repugnant’ is echoed in the piece ‘The Trouble with Climate Change’ by Lord Lawson, added with Lawson's permission. As a former British Chancellor of the Exchequer it is natural that Lawson should dwell on the economic miseries produced by this false doctrine – especially as such “remedies” to climate change are gravely felt in the Third World."

The aim of the book is fully expressed in the title – it is and is meant to be Climate for the Layman in language that a layman of reasonable intelligence can understand. It is currently available as an eBook, in colour and obtained either through Amazon/Kindle or direct from Authors Online.

Amazon/Kindle version or: Direct from Authors Online



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

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


14 September, 2014

The Greenie solution to traffic jams

The usual authoritarianism

Owning a car should be `outlawed' to force people on to public transport, a senior Labour MP has suggested.  Motorists who want to drive should instead be forced to join communal `car clubs' where the cars are shared by drivers and used only when needed.

Dr Alan Whitehead, a Labour MP for Southampton Test and a member of the Energy and Climate Change select committee, said the increase in car ownership would lead to `something approaching a national traffic jam before 2040'.

He claimed that radical action would be needed to avoid national gridlock.

In an article in the Guardian, Dr Whitehead wrote: `We need to consider doing something serious. What we need is a considerable expansion of public transport over the next period and a shift from car to bus, train, bike or even feet. The big problem is how to do it.'

He went on to suggest that `outlawing' car ownership was better than banning car use altogether, preferring `regulation rather than prohibition'.

Dr Whitehead added: `What if the Government simply regulated for cars to be sold and used just as they are at present (hopefully with an increasing presence of electric and hybrid vehicles) but outlawed individual ownership?

`People would then lease cars individually or as part of a club and the running costs would be included in the lease arrangements. No one would be prohibited from using a car, but the playing field of choice would instantly be levelled.'

But his suggestions were last night described as `bonkers' by transport minister Robert Goodwill, who said Labour had waged a `13-year war' against motorists.


Pesky!   Replacing forest with cropland reduces greenhouse gases, study claims

At the current rate of deforestation, the world's rainforests could completely disappear in 100 years.

Most scientists suggests fewer forests means larger amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and an increase in global warming.

But a new study argues that relationship isn't as straightforward and that deforestation could in fact be cooling the planet.

Researchers at Yale University claim the process is being driven by the transformation of forests into cropland causing a net cooling effect on global temperatures.

Deforestation over the last 150 years has reduced global emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs).

BVOCs increase the atmospheric distribution of short-lived climate pollutants, such as methane, which have a warming influence on climate.

'Land cover changes caused by humans since the industrial and agricultural revolutions have removed natural forests and grasslands and replaced them with croplands,' said Nadine Unger, one of the researchers.

'And croplands are not strong emitters of these BVOCs-often they don't emit any BVOCs.'

The researchers used computer modelling to calculate BVOC declines and found that there has been a 30 per cent decline between 1850 and 2000, largely through the conversion of forests to cropland.

This same conversion produced an overall global cooling of about 0.1°C.

However, the overall global climate still warmed by about 0.6°C, mostly due to increases in fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions.

Professor Unger said the findings do not suggest that increased forest loss provides climate change benefits.

Instead she claims it underscores the complexity of climate change and the importance of better assessing which parts of the world would benefit from greater forest conservation.

Since the mid-19th century, the percentage of the planet covered by cropland has more than doubled, from 14 per cent to 37 per cent.

Since forests are far greater contributors of BVOC emissions than crops and grasslands, this shift in land use has removed about 30 per cent of Earth's BVOC sources.

Not all of these compounds affect atmospheric chemistry in the same way. Aerosols, for instance, contribute to global 'cooling' since they generally reflect solar radiation back into space.

That means a 50 per cent reduction in forest aerosols has actually spurred greater warming since the pre-industrial era.

However, reductions in the potent greenhouse gases methane and ozone — which contribute to global warming - have helped deliver a net cooling effect.

These emissions are often ignored in climate modelling because they are perceived as a 'natural' part of the earth system, explained Professor Unger.

'So they don't get as much attention as human-generated emissions, such as fossil fuel VOCs,' she said.  'But if we change how much forest cover exists, then there is a human influence on these emissions.'


Cut the Costly Climate Chatter

Twenty-two years ago a bunch of green activists calling themselves “The Earth Summit” met in Rio and invented a way to tour the world at tax-payers’ expense – never-ending conferences on environmental alarms.

Like any good bureaucratic committee, they soon established sub-committees on sustainability, pollution, development, energy, forestry, water, biodiversity, endangered species, poverty, health, population and Agenda 21 (this item alone had 40 chapters each with its own sub-committee). Environmental conferences became the greatest multi-national growth industry in the world financed mainly by tax-payers via participating public servants, climate academics, employees of nationalised industries and tax-sheltered green “charities” such as Greenpeace and WWF.

They really hit the Mother Lode with their creation of the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” which, in good bureaucratic tradition, duplicated the work of the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” (IPCC). These then created their own brand-names called “Global Warming”, and its proxies “Climate Change” and “Extreme Weather”.

These “noble causes” generated a hierarchy of steering committees, reference committees, political committees, science sub-groups, working committees, reviewers and peak bodies and could muster meetings with 20,000 attendees from 178 countries at hardship locations such as Rio, Berlin, Geneva, Kyoto, Buenos Aires, Bonn, The Hague, Marrakesh, New Delhi, Milan, Montreal, Nairobi, Bali, Poznan, Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban, Qatar, Doha, Warsaw, Stockholm, Lima, Abu Dhabi and New York.

The 21st Climate Change birthday party will be held at the Conference of the Parties in Paris in December 2015, while the Small Islands Developing States will tour to Samoa, but any important decisions will be taken behind closed doors by the canny BRICS Nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

The Climate Conference Circuit became a bigger boost to airlines, hotels and fine dining than the Olympic Games and G20. Australia alone sent the PM plus a team of 114 to the failed Copenhagen Conference. Rich and poor all over the world have endured over 20 years of wasteful spending that could have built flood-proof infrastructure, drought-proof water supplies, erosion-proof beach fronts and pollution-free waterways. It has gone down the global warming gurgler without a single visible benefit for suffering tax payers.

With most western governments running desperate financial deficits, it is time to cut the costs of this climate chatter. Australia should burn no more jet fuel sending people to any climate conference anywhere. If they want one, they should use bicycles, tele-conferencing or the postal service.


Declining Humidity Is Defying Global Warming Models

Atmospheric relative humidity has substantially declined in recent decades, defying global warming computer models predicting higher amounts of atmospheric water vapor that will exacerbate global warming. The decline in relative humidity indicates global warming will be much more moderate than global warming activists claim.

CO2 Has Minimal Impact

Carbon dioxide’s impact on global temperatures is not in dispute. As a matter of physics, doubling atmospheric water vapor from pre-Industrial Age levels will directly cause approximately 1 degree Celsius of warming. From the dawn of the Industrial Revolution until today, atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen by merely 40 percent. Accordingly, carbon dioxide has directly caused approximately 0.4 degrees Celsius of warming (actually a little more, as the earlier increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide will trap more long wave radiation than later increases). If global carbon dioxide emissions continue at their current pace, we can expect human-caused carbon dioxide emissions will directly cause at most another 0.6 degrees Celsius this century.

Humidity Predictions More Important

United Nations computer models, however, predict approximately 2.4 degrees Celsius of 21st century warming. The discrepancy arises because the computer models are programmed to assume that whenever temperatures warm—due to increasing carbon dioxide emissions or other reasons—a small amount of initial warming creates a cascade effect of other factors that induce even more warming.

The most important of these assumptions is that a little bit of carbon dioxide-induced warming will create a substantial increase in atmospheric water vapor. Water vapor is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so substantial increases in atmospheric water vapor can certainly cause significant warming. United Nations computer models are programmed to assume absolute humidity (the total amount of water vapor in the atmosphere) will rise so much that even relative humidity (the percent of water vapor in the atmosphere) will at least keep pace and perhaps even increase. Warmer air is able to hold more water than cooler air, so absolute water vapor would have to increase quite substantially for relative humidity to remain constant or increase in a warming world.

Relative Humidity Is Declining

Scientists, however, have been measuring relative humidity for many decades. Rather than keeping pace with modestly warming temperatures, relative humidity is declining. This decline has been ongoing, without interruption, for more than 60 years. After more than six decades of consistent data, we can say with strong confidence that absolute humidity is not rising rapidly enough for relative humidity to keep pace with warming temperatures.

The failure of relative humidity to hold constant or rise during recent decades is a lethal dagger in the heart of alarmist global warming claims. According to the UN computer models, rising humidity will cause substantially more global warming than the modest warming directly caused by rising carbon dioxide levels. Given the potency of water vapor, even a small overstatement of atmospheric humidity levels in UN computer models will cause a very significant overstatement of future warming. And the data show UN computer models assume too much atmospheric humidity.

Models’ Predictions Were Wrong

The effects of this overstatement are apparent in real-world temperature data this century. Precise atmospheric temperature measurements compiled by NASA and NOAA satellite instruments show there has been no global warming since late in the 20th century. Some global warming activists claim some of the data indicate there may still have been a small amount of warming in recent years, but even a minor warming contradicts UN computer models claiming we should be experiencing rapid warming. If the Earth were truly going to warm 2.4 degrees Celsius this century, we should have already experienced approximately 0.35 degrees Celsius warming. The difference between no warming and 0.35 degrees Celsius warming may not sound like much of a discrepancy at first blush, but the Earth only warmed approximately 0.60 degrees Celsius during the entirety of the 20th century. As United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lead author Hans von Storch observed in June 2013 in der Spiegel, “If things continue as they have been, in five years, at the latest, we will need to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong with our climate models. A 20-year pause in global warming does not occur in a single modeled scenario. But even today, we are finding it very difficult to reconcile actual temperature trends with our expectations.”

The UN can go a long way toward correcting its climate models if by simply admitting it has overstated the impact of modest carbon dioxide-created global warming on atmospheric humidity. More accurate climate models will allow for a better informed discussion on global warming, and will go a long way toward bridging the divide in an increasingly volatile scientific and political debate.


Shortest Summer On Record In Fort Collins, Colorado

The snow-free season in Fort Collins was less than four months this year, with the last spring snow day being May 12, and the first autumn snow day being September 11. The second shortest summer occurred five years ago, and the length of summer has declined more than 10% since the 1890’s.


Urban heat island effect has massively corrupted temperatures in Fort Collins, Colorado

Climate experts tell us that UHI has almost no effect on the temperature record, and USHCN only corrects by 0.1 F   The real world tells us something completely different.

The weather station at Fort Collins, Colorado is considered a good station because it has not moved, and has used the same equipment for its entire history. But something else has changed – the environment around the weather station. It used to be in the middle of a farm – now it is in the middle of a parking lot.

Over the past 80 years, Fort Collins appears to have warmed at a rate of 1.1ºC/century, while Colorado has not warmed at all. Note the big spike after 1990 in Fort Collins

In 1937, the station was located in the middle of a farm,

By 1950, the area was starting to get built up.

By 1969, the city had surrounded the weather station.

Now it is in the middle of a parking lot, which was built around the time of the post 1990 spike.

When I was in Fort Collins riding my bike last week, I noticed at least 5-10 degrees F difference between open space temperatures and downtown, where CSU is located. One evening was beautiful downtown, and frigid along the Spring Creek trail.

People who claim that UHI doesn’t matter – have no idea what they are talking about. The presence of any asphalt (even a single road) in an area makes a huge difference in temperature – as any cyclist can tell you.



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

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


12 September, 2014

Some amusing non-news about ozone

Here it is, right from the horse's mouth, the horse being the summary in the official WMO report which is giving a lot of Greenies erections at the moment.  Im my usual pesky way I went back to the original science rather than  accepting journalistic spin about it.  Read it and see whether you think there is anything notable in it:

Total column ozone declined over most of the globe during the 1980s and early 1990s (by about 2.5% averaged over 60°S to 60°N). It has remained relatively unchanged since 2000, with indications of a small increase in total column ozone in recent years, as expected. In the upper stratosphere there is a clear recent ozone increase, which climate models suggest can be explained by  comparable contributions from declining ODS abundances and upper stratospheric cooling caused by carbon dioxide increases.

The Antarctic ozone hole continues to occur each spring, as expected for the current ODS abundances. The Arctic stratosphere in winter/spring 2011 was particularly cold, which led to large ozone depletion as expected under these conditions.

Far from ozone declining, the finding is a small INCREASE in the amount of ozone overhead.  And the Antarctic ozone hole apparently shows no trend other than what can be attributed to recent COOLING.  (Where's that global warming gone?)

I would have thought that the findings were a total disappointment to the Greenies and their Montreal Protocol but they are manging somehow to spin it in a way that keeps their spirits up.

The spin that the Warmists are putting on it is that the ozone "hole" has stopped growing.  But how can they know that?  The hole is highly variable from year to year and it could very easily roar back overnight bigger than ever.  Warmists really are a sad bunch.

More prophecy spun out of thin air

The article below appeared under the heading: "Climate Change Gets Personal As Minnesota Faces Loss Of Its Beloved Loon?".  Sadly the loon concerned is NOT Al Franken.  It is a bird. And what is the story based on?  Is is based on a series of annual population counts that show a decline?  That would be the scientific way.  But this is Warmism, not science, so there is no word of that. The  report appears to be just another Warmist prophecy which ignores the fact that the slight warming of the late 20th century has now stopped for some time and it is anybody's guess whether it will restart or not

Matthew Anderson, just like most other Minnesotans he knows, has a favorite loon story.

It happened this year. Anderson, the executive director of the National Audubon Society’s Minnesota chapter, was out on a boat in western Wisconsin with his four-year-old daughter. They spotted a common loon with two chicks on its back, and watched as the chicks slid off their parent’s back and dove beneath the water’s surface. The parent then stuck its head down underneath the water so it could keep an eye on the chicks as they swam underwater.

“To see her smile on her face … and to think that my four-year-old, when she’s 38, 39, 40, that loons might not be here, that hurts,” he said.

This week, the Audubon Society released a comprehensive report on the threats North America’s birds face from climate change. The report found that the common loon, Minnesota’s beloved state bird, is projected to have just 25 percent of its non-breeding season range and 44 percent of its breeding season range left by 2080.

Due to warming temperatures and changing weather patterns, the report states, “it looks all but certain that Minnesota will lose its iconic loons in summer by the end of the century.” The common loon has a better chance than some other birds of being able to adapt to a new, more northern habitat as the earth warms, but that still means Minnesota won’t have the loons its residents have long been used to.

I think for a lot of people, their trips north aren’t really complete without loon calls or seeing a loon or loon family on the lake.

For Minnesotans, Anderson said, that’s a big deal. Minnesota is the only state to have the common loon as its state bird (unlike the Northern cardinal, which is claimed by seven states, and the western meadowlark, which represents six states), and since the state is known as the “land of 10,000 lakes,” many of its residents frequent lakes and rivers for fishing, water sports, canoeing and boating, making loon encounters common. The loon’s haunting cry and its awkward gait on land — due to its legs, which are set farther back on its body than other birds’ — have helped Minnesotans fall in love with the waterbird.

“People care deeply about loons up here, especially people who live on lakes,” Erica LeMoine, coordinator of LoonWatch, which is based in Wisconsin but does work in Minnesota, told ThinkProgress. “A lot of people who visit northern areas, one of the things they want to experience is loons. I think for a lot of people, their trips north aren’t really complete without loon calls or seeing a loon or loon family on the lake.”


Cool summer doesn’t invalidate climate change (?)

You've got to hand it to the guy below.  He's better than most Warmists.  He ATTEMPTS to marshall some scientific evidence for his argunent.  But he has been taken in by Warmist pseudo-science.  He says “Each of the past three decades has been successively warmer" but hasn't noticed that the "warming" concerned is measured in (totally insignificant) hundredths of one degree!  He says the Arctic and Antarctic ice is shrinking. He is quoting old stuff about the Arctic.  In recent years the icecap  has started growing again.  And he is dead wrong about the Antarctic. The ice there has been continuously growing and is now at an all-time high.  So his "facts" are, in effect lies.  But Warmists have got little else.  Lies and distortion are their stock in trade

LABOR DAY has come and gone. Autumn looms. But how can summer be over when it never really began?

If you feel cheated — where were the scorchers and leaden humid nights? — it’s not your imagination. July and August really did feel more like an extension of spring than a separate season. The Boston area had but four days over 90 degrees; usually it has 10. Average temperatures for the summer were well below normal too. This, of course, followed on the heels of a cold and snowy winter that felt like it would never end. And, to top it off, the Farmers’ Almanac predicts that the winter to come will be even worse than last.

So much for this global warming nonsense, huh?

Admit it. In some fashion, you’ve probably given voice to the thought. If climate change is real — if the world is supposedly heating up — then how come last winter was so long and our summer so cool? It’s because our perspective is skewed. We’re like a guy with his head in the refrigerator while his house is burning down, thinking nothing’s wrong. In fact, climate change proceeds apace. Our cool summer offers proof.

The world continues to get warmer. Of that, there is no doubt. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released drafts of its most recent assessment (the final version should be issued in October), and the news is grim. “Each of the past three decades has been successively warmer at the earth’s surface than all the previous decades in the instrumental record, and the first decade of the 21st century has been the warmest,” it notes. Indeed, despite New England’s experience, 2013 was, worldwide, the hottest year on record, and 2014 may be hotter still. And the impacts of that rise are now being observed everywhere. The oceans are warmer. Ice sheets in Greenland, the Antarctic, and Arctic are getting smaller. Glaciers are retreating. The acidity of the oceans (caused by the absorption of carbon dioxide) has gone up 30 percent since the mid-1800s. Sea levels are rising too — 6.7 inches in the last 100 years. Extreme weather events are on the rise.



Oh no, not another global warming article? Yep! It's true, but this one takes a little different tack to make a point about the folly of climate modeling. Hopefully, the reader will forgive this author's brief foray into the world of simple mathematics and logic.

Back in the early 60's when scientists started "dreaming" of how they could determine if there was life elsewhere in the universe, a radio astronomer by the name of Frank Drake came up with an equation (the infamous Drake Equation) to estimate the possibility of intelligent life on other extra solar planets in the Milky Way galaxy. He came up with the equation to help stimulate scientific dialogue at the up coming, first ever, Search For Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) conference in Green Bank, West Virginia.

To develop the equation he had to make some estimates on some variables that were part of the elements of the equation in order to solve for "N", the number of possible intelligent life planets in the galaxy. First, he had to estimate the rate of star formation in the galaxy (R). Then he had to estimate the fraction of those stars that might have planets (fp). Then he had to determine an average of the number of those planets per star that would potentially support life (ne) and so on. In the end the elements of the equation were described as follows:

R = the average rate of star formation in our galaxy.
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets.
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets.
fl = the fraction of planets that could support life that actually develop life at some point.
fi = the fraction of planets with life that actually go on to develop intelligent life (civilizations).
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space.
L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space.

There were several other variables Frank could have included in the equation but he was trying to keep it as simple as possible so that the scientific dialogue wouldn't get bogged down in the elements, or the variables to those elements. Since there was no clear science on these elements, Frank had to make guesses at each value based on the best available information he had at the time. Unfortunately, with no clear evidence, those guesses could vary widely and as they varied, so did the solution to the equation. A solution that varies widely is no solution at all. It is, at best, a wild-as…..d-guess.

The moral of this exercise is to point out that the greater the number of variables in an equation and a wide difference within those variables, the less likely any answer or solution will be accurate.

So let's look at the number of variables to predict any long-range change in climate that climate Scientists plug into their super computers. There are a whole host of variables to predict long-range future climate conditions and those variables can vary widely, as they do in the Drake equation, because of a lack of accurate data. Bear in mind that a weather report, using computer weather modeling, is only good for about two hours. The reason for this is, the weather is a non-linear dynamic system and small changes in initial conditions can produce large changes in localized weather. True scientists, if there are any left, call this phenomenon the butterfly effect.

Wikipedia describes the climate modeling process called the "General Circulation Model" (GCM) as follows: "… GCM is a type of climate model and is a mathematical model of the general circulation of a planetary atmosphere or ocean and based on the Navier–Stokes equations on a rotating sphere with thermodynamic terms for various energy sources (radiation, latent heat).

Wow! What a mouthful. But in order to pull this off, they have to enter a wide range of variables into their super computers, along with a laundry list of equations for other variables. Those variables include the temperature and pressure at any height in the atmosphere. They also include, ocean currents, cloud cover, precipitation, water vapor, ice sheet cover, vegetation, soil types, variations in Solar radiation, trace atmospheric elements like CO2, ozone, methane, carbon monoxide and more. The climate Scientists might even put in a prognostication for major volcanic eruptions, but like the Drake equation, these would be guesses at best. Just imagine what a major volcanic eruption would do to any climate model, like Krakatoa in the late 1800's, or another major volcanic eruption that occurred in 1815 that created a year without a summer in 1816. You can kiss off any climate model in this scenario.

As this debate between the climate Scientists (and government) and well credentialed climate change deniers heats up, more and more evidence appears that the climate Scientists are dummying up variables to obtain a desired result because they just flat don't know how wide the variable is or can be. So they guess. In science circles this is called made-as-instructed science.

In an attempt to explain away the last 17 years of flat temperature rise that wasn't predicted by the supercomputer-driven climate models, the climate Scientists are now saying, "we believe that we didn't get the long-range variables of historical ocean currents right." What? Ocean currents play a huge role in the variations of climate and the scientists have the audacity to say that, "we believe we got ocean currents wrong." "We believe" is hardly a scientific term. Where is the evidence? Where are the observations and experiments to back up a statement based on "we believe?"

And before this "ocean current" fiasco, the climate Scientists had another explanation for the 17-year hiatus of temperature rise. In another article they said that, "we believe" that the rise in temperature was blunted by the absorption of heat by the oceans during this period. Really! Where is the evidence? Where are the observations and experiments that support yet another statement of "we believe?" And these people call themselves scientists? They give science a bad name.

Then another argument has surfaced about methane emanating from the bowels of domestic animals grown for protein. Their argument is that there are way too many domestic animals on the planet that are "flatulating" huge volumes of methane into the atmosphere, driving global warming. Since domestic animals are grown for protein to feed humans, then it follows that humans are responsible for the large amount of methane being emitted in the atmosphere. But it gets better. It turns out that methane is a greater driver of global warming than carbon dioxide (CO2), by almost twenty times. Wait a minute! Didn't climate Scientists tell us that CO2 was the main driver of global warming and humans are responsible? Now we are to believe that there is another culprit and once again, humans are responsible and they had better feel guilty ….. and pay up!

For a second time we must point out that the greater the number of variables in an equation and a wide difference in those variables, the less likely any answer, solution, or prediction will be accurate. That is why their computer models didn't predict the 17-year flat rise in planet temperature. That is why their computer models didn't predict a massive rise in Antarctica sea ice. Those same computer models are also in direct conflict with actual collected data over the last 17 years. How is that possible?

As credible evidence mounts against man-caused global warming, why do the environmentalists, government and climate Scientists still cling to the folly of their computer models containing too many variables with wide discrepancies in values, just like the Drake equation?

The answer is quite simple really. There is collusion going on between radical environmentalists, western governments, climate scientists and maybe even world central bankers. The collusion is driven by an agenda. The agenda is the unproven argument that human beings are a stain on the earth and must be drastically limited in their behavior (controlled) ….. by government. Further, government must spend billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars to curtail man's emissions of CO2 and domestic animal flatulent into the atmosphere that in the end will have zero affect on planet temperature rise. Instead, what happens is, government borrows the billions to pay for the controls and the central bankers laugh gleefully while sitting in their cushy bank chairs counting their profits.

To control human behavior, the governments and the environmentalists had to come up with a straw man to rationalize their man-is-guilty agenda and that straw man is "man-caused global warming." They have been promoting this straw man by propaganda, hype, distortion and lies for years. They exploit the masses by making the masses feel guilty because the masses are responsible for the degradation of the planet and they have to pay for their transgressions. Even though this made-as-instructed science has been exposed as a fraud, they continue to feed the public lie after lie, attempting to cover up their criminal duplicity. They even changed the name to "Climate Change" from man-caused global warming because Climate Change is much less controversial, nor is it definitive of their bogus accusations.

As we stated in a previous article, yes humans are affecting the planet. But we went on to say that, "We (humans) are an integral part of the environmental processes of earth but we will have little or no effect on any final outcome. We will but only tickle the grander elements such as the Sun, the Moon and the Earth itself, none of which is predictable, much less measurable to the degree necessary for accurate long-range predictions."

Government and powerful special interest groups are forever trying to hoodwink and deceive the masses for hidden agendas and they have been doing so since man came out of the jungles or deserts and set up shop in cities. The deception didn't stop when some wise men wrote a blue print for freedom in 1791. The masses are so stupid that they fall for it every time, to their detriment and eventual enslavement. Man-caused global warming is just one more tool in the elite's toolbox to manipulate the masses for hidden and not-so-hidden agendas. One of those agendas is absolute power over the masses. The second is money to be used against the masses. One might ask, which of these groups is the smarter of the two? It will probably take the blood of patriots to set it right ….. again!


Energy storage is no solution to the intermittency of wind and solar power

Pick up a research paper on battery technology, fuel cells, energy storage technologies or any of the advanced materials science used in these fields, and you will likely find somewhere in the introductory paragraphs a throwaway line about its application to the storage of renewable energy.  Energy storage makes sense for enabling a transition away from fossil fuels to more intermittent sources like wind and solar, and the storage problem presents a meaningful challenge for chemists and materials scientists… Or does it?

Several recent analyses of the inputs to our energy systems indicate that, against expectations, energy storage cannot solve the problem of intermittency of wind or solar power.  Not for reasons of technical performance, cost, or storage capacity, but for something more intractable: there is not enough surplus energy left over after construction of the generators and the storage system to power our present civilization.

The problem is analysed in an important paper by Weißbach et al.1 in terms of energy returned on energy invested, or EROEI – the ratio of the energy produced over the life of a power plant to the energy that was required to build it.  It takes energy to make a power plant – to manufacture its components, mine the fuel, and so on.  The power plant needs to make at least this much energy to break even.  A break-even powerplant has an EROEI of 1.  But such a plant would pointless, as there is no energy surplus to do the useful things we use energy for.

There is a minimum EROEI, greater than 1, that is required for an energy source to be able to run society.  An energy system must produce a surplus large enough to sustain things like food production, hospitals, and universities to train the engineers to build the plant, transport, construction, and all the elements of the civilization in which it is embedded.

For countries like the US and Germany, Weißbach et al. estimate this minimum viable EROEI to be about 7.  An energy source with lower EROEI cannot sustain a society at those levels of complexity, structured along similar lines.  If we are to transform our energy system, in particular to one without climate impacts, we need to pay close attention to the EROEI of the end result.

 The fossil fuel power sources we’re most accustomed to have a high EROEI of about 30, well above the minimum requirement.  Wind power at 16, and concentrating solar power (CSP, or solar thermal power) at 19, are lower, but the energy surplus is still sufficient, in principle, to sustain a developed industrial society.  Biomass, and solar photovoltaic (at least in Germany), however, cannot.  With an EROEI of only 3.9 and 3.5 respectively, these power sources cannot support with their energy alone both their own fabrication and the societal services we use energy for in a first world country.

These EROEI values are for energy directly delivered (the “unbuffered” values in the figure).  But things change if we need to store energy.  If we were to store energy in, say, batteries, we must invest energy in mining the materials and manufacturing those batteries.  So a larger energy investment is required, and the EROEI consequently drops.

Weißbach et al. calculated the EROEIs assuming pumped hydroelectric energy storage.  This is the least energy intensive storage technology.  The energy input is mostly earthmoving and construction.  It’s a conservative basis for the calculation; chemical storage systems requiring large quantities of refined specialty materials would be much more energy intensive.  Carbajales-Dale et al.2 cite data asserting batteries are about ten times more energy intensive than pumped hydro storage.

Adding storage greatly reduces the EROEI (the “buffered” values in the figure).  Wind “firmed” with storage, with an EROEI of 3.9, joins solar PV and biomass as an unviable energy source.  CSP becomes marginal (EROEI ~9) with pumped storage, so is probably not viable with molten salt thermal storage.  The EROEI of solar PV with pumped hydro storage drops to 1.6, barely above breakeven, and with battery storage is likely in energy deficit.

This is a rather unsettling conclusion if we are looking to renewable energy for a transition to a low carbon energy system: we cannot use energy storage to overcome the variability of solar and wind power.

In particular, we can’t use batteries or chemical energy storage systems, as they would lead to much worse figures than those presented by Weißbach et al.  Hydroelectricity is the only renewable power source that is unambiguously viable.  However, hydroelectric capacity is not readily scaled up as it is restricted by suitable geography, a constraint that also applies to pumped hydro storage.

This particular study does not stand alone.  Closer to home, Springer have just published a monograph, Energy in Australia,3 which contains an extended discussion of energy systems with a particular focus on EROEI analysis, and draws similar conclusions to Weißbach.  Another study by a group at Stanford2 is more optimistic, ruling out storage for most forms of solar, but suggesting it is viable for wind.  However, this viability is judged only on achieving an energy surplus (EROEI>1), not sustaining society (EROEI~7), and excludes the round trip energy losses in storage, finite cycle life, and the energetic cost of replacement of storage.  Were these included, wind would certainly fall below the sustainability threshold.


Revision of Australia's marine parks looming

Under Greenie influence, Australia's previous Leftist government locked away vast areas of Australia's coastal waters,  making fisheries very restricted

The Abbott government's overdue review of Australian marine parks has been launched with representatives of the fishing industry dominating advisory panels.

The previous Labor government established a vast network of new marine reserves throughout five stretches of Australian ocean and set out rules for how much fishing could occur in each one, if any at all.

Heading into the last election the Coalition promised to tear up the management plans for the new parks and to carry out a review, claiming anglers had been locked out of the process.

As part of the review, which was formally launched on Thursday, an overarching expert scientific panel will be set up to take carriage of the process.

The expert panel will be chaired by Bob Beeton, an associate professor at the University of Queensland's School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management and the former head of the Australian Threatened Species Scientific Committee.

The government has also created five advisory panels for each region of Australian ocean where the new parks were set up - the north, north-west, the east, the south-west and the Coral Sea - which are dominated by members of the commercial or recreational fishing industries.

Details of the review had initially been promised by the government by early this year.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the review would examine the management arrangements for the new marine reserves, which had been "rushed through" by the previous government.

"Unlike the previous government, we are committed to getting the management plans and the balance of zoning right, so we have asked the expert panels to consider what management arrangements will best protect our marine environment and accommodate the many activities that Australians love to enjoy in our oceans," Mr Hunt said.

He added that the government was "determined to ensure a science-based review of Commonwealth marine reserves and zoning boundaries, while maintaining our strong commitment to the marine reserves and their estates."

But Michelle Grady, Oceans director for Pew Australia, said the review was unnecessary, created more red tape and was a threat to Australia's marine protection.

"Regardless of who they put on these panels, this puts Australia's marine protection at risk and also the Liberal Party legacy of putting in place large and important marine parks," Ms Grady said.

"It's the Liberal Party who started this [protection] in the Fraser and Howard years."



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

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


11 September, 2014

Heavy pack ice in NW Passage ice creates tough conditions this year

Traffic stopped

Icebreakers and cruise ships travelling through the Northwest Passage encountered rough sailing conditions this past week: heavy ice closed the Queen Maud Gulf between the northern coast of the mainland and the southeastern corner of Victoria Island in Nunavut.

While the rate of ice loss during August in the Arctic Ocean overall in 2014 was near average, the Northwest Passage continued to be clogged with ice and was unlikely to open, the National Snow and Ice Data Centre said in its most recent Arctic ice report.

That’s because weather patterns are pushing more chunks of polar pack ice into the Northwest Passage than in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011.

In those years, atmospheric conditions led to “minimal ice inflow from the Arctic Ocean,” the NSIDC said.

But this, as of the end of August 2014, ice-clogged areas in the passage were tracking above the 1981 to 2010 average, said the Colorado-based NSIDC, which bases its reports on satellite information.

The heavy ice conditions come as no surprise to crew and passengers on board the Austral.

The French-owned mega-yacht with 132 cabins, on a 22-day, $16,000-minimum per person-plus voyage from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to Anadyr, Russia,  was stopped in its tracks last week in the Queen Maud Gulf.

The yacht was due into Cambridge Bay on Sept. 6.  But the leader of the cruise wrote Cambridge Bay’s cruise ship organizer Vicki Aitaok Sept. 5 that the ship had to cancel its visit. “We have a big problem for our stop in Cambridge Bay!

The captain of the ice breaker Pierre Radisson (who open the ice for us), just advise us that he don’t want to continue the convoy during the night.

 That means that now we are stopped in middle of the Queen Maud Gulf in middle of sea ice,” read the email posted by Aitaok on Cambridge Bay’s Facebook news page early Sept. 6.

Heavy ice conditions in 2014 also mean the Tandberg Polar tug and barge, now in Cambridge Bay, which will bring Amundsen’s ship, the Maud, back to Norway, postponed plans this year to raise the ship.

Overall, August 2014 ended up with the seventh lowest extent in the satellite record.

The ice that is clogging the Northwest Passage right now is mostly multi-year ice that breaking off from polar ice-packs and getting pushed in from the Arctic Ocean.

Even the circuitous route travelled by Norwegian Arctic explorer Roald Amundsen in 1905 and 1906 — when he became the first European explorer to successfully travel the route — was not entirely open, the NSIDC said.

Another cruise ship, the last of a season which saw has so far seen four cruise ships in Cambridge Bay, arrived on schedule Sept. 8.  That’s the One Ocean Voyage’s Akademik Sergey Vavilov, with 63 crew and 92 passengers, which participated in Parks Canada’s effort to locate HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, the ships lost on Franklin’s 1845 British Arctic Expedition.


Overwhelming Majority Of Conservative MPs Are Climate Sceptics

Nearly three-quarters of Conservative MPs do not accept that climate change has been proven to be caused by human activity, according to a new poll.

The survey of 119 MPs from all parties was commissioned by PRWeek from Populus to establish the attitudes of parliamentarians to climate change and environmental issues as part of a special report on the subject.

Only 51 per cent of MPs agree that it is an established fact that global warming is largely man made, though there are substantial differences between parties.

Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of Labour MPs agree that man-made global warming is now an established scientific fact compared with 30 per cent of Tory MPs.

Over half (53 per cent) of Conservative MPs agree with the statement that “it has not yet been conclusively proved that climate change is man made”.

A further 18 per cent agree that “man-made climate change is environmentalist propaganda”.

Climate change has fallen down the political agenda in the past five years, said half of all MPs, compared with 23 per cent who believe the opposite.


Is Narendra Modi a climate sceptic?

India’s PM used to call climate action a moral duty, now he tells students ‘climate has not changed, we have changed’

India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, reportedly will be a no-show at the United Nations climate summit this month. Could it be because he does not accept the science behind climate change?

Modi used to be a supporter for climate action. But in public remarks on two occasions in the last week, the leader of one of the fastest growing – and biggest emitting – economies appeared to express doubt about whether climate change was even occurring.

“Climate has not changed. We have changed. Our habits have changed. Our habits have got spoiled. Due to that, we have destroyed our entire environment,” the rightwing leader told students in a video Q&A, according to India Today on Friday.

Modi was also vague on global warming and its causes in an interview with The Hindu a few days earlier.

“Climate change? Is this terminology correct? The reality is this that in our family, some people are old ... They say this time the weather is colder. And, people’s ability to bear cold becomes less,” he said.

“We should also ask is this climate change or have we changed. We have battled against nature. That is why we should live with nature rather than battle it,” he said.

Both sets of comments are at variance with Modi’s earlier views on climate change, set out in an e-book, published in 2011 when he was chief minister of Gujarat.

The e-book, called Convenient Action in an apparent tribute to Al Gore, frames action on climate change as a moral duty.

“Climate change is definitely affecting the future generations which, as of now, have no voice on the actions of present generation,” Modi wrote.

As Gujarat’s chief minister, he oversaw the final phases of construction of the hugely controversial Narmada dam. But he goes to great length in the e-book to promote his actions on climate change, expanding the use of solar and wind power, and switching to natural gas as fuel for vehicles.

In the book, Modi also took a swipe at climate deniers. “I remember, a few years ago, I used to read on lot of sceptic views of climate change, whether or not it was actually happening. Having been in public life, I am aware of behind-the-scene lobbying by vested interests that normally accompany any such carefully orchestrated campaigns.”

So what’s changed? Since his election, Modi has dismantled a number of environmental protections, clearing the way for new coal mines and other industrial projects. He also blocked funds to Greenpeace and other environmental groups and is known to be vehemently anti-NGOs.

But the real problem could be the fast rising pace of India’s emissions. In the past few months, the other giant emitters – China and America – have taken steps to reduce carbon pollution.

Projections from the Energy Information Administration show China’s emissions could start levelling off in 2030. India’s? They are due to rise by 60% between 2020 and 2040.

That could put Modi under some pressure on 23 September when the United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon convenes his climate summit of world leaders.

So while Modi has created confusion about his views on climate change, one thing seems clear: he does not want to have a conversation about what India plans to do about it.


Senate hopeful: GOP-majority would squash Obama's climate agenda

Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan (Alaska) blamed President Obama and Senate Democrats for locking up the country's energy resources in the party's weekly address, vowing that a GOP-controlled Senate would be the best fix.

Sullivan, who is challenging Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) this year, worries for his three teenage daughters, who he claims won't be able to take advantage of the state's wealth of oil, natural gas, hydropower, and more, if the administration's regulatory agenda continues unchecked.

"The Obama-Reid agenda has locked up America’s natural resources, burdened small businesses throughout the country with an avalanche of regulations and suffocated job growth through a complete disrespect for the rule of law," Sullivan said during the address on Saturday.

He added that the Environmental Protection Agency, and Washington, D.C., are trying to "dictate how we manage our state-owned lands."

That could all change, he explains, if voters put him, and fellow Republicans in charge.  "The American Dream is resilient," he said.  "All we need is new leadership in Washington to make it happen once again."

If Republicans win the Senate in November, Sullivan says the GOP will make energy a priority.

"A Republican Senate would approve Keystone XL pipeline jobs, because Canada is our neighbor and ally," Sullivan said.

“We’ll authorize more offshore development, because it’s good for coastal states and the rest of the country. We’ll seize the opportunity to expand our energy trade, because that will benefit our nation, and others who need energy – like Ukraine," he added.

Republicans won't stop there, they will also work to block the administration's carbon pollution proposal for existing power plants, and other regulations the EPA is trying to finalize by next year.

Sullivan accused the administration and Democrats of being "stuck in the last century" tied to a system of "burdensome federal regulations" that is "stifling" the nation.


Australia: Climate change deniers raise the heat on the Bureau of Meteorology

By Michael Brown (Michael Brown is an astronomer at Monash University's School of Physics)

A lot of airy generalizations from Mr Brown below but no actual figures.  The work he criticizes DID give the figures.  He sniffs at the qualifications of the skeptics but are his qualifications any more relevant?  What has an expert on the stars got to do with terrestrial climate?

Australia is without a science minister for the first time in decades and some scientists now refer to the missing minister as "our invisible friend". The absent minister symbolises the current ambivalence of the Australian political right to science.

That ambivalence turns to open hostility when it comes to climate science. Five years ago Tony Abbott dismissed the science of climate change as "absolute crap" and that statement still resonates. Now, we are seeing more worrying developments.

Scientists hiding and manipulating data? Mysterious time travelling forces? Easily debunked myths being repeated as facts? Plucky amateurs and bloggers saving us from professional scientists?

Such notions are traits of pseudoscience and would be mocked if being promoted by crystal healers. Unfortunately we are hearing such nonsense being repeated by right wing media, government advisors and MPs.

Over the past few weeks there has been a concerted attack on the Bureau of Meteorology's temperature data. That data, taken with dozens of weather stations, shows temperatures increasing across Australia over the past century.

The warming trend is clear from both raw data and processed "homogenised" data. The homogenised data accounts for changes in data quality, including artificial jumps in temperature produced by relocating weather stations. For example, in rural towns many weather stations were moved from post offices to airports.

The Australian newspaper is publishing attacks on the Bureau's temperature record and the homogenisation process. These attacks are not based on published scientific studies, but instead rely heavily on the claims of former Institute of Public Affairs fellow, biologist and blogger Jennifer Marohasy.

The attacks use the pseudoscience tactic of selecting just a few towns where the homogenisation removes artificial cooling, while ignoring more towns where both the raw and homogenised data show warming. A few potential errors in the data have been highlighted, while ignoring the fact that warming across Australia is seen in both raw and homogenised data utilising millions of individual measurements.

These attacks on the Bureau of Meteorology have combined sloppiness with denigrating professional scientists. Is the Bureau really unwilling to provide 20th century data for town of Bourke? No, that data is freely available from the Bureau's website. Was the vital Stevenson Screen dumped from the Bourke weather station in 1996? No, the Bureau's catalogue has a photo of the Stevenson Screen at Bourke's current weather station. Is the Bureau hiding its methods? No, Blair Trewin details the Bureau's methods in a scientific paper.

Despite the attacks on Bureau of Meteorology having little basis in fact, they are gaining traction amongst right wing MPs and commentators. Backbench MP George Christensen tweeted "It's time for an official investigation of Bureau's handling of temperature records". Columnist Miranda Devine has claimed the Bureau's actions are "fraudulent".

Before commentators and politicians get too excited, they should remember similar claims have been made before. In New Zealand climate change deniers launched a court case making similar claims about that country's temperature record. They lost the case and have been avoiding paying the taxpayers' costs since.

The connection between pseudoscience and politics becomes even clearer when we look at the contributions of Maurice Newman, the chairman of the prime minister's Business Advisory Council.

In two recent opinion pieces, Newman warns of imminent global cooling caused by variability of the sun, rather than global warming. In some instances Newman misrepresents expert opinion when constructing his case. For example, while Newman cites Professor Mike Lockwood's research, Lockwood himself has stated that solar variability may decrease warming by "between 0.06 and 0.1 degrees Celsius, a very small fraction of the warming we're due to experience as a result of human activity".

Newman also relies on climate skeptic David Archibald for expert opinion on climate. Archibald, who isn't a scientist, has been warning of global cooling for some years now, and has previously made cooling predictions that have not eventuated.

Archibald's most recent claims invoke a new force of nature. This force hasn't been observed by anyone, but is the invention of (anthropogenic) climate change deniers desperately trying to downplay the impact of carbon dioxide. Compounding the hubris of inventing new forces without evidence, this force travels through time, with reaction following action after an 11-year delay. This could be an amusing Dr Who plot device, but has zero connection with real world physics.

The current attacks on climate science are embracing pseudoscience. They are a desperate attempt to deny a century of science that proves global warming has occurred and will continue to do so. This is a denial of a century of science, from the physics of radiative transfer to increasing ocean heat content. Unfortunately this denial is being fully embraced by sections of the Australian media and parliament.


Disastrous British "eco-school"

Greenies understand a lot less than they think they do

A £7m claim has been launched against two firms involved in the design and building of an "eco-school" that closed after it developed leaks

Devon County Council is demanding the money from architects White Design and main contractors Interserve over Dartington Primary School.  The claim is for the cost of repairs and relocating to temporary buildings.

White Design and Interserve confirmed legal action was under way but declined to comment further.

All the classrooms at the former school buildings have been emptied.  Children will be taught from the start of the winter term in a number of temporary buildings

The authority said in a statement: "We've issued letters of intent to the architects and contractors amounting to over £7m.

"That covers the cost of the construction work and the cost of temporarily relocating the school, including the temporary classrooms."

The move has been prompted by "considerable problems" with leaks at the 310-pupil "zero-carbon" school which opened in February 2010.

A report commissioned by the council in 2013 said the building started letting in water shortly after it was finished, and that "significant" repairs were needed.

The technical specialist's report said the major cause of the leaks was "likely to be the result of the scheme design".

The report also highlighted "complexities within the rainwater harvesting system" and "concern with the specified use of materials".

The council said it had worked "very closely" with the school and parents and was "very grateful for the continuing support of the parents, staff, governors and children".

The letters of intent to take action on the claim were "part of a legal process" that it said it could not comment on further.

The £7m "flagship new eco-school" was intended to replace "dilapidated flood-prone" former buildings.  Classes were held in four clusters of pod-like timber-clad buildings, with electricity and hot water from solar panels.

But rainwater was reported to be running down the walls after apparent faults in the structure.

Ordering the school had been a "bold decision" by the county council, said district councillor Jacqi Hodgson.  "It's unfortunate that it had had so many problems and now it has come to this, it is really sad."

How much will remain of the school's green credentials is unclear.

Parent Chris Mockridge, 38, said: "I think this might put people off. If they see this they might think environmental building doesn't work and in my heart I really hope it does.  "I wanted this to work and I still hope it does."

White Design has previously denied any liability.  Founder Craig White said the claim was with the firm's insurers, adding: "There is a legal process and we cannot compromise that."

Rhys Jones of Interserve said: "This is currently the subject of legal action so it would be inappropriate to comment further."

The council said it expected repairs to be finished by spring 2016.



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

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


10 September, 2014

Greenhouse gas levels hit record high: CO2 levels surged at fastest rate since records began in 2013, study claims

And we're STILL not warming!

Greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2013 driven by a surge in the level of carbon dioxide, a study claims.

Experts say carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations grew at the fastest rate since reliable global records began and have called for international action to combat climate change.

The rise in CO2 levels is outpacing fossil fuel use, suggesting that the planet's natural ability to soak up emissions of the gas may be slowing down.

‘We know without any doubt that our climate is changing and our weather is becoming more extreme due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels,’ said Michel Jarraud, the Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

‘It may be due to the reduced uptake of CO2 by the biosphere,' Mr Jarraud told a news conference, but said more research is needed. ‘If that is confirmed, it is of significant concern.’

The biosphere - which includes plants and soil - and the oceans, each absorb around a quarter of man-made CO2 emissions.

If that ratio falls, more of the planet-warming gas will remain in the atmosphere, where it can stay for hundreds of years.
CO2 surge drove greenhouse gas levels to new high in 2013

The WMO said that the ocean is getting rapidly more acidic, impairing its ability to absorb carbon dioxide and the rate of ocean acidification is unprecedented at least over the past 300 million years.

WMO scientific officer Oksana Tarasova, said: ‘The total change of ocean acidity since pre-industrial (times)... is 25 percent, and six percent was done within the last 10 years.’

The volume of carbon dioxide - the main greenhouse gas emitted by human activities - was 396 parts per million (ppm) in 2013 - 2.9 ppm higher than in 2012.

This was the largest year-to-year increase since 1984, when reliable global records began.

Methane, the second most important greenhouse gas, reached a global average of 1824 parts per billion (ppb), increasing at a similar rate as the last five years.

The other main contributor, nitrous oxide, reached 325.9 ppb, growing at a rate comparable to the average over the past decade.

Greenhouse gas emissions are rising mainly due to industrial growth in China, India and other emerging economy nations, according to the WMO.

Experts aim to keep global warming within 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial times – goals that were set by the UN in 2010.


Winter weather is growing more extreme, say scientists

That's a Warmist way of spinning the fact that Britain has had a lot of very cold winters lately.  A discussion of global cooling would be more reasonable.  Amusing that they now admit that the sun could have a role

British winters are becoming more extreme as the weather fluctuates between very cold, snowy years and mild, stormy ones, scientists have warned.

Weather patterns over the North Atlantic have become increasingly volatile during the winter months, resulting in more extreme variations in conditions in Britain.

Five out of the ten most extreme North Atlantic winter weather patterns since 1899 have all occurred within the last decade, the scientists from the University of East Anglia (UEA), University of Sheffield and the Met Office found.

Professor Phil Jones, from UEA's climatic research unit, said: "This indicates that British winters have become increasingly unsettled.

"If this trend continues, we can expect more volatile UK winter weather in decades to come."

The scientists say it is not clear whether global warming is causing the increasing extremes.

Changing weather systems over the Arctic, especially Greenland, and changes in energy coming from the sun could also have had an effect, they said.


Our relentlessly warming world brings a very early ski season to the Rockies - while Arctic ice rebounds

Forecast of 9th

The first general frost and snowfall of the year will spread southward over the northern Plains and northern Rockies of the United States through Wednesday.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "Snow fell in parts of the Canada Rockies and Prairies Monday into Tuesday as the cold air pushed southward."

Several inches of snow fell on Calgary, Alberta into Tuesday. Another dose of snow will hit the area on Wednesday.

The rounds of snow will spread southeastward across a large part of Montana and into northern and western Wyoming, the Black Hills of South Dakota and part of the Nebraska Panhandle through Thursday.

Some of the eastern slopes of the mountain ranges in the region will pick up as much as 6 inches of snow.

Accumulating snow is likely to stop short of reaching Denver with this outbreak of cold air. However, it is not out of the question some snowflakes are seen in northeastern Colorado Thursday night.

"The chilliest air since last spring will push southward from Canada and across the northern and central Plains, Midwest and the eastern slopes of the Rockies, prior to the middle of September," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski last week about the upcoming weather.

This chilly air mass will continue to expand south and east throughout the rest of the week, but the coldest air will remain locked up over the Canadian Prairies and northern Plains.

Frost will be a major concern for those with outdoor plants that are sensitive to freezing temperatures such as flowers and garden plants. This includes plants such as tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and watermelons.

Frost may form several nights in a row across the northern Plains with frost also possible over parts the Upper Midwest during the second half of the week.

SOURCE  (See here for Arctic ice)

Hurricane Activity Remains At Historic Low

In a May speech during National Hurricane Preparedness Week, President Obama warned the nation that climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions was increasing the frequency and power of major hurricanes.

But even though carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions continue to rise, hurricane activity in the U.S. remains at an historic low, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Hurricane Research Division, which maintains a list of all major hurricanes that have made landfall since 1851.

“The changes we’re seeing in our climate means that, unfortunately, storms like Sandy could end up being more common and more devastating,” Obama said at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington.

“And that’s why we’re also going to be doing more to deal with the dangers of carbon pollution that help to cause this climate change and global warming,” the president added.

But after peaking during the 1950s, the number of hurricanes battering the U.S. mainland has dropped precipitously. It’s been nine years since Wilma, the last major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S., struck South Florida, killing 25 people.

And according to NOAA, “the outlook calls for a 50 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season.”

Colorado State University climatologists Philip Klotzbach and William Gray also predicted “a below-average Atlantic hurricane season," which began June 1.

They calculated that there is only a 38 percent chance that at least one major hurricane (Category 3-4-5) will strike the U.S. coast this year, compared to the 52 percent average probability throughout the 20th century.

“Conditions in the tropical Atlantic are quite unfavorable at the present time…The Main Development Region (10-20°N, 60-20°W) (MDR) is approximately 0.5°C cooler than normal. SSTs [Sea Surface Temperatures] in the MDR are the coldest that they have been during July since 2002 (another relatively quiet Atlantic hurricane season),” they noted.

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

However, the Category 4 hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas in 1900 was by far the deadliest, with at least 8,000 – and possibly as many as 12,000 people– killed when a 15-foot storm surge inundated the low-lying city. It remains the worst weather-related disaster in U.S. history.


Is the polar bear a political weapon? Arctic creatures are NOT threatened by climate change, says scientist

Solitary polar bears have become the poster boys of global warming.  Standing on melting glaciers, their saddened faces are often plastered over posters, adverts and brochures warning of the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions.

But some scientists say polar bears, are far from endangered. Instead, they claim, the creatures are being used as political weapons in the heated debate on climate change.

'Canadian Inuit say that now is the "time with the most bears",' Mitchell Taylor, a biologist who has been researching polar bears in Canada and around the Arctic Circle for 30 years, told MailOnline.

'In spite of claims to the contrary, there is no reliable scientific evidence that polar bear numbers have declined in any subpopulation so far.'

There are an estimated 25,000 bears in the whole of the Arctic and around 60 per cent of those are in Canada, according to the Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG).

The PBSG estimates that we could lose two-thirds of the world's polar bears by the middle of the century unless the world takes action on climate change.

But the same group earlier this year admitted to polar bear specialist Susan Crockford that the estimate was 'simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand.'

Andrew Derocher, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Alberta and past PBSG chair, has spent 30 years studying polar bears.

Despite the controversy over numbers, he is adamant that polar bear groups will start going extinct by mid-century as a direct result of climate change.

'It is an international standard to consider conservation of a species using the "three generation rule" looking forward in time,' he told MailOnline.

'For polar bears, three generations is somewhere in the 36 to 45 year timeframe. In this timeframe, sea ice scientists, predict significant changes in the amount of the Arctic covered in sea ice.'

According to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ice levels are 'likely' to fall below one million square kilometres by 2050 due to man-made global warming.

'Polar bears are a habitat specialist: they are not found anywhere that sea ice does not persist. If the sea ice disappears, the bears will too.'

But Dr Taylor takes issue with both Dr Derocher's and the IPCC's predictions on climate change.

'Climate models have actually done a poor job of predicting climate warming and sea ice decline,' he said.


Luxury cruise liner to become the first to traverse Arctic's notorious Northwest Passage

The headline above (borrowed from the original) is total rubbish.  Not only has the passage been transited many times but the cruise liner is not even the biggest ship to transit it.  In 1969, the supertanker SS Manhattan (105,000 dwt) transited it BOTH WAYS and it was much bigger than the Crystal Serenity (68,000 GT)

They're the toughest Arctic waters in the world -  almost mythical in their ability to frustrate sailors, with extreme icy conditions rendering them largely off limits.

But now a cruise line is offering intrepid travellers the chance to face the Northwest passage - the route through northern coast of North America, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

In 2016, The Crystal Serenity will take 900 passengers on the largest expedition through the Northwest Passage ever made, setting passengers back between £12,500 and £93,000.

Thomas Mazloum, executive vice president of Crystal Cruises explained: 'A lot of small expedition ships have now gone through the Northwest Passage and even some commercial ships.'

'But we don't have 100 guests on board; we have 800 or 900. To do it with a ship like ours, we need to do it differently.'

The ‘once-in-a-lifetime expeditionary voyage’ is being offered by Crystal Cruises is set to appeal to wildlife lovers and those curious about our changing world.

Departing from the Gulf of Alaska, the 32-day journey will navigate the Northwest Passage, around Alaska and into the Beaufort Sea, through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and on to Greenland, before docking in New York City.

Holidaymakers will get the chance to see amazing arctic wildlife in its natural habitat, such as humpback and beluga whales, seals and walruses, oxen, kittiwakes and murres in flight.

Only around 200 ships have ever sailed the whole length of the Northwest Passage since Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (who later became the first man to reach the South pole) made history by crossing it in 1906. Only in 1942 did a second ship manage to replicate his journey.

But more recently, Arctic sea ice conditions have shifted, making it possible for a wider range of vessels to sail the passage.

It is not without its risks though. In 2010, an expedition ship named the MV Clipper Adventurer ran aground there. The crew and 118 passengers were rescued by a Canadian icebreaker.

The area is served by seven icebreakers, operated by Canada's coast guard, but rescues can be lengthy due to the sheer scale and remoteness of it.

So Crystal Serenity will be prepared for all eventualities, travelling with a support vessel, which can break channels through the ice, a helicopter pad and facilities for towing and evacuations.



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

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


9 September, 2014

Global Temperature Update – No global warming for 17 years 11 months

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

The Great Pause has now persisted for 17 years 11 months. Indeed, to three decimal places on a per-decade basis, there has been no global warming for 18 full years. Professor Ross McKitrick, however, has upped the ante with a new statistical paper to say there has been no global warming for 19 years.

Whichever value one adopts, it is becoming harder and harder to maintain that we face a “climate crisis” caused by our past and present sins of emission.

Taking the least-squares linear-regression trend on Remote Sensing Systems’ satellite-based monthly global mean lower-troposphere temperature dataset, there has been no global warming – none at all – for at least 215 months.

This is the longest continuous period without any warming in the global instrumental temperature record since the satellites first watched in 1979. It has endured for half the satellite temperature record. Yet the Great Pause coincides with a continuing, rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Figure 1. RSS monthly global mean lower-troposphere temperature anomalies (dark blue) and trend (thick bright blue line), October 1996 to August 2014, showing no trend for 17 years 11 months.

The hiatus period of 17 years 11 months, or 215 months, is the farthest back one can go in the RSS satellite temperature record and still show a sub-zero trend.

Yet the length of the Great Pause in global warming, significant though it now is, is of less importance than the ever-growing discrepancy between the temperature trends predicted by models and the far less exciting real-world temperature change that has been observed.

The First Assessment Report predicted that global temperature would rise by 1.0 [0.7, 1.5] Cº to 2025, equivalent to 2.8 [1.9, 4.2] Cº per century. The executive summary asked, “How much confidence do we have in our predictions?” IPCC pointed out some uncertainties (clouds, oceans, etc.), but concluded:

“Nevertheless, … we have substantial confidence that models can predict at least the broad-scale features of climate change. … There are similarities between results from the coupled models using simple representations of the ocean and those using more sophisticated descriptions, and our understanding of such differences as do occur gives us some confidence in the results.”

That “substantial confidence” was substantial over-confidence. A quarter-century after 1990, the outturn to date – expressed as the least-squares linear-regression trend on the mean of the RSS and UAH monthly global mean surface temperature anomalies – is 0.34 Cº, equivalent to just 1.4 Cº/century, or exactly half of the central estimate in IPCC (1990) and well below even the least estimate (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Near-term projections of warming at a rate equivalent to 2.8 [1.9, 4.2] K/century , made with “substantial confidence” in IPCC (1990), January 1990 to August 2014 (orange region and red trend line), vs. observed anomalies (dark blue) and trend (bright blue) at less than 1.4 K/century equivalent, taken as the mean of the RSS and UAH satellite monthly mean lower-troposphere temperature anomalies.

The Great Pause is a growing embarrassment to those who had told us with “substantial confidence” that the science was settled and the debate over. Nature had other ideas. Though more than two dozen more or less implausible excuses for the Pause are appearing in nervous reviewed journals, the possibility that the Pause is occurring because the computer models are simply wrong about the sensitivity of temperature to manmade greenhouse gases can no longer be dismissed.

Remarkably, even the IPCC’s latest and much reduced near-term global-warming projections are also excessive (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. Predicted temperature change, January 2005 to August 2014, at a rate equivalent to 1.7 [1.0, 2.3] Cº/century (orange zone with thick red best-estimate trend line), compared with the observed anomalies (dark blue) and zero real-world trend (bright blue), taken as the average of the RSS and UAH satellite lower-troposphere temperature anomalies.

In 1990, the IPCC’s central estimate of near-term warming was higher by two-thirds than it is today. Then it was 2.8 C/century equivalent. Now it is just 1.7 Cº equivalent – and, as Fig. 3 shows, even that is proving to be a substantial exaggeration.

On the RSS satellite data, there has been no global warming statistically distinguishable from zero for more than 26 years. None of the models predicted that, in effect, there would be no global warming for a quarter of a century.

The Great Pause may well come to an end by this winter. An el Niño event is underway and would normally peak during the northern-hemisphere winter. There is too little information to say how much temporary warming it will cause, but a new wave of warm water has emerged in recent days, so one should not yet write off this el Niño as a non-event. The temperature spikes caused by the el Niños of 1998, 2007, and 2010 are clearly visible in Figs. 1-3.

El Niños occur about every three or four years, though no one is entirely sure what triggers them. They cause a temporary spike in temperature, often followed by a sharp drop during the la Niña phase, as can be seen in 1999, 2008, and 2011-2012, where there was a “double-dip” la Niña that is one of the excuses for the Pause.

The ratio of el Niños to la Niñas tends to fall during the 30-year negative or cooling phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the latest of which began in late 2001. So, though the Pause may pause or even shorten for a few months at the turn of the year, it may well resume late in 2015 . Either way, it is ever clearer that global warming has not been happening at anything like the rate predicted by the climate models, and is not at all likely to occur even at the much-reduced rate now predicted. There could be as little as 1 Cº global warming this century, not the 3-4 Cº predicted by the IPCC.

Key facts about global temperature

The RSS satellite dataset shows no global warming at all for 215 months from October 1996 to August 2014. That is more than half the 428-month satellite record.

The fastest measured centennial warming rate was in Central England from 1663-1762, at 0.9 Cº/century – before the industrial revolution. It was not our fault.

The global warming trend since 1900 is equivalent to 0.8 Cº per century. This is well within natural variability and may not have much to do with us.

The fastest measured warming trend lasting ten years or more occurred over the 40 years from 1694-1733 in Central England. It was equivalent to 4.3 Cº per century.

Since 1950, when a human influence on global temperature first became theoretically possible, the global warming trend has been equivalent to below 1.2 Cº per century.

The fastest warming rate lasting ten years or more since 1950 occurred over the 33 years from 1974 to 2006. It was equivalent to 2.0 Cº per century.

In 1990, the IPCC’s mid-range prediction of near-term warming was equivalent to 2.8 Cº per century, higher by two-thirds than its current prediction of 1.7 Cº/century.

The global warming trend since 1990, when the IPCC wrote its first report, is equivalent to below 1.4 Cº per century – half of what the IPCC had then predicted.

Though the IPCC has cut its near-term warming prediction, it has not cut its high-end business as usual centennial warming prediction of 4.8 Cº warming to 2100.

The IPCC’s predicted 4.8 Cº warming by 2100 is well over twice the greatest rate of warming lasting more than ten years that has been measured since 1950.

The IPCC’s 4.8 Cº-by-2100 prediction is almost four times the observed real-world warming trend since we might in theory have begun influencing it in 1950.

From 1 April 2001 to 1 July 2014, the warming trend on the mean of the 5 global-temperature datasets is nil. No warming for 13 years 4 months.

Recent extreme weather cannot be blamed on global warming, because there has not been any global warming. It is as simple as that.

Technical note

Our latest topical graph shows the RSS dataset for the 214 months October 1996 to August 2014 – just over half the 428-month satellite record.

Terrestrial temperatures are measured by thermometers. Thermometers correctly sited in rural areas away from manmade heat sources show warming rates appreciably below those that are published. The satellite datasets are based on measurements made by the most accurate thermometers available – platinum resistance thermometers, which not only measure temperature at various altitudes above the Earth’s surface via microwave sounding units but also constantly calibrate themselves by measuring via spaceward mirrors the known temperature of the cosmic background radiation, which is 1% of the freezing point of water, or just 2.73 degrees above absolute zero. It was by measuring minuscule variations in the cosmic background radiation that the NASA anisotropy probe determined the age of the Universe: 13.82 billion years.

The graph is accurate. The data are lifted monthly straight from the RSS website. A computer algorithm reads them down from the text file, takes their mean and plots them automatically using an advanced routine that automatically adjusts the aspect ratio of the data window at both axes so as to show the data at maximum scale, for clarity.

The latest monthly data point is visually inspected to ensure that it has been correctly positioned. The light blue trend line plotted across the dark blue spline-curve that shows the actual data is determined by the method of least-squares linear regression, which calculates the y-intercept and slope of the line via two well-established and functionally identical equations that are compared with one another to ensure no discrepancy between them. The IPCC and most other agencies use linear regression to determine global temperature trends. Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia recommends it in one of the Climategate emails. The method is appropriate because global temperature records exhibit little auto-regression.

Dr Stephen Farish, Professor of Epidemiological Statistics at the University of Melbourne, kindly verified the reliability of the algorithm that determines the trend on the graph and the correlation coefficient, which is very low because, though the data are highly variable, the trend is flat.


Gina McCarthy’s ‘Cyber Bonfire’ Worse Than Lois Lerner’s

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy’s destruction of thousands of text messages sent and received on her government-issued smart phone is “worse than Lois Lerner’s” destruction of her Internal Revenue Service (IRS) emails, says attorney Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled that CEI can proceed with its 2013 lawsuit seeking to halt the further destruction of top agency officials' text messages. (See CEI v EPA 13-1532.pdf)

“It is implausible that EPA Administrators would not have suspected the destruction of any federal records with the removal of over 5,000 Agency text messages,” Judge Collyer wrote.

As a result of the ruling, which Horner called “a nice step in the right direction,” CEI will seek court injunctions to stop EPA’s “cyber bonfire” and compel the agency “to do what the law says, and do what IRS is doing regarding Lerner, because there is no difference here.”

“The process that the IRS is now undertaking in response to what they know are the destroyed Lois Lerner correspondence is the process we’re talking about,” Horner told

“EPA’s response was that was an ‘intrusive’ attempt by us to make them comply with federal record-keeping and disclosure laws that no one can make them comply with…

“This is worse than Lois Lerner, for a simple reason. Lois Lerner wrote to someone else and said, ‘Hey, are our instant messages being backed up?’ And they said ‘no,’ and she wrote back: ‘Perfect.’

“Gina McCarthy didn’t have to write anybody to ask. She was the party who [EPA] regulations said knew, or had to know, and she was the one destroying everything, texting at a rate of nearly 300 times a month, including to her senior policy aides, [the ones] most instrumental in the war on coal. Destroying all of them.

“And she’s the one that under the system was tasked with making sure the law was enforced.”

The CEI lawsuit accuses McCarthy and former Administrator Lisa Jackson of using the text messages as an alternative to email to conduct official EPA business in order to circumvent federal disclosure laws.

Horner says he requested McCarthy’s text messages in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request after being informed that she had been warned about texting on the 18 days she testified before Congress. “That’s a different lawsuit, but it did bring us here,” he said.

“In that case, I said we’d like her text messages on those 18 days. That should be simple. They said, ‘no records.’ We got her phone bills. They showed us how often she was texting. A lot. I suppose that after the FOIA request came in, she increasingly turned to text messaging. And we now know she knew they weren’t being backed up, and she was destroying them.

“And so we ran the odds, and it was 1 in 7.9 sextillion that she didn’t text at all on those 18 days.”

The Federal Records Act (FRA) requires the retention of all “documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States Government under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business…”

Although Collyer ruled that CEI could not use FRA to stop future destruction of EPA text messages, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that “private litigants cannot state a claim for legal relief under FRA,” she did say that CEI could proceed with the case under two other federal statutes

Horner says he is pleased with the ruling. “The key point is that the court said 'CEI can proceed and I will be the judge of whether anybody can make you comply with the law.' That was the victory,” he told

“We know Gina McCarthy was texting like a teenager almost 300 times a month instead of emailing,” he continued. “But when we asked for the texts, EPA said ‘no records.’ And ultimately, after we sued in one case, McCarthy acknowledged through counsel that she had destroyed probably 10,000 text messages because they were all personal.

“So we obtained the metadata for at least seven months, which was all EPA still had, and it turns out some of these ‘personal’ messages were to her two senior Clean Air Act, war on coal activist aides and nine other aides.”

The agency responded that it did not have to save the text messages because they were not “records” under FRA. But Collyer ruled that “CEI has adequately alleged an underlying violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA)” based on “EPA’s unpublished and unverified record-keeping policies.”

“What we have here is the agency official responsible, by regulation, for making sure these laws are enforced destroying every single one of her text messages with a wholesale cyber bonfire on agency equipment.”

“If this is permissible,” Horner added, “your system has a problem.”


EPA’s phony “environmental justice” caper

The agency’s real agenda: empire, control, and inverted justice for poor and minority families

Paul Driessen

When it comes to energy, climate change, justice and transparency, the Obama Administration and its Environmental Protection Agency want it every possible way. Their only consistency is their double standards and their determination to slash hydrocarbon use, ensure that electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket,” expand federal government command and control, and “fundamentally transform” America.

The president was thus eager to give away Seal Team secrets in bragging about “he” got Osama bin Laden. But in sharp contrast, there has been no transparency on Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal – or the data and analyses that supposedly support Environmental Protection Agency claims that “dangerous manmade climate change” is “not just a future threat; it is happening right now.”

That rhetoric made it sound like EPA’s Clean Power Plan was designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, in July EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy made it clear that her initiative “is not about pollution control.” Rather, it is an “investment strategy” designed to spur renewable energy.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) opined that the agency does not have “explicit statutory authority” to steer investments toward “green” energy. Perhaps so, McCarthy replied, but her actions are legal under the Clean Air Act and within the agency’s ever broadening purview – as are EPA’s attempts to expand its mission and oversight authority by emphasizing “sustainable development” and “environmental justice.”

The ironies abound. Wind, solar and ethanol power were intended to address “imminent oil and gas depletion” that ended with the hydraulic fracturing revolution, and prevent “global warming” that ended some 18 years ago. Now “investment” in these “alternative” energy technologies primarily involves greenback dollars taken from hard-working taxpayers and delivered to crony corporatists and campaign contributors who want to earn fat profits from climate scares, renewable energy mandates and subsidies.

A 2010 report suggested that EPA should begin to examine how it might “encourage the development of sustainable communities, biodiversity protection, clean energy, environmentally sustainable economic development and climate change.” Talk about an open-ended invitation to control our lives. A few weeks ago, EPA proclaimed “environmental justice” as yet another new cause celebre. The agency claims low-income groups are “disproportionately affected” by airborne pollution, and therefore it must tighten air quality standards yet again. The results will likely be a perverse opposite of true justice.

The agency’s own Urban Air Toxics report chronicles a 66% reduction in benzene levels, 84% in outdoor airborne lead, 84% in mercury from coal-fueled power plants, and huge reductions in particulates (soot). “But we know our work is not done yet,” McCarthy said. “At the core of EPA’s mission is the pursuit of environmental justice – striving for clean air, water and healthy land for every American; and we are committed to reducing remaining pollution, especially in low-income neighborhoods.”

Most air quality and health experts say America’s air is completely safe. That’s why EPA pays its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and the American Lung Association millions of dollars a year to say otherwise. It’s why the EPA, CASAC and ALA refuse to discuss the $353 billion in annual regulatory compliance costs that EPA alone imposes on U.S. businesses and families (out of a total federal regulatory bill of $1.9 trillion), according to Competitive Enterprise Institute studies.

Those costs mean too many people lose their jobs. Their hopes, dreams, pride and work ethic are replaced by despair and dependency. If they can find new work, they are forced to work multiple jobs, commute longer distances, and spend greater portions of their incomes on gasoline and electricity. They suffer greater sleep deprivation, stress, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse, and poorer nutrition and medical care. More people have strokes and heart attacks; more die prematurely.

EPA’s new 54.5-mile-per-gallon standards mean cars are lighter and less safe in accidents. That means more people suffer severe injuries or get killed. Minority and other poor families are especially at risk.

Every one of these impacts is also a matter of environmental justice. But EPA chooses to ignore them.

Moreover, nothing in the law says EPA has a right to declare that it intends to seek “justice” by drawing a line between poor people and other Americans, all of whom have a stake in clean air. McCarthy’s language is more befitting a rabble-rouser than an agency administrator who is supposed make decisions based on science – not on emotions, politics, or racial and class divisiveness.

EPA’s climate and environmental policies appear destined to become even more insane. Just two months after calling climate change “the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction” – and amid radical Islamist chaos and conflagrations across the Arab world – on September 3, Secretary of State John Kerry actually said “Muslim-majority countries are among the most vulnerable” to climate change. “Scriptures,” he claimed, make it clear that Americans have a “responsibility” to prevent this calamity.

McCarthy’s environmental justice claims also appear to be based on an ugly premise that undergirds many Obama Administration policies: that low-income people are victims and businesspeople are guilty of doing irreparable harm to their health and communities. (At least business people who are not aligned with Obama and don’t support liberal/Democrat agendas and candidates are guilty.)

Such sentiments pit low-income and working-class Americans against businesses. They are a divisive throwback to the 99% versus 1% protests. They ignore the fact that Mr. Kerry, climate politics bankroller Tom Steyer, and President Obama and his fundraiser dinner companions are all part of the 0.1 percent.

These sentiments also ignore the fact that businesspeople create jobs, give workers opportunities to earn a living for themselves and their families, and develop the employment and life skills to successfully climb the socio-economic ladder. Any company that violates environmental, health, safety, tax and other laws is penalized civilly or criminally – whereas all too often the regulators themselves escape any accountability or liability for accidental, incompetent and even deliberate actions that hurt their fellow citizens.

Ms. McCarthy’s statements also reflect the lengths to which EPA will go to continue expanding its reach and grow its bureaucracy. The agency cannot admit that it has nearly won the battle against dirty air, because thousands of government regulators could lose their jobs. (Never mind the millions of Americans who lose their jobs because of EPA regulators and regulations.) To protect its legions of workers, justify its massive taxpayer-provided budget, and expand it many times over, EPA continues to move the goal posts, by invoking environmental justice, climate change and sustainability – for which there can never be objective goals and achievements, but only political considerations and subjective “feelings.”

Apparently Ms. McCarthy embraces the ideology that ignores the benefits of affordable energy and of a robust economy that creates jobs and opportunities. In her view, government controls are paramount, even when they stifle self-reliance, creativity and entrepreneurship, destroy jobs, harm human health and welfare, and cast low-income Americans as perpetual victims.

As Congress of Racial Equality national chairman Roy Innis emphasizes in his book, Energy Keepers / Energy Killers: The new civil rights battle: access to abundant, reliable, affordable energy is essential for individuals, families and communities that want to improve their lives and living standards.

Jason Riley puts it just as forcefully in his new book, Please Stop Helping Us: How liberals make it harder for blacks to succeed. Blacks must “develop the habits and attitudes that other groups had to develop” to improve their lives, he writes. The real secret to rolling back black unemployment and poverty is to change a culture that has allowed too many black children to grow up without the benefit of a father in the home, and that scorns black intellectual achievement as “acting white.”

Environmental protection should never be an “us vs. them” mentality. Such attitudes divide us, rather than bringing us together to improve our nation and world for everyone’s benefit. Ms. McCarthy should base environmental policy on sound science – and check her phony justice rhetoric at the door.

 Via email

New Paper: Fraud, Bias & Public Relations

Claims of 97% consensus on global warming depend on research described as fraudulent and biased

A new briefing note published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation examines claims made by a great many commentators across the world, including President Obama and Ed Davey, of an overwhelming consensus on climate change. These depend on research that has been subject to public and entirely unrebutted allegations that it is fraudulent.

Although the authors of the research claim to have shown that most climate change papers accept that mankind is responsible for the majority of recent warming, in fact the underlying study shows no such thing.

One senior climatologist described the paper as ‘poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly executed’. Another researcher called it ‘completely invalid and untrustworthy’, adding that there was evidence of scientific fraud.

Andrew Montford, the author of the paper, said: “It has now been shown beyond doubt that the claims of a 97% consensus on climate change are at best misleading, perhaps grossly so, and possibly deliberately so. It’s high time policymakers stopped citing this appalling study.”

Fraud, Bias And Public Relations: The 97% ‘Consensus’ And Its Critics (PDF)


Recent reports that 97% of published scientific papers support the so-called consensus on man-made global warming are based on a paper by John Cook et al.  Precisely what consensus is allegedly being supported in these papers cannot be discerned from the text of the paper. An analysis of the methodology used by Cook et al. shows that the consensus referred to is trivial:
* that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas
* that human activities have warmed the planet to some unspecified extent.
Almost everybody involved in the climate debate, including the majority of sceptics, accepts these propositions, so little can be learned from the Cook et al. paper. Numerous critiques of the paper have been published, some by supporters of main stream views on climate science. These have demonstrated substantial biases in the methodology. Cook has certainly misrepresented what his research shows. More importantly, one researcher has made an allegation of scientific fraud, at this point unrebutted by Cook and his colleagues

Via email

What I did on my summer vacation – another climatologist’s perspective

We should celebrate fossil fuels, not condemn them

David R. Legates (David R. Legates, PhD, CCM, is a Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, USA)

I recently read an article in which “hockey stick” creator and climatologist Michael Mann discussed his summer vacation. Reporting on his travels to Montana, Dr. Mann lamented the fact that glaciers in Glacier National Park are receding. He blamed this on human-caused climate change. He said he tried to get away from work but just couldn’t, because the “spectre of climate change stares you in the face as you tour the park.”

I likewise did my level best to get away from life, but was no more successful. You see, I’m a not just a climatologist. I am also a human being, and am acutely aware of the life-long struggle for survival experienced by billions of destitute, desperate people on our planet – and of the innovative, determined human spirit that stares you in the face as you peruse the daily news and tour our nation’s museums.

Dr. Mann was viewing glaciers that have actually been receding since the end of the Little Ice Age, back around 1860. He got upset because he thinks (and wants us to believe) that they have been losing ice only since 1975 or so – and it’s our fault, because carbon dioxide emissions from our cars, factories, electricity generating plants, home heating units and other sources are causing “unprecedented” global warming.

I instead visited three museums that are within a one-hour drive from my home: the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasbourg, PA, the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware, and the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal Museum in Chesapeake City, Maryland.

What I saw underscored how far we Americans have come since the Civil War and Industrial Revolution, in large part because of fossil fuel-driven technology – and how far billions of less fortunate people worldwide still have to go, to achieve a standard of living, health and welfare close to what we enjoy. Unfortunately, and unforgivably, they are being held back by policies that elevate misplaced concern about hydrocarbon energy and “dangerous manmade climate change” above the needs of people.

At the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania you see the impacts the railway had on building this great nation. From simple steam engines that could carry just two people, to huge steam locomotives that connected our country's two far-flung shores, to the diesel and electric locomotives that built the industrial backbone of this country, the ingenuity of the last 150-plus years sits quietly on display as an historical reminder of our legacy.

The Air Mobility Command Museum is a testimony not just to aviation, but to air cargo transportation.  The amazing machines, and the intrepid men and women who flew them, helped us move equipment and supplies to support troops, provide assistance in areas ravaged by natural disasters or human catastrophes, and keep freedom alive in places like West Berlin during the 1948-49 airlift.

They also stand as marvelous monuments to human innovation – and a testament to our ability and determination to support freedom and democracy, and lend assistance when needed to the plight of those less fortunate, even when located in the far reaches of our planet.

Connecting two important waterways, the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal is truly a miracle of human entrepreneurship.  Originally dug by hand, the fourteen-mile-long canal connects the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, reducing the shipping distance from Baltimore to Philadelphia by nearly 300 miles.

Eventually, the canal was deepened and its locks removed, to allow goods to be shipped directly by ocean-going vessels without having to offload them to a turnpike, or later the railway. This greatly increased the region’s economic viability and encouraged development of the mid-Atlantic area.

But as I looked these monuments, I did so with sadness. This ingenuity was brought about by forward-looking men and women who used their energies to develop machines and enhance their efficiency, with the ultimate goal of helping humankind.

Today, however, there are those who see this effort as wrong and (dare I say it?) even evil. They want to restrict energy and its availability, and thereby limit our ingenuity, innovation and progress by draining the very lifeblood that made these earlier developments possible.  Without coal and oil, there would have been no railroads and no cargo transportation, either by air or by sea.

Democracy would likely have been but a distant memory in most of Europe and Southeast Asia – or maybe not even a memory at all.  The United States would not have developed as it did, and it certainly would not be the world's leader in innovative thinking that it is today.  It is quite likely that we would not be far removed from the conditions in which Africa currently finds itself.

These three museums only offer a small glimpse at the myriad of marvels produced by human ingenuity, and the role that hydrocarbon energy has played in them since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.  The development of inexpensive energy led to phenomenal, previously unheard of increases in industrial output and worker efficiency, in wages and free time, in living standards and human health and welfare.

They also provided us with the weekend and vacation time, and the physical wherewithal, to experience the wonders of God’s creation -- as well as the ability to attend to environmental stewardship.

It is all these opportunities that people in undeveloped and under-developed countries wish to emulate. But for that to happen, we must help keep the cost of energy low and shun policies and practices that make it expensive and unreliable. If we make energy so expensive that only the rich can afford it, the poor and the vulnerable will be denied access, and will be condemned to nasty, brutal and short lives marked by squalor, deprivation, starvation and disease.

I find it immoral to suggest that the abject poverty, disease and malnutrition that still afflict much of the world must be ignored, while we concern ourselves with “saving the planet from global warming.”

Are national park glaciers – whose existence and demise are affected primarily by the same natural forces that repeatedly spawned and melted mile-high, continent-wide Pleistocene ice fields – more important than the more unfortunate inhabitants of our planet?  Assuming, of course, that by addressing greenhouse gas emissions we can positively alter the planet’s climate, or that we can know what climate is optimal.

It is ironic that it is our affluence – created by our technological innovations and use of hydrocarbons – which has allowed us to become environmentally conscious. When people are in dire need of food, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities of life, they cannot be concerned with environmental issues.  To cite just one example of thousands, because the people of India and Bangladesh are so poor, the Ganges River serves as both their source of drinking water and their cesspool for untreated sewage. Their poverty prevents them from focusing on even the most basic environmental concerns.

Moreover, freedom and energy availability go hand-in-hand. Oppression thrives when subjects are kept poor and deprived of technological advancements. When people have the time and ability to travel and communicate, to be innovative, and to organize to produce a better way of life or fight a common enemy – freedom grows. Inexpensive energy is the key to ending both poverty and oppression.

More than two million people will visit Glacier National Park this year, to marvel at nature. I wonder how they would have gotten there ... or whether they would have had the time to do so … if it were not for the transportation innovations that resulted from hydrocarbon fuels.

I would encourage them to visit these museums – or museums like them – to see what humans have built, and ponder what our future will likely be if backward-thinking policies cause their legacy to vanish. May they marvel at the wonders of nature, and perhaps lament the loss of glaciers. But may they also lament the loss of life caused by too little use of fossil fuels, not by too much of such life-enhancing fuels.

Via email

Antarctic Sea Ice Sets New Record For August

Antarctic sea ice extent continued to set new records in August, finishing the month at 19.154 million sq km, beating the record set last year by 87,000 sq km.

It is worth noting that the climatological maximum, using a 1981-2010 baseline, is 18.581 million sq km, set on average on 22nd September. No year prior to 1998 set a maximum extent greater than the current level, and only seven years have had maximums higher than 19.154 million sq km.



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

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


8 September, 2014

Fun! Could a healthy diet speed up global warming? Eating according to US government guidelines would raise greenhouse gas emissions, claims study

Altering what we eat to conform to dietary guidelines would actually increase emissions of greenhouse gases, a study has found.  The researchers found that diet-related greenhouse gas emissions would increase by 12 per cent if dietary recommendations are followed.

And while the scientists aren't suggesting we should ignore dietary guidelines, they are suggesting that such guidelines should be made with more environmental considerations in mind.

Dr Martin Heller and Dr Gregory Keoleian of the University of Michigan's Center for Sustainable Systems looked at the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of around 100 foods.

They also looked at the potential effects of shifting Americans to a diet recommended by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

They found that if Americans adopted the recommendations in USDA's 'Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010,' but consumed the same number of calories diet-related greenhouse gas emissions would increase by 12 per cent.

Current estimates put the average American's daily calories intake at more than 3,300 calories a day.

If Americans reduced their daily caloric intake to the recommended level of about 2,000 calories while shifting to a healthier diet, meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions would decrease by only 1 per cent according to Dr Heller and Dr Keoleian.

'The take-home message is that health and environmental agendas are not aligned in the current dietary recommendations,' Dr Heller said.

The paper's findings are especially relevant now because the USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is for the first time considering food sustainability within the context of dietary recommendations, he said.

In its 2010 dietary guidelines, the USDA recommends that Americans eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products and seafood.

They should consume less salt, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, added sugar and refined grains.

The guidelines don't explicitly state that Americans should eat less meat. However, an appendix to the report lists the recommended average daily intake amounts of various foods, including meat.

The paper titled 'Greenhouse gas emission estimates of US dietary choices and food loss' was published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology.

The recommended amount of meat is significantly less than current consumption levels, which Dr Heller and Dr Keoleian estimated using the USDA's Loss Adjusted Food Availability dataset as a proxy for per capita food consumption in the United States.

While a drop in meat consumption would help cut diet-related greenhouse gas emissions, increased use of dairy products - and to a lesser extent seafood, fruits and vegetables - would have the opposite effect, increasing diet-related emissions, according to the researchers.

In the US in 2010, food production was responsible for about eight per cent of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions.

In general, animal-based foods are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions per pound than plant-based foods.

The production of both beef cattle and dairy cows is tied to especially high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

For starters, cows don't efficiently convert plant-based feed into muscle or milk, so they must eat lots of feed.

Growing that feed often involves the use of fertilisers and other substances manufactured through energy-intensive processes. And then there's also the fuel used by farm equipment.

In addition, cows burp lots of methane, and their manure also releases this potent greenhouse gas.

Greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing the US diet are dominated by the meats category, according to Dr Heller and Dr Keoleian.  While beef accounts for only four per cent by weight of the food available, it contributes 36 per cent of the associated greenhouse gases, they conclude.

The researchers found that a switch to diets that don't contain animal products would lead to the biggest reductions in this country's diet-related greenhouse emissions.

But Dr Heller said he's not arguing that everyone should go vegan, and he believes that animals need to be part of a sustainable agricultural system.

However, reduced consumption would have both health and environmental benefits.

In their paper, Dr Heller and Dr Keoleian also looked at wasted food and how it contributes to US greenhouse gas emissions. They concluded that annual emissions tied to uneaten food are equivalent to adding 33 million passenger vehicles to the nation's roads.


How Markets and Property Rights Can Protect Nature

It's natural—and wrong—to assume greedy capitalists will run amok and destroy the Earth unless stopped by regulation

John Stossel

Last week I said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has become a monster that does more harm than good. But logical people say, "What else we got?" It's natural to assume greedy capitalists will run amok and destroy the Earth unless stopped by regulation.

These critics don't understand the real power of private ownership, says Terry Anderson of the Property and Environment Research Center. "Long before the EPA was a glint in anyone's eye," said Anderson on my TV show, "property rights were dealing with pollution issues."

The worst pollution often happens on land owned by "the people"—by government. Since no one person derives direct benefit from this property, it's often treated carelessly. Some of the worst environmental damage happens on military bases and government research facilities, such as the nuclear research site in Hanford, Washington.

Worse things may happen when government indifference combines with the greed of unrestrained businesspeople, like when the U.S. Forest Service lets logging companies cut trees on public land. Private forest owners are careful to replant and take steps to prevent forest fires. Government-owned forests are not as well managed. They are much more likely to burn.

When it's government land—or any commonly held resource—the incentive is to get in and take what you can, while you can. It's called the "tragedy of the commons."

"No one washes a rental car," says Anderson, but "when people own things, they take care of them. And when they have private property rights that they can enforce, other people can't dump gunk onto the property."

That's why, contrary to what environmentalists often assume, it's really property rights that encourage good stewardship. If you pollute, it's your neighbors who are most likely to complain, not lazy bureaucrats at the EPA.

"Here in Montana, for example, the Anaconda Mining Company, a copper and mining company, ruled the state," says Anderson. "And yet when it was discovered that their tailings piles (the heaps left over after removing the valuable material by mining) had caused pollution on ranches that neighbored them, local property owners took them to court. (Anaconda Mining) had to cease and desist and pay for damages. ... They quickly took care of that problem." They also restored some of the land they had mined.

Property rights and a simple, honest court system—institutions that can exist without big government—solve problems that would be fought about for years by politicians, environmental bureaucrats, and the corporations who lobby them.

In fact, it's harder to assess the benefits and damages in environmental disputes when these decisions are taken out of the marketplace and made by bureaucracies that have few objective ways to measure costs.

Markets even solve environmental problems in places where environmentalists assume they cannot, such as oceans and other property that can't be carved up into private parcels.

Environmental bureaucrats usually say, to make sure fishermen don't overfish and destroy the stock of fish, we will set a quota for every season. That command-and-control approach has been the standard policy. So bureaucrats regulate the fishing season. They limit the number of boats, their size, and how long they may fish.

The result: fishing is now America's most dangerous job. Fishermen race out in all kinds of weather to get as many fish as they can in the narrow time window allowed by regulators. They try to game the system to make more money. Sometimes they still deplete the fish stock.

But Anderson points out that there is an alternative. "In places like New Zealand and Iceland ... we've created individual fishing quotas, which are tradable, which are bankable, which give people an incentive to invest in their fisheries." Because the fisherman "owns" his fishing quota, he is careful to preserve it. He doesn't overfish because he wants "his" fish to be there next year.

The moral of the story: when possible, let markets and property protect nature. That avoids the tragedy of the commons.


Russia Sponsors Leonardo DiCaprio Anti-American Energy Propaganda Video

We’ve written extensively about hypocritical Hollywood environmentalists. The latest comes from Leonardo DiCaprio, who is out with a new fearmongering, anti-oil and gas video that appears to be partially supported by the Russian government.

The video gives production credits to the Russian television network RT America (a.k.a. Russia Today), which receives funding from the Russian government. This isn’t a big surprise. Just like oil-producing countries in the Middle East, Russia has a vested interest in stopping the American energy revolution: Russia is the world’s largest exporter of natural gas. America’s domestic energy boom, made possibly by innovations in hydraulic fracturing, threatens Russia’s grip over European gas markets.

The video was also written and presented by RT on-air personality and self-described “democratic socialist” Thom Hartmann, who recently published the alarmist tome, The Last Hours of Humanity: Warming the World to Extinction. And, the credits list contributions to the video from 16 other RT employees, including RT news director Misha Solodovnikov.

This hypocrisy is par for the course for Leo. He’s recently back from his World Cup trip to Rio aboard Emirati Sheik (and oil magnate) Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s superyacht, which best estimates assume has a fuel economy of about 1 mile per gallon. Meanwhile, his video advocates for a carbon tax, portrays the oil and gas industry as a money-eating monster, and claims that fossil fuels must be kept in the ground (evidently, for everyone except for him and his friends.) But accepting resources from a foreign country to advance its fossil fuel interests at the expense of America’s is a new low even for him.


Temperatures have fallen below the lower bound of the projections used by the IPCC

The pause in surface temperature warming has sparked a new phase of research in the climate sciences. Among other effects, it invalidated several high profile forecasts. Some were informal predictions, such as this by Dr David Viner of the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, quoted in The Independent, 20 March 2000:

"{W}ithin a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.”

Or this, more formal, from the NASA press release “Arctic Meltdown", 27 February 2001:

"… in 10 years’ time, if melting patterns change as predicted, the North-West Passage could be open to ordinary shipping for a month each summer. These predictions come in a recently declassified report of a meeting of American, British and Canadian Arctic and naval experts in April last year, organised by Dennis Conlon of the US Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Virginia. Entitled “Naval Operations in an Ice-Free Arctic” …

Peter Wadhams of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge agrees that the Arctic could soon open up. “Within a decade we can expect regular summer trade there,” he predicts."

Some projections are both formal and important. The flattish trend of global surface temperatures during the pause has fallen below the lower bound of the projections used by the IPCC (strictly speaking, not predictions).  See the below updated version of Figure 10.1 from the IPCCC’s AR5 WGI from “Contribution of natural decadal variability to global warming acceleration and hiatus“, Masahiro Watanabe et al, Nature Climate Change, in press. The grey shaded area shows projections from CMIP5 (a set of model outputs from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5, used in the IPCC’s AR5). The black line is actual global surface temperature (from the UK’s HadCRUT data).

It’s a small gap, but might grow to become serious if the pause lasts for years — or even decades (as some forecast). The pause gives us some time to prepare for future climate change — and take measures to reduce it. But we might squander this gift of time. Much depends on the possible political effects of the pause in global warming,

Other effects of the pause

Events prove some scientists right, and some wrong. Sometimes the right ones were in the minority. For example the eminent climate scientist Roger Pielke Sr (see Wikipedia) has long said that the focus on the surface air temperature was inappropriate. For example:

“The spatial pattern of ocean heat content change is the appropriate metric to assess climate system heat changes including global warming.”

For this he was smeared and called a denier by activists. Such as those at Skeptical Science (more accurately called “skeptical of science”). See this page calling him a “climate misinformer” (note that all of Pielke’s quotes shown there now appear correct). See this note for more detail and references to his work.

Now the oceans’ role have become a central focus of current research and is one of the leading explanations for the pause (see section 7 here). This rise and fall of reputations is part of the drama of science, concealed by activists who choose their heroes and villains by their political utility.

More HERE  (See the original for links)


James Delingpole

Professor Brian Cox is almost certainly the prettiest physicist ever to have appeared on television. A crowded field, I know. But even I would, I suspect, happily married man though I am (and happily married man though he is too), given the right circumstances: those wonderful pouty lips; that winning perma-smile as he delivers his pearls of astronomical wisdom on his charming documentaries; the rock star cool - complete with Charlatans-style, retro haircut - a legacy of his days as keyboard player with Nineties pop band D:Ream.

So yes, I perfectly well understand why the BBC has elevated him to the position of go-to scientist on all matters of import, with TV series like The Wonders of the Solar System, and why he is constantly being invited to deliver TED talks and high profile speeches like the 2010 Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture and the Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture.

The only bit that troubles me - and it is something of a problem, I think you'll agree, in a leading "science communicator" - is his somewhat uncertain grasp of the scientific method. (H/T Bishop Hill)

Here is the lovely lad telling Guardian readers what to think about climate science: "What I think about climate change actually is it’s obviously true and clearly true to all of us who look at the debate that goes on."

OK. Fair enough, O Guru. Pray tell us what it is that gives you the adamantine certainty that enables you to make such ex cathedra pronouncements.

"You’re allowed to say, well I think we should do nothing. That’s a policy choice. But what you’re not allowed to do is to claim there’s a better estimate of the way that the climate will change, other than the one that comes out of the computer models. It’s nonsensical to say ‘we know better’, you can’t know better."

Hmm. I detect a flaw here. Don't you? What Professor Cox appears to think is that all those myriad computer projections over the last few decades warning us of catastrophic, unprecedented, runaway man-made global warming ought to be taken more seriously than the real world data which show no warming since 1997. Theory, he is saying, should trump reality.

Is this really how science works? I'm not sure that science philosopher Karl Popper would have agreed with him. Popper, I would concede, never had nearly as much street credibility as Brian Cox. Not once was he in any kind of popular dance act and even in his youth his hairstyles and fashion sense were pretty ragged. But he is generally recognised as the man who laid the intellectual foundations of the scientific method when he devised the concept of "falsifiability."

In order for a scientific hypothesis to have any value, Popper posited, it must be falsifiable. That is: capable of being proved wrong through experiment and observation.

The classic example he gave was the proposition "All swans are white." In order to disprove this, all you have to do is find a swan that isn't white - eg those black swans you find in Australia - and the hypothesis has been falsified.

But Professor Cox, it would appear, thinks he knows better than this. Where Anthropogenic Global Warming theory is concerned, scientists have found the black swan: the 17-year hiatus in global warming which has confounded all the theoretical models predicting that as anthropogenic CO2 levels rise so, inexorably, will the world's temperature. Yet what Cox is telling Guardian readers is: "Sod the black swans in Australia. All our models tell us they can't possibly exist because swans are meant to be white, so there."


FURTHERMORE: "Who do you think said the following: “I always regret it when knowledge becomes controversial. It’s clearly a bad thing, for knowledge to be controversial.” A severe man of the cloth, perhaps, keen to erect a forcefield around his way of thinking? A censorious academic rankled when anyone criticises his work?

Actually, it was Brian Cox, Britain’s best-known scientist and the BBC’s go-to guy for wide-eyed documentaries about space. Yes, terrifyingly, this nation’s most recognisable scientist thinks it is a bad thing when knowledge becomes the subject of controversy, which is the opposite of what every man of reason in modern times has said about knowledge.

Brendan O'Neill

Homosexual Canutes

They seem to think they can stop the sea level from rising on a holiday island they frequent

'Queers for the Climate' Are Trying to Save Fire Island from Rising Seas

When it comes to climate change, everyone has something to lose. Californians are losing their water supply, hikers are losing vast swaths of forest, farmers are losing crops. The gay community is losing Fire Island.

That's the subject of a new tongue-in-cheek documentary produced by members of Queers for the Climate, which is pretty much the best new environmental group I've seen emerge in ages.

See, picture an 'environmentalist', and you'll likely whip up a caricature that looks something like this: A middle-aged straight white man, sporting either a rumpled safari hat and birding binocs or a tie-dyed tee and a tangled beard. That's a problem, since there's a whiff of truth to every stereotype, and while the American green movement is diversifying, it's still a pretty homogenous lot.

So when I got an email from a member of Queers for the Climate, my cynical brain perked right up. Joseph Huff-Hannon told me that the group is a newly formed coalition of LGBT activists who care about climate change, and who want to make environmental protests look more like Pride parades.

Huff-Hannon teamed up with the Yes Men's Andy Bichlbaum to make a documentary short about their trip to Fire Island, on which they tried to recruit gay men to the climate cause. Fire Island, they point out, is one of the East Coast's most endangered beaches—a recent report found it had a high likelihood of being swallowed by sea level rise. Queers for Climate members have also launched an #ItGetsWetter parody campaign, and are raising interest in the upcoming People's Climate March in New York City....

But I do think in general, even with Hurricane Sandy in NYC, even with major American cities like Miami literally already starting to slowly drown, most of us are conditioned to think about climate change as something happening “over there” or “out there.” But actually Fire Island homeowners (and visitors) have just as much stake as somebody living on the Maldives to try to help get ourselves out of this mess.



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

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


7 September, 2014

Big Al to the rescue

Whatever Happened to Global Warming?

Now come climate scientists' implausible explanations for why the 'hiatus' has passed the 15-year mark?

On Sept. 23 the United Nations will host a party for world leaders in New York to pledge urgent action against climate change. Yet leaders from China, India and Germany have already announced that they won't attend the summit and others are likely to follow, leaving President Obama looking a bit lonely. Could it be that they no longer regard it as an urgent threat that some time later in this century the air may get a bit warmer?

In effect, this is all that's left of the global-warming emergency the U.N. declared in its first report on the subject in 1990. The U.N. no longer claims that there will be dangerous or rapid climate change in the next two decades. Last September, between the second and final draft of its fifth assessment report, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change quietly downgraded the warming it expected in the 30 years following 1995, to about 0.5 degrees Celsius from 0.7 (or, in Fahrenheit, to about 0.9 degrees, from 1.3).

Even that is likely to be too high. The climate-research establishment has finally admitted openly what skeptic scientists have been saying for nearly a decade: Global warming has stopped since shortly before this century began.

First the climate-research establishment denied that a pause existed, noting that if there was a pause, it would invalidate their theories. Now they say there is a pause (or "hiatus"), but that it doesn't after all invalidate their theories.

Alas, their explanations have made their predicament worse by implying that man-made climate change is so slow and tentative that it can be easily overwhelmed by natural variation in temperature—a possibility that they had previously all but ruled out.

When the climate scientist and geologist Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia wrote an article in 2006 saying that there had been no global warming since 1998 according to the most widely used measure of average global air temperatures, there was an outcry. A year later, when David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London made the same point, the environmentalist and journalist Mark Lynas said in the New Statesman that Mr. Whitehouse was "wrong, completely wrong," and was "deliberately, or otherwise, misleading the public."

We know now that it was Mr. Lynas who was wrong. Two years before Mr. Whitehouse's article, climate scientists were already admitting in emails among themselves that there had been no warming since the late 1990s. "The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998," wrote Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia in Britain in 2005. He went on: "Okay it has but it is only seven years of data and it isn't statistically significant."

If the pause lasted 15 years, they conceded, then it would be so significant that it would invalidate the climate-change models upon which policy was being built. A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) written in 2008 made this clear: "The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more."

Well, the pause has now lasted for 16, 19 or 26 years—depending on whether you choose the surface temperature record or one of two satellite records of the lower atmosphere. That's according to a new statistical calculation by Ross McKitrick, a professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Canada.

It has been roughly two decades since there was a trend in temperature significantly different from zero. The burst of warming that preceded the millennium lasted about 20 years and was preceded by 30 years of slight cooling after 1940.

This has taken me by surprise. I was among those who thought the pause was a blip. As a "lukewarmer," I've long thought that man-made carbon-dioxide emissions will raise global temperatures, but that this effect will not be amplified much by feedbacks from extra water vapor and clouds, so the world will probably be only a bit more than one degree Celsius warmer in 2100 than today. By contrast, the assumption built into the average climate model is that water-vapor feedback will treble the effect of carbon dioxide.

But now I worry that I am exaggerating, rather than underplaying, the likely warming.

Most science journalists, who are strongly biased in favor of reporting alarming predictions, rather than neutral facts, chose to ignore the pause until very recently, when there were explanations available for it. Nearly 40 different excuses for the pause have been advanced, including Chinese economic growth that supposedly pushed cooling sulfate particles into the air, the removal of ozone-eating chemicals, an excess of volcanic emissions, and a slowdown in magnetic activity in the sun.

The favorite explanation earlier this year was that strong trade winds in the Pacific Ocean had been taking warmth from the air and sequestering it in the ocean. This was based on a few sketchy observations, suggesting a very tiny change in water temperature—a few hundredths of a degree—at depths of up to 200 meters.

Last month two scientists wrote in Science that they had instead found the explanation in natural fluctuations in currents in the Atlantic Ocean. For the last 30 years of the 20th century, Xianyao Chen and Ka-Kit Tung suggested, these currents had been boosting the warming by bringing heat to the surface, then for the past 15 years the currents had been counteracting it by taking heat down deep.

The warming in the last three decades of the 20th century, to quote the news release that accompanied their paper, "was roughly half due to global warming and half to the natural Atlantic Ocean cycle." In other words, even the modest warming in the 1980s and 1990s—which never achieved the 0.3 degrees Celsius per decade necessary to satisfy the feedback-enhanced models that predict about three degrees of warming by the end of the century—had been exaggerated by natural causes. The man-made warming of the past 20 years has been so feeble that a shifting current in one ocean was enough to wipe it out altogether.

Putting the icing on the cake of good news, Xianyao Chen and Ka-Kit Tung think the Atlantic Ocean may continue to prevent any warming for the next two decades. So in their quest to explain the pause, scientists have made the future sound even less alarming than before. Let's hope that the United Nations admits as much on day one of its coming jamboree and asks the delegates to pack up, go home and concentrate on more pressing global problems like war, terror, disease, poverty, habitat loss and the 1.3 billion people with no electricity.


Recovered data from the 1960s reveal big variations in ice cover at the poles

In 1964, the Beatles took the world by storm, Lyndon Johnson won his second term as President—and NASA launched the first of seven Nimbus spacecraft to study Earth from space.

Fifty years later, experts at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder are recovering long-lost images from old Nimbus data tapes and black and white film, and finding treasures in the pictures.

“By extending the satellite record back to the 1960s, we can understand more about the history and natural variability in things like sea ice extent in the Arctic, and the Antarctic,” said David Gallaher, technical services manager at NSIDC. The modern satellite record of sea ice goes back only to 1979.

In the Arctic, sea ice extent was larger in the 1960s than it is these days, on average. “It was colder, so we expected that,” Gallaher said. What the researchers didn’t expect were “enormous holes” in the sea ice, currently under investigation. “We can’t explain them yet,” Gallaher said.

“And the Antarctic blew us away,” he said. In 1964, sea ice extent in the Antarctic was the largest ever recorded, according to Nimbus image analysis. Two years later, there was a record low for sea ice in the Antarctic, and in 1969 Nimbus imagery, sea ice appears to have reached its maximum extent earliest on record.

When NASA launched Nimbus-1 50 years ago, the agency’s key goals were to test instruments that could capture images of clouds and other meteorological features, Gallaher said.

The Nimbus satellites dished up such excellent observations, NASA eventually handed over key technologies to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), for use in weather forecasting, including hurricane forecasts.

But even with such success, data tapes and film that recorded Nimbus observations slipped through the cracks.

“At the time, the satellites’ real-time observations, including clouds, for example, were what people wanted most of all, for weather forecasting,” Gallaher said.

He and colleagues with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, tracked down old Nimbus film to a NOAA facility in Suitland Maryland, where they were stored for about 25 years, and then Asheville, North Carolina. There, hundreds of 35-millimeter film reels lay in an old storage facility.

With funding from NASA, the researchers located and made operational an old film reader that could digitize the images. The team figured out how to determine geographic location for each image, given the orbit of the satellite. And they’ve now made more than 250,000 images public.


Denton, Texas City Council Rejects Fracking Ban

The city council of Denton, Texas rejected a proposed citywide ban on producing oil and natural gas through hydraulic fracturing techniques. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, entails injecting water, sand, and small amounts of other chemicals deep underground under high pressure to open seams in rock formations, thereby releasing oil and gas deposits for production.

Denton sits atop the Barnett shale formation, one of the most productive natural gas deposits in the nation.

Had the ban passed, it would have been historic, making Denton, a city of 121,000 people, the first Texas city to ban fracking. Having failed at the city council level, anti-fracking activists have put a fracking ban on the November ballot. To do so, the activists produced a petition signed by fewer than 2,000 people.

EPA Finds No Pollution

Frack-Free Denton, the group behind the petition, claims fracking jeopardizes the environment and can threaten human health. Federal, state, and local officials have tested thousands of water sites throughout the country near fracking sites. President Obama’s former EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, has repeatedly admitted under oath EPA has never identified a single instance of the fracking process polluting groundwater.

Gary Stone, vice-president of engineering for Five States Energy Capital, said, “Study after study shows fracking results in no health threats either from the process itself or from the production of oil and natural gas. If oil and gas production caused significant health problems, we should expect to see people in the Permian basin and Midland and Odessa constantly walking around in gas masks, if not full hazmat gear.”

Threatening Economic Opportunity

Should the voters approve the ban, Denton will have to forgo the billions of dollars in salaries, economic development, and tax revenue provided by oil and natural gas production.

“These unfounded concerns threaten not only tax revenues for the city, county, and state, but royalty payments to landowners as well,” Stone noted.

Kathleen White, director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, agreed a fracking ban would be economically calamitous for Denton.

“A recent report by the Perryman Group estimated if Denton were to ban fracking, this would cost the city over 2,000 jobs and $254.1 million over the next 10 years,” said White.

Anti-fracking activists are hopeful about victory in the November election, while energy supporters express strong confidence voters will reject the ban.

Neither side, however, expects the vote to be the final word on the matter. If the ban passes, landowners, energy producers, and other groups will likely challenge the city’s authority to ban a practice authorized and regulated by the state. If the ban is rejected, anti-fracking activists and environmental groups will likely follow the example of activists in other states and take to the courts to challenge fracking.


How global warming policies have led to global insecurity

Lawrence Solomon

Global warming policies abet terrorism and global insecurity. If Western governments weren’t spooked by global warming, ISIS would be less of a threat to the West, the Middle East would be less of a cauldron of hate, Europe wouldn’t be held hostage by Russia and China wouldn’t be threatening its neighbours over islands in the South and East China Seas.

Over the last two decades, global warming activists succeeded in slowing the development of the oil sands, blocking major pipelines like Keystone XL, phasing out coal plants and banning shale gas and oil projects. Without their activism, the Western world would have years ago not only become self-sufficient in fossil fuels, it would have become an exporter. Even with the roadblocks, the U.S. managed a miraculous transformation — once the world’s largest energy importer, it is now becoming a major exporter. Only Europe among the Western continents remains subject to dictates from energy exporters, most of them from unsavoury and hostile areas such as the Middle East, Russia and Venezuela.

Had the West earlier become a major energy exporter, these hostile economies would have lost their chief markets and the bulk of their revenues, particularly since prices would also have collapsed in a world awash in energy. Russia, for example, relies on energy for 30% of its GDP, Venezuela for 33%, some Middle East countries for more than 50%. Their economies would have retrenched, unable to finance social services at home let alone military adventures abroad. Their regimes would have focused on self-preservation rather than spreading ideologies abroad.

Funders of Islamic terrorism would have been strapped for cash
In a world of low-cost, plentiful energy, ISIS could never have emerged as a major threat. This ultimate-Islamic-terror group largely relies on generous grants from energy-exporters like Qatar, a Muslim Brotherhood-friendly emirate, and on sales from its own oil fields, captured in battle. Without global warming dogma, neither of these revenue sources would have taken ISIS far.

Likewise Iran, Qatar’s rival for the title of No. 1 funder of Islamic terrorism, would have been strapped for cash. It would have been unable to bankroll such notables in the region’s terrorist gallery as Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Assad in Syria, not to mention their terror cells in the West.

Russia would also have been sapped of strength and unable to threaten its neighbours, much as occurred in the 1980s, when the USSR’s failed economy led to its breakup and the release from its grasp of Ukraine and the rest of eastern Europe. The potent Putin we created would instead have been Putin the Impotent.

China, too, would have been less belligerent with its neighbours. Its territorial disputes with Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam often focus on barren islands — sometimes mere outcroppings — in the East and South China Seas. Their value lies mostly in the prospect that oil and gas will be found in their offshore waters. That value would greatly diminish, along with the logic of going to war for them, if energy became cheap and plentiful.

Ironically, the environmentalists who pushed global warming policies on the West thought they would be enhancing global security. Wars — particularly those in the Middle East — stemmed from the West’s desire for oil, they argued. By getting the West off oil and onto CO2-free renewables, the West would lose its lust for the Middle East’s energy resources, ushering in a new era of peace.

They were half right — it did make sense to rid the West of dependence on Middle East energy. And half wrong — the alternative to oil and gas from the Middle East was not renewable energy but oil and gas from Western countries. And they were entirely misguided — contrary to their claims, the planet has not warmed in almost 20 years now.

Today, most Western governments are reining in their global warming policies, slashing their ruinously expensive subsidies to renewables and aggressively developing fossil fuels. All that the global warming scare accomplished was to make people pay with their pocketbooks — tens of millions of Europeans now suffer “fuel poverty,” the household term in Europe for those who now can’t afford to pay their power bills — and to increase wars, terrorism and global insecurity.


Global Warming Democrats Invite Election Backlash

Recent polling numbers may induce Republicans on the November ballot to turn certain Democrats’ obsession with global warming into a Republican weapon, slamming Democrats for ignoring much more important issues.

Several Democratic politicians and funding groups are attempting to make global warming a key issue in the November elections even though the public considers global warming a very low priority. To date, Republicans in such elections have assumed a low-key approach, trusting the global warming attacks will not find much political traction. Recent polling numbers, however, may induce Republicans to be bolder on the issue.

In mid-August, Gallup asked over 1,000 American adults the following open-ended question: “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?” Gallup listed the top 12 responses, which accounted for 99 percent of the answers. Global warming did not make the list. If any of the 1,032 American adults answered global warming, the response failed to reach even the 1 percent threshold.

In another poll released just last week, the Pew Research Center and USA Today presented over 1,500 American adults with a list of nine potential threats to the United States and asked the respondents to indicate which ones they consider to be “major threats.” Global warming ranked dead last among Republicans and Independents, but first among Democrats.

Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer – who ironically made his fortune by bankrolling coal projects – is spearheading a $100 million effort to produce and air campaign ads targeting Republicans who will not sign on to global warming alarmism. There has been little Republican pushback as yet, but the recent polling data appear to offer an opportunity to turn on its head the Democratic narrative that Republicans are out of touch on global warming.

Six years after the 2008 elections, the economy continues to be stuck in neutral, at best. Obamacare failed to deliver on its promises and even most Democrats say it needs fixing. Gasoline and electricity prices have soared to all-time records. The Russian foreign relations “Reset” button appears to have been a cleverly disguised “Reconquer” button. The Middle East is an utter mess. Terrorism appears on the upswing again with the rapid emergence of ISIS. Iran continues on its path toward a nuclear weapon. Yet a hefty number of Democrats say the real issue on which American leaders should focus is global warming.

Steyer is pulling out all the stops to assist incumbent U.S. Democratic Senators Mark Udall (Colorado) and Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire). He is also pouring money into the Bruce Braley (Iowa) and Gary Peters (Michigan) election efforts. At the state level, Steyer is giving financial muscle to Charlie Crist’s attempt to make global warming a decisive issue in the Florida gubernatorial race.

At what point do Cory Gardner in Colorado and Scott Brown in New Hampshire ask, “What the heck are Mark Udall and Jeanne Shaheen doing spending so much time, money, and attention on global warming while they ignore or have screwed up the national economy, healthcare, energy prices, and foreign policy?”

The Joni Ernst campaign or a pro-Ernst political action committee could produce a very powerful campaign ad saying, “Bruce Braley seeks election to the Senate because he thinks global warming is our most pressing concern. Joni Ersnt seeks to revive the economy and restore American power and respect around the world.”

The polling numbers are clear, compelling, and begging Republicans to fire back on certain Democrats’ global warming obsession. Charlie Crist, Gary Peters, and other global warming Democrats should be very worried.


An Australian senator with his head in the clouds

But he's a Greenie so what do you expect?

GREENS senator Peter Whish-Wilson has been condemned for suggesting Islamic State fighters should not be described as “terrorists” because Australian forces could also be viewed by some as terrorists.

The Tasmanian senator, in a speech to parliament, claimed that describing the militants as terrorists “demonises people” and “implies a very one-sided view of the world”.

“I think we need to find better words than ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ because, to me, this implies a very one-sided view of the world,” Senator Whish-Wilson told the upper house on Monday night.

“Often our forces could be seen by Iraqi civilians as being terrorists.

“Anything that creates terror is, by definition, terrorism. We use that word because it is a very simple word to use and it demonises people.”

The Greens have opposed military intervention against Islamic State fighters in northern Iraq, calling on the government to seek parliamentary consent for any deployment.

Liberal MP Andrew Nikolic, a former commander of Australian forces in southern Iraq, accused Senator Whish-Wilson of “playing ideological, peripheral word games” while civilians face danger.

“While Peter Whish-Wilson is playing word games, thousands of people are dying in Syria at the hands of what should properly be described as a barbaric and evil organisation,” Mr Nikolic told The Australian.


Note further:  In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is having a shot at Peter Whishy-washy Wilson.  Wilson has had such a charmed and privileged life that he has obviously developed no feeling for the fact that nasty things sometimes happen to people.  He became a Green only when there was a threat of a pulp mill being built next door to his family farm


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

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


5 September, 2014

Climate sceptics should be 'crushed and buried' says eco-Fascist Sir Paul Nurse

Once again note a major Warmist statement that fails to mention a single scientific fact.  All Warmists have is abuse, as we see again below.  They only ever make vague generalizations about "science".  We are obviously not supposed to question them.  Why?  Because they have no answers.  Their science is pseudo-science

Politicians who do not believe in climate change should be 'crushed and buried', according to the new president of the British Science Association.

Sir Paul Nurse, who starts his presidency next week, pledged to 'take on' the 'serial offenders' who he accused of cherry picking scientific facts to suit their arguments.

In an extraordinary outburst, Sir Paul accused those who refuse to accept scientific orthodoxy on global warming of 'distorting' the facts.

Sir Paul launched what could be interpreted as a thinly-veiled attack on former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, who is widely viewed as a climate sceptic. He also targeted climate sceptic lobby groups such as that run by former Chancellor Lord Nigel Lawson.

Mr Paterson, who was sacked by David Cameron in July, has said he believes the negative impact of global warming has been exaggerated - to the exasperation of climate scientists.

Sir Paul, speaking in London yesterday, said: 'Today we have those who mix science up with ideology and politics, where opinion, rhetoric and tradition hold more sway than adherence to evidence and logical argument.  'There have been ministers - recent past ministers - who have paid attention to some parts of science with respect to genetically modified crops and apparently not other parts with respect to climate change.'

Mr Paterson is a fierce supporter of the drive for GM food - a cause which earned him friends in science, but the fury of many consumers.

Sir Paul said: 'Politicians live in a world where the strength of their rhetoric means much more than scientific content.

'They can't play with science - they have to listen to science and scientists.

'But when they are serial offenders - and there are serial offenders - they should be crushed and buried.

'I think if we cannot get politicians and lobbyists to take scientists seriously we need to take them on.

'And I am certainly prepared to do that. I have done in the past.'

Sir Paul, who will expand on his comments during his inaugural address at the British Science Festival in Birmingham next week, has long been an outspoken critic of what he sees as the politicisation of science.

The geneticist, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology in 2001, has previously criticised US politicians for opposing the teaching of natural selection in schools.

'We have to be aware and beware organisations that pretend to talk about science but masquerade as lobby groups,' he said. 'You see that a lot with climate groups, they have been some recent news in the last day or so about the funding of some of these organisations.'

Lord Lawson has refused to name funders of his think tank since it was formed in 2009, explaining that they may be vilified by environmentalists.

On Tuesday the Guardian newspaper publicly outed two 'secret' donors who have supported the foundation.  The names were uncovered by the investigative blog Desmog UK.

 Neil Record, the founding chairman of a currency management company Record and an confirmed he has given money to the GWPF but said the amount was a “private matter”.  Record gave the IEA £36,000 to support a seminar featuring Lawson in November 2009.

Lord Nigel Vinson, a wealthy industrialist and life vice-president of the IEA, has given the GWPF £15,000 according to Charity Commission records.

Sir Paul said yesterday: 'Scientists should think hard about our relationship with politicians. We should not just sit on the sidelines and sneer and criticise all the time.  'We have to work on good relationships so that they feel ashamed to say some of the things they say.'

The scientist also criticised Lord Lawson's Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate-sceptic think tank.  Sir Paul said: 'We have to be aware and beware organisations that pretend to talk about science but masquerade as lobby groups.

'You see that a lot with climate groups, they have been some recent news in the last day or so about the funding of some of these organisations.

'There are lobbying groups in the environmental area who are climate change denialists, and very recently some of their funders have just been revealed.

Lord Lawson – who describes himself as a 'climate realist' has said his think-tank is 'open-minded on the contested science of global warming', but remains 'deeply concerned' about the costs of policies proposed in the quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Sir Paul added: 'We need to be aware of those who mix up science, based on evidence and rationality, with politics and ideology, where opinion, rhetoric and tradition hold more sway. We need to be aware of political or ideological lobbyists who do not respect science, cherry picking data or argument, to support their pre-determined positions.'

Mr Paterson, who is to deliver the Global Warming Policy Foundation annual lecture next month, left his cabinet position with a rant at the power of environmental pressure groups.

He said he had grave misgivings about the influence of 'the Green Blob', adding: 'By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape.'

Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, accused Sir Paul of using 'the language of extremism'.  'If he can't live with critics and sceptics that is too bad. But there is no need to use this kind of violent and aggressive vocabulary.

'Scepticism used to be a sign of science itself. When scientists cannot cope with that, and instead use this language of extremism, it is a sign of desperation, a sign they are losing the plot.'


Telluride 2014 Review: ‘Merchants of Doubt’

A Warmist reviews a Warmist film below.   Note the characteristic failure to mention even one scientific fact.  All they have to offer are fanciful comparisons beween skeptics and various discredited people, a pure "ad hominem" argument of no logical force. It's just an extended episode of abuse

A new documentary makes a strong argument comparing climate change deniers to long-since discredited pro-tobacco lobbyists.

A documentary about climate change deniers may seem like it’s preaching to the choir. Wherever you stand on the issue, you’re probably inured to any opposing arguments. That’s part of of the problem, and Merchants of Doubt illustrates how deniers have manipulated the scientific debate, and why the climate change scientists have succumbed to them. A wise man once said “knowing is half the battle.” I think they made a movie about him too. So knowing how this has been perpetrated can be a valuable step in educating the public to see through the lies.

Merchants of Doubt puts climate change denial in strong context, comparing its tactics to the tobacco industry. We all agree it was wrong to say cigarettes were healthy, let alone that they don’t cause cancer. Now that we’ve all learned they were selling something hazardous, we can objectively understand the tactics. Hint: If Morton Downey, Jr. claims he smokes four packs a day and he’s fine, don’t be like Morton Downey, Jr.

Merchants of Doubt shows us that climate change deniers have the same incentives (oil, chemicals, coal, etc.) and tactics for keeping scientists and legislators too tied up in something else to address the real issue. An anti-global warming study claiming 31,000 scientists refuted climate change was audacious enough to list blatantly fake names among the 31K. I mean, did they think no one would check the names? They included Michael J. Fox and Geri Halliwell!

Fake experts earn a very good living as talking heads for cable news debate shows. Marc Morano seems to be the most aggressive, bullying the scientists he debates so that he “wins.” Hey, if a nerd in a suit can’t trade barbs, surely climate change isn’t real. And there is science’s weakness. Scientists, by their own admission in the film, are not media savvy. They may even be anti-social, but we can forgive people who can’t come out of their shell.

The premise is that Morano is the fun one, the party boy who gets all the good college kids to stop all their boring studying. I don’t think yelling is fun though. Morano is proud of himself for putting scientists’ personal e-mail addresses online so his followers can send them threatening, abusive messages. He even admits he’s only trying to make the pro-climate change side miserable. “We’re the negative force,” he says, “trying to stop stuff.” So there you have it: not contributing anything good, just trying to take away other people’s efforts. Now sure, some bad ideas have to be stopped, but Morano is less about ideology than just being a troublemaker.

Director Robert Kenner crafts a compelling presentation for Merchants of Doubt. The graphics, archival footage and energetic speakers are strong on both sides. An effective thread compares climate change denial, pro-tobacco and the fire retardant issue to a magic trick or con. The film manages to uncover some mystery too, although that may have already been uncovered in the Naomi Oreske and Eric Conway book, and Kenner featured those discoveries in the film.

Merchants of Doubt is still a film more about what already happened than what we can do in the future. Again, awareness itself may be the solution. They’re going to keep using these tactics to avoid any issue. Don’t be fooled.


New data backs 'ice age' prediction

Russian scientist argues sun, not man, heats Earth

As the United Nations prepares for its 2014 Climate Summit in New York this month with an agenda to advance a new carbon-emissions regulatory agreement to supersede the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the Russian scientist who correctly predicted the lack of global warming over the past 19 years has gained new scientific support for his belief that Earth is in the beginning of a prolonged ice age.

A new study from Lund University in Sweden, published Aug. 17 in Nature Geoscience, has reconstructed solar activity during the last ice age, the last so-called “global maximum” extending from 20,000 to 10,000 years ago. Analysis of trace elements in ice cores in Greenland and from cave formations in China indicates the growth and melting of a thick ice sheet stretching from the Arctic to northern Germany were related to variations in the sun’s UV radiation output.

“The study shows an unexpected link between solar activity and climate change. It shows both that changes in solar activity are nothing new and that solar activity influences the climate, especially on a regional level. Understanding these processes helps us to better forecast the climate in certain regions,” said Raimund Muscheler, lecturer in quaternary geology at Lund University and co-author of the study, in a widely cited interview published by

The recently published Lund University solar research lends support to the research of Russian scientist Habibullo Abdussamatov, the head of the prestigious Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg. Abdussamatov has compiled scientific data supporting the theory “sun heats earth,” refuting global warming theorists that insist greenhouse gases are the culprit in a phenomenon of anthropogenic global warming

Using data analyzing sunspot activity going back to the 19th century, Abdussamatov argues that total sun irradiance is the primary factor responsible for climate variations on Earth, citing evidence for his theory the earth is about to enter a prolonged cooling phase because sunspot activity has been in a weak “mini-max” in the current Solar Cycle 24 after hitting a “solar minimum” in 2009.

In a scientific paper published in St. Petersburg last November. Abdussamotiv predicted that “after the maximum of solar Cycle-24, from approximately 2014, we can expect the start of the next bicentennial cooling cycle with a little Ice Age in 2055 plus or minus 14 years.” He believes a global freeze “will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Observations of the sun show that as for the increase in temperature, carbon dioxide is ‘not guilty,’” Abdussamatov wrote in 2009, as reported by WND. “As for what lies ahead in the coming decades, it is not catastrophic warming, but a global, and very prolonged temperature drop.”

The comment was drawn from a paper Abdussamatov wrote that was featured on Page 140 of a 2009 report issued by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. It documented more than 700 scientists who disagree over the proposition that global warming is a man-made, or anthropogenic, phenomenon.

As historical support for his theory, Abdussamatov cited the observations in 1893 of the English astronomer Walter Maunder, who came to the conclusion that from 1645 to 1715, sunspots had been generally absent. Maunder found that coincided with the middle and coldest part of the severe temperature dip known as the “Little Ice Age” that stretched from the 14th to the 19th centuries.

Abdussamatov also observed “the most significant solar event in the 20th century was the extraordinarily high level and the prolonged (virtually over the entire century) increase in the energy radiated by the sun,” resulting in the global warming that today climate alarmists believe is a man-made phenomenon.”

“The intense solar energy flow radiated since the beginning of the 1990s is slowly decreasing and, in spite of conventional opinion, there is now an unavoidable advance toward a global decrease, a deep temperature drop comparable to the Maunder minimum.”

Abdussamatov warned that more precise determination of the date of the onset of the upcoming deep temperature drop and the depth of the decrease in the global temperature of the Earth may not be available for another eight years. His assessment awaits measurements of the form and diameter of the sun currently being made from the Russian segment of the International Space Station.

Abdussamatov directs the space station’s Russian-Ukrainian project Astrometria.

“The observed global warming of the climate of the Earth is not caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, but by extraordinarily high solar intensity that extended over virtually the entire past century,” Abdussamatov wrote. “Future decrease in global temperature will occur even if anthropogenic ejection of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere rises to record levels.

“Over the past decade, global temperature on the Earth has not increased; global warming has ceased, and already there are signs of the future deep temperature drop.”

Abdussamatov concluded the Earth is no longer threatened by the catastrophic global warming forecast of some scientists since warming passed its peak in 1998-2005.

“The global temperature of the Earth has begun its decrease without limits on the volume of greenhouse gas emissions by industrial developed countries,” he wrote. “Therefore, the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol aimed to rescue the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off at least 150 years.”


As new climate change summit looms, UN environment efforts still a mess, study says

This month, the United Nations will double down at another climate summit on calls for sweeping and costly global action on a wide array of environmental fronts, as part of a drive for “sustainable development” and a comprehensive new global climate control treaty.

But an important U.N. investigative unit is warning that the world organization’s management of environmental programs and treaties is a chaotic mess that has not improved much in years.

 Among other things, the U.N. investigators warn of:

Large-scale duplication  of effort and unnecessary competition between 28 U.N. organizations and the managers of 21 international treaties  that deal with vital environmental issues;

A sense of environmental priorities that focuses on issues “that are often accompanied by mass media attention, such as climate change and green economy,” giving less attention to other important priorities;

The related lack of “a clear division of labor” among U.N. development organizations and a welter of U.N. treaty bodies that slops over into definitions of the boundaries between “environmental protection and sustainable development;”

Huge, uncoordinated overall increases in environmental spending—the inspectors report that as of 2012, U.N. spending on environmental issues was increasing faster than its spending on anti-poverty efforts—that also failed to make a distinction between “normative” and “operational” spending, i.e.,  between generating mandates to protect the environment and various types of actual  activity;

Lack of a “transparent” U.N.-wide framework to track spending “in a manner that would pave the way for more efficient allocation of resources,” not to mention clarifying the distinction between spending on conservation and other actions.

Evidence of what the report calls a “conflict of interest” by project managers of the United Nations Environment Program, the ostensible flagship of U.N. environmental action, in hiring outside evaluators to examine their own projects.

The updated “review of environmental governance in the United Nations system” was published over the summer by a Geneva-based organization known as the Joint Inspection Unit, or JIU, which is charged with examining management issues across the entire sprawling U.N. system, and submitting findings to the U.N.’s top leadership.

It is a return to an examination that JIU made of the same topic in 2008, when the unit found a lot to be concerned about, much of it linked to the U.N.’s tendency since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro to link  “sustainable development” with environmental preservation, leading to the same kind of organizational confusion that the JIU still finds today.

In its 2008 report, the JIU made a dozen recommendations on how the U.N. needed to refocus itself on separating environmental conservation from “sustainable development” by giving greater authority to the Nairobi-based United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), separately tracking environmental and development spending, and otherwise clarify the expanding and expensive confounding of development and environmental priorities. Almost all of the recommendations were accepted at the time by the U.N.’s top brass.

Since then, however, the number of U.N. global conferences merging the environment and “sustainable development” has only multiplied, culminating in last year’s 20-year anniversary gathering to commemorate the original Earth Summit—and push the “sustainable development” agenda still further.

When it came to the clarification of tasks and assignments—and subsequent elimination of waste and duplication-- that the JIU suggested, not so much has apparently been done.

According to JIU, the 20th anniversary Rio conference in 2012 “agreed to make a few institutional rearrangements,” including  an expansion of the mandate of UNEP that would “empower it”  to lead efforts to “formulate United Nations system-wide strategies on the environment,” but not a lot else has taken place in the areas of clarification of the roles of the remainder of the organization.

The 97-page JIU update report contains one lengthy paragraph inserted into its executive summary that lauds a number of vaguely worded changes it describes as “significant improvements” made in the wake of its 2008 review. These include “enhancement of the UNEP coordinating mandate on the environment,” and “better coordination and mainstreaming of environmental and environment-related activities in the field.”

UNEP has produced a dizzying tally of some 285 environmental goals that exist across the U.N. system
The paragraph is otherwise laden with dense but vague references to “enhanced synergies and efficiency in the management of the secretariats” of various multilateral environmental treaties on hazardous waste disposal and organic pollutants, and “intensified cluster synergies in thematic and sectorial areas.”

But the main body of the report restates a blunt assessment from the 2008 report that “the current framework of international environmental governance is weakened by institutional fragmentation and specialization,” and adds: “The statement is unfortunately still valid six years later.”

Meantime, UNEP has produced a dizzying tally of some 285 environmental goals that exist across the U.N. system that the inspectors call “the first step towards the identification of common goals and system-wide planning for results in the environmental area.”

The list includes “goals and objectives drawn from existing international treaties and non-legally binding instruments” and includes everything from promises to monitor and coordinate action against forest fires to “substantially increase the global share of renewable energy resources.”

The list, however, is just that: a list—albeit one that gives some indicator of the staggering array of targets and priorities that have been tucked away in a host of international agreements over the years. As the JIU report sardonically notes, additional progress “cannot be achieved without coordinating responsibilities and efforts.”

As for UNEP’s increased role in global management of the environment, the JIU noted that its scientific findings were, at times, questionable.

Different divisions of UNEP “sometimes produce separate scientific assessments outside the [UNEP] Office of the Chief Scientist,” the report notes. That office was founded, according to UNEP’s website, “to help strengthen the interface between global environmental science and policy while making the science base of UNEP’s activities stronger.”

Moreover, those outside assessments are used by project managers to assess their projects supported by UNEP’s Environment Fund, which is described on the UNEP website as “is the main source of funding for UNEP to implement its Program of Work and Medium Term Strategy.”

(Current UNEP budgeting calls for “voluntary” contributions to the Environment Fund of $118 million for 2014, and $134 million in 2015. The U.S. contribution in both years is still apparently undefined; in the past, it has ranged between roughly $6.2 million and $6.6 million.)

In other words, when assessing their own projects, UNEP officials hire their own outsiders to do the job.

The JIU report calls those actions “an issue of conflict of interest, and notes that “despite its competent scientific assessment capability the Office of the Chief Scientist has never been involved in the scientific assessment of those projects.”

Small wonder that the current JIU inspectors acknowledge  tepidly that “progress has been made,” in  bringing a sense of order and efficiency –as well as objectivity and restraint--to the U.N.’s huge and still-growing menu of environmental ambition, they are much more firm in stating that still, “there is much to be accomplished.”


Tusk likely to upset the EU applecart

Donald Tusk’s nomination as the next president of the European Council is a major game changer for the EU's energy and climate policy. And it is not a good one, writes Andrzej Ancygier

The impact of Tusk’s nomination on one of the most important positions in the EU on the European energy and climate policy depends on three main factors: his standing in the Council, evolution of his perspectives on the renewable energy and climate policy and, last but not least, developments in Poland after he has been replaced by a less marked personality.

Tusk versus the rest

Leading the biggest party in Poland for over a decade and being the longest-serving democratically elected prime minister of this country requires strong personality. In the case of Donald Tusk this feature has been further strengthened by the constant struggles with his main opponent, Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski. This attribute may have a big impact on Tusk’s impact on the European policy negotiated in Brussels. As opposed to his predecessor, Tusk is not someone eager to find a compromise. Much more he is ready to put everything at stake to achieve his goals. Poland’s success during the negotiations over the EU budget perspective 2014-2020 and repeated vetoes of the European 2050 renewable energy and climate roadmaps are a result of such an approach. This doesn’t bode well for the future of the European energy and climate policy, especially when the discussion over EU energy climate policy targets for 2030 and global climate negotiations are approaching a decisive phase.

But the decision-making process at the European level is very different than the one at the national level. Whereas in Poland Tusk did not hesitate to take advantage of his prerogatives as the Prime Minister and could easily ignore or deride Kaczy?ski’s conspiracy theories, in Brussels he will have to deal with much stronger personalities with more rational arguments. Although Tusk is a good speaker, due to his limited language skills he will not be able to take a full advantage of this skill at the European level. But Donald Tusk has an advantage, that few others politicians have: the positive image that Poland – with the exception of its disastrous energy and climate policy – enjoys abroad. As a prime minister of that country for over seven years he has contributed significantly to creating this image. This will allow him to take a stronger position not as a compromise seeker but as an agenda setter – again not really good news for the global climate negotiations.

Although it may be good for the process of the European integration to have a much more visible person at the helm of the European Union, development of renewable energy and more ambitious climate policy will not be on his agenda. Therefore a much more active role of the other countries will be required to push European policy in both areas forward, before the EU becomes the laggard of the global climate negotiations. As the president of the European Council Tusk will probably try to force his idea of the Energy Union – and he should be supported in doing so under the condition that less attention will be given to coal and more to renewables and energy efficiency. 

Tusk versus renewables and climate

Donald Tusk’s fierce opposition to climate policy and development of renewable sources of energy has led to Poland’s miserable progress on both. It is however not clear, to what degree this opposition has been caused by domestic factors, i.e. the pressure from the coal industry and the willingness to save Polish state-owned energy companies from the fate of their German counterparts, or whether this opposition resulted from his personal convictions. But independently from the reason, both factors will change. When in Brussels Tusk will not be held hostage to Polish coal miners demanding state support to save unprofitable coal mines. Also the close connections with the Polish energy companies will be cut.

At the same time as President of the European Council Tusk will be approached by a number of different stakeholders: not only lobby groups defending coal and nuclear energy but associations and organizations representing renewable energy sector and fighting for climate protection. This will give Tusk a chance to take a broader look at the developments in the EU and globally. Whether or not he will use this opportunity to broaden his horizons remains to be seen.

Poland without Tusk

After over seven years, in the coming weeks Tusk is going to give up his position as Poland’s longest-serving democratically elected prime minister. Although it has not been the best time for the Poland’s renewable energy and climate policy, it was an era of relative stability in the country which had seen 13 prime ministers between 1989 and 2007. Tusk’s Civic Platform party has undergone a number of upheavals since it was created in 2001 but has been held together by Tusk with a strong hand. But this came at a price: to avoid competition Tusk replaced all opponents, who could one day take over his leading position. As a result, although there are some strong personalities in the party, it will be difficult for any of them, especially Tusk’s potential successor Ewa Kopacz, to keep the party strong and united.

Taking this into consideration it may be clearer, why Tusk’s long-time opponent and leader of the conservative Law and Justice Party (PIS), Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski, was among the first who congratulated Tusk on the nomination. Already in the recent surveys Kaczy?ski’s party was given a small advantage over the Civic Platform. Potentially weakened and even divided Civic Platform will allow Kaczy?ski to win the next parliamentary elections scheduled for late 2015. This would mean a disaster for Poland and this country’s renewable energy and climate policy: Kaczy?ski, who until recently took Hungarian PM Viktor Orban as an example to follow, considers climate change to be a fallacy. Also renewables are strongly criticized in his party, especially wind energy. Instead stronger support for lignite and hard coal is the main pillar of the party’s energy policy.

A black day?

Although possibly positive in some other areas, Tusk’s nomination as the next Mr. Europe is a major game changer for the European energy and climate policy. And it is not a good one. At least initially coal and nuclear lobbies in Brussels may hope for a friendlier ear to their arguments and Poland’s opposition to renewable energy and climate policy may become even more decisive after conservative Law and Justice takes over power in Poland. Stronger activity of the other governments will be needed to balance Poland’s tendency to obstruct European energy and climate targets. Otherwise the 30 August 2014 will be remembered as a dark day for the European renewable energy industry, climate protection and thus the fate of the future generations. 


Important world leaders  to skip big climate meeting

Chinese president Xi Jinping has decided to skip a meeting of world leaders on climate change in New York, according to climate insiders, casting doubt on the summit’s potential to make progress ahead of next year’s major UN climate summit in Paris.

President Xi had been expected to attend the 23 September summit called by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, but is now set to send another senior Chinese politician in his place, though Beijing officials are yet to confirm this.

The news will be a blow to summit organisers, coming swiftly after the announcement that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi will also miss the meeting. Modi is scheduled to go to New York on 26 September and his decision not to advance his trip by three days to appear at the informal climate summit has created further paralysis among bureaucrats. Most of them do not even know if the environment minister is planning to go instead.

In this situation, the statement issued after the recent New Delhi meeting of environment ministers from BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) countries assumes added significance. The joint statement stuck to the long-held stand of developing nations.

Since then, there have been reports in India about alleged attempts by industrialised countries to woo Philippines away from the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) group. Other members of the group include India, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina, Nicaragua and Saudi Arabia.

During last year’s UN climate summit in Warsaw, Philippines took a leading position in this group by pressuring industrialised countries to live up to their commitments to mitigate emissions and help poorer nations tackle climate change effects. This position was strengthened because that summit was held in the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated large areas in the Philippines.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s informal summit comes as climate negotiations are heating up because a comprehensive global treaty to tackle climate change is expected by the end of 2015. Industrialised countries – led by the US and the European Union – are pressing for all 192 nations to take on legally binding obligations to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. India has so far opposed this strongly.

At a negotiating session of the UN’s climate secretariat this June, on behalf of LMDC the Venezuelan delegation submitted a draft of what the global climate deal should contain, a draft that was promptly opposed by negotiators from many industrialised countries. Indian negotiators now say they are waiting to see the draft being prepared by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat. They want this ready before the next UNFCCC summit – scheduled in Lima this December – so that every government has a year to negotiate before the 2015 deadline.

Leaders of climate NGOs that regularly shadow the UNFCCC summits are apprehensive because they have heard the French government is preparing its own secret draft – the 2015 summit will be held in Paris – just the kind of activity that led to a fiasco at the 2009 summit in Copenhagen. Negotiators from most developing countries are keen to see a public draft months before the deadline.

The UN Secretary General’s informal summit is being held against this backdrop, with the hope that heads of government will provide some much-needed political impulse to the negotiations.

Led by US President Barack Obama, many heads of industrialised nations are expected at the summit. The absence of China and India at the highest level will take some of the sheen off, but they can possibly come back on board if leaders of industrialised countries make serious commitments about what they are going to do to mitigate emissions and help developing nations. An expert group set up by the UN Secretary General has already given recommendations on how to finance a greener economic path for all countries.

The office of the UN Secretary General is bringing business and civil society leaders to meet the heads of state and government at the summit, hoping for announcements of new commitments and practical actions to address climate change. It will be the first time since the Copenhagen summit that a majority of world leaders will get together on the issue. Green NGOs are mobilising to hold street marches in New York and elsewhere to coincide with the summit.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Ban Ki-moon said: “Solutions exist and we are already seeing significant changes in government policies and investments in sustainable ways of living and doing business. The race is on, and now is the time for leaders to step up and steer the world towards a safer future.”



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

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


4 September, 2014

Psychologizing skeptics, another episode

At least since 1950, there has been a mini-industry among psychologists and other social scientists devoted to finding something mentally deranged in conservatives.  I spent 20 years from 1970 on and had over 200 academic journal articles published which pointed out in detail the flaws in such endeavours. I persuaded no-one, of course.  Leftists need their myths and neither logic nor evidence is enough to discredit those myths.  So after 1990 I hung up my spurs and left them to it.  I no longer read their journals so I don't even know what they are saying any more.  Every now and again, however, I come across a new paper in the genre in the course of my other reading.  When I do, the old temptation arises and I say a few words towards shooting it down.  This is another such occasion.  The paper concerned has been much celebrated by Warmists.  Its abstract follows:

Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States

By Aaron M. McCright &  Riley E. Dunlap


We examine whether conservative white males are more likely than are other adults in the U.S. general public to endorse climate change denial. We draw theoretical and analytical guidance from the identity-protective cognition thesis explaining the white male effect and from recent political psychology scholarship documenting the heightened system-justification tendencies of political conservatives. We utilize public opinion data from ten Gallup surveys from 2001 to 2010, focusing specifically on five indicators of climate change denial. We find that conservative white males are significantly more likely than are other Americans to endorse denialist views on all five items, and that these differences are even greater for those conservative white males who self-report understanding global warming very well. Furthermore, the results of our multivariate logistic regression models reveal that the conservative white male effect remains significant when controlling for the direct effects of political ideology, race, and gender as well as the effects of nine control variables. We thus conclude that the unique views of conservative white males contribute significantly to the high level of climate change denial in the United States.


The paper is a 2011 one so several skeptics have already pointed out some of the hilarities in it -- e.g. here, here and here. So I just want to address an hilarity not yet adequately addressed.

What is the “white male effect”?  That concept seems to be the African person in the woodpile in the paper so we need to look carefully at it.  Since white males have contributed the vast majority of humanity's scientific and technological advances, are we talking about people who are particularly likely to be ahead of the curve scientifically?  That interpretation would be highly defensible and logical.  So surely the skepticism of white males should be treated with awe and respect!  That white males tend to be climate skeptics surely validates climate skepticism!

But such an obvious interpretation of their findings appears not to have occurred to the authors concerned.  I wonder why?  They are referring to another (probably dubious) finding in the social science literature.  As this author summarizes: 

"The “white male effect” (WME) refers to the observed tendency of white males to be less concerned with all manner of risk than are women and minorities.  The phenomenon was first observed (and the term coined) in a study by Flynn, Slovic & Mertz in 1994 and has been poked and prodded by risk-perception researchers ever since"

So the fact that white males are more willing to take risks is a bad thing?  It seems unlikely.  We would have no businesses without that.  We would have no scientists spending years of their time investigating a hunch that eventually turns out to be right.  We would have no firemen and no policemen.

Presuming there is something in the finding, I would suggest that the finding suggests self confidence among white males -- and self confidence is a good foundation for questioning the consensus.  And we know what the consensus is.  Warmists all tell us that it is the evils of global warming.  So climate skeptics are the independent thinkers and Warmists are the cowardly go-along to get-along types!  I can live with that.

An interesting new paper

The fun is in the last sentence

Return periods of global climate fluctuations and the pause

Sean Lovejoy


An approach complementary to General Circulation Models (GCMs), using the anthropogenic CO2 radiative forcing as a linear surrogate for all anthropogenic forcings [Lovejoy, 2014], was recently developed for quantifying human impacts. Using preindustrial multiproxy series and scaling arguments, the probabilities of natural fluctuations at time lags up to 125 years were determined. The hypothesis that the industrial epoch warming was a giant natural fluctuation was rejected with 99.9% confidence. In this paper, this method is extended to the determination of event return times. Over the period 1880–2013, the largest 32 year event is expected to be 0.47 K, effectively explaining the postwar cooling (amplitude 0.42–0.47 K). Similarly, the “pause” since 1998 (0.28–0.37 K) has a return period of 20–50 years (not so unusual). It is nearly cancelled by the pre-pause warming event (1992–1998, return period 30–40 years); the pause is no more than natural variability.

Geophysical Research Letters

But if the pause is no more than natural variability, why is not the preceding rise also not natural variability?  That the author is a Warmist we can tell from something in the conclusion of the article.  He speaks of the warming being "no more than a giant century scale fluctuation".  A  rise of less than one degree Celsius is "gigantic"???  The guy is off the planet.  "Trivial" is the word I would have used.

Hot and Getting Hotter? UN Agency Presents ‘Imaginary But Realistic’ Weather Forecasts for 2050

They can't even forecast accurately a week ahead and yet they expect us to believe that they can forecast decades ahead?

 In a fresh effort to generate fervor for a far-reaching new global climate agreement, a U.N. agency is releasing videos featuring “imaginary but realistic” weather reports set in 2050, to illustrate the type of extreme conditions it predicts we will face by mid-century.

But the first video in the series of 15 to be rolled out over the coming weeks shows some temperatures for 2050 considerably in excess of those projected in the latest major U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (which has itself been dubbed “too alarmist” by some critics.)

The imaginary 2050 weather forecasts have been submitted by actual television weather presenters from around the world at the invitation of the U.N. World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

In one of them, a map shows a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (98.6° F) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The latest IPCC report projects that, if “greenhouse gases” (GHG) continue to be emitted at the current rate, temperatures will rise by about 2°C (3.6°F) by 2050, compared to temperatures measured in the 1986-2005 period.

Danish government figures show that Copenhagen in the 1990s and early 2000s had average temperatures ranging from 3°C (37.4°F) in January to 21°C (69.8°F) in August.  According to National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) international meteorological data, Copenhagen’s highest recorded temperature was 31°C (87.8°F).

So in line with the IPCC’s assessment – assuming no reduction in GHG emissions – Copenhagen could expect to have temperatures in the summer of 2050 averaging 23°C (73.4°F) – that is 2°C (3.6°F) higher than those of recent years – much lower than the 37°C (98.6°F) predicted in the WMO’s “imaginary but realistic” weather forecast.

Even the city’s most historically extreme temperature, if increased by the IPCC-projected rise, would only reach 33°C (91.40°F) in 2050.

Similarly, the WMO video features a weather map showing a temperature in central Bulgaria of 50°C (122° F) in 2050.  Central Bulgaria’s average maximum temperature ranges from 6°C (42.8°F) in January to 31°C (87.8°F ) in July, and the highest temperature recorded in Bulgaria, in data going back to 1850, was 45.2°C (113.4°F), in 1916.

And a projected weather map for Zambia on the WMO video shows 48°C (118.4°F) in the southern African country’s south-west.  That part of Zambia’s average maximum temperature ranges from 26°C (78.8°F), in June to 32°C (89.6°F) in September, and its highest recorded temperature “in history” was 42.4°C (108.3°F).

So in all three examples in the WMO video, temperatures in 2050 for Denmark, Bulgaria and Zambia are higher than IPCC predictions, even if record-highest temperatures in those three countries are used as the base line.

Elsewhere in the WMO video’s clips of imaginary weather reports from 2050, a presenter in the United States is heard saying, “Miami South Beach is underwater,” while another reporter states that, “The mega-drought in Arizona has claimed another casualty.”

“The weather reports are potential scenarios compatible with the most up-to-date climate science documented by the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report,” WMO secretary-general Michel Jarraud said in a statement accompanying the launch of the first video.

“They paint a compelling picture of what life could be like on a warmer planet,” he said. “Climate change is already leading to more extreme weather such as intense heat and rain. The ‘abnormal’ risks becoming the norm. We need to act now.”

The WMO videos will be released, one at a time, every weekday from now until September 22, the day before U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon hosts a climate summit in New York.

The Sept. 23 gathering is designed to prod world leaders to make commitments ahead of a major U.N. conference in Paris, France in November 2015, when a global agreement on cutting GHG emissions is meant to be adopted.

The WMO videos feature clips from weather stations in the U.S. (The Weather Channel and NBC 6 in South Florida), Brazil, Japan, Denmark, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Bulgaria, the Philippines, Belgium, South Africa, Iceland, Germany and Tanzania.

U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres thanked the weathermen and women who participated in the campaign “for volunteering their time and their skill to communicate to millions of people the reality we are all facing by 2050 if climate change if left unaddressed.”

“I am sure their films will inspire everyone of the absolute necessity of a meaningful, universal new agreement in Paris in 2015,” she said.


American electricity prices rise most since 2009

They've got a lot of windmills to support

Electricity prices for the first half of the year increased the most in a year-over-year basis since 2009, according to the Energy Department's statistics arm.

U.S. power prices are up 3.2 percent, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Prices rose everywhere except for the Pacific census region, which includes Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, where they dropped 2.5 percent.

New England led much of the spike, as prices there jumped 11.8 percent. The region faced a brutal winter, leading to a natural gas supply crunch that caused prices to soar.

Many electricity customers there live in competitive power markets — unlike the regulated utility monopolies that dominate much of the country — relying on third-party providers for their power. When the cold came in, wholesale prices skyrocketed 45 percent, which the EIA called "the primary driver of the recent increase in New England retail rates."

Some Southern states fared better than the national average. A region of interior Southeastern states that includes Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi experienced a 3.1 percent hike. A clutch of states that includes Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas saw a 2.4 percent increase.

Other power prices increases included: 6.7 percent in the Mid-Atlantic; 4.5 percent in the Mountain region; 4 percent in the South Atlantic, which is bounded by Maryland to the north and Florida in the south; 3.7 percent in part of the Midwest that stretches from Wisconsin to Ohio; and 1.8 percent in a group of states anchored by North Dakota in the northwest and Missouri in the southeast.


Germany's flagship green energy policy 'in tatters'

Germany's flagship green energy policy is in tatters, according to a new report by the consultancy firm McKinsey which says many of its goals are "no longer realistic".

Angela Merkel was hailed as the 'Klimakanzlerin', or 'Climate Chancellor' in 2010 when her government placed Germany at the forefront of the battle against climate change and announced ambitious plans to move to renewable energy sources.

But the McKinsey report says Germany is so far behind its key commitment to cut CO2 emissions that it is no longer realistically achievable.

Mrs Merkel's government has committed to cut CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. To achieve that, McKinsey argues, Germany would have to cut emissions by an average of 3.5 per cent a year.

But so far, they have only fallen at an average of 0.7 per cent a year, leaving Germany so far behind it would have to increase emissions cuts by a factor of five to reach its target on time.

"Despite the massive expansion of renewable energies, achieving the key objectives of the energy revolution in Germany by 2020 is no longer realistic" says the report.

"If you can't achieve your own targets, you can hardly be a credible advocate for stricter CO2 cuts in Europe or elsewhere in the world," said a comment piece in Welt newspaper.

A major factor in the failure to achieve targeted cuts has been Germany's increased use of "dirty" brown coal, or lignite, to make up the shortfall in power generation caused by its decision to phase out all its nuclear power stations by 2022.

The aim is replace nuclear energy with renewable sources, such as solar and wind power, but they have not yet been able to plug the gap, and the McKinsey report says that while solar energy is on track, the country is behind schedule in developing wind power.

The expensive switchover has also left Germans with some of the highest energy bills in Europe. Household electricity prices are 46 per cent above the European average and rising, according to McKinsey.


The Warmist cooking stove

John Cook's procedures in his "97%" paper re-examined.  Cook has clearly cooked the books

The Cook et al. (2013) 97% paper included a bunch of psychology studies, marketing papers, and surveys of the general public as scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change.

Let's go ahead and walk through that sentence again. The Cook et al 97% paper included a bunch of psychology studies, marketing papers, and surveys of the general public as scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change. There are multiple acts of fraud in this study, but I was blindsided by this one. I found half of these in ten minutes with their database – there will be more such papers for those who search longer (I have more, but I'm strangely paralyzed by this new discovery, and I don't think the number I list here is terribly important, since the paper is invalid and fraudulent anyway.) I'm not willing to spend a lot of time with their data, for reasons I detail further down.

I contacted the journal – Environmental Research Letters – in June, and called for the retraction of this paper, and it's currently in IOP's hands (the publisher of ERL). I assume they found all these papers already – a full audit will find more. The authors explicitly stated in their paper (Table 1) that social science, education and research on people's views on climate were classified as Not Climate Related, and thus not counted as evidence of scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change. All of the papers below were counted as evidence of scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change, or as they say on their website and event advertisements, "climate papers".

Chowdhury, M. S. H., Koike, M., Akther, S., & Miah, D. (2011). Biomass fuel use, burning technique and reasons for the denial of improved cooking stoves by Forest User Groups of Rema-Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary, Bangladesh. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 18(1), 88–97.  (This is a survey of the general public's stove choices, and discusses their value as status symbols, defects in the improved stoves, the relative popularity of cow dung, wood, and leaves as fuel, etc.)

Boykoff, M. T. (2008). Lost in translation? United States television news coverage of anthropogenic climate change, 1995–2004. Climatic Change, 86(1-2), 1–11.

De Best-Waldhober, M., Daamen, D., & Faaij, A. (2009). Informed and uninformed public opinions on CO2 capture and storage technologies in the Netherlands. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 3(3), 322–332.

Tokushige, K., Akimoto, K., & Tomoda, T. (2007). Public perceptions on the acceptance of geological storage of carbon dioxide and information influencing the acceptance. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 1(1), 101–112.

Egmond, C., Jonkers, R., & Kok, G. (2006). A strategy and protocol to increase diffusion of energy related innovations into the mainstream of housing associations. Energy Policy, 34(18), 4042–4049.

Gruber, E., & Brand, M. (1991). Promoting energy conservation in small and medium-sized companies. Energy Policy, 19(3), 279–287.

?entürk, ?., Erdem, C., ?im?ek, T., & K?l?nç, N. (2011). Determinants of vehicle fuel-type preference in developing countries: a case of Turkey.  (This was a web survey of the general public.)

Grasso, V., Baronti, S., Guarnieri, F., Magno, R., Vaccari, F. P., & Zabini, F. (2011). Climate is changing, can we? A scientific exhibition in schools to understand climate change and raise awareness on sustainability good practices. International Journal of Global Warming, 3(1), 129–141.  (This paper is literally about going to schools in Italy and showing an exhibition.)

Palmgren, C. R., Morgan, M. G., Bruine de Bruin, W., & Keith, D. W. (2004). Initial public perceptions of deep geological and oceanic disposal of carbon dioxide. Environmental Science & Technology, 38(24), 6441–6450.  (Two surveys of the general public.)

Semenza, J. C., Ploubidis, G. B., & George, L. A. (2011). Climate change and climate variability: personal motivation for adaptation and mitigation. Environmental Health, 10(1), 46.  (This was a phone survey of the general public.)

Héguy, L., Garneau, M., Goldberg, M. S., Raphoz, M., Guay, F., & Valois, M.-F. (2008). Associations between grass and weed pollen and emergency department visits for asthma among children in Montreal. Environmental Research, 106(2), 203–211. (They mention in passing that there are some future climate scenarios predicting an increase in pollen, but their paper has nothing to do with that. It's just medical researchers talking about asthma and ER visits in Montreal, in the present, and they make no mention of human-caused climate change – not that it would matter if they did.)

Lewis, S. (1994). An opinion on the global impact of meat consumption. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 59(5), 1099S–1102S.  (Just what it sounds like.)

De Boer, I. J. (2003). Environmental impact assessment of conventional and organic milk production. Livestock Production Science, 80(1), 69–77

Acker, R. H., & Kammen, D. M. (1996). The quiet (energy) revolution: analysing the dissemination of photovoltaic power systems in Kenya. Energy Policy, 24(1), 81–111.  (This is about the "dissemination" of physical objects, presumably PV power systems in Kenya. To illustrate the issue here, if I went out and analyzed the adoption of PV power systems in Arizona, or of LED lighting in Lillehammer, my report would not be scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change, or admissable into a meaningful climate consensus. Concretize it: Imagine a Mexican walking around counting solar panels, obtaining sales data, typing in MS Word, and e-mailing the result to Energy Policy. What just happened? Nothing relevant to a climate consensus.)

Vandenplas, P. E. (1998). Reflections on the past and future of fusion and plasma physics research. Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 40(8A), A77.  (This is a pitch for the ITER tokamak reactor, and compares it to the old INTOR.  For example, we learn that the major radius of INTOR was 5.2 m, while ITER is 8.12 m. I've never liked the funding conflict-of-interest argument against the AGW consensus, but this is an obvious case. The abstract closes with "It is our deep moral obligation to convince the public at large of the enormous promise and urgency of controlled thermonuclear fusion as a safe, environmentally friendly and inexhaustible energy source." I love the ITER, but this paper has nothing to do with climate science.)

Gökçek, M., Erdem, H. H., & Bayülken, A. (2007). A techno-economical evaluation for installation of suitable wind energy plants in Western Marmara, Turkey. Energy, Exploration & Exploitation, 25(6), 407–427.  (This is a set of cost estimates for windmill installations in Turkey.)

Gampe, F. (2004). Space technologies for the building sector. Esa Bulletin, 118, 40–46.  (This is magazine article – a magazine published by the European Space Agency. Given that the ESA calls it a magazine, it's unlikely to be peer-reviewed, and it's not a climate paper of any kind – after making the obligatory comments about climate change, it proceeds to its actual topic, which is applying space vehicle technology to building design.)

Ha-Duong, M. (2008). Hierarchical fusion of expert opinions in the Transferable Belief Model, application to climate sensitivity. International Journal of Approximate Reasoning, 49(3), 555–574. (The TBM is a theory of evidence and in some sense a social science theory – JDM applied to situations where the stipulated outcomes are not exhaustive, and thus where the probability of the empty set is not zero. This paper uses a dataset (Morgan & Keith, 1995) that consists of interviews with 16 scientists in 1995, and applies TBM to that data. On the one hand, it's a consensus paper (though dated and small sampled), and would therefore not count. A consensus paper can't include other consensus papers – circular. On the other hand, it purports to estimate of the plausible range of climate sensitivity, using the TBM, which could make it a substantive climate science paper. This is ultimately moot given everything else that happened here, but I'd exclude it from a valid study, given that it's not primary evidence and the age of the source data. (I'm not sure if Ha-Duong is talking about TCS or ECS, but I think it's ECS.))

Douglas, J. (1995). Global climate research: Informing the decision process. EPRI Journal. (This is an industry newsletter essay – the Electric Power Research Institute. It has no abstract, which would make it impossible for the Cook crew to rate it. It also pervasively highlights downward revisions of warming and sea level rise estimates, touts Nordhaus' work, and stresses the uncertainties – everything you'd expect from an industry group. For example: "A nagging problem for policy-makers as they consider the potential costs and impacts of climate change is that the predictions of change made by various models often do not agree." In any case, this isn't a climate paper, or peer-reviewed, and it has no abstract. They counted it as Implicit Endorsement – Mitigation. They don't even know who the author is, listing it as anonymous. I discovered on my own that it was John Douglas.)

(I previously listed two other papers as included in the 97%, but I was wrong. They were rated as endorsement of AGW, but were also categorized as Not Climate Related. More papers are coming soon. I have a very long list, relented a bit on my refusal to spend time with their data...)

The inclusion of non-climate papers directly contradicts their stated exclusion criteria. The Not Climate Related category was supposed to include "Social science, education, research about people’s views on climate." (Their Table 1, page 2) Take another look at the list above. Look for social science (e.g. psychology, attitudes), education, and research on people's views...

The authors' claim to have excluded these unrelated papers was false, and they should be investigated for fraud. There are more papers like this, and if we extrapolate, a longer search will yield even more. This paper should be retracted post haste, and perhaps the university will conduct a more thorough investigation and audit. There are many angles and layers to what they pulled here -- I'm only giving you the early light. Now, let's look at some papers they didn't include:

Lindzen, R. S. (2002). Do deep ocean temperature records verify models? Geophysical Research Letters, 29(8), 1254.

Lindzen, R. S., Chou, M. D., & Hou, A. Y. (2001). Does the earth have an adaptive infrared iris? Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 82(3), 417–432.

Lindzen, R. S., & Giannitsis, C. (2002). Reconciling observations of global temperature change. Geophysical Research Letters, 29(12), 1583.

Spencer, R. W. (2007). How serious is the global warming threat? Society, 44(5), 45–50.

There are many, many more excluded papers like these. They excluded every paper Richard Lindzen has published since 1997. How is this possible? He has over 50 publications in that span, most of them journal articles. They excluded almost all of the relevant work of arguably the most prominent skeptical or lukewarm climate scientist in the world. Their search was staggering in its incompetence. They searched the Web of Science for the topics of "global warming" and "global climate change", using quotes, so those exact phrases. I don't know how Web of Science defines a topic, but designing the search that way, constrained to those exact phrases as topics, excluded everything Lindzen has done in the current century, and a lot more.

Anyone care to guess which kinds of papers will tend to use the exact phrase "global warming" as official keywords? Which way do you think such papers will lean? Did no one think about about any of this? Their search method excluded vast swaths of research by Lindzen, Spencer, Pielke, and others. I'm not going to do all the math on this – someone else should dig into the differential effects of their search strategy.

However, this doesn't explain the exclusion of the above Spencer paper. It comes up in the Web of Science search they say they ran, yet it's somehow absent from their database. They included – and counted as evidence of scientific endorsement – papers about TV coverage, public surveys, psychology theories, and magazine articles, but failed to count a journal article written by a climate scientist called "How serious is the global warming threat?" It was in the search results, so its exclusion is a mystery. If the idea is that it was in a non-climate journal, they clearly didn't exclude such journals (see above), and they were sure to count the paper's opposite number (as endorsement):

Oreskes, N., Stainforth, D. A., & Smith, L. A. (2010). Adaptation to global warming: do climate models tell us what we need to know? Philosophy of Science, 77(5), 1012–1028.

In any case, they excluded a vast number of relevant and inconvenient climate science papers. In all of this, I'm just scratching the surface.

Let's look at a climate-related paper they did include:

Idso, C. D., Idso, S. B., Kimball, B. A., HyoungShin, P., Hoober, J. K., Balling Jr, R. C., & others. (2000). Ultra-enhanced spring branch growth in CO2-enriched trees: can it alter the phase of the atmosphere’s seasonal CO2 cycle? Environmental and Experimental Botany, 43(2), 91–100.

The abstract says nothing about AGW or human activity. It doesn't even talk about CO2 causing an increase in temperature. In fact, it's the reverse. It talks about increases in temperature affecting the timing of seasonal CO2 oscillations, and talks about the amplitude of such oscillations. It's a focused and technical climate science paper talking about a seasonal mechanism. The raters apparently didn't understand it, which isn't surprising, since many of them lacked the scientific background to rate climate science abstracts – there are no climate scientists among them, although there is at least one scientist in another field, while several are laypeople. They counted it as endorsement of AGW. I guess the mere mention of CO2 doomed it.

Here's another paper, one of only three papers by Judith Curry in the present century that they included:

Curry, J. A., Webster, P. J., & Holland, G. J. (2006). Mixing politics and science in testing the hypothesis that greenhouse warming is causing a global increase in hurricane intensity. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 87(8), 1025–1037.

Among other things, it disputes the attribution of increased hurricane frequency to increased sea surface temperature. The Cook crew classified it as taking no "No Position". Note that they had an entire category of endorsement called Impacts. Their scheme was rigged in multiple ways, and one of those ways was their categorization. It was asymmetric, having various categories that assumed endorsement, like Impacts, without any counterpart categories for non-endorsement or contesting endorsement. There was no category of Contesting or Disputing Impacts. This is perhaps the 17th reason why the paper is invalid.

There is another pervasive phenomenon in their data – all sorts of random engineering papers that merely mention global warming and then proceed to talk about their engineering projects. For example:

Tran, T. H. Y., Haije, W. G., Longo, V., Kessels, W. M. M., & Schoonman, J. (2011). Plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition of titania on alumina for its potential use as a hydrogen-selective membrane. Journal of Membrane Science, 378(1), 438–443.

They counted it as endorsement. There are lots of engineering papers like this. They usually classify them as "Mitigation." Most such "mitigation" papers do not represent or carry knowedge, data, or findings about AGW, or climate, or even the natural world. There are far more of these sorts of papers than actual climate science papers in their data. Those who have tried to defend the Cook paper should dig out all the social science papers that were included, all the engineering papers, all the surveys of the general public and op-eds. I've given you more than enough to go on – you're the ones who are obligated to do the work, since you engaged so little with the substance of the paper and apparently gave no thought to its methods and the unbelievable bias of its researchers. The paper will be invalid for many reasons, including the exclusion of articles that took no position on AGW, which were the majority.

Critically, they allowed themselves a category of "implicit endorsement". Combine this with the fact that the authors here were political activists who wanted to achieve a specific result and appointed themselves subjective raters of abstracts, and the results are predictable. Almost every paper I listed above was rated as implicit endorsement. The operative method seemed to be that if an abstract mentioned climate change (or even just CO2), it was treated as implicit endorsement by many raters, regardless of what the paper was about.

There's yet another major problem that interweaves with the above. Counting mitigation papers creates a fundamental structural bias that will inflate the consensus. In a ridiculous study where we're counting papers that endorse AGW and offsetting them only with papers that reject AGW, excluding the vast majority of topical climate science papers in the search results that don't take simple positions, what is the rejection equivalent of a mitigation paper? What is the disconfirming counterpart? Do the math in your head. Start with initial conditions of some kind of consensus in climate science, or the widespread belief that there is a consensus (it doesn't matter whether it's true for the math here.) Then model the propagation of the "consensus" to a bunch of mitigation papers from all sorts of non-climate fields. Climate science papers reporting anthropogenic forcing have clear dissenting counterparts – climate science papers that dispute or minimize anthropogenic forcing (ignore the fallacy of demanding that people prove a negative and all the other issues here.) But the mitigation papers do not have any such counterpart, any place for disconfirmation. As a category, they're whipped cream on top, a buy-one-get-three-free promotion – they can only inflate, can only confirm.

It's even more clear when we consider social science papers. Like most of these mitigation papers, all that's happening is that climate change is mentioned in an abstract, public views of climate change are being surveyed, etc. In what way could a social science paper or survey of the general public be classified as rejecting AGW by this method? In theory, how would that work? Would we count social science papers that don't mention AGW or climate as rejection? Could a social science paper say "We didn't ask about climate change" and have that be counted as rejection? Remember, what got them counted was asking people about climate, or the psychology of belief, adoption of solar panels, talking about TV coverage, etc. Would papers that report the lack of enthusiasm for solar panels, or the amount of gasoline purchased in Tanzania, count as evidence against AGW, as rejection? What if, instead of analyzing TV coverage of AGW, a researcher chose to do a content analysis of Taco Bell commercials from 1995-2004? Rejection? And if a physicist calling for funding for a tokamak reactor counts as endorsement, would a physicist not calling for funding of a tokamak reactor, or instead calling for funding of a particle accelerator, count as rejection? I assume this is clear at this point. Counting mitigation papers, and certainly social science and economic papers, rigs the results (many of which I didn't list above, because I'm stubborn and shouldn't have to list them all.) Not surprisingly, I haven't found a single psychology, social science, or survey study that they classified as rejection...

(Some might argue that choice of research topic, like choosing to research public opinion on climate change, TV coverage of the same, or the proliferation of solar panels, carries epistemic information relevant to consensus on AGW. But you should just fast-forward the math in your head – don't waste time on arguments that we know aren't going to work out. The pool of non-climate-topical research overwhelms the pool of topical research, so it's going to come down to something like 1% of non-climate science people talking about climate in their research spiked up to 1.2% because of a stipulated consensus, where that delta carries epistemic information due to the meme of a probable and probably correct consensus (which you have to show), and you have to show that this delta is driven by the social dynamics of a probable and probably true consensus out of all the noise and factors that drive research topic choices, ruling out political biases, funding, advisors, self-reinforcement, social acceptance, etc.)

The inclusion of so many non-climate papers is just one of the three acts of fraud in this publication. It might be a fraud record... There's too much fraud in scientific journals, just an unbelievable amount of fraud. Whatever we're doing isn't working. Peer review in its current form isn't working. There's an added vulnerability when journals publish work that is completely outside their field, as when a climate science journal publishes what is essentially a social science study (this fraudulent paper was published in Environmental Research Letters.)

They claimed to use independent raters, a crucial methodological feature of any subjective rater study conducted by actual researchers: "Each abstract was categorized by two independent, anonymized raters." (p. 2)

Here's an online forum where the raters are collaborating with each other on their ratings. The forum directory is here.

And here's another discussion.

And another one. Here, Tom Curtis asks:

"Giving the objective to being as close to double blind in methodology as possible, isn't in inappropriate to discuss papers on the forum until all the ratings are complete?"

The man understands the nature of the enterprise (Curtis keeps coming up all over the web as someone with a lot of integrity and ability. He was apparently a rater, but is not one of the authors.) He was ignored in the forum (I assume there was some backchannel communication.) The raters carried on in the forum and violated the protocol they subsequently claimed in their paper.

In a subjective rating study where human raters read and interpret climate science abstracts, the raters must to be blind to the authors of the articles they rate for the study to be valid. This study makes these methodological issues secondary given the inherent invalidity of political activists subjectively rating abstracts on the issue of their activism. Let's set that aside for the moment. In addition to their claim of independent raters, the authors claimed that they enforced blindness to the authors of the papers they rated: "Abstracts were randomly distributed via a web-based system to raters with only the title and abstract visible. All other information such as author names and affiliations, journal and publishing date were hidden." (their page 2)

They lied about that too....

Much more HERE  (See the original for links)


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

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


3 September, 2014

BOM gives specious reason for revising temperature data

Supposition trumps the facts!

THE removal of a longstanding temperature record at Bourke of 125 degrees Fahrenheit (51.7C) set in 1909 was the result of a critical 1997 paper that revised a string of records and brought Australia’s hottest recorded temperature into the second half of the 20th century.

Until the paper by Blair Trewin, who is now a leading climate scientist at the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia’s hottest recorded temperature was 53.1C at Cloncurry on January 16, 1889.

But after revision, the record has been accepted as the 50.7C recorded at Oodnadatta, South Australia, on January 2, 1960.

The Cloncurry record was erased because the temperature was taken with old technology and “the thermometers were probably overexposed to direct sunlight or radiant energy”.

At Bourke, however, the temperature record was taken with a near-new Stevenson screen and clearly documented in the official record and monthly audit.

Nonetheless the Bourke temperature was discarded from the record as an “observational error” because it was logged on a Sunday, a day that temperature records were generally not taken.

The deletion of the Bourke record has helped to fan a vigorous debate about the quality of the bureau’s historical temperature data.

Discussing the adjustment in the 1997 paper, Mr Trewin said a Stevenson screen was installed at Bourke in August 1908. “The original manuscript record for Bourke shows temperatures of 125F (51.7C) observed on both 2 and 3 January.

“The observation on January 2 has been corrected on the manuscript to 112F (44.4C), which is consistent with the temperatures over the region,” the Trewin paper said.

“However, 3 January was a Sunday, and no other observations were made on this day.

“It is therefore likely that the observation is actually the maximum temperature for the 48 hours to 0900, 4 January, and therefore it would be affected by the same error which was corrected in the case of the 2 January observation.”

He said “no other station in NSW or southern Queensland is known to have exceeded 47.2C on this day”.

However, Jennifer Marohasy, who has questioned the ­bureau about changes to the historic temperature record, said the nearest station, Brewarrina, had recorded 123F (50.6C) on the same day (January 3, 1909).

Dr Marohasy has a doctorate in biology and is openly sceptical of the consensus position on anthropogenic climate change.

The Brewarrina temperature record is widely reported in historic newspaper articles but the bureau’s online temperature record for Brewarrina does not start until January 1, 1911.

“In fact 125 is clearly written into the Bourke ledger for Sunday 3rd January in the pen that was being used at that time,’’ she said. “The entry is also underlined.”

“At the time all records were audited and a summary written at the end of the month.

“This summary clearly states that the maximum temperature on 3 January 1909 was 125F.”


Bureau of Meteorology defended over temperature adjustments by fellow Warmists

They defend the principle of data adjustment but that is not the issue.  How the principle was in fact appied is the issue.  Was it corruptly applied?  They have no answer to evidence that it was

THE Bureau of Meteorology’s rewriting of historic temperature records has been defended by leading climate scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Systems Science at the University of NSW.

In an online article, centre director Andy Pitman and chief investigator Lisa Alexander said homogenisation of raw temperature data was an “essential process in improving weather data by spotting where temperature records need to be corrected, in ­either direction”.

They said data homogenisation was used to varying degrees by many weather agencies and climate researchers worldwide.

“Although the World Meteorological Organisation has guidelines for data homogenisation, the methods used vary from country to country, and in some cases no data homogenisation is applied,’’ Dr Pitman and Dr Alexander said.

They said Australian Research Council Centre data on extreme temperature trends showed the warming trend across Australia looked bigger without homogenisation. Adjusted data showed a cooling trend over parts of northwest Australia, which wasn’t seen in the raw data.

“Far from being a fudge to make warming look more severe than it is, most of the bureau’s data manipulation has in fact had the effect of reducing the apparent extreme temperature trends across Australia,” the two said.

BOM’s homogenisation process has been queried following examples of long-term cooling or neutral trends being turned into a strong warming trend.

Analysis of the 100-year record at Rutherglen in Victoria showed that a cooling trend of 0.35C in the raw data had become a 1.73C warming after homogenisation.

BOM said the discrepancy was consistent with the thermometer site moving from a farm building on a small hill outside the town to low-lying flat ground.

However, the official catalogue says “there have been no site moves during the site’s history”. Former Rutherglen workers said the site had not been moved.

Asked further about Rutherglen, BOM said “statistical analysis of minimum temperatures at Rutherglen indicated jumps in the data in 1966 and 1974”.

“These changes were determined through comparison with 17 nearby sites,” it said. “The biases detected in the temperature data for Rutherglen were deemed large enough to require adjustment, based on the statistical tests alone.

“The site records indicate that at least one site move took place between 1958 and 1975. It is likely but not confirmed that this move took place in 1966. The site records also indicate that the weather station was substantially upgraded around the time of the 1974 break in the temperature record.”

The bureau did not provide a copy of the Rutherglen site record.

BOM has yet to provide a full list of peer-reviewed publications regarding its homogenisation process, but in an article in the International Journal of Climatology, BOM climate researcher Blair Trewin said the bureau’s homogenised data set included 112 sites across Australia and extended from 1910 to the present, with 60 sites having data for the full period.

The data set was developed using a technique, the percentile-matching algorithm, that applies differing adjustments to daily data depending on their position in the frequency distribution.

“This method is intended to produce data sets that are homogeneous for higher-order statistical properties, such as variance and the frequency of extremes, as well as for mean values,” the paper said.

“The PM algorithm is evaluated and found to have clear advantages over adjustments based on monthly means, particularly in the homogenisation of temperature extremes.’’


Obama pushes green standards for everything but the kitchen sink

The Obama administration is working on new efficiency standards for seemingly every appliance but the kitchen sink.

Spurred by President Obama’s climate action plan, the Department of Energy is pumping out new standards for refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners, ceiling fans, furnaces, boilers, water heaters, lamps and many more appliances.

The administration says the standards will not only help the planet but also stimulate the economy by saving consumers money on their energy bills that they can spend elsewhere.
But industry groups argue the standards, which will apply to both commercial and household appliances, could slow the economy, and that the Energy Department is rushing the new rules while overestimating the savings. Other critics argue the push to regulate household appliances is evidence of a nanny state.

“They’re not taking the time to get it right,” said Steve Yurek, president and CEO of the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute. “That’s what we’re concerned about,” he said.

As evidence of the rush, critics point to how the Energy Department has already finalized new efficiency standards for seven appliances in 2014, with another three rules expected by the end of the year. That compares to two rules in 2013 and three in 2012.

The department says the rules will save consumers $49 billion by 2030.

A handful of efficiency standards for other appliances also have been proposed, but won’t be completed until after this year.

The rules will affect nearly every household in the country.

“We all have a microwave or a refrigerator or a dishwasher, so these rules do affect basically every American household,” said Sofie Miller, a researcher at The George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center.

Business groups say the new rules will be expensive for industry to comply with because it will require them to buy new technologies to develop appliances that emit less energy. That will raise the retail prices of household appliances, they say. 

“There are a lot of folks in the business community who don’t believe the benefits are as good as the Energy Department says they will be and that the agency is using flawed data to tip the scales in favor of more stringent regulations,” said Jon Melchi, director of government affairs for Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International.

Green groups and the Energy Department acknowledge the standards will lead to more expensive appliances but say consumers will save money in the long run on their energy bills.

“This can be a nice opportunity to save consumers money,” said Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency at the DOE.

Miller suggests that both sides could be right. She said the new efficiency standards will save wealthy consumers money in the long run, because they can afford to pay the higher costs for new household appliances.

Lower-income consumers, however, will be at a disadvantage, she said. They will have a tough time paying for the more expensive appliances, and are likely to keep using older ones.

She also said that could defeat the environmental reasons for pushing the new rules.

“If you can’t afford a dishwasher, you’re stuck washing your dishes by hand,” Miller said, “which actually uses more water.”

Republicans played the rich-poor divide up during one of the most famous efficiency controversies: the ban on traditional incandescent light bulbs.

That episode also highlights how energy efficiency has become more of a partisan issue. The push for the new light bulbs started under President George W. Bush and initially had support from many Republicans. It then became a Tea Party rallying cry, and Obama’s embrace of energy efficiency led more in the GOP to become opponents.

The ban is pushing consumers to buy more expensive light bulbs, even as they save money on their energy bills. Republicans complain this puts lower-income consumers at a disadvantage because they’ll have a tougher time paying for the more expensive bulbs.

While many of the efficiency rules target household appliances, others focus on business appliances, such as commercial ice-makers, commercial refrigerators and walk-in coolers and freezers.

The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute is challenging the later two rules in federal court. Yurek argues the rules could force as much as 40 percent of the industry out of business.

“The Energy Department is pushing as high as they can, and sometimes even higher than they should be in setting these efficiency standards,” Yurek said.

The Obama administration has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Obama has made it clear that fighting climate change is one of his top priorities, something highlighted by news reports this week that the administration is seeking a new climate deal at the United Nations.

The goal of Obama’s climate plan is to reduce carbon pollution so much by 2030 that it would be equivalent to taking 44 million cars off the road, according to the Energy Department.

The push for tougher efficiency standards was initially ushered in with the 2009 stimulus bill, which included $16.8 billion for the Energy Department to promote efficiency. 


When Science is Settled - by Government

by Mark Steyn

The defamation suit against me, National Review, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Rand Simberg brought by Michael E Mann, fake Nobel Laureate and inventor of the global-warming "hockey stick", is now chugging into its third year. Speaking for myself, I wouldn't still be in the game if it weren't for readers around the world who've helped push back against the climate mullahs by buying our exclusive range of Steyn Vs The Stick trial merchandise, our new SteynOnline gift certificates and all the other fun stuff - books, CDs, and more - over at the Steyn store.

Today, Tuesday, by 5pm Eastern, Dr Mann is due to file his latest court pleading. It will be interesting (well, okay, very mildly interesting) to see whether he addresses the arguments made by the ACLU, The Washington Post, NBC and others against his appalling assault on the First Amendment - or whether he sticks with his strange and repulsive contention that simply because various government bureaucracies are okay with him his work should be beyond reproach.

I dislike appeals to authority on principle, but appeals to authority in climate science are especially absurd, given that the authorities are so laughably unauthoritative. As I mentioned the other day, the peer-reviewed settled-science types at the journal Science have taken five years to catch up with a throwaway observation of mine from 2009:

    "My general line is this: For the last century, we've had ever-so-slight warming trends and ever-so-slight cooling trends every 30 years or so, and I don't think either are anything worth collapsing the global economy over.

    Things warmed up a bit in the decades before the late Thirties. Why? I dunno. The Versailles Treaty? The Charleston?

    Then from 1940 to 1970 there was a slight cooling trend. In its wake, Lowell Ponte (who I believe is an expert climatologist and, therefore, should have been heeded) wrote his bestseller, The Cooling: Has the new ice age already begun? Can we survive?

    From 1970 to 1998 there was a slight warming trend, and now there's a slight cooling trend again. And I'm not fussed about it either way."

That was my view of "climate change" on July 25th 2009, and I'm heartened to see the peer-review set at Science getting with the beat. Alas for my Nobel Prize hopes, Billy Joel stoner David Appell has emerged from his recent hibernation on Mannish matters to scoff at my claim to be the world's greatest self-taught climate scientist. Yet in this field you don't have to be great, merely not quite so risible as the experts. Anthony Watts reminds us of what the settled scientists were saying half-a-decade ago:

    "World Will Warm Faster Than Predicted In Next Five Years, Study Warns"

Duncan Clark in The Guardian laid it on as only a devout warm-monger can:

    "The world faces record-breaking temperatures as the sun's activity increases, leading the planet to heat up significantly faster than scientists had predicted for the next five years."

Er, no. None of that happened. That was The Guardian on July 27th 2009 - or two days after my throwaway observation of nary a moment's thought. As climate analyses from 2009 go, which is closer to the reality of the "science" in 2014 - the "expert" "study" or the ravings of an unlettered middle-school dropout? We are now approaching the start of the third decade of what the corrupt ideologues of climate alarmism now, belatedly, call the "pause" in global warming. Yet none of those guys - Mann included - were talking about the "pause" five years ago, and I was.

~This is a problem for the Big Climate enforcers in general - and for fake Nobel Laureate Michael E Mann in particular. Dr Mann claims I defamed him when I described his global-warming hockey stick as "fraudulent", which it is (and, indeed, it gets more fraudulent as the years go by). But his defense to date has been that, because government officials have "exonerated" him, he cannot be questioned. As I pointed out in my own brief (page seven), Mann's appeals to authority are almost entirely bogus:

    "In his later court filings, Mann has made equally preposterous and objectively false claims. For example, Mann has claimed that he has been "exonerated" by such bodies as the University of East Anglia, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, and even by the government of the United Kingdom, none of which have investigated Dr Mann at all, never mind "exonerated" him.

    The audacity of the falsehoods in Mann's court pleadings is breathtaking. For example, on page 19 of his brief below dated January 18, 2013, he cites the international panel chaired by the eminent scientist Lord Oxburgh, FRS as one of the bodies that "exonerated" him, whereas on page 235 of Mann's own book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, he states explicitly that "our own work did not fall within the remit of the committee, and the hockey stick was not mentioned in the report." It is deeply disturbing that a plaintiff should make such fraudulent claims in his legal pleadings."

That leaves, out of his multiple transatlantic "exonerations", only two. The first is the Penn State inquiry, where he was "exonerated" by a corrupt university administration whose senior figures were forced to resign and whose disgraced president is currently facing decades in the slammer for obstruction of justice and child endangerment in the Sandusky cover-up: I'm sure he'll make a compelling witness for Mann. The second is the EPA "inquiry", which was a joke and which, as Steve McIntyre suggests, may well have breached the EPA's own guidelines for public dissemination. (Do read down into the comments for discussion on which if any of the Climategate emails the EPA actually reviewed.)

So Mann has been brazenly lying his way through his court pleadings with merry abandon. But let us suppose for the sake of argument that everything he'd said in his briefs was actually true - that he had been investigated and exonerated by various government bodies in the United States and the United Kingdom. So what? As the ACLU and the bigfoot media put it in their own amicus brief opposing Mann:

    "The fact that certain official panels backed Mann's methodology – facts that were not only disclosed in the challenged publications but in fact formed the basis for them – cannot allow him to silence his critics in a defamation claim. Under the First Amendment, the government is not the final arbiter of truth with the power to foreclose further challenge to its policies."

Just so. The President declares there's not a "smidgen" of corruption at the IRS. The Secretary of State determines that Benghazi is the fault of a video. The National Security Adviser pronounces Bowe Bergdahl an American hero. And the EPA hails Michael Mann as a paragon of virtue. Big deal. As the ACLU et al put it, "the government is not the final arbiter of truth with the power to foreclose further challenge" - the power to end debate. That is, unless Mann prevails, in which case he'll have taken his hockey stick and punched a huge, irreparable hole through the First Amendment. At some point, Mann will have to address the ACLU's argument. Maybe today will be the day.

Or maybe he'll just carry on with his serial lies. Truly, it is difficult to convey the scale of mendacity in Mann's court filings. Steve McIntyre again:

    "In today's post, I'll discuss another misrepresentation in Mann's Statement of Claim, one in which Mann bizarrely misrepresented the nature of his own research, falsely claiming credit for being "one of the first" to "document" the increase in 20th century temperatures. This particular false claim was in the same paragraph as Mann's false claim to have received a Nobel prize."

Not even his friends would claim that Mann was "one of the first to document the steady rise in surface temperatures during the 20th Century". His counsel Peter Fontaine is a full-time climate-change lawyer and surely knows this:

    "Mann's misrepresentation of the nature of his research is very curious since it seems that it ought to have been easy enough for Mann and/or Peter Fontaine to write a simple statement that Mann's research involved proxy reconstructions of past temperature, mostly using tree rings. And why say that Mann was "one of the first" to document the increase in 20th century temperatures when he wasn't? Readers puzzled by such mis-statements are asked not to refer to comments by Mary McCarthy about "and" and "the"."

Reading Mann's claims to be a Nobel Laureate, a man "exonerated" by the Government of the United Kingdom, a pioneer in the field of 20th-century temperature data, etc, etc, I'm reminded of Hillary Rodham Clinton's aside to a New Zealand audience that her parents named her after Edmund Hillary, who conquered Everest on the eve of the Queen's coronation. That was in 1953. Hillary Rodham was born in 1947, when Sir Edmund was an obscure New Zealand beekeeper and an unlikely inspiration for parents in a Chicago suburb. It was an unnecessary lie, and one got the feeling that she and Bill did it just to stay in shape, give the old forked tongue a workout. If you need to lie about the big things - as Mann does - you wind up lying about stuff you don't need to lie about out of a combination of force of habit and inability to resist.

Of course, his lawyers, being officers of the court, don't have the same excuse.

So it will be interesting to see whether Doctor Fraudpants is peddling the same old hooey this afternoon, or whether wiser counsel has prevailed.

~Mann started this thing, but I promise you I will finish it, despite his delays and obfuscations and attempts to obstruct discovery and deposition. I have a great legal team headed by Dan Kornstein, the man behind the most consequential piece of free-speech legislation enacted this century, and we've been interviewing prominent scientific witnesses tired of the climate of fear that Mann and his Clime Syndicate have imposed on their field.


Remind me again: Who wants GMO labeling?

Science surrendering to superstition, pro-GMO activist argues

Organic activists claim 92% of consumers want genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) labeled. It turns out the overwhelming majorityof consumers support the status quo when you don’t ask a misleading question like, “Do want toxic pesticides genetically spliced into your food?”

But still, activists insist that proponents of modern, science-based farming surrender and “Give consumers what they want!” Toss in superstar Neil Young who hates GMOs, combined with years of disinformation from organic diva Vandana Shiva who actually claims GMOs are causing a mass genocide, and pro-GMO executives are now poised to concede.

Biotechnology long ago gave consumers exactly what they wanted. After synthetic human insulin was genetically engineered to replace insulin from slaughtered pigs for people afflicted with diabetes, this field of science gave farmers the means to grow more food on less land with less fuel. And the overwhelming majority of farmers adopted GMO crops in every nation where they are not banned for political reasons.

What’s more, the introduction of GMOs was coincident with organic farmers gaining recognition from regulators. Thus began 20 years of peaceful “coexistence” between GMO and organic farmers.

Pure Food Campaign

But never mind the people who grow our food. Urban-based organic activists wanted GMOs banned! Realizing this was impossible at the time, a professional organic activist named Jeremy Rifkin founded The Pure Food Campaign to instead demand the labeling of genetically-modified foods. But with scant support from organic farmers and consumers, he succeeded only in excluding GMOs from America’s National Organic Program.

All Rifkin knew at the time was that Monsanto was developing GMOs, a company that he and his followers hated. They knew little of the science; less still where the science might go. And yet, in spite of President Clinton urging organic activists to allow GMOs on a case-by-case basis, they rejected this fledgling field of science outright.

With creative tax-sheltering, Rifkin’s movement morphed into The Organic Consumers Association, a group which today has even less to do with organic farmers than Rifkin’s group did. The director of the OCA, Ronnie Cummins, freely admits that labeling GMOs is not meant to provide consumers with free-market choice as so many claim, but rather to drive genetically engineered crops off the market, which was Rifkin’s goal as well.

And yet, pro-GMO executives will not challenge organic activists, instead conceding to demands for GMO labeling, along with baseless claims that GMOs contaminate organic crops, in spite of the fact there is no mention of this anywhere in America’s standards for organic production, standards which Rifkin and Cummins helped write!

This is America, land of the contingency-based hired-gun litigation lawyer. If GMOs actually contaminated organic crops, wouldn’t there have been a lawsuit or two by now? Hold that thought.

Seeking consensus

These high-paid executives at the helm of corporations like Monsanto, Bayer and Syngenta, along with executives from every farm bureau, commodity and industry group across the land, now seek to “engage” with members of the anti-GMO organic movement in the hope of finding -- wait for it -- a “consensus,” even though there has been nothing but consensus between GMO and organic farmers for well over 20 years now.

Meanwhile, organic activists who are perhaps too lazy to start their own businesses, waste your tax dollars harassing companies like Starbucks into serving only certified organic, non-GMO milk. Wouldn’t Starbucks do this on its own if its executives thought this was what their customers wanted?

Back in 1971, the founder of the American organic movement, Jerome Rodale, died during a recording of The Dick Cavett Show after declaring how wonderful his organic diet made him feel. You can’t make stuff like that up.

Fast forward to the present and millionaire organic activist Mike “The Health Ranger” Adams seeks to silence his opponents by listing us on a website called “Monsanto Collaborators,” where he perpetuates Vandana Shiva’s completely unfounded claims that hundreds of thousands of farmer suicides in India have resulted from GMO crops. People like us and FNC’s John Stossel are guilty, according to Adams, of mass genocide. Again, you can’t make stuff like this up.

It turns out the suicide rate among Indian farmers has actually gone down since GMOs were introduced. Yields and profits are up, and pesticide usage is down nearly 40% thanks to the adoption of GMO cotton by Indian farmers. Shiva and Adams won’t comment on these facts.

Belligerence persists

Clearly, the belligerence started by Rodale and Rifkin and carried on today by people like Cummins, Shiva and Adams, did not arise because GMO executives were too aggressive in pushing the scientific facts behind modern, science-based farming. To the contrary, Adams, Shiva and their ilk get away with making death-threats precisely because GMO executives are completely passive and conciliatory.

With Vermont passing the nation’s first “clean” GMO labeling law, and Oregon now home to the sixth ban on GMOs, these executives have decided – to a man – to give in by passing a national, voluntary GMO labeling law that concedes to the decades-old demand by organic activists that consumers need a warning label when it comes to consuming GMO foods. Try objecting and these GMO executives all say the same thing: “You just don’t understand how much pressure we’re under. We have no choice.”

And so, with no evidence to support any of their claims, organic activists are now poised to win it all. And remember what we said about the complete lack of lawsuits in America for GMO “contamination” of organic crops? According to both science and the law, GMOs cannot contaminate an organic crop. But GMO labeling will change this by creating, for the first time ever in America, a threshold limit for GMO content in food.

The science will remain unchanged; GMOs have never caused any harm to anyone or anything. But this labeling law will open the door to activist organic farmers who will claim their crops no longer qualify as GMO-free and hence can no longer be certified as organic. Lawsuits will ensue; of that you can be assured. But not against any pro-GMO executives; against American farmers who grow GMO crops.

No threat to health

GMOs are identical to non-GMO crops on the process level. This has been properly and scientifically proven and nobody has ever contradicted this. Meanwhile, organic sprouts caused a lethal E. coli outbreak in Northern Germany in 2011 that resulted in 53 deaths and over 100 people requiring a donor kidney or dialysis for the rest of their lives.

What’s more, GMO executives are well aware that GMOs pose no threat whatsoever to human health, the environment or to organic crops, but they have decided it would be too “mean spirited” to actually say so openly. And no, we did not make that up. Self-preservation is now their only goal. They’re taking the Fifth, confirming charges by organic activists like Rifkin, Cummins, Shiva and Adams that GMO executives are indeed guilty of something, and that GMOs may indeed cause harm.

We might as well cave in to leftwing political correctness and start saying we were attacked on 9-11 by a group of disgruntled young men of Middle Eastern background instead of by radical Islamic terrorists. No, not average Muslims. Everyone gets the distinction in that case.

Likewise, America’s leadership role in feeding the world is not under attack from organic farmers or consumers. They’re not the ones who want GMOs labeled or banned. Modern farming is being attacked by organic activists… tax-funded, urban organic activists. People who do not, and in many cases have never worked on a farm, let alone run one.

And these activists are now being aided and abetted by GMO executives who have made a business decision, not a humanitarian or agronomic decision, to concede valuable ground to their opposition.

Leadership role lost

It’s time we made a distinction here and stood up to all of these self-serving individuals. Not by attacking them personally as activists do to us, nor by mollifying them as GMO executives are doing. By standing up to them with the facts. Every time, no matter what.

Failing that, America’s leadership role in farming will be lost and we’ll look like Europe within a decade.


UK: Emergency measures to prevent blackouts this winter as power crunch worsens

Those vast investments in windmills and solar panels have brought Britain to this?  Not much sun in winter?  Not much wind in winter? How surprising!

Emergency measures to fire up mothballed power stations could be used to keep the lights on this winter, after a series of power plant fires and closures left Britain more vulnerable to blackouts.

National Grid announced on Tuesday that it would begin recruiting idle or mothballed power plants, which would be paid to ensure they could fire up if needed as a "last resort".

The Grid had said in June that the emergency plan to boost power supplies would not be needed this year. However, it has resorted to using it because five of the power plants it had expected to be running this winter are now shut down or are in doubt.

In June, energy regulator Ofgem estimated there would be between 2.7 gigawatts (GW) and 5.4GW of spare operational power plants on the system – a capacity margin of between 5pc-10pc over and above peak winter demand.

But the situation has deteriorated as 3.67GW of power plants are now in doubt or shut down as a result of a series of incidents – threatening to wipe out the spare margin unless Grid recruits extra plants.

Two nuclear power plants have been temporarily shut down amid safety fears, two coal-fired power plant units have been partially shut after fires, and one gas-fired power plant unit is being shut because it is unprofitable.

"There is an increased level of uncertainty over the volume of plant that may be available in the market this winter," Grid said in a statement.

The plan to fire up mothballed power plants comes in addition to another emergency measure the Grid had already decided was needed this winter, to reduce demand by paying businesses to agree to switch off between 4pm and 8pm on weekdays.

Both demand and supply emergency measures were already due to be used in winter 2015-16 when Britain's spare capacity margin was already expected to fall to as low as 2pc.

The measures will be funded by consumers and are estimated to add £1 a year to household energy bills.

Peter Atherton, energy analyst at Liberum Capital, warned it was "a bit late in the day" for National Grid to be invoking the latest measure as it was "unlikely" that any plants that had been fully mothballed could now come back on in time for this winter.

However, plants that were shut and idle but not fully mothballed could come back more quickly, he said.

National Grid said it knew there were plants that "could make this winter’s deadline". "We would not be running the tender unless we thought we would get a response from industry," a spokesman said.

The biggest threat to this winter's supplies comes from doubts over two nuclear power plants, Heysham 1 and Hartlepool, with a combined capacity of 2.4 gigawatts (GW).

The plants were shut down in early August in order for owner EDF to carry out safety checks on key boiler equipment in the reactors following the discovery of "unexpected cracking" in one unit.

EDF said at the time it could not give an exact date for their return to service until investigations were completed, estimated to take "around eight weeks". Its website says they are due to resume operation in October.

But Grid said the outcome of EDF's investigations "may have an impact" on plant availability this winter.

"It is obviously a sign that National Grid are concerned that the two nukes may not come back on before winter kicks in," Mr Atherton said.

The spare capacity margin had already been dented when the Ferrybridge coal-fired power plant in Yorkshire suffered a fire in July. The fire-damaged unit, of 500 megawatt (MW) capacity is not expected to return to service this winter.

Another coal-fired power plant, Ironbridge in Shropshire, had announced in late May that a fire-damaged unit of 370MW would not be repaired.

And the owners of one gas-fired power plant, Barking in east London, announced plans to close it over two years because it was not profitable. Some 400MW could be lost this winter as a result.

However, a spokesman for the Grid confirmed that Barking would now be eligible to sign up for its emergency supplies scheme and could now be paid to remain operational this winter.

National Grid said that while it was putting both emergency measures in place, they would only actually be called upon as a "last resort".

Power plants that sign up to the scheme will effectively be paid a retainer to guarantee their availability, and then further payments if they are called upon to actually fire up.

Businesses who sign up for the weeknight closures to ease demand will also be paid a retainer even if they are never ultimately called upon to power down.

A spokesman for energy regulator Ofgem said: "We are confident that National Grid has the right levers to keep the lights on.

"However, no electricity system anywhere in the world can give a 100pc guarantee that the lights will stay on.

"Therefore given the tighter margins there can never be any room for complacency and National Grid and the industry must remain vigilant at all times.”

Ed Davey, the energy secretary, told the Telegraph in June: “The lights are going to stay on."



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

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


2 September, 2014

Eating meat is causing 'dangerous climate change', claim scientists

Malthus lives again. Some historically unsophisticated prophecy from the University of Cambridge's department of ENGINEERING (!) below.  Just off the top of my head let me point out three large factors that they overlook: 

1). If we do get the warming they foresee, vast areas of Canada and Siberia (Siberia is 50% larger than CONUS and also covers a  range of latitudes) could be opened to grain production -- and grain is an important feed for both animals and humans.  If the Japanese can grow rice in icy Hokkaido (which they do) much must be possible with the Northern lands. 

2).  They assume that the population will grow or at least remain static.  But as affluence increases births tend to fall.  They are already well below replacement in the developed world.  So Population SHRINKAGE is the most likely scenario by 2050. 

3). The food production problem in the developed world has long been one of glut.  TOO MUCH food is the big problem -- leading to extensive efforts by almost all Western government to REDUCE food production.  Taking off those hobbles would see food production soar just from presently used land

Eating less meat is 'essential' to ensure future demand for food can be met and 'dangerous' climate change avoided, experts have warned.

A study by leading university researchers in Cambridge and Aberdeen found food production alone could exceed targets for greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 if current trends continue.

Population growth and the global shift towards 'meat-heavy Western diets' has meant increasing agricultural yields will not meet projected food demands for an expected 9.6 billion world population in 30 years, according to the researchers.

Increased deforestation, fertiliser use and livestock methane emissions are likely to cause greenhouse gas emissions from food production to rise by almost 80 per cent, experts from the University of Cambridge and University of Aberdeen found.

Lead researcher Bojana Bajzelj, from the University of Cambridge's department of engineering, said: 'Agricultural practices are not necessarily at fault here - but our choice of food is.

'It is imperative to find ways to achieve global food security without expanding crop or pastureland.  'Food production is a main driver of biodiversity loss and a large contributor to climate change and pollution, so our food choices matter.'

He added: 'Cutting food waste and moderating meat consumption in more balanced diets, are the essential 'no-regrets' options.'

According to the study in Nature Climate Change, current trends in food production will mean that by 2050 cropland will have expanded by 42 per cent and fertiliser use increased by 45 per cent over 2009 levels.

A further tenth of the world's pristine tropical forests would disappear over the next 35 years, it said.

The study's authors tested a scenario where all countries were assumed to have an 'average' balanced diet - without excessive consumption of sugars, fats, and meat products.

The average balanced diet used in the study was a 'relatively achievable goal', the researchers said, which included two 85-gram (0.2 pounds) portions of red meat and five eggs per week, as well as a portion of poultry a day.

'This significantly reduced the pressures on the environment even further,' they said.

Co-author Professor Pete Smith, from the University of Aberdeen, said: 'Unless we make some serious changes in food consumption trends, we would have to completely de-carbonise the energy and industry sectors to stay within emissions budgets that avoid dangerous climate change.

'That is practically impossible - so, as well as encouraging sustainable agriculture, we need to re-think what we eat.'

Cambridge co-author Prof Keith Richards said: 'This is not a radical vegetarian argument; it is an argument about eating meat in sensible amounts as part of healthy, balanced diets.

'Managing the demand better, for example by focusing on health education, would bring double benefits - maintaining healthy populations, and greatly reducing critical pressures on the environment.'


Obama AWOL again – on energy terrorism

The president fails to prepare for anything, except vacation, golf and climate change

Paul Driessen

Four news stories in four days sum up the Obama presidency and help explain why the world and U.S. economy are in such a mess. President Obama just returned from his two-week beach and golf vacation at Martha’s Vineyard. It took him a month from the time special forces located journalist James Foley to approve a rescue mission – by which time Foley had been moved (and was subsequently beheaded).

Mr. Obama may pursue a sweeping international climate change deal that bypasses Congress. But on dealing with ISIS terrorist butchers months after they swept through Iraq, “We don’t have a strategy yet.”

President Obama has ordered limited air strikes to “contain” (but not defeat) Islamic State terrorists who have shot, crucified and beheaded thousands of men, women and children in Iraq and Syria. However, he still has no plans for protecting the United States from the energy terrorism that jihadists are planning.

The president’s failure to “connect the dots,” to see and prepare for potentially devastating attacks on U.S. and global citizens and energy supplies, is an inexcusable threat to our security. Preparations for massive energy terrorist attacks around the world are increasingly open and obvious. Now that Mr. Obama is back in the White House for a few days, hopefully to deal with real crises literally exploding around the world (from the Middle East to Afghanistan to Nigeria and beyond), let me connect some dots for him.

With Iraqi and other oil fields in jihadist hands, petroleum has become the mother’s milk of Islamic terrorism. Along with drug trafficking and bank robbery, it provides financing to arm, feed, train and pay terrorists on a scale that makes Leonardo DiCaprio’s Blood Diamond loot look like chump change. 

Islamic State butchers are raking in an estimated $2 million or more every day by selling oil on the black market, from wells they have seized in Iraq and Syria.  “This could fetch them more than $730 million a year, enough to sustain operations far beyond Iraq,” Iraq Energy Institute Director Luay al-Khatteeb told CNN in late August. More captured Syrian oil fields could raise ISIS oil revenue to $1.2 billion a year, says Theodore Karasik, research director at the think tank INEGMA in Dubai. Or worse.

ISIS conquest of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Kirkuk area could boost the terrorists’ oil production from 30,000 barrels a day now to as much as 1 million barrels a day: $11 billion a year, if they can peddle their oil at (say) a way-below-market $30 per barrel to countries that are naïve, support terror or ignore human rights.

That could buy unfathomable terrorism – on levels portended by a laptop computer that moderate Syrian forces found in an ISIS hideout. Amid some 34,000 files, it includes manuals on car theft, disguises and bomb making, documents on how to develop biological weapons and “weaponize” bubonic plague, and a radical Muslim cleric’s fatwa justifying weapons of mass destruction, “even if it wipes them and their descendants off the face of the Earth.” Detonate the bio-bombs in malls, air conditioning intakes and similar places, the manuals advise. With laboratories in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria now in ISIS hands, these neo-SS lunatics could well turn their caliphate dreams into Western World nightmares.

Even just a few such attacks would shut down commerce, the way 9/11 and the DC sniper did.

Should the Islamic State conquer the rest of Iraq and other Arab and Muslim lands, it could also cause major oil price increases that would cripple economies worldwide. By then vastly wealthier than Genghis Khan, such an empowered Islamic State could even decide to impose an oil embargo on the U.S. and other nations – as Arab oil exporters did for six months in 1973 and 1974, with devastating effects. 

Other terrorist groups are fighting to control oil and natural gas supplies elsewhere. And Qatar – whose oil and gas have made it the richest country in the world, on a per capita basis – is acting as the terrorists’ ATM, bankrolling their activities, while playing the “good-guy” host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

So what can America do to prepare? First, recognize the threat and develop a strategy – not just to contain ISIS, but to eliminate its threats. Mr. Obama has already missed several opportunities, but the U.S. has the necessary capabilities. He needs to use them, and find some leadership skills to rally and recruit allies.

Second, secure our southern border. A friendly border control agent chatted me up ten days ago about the $10 poster I was bringing back from Canada. His attentiveness to the Quebec-NY border was gratifying. But meanwhile thousands are still streaming across our Mexican border, with minimal safeguards, despite reports of Korans, prayer rugs and English-Arabic dictionaries being found on these “immigrant” trails. (As to offending Hispanics, they don’t want to get blown up or murdered with bubonic plague, either.)

Third, develop more U.S. oil and natural gas – and persuade Europe to start fracking. The United States consumed 18.6 million barrels of oil a day in 2013, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says. Better vehicle fuel mileage, other energy conservation efforts and the Obama economy have reduced oil imports from 12.6 million barrels per day in 2005 to 7.5 million this year. But even though America’s oil (and natural gas) production continues to climb, we still import about one-third of our oil.

Reducing foreign oil dependence can be accomplished via continued energy conservation, switching to natural gas, building more nuclear and coal power to generate electricity for hybrid and electric cars, and brewing more ethanol and biodiesel (while ignoring their food, economic and environmental costs). But these will barely make a dent, compared to more drilling and fracking on onshore and offshore federal, state and private lands – and pipelining more oil from our stable neighbor and longtime ally, Canada.

Unfortunately, President Obama has thus far been loath to do any of this. Yes, domestic oil and gas production has risen under his watch. However, the increase has come from state and private lands, while production has fallen significantly on lands under federal government control.

President Obama and many Democrats in Congress and state governments continue to oppose drilling for oil off our East and West Coasts, and in Alaska and our Western states. They oppose construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which could safely transport 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada (plus Montana and North Dakota oil) to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries, thereby reducing risks of more rail accidents. Many of these same Democrats also oppose hydraulic fracturing, which could greatly increase U.S. oil and gas production for many decades to come.

Tapping into our nation’s vast oil and natural gas supplies would even allow us to export oil, natural gas and refined products. That would help our allies and trading partners become less dependent on terror-sponsoring oil producers and Russian “oiligarch” blackmailers – until they can get their act together on fracking. Such sales would also reduce our trade deficit and create much-needed American jobs.

History shows that even today’s friendly oil producers can become tomorrow’s adversaries. We were importing 554,000 barrels of oil a day from Iran, at the peak in 1978, before Islamic extremists took the country over and held our diplomats hostage. Our imports from Persia have been zero ever since.

Too many “environmentalists” reflexively oppose all oil and natural gas production, all the time. They refuse to admit that we cannot slash our reliance on these two fuels from 64% today to zero in a few years – and cannot bring new oil and gas supplies online in just a few years, in the midst of a crisis.

Khalid A. Al-Falih, CEO of Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producing company, recently told an energy conference in Norway that even without terrorist threats the world will need to produce 40 million more barrels of oil a day within the next 20 years – just to replace what we are depleting. Finding enough to supply billions of people striving to rise up out of abject poverty will take far more than that.

Instead of waiting for an energy 9/11 to hit, President Obama and members of Congress are duty-bound to act now on all these steps, and more, to protect America’s national security. They must stop ignoring the imminent and growing threats of energy and energy-funded terrorism that America and the world face – before we run out of time to prepare for and prevent the potential onslaughts.

The president, Secretary of State John Kerry, EPA and too many politicians are too focused on overblown dangers from climate change. They need to wake up to the terrorist train that is raging toward us.

Via email

Vulnerable Dem slams Obama over UN climate change effort

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) says Obama's plans to get a "politically binding" international climate agreement endorsed by the United Nations next year is "fruitless" for a president whose popularity is lagging even at home.

"It is fruitless for this Administration — or any Administration — to negotiate agreements with the rest of the world when it cannot even muster the support of the American people," Rahall said Wednesday in a statement.

"This Administration's go it alone strategy is surely less about dysfunction in Congress than about the President's own unwillingness to listen to our coal miners, steelworkers, farmers, and working families," he added.

The Democrat, a 19-term House veteran, is distancing himself from Obama as he fights for his political career against Republican state Sen. Evan Jenkins in West Virginia, where the president's energy policy is deeply unpopular. The Cook Political Report, an online election handicapper, rates his race a "toss up."

As reported by The New York Times Wednesday, the Obama administration is working to expand an international accord to address climate change, which most scientists say is exacerbated by human activity.

The current gridlock in Congress would likely preclude the possibility that the Senate would ratify a new treaty. Officials, though, are planning to sidestep Congress by pushing for a "politically binding" deal, in lieu of a legally binding accord, the Times reported.

Republicans wasted no time hammering Obama over the news, saying it's another instance of the administration abusing its power.

"Unfortunately, this would be just another of many examples of the Obama administration’s tendency to abide by laws that it likes and to disregard laws it doesn’t like — and to ignore the elected representatives of the people when they don’t agree,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement.

Rahall agrees, and he's letting Obama — and West Virginia voters — know it.

"Whether it's the regulatory overreaches that would shut coal out of our energy mix, or this latest end-run around Congress on climate change, these actions cannot stand," he said. "I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do everything we can to stop them."

Jen Psaki, a spokesperson for the State Department, said Wednesday that the criticisms are premature, and that the administration has not ruled out the possibility of seeking Senate approval.

"Not a word of the new climate agreement currently under discussion has been written, so it is entirely premature to say whether it will or won’t require Senate approval," Psaki said in a statement. "Our goal is to negotiate a successful and effective global climate agreement that can help address this pressing challenge.

"Anything that is eventually negotiated and that should go to the Senate will go to the Senate," she added. "We will continue to consult with Congress on this important issue."


Six Threats Bigger Than Climate Change

The Obama administration talks global warming as the world burns.

Secretary of State John Kerry said during his January 2013 confirmation hearings that he would be a "passionate advocate" on climate-change issues, and he's living up to that promise. In a speech this month in Hawaii, Mr. Kerry called climate change "the biggest challenge of all that we face right now." Not 10, 20 or 100 years from now—right now.

If only Mr. Kerry were right. Unfortunately, America faces much bigger immediate challenges and threats than climate change. Our enemies around the world are intent on harming us—right now. America's secretary of state should worry more about them and less about the Earth's temperature decades from now.

US Secretary of State John Kerry Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Here's a list of a few challenges, all of which pose a greater threat to the world than climate change. It might help the president and his colleagues understand why Mr. Obama's foreign-policy approval rating is about 36%, according to an August poll by Gallup.

* Iraq is a greater challenge than climate change. While the president now likes to pretend that he didn't force a total withdrawal of U.S. troops, Americans remember his 2008 campaign promise to do exactly that. When the U.S. leaves a vacuum, others will fill it. The barbaric Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, is trying to build a base of operations in Iraq and Syria from which to attack the U.S. and its allies. The recent beheading of American journalist James Foley showed how serious ISIS is about "drowning" our nation in blood, as the group said in the video of the murder posted on YouTube.

* Afghanistan. The administration says it still intends to pull out the remaining 30,000 troops by the end of 2016. If it does, the country will quickly become a terrorist haven once again. As with Iraq, the timetable seems to be mostly about the political calendar. The Obama administration seems to have lost the will to win. The terrorists have not.

* Russia. President Obama was so intent on "resetting" U.S. relations with the Kremlin that he telegraphed a lack of resolve. President Vladimir Putin has only become more aggressive. That's led to Russian troops in Ukraine and Russian-supplied weapons shooting a passenger plane out of the sky.

* An Iranian nuclear weapon. America's enemies have shown they are content to stall for time, while President Obama gets distracted. That's what's happening as the president continues to negotiate indefinitely on Iran's illicit nuclear program. An Obama administration desperate to strike a deal is likely to strike a bad one. It could leave in place an enrichment program that would be a pathway to a nuclear-armed Iran.

* Syria. It has been more than three years since President Obama said the time had come for President Bashar Assad to step aside. The administration drew a "red line" on the use of chemical weapons, then did nothing when Assad crossed that line last summer. ISIS already has strongholds in Syria, while the Free Syrian Army desperately needs more U.S. assistance.

* North Korea. The North Koreans continue to test nuclear weapons. They have held multiple tests of missile technology designed to reach the continental U.S. President Obama has done nothing at all about this.

The White House has said its foreign policy rule is "don't do stupid stuff," but putting climate change ahead of global threats fails that simple test. The United Nations will hold yet another conference on climate change next month, while the world burns.

The greatest threat to Americans "right now" is not climate change. The greatest threat is people with the intent and capacity to do us harm—and the president's failure to lead the fight against them. Mr. Kerry's fixation on climate change is one reason America's friends no longer trust us and our enemies no longer fear us. The world is growing more dangerous as a result.


Has the tide turned on polar bears as icons of global warming?

The CBC in Canada is pretty much a mirror image of the BBC in the UK, ABC in Australia and PBS in the US. So you might appreciate my shock at the almost unbelievable balance contained in the recently broadcasted CBC documentary, “The Politics of Polar Bears: Tracking the Celebrity Bear.”

The film is a profound change from the hype and pessimism that has dominated the polar bear issue in Canada and abroad, supported unchallenged by the CBC. Finally, TV viewers were given some decently balanced perspective on the status of polar bears in  Western Hudson Bay.

If the take-away message tipped towards reason and optimism rather than panic over the status of polar bears, it’s because the evidence was strongly in that direction.

Representatives of a range of views got their say in this film: gloom-and-doom conservation biologists, pragmatic polar bear scientists, on-the-ground conservation officers, polar bear attack victims, activist organizations, Churchill residents, Inuit hunters, the Canadian government, and the Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG).

True, the CBC did air it live only in Manitoba — and on Saturday night of the most popular get-away long weekend of the year in Canada (our last grasp at summer before winter sets in). So the audience for the live broadcast was likely quite small.

But they did post the video online, which was where I saw it last night.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest you set aside the 45 minutes (no commercials), to view it with your morning coffee, lunch, or evening popcorn – I think you’ll find it as engrossing as I did.

The interview segments with polar bear biologist Mitch Taylor (Lakehead University) were especially compelling. The audience was left to decide for itself which scientist was the more credible: the guy (Taylor) who was kicked out of the PBSG after decades of service for daring to ask questions about alarmist polar bear population predictions and the veracity of sea ice models — or the guy in charge of the PBSG when Taylor was ousted (Andrew Derocher, University of Alberta), who insisted on camera that sea ice predictions are all that matter for polar bear conservation and stated, with a straight face: “scientifically, there is no debate” that polar bears are endangered.

I wasn’t interviewed for the program but I think you’ll see my influence – in fact, I think this broadcast makes it official that I’ve reached “s[he] who must not be named” status on the polar bear issue [see here and here, for background on how that phenomenon was applied to fellow Canadian Steve McIntyre's criticisms of certain aspects of global warming science].

In the film, Reg Sherren (without naming me or this blog), quoted the damning sentence from the email that was sent to me (and only to me) by the chairman of the PBSG on 22 May 2014 (which I reported here) regarding their intended footnote for their global polar bear population estimate:

“It is important to realize that this range never has been an estimate of total abundance in a scientific sense, but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand.” [my bold]

[I noticed, by the way, that in the film Derocher quoted the “20,000-25,000” population estimate without any qualifiers whatsoever — see my follow-up on the PBSG's "sanitized" version of that footnote here.  Sherren did it for him.]

Oh, there were things that perhaps could have been included in the program that were left out – issues that I (and others) have raised over the years – but overall, it really was thing of beauty and certainly not what you’d expect from the CBC.

Maybe, just maybe, the tide is starting to change on the wave of hysteria that has overtaken polar bears.

However, I expect that truly transparent, unbiased science in the field of polar bear science is still a ways off.


How The Green Energy Transition Is Destroying Germany’s Nature

Fritz Vahrenholt

Germany’s climate and energy policy is the main threat to bio-diversity. Politicians, however, have closed their eyes from the distructive effects of the rampant expansion of renewable energy.

Dankwart Guratzsch has convincingly described the destruction of the environment by the energy transition in these pages. The mayor of Tübingen, Boris Palmer (Green Party), responded in an article, saying: “Everything is not so bad. The impact of wind farms on nature is almost zero … The only relevant negative aspect of wind power is the optical … Many wind farms attract visitors, who do not find repulsive.”

What a devastating form of denial by the Green mayor. But he shares the fatal disregard for the destruction of nature with many greens who – helped by the WWF and Greenpeace – open up forests and premium areas of natural beauty for businesses and belittle the intrusion by wind turbines into nature.

More and more citizens are beginning to realise how the green energy transition is at odds with nature conservation and environmental protection in Germany. A grassroot protest movement has started with thousands of local citizens’ initiatives, barely connected with each other, who are against the planting of biofuels far and wide and which is destroying biodiversity, against the threats to indigenous birds by wind turbines built in forests, and against the devastation of unique cultural and landscape areas by photovoltaic excesses.

A biodiversity disaster

Of Germany’s 115 most common bird species, 51 have declined significantly in the last 20 years. The head of the biosphere reserve in Schorfheide, Martin Flade, speaks of a “biodiversity disaster” which is due to “the hectic climate, energy and agricultural policy: In the corn farmland birds have no chance – the field processing falls in the breeding season, and later they hardly find any insects to eat in these mono-cultures. Of the 30 most common species, there are just four that could hold their numbers, all the rest are declining since at least since 2007.”

The Lesser Spotted Eagle, also called Pomerania Eagle, became extinct in Saxony-Anhalt last year. Only 108 breeding pairs remain in Germany. It finds less and less food in the declining grassland and open meadow. The distances between breeding sites and food areas are getting longer and are also increasingly endangered by wind turbines.

Notably countries with Green Party ministers (North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Wurttemberg, Brandenburg and Hessen) have approved regulations which open the use of forests for wind turbines. To place a wind farm every 500 meters in the forest, six meter wide open lanes have to be cut through the forest in order to transport the 100-ton turbines and to maintain them later. Around each turbine, a five-acre open area must be created to lift the blades by giant cranes.

Wind farms in pristine forests

What a wind farm forest looks like can now be seen in many parts of Germany – for instance around Soonwaldsteig, a part of the Hunsrück, one of the last great, largely untouched forest areas in Rhineland-Palatinate with high biodiversity and the presence of numerous highly endangered species. There, the project developer Juwi has erected eight wind turbines in the middle of a forest – despite public protests – and then sold the park to an Austrian energy supplier. Faced with the images of demonstrating citizens, the Green minister Evelin Lemke could only come up with: “Without climate protection, there will be no more biodiversity here.”

But a policy that overestimates the dangers of climate change and that subordinates all other policy objectives, including nature conservation, whatever the cost, generates resistance. The Soonwaldsteig has become a nationwide focal point of citizens’ initiatives against the use of wind power in sensitive areas.

Today, 200,000 dead bats are found under wind turbines annually. The clever animals locate the rotors, fly through them and in the lee behind the turbines, where the air pressure decreases sharply, the bats’ lungs burst. Particularly affected are the noctule, the Serotine, the Small Noctule or the parti-colored bat. The female bat only gives birth to one or two young per year, thus these useful insectivores are endangered by a further uncontrolled construction of new wind turbines.

The red kite is acutely threatened

Following the review of the German Council for Bird Preservation (DRV) and the umbrella organization of German Avifaunists (DDA, 2012), the Red Kite is also in particular danger. After an investigation by the State Ornithological Institute of Brandenburg, the Red Kite is no longer safe in this state with its 3,200 wind turbines. About 300 Red Kites are killed annually in Brandenburg alone by wind turbines.

The decline of the red kites since 2005 in West Germany is striking, as Klaus Richarz, former head of the State Ornithological Institutes for Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, has warned. For him too, windmills built in the habitats of kites are fatal for the birds. The protection of the Red Kite is of special obligation for Germany, because a large percentage of the global population of the birds live in Germany. If you like, it is the real national bird of Germany.

In his hard-hitting article “From the energy transition to biodiversity disaster” Martin Flade, the recognized bird expert, describes climate protection and energy policy as a “major threat to biological diversity”. He concludes: “Overall, you have to draw the bitter conclusion that effects of climate change on biodiversity are hardly detectable; the effects of climate and energy policies, however, are dramatic.”

The problem with intermittent wind turbines

Tübingen’s mayor Boris Palmer demands: “We need to double the number of currently 25,000 wind turbines in order to supply Germany.” What a mistake!
Even 50,000 wind turbines only lead to massive surpluses if the wind blows. Wind turbines have on average around 2,500 full load hours per year, but the year has 8,760 hours. In times of no wind, no electricity is generated, even if one multiplies the number of facilities. Zero times x is zero. The intermittency of renewable energy such as wind and solar require either backup fossil power plants or energy storage capacities.

Storage technologies can only do this tasks with excessive costs. Without fossil power plants to balance the intermittency of renewable energy there will be no guaranteed power supply in Germany, with fatal consequences for the competitiveness of German industry and the manufacturing industry.

It should also be known to the Greens that the expansion of renewable energy due to Germany’s Renewable Energy Law is completely ineffective in terms of CO2 emissions in Europe. The CO2 emissions in Europe are determined solely by the capping of the emissions trading scheme. New wind and solar power, in fact, set more emission allowances free.

These certificates float through the stock exchanges to coal power plants in other EU countries where they allow further increase in CO2 emissions which amount to the same level as the reductions in Germany. Besides additional costs for citizens and the devastation of nature, any expansion of renewable energy will not achieve a single ton of CO2 reduction.

Assumptions of climate policy are flawed

Fossil fuel power plants are not an alternative for Boris Palmer and the Greens because they cause climate change, claiming that “some nature reserves, but also some urban areas cannot be saved from rising sea levels, drought and floods and devastating storms”.

But there are growing signs that the assumptions used for German and European climate policy are flawed. Surprisingly, no global temperature increase has occurred for about 15 years. However, computer models used by climate scientists had predicted a temperature rise of 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade.

In early 2013, 17 renowned climate scientists came to the conclusion that the climate sensitivity of greenhouse gases should be significantly reduced. Hans von Storch, researcher from the Helmholtz Centre in Geesthacht, admits: “First option: global warming is weaker because the greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have a lower impact than assumed. That does not mean that there is no man-made greenhouse effect, only that our influence on the climate system would not be as strong as expected. The other possibility: In our simulations we have underestimated how much the climate varies due to natural causes “.

In fact, there are good reasons for the global warming pause. Solar activity has reached a maximum in the second half of the last century. But since the last eleven-year solar cycle, solar activity has decreased dramatically, the solar maximum exited very quickly. The current solar cycle 24 is the weakest in 200 years.

Ocean currents shift into cold phase

Another crucial error by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was its failure to take into account the 60-year-old oceanic-atmospheric cycle of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The ocean currents change in 30-year intervals between warm and cold phases. They are now moving into a cold phase in which they will remain until 2035. The natural temperature rise in the past was also blamed on CO2, and so scientists got the wrong predictions.

Yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas; it causes a warming of about 1.1 degrees Celsius per doubling of its concentration. But catastrophic global warming of three to six degrees Celsius this century, which justifies energy policies that threaten the existence of local wildlife, is not to be feared.

The sacrifice of German forests may do for wind energy what the battle against the Whyl nuclear power plant was for Germany’s nuclear energy. None of the political parties represented in the German parliament intends to end this attack on the environment. However, the Green Party would feel the impact most if the growing protest movement against the destruction of nature were to raise this threat onto the political agenda.



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

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


1 September, 2014

Warmists invent magic ice

It melts and gets thicker at the same time, apparently.  There are lots of findings that antarctic ice is increasing -- e.g. here but the galoots below say it has been increasingly melting

Sea levels around Antarctica have been rising a third faster than the global average, a clear sign of high meltwater runoff from the continent's icesheet, scientists said on Sunday.

Satellite data from 1992 to 2011 found the sea surface around Antarctica's coast rose by around eight centimetres (3.2 inches) in total compared to a rise of six cm for the average of the world's oceans, they said.

The local increase is accompanied by a fall in salinity at the sea surface, as detected by research ships.

These dramatic changes can only be explained by an influx of freshwater from melting ice, warned the study.  "Freshwater is less dense than salt water, and so in regions where an excess of freshwater has accumulated, we expect a localised rise in sea level," said Craig Rye from Britain's National Oceanography Centre, who led the probe.

The estimate of ice loss and the precise source of it are hard to pin down, though.  According to the team's computer model, around 350 billion tonnes a year of freshwater influx, plus or minus 100 billion tonnes, would explain the rise.

This estimate puts together freshwater from the ground-based icesheet and also from the thinning of ice shelves -- floating ice that is attached to the coast and created by glaciers disgorging from the icesheet.

Most of the meltwater is being discharged around the Antarctic peninsula -- the giant finger of land that juts towards South America -- and in the Amundsen Sea.

"Accelerating discharge from the Antarctic icesheet has had a pronounced and widespread impact on the adjacent subpolar seas over the past two decades," said the study.

The stability of the Antarctic ice sheet is one of the big factors in the global warming equation.  The biggest single source of freshwater in the world, it would drown many coastal cities if a large part of it were to melt.

Getting an accurate fix on this risk, though, is bedevilled by unknowns, partly because the icesheet is also gaining mass in some places through greater snowfall.


“Sustainable” and superficial

By Donald J. Boudreaux

The pervasive proclamations issued by government officials, college professors, U.N. bureaucrats and Hollywood entertainers in favor of “sustainability” sound nice. But slogans aren't solutions. Merely declaring support for a good result hardly amounts to a serious analysis of how to make that result a reality.

The “sustainability” movement is populated with too many people who commit the classic offense against good economics: They assume that nothing exists except that which is immediately visible to the untrained eye.

Consider a favorite cause of the sustainability movement: locavorism. Champions of “sustainability” assert that, because local foods don't have to be shipped very far to their final consumers, such foods are more “sustainable” than are foods grown and raised at great distances from where they are consumed.

This analysis appears sound to people who are blind to all but the resources used to transport foods from farms to dining tables. Yet transportation consumes only a small portion of the resources required to feed us. Labor, fuel, water, irrigation equipment, tractors and other farm tools, fertilizers, pesticides, packaging and (of course) land must also be used.

What effect would eating only locally grown foods have on the use of these other resources? Locavores seldom ask this question.

Fortunately, this question has been asked by sensible economists.In their splendid 2012 book, “The Locavore's Dilemma,” Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu conclude that the ecologically and economically best diet is one with foods from all across the globe. Among the most important reasons is that the amount of resources required to eat only locally grown foods would be stupendous.

Some lands and local environments are better suited than are other lands and local environments to growing particular kinds of crops. Obviously, South Florida is better suited to growing citrus than is Western Pennsylvania. This fact, however, doesn't mean that Pennsylvanians couldn't grow all of their own citrus. They could indeed do so if they were to build many huge hothouses.

Yet not only would such hothouses divert land in Pennsylvania from other valuable uses, these hothouses would have to be heated — a very energy-intensive procedure. We can be reasonably certain that the fuel costs of heating such hothouses are greater than the fuel costs of shipping oranges from Florida to Pennsylvania. The reason for our certainty is that if the transportation costs were greater than the costs of heating the hothouses, Pennsylvania farmers could earn profits by growing citrus in hothouses. These farmers would be able to sell their crops to Pennsylvania supermarkets at prices lower than the prices that those supermarkets now pay to stock their shelves with citrus fruits from Florida.

But in reality, no farmers in Pennsylvania grow citrus in hothouses — a pretty good sign that the amount of resources required to operate citrus hothouses there is greater than the amount of resources used to ship citrus to Pennsylvania from Florida.

What's true for citrus is true for wheat, peas, beef, pork, you name it. The lowest-cost place for producing any particular type of food is seldom close to home.


British schools warned of solar panel fire risk: Fears over free green scheme after three mystery blazes

British Gas has launched an investigation into solar panels at dozens of schools and businesses after a series of mystery fires.

Some 92 schools that signed up for free panels have been told their equipment will need improvements before it is considered safe to use.

It comes after solar panel fires in three schools were confirmed by British Gas following a tip-off to The Mail on Sunday.

Although an investigation after the first two was ruled 'inconclusive', it is believed the energy giant was forced to carry out improvements when a third roof blaze damaged two classrooms at Sutton Bonington Primary School in Nottinghamshire.

More than 90 schools and 27 business fitted with the suspect equipment have been left without free solar energy since April. The news is likely to come as a blow to Energy Minister Greg Barker, who the same month unveiled plans to put solar panels on the roofs of 24,000 schools.

British Gas has stressed that 160 other schools fitted with earlier versions of the panels are unaffected and that household ones are safe. A spokesman for Nottinghamshire County Council said the panels had been installed as part of British Gas's Generation Green project, which gives schools free equipment in return for a Government green subsidy payment.

A British Gas spokesman would not reveal the cost of the shutdown, although sources say it could run 'well into six figures' once compensation – for the extra cost of mains electricity – is included.

Gab Barbaro, managing director of British Gas Business Services, said: 'Safety is our number one priority. Following an incident in April, we decided to turn off solar panels at certain non-domestic sites as a precaution while we undertook a full investigation.

No one was hurt and we have worked with independent experts to establish the cause. 'As a further precautionary step, we are upgrading part of the solar installations at these sites.'

Professor Stuart Irvine, director of Glyndwr University's Centre for Solar Energy Research, said panel fires were unusual. He added: 'The cause here may lie in wiring or junction boxes, where power is converted for the grid, rather than the panels themselves.

'There's an argument that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) needs to look at this. We must make sure there's adequate testing of components and sufficient protection for buyers.' A spokesman for the DECC said: 'As legal action is pending, it would not be appropriate to comment.'


Australia: The crazy world of Renewable Energy Targets

Nothing makes sense about Renewable Energy Targets, except at a “Bumper-Sticker” level. Today the AFR front page suggests* the federal government is shifting to remove the scheme (by closing it to new entrants) rather than just scaling it back. It can’t come a day too soon. Right now, the Greens who care about CO2 emissions should be cheering too. The scheme was designed to promote an  industry, not to cut CO2.

UPDATE: Mathias Cormann later says “that the government’s position was to “keep the renewable energy target in place” SMH.  Mixed messages indeed.

We’ve been sold the idea that if we subsidize “renewable” energy (which produces less CO2) we’d get a world with lower CO2 emissions. But it ain’t so. The fake “free” market in renewables does not remotely achieve what it was advertised to do — the perverse incentives make the RET good for increasing “renewables” but bad for reducing CO2, and, worse, the more wind power you have, the less CO2 you save. Coal fired electricity is so cheap that doing anything other than making it more efficient is a wildly expensive and inefficient way to reduce CO2. But the Greens hate coal more than they want to reduce carbon dioxide. The dilemma!

The RET scheme in Australian pays a subsidy to wind farms and solar installations. Below, Tom Quirk shows that this is effectively a carbon tax (but a lousy one), and it shifts supply — perversely taxing brown coal at $27/ton, black coal at $40/ton and gas at up to $100/ton. Because it’s applied to renewables rather than CO2 directly, it’s effectively a higher tax rate for the non-renewable but lower CO2 emitters.

Calculating the true cost of electricity is fiendishly difficult. “Levelized costs” is the simple idea that we can add up the entire lifecycle cost of each energy type, but it’s almost impossible to calculate meaningful numbers. Because wind power is fickle, yet electricity demand is most definitely not, the real cost of wind power is not just the construction, maintenance and final disposal, but also the cost of having a gas back-up or expensive battery (give-us-your-gold) storage. It’s just inefficient every which way. Coal and nuclear stations are cheaper when run constantly rather than in a stop-start fashion (just like your car is). So the cost of renewables also includes the cost of shifting these “base load” suppliers from efficient to inefficient use — and in the case of coal it means producing more CO2 for the same megawatts. South Australia is the most renewable-dependent state in mainland Australia, and it’s a basketcase (look at the cost stack below). Real costs only come with modeling, and we all know how difficult that is.

If the aim is really the research and development of renewables (and not “low CO2?) then I’ve long said that we should pay for the research and development directly, not pay companies to put up inefficient and fairly useless versions in the hope that companies might earn enough to pay for the research out of the profits. Tom Quirk points out that it’s all frightfully perverse again, because most innovations come from industry, not government funded research, but in Australia we hardly have any industry making parts used in power generation — we don’t have the teams of electrical engineers working on the problem anymore. I suppose the theory is that Chinese companies will profit from solar panels and do the R&D for us (keeping “our” patents too)? It would be cheaper just to gift them the money direct wouldn’t it — rather than pay an industry to produce and install a product that no one would buy, which doesn’t work, and hope that the “profits” translate into discoveries that will produce royalties and jobs for people overseas. I’m sure Chinese workers and entrepreneurs will be grateful. Yay.

Meanwhile, Green fans have suddenly discovered the idea of sovereign risk (where were they while the Rudd-Gillard team blitzed Australia’s reputation for stable, predictable policy?). According to the AFR, the government is scornful (and rightly so):

"The government source said the market was oversupplied with energy and there was no longer any cause for a mandated use of any specific type of power. The source said while there would be investment losses if the RET was abolished, or even scaled back, investors “would have to have been blind to know this wasn’t coming’’.

On Catalaxy files, Judith Sloan mocks the Fin for pushing a press release from a rent-seeking firm, and guesses the Abbott government will be too “gutless” to ditch this economic and environmental dog of a policy.

More HERE  (See the original for links)

Shaking, Quaking, and Freezing

By Alan Caruba

Have you noticed how much earthquake and volcanic activity has been occurring lately?

There was a major earthquake in Napa, California on Sunday, August 24th as well as considerable volcanic activity from Iceland to Papua, New Guinea. August was also a month that set records for colder U.S. temperatures.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there were some 1,097 “low max” temperature records broken in the U.S. between August 1 and August 23, meaning that the maximum temperature during that time period was the lowest it has ever been. NOAA reported that summer across much of the U.S. has been colder than normal.

Most of us, after decades of global warming predictions that became more and more absurd, rising sea levels drowning Manhattan and Miami, an upsurge in hurricanes, forest fires, and every other calamity, have concluded that none of these things have happened in the volume or intensity predicted. In the 70s we were told the Earth would get colder. In the 80’s and 90’s we were told it would get warmer.

A new book is advising us to prepare for a serious cold spell that is not only going to arrive in twenty to thirty years, but will likely stay around to become the next ice age. This time, though, the prediction is based on well-established climate cycles and the behavior of the Sun that was known as far back as Galileo’s day.

The new “normal” is colder weather and this is because the Sun’s sunspot activity has been in a cyclical decline since about 1998, producing the latest cooling cycle for the Earth.

In combination with the earthquakes and volcanic activity, says John L. Casey’s new book, “Dark Winter: How the Sun is Causing a 30-Year Cold Spell” ($24.95, Humanix Books, Boca Raton, FL) what we’re really looking at is a repeat of the Dalton Minimum, a solar sunspot minimum that occurred between 1793 and 1830. His earlier book, “Cold Sun” addressed this cyclical phenomenon.

Casey asks “Will we also experience volcanic activity that will add to the solar cooling?” and the answer, given the fifty active volcanoes around the world, is that “We should expect to deal with multiple geological disasters, including volcanoes and earthquakes, during the next solar hibernation.” We have in fact already entered that “hibernation.”

Casey is the president of the Space and Science Research Corporation. It specializes in independent research regarding the coming decades of cold weather. For thirty-five years Casey has been active in science and high tech industries. He has been a national space policy advisor to the White House and Congress, and a former space shuttle engineer, consultant to NASA headquarters.

Casey has formulated a “Bicentennial Cycle of 206 years correlated with near 100 percent accuracy to every major cold-temperature period of the past 1,200 years.” His Theory of “Relational Cycles of Solar Activity” accounts for its effects and those of other solar cycles.

He is not the first scientist to recognize the relationship of diminished sunspot activity and cooling cycles, but he is the first to have synthesized the earlier work of others who made comparable observations. His Relational Cycles theory, however, is more specific than preceding ones, pegging the arrival of significant global cold climate to begin as early as 2024 or as late as 2036. “My math says 2031” says Casey.

Casey’s book is a prediction of a coming ice age that will have devastating effects for all life on Earth, but my readers know I have been writing about this for several years based on Robert W. Felix’s book, “Not By Fire, But By Ice” ($15.95, Sugarhouse Publishing, Bellevue, WA). I have frequently referenced his website, for its daily updates on cold weather events, records established and broken, and reports on volcanic and earthquake activity around the world.

Before I proceed, the reader should contemplate the fact that not one single child entering or returning to school this year has ever lived in a period of “global warming.” The cooling cycle began around 1997.

You do not need to be a meteorologist to know nothing humans do affects or alters the weather. The claim that “greenhouse gases” such as carbon dioxide are making the Earth warmer is false.

We have been experiencing this as the Earth has cooled, along with increased volcanic activity and earthquakes, and yet on September 23rd the United Nations will hold a “Climate Change Summit” that will be attended by more than a hundred of the world’s presidents and prime ministers. They will continue the greatest international scientific fraud ever perpetrated.

Despite the cooling cycle that is occurring and which will grow in intensity, the U.S. government has devoted billions to global warming research and, as Casey notes, “not one research dollar has been dedicated to the science and planning needed for the United Sates to be prepared for the only climate change that we can expect—a long and potentially dangerous cold climate!”

The U.S. is not taking the steps necessary for the cold that is coming. It has not only failed to encourage the use of our multi-generational reserves of coal, the Obama administration has declared “war” on it, putting several hundred plants out of business, reducing the amount of electricity the nation needs now and will require. Power plants and refineries cannot be built overnight and the lack of them will severely impact our lives and the economy.

Despite thousands of miles of pipelines that safely distribute oil and natural gas, Obama has refused to permit a new one, Keystone XL, for oil to be shipped to gulf state refineries from Canada. Railroad cars needed to transport food crops in a timely manner are being diverted to transport oil. No new nuclear plants are being built on a scale that will be needed. The “grid” that distributes electricity nationwide is in vital need of repair and expansion.

Cold weather will reduce the amount of crops needed to feed the nation’s human population and the stocks of cattle, pigs, sheep, and chickens upon which we depend. This will happen here and worldwide. Famine will be rampant. In countless ways ours and worldwide societies that depend on all manner of technology will be impacted.

Nations and people will fail to prepare for what is coming because (1) they have been deceived by the global warming hoax and (2) we will be leaving behind one of the longest climate cycles other than an ice age, the interglacial warm period. Casey notes that “For the past 11,000 years, we have been living in one of these rare interglacial periods, called the Holocene warm period.”

What we call civilization is the result of the Holocene warm period and, without it, civilization and a global population nearing or surpassing eight billion will be largely decimated as the next, entirely predictable, ice age occurs.


Brazil Presidential Candidate Silva Moots Price on Carbon

Brazilian presidential candidate Marina Silva plans to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions and implement a national carbon market if elected, according to policy proposals released on Friday.

In the document, the coalition behind Silva's candidacy said the measures would help Brazil rein in emissions, which are on the verge of rising again after years of successfully being cut.

Brazil had reduced its carbon emissions from 2.85 billion tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) in 1995 to 1.48 billion in 2012, mainly due to a sharp reduction in deforestation after the adoption of tougher legislation and a satellite-based system to monitor forest loss.

But large increases in thermal power generation and agricultural production have recently threatened to reverse the trend.

Besides carbon pricing and the carbon market, Silva's coalition plans to use tax tools to encourage the use of cleaner energy, enforce a halt on forest losses, and implement financial compensation for landowners who preserve biodiversity.

The Brazilian presidential race was upended by the late entry of Silva, a popular environmentalist, following the death of her party's previous candidate, Eduardo Campos, in a plane crash on Aug. 13.

Talking to journalists after the announcement of the proposals Friday, Silva said that she would deepen Brazil's commitment to reduce heat-trapping gases at the Paris round of climate talks, in 2015, when a new global deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol is expected to be clinched.

Brazil's current target is to reduce these gases by up to 39 percent against projected trends by 2020.



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

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


This 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."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.


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"

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported by the U.N. "experts" for the entire 20th century (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows, if anything, that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

Index page for this site


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
Of Interest


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International" blog.
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
Western Heart
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
The Kogarah Madhouse (St George Bank)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here. (I rarely write long articles these days)

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
Basic home page
Pictorial Home Page.
Selected pictures from blogs
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following: